Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dark Times Journal - Save Some of Yourself


I have discovered through past events I am the person who goes on automatic pilot and does what needs to be done until the immediate crisis is over. That is the good news. The bad news is when the crisis is over I will then go off screen and toss my cookies or stand at the edge of a crowd and just shiver. I am not good at pacing myself. Or staying focused for the long haul. At least not at first.

I have to have my time to go off stage and scream. Or run though all those I should have said or done things.Then to consider exactly what it is I am up against. But you cannot take too long because things get worse fast. And if they don't, those things you have ignored, do. Or something totally off in the wings flies into center stage. Something least expected like the Mayor of a town I don't live in hearing something I didn't say about her in a meeting which was suppose to be private per the bylaws. 

I have dedicated today to cleaning up the flat surfaces in my life. Literally. Desktops and tables and cabinets have gotten totally out of control. Off subject? No. It means my mind has been elsewhere like when I dashed into the studio with my ousted paintings, rack and business cards. I just put them on a surface and did the Scarlet O'Hara thing - I will think about it tomorrow. 

Oh, but if it was just that. Just the Mayor throwing me out of the visitor's center. But I have a painting I haven't thought about for a week. Was doing it for a contest which I will not now enter. Why bother? Her friends will be on the jury. Mind pushes it to the back. Some moments too far back. Like why bother finishing it at all. Where would I hang it? Why would I hang it? It isn't my art which counts. Or even my politics. It is some cast off remark in a board meeting. That seems to be the only thing which matters suddenly. Something which was totally off my radar because I was concerned with an illegitimate president and the nuclear codes. And a defamation of character suit?

But then maybe none of that matters because the second reactor on a tsunami destroyed nuclear plant in Japan may just blow up. 

I need to concentrate on saving some of me. But from what? From being wrongly accused? From looking as if I am whining?


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dark Times Journal - Keep Your Eye on the Goal



Dawns on me there is a reason this blog is named Sidetracked Charley. I can be easily diverted. As I compose this in my mind I am playing with my cat, Thicke, and his kitty whip.

We all have lives and responsibilities. We are not the Delhi Lama on a mountain top. No one drops offerings of food within our easy reach. And most people who get involved in resistance movements are already involved in a myriad of other socially responsible causes. I was deeply involved in the arts and within one group on the board. We were trying to get an art center for our community. Those responsibilities got taken away from me recently. Plus side is I am more time to spend on resistance. Downside is I regret being shoved out of groups I still feel deeply committed two after working toward a goal for almost a decade.

Playing with the cat is sanity producing. Blogging is sanity producing. Being forced out of something you believe in is devastating. This week is about mourning that. And the loss of friends I worked with toward that goal.  

I got trumped out of a venue I had set up for a group of artists. And I was reminded that Trump has made it acceptable to behave amorally. It took me a few days to work though the loss and refocus on the resistance. Amazing what taking your eyes from the goal for just a few days can do. I feel as if I am wading back through deep water and not sure when the underwater landscape drops off beneath my feet.

And I find I am very, very angry with those who don't want to get involved in politics. In case you haven't noticed it is all about politics these days. Even where you are allowed to hang a painting.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dark Times Journal - Battle Fatigue



I think the alertness necessary for resistance is tiring. It seems so little to do in the grand scheme of things: Get up and log into the computer, review the latest news, visit my on line resistance group, check email for Indivisible battle plan, dash off emails to elected officials, share important info. Usually takes only about an hour but in an hour I am so angry I have to begin the day again with comedy YouTube to lighten my mood. I feel good I have done something to resist how things are going.

Then the news hits about something dumb Trump has done or how the congress has voted. Today it was that congress said coal companies can dump their slag in the rivers which provide us drinking water. And I cry.

But what I am most angry at this morning are those who want to make social media fun again. I have been instructing them how they can stay away from the political news feed. My guess is they voted for DT and don't want to know what he has done just now. They are ostriches. Lots of ostriches out there these days.

One friend of mine who doesn't want to discuss politics didn't register to vote. Another friend dropped the internet doesn't like the political news but when I run into her she wants to know what is happening with it now. A third friend just uses her internet to stream reality TV but always asks what she can do to help. But she does not want to email or call congressmen or march or just relay action plans.

