Archive for the ‘Misc. Griping’ Category

Needing to care…

My office is presently a disaster area. It has been this way since Thanksgiving. To prepare for my mother staying overnight to give shots to our geriatric cat while we were out of town, all the crap in the bedroom was dumped into said office. Same with all the paperwork that was piling up on the dining room table that needed to be cleared for Christmas Eve company. Since both of those occasions have come and gone these many weeks past, I am assuming the stuff I haven’t bothered to move must not be that important (I hope).

Once I start writing full bore, the neglected objects will have to be dealt with. They are in the way. The hard copy edits from Book 4 are underneath them and need to be filed. My office is also where I pay bills and prepare taxes for the accountant.

I am a horrendous housekeeper. This discrepancy in my character should have corrected itself with age. It did not. And letting my mind drift somewhere else is undoubtedly useful in allowing me to completely ignore the clutter that accumulates around me. The rug under my chair is crooked and bunched uselessly to one side. Of the 27 square feet of desk surface area in my office, there might me 1 square foot that is open.

I don’t believe in a clean desk in theory. The fact is, my desk is normally piled with piles. The difference at this point is that the piles are not useful for my work. If it were edits, to do lists, scraps of paper with chunks of story written on them, email and website references, stacks of notebooks that were carried around and written in, that would be perfectly acceptable. From where I’m sitting I see nicknacks, Christmas ornament crafts, magazines (not useful for writing) expired calendars, paycheck stubs, old bills, and junk mail.Ugh.

As I am now waking up again in the wee hours of the morning with story lines running through my head, I know it’s time to deal with reality so I can get back to work. I just need to toss on some music, pick a corner, and go to town. Once its done, I can quickly make new piles, you know, the useful ones that help me tell you a story.

Oh, gods of rock, fill my soul with song and motivate me to get off my ass and get shit done. I need to care again.

The Bullsh*t about victimless crime

I’ve noticed that my writing has moved to a place where I find myself examining global crimes in the microcosm of my own rural environment. Like all my other books, I engage in exhaustive research for these crimes, and I end up becoming enlightened in a horrifying manner, particularly about the notion of “victimless crimes”. I’m not exactly sure who coined that description. It must have been someone trying to justify a socially immoral act to placate themselves for their guilt. Personally I think the entire notion is crap.

Take drug use for instance. I know I’m going to get backlash from the dozen or so lurkers who actually read this blog. Great, leave a comment. It’s like finding Where’s Waldo in the sea of spam. Anyway, illicit drug use is not a victimless crime. Period. It’s just not. The entire process from making the drugs through distribution to consumption leaves a veritable sea of environmental and human destruction in its path.

Pick a drug, any drug (illegal of course. Alcohol, tobacco and the list of what you can find in your back yard opens a whole different can of worms) and you find a blood trail of turf wars, gang violence, cartel hit squads, organized crime, not to mention the lineages of broken families and vicious cycles of violence and poverty that swirl around the seedy underbelly that caters to the excesses of the privileged. I don’t care if you’re taking meth, pot, coke, heroin, or Oxy, it all comes from the same sources and leads to the same criminals. If you partake of these drugs, you are an accessory to atrocities that brought you this product.

Right now, I’m in the process of researching human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking. There’s another supposedly victimless crime, “the world’s oldest profession” if you will. However, the last time I checked, prostitution is not considered a profession if you are doing it against your will. Just like every other industry in the world, sexual exploitation has been taken over by large syndicates, and their human resource departments are more interested in kidnapping, coercion, extortion, and blackmail than they are in human rights. They are also everywhere: Criag’s list, the local “massage parlor”, truck stops, strip joints, and all over the internet.

The problem with this particular “victimless crime” is the recipients of the sexual acts can’t tell the difference between a legitimate “entrepreneur” and a sex slave. The pimps (for lack of a better term) work very hard to keep it that way. Victims come from every walk of life and every level of sophistication. They are monitored very closely to make damn sure the customer is comfortable in believing their product is being delivered very willingly. I used to think my hubby indulging in a trip to the strip club with his buddies for a bachelor party was a rather harmless venture. After some just one afternoon researching human trafficking, I don’t feel that way anymore.

Unfortunately for me, I don’t get to stand on my high horse anymore than the rest of you. With the global economy in full swing, we are all benefiting from human trafficking. There aren’t many things that I buy new (good ol’ LCS keeps most of that at bay) except for tennis shoes. Now every time I look at the shelves of shoes at the store, I wonder to myself about the little girl that got sold by her family to a sweatshop so she could make my shoes.

Look at the label on any of your clothing, and most likely you can add a coerced laborer into the process that went into making the garment that seemingly innocent label is attached to. Maybe they worked the knitting machines for the fabric. Maybe they were up to their elbows in corrosive dyes all day. Maybe they sewed your buttons with millions of others, stooped over a machine in a people barn with no A/C, no breaks, no money.

I always try to add some snarky nugget of wisdom at the end of each of my blogs, but with this topic, I just don’t have any. I’m just left with empty sadness. All I can say is we privileged few in the world need to examine our actions and ask ourselves how accountable we really want to be. Right now, most of us are just hypocrites.

Plant Vultures

You would think in a climate that only really gets three decent months of growing season, gardens wouldn’t really be a big deal. I think it’s a bigger deal because the days of living things and color are so short. Gardens become precious up here.

Gardens become children, sometimes making real children into labor to help nurture the green children. Neurotic gardeners like me are constant nurturers. We cheer at the first signs of life in the garden. We weep when fickle plants decide to kick the bucket. When long awaited flowers bloom or fruits appear on our carefully tended flora, we squeal with delight like parents who watch their children take their first steps.

Additionally, as sufferers of LCS, we are always on the lookout to adopt orphans. We scrounge every charity plant sale, eyeball ditches and abandoned lots, and keep our eyes and ears open when we visit friends and neighbors who have decided that maybe their green children are becoming too much of a nuisance to take care of. How convenient that we keep a miniature plant shed worth of equipment in the trunk of our cars, lest we be unprepared to start excavating someone’s neglected perennial bed at a moment’s notice.

Oh, we’ll patronize the greenhouses. Annuals and vegetables are sometimes just easier to buy already grown and usually worth the money. However with the perennials, unless it’s a coveted specimen, or we have a gift certificate, we’ll wait. We’ll hover like ruthless plant vultures, watching the sun bake all the aesthetics away. Then we’ll swoop in during the final clearance sales and scoop up the leggy, root-bound mutants that barely resemble the beauty queens they were introduced as just a month earlier.

Because we know. They may look like crap now, but we’ll fix that. We’ll give them a permanent home. We’ll make them neat and trim, and we will nurture and love them. Then next year, after the long monotony of winter has made us lonely and pining for sun and color, our green children will awaken reborn, hungry for attention, and ready to delight us with their existence.