I'm looking back on 2016, and feeling a bit surprised! So much has happened! I had a job, lost it, and got a new one. I moved out of my parents' house and into my own apartment. I wrote a complete draft of a novel and revised it. It hasn't been everything that I expected, or everything I wanted, but it's been good. At the beginning of the year I set some goals for myself, which I wanted to look back on as this year comes to an end. ( Upon Reflection...Collapse )
While the world slowly unravels, like the edge of that old sweater that you have worn so many times it is given up entirely, life continues.
I went to work on Thursday and Friday at my second job, which is teaching art. It was exhausting, but enjoyable. I found myself thinking that it was good that I was busy so that I didn't have to dwell on the madness that has been consuming us all.
There have been racist attacks across the country. I am a white woman living in a relatively wealthy, mostly rural region of the northeast. By all reasonable standards, I am safe. I think it would be very easy for me to forget the danger that others are in, just because my days are still very normal.
I've kept writing and going to work. I have been reading really thoughtful articles from the NYT and watching some excellent pundits (including excellent segments from Samantha Bee and John Oliver) to make sense of it all. I had friends over on Saturday and we all drank too much and sobbed (in our very special, white liberal way) a bit at the thought of what the next few years will bring.
I've been trying to gather ways to be involved and support worthy organizations,and have decided that just buying shirts and bumper stickers and wearing pinsmay not be the best way to go about it. So I've donated to the ACLU (advocating for the development and support of civil rights for all) and have gathered some more links for organizations that I want to support. I don't have enough money to donate very much now, but I plan to do so as soon as I'm able. Here are some of the organizations I've heard of and been looking into:
That's all I have. If you can donate to support, please do. And if you know of any other organizations I should keep in mind, please let me know about them so that I can add to my list.
This puts my in mind of that sweater. The one you love, that you've worn half to death. We've all (or at least I have) had this perception of the world as generally good. America may not be perfect, I thought, but it's headed for good things. I always believed that our country was broken but healing. That warm sweater of denial was very comfortable, I've found,and this election hasn't so much unravelled an edge as snipped open some gaping holes. I can't deny it any longer - the world around us isn't headed for good things. It's devouring itself through greed and selfishness; people ignoring the vulnerable and pushing down the weak to get what they want. The worst thing is that we are all capable of this in little ways, simply because of how society is set up. I keep reminding myself that I am part of the problem, and I have to work to change that.
I'm not despairing, though. I think we can yank society back toward the path of kindness and respect. But it's going to be one hell of a fight,and I don't think it will be pretty. It will require humility and patience, none of which I have in great supply.
I'm working on it.
Dear Yuletide Author,
Thank you! You are an amazing person for writing something for me, and I'm so excited to read whatever you create. All you need to know about me is that I love nuanced characters, outrageous and complex plots, and reversals of fate. I adore antiheroes and villains, and I always love digging into the worldbuilding of myths and legends.
I will be more specific below, but whatever you do, happy writing!( Fandom SpecificsCollapse )
When I leave this place, I leave a patch of iris bulbs. They are in the back garden, sandwiched between brick-lain walls in a patch of dirt that has been mostly forgotten and gone to seed. One has bloomed, a deep crimson with wild streaks of yellow running from base to tip. They are caught in a web of shadow.
I brought the kids out, all twenty-three, to plant them in a wobbly line along the edge of the garden. They huddled in the grass, crouching tentatively to avoid all manner of creepy-crawly things that lurked in their imaginations. When we tamped the dirt down around the bulbs they shook and shivered, the grey clouds that had hung over us for most of a month having sunk into their bones.
For weeks afterward, the plants hung on at the edge of death; I watched nervously from the window until the sun came out and the rains poured down and the browning edges of the leaves turned green and strong, jagged blades pointed toward the sun.
I leave in three weeks. They’ve told me to go, that I’m unneeded. More accurately, they say that I’m not good enough. I have been fired, but in the way of the coward, in which I mean that I have been forgotten by choice.
I pack up my room now. I take something each day – a book, a picture from the wall, a box of supplies. I haven’t taken out the larger things yet, which I worked so hard to find and bring in, piece by piece, straining to shoulder alone. (I should have asked for help with the load, but I’ve never been one to rely on others.) Soon the room will be bare and sparse. The kids haven’t noticed that the things that make our room special are disappearing, one by one.
I will not take the iris. They deserve to stay and flourish, to reach up to the sun and spread the sharp edges of their leaves. The delicate confections of their flowers are wild things. Under the bushes heavy with white blooms, I hope the iris will spread and multiply, taking over the space outside my window in a way that I never could.
When I leave, the iris will stay. It’s likely I will never see the rest bloom. Others will; they will see the blooms that come each year and brighten this shadowed place.
They will see the riot of color that rises from black earth, where we went out and shivered, my children and I. Where we pushed our hands into the damp ground to make new life.
They will see what was left behind.
Petals, sweeping open to embrace the sky.
You Will Be Asked
When you go on a job interview
you will be asked:
What are three words that describe you?
It's a stock question
(hint: they haven't prepared, nor read your application)
You should not take this question seriously,
never answer with the truth.
Do not tell them
you are a romantic,
you fall in love as easy as breathing
never learn from your mistakes.
You hate to admit it: the word
childhood movies with Princes Most Charming and Princesses Most Beautiful who would rather lie asleep than go after what they most want;
movies with chance meetings and mistaken identities, with men who are charmingly rude and women who realize the power of love (almost) too late to be saved;
to be romantic is to be weak,
to be needy,
to be a woman.
to see the beautiful in the world around you,
to open your heart to new people,
to believe that every new person you meet is a new friend,
Do not tell them
you are forgetful,
stars in your eyes.
Don't let them know
you miss emails
lose your glasses,
you sometimes stop in the street with a dream in your head that blocks out all else
you've forgotten a thousand and one nightmares
anticipate ten thousand more.
You look at something red and forget where you are,
forget reality (cast it away)
for the slippery slick of blood at a murder scene;
you see clouds moving across a porcelain sky
consider how it would feel to roll and roil and tear yourself to pieces;
smell cut grass
imagine pristine 50s lawns
movie sets with pastel houses.
you have a body
lose your mind in the possibilities.
don't tell them
you are insubordinate.
You read porn in your spare time
eat chocolate black enough to rot your insides
watch illegal movies instead of doing work,
get splendid grades anyway.
You write terrible prose
words a piercing addiction you cannot shake.
You close the doors and make art, laugh, scream.
You are not stupid: you see the lines drawn in the
sand and neatly step over them; you are the invisible
ghost of what they will never admit to wanting,
what you will never admit to having.
You know that rules exist --
they are not for you.
You refuse to hate yourself
if you could be paid for them you would flaunt them.
It's a matter of money, really.
These are the things you will think
in a job interview,
when they ask you That Question.
Don't say them.
Lock your lips,
seal away the key.
You are not
to be such would be
You will lie.
You will be steely-eyed.
You will be inhuman.
you will get the job.