Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Writing Exercise

So, every day I think, "Gee, I should post a blog." Then I think, I don't have anytyhing to say and I don't post anything. And I suppose there's no reason I should feel guilty about it, because a blog is a voluntary thing; there's no compulsory posting. But I feel like since I have one I should post and post something significant.

I guess that I often have significant thinngs to say, but I'm afraid. Fear of Posting. Why? Gee, I don't know that I really want to go into this here. I think fear of posting is fear of writing is fear of being. I often feel that: afraid to be. Yesterday was really bad, with palpitations and nausea and the whole when people say, "Don't be afraid, just be!" like in some New Age and Buddhist camps, I get really angry because they're missing the point.

I told myself I would write just whatever popped into my head for 20 minutes and I just looked at my timer and only three minutes have gone by. Jeez.

"Just Being" is supposed to give you this wonderful feeling of liberation--like, wow, I've thrown off the constraints of society and gotten to what's underneath and now I realise the truth of my soul. the "I never knew who I was" moment of Satori. But for me, it's not like that. I always knew who I was and hardly ever went along with what society planned for me. And that led to problems. How can you stand against that weight? Everyone's always so..."Wake up and be yourself and you'll be free and it's wonderful;" they don't get the weight. Of course, when I'm myself I'm also not like the groups of people who suddenly made their personal discoveries and are all happy about it. I don't fit into any group--mostly because i'm smarter than 99% of the people on the planet. I also don't swallow the simple reasoning that most folks are so eager to swallow. Primary Source woman, that's me.

Six minutes to go and I wonder if I can keep this up. My thought processes seem to go all over the place. But I guess that's what I get with being bi-polar. It astounds me that no one got this for 25 years, but everyone was too attached to his or her idea that I was just some kid acting out from....who knows what. I mean, why do you think kids act out, anyway? And people still really don't want to hear about it. You know, I e-mailed all my siblings when I got diagnosed (finally) and only one of them even replied?? You'd think that at least I'd hear a "I'm so glad you finally got some answers." but All I got was silence.

That's my family for you. silent and stagnant and I think mostly no one replied because if they acccept the reality of my illness they also have to start looking at some other dysfunctional things about themselves. I wrote one of my sisters some years ago about the abuse and neglect in my family and she wrote back saying it never happened. Can you believe that? I never was able to ignore the elephant in the living room but I guess for some people ignoring it is all that lets them survive.

Time's up.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Nearly Wordless

Since reading the book I mentioned in my blog od December 14th--okay, let's be out with it; it was The Virgin Suicides--I have been wanting very much to write some kind of rebuttal. Something from the point of view, not of a teenage voyeur with very little empathy, but that of one of the objects of his obsession.

You never understood the suicides, but did you ever ask? To you, we were a curiosity. We did not look like you, talk like you, dress like you. The state of our house brought down the property values in the neighbourhood and you may not have understood why that was important but you knew that allowing this to happen made us other in some undefinable yet irredeemable way. You know this because the culture you were born into--a culture of Debutantes and Country Club lunches, a culture we never were and never could be part of--had already shaped you. And this is a sadness: the lines between us were drawn before we ever met.

And so you taunted us in early days. When we were children in grade school together you pulled pranks, called names. We had no defense. No one stood up for us in that sterile universe. Teachers ignored it. Parents said "get over it." But who is so cruel as a child? And who suffers pain like a child who does not understand what is happening, why every day is a torture? Some of this taunting went on into high school. Barely a day went by that one or another of you did not let us know that we were not part of the ruling class. Even you, dear narrator, when I came into contact with you in shared activities, sneered down your long nose, called me names, joked about my shape and my looks. Some pain of your own may have led you to do this, I don't know. Or it may be, as my mother liked to say, that boys tease you because they like you. I could never understand that. I could never feel affection for someone who inflicted that kind of pain on me.

And then you say you tried to reach out? And were rebufffed and it was our fault? Put yourself in our position for a moment. After years of daily torment, how were we supposed to trust? How were we even to distinguish what was meant as a real friendly overture and what was meant to draw us, unsuspecting, into yet another trap? We suspected everyone by then. How not, when even a compliment on an outfit might, if accepted with thanks, led to gales of laughter, as if to say how stupid we were to believe? How stupid we were to think we might fit into a different circle? How stupid to trust.

