Archive for March, 2016

I sure hope to hell I live to see the day when this kind of shit is no longer part of this world. It’s up to all of us to work together and make it so.


Be kind. Blessed Be.


Je Suis Bruxelles

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For the first time in my life I am genuinely afraid for our future. Not just mine. Not just my family’s’ and friends’. Not even just for my country. For all of us. For the entire planet.

I know we’ve been through some tough things in our four billion year history, but most of those happened because shit just happens: earthquakes, meteor impacts, super-volcanoes, Megalodon. Once humans became involved, shit happened for entirely different reasons: greed, hatred, fear, corruption. Throughout history we have seen civilizations rise because of innovation and purpose, and fall because of stagnation and venality.

Sadly, we don’t learn from history. We don’t look at why Rome fell, or what sparked the French Revolution, or how (fill-in-dictator-of-choice) rose to power over what used to be a reasonable people, and apply that to our present. We don’t see the signs because we didn’t bother to remember them from the past, and we’ve purposefully blinded ourselves to the possibility they’re happening in our present. And that makes our future doomed to be yet another version of Groundhog Day.

It’s happening in America right now. It’s so egregious and bombastic and stupidly obvious that even people in other countries are wondering what’s wrong with us (“In Trump, the World Sees ‘The Ugly American‘”).

Not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!

Not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!

Yes, I went there. I didn’t want to. I figured there were already millions of words about that misogynistic bigoted hate-spewing narcissist – most of them put together better than I ever could – that I didn’t need to. But it gnawed at me. Every day I turned on the computer and I saw even more bullshit from this orange bastard, and even more people raging in support. Peaceful protestors getting beaten. Reporters being attacked. And a “raise your right hand in support” moment that looked all too reminiscent of a 1930’s era Germany.

Trump’s rhetoric is nothing but personal aggrandizement peppered with hate speech. He offers a lot of bombastic sound bites, but absolutely no actual substance (or facts, for that matter – see the light reading on the topic at FactCheck.org). When he first entered the presidential race, no one believed he would last past the summer. Then the predictions were he wouldn’t make it to the first primary. After that it was declared that he would never get the Republican nomination. Now everyone’s scrambling, while also declaring – with a not-quite-sure-of-themselves quaver in their voice – that he couldn’t possibly be elected.

Never say never.

And that’s why I’m speaking up. Because we need every sane person, every rational voice, every flabbergasted mind to speak up. If we do not speak up, we will not be able to drown out the roar of Trump’s supporters. Too many times in our history Trump’s brand of bullshit has become the way of life somewhere because too many people sat back – convinced it couldn’t possibly happen, therefore not doing anything to stop it.

It can happen. It IS happening. Fear and anger and hatred are running rampant. I’m seeing things on my Facebook feed from people I’ve always considered reasonably intelligent that now make me wonder if there’s going to be enough room at the asylum for all of them. I even had one person, who I’ve known in the real world for over 30 years, defriend me because I supported the idea of mandatory voting. Because that’s a violation of our personal freedoms, doncha know? My argument is that it’s a violation of MY personal freedoms to have our representatives and laws decided by a majority of the less than 40% of registered voters that actually go to the polls (“Voter turnout in 2014 was the lowest since WWII”). That’s not a majority, that’s a clique.

We are much more interconnected and interdependent than we have ever been. We MUST work together to build a world that is healthy and prosperous and beautiful for ALL OF US. Not just the rich. Not just the white. Not just the straight. Not just the Christian. Not just the male. EVERYBODY. To do that we can’t beat up people who don’t agree with us, we can’t carpet bomb countries we decide are bad, we can’t believe that income inequality isn’t the result of stacking the deck against the poor, we can’t condone bigotry under the guise of “religious freedom,” we can’t accept that women are still second class citizens to be told what to do with their own bodies, we can’t refuse to acknowledge SCIENCE (!). And mainly, we can’t ignore the great big pile of pachyderm poop that is stinking up the whole place.

Speak up now, or wait for your number to be called later. Think it can’t happen here? Go ask the Germans how it happened to them. You know, The Hunger Games is fun to watch on the big screen, but it’s certainly not something I want to see out my front window.




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Wasted Days

Yeah, I got nothin’.

I need minions.  Oh, wait…


Maybe I can get them to clean the cat boxes…


I’ll let you know how it goes.





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Does there come a point in your life when you have to realize your dreams are really delusions?

As children we all had grand ideas of what we would be when we grew up. Cowboys. Ballerinas. Darth Vader. Astronauts. Firemen. Spiderman. Rock star. Most of those childhood dreams fade over time. A lucky few actually do grow up to be ballerinas or astronauts, but the rest of us have to settle for more mundane lives as administrative assistants or plumbers. In the grand scheme of things, almost nobody gets to realize their life-long secret dreams.

