My brother's in-laws have a house they rent out, and they use it as a guest house. I'm the current resident. It's a goofy little place, and I quite like it. Once I have a job and start looking for my own place, I'll be sorry to leave it.

However, leaving will mean that huzzah, I have a job! So, be on the lookout for that announcement at some point in the future.

Hopefully soon.

But what I have to say today is that last night, I saw stars in the sky. It's been rainy here, but it was clear last night. Stars, guys. Pretty damn cool.
So my hair is Manic Panic Inferno with slices of Deep Purple. I might try it the other way around in the future, but for now...

It's pretty startling to see it in the mirror. One of my cousins calls it "career-limiting red." A friend wonders about job interviews.

But I'm looking at it and thinking, damn, I'm gonna need to be bold if I have hair this bold. I am going to be looking for work, and hopefully scoring interviews, and when I sit across from someone who might be of the opinion that God's handiwork is always superior, I'm going to have to stare them down with a smile, with a face that says oh, honey, you need me, because I have the best head around inside and out. I am tenacious and ferocious, saucy at my dullest and aflame when the dial is at zero.

My hair is short and I use Rusk Glue or Paste while wet and spray wax once it's dry, so I can have a slice of violet curling gently over my brow and raise the red higher and higher. And as a woman who has been known to withdraw from the world when it is decidedly not my oyster, a crown of flames now requires me to face society with a grin, or at least a close-mouthed smile that might be hiding blood-stained incisors. If I am to succeed in my new adventure, I have chosen a coif that is not at all a defense, but both sword and torch, and I will need to be bold enough to wear it.
My hair was cut and then bleached, and then covered with some Manic Panic in two colors. I then walked home - I'm only a block from the salon - because I'm letting the colors really dig in. I'll wash it out in the morning.

Of course, this meant walking home looking like a dork. I am reminded of a few years ago, when I had a nosebleed that wouldn't stop, and I had to go to the urgent care. After it didn't stop with a cotton ball of antihistamine, they put a nasal tampon in my nose. News alert: there are such things as nasal tampons. Wanna know what they look like? Very short tampons. And unlike their big sisters, they don't go so far into the cavity that you can't see them, so it's very obvious that you have a white thing shoved up your nose, and the string attached pretty much spells it out what you're wearing.

"Would you like a mask?" they asked. I said no, I was just going to go home. I then walked back out into the waiting room and realized that yeah, that mask might have been a good idea.

Back to today.

After looking online at one of the colors, I'm experiencing some worry that maybe I should have gone with that as the base with the other as slices.

In other first world problems, I need to get some more packing done tonight.
So. The challenge is to look at a picture and write a scene. There are other rules, but that's the main one, right? So I requested a picture and was sent this one, which caused me no small amount of worry.

There are at least two schools of thought that run through my mind when I'm writing characters of color, one of which is that I want to be respectful that I'm not crowding in and telling a story that might not be mine to write. Aaaaaand the other school of thought comes from Susie Bright talking about the lack of interracial porn and how its rarity almost automatically imposes a conversation of "white on top is neutral or white domination/black on top is always political" and her thought is that the way to get past this is to write a lot more interracial porn.

Taking porn out of the equation, there's something to be said about normalizing, and yay for it. Yay for celebrating differences without stopping to say, "Lady doctors? How can that be?"

So, the picture. According to a comment, this is depicting: Civil Rights Protest prep. Hair pulling and blowing smoke in her face to prepare her for the experience of sitting in restaurants that were not willing to serve people of color.

I wrote for 30 minutes, and may have gone outside the bounds of the picture (and the challenge) but what I hope is that I wrote something decent and reflective and not completely HI I AM WHITE ALLOW ME TO TELL YOUR STORY. If it is exactly that, then I guess the thing I need to do is try it again. It's the only way I'm going to figure out how to tell a story with a narrative that needs to be celebrated for the moment and the movement it is part of, and not made other by my hamfisted approach.

