Monthly Archives: November 2012

Memoirs From a Nineties Coffee Girl: (Mis)Typing the World

Human beings have a natural propensity for categorizing the world around them. Their categorizations might be based off scientific observation: All creatures with three body parts and six legs we’ll call insects. Further classification informs us that insects lack backbones and, instead, wear an outer armour, or exoskeleton (as we’ll call it). They are, therefore, a part of a larger group of creatures without backbones, which we’ll thus label invertebrates. Categorizations might also have spiritual implications. In Christian circles, scholars discuss types of Christ. A stranger to Christian culture might find it peculiar when they identify men or even systems of ideas (e.g. animal sacrifice) as “types of Christ”, owing to their dedicated worship of the one and only person they consider to be the Christ. But spiritual typing systems are no more peculiar than any other kind; they simply add weight to the evidence that humans possess a distinct skill for discovering patterns in a world of minutiae.

We begin our classification systems at birth, when we determine the difference between Mama and Everything Else. Perhaps this distinction is understood by infants, pre-birth, while still gliding about the womb — who knows? Perhaps the Fetus who was not yet named Carl Linnaeus had the most basic of typing system all worked out before he entered the world. If only he’d had pen and paper, he could have written it down for our enlightenment. In any case, we know as just-born infants that Mama has the mammary glands to feed us milk and, somehow, we know instinctively, or through the use of consistent language patterns, that Mama=mammary. She is defined by her mammary glands, and, hence, we love her. As we grow older, we categorize other family members or pets: brother vs sister; dog vs kitty. We categorize in broader circles as our world expands to the backyard and the neighbor’s house and then the schoolyard. We’re veritable geniuses at this categorization game, and we’ll continue in like kind — inspecting, defining, and classifying on our own terms or the unexamined terms the world gives us, until life, itself, disturbs our neat headers and rows. And life will, eventually. Not that any disturbance could prevent us from our favored game. More likely, we’ll suffer from unease for a while, before casting off the dissonant sound of ideas that don’t harmoniously fit together. When two ideas don’t match, one must be expelled.

While working at Coffee People, I learned to pinpoint people. This was as easy as thumbing insects to a board. Did you ever do that in school? Did you create an insect collection? I have vague memories of collecting insects in a shoebox for display. For a child, this may have been similar to the African big game hunters, the white hunters, such as Theodore Roosevelt. They were a class of people, white hunters, who killed large game for display or, possibly, educational purposes, but ultimately to own species by means of classifications. Hunting insects, for a powerless person, is a small, yet decided declaration of strength. I can almost hear myself saying, I can own you, my Painted Lady; I can seize you and examine your frail wings, your matching tapestries that flutter in the breeze. Oh, yes, I was a powerless child who wrote poetry.

As I’ve already claimed, people are apt at classification. In Portland, a heightened sense of this same tendency for typology infected the population, such that everybody had to belong to a tribe. And it was no use blurring the lines, as some did–you either were of this tribe or you were of that one. Drifting between the Goths and the hippies, for example, was unacceptable practice. At times — in high schools, particularly — the freakish sorts would band together in the hallways, but would have nothing to do with each other outside the falsified social scene prevalent in schools. You might well imagine the difficulty of mixing Melanie and marijuana with ecstasy and a rave.

While a barista, I found new and ingenuous ways to pin the world under my thumb. Ladies with big hair and Tammy Fay make-up could have been called Painted Ladies, but they certainly weren’t butterflies by any definition of the term given to nectar-feeding insects with two pairs of wings. Without fail, I could guess what drinks the big-haired ladies would order, however. They actually did appreciate the nectar of sugar, and they were wont to purchase tall, nonfat, decaffeinated lattes with a sweet syrup added, vanilla being the most popular choice. In our coding system, we wrote the order on the slip as a vanilla why bother or a vanilla pointless. Often, these ladies preferred a cup of liquid rather than foam, and then the order would be vanilla decaf flat and skinny — no tittering allowed, even if the woman fit the bill.

