Thursday, July 30, 2020

Wendell Berry and the Hidden Wound of Racism

I ordered a copy of The Hidden Wound by Wendell Berry more or less by accident. I didn't know what it was about, only that Wendell Berry wrote it and I hadn't read it before and that was good enough for me.

It turns out that it's his meditation on racism and the legacy of slavery, from the point of view of a Southern descendant of slave-owners old enough to have heard family stories about it.  Parts of it appear to have been originally written in the 1960s, but it was first published in 1989 (and I wish I'd read it then). However, Berry's observations are so crystalline, so cutting and relentless that they are still far ahead of most, for all that he uses language like "man" for "people" that sounds graceless now.  It's simultaneously a relic of the past (Berry was born in 1932 and grew up, like my father, plowing with a mule) and sharply relevant to today.

A quote on the back cover from Guy Davenport describes it thus: "The brunt of this book is to wake us up, page after page, from stupidity."

Berry speaks scathingly in his firm quiet way of the "romanticizers," whose purpose is "to shelter us from the moral anguish implicit in our racism--an anguish that began, deep and mute, in the minds of Christian democratic freedom-loving owners of slaves."  

He's speaking in particular of a memoir of the Civil War published in 1895; but it might just as easily be about the Confederate glorification monuments that scatter the landscape in the South and the apologetics thereof. For all that some of them are coming down, many still remain, and there have even been pushes to put up more...mostly in Appalachia, where support for the Confederacy was low to nonexistent.  Somehow the descendants of people who voted against secession are putting up battle flags in defiance of history and common sense.  We in the South are still preserving our heritage of moral dissonance like a mosquito in amber, having neither learned much nor moved very far on. Not that that distinguishes us from other Americans in any way.
He spends some time attending to the damage done to our religious understanding as well, which explains what drove me out of the Southern Baptist church I was raised in. Berry says, "Far from curing the wound of racism, the white man's Christianity has been its soothing bandage--a bandage masquerading as Sunday clothes, for the wearing of which one expects a certain moral credit."

Indeed, that describes the relationship of white Evangelicals with the Republican Party to a T.

He is unstinting, but allows ample room for humanity, humility, and nuance.  He starts with racism and the legacy of slavery, takes a winding road through his childhood, and ends up at economic justice.  Like you do. 

If you are a white Southerner, you must read this book, which is short but concentrated. Other people will benefit from reading it as well; but Berry is speaking our language here, and depicting the culture we grew up in with compassion and humanity but also unflinching clarity for its particular flaws.  Never mind the lies of America in general; we've been fed on particular poisoned lies for particular reasons, and Berry offers an antidote.  Read it and be healed.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Why "But the Irish Were Slaves!" is both wrong and racist

Since people have been posting about this...

First of all, the Irish were not slaves. There were quite a few Irish and Scottish (and English for that matter) indentured servants, and indenture was exploitive and frequently brutal, but indenture was not the same as chattel slavery.  The most significant difference is that indenture is a legal contract that a person enters into, which has a theoretical end.  That end was often not respected but the indenture remained a legal human being. Enslaved people on the other hand were not seen as legal persons at any point. Slavery was carefully built both legally and culturally to be seen as innate, the "natural" relationship between white people and black people because of the latter's supposed inferiority.  There were reams and reams of writings justifying that world view, a sure sign of propaganda at work.  Another word for this ideology and its long-term effects is "racism."

There was indeed slavery in Africa, as in Europe, Asia and basically everywhere in the world, but there were avenues for someone to gain their freedom AND it didn't create a skin color based caste system like it did here. The evolution of slavery in the Americas, because it involved the displacement of literally millions of people, is unique.

There were some indentured servants in the colonies who were African in origin, as well as chattel slaves. We know this mainly because they frequently had to argue in court for their status as indentured servants whose terms were up. Those who did so successfully were generally Christian and literate. Later laws against teaching enslaved people to read and write should be viewed with that in mind. The codification of chattel slavery into law was a process, one that made it harder and harder for anyone of African descent to extricate themselves from any form of servitude, and created a situation where a person of color was assumed to be enslaved until proven otherwise (and said proof was frequently not accepted). That process was largely complete by 1700.

Indentured servants were on the same general social level as enslaved people. There were intermarriages. This partially explains why certain Irish and Scottish customs, such as jumping the broom and "first footing," have become African American customs. HOWEVER...and this is a big however....a white indentured servant who completed their term of service became a free person and could completely blend in to the rest of the population.

This made an incredible difference in outcomes, both for individuals and collectively. As a white person, some of my ancestors may well have been indentured servants. I don't know...and neither do you. Because you can't tell by looking at me, and more importantly, it has had no discernible effect on me or my more recent ancestors who have been a bunch of middle class or wealthier farmers, business people, preachers, and educators for generations.

The same can't be said for African Americans...even if their ancestors were in fact indentured and not enslaved, or were freed at some point before 1863, or indeed even if they arrived long after it was all over, because the state of slavery or its existence at a given point in time is not the sole determining factor here.  Escape from slavery, whether as individuals or collectively, did not and has not granted escape from racism.  Partially because racism, while woven into the establishment and justification of the system of chattel slavery and exploitation, was also very much tied up with the origins of capitalism.  That is to say, while racism is certainly the legacy of slavery, it's still very much alive and well because it serves other purposes.  In any case, racism has a measurable effect on black people's educational and employment opportunities, their ability to acquire and maintain wealth, their health outcomes, how frequently and harshly they suffer punishment from the justice system, and (as we should all be aware by now) how likely they are to die violently at the hands of police.

And that brings us back to "But the Irish were slaves too!"  Aside from the fact that it's factually wrong, the only reason to bring that up right now is to somehow deflect from the argument that racism in the US is the legacy of slavery.  I hope I have explained clearly enough what is wrong with that idea.  But let's back up even further and ask a more pertinent question...

Why the hell would you want to do that?  What do you, O fellow white person, get out of trying to undermine the idea that racism is a real thing that happens to real people and sometimes gets them killed?  Why, when millions of people are marching in the streets in the hope of justice, do you think it's a great moment to waltz in with what would be a desperately irrelevant bit of historical geekery even if it were true?  What reason could there be, except that you recognize that the status quo benefits you and you are choosing in this moment to defend it?

What the hell is wrong with you?

