Category Archives: The Variety Show

A Big Collection of Small Stresses

43 years

Dream scrap: trying to check into a hotel, cheap hotel, tons of trouble just getting the key but then can’t find the room. Continually getting lost and people try to show it to me and they can’t find it. Then I finally get to my room and I set my things down and leave, immediately forgetting what my room number is and get lost again. It’s in a terrible place anyway and I need to meet up with my friend Richard von Busack because we’re supposed to walk to a pub to meet people. Later I’m in hotel with friends and one has a baby and the baby is trying to stand up and then falls and knocks his head and so I offer to find the hotel nurse and can’t find her, meet strange couple in the hall claiming to be hotel staff but one has a hand covered in soil or coffee grounds.

Later, my friend Sharon is in the room and her friend Colleen and they’re doing art. Colleen is making something really cool out of plastic. I have to leave and take my bicycle and Penny wants to ride in the basket but then we get a flat tire right near the room where a serial killer is staying.

A whole lot of hotel stress.

We have real money stress too. I wonder if this is related?

Hopefully the labels for my salves will be done this weekend. I need to develop my travel emergency first aid kits too.

So. Today is the first day of 3 more months of sobriety for the sake of losing weight.

Today I will not drink alcohol because of ALL THE FUCKING FAT I DON’T WANT TO CARRY ON MY BONES ANY MORE. And because I put too much back on.

I kind of want to bake some bread. An herb bread.

But I want to work on the novel too and it’s already almost 12pm.

I think I will stop buying soft cheese in a week or two to save money and lean up the cooking.

What a lot of random thinking I’m doing. No focus.

I have cavities that need dealing with and dental work we can’t afford to get done. That really stresses me out. I have to have my foot looked at and Max needs his nose cauterized and he has a cluster of warts on one toe that those wart pads aren’t working on so he wants them frozen off or whatever they do for that.

Also – while Max has really grown a lot food wise and is trying a lot of new things – he’s in his narrow part of the eating cycle right now where nothing sounds good to him and many things don’t taste good to him. Very stressful for both of us.

So I guess from the dream to everything I’ve just written, I have a large collection of minor stresses wearing me down. I suppose I better pull myself together and make the most of the next three months.  Save money, make things to sell so I can take care of the little needs and also have money to take this vacation in November.

I wonder if I should give up drinking coffee? That would be an incredible money saver. What would I drink in the morning? I can’t really conceive of how I would handle that. And with no alcohol? YIKES. Black tea is a hundred times cheaper. But that means more 1/2 and 1/2 consumption. Something to think about though. Our coffee is very expensive and I drink a pot a day. (2/3 decaf, remember, and it ends up being about 3 big cups, so put your eyes back in your head). Something to give major thought to.

Maybe just give it up during the week days since there’s no way in hell Philip will give up coffee on the weekends. That would cut out 5 days of coffee drinking. Significant savings.

Yeah. Money is tight. And yes, we could give up going out to dinner on the weekend but it’s something Philip and Max love to do together (and me too, though I don’t go out with them as often now since I don’t eat sushi or like any Japanese food) so I’d rather cut out other expenses.

Time to go feed the dog, get dressed, and nail this day. Or kind of deal with it. Or maybe just crawl through it or whatever.

Depressed and Happy at the Same Time

upstairs at la rosa

Dream scraps: long journey, walking side of road, collecting wild herbs and flowers, broken people, stopping in a city and really weird creepy shit happens that I can’t quite remember. Probably for the best.

Yesterday was an amazing day. Truly a great day. I wrote both my blog post and spent two hours finishing chapter 3 of Jane Doe. Then headed out to the garden in the early evening when there was a nice breeze and trimmed plants and yanked some out and generally started cleaning up for new plantings. It felt fantastic. That’s my world being in balance.

The kid is pretty surly lately though. I’m definitely not winning any parenting awards. I’ve let him go completely feral up there hanging out with is online friends all day. Sometimes he comes out at night to walk with his dad. Whatever. Soon enough he’ll be starting high school and working his ass off learning for 8 hours a day. I think he can have these last few weeks to do whatever the fuck he wants.

Oh, and his shadow mustache has appeared.

2 days and we begin the next sober period. For real this time. Seriously. Because I need to lose weight for my November vacation. I won’t feel as good if I go like I am now. Also – having put weight back on – SO DEPRESSING. But I’m the one who did it so I don’t get to be pissed off.

