Dubai (left) Rio de Janeiro (right)

Demand is the theme of our world. Even countries that have tried to avoid capitalism, or have embraced theocracy, have stratified wealth, class, personal status, and they have materialism, too.

Perhaps it’s human nature to be drawn to what others have deemed desirable.

No matter what psychologists say, we seek affiliation, and imitate others, all the way into old age. Humans are social creatures. Wanting to belong is not necessarily a symptom of neurotic insecurity or immaturity.

Not feeling like we belong, and the very similar feeling of not being validated by our culture, are perhaps the main causes of…


A friendly reminder from Al Anon, and me

The lyrics to this song are pretty helpful

From Today’s Hope, a daily update

“Shame is that dark, powerful feeling that holds us back. Yes, shame can stop us from acting inappropriately. But many of us have learned to attach shame to healthy behaviors that are in our best interest.

In dysfunctional families, shame can be tagged to healthy behaviors such as talking about feelings, making choices, taking care of ourselves, having fun, being successful, or even feeling good about ourselves.

Shame may have been attached to asking for what we want and need, to communicating directly and honestly, and…


The End

Art by Dreargin

This is the last of 50 chapters. See links to previous chapters at bottom.

Seryozha attended a very nice school. It was housed in an old, well-preserved brick building. Back in Brooklyn, the boy had returned to Ursula’s house after being gone for five days. He would never say where he ran away to. Five terrible days when Anna was locked in the sanatorium and could do nothing but wait, pray, and make phone calls to Ursula; when she ruminated over every selfish thing she had done or been preoccupied with when she should have been caring for for Seryozha…


Accepting Them Can Make You Happier than You Would Think

Photo by Fancycrave.com from Pexels

We all know that person in our friend group who is often ranting about someone’s behavior, dropping F-bombs, and making everyone around rather weary. And most of us have been that complainer at times. Or all the time.

It’s not as if we think ranting and hating are positive social behaviors. We just may not know what else to do when our emotions are exploding, so we attach a narrative to anger: one of resentment, built on unchecked facts that lend false righteousness to our rage.

Due to my extensive experience with resentment, I have learned a few lessons about…


Part 49

Photo by margot pandone on Unsplash

Start with Part 1, and read a short synopsis of the original book.

Pete wasn’t accustomed to being poolside with a stunning woman in a bathing suit. He didn’t know what to say to Anna’s flirtatious greeting. So he held out his hand and said with a forced smile that it was nice to see her. He wondered if she had read the last article he had written about her. She must have. Is that what she meant by wicked? When he called to arrange this interview, she hadn’t mentioned it at all.

“Why don’t we sit and have a…


Part 48

Start with Part 1, and read a short synopsis of the original book.

Pete was reporting his first story for Vanity Fair. It was a coup if he could do it — $15,000 for a tale of the first time traveler. His last story in the Post on Anna come undone had sold as many copies as the 2004 coverage of the Paris Hilton sex tape scandal. They had promoted him to special assignments, and several publishers called asking for a book. Ex-girlfriends called (notably, Melissa), and he heard from guys he hadn’t talked to since he worked at the…


Part 47

Start with Part 1, and read a short synopsis of the original book.

It wasn’t easy to find her. The Chapman woman had no idea what had happened since Anna went into the psych ward, and that had been three months ago. The couple had given up on her, apparently. So much for bleeding hearts.

The hospital wouldn’t give him any details of course. But Pete did finagle the number for the patient payphone. A shrill voice answered after one ring. He asked for Anna.

“She left,” said the woman. “Why? Who are you?”

“A friend,” said Pete.

“Oh yeah…


Part 46

Start with Part 1, and read a short synopsis of the original book.

Just before dinner, Anna received a phone call. It was the first she’d had since entering the sanatorium. Ursula, the nurse who had taken in Seryozha, was speaking Russian, and her tone obviously carried some unwanted news.

“Seryozha ran away.”

Anna’s heart dropped into her stomach.

“When?” She whispered, lacking the courage to speak fully. The well of it was so vulnerable that bad news forced her to notice that she had, almost, no resources at all.

“Yesterday he went out before dinner and he hasn’t come…


Part 45

Garmash

Start with Part 1, and read a short synopsis of the original book.

“Anna?” said a voice from behind. It was Joan, distinctly hoarse. Anna smiled at the thought of telling Joan what just happened. The office was occupied, so they sat alone in Anna’s room.

“How are you?” Joan set herself on the edge of Anna’s bed, crossed her legs, and clasped her hands together.

“Marvelous,” said Anna, beaming.

“Well that’s good to hear! How did this change come about?”

“I’m complete, at last.”

“How do you mean?”

“I’ve found my prince. I won’t be unloved any longer.”

Joan…


Part 44

Start with Part 1, and read a short synopsis of the original book.

Princess Adriana knew it pained her father that she didn’t have a mother. Part of her now realized that being with Mitch would mean defeat for Prince Gabriel, a permanent reminder of his dead wife and her absence in their life. Another part of her considered the possibility of Mitch leaving her for months at a time and the risk that he would have affairs with other women. Still another part reconciled it all — “shit happens,” Mitch always said, making her blush with his coarse language…

Flannery Meehan

Philosopher, novelist, itinerant observer. flannerymeehan@gmail.com

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