Saturday, September 28, 2013


I feel like a fool.  I have always been good at rationalization.  Twice,  in the recent past, I have posted stuff in my feeble attempts at irony or jest and been taken seriously.  In another case, a person misread a facebook quote of mine and went into a well-meaning and correct explanation of the thing I was trying to be sarcastic about.

I do not have a sincere voice.  My real life voice is a joke.  I went to see a doctor about five years after my last appointment.  I said, "Hi, I'm Virginia."  He said, "Oh, I remember you.   The voice. . ."

My writing voice is intended to be facetious,  but evidence points to the fact that I am a complete failure at that.  Actually, I have heard from three readers that they got the joke in three cases.  Not a good percentage.

So, how am I going to steer this conversation back to rationalization or idealism?  Well,I just clicked on a book title in a blog.  Actually, it was a "website".  I think.  I am not too sure of the difference, and, no, Jonathan, you don't need to explain it to me.  The site was The Rumpus.  It is pretty liberal but kind of fun for writers.  It has infuriated me enough that I  have cancelled my subscription to it for years.  I have had wonderful discussions on it.  I found out, much later unfortunately, that one of the people I was arguing with was an author, unknown to me, of some repute. ( I admit I travel in the wrong circles.)  So apparently I read something on or about the Rumpus that caught my attention.  I am not subscribed to it, but am apparently subscribed to comments.  Really, that is all you need anyway, frankly.  It is even a bit too much info.

I linked to this book title which sounded interesting and that led me to two hours of linking through various sites connected, in sometimes vague ways, to the book title or author.  And I just stopped it by closing some of the many tabs I had thusly opened.  (I am relishing the fact that I have always wanted to use that word and have never before had the opportunity.  I hope it is a real word.)  (Aren't my asides annoying?)  And, for a reason God intended, but that has never worked too well on me, a light bulb just went off in my head.

I have gone on and on arguing in favor of certain principles.  I am calling them that because, although they may be philosophies or dogmas or truths or precepts or commandments or ideas, I feel, at the base of their structure, they must be principles.  (I flunked philosophy twice.  I have a former classmate who is a Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at a major University.  I am able to communicate with him.)  (I'll stop it now.) And, just now, when the light bulb went off, I realized that some of the things I argue the most fervently for, that shall for the most part go unnamed, for which I have published material with tedious documentation, I do not practice, have not practiced, and have no intention of practicing. And I seriously do not think I am a hypocrite. I think I earnestly believe in those principles and, in my own concept of idealism, those principles would be followed to the letter by all of humanity -- which, of course, they are not and never will be.  And, in my dotage, I will gladly own up to the fact that a lot of the stuff I have done would not have been any fun if I had not felt like I was defying some moral precept or principle.  And that makes me a sinner and that makes me a Catholic.  And this is not a confession.  This is just a light bulb moment that I have really enjoyed.  And that two hours of linking from a book title has given me a lot more insight to my self than probably the whole rest of my life -- a life that has had its share of ups and downs, mostly downs, but has been a great deal of fun and very interesting so far.

Yeah.  My meds have been adjusted.

Photo Attribution:  Google Image

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


So this journalism degree cost a lot.  I hope to pay off my student loans soon.  I got a job!

Saturday, September 21, 2013



A young man is walking along a stony beach on an island in the Outer Hebrides. It is chilly but there is a spring smell in the air. The beach is cross hatched with an occasional scarp. Farther down the scarp meets the water and the young man will not be able to walk further on the waterfront. But before he reaches the end of the beach, right around the place he first intended to turn and head back, he spots a very white baby lamb half way up the scarp. It is bawling piteously and very white but smudged with dirt and a little redness. It is in distress. The man, wearing a perfectly aged pair of Vasques, and happening to have an old thin pair of leather driving gloves in the pocket of his oiled cotton Barbour Mac, climbs somewhat carelessly, but with years of experience to support his efforts and grabs the baby lamb. He continues to the top of the scarp from which the lamb has fallen, carrying it over his shoulder and trying to hold its two back legs when he doesn't need both hands to keep his purchase on the craggy rock.

After he reaches the top and begins to walk over the barely perceptible path leading to his ancient but picturesque cottage, he examines the lamb and sees it is fine except for a few abrasions on its haunch from falling against the stone. He puts the lamb in the yard with the other few sheep he owns, some who have recently lambed. None of the ewes will let the baby nurse so the young man drives his little red car to town and buys special formula for abandoned lambs. He loves the lamb. The lamb loves him. The lamb thrives under his care and is always a bit brighter, a bit bouncier, a bit larger than the other lambs. Sometimes the other lambs, now young sheep, gang up to tease him, but they know he is the leader and usually they let him lead. He is a good leader anyway, they know. The next spring, when it is time to shear the sheep, the young man notices his favored lamb has a more lustrous, healthier looking crop of fleece than the others, so as he shears away, he keeps the wool from the special lamb separate. The wool goes to market as is usual. Walking around money. But the special wool he takes to his aunt's house who lives the other side of the tiny village. "This is wondrous wool," she says. "I will make a special sweater." And she does. Then the young man goes out in the world wearing the special sweater. As he progresses through the world many people say, "Hey, cool sweater." "Oh, what a lovely sweater." "Is that wool bleached? It is so very white."

