Making It Up

 

 I don’t wear makeup frequently, which means that buying makeup is a rarity–usually prompted by leprosy or pink eye caused by wearing really old makeup.  Recently, Art Child has been curious, and wanting to play with some of the stuff out of the oh-so-fancy ziploc bag that holds my war paint.

The day before yesterday was a fabulous one; Man Child and Miss Music had come down for a couple of days, and so we went to the beach together.  Perfect, fun, relaxed, I was still feeling good from it.

Exactly the right mood.  It was gray and expected to rain yesterday, so why not hit the makeup store?  It’s been a long time since I went in anywhere and had my face done, but I figured this way I could update my look (ha!) and the girl could watch and see how it’s supposed to be applied.  And what better way to ignore the story idea knocking at my brain than to walk away from the laptop and pretend I’m a normal woman who doesn’t imagine living houses and talking trees?  I told the make-up artist that I don’t wear the stuff often, and when I do, I like a “natural” look, minimal products.  Apparently it has been a reeeeeally long time since I did this, because there’re about 12 new steps and layers that I’ve never even heard of.  Something about priming and contouring, I don’t know.  From what I could tell, these new steps involve varying shades of gray and beige painted on, dried, and then painted again until your face has been appropriately shellacked so you look like a cadaver–this is all before applying the steps and products I’m more familiar with.

When it was all done, I looked like I was ready to jump onstage with David Bowie, circa 1981, and it was pouring outside.  Serious, monsoon time. By the time we walked the three blocks home, I had a slime coat dripping from my forehead to my knees, black gook rings covering two-thirds of my face, and my back and hip were screaming in pain. I guess the combo of high humidity, heat, and sitting still in the makeup chair for an hour wasn’t the best plan.  Nerd Child was awake by this time, looked up from his computer, recoiled, and said “What did you guys do?”

By the time Husband came home from work, I had given up and was in pajamas, in bed.  “What’s the–oh! Umm, did you put makeup on today?”  I could hear him snickering as he went to grab me a pain pill.

This morning the humidity is down, the rain is gone, my face is clean, and I’m feeling much better.  Still, I think I should stick to my algae studies on the beach. Besides, I hear green hair algae is a great wrinkle cure.

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Celebrate with Mrs Fringe

Here, have a café con leche on the terrace with me.

Here, have a café con leche on the terrace with me.

Yesterday was my 3 year blogoversary.

3 years isn’t that long and my number of subscribers isn’t very large in the context of the “big” blogs, but I can say, without reservation, it all feels pretty damned fine to me.

When I began, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted Mrs Fringe to look like, or exactly what it would encompass.  I said from the beginning (and have continued to say) I wanted a space to be honest, to feel like a whole person, and a spot to prompt myself to write with just enough pressure but no actual, strict obligations.  Maybe I thought it would scratch my writing itch.  It hasn’t, in terms of fiction; instead, it’s an addition. I didn’t know how much I needed it, or how important this blog would become to me, my sense of self, or the growing number of fabulous people I’d meet through blogging.  I didn’t know I’d grow bold enough to post fiction, organized enough to create multiple pages with permanent links under the header in hopes of making navigation easier for readers. I didn’t know if it would attract any readers, let alone regular followers and commenters, but it has, and I thank every one of you for taking the time, making the effort.  A huge thank you to WordPress, for offering a platform that even a luddite like myself could navigate.

It’s funny how blogging has become such a part of my world.  As I go about my days in real time/space, each experience becomes a possible post, every oddity that catches my eye something that has me reaching for the camera.

The other day I took Art Child downtown, for a free workshop for teen artists, sponsored/presented by Sprite and Complex, hosted by Pen & Pixel.

While we were on line waiting to meet Art Child’s friend and her mom, I thought this is what life on the economic fringe in New York means, this is what Mrs Fringe is about.

Sprite Corner: Obey Your Thirst, yes

Sprite Corner: Obey Your Thirst, yes

Life on the fringe has its own set of stresses and stressors.  There are so many, many opportunities here in New York, often closed to those of us on strict budgets.  But sometimes you fall into something that’s cool, and free, and you actually get your shit together and register early enough to get your kiddo into this cool, free opportunity, and haul yourself on the 2 train to the N train to the J train, to a neighborhood that can’t quite decide if it’s going to gentrify or remain industrial, and it’s worth it. They’re running several events out of this pop-up storefront this summer, this one was a Photoshop/Design workshop, but they’re sponsoring others in music, comedy, cooking, and film.  It’s about supporting and enabling creativity in young people.

