23 November 2020

Music Monday: People Like Us Wrimos

 [Nanowrimo 2020 Week Four] How could I not? "I know what you're going through, don't let it get to you, you'll make it out alive!" Y'all. Kelly Clarkson has long been for me that songwriter that speaks what's in my heart on a multitude of levels and topics, but this one was just so perfect for that last week of Nanowrimo. This is the week where we are tired. Our story is tired. Our characters are tired and if they are like mine, they decide that this is the time to run amok all over my story world. "Throw your fist in the air, come out, come out if you dare, tonight we're gonna change forever!"

Maybe not tonight, but this time next week you will have a manuscript in your hands. A story that you brought to life. Characters that you forced out of your mind and into the sun. It's just a few more days - you can do this. We can do this, people like us.




People Like Us
by Kelly Clarkson

We come into this world unknown
But know that we are not alone
They try and knock us down
But change is coming, it's our time now

Hey everybody loses it
Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes
And hey, yeah I know what you're going through
Don't let it get the best of you, you'll make it out alive

Oh, people like us we've gotta stick together
Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever
Here's to the damned to the lost and forgotten
It's hard to get high when you're living on the bottom

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
We are all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Hey, this is not a funeral
It's a revolution, after all your tears have turned to rage
Just wait, everything will be okay
Even when you're feeling like it's going down in flames

Oh, people like us we've gotta stick together
Keep your head up nothing lasts forever
Here's to the damned, to the lost and forgotten
It's hard to get high when you're living on the bottom

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
We are all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
You've just gotta turn it up loud when the flames get higher
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

They can't do nothing to you, they can't do nothing to me
This is the life that we choose, this is the life that we bleed
So throw your fists in the air, come out, come out if you dare
Tonight we're gonna change forever

Everybody loses it,
Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes

Oh, people like us we've gotta stick together
Keep your head up nothing lasts forever
Here's to the damned, to the lost and forgotten
It's hard to get high when you're living on the bottom

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
We are all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
You've just got to turn it up loud when the flames get higher
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
We're all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
You've just got to turn it up loud when the flames get higher
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

17 November 2020

A spot of homesickness for a Yorkshire winter...


16 November 2020

Music Monday: The Worst Day Since Yesterday

[Nanowrimo 2020 Week Three] So it is said that the second act of any story is hard to write, and the third full week of Nanowrimo to me is always the hardest. The first week I'm OFF TO THE RACES  and LET'S DO THIS THING. Week two starts that way but then I am joined at the laptop by my old friend Impostor Syndrome who wonders aloud why I am writing this and who on earth would ever read it, so that's where we start week three. Knee deep in the proverbial mud. As my mother-in-law would say, I'm trying to get up the back stairs through the mangle. It's a slog, and it brings along the looming spectre of the last week of the month and deadlines and all that. Magical stuff.

So this song, by a band that was recommended to me by my friend Shannon, was the only choice for this week. It is a sing along with a mug in your hand kind of song, one you would hear in a cozy pub with a fireplace as the winter wind rages along outside on what is clearly the worst day...since yesterday.






The Worst Day Since Yesterday
by Flogging Molly

Well, I know, I miss more than hit
With a face that was launched to sink
And I seldom feel, the bright relief
It's been the worst day since yesterday

If there's one thing I have said
Is that the dreams I once had, now lay in bed
As the four winds blow, my wits through the door
It's been the worst day since yesterday

Fallin' down to you, sweet ground
Where the flowers they bloom
Well, it's there I'll be found
Hurry back to me, my wild calling
It's been the worst day since yesterday

Though these wounds have seen no wars
Except for the scars I have ignored
And this endless crutch, well, it's never enough
It's been the worst day since yesterday
Hell says hello, well, it's time I should go

To pastures green, that I've yet to see
Hurry back to me, my wild calling
It's been the worst day since yesterday
It's been the worst day since yesterday
It's been the worst day since yesterday

11 November 2020

Notes from the Preacher's Kid: Remembrance Day

The Bush daughters give the Obama daughters a
tour of the White House.
 [Link to the article is in the photo.]

Most of you that know me know that my father was a United Methodist minister (as is my maternal uncle, sister, and brother-in-law), so I grew up a "preacher's kid." I'm sure that this conjures lots of images in your mind of holier-than-thou kids and hellraisers alike, but I think I speak for both my sister and me when I say that we were fairly normal kids.

I mean, as normal as you can be when you are moving around from home to home every four years or so (by the time I was in high school, it was seven years or so between moves). I have likened my upbringing to military kids, only it's still not the same because you are much more in the spotlight as a preacher's kid.

For example: When I was in high school, my father's sister Ruby came to stay with me and my sister Susan while our parents went to a minister's retreat of some sort. I was driving by that time, so I remember being pulled over by the chief of police with my aunt in the car. Now I knew him fairly well - we lived literally across a street and some railroad tracks from the police station and my dad had been called out at all hours when someone needing help ended up over there. So he gets out and walks to the window - I was sweating and she was seething - and when I rolled down the window he told me he'd pulled me over to tell me to tell Hoyt (my dad) to put the new sticker on his tag soon. Before I thought about it, I said, "You pulled me over for that? You just scared me to death!" He laughed and went on his way. 

