A "Book Of Life"
My life in years, written in 2004-2005, revisited in 2017:

Forty Four
November 10 2002 - November 9, 2003

November 19, 2002

Crickets this morning? Isn't it too cold for crickets? Loud choir, maybe it will inspire me. This morning, I who wish to make magic with my words, cast a spell, create power, CHANGE things for the better - or at least gather some small bit of joy, passion and beauty to comfort the world, what will I get?

Hungry the body, but better hungry the mind, and better I should go a seeking after what will fill it. Not the empty and tawdry. No, there is better mind food. Perhaps I can make some. After all, I could be a magician of my own reckoning . . .

I got into writing fiction again, this time, with vampires. I tried to give a logical reason for their mutation of blood drinking and immortality. It was great fun wondering and imagining what it would be like to be one.

December 2, 2002
"Julia As A Vampire?"

When Anne Rice's husband died in December, I felt a kinship to her. No, I knew my vamp stories weren't of the grade she writes, but there was enough similarity to feel a bit of a psychic bond for awhile.

December 25, 2002

. . . I was especially missing Laura. How she would have enjoyed being able to see all three of the Lord of the Rings movies! I then sat down by the computer near the phone, preparing to call my Mother, and found a paper shoved into the shelf, along with the print out of our address book.

I'd not seen it earlier. It was a copy of an e-mail Laura had written her brother March 4th of this year. In it, she revealed her doctor's grim prospects for her health. '' . . . he has seen many people at my stage of life and says the end will come either quickly by a heart attack or more slowly by pneumonia. He can't say exactly when [I will die].''

''Once in a great while a person can last longer than expected . . .'' Laura assured her brother she had no intention 'of giving up easily' and had hopes 'of foiling the doctors one more time'.

I am not scared. Well, at least not much and more for Joan and Julia than for me. I have lived one hell of a life, full of everything imaginable. There are people, many, who love me to pieces and there are those, a very few, who hate me with equal strength. With one exception, no one hates me who I wish didn't hate me. Mostly, I want very much to hang in here until Julia has a job. That is my primary goal. If we can manage that, I could, if I must, die peacefully.

But no one has to feel sorry for me when I am gone. I can not die young. I have seen a lot of life. I leave the world a better place than I found it. I have a lot more things I am proud of having done, than I am ashamed of having done. If you can say as much at the end of YOUR life, then you too will have lived and died well.

. . . Each one of you know the depths of my love and my gratitude. I can not emphasize enough that without you, each one of your in your own way, my life would have been greatly diminished. Thank you for all that you have done and been. Thank you for being in my life.''

Thank you, Laura, for that one last message. Somehow you must have meant for me to see it now, when I'm especially missing you. I won't ever be done talking to you, you should know . . .

January 5, 2003
excerpt regarding creative power

. . .  am I only JUST BEGINNING to understand what true power is, and how I might achieve it? Reason, the observer which attempts to be objective, tells me this is the case. I am only at the perilous stage of BEGINNING. If I let illusion or ego or anything else, timidity, 'humility', any FALSEHOOD sway me the least, I will not achieve it.

It will derail from the path it COULD have. And this is the only triumph: THAT I TRULY KNOW IT COULD BE.  . . .

January 11, 2003

. . . Julia suggested I ought to give what sort of personality I was according to the Myers-Briggs test . . .

. . . I am an INFJ (Reserved, Introspective, Friendly, Scheduling) person, as opposed to a ESTP (Expressive, Observant, Tough Minded, Probing) person . . .

Are you more:
A. observant than introspective
B. introspective than observant

This question had me screaming the most of all of them! I really went around the bush on this. ''I value BOTH!'' I screamed to Julia. I try to be observant. An artist is only as good as her skill in observing things. If you don't observe something, you can't depict it. Yet I'm introspective as well. Without introspection, the artist in me can't evaluate the results of her observations. I observe, but I FIRST OBSERVE MYSELF, therefore I chose 'introspective'.

