A Dream about being Lonely with Company

22 Nov

I dreamed that I was out in an urban area that particularly featured a parking garage. Actually, the parking garage was early in the dream. I was in it, maybe wandering around, when I met a guy I knew—he was tall and had dark hair and was maybe in his thirties. I think that in the dream I was thirtyish, too. Something was going on that caused many people to be showing up at the parking garage. They were gathering to see something, to watch a spectacle of some sort. We talked and I think agreed to hang out in a particular part of the garage, which was above ground and all grey concrete swirls. But I think he disappeared.

Later, I was walking around on a sidewalk with two female friends—we were all young and at least one of them was someone I knew in elementary, junior high, and high school: Kelly Zander.

Twice while I was supposed to be with those two, I fell behind and walked with a couple of women in their sixties or so. They assumed that I was alone, and I didn’t correct them but didn’t know why, really. The two young friends didn’t notice when I wasn’t with them; I saw them walking and talking animatedly with each other.

The second time I was with the older women, we’d been walking on a sidewalk, and this led to a series of concrete steps. We started walking up them, and I was watching my two young friends who were below and to the left—in a sort of park—of this sort of bridge we were on. I fell about four or five feet behind, so one of the older women paused and called, “Susan?” She turned and saw me, I started catching up, and she said, “I was worried about you.”

As I continued following the older women, I kept looking to my left, making sure I didn’t lose my young friends, who continued laughing and talking and showing no concern for my absence.

Once I’d gotten up and down the concrete stairs and lost track of the older women, I saw my young friends and I walked down a concrete ramp to reach them.

When I finally caught up, we were in an area covered in about four inches of slushy snow. The two young women were laughing and making paths in the snow by pushing it around with their feet.

I felt sad, alienated, left out—because they hadn’t missed me and now ignored me. They seemed as though they could care less if I was around.

 

It seems like I was detached from these friends. As for the older ones, we had only just met, so we could hardly be called friends, and I had no intention of staying with them. Maybe it’s just one of my socially awkward dreams, and I have a lot of those. I think the ages were significant, because I’m between the ages of the two groups of two.

Interesting Dreams (Interesting to me, Anyway)

29 Jul

I vaguely remember dreaming something based on Inez Milholland.

 

I dreamed that I lived with several cats and at least one woman in a house that had a row of glass windows facing an attached garage. The door to the garage was just to the right of those windows. I thought I saw a white and gray cat inside the garage, just in the other side of the windows.

I went into the garage. At first the cat tried to get in, but I didn’t want it to because I figured it should be separate from my cats. I closed myself in the garage.

Either the cat disappeared or I just wasn’t paying attention to it or it transformed into another creature. In any case, the garage was a bit dark, and I saw in a corner what at first I thought was a fluffy creature. I touched it briefly, and it was soft and fluttered as though frightened.

I figured out that it was a bird… next I figured out that it was a falcon. The other woman joined me and said that it was a wounded peregrine falcon. She knew how to take care of wounded birds.

Writing amid Household Problems

25 Jul

July 22:

Well… last night I read yet another rejection letter for a gothic novel that I consider my best novel so far. Guess it doesn’t matter how much I revise and edit it. Anyway, I meant to query magazines/ journals today… and discovered that my WiFi decided to say, “Fuck you! So what if you pay Comcast way too much? You don’t get to have WiFi!” Restarting my laptop… unplugging and unplugging my modem… pushing the button on top of my modem… nothing worked. The instructions on my computer screen mentioned connecting the modem and the laptop with an Ethernet cable–but I don’t have a spare.

Did I not pay my overpriced Comcast/Xfinity bill? Maybe I need to dig through snail mail and check…. And maybe I need to take a look at the surge protector somewhere under my tv cabinet.

And then there’s the bathtub full of dirty water. Well, about three inches, that is. It has something to do with my hair clogging the drain. The plunger has brought up a lot but not solved the problem. So my last shower was in the back bathroom (which requires stepping on a stool to climb in). I do pull Cousin It out of the drain from time to time, but apparently Cousin It finally succeeded in committing suicide.

