Thursday, April 7, 2011


In approaching eventual treatment for one of my phobias, the strongest, the deepest, the worst, I said something to a friend almost by accident, and didn't realize until a minute later just exactly how true it was.

My fear of wasps (and all related) is the only one that has no definitive explanation, no particular, sensible thing about it that upsets me, and has absolutely no root in childhood trauma/event/stupidity, as all the others have had. I can and do trace each of my insecurities, anxieties and emotional triggers back to the moments they began, to the places where they were born, and I'm able to settle many of them by doing so.

It just is. This one thing, the most powerful of all my mind's attempts to attack itself, is simply a thing inborn, like a gallbladder, like a second thumb joint. I wonder if this will make it more difficult to cure.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


The agitation of Seidhr's finger-dimpled skin was sending out a soft throb of red welts, satisfying the need in Cailer to've made an impact, to see the success of his inflictions.

"What?," Cailer intoned at the ugly request for protection, head tipped, teeth bared, then forced up his hands to tangle in masses of Seidhr's hair and direct him with it, by all the wasted strength in his arms, into a kneel. He bent over him, tore at the fine, faintly curled strands of black until his enemy's neck displayed an obscene arch. "What was that? Louder, fucking pig, I don't think anybody heard you."

When efforts to release himself were stalled by the superior grip and assistance seemed slow in the coming, Seidhr abandoned the darkened forearms that held him and swung up a heavy, drunken fist to Cailer's cheek bone, knocked his face off-center and briefly blurred his vision. Cailer would insist later, even as the purple swell of abused vessels glared there, that it was nothing, but it was enough that he let go, that he stepped away, and Seidhr was able to stand.

It was all so fucking offensive - that he would fight him, that he would pretend righteousness now and call like a coward for help. It felt natural, a necessary reaction to such sinister insult, when Seidhr came at him and Cailer caught him by the shoulders, slung him around and shoved (a firm, flat drill of two fists into the offender's chest) to force him onto the table, scattering its cards and players.

Lannial's presence, though only physically apparent when he offered an insistent, collecting touch, hadn't left him. Flushed clean of the need to analyze by the familiar tonic of aggression, he didn't begrudge it, didn't smack him away. "He's done," Cailer agreed, a hard, driven boil of a declaration, a scrape that rawed his throat but was, for once, not at all sarcastic. His alliance with the boy was fluid and swift, loyal to the idea, loyal to Lannial's desire.

But Seidhr's form twisted up, unrelenting, and he charged off the table's surface with the dumb, brilliant, boundless strength of intoxicated men. For a moment they were indistinguishable - all nails and teeth, arms colliding, the grunted, accidental noises of impact. It was only as a small, equally intoxicated crowd began to gather at the door that Cailer could regain control. He wouldn't relinquish it a second time. Cailer, he's done, Lannial said in his memory, encouraging, coaxing, permissive.

Cailer drank that inspiration deeply, spit it back at Seidhr and hammered into him, covered him up, drove him through the table and heard its splintered destruction as his reward. It wasn't enough. Straddled and pinned in the wreckage of wood and dusty playing cards, Seidhr fought more weakly in degrees as Cailer hit him, hit him again, hit with precision, with purpose; he didn't stop until he saw blood on the both of them and Seidhr wasn't struggling anymore.

Cailer dismounted, swore at him and straightened, taking in the room with not the barest suggestion of guilt at what he'd instigated, what he'd caused. His eyes touched Lannial's, but didn't linger long - with nothing left with which to bludgeon out the attraction there, he felt naked, and the crowd that swarmed would soon be parted by Ava's familiar watchmen.

He left, neither silently nor calmly, elbowing through people on his way. Whatever happened would happen. Until it did, he needed to breathe.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Apathy is Not a Virtue.

I will say it again and again, I'll have it branded on me, I'll wear it for you so that you won't forget. Apathy is not a virtue. You will never convince me, never, that the real problem in any given situation is that I care about the situation; its impact on me, its impact on others. The problem is in the root, not the little flower of offense that opens at the top.

