“She waits for the night to fall…”

Image of my light-dodging avatar from the virtual world - Second Life

“She pulls the shade, it’s just another sunny Monday…
(Joni Mitchell)

“She dodges the light like Blanche DuBois.”
The award-winning Turbulent Indigo album was released in 1994. I’ve studied and worshipped every note and chord, every nuanced word of musical poetry for twenty years. I’ve performed Sunny Sunday, accompanying myself on guitar.  I’m proficient, but humble — it’s technically-challenging.  I know I’m no Joni Mitchell, except in my dreams.  Only Joni is Joni. (link is to video of her appearance and performance on a BBCTV show in 1994 after the album’s release.)

In music I’m fond of long intros, likewise in my writing.  But here it’s a nasty habit called ‘burying the lead’. I’ve tried over decades to change this . Really, I have.   Thanks for your patience, gentle reader.  I see I’ve done it again.  Don’t panic.  Here, take a shovel.

SO, why this song now?   I love Sunny Sunday because it speaks to the tiny introvert buried within my otherwise extroverted self. She rarely speaks up, poor thing, and the light of sunny days hurts her eyes. Introverts need love too, even when they’re only aspects of the whole. Today I celebrate my introvert and yours.

During the WWII era Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers began developing what is now the oft-used type inventory (MBTI) , using their own research based on the personality theories of Carl Gustav Jung. Their belief was that clearer understanding of ‘personality types’ would be of great practical value in the booming workforce.  Based on our ‘type’, we have preferences for experiencing the world around us, our relationships, our education and work.  Our individual preferences lie at the root of all our interests, needs, values and motivations.  (more on the MBTI here)

I first took the MBTI in 1969 as part of my ongoing (still today) study of human behavior and me.  My head was stuffed with questions from a young age:  Who am I? Why am I like I am?   Why are you like you are? What made me different from my younger sisters, friends and parents? Life on The Happy Planet was often perplexing to me.  I hated not knowing the answers, or at least some answers.  So much puzzled me. I longed to have another person inside my consciousness so that I didn’t have to feel alone in the galactic expanse of my ‘inner life’.  I wanted an Inner Life Detector, some sort of 23rd Century tricorder that I could point at people and just know.  I needed to see the ineffable magic that didn’t show on the faces of those closest to me.  Did they feel this way too?  Did they have similar questions. Did they have an ‘inner life’?

The Myer-Briggs inventory armed me with information that quieted some of the incessant questions.  I am, as I was then with subtle variations, an ENFP (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception)  For the sake of today’s meanderings it’s the E that often confuses even me.  I forget that while I derive energy and great joy from my relationships and interactions with other people — in a big way, since my inventory usually shows me at the high end of the extraversion spectrum — I can run completely dry. Tapped out. Irritated by the very community of others that gives my life meaning and purpose.  At those times I first withdraw emotionally. Then I go out less.  I don’t want contact. I want a quiet inner and outer space where I can recharge, a bit like Thoreau fleeing the city for the serenity of Walden Pond. So not me, I protest. But it is.

Reclusiveness only works for me for awhile, and I can’t imagine a lifetime of it.  I love people and the exchange of energy that happens too much to stay locked away.  It’s a palpable thing.  Unless of course there’s buttheadery going on, but that’s yet another story.  I see that detour, but I’ll save it for another day.

In the last couple of weeks the me that revels in affinity with others took a breather.  Even big bold extraverts have introvert needs.  It’s taken me decades to get comfortable with that, most likely due to often hearing as a child how I was terribly moody, and your-face-will-freeze-that-way-young-lady.  T’ain’t so.  I’m no Blanche DuBois, and between you and me, I don’t think she was satisfied with her life, even with all those lovely negligées.

If you’d like to play with a Jungian/Myers-Briggs typology inventory, you can find one here .  The version used by human resource, sociology and psychology professionals is more than five hundred questions, and not necessary to get a first look at the ways you in which you ‘see and be’ on our Happy Planet.

Thanks for ambling along with me.  Be kind to your yourself.  I see you in there.

Cate  ❤️


All images used in this blog are created in the virtual world, Second Life, unless otherwise mentioned.


