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Victoria S. Hardy

Victoria S. Hardy

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dry Rain

Dry Rain



The dry rain came, yet no one could see it except the homeless guy and me.  We sat on the curb, watching the invisible drops crashing through the leaves.

“You see that?” he asked, as we shared a cigarette. 

“Yeah, I see it,” I said, watching the women in sun dresses and the men in khakis go in and out of the stores.

“The dry rain is never good,” he said, taking the butt from my hand and drawing deeply.

“What does it mean?” I asked, looking at the road and seeing no drops of rain splattering on the blacktop, or on the trashcans set in the gutter waiting for the truck that would come in the morning.

“A change, changes always come after the dry rain,” he licked his lips.  “Got another cigarette?”

“Yes.”  I dug in my bag, pulling free a pack and handing it to him.  I didn’t know him, he was just a guy I’d seen pushing a shopping cart to and fro.  Sometimes I felt sorry for him and wanted to run out and give him things … things I couldn’t even discern, but it seemed he had all he needed in the shopping cart. 

He took a cigarette from the pack, lighting it with an old butane silver lighter, which had something engraved on the outside. “Just watch,” he said, handing me back the pack. 

I took the box and pulled out a butt and lighted it with a Bic, settling as well as I could on the curb. 

“Just watch,” the old man said, dragging on a cigarette that probably only cost me about forty cents, but the cost and the waste made me nervous.  Who was this old, unshaved man pushing a shopping cart down the streets?

 “Just watch, it’s like clockwork, once the dry rain comes …. Don’t you see it?” 

I looked back at the horizon and at the trees, and saw the rain falling.  I looked at the ground and on the street and at the brick before us and saw no evidence of water, rain, or anything liquid.

“It’s not raining,” I said, settling in on the dirt behind the curb, resting my old bones into the dirt.

He glanced at me, drawing deeply on the cigarette, his eyebrows raised.  “Now you don’t see it?  You saw it a couple minutes ago.”

I looked into his eyes and wanted to deny what I had seen.  I wanted to be reasonable.  It wasn’t raining, but I had seen the rain.  I shook my head, looking down at my lap, as a chastised child would do, and then looked into his weary eyes.  “I saw the dry rain.” 

He smiled.  “Keep watching, it’s always this way.”

I found I was almost lying on the dirt in my denial, staring at the clouds in the sky and I felt drunk, although I hadn’t had a drink.  I struggled to sit forward, to observe the things he wanted me to see, but my stomach retracted and would not bend or give. 

The old man reached for me.  He smiled as he set me up on my ass, and turned my face to the street and the things he needed me to see.  “Just watch.”  He pushed my hair from my eyes, and touched my jaw, making sure my eyes were focused on the block. 

My eyes fell to where some ants struggled on a piece of something I couldn’t identify in a break in the blacktop crossing the expanse between us and the shoppers.

“Wake up, girl!  You drunk?” He leaned into my face, and his smell shook me to the core.  Was that garlic, onion, or cinnamon?

“I’m not drunk,” I declared, the scent of him sending a bright light through me.  I sat forward, my eyes on the place he wanted me to see.

“Good to know, just never forget the dry rain.”  He pointed to the trees lining the street.

I looked and saw it again.  I wanted to sleep; it couldn’t be real. 

He shook my leg. 

I woke, and observed the trees hanging over the block.  A shiver worked through my body as I saw the elusive rain.  I turned and studied the old homeless man who traveled with a shopping cart, and I shook my head. 

“Look!” He demanded, and I watched the street filling with people as the movies, restaurants, stores, and diners closed early, and the dry rain fell on them. 

I lifted my eyes for a moment and saw the tree above me, it was a huge Magnolia, the limbs descending to the ground large enough to lift a truck, and I saw the dry rain.  I felt drunk, stoned, and crazier than any good acid trip, but I wasn’t – I had simply stepped outside of the house.  I knew the old man was telling me the truth, he was simply showing me reality.  The ground called me again, but his hard bony arms pulled me forward like some skeletal cage.

 “Look, God Damnit!”

I looked, I watched, and I felt the people thrown from their regular safe places.  I saw anger, the stiff backs, the girls falling, and the women wailing. I witnessed three fights and saw the people slipping on dry ground as I looked above and saw the invisible rain falling.  I was reminded of an ice rink I saw sometime in my past, but there was no ice, no rain, and yet the people stuttered, slid, and tried to grasp something solid as they left the familiar places. I glanced at the old man.

“ ‘nother cigarette?” he asked

I handed him the pack.  “Keep it,” I said, no longer worried over the cents I may have or may have not spent.

