WordPress Woes

It seems that perhaps I need to hire someone to design my website.

I have spent all morning trying to get the WordPress features to work right, during my attempt to redesign my blog.

And I discovered that my plan no longer allows me to have Happiness Engineer assistance on the weekends, though that is how it was when I first purchased my plan.

Anyone else unhappy with WordPress as of late?

Advice?

Torrent Rising…

 

Torrent Rising

The bass of the speakers

makes my heart change rhythm

and I am old, and uncomfortable

with crowded people

hurting me with their rudeness

and sharp elbows.

So I find a quiet spot

where I can hear the music

de-obnoxious-fied.

I wonder why I’m even here

and I’m answered when

the band starts playing

blued, and blue notes

but it’s only for one song

as crisp lightning shatters the sky.

And then, it’s just you and me

and a handful of young girls

who all want your attention,

and I don’t want to be them,

but I don’t want to leave,

for I, too, still have dreams.

And so I dance up into the sky

with the memory of a song

not played

and the storm makes me beautiful enough

for me.

–Willow Croft

The Storm Within

 

 

The Journey Back to Earth

VersionsOfTheSelf2.jpg

 

Whew, finally getting around to reviewing some books for #writingwednesday!

First up, Versions of the Self (poetry) by Christy Birmingham.

Linky links:

Amazon

Goodreads

Christy Birmingham’s When Women Inspire blog: https://whenwomeninspire.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/christybis

Review:

I’ve followed Christy Birmingham’s blog for years, and, likewise, she’s been a strong supporter of mine. I think she was one of, if not the first, who purchased my book of poetry when I self-published (Oh, Createspace, how I miss thee!). But this is the space for honest reviews, and, being an honest, ethical, straight-arrow type, with a healthy dose of blunt forthrightness, here goes my honest review. (Please, stick with me to the end of the review.)
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book, the first time I read through it. I felt somewhat removed from the poems within, and I couldn’t understand why. As a woman, going through what seems a similar journey of self-transformation, why was I feeling unsettled? Why didn’t it grab me straight from the beginning?
It wasn’t until I sat down to write this review that I realised what was giving me this sense of disquiet. I spend a lot of time in other realms. The theme of my own poetry book is all about journeys to other worlds. Alternate dimensions, astral travel, tandem dreaming, visits to fairyland–however you want to classify it, it has very little to do with the “real” world. And my short stories reflect more of the same–fantastical, surreal, spooky, and a little escapist (or so I hope!). I spend so much time up here in my head, or a million miles from it, that I’m not very present. I constantly receive gentle instructions to become more grounded, to visualise coming down into my feet. But it’s not a place where I’m most comfortable. I want the deep vastness of space; of the ocean. Of anywhere but here on Earth.
Christy’s poems reflect exactly that sort of grounded earthiness I’m constantly trying to avoid. Being present, being in the moment. Being real, no matter how much it hurts. Or how confusing it is. From my way-out-there, interdimensional traveller perspective, I see her as a very present poet. And I’m also not used to reading that in poetry.
And it’s a necessary, and lovely, stability in the rareness of the feeling her poetry inspires. With each poem brings another block to lay on the foundation under my feet. As a woman, as a denizen of this planet no matter how much I dream myself otherwise, she connects me back to the Earth under my feet; to my own “Version of Self” that connects with lines of her poems.
“Gliding under Water” reminds me of the simplicity of being a young girl in a pool; a time where my sensory experiences were more immediate. Though her work is titled “Versions of the Self,” I see it more as a stripping away of those versions to achieve a strong core, bringing us along with her as she goes back to basics. To having strong roots. And water, ironically, also helps root the reader in a very real, relatable experience of loss and change, in her poem “Within a Few Feet”. We have no choice to be present right along with the poet, because her pain is ours. It’s a pain that, sadly, lies in most women, and maybe the human race in general.
Lastly, she reminds me that it’s okay to be down here, in the muck and mire that is Earth, to “start at the bottom” (from “Bottom of the Waterway”). Because it’s only from there that we will learn to fly.

Outside the Maze of Social Media…

 

The Maze

 

Goodness, Twitter’s layout change really threw me for a loop. I guess it’s telling that I didn’t even have an inkling that a changeover was in the works.

And I’m not even as experienced at Twitter as I wish I was, so I was perplexed as to why the change hit me so hard.

