Author Archives: dorothyanneb

About dorothyanneb

I'm a writer, advocate, and former nurse. I write literary fiction, creative non-fiction, humour, and when I need to exorcise my dark side, mysteries and thrillers. I love the feeling of getting a word right. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. the closest thing to paradise I can get, with my cat Bendicks, and the occasional and welcome visits of my three children. I do needle felting, knit badly, hook the occasional rug, and play the ukulele. Oh, and I live with MS. It's good for existential angst.

Alone, so very alone


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It’s hard not to love Despair.com, especially in these times of comprehensive aloneness.  They hit the nail right on the head.  A few years ago they had another Demotivator that had a picture of a broken chain, with the title Dysfunction – which plays a lot in my head these days, lemme tell you, as I perch above my town, looking down at the empty streets.dysfunctiondemotivator

When I get feeling lonely, my immediate response is to flee, go elsewhere, start again somewhere, better, be a better friend, Roman, countryman. Distract myself with the busyness of motion, thrashing myself into various new holes, tossing out shreds of my past, leaping into a new uncertain future.

Of course, as my wise son has pointed out – if I do this I am still carrying the problem with me. Because it’s the one doing the packing.

I imagine this time in solitude is, for many, a time of evaluating relationships, a time to reattach if possible, to sever if not. We are all defining ourselves without boundaries, except those sharp ones of the buildings in which we are incarcerated. (Though, in prison, I suppose you might still have company of a sort…) So much of who we are is formed as we bounce against others, rounding our sharp internal curves, finding our borders. Without these, it gets hard to feel real.

I’ve always liked the image of the Velveteen Rabbit – the stuffed animal who was so loved that bits of it had fallen off, its seams were all rubbed bare, ears bent into improbable shapes. All done by love. And making the rabbit REAL.

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I used to feel very real. I had three loud, messy, imaginative children who were constantly pushing against me, forcing me to create new reactions and stretch my creativity. I was covered in kid slime and food and washable clothing. I never sat quietly without having one ear lifted to listen for pending disasters, fights, or suspiciously silent activity. I never ate anything without thinking if I should save it for the kids (or hiding it from them).

We used to have fascinating discussions. I miss those.

Now, they are grown and off and discovering their own realities, and while I know they are there for me if I need them, they are no longer here, smooshing peanut butter into my hair, emptying the fridge, scattering toys so I step on them. I can’t use them for edging. On the good side, that package of cookies is ALL MINE and no one else can have ANY. And, best of all, I can leave them in plain view on the counter and know I can return to find them just the same, without one missing.

My prior loves are off having meaningful discussions with someones else, and my dear friends are all tucked into their own cozy siloes, all finding their own edges. I find that as this isolation goes on, we seem to be turning ourselves inward more, getting involved in our interior selves – especially those of us who don’t have gardens or yards or big projects to throw our bodies against (or big men…sigh…but I digress). Others become fans of TikTok and do videos to share with others. I’m afraid my inner introvert (and serious lack of personal hygiene at this point) preclude such activities.

I know I am forgetting how to speak. It’s weird. Forming thoughts and words out of my mouth seems nigh impossible. I’ve taken to talking at the cat. He has taken to yowlingcute-dog-listening-poodle-thinking-2524377 back at me. I don’t quite understand him (yet) and know I should probably let someone know if we start having serious discussions about the world situation. I mean, I used to have lengthy chats with Pickles, the wonder dog, but he at least paid attention and had meaningful contributions that didn’t have to do with his service requirements…

People are getting crusty, and I’m beginning to want to step back from even mild contact because it can so easily go wrong when we are all strung tighter than a wire. Everyone is taking offense. Bluster abounds.

But there are also so many that are stepping up to the plate to help. I’ve donated as much as my budget can afford, but I still am tempted by this fundraiser being run by Despair.com – selling a T-shirt that says “A Lifetime of Social Distancing Prepared me for This” and, by doing so,  donating money to the Feeding America Corona Response Fund. Why not check them out? I live in Canada and the gaps are also fierce here, but gosh, if I lived in the US I’d be really needing a way to try to stop the madness and discriminatory damage being wreaked by the governments. (I hasten to say not ALL governments, but a significant number)

After all, as Despair.com says:

Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can walk…

 

Guest post: social distancing – Multiple Sclerosis Research Blog


Guest post: social distancing – Multiple Sclerosis Research Blog
— Read on multiple-sclerosis-research.org/2020/04/guest-post-social-distancing/

Waiting for the Tsunami, or Stay the F at home, already!


