Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dark...

They were drawn to her darkness.
Like moths to a flame.
But her flame was cold. 
Dark.
Deep.

But still they came.
They looked in her eyes 
and saw their own reflections.
Never feeling the chill.

Until the day they did.
Always surprised.
How could you?
When did you change?

She never had.
She always was.
They just never saw.
Blinded by the dark.

But still they came.
Thirsting for her.
Mistaking her depth for salvation.
Never realizing they were drowning.
Dark.
Deep.
Cold. 

The heroes determined to rescue her.
The poets dying to woo her.
The lovers wanting to reach her.
Let them come.
She would take them all.

Dark.
Deep.
Cold.
Eternal.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

If I were to do it this is how...

When I worked as a cashier or bookkeeper or office manager or any other money handling position in a company one of the first things I would do is figure out how to rip them off. Would it be better to do one large chunk or small pieces? How was I more likely to get away with it? How many other people could/would have access to this money and therefore the blame? How cleanly could I do it? How long would it take to be discovered? And was there a way to do it where it never would be?

I could say I did it to be better at my job. If I know how to rip you off I can more easily prevent others from doing it. But that would pretty much be a lie. I did it because it amused me to do it. I liked figuring it out. But one little thing always kept me from my devious plans. I am shockingly honest. I am the person who goes back in to the grocery store to settle up when I find the item in my cart I didn't pay for.

If I do find myself in a situation where my ethical buzzer is going off and I try to ignore it I get ill. Tried working for NutriSystem while I was in college and the things they asked me to do to sell their plan made me quit the best paying job I had ever held up to that point. I just can't do it. Once I've decided something is wrong I am stuck. And if I try to do it anyway I am sick. Physically ill. And stealing is one of those things that falls squarely in to the wrong column. But I'd still figure out how to do it.

So anyway, watching the whole Bundy Bunch round up today and reading the comments on the posts. People are squarely on one side or the other (in the posting, I would guess the people who are middle ground are quieter as middle grounders tend to be) and I keep seeing recurring themes.

Government overreach. That is the theme of the why the Bundy Bunch was there according to their supporters. It was supposed to be about the Hammonds and the unfair sentencing they got for setting fire to government lands. But the Hammonds said they would finish their sentences and asked that the Bundy Bunch leave. So then it came back around to the Bundy family's pet cause. The government doesn't have the right to charge them for grazing their cattle or to even own the land that the cattle was grazing on in the first place. So they were going to take back the land and give it back to the people. Not all the people, mind you, but the people. I have a few issues with this. Part being the Bundys themselves. They owe the government over a million dollars in unpaid grazing fees. Turns their political protest in to more of a trying to get out of debt ploy. Also the reason why most of those ranchers don't own that land is because when they were going broke they sold it. It would sort of be like you selling your house but insisting that the new owners let you come over and swim in the pool whenever you wanted to because you know, you used to own it.

So I don't really agree with them in their specific points. Or at least on the ones that it was really about. The Hammonds sentencing? Well that falls under mandatory sentencing and not allowing the judge (you know the highest legal authority in that room at the time) to have leeway in sentencing. I am not a fan of mandatory sentencing. I think it's stupid. I think the world tends to run a lot more gray than that. There should be room on either end. Sentencing guidelines. Okay. But mandatory sentencing and three strikes rules? Nope.

Which brings us to the next theme you see. People talking about Ferguson this and Baltimore that...the general theme being that riots, looting, and arson were allowed to run rampant in those places and they were "praised" for it. Not so with the poor maligned Bundy Bunch. Okay, let's start off with saying, you do know that the people who actually rioted, looted and set fire to things were arrested right? The peaceful unarmed protesters were not. For the most part. Though they were tear gassed, faced down with riot gear clad police driving armored vehicles while the Bundy Bunch was, well, left alone to their heavily armed selves until yesterday. So your argument doesn't work on that level. And nobody praised the people who broke the law. People talked about how something needed done to fix the underlying issues.