Friday, June 12, 2020

Trying to Build a Better World and Burnout

I have been reflecting on the fact that for much of my adult life I was driven by a vision of how the world could be a better place. It was coherent, complex, accounted for a lot of details and potential problems, and workable...up to a point.

The breaking point, as it often is, was the ability of individuals to muck it all up, and people's general inability or unwillingness to resolve conflict or to deal with people who are operating in bad faith.

Understand, I put a LOT of energy into this. My first job was working for Greenpeace. I was involved with the environmental and anti-globalism movements, feminist activism around motherhood, and Occupy. On another track, I helped start and run various Pagan organizations and events, and ran a teaching coven for ten years.

 At some point, I gave up. I still do political work, but it's mostly damage control. I'm not trying to create anything new. I'm just trying to keep it from getting worse. Which is probably why I have less energy and enthusiasm than I used to.

Don't get me wrong; I show up for certain causes, like Black Lives Matter; but they are driven by other people. I resist getting too deep into any activist group, because neither trying to adapt to an existing organization with fatal flaws, or trying to build up something from scratch only to have it blown up by someone whose ego is a stand-in for gasoline and a match, are scenarios I ever want to repeat. It's not even that I've never succeeded in building something that lasts; I have. It's that the losses are too costly.

I don't want to feel this way. It's a serious problem. But I do.

Aside from the fact that some of them are friends of friends, I find the accounts of the activists in this story entirely plausible because I've known people EXACTLY like this guy. Grandstanding, co-opting group work, leveraging charisma (including sleeping around, and it's often the men who do it) to gain positions of power, running people off who don't agree with them, ignoring what everyone agreed to because they think they know better, starting fights with the police that other people have to finish...all of it. They are quite often some flavor of bigot as well, in a "but I'm one of the good guys" whiney-ass way. Those people are incredibly destructive. They don't have to all be informants, most of them probably aren't. Some of them are super-dedicated radicals. They're destructive nonetheless.

 I have quite frequently been the thorn in that person's side, the boring-ass consensus-process bitch who insists that we actually follow the rules we all agreed on that were designed to keep the group from being cetera. I have suffered quite a bit for it too. I'm angry, and I'm tired.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Arguing With White People

The author and her husband, standing in front of Preservation Hall in New Orleans
I spent a lot of my adolescence and beyond arguing with my father about racism. Basically as soon as I was old enough to understand the concept, I started challenging him about some of the stuff he said. It was probably in our top five disagreements along with the place and role of women, when he thought I should get up on a Saturday morning, and mowing the grass which I flatly refused to do. (Cut grass makes me itch and break out in red welts).

I have argued with plenty of other people about it, too. I have heard it all. I have heard weird shit you would never have thought of, because the ideology of white supremacy runs deep in this society and it has its own mythology and apologetics. There's a social ecology that supports it that is complex and has tendrils extending to many areas of life, including education, the church, literature, and yes, law enforcement and the judicial system. It has to; you can't maintain an artificial imbalance of power without a whole lot of propaganda. The same, incidentally, applies to sexism, homophobia, rigid gender ideology, et cetera. And the completeness of it is what makes it seem "natural."

It can be extraordinarily difficult to have those conversations, and not just because of fear of making a scene or being "that person" at work.  Those are real fears, albeit ones people need to learn to address and move through.  One of the gifts my father gave me is that he didn't get angry or punish my admittedly snotty adolescent righteousness, so I got to get past the scary part without any repercussions except being expected to remain civil and back up my assertions.   But even if you did not have that kind of fortune, or you do in fact suffer repercussions when you decide to start opening your is absolutely crucial that you do so.  For the lives of others, and your own liberation.

The other big problem is that it's like fighting sand in a windstorm.  It's everywhere, it gets into everything, and you tend to wind up tired and angry with nothing much to show for it.  Do it anyway.  The results you get hardly ever show up immediately, but they build up over time.

Listening to people who are at the pointy end of white supremacy and reading about the subject is essential, especially the specific history of racism against African Americans in this country and how it functions. You can't argue a case you don't understand, and your feelings (shaped by the same white supremacist cultural propaganda that I mentioned earlier) may not be a reliable guide.  You don't have to re-invent the wheel, either, and people have spent many decades and lots of thought on analysis of the problem.  You can benefit from all of that for the price of picking up some books or following some blogs.

On the other hand, I think for white people trying to talk to other white people about racism, we need to carry the ball ourselves past a certain point.  People of color often spend their whole lives thinking about the subject, have formal education on the topic in many instances, and have lots of experience arguing with white people about racism....but it's still different when the call is coming from inside the house.  Or not as different as people might think, in some cases.  I don't think people in general really realize how quickly and sometimes violently other white people will turn on you, though the white people who died during the Civil Rights movement and the current existence of a website dedicated to doxxing white women who date outside their race should offer a clue about that. Again I say:  Do it anyway.  Just realize that your fears can be valid and exaggerated because of white supremacist cultural brainwashing at the same time.

One advantage you have is that you can easily speak in terms that other white people understand...though it has limits.  There are plenty of black people, who because of their upbringing or profession, can do that too.  Biracial people frequently have lots of experience trying to get their white relatives to see the light, unfortunately. Sometimes people enter interracial relationships either despite their parents' vehement opposition, or in some cases because of it, which can lead to some screwed up family dynamics.  Even when it's not that pointed, just because someone loves their biracial children or grandchildren it doesn't mean they have thought very deeply about race, and it is a topic that requires reflection before you can have any chance of getting the sand out of the gears.  All of the biracial people I know, including my husband, have stories about wtf moments with family or friends.  They also all know how to bridge the gaps and speak in language that their white relatives understand...and have run into situations where that simply was not enough.

Then there's the advantage granted to you just by being the person you are, in the body that you're in; what is otherwise called "privilege."  It's not a magic wand or a cure-all (as any white person who grew up poor can tell you) but it is power nonetheless.  It's a little bit of extra authority sprinkled on your voice and actions.  It won't fix everything, but that's not your job.  Your job is to speak.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Speaking the Future Into Being

Well, and to think last week we were complaining that the apocalypse was boring and not very apocalypse-like.  Last night somebody set Atlanta on fire again and I learned my new favorite word, "carbeque."

As when anything important happens, we all took to Facebook to argue about it.  

