So, This is Happening, I Guess.

We’re all shaken up.

We white folks are shocked, heartsick, sad, angry, embarrassed, and defensive as fuck, apparently.

I’ve offended people about 50 percent of the time on facebook since it happened. By sharing articles that made my white friends uncomfortable. “We don’t appreciate the divisive tone of this article,” they say.

Well, fuckadoodledoo.

We BRED that divisiveness. First by not seeing the racism and hate. Then, by glossing it over because it made us uncomfortable. Then, by “solving” it through rejection of racists and bigots when we could cull them from our lives. Some of us stepped up and opened discussions amongst our fellow caucasians about the injustices and the ugliness. Some of us have black friends, even. We listened to Macklemore and defended his value, pooh-pooh’ing the whole white savior thing. Because there’s such a thing as “too far left” and “too much political correctness.”

You know what? No, there isn’t. Because this isn’t a left-or-right thing, a political thing – it’s a moral thing. Because political correctness isn’t actually a thing. It’s just a term we’ve put on an effort to be conscious and considerate of others in all their variances. It’s “Not Being An Asshole.” Or hey, maybe something like, “Respecting the Comfort Level of Others.” Or maybe it’s just fucking EMPATHY.

And now white people are getting upset because their “help” isn’t being accepted the right way by those who have for generations been oppressed, abused, marginalized, ridiculed, or flat-out murdered. Oh, you don’t like our safety pin movement! “YOU’RE BEING TOO ANGRY AND DIVISIVE WHEN WE SHOULD BE COMING TOGETHER.”

NO.

NO FUCKING NO.

It is not the responsibility of the oppressed to accept our gestures and platitudes and make nice just because we’re finally opening our eyes to what has been going on for generations. It is OUR responsibility to shut the fuck up and LISTEN to them, to let THEM have the floor, to boost their signal, to be their support and not their white saviors. And if that means swallowing our pride when they tell us where to shove our safety pins and white tears, then so be it. We shut the fuck up and listen and get educated on how we CAN help, how we CAN make them feel safer and more supported. Because you don’t get to dictate another person’s trust.

And those safety pins? Great! Wear them to your hearts’ desires! But don’t stop there. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just with your pin you’ve done some great service, any more than you have actually helped cure breast cancer by wearing a “save the ta-tas” tee shirt. If you really care, really want to help, here’s a good starting list of ideas:

UPDATE. @SunnyMegatron on twitter shared this more comprehensive googledoc of sites, lists, and links on how you can get involved and really help: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bIAbOOmyyuZ6PR2hHor4egYSQRt30p9wnTT41A8sPJY/edit#

Good Morning?

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First hot coffee of the season here in GA.

And no, it’s not the stuff from the can shown in the pic. I’m a freshly-ground 8 O’clock girl, and/or home-roasted espresso girl. The colorful Chock full o’Nuts can is an item appropriately left over from my Father-In-Law who stayed most of the summer with us. THAT was an adventure, let me tell you.

But I won’t tell you – not all of it, anyway. Because while he’s not a bad person, the man gets on my last damned nerve, and it’s not fair to my husband to air out every last grievance about his parents on the internet. At least not the public part of the internet. But let’s just say I am very, very introverted, and FIL is very, very socially inept and pushes his unsolicited opinions and advice on everything and everyone. He also has little understanding or respect for boundaries. I think I’m allowed to say that much. There were some good things about him being here for almost three months: he helped with the bills while I was in my slow work season. He made our back deck somewhat functional, even though I’m pretty sure his “repairs” will ultimately add to the rotting problem in the long run. He cut down a lot of tree limbs and underbrush, some of which we didn’t really want cut down, but hey – it’s Georgia, and it’ll be back threefold next year. He pulled the bridge from our creek that got destroyed by a fallen tree (not his fault). And his stay required us to rearrange a couple of rooms in our house, which turned out to be a slight improvement.