Tattoo while I wait?

Tattoo while I wait?

Free (good!) pizza offered for the kids before entering.

Free (good!) pizza offered for the kids before entering.

I thought there would be a spot where I could sit out of the way, or go in for coffee, while the girl was in the workshop.  Hmm, my choice seemed to be browsing industrial-sized cooking appliances or blowing a week’s budget in a chi-chi juice bar.  But then one of the execs came over to my friend and I as we were saying goodbye to the girls (I get it, parents hovering over the kids at the computers isn’t exactly the photo ops they’re looking for, plus he wanted to confirm Art Child was within the age group they’re insured for, she looks younger) and offered to buy us coffee. Nice.

By the time we were seated and our orders were taken, coffee became wine and a lovely food plate, and I had put in a plug for Mrs Fringe–I really need to get better at this, if I’m ever going to truly grow this blog–and we spent an hour talking about parenting, cyberbullying, encouraging teens and young adults, raising girls, and S&M.

Sometimes life in Fringeland leads me to some pretty interesting moments and people; thank you for sharing them with me.

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The Best Laid Plans, or, The Tao of Want

The no current project desk, much messier than the working desk.

The no current project desk, much messier than the working desk.

It’s a thinking out loud post today, Fringelings, because yesterday, this thing, this moment, this feeling happened.

This is the feeling I get with certain story ideas.  It’s an all-in-one jumble of a dangerous high; excitement, nerves, stomach flipping, blood pressure rising, false clarity–the lie of meeting someone in a bar and being certain this is the one.

Not everyone who writes gets this feeling, I’m told.  That said, I’m not special, because I know a few others who do.

Why is this a problem?  Because this isn’t a short story idea.  If you’re a regular follower/reader, you know I don’t want to write any more full length manuscripts.  I’ve spent the last how-many-months trying to make peace with acceptance, with the need to accept that it is never going to happen.  Too many dreams, too much want, these things make it so damned hard to accept now, to accept what it is.  Even the ideal is nonsensical, “I don’t want to want.”

One way or the other, writing is hard work, and it’s all about want.  For me.  Yes, I know, there are those who are completely content writing for themselves, don’t care if they ever get published, but as I’ve said many times before, that isn’t me.  I write to be read.  Which is why I don’t want to write any more full length manuscripts.  It’s a huge investment.  I don’t have the means to make huge investments.  I haven’t been putting any effort into thinking of novel ideas, I don’t want them.

But I have this idea, and it’s giving me the feeling.  So here’s where I have to decide, do I take yet another chance, sink months, maybe years, fucking hope! into yet another manuscript that will ultimately be another fun house mirror reflecting my delusions of people-will-want-to-read-my-words? More significantly, the delusion that a publishing professional will believe my words can earn them money?  I’m sorry, but yes, I care about that end of writing.  I’m not pure, haven’t discovered and embraced the Tao of the words themselves.  I would like to be that evolved, but I’m not.  And I’m exhausted thinking about this, putting these thoughts into a blog post.

Just in case having this idea giving me this feeling isn’t shit enough, the idea isn’t even original.  It would be taking the manuscript I wrote before Astonishing and ripping it apart, removing the romance, keeping the bits I like and then completely rewriting and restructuring it.  I’m not sure I have the skill to do such a thing.

Remember those tomato seeds I planted in my little terrace garden?  Two types, Roma and Cherries.  They didn’t turn out as expected.  The ones that grow to full size have blossom end rot.  I get all excited, seeing those full green fruits as they turn red, and then, when I pick them, the undersides are clearly too damaged to eat.  But most aren’t reaching their full size, they stop growing when they’re about the size of blueberries.  I’ve been picking and eating a few every morning, right off the plants, with my coffee on the terrace.  They’re sweet, tiny but lush.

Art Child and I have taken to calling them tomato berries.

Art Child and I have taken to calling them tomato berries.

If I allow this seed of an idea to germinate, give it time, water, sun, and sweat into my keyboard until it bears fruit, what will I get?  One of the tomatoes that looks perfect until you get close, see the results of calcium deficient soil, bones that aren’t strong enough to support a full manuscript?  Or will I get that little pop of warm perfection, not what’s expected but right in and of itself.  Is it worth trying?

At the moment, I just don’t know.  Every brain cell is telling me not to do this, swallow the idea and push it further down my digestive tract.

