Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Top Ten Leprechaun Complaints

meanleprechaun

 

10. They find a certain cereal to be neither magical nor delicious.

9.    Even with the seat down, they keep falling into the toilet.

8.    Santa’s elves are always stealing their women.

7.    It’s hard to hold your whiskey when you’re built like a 4-year-old.

6.    After you’ve heard “Top O’ the Mornin'” a few thousand times, you’d settle for just a plain old “Hello.”

5.    Pots o’ gold aren’t worth all that much after taxes.

4.    It’s not easy to outrun a riding mower.

3.    Every time they wash their outfits, the entire load of laundry turns green.

2.    YOU try being cute and whimsical 24/7.

AND THE NUMBER ONE LEPRECHAUN COMPLAINT IS  . . .

  1. Let’s just say they’ve got the smallest “shillelaghs” you’ve ever seen!

 

HAPPY ST.PATRICK’S DAY!

 

 

 

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Rainbows: A Sweet Vignette

Water_DROP_colored_rainbow

 

Dedicated to my Husband and Daughter

It was early in the morning, and a young woman and her husband were driving to the train station. Temporarily, at least, the rain had stopped. The air was pleasantly fresh and clear, though oh! so cold, and here and there a patch of blue showed through the thick November clouds. Pale sunlight shone thinly against the grey morning dampness, brightening just a little the depressing aspect of the city.

“Oh look, a rainbow!” the young woman cried, pointing out the window.

Her husband, who was driving, looked up into the distant sky. Sure enough, half of a large rainbow emerged from a thick grey cloud.

The woman’s face beamed with happiness. “Isn’t that lovely?” she said. “It makes the whole morning beautiful.”

As they drove down the muddy narrow road which ran alongside the railroad tracks, the rainbow seemed to grow more distinct. Soon they could see each end of the rainbow, though the middle was still hidden by clouds.

“Now you can see both ends,” the woman cried eagerly.

“See where it goes,” her husband said. “Maybe I can find my pot of gold.”

The woman searched the sky, trying to determine beginning and end.

“It seems to stretch between the hills over there” — (she pointed left) — “and downtown over there” — (she pointed right.)

“Where does that story come from, anyways?” her husband asked.

“The Irish, I think. You know, leprechauns and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

“Yeah,” said her husband, a greedy grin on his youthful face. “I’d like to find a pot of gold at the end of it.”

The young woman frowned. “Oh, Jim, that’s all you care about is money. Can’t you think of anything else?”

“Not when we don’t have any,” he answered.

The woman said nothing more, and they drove along in silence until they arrived at the station. But when Jim was helping her out of the car, she suddenly noticed the other rainbow.

“Now look,” she said triumphantly, pointing at the sky. “There are two rainbows!”

Above the first rainbow, which was growing brighter by the minute, half of a second rainbow could be seen. 

“That’s unusual to see two rainbows,” she said thoughtfully. While the young couple watched together, the first rainbow grew stronger and more distinct as the sunlight shifted.

“Now you can see the whole arch!” the woman exclaimed. Truly, it was lovely. The rainbow colors stood clear and vivid against the somber grey sky. “That’s rare to see such a rainbow,” she said, grabbing her husband’s hand and squeezing it tightly. Indeed, the colors seemed almost unnatural.

“And remember, Sharon, there are two,” Jim reminded her gently. “Perhaps they’re man and wife — like us.”

Sharon giggled. “Which one is the man?” she asked playfully.

“The one on the bottom is the strongest.” Jim put his arm around his wife’s ample waist and hugged her close.

“On the bottom, right where he belongs,” Sharon teased.

Her husband laughed. “Actually, I rather like it when you’re on top.”

Sharon pounded him lightly in the stomach. “You’re incorrigible, you beast!”

The young man patted his wife’s swollen belly, feeling the unborn child move inside. “When rainbows make love, do they make little rainbows?” he whispered in her ear.

“How else could there be rainbows,” she whispered back.

“Actually, there are rainbows all the time. We just don’t see them.”

“My husband, the brilliant scientist!”

Suddenly the skies opened up, and a great rain began to fall. The wind whipped up, chilling them to the bone. Laughing wildly, the young couple ran onto the covered platform.

“I love rain like this!'” shouted the young woman over the roar of the downpour.

“I don’t like getting wet all the time,” shouted her husband, who was more practical. “Here comes the train!”

Down the track, the two bright headlights pierced the misty, watery veil of rain, and in a few moments, the train pulled into the station. The woman hugged her husband tightly and kissed him passionately on his warm lips. “You smell so good,” she murmured, snuggling close to his big, warm body.

“I have to go,” he said, disentangling himself from her clinging embrace. “Have a good day. Rest!”

“I will,” she promised, smiling. “Have a good day!”

