An excerpt from Jane is here.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
So, this family with whom I'm friends just all got their vaccinations. Both the shots. Of course, the first thing they think of is to go visiting their kids! But they're driving, so---I suppose it's less dangerous than taking a plane, as long as they don't go into restaurants. And guess what? I'm house-sitting for them!
They gave me the password for their wireless router, and everything. (Actually, I've had it for some time, because I've spent weekends here in past years.) The biggest responsibility I have is to look after their dog and two cats. I love these furbies, so that is not a huge deal. Already, these little guys are actually asking me where the regular inmates have gone! At least, that's what I think they're asking me. I must write a story with a lot more pets than any I have written. There's Lita, in the Helen story, but she doesn't really do much.
Before they left, my friends were all, oh, you're going to be bored out of your mind! I said no, what do you think I do at home? It's no different, really! And anyway, I said, I'm going to get on my computer and blog. The problem is, even at home I don't blog too frequently. I've been here two days already, and this is the first time I'm blogging!
By now, most of the readers of this Blog would have suspected that I was either an out-and-out lesbian, or bisexual. I never obsess over guys; it's only women and girls that catch my attention. Even in my stories, the male characters are usually older, and sort of formulaic. I think that, with a little effort, I could write in a male character who was a lot more three-dimensional, but it would not be any fun for me, and being so terribly spoilt that I only write stories that are fun to write, I would not probably write a story with a guy in it, and certainly not centered on a guy. (To my horror, I recall that I have started a story where the first character who appears is an older gentleman! Well. We must wait and see what happens to that one.)
Do I hate men / guys beyond salvageability?
I haven't written much about my parents, and that is because I'm incognito, and the more I say about my parents, the easier it would be for someone to recognize who I am, which would lead to furious and undisciplined second-guessing of the motives behind various of my stories, which is not a happy prospect. (But interest in my stories has seriously declined, so I'm going to relax my self-imposed discipline somewhat.)
Both my parents were awesome! They were literally awesome. Each of them was a teacher at various times of their lives, and their students venerated them. (I wish my students would even try to get back in touch with me, and at least say Hi! I guess it's difficult to get back in touch with part-time faculty, unless you really wanted to.) My mother was a lovely woman, but very reserved. But then, a teacher has to suppress her tendencies to being reserved, and be outgoing with her students, so that's what she did. She could do everything (except knitting), and she used to be a Girl Scout, and in her day, Girl Scouts seem to have done a lot more than they do now.
My father was a jolly gentleman, very outgoing, very generous. He had a great sense of humor. He could not sing as well as my mother could, but he was good at leading community singing, though he did not have as wide a selection of songs to present as my mother did: she had all her Scout songs, as well as church choruses, and a lot of songbooks for schools, from which she could pick out interesting and uncommon songs to present to any group. But it was always my Dad who was asked to lead the singing! So there you have the tragedy of our culture; a woman has to be beyond merely exceptional to be invited to lead any activity. I am far from being bitter about the limitations of our society; actually, women have been ingenious for centuries, to contribute to their local culture, despite the preference to have men do it. For instance, my Dad would come to my Mom for ideas for his sing-alongs, and she would help him. The sing-songs were always brilliant, and everyone was amazed at the songs that they learned, songs they might have heard long ago, and forgotten! But they were all from my Mom's song collection.
Reading the current rash of feminist journalists, writing about the psychological shortcomings of men, and the weaknesses of women who admire men, one could get the impression that the only right-thinking women are lesbians! This suspicion is confirmed when we look at some of the really amazingly feeble-minded men who are making the news out there. And not just one or two; entire states. For instance, there is a woman in Texas, who was released from prison early for committing a felony: falsifying tax records for a client. She was still under probation for that felony, so by Texas law, she was not permitted to vote. Nevertheless, she cast a provisional ballot, which was not counted, but discarded. She had signed an affidavit to the effect that she believed she was a legal voter. Now, the affidavit was clearly false. But she is being threatened with five years of jail, because she attempted to cast an illegal vote. To my mind, attempting to cast an illegal vote should be a lesser crime than that of casting an illegal vote. In any case, sending her to jail would be a punishment out of all proportion to the offense. It is all guys who carried out this agenda of punishing this black woman, while a number of white citizens of Texas have been given lesser punishments for the same offense (as I understand it).
Yet, all around us there are guys acting compassionately, justly, kindly, generously, thoughtfully. I never liked Joseph Biden very much, but we have to go beyond the surface. There were multiple killing sprees since Biden took office---I think about five---but he does not issue an executive order to confiscate weapons, or anything on those lines. I think this is admirable. I hope he is waiting for legislation. I think a law ought to be passed in congress that guns ought to be licensed. That alone might keep guns out of the hands of people of less than robust mental capacity. It might keep guns out of the hands of half the Republicans in Congress.