And it's silly to try to directly compare. Because they aren't protesting the same things. Or in the same way. Or have anything to do with each other. The Bundy supporters are mad now because someone died yesterday. I get it. Dead is horrible. Being gunned down is a great fear. But that was at the end (or near the end since there are still some at the refuge refusing to leave) of their protest. After they were asked repeatedly to leave. Even offered safe passage out. The Ferguson and Baltimore protests that you want to compare to? Those were started on the death of someone at the hands of authorities.

Here is where things get sort of surreal for me though. Reading through the comments about the death yesterday and there is a rumor that the man that was killed had his hands up when he was shot. Now there are conflicting stories, including reports from others that were there that he actually charged the police and that's when he was shot. But there are those who are screaming loudly about his hands being up.

While also talking about how "if this was Ferguson."

Hands up, don't shoot.

Anybody? Anybody?

Sounds really familiar right. His hands were up when he got shot. Now when the rest of the story came out the hands up part didn't fit. The evidence fit the charge of Michael Brown charging the officer.

But here we are. Another case. Another group. The facts aren't out yet at all. But how easy is it for the Bundy people to believe that their man had his hands up and was gunned down? Because they feel that the government cannot be trusted to take care of the people.

That the police cannot be trusted to always tell the truth.

That people who are being mistreated by the laws in this country end up dead.

Hmmm...

Now I am no more political schemer than I am criminal mastermind but if I were going to run a shadow government the first thing I would do is take the people on the edges of society and pit them against each other.

I would have them screaming at each other about color, class, privilege, yours and mine and I would just sit back and let them go.

Hell, if I found a way that worked on one group, I might even use it on the other knowing full well that instead of paying attention to me and what I was doing they would be looking at each other to see who was treated more fairly in their injustice. Mandatory sentencing. Three strikes rules. Hands up, don't shoot.

So what do you think would happen if these groups stopped yelling at each other about who has it worse and listened to the grievances from the other side? What if they finally heard that they were saying the same things? What if they realized that maybe the current systems weren't working for anybody? Or for just a very very few. Maybe 1% of us, say. What if they banded together and said, "Your unfair treatment is my unfair treatment. We are going to fix this!" What would happen then? Would there be change? Would there be a re-establishment of basic rights without a mountain of paperwork, red tape, unfair economic barriers?

Do I believe that's what is happening? That our government is pitting the people against each other so they can erode our current rights. So it can continue to benefit those that need it the least while watching entire cities, counties, people crumble under the strain? I'm not sure that I do.

But if I were going to do it, that's how I would start.






Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January...

2009-0
2010-0
2011-7
2012-2
2013-3
2014-31
2015-12
2016-?

January isn't a very creative month for me. Unless I set a goal to write everyday (2014) or a ridiculously high year goal (2015) I just can't seem to get it going in January.

I've got one story going right now but I have it set up as a bar story and I don't think it is a bar story, I think it's just two people talking so I need to blow it all up and start again. I've got a poem in my head started but no finish and no clear pattern. And I've got a lot A LOT of political and social angst going that I just don't even want to deal with.

But what I don't have is a lot of production.

And looking back that seems pretty typical.

So then I started thinking, what is it about January that leads to the doldrums? Holiday hangover? Weather blahs? Feeling like with the whole year ahead why rush in to things? All of my goodwill toward men used up in December?

That might be it. Though, honestly, I didn't muster up a huge contingent of goodwill in December this year either. People are on my last nerve lately and as it's my last nerve it's really getting crowded!

So instead for the past two days I've posted old fiction pieces I've done. Both in January of years past. Just to remind myself that I can do it. I really can. I just need to figure it out again. Pull that part of my brain out of it's funk and get it moving.

And go...

And GO...

AND GO...

Maybe tomorrow...


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fragile things...

The constant refrain
She's fragile.
Be careful.
Don't stress her.
Don't test her. 
She's fragile.

I'll take care of that.
You're fragile.
I will handle everything
I will do that.
I will.
You're fragile.

When she broke it was proof.
She's fragile.
See? You need to let me.
You're fragile.
Like porcelain.
So fragile.

