Thursday, October 31, 2019

Carpe Diem #1773: Tanka: Bury Me on the Lone Prairie

when my time is done
I want my last breaths to be
on the lone prairie
not in a hospital room
I leave with the whistling wind


You happier chappies are probably saying "ugh, there goes that gloomy old Cie with another gloomy poem." But I don't think this poem is gloomy. I think it's real.

I worked in long-term care for most of the 25 years that I was in the medical field. I think that people who work in this setting tend to become very adamant that we do not want to end up dying in a medicalized setting.

My father died in a hospice center. It was a peaceful place with a spacious, comfortable room. He was in constant pain and losing his capacity to think and remember things. It was much better than being in a hospital or nursing home. But for myself, I don't want my end to be even that medicalized. I want to look out the window and see my Lone Prairie before I rise up and walk away on the wind that constantly blows in these parts.

Ghost Town Grover Sez:
"Dagnabit, Ornery, ya morbid ole cuss! Ya done went and made Cactus Clem gloomy with all yer chatter about croakin'. Now, I know I'm a ghost, but I've been a ghost fer near to 110 years. We ghosts like to whoop it up on Halloween night, but I ain't gonna be doin' much whoopin' it up if I've gotta be tryin' to cheer Cactus Clem up. So, what the heck are you gonna do about it?"

Image by nancy sticke from Pixabay

Cactus Clem Sez:
"Aw, thanks Ornery! Them ghost puppies is jest the thing to cheer a feller!"

FOAD Thursday: "Think Thin" foods

It's not that Think Thin's food tastes bad. 

Their instant oatmeal is less sweet than Quaker's instant oatmeal, plus it has added protein and fiber.

Their snack bars taste pretty good.

But they can FOAD with their push for obsession on thinness.

"Think Thin."

In other words, obsess about your weight. 

It doesn't matter if you feel better physically when you aren't fashionably emaciated.

It doesn't matter if you have no energy when you're fashionably emaciated.

It doesn't matter if the hair on your head starts falling out while the hair on your body increases and your periods stop although you're too young for menopause and you become prone to stress fractures when you become fashionably emaciated.

It doesn't matter if you think about food constantly because your body is malnourished.

It doesn't matter if you'd rather focus on other things beside your weight, either because its stupid to obsess about your weight in the first place, or because you have a history of eating disorders so you don't want to obsess about your weight, or you have a fucked-up endocrine system so you know you're always going to be fat unless you become critically ill.

You need to THINK THIN, Bitch.

Because nothing is more important than being thin.

Not satiation.

Not happiness.

Not peace of mind.

Better deat than fat, amirite?

There is nothing worse in the world than being fat.

So, you better THINK THIN!

No matter what you'd rather be doing, THINK THIN!

No matter if you want to make peace with yourself because trying to hate yourself thin is a fucking waste of time and energy.


Obsess on that thinness, you bitches!

Obey the edict that grown-ass women should look like pre-pubescent girls.

And be subservient like pre-pubescent girls.


How about fuck right off with that shit?

Honestly, it would have been better if they'd named this product High in Fiber So You Can Take A Proper Poop. Or Eh, It Tastes Better Than The Wrapper It Came In. Or, This Shit Doesn't Have As Many Preservatives As Some Similar Shit. 

Anything but Think Thin.

So, here's a big fat FOAD for the manufacturers of Think Thin products for this Thursday's FOAD.

Monday, October 28, 2019

About Me Monday: The Dark Half

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Trigger warning/content warning/warning warning/danger danger:
Discussion of suicide ideation. 
If you don't want to read about that, don't read this post.

Would you like to know the practical problem with being thrown on a downward spiral?

Have you guessed that I'm going to tell you anyway?

"With" is correct in this case, Grammarly. Not "of." Fuck off.


The practical problem with falling down the hole is having to re-establish my productivity patterns after making a break with them in favor of Netflix and Brood While Hoping the Asteroid Obliterates The Earth Soon So I Can Quit Feeling Like This.

Seeing as my brain is (as I have explained before) like one of these fucked-up spiderwebs...

Click to enlarge

"Like" is correct in this case, Grammarly. Not "as." Fuck off again.

Anyway, my brain is a Peyote spiderweb or an LSD spiderweb. Those look normal at first, but on closer examination, they aren't.

