Category Archives: The Variety Show

This Evil Bitch Commie Is Full Of Ideas

my street at night

This past couple of weeks have been pretty intense. What with High School starting for Max (and he’s begun growing a shadow mustache!) and the events in Ferguson Missouri and us suddenly having higher rent to pay that is not affordable requiring me to concentrate hard on how to revamp my Etsy shop and make extra income and finding out my mom probably needs another surgery and my step mother* commenting on my blog (deleted), and of course the middle east situation continuing, and people everywhere being complete and utter assholes to each other.

I have a lot of thoughts about the situation in Ferguson. I’ve heard some really disgusting racist things being spewed and people showing just how sick inside they really are.

I was called an evil bitch commie because I confronted a man who doesn’t think black people are even human beings. I know, if someone is saying something like that they are already so far down the crazy-shoot there’s no retrieving their reason, I shouldn’t have commented. But it’s really hard to stand by and say nothing when people say such awful things.

The trick is to speak up in situations where it will actually help someone out or be useful in some way and to avoid engaging with people who are already diseased in their body and soul.

I’m going to say right now that I think if you are a police officer you are never in the right shooting an unarmed person of any race. I don’t give a shit if they’re 8 feet tall and charge you. Your job is to deal with dangerous people on a daily basis in the least harmful way possible. It doesn’t matter what a suspect’s character is, what matters is that you, as a police officer, have the tools to diffuse aggression without lethal force. If you are too scared to deal with people bigger than you and more aggressive than you – you without shooting them – you do not belong in a police uniform.

I will also say that police departments are quite possibly failing in their training if officers believe that the merest threat of harm to them warrants firing their gun.

Of those things I am absolutely clear.

I get that if someone open fires on a police officer that the officer may need to fire back to protect themselves and bystanders. But there have been plenty of instances where people fired on cops and the cops did not fire back. Happened in my own city more than once. Instances where an officer with a gun pointed at them apprehended the person pointing the weapon and took them into custody without firing so much as a single shot. That’s good policing.

So this whole Michael Brown killing was bad from the start to finish. If Michael Brown accosted Wilson physically, as is claimed, and then ran away – Wilson did not need to shoot him. He should have run after him and used his skills to take him down and cuff him.  He should have called for back up and run after him. Brown had no weapon. NO WEAPON. And once Brown was running away, Wilson was not in danger anymore. No fatal force needed.

That’s bad training at the very least but what it definitely looks like, confirmed by the entire department’s handling of the situation, is that Wilson didn’t care about the life of Michael Brown and acted in an unconscionable way.  That’s a bad shoot.

I don’t actually believe that Police officers should be allowed to use lethal force when threatened. They are threatened all the time, depending on where they work sometimes they are threatened daily. The nature of their job is dangerous, they go into the force knowing they are taking on a dangerous job and being given weapons and the power to apprehend citizens merely on suspicion means they need to be held to a higher level of integrity than the average person.

I don’t think cops should carry guns. I think they shouldn’t carry any lethal weapons at all. But living in a country in love with lethal weapons I know that that will never happen. It’s too bad.

If I believed in God at all I would have to believe that firearms are the tools of Satan.

Those are just a few random thoughts right now. Not an organized essay on what’s going on in Ferguson. So don’t treat it like one. The situation is unbelievable from beginning to end.

That entire police force needs to go on trial for their suppression of constitutional rights of the citizens protesting and those trying to report on the events. They need to be fired and replaced and trained better to deal with both apprehending unarmed (AND ARMED) suspects and protests.

That police department has behaved shamefully.

No, I don’t think the looting that’s happened is okay. But don’t let the looters  be confused with the peaceful protesters. They are not the same people and if the police force wasn’t 100% concentrating on suppressing the citizen’s right to peaceful protest and shooting them with rubber bullets and gassing them – maybe they could have actually quelled the looting and jailed looters.

It’s been a tense two weeks. Our country is like one big castle of dry rot surrounded  by lit matches. It would take so little to destroy us right now. We spend billions of dollars arming the entire world when we should be de-arming everyone and rebuilding our economy on manufacturing and inventions. We are, in my opinion, the most evil country in the world with the way we have armed both allies and enemies with every way to kill other humans under the sun since the early eighties. We have trained the armies of dictators and then trained their enemies too while they’re not paying attention.