At first I was polite. Even helpful. Done with the helpful. And polite is applicable if I can get away with the face I make as I walk away from their anger over the cost of avocados. You do know DT said his army would invade Mexico?

Speaking of ostriches, anyone seen the Democrats? Hillary? 

I realized yesterday I was emotionally exhausted and went over the mountain to buy avocados and pretend the world was normal in the produce section of Smith's. All the shoppers had that look on their face I am sure was on mine: our world may not be normal ever again.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Dark Times Journal - Exposure to light



Inspired by the Women's Marches around the world, and sickened by the inaugural I watched in horror as each day in the last week brought our country and our ideals down further. In someways I was going tharned like the rabbits in Watership Down; frozen in the middle of the road staring at the headlights approaching. But I kept on keeping on devoting a small portion of each morning on the computer to research on issues before congress and firing off emails to my representatives. Even making a few calls.

I hate calling. Email, personal messaging, chat are invented for me personally. Or at least I believe. But I made calls. Love it when I can leave a message, short and sweet on one issue, and then disconnect. But I was at a loss for words when I got a person when I called my congressman's office. After a pause I recited my script and she chuckled. Silence from me. Then she hastened to add that of course the congressman would vote that way on that issue. But she would make note I was on his side. 

On his side. Comforting. It dawned on me suddenly that our democratic legislators are just as alone as we are in this horrid new world. Do they have a secret group they can turn to for support when they feel helpless and hopeless against this dark tide?

My secret group has gained members, and more are willing to voice their opinions. There are a few of us, I fear at times, who dominate the conversation. Saturday we all met in person. It was not the best of possible times for everyone. We are busy people with jobs and businesses and travel plans. But 25 plus showed up. They were real! They smiled and hugged and shed tears. Some I had only met in the social media group. Others I have been friends with for years and was relieved to find in this different reality we could still be friends. I have lost a few. And several I call friends just by not calling them. I know we could not share anything real. There would be this barrier which could not be bridged. A barrier which was not there with this group.

This was a action meeting. A meeting to decide on our direction in the difficult times ahead. But it was also a coming home. A support group. People I could talk freely with about the emotions and frustrations within me. And there was the joy of finding out I was not an alternate fact to be dismissed. This was real. These people were real. Our feelings of dread and despair are real. They are shared. There was this wonderful light where there had been gloom.

So when the question of our next meeting came up. There were no excuses of too busy or whipping out the calendar on the iPhone to check available dates. All agreed it had to be sooner rather than later. Our country needed that commitment. We needed it.

We haven't got a name yet. But we are a group. We are united. There is light.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Dark Times Journal - It Was the Worst of Times


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of our despair. . . .

Opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

And so it is now going from the grace and hope of the Obama family in the white house, to the swearing in of the evil troll. All on Friday seemed so utterly hopeless. I could not watch any part of the telecast let alone his evil words of carnage stolen in part from The Bee Movie. So appropriate as he jokes he steals all we have gained in our society. 

It was a day of tears. 

But then Saturday as the Women's March on Washington grew and grew on live streaming a glimmer of hope. Reports came in about the size and number of sister marches not just across the country and around the world. Some 470 in total with numbers beginning at 2.9 million and rising. The largest protest in the United States around an inauguration. And perhaps the largest protest in the world against one ruler.

So many taking the microphones and delivering short but hopeful speeches of united in a common cause. It seems a long and difficult climb out of the abyss. We just must not give up. We must work hard to resist. To best the orange troll in the white castle and his sale of our freedom to the dark lord in Russia. 

It is the winter of our despair. Hopefully spring will bring more hope and light.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dark Days Journal - National Day of Resistance


National Day of Resistance on the day before the Trump Inaugural. And the 21st is the Women's March on DC and about 300 other sites around the world. Imagine that. 

And yet divisions run so deep even in the midst of what appears to be a united front against the Republican agenda and the illegitimate president elect. 