Your comments are appreciated but - sigh. Again, I'm not trying to put ME into it, you know? It's not about "Denise has written about black people, let's get a dialogue because DENISE has done it and she obviously is important" and not about "Denise has written about black people and screw you if you don't like it" and just about here is a thing I wrote that I worry makes me sound like I am saying both.

***

“Well, you never did have a tender scalp,” Anita said, giving a good tug to the lock she’d combed out just this morning. “You just look at my hair and I get ready to shriek.”

Sarah smiled, the pull on her hair nothing but some pressure.

“Tug harder,” she said. “Don’t do it now, though, surprise me. And you,” she said, turning to Lawrence, “I said you could help, but I didn’t say anything about those nasty Lucky Strikes!”

Lawrence’s eyes lit up the way they did when Anita came down the stairs. Predatory, Sarah thought. Anita told Sarah it was all right for Lawrence because he was Her Man.

Most men had that look when they saw Anita, even the white men.

“Why, Miss Sarah, I never knew you didn’t like Luckies,” Lawrence said, his grin fake apologetic as he stubbed out the butt and reached in his pocket for his cigarette case. He opened it up and showed Sarah an unusual sight.

“How many kinds you got in there, baby?” Anita said, hanging on his shoulder, and Sarah might not look like her older sister most of the time, but she knew they had a similar face when wondering what in the name of Lord Jesus Christ are you doing?

Lawrence’s cigarette case wasn’t some old flat-fifty, because he wanted something that wouldn’t ruin the line of his suit, he said. It only held twenty and it did right now, too, or nineteen. There was one other Lucky Strike, and next to that were two Shermans, and two Pall Malls, and two -

“What are you doing with Noah’s Ark in your pocket?” Anita asked, and Lawrence smiled.

“Well, Baby Sister here doesn’t like Luckies,” he said, ignoring Sarah’s usual (she could admit it, she asked him a lot not to call her that) complaint, “and that means if she lets them know that, that’s all she’ll be breathing at that lunch counter.”

Anita chose that moment to tug hard, and Sarah cried out, but it was more surprise than pain. Still she looked at Lawrence.

“I hate you,” she said, and went back to reading. She wanted to read the Bible, but she couldn’t bear the thought of someone spilling a chocolate milkshake on the same book Mama gave her at her baptism. And while Reverend Colson of Upon this Rock Covenant Church was offering bibles to be used, as they might give comfort to those participating (and were older and worn, due for replacement if the spring charity drive could raise the necessary funds), Sarah just could not imagine allowing any copy of The Word to be so abused. No, she’d read this old book of stories of Washington Irving’s. She liked it well enough, but she figured those she’d be opposed by (it was still hard to think of what she’d be doing as protest, but she understood there would be those opposed) wouldn’t be so quick to do anything to a book by a white man.

Anita wanted to be one of those at the counter, but along with her tender scalp was Lawrence, who had already been inside a jail or two in his day and he didn’t intend to go back. Sarah didn’t need it spelled out: at the first sign of someone laying a hand on Anita, Lawrence would be jumping up with his fists at the ready, and there would go the idea of a peaceful protest.

Anita would meet with her party tomorrow, over coffee, at a location that was still being worked on. She was told there were to be two white people, one male and one female, somewhere around her age. Jerome she already knew, and of all her worries about Saturday, the ones she had over Jerome were the most serious. She just couldn’t help but worry, all those years he’d been nothing but a boy in her class, and now he’d be next to her at the counter and who knew what would happen to him if this turned ugly?

Anita’s hand was on her shoulder, close in on her neck, and she squeezed that hard knot Sarah suddenly realized was her own muscles.

“You’re doing fine, Baby Sister,” Anita said. Sarah took a breath in and out, and nodded.

Lawrence lit up a Pall Mall and blew it at her before setting it in a groove in the ashtray and reached for an Old Gold. Best to have a few different ones, Sarah realized, and nodded again, turning her eyes to the page and forcing herself to read about a man who lost everything by sleeping, because Sarah was doing this wide awake and aware.
***
My brother's in-laws have a furnished rental house they have offered. It's in Salem, not Portland. But Portland is about an hour away, making it close enough for commuting during my job search. It also offers me the chance to widen the search to other cities. Portland is north, Eugene and Corvallis are to the south: living in Salem during the job search means I'm centrally located.

