Prepared to grieve

16 04 2018

williamshakespeare1The tragedy of the Humboldt hockey players bus crash and the loss of all those sweet boys was and is truly horrible. I feel for parents and friends and other teams and everyone involved. Especially the driver that survived…images-26

But while this is happening, and we respond by doing things like putting hockey sticks outside doors, wearing team shirts, etc., I can’t help but think that at this moment, we are all prepped for grief, standing on the edge of weeping, hanging onto the unstated hope that the US government and people will not send the world into war.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like living in this constant state of tension, waiting for that deadly tweet from an insane man who doesn’t think the rest of the government has any role. What will keep he-who-shall-not-be-named from setting up a fake situation with Russia or Korea and sending off those “very smart” bombs he is so proud of? Especially if his stock goes down, or that infamous tape is released?

1bvnzs(Aside: his childish hatred of the Democrats is insane. Who does things like pee on a mattress just because the Obamas slept there? What is in this man’s head?)

As a Canadian, I’m not directly involved in the loss of democracy below the border, but it and the hateful rhetoric that allowed the fascist oligarchs to take over is slipping through the permeable membrane between our countries. H-W-M-N-B-N and the GOP have made it okay to promote racism and stupidity and flash anger over rational thought. That’s tempting for anyone who is frustrated by the status quo. Simple sound bytes and lack of discussion are easier, clearer, than complicated explanations and balanced approaches.vx7jcsh

 

 

So everyone I speak to seems to have an undercurrent of tension these days. A little high pitched note under their speech, a slight twitch to their eyes. We joke – but there’s a tone under the humour, like things are changing in ways we don’t like to this may be the last time the winter is like this, the spring comes like this, fall slips in like this.

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I imagine it felt like this before WW1. I’m reading Barbara Tuchman’s excellent “The Guns of August” about this lead time and it sounds terribly, awfully familiar. People taking offense at nothing, anger over things that are said, a sense of chaos and loss of control. Evil people consolidating power and denying existing governmental rules, backroom deals and the lust for money.

It almost feels like something must happen to let off the tension.

Let’s hope it’s impeachment and not world destruction.

 

And meanwhile, we watch in the darkness, sensing the storm coming, unable to stop it. We giggle, nervously, clutch at entertainment and the solace of hygge, wrapping ourselves in wooly cocoons. But when something awful happens, we scream out, prepared as we are to weep.

Practicing. Preparing. For the big one?

Thank heavens for the young, the hopeful and perhaps a wee bit ignorant. Everyone says everyone must study history. True. But we must do so without engendering the cynicism many of us have tangled so close to our chests. Because cynicism crushes hope, and only in hope can we achieve any change.

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On geese, and horrible people, and fear for the future

9 08 2017

B3aAGO4CIAABRHL.jpg-largeI’m not ordinarily an anxious person. Life flows by and stuff happens and it bothers me, but I don’t usually have the sense of creeping dread that envelops me now.

It seems like human beings are losing their compass if indeed we ever had one.  Of course, there is the madness south of our Canadian border. The opening of a Pandora’s box of latent racism and sexism and general horribleness that is likely to get us into a war sooner than later. (question: is it okay to leave most of the government seats empty and run it like a dictatorship? Why hasn’t anyone stopped this?)

And, with the example of a badly out of control, ignorant and nasty president, suddenly the rest of the planet thinks they can let their ghouls out. It’s horrifying to see all the gains by women and people of colour and GLBTQ+ folks being eroded day by day.  And although there is resistance, it doesn’t seem to matter!

sullivans-pond-geeseHere where I live, the gangs are back. There are regular knifings and random attacks. That’s bad enough, but some jerk used his car to deliberately squash the geese who live peaceably in our local pond. Everyone loves the geese. We all pause and let them cross the road. It’s a big event when they come out of their winter home and waddle to the pond.

How does one explain to a kid about this jerk’s actions? Or the president’s actions? Or the needless shunning of one group of people by another?

How can we explain it to ourselves? How can we be rendered so powerless so quickly? Or was it an illusion of power all along?

I’m kind of a Pollyanna type. I like to see the good in everyone. It’s becoming harder and harder to spot it amongst the daily insults that I see being visited on people every day.

I could cry about the driver and the geese. What made him/her do that? (though I am sure it was a man, somehow). And yet, that’s a small thing compared to the risk of war that will kill many more living things. Or the current wars that are already laying countries waste. Or the horrific treatment of refugees who have fled from starvation. Or the incredible death and destruction we are causing in our oceans and on land through selfishness and greed.

Honestly, I am not an end times gal. But what is going on now makes me almost wish it were the end times. It’s getting too heartbreaking to watch.





On the occasion of a horrendous election pending and the women v women way we behave

9 10 2016
grandma1

Organizing yet another bake sale to fund the hospitals the men wouldn’t let women earn money to build

Ah, women.

I am one, I think, and yet I am filled with puzzlement at them. I have a group of marvelous women friends who I adore. We all would come running to whomever needed support, would offer casseroles, muffins, homemade soup, a warm shoulder to cry upon. My friends keep me alive, make me laugh, give me joy.

