Somewhere in the Future

Somewhere in the future

I sit and read

various books written by me

I lounge on beaches

soak in the sun

drink wine and read

till night’s begun

I visit friends and families

hug them all hello

ask them how their day went

tell them how it goes

I visit restaurants and shop in stores

I run around the great outdoors

and if I want, I have a sit

whenever I want, until I quit

those days are possible

I know they’re coming

somewhere in the future

So the Thoughts

So the thoughts go, ah, another cousin has died. He was seventy-three. Positive for COVID-19, kidney failure was his cause of death.

The thoughts continue, when did I see him last? What happened to him in the interim?

The thoughts drift…did he marry and have children? Who are they and where do they live?

The thoughts roll on to other uncles and aunts and their children, and their children’s children.

Two other cousins passed away in 2020. Hadn’t seen one in two decades. Almost six had passed since I’d seen the other. They and I were small children. Also passing was an aunt, not seen since I was two or three.

In a modern age of connection and travel, it’s startling to recognize how many of my family members I know about, and how little I know about them.

Two related stories are there to be told. One is of a cousin fourteen years younger. He was friends with my sister via FB. (My sister has a different father than me and last name and she’s since married a few times.) He reached out to her: “Hey, how come my mom’s maiden name and your brother’s last name are the same?” He was too young to remember me, and didn’t know about our connection.

Another friend request came in last year. Mom’s older brother had a son who know lives north of me by a few hours. Can we be friends? A few years older, he and I have a lot in common. On one FB exchange today, we discovered that we attended the same Joe Cocker concern a few years ago. From our description of where we were sitting, we were within yards of one another.

It’s a large world and a small world, a world tangled with connections and distance. I began trying to untangle some of it today.

Friday’s Theme Music

Todays sunrise in Ashland, OR, was 7:40 AM. Sunset is 5:04 PM. A light gray overcast sky keeps the sunshine at bay. The temperature is 42 degrees F but a high of 56 is projected, along with light rain.

Today’s theme music is “Animal I Have Become” by Three Days Grace, 2006. I chose the music on behalf of the United States and the nation that it’s become. Torn by division, rhetoric and activity turns more violent and urgent. As blacks have been killed by police, people took to the streets to protest the deaths. Many of them were senseless, but officers were exonerated. Several particularly infuriating people, like Breonna Taylor, unarmed, in bed, innocent of everything but being black, killed by police in their zest to ‘serve and protect’. There was also George Floyd, killed by an officer who was busy serving and protecting, by kneeling on his neck until he died while his fellow officers, serving and protecting, looked on. This was apparently for a report of a crime of passing a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Numbingly, those are just two examples that fueled the anger and protests that swept the nation on behalf of justice in 2020.

Meanwhile, on the right, they got busy protesting those protests, screaming in response, “Blue Lives Matter”. That blue lives really didn’t matter to them became apparent (as if we weren’t sure) as Trump supporters, who are quite right wing, conservative, and white supremacists, battled with the police in support of a coup attempt, beating many police officers, killing one. On the right, they believe that the 2020 election was stolen by ‘the left’. They think that there was all sorts of fraud, uncounted ballots, and thrice counted ballots that helped propel Biden to his landslide (in Trump’s words, as Biden won the EC by the same number as Trump did in 2016). Trump himself, and GOP cohorts, continue feeding this lie. They insist that evidence exists.

This evidence has never been shown.

On the right, they claim the evidence will be shown, and we’ll all change our tune. What’s keeping them from showing this evidence anywhere is the response given by the rest of us.

One note that has everyone (outside of the people who believe that the 2020 election as stolen) shaking their heads, is why would this all-powerful election-stealing apparatus only steal the presidential election? Why would they not steal the Senate and House? Why wouldn’t they also steal the state elections? They use the same ballots. Apparently, though, while the right believes this election-stealing apparatus is all-powerful, it’s not powerful enough to steal those elections. Yeah, SMFH.

With Trump impeached again, Trump unwilling to concede, little change to police policies and practices, and FBI reports that the right have violent plans to change the results of the 2020 election, “Animal I Have Become”, a song about a man struggling with drug addiction, seems right.