…to the mother of my soul

We need joy as we need air

“We need JOY as we need air.
We Love as we need water.
We need each other as we need the earth we share.” (Maya Angelou)

Dear Mother Maya,
On the day that you passed onward my insides welled-up,
and fountained out from the top of my head.
A sorrow mingled with joy. They ran soft wet ribbons to my toes,
a pond of absinthe-colored peace.
Out, out went the waters — pond, then lake, then a limbic ocean —
my world inundated.
The Happy Planet sprouted wings. We flew away.
I heard you whisper a duet with the cosmic wind,
a buttery vocalese mussed my hair.
Humming along, I reached for a palette of pixels
and painted love for you.
Thank you for sharing your heart with me, Mother.
Thank you for being.

I love you,
Cate ❤️

Part one in a four-part series dedicated to the poet mother of my heart and soul, Maya Angelou
(All images created in the virtual world, Second Life, unless otherwise stated

Fiddling with the Course of Human Events

“And so, once again, my dear Johnny, my old friend,
And so, once again you are fighting us all.
And when I ask you why, you raise your sticks and cry, and I fall.
Oh, my friend, how did you come to trade the fiddle for the drum?”

I am often fashionably late to the parade. This weekend is no exception. Not so when I was a drummer in the Adlai E. Stevenson High School Marching  Patriots Band,  (actually, I was an oboist, but oboes don’t march).  You can’t be late to anybody’s parade when you set the cadence. It’s impolite.  I can still tap the 48-bar pattern on a tabletop, and it’s been forty-four years. Tempus doth fugit to the strains of The Stars and Stripes Forever — in my ear and my hands and heart. A mere blink of the eye, Gentle Reader, and in that time I’ve grown into a patriot of a lonely kind.

I am blessed and grateful to have grown in the era I did, with its obvious benefits, graduating from AESHS in 1970;  also blessed to know a ‘security and freedom from want’ that myriad other people on The Happy Planet then and now can only imagine.  Because of the when and the where, I was able to learn beyond high school history and government books. As Red Riding Hood sings in Sondheim’s Into the Woods: “Isn’t it nice to know a lot? And a little bit not.”

In the roll-up to the July 4th holiday in the US of A (the pre-game show!) and throughout the long weekend, I am reminded over and over of the young idealist standing decades before the ‘radical’ grandmother in reading glasses who types staccato rhythms — her solo cadence — on a laptop now.  I put the word radical in quotes because, like so many words, the meaning has been mangled and maligned over time.   Oh!  You’re one of those?  Yes.  But don’t mistake me for an inhabitant of Planet Politics.  I don’t live there anymore.

Since I hope to keep this short, (ever the dreamer!) suffice it to say this: what disturbs me most about Independence Day celebrations is all that’s piggybacked upon the birthday of a nation of diverse people who longed to live free of the  tyranny of kings. What the cultural loudspeakers blare today is nothing remotely about the bold experiment of the nation’s founders. It’s just not, and it makes me more nauseous as the weekend wears on. I won’t share my long list of soapbox perturbations here and now.  You can relax. Another day, perhaps,…

I work hard to keep chauvinistic fairytales out of my head-heart space. So much seems insane to me. I was near-to-bursting the other day, and felt compelled to pick up my old violin to fiddle the dissonance away.  I play you a magic, mournful and hopeful melody.  The peoples of the United States of America have a lot to learn and much to unlearn.  I have hope that they are up to the challenge, willing to take moments away from ‘USA,The Miniseries’ to refresh their memories on matters of freedom, nationhood, patriotism and gritty courage. It’s an often lonely place. A necessary place.

We might each begin here: We hold these truths to be self evident

I hope you’ve had a blow-out holiday weekend with full bellies and full hearts, great joys, inspired for the sojourn just ahead. See it, there on your horizon? **Fare forward, Voyagers, and watch out for low-flyin’ crazies as you go.

From my heart,
Cate ❤️

** a nod of my head to T.S.Eliot’s, ‘The Four Quartets’
– All images in this blog are created in the virtual world, ‘Second Life’.