Author of the Queen City Boys books

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Annual ‘The Solstice is JOY’ post

Today the solstice coincides with a full lunar eclipse, the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the winter solstice since 1638.

Today in the Northern Hemisphere we round the corner on darkness.  It is the Hibernal solstice when the sun is near its greatest distance from the equatorial plane, standing still as it were.

Today Marduk tamed the monsters of chaos and for one more year we are safe as we move back into the light.

Today we light candles and keep them lit.  Though darkness is already on the run, we must continue to chase it away so spring can come faster.

Today the Oak King is apparently dead, his branches bare and cold.  We thought the Holly King had won, as he remained green,  but long live the Oak King as he returns to rule us into Midsummer!  Go, hang the holly, let it catch bad spirits on it’s tiny horns, protecting us in the months of darkness when the border with the shadowlands is permeable.

Today is the Saturnalia where we eat and dance and decorate the evergreens with red berries.  We will reverse all our roles, switch with our opposites and see the world from the other side, through other eyes.

Today and for the days to come, find joy in each other, celebrate, kiss beneath the mistletoe, feast in the light of candles.  Celebrate the darkness and the joy we have as  it washes away.  Tonight we breathe and meditate on our lives.  We breathe out the things we want gone, we breathe in our wishes for the coming year.  Tomorrow life begins again.

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Mostly politics, possibly best avoided

I didn’t watch or check any election returns last night.  I told myself in the car this morning that if Jerry Brown got elected in CA, I’d be okay.  Granted, I don’t live in CA, so it doesn’t effect me a lot.  But I paid attention to a lot of races this election season and that race really stuck out for me.  The reason wasn’t Whitman’s idiocy or her insane spending (although, I’m glad she didn’t buy her way in).  It was because Whitman kept saying that she loved the CA of 30 years ago and that’s the place she wanted.  And Brown?  Was smart enough to point out in a commercial, that HE was Governor 30 years ago and that the CA Whitman was holding up as amazing was his CA.  If Brown had lost after that, I’d have no faith in any voters.  Also I love the idea of him being both the youngest and oldest Gov CA’s had.

Ah, my coworker just told me that we’re all screwed.  That all paving and construction jobs will dry up entirely under Republican leadership.  I will never understand people.  Seriously.  Most my coworkers are very Right, very Republican (or Libertarian, at least).  If this is true, they are the ones who will lose their jobs.  They are (probably) the ones who keep voting this situation into being.

Things reverberating for me this morning:

From Wonkette.com:  Change is changing back. For too long, this nation has been PLAGUED by people who want to provide them health care and fix the economy. HEY, DEMOCRATS, WE WANT TO DIE OF HEART ATTACKS AND HAVE OUR ADVANCED SYSTEM OF BARTER DEVOLVE BACK INTO HUNTING AND GATHERING, THANK YOU. Democrats didn’t get this message, and the Teabaggers emerged from cashing their Social Security checks at The Scooter Store to tell them they don’t like government action when it’s put in motion by black people. It has been a long two years of Republicans refusing to let government happen and the Democratic Party giving into their fear of voters hating them.”

Stolen (without permission) from the FB status of the friend of a friend: “My grandmother hates rich people, but she always votes Republican because she is afraid the Democrats will take away her money and give it to poor people. She doesn’t seem to realize that, as a social security and Medicare recipient, she is the one Democrats are trying to give money to.”

I am overwhelmed with the desire to walk out and shout at Tennessee voters, “We are trying to HELP you.  Why do you keep defeating yourselves?”  And yet, it isn’t as dire as all that.  Wm. Clinton bounced back from his party losing control of Congress (or would have if they hadn’t ambushed him with his personal life–hope our current standing President has been faithful), and it wasn’t the overwhelming sweep everyone seemed to have predicted (although, at this writing I’ve read almost no news, so I could be wrong).

ETA:  Tiny Cat Pants and I are in agreement here.  The Dems in TN this election season were ABYSMAL.

And finally, I know better than to talk about politics publicly, so it’s back to sewing and stewing and huddling under a rock for me.  Love to all of you.  Even those who don’t agree with me.  Especially those who don’t agree with me.

Image: Jasper Johns, Flag, encaustic, oil and collage mounted on plywood, three panels, 1954-55 (dated on reverse 1954), (MoMA)

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perchance to dream

I am so overwhelmed by life right now that the word ‘overwhelmed’ doesn’t even really mean anything anymore.  It’s like ‘awesome,’ so overused that it’s impact has been reduced to uselessness. I wish I could tell you some big sweeping drama that’s tripping me up, but it’s really more like the minute patterns of my days.