Chris Hadfield as Aladdin Sane

Retired astronaut/rock star Chris Hadfield goes full Aladdin Sane.


And those that do manage to grab a piece of their desired pie find it comes with a definite shelf life. Professional sports participants often find their age betraying them. Gymnasts peak in their late teens. NFL guys still playing in their thirties are considered ancient. The human body can only take so much. You end up working longer and harder, and dealing with slower recovery, just to maintain what you’ve always had. The growing complaints will eventually make even the strongest among us surrender.

Those of us in the arts would like to think we don’t have age working against us, but, alas, it’s probably the most brutal when it comes to favoring the young over the old. Everybody’s looking for the “fresh perspective” or the “new voice,” and if you can buy liquor without being carded you need not apply. Actors undoubtedly have it the hardest (especially females) because nobody (read: people in charge) wants to look at a grizzled grey-hair. That’s what real life looks like and we’re selling fantasy, dammit, so bring in that big-boobed blonde and we’ll call her Mom.

Other artists can have life-long careers because they don’t depend as much on their faces and bodies as the thespians and dancers do. But you’d better be making your mark in your twenties, or you’ll be left in the dust. It’s hard enough to get noticed in that crowd of wanna-bes when you’re young and beautiful. It’s a rare fossil indeed that breaks through the noise later in life. It does happen, as Susan Boyle can attest, but it almost shocks the world into tears.

I’d like to shock a few people myself. I’d like to be on that list of late bloomers along with Ms. Boyle, Grandma Moses and Harriet Doerr. Circumstances derail some people from their desired paths, while others just keep on keepin’ on until finally something breaks and there they are, published/recorded/acknowledged. I’ve been wondering what keeps people going despite the odds, and especially despite the years of rejection. My scientific side was trying to root out a quantifiable equation that I could plug into my own internal system and then – Voilà – I would be my own success story.

Of course, it doesn’t work like that in real life. There are three factors that most people seem to agree are part of becoming a success in the artistic fields. I examined those to try and figure out how each of them worked in the grand picture:

  • Talent: Some people believe that talent is all you need, but there certainly are examples out there where talent has nothing to do with the equation. The Kardashians fit into the latter category, unless you include figuring out how to be famous for no reason a talent. But if you want to sing or dance or write, you’d better have a smidge of innate ability or you’ll just be another one of the crowd of like-minded also-rans.
  • Skill: You’d think that would be important, being skilled (i.e., well-trained) in your chosen field, but there’s lots of examples of successful people out there who aren’t particularly skilled, and tons of very skilled people who aren’t successful. But even a bad piano player is better than a non-piano player, so some skill in the chosen field is necessary.
  • Luck: Seneca reportedly said, “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.” And actor Eric Bana believes that, “…luck gets you on to the stage. But it has nothing to do with keeping you there.” It seems to be that one intangible you can’t predict or force, but you’d better be ready for it if it happens.

If you look at any “success story” you’ll find a combination of all three of the above in that story, in various relative degrees. But that still didn’t explain to me why there are so many examples of artists out there who toiled away in obscurity for years – and even decades – before they made a break through. It took me a long time to figure out. A lot of articles were read and psychology studied, only to find the answer was under my nose the whole time (as the true answers are want to be).

“… If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.” Laurell K. Hamilton

Believe in yourself. Behind every success story is someone who believed they would be a success. They believed regardless of what others said. Often they believed IN SPITE of what others said, because sometimes that kind of anger is the best motivator. But believing in myself has never been my strong suit. Depression doesn’t allow you to believe in yourself. It’s imposter syndrome on steroids. Every day I battle to convince myself it’s worth getting out of bed. Then it’s another battle to do the house chores, or weave a new belt, or write this blog. A constant battle just to do the things so many take for granted, to drown out the “You suck – what’s the point?” The more I thought about it, the more depressed I got. Every day – every minute – a battle. It wears you down. It tears at your soul. It tries to drown you in darkness.

Then I realized that – most days – I win. I get out of bed. I do the chores. I do the weaving or needlework or sewing. I do the writing. I play with cats and wash the dishes and muse over story lines in my head. I keep working. I keep trying. That means somewhere – in some distant abyss of my cold, black heart – I actually do believe. I wouldn’t keep fighting the depression if there weren’t something fueling the desire to keep going. Do I get things done as fast or in the manner others think I should? No. Screw them. I believe. Sometimes that’s all that matters.


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