“Take one,” he said, handing me a butt.

I thanked him, smiling, and happy for my own cigarette. 

“You’ve seen the dry rain.” 

I looked above, seeing the rain that didn’t exist crashing on the leaves, and turning my eyes to the chaos and screaming on the street, I nodded.

“Never forget, the dry rain is always about change,” he laughed, his eyes crinkling and resonating the words.

I smiled, laughed, and reached to hug him …

I woke later, cold and alone, on the sidewalk, and found my way back into my space.  Luckily, it was my weekend off as I read of the death and chaos that happened outside of my apartment.  I wondered if it was a dream, if the old guy with the shopping cart was simply an illusion, and I tried to find peace in the fact that I no longer saw him. 

I spent two days sleeping on the screened in porch listening for the old man, and heard many who carried his sound, but they were not him.  Sometimes it was just someone pushing a lawn mower; sometimes it was someone pushing a broken motorcycle. 

The old man is gone.  Maybe he disappeared in the chaos that happened in front of my windows, which made the news.  I wish I’d given him more than half a pack of cigarettes. 

So here I am today, watching the dry rain ….

I wonder what he would have said …


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Do You Even Science, Bro?


I try to be a reasonable person, I really do.  I try to encounter many voices and sooth those arguing as I did tonight as one neighbor bitched about Trump signs in the other neighbor’s yard, as they wanted to counter with a bigger sign for Bernie or Hillary in their own – I encouraged them to get the sign. 

I try to understand while people post their opinions, totally sure of their stance – “Don’t you even science, bro?” 

And the one thing that I don’t even have a hand in, or a ticket to the show, is vaccines.  I’ve had very many smart and educated people telling me that the science is done, vaccines are awesome and we are idiots, uneducated, and less than cave dwellers if we don’t agree. 

I do not have a dog in the fight, my child is long dead, and my grandkids do not exist, but the fact is vaccines come with aluminum, mercury, and formaldehyde, not to mention animal cells, aborted fetus cells, and now they are using insect cells to grow vaccines. 

I’m weird for pointing it out, but as a writer and a reader I wouldn’t want insect cells injected into my child, or myself, call me weird, but I read The Metamorphosis by Kafka – Damn!

I’ve posted a few objections on the Internet and I have found my most educated friends commented about how the vaccines saved the world, but I have also found that those same friends haven’t actually studied the history or the truth of the times.  I have found my very educated friends have simply repeated what they have heard, repeated over again, without having actually looked into the facts or checking the ingredients which are easily found. 

Sometimes I feel crazy as a loon when I mention the truth and people get angry with me.  Truth is doctors are not experts about vaccines; truth is they know very little.  They don’t have classes telling them the ingredients and how mercury or aluminum or insect cells are good for the human body, or how they affect the body over time.  They listen to the pharmaceutical sales folks, and haven’t actually researched (much love to my doctor friends).

Most doctors think all that is in a vaccine is a little sterile water and a little dead virus or a little dead bacteria and most don’t read the printout that once unfolded is almost as tall as I am.

Did you know the MMR printout (almost as tall as me once it’s unfolded) mentions autism as a side effect?

How many doctors or pharmacists read the printouts?  None that I know as I got into a heated discussion a few years ago with a pharmacist and he finally admitted he hadn’t read the printout for the flu shots.  He didn’t know the aluminum content in the shots he was selling, he simply didn’t know. 

I’ll try to post as many links as I can to the truth of the matter, but I also understand that most folks won’t hear me, they will trust the mainstream media and their doctors over me. 

As I said earlier – I don’t have a dog in the fight, or a child going to the doctor and receiving the shots that send them screaming, thrashing, and developing high fevers right after the shots.  There is really no reason for me to say these things except wanting people to understand that your kid can be healthy with good water and good food - same for the old folks with all the new vaccines for a myriad of ailments. 

The information is free if you check it out, even on the CDC website – damn.   Do you think you need aluminum in your bloodstream?  Mercury? 

Did you know that the corporations who create the vaccines can’t be sued?  Even if they kill your kid or grandparent.   Did you know that the government has paid over Three Billion dollars in vaccine-related injuries since the 80s?  Did you know your taxes are paying for folks injured by vaccines?  VAERS?  https://vaers.hhs.gov/index 

Sometimes I sit by the water and lament and wonder and cry over people who don’t see and can’t understand what the world is.  I am a Christian, and I understand it from that perspective, and I cry and laugh and help as much as I can. 

