Home Again, Home Again

Another daily journal-ish sort of entry in which I whine about my health, finances, and, too, do some lusting over TV shows and reality stars. Happy New Year.

I was home today by noon. Unpacked by 12:30. I’d have been here sooner but it was a dreadful morning of nausea and dizziness which impeded upon my ability to launder and change the sheets and towels, clean the bathroom and kitchen, spend private play time and goodbyes with each pup and promise I’ll be back as soon as I’m asked, and other last-minute things I do when leaving a job.

But, I made it. And, as is often the case, as the day has worn on my stomach has calmed down. I don’t feel good, but I feel better. And I got some Neosporin, which seems to be helping the godawful rash or burn or whatever the hell I did to myself.

And I subtracted my checkbook, a task I’ve been avoiding in December because there have been a lot of unexpected expenses lately, and the holidays, and baking, and I forgot the yearly extra charge the gym tacks on in December, and blah blah blah. And, the thing is, my financial plan (such as it is) is usually to make enough money in November/December to cover my annual gym fees. That didn’t happen this year — people are travelling less (and planning fewer trips in 2018, too) which I blame on the national embarrassment who hijacked the election.

My darling niece, before she could buy me great gift cards for Christmas, on my lap — my FIRST niece. And, uhm, CHECK OUT MY STRIPED FLARED PANTS!

Long short, fewer jobs, more expenses, and I’m about three thousand dollars below where I should be, need to be, planned to be. BUT, I’ll survive. I have always been lucky, and, as fate would have it, my darling niece was incredibly generous over the holidays to her mother, my sister, and to me, giving us massive gift cards to grocers, which has helped immensely and made it possible today for us to purchase a New Year’s Eve dining treats!

Now, whether or not I’ll be able to eat said treat is another thing, but, one day at a time.

I know I need to raise my house/pet-sitting rates, which I haven’t done since I started five (or six? or seven? I can’t remember) years ago. I’ve NEVER been good talking about money to people, as in, I suck at saying what I offer is valuable. When I used to do private coaching for young performers, despite having helped not a few to scholarships and prizes, I was always embarrassed to tell people the rate, and often just said forget it, and gave huge numbers of free sessions and classes.

I’ve got no regrets, but the things I gave away of me, and the years I bought so many books I often didn’t even read trying, I think, to fill a hole in my life that no number of books could fill, had I those dollars back, well, I don’t. And that’s fine.

I’ve always been lucky. And I’m home. And I have a beautiful, peace-light-giving candle a dear one gave me, burning for me, and a new year is going to begin, and good riddance 2017, one of the worst I have ever experienced, although, with lots of love and good people in it, along the way.

So, on to tomorrow, taking down the tree and decorations, having a special New Year’s Eve dinner (thank-you, dear niece!) with my dear sister/roommate, and maybe watch the remaining three episodes of THIS IS US I’ve yet to catch up on. I binged on three today and had to stop because I just couldn’t cry any more.

ALSO! Bethenny Frankel and Fredrik Eklund have a show together on Bravo! starting in February.

Frederik Eklund, film actor before he was in real estate

True confessions; I am addicted to The Real Housewives of New York, Beverly Hills, New Jersey, and Orange County, in that order, with New York FAR MORE ESSENTIAL to me than the others. Also, another Bravo addiction, Million Dollar Listings: New York. I started watching that because Fredrik was on it, and while I do get off on the luxe-ness of the New York places, my original interest was about Eklund’s porn star past — he starred in one of my favorite all-time pornos, a classic, The Hole.

STEVE GOLD!

Steve Gold

Yes. I am just that congenitally low of brow (thank-you Mrs. Parker) — sue me. And, to reveal how even MORE shallow I am, once Steve Gold — former model and ridiculously sexy man — joined the cast, there was NO WAY I was not DVR-ing this baby. I mean, LOOK AT HIM:

Steve Gold

I know these shows are largely fake and manipulated. I don’t care. In any event, Bethenny — who is my favorite of all the housewives (although Carole Radziwill is a very close second) and Fredrik, together re-doing New York real-estate? I AM DROOLING.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO WATCH A PREVIEW — truly, do it!)

And so, where was I? Oh, right, going. Well, actually, SITTING, not going, and relaxing, and hoping my stomach stays calm, gets calmer, fingers crossed my rash/burn/flesh-eating disease is calmed and cured by the Neosporin, and, finally, (for now, anyway) hoping the only drooling I’m doing for the next few decades is over Bravo TV shows and hot, younger, unavailable men like — yeah, you guessed it —

Steve Gold

Oh, and that I get a lot of bookings to get my bank account back in order. So, love and light kids. And much joy if I don’t check in again before 2017 checks out. And not a moment too effing soon.

And, one last time, STEVE GOLD!

Iced Over

My last night here, at the house/pet-sit.

The lake has frozen over, I noticed this morning, the surface I watch each sunrise has stopped its gentle rocking and waving and hypnotic motion. I know life continues underneath the layer of ice, but for a moment in frozen time, it’s lovely to have even more stillness. A different kind of quiet.

I’m not well, again. The stomach thing returned last week, viciously for a few days. Retreated. Then, now, like it does, it’s come back. It’s the B-version; the cramps less painful and far fewer, all the symptoms reduced.

But it’s here.

And while the pain I’ve been having in my knee — the click and feel it’s about to give way — has dissipated since I’ve been away from my gym routine, I have been stricken with a new kind of itching, burning, alligator skin sort of rash. Not all over my body like the last rash was, although the last rash didn’t start all over my body either, but it is unpleasant, wakes me up, throbs at times.

I am feeling unhappy. News of the world, of the country, the cruelty, venality, casual fascism and its acceptance, it gobsmacks me. It has, I think, both benumbed me and weakened me, so my immune system — physical and spiritual — is worn to near uselessness, tattered and showing such wear, stains and holes, like almost all of my clothes.

My beloved aunt, Sissie, went very Little Edie as she aged. She wore an outfit of pantyhose which were more runs and holes than hose, and ancient white button-down shirts my grandfather, long dead, had worn. Everything was transparent, etiolated, tissue paper-thin, both soft and brittle, even her skin.

I notice this is happening to my wardrobe. I notice my skin, too, changing. And I, who am usually like this morning’s lake, iced over, am becoming increasingly translucent, ghost-like, not here but here, but mostly invisible, so things pass through me without noticing.

