Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scribnia Interviewed Me This Week--Stay Tuned for More! interviewed me (via written Q&A this week). I didn't know I had made it onto their radar. SOMEONE who reads these blogs introduced this blog to them; that's how they found out about me. THANK YOU, WHOEVER YOU ARE!  (I'm guessing Mary Doman, Lisa Hamner, or Billie Rae Walker, but I really have no idea. Please fess up so I can thank you properly.)

I think I answered about 8-10 questions. Total word count was around 1400 words (including the questions, none of which were very wordy). The interview was about having a blog, not about De--although the lady who sent the questions thought my history with De could be fodder for a future interview, too. I guess we'll see what kind of feedback we get on the first one before deciding to do another one.

I'll let you know when the interview is up at Scribnia. In the meantime, if you like, you can go there and vote my blog spot up the flagpole.  Last time I looked, it was at #16...  That's pretty fabulous, considering all the gazillions of blogs out there!

Gotta go play some cards with my grand nieces and their little friend Jillian now. Casey helped me wrangle the goats for hoof-trimming today; it's the least I can to to thank her for being so awesome. She is getting to be quite the accomplished helper!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Star Trek Remembering DeForest Kelley

Star Trek Remembering DeForest Kelley


If any of these blog posts give you a grin or anything else of value please tweet them! Thank you!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Life is Hard.. But Not as Hard as It Is For Many Others.

I'm having "another one of those months"...

Famine. I've made (drum roll, please) all of $319 so far in January.  It's scary. It's frustrating, too, because I've spent long hours looking through the projects at Elance, finding ones I felt I could ace, bidding on them.... and getting passed over... landing just the $50 ones. 

$200 of what I've made this month didn't even come from Elance -- it came from other places: a book I'm working on with a friend, two letters I rewrote for LinkedIn associates. Oh, and I sold a copy of ENDURING LEGACY for $4.95. (Paypal got about fifty cents of that.)

I don't like months like these. They wouldn't be so bad if I had something laid up in savings but I haven't been able to get that far ahead yet.  Grrr...

Unless something changes FAST -- and of course, it can at any moment; I have enough bids out there to retire on if they all came my way!) (ok, that's an exaggeration!) but right now, based on what I've made so far this month, I'm eligible for food stamps almost four times over! I have to pay my mortgage, Internet and phone connection fees (they're my shelter and my lifeline to work!), and I should have enough for those "mandates" by the end of January, but I may have to drop health coverage (or pay it late if enough comes my way before the grace period ends); I can go to an emergency room and get help despite my inability to pay should it come to that (thank God, my citizenship, and a lifetime of paying taxes for this small "perk"!)

Being self-employed is a crapshoot the first few years. It's been so sporadic all year long that it has been a real struggle at times... and this is one of those times. It puts my tummy in a knot to dwell on it... so I don't, much. I just look harder for work... day and night... I'm often up at 3 a.m. looking for another project because I can't sleep, with the end of the month looming over my shoulder like a big black cloud...

But I am so glad I have complete faith in God; I'd be an absolute nervous wreck without Him. I know He didn't give me a lifelong passion to write for no reason... or a spirit of fear (fear is the devil's bailiwick)... and I'm doing a lot of Christian ministry as a result of the projects I'm offered and accept. I know it will all work out.

I just hate giving my sister additional things to fret about.  We bought this property together to help each other and I must hold up my end of the deal. I'm paying the chunk of the mortgage that is ABOVE the required monthly payment, the chunk that is supposed to pay off this place within ten years so she can retire without a mortgage hanging over our heads.  (I'll never be able to afford to retire. It's a good thing I love what I do, eh wot?). My chunk goes 100% to principal each and every month. I want to be paying even MORE into it, but so far $500/month is all I've been able to contribute reliably.

When I sit and stew like this, I get miserable and restless, and I feel borderline useless to the person I love most in this world: my sis Jackie.  I start crucifying myself silently for being a Creative instead of a solid, professional 9-to-5 office worker with health benefits and a reliable weekly paycheck (no matter how unlike me that role actually was during all the years I served in it). I wasn't as happy at work then as I am now, but I was...well, like the song... workin' 9 to 5 and actually getting paid for all of the hours... Now I'm workin' 9 to 9 and getting... either nowhere very fast... or somewhere too damned slow! (Now would be a good time to ROTFL. Go ahead. I'll wait.)

De always told me I had to pursue a creative career by faith because a steady, reliable income was never going to be assured. HE finally made it, with STAR TREK... but it took him decades. He didn't starve, and I won't either.

And when I consider what Christina Taylor Green's family is going through right now, what Gabby Giffords is going through tonight and tomorrow and for months to come, what my friends with cancer are going through, what so much of the rest of the world is going through (Haiti, Africa, Mexico, you name it) I feel like a louse for spending even two minutes obsessing over my piddly concerns. 

My sister and I are healthy; she's fully employed and I'm at least semi-employed... and every bit as employed as I can be at this juncture. I've tried landing outside work but nothing has come through, I guess because of my "advanced" age: I'll be 60 in March; (good God!!! How did that happen?!) Or maybe it's because I'm too obviously over-qualified for lesser-paying jobs. I've applied to be a tutor and a teacher assistant, even a bus driver. No go.  Everybody and their cousin is looking for work; this is one lousy time to be under- or unemployed!

But boy howdy... the rich folks got their income tax deductions extended, uber-rich corporations received their "personhood" so they can contribute untold amounts of money to their indentured politicians, and Wall Street all got their  perks and bonuses as reliably as tomorrow's sunrise. I sure hope these "government-blessed" folks cut loose with some of the money the worker bees of the country earned them and that they'll create some more jobs so the rest of us can get a handhold or two on ledges of sufficient livelihoods again...

