Ringing in the New Year via snow shovel

Dug out  the front stairs, walkway and sidewalk, the back stairs, side walkway, garage walkway, and the snow blocking passage to the laneway.

New Years Writing Resolutions:

 

Publish 5 books (4 out of 5 are written) block out five more, e-publish my book of homilies, write two more of fiction and two of non-fiction. Finally assemble all my filk songs as of the end of 2016 into a big pdf file. Dig more deeply into Scrivener and see what else it can do to help my work flow. Learn more about e-publishing. Print at least a small run of physical books (probably locally) so I can put them in my mOm’s hands. Put everything for free on my website so people who are broke can read it. Develop a mailing list for book marketing purposes. Learn to spam LinkedIn since it’s all they’ve ever done for me. Figure out if it’s worth it to put any version of the ‘trilogy plus bookends’ on Amazon, given all the hassles I hear about. Start a Patreon account. Move 1500 units. Start submitting to publishers once I have some sales. And remember that 1000 words a day is 4 books a year!

I am completely and utterly sober. I have five minutes to pour myself a toast of something before I greet the new year with some Moar Wrdz.

I literally just slept 12 hours

Which is kind of inconvenient. But I’m fighting a bug again, I think, and my dry right eye is saying THANK YOU because it is experiencing no sensation of pain or abrasion and opened without being stuck shut, like most other mornings.

I also slept through every chance to make arrangements for the evening’s entertainment or the possibility of being sociable with my brother, which I’m not impressed with.

I must now be vewwy quiet, and go to my list of things I can accomplish by being quiet.

Okay: so yesterday I promised to, in a literary sense, and in a literary sense only, kick Konrad Yakabuski, a crypto-racist hack working for a variety of mangy sheets but currently the Groan and Wail (aka Mop and Pail, Goad and Flail) in his equally crypto goolies.

The first paragraph is the establishing shot.  “I’ve been away so my vision’s clearer.” That’s the premise, the tone, the “I’ve seen things you’d never understand” crap.

No, your vision hasn’t cleared, Mr. Oblivious Child of White Settlers.  (And with that name, he’s *likely* counting among his ancestors the first Polish migrants to Canada, although I can’t prove it.) All you’re describing is how you couldn’t truly see where you were when you left, and centre your dislocation as somehow important, upon your return.

Mentioning the barren British homeliness of downtown Toronto is supposed to carry some freight of humour, but alas it does not. All it tells me is that he doesn’t know that it was ANOTHER colonized people, the Scots masons who fucking built downtown Toronto, who built that ugliness, under the watchful direction of (mostly) Brits. SO IN THE FIRST FUCKING PARAGRAPH…. drum roll please!

He’s clueless about the colonial history of Toronto after the FN were pushed off.  But does he wisely see his ignorance and make with the hard pass?

No he does not. He continues to draw a fine paycheque for his purulent emissions.

As a journalist, belonging has never been my main aspiration in life.

Putting aside that every great journalist who ever lived, of whatever stripe, puts themselves squarely among the human family. Perhaps that means never having a settled home but that’s not the same as not feeling like you belong to the human family. He doesn’t actually say what his main aspiration is, which is funny. It certainly isn’t the discovery and sharing of truth….

Then he says, and what complete and utter bullshit,

Real journalists typically take pride in shunning all labels, attachments, causes and collectivisms.

Just in case you think I’m being a little harsh by calling this bullshit, let me walk you down memory lane with a list of Canadian journalists, and I ask you to frame them against this remarkable statement and see how well they fit in his stunted neoliberal construction.

Pierre Berton.

Stevie Cameron

Barbara Frum

Victor Malarek

Well shit bag, they don’t.  They were all supremely opinionated and attached themselves TO PLENTY of causes and collectivisms, to wrassle Yak’s fucking red-baiting bullshit phrase into some kind of context. And those are the WHITE journalists I pulled out of my ass. What award winning FN journos like the ones at Windspeaker might have to say on the subject makes for bitterly amused speculation on my part.

Then, the classic line:

We are chroniclers of, rather than participants in, the society around us.

RILLY?

He doesn’t vote? have a cell phone with awesome apps on it? he doesn’t drive?  He has a twitter account, f’Chrissakes. Maybe he has a mortgage, or lives in a rental, rather than a tent under a highway.  He eats in restaurants and consequently uses the sewer system… one hopes.  IT’S EXACTLY THIS ATTITUDE, that he can separate himself from the herd with words (by talking about his calling as if he was pulled aside by the Jesus of Journalism on the Highway to Better Circulation) that allows him to believe the things he does. He calls himself a chronicler rather than a participant because he’s calling out what he perceives as his superiority.

waaaaal. All it does for me is tell me that he doesn’t see where his words are pointing.

Let’s pause for a moment. How does Allegra separate herself from the herd with words? Am I not guilty of the same white wordy masturbatory bs?