Then one day the young man is on his way back home. He never stays away for long. He is on a pedway in an airport. Approaching on the opposite pedway is a lovely young girl. The pedway is very crowded but she looks up intently at the oncoming traffic as she notices a certain evocative scent of aftershave that gets her attention, and she spots the young man. "If I didn't have to run for this stupid plane, I would vault over this wall and make a move on that guy," she thinks, and gives him a delicious smile which he hungrily tastes as he moves past, returning a glimpse of self satisfaction over what might have been, as they both well know. As she moves on, the young girl, too busy to feel regret, thinks only, "God, that sweater he had on was gorgeous."

The End

Friday, September 13, 2013


I do not know if I was taught this, or if I realized it through life experience, but it is my belief that you do not hurt people you love.  I know this is simplistic.  We all know very well that we do hurt the ones we love.  (The ones we shouldn't hurt at all. . .)  And sometimes it is with acute deliberation.  We either need to prove something to ourselves or to another.  It is actually amazing how often, in retrospect, I have consciously done this, and the variety of reasons or rationalizations that I have used.  And then there is the big general question that haunts my every waking and sleeping moment.  "Is this love?"  Followed closely by its red-headed step-child, "What is love?"

A very well-known person who is respected for her advice column and recently had a best selling book got into an on-line controversy about a statement that she made.  Actually, she tried to stay out of the fray and the disagreement was largely among her commentors. A year later it cropped up again.  She is so much younger than I that I blame my general disagreement with her philosophy on the fact that my life experience has been extremely various, and I KNOW better.  I also seldom, if ever, had to do a brief hiatus with heroin to clear my mind in order to come to a decision. She is read by so many that turn to her for help in their moments of confusion, and her advice is always so unilateral.  I feel it is dangerous, and, in fact, when the subject was re-introduced this year, it was someone who started out by saying why they thought her advice was dangerous.

I think we never stop learning and it is not a good idea to think our viewpoint is right for everyone.  I had a conversation with my daughter today and we were both growing increasingly uncomfortable.  Finally I said I thought this was the type of conversation we should have over martinis. It was SO not mother-daughter, but SO chick to chick.  I kind of felt like I should not have said many of the things I said, but, on the other hand, I am glad she knows my viewpoint, and she already knows I am anything but coy.

Nevertheless, when I made the remark about the martinis, she said she wondered if the baby would wake up when we shifted her from one car to another.  We neither of us said, "Ahem." but it was an "ahem" moment if ever there was one.  Yeah, you DON'T want to know what we were discussing.  Not that the subject has not come up previously in my blogs and fiction, cuz it has.  But a blog, whether it is true or not, I like to believe is anonymous. The thing that we agreed on was that what ever may seem to be the right thing to do at one moment in your life, may in fact later be the wrong choice.  And you can never be sure.  How can you even think you are sure if you are over the age of twenty?  (Under that age, saying you are sure is utterly meaningless, even to yourself.) And you are never going to know until experience shows you whether it is right or wrong.  So, if it is going to hurt someone, for whatever reason, the one thing that I know about love, or even consideration or empathy, is don't hastily make a decision that will hurt someone.  Circumstances may change for any number of reasons and you may wish you had a do over.  I am betting many of you already know this.  I bet many of you wish you had a do-over for lots of events in your life.  I know I do.  It may be for a marriage, or a break up, or just for picking out what color coat you wanted.  Whatever.  You may not get the do-over, so stop and think.  And, take a freakin' long time to do it.  If it feels right is NOT a good reason to do something.  Not if love, whatever the heck that is, is involved.  Anywhere.

I do not fear pain.  I have learned a lot from it.  I know it goes away.  But still, there are times when I have a choice about whether or not to inflict pain.  And even though I know it will go away, they will get over it, be better for it, I hope I will choose not to inflict that pain.

But what the heck.  I do.  Don't I?

Photo Attribution:  Oh, fuck.  That's my grandma.


I fear criticism. I take even the mildest criticisms very personally and let them hurt and fester way out of proportion to the actual purpose, meaning, or intent.  For instance:  people post book reviews when it is clear they did not read the book.  I don't understand it.  No matter if it is just stars or the reader of the review sees it for what it is, still it takes down my average.  And why do they do that out of a clear blue sky?  Well, I might as well ask why a random stranger drags his car keys through the paint on a random car.  Some thing is just wrong in the head.  And since there are now more people on the world, we see more of these strange people wreaking their hurt because of the way it makes the inside of their head feel. 