It galls and offends me that you blame us for not recognising your interest. That you blame us for not giving up on pain that you inflicted. You are like a small boy who tortures a spider in a box and then writes about its reactions. And it galls and offends me that you have been lauded for this experiment. That no one has called you on not taking responsibility for your own part in the outcome. You could go to the Debutate Ball and forget all about what you had done; for us there was no forgetting, even now. It leaves me nearly wordless with rage. It sickens me in my soul that all your speculation has not led you to your own part and that it probably never will.

You want to understand the suicides (or the near suicides, for none of us actually did the act, although we thought about it daily and several came close)? Then think about what it is to be hopeless and helpless, with no one to stand up for you. Think about what it could be like to be tormented day after day in that hell of a private school and to have the adults around you only add to the torment by telling you that you're bad, that you;re not living up to your talents and potential and that the pain you feel is imaginary or worthless. That what is happening to you is not happening. There was no way out. In our perspective, there WAS no hand reached out. Even in your sorry book, the boys had no concern for the girls beyond the idea of them. The true girls were lost, ignored. You could not rescue us because you never saw us, and we knew that.

Suicide is not a selfish choice. It is not a choice at all. It is what you do when there is no other option: when the walls of your pain close around you so tight that you can't even draw a breath without knives stabbinginto your vitals and you would do anything at all to escape the pain. It has nothing to do with the others around you. They cease to exist. And lest you label this self-centered, let me say that if there had been any genuine concern shown, others would NOT cease to exist. You can recognise that. And hold it as a rope. Who wants to die if there is any other option open? If there's any hope that things might improve? But no one threw us a rope. They simply watched as we slipped farther and farther into a pit that we could not crawl out of.

We stuck together because we were the only ones who understood this. We shunned you because it was obvious that you didn't. And yes, we laughed at you behind your backs because you thought yourself enlightened, sensitive, artists, and all that goes with it. Yet you lacked the one quality that makes all those real: empathy. In the end, all you could to was wash your hands and get on with the blame. I hope it made you feel better.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Took The Plunge

Remember a couple posts ago when I mentioned that credit is dangerous? Well, I have succumbed to the evil. Today I ordered the Grey Larsen Preferred Irish Flute by Australian flutemaker Terry McGee. This model is based on a 19th century American flute, lighter and with smaller finger holes than your average Irish flute. Which is good for me, because I have really small hands and have never been able to manage a simple system flute before.

Here it is. Isn't it pretty? I sure hope I can play it because it's a large investment... I sure hope it's okay to own this instrument even if I can't play lightning fast and never ornament like Matt Molloy. All the doubts about my worth as a musician and my worth in general--what I deseve and what I desire--are tied into this purchase. I was, after all, brought up never to buy anything I couldn't pay off within 30 days. (I was also brought up to think of my family as dirt poor and one step away from the homeless shelter, which wasn't true, but never mind).
I have to wait until the middle of next month for it to be shipped. I hope by then I will have become accustomed to the idea and not so freaked when it arrives that I hide it in the closet--or hide myself in the closet--and never touch it. I have been known to do this.
But I have high hopes. This is something I'm doing for myself. The only agenda is my own agenda, and I think it's a reasonable one. I just want to play. I don't have psycho band members breathing down my neck that I have to learn to do everything because they don't do their own work and I have to be able to cover for them. I don't have to listen to the...weird pressure couched as compliments: "You're so talented you can do anything but I'm worthless so I'm not even going to try. By the way, we need to be a headline band; you can make that happen, can't you?"
Well, enough of that. Maybe some day soon I'll tell the real and true story of BSS since, five years after the fact, I think I finally have enough perspective to know just what happened with that. In the meantime, though: I bought a flute! I think I'm happy about it.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Today I am a Bitch...

Tomorrow I have to have a medical procedure that requires me to stick to a clear liquid diet today. That means broth, jello, clear juices, coffee, tea. I think this is a plot to distract me from the reality of the procedure. I am not a fan of medical procedures--especially not the ones, like this one, where they knock you out. Well, who is, really? Some people suffering a really odd psychiatric disease that I can't remember the name of, that's who. Anyway, all I can think of is the clear liquid diet and how hungry I'm likely to be by the end of the day and how crabby the very idea of this makes me. I know some people do this voluntarily from time to time--juice fast, they call it--but not me. I get sick. I pass out and get migraines and start throwing up convulsively. Why I would do that when I HAVEN'T eaten is something I don't understand at all.

