Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Starjumper Experiment

I've decided to take the plunge and begin an experiment in writing and the gift economy. My strengths include sticking to a deadline, and doing for others while I put off doing for myself. My weak points include procrastination and fuzzy goals. It may be a spiritual strength to live in the present, but that's not so strong for setting goals. It may be a spiritual strength to lack megalomania, but as one writer told me, a little bit of that is needed in a writer. So, since I can't seem to impose deadlines on myself, I decided to seek pressure from others. Since I can focus intently and get the job done when I know others are counting on me, I decided to find my audience now, rather than after I've finished the never-ending novel.

Along for the ride is my thought for the future of creativity, that it could thrive from a basis of a gift economy. Many of us offer freely the products of our passion, and don't expect to make a living at it. With the ease of self-publishing, more people are writing, and with more people writing, they are getting better at it. For that matter, with the ease of digital photography, more people are taking more photos, so more people are getting better at it. It is going to be harder to stand out, harder to become a "star" as we once thought of them. It could be easier, however, to develop a loyal following.

Already, many published writers cannot make a living from the quality books they write and do get published. Many have day jobs. The same will be for photographers. Even if publishing persists, more and more, authors will be more likely to get deals if they already have a demonstrable following. Already, publishers don't send authors on tours...they expect the authors to do their own networking and tours. With the possibilities of stuff going viral on the net, let's take that and run with it.

Here's how this gift economy can work, is already working. Reward authors with comments. Spread the word to friends. Send emails about stuff you like. Write reviews. Spread the word in places like Facebook and Myspace. Especially important, link to authors you like. Help authors you like build an audience. There's so much you can do without spending a thing.

I would also like to encourage's where the little bit of megalomania comes place a paypal button on your site. Give readers a chance to show their love. When we share our passions freely, give them as a gift, shouldn't a gift have the chance to come back to us?

I don't expect to make money at this. The best part of what I hope for is that enough people like what I write enough to pester me to keep writing, to whine at me, "When's the next installment?" I hope people will send others my way, and link to my story. That's what this is all about, my novel that's been languishing for years, waiting for me to put it higher on the priority list.

Years ago (it's embarrassing how many years) I was inspired by the news that certain subatomic particles could respond to each other instantaneously from a distance. What possibilities that opened could be a root cause for telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance, all those exciting unproven possibilities that fascinated me as a child. I began to construct a society.

In this star-faring society, people travel the universe by connecting with particles through a connection between their minds and their machines. They persuade those particles to become them, thus they jump across space. These people pursue stories and legends, and enrich their genetic lines through encountering new peoples.

My story, Starjumper, is about a crew who pursues the first story of a young Storyteller and Mapper team, and what and who they encounter there. You can follow the story here, though I will post mentions of new installments here at Adventures in Multiplicity. I aim to post/write about 3,000 words a week. As they say in the Storyteller's Guild, "May my story be remembered."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Story Not Told

There were three things on my homie's mind last month. She couldn’t write it into a poem, so she needed to say it. So, for open mike poetry, she told her stories related to Buddhist articles she was clearing out of her attic, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

She said the third thing was probably the biggest, and to me, it was the most powerful. I asked her if I could transcribe it, and she said yes. We'd had a powerful conversation over lunch in which she said the worst thing by far is people telling her how she should feel, and that we don't hear these sides of the story because of that. Indeed, our other close friend could not believe she hadn't buried deep grief, and tried to push her into acknowledging that. He, ex-Catholic, was greatly disturbed at the idea that any person wouldn't have trauma over this. My homie and I are as close as friends could be who don't live together, and this was news to me, and certainly I don't know of anyone else who will say she had an abortion and is glad about it. Any time this subject comes up, there seems to be an obligatory regret involved.

So here is the transcript of that third part of her open mike. If you wish to listen to the whole thing, go here and then go to minute 32. For this part, go to minute 35.

I have been almost incoherently angry about the shooting of Dr. Tiller. So I thought I’d tell you what it was like to have a somewhat legal abortion in Oregon in 1970. This was three years before Roe vs Wade, and three years after an Oregon law passed permitting abortion due to rape, incest, mental or physical problems. I was lucky because a friend of mine who had an abortion shortly before I did (I met her a long time afterwards) …the only way she could get hers was to spend a week in a county mental hospital, which at that time was up at OHSU.

I was 19. I was ignorant of many things. I had not been taught by anybody what was going on and the only thing I knew was passion. Of course any education at that time was ‘abstinence only’…get married. Abstinence only equals ignorance only. I remember my mother giving me a book with rabbits fucking in it. ::laughs:: OK what does that mean!

I was shy and depressed and had low self-esteem. I’d moved out 5 months before that. Broke up with my boyfriend then got back together then began living together. We had a minimum wage job lifestyle…we sometimes used birth control. I was in denial about being pregnant. I finally went to Outside In, which still exists and still does good work. I remember getting the phone call with the results in the Agora Coffee House, which was in PSU down in the basement of the Koinonia House. They told me and I said, “What am I going to do, I don’t want this baby, I don’t want to do this,” and I was totally enfolded by people who were willing to, if not break the law, stretch the law.

