Vagabond, a year

It’s been a year since I heard her voice.

It was straight and sober for a moment.

But, It wasn’t hopeful.

I said, Happy Birthday–

may you have a better year.

There was a chuckle

A heh heh.

Yeah, you can say that, she said.

It has to be.

That was a year ago today.

There’s been time and space.

Some days I don’t think of her at all.

Some I think of her too much.

I came across a box full of

photos of her: childhood, teens, the early 20s

the times not quite sober but not quite gone either.

In that box was a child of mine. A sister. A friend.

A memory.  Without anger. Without the fear.

Without the tic twitch of the not fully recovered.

Sometimes I wake up wondering where she is

Hoping if she’s alive whom ever she’s with

isn’t overwhelmed; isn’t leaving her.

Side of the road. Side of my head.

The Vagabond is still roaming.

 

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The Wearing of the Red

I read this poem I wrote at a rally today:

The Wearing of the Red (on International Women’s Day)

I am the color of …

Anger…of red in the face blush and shame

Of things perpetrated against us that we still cannot name

I am the color of…

Passion…of my own satisfaction…of a longing and desire so deep

that only I have the power to fill and execute the dreams of my sleep

I am the color of…

Heat…of fire and warmth, of rage and indignation

Against the ice and cold shoulder misogyny of our nation

I am the color of …

Good Fortune…a symbol of good luck, the possibilities unbound

With support and education and opportunity found

I am the color of …

Blood…of ancestral remembrance, the cycle of our bodies

Coming round to remind us, that we are not commodities

We are flesh. We are cells. We divide inward.

Our lives, our interiors, as important as any battlefield.

Our struggles the hard muck and guts of daily living

As vital a fight as anything thrown at us.

I wear red. I wear red like a bridal veil. I wear red like a promise. Like a weapon. Like a lover. Like a sister. Like a mother. Like a daughter. Like an honor.

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First Rehearsal Reveals

Listen to Your Mother Show Plumas County show is underway. First rehearsal in the bag. Find out the cast of characters for our 2017 show.

I’m proud to be back directing the LTYM show in Plumas County one more time! It’s getting harder and harder to write about the kids as they get older. Hopefully they’ll enjoy it too.

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Adding my voice

Roar Magazine is doing some important work. They’re posting an abortion story ever day of the year.

I added my voice to this project. Take a look at the sight when you get the chance. Given the political climate, it’s a brave act of honesty.

My Abortion Story. Thanks.

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Reading at Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, CA Feb. 15th

I’ll be doing a reading at Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, CA on Feb. 15! Come out and see me.

Throwing Chanclas

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Anyone in the Bay Area want to come to a reading? I’ll be there.

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Safe and Secure

“I just want us all to feel safe and secure…”

You wanna know what would make me feel safe and secure?

If I could trust that your people weren’t eager to

probe our vaginas with wands, that you weren’t sticking pens up in there to legislate what can and cannot be in me.

I would feel ‘safe and secure’ if I knew that education wasn’t about to be dismantled

or that you weren’t selling out our country to Russia.

Or that we will all still have clean drinking water.

Houses to live in that we can afford.

I would feel “Safe and Secure” knowing that our country still had scientists and doctors left to do their work unimpeded.

I would feel “safe and secure” if I knew that kids weren’t going to go hungry.

I would feel “safe and secure” knowing that no one working hard and struggling was getting deported on a whim of your pen.

I would feel ‘safe and secure’ if you called straight young white male Christian terrorists on their shit and kept guns out of their hands.

Safe and secure. Safe and secure, my ass.

Do you know what those words mean when 2/3rd of the country can’t sleep at night afraid to look at the news in the morning because of what you’ve destroyed?

Safe and secure while we play china shop to your bull and shit?

I don’t wanna feel safe, I wanna be safe.

Mother Earth is not safe in yours or your henchmens’ hands–

as you begin a constant torture and rape. Burrowing weak men’s holes into her,

filling her with metal and dust and your limp rage.

I wanna be safe in the knowledge that my body belongs to me,

that my brothers and sisters are free to love, free to work, free to live, free to read, free to travel, free to be

how ever they see fit just as long as it hurts no one and that

and that

is what will make us secure.

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The Last Thank You of 2016 — Library Project

Throwing Chanclas

….and it is two days late!

Much has been made of the disaster of 2016, with its notable take down of artists and musicians and cultural points of light and hope.

I kept thinking of Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time when the kids are with the Happy Medium and she is forced by one of the Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which etc to show the kids a happy planet, and a dark planet and then–she shows them Earth. Darkness of course, has  a strong hold on Earth. There is death and suffering and fascism reigning –but there are also those who fight the darkness.

It’s not that part that threw me as a child. I was well aware of darkness. But when the Mrs. W ensemble explain to the children that one can fight the darkness through love and through creation and through art is when my mind was opened up…

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…A Christmas Letter…Blog Style….

img_9984As I write this , the sky is bright baby blue. There is snow on the mountains, but none on the ground. It is icy cold, but not in a bitter way. There is some hopefulness in me and in the air.

So in a nutshell: on a personal level this year was certainly interesting. I mean–you all know why it sucked on a national and global level–I don’t have to rehash that (besides I think John Oliver did that best a couple of weeks ago anyhow).

This was my first whole year of NOT TEACHING. Which is to say that even though teaching doesn’t pay crap, it actually pays more than writing. So my first full year of post teaching was successful in some senses (figuring out what the hell I’m doing and you know the first year of any new career is always rough that way. But I wouldn’t go back or change my life in anyway that would put me back where I was. So yay.

