Author: Gregory Patrick

A mad man who writes books, knits, and deals with the daily dilemmas of living 20 miles from nothing...I'm not kidding.

Your Grievances Will Have to Wait

The early evening air was rich with dense humidity, carrying the rumble of a thunderstorm trailing in the distance. The smell of fresh rain and wet wood perfumes the air with a desire to seduce the primitive in you. The chorus of crickets and cicadas vied for our attention, as hushed bolts of heat lightening flickered quietly in the sky.

There was a beautiful stillness in the living room. Phillip and I sat quietly as he hung up the phone with his father. If you recall from my previous post, this was Phillip’s birthday. We had gone to Retro Records to browse, had lunch at Beefy King, spent three solid hours outside of the house having such a wonderful time.

We then came home, settled ourselves when Phillip’s father called. I don’t care how wonderful our day was, between you and me, this is the birthday present that Phillip truly wanted. I know my husband. I could feel when he got that one phone call that his heart burst with a proud joy. His birthday was a success. He was so excited talking to his father, couldn’t wait to tell him all of the wonderful things that have been happening in our lives. The poor boy rambled like an over excited fan. “And then, and then, and then….”

It was adorable. And I was so happy for him. He hung up the phone and we just smiled to ourselves, sat back in our chairs, and gave one of those sighs that whispers, “My life is really nice….”

Phillip pipes in, “So, what do you want to do now?”

“Oh, put on a record! Oh, yes. Let’s listen to our new records!”

You should have seen Phillip at Retro. Now, I’ve been going to this store since the 90’s. I know the secret. Hard pressed, fresh vinyl, either collectible or newly minted, is all eye level. And that stuff can be pricey. So, I told him to sit on the floor because all of the fun, cheap $2 records are all in cardboard boxes on the floor. That is where the real collectors look for stuff. We both plopped and instantly the man saw the promised land, he got it and starting pulling out record after record.

 

Our haul was perfectly eclectic. A touch of Loretta Lynn, scrambled with a Beggar’s Banquet Sampler, with a hint of hula dancing music, mixed with a little Mancini. Phillip sorted out what we’d listen to first.  I went to grab a manly granny square I’m working on. What can I say? All the squares inspired me…

 

For hours we sat there talking, laughing, crocheting while listening to old records, sipping whiskey and googling flowers for Honeychurch.

This complicated world that I cannot change with a hash tag was pushed a million miles away.

And left in it’s stead was the crackling from the scratches on the vinyl, the chatter of the insects, the rustle of heaving branches waving in the wind, and the cough of thunder in the distance that kept us comforted between songs. This was a beautiful evening with someone I loved. The beauty was that I could see that he felt loved. And there isn’t anything more beautiful in the world than watching someone beam with smiles when they realize they really are loved.

If you’ll excuse me, the madness of the world and all of its grievances is going to have to wait. I’m having the best time with someone who is actually happy with their life. Cheers.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I wouldn’t have the courage do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Racism Is Acceptable

I was scrolling through CNN’s opinion page when I saw an article by Rebecca Wanzo about why an episode of the Golden Girls is a problem…because of blackface. Being the Golden Girls fan that I am, I can’t help but respond.

Why remove a brilliant episode of “The Golden Girls” about racism? In “Mixed Blessings,” Dorothy’s son Michael comes to her with the news that he is marrying a Black woman, Lorraine. Dorothy clearly harbors some discriminatory beliefs about interracial marriage.”

Now, you’re not being fair to Dorothy here. Not at all. She did not show any discriminatory beliefs about their marriage. She hadn’t seen or heard from her son in probably months. He arrives, drops big bomb after big bomb on his mom. “Sorry I haven’t been in touch. I’m getting married. And she’s black. You don’t have a problem with this, do you?”

“No, of course not. It’s just all so….so sudden. It’s all so at once. First you surprise me, then the engagement…and then Lorraine???”

“I really love her, ma.”

“Well, that’s all that matters. And I really mean it. I’m very happy for you.”

And that is the LAST we hear Dorothy mention race. When she finds out how old Lorraine is it does bother her. Lorraine is twice Michael’s age.