And I do science, bro, more than most folks I know who ask the question.  Maybe we shouldn’t shoot animal cells, aborted fetus cells, insect cells, or a hoard of chemical things we don’t even understand into the veins of people.  I do science, bro, and I English too!  





https://vaers.hhs.gov/index 



As always, keep seeking.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Being a Girl


Being a Girl



I’m just a girl, a single human being with girl parts.  I have that weeping thing between my legs, and a mind that thinks too much.  I have so much love in my heart for every critter and every person who finds themselves in hard times.  Sometimes I give too much, and sometimes too little. 

Life, it befuddles me, but here I am, still a girl and still a turtle.  I have a shell of multi colors because I have touched so many people in my life, and they have touched me.  I can’t express what happens when you hold the hand of someone so different than you and you listen to their pains and angst.  You grow and share, and maybe you lose something, and maybe they gain, but both are better for the experience. 

Here I am – 50 years in this body, this marred, scarred, and tattooed body.  But it is my body and it still works mostly.  I can still breathe, and I still love, and I still cry for others.  I still try without the judgments I see thrown out to us like wind - like happenstance - hate this, accept this. 

Sometimes I want to squirrel about and ignore all the things calling me.  I’ve done the hard work.  I’ve literally done the hard work. 

Girls, we are a blessing to the earth and the world.  We do the hard work, not just turning over the dirt, or planting the seeds, or holding the hands of those who are dying.  We create the next generation, we yell, and cry, and show emotion, and the world is only better for having us. 

Girls, we are a blessing to man, we love, we embrace, and we understand things that may be a challenge.  We laugh, we dance, we sing, and we console.  We wash, cook, clean, and iron.  We love, sometimes when no one else will.

Seems we are the soft, safe, and secure place the world keeps saying doesn’t exist.  

Keep seeking as always. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cotton Shirts and Good Folks


Cotton Shirts and Good Folks


I often lament that my only child was taken too soon.  I wanted to be that eclectic Granny that brought the sunshine when she visited.  And as much as I lament about those things, and want to shut away the goodness my own world holds as I envision the goodness of a life that no longer exists – I have to say God has given me the goodness. 

I don’t have my name written on children, I am not their grandmother, but I am Victoria, and there is goodness in that.  This weekend of running crazily to the gigs of my husband and to gigs of others we’ve been wanting to see, I understand that even though I will never have grandkids, and my son is long gone – I’m still here and I know awesome people.  People so amazing that I wonder why I am so blessed to know them.  These people are like me in a way, taking their pains and loss and making something better of the whole life experience. 

Last night, after 3 days of running crazily, and then settling into the water of the lake, I wanted to write a blog about the awesomeness of a good white cotton shirt – seems ridiculous today, but maybe I am missing something. 

A good shirt fits, and sometimes, if we choose wisely - they last decades.  Good material, exceptional sewing, and solid buttons will give you years of comfort knowing if nothing else, that shirt rocks.  Yesterday, downtown I was wearing a 12-year-old cotton shirt and had so many compliments on it.  I had rushed all day, waking too early than my body wanted, and seeing people I loved in a beautiful park, and then running down to catch a band at the festival full of people I admire and respect. 

I think the cotton shirt, and those awesome people are one in the same.  Firstly, they never let you down.  Secondly, they are tough and survivors, be it a washer and dryer, or life yanking at them.  And thirdly, they are the trustful go to’s when nothing else feels right; you know they are there and you know they will just be who they are, and you trust their fortitude, good lines, and strong thread.

Thanking all the good folks and solid cotton shirts and feeling blessed that my world suddenly seems so full when I was sure it could never be right again. 

As always, keep seeking.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Digging In The Matter


Digging In The Matter



“Art mends broken hearts, pulls people up for air, and soothes the worst pains mankind can deliver.”  – Victoria S. Hardy

A friend asked for a favorite quote from an artist, and since I felt rushed, or at least didn’t want to surf websites for one - I wrote my own.  It got me to thinking, though, and I suppose that is what art is about, saving us from or delivering us to our demons. 

Words are so hard, and relating to the world is difficult.  Pain and loss and vision and dreams and experiences are real.  Yet, we live in a world that defines the parameters, and there is too much media defining us.  We forget that our differences are what make us great. 

Today my husband said to me that we shared the same curse of not seeing ourselves as good as we are in our personal callings.  That is true.  We do what we do without the confidence given to others.  We struggle under the world’s rules of not feeling good enough, tall enough, thin enough, smart enough, educated enough, and forget regularly the call that has us writing or singing or painting or playing. 

