Happy Halloween, witches and warlocks! Good news: masks are less dangerous that doomscrolling in the dark! (Hello, permanent macular degeneration!)

Here is that link:

https://medium.com/the-haven/quiz-are-you-ready-to-reenter-society-by-attending-that-wiccan-s%C3%A9ance-fa6b3c54db9f

Thank you to the editors!

Now that the High Priestess has declared masks to be safer than deadly adders, our sisters of the dark arts have resumed spellcasting in autumnal forests. Do you feel like you might be ready to interact with real-life, three-dimensional witches again, but aren’t sure how to talk to people after spending seven moons doom-scrolling alone with your cats? Maybe you have forgotten what your personality is like. Or maybe you worry that you’re so full of piss and mandrake vinegar that no one will like you. Take this quiz to see if you are ready to go to that backyard socially distanced incantation this Samhain.

After many moons of hermitage in a backwoods cottage, are you ready to see people again?

A. I would sacrifice a litter of kittens to commune with my coven sisters.

B. As long as we’re all in masks, because I am farting up a whammy from all these roasted pumpkin seeds.

C. Honestly, I’d rather get another Covid-19 nose-pap test than have to put on scratchy tights and pointy shoes.

2. What has been your interaction with society lately?

A. Attended a Witches’ High Tea over Zoom.

B. Broom shopping and takeout pizza.

C. Sexted pictures of my third nipple to the handsome warlock down the road. He didn’t respond, so I turned him into a slug.

3. What level of getting dressed do you still find fulfilling?

A. Long wool dresses and pretty hair and makeup because spiders do not deserve to know what I look like in real life.

B. Burn all bras!

C. I have banished all razors and am embracing my inner sasquatch.

3. Are you comfortable donning a mask in public?

A. I only practice safe masking. Cover that schnoz like a boss.

B. I throw cauldron keggers responsibly, with masks.

C. I will not live my life in fear, with the exception of exorcisms, Revelations, waisted pants, Ted Cruz, and Troll dolls.

4. Does your Tik Tok and/or Zoom of Doom filter look anything like you?

A. What filter?

B. Yes… maybe… ok, not really…

C. Listen, bitch, if you had baby gremlins mutilating one of your $35 lipsticks every time you went and made coffee, you would look like Baba Yaga, too.

5. How crazy do you feel right now?

A. I am managing my crazy with the blood of baby bunnies and bath bombs.

B. Bat crazy, literally. I have become a crazy lady with bats. Everyone was getting a puppy, so…

C. I guess you could say I’m somewhere between selling my soul to a dark force in exchange for immortality and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

6. Now that humans have also discovered masks, how will you continue to vanquish joy?

A. I will use remote online learning to create inert citizens that defund arts programs.

B. I will spread Covid to cancel trick-or-treating because it has co-opted the true meaning of Halloween.

C. Wouldn’t you like to know what I have up my black bell sleeve?

7. What is your self-care routine?

A. It pleases me to sow seeds of discord into America’s Egg McMuffins.

B. I have been eating off the land. Only what I can grow, gather, or disembowel.

C. Sometimes I become a fly and visit Mike Pence’s coif during the most televised and memorable night of his life, and whisper: “Remember our deal?”

If you selected mostly A’s:

Congratulations! You are still delightfully wicked and are all set to reenter into coven society. Grab a mask and a six pack of hell-broth and you will be the life of the socially distant backyard séance!

If you selected mostly B’s:

We might suggest watching a few episodes of The Witches of Eastwick to observe healthy communal conjuring before you attempt to reenter the midnight society of hags. Just speaking as a friend here.

If you selected mostly C’s:

We understand you hate humanity, and that’s totally relatable. Before attending that upcoming rune gathering, however, consider buying another cat. Call your sister (the one that still likes you) and Zoom bomb a board meeting. Haunt their dreams. Watch a few episodes of Charmed to refresh yourself on how to talk like a witch and strike fear into the hearts of men. Remember, the Horned God loves you.

