Death Rattle Arts and Crafts

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Well, it’s almost here. Book fair in Nampa, Idaho, for the Death Rattle writer’s festival. I airily asked for booth space to sell my stack of unsold books. Then, I decided I needed posters to advertise I’m a REAL WRITER. So I’ve been obsessing over that. Redoing them. Discovering I had some green body glitter from way back that, yes, can be used accordingly. I’ve been using spray paint. 

I’ll also be reading a short piece called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters, which is a quickie take on Rapunzel. 

My mood is low, and I almost want to bow out of this whole thing. Just hide in my room. I had a job interview, I botched it, I did something very wrong. I didn’t get a job I could do in my sleep half-dead with typhoid. With two degrees in that subject. I seem to have “loser” tattooed on my forehead…I know, you’re supposed to be positive all the damn time. Sorry. I’ll buck up. Write some zany review of a television show that’s been off the air for years. Yeah. It’s been raining. We needed it. 

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First draft efforts!!
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Placement of this and that.
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My Aftermath masterpiece! Nail polish, cheap supermarket watercolors and old magazine pictures, oh my. 
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Library Talk

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From a local fire we had years ago. Taken from my window.

I’m an agitated little poster maker these first days of October. I’m trying to get ready for my booth, and gear up for a public reading. Two of them, actually. So that’s good! Nampa, Idaho for the Death Rattle festival. Mountain Home for the tenth anniversary of Whistle Pig. Both in Idaho, so local events I can drive to easy enough.

Now, yesterday. I had a visit with an old friend. At the library. We sat in the far back, hushed voices. Talking about. Politics. We’re both a bit blue in a very scarlet area of Oregon.

What??

Oregon has conservatives??

Yeah, outside of that Portland-Salem-Eugene strip, the rest of the state is mouth-breathing methheads who still think Obummer is comin’ for theirz gunz. I know this because I’m related to some of them.

We’re a blue state only because that I-5 corridor consists of staunch liberals, for the most part.

Anyway!

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Vale, Oregon

I’ve written about this friend before. The gentle peacenik sort with the high ideals of society and people. Right now, he’s ready to move to the bluest commune he can find, leaving behind his beloved animals if he has to. He feels sick all the time. He’s fighting with those around him who are Trump-supporters. He’s left his church over it being too pro-conservative. But he is writing. It’s helping him cope. He wants to hold a poetry workshop. 

Cope.

Those not in the cult o’Mangled Orange Hellbeast seem to be on coping mode right now.

Old movies, binge watching something familiar, listening to the same pieces of music over and over, eating too much, not eating enough, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough.

There’s this stunned, this cannot be happening take to America’s direction right now, from Americans who have to live here. We’ve become an army of zombies who want comfort, fattening food, mental candy and long snoozes in a soft, warm bed. To wake up to it was all a dream, everything’s okay, we’re still the good guys in the world. 

How to turn that survival mode switch off? Turn the LET’S FUCKING TAKE THESE MOTHERFUCKING ASSMUNCHES TO THE TRASH switch on?

We don’t need more opinion pieces on why so and so is a supporter of Fat Nixon. STFU, New York Times. Enough!

We don’t need more earnest discussions on what to do if this becomes a dictatorship. That fucking ship sailed a while ago, kiddos.

We don’t need any more the politicians on the left are as bad as the ones on the right snooty snoots.

Fuck! Are you kidding, far lefties?? Are you actually trying to make sure shit goes down that will get America listed up there with North Korea, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Hitler’s Germany?

How bad does it have to get before you unicorn-seeking far lefties start fighting back with more than long blog posts on how no one is woke but you and about three others named Dreamstar of Nowhereland, Xena Cloudwarrior for Vegan Harmony, and Jangles the Non-Materialistic Clown for World Peace?

People mention civil war more and more here. That’s what has my hackles raised, my teeth bared. Because, frankly, it would be a relief to watch Trump supporters getting their heads blown off in mid-love fest of that thing they’ve chosen to worship. I know. I’m not supposed to voice such a thing, ever. I’m not even supposed to imagine that, I’m on the ‘nice’ side, that plays by the rules, takes the high road and loses about every election there is to lose lately. Which is the problem.