Should I go on? My contempt for others is distasteful, even to me. But if I’m able to jerk a laugh out of you, why shouldn’t I continue? What did the earthy types prefer? Oh, yes, you already know: mochas made with soy milk, but decorated with real whipped cream. Some earthy men and women alike ordered their espressos with hot cups of half-n-half, and they were so earthy that they smelled of fresh butter and shone outward with glowing, buttery countenances. The lesbians ate banana-nut bread, and the homosexual men loved their fruit smoothies with added soy protein powder. Men in suits took their coffee black, or specified that their cappuccinos must be made dry because those men were real men, and real men prefer the stout and the bitter.

But what happens when you have your pen poised above the order sheet as a male couple saunters in, and you know they’re a couple because they’re holding hands, and you’re ready to scribble “fruit smoothie, protein powder”, and then one orders his coffee black and the other an iced coffee with milk? What happens when the earthy, buttery redhead steps up to the counter and orders a plain double espresso? What happens when people don’t fit the prescribed paradigm, the one you’ve concocted from life experience and haven’t stopped to analyze at all?

You’re the barista, and you will have to decide. Must genders and races fit into your ordered lists? Must they meet your definitions, or will you allow them to define themselves? As somebody who is powerless, who’s spent years attempting to understand the world of humanity by categorization, I would suggest that this skill isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. People aren’t what I think they are. Just as I learned that my mama was more than her mammaries — she had many other occupations that didn’t involve nursing young, and an actual name to boot! — I’ve learned that people are more than their flat-skinny-dry-cream-soy fixations. Today they want their milk, and tomorrow they will have graduated to a new ideal of life.

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Gwyn and the Dragon: Part II

Gwyn and the Dragon: Part I

When, on the morrow, the dragon snatched the best of Gwyn’s flock, the act struck the lowly shepherd as premeditated or, perhaps, preordained, except by mutual consent of both parties. As the dragon crossed the September sky, Gwyn knew he was witnessing his future in the talons of the fiery feathered beast. So with the weight of having nothing left to lose, aside from his father’s flock, he abandoned the sheep’s welfare to the dogs and followed the shadow of the dragon as it coasted toward the forest.

At the edge of the trees, Gwyn nearly stumbled into an old woman whose body bent itself in an unnatural, humpbacked way toward the mossy ground, where she was digging up mushrooms. Gwyn recognized her as the old witch who lived in a small hut in the woods. He started as she suddenly sprang up to her full height and steadied her jittery, marble blue eyes on his face.

“I….I,” he stuttered, and his fingers found the cross pendant round in his neck, one of the only objects he had to remind him of his mother who had passed in his youth.

“You’re following after the gwiber,” the old witch said.

“He’s stolen my lamb.”

“And he’ll steal more than that before he’s done with his stealing. No, no, I’ll content myself with Penny Buns for stew.”

Gwyn, who wanted only to be on his way, but who dreaded the witch’s stews and Penny Buns and curses, absently bent down and plucked a large toadstool. He handed it to her as an oblation.

In a flash, she hid it in her basket. “Who do you want me to kill with this, my little Destroying Angel, eh? Would that be the beast himself, or the nobleman who holds your desired maiden in his arms night after night?”

Alarmed, Gwyn shook his head and reached out to the witch’s basket. “I want nothing to do with killing. I meant it as a token of, of….”

“Gratitude?” She handed the toadstool back to him. “Do with it what you will, but think twice, three times before trading your soul for the world. Rescue your lamb, and then ask yourself if the children might already live in freedom before rescuing them to bondage.”

His hands trembling, Gwyn dropped the toadstool and wandered away from the old woman, not knowing what direction to take; he’d long lost the shadow of the beast.

He heard her faint voice on the wind, “He cannot survive without water. His cave is at the river’s mouth, behind the veil.”

The day darkened as he hiked by the side of the river, and he thought about what the witch had told him: the dragon’s cave is behind the veil. As the foliage at the riverside became unnavigable, he slipped into the water and walked upstream. The waterway narrowed and slipped between slabs of rock outcroppings draped in vines. His heart thudded. There it was—a waterfall, a veil of water streaming over the rocks, and behind it, a dark space. He sensed the dragon, and he knew, as he crossed the veil of water, that he would have no possibility of retreat.

