Linda Scribbles











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 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, 2017}   Post All Hallow’s Read (woops) 

I have a single tiny completed thing that I actually just completely failed to post as an All Hallow’s Read gift.  (And three halfway things, but that’s neither here nor there.) Welp, soooo– tada! Belated happy Halloween! Hope everyone was safe as can be!

Love and adventure to all of you! 

Boo

This is my pet fish, Boo. 

You can’t see him, but he used to be blue. 

He used to swim in his tank 

’til the sun went and sank. 

Always the prettiest fish to behold. 

But then the day came

When the truth became plain

That my finned little friend was old. 

‘What will I do without you!’ I cried,

‘Who will dance with me to the polka with pride!’ 

And then he was belly up;

I couldn’t bear to look. 

My best friend had clearly died. 

We flushed him with flowers, 

A few words were said, 

And I swear when the accordion played

I saw him dancing just there to the side. 

‘You’re just tired,’ Dad tried. 

‘You just miss him,’ Mom sighed. 

But I tell you I saw him. 

I definitely know that sassy glide. 

Sure enough when the lights went out

A flicker and a flash and a funny tail flop

And there was my buddy shining high up in the dark.

Maybe I should have been scared, 

But it’s actually really the best. 

Now he comes with me wherever I go, 

And when he dances, you wouldn’t believe the glow. 

Will he be with me forever?

I can’t really know, but maybe he’ll stay ’til I also go. 



I know I swear up and down every time I will update more than once a year, and I’m inclined to do it again, but we all know the probability.  I won’t say.  Please don’t you say it, either.

A lot of things are happening in the world, as things do, but it’s like they’re all clambering too fast and crashing in on top of each other.  It feels like there’s no room to breathe, to open your mouth to let anything in or out.  I once again find myself in a spot where I want to scream and cry and sing and laugh and beg and flail in response to it all, against all of it and in the face of all of it.  I want to commit sudden acts of affection on all of you, each of you one at a time and all at once, just so you can say you have at least one positive thing to report for the day:  someone loved you, it was surprising, it was strange and not unpleasant(?), it wasn’t bad news.  Any combination there of.  All of the above.

I don’t have enough tea in my office to bring myself back down (up?), so of course my heart isn’t really in anything I’m doing today.  It’s kind of all over the place.  My day job– thank goodness– is super quiet today, which would normally be a great time to scribble all over whatever scratch pads or sticky notes I have on hand.  All Hallow’s Read is coming.  I should be writing.  All my internal ink wells are being uncooperative.  I guess you could try to claim hopping around twitter and tumblr and the rest of the internet is a kind of refilling process?  Taking in new information and letting my head spin new thoughts from scraps and FEELINGS and life?  (Good grief, this post is such a mess already–)  Well, it’s not inaccurate, I guess?

Just so I have something to show for myself for the day, I decided to clean out my desk a bit.  I’ve apparently been stashing more snippets than I thought in the pen drawer.  It wasn’t exactly a rat’s nest?  But it did kinda look like a poor attempt to build a paper home in a too tiny space.  I’ve collected some of them here for you in case you’re curious.

That’s more or less all I wanted to say.  Lost things.  Found things.  As ever, life is never the adventure we quite want, and definitely not one we ever really expect.  I love you all.  Be as safe as can be, please.



{November 1, 2015}   From a hotel, with love

I finished things!  I FINISHED THINGS!  It’s been so uncommon for me to actually bring a story to an end in the last– well, you can look back at the posts.  I’m belatedly going a little bit into shock over this.  They’ve been done for a few days now.  Everything has been so bananas, though.  Whole bowls of fruit, really.  And it’s probably not my best work, but I’m just so delighted to have SOMETHING- three THINGS- done to offer you for All Hallow’s Read!  Posted the stories earlier from my phone, but didn’t get a chance to write this post, so this is kind of a post-Halloween gift.  Oh, weeeeeell, here it all is!  Tada!

I actually almost had four things to post!  Work happened, though.  All month, I’ve had the picture of Neil Gaiman with the text “You should be writing.” as my desktop image on my work computer.  It is strangely effective.  It also helped that a number of friends who are similarly of a writerly persuasion wanted to get together to share stories for Halloween, too. My husband also wanted to take our stories to read to children, and that was very helpful.

