Archive | September, 2014

Update from my last post

29 Sep

I feel like avoiding Facebook for a while. This is the first time in several years that I’ve been attacked on that social networking site–at least that I can remember. I’ve managed to block so many bullies and to refrain from commenting in many situations where I knew I’d be under attack, that it’s no wonder. That has not, however, changed the fact that the vast majority of humanoids have the emotional maturity of playground bullies. Perpetual playground bullies can generally be described this way: they are extremely immature, extremely insecure, and extremely small-minded. Rather than looking inward and acknowledging that they have issues, they look outward and lash out at people who don’t fit into their teensy-weensy little version of reality.

I’m not one of those people who enjoy getting into arguments on Facebook or otherwise on the internet. I consider it not only anxiety-inducing (with possible effects on my blood pressure) but additionally,  quite simply, a waste of time. I have better things to do. Usually I know better than to comment on disgusting crap, but once in a while I slip and comment.

I’m struck by the irony of a shrieking, hysterical misogynist accusing me of being a sexist pig because I’m against misogyny. The ultimate hypocrite. That describes one of four or five misogynists I blocked on Facebook today.

I could write a fantasy story in which misogynists are chopped up into bits and fed to dragons. Or they’re just fed to dragons—big enough dragons that they can eat the misogynists without them getting chopped up first. Eat them alive. The person who gives the orders lives in a castle—I picture the scene in a room with stone walls. Probably a castle tower. A witch or a queen or a Witch Queen. It could be really funny, sardonic—well, at least I would be amused. Here’s a start:

“Next!” The witch Cordelia called in a baritone voice. She stood tall and stately, with her long, flowing dark red curls loose over her shoulders and down her back. Her blue velvet gown flowed down to the floor and was belted in gold slightly below her waist. It had long, drooping sleeves from which one could catch glimpses of the gold-trimmed white linen chemise underneath.

Until she embraced her inner female-ness, Cordelia was always mistaken for a man. She grew up with parents who refused to accept that she wasn’t a boy. Now she only was if she dressed in a tunic and doublet—but such garb was merely a disguise, for those occasions when she walked amid the commoners in the streets.

Two guards in chain mail entered the tower room. Between them shuffled a cisgender white male with a scowl on his long, pale face.

“Who is this?” Cordelia asked.

“This is a misogynist,” the guard on the left said. “We caught him painting woman-bashing and anti-feminist comments on the outer bailey.”

“Humph!” Cordelia said. “What else has he done?”

“Ah, well,” the other guard said. “He’s a well-known rapist. He’s been terrorizing the kingdom for years.”

“Why didn’t I know about this?” Cordelia asked.

“You had a lot of other issues to deal with, what with taxes and all.”

“Those issues weren’t more important than this,” Cordelia said, waving her hand and sticking her sharp chin up in the air. “Take him away and feed him to the dragons. I don’t have time for fools like him.”

The guards bowed and dragged the man, kicking and shouting words unfit for polite conversation, out of the tower room.

Time Magazine isn’t worth my spit.

27 Sep

As usual, Facebook has a severe case of cooties. Lately I’ve noticed that it tries to make me read such-and-such articles just because the article mentions something or someone in which I’ve shown interest. In this case, the article was from cooties-infested Time Magazine, of all things, sneering at Emma Watson’s feminist campaign and making willfully ignorant comments. This idiot journalist pretends as though feminism isn’t for men and uses that as an excuse to go off on feminism. Clearly this idiot hasn’t read Feminism is for Everyone by bell hooks. And clearly this idiot is flaunting the fact that she’s a blatant anti-feminist.

As usual, Time Magazine has a severe case of cooties. I’ll never forget looking through a Time History of the World page-a-day calendar and noticing that it was almost entirely from a white male perspective—meaning it demonstrated extreme dismissiveness toward women’s history. I saw that a few years ago and have every reason to suspect this hasn’t changed over the years.

Instead of accusing feminists of not caring about men’s issues, Time should start caring about feminist issues and stop pretending as though white males are the only people who matter.

This bigoted article is further proof that Time continues to have a severe case of cooties. Time doesn’t even try to be objective. Time is not worth my time.

