Yesterday I got zero writing done on my work-in-progress. I was enraged and exhausted by news and events. Late last night I fell asleep wondering whether, in the face of relentless misogyny and violence against women, my idea for a middle-grade novel narrated by a boy was what I should pursue. Maybe, I thought, I should abandon that story and instead write a burn-it-all-down book filled with pitchfork-wielding girls.
Well, I’ve spent the last several hours analyzing and fleshing out the beginning outline for my boy-based work-in-progress and have decided it’s a GO. Not only am I moving ahead with this story, I’m kinda excited about the plot lines. My main character won’t be fighting the power structure, but he is a decent human being.
In today’s climate that’s worth a lot.
Channeling my inner snow leopard.
Last night Zippy and I went to the Bluebird Theater in Denver to hear Parker Millsap. Same as the last time he was in town, Parker put on one helluva show. Unfortunately, also the same as last time there were a bunch of rude people at the general admission/standing venue. So much talking talking talking during the performance. Last year after suffering through two women having a loud conversation in front of us I eventually pointed out that since they weren’t interested in listening and we were that maybe they could switch positions with us. They did, and happily moved their socializing well behind us so we could focus on the singing/songwriting.
Last night it was two men talking in loud voices behind us. When I went over to tell them I couldn’t hear it was incredibly frustrating/rage-inducing to realize that one of the blabbermouths was from the opening act. (In fact, two members of that act were loud and disruptive during the main event). You’d think, that of all people, performers would fully understand proper audience etiquette.
Zebu in summer of 1998
Today is Zebu’s birthday and I’m feeling especially grateful. He (and our other son) spent their entire childhoods with Zippy and me and while those years certainly held challenges, we remained intact as a family. The four of us were never forced to seek asylum, we were never denied refuge, and our children weren’t ripped from their parents’ arms. That kind of unspeakable trauma was never part of our lives. Not because we’re exceptional or more deserving, but because we were fortunate enough to be born in the United States. That’s it. Sheer luck.
Today is Zebu’s birthday and I get to hug my son. I’m weeping for those who can’t.
Roses are red,
violets are blue.
Guns have more rights
than children do.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The only two things you can truly depend upon are gravity and greed.
~ Jack Palance
This morning I did my twice-monthly volunteer stint with the Denver VOICE. As the non-profit’s Twitter bio states: “The Denver VOICE is a monthly newspaper that provides entrepreneurial opportunities to people who are homeless or impoverished.” It’s a wonderful organization that can help people earn enough money to get off the streets.
Denver VOICE vendor John Alexander
During today’s session at the distribution desk (where I sold papers for 50 cents to the vendors who will vend them for a suggested $2 each), I shared many smiles and laughs. It was a good morning. And then, near closing time, one more vendor came in the office. It was a man who struggles with mental health issues, and today was particularly difficult for him. He became agitated and then emotional. It was heartbreaking to witness someone in such a vulnerable condition.
As I drove home, I cried. For the umpteenth time I thought, “Life is a hard row to hoe.” But then I remembered the GOP greedheads who are rushing through tax legislation that will decimate the safety net that’s supposed to support the nation’s most vulnerable, and my anguish turned to outrage.
How dare they turn their backs on people struggling to keep their heads above water?How dare those politicians enrich themselves and the already uber-wealthy at the expense of the rest of us? And, perhaps most importantly, why aren’t we taking to the streets with torches and pitchforks?
I have a birthday coming up which means my driver’s license is about to expire. I tried to renew it online this morning, but was told I didn’t qualify. This means two things:
(1) I have to go wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and (2) I have to get a new photo taken.
I’m not a photogenic person, however, my current driver’s license photo is pretty good. By that, I mean I don’t wince every time I take it out of my wallet. From my perspective, that’s the definition of “keeper.” That past success should make me optimistic of getting another non-wince-inducing photo, right? Wrong.
- Colorado no longer issues colored driver’s licenses; they are now grayscale.
- Colorado no longer allows people who wear glasses every single moment of their waking lives to wear those glasses in their photos.
