Saturday, January 30, 2010


Friends are good stuff in any case really, but my own collection are what you might quite reasonably call an embarrassment of riches. I went to dinner last night with my friend T and her husband L.

T and I grew up in the same neighborhood; she knew our dogs, my family, loved my father. I dated her brother, we were in the same schools for most of the public way along. T is a literal delight, I am always happy spending time with her, she's funny and witty and wonderfully surprising, and she seems to imagine I'm worthwhile too. She's a genuine pleasure of a person - as my mother once described another friend of mine (and I find this to be both an incisive and an extremely complimentary thing to say): she is interested, and interesting.

T and L and I were discussing the novel, progress on which is extraordinarily good lately. We got onto the topic of marketing a work like this beyond the publishing, and I explained that the agent who's asked for my chapters is of extreme interest to me not merely because she does historical fiction, but also because her firm does foreign rights. For the nature of this work, I think European sales, at the very least, are a pretty important prospect.

The topic turned to selling in other senses, and I laughed that I am by no means so prim about my work I'd scruple to sell its film rights fearing "what 'They' might do to it" - and this led, incredibly to my surprise, to a discussion starting with L, speculating who should be cast in it. He came up with Colin Farrell. T suggested Gerard Butler.


Mind you, at the end of the day, I really have no dreams of glory - or turning this into a replacement entire *career* - beyond midlist comfort; a measure of success, but nothing in excess. But with Spartacus coming out in a new series, and even Oprah not long ago touting "Pillars of the Earth" ("Y'all, there are beheadings, but I promise it's a good book!"), it's not like there isn't a level of zeitgeist in the universe I'm poking into. And my (not-exactly-a) sequel hits Constantinople, too, so there's some bleed, some wicking beyond the first installment. There's room for a lot of things to happen, because there are so many points onto which different audiences might take hold.

It's fun to wonder "what comes next" when you're confident there's at least *something* on the way. Midlist glory, or even more; I am interested.

It's also fun to eat good food, with good friends, and laugh and dream a little. To be friends with wonderful, smart people.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Punk This

I have never been a punk, nor called myself one (I've never personally felt I was a member of *any* subcultures, though I have been accepted and embraced by several), but I was very close to Punk Rock when I was a kid. Even fifteen years ago, I bit my tongue and scoffed at people who insisted they were "punk", or that it wasn't dead. Even then it seemed pretty funny to me - like those in my age bracket who dressed like hippies twenty years late.

But thirty years after a movement which had designed itself to exterminate itself quickly rather than allow itself to become the aged self-parody exemplified by little eighties flowerbabies like myself, the mass delusion that those under the age of thirty not only get the point, but also miss that that point related to "live fast/die young" even to the extent of not dragging on for three generations' breadth now, the word still makes a buck, so Avril Lavigne still is apparently considered relevant someow to it.

As to all of which: eh, *meh*. Whatever, kids, have at it, it's no skin off me.

So why am I posting, all puffed up and superior, about These Kids Today (and their sad co-opting of something which actually wasn't all that new even back "when I was your age") ... ?

Because I was struck, reading this - of all people, Barbara Mikkelson, expressing punk rock clearly and just about correctly in a single sentence. To wit:

The style was brash, defiant, and angry, as were those who adopted it - young people who were disgusted by the few crumbs society appeared to have to offer them, and so decided to openly reject IT ALL.
Now, I have to say, quite a few of her other sentences are a bit sillier on the point, though I won't condemn them as being as oblivious as a Hot Topic wannabe poseur. (Please note that there is an intensity of facetiousness in this moment of geriatrical snobbery.)

The final two words here (capitalized emphasis mine) sort of boil down the reasons "punk is alive" is a statement which kind of embarrasses people old enough to have watched it change from a "scene" into a fashion statement (and see again/also the commerce behind punk's supposed continued survival in this format).

I saw a girl, probably twenty-one years old, wearing a The Exploited t-shirt a week ago. I had to stifle a laugh. I saw The Exploited once; they were a gang of hacks who genuinely angered the crowd of kids who had paid to see them play - dismissed as commercial opportunistic style hags, and "idiot-holes" to boot. They were the most extraordinarily rotten performers I ever remember seeing (and I have seen some losers; I was a lead singer's girlfriend for years in the eighties). They were absolute, no-holds-barred jerks, and the audience couldn't MAKE enough fun of their stupid-colored standup mohawks. The lead singer swung his mic, hit the bass player, KNOCKED OUT A TOOTH, and proceeded to be a tool about it.

