Tag: writing

Jump Shift?

Star Womb photo egg21.gifFrom late January of 2008, I bring another of the conjunctive pieces I shall include in my book.  It was originally published at Docudharma.

This graphic is named Star Womb

Phase in.  Phase out.  Out of Phase.

Phase shift.  

Some people shift paradigms.  I shift points of view.  Sometimes I have felt forced to do so.  Sometimes I choose to do so intentionally.  Sometimes I have taken a chance at shifting willingly.

I’ve come to the fork in the road, so to speak.  (Insert Slauson Cutoff joke here)  Do I step on the transporter or not?  Do I scatter my atoms across the universe?

Mitosis?  Cytokinesis?  Meiosis?  

Will these metaphors never cease?

Respecting Gender

[I’ve been asked to repost this here.  I hope you enjoy it.]

Awkward.  That’s about the only way I can explain the New York Times article by Emmarie Huetteman and Brian Stelter, After Sentencing, Manning Says, “I am Female”.

It’s almost like the writers didn’t even read Chelsea Manning’s statement. which is somewhat odd since the last paragraph indicated that they were aware of the issue.

And what was the issue?  Chelsea Manning had asked that people refer to her by using feminine pronouns.  The Times writers managed to write about that while referring to her only with male pronouns.

I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years.  Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong.  I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to  defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me.  I am Chelsea Manning.  I am a female.  Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.  I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

–Chelsea E. Manning

Searching for trans heroes and heroines

In my experience, which is not inconsequential, all transfolk sometimes cringe at the way other transfolk express our common situation/predicament.  Some call it a malady.  Some have called it a birth defect, while others of us find nothing defective about who we are and have rejected that framing.

When people are fighting for their common humanity, sometimes framing is all they have which they can address.

Well, now there is a means for people to address that framing…to make a mark on the story of what it means to be trans.  

Chaz Bono and Janet Mock have had their turn.

Janet Mock?”, you query.

If you want your turn, pass to the other side of the squiggle.

1st Amendment, 5th Estate

PhotobucketThere is no revolution without winning the hearts and minds of the very people who must fight it for you.

It not only matters that the information travels, but in how it travels. There are those whose job is in the painstaking research, often resulting in books, if only the footnotes in the same. There are those whose job is in straight, “unbiased” reporting for mainstream publications, local papers or scholastic journals. I think it is important to continue to support 4th estate. Without your subscriptions, how can entities like “The Nation” survive?

What is just as important to remember? Most of these very institutions have been pressed, in the name of “objectivity” to abdicate their duty to report without actual bias. Facts seem to have a penchant for a “liberal bias” by undermining the propaganda arm of the Right’s agenda.

Worse yet? Disgusted by the right-wing bloviating as “reporting” by dubious “news” channels like Fox, the Left has become unwilling to OPINE. Edward R Murrow would be spinning in his grave. There was a time, ladies and gentlemen, to do as he did and call McCarthyism what it was, and there is a time, and that time is now, to call Assangism what it is. Both things are an attempt to prevent the dissemination of ideas, cover up wrongs and demonize truth tellers to protect predatory capitalism. There are now constraints in place, constraints created by the very entities that benefit from the status quo that are put upon journalists who wish to make a living writing.

That is where we ground-level writers must do our duty, and fill the void. We have nothing to lose, and must speak the things the muzzled cannot…. speak them until it becomes impossible for the MSM to not address.

Starting Over: Pontifications From A Nobody

Yesterday, I put up a diary at GOS decrying how our writing had become so completely predictable, so formulaic, so prosaic.  It was derivative, and it was funny.  But it was also extremely sad.  In many ways it was a commentary on the powerlessness of progressive bloggers: we can yell louder, we can scream, we can write explosive rants.  But you know what?  It isn’t changing anything.  And frankly, I’m tired of our dogged, persistent pursuit of something that’s not working.  And, I suspect, isn’t going to work.

