Thanksgiving 2015, Part 1


There are only two holidays of the entire year that I like. Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. I love Thanksgiving for the tradition of making a big feast in celebration of and gratitude for abundance. I’m not fond of its origin story, though, because I call bullshit on the Europeans putting themselves in any kind of heroic light when it comes to their bloody invasion of this land. They were absolute evil to the people who were already here. Nothing will change that. I suppose the one salvageable part of the Thanksgiving story is white people actually acknowledging the help and kindness they received from the Native Americans they encountered. Still, it always leaves me feeling sick with the aftertaste of colonial self congratulation. Taking Thanksgiving away from its mythical origin and culling from it the ideals it purports to celebrate makes this is a holiday I can completely endorse and fully enjoy.

Food + Gratitude = Satiation of Body and Spirit

I will say that the American tradition of stuffing yourself until you’re practically sick is gross. It’s very Early-Roman of us as a nation to go way overboard with the abundance of food part. I may be fat, but I don’t over-stuff myself on Thanksgiving, ever. That people treat that as a goal of the feast is weird and stupid. Just eat smaller portions, people, and you can have some of everything.

Here at our house we rarely make traditional Thanksgiving fare. Often we make a vegetarian stuffing but it’s been years since I made my mom’s yam dish, or since we’ve made gravy, or mashed potatoes, and I’ve never made a green bean casserole in my life and the one time I ate it was when my Michigan relatives came to visit and they made it from canned green beans and all I could think was “Really? People get excited over this?” Most years we’ve made a completely vegetarian dinner. But in the last two years we’ve made chicken because Max, for the first time in his young life, actually cared about what food was being made. So for the third year in a row we’re having chicken, Max’s favorite meat. We’re making grilled chicken with a savory blueberry sauce from Chef John’s Food Wishes blog. We’re having roasted beet salad with walnuts and feta and lettuce. And we’re making fondant potatoes (also from Food Wishes, Max’s favorite recipe site). and I’ll be making cheese and mushroom toasts for snacking on. Dessert will be little sour cherry turnovers using the first harvest of sour cherries from our own tree.

I have been working really hard at my part time job in the past month. Especially the past two weeks. It’s been kind of brutal – but overall a good thing. Now I have 4 days off. I’m so pleased I kind of want to stay in my pyjamas and watch tv all day from my couch. I’d end up regretting it though. Sour cherry hand pies don’t make themselves. Later today I’ll make a list of all the things I feel grateful for, as I generally do.

To all of you celebrating today – you have my warmest good wishes for a wonderful day.

Grave Digger’s Shovel

Sonoma tree

Give over your tools of anger, there’s no room for them here in the banquet hall of the dead. Give over your strangling ropes and your braided whips of mean discipline, there’s no room for them here in the banquet hall of love. Give over your walls built of soot and silt that crash down on sleeping enemies in suffocating sludge tsunamis. You don’t need any of this artifice to express righteous anger. You don’t need any of this destruction to come right-side up in the morning. Slough off the language of hatred while you  bed deep in the bound hay of summer. Let it go down the devil’s road until it burns without your heart for fuel. Give over to love completely like you’ve got the wings of a thousand doves powering your blood through your arteries and your mind above the highest canopy of trees where you can chase the light and the wind that takes you far away from the gravedigger’s shovel.

A Brittle Truth

incandescent charcoal

Peace and nonviolence aren’t impossible responses to terrorism. Not only aren’t they impossible, they are the only responses that can change the war games everyone’s playing. The thing is, it takes courage to stand up to terrorists without bombs, guns, or fisticuffs. Few humans have real courage. People with guns are not heroes or brave. The only real brave people in the world are those who face opposition without weapons of any kind.

People need to believe that nonviolent responses to violent attacks are impossible in order to maintain the ordered world view they’ve invested their whole lives in. Even I might believe that the only way to deal successfully with bullies is with retaliatory force if there weren’t precedent for nonviolence to remove an occupying force from an entire continent. Gandhi isn’t just a myth, my friends. He’s real. What he accomplished is real and proves the principle I believe in. I believe in it not because it’s a great idea but because Gandhi proved it was a viable one.

More than that, I have practiced it in my own life and found it to be successful.

I have told the story here before a long time ago. For the sake of the recent terrorist attacks against Lebanon, Paris, and Baghdad, I will repeat it.

In junior high school I was the recipient of spit and fire crackers lodged at my locker, while I was at my locker. I was the beneficiary of rocks and bottles being thrown at me from passing cars. Not to mention obscenities being shouted at me gleefully. High school was no different. But in high school I found myself tired of being bullied. One particular punk girl decided that my death rock flavor was deeply offensive and threatened to beat me up regularly.  I’d done nothing that I knew of to deserve her ire or threats of violence. If she was nearby and I sat on a bench she would come along and demand that I move or she’d beat me up. The kind of fuckery assholes the world over do to people.

I was scared of her. That’s a fact. So day in and day out I moved when she told me to move and avoided her whenever I could see her coming. I didn’t want to be beat up. No one offered to stand up to her in my stead. Probably all afraid of her as well. But at some point I got really tired of the threats and the constant dealing with her shit. I didn’t wake up brave or different but at some point I’d just had ENOUGH. The next time KAREN approached me where I’d decided to sit down and threatened to beat me up if I didn’t move – I said this, and this is really true though the quote I offer is probably incorrect at this point since it happened 30 years ago now.