Mostly, almost always, I am content to have been single. Always, mostly single. But some days, when my skin is thin, when I am not iced over, when I can’t keep things from roiling and spilling out, I am sad and angry.

Because the world and my church and media and my family and those who surrounded me taught me early on that people like me were wrong. And I believed it. I was a child, what choice did I have? And by the time I began to work to un-do the damage, I’d added layers of doubts and fears and insecurities about my physical appearance, my intellect, my ability to cope in the real world, my economic class and background, and I was convinced that loving me required overlooking all that was awful about me.

And further convinced that no one could. I couldn’t.

So, on those sad days, when I am feeling exhaustion, I wonder what it would have been like if I had loved myself enough to let someone else love me, believed enough in me to have ended up somewhere other than cobbling together a life left-over from the disasters from which I had to run.

I know, as well, I have had a good life in many ways, but on days when I am in the listing my failures mode — you should have gone to college, you should have kept auditioning, you should have kept writing and submitting, you should have gone with him when he asked, you should have said no so much sooner, you should have … well, this is why I do not like the thaw that sickness brings, when the layer of ice usually covering all the roiling and rot under my surface cracks, and I fall through into myself, drowning in old sorrows.

And so, here I am, going.

 

Reading: Catching Up, sort of

In this entry I talk about Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls, The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams, Flashmob (John Smith #2) by Christopher Farnsworth, Theft By Finding: Diaries 1977-2002 by David Sedaris, and Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke.

Its nearing year-end, a year in which I have, thus far, read 143 books, and more than ever depended upon the words of others gathered between covers to distract from the daily horrors of the current existential crisis of humanity being perpetrated by a fascist U.S. regime unlike any seen in my lifetime, or, ever. We teeter on the precipice of self-destruction and I am feeling terrified, horrified, angry, helpless, raging, exhausted, and … well, long/short, a book needs to be really good to make me forget, to give me respite, and that burden is almost unfair, nearly impossible, so, I am trying to keep that in mind as I share my thoughts on things I’ve read. You should keep it mind, too. These are the opinions of a man near his edge, struggling every day to remember to keep the faith that love will triumph.

Mrs. Caliban, Rachel Ingalls, Hardcover, 128pp, January 1982, Harvard Common Press

There was a great deal of buzz on Twitter about this novel’s reissue, articles about its cult-status, NPR mentions, it was the thing all the cool literary kids were talking about, and so, that I’d never heard of nor read it pushed all my “I wanna be popular, too” buttons and I quickly ordered a used copy.

Novella rather than novel, this allegorical romantic-tragic-comic — okay, this un-categorizable romp is a feminist — no, a humanist — no, a satirical — no, a fable of — no, a lyrical — no, a political — you see the problem?

Ignored when released in 1982, its naming in 1986 by the British Book Marketing Council as one of the twenty greatest American novels since World War II still failed to earn Mrs. Caliban a permanent place on the list of must read classics but, luckily, it has been sustained by its inclusion in many a literary fiction MFA curriculum.

Having lost two children, trapped in a marriage of resigned, passionless suburban-ennui with an adulterous, deceiving husband, Dorothy Caliban, numbed and defeated into surrender by choices made and not, is making salad one day when  “… a gigantic six-foot-seven-inch frog-like creature shouldered its way into the house and stood stock-still in front of her, crouching slightly, and staring straight at her face.” She’s met Larry.

Larry has been held captive, experimented on and tortured by government researchers who he’s killed in order to escape. Dorothy sympathizes, offers him sanctuary, and soon enough, they fall into one another — physically, emotionally, spiritually — as she hides him, unbeknownst to her oblivious husband — in a room off her kitchen, where Larry learns about Dorothy’s world from television and radio programmes. Thus is set into motion a series of events revealing fissures, cracks, and facades in the lives of Dorothy, her husband and friends, and the world in which she lives, a world she tells Larry is “all right” now that he is in it.

Is Larry real? A fantasy onto which Mrs. Caliban projects her dissatisfaction with her limited, disappointing life? Is this a modern Beauty and the Beast? Or, is this feminist social-theory writ ironic? It is, I think, all those things and more, a concupiscent conflagration of marvelous writing, imaginative use of plot tropes, humor, pathos, and technique, all of which is entertaining. Imagine an episode of The Twilight Zone as written by Elizabeth McCracken and directed by Baz Luhrman; the implausible and outrageous made believable and beautiful.

The Secret, Book & Scone Society, Ellery Adams, Hardcover, 285pp, October 2017, Kensington

Less than a month ago I read my first Ellery Adams novel, Killer Characters, which happened to be the eighth and last in her Books by the Bay Mysteries Series. I wrote about it [click HERE] in this blog, and promptly reserved the first in her new series, The Secret, Book & Scone Society — although I confess, the lack of Oxford comma after book makes me uncomfortable.

I’ve no such issues once I get past the cover.

Nora Pennington has come to Miracle Springs to escape her old life, healing scars both physical and psychic, while doing penance for the wrongs for which she holds herself accountable. She has opened a bookstore where she uses her gift for empathetic listening — called bibliotherapy — to choose books that serve as therapeutic aids for those in need, in pain, in confusion. She does not believe she can balance the karmic scales or undo the damage she made in her old life, rather, she means to eliminate as much suffering as she can for others as a way to fill the void in her life left by her decision to stay a safe distance from others, closed off, undeserving of love.

When a businessman who has come to her seeking assistance is found dead shortly thereafter and  said to have committed suicide, Nora is suspicious. In short order, she joins — reluctantly, at first — with Hester the baker, Estella the aesthetician, and June, an employee at the renowned local spa — who all have secrets of their own, and scars of their own, though theirs may be less visible than the ones our heroine, Nora, bears from a fire, the origins of which we will eventually learn as the quartet bare themselves to one another and to us.

Like Nora’s bookstore, cozy, eclectic, full of comfortable and welcoming places to rest and read and recover, this novel is the best kind of intimate and approachable. Most impressive is Ellery Adams gift for making people real, giving them qualities less than ideal and yet maintaining their humanity; these four women are imperfect — just like me, just like you — and sometimes less than likeable, which only makes them feel, ultimately, more like the friends and intimates one develops in real life.

