Coyote Road: Trickster Tales is now in paperback. I've got a story in it–as do lots of very cool peeps.
Read more here...
Charles de Lint picked Church of the Old Mermaids as one of the best books of 2008. How cool! And Judith Laura, who is the author of the novel Beyond All Desiring (and who is blogging as Medusa on Medusa Coils) has reviewed Church of the Old Mermaids. And, and, and, I just went to the COTOM Amazon page and it's now got 4 reviews, including one by Charles and one by Cate. I love all those pretty words!
I saw this poem for the first time in an email one of my many beloved brothers sent me today. And as I kept reading Kabir's poetry I came to another which made me gasp in wonder and reminded me once again that poets are indeed magicians. Both poems are below.
The guest is inside you, and also inside me;
you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.
We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.
The blue sky opens out farther and farther,
the daily sense of failure goes away,
the damage I have done to myself fades,
a million suns come forward with light,
when I sit firmly in that world.
Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me, you will see me
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.
(And to my sister Pat, I want to say thank you. I looked in the malachite box and found a hazelnut. Today I can remember the wisdom of the hazelnut and the salmon. Today is a new day. Today I re-member love.)
Sitting in a motel room on the Oregon coast. Mario is in his workshop. I'm watching TV. I almost drove home today. Three hours. Got stir crazy here. Depression takes away my ability to read or concentrate well. I'm having a bout of it. Been having it. Walked on the beach today before it started raining. Been so up and down lately that I feel like I'm on a weird kind of roller coaster. Either I'm heading for a breakthrough, breakdown, or some third option with the word break in it.
I've had some really tough times in my life. I've always figured out a way to get out of the tough time or walk through it or just survive it. This time I am out of ideas. This time it all changes so rapidly that I have no idea. Truly. The mind is a strange bedfellow.
Last night I dreamed Mario got a spine transplant. Now that was weird. And in another dream last night, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw this very short plump alien-looking person—like the Pillsbury doughboy without a shape. The image startled me so much that I snapped awake.
The first day I was here and I walked on the beach, I knew that I needed to let stuff go. I had to ignore my ego. I had to stop taking stuff personally. Just let it flow, baby. A grand redux revelation. That lasted about five minutes after I walked away from the ocean.
The next day I knew that I needed to just live in joy. Just have fun. Joy, joy, joy. All these people who try to suppress their emotions are denying their true nature. We are humans! We need to live passionately. Unfortunately my brain doesn't have the neural pathways for joy any more—if it ever did. So I supposed I needed to create new ones. I was determined. That lasted about three minutes after I walked away from the ocean.
I really think it's easier to save the world than figure out our own personal lives. And maybe it's useless. We each have our own personalities, bleak as some of them may be, and maybe those things we want to change are unchangeable, hardwired into our being the way the color of our eyes is hardwired. We can't change the color of our eyes. We can't change how tall or short we are. What makes us think we can change our minds?
I do know I feel better when the sun is out. I also know that if I have meaningful work, where the people I work with respect me, where I am paid decently, I feel much better. I absolutely understand those people who are desperate and sad because they've lost their jobs. I essentially lost mine 15 years ago when I got sick. I understand people who feel as though they are not part of the world. I feel great compassion for those people. I am one of those peeps many days.
I went on a meditation/journey to the Old Mermaids. For the first time, they told me they weren't going to tell me anything else until I became still. Until I could still my mind a bit. Wow. Did my faery goddessmothers really say that to me? That was a first.
And how to be still again.
Yes, well, there's the rub, eh?
It's too painful to be still. To sit in the silence.
For now I'll try to walk through it. Or curl up on the couch through it. I need sunshine. I need Vitamin D.
I'll try to figure it out by not trying to figure it out. I miss my mother. I miss my best friend. I miss the community I've never had.
Someone who should have known better told me last year that my problem was that I wasn't connected to the Divine. When she said this, I felt as though I'd been bitchslapped. How could I not be connected to the Divine, if indeed there is anything in existence that we can call the Divine? Wouldn't everyone be connected to the Divine if it exists, except maybe psychopaths or sociopaths? And I'm certainly not one of those.
But maybe she was right. I know the World is Divine. I know my sweet self is Divine. I know all that, but I ain't feelin' it, baby. I just ain't feelin' it.
I'm watching Iron Man now. I saw it at the theaters. Thought it was great fun. I like a decent action flick. Right now I'm waiting for the suit, for him to put on the Iron Man suit. He's injured, almost mortally wounded, and from this experience, he builds a protective suit. Nothing's gonna hurt him once he puts on that suit. Nobody's gonna see him, the true him, but they will see the suit and be glad that he's coming. That idea is so seductive, isn't it? We're not enough, just ourselves. So we put on so many costumes, so many facades, so many false faces. Let's pretend we're someone we're not and it'll all work out.