“I’m not going to fight you so if you really want to beat the shit out of me, just do it. Do it now because I’m so tired of your threats. I won’t fight you but go ahead and beat me up-” and I stood up and waited for the beating to begin. Maybe I was less scared because I’d had the crap beat out of me by someone who was supposed to love me half a life ago already when I was 7 and lived in fear ever since, whatever, but I fully expected Karen to beat the shit out of me. She didn’t.

Instead, she decided that I was someone to admire and follow around and be friends with and ultimately she’s the reason I got punched in the face by a drunk skinhead.

Do you get the point? Because the point I’m making is, to my thinking, crystal clear.

A nonviolent reaction to bullies is not what bullies want or expect. And also, it takes fucking guts to do it and a wholehearted willingness to get beat up or killed or bombed or whatever the stakes are. Gandhi knew that. Gandhi knew that standing up to the British meant that people would get hurt. They would get killed. But he knew that a nonviolent approach would eventually demoralize the British into retreat because if the people you’re bullying and threatening and hurting don’t retaliate and you keep hurting them you start feeling like the fucking monster you are. You lash out and faced with complete acceptance and non-retaliation the whole fucking game is changed.

Non-violence requires tremendous bravery. I haven’t faced Al Qaeda. I haven’t fought the British empire. But I have faced people who meant me harm without violence. I’ve won some rounds and gotten bloody other rounds. I almost wrote that I’ve never thrown a punch, but that’s not entirely true.

In sixth grade I had the opportunity to get back at my bully of three years while she lay on the ground in a fight with some nemesis or another, a detail lost in time to me. They were fighting in the alley I always walked through to get home. When I saw my bully of three years on the ground and her aggressor egged me on to get a hit in, I kicked her when she was down thinking I’d feel some kind of satisfaction. Instead I felt sick to my stomach and have felt sick to my stomach every time I remember that moment ever since then. That didn’t stop her from bullying me.

What stopped her from bullying me was me not caring any more. This was long before Karen the rich punk and standing up to her with an invitation to beat me up. I just stopped caring about my great grade school nemesis by the time we got to Junior High.

Nonviolence is not without cost. But the cost of retaliation to violence with violence is a never-ending death toll we have to keep tallying every year in the millions. Every nation on earth continues to NOT learn that meeting violence with violence begets more violence in spite of the fact that all data supports this conclusion.

You may say “But if we don’t fight they’ll win” and other untrue gems. You may say “but if no one fights back more people will die” but I will ask you to tally all the people who will die with the way we respond to terrorism now, because that number is already unconscionably high from all borders.

Those people who say peace and love is naive and useless have never offered themselves up to a bully at full physical risk and won.

I’m willing to die standing up peacefully to terrorists. Who will stand with me? If the whole world stood up and refused to retaliate to the violence of terrorism, fewer people overall would die and terrorism would lose vital power.

I’m an atheist who believes in the power of love and peace. So much violence is committed in the name of religion world-wide. Fuck that bullshit. If you can believe in a deity, you can believe in peace and love, in nonviolence. It seems to me that should be your greatest calling card, if it’s not, you might be an extremist or a very immature person.

I’ve been punched in the nose. I’ve been punched in the stomach. I’ve been held up in the air by my hair while being punched in the stomach when I was seven years old. I’ve been attacked on the streets by a mugger. When I was a child experiencing violence I would have done anything in my power not to experience it, but I had no power. As an evolved adult I have so much more power and I use it to disengage from bullies and terrorists. I experience some residue of fear but it’s less important than exercising my power to say FUCK YOU to bullies.

World peace is achievable if everyone universally chooses to stand together across the planet against terrorism, against bigotry, against oppression. There will always be casualties, but the numbers will never end the way we’re doing things now.

Tonight my love especially goes to peace loving Muslims around the world who are being vilified by my nation, by Christians globally, by everyone globally. I’m an atheist but the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard is the morning prayers of Muslims in a neighborhood I stayed in in Herzliya.

I wish love for everyone. Muslims, Christians, Pagans, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists – AND EVERYONE ELSE OF EVERY OTHER FAITH I’VE ALMOST CERTAINLY FORGOTTEN – love to all of you.

Choose the brave path. Choose peace and freedom.

Extra Luncheon Meats for ALL!


You never know when you might need a lot of luncheon “meat”. Especially corned beef. One is always at risk of requiring a shit-ton of corned beef and then not being able to find any. AMIRIGHT?!

Happy Armistice Day

I’ve got a kitten lounging on my shoulder like a tiny leopard in a tree. I’ve got Scrivener open and 179 words laid down so far. No work today and this weekend I get to go pick up an O’Keefe and Merritt stove in working condition. The one we got for free is still not functioning and I realized that not everything needs to be a project in my life. It’s perfectly acceptable to buy something that doesn’t need immediate fixing. So we found my dream stove in good condition. It will probably need some finessing at some point, but what doesn’t?