But we then learn that Michael’s fiancé is twice his age, something that is much more upsetting to Dorothy. Both families object to the marriage but come to accept it over the course of the episode.

WHAT???? WHAT?????

You left out who the other family even is! TOTALLY left the important dynamics of Lorraine’s family. You also left out what exactly Lorraine’s family objected to. They didn’t want Lorraine to marry Michael because he was WHITE!!!

What kind of educator are you, glossing over important facts like that. You’re not an educator, you’re an indoctrinater, and like so many who are good at brain washing you leave out anything that goes against your message.

Lorraine’s family is three black faced Golden Girls. Yes, I chose those words on purpose. They’re all about the same height, stature, and even hair style as their counter figures. There is a black Rose, a black Blanche, and most importantly to this story of irony, the black Dorothy, a miss Greta Wagner, who is being BLATANTLY racist.

The first thing she says to Dorothy is that her house is cleaner than hers so, “she’d hire her anytime.” Which you can glean as a really nasty jab at what a white woman would say to the black woman in a script for the same tv show 20 years before. But, not in this episode. Racism has been reversed to show its lunacy.

When you expect the white woman to have a problem with race, she doesn’t. NO! The black woman is objecting to it. And we laugh! Because it shows the hilarity of what racism really is.

Greta Wagner, the black woman, says, “Yes, you said he was younger, but you never said he was white. No, daughter of mine is marrying some skinny white boy.” And she turns up her nose.

Yes, the lunacy of racism can infect anyone. Not just white people. ANYONE. Anyone can be a lunatic….

Then Dorothy says the funniest thing, which you automatically assumed to be racist.

“Well, I’m not fond of my son marrying your daughter.” To which the black woman says, “Why, you got something against black people?” Bullying her, pressuring her, saying and suggesting with rigid tone that if Dorothy has a problem with her daughter the only reason can be because of her race, not because of her age. (Ironically, this is probably when Hulu caved to bullying pressure and removed the episode forever).

Ms. Wanzo….you wickedly and deceptively left so much out of this episode. But, it was the “blackface” moment in this episode that compelled you to write “Taking down an episode of the Golden Girls won’t fix the real problem…” (of blackface in media, I’m sure).

The “blackface” scene in question depicts Dorothy’s friends Rose and Blanche walking in on the visiting families with mud masks on for facials; the comic timing and discomfort aroused by the scene demonstrate the awareness among the show’s writers and audience that it would be offensive and inappropriate if they were actually in blackface. The object of the joke is the situation — not Black people.

What other reason would they have for them to be in blackface? I’m hoping with your own statement that you see the hilarity of the awkwardness when these two women walk out in mud masks. This scene shows that unease that happens when you suddenly, culturally say or do the wrong thing without even knowing it, without it being intentional. “We’ve got on mud masks, walking into our own living rooms. What could possibly happen? Damn, now we’re racists.”

I’ve encountered a few white women with mud masks in spas over the course of my life, but unless they began speaking in stereotypical Black dialect and singing “Camptown races,” I wouldn’t see it as offensive.

Part of what makes this episode work as an anti-racist episode is that it does not treat Dorothy’s racism as acceptable. 

“….it does not treat Dorothy’s racism as acceptable.” But, by omission of the confrontations between Dorothy and Greta, you avoided the real problem we are facing right now: when racism is considered acceptable, and when it is not.

Your article breaks my heart. Or maybe I should feel sorry for you, I’m not quite sure which way I feel. It breaks my heart because your article perpetuates this hunger to destroy everything at first glance. It perpetuates the desire to look for evil when it isn’t there. It perpetuates this rotten suspicion you want us to feel for each other.

The other part of me feels sorry for you because you’ve obviously never really watched a lot of the Golden Girls. If you had, you wouldn’t have written this article….

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I wouldn’t have the courage do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

Phillip’s Beefy Birthday Spectacular

So, I was asked recently how well I was doing with my agoraphobia since the move. Do you know what is hilarious about the question? I hadn’t even thought of my agoraphobia since we moved into the new house, until the question was asked! Truly, had not even given that burden a minute of my thought.

Rather than thinking constantly of methods and ways to excuse myself from leaving the house, my mind has been constantly swirling with a jotted map and a list of all the places I need to go.