I know, staying at home (potentially with fighting children or that spouse you were barely tolerating at the best of times) is gruelling. I know. I have an eternally shedding/hair balling cat and you haven’t lived until you are woken up six nights out of seven with that horrible retching noise, followed by a bloom of vomit smell.

(I know. I’ve brushed him, fed him oils, tried to make him run around. But I digress…)

The thing is, we don’t have it that bad, we people at home. Think of where you could be. Like a prisoner in a long term care home, for example. Because that makes me quiver with terror and nightmares.

It’s bad enough being limited by physical disabilities and living with that trapped feeling, but imagine being physically limited, such that you could not be taken anywhere else because you need professionals to care for you, and watching as your home-mates start to fall with Covid-19…

Terrifying.

Because you know, without a doubt, that if you get this thing, it’s going to take you out, in a nasty brutish way. I hear it makes you feel like someone is standing on your chest and pulling your arms. I hear breathing becomes painful, wretched, impossible.

And to add to the wonder of the infection, you must also add the total isolation you will be in as you slowly, painfully leave this world. Alone.

Not that I ever wanted an audience for my last moments. Though I’ve been present at other’s ends and felt my presence was a comfort, so I might change my mind about that. But having no option for company as I gasp out my last few agonized breaths is a scary proposition. Options are good.

As are the options to get care. As a 60+ year old with multiple pre-existing conditions, I am probably not high priority for those scarce ventilators. But even I am higher on the list than many of my chums and definitely anyone in a care home. Those guys will just have to be let go.

And then there’s the life of the trapped health care workers. I remember from pandemic planning long ago that the only health care professions who were REQUIRED to show up to look after sick people were nurses. It’s a condition of our licensure, something about not abandoning patients. Lots of docs and other professions take their job equally seriously, but nurses are the only college required to be there, inhaling viruses and struggling through their own fatigue and overwhelming despair.

Bravo to them, to first responders (also tasked with being there, by god, no matter what) and all those who step up to the front as they can.

And yet, you healthy folks, you are still looking for loopholes, talking about sewing masks so you can go out in public as you will, sneaking into “speakeasies” in the UK, getting together with friends and family, “because it’s just us and I have to see the grandkids.”

Not needed

Shame, shame on those of you who selfishly insist on living life as normally as possible, going for recreational shopping, taking the kids for play dates, meeting friends for drinks. You may not realize this, but you are likely committing murder.

This is the time to actually get your head out of your own arse and look after the rest of the society. Do without for a bit. It won’t kill you to not meet up, especially with all the technology available. Stay away from the parks. Don’t play with power tools. (You won’t get that sawed off arm looked after)(or, more likely, you will, while someone’s grandfather dies in the bed next over.)

So, stop it. Know that you are increasing people’s risk. Know that people will die if you don’t. Some will die regardless, but the next time you head out to merrily break the rules, imagine yourself at the end of a hallway in a care home, as the virus creeps down the corridor towards you, as your former dining mates become absent, as the staff change over to new, uninfected people. As they tuck you into bed and you lie, alone, trying not to inhale the air or call for help or panic, trapped as you are in a bed as helpless as a turtle on its back, unable even to fully turn your head. As death walks down the hall on soft-tread feet, opening the door to your room, slowly, slowly, inevitably…


This is definitely NOT okay. Once again, in addition to making life miserable for the disabled, this leads to bigger problems down the road as people who were doing well at home become sick and have to be moved to the hospital.

Bad on all fronts. Please request that home care be made an essential service.

 

via Please Help This Nova Scotia Home Care Castaway! Letter and four simple action items.

“Five minutes more…?” Or how whining like a three-year-old won’t help us stop the coronavirus.


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Back in the day before my freedom 50 plan took over and MS threw me out of the workforce, I used to be a nurse, epidemiologist, and health care manager. Many many years of study piled those degrees on me, and I still try to keep up to date.

I say all this because what I am going to say next might offend some, but I am coming from this background.

Stay the fecking well home!!!

Let’s stop this endless “Oh, I can still see my grandkids from across town”, or “there’s nothing wrong with taking the kids to play in the playground”, or “I just need to run into the mall for a few things.” I keep hearing and seeing this. One chipper lass even got on a plane KNOWING she was infected. Wow. That’s thoughtlessness to the max.

I see gatherings of people where social distancing isn’t happening, as have we all.

Please, just stop it. Stay home as much as possible. If you MUST go out for groceries, pick one family member to go alone. No dawdling. In and out and when you get home, wash your hands for a long long time.

