Linda Scribbles

{July 12, 2022}   Stuck the landing!

Made it safely to 34!

I have a LOT of thoughts and feelings about everything going on in the world, but I wanted to share this tiny good thing. Please have cake and enjoy a good story in my honor.

Happy adventuring and here’s to many more!

The last time I wrote here about a shooting was 2012. I was heartsick, and it’s no less painful to hear about another school, and another, and another, and stores and places of faith and homes. Twenty-one lost in the Uvalde school with parents begging for aid. To not only be denied assistance from the only people we’re told have any authority to render action in emergencies, but to be held back from doing anything– knowing that if you fight to save your babies, the most vulnerable in any situation, but especially in this instance of literal threat to their lives, it will be (and was) held against you– The weight of these thoughts alone, the chain links of if/then’s that form to constrict my heart and lungs, is crushing. And these families, like too many others across the U.S., lived it.

I’m terrified of becoming numb from over exposure to this kind of heartache. I’m terrified to lose the fury to fight the circumstances that allow this to keep happening under the building layers of grief. Mourning is a blanket becoming too heavy, too stifling the more there’s cause. I beg it not to develop into a callous. I’d rather suffer than become indifferent.

I’m terrified to become indifferent.

I’m equally terrified to lose the pinging reminder in my mind that this is the fallout, these lives are the collateral of other failures that brought into being this person in this moment who chose to commit to something monstrous. I don’t want to lose sight and become complicit in maintaining the structures that build these events. I refuse. It would be too easy to say no one but a monster could decide to do violence, to separate the decision from pain, from anger, from experiences just as human as joy and love and connection. It’s a grotesque feeling in any of us to consider we could be driven to murder, and because so many of us never have, we desperately assume we never will. It’s so outside the scope of every day life for those of us graced with this assumption as a truth as to seem impossible, and we seem to know intrinsically it should be this way for everyone. Those who have been driven so far by whatever seem like they must be separate, wrong beings; they must have come into existence already broken, or maybe it’s not even worth considering how they got there beyond a hunt to find particular people at fault, people to blame and take the burden of collective rage, an easily identified target in order to feel that justice was in some way served, that we are not so helpless as we felt to stop harm while it happened. But surely They are not any of Us. The monster is not us; the responsibility of keeping the monster is not ours. We can not be the monster; we could never build the monster. The monstrous is entirely detached– never attached in the first place to become de-attached– to us. Surely. It would feel better, safer, if this was true. It would be too easy to decide it was true when it isn’t me and isn’t you.

I refuse to become complacent, to pretend, to deny.

More if/then’s that weigh on my heart. The chain grows and wraps and wraps, and following the links is the very picture of spiraling.

My youngest siblings are still in school. I can only remember to breathe, and love them, and watch them grow, and hope they know we love them as easy breathing should be, no matter what. May they never face the fallout of someone else’s failures. May we not fail them so thoroughly that they see creating suffering as a viable solution to anything at all. May the blanket of grief not snuff out the fire to fight, to connect, and hold each of us all together with determined hope. I will love them, and I will love you, with all the ferocity in me.

May we keep us all from monstrosity.

EDIT: I wish to make something exceedingly clear– none of the above is in any way meant to detract from the part easily accessible firearms played in this or any of the shootings. That shit needs to go. This, too, is part of loving each other; keeping the easiest tools of the highest monstrosities out of easy reach. AND while we’re at it, so is redistribution of the militarisation budget of police into services to support communities, every member.

I’ve only got one thing written this year, but I actually like it quite a bit, which is pretty rare for me! I hope everyone is having a safe and cozy spooky season! I offer this All Hallow’s Read gift with much love! Enjoy!

Off We Go A’Visiting

Put on your hat and tighten your laces, don’t want to be late, they might eat your faces!

What do you mean you only have one? Nevermind that, all the more reason to hustle and hurry. Can’t lose the one, even if it’s not furry.