Maybe you’re lucky and can write face blistering essays on this site and you can have readers tell you how right on you are.  How smart, how important, how clear.  But if you’re poor and without a job, or if you’re sick and you don’t have insurance, or if you’re running out of unemployment benefits and the next job isn’t in sight, or if your kids are in trouble and you don’t know how to help them out, or if you are overdue to retire and you don’t have the funds and have to work, or your wage slave pay isn’t going to bail you out unless you win Megamillions and you’re not too big to fail, or your kids are in the military, these essays aren’t going to help you.  Not at all. They’re just going to highlight how you have somebody’s boot on your neck.  And you cannot get it off.  And they’re bound to inform you, if you don’t know it already, about how very weak you are and how very powerless we as a group (I’m talking about progressives) remain.

Where Do Stories Come From?


A Social Flycatcher

One possibility is that I make up stories. I dream them up, I fantasize them up, I just make them up. They come from me, from my brain or my mind or my heart. If that’s where the come from, that’s ok with me. I’m convinced that dreams, fantasies, stories are really important, often more important than physical objects and things you can see, so if they spontaneously arise from somewhere inside me, and I write them down, that’s fine with me.

But there’s another possibility. One that’s more exciting. I like this other possibility a lot better.

I spent two weeks in Mexico, north of Tulum, Quintana Roo, writing every day. I was trying to finish the first draft of my second novel, working title “Tulum.” Where did the ideas in that draft come from? Did they come from me? Or did they come from somewhere else?

When I first arrived at Bahia Soliman, where I was going to write, I noticed a particular kind of bird that was very pretty, very unusual for me. It’s unusual for me because it only lives in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. It’s called a “social flycatcher.” I don’t know why it’s called that. Its Wiki explains all kinds of things but not its name.

I think it’s called “social” because it doesn’t immediately fly away when it’s near people. Or other birds and animals. That’s just what I think. Anyway, I was wondering about this beautiful bird, and whether it might be near me because it was carrying stories for me and wanted to give some of them to me.

Whenever I got to the point in writing when I couldn’t sit at the computer any longer, whenever I got stuck, whenever I had to figure something out about what I was writing, whenever I needed new ideas, whenever I needed inspiration or endurance, I’d go out for a walk. And maybe I’d see one of the social flycatchers.

I liked looking at this very pretty bird. Maybe, I thought, it was carrying the information, the story I needed to write down. And sure enough, after I went for my walk, I would find that I was able to continue to write, that I was able to go on with my writing, that I knew what to type.

This process went on for about two weeks. For about 15,000 words (I had a lot of words before I got to Mexico). And then one day, I thought, “Ah hah. That is the finish line, that is the end of this book, that is how it ends. I will finish this up tomorrow or the next day or the day after. I can see the conclusion, the last paragraph. Finally it has appeared. That’s where and how this book ends.”

After that I didn’t see any of these birds again. No more social flycatchers. Not a one.

There are a lot of possibilities here. Maybe it was time for them to move on to another place to feed. Maybe it was time for them to move west or north on their migration. Maybe they ate all of the bugs where I was. Maybe having passed on whatever information they had for me, they decided to go and help somebody else, somebody else who was dreaming something up. Maybe somebody who was writing, or painting, or writing music, or making something.

I prefer that they went on to help somebody else.

Wherever they might now be, I want to thank them for all of their help. But, I’m sorry to say, I don’t know how to thank them except to write about what a wonderful assistance they were to me and to acknowledge their help.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Writing, the Skill that makes us Human 20090911

Many lifeforms communicate.  Whether it is from pheromones, like the insects (and to a smaller extent, us) to verbal language, there is some sort of communication.

Other than the opposed thumb, the thing that makes us unique is that we not only communicate, we write it down.  That is a seminal difference.  Here is why.

An Epistle To The Dharmanics

Greetings from Mexico, where I am holed up in my secret undisclosed location finishing the first draft of my second novel.  I have been here for two weeks.  The book is coming along very nicely, thank you.  I will try to sell it to you on some other occasion when it is more finished.

I’ve been taking breaks from writing by swimming, going for long walks, snorkeling, kayaking, chatting with the neighbors.  I take a break whenever my neck and shoulders start to get stiff from sitting in my chair and typing or whenever I need an idea to move the story forward.  I also have been taking breaks by furtively reading this blog and commenting occasionally.  Which brings me to what I wanted to say to you, my fellow Dharmaniacs.

