Sorry We’re So Sorry

 

Historic Chinese Theatre - View From the Owners Box

 

Sorry to hit you with this on a Friday. I’m sorry to hit you with it any time, really. It’s that pitiful. It is also that important.

 

The other night I attended a documentary screening. (It was powerful, lovely, and it’s called “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” and I’ll be thinking about it for some time.) Before the feature documentary was shown, a documentary short appeared on the screen. It was all of seven minutes and it left a full theatre silently stunned.

 

A Night at the Garden” is terrifying, heartbreaking, ominous. Unfortunately, it is also real. And I think it should be seen. That’s why I’ve given you the link to its site, where the short can be viewed in its entirety. It is only seven minutes – promise.

 

Like I said, I’m sorry to hit you with this. I’m also sorry we’re so sorry. We are, you know. And I’m afraid that owning it is the only way we’re likely to become better. Dear god – may my hope not be in vain.

Cool Like That

 

I’ve been a fan of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for ages. For the life of me, I don’t know why. Rape, murder, assault – that’s not my bag, y’all. And yet I’ve watched the show, year after year, cast change after cast change. I even got to meet a writer from the show and I completely nerded out. I’m not proud.

 

But when this current season rolled around, I just – couldn’t. The world is so fucked up and the weight of everyday life is almost too much. Adding the ugliness of reel life to the ugliness of Real Life isn’t always the best idea for me. SVU fell by the wayside.

 

Until this past week. Mister decided to catch up on the season and I watched with him. The show is the same, good or bad, and my love/hate relationship with the characters remains.

 

I’m telling you all this because I had a bit of a personal epiphany while watching the show. During an episode, as one character showed disdain for a specific gender, I thought about my own feelings surrounding gender. And I realized I don’t trust a single sex more than another. Then I thought about that, and dug into my childhood and acknowledged how both my parents had screwed me over. And how their poor behavior, while inexcusable, had given me a gift: I see females and males as being equal. Both genders can be complete fuck-ups. Both genders can choose to be less-than-decent. Both genders can suck.

 

And while that point-of-view may seem defeating, bear in mind it also provides a flip-side. Both genders can opt for kindness. Females and males can choose wonderful humanity. Both genders can be amazing, brilliant souls. Neither of my parents showed those traits to me, so they don’t get credit for my positive view. I take full credit for that hopeful stance. Yeah – I’m pretty cool like that. And I’m grateful as fuck for that part of myself, to boot.

 

So I’ll keep watching SVU and will surely catch up soon. The show, for me, reminds me of something I’ve carried with me through all of life. The bastards can’t keep me down. You can’t see me as I type this, but I assure you, I’m smiling so much my cheeks hurt.

 

Sono Grata

Glennon Doyle

 

 

I just received a beautiful video from Glennon Doyle. I don’t know her or anything, but I do follow her and the work she does.

 

The video is about the students who are leading the way toward sanity in our gun-crazed country. It’s truth. It’s sad. It’s inspiring. It’s real.

Soul Sparks

 

Joy

 

This month. Hmm.

 

I was going to start this post with dark thoughts. Thoughts about all but giving up on my country. Thoughts about being ashamed of people who’ve chosen to forfeit their moral compasses. Thoughts about the fear of where America is headed. But then I switched gears and read some things on the interwebz, watched a few videos and chose a different mood for myself.

 

Erica Buist had this to say on her insta-account: “Why not just ban guns and when people are upset about it, just send them thoughts and prayers? If ‘thoughts and prayers’ are good enough for people who’ve lost their families then it’s good enough for people who’ve lost their guns.” Ms. Buist has spoken truth to power here. She is also a bad-ass.

 

Scott-Dani Pappalardo posted a video of himself destroying an AR-15 rifle. Not only is Mr. Pappalardo a registered gun owner and proponent of the 2nd amendment, he is also someone possessing decency and common sense.