Put on your coat, remember the buttons. Pick up that basket—we can’t leave the muffins.

What’s that, dear? Speak into the back ear; I can’t hear a thing with the cap on the top tier.

Oh, never, not ever! Turn up empty paw’ed?! Our hosts wouldn’t be pleased if left empty maw’ed!

They’d welcome you, sure, for supper, and snacks. They’d bring you straight in to the kitchen with thanks, AND THEN—

We’d all be eating a medley of soups with a stock of your spine, and all of your eyeballs floating in brine, with all of your dimples and pimples on quiche, maybe a delicate salad with your gills and your feets, your liver pâte, three of your brains arranged on a tray, your tail sliced on crackers with cheese, kid kidney pie topped with nails and teeth—

What’s that? Do we have time to mop? Oh, my, so I did get carried away! Salivating just thinking of maybes, I say!

Yes, yes, you’re right, after all. We shouldn’t leave with a mess in the hall. You know, why don’t you set those muffins aside? We’ll just take care of this and then catch our ride.

Maybe just for today, they won’t mind a delay; maybe they’ll only be mad just a tad, if I arrive with a treat, surely that won’t be so bad.

Happy Halloween, or a wonderful evening to you all this same! 🎃🧡

{October 19, 2021}   On the cusp of change

Or hopefully I am, anyway.  (Thirty-three has yet to take me out! Would you look at that!) The recent efforts toward change in my life have made me reflective, the hour a strange kind of nostalgic for the almosts and life events missed. I’m thinking about all the ways I held back or was held back from being everything that I am and could have grown into, the life experiences I can’t go back and share, the people who would have loved me and who I wanted very much to love– someone asked me recently what my goals were. In the context of that space where they were asking, I was fairly certain of the kind of answer they wanted, but my smart ass opted to get cute about it and ask if they meant in life generally orrrrr– but then as I answered, I realized my answer would have been more or less the same; I want experience, I want stories. And I became a bit emotional when my brain finally clicked on how that has always really been all I wanted. It never seemed like a valid answer, because it wasn’t a thing that could obviously be directly translated into a productive and monetizable pursuit, not one that had ever been expressed as worth the time and effort to do so. Stories and storytelling, like most arts, were (are) severely undervalued, and I internalized that way too hard. For all that stories have been my whole heart, my most sacred sanctuary and most beloved vice, and I feel passionately about the power and artistry in storytelling, I’m finding I’m still struggling with the concept that writing could be a viable career option for me. This is one more thing where I’ve allowed myself to hold back. I’m angry about it, if I’m being honest. And then that just cycles me around to being angry and grieving for the parts of me that have languished, the versions of me left behind, snuffed out before I had the chance to explore them, the me and all the stories I would have had if in just a few more instances I’d had the room to take the chance and not let fear from others wear so deep into me. To the baby me who knew no better and chose to be safe, I’m sorry I did that to us and I love you for doing your best to get us here. To the me yet to come (should we make it past thirty-three, lol), I’m sorry it took so long to figure this out properly, so we could do better still. May we be everything we needed that no one else managed for us, and may we shed more and more still the reservations that have not served us. May we be everything we have always felt afraid to be.

That was meant to just be a brief note about– well, I’m not really sure, I suppose. Reflection and regret and resolve? And then about how I’ve somehow not had the motivation to write for All Hallow’s Read, even though I’ve been anxiously muttering for months that I need to write, so as to not be scrambling ONE MORE YEAR AGAIN to bang something out, and now it’s over halfway through October. So here we are again! Here we are again. Why?

This post got away from me. If you’ve stuck it out to the end, hello there. Thank you and I hope you’re hydrated and as well and safe as can be. I won’t say anything about the current state of the world, because it’s exhausting, but wherever you are in it, I love you.

This is a draft I half started at the beginning of December and got too busy to finish. I’m continuing now. Fair warning: this is an absolute mess.

