Wednesday, November 26, 2008

That One Small Thing

When you find that one (small) thing that you do really, really well, don't think of it as one small thing. Think of it as your perfectly jigged piece of an infinite puzzle.

When you fit your piece into the whole, the whole becomes seamless, and your part of the universe becomes part of the Great Art of life.

If your piece is missing, the empty space where you belong is the only thing you notice.

The powerful play goes on, says Whitman. Show up. Make your mark. Contribute.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Five Things (Including Spoons)

The artful and talented Mary Buek asked me to play tag and share with you five unusual things about me. My blog posting has been limited while I work toward completing my Big Writing Project offline, so I'm happy to play, if only for a change of pace.

I don't know how unusual any of these things really are, but here goes:
  • None of my spoons match. When Dragonstar was younger (and really, even now) she would use the spoons in the flatware drawer as digging implements. Out the door they'd go, never to return. So I began buying handfuls of assorted spoons at the thrift store. Now we all have our favorites, which is really much more fun than having every spoon the same. Maybe I could encourage her to dig with our forks next.
  • I played the role of Hamlet in a school play. Alas, poor Yorrick.
  • I used to be on the radio. I did morning shows in Southern California and played cowboy music in Phoenix.
  • I was president of my junior high student council. One of my campaign promises was to get the doors on the women's restroom stalls re-installed. They had all been removed years before, in a rude display of administrative authority. I was a notorious student, a known pot smoker and class-skipper whose locker was searched on a regular basis. The students didn't care about that. I won the election and got those restroom stall doors replaced. (Can you tell this is still a point of pride for me?)
  • I like the smell of gasoline and the smell of old tires. There's a story there. I'll share it sometime.
Since this is a game of tag, if you' d like to play, consider yourself tagged, and link back so I can visit you and see just how unusual you are.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dragonstar's Dragon

I meant to put this up sooner. She's been 13 for almost three weeks now, and we're just getting around to sending out the thank-you notes to her two grandmas (yeah, we've been remiss in many areas) and I put a copy of this picture into the notecards and remembered I wanted to show it to you, too.

We didn't arrange the candles in any particular way, we just stuck them willynilly into the cake, lit them, and took the picture. The flames and the camera did the rest.

Pretty cool.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How to Get What You Want

Most people aren't thinking about what you want. No, really. It's not that they don't care about you, or don't like what you do. It's that they're busy. Like you. Or preoccupied. Like you. Or in their own private Idaho. (Maybe also like you.)

If you want people to do something, it's good to ask. In big letters. Right up front.

The BBPiT reports that tips are up since we made this sign for him. He lights it with a little battery-powered lamp, sets it up right in front of the band. People are happy to oblige.

When you want something, don't assume people can read your mind. Ask.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Let Them Fall

I don't know diddly about investment banking, but I know when I've been handed a shit sandwich.

The "economy" they want to stabilize with an ever-growing government bailout? It's a mirage.

The "credit" they insist we need to keep the thing afloat? It's dirty magic.

Can we "afford" to let these lunatic financial institutions fail?

Yes we can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On Fear

Years ago, in the days of LISTSERVs, I participated in an email discussion that focused on the intersection of feminism and ecology. The posts were intense. We were writing about matters close to our hearts, and things would get very heated.

I got to the point where I dreaded opening my email because the criticisms that landed in my inbox felt so personal. And sometimes they were personal. After a few weeks I quit the list. It was too much for me.

Maybe you’ve gone through something similar.

I live an unconventional life. I hold some unconventional opinions, and sometimes I like to write about them. I don’t want my fear of harsh judgment to stop me from writing.

I know that fear can't be conquered, not really, that all I can do as a writer is put fear in my pocket and carry it along with me. But sometimes I don’t do that. Sometimes I let fear stop me in my tracks.

Maybe you do that, too.

For the past several weeks I’ve been working on a piece of writing that scares me.
The subject matter is, again, close to my heart, and again I hear the harsh voice of criticism every time I sit down to work. But this time it’s not in my inbox, it’s in my head.

The voice demands to know who the hell I think I am, tackling this subject. The voice tells me I’m no expert, that I lack credentials, that I have no business expressing an opinion. The voice is like a shadow on the wall that swells to monster size the more I duck my head and try to ignore it.

I don’t know how to silence that voice, how to vanquish that shadow. So I’m writing about it here, in the hope that by shining a light on it, it will shrink back to a manageable size, and I can get some work done.

And maybe, knowing you’re not alone in feeling similar fears, you can take heart, and get some work done, too.

Okay, then. Thanks for your indulgence. Carry on.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Fine Print

This arrived in my mailbox today, tucked in with the rest of the flotsam accompanying my phone bill.The page measures 14" x 7," folded to create four panels of 3.5"x 7" each. It's printed front and back in a point size approaching nil. It is nigh impossible to read, which is, of course, intended as well as ironic, coming as it does from a communications company.

Its purported purpose is to inform me of my privacy rights with respect to my telephone and internet accounts. It's actual purpose is to obfuscate, frustrate, and irritate. So far it's succeeding wildly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change is Good

Leaves were falling just like embers
in colors red and gold they set us on fire

~Roly Saly, Killing the Blues

Sometime in the middle of the night, the leaves on the trees turned from green to gold, and Indiana turned from red to blue.

Not since voting for Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 presidential election has this state awarded its electoral votes to a Democrat. I had to change my blog profile. I'm no longer blue in a red state.

I think the citizens of the United States surprised the world yesterday. I think we may have even surprised ourselves.

It's good to know we can still do that.