Sunday, June 15, 2008

Gone Fishin'!

As of August, I will have been blogging for five years, pretty much without a break except for a few days here and there. Maybe even a week or more. In any case, I'm taking a break. I've got a lot on my plate right now. Need to make the living. Need to get my house in order. Want to do some cool and wonderful things. I love writing here and I loved writing on Furious Spinner, but I gots to do what I gots to do. Regular readers know I've made noises about taking a break before—and then I come back in a few days and write something. So we'll see. But since I'm without computer, this seems like as good a time as any!

In the meantime, you can explore the archives here and on Furious Spinner and the Old Mermaids Journal—plus my books are in libraries and in bookstores, on Amazon etc. You know the drill. You can easily get ahold of my stories, essays, and other words put in particular order by me.

So I'll see you on the flipside. I'll bring back some stories.

May You Vacate in Beauty!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Tao of Shining On

"Once you label me, you negate me." —Søren Kierkegaard (purportedly)

I was on my way to a preparation workshop for the Chöd retreat/empowerment I'll be attending in a couple of weeks when I heard the above quote. I was listening to the Soul Series on my XM. It's on Oprah and Friends. I really like this series. Oprah just sits and talks with interesting people like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer. Mario and I used to drive around on Sundays (twenty years ago) and listen to New Dimensions (because we couldn't get reception at home) and this new Soul Series reminds me of that: People talking in-depth about life, soul, and the invisibles.

Today she had Wayne Dyer on. I've never read Dyer before because I figured he was one of these "think positive thoughts and everything will be OK" kind of guys—and that just gets on my nerves. But cocooned in my car, I let myself listen to him. I'm glad I did. He was very interesting. And he had a couple of quotes I really liked. Like the one above. I hate labels. (I am a librarian, yes, and I hate labels. If I had my druthers, all fiction would be interfiled, in alphabetical order by author. No genre labels.)

And I particularly don't like labels on people. On me. Labels tend to put little boxes around people. Frames.

Labels frame people.

I was framed, Ma!

I don't like being framed. Or labeled.

And I'm going to stop labeling and thereby negating others. Yes, you heard it here first.

Dyer was on Soul Series talking about his new book and the Way of the Tao. He said something which really hit home with me (and made me think I should read more of the Tao, which I haven't done in many years). He was talking about living in compassion and being a giving person. The Sun has been shining on the Earth for billions of years, he said. Imagine if it had demanded accolades all these years and would only shine when it was praised or received payment for shining. The Sun doesn't do that. It just keeps on shining.

What a cool dude/dudette that Sun is. I shall follow in its brilliant footsteps...or in its beams.

Let's all just keep on shining on.


Read more here...

Still in Pieces

Well. My ibook G4 is dead again. Wasn't that the name of a movie? Dead Again. I'm ready to go get a PC. And the Apple people were no help, just little automatons repeating the party-line. I wasn't nasty, but I was firm. I said what's the incentive to buy a Mac now? I could buy a cheap PC laptop and expect to have problems rather than pay three times as much for a Mac and have the same kind of problems.

So I am without computer. Maybe this is a sign from my universe telling me to get a life, not a computer.

I shall abide by that. I see blue sky. I'm goin' out into it.

By the way, I started writing a new book, nonfiction. It's called Sleeping Around. It's a travel memoir. Much fun.

I'm outta here. See ya when the 'puter is back.

May You Walk Under the Blue, Blue Sky in Beauty!

P.S. The local Mac guy (local being Portland) just called and Mac is going to pay for the repairs of my machine. I'm crossing my fingers that they can actually fix it. This means I have to ship the computer off though and I don't know when I'll get it back. Catch you on the flipside.

P.P.S. While I was on the phone trying to take care of this, I was walking around and I stubbed my toe on the laptop which was on the floor and I think I may have broken my little toe. Nothing they can do for a broken little toe, so I'll powwow it, take some homeopathic remedies and hope for the best.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Changing Dim Bulbs

Had another unpleasant encounter with a dog owner on the trail yesterday. This couple had two huge rottweilers off leash. We stopped when we saw them so they could get a hold of the dogs. When they went by us, I said dogs were supposed to be leashed on this trail. The young man said quite sarcastically, "Good to know." And then the woman said, "You should be leashed." Huh? Oh man. That pissed me off.

The furies rose up in me big time. My better nature did not take over. I swore at her. She swore back.

Then we went our separate ways. I wished all kinds of horrible things on them. Didn't even take it back.