I am glad he’s back on his side of the country and living his best, though – he was sent to us under a severe misdiagnosis. Also a good thing – the docs here at Emory know their shit. The man has heart failure and was sent to us with a terminal, needs-surgery-or-will-die-in-a-month diagnosis. The docs here fixed his meds and he spent the rest of the time doing all of the above crazy-ass shit until we finally told his medical team what he was doing, and they said, “er – yeah. If he’s doing all that stuff he doesn’t need to be here.”

So, that was my summer – creativity squashed by the stress of an obnoxious in-law living in my space at full volume all summer.

Once he left, I think something in me just collapsed, and I fell from jaw-grinding stress into a physical depression. One that I am hopefully starting to come out of, but man, it was rough. Also rough: having depression and ADD while being self-employed. My business has really taken a hit. Which, in turn, becomes a blow to my self-esteem and sense of self-worth, which then feeds my depression, etc. Good times.

This week I am working on pulling it together, though. My driving force is actually my dog:

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This precious bundle of soft, squishy sweetness who owns my heart. She’s perfect, save for some separation anxiety and subsequent piddle issues. I know, non-dog-people – just skip this part. Our carpets were crap before the dog, and OxyClean is a motherfucking godsend. Anyway, I take full responsibility for her accidents. She needs routine, and she hasn’t been getting it, because *I* don’t have any routine. Some days I’m here all day, sometimes I’m gone in the afternoon, other days I’m gone in the mornings, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s going on or when we’ll be out of bed (again with the depression). And all of our animals – cats included – are bed-potatoes. Seriously, our cats do not wake us up for food. If anything, they stay in bed and suck away all will and motivation to get up. The struggle is so real.

So my October resolution is to get us on a routine, field work or not – up and piddled and coffee/yogurt/back-deck-notebook by 8am.

Today was all luck. I haven’t had enough sleep, really. But I got up anyway. And here in another hour I’ll be in the water, swimming. After that, I might be in the local art studio, practicing with clay. Later today I’ll be working on finishing up this damned Steinway I’ve had in my dining room for too fucking long. And I will also be writing new scenes for two stories.

Yes, I am still a writer, too.

I am so fucking happy October is finally here. Maybe I’ll do a daily or weekly spoop to celebrate. Meanwhile, here’s this:

Spoopy Halloween!

Spoopy Halloween!

Three Things That Have Pushed My Happy Buttons Recently

Thing the 1:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Okay, sure, fitzsimmons. FITZSIMMONS. Oh, man. But besides that, the whole business of Skye/Quake/Daisy’s powers. Every time they get into the stuff about quantum physics and resonant frequencies, my piano-tuner self just SQUIRMS with delight. Seriously, I do physical flailing. It makes me So. Damned. Happy.

Thing the 2:

The Martian.

Yes, yes, everyone is going ON about this movie. But not without reason. I expect it to sweep the Oscars. More than that, of course, was the book. And Andy Weir himself. I mean, his personality really kind of made that book, because it gave that snarky, witty, but not too presumptuous edge to the character voice. Layer that on top of the frankly brilliant science-splaining and epic problem solving of the whole plot, and it’s golden.

Still, that’s not my major happy button. My big, giant, sparkly silver happy button was the feeling of communal enthusiasm in the audience and in everyone who’s read the book. It woke up the little girl in me that dreamed of being an astronomer, or even an astronaut. It rekindled the wonder and love of the study of outer space that I think has been kind of lost for a while, now. Happy. Button.

Thing the Final, which made me super-happy-squirmy just last night:

Dreams of Gods and Monstersthe third book of Laini Taylor‘s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

I’ve been intentionally taking forever to read this, because I’m pretty deeply in love with this series and I don’t want it to end. Okay, also because I’ve frankly been in a serious reading slump for like, a year now. But I’m “letting” myself read at a snail’s pace, anyway.

Last night, though, I was in bed with everyone around me sleeping, and I reached a point in the third book where she started getting all complex and pretty about multiple universes and reality and just – YUM OMG I LOVE THAT SHIT SO HARD. SQUIRMY SQUIRMY HAPPY.