For the moment, I’ll do nothing.  I’ll leave it alone, see if not feeding it makes this idea disappear, lets my guts return to a normal pace.  A week, two weeks, a few months, a year.  If it stays, though, well, maybe I’ll open that old file, see what does or doesn’t come to mind when I reread, if I find myself reaching for the composition book with the original notes for the story (oddly enough, it isn’t packed away, but still in a top cubby of my desk), writing a few new ones.

Shit.

 

Excess

Moonflowers, finally!

Moonflowers, finally!

I get one every three days or so, but they open in the afternoon, not at night.

I get one every three days or so, but they open in the afternoon, not at night.

What’s worse than 5am yoga?  5am yoga after eating yourself into a carb coma the night before, of course.

The other morning I woke with an urge for corn chowder.  First day of a heat wave, why wouldn’t I want soup?  I went to the grocery store, and bought the ingredients.  Not as easy as it sounds, because I wasn’t thinking about the fact that it was Saturday.  In the grocery store.  By the time I got home, I needed to rest my back for a while before getting started.  Just as well, because lifehappened and I never got to start the soup.

Yesterday, day 2 of the heat wave.  I love summer, nothing makes me happier than not needing more than flip flops and shades to walk outside, but nothing holds the heat like the city.  The thought of soup was now as appealing as diving into the Hudson River. But…I already dropped $50 in the grocery store the day before, and had told Art Child she could help me.  Just in case making soup when it’s 93° with 69% humidity outside wasn’t enough, in between chopping and sautéing, I was back and forth at the laptop, had a thought provoking email conversation with a writing friend about writing and not.  This, naturally, is a conversation I feel compelled to keep having, but it’s upsetting too, leaving me to feel generally useless.  What to do when I’m stressing myself out?  I added biscuits, chicken (for the flesh eaters), and tofu (for the non flesh-eaters) to the menu.

cheddar scallion biscuits

cheddar scallion biscuits

Gin & Lemonade

Gin & Lemonade

Maybe an extra jalapeño next time.

Maybe an extra jalapeño next time.

Marinated chicken

Marinated chicken

Tofu in the same marinade.

Tofu in the same marinade.

I’m a pretty good cook, and sometimes everything works out just the way I want it to, and last night’s dinner was one of those meals.  Husband went into work early yesterday, so he was actually home at dinnertime, and the four of us sat together.  At my table, everyone sitting together means political discussions.  Last night’s topic segued from the need for campaign contribution reforms, to general American consumerism and excess.  Did it occur to me that in that moment, sucking down my organic, non-GMO corn, jalapeño, and yukon gold potato soup that I was the very picture of American excess? Yes, yes it did.  But I enjoyed it anyway.  Did the conversation stop me from thinking I had absolutely nailed those biscuits? (If, like me, you’re too heavy handed with a rolling pin, drop biscuits are the way to go.) Nope.  When I was already full from the soup and biscuit, did it prevent me from taking a big slice of tofu? Well, you see, I made the whole brick, and it’s only Art Child and I who eat the tofu, so it would be wasteful to not even eat one slice….

What a surprise that I woke up before the sun, feeling like an overstuffed sausage.  These political conversations are deadly, I tellya.

O Happy Day

Bluejay, a regular visitor to the terrace while I do my yoga.

Bluejay, a regular visitor to the terrace while I do my yoga.

My Nook is working again.  If I don’t try to use it outside, in sunlight.

I’ve been in a strange mood.  Not bad, not good, just feeling the urge to lie low.  For me, this means reading. Unfortunately, the Nook wasn’t working for about two weeks, which sent me into a panic. What will I do? How will I avoid all the thoughts I don’t want to think if I can’t get lost in fiction?  Will I start collecting paper books again, until the apartment looks like a home for wayward book mites?  No, whether the e-reader remains functional or not, that last is not an option.

I dumped/gave away a lot of stuff when we moved into this apartment.  Clothes, books, toys, junk.  It’s making me edgy now, to pay attention and see how easily clutter can begin accumulating again.  I’m trying. It should be easy, every other article on Facebook or HuffPo is about the beauty and advantages of minimalist living. If only the alternating posts weren’t about how to repurpose that old box/shoe/onion skin/takeout container.  I’m saying no.  I will not save magazines for a potential project, empty cans for funky shaped quick breads. I will not save things just in case.  I will not fill Pinterest boards with pictures of unique and inspiring objet d’art made from useless and likely moldy shit.  We’ve been in this apartment for 8? months now.  I haven’t missed one thing that I got rid of. Not even the once-great thermal bag with the mystery stains and torn lining I used to use for beach lunches.

