Thurs. Nov. 15, 2018: Passion, Creativity, and a Dark Night of the Soul

Thursday, November 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde


It never ceases to amaze me how often people criticize others in order to feel more powerful themselves, or because they feel threatened by others’ talents.

That’s kind of the entire GOP platform at this point — dehumanize anyone they deem “different.” Only give basic human rights to those who do as they’re told.

Which is a conversation for another day, but an ongoing one we need to have here in the U.S.

Again, if you haven’t read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, do so now.

I’ve been called “difficult” often over the years because I walk my talk, I’m passionate about my work, and I’m ruthless about protecting my creative time. I’ve grown to embrace the “difficult” moniker because these are things I’m not willing to change about myself. The toll is too high. And, frankly, I’m old enough not to really give a damn what most people think.

I recently came across some old journals, as I’m cleaning out the basement. That younger me who was in so much pain with this man or that man in my life tried to demean or demoralize me for being creative and passionate, telling me I was “too much” or had to “tone it down.” Or the one who said I “didn’t give him enough to complain about” and he felt left out when his friends bitched about their wives and girlfriends.

They were all kicked to the curb, and it was the right decision. I stayed true to my core. Had I stayed with any of them, I would be miserable now.

Hell, I might not even be alive.

There have been some wonderful men in my life, even though we’ve chosen not to stay together forever. I tend to have long stretches of being single rather than going from relationship to relationship, because I learned the hard way that it’s lonelier to be with the wrong person that to be alone.

I’ve been told I’m not a “real” writer (even though that’s how I earn my living) because I write more than one thing, because I do marketing writing as well as novels and plays and radio drama, because I write in genre instead of “literary” fiction, because I’m not published by one of the Big Five, because I worked in theatre, because I worked in a library — it just goes on and on and on.

You know what? Go ahead and define me. I’ll just keep working and cash my checks.

Am I rich? No. But I’m building the life and career I want.

Am I famous? No, and with luck and careful strategy, I never will be. I spent many years working with actors and directors, many of them big names. I don’t want what comes with fame.

A little more financial security that buys me freedom? Yeah. I’ll take it. Fame? No. Let those who like it have it.

When I was nervous about reading at the festival in Provincetown this year, an actor friend in the UK (for whom I’ve written) asked, “Do you trust the work?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “Then get out of the way and let the work breathe. Trust the work.”

He was right, and it was a good experience. It’s also one of the reasons he’s getting to be a known name (and no, I’m not going to name drop here).

None of that created the dark night of the soul of this title.

As many of you know, it’s been a tough year for me. A year of loss. Deaths in the family, deaths of friends, of my elderly cat, health issues in the family, other pressures, a tight contract schedule, intense political activism (which has brought me into contact and sometimes friendship with people I might never have crossed paths with otherwise). I have had a lot of demands on me physically, emotionally, creatively.

There have also been plenty of friends, family members, colleagues, and others in my life who have needed my love and support, and to whom I gave and continue to give it willingly. They are not a burden. They are my heart.

In October, I received a disappointment that shook my confidence in my work. Had nothing to do with publication or production, and I’m not going into detail about it publicly. But it devastated me, and I’m still trying to recover and get my creative feet back under me. Intellectually, I should be able to shrug and move on; emotionally, it’s much more difficult.

Trying to create in this political atmosphere is, anyway, like swimming through molasses. Says the chick who never learned how to swim. But you get the idea.

It’s necessary, and yes, I do take the position that all art is political. Even art that claims not to be supports the status quo.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be light and entertaining and fun.

Chuck Wendig had a terrific thread on Twitter the other day about the importance of creating, of “making stuff” — both because we as artists need to do so, and the world needs it.

I re-read HEART SNATCHER, the draft of the ass-kicking novel I wrote several years ago. It’s filled with rage I felt as a woman at unchecked violence against women and people who can’t defend themselves. It’s urban fantasy, not “literary” and its protagonist is charged with fulfilling justice, especially when the law moves away from justice. The writing was praised, but I was told to tone it down, that “women’s rage makes readers uncomfortable.” I put it away, but I think its time has come.

I started Women Write Change to create a place where women can develop creative projects sparked by what’s going on in the world. That’s been a great help.

Also, ideas come in batches. I got ideas for several new short stories. I’m doing research and will write a play about gun violence and possible solutions. That was inspired by a conversation I had with an actress friend on Twitter, when we felt so angry and helpless after Stoneman Douglas. I started PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, a novel that also deals with gun violence (among other things) when I was so uncomfortable about a gun vendor being part of that awful shopping/liquor event I did with my client a few weeks back.

Veterans’ Day weekend brought a batch of new/old ideas and inspirations, growing out of conversations with vets I’ve worked with on various projects over the years, vets I’ve gotten to know on social media as we fight to save our country in our various ways, and my experience working/talking/caring over the years.