I need to call a plumber… but first I’m gradually cleaning and tidying rooms that the plumber would see. That’s the living room, the hallway, and the bathroom. (I can close doors down the hallway.)

I say gradually because I’m doing this at cooler times, when I’m less likely to pour with sweat. I intend to do a bunch this evening, or basically… night.

Nice thing about all this craziness–plus my obsessive “This is what fascism looks like” news reading/watching, I’m scarcely brooding about toxic people. Barely, though it slips in from time to time.

Reading Mexican Gothic has inspired me to steep “Theater Patron” in more gothic atmosphere. It admittedly increases the word count, but it’s all for the best. Something to keep in mind in many of the Margot/Roland/Vincent stories. (“Theater Patron” is one of many, and I’ve been revising it for publication.)

July 23:

My main focus today is house cleaning (yuck) because I intend to call both the plumber and Comcast tomorrow.

The standing water has mostly drained, but there’s still some–and that’s after days, maybe a week. I’ve lost track.

The WiFi is still nonexistent—pretending as though my network doesn’t exist—it isn’t even a choice. No, I’m not trying to use a neighbor’s WiFi–I want my own back! It’s frustrating. I wanted to submit stories to magazines/journals yesterday, but I couldn’t use the internet on my laptop. The only internet is on my phone.

Brooding about certain toxic people… I think one narcissist showering me with verbal abuse, projecting, and pathetically trying to gaslight me right before Oregon began officially socially distancing… is triggering in part because of a certain narcissistic sociopath who used all the same techniques… but was far more skilled at manipulation. That’s a motivation to resume working on the novel inspired by said narcissistic sociopath. It’s better to do that earlier in the day, not in the evening. I don’t wish to go to bed in a rage.

I took a break from housecleaning. I had dinner while streaming Trevor Noah and resumed working on a fun, humorous fantasy novel—changing the novel from past tense to present tense. This has been a gradual process, of course, since it’s over 92,000 words.

I still need to take some things out to the trash and recycling and sweep the floor of the living room, hallway, and bathroom. The bathroom floor might also need some scrubbing.

It’s pathetic that all this is happening at once—the clogged bathtub drain, the shower curtain rod falling down repeatedly, the WiFi not working. Plus I still need to get on with putting up that curtain rod in the library and making library curtains and cleaning the mildew from the wall in the back apartment and painting over that with anti-mold primer…..

Meanwhile, I have memories of a narcissistic sociopath in my head, accusing me of being incapable of functioning—a variation on how my narcissist mother made me feel incompetent starting when I was four years old and helped paint the living room. The accusation of incompetence is tied in with my need for respect and acceptance.

July 24:

I’m revising an old story to submit online and have several internet folders open to magazines/literary journals. I’d like to submit more than one story today, but I’m compelled to edit/revise stories before submitting them, especially if it’s been a while since I worked on them.

I called about the WiFi, and it’s working: Comcast needed to reset the modem. How random. I called the plumbing company, and they have someone coming Monday afternoon. Such a relief to have all that taken care of—also a relief that I have two bathtubs.

A Game of Cat and Mouse

24 Jul

Gabriel found the cute little mouse Vita brought into the house a few days ago. (Vita and Gabriel are both little black cats.)

Vita carried it in her mouth—from the back apartment, so she must have used a magic portal. Yowling as she does when she brings me a creature (dead or alive), she had a mouse hanging out of her mouth. She carried it to the hallway and set it on the floor.

The mouse scurried away and slipped under the closed closet door.

Three alert cats sat in the hallway staring at the space under the closet door.

I opened that door and took stuff out of it (clothing, suitcase). One of the cats slipped into the closet as soon as I removed the suitcase, and I feared the mouse wasn’t long for this world. I bent down and spotted the mouse… and moved some more items out of the closet.

The mouse dashed out of the closet, scurried along the floor, and slipped under the guestroom door.

Well.

Tonight I saw the mouse for the first time since then.