The United States is the single largest firearms pimp of the entire world. We stand for war, killing, aggression, invading, and weaponizing.

I want us to stand for innovation, peace, great education, quality manufactured goods, and civil rights equality for all citizens. That’s a United States I would be proud of. That’s a United States I will stand up for and whose flag I –

Nope. I’ll never be a flag flyer.

The answers to how to fix our economy and country are already there in front of us but few people are brave enough to let go of their old ways of dealing with conflict. Few are brave enough to put down their weapons. Weapons are the most cowardly way to deal with ANY conflict. Cowards shoot. Cowards swing axes. Cowards punch people.

Bravery is confronting adversaries without weapons. Being willing to come together and come up with nonviolent solutions. Bravery is knowing you will be hurt in the fight but refusing to fight back.

The weakest and most cowardly people of all are those that wear masks to hide their identity while harming others. If you belong to the Klu Klux Klan you are the weakest and most cowardly of all human beings. You are even beneath snipers who shoot from hidden vantage points and at some distance. You are the lowest of the low.

Hang on, I might be wrong about that.

Those who hide their hate and poison behind corporate law might not be as low as the KKK but they are more dangerous than little boys wearing silly dunce-cones and calling themselves “knights”.

I’m tired. I’m really tired of all the hate and the shooting and the aggression and the ugly and the wars and the rapes and the trampling of peaceful people.

I am redesigning my Etsy store right now to make it into Cricket’s world. I have my salve listed and soon I’ll be listing lip balms and first aid kits. I’m also working on other things. I hope to create a really fun and cool post apocalyptic themed shop. I need to concentrate on creating to keep my spirits up. To keep my hope going. Redesigning my shop has inspired me to dig back into book 2 of Cricket and Grey. I guess I needed a really long  break and to give myself permission to step away if I need to. To take the pressure off. Making things that Cricket and Julie might make is incredibly enjoyable.

I’m not taking my eye off of what’s happening in Ferguson – my heart is with Michael Brown’s family and community. My heart is with social justice, but my actions need to be rooted in creating and making and writing. Things that generate ideas which are what we need more than weapons in this world. Ideas.

So today I’m working on an apron made from a used men’s shirt and I’m excited. I think I’ll dig into Cricket and Grey for some light editing of the second chapter later on.

Peace. Especially to those people who don’t even know when they’re being assholes. Peace to everyone.

xoxo

a

*The Israeli one, not the Scottish one.

It’s been a bloody fucking stupid day.

epic bloody nose

What a fucker of a day. Still feeling the shock of Robin Williams’ death.

Everyone keeps saying “apparent suicide” and I think this is because it has yet to be officially confirmed that it was a suicide rather than foul play or sexual shenanigans gone wrong. Because my mind is always hanging out on bad street corners it keeps wondering how people would react if it turned out he was murdered. It keeps imagining how conversations would go through sudden shifts and we’d drop all the talk about mental illness from the pseudo-helpful perspective and see it turn to blaming crazy people for all crime in the world.

It’s a fucked up world.

But my step mother commenting on my blog upset me way more and threw me off-kilter all day. She accuses of me of being an ignorant American because I dare to question Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. They live there, my biological father and she are spending time in bomb shelters lately and I imagine they are pretty scared. I don’t want anything bad to happen to them or my half brother either. But having Israelis as family members doesn’t mean I have to agree with Israel’s actions or the fact that my own government spends billions of dollars funding not only its own attacks against Iraq but Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

She missed the whole fucking point of the post.

But that’s politics and world view stuff. She accused me of picking on my biological father (her husband) and suggests I need to take responsibility for myself as an adult. This made me angry. I have had to “take responsibility” for myself at an unconscionably young age because my three parents were so busy abandoning me, neglecting me, or hurting me that I have always had to be my own parent and be responsible for my choices whether good or bad without much benefit of parental guidance. So fuck that shit. My father has had plenty of opportunity to show me who he is as a person and he HAS. Oh yes, he has. I have this to say to both him and my step mother:

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I let the distant past go a long time ago. But my family has the habit of throwing fresh bullshit onto the carpet the minute I have the last pile deep cleaned and purified so that I must constantly be scrubbing it out on my hands and knees.