I think it's freaky that the Peyote and LSD spiderwebs look more normal than the Caffeine spiderweb. I drink coffee and tea all the time for "mental clarity." Or maybe just because I like them, seeing as apparently in a person with ADD, caffeine really doesn't do jack shit for your mental clarity. This is why I can drink coffee and then go to sleep, no problem, except for the fact that I am perhaps a bit more likely to wake up having to pee two hours later. Which might happen anyways, so it's kind of a crapshoot.

Anyway, enough about my caffeine consumption. The OCD part of my synaptic fuckery (yes, I really do have OCD, I'm not using it as a euphemism for "hyper-organized," which I am not) hates like a motherfucker when my patterns get disrupted. I don't have an exact time of day for getting things done--the bipolar part of my synaptic fuckery hates the fuck out of rigid deadlines--but I do like to have certain things done on certain days at a certain period in the day. For instance, I like to have my Monday morning "share this shit around with these certain blog hops" post done in the morning. Not "at *8:15 sharp" or even "by ten," just "in the morning." Because that is how I roll.

When my shit psyche has decided to take me off the rails into "fuck everything, it all sucks" town, and I have gotten nothing accomplished, my pattern is fucked for the day, possibly for the week, and I am anxious as fuck.

This is why I start wanting to throw shit whenever some clown-ass shrink sells a book claiming that people can be "cured" of mental illness if you just follow their sage wisdom, which is probably the same fucking "sage wisdom" that some other fucker touted in some other book, and it probably involves Stopping that Stinkin' Thinkin' and instead Thinking Positive, Say Halleluja, and Boy Howdy, You are Cured! And if you aren't you're doing it wrong. Kind of like with all the cabbage soup Special K Weight Watchers Jenny Craig Nutrisystem Medifast Slimfast Alli Atkins Detox Tea Shit Your Pants In Public and Be A Fucking Grouch that No-One Can Stand To Be Around Because Your Ass is Fucking Starving And This Shit Only Works Long-Term For About 5% Of People diets out there. If the millionth one of these crap-ass bullshit not enough nutrition to keep a fucking ant alive diets doesn't work long-term for the dieter, it's always the dieter's fault and not the fault of a flawed-ass program designed to keep you paying into a flawed and fucked system forever while you remain filled with self-loathing for your entire miserable life.

But my misanthropic self digresses.

You can't "cure" mental illness any more than you can cure type 2 diabetes with whatever brand of snake oil or mantras or "defining yourself" or whatever the fuck bullshit they're spouting. Type 2 diabetes occasionally goes into remission. Occasionally. It can never be cured. Myself, I ain't going to bank on it going into remission because that's highly unlikely. I'm going to go with Reality Bites on this one, use my insulin, and other than that, try not to obsess about the fact that this fucking disease makes me multiple times more vulnerable than your average 54-year-old for strokes and kidney failure. It wouldn't do me one damn bit of good to obsess about that shit, so I'm not going to. Not the same thing as being in denial, I'm fully aware that I have diabetes. But it's not going to cure me to think about it all day long or to try to pray it away or wave magic wands at it or eat only bran and some sort of overpriced oil for the rest of my life. 

With mental illness, you don't cure it, you learn techniques to cope with your fucked and broken brain. Nobody has ever "cured" mental illness. They have taught people to deal with shit. That's all. If you're lucky, you find a sympathetic shrink who will help you learn some coping skills and hopefully teach you how to get along with yourself rather than just teaching you to be an obedient little cog in the machine. If you're not lucky, well, welcome to the club. I've never resonated with mental health professionals. I always feel like they're not listening to what I'm really saying. Some of them are sort of pleasant to shoot the shit with, the rest just piss me off. Most of them have nothing to offer me. So, I'll make do with what I can do. It's cheaper, both in terms of money and time lost.

Because I have rapid-cycling type 2 bipolar disorder, I've had people imply that it's no big deal when I go down the hole, because I'll cycle back up again within a week to ten days. This is true to a degree, although circumstances do impact mood and feeling ignored and ostracized can keep me down for longer. On the other hand, sometimes I just need to be left the fuck alone for a while. An adorable little bundle of contradictions, me.

I read that statistically, people with type 2 bipolar disorder are more likely to commit suicide than people with bipolar 1 or schizophrenia. On the surface, this doesn't make sense. Since bipolar 2 presents with hypomania rather than full mania and people with bipolar 2 don't experience psychosis, wouldn't this mean that they are more capable of reasoning things out?