I look forward to continuing my relationships with them as the series progresses and enjoying the patina of magic realism and fabulism with which the novel and Miracle Springs are imbued by the gifted Ellery Adams. A bit Alice Hoffman with intense and determined and bound to make stubborn mistakes characters, a hint of a town full of a little bit out-there types like the residents of Louise Penny’s Three Pines, and one after another literary quote and reference to great books and writing, this series promises to grow into one of my favorites.

Flashmob (John Smith #2), Christopher Farnsworth, Hardcover, 368pp, June 2017, William Morrow

A computer program invented to infect devices around the world and control social media feeds with propaganda targeted to manipulate behavior, create enmity for some, and insure obedience in the masses is being marketed by a diabolical and evil genius. Its use could — for example — take someone as competent, qualified, and decent as Hillary Clinton, and create enough whispers, false scenarios, lies, and viral slander to cost her an election.

Wait, this is a novel? But didn’t this happen to one degree or another already? Yes. And we’re suffering the consequences. So, reading this offered me little enjoyment. In this version, a bodyguard/fixer named John Smith, trained by the CIA to read minds, works to stop the viral-behavior-modification-program from spreading, from being sold to China. It’s the whole clipped-phrase, manly-man detective thing wedded to speculative-sci-fi-tinged fiction. It’s fast. It’s certainly — now more than ever — plausible (other than the mind-reading thing) and, because of that, kind of terrifying.

Theft By Finding: Diaries 1977-2002, David Sedaris, Hardcover, 514pp, May 2017, Little, Brown and Company

I bought David Sedaris’s diaries because Ann Patchett said it was un-put-downable. I’ve read almost nothing of his past work, but, he is super popular here in Frederick, Maryland,  regularly booked at the local theatre, The Weinberg Center.

All that leading up to this; David Sedaris’s personal history is not familiar to me, so, the choppy, truncated nature of the entries left me wanting more context.

I understand from the diaries that he had a drinking problem. He stopped drinking. He lives with someone named Hugh. Not sure how they met, or decided to live together. In Paris, now. Or, London. Or, both and, well, New York, too? His sister is Amy Sedaris. He was very poor. Now, he’s not. He’s met a lot of crazy people. Pieces. It’s all pieces.

So, pieces can be okay. It is fast. It is sometimes amusing. His observations are trenchant. My issue with it is that it is sometimes unkind; mean in the way of people who are holding on to a great deal of pain get funny-push-you-away-with-outrageousness-nasty — and I, having been that color of cruel in my life, find it off-putting and upsetting and guilt-inducing.

Too, while the jacket and publicity sort of preps for this, calling him interesting because he doesn’t dwell on his emotions but describes and observes the bizarre in the world, I rather prefer knowing about how people are feeling. I expect a diarist to dwell on the emotions, and, I think, maybe I don’t so much trust those who evade and avoid. Perhaps, I wanted something he didn’t mean to write or share, the previously untold, the stuff of late-night, alone with yourself, soul-speak, and this is not that. As someone mentioned, they didn’t find “insight or growth or heart.”

Yes. That.

Bluebird, Bluebird, Attica Locke, Hardcover, 307pp, September 2017, Mulholland Books

Second book in this blog-entry I picked up on Ann Patchett’s recommendation. This, too, was a difficult one for me.

Attica Locke, former writer and producer of Fox’s Empire, knows how to fill a plot with twists, surprises, seemingly insurmountable odds indicating either disaster or death (or both) is imminent and then, after the chapter (or commercial) break, somehow the bleakest end is avoided, there is brief respite, but, nothing is quite what it seems, and there, as soon as you take a breath, arises a new complication.

Our hero, Texas Ranger Darren Matthews, is a black man who lands in this town where race dynamics seem to have changed little from the ugliest days of the KKK, now morphed into the Aryan Brotherhood; there is a divide, in fact, only a highway stands between the shack of a restaurant owned and run by Geneva Sweet, the black matriarch who lost husband and son, and, on its other side, the home of Jefferson Wallace, III, which is a plantation-mansion-ish based on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

This highway through the south, and too, the rutted back roads and rocky, muddy paths, adjacent to the bayou from which two bodies in a short time are fished, contribute a great deal to this atmospheric meditation on race and divide and the cost and limits of connections of blood and rage and history.

Ranger Matthews arrives in this town already suspended for possibly covering up a crime committed by a family friend at home, and his sort of off-the-books investigation into the bayou murders of a black man who was visiting the town for reasons at first unknown, and the white-waitress with whom he was seen walking, the same waitress who was mixed-up with Geneva Sweet’s dead son, becomes increasingly tangled as the spouses of both come at Matthews in very different ways. And, as Matthews gets closer to the truth, it seems no one — black or white, on either side of the highway, or from the back roads — really wants the whole story revealed.

As in all the best noir, the chapters are short, the dialogue clipped (but what an ear for patois Attica Locke has, great lines everywhere), and even the best characters are flawed humans with secret places inside. Cavil: I don’t care for books where a cliffhanger is introduced in the last few pages as teaser for the next installment.

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So, there it is and there we have it. I will likely finish one or two more books before year end, and I may do a wrap-up recap of my favorites from 2017, or I may, as I am with much else about this year, just move on and try not to look back.

Here I am, going. Love and Light, friends.

 

 

 

Reading: 4 Books and no Sticky Fingers*, that’s FINAL.

Today I’m putting personal babbling on hold (I hear your sigh of relief) and visiting with A Christmas Party, by Georgette Heyer; The End We Start From, by Megan Hunter; Heather, the Totality, by Matthew Weiner; and boy oh boy did I love this one, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee.

A Christmas Party, Georgette Heyer, First published 1941, this edition October 2016, Paperback, 400pp, Sourcebook Landmark

I kept expecting to love this one more than I did. British. Cozy-ish. 1940. All my stuff. Still, despite some cleverly arch dialogue and skillful construction, I knew early on whodunnit and it felt far longer than it needed to be. Repetitive. Dare I say, dull? I did dare, didn’t I?

The End We Start From, Megan Hunter, Hardcover, 144pp, November 2017, Grove Atlantic

London is flooded by rising waters; a pregnant woman and her husband depart to find safe shelter with his parents, soon the baby, Z, is born, its grandparents dead, its father departed, and the woman and Z make their way in a new dystopian reality. Honestly, this variety of near-future horror tale is now too much for me because with every passing day it becomes not only more possible this sort of thing could happen because of ignorance, denial, and neglect, but, in fact, increasingly likely. And since it seems I might have to live it later, I don’t want to imagine it now. All of which is unfair to a book carefully constructed, a mosaic of short, near poetic sentences and paragraphs creating a lucid whole of a story. Although, this is less a novel and more a short story, but, as with labeling genres, who is to say what qualifies as novel, novella, short story, outline? It’s a quick read with some beautiful passages and a horrifying picture of an all-too-likely future.