I’m not going to wax philosophical over a social media platform, but I’m also a oddly, incredibly sad about the change. And I feel a little displaced from that part of the internet world.

Maybe it’s the fact that social media has become such a staple of our lives that when it changes, it’s like losing a best friend. And maybe that’s even sadder.

Naturally, the designers have every right to change the layout of their social media program any way they want. And there’s some out there who are embracing the change.

But once I got over the initial shock of losing my purpley font and fun Twitter background, I felt relief.

“Thank goodness I don’t have to get lost in that part of the social media maze anymore,” I thought next.

I wanted to delete my Twitter account straightaway (I didn’t!), but I did tweet that I would probably be taking a sabbatical for the time being.

I just don’t have the energy to renavigate Twitter all over again.

I would certainly miss posts from the people I follow, but I consoled myself with the thought they could stop by here and say hi. And, since I didn’t delete my account, I could always peek in from time to time to keep up with them.

But, you know, I have a life. It may be very, very far from the life I want, still, but this intense transition period I’m in is definitely keeping me busy while I try to get everything sorted.

Heck, the number of short story and poetry submission deadlines alone are enough to fill the Twitterverse void.

Not to mention trying to sort out my employment situation, or where I’m going to live (or emigrate to) in hopes of climbing out of this tumultuous storm into a more stable existence. Or, at the very least, a more fulfilling one.

Which is why I don’t have time to weather the storms of change in social media. When everything’s in upheaval, you really want some things to keep on being a safe harbor.

But, then, quixotically, social media isn’t really a safe harbor in many ways. Especially for those of a diverse nature in regards to gender, et al.

It is a platform where the president of the United States will doggedly continue to tweet all of his garbage and nonsense, after all. (Long live #FakeNews! *laugh*)

So, maybe I’m in better company without the distractions of the Twitterverse, generally speaking.

And, earlier today, I wrote the first draft of a story for Fantasia Divinity Magazine’s Isolation theme.

Now, I’m catching up by writing this intended blog entry, based on my visual prompt I started earlier.

And I don’t feel so alone, anymore.

(And, maybe, just maybe, #SnailMail will start trending again!)

Seeking Simplicity…

Seeking Simplicity...

According to my National Day Calendar, today is Simplicity Day.

Boy, do I want to launch the Simplicity Revolution single-handedly.

But I can only revolutionize my own life, in this case. Otherwise, I’d be the dictator of the world. Which I’ve entertained in daydreams about one of my future lives, I’m afraid I have to admit. 

So, I am really thinking hard, and putting those thoughts into action by transitioning to a simpler life. 

I don’t have cable. Cable companies extracting $150-$200/month (or more!!!) for their services? No, thank you. That’s $1800-2400 a month! Absurd! Even if I had the money, I wouldn’t give it to the cable companies. And they’ve somebody managed it so that you can’t even view the public access channels anymore.

My big pet peeve, though, with cable companies and internet companies and phone companies is that it seems there is zero accountability. 

It’s like when you buy any appliance that they are still manufacturing to break down within a few years, and then say “you have to buy a warranty plan if you want to guarantee that it will continue to work even in that small window of time.” Seriously? Is no-one paying attention to how consumers’ rights are just being gutted? Buy an appliance that’s a gamble if it’s even going to work? Are you kidding me? Why have technology if it doesn’t work?

So, here you are, in the same way, paying for internet and cable and phone service every month and it doesn’t even work properly. Or the equipment breaks and you have to pay to have it repaired. And now companies just absolve themselves of responsibility by training their support and tech teams to play the customer blame game; stating it’s your connected devices and equipment that’s not working and that there’s nothing wrong with their service.

And I’m trying to resist getting on my soapbox about the (failure) of medical care today, as that’s also a really personal issue.

So, I do wonder when people are going to say enough. I think people are moving that way. 

I mean, I think that internet is not going away. I use it (on a learning curve) to build my author platform. But I stay away from Facebook. I use Canva to post on Twitter, Pinterest, and sometimes Tumblr. And I have my blog, of course. As a writer, I have to submit everything over the internet, although I wish I could submit things the old way.

But I’m at the point where I want to return to basics. Snail mail. Get correspondence to my mailing address. I’d even rather talk to people on the phone, but I have such bad reception that I’m stuck paying for, that I can’t even manage that. Still, I’m working on weaning myself off my movie streaming provider. Transition back to reading a book in the evenings. Other creative pastimes. 

