Fight back against NSA surveillance!

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I can't figure out how to get the banner to show up, but fight back anyway!

https://thedaywefightback.org/

Dec. 29th, 2013

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You all like to say we want to take away your guns
In my case, you're right
If I could, we would all wake up one morning
And all the guns would be gone
Just disappeared
Like a Twilight Zone episode
And nobody could make any more of them
And we would never again
See 20 children's parents crying
At Christmas

Nov. 5th, 2013

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Ideas wandered around my brain last night as I was dropping off to sleep.  This is good.  I should have time to write tomorrow and now I know my mind is playing with it.

I'm taking in my boss' 3 cats tonight and I'm apprehensive.  I've introduced new cats before, but only one at a time!  I worry about how 3 sibling cats will integrate into our home.  I guess we'll just have to see.

Aha!

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I found the not-quite 1000 words I wrote on The Citadel in 2007.  It's not bad, but I realized I had no idea where it was going and what the plot would be - that's why I stopped.  I realized as I was falling asleep that I need to switch my mental frame from "hiding from the bad guys" to a more Robin Hood approach, with a sprinkle of V for Vendetta.  If my icky people took over the country, life for the poor (and Not Rich) would be really tough.  Add in climate change effects and a personal conflict for one of my characters and Voila!  I think I have something to work with.  Now I just have to write it.

Ideas

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I was thinking about someone who has odd dreams and then slowly realizes she's actually jumping into other people's lives when she dreams.  At first, she's just a viewer of their lives, but gradually finds herself able to influence the people she's viewing.

I'm supposed to be writing NaNoWriMo but I have no book idea.  Unless the line above is my book idea.  It's probably been done.  But I really like it.

I could always go back to The Citadel, the book I dreamed up back in college, when Ann and I would talk about the coming Radical Right-Wing Theocracy and how we would fight it.

Then again, there's Malachi's story, which scares me the most.  OK, all of these ideas scare me.  That's probably a good thing, but I just don't know if I'm good enough.  Maybe that doesn't matter.  Just write SOMETHING. 

Days of the Dead

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I woke up thinking about my godfather, my cousin Butch.  I didn't know him well, but he had a tough life.  He was raised Catholic, but he was also gay.  He tried to commit suicide and, in coming to see him in the hospital, his mother, brother and grandmother died in a car accident.  That guilt haunted his entire life.  When I met him as an adult, he had been living with a partner but was celibate because he wanted to see his grandmother in heaven when he died.  He died in his 50s, obese and with tons of health problems.  I can't help but wonder if his guilt and self-hatred ended up killing him.

Today, Radiolab did a story on Alan Turing.  Turing was a brilliant mathematician who came up with the concepts that led to computers.  He was also a hero - his working cracking the German Enigma code in WWII ended the war earlier than it would have otherwise, saving untold lives.  He was also gay.  He was arrested for it in the 1950s and subjected to quack science (estrogen injections) that were supposed to "cure" him.  The injections and the publicity ruined his life and he committed suicide.

How many others have we lost because of homophobia?  Matthew Shepard was murdered 15 years ago.  Transwomen and transmen are beaten and brutalized and killed all the time.  LBGTQ teens kill themselves.  Other live lies their entire lives.

Gods and Goddesses, hear my prayer.  Let us grow enough as a species for there to be no more dead from this stupidity.  Let us stop judging and hating and killing because of gender or sexuality or race or any other thing that we think divides us.

The wheel has turned again

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November has come again.  There's a bit of a chill in the mornings and at night.  Kids came and got free candy from me and now we start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and a New Year.  Perhaps I'm crazy, but I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year.  Let's see if I can at least write *here* every day!

I had an odd dream this morning.  I was in a strange city, one I've seen in my dreams before. It has many bridges and also public elevated trains that run along the bridges.  It's a lovely city.  I don't know where the images for it come from, but I seem to go there a great deal in my mind.  I had been asking for a sign and Goddess told me to "follow the woman" or something like that and so when a woman and her daughter asked me to go somewhere with them, I did.  I seemed to think it was a date.  I also vaguely remember the woman saying she had gotten her daughter to call her "dad".  I also think she was pregnant.

I followed her into the city and we went into a large church.  I looked vaguely Catholic - there were stained glass windows and it was very grand and Gothic.  But inside it was set up more like an amphitheater, with padding on the "steps" that we sat on, all leading down to the altar in the center.  I think there was also food being served.  For some reason, I wouldn't go get any, even though I was hungry.  My parents showed up.  My dad tried to fix something I was wearing - it was a bracelet or watch and it was made up of little coins and pins.  It didn't work and I got frustrated and said something about not being able to have nice things and put all the pieces in my pocket.