And what opportunistic style hags' TEE SHIRTS are now apparently selling, to delusional teenagers?


What I'm saying.

Mikkelson's other points, regarding gender particularly, in the context of "Establishment", are pretty interesting. For my purposes, they're beside the point, but I'm often struck by the completist approach Snopes does give to diversity and feminism too. Good on 'em for that. And for that one good sentence about REJECTING IT ALL.

Writing Battle Scenes

There are times the work of writing really enthralls me.

My subject at hand is a warrior and a royal (aren't they all? I know, I know, and I've addressed the question: just buy the book when it comes out, I'm not here to defend it; ironically enough, given the four words preceding the parenthesis). I do not know squat about how to be a king, and less by far about how to be a dang general. And I've studied a lot of things in the name of writing this novel--researched everything from ancient brickmaking to horse breeding, early Christianity, and pattern-welding steel--but even with reading (as little as I could) about battle formations, and my own specific battles, the deeper dive into actual psychology and what it's "like" to be a fighting man (never mind a strategist) has never quite happened.

I've taken shots, so to speak, and found accidental inspirations. When I'm forcing myself to write battle scenes, I do find some internal logic. But the level of fiction here is really so complete I have to admit I am BS'ing par excellence.

I hope it is par excellence.

The wonder of it is that it even *feels* that "right".

I have, and not long ago, thought about running this or that by my uncle, a retired Army officer with Vietnam combat experience. He's busy right now and I'd hate to distract him - and in any case, how selfish can one be?

I've told myself time and again, Diane, you have to look into this stuff.

I always, of course, end up half-baking it, talking out of my, er, elbow, just plunging in like I have a clue in the world. I really don't. But I find myself responding to the cracked junk that ends up coming out, going 'wow, where'd that come from', and thinking, actually, it's kind of believable.

I've read a few battle scenes in my day, it's not like I have to actually produce a documentary.

Yet even with the allowances I give myself, and the remote possibility a reader would do the same, I still think I score a pretty solid B on these things, and that really pleases me. I come up with one idea, I run to do something about it, and other stuff comes crawling around, crab-style, from a completely bizarre angle--and *boop* I've got a battle scene.

After battle scene after battle scene ... Ugh.

Never disbelieve an author who tells you the old cliche', "an author doesn't choose the subject, the subject chooses the author."

Now, far be it from me to presume I am of any use to the old Frenchman I've mired in my millions of keystrokes ... but I do have to say, even if I'm not obvious, I've turned out not to be a disgraceful scribe for the fellow. His fights don't get short shrift--plus, he's intelligent, funny, wonderfully violent and insane, and the women who dig him the most aren't half bad.

Well, apart from his mom, of course--but no spoilers here.

The point is that the process of writing is mystifying stuff. I am a complete dumb-idiot, and a bit of a girl when it comes to war and stuff. But dang if I haven't written this whole historical novel and produced some serviceable combat. And shorter bursts of pretty spectactular violence (and temper) too. Where it's all come from I cannot imagine - and, as we all know, fella babies: I'm conceited, and more than willing to take credit for my talents and smarts.

This, I never will understand. I can't say it's automatic writing; I know I have some role in all this. I know I've put forth (over four years now of) effort. It's not like I'm disclaiming responsibility here.

But credit is hard to take, at the same time.

It's weird and it's inexplicable, and I love it, and I don't think I'll ever get it. I'm grateful as hell, and the closer I come to finishing ("February! February!!"), the more bizarre it seems to me.

I'll be interested to see how the not-a-sequel-exactly decides to turn out.

It's all about women. Powerful, booty-kicking, Ostragothic women. Rock on.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Heh. Huh.

I can't recall what I was going to say about the word that ginned itself up in my brain-flotsam while I was half sleeping.

Suffice it to say, it was "geriatricality" and I liked it and I still do.

This should perhaps become a post about words people I've loved have made up, which I've made a part of my lexicon - but for now, just a short list:

porculent - meaning pretty obvious, I'd hope (from BEx)
perplexion - again clear, I think (from a less beloved ex)
cromulent - a perfectl serviceable, good word (from the writers of The Simpsons)

Will add as I recall others - or not, as the mood may or may not strike me.

Ramble On

My dog and I share a birthday, and it's coming up soon. She's going to be twelve, and I'll be forty-two. For you Douglas Adams fans, do be aware I've already celebrated for some time - as *this* year, I'm in my forty-second year as it is.

