Wednesday, July 31, 2019

WTF Wednesday: Overkill

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

A while ago, I wrote this post about sometimes having problems responding to comments right away.
Before I get around to what leads me to revisit this post, allow me to just say that I had a very difficult day.
As my -666 readers on this blog may be aware, my son purchased a house in a very small town using inheritance money, and I am going to be living there with him. I am unemployed except for freelance work due to my deteriorating health. This house is a little over 125 miles from the townhome where my son has lived for 10 years. It has to have electrical and plumbing work done before we can move in. We've had to go up there twice this week to deal with contractors, and today the people from the Historical Society came to view the place, which is on the Colorado Historical Registry to see if my son might qualify for a grant of some kind.
I was all ready to help out when suddenly my blood sugar decided to take an express elevator straight to hell.
There were five people in the group, but I was seeing ten people. I was pasty and diaphoretic. I was drenched in foul-smelling sweat. I excused myself and went to sit down before I fell down while my son took the group on a tour of the place.
I took my blood sugar reading and it was in the hole. I ate a mini-Danish and checked it again ten minutes later. I still felt like ten pounds of shit in a five-pound sack. It was ten points higher but still in the hole. I ate a glucose tablet, waited ten minutes, and checked it again. It had risen to 102 and I didn't feel like fainting anymore, but I felt like I had just run a marathon.
I needed to lie down, but there is no bed or couch in the place yet. I rolled up a blanket inside my old pizza carrier from when I was delivering food and created a makeshift pillow. I lay down on the floor to take a nap. I knew I would pay the piper, but I had to be able to drive home.
Sure enough, every inch of my body ached. Bone, muscle, skin, I think even my hair. I took Naproxen, but it didn't help much. I sat down to see if there was a new poetry prompt, hoping to relax a little. I wrote a snarky little Senryu and went to answer comments.
Lo and behold, because somehow the Universe always know when I need bullshit the least and that's when it always delivers a steaming pile to my doorstep, I received this honey of a comment.

If you made comments on other poems, you might have some on yours. I have made positive comments on your poems and you never even said thank you. So this is the last time I am commenting on ykur lost. Don't be a prick slick.

I'm not correcting any of the typos. I wonder if this individual was drunk typing. Whatever. She's been contentious towards me (and others) in the past, and this is why I tend to avoid interacting with her. The "Don't be a prick, slick" remark is a dig at my Rules of Engagement, which go like this:
We love comments, with three caveats.
Be cool, Fool.
Don't be rude, Dude.
Don't be a prick, Slick.
That's all, Saul.

I replied:
That's fine with me. I sometimes have difficulty returning comments. You do whatever you want. I sometimes reply to comments right away, sometimes I have trouble doing so due to mental health issues or circumstances. You could just opt to not comment rather than be contentious.
Seriously, there are times when I comment on people's blogs and they never return my comments. I don't get in a dither about it. Either I go ahead and comment anyway because I feel like it, or I don't comment. It's really that simple. You don't know what another person may be dealing with. Which is the way I'm trying to look at you because I'm dealing with a great many other things and it isn't worth it to put myself in a tailspin about a person I don't even know getting upset with me about something which at worst is a minor social faux pas. I apologize that you're offended that I haven't always replied to your comments (or other people's) immediately. However, it really is not worth scolding someone over. I hope you feel better for having "put me in my place." I'm a bit gobsmacked, so, mission accomplished, I suppose. Go you.

The unfortunate outcome of this is that I no longer feel comfortable sharing links at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads blog hops because this individual is one of their admins. I really cannot deal with her unpleasant personality at this point in time.
She attacks other people too. She wasn't always part of the admin team, so I suppose she must be friends with someone there. In any case, having a blog admin who goes off like Donald Trump on Twitter when people don't respond in the correct way tends to drive participants off. Losing me won't hurt the Real Toads blog much because it's fairly popular, but it's a shame nonetheless because I've participated there for many years.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Carpe Diem Summer Challenge 2019: The End of Summer

the end of summer
can't come soon enough for me
I'm sick of the heat


Carpe Diem Summer Challenge 2019 + Tuesday Platform: Coming Full Circle: Not Your Summer Tryst Under the Big Moon

no summer love here
hope for a rainstorm to come
far from any beach

on a faraway seashore
as the children gather shells
couple making love

I want a garden
perhaps a small waterfall
spilling over stones

don't want a French kiss
I take tea with sunflower
won't lurk in shadow


I've never been keen for flings and I don't like being anyone's dirty little secret. Finding a summer love never appealed to me, and I've only been to the beach once in my life. I'd much rather spend my time on mundane activities such as gardening than engaging in an ill-advised mating dance which will only end in heartbreak for me. 
Frankly, in many ways, I'm quite content not to be young anymore. I only wish I had the strength and endurance of my youth. The impulsiveness, stupidity, and desperate lovesick puppy behavior is more than welcome to remain in the past.