For whatever the reason, Chris and I grew up under burdens and they may seem simple and lackadaisical in today’s world, but broken families and dead siblings make a mark on any child.  I suppose it ingrained in us a knowledge of how quickly life could change and also a sad recognition of how people accepted the changes. 

God given talent, or tragedy, or heartbreak, or stunning realizations at any age opens the door, and there you are - an artist.  Some of us throw it out there, others keep it safe and close - the art, the healing, and the dealing with a society we haven’t understood, or no longer understand.  Some slam the door and lock it, dealing with themselves and their things in a different matter.

The world tends to define talent, and mostly it seems to change year to year – they have their talent shows and lift some folks up, while ignoring so many.  We accept the judge’s decisions just as we accept so many things - as we are only allowed to see so many things.  But I am beginning to grasp that the world is much vaster than the media would like us to believe. 

I know great artists, and I feel so blessed to have spent time in their presence, and what I know from the great ones is that they are a little nervous, worried that they aren’t good enough, and concerned how the world views them.  Great artists are odd, lovely, but odd; they may seem anti-social at times, or disconnected, but they are digging in the matter and figuring how to relay it. 

Art is a way to show pain, or to rise above it.  Art lifts us with color, or ink, or words, or drums, or strings, or brass, or cloth - something to sink our heads, hands, or bodies inside for a bit while transmitting messages that we don’t fully understand.  Art is the poor man’s way to richness, if only for a moment.  Not the richness of the media, not the richness of history, but the richness of knowing we made a difference, somehow, and someway. 

Art is life.  Art is history.  Art is color.  Art is the word.  Art is the sound.  Art is all the things that remind us of hope and our early beginnings.  Art can be lonely.  Art can be too busy.  Art challenges us to find that simple voice in us, which always encourages us.  Art makes us dig through the matter to find the jewel that rests inside of each of us. 


Much thanks to Laura Neff for asking the question and as always keep seeking.  

And below is a video of Chris Hardy's song "Digging In The Matter" with my shaky camera work as I figure out video vs. film.   

https://youtu.be/PFZmWJmHfws

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Dafuq?


Dafuq? 



Okay, I suppose I am a bit fed up with both sides of the agenda.  Sometimes the worst place is being in my brain. 

I am a Christian – I love all folks, I don’t care if they are gay or transitioning or straight as a board, black or multi-colored or illustrated or speaking a language I can’t understand.  If they are nice to me, then I am nice to them and deem them worthy of my time and attention and help and good feelings and love. 

We, as nation, have become a mess, but I know at my core we haven’t become a mess on our own; we have become the disrupted angry mess from the forces over us that display one story day after day, without telling the others.  We listen, of course, because we want to be informed and we trust the leaders to lead us to truth, but guess what? … they only lead us to more confusion, disruption, and hate. 

And truthfully, it makes my soul ache. 

The story of the county clerk who refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple is all over the news.  But guess what?  The gay couple was not from the county in which she served and brought media along, and pastors are condemning her on her past, evidently not understanding what John the Baptist made clear, and all that stuff about being born again – dafuq?? 

I literally made my husband write the word dafuq down for me because I could never remember how to spell it (because it’s not a real word), but it’s a softer curse word than I want to say.

Sometimes I’m so disgusted by humanity I wonder why God makes me linger here.  I trust God, and I know God accepts us all, be we tatted, gay, unsure of our gender, or wear mixed cloth, or all the myriad of sins we could use to judge another (eat any seafood recently?).  God sees the good in us, and God knows our intentions, and whether or not they are good or bad. 

I have surmised for a long time that most true Christians don’t even know they are Christian.  They aren’t so much the churchgoers piling money in the bucket, but they are the ones helping people in the way they have.  They are the ones giving a few bucks to the homeless folk, sending out blankets and water in the time of need.  They are the ones lifting up others and not condemning folks.

What I have seen this week, months, and years has broken my heart.  I don’t understand the world, and I literally know it’s a miracle I am still here and alive.  I’m not always happy about the fact that I am still here and alive. 

In my journey, I have met the greatest people, people that literally sacrifice parts of themselves to make others better – most of those folks don’t identify as Christian.  I have also met Christians who are wonderful, and luckily I am related to many of them.  I have also known people who struggle so hard and give so much and are so scared by the Christian identity that they could never own it. 

I think much of the dichotomy and confusion comes down to media.  I won’t name names here, but there are so many folks in my world who have truly touched my heart, helped me, and lifted me in the darkest times who are not self-professed Christians.  And I’m pretty sure the Bible makes clear that there will be wolves in sheep’s clothing, especially in the age we are approaching, or are perhaps wrapped inside of these days.

