Wednesday, August 5, 2015

An Evenings Drift and Sag

The parents have closed the door an hour ago and I’m alone with the furniture and the fridge and the stereo cabinet, the color TV and the children.  Two little girls, five and four.  The girls have taken their baths and been prudently dressed in their jammies and put to bed before I showed up at two dollars an hour.  I have my homework on the table, 8th grade social studies and math.  I like the social studies, the math is a blank wall.  The apartment here is downstairs from the apartment where I live with my mom and my kid brother Dave.  Math will go on being a blank wall, it will always be a blank wall.  Someday my mom, the one who takes care of us,now freshly divorced from my dad,  will go nuts and put us all through it.  Someday my brother and I will go chasing after strange gods and we two, the most ordinary of people, will go on to live very strange lives.  But none of that has happened yet.  Right now I am here.

I pad down the hall in my socks to look in on the girls, make sure they’re all right.  One is sprawled asleep, tangled in her limbs as though she had fallen from a great height.  The other is pretending to be sleep, laying in a neatly formal way with her hands on her chest, breathing lightly, surrounded by stuffed toys.  I leave the room, leaving the door open to the hall light as I was told because the not asleep girl is afraid of the dark. I stand still and listen at the door.  In seconds she is up and about and whispering.  Oddly - both girls are whispering.  The sprawled girl, the younger one, she was awake too.  The older is not yet good at fooling boys.  Someday that will change too, though there is something here that makes me think she will grow up to be romantic and more fooled than fooling.  But this younger one is formidable.  A natural.  She will break hearts.

I go back to the living room, past my school books, because with the loss of my father I have already begun to lose interest in school and will soon begin to fail as a student.  Instead I pull out the book I really want to read, “Savage Pellucidar” by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  On the cover is a Frank Frazetta painting of a girl flanked by saber-tooth cats. She’s dressed in an animal skin bikini, with a small face, fierce eyes, avid lips and mighty thighs that are an alarm to cunnilingus but I don’t know what that is yet.

“ . . . O-aa heard a savage growl close behind her. She turned to see a strange jalok reared on its hind feet to seize her and drag her down. As she leaped, quick as a chamois, to one side, she saw something else. She saw Rahna spring upon the strange jalok and hurl it to the ground. . . “

There is this girl in the apartments where we live, named Dori.  I have a thing for Dori and I think she has a thing for me because she borrowed all my Conan books and took me to her place to see her pet piranha fish, Reggie.  The money from this baby sitting will purchase my first date with Dori sometime soon.  I will wear a blue nylon turtleneck sweater with a huge medallion to impress her.  Immediately after that date I will be dumped for another guy in the apartments, one who does not wear medallions on dates.

They told me I can drink anything from the fridge, but I’m afraid to. Being in an alien apartment, much more nicely furnished than ours, I feel like a thief already.

The phone rings and I put down the paperback and answer.  Its the mother checking in to make sure the girls are okay.  There’s music and people talking loudly behind her.  I tell them the girls are asleep and she says they’ll be back in an hour or so.

I want to hear music, even though I haven’t been given permission to.  I go to the big upholstered stereo cabinet and carefully lift back the wings to see what’s in there.  The turntable is above a storage area with a long march of record albums and something beside them.  I lift out the first album.  “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” by Herb Alpert.  On the cover is a dark skinned woman, dressed in whipped cream and a smile and nothing else.

Her breasts seem enormous.  I’m instantly tumescent. I can’t stopping looking at her and wishing I could bury my face in her chest and lick it all off.  I’m not sure what comes after that.  Or what she would want me to do.

Next to the record albums are a row of very fat slick magazines in bright colors stapled through the spines.  I pull one out. No way.

I have absolutely hit the jackpot.

Daddy’s Playboy collection.

This seems like a much bigger violation that simply checking out the fridge or the records.  I’m in some kind of serious territory here.  But the pull of the mystery within is unendurable.  Like being sucked into the fatal gravity well of a black hole.  Already stiffened and urgent in my groin from the girl in the whipped cream, these magazines have nailed my feet to the floor.