She said other things too. Let it go. She tries to – let it go. She hates – LET IT GO. She –

LET. IT. THE. FUCK. GO.

No one’s bombs are justified. No one’s hate is justified. I do not accept.

Some people are calling Robin Williams a coward for killing himself. More bullshit in the carpet of life and all the things and people I care about. My friend Kele wrote a great post addressing suicide shaming:

On Suicide Shaming by Katherine Lampe

Pay special attention to the part about how battling depression is EXHAUSTING. I’ve been doing it for well over 30 years and most of us who’ve been battling it for a long time experience a bone-deep exhaustion at some point.

It’s been an awful day.

Tomorrow is Max’s orientation for high school. My mom has a hernia. Water restrictions are mandatory now. The IRS has sent me registered mail. We are pretty broke and so I need to put things in my Etsy shop again and try to make some extra money. The world is full of hatred and violence and finger pointing and shaming and I just want to crawl into a pile of kittens and sleep.

Which I would do if I could locate a pile of kittens and IF I DIDN’T HAVE CHRONIC INSOMNIA AND POOR SLEEP.

I made soup and I named it “fuck off assholes of the world” It’s a spicy soup made from my garden tomatoes and zucchini, corn, potatoes and pickled jalapenos. It’s amazing and throat punches assholes but nourishes everyone else.

I introduced Max to Louis CK today because he was having a shit time too. His nose was hurting pretty bad because of the scab from the cauterization. We laughed so hard it made everything feel better for a few minutes. The curative powers of making fun of dicks and jiz-smothered  cinnabons cannot be overestimated.

Also, I wore a pair of stolen socks today.*

*I didn’t steal them and that’s all I’m gonna say about it.

Learning Chivalry From a Tough Elementary School

gravestone detail

Philip told me it was raining. I went outside and it was still, the crickets said it’s still summer, but I felt no rain. I walked down the porch stairs and path and stood near the sidewalk and listened with my skin. There were drops. Light and slight, evaporating almost on contact with skin. I laid down on the cement path with my head touching the sidewalk and looked up at the night sky.

It was there, more thin drops like small points of sharp light hitting my warm skin, waking it up. I looked up at the lights on in my house and the familiar experience of being outside looking in was, for once, warm and comforting. I belong somewhere with some people. I belong here. The warmth coming from the house was everything any person could dream of.

This is grace. This is fortune. This is what it feels like to live where there is no war or bombs or excessive crime. I don’t take my fortune for granted. I never do. Every scrap of what I’ve got is cherished though I reserve and exercise the right to complain about minor things because it’s human and it’s natural and I don’t believe in saints and martyrs.

I lay there on the cement walkway with the dark grey sky spread out above me and I wished that everyone on earth could experience this quiet peace as I was able to tonight. I remember the car-jacker in our San Francisco neighborhood shooting off a couple hundred rounds of ammunition and our block being surrounded by police and in the end the only casualty was a homeless man who was killed. I mourned him and after 18 years I still think of him sometimes.

So I thought of all the families listening to missiles drop and crush their neighbors, their own children, all across the world, and I made a secular wish that they might all have what I have right now, this night of quiet and peace.

Don’t care about your race or religion – I wish with all my heart that everyone get a moment like I had tonight. It’s the most any of us can hope for but many never get. This peaceful quiet, this beautiful cessation of abrasive noise and danger.

I have renewed my vow to never be silent about things that matter. Even if it means speaking out puts me in a dangerous situation. Even if it means risking my freedom and friendships. I know who I am and what’s important and I know what silence does to honesty. I know what silence does to the abused. I know how fear fuels evil. I will not be party to it – EVER.

I understand the potential cost. I’ve felt the burn of honesty enough to know the real risks. I’m no innocent with shining armour and virtue. I know the waste of noble action and true empathy. I know what I have to lose and I know what it’s worth.

This week I was remembering the first time I experienced chivalry. I was in second grade in a tough multicultural grade school. I was the victim of frequent bullying and my things were regularly destroyed, my lunchboxes found smashed at the school fence. Kids tormented me and one even tried out her early mugging skills on me.