Anyway, the dog. I found her a bit over seven years ago, after losing the best kitty ever, my special, the Puppycat, an inimitable little guy named Smikey. Smike was entitled by his daddy, my Beloved Ex, who chose both this little weed and a kit I named Byshe back in the mists of time before we ever even married. Smike was a funny and friendly little guy, had a huge bullseye splotch on each side (we considered naming him Hal - and people DID want to poke his bullseyes, poor old devil), and became ill during the year or so after Byshe (pronounced BY-she, he was named for Shelley by way of a kit I went to HS with, whose parents had given him the slightly doctored version/pronunciation; I always thought it was a great cat name) left us behind. Smike turned out to be diabetic, and in his final couple of years, he was angel enough not only to put up with a NEEDLE IN THE NECK twice daily (he seemed to understand its connection to his improving and blooming health), as well as the cruelty that is blood-drawing and testing for a kitty. Trying not to feel a total heel while intentionally cutting your best boy's little nails to the quick for a drop of blood is hard to do ...

Anyway. Poor old Smee died horribly, in the end. It was brutal, and painful, and worse than that dear little kid ever deserved, and I was guilty and desperately horrified for him, and bless him he was a total sport and a fighter and a little love, and to this day I miss that kid, and good lord I'm getting misty just thinking about him.

This post was totally going to be about my dog.

Ahem. A moment, then.

Anyway. So Sid is my housemate now. She was four when my elder niece helped me one beautiful Saturday in September, on the mission to find a dog. She was such an odd-looking, wonderful weirdo she had us before we'd even crossed the parking lot.

That I can still recall the first MOMENT I saw my DOG probably says entirely too much, but it was a month after I got her before I experienced that same cliche' with a man for the first time, and dang if that didn't turn out to be an even more ridiculously cinematic intro.

Anyway, Sid. Sidney. I suppose her previous owners spelled it Sydney, or something equally overwrought/pretentious. The name itself I've never had much problem with, but of course she rarely gets called that (at least not without embellishments galore). I'd already nicknamed her Siddy even before "deciding" she was the one (yes, Zuba, I remember well your being the one to say that if I'd NICKNAMED her she was obviously the one I wanted). I couldn't resist taking her even when they called to say she'd been hurt by another dog at her foster home, and was wearing a halo and still had stitches. "GIMME GIMME" I believe was my unsubtle response to "do you want her, or would you like to wait until she's had the stitches out?"

Without wasting more verbiage on the hows and whys (it's sad the degree of detail I *could* provide on these points), Lolly is generally referred to as La, Lol, Lolly, and sometimes Lolly-ya. And lord is this dog a good beastie.

What karma I could possibly have contributed to the world to gain the blessings I have had of it is beyond all possible interpretation, but this dog is every bit the Best Beastie the Smikester was, and then some. She's so good I won't even bother listing all the reasons, just know she's the Gooderest Dog, and I'm so grateful to have been found by her I can't even begin to stand it.

And someone LET THIS DOG GO.

Sid was four years old when I adopted her. She was LET GO.

I met someone, not so long after I got Sid, who recognized her while we were on a walk. She's so distinctive looking, it's no surprise she'd be easy to place, if you saw her somewhere. I learned from this woman that the previous owners, whose story to the Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation (AARF) had been pretty weak, were basically snobs for whom this dog no longer, apparently, suited their exalted sense of self.

To break my "this blog will be readable by my nieces" writing rule: What colossal assholes.

And idiots, to boot, really.

Sid isn't a barker, except in the context of her boisterous, barrel-chested idea of a friendly hello (hee), or her even MORE boisterous, and very much encouraged by me, attempts to guard and protect our home. She isn't too much of a jumper, she is very very good being at home alone much of the day, and she isn't a horrible spaz. She's amazing, just amazingly good with CHILDREN - which of course was Criterion Number One, for me, when taking my then four-year-old compatriot out for a dog-shopping expedition. She's always been a wonderful old lying-quietly-at-your feet dog.

She's had some training, that much has always been obvious.

She's BEAUTIFUL. "Aristocratic", one lady said of her, one time at the Pet Smart (just as she responded by squatting for a pee in the middle of the aisle - heh - "apisstocratic" maybe). She is in formidable health, too, at twelve; her leg muscles still clearly delineated under her short fur; her eyes clear, her teeth fine, and her energy never flagging.

