A Life Well-lived

Our dear friend Linda died yesterday morning.

I couldn’t write yesterday. Two apocalyptic events: Linda’s death and Kavanaugh’s ascension, sent me reeling. But today, grateful for the hours buffering Then from Now, I think I’m ready to compare the two.

Brett Kavanaugh takes his place in our national history by way of ugliness and deception. He is now a member of the United States Supreme Court, vaulting to that coveted position on the heels of those whose politics trumped reason. Questions of ethics and veracity, accusations of sexual assault . . . all were lost in the rising cacophony of rhetoric and lies riding the tide of this country’s burgeoning tribal divide.  Kavanaugh’s nomination and confirmation epitomize ‘good ol’ boy politics’ at its worst. From this day forward, and for the unforeseeable future, he is a part of this nation’s history. I have no doubt he will use his position to steer this country toward conservative values that celebrate money and power at the expense of decency and freedom.

Linda D., whose ravaged body is being prepared for Tuesday’s final internment, will be remembered by the small group of people fortunate enough to have known her. We loved her dearly. She faced a devastating diagnosis with unwavering faith and quiet grace. Throughout her life, Linda was a good person: caring and thoughtful, loving and giving, honest and forthright, empathetic and brave, sweet-natured and funny. Never comfortable ‘making waves,’ she found her voice the last two years of her life: speaking up for herself and for her friends, taking control of her treatment and–as much as fate would allow–living, and dying, on her own terms. Her friends became her caregivers willingly and lovingly. Linda was the epitome of kindness and decency, a joy to be around, a special human being. To know Linda was an honor and a privilege. Her friendship was a gift; her death, a profound loss. Like Kavanaugh, her character defined her, but there ends the comparison.

In all ways and in no small measure, our little Linda truly made this world a better place.

 

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Saturday, January 27, 2018: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly–Scratch That

One day at a time. Alleluia.

It’s been a while since I posted on this little blog. I’ve thought about it many times over the last few months, actually found myself with my fingers poised on the keyboard ready to fly. But my heart wasn’t in it, I think because I was wrestling with possible content: was I going to write about writing–which I haven’t done in months–or was I going to write about this president and what he’s doing to this country? The former topic seemed ridiculous in light of the fact that, you know. The latter seemed too daunting, too depressing.

But today, right now, I’m ready to tackle the good, the bad, and the ugly . . . in reverse order. Eating the lima beans before the cupcake as it were. And so, without further adieu. . .

The Ugly

Yeah, that guy. I could slap a photo of our spineless congress there, too. Or ‘The Republicans.’ Sean Hannity. The Alt Right. Big Oil. Spin it however you want: there are people in this country doing bad things right now, folks; people hell-bent on destroying the very fabric of our democracy, our ethics, our environment, our free press, our rights as citizens of this country, our charity, our humanity. Not a day goes by–seriously, not one day–that we don’t bear witness to real attacks on the values we hold so dear.

At least, on paper.

At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.

But the truth is, we have only ourselves to blame. For whatever reason, this man is our president, and millions of people believe he’s the greatest thing this country has ever seen, and this congress is failing to uphold and defend the very checks and balances they were elected to champion. Which leads me to

The Bad

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Him AGAIN?

But see, this guy right there, this smug fool mugging in front of the camera, represents the worst in us: self-righteousness without empathy, morals, ethics, dignity, or humility. He doesn’t care about me or you, he only cares about himself: how he looks, how he is perceived. His super-inflated ego belies his utter incompetence and apparent self-loathing, which drives his sick need for uncompromising loyalty and mindless accolades. . .

My opinion, of course. YMMV.

Thing is, this man–this sick and sorry bastard–is not the cause of the hate and chaos we see in this world. He’s a product of it. We have brought this on ourselves, folks. And it is up to us to do something about it now and in the days and weeks and months to come, by talking instead of pointing fingers, listening instead of yelling, voting with our hearts as well as our beliefs. I’ve said it before: each of us has a role in how this mess is going to play out. To  remain silent is to be complicit. Are we going to do what is right and what is best for all of us, or are we going to close our minds, dig in our heals and settle for our own destruction? That doomsday clock is ticking. The clock itself is ticking, which brings me to

The Good

This is the toughest part for me to write today. Today, a dear friend of mine called me from her hospital bed and told me doctors think she now has liver cancer. She’s already been in the fight for her life, first getting the devastating diagnosis of malignant melanoma, then finding out it had spread to her lungs, and now, this. My heart aches for her, especially because this person, this amazing woman, is–without question–the kindest and sweetest soul I know on this earth.