Depressed a little bit about lack of actual writing career. The good thing about life  before Twitter is that I didn’t know any agented published authors. Now I know tons of writers with agents and book deals. Le Sigh. The good thing is that all these authors I know are such amazing people and I feel like I get to spend my time with a writing tribe as I work on my book and it’s something my life was missing and that I really needed.

I’ve decided that self publishing is not for me. I got impatient and so we published Cricket and Grey and it looks fantastic and the editing is great so I’m proud of what we produced but I can’t sell stuff for shit. Self promotion is my Achilles heel. This is something I have to keep working on whether self publishing or not but at least when you have an agent and a publisher behind your book it’s easier to promote.

So Jane Doe is going the traditional route. Might take years to sell once I’m done writing it but that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m keeping it short today because I’m going to put in some time on the novel and I still have a Stitch post to write.

Cheers-ish.

a

Everyone Believes in Weird Shit

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Dream scraps: I don’t remember dreaming at all which might explain why I feel slightly more rested today. So weird. It’s rare that I don’t at least wake up remembering that I did dream even if it’s too hazy to pick out a single detail.

I cleaned house yesterday and it felt great. I feel more clear headed today as a result. The guys cleaned the upstairs too so things are pretty shiny around here. Except for the cobwebs on the ceiling, some of which have become large enough to house a morbidly obese family of arachnids.

Oh shit. I just remembered a scrap of my dream and it was awful. Speaking of arachnids reminded me. Max and Philip and I were in a basement or a car garage (public kind) or something and suddenly I saw a huge light yellow (semi-translucent) scorpion headed for Max and I yelled for him to watch out and he and Philip just stood there while the scorpion headed for him and I started screaming for them to move and get out of its way and they wouldn’t.

The humming birds are back in the garden!

I need more graph paper.

My inspiration boards are pretty great.

This is the kind of inane shit that must be released into the atmosphere in order for greater thoughts to be heard and transcribed. The way I said that reminds me of when my mom was really into “channeling”. Not just my mom, but talk of channeling spirituality, messages from divine beings, your inner child, and maybe your dead asshole uncle was everywhere.

I do not channel my writing. I write. I do not channel things through me. Channeling is bullshit.

I used to say I was a spiritual person. I think I said that because I believe people have spirits and I believe that there is “something bigger than me” out there. But I’m not spiritual. Not in the way people understand spirituality. I’m not spiritual. I do not believe that there is any greater purpose in life than to survive as long as you can and then die. I don’t need purpose. The purpose of living is that we’re born and therefore alive and make the most of it you can and stop bitching about how little time you have.

I don’t believe in a “higher” power. I don’t believe there’s some BIG PLAN for us all or for any of us. We make our own plans and then most of the time shit goes down we don’t expect so we make a new plan and then we learn shit and realize that the old plan no longer works and we just keep planning as we go because that’s how you get from point A to point B.

I DO believe in karma and karma is pretty much the same as “reaping what you sow” (isn’t that in the bible or something?). How you treat people, how you treat animals, and how you treat the environments you come in contact with will usually determine the kind of life you have, how you’re treated in return, your health. In one way or another you will get back what you put out there. I don’t think humans always see karma in action. Karma isn’t arranged by a deity or other human beings. It’s just the concept of balance.

I believe in balance. I suppose. I believe there can’t be good without bad, dark without light, true joy without sorrow. Nature is constantly trying to balance itself. Ecosystems get thrown out of balance and life dies and toxins rise and eventually it comes into balance again. On a cellular level we’re always fighting for balance. Our white blood cells multiply to fight sickness and prolonged heightened white blood cell count can kill you. Too many red blood cells can kill you.

Balance is what nature is always striving for.

It’s what humans are constantly fucking with and fucking up.

I’m sick of religious intolerance all across the world. I’m sick of people saying their God is so righteous and GOOD and then torturing people who don’t agree, killing people who don’t agree, segregating people who don’t agree. There will NEVER be one single religion in the entire world. Ever. So everyone needs to learn to live together with respect. The only evil religious people are intolerant zealots and they come in every religion.

EVERY RELIGION GROWS BLOOD THIRSTY TERRORISTS.

If you don’t realize this then you need to go back and take more world history classes. No major religion is without blood and evil on its hands.