This dog is, in short, perfectly ideal in every possible way. (That these former owners of her apparently "disciplined" her to the extent that the poor girl once went THIRTY-FOUR hours without messing in the house, when I was stranded during a hurricane, tells me too much about what may have been done to her before she came to me.) Making her tail wag is about the best thing I can ask to happen, or to see, any day in the world. Her big sad almond-shaped eyes are as honest and beautiful as any *person's* I have ever known, of course.

She's a good kid. She is sustained, in her complete ignorance of her own old age, by the advent, a year or more ago, of our next-dog-neighbor, a boy of four with whom she plays without the slightest indication she's anything but what he is - a vital and exuberant young dog with tons of energy and friendliness to spare. She's purty-ful and hilarious. She's got a head made of tungsten, shaped like a Volvo. She's mad fun, and relaxing too.

And some MORONS gave. this. dog. UP.

Good for me, is what I say. Quite hopefully, good for HER.

But good lord. Who DOES that??

Who looks at a beautiful, weird American Bull/Huskie mix and says, "Nope, Not Good Enough." Who can possibly presume to be too GOOD for a DOG?? Any dog? Whose standards are set to such unbelievable stupidity?

I just will never understand. I'm grateful as hell, and aspire to be good enough Siddy has reason to be happy. She sure doesn't complain much (though she can sing operas about how cruel her life is when we go to the drugstore and I have to tether her outside for a few).

"Frank ... I'm Getting A Sick Headache."

I had a headache last night the likes of which felled even me.

Let it be clear: when it comes to headaches, my brother and I inherited some sort of alchemized curse; the two of us are prone to cranial pain of a pretty rare and special intensity. His headaches and mine are actually quite different, but our propensities appear to be nearly equal - which is all to say this:

It takes a headache of pretty intense cruelty to impress me.

Over the years, I've been diagnosed as suffering migraines; then by another doctor as, no, no, oh, no, those aren't *migraines*, migraines have classic symptoms and yours do not match, no what you have is cluster headaches; then by still a third as, of course you have migraines - cluster headaches ARE migraines.

And so on.

This past August I had a barnstormer of such astounding power and pain that I didn't protest my mother's and stepfather's proceeding to call 911 and have me carried away in an ambulance. I had myself hyperventilating quite on purpose, because hyperventilation prevented my CRYING from the pain, and please allow me to tell you that sobs are one of the most horrible things one can allow, for headaches. The pain spiral is beyond toleration. Anyway, so I was panting for reason, and it was almost upsetting when my sweet little EMT (a slip of a lad of nineteen, I think he was) made me stop. He did give me oxygen, though, so at least he didn't leave me hanging completely.

Well, last night's pain was probably a seven or so on the scale my brother and I might occupy, which as I say is fairly beyond the scale of most people's head-pain-toleration index, from what I can understand of people's responses to my headaches. Seven isn't, I have to say, "all that bad" when put in the context of a nine-plusser like August's festivities. But it shuts me down. I am useless to my dog, and to myself.

The kink in the works is, the older I get, I think the more *nausea* comes into play in my worse headaches. This is a shocking insult, for me; I can handle a pretty nasty dose of pain, but give me the queasies on top of it and I am lost. It makes a horrible but bearable experience the stuff of nightmares.

And I don't even have nightmares. But that's *another* post, obviously.

Anyway. Last night was Teh Yuck, as the kids these days might say. (Heh.) I forced myself to stay awake until nine, which was a bit of a sacrifice (sleep helps), but which was necessary in the interest of *staying* asleep beyond like three or four in the morning. I missed the new lawyer show starring both Billy Zane (he reminds me of two guys I have had affections for, heh) AND Clancy (I have an inordinate sort of teddy-bear affection for) "The Kurgan" Brown. I was unable to ease the discomforts in any way. But I stayed up.

And I slept until ten after ten this morning.

I don't even remember falling asleep, actually. This is nothing but a good thing - and definitely testifies to the curative power of same for me. Ah, and thank the deities for my flex schedule; today is my day off of work. THAT'S a huge plus.

So today is devoted to looking at purses on eBay, and dumping out some of the flotsam my brain came up with during my very good sleep last night (stay tuned for the invention of the word "geriatricality" ...), lovin' on the Old Doggy, and watching it be dank and not-horribly-cold outside.

Couldn't be much better. I'm a fortunate woman.

(Why yes - post-headache euphoria *is* an actual symptom of certain migraine-sufferers. Why do you ask?)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blade Runner

My ex husband loved this flick. I loved *looking* at it.

But, I have to come out of the closet, after all these years, and face up to it. Having seen about every version known to man (and that's a LOT of movies, Mr. Scott), I just never have warmed to this flick. Any iteration.