Or maybe our brains start to forget joy.
I just read a wonderful (and truly awesome) story about an autistic boy who begins to heal once he connects with a horse. And he continues to heal after his parents take him to shamans in Mongolia. Part One here. Part Two here. Part Three here. The book, The Horse Boy, comes out in April. Thanks, Michele.
I agree with Beth that today should be celebrated as Aphrodite's Day. (Speaking of Old Mermaids.) I've always thought of St. Valentine's Day as one of those made-up Hallmark Card kind of days. I don't think I've celebrated it since I was 16 years old.
In Patricia Telesco's 365 Goddess, she reminds us that Lupercalia preceded St. Valentine's Day. (Most modern "holidays" have their roots in earlier pagan celebrations.) The regenerative Roman goddess Venus can be celebrated today. According to Roman tradition, Telesco writes, if there's a large stone next to a tall tree, Venus is there. So today would be a good time to go out and find yourself a tall tree and see what Venus is up to.
Patricia Monaghan quotes a Homeric hymn to Aphrodite in her The Goddess Companion. Here's the last few lines:
"How our darling loves to laugh! And now
look! She is leaving her temple again, coming
back to bring us more joyous trouble, laughing
and laughing, cutting a path right through the stars."
In Church of the Old Mermaids, Sissy Maggie Mermaid is most like Aphrodite in her lusty aspect. Myla talks about her one day at the Church of the Old Mermaids when someone asks her about a broken tile on her table:
“This is a very special tile,” Myla said. “It comes directly from the kitchen of the house in the Old Mermaid Sanctuary. You’ve heard me talk about this kitchen. It was a very special place. This is where they did all their cooking, of course, and oh could the Old Mermaids cook. The kitchen was open to the outside, at least during the day time, so they could walk straight out to the garden, which was enclosed, of course. They were Old Mermaids and they knew it was in their best interest to live with the wildlife but maybe not in the same room. You know what I mean.
“Anyway, when they were building the house, they wanted tile in their kitchen,” Myla said, “that goes without saying. The Old Mermaids were very creative, but none of them knew how to make tile. That’s a very solid, earthy art, and the Old Mermaids were still a bit watery then, so they hired a young man from town to come out to the sanctuary. Sister Magdelene Mermaid—they called her Sissy Maggie Mermaid—volunteered to work with the man once he got to the house. She thought artistic men were quite attractive, you see. Sissy Maggie Mermaid and the young man, Carlos, worked together for many days. Soon they were painting the tiles to go around the kitchen. They painted seashells and saguaros. Even a couple of mermaids. Carlos liked to paint birds. He told Sissy Maggie Mermaid that he liked painting birds because he felt like he was flying when he painted. When he worked with the earth to actually create the tiles, he felt like a lizard. Lazy and warm and comfortable. It was a nice feeling. But when he painted, he flew! And he loved that feeling. So he painted birds.
“Sissy Maggie Mermaid loved to listen to Carlos talk. And to be truthful, he worked without his shirt a great deal of the time, and he was a young man, and he was nice to look at. Brown, sweaty. You know. Sissy Maggie Mermaid began painting peaches on the tiles. No other fruit. Just peaches. The sweaty man said, ‘You must really like peaches.’ ‘Indeed I do,’ she said. She had not known about peaches until the Old Sea dried up. One day someone brought a basket of peaches to the Old Mermaid Sanctuary. At first, Sissy Maggie Mermaid did not like the fuzz. She was supposed to eat this? They didn’t have fuzz in the sea. But then she put the peach up to her face and rubbed it across her skin. ‘Oh my,’ she whispered that first time. As she ran the peach along her cheek and over her mouth, she couldn’t resist taking a bite. All the other Old Mermaids did the same. They gasped as the juice went down their chins. And they laughed. It was the finest fruit they ever had. Since then they hardly ever ate any other fruit. If it was out of season, they waited. Old Mermaids are very patient, even when they are impatient. Sissy Maggie Mermaid explained all this to Carlos. As she talked she noticed he had a little peach fuzz on his cheeks. She wanted to rub her cheek against his, but she felt a bit awkward. After all, she was an Old Mermaid and he was a young tile maker. She wasn’t quite certain how that would work.
“On Carlos’s last day, Sissy Maggie Mermaid decided to let him know how she felt. Well, Sissy Maggie Mermaid was artistic, as you know, but she was not always good at expressing herself verbally. She made a peach tile—this peach tile—and then she tried to break it in two so that she could give Carlos one half and she’d keep the other.”