I fantasized about all the things I would do to their car, realizing that I would have no idea which car was theirs so I would not actually do anything. I realized that I had ruined my walk because of the way I had reacted, although part of me was still screaming that THEY had ruined my walk. I hoped their walk was ruined, too. (By the way, I never felt any antipathy toward the dogs. Dogs are just dogs. They do dog things. Human beings are supposed to protect their dogs and the people who might encounter their dogs.)

As we kept walking to the end of the trail, I started to feel icky: Why wasn't I a better calmer person? (I'm human, not perfect.) Why did I get so scared when I saw dogs off leash? (Been attacked and bitten by dogs too many times.) Why didn't I just ignore the people and dogs and hope for the best? (Because my adrenaline was so high and hoping never got anyone anything.)

And then the final question for myself: Why didn't other people behave the way they should, like have their dogs on leashes?

This time the voice in my head said, "You can change lightbulbs; you can't change people."

I said this aloud to Mario. He laughed. "That's great. Did you just make that up?"

"No," I said. "The voice in my head did."

"And it's so true," he said.

"Yep," I said. "I can change lightbulbs but not people, so I might as well stop trying. It's a waste of time."

OK. Lesson learned.

I think.

It's all a process, isn't it? I have such a strong sense of justice. I feel like I can't let anything go, anything pass. Edmund Burke's "evil prevails where good people do nothing" is a constant refrain in my conscience. I don't always know what is evil and what is just bad manners. To me, letting dogs run loose where they can hurt and frighten people is brutish antisocial behavior. It is one of the many ways people separate themselves from the community of people—in other words, they act as bad neighbors. They do not recognize we are kin. Their behavior is decidedly uncivil, unkind, callous, and insensitive. But nothing I do is going to get them to change their minds or their behavior.

They're the only ones who can change their own dim bulbs.

And me, too. I've got to change my own dim bulb. I've got to figure out a better way to respond to problems on any of the paths I'm on.

When I figure it out, I'm sure it'll be a lightbulb moment.

Read more here...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Go Tell It

I love this man so much. Bill Moyers spoke at the National Conference for Media Reform. Listen to the entire speech if you can. It is inspiring, thoughtful, and rousing. You can listen to more from the conference here.

Although the word patriot usually makes me cringe, Bill Moyers can say that word and I know what he means. He is calling upon those of us who live on this land to be patriots, not as nationalistic fiends, but as healers who can work together to fix that which is broken in our country.

He quoted Arlo Guthrie's song, the Patriot's Dream:

Living now here but for fortune
Placed by fate's mysterious schemes
Who'd believe that we're the ones asked
To try to rekindle the patriot's dreams

Arise sweet destiny, time runs short
All of your patience has heard their retort
Hear us now for alone we can't seem
To try to rekindle the patriot's dreams

Can you hear the words being whispered
All along the American stream
Tyrants freed the just are imprisoned
Try to rekindle the patriot's dreams

Ah but perhaps too much is being asked of too few
You and your children with nothing to do
Hear us now for alone we can't seem
To try to rekindle the patriot's dreams.


What do you say, darlins?

May You Rekindle in Beauty!

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She Did It

Hillary Clinton just endorsed Barack Obama. She did it with class. She did it enthusiastically. She showed me she is still the woman I thought she was before this campaign began. She did what she had to do and she did it well. I was crying before she came up to the microphone, and I was crying during the entire speech.

I've wanted a woman president for my whole life. I don't like to use this line very often, can't understand what it's like. I mean, last night on Jay Leno they did jokes about Clinton doing a lap dance for Obama. I watched a movie yesterday where the hero said he was "doing a piece for Vanity Fair." (They're related because they're both about trying to humiliate and demean women by sexual innuendo.) When I look at our politicians, they're almost always male. Women are 51% of the population in our country (I believe), but only 16 of our Senators out of 100 are women. I think there's about 74 women in the U.S. House of Representatives out of 435. People who believe sexism and misogyny no longer exist in our country are delusional.

Hillary Clinton showed it was possible for a woman to be president, to be thought of as the commander in chief by the American people. I honor her and what's she done. I wish I had seen more of this Hillary during the campaign. But let's go forward and see what's going to happen next. The most important thing is that McCain not be our next president.

Read more here...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Afternoon At the Movies


Mario took me to the movies this afternoon after he was finished writing. It was raining here, as I mentioned, and I was feeling dreary. I had made the mistake of turning on the news. They said panic had set in. The stock market was crashing and the price of oil was out of sight. I started shivering, shaking with fear. Lately I have felt (and still feel) as though I have been watching the collapse of our world.