With Julia suggesting I reveal such test results, you might be curious as to how Julia is typed. Julia's results are quite similar to me, with the exception of the last category. She shows 'consistently as an INFP type'. This tends to be true. Our values are much the same, except that I possess an often driving nature to accomplish goals. The crankiness this sometimes produces, should anything try to circumvent me, awes her a bit . . .

January 13, 2003

. . .  With the darkening sky, my mood darkened. As the sunlight ebbed away yesterday, a sadness settled into me. The sense of lonliness and 'something having gone wrong somewhere in the world' was palpable. I set down the book I was reading, and wrote some emails, hoping to distract myself.

But with the last email I wrote, I was brought face to face with my emotions. I'd asked a man the source of his unusual online name, 'Roselion'. He liked the juxtaposition of the fierce with the tender, and it reminded me of Laura.

She used to talk of how she'd decorated an old motorcycle she had with dragons and butterflies, the 'fierce with the tender', and how appropriate this seemed to her personal expression. I took Google to her book, hoping to find the particular reference.

The words 'dragons and butterflies' were not found, so I then used the word 'motorcycle'. I didn't see her story. Oh, how I wished I'd of listened more closely to the tales she loved to tell, for now it is only my possibly inaccurate memory.

As I scanned down one chapter, I came to these words, describing ME:

The next three weeks overflowed with happiness. Joan lived in an apartment bordering on the Desplaines river. We spent many wonderful afternoons walking and talking, hand in hand, alongside the gently flowing river. Ours wasn't a whirlwind romance. It was as gentle as a soft summer breeze and the more thrilling for it. Getting acquainted was more electrifying than skiing down a snow covered mountainside, more stirring than playing Gor, more thrilling than riding a motorcycle at over a hundred miles an hour. Each day found us linked together more deeply, each of us willingly giving ourselves up to the needs and love of the other.

Joan was simply incredible; An innocent pure and lovely, bereft of guile and deception. Here was a woman who had not yet experienced the full bloom of life, with all its joy and all its heartache, a woman who was eager to make up for lost time. Little things gave her boundless joy and her happiness expressed itself through sparkling eager eyes and an uninhibited grin that gave her the appearance of a little girl in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, her presents a mountain before her. Only a fool would not love one such as she, and I found myself not such a fool.

The slow trickle of tears became an outburst of sobbing. How grateful I am for these words! If it were not for these words, as a concrete, objective thing outside of myself, to validate the reality of those days, I might come to think my memories of Laura as having no more substantiality than just another of my [character in my vampire] fantasies.

But it WAS REAL! It really happened! My shoulders heaved, as I howled while Julia held me. There again, another tether into reality. I sobbed not alone, I had my dear Julia to comfort me while I sobbed.

I felt better after the outburst. It had been growing in me since sunset and it was good to give it release.

January 17, 2003

Sebastian, A Vamp Who Never Goes Hungry

Oh, I'm feeling so much better this evening! I have a delicious new chapter of my vamp story, and have 'met' a marvelously fascinating new vampire!

Bite me, Sebastian!

February 13, 2003

Spirit wants me here, though I know not what I'll say. I rejoice in the times I DO know what to say. I 'knew what to say' enough to finish my Vamp Story! Yes, my charming bloodsuckers have had their first BIG adventure together. I love the happy ending . . .

It Must Be Lived

Not to the standing of stones,
which never turn to face the sun,
nor to the dreaming of poets,
which only comes at nights -
there is a new, clear view,
(mind without mind,
heart without heart.)

What would be beyond oneself
and memory to lead the way?
A new path, untested.
(Memory will not help me here.)
I shall find myself at such a place,
raw, unused,
vacant as the day yet unborn.
There's nothing that can be said of it now.
It must be lived.

Each moment a mystery,
until met and tested.
I cease thinking I can imagine it.
Why not think of this moment now,
this wondering?
I turn things over in my mind,
future-lid is shut,
but the box of now
is only vacant
because I've let its contents escape.
They flew while my mind
was elsewhere.
Look to this moment,
must be lived.
Future-box, I'll leave in the garden of tomorrow,
and pick today's flowers today.