To get back to what sort of man a militant feminist might approve of: perhaps the days of "strong men" are gone. There is often a dark side to men who are forceful. Sometimes they are bullies; they are often stubborn, and they often disregard the thinking of women. I do not have statistics; perhaps lots of forceful, strong guys are reasonable, and willing to listen to logic from women. Once we eliminate the bullies from our set of candidates, and eliminate the guys who listen only to other guys, and eliminate the guys who are willing to take shady short-cuts, what's left are the guys with whom we can work, and of whom we can be proud. And hopefully they're good at leading singing, and their humor is not offensive! And it couldn't hurt if they look decent.
No, I do not hate men; don't put me down as a man-hater. I don't want to give examples of guys whom I can stand, lest it give me away. As I said, Biden is doing very well, and I think his not dealing with firearms with executive actions is a smart thing to do; that has to be done through legislation. Ideally bipartisan legislation, but, whatever.
It is sad that all progressive ideas have come to be labelled 'Democrat'. Once this sort of thing happens, the people must replace the opposition party with one more likely to keep the train of Congress on the rails with more reasonable brakes.
Monday, March 22, 2021
I really must get out more.
But then, I discovered Evan Rachel Wood! I have seen glimpses of her, acting in various movies and TV series, and though she came across as a singularly sweet and simple person, I did not watch these things for long enough for the actress to make an impression on me.
When I finished watching this movie, I was head-over-heels in love with Evan Rachel Wood. And more: she can sing! (Yes, I just discovered that she sings in Frozen 2, where she voices the mother of Anna and Elsa.) I don't know whether it’s brilliant acting, or whether this is just Evan Rachel Wood being herself, but that simplicity, sweetness and earnestness is the essence of the character she plays: Lucy Carrigan.
The story is, essentially, that a Liverpool child of a single mother signs up for the British Army, and then skips out when the boat docks in New York. He meets a mischievous undergraduate at a certain college, makes friends, and is invited to his home for Thanksgiving. There he falls in love with the sister of his friend, played by Evan. In my opinion, Matt and Lucy Carrigan are the most believable characters in the movie, and Lucy [Evan] far more convincing than Matt. In a sense, this movie, though it isn’t very convincing as a movie on its own terms, does a good job of representing various archetypes of the young people of that time. Evan does a fantastic job of playing the young woman who feels impelled to protest police brutality of that time, and the war in Vietnam, which was emerging as unjustified, and unwinnable.
The peculiar thing about the movie is that the characters were required to sing a series of Beatles songs that seemed to superficially express the needs of the characters at particular times. So the film moves along, quite realistically, until a situation comes along where one or more characters bursts into a Beatles song, such as, say, Strawberry Fields. At that point, the movie becomes unrealistic, but perhaps convincing in a sort of off-Broadway sense. For me, these moments spoil the movie. I could endure Evan singing her songs, though they were pitched often very high indeed. Evan hit every note square, and we learn that she has always been a singer.
She has been quoted as saying that she considers the director of Across the Universe, Julie Taymor, as being ‘amazing.’ Though there may be good reasons for this opinion, I feel that Evan is a particularly innocent person, for reasons that I cannot put into words!
In retrospect, I feel that Evan Rachel Wood might have been almost a perfect model for Helen, the central character in the majority of the stories I have written! Her features are very much in line with how I imagined Helen, but more importantly, I imagined Helen as being simple and innocent in some ways, which is how I perceive Evan to be, though of course we cannot make that conclusion without knowing her more intimately. The character of Helen undergoes surgery twice, each time losing her memory; temporarily the first time, and more permanently the second time. At the end of the saga (of ten odd stories), I depicted Helen as more Evan-like than ever. In addition, the artist, Halchroma, who illustrated many of the covers of the Helen series for Smashwords, depicted Helen’s face uncannily on the lines of the face of Evan Rachel Wood. I don’t know whether this is true, but she may have taken Ms. Wood’s face as a model! I’m not going to ask her about it.
The Beatles, and the Vietname War, the drug culture of that era, and the cultural upheaval, is an important part of the history of the century. Perhaps Julie Taymor set out to use the music (and lyrics) of the Beatles as a means for making that era accessible for younger people, but for me, the songs only made the story far more fantastic, and therefore not powerful from an historical point of view. Anyway, there are some good points to this movie, and you have to decide for yourself whether you want to watch it. It even features Joe Cocker in three roles, Bono (of U2 fame), and a couple more familiar faces I could not place.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
This is a lot of stuff that is all unrelated, but I'm writing it anyway, to support the impression that I am a real person, and not a robot.