Real Cie Reviews: Wyrm's Warning

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

The following is a duplicate of my review on Amazon and Goodreads for this novelette.

The author really knows how to get inside his characters' heads and describe their motivation. Unlike many male authors writing a female character, he doesn't linger on unnecessary descriptions of her anatomy. Tala is an ordinary young woman who lives in a time and place where women are treated as objects to be done with as males see fit. She faces manhandling by the old woodsman whom she is attempting to assist, and worse from the realm's boorish prince and corrupt priest.

One night while leaving the old woodsman's cottage, Tala is attacked by an unknown creature and mysterious changes begin to take place in her life, subjecting her to moments of terror and rage as she tries to comprehend what is happening.

Tala is a brave and level-headed young woman who faces truly awful situations both from the supernatural realm and the natural world in which she resides. Although there are uncomfortable scenes in this story with regards to men's treatment of women and girls as sex objects to be used as a man sees fit, these scenes are never gratuitous or unnecessarily explicit. 

There are jokes about male authors writing women in an overly sexualized fashion. Michael J. Allen manages to avoid being on the receiving end of the joke by writing his female characters with empathy rather than salacity.

I finished this story in one afternoon. It is a compelling page-turner.


Monday, July 29, 2019

About Me Monday: My Tattoos and Piercings

This one honors my daily life fighting with a brain and past experiences that want me dead

This is originally a response to a post by Carrie-Anne Brown about realistically writing tattoos and piercings for characters.

I pierced my own earlobes with a needle sterilized in alcohol when I was eighteen. I have two piercings in the left lobe and one in the right. I thought I was being really edgy. These days, nobody notices pinpoint piercings like I have. Of course, these days I could care less.
I have seven tattoos, one on my left outer calf, one on my right inner calf, one on either deltoid, one on either shoulder (back), and one on my left front shoulder. The one on the left front shoulder is to honor my own struggles with mental illness. The others are to honor people and animals that have special meaning to me, some of whom are dead.
I would like more tattoos but have absolutely no interest in getting more piercings.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

How to Get His or Her Attention Back - Dating Advice

Come as you Are: J.O.B. to Poor but Free

Image by Grae Dickason from Pixabay

This poem describes very well how I felt about being in the Employee Mindset for nearly 40 years. The line "grey upon greyness" is particularly evocative.

That's exactly how I feel about the Life of an Employee working a J.O.B., which I did from the time I was 16 years old until this year when my disabilities knocked me out of the working life for good. (I'm 54 now and am working from home.)

There were some things about the jobs I did that I liked, but, overall, it was an extremely soul-destroying situation. I absolutely felt like I had to give up bits of myself all the time.

I certainly don't like living in poverty, which I am at this point. However, one thing is true which it never was when I was working a J.O.B. (stands for Just Over Broke). I am really and truly myself, not someone else's servant. On a soul level, that is tremendously freeing.


Saturday, July 27, 2019


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I wonder if I’ll ever stop feeling like a rank amateur; if I’ll ever feel adept at anything.
I wonder if I’ll ever stop feeling like it’s a lie whenever anyone praises me for something.
I wonder if the day will ever come when I don’t feel like I’m faking it.


Insecure Writers Support Group Book Club Question: During Which Season Are You Most Inspired to Read and Write?

Image by Henning Sørby from Pixabay

During which season of the year are you most inspired to read and write?

My response:
Autumn and winter. I have horrific spring depression, and I tend to have a lot of extracurricular activities which take me away from my normal schedule in the summer. 