People still think there are rules, checks and balances, in place. BWHA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH     um, I mean, tee hee, tee hee.

There’s not. Rules and fair play left years ago, you idiot grinners, you mannerly snitchheads.

Yeah.

The limping left keep waiting for Republicans to DO THE RIGHT THING.

Waiting. Waiting.

Waiting!

While assuming crash positions, knowing full well that those on the right will allow this creeping tide of fanatics to unleash the dogs of war on all of us. Yet waiting for the GOP in America to PUT A STOP TO IT.

Though, some on the right are sounding the alarm quite loudly. Going– hey, look over here, bad dudes and bad dudettes doing shitty things! LOOOOOOOK.

With the left using their inside voices and their company manners, telling those on the left using their outside voices and pointy fingers to pipe down, don’t upset people. Always Be Cautious Abused Wives seems to be the real slogan of the left these days. Placate, placate, placate, is the battle cry of the left. Those not placating get treated like something stepped in when walking the labradoodle at the dog park. 

Yeah. You notice that, you suppress the crappy crap, you sit through a literally hellish week of watching Kavanaugh blah blah.

And now the White House released a four person list that the FBI could interview, yet no one on the left seems to be screeching a screech that will be heard round the world about that…!!!!!!!!!! FUCK

BOOM BOOM BOOM

CLANG CLANG CLANG WENT THE COUNTRY

Until your head explodes after your tenth viewing of that song from the new Star is Born, where you melt with happy numbness over Lady Gaga hitting that middle shouty bit about being shallow or something. Bradley Cooper can sing? What?? Where’s that ten pound bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! I need some Hot Cheetos! Hit replay! Oooh, Lady Gaga, girl! Who knew Bradley Cooper could grow a beard and sing??! Lindsey Graham said what??

REPLAY REPLAY REPLAY–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo_efYhYU2A

Wheeee! Brains! Wall!!

So, I went to the library to talk to a friend. I’m redoing my posters for the writer’s event so they don’t look like I did them when drunk, asleep, depressed to the point of turning into an actual slug. I’m wondering what the uniforms will be like for American Civil War II, the Return of the Orange King.

I hope it’s flattering for all body types, and that blood washes out of it. No sense getting a uniform that stains too easy.

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A Gown of Stars and Diamonds

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from Zazzle

Once upon a time, she wore a gown of stars and diamonds. She moved through the crowds, who called her names beneath their breath, like cunt and twat and bitch, and smiled to her face while calling her pretty and nice. She danced with no one, just herself, letting her skirts swirl out, taking the very middle of the floor.

That music is for everyone, someone muttered, others muttered that moments after. Until everyone said it but the one dancing.

She must be taught a lesson, that cunt, that twat, that bitch. She must be taught she doesn’t matter at all, that’s she’s to be looked at, that’s she’s to be divided into pieces for all to enjoy. That she doesn’t belong to herself. That she must dance in private or dance as we want her to.

The crowd surrounded her.

Her dress of stars and diamonds torn away, replaced with a dress of mud and thorns. They cut her tongue out so she would stop screaming. They cut off her hands so she would stop fighting. They cut off her legs so she could not run away. They removed her eyes so she could not mark their faces into her brain. They stuffed wads of cloth in each ear so she could not hear their voices to mark them into her brain. They removed her brain to make sure all others in their star and diamond dresses would know to take them off, and put on the dresses of mud and thorns.

And they did.

Help us teach her that final lesson, said the crowd to these women now wearing mud and thorns. Or you will be next. So the women in their approved mud, in their smiled upon thorns, helped carry off the severed arms and legs. They burned the tongue, stomped the eyeballs flat, stuffed more cloth into the ears, fried the brain with butter to serve to the hounds.

Through the years, only a few dared dance in the middle of that floor wearing the universe on her skin. The ghost of that first one rises to join them.

The women yet in mud and thorns look away, their anger tamped down like coals in a stone hearth. Come dance with us, speak the ones dancing.