It is *gorgeous* to look at. As far as "seeing" a movie, nothing tops it, even to this day. Ridley Scott makes unbelievable eye candy.

But as far as actual movies? I have to succumb; it just seems like he doesn't have any interest in - you know - interesting people. I know, I know, that thousands of people around the world for nearly THIRTY years now have found depths of symbolism and meaning in his films, Blade Runner most of all.

But, um. The symbolism is actually nothing one needs to dig for - he rather bludgeons you with it. Yes, yes, that's all very deep - oh, look, a dove, oh look, a NAIL through Rutger Hauer's hand. Oh, look - for that matter - it's Rutger Hauer. He's deep stuff, right?

Well, maybe so. But Batty?

Is poorly written, to say the best of it.

Every character in this flick is repellant; human and replicant, they are all a gang of bores and nasties. Rachel and Deckerd - *yawn*, seriously. I don't see the chemistry (and I don't even see her looks, once she lets down that edifice of hair and lets loose the extreme misfortune of the early 1980s on us; the only way that doesn't win Worst Movie Hair EVAR is because Darryl Hannah's monstrously unkind wig is the ultimate prizewinner for Worst Wig In History, Movies Or Not, Kiddo). The story could be portrayed in fifteen minutes; the rest is "hey look at this unbelievable production design, man!"

I've been giving BR second chances for twenty-five years, and have long felt I must be missing something because this doesn't make even my second-string list (and I've got some doozies) for Movies I Must Own. It just bores me unbelievably.

And I recognized some of those crazy-fat columns from Darkness's palace in Legend, I'm pretty sure ...

Anyway, revoke my geek(-lover's) card. I don't like Blade Runner.

Next up - a revisit of "Black Widow" on my Netflix qeue. I haven't seen that in at least fifteen years now, and have happier memories of that one. Heh.

Funker Vogt


Is it even *possible* for these guys to perform a song I can dislike?

More than six months on my Slacker radio seems to prove - nope, not so far.

I'm just sayin'.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Am Naked


As vain a creature as I know myself to be, this post is a wary one, very hard for me to consider. An old part of myself aches to share. The self I am today is more afraid of exposure.

But to discuss what I want to, it seems the way to do that is to do what comes next.

This is what I look like.

I think myself happy and content enough (... if never reaching that magical thing: satisfaction ...), but I see photos and there is something in them that frightens me, something that makes a liar of me.

I said in my last post how glad I am in my age, but of course there is fear of it. Fear of decay, of living each day older, less healthy, a little creakier, a little more forgetful. I don't pretend that is not there; and the things I said are true. I do revel, somewhat, in the process, even the scary stuff. But time *passes*, and that is more painful. So much time, and still not everything is quite yet in its place.

What happens if I live my life, and it's never quite set up right?

These photos ... they remind me, too, of something one usually doesn't see in oneself. Beyond the collapse of the skin around my jaws, beyond the white hair, or the arthritis - is another change, one I *am* ashamed of, one which plagues me.

The set of my mouth, the tension. The pain even I can see is visible in my face.

I think myself happy, take a photo, and see a kind of "maturity" that never existed before.

When I was younger, "mature" meant, of me, that I had a certain poise. It might mean my beautiful diction. It might mean the timbre of my voice. My posture. My professionalism, the graciousness I have in social company.

Here I see in my face a stripe more like what they used to call "character", back when people were actually allowed to age and describing it wasn't insulting.

I see the tightness in my lips, the sorrow in my eyes. I know where it comes from, and don't find it un-beautiful.

But it feeds on itself, and the reminder of my sadness makes me melancholy. Only by rejecting mirrors can I hope to avoid it.

I never avoid it. Not really. I do that hideous thing, staring at my face at night time.

Two years ago, I was desolate, and began to recognize this face. A year ago, I think, may be when these shadows became permanent in my expression, no matter what my mood might be. I see photos where I'm smiling, but the cast of my eyes is always downward.

I'm not an unhappy woman.

But I am such a sad one.

Not sorrowful, but capable - and possessed of - a strain of melancholy which never goes away.

In a way, this recaptures my youngest childhood. I was an extremely hermetic, shy, terribly sad girl, really. I have always attracted great sadness. Maturing to a certain point, I felt I had sealed myself away from it, even though people full of echoes of desolation still gravitated around me.
Maturing to the point I occupy now - I know the fill line where it comes to within me. I know it never evaporates, never quite empties out. I know even the joys I know are real within me are nothing without pain, the only balance to prove them.