Sure. But I am a member of the human family, all of it. And I am a student of history. All of it. And I love my country. Not all of it, because some of it is structurally sexist, racist, colonial and a teensy bit fascist. But I’ve had to ask myself if I would take up arms for the conception I have of Canada, which is not a flag or a collection of laws but of a group of people who share a home, and the answer is, yes. This is a hard thing for me to say in public given how anti-colonial I can be, but it’s true, and I won’t linger over the dissonance I feel about it.

I am separate from other people because I occupy a frail, non-neurotypical body which preselects many of the things I like and hate for me.  But I’m just like everyone else, EXCEPT in how I think and speak and act. I breathe, I came from two parents, I’m going to die, I try to find love and acceptance and avoid pain and loneliness, I eat & excrete, I consume goods and services, I make things, I destroy things, I try to communicate.

In my separation from others I wish to maintain an egalitarian world view; a compassionate world view; a self-inclusive world view; and a world view as passionately committed to the destruction of capitalism as firmly as I am currently entangled in its fractal tentacles.

So yeah, I was a bit pissed at the use of the word collectivism. It’s a goddamned dog whistle – “I am anti-communist.”  Fuck yeah, you’re by extraction Polish and living in Canada, go figure. But more subtly, he’s saying that he’s clueless about how he participates in the Collective that is the Capitalist Posse, protecting everything that the Globe and Mail’s owners, subscribers and advertisers hold dear. Less subtly he’s saying that journalists who are overt about their causes AREN’T AS GOOD AS HIM. So he wants a fucking medal for being racist in public in the service of capitalism, but he doesn’t want to draw too much attention to that.  The fellation takes place in private, I guess.

Okay full marks to him, now I think of it. Most Canadians wouldn’t get the freight of the word collectivism.

Then he makes his concession.

Still, not even journalists can escape their genes, childhoods, experiences or environments – everything that determines who we are.

Oh boy.  He’s just plain folks, folks.

Our identities are never fixed, but subject to constant redefinition. In 2013, the Canadian part of my identity needed some refreshment and refinement. I found both in Joseph Boyden’s novel The Orenda, a haunting story of blood and belonging set amid the 17th-century Iroquois Wars.

HARD STOP. Joseph Boyden, who won awards for the above noted novel, has discovered a native ancestor and wishes to be Métis.

He isn’t.  Didn’t hear me? HE ISN’T.

There are shitpiles of settler whites with native ancestry in this country. I’m related to them on both sides of the family.

My tribe is Scythian, just in case you were wondering; they liked warrior women, weed, deer, horses and travel, and that’s good enough for me. (Merely trying to point out how white people claiming tribal affiliations is clueless newage bs.)

I am not shameless, stupid, venal and greedy enough to want to claim any FN of Turtle Island as my own, and most important of all, I have no FN grannie, no aunties, no uncles, no nieces, no nephews; no land; no language; I also have no UNRECOGNIZED TOXIC RESERVOIR OF GUILT, SHAME AND DENIAL that makes me want to drain it by claiming an experience THAT IS NOT MINE. If you don’t have a First Nations family willing to claim you, you aren’t FN. It’s that fucking simple, folks.

Joseph Boyden doesn’t have a FN family. Therefore….

BUT HE WANTS TO BE. And because he’s white, we should let him. That is the underlying support for Yak’s contention that we should stop ‘lynching’ him.

Note that the link says lynch and the headline’s been changed.

NOTE IT. It’s important. It shows the Globe and Mail knows it fucked up, but not enough to change the URL too.

Meanwhile, in twitterland, the pixels are practically catching fire over in the fabulous network of indigeneity. Joseph Boyden is ONLY BEING SUPPORTED by FN people with a long, long history of toxic sexism, slur campaigns, greed for federal cash and faux reconciliation.  Not one credible First Nations spokesperson supports Boyden in his claims to be indigenous. He’s Grey Owl for the Trump Era.

Then Yak goes on to describe how the indigenous awakening was important for the Canadian identity.

Riiiight.

Nice indians are good for the Canadian identity.  Noisy, university trained, angry, pushy, sophisticated, technically savvy, passionate life livers and givers standing up for the 600 plus nations and languages that white people keep trying to develop off the face of the earth, not so good for Yak’s construction of the modern Canadian identity.

Native life must be interpreted by white people to be real.

I used to believe it too.

Sorry Yak. Once you make the connection, as I have, over the internet, with real native activists; hear their voices; have private conversations with them; get scolded (in my case repeatedly) by them for not hearing, not thinking, not listening, not ‘getting it’, you can’t use language the way Yak uses it.

The rest of the article is shite so I won’t quote from it.

He uses the two words identity politics a lot.

If, as I suspect he is, he came from the Polish enclave in northeastern Ontario, I’d like to ask him a question.

How would you feel if every other kind of white person who lives in that part of the world pushed you off your land because you were Polish? Would you indulge in identity politics then?

The First Nations are NATIONS.  They practice ‘identity politics’ which is a dog whistle for ‘coloured folks being uppity’ and ‘faggots being uppity’ and ‘trans being uppity’ and ‘anybody who doesn’t identify as a temporarily embarrassed millionaire being uppity’ because they have the THREE QUALIFYING FACTORS of NATIONHOOD. Land, people and language. Sure, their governance is screwed up in many places BUT WHOSE FAULT IS THAT? The Government of Canada, acting for all of us.