I don’t hate any religion. If I hated one religion I would hate them ALL equally. But religion serves a purpose for many human beings and I wouldn’t dream of taking it away from anyone. And as long as religious people don’t try to convert me or force me to live by the laws of their religion, I will live in peace and harmony with them.

I happen to love quite a few religious people. People who I think are fine and smart and cool. Religious friends who are open minded non-hateful religious people. Can we have MORE of these wonderful people in the world, please?

I will make fun of religion, though. Because religion is WEIRD SHIT.

When I make fun of religion or talk about it with irreverence, it is never from a place of hate or true derision. Just total wonderment at the weirdness of religious belief.

Come on! Walking on water? That’s WEIRD SHIT.

1,000 virgins when you die? That’s WEIRD SHIT.

Putting your face in a magic hat? That’s WEIRD SHIT.

Atheists grow terrorists too. And I am not okay with that. I am not okay with atheists who think all religious people are ignorant and inferior because they believe in something different. Nature is full of weird shit.

Platypus. WEIRD SHIT.

We can look at that animal from a scientific and evolutionary stand point and it’s still weird as hell. Atheists generally believe in science and provable things. I think this is reasonable. But that doesn’t make it less weird.

Let us also remember that many religious people have not only their religious beliefs but also believe in science.

Religion and science are not mutually exclusive.

People who don’t believe you can be religious but also value and believe what science tells us are, in my opinion, just showing off their limitation of imagination and limitation in their faith. How great can your faith in God really be if you can’t see how evolution and God do not disprove each other?

Can we all please agree that there’s weird shit in science AND religion and that it’s okay to notice it and okay to laugh, but not okay to hate or look down on people who see things differently or who believe in weird shit?

Because as far as I can tell, all humans believe in some weird shit.

Let’s learn to enjoy each other’s weird shit and also respect it for what it is – personal outlook, philosophy, what makes you get up in the morning, what makes you feel better at the end of a bad day, what soothes your soul when you lose loved ones, what inspires you to be a better human being.

Then let’s kick the shit out of all the people who are shedding blood in our names. Let’s say NO to this evil.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindis, (and all the other ones I can’t name but are there) – all capable of greatness and all responsible for evil events in this world.

But please, people, Muslims have taken the greatest hit lately. Muslims have lost the most people to other people’s hatred. Because of a few extremists. It needs to stop.

Malala Yousafzai is Muslim and was shot by the Taliban.

Malala Yousafzai is an incredible human being. She’s brave, she’s smart, she believes in education and religious acceptance and peace. And she’s Muslim. So many Muslim people are like HER. So stop equating all Muslim people with the Taliban.

You want all people to equate Christianity with Fred Phelps?

Oooh – or how about if all anyone thinks of when they think of Christianity are the priests who rape little boys? You want everyone to believe that ALL Christian men rape little boys?

It would be the worst kind of bigotry and untruth.

So stop equating all Muslims with 9/11. The Taliban was responsible for it. Rail against the actual people who committed that evil.

I know that not a word I’ve written here will make the least bit of difference. I say them anyway in hopes that if enough of us say no to shedding blood and oppressing others in the name of belief (God, science, political, racial) – maybe eventually no one will allow it to keep happening.

I didn’t plan on writing about religious intolerance today. I think it’s just been on my mind because of the the horrors going on in Gaza and the horrors going on in my own country where so many people are fighting to hang onto bigotry in the name of their religion and here in the States it’s the extreme Christians. Eroding women’s rights. Chipping away at their hard-won autonomy of body and spirit.

It all gets me down. I suppose I needed to write all this out because I have to remember and keep close in mind my religious friends who do not represent this hateful crap and whom I love very much. Every time I get angry at extreme Christians closing their fists around the neck of our politics and civil liberties for women and people of color and the LGBT community – I need to remember that there are many Christians in this country who are smart and open minded and cool and loving and accepting of most people. I need to remember that I know tons of Jewish people and 95% of them are against the oppression of Palestinians. I need to remember the few Muslims I’ve met and hung out with who I’ve admired and liked and respected because they were kind and smart and educated and inclusive.

I need reminding all the time not to confuse all the extremist religious people with the reasonable peace loving ones.

That’s why I wrote about this today. Because I needed this reminder in face of all the news stories about the evil side of religious belief.