I heard playful cat noises and stood up see Gabriel and Haedrig squatting in front of the shoe rack and staring under it. When Haedrig saw me coming, he ran up the stairs. Gabriel batted at something under the shoe rack.

I knew the mouse must be down there, but also noticed lots of cat hair, so I grabbed the dustpan and brush and ended up cleaning up under the shoe rack.

I was returning from a visit to the kitchen trash, when the mouse darted out for a second and Gabriel went for it. The mouse darted back under the shoe rack.

Half an hour later, I heard frantic squeaks and called out, “Hey!”

The mouse hung from Gabriel’s mouth. He walked up to the landing and dropped the mouse (probably because of my protests). The mouse darted to a corner and sat with Gabriel watching it. I reached for Gabriel, and the mouse ran back to the shoe rack.

I haven’t seen the mouse since then.stonedVita

(This is a picture of Vita on catnip… not with a mouse.)

Pandemic Errands

14 Jul

A few days ago, the U. S. reached a record 60,000 coronavirus cases in only one day. 70,000 last Friday.

Now that the pandemic is on the rise in this shithole country—run by sociopaths and narcissists—I’m thinking that this week, the only time I’m leaving my property (unless my right foot gets back to normal and I take walks in my neighborhood) is when I go to the acupuncture clinic on Thursday.

I just had two weeks in a row during which I wasn’t such a hermit anymore, thanks to errands and appointments. Two weeks back, I did a bunch of errands and had a hair appointment and my first acupuncture appointment in a while (at Mary’s private practice). Not even sure what the errands were that week, but it probably included going to The Healthy Pet and then going to the Friendly Street Market because it’s two doors down. I didn’t even take my mask off, it was such a short drive.

The errands last week included going to Lenscrafters to get a nose pad replaced on my glasses. While I left the mall parking lot, I spotted World Market, so I went over there and did some impulse shopping—for once refraining from buying any colorful/sparkly Indian things, because I thought of what my house is like—it’s full of that stuff, especially strings of cloth elephants. I bought a bunch of nonperishable groceries, especially Tasty Bite and very dark chocolate.

I went to my herb appointment last Wednesday. Peter now has an outdoor clinic set up on his patio, with Tibetan prayer flags and at least one tent cover serving as a curtain, and an acupuncture bed in the center of the patio. We both wore masks for the first time; last time we met outdoors but without masks, and both times we sat at a little patio table. It works.

Last… or was it the week before? Yes, I’ve been to two appointments at Acupuncture for the People, and because they have limited hours and staff, I’m only going once a week for now rather than the old twice a week.

They’ve arranged things so that not only is the clinic practicing social distancing, it’s also set up in such a way that it’s ready for future pandemics, too. The receptionist station is surrounded by clear plastic sheeting, and in order to pay you put your check or cash into a little plastic bin that the receptionist holds out at the opening of two curtains, at the corner of the desk. The big room with the recliners has at most half as many recliners as it did in the past, and they’re spaced wide apart, at least six feet. The door to that room no longer has a handle that requires grasping with a hand; instead, it has a metal loop that you can touch with your elbow, and from inside the room you just push the door open.

The front door is open, and there’s a chair out on the sidewalk. Around the chair is purple tape forming a rectangle, indicating that you remain inside that box when you first arrive for your appointment.

The first time I arrived, I went inside and eyed a clipboard and put on some hand sanitizer and started reading a poster about the pandemic, while the receptionist was on the phone. She took a break from the phone to ask me to go outside and sit in the chair. I felt embarrassed and confused and went back outdoors. She came back out a bit later, apologized for the confusion, and handed me a clip board.

On the clip board was a form that was a bit disturbing: you’re basically saying you’re aware that you could get coronavirus when you come here, and they’re not responsible. They don’t want to be sued. Before my hair appointment, I filled out a very similar form online, and it was similarly alarming—making me seriously wonder if having this appointment was a good idea, never mind that I postponed it to a month after the salon reopened. I reminded myself that my hair stylist needs income, and I filled out the form. Both the salon and the acupuncture clinic are careful, wearing masks and gloves.