On a WordPress note, they appeared to have fixed some issues, in my experience. The site published properly yesterday. Of course, today when I went to post, I couldn’t bring up a page. Took three tries, and the whole ‘post/block’ sidebar had vanished and needed to be called up.

Stay positive, test negative, moderate your drinking, and wear pants (and a mask) when appropriate. Cheers

Stuck In Arsehold

I was stuck in Arsehold for the last two weeks. You may have experienced the same.

I’ve been writing a novel while locked away. That’s not so different from my normal life, where I’m always working on a novel. Many people think I’m working on one novel forever and a day, but I’ve finished many. I shrug them off; I enjoy novel writing.

I think under ordinary circumstances, this would have been finished a few months ago. These aren’t normal times, at least for me. I’m assuming a lot with those words. It’s sadly probably normal for quite a few people to stay locked up in one place, with limited contact for other people. I think of prisons. Nursing homes. Hospitals. Yeah, getting downright depressing, isn’t it?

Some say that such solitude is a gift. I’m not one. While I’m a solitary person, I like outside stimulation. (Sounds a bit naughty, doesn’t it?) Like to walk to clear my mind, shift into writing mode, and slip into the noisy solitude of a good cuppa coffee in a coffee shop, hunch over my laptop, and tap away.

All that normal-for-me isn’t available now. Coronavirus lockdown, you know. Although I have coffee and space, I also have wife and cats. They struggle with my writing boundaries. My wife tries respecting them, but news of the world sets her off. I also don’t try enforcing my isolation with her, as she’s in the same situation as me. She’s much more verbal, however, and craves other contact. While she’s dancing and exercising Monday through Friday via Zoom, and meets with her book club once a month with Zoom, and Zooms into a coffee klatch almost every week, she likes expressing her opinions and insights vigorously and out loud. There’s usually a lot of swearing involved, too. She’s quite passionate about social justice, equality, human rights, and women’s rights. She also hates Trump and has little respect for most other Republicans. So I try to indulge, but then I suffer. Either way, one of us must suffer in our situation. We get over it, but it’s not ideal.

The cats, however, don’t give a damn that I’m writing, reading, playing a game, sleeping, eating, showering, or sitting on the toilet. Three cats share ownership over me. They have their own secret agendas, which surprisingly, often involves me. Part of that is which cat owns the most of me, and whether that’s acceptable to the other cats.

Between wife, news of the world, the coming and going of the muses, and the cats, novel writing progress has been uneven.

But I persevere. Sometimes, the worse interruption is by me to myself. Self-doubt. Imposter syndrome. General malaise. It struck hardest in Arsehold.

Arsehold is a place in my novel, wholly made up. I came up with the name months ago, a whim that made me laugh. I stuck with it, creating the setting around the name, devising the history of how it came to be. Yet, my characters struggled to get through Arsehold. I naturally responded, per my proclivities, to overanalyze what was going on and why, attempting to seek the root of my issues. I thought it might be the general tone. Perhaps some of the introduced characters weren’t clear enough. Maybe, maybe my characters shouldn’t be in Arsehold. And what happens after Arsehold?

Writing helps me think by creating a funnel through which I must focus. With all this mental flaying, I did a lot of writing about the novel in progress, addressing the concept, characters, story, plot, locations and settings, etc. Eventually, I took all the assembled material of the novel in progress, one hundred twenty-five thousand words, and began reading, editing, and revising, putting the story into the order that I think it’ll be in published form.

That helped. By the time I’d reached Arsehold (almost sounds like a song lyric — I can hear CCR doing stuck in Arsehold instead of Lodi), I’d discovered that the errors that I thought I was seeing weren’t there. It always scares me to think or say, hey, this is pretty damn good, about what I’m writing, but that’s what I concluded. Of course, it’s my work; if I didn’t think it was good, maybe I should be working on something else, right?

Anyway, I think I might get through Arsehold this week (knock on wood, he said, tapping the side of his head). Got my coffee; time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

A Meeting of the Time Travelers’ Political Party

Sometime in the future.