This is what makes me a human; I would never celebrate my own premature deadening.

Monday, February 28, 2011


Me, lately.

On the whole I am fluid, entirely comfortable. I love my body, its accidents and unexpected strengths, the things that it can feel, does feel, the things it chases. Sex and wine, laughing as often as I can find a reason, waking up, deep, buried-in-blanket stretches, toes curled, or turning my head to see a friend smile. I love the way I look, I like to see my face in the morning, in the mirror, in pictures. I carry a little something, I've become vivid, I finally live in color.

My personality is that of a companion. I want to be the place in your life that you visit when you need to feel good, you should feel what I feel, you should meet the morning happy to be wearing your body. I'm shaking off, I've shaken off the gray, dead skin of things behind me that I can't change.

I still carve away negative influences and toxic friendships where I have to, but try it more tenderly. I don't want to change anybody. I only want to see them go, and sculpt in the meanwhile more perfect relations with the characters who've populated my story for years already. Then water and cultivate the newcomers, the 1-year, the 2-year, the men and women who still feel undiscovered and intriguing when I'm with them, but who I've learned enough of to be settled by. I dance as I need between depth, trust and frivolousness.

I approach my job with the deepest kind of gratitude. I don't know how to say it; it's my pal. My job and I, we're connected. Partners. It's a thing that brings me comfort, like a friend, and comes along on all my adventures, like a friend, and listens as I sort out what I've seen there, like a friend. It introduces me to things I'd never have known existed, like a friend.

For the first time I'm a part of my community, I involved myself by accident, and I can balance my days between privacy, passion, productivity and communication. I want for nothing. I have achieved. I have stood my ground. I have negotiated and compromised. And I'm alright, and I'm in love, and I'm still myself. I'm who I've always been. I've only learned better that it's a thoroughly satisfying thing to be.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I am susceptible at 25 to lullaby.

The struggle for an internal rhythm has been long, dull and full of upsets. I want to sleep with the rest of the world. I want to rise with them, enjoy their sunlight, and be productive in the day. Effort, medication and wine have rarely helped me on my way, so what do I do? More often than not, I scrub the base boards at 2a.m., and write novellas closer to four, and finally fall, aware of what I'll be wasting, just as the sun comes up.

Until now. After years of nocturnal energy and restless, fitful blanket tangling, I've come up with a system that seems to hypnotize me piece by piece, smothering my heart rate into submission and putting together a theme show of calm things for my mind to look at, until it will accept looking at nothing, and let me go for eight hours.

As simple as it sounds, it's a playlist of songs. For as much as music has done in my life already, that I never thought to use it for this shows a distinct lack of creativity on my part. I'm sharing it, in case someone drifting through cyberspace may need inspiration for a similar project of their own.

Journey - Lights
Madonna - Rain
Enya - The First of Autumn
Alison Krauss & James Taylor - How's the World Treating You
Catherine Howe - Up North
Norah Jones - Don't Know Why
Vince Gill - Whenever You Come Around
Joni Mitchell - A Case of You
Dar Williams - We Learned the Sea
Kris Delmhorst - Hummingbird
Natalie Merchant - One Fine Day
Sade - Mermaid
Hans Zimmer - Inception Soundtrack: Time

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Unit 4 Control Room, Chernobyl, 2001

I knew what this room was the very instant I caught a glimpse of its thumbnail in my Tumblr Radar. It was visual information retained from two years ago, when I became unaccountably obsessed with Chernobyl, and buried myself in articles, old news coverage and studies relating to it for weeks on end.

I tried to decipher the secret language of physics and nuclear properties described in the websites I found, I collected images of reactors from all over the world, like I had with wind turbines and flooded shipwrecks, and I tried to imagine the intimidation of standing next to their deep, quiet pulse of power. I created a series of more gruesome explanations for the disaster to amuse myself, and yet more gruesome outcomes, tip-toeing always on the border of the psychological and never quite breaking into blunt human light.