Yak wants to reduce the nations of Turtle Island to ‘Canadians’ and then bag at them for not being good Canadians. THEY AREN’T FUCKING CANADIANS. They have to live with the laws and the racism and the ‘can’t you deal with being a conquered people’ bs, but they aren’t Canadians. They can have a Canadian passport, but that’s because they don’t have an alternative if they want to, you know, live in the world, travel on business or to see rellies or for pleasure, like human people do.

So read the rest of the editorial with that in mind.

Yak, you are too clueless to live in this world you’re so far above.

Day 4

Paul worked four days on four days off for so many years. Day four on nights was almost always busy; you’re super tired and you don’t want to have to fix the goddamn shitter pipes on the Scarebus, but you do anyway. Not similar here – it’s relatively slow tonight after a flurry of calls at midnight.

Off to Planet Bachelor to sing and play. Wrote a tune on the fly with Paul gamely trying to keep up on guitar. Lyrics – not yet.  We worked our way through a number of tunes, and on Clem’s Walk Paul came up with some exceeeeeedingly tasty and uptempo accompaniment, like air braided in filigree.  For about 8 bars there I thought we’d gone to heaven, it was so good.

John’s real close the last couple of days.  I know he’d want me to be fine.  I will be fine, just a little punched out from working and (ja figger?) possibly holiday blues. ALSO THERE IS FUCKING SNOW EVERYWHERE IN EAST BURNABY AND IT’S GONE EVERYWHERE ELSE.

I am loving The Crown but oh, it’s so very colonial.  Highly recommended but there are definitely bits to make a sensitive person cringe.

Scored another prezzie from Keith  – I now have a Jayne Cobb figurine which will join the rest of the figurines downstairs in the media room if I can figure out where. HE HAS HIS HAT. Given that I gave the Cobb hat my mother laboriously constructed for me away to Mary Crowell, (along with the magnificent Lundercape, which was made in part of dead gods and slaughtered Smurfs) I’m glad.

I left Otto there; I’ll be damned if I lose it or break it hauling it to and from work.

Almost time to nuke up my egg fried rice for dins.

See the difference between the old and the new headline.

I’m going to do a full bore take down of the above noted article when I’m conscious and caffeinated. So annoyed with this cowardly idiot.

 

 

 

back at work

Wrote about 400 words today. Feeling laid back to the point of being sessile. Jesse is not talking to me, although Sweetie is.

Some evil person left the best commercial gingerbread cookies I’ve ever eaten just lying around the office. I have moved them out of eyeshot or the little crunchy eyewateringly gingery buggers’ll be gone before dawn.

Despite the weather being horrible – it’s snowed all day and it’s now raining, I was only 5 minutes late for work.  Yay Skytrain, I guess.

Looks like MMCo will be the first of the books e-published, which is funny, because it was written fourth and it’s the pre-planned prequel. More deets as they become available.

 

 

 

Banditry

I didn’t buy a single gift for anyone, but here is what I got:

Lagostina wok – the high temp non stick kind.

Firefly plush blanket

Pink and blue skin for my MacBook

Home made mandarin orange marmalade and home made cocoa powder

Three different kinds of alcohol, being Kahlua, Baileys and Grand Marnier.

The baiju’s all gone, I must find more. It is one of the most remarkably flavoured high test spirits I’ve ever consumed; instead of tasting like old men complaining, it’s like spring and hopefulness dancing through your mouth.

I am so blessed I don’t know what to say.

Cassidy insisted that we plate up leftovers for Jeff, so he’s gonna get a southern ham Christmas including yams and cornbread dressing (plus two different kinds of home made fudge, and the leftover creamy rice pudding I made.) Jeff wasn’t feeling up to it; we actually left quite early, before 8.

I didn’t wear my orthotics with the crampons when I walked to Planet Bachelor last night and now my feet hurt so much- literally the first thing I thought when I woke up this morning was MOTHER OF GOD MY FEET HURT. So yeah, orthotics are good and real and I should wear them always.

 

who’s banging on my door

I think one of the cats just banged on my door, how odd.

Miss Margot has learned to knock on my door. I believe she does this by snagging the light catcher I stapled to the bottom of the bedroom door and rhythmically tugging on it, resulting in a light, professional tap so out of character for her that you could understand my difficulty in grasping that it was she who was the author of the noise.

I figured for sure Buster, and started when I saw that it was her.

I’m going over to Planet Bachelor to feed cats over the next couple of days, not today, but Christmas etc.

The schedule changed and I don’t have to work Christmas night any more.

I saw Alex yesterday and Katie, and then I WAS SO TIRED at 10:30 am I felt my feet get saggy from exhaustion and I just knew I had to lie down. Tom and Peggy brought Christmas cookies the day before that but they are all gone now as of yesterday morning. Dang but they was so much of what I like eatin’.

I am sore and frightened for the world and writing seemeth a long wayeth away.

