Category Archives: Religion

Dear Tom, I don’t see the point…

2015 has been exhausting, both for me, personally, and for our nation and our world. I’m plumb tuckered out.

I’m tired of blogging – an exercise which I suspect means little these days.

I’m tired of the publishing wars. Legacy publishing versus indie publishing versus far too many authors I know who are now poor as church mice, homeless even- authors who once upon a time, as in three or four years ago, made bundles of money.

Now me, I’ve never made bundles so I’ve never spent bundles. As they say– don’t give up the day job. Oh, a couple years ago, 2010-1013, the world was a much different (and more hopeful) place. I made a bunch. I sold lots of books. The life of writing was good and I felt inspired to write more and more and more.

These days, not so much. In fact, I find myself less and less interested in engaging the market, i.e., readers, and I have little interest in promotion. To be honest, I find it hard to muster the energy. Attempts to engage, attempts to promote, don’t sell books anyway. So engagement, just like blogging, is another exercise in futility.

But what about that pot of gold, you ask? What about that lightening strike? The newly discovered land? Well, I ain’t holding my breath. Never have.

You know, I’ve read those books – the strike it rich quick books – those books that have caught fire, those six-figure signings, and except for the very first book in the Hunger Games series, those six-figure books bored me to tears. Whatever it was about those books that caught fire did not ignite the fires within me. Couldn’t even make it through the first five pages of a couple of them.

BORING…

More and more I find myself buying nonfiction and re-reading my old favorites in the fiction genre.

But do I plan to quit altogether? Quit writing? Huh. Good question. Maybe. I’m working on a short story as we speak. I have a re-release scheduled for February or March. I have a number of books in the queue. Maybe I’ll finish them, maybe I won’t.

Regardless, I am convinced I’ll be appreciated after I’m dead. My stuff is good. Someday someone will realize it.

In the meantime:

I’m busy with family and friends. I’m traveling. I’ve got bushels and bushels of lemons to juice for lemon curd. I have to figure out how to halter break my steer, Hank. All in all, while my appreciation and affection for the beauty in life continues to grow, my attachment to the publishing world diminishes.

And I’m okay with that.

I miss you. 2015 was a sucky year for you and your family. They lost you. I lost you, my dear dear friend.

I look forward to 2016. The number fifteen has always bothered me in any case. I think it’s a bad luck number. 2015 has been proof of that for so many people.

Anyway, I’m tired– was up the entire night with a sick dog. No, not a kid although I did have a couple kids home– a sick dog. When I say the entire night I mean exactly that, the entire night. Oscar slept through the whole thing. But then that’s typical for Oscar. He sleeps the sleep of the dead. I wake if a neighbor three doors down drops a pin. Onto plush carpet.

The best blog around? The one worth reading? Marylin’s – Things I Want to Tell My Mother. Her recent post is frame-worthy: The Gift of Words. Go read it, you’ll love it.

All right, Tom, maybe I’ll re-watch the genius Big Bang episode (The Opening Night Excitation) and go to bed!

I love you, Tom. Here’s to the approaching New Year.

XOXO! Julia

 

 

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Dear Tom, We’ll call this past week The Week of Loss. Oh yeah, tomorrow is the 4th…

Not a fitting post for the Fourth of July but what the hey… I’m not feeling all that festive.

Mr. Robin vanished. Oh, I know well enough what happened to him. The neighbor’s cat happened to him, that’s what. Now his wife is left alone with four mouths to feed. Yes, nature (and cats) can be cruel, but still I am sad. Mr. Robin and his wife have been living in my yard for four years now. He was unique. Determined. Single-minded. I always recognized him with his silly macho Mohawk head-feathers. He was our alarm clock, welcoming the sun from the top of our highest redwood tree every single morning. The saddest part? The mournful chirps from his wife– two days of crying. I could hear every single chirp. She cried as she cared for the babies. Broke my heart.

Mr. Robin

Mr. Robin

Dear Mr. Robin, you are missed.