Now suddenly we have to show our bonafides to those who have been on the battle lines longer. Johnny and Joan come lately's are being called Lexus Liberals by some. Let me make a couple things clear: 1) I don't own a Lexus. A 1989 GMC 4 x 4 occupies my driveway, 2) I have fought for one cause or the other since I was in college and demonstrated for the Free Speech movement and after that the Civil rights and ERA and end the war in Vietnam and end the draft, 3)Equal rights for women is my heart cause but I have also researched and written about water issues and the stripping our schools of the arts.

And in the midst of all that I have fought a brain injury, and a crooked contractor who wanted to take my home, and become deeply committed to the arts community.

Okay, I will grant you I have not been in the same trench with some of those fighting for freedoms. But then my trench, and the enemy trying to breach that line are different than the trenches in Dakota or Ferguson or Flint. But be it in Africa or Syria or Selma or in front of the dais in DC tomorrow one thing is clear: Women are not equal. We get dissed as soccer moms or Lexus ladies. But, damn it, women through our history have fought for voting rights for blacks and won even when they could not vote themselves, and we fought for equal rights for blacks and still do not have them ourselves.

In the midst of the lobby efforts to end the war in Vietnam I manned desks to advise boys with low numbers on the draft how to avoid it. Provided them with the information of emigrating to Canada. And when not on the desk I knocked on congressional doors to advance legislation to end the draft. Then one day advising a blonde white boy about how he could avoid getting sent to an illegal war he noticed my small ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) lapel pen and started talking to me about how that was so stupid because we weren't equal law or no law.

I have a horrid temper but all the non-violence training we went to in order to march peacefully showed up instead of my right hook. And I stood up and walked out of the basement we were allowed to use in the National Council of Churches building and never went back.

That is what I want to virtually do on the internet last night when I was denounced as a sudden resister. But, baby boy, I have more to lose under the GOP and Trump than you do. I will continue to resist but it is for me and all my sisters and the land we live on. So just F**k off with your Lexus Liberal shit. 


BTW the soccer moms in their Lexus cars get in to audiences with Senators and Congressmen and have the money to fly to DC for marches. Do not cut them short. And I wasn't for Hillary but I am for a woman president. They don't grab pussy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dark Days Journal - Who I am January 17, 2017


I am still a cat owner but now he is bored. I am spending too much time at the computer desk doing research and writing letters to my congressmen and interfacing with my resistance group. I manufactured a kitty whip, and moved Thicke a box over to beside my computer chair. But other things in my life are not as easily handled.

I have an art business and the calls for entries are going out now. I also am a member of an art organization whose goal is to further arts in our community, and one of a steering committee for an art guild. Since the crash of 2008 art income does not make ends meet. So there is Social Security, rental income, pet sitting business, and a part time home care job.

Almost all of those things stand to be adversely effected by the new congress and the new administration. On national and state level. As a member of the local Chamber of Commerce I just got a letter about more lobbying which needs to be done. The first 100 days will be the hardest they say. Thicke doesn't understand days. Supposedly he has the smarts to understand five but not twenty times five.

The washing machine picked the worst time to fail. Not that there is a good time for them to fail. And the one foot of snow didn't ask me for my schedule on shoveling.

It dawned on me I was exhausted. So I took the weekend off. Off from lobbying and research. I still had to do all the things I had shoved to the back like play with my cat, catch up with the group novel, spread the word about a call for entries, cull through my art to see if I had anything worthy or needed to start painting a couple.

How do the people with full time jobs and families manage the time to stay up with the political agenda? How do they find the money to take a day off of work and demonstrate for health care? Or visit personally with their representative?

I am reminded of the title of a a 1982 biographical film, "I am Dancing as Fast as I Can." For years I scrawled that sentence on notebooks and mirrors and once on the palm of my hand. The main character was addicted to Valium and went cold turkey. I had been addicted to speed. First with allergy meds and then diet pills and then black beauties, etc. But the mantra of I am dancing as fast as I can worked for both of us.

These days it is just coffee and protein shakes. And dark chocolate. But when I want to brew another pot of coffee I remind myself I first have to take care of myself. And I am dancing as fast as I can. That just has to be good enough.