Seriously, Laini – you already had me with your gorgeous prose and world building and magical creatures, but you had to go THERE, too?! Marry me, please.

Other shit:

NaNoWriMo is coming up, and it’s apparently turned autumn here in Georgia (knock wood. Seriously, I don’t expect this shit to stay). Time for hot tea, hot coffee, hoodies, and fuzzy socks. And pleading with myself to get my shit together and seriously tackle my word count issues. Are you doing the NaNo?

I finally womaned-up and got to the pool today. I think the last time I swam actual laps was when I was learning to swim at the tender age of five? What the hell took me so long, though? People at the aquatic center are largely there for the same reason I am – because their bodies don’t want to cooperate enough to do other exercises, and because swamming is great. Somewhere along the line, however, I seem to have forgotten how to handle submerging my whole face, breathing, and swamming at the same time. It’s okay, I worked around it today, but man. Derpiness.

That’s about it for now. I’m sure I’ll have something to say once we go see Crimson Peak.

xox,

CC

Illness Random

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before (likely the last time I had a cold), but I suck at being sick. I don’t know if it’s that I’m already hyperaware/hypersensitive/hypervigilant of every. damned. feeling. in. my. body., or if I’m just a wimp (you can assume the latter). But, yeah. People with more serious and/or chronic illnesses have my deepest respect. I can only hope I never have to woman-up to dealing with anything more serious than an occasional cold/flu/knee problems/shoulder problems/anxiety/depression. You know what I mean, right?

Anyway. In an attempt to beat back this crud enough to actually make some money this week, I am staying home and doing the couch camp.  The dextromethorphan is starting to kick in, and I’m trying to decide whether to put on some music or some Newsroom in the background. I’ve actually been bingeing American Horror Story – OH MY GOD what an awesome show! – but I don’t want to miss any of it in my haze. Although, it could be interesting…. No, too weird.

Speaking of great consumables, this fall is full of so much promise! I just picked up the new Metric album, Pagans in Vegas, as well as the new Vintage Trouble album in anticipation for the small-venue concert we’re seeing in October. There’s The Martian this weekend (!!!!), Agents of SHIELD, Crimson Peak (my heart), even Steve Jobs, which honestly I’m only sold on because Michael Fassbender, Jeff Daniels, and Aaron Sorkin. There’s a new Bill Murray thing which may or may not be awesome, and a ton more I’m sure. It might be the drugs and sinus pressure, but I’m even a little excited about that new Peanuts movie. WHAT.

That new Metric album is pretty neat in headphones.

There’s this cat that I guess belongs to my neighbor. It’s an outside cat, and I’ve watched it for two days now just sport-hunting. I know that cat isn’t hungry. It just looks for squirrels to kill. Kind of psychotic. I’m okay with that. We don’t use our fireplace because it attracts squirrels and it pisses me off and bums me out when they fall down our chimney.

I’m also still the tiniest bit sour about a discovery I made a while back. Basically people on the internet being not who they say they are, and at the same time completely disregarding the fact that the people they’re manipulating and lying to ARE PEOPLE. People with lives and feelings and just – what the hell. Why would you go out of your way to not just make up a whole life and fictional family, but to text me directly about your “cheating husband” who never fucking existed, because you knew I had gone through infidelity in my own marriage? What in the hell kind of bullshit is that? Don’t fucking talk to me.

Okay, I feel better.

Dextro messes me up, man. Wheeeeoooooh!

I totally should write some crack. My three main series bunnies have been active in my head a lot lately, but I’m in no condition to seriously tackle them right now. Maybe I should, though. I have this pattern where scene changes sometimes turn into brick walls that I beat myself against and nothing wants to happen until I get the damned sentence right. Usually when said scene change leads me to realize a whole other backstory that ultimately fills out the wolrd much better, but my world keeps expanding and it’s fucking with me.