Big Lots had sunflower seeds for $1. I think the front fence would look great with a healthy crop of sunflowers rising from behind it this fall. Of course, I absolutely had to go. An authentic Italian grocery opened up on the corner. I couldn’t wait to take pictures to send to my friend Giovanni asking his advice for what to pick out. So, I went up there the moment I could. And then someone who reads my blog wanted to sit and knit with me, and I took a dare, and dashed to meet her for coffee just up the street. I’ve never had the chance to do that. So, sign me up!

Then there is a little vintage clothing and furniture boutique that I pass often and wondered if she might sell my bears on consignment. And you know me, that wouldn’t be enough. I’d want to sit on her little stoop knit, get tons of attention, and have people pop in her shop to snag a bear 🙂

I guess I just didn’t have too much room in my head for thoughts of lonely confinement. I was busy cramming my imagination with beautiful possibilities.

Which brings me to Phillip’s birthday! Yes, his birthday is on Wednesday. I thought a lot about what to get my beloved, and of course, anything I give him he’d adore. But, I wanted to give him something a little more valuable. So, I’m taking him out Wednesday for his birthday.

Now, we haven’t gone out for an occasion in years. IN YEARS. Whenever we did go out somewhere it was to do an important errand that required both of us. The minute the task was accomplished, we made a bee line back home so that I could close myself back up. There is no lollygagging when you’re an agoraphobic. There is no such thing as “browsing” and “window shopping.”

So, that’s exactly what we’re going to do on Wednesday. We’re going “window shopping.” There is this classic old store around the corner that sells old records, tapes, dvds, vhs, and cassette tapes. We have a (new) old record player, so I thought we’d stroll up there and “browse.” And it really is one of those gems of an old store that is just crammed to the rafters with just old…..stuff. The kind of store you know you’re going to spend hours in because you know if you dig long enough, you’re going to find treasure.

Then for lunch, I thought we’d stroll up Bumby and hit Beefy King. Believe it or not, Phillip has never been. You would have thought the minute his two feet hit this town that he would have sought out a place called Beefy King.

Beefy King is legend in this town. It has been around for 50, 60 years, could have been a big huge success by becoming another McDonald’s or Arby’s. But, no! There can only be ONE Beefy King! And they’ve been a bigger success for it.

Now, they’re only open until 4pm through the week so cars begin lining up around the block half an hour before they open just so they can get a spot in the drive thru. Yes, they are that busy. You don’t need a watch when you  pass Beefy King. You can tell when it’s lunch time.

Yes, the food really is that good. They have the most amazing roast beef sandwiches and tater-tots. But, more so, they have this nostalgic feel about them because practically everyone in Orlando over 50 has heard the great stories about how back in the 60’s and 70’s, this was where you hung out after school. Why here?

Young men went there for all the pretty young ladies, and all the pretty young ladies went there to swoon at the two gorgeous, muscular sons that run the place (and still do, now in their 70’s!)

And these same people are still going there decade after decade. Same routine, same great sandwich. I bet in their minds, not a day has passed by….

So, I thought I’d treat us to lunch at the infamous Beefy King, so that my husband can finally say he’s been part of some really fun, culinary Orlando tradition….with me, taking pictures, little video clips, making new memories as we honor old ones.

The rest of the day will probably just be determined by impulse. We’ll either do more, like hop over a block and see what the Dollar Tree has that’s fun, or we may just go home, nap and watch our favorite bad films and reruns. Or maybe we’ll find something amazing at Retro Records, bring it home, dim the lights, put it on the record player, sit on the front porch and sip on whiskey, as the scratching of the vinyl invites any neighbor that may pass by to join us if they wish for a sip.

Man, I really do feel like a different person….

That is going to be my present to him. An afternoon on the town with little, old Gregory. Full of treasures, stories, and possibilities…..

It was either that or the trucker cap with “SPAM” written across it that he kept telling me he wanted (which he would have worn ALL the time….)

I like my gift better 🙂

Now, let’s celebrate!

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I wouldn’t have the courage do it without your support.

 

Like Any Beautiful Woman….

Oh, for the last few days I have simply bowed my head in some sort of shame as I walk to Honeychurch.