For those of you struggling to keep up, please take note that hand-wringing about some windows getting broken after deafening silence on the matter of police murdering people with complete impunity, implies very strongly that you care a lot about the former and nothing for the latter, and that's what the kids call a you problem.  That doesn't mean that everyone thinks smashing things up is a-ok or that there isn't some vocal condemnation of it from activists as well as assorted officials; it does mean that they are taking the time to put what's happening in context and express some nuance, a concept you might have heard of. 
For my more conservative friends:  Most of you have already identified what the important  moral question is here. You might be fascinated to learn that some of the points you have been making lately are the exact things that people on the leftward side of the political spectrum have been saying for years, about the many other instances of police murder you inexplicably missed.  You don't know that because you don't listen to them.  You should try it.  They might know other things you haven't noticed.

For my more radical friends: You are missing a golden opportunity here. People I would NEVER have expected to do so are openly questioning that stupid coroner's report on George Floyd, out protesting, or saying that they understand why people would get mad enough to break things. Maybe instead of focusing on criticism and calling anyone who voices it nasty names (like neoliberal, which almost certainly does not mean what you think it does), you should try to, I dunno, understand the critiques people are making and seize the opportunity to make connections with people you don't often find common ground with.

Or you can go on and retrench all of your existing balkanized divisions and thwart any possibility of gaining real traction, just like every left/activist group I've seen for the last thirty years.

You know why the right-wing extremists are doing so well, despite the paucity of their philosophy and their repugnant personal traits? They recruit, constantly. They hand out flyers. They start book clubs. They take any hint of agreement and exploit it into a conversion gambit, and talk about their vision of the future a lot. It's a shitty future, but they all know what it's supposed to look like and are encouraged to actively fantasize about living in it. They plan, and sometimes take, concrete steps towards making that future come to pass.

That shit is powerful. It's a poisoned dream, but a dream nonetheless.

To counter it we can't just have the status quo (which sucks a lot for lots of people) and we can't, absolutely cannot, have a bitchy America's Got Privilege jury deciding who is or isn't woke enough to be allowed into our "movement," which because of said gate-keeping never actually becomes a movement but hovers constantly at a level just above toe shoes but below Pet Rocks.

We need something better.  We need something accessible, and welcoming, and above all visionary. Defining yourself always against what you are not creates emptiness, and fighting always against what is wrong (however necessary) is exhausting.  We need the Beloved Community, and more to the point we need to describe what the Beloved Community is going to look like.  It's ok if we don't all have the exact same ideas. It's the act of speaking it into being that is important here.

Here's one:  I would like a means to resolve serious conflicts with people when it's beyond my personal ability to address, that does not involve calling the police.  I have a neighbor who has put her hands on me while drunk more than once, among other incidents. There isn't actually a lot the police can do that isn't out of proportion to behavior that didn't actually hurt me (but which causes me distress and which I NEVER want repeated), and so there's not much between "ignore it" and "file a police report."  I think a society that took conflict resolution and de-escalation seriously would have a third option for me...and that would incidentally likely reduce times the police are called due to vague "someone is walking around black in my neighborhood" type scenarios, and in turn reduce occurrences of police violence. I also think that a society where people commonly had good conflict resolution skills would function very differently, and much more justly and humanely.

What does your Beloved Community look like?

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Stories We Tell

This story has nothing whatever to do with global pandemics, toilet paper shortages, the sorry state of affairs in this country generally speaking, or politics.  Except, perhaps, by implication...but that could be true of anything, really.

Many years ago my ex-husband (then my boyfriend), our roommate and I were the sort of people who frequented Rainbow Gatherings and also went on road trips more or less on a whim.  It was the 80s and gas was under a dollar a gallon and you could rent camping gear from the Georgia State University recreational department for very little money.  So we did.

We met lots of very interesting people at Rainbow Gatherings, all of whom were 80s-era hippies...some were original models who never gave up but many were our age, the sort of people who followed the Grateful Dead around, because that was still a thing then, and who believed in things being free and smelling of patchouli.  I was 100% one of them and somewhere in the archives of the National Park Service is video of my twenty-something self wearing a long skirt and a midriff shirt in the middle of the Talladega National Forest, talking about the healing uses of elder flower tincture with, I'm sure, much more of an air of authority than I actually warranted.

One of the people we met was a fellow whose "Rainbow name" was Spice.  He lived in Charlotte and we hung out at gatherings and he came through Atlanta a few times.  He eventually invited us to a weekend party at his property...a farm he had inherited from his grandfather, I the middle of nowhere North Carolina.  Close to Ruffin, maybe?  I can't was a long time ago...but I do remember that it was most of the way to Virginia.  A good six hour drive, at least.  (This becomes relevant later).

We went, naturally.  Why not?  We made friends pretty easily then.  We drove up there in the one car we had between us, a 1988 Ford Festiva.  It was a tiny two-door hatchback.  (This also becomes relevant).

It was fun, I will admit.  We glamped, in a manner of speaking, in a dilapidated cabin he was slowly trying to refurbish, and I wandered around the dirt paths looking for wildflowers and deer.  He had a bunch of his friends there, mostly guys, and it was clear they did this frequently.  Not a bad way to spend your time.

We were always talking about starting an intentional community back then, and he invited us to come help fix up that cabin to live in full time and then work on the rest of it.  I was fine with this plan if it was made minimally livable (it really wasn't yet) and we could figure out a way to make some actual money in the middle of nowhere North Carolina.  I was usually the voice of reason in these situations so while my ex was spinning glorious visions of what could be, I was asking how we were going to live in the meantime.  But we went back home making plans for the next time we could come back and put some work into the house.

Except a few days later he called us up and accused us of stealing some sheet rock that was there, intended for remodeling the cabin.

Well, first of all, who steals sheet rock?  But laying that aside...since evidently someone had...why would he think WE had done it?  We tried to explain that this was ridiculous, because...

1) We'd left before he had, he'd seen us drive away, and we didn't have a key to the gate.
2) We lived in Atlanta six hours away.
3) We didn't own a truck.  Sheet rock will not fit in a Ford Festiva.  Certainly not if you also want to put people in it.
4) We lived in a city apartment (he'd been there) that had no reasonable storage areas for sheet rock, assuming we'd somehow teleported it there.
5) And honestly, what the fuck? 

He immediately saw the logic of all this and apologized, because human beings are reasonable like that.

Well, of course he didn't.  He doubled down.  I pointed out that his pickup-truck driving buddies, some of whom had keys to the gate, were much more likely culprits.  That just made him mad.

