Lies and stuff. 

People often tell me things. Or reveal themselves when I happen to notice. I’m a fairly good listener. Or at least, I’m quiet, which is often mistaken for listening. I tend to listen and evaluate and pay attention a lot more than folks realize, I guess. It’s a learned mechanism, for the most part, from feeling awkward in new social situations and having the experience often since we moved a lot when I was younger. 

Most of the time I think they are telling me the truth, at least as they know it to be. 

I only know of one person that I caught out in a blatant and complete untruth. Mostly because he made up a story based on something that I said, but he wasn’t listening or wasn’t familiar with a term I’d used and so his premise to the story was completely off base. 

***

When we were in our teens my best friend and I became involved in Rennaisanse Faires. She started going out with a fellow she met at a faire who went by the name of Fidget.  I can’t remember his actual name, though I’m reasonable sure I knew it at the time. 

Over the course of their relationship we began to suspect that he was something of a pathological liar. We mostly felt that the real proof that he was not a member of a top secret Japanese martial arts gang was the fact that he told us about it. He had a couple stories that he liked to tell that we had a fairly good idea weren’t true but since he was mostly amusing, no one seemed to be getting hurt, and she really did like him, we just sort of went along with it. He was one of those guys who would hear your story and have a “me too” and “I was there” amendment. 

***

When I was 13 or so, I went with my grandma on this fantastic trip to Africa with long layovers in New York and London coming and going. One of the things that we did while in London was to take a tour down the Thames River  on a boat called The Marchioness. A few weeks after we returned home there was an accident where a garbage skow* rammed into The Marchioness, tearing it in two and sinking it. This seemed like quite a coincidence and certainly lucky for us that it didn’t occur while we were there. 

*if you, like Fidget, don’t know, this is a boat that carries garbage. 

****

We were talking about this weird accident that happened with the boat in London. He picked up the “me too” ball and ran with it. According to him he was sitting on a park bench overlooking the river when it happened. He was close enough to see the truck driver’s look of horror as he careened out over the river and crashed into the boat. It was very exciting and traumatic. 

So, yeah. We knew for sure after that that he was full of it. We would laugh about it, but for whatever reason never called him out on it. 

Eventually the bag of things wrong with him became heavy enough that she let him go. Not specifically for the bs he would say, but I’m sure it was a factor. 

Modern Landscapes 

   
    
 

Argentinian Book Tango

So some books feel like they are shouting.  It’s like all the emotions are turned up a notch and there is no real let up all the way through. At they end you feel kind of wrung out like you were the one doing the yelling. It kind of clouds the issue of whether a book is good or not. It’s almost like you can’t hear the story because of the noise. 

We need to be given some places to rest, I think. Some moments that are less dramatic. The way they do in the Argentine Tango. 

My understanding of the basic tango step is that it’s:

Quick, quick, slow, slow, slow. I think of it as:

T.A. _N_G_O_

So in this dance you’re doing with your partner (as you might call your reader) is made if long slow moves broken up by fast snaps of steps. According to Len Goodman, one of the judges on Dancing With the Stars, there needs to be light and shadow.  If it’s all fast paced, then it’s sort of frantic, overwhelming and hard to follow. 

There needs to be a push and pull and stops and starts. It can’t be all starts after all. Just give us a little downbeat in the rhythm sometimes so we can catch up. 

The tortoise and the hare. 

So this story has always sorta bothered me. 

Not so much as a story, but for the lesson I’m supposed to learn from it. 

As a person who’d usually most identify as the turtle in this story, I know I am supposed to take away the idea that hard work, perserverence, and a methodical approach can win the day against speed and flash. Slow and steady wins the race. 

The problem, as I see it, is that a rabbit will always beat a turtle in a foot race. Unless, as the story illustrates, the rabbit is a complete fuckoff and is off napping while the turtle maintains his grueling pace and determined focus all the while. 

The problem is that there are a lot of focused and determined rabbits out there.  And those are hard to beat. 

So maybe the lesson isn’t so much about whether or not you can beat the rabbit at his event. Maybe the lesson should be to decide if that’s even the race you want to run. And if it is, maybe the rabbit isn’t the yardstick you use to measure yourself against in the first heat. 

Maybe you need to pace yourself against an armadillo first.  Or train with the rabbit so you both get better and maybe you can develop more rabbit like tendencies in your racing.  

I don’t know all the answers. I do know that you can totally beat that guy as long he doesn’t stay on the path or takes a nap or stops to eat or just generally does something that takes him out of the race so you can toil on into infinity and glory is not the lesson I want my kid to learn. 

The real challenge for me is that I identify with both the turtle and the rabbit. Which is to say that I feel slow and steady but I also have a tendency to meander and wander off to take a peak at things and smell the flowers and use run on sentences. 

And I’m okay with that. It does mean that I might not be the first in line to win in the rabbit race.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t win. Because…

this may come as a surprise,

but…

THAT IS NOT THE ONLY RACE!!

It really isn’t. (But it sure seems like it sometimes, doesn’t it?)

