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Suddenly I’m hearing from people on my facebook feed who are demanding to know why other people on their feed aren’t posting up about Ferguson. They’re offended, and insisting that we tell them why we,”aren’t saying anything important.” And the general impression that I get from that is that they believe we don’t care.
I want to make it abundantly clear that I do care. I also want to make it abundantly clear that the digital world is not where I do my politics or my activism.
I pay attention: I read,* I talk with people, I listen to the radio. I spend a lot of time navigating and having heavy conversations with my teenage son. I make myself available, and I ask questions. I process and process and process. I pitch in where I’m able. I can honestly say that I am engaged and informed and active to the best of my abilities.
And I also engage in self care – I actively maintain a space on my own personal fb timeline where I can breathe and not deal with atrocities for 10 minutes at a time. The news eats me alive. I cannot think 24-7 about the terrible stuff that happens or I will fall the fuck apart, which is of absolutely no use to anyone.
When you don’t see news articles on my page, it does not mean that I’m not aware. It does not mean that I’m unaffected or disconnected or complicit.** It does not mean that I don’t do what I can in meatspace. It does not mean that I don’t believe in being the change I want to see in the world and actively work toward it. It does not mean that I’m living in a pretty pink bubble with my fingers in my ears.*** What it does mean is that I don’t want to argue with people on the internet. What it does mean is that I believe the political is personal, and it doesn’t have to happen on my facebook page for me to make change. What it does mean is that I believe I can be far more effective in person, and I prefer it that way.
So occasionally I get panicky about my son, Our Man Cub. It doesn’t happen that often – he’s really got good accountability, and we have a pretty great relationship, so I generally have a clue about things going on with him. Also, we share a desk, so I have at least his side of the conversation to glean the goings on from.* In general, I don’t ask a lot from him aside from chores and school and, you know, being a good member of our household. One of the things I do ask of him is for him to let me know where he is when he’s out and about. When he hangs out with his friends after school, the deal is that he texts his dad to remind him to swing by after work and pick him up. ‘Cos, dinner, natch.
Well, on Friday we got no text. Will Dearest called me to ask if Our Man Cub had come home instead of going to his friend’s place. And then it got wonky.
I mean, my first instinct read that he’d turned his phone off in school and then forgotten to turn it back on. Things happen.** That morphed into the possibility that he had his phone on DND (which I’ve done accidentally), or that his reception was poor. So I decided to call a few times. Ok, four times. Five? Anyway, he didn’t answer. So I decided to text bomb him in hopes that his pocket would eventually buzz.
What wound up happening is that my texts never actually went through – just like the text that he had sent to his dad when he got off the bus with his friend. He did eventually look at his phone and notice that there were five calls from home, and he called me and everything got straightened out. But in the meanwhile, I sent him a bunch of texts, all the while trying to keep it light – because while the rational me was repeating the mantra of, Cell service is poor in parts of town. Cell service is poor in parts of town. Cell service is poor in parts of town, irrational me was screaming something about ditches and bad people and shop accidents and the mothership. Yeh, ok, so that worry from when they’re tiny? Apparently, it doesn’t ever actually go away.
Man Cub eventually did get the text – his pocket went off when he got into the car with his dad. We all had a good giggle – so it turns out I’m funny when I’m nervous, who knew?*** And on Saturday when he went out with friends and kept me posted about where they were, I sent him back a whale with four bars, because he earned it, natch.
I apologize for the lack of a cut on this entry, but the image is just too big. And after wrassling with the screenshots to make them all one, I don’t have it in me to go back and cut the sucker in two. Also, one-bar whales are endangered (I heard it from a good source on teh internets). so I don’t want to accidentally cut one of them in half.
*Here’s what I can tell is going on: his friends are nice to hang out with and they are funny more often than not, and they poke good natured fun at each other. College is a priority, and so is co-op. They’re not all boys; there are some smart girls that they hang out with. The Ender Dragon is a big boss in a square world. Also, making sure the balloon is fixed is of utmost priority. Hands Like Houses is playing on Friday, they’ll be taking the bus here after school, and I’m responsible for driving them to the show and picking them up after. That’s what I know today.
**Personally, I’ve lost my phone in the bottom of my handbag with the ringer off for a goodly amount of time. It never rang, so I never went looking for it. At bedtime when I went to set the alarm, I tore the house apart. Eventually I dumped the handbag and it came bouncing out (it’s a good case), and everything was fine. But had it been a Friday night, I might not have found it until Sunday.
