I don’t like my country very much lately. Since late 2016, a fissure emerged in America’s lands and everyone jumped eagerly to either side. Trump being elected was like a trumpet blown by the Republicans and all of their party supporters. The supporters were portrayed as frustrated, forgotten, worn out voters who put Trump into power to “Make America Great Again”–their version of greatness, anyway. Many of these voters had been affected by the lack of working class jobs, ones shipped overseas or replaced by technology. Trump was their secret weapon; he was their line drawn in the sand. They wanted to turn back time and have their old way of life back.
I’ve been sick for the past week and have had time to reflect. I attended classes and counseling sessions last month to jump start my writing platform. And to be honest, I found that I hated these sessions. I was asked questions like “What makes your writing special?” and “Why should I pick up your book?” I answered their questions, in my typical straightforward fashion, but none of my answers seemed to appease. I sensed my words weren’t flashy enough, weren’t meeting the elusive standards of good marketing. I wasn’t attracting attention in the American, shallow way of enticement. I came away feeling I needed to change and become a saleswoman.
And I found myself simply not caring.
Continue reading “Writing Lessons: Steering the Course, Staying True”
The saint* and I have a true penchant for being seated next to loud people in restaurants. It reminds me of being assigned the seat next to the noisy kid in grade school. The logic of the teachers, and perhaps the hostess, must be the sound/lack of sound will balance out. But it never works. All it does is annoy us quiet, reflective people and grates on our patience. And if we’re polite, we think we need to make conversation back to the class clown. (I have.) Come, now. Let’s rethink this maneuver.
Today was such an occasion. The two dudes (and dudes is a fitting term) appeared to be employed by some sort of military contract and were talking shop. Loudly. Dude One asked lots of questions, talked most of the time and appeared to encourage Dude Two in his career aspirations. Dude Two appeared to want to move someday and continue his military career elsewhere. Dude One began describing a potential place to Dude Two in punctuated interest:
“…They’ve got everything there, it’s a nice area. They even have a mosque so it’s good for finding terrorists.”
I looked up, startled. The man was in his 30’s or less, possibly Hispanic, but spoke with a jock/valley boy like accent. When he ordered from the South American menu, he had a refined Spanish accent.
I poured my Coca Cola over his $40 polo shirt and left.
Continue reading “Things Overhead in a Restaurant: Mosques, Loud Neighbors & Bigotry”
As an introvert (an INTJ to be exact), I find American society at once demanding, garrulous and worshipful of charming extroverts. This perception of the perfect American finds its way into churches, bleeds over the pews, stains the carpets and infiltrates the very verbiage and conversational rhythms. Modern churches exemplify this particularly with stage lighting, booming mic’s, catchy tunes and coffee bars. And suddenly church is about working and collecting merit badges at warp speed. If you have lots of energy, bright eyes and agreeable conversation–you’re in!
If not, you’re a problem.
Continue reading “Church Through an Introvert’s Eyes: More Thoughts on America’s Warped Christianity”
I ask your pardon for including the word “slut” in the title. I dislike the connotations and one sided power the word carries. I imagine the word as a broken woman, dragging her dirtied feet through this patriarchal world, a shamed prostitute surrounded by self-righteous rock throwers. A man I knew died recently and, as I learned, wasn’t married to whom I (and everyone else) assumed was his spouse. The news startled me, but I knew it wasn’t my business. I instead chose to help as I was able with the memorial arrangements. I overhead the following conversation happen the day of the funeral:
“And what was with “their companion” written in the obituary…? What, they weren’t married? …What a slut…”
Ecstatic giggling followed the speaker’s judgement. I couldn’t see the group listening, but could hear parts of the conversation. I imagined the speaker’s tongue like a snake’s, split and elegant, licking the air in glee as she laughed. The group murmured some type of consensual agreement I couldn’t quite decipher. The conversation moved onto other matters, sliding easily to other interests.
I sat in my chair, shocked, my brain numbly processing what I heard. I began wondering if I was honestly in the presence of a demon.
Continue reading “Demons, Death & Double Standards: “What a Slut…””
My spouse bought the tickets, got us free glasses of ice water and I scurried off to use the restroom. I sat down in the dark theatre, baffled by the motley collection of previews that ranged from the dramatic yet playful “Avengers” series to an odd, demonic horror movie of uncomfortable supernatural darkness. I was reminded how even though I write horror, most horror I’ve come across I dislike and avoid. More on this later.
I relaxed as the “The Quiet Place” finally began and flashed my husband a grin. I was geeked about this movie, particularly because I could learn more American Sign Language (ASL). As I mentioned previously, I’m attempting to become fluent in ASL and was curious how the language–and maybe even Deaf culture–was incorporated into the film.
