R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Hillside Monday: 12/11/17

“Toy Car with Carpet and Wall”
LaGrange, Georgia – 1 September 2016

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Exam Week Solace

Thinking this morning of all my friends still slogging through the end-of-semester grading storm. Teacher pals, I love you.

“Exam Week Solace”
LaGrange, Georgia – 6 December 2014

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Caturday: 12/9/17

“Ella with Window Screen”
LaGrange, Georgia – 13 July 2015

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Friday Photo: 12/8/17

“Waiting, No. 2”
Wedowee, Alabama – 19 September 2014

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Snake Bones

By the front steps, I discovered the remains of a small snake, decomposed beyond the point of species identification. One of the outdoor cats probably killed and brought it to the front of the house, an offering to the human who feeds them. Or perhaps it was instruction in how to hunt: “See? This is what you do. Start small, and work up.”

Tiny ribs protrude from the delicate spine, barely larger than hairs; the jaw still opens in a last threatening hiss. An omen? Impossible to say. The surprise of horrible beauty stays with me just the same.

Photo: “Snake Skeleton, Sept. 2013”

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 12/6/17

“Autumn Feathers on Green Enamel”
Heard County, Georgia – 29 October 2016

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More Things I Have Overheard at Funerals

A:  Look!
B:  At what?
A:  Over by the casket.
B:  Oh, for the love of God. Who wears hot pants to their grandmother’s funeral?

*****

B:  Well. That was interesting.
C:  You got that right. I mean, karaoke? At a funeral?
B:  [sings] Byyyyye-byyyyyye, Miss American Pie!
C:  I’ve never been to a funeral where the preacher sings along with a boom box. Well, not until today.

*****

A:  I know why Mrs. H______ finally died.
B:  Why?
A:  She ran out of people to stay with.

*****

D:  That sure was a nice eulogy M_______’s daughter gave.
E:  Mmm-hmm. So nice that it took every bit of strength I had not to stand up and say, “Who are you even talking about?!? It sure as hell ain’t your mama!”

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 12/4/17

“Smoke and Slate”
LaGrange, Georgia – 29 October 2017

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Caturday: 12/2/17

“Black Cat with J.P.”
LaGrange, Georgia – 3 November 2017
Model: Miller (with a copy of John Prine: In Spite of Himself by Eddie Huffman)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

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Thanks again, patrons. You’re the best!

Photo: “Self-Portrait in Gray and Navy Stripes” (Rabun County, Georgia – 5 October 2017)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 12/1/17


“Sorrow in the Library Window”
LaGrange College
LaGrange, Georgia – 20 October 2017

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My Sister Helps Me Write a Throwback Thursday Post

ME:  Look, I need help with this “Throwback Thursday” post.
VAL:  Help?
ME:  I can’t think of anything to write.
VAL:  Hmmmmm. Oh! Remember that public TV show, 3-2-1 Contact? And when we were really little, how I’d call it “Rumma-Tumma-Summa,” just to piss you off?
ME:  It still pisses me off, 40 years later.
VAL:  Or how we were our own Dukes of Hazzard sibling pair, driving around in our “car” which was just our two matching kid-sized rocking chairs side-by-side? And how we named our car “The Doobie”—like the Duke boys named theirs “The General Lee”—but nobody bothered to tell us what a doobie actually was?
ME:  What? I don’t even remember that.
VAL:  Okay, uhhh—how about that time you crawled into an old 55-gallon drum with the ends cut out so you could roll down the backyard hill? You got up some speed by the clothesline and BLAM! crashed sideways into the well-house wall.
ME:  Nobody wants to read about my first concussion.
VAL: Nah, probably not. But here’s a good one—when we were in high school, and you sat straight up in bed one night, in the middle of a dream and shouted, “Needs more sauce!”
ME: Oh, for God’s sake.
VAL: Oooh! Oooh! I’ve got it! The time when you were a baby, just learning to walk, and somehow you got behind the sofa and ate a dead spider.
ME:  No.
VAL:  Why not?
ME:  Because Mom swears it was poop, not a spider, and she’ll post something on Facebook to that effect.
VAL:  So was it?
ME:  Was it what?
VAL:  Was it poop?
ME:  Forget it. No Throwback Thursday this week.