 

And then there are the kids. God bless the kids! Too many children in this country have been lost to gun violence. Too many survivors have witnessed it up-close. Thank all the gods, the kids are now making their voices heard. On March 24th, there will be an organized show of common-sense, can’t-wait-another-moment support for gun control. The “March For Our Lives” is planned to take place in Washington DC and in cities across the country. (I’ve even read about marches around the globe. Fingers crossed and thanks to those who haven’t given up on us here in the US! We need your support!) As many have pointed out, these young people may be mere teenagers now, but a lot of them will be old enough to vote in 2020. (I’m counting on these kids to register to vote and then to actually do it!) Every single politician who has accepted dirty NRA contributions should be scared as hell. If you look at this single issue, it’s incredibly easy to discern which elected officials are with us and which are against us. At the rate we’re being murdered in this country, there is no time to be wasted when it comes to gun control. And any politician who tries to talk his way out of this one doesn’t deserve another chance.

 

So. This month. I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to grab on to hope, where I can, when I can. It ain’t easy. And I don’t always win my personal battles. Some days I feel nearly broken and struggle to find even a shred of joy. But I still believe there are more decent folks than not. And the spark in my soul is still glimmering. Every little bit of positive momentum helps. Every time someone chooses to be an honorable human, I find myself exhaling into love.

 

We’ve lost a lot here in the States. There may be more pain ahead. More struggle. But I’m not giving up. Nor should you. Those of us who’ve held on to our decency will continue to show up for one another. Personally, I’m looking forward to celebrating my birthday with the “March For Our Lives.” Supporting others whose soul sparks continue to glimmer is going to be an honor. Hope I see you out there.

Strangers

 

Love

 

During the month of February, 12 years ago, I sold my first CD to a stranger. I know this because it was such a pleasant surprise, at the time, that I scribbled a note about it in my then-current calendar. When it came time to transfer significant dates to the next year’s calendar (things like International Talk Like a Pirate Day and Tom Baker‘s birthday), I took that little note along. And I’ve done so each year since.

 

I just got an accounting of digital music sales and it was lovely. Not for the money (of which there was barely enough for a beer), but for the information contained in the report. Canada, Japan, the UK – all were shown as places of downloads of my little songs. It really made me smile and reminded me of that day, 12 years ago, when someone I never met paid for my musical art. My heart really needed that boost this week. And I’m so grateful the world gifted me with that sweet energy.

 

Though the world doesn’t know it, I still carry dreams and ambitions for music. I have plans (that shall remain private for now), I have hopes. I have many new songs. I have the soul of a creator. Denying it doesn’t change the fact. It only gets me down. So I don’t deny it. I own it. I practice voice training and work on songs. I paint things I want to look at. I weld art for my own home. I cook good food to savor and share. I create, when and where I can. If I don’t, my soul shrinks. That’s no good for me, and when I’m not good to myself, I’m of little use in the world. And just as I cannot deny my need for the best me I can be, I also cannot deny the fact that the world needs me to show up every day. To be a good human. A good citizen. A good artist. You know what I’m talking about, I imagine, because you know that the world needs you, too. Desperately.

 

So – this month. I endeavor to move toward creativity, with kindness and purpose. I endeavor to love deeply. I endeavor to be the best me I can. And I do it with gratitude for the global souls – strangers – who have reminded me how it feels to be appreciated. My heart overflows…

So Long, Sucky Year. Hello Hope!

 

Happy New Year!

 

Many, many years ago, while living in Boston, I walked along Newbury Street and passed a homeless lady. She was a regular in that area, and I was used to seeing her on that block. As I walked by, she sang out, “Help the homeless! And happy fucking Mother’s Day.” It did, in fact, happen to be Mother’s Day, so her chant wasn’t terribly odd. I did find it to be terribly funny, though, and I’ve never forgotten it.

 

I bring that up now because in my mind, I’m singing, “Happy New Year! And happy fucking Mother’s Day.” You’re welcome.