Yesterday I took a slow, needed walk in the woods. It was slow because my eight-year-old walked behind me drinking his apple cider the whole way. (That was the only way I was able to get him to walk in the woods with me.)

It was much needed, because I have been dealing with all sorts of change/decision/anxiety-related fatigue this last week.

Problems no less weighty than:

How do I form a bubble cohort for my kids during the dark, wet, cold days of fall/winter that stretch on forever in Juneau, Alaska?

How do I keep my kids from experiencing the same kind of isolation trauma that was inflicted on me in elementary school and informed my entire life, that molded me to the adult I am who still deals with such demons?

How do I educate and care for my kids while working? How do I teach Spanish to middle schoolers over a strictly online platform?

How do I find a bubble that is small enough I don’t get sick (I’m high risk) and don’t expose my children to long-term health heart and lung damage?

You know, small, petty stuff.

While John Muir-ing through the stormy, windy trees under the slight pitter-patter of raindrops, I started sensing the bears lurking under the broad fans of devils club leaves. Without a dog, and just me and my eight-year-old (forgot bear spray—bad mom), we wouldn’t stand much chance against a black bear. Due to the wind storm, we were the only souls on this trail. And my poor little son with his stick—not much of weapon. I started oodey-ooping loudly into the forest.

I was also watching the trees closely, swaying strongly in the gale force winds, just in case one decided to come down on us.

In any new world—whether in nature or another culture—the only choice is to adapt. As the tree bends in the wind so it will not break, so must I. So I try to adapt by sensing with all senses— most importantly, my sixth sense, intuition.

With my senses on heightened alert in that forest, the most remarkable thing happened. I started getting tingles up and down my spine. The constant heightened state of awareness felt akin to that feeling of being high on drugs. It felt as if I was using more brain power. My body was washed in a feeling of wisdom and truth that hued green and the red like the inside of spruce trees.

But in the calm of the green woods and exhale of the warm wind, I did not feel fear. Instead, I felt a tingling under the skin that bloomed into my arms and legs and vibrated at the end of my fingertips, fluttering into my heart and lungs, and culminated into my head almost to the point where I could spill tears and cry out Oh my goddess, I feel alive!

How I wish that we as a culture we could vibrate at this level at this energy. To slow down, look, listen, breathe, and feel. To feel time more palpably than ever before. It’s like adding years to your life. But, of course, this totally goes against our goal-, action-oriented culture, geared towards rapidity and efficiency.

The best way to experience the wilderness is to have no clock, except for daylight. No destination, no goal of miles or calories burned. The only goal being to take in the green, wet, wild world around you.

The same could be said for travel. No goal, no check list. Feel the world with all your senses. Slow, stop, look, listen.

Feel the vibrations.

His hair is the same color as the bark of spruce

Goodday mateys! I’m excited to announce that my essay Alaska on Fire was published in the latest issue of the Hellebore, Black Moss.

An acquaintance called it an “insightful, well-written piece on last summer’s wildfires, budget destruction and the Tlingit idea of shukalxs uxs’— where the end is called back to the beginning”.

You can read the essay here: https://thehellebore.com/alaska-on-fire/

I have also included some stunning art by featured artist Reyna Noriega — in my favorite colors, rose and teal!

I remember when I was four. My favorite word was “poop”. I spoke too loudly and was still learning how to use my body. Sometimes my fist accidentally swung into my sister’s face. 

Are you still learning how to use your words, America?

When I was four, the universe revolved around me. With your recent petition to “put America first,” it appears that I could say the same thing about you. It’s all about you, isn’t it?

When you’re four, you can never have enough. More Barbies, more candy, more presents. More, more, more! Does that sound familiar, America?

It’s okay — you’re still learning. As they say, wisdom doesn’t come before age. But let’s look at Japan, whose been around for thousands of years. Look how happy Marie Kondo is! Less clutter, less stuff — just things that bring you joy.