What it means is that people with bipolar 2 do not experience altered states and therefore tend not to experience the euphoria which sometimes (by no means always) accompanies a full mania. I've only experienced full mania when taking SSRIs and I don't know how anyone handles that state. I was tremendously agitated and nothing made any damn sense at all. I did not experience euphoria. It was like my entire body was electrified and I just wanted to turn it the fuck off, but I couldn't. Bipolar 2 does not come with full mania, although when untreated, I did at times experience giddiness surrounding a given situation. When I realized that I was mistaking giddiness for happiness and that I have only experienced actual happiness a handful of times in my life, that right there kind of made me want to off myself. It was really discouraging.

Similarly, people with bipolar 2 do not experience hallucinations or delusions (except when taking narcotics, at least in my case). The metaphysical part of my belief system thinks that it's possible that for people with schizophrenia, the barrier between worlds is not closed and they see creatures such as elementals and spirits all the time. Whatever the case, for people with Bipolar 2, we are aware of the world as it is. This means we are more likely to aware that reality, in fact, does fucking suck, and sometimes we are not able to Stop That Stinkin' Thinkin'. The more we look at our crap-ass, hopeless situation, the more hopeless we feel. There is no magic fairy dust. There is no Happy Ever After. There is only more of the same fucking shit to look forward to because even if we pull ourselves out of this round of fuckery, we're just back on the same roller coaster. As Sylvia Plath (who had bipolar disorder) said:

"To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.

How did I know that someday—at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere—the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?"

--Sylvia Plath (27 October 1932 - 11 February 1963)

As I have learned, it does descend, again and again and again.


OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 28: Broken Pieces

I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you, Sunshine
You see, I'm feeling discouraged today
You see, my obsessive-compulsive, bipolar, attention-deficient brain
Is not complying with this idea of acceptance
You see, my quivering fuckery of a personality is feeling anything but precious
Some days she can fool herself that she's healing
That she's regaining her strength
Today is not that day
And tomorrow isn't looking so hot either
Do not come 
To my run-down, battered, dilapidated, war-torn house in the bad part of town
Looking for a bright beacon of light
Or some fucking Hallmark Channel story about the horrible old hag
Who was cured of her mental illness
And suddenly became young and pretty
You will not find her here
On the wrong side of the Cosmos
Swilling her bitter bitches brew
Wondering if today is the day when she walks off down the road
Into the cold
And lets nature take its course
Like it should have long ago
I have some bad news for you, Sunshine
Today is not that day
And tomorrow is not looking so hot either
All bad things must come to an end
But today is not that day
Maybe tomorrow
Who the hell knows?
In the meantime, I sip my bitches brew
And try to kill off the remaining feelings
Wherever they may hide
Deep inside
The toxic moonlight bipolar negative blacklight supernova
That lies at the very heart of me


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 22: Broken Pieces

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

I was born broken
Broken under a bad sign
Sign that says "keep away"
Away from this heart of mine

I will never be whole
Whole life spent with a heavy heart
Heart that was broken before I was born
Born into a life that tore me apart

You'll never find me embracing light
Light and lies are all the same
Same pretenders to goodness everywhere
My strength lies in not playing their game

I run for my life, hide from the light
Light which exposes too much of my soul
Soul embracing the darkness inside
Inside a broken heart long gone cold


Loop Poetry is a poetry form created by Hellon. There are no restrictions on the number of stanzas nor on the syllable count for each line. In each stanza, the last word of the first line becomes the first word of line two, last word of line 2 becomes the first word of line 3, last word of line 3 becomes the first word of line 4. This is followed for each stanza. The rhyme scheme is abcb.

Sorry, but your girl Cie ain't feeling the whole question and answer part of the prompt. Make of this poem what you will.

Song inspirations follow!