 

Seriously – it’s finally here. That god-awful 20-and-17 is behind us. Personally – I’m hopeful. Last year was ugly and depressing. Truth be told, the ugly hasn’t gone away. But at least now I know about it. We all know. And knowing is good, y’all. We know what we’re up against. And we can choose to be better than those who continue to choose ignorance. Better makes me hopeful. Better makes me smile. It’s the right choice for me, and I sincerely hope it is for you, too.

 

As for that homeless lady in Boston, I remember crossing her path on another day. It was summer, and my friend Beaver, who was wearing shorts, was walking close to the lady. As Beaver passed her, the homeless lady looked at Beaver and loudly said, “Ha. I’ve seen better legs on a piano.” You’re welcome for that one, too.

 

Happy New Year.

 

And happy fucking Mother’s Day.

So. Alabama. (This is a Rant and a half, y’all.)

 

The South

 

When I think about all that’s going on in the world, there’s too much ugliness for focus. Sadly, I could rattle off about a jillion topics, but the standouts at the moment – in my mind – are these: the swirl of activity around hate is seemingly endless; sexual harassers and predators, who have existed for all time, are clueless regarding just about every little thing under the sun; and the racists of the world are too stupid to recognize their rightful place – beneath rocks.

 

On the hate front, religious hate definitely pops up. It seems that a lot of hate stems from anything different from ourselves. For some reason, we are particularly unhappy when others don’t bow to our own deities. Honestly – I don’t know why we give a rat’s ass why someone aligns with religions different from our own. As long as folks are good and decent, why should their worship matter? I won’t lie – I do know a couple of judgey Christians and they’re no picnic. In a single breath, they will gladly tell you what they believe Jesus would do, then proceed to say something vile and decidedly un-Christian-like without so much as the batting of a holy eyelash. I occasionally have to deal with these folks, so deal I do. In direct contrast to them, when I’m around good decent Christians, it’s a friggin’ delight. Recently my sweet friend Gwendlyn said she was feeling overwhelmed by the way so-called Christians are perverting her faith. I suggested that if Jesus does ever decide to come back to this planet and chooses to land in the U-S-of-A, he’d best make his appearance in California, as it might be the only safe place for him. If Jesus popped up in some parts of the country, while wearing his half-dress/half-robe and sandals, I’m pretty sure some gun-totin’, Republican, self-proclaimed holier-than-thou Christian would bust a cap in Jesus’ ass. I’m also pretty sure the shooter would fire in the name of – you guessed it – Jesus. The dead guy in the street.

 

Hate isn’t limited to religious differences, though, so a plethora of others receive a ton of disdain on a regular basis, too. I find I’m at a loss on this front also. I mean, how is homosexuality a threat to my marriage? The answer is – it isn’t! Never has been, never will be. I see you, wide-stance politicians who protest the loudest in public, while getting a little too close to young same-sex colleagues in private. And please remember, most of us have eyes. We all see you.

 

When it comes to the subject of sexual harassment and assault, I am completely biased. Not only because of my own experience as a female, but also because of the experiences of every single female I know (and of course – the ugliness isn’t limited to female victims). I could write a book of #MeToo horrors, and that’s just one gal’s experiences. The ridiculousness of what we live through every single day is appalling. Truth is, I don’t know how some of my friends and acquaintances have managed to live through all of it. I really don’t. And I say that as a victim of assault. So yes – I’m outraged. But I’m also incredibly proud of all the women (and men) who are coming forward with their life stories. I admire them and I support them. And if I hear one more asshole say something about getting past all this, because he’s sick of hearing about it, I may have a conniption. Newsflash, motherfuckers – there is no getting past it. Predators are too stupid to evolve into decent people, and we seem to have a steady stream of idiots in our midst. Hell – we in America have installed a predator-in-chief! I can hardly believe it, but we did. And I will never understand how parents bring themselves to support a predator in office, or anywhere, and still have the audacity to consider themselves decent to their children. I don’t get it. (And please don’t try to defend yourself to me if you’re one of these lost souls. Just unsubscribe. Um-kay?)