I'm always a bit amused by the responses I get when I reveal that I have spring depression and gloomy winter days don't bother me much.
"But how can you be deepressed in the spring when everything is so preeety, and young people's fancies turn to Lurve????"
The part of my brain responsible for the physical aspect of my bipolar disorder doesn't see pretty. I theorize that it becomes aware of changes in light which it doesn't like and which make me feel like a lonely ghost haunting a mausoleum. The pretty flowers make this part of my brain think of flowers on a grave. I often dream of cemeteries at this time of year.
As for young folks' fancies turning to Twoo Wuv, have you read my poetry? Does it seem like that shit has worked out for me, like, at all, other than to be a complete and utter thermonuclear holocaust? It's kind of like saying "but why don't you like having a railroad spike driven into your chest? What's wrong with you?" 
Twoo Wuv doesn't work out for everyone. End of.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Fat Friday #10: A Big Fat Fuck You to Fatphobic Stephen Moffat

Dear Stephen Moffat,

Your retconning fuckery and pulling plot twists out of your ass at the last second are bad enough, but your stupid, immature fatphobia is the worst. How was it necessary for Bill to say that she suddenly realized that the young woman she'd been giving extra chips to in the food line because she liked her was fat, so now she couldn't possibly find her attractive anymore.

When lameass fat jokes are all you've got, it means that:
A)You're a douchebag 
B) You're unoriginal as all fuck.

In closing, see the finger, you halfassed hack.

Cie the Fat Ugly Old Bitch From Your Nightmares

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Carpe Diem Summer Challenge 2019: Beach Party for Every Body

Image by David Shaw from Pixabay

What I have been wondering for a long time is this.

Why is it that when you have a bunch of stupid guys on a beach and a person with the “wrong” kind of body walks by, and they yell terrible and mean-spirited things at this person who is minding their own business,

Why is everyone’s response to ignore and even justify their behavior rather than shouting them down?

Why shouldn’t everyone be allowed to relax and have fun at the beach or the pool?

Why is it only fun for those whose bodies have been deemed attractive enough?

Why shouldn’t fat people and skinny people and people with scars and stretch marks and ladies with saggy boobs and men with round pot bellies and hairy folks and scrawny scarecrow guys and gals with arms and legs like Betty Spaghetti have a nice time too?

I think it’s rather boring when the only people who can go for a swim without feeling self-conscious and like they must keep covered up are young people with the “right” kind of body.

Shouldn’t we have gotten past the idea that the only people whose bodies should be seen are sleek, unblemished, photoshopped visions of pornographic “perfection?”

Shouldn’t the beach be a place where everyone can cool off, not yet another spot where only the hottest hotties are allowed?

Beach parties are fun
For those with the right body
Not so much for those
Whose bodies have been deemed wrong
Ignoring not an option


FOAD Thursday: Boycott Pourtions: Clueless Encouragement of Eating Disorders At its "Finest"

Macy's got dragged for selling this atrocious, body-shaming product and they pulled it from their shelves.
Here is what "Pourtions," the company that manufactured this overpriced, size-policing shit show had to say

As the creators of Pourtions, we feel badly if what was meant to be a lighthearted take on the important issue of portion control was hurtful to anyone. Pourtions is intended to support healthy eating and drinking. Everyone who has appreciated Pourtions knows that it can be tough sometimes to be as mindful and moderate in our eating and drinking as we’d like, but that a gentle reminder can make a difference. That was all we ever meant to encourage.

Well, sit down before you hurt yourself, you sanctimonious schmuck, and let Big Mama school your entitled ass.

"The important issue of portion control."

A lot of big people do have an issue with "portion control," oh Sanctimonious One.
It's called "being food insecure."
That's right, a lot of large folk do not have enough to eat, let alone to buy your overpriced crap designed to encourage them to hate themselves even more than they've already been taught to do all their lives.
I, for one, only eat one or two meals per day. Neither of these are large meals. I eat like this because I can't afford to eat regular meals. Even though I have diabetes and should be eating regularly, I can't. Yes, I have a problem with "portion control." I can't control the fact that I'm not able to eat enough because when you're disabled you're forced into poverty. Therefore, as I have wisely said to many fat-shaming asshats, "fuck you."

"Pourtions is intended to support healthy eating and drinking."
Yes, if you call encouraging eating disorders "healthy eating and drinking," I guess this crap is doing it right.