But many would leave the recipient’s house, commenting to each other, “Well, I wouldn’t have dealt with things THAT way,” or, “Where’s that man of hers? Why doesn’t he help?” or “Did you see what state her house is in?”

how-to-not-gossip

“Can you imagine?”

It’s the same thing that makes some (never me, I simply don’t care) rearrange the dishwasher if someone else loads it, that makes us repack suitcases for children and men, that sighs at the general incompetence of everyone except us.

It’s why women who succeed are universally regarded with suspicion – by other women! – and why we have never been able to fully mobilize to take back our rights from abusers and others. I still think the best way to frighten abusers into submission is to show up en masse

women-protesting

“Whose that over there throwing stones at us? Is that Gladys?”

at court dates and funerals of those harmed and stand there, as the police do, a physical and huge threat. We are over half the population. But no one will do that because of the sneaking suspicion that the woman might have somehow deserved it – after all, he’s so sweet…and he might like us. Heck, we might even date him. He wouldn’t hurt US.

So here we are in the midst of an American Presidential election between a career politician woman (gasp! No!) who is somewhat more terrifying than all the male career politicians (somehow that is okay, though slightly sleazy), and on the opposition, an utter boor. And he is still in the picture, though everyone is hoping he’ll step down and

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“My name is Mike Pence and I own your uterus!”

let a truly evil man take his place, one who talks smoothly with the tongue of repression, rather than revealing his slithering insides.

Well, say many, at least it wouldn’t be a WOMAN. Sadly, even women say this, their envy of success being so poisonous against their own gender that it blinds them to the fact she is better qualified than anyone else who ever stood for the office. And allowing them to accept men who openly or quietly demean women, treat their bodies like possessions, shut them out of top positions, keep them virtual slaves.

I can’t help but feel enraged, though I know the green fire of jealousy burns in me, too.

happy-green-frog-1

Happy green

So how can we fix this seemingly permanent line in our nature? Can we erase the poisonous green and replace it with a kinder, springier one?

I’ve met some women who have. One of whom left us this week – my brother-in-law’s sweet mother – one of the kindest women I’ve met, with a belief in her faith that must have been her weapon against jealousy. Unlike many faithful, she never used it as a hammer with strangers. She simply did good.

I know another few women who do this, who step back from selfishness and do good in their quiet way. I love them all and struggle to be more like them.

But much as I love them, I wish we women would get together, stop doing good quietly, and take over the world up front. Enough quietly rearranging the dishwasher in the background, while sighing in exasperation. Let’s teach our fellow world inhabitants how to do things right. As with these quiet good women, we can show by example, but frankly that’s not working well enough. A thousand people tidying the Titanic wouldn’t have saved it from sinking. A woman who knew how to drive the boat who was able to wrest control from the men who blustered their way in charge might have. It’s time for women to do some blustering.

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“If only there was a smarter person to take charge! One without breasts!”

But you know what? Probably in the lifeboats (of which there would have been enough because, um, planning), other women would be whispering, “Who does she think SHE is? She should mind her own business.” And the men would be shouting four letter words and commenting about breasts.

I despair.

 





Manichaean

11 11 2013

Image“Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing thestruggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process which takes place in human history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light whence it came. Its beliefs were based on local Mesopotamian gnostic and religious movements.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

Ever have one of those days where, for some reason, words appear in unusual frequency, words you’ve never heard of before? This word, Manichaean, passed through my life with odd frequency yesterday – first through a FaceBook posting by my cousin, then in a book about the Origin of Satan I was reading. The book, “The origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics” by Elaine Pagels, is a clear, fascinating, and eye-opening look at the Gospels and early Christianity. I was sent it by a dear friend who knew I was writing a story about evil and Satan as part of my 3 novella series.

But be that as it may, the confluence of Manichaeanism concepts yesterday played into my writer’s mind in a variety of ways. The writing inner editor, who either groups writing into “ooh, great!” or “this sucks”, who tells you you are a writer or a hack, who does not allow for greyness but insists that every single word be perfect and therefore freezes the writer into immobility…

And in terms of characters, the tendency to describe bad guys as totally bad, good guys as totally good, instead of allowing the chunks of overlap that makes characters worth reading about.

It also struck me yesterday because I’ve had to give up another task I took on because of my MS getting worse. At these times, I do a bit of grieving, and I tend to get unreasonable. I see things in black and white, in Manichaean terms. I am either healthy and able to contribute, or I am meaningless and merely using up spare oxygen.

Of course, in my reasonable mind, life is full of grey spots. Writing can be good enough. First drafts in particular can be rotten but good enough – ideas get put down on paper, your creative mind is engaged, progress is made. Characters are multidimensional, not all or nothing. And my MS isn’t ruining my ability to do anything – just changing the parameters.