“We’re still awaiting results. The past is changing, but the results are still coming in.”

“More importantly, we still exist.”

Murmurs of agreement went around the gathering; the general consensus before they’d begun this endeavor was the greatest proof that they’d succeeded in the past was that the party didn’t exist in the present.

A west coast reps was the Planning Committee Chair. Calling for order, she continued with her report. “We unleashed COVID-19 at the end of 2019. Sadly, but as predicted, this had the desired impact. Travel was reduced, leading to less armed conflicts as division between neo-fascists and the rest grew. Many refused to wear masks, as predicted.” She gave a nod toward another rep, who briefly beamed in acknowledgement. “The economy suffered as the working poor had their incomes cut by substantial amounts, leading to dissatisfaction that guaranteed Trump would lose the 2020 election. A vaccine was found, with limited impact, also as predicted. Likewise, Trump’s administration failed to plan ahead, as predicted.”

Rep. Bacon, Chair of Predictions, said, “They’re egregiously predictable, which makes for the situation of that time even more unfathomable. They’d consistently demonstrated no concern for human life or welfare, eschewing all principles in favor of increasing personal wealth among the wealthiest. It doesn’t make sense. It — “

“It is human nature,” said the Human Nature Chair. “Let’s not have another polemic.”

“Also predictable,” another rep called to a brief burst of chuckling.

The Planning Committee Chair resumed. “COVID-19 variants have been introduced as we speak. Given the failures to wear masks, plan for proper vaccination in advance, resistance to and distrust of vaccinations, and rallies and protests on behalf of the defeated president, a surge in cases and deaths will be seen in 2021.”

“But will that be enough?” another rep asked.

All eyes turned toward the Chair of Predictions. He pursed his lips. “We don’t know. It remains to be seen.” He put a hand up. “That’s not meant as a joke. If it doesn’t have the desired impact, well…we do have greater variants lined up.”

Thoughtful silence reigned for several seconds. “Is the asteroid still in play?” a rep asked.

The Chair of Predictions nodded. “Yes, but we’re holding onto it as our trump card.” He grimaced. “No joke intended, again.”

“So it won’t be deployed until…?”

“That’s right,” the Chair of Predictions said. “Twenty twenty-four.” He bleakly smiled. “If needed.”

Sunday’s Theme Music

Attacking issues head-on has always been my preferred style. It doesn’t make me popular with many but to avoid doing things because you don’t want to upset others doesn’t often work. Likewise, fearing of the outcome isn’t a good reason for not doing the right thing. Defining ‘the right thing’ can be quarrelsome. Recent example: Trump supporters are screaming ‘stop the steal’. They think they’re doing the right thing because they’re feeding on false information. Their dear leader, aided and abetted by Fox News, OANN, Newsmax, and spineless Republican politicians at multiple levels, keeps barking about illegal votes and election fraud. Matters have been addressed in court; the evidence has never been found nor presented. That doesn’t stop the mad dog and his followers.

With all of this in my head this AM, my brain tied it up with the Incubus song, “Drive”, the 2000 song all about resisting fear and standing up.

[Verse 1]
Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I, I can’t help but ask myself
How much I let the fear take the wheel and steer

[Pre-Chorus 1]
It’s driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I’m
Beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel

[Chorus]
Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there
I’ll be there

h/t to Genius.com

*PAUSE*. I know that there are some out there that’ll respond, well, isn’t that a reason not to wear a mask, lockdown, and practice social distancing? I reply, “No. That’s not the same at all.”

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get vaccinated. Also, keep up with the facts. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in lies and fear. Cheers

Thursday’s Theme Music

After masking up, we went grocery shopping this morning. I sort of felt like a ninja, what with being masked and out in the dark. Ninja shopper! (Critics are calling it a most-see comedy!) Sunrise was at 7:43 AM; we were back in the house at eight. After returning, “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones (1978) crawled into my mental stream. I suspect that as I put groceries away and contemplated the day’s activities, some underlying sentiments about routines and the way things were before the pandemic landed were circulating in my head. Thoughts like, be a nice morning to go to a coffee shop, have a cuppa, do some writing, you know?

