The Flat-Out Terror of Getting Published

Okay, dear readers, it’s official. I am going to be a published poet/author. Granted, my poetry book is self-published, but’s still putting my written word out there.

Sometime this March May (thanks, Trent’s World, for noticing that/commenting on it! 🙂 ), my poems will be released (inflicted?) upon the world. Brace yourselves!

Will keep you posted re: author website, promotional events/goodies and all that fun stuff.

Thanks for being along with the ride!

It’s been a long way down…

Or maybe we never really rose up.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many bleak television shows. (But, that’s not an apology, mind you.)

Coming off of watching The Killing, and now wrapping up the last of Torchwood.

Really hitting me about having to be human, especially looking around at the world.

I never really realised how I always felt like an outsider, but my awareness about being human has shifted over the past month or so. Or maybe just remembering how my awareness used to be when I was a kid.

Trees were amazingly vibrant friends.

Plants sang to me.

To recycle a phrase that’s probably grown cliche (or a borrowed quote from some other human somewhere), I felt their pain with all the “intensity of a thousand knives” hitting me all at once. When trees were being cut down, that pain that I felt was excruciating and unbearable. I wanted to scream with the agony I felt. Sure, you could probably chalk it up to just being an imaginative and sensitive kid, but it didn’t erase how I felt. Especially when I had to be the plant murderer (i.e. mow the grass, trim plants, etc. *wry laugh*). I would be standing there with a pair of hedge clippers just sobbing my little kid heart out. (Yep, I was a weird one!)

I tried. I tried to adopt that normal human insensitivity to non-human life forms. For a while, I succeeded in turning it off. In building up a fortress of protection. But the older I get, the more that fortress crumbles. And I’m back in a morass of emotion, and conflict. It’s like being a teenager, but even worse in some ways.

Animals look at me with souls of the ancients…tolerant, loving, inscrutable, and, sometimes, (rightfully!) angry and/or scared of me as a human that’s come bumbling into their midst. And I love them for it. Because they should be scared and angry.

Yesterday, I saw the article about the whales beaching themselves in Florida. And it was so unemotional. “Why,” I screamed. “How?” “What the f*ck are we doing about it?” And, the answer is nothing. There’s no change we can implement soon enough. Even if we did (and do) care, it’s not enough. There’s nothing we can do.

Because we are human.

And I have never been more ashamed of that fact than right now.

I don’t want to live on a planet without bees and birds and animals and trees and plants and water and oceans and fish and whales and everything else that is a non-human life form.

Akin my (faulty?) memory of Medea (from when I was in middle school), when she talks about being underwater and the fish eating the flesh from her bones until she is pure and white, that’s what I feel sometimes.

Like I want to strip off my human skin and transform into an animal. Or a bird. Or even the air, or an unknown fantastical elemental. Anything but a creature that’s linked biologically to the human race. Enough with cell phones and social media and television and money and stuffy stuff and banal work and being hated and being insulted and put down and being ignored and losing…everything.

And, yes, I know that’s not possible.

But that’s what I wish. have wished since I was a child. And that I could fix things. Help make people around me understand. Help make sure that evil doesn’t win. Like so many kids, maybe, I wanted to be a hero.

But now I just feel helpless.

I am a coward.

I am weak.

I am so very tired.

 

 

 

On Religion and Hate…

 

Yep, the Chaos Fairy definitely has moments of misanthropy (you guys know that), but I just don’t get the extended duration of religion-based hatred and intolerance. [I’ve been thinking about it lately, especially with all of Trump’s insanity (and that of his followers) flying around the internet].

Part of  today’s blog entry was also inspired by the fact that I got to go to the New Mexico History Museum on a guest pass today (to the awesome low-rider exhibit!) and viewed the “Fractured Faiths: Spanish Judaism, The Inquisition, and New World Identities” exhibit as well.

