Hmm, Cold?

I stayed in last night and went to bed early. I didn’t think anything of it. Like I didn’t think I felt sick or anything. I just suddenly felt like bed was a good idea. I dreamed, like literally dreamed, I slept so long a new neighborhood rose up around me and the Butcher ran our house as a kind of halfway house for his newly divorced friends. I woke up, like, literally, this morning, woke up and it had been ten hours since I went to bed.

I feel that pre-cold thing, where it could go either way. I could get sick. I could not get sick. It’s too early to see how this is going to resolve.

But I do know that I need to get the writing I need to get done this weekend done today, because there’s no guarantee I’ll be up for it later.

The Next Afghan

It requires a seamless join because of how the rounds work. I am terrified that this is going to come undone in the wash. Beyond terrified. I was worried that the pieces look a little yonic, but now that I’ve done a couple, I’m actually more concerned that they might look like beautiful butt holes. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s just me.

Photos later.

Up to Stuff

This week, I’ve had coffee, I’ve had lunch, I’ve been to the Adventure Science Center and pointed at planets, I’ve had pizza and today I will celebrate Burrito Thursday, the greatest holiday of my people, with a friend.

There’s a song. For Burrito Thursday.

It goes:

Burrito Thursday. Burrito Thursday.

It is the best day.

Burrito Thursday.

Don’t any of you be stealing my awesome song.

Share your thoughts on cockapusses below (I swear, this is just about to stop being funny to me, but not today.)

True Confession of the Stellar Kind

There’s a point in The Serpent and the Rainbow where the author claims that Venus used to be visible to people during the day, we’ve just “forgotten” how to see it. This has stuck with me over the years because on the one hand, it kind of seems plausible to me–that Venus may be bright enough for you to see it in the daytime sky if you know where to look and it’s not near the sun–and on the other hand seems stupid. You don’t forget how to see something. Seeing something is not a matter of remembering to see it.

But I keep reading things about how most people in the US can’t see the Milky Way and soon it will be impossible for everyone in the US to see. And, in fact, just now, I read something about a guy from out east going on vacation to Yellowstone and being blown away by the Milky Way.

And I don’t mean to sound stupid here–like maybe I need to travel to Yellowstone immediately–but do they just mean that they’re able to see it so much clearer in Yellowstone that it’s really stunning and surprising (which I can believe) or do they genuinely not see the Milky Way when they look up in the night sky ever? Because I mean, it’s right there.  I can see how, in cities, you might not be able to make it out, but I live right outside of a big city and I can stand in my front yard and see it on clear nights.

So, now I wonder if you can lose, somehow through forgetting, something like a star.

I don’t know. I find it baffling. Can you forget how to see the Milky Way?

Share you thoughts on cockapusses below.

Deathgasm

So, I watched this movie on Saturday night and I got halfway through it and I felt like I was kind of cheating on traditional Monday movie night with the guys without meaning to. This movie, I knew the second a dude got his head chopped off, the guy who ordered the chopping off complained, and then the minions had to figure out how to do it again, was exactly the kind of movie we love to watch together.

But it was so good that we watched it last night anyway and I still laughed and enjoyed it. The best part the second time through was listening to the Butcher and the Red-Headed Kid laugh at it. At one point, one of the characters calls another character a cockapus, which then led to us trying to figure out how eight penises would work. I was thinking a kind of arrangement where seven would just tuck down out of the way until the one in use was exhausted and then another could rise up and take its place.

The Butcher assumed the penises would be evenly distributed across your body, otherwise, how would you wear pants?

The Red-Headed Kid, though, began shouting in genuine distress for the cockapus–“No, man. No. It’s too many cocks. You’d break your arms trying to support all those women.”

I laughed so hard.

But in writing this, I remembered that dream I had about running around sticking penises on men–still a waste of magical power and evil villainry, I posit–and now I wonder if that was a prophetic dream?

No, I kid. Because I had another dream about a massive anxiety attack the other night and I sure as fuck don’t want that coming true.

Anyway, Deathgasm. It’s delightful and a terrible bloody mess. And it’s on Neflix. Share your thoughts about cockapusses below.

(Ha ha ha. I always hate when blog posts end with some direction for what you’re supposed to comment about. But I would forgive it if it were always “Share your thoughts about cockapusses below.”)

Give Me Back My Alcohol

A bunch of friends have been passing around a piece on Facebook by a woman who quit drinking who has now been observing drinking culture among women and finding it strange. I found a lot to nod along with.