Don’t worry, nothing horrible has happened. I’ve just noticed the more I stroll my street that my little house is starting to look like the “neglected” one people look at with sadness. And I nervously worry that I’ll come home from running errands to find one of those dreaded, red notices on the lawn from the city screaming, “MOW, YOU LAZY BASTARD!”

I have done my best to plead with the grass to slow down while I get caught up, but those little blades refuse to listen to me.

Of course, I say all of this with a smile, for when you consider the problems we have faced over the years just to get here, having an overgrown lawn is a beautiful problem to have. And despite what others may see about this solemn shell, I see something more.

When I come home to Honeychurch I see a beautiful, mature woman who still has not lost her zeal for the simple. I see an older woman who is steady, quietly graceful, and heartfelt; her beautiful face shows only the slow easing of time into a subtle smile, rather than cracks from too many frowns. Like any beautiful woman, her flaws are only aesthetic.

Like any beautiful woman this house invites, but does not impose. Like any beautiful woman, this house has allowed herself to age with grace. No, she’s not the prettiest. But, she is still beautiful.

I love this house. I have spent nearly every waking minute thinking only of this house since we moved in. I jot down notes in long hand of what needs to be done to bring Honeychurch back to herself. I dash to a pad and pen and scribble another thing to remind me. I recall doing that when I was younger, with people I just couldn’t wait to spend more time with. I’d write down little notes of all the things throughout the day that I wanted to tell them in case I forgot.

I guess I still do that, except now it’s called a blog 🙂

I want to take care of this house, seeing already how much she has been taking care of me. My tone is different, more pleasing. My outlook is more reflective, intuitive. I’m listening more to myself and less to the noise outside. My writing is better because my soul feels better….Like any beautiful woman, this house makes me feel like I am welcome.

Paint, gutters, window cleaning, tile replacement, that can all come with time. Little by little. And none of it will feel like a chore, but more like time spent with someone you adore. Like love pats felt in the soft strokes of paint brushes, kisses to the cheek as another window pain is cleaned, allowing more light to profile her charm, or like holding her hand with gratitude as I stand in the front yard and just gaze at this captivating belle….Yes, I love this house.

Phillip has started his own love affair with Honeychurch in the backyard. He’s been finding gems growing through the thick grass, rescuing them from the choke of the St. Augustine. He found a ton of bromeliads and fastened them to a fallen old oak using some of my yarn. Pots we hauled from our old dungeon of an apartment are now finally seeing the sun, and plants that Phillip sequestered to our balcony now have room to run.

So, you can see how much we love this house and how much we want the house to know that. We know that she’ll take good care of us, will shelter us, comfort us….and like any beautiful woman, will bless us with many more years with stories of her glory.

And I cannot wait to write those stories!

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I wouldn’t have the courage do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If This Will Finally Find You Peace

I’m walking up to Honeychurch. The grass is nearly at my knees. A few horseflies find a moment to hover over my shoulder. I’m inclined to swat, but I pay them no mind. My mind was stewing a little. I was so ready to step through my overgrown lawn and come home and hug my house, but my mind was just somewhere else….

Jesus is now the latest on a gargantuan list of those to be dismissed. Why? It couldn’t have been his twitter feed…..couldn’t have been something he posted on instagram. Couldn’t have been something offensive he said 2,000 years ago….

No.

Because his white, European imagery is offensive….Well, that tells me everything I need to know about your cry about racial injustice.

The desire to strip the secular sphere of Jesus based on his race and not for his preaching screams of an awful hypocrisy that should cause you to feel some shame.

You should feel terrible. Because no one who truly wants equality, no one who truly wants racial harmony, would dismiss the presence of a man, not because of his teachings, but because of his whiteness. Again, I’ll emphasize that with italics. Not his race….his whiteness.

I gave your movement a moment of my considerable thought, then lost all interest when you began to bully people. I pushed back when you were censoring art and performers, and really gave a right arched brow when you went after Eskimo Pies for being offensive to indigenous peoples. None of these demands have ever given you peace. But, if dismantling the absolute Prince of Peace will do the trick, then let’s go.

