Things that go bump, clang, bump, BUMP, in the Night

bumpnightimage

I will openly admit that I’m a huge baby when it comes to being awoken by unknown sounds in the middle of the night. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I’m frought with worry that replays over and over in my mind: what it is and where it’s coming from? And try as I may, I can’t go back to sleep. Have I a seen too many horror flicks? Yes. Do I have a vivid and over-active imagination? Guilty.  

Last night I heard a solid, bumping sound that pulled me from the depths of REM. Wiping the sleep from my eyes I laid in bed with furrow brow and listened to the rythmic thump. I didn’t immediately go into ghost investigative mode, because my first thought was, ”was my neighbor having a late night, turn up the bass party?“ My head tilted up from the pillow, so I could listen harder. Nope, that didn’t seem to be it, because there was also an occassional clatter and clang along with the repetitive bump. Paloma, my gray and white female stirred and bumped my nose with her head, which rustled the covers, so I couldn’t hear as clearly. Reluctantly, I gently nudged three sleeping kitties away from my legs and the left and right sides of me, before pulling back the covers and investigate this strange sound.

The cold air shreaked across my sleepy, warm skin, so I crossed my arms across my body, hoping to hold onto some of the resonating heat from my warm, bed. My bare feet shuffled to the window, pulled open the curtain and I peered outside. The snow covered driveway looked blankly up at from below, before offering a shrug to say, “I don’t know where it’s coming from.” The bumping continued. I walked into the hallway and towards the staircase. I bravely went downstairs; clutching blindly onto the banister, because I didn’t think to turn on the hallway light. I wasn’t carrying a baseball bat for protection, like it’s advised in many horror films, because you never know when you might run into a monster once you’re standing in your living room. I did however realize I’d set the alarm system, so the shrieking of sounds of a tripped alarm would have surely awoken me earlier than this fatal bumping noises. The thumping was quieter downstairs and thank gods for that, because it was much colder down there. The clock that hangs on the dining room wall registered 1:30am.  I turned and faced the thumping music and climbed back upstairs.

THUMP, clang, thump, thump, thump, THUMP-THUMP-THUMP. It was louder now once I reached the top of the stairs. My mind raced, “What the hell?” ”What and where is that bumping/thumping sound coming from?” Ten round, fully awoken feline eyes, blinked back at me. They probably thought it was far too early for breakfast and they didn’t seem to know where the sound was coming from either, nor did they seem to care. It appeared no one but me was bothered in the least by this unidentified sound, but I felt I must carry on and learn of its origin.

After ducking into the laundry room; placing my ear against the outside walls a few times and going into the bathroom and standing on the cold, tile floor - listening to the continued bump, thump, clang, thump, trying to figure out where it was strongest. I went back into the hallway and finally realized the sound was coming from, the attic. The sickening feeling encroached upon my stomach like a bad egg salad sandwich. The attic is never good. It’s never good in horror films and it’s no good in this situation either. The attic in my house is a scary place, filled with a lot messy insulation stuff that spills out occasionally onto the golden hardwood floors below it. The only light that comes from the attic, is what’s provided naturally and it was pitch black at the moment. The only way into the attic is through a very small door in the ceiling, that pushes back to one side on hinges. The door is heavy and I have to use a ladder; climb up each scary rung and then stand on my tip-toes, let go of the ladder and push, push, push with two hands to get the attic door to open. The very few times I’ve braved looking into the attic was in broad daylight and contrators were showing me the fancy new vents they installed to pull the hot air out for the whole house fan. “Thankyouverymuch, we can close this door up now.” Was my response after quickly viewing the small, scary place.

I stood below and looked up at the ominious attic door, THUMP-THUMP-BUMP-CLANG-BUMP. I realized I wasn’t brave enough to go searching up there at this hour, so I resolved myself to get back into bed; pull the covers up over my head and try like hell to tune it out.

I laid in bed for what seemed liked hours, while the thumping and bumping and clanging continued. It was taunting me. It was relentless. It was cruel.

I must have finally fallen back asleep, because when I awoke, I could see the sunlight peeking through the drawn curtains next to my bed. The thumping was queiter now too, but still present. I did pull the ladder out from the basement and even thought about climbing up the rungs and peering into, the attic. I thought it best to call someone I know and offer to pay them to pretty, pretty please come at their earliest convenience and identify the attic ruckus.

Not a thump was heard all day today, but to reassure my weary mind, my friend Tim was kind enough to come over and climb up the ladder, push back the hinged-heavy attic door and open the mouth of where the thumping sound echoed in the wee hours of the morning. Tim having no fear of ladders, or attics, brought his trusty light to help search for the thumping culprit. Minutes ticked by as I stood on the solid, safe ground below waiting to hear the verdict on his findings. I wondered if he might find an animal that had gotten trapped up there. I also wondered if he might come down fully covered in green slime from a pesky ghost that was living up there. I wasn’t sure what to expect really.  