***Generally, anxiety just makes me belch. Which is great when it’s social anxiety because I’m meeting someone for the first time. Good. Times.
So, sister, there’s been some talk about my talk. I *can* call you sister, can’t I?
Have a look at this:
—Where are we going then?
—I ain’t your brother, a woman shouts.
—All right bloody hell sisters then, and everyone is laughing.
-from Iron Council by China Mieville
Iron Council is one of those books that I can just read and re-read, and it never suffers for it. It has trains, and remade people, and union politics, and golems, and sex workers, and civil rights, and magic, and it’s a fucking artful piece of writing. But all that aside, it’s the interaction in that quote that stays with me beyond the entire adventure, more than anything else at all.
Shall we talk about sisterhood a moment without getting granola? I mean, I’m sure that at least half the people reading this are expecting granola. I can get granola with you, if you want – personally, I’m down with the notion of sisterhood and the hippie magic associated with it. I have no shame around that stuff, ‘cos there’s nothing to get shameful about. But the hippie magic isn’t where I’m going when I call you sister.
Ok, so! Let me tell you what I was super secret squirrel about last week – I made a Thing!
Here’s the scoop – over the last year, Dearest Will & I have been doing yoga together, and both of us have been interested in learning to meditate. It’s been nice that the gentle yoga practice that we do together* has some guided meditation at the end, but we’ve both wanted something more. We tried a yoga nidra cd. We tried some chanting stuff with Deva Primal.** A little flirting with it, right?
And then enter the panic attacks.*** Poor Dearest Will started having them at the end of last year, and has been working with a therapist around that stuff, to some really great success. A couple months ago, she suggested to him that he should try meditation. Osm, right? She sent him home with some YouTube links, and a mission.
After some browsing the YouTube clips, hilarity ensued, as well as some aggravation on my part – why, for the love of Pete, do meditations always take place on the freaking beach? I find the beach to be one of the most stressful places I can possibly imagine – the heat, the garbage strewn all over the place, the reek of suntan lotion and stale beer, crowds, sand that follows you home and gets into everything you own. Lawdamercy, why??
So I ranted, Will giggled at me ranting, we discussed at length guided meditation clips and what we would both actually want from one. Being a skittery animal myself, I held that any good guided meditation should start with, Shh – it’s alright now.
So, in secret, I set to work. I wrote a script. I edited it. I read it out loud to myself and scrapped it. I started again. And again. And a third time, until I got it close to where I wanted it.
Then I emailed my friend Steve. This guy changed my life in 1990, when he handed me a cassette tape with Surfer Rosa on one side, and Goo on the other side – omogod, blissful noise! Seriously, I had No. Idea.† Anyway – Steve’s still making Good Noise these days, and with that in mind, I asked him if he could do 8 minutes of ambient music suitable for meditation.††
Steve sent me the track he came up with, pointed me in the direction of good (and free to evaluate) mixing software, complete with notes on how to cut and paste pieces and fix volume, and I got the hell on it.
Ok, so I’ve been awol for a couple weeks, right? Here’s the scoop (anti-scoop, maybe?) – I’m working on a project that I can’t talk about just yet (it will be revealed over the weekend, and then I can talk about it), and it’s just killing me. I’ve actually been picking away at this for about a month now (ok, almost two months), and it’s all I want to talk about, but I can’t, so instead I haven’t been talking about much of anything. Except the day-to-day business of being around here, natch, and that doesn’t feel really blogworthy. But then I realized that, indeed, things are happening. So let me tell you about things that are happening (that I can talk about)!
Let’s start with the part where I got adopted by a slam team. Nono, I didn’t make it onto a slam team.* The 2013 Worcester Slam Team asked me to be their coach, and I couldn’t be more honored to work with such an osm group of poets. Watching them come together with their writing has been really great. Also, I would love these people, even if they weren’t writing super poems – they’re just really great people, and I love being in their presence. I feel a little gifted, really – two of them are housemates, and three of them are the ladies with whom I meet to write on Monday nights. It’s been lovely to reconnect to the slam while not having to actually compete – totally fun!
And I’ve been working on a scarf thing. So I saw this really sweet scarf on Pinterest, right? All made up of tiny little crocheted hexagons – so dainty! So pretty! And I was hoping for instructions at the pin’s website, but alas, it’s a picture of something that a blogger had just purchased. And I don’t know how to make hexagons. So I started to dig around to learn how to make hexagons, but in the middle of researching** I had this (somewhat related) idea that I could make a scarf from different sized circles.