We were baffled, and not a little upset and disappointed.  I can't say exactly what was going on in his head, but I guess it was easier to accuse us...relative strangers from Atlanta...than his closer friends.  Even if that made no kind of sense. Or maybe he realized he'd invited people to live on his property while he was high and needed an excuse to get rid of us.  I have no idea.

I wonder if he's still telling himself the story of the people from Atlanta he invited to his party who stole his sheet-rock.

I do know that nothing we said, no matter how logical or grounded in obvious facts, made the least impression on him.  I have had that experience...many, many times in my life.  Once someone has decided on a certain story about you, and it has some kind of emotional resonance for them, they will ignore everything that doesn't fit the narrative.  They are the worst about it when they are actually the ones in the wrong...because nobody likes being the bad guy, and nobody thinks of themselves that way, but if they alter the facts so that you are the villain of the story, then they don't have to do any such thing.  They can go on thinking of themselves as the hero: wise, perspicacious, and good.  Most people are much more attached to their self-image than they are to the truth.

Well, I guess that does have some relevance to current affairs.  I am not surprised that lots of people have concocted stories that ignore facts, reason, and science, allow them to go on doing exactly what they were doing before, and buffer them emotionally from thinking otherwise.  I'm not surprised that no amount of logic, statements of the obvious, or appeals to common humanity will move them.  One hopes for better, always.  But I'm not one bit surprised.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Today is Pretty Good

On Memorial Drive, Atlanta, GA
My son bought me take-out brunch from Baker Dude Cafe in Grant Park.  It's thirty minutes away but they have keto desserts made with Swerve that I can eat.  It is strangely difficult to find sugar-free desserts in Atlanta, compared to Chattanooga where tasty sugar-free cupcakes abound. I don't know what's going on there but someone should look into it.  I am just saying that, whenever the world allows such things again, that if there was a place that had sugar-free desserts, comfy chairs, good coffee, and wifi that was a little closer, I would be there EVERY day. As it is the almond pecan carrot cupcake at Baker Dude's was worth the drive by itself.  I had their crustless mushroom and leek quiche which was also very good and my son had their Van Gogh sandwich which he pronounced "delicious" while eating it on the way home.

It's beautiful and sunny today, and lots of people were out and about, though they were maintaining a polite distance both at the cafe and on the sidewalks and at the farmer's market going on next door.  Lots of people were wearing masks, some weren't, but no one was crowding.  As I walked by I overheard a woman saying,"I just can't with all of this."

Me neither. My unemployment finally came through (hooray for PUA) so I'm less freaked out about money. I have also (unrelated) stopped arguing with my husband, which was getting to both of us, even though I am still very agitated and can't sleep well.  But today is pretty good.

We had a picnic in the front yard and I'm now sitting out here with my laptop and a glass of wine.  Today is pretty good.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Appropriate Paranoia

3,287,355 cases worldwide.  232,784 deaths.

Cases in the US passed one million this week. It's currently at 1,085, 079. 63,277 deaths.

In Georgia, 26,173 cases, 1124 deaths.   Based on the graphs on the Georgia Department of Health website, cases were slowing down.  The governor of Georgia let restaurants, hair and nail salons, and bowling alleys re-open last week, and is expected to lift the shelter-in-place order that everyone was ignoring today, so I expect them to spike up again.

My husband is being laid off from his job in two weeks.  I read that unemployment applications are up to 30 million total.  That's starting to approach Great Depression levels of unemployment.

I'm still mostly not leaving my house except to go to my garden or stroll around the lake. Since we don't have a vaccine and I have no idea whether I am genetically resistant (because I have O- blood) or likely to die (because I am diabetic), and neither does anyone else, I am staying home.

Apparently DeKalb County is doing a random survey to see if people have antibodies.  Since apparently some people can have it and not realize it.  I could easily have had it in the week or so after we came back from California...I felt pretty crappy, had weird chest pain and nausea and spent a day or two in bed...but I never ran a fever and never even talked to a doctor.  I couldn't have gotten a test then anyway.  The only way to know for sure would be to get a test for antibodies.

I don't know what I'd do with that information if I had it.  There apparently are cases of people getting re-infected, which might just be testing error, but also means that antibodies aren't an absolute guarantee.  I wasn't planning to go licking the door handles at Kroger or anything, but it would be nice to know what degree of paranoia is appropriate.

I'm baking bread again today. I have a healthy sourdough starter and have got it down to a routine.  I'm also writing more, mostly in my Patreon blog which is focused on spiritual Pagan things.  I planted more seeds for my garden.  I am considering chickens, since the next thing that is likely to fall apart is the food supply chain, apparently.  I kind of wish I'd gotten chickens last year, but I wasn't prepared for them then and I'm not sure I'm prepared for them now.  Sooner or later, though, chickens.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The More Things Change

Photo of happy beagle named Myrtle to lighten the mood
2.4 million cases worldwide, 166, 278 deaths.  767,379 cases in the United States.  40,750 deaths.

Three people in my little town have had COVID-19 or have it currently.  The first one went to the hospital but came home and is recovering.  The other two have it now and hopefully will recover as well.

Small groups of people are protesting to "re-open" the economy. Most people I know personally are saying they'll stay home no matter what until there's clear medical guidance.  The ones who can't stay home because of their jobs are worried.

My son and I have been watching a Great Courses lecture series on the Black Death in Europe.  What I've learned so far is that people believed that it was the wrath of God and went on pilgrimages and crowded into churches in response, some people thought that public self-flagellation would atone for everyone's sins, others thought that you might as well have good time while you could and threw big parties, some blamed foreigners and/or Jews and believed they were conspiring with each other to poison the water in all of the towns where the plague had appeared, and they thought that good smells would drive away the miasma that caused the plague.  Also that governing bodies mostly failed to adapt to the changed circumstances quickly enough, leading to things like families who were already suffering paying a death tax every time the head of their family died, in the form of livestock that quickly became devalued because the lord of the manor had too much livestock and no one to care for it, meanwhile the family starved.

In other words, people really don't change that much.

I've planted some things in my garden and plan to do more.  A neighbor brought by a pork belly she cooked and I made cole slaw to go with it.  We are thinking about having some discreetly distant front yard social time with her and maybe another neighbor.  They both live alone and are suffering from isolation more than we are.  My husband and I are mainly suffering from being in each other's faces a little too much, but we are figuring it out.  Most of the time it's nice having him home all of the time, and our house is cleaner than usual though not perfectly in order.  I guess if enough time passes we really will clean out the basement. 

