Divorce Bard's Blog

...Iambic pentameter is for the ear. Read it out loud.

Divorce Bard

Divorce Bard
pretty how town, USA
February 13
While the ashes of marriage #2 were cooling, I began a journal here in verse, to keep myself out of trouble. So far so good, and one day at a time. I took a hiatus this past January, and I missed it terribly. Writing daily had changed the way I think - not my opinions, but the process of thinking itself. So here I am back again, and hungry. I began with three rules: (1) Iambic pentameter, (2) Perfect rhyme, and (3) It had to be true (no hyperbole). I hereby amend rule number 3: If I'm writing about myself, yes, it has to be true. But it doesn't, if I want to tell a story.


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MAY 30, 2012 12:48AM

A Rose by Any Other

Rate: 12 Flag

My daughter was part of a big event at her middle school tonight.  Big like, this huge group of 6th and 7th graders big.  I’m not sure where the 8th graders go, or what they do, when they receive some sort of honor from the school, or the school board, or whoever it is exactly.  They weren’t there tonight.  Just the 6th and 7th graders, and there were plenty of them.  Like we all got busy, you know, about 12 years ago, and bang! now they’re in the 6th grade.

When I was in the 6th grade, no one had ever said in English, “I know, RIGHT?” I haven’t consulted with the staff of the OED on this, so I only have it on the authority of my own experience which was… hang on… 45 years ago.  Yes.  I was 11, 45 years ago.  And it’s possible that my memory is getting foggy (although I do remember Marian M- quite well, oh yes indeed, rather well), although that’s possible, I swear the phrase was not in my daily experience, and not on Get Smart, and not on Leave it to Beaver, and not on Gilligan’s Island.  I know, RIGHT?  No, thank you, I don’t know.  Wrong.

So this event.  The big one.  I have a semi-pronounceable last name.  On a scale of one to ten, it’s roughly a four.  I used to work as a broadcast buyer at an advertising agency, and I spoke daily with TV stations all over the US, and I would get my phone contacts to take a whack at spelling my name, when I left a message.  And then I would take the spelling, and put it up on the doorway of my cubicle, with the call letters of the station.  As I remember, my hapless spellers created upwards of 20 new spellings for my collection.

So the event.  My daughter got this honor thing.  She’s doing really well.  She and I have made jokes in the past about my last name.  How unpronounceable and unspellable it is.  How everyone gets it WAY wrong.  And at this honor thing tonight, with a list of dozens of honored kids, including lots of names I knew they were just butchering, they pronounced hers – mine – right.  She got two honors.  They pronounced her name right, twice.  Twice.

I made a joke about it afterward, with a few moms and dads in the immediate vicinity.  And then I waited outside the cafeteria, where the kids had been deposited, and she came out looking like the most breathtakingly beautiful creature that had ever been put on earth (she was wearing some very dark colors -  this brings out certain tones in her hair and eyes, I noticed this when she was just six months old), and I said “Hey!  They pronounced your name right!  Twice!”

And she broke into an astonishing smile and said, “I know, RIGHT?”

And it took my breath away.  This exquisite 11-year-old, who may have secrets to keep, and lives in her very own, inscrutable interior world, shares a name with me, and has learned the prickly annoyance of its being unpronounceable, and is learning to let it roll off her back, as her father began to learn, nearly half a century ago.  The joke is ours, this is our common experience, the name that I gave to her that will drive her crazy to the end of her days.  We laugh off this silly thing together, she owns this name, that is mine, that is hers.  Whatever may come, this small thing will always set us apart from the world, just a little bit, just enough.

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My family name was quite pronounceable but not terribly easy and nobody cared except my brother so when we were in our early twenties he persuaded the family to switch it legally to its present bland character. It never struck any of us as being terribly important but the experience did strike me as separating myself from whatever people called me and the total undefinability of my actual total being which had been encapsulated in the previous name and now was strangely set free like a wandering wraith unable to find rest in this universe.
Oh the pride and love in this post just sings so loudly, so beautifully, that my own heart wants to sing in unison. And, yet, at the same time you took my breath away.

What a beautiful, perfect post.

I am so glad to see you writing again. Welcome back, DB.

As for difficult to pronounce names ... I have worked with a man who had one of those .. both his first and last ... I'd say maybe a 7 or 8 on your scale.
Lovely to read this and smiling at the, "I know, right?" - yep, I hear that all the time from the kids I work with :)

The relationship between Dads and daughters can be one of the most precious, unique and wonderful experiences.
(from my vantage point as a daughter)
Sweet, tender and humorous all at once. Enjoyed.
A moment shared - a lifetime bonded. Thank you for sharing this snapshot in time. A snapshot that means so very much, and will never be forgotten by either of you. Rated with great admiration.
and to think it only gets better...

lovely seed, lovely flower ~

nice to see you, DB ~
Exactly. There are more joys in store when you discover you share more than a difficult-to-pronounce a name. No matter how unimaginable, they'll be only yours.

This is clearly a dedication to your beautiful daughter.

Just delightful, thankyou. I so relate, though my name is easy to pronounce.
Wise and sweet. Right on, actually.
I so love this, Bard. How lucky you are, both of you.

"Whatever may come, this small thing will always set us apart from the world, just a little bit, just enough."
It's so interesting to hear about your daughter in "real life" after "getting to know her" mainly through your poetry.
Where the strength and heart are.