It doesn't have a garage, just a carport, so I'll need to get a storage facility while I'm there. But that's fine, hell, it's a good thing as this is temporary, so I don't have to worry unpacking and repacking. Of course...

I keep asking my brother questions of how furnished: are there sheets and towels? What about kitchen supplies? Because, you know, I'm packing, and I can either unload useful items when I get there or send them to the storage unit. My brother, and I love him, is a good man but doesn't seem to grasp my questions. He keeps promising to get me pictures, while I'm telling him that as it's temporary (and most likely not a crackhouse) I'm not that concerned about how it looks.

So I sent a text - yet another - and this time I just asked for the in-laws' phone number so I could just talk to them. My sister-in-law then called me, and we shared the giggle about the bro and his way of doing things. Yes, there are sheets and towels, and the kitchen has plates and silverware and a skillet and other basic things. If I want to leave out my crockpot, fine, but the important things are in place, and I can pack for storage accordingly.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go pack that crockpot.
I just had a fannish friend in town for a visit. Along with wide swaths of doing nothing (which is how we roll), we managed to pack more boxes of my stuff, as well as separate out more stuff to give away. Bonus: she sorted my yarn and saved out the items that are "in progress" - that is to say, items unfinished that I may or may not be interested in actually finishing. We ripped out several of them, so it's almost like I have new yarn.

And I've stripped the hideaway-bed and turned it back into a mild-mannered couch, so no one would ever assume someone actually slept there.

She came in Wednesday night, but that morning I took pictures of my place, so that no matter how bad it looked, I could prove that the cleaning I did that day had actually led to improvements. As it was, she'd thought those pictures were from two or three days before, and was much impressed that I'd managed to do so much. What had been a series of rooms only traversed a la King Wenceslas became an apartment that two people could actually walk through and inhabit quite nicely. I won't say that all the dust bunnies were displaced but I won't tell if you won't.

Bingo!

Feb. 14th, 2017 09:14 pm
I'm going the Get Your Words Out Bingo again. Last year I completed one card (and very nicely, I happen to think, in part because of my well-founded self esteem ego), and then flamed out on the second card.

Better luck this year, yeah?

I'm taking requests. If you ever read me, or talk to me, and think, "gosh, I'd love to see you write _____ using the ____ genre," I'll try to make it happen. Promises are not being made, I'm pretty much just using you to prime the pump.

I have emptied every box that is in the garage. Most were books (Weird, right? So shocking), and those books are either repacked again or they've been given away to Goodwill and Out of the Closet, which I have to assume has a more relaxed attitude towards porn than Goodwill is going to be.

There are large items I can't fit into the car when it comes to hauling off to Goodwill, but apparently our alley is visited by fairies, and after leaving out a bookshelf and a television table only to find them gone in the morning, I have left out a desk and a TV tonight. If the fairies don't visit (or only like flatscreens), I'll deal with those items in the future.

My apartment is above the garage, and in both the pun sense and the cleaned out sense, is another story. Tomorrow I'll shove a fuck-ton of laundry into the car and do the cleaning (broom/mop/duster) that is massively overdue, and at some point I'll get the car cleaned. At this point I've got 40 hours until a friend comes to visit - hopefully the place will be decent enough that she can go through the acres of yarn and find things she'd like to take, and we can take a few days to just play.
Books, books, books... Several boxes are headed, or have already gone, to Out of the Closet. Clothing, household goods and some more of the more boring books went to Goodwill. Meanwhile, I've got two or three boxes of books, which, I'm sure more to come.

This is just the garage, of course. The apartment itself... The words hoo and boy come to mind.

A really good find: my old passport! I thought I'd lost it, and I thought I'd actually done something stupid, like throw it away. It expired in ... 1996? I think? and I couldn't remember when I'd last seen it, so I thought maybe I'd done something just that lunkheaded. But now, there it was. \o/!