My characters aren’t calling. They’re having fun

and getting into trouble behind my back.

They have wandered into stories they won’t share.

Returning to my one true story

I will find my lover, he’ll be waiting there.

Will you let me fill my cup, I won’t take all

your precious time up

but I know the roots won’t grow and

I can’t even hold a stick up

in this dry ground

burnt and fry ground

the moving true north it has been found

equinoxes do not match the poles (the magnetic poles)

and we can feel our very souls

bent and twining t’ward each other

all of time just a rhyme

as we find our way toward each other

 

the delayment of the inevitablelike

I AM NO QUIT I AM EXTEND SON

I’ll be working until the end of January. The woman I was hired to temporarily replace for medical reasons and to be a casual is now not working for the company, reason unknown. My reasons for not wanting to be there are still in place but I’m getting paid and I don’t have to work weekend days so I don’t care.  Steady middies for me!

It’s amusing that I’m awake now.  The world is white and quiet with snow, and if I was working tonight my shift would be about to start…. I just woke up.

I could use the money, although I’d forgotten the extent to which commuting in the wintertime is such a fricking drag in this burg.

Getting to and from work the last week has chewed through a bus station mop. But… it only took an hour to get home yesterday.

My characters are sad and so am I.  It’s the pathetic fallacy folks.

Also one of them is quitting drinking and I’m walking alongside him for portions of that, which I loathe.

Although I did think of THE MOST DISGUSTING SIXER RELATED GAG I mean I burst out laughing when poor Jeff was trying to watch the Dallas/Tampa game, which was ugly and beautiful and what the hell’s going on with the zebras, and mah God Dak Prescott, but I just had this vision of Sweetie, who is like 3 kilos, being the security guard for the whorehouse, and controlling a patron with the vilest impersonation of Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry one could possibly imagine, and I couldn’t stop laughing because the joke grows organically out of the situation and at this point we could all use a laugh,

because Trump sailed through the Electoral College, and the Republic, tottering after decades of hacking at the Constitution and weak from never dealing with racism and the Civil War, is in full kleptocratic collapse.

What to watch for over 4 years in the US:

Moar racism

Moar war

Higher infant and maternal death rates – this has actually been going on in slow motion over the decade I’ve been keeping track, it’s sickening…

More prison rioting (underreported) as the food in prisons gets worse and worse under Trump’s prison owning buddies

Higher violent death rates, across the board, all kinds – vehicles (road rage), guns, knives, stranglings.

More alcoholism and alcohol related death

More needle drug abuse and higher rates of AIDS HIV infection. More people dying of ODs, pills and otherwise.

Zika running wild in South Florida and the gulf coast and women being forced to carry the fetus to term with no health insurance for a lifetime of need thanks to Republican state legislatures

Hundreds more deaths each year from white people carrying guns, being scared of black people and shooting grandmothers and toddlers but mostly teenage boys who are existing while black

Muslims being burned alive in their mosques. Hasn’t happened yet but it’s going to happen and more than once.

Tripling of deaths in custody. (The statisticians just learned that the number of people who’ve died in custody in the US in the last five years is ACTUALLY DOUBLE what they thought because there’s no reporting mechanism and now the cop unions are trying to prevent any oversight of this statistic at all…)

Diaspora people – Jewish, black and Muslim – who have family and opportunities in Canada, moving here, although they’ll probably need a couple of years of Trump to realize it’s time to get out of town.

Tourism tanks across the US and Trumpites CELEBRATE America for Americans.

Confederates bringing automatic weapons to Pride Days and killing grandmothers and toddlers along with some queers.

Open war on First Nations Land; mass incarcerations and arrests, and Trump’s buddies making money on it.

More legal weed.

Secession talk from more than California.

The Left NEVER calling him President Trump. Just Trump. Or Cheetolini.

Patton Oswalt falling in love again and remarrying.  Because honestly, that man deserves happiness.

Sad family note. Young cousin got a bad (not what he specifically and carefully asked for) haircut… but we have a hairdresser in the family and our relations did not have to have that experience.  I wish it were otherwise but how often does adult convenience drive the nightmares of small children. I speak from sad and memorable experience here, thinking about Katie and the earring back. I still cry when I think about that, tho’ Katie has long since forgiven me.

A friend asked me what my Christmas Day plans were and I said “Reheating takeout and watching Die Hard with my brother” and now we’re eating at Hal and Cassidy’s, go team!

At some point Jeff and I have to leave the house for supplies, but the urban slushy streets are too disgusting….

 

 

One more week

I am enjoying being a woman of mystery. Fellow workers have asked me why I quit. I make my face go all soft and stupid (no challenge there, I fear) and say, “Oh, it’s a long story. A LONG BORING STORY” he he fake laugh.

Jeff is encouraging me to watch The OA. Sounds fantastic, and some other folks on the F-list are also boosters. Me I’m so waiting for Expanse Season 2 my little heart is going pittapat.

40K words on the Yaoi brigade of foolishness.

