Not Right is an Adventure

Off. Life was off. The world was off and there was no discernible reason. I’d recently learned my novel would be published—by a real publisher. I should have been in ecstasy. I had gotten new eyes, in a manner of speaking. I’d had two cataract surgeries, followed by laser work to correct the first surgery that worsened my vision. I had almost twenty-twenty vision in both eyes, probably for the first time in my life. Yet things weren’t right. I wanted to lie down, curl up and do nothing.

For some reason I put on a pair of glasses with no lenses. Wonder of wonders, my god, the world was right again, no longer off. The next day I drove to the doctor for a post-laser checkup without my glasses and even though I could see just fine, driving made me edgy. On the way home I wore my lensless glasses and driving was as it should be.

How dependent we get on what is in our lives. I’d worn glasses since I was nine. They were a part of my face as much as my nose, mouth and eyes. Without them I was floating in space too big. It was as if I had no boundaries and if there are no boundaries how can you know what’s appropriate, useful, fun, or maybe painful.

I’m writing this without glasses. Even though I’ll need reading lenses, I can see what’s on my Mac just fine, but I am feeling adrift. I suspect I will eventually adjust. I’ll get bifocals because I can’t be bothered with putting on and taking off reading glasses, and I can’t wear them around my neck on one of those quasi-necklace things because they would fight with whatever real necklace I had on. I’m not going to give up my necklaces. Bifocals it will be.

In a sense I’m having an adventure, granted a very small one, but this is definitely new. Interesting and somewhat amusing, even if annoying. We can’t live effectively without some boundaries but I suspect hanging onto them can be as bad as substances that harm and can eventually kill. I guess I should start a list of boundaries I’ve erected or let be erected around me and then decide if some should be removed. It might be interesting to try to identify which ones I’ve gotten rid of in the past and what that meant to me.

And I might need to set some new ones. Getting new eyes has changed more than optics.


My heroines are: Clytemnestra, Gloria Steinem and Miss Piggy.

Now, why on earth would I choose Clytemnestra as a heroine? Adulteress? Murderess? Logic and guts, that’s why. If a man kills your husband and baby son, forces marriage on you, slits the throat of your daughter to get some wind to go off and destroy Troy and brings home a sex slave at the end of that ten year war, termination of the bastard sounds perfectly logical to me. There comes a time when enough is enough.

It took guts to do what Clytemnestra did, or was party to—evidence is sketchy. The men of ancient Greece could get away with murder, including infanticide and daughter-slaying but a woman getting rid of a piece of trash was not the done thing and Clytemnestra died for her “sins.” Murdered by her son and a remaining daughter, a witless little twit with a fixation on a father who’d have slit her throat if he needed to get up a wind to go off on another war. No heroine she, just a fine example of what fools females can be, which is another reason why Clytemnestra makes my heroine list. She ceased to be a damned fool.

I strongly suspect Gloria Steinem would not put Clytemnestra on her list of heroines. Feminism does not endorse physical violence on males (usually); but I admire Ms. Steinem for the same reasons as I do Clytemnestra. Logic says women are human beings. Logic says all humans should have the right to develop interests and skills and use them. Logic says men are not superior to women. Logic, however, is not readily understood by many and it takes guts to get up everyday and jump into a maelstrom of odium because you’re trying to break through ignorance. Sexism makes people silly and they get scared when the silliness is pointed out. Fear can lead to attack. It had to get damned draining to put up with people hurling invective at you day after day after day. Perhaps doubly draining if you carry the burden of the beautiful woman—the expectation that you are to be merely decorative—and sexy. Without being slutty of course. Wait—sluttiness currently seems to be in (talk about damned dumb), which reminds me of another reason I admire Steinem. It took guts to become a Playboy Bunny to do research for an article. Talk about draining, going to work everyday just to be a piece of meat.

On to my third heroine, the sui generis Miss Piggy, Princess of Insouciance. How can you not admire a female of such presence, panache, poise and—pushiness? She is one confident female who creates her world and expects others to live in it. Now some might suggest she has way too much self-absorption but I consider her a fine counter-balance to females possessed by too little regard for moi. It takes guts to be Miss Piggy but she’s not going to let you see that. She charges on, creating awe at her audacity.

You may ask about logic in Miss Piggy. When one possesses such style, wit and grace, does it really matter? Miss Piggy creates the logic of her life; and from time to time I find it damned relaxing and just plain fun to slip into her reality—where sexism is of no consequence. I think Clytemnestra and Gloria Steinem would be perfectly willing and happy to occasionally join me in Miss Piggy’s World.


Miss Piggy Wears the Hope Diamond

Fetuses and Football

The annual Super Bowl frenzy reminds us how important the game is to Americans, which puts me in mind of an awful truth. We live in a society in which football players—and fetuses are of more value than women and girls. Not all citizens ascribe to this, but the woman-haters are having a very public say. Protect fetuses no matter the cost to women— death of pregnant women is fine with them. A brain dead woman was kept on “life” support because she was pregnant, to the great distress of her husband and family.