And the car is loaded for the first trip in the morning, and progress is now visible.
Today I took two carloads of books and DVDs to Out of the Closet, but I also have a HUGE box I'm bringing to Escapade with DVDs and books. I don't know how much room I'll be able to wangle on the swap table, so there might be an annex in my hotel room. Doctor Who, Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, a few other shows and movies movies movies, as well as books that might be of interest. I don't know, and today is not the day I'm cataloging the bunch.

If I annex my hotel room, they'll still be considered swap table items, so if you take stuff from my collection, you are on your honor to hit up the money jar on the swap table.

You may now resume your evening.
Instead of starting on the garage yesterday, I sat at a coffee house and wrote.
I did that today, too, but came home at 4pm and started the process. In two hours, I filled the car for Goodwill, and started a pile of things to take to Out of the Closet.

I am trying to be ruthless. Failure is happening but I have cleaned out five storage bins that I can now fill with clothing to be moved, along with some other shit. If I can use the word shit, I can probably use the phrase TOSS IT OUT MOTHERFUCKER, but seriously, progress was made.

Will enough progress happen? Tune in tomorrow.
I am back at home and starting the process of clearing out the stuff that isn't going to Oregon with me. For those going to Escapade, I'll most likely be bringing a big stack of books and DVDs for the swap table. Anything not taken will be sent to a farm upstate Out of the Closet.

I took a lot of clothes to Goodwill yesterday, and when I came home I realize that was, as far as the iceberg goes, a few cubes chipped from the top. Note to self: never live anywhere for fourteen years unless you plan to die there and let other people deal with it. My brother has offered to fly down and drive up a u-haul with me, whereas I'd been thinking about hiring movers. Then again, I am tossing the mattress and most likely giving the frame to someone on Freecycle (I'm assuming someone will want a frame for a full bed...), and the furniture I plan to take with include a couch, a podium, two bookshelves and possibly an entertainment center and a very old chest, a cassone, as it's known. It's an heirloom and made of the heaviest wood that they could shove into a black hole and make denser.

I live on the second story.

The cassone is my main concern and reason to desire a moving company to deal with it. My brother says to just get some strong friends. My brother, by the way, is a retired fire-fighter. He is confused that I do not have a super number of buff friends like he does. Le sigh.

Oh, and?

Since I'm now back from my trip, it's sinking in that I don't have a job. It is sinking, not unlike bad food in one's stomach, and I have to remind myself that I'm giving myself until, you know, JUNE before I freak out, so this is a little unseemly. I then have to remind myself that there is no way I'm not going to panic at the first chance I get.

But here we are, and along with the financial fears are the "Am I going to be able to find a job or should I have stuck with the soul-sucker?" worries that are drinking buddies of the financial fears. They're the "maybe you are a dinosaur and you cannot adapt" worries, and I think the solution is to reach out to the library placement folks I know and talk with them. So I guess I'll do that after posting this. Thanks, Dreamwidth - I appreciate the pep talk.
I have sock yarn but no #5 needles, so whipping out a hat is a problem.

Meanwhile... I go out to the hotel shuttle pick-up spot at the Knoxville Airport and call the hotel as directed. I'm told it'll be about 10 minutes.

30 minutes later when I call, I'm told that he must have missed me because he's already been there and back.

No, no he hasn't, I say, because seriously, no, and it's cold.

She's very sorry and says she's sending him back out and it'll be 5-10 minutes. And he appears and tells me he's sorry, he missed the text.

Which happens and I'm not mad because that happens. I'm just cold and I've been on the move since 4AM my time so my first-world ass would like a shower and a beer, and I'm not particular about the order.

I am not thrilled at the music selection in the shuttle, which picks up for a variety of airport hotels and is playing Christian rock, but HELLO I AM IN TENNESSEE AND I KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS.

(mostly that I am surrounded by the dominant religion which has a certain cross-section of butthurt when you suggest that maybe they'd be upset if you wanted to play Tibetan bells so maybe they could switch to something that at least leads to arguments of taste and not faith oh no, I understand, you are persecuted sorry to bring it up)

But the lady at the counter, who is friendly and I am most likely just being a pest... Repeats that the shuttle guy had picked up people at the airport. That's not what the dude said to me, AND also, NO, not since I first called. That might be a good theory but the minute the facts collide with the theory, the theory needs to be set aside.