 

 

Lock, load, rant ‘n roll

Ya missed me?
You duckwits.
This is now the second time I’ve unsubscribed from well.ca. How did I get back on your list? Who knows? Was it malice? Was it stupidity? Was it greed? I don’t think you’re smart enough, corporately, to find out and get back to me on that so why don’t you just assume that’s a rhetorical question?
I quit using you because your customer service people are badly trained, you send me emails when I’ve already unsubscribed, and you didn’t ship me what I needed most out of the order and DIDN’T TELL ME WHEN I’D GET IT. Just took it off and refunded.
Ya fucked up, and now ya fucked up thrice.
If I get another unsolicited email from you chuckleheads I’m reporting you to these guys.  http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home
So totally NOT yours,
One severely choked ex customer who up until this point has stayed off social media to complain about your company. Today is a good day to complain about well.ca!

Last days, short strokes

I just checked my calendar and my last day is the 23rd; I’ll go in on the 22nd and emerge at dawn into the last two days of schlepping before baby Jesus pops out of the creche and we get 2.5 more months of winter. Good thing I don’t have to buy a damned thing.  My dad wants a home cooked meal, my mOm wants me to finish my books and print them, my kids are getting clothes, Jeff’s getting either nothing or something to do with Antarctica, Paul’s getting biscotti and so’s pretty much everyone else.  Hm perhaps I should locate blackberry jelly. That rarely goes amiss across the pond.

There are definitely parts of this job I enjoyed.  I like nights.  Most of the housekeeping staff and managers on nights are civilized and hardworking individuals. The ones who aren’t, well, I’m not going to talk about them.  The good ones, I’ll miss of course.

Paul because he is AWESOME drove me to work tonight, for no reason, just because he could.  And in so doing improved my mood out of all proportion to the gesture.  (Jeff was asleep long since, or he would have been happy to.)

Jeff is BEING SUPERBRO.  I am very happy to be living with him right now. Of course when I feel like this (all d’awwwww!) I end up cooking, and what is wrong with that?  I’m going to make dough.  Only cinnamon rolls can express my feelings at the moment.  Maybe schnitzel? Maybe we should do a shop, although the roads in this part of the work still suck.  But cinnamon rolls are an important good.

I have learned that I need to wear my orthotics indoors, so I’m going to get house shoes and transfer my orthotics into them when I’m inside.  They will never so much as set foot outside the house.

We need to put more dirt down on the front steps, they are unbelievably slippery.

 

1000 words tonight.  I’m at about 31K words on the new Jesse book. Jeff’s helping with assembling MMCo for publication!! so exciting.  Course all I wanna do is write.  The rest of all that stuff is superbly snoreworthy, at least to a lazy bum like I.

Hey guys

I am very sorry that I had to, but I resigned.  Actually quit on my mom’s birthday, what a fangèd child I am. When asked why via email by my supervisor, I supplied two words: Poor fit. But I got to go to work for a while, and my dipsy doodling has brought some of my fans out of the woodwork, and I may be able to talk my way into another job in January. And I did get paid.

I’m healthier, mentally (Jeff might quibble) and physically.  I was in situations where I didn’t eat much for days at a stretch and lost 10 pounds. (Read, holy shit, stress, cause when the hell do I forget to eat?)

My last day worked at the hospital will be Christmas Eve.

I feel terrible about it, but a lot of stuff happened that was rather disheartening, and a little bit was terrifying, and a large amount of it was super disrespectful and classist, so there you go.

I may have mentioned that I’m writing fan fic set in my own universe, which is fourteen kinds of wacky; two of the characters from the Upsun universe fall in love and then the course of true love gets messed up and then ALIENS plus WHOREHOUSE so there’s at least a possibility of someone getting a happy ending. I’m reading more about gay men’s sex than is likely good for me to and I’ve learned there’s 151 Million references to bukkake on the internet, per google.  Not that our One True Pairing does that, but they do get into some pretty weird stuff mostly while giggling like schoolkids and not talking about their feelings very effectively, quelle surprise. The novel will be sixty thousand words long, and I have written half of it.  HALF.  At least two of the streams of dialogue are some of the best I’ve ever written, too bad ’bout the subject matter, hey?  Oh well.

The best part of all of this is that even though I’m writing unusual characters and sweetly bizarre porn, my mOm is still yoinking sheets out of the typewriter as fast as she can, figuratively speaking.  Since it has a fan, it must be good.  I’m enjoying it, but I just got to the half way mark where they break up and now I have to go through the VALLEY OF THE TROPES to get them back to each other.  They must traverse the Bridge of Well Meaning Advice from Friends which When Taken Goes Awry; squeeze past the Troll of He Only Loved me for My Looks; suffer the attentions of the Juvenile Alien who keeps trying blatantly stupid Shit to Get Them Back in the Same Room; have AT LEAST TWO dream sequences, because why not; etc. etc.  I enjoy tropes at the same rate I subvert them, I fear.