The article reminds me of something I’ve observed about mainstream media: a bigoted reporter makes gross generalizations about a group against which they’re prejudiced, and viewers/readers/listeners who share the same prejudice smugly repeat what the journalist said. The group under attack is typically feminists, women, black people or other people of color, poor people, Wiccans, or Muslims.

Suddenly I feel like reading a transfeminist theory book, or that anthology Genderqueer. In other words, I want to read something intelligent and feminist and non-binary that will cleanse me of exposure to that disgusting article.

A Dream about my Dad

26 Sep

I had a dream in which my dad and I took outings each day—by bus or train—during the last four days of his life (even though he seemed like his normal self in the dream), and on each of these outings, Peter Capaldi (dressed like Doctor Who, in a black suit) joined us and chatted with Dad.

I recall my dad and I were sitting on a public bus that was parked in a city square, as though we were on a tour bus in India (although I don’t think this was India). It was a bright, sunny day. My dad and I were sitting on the right side of the bus, and as I looked out the window, Peter Capaldi—standing on the pavement next to the bus—looked up at us and motioned to my dad. He then headed over to climb aboard. Next he and my dad were sitting on the bench directly in front of me and chatting away for a long time, for a whole bus ride. This happened two days in a row, and I was glad he was being so kind to my dad, who was acting like his normal, animated self.

My dad and I were on a train that may have been in a wintry region, perhaps the Himalayas. Peter Capaldi climbed aboard and headed down the aisle, and again he sat on a bench right in front of me, with my dad, and they conversed for the entire ride.

This happened a total of four times, once a day, during what I magically knew to be the last four days of my dad’s life. I took comfort in that Peter Capaldi was being so kind to him.

I had other vivid dreams, but they paled in comparison to this one. I’ve forgotten them all, probably in the sheer effort of remembering this one long enough to write about it hours later. Actually, I suspect the intensity of this dream had a lot to do with my remembering it so well.

The Year of Death

21 Sep

It has been four months since my dad passed away.

On Friday night, the dhamma (dharma in Sanskrit) talk was about death and dying. Monks from the Pacific Hermitage were our guests, and one of them gave the dhamma talk after tea. All of us who had read the email knew that the abbot of Dharma Rain, a Zen community that used to own the hundred-year-old building that we now occupy, had just died from a heart attack. During tea, a sangha member had said that her father has cancer.

My dad died of sarcoma cancer. My sister-in-law’s father currently has thyroid cancer. Cancer, cancer, cancer. What an evil disease.

Before our group meditation, the monks chanted in Pali for the dead. I imagined myself sitting in the hospice room minutes after my dad’s death. I was the only one in the room with his body for at least ten minutes. In my vision, I sat in the same spot, on the couch, and with palms pressed together chanted the same chant in Pali. I wish I had known it at the time.

As the library curator at the nonprofit organization In Other Words, I have been sorting through a great many recently donated books. This weekend, one donation included several books about death, dying, and grief.

Tonight, when I dropped a friend off at her apartment, we saw two police cars parked on the street, inches from her parking lot. After I parked and we got out of the car, we overheard an intense situation. An upstairs apartment door was blocked with yellow caution tape. The resident’s parents yelled at the police because they wouldn’t allow the parents to see their son. In the course of the conversation, we learned that the parents had called the cops—and now regretted doing so. Their son was depressed and mentally ill and wanted to commit suicide. Either he committed suicide, or he was threatening to do so, and the cops killed him. The mother said, “You shot him!” The mother shouted that she wouldn’t trust police ever again and would never again call them in an emergency.

I’ve become more conscious of mortality and death since my dad passed away. I’ve been aware of a need to resume reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead (unabridged) and to read other books concerning death, Buddhist or otherwise. I’ve become more conscious than ever of my numerous unfinished projects and in the past week or two have put some effort into completing fantasy stories I began writing a long time ago. You never know when it will happen to you. My birthday was this month, adding to my increasing awareness of my own mortality.

 ———————-

My travel memoir about Shantum Seth’s pilgrimage, In the Footsteps of the Buddha, is now available. http://amzn.com/1499258895 The title is Every Day is Magical: a Buddhist Pilgrimage in India and Nepal