From nowhere, the shouts of boys echoed around the hollow of murky rock. Three small boys shot past him, through the veil, whooping and splashing in the water. The children were playing—smiles wreathing their rosy faces. Then he heard the bleating of his sheep, and the sound wasn’t joyous, but a choked, frightened noise. Gywn moved forward into the darkness, attracted to the glow of a lamp lost in the blackness. It was a lamp that cast no shadows and refused to flicker in the draft.

“Boys!” he heard a female voice. He couldn’t be certain and, yet, the smooth tones were familiar to his ear–pleasing. “Boys!”

He halted as her figure materialized beside the glowing orb she held aloft. “Elen?”

“Oh, dear Gwyn, I’ve been waiting for you a very long time. He’s been waiting for you, too.”

“Who?”

“Our Gwiber Yago.”

“Why are you here?”

“Yago is with us, my love. We’re either with him, or against him, although he’s never against us. We either make an ally of him, or of the King. Yago will protect us either way.”

The chill of the cave crept up his back. “No, I will not be under the protection of a beast.”

“He’s not a beast. He’s the minister of our future. He promised us fertility, many blessings, many children.”

“Our fertility, Elen? Between you and me? Or the fertility of the land?”

“Ours, Gwyn. He’s waiting for you in the inner cave. Go.”

Gwyn went, his feet stepping forward willingly, and his heart, too, though his mind couldn’t make sense of the offering. At the opening of the inner cave, the passage was so narrow he could touch the walls on either side of him, and he could smell a faint waft of smoke. He ducked his head and entered into a room with a fire pit that lit up piles of shadowy treasure with one flicker and then another. At the fore of the treasure, the gwiber waited, stamping its birdlike feet as though impatient. The stolen lamb ran pellmell, skittering over the piles of gold. The lamb’s bleats should have torn Gwyn’s heart, but there was too much at stake to worry over a lost animal.

“I’m here to fetch the son of the High Sheriff,” Gwyn said, though he wasn’t altogether certain that was his purpose here.

“The reward you will receive is paltry compared to the one I offer.”

The gwiber’s surprisingly gentle voice didn’t reassure Gwyn. The shepherd kept his distance. “What are you offering?”

“The world, my friend. I’m offering you a portion of my treasure, and political power in your realm.”

“And what do I have to give in exchange?”

“What you have to give is nothing. You will do my bidding and live by my standard, you and your male children, up to the fourteenth generation.”

“And what if I or my offspring choose not to do your bidding?”

“What I ask of you will never be onerous; it will always benefit your village. But in the case you decide to turn from me, you will die young. And, yet, you will die young and wealthy, leaving your family with riches.”

“And Elen?”

“She will be yours. She is already yours; she and the son of the High Sheriff in her womb. I’ve taken no son but the one in Elen’s womb.”

At those words, Gwyn’s heart broke, and the gravity of the situation fell on his shoulders. He had walked into a trap–a trap devised by a man who already possessed all the wealth he needed.

“I’m taking on another man’s contract,” Gwyn said. “That is something I can’t do.”

“If he refuses my bidding, he will die young, and you will still win the treasure and the bride. More fool that he was, he believed he could worm his way out of my contract and still keep his wealth and power.”

Gwyn thought about it–the rent in his heart growing. How could he respect his wife-to-be, or the lord who resided over his land?

“And if I don’t sign, all I lose is one lamb?” Gwyn smiled at the simplicity. He would return a shepherd, with no wealth and no love–just as before. And the lamb was surely taken by a rabid beast–his father would believe the lie.

“I will have to keep Elen. She will be my bride, if not the bride of you foolish men who reject my offers.”

Despite the damp, Gwyn broke into a sweat. He wanted to run from the cave, and he turned around, swallowing air into his dry throat. There Elen stood, in the glow of her orb, at the entrance to the inner cave. Her eyes pleaded with him, and he detected that her body shook with fright.

“Elen,” he said. He swallowed back air again, and the bile that rose from his stomach. “I’ll sign your contract, gwiber. But I’ll do so for Elen, and not for the treasure.”