I’m glad I could have this little talk with myself today.

 

First Thoughts: Monday as Usual

withered blossom

Dream scraps: at one point there were four men who I was (apparently) in charge of who all squeezed themselves into large metal lunch boxes and drove a car that way – it seems they programed the car to run itself automatically. When they arrived where I was and all came out of their boxes I scolded them for doing such a dangerous thing and said that if they liked being inside small metal boxes, that was fine, but the driver must never drive like that again.

Later there were a lot of people and a weird organization and we were divided up in some mysterious way and given some weird tasks that I didn’t understand (Top Chef influence from two days ago?) but we ended up designing paper people. Later on everything was in chaos and I became convinced the whole thing was a bogus set up and started rebelling. Then at some point near the end of the dream I was trying to tape a paper map back together.

I wish I could remember the big important stuff. There was such a lot of other stuff.

So I cut my hand the night before last and couldn’t keep a band aid on it (right near my thumb – I fought an avocado and lost) so I let it go bare and then started putting my wound salve on it. I reapplied throughout the evening and by bed time the cut was closed and not stinging any more. I was also applying it to my very uncomfortable raw skin on my foot where my eczema is very bad and won’t heal. NO, my wound salve is not a cure for eczema. BUT it did get that raw area to harden up and stop hurting so damn much – seems to be half healed this morning. I know that same spot will start itching again soon and the skin will flake and I’ll end up scratching it raw again – but this salve made that area start healing over night.

I also finally came up with some simple labels for the salve tins that I’m happy with. I need Philip to make them for me in Photoshop so I can print them out. Then I can list them on Etsy.

Booked my hotel in Colorado for my writer’s retreat with a few new writing friends I’ve made on Twitter in the last few months. I’M SO EXCITED TO HAVE A LITTLE VACATION AFTER YEARS OF NO VACATION!

I still can’t find my pocket knife and I’m bummed. I really love it. It’s actually useful. I don’t want just any replacement knife, I want that one! At least I found my Opinel. I love that too. But the blade is super stained. I wipe it down after use but it seems to take stains like mad. But it’s great for harvesting squash and greens from the garden.

Finishing the wound salve (and starting a new batch!) and testing it and finding it exceeds my expectations makes me want to get back to writing Book 2 of Cricket and Grey. I have made these to tie in with Cricket. The labels say “Winters Apothecary” on them. They are, essentially, Cricket’s products.

So I guess I continue to be lost with my writing. I got 1200 words into chapter three on Jane Doe on Thursday which was great – felt really good. But I still am not quite – I don’t know. Writer’s block is a complicated bitch. I think the main thing is to simply go where the energy is. Maybe I will become one of those authors able to work on more than one project at a time. The important thing is to sit down every single day and write a few hours. That is the discipline that ends up trumping inspiration. I’m a writer and I need to be writing every single day. It is less important which project I work on. Blog writing is writing. Novel writing is writing. Field notes is writing. The important thing is to keep the language muscles flexible and stretched.

The heat has been killing my energy this past week. It’s going to continue to be in the low nineties and high eighties pretty much forever now.

I have also been staying up late and sleeping in late. I don’t like this habit.

Canning season will be starting soon. I wish I had already gotten my O’Keeffe and Merritt stove completely cleaned and set up. That would be such a boon.

What I want is to get into a new habit of going to bed earlier and getting up early. I’d like to get up early enough to put in some time gardening which I can’t do most of the time because of the heat. Then write. Then hang out with Max or do house stuff, cook.

Oh yeah, and exercise has to happen either really early or really late.

My foot isn’t as bad but I still haven’t made an appointment with the Podiatrist which I need to do.

Time to write a post on Stitch and then get on with the already well advanced day.

 

Sunday Thoughts: Nightmare, Sponsorship, Writing

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Nightmare scraps: was in a boat, boat sank, had to swim to shore, leg bitten by a shark. This wound followed me through the rest of the nightmare and a second one after waking and going  back to sleep. First didn’t get it sutured up. Finally begged someone to do it for me. They started, it was painful. Later, turned out there was some thin rope stuck in my gashes in a botched attempt at suturing and I needed to get it OUT but no one would do it.