Heather, The Totality, Matthew Weiner, Hardcover, 144pp, November 2017, Little, Brown and Company

So, coincidentally, this is the second novel in a row under 200 pages I have read. Again, for me, it was more a short story than a novel, its canvas small, confined to a few characters who struck me as contrived rather than fully developed humans. Too, at this particular point in the history of the world, I’m not much inclined to want a story in which privileged cis-white men get away with stuff, no matter how badly they feel about it. So, it’s a no for me.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Mackenzi Lee, Hardcover, 513pp, June 2017, Katherine Tegen Books

Marketed as Young Adult, but should be marketed as ridiculously good fun, rip-roaring romantic adventure, crazy-interesting characters, thrillingly erotic, compellingly plotted, queer-history cool, stay-up-call-in-sick-until-you-finish delight of a damn good book.

Did you get that I loved it?

Young gentleman Henry Montague, Monty, and his best friend since childhood, Percy, who happens to be biracial and as gorgeous as Monty and on whom Monty happens to have a long, unrequited crush, take off on a tour typical for the privileged 18th century English lad; only this tour is meant to tame Monty, his domineering and abusive father threatening his eldest son with disinheritance if he doesn’t keep away from boys and settle down into staid, responsible adulthood. To that end, younger sister Felicity is also sent along on the tour. Trouble, as it so often does, ensues. Stolen treasures. Pirates. Naked men and women. Drinking. Drugging. Villains. Heroes. Mysteries. And, somehow, anachronistic as it may (or may not) be, issues like homophobia, sexism, racism, power-hungry and evil white-men in charge/politicians, individual identity, child abuse, and a host of other topical and relevant subjects are dealt with in serious but humorous and entertaining, involving, riveting ways.

This is like a series on the WB as imagined by Ryan Murphy and filtered through the sensibilities of Oscar Wilde and starring those couple of teen-male-idols you’ve always wanted to see get-it-on with each other, accompanied by that teen-female-popstar you’ve always wanted released from the bonds of sexism and come into her super-hero self. There is a sequel on the way, and Felicity, the younger sister, who is abso-fabu-mazing, is the narrator of that one. BRING IT!

*No Sticky Fingers note. I have decided NOT to write about the Jann Wenner biography, Sticky Fingers, because of all the reasons I cited here: https://herewearegoing.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/interstitial-notish-about-reading/ 

I have not lived a perfect life, not even a perfect week, hell, not even a perfect last twenty-four hours — in fact, the last twenty-four have been fairly fucked up, but I don’t want to read about Jann Wenner because I find what he did with his privilege to be despicable. Further, that he gave such a shit about this bio having included some info on with whom he slept says to me he hasn’t changed much. Further, that anyone gives a fuck about who he slept with rather than what he did NOT do for the world with the opportunities he had, makes me sort of furious — at this point in history, in a country (and world) being decimated by what is (I hope) the last gasp of privileged-heterosexual-male lust-for-power driven evil, I don’t really want to read about one of the shitheads who kept the evil going, gave it a platform, and did near fuck-all to achieve equality. So, that.

And, before my chest pain turns into a full-blown coronary, here I am, going.

Conversation (with me at 18)

Listen, dear ones, I apologize if there are some awkward sentences, run-ons (surprise), typos, but I can’t look at this too much, because I want it said. I want to say it for 18-year-old Charlie. This is gut level. I got a text today from a long ago friend, and the text included a picture of a letter I’d sent him then, and he said, “Yes chuck, you had an impact on me.” And I think this happened today because … well, that’s what I wrote (bled, shared, wept, laughed) here. So, I leave you with this. I’ll be back next week. And Chris, if you’re reading this, I still have on of those bandannas, 38 years later. The blue one.

It was 38 years ago when I wrote the letter I’ve copied into this blog.

Just 18, I’d been more or less on my own for two years, having been invited to move out of my home at sixteen when tired of every day being bullied and fag-bashed at school in little to huge ways and advised when I asked for help that I ought to act more like a boy and I wouldn’t have those problems, I dropped out of school.

Aided and abetted by a waitress at the French restaurant where I started working as a busboy/dishwasher/laundry man, I’d lied about my age and gotten my own apartment, a garret-like space attached to a television and radio repair shop.  I lived alone in the tiny two rooms and half kitchen, furnished with a mattress on the floor, my stereo and collection of musical theatre and current pop albums, my 12 inch black and white t.v., and the front seat of a Chevy Vega re-purposed as a living room chair. I was exquisitely happy and hopeful.

And I was in love. What I understood to be love. And I wrote this letter to the boy-man who I desperately wanted to love me in return. After decades of no communication, out of the blue a few years ago I received a text from him. We now, periodically, catch one another up via text messaging. And today, all these 38 years later, he sent this picture in a text message of that letter the 18-year-old Charlie wrote him. 38 years ago when there was no texting. No email. No Grindr. I wrote so many letters. I spent hours every week writing letters to people. And Christopher saved this for 38 years and sent it to me today to tell me I had changed his life.

Oh my, how insufferably presumptuous I was. I thought I knew everything. Or, I thought I had to appear as though I knew everything. I was so terribly in love with him, and how I searched for the right combination of words and circumstance and mind altering substances that were the ingredients of the incantation to keep the two of us naked, together, in love.

