Thursday, November 8, 2018

Get Well RBG

A relatively sane moment in the nation's capital might have gone completely unnoticed this morning (because it apparently included no name calling, finger pointing, or press deriding):

The investiture of Brett Kavanaugh.

It was an invitation-only, six-minute long rite-of-passage/presentation of the papers behind the hallowed courtroom doors where the highest judges in our land preside over the trickiest issues in our society. This was the resulting photo op:

From left to right: retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., President Donald J. Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, Mrs. Ashley Kavanaugh, Associate Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Elena Kagan.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing from the gathering. Chief Justice Roberts didn't mention it...I suppose because it was Brett Kavanaugh's hour.

But, well, oops! RBG wins the news cycle.

Justice Ginsburg fell in her office last night, went home, tossed and turned, then took herself to the hospital this morning. She was admitted with three fractured ribs. Ouch. Those of us who appreciate the national treasure that is RGB stopped everything when we heard the news, got out the rosary beads/incense sticks/singing bowls/prayer shawls and sent our highest and best hopes for healing into the Realm of Mystery.

Those of you with less appreciation for the opinions of Justice Ginsburg, try to hide your ugly sides today.  Stay off  social media if you can't contain your snark. You'll regret those nasty comments. You will.

Let the woman heal. Which she will. (Fun fact: In 2012, Justice Ginsburg broke two ribs and didn't mention it for months. She never missed a day of court.)

Have the decency to wish this woman a speedy recovery. She's 85. She's worked hard for your country most of her life...the last 25 years on the Supreme Court. She wants to do it another 5 years. (#goals) Let's be compassionate humans for an hour or two today. Pretend it's your Gramma.
Make America Kind Again, I say.

May the political vultures circle themselves into dizzy butter.
The day is coming when they will reap what they sow.

Godspeed Justice Ginsburg, from every kind person in America.
There are still plenty of us.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Morning Texas

What the ever lovin' f*%#, Texas?

The basic math of our state of redness today is blowing my mind.

On October 19 - not even one month ago - we were toasting our efforts at signing up a record number of voters in the Lone Star State. 15.8 million, to be exact. The Secretary of State's office took an extra week of data entry time to get everyone loaded up. Hooray! We will be voting the change we want to see in the country on November 6, that's what we were dreaming.Wax up those flag-blue surf boards...the wave was a'comin' to Texas!! Beto O'Rourke was standing in the middle of the Red Sea, on the verge of an Election Day miracle.

Fast-forward. Yesterday. November 6, 2018.

You know how many of those registered Texans voted? 8.3 million. 52%
52%...Let it sink in.
That means 7.5 million of the celebrated, ready-to-vote registrants didn't get the message:

Um, now you VOTE!

But they didn't.
Not yesterday.
Not on one of the 11 days of early voting.
Just. Not. At. All.

You know why we have Ted Cruz in the US Senate for another 6 years?  213,750 votes, that's why.

In my blue-dot TX neighborhood (Travis/Williamson counties), 249,000 registered voters didn't bother to go to the polls. That coulda won it.

Our biggest county in Texas...Harris (Houston), had no trouble showing up wearing blue last night, but...C'MON PEOPLE...826,000 registered voters in Harris county DID NOT VOTE. Just a quarter of you could have delivered the miracle for Texas.

Even in Beto's home county of El Paso, 200,000 registered voters didn't vote yesterday. If you were one of them, I hope you don't mention it to your Abuelita.

It makes no sense to me. I love to vote. Even though I live in a state where my candidate rarely wins a race, I LOVE TO VOTE. It makes me feel lucky and free and, well, weirdly important.

Try it,'ll like it.
And until 2020, ponder this cartoon by the talented, Pulitzer prize winning Nick Anderson. See if you find yourself in the majority. If you do, then comethehellon. Vote next time. Your vote is your voice. It makes a difference.


Monday, November 5, 2018

On Voting. And Caring.

My friend Don is living with a predicted life-ending glioblastoma. Aka malignant brain tumor. The kind that took John McCain, Beau Biden, and Ted Kennedy. It's real. It's bad. It changes everything. Everyday.

He calls the tumor Garym (the m is a silent nod to the keyboard confusion a brain tumor introduces to a guy who's spent his life typing like the wind at the computer without error). Don does his best to stay strong, active, and upbeat while recovering from brain surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Some days are, understandably, better than others.

One thing Garym has changed is Don's ability to think very far into the future. Celebrating each day is the biggest work to be done. Of course it is.

Garym has also tangled up my friend's ability to write his thoughts down - in an email to a friend, or on a list created during a middle of the night flash of brilliance, or on his blog - which he's kept going for 13 years.

Until this morning, the blog had been abandoned since three months before Don's cancer diagnosis. He told me - just yesterday - how very much he grieved the lack of synaptic success between his busy brain and his fingertips on a keyboard. Writers do not like to watch people ache over not being able to write. Heartbreaker.