It’s just so crazy the extent people go to in the name of their religion. Yes, you can dissect (as an academic historian, I have) the social and political trends (from a historical/historian’s perspective) that also help foster said intolerance, but it’s still astounding, especially standing there reading the names on the exhibit’s wall of people burned at the stake or even burned in effigy (because they managed to escape), or even just had their bones burned. (You should check out the exhibit, btw.)

Not to trivialize the often-horrifying fate of past and present/modern victims of religious-fueled hatred, but, holy crap (no pun intended), it just seems so immature. Like a pissing contest among (all the major) religions’ overzealous purveyors–I just envision wee children on a playground taunting each other–or I would if the consequences weren’t horribly lethal and sick in their level of hatred.

The fact that these are fully grown, mature adults, with the full force of political or social power, governments, (in charge of) whole countries, and/or armies/weapons at their fingertips (still!), playing this game of religious dominance–that just astounds me. And terrifies me. It’s embodied by Trump in the current climate, even though it’s been permeating our culture and our world for a long time (I know that).

Why can’t you just have your God/Goddess/Multitude of deities/Spiritual beliefs and I have mine? Or the freedom not to have any, since science has shown there’s really nothing up in the firmament anyway, (or in the higher regions of Earth) so…what’s the big deal if I want to worship some earth-mother-goddess force and your god the only male. It’s just a different definition/view on the same godlike essence. Respect, tolerance, knowledge, and love is at the core of most religions anyway (from what I’ve read so far)–it’s just the followers of said religion who have twisted it to suit their human agendas.

That’s what I think. Feel free to disagree–that’s your prerogative. Just don’t use it as an excuse to hatemonger. Or call out for my execution. (I’ll probably be reincarnated, anyway. So there. LOL)

 

Love and other Mysteries of the Spirit…

 

Neelix: Commander, I don’t think you can analyze love. It’s the greatest mystery of all. No one knows why it happens, or doesn’t. Love is a chance combination of elements. Any one thing might be enough to keep it from igniting – a mood, a glance… a remark. And if we could define love, predict it – it would probably lose its power.–Star Trek: Voyager

“Invisible things are the only realities.”
Edgar Allan Poe, Loss of Breath

“Yet mad I am not…and very surely do I not dream.”
Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat

What a strange time it’s been lately. (Naturally, there’s a rational explanation, but for now, I’m just enjoying the mystery and the magic. I’ve kinda had an overdose of reality, anyway.)

 

Sleepless white nights.

Or very intense dreams, full of symbolism. Jung would probably have a field day, but…

…in real life, the dreams I’ve been having are echoed by an eerie serendipity.

(Actually, I just realised that synchronicity is a better word choice.)

Like Mulder, I want to believe.

Am I losing my way?

But I think I want to get lost.

It’s so mysterious and beautiful here.

Magic is in the air, especially at the crossroads.

I hope I get it right, this time.

*makes a wish*

*believes*

The Griffin and Sabine series might be a good travel guide.

But I have some animal guides to help me find my way, again. (I think).

Chaos Strikes Again!

Apparently, critters have been chewing on the cable that provides internet and such for the house. Or so Comcast says–you probably know how much I (dis)trust the corporate doublespeak their employees have to spout.

Still, I hope they didn’t get hurt, or sick. 😦 The lovable local wildlife, that is, not the Comcast corporation-r-people too.

In any case, I was without internet for…two days?

So I took a vacation and read. Or re-read books on my shelf, as part of my downsizing mission. It’s getting harder…I opened a box that I thought it was going to be non-fiction books I already read within the past couple of years, but it was a box of my favourite fiction books that I’ve had for years. *sigh*

So, I’m getting a late start to my day, and I wasn’t able to keep up with blog reading (I had about 700+ blog entry emails to go through). I’m afraid I just did a near mass delete (sorry, fellow bloggers!)…was just too tired, honestly, to read all of them.

Hopefully, no new chaos will happen tomorrow and I’ll be back on track!