I’m at work desperately trying to keep my brain on task rather than chasing all the thought rabbits there ever were. I’m hard pressed to feel motivated to sort out a situation that got unnecessarily messy, so it’s difficult. So of course I’m vacillating between the eager, cautious hope of what seems such a sure promise, and the wary, ear-twitching fears, hearing the thrashing and snarling of wounded and cornered creatures. (Read as: I’m scrolling through twitter/tumblr nearly obsessively, and unavoidably hearing all the intensely conservative fuss happening around me. Thank every good force in this world for the prevalence of cute animal pictures and the effectiveness of headphones!) The details of November’s bananas happenings are impossible to entirely block out, and as exhausted as I am, I don’t want to be unaware, I don’t want to be caught unawares when action is necessary to look out for each other.

A number of thoughts in no particular order.

I keep remembering a project we did in one of my high school classes (English, I think). I don’t recall the whole of it, but part of it was to create protest posters from the 60’s as we thought they might have looked using slogans that had been documented. Mine was “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” I’d been so intensely drawn to the vague understanding I had of what the whole Flower Power movement had been from hurried history lessons and the music played on repeat on the oldies radio station (which was virtually the only thing played on my little alarm clock radio from about 7-years-old to my teens). I was thrilled. I sharpied the daylights out of my poster, knowing I had the colors down and the lettering, and believing whole-heartedly. But the important thing is that the phrase stuck with me. It was the conclusion I’d circled my whole little life and struggled to put into words. All the books my mother and my teachers had given me, the stories and art and history continually fed to us about people fighting to do the right thing, to survive, to protect each other and others in the face of overwhelming violence– here it was, simply: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” As I get older, I’m finding I’d been lucky to have the exposure to the people I did. In the midst of all those stories had been discussions about the circumstances, the ways it was talked about by the individual people who carried out orders to hurt people, to kill people, the ones who looked away, the ones who felt powerless to do anything whether in retrospect they’d really been in such a trapped position after all. It was always a choice for each one, but the question was always the cost. I have never been able to fathom anything would be worth the cost of atrocities. I understand the logic from all those discussions, but it hasn’t ever felt reasonable. But I guess that’s what it feels like to live in a space where reason has been denied any place. I guess this is what it is to have lived most of my life never really having to directly face making those choices. And to now bear witness to choices that shouldn’t have ever come up again.

I’m thinking about that a lot hearing the strange jumble of voices across the internet and amongst my friends, trying desperately to document their experiences with what’s happening around them wherever they are, the violence they’re witnessing, especially in places that used to feel safe enough, more than ever in places that never felt safe enough, and then angry conservative talk radio and tv (my boss keeps it playing continually) saying how their audience have to be ready for war. Not to be surprised at the violence of the Others. To hear and see the damage of bitter, vicious entitlement and then hear the dissociation in the voices encouraging it– the literal continual screaming juxtaposed with the assertion that they and their listeners are the sensible, peaceful ones. I am baffled. When your every other statement is how this group or that group deserves all kinds of awful things for all kinds of loosely gathered (unfounded), wild reasons, what part of that is peaceful? I’m not even going to touch the claims of Christianity. (I mostly just have a basic understanding based in a Catholic upbringing and I’m not at all well enough studied in theology to say much at all, but I will say I am exceedingly unimpressed and intensely dubious, at best.) What I’m hearing most all around is that no one wants violence. It would be nice if we could all just not choose violence. It’d be nice if we could all recognize words are their own form of violence.