I was angry and frustrated throughout the service (which I remember nothing of).  After we got out, I turned on the woman and said I thought we were going to dinner, not church.  Then I stalked off towards the bridge out of the city.  As I walked, I saw a water tower or industrial tower or something and it was the sign I had been looking for or trying to identify from a dream or vision.

As I thought back over it when I woke up, I realized that in the dream Goddess used my petulance against me!  Knowing I would get snippy and pissy and stalk off was part of the plan for giving me an answer!

I've been thinking about this all morning.  I have a bad habit of throwing a tantrum when I feel frustrated or I don't know what's going on.  Especially if I feel stupid.  I can get very petulant when things don't work and I don't want to deal with making them work (the watch/bracelet) and I don't feel like I *can* make them work.  I can be every bit as whiny as a toddler and I really hate that about myself.  BUT... could it also be a way of learning something if I look at it differently?  Hmm.

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Jenny has the right idea

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"So instead of pressuring the government to just DO THEIR JOB I’m going to instead write about a few things that we can do to pick up the slack they’ve left behind."

http://thebloggess.com/2013/10/we-are-the-government/

Dreams

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I had an odd dream over the weekend.  I was in my mom's parents' house.  I think mom and grandma were there, plus other relatives I didn't know, including my grandfather's mom (who died before I was born).  My grandfather was "back" but it didn't look or sound like him.  I was very upset and ran outside to the small plot grandpa gardened, crying that his soul was there, in the soil.

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Aug. 15th, 2013

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I'm so sickened by what happened in Egypt.  500+ people dead for NO REASON.  They were protesting by having a sit-in.  They weren't rioting in the streets.  They just pissed off the ruling folks by refusing to shut up.  WTF?  This country kicked out a dictator by peaceful protest and now... hell.

It seems like the world (and definitely Egypt right now) is run by people who can't even CONCEIVE of non-violent solutions.  Every damn problem is a nail for them to hammer to death.

"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

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We got up naturally on Saturday, read emails and comics online, and then went to see Pacific Rim.  We liked it.  Humans pulling together to fight impossible odds, love and sacrifice, ultimate triumph AND giant robots and monsters?  Nothing bad there!  Then we used our Groupon to go to Fuego Bistro.  As my hubby said, sometimes you have to eat at a place this good to remember that there are places this good.  Awesome food as always.  Home again, watched Being Human UK, a little nookie, then some cartoons.  A perfect day.

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Back on the horse

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I felt sick all weekend and ended up taking off Monday and sleeping.  It was that can't-put-my-finger-on illness: a malingering melancholy mixed with sleepiness, a sinus headache, and back pain.  Sometimes I can't tell the difference between feeling physically sick and emotionally sick.  Too many stories of pain and death and heartache and I get sick.  That's why I read as many stories of love and joy and compassion as I can, to balance out the nasty things and keep myself functional.  When I believed there was nothing good in the world, I was depressed and angry and hopeless and not any good to anyone.  I chose and choose not to live that way anymore.  I want to believe that people are basically good and the world is beautiful.  Most of the time, I do.

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Love vs Fear

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I went out with mom last Thursday to get a birthday gift for dad.  Somewhere in the mess of conversations, I said that I believe that most people are basically good and mom laughed at me.  She made a "kumbaya" joke at me and said this belief would bite me in the ass.  I don't think she knows how much that hurt me, how much I wondered what happened to the woman who raised me, how hard I've worked to overcome depression and cynicism to come to this belief.  As I thought about it later, I realized that I would rather die in my world than live in hers.

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Day 2

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None of the cats were with me when I woke up, but Buddy wanted attention after I was cleaning myself up.  So I spent a few minutes cuddling on the bed with him.  At one point, I lightly put my head on him and heard his rumbling purr throughout his body.  Best sound in the world, in my view.  Far more important than rushing through my morning to be at work 5 minutes earlier.  I definitely would have preferred to stay like that for awhile.

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What the hell...

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Christina Rosalie posted a challenge to blog one paragraph every day for 30 days.  Why not?

I dream of writing on a deck or patio somewhere, in a comfortable chair, a cup of tea beside me, a laptop or notebook in front of me, a breeze blowing gently.  Instead, I'm in a dark room in front of a computer with two monitors and florescent lights that hurt my eyes.  At least I have the cup of tea.

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Books

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I'm thinking of re-reading some of the books and stories that deeply influenced/affected me.  One part of my brain says, "Oh, but I have too many NEW books to read for that!"  So the other part has decided to at least list some of the books/stories I would re-read if I actually decided to do this.