America, you’re still full of box stores, billboard signs, plastic crap, and garbage food. None of which really brings you joy, does it? Although it does put more money in the pockets of a few.

Also, let’s look at France, another older but wiser country, whose citizens eat less, but with more butter and yumminess. Sure, you might have to take out a second mortgage to buy a pair of French shoes, but they’re made to last five generations.

You’re still a quantity over quality kind of country, ‘Merica. Much of your stuff ends up in the landfill. That’s okay — it’s a steep learning curve when you’re only four.

I wasn’t much of a listener when I was four, but I was creative and full of ideas. I even invented a computer! (It didn’t work, by the way). You are the innovative one now, America! The world is looking to you to save us all! You are the future!

I also suffered through nightmares when I was four. The world was a scary place! Do you have nightmares, America? What are your fears?

I know you consider yourself the land of the brave. I wonder if you have the courage to reject fear of the unknown and fear of the other. To choose love and compassion over fear. I think when I was four I hadn’t learned that lesson yet.

I know it seems like I’m throwing a lot on you right now. It’s a lot to remember, I know!

It’s okay if you’re feeling a bit defensive. Learning how to take critical criticism is an important part of developing a growth mindset.

I have faith that with time you will figure it out, America. In the meantime, happy birthday!

Now let’s blow some shit up.

Top of the mornin’ to ya, friends! You may have heard of The Sun magazine. They are one of the most respected and widely distributed literary magazines out there. Every time I go to my favorite local organic grocery store, I pick up a copy. I love their frank, raw essays and poetry.

The Sun has a section called “Readers Write,” where they ask readers to submit stories based on a theme. They only ask that the story be short and honest, without any frilly language.

Well, the piece I submitted in response to their theme “Boyfriends and Girlfriends” was published in their most recent issue (June 2020)! Basically the piece is about why it’s important to try to stay together with someone who does not share your political views.

Click on the photos to read excerpts from the story.

To read more of The Sun and Reader’s Write, click here.

To visit The Sun’s homepage, click here.

I am thrilled that my poem Letter to the Universe has been included in the latest poetry anthology out by Ukiyoto Publishing, Courageous Women: Handpicked Selection of Prose & Poetry.

It’s an honor to be included in such a diverse and multinational group of women.

Here is the link to purchase a copy of the ebook: https://www.ukiyoto.com/product-page/courageous-women-volume-i

Happy Father’s Day and Summer Solstice!

Art by Sharry Wright, Game of Clue Covid edition 2020

Humans have been naughty to the earth, and earth has sent us to our rooms. If my blog posts could get as many shares as the coronavirus, I’d be stylin’.

The house next to my daughter’s kindergarten teacher has put up signs saying THE END IS NEAR and REPENT OR GO TO HELL. Under those a smaller sign reads Glacier Walk B&B. If I can avoid either of the first two, I’m totally going to stay there one day.

The spiders have come out of hiding, and so have the people. It’s like the Fourth of July around here, except without parades. Even the most reclusive are reemerging, sometimes as The Dude in bathrobe and beards, sometimes as Mad Max in Burning Man goggles and Manic Panic hair.

My apocalyptic look consists of a blazer and penguin jammies—business on top, party on the bottom. Perfect for the endless Zoom meetings. I drape a wildly patterned scarf over my head and across my bespectacled face. Twisting curls of scarf dangle down on both sides like a Hasidic Jew. 

The scarf keeps unraveling, but I can’t touch it because my fingers have just touched the handle on the school door. By the time I leave school, my scarf has unraveled so much it has fallen off my head and wrapped itself around my throat, practically cutting off the air. This is the whole reason I am trying to avoid the coronavirus in the first place.

When the mask I ordered from Euphoria Festival Wear came, I figured I could finally nail this quarantine thing. I strap it on, and feeling like a boss dystopian fairy, march my sexy mask to the grocery store.