Neither of us have been anywhere except the grocery store, walks or bicycle rides, and the post office. We wash our hands and wipe everything down, wear masks though not as much as we probably should (we only have two of them).  Given that there's political pressure to lift the stay-home orders, and it won't be safe to actually do that, I guess this is how we live now, indefinitely.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Birdsong and bread making

1.5 million cases worldwide, and over 95,000 deaths.  The US has over 460,000 cases...more than the next three countries combined.

Our president is still mendacious and corrupt, and making it worse at a breathtaking clip.

John Prine died. 

People I know have been sick, and people I know have lost people they know and love.  It hasn't hit me that close yet.  I'm hoping for the best, and staying home.

I woke up at about 4 am.  I eventually went back to bed, but I stepped outside to listen to the dawn chorus of birds.  It was loud, like we live in a rain forest loud.  I read an article that said that birds seem louder because there's less people noise to muffle them.  The article also said that seismographers could measure the difference and detect things they usually couldn't because there's that much less traffic and trains and so on.

It was a beautiful day, windy and warm, the sun sparkling on the lake.  I saw very few people, as I was out at mid-morning.  One of my neighbors was telling everyone who wasn't wearing a mask that we should have one on.  She walked up to me to tell me this.  Not that close, but still.  I'm saying that if a piece of cotton cloth is effective, then staying a good ten or twenty feet back should be even more effective.  Or both, as you wish.  I wear a mask when I have to go somewhere I really can't avoid coming close to people...the post office, restaurants (for take-out, nobody is doing dining-in any more)...but I'd rather get up at 5 am to avoid all humans rather than wear one just to go outside.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I'd just stay home and sit on my back porch, but my dog would not allow it.  I asked my husband if he wanted to go for a walk with me and she started barking at me.  It's like having a furry toddler.  Unless you are prepared to go IMMEDIATELY, do NOT say the "w" word....

I made sourdough starter and gave some out to my neighbors, by way of a folding table in my front yard.  Lots of people have apparently taken up bread baking; it is no longer possible to buy yeast or find plain all-purpose flour.  I got a five pound bag of organic whole wheat bread flour and counted myself fortunate.  I plan to try it all out on some bread tomorrow. 

Life, as they say, goes on.  One way or another. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020


We passed a million cases of COVID-19 worldwide today.  The US has something like 230,000 cases, twice as many as any other country.  Governor Shotgun finally issued a shelter-in-place order for the state of Georgia, which is supposed to take effect tomorrow.

Six million more people filed for unemployment this week, making about ten million in all.  I expect there to be more next week.  My husband said that people weren't able to file because the system is jammed up, so there will certainly be more.  He also said we are currently at about 10% unemployment, when it was 3.6% a month ago. 

During the Great Depression, unemployment was 25%.  We aren't there yet.  I don't know what barriers stand between here and there, though.

I got seeds I ordered in the mail, and my son and I went over to tend our plots in the community garden.  I spoke to a live human being in person who doesn't live in the same house with me, in the form of our neighbor who lives next door to the community garden.  She offered me some of her extra plants after she parcels what she has out to the people who asked for them already....from a polite distance.

I am in a cooking mood.  Chicken and broccoli with cheese in the crock pot, potatoes and turnips roasted in the oven, and low-carb chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.  I have greens in the refrigerator and some I just picked out of the garden (from some I planted too late in the fall, but which have sprung up as the days got warmer).

Everyone seems to be settling in like we are expecting more disruption, not less.  Lots of people are planting gardens in case shipping breaks down.  (I had to wait for my seed order because they were backed up).  People are talking about getting chickens.  (I want chickens...)  People are baking bread...with sourdough starter, because it's hard to find yeast all of a sudden.

There haven't been shortages of produce, but since it's unlikely that migrant workers are going to show up this year unless something changes...that might not continue.  There are a bunch of people suddenly unemployed who might pick the crops...but Americans generally won't put up with the awful working conditions.  Nor should they.  Nor should anyone.  If nothing else good comes out of this situation, maybe some of that will get changed. 

I know the worst hasn't happened yet.  I'm ok for now, but the waiting is strangely and deceptively peaceful.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Down By the Green River Where Paradise Lay

I was holding it together pretty well but John Prine is in the hospital in critical condition with COVID-19 and now I am not ok at all.

My older siblings play guitar and sing.  My brother who was murdered when I was twelve was a musician.  "Paradise" and "Angel from Montgomery" are songs that I knew first from hearing them sung by people that I love.  "Paradise" is my favorite; it expresses so many things, love of the land, the unimaginable sorrow of loss, the pain and destruction created by greed.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that this song shaped the way I view the world.

Meanwhile we have politicians questioning whether funding for the arts helps people.  The truth is, art, music, literature and the rest, that's what defines being human.  It's the first thing our ancestors did when that spark of whatever it was that turned them into us lit upon their brow.  Art is what helps us hang on to being human in the face of every terrible thing that could ever happen, and has ever happened.  We need art in this moment more than we need anything that isn't food, water, shelter, or wearing a PPE getup.  It will hold us together against everything that tries to make us fly apart.

I'm not writing an elegy for Mr. Prine.  He is yet among the living, and I don't know him well enough for that.  I am saying his words and his songs are important to me in ways that are distinct from but bound up in my own life.  That's how art and music weave their magic. 

Make me an angel that flies from Montgom'ry

Make me a poster of an old rodeo

Just give me one thing that I can hold on to

To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

Friday, March 27, 2020

When being afraid and giving up are healthy

I am the kind of person who will read all of the horrifying news and statistics and political bullshit because I want to know what is happening.  It gives me a realistic picture of the world I'm operating in, so I can make decisions.  I'm suspicious of news (and any person) that only tells me what I want to hear.  I think that has served me well so far; I started taking the pandemic seriously a couple of weeks before most people around me did.  That could literally have saved my life.  It might do so still.

I don't think most of the people who insist on relentless positivity are doing so well, honestly.  I think that's only a good strategy for people whose lives are mostly good already, for whom privilege or other circumstances have already dealt them a winning hand.  I'm not talking about focusing on the positive and keeping your head up; that's actually a very good way to survive.  I'm talking about the people who won't acknowledge trouble when it's staring them in the face.

