14 November 2011

(Reprinted from my Facebook note from 4 March 2009)

I love this Navajo prayer. Years ago, I used to chant it while I walked for exercise. It turned my fitness walk into a meditation walk. I think I should start doing it again. There are variations on it, but I particularly like this version. 


In Beauty may you walk.
All day long may you walk.
Through the returning seasons may you walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may you walk.
With grasshoppers about your feet may you walk.
With dew about your feet may you walk.

With Beauty may you walk.
With Beauty before you, may you walk.
With Beauty behind you, may you walk.
With Beauty above you, may you walk.
With Beauty below you, may you walk.
With Beauty all around you, may you walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of Beauty,
lively, may you walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of Beauty,
living again, may you walk.
It is finished in Beauty.
It is finished in Beauty

Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks
Ruby Beach in Washington State

29 October 2011

Another Lego Refugee Washes Ashore

While I've been doing time, er, sorry, while I've been spending time in Florida with my friends and family here, an intriguing thing has happened. An 8' tall Lego man washed ashore on Siesta Key (Sarasota, FL). While that in itself is a pretty funny sight to behold, what has piqued my interest is the enigmatic message on his chest. "No real than you are." There is too much of the editor in me not to fill in the word that was left out. Should it not read, "No (more) real than you are?" That in itself is quite a statement, given that said Lego man is made of fiberglass. Although a brand new Legoland theme park has just opened up nearby in Winter Haven, on the grounds of the former Cypress Gardens, the park claims that it had nothing to do with the big Lego float. While it would be a great publicity stunt, I suspect they're telling the truth. If they'd been responsible, I think that it wouldn't have a typo on it, and they'd take responsibility for it and claim the object for the park.  Why not? 

Just because they aren't behind the stunt doesn't mean it isn't one. This is not the first of its kind. So far, I've found videos of two other nearly identical figures that have washed ashore. One in 2007 at Zandvoort in Holland and one that washed ashore in the UK at Brighton Beach. That was in 2008. Given that a new park just opened up in Florida a mere ten days before the arrival of the giant Lego man, I had to wonder if the appearance of the other figures coincided with other park openings, but upon further investigation, I discovered that the appearance of giant Lego men didn't start 2007. The park in the UK opened in 1996 and their big guy didn't appear until 2008. While I do think it's a publicity stunt, I don't think the Lego folks are behind it. According to an article in Sarasota, Florida's Herald-Tribune, an artist in the Netherlands, one Ego Leonard (name on the back of the giant Lego dudes), is responsible. They emailed the guy at his website and got a response in first person from Mr. Lego himself. The email reads:

"I am glad I crossed over. Although it was a hell of a swimm," the email said. "Nice weather here and friendly people. I think I am gonna stay here for a while. A local sheriff escorted me to my new home."

Apparently it takes this fellow two ems to "swimm" around the world. That is one hell of a swimm after all. 

What I want to know is, how many more Lego men will show up? The one that landed in Holland had the number 9 on his back. I haven't been able to find the number on the UK man, but since the Florida one had the number 8, I suspect there are more to come unless the great white sharks out there are giving themselves indigestion by biting into these fiberglass babies. Blech! 

If you want to learn more about Lego Man, a.k.a., Ego Leonard, he has his own website (of course he does!).  http://www.egoleonard.nl  And a Facebook page: V=http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001127118502&sk=wall He's also tweeting apparently. https://twitter.com/#!/egoleonard I just signed up to follow his plastic tweets. To read more about the first (known) Lego Man washing ashore, I refer you to: http://www.marketingvox.com/giant-lego-man-washes-ashore-in-holland-032233/ More about the Florida incident can be found at: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20111025/WIRE/111029721/-1/new?p=1&tc=pg and more about the UK one can be found in many places, but here's one link to get you started: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7702121.stm 

Happy Lego-ing. Thank you, Ego Leonard, for an interesting topic to occupy our idle hands/minds while you promote your art. Very effective marketing trick and nice pun off the Greek word for I (ego), as in I, Leonard, and the word Lego, which makes for an interesting subject for art as well as a statement about the plastic state of the world in general. Well done!

Videos of the Lego Finds:
Holland in 2007
UK in 2008
USA (Florida) in 2011

 Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks

20 August 2011

Finding Balance in a Sea of Raging Hormones

I've heard a lot of women complaining about psychotic mood swings arising from perimenopause. I hope you don't take ten years to figure it out like I did. I lost a lot of valuable time and jeopardized relationships by taking too long to figure out how to return to sanity and hormonal balance. I’m using a homeopathic menopause remedy made by Hylands to smooth out the bumps in my emotional path.  I plan to continue to use it until I am long past menstruation.


