Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Why don't you smile more?

She was always my vocal ideal -- and, of course, very successful in my childhood. I'm seeing, and indeed remember, that she almost always had a smile on her face.  

On the one hand, I've learned in voice lessons that that facial expression is helpful for internal mouth position for singing, but, on the other hand, I think there's more to it than that.

I was recently watching an interview of Joan Crawford

I notice she's always smiling, too, and she's not singing.

I remember that my ex used to have a book called Saving Ophelia.  I never read much of the book, but I did read the cover several times.  As I gather, the book was about preventing teen suicides in girls.  One of the things that they were concerned about was the insistence that girls always be smiling.  They felt that the requirement to smile when actually you're miserable could be a contributing factor in suicide.

I've noticed a fair number of videos with male performers, where the primary purpose of the females in the video is merely to smile and look pretty, for instance:

This all relates to my earlier post about cancer and the positivity police:

As I've gotten older, I notice that my mouth has sunk into a natural frown.  When my face is relaxed, the corners of my mouth turn down.  I often get people asking me if I'm ok, when I'm fine.  I'm not doing this on purpose: but I'm also not feeling positive about the necessity to always be smiling.  Constant smiling seems nervous to me, plus it's a source of facial strain.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lies about the meaning of the colors of the pussy hats

I wish to address this calumny against the Women's March that the color of the pussy caps is racial in nature. The reasoning goes that white women's skin is really pink so that the color of the hat actually represents "white" women. 

This is going to be awkward, because that name for the private parts was not one I had ever used prior to this march last year.  I grew up with a sense of delicacy about naming private parts.  Only medical terminology was allowed in my house growing up: long, Latin & Greek root words. The word "pussy" and other slang terms were not allowed in my home.  Still, given that 4.2 million people were publicly using that word last year I've been forced to add it to my vocabulary.

Now as to responding the calumny.

First off, the color pink was chosen because traditionally pink has represented baby girls while blue has twisted baby boys. It had nothing to do with skin color. 

Second, skin is not normally pink.  Perhaps if one is over heated or sunburned, skin may be pink or red, or there may be pink patches, such as on the knuckles, but normally it's some shade of beige or brown. 

Now I've got the word "white" up there in quotes, because no one's skin is really white, either, unless perhaps they're dead, or very sick. 

I find the whole concept of people being black or white troublesome.  That's how our thinking is: black and white.  Our skins are generally not those colors. 

I'm including a picture of the skin on my abdomen. I'm not actually going to show the private parts, because I don't allow them to be photographed, but the skin down there is the same color.  Also, these parts of my body tend to be pale as they're never in the sun.

I've also got a white handkerchief and a pink bandana next to my skin, so you can see that I'm neither pink not white. The skin is not a consistent color, but it is predominantly beige.  My hands are a bit more colored, because they're out in the sun more.  But that region of my abdomen between the two handkerchiefs is the  relevant color.
The only parts of my nether regions that are truly pink are the mucous membranes, which are unpigmented. 

Now I have not examined the bodies of other women, but wouldn't they be the same? In other words, wouldn't women of other races have unpigmented, pink areas? 

I tried doing a little searching online but found no relevant images.  Medical images of vaginas that I could find were all of white women.  Apparently my browser is protecting me from something.

The idea that somehow the pink colors in these hats relate to the color of the body was obviously invented by someone who was trying to undermine the Women's March. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were Russian trolls. 

Moreover, there's nothing saying someone couldn't wear some other color hat. Indeed, many of them were plum or purple colored. If a person were identifying with brown or black, there's nothing to say they couldn't wear a brown or black had.  Or people could wear some other hat, or no hat at all.

It's sad to me that those seeking to undermine opposition to Trump by fomenting division amongst his opponents can succeed so easily in driving people of color away from the marches. I wish we could all be smarter than that. 

Still, it was white women who voted Trump in, so perhaps other white women are the best people to change their minds, so we still have to go forward with our marches, despite these calumnies about our motivations.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Racism destroys USA

Racism will destroy our country. 

Racists so hate Obama that they want to undo everything associated with him. They don't believe intelligence reports developed under him regarding Russian meddling in our elections. 

Now they're trying to go after the whistle blowers criminally. 

Totalitarianism triumphs so that Republicans can continue to please their billionaire donors. 

The tax law is rammed through with no opportunity for public input to benefit those billionaire donors and hurt blue states. 

The whole Republican party is complicit. The party of Lincoln becomes the party of fascism. 

Sinclair takes over local news. Despite clear monopoly effect, no antitrust enforcement is undertaken. 

Evil wins. 

Only four million people sign Steyer's petition. 

I feel such despair. Racism has destroyed my country. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Trying to write book 4

A big decision I will have to make in book 4 of the Elves in Detroit series is whether 2 major characters will actually get involved in relationships or not.