Topple statues of Jesus. Burn the Madonna and Child. Here, do it on my lawn. I’ll loan you my lighter. Shred every image you can find of Mary’s racist, oppressive whiteness. Cull any likeness to pale Jesus.

That’s fine. Because we don’t need statues and prints, mugs and prayer candles.

Our hearts burn with His presence. We don’t need His pictures, we don’t rely on icons of Him. As a matter of fact, we often close our eyes in a purposeful blindness to His image, honing our prayers and meditations towards His being. We don’t meditate on the color of his eyes, or the pigment of his skin, we bask in the quite reflection of his being.

Which tells me that none of you that are out to build by manner of destruction have ever been at peace with yourself. You don’t want to be at peace. There is too much profit to be made off of your outrage.

You won’t be hurting me if you get rid of every white faced picture of Jesus you see. Because I’m more apt to find Him, to experience Him, in how I experience you. I’m supposed to look for Him in you….At least, that’s what I gathered from the words in red. I’m supposed to look for Christ in you. I am supposed to treat you as I would treat Him….And if it pains you for someone to see the beauty in you, then brother, the problem isn’t with us, it’s with you. If you think the rejection of peace will bring you bliss, then let’s go.

If ridding the world of Jesus makes you feel good, go ahead. If that finally affords you some sense of justice, I’m with you. Cancel Jesus. Sure.

If this will finally find you peace, then I’m all in. Let’s go for it.

I just have this strange feeling that it still won’t be enough….There is too much money to be made by keeping everyone divided….

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go knit a few teddy bears. I’m in desperate need of a lawn mower before Honeychurch turns into Grey Gardens. No, knitting and writing aren’t as lucrative as professional outrage.

And I am so good with that.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I wouldn’t have the courage do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting With A New Friend

Yes, I was terrified…..sort of. It was the first time I have ever met someone who reads my blog in person. She lives in town and wanted to know if I would like to meet for coffee and knit.

Now, many of you know I’ve been trying my best to shake my agoraphobia off (little by little) and felt this was a great way to really look fear in the eye and tackle another boundary that keeps me from seeing more and more of you in YOUR city.

I have always dreamed of being able to go on tour, sign books, knit at a cafe (or bar, whatever) and spend time with you. All of us just proving that the differences between us, however vast, can be bridged with the simple cast on of a shared pattern with a new skein we’re all going gaga over.

So, I thought if I could start with at least one person, test the waters, I could actually progress a little more. We decided to meet at a little deli just up the street. Oh, you should have seen my jittery knees knocking a good hour before then. I hesitate to say this, but in some sort of truthful cuteness, I splashed just a dash of Old Spice on to smell nice.

Oh, come on. Don’t giggle too long on that. I wanted to make a nice impression. She appreciates my work and wanted nothing more than to meet and knit with me. So, I wanted to present myself nicely, thank you.

Upset with myself that I had not decided to do laundry sooner, I walked out of the house in my pencil thin jeans half wet, the other half dampened by the Florida humidity. I crossed the street, turned the corner, not even knowing what she looked like….but, found her right away. She was sitting outside, enjoying a coffee, knitting with lace…..

I grinned, sort of peeked my way over, big eyes under ball cap, gave a dorky wave and said, “Hi!”

She piped in with her own smiley answer, “Gregory….”

I sat, put down my rucksack, got comfortable with my cappuccino and the first words out of her mouth? “Did you bring your knitting?”

I whipped out one of the teddy bears I’m working on, began stitching quickly to prove my moniker. She said, as many delicious knitters would, “Ah! You do continental!”

And from that moment the afternoon was a complete delight. We shared similar experiences, laughed at incidentals, and found a place to knit in the middle of broad day light, for everyone to see.

I noticed at one point neither of us didn’t knit very much. We were engaged with the conversation, and in order to listen, and not think too much about patterns and appropriate stitches, we placed our needles in our laps, leaned in and listened.

I am so glad that I took the opportunity to meet her. And I hope we get the chance to do it again.

Now, she is a private person, and when asked if I could take a photo of us together, she politely refused and asked to remain to some degree, anonymous. I certainly understand. But, she did allow me to take this delightful photo of our knitting bags; my knitting rucksack aside her embroidered tote. Each making their own statement.