I hate letting people down, most especially myself. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. So it’s time to readjust and set my goals in areas of grey. It’s a wide field, and there are colours underneath the gauze.Image

 





Living with sorrow

28 09 2013

ange-sorrow-weeping-whiteIt’s been an interesting week, as the old Chinese curse would say.

I read “The Deception of Livvy Higgs” by the wonderful writer Donna Morrissey, while simultaneously realizing I couldn’t attend her evening class as planned due to a minor flare up of my MS which seems to be hanging on, alas.

Then I went to a lecture about MRIs and MS which of course depressed me further as I wander about imagining my swelling itchy brain dying by inches, leaving gaping holes where once my creative spark flew. Self-pity abounded.

But I’m not alone. I also teach a course in living well with chronic disease and we discussed feelings this week, and so many are living with sorrow, fear of disability, aging, pain. My dear friend lives with a level of pain I could never bear, handles it most of the time, probably more of the time than she should, strictly speaking, for her own health. She is a marvel and I love her dearly and worry about her, though she’d insist she’s okay…

So what has this to do about writing? Well, as I read through Morrissey’s book, filled with family lies and damages done by them, I realized that what calls me to stories is the pain. The sense of overcoming challenges, damaged but still strong. The whole hero’s journey thing. And when I write well, I dip into that pain, I reach into my head and pull out the icky bits, the bits where no one spoke to me in eighth grade, the time my ex abandoned me, the memories of a mother I never understood and her loneliness. It’s not always pleasant exploring in that area, but it is where the writing is best.

I’m working on a third piece for my three novella set about religious confusion. Going to be dealing with evil in this one, and it worries me a bit. I’ve met evil, heck, I have some in my very own family here and there, and I’m sure deep down there’s an evil fibre in me, too. Now I have to tease that out and face it, straight up. Because evil and sorrow are inextricably linked, and to purge one, you must purge the other.





Cycling and sociopathy

21 01 2013

images-32Mark Twain wrote : The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature who cannot.”

I have no desire to give the foetid L.A. any more reason for press time, but I am fascinated by psychopathologies and he represents a pretty acute one. This is a man who lied, lied loudly, brought legal actions against innocent people, destroyed others willy nilly, took the applause of many, stole money, broke hearts, infected youth with cynicism and single-handedly destroyed the historical Tour de France.

And when he talks to his kid, all he can tell him is to stop defending him to his friends. He can’t even apologize to his KID, who no doubt is suffering the seven levels of hell these days. If I were the mother of those kids (all five of them), I’d be going for sole custody and all the alimony the judge would grant. And I’d be participating in some serious parental alienation.

Because sometimes it’s deserved.

I was listening to Q today on CBC and was astonished to hear panelists talk about how good-looking he was, how they could feel empathy for him as he did his “confession” (without apology) on Oprah. It goes to show how sociopaths and psychopaths have the power to convince us that they are normal, desirable, even as they break our hearts and rob our pockets.

It gives me despair for the human race. I know how capable I am of dissembling, hiding my true feelings, pretending to be something I’m not, and I don’t THINK I’m a sociopath. (I imagine I’d be wealthier if I were). It seems to be a skill we’ve been given to greater or lesser amounts, this ability to lie.

And while animals are guilty of self-interest, we are capable of totally destroying others in ways that don’t involve eating or survival.

You’ve got to wonder why.

Occasionally I feel the fingers of evil on my neck.
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Okay, some things are just wrong.

8 05 2012

There I am, in the Tim Horton’s, after my customary self-flagellation at the gym. I’m sweating slightly, not smelling as I should, and I pick up the Halifax Metro newspaper, only to see this item:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/05/south-koreans-confiscated-pills-human-remains.html

Apparently the South Koreans have confiscated capsules that were filled with dehydrated baby remains. People are taking them to enhance their youth.

As my exercise buddy said, somewhere there is something not right along the supply chain.
Apparently they are dehydrated fetuses and stillborn babies that have been dried on ovens and crumbled into the capsules. I wonder if they are primarily female fetuses? I wonder who had the brilliant idea of waste not, want not? I wonder who in their right mind would want to swallow dehydrated fetuses?

And then I wonder how they get the fetuses and stillborn babies. I wonder if any of them were helped along to their dead state. I wonder if this sort of cultural focus needs to exist.

I mean, heck, what is UP with some people?

Sharks are killed in the millions for their fins. Rhinocerii are hunted to extinction for the precious horns. Oysters are felled by the gallon pail in the interest of sexual potency. And now babies?

Of course, in a way, it makes more sense to use the dehydrated babies. After all, they’re dead, anyway, and unlikely to suffer as the animals do during their processing. But haven’t these people read anything about mad cow disease? Prion diseases? The dangers of eating brains? Haven’t they seen ZOMBIE movies, fer gods sake?

And then my friend told me about this: http://www.care2.com/causes/help-the-dancing-boys-of-afghanistan-escape-the-world-of-bacha-bazi.html

And I just wanted to weep.

Sometimes it seems like it might be an overall good thing if we were wiped out. Surely a better race could supersede us. Something with a higher moral sense. Something like cockroaches.








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