Elen bowed her head, as though in shame. “Don’t be a fool, Gwyn. Take the treasure. What does it matter now?”

He nodded, and the gwiber handed him a plume and parchment, which he quickly signed to be done with it.

“Take only what you can carry away in one purse,” the gwiber said. “You won’t be allowed to return, and this is the richest sort of treasure that can never be fully spent.”

Because Gwyn wouldn’t move–because his young body felt suddenly stiff and old and frozen–Elen scooped a handful of gold into her own purse. She held out her hand to him.

As he took it, tears sprang to his eyes. She guided him and the little lamb that followed them both out of the cave and back through the waterfall, back upstream and through the tangled density of forest, out into the clearing.

The wedding feast occurred on the following Sunday and, although Gwyn found happiness with his lot in life, his treasure and his bride–although he lived to a ripe old age, long past the High Sheriff’s early death, he wore sadness in his heart that could never be shaken. And he watched his firstborn son die young, and then watched with trepidation as his first grandson grew to be a fine, young man whose heart tended only toward evil.

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An Open Letter to Complementarian Spokespeople

For most of my marriage, I have, by default rather than conviction, lived the complementarian lifestyle—as in, I stay home with the children and educate them from home and invest most of my time in housewife activities. Meanwhile, my husband works outside the home. He also makes the major decisions of the family, and I capitulate, even if I disagree with him. Certainly, I use the term “complementarian” loosely. This is a modern word, invented by the SBC about twenty-five years ago, and it’s a word that must be taken lightly, about as lightly as powdered-sugar settling over hardtack because most adherents are unable to separate the truth from the fluff. It has, from my perspective, become a word that entails a changing of the subject, akin to That monkey’s ripping the limbs off a small boy! We should help him! Ooh, look at the colorful bird in that tree over there. This letter—what I’m calling an open letter to complementarian spokespeople—is meant to call out the liars of the movement, and those who would obfuscate the truth by refusing to speak plainly.

Here are my stated motivations in writing this (although you may choose to disbelieve them): as a longtime homeschool mom, I’ve had numerous “complementarian” books foisted on me. I’ve watched as my friends followed the guidelines set forth in these books, and I’ve seen marriages fail over a blatant lack of respect and understanding for females. At the same time, I’ve seen many people confused over the variant tenants of the doctrine because the definition of the term is so vague. As far as the ultimate, underlying motivation that I don’t want to admit to—ah, yes, that one—honestly, I’ve tried to avoid this doctrine and steer clear of its multi-headed hydra, but, as with most multi-headed hydras, it won’t go away. As the “it” doctrine of the church today, it won’t stop invading my territory. In order to avoid it, I would have to stop attending church altogether and discontinue haunting my favorite blogs. My ultimate motivation, then, is to shine light on a doctrine that continues to grow in popularity and intensity.

What is complementarianism? You might believe it’s simply a lifestyle choice, similar to my own that I describe above (homeschool mom, homemaker, submissive). But for proponents such as Mary Kassian, the definition appears to be a whole lot of denials with very little substance. Complementarianism isn’t patriarchy. It doesn’t mean women must be housewives. It doesn’t mean they must stay home and birth babies. According to the True Woman Manifesto project, which Kassian is a part of, the complementarian lifestyle is very much about accepting children from the Lord and accepting proper role designations in church and in the home. What those roles are nobody seems willing or able to express; rather, it seems much easier for complementarian spokespeople to say what they aren’t. Feminine roles don’t, apparently, have anything to do with women staying home and caring for their families (even if women are supposed to accept children gladly from the Lord). Complementarian spokespeople liken the old-timey image of a Betty-Sue housewife to a straw-man argument, along with any substantial claims made by those opposed to their doctrine (see: egalitarians). If egalitarians attempt to label or use language to describe the doctrine, complementarians accuse them of logical fallacies. This leads me to the inevitable, but false, conclusion that complementarianism doesn’t mean anything at all.