If these don't work for you, I implore you to try something else that is natural before you resort to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  In some cases, HRT might be the only thing that works, but at least make sure you get bio-identical hormones, if you go this route. Some of the stuff out there is made from horse urine. Yes, you heard me right. One of the names it  goes by is Premarin. Not only is this a form of cruelty to horses, but ew! Who wants to ingest horse urine?


Homeopathy is a safe, alternative way of approaching wellness. It's been around a very long time. It's not always fast acting, but it does work for a lot of people. I take the menopause remedy every night (3 tablets) before I go to bed and any time I start feeling sad, depressed, weepy, bitchy, etc. I usually need them only once a day, but if I need them more, I know I can take more b/c they operate on infinitesimal dosages. I also use their insomnia remedy for the perimenopausal sleeplessness. I’m sleeping much better. Now if I can only convince my kitz that I need to sleep more than six hours at a time, I’ll be set.  For you younger ladies, this same company has a menstrual remedy (PMS) as well.


Women's wisdom about women's needs used to be passed down from generation to generation, with wise woman healers helping women through difficult patches. We got disconnected from this chain of wisdom and are out there being tossed about on the stormy seas of our hormones. I've been taking the menopause remedy for about six months or so, and I'm back to the more gentle, easy-going woman I used to be. If I start feeling too weepy, I take an extra dose of the stuff and maybe some of the Calms Forte formula too until it subsides. The Calms stuff (various formulas of this) usually works really fast on me and has none of the side effects of Zanax or the other things being pushed onto women in times of anxiety.


Part of our midlife anxiety arises from the stress in our lives, but most of it is hormonal and needs to be eased back into balance rather than controlled by drugs. You need to control the mood swings in order to deal with the real sources of the anxieties. You may need to make lifestyle changes. You may need the spotlight to focus on the areas of your life that are out of balance. You may need to establish some boundaries or leave relationships, but more than anything, you need to be the one making the decisions about your life. Don't let the medical authorities take over for you. Empower yourself to make whatever decision you need to make by becoming informed. Menopause is not a disease any more than menstruation or pregnancy. Sometimes they get too complicated and you need medical people to intervene. But most of the time, all we need are food, herbs, and gentle alternative remedies (homeopathy, aromatherapy, massage, sound healing, flower essences, etc.) to return our bodies to a more balanced state.

Using synthetic hormones to treat normal and natural hormonal changes is like dropping a boulder on the other side of the scale to balance the weight. You might feel as though you need something that drastic to make the craziness stop, but you really don't, if perimenopause is the only underlying cause. Start experimenting with gentle, natural remedies as soon as you can to ease yourself back to balance.  I’ve been studying women’s health for a couple of decades, so I’m very accustomed to taking charge of my health issues, but by all means, please consult a naturopath, if you’re unaccustomed to taking charge of your own health and don’t trust your research capabilities and resources. Once you find what works, keep doing it until you bid these crazy swings goodbye. Just bear in mind that you might need to treat yourself for a decade or more, which is another reason going the natural route is a better idea.  Ten or more years on synthetic hormone replacement can cause other serious health issues.


If you decide to use HRT to treat the symptoms of menopause, please insist on bio-identical hormones over horse urine. I don’t understand why any woman would knowingly choose to ingest horse urine. The problem is that they are not being informed about what they are taking, so you have to inform yourself. Don’t take my word for anything either. I’m not an expert on your body. No one knows you better than you. Not even your doctor. Your doctor is taught about pathology and not necessarily about wellness. There is a huge chasm between studying how to treat illnesses and studying how to prevent them by creating a lifestyle of wellness.


Don’t be like a lamb led to slaughter when you go to the doctor. There’s a good chance that your doctor is being influenced by the powerful pharmaceutical companies out there, who are looking only to make a profit.  Sure, it’s easy just to pop a magic pill to calm the storm, but what sort of perfect storm are you setting yourself up for later down the line when the side effects all come together to create a true illness?

