The World is a Vampire

Tough couple of days.

I’ve decided to start memorizing the names of Trump supporters, so when I’m rounded up and forced into an interment camp, and they ask me to name my collaborators, I can start naming those Trump supporters.

I guess I’m feeling like there’s no way to stop what’s coming, but we can do our part to make it painful for those who want to hurt us.

Just from anxiety, I may finish this afghan before the wedding.



Things are just very, very stressful at work right now. And I can’t really talk about it. But I want to, because ugh. But also, I don’t want to think about it any more than I have to, because ugh.

I guess what I will say is that there’s a story in the Bible where some dude is an asshole king and he does something to piss of God and a hand appears and writes some words on the wall in front of him and everyone can see the writing, but no one can decipher it.

And finally, the king’s wife is like “Go get Daniel and he’ll read it.” And Daniel comes in and is all “you have been weighed and found wanting.” And dude’s kingdom falls.

I vaguely remember there’s some kind of pun or wordplay involved…

Ah, yes, cool. Wikipedia explains how Daniel reads the words first as nouns and then as verbs.

Anyway, let’s imagine another feast where a hand appears and writes on the wall in plain words “Your days are numbered. Your kingdom will fall.”

And then let’s imagine that panic sets in because everyone can read the words clearly and they’re afraid.

But then, let’s imagine, that the king and his top advisors set out in search for someone who can tell them what the writing really means, who insist that this also is some wordplay or trick and that they just need to find someone like Daniel who can properly interpret it as good news.

Now imagine sitting in that room, seeing the bad news clear on the wall, hearing the Medes and the Persians marching closer, and still sitting through day after day of “this is just a bureaucratic exercise. Let’s carry on as normal.”

It’s hard.

I don’t need advice. I’ve got some stuff I absolutely can’t talk about going on.

But it’s like the rest of the country. Watching people who need to massively shift their understanding of what’s happening in order to react in any meaningful way failing to is hard and terrifying.

Green Afghan


You guys! Look how the middle of this is going to look! Ugh. My whole heart. It’s just amazing. Can I finish it in three weeks? I have my grave doubts. But it will be close.

Doodads Revisited

I threw the pink peacock blanket in the wash this weekend and then in the dryer. The doodads!!! The doodads puffed up a little and now aren’t so stiff and they’re just magic.

Everything else in the world can be going to shit, but the pleasure of doodads remains.

I’m kind of struggling with the Chattanooga part of my book. I’m really at a loss as to how to do the research or if I even can do it. I’m kind of thinking that maybe I won’t. That maybe I’ll leave it as a thread for other folks to follow.



Look at me, tucking my tails as I go, so I don’t end up with five thousand tails at the end. I feel like some kind of god. A minor god, but a god with the power to not annoy herself.

Also, I love the colors in this, because you get to see various tones of the same color sitting together, which is one of my favorite things.

I’m kind of feeling panicked and anxious about how much I have to do today, but it’s just four things–groceries, laundry, dishes, and write a Pith post.

I’m not sure what my deal is.


I have a million things to do today. I just want to sit at home and work on the afghan for my cousin who’s getting married.

They told me “green.” My cousin and his fiancee.

Maybe I should someday make it my goal to make a green afghan I like, but I just find green a very hard color to work with as the primary color. I don’t know why, exactly, but I think it’s because sometimes green pings for me so hard as John Deere green that it’s hard for me to see it as anything else. Like, here’s my beautiful afghan with tractor branding.

But my plan for this afghan is to give each square a green center (I have three shades of green yarn) and then make the big motif in the middle out of blues and yellows (green deconstructed). So, green, but not only green. And my accents are reds.

I think it’s going to be fantastic.


Animal Planet

My big work event came off well. I’m really pleased with it. Everyone had food and drinks and the author was perfect.

Then, when I got home, the white cat was in the yard. Did I tell you I think he’s deaf? I know that’s pretty common in white cats and I’ve noticed his ears don’t move like you’d expect them to. He let me get pretty close to him, but then the dog ruined it by running up. Oh, which is the other reason I think he’s deaf. The dog barking and barking and barking didn’t freak him out in the least, but the dog running up ran him off.

Still, I’m glad new kitty has a friend. They like to sit out in the yard staring at each other. Whatever works.