Monday, October 21, 2019

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 21: Screaming Inside Myself

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I'm screaming into the wind
enough is enough
I've had it with having to let go

nobody ever wants to hold on
to the ugly one
to the one no-one pursues

to the one men go out with on a dare
memories of being the laughingstock
overwhelm me

I want to hide inside forever
I want to dance a little
but my body is broken

I don't laugh and sing in my dreams
I don't expect anything
except more rejection

don't reach out
stay inside
run and hide

nobody hears
and if they hear they don't listen
and if they listen

they don't understand
I'm forever screaming inside myself
because I know nobody hears


Sorry, but I'm rubbish at making shape poems and I just got through writing a book review and I haven't even gotten to writing a chapter in my own story yet, so you get this tortured-scream free verse, in part inspired by the song I'm about to share, one to which I've been able to relate to all too well in my life.
Please, I implore you, this is one of those don't try to fix me pieces. Let me let it bleed. If there's one place a person ought to be able to express the dark, the bitter, the broken, that place is poetry.
Also, please don't say "I hope this isn't autobiographical."
It is, and saying that will not make it not autobiographical.
Let me let it bleed.
The aftermath of bullying is forever.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #107: Soliloquy No Renga: One Starry Night

one starry night
to make that one painting -
the rustling leaves
as summer draws to a close
and the green leaves turn to gold

on one starry night
so many years in the past
years rushed by so fast
a foolish girl made a wish
that could never come to pass

she would never be
Venus Anadyomene
more Pickman's model
never seen through eyes of love
always used and tossed aside

the rustling of leaves
as they crunch beneath the shoes
of a broken crone
step hobbled and hair of gray
dead dreams lie within her heart

summer draws to close
life's flame is growing dimmer
she hides in the dark
tortured by the memory
of a girl who wanted more

green leaves turn to gold
golden strands of hair to gray
no matter the shade
she was never beautiful
her heart is cold as winter

~Chèvrefeuille & Cie~

The first Hokku was created by Chèvrefeuille. The rest of this mess you can blame on me.
Shout-outs to Sandro Botticelli and H.P. Lovecraft. Can you spot their influence?

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Living a Dream: WEP Entry: Alcoholic Annihilation

Living a Dream: WEP Entry: Alcoholic Annihilation: Writing Challenge for October - WEP + IWSG Golden orbs, a blush of pink on their cheeks, sway and bob from branches...

A fine description of alcoholism. My maternal grandmother died at 75 from complications of alcoholism and the cousin who is closest in age to me in that family (I'm 54) has developed alcohol-related dementia. There is a fair bit of alcoholism in my family, and given my mental health issues and addictive personality, it's surprising that I dodged the bullet.

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 19: Purple

Image by Ron Rev Fenomeno from Pixabay

Purple feels like my deep dreams
When I'm wrapped in royal mystery
Purple feels like I've been redeemed

Purple feels like the wildest scenes
From my debauched history
Purple feels like my deep dreams

When inspiration bathes me in lavender beams
So bright that they should blister me
Purple feels like I've been redeemed

My purple prose soothes my soul's tortured screams
Though my detractors scorn my work bitterly
Purple feels like my deep dreams

Purple bruise in my heart which can't be seen
By those who sneer that my dreams are frippery
Purple feels like I've been redeemed

I fade into my purple dreams
And all the world fades for me
Purple feels like my deep dreams
Purple feels like I've been redeemed


Image copyright David Redfern

Anyone who knows me at all ought to be massively unsurprised that I'm dedicating this one to Jimi.

Friday, October 18, 2019

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 18: Disappointment

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Fair warning that the following is salty, blasphemous, and should not be read in polite company or impolite company either. Probably more a rant than a poem.

The first time I was disappointed
I was probably a baby
Whose annoying crying was ignored

But the first time I remember
Really feeling heartbroken
I was three years old

I found a dead butterfly
And was hurt to realize
That the God I was taught to worship

Left this creature broken
Knowledge such as this
Was supposed to strengthen my faith

Teach me to engage in prayer
To beg God for mercy
But as it happens

I don't care to worship
A God you're supposed to fear
I gave up years ago

Giving devotion to a deity
Who wants my piety
But knows no mercy

Whenever I feel broken
And am fool enough to express myself
Someone feels the need to tell me

That this too shall pass
These words don't bring me comfort
These words are kerosene

Those words stir up my ire
My ire is the fire
To ignite their lily ass


OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 17: Do You Remember?

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Do you remember when we had all our lives ahead
In times before hope was replaced by dread
Do you remember all the sunshine days
Back when life was a place to play

The best of people in the world was my brother
Over him I'd never have chosen any other
 In the times before everything turned gray
Back when life was a place to play

Your sister became someone broken within
Who had no idea how to repair her sin
Your sister still wonders if we can return one day
Back when life was a place to play

I would have chosen you as my friend regardless of blood
My love for you is real, my brother, my bud
Can we turn back although our hair's gone gray
Back when life was a place to play?


