Friday, January 20, 2017

Installation

The high school's bells tolled 11 a.m. two minutes early, a jump start, a skip, an extra long stride. My cat sits on the back of the sofa watching birds as I type this directly into the window and wait for my hair to dry a little bit before I leave the house.

(Radical) 

At least a dozen of my friends are going to Washington, D.C., to march for women's rights tomorrow. I did my marching at a "sister march" closer to home on Sunday with a young friend.

Today, I'm going to be selfish and (mostly) silent. I watch a lot of films but rarely see them in the theater. Today is a day to sit in the dark and watch movement splash across a large screen. All day.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

I'm drowning out here in the middle of my self-made sea of distress

1. My niceness keeps backfiring on me. I hate hurting people, so I rewind try to be nice, be pleasant, compromise, give many benefits of the doubt, don't put me first even when I feel semi-threatened (which sounds ridiculous, but I don't care right now).

2. Just because someone else questions my "professed" philosophy...no. Not going to worry about it. I know what I do, and this one thing can't ruin me unless I let it.

3. God. The election, the rancor, the vitriol, the madness, the failure of sanity and truth. I'm so tired today.

4. This night before the president-elect takes his oath to serve us (I wonder if he'll remember that we're now his bosses), I take a vow to allow myself to be a crusty, bitchy, outspoken old woman who stops with all the niceness because that niceness, that pathological need not to offend, is damaging.

5. Nice ≠ kind.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Not a book review, just a long complaint about a book


The day Carrie Fisher died, I went to the public library to check out what books haven't been culled from both the fiction section and the memoir section. Even though I checked the online catalogue from my laptop at home, by the time I got there, someone had snapped them up (all two of them). So I wandered the fiction stacks after limping upstairs looking for something to help me regain my sense of humor, which has been missing since sometime in mid-autumn. A book with a hilarious title and an equally hilarious image of a woman with big hair and a cow ornament stuck in the curls pretty much dropped off the shelf and into my hands.

"This is the one," I muttered. "It will be funny, quick, forgettable, and light." (even the beautiful, dread-locked customer service rep at circulation laughed at the title and cover)

It did start off funny and light. And easy. At first, I found the narrator charming, her shenanigans adorable, the dilemmas she faced entertaining. But by page 60 or so, she started to grate on me. The novel seemed to be more like a series of vignette's that described increasingly unbelievable and stupid situations that were not at all interesting, clever, or even all that funny. And when my favorite character died on about page 83, I was more annoyed than sad. I clawed my way through to page 122 and gave up. (one of the Carrie Fisher books I put on hold is waiting for me, so I'll return this book and replace it with Carrie's.)

Here's a confession, though. I was reading this book through my cranky editor's point of view. I found every grammar error (though some of them may have been on purpose since the book is set in a place where grammar isn't King or Queen or even president-elect), every spot where the author hadn't done the most basic kind of research (WWF vs. WWE, the spelling of Hannibal Lecter's name, the basic premise of the Roadrunner cartoons), every "hefty" word that the author repeated too many times in too close proximity ("lump," for example), every sentence that could have been cut without losing the rhythm, every moment when the character betrayed, well, her own character and did something out of character ....

Other reviews of this novel have been kind, and the author has a series of books set in this little town that seem to be fairly successful. But I won't be revisiting this fictional place.

I read a lot fiction even though I also edit fiction, and sometimes I catch things other people may not catch, but I shelve my cranky editor if the story is good enough, funny enough, poignant enough, deep enough, if the characters take me by the hand and say, "Look in the mirror, and you'll see me standing next to you."

I don't like to write bad reviews, so I'm not going to post my review on Goodresds or Amazon or anywhere, and I won't name the author or title.

I thought writing this would make me feel less cranky, but it hasn't. So I'll do some chores, read a bit of a book full of Ray Bradbury interviews I forgot I received as a gift years ago, and then go pick up that Carrie Fisher book.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mowing

I've been mowing my yard since noon. It's now 2:38 p.m. I've been taking tons of breaks, drinking lots of water, sitting, wiping my sweaty face with a damp paper towel. My joke has been that I'm not going to push myself the way some public figures/Presidential candidates are pushing themselves because I don't want my image falling down one of my little slopes to be plastered on newspapers, to go viral on YouTube, with some caption about a weak woman attempting to do a man's job.

Ha. So funny. Ha ha.

This sitting in sweat is comforting. It reminds me that I have a capable—if out of shape—body, a vessel for my ridiculous thoughts, for my ponderings, for my stories and poems, even for the works I edit.

Bodies aren't magical, but they are sacred.

My friend weed whacks for me. I know he wants to finish up the bits of mowing I said I'm too tired to accomplish (I'll be back out there in about five minutes), but he hurt his arm a couple of weeks ago, an arm that's already been injured from too much drumming, too much piano over the 62 years of his life.