I started feeling this way when catastrophic climate change began accelerating. (The Republicans still won't do anything about it.) And then economically. I don't know about you, but we can hardly afford food any more. Gasoline in our little town is $4.30. I've never felt this way before, except maybe once, during the gas shortage right after I graduated from high school. 1973, 74. The price of everything fluctuated daily because of inflation. I had just bought a car to go back and forth to college. (I had dropped out of Michigan State University and was going instead to Eastern Michigan University and living with my folks.) I remember looking underneath cushions to find enough coin to put gas in my car.

Anyway. It was a scary. Today I felt that way again, only 100 times worse.

It's strange to feel as though the world as we know it is coming to an end yet there is nothing I can do. I don't know how to invent a vehicle that doesn't run on gasoline and won't pollute. Right now I live in a small town where we don't grow any of our own food—I mean as a community. It's not a real community, actually. It's just a town where people live. And Mario and I are far from our families. If this is the end, I don't think this is where I want to be. I want to be close to my family, wherever they are.

And right now they are scattered all over the country.

I haven't blogged about this because I hope I'm wrong, and I don't think spreading fear is a good thing. That paralyzes. I'd rather spread solutions.

And I don't have any right now.

This is what I was feeling like today, so we decided to fiddle while Rome burns. We went to see Iron Man. Now, I read comics when I was a kid and then later, some, when I was an a-dult, but I had never heard of Iron Man. But I figured the movie couldn't be too bad if Robert Downey Jr. was in it.

It started out with a bang. Downey at his funny sarcastic best. Then stuff blowing up. All cool. Yes, kids, I love a good action flick. I also really love Merchant Ivory films. We're all complex human beans, and I count myself as an extremely perplexed legume. Then they did a flashback. We got to see all the juvenile sexist crap that is a part of so many comics. (Grow up, will you, guys?) But we sat through it for a few minutes knowing that Tony Stark would indeed get his comeuppance.

He did. He decided he shouldn't continue to make weapons and instead he builds himself a suit so he can go out and destroy the weapons he created.

This movie had all the flaws that comic book movies often have. Bimbo-stuff at the beginning. A girl Friday. (Pulease. Will someone make an Iron Woman? I'd loooovvvvveee to see that. Anyway, enough with the woman helpmate. That is so early Heinlein. That is so 1950.) And also the bad guy going insane. What's with that? But, but, but, I loved a lot about this movie. Downey was great. And he is looking good. That suit made him look really good. (Yes, I can lust after a man and his suit, especially if it's a red suit which gives the man the ability to fly and to blow shit up.) I don't like CGI movies. At all. But I never noticed the CGI in this movie. Even when girl Friday Pepper Potts was digging around inside his chest I didn't notice. It wasn't until later I said, "Hey, how'd they do that?"

I kept thinking how cool it would be to get into a suit that would turn me into a superhero. That would solve some problems.

It's a manly film. I knew that going in. Come on. It was directed by Jon Favreau. But I also knew the hero would have a heart because Favreau was directing. (Or in Iron Man's case: an arc reactor.)

Fun times.

Sometimes it is so great to be in denial.

Hope you're all staying out of the rain and pain, too.

Read more here...

PD PD Rain


Yes, you heard it hear last. It is pouring down pissing down rain. My peonies have given up. They are splayed on our sidewalk. The poppy petals are folded up like little orange umbrellas. The Old Oak and Old Maple are swaying with the wind, the rhodies, too, perhaps enjoying these spring showers. I go out and I feel wind-whipped. Yes, I bow down to you, Wind, and will do whatever you like, whatever you want.

Something so beautiful about watching the clouds move across the gorge, down low, in a slow dance, oblivious to me. Do they know I watch them in awe?

Yesterday I saw an old friend I used to work with. We were together five days a week for seven years and then we weren't. She has been one of my favorite people for as long as I've known her. She had such a positive optimistic spirit. Then she get fibromyalgia. And a year ago her mother died. And she lost faith. Got depressed. I can relate. When did I lose faith? Shall I count the times?

I have had a such a fortunate life that it feels stingy to be faithless. And it's not like I don't believe in anything. I believe in the Wind, the Moon, Stars, the trees, bears, coyotes, the rhodies, poppies, bees, the love of my sweetheart. On good days, I believe the divine is in everything and everything is divine.

How do I define divine? I don't define it as a god with dogma. I don't define it as god at all. What I'm talking about is indefinable. It is the creative flow that trickles, roars, surges, floods through all of us. Godus.