I have made my jello in wine glasses in the hopes of making it more interesting. I am not even allowed a dollop of whipped cream on top. This is really depressing me. And I can't figure out why the cat is sitting at my feet staring up at me, as she does when I have something she wants. "It's JELLO," I have told her, but she doesn't seem to hear me.

So a warning to all: I am a bitch today and I am a bitch tomorrow. For the day after, I don't answer.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Dangerous Credit

When I was in my 20s, I ruined my credit rating several times over. This did not matter to me at the time, as I figured I wouldn't live past 25 or so, and if I did I would never be in a position to buy a house or a car or make any of those major purchases that seem to come with adult life. I figured myself for a scrimp and save ghetto rat for my entire life, doomed to poverty forever.

This has changed. Somehow, when I wasn't looking, it changed.

It used to be I'd get credit card offers. You know the kind: "you give us $200 and then we'll send you a card with a $200 limit, ha ha ha." And even THOSE turned me down.

Then five years ago we took a trip to Boston. We convinced our bank to give us a card with a really small limit, "just for emergencies." And we did pretty well with it. Well enough to get a credit rating that allowed us to refinance our mortgage (my parents bought the house, in case you're wondering). I went to buy some socks at a department store. "Would you like to apply for our card?" the cashier asked. Usually I'd say no, but I thought on a lark, "Why not?" And they GAVE it to me.

This was the beginning. I now have a WHOLE BUNCH of plastic: most of it cards with very small limits. But last week I hit the big time. I had decided to respond to one of those offers I'm always getting in the mail, because the rate was about half that on any of my other cards. I got the card, it came...and the credit limit was.....well, I about fainted. I had originally meant for this card to be used for balance transfers ONLY....but with that credit limit I'm all of a sudden seeing things I've wanted for a long time come within my reach. That Irish Flute. That Martin Guitar. What do I do? I have a hard enough time thinking it's all right for me to own more than one pair of jeans! And now I'm thinking of buying musical instruments because I want them??? When I have a practically new silver flute and a perfectly servicable guitar already? It's the work of the Devil, it is--making you want material things. Therefore, credit cards are agents of the Devil.

Hee Hee. I'll let you know what I buy.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Modern Technology

Don't you hate it when something that's supposed to make your life easier makes it harder and harder until you just want to bang your head against the wall with frustration?

I was trying to add pictures to my profile yesterday. I have an account with one of the free photo hosting services; I thought, "No problems!" Well, I was wrong. Every photo link I used I got some kind of error message, from "incoherent code" to "this link does not exist." (Does not exist?!?!? I was just THERE!)

About the time I was about to tear out my remaining hair, I noticed another option right there on my "edit profile" page. "Learn more about free photo hosting!!" it bugled. "Okay," I though, "Let's learn more. Learning can't hurt anything..."


You'd think I'd have learned by now that "Want to learn more?" is 'netspeak for, "You are about to be taken to some strange download site with no idea if you can ever get back to where you want to be. This site will tell you all the great ways their program will make your internet experience more fun, but will not actually tell you how it works or what it even does. The only way to figure that out is to download the thing and run a few trials. By the way, downloading this 'free' software may commit you to a year's membership in some weird cell phone ringtone site at the low price of $29.95 per month which will be charged directly to your phone bill, sucker."

Okay, I thought, I'm woman enough to understand these things and figure out a program after I install it. I read the fine print. I can always uninstall. And it would be cool to just beam my pictures to my blog. So I downloaded the thing. Actually, I downloaded it twice because for some reason Netscape won't let me sign onto Blogger, so I have to use Explorer, but then when I picked "Download," both Netscape and Explorer downloaded the program. More competition between companies, I guess, but not my concern.

So I install the software. NOW we're getting somewhere. This looks cool. All you have to do is make a task called blogbot your buddy, send it your photos and then you can open your blog and send the photos directly there. I like the sound of this. I go through the steps and some to a sign-in screen. I sign into my Blog.

"I'm sorry, you have entered an invalid password or you are not allowed access to this Blog!" the computer tells me in that annoying Star Trek Computer voice it has in my head.

I click the help link. Actually, these should probably be called, "Help--You Wish," but never mind. It tells me to clear my cookies and try again. I do so, no change. THEN it tells me to enable my cookies. Hey, I just cleared them! No matter, I still can't sign on through Blogbot. As a last resort, I reset my password. Now I can log into my Blog but I still can't send it pictures.