There was a party. I was waiting for someone who never showed up. But a guy friend and I stuck together, he was kind of hyper and I had to keep bringing him back to earth. I remembered being friends with him since grade school. We’d always been friends and it was comfortable to be with him. We go looking for people and end up walking through the bathroom and find a young girl in a half full tub who looks dead. She’s not quite dead. Two men are there with her, naked. I ask if they had sex with the young girl and they admit that they had. I inform them I’m calling the police. The one that wasn’t passed out drunk makes weak objection but I call the police.

There was a mail box with something besides mail in it. Scenic Drive house again but the mailbox is on the porch instead of on the street.

Here it is, Sunday afternoon. I slept in so late that I’ve pretty much just started my day. I’m still drinking coffee.

For the last few days I’ve been watching Top Chef because I don’t have the food channel and I really want to watch food shows. Let me tell you, this one is awful. I have to finish this one season to see it through and see who wins (I looked up the spoiler so I know but I need to SEE it happen) but after that I won’t ever watch it again. For several reasons but one the biggest is that this show has the most obnoxious product placement bullshit that influence most, if not ALL, of the challenges facing the chefs. It’s more like a cooking game show with mean spirited people who win stuff all along the way and then have to mention the products they’re using/driving/experiencing frequently. Whenever the contestants go somewhere by car they get into the car in question and say what kind it is, what model, and something nice about it. So cheesy and stupid and pimpy.

It is NOT about great cooking. This show is more about selling cars than it is about cooking. It’s more about selling tin foil than it is about cooking. Corporate brands are mentioned at a rate of two to three times in each segment of a single episode. It’s total bullshit.

This weekend is also BlogHer14. Many people I know are there having a blast. Part of me wishes I was there to see friends but as I look at all their pictures of the event I am reminded of the pimpy aspect of it that I hated the two times I went. Parties are sponsored by McDonald’s and other dubious products and corporate companies. People love getting the swag which is mostly just cheap stuff printed with company names. Most people who are posting pictures are actually pimping the sponsors by including product hashtags and handles in all their posts.

I hated that. That gross product whoring. It felt inauthentic and all these people I know love it – eat it up – grabbing all the free stuff they can regardless of it’s actual worth and they become walking advertizements for companies that have paid them nothing, done nothing worthy, but give you 2 cent thumb drives with their company logo printed on it.

But that’s business! Says everyone. You have to have sponsors. It’s the only way to make it in this world! Plus – who doesn’t want to eat questionable meat foods from companies that have trashed the earth and stuffed human beings with the most unhealthy garbage imaginable?! WHO DOESN’T THINK IT’S FUN TO PARTY WITH CORPORATE AMERICA? Corporations are people, after all, and apparently they are party animals.

So I’m thinking about authenticity and how little of it there is left in my country, in the world. I want to sell my books but what will it take to make a living writing novels? Can I ever make it without getting in bed with PRODUCT?

It all depresses the shit out of me.

I like to think that there’s still room to create things without corporate or product sponsorship. I want to believe that it’s still the WRITING and the quality of the writing that matters most in the book world and the blog world and the art and entertainment world. All I can do is reject inauthenticity where ever I find it. Like not watch Top Chef. Not read blogs with sponsored posts. Not give time and energy or my money to companies and products that are toxic to the earth and to the humans who consume their stuff.

Those are my Sunday thoughts so far.

I think I need to get back to using my blog as a daily journal. It’s how I started it.

I cut my thumb last night trying to access an avocado.

It’s hot again today.

I think my novel writing is suffering because I’m not keeping a journal every day. You have to get the inane stuff out. It’s not like I have a real following here any more. Not even sure anyone is still reading it at all. It’s mine. I can do whatever the fuck I want with it. This is my pocket universe. I make the rules here.

There is a tiny breeze.

Often times when you get the inane stuff out you find other more interesting stuff that comes out with it. I think that’s the magic of keeping a daily journal.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of note taking out in the world to amuse myself. It’s calming and amusing to me and what I’ve been doing since I was a teen. Making observations about the people and places around me. I sit in the middle of it (we are always in the middle of our own experience) and write what comes to mind. Stream of consciousness stuff. Some of it comes directly from the outside stimuli but some is just catching the wild thoughts in your head with a net and writing them down. It’s like meditation for me. I’ve been posting them to Instagram and Twitter and Facebook if you ever want to catch them.

Getting back to the habits and discipline that helps me get the good writing going.