Right now I see good folks on both sides struggling to define the boundaries and arguing with each other - and it hurts me.  Good folk are simply good folk, and it doesn’t come from a skin color, a sexual preference, or a religion.  God, whichever one you believe, or don’t, will figure it out. 

I, for myself, absolutely know that energy doesn’t end and simply transforms, and I can’t wait to see who I meet on the other side.  I have my ideas, because some people are too awesome for words, and I have been blessed to know so many!

It’s such a struggle right now, but I know it’s not a struggle of our own making; the media – ever keeping us divided – is doing the thing. 

In one day, when I have to snark at a Christian friend and an atheist friend over the same subject, I know it’s not us. 

Truth be told we love each other and only learn we don’t when we consume too much media. 

Please be smart folks, you are literally all we have. 



As always, keep seeking.  



Thursday, September 03, 2015

On Selling Books


On Selling Books


I heard a depressing snippet today about being an independent artist.  It seems the market is so saturated that the quality of the product takes a backseat to the back-story of the artist.  As though it’s not enough to show your soul in artistry and metaphors anymore, but the artist is now the product and not the art. 

I find that depressing for many reasons, the first being that I am a writer and I give a ton of information under the guise of fiction; the second reason is if I wanted to be on stage I wouldn’t have quit drumming, and not to mention I have terrible stage fright. But as now it’s the back-story and likeability of the artist that gets folks to hit the buy button - I’m screwed…

Some folks find me adorable, while others don’t – despite my story and my struggles.  I am one of those people who others like or hate out of the gate and I never understand the decisions - sometimes because I am too outspoken, other times because I didn’t speak enough.  Sometimes I am callous, and other times overly empathetic.  Sometimes I am aesthetically pleasing, and other times I am not – my weight and looks change with the seasons and they are seasons I have little control over.

My talents are writing, caring for animals, cooking, and sometimes painting, photography, sewing, or healing sick things.  In the world, I’m not much of anything. In my youth, I could turn every head when I walked in a room, but I also could be ignored just as easily.  I find the world, and most people in it, confusing.  Hell, a lot of times I besquirrel myself. 

So not only does the world want the novels, which takes a lot from me to write, they also want my story, my trials, my pains, my angst, and my losses to make them buy a product from me, and it makes me wonder if they also want my blood.  Yes, I know this sounds cynical, but I am cynical, while still having faith and hope. 

Back in the day, while Chris and I were in a band together – 3 Feet Up –  a national TV show contacted us and wanted the story of us, but it felt wrong.  Yes, the band was a reaction to losing my only child and then spending months in bed from a surgical procedure gone awry, but it felt wrong then to use that pain and loss for success, just as it feels wrong now.

I survived all the things, evidently, because here I sit writing this lament. And it disturbs me that the stories of my survival are more interesting than the novels, but actually, most astute people would see I put snippets of my survival in each novel or novella or short story.

Do people really want the dirty, heartbreaking details?  Do they need my confession to decide whether or not to spend 2-20 dollars on a book?  Do they want to hear the thoughts in my head as I stood over my son’s coffin?  Or exactly what I felt when I watched a huge open wound grow closed?  Or how I puked on my shoes while raking a yard after a concussion?  Or the trauma of being beaten by a lover?  Or being drugged and raped? Truthfully, all those experiences are in the books, but not so close to me that I have to relive the trauma day after day for the enjoyment of the spectator. 

I know we live in the Reality TV World, and I wish for softer times.  Yes, I have struggled, and I have lost, but it has always felt wrong to use the loss for anything except tears, remorse, and trying to do better, and be better.  I could not parade my dead kid around and feel good about success.

I could have filled this blog with a hundred pictures of my son who passed too soon – I could have pulled every heartstring with his struggles, hospital visits, surgeries, and trauma.  I could have posted his last messages, notes, and words, but those are mine …

I hate the world.  I have been chastised so many times for saying it, but it’s true.  I survive because it’s not my time yet. I endure because I have to. And I laugh a lot. I write books and short stories because something in me says I must write. I have accepted I will never be a King, Steinbeck, or Hemingway, and I do that with a sigh, because it’s all I’ve wanted since I was a child.  But if getting there means I have to carry my dead on a pike, I’ll just give it up that dream and choose poverty. 

I’ll still write though, I have no choice over that.  The stories will come and flow through me, and I’ll write them down, but my struggles are my own and if I survive them, the folks who read will get the hints along the way without the 3D multiplex experience. 



As always keep seeking and keep believing.


Although I hesitated putting this video out years ago because I didn't like the way I looked, the message is a good one.