Mixed into that is the book on the tightest deadline just isn’t working. I can’t fill it with the effervescence it needs right now. Everything is forced. The darker piece due next is doing better, but this one, I’m struggling, and I feel like I’m failing — myself, my editor, my readers.

I’m looking at some huge, huge changes in my life in the coming year (and I’m sure there will be plenty of unplanned stuff). I’m trying to prepare for those on every level.

And I’m tired of being tired, angry, and sad all the time — again, that’s mostly due to the state of the country.

Tuesday going into Wednesday was pretty rocky for me, and Tuesday night was basically a Dark Night of the Soul. I’ve had these periodically, and some are darker than others. I’ve learned how to create a container of ritual for these now, which supports the experience and makes it a tool to get somewhere instead of a downward spiral into the abyss.

Once the emotion was burned away (and there was plenty of that), there was clarity. I won’t go so far as to say “peace” — but there was clarity on several things. I’m now taking steps to make some adjustments.

There was also a fresh surge of creative energy, which is always welcome, and when I make the adjustments I need to make, I will be able to shape it into something that might help someone else get through a bad day.

One of the comments that mattered most to me about my work came in a letter that arrived about a year after one of my plays was produced in Australia. The writer had come to the play at a particularly low point in her life. Low enough to consider suicide. She came to the play (which also touched on the topic), and it made her see things in a new way. It made her feel that she mattered and SHE could instigate her own changes. A year later, she had a job she liked, working her way to a job she loved; her own apartment; and was in the early stages of a relationship she felt was the first healthy one in a long time.

During that production in Australia, I hit a particularly low point, my own danger zone. I attended someone else’s production, which got me down another train of thought, and I would up staying up for a couple of days and writing a play about a suicidal woman stalked by a serial killer. Both want her dead, but who gets to control it? Which became one of my signature works.

When I hit a particularly bad patch, I remember that, and it helps get things into perspective.

I’m feeling like I have more perspective, and that I can make some positive decisions.

And please, please remember that you matter, your creativity matters, your contribution to the world matters.

Published in: on November 15, 2018 at 5:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 15, 2018: Passion, Creativity, and a Dark Night of the Soul  
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Tues. Sept. 25, 2018: Awards and Concerns

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days. I did not get the amount of writing done that I wanted or needed to do.

Most of it has been caught up with the final details for the breakfast where my client gets an award this morning– an award which I will accept on her behalf and say a few words. I’ve been working on the speech — short, simple, from the heart. Focused on HER. Too much about this award has been focused on another agenda, not the awardees, in my opinion. But yesterday, we got a lot of the kinks worked out.

I did some additional research for RELICS. I read Joy Harjo’s memoir, and most of a series of letters between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright, which are beautiful. I polished the review that was due and sent it off. I juggled home centric tasks. I worked on what used to be POWER OF WORDS. I re-read what’s written of TIE CUTTER again, and love it more than ever. There’s a lot of heart in that book.

I miss traveling. Next year, I need to arrange my schedule so I can travel more. Not just for clients over the bridge, but for myself and my writing.

I am angered an infuriated at the way the GOP dismisses the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, especially since more women are coming forward, and especially since they KNEW about these allegations last week, and that’s why they tried to accelerate the process. They truly believe it doesn’t matter. That men have the right to violate women. People asking, what if it was your wife or daughter are missing the point — this is how they treat the women in their own lives. And that former aide, who nearly killed his pregnant mistress by giving her an abortificant in a smoothie without her knowledge? Don’t tell me the GOP is pro-life. They want to tear away women’s rights and human rights back to before the Civil War.

There are some very interesting stories out there about how this is all tied beyond women’s rights into something much darker and religious and international — interesting theory, but I hope it’s not true.

The bottom line is that the GOP does not care about women’s rights. If the allegations are true, the Judge has proven a pattern of disregard for women’s rights that ensures he will overturn Roe vs. Wade. Which is what they want. He also says that a sitting President can’t be indicted. Which is what they want — especially since most of them are corrupt, and they count on him to protect them as well.

Kavanaugh’s behavior since Day One has shown he is not fit for the office. If he was this brilliant intellect and ethical man the GOP claims, he would have insisted that there’s no reason to rush. He would have insisted that ALL his records be released for review. He would have shaken Fred Guttenberg’s hand at the break, whether or not he knew who the man was, because as a SCOTUS, he is supposed to protect and serve ALL people in this country. He would not have lied, multiple times, under oath, or hedged on questions he didn’t like.

The whole Kennedy retirement/Deutsche Bank loans by his son to the Narcissistic Sociopath/nomination stinks.

