Still not here

Done a fair bit of writing lately but not here. It’s been a rainy week with grey skies and often, big breezes making leaves scuttle and swirl.

I get why many chose to die in November, winter coming and all that (both my father and maternal grandmother died in November), but I love the gloom. I hope it’s not just because it so often matches my interior landscape. There’s something so New England about it.

We get to sit by the fire and slow cook delicious dinners. Below is last night’s braised lamb shanks with cheesy grits and bok choy.

It’s a sad indication of where we’re at that the Bannon indictment lit me up with relief and joy and something I don’t quite recognize — could it be hope?

Miss y’all. Yes, northerners get to say this!

To close, enjoy this meme. Don’t know who made it.

Just a Monday

I call it “the Horse House.” Garden House was already taken by a place perched on the T tracks over by the lake. The Horse House is a corner lot with stunning trees, foundation beds, and median strip plantings. They even have a big garbage barrel on the curb for dog poop bags. Much appreciated.

I round this corner at about the halfway point of my dog walk. Usually when I pass, some kind of idea or some string of words have come to me for a blog post. Today, no. I can think of three reasons.

One: a clutter of dreams. A charging cord, hot and blackened. An 83 year old friend inexplicably standing in my bedroom where the bed keeps unmaking itself. A butt dial allowing me to hear disdainful confusion about texts I’d sent (“Remind me not to try and be helpful!”). The corralling of prisoners by a body of water. Have they been afforded due process?

Also I was listening to a New Yorker story about the pandemic, travel, risk, baseball and luck.

Third, at the corner I was confronted by the most delicious smell of sautéing garlic. Wow. 9:25 a.m.

Are you really writing a post about writing (or not writing) a post? Yeah. Sorry.

Today I’m going to couch yellow or red threads around a quilted house that disappears into its background. What are you six? Well, maybe.

In closing let me say that anyone hoping that the hyped 12:30 announcement by DOJ was about domestic terrorists or corrupt politicians will be very disappointed. Indictments for international cyber criminals are not nothing. But? I know accountability is coming. It’s just a matter of time, right?

Joy Harjo and Ted Lasso — what?

We are still America.
We know the rumors of our demise.
We spit them out.
They die soon. 
U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo

I gave this Harjo quote to my writing friends on Tuesday as a prompt. Below is my response. If you haven’t watched Ted Lasso, perhaps don’t bother because it’s a lot about that show. Also, if you haven’t finished Season TWO — warning! There are spoilers!

*   *   *

“To face a crowd,” she instructs, “lift your arms while breathing in.” She demonstrates. “Make yourself big!” The statuesque club-owner talking to the littlest of the coaches. When he tries, he finds the technique useless. He cannot make himself bigger. Instead, he spits at the mirror. Somehow, that works. Spit, plus an e, equals spite, we soon learn.

All the happy transformations and  mini-redemptions, which are sometimes big redemptions, somehow are lost on Nate the Great, the littlest coach. He turns into Nate the Snape. It doesn’t matter that his burning resentments are misplaced — clearly father-induced — they flare into betrayal anyway. He digs himself into a hole so deep that no rope ladder of apology can help him exit.

But we know, we wise viewers, that our hero, head coach Lasso, previously portrayed as being able to bridge every chasm with folksy stories, genuine humility, and a radical capacity to apologize, doesn’t try very hard at the critical moment with Nate, now does he?

And, pshaw, when the final scene of Season Two shows Nate formerly the Great on the sidelines of the nemesis team, we know the failure was a gimmick and it disappoints as gimmicks always do.

Nevertheless, we look to Lasso, a man of the moment, somehow. If only there were stories appealing enough, humility genuine enough, and apologies transformative enough to bridge the flaming chasm that divides America. I don’t think there are. We’re at Stage Nine or Ten on the way to tyranny, the stage where truth no longer matters. Post truth is pre-fascism. It comes after the stage of simplistically and hatefully vilifying the other. Lock her Up! Build the Wall! As one pundit put it, we’re not debating the efficacy of vaccines or masks, we’re debating whether truth matters or not.

So before trying to spit out the notion that we are in free-fall decline, I must first spit on epic, destructive stupidity. SPIT. Yes, it’s the racism, stupid, but it’s also the stupidity, stupid! I must spit on greedy corporatism infecting governance. SPIT. On lying. And more lying. I mean Satan-level lying. SPIT. And on stupidity again — willful stupidity, as in I did my own research on Facebook, and corrupt stupidity as in a climate-crisis denier opining in Congress, ain’t it better for agriculture if it’s warm? Yuck. Yuck. SPIT.

The rumors of our demise are so well-founded, how do I spit them away?

Magic not saliva might be required. A national exorcism. Starting with the Former Liar in Chief followed by Fox News, which leads me to note, by the way, that the step on the road to tyranny about the state taking over the levers of the press would not be required on our path to damnation, not as long as idiots like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham drip nightly poison to huge adoring crowds.

We are still America. Still riven by race. Still tainted by the original sins of genocide and slavery. Our exceptionalism always dwelt in pools of blood and now it also depends on the masses being ignorant. George Carlin knew as much decades ago when he joked, they WANT you to be uneducated.

List of the vilified: intelligence, climate science, disease science, science, science, science, eloquence, the separation of church and state, women, women, women, especially women in positions of power.

Therefore, I can only spit on the rumors of our demise as a supreme act of faith.

An act of faith.
An act of faith.

If only Paul Bunyan could come back as Ted Lasso and stomp from state to state applying his special brand of seeing the other, meeting the other, transforming the other. Not, certainly not, Mitt Romney in the signature cardigan and a plastered-on mustache which, by the way made him look more like Hitler than the humble coach, kneeling in a sickening gimmick, making an offering to the flourescent-pink-garbed Sinema.

SHE’s spitting on America.

Can I spit back before exorcizing the sense of inevitable demise of our Republic?

An act of faith. Into the ground my weary disdain, my frothy pessimism. Pattoowie.


new recording 16

Recording, if it works, gawd I’m a dolt — is four minutes forty six seconds.

And suddenly, November

A crappy day. But is it, really? K and I had a nice walk around noon, which we interrupted to drop off wedding band and engagement ring for resizing. To fit the current me.

But it is a crappy day in terms of the Virginia governor’s race. I downright exhausted myself watching Steve Kornacki early in the evening, then checking in on everyone’s hot takes on twitter through the night. (Here’s my twitter feed.)

For me, there are THREE main take aways:

1) racism as a platform works. According to Sherilynn Ifill, a civil rights attorney for the NAACP,  we ought to be asking why that is.

2) Democrats won an impressive array of posts last night. Boston elected their first female and first person of color as mayor; Pittsburgh, New York City, and Kansas City all elected Black mayors; Cincinnati elected its first Asian mayor; Virginia elected its first Black woman for Lt. Governor. Good news spelled out here.

3) Democrats need to fight fire with fire. Jesus, how could so much reporting on CRT fail to mention until paragraph 47 that it IS NOT EVEN TAUGHT IN THE VIRGINIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Accountability and results and appropriate (fierce) media messaging are going to matter so much going into the midterms.

I’ve been posting work to Etsy today. Tedious. Measure this, describe that, and for some reason the postage choices were all fucked up.

The oaks across the way catch the late afternoon sun and turn brilliant gold. Maybe that’s the truest statement here!