About 14 or 15 months ago things started to go all wonky for me.  Since then each month has brought some new and hitherto un-thought of obstacle.  I have for more than a year been waiting for whichever thing it is to pass/complete/recover so that I can get on with every day life and making plans for the future.  And surely the cycle of unexpected things never ends, but it seems I’ve hit a lull.  I’ve weathered the oral surgeries; the long term separation from a loved one; the break up; the 500 year flood; the resulting work over load; the scalding, torturously hot summer; planning, moving and completely and totally rearranging my life, my plans and my future.  And I gotta say, ya’ll, I’m tired.  Like soul tired.  I want to relax and figure out if I even know anymore how to let go of anxiety and worry.  I want to read a book for hours on end, uninterrupted so I can reset myself  to creativity.  I want to remember how to think about designing and forming things with my own hands, simply creating things. I want to plan menus and buy groceries and quietly cook in my own kitchen.  I want to relax in my own personal (physical) space, unencumbered by outside demands on my time, my energy, my love and my mental peace.

At this point, I guess I just need to find a chair.  The right chair.  For the last few months, when I try and imagine this particular part of whatever thing it is now being over (mostly moving etc.), I close my eyes and I see a circle of light from a lamp over a comfortable place to sit and read or think or draw or sew or simply imagine goodness.  Moving has given me and Talk to Owls both space to stretch out and find calm again.  I been working (ugh, working, so over it in any context) to make this space my own, our own, simply someplace that is comfortable and safe and filled only with the things we need to live and create.  Still I lack this imaginary chair.  I can’t quite see it’s dimensions or design, but I know it’s out there. It is the next thing to strive for: completing a space of relaxation and a place in which to gather myself back together and get ready, be stronger for, the many more rounds of unexpectedness that life is sure to bring me.


Bookish 2010 (possibly 1 in a series)

Abbey Library St. Gallen, Switzerland

I’ve been thinking about tracking every book I read this year in this space.  I haven’t actually decided to commit to that yet, but in the spirit of thinking about it, here’s thoughts on the books I’ve read so far this year.

Juliet, Naked – Nick Hornby Technically this was the last book I read in 2009, but I’m including it because I liked it so much.  Hornby is generally enjoyable, if fluffy and forgettable.  I read this book straight through in about 5 hours while traveling and thought about it for days.  It’s about finding your way out of relationships you shouldn’t have been in and about music and fans.  It avoids the usual conceit of romantic comedy and I guess being about music, fans and relationships is pertinent to my interests.  Recommended highly.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson I just really didn’t like this book at all.  I wanted too.  The female character is an excellent creation.  She draws you in and you want to keep reading about her as she is strangely enigmatic, somewhat off-putting and yet incredibly likable and endearing (one assumes she’s mildly autistic or at least saddled with Asperger syndrome based on her actions).  I have considered reading his next book, just because I like her.  But over all the mystery here was convoluted and not well written.  The book itself relies on shocking the reader with grossly, overly described horrors of human nature.  The characters can’t redeem the story (and in this case even the setting is a character and again well done). I think a good writer can write about the disgusting, horrifying underbelly of human nature and titillate, shock and inform the reader without resorting to graphic descriptions.  Hmmm, it’s like the difference between a good suspense movie and slasher horror flick.  In the end, even with the amazing setting and lovely characters, this wasn’t much more than a slasher horror flick.  Bleh.  I know many people liked this book, but many people like bad slasher horror films too.  I wouldn’t recommend it and would probably dissuade friends from reading it.

Babylonne – Catherine Jinks
I did make it all the way through this.  Sort of.  The author entirely loses focus in the second half and I skipped about 4 of every 5 pages through the end in an attempt to find the story again. I wondered after reading it if it was supposed to be juvenile fiction and perhaps it was.  It just isn’t good. The story is told in first person and the narrator is unreliable (I’m not sure even intentionally so) and comes across as being about 9 years old and insanely naive (although she is supposed to be 16, an age would make her an adult in the time period the book is set).  If you are curious about Cathars or the Albigensian Crusades there’s dozens of better books to choose from, both fiction and non-fiction.

Veil of Lies  – Jeri Westerson This book wasn’t particularly well written, nor (I suspect) especially historically accurate, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  Sort of a private investigator noir but medieval.  The main character was flawed but dashing.  I’d recommend for light reading, say at the beach or on a long trip.

Wayfarer This is a collection of translated short fiction written by Korean women.  Insanely, unbelievably depressing.  Interesting, with lots of bits about family members lost to other side of the “wall” or to prison when communism split the country.  Some interesting insight into  another culture.  And yet, mostly just sad in a long suffering, empty void of despair kind of way.  Worth reading, but only if you have something cheerful to pick up after.

The Fools’ Guild Series – Alan Gordon  I’m not through this series yet, but here are the ones I’ve read (in the order I’ve read them):
The Lark’s Lament (#6)
The Moneylender of Toulouse (#7)
Thirteenth Night (#1)
Jester Leaps In (#2)

I love these!  Murder mysteries solved by fools in Medieval Europe, based, somewhat around Shakesperian stories.  Hooray!  The author’s ability to write mysteries dramatically improves in the later books, but the characters are so wonderful (as are the literary and historical in jokes) that it saves the earlier books.  I got #3 from the library today and am half tempted to blow off everything else this afternoon and just read it.  Love love love!