Have I Married You Yet?

I’ve learned not to take offense when people call attention to the number of marriages I’ve entered and left. I can’t fault them for being a little shocked and more than a little curious. After all, I seem so normal. And although my Capricorn sun cringes at every indication of my tarnished past, my Leo moon can more than handle the spotlight.

So the other night at a very merry un-birthday dinner with friends (remember Alice in Wonderland) the talk turned to writing as it is wont to do in these circles. My memoir was up for discussion. One of the gents and I made an identical comment in unison and he turned to me and said, “Are we married?”

“Not yet,” was my instant comeback.  Being the sharp tack that he is, he got excited.

“That should be the title of your book, Have I Married You Yet?”

After the laughter died down, I have to admit that I gave it some thought. But to me it sounds like the name of a lighthearted, comedic story. Mine is far from that. Out of curiosity I checked Amazon for the titles of best-selling memoirs. Here are a few of them:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


The Motorcycle Diaries

The Color of Water

Running With Scissors

Coming of Age in Mississippi

Not a shred of humor.

I’m torn. What do you think? I’d like to hear opinions other than my own. Anyone who cares to weigh in with a comment or suggestion, please do. Does Have I Married You Yet? sound like a full-on comedy or could it work for a story that has humor only in moderate doses?




The Big Fat Full Moon

What’s more romantic than moonlight?

My father proposed to my mother on a bridge with the reflection of the moon on the Mississippi River below. She loves to tell the story, how she didn’t answer right away so he took her by the shoulders, peered into her eyes, gave her a little shake and said, “Say yes.” She did, of course.

But I haven’t had any proposals recently, and tonight is Purnama, the ceremony that celebrates the full moon.  Here’s the culprit, just an hour ago, smiling down on my balcony.

P1070350I have no curtains, shades, blinds, or draperies of any kind on any windows. I love light, most light, that is. Moonlight is different. It’s blue. Blue light is not my favorite, neither the eerie illumination from the moon, nor the cold neon glow from the cool color light bulb I bought by mistake. And when it should be dark outside but my house is bathed in that phosphorescent sheen, I don’t sleep. When I don’t sleep, I do other things, like think.

So while I was not sleeping last night as the moon approached full, I contemplated the Hindu calendar that pays homage to the lunar cycles. Purnama is the full moon ceremony, Tilem celebrates the dark moon, and they alternate every fifteen days.

All Balinese ceremonies, celebrations, and rituals have a meaning and a specific purpose. I’ve seen the women walking to temple with offerings on their heads around 8 p.m. on the moon nights. But I never thought to ask why.

So after Ketut finishes arranging a potted bougainvillea at the bottom of my stairway, I snag him. “Tell me about Purnama and Tilem. What are the meanings of those ceremonies?” Sometimes I ask him questions pertaining to rituals and he’ll think for a minute, make a sheepish little laugh and say, “What it means? I don’t know.” This time he explains in some detail and I come away understanding that this ceremony, like many, ensures the balance of opposites, light and dark, life and death, good and bad, happy and sad. If a person is experiencing sadness now, he is told not to worry because soon he will be happy. And if happy, don’t get too excited because it will change. He ends by saying, “Always like this,” and I don’t know if he’s insinuating that from the beginning of time this is the way it’s been done or if every fifteen days it’s always the same. It’s because of the possibility of various interpretations that I decide to check the internet. Google agrees with Ketut but goes on to elaborate.

P1070343Balinese people believe that at the height of the full moon and the peak of dark moon, clusters of galaxies emit a certain energy that affects the lives of living creatures on earth. Therefore, the people of Bali begged (pray) that the energy provided will be positive energy for life.

When you consider that the 2,740,300 Hindus on Bali, are all taking offerings, going to temple, and praying in the blue moonlight tonight, that’s a lot of concentrated focus on a very small island. No wonder the energy here feels different. Where else on earth is it prayed in from the galaxies?!



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