Have you noticed how very sad, how very down, how very depressed we are these days?  Every day seems to bring another reason for sustained depression.  Yes, we’re still angry about some things, but forgive me if I say so, mostly we’re depressed and sad and beaten down.  We feel, if I may characterize it so, as if we were thrown under a bus. It’s easy to understand why.  Is there a public option? Will the uninsured ever be insured?  Is there a prosecution of torturers?  Is there an end to the hate spewed by various commentators?  Is there more and more war in Afghanistan, Iraq?  Is there peace anywhere?  Can the President tell kids to stay in school?  Can the Congresspeople throw off their reptilian bodies and speak the truth?  About anything?  Forgive me for not finishing the list.  It’s too extensive.  And far, far too depressing for a detailed enumeration.

If I were in the US, maybe our rhetoric would still seem normal to me.  Maybe it would be more of the same, what happens to progressives when, having elected the president, they are unable to get his ear.  And why can’t progressives get his ear?  Let’s not unwind that all over again.  From here, in Mexico, what I am reading seems to be our lingering despair.  And under that, perhaps some seething anger.  But mostly, what I’m reading imo is our collective sadness.

I have no idea what the remedy for this pervasive malaise might be.  As Gurdjieff once wrote (pardon ugly paraphrasing), “This first step to breaking out of prison is to recognize that you’re confined.” So I think the first step might be to acknowledge how very deeply disappointed we are.  Maybe that’s a first step.

I didn’t want to be the canary in this particular coal mine.  But I did want to tell you about the fumes.


So I google myself tonight and I find my DocuDharma entry second only to my Cliffs Notes.

Not only that, but the two top image results are from What’s for Dinner.

Impact is funny sometimes.

What is famous?

Now frankly, I don’t often think of myself as famous.

buhdy is much more popular than I am and while he admires my writing on certain technical levels (or at least has said so).  I don’t like any of it except for particular turns of phrase.

Cheap theatrics I can teach anyone.

Fortunately good writing is the least of your problems if you want to be famous.

Persistence and Regularity

Whatever success I have is entirely due to persistence and regularity.

Well, isn’t that what you expect a writer to say?  It’s as big a cliche as thanking Touchdown Jesus.

Eat some fucking bran if you want to be regular.

Establishing a reputation

C’mon, let’s all take the Poet’s Pledge-

I, [the Poet’s name], do hereby solemnly pledge:

To be peculiar in the most unusual way I can cook up

To write excellently, or more especially to be known to write excellently

To master bards of old and bards anew, or at least never give on that I haven’t

To advance in gestures of my own and not in the stirrings of a majority, except where money is at stake

To be perceived as morally suspect, no matter what the truth

To sniff at adulation and pooh-pooh honors no matter how much I crave them

To obey whim and eschew duty, or at least appear to

To rove ruffian-like across continents of poems with ease, or at least make them think so

To engage in ridiculous arguments, all hot and sweaty for my own position

To be judicious only in the judging of my own merits and mean about the others

To die young, or if I linger, to be ignored and abused well

To write tons of crap for every good poem I do write, and obfuscate the difference with rhetoric

To suck up to important editors with honeyed words, and cuff the assistant editors often

To bemoan the sorry state of poetry in my country and do not one damn thing about it

To speak so incoherently that everyone thinks I am a genius


“Batter my heart three-personed God, for you as yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend.”

That was my thirteenth diary, not that you should be jealous because like a cesspool only the biggest pieces of crap rise to the surface.

Did I mention that only my Cliffs Notes are more famous than I?

Hornbeck’s character is static. He is as opinionated and iconoclastic, attacking institutions and firmly held beliefs, and he does not change throughout the course of the play. His character is also shallow and one-dimensional.

How do you survive?

Well if people had only understood how much I inhabit my character they would surely have strangled me in my cradle because I can’t dance nearly as well as Gene Kelly.

But stories?  I bang on the keyboard every day.  I average 40+ comments and 4.5 recs per (when I keep track of such things which I never do).