My aunt, by the way, was still furious and had to let that anger out, so I got a three-point sermon on the way back home on how we did and did not speak to the police.

I wanted to post today after seeing the picture above circulating on Facebook this week. Jenna Bush Hager, one of President George W. Bush's daughters and current personality on NBC's Today Show has been featured recently in the discussions about the smooth transfer of power that happens in the US after a presidential election. Well, it's supposed to, anyway.

The picture above has the Bush daughters and their mother, First Lady Laura Bush, showing the Obama daughters around the White House before they moved in with their family. The letter that the twins wrote to Sasha and Malia reminded me so much of moving into a new parsonage - though I don't remember meeting any kids that lived in our new home before we did.

“Malia and Sasha, eight years ago on a cold November day, we greeted you on the steps of the White House. We saw both the light and wariness in your eyes as you gazed at your new home,” they wrote. “The four of us wandered the majestic halls of the house you had no choice but to move in to.” 

It also brought home the fact that my sister and I are in a rare club - UMC Preacher's Kids - and that some of my closest and dearest friends have come from that group. We understand each other - we get the weirdness and the odd memories - and we cherish that sameness that helps us be the best and most authentic versions of ourselves, wherever we ended up after we left the houses we called home, no matter how briefly.

So today, on Remembrance Day, I'm thinking about a UM preacher (who also served in the Army) and his wife and their two daughters moving into a new house, a new church, and a new life, and I am thankful. The grace that they showed, not unlike that shown to the Obama girls by the Bush daughters, guides my life, even today.

I'm the bigger one, 1977ish.

Apparently in Louisiana, 1983.



10 November 2020

Notes from Exile: Elections in the Time of Coronavirus

Complete with masks and stickers.
So, we did the thing. My friend Anne and I went to vote in person on November 3rd around lunchtime, and due to my county having about sixty-eleven polling places we were the only folks there. Compared to the long lines I saw on telly for literally everywhere else and the stories from my friends about 2+ hour waits, we were pretty lucky. 

I didn't have pearls to wear for RBG or Chucks for Kamala Harris, but I wore some of my VERY PROFESSIONAL CLOTHES in black and blue and jeans. It felt like we were joining the rest of our country, picking up our feet and letting our votes carry us along on the blue wave that I was certain would be wiping out the pain of the last four years.

Well, as we know by now (and don't come at me with this lawsuit nonsense, there is less than ANY credible evidence for voter fraud), it wasn't so much of a blue wave as it was a neck and neck battle that is still going on as votes are still being counted and confirmed.

I have had a lot to say over the past week, but I will try to summarize the main points because really, isn't that what you want from a blog? Sure you do. If you wanted flowery and slight sweary prose you'd be following me on social media. (That was a hint. Get to it.)

1. There were always going to be a lot of mail-in ballots because it's a pandemic, y'all. There are people who literally cannot come to the polls to vote, due to being sick or trying to avoid being sick, etc. People don't want to be around others that aren't in their bubble. (Part two of don't come at me: the picture above contains one of only a few people that I will willingly get THAT close to right now. She's in my bubble. The greater electorate is most certainly NOT.) There are also a considerable number of registered voters who are outside of the US at the moment. Those folks cannot come to the polls and show an ID and vote - not to mention the photo ID requirement can be construed as voter suppression, but I digress. To say that mail-in ballots should not count if they are received after the date of the election - even if they are postmarked beforehand or on the day - means that those folks are ineligible to vote, a right of every American over the age of 18. 

Sidebar: If you are going to delegitimize the votes of ex-pats around the world, then could you please do something about the fact that the US is one of only two countries in the entire world that requires its citizens to pay taxes on foreign earned income? Taxation without representation indeed.

2. I'm just going to point out that if there was such widespread election fraud perpetrated by the left/Democrats, then I would love for someone to explain Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham to me, please? Seriously. The right/GOP seems to believe that we are so well coordinated that we planned all of this just to get rid of Trump, but thought we'd be okay with having McConnell and Graham? How does that even make sense? The answer is that it doesn't, and I think if I were either of those two men I'd act like shotgun in Supernatural and keep my cakehole shut before someone starts looking into voter suppression in their states. 

Sidebar the second: I don't really think there is voter suppression in South Carolina and I can't speak to Kentucky. I just think that South Carolina is so vibrantly red that most of the state can't even fathom voting blue, even though that might just be a good change for our state. Moving on.

3. Y'all, I have never been more proud to say that Georgia is my home state! Thanks to the herculean efforts of black women in Georgia, the state flipped blue for Biden. I don't think that Georgia has been at the forefront of a presidential election this much since 1976...and maybe 1980. Stacey Abrams, among others, got out and registered something like 800,000 folks who were previously not registered to vote (because if you live in Georgia and you are black or brown, why bother?). She had the governor's race stolen from her (come on, her opponent was the incumbent Secretary of State that managed elections, FFS), but instead of being bitter, she became even more determined to see equality in voting in her state.