"It can be tough to be as mindful and moderate in our eating and drinking as we would like."
You know what, Genius, if you're hungry all the time, you're doing it wrong, and I swear to the goddess, anytime I hear that fucking phrase "mindful eating," I just want to puke on somebody. By the way, I spent a good number of my years forcing myself to puke after eating. I started doing that when I was twelve, so I could, you know, fit into "skinny jeans." Because after all, only horrible bloated land whales wear "mom jeans", whatever the hell those are. Because after all, there's nothing ickier than the body of a mature woman. Seriously, ewwwwww! If you don't have the figure of a pre-teen girl, you're doing it wrong!
Never mind that there are healthy fat people and unhealthy thin people. Never mind that there are thin people who can shovel in food by the truckload and not gain weight and fat people who practice "mindful portion control" to the point of starvation and are still fat.
In short, fuuuuuuuck you.

"A gentle reminder can make a difference."
Yes, "food coma" is a high-larious "gentle reminder" to all you ham planets out there that you need to mindfully restrict your portions lest you end up wearing the horrible Mom Jeans. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is worse than that.

In closing, may I gently remind you:

Thank you to "The Mighty" for sharing this cluster fuck.
I will share some better plates for you to put on the table at the end of the post. Because you deserve good things, whether you are a slender reed indeed or large and in charge. You deserve plates that you can eat off of which won't have shitty messages written on them needling you to hate and deprive yourself.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Carpe Diem Summer Challenge 2019: Shadow

Photographer unknown

blue autumn skies
folded into mountains
purple shadow

blue autumn skies
stretching endless before me
skies blue like your eyes

folded into mountains
a felled giant lies sleeping
dreaming of the past

purple shadow
falls over eyes which can't cry
I have seen too much

Jane & Cie

such a hot day
my shadow needs to cool down
under the willow

such a hot day
sun beats down unrelenting
upon troubled earth

my shadow needs to cool down
it steals away and leaves me
muscles wracked with pain

under the willow
I find trouble waiting there
in the form of thought

Kyoshi & Cie

The "sleigh" of the first Troiku was created by Jane Reichhold (1937 - 2016). The "sleigh" of the second Troiku was created by Kyoshi Takahama (1874 - 1958). I wrangled all the horses.
I have chronic, widespread, low-grade pain from fibromyalgia and am constantly hot and easily fatigued due to my various endocrine problems. The summer is not my friend.
Grover and Clem aren't bothered by this weather, seeing as Grover is a ghost and Clem is a mutant Cactus Man, or maybe a Man Cactus.

Monday, July 22, 2019

About Me Monday: The Bold Meme

rules: bold the ones that apply


I’m over 5’5” // I wear glasses/contacts // I have blonde hair // I prefer loose clothing to tight clothing // I have one or more piercings // I have at least one tattoo //I have blue eyes // I have dyed or highlighted my hair // I have gotten plastic surgery // I have or had braces // I sunburn easily // I have freckles// I paint my nails // I typically wear makeup // I don’t often smile // I am pleased with how I look // I prefer Nike to Adidas // I wear baseball hats backward


I play a sport // I can play an instrument // I am artistic // I know more than one language // I have won a trophy in some sort of competition // I can cook or bake without a recipe // I know how to swim // I enjoy writing // I can do origami // I prefer movies to tv shows // I can execute a perfect somersault // I enjoy singing // I could survive in the wild on my own // I have read a new book series this year // I enjoy spending time with friends // I travel during school or work breaks // I can do a handstand


I am in a relationship // I have been single for over a year // I have a crush // I have a best friend I have known for ten years // my parents are together // I have dated my best friend // I am adopted // my crush has confessed to me // I have a long distance relationship // I am an only child // I give advice to my friends // I have made an online friend // I met up with someone I have met online


I have heard the ocean in a conch shell // I have watched the sun rise // I enjoy rainy days // I have slept under the stars // I meditate outside // the sound of chirping calms me // I enjoy the smell of the beach // I know what snow tastes like // I listen to music to fall asleep // I enjoy thunderstorms // I enjoy cloud watching // I have attended a bonfire // I pay close attention to colors // I find mystery in the ocean // I enjoy hiking on nature paths // autumn is my favorite season


I can fall asleep in a moving vehicle // I am the mom friend // I live by a certain quote // I like the smell of sharpies // I am involved in extracurricular activities // I enjoy Mexican food // I can drive a stick-shift // I believe in true love // I make up scenarios to fall asleep // I sing in the shower // I wish I lived in a video game // I have a canopy above my bed // I am multiracial // I am a redhead // I own at least three dogs