Not yet, not yet, shhh, the rest say, longing like a taste of bitter almonds in their throats.

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from One World Education

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blank-eyed eidolons

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Wheat field being harvested. Eastern Oregon. 

It’s rather sobering how the people around you get revealed. How that top layer of niceness and decency just go away. And you see the rotting bones beneath, the strips of moldering flesh.

You notice you’re talking to ghosts, who cling to things they know with all their might and mistake the screeches of a selfish idiot for truth, beauty and the American way.

He speaks for us. He’s saying what we’re saying.

Um, wow, I hope not. Have you actually listened to that thing speak/shout at the multiple rallies?

This isn’t strangers around me saying that. I’m a lone island in a sea of blank-eyed eidolons.

I grew up around these desperate little spirits, who can’t understand that their wages going down, and everything else going up isn’t because of welfare queens taking advantage of the system.

Well, it sort of is. Those welfare queens run giant companies like GE and Exxon and Bank of America.

The welfare queens, usually portrayed as a black woman or an immigrant-colored sort of gal, that my relatives and others are told to hate, holds some sort of legendary status right up there with Bigfoot, Nessie and the Abominable Snowman.

Everyone knows about them, but nobody’s actually seen one. There’s the tales about so and so in line at the grocery store. This woman, with a fancy phone, fancy clothes, blah, is buying steak and lobster with food stamps. The details! The more details piled on, the more people lap it up! She’s got her hair done, she’s got fancy salon-looking nails! She’s wearing clothes!

How dare this food-stamp mama WEAR CLOTHES?

Outrage, outrage, get your outrage here! We need to cut those programs…! Yeah. Yep. 

It’s on par with an urban legend.

Except. People repeat it and repeat it, like an urban legend. Going back, fact checking that, boring!

Welfare queens milking the system, sexy as hell. And the fault of the left who wants to give all your hard-working money to gang members, those welfare taker milkers of the system, slutty single women who want abortions every other weekend and…yeah.

I can hear Fox News from the other room. Hyde Amendment, ever heard of it? You have to wait five years to apply for any sort of assistance in America if you immigrated here legally or…ugh.

I hear  the loud, very angry hectoring that makes up the bulk of Fox News programming. Hannity to Laura Ingraham, screaming how Pumpkincunt is a savior of the American Way of Life while Obama and Hillary and the Left want to turn everyone into scary words scary words. It’s not the words at this point, it’s the tone that people respond to. That’s what I get from just hearing that shit from another room. That comforting outrage that pours into the ears like oil squeezed from snakes. I get a sick, hot feeling and a need to FACT CHECK EVERYTHING around me, then a need to take one of those showers you take after exposure to anything nuclear. I’m contaminated. I’ve been exposed to radiation. 

I’m in a terrible place right now. Mentally, physically, the whole kit and kaboodle.

I walked out to get the mail. A beautiful day. Cooler than it has been. Clear skies, that smoky haze pushed out a bit. My thoughts full of what am I hanging on for. What. What am I hanging on for. There’s no reason for this.

It’s just this passing clot of darkness amid, should I make some biscuits, is my pumpkin ripe, I need to find a play for such and such. There’s even some fancy name for always having suicidal thoughts. Being always on that cliff. Looking into the abyss. Wondering. How soon. How soon.

My relatives, over on Facebook, posted a meme. Here, you can see it, too. Or curse me, wash your eyeballs with bleach and go get drunk with bikers. Or acrobats, hey, I will not judge you.

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This doesn’t appear to be a joke or hoax

I know her. She’s a good person. Like, deep down nice. Funny, tough, one of those women who stand by their man sorta woman. She’s a throwback country song, sung by George Jones, with Mo Bamby singing backup. A bright spot during the family Christmas Hell-Eves.

And yet…that meme. Does she believe that? Is there some part of her that goes, some tiny still voice in the center of her head, that goes…I’ve been fooled.

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Apricot Hellbeast’s speech in West Virginia. Actual excerpt. 

She’s got a medically fragile kid. She’s on all sorts of assistance to help that kid, to keep him alive. Medical bills that way, ouch!

