Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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Marty McFly – Your Future Had it Wrong

daniel murphy cartoon

Daniel Murphy, NY Mets MVP of the 2015 NLCS. Cartoon by Bob Eckstein of The New Yorker

I’ll hand it to the believers of “Back to the Future” day. It’s incredibly coincidental that the Cubs were in the post season mix on October 21, 2015. They didn’t win the whole enchilada as the film predicted. Instead,they fell to the New York Mets. Swept away until next year.

As a Mets fan who has had to suffer the loses, the disappointments, the heartache of a team that builds up your hopes and then lets you down hard – I empathize with Cubbie fans today. The shock and sheer demoralized looks on your faces last night was heartbreaking. Yes, my team did it, but we do know how you feel.

Just look at the 2000 World Series – when our hated enemy in the Bronx danced on our field after winning the whole thing. Or the 2006 NCLS when Beltran swung with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th. Or in 2001 when Armando Benitez gave up runs like candy when we were within a whiff of being #1 in the NL East. Crushing, heart stopping disappointing losses. With many more before that I can’t even get into.

We share the spotlight with the corporate, refined Yankees.  Our two world series wins cannot compare to “27…count ’em…27 rings, baby!” in your face by fans of the Bronx Bombers.

Yes, 15 years since an NLCS Pennant win and 29 years since a World Series victory is nothing compared to 107 years World Series-less and 70 years pennant-less. But it doesn’t negate the Mets hard luck either. The Cubs just have worse bad luck.  And competition for who has the worse luck the  longest doesn’t mean that team deserves to win more or less. The winner just — is.

Mets fans are not used to post season runs. If this were the usual year of 2nd or 3rd or last place, where Mets fans carry on and barely care about post season baseball – we would have wanted the Cubs in the big show. Plenty of Mets fans have said this on social media boards.  It would have be fun. It would have made things interesting. We’d be hoping the Cubs could prove Marty McFly’s future newspaper right. Just not this year. Murphy the goat became Daniel Murphy- our goofy and inconsistent veteran who suddenly snapped into the zone.

It’s not over for the Mets. There’s a World Series to be played. I wouldn’t blame Cubs fans if they curse them and cheer for the American League. But don’t. Let’s keep the NL in this.

Don’t be haters. It will only stir the bad mojo. Look at Ethier yelling at Mattingly in the NLDS. Look at Bryce and Pappelbon shoving each other in the dugout in the last games of 2015. That’s bad losing. That just bad everything. It creates bad blood and bad blood seems to lead to bad karma.

Until next year, Cubs.  Peace.

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“Here Come the Hills of Time…”

Painting via The Glen C. Janss Collection, Idaho

“The buildings of New York look just like mountains through the snow…” Kate Bush

There’s a man who works at the commissary at the studio where I’m employed. His name is Craig. He’s likely in his mid-forties or early fifties. He’s short and sweet with salt and pepper hair.  He thrives on saying hello and asking you how your day is going. Craig also has Down Syndrome. Highly functioning, he knows his job and is very responsible. He has to be.

Craig always brings up his parents who both died twelve years ago. He brings them up each time I speak with him, forgetting he’s mentioned it before. Their deaths are always right there on the surface for him, hanging above his head within reach. He’s in constant mourning. You’ll find him sitting alone in his dark commissary uniform, black apron and cap staring with sadness.  He sometimes seems, from afar anyway – lost in the madness of this world, trying to comprehend it through the challenged body he’s been given.

He travels in from Culver City to Hollywood everyday. He loves living there. He lives in an apartment, but is always dismayed at the litter and the bad behavior of the neighborhood children. As disjointed as that last sentence is – it’s exactly how he imparts his world to me. Feelings and quick bites of information coming through his heartbroken smile. He doesn’t go into any details. Craig usually brings up how he’s had to cope with being alone and become a member of society when his parents died before you can ask him. I let him speak. I understand his loss; yet, I’m also concerned. Without his parents – who will take care of him? It seems Craig is determined to take care of himself. But he wears a long chain tied to their absence.

Craig and I do have one thing in common. We are both alone –  parent-less – orphaned at an older age. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ll always be a kid left alone. But, if you’ve handled the cuts and gashes of life well, you’ll find the strength to handle the loss when the time comes.

There’s a certain beauty in continuing life in the aftermath of loss. You become the living embodiment of “life goes on”. The sun rises on another day. You take another breath. You get out of bed. You go on with your tasks and build new dreams.

You move along until you come across an old inactive phone number on you cell phone contact list labeled “Mom & Dad – HOME”.