I asked if there was another shuttle area and she didn't say there was, she just said that maybe it was crowded and the shuttle driver and I didn't see each other, and now I know that I need to shut up but goddamn it there was no one there. It was an empty lot. And I say that.

The conversation is over but I'm...

Sigh.

I'm right but I'm not happy and I forget about that, the idea that there are certainly things where you need to be right at the expense of happiness (these are the hills we die on) and there are times where you let it go even when you're right because it's just not worth it (these are not the hills we die on), and it 's safe to say that right now there are plenty of worthy hills.

But... and I don't let it go... someone else is going to have my same complaint. And maybe after a third they realize there's a problem because that bitch complained because she was cold.

/rant


I am not mad, but when I get to the hotel and the lady at the counter
I am on my way to Tennessee for a board meeting. As a person who just missed the cut for the Rio Olympics in the sport of over-packing, I am making the scary choice to fly only with carry-ons for my 4-day trip. Your prayers are appreciated. They are offering to stow it for free. My resistance is weakening.

ETA: I'm checking my backpack. I am weak, people.

It is only as I stood outside my aunt's place (she's LAX-convenient) waiting for a cab that I realize I have not packed three items that would make this trip easier:

1. Pain relievers
2. The Salonpas pad that would be awesome on my back for the two long flights.
3. The Escapade badgeholder that is my constant companion on trips, because it can hold my ID and ticket along with cash and a credit card, thus relieving the need to get into the purse.

Sigh.
Friday was my last day at the soul-sucking job. I maybe shouldn't put it that way, because maybe it'll be perfect for the next person. But I doubt it.

So, Friday was the last day, and the deadline for a board report that I turned in Saturday night.

This means of course that I received more reports on Sunday.

But the important take-away from this post is:

MY SOUL IS NO LONGER BEING SUCKED OUT AND MY MORAL CODE IS NO LONGER BEING ABUSED ON A DAILY BASIS.
I am not accepting the offer to stay with my job. Right now I'm leaving in joy. If Istay, I'll just end up leaving in anger. These people are rat bastards but they're human and some are good, so I'll leave in joy, with glee and be thankful that I'm gone and stop wondering why my conversations about work sound eerily similar to past conversations about ex-girlfriends.

So since I have Monday off, I have had my last Monday at this job. I will now commence with the last other days, and will have a few lunches with people and apparently there's a reception planned that a partner spilled the beans on.

And you know I'm kicking myself that last week wasn't my last week: in my new secretary gig (unpaid, remember - completely volunteer) I need to assemble the reports people are sending me in prep for a meeting in two weeks. My deadline to send it out to people is the 20th, which coincidentally, is my last day of work. There's still stuff I'd like to get done because as much as I'd love to leave a ton of shit for other people to have to deal with (I'm not the only one who saw Snowball Express as a kid, am I? Of, fine, so I'm the only one willing to admit it.), I also don't want to be a d-bag.
So, hello.

The problem with not posting and then posting is the feeling that I should probably address the gap in between, which, when most of the reasons for not posting is laziness, sound bad. Especially if we consider these journals to be in conversation, you know? I'm not saying anything and then I do... well, you needn't respond, of course.

Um.

