In Shine Out..

How often, growing up, did Mom remind me "beauty comes from the inside," and I would just roll my eyes because she really didn't understand. Easy for her to say, because she had been born beautiful on the outside, and given (who decides that stuff, anyway?) a fantastic personality that could boost her right up over the top of things. Those advantages stood her good her whole life.

Then, somewhere during that teenage gangly stage, when I was convinced the deepest mysteries of life were beauty secrets, I heard something really crazy about Marilyn Monroe. She said her "magnetism" came from inside her, and she didn't need to wear make-up, or be dressed to kill just to turn it on. She could turn it on and off at will. She was even known to enjoy demonstrating this out in public, occasionally, before she got to the studio where they would fix her up for the set. She could literally stop people in the streets, but it didn't impress me. What -- are you kidding? It wasn't like Marilyn Monroe wasn't born with a few jump-starts, either.

All that was the same sort of stuff rich people tell you when they say, "Money doesn't bring you happiness." But to that I could only quote what James Stewart said in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, after he had just tried to kill himself… "Well, it comes in pretty handy down here, bub!" Back then, it seemed to me that people who were -- shall I say -- blessed with certain advantages (we have-nots would have given our souls for, and often did), hardly even valued them. However, I began to notice they could be just as obsessed as we were over other things they didn't have. Hmmm…

Not long after that, I ran into a cosmic life change. An infusion of energy so strong it poured through all by itself, sparking anyone I looked at or touched along the way. What's more, this stuff was like radio-activity, because it has been years and years since that happened, and it has not lost its power to this day. Is it beautiful? Yes. Magnetic? Like you wouldn't believe. Has it changed me? You bet. I am now convinced that my mother and Marilyn were absolutely right.

Whatever you have on the inside, shines out.

What's happening on the farm today… No let-up on the heat (107 in the shade by 10am this morning), and now wildfires. The last one was only 10 miles away, and we could smell the smoke. What would I take if we had to leave in a hurry? What should I take? Last time during a tornado scare, I tried to stash the family heirloom coffee set, that belonged to Ulysses S. Grant, into a suitcase and busted one of the legs off the sugar bowl. Fixed it with super glue (not taking it on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, anyway) and definitely not telling my mother. So, now I don't do that, anymore. One file of important papers and our passports, and we're out of here. Still, I don't know how many times I woke up last night having to step out onto the porch and try to judge by the smell how much closer it was. But -- hey -- it's out, now, and all's well. Glory!


Shannon Lawrence said...

So scary about the fires! I'm glad the one closest to you is out.

I think they were right, too. It's just hard to see it sometimes.

Maeve Frazier said...

Your writing shines through to your readers. I like your writing style. Stay safe. I hope those fires sizzle out!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Fires on the horizon are truly frightening. I endured Katrina and Rita and know all too well the hazards of Nature. Tropical Storm Lee is bearing down upon me as I write.

The Silver Age actor, Spenser Tracy, played Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde without make-up, saying it was the inner demon who made Man truly frightening -- I guess that is also true for the inner angel as well! Roland

D. Ann Graham said...

Hi, Shannon... I'm glad they're out, too, and I think maybe even the heat will come down in the next couple days. Which I can't wait for, because I am so ready to get back to my office (we are cooling just the core of the house, as the air-conditioner can't seem to keep up).

And I agree it's hard to see what's inside, sometimes. I wonder if our own self-image holds us back now and then? Does for me, anyway. Enjoyed being on your site, yesterday!

D. Ann Graham said...

Hi, Maeve... thank you for the nice comments and well wishes. I guess you could say I'm making an experiment of trying to connect more with the readers of blogs than just the writers. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the writers. But I found myself too often going off on tangents of craft that only writers would be interested in.

Since this campaign started, which was just by chance that I heard about it (is anything just by chance?), I have really enjoyed looking more into the "human" side of things, and -- surprise of surprises -- finding out a little more about who I am, too. I like surprises like that.

Thanks for stopping by, again!

Andrew Leon said...

Not to play devil's advocate, not exactly, at any rate, but there was a study done somewhat recently (no, I didn't keep the link) that shows that, yes, money does buy happiness. At least, people that have money do tend to be significantly happier than people that don't. It was interesting read.

D. Ann Graham said...

Hello, Roland... nice to meet you. Yes, I agree, it is definitely true for the angel as well as the demon, whichever the case may be. Which just goes to show we are -- all of us -- little replicas of the trinity walking around. Although there are a lot of people who would vigorously argue that one! The amazing thing to me is that we have so much more control over those things than we realize.

Thanks for stopping by!

D. Ann Graham said...

Hi, Andrew... nice to see you here, again. And I think I have to agree with you on that one, too. Who was it that said they had been rich and they had been poor, but rich was better. My paraphrase, and I think it was Mark Twain, but don't quote me.

However, having grown up around Hollywood people, I was amazed at how unhappy some of those show people could be in spite of all their money. I have to admit the happy ones were REALLY happy though!

On a more serious note, being without the things that you need, or want terribly, can not only make you unhappy, it can keep you from doing your best in life. Which is a sad thing, I think, because it's quite the futile feeling.

Andrew Leon said...

You know, I think the real issue is in societies where the "haves" live right next to the "have nots." I mean, people that live in places where pretty much no one has anything seem to be perfectly happy. It seems to me that the unhappiness really only comes in when we can compare what we don't have against what others do have.

Anonymous said...

hello there, Just thought I would say "Hi" I am in your YA group, I'm only just working my way around everybody slowly but surely.
Eve :)

J.R. Williams said...

I love this blog post because it's true. A lot of who you are and what you think shines through even if you never say a word. I'm convinced that it's all in the mannerisms. :)