To pay for those massive tax cuts, the regime that holds all three branches of the American government will go after everything she depends on. Those programs to help kids in that manner already cut to the bone or going away.

This will be blamed on immigrants clogging the welfare system…or lazy Millennials who don’t  know the value of working or people with arts degrees or Hillary. Or avocado toast. Or Starbucks coffee runs. Or. Or anything but pointing out the hoary old there’s always money for anything military, none for social programs.

Oh sorry. Anything military contractor. As veterans getting help when they come back from the never-ending war/s, pfft. We’ve never taken care of our veterans, why start now?

It’s all the Democrats fault, of course, that veterans blah dee blah.

They’re into BIG GOVERNMENT and red tape! It’s not us nice Republicans who love family, the military, guns and Jesus and tiny tiny government! Wheee! Sorry, veterans. If only the demoncrats would work with President Orange Jesus, everything would magically just become magical!! Unicorns in every cooking pot!

We’re the party of Lincoln! We must all tighten our belts, some must tighten their belts so much they get cut in two and die under a bridge having frozen to death. But that’s the fault of  Nancy Pelosi. Nothing is ever our fault, we’re the party of Lincoln!

Doesn’t…doesn’t she know this? Doesn’t that compute? Hasn’t she been paying attention at all?

No.

No, she hasn’t. It seems my entire family turned into members of some sort of weird cult. I’ve never fit in with my family but this is…so much worse. I feel afraid. For me. For them. For all of us. I can’t forgive that they embrace that thing. They can’t forgive that I don’t. I don’t want to talk to them or be around them.

They don’t seem like my family anymore.

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At the Western Idaho Fair, Boise, Idaho. This is the Republican Party these days? 

I think that’s the worse thing that has happened to this country, well…not even close, but still. Dividing friends, family into hostile camps dedicated to erasing the other.

Maybe this is a tiny taste of those pre-Civil War years. People divided so sharply that there was no reasonableness left. No logic, no reason. Just hasty words, slogans, propaganda and shouting. Promising things would be done to protect their side. Swords rattled. Before they really got rattled for four years.

Fuck, we’re still fighting that damn war to this day. It never ended. 1861-?. The South will Rise Again! Um, does that mean we’re gonna have to wear hoops skirts and own slaves and shout that cotton is king? Holy barfballs, ‘murikkka!

How long do you ignore this cult brouhaha from the ‘other side’?

When you remember a snowy Christmas Eve night– that hulking MAGA hat wearing sort used to be a tiny tot in a blue knitted stocking cap, delighted over all the Christmas wonderfulness.

When you remember your dad coming to get you after you flipped your truck but didn’t die or even get hurt that much. When…yep. How much do you have to give up to live with yourself a bit?

Because you can’t put the “nice” faces back on the rotting ghost visages.

You can’t unring the bells, that one is very true. You can’t unsee. You can’t unhear.

I don’t have any answers.

Others have cut all ties with their Trumpkin relatives and friends.

Others have given up on anything political, thrown up their hands with a ‘Can’t we all just get along’ darty-eyed look.

Others don’t discuss politics or religion with family or friends. I guess they talk about the weather or traffic. Or old Bewitched episodes. Who didn’t love Serena? Uncle Arthur! Dr. Bombay, what a hoot! Derwood!

And how, after all this is over and it will be, one way or another, how do you reconcile or reconnect? Or just find those you cut loose to point at them and laugh?

America will either right itself, ha ha, or it won’t.

We might very well find ourselves with an actual dictatorship in place.

And people writing careful puff pieces on the “right” people who had faith in Apricot Hellbeast and Sunny Jesus, and never wavered in faith for either. Because writing anything else. Mm. We’re already kinda there at that point. The lying media. Fake news. Enemy of the people. Yeah, we’re there. Fun!

We might find America will shake this off, with a lesson learned.

HA HA HA HA HA.

America flunks history every damn time. We have those Etch-A-Sketch memories. We in America are always AMAZED AND HORRIFIED at the latest wave of racism or awfulness.