(Ah, let’s indulge for a moment, remembering how it was or imaging how it’ll be, walking down the hill (for the coffee shop is on a hill, 4th Street) through morning air that chills my skin with wintry graces, keeping me huddling in my clothes. Silence is keeping us hostage, although a truck’s far away exhaust tries to break the scene. Tissue-thin sunshine keeps it from being night but this light has faint presence and lacks many therms. I open the door.

(A bell jingles in response to the door’s movement. Faces come my way for a moment, assessing my presence. Warmth smooths over my face. Classic rock bounces off hard surfaces. Espresso machines hiss and gurgle, as patrons laugh, chuckle, and speak. Workers call to each other about croissants (yes, they’re done, maybe burnt on the edges and caramelizing from the clues snaking up my nostrils). Sniffing against a delicate dribble of escaping snot, I eye the place for a free work space, darting away to stake my claim. After parking my laptop bag on my territory, I join the line, watching, waiting, smelling, listening, calculating time and costs, gazing at the glass counters and the pastry temptations within, considering options about what to eat and drink.)

But we are where we are, enduring, surviving, hoping to see a light at the tunnel’s end, fingers crossed that it’s not some new disaster coming toward us. Stay pos, test neg, wear a mask, and enjoy the music. Cheers

Wednesday’s Theme Music

I was vacuuming yesterday and writing in my head when a song, “You Got Your Troubles”, plugged into the ol’ mental stream. Although I knew the lyrics and melody, looking up the year and artist was required. I guess it was the 1960s but that’s a broad range. Wikipedia informed me that the performing artists were The Fortunes, and it was a hit in 1965, when I was nine. The Fortunes had two other hits that I recognized, so I’m pretty embarrassed that I didn’t know who they are.

“You Got Your Troubles” is a song despairing a romantic breakup. Those words, though, you got your troubles, I’ve got mine, slip nicely into the 2020/2021 maelstrom. ‘Bout the only folks who don’t seem to have troubles are the super wealthy, who are becoming superwealthier as others cope with their troubles. My troubles, of course, aren’t deep. I’m more like a cat who’s dissatisfied with the treat offered to them, or a writer disappointed in how a story is going. Nothing deep or serious, other than irritation that we have an outgoing POTUS living in an alternate reality attempting to drag more in with him. There are trombies who eagerly swim along with him, exclaiming, “Yes, let’s go to the alternate reality and everything will be happy! Give me more Kool Aid.”

Stay positive (as I do, ha, ha), test negative, wear a mask, and vaccinate. Here’s the music.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

I’ve hit that COVID-19 wall. Again.

No, don’t have COVID-19, haven’t tested positive, etc. Just slammed into the wall. Built of stout same ol’, same ol’, reinforced with tedium, overlaid with boredom and frustration, the wall is a staunch mutha. “I want,” my mind screams like a hungry wailing infant. I want something different today. I want a road trip. I want a beach! I want a coffee shop, solitude, and privacy. I want something different that’s something old, something borrowed, something new.

Sounds like I’m getting married.

“Shake It Up” by The Cars plugged into the scene. Released in 1981, it’s a poppy techno-rock hybrid. I need the sentiment today. Shake it up. Change some damn thing. Break the tedium structure.

I want to tell you, stay positive, but hitting this wall today, I don’t feel positive myself, so it’d be hypocritical of me, right? But I’ll encourage you anyway (and meself), stay positive. Test negative. Don’t do anything crazy because you want to shake it up. Wear a mask.

Cheers

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s choice came from a post read online. The old line, “We’ll have to agree to disagree,” was used in closing. It’s used so often when you can’t see eye-to-eye. Its usage now was in conjunction with election fraud accusations and the lack of evidence. The one saying “Well have to agree to disagree” w as insisting evidence was there but nobody was being permitted to reveal it.

Really. SMFH.

Anyway, from that, an old Dave Mason song, “We Just Disagree”, roared into my head. Although it came out in the 1970s, you may have heard it, as others have covered it. Hope you enjoy it. Stay positive and test negative. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Keep your fingers crossed. Cheers

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