Because this is the virus, seeing us refusing to take social distancing/isolation seriously:

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I know it’s tempting to try to slip in just one more trip, one more little infraction, like the kid who keeps pushing their parent to let them watch just a bit more TV, play just one more game. I feel house-bound, too, am bored of my own company, keep looking through my cupboards for snacks and treats that I’ve already chewed my way through, leaving only the healthy stuff that needs some preparation…

5e5ff9d8fee23d6516720658But I was part of the pandemic planning some time ago post-SARS, and really, we have no idea how bad this could be. Imagine hospitals overflowing, doctors having to decide who lives or dies, funeral homes backed up so far the corpses have to be put in rinks until they can be dealt with. Imagine everyone who maintains out electricity, the internet, and cellphones becoming ill. Imagine there’s no groceries, see if you can…

What will we do then?

It might not get that bad, but if you look at the example of Italy, you can see there is a possibility. Our only hope is to stay home and try to slow the infection rate. Because right now, we can’t stop Corvid-19 from rolling through us all. We need to provide time, to ease the hospitals, to give time for a vaccine to be developed, to organize a vaccine deployment.

Yes, businesses will have a horrible time. The stock market will swing down, and the possibility of a depression is real. But those who encourage an early return to normalcy to save business are short-sighted. They assume that people will remain healthy enough to support or work at these businesses.

(TBH, if a few billionaires were really concerned about things, they could probably support businesses with some of their excess money, keep them standing until the situation normalizes.)

Pretending that we can just slip by and play hard and fast with exposure just isn’t on. Stay home and stop whining. Or, as my mum used to say, it’ll “give you something to whine about.”

Please? Asking for a friend. Well, many many friends.

PS: I know so many are doing what they should, and bravo. It isn’t easy changing your entire life pattern. And I feel for all the small businesses who are losing ground. I try and help where I can, and you should, too. Get stuff delivered or for pick-up from your favorite stores. Pressure the government to support businesses and people at risk. We can get by this.

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Please, keep safe.

We now return you to our normally writing oriented blog.

 

 

Read for free…or trying to do my bit during this madness


Okay, how many of you have a scratchy throat at just the mention of coronavirus? I’m sitting here with my MS and immune system malfunctions and etc and I probably can talk myself into a case of something, even as I keep myself inside. I am avoiding contact, trying to keep from adding to the healthcare burden.

Are you, like me, skulking out in the early hours to restock and then running back to hide inside as recommended by…well, just about everyone…? If so, bravo! Hospital workers and health care providers everywhere cheer you with their weary voices.

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How many are scanning your bookshelves and finding them wanting? Sadly, but totally reasonably, Amazon is cutting back on shipping things to help protect their staff, so that source of books is cut off, and if you are in the heart of the pandemic, local libraries are shut for the same reason. Even local bookstores are cutting back on hours and shutting up for a few weeks.

I can’t do much about the TP and sanitizer rationing but I can pitch in by making my book free on Kindle for the next three days (March 18, 19, and 20).

Maybe my book will give you a couple of happy hours reading about the Virgin Mary and her reincarnations through all sorts of plagues and world events.

It might even feel inspiring.

Why not grab a copy and settle down with a cup of something soothing and have a read? Let me know what you think?

Click here or on the picture to get to the Amazon.com page and download it! Enjoy!

And keep well, keep washing your hands, and don’t panic. We’ll get through this. Feel free to share this wherever you want.

We can do it! Woman's day concept

Clean handed, socially distancing, triumph

 

 

 

Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)


The following are some book inscriptions found on old books warning book borrowers to return the books that they borrow: Neither blemish this book, or the leaves double down, Nor lend it to each idle friend in the town; Return it when read; or, if lost, please supply Another as good to the mind and […]

Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)

“The book of my enemy has been remaindered” Clive James


Conde Nast TagID: cncartoons025158.jpg/Photo via Conde Nast
Well, the book has been launched, and I’m at a difficult crossroads. Do I frantically try to market it, push it out into the world like a ten-pound baby, or do I retract back into my shell and let the rest of my books lie fallow?

Can you all relate? It’s hard putting yourself out there, visible, when all of you screams, “No don’t! They’ll see your flaws.” Somehow it seems better to slink along and just not do.

And then there is the cringing that occurs when you’ve been seen and found wanting…Are you, in fact, merely killing trees to no purpose?