People are saying it’s a done deal, that K is out. I think the GOP will ram him through anyway, just to prove they can and send a message that they can and will do whatever they want without consequence. I hope, in this case, I am wrong.

I participated in the Day of Solidarity yesterday, wearing black and stepping out of the office at 1 PM. I don’t post selfies, so I didn’t do that part. My client’s office is part of a large complex. I was the ONLY person who stepped out. I am disgusted. A red enclave in a blue state. I am fed up.

The level of corruption is appalling. I can’t see how it can be resolved without tragic circumstances.

As far as Yale goes, when I was applying to schools waaaaay back when, Yale was on the list. I will add that I was accepted at EVERY school to which I applied. I went in for the interview at Yale, which went really well. I spent a weekend to “get to know the campus.” By the end of the weekend, I pulled my application, because I knew I didn’t want to go to a school where the frat boy aggressive mentality toward the girls on and off campus was so vile.

I also remember, earlier in high school, as part of the Model U.N., we did a conference at Yale. We hung out and partied and were less than model citizens after hours. I don’t know how our chaperones coped with us. We were awful. But I remember the frat boys hanging around and trying to get high school girls to come out with them. (Being in a fraternity was a selling point, as far as they were concerned). Later, at NYU, I was talking to a student who’d also been involved in Model U.N. (from a different high school). She said her older brother, who went to Yale, wouldn’t let her go to the conference there because the frat boys were notorious for picking up high school girls, getting them drunk, having sex with them, and boasting about it. (Her brother was not in a fraternity).

I went to a few frat parties early on in college, but they weren’t fun. I didn’t like the people, and I didn’t like the aggression. I never went through rush week or tried to pledge to a sorority, because I didn’t like the mentality or the exclusiveness. I didn’t like the girls I met who were recruiting, or the girls back at the various houses. Plus, the time factor — when I wasn’t in class or doing homework or at a work study job, I was in the theatre or on the film set WORKING. I was earning my way in the arts since age 18. I wasn’t going to give up a show or a film gig for a party house. It had no place in what I wanted in my present or my future.

Back to my own daily life, this will post before the breakfast happens today. I’ll write about it all in my post tomorrow. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly and my speech goes well. I want it to be a good moment honoring my client.



Published in: on September 25, 2018 at 1:11 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 25, 2018: Awards and Concerns  
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Mon. Aug. 14, 2017: Time to Decide

Monday, Aug. 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

What a horrible weekend for the United States. Sickening and disheartening. Not at all a surprising one. We are in the midst of another Civil War on our own soil. It began openly when the Narcissistic Sociopath was given the GOP nomination and he encouraged people to be their worst, violent selves, giving them the freedom to crawl out from under their rocks. NONE of this is surprising. ALL of it could have been prevented. The roots of this go back decades.

He has never hidden who he is. Enough people agreed with him to put him where he is now. This call for him to be something else won’t work. The entire administration needs to be removed.

I also find it interesting that everyone I personally know who tried to justify a vote for the Sociopath last fall, and swore that they were “good people” and would be “the first” to stand up if he abused his power or tried to cause the harm we KNEW he would — they are all silent.

Because they are complicit.

Because they agree.

On social media, people are saying, “This is not who we are.”

Obviously, it’s who quite a few people are, or we wouldn’t be in this situation.

The seeds of this were sown in the Reagan years, when the radical right built their long game. This has been decades in the making, and too many people turned away, covered their ears, singing, “la, la, la.” Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. I remember talking about this back in those days, and being called an alarmist.

If there truly is “no room for white supremacists” in the US (and there will be necessary Constitutional fights about that and decisions made about where to draw lines on the right to one’s beliefs and where beliefs and acting on them are legal or illegal), there are ACTIONS that must be taken to fulfill that “no room” policy, which include:

–Prosecuting illegal acts;
–Stripping these individuals of their citizenship;
–Sending them into exile;
–Removing the corrupt administration and having a new election.

My first year of college, in Tallahassee, Florida, back in the early 80s, the Klan was open and arrogant in their actions and intentions. They behaved with impunity. I witnessed it regularly. It was part of my decision to leave after a year.

The GOP responses I saw have been tepid, to say the least. Marketing spin, hoping something new will come on the radar in a day or two (like the impending nuclear war with N. Korea) to take the focus off their responsibility in creating this mess, and their refusal to fix it. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are as much to blame as the Sociopath. Neither one will take the necessary actions, because they are still getting what they want from the situation. AG Sessions, of course, defends the Sociopath’s response, because he, too, has a proven record of racism and should never have been confirmed in the job in the first place. On top of the fact that he stands there and accepts the way his boss has demeaned him over the past few weeks.