 

No, I don’t worry about how long the calling-out of sexual harassers and predators will go on. I’m more concerned about it stopping too soon. It needs to continue, to keep going. Sadly, it will take more years than I have left to live, in order to see real change. That breaks my heart, and yet I still support every victim who finds her (or his) voice. One final thought on this. If you’re the type of male who believes females are the weaker sex, you may want to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Women put up with more shit in a single day than most of you could handle in a decade. Weaker sex, my ass.

 

I also have a few thoughts about racists and they’re not good thoughts. But before I share them, I want to remind some of you that my exposure to racism is vast. My Georgia childhood was a master class in how to be a dumb-fuck racist. Here’s another newsflash: I failed. Despite being raised in a house where I was regularly told my skin color made me better than others, the outside world told a different and wonderful story. I was ten years old when I fully realized, all by myself, that I wasn’t any better than people of color. I was an observant little kid – and a straight-A student – and I decided to share my newfound knowledge with my family. For I was a giver, don’t you know. That big moment found me at the table for supper, announcing, “I don’t think there’s any difference between white people and black people. My friend Leslie, who’s in my same grade, is just as smart as me and she’s nice and pretty, too.” I was immediately slapped across the face by my father. He told me I better not ever say things like that again, and that I was wrong and if I knew what was good for me, I’d shut up. Well I did have some idea what was good for me, so I did indeed shut up.

 

But I knew more. I don’t know how, but I did. I knew I had been right in thinking Leslie was my equal. Hell – she may have been smarter. She was certainly prettier. To this day, I don’t know why I knew my father was wrong. I just did. I had found truth. And if I had to keep my mouth shut about it, in order to protect myself from physical harm in my own home, then that’s what I would do. But that demanded silence didn’t change anything. For I knew – in my heart – that I was right.

 

Here’s the thing, and this is mainly for you closet racists. If you stand on a corner and announce that you don’t believe a suppressed and persecuted group of people has any damned reason to complain about the state of their lives, you simply cannot feign surprise when other people, who consistently make the same announcement, decide to support you for your speechifying. In other words - if you stand with white supremacists, you don’t get to be upset when they stand with you. In announcing your racism (whether it be overt or closeted), you basically gave yourself a debutante ball and invited your fellow racists to attend. And that’s on you, every single time. It doesn’t matter how you all got to your privileged perches. You’re there now and the view is the same. And it ain’t good.

 

And that’s the problem, y’all. I and about a jillion others know nothing but white privilege. That’s not our fault, per se, as our skin color is just our skin color. It shouldn’t mean anything, because it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just part of how we look. But, and I’m being honest here, it’s all I know. Being white is my only experience. I can do my best to empathize and I can do my best to understand, but I will never ever know what it’s like to go through this world as a person of color. I have no idea what it’s like to be judged adversely for my skin. No one had to teach me how to behave if I ever found myself face-to-face with a law officer aiming a gun at me. Do you know how many parents are mortified that their children will be lost forever just because of their skin color? I didn’t have that hanging over my head when I was a kid. Still don’t. I can’t imagine what that must be like for the kids, any more than I can imagine what it’s like for their parents. It’s terrifying. And ridiculous. And utterly stupid. But that’s what racism is, folks. Utterly stupid.

 

And for my white peers who still think Black Lives Matter is a crock, I feel sorry for you. You’re so ignorant you can’t even see how ignorant you are. Or maybe you’re too superior to admit you’re wrong. Or maybe you’re both of those things, along with a slurry of other ugly isms. That’s all pretty pitiful.