In case anyone is wondering I did NOT end up going sober again but we’ve decided we’ll do it starting August first for three months – just up until my vacation to Colorado to see some writing friends who’ve been making my every day more amusing and the writing adventure less lonely. So, things are shifting as they need to. We need to save money and lose weight – I don’t know why July has felt like such an impossible time to not drink but it has.

I hate this summer weather but in spite of wishing we would have more cool days and maybe even some rain – I am still loving where we live. Every day I seem to look up and out at some point and realize how happy it makes me to live not only in California, but specifically here in Santa Rosa. It’s such a good feeling to love where we live.

I feel like posting some pictures over on Stitch so I’m done here for now. Hope whoever is reading has an awesome Sunday!

 

Making Other People Feel Stupid Makes You Look Stupider

In a Tweet yesterday Stephen King said this:

“Simply put, America is a democracy, not a theocracy.”

I responded to this tweet:

“There are a few Americans who have not gotten this memo. Is there some way you can send this tweet registered?”

I wanted to add that most of the Americans who haven’t gotten this memo are carrying pocket constitutions with them at all times so they can be assholes and spout their vast knowledge upon the sad uninformed lesser Americans.

I wish I had. Because Constitutionalist quibblers have been tweeting stupidity in response ever since.

AmericanWOMAN@TriggerChik:

“That would be a shame, since it would then be a Registered untruth. @Angelinawrites @StephenKing

I totally ignored her.

Alissa Gibson@gibsongirl2000:

@Angelinawrites @StephenKing we are a Republic not a democracy. Sorry to disappoint”

I ignored this too.

Wild Pitch@thewildpitch:

“@Angelinawrites @StephenKing Um… is not a memo it’s the Constitution and it explains that we live in a Republic.”

It was only a matter of time until someone mentioned the constitution.

Catherine Alexander@calexander007:

@Angelinawrites @StephenKing The US is not a democracy. It’s a constitutional republic. Significant difference.”

Yeah, you tell me! I feel so schooled and stupid now.

Catherine Alexander@calexander007:

@Angelinawrites @StephenKing I’m guessing you don’t really know what a theocracy is, either.”

Ouch! I don’t know, isn’t a theocracy where one asshole spends all their time insulting other people on Twitter?

Tessa@treesaree

@Angelinawrites @StephenKing US is a Republic not a democracy, both of you are wrong.”

There is nothing more delicious to the human being than to point out how wrong other human beings are. No words sweeter in the mouth than “YOU ARE WRONG”

But then this tweet comes along:

dan craelin@DCraelin:

“we live in a universe not a cosmos,….huge HUGE difference @calexander007 @Angelinawrites @StephenKing

I love Dan. But now I must agonize over whether he is WRONG or not. How can he possibly know if this assertion is true when it is not covered in the constitution of the United States of America? All truths are only verifiable if they can be confirmed in this one document.

Oh hell. I’m wrong about that too. There is one other source of absolute truth against which all purported knowledge can be irrefutably fact checked.

THE HOLY FUCKING BIBLE, BITCHES.

I’m so tired of everyone’s tweets about this (except for Dan’s) that I’m going to respond by reminding all of you that there are general terms for government as well as specific ones.

Most Americans refer to our country as being a democracy. We never say we’re going to bring a “constitutional republic” to the rest of the world. NO ONE FUCKING SAYS THAT SHIT. Not the president, not the conservative politicians with worn out copies of the constitution shoved in their righteous pockets. In popular language we refer to our form of government as being a democracy.

But you all know that. You knew that when you took delicious joy in being specific when you knew Stephen King was using the popular and general term for the kind of government we are supposed to have here.

In the English language (and in many others as well) there are very specific terms for things and then there are popularly used and accepted general terms for things that everyone understands that simplifies discourse with other human beings.

And then there are those people who purposely ignore the commonly accepted terms, (even when accepted and used by scholars, scientists, and the last 10 Presidents of the United States), so that they can dedicate themselves to their true calling in life which is to make everyone wrong.

A democracy in general terms is: Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or indirectly through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws.

This is what we have in the United States.

Lastly, to Catherine. Were you saying I don’t know what Theocracy is specifically compared to, say, an Ecclesiocracy?

When someone says “theocracy” you know very well what they mean.

The danger of nitpicking language is that it can easily betray your own shortcomings in comprehension OR just make you look like an asshole.