The only blight on today was my mom bursting into my office to announce that she needs to go to the doctor ASAP because she has a weird skin thing that’s probably cancer. This is not an infrequent conclusion she comes to when anything mysterious is going on with her body. So far (knocking hard on wood here) it has never actually been cancer. Then there are all the times when something really is wrong  but she believes it’s nothing and won’t go to the doctor because it’s too much trouble or she’s convinced that though it’s probably cancer, it will magically resolve itself if she ignores it.

I can make fun of her all I want, but the truth is, I’m pretty much the same way.

Providing my mom doesn’t come home with an awful cancer announcement, life is still good. Remember when I posted a few days ago that it was good and you know how often I post how good things are going and then they all fall apart and the next time you hear from me I’m pretty much a mess of depression and crisis? Yeah, that’s often how it plays out.

I’m listening music all inspired by the Lux Aeterna mass. I’ve also just named the coffee shop/bookstore my fictional character works in “Lux Aeterna”. The person responsible for this inspiration is Thalassa Therese. Thank you! Your bower is ever littered with beautiful objects and music!

I also just had a revelation about my current wip: segments of it will be in letter form. I’m wary of using letters as a way of telling a story just for the novelty of it, it can be so hackneyed and irritating. I’ve always wanted to write a novel based on letters but no story (until now) naturally lent itself to the use of letters. It has to be organic to the story. I just realized that using letters in Suicide for Beginners might be the only way to tell this story naturally. Either that or it will have to be in first person for at least part or most of it.

I realize that those who have read Cricket and Grey would love for me to finish book 2. I believe only a couple of people who’ve read it have not said something about that. With a year and a half of writer’s block under my belt at this point I’m just working on whatever comes to me. Right now book 2 is not where the energy is. It might take another lifetime to get to the rest of the series, or maybe I’ll die before I ever do. OR maybe I’ll simply decide to leave it where it is. I can do that because I’m the decider of the books I write.

Maybe Suicide for Beginners is calling more loudly because it must be written before I die and my time is coming to a close. This is one of those things we can not know for sure. I DO know that if I don’t get another book written before I die I will probably end up sticking around as a disgruntled ghost and ride the minds of other writers spurring them desperately on to write through every night and day until their books are finished even if it ends up being the thing that kills them.

That was darker than I intended it to sound.

It’s time for me to shower and eat. There may be a haircut for me today as well because my hair is making me feeling mega-frumpy with its long straggliness.

I hope you all cease-fire today!

Update: My mom’s skin thingie is NOT cancerous. In case you’re all worried now. Doc says it’s just a thingie.


So Much Good Stuff I’m Feeling Suspicious


I have been temping at the business that laid me off in the winter and didn’t hire me back. Things have changed and it’s a new day. I need money and they need some help and it’s under new management with a fresh intention and fresh mode. Considering how stressful it was working for this company the first time around it may surprise you to hear how much I’m enjoying myself now (which I did sometimes before, because the products are awesome and the work is satisfying). That’s the power of change.

My garden has 2 yards of fresh compost covering it. I mulched permanent plantings in the front and our cherry-berry bed in the back. We trimmed, we cleaned things up and out, weeded, smoothed, and the established plants all responded immediately with fresh foliage and out of season rose buds. I planted favas, shallots, lettuce seeds, kale, radishes, Swiss chard, and carrots. I harvested comfrey and mugwart. I’m not even sure why I planted mugwart now because when I look it up it is mostly useful as a milder wormwood – for sachets or de-worming. I trimmed my rosemary and made rosemary salt out of it.

I’ve sewn (but not quite finished) 3 new pairs of pants and one new skirt. I also almost finished a shirt but it looked so horrible on my fat body that I went into an instant nasty depression for a few hours and plan to buy the cheapest black shirts in size ZILLIONX and not expend energy sewing shirts I won’t wear. I’ve already got some cool shirts that would be cool on anyone but Jabba the Hut. <—- me right now.

The last few months have been hard. Everything broken, everything needing money we didn’t have, my mom’s needs being colossal for a while, and attach the usual cycle of depression and inertia onto all of that with the usual poor sleep and frequent nightmares and you will understand just how flagrantly stymied I was feeling. My writing stopped completely. Everything non-essential to THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW was shut down, left for later. I re-gained all the weight I took off the winter before last. I drank a few kilos of beer and have eaten enough cheese to sustain an entire nation for a year.

But here I am. Through to the other side. Or near it, at any rate. Last weekend I put down a couple thousand words on my “Suicide for Beginners” novel. I think that may be where my energy lies right now instead of fighting book 2 of Cricket and Grey. At least this weekend it flowed out like it needed to be written and knew where it needed to go.

But I had beer this weekend. I have no beer now. I am off the sauce. Again. So it goes, right? The things we struggle with sometimes take herculean (and repeated) efforts to subdue. So when I try to work on my novel we’ll see how well that goes without any lubricant or sedative. I’m done apologizing to myself or anyone else for the erratic way I’m going down my own path.