I signed up for the adult summer reading program at the local library. Didn’t get too ambitious…only put down twenty books as my goal. http://fl.evanced.info/sclibs/sr/homepage.asp?ProgramID=13

Well, I have no ideas for my blog today. I went outside and these little white feathers were floating everywhere. I thought it was a hawk having lunch. One landed on me, and I picked it up between my fingers and it turned to powder. It was snowing ash, apparently, from a “controlled burn” at Oscar Scherer Park south of Sarasota.

Watched most of a new show on OnDemand while waiting for Godot the Comcast technician–Killjoys–I liked it so far. We’ll see if it gets old. I like that guy in it that was in Warehouse 13–Aaron Ashmore–for some reason.

Spoiler alert (maybe?): For some reason, I would be disappointed if Dutch hooks up with/continues to crush on John’s brother, as is alluded to by Dutch’s behavior in the first part of the first episode. Don’t know why I find her making googly eyes at D’Avin so irksome. I’m like “Already? Oh, come on. She suddenly starts crushing on some hot ‘bad boy’ as soon as she meets him? Please…” Maybe I’m just gettin’ old and stodgy re: romance and passion… *laugh*

Found this article today that I liked re: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which examines whether the show was really as feminist as it was lauded to be. I would say that I would agree with many of the points of the article and have thought similar things while watching the show in the past. Especially when Giles tries to put Dark Willow in her place with that very demeaning lecture. I’d say he could have handled that one better. His dismissive treatment of Willow, no matter how wayward she was, angered me to no end.

Here’s the article!

http://www.themarysue.com/reconsidering-the-feminism-of-joss-whedon/

So, that’s it for today. Off to put a Chaos Fairy staple in the oven–an Amy’s frozen dinner.

Hope your day was more productive, fellow bloggers, and readers!

Sarasota County Commissioners for sale/rent–available to the highest bidder…

Developer? Sport Hunter? Or, simply an individual property owner that hates leaf-dropping, old oak trees? Sarasota-Bradenton will welcome you with open arms! Pesky development and environmental/wildlife laws preventing you from cutting down old-growth trees, building on wetlands/protected natural areas, or hunting on wildlife like black bears? Not to worry–Sarasota County Commissioners will change local laws and regulations to suit your heart’s desire!

(Except where I’ve included links and quotes from newspaper and online articles, this is an opinion piece, and all opinions are mine, and mine alone. –A.C.F.)

On the wake of seeing homes like the one that was built in 1925 in my very neighbourhood demolished, and even this one (http://realestate.heraldtribune.com/2015/06/30/historic-119-year-old-reasoner-home-becomes-rubble/) meeting the wrecking ball, as well as beautiful old oak trees being cut down with no effort to preserve them (despite purported codes/laws in place protecting said trees), I was greeted by this article in the paper this morning that Randy Benderson, who infamously got permission to build a huge, wildlands-destroying and traffic-congesting mall, the University Town Center, “somehow” convinced Sarasota County Commissioners to “unanimously” grant his proposal to expand development to a whopping 600K feet of retail space and 100K of office space, according to the article (Read full article here). Not to mention that he’s going to be able to put in “nearly1,800 homes and 500 hotel rooms” on the site. But, no worries, the commissioners have learned to hide their bias towards/ties to developers behind convenient green-washing doublespeak. Supposedly, the “281-acre property…bolster(s) wetland protection.”

Here’s a novel idea, County Commissioners, why don’t you just simply PROTECT the wetlands and Florida’s natural ecosystem?

Oh, that’s right, because you are apparently carrying on with a trend in local Commissioner behavior–behavior which seems to point out that you pass measures that not only support a small influential percentage of the local population, but your own interests as well, as this article states “It wasn’t a tough sell for commissioners, most of whom shoot guns and frequent the range themselves.”