The boys’ room…well.  When Nerd Child came home for the summer, he came with all his stuff.  Clothes for all seasons, bedding, towels, amps, guitars, cords and wires.  I don’t think he’s fully unpacked once since leaving for school three years ago.  Yah yah, a good mommy would go through it all for him.  I’m not that good. For as much as I got rid of, there are things I thought I had disposed of that have mysteriously reappeared. Little things, like the full sized electronic keyboard and stand. My bell rang a couple of weeks ago, and it was my mother in law, keyboard and stand in her shopping cart.  I had no idea it had ended up in her apartment.  Silly me assumed this item that hadn’t been used in ten years didn’t have a freaking LoJack in it. If I so much as open the door to that bedroom, the damned keyboard flips me the bird and blows a raspberry from beneath its Hefty bag comforter.  In its old spot, blocking what should be a path between the door and bed, propped across two suitcases and a wheeled duffel bag.

Happy Friday, Fringelings.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be reading, before the screen goes unresponsive again.

Lousy Poem Wednesday

For whatever anyone (including myself) may/may not think of my writing, I am not a poet.  I love poetry, but don’t know anything about the various forms, never studied it or felt compelled to do so. Of course, when I was a teenager and young adult, I wrote plenty of angsty poems.  All free verse, because, of course, I didn’t know what I was doing.  Attempts at rhymes resulted in the love children of elementary roses-are-red and the man-from-Nantucket, and I abandoned poetry for short stories by the time I was in my twenties.

Once in a while, though, like once every ten years, I have an urge.  I went to the beach with Art Child the other day.  Took the train out to Brooklyn to “my” beach, just beyond the shadow of the elevated train tracks.  Brighton Beach isn’t what anyone would call paradise, or even clean–truly, you have to shower off the layer of dirt and grime before determining whether or not you got any color– but I love it. It feels like home, what can I say.  When we were walking to the water, I noticed chicken bones scattered in the sand, probably rejected by seagulls.  Those bones, complete with bits of batter and gristle, stayed in my mind. image

Past the end

down and down the steps

up the ramp

splinters of before

push through

 

Sun soothes, empties the cells

Look Ma! No cancer, Vitamin D–

except skin

Pleats and furrows pulled taut by kelp flies

pores opened by the heat

for sweat to drown the fleas

Open

wider to swallow

shell fragments

broken beer bottles

chicken bones

 

And the salt

taste it

on the breeze

in the water

against the scummy layer of coconut oil

 

Grains of could-be

meld into

Squishy mud of

should-have-been

and I dive.

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City Angles, Highline Edition

Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk on the High Line.  On the west side of Manhattan, it’s an old elevated freight train line that was converted into a public park/walk.  (It’s also the setting for the opening scene of Astonishing, “poetic” license to make it work.)  It really is the best of the city, squished in between residential buildings, old factories, and office buildings, incorporating the beams and concrete that were already there with plantings, art, and lookout points.  In quite a few sections, I mean squished quite literally, there are some buildings where you could reach over and touch the windows.  I’ll be honest, I couldn’t walk too far, but even a few blocks’ worth yielded many photos.

 

And Away We Go?

Lilies, a new love

Lilies, a new love

We all have those little things we do and/or buy to make life more pleasant, reduce the drudgery.  For me it’s my reef tank, and now my terrace container garden.  I’m enjoying watching the flowers and veggies grow, figure out what I’ve done wrong and what I’ll change next time. Do these things work?  It’s the small moments that add up to life.

I always say my tank is my beach house in a glass box.  And it is, sort of.  I can accept it as a replacement for my dream, but those LEDs don’t take the place of feeling the sun on my skin, doing water changes and suctioning cyanobacteria off the sandbed doesn’t replace feeling waves roll over my head.

LPS frag growing nicely

LPS frag growing nicely

Husband and I have been discussing the possibility of taking a vacation this summer.  We shouldn’t.  Financially, it isn’t a smart choice.  But from a psychological standpoint, oh, we all need it.  It’s been seven years since we last took a vacation.  Seven years.

Putting to the side the people and years when there is 0 money, 0 choice; everyone has their threshold.  Some people need to go away twice a year, others every year, every other year, every few years, or never.  When Husband and I got married, we didn’t expect there to ever be such long stretches with no vacation.   I didn’t expect us to go away every year, but maybe every 2 or 3. Fatigue and I have been friends for 13 years, and I’ve never seen him take a vacation, he’s never talked about feeling a need to get away. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t taken a vacation in his adult life. I’d like to be him, but I’m not.  By the fourth year of no real break/change in scenery, I’m feeling it.  Did I mention it’s been seven years?

