THIS IS THE GATEWAY
HONEST, it’s not my idea to toot my own horn. I started this blog because I wrote a book and everyone said the way to publicize it was to write a blog. Nothing happened, so I wrote another book, and ditto. I just don’t have the right “hook” to get readers to visit me, although my blog has 11 different pages, not counting this one. My royalties are from me purchasing a few of my own books. It’s kinda lonely out here in blogland with nobody “liking” me. So, I wrote a third book–fiction–and it includes…no, I don’t think telling you will matter. Will telling you I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology matter? Oh, well…I was number one on the Miami Jackson tennis team in 1953…
This is me! I am Nan Mykel.
I think my most valued trait is my sense of humor. True, it’s an introverted sense of humor, but it stands me in good stead, especially during trying times.
Now that I have published my highly informational book “FALLOUT: A survivor Talks to Incest Offenders (and Others),” I am continuing to publish with Create Space, since my assistant Shannon Stewart and I have mastered that publishing procedure. And I don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone else (tho I realize that pleasing just myself may have a detrimental effect on my sales).
Shannon is helping me with my efforts to become a functional blog producer, so I’m off on a new adventure. My pages cover Down Syndrome experiences, since my youngest is a Down Syndrome child and I want to provide a venue for sharing both fortunate and unfortunate experiences with Down Syndrome. (The other blog I read only welcomes positive experiences, and I know there are also sad times with the condition).
Another page involves encouraging and sharing creative and/or therapeutic journaling, including dreams, both for myself and others. I have a page for my books, including excerpts. There is also a page called Our Shadow Selves, based on the Shadow as initially envisioned by Carl Jung. Let me add that that page will NOT be subversive. Another page will be called Secrets, which include quotes, literature, thoughts, etc. that excite me, a page called “Relief,” containing images and words that give one that warm, snuggly feeling, a page on INCEST, from a survivor (me), and one on poet/try, which may include some prose. Plus one called Life Issues, which includes almost every life issue I come across.Oh did I mention my page called POET/TRY?
So, who’s Nan Mykel? Mother of three, plus a fourth who’s disowned me, and grandmother of four; a woman born in Virginia, partly raised in North Carolina, also in Maryland, South Carolina, and Florida, who birthed four in Georgia, and lives currently in Athens, Ohio. Graduated from the U of F, PhD from Georgia State, psychology license from Georgia and Ohio, work years with Woodland Centers in Gallipolis and Pomeroy, plus Hocking Correctional Facility in Ohio. Volunteer public access producer in Athens, Ohio, most notably Athens Kaleidoscope (see image to left). I’m an atheist who hopes there’s a pleasant afterlife, and an Obama liberal Unitarian—all three of which I hope don’t run you away from this site.
My second book just appeared on Amazon. As opposed to FALLOUT, the second one was pure fun. It is a book of verse and short stories. Most fun was selecting illustrations from the public domain to go with parts of the book. The book is titled Time Wrinkles, and is “a plebian portfolio —-down to earth and over the top in story and verse.” And then there’s a third book which came out last year, and I’m already dissatisfied with it. In fact, I’m in the process of revising it, a little bit every day, even to the point of giving it a new name–from Shattered Boundaries to The Switch.
Nan and daughter Sallie at the airport New Years Eve 2015
Nan and son-in-law John same place same date
(The vulture climbing the tree was doing just that–he didn’t fly up)
I put this here by accident — it was to go on Life Issues, but I decided to just leave it here.
The Old Woman I Will Be
REMEMBER, when you read this, that it’s by a woman 15 years younger than me (Nan), who is 80.
A big one. 65.
Over the last few weeks, I have been preoccupied with the significance of 65.
Two thirds of my life is behind me. Maybe more. Do I have 30 years left? What if it is only 10?
I’ve wasted a lot of time in 65 years. John Lennon said, “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” But have I enjoyed it? It’s gone now… all those hours waiting for boys to call or vegging in front of TV or playing online games or shopping for shit that I hardly ever wear. I can’t get those hours back.
But I want to make the most of whatever time I have left – and to enjoy that time. Maybe that still means television and shopping. But maybe not.
I will soon (not quite yet) be an old woman.
I’ve been asking myself:
What kind of old woman do I want to be?
I’ve haven’t decided, but I know a few things.
For one thing, I always thought it would be a relief to be old, and no longer concerned about my appearance. Not true. I care. I want to always care. How I look on the outside impacts how I feel about myself. This has always been true, and in the past, it was often in a negative way. I never even felt pretty until I turned sixty. But surprisingly I found I liked my sixty-year-old looks. And at 65, I feel quite beautiful. That’s such a lovely feeling. I’m keeping it. I don’t want to look like an old woman trying desperately to be young. But I will be a beautiful old woman, with good hair and makeup and carefully chosen clothes.