This woman drifted out of my life ten years ago. Last year, she drifted back in, three weeks before her father died and she received that first, awful, diagnosis. I can’t help but feel it was fate that brought us together again at that time in her life, and in my own. I’d been struggling with my own personal challenges and found myself floundering in a sea of self-pity and self-doubt. It’s too easy to lose sight of what is really important in this life we each are given: love for others, friendship that transcends time and distance, family . . . in this tumultuous world, it’s too easy to lose sight of the good in people, to lose our faith; too easy to forget that there are people on this earth whose struggles we can’t fathom. It is only by the grace of god or luck or fate that we don’t walk in their shoes bearing the sorrow of their heavy hearts.

I don’t want this new year to be like last year. I want to find the good in people. I want to find hope and hold it close to me and not let it be lost in a mire of anger and fear. I want to celebrate life with all of its joy and heartache, too. I want to cling to the good I see, and do what I can to ease the suffering of those I love so much, I want to be positive and courageous and hopeful. I want to believe in miracles. I want hope because hope is good, you guys.

Hope is exactly what we need.

——————–

ETA: My friend just called me with amazing news: it might be a blood clot near her liver for chrissake and not cancer at all. I can’t believe it–scratch that.

Today, right now, I can.

Time Out

Hi there, peeps.

Assuming, I know.

Since the illustrious 45’s unexpected coup in November of last year, I’ve been lax writing in this little blog. Actually, I’ve been lax since whatever month/year it was that Agent B and I parted company and I feel bad about that, like I’m letting myself and my (dwindling) audience down.

I know I’ve stated in the past that I created this blog primarily to give voice to the process–process, and product–of writing. And yet, time and again, I’ve scrapped a writing-based topic to accommodate billowing angst relative to Trump et al. Every time I write a post about that man, my guilt-bag gets a little heavier. It’s getting harder and harder to drag that thing around.

See, that’s what happens when a writer abandons her goal, especially a goal so publically stated.

One would assume the author of a writing blog would actually be, you know, writing. But my writing muse has been visiting me with alarming irregularity, and my WIP’s wordcount has suffered mightily in her absence, lurching forward in fits and starts when it moves at all. Same goes for queries sent out relative to ALBERT and CHERRY.

I can blame this unpleasant impasse on the unfortunate fact that I don’t have an agent anymore. Or, that my country may or may not be going down the tubes. Or, that my family has dealt with challenges of late and often finds itself floundering in an emotional maelstrom. Then again, aren’t we all?

But the truth is, Inertia has been an enticement I can’t resist, and Guilt–that freeloader–has been more than happy to come along for the ride.

Yesterday’s emails coughed up another rejection for CHERRY. On the scale of one to FUCK YOU, this rejection was up in the OUCH, DAMMIT category. I’d found an indie publisher I thought would be a really good fit, sent the editor my query, synopsis, and the first 10,000 words. She liked what she saw and requested the full and then, yesterday . . . suffice to say that particular love-fest didn’t last. She provided feedback; I shall spare you the gory details. I responded with a short but sweet thank-you because I’m a professional writer and that’s what professional writers do, never mind the fact that I have yet to make a dime from my writing.

See, that’s the point. Unless I keep writing and querying, I will be be stuck in the same boat I’ve been in. Nothing changes when nothing changes. Yesterday, I was disappointed, sure. But then I thought, Write something, goddammit. I pulled up my WIP, got down to business and by seven p.m. yesterday, I’d passed that elusive 60,000-word mark, which is a significant milestone for me. My goal for SOULLESS is 72K-words, which means I have fewer than 12K to go.

I won’t get there by sitting on my ass.