Anyway, my friend and I talked about how much these deaths in our lives have affected us. How it is difficult to have faith in anything when you watch people suffer and die. And yet we have to allow the sadness. Perhaps it keeps us from doing anything too drastic. Like throwing off this life for another one.

It was so great spending time with her. I was getting dressed near the end of our visit to go out to dinner with Mario and Marcus, and it was fun to have a girl around to tell me if this was too tight, if this color looked all right, talking about the weight we had gained, knowing who we had been and who we are now. Both of us wondering: Where are the women we were? It is strange when you look in the mirror and don't see yourself, when you see photographs and wonder, "Where did I go?"

I hope it isn't another year before we see each other again.

I've been dreaming. Did I say? Dreamed I was a wordlord, like a landlord only with words. And I keep dreaming specific words. Jessup. Mallard. Last night it was Chip. Chip was the name of an androgynous person who was helping me find my way. He was a she who then was a male. Or seemed female and then was male. He was so sweet. So young. We were going to run off together and I asked him his age. "Thirty-three," he told me. I thought, "Well, he's only ten years younger." (In my dreams!) As we were about to leave together, I told him I was married. So he left me. When I woke up, I felt as though I had lost someone very dear to me. When I told Mario, he said, "Well, if it doesn't mean you're getting ready to run off with some young stuff, it's probably about mourning your lost youth." Geez. That's pathetic. I looked up what the word meant. The name Chip is a rare nickname for Charles which means free man. But more likely, chip is part of me: a chip off the old block. Funny how all the words I'm dreaming are male: lord, jessup, mallard, chip.

Mario and I went with our friend Marcus into Portland for dinner. Much fun. Afterward we came home and Mario did the dishes while I sat by the heat and Marcus found us something to watch on TV. We finally settled on the movie Snakes on a Plane. It was funny. Of course my eyes were averted for about three-quarters of the movie, but it was good to see Marcus and Mario laugh. It's always fun to be with people when they're laughing, isn't it?

Now it is midmorning and I haven't gotten any work done. I'm going to start writing on I, Assassin again, I think. I've thrown out 166 pages and all the characters and I've started anew. I've only written a page, but I already like this woman much better than the other one. Her name's Tess Connelly.

OK babydolls. Time for me to go commune with nature and my own creations.

May You Spin in Beauty!

p.s. They fixed my computer. Yeah!

Read more here...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

May I Just Say...

OK. I've tried not to add to the Sturm and Dung. (Yes, the Sturm and Dung.) Who needs one more windbag? But I'm watching the coverage tonight. (After two hours of sleep in 48 hours—how do these candidates do it?) But I'm listening to some of the talking heads saying that they're hearing from people in the Clinton campaign that her speech was not more gracious, was not more conciliatory, because this was supposed to be her night. Not only that, but they were saying that Barack needs to reach out to Prez Clinton because his feelings are hurt.

Excuse me?

This is not about the Clinton. It is not about Barack Obama. This is about taking a step to save our country and our planet. Who cares if any of the Clintons got their feelings hurt? I am so tired of the Clintons. I can't even stand Bill Clinton's voice any more. I turn off the radio or TV when I hear his voice, just like I do with Bush.

I wanted a woman prez. Probably no one on the planet wanted a woman prez more than I did. But the Clintons are old school politics, bad politics, politics that have screwed up our country, and I didn't like the way she ran her campaign. They act as though they are entitled to the nomination.

That ain't so.

As I've mentioned before, I've seen lots of sexism during this campaign, mostly men talking about how Clinton looks, making comments about her sexuality. Disgusting. Pissed me off. But I don't think she lost the nomination because of this sexism. I think she proved Americans are ready for a woman leader. (I never had any doubt.) But we need a radical change. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were on the bottom of my list of people I wanted nominated. However, I listened to people who admired Obama and I looked at the issues. He and Clinton are very similar in what they want for our country, both far tooconservative for me. But Obama seems to be able to get people excited and up off their butts. And Clinton ran a dirty campaign, a campaign not about issues but about personal attacks. At least as far as I could tell. I recognize that I may not have the truth of the matter.

Anyway, time to get the sign up in the yard for Obama. Time to get to work.

Read more here...

Resting in Pieces

Not me, my computer. My lovely lemon ibook is yet again on the fritz. Huh. I just realized what I said: Fritz. That has to have something to do with the Germans. I just looked it up. It's a reference to cheap imports from Germany before World War I. Thus: being on the fritz.

Aren't words fascinating?

Anyway, the computer is down and out, so I am off the computer. You may not hear from me for a while.

I hope all goes well your way.

May You Rest in Beauty!

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All work copyright © Kim Antieau 2008-.