#EmpathyMatters

I am not a particularly brave person. I have trouble asserting myself and I avoid confrontation whenever possible.  Most of the time this is not a big deal. But occasionally I need to voice a (potentially) controversial opinion and I find it very hard not to censor myself in order to not draw negative attention to me. 

I have opinions. Very strong ones. But usually I don’t share them because I don’t trust most folks to be civilized in their discourse about it. I am ill prepared to deal with poor reactions and behaviors. 

But things are bigger than me. 

My heart feels so bruised and battered from the nearly constant blows from the death and despair and casual hate that is becoming so commonplace. 

The sad thing is that I am fairly well privileged and so I am not subjected to much in the way of discrimination in my daily dealings. I can, if I choose, not watch the news or read it on the internet and it goes away. I can, because of an accident of my birth affecting the tone of my skin, get upset about the violence present in the world and and shut it out and continue about my life. 

I have this ability. This is a privilege that many don’t have because they cannot just put away the color of their skin or change the gender of the persons that they love and are attracted to. (Of course, sexuality is more private than skin color and can be denied or hidden.)

The thing about change is that it can’t only come from the bottom up. It has to also come from the middle outward and the top down. So those of us who have privilege need to be able to see around our blinders and listen to people who have a different perspective than us. 

Don’t discount their experience just because it doesn’t or hasn’t happened to you. 

Don’t discount the label of privilege because your life has also had struggles. Privilege doesn’t mean you don’t struggle. It just means that you don’t have certain automatic struggles to overcome. 

We can all do better. We must do better. Look toward each other with empathy, respect, and heart. 

#bluelivesmatter
#blackandbluelivesmatter

#EmpathyMatters 

#whatthefuckisthematter?

#hateisthematter

#heartsmatter

Oh, The Horror! O.O

I used to read horror stories. I went through a Stephen King phase. My favorite book of his was actually one of his less horrorble: The Eye of the Dragon. But I didn’t read a ton of his. 

I also, at around that same time, was reading Koontz. Man, that dude can write some creepy stuff. Dean Koontz is very good at getting inside your head and giving you the heebie jeebies. I still sometimes think about his book Whispers and it’s been 20 years or so since I read it. I only read a few of his books as well. 

The reason is that while I was reading these types of books I could feel the sad and the bad seeping out into my day to day life. I was less happy and more gloomy. 

So I quit. 

And that was a good call. 

Now, every once in a while I’ll nudge up against the darker stories. Heather Graham does some that are labeled as romance, but are a bit darker and usually have a creepy scary plot. Not alway horror or gruesome, but sometimes. 

Another author who writes darker stories (still with my romance requirement) that I like is Sharon Sala. 

But I can only do a little of those before I have to scamper back to my more sunny place. 

I do the same thing with info on the Internet. I know that bad things happen in the world. I don’t hide my head in the sand. But I cannot stand to be fully informed of the details of many of the terrible things that go down out there. 

There are things, like abuse, that collectively we need to know about and bring out into the light of day. But once the light has been brought, then the specifics of a trial and divorce are private to the parties involved and are not my business. Reading about the evidence and everyone’s opinion about who did what and the haranguing and caterwauling about a situation that is already bad enough is more than my little heart can take. 

If I thought that it was important or useful for me to have that information, I would do so. But these are not things that happen near me, to people I know (except as famous folk), and nothing I do in any way can effect the outcome. So I feel that my absorbing this darkness does no one any good and, in fact, does me harm. 

I have seen abuse and violence in real life. It’s part of why I am so sensitive to it. So I shield myself from as much of it as I am able to.

Write Away

So, if we stick to the recent theme of how I wish to write, aka: how I wish you wouldn’t. (Not that I wish you wouldn’t write, but the ways that persons sometimes write that annoy me.) Since I am not yet in charge of the universe and am also pretty sure that I don’t want to be in charge of any more than I already am (this is why we don’t have any pets right now, for the most part) I have resigned myself to the slog through some books that aren’t written all that well (according to ME) in among the ones that are or at least aren’t so obvious about the things that annoy me.  

For today I will mainly dwell on things that I’ve noticed that I like. I tend to read romance novels right now and that genre has a long history of dippy people running around saying and doing dippy things. I love books with smart characters who have snappy dialogue. ESPECIALLY WOMEN. I really hate it when female characters in books turn stupid with love. That’s not to say that we can’t all behave stupidly at some point, but can we pass the jar of stupid around to some other folks so they have a turn? 

So a couple of authors that I really like for interesting stories with smartypants characters with sarcastic things to say are Jennifer Crusie and Elliot James. 

I like Crusie because her stories are kinda snappy and fast. I don’t feel all that comfortable synopsizing an author to a few inadequate sentences. So I guess I’m not going to. My favorite book of hers so far is Bet Me. 

Elliot James actually is less of a romance (though a romance does figure prominantly) and more of a fantasy writer. I like books that don’t take themselves too seriously.  His books are filled with humor and sarcasm. I read the book Charmed and was surprised by how much I liked it in spite of the less romance factor. (I’m a little addicted to that right now. I think it’s something of a widowhood coping mechanism.) I went ahead and requested the other two books after it that my library system had and I wasn’t disappointed at all. 

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