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Gun Control Letter

20 Feb

Dear Senator,

My sixteen-year-old nephew goes to high school in Phoenix, a city where open-carry is legal. I don’t want his school to be the next one where some self-entitled jerk with toxic masculinity, poor anger management skills, and a gun barges in and kills a bunch of kids. The purpose of school is education, not sudden and violent death.

The disastrous combination of anger and weapons, not mental illness, Muslims, brown people, or any other scapegoat, is what kills… when uncontrolled and accompanied by weapons. Males in our society (unlike females) are taught that anger is the one emotion they’re allowed to express—uninhibited. They’re taught that they’re entitled to take this anger out on others however they want, even if that means beating their family or committing mass murder.

Meanwhile, creeps with toxic masculinity have easy access to guns, including military assault weapons, thanks to politicians such as Donald Dump and Paul Ryan, accept huge funds from the NRA. The NRA has bought the government.

Making it easy for these jerks, some of whom are white supremacists, to access weapons isn’t okay. It’s past time this insane and backward country bans assault weapons and stops selling weapons to anyone who has money and wishes to buy them. Regular shootings don’t happen in other countries, because they have something called gun control, not greedy and empathy-less patriarchal politicians financially supported by the NRA.


Empathy-less Fools Wallowing in their Privileges

10 Feb

I read multiple books at a time and am currently reading the anti-rape book Asking for It by Kate Harding and the book So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Both books bring up something I find bizarre about our society: large numbers of human beings are victim-blamers and dismissive and disbelieving of victims/survivors of things like rape and police brutality… because these vast numbers of citizens believe that this reality is essentially just and kind.

Who the hell are these naive and callous victim-blaming idiots? Can anyone over the age of twelve live in this reality and have such assumptions?

Maybe these are all extremely sheltered and wealthy, white, able-bodied, cisgender males who have no mental illness (because people with such a clueless outlook must skip through life with major privileges) and who have only been close to people who share approximately the same privileges as they. They have very little empathy and absolutely none for underdogs, so they’re extremely not empaths (indeed, some are probably narcissists/sociopaths). They smugly wallow in their privilege and are extremely closed-minded and must not read much nonfiction or pay attention to others.

How can this reality contain such a vast number of humans who fit that description? Well, what I’ve just described does remind me of maddening white males who wallow in their privileges and take them for granted; I’ve had many a disturbing conversation with the likes of them. Furthermore, anyone who grows up female in this society is conditioned to be afraid of potential attackers at all times—try to avoid going out after dark, carry pepper spray, that sort of thing. So I can’t see how anyone female who has lived in this reality all her life and is over the age of four could possibly be one of these naive and near-empathy-less citizens who believe that most rape victims are lying about it and that there’s no such thing as systemic racism.

I certainly wouldn’t want any of these willfully ignorant fools in a jury or for a judge. Oh, yeah, that phrase “willfully ignorant”: perhaps that’s a clue as to how these people function.

Maybe they just spent almost their entire life in a totally different quantum reality, one that really is very fair and just, and where karma has almost immediate consequences, and just yesterday they crossed through a magic portal into this grim reality. I’d love to cross to the other side of that portal and live in a kind and just world! But it wouldn’t transform me into a willfully ignorant, callous, and victim-blaming… sociopath.

Even as a writer and reader of fantasy fiction, I don’t harbor delusions that this reality is a kind and just world. This country needs to wake up and have a great deal more empathy and compassion and be educated and aware about the very real and systemic misogyny and racism embedded in this society.

Disappointing Cat-Sitter

6 Jan

In the past, I’ve had local friends to cat-sit for me or to exchange cat-sitting services. During my last few years in Portland, I had a frenemy who–though it was a nightmare to be close to her–was a good cat-sitter who spent hours with my cats. (True, because she was sitting in front of my tv much of that time, I received receipts from Amazon video for episodes of The Walking Dead, a show she knew I dislike.)

During my month with family in Phoenix this December and early January, a professional cat-sitter took care of my cats.

I was at the farmer’s market and was in the process of purchasing groceries, when my brother handed me his smartphone and said that my cat sitter called him. I found this very odd; why didn’t she call me instead of him? I also assumed it must be an emergency, since she had said she would communicate via texting.

I took the phone, and next thing I know, this human I hired was castigating me for not answering messages I never received. Meanwhile, I was trying to pay for my groceries via square, and the seller had to ask me at least twice what my zip code was. I must have missed half of what The Cat-Sitter from Hell said, because I paused to give him my zip code before I continued listening to her arrogant and condescending lecture.

At first, when she was blowing up at me for not answering my phone or text messages, I assumed she meant there was a huge emergency and she’d been calling and texting in the twenty minutes since I left the house and began walking my brother’s dog toward the farmer’s market. During that time, my phone was in the bag at my side. I don’t constantly, 24/7, keep my phone in my hand with the volume full-blast. I made the mistake of saying, “I didn’t know you were trying to contact me. My phone is in my bag.” I glanced down toward the purse I was carrying.