Well done!

Connectedness is the Total Shit

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I’ve got a sister on my mind. Scratch that, I’ve got a few precious sisters on my mind. Fuck that, I’ve got a world full of incredible sisters on my mind. I’ve got some brothers too. (I have more brothers than most, what with my biological father’s fecundity.) But I have other brothers too.

It’s so fucked up when I try to get familial with the world and sound like I’m on the verge of a metaphysical breakthrough wherein I channel Richard Simmons as a baby and find a glittery rainbow of loud striped thighs sweating into microphones shouting hallelujah between rivulets of intentional sweat. Fucking INTENTIONAL sweat.

Connectedness is the total shit. With my fellow human beings. Ditch the differences, the details that separate us, because the things we have in common are huge. I hear you all in your nightmares, I feel your heads exploding with confusion, anxiety, terror, poetry, love, desire, sorrow, and wild happiness. I hear it even if I can’t see the colors you see. I can’t shut you out, all of you with your weird permutations of human ambitions both realized and crushed. All of you bleeding blue without oxygen. All of you with your skin bursting into flames, your minds wrenched open with revelations, your eyes seeing new things after you stopped believing there was anything left to discover.

Connectedness is the total shit. We make families as we need them. We make tribes of our quirks and our vocations and our illnesses. We make communities of shared interests, shared hate, shared pain.

Hold tight to the ship rails. Hold tight to your core beliefs. Hold tight to everything you love and believe in because this life doesn’t take unwilling prisoners and it doesn’t stop for the faint of heart.

And for God’s sake, plug your ears and run inside because I’m about to scream so loud Margaret Thatcher will rise from her grave and rip the pearls from her throat so that they shower hell with iridescent hail.

I’m thinking of a sister right now but I’m sorry it turned out to be Margaret Thatcher.

Don’t Push

extreme sepia profileI wore gloves a lot before I turned 30 years old. Sometimes the sepia dreams are what move us into the technicolor future. I wish I’d accepted myself better back then. Drifting through some people’s gentle dreams and propelling others’ virulent nightmares – I don’t know how to reconcile being both the thunder and the rain.

Don’t push against my sawdust door. Don’t tell me it’s time to move on before I’ve picked my entrails up and packed them back into my suit of flesh. Don’t tell me it’s time to evolve my grief before I’ve had time to wring my cape of tears into my eroded calcified bucket of whispered sorrows. Don’t push me against the sawdust door of your expectations if you want to see me on the other side. Threads knotted full of drying calendula flowers crown my hair to ward off your rough skin, your night terrors, and the dead you have chained to your ankles and drag from grave to grave with your rapacious appetite for darkness.

Don’t push me across the road of nails unless you wish to impale yourself on the sharp crossing covered in martyrs crusted blood, because I will take you with me if you push too hard. I will take you places you can’t handle going. You are a child to this road, your skin is soft as a newborn’s and butter to the knife in my hand. Don’t push me across the road of nails in hopes I will crawl back across with lust for you, with need of you, with misery grinding in my head for you. I didn’t ask for anyone to follow me to this point, to this hardscrabble crossroads where not even the shortest most desperate chamomile plant will take root.

Don’t push my back against your impossibly stiff metal yardstick, I will rip it apart as though it was wet paper turning to grey soft pulp. It’s useless to me now. How long you think I should have lost my voice is immaterial to the truth which waits out an apocalypse of good intentions and earnest worship. I can’t climb you to the top of my mountain, you only get this high from losing, losing, losing. You haven’t lost enough to climb this high. This is where the suicides come to look at everything in the last seconds. This is as close as I get to real trust. Trust that this is where I belong. I belong to the rocks bleached by the baking of the sun, the scraping of this painful light across cloudless precipice. I belong to the edge where things don’t matter like they do at lower altitudes.

Don’t push me to the edge of your patience. That leash is shorter than you will ever admit. I know the truth of it, I smell it, I feel it, like an animal who can map the edges of human kindness, who can map the edges of its cage with no more than the air full of scent. I know your limitations better than you know them yourself but I don’t know my own. I don’t know how many weeks, how many months, how many years it will take my body to erase the punches from its surface. How long I will move through the sludge of this fear that seems to have no end and no boundaries. Your patience is like the fragile tissue of a poppy petal that wilts under light and heat and curls and burns under the most reluctant touch.