He was kind and he was beautiful, lanky and tightly-thin, striated and skin taut-stretched in that way of teenagers, that perfect union of bone, muscle, and flesh, not yet used or tired or grayed which we spend the rest of our lives trying to regain. His eyes were phlegmy, this film of unearned sensitivity as if at any moment he might shed a tear for me. He wore overalls (we all did), often without a shirt, and had always a number of bandannas of different bright, rainbow colors attached to his outfits. Never in his pockets. He wasn’t gay. Of course. Oh dear, he tried so hard not to hurt me, not knowing, of course, that I was determined to be hurt in that eleven o’clock ballad sort of way. Which was what I understood love to be. An understanding you must understand I had learned from musical theatre songs and Barbra Streisand albums. Because everyone I had most loved thus far in my life had been always alone; my mother had been a widow since I was seventeen months old, my aunt, Sissie, had never married, or, even, as far as I knew, had a single date. And men? Those creatures with whom I had found myself falling in love since I was a boy, a love that — to coin a phrase — dare not speak its name? What did I know about men? Nothing at all. I had no father. My brother was much older than I and absented himself from the family of mother, four sisters, and me — the younger brother who identified with the women, thought I was a member of the female tribe, did not understand I was meant to belong to those others. Those men. They had always been the scary ones who didn’t talk and around whom I was not allowed to sing or dress up in play clothes with a towel on my head standing in for the long luxurious blonde hair I wanted some day to have. And did, in fact, eventually have. Men were the people for whom we had to pretend to be things we were not, or, more like, pretend not to be all the things we were. I was trained from the very beginning to hide who I was. And taught, too, love was something you had to have, something wonderful, and yet, it was inevitably awful. I channeled all this into my belting, the talent I imagined would give me permission — once I was discovered — to be ANYTHING I wanted. And so, I’d been singing along with the patron saint of the oddballs and the outcasts, Barbra Streisand, from my earliest childhood. And this, yes this, was my favorite number. Of course.

So, I was confused and confusing and terrified and ridiculously bold and so vulnerable as to be always near disintegration and yet, so tough-posing, hard-shelled, aim-for-the-jugular cruel, some people were terrified of me. And I played the leads in lots of musicals. On stage and off. And I wanted desperately to be in love. And I was. I think. With Chris. And it was during that time my musical spheres were widened. He, and our mutual friends, were of the Little Feat and Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell school, artists I had never heard of or listened to, so focused had I been on musical theatre since childhood, and then R&B and disco since getting a fake I.D. at sixteen and starting my tour of the area gay bars — but that’s another story. This chapter is about Chris, and being introduced to Joni’s Blue. Chris and I would listen to Joni in my apartment, where we’d get high or drunk, or high and drunk, and do that teenage lost in the music, gazing meaningfully at one another thing — without any clear idea of WHAT the meaning of the gazing was. I knew the first time I heard it, with Chris and I entwined in one another like we did, aching on the outside of being able to really touch one another, that just on the edge of intimacy thing, oh I knew, the words, the truth, that The Last Time I Saw Richard would be my ever after song, my biography right there.

But during Chris, it wasn’t Blue or Last Time I Saw Richard that was my theme song, although it was sung by Joni, it was Conversation.

Chris always had someone — or many someones, all female — in love with him. He told me about them. He told me what they did together. There was a story about chocolate sauce and whipped cream that nearly killed me. I comforted him sometimes.

I can’t remember the last time I saw him. We were both very much younger. He was not, then, the father of a grown son, or a man much in love with his wife in a very successful marriage. I was not, then, twenty-plus years a director, teacher, theatre company owner, or a man who had spent his entire life being on the end of conversations with people who I comforted sometimes.

And so, today, Chris sent me back a picture of the letter I’d sent him 38 years ago, asking him to love me, without the courage to say it out loud. But is this The Last Time I Saw Richard? “Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away? Only a phase, these dark cafe days.”

Turns out, it wasn’t the story of my life. I got all my bitterness out when I was young. Funny, that. It was so long predicted I would be a less-than-charming curmudgeon. But, all those years of lonely and angry and sad and being told I was wrong, and being so fundamentally, achingly, desperately alone, those years wore away the edges, broke down the walls, opened me up until I am all nerve endings and feelings and Light and Love; all that is left of me is the core, the center, stripped of the layers I’d accumulated to protect me. I am alive in ways I’ve never been. I am loving in ways I have never loved. I was so unhappy for so long, I think I may have bled out all my sorrows. Dangerous to say that, yes? But, there it is. And here I am, Charlie, 38 years past 18, and Chris heard that half way across the country, and reached out. Or, maybe I called to him? Because the letter, today, it gave me a memory of warm, a memory of believing, a memory and energy of Charlie who knew he could change the world, knew he would change the world, believed he could be loved — even if he didn’t think he deserved it.

He deserved it. I wish, so often, I could reach back in time and hold that Charlie and tell him he is beautiful and talented and kind and good and worthy and right about all the things that matter, to hold him up and believe in him and say yes, to balance all the no he got, to tell him what must be learned is to unlearn all the worrying about tomorrow, to stop worrying where he was going, he was there, be there, by moving on. And I think, today, Chris did that for me, for him, for 18-year-old Charlie and 19-year-old Chris, took us back, shone the light on the love. Maybe what we were feeling then was us now, reaching back to say, “Hold on, this love counts too.”

And here I am, going. 18 and 56 and moving on. All the things you gave to me . . . the way you catch the light. Goodnight, dear ones.

 

ZEITBITES: Dec 7, 2017: But I Digress

Since I’m on Twitter-break in what is probably a hopeless attempt to preserve a portion of my sanity (And, too, that of my friends and family who have to bear the ranting and weeping in which my timeline and news-feed cause me to indulge.) I have nowhere to deposit (and I chose the word carefully, make of it what you will) my pithy and pissy and loving and snarky observations. So, I’m going to put them here in this compendium of random-ness.

6:30a.m. I could happily go the rest of my life without ever again seeing a TV featuring — let alone hearing sound from — MSNBC, CNN, FOXNEWS, and all the rest who have built networks and fortunes by serving agendas, chasing ad dollars and ratings, and playing to specific focus groups — drumming up drama so they’ve something to report, and leaving out those “news” items inconvenient to their agendas. It’s fucking exhausting and endless trying to sift through all the noise and repetition and arched eyebrow, Simon Legree’d sneers and “get this” and gotcha bullshit and it is bad for everyone who has any interest in actual truth.

9a.m. I am about to read the New York Times choices for best books of 2017 (while carefully avoiding all other sections and headlines). I have already perused a few “best” lists and thought, “What the fuck?” But, isn’t that always the way? And once again those lists reek of their compilers’ MFA-cult-think; out of the tens of thousands of books published, miraculously a couple of the same ones make nearly every list, and often those are the books about which I thought, “What’s all this noise about? This is NOT that great.” I won’t be naming those books because that’s a level of ugly to which I don’t want to tunnel; even the worst books were toiled over by a human being with a heart and soul, and I have no interest in making anyone feel bad. (Today, anyway. Well, there is that one guy on Grindr who made me feel really shitty about myself and ugly and such, so, him I could make feel bad if I hadn’t blocked his ass. And other parts of him as well.)