- Colorado no longer allows people to smile in their photos.
No color. No glasses. No smiles.
Gee, I can’t wait to see what my new driver’s license photo looks like. Except, I already know what it’ll look like: as drab and unlike the real me as my passport photo which is also No Color, No Glasses, No Smile.
I am so angry right now. Not because I’m vain (I am), but because we’ve become a fear-based society that’s given up our civil liberties in the name of increased security. I don’t know about you, but facial recognition software doesn’t make me feel any more secure. The surveillance state doesn’t make me feel more secure.
I’m debating whether to show up at the DMV wearing my colander:
Other Pastafarians have taken a stand with their driver’s license photos, and maybe I should do the same. The shiny metal would certainly brighten up what will otherwise be a dreary photo.
Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.
~ Zora Neale Hurston
Zippy and I just returned from a city council candidates’ forum. We heard from the three candidates running for one of the two seats in our ward. It was my first time attending a ward function.
Ugh. Our neighborhood ward is essentially run by a cabal of older, reactionary people.
Know what? After fifteen minutes trying to arrange my thoughts in a coherent manner for this post, I give up. I can’t bring myself to rehash their disrespectful, clique-ish behavior or the dog whistle language they use to work everyone into a fear-based lather. It pissses me off too much.
Instead, I’m going to escape into my fiction. Some of the characters in my novel are also horrible people, but I ultimately have power over their lives. If I want to load them all on a bus and drive them over a cliff, I can do that. In real life, not so much.
We did a whole lot today: Climate March + MOCO Museum for Banksy/Dali exhibits + Climate March again + FOAM Museum for William Eggleston’s LOS ALAMOS exhibit plus additional photography exhibits, and then dinner out at SNCKBR. (And yeah, I’m totally cognizant of the fact that there are a whole lotta acronyms in the preceding sentence.)
It’s been a good day here in Amsterdam. So good, in fact, that I’m having trouble picking just one image to represent the experience. (To add more pics would result in a marathon blog post, and I don’t have the bandwidth for that right now.) So I’m going to leave it at this quote that was painted on the wall at the Banksy exhibit:
Actually, this is THE perfect sentiment for the day. You know why? The “art” wasn’t just in those museums. It was also on display in Museumplein where all those people gathered to voice their concern/outrage/hopes/etc regarding the climate change affecting the planet.
We’re a creative species, and it’s gonna take a whole lotta outrage + art + action to get us out of this mess. It’s a daunting endeavor. But today, between the civic action outside the museums and the creativity exhibited inside, I truly believe that is possible.
Art is essential to our survival.
Photo by Zebu.
My day didn’t start out that way, but then one email put me in the Stabby bus driver’s seat, and now I’m reaching for pointy implements of destruction.
Best steer clear for a while.
Marched this morning with a couple hundred thousand other people. The day started out cold and overcast (really appreciated the ride downtown on the packed-to-the-gills light rail because all that body heat warmed me up again) before turning sunny and warmer. It was a good morning, and I’m glad my neighbor friend, Kim, invited me to march with her. I brought my camera and captured some of the wit and wisdom of the very large gathering. (Click to enlarge)
In case you missed it the first time.
“They tried to bury us. They did not know that we were seeds.” (h/t and thanks to Jenn Hubbard for translation)
Construction workers above the march.
And here’s me with my sign:
Finally, here’s an overhead shot of Civic Center Park in Denver:
DENVER, CO – January 21: Tens of thousands in Civic Center Park for the Women’s March on Denver January 21, 2017. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Kim and I left the march before it reached the park so you won’t be able to find us in this crowd. Turning around was a good call, though, because as we “swam” downstream, we got a good look at THE MANY MANY PEOPLE. It was life-affirming to read the signs screaming with anger, hope, and humor.
We’re gonna need all three to make it out alive.
All pretense is gone
White House is billionaire’s club
They’ve ripped off the masks.
Easy to blame you,
smoldering wreck of a year.
But we own this mess.