I filled out the forms, and the acupuncturist came out and asked me if I’m showing any symptoms of coronavirus. I said, “Well, I have allergies, and I cough at least once a day.” He understood—that’s not coronavirus. He also asked if I’ve traveled from Eugene or been in a large gathering in the past twenty-one days. I frowned and said, “I was at the big Black Lives Matter march, but that was… about thirty days ago.”

Maybe at my second acupuncture appointment, in hindsight, I should have mentioned shopping at Trader Joe’s the day before. But everyone wore masks and used hand sanitizers on their carts. I tried to keep a distance from people, but there were quite a lot of customers, as though the pandemic wasn’t happening. I wonder if they’ve stopped limiting the number of customers.

The first time I meant to shop at Trader Joe’s, I went into their parking lot and saw a long line of masked people and decided I didn’t feel like doing it and went to Market of Choice, as I had been, because it’s huge and therefore easier for social distancing. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that Market of Choice isn’t friendly toward BLM masks—I think they refuse to let employees wear them—so that’s a good reason to avoid that place. Anyway, the second time I went to the Trader Joe’s parking lot, they were closing at only 7 pm… so I went across the street to Natural Grocers, and they looked like they were already closed, too.

This month, I’m doing a cleanse, which involves drinking two protein shakes a day instead of solid breakfast and lunch. So… those chocolates are in the freezer. Dinner is the only normal meal this month, and I’m getting flax milk and hazelnut milk online (unfortunately, via Amazon.com), so I don’t need to go to a supermarket or grocery store any time soon. When I run out of certain fresh produce, such as kale or broccoli, I might want to check out the farmer’s market—with a mask on, of course.

 

Since this is Oregon, masks in public have been required since last week, fortunately. As of today, the governor has declared that masks are required even for outdoor gatherings of ten or more people, since the coronavirus is on the rise.

 

I’m not sure that I’ve processed the fact that the pandemic is on the rise—in this country, maybe not any other country. I need to face up to this fact and take it seriously. What is this urge to act as though the virus isn’t on the rise? What is this urge to go out and do a bunch of errands, like I’ve been doing the past couple weeks? It’s like I’m being a typical American, impatient for the pandemic to end. But no, it’s not going to end or slow down just because people are impatient and have been cooped up for months. The virus won’t slow down until it’s damn good and ready.

But maybe I’m starting to process it today, because I’ve stopped and repeated it: “The coronavirus is on the rise in the U. S.” I stopped and thought about it enough to decide that the only time I’m going out this week is for my acupuncture clinic; this is Monday, and that is Thursday.

Coronavirus Journal

13 Jul

A successful author—I don’t remember who because I suck at names and haven’t read her work—but a successful author, maybe from South America, stated that writers need to write about this pandemic. My reaction was: that makes perfect sense. But how on earth am I going to write about this pandemic?

Fiction that I especially enjoy writing is fantasy fiction, historical fantasy fiction, historical fiction, dark fantasy. Fiction that I end up writing with rather less enjoyment is autobiographical or semi-autobiographical fiction. Writing about this particular pandemic… how could I do that?

I decided the only way I knew to write about it, at least for the time being, would be to write a journal. Write about my afflictive emotions and confused thoughts and trying to process and not really processing properly.

Upon a little more thought, it occurred to me that I could set fiction during this pandemic… but show it in a low-key way. Whenever the protagonist goes outside, everyone is wearing a mask. People are keeping their distance, yellow Caution tape is all around playgrounds, people only go to restaurants to pick up orders, or they wait at home for the restaurant food to be delivered. The protagonist, at the beginning of the story, hasn’t left her house in a month. I have no idea how to incorporate plot into something like that, but it could always be “literary” fiction that I submit to literary journals.

And another possibility, especially since I plan to write fiction about suffragist witches, is to include the 1918 flu pandemic in historical fiction about suffragists.