When a lot of things were clearly ramping up years ago, I had coffee with a friend. We talked about being scared of the increasing anger we were hearing around us, the validation prejudiced people seemed to be receiving from what was happening on a national level, and how that seemed to be making them feel comfortable to be louder. We talked about being scared of speaking up when people speaking up were actively being targeted and hurt, of the threats, “If you don’t shut up, we’ll find you, we’ll hurt you, we’ll hurt your families, we’ll destroy your world.” Even after everything I’d read growing up and all the conversations that had me so certain of where I stood ‘if the day ever came,’ I was (am) afraid. My friend said, “If they’re going to come, they’ll come anyway,” and I needed to hear it. I’d started to get so mired in all the scary things, all the heartache of everything, I actually kind of forgot. The angry people angry enough to make threats are looking for a reason to hurt people. They’ll do it anyway. And the things those angry voices are screaming for are liable to hurt everyone. If we let them scream and demand and create the kind of spaces they want where only certain people (an ever narrowing list of people) are allowed, if we leave them that room to behave this way, it’s already proven again and again that eventually they’re still going to come in some way.

I’m struggling to maintain a sense of compassion, to remember the humanity in everyone. I know that a lot of the worst responses come from terrible, fearful beliefs about what the basic truths of the world are. I know a lot of people aren’t out to do harm simply for the sake of it. They’re angry and they’re scared and they’re making really stupid decisions, because that’s what they think they have to do for pride or to protect themselves or the people they love from the people they’re afraid of. But I don’t– It’s– when the people I hear regularly being awful (being racist or some kind of -phobic or making light of covid and bragging about refusing masks / hand washing / not getting close to strangers) get sick or hurt– I don’t want anyone to suffer, but I also have the nasty little thought: you brought this on yourself. But it’s not so simple as that. But it also kind of is. I just don’t want any of the circumstances to be what they are that any of us are liable to suffer, that people doing stupid things raise the odds for all of us to get hurt. I wish I could say, “believe what you want” and go on, but I can’t. Not when there are people who believe I and people like me, that people I love, that people just trying to live their lives and feed their families and love each other, that we’re not human enough (at all) to deserve basic care. That we don’t deserve space or time or resources, no matter what we do. That they have any say in what we do or don’t deserve. That’s not a simple opinion. That’s an assault waiting to happen. That’s the series of assaults, generational violence that’s already happened. I don’t have any interest in discussing the newness, the oldness– isn’t it enough that it’s happening now? Don’t tell me it’s nothing new like that makes it less worrisome. Less dangerous.

Nothing I’m saying is original. Not to this time, or, awfully, in almost any time. Why are we all hurting? Why are we all hurting each other, whether we mean to or not? Why do some people see a strike against their pride / comfort / property as on par with a threat to life and limb?

I’m so tired, you guys.

On an entirely unrelated noted, I’ve been thinking a lot, too, about how I’ve always joked that I would die at 33. It came from a funny life expectancy game I found in a museum. In my memory, it’s in the middle of a small play area, which raises questions. The older I get, the more I start to wonder if it was real or if this is the giraffe wings thing all over again (did I ever tell that story?). But it asked a series of questions about your life (the smoking one was odd to me as a kid, but I guess it’s not so weird now knowing what I do), and then the thing spat out an age you were likely to live to. I don’t know what I put in, but I got 33. I’ve had suicidal thoughts literally since before I could see over the counter tops. I’ve always had a certainty that I wouldn’t live long, even if I was very adamant very early that the answer to the suicidal thoughts would always be no. I didn’t even think I’d make it to adulthood all the same, so even 33 was a bit high. Still, it was unnerving to have the brevity of my life ‘confirmed’ by a random digital game in the middle of a museum play area, but also kind of hilarious. So that’s been my private joke for about two decades now.

I’m about halfway through 32.

I’m only just now wondering if the small current of anxiety I’m having about it has more to do with how stories have conditioned me to expect that personal happiness comes at a price. If you see a pair so smitten and well adjusted, if you’re allowed enough information to get attached and to love them, but not enough to see what part they may play next in whatever story, then one or both isn’t likely to make it to the end. Am I happy now? Probably more than I ever expected to be. I mean, considering I didn’t think I’d make it this far. I can’t help wanting to hold onto every moment I have with the people I love, so maybe they won’t hurt too much. Maybe none of us will feel too strongly that we’ve been short changed. I can’t help wanting to make as many things as I can with my own two hands for everyone to have a little piece of me. Useful things with yarn and fabric and tools and words that they can use all the time. I want to beg them all to look out for each other. Please call my partner often and make sure he knows he’s family still. Please always answer the phone for my siblings. Please make sure I get to be a tree that gets well watered and cared for and planted where you can always find me. I know it’s most likely just my brain doing weird brain things, but I can’t help being a little bit suspicious.