America has never been this bad. Yeah, um, yeah it has. I’m outraged and horrified, this is unprecedented! Ten years ago, then five years before that and then…

It will all get blamed on the Democrats. All this now going on, when it’s over, will get that patina of Right Wing Blame It On The Democrats. People will fall for it, the same people now who think Hil Clinton is running a pedo international child sex slave operation out of a New Jersey pizza parlor. [See QAnon crap]

Or think that Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya to outer space lizard lords. Who then rigged the elections, twice, to ruin America so that Pumpkincunt had to save it…

to make amerikkka grate again and put amerikkka firstest. cause obummer fucked us for eight years and trump had sex like a boss with porn stars. he wasn’t prezident when he fucked them porn stars and cohen a big jew baby lied about all that, trump didnt no abut that money. he sed so i beleeve him. the russans helped killery not trump has anyone investigated the dnc?? lock her up!! crooked killery who had all those people killed but nobody went after her she’s a real witch kill that cunt we should kill her shes evil. baby killer killery. obama probably brought in those mexicans. maybe we should send the national guard to CHICAGO. fire muller it’s a witch hunt! clean coal! MAGA!!

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People believe this. Actual real people believe this. 
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Why mother fact-checking, CNN? Why? What’s the fucking point now? 

That’s what I hear. That’s what I hear. That’s what I read.

And worse. And funnier. And far more jaw-droppingly WTF. With bad spelling and monstrous trembling outrage and jumbled conspiracy theories galore, oh my.

I dread any meeting with relatives right now. I don’t want them watching me as they speak about…whatever they heard on Hannity or the Five. I feel any love I bear them get a little bit less each time. Each time. Until they’re just strangers to me. And if it came down to it…I’d be very ready for the Nu Civil War. And that goes a little deeper than some cheap tears and a hasty blog post.

Mississippi Wind Chime

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Adam Driver and John David Washington in Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman

I took a trip. To Meridian, Idaho. Why, you might suddenly ask yourself. To go see a movie. Why??

Ah, because BlackkKlansman was not playing in a town near me. Mama Mia 2, sure! Spike Lee film, no. That’s fine. You gotta show movies that will turn a profit, I get it.

I’m totally a capitalist. I have that word as my tramp stamp.

I found the place, with about ten minutes or so to spare. The directions from MapQuest were shitty. Why didn’t it just send me to Millennial Avenue, as the Majestic is RIGHT THERE. Why send me to this barely marked street, then give me WRONG TURNS? I swear to Baby Jesus and Satan’s Nipple Piercings the MapQuest site thought, hey, let’s do something funny to the hermit girl.

Great big nice place. Comfy red seats that reclined. Great!

About three people at that first showing. Wheee! Saw some very earnest trailers and learned Sigourney Weaver’s first name is Susan.

Susan.

Some things you can’t unlearn.

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So. Briefly, the story– a rookie cop, in Colorado Springs, CO, infiltrates the local branch of the KKK, or the Organization, run nationally at that time by, wait for it, David Duke. Ron Stallworth sees an actual ad in the local paper and calls the number, setting up a meeting with the local good ole boys. Problem! Ron is black.

And the Klan, yeah, is against any skin color but European. So Ron gets another cop– Darth Vader’s grandson, no less– to pretend to be him. He even uses his “white boy” voice on the phone, because yep, you can tell a black person from a real American just by listening to em butcher the King’s English.  Jive talk, ya’ll. Hijinks ensue!

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Topher Grace as David Duke

We get to watch Flip or Philip, who’s Jewish, hang around these good ole boys and good ole gals.  Oh yes, the Klan doesn’t exactly like Judaism, either. Or immigrants!

The KKK does seem quite a boy-heavy operation in the seventies. The women folk pretty much bring in the platters of spray cheese and saltine bites. Then speak with real hope that they, too, will be able to yell rape during a protest or march…sort of exaggerating there, but not really. That’s the impression I got from those shiny Klan gals. The women libbers were going hot and heavy during this time period, that seemed absent from the Klan Barbies. Kind of like now…mm. 