One day I was saving bees from the asphalt, picking them up and putting them on the weak shrubs growing at the edge of the school yard. Some kids were ridiculing me for trying to save the stupid goddamn bees and this one black boy stepped in and told them all off. I remember trying to ignore the hecklers and this knight stepped in and drew a protective circle around me and told the hecklers to leave me alone or they’d be sorry. He liked bees or me, who can say? I know that I loved him for that. I was going to pick the bees up off the tarmac and set them in the bushes even if it meant I’d be beat up for it later but this gallant older student (5th or 6th grade) became my protector and all my life I have treasured his action, treasured his championship, treasured this protection he offered in a tough school I regularly lost out in.

He didn’t do it because I was some awesome deserving kid. He did it because it was in his code to stand up for the meek, to stand up for others, to risk himself to protect people less able than himself. I have no way of knowing what ever happened to him, how life treated him as he grew up, whether he ever needed someone to stand up for him and had his own guardian or if he was let down?

I am strong now and I am strong in part because he stood up for me. I am a believer in humans because of people like him. I didn’t have much as a kid, no sense of autonomy or bravery. I lived scared shitless in my own home. This fine young man gave me a circle of safety that other students respected.

He shaped my sense of ethics and humanity, my obligation to my greater community of brothers and sisters. He showed me the way to act, to protect, to stand up and say no to assholes. Every time in my life that I’ve mustered the bravery to stand up on someone else’s behalf, he’s been in my heart and my memory.

I wish I knew his name. I knew it when I was 7 years old. I wish I could tell him what a profound effect his small action had on my sense of self and how I have worked to become a torch bearer for chivalry because he spread his cloak for me.

So this week as political opinions become increasingly hateful and divisive with regards to Israel versus Palestinians, I will  wear this memory of chivalry pinned straight through my heart because before we are organized by race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality, we are all human and this is the immutable commonality that binds us all together. At the core of everything the only thing that matters is how we comport ourselves in the world, how we treat others, and our commitment to being empathetic human beings who are willing to risk our own skin to protect others regardless of their differences from us.

 

 

 

The Thing That Is Most True To Me

colorful grave lichen

I’m going to tell you the thing that is most true to me in the entire world:

It does not matter to me what color your skin is, how much money or opportunity you’ve grown up with, how fancy your language is, what faiths and weird beliefs you cherish because they nourish you and make you strive to be your best, whether you like vaginas or penises or both or neither or all of the above, how many kids you have or don’t have, what genitals you were born with or ended up with, what style of clothes you wear, or what nation you come from or fled to.

What matters to me is who you ARE. What matters to me even more than who you are is how you treat other people. Me, the people around us, the people who are different than you. What matters to me is how you treat animals and the earth that feeds you. What matters to me is action.

I may only get to know you for a few minutes and if in that few minutes you are cruel then that is how I will know you. That is what you will be to me.

None of us are perfect beings. I’m far from perfect. I’m the first to see this, to acknowledge it and embrace the fact that perfection isn’t a human condition. You aren’t perfect. I know this and this is why I believe in forgiveness and embrasure.

The thing that is most true to me is that how you act, how you treat others, the earth, animals – this tells me who you really are more than anything else. More than your badges and family names and affiliations and political tribe. Your actions are all I need to know who you are. What and who you stand up for.

What’s most true is that I believe in peace, in inclusion, in education, in love, in science, in nature, in empathy, in sharing, in exploring, in creativity, in authenticity.

I was called antisemitic last night in an ugly online discourse because I questioned how the Israeli government is treating the Palestinians. Because I do not approve of the oppression of any people by any other people. Don’t care what your global history is, don’t care what your race is, don’t care about your goddamn religion. It is never okay with me for one people to enslave or oppress in any way another people.

Period.

Full Stop.

It was wrong for my country to invade Iraq and then occupy it and kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Believing it was wrong for us to do that doesn’t mean I hate my countrymen/women or that I hate the individual soldiers who enlisted. I hate the military and political complex that decided to take wrongful and offensive action against another people.

It doesn’t make me anti-American. It makes me anti-violence. It makes me anti-war. It makes me anti-bigoted.

When I was called antisemitic I explained that I’m far from that. That I love many many Jewish people personally ending by saying that I have many Jewish relatives.

