Monday, November 12, 2018

Your wrist

That scene
in Pippin.
Where Catherine sings paeans
to the arch of his foot.

In high school, that was illuminating
and silly...
and I liked it and laughed at it,
though not because
I understood.

the picture of you
Your face is always visible from its place
but today
I saw only the line of your wrist
and for a moment
it was unfamiliar
but I stopped, I looked at it
and was reassured.

Your wrist is elegant. As are your fingers.
Long and lean, immaculate, powerful.

Your wrist.
I miss it.
It held me once.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I have eaten the plums

The sun is back out. America's midterm elections are over. My friend V ... well. Losing her is awful, it's cruel. But she is not hurting now. Doctors can't use her body to experiment now. And those who love her - I am humbled they embrace me. Her husband, her family, her beloved friends: beautiful, beautiful, wonderful people.

This time has been hard. Like so many families, the remains of our nuclear unit - just me, mom, and my brother now - endure terrible political strain in these times. But, just for this morning, it's virtual hugs and three courses of "I love you." Because these strains have everyday, real consequences - this has, in some ways, been even harder than watching my lifelong friend die. Or, perhaps, it only got in the way of comprehending and mourning. I only know this has been the hardest thing to bear, over this past week.

We are all enduring a confluence. My brother is traveling to the memorial of a friend of his, and beautiful V's will be remembered on Saturday. As her kids do this, my mom is now watching her own oldest friend in town "giving back", as some say in the South. It may be we all suffer the loss of our dear Deebo, my stepfather - and each of our dear friends.

The light of inspiration peeked out not too long ago - unsurprisingly, after The Conference, but also very much under the influence of other friendships. Leila, especially, uniquely lights my creative way. She and I have so much in common, but we write such different works, and about the time I did a recent beta-read for her, I also happened to find the ENDING for a short work we began an embarrassing number of years ago in our writing group. It's been drafted two different ways, I let it settle in a certain direction, and for now it is sitting quietly, resting, rising, awaiting both her feedback and my final attentions.

Writing. Feels. So. Good.

There truly is nothing else like writing.

And so, with voting done and the sun out and my family whole ... I open up the WIP, the big dog, the "real" work. The novel. Just open it. I shall scroll about in it, find something to alight upon, and read a little bit.

Research feels like a good way to go. I fear it may have to be, at long last, the pogrom. (Yes, now, of all moments.)

Sometimes, the way writing feels "good" is different from other times. It's not always pleasure.

Sometimes, it's memorial.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Getting the hang of Thursdays

Publishing late because ... that's how writing (even a blog) goes at times like this ...

Before me lies a sea of irritations. The thing I see is that they all ebb and flow in three currents, and all of these currents sway and merge, and the three are related.

On Tuesday morning, one of my oldest friends died. She has been there for me in situations where no other fried, not even Mr. X, could stand behind me. She has been quietly present, she has been raucously beside me, she has been kind and crazy and tolerant and irrepressible. She died with a hundred health issues, a good husband, a heart of gold, still fizzing electrically even after, really, our girl was gone from us.

Yesterday, I donned mourning - for a girl who loved Hallowe'en, I put on my looks-like-a-comic-character-makeup, and changed the dress to black. It was a hard day, but leavened by good people all around me (it will never stop being a blessing, how overwhelmingly human my colleagues and employer are), a good meal with my mom, and trick-or-treaters.

Today was harder.

Reaching the point, by 2:30, where I could not comprehend that the day was moving so slowly, I could barely pick up another envelope to open it. It took me all day long to open the incoming pile. Something far beyond "fatigue" pressed down on me, and I succumbed, I let it press. Exhausting and torturous. And it's strange, because last night and the night before, I have slept. Going to bed pretty early, indeed, and not getting up at the crack of 5:40.

I was putting off calling one of my guys. I knew he wanted to put me on a new project, and at the same time I was fighting off some niggling persnicketude from our "Services" center, and - did I mention about that succumbing thing?

My boss needed me to set up a call, so I toddled to his office, and the few steps that took, the conversation with a human, woke me up a little bit. So I called the guy back, and ... it turns out that he's fighting some niggling persnicketude from our "Services" center.

And a month ago, I was fighting a very related form of? Niggling persnicketude from our "Services" center.