I am so glad I did this.

I’m looking forward to knitting with new friends.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I wouldn’t have the courage do it without your support.

 

 

Oh, How Lucrative to be a Slave

I can’t imagine how anyone who creates wouldn’t be reflective on the current climate of culture. (By the way, click here if you’d rather listen to this post, rather than read it).

When we allow what is considered socially acceptable and what is not to be determined by another person, then we have already lost any credentials we may have had as artists. Because art is then no longer an attempt to connect to the individual, but just an attempt to appease the masses.

Do you recall when we used to fawn over anti-war protest work? Bob Dylan made a career of it. Hell, half a dozen druggies proclaimed decades ago to fight the media establishment and write what you want, paint what you want, set a guitar on fire while covered in mud whenever you want and scream “HOWL!” (A more poignant poem now than I think it was before).

Some of our most important and prominent artists are noted for their rebellious desire to push back against the mob’s choking control over artistic permission.

These days….? Compliance is required when you approach your canvas. Community standards are to be adhered if you’re going to type out words on their platform. Rectifying your racist name before singing another song is mandatory if you are to ever sing another song again….(Lady Antebellum is doing its best to come up with a new name to save their own hides. Well, I have a name for you. “Lady Shame.”)

I’m waiting for the day the Bully Ministry of Culture demands I apply for an application to produce art. “You need a license for that.”

Artists used to be fearless in the face of censorship and oppression. Now they cower before it, adhere to it….even promote it.

This should tell any artist what the BLM Bully Movement is all about and why you should fear them. The minute they squash sculptures ( to include statues), ban books, strip the digital sphere of anything that can be streamed, and profess that “Tootsie” is a trans phobic film, tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about how they view any sort of individual expression. They want to corral you, control you, decide not only what you are allowed to express, but what you can experience.

The mob despises any connection from one individual to another if it isn’t approved by them first.

Because if you are allowed (for any moment) to make a distinctive soul to soul acknowledgement of another person rather than the group, the mob would cease to exist.

If you want to see the direction this movement is going, tally up each day the number of artists that placate for their own financial safety, then tally up the number of corporations writing public ransom notes worth millions (while symbolic guns are pointed at their heads)

….then tally the number of voices of detraction that are never mentioned.

Virtually none.

There are no massive waves of corporations, nor media outlets, donating tens of billions towards the widows of slain police officers and their children.

Is your compliance with this Bully Movement about the money? Is that why you submit to their oppression? Is that why are you, as artists, are approving of art being censored? For the money?

Oh, how lucrative to be a slave….

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I wouldn’t have the courage do it without your support.

 

 

 

Patreon Caves to the Bully Movement

I just received an email from Patreon. Here is just a part of what it says.

“We’re enraged and saddened by the persistent racism that permeates our society — but our feelings won’t fix the problem. To help in the fight against racism and police brutality, we’re donating $50,000 to Black Lives Matter and other organizations on the front line. Today and forever, Patreon stands with our Black creators and with Black people everywhere. We stand with all the courageous people fighting for equality. We stand with the voices calling for change, reform and the end of racial injustice.” 

On the surface, it sounds harmless.  However Patreon wishes to spend their time and money is all completely their business. But, this statement also reads like something Patty Hearst wrote before joining the Symbionese Liberation Army.

The email also has the nuance of a warning, that if you should post something on their platform that BLM disgrees with, you’ll be shut down. They’re not about to function as a strong supporter of BLM and not be very mindful of what messages people are writing on their Patreon pages.

There was also a link to 10 creators of color on Patreon that we should all support….because they’re black. (Some of these creators have only a few hundred subscribers, others have nearly 20,000 making at minimum 5-10k a month. (I have 19 subscribers, so I’m not quite sure why some of these creators need any help. They seem to be doing quite well. Their efforts and content seem to be serving them well, so I’m not sure why they need more help from Patreon).

I am adamant when I say that I would never compromise my words for the sake of commerce. I could easily just play this silly game and say nothing about anything in the world other than knitting. I’m sure you have gathered by now, I have a lot more to say that I feel is much more important than the WIP on my needles.