Over the weekend there was an incident at a convention where a panelist handed out shots on a panel. I thought at first it sounded like she was handing out shots to her fellow panelists, but people who were there said she was handing the shots out as a reward for people brave enough to ask questions of the panelists. She got in trouble.

I’m not really interested in this trouble. Sounds like the right thing happened and she acknowledged it was the right thing that happened and she was sorry and everyone moved on.

But I keep thinking how much work people–like this person! This very person, in fact!–have done to try to increase diversity among genre participants. If you’re nervous about asking a question and question askers get liquor, do you feel like you’re being welcome to participate if your religion forbids the consumption of alcohol? Or same scenario, but you’re a recovering alcoholic.

If you want people different than you to feel welcome to participate in things, sometimes that does mean changing your own behavior. Some old, beloved traditions–like everyone drinking all the time–will have to be modified or left behind.

One Down

I finished the baby blanket I was working on last night. There’s an anthology I want to submit to. I need to get writing on that story. I need to do something more for Ashland. I don’t know what. I’m waiting for a couple of small presses I think it might be right for to reopen to submissions.

One needs an indomitable spirit for this kind of work. I don’t have one of those.

Floundering, always floundering. Just trying to flounder forward.

The Glamorous Life

This morning the cat was pestering me while I was trying to wake up and go to the bathroom. Finally, I realize she had an enormous, I mean, Enormous, I mean, people of Kentucky, if you looked south and asked yourselves, “Is that a poop mountain rising over Nashville?” I wouldn’t be surprised, sized dingleberry.

Because she’s a tough cat, I grabbed it and pulled it out of her tail fur. (Some cats you can’t do this with and then you have to bathe them. Weep for the owners of those cats.)

She then purred at me in a way I have never heard before, kind of a series of low short rumbles. I felt like a hero, like the kind of person a cat writes a song about.

Thinking Last Night About Elvis

I overheard a conversation by some young Nashville music people–white–about how Elvis was racist. And it’s been bugging me.

I’ve been thinking how in Elvis’s time, white society looked at black culture and said “That’s trash. Don’t touch it.” and how Elvis was like, “Holy shit. I found some awesome stuff here in the trash. I’m going to wear it. I’m going to shake it. I’m going to sing it. Look, look, guys. Look what I found here! It’s fucking awesome.” And how a bunch of white kids were like “Wow, yep, that is awesome. Show us more, Elvis.”

When black people say, “Hey, that’s not trash, you racist fucks; that’s our culture,” they have an absolutely legitimate complaint. Elvis wasn’t rooting through trash and it is structural racism that made it seem so.

But the complicated thing about American culture is that Elvis could have been doing something racist at one level that was also anti-racist at another level. Because saying to white kids, “No, you’re wrong. This stuff has value. This stuff is awesome. The people who made it have some cool shit it’s worth it for you to check out.” was and, sadly, still remains revolutionary.

Okay, so I think that’s clear. The same act can be both racist and anti-racist because this is America.

But here’s what I’ve been thinking about, why it really bugs me when white progressives dismiss Elvis as racist: because white racists in Elvis’s time did not want kids listening to Elvis, because they didn’t want white kids finding value in black culture and they didn’t want black kids to see their culture being valued by white culture. Elvis was an intersection–an imperfect intersection, yes, god, yes, so imperfect–that white racists did not want kids to meet at.

So whose work is being done when white progressives discourage white kids from listening to Elvis?

Nice, Funny Thing

Last night, Jim Cooper introduced me to his wife and described me as funny, but “uses words not in your dictionary.” He meant cuss words. He seemed aghast and delighted by them.

It was lovely. It also reminded me that, though, to me, I am a weird, boring introvert from nowheresville who drives a ten year old car and hasn’t weeded her flower beds in a year, there is some public notion of me I need to be mindful of.

It’s hard to talk about because my level of fame is tiny. Tiny. I don’t know how to stress how tiny it is. Like, if a normal person ever gets .5 fame, I have .6. Someone like, say, Kid Rock, a person my parents don’t know, has 1000 fame. Beyonce is like 1000000000000 fame. So, really, in the grand scheme of things, I have no fame.

But there’s enough of a public sense of me that the gap between who I am and who my public self is is noticeable to me. There’s me, just me, and then there’s this version of me that people I don’t know know. And that version of me is more real to them than I am.

That version of me isn’t me, but we have some responsibilities to each other and I sometimes forget that.

More of the Same

I have a theory, built on an observation, reinforced over the course of this past week, that women divide men up into two groups–dudes you need to keep an eye on and dudes that are some woman’s project (like, she’s working on transforming him into a “good” guy).