And, whoa – surprise! This has been the Most Relaxing Thing Evar. See, I have issues with relaxing, across the board. I always feel like I should be doing something.*** And having something to do with my hands while Screwing Off On Purpose (what most people call Relaxing), calms that business down like no other thing. Guilty pleasure admission: I love to watch teevee and do needlework. So I’m making this scarf, and all of yesterday was spent in front of Hulu, watching episodes of comfortable junk-food teevee like Merlin, and crocheting circles. I’m about half way to Scarf, and plan on showing it off like whoa when it’s all done.
I WILL (verily, I MUST!) teach one of our cats to sing Led Zepplin songs* like this cat:
Hello, I am seriously impressed.
Also, Photobucket is having some maintenance. Which is to say, there is bloggy goodness in chute for you, but it has no pictures, and that is too sad to publish like that. More soon!
*Incidentally, I found this video while searching for a good version of the viking cats singing Immigrant Song – this after I was trying to get the oldest cat to actually, you know, sing with me in the kitchen while I
shrieked sang the AHHHHHH-AHHHHH-AHH! part. It was a little bit successful – I sang the AHHHHHH-AHHHHH-AHH!, and he stared at me for a second, and then went, AWOW. Progress \o/
Good morning, rainy Wednesday! I overslept and so some projects are going to wait for me, but that’s fine for today; I’ll get into them in a bit. But I wanted to pop by and tell you about a neat thing.
Do you know about Suzi Banks Baum’s Laundry Line Divine? She’s been in the blogroll over on the left for a little while now, because I just adore reading her. The blog is split into a bunch of rad pages, the main one being her musings on creativity and daily living and motherhood, accompanied by her fantastic photographs and collage illustrations. It’s some of the most authentic and delicious stuff I read on a regular basis – the kind of work that makes one’s soul pleased to walk the earth, knowing there are kindred upon the same ground.
And Suzi does something else with her blog, as well – she brings together women who are blogging, printing them up in a collection called Out of the Mouths of Babes*. If you scroll down a little bit on her page and peek in the middle column, you’ll find links to pages that she’s collected of posts from these osm writers about everything from radio to food to inspiration, hung them all out in a line like laundry, and hence the name of her blog. It’s a very very cool thing.
And I am filled with gratitude this rainy Wednesday to announce that I have been honored with a spot in the line, a repost of a blog entry that I did after coming home from a retreat at Kripalu with Karen Arp-Sandel in the springtime. You can see it here. Better yet, grab some delicious context by starting here with the post from Suzi that jumps to mine at the end.
May your day find a little sugar spilled on it today =)
(crossposted to Worcester Poets Asylum)
Sad news this morning from the New York Times (obit below the fold). Beloved poet and children’s author, Maurice Sendak has passed away.
Maurice Sendak has always held a very special place for me. One of my earliest memories from childhood is reading Chicken Soup With Rice in kindergarten – I distinctly remember the librarian at the Ethel McKnight School in East Windsor, NJ, holding the oversized book open for us to all see the pictures as we crowded in to hear her tell the story. I remember being read to when I was small enough to still fit on a lap, and the bright pages of Where The Wild Things Are taking up more space than the room possibly could hold.
And when my own son was born, we read every Sendak book we could find together. We started reading together before he was even old enough to understand that books were more than just delightful on the gums. When he was a couple years old, Where The Wild Things Are*, In The Night Kitchen and Outside Over There became our very favorites.
Just this weekend, I picked up a copy of Bumble-Ardy for my nieces, barely daring to wonder to myself if this would be his last book. In an NPR interview last year, he just sounded so sad – he cried through the interview with Terri Gross (Fresh Air, September 20, 2011), lamenting the passing of his partner of fifty years, Eugene Glynn, as well as other friends whom he had outlived. He said, “I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more,” and I started crying too, there in the car, on I-190, weeping and driving, and hearing how he sounded so lonesome.
Oh, Maurice – thank you for your words, for your pictures, for these beautiful pieces of childhood and parenthood that you gave us. I’ll miss you. The wild rumpus will forever be changed by your passing.
So! I went to make cookies that require a fluffy meringue today. But when I got to Red Mixer with the eggs, Red Mixer told me that zie wasn’t going to be doing anything without Red Spatula, and that was that. I went and got Red Spatula, and we made cookies. All was right in the world. When I told Will about this, we giggled together about the strong state of solidarity in the kitchen (which is also home to Red Coffeemaker and Red Toaster). Then he pointed out the window at the snow covered driveway and said, “And outside? Siberia!” We had a good laugh over that.