I flip it open to the centerfold.  A small blond woman, voluptuous with a gorgeous round globed ass with pale Coppertone tan lines; she’s named Sue Williams and she will commit suicide in four years.  She is laying fuckably on her belly which somehow seems more compelling than if she were laying on her back.  I want to caress her, cuddle her, kiss her butt cheeks.  Something.  I know what to do with that stiffness down below.  I don’t yet know what it means.  But I know what it wants.  It wants release.  That experience with an actual girl is still seven years away, in the back seat of my Dad’s Mercury cougar on a sweaty summer night, on a side street in the dark in front of her house (”If my dad catches us doing this he’ll kill me!”),which will leave me filled with excitement and then an odd lingering emptiness.


They do have a bathroom down the hall.

How long would it take?

I’ve just got to.

It has never occurred to me to do this before in someone else's house.  My body seems to move on its own, standing up, turning, walking carefully, the wings of the cabinet open, the magazine in my hand.  Halfway down the hall I stop and think.  How long would it take to cover my tracks?  If there were a rattle of a key in the door?  It’s the magazine that convicts me.  Nothing wrong with borrowing someone’s bathroom, locking the door, getting your nut off, but -

- the stereo cabinet is open.  The magazine is in my hand. How do you explain that to someone?

I am the Raskolnikov of whacking off.  I have tracks everywhere.  This is stupid.

I go running back to the living room, try to put the magazine back where it came from - will they know its out of place?  Are they in order?  What have I gotten into, will they call the cops?  Tell my mom?  Have to put it back but. . . I flip it open again and gaze at Sue.  Her nipples turn me to stone like a gorgon.  In another photo, that delta of body hair.  No one has explained the birds and the bees to me yet but I'm beginning to get the gist of it.

"Mr. Chris?”

The pretend-to-sleep girl is standing in the hall, rubbing her eyes.  “I want water.”

“Okay.”  She’s looking right at me with the magazine in my hand and Sue’s perky nipples bright as sunshine.  I close the magazine and put it back.  I take my time and close the cabinet wings, check down at my hard on and its completely vanished so I can stand up safely.  “Water, okay.”

“I want kitchen water.”


"From the bottle in the fridgerator."

"Yeah.  Okay."

I want to scold her for being up so late, but I’m so totally busted I’m afraid to get bossy.  I’m at her mercy.  I just get her the water in a glass.  “Good NIGHT, Tracy.”

“Night Mr. Chris.”

Off she goes.  As I hear the bedroom door squeak there is a soft rap at the front door.  I jump at the sound,  go to the door and open it.

The dad is there.  “You should check the spy hole before you answer,” he says.  “Could be anybody?”

“Yes, sir.”  I glance over my shoulder at the closed cabinet and furtive activities hidden within.  Little Tracy may have saved me from myself.  Unless she rats me out later.

Is this what my life will be from now on?


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Love Everlasting J.P. Bowie

I'm glad this fortnight's post is entitled first LOVES, plural, because honestly there have been so many times in my life when I thought I was in love, IN love, as opposed to loving. I have loved so many people in my life, some I am ashamed to admit had names I can't even remember,  yet when we touched, when we connected, it seemed as if they were the most important people in my life.

Reading Baldwin or Durrell I wanted my life to be like those characters on the written pages. Regardless of the tragedies that unfolded in those stories  I wanted a life lived in Paris or Venice or New York, anywhere but in the humdrum trappings inflicted on me by the restrictions of my birthplace.

Looking back of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with where I was born. Scotland was, and still is, one of the most romantic places in the world - if you can believe the hundreds of novels written by romance writers - Kiss of the Highlander, Heart of the Highlander, Embrace of the Highlander etc., etc... The covers of those books really do depict those 'Highlanders' in grand style, toned pecs, six pack abs and just a hint of a bulge behind that swinging kilt. Och aye, lassie, I am the verra one ye've been searchin' for a' yer life.

Ah well, I guess I missed out on that part of my life in Scotland.