  1. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.  My first science fiction book, read when I was about 11.

  2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  My first fantasy book, also read when I was 11.  A year or so later, I was hunting for more books about hobbits and found The Lord of The Rings trilogy.

  3. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.  Some time in high school, I read a short story from this collection called "Usher II" and was completely hooked on Bradbury forever after.  I don't care if we know Mars isn't and could never have been like this.  The Mars of Ray's imagination is a place all its own.

  4. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.  I ended up joining the real world Church of All Worlds, which should tell you how much influence this had on me. :)

  5. "'Repent, Harlequin,' Said The Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison.  This short story sent me on a lifelong love affair with Harlan's works and destroyed my previous notions of what a story could be.  Re-reading this could easily send me off on a jaunt through the many books of his works that I have. :)

  6. V For Vendetta by Alan Moore.  I read this when DC released it in the 80s and it deeply affected my politics at an important age.  Yes, I love the movie, but the comic has so much depth... I can barely describe it.

  7. Swamp Thing by Alan Moore.  Alan completely messed with my head in so many ways.

  8. Naked Lunch by William Burroughs.  I read this in high school.  I didn't finish it the first time, but made it through the second.  Burroughs "cut up" technique changed my way of writing overnight.

  9. "There's No Hope in Crime Alley" by Denny O'Neill.  This is a Batman comic and digging it out of the box would be a real pain.  As far as I can remember, this is the first story that made me look to see who wrote it - and made me realize there were people behind these stories.

  10. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  Given that a movie version is coming out later this year, maybe I shouldn't re-read this...  Card blew my mind here and in the sequels.  Also, the only "humans all over space" stories I've ever read where there is no faster-than-light travel - and that fact is integral to the story in several places.

More later...

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Jun. 7th, 2013

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This was in my inbox and caught my attention:

“...wanting soul life without the dark, warming intelligence of personal doubt is like expecting an egg without the brooding heat of the mother hen.”
― David Whyte

List your doubts today. Write them down. Meditate on them.

Embrace every single one.

Even the ones that bring you the most discomfort.

It is in that doubt that the (unshakable) certainty is born.


I doubt...

That there is any kind of life after death.

That we will act in time to stop the worst effects of climate change.

That tigers and polar bears will exist in the wild in 20 years.

The Phoenix will be livable in 20 years.

That I can lose 100 (or more) pounds and be healthy and fit.

That I will live to 50.

That there are any gods or spirits or any kind of beings beyond the material world.

That I will leave any legacy or feel I have done anything worthwhile in my life.

Seasons

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I never thought I would miss Winter.

Autumn?  Hell yeah.  Even when I was still in love with Phoenix, I felt a pang in my soul when I saw photos of "classic autumn" scenes.

Spring?  As I grew to dislike Phoenix, I grew to miss the explosion of flowers and leaves and greenery.  I reveled in the touch of coolness in the air mixed with its growing warmth earlier this month.  I smiled at every bit of flowering I saw.  Spring is awesome, even here, but far too short.

Summer?  "Aye, there's the rub."  Summer here is horrible.  I hate it more and more each year.  It literally feels like being baked.  And I am not a fucking cake.

After nearly 29 years here, I don't know if I even remember Summer elsewhere.  I almost wrote that I don't miss humidity, but that's not entirely true anymore.  This dry heat sucks the life out of me.  I live for August, when there's at least the *possibility* of rain.

I know that I miss Green.  I have pictures of forests on every computer I touch.  I dive into photos of woodlands on Pinterest.  I ache for maples and oaks and birches and trails to walk through them.

But Winter...

One of the reasons my family moved to Arizona is because we nearly froze to death on a mountain when our car died.  It was December, the wind chill factor was (I think) -40, and if our last call for help on the CB hadn't been answered by a nearby volunteer fire department, I might not be here to write this.  My parents had wanted out of our hometown for some time, but this was the proverbial last straw.  We had come here for vacation with my grandparents, and later on our own, and my mom fell in love.  Also, she really hates to be cold.

I've said for 28+ years that I hate to be cold.  But I'm not sure that's really true anymore.  And, trying to be honest here, I remember some Not Fun Things about Winter, like trouble driving because of ice on the roads and low visibility and getting stuck in the snow.  Snow can be beautiful, but not when you're digging the car out of it.

Some years back, I fantasized about having a cabin in Flagstaff for the holidays and having everyone I love there.  I'm sure it would never live up to the image in my head.  And fantasizing about the nice parts of Winter is very different from living in it.

But maybe I need to visit it once in a while.