In my prior novels, there were always these romantic denouements, where characters got married; but that isn't my personal story. My personal story is that I've never succeeded in getting into a serious relationship since my divorce.

I feel that, in my novels, in some sense, all of the characters could represent me -- though in this series I thought of Laurielle as being my character.  She's an older single female with Asperger's Syndrome.

Still, I'm realizing that I identify with Billy as well.  Billy represents my rage, my bad side, even though he's a black, male child and I'm a senior, white woman. 

Do I want to pretend that somehow these characters who represent me in some fashion can just be married even though I myself don't seem to be able to manage it?

Or, do I want that to be left in suspense, or even precluded? 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Cancer and the positivity police

I think I feel good about chemo, because I can feel it helping. Last summer, when I had an undiagnosed tumor, I could feel that something was wrong when I was hiking. I felt more tired and depressed. I think depression is a symptom of cancer.

Two weeks after my first chemo, I could feel that lifting. The same thing happened when I was in chemo before.

I think this business about positive attitude helping cancer patients mixes up cause and effect. If the treatment is working, the patient feels better and is more positive. The patient who is not benefiting from treatment is still feeling down, because the cancer is still dragging on their system.

I find this whole positivity police thing very oppressive and abusive towards cancer patients.  Cancer patients should not be told that they are at fault for their disease because of their poor attitudes.  This is absurd and cruel.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

In preparation for the cover of Elves in Detroit: Book 1

This is definitely backwards, blogging about decisions about the book covers in reverse order.  But once I had done it for book 3, I thought that I should do it for books 1 & 2.

My ideas for the cover of book 1 were related to conveying the concept of having Laurielle build a miniature version of fairyland under domes in Detroit -- and catching glimpses of Detroit from that mini-fairyland.  Here were some candidates.

The trees in these pictures were photographed in the White Mountains of NH.

I drove around places near me to try to find row houses that would be suitable for conveying urban decay in my fictional Detroit.  Obviously, row houses in the NYC metro area don't look like Detroit.  That's one thing I'm realizing is that even in fairly unremarkable areas, the architecture is nevertheless unique.  Anyway, I created a google photos album with some of the pictures I took.  As you may notice, I ended up preferring one block in Yonkers, which had a particularly decayed looking building.  Here's the link to my album

google photos album of row house photos

I also found a couple of places in Harlem, which might have been suitable, that were interesting, including one building that was isolated in a lot, just like Laurielle's building in the book, and even surrounded by a community garden.  Here are some images

I ended up going with the one in Yonkers -- but, if this book gets made into a movie, This would be a great place to film

I also thought this backyard was promising

And this abandoned building

 I could go back and change the cover.  Kindle will let me do that.  I may have gotten unduly excited playing with transparency in my Sketchbook Pro program -- and let that get me carried away in what I chose as a cover.

I wanted to have a picture of Laurielle, but when I tried, that exceed my artistic abilities -- or so I thought, but maybe I could do something with distortion, the way my son taught me with the third book, to make her face so terribly thin.  This was as far as I got:

Principles before Personalities in OA

This was in response to a sponsee who wanted a sponsor whose religious beliefs were similar to her own

We have a saying in program, "principles before personalities." 

In this program, at one time, I had simultaneously a step sponsor who was a conservative, Republican Roman Catholic and a food sponsor who was a radical lesbian goddess worshipper. I've had sponsees who were orthodox Jews, Muslim, Baha'i', Hindu, fundamental Christian, and uncommitted. 

When dealing with the conservative Catholic, who wanted me to study the Bible instead of the Big Book, I tended to correspond with snail mail, rather than by phone, because I didn't want the proselytizing, and she didn't have e-mail. But I did call her from time to time, and she had the strongest program of everyone I knew. I stayed with her for seven years, until she had a stroke and couldn't sponsor any more. At the time of the stroke, she was abstinent 36 years. She had the best emotional recovery of anyone I met in program. I treasured working with her, even though there was the minor inconvenience of being told to read the Bible, which just wasn't program and wasn't on my to do list. 

I've had sponsees suffering from major psychoses. I've visited sponsees in hospitals and prison.   I had a sponsee who was running a donut shop while trying to work program. I've had to attend business meetings, phone meetings, and f2f meetings with people for whom the word "unpleasant" would be a major understatement. 

But I stay here, because I need this program to save my life. 

There is an important alternative version of the serenity prayer

"God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, courage to change the one I can, and wisdom to know that one is me."

This is about taking my own inventory, and cleaning my side of the street. It's not about cleaning other people's side of the street. 

I did grit my teeth a bit, when one Muslim sponsee told me she wanted to work to spread Islam in the world, but that didn't drive me off. I knew she was going to do a more palatable version of this after working the steps.