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Beyond Oz

August 7, 2015

I have always liked The Wizard of Oz, both the book and the movie. Together they taught me in my formative youth that almost anything is possible and I have often quoted Dorothy with her final line, “There’s no place like home!”

However, witches and munchkins aside, I have often mused at what lies beyond Oz. For much of my life, I have explored this boundary between what is and what might be. It’s a wonderful place, that border town on the back streets of the mind. In the end, all things are possible, but they do not come to hand without hard work, determination and even a little humor.

In 1962, my leg was so severely broken that I was told I would never walk again without crutches;at besr I’d be in a wheelchair. That’s the wrong thing to tell a kid of 14 years. I rebelled at first then began to explore Dorothy’s world a bit for some possibilities that my doctors might have missed. After a short time, I found my physical and spiritual healing in the ocean as I became a surfer. The disfiguring limp vanished years ago and now the only pain I feel is when it is going to snow the next day.

Years later after a bungled marriage, I again looked for the little girl with the ruby slippers. She was harder to find but in the end she provided the guidance I sought. Like her and her companions, I had to simply put one foot in front of the other and find the yellow brick road. I did find it and it took me to so many new and fabulous places. The trip along its yellow bricks restored my confidence and ultimately led me out of the woods.

The Emerald City was in sight below the sign that read Hollywood. I lingered there a while, learned to survive in its turbid waters and found success as a songwriter and lyricist. I became a master of music and an excellent wordsmith. Lots of work, often writing until Three A.M. In the process, I learned that indeed, you “don’t sing anything mellow at the Whisky.” Hollywood and its step-daughter the music business are very attractive with all of their glitter; but once the makeup is stripped away, the pair appear more like a sisterhood of whores. Again, little Dorothy’s voice seemed to always be there telling me to look backwards a bit and take a breath. I did.

And so I looked beyond the walls of the Emerald City, far off into the distance. What I saw on the horizon was fundamentally what I had left behind. It was a land, not of wizards, moguls, mongers and the like but rather a simple place where love was free to grow and ideas didn’t need a boost from a higher hand. As I pushed on into this new frontier, it seemed strangely more familiar with each day. The sights, the smells, the sounds were already there in my mind from years before. It all seemed so strangely possible, so doable and so I did.

When I was firmly in the grip of this new place, I met a woman who has been my wife for over three decades. Another good witch? Perhaps! Together we have explored the terra nuova together from one end of the realm to the other. The voyage has taken us to far off lands and to the smallest of corners of our every day lives. It has been a good trip, a wonderful trip. Poor little Dorothy, having seen so many wondrous things, was afraid of what was to come and for awhile I think I was a bit afraid as well. In the end, we were unlikely companions on the great road home where all things are even more possible. It’s been nice knowing Dorothy all these years. I consider her a true friend.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

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From → America, Books, Family, Writing

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