Monday, July 9, 2012

But, I Didn't Pinkie Swear

How much of what we experience do we have a right to share?  Or to put it another way
 I’ll keep your secret.  Unless it’s funny.  Or profound.  Or quirky.  Or sad.  If the personal revelation you share calls forth any of those aforementioned emotions?  Well, then, sooner or later, you’ll probably see a twisted version of the tale in something I write.

For me, this creates the biggest challenge when it concerns one particular person in my life.  See this person is funny and profound and quirky and, sometimes, sad.  And he has been very clear that he does not want me to ever use anything he’s said in anything I write.  Which, because I love and respect him, I agree to do.  But, I’m here to tell you, it just about kills me.  Just yesterday he made the funniest observation I’ve heard in years.

Which I’m not going to share with you.

Do you think God will give me extra credit for keeping this confidence?  You writers out there, how do you handle it when a person with whom you share an experience is adamant about not wanting those insights or feelings shared on the written page? 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fourth of July

I got thinking about just what we’re supposed to be celebrating on the Fourth of July.  The signing of the Declaration of Independence.  An illegal protest against taxation without representation. 

History’s a bitch, ain’t she?

I wondered how many of the grand thinkers and philosophers who came up with the bright idea of taking a stand for that particular cause actually fought for its implementation.  Turns out about half.  Fifty-six men signed the Declaration.  Seventeen fought in the American Revolution.  Five were captured.  Eleven more had their homes confiscated.

The reason this all came to mind is that, as we submerge deeper and deeper into the increasingly muddy waters of another presidential election year, I am more and more irritated by those who wave flags.  On both sides of the aisle.

  There are all kinds of ways to be patriotic.  And shoring up a fallacious argument by jumping over the cerebral cortex and coming directly from the amygdala is a time honored way to appeal to voters.  I get that.

So, I don’t mind someone wrapping themselves in the bloody flag to make a political point.  Except it maddens me when the blood on that flag is not their own. It pisses me off when the blood of warriors is called upon to justify what is simply a point of view and, not content to end the farce there, anyone with an opposing opinion is demonized as an ingrate not worthy of sacrifices of real patriots.

Our country is split down the middle with little common ground upon which to build compromise. 
Here’s what I think. 
If we want to honor those who fight in wars our government sends them to fight, let us stop behaving like selfish children.  Let’s reach out to one another, work to hear each other’s words, and find a way to allow the country we profess to love to grow and to find, again, a righteous path to greatness.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Southern Women

I've moved my writer's blog to  It'd be great if you followed me there.

This blog is going to become my rift and rave spot.  The blog is named Secrets and Vices, afterall.  What's posted here has virtually nothing to do with any of my books.  It's just a place to post observations and opinions and see what y'all think, hopefully get some feedback.

One of the differences between Southern woman and the rest of us heathens is that Southern women, as a rule, do not cuss and swear.  I mean, unless they’re fighting with a computer.  Or quilting.  During those two activities, all bets are off, but otherwise, nary a crude utterance will pass their lips.  Yes, there are exceptions.  A dear southern friend and I once had to pinkie swear not to say the ‘f’ word in front of another friend’s eighty-year-old mother.  But, by and large, woman from below the Mason/Dixon do not use profanity.  They especially do not take the Lord’s name in vain.

This is a challenge for me, a Pacific Northwest Redneck transplanted to Northwest Arkansas.  I’m telling you, it’s a hard and trying cultural adjustment. 

The worst thing I ever heard my dad say about a woman was, “She wouldn’t say shit if she had a mouthful.”  Now, I ask you, is that not a clear demand for a girl to call it like she sees it?

I phoned my sister the other day and asked her what she was doing.  “I’m standin’ in my Goddamn garden,” she said sweetly, “looking at my first water-fuckin’-mellon.”

I don’t know what to tell you.  It’s how we talk if left to our crude Yankee tendencies.     

The other difference between a southern woman and an old Humboldt Honey like myself is that a southern woman will hang herself before leaving the house without a bra.  Hell, most of em couldn’t be paid to walk out the front door without foundation makeup, eyeliner, mascara and painted nails.  Me?  I do shave my legs, though since menopause it’s more habit than anything else and I do wear a bra.  Though that last deal is more about the vanities of old age than a defense against a lynching.

All that said, my best friends in the world are from the south.  Nobody is better at wearing a soul to submission with pure-dee graciousness or knocking the argument plum out of a body with words sweeter’n tea.  I may not be from around here, but I am de-damn-lighted to buckle up that bra and censor my words a tad.  It’s a small price to pay to live peaceably in this neck of the woods.