Complementarians prefer to rely on poetic, or through-the-glass-darkly language to describe their doctrine, rather than relying on hard definitions. They view men and women as spiritual symbols that describe Christ’s relationship to the church. Men represent self-sacrificing Christ figures, and women represent Christ’s bride, or the fallen nature of mankind that is in need of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. This imagery is painted repeatedly in literature and on blogs and from pulpits. Although poetic language is beautiful and insightful, it lacks an actual set of rules for living. Are men and women in an elaborate play, or a game of charades? Am I to try my best to demonstrate my fallen nature (level of difficulty: facile), while my husband is to be my perfect sacrificial lamb (level of difficulty: impossible)? What does this ultimately mean in my everyday life when I’m busy trying to make dinner in the midst of rambunctious children and all their catastrophes? I love poetry, but I have difficulty living as a symbol, per se. In addition, I have trouble viewing my husband as a Christ figure. I love him. He’s a godly man, and yet it strikes me as heretical to call him my Christ, even if only in a game of charades.

For all the obfuscation, some people are willing to call a spade a spade, rather than an ethereal spadish symbol of God working in the gardenious hearts of humanity. Some people, most of them men, prefer to call complementarianism what it actually is: a hierarchical system of patriarchy. In this case, I’m far from believing that these men are honest because they’re men—and, yes, I’ve heard it said that men are more direct than women. Rather, I see this particular honesty as the directness that comes from people who have nothing to lose. Women are the biological losers, and so they become apt at living in allusive language. By biological losers, I mean women are literally smaller and weaker than their male counterparts. Women are, therefore, the ones standing on the lower rung of the complementarian ladder, looking up and babbling about male-female relationships and the divine imagery that imparts special blessings to them, including the special blessing of men and women dancing together—oh, wait, that’s just another pretty image used by complementarian spokespeople. My husband and I do NOT dance together in reality. And so, I thank you, Douglas Wilson, Denny Burk, Russell Moore, Doug Phillips, and John Piper (et al)* for speaking the truth—that is, the truth imparted by giving actual meaning to the employed symbolism. Make no mistake, I don’t view your honesty as noble, just as I don’t view a slave master as noble when he boldly declares the law of slave-owner rights to his indentured workers.

Please, hear me out and allow me to finish because I’ve yet to complain about the lie I consider to be the most destructive of all, and this letter is growing long. I apologize. My heart is heavy, and here it is: Stop promising women they will flourish under complementarianism! With this lie the complementarians have stepped right out of scripture. Nowhere does the Bible claim women will flourish within their divinely-ordained role. Furthermore, I’ve witnessed firsthand the exact opposite. Because I’ve been in the homeschool movement for so long, I’ve met many women who have attempted to fulfill their role to perfection. After all is said and done, these women are bedraggled, exhausted, and bitter. They wonder what they’re doing wrong—why the promise of “No Greater Joy” and “So Much More” hasn’t filled them. I find myself in that category, except I can honestly claim I’ve never been given to believing lies or filling my head with delusions. Still, though, I’m worn from this lifestyle. If my physical appearance is an indication of my interior spaces, then I’m withering rather than flourishing. I’m like my shoes—I don’t have a decent pair that isn’t full of holes. As an image of the way I feel internally, instead of picturing a flourishing plant, imagine that I’m a rose that’s been clipped from the plant and trampled underfoot.

The doctrine of complementarianism may be right according to Christianity; it’s not my purpose to argue for or against it in this letter. But the lies and obscurities of the complementarian spokespeople are frustrating and unhelpful, and do a disservice to men and women who are desperately trying to lead Godly lives. This doctrine is one of patriarchy, pure and simple, and it doesn’t give women the promised life and growth, the supposed flourishing and nourishment brought by salvific male gardeners. In fact, the times in my life when I experienced abundance were those times when I attended university classes, wrote books, and followed focused research trails–on my own time, far away from household duties. Indeed, yes, I’m fallaciously speaking from my own experiences because I can’t speak from anybody else’s. I can only register my own exhaustion and listen carefully when my female friends speak to me. Some, such as Mary Kassian, would claim that the complementarian doctrine doesn’t compel a woman to give up of her passions or her career. However, I have to cry foul on Kassian, whose entire movement began as a reaction against the feminist movement that bought me (and her) a ticket to the academic world (see: CBMW).