My breath fogs up my glasses, and soon I can’t see anything. When I take the glasses off to clear them up, my mask starts slipping. I heard you aren’t supposed to touch your mask with germy fingers, so I put the glasses on my head to pull out the hand sanitizer, causing my glasses to fall on the grimy floor.

When I bend over to pick up my glasses, my mask falls off. Here I am, juggling mask, glasses, sanitizer, and groceries like a Rube Goldberg Pandemic machine of what not to do, struggling to remember which hand is the contaminated one, which one is clean, and I still can’t see because I’m blind as a bat with coronavirus.

So much for protocol, and so much for quarantine chic.

. . .

About the artist:

Sharry Wright started making collages two years ago as a poetry exercise. “I was trying to write a group of poems as collages,” she says, “using a collaging method to generate them— and thought I’d try some collages that might work as visual poems. Instead, I ended up with these tiny flash fiction stories about my family, and lately with a pandemic theme.”

You can view more of her work on her Instagram page, link here.

Something stinky is goin’ down in the Prose Garden.

Maybe it’s the over-abundance of earthworms in dung-enriched soil, or pretentious hyphens.

Maybe you’re taking a dump as you read this. (Yeah, you. I see you.)

Maybe it’s that love is like manure: you have to spread it around so that things can grow.

Speaking of love, we celebrate nine years of wedded matrimony today. Fun fact: did you know that the word for wife in Spanish—esposa—is also the word for handcuffs?

As they say, life is like a garden bed—you never know what you’re gonna get. Unless he builds it like a brick shit house with dank soil and a kwaanza hut roof, then you’re stylin’. Thanks, babydoll.

I ended up with a guy who only knows how to build big fires. Who won’t relax unless he’s asleep. Who tells the best stories in too loud a voice from talking over engines his whole life. Who builds it tough or not at all. Who believes that real work is with your hands, and that they don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Nine years ago I left a good job in California & moved back to Alaska to be with this guy, this third generation Alaskan fisherman whose curly hair is as unruly as his personality. The day after I moved back to Alaska I got pregnant, and within the year I gave birth to my son, bought a house, got married, and started a business. My husband jokes that if I could, I would sleep in a coma for a year.

Basically as soon as I moved in with my boyfriend, I have been pregnant or with children. And as you parentals know, Married…with Children means mess and poop. Every iterations of shit you can imagine.

Don’t get me wrong—I ADORE my kids. As a friend once put it, having children is sort of like having an affair. The hubs gets knocked to the side (sometimes out of the bed) so you can snuggle and dote on your progeny. Hubs is replaced.

Marriage… with kids is stinky. It’s messy and effing hard, even when you have everything in common with your partner, or so I’m told. Ain’t no happily ever after—get that fairy tale shit outta your head.

It’s about trade-offs, sort of like balancing playdates and sanity with the odds of contracting Coronavirus. Do you want someone to bitch at every night after a day of work? Do you want them to bitch at you? Trade-off. Do you want to have someone watch your children for a day even if it means you might kill Grandma? Trade-off. Simple cost-reward analysis.

It’s taking a leap of faith & wondering the answer to what if. It’s jumping full throttle into a volcano & hoping it spits you out without too many gray hairs. It’s rolling with the punches, unless he actually does punch you, in which case contact your local shelter and get the fuck out.

You may have noticed that I have been throwing a few more f-bombs than normal. Honestly, how can you talk about the joys of wedded bliss during Quarantine without swearing?

You may have also noticed that this post has no point. Other than to say “look honey, I finally posted something on Facebook for our anniversary!”

So there you go, darling. A no-cheese anniversary post and testament to our love. We were crazy then and we’re probably more crazy now, except this time crazy doesn’t include hot motorcycle rides, reggae concerts, and copious amounts of [fill in the blank].

And that’s okay. I still love you.

XO,

Summer

photo by Fera Photography