4. Finally, a few comments to address the noise I've heard since last Tuesday: a larger than normal turnout at the polls will equate to a larger number of votes, it's just math. Also, if you have spent the last four years trying to exert control over or potentially harm people that I love including but not limited to BIPOC, sexual assault survivors, and women, you will have to excuse me if I need to take a minute before I can react to the election results with anything but glee and a tiny bit of neener-neener. Joe Biden does not have dementia, he is a kind and thoughtful man that doesn't spend his time shouting and trying to bully his opponents into seeing things his way. I can see how you might be confused. 

Whew! Now then. Back to work - and as I saw in more than a few memes over the past week, make sure you wear your shoes, ladies. There's glass all over the floor from the shattering of that ceiling.


09 November 2020

Music Monday: Nanowrimo 2020 Playlist

[Nanowrimo 2020 Week Two] This year marks a new nano for me - I mean, they're all new, right? No nefarious nanos here, no sir... But this time I'm going to try a ghostly spooky story set in a town that is based on a real place from my real life, so that's new. 

For November I'm going to introduce you to some new music, hopefully, or find fellow devotees of some of the other songs on my curated playlist on Spotify entitled "Nanowrimo 2020." Join me there but keep an eye out here for tidbits related to why those songs are there.

Some of it, like anything from the magnificent Mongolian throat singing band called The Hu, is purely hype music to get me in the mood to hop on the stationary bike and open that document and write.

Today's pick is not the first in the playlist (because duh, alphabetical, have you met me?) but it represents where I feel like my MC's family came from - some of them anyway - and it reminds me of my own family that started in the highlands of Scotland and migrated down to the northern tip of what was then a part of the United Kingdom but is now Northern Ireland. Also, this song is just beautiful. Enjoy.




Far Side of the World
by Tide Lines

There are stories I've heard told
Of an unfamiliar road
Where an evening sun hangs gold
In the skyline

In a quiet, unknown town
There is solace to be found
In the unforsaken hours
Of the twilight

There's a girl, and I can see her
Far away from the frontier

Cause I want to dance with a Highland girl
Where the skies reach out for miles
I want to feel the breeze of the Hebrides
On the far side of the world

On an evening in July
'neath the red Lochaber sky
She smiled and closed her eyes
On my shoulder

Now I'm a million miles from home
From the girl I call my own
And I'm dreaming all alone
Just to hold her

As I look into the water
I see her standing at the alter

And I want to dance with a Highland girl
Where the skies reach out for miles
I want to feel the breeze of the Hebrides
On the far side of the world

Nail your colours to the mast
In the footsteps of the past
And when you breath your last
Life's returning

For when the sun sets on the years
All the miles and all the fears
A world away from here
It's the morning

In my mind I see her smile
Where the tide lines grace the isle

Cause I want to dance with a Highland girl
Where the skies reach out for miles
I want to feel the breeze of the Hebrides
On the far side of the world

02 November 2020

Music Monday: Rock That Vote

I have never been afraid to share who I am or what I believe, because I was raised to believe that was a basic tenet of living an authentic life. I am a lifelong democrat, recently turned democratic socialist, probably on my way to full-blown socialist. I don't use my Twitter account to blast political opinions because I don't think that I need to do that - my Twitter is mostly for writing. I have been known to make some loud statements on Facebook, but nothing that I wouldn't say to anyone in person. So today, I am asking you - begging you, if I'm honest, to get out tomorrow (if you haven't already) and vote your conscience. I say that because I still believe that my fellow Americans are good and decent people, and that we want to look out for and care for each other. Part of that responsibility involves voting.

My music Monday is Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation - the video may seem oddly authoritarian and oligarchical, but the lyrics speak of coming together to defeat social injustice and make a better life for all of us, and that's what we need to be doing tomorrow at the polls.  Five, four, three, two, one...


 

Rhythm Nation
Janet Jackson

We are a nation with no geographic boundaries
Bound together through our beliefs
We are like-minded individuals
Sharing a common vision
Pushing toward a world rid of color lines
Music, poetry, dance, unity
Music, poetry, dance, unity
Five, four, three, two, one

Yeah yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Bass bass, bass, bass
With music by our side
To break the color lines
Let's work together
To improve our way of life
Join voices in protest
To social injustice
A generation full of courage
Come forth with me
People of the world today
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation
People of the world unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right
One time
We are a part of the rhythm nation

This is the test
No struggle no progress
Lend a hand to help
Your brother do his best
Things are getting worse
We have to make them better
It's time to give a damn
Let's work together come on, yeah

People of the world today
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation
People of the world unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right
One time
We are a part of the rhythm nation

People of the world unite
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation
People of the world unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right
One time
We are a part of the rhythm nation

Bass, bass, bass
Bass, bass, bass
Bass, bass
Bass, bass

Say it people, say it different
Say it if you want a better way of life
Say it people, say it different
Say it if you want a better way of life

Everybody sing it
People of the world unite
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation
People of the world unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right
One time
We are a part of the rhythm nation

People of the world today
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation
People of the world unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right
One time
We are a part of the rhythm nation

Rhythm nation

Music Monday: People Like Us Wrimos