Working in the theatre as I did for several years it was so easy to fall in love, however briefly, with one or more of the beautiful people who strutted their stuff on the stage. Actors, singers and dancers are special breeds, fancying themselves removed from the rigors of normal life, as if the rules and restrictions outside the world of the theatre don't really exist. Behavior considered merely naughty in theatrical circles might be viewed as outrageous in our stricter society. And here I was at the rampant age of nineteen surround by a smorgasbord of male and female beauty, the door to my own sexuality still open

But I digress, because the first time I fell in love was not with the blue eyed, sooty lashed leading man who smiled disarmingly at me during first rehearsal. It had happened earlier in my mid teens, and it wasn't a person, or rather it was an unseen person whose voice I fell in love as it flowed like liquid honey from the speaker of our old family radio.

The song was Everytime We Say Goodbye. I'd learn later it was written by Cole Porter, but it was the way in which the words were sung that captivated me and had me hanging on every note, every nuance of tone and phrasing. To my ears, unpolished, unsophisticated as yet and unused to hearing such beauty in the age of raucous rock'n'roll this amazing voice was a revelation. I had never heard anything quite like it, and I was instantly in love. Fortunately I was home alone so there was no one there to witness me pressing my ear to the speaker in order to catch every dulcet, perfectly shaped syllable and heart stopping purity of sound.

At fifteen, perhaps the words shouldn't have meant as much to me as they did, and maybe sung by anyone else they wouldn't, but right then, listening to this love song, I think the romantic in me was born.

"There's no love song finer,
But how strange the change,
From major to minor,
Everytime we say goodbye..."

The singer was Ella Fitzgerald and right there I began a life long  love affair with her that some might say bordered on the obsessive. "Better shut up," friends would say, "Ella's on." And it was true to the point of rudeness. Anyone's conversation would fade into the background as that beautiful voice caressed my senses and commanded all my attention.

And to this day, she still does. During all the years of falling in and out of love with more people than I care to mention, she remained my one constant. I could rely on Ella  to bring me joy when I was down, solace when I was lonely, and the most romantic mood music when I was... well, I'll leave that to your imaginations.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Love of My Life

By Lisabet Sarai

I figure my parents must have started teaching me to read when I was four. Certainly I remember my pride when at the age of five, I could make it all the way through Dick, Jane and Sally on my own. Even before then, my dad and mom read aloud to my brother and me, not just stories but poetry, too. Words—beautiful, lively, evocative words—were a part of my earliest experience.

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat.
They took some money and plenty of honey
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up at the stars above
And sang to a small guitar.
Oh beautiful Pussy, oh Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are,
What a beautiful pussy you are.

That’s from memory, laid down close to sixty years ago.

By the time I was six, I had a library card. I read whatever I could get my hands on, diving into alternative literary worlds that seemed at least as real as the one in which I lived. I remember the Mushroom Planet books by Eleanor Cameron haunted me. Then there was book entitled The City Under the Back Steps (now out of print, apparently), a cautionary tale about girl who’s shrunk and imprisoned in an ant colony as punishment for her deliberate squashing of the ants on her back walk. That (obviously) made a huge impression on me—and I learned a lot about ants. A few years on, I was devouring Nancy Drew mysteries, practicing to improve my powers of observation and imagining myself as a clever detective, and a series called Childhood of Famous Americans, bios of people like Sacajawea, Betsy Ross, Helen Keller and Juliet Lowe. (According to Amazon, this series is still alive and well. It now includes the likes of Neil Armstrong and, heaven help us, Ronald Reagan!)

Science fiction—Heinlein, Bradbury, Asimov—came a bit later. I read the Foundation Trilogy in junior high school and was sufficiently influenced by those books that I actually called a local talk show to ask Isaac Asimov a question. Before you shrug and say “so what?”, you should know that I was pathologically shy at that point and would do anything to avoid using the telephone. (Remind me to tell you the lost library book story some time.) My passion for his story overcame my terror. (As it turned out, he was rude and dismissive. I was crushed.)