So, say you’re in a place. Let’s not mention any specific places, but a big open public place a woman thinks she should be able to go without issue. She steps off the elevator and turns to the right, to head toward the large room with seats and computers. Three men come out of the room to see who’s coming off the elevator. Two of the men dart back inside. The third man moves around in front of the doors she’d like to go in. She gets the sense they’re doing something in the room they’d rather her not see.

How many women do you think would go into that room? Past that third man? I don’t know. I’m going to say a little less than half. But I’ll also say that I think somewhere closer to 3/4 of women would immediately understand why the women who didn’t go in the room didn’t go in the room.

After all, you have to trust your gut and keep an eye on dudes.

But let’s say that one of those guys is the boyfriend of an acquaintance of yours. You don’t know him. You don’t really know her. You recognize him, but he obviously didn’t immediately recognize you.

Here’s the thing women don’t admit. Now more of us are inclined to go in the room. Not because we feel more safe, but because not going in the room means that we’re saying that this man our friend knows is one of the guys you have to keep an eye on.

And you don’t fucking disrespect some woman and her project that way.

The mistake I made this past week was not in misinterpreting what’s going on. But by the time I stumbled on the third fucking group of angry women talking shit about my “privilege” and how disappointed they are in me, it dawned on me: I’m in trouble because I shit on some women’s project. I saw men they’re “working on” as unsettling and their behavior as cause for caution. I impugned their (the women’s) ability to transform these men.

I have a lot of thoughts about how unhealthy it is for women to take it upon ourselves to try to transform men–just starting with how incredibly icky and disrespectful it is to the men and how women are not the civilizing force of society and it’s weird to assume that is your job AND WEIRDER YET to assume it’s your job and then suck so bad at it–but who cares?

The important thing is that I was complaining to the Butcher about all of this and how women are talking about sitting me down and talking to me about my privilege and he laughed and he said, “You should tell them, ‘Sure. Let’s meet in the 3rd Floor Reading Room at the Library some Saturday morning.'”

And then I laughed, too.

Enemy of the Downtrodden

The library post continues to be a pain in my butt. I continue to be pissed at the whole argument that I’m classist. It’s not classism to expect that the bathrooms at the library will be in working order or that the behavior of the men on the third floor will not be sketchy and alarming. It’s classist to believe that because people are homeless, they can’t use the library in a manner respectful to the other people who want to be there.

Plus, fuck it. If my argument is classist, let’s be clear that it’s a different kind of classism than “rich person dogging on poor people.” I am alarmed that I can’t feel safe at the library because I have to use the library. I’m not rich enough to just buy every book that might be interesting to me.

But the other reason it pisses me off that a subsection of feminists is criticizing me is that I feel like there’s this bullshit expectation in this city that women are supposed to either curtail their behavior (oh, men acting weird at the library? You’d better just stay home, woman) or put themselves in danger (a strange man coming up to your car window and demanding to talk to you in order to sell his paper) so that men can do what they want.

You’d think feminism 101 would include “you have a right to participate in public life without harassment from men,” but I guess there are some men whose harassment we just have to tolerate because otherwise we’re big meanies?

I am Providence

I read Nick Mamatas’ I am Providence yesterday and it’s the kind of book where the negative Goodreads reviews are right, but so fucking what? I stayed up late to finish it, my head propped up on three pillows, my arm resting on the couch cushion. I literally came as close to reading in my sleep as possible. Which has been kind of my dream my whole life, so that was nice.

I don’t really want to talk about the plot. This isn’t a review. But I am going to be mulling over a lot how Mamatas conveys, as an author, confidence and authority. A lot of weird things happen. His narrator is confined to a drawer. Fuck, his narrator is already dead, so there’s no reason to wonder what happened. He died. But as a reader, I trust that this is worthwhile to spend some time with.

This is something I’ve notice in Mamatas’ writing in general. Instead of an authorial stance of “this is fun!” or “this is scary!” or whatever, it’s always “This is worth thinking about.” Not that his work can’t also be fun or scary, but there’s a consideration of his subjects that I appreciate and that, to me, signals “You can trust me to tell you this story.”

Like I said, I feel like that’s something worth mulling over.

You’re Old When the Feminists Hate You, Right?

Apparently, according to the Nashville Feminist Collective, I’m classist because I’m appalled that the downtown library smells bad and people on the third floor when I visited were acting sketchy as hell.