 

I was reading an article about a new book by John Hodgman. In the piece, this excerpt from the interview with the author is quoted: ”Why did it take me till my 40s to understand that the biggest privilege of white privilege is the ability to turn off race and pretend that it is not an issue?” At least Hodgman got there, even if it was in his 40s. Too many of us haven’t gotten there yet. And god help us, too many of us never will.

 

All of this brings me to now. So. Alabama. The big news of yesterday was the turnout of good, decent people in the 22nd state of this country. The majority of voters declared their kith and kin as being off-limits to known predators (and unknown, too, I pray). The good folks told their daughters (and sons) that they will believe them, should they ever need help. They told their kids that they won’t look away from their young souls, and that their kids can count on them. Those voters made it clear that a modicum of decency is required to occupy their highest offices. And that hopeful businesses are welcome to set up shop in the state. Yesterday, Alabama was dangerously close to extinguishing its light, but it didn’t. Goodness prevailed. Thank all the gods for that, y’all. And heaven help us, may goodness continue to rise up and prevail, everywhere. Amen.

Lucky, Lucky, Lucky

 

 

For years now, Mister has been telling me each time he eats a hard-cooked egg with double yolks. He eats only the whites, but they’re part of his breakfast most every day, so he’s going through a lot of eggs. And each time he tells me, I remind him that I’ve never – not once – even seen a double-yolk egg. And I’m always a little jealous. True.

 

Several weeks ago, we were visiting dear friends and sweet Susan offered to make breakfast. We were standing around, talking, and Susan cracked the first egg into a bowl. It was a double yolk! And I was there to see it! Sweet Susan cracked the next egg, and the next, and the next… A whole dozen eggs were floating in that bowl and each one had two yolks. It was a Christmas miracle! In July! Beautiful, I tell ya.

 

Today I have a bit of surgery on the schedule. I don’t want to go into it, but it’s for the best and if all goes as planned, my health will be top-notch after today (and subsequent recovery). I’m thinking of this bowl of lucky eggs in hopes of smooth proceedings. I’ll take all the luck I can get. Good thoughts are appreciated, too.

“Big Magic”

 

“December will be magic again…”

words and music by Kate Bush

 

 

Well it’s here. December. The month of magic and miracles. That is, of course, unless you’re not into those sorts of things, in which case it’s just the last month of the year. And I don’t care who you are – as long as you participate in the calendar-driven world, that one matters.

 

Personally, I’m a big fan of magic. Always have been. Maybe that’s why I’ve been dorking out over the TV show “The Librarians.” Or maybe that’s why holiday music is so enticing, with its promises of snow and holly-jolly. Or maybe I’m just a gal who happens to like a snappy tune. Your guess is as good as mine.

 

Recently I’ve been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. And it has brought me tremendous joy. Have you ever read a thought or idea that led you to think, “Oh! Of course! How could I have forgotten that?” Well a lot of Gilbert’s ideas are hitting me that way. They seem familiar, as if I once knew their truth, but have somehow misplaced that honesty with age. And then there are the refreshingly new ideas put forth by Gilbert, and I love those as much as the oddly familiar thoughts. All the way around, this book has me sensing pixie dust and come-true wishes in the air. And I like it. It feels good and hopeful. And friends – the earth needs all the hope it can get right now.

 

So as the world is decking halls and preparing for fasts, feasts and miracles, I am holding tight to visions of Big Magic. And I am full of hope and love. For myself, for my nearest and dearest, for the world. Here’s to a lovely last month of the year.

Please See This Movie!

 

 

Mister and I recently saw “20 Feet From Stardom.” I thought it would be good, but had no idea it would be flippin’ fantastic. I thought I’d enjoy it, but had no idea I’d be crying tears of joy by its end. I thought I might learn a few things, but had no idea I’d be getting an education.

 

Please see this movie, if you’re able. I can’t promise you’ll walk away feeling hopefully validated, as I did. But I mean it when I tell you it’s uplifting and eye-opening. Personally, I can’t wait to see it again.