And then this morning, Sonnyboy and I met another dog on our walk and Sonnyboy was a complete doofus. He barked. He lunged. He tangled me and him all up in the leash. It was a disaster.

But we ran into the dog and his woman on our way back and Sonnyboy was totally cool and fine and wonderful and I was so proud of him. We also walked clear down to the school and climbed the big hill, so he didn’t have as much energy for nonsense, but still.

Big Day

I’m going in to work late because I’m working late.

I finished my afghan!


I’m still futzing with the pattern a little bit. I like how this one lays better than my other one, but I suspect I could improve how I do the part that, in this afghan, is pink and maybe get the yellow to gap much less. But I realize these are very minor things only I notice.

I really like the doodads and am glad I added them.

Now I have to try to crank out an afghan for my cousin’s wedding in a month. I kind of don’t think I’ll be done, but at least I’ll have something to show them.


It’s already looking a little sci-fi to me. This is a pattern from that same book as the first doodad afghan, which I would share the title of, but it’s clear across the room. But now that I’m starting to get a feel for how she puts things together, I think her patterns are quite brilliant. And the weird way she does stitches really gives the work a weird, neat look.


Now that we, as a nation, are kidnapping children and putting babies in detention camps, I have been reading some of the responses. And, I have to tell you, the ones that worry me the most are the ones where the person says something like “Rachel Maddow going for an Emmy in dramatic acting” or anything else that suggests that the author of the comment does not recognize the real emotions of the person they’re observing.

Like, they just can’t fathom that this would be a genuine reaction to what is happening, and so it must be fake.

Those people scare me. It’s one thing to react to horror by agreeing with it (a sick thing but a thing). At least we’re all on a same page with that–this is happening. I think it’s horrendous. You think it’s fine.

But the “it’s not real” “your feelings about it aren’t real” folks? Holy fuck. It reads like psychopathy.

But if it is, then psychopathy is much, much more common than I realized.


We’ve reached the part of my weird crisis where I feel like I’m in Wonderland. Everything is strange. I don’t know the rules. The things I expect people to do and say are not the things they do and say.

I’m both dreading and curious about going in today.

I went to Third Man to hear some poets and it was great, as always. I got to hang out in the green room and tell an audiophile how to get into the Grand Lodge downtown.

I only have a pinch of purple left. I need three purple doodads to finish up and I may have enough yarn. But I’m going to be cutting it very, very close.

Sunday Funday

Went and had lunch with the Butcher’s family. My nephew can clap now. He’s not great at it, but he will be. He can also stand. He doesn’t know that yet, but as long as your hands are touching him, he can balance himself on his feet just fine.


I’m slowly putting this afghan together, too.


And the cat has a bump on her nose and she wants to be near me but she won’t let me get a good look at it. It looks like she may have scratched herself, but of course I’m worried it’s cancer or leprosy. But it does raise the question: can a cat give herself cat-scratch fever?

This is Us

This country was founded on white people deciding that getting along with each other was more important than addressing the suffering of non-white people.

We don’t get to say, “This is not America.” It absolutely is.

But we are also a country founded on the premise that we can fix shit later. That’s the whole point of being able to amend the Constitution, of being able to pass new laws and repeal old ones, of having judges look over shit to see if it’s right.

Maybe I’m corny, but I believe we can become a more perfect union.

But we sure as fuck cannot get there by doing the same old “oh, let’s just be nice to the jerks so we don’t alienate them” bullshit we’ve been doing since 1776. We white Americans have to stop prioritizing getting along with white people we disagree with over ending the suffering of non-white people.


A thing I find most stressful about the current situation is that it requires thoughtful responses almost all the time and yet, I’m so stressed and scared that I’m worried I’m not thinking of something.

I guess how I would describe things is some folks think we’re in The Tempest, and I knew we weren’t, but I thought we were in King Lear, but really, all this time, it’s been Macbeth.

Thought I also kind of feel like I’ve been through the stages of being a woman in each of those plays? Anyway, if I get through this in one sane piece, I might get myself a cauldron, just as a joke.

Being the Person You Wish You Had

When I was younger, I always wanted to know someone who read tarot cards. Eventually, I taught myself, because no one came along.

Right now, I’m having to be the honest, compassionate, strong, certain but not too certain, leader I wish I had. It’s very stressful. And I am afraid all the time that I’m fucking up and that it’s going to cost the people who are putting their trust in me.