I thought about responding something like “I think ‘classist’ is when you accept behavior in some men that would unnerve you from other men because you’ve decided the men ‘below’ you wouldn’t dare hurt you,” but that seemed unnecessarily antagonistic.

I’ve been around the internet a long time. I’ve been a feminist on the internet a long time. These things come in cycles. But it’s never a good sign for feminists when attention turns from wanting to be able to fully engage with the world without having our gender count against us toward auditing the ideas of other women for wrong thinking.

Not only is it a huge, hurtful waste of time, you can’t behave yourself into freedom. There’s no “if I line up all my ducks in a row and never let them out of line, then I’ll get what I want, therefore, the people critiquing my duck-lining are my friends and doing me a favor.” No.

If behaving properly is what got women liberation, people wouldn’t hate feminists so much.

A Friend of Crows

I came home yesterday shaky and excited, the stain of a cherry lime-ade spreading across my “We Get What We Deserve” t-shirt. I took the dowsing rods and my mom out into the back yard, way back to where we’d buried the dog. I showed her how to hold them. I showed her how it worked–how they crossed when I crossed the dog’s grave. I asked her if she wanted to try and of course she did. And she stepped on the dog’s grave and they crossed for her.

My mom has her degree in biology. She’s trained to think things through. She knows about the ideomotor phenomenon. She just looked at me and I said, “I know, right. It makes no sense.” She wandered around the yard a little more. No further crossing. You know it can’t  be real, can’t really work, and yet, there you are.

And then a squabble of crows barked in a nearby tree and we looked up to see them harassing a hoot owl. A big one. A couple of mockingbirds were screaming at the owl, too, and a cardinal hopped from limb to limb nearby, as if eager to see a fight. The owl kept looking back at us as if to check to see whose side we were on.

My mom said, “Crows hate owls. Always have. I’m a friend of crows normally, but I don’t like to see them take after owls like this. In this situation, I’m always on the owl’s side.”

I felt the same, even though I knew I was just watching everyone who’d ever lost a relative to an owl letting the owl know how they felt about it.

We watched the argument for a good ten minutes and once the crows got bored, we went inside.

Mothers

Yesterday, we were talking about our moms and one of the women asked me when the last fight I had with my mom was and I think it was seventh or eighth grade. Which is not to say that we haven’t accidentally bumped up against each other emotionally since then, but an actual “We’re having problems because you won’t shape up” fight?

Not since I was a pre-teen.

It made me feel like there’s a whole realm of female experience, a whole way of understanding one’s self, that I, and thank goodness, haven’t ever experienced.

I’ve been trying to think about why that is and I think, in part, it’s because my mom doesn’t really understand herself the way that other mothers do. I don’t think she necessarily understands me emotionally–or ever has, really–or expects me to understand her in some intimate emotional way. She’s my mom. I’m her daughter.

I don’t know if I’m getting at this right, but I think being a mom for my mom has been a straightforward thing, a thing that happened and now just is. She worries and frets and shit, but she doesn’t doubt it.

But I see from the outside that other women have these really entwined relationships with their moms, where there can be secret support and secret betrayals and such. We just don’t have that. My mom has never expected something (whatever that thing might be) in return for being my mom.

So, that’s nice.

On the other hand, it has me thinking about the ways we construct these kinds of essential ideas about what it means to be a woman, based on these universal woman experiences, with a kind of expectation that how womanly you are is based on your participation in these shared experiences, and those experiences aren’t available to a lot of women.

Which, in this case, woo hoo! I’m glad to not have a fraught relationship with my mom.

But it does make me think about the ways we construct womanhood and the forms we put people in so that they’re recognizably female.

Nobody Likes Me. Everybody Hates Me. Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms.

Oh lord, yesterday. Let me sum it up like this. In Nashville, there’s a junkyard with a batshit mean dog guarding it. That dog has been there for years, bit a bunch of people, and it’s a menace. But the junkyard is safe.

So, the guy who ran the junkyard gave the dog to another local business–let’s say a coffee shop–where the people who had lived in the neighborhood for a million years recognized the dog, saw it was keeping the coffee shop safe, and were like “Okay, be careful. The dog’s in the coffee shop now.” But a bunch of people who either moved into the neighborhood recently or didn’t know about the junkyard dog somehow are shocked and alarmed to find out that there’s a dog in the coffee shop that’s mean as fuck.

And they’ve been yelling at me and other folks about why we’re not covering the “news” of the dog’s most recent bad behavior in the coffee shop. So, I tried to explain–the dog has been an asshole; that’s why he’s a good guard dog; his behavior is a known issue and, as of yet, people still believe the benefits of the dog outweigh the drawbacks.