During the 1918 flu pandemic, people generally didn’t do that. There just aren’t many books about it, aside from historians and writers of historical fiction who nowadays write about it as a historic event. But people who lived through it… didn’t process it, apparently. They were traumatized and glad it was over and just wanted to shove it away, push it out of their thoughts once it was over. They didn’t warn younger generations. They didn’t confide in younger generations. So there’s this whole generation that blocked out a major world event that came toward the end of the first world war, which was also a traumatic world events. Two traumatic world events coming together.

But I rather think writing about it will help process. I mean writing about this pandemic, that is.

The pandemic reached the U. S. in late February 2020. At least, according to the news, the pandemic first appeared in Washington state (only one state away!) on February 28. But it could have been in the U. S., for instance in New York City, a little before that. Maybe a month before. After all, it sometimes needs time for symptoms to appear, and sometimes people are asymptomatic—like Typhoid Mary.

It would suck to be Typhoid Mary.

The last time I went to see a play—and I know I’m coming from a place of economic privilege when I put it like this, but—the last time I attended a live play (as opposed to watching a Shakespearean play on YouTube) was a Saturday in the middle of March, a couple days before social distancing became official per Governor Kate Brown’s orders in Oregon. The play was A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, and it was beautiful (especially the costumes!) and made me realize that I’d forgotten quite a bit of it from reading it in college in the early 1990s.

Ah, the 1990s. It was before 9/11. It was before fascist Repugnantcans started proving they don’t need to win the popular vote in order to move into the White House. They just have to rely on cheaters and voter suppression. The late twentieth century seems like such an innocent time compared to this. Back then I wasn’t even disillusioned with relatives who have personality disorders.

So… I created a new document and started writing. I cut and pasted all the journal entries I’ve written since social distancing started in Oregon, and those are all in the  new document. At the moment, that’s thirty-five pages.

 

Denial Gets You Nowhere

4 Jul

I moved to Eugene under the impression that it’s a progressive college town and a hippie mecca. It didn’t take long to learn that its days of being a hippie mecca are … pretty much over. I know this isn’t the 1960s or 70s but still, hippies are still a thing on the West Coast, and they were still a thing in St. Louis, at least in the 1990s.

In the past week or so, I’ve discovered disturbing things about Eugene via Nextdoor. I’ve learned that white supremacists are organized enough in Eugene to be making sure that no yards have Black Lives Matter signs. It got me reflecting on my impression—that started not long after I moved here—that while Portland has radicals such as anarchists and socialists, Eugene is more about liberal Democrats. It can be a bit frustrating.

On top of that, denial among white people in Eugene is apparently a normal everyday thing when it comes to local white supremacists.

I posted a link to the GoFundMe page to help Isiah Wagoner, the black activist who was supervising the Children’s March when a white supremacist deliberately ran over him. This was after I read about how the driver gave him the finger before stepping on the gas and aiming for Isiah Wagoner. This was obviously intentional… and yet the cops let the psycho free. Meanwhile, Isiah Wagoner is in the hospital—hence the GoFundMe page.

The only comments I’ve received for posting this on Nextdoor were a couple people claiming that maybe he isn’t a white supremacist. The second commenter even made some bizarre comment, suggesting that it wasn’t intentional and that maybe he was distracted… because people are pulling people out of cars?!?!?!? Um, no. So with a roll of my eyes, I found the original Eugene Weekly article and copied and pasted the url into my post about the GoFundMe page.

Denial isn’t just a river, especially with closed-minded fools.

White Supremacist Thieves and Vandals

30 Jun

I know signs are less important than lives, but this is still creepy and disturbing.

Here in Eugene, a “progressive college town,” white supremacists tear up and steal “Black Lives Matter” lawn signs. They do this on a massive scale. It doesn’t have to be the official sign–it can be any racial justice sign. One was a cardboard sign that said “Justice for George Floyd” or such handwritten in purple marker, and a POS tore it in half and left the two halves lying in the yard.

Someone else found torn BLM signs that weren’t hers inside her trash trolley, and on top of that was a bag of dog poop.

Some people have said this happens repeatedly–they put out a new sign, and it gets stolen. One person said she might make a separate sign that says every time it’s stolen, it will be replaced.