I know, too, the deepest joy in my heart is attached to that heart which carries the deepest torment. That soul, attracted to mine, most burdened with its own melancholy.

Many think it is sick ... or sad ... that this is, too, my own chiefest joy.

I'll never be able to explain it.

Any more than I'll be able to explain why ... though it terrifies me to post my face, naked and undeniable ... what created that expression - what tethers me to both joy and to denial - is the blessing I am most grateful for, after my family and the privileges of my existence.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oy V(age)

I saw the cutest boy today, and thinking of him as a kid got me on the mental track, as I walked out of the building and into the dazzling, icy-cold brightness of the morning. I often see people who are probably in their twenties, and think of them as children in a way, and I was thinking about that. That my affection for youth is probably tinged with a bit of the patronization of my age (forty-two, now, in less than a month), but that this ageism isn't a matter of superiority, even if part of the affection comes from a very real gladness that I am no longer "there". I certainly don't feel better than those younger than I am, but I feel a joyous gratitude to them for being, for doing, what I no longer have to.

The train of thought began when I caught myself thinking, "Oh, there was a time I'd have seen that boy and so been excited by his cute head of Sideshow Bob curls," and playing back in my head all the reams of bad writing I have read, which has opened with "Oh there was a time" sorts of phrases, and understood that always as a lament, a pining, a regretful reminiscence.

Thing is, for me, it was more of a relief, a genuinely energized thanksgiving.

I used to say, even years back, "I earned every minute of my age, and I don't want to lie about it!" Like my mother, I apparently "age well" as the kids say. I don't "look old" (or, at least, I don't conform to the expectation of what forty-whatever is supposed to look like); or, at least, I don't sport saddlebag-tanned skin, clue-catcher bangs, and a spiral perm, which I gather are considered standard-issue ageing equipage for someone familiar with the eighties. Of course, nobody my age really *does*. My generation hasn't aged as the ones before us did; but then, our own parents and grannies didn't do as theirs did either. A century ago, gloves and aversion to skin damage kept women *and* men from the vagaries of mid-twentieth-century tanning and smoking, which aged some generations to a crisp. Each generation has its virtues and its vices, and they all manifest over time in different ways.

But this diverges from the point. Surprise surprise.

Anyway, so I was thinking about all the self-indulgent twaddle I've consumed over my lifetime, largely literary, depicting women particularly and people generally (but especially women) as an entire population put out by the process of aging.

And, yes, we all do have our moments, missing the cute knees we used to have, or the way our arms didn't use to wave in the breeze.

But not all of us care about these things more than for a minute.

I'm hideously conceited, vain about my looks and my person more generally. I'm obsessive about the image I present, not least in the way I look to other people.

And yet ... I do not miss my youth in any way. I don't want it back, I wouldn't *go* back - no, not even "knowing what I know now" - most *partiuclary* not knowing what I do now. My happy outlook on twenty-something owes its ALL to the fact that I am no longer in it. To having earned my ticket past; and past my thirties, too. I look at myself, aged thirty-four (great zot, almost eight years ago) - the year I met E, the year before I lost my first parent, the year so many things changed - and even that seems the face of a girl, not a complete woman.

I don't know when I became confortable with the word woman; I used to hate it. I thought of myself always as a "kid", a "girl" even (and *therein* lies another long-winded post indeed) - as the youngest in my family, the baby cousin, even if I never was babied in the way many families indulge. Even now, my mom's outlook on me still contains much defaulting to juvenile.

But at some point, I bought (and paid off) a car. I bought a home - and haven't burnt it down. I have held, and flourished in, increasingly responsible and prestigious jobs. I cultivated some pride in my grown-up accomplishments. I actually accomplished them.

And so it is strange, but I think of myself as a woman somehow. That's a new one. Or, at least, more recent than one might expect of a woman my age.

I feel an enormous comfort in my skin. My skin which, taut as it may seem, I can see some crepey-ness in. Which has thinned. Which isn't as moist as it once was.

I can indulge the writer's cliche' of looking myself in the mirror, seeing the subtle changes in the shape of my face, see the whiteness in my hair, see that my neck has lines; my dryness, the tiny age spots on my hands.

But I think, oh, how soft my skin is this way. It was soft in one way when I was younger, but its smoothness is now delicate, a different kind of delight. It is tender, it is different.