I would almost go so far as to say that it would very rarely rise to “news” that the dog is a menace, since he’s doing what he’s known to do and what people want him to do.

I find it irritating that the dog is being used in this manner and I think the dog is dangerous. But I completely understand why people want the dog in the coffee shop. I might, in certain circumstances, find it comforting that the dog is in the coffee shop myself.

I’m not on the side of “Get the dog out of the coffee shop.” I’m just trying to explain to people who are like “Oh my god, why aren’t you covering the fact that the dog in the coffee shop nipped at someone last week?!” why I can’t get worked up enough about the dog’s behavior to be freshly outraged.

And once the “Get the dog out of the coffee shop” people figured that out?! Well, fuck my whole day. But that only happened after the dog’s supporters were pissed at me.

Anyway, even Satanists have sectarian pissing matches, it turns out. So, whatever.

Reverse

I’m trying my first reverse single-crochet border. You literally single-crochet, but you put the next stitch behind the current one instead of in front of it. It gives you kind of a ropey-looking finish. I’m liking it. It eats up a lot of yarn, though, especially on an afghan.

My next project is a Catherine-wheel baby blanket. And after that, I’ve been asked to make an afghan for a kid I once made a baby blanket for. I’m mulling over what to do for him, but I’m not sure yet. I kind of want to do a bunch of polkadots, but I’m not sure if that’s something he will always want.

This is my seventeen-year anniversary of moving to Nashville. Seventeen years. I can’t really describe how that makes me feel. I have accomplished things I never thought possible. I also kind of feel empty-handed. Maybe that’s the truth of things.

Life is Short. I Give Up on Some Books.

I finished Hex, because it was 85% awesome and 15% spooky boobs. But the spooky boobs were jarringly hilarious. I remain torn about whether the author is afraid of boobs or if he thinks boobs are inherently scary or if he thinks women have unnamed horror about people touching their boobs or what. But women have a named fear about people touching our boobs. It’s not cool. I don’t want to understate that. But when you’re all “And then they captured her and then they poked her boob!” Like, yes, it is horrifying but he seemed to think  it was horrifying level 9 when it’s really like horrifying level 4.

I still think I mostly liked the book.

I tried to read Bird Box which people just loved the shit out of, but I could not get into it. I read about the first quarter, flipped to the end to see if it was going to get any less stupid and, when it wasn’t, I quit reading.

It also contains what I consider to be a massive misjudgment of women in that a woman gets pregnant during an apocalypse and decides to have the baby and everyone she tells is like “Oh, okay, sure. I hope you’re okay.”

There are two obvious fixes–have her have the baby right before the apocalypse or have her get pregnant further into the apocalypse. But instead, during a time when people are like “Something’s pretty massively going wrong,” but people are still around to notice it, she gives no serious thought to an abortion.

Of all the reasons to have an abortion–or at least to strongly consider one–“the world as I know it appears to be ending in ways that are painful to humans” has to be way up on the list. If you were being held captive by a serial killer of children in order to produce children for her to kill, and you had ways to abort your pregnancies, I think even the most anti-abortion people would struggle with and deeply contemplate whether abortion in that case was moral. The scenario in the book is basically that.

But it is as if abortion doesn’t exist in the world of Bird Box. And it just rang false to me. Like the author hadn’t really given much thought to being a woman in this situation.

Wet Feet

Every story with this dog that ends “and then he pooped in the house” starts with some variation of “he didn’t want to go out in the yard because it’d been raining.” He’s a lab! How can he so hate getting his feet wet?

But he does. Today I dragged him on a walk between rain showers and you would have thought I was the most unreasonable jerk to ever unreasonably jerk around town. But he pooped.

So, victory is mine.

Slaves Built the White House

I have to tell you, I just don’t believe that people didn’t know this. I believe that people didn’t have to think about it and they resent being made to think about it, that they’re uncomfortable with how deeply something they don’t have to think about at all affects someone like Michelle Obama, who can’t not think about it. But I don’t believe people didn’t know this.

I think a “gift” we give ourselves as a country is a life-sized map of lies that drapes over the landscape of the nation and lets us not see what’s right there in front of us. And then a lot of us spend a weird amount of time demanding everyone see the map as the actual landscape and becoming alarmed and outraged when people are all “Oh, hey, there’s some truth under here.”

I also, however, based on the widespread gossip about Bill O’Reilly, imagine it is very difficult for him to empathize with terrorized people whose children were stolen from them.