“Like two halves of a single heart,” Trevor said.
“Exactly,” Myla said. “As you can see, it didn’t quite break in two. When Carlos was leaving, Sissy Maggie Mermaid ran out to give him the broken tile. She kept the little piece for herself. She held it out to him, and said, ‘This is how I feel about you.’
“As you may have guessed, Carlos was an artisan. To him, a broken tile was a broken tile. It was shoddy work. He held up the tile and said, ‘This is how you feel about my work?’ ‘No, no, not about your work.’ Carlos dropped the tile into the wash and walked away. Sissy Maggie Mermaid was stunned and a bit peeved. She pulled the smaller piece of tile out of her pocket and threw it into the wash. And that’s where I found it, right where Carlos had dropped it.” Myla shrugged. “The bottom of a wash is like the bottom of the sea. Things shift. A legend grew up around this broken tile, however. Can you imagine what they believed would happen if someone could find both pieces?”
Trevor said, “That they’d find true love?”
“Okay, that’s good, but no, the legend was that if someone found both pieces a good tile maker was in their future.”
“What about Sister Maggie Mermaid?” Trevor asked. “Was she brokenhearted for long?”
“Oh no,” Myla said. “You know what Old Mermaids say about love, don’t you?”
She paused. Trevor shook his head.
“There are always more fish in the sea,” she said.
I am always perplexed (and frankly appalled and angry) when someone who survives a tragedy says, "God was looking after me." Or "God saved me." Even if someone believed that, why would they say it out loud? Does that mean god couldn't be bothered to look after the people who were killed in the same tragedy? I always cringe, thinking of the relatives of the dead wondering why god didn't save their relatives.
Love it! Vicki Noble pointed out this segment on Good Morning America (Should Women Rule the World), and it's interesting. Essentially, they tested the saliva of Wall Street traders and their testosterone level was high; this leads to risk-taking. Whereas women (with our particular hormones) use both sides of our brain and tend to look at the bigger picture.
I've had my doubts after watching Margaret Thatcher, Condelezza Rice, etc. But I think if there were more women (instead of the lone woman amongst a bunch of men) they would be more likely to work as women rather than emulating a male management/decision style.
Vicki also writes, "Although the news women did not mention Dr. Taylor's name, I strongly recommend that you read her incredible book, The Tending Instinct, where she lays out the most amazing research results. This work is truly radical. I'm so pleased to see it finally getting the attention it deserves with conclusions that make sense instead of simply furthering a sentimental image of women as nurturers."
I did watch the bankers at the Congressional Hearing and I said the same thing. "They're all men!" There should be at least 51 women in the U.S. Senate and at least 218 women. According to Wikipedia, "There have been 37 women in the United States Senate since the establishment of that body in 1789. Women were first elected in number in 1992. Today, 17 of the 100 U.S. Senators are women. Thirteen of the women who have served were appointed; seven of those were appointed to succeed their deceased husbands." In the House of Reps, "229 women have served in total as of 2009. As of the 2008 elections, there are 74 women serving in the current House of Representatives."
Years ago I asked Mario what he thought the biggest problem in our world was. He said it was the treatment of women worldwide. I had always thought that was a huge problem, but not the biggest problem. But as he explained himself, I realized he was right. If women had equality and autonomy over their bodies worldwide, we wouldn't have overpopulation problems. If women were respected, then the creative force, i.e. Nature, would be respected and honored. Traditional "women's ways" would be honored, and greed and profit wouldn't be the bottom-line. I could go on, but I won't. You get the picture. The patriarchy has a lot to answer for.
"If you're facing foreclosure, squat." I absolutely agree with this advice. If you've been making a good faith effort and they won't renegotiate, then don't leave. It's your house. I don't mean you should sit there armed and angry. Squat peacefully. Don't be good little boys and girls. It is time for a velvet revolution. So plant your gardens. Sit on your velvet sofas. You know what they say about possession: it's 9/10ths of the law. So make them prove that you don't own it. Make the bank produce the note.
Just some advice from someone who wishes she owned a house.
I don't want this blog or especially the Old Mermaids Journal blog to be all about selling. I don't like someone constantly trying to sell me stuff. So I don't want to do that here. And yet I want you all to know where you can get my books since you often ask me! So I've figured out PayPal—at least enough so that you can order Church of the Old Mermaids through that process (for those of you who don't want to use a credit card or go through Amazon.com). I tried to figure out a way to give a discount on bulk purchases, but I couldn't figure that out, so instead I just didn't charge for shipping. (I get charged $4.69 for a single copy and then $7 something for 2 copies and then the shipping price per copy goes down a bit when multiple copies are bought.) We'll try this for a while and see how it goes. The PayPal button is on the right side of both blogs. May you read in Beauty!