I gotta stop this blog entry. I’m a mess. Here’s some candy I got from my tumblr feed.

I can't deal with this man's adorable sexiness.

I can’t deal with this man’s adorable sexiness.

 

Vomit

Thoughts and feelings and personal shit. I have ’em.

So hey, why not write a blog. First, though – I could totally use some eyecandy to cheer me up, so if anyone’s actually reading this, make with the hotties, pls kthx.

Thing The 1:

(This one is a lot of rambly bitching and vaguery and probably not very interesting, but it’s helping me to get it out and put it into the internetvoid.)

I’m just so angry right now, over something I let myself get roped into, again. I’m angry that other people are spewing their drama onto me and damaging my calm. I am very, very protective of my mellow. See, I’m a pretty laid-back gal. It took some fucked up occurrences and revelations to reach this point, but for the most part, I’ve hit this sort of zen thing that probably isn’t actually a ‘zen’ thing so much as an understanding I’ve met with Life. Basically, there’s not a whole lot that’s worth emotional strife or negativity. Being kind (not nice, but kind), costs nothing. Everyone has their own shit, and just – just, don’t be an asshole, you know? It’s this kind of outlook that has made me pretty fucking chill about people. It takes a lot to actually piss me off. I sure as hell don’t go looking for it. Maybe there should be an ‘anymore’ at the end of that sentence – I think probably when you’re in your 20s or so, it’s pretty common to grab onto someone or something as a focus for personal angst. Anyway.

So someone is damaging my calm, harshing my mellow, fucking with my zen. And when that actually happens, it really, REALLY pisses me off. Because you don’t fuck with my calm, man.

But what pisses me off MORE than that, is the fact that I fucking asked for it. I was too passive, too much of a goddamned wimp. I failed to say, “no” good and firmly, and this is the payment I get.

This was supposed to be my summer for focusing on ME. For getting myself back into some healthy habits, for restringing my piano, for doing a whole lot of shit that’s been festering in the “to do” pile of my life. And like a fool, I thought I could just take a secondary role in this Thing I got roped into, and it wouldn’t dominate and wreck my mental well-being the way it has.

FAIL.

I think part of why I get so mad when someone succeeds at damaging my calm is that *I* am actually *working* on being calm and kind and mentally balanced. And usually it’s those people who need to be in some kind of therapy and should probably increase their meds and take their own mental and spiritual health a little more seriously that fuck with mine. It’s like the story of my life is that the people who need therapy the most are never the ones that actually go.

GRRRR.

So, there’s that.

Thing The 2

This is the first time a playlist has ever successfully happened for one of my writing projects. It’s weird, but even though I’ve been a musician my entire fucking life (minus five years), I usually find music to be way too distracting for writing. But this time? Hmmmm yummy yummy yummy music stuff.

I don’t want to write about my writing stuff, though, because I’m a little superstitious and I also feel kind of like if you talk about your writing, you’re not writing.

Thing The 3

I forget? Idunno, bunch of piano shit and yeah, I caught the stupid EL James trainwreck and the Kindle KDU author wangst and whatnot. Also, B&N is just a big bucket of embarrassment nowadays, huh?

I need a beach. An ocean to wash away my resentment and frustration.

I’ve seriously come close, twice now, to walking into a QT and purchasing a pack of Kamel Red Lights. Anything you do should have a return – whether it’s money, useful experience/education, or joy. Right now my evenings are largely being wasted on something that is giving me nothing and taking a lot of time and gas and emotional energy. And it’s largely my fault, I guess. So angry. Here’s a couple from my playlist of awesome.

ali

 

Mish to the Mash Update: Rants and Raves

Been a while, I know. I’ve been working on a few large things, both in authorland and pianoland. Which means a lot of head-down working and a long stretch of nothing to show for it for the foreseeable future. I’m a-okay with that. Hopefully it’ll pay off in the end, and the happy part is that I’m actually excited about both writing and pianos again, despite the overwhelming parts.