So, do you agree that simplicity is going to be humanity’s next social revolution? If so, how do you plan to join the fight?

Share your thoughts, links to your blogs/articles/stories, or other means of sharing your ideas in the comments below.

 

 

 

The Shadow of a World

 

I’ve been querying agents the past week.

I feel pretty good that I measured up to their guidelines and specifications. I worked hard to do so. Now it’s the waiting game to see if my manuscript measures up as well.

So, I’m back to writing short stories. One month to go, and the day job begins.

The biggest obstacle I face as a writer isn’t writer’s block. Or distractions like social media. Or even insecurity and fear. It’s the feeling of indulgence.

Just sitting around writing while the world burns. Or melts. And toxifies. Beautiful, lovely, diverse species are going extinct by the minute, and I’m here printing out reams of paper in the same minute.

I try to write stories with a message; horror in which the natural world has agency; can fight back against people.  Such as Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris bring up in their “Rogue Characters” blog post from yesterday.

But they’re just stories. Do they change anything?

I try to tell myself that I’m doing everything I can to minimize the space I take up on the planet, like recycling (Well, recycling properly now, anyway, thanks to this tweet.)

I’ve been vegetarian since 1992. I’m trying (or, continuing to fail at) becoming vegan. But I have plenty of replacement options, courtesy of PETA’s vegan kit, as well as blog posts like this.

But it still haunts me. So many animals and plants and everything else giving way to humans on this planet. And, while I’m staring at my blank piece of paper that a tree gave up its life for so that I can write another story, my mind wanders into some dark places.

How is that we humans have practically zero restrictions on reproduction? People out there even having twenty or more kids in one family unit. But the alternative is just as terrible and unconscionable, as history has shown us: extermination,  concentration camps, forced sterilization, tracts on/beliefs in eugenics. But, still, over seven billion people on the planet? When is enough going to be enough? And there’s people out there debating a women’s right to choose? Seriously? I chose. I chose not to bring children into the world. Chose not to add to the human population. But every day; at work, running errands, I get asked “Do you have kids?” and it’s like the end of the world, the end of my existence and worth when I say no. Which is completely illogical, because the world is, maybe not ending, but is certainly being destroyed at a speed-of-light pace.

I was thinking how strange it was that humans have free will to reproduce as much as they want, but, in addition to the number of species going extinct (I found it interesting, and appropriately chilling, how Joseph Nebus incorporated the subject into his blog post, today.), animals we consider as our live-in companions–pets, essentially–face euthanasia in shelters because of overpopulation. And that’s the humane alternative because people can’t be bothered to spay or neuter their pets, or want some mythical perfect breed pet created in a puppy mill instead of adopting a shelter animal awaiting its forever home. And let’s not talk about that when they get sick of having that trendy animal around and dump it either on the street or to that same shelter environment. It beats being neglected, abandoned, starved to death, abused and a million other ways humans treat our domesticated animal companions.

I know what goes on in shelters. I’ve worked in them for years, and as an animal rescue volunteer. I’ve been on cases involving hoarders. Seen a dog kept on a tiny apartment porch crammed with trash and nothing but a plastic tub filled with slimy green water to drink. Gone into the shelter to take the animals to the adoption site while your heart breaks when nobody wants the sweetest dog, cat, rabbit, etc. times six million that ever lived. But that’s nothing to how it feels when you go into the shelter and that animal you’ve tried so hard to get adopted lost its last chance at a forever home just the day before.

And I’m not criticizing the animal shelters out there, by any means. They are just trying to make the best of a no-win situation brought about by the large numbers of irresponsible and thoughtless pet owners.

A fellow horror writer I follow on Twitter had this to say: https://twitter.com/DoomGoat666/status/1145082969712996352.

I’m gutted. It’s personal for me. I’ve been there, on the animal rescue front. But, sometimes it doesn’t always end badly. Like the day I was walking into the shelter and saw someone dump a cardboard box at the end of the sidewalk. I tend to be curious, so I went over to the box. It was all taped up. And then a tiny cat paw stuck out of one of the holes I now noticed were punched into the side of the box. Florida, in July, and those kittens wouldn’t have lasted very long out there in the hot sun. But they survived because I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Which is why I’m so, so glad there’s still people out there like Ben Fitts that are trying to make a difference. Working for organizations like the ASPCA.

It makes the real world a little less horrific.

 

Where to Write? (Location, Location, Location)

 

Have pen, will travel...
#amwriting

I’ve been a little at loose ends. Scattered and off-kilter.