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Book Reviews: The Emotional Cure for Autism

Your review is well-written. However, I take exception to the wording of "suffering" from autism. My son is high-functioning autistic. He is much more aware of stimuli (i.e. sounds, texture) than a person who does not have autism, but he would not describe himself as "suffering" from autism, and, I suspect, many people who have autism would not describe themselves that way.
I did not realize my son had autism until he was an adult. He does not respond to being overstimulated the way many of us have been taught to believe that people with autism are "supposed" to respond. He is able to keep overt responses to being overstimulated in check while in public, and then he withdraws for a period of time.
Autism is on a spectrum. There are people like my son whom no-one would realize has autism unless he told them. Then there are those with very overt responses to being overstimulated, i.e. rocking, crying out. Many people on the autism spectrum are highly intelligent and verbally expressive. Some have difficulty responding vocally but are able to write quite cohesively.
I plan to share this book with my son and see what he thinks of the suggestions. I think he would be a much better judge of their effectiveness than I would.
Thank you for your review. 

Further thoughts:
I am curious what my son will think of the suggestions and how he might have responded to them as a child. It's very interesting the way he describes his hyper-awareness to sounds and textures in particular. Sounds that I tend to tune out he is extremely aware of, i.e. the washing machine or the dishwasher. He has to consciously tune these sounds out where I simply do so without thinking about it. In any case, I'm interested to read the book for myself and see what he thinks of it as well


Friday, July 19, 2019

Fat Friday #9: Psychology, Psychiatry, Fatphobia, and Misogyny

I have rapid cycling type 2 bipolar disorder. I have paradoxical reactions to most medications. I am a big woman.

I was told to “just stay on” Zoloft, which made me feel like my brain had grown tiny hands and was trying to pick its way out of my skull. I didn’t stop feeling the hands picking at the inside of my skull until I quit taking the Zoloft, against the doctor’s orders.

Effexor made me manic and psychotic as well. I normally do not experience psychosis or full manias.

Most counselors and doctors have gone the “weight loss is the be-all and end-all route,” even though I have serious endocrine problems and weight loss is extremely unlikely. I am food insecure. I don’t even eat three meals a day. I’m still big. Even though I told them to stop pushing weight loss because it was triggering anorexic behaviors. Obviously, I can’t be happy until I’m a petite delicate flower who is pleasing to the male gaze.

Psychology and psychiatry are absolutely misogynist. These doctors don’t care if their patients are happy. They want women to be pleasing to the eye and obedient.

Shrinks: I don't trust them damn crooked vultures.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

SHE - Brown Eyes

A cute song with an adorable love story portrayed in the video, and it's kind of sad how happy and relieved I am that these beautiful young people get to look and act like teenagers. They aren't being sexualized. They aren't wearing skimpy outfits. 
Yes, I sound like someone's mother. I AM someone's mother. Granted, I am a 29-year-old man's mother. 
I also think it's sad that I was relieved at not having to raise a daughter. Boys don't tend to be sexually objectified the way girls do, and sometimes girls fall into the trap of thinking that objectification is flattering. I know I did.
While both boys and girls can suffer from eating disorders and end up hating bodies which don't adhere to rigid standards of perfection, the standards for girls are even tougher. Boys are expected to have ripped abs and muscular arms and legs. Girls are expected to have permanently perky breasts, tiny waists, a flat abdomen, and a rear end that is neither flat nor "too big" as well as long smooth legs with no cellulite. 
I want a world where it isn't cool to make mean comments about someone else's appearance, where bullying isn't acceptable.
I want a world where kids are allowed to be kids.
I want a world where people of all body types are welcomed.
I will keep fighting for that world, regardless of how many people tell me I'm being "unrealistic." 
I will keep fighting for that world because I don't want to see any more young people hating their bodies, starving themselves, or feeling pushed to act sexy.
I want a world where every young person gets to experience their own happy story.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Fat Friday #8: The Unflattering Language of Plus-Size Clothing Sellers

I almost wasn't sure to publish this as a FOAD Thursday or a Fat Friday. Because fuck your shitty way of talking down to fat people, plus-size clothing sellers.

*"Boost your confidence with these outfits.
And why do you think I need my confidence boosted, Asshole? 
Right--because I'm fat.
Being fat is actually a neutral thing. However, fat people are berated from day one into having low self-esteem, and rather than being seen as shitty, bullying behavior, we are told that being talked down to and concern trolled is for our "own good."
Fuck that shit, and fuck off with it right now.