She waited until he was safely on the train, waved good-bye, then ran into the rain. Behind her, the train began to move slowly down the track. She couldn’t help herself. She stopped and watched as the train gathered speed and chugged out of sight. She pulled her drenched jacket closer around her bulging body. Rain poured down her face and hair. In a moment, she heard the train whistle blasting farther down the track. “I love you,” she whispered, and a lump formed in her throat. Tears watered her eyes, spilled over, and ran down her cheeks, mingling with the rain. She turned and ran as fast as she could to the car.

She climbed into the car and turned the key. The engine sputtered, died, then caught again. She pulled out of the parking space and followed once more the primitive road which ran beside the railroad tracks. She was wet and cold and eager to get home to a hot shower. Her husband was gone to work, the babe was safe and warm inside her. The day would be long and lonely. The rain would carry on, darkening their small apartment. Still, she was happy and content. She had followed her rainbow long ago. She had found her pot of gold.

Dawn Pisturino

November 1983

A true story. Written while I was pregnant.

Copyright 1983-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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SUSANNA’S SECRET

741236_10200175067315166_774457785_o735507_10200175067395168_1763698850_oARIEL PISTURINO (my daughter) and her friend, E. SCOTT LEVIN, recently formed CHAMBER OPERA PLAYERS OF L.A. Their first short production will be SUSANNA’S SECRET, a comic one-act opera written by E. Wolf-Ferrari in 1910. Originally written in Italian, the opera has since been translated into contemporary English. Ariel and Scott are both well-educated, highly-talented performers with the gumption and creativity to succeed. I am enormously proud of them both.

SYNOPSIS: A man who suspects his wife of fooling around discovers the real secret behind his wife’s strange behavior.

Starring ARIEL PISTURINO and E. SCOTT LEVIN. Directed by JOSH SHAW, Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Project.

BUT COME OUT AND SEE IT FOR YOURSELF!

January 25-26, 2013 at 8 pm

ST. MARK’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
1020 N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91202
213-260-0007

performances in the Parlour Hall with reception to follow

ADMISSION FREE! Donations appreciated.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

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TWISTED LIMERICKS

TWISTED LIMERICKS

By  Dawn Pisturino

A FREE HALLOWEEN READ ON SCRIBD.com

CLICK HERE!

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OUR GREAT EMU ADVENTURE

Steve Pisturino tries to capture a lost emu wandering down Chinle Road in Golden Valley, Arizona.

Our great EMU adventure began when the neighbor’s dogs started barking at something in the field across the road.  We figured it was the coyote that comes to drink water in our front yard. Boy, were we wrong!

Racing through the desert was a prehistoric-looking creature with long legs and a long neck that looked tired, hungry, and thirsty. I don’t know how long or how far he had run, but the temperature was at least 110 degrees outside, the noontime sun burned with fierce intensity, and the only water available  came from human sources.

My husband grabbed some water and followed the animal in his truck while I got on the phone and called every agency I could find in the phone book. The standard response? “We don’t handle emus.” It didn’t matter that the creature was going to die without food, water, and shelter. Frustrated, I called the local newspaper and reported what was happening. Happily, one of the reporters also got on the phone and began calling people.

I finally got hold of a local animal rescue sanctuary, and the owners told me that if we could corral the emu, they would come and get him! Finally! Results!

By that time, my husband had returned home. He had offered him water, but Big Bird ignored it and ran off — luckily, into a residential neighborhood. We took off in the truck and scoured the neighborhood, hoping to find him, capture him, and send him off to the animal sanctuary.  We finally found him wandering down a dirt road, tired and worn out.

As you can see in the above photo, my husband tried to befriend him and lasso him with a soft nylon rope. But the animal wasn’t going for it and took off again into the desert. I ran after him, trying to herd him back to the road. Once or twice, I got close enough to touch him. He never tried to bite or kick me and seemed friendly enough. He was obviously accustomed to humans. But he was scared and didn’t know his way home.

I chased him to the edge of a wash. Big Bird realized that the sides of the wash were too steep, and he let me herd him along the edge and back to the road. Several times he looked back at me with a glint in his eye, like it was some sort of game, and I had high hopes that eventually he would stop and let me catch him.  That was an idealistic thought!

Back on the road a man in a red truck offered the bird water, but once again he ignored it and headed on down the road. My husband parked his truck and threw me the rope. Finally, I got close enough to the bird to throw my arms around him and hang on for dear life. I managed to loop the rope around his neck, but I was so scared of hurting him, I let it hang loose.

My husband asked me, “Okay, now we’ve got him, what are we going to do with him?” Good question! The man in the red truck had taken off, and we had nobody to help us. We decided to walk Big Bird back to the truck and somehow get him into the back.

When we got back to the truck I told my husband, “You get behind him and push.” He reluctantly grabbed the back end of the bird and tried to push him up into the truck.   