9:15a.m. And another problem with “best” lists? For me, like crack. When they include books about which I’ve not heard and the write-up is compelling, I’m helpless. I’m blithely (and with great gratitude) depleting A’s generous present of gift card from my local indie bookstore, Curious Iguana [click HERE], messaging and requesting books from these lists. I am a full-on sucker for book reviews — like they was books. (If reading that sentence didn’t bring to mind one of Rose’s rant lines from Gypsy, and at least three different women you’ve seen play the role, not like you and I will be sharing a cocktail. Or coffee. Or be Twitter pals.) Oh, so, these are the books I’ve so far requested: Sunshine State: Essays, by Sarah Gerard, and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee.

9:20a.m.  And, as I feared, there on one NYTimes critic list of best is that book to which I was earlier referring about which there is much huzzah-ing which is something I Do. Not. Understand.

9:24a.m. Okay, I’d lose myself in this “best” list for the next few hours, but it’s Momma hair day. Today she is getting a permanent. Which means extra time in the hole-in-the-wall salon in the kkk-populated town where Momma insists on going to get her hair done. Weekly. By the same person who has done it for thirty years. Thirty years. Hair done. Once a week. I need to think about that some more. And then, when I have time, tell you about the magazine I stole from the salon last week and why I did so. (See THIEVERY NOTE below.)

12:55p.m. Finished hair day with Momma. She didn’t want to do any shopping today so I was spared excursions through Boscov’s or WalMart, and she wanted only a quick lunch so she could get back to Record Street Home for Movie Day. This surprised me. Momma usually skips Movie Day because, “Some of those women are so deaf, they turn it up too loud, I can’t understand it when it’s that loud.” Says the woman whose favorite word is, “What?” I asked if it was a musical, because, you know, I’m me, and she said, “No, no. It’s the one about flowers and nuns with that black actor. I’ve watched it many times. You know.” In fact, I did. Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field. The film which marked the first time a black man won a competitive Oscar. So, for lunch, she wanted a hot dog and the only place you can get one is Burger King. Correction — WAS Burger King. As we discovered today, they have removed it from the menu. I don’t know how often you spend time with older people, but it has been my experience that when things change — as in a hot dog being removed from a menu — they do not take it well. (Hmm, I guess that makes me an older person, because the changes I’ve been experiencing lately don’t make me too happy either.) Momma eventually settled on the fish sandwich. She was some surprised it had lettuce and a pickle and onion as garnishment. When I asked why she said, “This is NOT how they make them at McDonald’s. A pickle. On fish.” Indeed.

1:15p.m. Well, I’m downtown. Dropped Momma off so she could spend the afternoon with other deaf women, Sidney Poitier, and a bunch of nuns. And since I am downtown, it’s only sensible I should stop by The Curious Iguana and pick up Sunshine State. I picked up The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue yesterday. I don’t enjoy sitting on the shelf waiting to be picked up, I feel sure books don’t either.

1:45p.m. Home. With my new book. Luckily I have the DVR set to record Days of Our Lives. Chandler Massey has returned to play a risen from the (pretend) dead Will Horton. He does not remember his husband, Sonny, who — thinking Will long dead — had fallen BACK in love with his first love, ex-baseball player, Paul, with whom he broke up years earlier because Paul wouldn’t risk his baseball career by coming out of the closet, but who Will — a reporter and married to Sonny at the time and with no idea Sonny had once been in love with Paul —

Christopher Sean as Paul

Chandler Massey as Will

— cheated on Sonny to sleep with Paul that he might get the exclusive on him being gay and out him thus cementing his reputation as a reporter; a move that nearly destroyed his marriage, causing Sonny to leave the country, during which time Will was (we thought) murdered by the NeckTie killer. Once Will was discovered to be alive, albeit with no memory of his life as Will, having been brainwashed by evil, crazy Susan into believing he was his mother’s now dead third or fourth or fifth husband who was, coincidentally Susan’s son whose death she blamed on Will’s mother which is why she wanted to steal Will from his real mother and convince him he was her, Susan’s, dead son. Anyway, Sonny has now called off the engagement to Paul, breaking his heart, because Sonny’s love for Will is just too great. Only, Will, still with no memory of being Will, doesn’t much care for Sonny, but does want to fuck the shit out of Paul, who came to the door dressed in only a towel yesterday and on whom Will made quite the move. Who wouldn’t —

—I have NEVER liked Sonny and I want Will and Paul to end up together because, well, LOOK AT THEM. Chandler Massey won a couple of Emmys before he left the show and he is really and truly amazing — which is really and truly NOT the case for most of the male actors on this show. He’s also ridiculously sexy.

Yeah. I watch it. On DVR. So I can fast forward. And, of course, rewind. And freeze-frame. I like to see just how method the actors are. So to speak.

After DOOL, I watched my DVR-ed Real Housewives of New Jersey. Sue me.

Surely you didn’t think I spent my days reading Proust and contemplating the meaning of all the layers of reality in order that I might solve the problems of the world, all the while performing good deeds and baking cookies and cobblers selflessly for others, did you? Cuz, I seriously don’t. I am basic. Basic as can be as often as can be, baby. Don’t even ASK what that means because you would be surprised (well, not you B.W., but the rest of you).

5:30p.m. For dinner tonight I am re-purposing Sunday’s Chicken and Dumplings by NOT adding dumplings, rather, adding kale and broth to make a new tasting soup/stew. We’ll have some bread, too. And there’s still cobbler. And ice cream. So, that.

8:30p.m. Dinner done. Jeopardy over. Alex Trebek still officious and annoying and flashing around that ridiculous French accent every chance he gets, flaunting his assumed superiority. Damn Jesuit schooling. I’m in my room. On my bed. Pecking away at this. After I hit publish, I’ll be diving into Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner, which I started this morning in lieu of going to the gym — I really needed not to get up at 5a.m. today — and it’s really short, and so far, really good and unique and I think I like it although it has an ominously jaded kind of tone, which doesn’t bode well for a happy ending. I could use a happy ending. We’ll see.