Fuck off with your "flattering" bullshit. By "flattering," you mean "you will appear to be less fat and repulsive if you wear this." By "flattering" you mean "slimming."
Fuck flattering.

*"Tummy Control"
Thank you for talking to me as if I was three years old, Dickface.
Please take your "tummy control" and stick it where the sun don't shine.
The only "tummy control" I care about is my digestion. When my digestion is off, I don't feel good.
My abdomen has a roll. Period. I'm not going to stuff it into something resembling a sausage casing to "control" it.

You know, I was simply looking for a fucking pair of pants that would be comfortable and not cost me an arm and a leg. I really wasn't looking to be patronized and reminded that society thinks that I should be thin or dead and really doesn't care which.
Fuck you.

Thankfully, I discovered the Ulla Popken website, which, thus far, has not used any patronizing descriptions for their clothing.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Carpe Diem Summer Challenge 2019: Sundown

Doomed version 7
Photoshop manipulation by The Real Cie

Some sundowns rise on another day of loss and one day set forever on a self ravaged by a broken mind.


Sundowning is a term for confusion in a dementia patient which worsens as evening comes on. Towards the end of his life, my father, who had vascular dementia, was sundowning. He confused reality with events on television. 
My father was a college professor. I have cared for more than one college professor or other people whose work revolved around using their mind who ended up with dementia. The junk science sharticles which proclaim that exercising your mind helps prevent dementia make me see liquid murder. 
You know what helps prevent dementia? Not having the DNA trigger for dementia coded in your genetic makeup. You could watch nothing but reruns of Jersey Shore and the Flavor of Love for your entire life and not end up with dementia if the trigger for dementia isn't in your DNA. I don't recommend it, but you could.
Dementia is horrible. It destroys lives. The least we could do is not insult those suffering from dementia and their caregivers and loved ones by publishing victim-blaming crap. 

Image created by The Real Cie

Copyright taysuffocation
I'm hoping one day to get this tattooed on my arm in honor of my father

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm

Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm

A beautiful image, a striking poem.
As someone for whom depression is status quo, I relate to these words. When I was younger and much more religious, I believed that I was depressed because I was a bad person, unworthy of happiness. Now I know it simply is what is. I can't will it away, and I am no less worthy than people who are naturally happy.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Carpe Diem Summer Challenge: Red Sweat

Image by Isabella Quintana from Pixabay

A warning that today's prompt did not invoke in me the feeling it would in a person with a normal history when it comes to sex. I instead ended up having a physical flashback. I have not had good experiences in this area. My work addresses this, and thus I give you the opportunity to leave my work unread.
The late 1990s were extremely difficult. My mental illness would not be properly diagnosed until 2004 when I was closing in on 40 years old. Self-harm became a way of coping when I was in my early teens. When I tried to talk to anyone about what had happened to me, they only tried to push drugs on me in the case of medical "experts" and didn't listen when I told them that the drugs only made my situation worse. I have always had paradoxical responses to drugs such as benzodiazepines, and SSRI's make me manic and psychotic, although I didn't know that was what was happening at the time.
My family's response when I told them what had happened was to tell me that I got over it before and could get over it again. 
I had no support and in swooped another predator who saw his chance of getting something he wanted from a very vulnerable person. I have written horror stories from the time I was quite young, and one might think that I would compare this individual to a vampire. Incorrect. He was a ghoul.
My poem is not about impassioned lovers wrestling as one. It is about a discarded and misunderstood person wrestling with herself. It has taken me more than 20 years to finally begin to forgive her for being so broken and allowing predators to harm her repeatedly.

What happened last year
You capitalized upon
Red sweat on my arms


Carpe Diem Summer Love + The Tuesday Platform: Love is Love on aHot Summer Night

Can you tell me why
It troubles you so badly
To see him love him
Perhaps you would do better
To concern you with yourself


Ghost Town Grover Sez: "I don't git bothered none with who's zoomin' who. Only thing is I ain't too keen on folks doin' them dang PDAs durin' poker night here at the ole Grover Hotel. I don't care if it's Adam an' Eve or Adam an' Steve or Annie an' Eve. If yer suckin' face is disturbin' my concentration so's I'm losin' every hand to Cactus Clem, I ain't gonna be none too pleased. Git a room, or go out to the swimmin' hole like them fellers in the picture!