Is it weird that I hope someone updates this in the wild event that 33 takes me out? What an absurd end to a strange story I’ve lived that doesn’t even start with me.

I wrote some small happily ended stories, by the way, finally. My first foray into taking part in fanfiction was a twelve day writing event for “Julie and the Phantoms” with a series of prompts to pick from. I don’t know if anyone else took part in the end, but I banged out twelve stories over fourteen days and they’re not so clunky and clumsy as my previous attempts at happy endings have been. It helps that the characters come from a very warm world and are beautifully written, beautifully portrayed, and I had a lot of support from some truly fantastic friends and my wonderful sib who’s also into the show. I’m itching to try to play in my own worlds.

I hope the new year found you as safe as can be, in good health, or at least in good spirits. May it bring solid reasons for hope and kinder days. I’ve never been so grateful for quiet days as I have been this past year, all too aware of how outrageously lucky me and mine have been. May the adventure carry on in a much more light-hearted fashion for us all.

{October 31, 2020}   Most of my plants are still alive

And so am I, and, as far as I know, everyone close to me. I’m anxious, but I’ll take it.

All Hallow’s Read gift for you all! I hope it finds you as safe and as in much good spirits as you can muster this year. This was not the adventure we asked for, but here we are.

I love you all.

{June 25, 2020}   Recent idle thoughts

I have a lot of thoughts about shit going on. Those are the Big, Heartbroken, Angry, Mourning, Painfully Desperate Hope thoughts. But life is still going on, (which I’m continually surprised feels absurd, by the way) and my brain offers me things I don’t really know what to do with. It’s been half an age since I put anything here, so– uhh, tada, I guess.

I’m fighting the urge to take on every project that catches my attention right now that I have energy and I’m feeling the drive to Do and Create. I know it’s depression-low-tide time and I want to take advantage of it, but I really don’t want to burn myself out. But it’s hard not to get excited and want to do all the sewing and cooking and gardening and painting and crocheting and tear through the house cleaning / rearranging and maybe plot a massive move to a whole new life, a whole new world, for when the lease is up.

Babies make me cry.

So does “Rainbow Connection”.

Why am I ‘lucky?’ Why do we talk about my marriage like I dodged a hail of bullets? Why do you all talk about yours like that behavior is normal and surely I relate at least a little bit. (I almost don’t want to say I don’t, because you’ll feel bad for things that aren’t your fault and you’ll stop talking to me about them, even though you clearly need to talk.) Why were these people the best ones you could find to marry? Why were there so many bullets? (We know why there are so many, though, don’t we?) My partner isn’t perfect, but he’s a good egg, and I hate the idea that he’s some kind of anomaly. I hate that I believed for so long he couldn’t possibly exist, even being raised with a fair collection of what good male figures could be. And I’m worried that you don’t do something about the way you’re all being treated, because this is just your normal. It’s not normal. It’s not okay.

Art! ART! Art.

It is not ridiculous to think love could save the world. The practical work of operating in love and compassion is by its nature to push past and utilize the concerns that arise from being in fear and anger.

I never went back to figuring out how to write happily ended stories.

To give the benefit of the doubt must be a nice luxury to have. To have ever been in a position to afford to doubt despite evidence immediate and across the experience of generations. I can’t and won’t fault you for a position you were born into, and for wanting to be just and fair to all, but please mind at whose expense the cost of your effort falls.