I think, oh, I can't wait to see what it will look like, when I've decided there's *enough* white - and I strip out all the brown dye, and let my hair go natural. I think of my mother's shining, beautiful white hair, and my grandmother's, and I know I inherited it, and I am excited to see what it will look like, when I let mine shine like that too, when I soften its edges perhaps with a little curl, when I have a halo like that.

Ten years ago, saying it, I had no idea the glory and the joy of a statement like, "I have earned every second of my age." Now I do, and now I love it, and I am so glad. I love my little bones, my freckles, my sturdy, steadily-more-arthritic fingers. I am not a model, I am not a stunning girl. But I am so beautiful. I am my Grandma Major's jawline and set lips; I am my maternal granny's wonderful hair and smile. I think of the photo of her and my grandfather, and know the incredible beauty of what she was, and I miss her, and I am so grateful she gave me the face I have that I cannot imagine pulling it tighter, making it "prettier" - desecrating my family's gifts to my body.

I love my dad's coloring, but see my loss of it as gaining my grandmother's. I ache and wish I didn't; but to trade it for having to be twenty - or even thirty - again would be a sin, even if it were possible. I realize the reasons one knuckle is more arthritic than the rest, and don't resent it; I merely consider what can be done to stop making it burn so badly. I consider the grandparents who lived - *healthily* - to eighty, to ninety-four, and respect those in my family who weren't so blessed. I believe I'm at home with either possibility for myself. I weep at my father's death, even seven years on now, but never lose my gratitude to have had him for thirty-five years (to the day).

Oh there was a time. Adulthood frightened me: age was impossible then.

It's entirely possible. It's G-d's blessing in our lives. What else is yet to come ... I find myself eager for more. More life. Not less of it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grammar Without Pity

"Perpetuating" and "perpetrating" ... ?

Are NOT the same word. TWOP.

*Eye roll*

"An inappropriate staffer entered into Rozlyn--"


I mean - seriously ... ? Y'all had like six sentences and paragraphs I literally was unable to even DECIPHER today, guys.

They're called editors. Please.


Dollhouse Some More



Last week's episode was so earth-shatteringly entertaining, shocking, awesome, hideous, perfect, stupendous, and overwrought, I have felt a need for DAYS to holler and scream and howl about it. There is simply nobody nobody I can do this with ... and it is killing me all to death.

Worse is the fact that nothing I can say can properly convey the spectacularity of events without spoilage, and with something as fine and gasp-inducing (and that was only HALFway through the episode - what happened at the end was shout-worthy) as this, I would Never Dream of doing such a thing. This is the whole reason I've been unable to post about it.

I think of TEO, my best friend, and know that there's much about this show I can't recommend to her, Whedon lover as she is. Yet I wish ...

I think of E, and know he'd actually dig it quite a bit probably, but that the flaws would likely matter more to his consumption than they do to me - and, though I tell myself the *highs* more than make up for the flaws - that the audacity here, the things DH is doing, are so stunningly worthwhile (and the entertaiment, when it's "on", so wildly entertaining) that it's almost necessary viewing. But I know too that my recommendations, perhaps even more particularly when I'm as fully invested in this as I am, are only my own "thing" and they don't necessarily have oxygen nor the right to live, outside my own head; and so I know that he needn't listen either.

Nobody else I can think of would even bother. Nor would I even try to ask them to, really.

Oh, but "Dollhouse" ... Oh, you show you.

I need to crow, to sputter, to gobsmack. I need to share the intensity of the energy this show injects into my brain with someone, even if it's an invisible computer screen I know speaks to nobody and a page which lives, hiding in plain sight, in a backwater of Teh Intarwebs.

Oh, you show you. What you did.

It's all the more deeply awesome because of that one DVD I own, which E and I consumed with unseemly relish, years ago (and which I need-need-need-need now to go back and watch again, for that one performance).

It's awesome because the performances here are so good even without past knowledge.
It's awesome because they did it, and NOBODY appears to have known what they would do. My stars. My gracious. They didn't even try, and they surprised everybody. Go show!
The final forty-five seconds of Friday January 8th's episode made everything everyone else complains about so much more than "worthwhile" it is a gift to television it ever came to air. Possibly the most entertaining and stunning piece of work I've ever seen broadcast.
And it begs one non-spoilertastic question.

Would "Dollhouse" have gone this route (would it have been able to?), if the show had not been canceled.

I suspect it would be painfully easy for me to find articles explicating development, and the effects the show's short life have had upon it. I suspect it would be possible to learn, yes, the Big Bad here, the level of what they are up to now, is in fact partially owing to a truncated shelf life. Or that, no, maybe the show actually WAS heading to such a huge dustup, was always going to be of such enormity.