I feel guilty because we never got the kids back to Disney World in that window of time where Man Child was still young and available enough to come with us, Nerd Child would relax and enjoy it, and Art Child was old enough to remember it.  We thought we’d be able to, but we couldn’t.  Disney is expensive.  Luckily, Husband and I both enjoy beach vacations best of all. Lucky because we enjoy the same relax and do nothing, and if you discount camping (no, just no), it’s the most budget-friendly way to go.

Husband is ready to say yes, let’s go, figure out the dates.  I’m angsting about the money.  Thinking about the small day trips and overnights that must happen this year for Nerd Child to visit colleges.  Time and money.  Thinking about the fact that Nerd Child does not enjoy the beach at all.  It isn’t a fun and relaxing vacation if one of us is miserable.

So I keep going onto the terrace, to find solace in the flowers and tomatoes.  I planted the seeds and bulbs, and they’re growing.

Another couple of nights and I think the moonflowers will begin to open, I can't wait.

Another couple of nights and I think the moonflowers will begin to open, I can’t wait.

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The summer daffodils I planted are even blooming.  We won’t talk about what happened to the zucchini.

The blooms are much smaller than regular daffodils.

The blooms are much smaller than regular daffodils.

I grew peas, successfully.

This morning I learned if you wait too long to pick it, the peas aren't as sweet.

This morning I learned if you wait too long to pick it, the peas lose their sweetness.

I can go on the terrace and smell lilies, come back into the apartment (an apartment we waited a long time for, that’s finally enough space, and cost a small fortune to make livable) and watch the jawfish as he makes funny faces at me from underneath the zoa covered rock.

zoanthids

zoanthids

It should be enough, shouldn’t it?  No medical crisis this year for anyone.  Art Child had pneumonia, but no hospital stay necessary.  I broke my everything, a painful, protracted nuisance but not a crisis. A garden on the terrace, an underwater garden in the tank, the absolute luxuries of a dishwasher and an extra half bathroom.  The oldest successfully graduated from college, the next one looking at colleges, and the youngest about to start high school.  I’m not torturing myself trying to find meaning that isn’t there in rejection letters.

I even canceled plans to attend a large, local reefing convention, because I knew if I went I’d be unable to resist temptation, and buy new frags.  But it isn’t just Husband eyeing the suitcase.

Not All Beach Days are Perfect

But somehow, all perfect days include the beach.  Today was one of those days, and the first officially unofficial beach day of the season for us.  Must be summer! Warning:  photo intensive post ahead.

This morning I charged the camera, Husband, Art Child and I threw towels and waters in the car, left our sleeping and completely-uninterested-in-all-things-beachy Nerd Child behind, and got on the highway.

Getting excited as we leave the city.

Getting excited as we leave the city.

Lucky souls sailing down the Hudson River.

Lucky souls sailing down the Hudson River.

Yes, that Asbury Park--and I was Born to Run.

Yes, that Asbury Park–and I was Born to Run.

Pfft, no umbrellas required.

Pfft, no umbrellas required.

Wouldn't be me without some macros thrown in.

Wouldn’t be me without some macros thrown in.

The water is still cold, but I couldn't believe how clear and lovely it was.

The water is still cold, but I couldn’t believe how clear and lovely it was.

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Something about this one, I like it.

Something about this one, I like it.

I hadn’t been to Asbury Park since, well, a long, long time ago.  The beach and water isn’t just cleaner than it used to be, it’s clean.  And beautiful.  One of my beach obsessions involves the critters that live in the sand. Funny how one roach in the hallway will send me on a three-day scrubbing and freak out spree, culminating in 50 Combat traps, but I’m fascinated by the creepy crawlies in and around the ocean.

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We didn’t stay too long.  First day out, why ruin it with sunburn? So we packed up and walked along the boardwalk for a bit.

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Homeward bound.

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Ok, even I’ll admit these grains of sand are getting mighty uncomfortable.

Haters Gonna Hate

So said Nerd Child to me when I was upset a few months back, about a (very minor in the scheme of things) racist comment directed towards him and a friend.  I get his point.  He’s a smart and awe-inspiringly rational person–because of this, he is, I’m sure, better poised to make changes in our world, changes in how people approach the world, than his hotheaded blabberfingers mother.

No question, there is value and wisdom in taking the long view of social ills. As I’ve said before, however, there is also risk.  Risk of denial, risk of distorted views, plain old risk involved in sweeping these ills under the rug in favor of a false “no problem here!” presentation.