My brother is four years younger than me. I was there when he was born. He made his way into the world quickly.
As children, we were very close. But time, circumstances, and misunderstandings have driven us apart, something I would not have been able to believe could happen when I was a child.
Honestly, this is rather a vulnerable point for me and I would appreciate compassion if one feels the need to say anything.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 16: Harried to the Grave

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

it does not matter
matter one measure if
if you measure your time
time on an Apple watch
watch your time on an old
old beat-up analog tick-tick 
tick-tick the sound
sound as time is running out
out of your wasting life
life where triumphs come
come slowly and don't seem
seem to stick around at all
all the while your life is wasting
wasting away fast as a wish
wish you would stop
stop giving away 
away all your me time
time to see time as
as a commodity time
time does not come free
free time does not align
align with being a successful
successful mess who never
never ever stops
stops to wind her old watch
watch time slip away 
away until one day 
day when there are
are no more days
days are numbered from the first
first moment you take a breath
breath that leads to death
death comes for us all
all of us must fall
fall back into the time
time when time didn't matter 
matter meant nothing
nothing meant anything
anything was possible
possible dreams
dreams become schemes
schemes become obsession
obsession consumes life
life becomes lie
lie down and die
die and become
become as you were before earth
earth before your birth 


I was always one of those "I'll sleep when I'm dead" kinds of people. I worked long hours at physically taxing jobs. I worked long weeks filled with long hours. I was proud of being able to push myself well past the limits. 
My diabetes got worse, I had a small stroke, and I had a severe injury to the median nerve in my left arm. My ability to work long hours at physically difficult jobs was gone forever. At the point when I had a small stroke, I was fired from my job as a home health nurse.
I live with fairly frequent suicide ideation, but the actual planning levels are pretty low as a rule. After I was fired, I started making plans to commit suicide because I felt like the world's worst fuck-up, like without my job I was nothing. 
This is not going to be one of those "oh, but I'm so glad I didn't because I found God, got down to a single-digit pants size, somehow started looking half my age, married GQ Cover Model Guy, and now my life is a Hallmark Channel movie" stories. 
Still a crabby, fat, romanceless, agnostic, middle-aged, broke-ass curmudgeon. Still would be homeless if it wasn't for my son's kindness. 
But I am glad I didn't commit suicide because if I had I wouldn't have been able to help my son get this house, and I wouldn't have found me.
Me is kind of an asshole, but we're on better terms these days now that I've had the time to get to know her a little.
Also, I have a feeling that sometimes those Hallmark Channel happy crappy stories about pretty people hooking up and living happily ever after might even make some people depressed. Like, you know, me. I think some people may need to know that an old crabby fat bitch learned that old, crabby, fat bitches have something to offer too without changing one fucking thing about themselves.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday: Departing Autumn

a clam
torn from its shell
departing autumn
cold stabs the soul like a knife
I retreat inside my shell

~Basho & Cie~

The Hokku stanza of this Tan Renga was created by Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694). The Ageku (two-line) stanza was written by me.

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 15: Mother May I Be a Mother (Choka)

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

when I was pregnant
it was a surprise to me
planned for adoption
told I could never give birth
it was not my wish
but it turned out for the best


Because I had PCOS, I was told that I would never be able to have children. 
I married young and had been married for 6 years. We used no form of birth control because we believed we couldn't have children. We planned to adopt. 
While on vacation to Montana and Canada in 1989, I started feeling sick. This was shortly after the death of one of my childhood friends, who was working as a park ranger in Yellowstone. She slipped into a river and drowned. One of the places we went to see was the site where she died. I was having nightmares and wondered if my queasy feeling was due to the trauma of losing my old friend.
I felt sick for a month straight.
Figuring I was dying (and not entirely unhappy about that prospect because my life had never been particularly gleeful) I went to the doctor. She ran some tests.
I rather melodramatically asked her if I had a tumor.
She laughed and said "of a sort, I suppose. It will resolve on its own in approximately seven and a half months."
She gave me a referral to an OB/GYN.
For some reason when the nurse practitioner asked how I felt about being pregnant, it pissed me off. I didn't let on that the question made me angry, but I didn't like it. The answer, really, was surprised. I said I supposed I was okay with it. She asked me to elaborate, saying that I didn't sound convinced that I was okay. I said "well, I wasn't expecting it since I wasn't supposed to be able to have children. I'm fine with it." 
I guess she wanted me to be jumping for joy and walking about with balloons and banners announcing my thrill over my unexpected miracle pregnancy. I was okay with being pregnant (other than the non-stop nausea) but the rest of my life was a mess. I had a plethora of untreated psychological problems and nowhere to turn, and I hated my job.
After my son was born, my marriage started to fall apart. My now ex-husband and I were polar opposites, and both of our families were invasive and emotionally unsupportive. He's an Aspie and I had undiagnosed bipolar disorder type 2, borderline personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. We were oil and water as temperaments went. As time went on, we became verbally abusive to each other and eventually started getting into fistfights. There was no saving the marriage.
We got divorced when our son was four. We started getting along better as platonic friends once we were no longer living together. Since that time we have on occasion had a roommate situation due to financial necessity, but I've always been glad enough for that to end. We're family now and I hope will be so till the end.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #106: Turn Back Time: Flourishing Plum Blossoms in the Moonlight