I couldn’t do any of this career switching without my family–specifically my mom and husband but also my dad and his wife as well. Whether it be phone guidance or taking the kids for awhile or costco runs or great health insurance–I am lucky and being taken care of in many ways. And it is reciprocal.

Happy Accidents. I didn’t realize that when I decided to be home in Greenville more that that would mean my kids were hitting the teen and tween years and probably would benefit from me being around more so YAY! Hooray for that one.

I feel like I did a lot of stuff this year but at the same time feel like I didn’t. Ever feel that way?  I decided to go back through my iCal and see what I could see of events and what not.

So going backwards here–trying to finish book proposal for my new non-fiction book manuscript Throwing the Curve about the rise of plus size alternative models. Like this one:

img_9508That’s me photographed like the hussy I am by Marilee Caruso in Vacaville. I wrote about the experience in the book and I got to meet some great women around the west coast who are in and around the body positive and plus size model scene.

I’m still DJing at Plumas Community Radio and this year because of my book I came up with the idea for a cool fundraiser. A Pin-Up Calendar of women in Plumas County! It’s on sale tonight at Quincy, CA downtown Sparkle event and on my etsy account: Pin-Ups for Plumas Community Radio. Catch my show on Wednesdays from 2-4 pm PST.

13-2(cover of calendar)

So that’s December. I’m also trying to edit a book of poems by a fellow Los Angeles poet Rafael Alvarado.

November of course SUCKED. A friend of mine’s husband died in a tragic accident. Election woes. But there were moments of sunshine. I had a trip to Los Angeles and North Orange County at the beginning of the month and got to speak on a panel at my alma mater Cal State Fullerton–which looks far better than it did when I went there.

In October Wretched Productions  produced my first ever audio book—eight creepy quirky and sometimes strangely erotic stories from Mary of the Chance Encounters. It can also be found on audible, iTunes, and all that. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it! Yay!

IMG_8804 My mom said it was very well-written but she thought it was too creepy and questioned what goes on in my head. To which I say: HA.

In September I participated in my first ever fashion show. Which felt often a little odd (I need to see where I am walking).

img_9372I wore my favorite Monica dress from http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com. Go PUG!

And OMG MY KIDS AND I WERE IN OUR FIRST FEATURE FILM AS ACTORS (ME WITH ADDITIONAL RANDOM CREDITS FOR BEHIND THE SCENES THINGS). CHECK OUT DOLLY DEADLY!

Dolly Deadly!

Then there was the summer. I hosted the annual Wayward Writers Retreat with writers who are alumni of Ariel Gore’s Literary Kitchen. I host it  here in Greenville and Quincy every summer.

 

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img_8448 We are an usual group as we do this with our kids sometimes:

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But the focal point of my summer was the Library Project. In June I wrote a blog post on my sister blog Throwing Chanclas asking for book donations to start a library at the local junior/senior high school Greenville and the charter based program Indian Valley Academy where my kids attend school. The response was overwhelming. We received about 15,000 books and other library amenities. We ran out of room. We gave away books to other schools and programs. It’s been awesome! It serves as the hopeful note in the year for me. People can be good. Really, really good. And people care about the brain atrophy of rural America.

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I met so many cool people in Plumas County this summer who came out of the woodwork to help put the library together! We opened up so many boxes. We are still sending thank you cards!

The spring is a blur of activity all geared towards writing–I got to go to Carmel with a blogging retreat, AWP in Los Angeles this year, readings at the Anarchist Book Fair in Oakland, readings in LA, cool stuff!

I got to see my dad both at his place in Green Bay (Thanks Dennis and Celeste for taking tweens/teens into your home you brave souls), and in Los Angeles in early Feb. Grandma who is 1995 scared us a few times with a few hospital and rehab visits. I got to take trips with my kids individually as well as together. And a couple trips with Jules by himself. So the year maybe wasn’t as bad as it seemed. There are high points after all!

I’m not kidding myself that the world isn’t bleak. It is. But I am in a fighting mode. That’s the thing with perimenopause. It makes the 15 year old in the pushing 50 year old go punk ass.

I’m getting political in 2017-2018.

I’m getting this book out too if it kills me.

I’m getting more things in at more places.

img_9990I have a part 2, to my play the sadgirl in the works as well as a musical homage to Tom Waits in the wings. I’ll be directing Listen to Your Mother Show one last time in Plumas County. I’ve got a few other surprises in store. I’m just going to keep doing the stuff that I feel like I do best and hopefully will make a difference. Hopefully someone pays me well to do something FUCK . SOON.

My kids don’t want me to write in my Christmas letter how proud I am of them but I am. They stand up for things, for people, for themselves. They are artists and thinkers and readers and sometimes a little jockish too.

I wish you peace this holiday season. I wish you warmth and rest. Like Mars and Ivy:

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I wish you twinkling lights too.

img_9988(We went and got our own tree in the woods the day after Thanksgiving like mountain folk do).

I guess I did some things this year. I need a nap. And perhaps a cocktail.

I wish you and I the strength we will need to save our world come 2017.

 

 

 

 

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That First Breath

I try not to love it–

I always side on the right side of the song writer

and less near the performer–

But that first breath of Hallelujah

when Buckley makes it his

takes me back to that room

with its misguided love and doom

the chandelier too low

the bed too high

and everything about us too romantic

too right place at the wrong time.

I fight it now–the way one fights oneself

when you know you didn’t win the war.

I melt through the notes of his guitar

I remember how you played me

through your finger tips.

A moment of hallelujah upon us

and then it ends.

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Dispatch from the Deep North up at Hip Mama

Up on Hip Mama today!

Throwing Chanclas

Dispatch from the Deep North

I thank my editor at Hip Mama for encouraging this post.

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