Needless to say, I have done no work on my Sugar & Pith site in the last few months. I’m nowhere near done setting everything up. Judging by the flood of Christmas commercials on Hulu and the flood of stupid sacrinated bullshit Christmas movies added to Netflix last month it seems that as a retailer I may have already missed my chance to sell much for the rest of the year. You know what? I don’t care. This part time temp work is giving me a little breathing space. I’m trying to create something sustainable and meaningful and that can’t be done in a hurry, as I’m finding out. I’m going to have to do it at my pace and in my way, like everything else. The stress over it and the struggle to go faster is a simple matter of financial pressure that we have felt in the last few months what with all the broken stuff/people/pets. The pressure has made me feel impotent and paralyzed instead of acting as motivator. This is typical of my kind (mentally ill, particularly of people with depression and anxiety) in case you aren’t like me and don’t already know these things.

I was so fucking tired, folks, so fucking tired every day. Now I’m feeling energized and it’s kind of weird. Without beer I’m kind of giving up the day early, like – old person early, to go to  bed. But I’m getting up earlier too. Winter is coming and finally fall is feeling less like summer. This cold air gets up into my bones and makes me happy and is certainly part of this new energy I’m feeling. It’s amazing what a temperature drop and a little rain can do to lift my spirits.

My current batch of foster kittens are coming along slowly  but steadily. Well, Wolfie is coming along like a speed train into her kitten-hood, she was never feral but underweight and very sick so she’s a healing rocket of joy. Scotch and Jupiter were possibly the most feral kittens I’ve had of this young age and I almost sent Jupiter off to another foster because I thought I might not be making enough progress with him but then he started making real progress. Now Scotch and Jupiter are purring and relaxing when we hold them and when I pet them, they don’t run away as frequently (but they do still hide quite a bit) and I’ve got them playing with the cat toys out in the open, I can lure them out of hiding with the toys. This is great progress.

It’s time for me to go to work. Bottom line for this report from Angelina-ville is that there’s change in the air and in my bones. I’m feeling refreshed and good. I hope you all are feeling good too. If you’ve been stuck in an awful quagmire, like I have been, I hope you find your way out of it soon. Remember always that change often happens in tiny increments we don’t immediately notice until it builds up. Hang in there, make all the little changes you can, make the best decisions for yourself that you’re capable of right now. Be patient with yourself and when your head is telling you awful lies, listen to your dearest friends and family who truly love you when they tell you how lovable you are. You can trust yourself better than others in most ways, but when it comes to self care you need to trust people who routinely show you kindness and patience and don’t abandon you because when you’re feeling low, those are the people you can trust better than yourself to know your worth.

Have a fabulous Friday!


Charcoal and Earth

succulent blooming

I can’t help but wonder if my whole life is being conducted at the intersection between life and death. Between city and town. Between waking and dreaming. I have to wonder if this whole living affair is nothing more than the hoax of a richly bearded king of farse and his partner, the ruler of Jupiter. You all think we can walk away cleaner than we arrived. You all think when this is over you get to walk on cotton wool and weathervanes, traversing your idea of heaven unimpeded by the cosmos and consequence. I am here to lead you to the center of it all and I don’t even know my own name most days.

The degradation of body is the obsession of the mind.

I’m mostly ghost now.

I can’t shake the scent of lime oil. It reminds me of the Bowie T-shirt I bought when I was 14. It reminds me of the store that understood the cross-section between flower child and dissident even before I did.

It’s time to record the parallel lives. Time to let the illusion of sleep die. Time to admit that this thing we are is pervasively sleep-allergic and people-allergic.

Today I shoveled a million buckets of hot fly-swarmed compost into my garden and barely scratched the surface of the pile filling my driveway. I sweat all the water from my body filling and dumping buckets of the aromatic ammoniated crap into the empty beds.  My back threatened to break, my skin threatened to blister, but my mind was keen and eager to empty itself of the angry stink. My power rises when I don’t require it to help me survive, it rises when others need it to envelope them in a protective dream. All my power draws itself from an instinctual charge of lightening.

I know all the languages in my dreams.

My spirit outgrew my body before I was born.

I’m all fire and charcoal earth inside.

Your minor principality is crumbling.

Burn sage.



Mental Health Awareness Day

the nails

I don’t know a time when I wasn’t different. I have always lived in a world slightly removed from everyone else’s world. I looked mostly normal when I was little. Except for the distinctly GoodWill flavor of my attire mixed with home-haircuts that distinctly marked me as the daughter of a hippie mom more than anything else could have done. Later I dressed like an 80 year old who just discovered T-shirts and black eyeliner. The older I got the less normal I looked.

That’s merely window dressing. It’s window dressing that got bottles and rocks thrown at me from cars, that got jocks to spit on and throw fire crackers at my locker while I was still standing next to it. But still, window dressing compared to the world inside of me that was like living inside one of those 3-D post cards of Jesus and kittens.

Any person who says “Isn’t everyone a little crazy?” is either in deep denial or aren’t at all out of the normal range of human behaviors. People who say “Everyone gets anxious and depressed sometimes” isn’t exactly wrong but clearly don’t understand what it is to be suicidal and unable to live next to super tall trees that have a slightly leaning appearance. No one who’s truly different suggests such “aren’t we all the same?” bullshit. Because when the chips are down it’s us different people who stand out like neon signs in a post apocalyptic landscape that say “VULNERABLE DISASTER THAT MIGHT BITE”. It’s us truly different people who get beat up by people who are supposed to love us because we don’t feel we matter enough to stand up against the abuse. It’s us truly different people who get crucified on the pillar of societal abnormalities to be feared because others know we’re running on a different operating system that unfortunately sparks their darkest fears.