This little blog has served me well, in large part to those of you who’ve read this blog, shared your own stories, offered suggestions and support. Truly, I can’t thank you enough for that. I hope in some small way I’ve returned the favor; hope, too, that down the road, this journey can continue.

For now, I’m taking a little detour. I hope you guys will be there when I get back, but I won’t blame you if you won’t; after all, you have your own lives to live, your own novels to write, your own daily crappola to slog through and try to figure out. You don’t need me to be bending your ears and anyway, I haven’t lately, not to any great extent. Heck, you may not even realize I’ve gone.

Which means I might be back before you know it.

xoxo kk

 

Yes, Virginia, There is a Monster in the White House

 

 

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Scary Monster in the White House.
Papa says, ‘If you see it on CNN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Scary Monster in the White House?

VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s or especially, the current POTUS’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Truth and knowledge. Alas, VIRGINIA, both have been sorely tested of late.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Monster in the White House. He exists as certainly as hate and fear exist, and you know that they abound and test your faith in humanity. Alas! how wonderful would be the world if there were no Monster in the White House. It would be as lovely, as hopeful and inspiring, as if there were no WARS or WHITE SUPREMACISTS  or TERRORISTS, FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC. There would be childlike faith then–hope, charity and tolerance then–to make tolerable this existence. Instead, we have no enjoyment, no measure of good sense nor common decency. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world has all but been extinguished.

Not believe in that Monster in the White House! You might as well not believe in the evil that marched in Charlottesville to the drums of hate and oppression! You might get your papa to hire men to watch CNN’s broadcast of press conferences held by the Monster, in the Whit House or at his hate-filled rallies, but even if they did not see the Monster, nor CATCH HIS TWEETS, what would that prove? Far too many Americans see what they want to see, but that is no sign that there is no Scary Monster in the White House. The most real things in the world are those that neither innocent children nor foolish adults, nor Republicans who care more about reelection than they do about the Preservation of Democracy, can see. Did you ever see that pussy-grabbing video? Have you yourself witnessed the Monster making fun of that disabled reporter, or inciting violence at his rallies, or lying to the American public time and time again? Perhaps not, but that’s no proof that those things never happened. They did happen, and they happen still. Nobody can conceive or imagine the damage that man has wrought that there are unseen and unseeable in this country, and in the world.

You may tear apart the Monster’s mind and heart to see what makes the ugly noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith and love and truth can push aside that curtain and view and picture the sickness which lies beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing less real and abiding.

No Scary Monster in the White House! Dear God! he lives, and every day he lives and breathes and vomits his lies and ugly rhetoric, another piece of our collective hope is ripped asunder . A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he and those like him will do their best destroy all is decent and honorable, and break the hearts of children.

 

Scary

It was funny. Until it wasn’t.

The other day, I happened to catch The President’s Show on Comedy Central, which included a skit in which Veep Mike Pence learns about ethics . . . or not.
( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLUEs4zmBHw). The three ‘guests’ who seek to answer Pence’s ethics-based questions slowly come to the realization that their host isn’t the beleaguered wingman he appears to be; that instead, Pence is a shrewd and calculating player in it for the long haul; willing to bide his time until the Trump presidency implodes and he can assume the role he’s secretly coveted all this time.

Truth is, should the Trump presidency topple, the man who would take his place is more of a threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than Trump could ever be. Where Trump is a loose cannon shooting off his mouth wildly and in all directions, Pence is the proverbial Voice of Reason. Where Trump is egotistical, rash, uneducated in the ways of government, Pence is pious, thoughtful, politically savvy. Where Trump’s over-the-top persona is tough to swallow–even for some within his own party–Pence is well-regarded and highly respected by his peers. Where Trump’s agenda is all over the place, Pence’s agenda is firmly entrenched in policies driven by an unwavering faith in God and Country.

Pence is Calm to Trump’s Chaos.