Menopause is not an illness, even though it sometimes feels like mental illness. I know I was feeling pretty insane by my 51st year. I was weepy and needy at times and angry and enraged at others. Mostly I was quietly depressed with episodes of sudden anxiety that had absolutely no basis in what was occurring in my life at the time. These bouts started slowly and infrequently around the age of forty and increased with age.  None of these emotions felt like me, and yet I knew it was coming from inside my body for the most part. I was also opening up psychically at the same time. Increasingly I started picking up on other people’s energy.  From what I’d read years ago about the crone stage of life, I knew this was part of perimenopause too, becoming increasingly empathetic towards others.  I learned to shield myself when other people’s energy started impacting me too much, and I learned how to discern which emotions were mine and which were coming from someone else. I also figured out that the erratic mood swings were because of being perimenopausal, but I still didn’t know what to do about it.  Finally when the crazies got too out of hand, I went online looking for natural answers.  I found what works for me, and it was a combination of homeopathy and herbs, along with aromatherapy, massage, and trying to maintain a more peaceful, simpler lifestyle.

After all is said and done, you may still need something you can get only from your medical doctor, but don't acquiesce to radical medical treatment without doing the research and exploring gentle, alternative methods first. They’re usually much less expensive, but because they aren’t generally fast acting magic pills, you need to take charge before the next crazy episode. Start talking to other women in this age range and the ones who have gone before you. We have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom collectively. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa, but if we keep talking to one another, perhaps we’ll all find something natural and gentle that works. Then when our daughters and granddaughters reach this time of life, we’ll have more knowledge to help them through this as well. 

The more connected women are to each other, the more solutions we can find together. If we remain in isolation, we are targets for those who want to tell us what our bodies need. They know medicine, but we know us. If you have a medical condition, then by all means seek medical help. Menopause is part of life...like giving birth, having periods, and letting go of loved ones when it's their time to leave. None of these things should fall under the auspices of medical treatment unless other issues arise in conjunction with them. There are plenty of women out there who have researched these things and some of them have done so with medical degrees to guide them. Dr Christiane Northrup is one of them.


Be aware that the pharmaceutical industry is the driving force behind much of what doctors are prescribing. I hope you've read enough to see how much harm indiscriminate use of any drug can cause. Or indiscriminate use of herbs too for that matter. Drugs originally came from herbs. They are strong medicine and not to be taken lightly either. The point is to be informed and talk to other women. If we remain isolation in our frustration and embarrassment about feeling so out of control of our emotions, then we are vulnerable to doctors and pharmaceutical companies who want to take over our health care. No one should ever take over our health care unless we are entirely incapable of handling it. If that is the case, then I'm pretty sure you're not reading this blog.

Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks

16 August 2011

Gearing Up for What's Next

Since I don’t know where to start this blog, I might as well jump into the middle. That’s where I am in my life anyway-- midlife. At least as long as I live to be 102, which is unlikely. Truth be known, I’ve been having midlife crises for quite a while now, for at least a decade, I guess. This is partly because I’m perimenopausal and partly because of the strange times we’re living in these days, though they’re not really as hard as some make out. It's not like it was in the Great Depression when there were people who had to go to work on empty stomachs because there was nothing to eat, no money, not enough work, and no unemployment checks coming in weekly.  People really should read a little more history to keep things in perspective.  Even given these “troubled times,” a phrased overused a lot in the past couple of years, most of us still live like royalty in America in comparison to Third World countries and even mere decades ago. Most American households have multiple televisions and computers, among other things. I don’t watch much television when I live by myself, and I even have a nice one now. Of course that is because my best friend was visiting me while I lived in the Puget Sound area and she wanted to be able to watch sports during her visit. I owned a cheap 19-inch color television, but since her vision is less than stellar she bought me a 32-inch HD television with an LCD display. I've enjoyed watching DVDs on it and the Weather Channel of course. I even break down and watch a show now and then.

I’m a writer by trade, so my royal wealth is revealed mainly in the number of laptop computers I own. Yes, multiples, because of their tendency to develop weirdnesses after a few years.  Since I have to be connected to the internet a lot to keep my various businesses operating, I buy a new laptop if my main one starts behaving badly. I usually keep at least one backup just in case something untoward happens to my main one. I recently acquired an extra, older laptop that had been retired by my friend who doesn’t wear them out the way I do. I think she replaced this one because it didn’t have a keypad, which is okay with me, since I’m used to not having one anyway. I use numbers a lot less than I use letters. She, on the other hand, is a high school math teacher. Thus the need for the keypad.  Getting her old one brought my total collection to four. I just passed one on to my nephew, otherwise I’d have five, which is a bit excessive even for my tastes. But I digress.