In response to that, the bully blew up at me, going on about how I’m her client (who would have guessed, since that’s not how you should treat people who are over-paying you) and should have read the guidelines and follow them and I shouldn’t be leaving my phone in a bag (as if I left it in my suitcase and ignored it since I arrived in Phoenix) and blaah blaah blaah. I went into shock and reverted to being the little girl whom my narcissistic and sociopathic relatives conditioned decades ago. It didn’t occur to me to tell her off right back.

When I said, “You said you would text me,” she continued her tirade, claiming that she’d been texting and calling and emailing. If someone texts me, I receive a notification. If I’d gotten any text notifications from her, I would have noticed. I double-checked my phone and confirmed it. “The last text message from you was on December 8.” She then started rattling off dates that she had allegedly texted me, but I definitely had no such messages, and I had no voice mail messages from her.

My brother then mentioned that he tried to call me yesterday and the call went straight to voice mail. Still in shock that someone I made the mistake of hiring was giving me a condescending lecture and lashing out at me, I quickly realized that I was having a phone problem, and I spelled this out to her. She was somewhat mollified but didn’t apologize. I repeatedly said I’d call Sprint and find out what was going on, and that it must be my phone service.

Throughout this phone call—outdoors in public, surrounded by people and attempting to purchase groceries—I was profoundly agitated. By the time I hung up, I was deeply shaken and wished to hide. I didn’t want to be around humans. I was in this state for the rest of the day, and the indignation and fury didn’t arrive until the evening. It takes a while for shock to wear off, something that toxic humans use to their advantage, because otherwise I’d be able to promptly tell them off.

It seems she was primarily trying to contact me because she didn’t find the huge plastic bin full of kibble, even though I put it in what I thought was an obvious spot.

My brother or sister-in-law suggested that I turn off my phone and turn it back on again, so I did that. Apparently by flying to a different time zone, I stopped receiving calls and text messages.

The cat-sitter eventually gave a gruff and brief half-assed apology in a text message that I did receive; that is, after I turned my phone off, waited a few seconds, and turned it back on, it was flooded with messages. Meanwhile, she should have apologized a lot more profusely than that…not that I’ll ever hire her again under any circumstances. Her arrogance and self-entitlement are extreme, like that of every narcissist and narcissistic sociopath I’ve known; ditto countless white males whether or not they have personality disorders.

It wouldn’t have occurred to me that my phone wasn’t working properly. I had been surprised she didn’t text more frequently, but I guessed it must be a good sign, that everything was going smoothly. I didn’t assume that she would text me every single day, so it didn’t seem suspicious. In short, I didn’t know that my phone wasn’t working, and my having a technological problem is no excuse to lash out at me. I had once or twice considered texting her to see how things were going, but I told myself that she had a very busy schedule and I didn’t want to come across as high-maintenance. I really, really dislike this person and can’t believe I hired her as my cat-sitter—but she had good reviews on Yelp and seemed highly qualified.

On the phone, I was too shocked and confused to point out that her behavior was inappropriate. Toxic people are very fortunate that they typically render me shocked and confused.

I didn’t dump a sociopath, move away from Portland, and practically become a recluse so that other arrogant bullies could give me condescending lectures and castigate me for things beyond my control.

People should treat you with respect if you pay them money…of course, they should do so whether or not you pay them. This should be a no-brainer. This situation further confirmed that humans who have little or no empathy think it’s okay to treat empaths, or at least empaths who are not white males, like crap. Good job making sure I remain jaded.

In hindsight, I should have asked more questions before scheduling with this cat-sitter. It wasn’t until the appointment one week before my trip that she said, “I don’t have time to stay this time of year. I have too many clients.” My outgoing cats need a lot of attention. When I returned, they’d gained a lot of weight and were desperate for attention, suggesting that they spent the month eating and sleeping.

It looks like it will be a long time before I leave town for more than two nights. I still don’t feel ready to make new, close friends; the very thought brings up horrible memories of that frenemy. When I get back into foreign travel–or just visit family in Phoenix: I need to either hire another professional sitter or have reached a stage at which I’m close enough to at least one or two local friends with whom I can exchange cat/dog sitting. But narcissists and narcissistic sociopaths are the humanoids who are drawn to me, and I absolutely want no more such monsters in my life.


Of Purple Plants and Dodgy Dudes

23 Dec

I dreamed about a weird situation. There was a young woman who was, I think, a nurse at a hospital, and she’d caught the attention of two prospective husbands, one whom she found attractive, and the other was more or less Stu Barnhill, a barbaric misogynist. With encouragement from a friend, she decided she’d pretend she lived at this house that her cousin owned, but she had to ask her cousin for permission to stay there a second time (having done so the previous weekend because something was wrong with her apartment). But she wasn’t friends with this cousin and wasn’t comfortable with him (he was my cousin Andy), so she wasn’t looking forward to this.