Everyone’s “the same” until we’re not. And I’m not the same. I hear everyone in the world crying sometimes. I hear murders happen, I hear the lonely retching into the void. I crumple into a ball of unworthiness at moments others call triumphs. I’m tuned into the world on a different frequency than a lot of other people. I’m mentally ill.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “Don’t let labels define you” or “Stop seeing yourself defined by illness” and I understand where people are coming from who say this shit. I do. They aren’t coming from a place where their brain has shaped their emotional landscape by not producing enough of the right chemicals to maintain balance or, as is often the case, their brain isn’t efficient at transmitting chemical signals to the nervous system so closely linked with our sense of well being. When your illness is connected to the heart, the spirit, and the mind simultaneously it throws all three into a maelstrom of  chaos. What I know is that they lack a full understanding of what it is to not only be ME, but to belong to the greater community of mentally ill people that make up my world, that make up my tribe.

Many of us are creative forces to be reckoned with. We see things the well regulated mind can’t see. We hear global music, music in the stars, music in the vascular systems of human beings. We understand the minutiae of life intimately and can tell you things you saw but didn’t understand because we’re seeing things from a different balcony. This is the gift in the illness. We hear, see, smell, feel, and empathize in ways other human beings generally aren’t capable of and when we’re able to apply it we create the world’s art, music, stories, and philosophy. We are formidable in this way.

But these gifts come with an intense price. In general we’re more vulnerable to abuse than most other groups of people. In addition to being more vulnerable to violence against us we’re vulnerable to self harm more than any other segment of the population on the planet. We are exponentially more likely to hurt or kill ourselves than we are to hurt or kill others. Mental illness has a death rate.

Most people have lost someone to suicide.

I struggle with suicidal ideation. No matter how good my life is at any point this is something I struggle with. I can’t imagine living life without this struggle. My attachment to life is less vigorous than my attachment to truth. I would rather tell the truth and die than lie and live. I live with a constant juxtaposition between loving the details of life, loving certain people I meet, and not wanting to feel the pain of hearing all the torture and death across the planet every day. I can’t shut the pain of the world out unless I die. Medication dulls it, mercifully, I might be dead already without it. But it can’t shut out all the world’s pain playing on my mental radio.

I have heard many people suggest mental illness is curable through will power, gut health, diet, plenty of exercise, positive thinking, and just getting the fuck over it. As though it was a bad boyfriend one can simply stop calling in the middle of the night. FUCK YOU ALL WHO THINK THAT.


We’re the people who bring you your own hearts in the form of music, art, and dreams.

Some of my tribe are so severely affected that we can’t even understand what they’re seeing or feeling. And you know what? They need the rest of us to protect them and to continue to look for answers to unlock their voices, their dreams, their loves, and their spirits. It isn’t that they’re evil, it’s just that we don’t know enough to translate what worlds they’re seeing into without us. They’re reacting to stiumulae we can’t see but that’s real.

If you don’t believe that then I know you aren’t US. But you could, if you tried, learn to understand us and how much of a reflection we are of your deeper self.

Today was Mental Illness Awareness Day. Being mentally ill is many things, the only thing it isn’t is shameful. I neither glorify nor hate my mental illness. It is a part of me that I can never disengage from without dying. I treat my brain like any other organ and do what I can to maintain the best health possible – but I accept that my brain doesn’t function efficiently or normally. My life has become exponentially better accepting the limitations of my brain and my nervous system.

The most important thing I’ve learned is this:


The best thing all of us can do is keep this conversation going. Those of us who can come out into the light must do so not only for ourselves but also for those who aren’t safe enough to do so.

When I got my official diagnosis in 2001, I was deeply relieved. I told a neighbor friend of mine how happy I was to finally have validation that I had serious mental illness and she said “Not everyone is as open minded as I am, you probably shouldn’t tell anyone else this”. I felt like a leper. It was a shock. It hadn’t occurred to  me that something I felt so good about could be looked on with such prejudice as this. I took me and my imaginary sores and flaking skin to my cave of solitude and wanted to die. Just a little bit. As I always do when someone points out my otherliness. But an unexpected pride rose in me. I always knew I was different. I always knew my brain was on a different track than others were on. I made a decision that I’ve stuck with ever since.

I decided that I would never hide my mental illness or feel ashamed of myself for it. I’ve never looked back.

I also stopped talking to that particular neighbor because: FUCK HER AND HER FUCKING IGNORANCE.

I didn’t choose to be mentally ill but I wouldn’t choose to be mentally average now if I could. I’ll take the torture with the enlightenment. I don’t know if I’ll last as long as a mentally normative person, but I’m not sorry for my challenge or my possibly shortened lifespan.

Please join me, tribe, in celebrating the gifts of our illness while simultaneously fighting for better treatments, understanding, and appreciation. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL TO ME.