I had to have an affidavit by three doctors saying that I was not mentally fit to have a child. I never saw these doctors…they were just somewhere signing papers for us. I had to go talk to the Assistant District Attorney…along with my boyfriend…because I was considered a minor, even though it was legal for me to live by myself outside of my parents home. I had to talk to the Assistant DA Harl Haas (who later became the DA and then a judge) and become ward of the court for a day--the day of the procedure. I remember him telling us to quit playing house. I had a stack of legal documents half an inch thick. I kept them for a long time, I finally threw them out. I kinda wish I hadn’t now.

So Outside In made all the arrangements. There were no clinics at that time. You had to have everything through the hospital. My mother found out from my soon-to-be-former-best-friend and showed up on my doorstep, pleading and screaming. I said, “No.” This was the first time I ever stood up to her deliberately. I’d always snuck around standing up to her. “Come home, get married.”

“No…I won’t. If you try to force me, if you try to get in the way, I’ll commit suicide.” …because basically I raised her kids while she was doing other stuff. I’d had enough kids. My boyfriend John borrowed money from friends. It was about a month’s pay at the time.

I had total anesthetic. The only thing I remember about it, an angry nurse tried to jab an IV in my hand and the other nurse chewing her out.

So I’m grateful to all these people I never met and I have no remorse. And I’m glad. I hope this is being taped, I don’t care who hears it. It’s time for this shit to stop. I’m really tired about being peaceful about this shit. I’m really tired of everybody trying to play nice with these assholes so…

Bring. It. On.

I couldn't walk away.

My friend and I were leaving our regular lunch haunt when we came across a kindle of kittens at the house on the corner. The man with a cane was talking to another couple, offering them one for free. The half-dozen kits were bounding, tumbling, tussling, climbing. They were in and out, over and under the porch, boxing with some kitten lines hanging from the tree branches. Mom and aunt cats were taking turns watching them, both calico, white with black spots.

I called my sweetie. I didn't want to surprise him, but I didn't want him to say no to a new kitten or kittens. He didn't want even one cat, but he wasn't going to say no outright. I think he was hoping I would get over my need for an animal companion. I couldn't say no to the kitties. I chose girls, because I was used to a girl cat, and two, so they could be companions to each other. There were a pair of black on white calicos playing together, and this pair of stripe with a dash of calico playing together, among others.

So far I can't tell them apart until I approach them. One is not afraid. The other scoots under the couch or coffee table or something.

Right now my sweetie is not saying much to me, and watching Bob Ross for his soothing tones. I hope he warms up to them, and me, soon.

It has been so long since I've been around a kitten. When they went back under the couch for their second nap, I got out the Cat Bible that I purchased when Jig got sick. I learned I should set up a safe room for them to stay in while I'm gone. As suggested, the most logical choice is the bathroom. That's where their litter box stays anyway. Old kitty, new kitty...both need litter and water in their safe room, but at opposite ends of the room. Also a scratching box, and two new toys each day. Right now, anything is a toy.

They haven't told me their names yet. I'm still getting to know them.

June in review

The first half of the month was busy with Festival stuff, the second half dealing with sorrow. I still did keep tabs on facebook though. My zen homie also from way back is back in Oregon for the summer (she works as a civilian at a base in Germany) and we were commenting on how much more attuned we feel with that gadget, how caught up we were with each other's lives. I found it made dealing with my nephew's death simpler as well.

So here's some highlights from the month, review for you facebookers.

June 4:
I said: seen on bus this morning: very skinny slight man looking possibly older than his age, with a penis tattoo on his forearm. yes, his forearm.

June 6: from Eileen K: venn diagram to Hooray! (I couldn't find the original source.)

June 7: My mentee Holly graduated!

June 8: I said: Had a great conversation with a friend on phone who now has a girlfriend. During my quizzing him on said gf, we discovered a vital requirement for a lasting relationship is that the qualities of one helps make the other a better person, and that goes both ways. Complementary, but in a way that amplifies our abilities to grow as a person.

June 9:
from Marie B: what a hoot! cow goes on a trip.

June 11: from Sarah M: Futurama is coming back!

June 16: from Sean S: Facebook is bad for bringing me new addictions. More cats!

June 17:
from Lisa M: Frogs n other living beings

June 18: from Kate S: Every Corner is a Crosswalk ...neat video. Pay attention, drivers. Considering how big I am, it's amazing how many drivers don't see me at the corner waiting for it to turn into a crosswalk.

June 20: Erin saw this before I did: Marking Portland: The Art of Tattoo. The art museum has formed a flickr group for people to submit photos of their tattoos for the exhibit. Of course Erin will be visiting this exhibit if I have anything to do with it.

June 21: from Choten: Dirge Without Music

They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not
It's not right. My nephew shouldn't be dead. I now despise Geo Trackers. I have since learned they are deadly, prone to roll over.

June 28: from Tasha F:

June 30: from Terri S: Israeli provocateur. I keep thinking about this. About how in some ways it is so universal, this patriotic/provocateur response. How the truthsayers are marginalized, how pacifists are treated as an enemy, as an 'other' even to the point where they're treated as stupid, or as not understanding the language.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Back Yard Tour

My mom and her husband began planting trees in memoriam when my brother David died 23 years ago. It has transformed the back yard of my childhood. At the very beginning you may see an orange flag in the front yard. That is where they intended to plant the tree for my nephew Zac the day after I filmed this.

Follow this link if the embed doesn't work for you.