Something that stuck out, to me, was the contrast between Kendrickson’s wife [Ashley Atkinson] and Patrice Dumas [Laura Harrier]. The good wife versus the liberated, gonna change the world firebrand. Because we still have that to this day. Who is considered a good woman and who’s not. The sexism, mm.

The ones who act like ladies and the rest of em, eh, boys, dudes, mens of all kinds? We never seem to shed that one. Ever. Okay!

Watching Flip flip that holocaust denier [Kendrickson] with hey, the Holocaust was awesome sauce, amen. Uncomfortable barely manages to cuddle that moment. Oh yes, the N word got thrown around, whee. And all the other words we pretend don’t exist anymore and that no one says them. Whee.

There’s of course some violence planned, some good ole cross-burnin’, not wearing the hoods in public. The Klan remade for modern times! The same turd gilded over with shit glitter. Way to go, Mr. Duke. 

 

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from Wikipedia. The lynching of Laura Nelson. May 1911.

Then the ending, which marries what was going on THEN to what’s going on NOW. Boom!

Cinematography, it had that, a lot. I had to love that bright red VW Beetle tootling about town. Dang. The plaid and vests and guns against the Colorado vistas. My my.

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The movie.

I liked it.

That’s my in-depth, went to college and everything take on it. Was it on the nose, in your face, not trying to be subtle? Well. Yep, yep, it was.

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Every man I am related to has that shirt. Not even kidding.

And it worked.

If you can totally ignore the crap around you, you might say this movie was a bit too much or too broadly painted. If you can ignore the rather obvious rise of white nationalism in America and elsewhere, you’re probably at Mama Mia,  we made a sequel! or watching reruns of Bonanza. 

The racists were not presented as balanced or that deep. Cartoonish. Stereotypes. Except, eh. Well…!

Except.

I grew up to talk like that. I heard it a lot.

People don’t talk like that guy in the movie, I hear. And then I just laugh.

Yeah, people talk like that, people are talking like that right now, this minute. The string of words for people not white or Christian. The desperate frothing about taking back our country. The rabid weasel screeching about them people, them people. Build the wall! America First! Shithole countries. Actual Nazis are running for political offices in America. Nazis. Real ones.

Fuck a duck. Come on!

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Jasper Pakkonen as Felix Kendrickson. This could be from my family Christmas Eve gala.

This happened near the ending of BlackkKlansman.

A story about a lynching, a real one, interposed with Duke, played by that guy from That Seventies Show. Who should probably get some sort of acting award, because he NAILED IT. That’s my professional writer take, uh huh.

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Harry Belafonte telling a story about America.

Eerie, gut-wrenching, hands clenched moment. The hoarse tired voice of the storyteller [Harry Belafonte], the smooth reasonable speech about hating and killing people not of your race or creed [Topher Grace].

The back and forth between the two speakers. Taut, quiet film scene.

Breath being held to hear the two better kinda movie moment.

Remember that speech of Quint’s in Jaws? Yeah.

I was a kid when all that was going on with the fall out of the Civil Rights movement. The seventies where America started to lose her sparkle as the GREATEST THING SINCE JESUS.

The sixties gave us protests and love ins and freedom rides.

Seventies–Nixon bruising, quite badly, the “sacredness” of the office of the President of the United States. We can’t trust the president anymore. Watergate. Deep Throat. Washington Post. Oh. My.

Vietnam.

The end of good wages and the advent of insurance companies taking over health care. Thanks, Nixon!

I’m not a kid now. We have our own updated version of FatNixon, our own kneejerks to people losing their rights. Get over it, snowflakes. Lock Her Up! Make America Great Again. Drain the swamp. Free speech, libtards! Clean coal! The intolerant left. Witch hunt. There is no Russian collusion. Dogs. Animals. 

We have those standing up for some stuff and things, in some cases silently kneeling. Which has set off a shitstorm of retread-ish screeches about hating the flag, the military and America itself. [Get a haircut, hippie!]

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from the Mercury News

That same ole Klan shit now called Alt Right with fucking David Duke still here, still making those soft reasonable speeches about hating everyone not white or a Christian. Richard Spenser doesn’t have Duke’s charisma, ouch.