Suffice it to say, much of what I have been writing, or have written, will not be viewed favorably by supporters of the BLM rage, including Patreon. It is only a matter of time before my lack of support for the BLM movement is categorized as “racist.”  (Although my argument has more to do with the BLM bullies that are being allowed to revolutionize a culture that only they benefit from. That isn’t equality by any stretch of the definition. That is, at its core, revenge, retribution, and retaliation, none of which should be condoned by a civil society).

So, it is with much regret that I’m leaving Patreon. I’m sure they don’t care, but I do. I may have only made $40 a month, but those 19 people really appreciated my work and were willing to pay to read and see things other people couldn’t. And $40 for me is a lot of money. That’s Phillip’s phone bill, or a third of the electric bill. That’s a few days worth of groceries.

But, despite that, I don’t want to feel hijacked every time I log in to Patreon to post something wondering if this is the day they close my account. And they will. A few years ago they shut me down briefly because of my views on feminism. Facebook shut me down a few years after that because I referred to myself as a “fag.”

So, it seems inevitable that a writer like would be very close to the executioner’s block, so why bother waiting for some strange social justice judge and jury to determine what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to opinion, creativity….thought.

Going forward, I’ll be sticking to this blog, where everyone can read (or not) whenever they wish. And I like the fact that my work can reach a much bigger audience by simply being available for free.  Instead of there being a paid subscription to my “secret” work on Patreon, it will be here for free. Of course, if you appreciate what I do, by all means, toss something into my tip jar.

Again, I could play the game and just keep my mouth shut, but….right now, more than ever, it is vital in the face of bullies who do not care very much for real diversity, to keep our chins our up, eyes forward, and our hearts lifted toward peace.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I wouldn’t have the courage do it without your support.

 

Descriptions of Race Have Been Omitted From This Post

I closed the front door behind me and went down the few steps to the grass. There was a soft and steady rustle beneath my feet as I moved my tread away from the small petals of little flowers. I was mindful of where I stepped, hoping not to crush the precious view I love to spy at from out of my dusty picture window.

Safely at the asphalt, my speed did not increase, but waned in a way. I was enjoying the morning sun, the last degrees of the day just shy of 9am when humidity begins to have its torturous ways with us. The air was still fresh and cool, the dew drops dutifully dotting every lawn with a dash of glisten. The sharp sun came at me from the east, as I lowered the brow of my hat, but lifted my head to catch some of its rays.

I noticed this neighbor’s lantana. The house next to them is growing broad beans on their chain link fence. A few houses down I catch the ghostly note of jasmine in the air, though I can’t see from which eden it calls from.

I wasn’t going very far. Just up to the 7-11 and back. And in those short 4 blocks I realized that I had said, “good morning,” or had been told, “good morning,” about 6 times. There is a steady stream in my neighborhood of people walking or biking to where they need to be, even if they don’t need to be anywhere at all. You don’t see many cars darting through here. You only see….people. Not many of them seem to be in a rush, not many of them seem that different from day to day.

Once I was at 7-11, I waited my place in line and when it was my turn, I was met with the largest squint of smiling eyes. I have become a regular, smiling face in the morning. I tend to do that. I’m old fashioned that way. If I see you on a daily basis I’m going to love you every second I can, even if that span is only 60 of them at best. You just get to know something beautiful about someone if day after day your brief encounter is just filled with a blessing in the form of a big, so-nice-to-see-you-again, friendly faced, “Good morning!”

(I will confess. I have never seen her face. Only that bun on her head and her big brown eyes from behind a mask. And when she’s not working? I get a little sad that I didn’t get to see her….I didn’t get to tell her “good morning.”)

I strolled home slowly and thought so long about neighborhoods, about communities, about how these people that I see on a daily basis all live here, they all shared that same eastern sun that I did, dazzling us with dew drops with the crack of a solar flare. “Brighten, I say! BRIGHTEN!”

There is a comfort a neighborhood finds in a familiarity with someone. And that familiarity is based on daily human to human interaction, no matter how simple or extended the interaction is. We need that as people. We need to feel that those around us (if not validate) acknowledge us. And in a gorgeous twist of irony, you learn that there is a more soulful peace in acknowledging someone else.