I want to keep a journal on what I am about to do and how I am proceeding on my life’s path as it unfolds before me. I know that I’m on the right path, but I really need some guidance at the moment and a forum for untangling the threads of thought that are currently winding their way along my synapses. I need to process, I guess, and the best way for me to process things has always been to journal my thoughts. So let me bring you up to speed. If you’ve been following my blogs you’ll know basically how I got to this place in time. If not, you might want to back up a bit, but you really should read my first collection of autobiographal essays, Slices of My Life: So Far.  That will make my life seem a little more sensible to some of you. Maybe.

I’m 51, and I’m living in my best friend’s house in Florida. This is not where I thought I’d be at this age and stage of life, but it is, however, where I am at the moment. While I’m glad to be able to spend more time with my buddy after twenty-five years away from this part of the world, I miss my chosen home, which is the Puget Sound region. It’s located in the Pacific Northwest part of the United States. I also miss having my own life. For various reasons, I needed to come back here for a time. The reasons for this return to my childhood home are nearing completion, and I’m itching now to move onto whatever is next or to go back home to the Seattle area. Only I don’t want to go home the way I got here. I had a harrowing trip getting here that was hard on me and my three cats. In fact, the oldest of my cats died about three days after we arrived. That was no fun, but fortunately my cats reincarnate and come back to me, so he’s back now, and we are even closer than we were before, possibly because of all we went through getting here. I’d really like to go back in a small RV, so they and I can roam about the country in greater comfort and at a gentler pace. Apparently the size and kind of RV I’m interested in is called a Class C motor home. Whatever. It’s not too big and it’s not too small for one person and three cats. As in the children’s fairy tale, it’s “just right” for this Goldilocks (NOT) and her three teddy bears (cats).

While the trip here was difficult, it did have moments of beauty. However, I’d like the journey back to be simply beautiful and a great time of connecting with lots of friends and family along the way, and I’d like it to prepare me for the next stage of my life. I’ve had over a year’s worth of trying to recover from all that happened to me during the packing and moving last year. I need things to be easier now. I’m not in as good a shape as I was before I started packing last year, but I do have considerably less stuff. I’d already been paring down over the years because of all the moving I’ve done in my life.  I have continued to pare down since I got here. Now I find myself paring down even more. Again.

I’d like to be able to fit most of my belongings in and on the motor home, my bicycle being the one thing for sure that would have to ride on the outside. I sold my sixteen-year-old car a few months ago after owning it for fifteen years. I love that car, but it was time to let it go so I found her a good home. Now I need to find a good home for myself and my cats. We’re just fine where we are, except that it isn’t our home, and this isn’t the part of the world where I fit. I grew up in Central Florida, but for my entire life, I didn’t feel as though I belonged here. I still don’t.  I knew I had to be here for a time, but that time is running out now, and I need to know what I need to do in order to be ready for the next step. I also need to manifest whatever I’m going to need to move me to the next place.

So I continue paring down and now I’m looking for an RV so I can join the millions of other Americans in the world who ride off into the sunset to enjoy the retired life. Only I’m not retired. Indeed, I’m in one of the few professions where retirement is not only unnecessary, but it’s also unlikely. Most writers pretty much die writing. While I have a number of years to go and lots of things to see and say yet, I will no doubt stop writing only because my heart has stopped beating. I’d be very happy just to drift off to sleep some day and never wake up. I know pretty much when that will happen. If you've been reading my blogs, you might already know that I am of a spiritual bent. If truth be known, I am psychic and work closely with angels, so I know that death is nothing to fear.

When a spiritual teacher told me several years ago that I could just ask when my time would be up, I did. It wasn’t as long as I thought, but I’m happy with all that is left of it. It’s enough time to do what I need to do before I close my eyes for the last time, as long as I stay on my path. That’s what I’m doing here now. Staying on my path. It’s not necessarily what other people think I should be doing or want me to be doing, but I stopped worrying about what other people think I long time ago. That's what makes me a good lesbian. In order to come out to myself and the world, I had to quit caring about what other people think about me and my life choices.

In the immortal words of one of the greatest childen’s writers of all time:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”  --Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a., “Dr Seuss“)

So here I go, preparing for the next step into the seeming void that will become more solid the closer my foot comes to making it.