The person who was attacking me ridiculed this saying “that’s worse than saying you have ‘one black friend'” This felt like such a deeply personal blow. It felt like this person was suggesting I was making up “relatives” in order to sound like I have a legitimate opinion. I got angry while I was hurt. Because my (step)dad, the man who raised me from the time I was five, is Jewish. I have grown up with a strong appreciation and love for Judaism and a feeling of familial connection giving me ownership of belonging with and among a Jewish community of people.

He ridiculed me and said more hateful things.

As though loving my own dad, a man who has stood by me most of my life, more than my own fucking biological father did, is nothing. I am some white person with no right to an opinion or a point of view even though this shouldn’t even be a racial fucking issue. He wiped me out with his comments.

Then another person joined in. A white (I guess Jewish?) girl. And they ganged up on me assuming I have read nothing, assuming I haven’t been to Israel myself, suggesting that if I question what Israel is doing that I hate all Jews. Assuming, even, that I am not aware that not all Israelis are Jewish.

I kept trying to rally for some reason even as I felt gut punched.

I can’t explain the feeling in precise terms, only approximations.

It felt like I’d been drained of personhood.

How black people must feel when white people wipe them out as though they aren’t quite human and not qualified to have an opinion based on their own experiences and studies. As though they are incapable of making educated decisions because of the color of their skin.

How I felt when that asswipe chauvinist tenant of ours wouldn’t talk to me because I wasn’t the “man of the house”.

How Jewish people must have felt when the Nazis started sweeping them out of the way because they don’t matter and aren’t quite human or worthy of note, but before the mass slaughtering.

How Palestinians felt when the Jews kicked them out of their homes in Palestine and renamed it Israel.

How gay people feel when someone hurls hatred and bile on them because of how they love and play sexually and it hits them in the solar plexis of personal pain because it gets them in their personhood and then dismisses it as trash.

I will not hate black men or white women because of these two hateful people slinging shit on me at 2am on a sleepless night. I will not hate Jews because of this either.

I was up because I was already having trouble sleeping. I choked back a lot of tears, the kind I couldn’t let loose and still haven’t truly – though they keep threatening to- because once that kind start they get ugly and ragged and I hate crying even for grief.

I blocked them both. I tried to delete all trace of the conversation it was in my power to delete. To clean my heart.

I got in bed at 3am. I kept having to choke back that vile horrible feeling of someone having tried to rip away your right to think, to express, to speak, to BE. I wanted to wake Philip up to tell him but he was already having a restless night and I also knew if I woke him up my dam would break and I would hate myself later for giving in to it. I couldn’t get the hateful words out of my head. They kept washing over me reaffirming that I’m a piece of shit human being, if I’m even human.

But mostly I just felt so awful because I care about Palestinians as much as I care about Jews as much as I care about Christians and Buddhists and Atheists and Mormons and YES EVEN FUCKING SCIENTOLOGISTS* – and to be told you can’t care about one person without hating another goes against my absolute truth as a human being.

Then I got palpitations so bad that if I didn’t know what they were I would have thought I was having a heart attack. Even knowing it was just anxiety – it still scared me.

So today I’ve just been heart sick.

Fucking stupid-ass self – even writing this is making me feel it all again.

Friends have held me up today. My family is awesome. I am surrounded by a lot of love from people of different faiths, races, backgrounds, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations, and musical tastes.

Especially people of different musical tastes.

That’s where all my love goes. To people who are interested in honest discourse, acceptance that strives for total human INCLUSION.

I will never pledge my allegiance to a country or tribe of any kind where that allegiance is expected to overlook actions and ethics. I love my country but I will never be blind to the actions of our leaders or our military or our citizens.

Actions speak louder than anything else.

That is the thing that is most true.

It is for all of us to become better than our worst experiences and our worst enemies.

I’m heart sick but stapling and taping my paper-thin hope back together again as I always do every single time it’s ripped apart.

You are your actions and you are the actions you support more than anything else that defines you.

You can’t love peace while clamoring for violent action.

Act accordingly.

I leave you with this short film that sums up the conflict in Israel beautifully and succinctly, please click the link and watch it:

THIS LAND IS MINE

 *I mean, c’mon, it was made up by a science fiction writer – not sure it’s officially left cult status – but I care about the people who follow this weird religion just as much as I do everyone else.

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

P1010685

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!