I was listening to a song by Kate Bush last night called “Moments of Pleasure”. It was written in the early 90’s when Kate broke up with her longtime boyfriend and also suffered the sadness of losing her beloved mom. The song sings about those who pass on and those who are left behind to suffer the hurt of life, the beauty of life, the gift of memories that time leaves behind.

When loved ones die, timelines seem to become shrines in your mind – alters to moments when your loved ones were alive and time slipped through. You never realized you would ache to go back, to talk to your parents and appreciate their presence, every ounce, ever single particle. Life’s texture is now divided between “before parents’ death” and “after parents’ death”. The new normal you have to deal with everyday is something you get used to, but it never sits well.

Time is like hills, I guess.  I wonder if going back in time and climbing them builds the muscle you need to go on and make new moments.

Craig is taking it day by day by waking up each morning, taking the bus from Culver City to Hollywood and having a job to do. Although I hope he can really move on – these daily tasks may just be enough for him to get by.


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Going Car-Less in L.A.

carsplahsA question came to me the other day.

“If selling the lease on your car meant it would free you up financially to travel back to New York more often, and eventually move back officially –  would you do it?”

The answer was…”Yes”.

Getting rid of a car within this mess of neighborhoods, long blocks and hot weather is a little nutty. But it’s an option I’m taking seriously. I’ve put my lease up for sale (yes, you can do that), and will await the next move.

Biking, Uber and public transportation will ultimately be my thing now. However will I manage?

I was thinking of creating a blog about this so I could chronicle my new plight of living like an Amish lady – without a horse and buggy. But when I ran a search on Google, I noticed the online blogging airspace is flooded with many car-less Los Angeles based bloggers writing about shedding their four wheel gas guzzlers. In fact, one person is producing a documentary about it, complete with a Kickstarter campaign to help bring the tale of hoofing it around town without four wheels in 80 days called ‘Car-less in L.A.”   I commend her. I mean, if you’re going to do something like that – why not get a project out of it.

These are all good efforts, so I won’t add to the influx of blogs out of L.A. that describe how one must re-think travel to Ralphs or to the vet, or to work, or how they are saving money on gas, car payments and insurance. I don’t know if I have anything more to add to that. I join them in spirit.

Meanwhile, I’ll await a buyer, and will devise ways on how I’m going to lug a 30 pound bag of dog kibble from Tailwaggers on Bronson to my apartment every other month, or how I’m going to get to work when it rains – which doesn’t happen much around here.

Maybe that horse and buggy thing isn’t a bad idea. I mean, giving up the horsepower for an actual horse?

But then there’s all that cleaning of crap I’d have to do.

I’ll stick to a bike.


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There Are No Signs

Submerged“You think that Luck
Has left you there.
But maybe there’s nothing
up in the sky but air.

And there’s no mystical design,
No cosmic lover preassigned.
There’s nothing you can find
that can not be found.
‘Cause with all the changes
you’ve been through
It seems the stranger’s always you.
Alone again in some new
Wicked little town.”

Words by Stephen Trask

The lyrics above are a reprise of a song called ‘Wicked Little Town”. I’ve never paid attention to it because it’s sung offstage in the musical “Hedwig” by a disembodied voice known Stephen Trask also know as Tommy Gnosis which then continues through Hedwig’s voice. I don’t know why I glanced over this lyric after all these years of knowing the show and film. It’s a realistic view of the meaning – or non-meaning – of our existence, so perhaps I wasn’t ready to believe it, and just waited out the song until the next number – the amazing ‘Midnight Radio’ closed out the tale of Hansel and his angry inch.

I’ve been feeling a need to take heed on this ignored lyric lately.

When it comes right down to it, you only have yourself. There is nothing but what’s in your heart. There are no signs to wait for, there is nothing destined to be unless you make it so.  We can open the portal to a creative flow by showing up everyday. What we’re really doing is just physically practicing a craft to make things happen.

Tend to your creative outlet everyday. Even if you don’t feel it.

I know I don’t feel like writing. I don’t know where I’m going with it. I write what I hope will resonate within the reader’s heart and mind. Although it’s hard, I work at not being attached to the outcome.

We all don’t know what the hell this reality is about.  So – just write. Make music. Rehearse your craft. Right now, I’m in the midst of a block, and I’m doing what I can to add to the pile. Maybe something will break.

Don’t try to fit into a mold. In the end, you’ll still be unhappy – and you may have lost the very person you used to be. Look at Hedwig. In the end, Hansel was her/his true self…and it took Tommy Gnosis to make him realize it, despite the angry inch he’s left with.

Be authentic. In the end, we only have ourselves. Shouldn’t we just be comfortable with that?