Author Archives: deemallon

A LIST OF FAVORITE POSTS

Here are a few favorite Pattern and Outrage posts. I selected some based on my preference and others on what readers select.* You can also search by tapping on the A LIST OF FAVORITE POSTS in the side bar or RANTS AND LAMENTS.

Note: I just spent two hours building this list and generating the links and WordPress published an old version. So bear with me.

Morning of Surprise Hearing
Poem prompt response regarding Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony before the 1/6 Committee

The White Underwing

Lost Orgasms or Zero Faith

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

Why I Admire Dog People So Much

Peace is a Leaf Sent round the World

The Gilded Age of Hangers

College Drop-off: A Poem

Deirdre
A retelling of the ancient Irish tale
about Deirdre, the Princess of Sorrows (and also my namesake)

Black Stallion — fan fic

Ordinary dog walk in February

Joy Harjo and Ted Lasso — What?

Gathering the Dream

Posts related to race, justice, learning:

A long-winded memory share
Thoughts about plantation weddings and Nikole Hannah-Jones, 2022

Reflection on Night in Slave Quarters
Written after spending a night in the slave quarters in Medford, Mass. at the Royall House. The event was organized by The Slave Dwelling Project, 2014

Sent – Hearts for Charleston Quilt
Lots of pictures of the collaborate quilt made for the surviving community at the Charleston Mother Emanuel AME

Ferns, Fractals, and African Textiles

African Burying Ground — for reverence, reflection, learning
A post about a relatively newly consecrated burial ground in Portsmouth, NH

Racism is a Morphing Beast
Report from an anti-racism workshop in Boston

Our problematic past
A post written after hearing the keynote speaker of the Annual Slave Dwelling Project, 2021. Susan Neiman’s talk was entitled, What Americans Can Learn from Germany’s Racial Reckoning.

Confederate Flag of Truce
A post about artist Sonya Clark’s provocative show at the DeCordova, in Lincoln, MA

Middle Passage Marker Boston

Gratitude and Slaver

Ms. Wheatley and Ms. Gorman

The Weight of Cloth posts:

Below are posts related to my piece of historic fiction, tentatively titled The Weight of Cloth. It’s set in South Carolina, 1737 – 1744 (with an epilogue) and primarily told by four women — the historic white figure of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, and three enslaved women.

See also posts tagged South Carolina, slavery, and writing.

Bibliography, The Weight of Cloth

Names of the Enslaved named in Eliza L. Pinckney’s Will

Freedom– a deleted excerpt from manuscript

Silence of listening and acknowledging
One of many posts about listening to Black voices and wondering about
being a white writer with Black characters — from 2016

Maroons or the untamed
Window into writing/research during 2nd draft

 

Visual work, some tutorials:

Photo Transfer Four Ways

Digital collage — a Diana Photo App Tutorial

Mice-making tutorial
How to sew and dress small mice out of premade felt

 

* What readers select is revealed in daily stats, which I check regularly. For some of the mysteriously recurring reads, I try to determine where a link might be (such as Pinterest). Mostly I can’t figure it out.

The sly reveal

Synchronicity, Part Two

As many of you know, I collect things: dried hosta stalks, bird skulls, beach glass, rocks.

One year, I used a sharpie to write on a few “special” stones and by special I mean somewhat flat and easily held in the palm. One stone down in the basement reads, Let the breath take you deeper. This is a catch phrase of a meditation circle I’ve been part of since the late 80’s (and incidentally, might be the only instruction one needs in order to learn to meditate).

I made a few of these and as far as I knew, they were either in the cellar (below) or I’d given them away.

My writing bench upstairs and the surrounding bookcases are hardly free of clutter. However, the clutter does not include bowls of rocks or shells. There are no freestanding rocks, either.

But somehow, this stone showed up near my power strip a few days ago. I was flummoxed. As flummoxed as I was on Sunday when I made a special trip to the grocery store for cilantro, bought cilantro and parsley, and could only find the parsley later. The cilantro disappeared. Or, to put it as a dear soul gifted with ADD and Irish blood might: the cilantro fucking vanished.

But here’s the thing. The dude abides. Yes indeed, when I flipped the stone near the power strip over, it read: the dude abides.

I have NO IDEA where the rock came from. It’s the inverse of the missing cilantro — the stone just fucking appeared.

