Dispatch from the Angelic Realm
Circa 1981, a letter from my sister Laurie to my brother Mark

I can provide a little more background to what prompted me to get this letter out and read it again, however, at this point I will wait. All I know is, that as I read it again after finishing reading James Garner's book The Garner Files (2nd time), I was compelled to look at Laurie's specific mention on The Rockford Files. The other day I pulled out the letter to find out where Mark had lived because Sarah had gotten a job offer in Creston.

Reading it through, I found deep wisdom and important information for our time, right now. Many think that people who take there lives (Laurie 1985, Mark 2015) to be disturbed, psychotic, insane. Reading Laurie's letter, and especially to my brother Mark, I can say nothing could be further from the truth. This is especially meaningful now, after my brother Mark left in the same way. They, obviously, left in this way for me to become the person that I am. I know, in my heart of hearts, and through amazing, tangible, physical proof that they have brought into the world, that they are both my angels watching over everything they left for me to accomplish. I do what I do to honor their life, as I also continue to be the best person that I can be. I must admit, that I would rather have them here with me now, as all of our dreams and Visions manifest, but I will have to accept the fact that I will have to wait until some future time to be with both of them, and mom and dad, again.

I love you Laurie, Mark, Mom and Dad and Kari.

Dear Mark,

Thank you for a warm and encouraging letter. I’m sitting here on a Wednesday evening and my coffee pot just kicked the bucket – so I’m straining my coffee unsuccessfully and have a mouth full of coffee grains – but I just have to have coffee – even if it means grains and all. I’m in a mellow mood – rain again – and a Norwegian friend who visited Thorbjorn from Norway just left today – early this morning. He’s been here for four days and is one of Thorbjorn’s gangster friends – one of the “tough” guys. We call him, “Brownie”. He’s 43 years old, a tiny man with a beard and an incredible sense of humor – a backyard philosopher. He’s unmarried, and just lost both of his parents this winter who he was very close to – in fact he has always lived at home. The last few years – I guess seven to be exact, he has been working with vehicles that he buys in the U.S.A. and sends over to Norway. The vans are made for handicapped people – and finished off in Norway, Thorbjorn has taken part in trying to adapting each van to the particular needs of each handicapped person. Each has to be customed to each person of course – so they work together with the handicapped person. I think you would love this group of guys, Mark. They are pretty unconventional – they start their day with Coca-Cola for breakfast. Brownie philosophizes on everything imaginable – I thought I’d die laughing when he gave his version of a solution for the Falkland crisis. He said we should mobilize a huge group of people to write letters to the top Argentinian general (I can’t remember his name) accusing him of being a “bad lover”! Wouldn’t that scandalize him! It was almost sad when he left this morning – he’s been traveling all around the United States alone. But he loves it, cause he meets all kinds of people. He is also a sports car nut!! and owns two Morgans and a GM – W (I suspect BMW, my notation) Thorbjorn said you’d know what they are.

Dear Mark, there a lot of my thoughts lately. I would like to share with you and some are about some of the things in your letter - and some are just fleeting thoughts passing through me  head. There is a drunk fly – bugging me – I don’t know how to get rid of it – it’s so confused it’s flying backwards and it doesn’t look full grown either.

The first thing I want to say, Mark, is you musn’t apologize for not coming when I had trouble last year. Don’t waste one minute on it – because I know you care, and I’ve always known it. It’s a paradox, Mark, but when I was as depressed as I was, for awhile, know one could help me, not even the family. Recentlyhave been getting some beautiful letters from friends, and they have been mirroring some new thoughts for me. Heidi has sent me beautiful insights into the contradicting – and yet necessary struggles we have with our loved ones and friends. She said refreshingly – that she could see positive things in most of the negative things in our personality’s – except for guilt. (underlined twice). Guilt she said is destructive – it is a rehashing of things gone by – things that can’t be altered or changed and that somehow ate up energy that we need to be productive and forward looking. Isn’t that true, Mark!! She said that strangely enough this is something we are almost contradicted (she crossed out) confronted with our family. It comes in a pattern that seems to repeat itself incessantly, and without mercy. We somehow are always reacting to expectations of each other instead of what we really are – “not perfect”. Jeanie, the woman I am working with at the Mental Health Clinic in Ames says the only appropriate, and healthy approach to guilt is anger!! We need to get it out and not turn it into ourselves. We have to try not to be judgmental of ourselves in a destructive way. If we make a mistake – Hells Bells that’s OK! And Mark, it is paramount that we take care of ourselves and our needs first. Our needs above all else. I take care of my needs first – and foremost. I am also discovering over and over that helping somebody else is done without our knowing it. It’s the simple sharing of ideas. Everybody’s struggle is a personal struggle and the timing is so different, as different as people themselves. I liked what you said about striving for perfection, but not hoping to attain it. This is an area where my thoughts cluster lately. I guess, Mark for the first time in my life I have been forced to stop striving – and am realizing perfection is unattainable – and for me not even interesting {any} longer. Heidi said it in a beautiful way – she said . . . Laurie, we are what we are supposed to be – we are good, and bad. This is what life is and we will always be discovering ourselves in absurd situations, always making mistakes – because know one tells us the secret of this existence – and she continues – “Those who know this don’t belong in this world.” I thought this was one of the loveliest things I have ever heard. I don’t know if this sounds abstract to you, Mark, or not – but I have been dealing with so many gut feeling this last year, that I am so aware of the negative sides in my personality. We are union of opposites – and we must not rid ourselves of our demons, or we risk losing our angels.