THIEVERY NOTE

As promised, here is the story of the magazine I stole. Last week at the hair salon Momma and I visit each Thursday, I was looking through the magazines and there in Martha Stewart Living was a picture of one of the food editors next to his pie recipe and damn if it wasn’t a boy — now man — who many, many years ago I taught (briefy and I take no credit for his talent) to perform. He had one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard and I wrote a special role for him in a show I authored and designed. I stuck the magazine under my coat and snuck it out of the salon. Or, sneaked it. I took the damn thing.

And, why? If I had told them the story and asked they would have been more than happy to give me the magazine and they would have enjoyed the story with me. So, why did I do the shove it under the coat thing? Once, when I was in my early twenties, I stole food from a WaWa in New Haven when I didn’t have any money, had just moved there literally in the middle of the night, and as yet had no place to live. But, that’s about it. It may have more to do with me being afraid to ask for things I want from people — I live with the expectation of being always answered NO.

Why is that? Something else to think about. A reason to keep journalling, stay off Twitter, read more, think more, re-charge, spend time with me.

Yes. That. So, here I am, basic, and going.

A Smith, not I, but Stevie (and Blackberry Cobbler recipe)

This is the beauty from the parking lot outside the bedroom window of my apartment, what I saw tonight as I was emptying the trash and recycling. I stopped and recorded it. I breathed it in. I am healing by noting beauty. One has to, I have to, because the day began badly — in a week of days not going so well.

Anyway, because I’m not Tweeting, here I am, telling you where it is I’m going.

I can’t remember how I became fascinated by Stevie Smith, though I’ve a shadowy recollection of Glenda Jackson in a film in the late 1970s, which I know would have triggered me because Glenda always reminded me of my aunt, Sissie, both of them tall, thin, patrician, and striking not because of classic beauty, but because they lived so inside of who they were, they owned their spaces, and they radiated an intelligence and ability to see you, to see through you, to the you of you.  Too, Sissie loved poetry, had wanted to be a poet like Edna St. Vincent Millay. Also, anything to do even vaguely with me she thought fantastic, so the fact that Stevie’s father was named Charles Smith and ran away to sea, well, like I said, I don’t remember how I became fascinated with Stevie Smith and her work other than this amorphous, near fantasy — not unlike many other so-called memories I have — that can best be summed up by the phrase, “Oh, Sissie gave me that.”

But, even so, I can’t tell you why I picked up my Stevie Smith collection, All The Poems, today, or why it flipped open to Not Waving but Drowning, but, there it was and here it is:

 

Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.

 

Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he’s dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,

They said.

 

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.

 

It is no secret I experience depression. Lately, the conflagration of news, the attempts to legislate hate and undo decades of struggle for equality, coupled with troubling personal events, and a slowly creeping decline — physical and mental — I am noticing more and more the loss of words, names, things I once knew are now out of reach in some synaptic abyss, and the failure of my body when asked to perform, well, the thing is, as little success as I am having fighting these things off, I am having even less success accepting that this is how I am aging, this is where I am, going — these disturbances in my field dragoon me into dark corners of my soul and psyche, where all the memories I can access — the loudest voices — are those of despairing and failure and should have and didn’t and why not and … you get it.

And I know this is part of my chemical imbalance and a decades long pattern (shared by most of my family, especially my Mom) of self-destructive, self-denigrating thinking, and I know a large measure of it is self-pity, and I know I must interrupt it. But being called to Stevie Smith this morning, and connecting Stevie to Sissie as I always have, seemed as if Sissie was saying, “I get that your heart is giving way, sweetheart (She often called me Sweetheart, along with calling me her Miracle), and I see you not waving, but drowning.”

I also know she would say, “Swim.” And so, I did. I am.

I started collapsing yesterday with the news about SCOTUS seeming to be leaning toward allowing religion to be used as a basis for bigotry, it seems they might be siding with the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because it went against his religious beliefs, and this, the day after SCOTUS had refused to hear a case where LGBTQ people were denied benefits by an employer, thus allowing that hate to stand. All of which was added on to the flood of abusers and predators being exposed, and DEFENDED by the gop and —-okay, this recap isn’t helping. I was crying, a lot, because the world in which all this is happening and the hate and fear at its foundation terrifies and saddens me.

So, as a matter of self-preservation, I have again instituted as much a media blackout as I can. I have stayed away from Twitter because the daily horrors of the fascist regime and its supporters creep into my timeline. So, in addition to blocking out the noise of hate, today I did those things that make me feel useful, doing little somethings within my ability that I might bring joy to the world, one person at a time. I did laundry (second day in a row) to most especially refresh the holiday bed-sheets that I and my sister sleep on. See:

My sister’s room

My room — see the books?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to do this at 5:30 this morning as I was leaving for the gym because few things are more comforting than knowing you will be going to bed on freshly laundered, crisply stretched sheets, so on my way out the door I told my sister — who sleeps as little and as badly as I do — not to make her bed today. Clean sheets. Glorious.

In addition, I have three books I’ve been told are good to great and I am really looking forward to them. You’ll note they’re arranged on my bed waiting for me. But just in case you can’t zoom:

I can’t wait to start one of these three. You might wonder why I didn’t already, I mean, it doesn’t take all day to go to the gym, do the laundry, change the sheets. Nope. I also went to the grocery store — three times, because my dear nephew, Connor, was coming for our regular Wednesday dinner — which I’ve missed for the last few weeks — so I was super excited to cook for him. I found at grocery store number one that blackberries were on super sale. I got two pints for five dollars, and, lo and behold, in the next aisle,blackberry preserves were on clearance! A sign. I didn’t know exactly what I’d do with all the blackberry-ness, but I knew it, like Stevie Smith, was calling to me today. Waving, NOT drowning. And I made this:

It’s a cobbler. Kind of. Ish.

It’s a cobbler, sort of ish. Ha. I kind of make things up. I am being frugal chef, trying to spend as little as possible at the grocery store and making delights from what’s on hand here, especially if it’s been hanging around for a while. So, here’s what I did — and I warn you, I am NOT a measuring kind of guy (at least when it comes to recipe ingredients) and tend, even when I do measure, to say, “Hmmm, I think I need to throw a bit more in.” So, uhm, if you try to make this, throw whatever feels right into it, and trust.

I turned my oven on, 350 degrees — my oven runs hot, so that’s probably really 375-400. I got a ten inch, deep dish pie plate out and sprayed it with cooking spray, then rubbed it, bottom and sides, liberally, with three tablespoons of butter, leaving the excess chunks in the pie plate.

