As Yet Unsorted

Writing to get where I hope to be.


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Why I March

  
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve stood in crowds of hundreds, thousands, and something approaching a million people to let our government know that what they are doing is not okay with us. I used to do this sort of thing fairly often, but I got out of the habit, got too nervous in crowds, got too comfortable knowing there were others who had taken the reins.
  

I’m renewing the habit, because it’s time to take a stand for what is right. It’s time to take a stand for empathy. Anyone favoring the ban on travel from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and suspension of the refugee program, and responding by saying, “It’s only X amount of time.” is not putting themselves in the shoes of the people being affected. If they were the ones traveling away from home, only to be handcuffed when they got off the plane, or told they couldn’t get on the plane to return to family, school, job — but only for four months — would they think it was such a small thing?

That refugees who had finally been told that they would be able to start a new life in a place free from war and famine should suddenly be told that those plans had to be put on hold indefinitely is incredibly cruel and lacking in empathy. The lack of forethought into the impact it would have on lives of families and children is staggering.

  
As a human being, I am standing for all people — at home and abroad — who are marginalized by this administration; all of those groups being identified as “other.” I am using my voice to speak up for those who may feel they can not raise their own for fear of retribution or reprisal.

As a woman, I am standing for myself and for all other women against a government — largely composed of rich white men — that consistently devalues me as compared to my male counterparts, and that seems committed to limit my right to self-determination when it comes to decisions about my own body.

I am fortunate to live in a community which welcomes diversity, populated by a good number of people willing to stand up and speak out for the rights of others, including the environment . I have been proud to have stood with them over the past weeks, and will be proud to continue to do so for as long as it takes.


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My Neighborhood, Early Summer


This evening, a glimpse of the sky and clouds from a window about twenty minutes before sunset drew me outside, and prompted me to take a short walk around the neighborhood. It has been something I’ve done sporadically in the six years I’ve owned my house, and something my boyfriend and his dog and I did regularly for a month or two last summer, before life — as it always does — intervened.

Tonight I started out just looking at the clouds, because I find them fascinating, particularly when they are piled high and lit by the setting sun.


  
 But, as gorgeous as they were, things closer to the ground kept catching my eye, and the golden, between-storm light made everything seem a little less ordinary.


Although they’re not nearly so stately, this row of houses made me think of San Francisco’s Painted Ladies, and they definitely perk up their side of Mary Street.


  
This is just a small sampling of the flower boxes, pots, and beds I passed. The bright spots of color add such cheer to the neighborhood (and who doesn’t love a Little Free Library?).


Anyone need an orange wing chair? If I didn’t already have one, I may have gone back and tried to wedge it into my trunk.


LOVE. I obviously hadn’t walked down this block for a while, because the painted knitting swatch wasn’t there before, but caught my eye immediately, and I wished it were mine.


Nice to see they weren’t overselling things. I hope the transfer was successful.


The outdoor space at The Fridge was hopping, and easily half of the people there were as mesmerized by the clouds as I was. I’d have stopped if it had been less crowded, but I was satisfied with continuing my walk, instead.


By the time I got home, the clouds had piled higher, and lightning was beginning to flicker in the distance.

I love my neighborhood, and need to get back in the habit of wandering through it and seeing what there is to see, because there’s always something.


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The Next Chapter

  
My coworker brought me flowers this morning to officially welcome me to the department. Tomorrow I join the staff of the United Way of Lancaster County, where I’ve been temping since April.

The past year didn’t quite go as planned — perhaps because it was lacking a concrete plan — but I don’t regret leaving my old situation and taking time to try to figure out a new one. A new office job wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it appeared before me, and sometimes it makes sense to seize that sort of opportunity.

I feel a certain sense of failure for not making a go of going it alone, but the attempt itself was worthwhile. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have taken that marvelous solo drive to Taos and back, and that was worth the price of admission. 

So wish me well in the world of Resource Development; I have a feeling it’s going to push at the edges of some comfort zones.


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The Next Chapter

My coworker brought me flowers this morning to officially welcome me to the department. Tomorrow I join the staff of the United Way of Lancaster County, where I’ve been temping since April.

The past year didn’t quite go as planned — perhaps because it was lacking a concrete plan — but I don’t regret leaving my old situation and taking time to try to figure out a new one. A new office job wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it appeared before me, and sometimes it makes sense to seize that sort of opportunity.

I feel a certain sense of failure for not making a go of going it alone, but the attempt itself was worthwhile. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have taken that marvelous solo drive to Taos and back, and that was worth the price of admission.

So wish me well in the world of Resource Development; I have a feeling it’s going to push at the edges of some comfort zones.


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Too Much of Everything But Love

I spent too much time Monday night in bed, not sleeping, thinking about what to say, how to say it. I thought about how we’ve all been exposed to too much tragedy and heartbreak. How the grief in Orlando and across the country is almost too much to take.