Another milestone I recall was The Count of Monte Cristo, at 1100+ pages the longest book I’d ever read. That was in 8th grade. And Gone with the Wind—when would that have been? Probably around the same time. All I know is that I cried at the end, devastated that Scarlet’s blindness and pride had robbed her of Rhett’s love. Meanwhile, Stranger in a Strange Land, also consumed during my mid-teens, had a huge impact on my imagination and my developing sexuality. I’m certain my tendencies toward polyamory can be traced to the Valentine Michael Smith’s “sharing water”.

For years, I spent my afternoons sprawled on my bed with nose in a book, as my mother would say. She would prod me to get up, go outside, get some fresh air, play with friends. I far preferred the company of the characters in my most recent read to the kids in my suburban neighborhood. Sherlock Holmes—Catherine and Heathcliff—Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester—Frodo and Gandalf—Captain Nemo—the eponymous Rebecca in Daphne Du Maurier’s tale and “She” who must be obeyed, in H. Rider Haggard’s classic—there weren’t enough hours in the day to spend with them, as far as I was concerned. Reading let me explore ancient Egypt, classical Greece, medieval France and Celtic Britain, wandering in both space and time. How could the backyard or the local mall compete?

I have vivid recollections of many wonderful books, up until my late teens. Anorexia really messed up my memory, perhaps due to a lack of nutrients. Or maybe my mental abilities were impaired by the anti-depressants I took regularly for several years. Certainly I read voraciously while I was bouncing around from one hospital or temporary home to another. What else was I going to do? Dropped out of college, estranged from my family, suspicious of all the people who wanted me to eat, torn by anxiety and self-disgust, I took refuge in books. I hardly recall anything I read, however, though for some reason I know The Brothers Karamazov was on the list. Or maybe Crime and Punishment? It’s all a blur.

I hadn’t really read much erotica until I got involved with the man I call my master, while I was in grad school. He assigned me various texts: The Story of O, of course, and Anne Rice’s Beauty Trilogy, for a start. I discovered Victorian porn, The Pearl, My Secret Life and Laura, a book I’ve discussed here in the past which might not be Victorian at all, but which had a profound emotional and erotic effect on me.

Then in 1998, I happened on a used copy of Portia da Costa’s debut Black Lace book, Gemini Heat, which inspired me to pen my own first novel, and changed my life.

Since then I’ve consumed enormous quantities of erotica, as a reviewer, an editor, and just for fun. My reading tastes remain catholic, however. Usually I’ll have several books in process, at least one of which will not be erotic. Currently I’m reading The Echo Maker by Richard Powers, a literary novel about family and neurophysiology; Carousel by Aurelia T. Evans, which I guess would be categorized as kinky erotic horror; Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians, by Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons (though I’ve gotten bogged down in this and haven’t opened it for months); and Sexual Outsiders: Understanding BDSM Sexualities and Communities, by David A. Ortmann and Richard A. Sprott. I still adore a solid science fiction tale; The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Baccigalupi and Anathem by Neal Stephenson are highlights from recent years, enthusiastically recommended. Well-written historical fiction can still sweep me away, too, though I was a bit disappointed by my recent read of Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies.

In short, reading is my first and perhaps my most enduring love. The pleasure I’ve experienced writing this post, remembering my favorite books and reliving my first encounters with them, recalls the secret glow I feel after a night of erotic pleasure. Lovers come and gosexual need fades with age—but books will always be there, or so I pray.

When I imagine my future, I see myself, perhaps infirm, perhaps indigent, even alone, but still reading. Without books, I wonder if life would be worth living.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Knock on the Door

by Jean Roberta

It could happen to almost anyone, and it has. If you know something that the establishment wants buried, or you’ve broken a tradition by belonging to the "wrong" demographic, or you’ve signed a petition, they could come to take you away. “They” could be police or members of the military in uniform, or they could be “health” workers in white coats, or they could be thugs waiting in the shadows on a dark street.

“You won’t see it coming,” says my spouse, a survivor of the military takeover of Chile on September 11, 1973. The government had been elected by a popular vote, and much of the population was highly educated. The arts were revered, and leftist thought was part of the culture. The nation, somewhat like a Spanish-speaking (or more Spanish-speaking) version of California, had never been a Banana Republic like the small countries of Central America.