What I'm seeing around me is a lot of denial, on various levels from the local to the national, and a lot of fear.  I'm seeing a lot of the people in denial criticizing those who are fearful, because fear is bad, right?  Nobody wants to be a scaredy-cat.  Fear is weakness, and I'm not weak, I'm strong! 

You know why we, as creatures, evolved fear?  Because it tells you that you are in danger, and when to run, hide, or fight.  Animals that don't experience fear get eaten.

Fear in the face of a real threat is not weakness or cowardice.  It means your instincts are functioning the way they are supposed to.  I don't know how anyone can look at the unforgiving math of how COVID-19 is spreading, and the lack of resources (Atlanta hospitals are already out of ICU beds), and the disastrous failure of national leadership, and not be afraid. 

However, at a certain point, more information is not necessarily more of an advantage.  I'll still be paying attention to whatever the CDC and WHO have to say, but today, in terms of news coverage about what our president is doing, I officially hit the wall.

Apparently...after telling governors to get their own equipment, then outbidding them through FEMA...he's now saying they "don't need" as many ventilators as they are requesting.  I can see what he's doing.  He's looking at the map, and seeing that as of now California, Washington, and New York are the hardest hit, and they didn't vote for him.  So the people in those states can die.  He's going to save back the inadequate number of ventilators that are available, and when a red-leaning battleground state (like Georgia, maybe) asks for them, they will be available.

The problem here is that it's not just that people in those blue states will die, which is horrifying enough.  It's that this is certainly going to be predicated on governors following the party line, which is that everything is fine and we can go back to work.  Which is going to make cases, hospital needs and mortality rates in those states skyrocket.  People in my red-leaning potential battleground state are going to die, who didn't need to...unless our governor breaks ranks, in which case he can go whistle for ventilators like the rest of them. 

Trump is going to let people who didn't vote for him die.  He's going to let people in states that don't cooperate with him die, and let their governors take the blame.  He's going to let people in states that DO cooperate with him die...but he'll release equipment to them, and make himself look like a hero there.

I know that's what he's doing.  I fear that people, in the aggregate, are not smart enough to see it.  I know for sure that his supporters will not see it, and worse, many of them will think it's fine.  They hate liberals anyway.  They want us to die; they say so often enough. 

They are going to die too.  In fact, none of this is going to work and people in red states (like the one I live in) are going to die in droves.  Blue states on lockdown are going to get out relatively unscathed, for some value of that, for all that they seem to be hardest hit now. 

So, we're fucked either way.  If I get sick, the fact that Georgia might get more ventilators than New York because my governor isn't willing to contradict the president too hard will not matter, because we'll have so many more cases that my chances of access to care will remain very low.  I'm likely to get triaged right out of an ICU anyway, because I'm diabetic and was in the ICU less than six months ago.  They'll put a healthier person in there who they think is more likely to live.   The fact that I have an established track record of not dying when people expect me to won't matter.  I have nine lives like a cat and I'm only on life three or four.  But even a cat needs a little help.

I'm scared enough to stay home.  And I'm giving up on listening to anything coming from the direction of the White House, because I don't need to hear about Trump's latest fuckery to know the gist of it.  I'm giving up arguing with people about this, because if they were going to listen, they already have, and if they're not going to listen, I'm wasting my breath and I might need it.

I'm focusing mainly on what I can do to make things better...for me, for the people around me.  I'm writing a lot in my Patreon blog about spiritual matters, because people need that kind of support.  I'm writing more in general, because it's good for me and for the people who read it.  I'm parceling out my resources (mainly time and energy) where I can.  I'm trying to be canny about what I can do something about and what I can't, and adapt accordingly. 

Be well.  Be smart, be fast (stay still), and don't let the bastards grind you down.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

At least somebody is happy

I'm trying to focus on the positive here.  Even if it's just a positive for me.  I know lots of people who are going slowly (or quickly) stir-crazy, but if I've learned anything about myself in the past few weeks, it's that I'm much more of an introvert than anyone I know.  I literally am feeling a little over-peopled because of all the online stuff going on all the time.  My virtual dance card is full.

The only change in my daily routine is that my husband is constantly underfoot. He's been cooking a lot so that balances out. I'm not quite as ecstatic as the dog about him being home all the time, but it's nice.

I don't HAVE to drive an
ywhere to cover stories, in fact no one expects me to go anywhere at all, and the new social rules of no hugging, no handshakes, no touching, and keep your distance, buster, are what I would prefer all of the time. My half-assed approach to producing content for my Patreon is not noticeable because the whole internet is Facebook Live amateur hour. In fact, I feel like I'm accomplishing something when I get online and ramble for ten minutes about Tarot or trees or something. 

Other than not being able to go out to eat, and the clear impracticality of going camping, this is pretty much my ideal life.  I hope for everyone else's sake that this mess will soon be over.  But when the world does go back to some version of normal, I'm going to try to accommodate my own extreme introversion more and not feel pressured to be social any more than I want to be.  And I'm going to make more half-assed videos and other small projects, because good enough is good enough, darn it.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Ten Days Late and a Trillion Dollars Short

We thought for sure that the governor of Georgia was going to issue a shelter-in-place order today.  So sure that, rather than wait to have our groceries delivered, my husband ventured out to the grocery store to buy...all of the food they had, apparently.  We are well stocked, in case of nationwide lockdown, zombies, or bears.

Actually lighthearted zombie apocalypse references are not as funny as they used to be.  One of my lifelong fears...earned when my mother nearly died when I was eleven because a nurse fucked up her IV after gall bladder that I will die due to someone else's stupidity.  It's a combination of  that experience plus the fact that as a "gifted" child I often really was the smartest person in the room, including the adults, and that shook my confidence that anyone in charge actually knew what they were doing most of the time.  Plus people often don't listen to me even after I have been proven right over and over again, because sexism probably but whatever the reason it's maddening.  (I'm also a frequent victim of the "That idea sounds to much better now that a man has re-stated what Sara just said" phenomenon).  In other words, the world gaslights me a lot and I identify with Cassandra of Troy to an uncomfortable degree.

I've also been sick a lot in my life, with fairly serious respiratory infections as a regular feature of my childhood.  I've almost died a couple times in my life, and had potentially life-threatening diseases a couple more.  They suck, btw.

I'm having a hard time right now.  I'm literally watching my worst nightmares play out in real time on a large scale.  I am not ok.

So while I wasn't crazy about my husband leaving the house to venture out into a world full of people with no common sense but WITH germs, I thought hurray, at least the governor is seeing reason.  He is about to do something useful.  I'll have to take back half of the disparaging things I have said about him.