Thank you, Universe. Nice to know you have humor in your bag of tricks! If there is any take away here, I think it has to do with appreciating and celebrating one’s tribe.

I lose cilantro but I also make stones appear.

** I didn’t seal the breath rock and it faded. At first disappointed to notice this wispy script, I later decided it captured the nature of the breath better than clearly defined text.

Another haunting

Synchronicity is a gateway to faith and if not faith, then at least to the recognition that the world is more mysterious than we know, and isn’t that recognition a lot like faith?

Synchronicity can show up as a haunting or a miracle. Sometimes it’s funny. It’s always worthy of attention.

I’ve had three synchronous moments lately — one a haunting, one a sly joke, and one a gracious note from the dead (which of course is not the same as a haunting).

Today, I’ll relate the haunting. It’s about my sister. Of course it’s about my sister.

For our holiday meal, rather than clean up a half-finished jigsaw puzzle, we brought in a small oak table from the garage. This table has history. It was where my family sat and ate dinner for years — on Glen Terrace, Cypress Drive, Glory Drive, and Whitman Road. After my mother remarried, she brought it south with her to Lighthouse Point and then back north to Essex.

In the early years, my parents occupied either end. Sometimes the table was up against a wall, sometimes centered in a dining space. Either way, my sister sat on one of the long sides while my brother and I occupied the side opposite. I think it was probably this seating arrangement that inspired Noreen to learn how to pinch with her toes. Don’t laugh! She could really inflict some pain.

It’s also where my father used humor to drive home the difference between can I and may I. If you were to say, for instance, can I have the ketchup, he’d deadpan with yes you can or I don’t know, can you, and keep eating. He managed to make it funny. And we learned.

After my mother died, the table went to my sister. When my sister died, it came to me.

I didn’t think I was sentimental about the table until I was scraping off mold and cleaning the disgusting, nearly black gunk from between its center seams. Both gross. To look at the burns and stains scattered on its surface was to see my sister’s dysfunction made plain. Again. I found myself wondering what, exactly, prevented her from performing the simple tasks that make up a life. Was it so hard to wipe the table clean once in a while or slip a plate under a plant? For her, yes it was too much.

Or was it? Maybe it was just what she told herself. With Noreen it was impossible to tell and in the end, I realized it didn’t matter. The result was the same. A disordered life. A stained, ruined table.

Anyway, I managed to get a sliver. The sliver was almost impossible to see and took a magnifying glass and some real wrangling to remove. There were moments I thought I imagined it. This is when I said, Hello Noreen. The sliver might’ve been a bristle from a toothbrush I used to clean the tarry seams or it might’ve been a piece of the table itself.

Either way, my pinky got infected. It hurt. It turned bright red. For days, even after the splinter was out, I had to apply hot compresses, soak it in salty water and hydrogen peroxide and once, use a sterilized pin to poke out a blob of puss.

Not to belabor the point, but this is a pretty apt metaphor for being in relationship with my sister. Working hard to clean up one of her messes, a job I never signed up for, by the way, only to get shafted. Having to deal with the emotional wreckage after a visit for days. And even that hallucinatory quality — is this real or am I making it up — speaks to how convincing she could be with her narratives of blame. Maybe I was, in fact, a complete shit. Maybe I wickedly shortchanged her.

That inner dialogue occurred even as I knew that nothing was ever gonna be enough for my sister and even though I knew that withholding was a critical form of self-protection. She was forceful. She pinched me under the table with her toes.

So that’s the haunting. I’ll save the other two incidents for the next post. This is long enough.

By the way, in my sister’s papers I found reports from elementary school. Elementary school! One was a report about Alaska, another about bats. Around Halloween this year, I made a spooky paper collage and then digitally double-exposed it with the cover of her bat report. That’s one version, above. Another version, sans bats, is below.

A quick post about Post

I’m thrilled to discover that POST, the new “twitter substitute,” is clean, intuitive, and easy to use. You can easily find and follow folks (unlike on Mastodon). They are committed to civility. #Twittermigration is underway!

As long as enough Black people find their way over, it’ll be a fine replacement.

It’s still in beta, so it’s glitchy. But better to bear glitches than fuckwad Musk’s sophomoric exchanges and his wanton, dangerous re-admission of haters, right?

It gives me hope.

You have to be admitted from a waiting list, so if you’re interested you want to get on that list ASAP.

PS I tried Mastodon and found it clunky.