I reflect on the irony of the page title: Blogger--Out of Beta and Running Great!

I may try to send pictures through Imagshack later, but it's been running so slowly today that I think it's having a nervous breakdown. Until then, no real pics. I'll be busy banging my head against the wall.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

THE LIST, 2006

I read a lot. I mean, I read A LOT. More than anyone I know. Reading is not just entertainment to me. It's part of my job and part of my identity. I read anything and everything, from street signs and cereal boxes to novels of considerable length. Though I tend to prefer science fiction and fantasy, I do not limit my reading to that genre. Children's books, YA lit, straight literature, non-fiction, romance....they all have a time and a place. So I feel a certain...authority on the matter of books and words. And I think making my choices public is not just stroking my ego, but perhaps could convey information. And THE LIST was born.

THE LIST is just that: a list of the books I have read in the last year. It may not be a complete list--I'm limited by what I can remember and what comes back to me as I walk around the house staring at our bookshelves. This year's list has over 50 authors on it. That means I remember reading at least one book that I can name by that author. By a few authors I've read many more books, whole series' worth.

THE LIST is NOT a list of reviews or a statement of worth. It's just a statement that I read these. However, although I VERY seldom abandon a book, there are some. So you can be fairly assured that if a book appears on this list, it has SOMETHING to grab the attention, even if that something is being so bad it's funny (I don't think any of the books on this year's list fit that bill, but I couldn't swear to it).

So, without further ado:

THE LIST, 2006
Albert, Susan Wittig: The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Hilltop Farm, The Tale of Holly Howe, The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood
Bleeding Hearts, a China Bayles Mystery

Alexander, Lloyd: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, The High King

Aronson, Marc: Witch Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials

Brashares, Anne: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants

Brust, Stephen
Vlad Taltos: Jhereg, Yendi, Taltos, Teckla, Phoenix, Athyra, Orca, Dragon, Issola, Dzur The Khaavren Romances: The Phoenix Guards, Five Hundred Years After The Viscount of Adrilankha: The Paths of the Dead, The Lord of Castle Black, Sethra Lavode Brokedown Palace

Card, Orson Scott
Women of Genesis: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel

Carey, Jacqueline: Kushiel’s Scion

Carr, Caleb: The Italian Secretary

Chase, Truddi: When Rabbit Howls

Cherryh, C. J. The Faded Sun: Kesrith, Shon’jir, Kutath

Clavell, James: Shogun

Cooper, Susan
The Dark is Rising: Over Sea and Under Stone, The Dark is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, The Silver on the Tree

David, Peter
Legions of Fire: The Long Night of Centauri Prime, Armies of Light and Dark, Out of the Darkness

Diamant, Anita: The Red Tent

Drennan, Kathryn: To Dream in the City of Sorrows

Dumas, Alexander: The Count of Monte Cristo

Eugenides, Jeffery: The Virgin Suicides

Farmer, Nancy: The House of the Scorpion

Fisher, Jude
Fool’s Gold: Sorcery Rising, Wild Magic, The Rose of the World

Godden, Rumer: In this House of Brede

Goodkind, Terry
The Sword of Truth: Wizard’s First Rule, Blood of the Fold, Stone of Tears, Temple of Winds, Soul of the Fire, Faith of the Fallen, Pillars of Creation, Naked Empire, Chainfire, Phantom

Green, Hannah: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Greeno, Gayle
The Ghatti’s Tale: Finder’s Seekers, Mindspeaker’s Call, Exile’s Return
Ghatten’s Gambit: Sunderlies Seeking, The Farthest Seeking

Grisham, John I’m going to cop out here and just say I read everything he’s written because I don’t feel like remembering all the names!