The Themes Guiding Cricket and Grey, Book 2

spider web

Before I turn my attention to sewing today or working on my Sugar & Pith website as I did all day yesterday, I want to do a little exercise for book 2 of Cricket and Grey. No one need stick around for this. I want to focus my attention on what themes dominate book 2, what the feeling of it needs to be, and words that encapsulate those things. A stream of consciousness activity to focus my energy back into the book. Feel free to adios yourselves if this is not something you want to read.

The theme of book 1 was death and sleeping dogs. It was about maturation, stripping away of old selves and old lives and old lies to reveal truth and through truth, deaths that make way for new life. Winter. This is what winter is.

The theme of book 2 is hunger. Scarcity, desperation, PTSD. Planting seeds for the future, making blueprints with which to build something new from the bones of the dead. Reorganizing family roles. Exploring purpose, leadership, and vision.

When we’re connected with the seasons through nature we find out that spring is the hungriest season. Most people think winter is the lean time  because it’s cold and nothing is growing but the truth is that what we harvest in the fall usually sees us through the winter but by the time spring comes along the stores are low and most food is still just in seed and seedling form. Spring is a strange paradox between desperation and hope. In early spring the sap of plants begins to flow allowing new leaves to bud and seeds to rise through soil to the light, signs of life and renewal humans find hopeful and happy. At the same time, many beings are weak with hunger and more vulnerable to disease. Disease is more prominent with a combination of moisture and warmth, spring weather, depending on where you live.

Cricket and Grey have gone through hell and torture during the winter and in early spring are still recovering from the damage to their bodies. They have each other but what the future holds after all the changes and deaths the winter brought is unclear. They don’t know the way forward and before they have a chance to explore it a stranger arrives in their life that causes deep waves in more than just their own lives. Waves that reach out to other families and the community at large. While struggling with PTSD and the monotony of dried fish soup they are propelled forward mercilessly by other people’s needs. Cricket makes a rash decision that separates her from Grey, Julie, and Matt. In a much harsher environment from which there is only a 50% chance she’ll survive, she begins to see her path forward, her greater purpose.

As a side note, I don’t believe that one needs a “higher purpose” to make life meaningful so it’s curious to be giving a higher purpose to my main character.

Cricket has always been an able follower of the discipline her parents imposed on her, a capable soldier who doesn’t question her leaders. In book one she experiences a devastating disillusionment and realizes she’s believed her parents, not questioned them, and finds they’ve lied to her. She realizes how sheltered she’s been from having to be truly independent. It’s actually in her nature to be independent but she’s leaned heavily on her parents as guides. In book two others start seeing her as the natural leader she is but it takes her time to see it for herself. She inspires people to action but learning to do it with purpose is the growth she experiences in book 2.

The atmosphere of “Spring” shifts subtly between light and dark. Bright green and streaks of warming sun shimmer through days of cold rain. There is a feeling of oppressive anxiety shot through with points of hope and action.

To pinpoint the actual atmosphere I’ll need to do a free-write on its own with the proper soundtrack.

This is Like That Scene in Spirited Away

peeling paint

You know that scene where the giant stinky spirit comes into the bathhouse and Chihiro has to clean him and she washes and washes and washes him and the stink is so bad but eventually she finds something stuck to him and pulls it out and all this human trash comes spilling out and it turns out he’s quite small once all the trash is cleaned from him? That’s my head right now.

In an effort to purge my head of some noise I will now let thoughts fall randomly from my head. There may or may not be a strong theme with what comes out.


If I were to measure Trump using his own yardstick of beauty which he freely applies to women as thought they’re cattle up for auction, he would be a big fat toupeed ZERO.

I wonder if Trump inspects the gums and teeth of all the women he sleeps with?

Men who seek sex with virgins a) creep me the fuck out and b) are almost never virgins themselves and c) probably raised on religion and/or d) are pedophiles because finding virgin adults is rare.

There is no greater turn-off than a man telling me how to behave so that he or other men will find me more “attractive” or more “pleasing” or – just go fuck your damn selves you giant syphilitic dicks!  This includes telling women to “smile more” or telling them when to open or shut their legs, or telling them to wear more skirts, or telling them how to behave so men won’t feel threatened, or – my god, this list is endless and it just gets worse and sicker.

(Purging is so important- I forget how much I need to do this)

I don’t tell men how to dress or act or behave. Except for my son. I do tell my son how to behave like a good human being. I don’t ever give him gender specific advice though. I never say stupid toxic shit like “Be a man about this!” or “Boys don’t cry” or “To attract women you should be Ryan Gosling”.

I think it’s best to follow this rule (it’s good for everyone): if the advice you’re giving to a woman isn’t advice you’d ever give to a man, then don’t give it. Men who tell women to “smile more”, have you ever in your life told another man to “smile more”? If you have, then you’re just a jerk all around. People don’t like being told to smile more. Makes them want to punch you. But in my life I can’t count how many times a man has told me to “smile more” and how many times I’ve heard the same advice being dished out to other women by men. Yet I have never once overheard a man telling another man to smile more. That right there is misogyny, for anyone who can’t recognize it.

The reverse is true. If the advice you’re giving a man isn’t advice you’d ever give to a woman, then don’t give it. Also, generally speaking, don’t give advice to people unless they ask you for it.