I’m reminded once again of the Taoist teaching.  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. “ -- Lao-Tzu

Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks

13 July 2011

Trained to Deceive

There's something I have to confess. It may shock you. It may make you want to turn your back on me. Or maybe, just maybe, you'll understand and be able to identify with me.  Here's the confession. I have spent a good portion of my life being dishonest with myself and sometimes other people too, either consciously or unconsciously. I won't blame my society for this, but if I'm going to continue to move my life towards the state of being an open book to others and myself, then I have to speak out about the world that helped shape me into the person I am today. The truth is that I was heavily influenced by society to deceive not only myself but others as well.

You see, one of the things I learned early on from society is that being gay isn't okay.  If you are my age or older, then you're probably nodding your head as you read this.  If you are much younger or grew up in a state or country that is more progressive in their laws and their thinking, then you may not be able to relate to this at all. Thankfully in the twenty-first century, the laws are changing as the ranks of the accepting grow and the ranks of the homophobes die off.  The younger generations growing up simply have no reason to deny the LGBT community equal marriage and all other civil rights. It isn’t part of their ideological heritage for the most part. Even many older people with sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren who are living their lives openly as gay, lesbian, and bisexual, now have a face to put on that old “queer” label. They love these people and want them to be happy. It makes no sense to them to deny us equal rights either. 

However, growing up in the 60s and 70s, I learned (first at school and later at church) that being gay isn't okay. So I hid the truth about my gay-ness not only from other people, but also from myself. How did I do this? Indeed, how does any gay person hide it from him or herself? And yet we do. I certainly had plenty of evidence of my gay-ness. I started having sexual fantasies about women when I was in junior high school. I remember the first woman I fantasized about and what school year it was, although I don't remember the fantasy exactly. She was one of my teachers, married and very definitely not gay, at least as far as I knew. I mean, really, we don't always know about others. How can we when we are so good about denying the truth about our own lives?

Oddly enough, during ninth or tenth grade, I double-dated with this teacher and her husband. Her husband's younger brother was visiting, and they asked me to go out with him and them on a double date, which I must say was a little strange to me. I had fun with them all, but I felt like a fish out of water, perhaps because while the guy was nice, I was definitely not attracted to him. I suspect, had I been honest with myself at the time, I would have had to admit that I was way more attracted to my female teacher than to her teenage brother-in-law.  It's hard to admit something like that as a teenager. Those years are so much about exploring your sexuality and your worldview in general.  

The internal conflict didn't always go unnoticed either. One of my peers, who was apparently either more perceptive than the others, or at least less inclined to filter her thoughts, blurted out one day in geometry class than she couldn't really think of me as either male or female. Wow! There ya go. She figured it out before I did. This was after the lesbian fantasies, mind you, but I had certainly not gotten as far in my thinking as she did with that one statement. It gave me pause, I have to admit, but I didn't disagree with her. I simply looked at her and said, "Okay." Then I thought about it later and still couldn't disagree with her. I mean, I knew that I was female. There was no ambiguity there. I had been a tomboy growing up and very athletic, but I was still female inside and out. What I wasn't, was a heterosexual female, and that I suspect was the energy she sensed around me. I filed that thought away and went on my merry way, fantasizing about my female teachers. I think by this time, I'd stopped fantasizing about male teachers, although there had been a couple in junior high who had been fantasy worthy. 

What did happen after that point is that I got engaged between my sophomore and junior years in high school. I was fifteen going on thirty that summer apparently. Needless to say, my mother choked on that, but she didn't freak out. She simply suggested that we wait until I graduated from high school. Had she gone totally berserk, it might have solidified the thing in my mind, but she didn't. In her outwardly cool way, she tried to accept it for what she thought it was--hormones. In a way it was and in a way it wasn't. I really liked, maybe even loved the guy. He was really nice and a great friend. But I must say that he didn't rock my world, even though together we did manage to rock my mother's world. Sorry, Mom. Thank you for letting me work through that one on my own. I suspect in some way I was trying to prove to myself that I wasn't a lesbian. I thought I was doing what women were supposed to do, i.e., grow up and get married to a nice fellow.  Only as was my wont, I was trying to skip the whole growing up part.  I had always been ahead of the curve, but this was one area where I really needed to slow down and take my time, time I desperately needed to figure out that I really wasn’t like the other girls.