Don’t push me against my own sawdust door hoping for a miracle revelation. There are no miracles in these sorry hands. There are no miracles in this den of transportation dreams and hotel nightmares.

Be Cautious of Pride

scowl more defined

These old pictures Philip took of me 15 years ago remain my favorite pictures anyone has ever taken of me. I dredge them up from time to time, not out of (I hope) inordinate and undeserved pride, but out of an appreciation of how well I could wear a tiara at 28 years of age.

Don’t take pride in things that only circumstances can arrange beautifully, like never needing government assistance, like being born white, or being born with opportunity arranged for you by gender, race, or creed. Take pride in what no one but you can say, achieve, be, throw down on the ice floe. Take pride in what you make with your raw hands, what you risk for truth, who you protect with love. Take pride in how much of your neck you stretch out for the knife. Nothing else matters.

What are you willing to be killed for?

laugh contrast

This sweet candy is like funereal drivel. Give me the goddamn corpse – I’ll take it in my arms and lay it down in a pillow of night. 16 years ago I had a prophetic moment and if I could have used it to solve fiscal calamity or oppression I would have ditched every selfish decision since then. I would have worn a hair shirt, I would have chained myself to the pillar of salt-truth until my skin was stiff and parched with it. I would have sacrificed my hope to its fire of possibility.

the right tiara contrastI’m white, a crime I didn’t get to choose. I won’t be ashamed of my skin because that’s part of the systemic disease  this country is suffering from. I will hold candles up to the images of every American who’s ever been born and suffered unfairly because their skin wasn’t as burnable as mine. I will embrace and love any good human, any color, any faith, any day.

I loved a murderer because his heart was a beautiful organ. This love taught me that people can change. People can evolve. If I didn’t know this I would choose to die today from heartache and fear. This murderer had the most tender heart, was a better human than I am.

A better human than I am.

Round Two Starts Now

the insect eating

Round two starts today.

This time the goal isn’t months but pounds. I’m not drinking alcohol again until I’ve lost another 46 pounds.

The first three months of the year I didn’t drink and lost 34 lbs. The last three months I’ve been drinking and gained 6 lbs back and have discovered I am not able to drink moderately still. This may end up being the way it IS for the rest of my life but I’m still not willing to give up my idea that I can get back to being a moderate drinker.

In the mean time I want to lose weight more than I want to drink and if I can’t drink moderately then I have to not drink at all. I’m hoping I can do this by November, but if not, I’ll just have to have the most depressing unfestive holiday season ever since the only thing I like about the holidays is all the booze which is necessary for deflecting all the aggressive “cheer” people throw around like poop in a monkey zoo.

In the first round of sobriety I didn’t do a lot of exercise. This time I will be doing a lot. But first I have to make myself an appointment with the podiatrist to find out what the hell is wrong with my foot that it’s making it hard for me to do much walking. If it’s not something I can fix with orthopedics then I’ll just have to do a lot of bicycling. Bicycling is fine but my favorite exercise is walking.

So I’m going to not drink, exercise a lot, and I’m going to cut down on cheese again. We are now in the best season for produce and I intend to take full advantage of it.

And I will be working on that first book I wrote. The one I keep thinking about. That won’t quit my head. That kind of scares me both because of how personal the theme of the story is to me and what a huge mess I made of it before. I have come back to it again and again hoping to untangle the plot and then I give up. I had a revelation recently that will amaze you – in that you will be amazed a writer has to have a revelation about this:

I can change any details I want to and I don’t have to stick with the first chapter that was the short story that gave me the idea for the whole novel in the first place. I’m the boss. I get to take this story where I want to take it.

So I’ve started sketching out scenes – the ones that haunt me – that will become my outline. I’m doing character analysis’ for all the main characters. I’m thinking about and working on the structure of the book. I’m sorting out the POV and taking my time with it all.

I stopped working on Cricket and Grey because this book two has not been coming together. I got some good writing done but I just keep feeling like it’s not what I’m supposed to be working on. It just hasn’t felt right. So I’m setting it aside for a while. Maybe a long while. I don’t know and I’m not going to plague myself for answers or decisions. Instead I’m going to get the first one fixed and rewritten so it can get out of my head.

So, here I am again.

I’m going outside to cut and string some calendula flower heads for drying.