But I’ve been discovering that wandering around with that “lost-between-worlds” feeling is a staple for me as an emerging writer.

But back in the real world, I’m having to look for a new locale. 

I miss the the ocean. Lush forests. I even miss the swamps of my home state. But economics, of course, are playing a large role in the quest.

Even though my search has to be practical, I still like dreaming over the maybe-someday homes at Old House Dreams. (Who could resist this one that lends itself to a horror writer persona? https://www.oldhousedreams.com/2019/06/05/c-1940-log-deerbrook-wi/)

Location, to me, has evolved to be an essential part of my creative life. (Perhaps it always was but I wasn’t paying attention in the drive to be somebody; anybody.) I draw inspiration from my locale. From the atmosphere I’m in. I’ve heard other writers have their favourite places they go to seek creative nourishment. Some write in noisy cafes, some seek out solitude, others, well, I’d be interested to know what your go-to places are to write, to refresh, to find that next great idea.

Share in the comments, if you like.

 

It’s not like the world’s gonna end…oh wait…

Own your world of dreams....png

It’s hard to write about this. It’s so painfully personal. And frighteningly real. I would have a difficult time being a memoir writer.

I’ve started watching this series Quicksand. And I finished reading a book called “House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery“.

The book takes a look at the life of the writer of Anne of Green Gables. Or, in actuality, the struggles and obstacles she faced as a woman, and as a woman writer. And it’s terrible, according to my read of the book, terrible that such a talented, imaginative, intelligent girl/woman was constantly shafted, exploited, her dreams denied, her talents sidelined, and faced such heartbreaking limitations imposed on her by the world. Terrible that I can’t look at this book, and say “I’m so glad things have changed–for myself; for every girl going through girlhood right now.,” when it didn’t happen for me. And girls, now, are still not getting their big break, their chance to be an actual, valid, respected person. We are all still being told in a thousand and one ways how we aren’t good enough. And that’s on a good day. We also face actual physical horrors, or the fear of them, every minute of every day. We can get attacked, murdered even, and the perpetrator generally gets off with just a slap on the wrist, if even that. Because women still don’t matter in the eyes of the world. And I have never been more glad that I haven’t brought a daughter into this world; that at least I had the choice not to reproduce (even though I STILL constantly get asked, and then judged, because I’m not married or have children) a world and society that will not respect her individuality, encourage her strengths, and give her space and support to develop as a person.

It’s a whole system that is designed to create insanity in women, of the bipolar kind. A system that creates a schism of the spirit and mind, no matter how strong you are.

And we are still doing it to young women.

In a Quicksand episode last night, they called the girl out for having an unseemingly, criminal, and threatening personality shift–a witness had stated she had become (according to the subtitles) “cocky…arrogant” and that was part of the tactic used to establish her guilt in the crime by the detective.

Wow. I haven’t seen the end, but, goodness, she’s definitely guilty on that alone. How dare a young woman be cocky, assertive, and sure of herself? Much less arrogant?

And, yes, I’m being sarcastic.

And it really got me thinking. Well, expanded a train of thought.

What would society be like if girls, young women, and mature women weren’t constantly demeaned and sidelined?

Where would the world be if girls and young women weren’t taught that they were inferior just on the basis of their gender?  Would we even still have distinct genders, in full, tolerant actuality?

If they weren’t constantly told–by their families, by their teachers and mentors, by their peers, by advertising, by their bosses and co-workers, by their friends and romantic partners, et al–how they should be and how they shouldn’t be? How they should talk, walk, look, act, behave, dress. and then when they attempt to be all of the things they should be, they are criticized for still not being good enough for the world. Subject to a barrage of put downs, insults,  and stereotype- and limitation-based language, sold a false image of happiness they can earn only through marriage and having children, and yet disparaged if they aren’t happy because they are taking for granted or downplayed in the eyes of the world.

What would happen if girls and women were not only allowed to be themselves, judgment-free, but were also fully and completely supported to dream dreams; to be creative, expressive, sensitive, assertive, confident, powerful, determined, demanding, arrogant, and anything else they can think of to be successful and happy and fulfilled, on their own terms?

(P.S. I watched the movie Unicorn Store.)

What do you think the world would look like if women were treated like actual humans?

What would society look like if girls and women came first (among humans)?

If more girls were encouraged to be artists, scientists, engineers, writers, or anything else they wanted to be, at an early, formative age?