Hanauer, Cathy: My Sister’s Bones

Hobb, Robin: Shaman’s Crossing, Forest Mage

Jakober, Marie: The Black Chalice

Keyes, J. Gregory: Dark Genesis, Deadly Relations, Final Reckoning

Kadohata, Cynthia: Kira-Kira

King, Stephen The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizards and Glass, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower Insomnia

Lackey, Mercedes: The Fairy Godmother, Children of the Night

LeGuin, Ursula K.: The Beginning Place

L’engle, Madeline: The Other Side of the Sun, A Wrinkle in Time, The Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Lindholm, Megan: Alien Earth

MacGregor, Kinley: Knight of Darkness

Mahy, Margaret: The Other Side of Silence

Meyers, L. A.
Bloody Jack: Bloody Jack, Curse of the Blue Tattoo, Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound

Miller, Rand & Robin (With David Wingrove): The Myst Reader

Mondimore, Francis Mark: Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families

Moning, Karen Marie: Spell of the Highlander

Myracle, Lauren: TTYL

Nix, Garth: Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday

Paige, Robin: Death on the Lizard

Paxson, Diana: Ancestors of Avalon

Pike, Christopher: Master of Murder

Plath, Sylvia: The Bell Jar

Plum-Ucci, Carol: What Happened to Lani Garver

Rice, Anne: Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, Memnoch the Devil, the Vampire Armand, Tale of the Body Thief, Blackwood Farm, The Witching Hour, Taltos, Lasher, The Feast of All Saints, Merrick, Servant of the Bones, Ramses the Damned

Rowling, J. K.
The Harry Potter Series (again): Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince

Schreiber, Flora: Sybil, the True Story of a Woman Possessed by 16 Personalities

Snicket, Lemony: The End

Stevenson, Robert Louis: Treasure Island

Stone, Irving: The Agony and the Ecstasy, Passions of the Mind

Wolff, Virginia Euwer: The Mozart Season, True Believer

Woolfe, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Wynne Jones, Diana: Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Air


Since reading "Mr Goodblood's" book (see post of Dec. 14th), I've been thinking a lot about the past. About High School. I pulled out my scrapbook and looked at the signed programmes and posters from the plays I was in. I ever looked at the yearbooks. And I've been thinking about getting in touch with one or two of my old school friends. We used to get together about once a year at Christmas, but the last time we did that was...25 years ago? I dunno. And though I've seen and/or heard from one or another at one time or another, we haven't all been together since.

The thing is, I'm not sure getting in touch would be a good thing. Is it a healthy impulse or am I trying to return to a dysfunctional culture? Could be either. We had many good times and we were there for one another and understood one another in ways that no one else did. But we were also mean and petty and judgmental and elitist. At one time, one of us said about me, "Last spring everyone wanted to be Kele's best friend." And from the way she said it, I knew that I had somehow caused it and it was so wrong of me: that I had...taken something from her by that being the case. now I just think, "And what predcisely was wrong with that? Get over it." On the other hand there was a thing that was special to another of us that I pretty much took over and told her to put her interest elsewhere. And I feel bad about that.

Also there's the fact that the one old school friend I've had most to do with--she lives down the street from me as a matter of fact--turned out to be so toxic and so unwilling to work on her issues and so willing to blame everyone else that my therapist insisted I get out of the relationship.

One called herself Cassandra, but she was more like Julius Caesar in that she kept saying that no one should be a leader but she obviously wanted to be the leader herself, or at least first among equals, and resented anyone else who seemed likely to take that spot. There was another who was most comfortable as a sycophant but reveled in the pretension that she knew more than everyone about anything. Her motto should have been, "There is nothing more satisfying than correcting one's superiors." Those two made a great team, and they were best friends for a long time. I think no one took Libby seriously though we should have and as for Stephanie....I just don't know. We were close and then we weren't and then she hated me and then she didn't.

There was just so much going on. We all had so many troubles of our own to be truly supportive of one another, but we kept limping along because there was no one else. I think of them now and I will never forget them because they are the people on all the earth who know me as I was them and as I truly am.

Happy Beethoven's Birthday

Better day today. We got our tree--our "Solstice" Tree...I remember some Pagan back in Boulder trying to maintain that decorating a tree really began as a Pagan custom and I suppose it COULD have; like bringing in evergreen to keep the sun alive and make sympathetic magic for spring--and started doing some decorating. Started the Christmas Spirit Altar. I think I feel more of the spirit of the season than I have in a long time. More than last year, certainly, when I was so depressed I couldn't feel much of anything at all.

It's really an amazing thing being, if not copmpletely free, than freer of depression than I've been in my life. When my shrink (sorry Dr. Good, but it's quicker to write than Psychiatrist all the time) finally hit on a proper diagnosis and the right meds it was, I can feel things and everything doesn't seem so hopeless and meaningless. Being not crazy--and yes, I know it's politically incorrect these days to use that word; "It's not a helpful word," they say, nor is psychotic or any of those old Bedlammy terms--being not crazy I can see for the first time in my life how crazy I WAS. And it astounds me that no one else saw it. Which makies me wonder how many severely disturbed people are wandering around out there with no clue, and no one else has a clue. I know at least a few. And I know a few who are aware and want to stay exactly where they are, which I can't understand.