When you realize just how different your worldview is from the majority of teenagers around you, it can be quite daunting. While other teens are thinking about the opposite sex, you find that you are thinking about the same sex. It can be quite a profound wake-up call, or it can be a more subtle awakening, bit by bit, to a different point of view and life experience. I was acting like my peers on the outside, but I was a different person on the inside. I was rather timid about letting anyone know about the inside me, so I dealt with it by denying my true feelings. This leads, I think, to a breakdown of a cohesive sense of self. If you can't be honest with yourself, how can you help but become somewhat dishonest with others. Even if you want to be honest and open with the world, you have already figured out by listening to your peers that being "queer" is anything but normal, and when you're a teenager, you generally want to be normal. You want to fit in with the crowd.

I used to hang out with different groups in high school, but I never completely fit into any single clique. That's part of what made me so independent and capable of standing on my own, so it's not necessarily a bad thing. I do wish though that I could have done that in a way that was more open. Instead, I hid parts of myself I thought were too different and searched for some way to move through the world that fit my experience. My way of moving through the world turned out to be that of being my own person, set apart by virtue of my different-ness, but also somewhat split in my thinking. I had to dichotomize my world into my outer me and my inner me. 

To a degree I still do this, even though it's no longer necessary because I'm a lesbian who is very out of the closet now. But I didn't reach this level of openness overnight. I don't think any of us do. The process of coming out takes time, and sometimes we sacrifice important bits of ourselves, including significant relationships, while we are in process.  How can we not sacrifice bits of our own integrity when we feel such a strong need to hide who we are? We are in fact being trained by our cultures and our laws to deceive ourselves, our friends, our families, our teachers, our students, our employers, law enforcement officials, the military, our neighbors, our landlords, virtually everyone, including the stranger on the street who might be lurking outside the gay bar just waiting for the opportunity to assault us.  The more restrictive the laws and culture, the more deeply ingrained are the levels of deception. How can this not impact who we are and how we move through the world? How can it not train us to deceive? 

Beth Mitchum is the author of five novels, one collection of poetry, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks

15 March 2011

An Iconic Year for the Pusillanimous Logophile

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that Americans are wearing out a particular word this year?  Maybe it didn't start this year.  Maybe I simply started noticing it this year when really it has been an underground movement that finally surfaced enough that I noticed.  Whatever the case, starting at the beginning of 2011, my best friend and I started noticing that everyone on television and lots more in print were throwing the word iconic around like it was absolutely indispensable to the English language. Suddenly it's being used in reference to hockey jerseys, movies, rock stars, and everything else that is in the spotlight.  It seems that nothing is worthy of our attention unless it is iconic.

I have noticed in the past that when I learned a new word that I suddenly started reading and hearing it everywhere I turn. Only in this case, it is not at all a new word in my vocabulary.  Perhaps it is someone else's new word that is suddenly everywhere, and my buddy and I are just caught in the crossfire.  Whatever it is, it has gone beyond coincidence; it has gone beyond quirky.  Now it is downright annoying.

Everyone in the English-speaking world, hear me!  Please stop wearing out this word.  By it's very definition, for something to be iconic, it has to be something or someone that represents whatever group or thing to which it is being compared or to which it belongs.  This word cannot possibly be appropriate to everyone and everything in the whole world, or its meaning becomes diluted.

I suspect that this sudden extreme usage of this word can be attributed to the speed at which information is being transmitted around the globe via television, the internet, and cell phones.  That's great.  I have no problem with that, but could we just switch out the catch word once a week at least?  I get dictionary words delivered to my email every day.  Let's use some of those.  They are perfectly good words and they are languishing in the word pool, while iconic is being bandied about like a beach ball on a hot day.  The word has become even more cliche than the word cliche, if that is at all possible.  I'd like to see writers and public speakers come up with some new words before that one gets completely stretched out of shape and has to be chucked  into the charity bin.  Today's word is pusillanimous.   I'm tossing that one onto the court.  Now let's play ball.  Unless you are too pusillanimous to try.

In the three days after I posted this blog, I heard the word iconic on television four more times.  It was applied to a recipe (an "iconic dish"), Mt. Fuji (the "iconic volcano"), the new Jeep ("iconic beauty"), and last but not least, a Coca-cola bottle (the "iconic bottle").  I'll give them the iconic bottle for coke, but not the rest of them.

My Facebook post on March 19th. <OMG! Now there is an "iconic Native American Indian head" on a gold coin. *bangs head against the wall*>  I can see this one too, but most of these descriptions are too lame for words.  Particularly overused words.

Beth Mitchum is the author of five novels, one collection of poetry, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks