Well, after two rather personal, scathing, longish entries in the blogosphere, I’ll content myself with a brief birthday blurb.
Rain drips down in a steady drone. The morning seems calm, peaceful. My Grumpy Odin novel starts to take some shape and I managed to find a Key Lime pie, on sale, at the small town grocery store. Birthday pie!
I’ve been dithering over should I just buy one or attempt to make one. Actual dithering.
I’d stop, feel up the canned milk, go over what I needed to make a Key Lime pie. Actual Key Limes? Could I just use juice or…? Crust choices??
And lo and behold, there, in the freezer section. On sale! From almost nine dollars marked down to five something.
Holy birthday wishes come true! Marie Callender. MARIE CALLENDER, YA’LL. The Cadillac of frozen pies.
All you have to do is LET IT THAW.
I also found four seasons of Glee at the local thrift store. Overly polished musical numbers, teen angst, overly polished musical numbers! My– when I want the world to just fucking go away– series.
Rainy day, Glee, birthday pie.
DVD’s in perfect condition, at that. It’s like a miracle. Finding a DVD at a thrift store that isn’t a scratched up horror is almost a miracle on the order of Key Lime pies and fishes.
No, I don’t have Netflix or Hulu. I have a DVD player and spare change I find under the bed, m’kay?
I have no plans today.
I don’t wish to hang with whatever friends I have left. See my post Safe. Mm.
If the rain clears up, or even if it doesn’t, I might head out to the Owyhees for a bit. And empty out the detritus from this past year. So I have lots of room for future detritus. Yay!
I might stay home and write. I might get my life in order and…
This is not my country, I hear. I hear that. A lot.
From very young, naive folks. From the elderly who should know better. From myself at times when I have brain freezes and forget the tidbits and scraps I’ve picked up over the years about the history of my country.
Separating children from the parents seeking help, asylum and surcease from whatever political bullshit they were fleeing from.
This is a POLICY put into place by Putinscunt, whispered into that corpulent ear by Stephen Miller…an avowed and known white supremacist. It’s not law. It’s not something the Democrats invented or put into practice.
And all three branches of the American government are ruled by the Trumpicans, er, GOP. So. As scapegoats go, blaming the Democrats for this POLICY is, uh, working.
Because people don’t fact check in America. Fact checking is for losers. And liberals. And SJW’s. And commie socialists who want to take your hard-earned money and give it to illegals and drug addicts and MS-13 gangmembers…Right, Nancy Pelosi?
Those children, and they are children, are being held hostage, so I’ve heard/read, so that Putinscunt can get that wall financed and built.
And the Foxchristians [a term I saw and it just FELT SO RIGHT] are a thousand percent behind taking kids, already traumatized by leaving everything they know behind, and traumatizing them, possibly, for life.
That’s fine. That’s what Jesus would do and approve of. Mm.
I’m not some hardcore, shouty Christian type, don’t worry. But I was brought up in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.
I’ve been confirmed as a member. I’ve done Sunday School.
I’ve attended church camp. I’ve worked at that same church camp. I was almost raped at that same camp and never went back, so.
I do have some background in churches and the Bible. [And I know firsthand why women don’t speak up about what happens to them. Oh yes, I do.]
I’m puzzled, to say the least, by people who cheer for what’s going on at the border. At building giant, for-profit concentration camps–
in Brownsville, Texas, where it’s already a hundred degrees. Tents/facilities with no air conditioning.
I think I saw something about the Catholic Relief Aid trying to get fans or something sent there…
There are plans to build more CONCENTRATION CAMPS in Wyoming. Housing for 5000 at a pop.
Tax money being used for this. And people turning a profit off these concentration camps. Capitalism and crimes against humanity, score!
People seem dazed. Scattered to the wind. The resistance seems incredulous. This is not happening, seems to be the major takeaway.
The urge to roll my eyes at marches planned at future dates is just…not possible to control at all.
More out of why are we not just ripping those places apart with our bare fucking hands? Why am I not hitchhiking to Texas to do just that?
There are senators, including the one from my home state, trying to drum up public awareness and fan some god damn enough of this shit already outrage, which will lead to actual action.
Anger gets shit done, as Mr. Nancy says in American Gods over on Starz.
Anger is very dangerous to this POLICY designed to get a wall built and zero tolerance immigration crap passed.
Strangely, America has a history of this. Going way way back, babies.
We did it with slavery, where babies were sold on the auction block. There are illustrations of this oh so human practice. We tend to call such things ‘inhumane’, literally washing our hands of admitting that humans treat other humans like garbage a lot of the time.
We did this with indigenous people. Took Native American kids from their families, cut their hair, took their clothes, forced them to speak English only, stripped them of their culture and heritage, forced them to be Christians…it wasn’t until almost 1980 that the religious practices of Native Americans were even allowed to be practiced legally. [As at times ‘illegal’ substances were used, like peyote.]
And of course, the Japanese internment camps. See George Takei for a history of that. See lots of others for a history of that. These were American citizens. Stripped of everything, lost their livelihood, their homes, their possessions, everything.
A stark reminder that it did happen here, it did fucking happen here.
America has a gigantic streak of treating children like livestock, social experiments, POWs, and demonic criminals intent on destroying the Home of the Free and the Brave.
It seems we’re actually the Home of the Cowardly and Cruel.
We spout Bible verses without reading any of the verses around them.
Romans 13:1 does say to obey the laws of whatever land you reside in. Yet further, in Romans 13:10–Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
That Romans 13:1, by the way, was spouted by Nazis and slave owners to justify their practices.
Jeff Sessions and Sarah Huckabee Sanders both spouted it as well…in a country that celebrates separation of church and state. Scary fucking times, indeed. By the same people who scream against Sharia Law coming to ‘murica. And upset that football players are kneeling quietly and…Not even Beckett could adequately capture the absurdity of America right now. Well, he probably could. He was Irish.
See history of how America treated Irish immigrants, dearies. Whee? Or watch Gangs of New York or The Departed or pretty much any movie about the Irish in America, really. It’s a popular topic and hey, white people front and center being treated badly…wet dream time for Stevie Miller. And Stevie Bannon. And Gorka. And Sessions. And David Duke. And…yeppity yep. Yes, the Irish got labeled and scorned for a bit, but…mm. Okay!
The Keebler Elf and Aunt Lydia both tell us to calm down, it’s not so bad, it’s in the Bible. It’s a law they can’t do anything about, they are just HELPLESS BEFORE THE DEMOCRAT’S EVIL WAYS. Uh huh. They bravely report that if only the Democrats would relent and…uh huh. And the Bible, of course, says treating kids like something out of Schindler’s List is fine and dandy. That treating brown kids in a repeat of the Trail of Tears is AWESOME WITH GOD. God loves immigrant criminal kiddie tears!
The same Bible that says to treat foreigners like family, as you were once a stranger in a strange land. To drown yourself if you hurt children–see that whole millstone thingie Jesus said.
The rabid pro-life crowds seems really confused and lost when it comes to actual children being tormented, tortured and lost. As in missing. As in no one’s quite sure where a big bunch of kids are. As in might be in the hands of human traffickers.
Ripping children away from their exhausted, frightened, stressed parents and housing them in a sweltering place where no affection or treatment that borders anywhere near compassion or actual concern for those kids is, um, the definition of evil.
There. I said it.
It’s about as far from what Jesus taught in the treatment of others as it’s possible to get.
I don’t ever remember at church camp, which had pastors and people studying to be pastors, working there and occasionally delivering actual sermons on kindness and love…about where it’s okay to hold kids hostage in nasty conditions until one gets what one wants.
A vanity wall that won’t keep anything out at all.
As most people come here on planes or boats and just don’t go back when their visas expire. That’s, um, known. That’s an actual fact. So.
Again, this isn’t law.
Calling a halt to separating kids from their parents is something that can be quickly shelved, stopped, ended today.
This POLICY of cruelty and deliberate malice is something Putinscunt decided to do all on his own.
And then blamed, predictably and with great success, on the Democrats. I didn’t do this, the Democrats did! OBAMA DID IT, TOO is the battle cry here.
It works. It always works.
That loud hectoring wasp whine drowns out the soft, polite, take the high road idiots on the other side.
And they are idiots! Big quivering ones!
Soft, melty idiots who scold over the use of ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ and ‘crude language’ rather than take on the real actual issues, as that might turn away voters who are tired of hearing about racism and other inconvenient social issues. Voters that stay home, at that.
We must be nice, we must be the grown ups in the room. Eventually we’ll, uh, win. The Blue Wave is coming. It’s Mueller Time! People won’t stand for this very long.
Bwha ha ha. I can’t breathe! My sides!
Oh yes, I’m a cynical little kitty cat right now.
You see liberals and others calling for ‘civility’ against the crude, very successful, attacks of the right. We can’t be like them, is the not-battle cry.
It’s a Ned Flanders kinda strategy.
We can’t get mad, facts will win them in the end, the truth is on our side…
And then my head just pops like a balloon shot by an AK-47.
The time for civility and niceness went bye-bye years ago.
We can get back to murmuring politely at each other when America isn’t being rapidly turned into a fascist shithole. The UN frowns at the US right now. America no longer supports humans rights. Canada is possibly considering an invasion to liberate us. They might team up with Mexico.
I can flash my Lutheran card when they come for me. I’ll be mostly okay if I keep my mouth shut and my eyes down. I have the right skin color. Yeah, I went there.
Only racists talk about racism…yeah, heard that one yet? Yeah, it’s bullshit and meant to silence conversations and observations. The BLM people are the REAL RACISTS HERE. We don’t notice skin color, why do you? Democrats arethe real racists. Etc. Etc. Etc.
It can also vend into Free Speech fuckery– why is the tolerant left so intolerant of my right to express myself about just why blacks are [insert stereotype penned by the KKK here] It’s my opinion! Why are they trying to silence me?
Yep. It’s why the left is reduced to softly scolding about bad language most of the time. People can safely rally behind not using bad language and being adult-ish. That’s my hot take, anyway. Oh yes, back to explaining how I can blend in with the American FlagLovers of Trumplandia.
I can scrub my feeble liberal-esque bloggings right damn quick if I have to. I can trace my ancestors coming here ‘legally’.
I have the right papers. I have my official birth certificate– it’s needed to get a driver’s license and a passport. I have a passport, which is valid for years yet.
My ancestors! From places like Norway. And Germany. And the UK. When itcomes down to that.
I have Viking blood! My grandpa spoke German! Some uncle fought for the South, as a general. I glow in the dark I’m so right-skinned!
As any liberals left will still be calling for nice language and take the high road, dang it. You can spot them by the patches on their chest. Yep, went there!
I can spout the right phrases with a straight face.
I have actor training, after all. I’m a writer, I remember phrases and slogans quite well. How math works, not so much. Democrats hate America, yep, that I can scream with the best of em, all while enjoying the rodeo and the countryfair and rallies…
It’s rather scary how well I could blend with the ‘other side.’ I live among the ‘other side’. I’m in very red territory in a very red part of Oregon and can cross over into super-red Idaho by driving about twenty minutes, if that.
Anyone who actually knows me would not buy my metamorphosis. But those who don’t…mmm.
I’ll have to work on my sarcastic eye-rolling and muttered cursing and loud WTF sighs. That’s where the compressed lips and eyes down at all times training comes in handy. I can combine my girl training with my go along with fascism necessities. Whee?
I have the freedom to express myself as long as I express what they want to hear. I know how it works, I know the damn score. Oh sorry. Dang score. Mustn’t descend to their level. Then they win or something. Or something.
Back to the actual subject of this sort through the wheat and the chaff effort.
You can contact and donate to the ACLU. You can take part in a march. You can post articles and videos and history lessons about this very subject on social media. You can write/text/call your representatives.
You can help fund grassroots hire lawyers or even volunteer if you have legal training of any kind. You can go help translate if you speak Spanish. You can oppose ICE at every turn. You can get to know what rights you still have left in America. Make a list. Cross them off as or when they go buh-bye.
There’s a tale of a lady on a bus, going from California to Arizona, I think. She refused to let ICE intimidate people into flashing their papers, she went ‘full donkey’, as she put it. ICE backed down because they are not used to people knowing their actual rights and demanding to be treated like citizens, instead of peasants at the mercy of a mercurial king.
There are small tales of actual hope coming out of all this. There are!
There are glimmers of people blinking, waking up from some dream of ‘it can’t happen here’. That’s, I guess, what you have to hold onto.
And try to be a loud, obnoxious, swearing voice yourself against this bullshit cuntery.
It’s scary, it’s hard, and you might have the luxury of being able to ignore it thoroughly because it, allegedly, is not something that affects you. [Kind of like the Black Lives Matter or the MeToo movement or…uh huh.]
I’m going to depart my usual madcap whirl of promoting some obscure project or informing people that my pet eggplant has recovered from the ground squirrel attack it had to endure in brave, stoic silence.
There’s this person. Z. I’ve known this person since high school. So a thousand years at least. Ha ha. Okay.
This person had fallen on hard times, as John Steinbeck wrote so eloquently about. The current economic clime is not nice to lots of people, you make mistakes you can’t recover from, it’s a dog eat dog world and…yup. I, myself, and I am in a place. Where I don’t wish human company, I don’t miss the cities, I don’t wish to visit or chitchat or spend time with PEOPLE. See posts about my own family for evidence. I wish to be left alone, as Greta Garbo sneered.
I won’t go into details about the Day I had with Z. I can only and should only address my reactions and why I’m having said reactions.
I got home, after the Day, and agitation colored my entire being. I could not relax. My teeth seemed permanently pressed together. Rage rage rage throughout me. I wanted to smash all the dishes. I had shaking hands. I could not concentrate. I had shortness of breath. I didn’t feel…safe. I felt like I had been attacked all day.
Z, though someone from my dim past, is not someone I trust.
They have claimed to respect my fierce need to be left alone yet intrude and poke and pry and assume and…yup. I don’t enjoy Z’s company. I have to watch whatever I say, it will be used against me. I mentioned I wrote a zombie novel, for instance. Everything from holding up zombie novels to asking if they had been included in my writing…which made me defensive and curt and awful and terrible and barely in control at times. I don’t mind being questioned on my writing…I mind someone inserting themselves into my writing like a footnote I forgot to include. I mind “hurting” people because I forgot to base a character on them.
Fuck! FUCK OFF. Okay, breathe, breathe.
Now, I have kept my distance, in case you’re wondering why moonbat me spends every day suffering like this.
I don’t. Our last outing was, I think, last year. I wrote a blog post that went from hysterical to hyper-hysterical then deleted it because it was mean, awful and unfair. I do have rare moments of actual thought and care for others.
This person learned to keep their distance but I…I agree to outings because I feel guilty. I feel like the bad guy, the villain, all the time with Z. I feel an obligation to be nice because Z is so ‘nice’ all the time.
I remember my mother telling me to be nice. How awful I was all the time that my mother had to tell me to be nice over and over…that I should be grateful anyone wants anything to do with me. Which is tied into other things in my spotty childhood and…I won’t ever go into that here.
Tears. Tears now.
You think you’ve dealt with something. You think, hey, that’s the past. It’s over. You read the sayings that say just that.
The scary too-positive quotes that make you feel even worse about not being able to forget or forgive or magically turn into not-you and conquer the world, the universe and heaven and hell.
That you’re supposed to be grateful for whatever trauma put permanent scars on you instead of wishing it had never happened in the first place. That being angry is somehow bad or evil and you should just be peaceful and smiling and…
Yeah, the list of how to conquer your demons and past blah blah. Entire wings at Barnes and Noble devoted to this subject.
Where was I. Obligation.
I know Z knows I agree to go anywhere under real duress and reluctance. I know Z is stuck in a rather awful situation and feels alone, cut off and powerless. I can back off and look at all this very coolly. Somewhat coolly.
But I don’t feel safe.
That might seem silly to some of you, who have never had to question the people around you all the time or some of the time.
There’s this new show called Dietland, where Plum, the main character, has to assess each and every person that talks to her and ask herself what that person wants or why they’re talking to her at all. She’s fat. Not a size four fat when everyone around her is a double zero, she’s FAT. That rang the bells and then some with me. What does this person want? You have to question everyone’s motives all the time. Because they will hurt you. Because people go out of their way to find new ways to make you cry. Because people butter you up to…yep.
If you haven’t seen Dietland yet or were scared off by the MILITANT FEMINISTS theme implied…honey, overcome that and go watch an episode.
I can’t do slavish, best friends devotion with this person. I am also financially worth pennies. I can’t go on shopping sprees and spend the day eating lunch and impulse buying. I also get so uncomfortable when Z offers to pay for stuff. I can’t repay it, I can’t reciprocate the way Z wishes…sighs here. Lots of sighs.
I’d rather look at costume jewelry, makeup and shoes, as I am FAT and clothes shopping is a horror to me when I go with skinny people.
I just have to stand there and look at stuff or go find a section I can actually buy stuff in, which I can’t, because I have no money to spare for even the stuff marked down.
Okay, I promised not to kvetch about the actual excursion. Sorry!
I’d also rather shop for clothes alone or with people I trust…having to admit the tent-like polyester brown and gray tunic, that’s too short and sleeveless, you found stuffed at the very end of the Savers plus size rack isn’t quite tent-like enough, no thanks.
I jest a bit. A bit.
I cannot do the BFF thing. I can’t. Not with Z. It creeps me out.
I get a creepy sensation. That not-safe crawl across my skin. My instincts tell me to get away, get away. Not that I think Z will physically hurt me or anything like that. It’s more like a parasite burrowing into your inner organs…oh that sounds so unkind and horrible and NOT NICE. I sense the clingy. There are some I don’t mind being clingy with me, this one I do mind. I mind it a lot.
Also, yours truly is terrible with confrontation and admitting to having real feelings or being hurt or…yeah. I whisper that it’s fine, it’s fine. I tend to say that a lot. You don’t give them any ammo…is my actual life motto. And then all that repressed everything explodes and splatters people who have nothing to do with any of that repressed emotional magma. I should suck it up and confront the person I’m so and so with.
MAGMA! Whee!!!! Fun!
I have to deal with whatever had actually started this notion that I am not safe around Z and that I need to avoid her or even just end the friendship, such as it is. Then Z doesn’t have to try to recruit me to her stable of bolsterers and I don’t have to grit my teeth and pretend very badly what a good time I’m having.
I meant this to be very short. I tried to keep it all about me and my magma emotional fuckwaddery. I don’t experience this with my other few remaining friends…and oh, what if they are just tolerating me? Do you see where the vicious circle kicks in? Yep!
Someone has a project plugging away and lo and behold, it’s me.
I’ve been rewriting my Odin and Jesus thingamabob. I’m skimming through it, just trying to get the LATEST FREAKING VERSION out on the page.
What am I kalurching about? [That’s a vomit sound combined with another vomit sound, BTW.]
The Adventures of Grumpy Odin and Sexy Jesus
With possible name change– Mr. Grumpy and Sir Sexy. Which is…eh.
But I am always thinking of MARKETING these days. How to market X. How to get MORE PEOPLE TO BUY MY X.
I usually end up sobbing, and taking lots of things and stuff to calm my innards. Marketing has become my bete noire.
Where did I leave off before I drifted into MARKETING waters.
Doggedly discuss latest writing project because that’s why I started this blog in the first kalurchy place. And to spare my friends my burbling too-long emails. Poor friends!
SHUT UP, I DO SO HAVE FRIENDS.
That was for the roflmao voices in my head. Sorry.
Odin, Jesus, God, Maggie, batboys, Minions, Stella Lou, Click and Clack, Minette and Suzi and…
I am trying, this time around, to STREAMLINE the tale. It turned into a messy, sprawling mess last time around, which I liked but might, well, probably, would test the patience of dear readers who bothered to read it.
Poor Ms. Wuehler, she’s a bit all over the place here and if there’s a story here, I might need a compass, some rope, and a miracle on the order of loaves and fishes to find it.
Chapter five or so is where I am.
I’m having fun and want to get back to it, so that’s good. Of course I’ve written this one several times over now. It started off as a play, as a short story, and is now a PROJECT that will need MARKETING.
Can you sense a theme developing here?
I’d go off on a magnificent political rant but hey, I can funnel that rage and WTF is happening? into my sentences and word choices and subtext. When I have subtext. I am more Ibsen than Chekhov most of the time. If you get that, high five. Or– Ibsen wasn’t that subtle and Chekhov was really subtle. Okay.
I’m just letting it unfold, more or less, as it wants. TAOGOASJ seems to want to get back to the far more light-hearted, rather goofy road into the wilds of the Alvord than I had written it in earlier attempts.
As the Big Showdown will take place, still, in the Alvord Desert of Oregon.
Why is everything I write set in Oregon, mostly? Ah.
Because I’m from Oregon and setting all my tales, in, say, Alabama, just doesn’t work for me.
I have nothing against ‘bama, Roll Tide!, but…not from there or from the mystical, gothic-smeared South. I’m from the interior West, home of mythical cowboys and gothic Aryan Nations smeared bullshit.
Whee?…eee…uh. That’s a sound effect spelled out. Imagine the first part is ‘should I be happy about that? Then the second set is ‘no’, with the sound descending from a high squeal to a lower, softer noise and then a gulp.
I’m keeping a lot of the things I really liked from earlier versions. Names for things, characters, Swiss Charlie’s, Po. Po is Horus’s horse. Jesus has to be more charming, more slick. Odin needs some actual grumpiness! MORE COWBELL FOR ALL.
I still laugh at that skit from SNL. Christopher Walken is my spirit animal, as the kiddies opine. He’s not, but for that skit, he is.
Back to Grumpy Odin/Sexy Jesus.
I’m also working a lot on Maggie, the Head Receptionist. On her will and drive, on not making her such a Mary Sue, oh ghastly gasp of horror inserted here. [Uhhh!] I’ve kept the tentacles and the mask.
Oooh, who’s wearing a mask!
Look at you! HOOKED. Hooked, I tell ya!
Did I mention the cute ground squirrel prolly ate most of my pet eggplant? And that the cucumber I doctored for teensy black bugs has give up the ghost?
Yeah. I transplanted the eggie into a big pot and put it up high. It’s fine so far, just the leaves got nibbled off. It still looks rather splendid, except it’s just a stem with leaves at the top and one purple blossom left.
I also trimmed the forsythia and rose bush next to my mini garden, put up some redneck fencing– that’s whatever crap you have laying around used as a fence– and check my mini garden obsessively.
The yard bunnies prolly also had a tooth in this.
Oh! I turned over a board on the other side of the fence and there was a mama quail and her eggs. I hope she didn’t abandon them. I’m afraid to check. I do love quail. They are perhaps my favorite bird, with hummingbirds of course ranking right up there. I saw a hummer the other day. Poking that long beak into the wild roses. I thrilled. I was thrilled.
A little news– I somehow have nine novels to get written.
I have two done and nine to go. Someone, [it was me] mentioned titles to her publisher. Who remembered them, jumbled them a bit and then sent a contract…yep. [This is good. In case it doesn’t come across that way. This is good!!!!]
It’s a zany slapstick sort of life, yes, it is.
So! Blog-wise, I will be attempting to MARKET my oncoming flux of writing onto the indifferent universe. Even a mild splash would be nice.
Let’s see. I’ve mentioned my latest writing project, the Alvord Desert, MARKETING, my mini garden, and Alabama. I think that’s enough for now.
I should probably start off June with something about writing projects. The committee of puppets in my head nod and agree, yes, I should do just that.
Ah so, gentle readers and assorted indifferent passerbys– I wrote this short novella on zombies…Stop right there.
I fleshed it out, ha ha. It’s now novel-length. It deals more with menstruation than zombies. Just kidding, of course. I’m not that far gone into Womanlandia. Menstruation, eh, gross. We’ve come such a long way, right??
Where was I?
I call it, for now, Aftermath.
I know. Generic as all get out. But it works. I will probably keep that title. A good title is ninety percent of the battle or something. I learned that in grad school! Go Running Rebels! [Google is your friend if you don’t know what school that is.]
I found a scrap of paper with– woman wakes up after killing herself during a zombie apocalypse.
That was it. That ‘sparked’ something. I started writing. As one does.
That actual first draft was shit. Just crap on toast. I cringed reading it over. Cringed! I started over. Better, not great, but better.
I got to where Our Heroine Hannah faces a giant crater in a road. With some ideas of she should be taken to the camps of the resisters or be taken to the military base to be dealt with or…yeah.
I grew all wishy-washy and unsure. And put the project away.
So. Time passes. I delve back into Aftermath.
Ideas flow like cheap supermarket markdown boxed wine into a Styrofoam cup.
So, I write the ending…which just ‘works’ for me. I have to now write the penultimate part before that ending.
Four or five options present themselves here. I write them out, I discard them, go back to them, ponder over them, call myself a cunt a lot, and then happen on a sort of happy-ish pre-conclusion that rings a bit more true than the others.
Wait, what’s the plot, you might even be asking yourself at this point, if you’ve bothered to read this far. Here we go!
Hannah kills herself rather than be eaten by the zombies who’ve cornered her in the very ruined wreck of Boise, Idaho. The world has been overrun and destroyed, she’s had enough of trying to survive. However, instead of going off to hell or heaven or just dying, Hannah wakes up in an office. Run by zombies. She is a fish out of water here, trying to navigate her new existence among people who seem to know her. She finds herself at the center of plots and counter-plots, caught in some office three-way with her zombie boss and some guy named Kevin, who is one of the leaders of the resistance against the zombie overlords. Zombies, by the way, run everything. The word zombie has been outlawed, and any fighting back against the absolute zombie control gets dealt with quickly. The zombies control the banks, the police force, government, everything. Hannah, thrown into this, muddles through as best she can and ends up making a series of decisions that lead her into the Idaho mountains, in pretty much the same world she found herself before she cut her wrists.
Now, that sounds grim, but it’s not. I found myself laughing at pragmatic, practical Hannah quite a bit. I enjoyed making up slang that might get used for those in charge who smelled like three day old fish left out on a hot summer day. I enjoyed writing this! I used bad words and am probably an indecent blah blah blah.
Let June ring her bells and let me get Aftermath polished up enough so that if it comes out to the public, I won’t have to pretend that some other Ann Wuehler wrote that. Or that I was doing lots of crack. Or Ambien. Ha ha. Had to.
Oh, on a last note. My poor cucumber plant! It became dotted with tiny black bugs that laid tiny white eggs. I looked up how to ‘naturally’ take care of that problem. As I didn’t want to spend bucks on some chemical composition or powdery devil powder. Maybe I had something in the fridge or the cupboards that would make those damnable little bugs march off for greener pastures. Get it? Greener pastures?
Yeah. Beer, salt, flour.
Now, I did pour beer on the poor thing. I should have waited several days and been patient. I applied some salt. Again. I should have waited to see if the beer would work. It’s…on life support at this point. I’ll pinch off the bad leaves and let it recover if it wishes. I just went out to check on it and the yard bunnies fled in all directions.
It’s chilly this morn, but that baking dry heat will arrive and the dust will coat everything and we’ll watch the skies for any sign of rain, dreading the lightning that will ignite wildfires…but that’s a week or so away.