My therapist--as opposed to my shrink--says these people aren't really happy, but if they think they are, what's the difference? I know this one woman (come to think of it I know several, but let's not go there); I've known her a long time, and I can see all her defense mechanisms and I know where they came from and I think, "I wouldn't want to live like that..." But she gets by just fine. And I wonder if she has any idea what it would be like to take a risk to change. I don't think she's the person she really wants to be inside. But again, if she thinks she is, who is anyone else to say as long as she doesn't murder anyone or abuse anyone? Except, I think she is abusive. It's just so many people don't recognise abuse unless it literally hits them in the face. They can excuse it, say it's just the way she is, say, "Well, she has issues with this particular activity but I can still be her friend in other ways," and don't see how her behavior is sucking the life out of them.

I see this not just around this person, but around lots of people. Women can tell me horrendous stories about how controlling and negating their husbands or boyfriends are, and don't think of it as abuse. Somehow, abuse means being hit. And even then, women will turn it on themselves and take the blame. I guess men do this too, but I've known fewer men in abusive relationships.

I used to agonise over the fact that none of my relationships lasted more than like 2 weeks--it was because I wasn't good enough or smart enough or cool enough, or I was too fat or I was too weird. Then I realised those men I was with weren't treating me well anyway, and I was probably just as well off having them dump me because I didn't need that shit. I had enough for the first 18 years of my life from various sources. I don't want any more.

But I never had to break up with anyone, except once. Maybe I have the power of exhuding some pheremone that drives of unworthy men; I don't know. Maybe if I'd had to do the breaking up with someone I still loved eventhough I knew he wasn't good for me more often, I'd have got as stuck as some of the other women around me. I think I'd still have left, though. I have an incredible capacity to get out of bad relatio nships no matter how much I hurt over it. I am not afraid of pain. How could I be after all these years? My therapist says, "this is one of your amazing skills!" but I don't know if I feel like it's a skill when I end up alone and friendless so much of the time.

I found out today that this young woman I knew slightly had died. I don't know what happened. I knew she was in poor health, but I didn't think it was that poor. I feel so much sympathy for her mom. She had a toddler, too. I don't know why, but I can't stop thinking about her. So Monica, if you're anywhere ou can be aware, my heart is with you.

I have been fiddling with font size on this blog because it always comes out so small. But then I learned that if you press "CTRL" and spin your nouse wheel, you can change the apparent font size yourself. So there you are, in case you didn't know.

We're all fine here--How are you?

NOT such a great day here today. I got a migraine yesterday and though I thought it had gone, it came back late in the afternoon, so I had to go get a shot. That's never pleasant, but I didn't even have the comfort of getting knocked out. You know it's a bad headache when 100mg of Demerol doesn't do anything.

Michael's done with school and suffering withdrawl. You know how it is when you've been really busy or involved with something and then it ends and you're left with a lot of empty space where it used to be. You might even be relieved or enjoy the thought of being at loose ends, but not quite yet. Now it's just a letdown.So he's humphing and grumphing at everything; everything irriatates him right now. To make matters worse, the wireless connection on his laptop seems to have failed, so he can't console himself by surfing the net.

I took a nap from...oh, I don't know when it started, but I woke up at 10:30 feeling much better. Michael had decided to call tech support for our DSL server and see if he could remedy the problem. He was on hold for an hour even that late at night. Then he kicked me off my computer (in the nicest way), which has no problem with the DSL, to see if he could fix the problem.Long and short: he couldn't. It was really funny, though, to see this guy who a year ago was a self-admitted techical yutz going through all the updating and rebooting and whatnot. In the process he unfortunately managed to reset my password so when he was finally done and I tried to get back to what I was doing, I couldn't. Then I got all upset and made him call tech support again--not so long a wait this time...well, we got it sorted out, and now I'm writing this at two in the morning for no apparent reason other than I don't feel like going to bed.

Frustrating day all 'round.My rating at scrabble is now 1062. I don't know what that means.

