Phantom Pain

remembering my dad

Phantom Pain

Phantom Pain won the 1997 National Mature Media Silver Award for magazine feature writing. 

by Deborah Conner
THE DAY could not have been more beautiful. I stood with my mother and the deacon beside the long black limo and watched the attendant open the back door of the hearse. I saw them approach—the honor guard, walking slowly, rhythmically. They were coming to claim my father.

His entire life had been bound up in the image of the soldier. It stood next to him, remembering, in everything he did, even though he was only briefly in uniform.

We grew up in the ever-expanding shadow of Washington's Capitol. Always involved in some form of public service, he was the recipient of many awards and held in high esteem. At home, however, he was a different man: angry and remote, unable to connect to a family he clearly loved, but couldn't allow to love him back.

I see now that part of him was lost. The whole of my childhood was spent walking around the gaps of his missing pieces.


Holy Smoke

From 2001

Keep breathing...
 A dialogue: HOLY SMOKE

Anand said:
<<Saw Holy Smoke, Deb. I enjoyed it, but my friends couldn't relate to it. Unconventional (and disturbing— perhaps more so for a male, you think?) movie. In fact, offhand I can't think of any man I know who would like the movie. Interesting how the tables were turned, unexpectedly but very plausibly. [The bitchy "I won! Admit it, I won!" Kick the guy's balls when he's down! After he objectified her initially.] >>
from Deborah:
Hi Anand.


"do this in memory of me"

My notes after watching the ending:


Worry Stones Or Shared Memories

The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery
by Henning Mankell (Author), Laurie Thompson (Translator)June 12, 2016

I could feel it there, reading, just as Wallander senses that we often know more than we realize: Henning Mankell, sensing his own early end.

I think of Wallander winding down, sleeping out beneath the sky. Using a stone as a pillow. And his pilgrimage to his childhood, searching out and finding his carved initials left on a hidden stone, the energy that drives life, making it's "mark"...

Worry stones or shared memories, do we really know each other, even our closest friends?

Do we only know each other in memory, that fleeting effervescence that we truly are?


Bonhomme. Looking back at the ending of Game of Thrones

Ice = fire: the realm of opposites, the necessary gradients of the conditions of matter (time/space) required for life. For being. Nothing exists without what has been before. Every being carries the past in their flesh.

"Memory" -- as in empirical history -- brings it into the light of consciousness.

Bards are Memory’s magician priests.

Sam speaks of everyone having a say in shaping our kingdom. The new kings scoff, being anchored in their old world, that which is passing away, even as they speak. Yes, it’s a very different throne for this new king, newly constructed from a memory made his own as he brings it back into our world. Unlike the cold blue steel forged from swords and death, Movement is its function. This is a throne of life, of Magna Cartas to follow, of Peasants’ Revolts, the Wm Morris Socialism dreamed into being in more recent times by a bard who sang of the shared oft forgotten past. Of riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay

Take comfort. Dani now exists outside of life, the Land Of The Undying. Dream vision, a realm she and her husband share. That strange temple, where she first broke her own chains as her dragon children melted the magician who imprisoned her, is like a stillpoint, a place outside of time and space. It’s truly the place where dragons dwell, where she belongs, the place where Drogon’s instinct wisdom knows she must return.

Take comfort: Jon Snow’s speech