Since June 25th (my last post), the following has happened:
*I attended a storytelling conference.
*I said something to a friend who was on the board of the conference organization about wanting to do more service work, expecting to be told to stuff envelopes or make phone calls, as I haven't done any service work for this group, and while I may have been secretary on a few different boards, they were for smaller divisions of other organizations, so I certainly wasn't expecting him to say the board could use a secretary.
*I am now the secretary for a national organization.
*I wondered how this would jibe with my job - not that I don't have days I can use for this or anything, and I'm sure it would all work out, but half a second after wondering, a voice in my head told me it didn't matter what the people at my job thought, because I was going to be quitting and moving to Oregon. I found that a strange thought, and yet it was the most beautiful thought I'd ever had, and it filled my soul with shining glee. I told other people - my wise council, the people I expect to give me the balls-honest truth when I say I have a voice in my head telling me to quit my job and move - and they all applauded the voice. I reminded them the voice said nothing about what I would do for work, just that I was quitting and moving, and they all nodded and cheered me on.
*In December, I officiated the wedding of a beloved nephew and his beautiful bride.
*In December, upon coming back to work, I announced I was quitting, and compromised on ending my work January 20 instead of December 30. As this is not going to give me a lot of time to prepare for the first meeting of the board I'm now on, I am what is known as AN IDIOT. But one who is quitting so hahahahaha.
*In December, at the end of the month, I discovered I had only written about 160K this year, but I still decided to pledge 200K again. After, all, in a very short period of time I will have a lot of time to write. Hopefully I will actually write.

This brings us to today, when the people at work sprung a counter-offensive, offering to let me do my job but in Portland.

This sounded so good I almost said yes. But a part of me - and I think the voice is part of this - wonders if I'm not going for security in place of liberty. Granted, I've had to trust that my job was to quit and then things would work out, and um, this would work out. But... I think I need out. Maybe just this firm, or maybe law firms altogether.

I have not made a decision yet. My boss is in favor of me doing this, but only if I'm serious about the job. It is, in part, out of concern that I'm not going to be happy long term, and in part, I'm certain, out of concern that she's just going to have to replace me when I fuck off and quit.

And had she not brought it up in concern of my happiness (and hers), I would have done just that, gone up with the job, and started looking around, because it's easier to find a job when you have a job, yadda yadda. But now I feel I'd be false, and I just can't do that.

There's more to the story. But it's late and I think we can all agree this is a lot to digest. I have promised a member of the wise council to make no decision tonight, or at least to not announce a decision. If I come to a decision and still feel strong about it in 24 hours, well, great, shout it out. But for now, you should know that I'm moving to Portland after Escapade.
I have not seen "The Lady Vanishes," but a reread of AJ Hall's Dissipation and Despair mentioned them, and not, knowing them, I queried Google to find they were from the Hitchcock film, as two men who'd agreed that there was a lady who vanished, but they didn't want to say as that would have meant an inquiry, which would have delayed them from seeing a cricket match.

Someone decided that these two boys needed some more life, and so a mystery series was produced.

This afternoon I was at the memorial for the friend I'd last wrote about, and got to talking to another person about how I write fan fiction. She'd heard the term (a teacher who is doing a summer writing camp for 5th and 6th graders) and wanted to know more. The luncheon wasn't the proper setting, but I did mention that there's a few scholarly works out there about the subject, including Textual Poachers and she said that I sounded like I'd read a lot and had the goods. I said I was of little brain when it came to meta, but still I was able to put her on to the fact that our demi-monde had some solid backing when it came to the question of legitimacy.

Excuse me, but someone's put the C&C series on Youtube, and I feel I should most likely check it out.

Note: I was able to deter her from sending her kids to Get Your Words Out, but suggested that there had to be some analog for the younger set. What's the Internet for, if not to help kids form writing circles? Writers maybe prefer isolation and solitude but we also like to talk with others about how we face the empty screen, and the characters who won't do as we say.
They look like Star Trek plants to me, the papier mache and rubber creations that either infect the whole crew with sex thoughts (Spock is able to smile? Whah?) or else lead to an off-screen funeral for yet another red shirt.

So even though I'm in SoCal, AKA Drought City, and I agree with xeriscaping and water reductions and a six-minute shower feels like a luxury that I don't even know what to do with... I still hate succulents and feel my skin crawling back to Oregon whenever I see them.

Luckily, I rent an apartment and don't need to angst over a yard of my own.

This is all backstory, btw. An obituary of sorts follows. )
I'm getting flack from a friend who says she can't believe there's anyone who prefers Bones to Kirk and Gordon to West?

She got a little fluttery, remembering Jim getting on a horse. I admit he's pretty, and I'm not opposed to K/S, I'm just saying... Bones and Artemis Gordon? Smart goes farther.
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