JAL, 2 - 13 - 2003

April 9, 2003

. . . I think of my favorite author's (Anne Rice) work, which I am savoring slowly. Lost in vampland, I am. But it's such an intriguing place. I understand Gabrielle. She is not 'cold' to me, she who went to wander in the jungles. Sometimes that appeals to me, the thought of losing oneself in the earth, all nature girl, just out lost like that . . .

. . . I am just like Gabrielle. I want to go off wandering. And I take no prisoners. You can all follow if you want. I leave my tracks, sure enough. Here, on silly nights like these, when the rest of the mortals are sleeping, I leave my tracks. Hah, it is all like that.

I'm carving my silly little messages, strange little girl that I am, all over the web, and you can find them if you wish. COULD it be any different? Ah, but there are so many others to take the light road, the 'easy' sunshined road, and talk of light matters.

I am here in the darkness, hoping to make some light. Dim though it may be, it will have to suffice. . . .

May 1, 2003

My butterfly dream, my butterfly life, I will not squash it. I will not let skepticism strangle every hope, nor will I let gullibility trap me. On the edge is the right awareness, holding all possibilities gently.

I am waiting for the inspiration  
to come like sweet rain.
I am waiting.
Thrash the pot,
stir the wine,
serve the fine cakes.
I am waiting.
Finest fruit of bean,
Clear and red, the aged grapes
I am waiting.

JAL, 5 - 06 - 2003

A good question:

The Prism

If I am not here,
then I am dreaming.
Am I dreaming?
Time and time again,
I return to the same point:
Am I mirroring reality
or am I creating it?
The reflection point,
a cast off of all my dreaming,
time and time again.

Say stop! when you think it's enough.

But you won't, will you?
You keep probing,
you want more.
There must be deeper layers,
layers beneath layers
beneath layers.
And this is the reality:
Open your eyes to the prism.
Shine the light through yourself
and see all the pretty colors.
Time was,
I used to dream like that
and now I do again.
Time and time again.
''Hello, self!''
We are here again.
The point of no return
has passed
and I am safely home.
What will I declare now?

JAL, 6 - 4 - 03

July 31, 2003

To cry a scream of pain and not know where it comes from, or knowing where it comes from, scream the louder - thus is the quandary I face. What weakness within would bid me toss my visions away?

What weakness and how susceptible am I? The weakness of craving 'respectability' so much that I might dull my vision, hide its results, couch it in apologetic terms, ever hoping for 'people to like me'. This is the ugliness I face.

I know this ugly demon. Say what you will of the rest of the pantheon. This is the thing that hisses and looks ugly. Because it is ugly. Anything that would make me toss truth for 'acceptance', this is ugly.

And of what susceptability have I to it? Am I still the child, craving my gramma's approval? I know I am at times.

I hear the lure of the 'easy' road, the one to which few object. And a certain Thunderous Force whom I dearly love, says ''Why didn't you pick that Other thunder god, Zeus? Or better yet, why didn't you become a Presbyterian?''

And sorrow fills me, for weakness I know it is...

In September, we had a small crisis, as Julia became very ill and bled from her hind end. After seeking the advice of a nurse, I took her to the emergency. In a few days, she was well enough to come home. They advised she get a colonoscopy, which she did in late September.

September 12, 2003

Oh, so sweet is Julia's morning song to Venus. It used to be spoken Latin text, but now she makes a song of it. Every Friday, when she is feeling well, she sings this song in a gentle alto voice.

I missed her song last Friday.

I was worried about my dear Julia:

October 5, 2003

For many years I've known the value of what is sometimes called 'automatic writing', in which the writer just takes down the words as they come to her. Now I am learning the value of 'automatic drawing', in which I just let the pen move where it wants. I created two doodles last night which prove reflective of my inner mood.