I want to be a smart old woman. I’ll stay interested in politics and the environment and literature and the arts. My father suffered from mild dementia late in life, and I recognize that could happen to me too. If it does, I hope people will be as kind to me as they were to my dad. Maybe I will at least be lucky enough to stay smart in something. My father could still follow the football game. If I can still read a book, I will be happy enough.
Some people tell me they look forward to the freedom to be outspoken. But I come from a long line of non-boat rockers. (Or is it boat non-rockers?) Either way, I’m not sure I would be happy as a crotchety old lady. I like being a nice person. I don’t even have a resting bitch-face.
But I do think I will let go of caring so much what other people think of me. I have long been distressed when I find someone doesn’t like me. Even to be disagreed with is tragic to me. But I am well on my way to getting past it. Right now I am working with someone who very obviously dislikes me. And you know what? It doesn’t matter that much. I don’t have to win her over.
I do want, however, to ask for what I want. As a boat non-rocker, I have always had a difficult time expressing my desires. I always do what everyone else wants to do. I’ve acquiesced so long it’s hard to even know what I want. I remember back in 1976 – forty years ago. I was 25 and Dorothy Hamill had charmed the country at the Winter Olympics. I very badly coveted her hairdo. I went to the salon, and the hairdresser said, “How about if I give you a Dorothy Hamill haircut?” And I said, “I don’t know. I’m not sure I’d look good in that style,” and he cut my hair differently. Differently and Badly. What the hell was wrong with me? This guy was offering me exactly what I wanted, and I turned it down? That stupid little incident haunts me. And I have not changed much. I can’t tell my friends what restaurant I want to go to. I can’t tell my boss that I deserve a raise. I can’t tell my husband what I want for my birthday.
I want to hug and kiss everyone more. I’m a very restrained person. I love my family and friends, but it is difficult for me to be openly demonstrative. But these last few months I’ve changed my mind. It’s my puppy. I love to hug him. He loves me to hug him. Shit, if a dog feels that way, imagine human beings. We all need affection. I’m giving it. I was at a family party this weekend, and I went around the house and hugged and kissed everyone there. I kissed my sisters. Do you know how long it has been since I kissed my sisters? I am going to kiss them all the time.
I’ve been writing this blog for 4 1/2 years. If it’s a waste of time, it’s the best waste of time ever. Does it take me away from working more on my second novel? Yes. Writing a novel is so solitary. And I am a solitary person by nature. So I love that. But my blog is social. I write and people respond. It’s like getting hugs back. I need that too.
And about my blog: every year on my birthday, I post a new photo. Unretouched. (Although I’m tempted.) But I want to show people – especially younger people – that being old is not so bad.
In fact it’s pretty good.
Me [Nancy Roman]– 65 today!
Me [Nancy Mykel] — 80 years
“There goes my mind! Quick! Catch it!”
The very first thing I did on my 80th birthday was fall out of bed. The very next thing I did was go back to bed,
O B I T U A R Y (A little premature)
Retired prison psychologist Nan Mykel passed away last week at the age of 79*, with her boots on. As reported in a recent interview, she said her workplace had expanded from a small prison to embrace the entire county of Athens, Ohio, where she had lived since 1981.
Whether it was volunteering at the local public access television channel in Athens where she produced Kaleidoscope, a weekly show, caretaking her 6-page Word Press blog or squeezing out words for the library’s poetry and writing groups, her mind remained in a frenzy, searching for new ways of looking at things.
It is reported that even on weekly trips to Gallipolis, where she took her Downs Syndrome daughter to lunch Sundays, she drove with paper and pen on the car seat beside her to capture elusive poetry ideas. (Now that she’s gone that illegal practice can be recorded).
Nan was of the old, old school, growing up in a world of mechanical typewriters. The advent of wires, cords, connections, monitors, mice and internet passwords caught her unawares and it was with grim determination that she cautiously inched her way into the computer age. Once on its threshold, she rushed to self-publish three books, which comprise her legacy, along with the refurbished hp and other “stuff” that occupied her home office.
Rumors that she was not a good housekeeper are apparently true, as we discovered on our post- mortem visit.
Incidentally, as an aside, the germ of this obituary was conceived on the Nustep machine at Heart Works in Athens, Ohio, the day after her first and last poetry group’s session.
And now it can be told: her password, which is etched on her tombstone, was “hairballs.”
*She was always cagey about her age. She could have been 80.
Beautiful, blue eyes, blonde hair
My little Sister April 11, 1942 – April, 1983
Allison Buckman Bassett Mannng
(Nikki, short for Nickname, named by Nan)
Gone but never forgotten