If the GOP was serious about their outrage, and actually decided to put country over party for the first time in nearly a decade, Congress would go back into session TODAY and steps would be taken to remove this administration. That won’t happen because too many of them secretly agree with the Narcissistic Sociopath’s base, and were put in power by the same base. It’s all hot air, smoke and mirrors.

Don’t forget that the GOP has bills on the table ALLOWING cars to run over protestors, which is how Heather Heyer was murdered. They encourage this type of murder.

We need to remember Heather Heyer. We need to remember the two Virginia State troopers killed in the helicopter crash, and get justice for the young black man beaten.

GoDaddy showed surprising class by telling the “publication” that slut-shamed Heather Heyer they were in violation of the Terms of Service and had to move the site. It will be interesting to see which web host accepts them. It better not be mine. Tiki’s statement was better than the Sociopath’s (no surprise there). The Detroit Red Wings took a stand (I’d have been disappointed if one of my favorite Original Six teams had done less).

WBZ Radio Boston was shameful in last night’s broadcast at 5:30 PM. The host chirped that the injured “showed improvement” after a “car plowed” into a crowd — not calling it what it is, an act of domestic terrorism. Heather Heyer’s murder was not even mentioned. In fact, they wrapped the sound byte into a piece with two local DUI crashes, making them all sound of a piece. Disgraceful. This morning, they had a carefully-worded, non-informational 60 seconds about the “alleged” driver going to court this morning. All carefully worded to please the far right. WBZ has been a disgrace since the campaign, moving farther and farther right, until they’re almost in the same category as Fox News. I expect better from a CBS affiliate. Especially one in Boston.

The same organization that created the Charlottesville march has one scheduled in Boston on the 19th. Counter-protests are being organized. I have no doubt that even more bloodshed will happen here next weekend than happened in Charlottesville. I’m sure there will be debates about their legal right to assemble. Of course, if they were serious about their right to “peaceful assembly”, they wouldn’t be hiring private militia and they wouldn’t be chanting slogans that encourage mass murder. They may have the legal right to be here, and I will have legal specialists debate the details of that — but I don’t want them here. It comes down to both who has the right to assemble and who gets to decide who has the right. If there is truly “no place for white supremacy”, then the assembly needs to be denied. However, that sets a precedent to allow what the Administration is trying to set up, which is that any type of dissent, including assemblies such as the Women’s March, March for Science, etc, can also be denied. It becomes about where to draw the line and who gets to make the decisions. If I deny someone else the right to assembly, that means, in turn, I will also be denied that right. No matter which side stands for “good” or “evil”. While we fought a war that defined Nazism as “evil”, society as a whole is fickle and easily swayed, and the victors get to change the social contract to their own purposes.

The Kumbaya attitude of “let’s listen to the other side and understand them” is not going to prevent this escalating violence. One can’t reason with fanatics. It’s not about different views to get to an overall better result for the population of this country. It is about a single group that wants to exterminate anyone who disagrees.

World War II was all about these same issues, and, because it was not fought on US soil, too many haven’t learned — thanks to the defunding of education that’s been going on since Reagan, and the revisionist history that so many of the right-wing states have put into the school system. Now, we have another Civil War on our own soil. Instead of popping anti-anxiety medication and pretending it doesn’t exist, people damn well better start taking action –or THEY won’t exist.

I remember, several years ago, going to Nashville, TN for the NHL draft. At that time, Tennessee was talking secession, about “building a wall” (sound familiar?), and creating a “country” which remembered that slavery was a good thing. I still have the front-page news story tucked away somewhere. I was so disgusted, I was ready to leave the same day, rather than stay and cover the draft. But I stayed. I listened to the uneducated, racist, bigoted talk that I heard in almost every local establishment I visited. None of this is new. It’s been building for years, and too many people ignored it. Too many people also agree with it.

My direct family members survived WWII. Some of my family was torn apart when the Berlin Wall went up. I remember visiting the Wall; seeing someone try to escape, get shot, and dragged back. I remember the Wall coming down, and going into the East three days after reunification and seeing a place stopped in time. Driving behind Soviet tanks (it was still the Soviet Union then) as they prepared to pull out. Talking to young Soviet soldiers who’d never seen an American girl before (they got into trouble — they weren’t allowed to talk to anyone outside of their unit). Drinking with a commander who’d known my grandfather (we were in a town that my grandfather, an architect, had rebuilt after the war).

To most Americans, World War II is Captain America or a video game. It’s not.

We are now suffering the consequences of not paying attention. Unless we, as a people, take action, we will be the new Nazi regime, and the rest of the world will be forced to take action against us, the way we were forced to take action in World War II. Only, in World War III, no one gets out alive.

Decide where you stand. And then DO something about it.

Published in: on August 14, 2017 at 9:35 am  Comments Off on Mon. Aug. 14, 2017: Time to Decide  
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