In one week, three people died– two of my childhood friends- one from previously undiagnosed cancer, one from a heart attack, and just yesterday my husband’s cousin died. All three died young, but due to lifestyle they’d aged well before their time. I mean, in one case when I heard the news I said, “Wait a sec… I thought he was already dead. I thought he died of a heroin overdose twenty years ago.” As you can see I hadn’t kept in touch, but my cousin had– She’d remained friends with both gentlemen. (This is what I get for avoiding Facebook. Never know who’s dead and who’s alive.)

My husband has a small family. There are only six cousins on his mother’s side of the family so to lose one of them is a huge deal. But it was not unexpected. The last time I saw his cousin was at a wedding eighteen months ago. To claim the man was in ill health would be an understatement.

He said to me, “I’m waiting for the big one. My life is shit. I am miserable. I’m in pain. I just want to die.”

My husband asked if his cousin seemed depressed. I said, “No, more like resigned, frustrated, unhappy. But no, not depressed.”

Well, he had the big one, a cardiac arrest in the field. Unfortunately he had no advance directive and when the paramedics arrived on the scene they resuscitated him. He was without oxygen for fifteen minutes before CPR. He never regained consciousness. Was on a ventilator. Again, unfortunately, the doctor treating him was very aggressive. Despite the fact that the man was DEAD he took him to surgery to unblock his coronary arteries, then he took him back into surgery to graft some vessels into his legs because there was no circulation (DEAD), and he wanted to begin dialysis because, obviously, if you’re DEAD, your kidneys aren’t functioning. Thank God he suffered another cardiac arrest twelve hours after the first and his son overruled the doctor and said, “Don’t do anything. Let him go.”

It was a difficult death because he was not a nice man and he’d been pretty much estranged from his son and from most of the rest of the family for years. But, you know better than I, death is the great equalizer. Happens to good and bad alike. We are very close with his son– my kids think of him as a big brother, so my husband and son are heading to the funeral tomorrow. They’ll mourn his cousin and celebrate the Fourth of July with family down in Orange County. I’ll stay home with the two dogs and keep an eye on Mrs. Robin.

Last week was a blur– we canceled a trip at the very last minute due to family insanity. My family. We were supposed to fly to Colorado for a family reunion but the hostess of said reunion had a major meltdown and I decided a cooling off period was required. Sometimes words/actions have consequences. The consequence in this case was a canceled trip. However, it was for the best as our youngest needed help making some life-altering decisions. She was supposed to fly to Colorado with us. Instead we spent five days dealing with some pretty emotional stuff.

Isn’t that always the way it is with kids? I can’t remember ever being drama-free. I know you know this, Tom. You too have three children. But I’m good with it. You know the poor young woman who was gunned down on the waterfront in San Francisco? Exactly one week ago my husband and our daughter were standing in that exact spot. They stopped there on the way to a San Francisco Giant’s game. This is why I say I’m good with it. I can accept drama.

Really bad things happen in this world, Tom. Oscar is pretty upset. It takes a lot to upset him, but the thought of a father losing his daughter like that? And knowing it could have been him? He’s not himself today. I’ll tell him you called me a ‘git’ and maybe that will cheer him up!

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Anyway, since it is the Fourth of July, or will be tomorrow, and since you’re English and I’m American, I shall stick it to you and quote some of the Declaration of Independence:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

Words to live by, Tom. Words to live by. Love you! Julia

The Siren’s Song of the False Narrative, or the Negation of Affirmative Action.

Rachel Dolezal and her supporters have just negated Affirmative Action.

If, as the construct goes, we are what we say we are, then anyone can be black. Anyone can use Affirmative Action to further his or her educational and career goals. A white man, attempting to get into an exclusive college that limits the number of white male students and gives preferential consideration to minority students, can say, “Hey, I’m not white, I’m black.” Or… “I’m a black woman, I just haven’t transitioned yet, or visited the tanning salon or gotten my perm.” (Damn, that Dolezol woman has a great perm!) “So let me into your college because, you see, I am what I perceive myself to be, not what society perceives me to be. I am not what my birth certificate claims I am. That is nothing more than a false, i.e., wrongly assigned cultural/societal construct.”