Someone mentioned that there used to be a whole bunch of social justice signs on a corner, and they all disappeared.

Someone even said that the KKK are back. They’re distributing fliers in South Lane County–complete with their number. Guess they want prank calls. WTAF. Since moving here, I’ve learned that in the 1920s in particular the KKK was very mainstream in Eugene.

I’ve learned about all this on the Nextdoor app, not in local news.

This is What Fascism Looks Like

14 Jun

There’s a revolution and a rebellion or maybe an actual revolution going on—certainly, there have been some changes for the better, such as new laws against chokeholds (that’s not good enough!) and the Minneapolis police disbanding because it’s rotten to the core. There’s talk of having social workers instead of batshit armed police responding to mental health issues (so they won’t continue killing people for being suicidally depressed—WTF). There is change happening, though so far not enough. Also more white people are taking antiracism to heart and participating in the movement and watching films and reading books that are antiracist. Netflix, I discovered yesterday, even has curated a lot of films and tv shows as “Black Lives Matter” and that was the first thing that appeared on my tv screen when I clicked on Netflix.

But my point is this: we’re in a pandemic that isn’t going away thanks to the ridiculous way this country has handled it, and we’re in the midst of more or less a revolution. A protest against systemic racism and police brutality—that results in more extreme and obvious police brutality and more blatantly obvious fascism. I’ve had days when reading news has made me chant aloud, “This is what fascism looks like,” a twist on “This is what democracy sounds like.” It’s a weird time.

I have severe anxiety over all this, all the uncertainty and whatnot. This country is a dumpster fire. Ergo I don’t need extra crap to cause additional anxiety, especially when a psychic vampire, someone who doesn’t deserve all this anxiety, is the cause of the extra anxiety.

It Can Happen Here

7 Jun

It took me three days in a row to revise just one chapter–not productive. But at least it’s a much better chapter than when I started. Emailed it afterwards, some email conversation.

I finished reading Fascism Today and resumed reading Lifting As We Climb.

No sewing all day. Mostly sucked into online news–disturbing like every day. Actually, that pretty much describes every day since that evil cop killed George Floyd: I’m glued to online news.

Maybe I’ve been in a state of shock since the beginning of social distancing. I just know my anxiety has been up… but I haven’t noticed things like heart palpitations. True, crying a little every day… brooding about the state of this country in addition to brooding about toxic assholes… biting my nails. Anxiety doesn’t have to be dramatic.

So much uncertainty. I hope this makes significant change, more so than what happened in Ferguson. It’s made more obvious what we already knew: that the toilet demon is a would-be fascist dictator. However, he’s inched closer to being literally a fascist dictator.

I think to some extent I still retain my usual optimism that things won’t get that bad, that he’s not going to cancel the 2020 election and become dictator like Putin, etc. But on the other hand, we need to be prepared for the worst.

It can happen here.

Anxiety… and Funny Cats

5 Jun

I just remembered: I forgot to do laundry. I could do it now… or wait until tomorrow….

Brooding about toxic people. They’re not worth it. A pandemic and a revolution and that’s what I’m brooding about. No, that’s the other thing I’m brooding about in addition to the pandemic and revolution and white supremacy. Lots to brood and panic over.

Not sure I’ve gotten through a day this week without crying a little. The crying is when the pandemic and riots and all that are on my mind, not empathy-less assholes.

Nasal congestion, a little phlegm, and very little coughing, so I’m getting better and might be up to taking tonic again starting tomorrow. Of course, I could also be Typhoid Mary–asymptomatic with coronavirus.

#

A few minutes ago, I was pressing pieces of sleeves for my 1890s tea gown.

Virginia was dozing on the chair inches away from me. She didn’t react when I sprayed the bottle of spray starch. When I push the top button, it hisses a bit like a cat.

In contrast, Gabriel was sitting in the doorway and watching me the first time he heard the spray starch hiss. He jumped and ran out of the room and down the stairs.

Gabriel soon returned, and while he walked into the room, the spray starch hissed again. Gabriel jumped, turned, and ran back down the stairs.