For example, when writers talk about the difficulty they’re having with a project, more often than not they aren’t asking for advice from whoever’s randomly passing by on social media or in person, they’re hoping for commiseration. Most writers I know actually ask other writers for advice when that’s what they want. Why is that so hard to grasp?

I don’t understand how come so many atheists and non-Catholics are so riled up any time someone says they like Pope Francis. I’m seeing so many people pointing out that he isn’t perfect, disappointment that he’s met with conservative Christians during this trip to the United States. Why do people expect other people to be either all good or all bad? I like Pope Francis because he’s really saying some radical things for a Pope to say. Good things. Things I actually believe in. But just because I like him doesn’t mean I automatically think he’s above criticism or mistakes or that he’s ANYTHING OTHER THAN A RELIGIOUS LEADER AND A FALLIBLE HUMAN BEING. I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in the Papacy. What I understand is that he’s still a Catholic and still is leading millions of people who are also Catholic which means I don’t agree with a lot of what they believe in. There are things that not even the most liberal Pope is going to be able to change or even want to change about the church he leads because if he wanted to change the Catholic church that much HE WOULDN’T BE THE POPE.

Who the fuck cares if he met with Kim Davis? Do you all imagine his point in meeting with her was to congratulate her? I suspect that she represents a person in need of guidance. But even so, I really don’t give a fuck. The fact that he met with a person I think is horrible doesn’t invalidate the good things he HAS done and the good examples he HAS made through his own actions.

I don’t need reminding that all humans are human. All humans are capable of mad fuckery. I don’t even LIKE humans. Popes are people I usually dislike for their ridiculous pomposity and conservatism. Seeing a pope not wear those robes of state for every public gathering is refreshing. Hearing a Pope talking about not hating gay people and firing Bishops who have focused all their energies on anti-gay agendas – these are unheard of things for a Pope to say or do until now. So yeah, even I am impressed because compared to all the Popes that came before Francis, he’s pretty radical.

BUT HE’S STILL A CATHOLIC POPE WHO IS BEHOLDEN TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. So obviously you can’t expect him to remove the ban on contraception. It would be phenomenal if he did and I’d like him better if he did. But he’s the goddamn Pope, people.

Why is it that whenever a human does something noteworthy and people note it there is a huge inevitable wave of people crying out “BUT THEY DON’T HAVE A PERFECT RECORD AS A HUMAN BEING SO HOW CAN YOU ADMIRE THEM?!”?

Listen you little lump-nuggets, do YOU have a perfect record as a human being? I sure don’t. Don’t you sometimes think that when you do something that was challenging or new for you and positive it’s okay for people to admire you for it even though you don’t have a perfect record as a human being? I do. I think it’s okay to applaud people for improving on themselves or improving on an institution even if they haven’t done all the improving possible. It’s okay to note good actions by people who also do questionable things. It’s also okay to note when generally good people do bad things.

Positive feedback is very important to making a difference in the world. If all you do as a human being is point out what’s bad in the world and what you don’t like and what’s wrong, then you’re missing half the arsenal of change. Yes, the bad and the ugly must be pointed out and said out loud and addressed in order to bring light to the dark. But the other part of it is that when someone does something good or something good has happened – we also need to applaud it and say “YES! More of this!” and “I like this change!” and “This person did something admirable after being a total douche-pickle. Hey person I used to call a “douche-pickle”, I like this thing you did, maybe you’re not such a douche-pickle anymore” Why? Because encouraging behaviors and actions that you like and make you feel good or help the world in a positive way encourage people to do MORE good, not less. People need to know they’re going in a good direction. Nearly all species on earth respond to a positive feedback loop.

Humans have really gotten stuck in a negative feedback loop. You all can do whatever you want but I’m going to still praise imperfect human beings when they do good things for beings outside of themselves and/or the planet. I’m going to praise imperfect beings when they shed a little light somewhere. Even if it isn’t epic. It’s a given they’ve probably done things I don’t agree with. So I’m not going to listen to any of you when you point out to me that someone I’ve praised isn’t perfect. I’m going to point to myself and say “I’m imperfect too” and then I’m going to probably flip you off.

I’m still sick of this old (but active) chestnut: people who think logically aren’t emotional. Logic itself isn’t emotion, of course, but a language equation. But using logic doesn’t require one to be unemotional. You can be full of emotional outrage and still make a logical argument. Critical thinking is a skill that anyone can learn and apply regardless of their level of emotional involvement in a subject under debate.

Logic doesn’t belong more to one gender or another. It belongs to anyone who has critical thinking as part of their educational curriculum and who actively practice it. it’s a complete fallacy that men are generally (and naturally) more logical than women. It’s also a fallacy that men are generally (and naturally) less emotional than women.

Now I’m late getting going on my sewing projects but I feel much better for having purged so much bullshit that’s been accumulating in my head and heart. Things making me angry and itchy and depressed. This only dips in the surface of a deep well, but at least it’s a start.