Except (spoiler alert) not so much. 

Both Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, and Donald Trump, the president of the United States, were scheduled to make remarks at the same time.  I listened to Kemp, because I gave up listening to Trump for my health a while ago.

My thoughts while listening to Governor Shotgun: "He sounds like one of my students reading his paper in front of the class. Not one of my better students. When is he going to get to the point? Why does he call it Cooo-VID? I too am from Georgia, sir, and I don't talk that way. Surely he is about to announce a lockdown. Ah, shit."

My thoughts while listening to Trump: "Why won't he stop talking. Why. Won't. He. Stop. Talking. This is Hell. I got stuck in the worst timeline, I want to get off. SHUT UP. The lack of lightning in this scenario is starting to erode my faith in divinity and the very concept of goodness. I am succumbing to existential despair. Hell is empty and all the devils voted for this sonofabitch. SHUT UP."

Kemp closed bars and nightclubs, and banned all gatherings of more than ten people, but he stopped short of issuing a shelter-in-place order for the general public.  This while our hospitals are already swamped and Grady physicians are weeping on YouTube.

It's not enough.  It's not enough.  It's not enough.

I hear Trump is already making noises about lifting the paltry restrictions that are currently in place, rather than imposing a nation-wide lockdown, because something something the economy (translation:  rich people can get tests when you can't, and they can get treatment when you can't, and they don't care if you die, they only care about their stock portfolios).  Except the joke's on them because millions of dead people are also bad for the economy.

Friday, March 20, 2020

"I don't know how to make you see reason"

An old friend...actually he was my sixth grade boyfriend...commented on one of my Facebook posts.  He's worried that we're "overreacting" and giving up civil liberties to defend against a threat he just can't see is that bad.  He said that lockdowns would collapse the economy and cost "thousands" of lives.

This was my response: 

Do you remember a few days ago when you were trying to claim that nobody was showing up to hospitals with Covid-19 symptoms, when in fact hospitals in Atlanta and south Georgia were already swamped? And when I predicted that we would soon match Italy's numbers and you shrugged it off?

I was right. You were wrong. You're wrong now, too. I know you're not a stupid person, and I don't understand your emotional resistance to the facts of the situation. I really don't understand your lack of intellectual curiosity about it; the information I've been talking about is easy to find. It's practically everywhere. I even gave you the information necessary to understand that COVID-19, unchecked, will spread exponentially. Seventy-five percent of Americans will be infected.

Seventy-five percent of 330 million is 250 million. One percent of 250 million is 2.5 million...but that's the best case scenario, with no crowding or external complications and optimal care. 3.5 percent of 250 million is 8.6 million. That's a much more likely number, if this thing is allowed to run out of control.

If we do not act strongly and decisively now, "thousands" won't die. MILLIONS will die. Over four times as many Americans will die than in all of our wars combined. And then our economy will collapse anyway. The difference is that it will be a lot easier to recover if a significant chunk of the work force are holed up in their houses or whatever we can pull together to help people survive, than if they're dead. The difference is between relatively short-term pain and...something else entirely.

You don't have to take my word for it; look up the Imperial College epidemiological model or any of the articles that are out explaining it. The part about the economy collapsing and recovery is the opinion of my husband, who has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He saw this stuff coming and pulled his 401k out of the stock market before it crashed. Argue with him, if you please.

Right now, we are choosing life or death for millions of Americans. We are choosing whether they will get a fighting chance or die gasping in a hallway waiting for a respirator that will never come, and a doctor too overwhelmed to care for them. By the time we get to that future, it will already be far too late.

Haven't you watched the news? Better yet, don't you know anybody who works in a hospital? They are already overrun. They are already running out of supplies. Already, now. And this is still just the very beginning.

If that is news to you, then your sources of information are flawed.

I don't know how to make you see reason, and I find this conversation distressing. Especially considering I am in a high risk category and may very well not live through this. I don't know how to tell you not to step out in front of a bus that has everyone's grandmother and diabetic friend on board. I don't know how to make you see life or death in a mathematical curve, or trust the world's best epidemiologist when he says we should be taking it much more seriously than we are.

I will just remind you of our conversation a few days ago, and how everything I said has come to pass.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I thought it would take two weeks to get here. I was wrong.

"It's no big deal" "People are overreacting" "Hysteria" blah blah meme making fun of people "panicking" hey let's go on vacation...

The number of confirmed cases in the US jumped 40% overnight to 13,726. Now, some of that is surely because of increased testing, but...we still don't have enough tests. These aren't all the cases, they're just the confirmed cases in an environment where lots of people are not being tested. The actual number of cases is probably ten times that. Also, the curve is not going to level off due to the measures we've already taken until sometime NEXT week, if it does.

I admit, I was wrong about the numbers. They are considerably higher, faster than what I was saying. But I still got people telling me in condescending tones that I was hysterically overreacting, something something liberal agenda.

I don't know, man. Maybe next time all the scientists tell you to be worried about something, you should listen to them. I have a couple things in mind.

And stay the fuck home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Writers Gone Wild

I won the grocery store argument.  They couldn't get all of the things we wanted but we will be ok. I expect that after the grocery stores get a chance to re-stock we can try again.

All of my friends decided to do Facebook Live at once, and one of them was talking about how she still dresses up for staff meetings which she attends from her living room.  I guess we've found the extroverts in the group (some of whom would not cop to that label at all.)

Meanwhile, I'm still in my pajamas at 5:22 pm and my husband, who normally wears slacks, a dress shirt, and a suit jacket, is wearing old gym shorts and t-shirts all day, every day.  Nobody cares what writers look like under ordinary circumstances, and we've pretty much gone feral over here.
We are exercising extreme caution because I have underlying health issues and the Atlanta hospitals are already slammed.  Much more so than people realize, I think.  We know what we do because we know people who work in health care.  A lot of people are still in full-on denial, while others are increasingly frustrated with the first group.  Some of my more conservative acquaintances are starting to take it seriously while giving Trump credit for all of the measures he (and they) were scoffing at days ago.  Whatever will make you sit your ass at home, dude.

Anyone who is not too concerned should consider the speed with which Congress is pushing through various legislation, including straight up cash payments to individuals, with Trump all ready to sign it all.   It's not because they care about us, exactly; if they did, they'd have been doing that all along.  It's because they've seen a financial apocalypse bearing down on them.  They're spooked. 

