Temptation May Be to Lash Out Now. Don’t.

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In these rough times, our tempers seem to be very short. Twice in the last day, I’ve had people assume or read a tone into something I’ve written that simply wasn’t there. I can’t say I necessarily reacted patiently, though I did ask for clarification and took the time to visit profiles to gauge their normal point of view.

So here is what I suggest, if only for the next week while the wounds of incredible hatred are still fresh: try to give people the benefit of the doubt when you talk with them and they say something that upsets you. Ask for clarification. See what kind of people they are in general and see if the comment fits.

In my case, the request for clarification didn’t go well, but honestly, it’s nothing lost. That’s the other thing: anyone who is willing to take out whatever it is they’re experiencing on someone they don’t know isn’t likely worth your time anyway. So retreat to your corners of the internet and exist in blissful ignorance of one another.

The whole purpose of these movements based in hate is to drive us apart. Especially allies, because the fewer allies there are, the more strife and derision, the easier it is to push their mission of bigotry.

Being less reactionary means we win. Being willing to have a dialogue means we win. Giving the benefit of the doubt means we win.

One caveat: it’s never worth your time to try to persuade or have a discussion with a propaganda troll. They have similar profiles, and usually regurgitate the same talking points. In fact if you go on long enough, you can see the decision tree they’re given to respond to conversations. Block, and if appropriate report.

Otherwise, remember we’re all in this together. There’s a great mental fatigue now, don’t let it drive us apart.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Never Again is Happening Right Now. Right Now.

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Heather Heyer, one of the three victims murdered by the Charlottesville, VA domestic terrorist (photo by Heather Heyer)

Today I have no light chatty post about editing or writing or what I saw this weekend. Because what I saw this weekend was the slimy underbelly of society slither from beneath its not-heavy-enough rock to attack the very fabric of America. In blood and violence and ridiculous tiki torches.

No. No fun posts today.

Today should be a day of mourning for all of us, for what we’ve lost, for what these nazis–yes, nazis, yes literal nazis in the correct usage of the word literal–want to do here. There is no OK.

It is coming to pass. It hasn’t yet, but it is rising, surely as hitler’s spittle-spewing brownshirts rejoiced in the government condoning of violent bigotry and raised a wave of hatred, death and destruction. That is what those people with their Home Depot citronella lawn-candles mean. That is what they want. That is their version of utopia.

No.

So yes, I’ll go back to editing a book started years ago, a humorous space-romp that is suddenly far too close to home, far too on point. And yes, I’ll write today. Because it’s Monday, and the world marches on.

But I will not pretend this weekend wasn’t an ominous turning point. And neither should you.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Editing: The Nitty Gritty

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As promised yesterday, we’re talking about editing today. You may know, if you read this blog with any frequency, that I do my editing in stages, or passes of the manuscript. There’s no set rhythm to it, every manuscript is unique.

And frustrating in its own way, but we all know that.

But no matter what work-in-progress it may be, I always hit this stage. The nitty gritty stage.

It’s the stage where you slash and cut, scrutinize each chapter, connect unconnected dots and stitch the whole thing back together. It’s difficult.

It’s messy.

And I admit there are many times I’ve stared at the pieces on the floor and thought, “Eh. Let ’em stay there.”

No one creates a perfect story on the first time through. No one.

If you think you’ve created a perfect story on the first time through, your friends are probably too nice to you.

Writing isn’t just the getting words down. You’ve got to make them work, and that requires plunging into the guts of it, up to your elbows, and working with the mess.

So, if you’ll pardon me, I’m pulling on the gloves.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

The Neutral Zone

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I’m in one of those in-between moods today, not up, not down, not particularly ebullient (that’s a great word, isn’t it? Even if you don’t know it, you can figure it out, the way that b-u sound bubbles out of the middle like energetic champagne), not particularly morose.

Today I just…am.

Even keel. Coffee and computer. Onward and…outward?

Sometimes I think this is an ideal mood for writing, not having much of a mood. There’s no tone to match in the work, the tone finds itself.

Although I’m on editing. The messy bits of editing.