I think Spike Lee hit this one out of the park and hit the rotting side of the moon with it. I also picked up a new, horrible bit of slang. Mississippi wind chime. Guess what that stands for.

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I don’t know the artist for this. All I could find was Hangman’s Tree but it did come up for a search for Mississippi wind chimes.

Mini Garden, Rabbits, Memories

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Clyde, under the old lilac, from years ago. He’s out of the blue and into the black these days…

After the blistering success of my Handmaid’s Tale two-parter, I thought I’d chime in about my mini garden and the wild bunnies. Both garden and bunnies seem fine.

The punkins now peek over the old tire. The herbs– oregano, lavender, dill and lemon balm– have not died a withering, bitter death. Yet. They appear to enjoy me moving them about from here to there. There are little newbies coming up where I planted seeds. Cucumbers and possibly a second eggplant plant. And I noticed squash babies have formed. Little teeny squash.

I’m so glad I collected cow shit from the field across the way and mixed it, by hand, in the soil before I planted my pet squashes. So glad.

Now I note there are ground squirrels sharing the far corner of the lawn with the rabbits.

I whistle at them through the window. They sit up, trying to find what bad-voiced bird calls at them so. There is also a giant mouse that lives in the wall by the fuse box…and it does not seem afraid of humans. I’ve seen it several times now, even tried to trap it and get it out of the wall because…yeah. A mouse munching through important electrical wires. Yeah.

I’ve read the smell of mint keeps them at bay. I do have catnip sprouting everywhere. Years ago, I got a single plant to delight our cats, when there were cats here. I do mean over ten years or so. Longer. Catnip grows from the corner of the fence closest to the road all the way to the ditch that runs below the small cliff face stuffed full of rodents and snakes that hide beneath rotting boards and rectangles of metal.

Catnip. It’s everywhere. And it smells good. It puts out tiny purple flowers!

The biggest privet hedge hosts several families of small brown birds. Sparrows? Wrens? It’s like an apartment building, except it’s a messy clump of nests smushed together, sometimes with the odd collection of loud-mouthed baby birds demanding snacks.

The blackbirds seem to like the actual trees or the old lilac bush. I keep finding blackbird eggs here and there, with a hole punched through the fragile shell. Some savage bird warfare going on about my oblivious head. Are the blackbirds attacking each other or is it a magpie or some other bird? The magpies have not been around that I’ve heard and oh, they are noisy, raucous presences.

My mother once had one, long ago when she was but a girl, as a pet. It attacked someone, some old family story I cannot quite remember now.

And my grandmother, who had a man come to the house one morning, looking for Mr. Bird. I don’t know where he lives, my grandmother allegedly said, but I do know where Mr. Fox and Mr. Squirrel live. Both were actual names but she was having a little fun with a stranger. I think that stranger probably stormed off, cussing.

I also remember my grandmother watching the rabbits at night when she couldn’t sleep. She even told of watching them play during a brightly lit moon-filled evening.

And watching birds through the window, sitting in her wheelchair, drinking coffee. A big picture window that provided her endless viewing options. The road, the birds, possible stray wildlife strayed in from the sagebrush-cursed hills.

A stump, that had once been a black walnut tree, that stump covered with a board, where bird seed got scattered. This was where her eyes would go, observing whatever showed up for a hasty meal. She had severe arthritis, as did my other grandmother.

I realize I am among the few left who remembers the ‘old stories’. The little moments. The sorrows. The tiny joys.

Farming in a place that has almost no water. The eternal sameness of Christmas traditions that now seem tiresome and stale to me. Because it wasn’t the tree or the presents, it was the people I got to enjoy. How maudlin, but how so horribly true.

I meant to pen a quick little smear about growing pumpkins and the yard rodents. I veered off into Remember When land. I guess that happens on unsettled late spring evenings. 

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One of many rabbits. 
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This is from days ago. Everything has grown. It’s like magic! Magic, I tell ya! 

What Next?

 

odyssey
from the Odyssey

I am languishing a bit, waiting for ‘inspiration’ to tell me to…!

I, meanwhile, work on crap and shit, because I have to claim I’m ‘working on something’ or I lose my cool Writer Street Cred with the other growling, snarling Writers that lurk near my part of the forest.

I have a collection of writings I’d never show anyone. And maybe one day publish under a name not mine and make tons of cash because it’s easily digestible fluff and not angsty, vague, endless examinations of why my parents didn’t really love me. [Are we writers all not, pathetically, Eugene O’Neill on his worst and best days?]

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from the Roslyn School District

And then I remember someone thought of Sharknado and pitched it and people loved that.

And then howl with despair, inside my head, of course, at the state of my own serious ‘stuff’ and not write anything for the rest of the day. Or feel guilty I’d rather knock out some fluff-n-fold, which won’t advance my career in the least unless I show it to someone who has the power to publish it…if not self-publish it but then I’d have to go back through it all, tidy it up, fill in blanks I left because I wanted to get to the ‘good parts’ and…oh the work load alone. It’s both exciting and terribly not exciting at all.

So!!

I have some options for my next Serious Stuff Project.

I can think of something brand new, based on a short story or something I started. Or something yet in my head.

There’s Aftermath, my zombie short story that grew into an actual novella and now waits for me to finish it or call it a day. I left Hannah staring down into a giant crater outside of Boise, Idaho, with wild zombies closing in. I know. Zombie. I know but…well. And like every other god damn zombie blah ever, it’s NOT ABOUT ZOMBIES. It’s a METAPHOR FOR TENTACLE PORN AND ACID-WASHED JEANS and possibly something about politics and feminism and greyhound racing. Zombies, pfft! It’s never about zombies, is it. 

There’s the Tales of Beastface Bay, my Wind in the Willows meets Modern Societal Wrongs meets the Marx Brothers rompings. No. I can already feel myself just going nope nope not yet in my head.

I can work on my third book in the trilogy of my House on Clark Boulevard fun. I need to read through the first two. Alice in Oregonlandia might need a reworking…ooooh. Maybe.

Work on my Honest Women full length play. Mm.

Curl up on the floor, in utter despair, at what has happened in a very short time, to America. Drink directly from vodka bottle. Eat a taco of leftover stuff from night before. Continue with this list.

Give up writing altogether and slit wrists. Mm. Maybe.

Take up writing fanfic. Either Watership Down or something in the Barbara Kingsolver area. I could really work the hell out of a Bean Trees/Twilight mashup. And all my characters could be badgers who act like British rabbits. Which would lend nicely to my Beastface Bay squrivvels and scribblings. [Made up word, ten points!]

Actually try to make heads and tales of my fluffy, can’t-show-to-no-one, pennings. Arrange them, put them in order, rewrite the truly awful ones. Fanfic…ahem, um, yes. Sparkly vampire badgers who spout Moliere…oh yes, spank me with a gray tie. [If you get that, we can now be friends.]

Start a new blog, under another name, full of naughty stuff. To see how popular that would be as opposed to my dull, proper plodding blog here. Anne Rice and A. N. Roquelaure, for instance. Maybe I’ve already done that! Ooooooh! [I haven’t, for the record.]

Take up knitting or adult coloring because it’s clear my writing is full blown crap on burned, moldy toast that no one outside of my patient, tolerant friends, would go near.

Take an online course in how to have self-esteem and sell your crap to friends and strangers alike for cash to pay things like bills.

Um…yeah. This has been fun. I should go watch the twirly skaters or stare at the sky, waiting for the snow. It still has not snowed here. I’m flabbergasted and hurt.

What about an earthquake full of bears? Bearquako. And then the sequels! Bearquako, Fists of Bees. Samantha Saves the World, Bearquako III. The Son of Bearquako! And of course, Bearquako, the End? And that has to be a question, because sequels…they sell. The marketing does itself. 

Obviously, I have about two maybe good-ish ideas on here for NEXT ACTUAL PROJECT and some silly-Susan kinda wafflings. Wish me luck.

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from the Smithsonian, article on Ghost Bears.