I'm not going to let a man with an injury do the job this woman should be doing since it's my yard and not his.

I'll buy him a burger as thanks for weed whacking.

I'm live journaling again, just typing into the window without a plan. Type, type, mutter, mutter, blather, blather.

My sweat is drying salty on my skin, and I perversely like the way it tastes when I lick my lips.

Another gulp of water, and I'm back to it. A long job, but it's my fault for "firing" my yard guy (by starting to mow myself when he didn't show up for too long) and by buying this wretched house with its yard that's bigger than it looks (twelve years I've lived here).

This movement is good for me, though. Movement gives me creative ideas. Later, I'll write something real, or start writing something real. And I'll continue to figure out what I want to do next to "thrive" and to continue to "serve."

Monday, September 12, 2016

shifts

1. This post is "live," meaning I'm typing it directly into my blogger window. I'm also not looking at the screen or the keys since it's lovelier to watch my cat inching closer and closer to the sunspot in the kitchen. I will proofread before I click "publish," though.

2. I'm working on a decision regarding my future as a human being, what my role is, how I can serve, whether I've been "serving" in ways that keep me from thriving, especially creatively. This place where I live ...

3. I'm not as free to make the choice I want to make as I'd like (money matters), but I'm certain that my getting in my own way more than lack of resources is what's keeping me less free.

4. I have been writing much of the day, but I'm not satisfied that this work is The Work. I'm getting closer, though.

5. I have to decide what I want to do about building my freelance business. I love kind of work I do; I'm good at it; but ...

6. I want to write poems, novels, and essays and work with young writers. I cannot make a living at this. Yet. If I could just remember to research and ask and apply and talk myself up, "yet" would be "now."

7. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and ask myself, "Have you decided that you want to live?"

8. I never answer myself.

9. This is enough.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I emerge after a long absence to vent


1. I dreamed I visited a place that was so beautiful, so full of ice and water, of cliffs and sea creatures, viewed through high, polished windows with a person I loved, that I cried. The way to the place involved a fabric bridge that swayed over an abyss as we drove or rode. The bridge was multi-colored, like a stretched-out quilt.

2. I dreamed of an old friend in two different ways. In the first part of the dream, my husband had told me she’d died; in the second part of the dream, she flowed into my living room, dressed in yellow and smelling of sun.

3. He Who Shall Not Be Named and his son have basically said that all of us who have been sexually harassed in the workplace are to blame for not leaving. But why should we have to leave jobs we love because some Neanderthal with drooping eyelids and large hands can't keep himself from saying things, from reaching for body parts he has no right to touch? In the office, at conventions, on buses on the way from Columbia to the airport in St. Louis. On a train from Paris to Frankfurt. On the UMC campus after I stopped to give directions to a lost student (who harassed me later by following me to my apartment). What does the Orange One expect us to do? Find another job, another school, another career, another train, another bus, another city, another state, another world, another life? Walking away is not always an option. Nor should we have to choose it. Harassers should simply not harass (not pissed about this issue at all).

4. Once, when my child was about 5 or 6 months old and had begun to learn how to sing, she sang to the priest in church (Episcopal) as he delivered his sermon. She did not sing softly; she cooed and called and trilled and shrilled and thrilled. I started to take her out so that she didn't disturb his flow or the rest of the congregation. The priest paused. Let's say he'd been talking about Matthew 10: 7-16. ("Cure the sick, raise the dead, clean the lepers.") He drifted back a few passages, stared directly at me and quoted: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." My Girl and I returned to our seat, invited and welcome. If we’d been at an Orange-haired rally, we would have been asked to leave.

5. I have not watched cable or network news since the DNC convention ended last Thursday night, but I have been reading news online. I go to The Guardian’s front page hoping to read something semi-innocuous (to me) about Theresa May or Boris or David. But the powers that be sense I’m an American, and the big, red face in a big, square photo droops down on me, and all the news is about him. Except for those stories where I read about another shooting death or the terrifying spread of the Zika virus. Can we stop obsessing for a bit? Can you give us a moment away from the steamy piles of words, the staccato syntax, the fluffy strands of toddler hair covering the bald spot?

6. My kitty sits next to me on the sofa. I run my fingers between his ears and down his neck, and he purrs, and the stone in my gut begins to dissolve. It will be all right. It will be all right. There, there.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

title-free

My younger brother once wrote a letter to a girlfriend in which he said, "I love you fiercely." His friends mocked him; I did not. 

I believe loving fiercely, loving even people we fear, loving "enemies," loving each other, this will be the only way we're going to survive. 

This hate that I keep seeing is poisonous. It has weakened me so that I can barely get out of bed. That's a pity. I have things to do, poems/novels to write, passions to share.

I know people are afraid and that fear leads to hate, but, come on. This is ridiculous. Just stop it already, stop hating. Stop fearing. Listen and love. Please?