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Wednesday Photo: 11/29/17

“Two Coffees, Black”
Waffle House #646
LaGrange, Georgia – 21 October 2017

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Hillside Monday: 11/27/17

“Traveling Shoes, Part 4”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 21 August 2015

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Caturday: 11/25/17

Is your house full of Thanksgiving Caturday guests still hanging around? Deal with them the same way Nooz does: by drinking top-shelf liquor.

“Me and My Grand Marnier”
LaGrange, Georgia – November 2015
Model: Nooz

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 11/24/17

“Infrared Flowers: In Memory of Martha Ann”
LaGrange, Georgia – 9 September 2017

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Happy Thanksgiving 2017

MomAtThanksgiving2014_COPY

“Mom in the Woods, Thanksgiving Day”
Heard County, Georgia – 27 November 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)
 

Be Kind to Yourself This Holiday Season

It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and my social media newsfeeds are filled with holiday stories. I read along as scores of people tell of the frantic cooking, cleaning, packing, traveling, and visiting they’ve done (or are still doing). Most seem to enjoy the beginning of the winter holiday marathon.

I admire these people. They’re better at entertaining and conversation than I’ll ever be. But I also know far more people who secretly dread those crushing five or six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. People dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other chronic conditions often struggle to make it through the winter holiday season without falling apart.

Yep, I see y’all out there. I’m one of you. And I write to you today to say: It’s okay. You’re not alone.

Twenty-plus years ago, long before any of my diagnoses, I forced myself to attend every family holiday party. I thought I had no choice. I knew my relatives would say bad things about me if I weren’t there. Even though my mental health suffered from the lack of quiet and processing time between events, I still went. And, long after the holidays were over, I hated myself for being this way.

It took me many years to understand what was really going on. Decades later, I came to see that those relatives would talk about me—and anybody else who was different from them—no matter what. I could go to the party, or stay home, but they’d still somehow find fault with me. Hell, I could’ve walked in with my very own Nobel Prize for literature, and they still would’ve found something to frown and sneer and whisper about.

Today, well into middle age, I understand now what I didn’t back then. I feel empathy for that lost, confused, sad person who loathed herself for not being like everyone else. I try to make it up to “younger me” by treating myself with kindness during the holiday season.

What helps me most? Quiet time by myself and as much sleep as I can manage. If I do any shopping, I do it during the least-crowded times of day. If I’m feeling particularly frazzled, I ask loved ones if I can drop by and see them when they don’t have a house full of people.

Spending time outdoors helps, too, even if it’s cold and I’m all bundled up. So does marking off the days on a calendar: “Ah, just two more weeks until the holidays are over. I think I can make it.” When the forced jolliness and extroversion feel as if they’re about to flatten me, I try to think about just today. Or just this hour. Or even just the next ten minutes.

Most importantly: if someone’s being particularly awful, I give myself permission to leave. In the moment, I may or may not tell them to go to hell—but I will remove myself from the scene of their bullshittery. The holidays are tough enough without a PTSD relapse. Those are particularly unpleasant, and if I can avoid one, I will.

Yes, I’m a Southerner, but I draw a big, thick “hospitality line” around my sanity with an extra-large permanent marker. Jerks do not deserve my company. My mental health is one thing I will not sacrifice for someone else’s comfort. Besides, as the saying goes: Life is short, and I am not the Asshole Whisperer.

Now and then, in the thick of the holidays, I forget to follow my own advice. That’s when I stumble. It takes me a while to get back to my version of “normal.” I try not to beat myself up about this. (The key word here is “try.”)

Wherever Thanksgiving and the weeks to come may find you, I wish you peace and calm. I hope you can show yourself the kindness you deserve as you navigate this potentially difficult time of the year. You’re in good company.

You are worth showing yourself a little kindness. When you catch yourself feeling horrible, know that I’m right there with you and many, many others. We’re all in this together, surviving the holidays a little at a time.

Photo: Self-Portrait in Black, Rabun Gap (Rabun County, Georgia – 3 October 2017)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Wednesday Photo: 11/22/17


“Bank Building Façade #1”
Meansville, Georgia – 6 November 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 11/20/17

“Back Yard with Window Screen and Hurricane Irma”
LaGrange, Georgia – 11 September 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

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