I realize I don't want to know.

There are times, Intarwebs or no, when it's more fun to consider life, than have its every question answered.

(When it's more fun to have a blog in one's own real name, but still thrive in pretty complete anonymity due to *other* people's failure to ask, "Where is Diane L. Major?")

But Friday's episode intrigues with certain performances, with the life of the series as a whole, with the subtleties of careers and casting, with the cult of Whedon's personality, with so many things.

That it gets me thinking these things - and philosophy - even beyond those things it's clearly *aiming* to get me thinking, is one of the reasons I have become so intimate with this show. I don't identify with the characters (heaven forbid; even as a writer, I bridle from that possibility). I don't participate in in the JossCult, though I like the guy. I am far too old for most of the actors to hold much real estate in my mind; my affections for them are definitely maternal ones. I don't fit anywhere in this show's world, nor does its view have any place within me even.

But I love its questions, I *love* its adventure, I love its awkwardness and its cruel honesty - I love that it says what everyone else is thinking, but would never breathe. I love that it's not obvious.

I love wondring what is coming next.

I may not breathe again before *this* Friday.

But I'll be awake, and eager, all the way along.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

As Is - Asus

Sooo ... my stepfather sure had fun this Christmas. He hit home runs with two gifts - a new laptop for me, and a new Mac desktop for mom.

Um, wow.

The magnitude, in our family, of such gifts would be pretty difficult to overestimate. I mean, huge. My mom had "bought" me a new doorway (the carpentry and plastering, finishing off a hole dug in the wall literally *years* ago) in August - and that was, by my expectation, MORE than I even cared to expect for presents. So the purse, crock pot, and other stuff was great - and more than enough. I've had years when, from my entire family, I had three gifts to open total, so this all was good.

Then came the heavy box.

Mom had opened her huge one, the Mac, and teared up a little bit. Now, for mom, stepdad has always in the past been (by our family's past standards) pretty extravagant (ask me about the year she got a mink AND diamonds, and my big gift was a trashcan - heh). Usually, this comes in the form of jewelry. So the computer was both a perfect suprise, a REAL hit, and a homerun of a well-chosen present.

As for me, I had to follow suit with mom's astonishment, and even I think a bit of mist, if not actual tearing-up. I mean, wow. My home computers have always been hand-me-downs (don't ever let anyone tell you it's not worth having propeller heads for friends); one a really nice Vaio with, amusingly, a Hebrew keyboard; another, the last, "the black box of mysery", a monolithic object worthy of a Kubric feature.

It was the BBM which blew up last March. I've gone since March with no computer at home, and if you don't think this gets in the way of working on one's novel, think again of course. Oy. But I'm enough of a luddite, the impostion was in some ways also a nice escape. It certainly gave me good excuses for missing out on months of spam, for not being into Facebook, for all sorts of non-accessibility. (Being non-accessed by my friends and family via all the traditional methods is reminder enough of my unpopularity with them, thanks - heh.)

But ... I have to say, a laptop at this time is a pretty deluxe gift. Even aside from the sheer extravagance (I mean, wow) - it is coming at a most interesting time.

For one thing, I decided not three days before Christmas, it was time for me to look for a new job.

For another, it's New Year's - that time when I tend toward a great deal of reflection.

This gift, at this time - the gift of access to things I can't and won't do at work, but want to do - the gift of access to RESOURCES, the gift of flexibility, of ... options ... is huge beyond the dollar signs it took to buy my (beautiful, beautiful) Asus. It's huge in terms of the dollar signs I hope it can help me toward regaining.

My previous position was a prestige job, a good one with a better boss than *I* ever deserved. But I earned him, I earned my position. Leaving that company when I did, knowing what I knew, the three thousand dollar pay cut - and the demotion from the echelon at which I've so long been accustomed to occupying ... well, it was worth it, all criterion considered. It was, frankly, necessary.

For two years, I've been grateful for what I have, and that gratitude is genuine.

I'm also grateful ... for my life. For the vital force in my blood that sometimes, unexpectedly, rears itself in *ambition*.

For my ability to do for myself. To achieve.

It is my plan, this new year, to do some achieving.

I can't do that at my current employer. I need to find another one.

So my stepfather has played into my hand, though I've not even discussed this change with him or my mom (she'd fret herself to death! Best to just present the alteration after it's been made: surprise! I've got this incredible new gig!).

Interesting times. Interesting stuff!

Also - nifty new laptop. WOO!