Must I say more on this topic? Have my complaints registered? Would you, if you’re able to, stop obscuring the truth?

*The task of linking to all the patriarchal men out there was too tedious for one blog post. If you want to know more about biblical patriarchy, I would suggest reading these authors’ books or blogs. I’ve already done my research, and, as a disclaimer, I’ve read more of Wilson than the others

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Gwyn and the Dragon: Part I

Do you remember the days when the red-feathered dragon moved into the forest near Penllyn Castle? After the dragon’s short reign of terror, the people quickly established a peaceful outer obedience to the beast’s demands for local livestock. As long as each farmer in turn gave of the best of his flock, the dragon left the people and their children alone, except, of course, when it needed admiration. Every Friday at sunset, the dragon freewheeled in flight, coasting at a just-so angle, reflecting the last rays of the red sun. The dragon shimmered, and the people dutifully pointed and exclaimed and then hightailed it back to their cottages before darkness overcame them.

Years later, a new High Sheriff, appointed by the English throne, entered the dragon’s realm. Wealthy men followed the sheriff, building houses that encroached upon the dragon’s territory. As men felled trees for their homes, the dragon retreated into the depth of the forest, farther and farther, to avoid these new men and their weapons. In retaliation for the loss of its domain, the dragon returned to its secretive and predatory ways, snatching livestock at will and refusing the offerings of the people. No longer did it freewheel on Friday evenings, expecting the awe of the peasants and farmers. Worse still, an occasional child vanished, which set tongues to wagging because the High Sheriff seemed to have no concern for their missing children. The people were superstitious, the Sheriff claimed. There was no dragon–only evil men. And the vilest of all men were the ones who resided in the monasteries, now in the process of dissolution. The High Sheriff was a busy man.

There was a poor shepherd boy called Gwyn who lived in the region; he was a member of all search parties involving missing children, due to his tracking abilities. Daily, though, it was his duty to protect his father’s sheep from the clutches of the dragon, or any other threats. Although Gwyn’s father had long given the best of his flock to the dragon when his lot was called, now that the beast threatened to ravage any or all of the flock at unexpected moments, he and Gwyn built a strong sheepfold which had a roof for blocking the flock from aerial view. When Gwyn took the flock to grazing land, he also took with him two well-trained dogs that gave advance warning of the stealthy, flying creature.

Gwyn had good reason to protect what little wealth he and his family possessed. Gwyn was in love and wanted to marry, but the woman of his choice–the beautiful miller’s daughter, Elen–had a heart only for wealth and security. Her head had been turned, as had many of the local girls’ heads, by the wily compliments of a wealthy gent, who was a friend to the new High Sheriff. In consequence of his friendship, the wily man was appointed officer of the law and, whilst the local women favored him when he rode into the village, tall and stately on his horse, the local men despised him. They were known to shout insults at the man because this officer of the law barely understood the local tongue. So they hurled their best, with smiles on their faces, lest they incur the wrath of the officer’s sword. Their friendly smiles encouraged the officer, who responded by puffing his chest and straightening his back and forcing his horse to prance in a disgusting manner.

One evening, after his father’s sheep were in the fold, and Gwyn had imbibed plenty of ale at the local inn, he and the village men watched the officer step up to the town platform and unroll a scroll–some kind of edict for capturing a wanted man, no doubt. Well, they would never give up their own, not for the greatest reward in heaven.

“He’s every bit the dragon,” Gwyn said. “Look at the way he takes our best and puffs his chest.”

An old friend jabbed Gwyn in the ribs. “Fight him, then. Take the best back, if you catch my meaning.”

Gwyn grasped the full intent of his friend’s meaning, but he didn’t know how he–a shepherd–could win the miller’s daughter from a man who wore a sword and had money to spare. Perhaps, though–perhaps, he could win the award, after all, turn in one of his own to marry the woman he desired. What did criminals know of loyalty, anyway? He, therefore, listened intently to the officer’s proclamation.

“I hereby announce the offering of a hefty reward by edict of the High Sheriff for the man who captures the awful wyvere in the forest and rescues the High Sheriff’s son who went missing two nights past!” That was the gist of the message; however, the officer, not knowing well the common language, stumbled over it and had to read it three times in a row before the men understood him and stopped their laughing.