I'm actually about to get dressed and go for a walk around the lake while the sun is still shining.  It's nice out there.  There are a few people about...not many.  The birds are chirping and the geese are honking.  It's a beautiful day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Milk and Otters

We're out of milk and my husband wants to get out of the house.  We're having one of those low-level married people bickers about it:  he thinks we shouldn't order groceries because delivery systems are strained and it's extra money, and I think he should stay the fuck out of public places for the next little while.  We won't know until NEXT week if the measures THIS week are working...and people aren't paying attention to them anyway. 

I signed us up for a weekly box of vegetables, updated my Kroger and Costco accounts so I can order online easily, and am awaiting a prescription. I'm feeling grateful that I can do those things, as I spent some years living hand to mouth. Though honestly if I'd been able to order groceries back when I didn't own a car, that would have been pretty cool.

I've some big news happening today, but I'm going to save that for another post :D  Meanwhile, the Georgia Aquarium has a sea otter cam.  You're welcome.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Brunch of the Red Death

The divisions I mentioned yesterday don't seem to be changing any.  People are going out to bars on Saturday night, going to church on Sunday and then out to Sunday brunch like normal.  Nobody I know personally, I don't think, but friends of friends.  I hear about it because those friends are worried and angry about people they know ignoring the writing on the wall.

Meanwhile there are 127 cases under investigation for COVID-19 at Emory, seven confirmed.  One death.

Meanwhile my Pagan ass is parked at home, checking on coven mates via text message and canceling plans.  A friend is using her Zoom account to do daily devotionals.  We normally gather in very small groups, but most of the people I know are skipping even those in favor of online interactions.  I think I hear the 90s calling, they want their technopagans back.

I never would have thought I'd say this, but it seems like Pagans have a streak of common sense after all.

The mayor of Pine Lake sent out an e-mail with a link to a form they are asking people to fill out.  It asks how many adults live in your household, contact information, and whether or not you want a welfare check in an emergency.  We said no because we believe that the time and energy for that should be spent on other people.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Plague Diary #1

We are in the middle of a global pandemic.  It's going to get worse before it gets better, certainly in the United States where we are at the very beginning of the curve.

There's a literary tradition of "plague diaries;"  they've been the main source of historical information about the bubonic plague, for example.  But we have the internet now, and I was a blogger long before I was a journalist.  I know from experience how writing and shared experience can benefit both writer and reader.  In any crisis of my life, I turn to words.

I posted this on Facebook yesterday:

Some people are a bit...wound up. I had someone who has known me for decades chew me out about the headline of an article I posted and then unfriend me.

But for the most part, I not only don't want to get away from social media, I love the way people try to share information and opinions and ideas and ask for help and keep each other entertained and generally shore each other up in the face of trouble. I would never have seen videos of Italians singing to each other from balconies if I wasn't paying attention to social media.

I don't think the barrage of information is "fear-mongering" or bad. If anything, I'm worried people aren't afraid *enough.* The disease is circulating in our communities and people are going about their business like whole countries aren't shut down...whole countries who are about two weeks ahead of us on the timeline. Those people might be fine, but I and others might not, and we can't avoid humans entirely. Their unconcern could kill people.

I've been reading and sharing news, graphs about "flattening the curve" and gallows humor.  I'm currently feeling reasonably good about seeing this coming; I stocked up my kitchen two weeks ago (though I never did make to Costco...I'm going to wait a little while on that), and convinced my husband to start working from home a week or so ago.  As of Wednesday, I stopped all non-essential appointments or outings, and while I went out Friday to interview people for a story I'm canceling all expeditions that don't lead directly to money or groceries.  (I'm going to get my meds delivered). I'm doing a job interview tomorrow that was originally scheduled for in-person.  I'm visiting with friends via Zoom.

Some of that is because I'm diabetic (therefore in a risk category) and I just went through fun times in the hospital with a kidney stone and sepsis last September.  I don't like my chances, though I have a lifetime history of being hard to kill.  Some of it is because I have seasonal allergies (a curse upon Bartlett pears!) and I've been low-key congested, tired, and slightly achey for weeks.  I'm both more susceptible to secondary infections, and more likely to not know that I'm sick until I spike a fever.  So...home it is.

People in Pine Lake where I live and most of my social sphere seem to be taking it seriously.  The weather has been nice but there are fewer people out and about, and the ones who are seem to be keeping a reasonable distance from one another.  I overheard a couple of neighbors talking about carrying a six foot pole to maintain "social distance," and I walked past an exercise class that was being conducted on the beach (presumably because outside was deemed safer, though with Pine Lakers you never know).  City Hall is closed for now, some of the older residents are self-isolating, people are organizing to pick up groceries and run other errands for people who don't want to leave their homes, and one of our neighbors is making elderberry syrup.  Which she is selling for the exact same amount she normally does.   Local governments are also taking it seriously:  schools are shut down, public offices are closing, meetings are being livestreamed.  COVID-19 cases who can't isolate at home for whatever reason are being sent to Hard Labor Creek State Park, which is about an hour from Atlanta, has commercial kitchens in the group camps and lots of room. 

Outside of Pine Lake and on the ground as it were, not so much.  We drove around a bit yesterday to see what was happening.  Wal-Mart was crowded, which is understandable I suppose.  Downtown Stone Mountain was full of people and cars, which is less so. 

It's less an ideological divide than one of temperament and how people get information. As I say my social sphere is mostly taking it seriously, but some on the fringes...aren't.  The difference between left and right politics is mainly in which conspiracy theory/dumbass interpretation they believe, though there's a measurable difference in how many people believe them on each side.  Trump supporters and watchers of Fox News think that either 1) the whole thing is made up to crash the stock market, make Trump look bad, and keep him from getting re-elected, or 2) it's just a "bad flu" that Democrats are politicizing and blowing out of proportion to make Trump look bad.  Folks on the other side of the ideological line favor the theory that it's being exaggerated to scare people and seize power, or is a bioweapon.  Or they think we can make it go away with lavender oil and positive vibes.  What disturbs me is that while the latter views are mostly being presented by wingnuts who get shouted down pretty quickly by my peers, the former are being taken seriously by people I....would have assumed were smarter than that.

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Saturday Evening Post published a short story of mine this past year.  I wrote the first version of that story in high school, some *cough* years ago.  (NEVER GIVE UP!)

And lookee here, I am on a list!