Tomie dePaola now has a pop-up version of Strega Nona. It is the best book EVER! Strega Nona has six ingredients that make life magical: family (famiglia), eating together (mangia), friends (amici), patience (pazienza), celebration (celebrazione), and love (amore). It's the life of a witch, and it is grand, beautiful, and fulfilling. And it's SO much fun!
Ah. There's a name for what's happened in our country: inverted totalitarianism. I'm afraid Chris Hedges is right: It's Not Going to Be OK. I listen to the news and they keep talking about the market as if that is the heart of our world. It's not.
This is how Hedges describes inverted totalitarianism: "Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism and the Constitution while cynically manipulating internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens, but they must raise staggering amounts of corporate funds to compete. They are beholden to armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington or state capitals who write the legislation. A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion or diverts us with trivia and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. “Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,” Wolin writes. 'Economics dominates politics—and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.'"
Don't mistake me: I am rooting for us, I am rooting for Obama. But they're doing too little. It is the structure that is the problem as well as the people holding up that structure.
I had hoped that once we elected a Democrat that some things might begin to change. Bill Clinton was a huge disappointment, but he was no George Dubya. And I was happy that Obama closed Gitmo. I've thought a few other things were good, too, but I think the Neo-Nuts Hydra is everywhere. Anyone who even looks a bit like a leftie is gone with barely a whisper, replaced by the likes of this. And little nazi-like the sheriff of Maricopa Co. works on. Yesterday the county announced that, “At 1:00 PM tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4, 2009, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will order of approximately 200 illegal aliens to be chained and marched into a separate area of Tent City, their new place of incarceration until their sentences are served and the illegal aliens are deported to their home countries." He did it, too. See pics here.
If seeing those pics doesn't send a chill through you, I don't know what will. It is a reminder, once again, that we must take back our communities so that the so-called power brokers can no longer break us.
One thing I've observed through this beginning process of the Obama Administration is that these nominees have too much freaking money! That's the only explanation I can come up with. Otherwise, how could all of these people screw up on their taxes and then have to pay $30,000 or $100,000 or whatever to make up for it? I don't even make $30,000 a year let alone owe taxes for that much! How can any of these people understand what the average person is going through each day? I thought Geithner should have stepped down when he had tax problems, but they confirmed him. And I didn't think Daschle should have been nominated because he was, essentially, a lobbyist. He voted for the war and helped Bush do what he did to this country, so I'm not fond of him. But I've forgiven other people (Hillary Clinton), so I suppose I could have given him a break. I don't understand why he dropped out of the process, actually. He's the one who pointed out to his accountant that he might have a problem, as far as I can tell, and he paid the back taxes. And Tom Daschle is certainly better than any of Bush's cabinet members and all of them were confirmed. And I wish Obama would quit hiring Republicans. But more importantly, I wish he would quit hiring millionaries. That's all.
I was tagged on Facebook, so I wrote 25 random things about me. Mario suggested I put it up here so here it is. Those of you who have been following my blogs for the last many years already know most of it, but you may learn something new. Feel free to add your own 25 random things about you.
1. I’m thinking of changing my name and identity to Lily Crow.
2. The above freaks out my sweetheart, Mario Milosevic.
3. I was never going to get married.
4. I have been married for twenty-eight years.
5. Someday I want to write a big thick juicy gothic novel.
6. I watch too many movies.
7. I write too many words.
8. I love.
9. I want to live in a kind of hacienda and invite writers, artists, environmentalists, and refugees of all kinds to find sanctuary there with me when they need it.
10. I worship the ground I walk on.
11. I worship the ground you walk on.
12. I still like listening to Led Zepplin.
13. My most embarrassing vice is that sometimes I like zoning out to New Age music.
14. I talk to faeries.
15. I talk to the wind, the trees, the clouds, the crows, the deer...
16. Some days I don’t believe in anything.
17. Some days I believe anything is possible.
18. I have studied folk healing and indigenous healing for over 15 years now.
19. I once kept mice out of our house by bargaining with them.
20. I get my stories from characters who step into my life and tell me their stories. Really.
21. I once wrote a 300 page novel in three weeks.
22. I don’t like chain letters.
23. I continued a chain letter once twenty-five years ago before I knew what they were, and I actually thought I’d get rich from it.
24. I decided to become a writer rather than an artist when I was five years old because I thought it would be easier to make a living as a writer.
25. I have never made a living as a writer.