I am, of course, talking about the deaths last night of 9 innocent people in Charleston, South Carolina. A shooting that was a hate crime. At a prayer meeting in a church–the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a church with a long, proud history. Proud unless you’re a white supremacist/separatist, in which case you’re likely having very different thoughts than I am right now.  Supposedly, the suspect sat in the prayer meeting for an hour before making the statement that they were “taking over the country and raping our women.”  Because those human beings who opened their prayer meeting to him were a real, direct threat to his date nights and our national security, yes?  <<NO! I shouldn’t have to spell out that the previous sentence is sarcasm, but apparently I do, judging by the things I’ve seen and heard online today.

I don’t know how legitimate the above quote is.  Maybe it’s a misquote, maybe it was spun out of thin air.  But can I believe it’s real?  Yes I can. Because just the other day, Donald Trump announced he’s running for President of the United States.  Trump.  Do I think he has a snowball’s chance? Nope. But. I saw comments referring to him as a good idea because he’s a businessman.  True, he’s a businessman, and I think I read he’s worth something like 4 billion dollars.  He’s also declared bankruptcy four times.  Included in the gems of his announcement speech Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people…”  So…the shooter in South Carolina was singing the same song as Donald Trump? You might be thinking, of course not–Trump was referring to undocumented immigrants, and the shooter was referring to African Americans.  What I hear is:  They. Them.  America is not a business.  If it were, we might recognize our people–all of them–are our assets. In a country where someone like Donald Trump can be taken seriously by anyone as a candidate for President, we’ve got issues, and we need to air out this rug.

So I’m just going to try and clarify a few things here, from my muddled-by-sorrow point of view.  This is OUR problem, America.  OUR shame, not some shadowy boogeyman named, They. Despite what too many want to pretend, it isn’t a relic of the past that’s no longer in use, nor is it a secret.   Not “just” one lone, hateful lunatic, either. If it was, this wouldn’t be a news story we see play out over and over again.

If it was, the flags wouldn’t be flying at half staff today at the capitol of South Carolina.  Columbia, SC. One of those flags isn’t, by the way.  Which one? The confederate flag, of course. The very fact that there are confederate flags flying openly anywhere in America is the problem. There is no pride in a confederate flag.  That is our shame. Just today, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas is not violating the First Amendment by banning confederate flags on license plates. Why? Because it’s fucking wrong!  It’s racism, it’s vile, if you can’t join the 21st century go ahead and keep it to yourself.  If you want to honor those who died fighting in the Civil War and display the flag they fought for and under, I don’t get it, but go ahead and keep it in a museum with all the other interesting and long outdated relics.  Study it, learn from it, but don’t wave it as a symbol of modern America.

If it wasn’t a problem, there wouldn’t have been any major media outlets jumping to say it wasn’t a racist crime, it was an attack on Christianity.  I’d like to be sarcastic again here, or make a joke about Faux news, or even snicker at the field day the best political comedians will have with this, but I can’t–because there are too many voting citizens who take this lunacy seriously.  So I’ll just make a direct statement.  This wasn’t an attack on Christianity. Or the South, or the freedom to fly the confederate flag.  This was a racist hate crime.

You know what it isn’t? It isn’t a result of not having “God” in schools.  Yes, indeed, I saw that come across my Facebook feed.  I strongly believe in, support, and defend freedom of religion; but I believe in the separation of church and state just as strongly.

It isn’t a result of the pastor not having a gun in the church. I am not and don’t pretend to be an expert on  religion (of any faith),  and I’d be hard pressed to quote directly from the Bible if that quote wasn’t indirect and the subject of an article I was reading in the moment, but I’m pretty sure this doesn’t fall under What-Would-Jesus-Do.

It’s the result of hate.  Hate, fear, a public education system with more holes than the infinite number of test bubbles that face our children each year, an inability to discriminate between hard facts and opinions/editorials/entertainment, and a sadly lacking understanding of what it means to be a member of a greater community. A society.

This was a nauseating, racist hate crime that has left 9 Black Americans dead, while countless more Americans piss on each other across internet boards everywhere as they scramble to skew this to fit their political agendas; as the black community once again mourns unnecessary losses that should be unthinkable.  Unspeakable. Unimaginable.  But we don’t have to imagine it, because these losses, these attacks, are all too real and all too frequent.  That’s why we have to speak about it.

To the families and members of the Emanuel AME Church, I am so very, very sorry for your loss.