My Writing Has Become California Rain


This is, without a doubt, the driest writing period I’ve had in my life. How to shut out noise is a problem I’m struggling with. Not just literal noise but spirit noise, world noise, the noisy needs of others, and the noise in my head. Writing is typically how I get some of the noise out of my head but lately I sit down to write and I can’t even make coherent sense of most of it. I think it’s been so long since I’ve been able to write regularly that there’s a lot of backed up noise in my brain. I can’t shake it loose in a meaningful way.

Stress has certainly frozen me.

Lately I’ve been really bothered by misogyny disguised as feminism. I see it everywhere and I feel really angry about it. There was one man in particular who I followed on Instagram and Twitter who finally tipped me over the edge of patience. I blocked him. He claims to love women but really he sees only through a traditional lens of a woman’s greatest power being her beauty and a man’s greatest power being, well, his power. And his power is generally strongly linked to his penis.

He writes “romantic” poetry that is ultimately either worshipful of women for their fragile beauty or poetry in which he penetrates women with his male power (his penis) and dominates them. But what really tipped me over the edge was him posting advice to women on how to be attractive to men. SO. FUCKING. GROSS. And also telling women that when their man yells at them they should yell back to show him their fire. What the fuck kind of advice is that? It leans hard on the idea that anger is a sign of passion. When I suggested counter advice (if a man yells at me, we’re through) he responded with a bunch of sideways nutsacks: “<3<3<3″ And another gem was when he advised men not to be afraid of getting a woman pregnant.


Having to see his “poems” and “advice” and general obsession with his own feelings about women and sex and himself and himself having sex with women and also being a very emotional and moody poet and – I found myself starting to really hate men. It’s bullshit like this women have been fighting for a few thousand years. What makes me most angry is how this man thinks of himself as a great lover of women. Like, thinks of himself as a man who really respects them. But when you strip all the “I love and cherish women” stuff off the top where it floats like fluffy serene clouds, you find a man who wants to subsume women. Consume women. Advise them on how to BE women. That’s not a feminist. That’s not a person who respects women.

So I blocked him and it’s a relief not to see his bullshit polluting my social media. But I was scared to block him in case he comes here to comment or in case he finds my email and decides to write me that way. That was some serious noise. There have been other men on Twitter who’ve sent up major red flags and I’m getting better at sorting them out faster. Then there are the bigots and the racists and women shaming other women and those people spreading blankets of shame over the LGBT community.


This is all the price I pay to be connected to other writers and far away friends, a connection I value very much. I have learned ways to mute some of the noise and when my own life is calm and not full of serious stress I can think more clearly. But my life has not been calm at all. It IS settling down a little bit. My mom is getting stronger, Chick’s ear is healed (the surgery was a success), our car isn’t broken, I got a new phone, and Max’s toe is – well that’s still infected. So things are not quite as keyed up around here. But I’m still spending a lot of time being a caretaker to my mom. She’s supposed to be getting some home care help soon so I don’t have to do quite so much.

I still feel overwhelmed and I think depression is taking a toll on me right now. I’m at a low point in my depression cycle.

~Days Later~

See? My drafts folder is full of unfinished posts like this one. I’ve begun the process of making some new clothes for myself so I expect some deeper depression to follow soon. Something wonderful did happen yesterday – it was grey and chilly out all day. I didn’t go outside for a minute and now I wish I had. The sun is back full blast with days and days of temps in the 80’s coming up. The one fall-ish day was uplifting. I would like some more please.

I had another dream that started off as a nightmare and kind of stayed stressful but I didn’t want to wake up because I was looking for someone and knew if I woke up I wouldn’t find them and I would feel incomplete and would never know the outcome of the dream. The second I woke up the dream faded fast like it was evaporated by the light of awareness. Why is it that when I want to remember a dream I can’t but the ones I want to push far away from me stick to me like velcro for days, sometimes years?

I have this nagging feeling that my writing is stuck because I’m snagged on something mentally. Something I can’t let go of but need to in order to dive back in. I’ve tried setting myself free to work on other ideas that are less fraught with intention and hinging on the details of my first novel, but those palled too. It isn’t the projects that are the problem, it’s inside of ME. Perhaps a fear of letting go of control for just a little bit. I already know I can’t wing it with novel writing. I need an outline so I keep the story on track. But perhaps I need to free-write for a little while. Maybe I need to write some scenes without any worry about how awful it will be or if it will bend consistency out of shape. I could write in a note or a separate folder so I don’t feel like I’m screwing up the current MS. Julie’s role is bigger this time but I don’t feel I’ve given her role enough meat yet. Some of this can be addressed in edits. In fact, the truth is, the whole manuscript will be made infinitely better in edits but to get to that point I HAVE TO FINISH WRITING THE WHOLE FIRST DRAFT.

I have to use all extra time to make clothes for myself first or I’ll have to go naked soon because my battered clothes are literally falling apart. So I’ll do that and then when I have clothes to put on again I’ll try doing some free-writing. While I’m concentrating on clothing myself I will make a point of opening Scrivener every day to read the previous chapters. By the time I’m done rereading what I’ve got so far I should be ready to start writing again and will have the story freshly in my head. I don’t know if it’s a good plan, but at least it’s a plan. If any of you suffer from chronic depression and anxiety you’ll recognize that sometimes just having a plan is a big improvement.

Time to get dressed in my rags and make some better ones.