Attempts to silence me fail on the sheer volume of my record.

It also has this additional benefit which is not to be despised-

People know me and are interested.

On becoming the Paris Hilton of the inter tubz

Have you met my dog Frenchy?

Alas he has passed to a 72 coke bottle fucking paradise.

You can try Pooty Pics.

DD Writers Jam Fest: Mothership UPDATED FRI


We be jammin’ now, dharmanuts. Are you having fun yet? I am. This is my vacation. I know, I should Get A Life, but… heh. Okay.

I’ll maintain this Essay as a “Mothership”, meaning, I’ll add with UPDATES all day today, as Essays arrive. Links to DD Writers Jam Fest essays from Day One (yesterday) are below.

DD Writers Jam Fest… a five days Docudharma exclusive (!) Writer’s… uhm … focus group? no… er, Workshop? well, sorta, maybe. Free For All? hmmm, yah.

DATES: Wednesday through Sunday, August 12 – 16th, 2009

WHERE: Here, mostly, but also in your Brain, CPU or Journal

WHO: You. Everybody. Dharmanoids. Whoever wants in, jump in (as long as you play nice). You don’t have to be a “Writer”, no ID card or credentials art the door required. No Registration Fees either

HOSTED BY: moi but it’s a community thing

REWARDS? PRIZES? MEGA BONUSES? Er, no. Free ponies though!

Basically, the idea here is twofold:

ONE is… just write. Put “DD Writers Jam Fest” in your tags. You can also plop the Jam Fest image Banner into the body of your Essay if you like. Creative writing, or Instructional Essay or Op-Ed or whatever seems suitable to you. Have at it.

NOTE: Please drop a comment here to alert me if/when you publish a Jam Essay so I can link to it here.

TWO is the Round Robin.  The very first Round Robin is going on now! I’ll post a new RR for today in.a.bit…. this afternoon.

UPDATE: OKay so I spazzed out yesterday and didn’t post one. The All New and Improved Round Robin for today is now up. Come on over and jump in. You know you want to.

Here’s the links to the previous brainstorming, which might give you a little of background of how this Jam Fest came about: Part One and Part Two.

I’d like to add that Docudharma has some ongoing Series for writers (and readers) here … in particular, Robyn posts Muse in the Morning every morning. Robyn celebrates the Muses and encourages everyone to contribute their talent there anytime.  

Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?

~Alice Walker

DD Writers Jam Fest AUG 12 – 16: Part Deux


Hey who wants to work up a cool banner? UPDATE! Done! Yay! Thank you, On The Bus!!

Okay Part One of the brainstorming of this was here yesterday. I’m picking up with Part Deux today to give everyone a week’s notice in advance, and get into some details. Don’t worry, it’s not that big of a deal, it’s just my OCD showing. heh.

DD Writers Jam Fest… a five days Docudharma exclusive (!) Writer’s… uhm … focus group? no… er, Workshop? well, sorta, maybe. Free For All? hmmm, yah.

Okay the main thing we’ve agreed to do is a Round Robin.  We’ll see if some of the other stuff comes together…. it’s up to us, you. Shake it up in the comments.

DATES: Wed through Sunday, August 12 – 16th, 2009

WHERE: Here, mostly, but also in your Brain, CPU or Journal

WHO: You. Everybody. Dharmanoids. Whoever wants in, jump in (as long as you play nice). You don’t have to be a “Writer”, no ID card or credentials art the door required. No Registration Fees either

HOSTED BY: moi but it’s a community thing

REWARDS? PRIZES? MEGA BONUSES? Er, no. Free ponies though!

So what’s this Round Robin thing? Fun. Da Rulz below. Well. I forgot where I was for a minute. “Rules” are just the standard issue Rules of Docudharma: “be excellent to each other”. The rest (below) is more like Guidelines really.

DD Writers: August Online Workshop

PLEASE NOTE (update): This is Part One. We’ve moved on to Part Two here. Hurry up! 🙂

Docudharma has such an abundance of talent.

Writers, ring in, speak up.

I have a scathingly brilliant idea. (Uh oh!)

sick of writing Pictures, Images and Photos

dive in…

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