Then he turned his back
You're fragile
He moved toward the shards on the ground
She's fragile
And she saw for the first time
So fragile
The hammer in his hand.





Saturday, January 16, 2016

Small scene from something...


I woke up the other morning with her voice ringing in my head. I wrote down a quick note in my phone and went on with the day. Here and there these two have popped up again. It's a fight and it's obvious what they are fighting about. But I don't know who they are. I don't know what the rest of the story is. I only have this argument. And they keep having it over and over again. So I've given in. They get their time in the spotlight. Now maybe they will either tell me the rest of the story or simmer down for awhile....





"I think we..."

She cut him off, raised her palm to him, "Stop right there. You don't get to use we anymore. You've lost that. There is no we. There is you. There is me. There is no we, no us, you lost that privilege."

"You're being irrational. It was a mistake. We..."

She practically hissed at him as she held her hand up again.

"Fine. You and I can fix this."

"Fix this mistake.You didn't make a mistake. You did this purposefully. Your only mistake was getting caught."

"I didn't intend for..."

"You didn't intend for me to find out. I know. But spare me the mistake portion of the speech. Spare me how you want things to be better now. How somehow this is really partly my fault as well. If you recall I heard it all last time."

"If you'd let me finish I was going to say I didn't intend for you to get hurt."

"Of course you didn't. As I said, you didn't intend for me to find out. If you had actually been concerned with my welfare you wouldn't have done it in the first place. Second place. Oh let's be honest we are probably up to the fifth place now at least."

"If you aren't willing to listen then there is no way we..."

She glared at him.

He sighed, "There is no way you and I can get past this."

"Finally you are understanding. There is no getting past this. Not this time. There is no mistake. There is no misunderstanding. There is no going back. There is no we."


Friday, January 15, 2016

Choices...

Thinking about choices over the past few days. We all have them all the time. Big and little ones.

Right now as the political season hits its stride we in the United States are facing the choice of who we want to be president over the next four to eight years. There are a lot of choices out there. Still not sure that there are any I'm really comfortable with just yet, but it's still too soon for me to really focus on it. Talk to me mid-summer. Unless I'm traveling. Canada. Uruguay. Sweden....

So anyway...

This morning I was confronted with personal choices. What happens to you when someone breaks you? Where do you go? How do you handle it? What happens next?

I've talked before about the few years growing up where my sister battled drugs and I was caught in the crossfire of that battle. I was old enough to already have a foundation of personality built. Young enough that it wasn't enough to completely protect me. Old enough to never forget it. Young enough to get over it. Mostly. Most of the time. But if you look at a person like you would a house there is a crack that runs through my foundation. It didn't crumble. But it cracked. It's been repaired. But it's still there. I pondered that for awhile and then let it go.

I had lunch with a friend today and we were talking about how freaking hard it is to raise kids. And that we are all just winging it. No matter how it looks to the outside world. Just winging it. We talked about parenting and marriage and work and I said that she and her husband were the foundation and that as long as they were solid they could build what ever they wanted on top of that. Make the choices they make and if it didn't work then they just started back down to the foundation again. But as long as the foundation didn't crack, they were doing just fine.

Which of course as I was saying it I knew I was still thinking about my particular foundation. Cracks and all.

That's the way it goes in my head. If there is something there that needs attention it will keep bubbling up.

Choices. Foundations. Cracks. Repairs. Choices.

I made almost all of the choices after the bad years. I got angry. I got mean. I got over it. I got better. I got kind. I made them all in a row. Because you can always make new choices.

Because there is a crack there I am aware that at times I can be a bit difficult to deal with. I don't trust easily. In fact I don't trust much. And if you break my trust? I don't trust again. Trust is hard earned and easily lost with me. Part of that is because I don't trust myself. That's a common problem when someone breaks you. Because you cannot trust the person you are supposed to be able to trust, you end up not trusting yourself to make good choices. Or trusting that you are a good person. Depending on when and how the breaking occurred.