Next, I dumped in two pints of rinsed blackberries and an eight ounce container of blackberry preserves. I tossed in a bit of cornstarch — probably a tablespoon? — and a capful of vanilla, which I’m guessing, by the time I dribbled it and thought, “Oh, maybe a smidge more,” was probably a tablespoon. Then I added a glug of Chambord Liqueur. Yes. I did. And then I opened my sugar canister and threw in a handful. Yep. That’s all I can tell you, a handful.

Now, throw that in the oven. I’d say it stays in about 20 minutes while you do the following;

Throw about a cup or so of flour — I used bread flour because that’s what I have right now, a handful of sugar, about a teaspoon of baking soda, and two (or a little more, probably) of baking powder, a dash of salt because you dash salt into everything, and whisk that all together so it’s nice and mixed evenly.

Then, in another bowl, stir up about three-quarters of a stick of butter which I’d melted (20 seconds at a time in the microwave until it’s liquid) and thrown in the fridge a while so it cooled, maybe half a cup of buttermilk (I use powdered buttermilk and mix up what I need rather than buy actual buttermilk because I always end up throwing it out and it’s pricey, or, you can just add some lemon juice to regular milk and curdle it a little), and maybe a teaspoon of vanilla (although, if I make it again, I might try almond flavoring — use what you want, it’s your cobbler — almond would be SUPER if you used peaches instead of blackberries) — and once it’s all nice and stirred and pretty, pour it into the flour mixture.

Now, wooden spoon it until it’s almost a dough, and then use your hands to finish it, kneading and flipping and working a bit. Then, I rolled it into a long snake, cut it in half, cut each half in half, and then halved each of those. That’s eight pieces.

It had been twenty minutes, so I took the bubbling fruit from the oven and shaped/rolled the eight pieces into balls and dropped them evenly around the hot, delicious smelling, alcohol tinged fruit mixture. Then, I poured some sugar in a bowl — I don’t know, maybe two or three tablespoons, and sprinkled in some cinnamon until I got a nice light tan color and I sprinkled that LIBERALLY over the dough balls and, honestly, the rest of the fruit showing too. I sprinkled that whole sucker with that cinnamon sugar.

Back into the oven where I left it for 17 minutes which was TOO LONG. Try 13. But, even though  I thought the biscuit-y portion too brown, my sister and nephew both said it was one of the best desserts ever. Probably didn’t hurt that I threw some vanilla ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream on top of the warm cobbler.

It makes eight servings (duh!) and it RADIATES love.

It was good today to take care of my family. It was good today to try NOT to listen to any news. It was good today to stay away from Twitter — even though I love so many people there. It was good today to feel my aunt near me, even if the route to blackberry cobbler was a circuitous one traveling round a poem about a fellow whose heart, too long cold, too far out, no longer beat — it was a good day to make it through the day and cry only a few times, and feel lonely and rejected only briefly at the gym this morning, and I am always fine.

I know this. I am not drowning. I am waving. Sometimes, dear ones, I go too far out into the deep, but I am not going under, I really am out here, this is me, waving at you, I’m not able to go under, dear ones, because I am a witch, a miracle, a sorcerer of blackberries and kindnesses and making things better and now, dear ones, I want to change into my sweats, cuddle in my clean sheets, and decide which book I’ll start tonight.

Love from out here. And Light (I always have enough of both to spare, if ever you need it. I can always be reached.) and here I am, going.

 

Interstitial … not(ish) about reading

I’ve finished a book but I can’t write about it yet. REASONS. (see below)

I really need to balance my checkbook but I can’t face it yet. BECAUSES. (see below)

In the meantime, since Friday, I have had a fight with UPS about a delivery promised for 8pm Thursday about which, at 8:01pm Thursday, I was informed it had been delayed because of a mystery and I should check next Wednesday if it had still not arrived. Yep. Apparently the warehouse was too full to unload more trucks, so, I don’t know.

And, someone hurt my feelings Friday. A lot. Which I also need to work through.

And, my Microsoft Word wouldn’t let me in. So, for a day I believed that I had lost my novel, my short stories, my endless beginnings of other novels and short stories, and tons of other things saved in my Word files. Luckily, Microsoft Support on Twitter walked me through repair. Which was only fair since the glitch happened after one of their many downloads onto my poor, unsuspecting, aging laptop. But, plus side, I realized I care more about my writing than I knew, so, I’d better get busier at it.

And, I’ve started journaling daily again, thanks to my dear Bethanne.

Anyway, I’m checking in, dear ones, because — well, I’m procrastinating to avoid:

REASONS

I’ve finished Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine, but because it set off personal triggers to do with celebrating privileged white men getting away with murder, privileged white men who live in the closet for decades without coming to the aid of the LGBTQ and then act heroic when they finally do, and privileged white men and boy magazines encouraging a misogynist, racist, homophobic culture. Until I’ve sorted these out in my head, and determined whether or not I think the author aided and abetted further of the same bullshit — which is especially ill-timed with all that’s going on NOW — I am holding off writing about the book. And:

BECAUSES

I’ve spent a lot of money lately. I’ve not been profligate nor irresponsible, it’s been on practical things one needs to live and get around and take care of one’s mother and such, but I haven’t worked hard enough to get house and pet-sitting bookings, and I don’t have another on my schedule for a while, and so, I haven’t subtracted. NOT THAT I AM ANYWHERE NEAR OVERDRAWN, and I am way more blessed than lots and lots of people — but, when I subtract, it’s going to panic me. So, I’m not. But, I will tomorrow, because I have to send the state a check, because, you know, it only makes sense that a person who has not made above the poverty level in almost a decade would owe back taxes while huge corporations pay nothing, but, hey — it’s going to get better and make this country great again when the shit from this gop-travesty-pillaging of the country they’re despicably and dishonestly calling a tax cut takes effect and trickles down all over me, right?

In any event, I’ve buttery dumplings to make to toss into my chicken soup/stew whatever it is I’ve been working on and simmering for two days, a nod to frugality; I am grocery shopping keeping in mind I need to make things that are both cheap and plentiful and can be altered as they are leftovered. In a few days, I’ll add kale to the chicken soup/stew whatever, for a new taste.

Yes, life is good. Love to all. Here I am, going.