What many people are preoccupied with---including a few of my readers, I'm sure---is the trial of Mr. Trump in the Senate. I'm not anxious for it to turn out one way or the other; if he is convicted, with support from the GOP senators, it would mean that, as a party, they do not condone his conduct, and the disapproval comes entirely from the Democrats, and is all political, and not just outrage that goes beyond mere anger against the Republican party. The fact is that there are dozens of categories of people who have supported Trump despite his actions, because he acted and spoke for a lot of them, in some ways that go beyond the proper way to speak and act. But these are the objectives that the GOP and the other conservatives wanted; they told themselves that they would address the legality of the actions and the words when it becomes absolutely necessary. But now, many of them are thinking: if we disregard the irregularity and the dishonesty, we might get a Republican president in 2024! By then, the pandemic would have been fought vigorously by the Democrats, (and the anger of any young fellows and gals who hate to wear masks will be all directed towards Biden, not Trump, which is fine, right?) and the Dems will drag the economy back, using methods that are risky, and which the Republicans do not have the guts to do, and if there is bad inflation, it will be the Democrats' fault. The GOP does not want to be blamed for anything; their coalition of quite unrelated philosophies is very fragile, and only anger against the Democrats holds them together; at least that what it looks like to my eyes!
It looks as though I will only get my vaccination by June, unless the stocks of vaccination doses pile up, and Biden and his team get impatient with the restrictions about who gets the virus first, and say: after 75% of the doses get administered on any day, anybody waiting behind the barriers, suitably distanced, and wearing masks, can get a vaccine, up to as many as are available. The main thing is that (1) the elderly in nursing homes, (2) service workers, e.g. police, firefighters, cafeteria workers, even teachers, (3) medical personnel, must get vaccinated first. After that, it pretty much does not matter in what order they get their shots. There will be plenty of those who do not want vaccinations; what are we to do when they get sick?
Tax returns are due now. I mean, we have until April, but we've got to work on them. Some years I get them done in a single day; other years, it takes weeks.
I did not watch the Superbowl; I never do. I don't mind football; I would watch it if my school was playing, and it was live. The game is really made for non-experts to watch. But watching on TV is sort of depraved, I think. I don't know what to think of this girl reciting poetry at the game! I think she's wonderful, but . . .
Also, the Australian Open began yesterday, I think (?), and I had forgotten! I used to play, but I'm terrible!! We have to pray that it will not be a virus-spreading event. (It probably will be.)
I wear my mask everywhere. I think I look actually a little better in a mask, in contrast to most people who probably think masks make them look terrible. Dear friends: if my request makes a difference to you, please wear a mask, and keep your distance from everyone who doesn't live with you.
Monday, February 1, 2021
This is not intended to be a political post. But I have been both amused, and bewildered, at the professed beliefs of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green. Some questions come up: 1. Does she really believe what she says she does? Or are these statements intended to confuse and bewilder her opponents, just to throw them off balance?
One of her declarations was that 9/11 did not happen. It certainly did, as far as I know; this one is pretty easy to refute. But what a foolish claim for her to make; what if those she sides with---the far Right, Trump supporting Republicans---happen to have actually seen the events of 9/11 first hand? It is pretty hard to hide a plane ramming into one of the tallest buildings in NYC; there were witnesses across the river in Hoboken, for instance, who saw the collisions take place. But there must be some really interesting conservatives whom she can persuade into believing Large Marge against the evidence of their own eyes. She sees Trump telling preposterous lies, and must wonder whether she herself has the talent to tell equally stunning lies! Are we doomed to be listening to lies the lest of our lives?
Another of her claims is that the Democrats---or at least some of them---are involved in child trafficking, and even Satanism. Then she supports the theory that voting machines have been subverted by the Democrats. Some of these are so wild, I have trouble giving them credence, but then I only know what I read in the papers, as Will Rogers (or someone) famously said.
The way to deal with these incredible claims is to (A) tentatively accept them, (B) verify the truth of the matter as quickly as possible, and (C) if what you thought you knew was in error, make your friends know the truth. If you had been right, make that known, too.
Kay Hemlock Brown
Saturday, January 9, 2021
For a while, I was most upset about the theft of the lecturn, until I realized how materialistic I had become. What a sad loss of life, in these sad times.
Of course, like many of my readers, I'm angry. I guess I was in denial; I did not see this coming. Some friends and acquaintances---with whom I should have kept in closer touch---had seen people talking about invading the Capitol on Facebook, and assumed that I would have known. Well, I did not have to know; I do not regret missing that horrible party; I would have ended up thinking of pulling people back by their shirts, but of course, I'm not brave enough to do that sort of nonsense. It went on for so long! And we waited in vain for security forces to intervene.
Meanwhile, as you know, I am trying to work on a story that is set in the present. It is about Helen's and Sita's first few years together. Initially it was supposed to be a romantic, lyrical story. Since Trump was in the White House, I assumed that things would be a little less than rosy, especially since Sita was still an Immigrant (in contrast to Lalitha, who had received Citizenship). But I never expected this dystopia. A better writer than myself would have woven the events we have just seen into the story, but the politics would have become more important than Helen and Sita and the children.
People love to hate poor Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. The people who do are either ignorant of the sheer corruption that the poor workers---many of whom are out of a job---who live in AOC's area see; or they are willing to tolerate it, for the sake of the system of oppression that they support. They should not fear; Biden will probably make only small adjustments to the system. All this makes me so disheartened.
This protest was in fact the Haves protesting against the incoming Have Nots, though the latter are not as penurious as to be called by that name.