Apparently, this is the year of Steinway for me. It’ll be interesting. Fingers crossed.

It helps my focus that the internet is so full of shit lately, I’ll say that much. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe stepping away from the internet and all its commentary and bitchery has made me less tolerant of it. I don’t know. What I do know is that, for me anyway, there are bigger things to advocate for and against than author bullies and problematic fiction.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a great thing that so many people (myself included) have been educated and changed for the better with regards to racism, bigotry, sexism, and just general human kindness and understanding. But lately, the few times poke my head in on the blogs and tumblrs I usually follow, I get this feeling of stale disgust.

The two main issues I personally have are:

a) We’re really still whinging about GoodReads meanies? I swear to christ, some of these authors and their boohooing need to spend three active years immersed in a large and critical fandom, be put through the wringer multiple times on fanficrants and fandomfail, and have to submit their work to sites like Petulant Poetess. When you put your shit out there, whether as an author, blogger, musician, artist, whatever – you are putting a product out that is no longer in your hands. And when it’s in the proverbial hands of a consumer (reader, listener, whatever), they have any and every right to respond however the fuck they want. Also? That fact is NOT “victim blaming.” Your publicly sold/posted material isn’t akin to “wearing too short of a skirt,” and blog trolls are NOT “rapists.” Jesus fucking christ. That was easily one of the grossest things I’ve seen in a month, and no, I’m not going to link where I saw it.

b) Fictional characters are fictional. And frankly, as a reader, I don’t want to read about or watch perfect people who never say, think, or do anything problematic. While I think it’s important and valuable to point out the problematic shit, the characters and stories are not the author. Just as a story is no longer “our baby” when it goes out to readers, the story a reader gets isn’t the author. That said, I’ve seen both reviewers and authors lose sight of that. All I can say is: if/when I publish a story with some sexist, racist, homophobic, and/or slut-shaming character flaws, when that criticism comes, I will be happy to agree that said characterization is problematic, and that’s kind of the point. No one is perfect – even the best, most socially conscious hero or heroine would be fucking boring and unrealistic as fuck if they didn’t have their idiot moments. And said idiotic moments absolutely should be criticized, not celebrated.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, RAVES.

OMG, y’all. The Martian by Andy Weir. Can I tell you about this? I discovered Andy Weir, not from the bestseller hype, but from a tumblr meme that spoke to my agnostic self. Unfortunately, I can’t find the actual jpeg that went with it, but it was basically his short story, The Egg. Go ahead, read it.

…right?

Anyway, I was so blown away, I looked into his other stuff and nabbed The Martian. Funny enough, I haven’t actually finished reading it. Because it’s so damned good, I don’t want it to end. So I keep stopping myself and setting it aside. Seriously. Just read the first page, and you’ll see.

More exciting, it’s being made into a movie for release this fall, with a slew of awesome actors, and I CANNOT FUCKING WAIT OMG OMG OMG. Seriously, THAT CAST. and THAT STORY. GUH.

Speaking of Jeff Daniels, the husband and I just recently finished binge watching The Newsroom. More fantastic writing and acting. And yeah, yeah, typical middle aged white male hero, blah blah see point #2 up there.

I also finally broke into Orange is the New Black, which again – fantastic writing and acting. So many monologues, and they’re all good.

Game of Thrones? What is that? I don’t want to go there. We’re still watching it. I’m not happy about several obvious turns it’s taken, but no one is. It’s all been said, and whatever – DRAGONS.

Okay, that’s about all I have to throw into the void for now. Time to get back to job estimates and time travel.❤

I’m just going to go ahead and say it.

I think Nutella is overrated. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll spoon the fuck out of that shit. But I keep seeing all these “OMG AMAAAAZING” recipes involving gobs and gobs of Nutella in like, everything. It’s not THAT great, people.

Come at me.

Or come back to me when they start making Nutella with dark chocolate. Then we’ll talk.