Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still, I Rise a poem, by Maya Angelou

 Still, I Rise
Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Little Time Away

I'm sending The Catharine Chronicles on a bit of a break for a while. I've started a new blog, that started as book idea, that evolved into a blog idea, that might again evolve back into a book idea -- who knows?

The new blog is called Please, Not While We're Eating

People who know me will be grateful to hear that I've decided to actually start writing it, since I've been talking about it for ages.

So, for a while, my energy will be going into this new blog, and into my efforts to carve a new life for myself.

I still love the Chron and the Chron is not dead.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


You have got to love the WayBack Machine, the website that taps into internet archives and pulls up old -- and I do mean, OLD -- pages.

March 19, 2003

My country went to war today. A deadline passed, a stand-off persisted, and then came the rockets.

If I had to sum up how I feel, I'd call it sadness. I'm so, so sad. I'm sad it's come to this. I'm sad that my feelings of overwhelming cynicism made me believe that it always would come to this. And I'm sad that so many people will not be satisfied, will not have had enough, until blood is spilled and people are dead.

When I was a child, I used to think that if we could just find a way to get out of Viet Nam, we would live in peace. After all, hadn't we learned our lesson about war? Now, nearly thirty years later, here we are again, sending troops to fight for something that vaguely resembles liberty. Something that's been dressed up in noble cloth and made to look like a noble cause. But try as I might, I can't see the Emperor's clothes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Emperor is, in fact, naked.

My country went to war today. I pray that things will happen quickly, with a minimum of bloodshed and casualty, and then we'll bring our soldiers home in one piece. And maybe this time, we'll have learned our lesson.

The right lesson.

The part of all of this is that kills me is that, once again, I thought I was being a little hyperbolic for emphasis, and, once again, my prediction has come true. We now know we will not leave Iraq soon, if ever. And we're tied up in Afghanistan for even longer. This will be a 20 year war, I fear, and that's just the way most folks want it.

Here we sit, seven and a half years later, having learned absolutely nothing. And I still feel sad. And I still feel like crying. Now more than ever.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Are We There Yet?"

For sharp-eyed, long-time readers of The Chron, my tagline changed when I put up the new website design. It used to be "Promoting Free Thought And Poor Eating Habits Worldwide."  Before that it was "Fiction. Art. Unfettered Opinion."

Now, it's just... "Are We There Yet?"

If you're sensing another one of my soul-searching moments of unrestricted ambivalence, then you know me too well, and we can't hang out anymore.

Just kidding. You can stay. In fact, if you try to leave, I'll have to kill you because you know too much.

It's been a while since I've posted here. But then, I don't need to tell you that, do I, dearest reader? I could give you a song-and-dance whine about being busy, or stressed out, or enjoying my amazing grandson... and all of those would be partial truths.

But the real truth... the bigger truth... the Truth that dare not speak its name... is this: I just couldn't figure out what I've wanted to say lately. I've been struggling to find work, certainly. That's made me busy and stressed out. And my experience as a newly minted Nana has been a lovely, welcome distraction. (He's so cute. I have pictures. I could easily bore you to death with them. So you'll behave yourselves, if you know what's good for you.)

I'm such a political creature -- or have been in the past. This blog has been, easily, 85% political, possibly more. I've also discussed my personal life some, though that's mostly been reserved for Naked Voodoo Chicken Dance. I've talked about school and writing and culture and society, too.

Still, I've been stumped as to what I could put here that would interest anybody besides me. Which presumes that anything that I have ever written here has ever been of interest to anyone besides me. Which is pretty damned presumptuous, if you ask me.  Don't think I don't know that.

I find myself at a weird place in my life. I have been desperately trying to get back into work as a legal secretary, with many prospects dangled in front of me. Sadly, all of them have evaporated, mirage-like, into the shimmering heat of the employment desert that is Southern California before I could wrap my hands around them. Finally, though, it hit me. If I were meant to do that job again, I'd have a job doing it.

I have finally come to realize, mostly by reading the blog posts and private journal entries I made toward the end of my tenure at the studio, that I was supposed to leave that job. I quit because I sensed there was something out there that was bigger and better for me. I had done that job for sixteen years, and done it well, and now it was time to move on and do something else well. Sitting at my little desk after the last legal assistant job fell through, I finally realized that the ever-loving Universe was smacking me upside the head, telling me that I'm not supposed to be doing that anymore.  I'm just not.

If I were, I'd have gotten one of the many, many jobs for which I'd interviewed.  Jobs that I thought -- no, that I knew -- were perfect for me. I tried to become an executive assistant at a company that fascinated me, based on what they created. But I would not have been creating. I would have -- yet again -- been facilitating someone else's creativity. And that's not what I spent the past five years training for.

It's been a rough few years. School, work, dealing with the sickness and then the death of my father.... I've been feeling a little tempest-tossed. It's left me reeling. The one thing I remember about spinning until I was dizzy as a child was that, when you stopped, the entire world looked different for a while. New angles and possibilities were suddenly visible. New paths opened up and became apparent.

That's how it feels now. I've been so stuck on trying to recreate the old me, that I never entertained the prospect that that me isn't here anymore. That me left a while ago -- probably sometime around the time I quit my job and my father died and I broke up with my best friend (within a two-month period). I thought at the time that I was simply overwhelmed and had no energy for drama.

I had to go through those things so I could find myself -- just last week -- sitting at my computer, realizing that the reason I couldn't find a job was because I hadn't invented it yet.  I hadn't created the job I was supposed to be doing. I hadn't realized that was my job, but it is.  The economy sucks. People who've been unemployed for over a year, people over fifty, people who left a job before they had a job... those people are said to be unemployable in this market. So the only way to get a job for me is for me to first make the job, then hire myself to do it.

It's been a long journey to this realization. It's taken some twists and turns, let me tell you. I have no clue where I'm going or what it will look like when I get there. I'm leaving Familiarville, and I'm on the way to WhereTheHellAmI City. I am both the driver and the passenger on this journey, it seems. When I created the subtitle for the blog, I'll be honest -- I had no idea what it meant at the time. It just kind of came to me, so I typed it without much thought. But now I understand. It's me, the passenger... asking me, the driver...

"Are we there yet?"