Well, I Finally Read it (Originally Posted 14 December 2006)

My brother took this above photo sometime around Christmas of 1977. For the last 20-odd years it’s been in a scrapbook in the closet, but for a long time before that it sat propped on my desk. This is what I wrote about the photo soon after it was taken:
“…like a prop from some Movie-of-the-Week or Hallmark Afterschool Special, the kind where all the main characters die or some to other bad ends. I can see the camera zoom in on each of our faces to tell the viewer whose story will come after the next commercial break. Then, when the tale ends in suicide or some other tragedy, the face is replaced by a big, black, ‘X’…”
There are seven in the photo, but five of us were especially close. Close or closer than sisters, thrown together by the Hell that was and maybe is Grosse Pointe, Michigan. We called ourselves the Funny Farm—“Farm” for short—because that’s what the kids who followed us down the halls of our exclusive prep school called us and taking the name in pride was the only power we had. The first taunts came because we didn’t dress right, because we didn’t have the right interests or participate in the right activities: because we were bad at sports and uninterested in them or because we memorized poetry at will and liked our teachers. But, thrown together by chance, we discovered we had quite a lot in common—inexhaustible creativity and extremely high I.Q.’s to name two. And both were anathema in a suburb where everything seemed made out of hard plastic, where the best response children gave to something unusual was bullying and jeers and the best response from adults a face and mind politely turned from things that might upset the status quo. Negating difference. Negating us.
The Farm started out as a good thing: a refuge, a community, a closer-than-sisterhood. But as time went on, it became not so good for adolescents whose jobs were to individuate. It was an entity of its own, a beast with five backs. We lost track of where one of us ended and the others began. When we had troubles—and we all had troubles: family troubles, social troubles, all kinds of troubles—we didn’t know who to put first. Individuality was both longed-for and demonized. So eventually the Farm broke down. I haven’t had any contact with most of the others in that photo for more than twenty years.
But that’s not the point of this blog entry.
Shortly after that photo was taken, we all spontaneously started keeping journals. Not the usual sort of diaries one would expect from teenage girls. No admissions of secret crushes or agonizing over keeping up with fashion, although there was a little of that; I admit it now. But mostly, these journals were travel guides on our inward journeys: records of thoughts and feelings that we dared not tell anyone else. And by sharing the journals, as we did far too often to be considered healthy, we learned something else we had in common: we were all in extremely poor mental and emotional health. The experience of being negated by a society we had to cope with every day of our lives had made the lot of us suicidal.
At some point in the spring of 1978, one of the journals disappeared. It was the one belonging to the recognised artist among us, a journal she wrote as much in pictures as in words. Later, it was returned. And someone had written a letter to her in one of her margins, telling her—telling all of us—all the reasons that suicide was not the answer. We never found out who had done this; in fact, we agonized over it for weeks, wondering if whoever-it-was would tell, if some axe would fall on our heads for daring to think the unthinkable. It never did. Whoever-it-was remained silent.
Several of us thought we recognised the handwriting and eventually we came to believe the marginalia had been written by one of two boys in the senior class, boys with whom I was familiar through theatre and another of us knew from the literary magazine. It didn’t matter which; they were close friends and if one had read the journal you could be sure the other had.
Several years ago, one of these two fellows—I can’t call them boys now—published a very well-received, if somewhat wordy, novel about five sisters, all of whom commit suicide. I first learned about it when I saw the trailer for the movie Sophia Coppola made of the book. “That’s interesting,” I thought. “That looks like us.” Not too much later I found out who had written the book. “You Bastard!” I thought then. “It IS us!!”
Of course it was just a feeling, but it was a very strong feeling. I couldn’t get over the idea that those five sisters were meant to be the Farm. Well, this last week I finally got up the nerve to read the book. I didn’t for a long time because the thought of it made me too angry. The author was always a complete jerk to me. How DARE he be writing about girls committing suicide like he knew anything about it? Also, I didn’t want the book to be any good. He was so mean that I felt that if he could actually write I wouldn’t be able to stand it.
What do I think now that I’ve read it? I think it was based on us. I think that the author was indeed one of the people who got hold of Libby's journal and that he’s spent a long, long time trying to figure out what he found there and came up with an answer that made sense to him. In the book, the boys get hold of the youngest sister’s “highly illustrated” diary—in addition to being the artist, Libby was the youngest of us. They find the diary “…an unusual document of adolescence in that it rarely depicts the emergence of an unformed ego…Instead Celia writes of herself and her sisters as a single entity. It’s often difficult to identify which sister she’s talking about and many strange sentences conjure in the reader’s mind an image of a mythical creature with five backs and ten legs…”
