‘I work in the woods and I don’t socialize,’ says one Alaskan whose grandfather died fishing at sea and whose uncle was mauled by a bear
Good day, friends!
Thanks for reading!
Are you a parent at home with children trying to Do It All? Are you at the brink of eating your children just for some peace and quiet? If so, then Baba Yaga sees you.
Please enjoy my latest now up on Jane Austen’s Wastebasket!
Good morning, intrepid travelers of this strange time-space continuum!
Summer here reporting at oh, 7:15 in the morning on a Saturday (WAY too early for a Saturday, but alas I can’t sleep again, as I am going on day three of insomnia, no thanks to this wicked “wolf moon”!)
But I am happy to report that I have a new post up on Slackjaw that I created with Heather-Osterman Davis, titled Quiz: Is It A Global Pandemic or Just Menopause?
Whether that time of life is knocking on your door, in your house without a mask, or keeping its social distance, or even if you are not a ciswoman, I hope that this helps you know you are not alone in your feelings!
Well friends, it’s time to turn a page on 2020. Consider this a New Year’s Card.
The beginning of 2020 started with magical bubbles, sunsets and drum circles, priestesses chanting down 2019 at Moonlight Beach, and even inspired this moon-shaped poem. Then it ended with cataracts in both eyes and an “untamed,” feral family that would make Glennon Doyle proud.
In March I got to be a part of an amazing and highly acclaimed production, The Life and Times of Jim Croce. I was cast as lead (Ingrid Croce) and learned (I’ve lost track how many) songs on vocals, harmony, and guitar, a shit-ton of lines, and sobbed my heart out on stage every night.
On Friday the thirteenth of March, my husband’s birthday and the second Friday of our play’s run, we found out that schools were closing for the month while schools “figured out what to do”. This meant I was now at home trying to learn how to teach Spanish on Zoom to middle schoolers while schooling and caring for my first and third grader. (My husband is an “essential worker” so it was just me at home, with my mom’s help).
Because I’m bad at boundaries, I embraced the new shift as I do everything: with open arms. Being “open” and an empath means I am receptive to creative forces of the universe, others’ feelings (hence the ability to cry on command), as well as numerous health problems. My body is a dilated pupil. All the stuff gets in.
We are fortunate that our family, friends, and loved ones have stayed relatively healthy, although 2020 did not leave without taking my eyes as tribute. I developed fast-growing cataracts in both eyes and the ophthalmologist thinks it’s from my asthma medication (which of course I pumped up when I found out that Covid was a respiratory disease).
Remote schooling for my first and third grader, while simultaneously trying to figure out how to teach Spanish to middle schoolers over Zoom, was less fun than undergoing eight root canals (which I also did last year). I had to resign my position at one of my schools I teach at in order to have time to care and school kids. But I managed to hang onto my Spanish position at the Montessori, so I still have a foot in the door and hopefully something of a teaching career left.
“Zoom school” wasn’t working too well for my children, so last spring I decided to “nature school” them. We spent almost every day in the rainforest or at the beach, in rain, shine, and wind. Here is a poem I wrote about that.
Doing nature school and going “wild” and “untamed” meant that my children and I ended up becoming feral. I detail that experience here, it is all true. Oh, and my menstrual cycle is now synced to the moon. And so in my insomnia. And the tides control my feelings. Like I said, I am full of holes like Swiss Cheese.
My mom has been a tremendous help and the kids have been forced to learn how to get along since they pretty much only have each other. But it’s been up to me to try to care for their social emotional health by arranging play dates outside whenever possible, engaging in physical activities, and nurturing their creative side. The kids have been doing lots of art, reading, indoor rock climbing, swimming, skiing, etc. plus inventing their own “yoga” and freestyle dance moves.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though– it’s been sooooooo faaaaaaking haaaaaaard. One day I will tell you all about it….. one day…… let’s just say I’ve been learning about PTG, or post traumatic growth. One day, when this is said and done, I will write songs and poems and funny essays about it. For now, it’s all I can do in my lizard brain to write satire.
Poetry comes out too depressing, so this fall I turned to comedy to write my feelings. Does this mean that I’ve become cynical? Perhaps. Satire seems to be the best way to describe a world that has turned inside out and upside down and batshit crazy. Humor is a more palatable way to send a message that can otherwise be hard to hear. Also, I don’t think I am inherently funny, so even the challenge of doing comedy is absolutely irresistible to this drama-loving sadist! But so far I have five comedy publications just since November and one slated to publish first week of January, so I’m off to a good start!
2020 wasn’t all bad news– I won a statewide poetry contest, played lead in a highly acclaimed play, and had nineteen pieces published in various literature magazines. I took part in the Through the Cultural Lens class with Southeast Alaska Heritage Institute, and dove deeper into the fundamental question of How do we decolonize? — something I have always been fascinated with and continue to explore further. Watch this space for more of that!
What are YOUR goals or intentions for this year? In this age of Aquarius, NOW is the time for a great creative, cultural and social and political shif! The conjunction of Jupiter with pragmatic Saturn will give the earth energy enough to put ideas into practice! They say this hasn’t happened since right before the Renaissance! Exciting!
So what is on my goal list for 2021? Well, obviously smashing the patriarchy, calling out Western culture–you know, the usual–decolonizing, challenging white privilege (yes, me). Writing more satire and honing my voice as a comedian. I’ll be taking more writing classes, getting my kids up skiing, swimming, and rock climbing, and continuing to teach Spanish and remote school my own children.
Another goal I have for 2021 is to teach children how to process their trauma through poetry and writing their own personal stories. I have always wanted to do this, and I think our students need it now more than ever. I have been communicating with groups in Southern California that do just that and whose framework I plan to use as a model.
Oh yeah, and getting cataract surgery!
Here’s to manifesting dreams! Or should I say, womynfesting?
XO, and Happy New Year,
Writing satire has been a way of survival lately. I wrote this piece up a while ago and realized I better hurry and publish it. Perhaps tonight we will be cheers-ing instead!
Thanks to the editors at Greener Pastures for publishing, thanks to you for reading, and bottoms up!
Read Wines that Pair with the Fall… of Democracy here
Happy Halloween, witches and warlocks! Good news: masks are less dangerous that doomscrolling in the dark! (Hello, permanent macular degeneration!)
Here is that link:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?”
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!
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.
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.
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.