…be sure you are not in fact, surrounded by assholes or people who don’t “get you”. 

This reminder has lived with me for some time, but surfaced and stuck as my internal mantra when my self-doubt and angst as a writer was at its peak, and even now when these feelings come up again as they often do, and mostly because the voices in my head wouldn’t shut the hell up. I guess the years of procrastination had caught up with me. 

In the earlier days, I would cautiously share my poetry with a few friends and loved ones, hoping they’d provide constructive criticism to encourage and help me grow as a poet. I envisioned feedback that would me to at least feel comfortable performing at an open mic poetry event, or growth that would help me become a better writer who could begin  submitting to magazines, papers, and journals. I trusted these people with the dungeons and dagons that tormented me and kept me awake at night; with the demons that danced in my head during my working daylight hours, and boy, was that was a huge mistake! 

To be fair, these weren’t mean people. They were friends and loved ones with their own fears, self-doubt, and in several cases, saw themselves through my writing but didn’t like the reflections. 

As much as I promised and swore myself to secrecy on particulars, or behaviors, apparently I had opened some Pandora type box on thoughts that go bump in the night. But honestly, I wasn’t going to stop observing life around me so I was at an impasse. I felt confident that no one’s life was being ripped off, mimicked, or exploited so I had to trust my gut and my writing. The result? Loss of friendship and loss of trust in sharing my early drafts with others. But I decided that what I had to say had to come out in some form or fashion and this was the only form that I felt was right for me. I hope my friends would understand.

Today, it’s still gut wrenching and sometimes physically painful to send a draft for feedback. In some instances, I preferred paying a stranger to edit and provide feedback but since editing funds weren’t as easily available in my earlier years, I was limited. Now, I definitely recommend it. 

So what’s the outcome of all of this? Well, as some may know, my poetry’s been published a few times and I’m still slugging away, submitting to journals and papers and magazines…and dealing with the rejections and celebrating the small, occasional wins. So hang in there, writers! (This sentence is just as much for me as anyone else!)

Oh, and I’m much more selective when sharing my deepest, darkest thoughts. Constructive criticism still feels icky and uncomfortable but it helps. By making better choices about who I ask for feedback, I’m at least sure the comments are about my writing and not other people’s issues. I had to be sure that I’m not surrounded by assholes or by people who couldn’t see past themselves, their life experiences.

Somewhere along the way, I’m getting better at learning  to love myself a little more, learning to just write more and more freely, and, I’d dare say, to have faith that the stories in my head will touch or reach the right person.

If you need some quick inspiration:

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Please vote. If you’re in the U.S. and are legally able to, please vote. You are not only voting for POTUS, you are voting for people to represent your interests on many levels, from police chiefs, commissioners, and sheriffs, to judges and members of Senate.
Get charged with a crime and have to stand before a judge? Depending on the severity of the allegatiin, you may be standing in front of an elected official who may hve been an incumbent you chose to retain in that spot. Same goes for a Sheriff. Elected official. What about those hateful cowards who chose a career that allows them to carry guns and shoot unarmed civilians? Their boss, the Police Chief, is usually appointed by a government entity such as a Mayor, etc. 

Who’d you select for Senate? If you thought Justice Scalia’s death ushered in the chance for some fresh, actually logical, and non-racist fresh blood to take his place, but your party doesn’t have a stronghold on the Senate, then guess what? You may get another Scalia or God forbid, a Clarence Thomas. Why? The next President will appoint someone and in case you don’t remember Obama nominating Merrick Garland for the job and how Republicans delayed and shot down all options for fair discussion on the subject, I’m here to remind you that you’re newly elected President and Senate will make the choice. 
Disappointed in the Mayor changing rules or policies from some as simple as the number of trash pickup days, or more egregious, supporting a police commissioner who allowed drones to film and record citizens without their knowledge or consent, or who as Mayor, had no clue how to stop citizens from “rioting” due to poor policing in a city? Vote for someone you believe will do a better job.

I’m  not telling you who to vote for, that’s your personal choice. Also, there are so many other reasons for  voting,  but right now I  don’t want you to continue reading. I want you to go  out and VOTE! 

Sayu Bhojwani: Immigrant voices make democracy stronger
https://go.ted.com/Cy3H

Some humans hate other humans. Some humans hate animals. Some black people hate black people. Some brown people hate brown people. Some people plan to vote for Drumpf. They’re stupid but think they’re smart. We’ll agree to…call you stupid. Some queer people hate black and brown people. Some queer people hate other queer people who doesn’t queer it up just like them. Some brown people hate queer people. The kicker? 

All people claim to be lovers of justice, and peace. How is this even possible?

Some white people are wonderful people. Some white people are racist assholes. In case youre tempted, brown people can’t be racist. They can, however, be prejudiced and in general, an asshole. Color does not dictate assholism.

I’m typing amen in case I am gifted a monetary windfall. Not mocking religion, just hopin’ for something cause these scratch offs ain’t win me more than $20 yet. Some of my dreams were deferred but my school loans weren’t. Some days I’m a “Tell it Like it is” asshole. Today’s that day. 

Parsey McParseface and I have been getting acquainted because it is the intersection of language and artificial intelligence. Mr. “McParsedoes what most elementary school students do”, which is safe to say I may fail at being good at this. If learning about how computers can understand basic language makes you smile, check it out here in the Washington Post.

Cannabis – it’ll still waft all up in your house and lodge in your nose hole, but today, it wears fancy pants and a top hat, as it struts around with a hand made cane, looking down its snubby thin nose which has been broken in several places by well aimed punches, at its lovers. Well, not really but if you pay $100 to visit this high end boutique in San Francisco, you may want to dress it up a bit. I wonder how much business has skyrocketed for the bars and restaurants close by…

This week’s hump day haul included a small stash of reds – some were highly rated bargain deals and others were a little more but not “break the bank” bottles. They included a zinfandel from Rombauer Vineyards (The cabernet sauvignon is very good too but quote a few pennies more) a Paxis red blend (that I picked up right away because of the rating and the adorable bulldog on the label!), a Sur de los Andes Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon blend (that I’ve never had) and another delish Cab from Liberty School. 

Cheers!

 

​”Trying to fit a social construct when you’re not part of that social group to begin with, means you’ve already failed. Put your energy elsewhere. People from all ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation and abilities will let you down because they’re people. Some with the mightiest agendas and hordes of followers are the first to fall because they start believing their own greatness. All heros are assholes at some point. Buddha wasn’t always the Buddha, Mother Teresa didn’t value all groups equally, Gandhi tested himself by using others including young girls, and so on. Too many want a hero so they blindly trust. Worship no one and trust no human who tells you how to…” – 

-Conversations with my father.