That screamed “FARM!” to me. As did some of the other details. The middle sister—I was the middle in age in the farm—was the tallest, like me and played the flute, like me. One of the sisters had a mustache, as did one of us—a thing that garnered her more jeering than the rest of us combined, it seemed some days. One of the parents was a teacher, as was one of ours. The girls are interested in spiritualism, the zodiac; they burn incense and write strange poetry; we did all that. As the book progresses, the sisters keep more and more to themselves, withdrawing from those who might have reached out to them. We did that, too.
The book unsettled me in other ways. Though the rave reviews on the back speak of the author “creating a new mythology,” it read like anything but myth to one who had been there. Our private school is described in detail, down to the girls’ lockers in the science wing, where most of us had ours and the cubbies at the top of the ramp leading down to the cafeteria, where students threw their books as the pelted down to lunch. The teachers are badly disguised. The chemistry teacher, “Mr. Tonover,” lets his students make peanut brittle over a Bunsen burner in the aftermath of the first sister’s death. Our chemistry teacher, Mr. Overton, let us do the same thing on special occasions. “Miss Shuttleworth” is obviously our Miss Ferguson, calling her students “infants” and insisting they stand when she comes into the room. The author—okay, let's use one of his techniques and call him “Mr. Goodblood”—doesn’t even bother to change the names of the school sports team or yearbook. It’s all quite eerie, and does not, in my opinion, show the work of a truly creative mind, rather, one obsessed with a puzzle it cannot quite put together.
Of course, that’s kind of the point of the book: not the girls and their suicides, but the neighbour boys’ obsession with them. I truly can’t imagine any adolescent boy being that obsessed by anything but his own penis, and the way these boys deny that’s what their doing by collecting their little mementoes really irritated me. From my side of the living room, they have no interest in the girls as people at all, no interest in their motivations and no interest in helping them out of their situation. They WANT to be voyeurs and so they keep the girls prisoner as much as their own circumstance. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have reached out in a clearer and more effective way than playing songs through the telephone? Gone to Social Services? Talked to a teacher? A parent?
In Grosse Pointe, of course, the answer is a definite no. Grosse Pointe, for all its superficial cloak of Country Club health and values is as savage a jungle as any in the undeveloped world. Being different marks you as prey there. So if you’re different, you’d better just snap out of it or you’ll be eaten. And don’t expect anyone to help you because helping you would mark them as different, too.
But the thing that irritated me most about this book was the ending. I was hoping all along that the narrator would develop, if not some understanding, at least some compassion. Well, he doesn’t. The last paragraph starts, “…The essence of the suicides consisted not of sadness or of mystery, but of simple selfishness.” I read that and nearly threw the book across the room. I wish I had, because then I wouldn’t have had the last sentence inflicted on me, with its, “…we had loved them and they hadn’t heard us calling…”
Give me a break, Mr. Goodblood! You loved them and did nothing? What does that say about you and your ilk? Only that you’re still just as much of a jerk as you were in High School, when you used to taunt me for thinking I was somebody of value, thinking I could ever fit in with your crowd even though we shared activities and interests. You still have failed to learn the most basic thing about a suicidal nature: that suicide is not a choice. It’s something you do because you have seen your choices narrowing and there is only thing left. You have waited and waited for someone to throw you a rope, not just stand there and watch you disintegrate. And no one has. You, like your Dr. Hornicker, cannot even imagine the daily sadness and hopelessness that a suicidal person suffers. And until you get over your own agenda, you never will.
My Therapist says this book makes her sick at her stomach and the idea that someone made money off his observations of someone else's sufferings is the same to her as the idea of paying a serial killer. In the end, though, this book neither irritated nor delighted me as much as I had feared. It was just a book, one of hundreds I read each year. Some I keep. This one I will not. It’s not worth a second read, since I already know more than the author about its subject matter.

Here we go AGAIN

ok, let's try this again. This is my THIRD attempt at keeping a blog, not counting the one on MySpace which I May just move over here too. My first Blog got mooshed when I forgot my user name (you can still view it at My second was so ugly and unruly that I couldn't stand it. So here I am at a reputable blog host, trying ONE MORE TIME.

over the next few days I'll be moving at least a few of the posts from my last blog here, so stay tuned!