Augusto Pinochet, a member of the military, didn’t seem likely to replace the elected President and run the country as a dictator. Until he did.

Germany was a fairly enlightened place between approximately 1750 and 1930. Liberal-humanism and the romantic movement in literature were well underway there before they reached England. Antisemitism was a kind of stubborn medieval Christian prejudice that lingered on in most European countries, but no one seemed to suspect that Germany in the twentieth century would become notorious as the birthplace of the systematic massacre that came to be known as the Holocaust.

Muslims and Hindus were spread throughout India before 1947, and the chaos that came to be called Partition. Some Indian writers even wrote philosophical works showing that Hinduism and Islam were very compatible. Then the nation gained its independence from Britain, and the bigots ruled. Overnight, families who had lived in India for generations were told to go “home” to Pakistan (East or West) because they were Muslim, and therefore not truly Indian. Hindus in Muslim territory were treated the same way. One unfortunate man who still lived in India during Partition was told that as a Muslim, he was no longer an Indian citizen, so he was sent to Pakistan. The Pakistani government claimed he was Indian, and they deported him back. He was fined and imprisoned for being in the “wrong” place as both governments deported him back and forth for years.

Most of the millions of people (mostly women) who were convicted of “witchcraft” probably weren’t guilty of anything. At worst, they might have used some herbal cures for common ailments instead of relying on prayer alone. They probably didn’t foresee the Inquisition, even after the Pope issued a Papal Bull (in Latin, of course) on “un-Christian” behaviour in the 1480s.

I fear political and social cataclysms even more than I fear natural disasters. As a child in the U.S. during the Red Scare of the 1950s, I learned how whole populations can be made paranoid, afraid of something that isn’t real, or that they don’t understand. None of my classmates seemed to know what “Communism” was except that it was the boogeyman, and it was threatening our “free country.” Academics like my parents were suspected of being Communists because they read too many books, and spread ideas like viruses.

My spouse warns me not to sign on-line petitions, including several current ones about the American dentist who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The petitions call for him to be charged with a crime, and/or for the laws about this kind of thing to be tightened. This seems logical to me. Would the Canadian government hunt me for opposing big-game hunters who kill endangered species for sport? It’s possible.

Under the current right-wing government of Canada, a recent bill was passed into law making it possible to revoke the Canadian citizenship and deport anyone who was born outside of Canada and who engages in “terrorism,” widely defined. Word on the street is that this law is aimed at environmentalists, who throw monkey wrenches in the big machinery of corporations with big plans to accelerate the selling of natural resources. I haven’t been highly visible in protests and demonstrations (including the current “Shell No”’ campaign to prevent Shell Oil from drilling in the Arctic Sea and further polluting the world’s oceans). If anything, I haven’t been active enough when the fate of the planet is at stake.

But I know from experience that I don’t even have to actively oppose the current establishment to be labelled a problem.

In my nightmares, a SWAT team in riot gear breaks down the door of my house to haul me out of bed and take me away. If I ask what I’m charged with, the enforcers of the law seem outraged that I think I have the right to ask questions. As representatives of the government in power, they can do anything to me – even make me “disappear.” Realistically, who could stop them?

I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Way It Feels At the End

by Annabeth Leong

Angst - (in Existentialist philosophy) the dread caused by man's awareness that his future is not determined but must be freely chosen

This is an excerpt from an unpublished early erotic story of mine, “The Way It Feels At the End.” The main characters, Siri and Liz, can’t get over their angst about the events of Siri’s drunken binge a year ago.


Siri ran her fingers down Liz’s now-naked calves, a light layer of stubble roughening the smooth curve of the muscle. She wanted to put every part of her lover in her mouth, but had refrained in the past from paying too much attention in odd places. Now, she swirled her tongue over the back of Liz’s knee, and pressed her lips to the swell of the calf muscle and sucked hard.

Liz swayed, gripping the shower curtain rod with one hand and a shelf with the other. Siri looked up. “Don’t move. Stay just like that.”

She rose to her feet, stretching the stockings out so they weren’t lumps anymore. “I’ve heard we should have some word to say in case something goes wrong and you want me to stop.”