But there isn’t anyone else to do it.

Dog v. Baby

My smallest nephew–a baby–and my smallest niece–four years old (which, she informs me, is “not a big girl yet.”) came over yesterday.

Whew, my niece hates the dog. She was in hysterical tears about him and no matter how much we reassured her, she cried the whole time she was in the house.

Fortunately, I have a big outside she can play in.

All the crying got the dog worked up and upset though, so he was shedding and panting and just… I don’t think Sonnyboy has ever met anyone terrified of him before. He didn’t know what to do.

The baby, on the other hand, thought the dog was great. He rubbed his feet all over the dog. He put his foot in the dog’s ear. He put his foot in the dog’s eye. He put his foot in the dog’s mouth. He tried to put the dog’s nose in his mouth. I tried to make the dog understand that he could go anywhere else in the house, but he seemed to love it.

Ha ha ha. Lord. In real life, don’t let your baby put his foot in a dog’s mouth. Even writing it, it seems very stupid. But it’s not like it was some kind of “put your head in the lion’s mouth” trick. The baby was sitting on my lap, kicking around, and the dog came over and seemed not to notice the barrage of baby feet. Or seemed to enjoy it.

But then! Then he snuck out and took off and I finally found him four doors down, attempting to enter the home of three girls and their mom.

Like he’d had his fill of my family and was ready to try out a family with less kicking and crying.



I made the pleasant mistake of listening to an interview with this professor at UC Irvine who has a theory that none of what we see/hear/feel is real, that we’ve all been bred over millions of years to filter an almost incomprehensibly complex reality down to the things we need to know in order to survive.

Part of his work is with synesthesia and his theory is that the phenomenon may be a different set of filters, not some kind of weird brain wiring. Or different sets of filters, I guess, depending on the type of synesthesia one has.

I keep thinking about this and the other podcast I listened to about the other professor who investigates paranormal claims and who starts from an assumption that people usually are describing something that happened to them, even if their interpretation of what happened is incorrect. He’s the guy who showed that the Kelly alien encounter was likely owls.

I guess the thing I find troubling and yet engaging is the thought that all life is like the Kelly encounter. Continually, something is happening to us, we’re giving it our best guess as to what it is, but we could be very, very wrong.

And I find myself feeling out of patience for people who dismiss paranormal claims now, because that first professor has made me feel like we don’t really understand shit about the world as it actually is.

Which is not to say that I’m now firmly in the camp that believes in ghosts (though ask me again after the sun goes down). But clearly people are having experiences and have had experiences throughout the ages. Their explanations and understandings of those experiences may be wrong. It may not be ghosts. There may be something else at play. Many times those things may be utterly ordinary (a cat! a psychological mechanism we don’t get! etc.). And sometimes we may not have a clear enough view of how reality actually works to know what’s really happening.

I don’t know. Regardless of the filtering we’re born with, it’s important to find predictive frameworks that work and don’t crush you in never-ending-depression. I mean, “people are shit and will eventually disappoint you” is a predictive framework that works. It will also give you a miserable life.

But I do think that realizing that we literally can’t perceive reality as it is, and are looking at the world through a very limited filter, makes me less patient with absolutes.

How can we ever say, with certainty, “this is” or “this isn’t”?

Doing the Strange, Hard Things

There’s so much going on that I wish I could write about, hell, wish I could even talk about, but it’s very draining and I need to be able to talk about it in depth a couple of times today. I’m just so mad and scared, though. And I need to be able to make wise decisions in ways that I have heretofore never done before. A thing needs to be done. I don’t know what I’m doing. But I must do the thing anyway.

JESUS, CRAWDAD, DEATH is still happening. It was delayed, but it seems to be back on track. I saw some potential covers and one is just so brilliant. They’re all great, but one is stunningly beautiful and hilarious. I hope that’s what we end up with.

The Butcher and his family came by last night. It always delights me to see the nephew and both times he’s been to my house he seems so delighted and surprised to see me.

He called the dog “Bah” which is what he calls the cat at home. The orange cat’s name, if you didn’t know, is “Hobbes,” which has me convinced that the littlest nephew has made the connection that that sounds means that thing, which is awesome and smart, but also I think he’s extrapolated that “Bah” refers to a furry thing, so there’s another furry thing, it must be “Bah.”

That, to me, feels like a big cognitive jump. Categorizing.