Is it weird, that talking with my frustrated guy out in Texas, telling him that this is an "opportunity" for Operations wasn't even me taking a bullet or making a joke?

There is a sea of irritations, and there are three currents, and the currents are swirling in niggling persnicketude. And I can, perhaps - at least learn enough about the niggles to begin to deal with them.

I was in the hospital with V and her husband W two and a half weeks ago, when it looked like she might be dying. That afternoon, they "saved her life." She was transferred to a new hospital after that, maybe-diagnosed and then not diagnosed with yet another shockingly rare and dangerously mortal disease. They found a surgical complication we knew was a problem was worse than previously known. More surgery. More life support.

Really, though, no more *life*.

On Tuesday barely after four, W called me and I caromed around my bedroom putting some clothes on my body and thinking what I would need at the hospital. I got there at five. And we sat. Watched the sun rise. Family and friends came.

It was the first I have been with V in too long. All these hospital visits; I have been a poor friend over the past year. And it is too late. Except to be there for her family, for W.

She died with music playing.

I still can't believe she is gone.

I still can't believe she is gone ...

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


The Lady of the Lake, in her own words. Yes, I have been slow to get to this story - but tell me this is not the best plot bunny ever - Nyneve becomes an actor in Paris ...

Aieeeee! Stephen G. Parks has a writer's worst nightmare. Sigh - but he probably did the right thing.

Ahh, the beautiful standards of art - where a woman's nudity is all but mandatory, but a man's is the time for censorship. Imagine actually thinking, "Okay, now I wish I'd seen naked Batman."

Thursday, October 18, 2018

I'm feelin' it!

2018 has not been a prolific year for me with writing. The blog has been a bit weirder, I know; and any activity I've indulged on Twitter's #AmWriting has been sporadic, if not an outright lie (in attempts to convince myself).

Lots of this owes to the facts of life - well, and death. But yesterday, there was some good news. This past weekend, there was The Conference - and, though I had hardly thought about it and wasn't even sure I was up for it, it was kind to me (even beyond seeing my WONDERFUL writing friends in the most glorious community you could ask for), and ... I feel like writing again. Maybe not the WIP, at least for a minute. Maybe time to take another look at that ghost story I've been trying to find the MDQ for for, literally, years. Maybe take a piece of The Ax and the Vase, and develop that ... Basina, or Lanthechilde (who was cut out of Ax entirely, actually). Maybe something altogether new.

It'll let me know.

In the meantime: we have spotted the sun a couple times of late, locally. It is not humid. The heat is finally letting go. Tomorrow is Friday (and pay day). One of my oldest friends, apparently is not dying. (This is was not a given, two weeks ago.) My mom's still in a bit of a state, but I am planning ways for the two of us to have a good time together. I've got some ideas.

Today is a blessing.

May yours be even moreso.

Friday, October 12, 2018


The Woman in the Iron Coffin - a title worthy of Poe, perhaps. Happy Hallowe'en season ... this should make a good start:


It is conservatively estimated that the public holds more than 500 million carats of gem diamonds ... more than fifty times the number of gem diamonds produced by the diamond cartel in any given year.

Even long before I ever met Erick, I said that diamond engagement rings really don't interest me anymore. For that matter, pointlessly expensive weddings (well, *or* engagements - ugh) seem such a senseless, consumerist waste. I imagine all the things it'd be possible to do or have,with overinflated diamond money, and it starts to bewilder me how many people have been suckered by De Beers.

Kip Thorne, Stargate: Atlantis, the wonder of space, and the Hollywood-scientific feedback loops (figure eights, if you like your figures Hidden). So cool - there is even more to the creative-scholarly dynamic than I knew. (And, I mean: I knew - I'm a Trek nerd.)

Port Arthur will receive only about twice as much funding as cities with less than 1% of its population. Beaumont will receive less than twice the funding of cities that are 0.5% of its size.

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. When white life, property, and loss are literally, actually *valued* so much higher than black life, property, and loss that even the phrase "pennies on the dollar" fails the disparity: this is what we call institutionalized racism. For those at the back of the class: next time you want to say "slavery ended 150 years ago," please refer to current facts and stow your get-over-its in the overhead compartment. Some shifting may occur in transit to reality.

Government *by* few people, *for* few people, unanswerable *to* The People. It's exhausting.

In closing, cats.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018