“How about ‘tequila?’” Liz said, raising an eyebrow.

Siri dropped her gaze. “It fits,” she said, and busied herself with attaching Liz’s wrists to the bathroom fixtures. When she’d finished, she stepped back to look at her lover. Her chest felt contracted from the reproach in Liz’s choice of safeword. Still avoiding Liz’s eyes, Siri unbuttoned her lover’s shirt, tucking it open and watching the water hit her nipples. She pulled off Liz’s skirt and panties and dropped them on the bathroom floor outside the shower stall.

Then Siri stepped back and stared at the body that had been her object of desire for some seven years now. She knew the trail of beauty marks that went down Liz’s left shoulder. She knew how she’d gotten the scars on her knees. She felt the full force of all her mixed emotions, the build-up of lust and guilt, despair and love. She stepped out of the shower and closed the curtain to put a screen between herself and Liz.

“Where are you going?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Siri said, forcing her voice to stay light and teasing. She watched Liz’s shape through the filmy curtain. Not stopping to question her impulse, Siri reached back into the shower and turned the water all the way to cold. Liz screamed as the water changed, and the sound sent a shiver all the way up Siri’s spine.

“What the hell are you doing?”

Siri tore the curtain off the rod, ignoring the water spraying out of the tub. “Do you want me to turn it off?”

Liz jerked her arms against the restraints. “Jesus! Yes! What the hell?” The sight of her lover wet, cold, and struggling sent a sudden surge of desire through Siri’s body.

“You know what to say if you want me to stop,” Siri said. She pulled off her own soaked clothes and dumped them on the floor, ignoring Liz’s continued shrieks of outrage.

Siri stepped back into the shower, stifling her own shriek when the cold water hit her body. Liz’s skin, covered with gooseflesh, felt stiff and cool to the touch. Siri flicked her fingernails against the hard tips of Liz’s nipples. She kissed Liz hard, shutting off another shriek. Her mouth tasted flame-hot. A shiver rose from deep in Siri’s spine, half from the cold and half lust, and she didn’t know her own hands as they clutched and clawed at Liz’s back, arms, and legs.

Siri pulled back from the kiss, Liz’s panting breath loud and hoarse even above the sound of the shower water. She reached between Liz’s legs and pushed two fingers up inside. “Cold,” Liz gasped. “It’s cold. It’s cold.”

Siri lifted Liz’s chin and looked at her face. “Now tell me whatever it is that’s on your mind.”

“Are you serious?”

Siri shifted so the full force of the cold water fell on Liz again. She forced herself to meet her lover’s eyes and keep her gaze hard and her fingers inside Liz’s pussy harder.

Liz tipped her forehead toward Siri. “I never forgave you,” she said, the words coming out tight and sharp.

Siri closed her eyes and reached for Liz. “Say it all.”

“I don’t trust you. When you go away, I’m always afraid you’re not coming home. I fucking hate that you slept with another woman. When you touch me, I always wonder how you touched her.”

“Keep talking.”

“I left you because you were leaving me,” Liz said. “That’s what you never seemed to understand.” Siri slid her fingers in and out of Liz, toying with her body as the painful words flowed over her with a deeper chill than the water. The words began to slow as the sensations took over. Liz gave a full-body shudder and arched her neck back. Siri leaned forward and bit hard at the base. Liz went quiet. Siri felt her trembling under her hands.

“You’re wet,” Siri said. She continued to work her fingers in Liz’s pussy, and went in for a deep kiss. She rubbed her thumb against Liz’s clit until again she felt Liz surrender something. Her lover’s hips began to swirl, and the chill of the water faded into the background. Siri kissed so hard her jaw began to hurt. She stroked Liz’s tongue, the inside of her cheek. She wanted something from Liz that she didn’t know how to get--to be inside of her, to fuck her, something beyond just making her come.


If anyone would like to read the whole story, shoot me an email, and I'll send over the whole file!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Think Not

by Daddy X

According to the “Internets,” 'angst' rears its ugly head when one feels apprehensive for the world and its future. Sorta like a more encompassing ‘anxiety’—pushed to the nth power to include fear for all life forms—combined with the all-consuming lure of a far-fetched vision of a smidgen of hope.