I feel such a need to be candid as I can be. I really like what you said about not letting guilt or fear hold you back, and always have faith that those who love you will understand. I agree!! Hurah. Even if people don’t always “understand”. I feel we have to follow up a conviction, our path is our own. But so many times I have discovered that we all do struggle – that is life – but the sharing of it is a consolation. I get such a kick out of James Garner – in Rockford Files, one of the few shows I watch on T.V. – and he “bitches” his way through life in such an amusing way – and I feel is one of the few series that doesn’t create a paper flat image – but a person that is real, living – and 3 dimensional.

I am questioning lately the level of consciousness in Art. I do feel a change in my approach to it. I know I have often used the word “soul” as you do – to describe a process. Yet lately I feel that it is ethereal and hard to talk about. “Perhaps I feel like if a tree in the forest falls and nobody in the forest hears it is there sound?” I guess what I’m trying to say is that art or any job well done is reaching out in a way that is materialistic, in a sense. Fighting to express a form – to share an experience in paint or in words, or in any way that is creative is working with material things and their limitations. One human hand stretching out to reach another human hand. “Does this sound silly?” I have to share with you something I found amusing. I think I have been a culprit in past years of kinda a “spiritual snobbery”. My latest realization has come while sitting on the toilet and reading Thorbjorn’s motorcycle magazines flung all around the floor! Mark, listen to this!! I’m quoting here someone else’s thoughts

“you have to find all the answers yourself and then write them down in such a way that anyone can understand them. This takes time and lots of people working hard and lots of money being spent in an informed way.

Just because you suspect strongly that the engine you are so lovingly building is going to be trashed in the next practice doesn’t mean you can build it with any less care. You are not building an engine – a thing – you are building a way of building engines! You are building information – and it will be meaning less unless you know exactly how each engine was built! You have to know what is different from the last time and what is the same! Otherwise you have done it for nothing. Don’t do anything for nothing.

Gradually some gems, or relative gems begin to emerge, some few items and procedures whose reliability, and performance are acceptable!!”

Mark isn’t this beautiful? Isn’t it what you feel to be true when one of your stories is born, or one of my paintings. The material is irrelevant – everything man does for more then immediate pleasure – is creative – whether it be a motorcycle – a painting – the brain – and the earth. Profound huh! But isn’t it great, too.

I am presently reading a book about an American Woman painter named Georgia O’Keefe and finding great pleasure in a biography that is well written and unpretentious. She was a woman of great courage, conviction, very human, and at times a real bitch!! But she had dimension. Many art critics said a lot of wild things about her work describing it in Freudian terms, ect, ect. It made her madder then shit! These big flowers they said were a vagina symbols not flowers. “I think you are only happy momentarily” she remarked in old age when asked what the happiest years of her life had been. Another fun thing she used to say is that when she found out she couldn’t live where she wanted, dress the way she wanted, say what she wanted – at least she could paint what she wanted. Her no nonsense approach to her painting was refreshing too – she painted what she liked and what she really grew to love the most was the New Mexican desert – though much of her life was spent in New York.

Mark, I do feel to often the life is painful. Taking responsibility

for our own life is painful and hard work. But personally I have

made life even more painful then it need be by being over

Kritical and introspective! Not in my wildest fantasy could

I even really create the incredible variation that life presents

me with everyday – if I look around me instead of down at my

feet. I have whipped my brain dry with questions about “why”

What’s the meaning?” My new answer is I am here, ready or

not!” Because I think you would be a very good writer if you

chose to be I just wanted to share a little something from

writer of short stories, again a woman – American her name is

Flannery O’Connor

“I am not a mystic and I do not lead a holy life. Not that I claim any interesting or pleasurable sin (my sense of the devil is strong) but I do know all about the garden variety – pride, gluttony, envy, sloth and once more my virtues are as timid as my vices!”
                She has such a funny sense of humor about her work

“I’m not afraid that the book will be controversial I’m afraid it will not be controversial. I’m afraid it will be dropped, genteely sneered at, a few superior kicks from one or two and that will be that . . . at least this is an individual book. I can’t think of anybody else's that it might remind you of. Nobody would have been found dead writing it – but me.”

Well Mark, it’s three in the Morning – I felt such a need to talk to you. I’m kinda of scared about letter writing because if I said something stupid it's there in “blue and white”. But I have faith in your ability to say “that’s stupid” and you can even cross out those parts.

Well I better get to bed – I have a whopper headache all day. I was so happy to get your letter and if you feel the urge write again – if not I know your working things out in Chariton. But Mark, I know you care a lot, so don’t waste time thinking about that. You are a very gentle person. If there’s anything else that’s fuzzy about what I wrote – let me know I have a bad habit of talking around things instead of at things – that’s the way my head “thunks” at 3 in the Morning.

                Lots of Love – thanks again