Here is the original poem for today's revision exercise.

arranging the plum-flowers,
I would enjoy them in the light of the lamp,
as if in the moonlight

© Taigi (1709-1771)

Here is my follow-up:

muse's promise leads to
lonely life of poverty
and head full of dreams


I'm invoking the right to poetic expression here. My verse was inspired by this paragraph rather than directly by the featured poem.

"The original of the above haiku is even more difficult, literally: "arranging the plum, as if the moon, I would savour, lamp-light" (Wabiru translated 'enjoy', 'means' to live a life of poetry in poverty). The poet has arranged the flowers in a vase, and wishes to see them in the light of the moon, but there being no moon, he lights the lamp instead, and adds its light to the poetry and the beauty of the flowers."

I am sitting in a room which looks like a construction zone in a cold house with no working furnace, an old comforter wrapped around my legs and feet. I am wearing two pairs of socks. My hands are chafed and red from the cold. I have a space heater, which is cranked up to 90, but the little area I'm sitting in won't warm past 55, and it feels colder than that.

You know those damn Hallmark channel type movies about the romance writer living in genteel poverty, chipping devotedly away at her novel until G.Q. Cover Model Guy sweeps her away into a life of luxury and she becomes a best-selling author?

I have some bad news for you, Sunshine.

Those movies are bullshit.

Committed writers are more likely to be like me and my literary heroes H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.

We're committed to writing because otherwise, we'd be committed to the mental hospital, and ain't nobody wants to go there.

We're introverted, socially maladjusted, depressive, and will likely die in poverty, perhaps achieving posthumous fame at a later date.

The reality for our sort is much more likely to end like a Lovecraft or Poe story than a Hallmark Channel romance: poverty, death, and possibly delirium at the end of it all.

This has been your Spot of Cheer for this episode of "Cie is a Fucking Depressive Hag, Never Have Tea With the Gloomy Bitch."

Friday, October 11, 2019

Carpe Diem Renga with Issa: Sparrows

spring peace--
after rain, a gang war
garden sparrows
the seeds that I have planted
are a victory buffet

don't let the plum blossom guard
cut your tongues...
let voices be a whisper
until you are safely past

are the sparrows too
having a private party?
plum blossoms
no, I was not invited
I now watch from the window

while I watch
he's off to make a living alone...
baby sparrow
sometimes the ones who leave home
invite the parents to stay

living in harmony--
the sparrow has
both parents!
will the parents be able
to live in harmony too?

on the tip of the
newly sprouted bamboo...
a baby sparrow
a small and innocent thing
in a world without a heart

~Issa and Cie~

The Hokku stanzas in these Tan Renga verses were composed by Kobayashi Issa (June 15, 1763 – January 5, 1828). The Akegu stanzas were written by me.
The Akegu in the last three verses are references to my son, without whose kindness I would be homeless. The property he bought will eventually also become home to his father who is currently living in Arizona helping his own father. When his father passes, he will sell the place in Arizona and move here.
We were divorced in 1994 when our son was four years old, and we have lived in roommate situations since then, although I was always relieved when he moved on to something else if I am honest. That probably won't happen this time, due to compromises in his health as well as mine. However, this is a big enough place that we should be able to keep from killing each other.

Fat Friday #16 + Real Cie Reviews: Breakwater

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Rating: Four out of Five Stars

I received a free promotional copy of this book for review purposes.
If the book is purchased through the featured link, I earn a small commission.
This review appears on Amazon, Goodreads, and my review and writing blog, Horror Harridans Writing Sisterhood.