I’m at Mike’s, a refugee from snow and how chilly my end of Geekhaus is (it’s my fault, I’m not really complaining) and also the sad ugliness of feeling like a failure for quitting a job AGAIN; last night he fed me chinese egg noodles dressed with oil and scallions, hothouse tomatoes with salt and cilantro, perfectly baked salmon fillet with a crust of garlic, salt, pepper and oregano, and baby bok choi with garlic. Then, after, a digestif of baiju, the stuff I bought him at the Farmer’s Market.  IT WAS SO TASTY. Just finished the tomatoes, they were so nom I thought BREAKFAST.

The world looks less ugly this morning.  For this we thank our friends.

Then I think about Aleppo, and the project that’s gathering soil from every lynching site in the US, and the fentanyl crisis, and how hard it is to find a decent job, and … no wonder I flee back to writing. There is a universe which I alone control, but it ends at my nose (Ashleigh Brilliant).

Saw most of the front part of Spectral.  It was apparently a big budget movie ditched by its studio and brought back by Netflix.  I eventually will see the whole movie. I quite liked the special effects.

No one wants to perform at the Trump Inaugural.  I’m sure they’ll dig someone up.

Keith and I are supposed to see a movie together today; maybe Arrival, maybe Moana, maybe a coin toss.

Disasters wheeze and accomplishments break a leg

Jerb sucks.  I am working rapidly rotating shifts every single week until well into the new year. I could go on at great length about how very stupid and shortsighted they are, but let’s just put it in perspective once and you can take it from there; two years ago the company lost 4/5ths of its local clients due to incompetence, poor internal communications, politics and other bs, and they are well on their way to losing the last fifth.  I imagine this job will exist for at most another year, so I’m going to do the best I can in my little world and accept the money while I can and when I have recovered my sang froid a little more I’ll start the job hunt again.

I am now sick with my first cold in a decade or whatever, but not since I moved into this house to my recollection, and instead of getting up SLEPT THROUGH FROM 8 AM TO 8 PM without getting up or peeing or drinking or anything, so now I have to go deal with forcing myself to eat and drink, since I don’t want to.

later… I have achieved bread and honey lemon concoction. It hasn’t started to snow. The cats are creeping around the house chasing two enormous confused flies which woke up after the last snowstorm.

I am 6K words into the next novel, which is yaoi about Jesse and Slider but also about lots of other stuff.  I was kinda thinking no when I was writing the trilogy, since throwing two characters together does make for “should they bang” moments, but they were buddies who spent a lot of time together because they were both totally fascinated by aliens. But now it’s time, and the research is certainly interesting, because the whole thing is essentially about consent and desire and how to be a ho. I am NOT POSTING it, but if you want to read it when it’s done, ping me. It won’t be great art, but none of it is, being, you know, entertainment. I will charge a high price for it too, if I ever release it.

It’s supposed to snow here. It’s so cold in my room I feel like if I get out of bed I’ll seize up completely.

later … unearthed my space heater and fired it up.  It’s like lighting a candle in a high wind in Antarctica….

 

86. Finally, brethren

“Are they …?” Colin muttered.

“Best not to ask,” Jesse muttered back. “It’s not like we can tell – holy jeez!” he said, louder than intended. The tableau had shifted again. Kima was climbing up the anchor rope of a sailing ship and stealing glimpses of books about astronomy and navigation and natural history, all in Greek. The perspective shifted with the rocking motion of the boat.

“Oog,” Colin muttered, and looked away. If he wasn’t driving, he got car sick very easily.

Kima’s voice reached them without effort. “I didn’t know George and Michel then. They hadn’t been born. I met their mothers, and their fathers. Phokas taught me Greek and the Greek alphabet. It took a couple of years, but I became literate in a human language for the first time, and started to learn.  Something shifted inside me as I read.”

“I learned more and travelled the world looking for knowledge. I met Michel, and through him I met George and the three of us agreed to share what we learned about humans and science. We weren’t very careful about how we did it. Humans got hurt.”

“I’m not sorry, they were bad men, and you’re not getting a phoney apology,” Michel yelled. He wasn’t amplified, but it didn’t matter.  He could bellow like a mythical beast.

“We wouldn’t expect it, Michel,” Jesse yelled back.

“You two be quiet now, you’ll get your turn,” Kima said, irked. “George and I intend to apologize to all of you for hurt we’ve caused to humans. If we don’t then we’re just oppressors with a good backstory.”

There was a pause.

“I don’t remember that part,” Kima said.

“Sorry,” George said. “I should have taken it out again.”

Colin and Jesse and Anh, shoulders shaking, made little gasping noises. Their suppressed giggles were promptly drowned out.

“That isn’t what I wanted to say, that isn’t it at all!” Kima said, very loud.  The quiet water of the cove appeared to boil and foam, and a large, red and orange bouncy-castle version of a cuttlefish popped up out of the disturbed waves like a cork, leaving the water entirely and then settling, off kilter.  The eyes swivelled. Paolo could be heard stuffing himself into his father’s coat again.

The giant cuttlefish addressed George and ignored the humans, and Michel, relishing the opportunity, assisted her.

“It was humans who gave me back the science and mathematics that are the birthright of our species.  It is humans who are helping me understand what my body is made of. Humans are teaching me that each of us is a song.”