The article about the expansion of the shooting range in Nokomis goes on to inform us that the County commissioners allowed about 43 acres of protected natural land to be used for the expansion of the shooting range in Nokomis, despite environmental outcry, and the article suggests, by my interpretation, that you probably (illegally?) tried to keep it under the radar by not informing the public that it was coming under vote until the last minute.

(A small local paper presents another viewpoint into some of the issues facing Sarasota, often including reactionary articles on Benderson and County Commissioners that are interesting to read, simply because of the perspective offered on issues that would be hot-button among the voting demographic anywhere else: https://www.facebook.com/SarasotaPhoenixNews. )

Is it any wonder I (and other environmentally concerned Sarasota-Bradenton residents) feel so helpless? After all, we can’t compete with wealthy developers, out-of-state snowbirds (whose needs and wants are placed above those of long-term/year-round residents), or the special-interest groups that have the advantage simply because they reflect the needs and wants of our County Commissioners, as it suggests in many of the articles in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, and the events taking place “on the ground”.

Also, keep in mind that all this is happening while schools are underfunded, funding for the arts is being slashed, libraries don’t have enough funding and have had to slash staff and programs, social support programs are being neglected, and many people here are “lucky” to make minimum wage, and, even then, that is routinely exploited, with many businesses/individuals paying their employees under the minimum wage (I know about this tactic, firsthand, from personal experience in years of job hunting/working in Florida.)

I am saddened and angry beyond belief. And I have admitted defeat. I feel so powerless and alone to stop any of this from continuing to happen. Since I am poor and have no social status, I don’t matter. I can be sidelined like all of the other residents with heart, who care about what happens to not only Florida’s dwindling ecosystem, but to the local community and to preserving a sense-of-place connection with the area as well. I cried a lot this morning over the fate that Florida’s natural areas and wildlife faces in the face of political-based greed and favoritism. Not that the County Commissioners would notice, or even care, how members (like me) of their grassroots community would feel.

You win.

 

Dear Sarasota, Florida…

Dear Sarasota, Florida,

So, even though I have a love-hate relationship with you, and was born and raised here, and for some frickin’ reason (or circumstances beyond my control) I keep coming back and trying to build a life here, I am writing this letter to tell you we are breaking up for good. I should have done this a long time ago, because it’s clear that, no matter how much I love your swamps, your natural areas, your beautiful old oak trees, the human culture that resides here has made it clear, time and again, that I’m not welcome. You think I would have caught on after the tenth hundredth time I got dirty looks, rude treatment or followed around the store every time I went into a place of business, or even refused customer service outright. Or, getting fired because my fuchsia hair made me “a bad role model” for kids, or finding out my conservative clothes  I borrowed money to purchase and wore to a (finally!) job interview still “weren’t good enough to work in my office”, as I was told.

Still, I wish I could pass on my passion for the “Old Florida” as we long-term locals like to call it, but seeing more and more woodframe/older homes fall to the wrecking ball and replaced with McMansions, even in the neighbourhood I grew up in, I am hard-pressed to remain optimistic. I even had someone tell me that those McMansions did reflect “Old Florida” architecture style. *sigh*

So, here is the list of things that I wish you would preserve or change, as I leave here, and the latest wave of out-of-towners/out-of-staters/more-wealthy locals moves into Sarasota, and into my neighbourhood.