I’m really liking this thing where having people request to put that pressure on you (“you” being me) actually motivates instead of sending you-me spiraling into fits of frozen terror at the thought of doing anything at all while someone hovers near fully expecting and ready to catch.  I have nothing to pitch.  I have so many things I could pitch if they’d just hold still.  What even is pitching?  I am the ball.

But then there were THINGS!  That happened!  It’s so nice.  I was actually beginning to worry that I’d lost my mental story crafting limb.  I don’t know that I can properly express how relieved I am that it’s still there.

Aaaanyway!

Work is still happening, actually.  Briefly visiting family for Halloween and then on to a day-job-related conference.  I feel like such an adult.  It feels weird.

Writing adventures.  Fruit adventures.  Work adventures.  So much adulting adventures.

This has been very clear, I’m sure.  We got this.  Onward!



So it’s been a while. (Apparently, yes, all my blog posts will start this way now.)  The wordpress swears it’s been 9 months.  I could have grown a baby in that time.  I did not.  There is not a baby.  Except I wrote something that is longer than a line for the first time in a while.  After failing miserably to keep chugging along on the last few things, I thought I should share.  I offer it to you.  Because space.

I really shouldn’t say I failed, because that implies that I’ve given up and have zero intention of touching those things again.  I haven’t.  I have all of the intention.  I will touch them firmly, tenderly, with love.  My friend got me thinking about how I’ve never attempted a romance novel.  I’m trying to figure out if I could write one, just to see.  I’ve read a couple of supernatural romance books?  Are those typical romance?  I don’t really know if I can deal with it.  Maybe I’ll just write a story and romance will just kind of happen.  This probably won’t end well.  ONE THING AT A TIME.  Soooo, yes, intentions.  Which amount to very little if I don’t actually, you know, pick up a freaking pen.

Am I scared of pens now?

Two jobs briefly became just the one full-time job at the print shop where once I was a little work-study, by the way.  And now it seems I’m working two jobs again as the Chinese restaurant is ever short handed, so I’m there once a week.  Which I’m okay with, because you can see all kinds of things in how people interact where a meal is involved.  Also, I like having the extra cash.  And exciting lunches that I’m never certain of what they’re made.  I like both jobs, but I should probably push to keep it to the one.  I’m tired a lot.

To be fair, I have picked up pens.  I’ve sat and written snippets of sentences before I got– stuck, for lack of a better word.  It’s not like there isn’t a lot in my head.  It’s more like everything gets kind of muddled, or the thoughts get nervous and confused, like birds that suddenly get disoriented, and then they can’t remember how to get out.  And I can’t do anything except keep poking them with a stick through the slats of their little bird house trying to organize them and direct them toward the door.  They’re not being very cooperative.

I thought about buying really cute stationary in order to motivate myself, but I’d never use it.  I’d want to keep it clean and safe and save it for just the right thoughts, and I’d go find sticky notes that would inevitably get jumbled up or lost or eaten by the cat.  Maybe I’ll buy cute sticky notes.

I was researching getting help, and then there were kidney stones and work and life.  It’s a funny sensation to try to analyze everything going on around you, all the choices you’re making about whether or not and how to engage in those things, to determine if you’re not making excuses to not get help out of fear or stubbornness (what am I even being stubborn about?), and then deciding that, “No, everything here looks like a completely rational decision,” only to then think that of course everything would seem very rational to yourself if you’re the one who rationalized your choices in order to make them in the first place.  Just because they’re rational doesn’t mean they’re not coming from that cave or fear and stubbornness and not actually 100% rational at all.

My mother likes to quote “Lion King” at times like this.  LIE DOWN BEFORE YOU HURT YOURSELF.

Sounds legit.  Point being, I’m not dead yet.  Adventuring continues.



{December 15, 2012}   In which we breathe

What do you say to things like this, this thing in Newtown, CT?  There’s a lot you want to say, but the words just don’t seem strong enough.  You take slow, shallow breaths. while you process the event, the numbers.  Your heart breaks.  Twenty-eight dead, twenty children.  Just for the human connection it breaks.  And you ache for the parents, for their loss.  And for a moment, a small, stabbing, quiet moment you choke when you think about the children in your own life.  How easily could it be any one of them, all of them?  In that one moment, you want so much for it never to be them on either side of the gun that you ache for that, too.  And you pray, God or no God– thank God, they’re alright– that it never is them.  And you breathe for the living as well as the lost.



et cetera
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