Then came this morning, and a fresh, new, dictated/scribed post from my old friend:

It made me smile. And cry a bit. I mean, seriously, would I give a flyin' tomato about the future of our democracy if I had a glioblastoma timer set on this gig called life? The man doesn't even have grandchildren to fret about. He just cares. Deeply. And he wants the rest of us to care, too. About our government. About our right to choose who calls the shots. About free-thinking and free-expression and democracy. 

I had my own Rock the Vote blog post in mind for today. It was just a simple list:
  1. Vote like your high school Civics teacher is watching. 
  2. Vote like your neighbor had to sell her house to pay medical bills. 
  3. Vote like your grandmother is marching through Mexico in search of a safe place to live. 
  4. Vote like your son/daughter had to cower in a classroom closet while listening to screaming and gunfire. 
  5. Vote like your skin is brown.
  6. Vote like your son/daughter is (still) carrying a gun in Afghanistan.
  7. Vote like you believe in democracy

And today I'll add: 

  •  Vote like a guy who's living difficult days with brain cancer        asked you to. 

If you use the internet well enough to find a blog post, I'm betting you can find your polling location

Your vote is your voice. And we need all the voices this go 'round. 

Please vote.  Do it for Don. 


Thursday, November 1, 2018

This is The Day

It's been 6+ weeks since I pondered my writing self with more undivided attention than I ever imagined being comfortable with. After 12 days of solitude, self-care, and deep dives into the soul while languishing in the comfort of this beautiful spot in Washington state...

...I felt some clear certainty about a number of things in my life, but was still fairly wobbly about the writing. Now it is November 1. Forty-seven days post Whidbey Island.

Today - finally - is the day.

It's the day to believe I still have a voice in this world and a story worth telling and some words somewhere in the cellar of my being with which to speak-and-tell. It's the day to acknowledge there might be bigger things to do in the world than sit at this desk and puzzle over syntax and character development, timelines and grammar technicalities. There absolutely are much bigger things to do, but they are not mine.

It's the day to stop crying about the wasteland of the last five years, during which I mourned and moped and muddled through day upon day, creating nothing more than a grocery list. It's the day to keep all the broken promises to my Muse, sit my procrastinating ass down on this yoga ball, and get to work.

It's the day to write.

My goal is 2000 words a day. And for the record, it's 4:07 PM and these are the first 240 to make it out of my brain and onto a page. Nothing too inspiring about that. But the kitchen is clean, the patio leaves swept up, a load of laundry sloshing around in the washing machine. I've ordered a new bedspread, planned a weekend birthday celebration, and tried new techniques for curling my hair. That last one was the wake up call: The stalling is over.

It's November 1. Time to write.
I feel better already.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

On Writing

What can I possibly write? 

Say that with different emphasis on each word/phrase, and you have the upshot of the stream of consciousness that's defined  my 7 days of Muse-Tracking here on Whidbey Island. (The brilliant Zen Buddhist Gail Sher opens her book about writing with a similar angst.)

What can I possibly write? (aka I have nothing important to say)
What can I possibly write? (aka There are surely things I cannot write)
What can I possibly write? (aka Who, me?)
What can I possibly write? (aka Probably not write)

If I were an innocent Muse, I'd be hiding out, too.

In all honesty, my darling Muse has been on the run for almost five years. I don't know exactly why I stopped writing in 2014...I have lots of excuses/guesses...but I can tell you if you've received a greeting card from me in the last 4 years, then you've seen most of my work. Three finished novels in the Dropbox file, high profile NYC agent secured, a handful of rejections from editors at the country's top 10 publishing houses, and ka-boom. Writing done. Well run dry.

"Tired of writing into a void."
I'm pretty sure that's a direct quote from me.

I was 10 years old when people started telling me I was a writer. I'd penned (probably penciled) a funny little story about a girl named Angela who invented the first dishwasher.
Angela = the name my 10-year old self wished I'd been given at birth.
Dish washing = my least favorite family-supporting chore.

Some might say I was writing what I knew. Which, of course, is highly recommended.

So I have come to this place, and this desk 2100 miles from home, and these anxious moments to ask myself: What do I know? Can I write it? The answer, I'm really disappointed to say, is not coming quickly. (And jeez, I loathe the mocking of the blinking cursor.)

The writer Lorrie Moore makes this recommendation, which is also not inspiring me: I think you should become a writer only if you have no choice. First try being something, anything else. 

I have spent plenty of time in my fairly long life trying to be something else. But, damnit, I have this relentless nag inside me that says I am not finished creating.

Writers write. That's all there is to it.

But the work is a calling. If the calling subsides, so be it.

And that, dear friends, is why I'm here. To write or not to write...
Thank you for reading.