An immense rubber sword fell out of the sky into the inflated cuttlefish. It exploded. A thousand parachute flares leapt into the sky above the celebrants, pushed by the flailing, deflating arms of the cuttlefish, and accompanied by a cracking noise and a hissing of red sparks over the water.

“Who the hell’s the art director?” Anh muttered. “This’s nothing like the storyboard.”

George’s voice, much quieter, said, “Show them.”

The parachute flares vanished when they fell to three metres above ground, which was a relief, because they looked all too real. They were replaced by sheer blackness – a blackness so dark that after the brightness of the flares it felt like being shoved into a cave.

A yellow star appeared in the middle of the screen. It got bigger and bigger and bigger, until, using the latest research satellite data in an incredibly detailed false colour view, it consumed the screen.

“Sol,” George said. The point of view flew past Mercury – rendered in false colour – and Venus, a cloudy blob. They came up to Earth from the dark side of the moon, speeding over the surface at such a low altitude Jesse felt like he could have stuck out his hand and scooped up moon dust. Then the point of view halted in a stationary position from perhaps a thousand kilometres above ground. Every satellite currently orbiting Earth, including dead and damaged ones, was picked out and named, with the nationality and ownership marked with little flags.  Some of the tags were red.

“Everything marked in red is in a decaying orbit and a risk to Earth,” George said calmly.  “I intend to take out the orbital trash.”

The point of view showed George, in his Sixer form, humming a English music-hall tune (Finck’s Gilbert the Filbert), bouncing between the satellites like a pachinko ball and knocking them out of orbit, away from earth.  Some of them crashed into the moon, making little screaming noises as they did so.  The rest got shoved toward the sun.

“But what I really want to do,” George said, in the same warm, conversational tone, “Is to prevent this from happening.”

They saw George’s reconstruction of the Chelyabinsk Event in three quick vignettes; from orbit, from 20 kilometres above Russia, and, in the most eye-popping special effect any of them had ever seen, riding the superbolide down through the atmosphere at 69,000 kph until it exploded with a flare that was, briefly, brighter than the sun. The ground shook. Paolo sobbed into his dad’s shirt.

“Will you help me try to prevent this from happening?” George asked.

“I will,” said the old lady.

“We will,” said the other Unitarians, who were used to liturgy on the fly.

“We will,” the rest echoed.

“I will,” Paolo said, hiccupping, officially becoming the cutest little un-indicted co-conspirator.

“I pledge my aid to you for as long as I am on earth and alive,” George said solemnly.

“I pledge my aid to you for as long as I am on earth and alive,” Kima said solemnly.

“Whatever, as long is it’s not too inconvenient,” Michel said.

“Figured,” Colin muttered. A couple of other people giggled, mostly to release tension.

“There’s food and drink.  Let’s eat together to seal our commitment,” George said. The three aliens stood together, half in and half out of the water. Michel dragged Kima’s bucket up to the food service table, and started to laugh. She was herself, but had perched a ludicrous virtual chef’s hat on her ‘head’ and was now turning filleted salmon into sashimi and offering it up on the end of her very sharp knife. There was vegetarian stew and rice, steaming hot; various kinds of classy finger food, and Jesse, wasting no time, broached the ale keg and opened the tap.

The dancing and drumming began; George sang, which amazed everyone who hadn’t heard him sing before. People talked, ate, laughed, wept. Kima, after she was done with the salmon, shook everyone’s hand. George hugged some people, cuffed some people, and turned himself into playground furniture for Paolo with a short but sincere apology, which Paolo accepted with aplomb. Michel wandered around and showed everyone the gold coin Kima had given him.

The Sixers formed a receiving line, and greeted all the celebrants by name, and thanked them personally. Michel managed to be civil to everyone, which established, as Anh commented to Avtar sotto voce, some kind of record.

By midnight, everyone was a blend of stuffed, drunk and exhausted, and the cleanup began. The Sixers and the Midnite Moving Co. boys loaded everything onto the lighter in less than half an hour. The tide had come up and Sparrow moved the boat closer to the shore.  As they were boarding, some getting piggyback rides from George and Michel (who would flip them over the railing in a variety of scary ways – without hurting them), others climbing up from the lighter, George addressed everyone, “Thank you all for coming.”

“When is O-day?” a woman’s voice called.

“Soon,” George said.  “Soon.”

“You guys live for hundreds of years, George; soon’s meaningless,” Jesse said.

Lights flickered across George’s midline. “Less than two years,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then. It means a lot to me that I have your help, and trust.”

“And they’ll have the babies, too,” Michel said, in Greek. “If you two ever manage to get busy.”

THE END.

85. A play of light

They were forty-five minutes late getting everyone debarked; Michel, who only took charge when he was too disgusted by incompetence to do anything else, grabbed some humans off the boat and hauled them ashore, with the people complaining the loudest receiving the most unsettling version of the experience.

“Buck up or fuck up,” Michel called to George cheerfully as he passed, a rude slap accompanying his comment on George’s state of mind, which to a Sixer could be smelled a hundred metres away as “distraught but managing”.