Big Bird bolted, gouged my left ankle with his huge toenail,  knocked me flat on my back, and ran off into the desert!

Hot, tired, and thirsty, I laid in the dirt with the sun in my eyes and waited for the stars to stop swirling around my head.

As my husband helped me up I said, “I’m done. I can’t do anymore.”  Beaten, bruised, scuffed, cut, dirty, sweaty, and stunned, we drove home in defeat.

To this day, we don’t know where the emu came from or where he ended up. We suspect that somebody who didn’t want him anymore let him loose in the desert. A cruel thing to do in the hot summer! At the very best, somebody found him and gave him a home. At the very worst, coyotes attacked and killed him. Even as I chased him through the desert, vultures circled overhead, waiting for a fresh kill.

Was it worth it? Even though he injured me, and we weren’t able to catch him, I feel happy that we at least tried to help this poor creature. I have the satisfaction of knowing that the newspaper reporter tried to track down the owner.

And I have a great story to tell my future grandkids.

Dawn Pisturino

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.

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A Writer 24/7

Image

by Dawn Pisturino

Adopting the writer’s mantle places us instantly in the spotlight. Everything we say, write, and do is being evaluated and judged by people we don’t even know.

With this in mind, it’s important to display our best writing at every opportunity.

I recently read a blog post by an English writer that was poorly formatted, riddled with errors, and unprofessional-looking. The purpose of the blog was to dispense writing advice to budding young authors. But what can a young author learn from run-on sentences and words that blend into one another with no punctuation or spaces? Needless to say, I no longer follow that blog.

Many self-proclaimed authors haunt Facebook and other social media sites. They promote their books with quickly-composed, ungrammatical sales pitches that reflect poorly on their abilities as writers. My thought is this: if they can’t write a simple post on Facebook, how can they write the next Great American novel? The answer is obvious.

E-mail tends to be a casual form of communication, but some people take it for granted that it’s okay to write in texting jargon and incomplete sentences. Clear, concise communication should be even more important when writing e-mails. I check my grammar and spelling every time I send out an e-mail because I want my readers to see me as a real writer.

My elderly aunt in Michigan fills her hand-written letters with poetic descriptions of the seasons and countryside where she lives. She’s not a writer, but she knows how to write. She knows how to turn a phrase and color a description so that it sticks in my head. She makes me imagine that once upon a time she wrote poetry in some dark garrett. That reminds me–I need to ask her!

Writing is a 24/7 job. And everything we compose should reflect our abilities as a writer. Our readers expect it. Our profession demands it.

Published in the July-August 2012 issue of Working Writer.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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a pinko commie under every bush

Patty Hearst

Yes! I admit it!

When I was fifteen years old, I read The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx.

In an era when hordes of university students were toting around copies of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, this wasn’t anything unusual.

Who, after all, could ignore these glorious words?

“The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.

“They have a world to win.

WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!

Can’t you hear the fist-pounding and finger-pointing in those words? Can’t you hear the stampeding hordes and gunfire behind those phrases?

ALL GLORY TO THE REVOLUTION!

We already had the Women’s Liberation Movement, La Raza, the Black Panthers, the Civil Rights Movement, the Gay and Lesbian Movement, Earth Day, peace-loving Hippies, the Free Speech Movement, Timothy Leary, the Sexual Liberation Movement, and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement. Tune out, drop out. Question authority. Don’t trust anyone over 30. If it feels good, do it!!

The anti-establishment revolution. Black is beautiful. All Power to the People!

“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles . . .”

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer,

The government becomes a little bit bolder

And a little bit colder

And you know that we told her it would happen.

The Left of the Right began to struggle with all its might

And decided to declare a revolution.

It’s the only solution to the capitalist institution,

And you know we’ve got to do it for our own evolution.

written spring 1971

a pinko commie under every bush

ring out the old, bring in the new

the clash of two opposing ideas morphs into Hegel’s dialectic

Cold War, a flash of nuclear destruction

and death.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Spiders — Guardians of the Human Race?!?

“Spider, spider,

You climb so high,

You make your web so high, too.

Spider, spider,

You are a nice friend.

I really like you, too.” — age 8

I grew up in a wild, green place on the banks of the St. Joseph River.

Every spring, the teachers at Washington Township Elementary School crammed our gaping minds with scientific facts about the wonders of nature. On a more romantic level, they portayed spiders as friendly little creatures that ate yucky bugs and protected the human race from deadly disease. Hence the above poem, written in third grade to cement my newfound friendship with the guardians of the human race.

But wait! I hated those creepy, crawly critters lurking in the dark corners of our musty old basement. I hated those clingy, sticky webs hanging like booby traps in the shadows of dank closets, the branches of aging bushes, and the cracks of rotting logs.