There may have been something about my impersonating her for the bad suitor, because her friend was showing me her plants in front of her apartment, and there was something about how she in particular prized these purple plants. One of them was growing right out of the brick in front of her front stoop, and so while I was chatting with her friend, I did some weeding…and pulled that purple plant out of the brick right before realizing what I’d done, that it was her favorite plant. Feeling guilty and appalled, I tried to attach the plant back, and it seemingly magically worked.

After waking, I recalled that I’d seen that same kind of plant next to the front stoop at my brother’s in-laws’ house.


Plans, Ceramics, and Critters

12 Dec

I had a dream in which I was very confused about my plans. I was supposed to be gone a month starting the next day, and I had a cat sitter…but at the same time, I had completely different plans, such as an appointment the next day. I may have made one version of plans with The Worst Frenemy in the Galaxy but was no longer associating with her. I rushed home (from work?) with the intention of checking my daily planner.

At home, I heard cats fighting in the back yard and went to the kitchen window and opened it, because a cat was sitting in it. Strangely, it was a fluffy orange cat; none of my cats fit that description. It came in, with another cat behind it.

I went to my bedroom to find my daily planner, which I believed was in my paisley carryon. The room was very messy and resembled my childhood bedroom. I had recently placed my futon on the floor. I reached under it, and there was a long cardboard box full of random things, such as an unstuffed cloth Tigger that brought up a memory of someone castigating me because I had so many things, including that Tigger, and didn’t appreciate what I had. (That, by the way, sounds like The Worst Frenemy in the Galaxy.) I didn’t find the daily planner under the bed. I kept looking, and the room only seemed to become messier.

I came across many ceramics my mother made when I was a child, and seeing them reminded me that I should paint them, since the majority were unpainted. I found a large box in which most items were unpainted ceramics.


A different dream was set in the future, and I lived in a minimalist, futuristic house with white walls, including a curving wall in my bedroom. I had a large bed, probably queen, and I noticed some animals in my room. There was a full-grown orange chicken and two little ones, about half grown, one brown and the other black. I petted each and picked up a little one; it bit me. A one-foot-tall blue-grey horse was having trouble walking; it wasn’t in good health. I had at least one visitor, a man dressed like a Star Wars character who stood over the tiny horse and laughed at it when it fell over on the floor by the foot of the bed, which had a grey coverlet. He made some snide remark about it being a sorry excuse for a horse. I felt shocked by his cruel behavior. This was something like the world of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in that animals were rare and hard to come by.


Skeleton from the Closet on Kindle

14 Oct

My magical realism novel Skeleton from the Closet is now available on Kindle!

The trade paperback edition will be coming soon.


Bohemian and feminist Kezia moves into the charming Craftsman house her uncle left her…in Kansas, where she moves and finds herself surrounded by conservatives, including toxic relatives. Aunt Edith seemed so kind and loving when she was a kid, but now she’s scathingly contemptuous toward Kezia, who begins redecorating and meets a walking and talking Skeleton, more than willing to tell her dark family secrets.


Victim-Blaming Politicians

8 Aug

I received my first packet from Hand-Written Revolution, and after filling out postcards based on the writing prompts (including writing to that psycho Betsy DeVos and that other psycho, Steve King–not the horror writer), I wrote the following letters to my Senators:

Dear Senator,

The Secretary of Miseducation, Betsy DeVos, is such an extreme victim-blaming misogynist that she has consulted with so-called “Men’s Rights activists” (translation: men’s “rights” to oppress and rape women) about pretending that victims of campus rape falsely accuse their rapists. She wouldn’t have been nominated by Donald Dump if she were a real woman rather than a power-tripping, stupid white male trapped in a woman’s body. On-campus rape is a very real and nightmarish epidemic, as is rape in general. Only a psychopath would pretend otherwise. Being the victim of rape is horrific enough without additionally being put on trial and insanely accused of making it up. In this country, one out of every six women has been raped, and so have some men.

If this monster were a competent Secretary of Education, she would be addressing the real problem: the epidemic of campus rape and rape culture. If she were competent, she would do all she can to prevent campus rape and help the victims, not make their life more hellish. This monster needs to either wake up or resign, as do all the incompetent monsters Donald Dump nominated.

And here’s the other letter:

Dear Senator,

Representative Steve King is more frightening than a horror novel. He wants to cut funding for food stamps and Planned Parenthood to cover the costs of an overtly racist and xenophobic wall between Dumplandia and Mexico. His claims are erroneous, sadistic, sociopathic, and idiotic, as is his using fatphobia against poor people.

Defunding food stamps and Planned Parenthood is class and gender warfare. Defunding them for the sake of building that wall is nothing less than class, gender, race, and international warfare.