I’ve heard too much from politicians and pundits and preachers who are trying to erase the hate crime from what happened at Pulse, to make it too much about allegiance to ISIS, and far too little about a targeted attack on the LGBTQ community.

I’ve spent too much time on the verge of (or in) tears listening to the radio, or watching the news — not because the victims and their families and loved ones, and our entire society do not deserve those tears, but because we shouldn’t keep having to hear about senseless tragedies and innocent victims.

I’ve also spent too much time turning the radio off, or avoiding reading things I know will end up being hateful and twisted and misinformed.

Friday and Saturday, I referred to male friends and their husbands in a couple of separate conversations, and each time I did, I got a jolt of joy at being able to say it. I am so pleased that all of the people I love are able to marry the people they love. My friends are my friends because of who they are, not who they love, or what they look like. There will never be too much love to go around, and the sooner we all figure that out, the better off we’ll all be.

My default setting is to try to give people the benefit of the doubt, rather than jumping to the most negative conclusion immediately, but the hateful rhetoric which has created the climate which made Sunday morning’s tragedy possible is far beyond “too much.” The safety of an entire group of people — who have never been as safe as they should have been — has been compromised, and whole swathes of our society are not in the least concerned about that, but are instead turning it into an opportunity to create an unsafe situation for an additional group of people.

I still have too much in my head, and I haven’t figured out quite how to say it all. To my friends in the LGBTQ community: I love  you, and I am so sorry for everything that has been done and said in the name of hate over the past few days. I am not willing to see this attack oversimplified into “Radical Islamist Terrorist vs. America,” when it is so much more specific than that.


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Prompting Focus

I’m still waiting for possible work from the temp agency. They emailed me a call center job last week, but I know that I am not cut out for that — I’ve done it before, and was miserable, and horrible at it — so I didn’t respond. I did apply to two part-time positions list on their site this week, but haven’t heard anything yet.

In the meantime, while I’m waiting, I’m writing, or trying to. I’m not developing pitches at the moment, but instead am opening a notebook and writing from prompts. Sometimes I only go a page, sometimes a few. A couple have been personal, non-fiction musings about whatever comes into my head when I read the prompt, but most have been fragments of the same story, experiences of the same character. I don’t know where it’s going yet, or even what it’s really about, but I’m enjoying seeing how things are developing so far.

I’m using prompts right now, because that’s about the only way I’m able to get myself to focus enough to get anything down, unless I’m writing a letter or note to a specific person, in which case I am focused on the recipient. I know I’ll end up getting temp work eventually, but in the meantime I am finding myself a little scattered, and the not hearing back from editors in response to pitches got demoralizing enough that I’ve set that aside until I can get a better sense of where to go with that.

The prompts allow me to get words down and fill pages, and I don’t think what I’m coming up with is all bad, though for now I’m not rereading much. It allows me to have some sense of forward motion, and I’m not worried about whether it is tied to earning a living. I still need to be able to do that again, and soon, but it’s becoming clear that, for me, at least for the time being, the reliance on words to keep a roof over my head causes them to scurry into the cracks in the woodwork. I’d like to find a way for that not to be the case, but in the meantime, I’d rather be able to write at all, even if that means finding other work to pay the bills.

I still need to write more than I am, and to get less distracted by practically anything, but I am glad to see the pages beginning to fill again, and to see a character and a story begin to take on a more concrete shape across these pages. It feels as though it’s been too long coming.


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Groundhog Day (Again?)

So, somehow it’s already February, Groundhog Day, to be precise. Both of Pennsylvania’s furry prognosticators have predicted an early Spring, which I can get behind, even though the thought of the year whizzing by even faster than it is already seems a little daunting. No matter what the rodents say, we are smack in the middle of winter, doldrums and all.

Because I have a tendency to be dragged down by the chill and the dark (even as they are both receding) this time of year, I have set myself two tasks for February: A Month of Letters and renewing my gratitude list practice on Facebook, but purely in visual form.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I wrote letters regularly, and I miss the habit. I have done the letter month before, and am looking forward to doing it again, with the hope that it gets me back in the swing of writing letters and sending postcards more frequently throughout the year (if you’d like me to mail you something this month, let me know). Full disclosure: I sent something yesterday, but did not get today’s letter into the mail before I came home, so will be sending two things tomorrow.

Gratitude lists are something I’ve been doing on Facebook on and off for a few years now, and people seem to appreciate them. I fell out of the habit in November, and this is probably the longest I’ve gone without posting them for a while. Occasionally, I’ll post one composed of photos I’ve taken with my phone over the course of the day. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I’d start up again in February, and only use photos for the month. I’d like to say I’ll do them daily, but I’m not entirely sure whether I’ll manage that, but I’ll shoot for as close as possible.

Those are my plans, aside from the day-to-day activities, to make this shortest month — that can sometimes seems the longest — into a time of reflection and paying attention to details. What about you? Are you doing anything to combat winter doldrums, now that we’ve reached the hinge of the season?