In the corner of where the noise was the loudest, Tim found a large, metal object, which he dusted off and removed from above. Tim thinks the wind blowing through the vents caused the metal to move and bump up against the house. He mentioned he saw a couple 2X4′s and thought the metal may have rattled against those as well. Of coure, he has no real proof, but did mention it was rather windy last night. He saw no animals, nor any ghosts.

Relieved to hear this good news, we closed up the scary attic again and I bid farewell to the metal, clanger-banger-thumper once and for all! I have to mention, my imagination is still highly suspicious though and will keep my eyes and ears open for any monsters or ghosts.

Neve Black

Krzysztof Kieślowski and Oscar Countdown

As the Academy Award ceremony fastly approaches, I’m taking some time and looking at films that I’ve seen both recently and from the past that have stuck to my ribs, so-to-speak, because they’ve resonated a powerful force within both my heart and soul. I’d like to see the Academy have a category for best scene within a film, which I’m listing on my Neve Film Critique page. This category could be anything from scariest to hottest moments on screen.

What are some of your favorite film scenes? And why?

For those of you that really love film for all its heart-felt, painstakingly directed, compellingly written and acting that goes beyond this universe, be sure and check out anything and everything by the Polish director, Krzysztof Kieślowski.

There is not a single question in my mind that Kieślowski is among the top five screen writers and directors ever. Gods, what I would have done to spend just a small amount of time with him. I would have fetched coffee, cleaned the toilets and run errands to have had the chance to sit down for 10 minutes with this man and just talk listened. *Sigh*

This rare interview shows the great amount of detail he uses when creating his films. This is from the film, Blue, which happens to be one of my top 10 besties:

Neve Black

Cupid and Psyche

“…Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath love’s mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is love said to be a child
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled….”
William Shakespeare from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 Cupid_slutty

Cupid, God of desire and Psyche, a mortal princess, are a mythological love story that pre-dates Romeo and Juliett.

Prior to studying mythology in one of the many English classes I’ve been in, I used to think that Cupid was a slutty-type of dude. This was mostly based on my intrepreation of his devilish, boyish-smirk, ALWAYS naked body and wings to fly, fly, fly away whenever he wanted. And to my slutty Cupid point, somewhere in the life of Cupid and the world of mythology, Cupid acquired his bow and arrow that represents his source of power: “a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid’s arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.” Wikipedia

That kind of slutty-type of Cupid is the kind of guy you can have a good time with, but shouldn’t expect a call from him the next day, let alone breakfast in the morning. Keep in mind, his wings were made for flying and that’s just what he’d do: fly right into the bed of the next person he set his arrow on being with. He is Californication’s Hank Moody of Cupids

This was my own intrepretation of Cupid, until I learned from studying the classics that he accidentally poisoned his heart with his own arrow and he was forever in love with Psyche. For some reading this that didn’t know that, or forgot – yes, it’s true, or fiction, or mythology, or…so the story goes.

We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this week, so let’s examine what the tip of Cupid’s arrow was poisoned with: uncontrollable desire for just a moment. I suppose I’ve been involved with the modern day slutty- type of Cupid now and again in past years. And each Valentine’s Day that approached, or really any celebrated holiday, I hoped it was my heart he chose to shoot his arrow into and not another damsel, or two, or three. Is it pointless to say that I was always disappointed with the slutty-type of Cupid? There was never a chocolate, nor a flower delivered to me. Hurt and angered, I swore I’d never see him again…that was until he raised his steady arm; pulled back his trusted bow and with agility and persuasion, shot his arrow with trained accuracy into the middle of my already bleeding and broken heart….

That was until one day I became stronger than him. I no longer was interested in his sweet talk, the speed of his wings, his bow, nor his arrow anymore. I was immune to his type of slutty-uncontrollable desire. I wanted something more. I wanted a real Cupid. Not a boy with a smirkish grin and a fierce aim. I wanted chocolates, flowers and breakfast in the morning. I wanted a real relationship with someone that love, uncontrollable desire and mutual respect was celebrated everyday, not just hoping for special treats on particular days, like Valentine’s Day.

This year, like last year, as I bath in the scent and visual beauty of the long-stemmed roses the real Cupid in my life sent me, I want everyone to know there are lots of slutty-type Cupids in the world and you shouldn’t settle for one them if your heart desires something more. And although my search for the perfect Cupid took longer than I had hoped, I can say that my search was thorough and like the arrow of Cupid, precise.

 

Happy Valentines Day
Psyche writing for Neve Black

Convergence

Long gone are the sounds of a tethered house line at it shrills in the middle of the night; jarring quiet bones and sleepy heads from the depths of sleep. The person on the other end bites their bottom lip in anticipation to hear the familiar voice finally pick-up the receiver and with groggy, trepidation ask, “Hello?”  Instead, we have mobile phones, e-mail accounts and social media that have retired many ringing telephones filled with sweet and sometimes bitter news. The news bearer is often bringing us news about the past – a convergence of the past, present and future.