I mentioned to someone that I am not a good reviewer.  I don't like to hurt feelings.  That is all I remember hearing in my childhood.  "Her feelings are hurt."  I guess it is good they acknowledged I had them even as they blithely rode roughshod over them. If I promised a review, I will pick out a good thing about the book and emphasize it and give four rather than five stars.  (There should be about ten stars.  I can never make  a choice.)  But on a forum where a person asked for a critique of a preliminary excerpt, I remarked how good they were at telling a story even though I was not the intended audience.  I commented that there were a few minor syntax problems, but I wasn't there for an edit.  The asker went all postal about how they were an English teacher and how I could shove my syntax errors.  Well, the person did not put it exactly that way.  I put a negative review on Amazon for a book about Jesus that was some preposterous metaphysical theory and was a grammar disaster.  I felt so bad about it I went back and took it down.  The person got to say what they wanted to say, and anyone should get a pat on the back for that, much less having the courage to display it to the whole world.

Then there are the times I have asked specific people about specific matters in relation to one of my books.  When they said something was wrong and I objectively pointed to my research backing up my statements they got all hostile and said a couple of insulting things. This was a person who said nothing about imbalances or inconsistencies in my writing or story or method.  Just facts the person homed in on.  I thanked that person for their brilliant ideas and support and quietly rolled up my rug and folded my tent.  The very best thing anyone said about anything I wrote was "crazy good read" and I cannot get over it.  I always feel like I feel a certain way about something but someone doesn't get it.  When I am surprised at the way someone reacts to something --  for example, in the face of disaster a person commented to the person experiencing the disaster that God didn't give you more than you could handle and the person took it negatively and construed that the person was trying to explain to her that God wanted her to have the disaster because otherwise she would not have been able to cope with the outcome.  Like the disasteree had the mind set that the commiseration offerer was saying, "Better the plane crashes carrying the guy you might meet and marry in twenty years cuz you might get a divorce if the plane doesn't crash.  So here, God says, have a plane crash on me." So it is like a very brilliant light in the wilderness that I feel someone read my words and got what I was saying.

I write what a learned person said was "third person omniscient".  Yet I get remarks about my POV changing.  I can just see the person shaking their head over something I wrote and I feel like I wish I could have been there to hold their hand so they could fully enjoy the mastery of my story telling.  Seriously.  Don't think I am kidding.

I get sad.  A person is blogging on all the steps to publication.  The person put up an excerpt of the finished product.  POV changes?  Yeow.  Run on sentences.  Wrong word used for meaning.  Awful. Commas joining two sentences together when the first part needed a question mark.  I couldn't stand it.  And the person will get an editor and publish on Harlequin and buy their daughter an Arabian thoroughbred.  I made sixty dollars last month.

Have you read any of my excerpts?  Not asking you too.  If you were going to, you would have done so by now.  I put "Sex in the Shower", a part of one chapter in one book, a true excerpt.  One person said it was beautiful erotica.  Not.  Nice to hear, but it is just kind of a sexy, light hearted event.  One person said they couldn't enjoy it as anything but a how-to list since I didn't paint my characters deeply enough for her.  (Excerpt)  Another person said they felt sorry for me if I thought that was racy.  (Well, I talked about him elsewhere.)  Sex in the Shower has had more hits than anything I ever posted and that was it for written remarks.  I won't tell you the site I posted it to cuz I love it and they are cracker jack with commenting and always asking for more.

I just don't get it.  And I feel very sad that I know I will never get it, never understand the different ways people see things, because I feel like I should.  But I accept my own argument that it is all about me, and let the twisted little suckers go find their own way. That, as far as I am concerned, the way I see things is right, and I accept that is so, even knowing it may be right ONLY for me and as far as the general population is concerned, I am the twisted little sucker wandering in the wilderness.

I know I am doing something right because one of my older books has a spot in an algorithm somewhere and her activities have huge repercussions.  The other books, tiny repercussions.  So I hold on to the hope that this next one will do it.  I am hopeful about this Smashwords series highlighting thing they just invented, and this entire book, which is EXACTLY like all the others, has been written because I have a great title.  Well, we will see.  I am not on the ropes yet.

So fie on thee that has read not a single Elizabethan historical romance and dares criticize my little sweeties for hopping in the sack with more than one person in their lifetime. I had my day in the sun, and I intend to blind you with that reflection before I die.

Actually, this whole post started out because I had another huge spike in my blog stats and I do not know why.  I so want to know so I can follow through on it, but whatever.  I feel like I am through for the night.
I will generously repost for the day shift, although, I guess for my readers across the sea this is the day shift.

Y'all know how much I love you, right?  Cuz I do.  Thanks for stopping by.  Y'all come on back now, real soon.

Illustration attribution: emoticon from colourbox considered by its use on the web as public access.