Maybe we’ll get lots of rain all summer! If you live around farmers for any amount of time, by the way, you’ll find eighty percent of your thoughts center on what the weather is doing at any given moment and the other twenty percent centered on writing zombie novels.
Aftermath slithered from brain to page fairly easily. It poured like cheap ketchup onto scrambled eggs. Not that I even like ketchup. I’m trying to describe how readily this tale leaped from brain to my typing fingers.
Is that good or bad? Should writing on a project involve long periods of agony and doubt and dark reflections on the nature of life itself?? Or just be a fun romp used to remain almost totally isolated from humanity?
I hope that poor cuke plant recovers. I hope the weather warms up a bit but doesn’t go into those damn Mojave level temps. I hope June turns out to be not my usual June, where I…nope. Just write, honey. Just write!
After the blistering success of my Handmaid’s Taletwo-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.
Got around to watching the Handmaid’s Tale. And being an almost writer, had some thoughts and notions and impressions. Which went on rather long-ish. So I’m chopping my review/primal scream/ramblings into two parts. Here we go:
It’s the red dresses, the white hats that act like blinders on the women. Rather like one puts blinders on a horse. That red of sin and menstrual blood and fertility and death. The women walking in pairs, the flap of their cloaks, their faces so careful. So careful. The least betrayal of their actual thoughts could get them killed. Everyone, though, in Gilead, seems to be playing a part. The honesty seems gone from the very air even as people murmur constantly their allegiance to some truly tyrannical deity.
If you’ve not seen Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, with Mad Men’s Peggy front and center, or Elizabeth Moss as some call her, you should. It’s…timely. So fucking timely. And yet it has an ancient grit to it. That grit of slavery and bodies exploited for the common good and a god used as a hammer to make everyone fall in line. Oh, we’ve seen this tale, it’s not a new one.
It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that women couldn’t have their own bank accounts. Or own land. Or run a company. Or attend school to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer of some kind. It’s only been recently that single women could get birth control openly without having to lie or obtain it illegally. You had to be married. Why does a single gal need the Pill for? Mm!
That was reflected upon in another great show–Call the Midwife, which chronicled the dawn on the Pill hitting the market and so forth. There was even a bit about a widowed Lady Mary, on Downton Abby, having Anna buy condoms for her. In the 1920’s. Anna got slut-shamed pretty hard at that chemist shop.
We seem to forget that openly buying birth control is a relatively new thing, since about the seventies or so and it’s still controversial here in America. There are groups working against it, as well as being rabidly ‘pro-life’ or pro-forced birth. As these same groups seem to drop any concern or care for that child once it’s born. So it seems.
Oh gosh, and the big one. Voting.
Being able to help decide who runs your country. Who gets to speak for you in the halls of government. 1920 is when women won the right to vote in America. Woman had actually run for office earlier than that, in protest.
Women started being included in the American government. White women became grudgingly more and more common in the rank and file of Congress’s elected officials. Jim Crow laws, laws against Native Americans and the Chinese and…mm. America, you sure got a weird notion of who’s a citizen and who’s not. Even when born here.
Those red dresses.
The handmaids never allowed to wear anything else. That almost theatrical costume that marks them as human livestock. They are not free, they are watched constantly, they are guarded from taking their lives. Offred’s predecessor, for instance, hung herself using her own bed sheets.
What God would want any woman treated like that? Like birds in too-small cages, being asked to sing songs that ring with such false notes? What God is that?
I sat there and binge watched this show and wondered that. What society wants to follow a God that thinks so poorly of women?
It’s just traditional values at work, dear.
I hear that in my head. I hear it all the time in American society now. So called traditional values being used to justify the devaluation of women, the curbing of rights to anyone not a straight white male, the attempts to force LGTBQ folks back into closets, the snarling against the other known as immigrants, etc, etc. That ‘animals’ remark…
Conservative values seems to be they can do whatever they want and everyone else can suck it. That seems to honestly be what Conservatives stand for right now. It’s rather a little bit, or, a lot, scary. There doesn’t seem to be any opposing force to this yet. Yet.
Handmaid’s Tale showed, rather than told, very well why women didn’t openly rebel. Because those that did ended up swinging gently from ropes or they disappeared. Just gone. Or they came back with eyes missing. Or a clitoris.
One of the Of-girls, played by a Gilmore Girl! had ‘gender traitor’ qualities. She was gay, in other words.
This was found out, and since she was fertile, she was given a judgment of mercy.
Oh sure, she got to live and go to some new household where once a month she had to shave her legs, take a ritual bath and then get raped. By a commander. Be raped as the wife held her arms down and watched her own husband rape another woman. All in the name of God.