How do you know it’s worth it to ignore the signs of almost certain doom? When you see patterns lined up behind you with no indication of change ahead, is it ever worth it to keep going toward what appears to be a poor outcome? Just because it isn’t a hundred percent certain?

Who am I if I give even just this much on a core conviction of my life to do absolutely what must be done, whether it’s what I want or not?

Are my plants really okay? I need more ceramic pots.

I am as terrified as I’ve ever been to want to bring a baby into this world, but I’m also still mourning the one confirmed miscarriage (and the handful of suspected), and feeling an intense need to squash hope before it hurts me whenever I don’t know what my uterus is doing.

I’m exhausted, you guys. I am bone-sinking-to-earth, soul weary. Not that it’s new. It’s just there. It just is.

Your guilt is not useful to me.

Why the ever loving hell does my office have to be ice-freaking-cold???

Yes, ask questions. ASK QUESTIONS. Ask questions especially of the people in positions of power you feel the need to support, and be ready not to like the answers. It’s not a failing on you to have to change your mind about someone or something as you learn more. It’s how you grow and become a better person. Anyone who wants you to dig in your heels and plant your fingers in your ears wants you ignorant and pliable. Do not become complaisant in your trust.

Idioms in other languages are fun, because the direct translations are often very different from the intended understanding as it translates, and I really want to understand the logic behind why they work in those languages.

Seriously, where the heck do I look for local ceramicists to get some pottery for my plants? (I want to support local artists and I want beautiful homes for my babies who have somehow survived me thus far. Good job, little friends! I’m so proud of you!)

I wonder if I can grow a lime tree in a pot on the balcony.

How loud does my music have to be before the passive aggression is just obvious aggression? How long before you figure out I refuse to listen to your bullshit?

I thought I might like to be a mulberry tree when I die, but maybe I want to be a lime tree. I want to be useful even in death.

On that note, why is it strange to be unafraid of death? For myself I’ve never been afraid, but for the people who’ve made it clear they want my company, my continued presence as an option, my thoughts and affection and laughter– for those people who’ve made it clear they would hurt without me– this is the thing that bothers me most, even as it baffles me to receive this sentiment. That they would ache for the loss of me is the thing I hurt to think about when thinking of my own death. This is why I’m still here. Because I love you.

I don’t have near as much as I hoped and dreamed to offer, buuuuut I’ve officially been awake way too long on too little sleep, so I’m just going to dump what I have while I’m thinking about it and before I pass out. Without further ado, and with much love, for you:

The Full Midnight Moon

May all your adventures tonight end safely and yield good stories. Happy Halloween!

{October 13, 2019}   All Hallow’s Read 2019

Every year I swear up and down I’m not going to put off writing for All Hallow’s Read until the last minute. For the most part I have been writing, but the finishing is also important, and not so much of that has been happening. I have exactly one completed piece. Just the one. I’m actually pretty happy with it, too, but I can’t help feeling like even if it was the best thing I’ve ever written, it’s not enough. Life is happening, as ever, and my day job saps my time, energy, and mental space, but it’s not impossible to scribble things here and there, so it feels like I should have a lot more to share. It feels like the finishing shouldn’t be nearly so infrequent. I don’t have a positive note to add to this. I suppose I’m just venting my frustration with myself out into the you who may be surprised to find yourself still here. We can be surprised together. Fingers crossed I can bang out just a few more bits and bobs for your reading pleasure.

{November 1, 2018}   All Hallow’s Read 2018

I have (late as ever) A GIFT for you all!  Not as much finished as I would have preferred, but I’m honestly just super jazzed to have anything to post.  I say it every year, but heck, why not– This is what I get for waiting ’til the last minute to do my writing!  It’s there for your reading pleasure, anyway.

One super silly:  How Rude

One a tiny snapshot:  For Who

Hope everyone’s had a lovely and safe Halloween adventure evening!  I love you all!  Please stay as safe as can be.

et cetera
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