I have always been a person that looks ahead, because the past is the past. We can’t go back, unless we have time machines. So my philosophy has always been: look out past the horizon; keep moving forward, because the future is filled with promise. I would find myself saying, “pffffft,” to the past dawdlers, because I personally wanted to keep moving forward. My memories of the past are limited – I’ve always been like that too. I have to ask a family member or friends I’ve known forever when obtaining facts about something that happened long, ago. I simply can’t always recall. Maybe that’s because I wanted to grow-up fast, or maybe it’s because my foundation is based on the fact that I’m a product of divorce. And even though I’m very fortunate to have come from a loving family, I always felt like the ground I stood on was always a little shaky. I wanted to race past that shakiness and build something solid – I suppose that’s what I’ve done. I feel strong, secure and stable in my life, but it hasn’t always been like that.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve clipped the wings on the future a bit and learned to ground myself in the now, the present. This is has been a painful process for me to learn, but I realize the importance of this practice. One thing I learned about myself was I mostly enjoyed the process of getting to the goal line more than reaching the goal, which is essentially enjoying the now.  Sure, achieving one’s goals are a terrific feeling, but it’s the process of getting there that I found is the most important part for me. I learned about what my real strengths and weaknesses are and what makes me push past the pain to reach those goals and if the goals are really all that important.  I have a note from someone I once knew – coincidentally from the past, that he wrote on a bar napkin and it sits in a frame in my house as a reminder.  It reads simply and poignantly: “It’s always better to be on the road than to reach the Inn.”

Interestingly, living in the now has helped me deal with the past a bit more too….

Ah, the past…she still remains a bitch for me sometimes. And I’ve noticed over the past few years’ that my past has come back to tap me on the shoulder – offering a gentle reminder that she’s still present. Sometimes it’s a pleasant nudge – reacquainting me with persons I’ve lost touch with. I’ve been open to greeting her with a friendly smile, mostly for that reason and I’ve been accepting of the news she brings. Lately, I’ve noticed the past has been stronger in her approach – working harder at trying to bridge the gap between yesterday, today and tomorrow. As an example, this past week it felt like I was delivered a punch in the stomach, or the shrill of a phone that comes in the middle of the night: she delivered the news that someone I knew a very, long time ago had died. I went twisting and cartwheeling back to that place in my past  that didn’t feel so solid. A few days have gone by now and I’m steady again, so I’ve been pondering the past and I can’t help but wonder –  is the universe, or perhaps it’s Charles Dickens trying to tell me that the convergence of past, present and future are all equally important? Is accepting your past as important today as it will be tomorrow?

Yes, I think it is.

I’ll admit, dealing with the past for me is not easy, it’s a work in progress, I suppose, but I’m understanding it’s an important part of who I am today and who I will be tomorrow.

 

Neve Black

 

Know and Listen to Your “Self”

How well do you really know your “self”?

Even if you reinvent yourself by moving to another city, find a new career path, or get involved with new and different people – your “self” will always be there: peeking up from behind, bumping into and whispering those sometimes bitter-sweet truths. Suffice to say, wherever we go, there we are. Optimistically, I do believe our “self” expands, grows, evolves with every new step we take, every new adventure we embark upon and each person that we meet. However, the same pair of eyes stares back at us from the mirror we peer into, regardless of the mirror’s geographical location. And all the travels to foreign lands and nourishing relationships we experience in our life won’t change that.

We are who we are.

For some of you reading this, these words will seem regurgitated, as they’ve been said many times before this post. I suppose I’m writing about the topic today, because I’ve reached an important crossroad in my life. Do I take path A? Path B? Or do I turn around and find another road altogether? For me, knowing who my own “self” is helps shake the sense into making the decision – making the right decision. I’ve lived in various places, been fortunate enough to have traveled throughout the world and met many wonderful people along my “self” journey, but I am who I am regardless of where I am – the free-spirited-gypsy that has only ever wanted to write.

So it would make sense that the writer “self” is the “self” that towers-over, crowds-out and speaks clearly and loudest out of all the other parts of my “self”, so I tend to listen to that “self” more. The writer “self” often wants to speak to me at the most inconvenient times, so I refrain from listening. This is often due to being too caught-up in life, so I sublimate the voice, while the clock tick-tocks and the crossroad glares back at me with anxious anticipation.  

And then on the other end of the more convenient spectrum, there are those times when I lay in bed at night, eyes closed; body tired; breath is heavy-constant; waiting for whatever comes first – the Vampires or sleep to take me, when the writer “self” talks gently, almost subliminally, guiding me through the twisted maze of confusion with her words of resounding wisdom. I listen. And when I awake the next morning, I’m refreshed and resolved. When the crossroads begs the question, “what are you going to do?” I now know with great confidence what the answer is, because it was the advice of my “self” that I finally listened to.

 

Neve Black