  1. PLEASE stop cutting down big, beautiful oak trees, and other wonderful trees that have been here since I was a little girl. It’s killing me that almost every day now, I hear the heart-wrenching whine of chain saws–I’ve tried so hard to protect the trees in any way that I can, but I can’t seem to fight the standard ruling of code enforcement or whomever is issuing these permits I had thought they were safe, based on code enforcement laws, but, according to an individual I recently had a conversation with, they told me they were able to get the/an arborist to say the tree was diseased, and were able to cut down a gorgeous old oak tree and this individual had been very angry that they did not have the right to cut down anything on their property (they had recently moved to this area, from out-of-state). So many animals and birds rely on those trees, especially since new development is swallowing up more and more of the natural Florida:  hawks, songbirds, owls, and many other forms of wildlife that rely on the tree cover to live. Please protect these trees, not cut them down.
  2. Please consider planting more eco-friendly lawns, and please don’t continue to spray/maintain your turf yards, public sidewalks, and driveways with Roundup and other chemicals, fertilizer, and pesticides. The almost year-round red tide and dead zone in the Gulf is not there by a whim of nature. Also, City of Sarasota/Sarasota County and other park areas, fairgrounds, local businesses, and eve nature reserves, please stop using Roundup to water the grass and maintain the landscaping/nature trails.
  3. Local officials and police: In my perspective, it has seemed that you are primarily catering to a specific demographic–developers, conservatives, gun aficionados, rich people, people in condos downtown complaining about the noise, leaving the rest of us that make up this community as well alienated and with no say in anything that stands in the way of your vision for Sarasota. Once, I even called the cops for men that were trespassing, and were even coming up the house and standing there watching me. I was told by the cops (true story) that instead of calling the cops, I should go outside, confront any trespassers, and if/when they attacked me, I should call 911. (And, if you say this is libel, well, just FYI, I even have the officer’s name and the date and time the incident occurred and the date and time when I spoke to the officer’s supervisor, or so they claimed to be.) I also remember reading in a local paper that a certain county official told the press that they implemented a ban on food trucks out at the Siesta Key Beach because they didn’t want to have the kind of people the food trucks would attract out at the Siesta Key beach. I have no idea what those kinds of people are, I just know that I am the “kind of people” they don’t want out on the Key, because I love food trucks.
  4. Implement a living wage. Stop exploiting underpaid, under-minimum wage workers to clean your megahomes and take care of your lawns and build said homes.  End modern-day slavery that exists in Florida.
  5. Fix your school system. It failed me, just like it’s continuing to fail thousands of kids since I was in school, and currently. Treating students like prison inmates, delaying them emergency medical care over something more trivial, and mentally, emotionally, and physically abusing the children in your care is UNACCEPTABLE. And, yes, I witnessed this firsthand.
  6. Address the systemic racism, classism and sexism that plagues the local community.
  7. Although it’s inevitable, because I simply have Florida can be so much more than a tropical, suburban, beach/golf playground for the rich. Again, please give the natural Florida a chance to work its allure. Stop overdevelopment, stop encroachiing on wildlife habitat to build unnecessary gated communities, stop cutting down the trees I loved as a child, stop killing/culling wildlife just because they are “inconvenient”, please stop clearing shorelines of natural mangroves. Please don’t fire firecrackers into a rookery of nesting birds (and their babies) just because you happened to move into a house that is near said rookery (they were here first, and supposedly protected by law.)
  8. Again, please, I beg you, look after the natural Florida–it’s rich, wonderful, atmospheric, and a treasure that I hope you will learn to love, and embrace all of Sarasota’s inhabitants, rich, poor, young, old, artistic, progressive, nature loving alike. And please stop feeding the raccoons, the Muscovy ducks, the alligators, and any of the other local wildlife. *wry laugh*

I hate giving up, myself, but even this ass-kicker (wanna-be?) is admitting defeat. Since I have no money, no social status, no income, no social connections (I’ve tried!), and, therefore, no worth, or voice, in anything that happens to Sarasota, I’m giving up. I wish I could buy huge swaths of land and wetlands, to save them from development. I feel so helpless. I know that, the way I feel right now, I can’t imagine ever coming back to Florida. I wish I could take all the trees and the wildlife with me. Dammit, I told myself I wouldn’t cry. Goodbye, Florida, I will miss you, and your trees, and your fecund swamps, and the way it gets so rich and atmospheric and vibrantly green right before the (rarer and rarer) torrential rains.

Sincerely,

A heartbroken A Chaos Fairy