Why are schools still propagating standardized education that only serves to suck every ounce of creativity, intellectual curiosity, and exploration of self out of children?

And why is this discrimination and sidelining still going on against girls and women in the 21st century?

Would there be climate change?

Overpopulation?

The huge increase of animal (and plant) extinctions and animal exploitations like trophy hunting?

(I’m not upset that they world might be ending, but I am so gutted by the thought that animals and other nature is stuck with humanity on this human-created sinking ship.)

What do you think the world would look like?

Would it end up the same?

Think.

Write.

Create.

Draw.

Paint.

Change the world.

Change your world.

Because, it seems, fantasy is still only world open to women. Our inner, magical world. Despite all the attempts to ban women from thinking fancifully (among all the other thinking ways that society attempts to curtail women and girls), it’s one of the few avenues of independent thought and feeling available to women. I’m going to live in mine, to preserve it, and to keep it my own. And society be damned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where the Deep Takes You…

Last night I decided I was gonna have a movie night. Usually, I just have time to watch one episode of something (currently Midsomer Murders, which I’m loving.).

I really went all out (the glamorous life of a writer, I tell ya) and watched not one, but two, movies that wandered onto my queue courtesy of my go-to movie review site, Assholes Watching Movies.

I watched A Little Chaos and Man Up.

Oh, how I wanted to love A Little Chaos. I mean, Alan Rickman? Kate Winslet? *swoon* I’ve also been exploring a reawakened fascination with France. When I was a kid, I was reading in French and even speaking in it a little. I’ll leave the reviewing to the Assholes (click title links above to read their reviews). So I was excited to watch this movie take on how the gardens at Versailles were created. But, gasp, I was underwhelmed. I couldn’t even really get into it until Stanley Tucci stole the whole movie with one little scene. I did like the scene with Kate Winslet and the rose. The backdrop, as lovely as it was in parts, just made me think, “Why not just go visit Versailles in real life.” To me, it just couldn’t compare seeing it in a movie. But maybe that’s the history/art nerd in me. My takeaway? In my next reincarnation, I plan to be French. And with lots of francs. Tucked away in my French estate, with gardens that have a lot more than a little chaos to them. Where I ride horses all day, or just eat twenty times a day, and get the gout as a result.

In the true spirit of paradox, I fell for Man Up. Hard. Despite all the sexism that AWM points out (and which I agree with, and more), I loved it. I mean, (apologies to Simon Pegg), I’m not sure if he was really even on my radar (like the absence of one matters, with his gazillion fans. Ha!). Not even after Star Trek. I’d forgotten about all the other movies he was in that I’ve maybe, probably, definitely seen. But I will remember him after this. I liked him in this movie. And I thought the movie, overall, was charming. Like I wrote in a comment, though, on the AWM’s post, I want to chalk it up to a “right time, right place” mindset. I could split hairs over tons of things, especially from a feminist perspective, but for now, I’m just gonna enjoy the residual glow the movie left. A nice taste in my mouth (no pun intended, har, har, har!*) to wash away some of the dreary middle-aged icky feeling of the past few weeks months.

So where does my blog title come in? It’s not a very deep post, after all. However, sometimes you find deep meaning in places you don’t expect it. In dreams that surprise you, in rom-com movies, or in the darkest parts of the ocean. 

I’m ready to dive deep.

Where the deep takes you...
Writing prompt of the day…

 

*This will only make sense if you’ve watched Man Up. And forgive me for going there. My little world is a strange and wacky place as of late.

At the Core is Another Core…

 

at the core is another core.png

Cored out.

Having to find the core.

Build a core after the old one is lost.

Realise it’s not the core.

Is there one?

No.

Yes.

Maybe.

Only in dreams.

Only in a dream of you.

A dream where you are, and aren’t.

A dream of a ceiba tree.

The world tree.

A tree in layers.

Peeling back the layers.

Layers of an ogre’s onions?

But there’s no more.

Onions.

Self.

The pantry is empty.

The self is gone.

Alone.

You.

Your self.

Your words echo

Through all my cores.

Through all my lives, and dreams.

Filling all of my fault lines.

Faults I can’t hide.

So many cracks.

Bare.

Exposed.

But I want.

I want to see.

I see you just as you are.

And am seen.

Seen just as I am.

Core.

Cores.

Cores connected.

Binary.

Binary stars.

How are we classified now?