But it doesn't seem there are many "bleeding hearts" in high places these days or we wouldn't be in the shape we're in right now. The Ayn Rands seem to be winning. And Christ died for them, too.

What was He thinking?!    :)

Ok, OK.  I didn't mean to start venting. It just popped out. I see injustice and I just want to yell..or cry... and ask, "Why?"

Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?"  I dream things that never were and say, "Why not?"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

President Obama Never Fails to Amaze Me...

President Obama's words were just right. I bawled most of the way through the memorial service. How anyone can believe he is a scoundrel is beyond me... always has been... always will be.

I am so glad he's our President.  I hope he runs again.  He'll win if he does.

His heart is in the right place and his smarts are exemplary.

What a statesman.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Prayers going up for AZ Representative Gabrielle Giffords

I had a horrible feeling that it was just a matter of time before something like this would happen. This is a wake up call of the highest magnitude to Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the other shrill, mean-spirited purveyors of putrid punditry. 

Sarah Palin, your "DEMS in the crosshairs" depictions have always been problematic; Beck and Limbaugh, your insane rhetoric which encourages people to think that DEMS are Fascists, Socialists, Communists, terrorists in disguise encourages mentally unbalanced citizens to take up arms and "save" America from them. STOP IT NOW!  FIND WAYS TO DISAGREE WITHOUT INCITING UNHINGED FOLLOWERS TO ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST DULY-ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES.

It's time to dial back the rhetoric, take a good hard look at what your words are creating or endorsing (paranoid monsters and pathetic actions), and stop your hyperbolic and hysterical proclamations.  Your words create the world. If your words are not creating life, they are creating death.

Shame on you. Shame on us all for not insisting on a halt to the caustic vitriol long before now.

Clean up the airwaves. Now.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


There's a controversy raging. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain has been banned in many schools during much of its existence for a lot of different reasons. Southerners hated it when it was first published because one of its heroes is black -- the slave Jim, whom Huckleberry Finn does his best to transport to freedom on a raft even though he's convinced he'll go to hell for his efforts. They also hated it because it showed, up close and personal, the way of Southern whites of that era.

Others have banned it from schools because of the frequent use of the N word within its pages.  The pejorative is used more than 210 times in Huckleberry Finn. Polite, politically correct society doesn't like the word.  I too loathe the word; I heard it snarled far too many time when I worked in Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia less than 40 years ago, where it was still quite fashionable and common among whites.

Now Huck Finn has been released with the N word taken out and replaced with the word "slave." As is the case with so many other Twain lovers, I am almost apoplectic over the change.Twain must be hopping mad in heaven.

Mark Twain knew exactly what he was doing when he used that word where he used it: we was exposing the underbelly of the monster, not denigrating the poor soul who had to endure the label and continue to abide in a land where his skin color relegated him to the level of beasts of burden, as property.

When I read the book as a teenager I didn't think the N word made Jim any less noble, any less a man, any less a hero than he was.  When I read the N word, the people I focused on were the speakers of the word. For the most part, they were trained from an early age to honor and respect white people and to use and/or abuse black people in the same way they used and/or abused the animals that they raised, fed, worked, and killed. Those were the times in which Huckleberry Finn lived; Twain just wrote it all down after coming to the conclusion in later years that the way he had been raised in the south was wrong and that slavery and the treatment of the black man and his family was a scar on the Southerners' soul and a blight on Southern soil.

To take the N word out of the narrative subjugates the truth; it sanitizes what happened to black people 24/7/365 for hundreds of years, including into much of the 20th century.  It should hurt to read the word; it should  make the reader recoil as we discover the truth about the African American experience in America.

Now, if it's a choice between making the sanitized version available to schools or having the original version banned from schools, I suppose I would have to vote for... oh, but I can't. 

I simply cannot vote for exchanging "slave" for the N word.  The two words are not kindred; they are not equals; they are not what Twain intended to convey. Twain intended to convey exactly what he conveyed. Had he felt "slave" was the correct word, he would have used it. He used the common everyday vernacular of the people. He was justified in using it. His pen was the well-tuned "microphone" of the period.

Those who read the book gain a greater understanding of why the term is as painful and insulting as it is. The way Twain uses it in each instance tells the tale. No other word is right; no other word can substitute because no other word is as God-awful as that one is.

Today's children weren't here when Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood up, when fire hoses and police dogs were turned loose on blacks in the South in the 50's and 60's. I was. I remember those sights and sounds emanating from the television set in our front room and recoiling. But I had no real, palpable access to the periods of history when blacks had no legal say in their futures until I read Huckleberry Finn. That's when black history truly began to come alive for me. To hear Jim sorrowing over his still-enslaved wife and children and planning to get a job up north and then find some way to buy them.. or to steal them if their owners wouldn't agree to sell them to him... it just broke my heart.

Twain's book takes us back to a time we all wish had never been a part of our history. And yes, you bet it's painful. But readers see how Jim handles it, how he continues to hope, dream and work for a better tomorrow... one that sadly will never come in his lifetime.

No American should miss Jim's and Huck's experience. Or the Native American experience. Or the Chinese American or Japanese American experience.  All were part of the fabric of America. It ain't all pretty.  (Those who want to pretend it was are both delusonal and dangerous.)

But it's getting prettier by the day.  If you don't believe me, just look back. Read Huckleberry Finn... the way Twain wrote it!