How do football players figure in women hating? Players who rape are to be pitied if sent to prison. The harm done to those raped is of no consequence. “Everyone” knows females who get raped brought it on themselves because females can be such stupid troublemakers.

You think I’m going too far? The media reminds us of contempt for girls and women practically every day. If the women-deprecators thought they could get away with it they would advocate restrictions on and consequences for women that would make the Taliban proud. What is the Good Female to those who hold women in contempt? Married. Doing all that pleases her Lord and Master and nothing that doesn’t. In Christian tradition is Ephesian 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church … .” I Timothy 2:11 “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.”  In old time religion, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, women aren’t humans with personal agency; they exist to make little tin gods happy. How in the devil did anti-women people get sufficient voice to make our politicians listen to them? The Devil comes in many guises. He’s currently operating through religious hate-filled hearts and mouths. Note—there are women haters with no religion to speak of but they operate from the same women-aren’t-really-human viewpoint.

We in the U. S. had been moving toward thinking girls and women don’t deserve to be raped. We had moved to thinking women had the right to their own bodies and what they did and did not do with them. Advancement is slipping away as self-righteous penis possessors and those who are ready to fall to their knees and worship the weenie raise their ugly, vicious heads, and open their mouths to vomit out their … fear.

There is something called sunset afterglow, which is a result of ash in the atmosphere after volcanic eruption. The sun has set, yet colors can be seen above the horizon. The only-men-count believers are scared witless by the eruptions of social change around them and are fighting back. We could hope their efforts are a form of afterglow but we better not bet on it. If those who deny humanity to girls and women aren’t permanently sent to the societal hell they fear, human females in the United States will be sent into Taliban style girl- and womanhood.

Note: On January 28, 2014 the woman-haters in the House passed a anti-abortion bill that includes having the IRS determine whether a woman has been raped. You read that right. The IRS would determine if a rape had occurred. In addition to being disgusting and sick, the women-haters are just plain stupid. We need to get them out of power positions.


CNN Outraged Over Rapists Sent to Prison

 Rape Apologists – Atlantic Wire

Pregnant and Shackled and Taken to Court — usnews

Laws to Protect Fetus a Threat to Pregnant Woman — Huffington Post

The Longest War on Women — Tom Dispatch

 The War Against Women — Tom Dispatch

Once Upon a Fantasy

I fool around with the idea of driving to Bolivia. I got the idea of being in Bolivia from the novel Stone Cowboy by Mark Jacobs. Fiction has power. I think I’d like the Andes bowl-like La Paz with its Witches Market offering llama fetuses. Lake Titicaca must be incredible. My iMac screen is a picture of it. One of those bowler hats Bolivian women wear would be an exciting addition to my wardrobe.

I suspect I couldn’t take the 14,000 foot altitude. Not with my sinuses. I’d spend my time lying on a bed being seriously annoyed. Bolivia might be better kept as fantasy. And that might not matter. “The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life ….”  As I’ve been playing with this trip to Bolivia, I’ve come to wonder if we’d be better off if we redefined fantasy and our use of it. The stories we write in our heads also could be indistinguishable from “real” life. A big error in our assumptions about real versus fantasy might be thinking that we should either do our damnedest to make  fantasies real—or give up fantasizing because it’s childish.

We have to live in the actual world, put a roof over our heads, eat to stay alive, work to earn money to have the roof, food, as well as other things; but it might be we should have at least part of our important life experience in our fantasy world. Humans have been hard wired to want, need stories. We write stories in our heads. Why not consider them part of our real lives?

I’ve never been to Bolivia so how can I fantasize it? I research it, find pictures, listen to the music, read the writers of that country. I can acquire enough info to tell myself Bolivia stories that delight me. I can be in Bolivia any time, anywhere. Meet people. Have adventures. I could drive Death Road. No. Forget that. I’ll stick with just the drive to Bolivia.

What are your fantasies? Have you ever thought about making them as important as reality in your life? Walter Mitty is seen as a rather sorry henpecked guy. He might have been smarter and happier than we think. If you don’t know James Thurber’s story about a fantasy pro you can read,  “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” here.

Whatever your thoughts on the importance of fantasy, keep telling yourself stories. Go to Bolivia or wherever you want.

“… does it matter if the place cannot be [seen] as long as I can describe it?” Paraphrasing Jeanette Winterson in Sexing the Cherry.

“Anything I’ve encountered in the world is never as interesting as a novel … .What you find out there is never as exciting as your own creation.” Joyce Carol Oates.

The End

Special note for this opening post—
Thanks to Mark Jacobs for “taking” me to Bolivia.
Thanks to Carol, Jane and Seema, my writing companions—all smart and funny as hell—for their help with writing and this website.