But this ‘gender traitor’ can’t act on her sexuality, or so the reasoning goes behind mutilating a woman’s genitals; she has been stripped of not only her identity but an attempt has been made to actually erase her essential self.
Her standing there with that heart-shaped bandaging between her thighs…we see her break. And she doesn’t scream or cry, she just breaks with a quiet ghastliness that actually hurts the viewer as well. This was silence screaming, if you will.
This was a reminder that such things have happened to women, to little girls, fellow humans, since a long time ago on this very planet. With dull knives used and no nice modern surgeon and anesthesia. That such things happen now…
And we get a small flashback scene where the commanders speak about renaming this rape-itual as the Ceremony.
To make it sound nicer. More palatable.
They KNOW what they do to the handmaids and their own wives is gross, creepy and fundamentally wrong, wrong, wrong and yet instead of facing that, and facing their own filthy dark hearts, needs and beliefs, they rename the damn rape day for PR purposes. That’s what God wants? Lies and theatrics and costumes and…?
So this Gilead doesn’t seem to run on honesty or truth, but on theatrics and mirrors and smoke so a few men at the top of this theocracy can reap some substantial benefits while nearly everyone under them suffers, burns silently, or burns openly and dies, or gets mutilated or sent off somewhere to work in a place of nuclear contamination or in a secret brothel everyone seems to know about.
The Jezebels, where we find out what happens to June’s best friend, Moira.
Everything in this ‘new’ society seems a gag-inducing farce.
We get a hideous picture of this in Commander Fred Waterford’s household.
The wife, Serena. Who helped craft the very laws and customs that now chain her into a narrow, icy role of sexless wife who must watch her husband use the handmaids that come into their home like a teen boy might use a sock. Or a flesh rocket.
That handmaid becomes both sacred vessel and sex toy. Without a name of her own.
But poor Serena and I do feel an actual measure of pity for her, in between bouts of picturing her riding a chainsaw as someone pours salt over her…because it would hurt more. And salt is very Biblical.
She had to become single-focused on Offred becoming pregnant or there’s literally no reason for her to exist in Gilead. If she’s not wheeling around that trophy baby, she’s relegated to arranging flowers and abusing the handmaid and the Martha. She’s also used as corporate wives are so used– to make the man look good.
Go look up how Hillary Clinton got compared to Barb Bush, for instance. One was a scheming, too-ambitious cold monster, the other a cookie-baking, cuddly grandma type. Mm.
Serena’s ambitions and dreams must be subverted and funneled toward the man in her life. She wrote books, she gave talks, in the old life. Clearly, Serena was a sort of Ann Coulter figure, using the very things feminists before her had won with such hard work and sacrifice to decry feminism itself.
She must now look good and act perfectly, to be a credit to Waterford. She must embrace this new role of hers or face uncertainty and chaos. She is a monster because she had to become one to survive.
I also think, and here the writers and the actress came together in small, brilliant little moments…I also think Serena didn’t think it all the way through.
She didn’t realize Gilead’s rules would include her. I honestly think that’s part of her deep, savage divide, one of her many layers. That bitter realization that she’s just as trapped as Offred and who better to take that out on? She can’t go after Fred, after all. It would bring her down as well. She would no longer have a place of some value. She might become a Martha or have to find a new husband and start that cycle all over again…suppress herself for yet another’s man’s fragile ego and standing among the other men. It would be unbearable, so she puts up with Fred.
Which is rather a throwback to the days when divorce was nearly unheard of and everyone looked the other way about the true nature of your marriage. Told you to bear it, marriage was for life.
A good wife has to wait for her moment of revenge.
Like the wife of Warren did. Warren, who, of course, had a side thing with their handmaid, the one-eyed mad girl Janine, or Ofwarren, who actually managed to get preggers and bear a kid. That wife threw her husband to the lions without a backward glance. We feel Serena would toss Fred, too, if it came down to it.
There is a definite caste system in Gilead. These wives are a higher rank than most, and coast on that with a carelessness that makes you wince and cringe. Because we see that. In real life. All the time. We see the privileged talking about how they managed to make their own toast one morning because the cook had an emergency. And expecting applause and endless praise…for some small ordinary act the lesser mortals take for granted.
That scene of Janine giving birth upstairs and the commander wives offering Offred a cookie, a treat. Treating her like both a whore and a child, at the same time. As if Offred had a choice in being a handmaid.
Well, she did. Which would have involved her being executed or tortured or banished to the Colonies. And she has a daughter.
Somewhere. That she hopes is still alive.
So we understand very well why June goes along and does what Aunt Lydia and the others want her to do…pretend she’s some obedient fertile cow for Jesus.