Cactus Clem Sez: "I'm okay with folks givin' each other a kiss fer luck on poker night, 'cause I usually have a really lucky night when they do. 

Support the Grover Hotel Renovation Project! Visit the Good Stuff from Grover blog to follow the misadventures of Cactus Clem, Ghost Town Grover, the Ornery Old Lady, and their friends and family, plus get updates on the renovation proceedings.
You might also consider trying some of this Cactus Candy. Grover and the Ornery Old Lady recommend it, and Cactus Clem certifies that ain't no Cactus People was harmed in the making of this here candy.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Carpe Diem Renga with Jane Reichhold: Placing the Flute

wind perfumed
from a woman's shoulder
desert night
beauty of the soul hidden
beneath harsh exterior

dancing on the beach
I jab a stick into the sky
to break up the blue
blue for those loved by the world
sky is never blue for me

days so complete
words become the calls of birds
the high tide wind
what would it be to feel joy
satisfied at the day's end

placing the flute
against her lips something
slips into place
stupid girl that I once was
believing I could be more

I'm not old
all night my eyes have held
the ancient stars
I was broken before birth
my heart has never been young

moon white water
lovers in the secret cove
Saturday night
I walk on by full knowing
there is nothing there for me

~Jane & Cie~

It's possible that for once in my train wreck of an existence I managed to follow directions and didn't, say, create Troiku where Renga was called for. SMDH at my failure to brain when it comes to even the simplest things.
The Hokku (Haiku) of these Renga were created by Jane Reichhold (1937 - 2016). The Ageku (two-line stanza) were created by me.

Real Cie Reviews: An Equally Worthy Child

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.
This is a duplicate of my review of this product on Amazon.

This brief book gets right to the point in addressing a problem which is extremely prevalent in a society demanding a certain very specific variety of excellence and perfection from all its citizens. The author initially discusses her own feelings of being "less worthy" despite being a good student who was accepted by her peers and growing up in a stable household where she was treated well by her parents and her needs were provided for.

The age-old nature vs. nurture debate is addressed in the book. The author provides evidence that the nurture component is the one which plays a key role in whether or not a person feels worthy. Even individuals who grow up in impoverished circumstances may feel equally worthy if feelings of worth were modeled by their parents and passed on to them.

As someone who grew up in a household where accomplishments, a certain type of very narrowly defined physical attractiveness, and wealth were measures of success, I failed in every way. I learned at a very young age that I was a "bad" child and not worthy. My parents saw themselves as failures. As often happens in such a situation, there is one child who excels and one who constantly fails. My brother was an overachiever who pushed himself well beyond his limits constantly. Although he was not a stellar student, he excelled in other areas such as sports, and he was very popular. I was a B student who was physically uncoordinated, I was physically unattractive, and I was the target of bullying. I used drugs and alcohol to cope with the cruel way I was treated by my peers, with my parents' evident disappointment in me, and with my then-undiagnosed mental illness.

The author's revelations of her own struggles spoke to me, although her experiences were not the same as mine. This book is written in an easy-to-read fashion without talking down to its audience. It addresses a serious societal problem: the push to create a society populated by only the sorts of people who reach a very high bar in areas of perceived physical attractiveness and personal accomplishment. Anyone who falls below these ludicrously elevated standards is not only "less worthy," they "deserve" to be treated as less than human, not even afforded the common decency of being allowed to live their lives in peace and basic comfort. Those who do not measure up "deserve" to be dehumanized, ridiculed, and forced to live in poverty according to these twisted standards.

The author postulates that everyone has a place and that everyone deserves to be treated as having an equal measure of worth. It is fine to praise people for high accomplishments, but those who cannot or do not wish to strive for such accomplishments are no less worthy than those who are society's "high achievers." I quite agree with the author on this point. Our world would be a much better place if we treated all people as equally worthy, regardless of their perceived ambition, attractiveness, intellect, innovation, or ability to perform for an audience. I believe that people as a whole would be much happier and there would be far fewer deaths caused by stress-related illnesses, far less anxiety and depression due to perceived personal inadequacy, and, thus, a greatly reduced suicide rate.

My criticism regarding the book is minor. I too learned to use "he" as the default in writing about a person whose sex is unspecified. From my point of view, this is archaic and sets men and boys as the default and women and girls as an aberration or second-class person.

