Thursday, July 06, 2017

Working with My Hands

I've finished my fifth book tentatively titled Breathing Just a Little. This book has eaten up nine years of my life, in the telling and the living and now it is in the hands of my literary agent, Chip McGregor and I am taking a break. This is laughable because I'm not the kind of person who feels comfortable "taking a break." I am a do'er. Go. Go. Always on the move. In between tinkering around with ideas for the next big project (do I work on the novel set in Italy in the 1900's? Or begin a new novel set in Dresden just before the February 1945 bombing? Or should I just do a series of essays?), I've taken to cooking. Specifically brining, and testing every recipe in this clever little book that features almond flour. I've made the chocolate chip scones, the cherry chocolate cookies and now the very vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting. My waistline expands but life is short! Grape seed oil, almond flour and agave.

Over at brining central, I've put up sauerkraut (this is surprisingly hard to make), and a jar of mixed veggies (below). There's something incredibly therapeutic about massaging salt into cabbage and then waiting for the brine to release. I cannot believe our ancestors did this and survived. I have yet to make one decent batch of sauerkraut, and it's really hard to get that much brine going. who knew?  Still, I'm sticking with it though, and making sure to release that C02 build up. By the end of the summer, I hope I've cracked the code to making excellent sauerkraut, and that I have made every recipe in my almond flour cookbook, that way, when the school year starts (and I get serious about whatever writing project I decide to tackle), I'll be a pro!

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Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Opportunity within the Reality of Trump

There is a site that clocks the seconds of Trump's presidency. Click here to see for yourself. As of this writing, it has been one hundred sixty five days, two hours, twenty nine minutes and fifty nine seconds.

I remember back to the morning of November 9th, and how I was so despondent, I posted this:

The Road is the Pulitzer Prize winning novel that depicts the world after a nuclear attack. The reader isn't told how the world went up in smoke though, thus my comment on the morning after DT was elected. Goodbye beautiful world, I thought as I stumbled through November 9th, because a sociopath like Trump would surely blow us all to smithereens and laugh while pushing the button down. In the midst of my sorrow, something happened though. As I went through the day, I found the colors of the flowers more intense. The air more sweet. The people I met more lovely and more precious. There was a profound sadness, even fear, in me, but I also noticed a profound awareness too.

Here we are, five plus months later, and a kind of cleansing has taken place, a refinement. I left a relationship that no longer served, let go of several toxic connections, and my bond to my children, and my most precious friends, is now a major priority. It's strange to say my life is better because the world is just as screwed up, perhaps even worse. Personally, I'm likely to lose my health insurance, and as someone in the Pacific Northwest, I'm painfully aware that I'm in the first strike zone for the missiles that North Korea aims at the U.S. Meanwhile my president is off golfing (for the 21st time), after endorsing violent methods for dealing with the media, and savagely attacking (via Tweet) a woman who hosts Morning Joe.

Those of us who have had bad fathers are pretty familiar with the routine of a guy like DT, and those of us ready to grow up and be the good parent we've never had, are being presented with remarkable opportunities to express ourselves. Because DT is so outrageous, so out of line, people who usually do nothing are getting involved. They are talking. Meeting. Writing. Rather than folding under this strange leadership, and falling silent, many, many of are standing up for what we believe in ways that we never have before. For example, Comey keeping his meticulous notes and testifying before the world, the Woman's March, and the We are Still In movement where American businesses grouped together to remain in The Paris Accord.

I think of the people in Pompai, or those wiped out by the plague. I revisit the horrors of WWI, and then II, and then I ask myself if our time is more intense than any other? Or is it more intense because it is now? That kind of distance helps me re-think my initial fear. DT is not the end of the human race. He's a former reality TV star, or as Obama said, "a bullshi*#er." Yes, DT is a painful, even frightening presence, it's important to remember he's just a man. The power he has is only in proportion to what we give him, or project on him.

I chose to believe we, as a species, are in state of intense evolution right now and DT is just a part of that process. Those pursing higher consciousness will be working that much harder to achieve self awareness. Those who are dedicated to evil will be stepping up their game too, which we see in the terrorist attacks, in the actions of the North Koreans, in the meddling of the Russians and in DT himself, where every day there is an occurrence more bizarre than the last. We are in a volatile tug-of-war, yanked from the dark to the light and back to the dark again. It's not fun, but it's part of the process of growth. The work is to stay with it. Stay present. Stay awake. Do your part by making the little adjustments you can make. Grow inside, and also step back to see the growth outside of yourself. It's painful, it's frightening, but it's what we are presented with at this time.

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