That kind of comfort cannot be found in group mobilization. The only rewards and riches that you find in life are found in a basic love in the familiar stranger you see everyday, the individual. Basic love: kindness and best wishes to a stranger.

And it was nice to smile my way back home thinking that everyone I met today agreed with that, voting with eye contact and a smile.

I bounced up those few steps, walked in the front door and Phillip was awake, getting ready for work, watching the morning network news.

The famous anchor on the tv blared warnings of racial division, injustice, and the fight for equality, warning me of the racial hostility that is brewing and shredding the country apart, pushing cities to the breaking point.

I closed the door behind me, walked past him, remarking as I left for the kitchen, “From the morning I’ve had, I’m going to say that man is lying to you.”

Because from what I’ve gathered on my own day to day treks, the media and society at large may be pushing us into groups and selling tickets to eager people who want to see us battle it out, but the majority of people I see on a daily basis are more interested in the promotion of peace through one interaction at a time, person to person, with only the best intentions.

The people I encounter aren’t interested in chaos and destruction. They’re interested in the absolute opposite: peace. They inherently know that submitting to chaos would cause peace to perish. And none of us want that. To keep peace from perishing, you don’t wait for someone to offer you a blessing. You offer them one first. And what better blessing than the simple acknowledgement of another person with a friendly face. Don’t know nothing about you, but I wish you well….Basic love.

Demands for outrage or apology on my part, will not serve you well. Because it is a beautiful day. Every person I connected with today agreed. By being kind to lives that we only brush by says so much about how you truly care about people in general. If you’re arrogant to the store clerk, but a champion of the oppressed on social media, then you’re missing the point of what peaceful activism means.

Yes, you can mobilize groups, start campaigns, build funding platforms to keep you employed as an activist, pay for lawyers, rent a sky high Manhattan office building, burn everything else down around it, then cry about how you need more resources for “awareness.” Or you could just be kind to the people you see everyday.

But, those are old fashioned ideas that will probably be socially outlawed soon.

Ya’ll go ahead. While you remain constantly woke, I’m gonna grab a teddy bear, plop in the grass, pillow the earth, take a nap and not feel guilty at all about being at peace.

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Siding With The Oppressor

Please do not confuse my lack of outrage as a disinterest in your cause. But, then again, do not confuse vandalism, arson, looting, shooting, censorship, or fear mongering as the only viable weapons of outrage. Simple, written words can be just as galvanizing.

I passed a shop window earlier this morning. The shop owners had scribbled in a hazardous, in-your-face font, “Taking no side means you side with the oppressor!” (I think they might sell $15 subs, or $15 pints).

Siding with the oppressor.

I simply must disagree with that statement. It demands something of you even if you don’t have a dog in the fight. It actually goes even worse than that when you think about it. The statement warns that if you do not take their side of the fight, then they’ll destroy you, too.

And the first thing you do is ask, “What is it I’m fighting for….or against??? Who are you, by the way?”

It doesn’t matter what the fight is. You are culpable if you don’t chose their side. You wanna talk about oppression….? Ok, THAT sounds like oppression.

I’m sorry. But, I cannot commit to a fight I know NOTHING about. I cannot commit to a side if I have no personal interest in what the fight is even about.

To my knowledge, the actions I have taken in my life have never done harm to anyone, my actions never enslaved anyone. To the best of my recollection, none of my actions ever imprisoned someone. But, I will take a low credit score for saying I’ve done all those things to myself.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I’m doing my best to make a few bucks off my hard work, pretty up my home, and spend a day off with my husband crouched between cushions on a couch watching crappy cult classics. I’m itching to find a moment where any of those actions or desires left a segment of the population oppressed.

As far as I can tell, none of that ever marginalized anyone. As a matter of fact, I’m going to think that old friendships between different races have only grown stronger since we were suddenly given permission to despise people publicly.

Like many people, I’m just trying to find peace in the simple things in life, hoping to have something of my own, at no expense to someone else, and due to no fault of another.

You’re asking us to give into an anger that many of us didn’t feel before…..corralling us into compliant camps.

And that pretty much tells me everything I need to know: your fight isn’t with me. It isn’t even with you….it is whatever oppressor tells us to choose a side and hate each other.

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