I would also like to see the term "overweight" disappear. Over what weight? If the person is large or heavy, refer to them as large or heavy. We have all been taught to "other" larger people, and terms like "overweight" and the even worse "obese" pathologize big folks. It is possible to point out society's prejudiced attitudes towards heavy people without othering those people.

Aside from these issues, I have nothing but praise for this book. It is a brief, thought-provoking read written in simple language. I recommend it to everyone who has ever felt "less worthy" or who has pushed themselves to the breaking point to prove their worth. A job well done by a bright, thoughtful, and fully worthy individual!


Friday, July 5, 2019

Fat Friday #7: Our Society's Toxic Pretty Prejudice

There has always been such an onus on possessing a certain kind of beauty, which I never have, to be certain. I developed an eating disorder when I was 12 years old because I was so terrified of becoming fat. At this point I am fat, and so what? As J.K. Rowling said, “Is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me.”
I still struggle with my toxic relationship with ED, but at this point, it's not really by choice. I'm food insecure, so I tend to ration food and eat only one or two meals a day. ED starts praising me, and I tell him to fuck off. I would like to be able to eat three meals a day plus snacks. Starvation syndrome is for--well, nobody should have to experience it. It sucks. By the way, still fat, and if that matters to anybody, they really need to check themselves.
Why is such emphasis placed on being a pretty decoration with no real skills or personality? It's something I learned over the years, that if I wasn't pretty in a certain way, I was nothing. Having been molested at a young age, I already saw myself as monstrous. Most days it's a fight to even see myself as just ordinary rather than horrible. It shouldn't be that way.


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Insecure Writers' Support Group July 2019

The question for this month's Insecure Writers' Support Group is what personal traits have you written into your characters?
Insecurity, mostly.
I guess there are a lot of people out there who are extremely self-assured, completely mentally stable, have no phobias, no PTSD, and are completely secure in the belief that their partner would surely never leave them because they are that extra swell.
I am not that person.
I don't write about those kinds of people, because I find it impossible to relate to them.
Anyway, such characters are called Mary Sue and Gary Stu, and they're boring.
I found out the hard way that people have a lot of misconceptions about those of us who are insecure and who may have a toy or two in the attic, a red under the bed, and a little yellow man in our head.
My story in the most recent WEP challenge featured a young vampire named Bernie. I'm not sure I ought to be saying the v-word because it might get me piled on again, but I'm feeling contrary, so I'll let my freak flag fly.
Bernie regains consciousness to find himself in a 5 x 5 windowless cell. Now, I guess nobody who read this story is claustrophobic, because many people wondered why Bernie was behaving as if his marbles had been taken away. The way Bernie was acting made perfect sense to me. I hate taking elevators because I'm always afraid the damn thing is going to get stuck, and I'm claustrophobic as anything.
So, Bernie behaved the way I would have behaved if I woke up to find myself in a 5 x 5 cell.
Now all you cool, calm and collected people know how a person who is claustrophobic behaves in a confined space. They freak the hell out.
Bernie's captors torment him psychologically, convincing him that his boyfriend, who is being held prisoner as well, sold him out for his own freedom and went off to be with a love interest from his past. 
The myriad of self-assured individuals who read the story didn't understand when Bernie's doubts overwhelmed him and he broke down, assuming the worst. They assumed that Bernie, who is a character in his mid-twenties, must be a teenager, because, apparently, between the ages of 12 and 19, one is a tightly-wound, neurotic ball of quivering self-doubt, but once a person hits twenty, boom, they are completely secure in themselves and know that no-one would ever betray someone as stellarly flawless as they are.
I guess I must have missed out on this step in my evolution, because I'm thirty-four years beyond twenty, and my insecurities screwed up any relationship I had where I wasn't betrayed first. So, there you have it.
I wrote Bernie as being insecure and naive, but a teenager he isn't. He thinks the world of his boyfriend, a fellow who is actually worthy of his trust, and he tends to find it difficult to believe that he could deserve someone so awesome. He does, in fact, deserve all the awesomeness that comes his way. You see, Bernie is much nicer than I am. I'm kind of a defensive asshole.
Bernie isn't the only character who embodies my insecurities. All of my characters are broken in one way or another. You will never find a Mary Sue or Gary Stu in any of my Universes.