I know there's a middle ground somewhere between Desert and Blizzard.  I feel like Oregon or Washington could give me everything I want without going to the opposite extreme from here.  Plus, it's Liberal Land, and I am damn sick of this state when it comes to politics.

And I do miss Seasons.

Arizona does have them, but they are subtle and have taken me many years to really feel.  I also think that Phoenix doesn't have them in the same way that somewhere less urban, like Cottonwood or Bisbee, does.  Everything here is very Brown, except where people are watering like crazy, which is wasteful and completely unsustainable.  One look at Lake Mead will show how the "easy" water is long gone from this area and not coming back.

I honestly feel that Phoenix is going to be a lot less livable in the next decade or so.  Climate change has already shortened our Spring and Fall and lengthened our Summer.  Drought and wildfires are only going to get worse.

So, what keeps me here?

People and Money.

Nearly everyone I truly love is here, and the idea of leaving them hurts to even contemplate.  Like it or not, my heart has roots here.

The other part is logistics of jobs and house and so forth.  Stuff we could work out if we wanted it badly enough.

But not seeing all the kids grow up?  Wrenching.  Not growing old(er) with people we've known since our 20's?  Inconceivable.

So...

How do I get everyone I love to move into one neighborhood in Portland with me? 

I need to make a poster of this for myself

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Justine Musk is a Badass.

11 quick + dirty things about writing

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

― Sylvia Plath

1.

If you have the calling to write, do yourself a favor and listen close. It won’t go away. It will chafe and grow inside you, a hard determined pearl.

If you wait too late to start, you will regret it.

Start now. What the hell. Buy a notebook and pen and go somewhere on your lunch hour and write something, anything, even if you’re just writing about not having anything to write. Enjoy the play of language. Get to know your mind in the way that only your writing can show you.

2.

Give yourself permission to write badly, or you’ll never do it at all. First drafts are not about writing well. They’re about spinning out the raw material for you to work with in order to write well.

3.

If you don’t write yourself into existence, someone else will have to invent you. click to tweet

4.

Silence won’t save you. You think you’re hiding from criticism and judgment, but you’ll get criticized anyway (just not for writing). Silence makes it possible for them to write over you.

And then to erase you.

5.

The way to deal with fear is to let yourself feel the fear: if you try to suppress it, it comes back stronger. Know that it’s in you but not of you, and you don’t have to let it stop you. Move with and through it like you’re driving through bad weather. When you start writing, the fear fades away.

6.

Everybody needs her period of apprenticeship, and it will be longer and tougher and harder than you expect or want it. Embrace the struggle. Appreciate what it does for you.

The struggle transforms you into the writer that you need to be.

We are forged in creative fire. click to tweet

7.

Your voice is like your avatar; it’s what readers wrap their sense of you around; it’s a set of ideas about who you are and what you represent; it’s what you say and how you say it.

This is the paradox: you must develop a strong and grounded sense of self, because you are whatever they say you are.

8.

Your ultimate goal shouldn’t be to write for yourself or for an audience, or to find a compromise between the two. Compromise sucks. There’s a vanishing point, a sweetspot, where you and your audience become one and the same: writing for you is writing for them.

You want to find that spot.

You want to live there — and disappear there.

9.

You develop your voice through reading all the time and writing all the time. (Reading is the inhale, writing is the exhale.) Let yourself gravitate to the writers who attract you, pull you in, because their work is showing you something of yourself. Let yourself imitate them, until you notice those spaces where you can’t help but do something different.

In those spaces, you start to make your own voice.

10.

People don’t own ideas. They own the execution of those ideas. (Give the same idea to twenty different writers, and I’ll show you twenty different stories.) Execution is the hard part.

11.

Writing lives in the body as well as the mind. It’s a lie, and a truth, and a lie that shows the truth.

12.

Writing makes you whole. It shows people who you are. And then, as you grow toward mastery, it shows them who they are.

A meeting

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We were visiting our family and it had snowed.  I can't remember why we went back that time of year.  I do remember I had to buy boots and the sound of my steps crunching has stayed with me.

I spent the day watching Thomas The Tank Engine with my youngest cousin and walking in the woods with my older cousins.  I vividly remember my aunt's Sheltie, Sandy, diving in and out of the snow drifts like a dolphin, shining with joy.

Late into the night, I woke for some reason and went downstairs.  I didn't have my glasses on, so everything had a misty quality.  I went into the den and looked out the window.

The full moon made the snow look like a blanket of crystals.  A few feet away was a stunning buck.  I can see him clearly, even though there was no way I could have without glasses.  We just stood there, looking at each other, for a timeless time until he decided to leave.

Magic.

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