Beginnings & Endings — Double Helix — Last Page

Finale of this illustrated companion to my memoir

Tulip Display 2013

Everything worthwhile is the connection each of us has with love. All the rest is matter that doesn’t matter so much, no matter how

Ah hem…

We interrupt this conclusion for a moment with a gentle reminder.

Yes, Mernie does have a committee of beings who help her out.

You do as well. You very possibly have an entire chorus of angels and sprites who act as your guides. Some are connected to infinite wisdom and power. Some are impish. Their practical jokes aren’t always funny, but they do serve to keep you humble. It’s okay to laugh at them, and certainly okay to ask questions. Making sincere requests for aid is possible anytime, anywhere. Mernie hollering up at the moon with her checkbook is not perhaps the best example to emulate. We hear her. Your guides hear you. We are all here to help each other.

Grab a crystal, stick a rock in your pocket or just find that calm space between noises and ask. We are always here.

We will help how we can, even though not all the lessons are gentle.

With Forever Love, All of us over here, and right next to you.

— The End

In the Beginning:

Every book starts with the title, and often that is all we read before moving on to a more intriguing cover. I can read a novella of just titles in any trip to a bookstore. Early on I was vehemently advised to come up with a less self-deprecating title by the retired NYC publishing house editor who facilitated my writers group here in pre-Covid Woodstock. She hated it. But friends who know me uttered short barks of laughter when I replied, “The Incompetent Psychic.” Obviously I went with that, and wasn’t wrong.

Two nights ago a very loud voice yelled ‘MERN’. It startled me out of a deep, deep sleep. Odd, because it’s just me and a quiet chihuahua on an acre in the northeastern woods. Being yelled awake while alone had only happened once before. I groggily found the phone and texted my sister the insomniac to check she was okay. She replied she was in her studio painting some sheep and just fine. So whew, not Catherine. I thought of other people who are energetically connected with enough power to wake me up, and also call me ‘Mern’. Since they live out west and there was nothing I could do anyway, I went back to sleep. Yesterday I sent messages to check. Not my brother in Berkeley, or besties in Utah and Arizona. They’re wiggy from sheltering so long, but felt no need to scream my name in the middle of the night. Who then?

Did my soul wander too far into the dark astral and a helpful guardian angel hollered me back? Did my own sub-conscious play a (not funny) practical joke? Faun didn’t wake up, so it wasn’t the dog. Guess my book title is appropriately descriptive after all. I get startling, random messages, but no clue who sent them or what they might mean.

The End:

I couldn’t stick a landing for the conclusion for the longest time.

During early attempts I hoped a good ending would pop up. It didn’t, so went back to editing. I would try again. My story continued through the process of pondering where on earth my life wanted to move next and how to get there. Leaving California was a year of missteps, and writing about it was sentence after sentence of stumbles. My words were stilted and whiney and no fun to write or re-read. Quite suddenly my writing had become incompetent and unconfident. So I stopped, went back and kept drafting improvements to my manuscript. Generous friends read it and offered helpful notes.We all agreed the ending was weak.

Then I would try again and fail. I dove back into instructional essays on how to write by better, more successful authors. Mary Karr identified my problem in ‘The Art of Memoir’ when she suggested it takes at least five years to get enough emotional distance to successfully process life’s events, and then write with clarity and humor from a place of dispassion. This also explains why my journals are so embarrassingly unreadable. Okay, good. I don’t have to write about my recent years for years.

But there still was that problem with the final page. Every attempt to sum up took me down a well-trod path to New Age treacle. Finally I gave up trying to do it myself and asked for help from the Great Whatever. Holy crap it worked.

It was a sunny, sultry evening in late August with less than a month before the publish date. I sat on the front porch with a notebook and pen trying for The End yet again, with the same banal results. Crickets.

“Hey! Could I please get some help here?”

A mass of thunderclouds boiled over Overlook Mountain just over there. Within a minute a suddenly grey sky cracked with lightening, poured down a wall of rain and my pen started moving on its own. This didn’t freak me out because a couple of beloved dead friends had dictated earlier messages — sans a violent lightening storm. What came out was better than anything I could imagine, and reproduced verbatim. Spelling fixes don’t count.

I don’t know exactly what I believe, and am seldom sure what’s really true. I’ve seen evidence, but my conclusions are fickle, often fanciful and lack peer review. There are always more questions than answers.

This companion blog to illustrate my memoir concludes here. This is post 171, and I’m done. Six months of effort to make creative writing a daily practice got me through this long Covid winter. Some posts took thirty minutes… others six hours. I may go back to the beginning and do some tweaking. I many continue blogging without this theme to illustrate my book. I have lots more artwork for inspiration, but now it’s time to squeeze some tubes and paint some more. And get outside to plant some veggies. Spring finally sprang again.

A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at

Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.

Mernie paints and writes in Woodstock NY. A signed copy of her memoir The Incompetent Psychic available via