More on that tomorrow.

And when editing, it usually becomes the thing that spreads to fill the size of the container. But so many projects lined up hopefully in my hard drive, waiting for their tiny spark of life.

Shh. Don’t tell them that some day they, too, will be edited.

So I’m off to conquer worlds of my own making, in various stages of construction. Hmm.

Maybe that’s just a hint of ebullience.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Hazy Shade of Nuclear Winter

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By Original: United States Department of Defense (either the U.S. Army or the U.S. Navy) Derivative work: Victorrocha (Operation_Crossroads_Baker_(wide).jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So, due to a flurry of tweets by a maniacal man-child who cannot withstand even the tiniest imagined slight on his ego, I was thinking about what I’d do if we knew nuclear missiles were incoming. And here’s the best I could come up with:

Eat.

With calories and migraines no longer worries, I would eat all the things I’ve eyed at the supermarket, knowing their curious contents would send my head spinning and my waistline into creating its own orbit. I’d eat the cheeses I can’t; I’d drink red wine. Feast as though there’s no tomorrow.

Because there wouldn’t be.

It’s strange. As a writer, you consider all kinds of scenarios, from utopian to dystopian, and they’re always prompted by the question “what if?”

But “what if” has never felt so close before. Not in my lifetime. And we know that hiding under desks, the stuff of grainy info footage, will do no good. With today’s nuclear warheads, bomb shelters are unlikely to do any good. And even if they do, then there you are, in a box, air and water tainted for millennia.

But on the plus side, we have John Podesta’s risotto recipe, so there’s that.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Watching the Wheel: Summer

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Claude Monet [Public domain], Haystacks in the Late Summer, via Wikimedia Commons

Here I am, firmly wedged into a Tuesday morning, my cup of coffee still just a little too hot to drink. Which is a shame.

I need the coffee.

It’s a sunshiny August day, no hint of clouds, not too warm, as though the weather knows the store shelves are full of notebooks with glinting spiral spines, cellophane-wrapped pencils all lined up straight and planner after planner in every size for every plan, little to large. Late summer.

In my mind, the year is a wheel. It’s probably something I saw as a child when learning the months of the year, and somehow it burrowed its way into my permanent vision of the calendar. Here we are, the front of the Ferris wheel, past the apex and on the way down to the winter months with ice and gray skies.

But round and round it goes, and we’ll be back. Assuming the planet’s still here, of course.

Which is less of a given than it used to be.

But there’s time for a little more summer before the leaves give in to their fading, before steps crunch and the crispness turns to cold. Still more summer.

For a little while longer.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Sometimes I Dream of a Robot Butler

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Rico Shen [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I keep thinking how great life would be if I had a robot butler to take care of things, like making me food when I don’t feel like it, and tidying up. And then I realized it would go something like this:

“Uh hi, Robot Butler, I’d like some dinner please”

“Certainly. What would you like?”

“I dunno.”

“Is there a kind of cuisine you’d prefer?”

“Eh.”

“You have no preference?”

“Nope. Could you like analyze my taste desires or something?”

“’Taste desires?’”

“To figure out what I’d want to eat.”

“Certainly. Please hold out your tongue.”

“Aren’t you going to wash your grabby claw things first?”

“My hands?”

“Yeah. Whatever you call them.”

“They auto-sterilize. Your tongue, please.”

“Ooophlay, aaahhh yyooou etttin anyfffiin?”

“Hmm. Just a moment longer.”

“Whaaassss it faaayinn? Aahhfo yyouuhh caawww paaaspfff weeeirrrb.”

“Hand. It’s my hand. They don’t really auto-sterilize and I just took out the garbage.”

“I knew it! And ew.”

“And it’s saying you’re a grown adult woman who should be able to decide what she wants to eat.”

“So you can’t analyze my taste desires?”

“What do you think I am, the HomeBot9600?! You bought the basic model.”

“Sorry Robot Butler.”

“I’m making you pasta.”

“I don’t want past—“

Silence.

“Pasta will be fine.”

 

And scene. So, yeah. Probably not.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.