Insecurity is one of my broken places. I masked (still mask truth be told) with bravado. But if you were to see a picture it would be of a grand multicolored facade with a little girl hiding behind it trying to put back together the wall that is holding it up as it slowly crumbles around her. Bravado will carry you so far, but eventually you have to let people see the rubble. And well trust...

But there is also another side to this. Another choice. Because I am broken. I tend to recognize those that are broken as well. I have people in my life that have had their own issues. Done their own repairs. Or are just now figuring out what needs fixed. And because I'm here now I can help. Sometimes something as simple as just telling them that they aren't crazy. Or at least not overly crazy. Sometimes just by being here. Still here. Still going. Living a damn good life. Pushing my facade ahead of me while Brent helps me hold up the wall behind it. Sometimes that's what someone needs to see. Needs to realize that there is an out. You do get to make a new choice.

Broken can be repaired.

And it can be better than new. Because once you've been broken you understand that other people can and have been as well. So kindness comes. If you make that choice.

Choices.

We all get them.

Broken can be repaired.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Do you see what I see?

Just a quick and dirty post today. Mostly because I haven't written much this month and I've reached the point where the lack of writing is overwhelming me. I have too many story ideas battling to see who takes the lead, too many rants pent up trying to gut punch their way to the front and too many blank pages screaming to be filled, so today you get a quick and dirty post just to get the words flowing again.

This morning there was a video on my feed. It was Chris Kyle's widow talking to President Obama at his CNN Town hall on Gun Control. Or I should say it was "President Obama shuts down American Sniper Widow's Gun Control Argument BOOM!" or maybe "American Sniper Widow makes Obama's Gun Grab Look Foolish! BOOM!" Literally both headlines had the BOOM! in them. Same video, two different headlines. They watched the same thing, they saw the same arguments, they took away two completely different things. Though I will say one of them cut out a little quicker than the other so their point could be made a little stronger. But everyone edits. Blatantly or in their heads.

And this is why we can't have nice things.

Really.

We see what we want. We hear what want. We edit information to fit our needs.

Anti-vaxxers will dig their heels in more firmly the more studies you show them that vaccines are safe. This has been studied.

Republicans and Democrats actually use different language when making arguments for the SAME points. And will fight with each other because of the words used not ever realizing they are arguing for the same outcome. This has been studied.

Which that one, for me, has always been funny. When I worked in advertising my first go round the owner of the company and the media director would do that same thing. They would be saying the exact same thing. Just using different language to describe it and would argue. I would have to interpret for them, "So what you are saying is..." "I hear that you think we should..." and they would understand me, but not each other. It was wild.

We see the world the way we see it. We filter and we edit and we parse words and we share stories that support our arguments and we ignore or rationalize things that don't. Biased source! Unsubstantiated! Or my personal favorite, They did it too!

We all suffer from confirmation bias. We give higher weight and great credence to things that agree with our views and less to things that don't. And no matter how open minded you think you are, you still do it. You can't help it. You can try. You can really try to put things aside, but you have a view of the world that you filter everything through. And everyone else can see your bias clearly. So when someone points it out to you, you should probably understand that they can see what is invisible to you. Of course, their own bias will be in full effect as they point yours out. So there is that as well.

Basically you can sit in the bar with your friends and all agree completely that only an idiot would vote for Donald Trump and as you all agree nobody would point out that it was only one point of view. Meanwhile across town in another bar another group of friends is talking about how Donald Trump is the only chance we have at making America Great Again and only an idiot wouldn't be able to see that. And because they all agree nobody points out that maybe that's wrong. Same candidate. Same ideas. Same coverage. Totally different reactions. Different filters.

So as we head in to a really contentious political season (my personal filter, I see it as bad) I am trying really hard to remember that everyone is wearing their own set of homer glasses. Every video, every opinion piece, every link that has BOOM! in the title, all of it, it's been filtered and processed for one specific audience. It's been processed and posted to make one point. And odds are strong you can find a video, opinion piece or link that also has BOOM! in the title that is for the opposite audience. Showing the same thing. Just spun a slightly different way. Or edited at a slightly different point.

And this is why we can't have nice things. Because we will just spin them until they are unrecognizable.

BOOM!