Note: this memory comes from a conversation I was just having with a friend wherein we were talking about a couple of depressing things in our lives at the moment. His was more depressing and I told him, “Hey, you win!” And then he said, “Yay! The nihilists will send me a card then!” I was like “Wait, nihilists send you cards for the saddest story? They’re really fucking behind! They owe me!” To which my friend said, “Yeah, the thing about nihilist greeting cards is that they never actually arrive.”
Then, boom! Here’s this memory out of nowhere. One I’ve never told or written. And this is what I told my friend.
Bill Cosby – FUCK YOU. Of all the dads in my life when I was growing up, you were the only one I picked and felt safe with. I know it was just a TV show. But fuck you anyway. You lied to a generation of people from fantasy land and you hurt multiple generations of women in the real world I don’t give a shit if you’re 80 years old – I hope you get 10 years for each of the 3 measly charges you’ve been convicted of, and I hope you live to 110 so that you can serve every single last day of that sentence. It’s a paltry penance for all the pain, suffering, and mind fuckery you caused.
And a huge fuck you also to Louis C.K., Sherman Alexie, Harvey Piece-of-Shit-Weinstein, and all the rest of you men who have public respect and great personal power who haven’t been caught yet. Stop that shit now. Go no further. Make no mistake, this is the beginning of a tectonic shift in how the world deals with rape and it isn’t gonna stop.
And, especially, FUCK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. Continue reading “Fuck You, Bill Cosby. And All the Rest of You.”
It’s late June 2017 and I’m standing at a kitchen sink in Antioch, California cutting mangoes. It’s dark and cool in our rented Airbnb, but outside it’s dry and bright and pushing 100 degrees. Much hotter and drier than our hometown of Portland, Oregon nearly ever gets. Our curtains are drawn, the AC is on, and my twin teenage sons are sweaty puddles on the floor, vegging out after 3 days and 900 miles on the road. Our family road trip – easily the best, happiest time we’ve ever spent together.
We’ve just settled into our new digs, having first checked in, unloaded, then run to the nearby grocery store for supplies. Fruit was on sale, so I bought as much as was reasonable, plus a little. An entire array of delicious, fresh fruits: mangoes, bananas, grapes, and oranges. A welcomed change from the heavy, nutrient-poor road food we’ve been eating. We got the groceries inside, then my sons tapped out, stripped down to their skivvies, and positioned themselves over AC vents on the floor. They’re not used to this heat. But I am.
I’m running a sharp knife over the soft green and yellow skin of the mango in my hand, gently peeling it away to reveal the bright orange meat underneath. The sticky juice runs slightly between my fingers as I peel. Suddenly, I’m hungry for this mango in a way that surprises me. Then, I remember. I remember the hunger for mangoes.
I was just commiserating with two friends/coworkers/colleagues who are also college-trained writers about when people we know send us stuff to read and give feedback on. We’ve all had similar experiences with this – and, in fairness, we’ve also been the person asking. As such, we’ve learned a lot about what to and not to do when seeking feedback on your writing. Here then are our basic suggestions: Continue reading “Some advice about asking people to read your writing”
“You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.” Brian, in a letter to Mr. Vernon, The Breakfast Club
Did you know the term “Basket Case” didn’t originally start out meaning someone who seemed incapable of dealing with life’s issues? (And, if we’re being honest, there’s also a meaning under that meaning involving the assumption the person is either completely manufacturing complaints without any basis in reality, or is, at a minimum, being histrionic about simple stuff that we’re sure they could handle better if they didn’t prefer attention over self-care. And the assumption under that assumption – the most nefarious, segregating part of it – is that we ourselves certainly wouldn’t have such a hard time if we were in the Basket Case’s shoes. Everyone’s a hero in his dreams.)
According to this really cool article I found, it seems that “one of the earliest known documented instances of the phrase was actually in denial that ‘basket cases’ actually existed, as found in a bulletin issued in March of 1919 on behalf of the United States Surgeon General.” In summary, a Basket Case was supposedly a soldier who had lost all his limbs and required being transported in a basket. Though, according to the Surgeon General, that wasn’t actually a thing.