Monday, March 23, 2009

True Life

© 2009 Karen Van Fossan

A Scene from True Life

Setting: Not quite the standard nursing-home bedroom.
One of the decorations reads, "War Is Not The Answer."

KAREN: Hello, Ferne! It's Karen.

Ferne (at nearly 100 years old) lifts her chin from her chest.


Karen improvises a weather report, giving the shapes of clouds, the progress of the birds. Soon, Karen will read to Ferne from progressive magazines. But first, they chat about peace. An idea --

KAREN: I wonder if you have any words of wisdom to pass along to the next generations of peacemakers...?

Chuckling --

FERNE: I doubt it.

After a thoughtful pause -

FERNE: I think peace has to start within oneself.

Ferne's roommate, Marilyn, makes a giggling sound. Karen turns and smiles.
Marilyn says to Karen

MARILYN: You have...real...nice...teeth.

End of Scene

Marilyn has a knack for this kind of humor.

Her impression of daytime soap operas:

"Do you love me? Yes, I love you. No, I don't love you! Is anybody dead? No, nobody's dead. But let's talk about it first!"

Not as comedic as Marilyn, Ferne's wit tends toward the profound:

"We always prepare for war, when we should prepare for peace."

I gather their words of wisdom.

And (I confess) I gather yours. For instance...

"My wish for you is to see wild horses."
Julie Huwe, peacemaker

"I'd rather sit down and talk with a pig than eat one."
William Glen Van Fossan, my grandpa

"Let your life speak."
Tim Mathern, North Dakota Senator (adapted from the Quaker saying)

“We aren't the best looking, the richest, or the smartest – but we're the ones who live here.”
Winona LaDuke, founder of Honor the Earth

"I like crocodiles!"
Student, Head Start

"I like snakes!"
Harley, my young cousin

"I eat until I'm full."
Connor, first-grade friend

"Through my moving body I discover my multiple names."
Louise M. Pare', women's spirituality author

"It's not a haircut unless you regret it. And maybe cry."
Ramona Redding Lopez, artist

"Love delights to surprise you."
Lisa Bassett, poet

Setting: True Life


JGH said...

That was great! I love all those quotes!

louise said...

What great company I'm in! Thanks for linking readers to my new book! I love this "play" and your way of collecting wisdom from those you love!

Karen Van Fossan said...

Here's a new poem by Lisa Bassett. Enjoy!

Sunrise, 7:10, March 21, 2009

At Hozro*

And the fields – dry white grasses,
ghosts of Queen Anne’s lace,
seedpods of milkweed –
Glisten in the fresh day’s light.

Around the wooded rim of the horizon
the cardinal sings,
the white-throated sparrow,
and the red-winged blackbird
with his dry voice.

Here on the cusp of the hill,
So many reassurances –
life in balance, life returning –
So many excuses for praise.

--Lisa Bassett

* Hozro is named for the Native American word meaning being in harmony, walking in harmony, with beauty all around.

Kristi said...

I agree with Julie, wonderful quotes! Also, did you or Kris make the mosaic in your pictures along the side? I know you wanted to make one sometime and just wondered if you ever had.

Karen Van Fossan said...

Hi, Kristi!
The mosaic is from the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. It's a bench you can actually sit on!
Hope you're staying dry in Minneapolis. We're watching the flood waters here!