Inktober 2020: Day Nine — Throw

Today’s word — throw — was difficult because my already unsatisfactory drawing skills don’t extend to comprehensible depictions of verbs. My first thought was to go with throw, as in throw rug or throw blanket, but I couldn’t see that going anywhere. So I pulled up the thesaurus and learned that throw also refers to a potter’s wheel. That option seemed much more promising than a blanket. So here we are:

 

 

Inktober 2020: Day Seven — Fancy

“Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?”

(Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, III. ii. 63-65.)

If one is a rodent, I would guess Fancy is bred in the better class of trash can. Remember Templeton at the Fair?

Inktober 2020: Day Three — Bulky

Having bulky come after wisp was a challenge, but I liked the inherent contradiction and the conceptual contrast. The art teacher I had in junior and then again in senior high school (Mr. Kinney moved to the high school when my class did; it was not for want of his trying to teach me that I did not become an artist) always emphasized the importance of contrast: “Lights on darks! Darks on lights! Contrast! Contrast!” — at which point, once, one of the guys jumped up and yelled, “Rah! Rah! Rah!” Good thing Mr. Kinney had a sense of humour.

Inktober 2020: Day One — Fish

It’s Inktober again. I rather hate to start with this, but I am aware of the controversy swirling around Jake Parker right now.¹ Mostly I agree with the Well-Appointed Desk’s take on the matter (see below).

I had hoped to have more time to devote to this year’s Inktober, to write Bridget’s side of the correspondence from last year’s story, but I need a less consuming project. So I’m going to take each day’s prompt and use it in a line of a poem (no, I’m not really poet, but I thought I’d give writing a poem a try), and “illuminate” the page in the margins as I go along. Here’s the first day’s line and mini-illustration:

Stay tuned to see if I can pull this off. I’ve already messed up by leaving out a word in the first word. I had to glue a strip of paper over the first line to write the proper version. Maybe I can blot tomorrow’s line or spill water on the page!

 

  1. See Teoh Yi Chie at Parka Blogs; The Well-Appointed Desk

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #9

Warning: This post quotes crude and vulgar language and discusses possibly triggering subjects such as assault.

This post is a little late because, after scrambling all Monday to get the garden ready for a seventy-degree drop in temperature, from dry nineties to snowy twenties (that’s Fahrenheit), by deep-watering trees and re-potting plants that need to be indoors and turning our patio table into a make-shift greenhouse, and then getting to go to the dentist the day after, I had a serious PEM (Post-Exertion Malaise) episode and staring at the computer was more than I could do. But here it is now.

Please take a moment to think about what it means to be “decent.” It’s a word, a concept that has been demoted in such a way that we tend to hear it as “barely acceptable.” It has become, at best, the faintest of praise. But it’s a word we need to restore to its former power. We need to remember how essential decency is. On that quality we found trust, faith in each other, confidence in our neighbours, reliance on the larger society, and conviction that our government, most of the time, looks out for the interests of our states and country.

Decency asks not just that we are able to trust others around us; it also asks us to look beyond ourselves. Perhaps we don’t feel threatened by a man who talks about grabbing women by the pussy,¹ who publicly mocks the disabled and is working to cut disability benefits,² but think about the people who have been and continue to subjected to the damage these attitudes inflict. And now we know that Trump was aware of how lethal and contagious the novel coronavirus was back in February and chose to let thousands and thousands die.³ COVID-19 is too virulent for any effort to have saved everyone; no one is claiming that Trump could have prevented every death that we have suffered. But the deaths — and the economic impact — would have been far, far fewer if the man in the Oval Office were a decent human being and had been honest about the dangers we were facing, and if others in the Senate and many Gubernatorial offices had not chosen to remain indecently silent.

Vote — not for perfection, not for saintliness, but for decency.
***********************************

  1. YouTube. Access Hollywood Tape. “Grab ’em by the pussy Donald Trump.” January 21, 2017.
    TIME Magazine. “Our President Has Always Degraded Women — And We’ve Always Let Him.” December 5, 2017.
  2. YouTube. CNN. “Trump Mocks Reporter With Disability.” November 25, 2015.
    USA Today. “Trump Administration cuts to Social Security disability benefits among the cruelest.” January 29, 2020.
  3. Maggie Haberman. New York Times. “Trump Admits Downplaying the Virus Knowing It Was ‘Deadly Stuff’.” September 9, 2020.
    Susan Glasser. The New Yorker. “Bob Woodward Finally Got Trump To Tell The Truth About COVID-19.” September 11, 2020.

 

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #4

 

Lamy Crystal Azurite

Vote to elect representatives who will end voter suppression and will support just redistricting. When we deny people their voice, their vote, then protesting becomes the only reasonable option.

Here in Colorado, we have new laws designed to eliminate, as much as possible, the partisan gerrymandering that has impeded fair elections. A panel of diverse members will take over the redistricting. We hope to set an example for other states struggling for more equitable elections.

  1. ACLU “Block the Vote: Voter Suppression in 2020.” February 3, 2020.
  2. TIME “Voter Suppression Is Still One of the Greatest Obstacles to a More Just America.” June 12, 2020.
  3. The Colorado Independent “The High Court punts on partisan gerrymandering. Colorado’s new redistricting laws could offer a model for the nation.” July 5,  2019. Also “Amendments Y and Z to take politics out of redistricting: Here’s how they’d work.” October 18, 2018.