Prior to last year’s election, the website ontheissues.org (a non-partisan, non-profit organization providing information to voters about candidates) posted each candidate’s stance on numerous topics. Reading through Mike Pence’s page (http://www.ontheissues.org/Mike_Pence.htm ), one begins to see a pattern of deeply rooted values and beliefs that promote religious dogma over individual rights and freedoms; big business over environment; military might over social services; the rich’s interests over those of the poor. His votes reflect his views on gays, women, the environment, the poor, immigrants: Pence is “anti-” all these things. He has been, for a long time.

The current administration is one of the worst, on so many levels. I still find it extremely difficult to accept that a man like Trump–a man who swore he could shoot somebody on the street and still get votes, who bragged about grabbing women by the you-know-what, who openly mocked a disabled reporter, who lies without blinking and incites hatred without remorse–could be elected as 45th President of the United States. That’s crazy. But the thought that a man like Pence is one step away from being number 46?

That’s scary as shit, you guys.

Laughing Time is OVER

Seriously.

I just read my last post and I take it back.

Every time I think to myself, This is the last straw, Trump et al throw another blinded eye into the toxic, roiling cauldron that is 45’s presidency. Case in point? Today’s declaration that transgender people will be banned from serving in the military ‘in any capacity’ (http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-announces-ban-transgender-people-serving-military-n786621).

REALLY? Seriously, how much more can we take? Scratch that–how much more is this country willing to take? I actually thought this was the deal breaker:

Unbelievable, right? But nope. Remember this?

Or maybe, this?

Surely by now, our eyes have been opened to the reality of the situation: We’ve elected a pathological liar, a sick misogynist, an egomaniacal buffoon and, as a result, this country is under assault. Dangerous times, folks. We’re slipping ever closer to that place we never believed we could go.

Welcome to The UN-united Fascist States of America.

Alas, nothing that man does or says, or has done or has said,  has been unconscionable enough to be the deal-breaker here. Which means the American people have to take matters into their own hands now. I’m not suggesting violence (although I have imagined kicking that fucker square in the gold-plated, albeit tiny, Trump family jewels). No, what I’m suggesting (read: praying fervently for) is that we, the people–at least, those of us who still have a fucking brain in our heads and a g.d. mouth on our mugs–SPEAK UP. To our elected representatives. Our neighbors. Our families. That we pledge to STAND AGAINST and VOTE OUT those who still, even now, support that crazy fucker, his minions, and his policies. That we REMAIN VIGILANT and DO NOT STOP, unless or until that man is GONE, OUT, HISTORY.

Those CAPS reminds me of a joke. He’s in office. Our country is under siege. This ain’t funny no moh.

 

POLY (Many) + TICKS (Blood Sucking Parasites) = We need to &@%$#@!%?! LAUGH!

Okay, so what would you rather read right now: Exhibit A…

 

…more than one quarter of the Administration’s appointees so far to environmental, energy, and natural resource management agencies have close ties to the fossil-fuel industry.

http://time.com/4756797/environment-donald-trump-100-days/

…or Exhibit B…

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I vote B. I think we could all use some kinda funny right now with everything that’s going on. Republican Senators just drafted a new version of TrumpCare, giving major tax savings to the rich and the Royal Shaft to the rest of us. A congressional candidate who body slammed a reporter got elected into office the very next day. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ4ircmvYXE ) Trump’s EPA director is hell-bent of reversing the Obama administration’s anti-fossil fuel strategy. Trump signed a bill in April that could scrap National Monuments. The U.S. is pulling out of the Paris Accord. Then there’s this:

betsy.jpg

Sometimes, I think humor is the only thing that can make this political clusterf**k palatable and the snarkier, the better. When Ben Carson stated on Sirius XM Radio that poverty was a ‘state of mind,’ Star Truck alumnus George Takei tweeted, “You know what else is a state of mind? Always being a blithering idiot.” True dat, George. We need all the snark we can get, with something like 3 years, 6 months, 29 days, 11 hours and 4 minutes left of Trump et al, according to TickCounter.com , so let’s try to make the most of it, shall we?

As a proud American, I’m doing my part right now. I googled ‘hilarious business signs’ for some funny, so enjoy. Just remember to keep your expectations low (so as not to shock the system), and try not to think too hard about reality right now.

You know what they say about expectations and reality…

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Lovely.

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Funny Business Signs 18

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🙂