Breakwater is the second book in Errin Stevens’ Mer Chronicles series. Errin’s impressive storytelling skills make this book a fantastic, can’t-put-it-down read. Errin excels at world-building and character creation, and I really enjoyed getting to know more about the Sirens’ society. Breakwater deeper into the relationship between sirens and humans as well as into the Sirens’ archaic and sometimes draconian politics.

Breakwater offers plenty of mystery, intrigue, and surprises. I enjoyed learning more about some of the secondary characters. I had an affinity for Simon. As a “black sheep” in a Catholic family with strict ideas about right, wrong, and an individual’s “correct” role in life, I related to Simon’s distress at feeling that he was letting his family and community down as well as his resentment at being told what to do.

A startling revelation by Seneca throws the Blake family’s stable lives into upheaval, and a new, power-hungry antagonist is revealed, complete with nefarious ideals and a delightfully wicked demeanor. Duncan is a villain that readers will love to hate.

For those who enjoy intensity in their romance, Breakwater delivers. For my own part, I prefer the political intrigue aspect and find the romance to venture too far in the overly possessive direction. Although I like the sirens and found myself particularly resonating with Simon and his internal conflict, I find the male sirens’ interactions with human women controlling and coercive, more like a vampire compelling his victim than a would-be lover courting the object of his affections. Rather than cheering for the woman in the pair to get her man, I find myself thinking: “eek, no, run away!”

I really like Errin’s female characters, who are self-assured, driven, competent women. They are well-rounded, well-written, and realistic. Unfortunately, too much of their energy is spent dreaming of catching a man and lamenting not having a man to complete them.

Overall, the female characters are companionable and supportive of one another rather than being backstabbing and bitchy, a trope which is entertaining if one is watching reruns of Dynasty but tiresome otherwise. The women truly care about one another and embody what sisterhood means.

Breakwater is an exciting and inspiring story, and I truly wish I could give it five stars.

The main thing that stops me from doing so is the scene between the women at Sylvia’s café, where they discuss being “fat” (translate: pregnant), not wanting to “look like a beluga,” and other such unfortunate diatribe regarding any physique which is not slender and toned.

As a person who became bulimic at twelve due to fear of becoming fat, who developed a myriad of endocrine disorders which sealed the deal that I would become fat regardless of how much I restricted my food intake and engaged in orthorexia, and who spent the next 33 years trying to hate myself thin, I am well aware that this type of conversation takes place between millions of women every day. Women bond over size-shaming self-deprecation rather than encouraging one another regarding traits and skills unrelated to their physical appearance. The conversation is realistic, and it is horrible.

As a genuine, actual, bona fide fat person who fights to be at peace with my body multiple times a day every day, I can tell you that reading or hearing such a conversation is hurtful. What these conversations sound like to me is: “being fat is the very worst thing a person can possibly be. Being fat is ugly, disgusting, undesirable. Being YOU is the very worst thing a person could possibly be. I would do anything not to be like you.”

Writers, your larger readers, like all your readers, are looking for a moment of escape, not to be reminded that people see us as The Very Worst Thing A Person Can Possibly Be. We realize that we are unlikely to be portrayed as heroic and/or desirable in most stories but would appreciate not being represented as Things That Shouldn’t Be. Eating disorders are rampant. Let’s not waste our wonderful female characters reinforcing diet culture. Let’s let them be the amazing badasses they are, regardless of their size.

My other wish is that everyone would ditch the phrase “off their meds” immediately. Most people who live with mental health issues are not dangerous and do not stand out in any way. People with mental health issues tend to suffer in silence because of the unfortunate stigma surrounding mental illness. Nobody should be made to feel ashamed of whatever “meds” they take, whether their meds are for strictly physical or psychiatric conditions.

With those bones being picked, I rate Breakwater an overall compelling and well-written read and look forward to the next book in the series.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 9: What My Eyes Saw

I Blinked and the World Was Gone
Photoshop Manipulation by The Real Cie

My eyes saw that in the end
Everything was just a lie
Seeing is not believing
Hearing is deceiving
Truth is but a silent sigh
Perspective nothing but perception
Reality is, on one hand, subjective
And on the other hand as objective
As a knife to the spine
My eyes are but windows
To the lies my soul tells