Its at times of doubt like this that I love a good poem, like this gem by the inimitable Clive James. If all else fails, I can hope for some minor glory, like his enemy in this poem…

The Book of my Enemy Has Been Remaindered

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life's vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one's enemy's book --
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seeminly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I rejoice.
It has gone with bowed head like a defeated legion
Beneath the yoke.
What avail him now his awards and prizes,
The praise expended upon his meticulous technique,
His individual new voice?
Knocked into the middle of next week
His brainchild now consorts with the bad buys
The sinker, clinkers, dogs and dregs,
The Edsels of the world of moveable type,
The bummers that no amount of hype could shift,
The unbudgeable turkeys.

Yea, his slim volume with its understated wrapper
Bathes in the blare of the brightly jacketed Hitler's War Machine,
His unmistakably individual new voice
Shares the same scrapyart with a forlorn skyscraper 
Of The Kung-Fu Cookbook,
His honesty, proclaimed by himself and believed by others,
His renowned abhorrence of all posturing and pretense,
Is there with Pertwee's Promenades and Pierrots--
One Hundred Years of Seaside Entertainment,
And (oh, this above all) his sensibility,
His sensibility and its hair-like filaments,
His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one
With Barbara Windsor's Book of Boobs,
A volume graced by the descriptive rubric
"My boobs will give everyone hours of fun".

Soon now a book of mine could be remaindered also,
Though not to the monumental extent
In which the chastisement of remaindering has been meted out
To the book of my enemy,
Since in the case of my own book it will be due
To a miscalculated print run, a marketing error--
Nothing to do with merit.
But just supposing that such an event should hold
Some slight element of sadness, it will be offset
By the memory of this sweet moment.
Chill the champagne and polish the crystal goblets! 
The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am glad.

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Personally, I’d kind of like to be found shelved next to Barbara Windsor’s Book of Boobs, which actually does exist, remaindered or not…After all, her boobs promise everyone hours of fun.

What more can any author ask?

 

Why I wrote about the Virgin Mary, or “Hello? Hello? Do you see me?”


mary12Choosing to write about religious topics is risky. All my writing book advisors go on about ‘finding your niche’ and being sure people want to read what you are writing…and of course, being contrary, I wrote the book and then wanted to publish it. It’s a bonus if people buy it, I told my self.

But my self is a horrendous lying thing.

Of course I want people to buy it and read it and like it or think about things. Even if it isn’t easily classified, if it doesn’t have a GENRE, really. Does everything need to have a genre? Apparently, if you want to be found.

So why write about Blessed Mary if the book isn’t genre?

Because of Elizabeth Warren. Or any of the many many other women who are overlooked, whose accomplishments are minimized, who feel like they have to shout to be heard (and then they are called strident). Women who cannot be seen even if they want to be. Women who are told they have no purpose except to make men happy and birth the next generation2d1df2684651e1b0a983f960b4171b4a

That happened to Mary. Here she was, the mother if this big important man, and her contribution was so minimized she barely existed until the Catholics used her image as advertising copy and trotted her out everywhere like a show pony, changing her completely as they did so. They used her as a friendlier contact point than a bleeding man on a cross.

She was the perfect mother figure, a loving presence for all the church. Then the church men started playing with her. (I refuse to call them church fathers.)

They needed to make her unusually pure. Never mind the ‘why’ — what about the how? The church men were puzzled. Oh, right, she must have been born without that original sin thing – that’s how she gave birth without any pain. (Say what? Given that men were also telling every other woman that their births had to be painful because of Eve and the

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At least she’s having fun here…

apple (a set-up if ever I heard one), this all seemed a bit strange.)

But wait – how could she have been born without original sin? Well, her parents must have been unusually holy. And their parents before them, and so on, like some backward-dated Ancestry file. Never mind that previous documents assigned the line of David to Joseph. “We can change that!” the church men said. “While we are at it, let’s make her ever-virgin, unsullied by man. Because women who have sex are dirty. Men who have sex are dirty, too, but they have urges that must be met.”

Despite being the mother of THAT guy, she only gets a mention at birth and at his death. Oh yes, except she is brought up to ‘fail’ him by asking him to make the water into wine at a friend’s wedding. Apparently, this indicates that she doubted his mission. I’d argue that this would have proved that she thought he had unusual powers, but of course, she must have known that given the angel, etc, etc.

That’s a problem, too. How did a baby form in her unsullied womb? Lots of ideas were trotted around, none of them particularly convincing, until people just gave up and said it had happened. The bible doesn’t say much. That hasn’t kept people from discussing how, though, and mostly making the pregnancy seem like a total out of body experience for Mary.