Angst hasn’t been much of a problem for me of late. During a year of debilitating Interferon/Ribavirin treatment back in 2005/06, I did listen to a lot of leftist talk radio, which turned me into a different person. Not only was I laid low by physical anguish, but I also became upset with every perceived wrong I observed around me. I had become a drag. The fix was to not listen to a particular station.

It wasn’t a matter of suddenly being made aware of what was out of kilter with society. I had always harbored leftist thought. And, to the extent I could, tried to live my life accordingly. But the inundation of all that negativity had created a miserable guy.

The ills of the world are now so overwhelming that I wonder what one person can do. Momma X has remained on the front lines of environmental activism, now with a group that, in addition to trying influence government, actually searches out funding to purchase open space for permanent protection, bypassing many slower-moving machinations of legal entanglement. Direct action, so to speak.

I still manage to write a ‘letter to the editor’ every now and then, and support Momma in her endeavors, helping her edit articles and engaging in functions geared to the environment— but wonder again—why?  Younger people don't seem to be getting involved with the established groups. The local Audubon Society looks like an old age home, as does the Sierra Club. Where is the next generation? I know of existing high school enviro clubs, but the kids seem to get lost once they get to college age. Life must get in their way.

That figures.

In some sense, I would love to go back to a younger age. But thinking one step further, I wonder if I could do as well in this chip-oriented society we’ve shifted to. When I was young, with the proper education (which cost much less than now) we could pretty much go into any field we wanted. Now, kids fresh out of college don’t have that luxury. Those with basic degrees are competing for fast-food jobs. Whatever will the future hold for those like me without a college education?

What does the future of the world look like? In some ways, Momma and I are tired of beating our heads against a wall of capitalist abuse. But where are the troops to follow upon our heels? They’ll be dealing with a dire situation where machines accomplish many of the jobs once done by humans. Their ways of living are on the line, but on a very basic level at such a young age, with virtually all their lives yet to live. What is to be their future?

So just this morning, I’m reading the paper and see an article that tells me this year’s Columbia River salmon run may be depleted by up to 80%, due largely to drought and high temperatures in the greater Northwest. Elsewhere in the world, elephants are on their way out from poaching. Ditto for the tiger and rhinoceros. In fact, we’re witnessing a mass extinction to rival the demise of dinosaurs.

Maybe it’s better not to think.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Angst Through the Ages--Suz deMello edition

I've found that my level of angst and stress has fluctuated through my life stages. 

Apparently I was a happy baby:

As a child, I had moments of stress:

and happiness:

My angst level zipped up to the stratosphere when I entered middle school. The onset of menstruation and the appearance of social anxiety were way too much for a sheltered little girl, which I continued to be for decades. I became an insomniac. I used and abused drugs, mostly pot, in an effort to control undiagnosed depression. 

But I was pretty cute--that's my HS grad pic:

As I entered my twenties, my drug use increased as I added more drugs to my pharmacopeia, most notably booze, cocaine and meth, plus occasional use of hallucinogens. I was still suffering from depression and insomnia, but was less concerned about existential angst than I was when a college student--the genesis of the universe was of less interest to me than when I could get to the Holy City Zoo and catch some live comedy, laughing my cares away in a drug-induced fog.

Then came law school graduation and the establishment of my law practice. 

No angst, but serious stress and depression as I struggled to present a happy, successful face to the world when I was torn to shreds inside.

Then I married, allegedly the happiest day of my life. Not. I wasn't sure of my decision, and though I've been apart from my ex for ten years now, still can't decide whether that marriage was a good idea--though I am certain that I will never remarry. What for?

image by Cienfuegos 241

Menopause brought a measure of peace. After working through the hot flashes and other assorted symptoms, everything mellowed out. The depression that had plagued me had gone, victim to the massive chemical changes wrought by menopause. YAY!

I'm still a highly stressed person--that seems to be a part of me. But my angst is gone forever.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? That angst has mellowed with age?