It’s funny and weird to think that he may have the ability to compare and sort things, to understand his world to that extent, before he can speak.

Being a baby must be so frustrating and weird.

And Anthony Bourdain… man. I don’t have anything intelligent to say. Just that once I read an article about David Foster Wallace and about how terrified he was that not only wasn’t he going to get better, but that he was going to ruin the lives of the people around him, slowly dragging them down with him. The implication being that, in Depression’s twisted way, he thought he was doing the loving thing by making it quick and getting it over with. Harm reduction.

And that really clarified things for me. How people who are so loved and, in some cases (though not DFW’s, at least not completely) so very deeply loving, could still take this course of action.

Sacrifice yourself so your loved ones can be safe (from you).

I think, sometimes, it’s unhelpful to completely get rid of one model of understanding mental health for another. I don’t have a better answer. Both together won’t work.

But as much as I know mental illness is an illness, and one that medical science is figuring out how to treat, as much as I myself have benefited from advances in medical science and would not have benefited from an exorcism–stay with me here–I wonder if the useful thing about the demonic model of mental illness was that it gave a clear metaphor for why you would do things you wouldn’t normally do, believe things that everyone else can see aren’t true, and why you’d resist getting help when it’s so clear you need it.

Because there is a way in which mental illness feels like a competing foreign entity with its own goals and agenda.

And I wonder if it’s easier to get help if you think something that is not you has come for you.

Instead of feeling, however accurately or not, that this is something you’re doing to yourself and therefore, further proof that you’re fucked up and you suck.

Hattie Cotton, cont.

I got the FBI file on the Hattie Cotton bombing from the National Archives yesterday. I’ve only read through it once, so there may be some things I’m missing, but dang.

My whole part of the book on Hattie Cotton is wrong. The guys the Nashville police arrested were not involved and they knew they weren’t involved and they beat a confession out of them anyway.

Someone, still redacted, was running around town bragging about doing it.

And a Chattanooga Klansman called in a bomb threat to another school.

I want to say more about it, but even just trying to type this has involved me staring off into space repeatedly just being baffled at what everyone who was ostensibly trying to solve this case was actually doing and what, exactly, they thought their jobs were.


I got called a racist this weekend and, you know, as much as it stings, I think the guy is right. And also an asshole, but right.

Writing for Pith requires–at least from me–a certain amount of bravado. Sometimes I come down on the wrong side of the asshole line.

I don’t think there’s anything for me to do except acknowledge it and move on. But I have been struck by the people who want me to fight him, to comb through his social media and ruin his life, to make him sorry.

Like, first of all, I am a person and he is a person and we’re not going to fight for your entertainment. But secondly, you know what feels really racist to me? Going nuclear on a guy who was right because he dared piss me off.

Like, I’m trying to be a good person out here. I fail and fuck up sometimes. Why are folks hell-bent on tempting me into being worse? It’s really insidious.

Anyway, I also spent some time getting far enough on the afghan that I could do some doodad samples to see if I like the look.


I love the doodads! Also, I love how the green works in this afghan, just a tiny hint under the raspberry. Anyway, in real life, I’m just starting the green round on the motifs, but I had to work ahead to see if I was going to be happy with it.

I especially love how the raspberry and the yellow go together, though I’m not sure why. There must be some color theory to explain it, but I don’t know it.

Victory is Mine!

The dog and I walked to the school and back and he’s so worn out he has let the Roomba hit him twice.

I’m just about ready to start the green round on these motifs and I just can’t wait.

And I have a couple of good people to talk to about Chattanooga, so I’m feeling less overwhelmed.


School bombing. Integrated religious recreational facility bombing. Lawyer on school integration’s house bombed. Ties to the Dixie Knights.

Nashville? No. Well, yes but that’s not what’s making me both excited and chagrined.


I don’t know shit. I do not know enough to write this book. I’m majorly panicking about it.

And no motherfucker has ever written anything about the Chattanooga bombings either!


It’s weird, but I spent yesterday feeling really compelled to spend a lot of money. I must buy a car! I must buy some fine art! I must get a whole new dining room and living room! I must get another dog!

I don’t need to do any of those things. So, I’m assuming it’s just anxiety, trying to find some new way of expressing itself.

But it’s a really, really strong urge.

I also feel like I’m boring lately. I can’t decide if that concerns me or not, though.