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what’s that funny feeling?

This resulted in ridiculous discussions like one I had in my Mariology class, about THAT guy’s DNA. “Of course, he must only have a half set of chromosomes!” one woman opined, forgetting the need for a double set to make that baby grow at all normally. Or let his beard grow.

I can find no mention of Mary’s parenting of THAT guy. But surely she had a huge role in that? Perhaps she was the source of so many of his ideas about mercy and wealth and kindness? What if Mary was the actual founder of the religion we all call Christianity, and if THAT guy had to take the reins because women weren’t even allowed to speak then?

You see? Once you start looking at Mary’s story, questions arise. Why are the church men so mean to her, so determined to wipe her out of the picture, while still using her as a meme? As I dug into books about Mary, I found myself feeling frustrated on her behalf. I wanted her to be given fair coverage, for her and the women who followed her.

I tried to present a story about Mary, done with respect and care. Oh, and let her have a little fun along the way. I’d like to hear from you if you think if I reached that goal.

Find my book on Amazon.

 

Being Seen (and read) or where the heck did that chin hair come from?


Well, it’s out in the wilds. The ebook version is launching on Saturday.

The book. My book. By me. All alone.

Recycled Virgin (Scleratis Series Book 1) by [Brown, DA, Brown, Dorothyanne]It all seems such a small story, so meaningless. I mean, I like it, but I am having trouble dealing with the thought of my friends reading it and then having to make a comment on it, either positive or negative or, ugh, patronizing. One fellah commented that “some of my chapters seemed fun.”

I’ve taken out a contract on that guy, and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! (Kidding, of course…)(Well, maybe…)

But it’s all a bit like doing a public speech, and meeting and greeting people afterward and when you run to the washroom at the end of the festivities and peek into the mirror, maybe giving yourself a confident, “you did it, girl!” smile, you notice a 3-foot long chin hair sticking straight out and wiggling with every lip flex.

Did they see it? How could they miss it? How do those things grow so damn fast? You know you’ve peered at yourself in your home mirror, holding your face every which way and shining lights and there was NOTHING THERE that morning, and somehow this hair grew like Jack’s beanstalk in a matter of hours. images-2

You wonder in a panic if the hair scraped the face of the people you were talking with, and if they felt it and decided not to comment, like those friends who don’t tell you you have spinach in your teeth or that your hem is tucked into your tights… Maybe they were being gentle with you, sensing your inner fragility, realizing that under chin hairs can destroy any semblance of professionalism. You can see it is almost reaching the mirror, across the sink.

Of course, you have not brought hair removal devices with you and it just won’t leave to tugging, so then you have to go out and REJOIN the mob, knowing full well your hair vine will be spotted by EVERYONE.

I took my beloved dog Pickles to the groomer once and when I was picking him up, shivering and pinkish and looking hurt to his soul (which is why I ended up grooming him after this because he didn’t find it so traumatizing, but I digress), and the groomer, who I had trusted with the animal I loved the most in the world (the kids were in a horrid stage, and let’s not mention the ex) told me that the dog hairs from her clients had slipped off and rerooted themselves in her face.

I gazed at her, non-plussed. What does one say? It seemed wrong to talk then about the biology of facial hair and how it didn’t behave like a seedling. She, after all, had a few sprouting from her chin. All different colors, she pointed out, because of all the different dogs. I was left speechless.

The more important issue was why did she mention this to me?

Well, yep. I ran my hand over my chin when I got into the car and sure enough, a hair-vine was extruding from my face. How long had I been going around like that? Who knew? Cos, you see, once these hairs grow a certain length (you official beard growers know this), the hair gets all soft and molds itself to your face. Well, unless it is yearning for freedom. Then it reaches out, struggling towards the unwary, terrifying them. Whacking against walls and tangling in scarves…

So, the book thing is sending its little horrifying curls out into the world and I keep wavering between singing and dancing (and being profoundly grateful for the support friends and family have shown me) and wanting to pluck it like a chin hair out of existence.

Either that or grow a beard so it all seems like it should be there, filling my author’s face with other books and articles and writing like a demon to get things out. (Next book: DIsgusting the Devil is on the assembly line) Creating a new framework so that this one eases gently into a crowd and thus is less obvious as a solo event. Maybe it’s time for me to embrace my writing beard?

So, I hope you have a look at my book, maybe read it, write a review, hostile, friendly, grumpy or bored. I’d love to hear what you think…No, really, I would. Just let me check out my chin…

 

 

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