In other words, don’t believe your own eyes. Or science. Or fact. Believe me.

Because the truth is what I say it is.

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

If we are to believe the Rachel Dolezal is really black crowd then my husband should be considered for a head coaching job with the NBA. You see, he plays basketball with our German shepherd, who happens to be mostly black. And my husband beats him 60% of the time. Therefore my husband can apply for a head coaching position with the NBA because he can provide the following narrative:

“I’m a great basketball player. I play against a black dog and I beat him most of the time. My shooting percentage against the dog is impressive. In addition I watch basketball on television. Therefore I am eminently qualified to coach an NBA basketball team. Furthermore, in my mind I am a great basketball player. In my mind I was Player of the Year in college. In my mind I led my team to four NCAA Championships. In my mind I played on a par with Michael Jordan. Facts don’t matter. Whatever story I’ve made up in my head is the only story.” (Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…)

Back in the day, people claiming to be Napoleon were institutionalized.

Have you ever heard of the Jerusalem Syndrome? It’s a thing, I swear. Some visitors to Jerusalem fall victim to a religious delusion. They think they are the messiah or a prophet. Here you go, The Jerusalem Syndrome in all its glory: The Jerusalem Syndrome.

Here’s an analogy to the Rachel Dolezal saga:

Let’s say you need to lose weight. Let’s say there’s this woman who has promoted herself as a weight loss guru, as in she claims, all on her own, using her own unique combination of diet and exercise, to have lost three hundred pounds. Let’s say she looks terrific and she writes a terrific weight loss blog. Let’s say she’s been on Oprah. The Today Show. Good Morning America. Let’s say articles about her and her weight loss method have appeared in the New York Times. I mean, if she’s been in the New York Times…

Let’s say you become a client and you pay her thousands of dollars to help you lose weight. And then you, along with her other clients, discover she lost her weight via bariatric surgery, i.e., a lap band or a stomach stapling or a gastric bypass. In other words, her entire professional identity was built upon a lie. She lied her ass off and preyed upon your naivete and your desperate desire to lose weight to steal you blind.

Would she be discredited? Would she be sued? Maybe investigated by some governmental agency for fraud? I should hope so.

Rachel Dolezal is no different. I don’t care if she wants to be black. That’s beside the point. The point is she lied in order to further her professional goals. Her entire life was built upon a rickety scaffold of lies. And therein lies THE PROBLEM.

If we don’t have truth, we have nothing.

So there’s no question I’m adding a postscript: She’s frakking white, people! Get with the program!

Is this true? God.

The Future of Religion is Bleak – so says Professor Daniel C. Dennett. Read here: The WSJ

Well, I say he’s wrong, but not for the reasons you think I think he’s wrong.

Here’s what I think. I think humanity needs the numinous. In other words, I believe we are hard-wired to seek out the spiritual, a path, meaning. We are lonely existential creatures.

Now, if we don’t believe in God, in what do we believe? Because I think we do believe.

But we’ve substituted other churches and other religions for God.

The Church of the Gluten-Free.

The Church of No-Vaccines.

The Church of the Super-Foods (or to be more specific, my neighbors worship at The Church of Kale).

The Church of Veganism.

The Church of Raw Foods.

The Church of Psychics.

The Church of Astrology.

The Church of Meditation. (I do meditate but I also believe in God.)

The Church of Alternative Healers.

The Church of Herbal Supplements.

The Church of Dr. Oz.

The Church of Microaggression.

The Church of Social Media.

The Church of Neuroses.

The Church of Prescribed Pharmaceuticals.

The Church of Marijuana.

The Church of Bigfoot.

Yeah, we believe all right. I always find it curious that someone can believe in ghosts, in witches, in psychics, in faith healers, in so many intangibles and phantoms but absolutely cannot and will not believe in God.

Give me a good old-fashioned gospel choir any day.

Love this. Cry every time.