This is, perhaps, the only part of my personality that I truly love, these instant captivations by unusual things that seize me up in hands of curiosity, the adventures they take me on for days at a time, and always being deposited safely back at home when that screaming need to know, know, know dies down, with memories to keep me content once the obsession fades away.

It enables me to knock unexpectedly into a picture like this years after the fact and say, "I know you. I've walked through all of your corridors."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Down Here.

A woman told me recently, calmly indignant toward the fact that my life is enriched by avoiding the very things that enrich her life, that there isn't anything I'm afforded by being Childfree that a mother can't also take advantage of.

"I could move to Italy at the drop of a hat, too, if I wanted. My kids would just come with me," she said at one point, after insisting that there was nothing having kids could ever keep her from doing, and asking for examples.

I ached for her. I thought I might laugh, but I ached instead. I wanted to say, first and foremost, that she ought not to stick up for her life's ambitions simply because I disagree with them, that she should be content enough in her decision that it needs no explaining to a stranger. I could concede to her this much - yes, you may be physically capable of doing the things I'm able to do, but it wouldn't make you much of a parent.

I wanted to remind her that, sometimes, changing countries at 'the drop of a hat' leaves you penniless, it might even mean becoming a vagabond - some do this intentionally, and travel on foot and outdoors to experience life as a hobo quite on purpose. I could do that without guilt. If she subjected her children to poverty or homelessness to indulge her whims, however, she'd be a rotten excuse for a mother. Subjecting oneself to this experience at will is another story.

On the other, more realistic end, as romantic and fanciful as the idea of up and moving to a beautiful foreign location may sound, I wanted to explain to her that her children have their own friends and lives and loves, and while an adult can make the decision to abandon these things and move on, forcing a child to do the same so that you can prove they don't tie you down is an entirely different prospect. If a job was offered or an opportunity for a better life was made clear beforehand, I could get on board, but few things put upon a child simply so that the parent can prove they are adventurous are going to have positive outcomes.

I wanted to help her to realize that Italy is not the world's only destination; that I might want to spend a few months hiking through the mountains or the hidden cities, join a nudist society, become a troubadour and spend my life on the road, discover new ways of indulging sexuality with my husband in one of those shameless, hedonistic mini-societies in Sweden. What does she imagine she would do with her children on a nude romp through a crowded street, or in pitch-black canals groaning with earth noise? It's unrealistic to say that not having children doesn't afford me "anything" that she can't take advantage of.

Above everything, I wanted to tell her that it was not me she was trying to convince.

I have accepted that, by choosing not to have kids, I will miss out on a few things in life. I have been able to accept this because, by choosing not to have kids, I will be able to attain a few things from life that I absolutely would not be able to if I did have kids.

Most parents have accepted that, by choosing to have kids, they will miss out on a few things in life. They have been able to accept this because, by choosing to have kids, they will be able to attain a few things from life that they absolutely would not be able to if they did not have kids.

Some of them have simply missed the boat.

I stumble over these personalities all the time; they trip me on my progress to peace with the world's glaring diversity. They are unwilling to be comfortable with my comfort, they cannot stand that I derive daily pleasure from the very thing they've left behind, and it gives me so many questions.

More honestly, it leaves me defensive and harsh; when I know I'm being judged, I react, immediately and often without thinking.

At the end of the day, I suppose all that I want is my due. I've reflected and debated and wrestled and, eventually, fought for this life of mine, this Childfree life, I'm proud of my decision and I want to be able to say, as casually and simply and unthinkingly as parents, just exactly how deep that pride runs. But on the rare occasions I've done so, said as bluntly as they, "I love not having any kids!," out of nowhere, the way they say, "I love being a mother!," the reaction was tense at best, outright indignant at worst.

So many parents take my joy at the absence of children to be a stab at their lifestyle, to the point that I can't help but make it look as though it is out of my natural pettiness.

Forgive me for living down to your expectations.