Michel put Anh down on the slender, rocky beach before her coloratura squeaking got any louder.

The rehearsal was not optimal, George thought, and now we’re running late.

Someone on shore could be heard to start singing the theme of the Muppets Show, and was shushed.

“Damn Unitarians!” George exclaimed.  There were giggles, and more shushing.

George appeared to turn into a lectern, and a sweet-faced old lady with a dandelion puff of white hair walked up to him, and then climbed him as if treating an alien like a staircase was something she did routinely. She faced the natural amphitheatre provided by the trees nestled into the shoreline, standing where she could see everyone.  There were forty people assembled. Nobody was laughing now. A child’s voice could be heard saying, “Where’s George?”

“He’ll be back soon,” said his daddy’s voice. “We should try to be quiet.” Jesse, knowing what he did about Sixers, thought that bringing a child was a damned stupid thing to do, but he also knew why George had allowed it.

“Welcome,” the old lady said.  She didn’t introduce herself. George’s hair, fully engaged and cooperative for once, made her voice seem to each person standing before her as if she were speaking directly to them from a conversational distance.

“I’ve spent my whole life looking up at the stars and waiting for aliens,” she said. “I never thought I’d find them walking down my street. What would be the good of thinking that? Any aliens who came would want to talk to the humans who run this world, or pretend to, or claim to; not the people who live in it without wanting to be boss. We’re fortunate, in this meeting, to be able to think of ourselves as being somehow of equal status.”

“You’re not!” Michel heckled.

“Sez you,” said the old lady. People from her church giggled. Unfazed, she continued. “Tonight we gather where the tide and the forest meet; where the salmon of wisdom is sheltered in its first morph as an alevin by the cedars of our home. We gather on the lands of the Coast Salish and their kin, who share it with us without ever having given over their collective bond to it.”

“At the end of the ceremony, we will share food and stories, and drum, and sing, and dance. Let us hold each other close as sharers of a great and troubling secret. Let us create in ourselves a space for awe, and wonder, and the questions that are our bridge between knowing and unknowing.”

She stepped down and took her place among the group.

Out of sight in the trees, Jesse heard a chorus of men’s voices, singing.  It resonated in his chest. He could feel tears springing into his eyes, and laughed inside, wondering why he couldn’t save some for later, as he thought might be required. Women’s voices, sweeping upward, sang, sometimes in harmony, sometimes with a staccato pulse. There were words, but Jesse couldn’t understand them.

The illusion was perfect. The celebrants turned as one and saw a line of hooded and cloaked figures approaching them, walking slowly in time with their singing, and carrying torches.

“Who are they, daddy?”

“They aren’t really there, Paolo,” his daddy said.

The singing grew louder and lower, and stronger, but never moved faster than a slow walking pace, with spaces for silence that made the singing seem like an act of defiance, although against what, Jesse could not say. He hadn’t come to understand, though; he had come to witness.

Each of the phantoms drew nearer and nearer. With a reflex as old as humanity, the crowd moved to face them and to put the children and the elderly in the middle.

The song ended on a long chord woven across their shared space as a protective canopy.  The phantoms, moving as one, threw their torches into a pile, which blazed into a bonfire and then died back into embers and sparks. Each phantom was touched by a spark and like a spark blazed upward and vanished.

While everyone gasped, looking as the phantoms flew up into the trees, a simulacrum of Kima crawled out of the embers.

Almost everyone gasped again at how the embers shone through her almost transparent body, before realizing that it wasn’t truly Kima.

“She’s in the water with Michel,” Jesse whispered.

“I’m the oldest person here,” she said. Her voice was still quite mechanical, but Michel had been coaching her and her prosody had improved. “I’m so old I don’t know how old I am. This sometimes happens with humans too. You can be so old you survive everyone who could tell you the truth, and lose the papers that prove it, if you ever had them.” She gestured with one arm toward the ocean.

The cove vanished; Kima and Michel completely cut off the celebrants’ view across the water, and replaced it with an enormous, marvellously detailed projection of the sea bottom.

“The first thing that I remember that ties me to human history is an earthquake.” Strange music, discordant and jaunty and somehow ominous, began to play.  (author’s note: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/music/) “I was swimming in the ocean, not knowing that I would be two kilometres from the epicentre of an earthquake that would be felt from Syria to Italy.”

They watched the chaos on a projection the size of a building, and felt in their bones the wrenching roar of the earth tearing itself apart. Paolo hid himself in his daddy’s coat and sobbed, but could not be heard over the clamor. Half a dozen people put their hands over their ears.  The rumbling died away.

“I was lucky to be where I could not be crushed by an underwater avalanche,” Kima said. “I wanted to know what had happened. The first time I went to dance at the shore, which was in 1825,” and now the projection faded out and revealed a rocky beach in the Mediterranean, “I met my people for the first time and learned that if I wanted to understand the world I lived in, I would have to learn a human language.”

There was brief tableau of perhaps half a dozen landmorphs and a dozen watermorphs frolicking in the water at sunset.