“A Quiet Place” is the story of an American family cobbling a bizarre, post-apocalyptic existence while striving not to make the slightest noise. The parents are raising children, one who is a teenaged deaf girl and two younger boys who are hearing. Alien neighbors surround the town and farm where the family scratches out an existence. The aliens are blind, armored predators; they target and kill anything that makes the slightest noise (including unlucky raccoons). The family walks barefoot on sand paths, eats on lettuce plates and plays Monopoly with soft fabric playing pieces. They cannot cry loudly and struggle with expressing (and suppressing) their emotions. The parents whisper hoarsely to their kids and use ASL to communicate and teach their children how to survive.
I made it through about 40 minutes of the 90 minute film before leaving. Hats off to Mr. John Krasinski, the director, for the movie’s unique power. I walked out of the theatre, afraid to make any noise in case an alien was hiding around the corner ready to ambush me. I blared my Pandora station with courage at home and proceeded to clean my house–until 2 in the morning.
Continue reading “A Partial Movie Review & Thoughts on the Horror Genre: “The Quiet Place””
I’ve always been entranced by a line in Disney’s original Mary Poppins movie. Julie Andrews says this line very quietly to the children at their bedtime when asked how long she’ll stay.
“I’ll stay until the wind changes,” she announces delicately to the children. As a child, that means only one thing: she’s going away. Mary is not permanent.
This perplexed me as a child and still rattles me a little as an adult. How brave Disney was to keep this element of the story, of change and letting go. Waiting periods and change are two of the hardest things for kids to understand. I’m not sure adults win the blue ribbon, either.
Continue reading “Changing of the Winds: Mary Poppins”
Sometimes I feel as if America has “signed on” Jesus at the White House to become their spokesman and undersigner–their “yes” man. This Jesus is Caucasian, always Conservative Republican, is allowed to have an “acceptable” beard, and goes around in sandals and a billowing white tunic, shaking hands with politicians while flashing a Crest sponsored smile. He hands out little medals to those who oppose abortion and easily excuses marital affairs, vulgarity and any covered up sex or child trafficking. He gives flowers to women wearing Gucci and busily writing out checks to avoid taxes at tax time. He kisses white babies and applauds business owners for forming jobs and trickling down a meager sustenance to the undeserving, wretched poor.
And then, if he has enough time in his daily itinerary, he hops onto a book signing by any number of white evangelicals in the blessed world of Christian Marketing and Business. He sits proudly behind the desk and recites pitches dutifully, saying “Yep, buy this book for $29.95. Don’t bother talking with me too much or accepting pain and trials–I sure don’t have the time when there are Senate seats to be won! American Christianity is pain free, pleasure filled with blessings upon blessings–but only if you buy this book and decide you’re worth it. Say, have you seen the latest Hallmark movie? They’re all white–just like me. White, blue eyed and blonde haired, mostly…Reminds me of growing up in the Middle East…”
Is it a wonder I feel disenchanted? It’s enough to make anyone gag on their Chick-Fil-A Coke…
Continue reading “Disenchanted: American Christianity”
I broke a drinking glass this morning, right next to my Labrador walking alongside of me in our dining room. My groggy brain fired information; I saw the spray pattern and I grabbed my dog’s collar. We performed a very quick, prayer filled maneuvering around the glass shards. All I thought of was her paw pads, calloused but delicate and sensitive, being cut open and bleeding. We both escaped harm and the glass was cleaned up, with multiple passes of the broom, vacuum and a damp cloth.
I’m awake now, life. And thank you, gravity. You made life interesting once more.
Continue reading “Broken Glass & Writing”
I’m working behind the scenes currently in securing an editor for my latest novel, M.B. She was recommended to me by an author in my area whom I’ve come to know in the past few months. On the outside I am the professional, helpful writer–listening and waiting patiently, hoping my novel portrays itself well. Inside I am a giddy seven year old, hyped up on cotton candy and screaming for more sugar, RIGHT NOW, MISTER!
I am calm. All is bright.
Crack on! Continue reading “Some Funny Thoughts & Ponderings…”
The current political climate in America is, to say the very least, volatile. The sitting president has broken every rule, thrown etiquette to the four winds and buried all sense of decency somewhere out in the Rose Gardens. Like many Americans, I’m persevering through, still somewhat in shock from the election results and wondering what 2020 will bring, indeed.
One phrase of the president’s I’ve heard and read, over and over, reached a crescendo with me today: “It’s a witch hunt!” This has become (for me) the boy who cried wolf. A child’s tantrum cry of “They made me do it!”, “It wasn’t me, it was them!” and “You can’t prove anything!” If we’re honest, it’s a barely concealed boast: “I’m above the law; I can turn around anything you find with my money. I’m a very rich man. Why are you wasting your time?”
What would Orwell think, if he were alive today? I’m sure the Founding Fathers would be spitting their mead across the tables, wondering if someone misplaced their beloved Declaration of Independence in the National Archives somewhere…
Continue reading “A Phrase I’m Wearied of Hearing: “It’s a Witch Hunt!””