Inktober 2019, Day Nineteen: The Oracular and Confounding…

Inktober Prompt: Sling
GoldspotPrompt: Heart

19 October, 2019

Bridget, dear Bridget,

You are ~ you always are ~ kindness itself. Even with our long friendship, I don’t know how you tolerate my moods. I also don’t know I’d tolerate the world without you. You are the one person who will never sling my heart around.

Dr. Torres seems genuinely to want to help, but she is Sibyllic in her utterances. The riddle is in the parted ash? What might that mean? Are you as confused as

Your puzzled,

Hannah?

Six Months

It’s been six months, as of today, since my mother died. I feel like I’m in a Greek myth-Freaky Friday mash-up: I’m Persephone waiting for Ceres to come back after her half-year in the Underworld. It ain’t gonna happen, but I still rather expect Mom to show up and want to know why we haven’t finished fixing up the house.

Oh well.

To mark the day, here’s one of my mother’s favourite poems, “One Perfect Rose,” by one of her favourite authors, Dorothy Parker:

 

 

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet –
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
‘My fragile leaves,’ it said, ‘his heart enclose.’
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

(https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/one-perfect-rose/)

Veterans’ Day 2019: Remembering All Who Have Served (especially my uncle)

Arthur Feiertag

To all our veterans, wounded warriors, first responders, their families, and others who serve or have served: thank you for your sacrifices and dedication. I can’t pretend to understand what you have given or given up for our country, but you have my gratitude and respect. If any of you care to write about your service, I will read your accounts.

Many years ago, I sent my uncle and aunt a notebook and a pen each. I wanted to know about their lives, to learn the stories they hadn’t told. My uncle had been trained as a medic in World War II (he went on to become a fantastic optometrist), been captured by the Germans almost as soon as he arrived, and, like many of his generation, had refused to talk about his experiences. I hoped a notebook might elicit some more of his history.

I didn’t hear back from either my aunt or uncle about the package until I was visiting my parents and my dad called his brother. And here let me mention that my uncle was from New Jersey, and he exemplified almost every stereotype about denizens of the Garden State that is known to humanity. Generally speaking, anything that popped into his head, popped out of his mouth. Once, when he and my aunt were on vacation with my parents, a tour bus pulled up and let out a group of Japanese tourists. In a move that made my father want to sink into the earth, my uncle took one look at the new-comers, marched over to the nearest visitor, held out his camera, and demanded to know if it was a good one. Fortunately, none of the group seemed to understand English — or my uncle’s version of it anyway — or were polite enough to pretend they didn’t. And now you know why my father moved away from “Joisey.”

So that day at my parents’, I got on the phone with my uncle, who lit right in: “LISTEN! WHADDYOU SENT ME THAT NOTEBOOK FOR? Nobody wants to read about my life. Nobody wants to hear about that stuff. Nobody wants to hear about…” and he then spent about an hour telling all the “stuff” nobody would ever want to hear. I was completely unprepared, had no paper, no writing instrument, no way to record all the personal history he rattled off at warp speed. 

The central story of my uncle’s war is that of his capture. It happened within a few days — maybe even the first day — after he was sent over. When he and the other POWs were brought to the prison camp, a British officer was helping process the new arrivals. When my uncle approached the table, the officer asked for his name, rank, serial number, and, as was usual then, his religion. My uncle said, “Jewish.”

“No, you’re not,” the officer told him. My uncle wasn’t stupid, but he was young, and didn’t understand at first. So he replied,

“Yes, I’m Jewish.” The officer looked at him hard and repeated,

No, you’re not. Lose your dog-tags!” That officer saved my uncle, and I suspect a lot of other young men, from dying in a gas chamber. 

I wish I knew that officer’s name. I wish I knew what happened to him. I hope he made it home and managed to live well and happily. My uncle did. (Despite his foibles, my uncle was a decent guy. He and my aunt lived a few blocks away from my grandparents, took care of them, raised a daughter, ran a business, and was gregarious and out-going.) He died a little less than a year ago at the age of ninety-six. I wish I had managed to write down his history that day on the phone. 

Anyone wishing to support and honour those who serve or have served might consider writing a letter to one of these folks. An e-mail from Endless Pens reminded me about Operation Gratitude, an organization that collects letters for deployed troops, veterans, new recruits, wounded heroes, caregivers, and first responders. Read the instructions carefully — there are rules — and if you write, maybe you’ll get someone’s history in reply.

Inktober 2019, Day Eight: A Possible Experiment…

Inktober Prompt: Frail
Goldspot Prompt: Vicious

8 October, 2019
[Yom Kippur]

Dear Bridget,

Your note urging me to relay my idea to you and emphasizing your father’s still-increasing requests for a sand-flower greeted me upon my rising today. Fortunately, my ideas coalesced as I slept, so I can give you a fairly coherent description of my thoughts.

I propose a test of sorts, a proffer of a partial truth to see how your father reacts. Perhaps it would be best if Dr. Morgan were around as witness and, if necessary, protection. My suggestion is that you set out on your walk, and head toward the woods, but go no further than the edge. Find a talisman of some sort: a rock, a leaf — break off a branch like the gardener’s boy in “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” — to bring your father. Return to the house with your token, and “confess” to your papa that you sense a fearful presence among the trees. Watch and listen closely for all the nuances of his reaction. Your father, in his usual state, might tease you a bit, but he would never attempt to persuade you to walk, especially not alone, anywhere you feel nervous or discomfortable.

I would that I could come, as you ask, Bridget. I am less enervated today — the absence of the wind helps — but fatigue continues to tether me at home. As soon as I can, I shall be

Your swiftly repairing,
Hannah

P.S. I meant to add that feeling frail can lead people to be vicious. I hope your papa says nothing to hurt you.