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.



I want to write a blog post and I feel like I mostly just want to word vomit, but I actually want to express some things, but I don’t even know where to start or where I even want to go.  First sentence is already a mess.  Let’s meander, then, I guess.  Maybe mosey?  I’m stalling.  If you stick with me to the end, however long this ends up, thank you.

So I’ve been trying to be more social.  I mentioned once about wanting to be able to someday write as much of the scope of human existence as I could get my hands on, but I’ve been so wrapped up the last– several years???– with trying to just go about the business of daily existing that currently the scope I have is pretty narrowly centered around the ancient art of living in a kind of quiet desperation.  Only, I’m a fair bit shit at being quiet and I’ve long since (LONG SINCE BEFORE) been sick of desperation AND I’m impatient and have exactly zero interest in doing anything about that impatience with regards to living life.  So my latest act of wild emotional flailing (probably flail fail, to be honest) has been an attempt to be social.

My partner in crime and I are usually quite happy as little hermits, mostly keeping to the pair of us at home or going out to eat and then going home, interspersed with little jaunts where the whole adventure is a minor change of scenery with a spritz of human interaction (i.e. meeting up with friendly acquaintances or actual friends in a common setting with an activity between us).  It’s almost routine at this point.  Not that those things are unpleasant or dull, but I feel the walls of my bubble and I feel like only just touching them like that has left them dingy and hard to see beyond.  I’ve started out small.  I’ve made an effort to take interest in strangers.  Just maybe one or two that have become friends / potential friends.  And I’ve joined groups online of people with shared interests where I’ve been trying to interact rather just lurk and read and quietly applaud or send sympathy from the shadows of the internet.  I’ve had conversations!  And cheered directly!  And commiserated!  And sent hugs and checked in and cared!  It’s been a good experience thus far.  It’s been exhausting.  Ah!  And we went out with one of our dearest friends at an unusual hour to an unusual place!  This was also a good experience, even though there wasn’t really anyone much there, but we got to kind of make friends with the bartender?  And another fellow sort of showed us around.  It’s a step.  Maybe we’ll go back and try to be social people again.

These forays have shown me a few things about myself, but this is the biggest one:  I’ve developed a greater ability to make eye contact and hold conversations that once upon a time would have been unfathomable to me.  I think a lot of that is just somewhere along the lines learning through trial by long series of fires (as you do) that I am a capable enough person to function well enough as a passable grown-up, passable human, but I think it’s also due to a tiny concerted effort to not hide from people.  My inclination has always been DON’T LOOK AT ME, DON’T SEE ME, IF I CAN’T SEE YOU, YOU CAN’T SEE ME, just as much literally as metaphorically.  (No joke.  I couldn’t manage to even order for myself in fast food places.  It was pretty awful.)  It’s hard to build human connections that way.  It’s hard to learn new stories and learn about different people and love people in any real way that way.  I don’t know if it was to protect myself or what, but it made doing anything at all really difficult.  It’s not that I was never sick of it.  I hated being that way.  It took me way too long to just push myself to even acknowledge other people in public places and allow myself to be okay with them acknowledging me.  And then I needed to push myself to actually speak.  If I ever write anything from all this, I’ll probably call it “Evolution of a Floor Lamp”.  I strove and succeeded in being as unnoticeable and functional as furniture you stick in the corner.  I would be out of the way and useful enough and as little of a burden as possible.  Useful is an improvement, right?

I thought I was doing great to be able to do that much, but following Amanda Fucking Palmer, and feeling the connection through her to so many other people who she impacted just as much as she had me, made me realize I was still just poorly mimicking the motions of connection.  She built this community around her through her music, through just reaching out, of people who for the most part make it our mission to act with love and compassion and kindness and to see each other, to make the effort to see everyone we meet.  I didn’t feel like the way I was allowed me to really be part of that, so little by little I tried to meet people’s eyes and hear them.  I tried to be not just honest, but as open as possible in every interaction.  And most of all I tried to be kind. Not just by not being a dick, but by vocalizing honest gratitude, appreciation, affection; by taking action to express to everyone that they’re important enough, that they’re worth effort/ time/ energy.  I can see in each moment people relax a little and become more willing to work together with me.  It’s surprising and exciting every time still.  I didn’t realize how much it was changing me until now.

I still feel like me and I still feel horribly shy a lot of times.  I’m still absurdly proud of myself when I order food in person or over the phone and I don’t immediately want to burst into tears or spend the next hour under a table.  I’m still me.  I’m just me with more and stronger abilities.  I’m me who can actually be WITH you, as much as you’ll have me.  I want to be with you.  Just be.  As exhausting as this all is, I’m happy with it.  I’ll keep stretching my bubble to find you.  I like to think you’re reaching out, too.  It’s a pretty great adventure, I think.



et cetera
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