What kind of scam were these teachers trying to pull?

My parents terrified me with stories about glossy black widows hatching eggs in the stiff, hairsprayed hairdos of sleeping women. Injected with poisonous venom, these unsuspecting, perfectly-coiffed women never woke up again. What a price to pay for a trip to the beauty parlor!

And the fiddle spider, now known as the brown recluse, became a legendary predator in our household. I never fully understood its deadly attributes until I became a registered nurse and saw for myself the necrotizing wounds that robbed innocent people of their limbs and vital organs.

Friendly spiders? Give me a break. There are good spiders out there, of course, but I avoid ALL spiders at all cost. I guess I’m just funny that way.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

  

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Lessons from Lewis Carroll

Have you ever felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole? It wasn’t until she hit rock bottom that she found the tools to cope with her environment.

Or what about the White Rabbit? His obsession with time makes him sound like a classic Type A personality.

We all know people who act as if they are running a marathon race against Time. The most familiar thing out of their mouths is, “I’m busy. I don’t have time. Not right now. Good grief, I have to be somewhere in five minutes!”

Like the Red Queen, they are always running in place and getting nowhere fast. And no matter how hard they try to catch up, they never will. And no matter how much we try to convince them to slow down, they never will—until they suffer a heart attack or some other misfortune.

Appearing and disappearing like the Cheshire cat, they smile smugly and proudly tell us how terribly important they are; but they may as well be saying, “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Alice had many curious adventures in Wonderland, but even she had her limits. When she finally got tired of the Queen of Hearts screaming, “Off with their heads!” and all the other zany, madcap characters, she stood up and cried, “I can’t stand this any longer!”

And with one pull of the tablecloth, she was back home again with her beloved kitten Dinah.

The wacky world of Lewis Carroll can be seen as a reflection of our own crazy world. And, just like Alice, we sometimes have to pull ourselves in many directions to adapt to our environment. But when we can no longer tolerate living in this way, it’s time to stand up and shout, “Enough is enough!”

Dawn Pisturino

Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, September 11, 2007.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Young Love, Undying Love

Young Love, Undying Love

When I was fourteen years old, I fell in love with my algebra teacher. Teaching silly high school students earned him a living. His real goal? To complete his PhD. in physics.

His curly dark hair shimmered with dandruff, detracting from his coffee-stink breath. He wore wrinkled blue seersucker suits in warm weather and corduroy jackets with patched elbows in cold. Nervous and shy, his hands and voice trembled when he stood in front of the blackboard explaining algebraic formulas to a bunch of disinterested teenagers.

He seemed young and old at the same time. And he had violet eyes—I kid you not! The most beautiful eyes I had ever seen behind a pair of dark-rimmed glasses.

My heart burned with love for this nervous nerd. I adored him throughout algebra and again during Life Sciences. I worshipped the ground he walked, waiting expectantly to catch glimpses of him between classes and after school.

I even wrote him a poem.  I forgot it for many years, and suddenly, one day, I remembered part of it.

Bitter Fragment of a Beautiful Dream

My love, thou hast hearkened to my sorrows

Ere the night as ere the day;

Among the grasses of these meadows

Hast thou hearkened to my laughter

Clearly echoing the joy bound in thine heart.

Beyond the hill hath mine hand wept in thine:

Thou wip-ed away the tears.

Beside the stream—how sweetly flows the rivulet wine!—

Thou rejoiced as mine;

We wept for the years,

Since-parted, we knew each other not.

Belov-ed, thou hast planted deep the seed of love,

And how it grows!—

Reaching, reaching for the height of its passion,

But endlessly reaching—

I love thee.

My sweet, thou hast made pure of me a lover.

A burning fire scorches the flesh and tendons of my soul,

Melting fast the waxen candle:—

I love thee as myself,

For I love thee as thyself,

And as one should we destine,

Striving for the highest and deepest aspirations

Of Life!—

Or Death . . .

(Beginning of poem written Spring, 1970 for R.B, remembered Spring, 1986)

You see here, of course, the influences of the great Romantic poets, with whom I was obsessed: Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Byron, and especially, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. How the world burned with love, passion, and death! For love had to end in a tragic, prolonged death. Young love, undying love. Romeo and Juliet. Catherine and Heathcliff.

I found a photo of R.B. in an old high school yearbook. Examining the greasy hair, weak chin, thin body, I could only exclaim: WHAT WAS I THINKING BACK THEN? Romeo and Juliet? Hardly. Catherine and Heathcliff? No way!

I often wonder if he achieved his goal. Is he a Doctor of Philosophy now in Physics? Does he still teach? And I still remember his deep, soul-sinking violet eyes. But not my cup of tea. No, definitely not! But he was my love, my very first love, and I treasure that memory. Always.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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