''Looking Outside, Worried''


The sad, ready to cry, emotions at the surface portrait is my inner child, who is always close to my emotions. The lady observing out the window is my inner parent, looking for what lies ahead on the horizon.

She has cause to be worried, for tomorrow we learn the results of Julia's biopsy. I hope these doodles are only recording my inner worried state. My thoughts also go to Julia's sick mother, who has lung cancer.

In any case, this is a new way to record the truth of my inner self, and one which I'll use often.

October 6, 2003

All through out the day, I thought of Julia, wondering what the results would be. I looked at the clock every little bit, to see if it was 3:45pm yet, the time of her appointment and when all would be revealed.

I told myself we will stay optimistic, what ever we are told. I read while in the doctor's office the day of her colonoscopy of Lance Armstrong, the bicyclist who won the Tour De France five times after getting cancer. Clearly, it's not an automatic death sentence.

While traveling home after dropping the co-worker off, I envisioned what kind of magical spell I could do, should the 'worst' prove true. By the time I arrived at the door of our home, I was feverish with curiousity.

I ran through the door, and asked her how it went. Julia began to ramble about the difficulties of getting a cab, how it arrived late and she barely made it to the appointment. I empathised with her long wait in the sun. But finally I had to interrupt her, loudly,

''Tell me what the RESULTS were!''

''Oh, yes, it's a bit complex . . .'' And then she sat down and told me what she remembered. The colon can have two different types of polyps. One kind will never become cancerous. The other kind has the potential for cancer. Julia has 'the other kind'. The two polyps tested benign, so there is no cancer in her now. But they want to keep an eye on her, as she has an extremely large number of polyps. The two removed were only samples.

Also, she does have diverticulosis and internal hemorrhoids. The high fiber diet is essential for her. However, it is nearly impossible for her to get all the fiber she requires via diet alone, thus a supplement like Metamucil will be necessary all her life.


I will encourage in every way possible the diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts and low in saturated fat. I need it as much as she does. We will do our best to keep cancer and poor circulation away. Since I've been eating more carefully, I've not had any troubling numbness. We have the power, if we are vigilant.

So I am encouraged. I am so relieved.

Seeking a solution to the intense sunlight here in the desert southwest, I sent for a hat:

October 19, 2003

In order to assure a properly fitting hat, I had to measure myself. My head is 22 inches (56cm) in circumferance, which is a size 7 1/8, considered 'medium' as head sizes go. On a lark, I measured Julia's head, a perfect 24 inches around (61cm)and a 7 3/4 hat size. One 'foot' equals twelve inches. Yes, she does have a largish head, curiously supported by a neck and shoulders which are narrower than mine. We are all a contradiction of anomalies. You can see her anomaly in the picture of her in the mysterious light in this photo.

Anyway, it is funny what Julia said. One 'foot' equals twelve inches, so she made this observation: ''My head is two feet. I travel more with my head than my feet!'' And, indeed, this is true, both of her and I, whose head is two inches short of 'two feet'.

Such rejoicing, indeed!

A Voice, Heard Loudly At Night

Voice crying in the wildnerness,
who do you think I am?
Mad woman quite possessed,
who do you think I am?
Does it matter?
The night time rising of power
calls to me,
and I hear it.
Would a woman sing sweeter
at any other hour?
Sing, sweet lady of blessing,
Di Efchon!
We will bless what we wish to thrive,
laugh in the face of adversity,
we are the mad women now,
and 'nothing can stand in our way'.
Well, it can,
but we will ignore it.
Sing loud, our song anyway.
Di Efchon!
With Blessings, we shout.
We are the young ones who will not grow old.
Say what we will of 'joints',
all such surface,
this temple.
Look Who resides within!
Better carpentry within.
Laughing 'mad women'
sing in the night.
We play the records over and over
and sing along.
Such rejoicing,
if you can follow along.

JAL, 11 - 8 - 03
(while listening to Haris Alexiou's 'Blessings')

~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~

next section, year 45
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© Joan Ann Lansberry