“Ah, he just wants the dragon’s gold!” one man shouted.

Another said, “Does he expect us to rescue his son, when he has no care for ours?”

Meanwhile, they plastered smiles on their faces before dispersing to their homes, because they knew that actions always mean more than words.

“And what does the High Sheriff want with dragon gold?” Gwyn spoke aloud, believing he was alone.

Mysteriously, a voice whispered in his ear, “If you seek the dragon and find no gold, you’ll still have your reward.”

When he turned around, he beheld Elen, the beautiful miller’s daughter, whose golden hair appeared silver under the moonlight. “Shouldn’t you be home?” he asked her.

“Yes, I should be. My father awaits me. You could slay the dragon, Gwyn. You could take a portion of the gold for yourself.”

“And then what? Will I win your heart?”

“Yes. I’ve never desired to marry a fool.”

“Only a fool would slay a dragon for monetary gain.”

Elen touched his cheek. “Only a fool would let the award go to another man.”

Elen’s words haunted him for days. They haunted him as he watched his father’s sheep and as he ate his supper and warmed himself by the evening hearth. Finally, he came to a decision. He would allow the dragon to steal one of his flock. For the reward of Elen’s hand, one lamb was meaningless. Then he would track the dragon to its cave and see for himself whether a hoard of treasure waited inside…or, perhaps a treasure of small boys, the chiefest of which, deserved a heavy ransom.

Gwyn and the Dragon: Part II

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Joy Amongst Absurdities

It’s time for a little diversion. I didn’t expect to feel this distressed or depressed over the election. I expected that once it was over, we would all move on and stop lying in the name of campaign slogans about what a moral, upstanding citizen Obama is–or about how everything would be just enough of an iota better under Romney to halt the direction this country’s headed. [I don’t know how one can have part of an iota, however–maybe the tail erased? Let it not be said that I don’t know how to use metaphor.] But something inside me cracked. Something cracked at the level of stupidity and/or foolishness people will drop to in times of political manipulation. The people will be manipulated, even the intelligent ones. IQ is meaningless when it comes to this kind stupidity.

I already knew this. I’ve known this for a long time. Why, then, did it push me over the edge of sanity this time around? Perhaps it was the final time I read that somebody voted for Obama in order to rescue Big Bird. Or maybe it was the umpteenth time I read about women calling themselves vaginas and only voting for their own perceived needs, and then realizing that, somehow, the president has all these little vaginas wrapped around….oh, never mind. I didn’t start the metaphor, but I’m sure as hell not going to fall to their level and finish it off.

So, as I said, it’s time for a little diversion. The satire I write makes me feel all warm and glowing inside, but doesn’t seem to float anyone else’s boat [see my previous post and all posts similar to it–no comments at all and almost no reads on my satire!] I feel like such a loser, mostly because I consider myself to be more than a vagina and because I didn’t vote for all the cool free stuff I think the president’s going to give me [I don’t know why not–everybody else is doing it!]. It’s easy to forget all the horrendous things our leaders are doing in our name when they’re stroking our….never mind.

Instead, I’ll make a list of my favorite blogs. I hope you’re not uncomfortable with making it on this list after I almost strung out some crude metaphors. If so, I sincerely apologize and will remove your link at your request:

Jay Dinitto’s because he’s quirky and metaphysical, and I loved his book of short fiction.

Jessica Thomas’ because she has an orderly mind and, even when she posts poetry about her years of mental turmoil, she still brings a breath of fresh air to the madness.

Katherine Coble’s because I just adore Katherine Coble’s mind. I’m sort of a crazed internet fan.

Mike Duran’s because he’s apt at pushing buttons and, beneath it all, he’s a kind and helpful person.

C.L. Dyck’s because when she writes topical articles she always dives into a very in-depth analysis. I can only imagine that she must be exhausted after writing them.

My dad’s because he writes contemplative and odd words to match his eccentric artwork. He just doesn’t post often enough to save me from my sorry mental state!

There you have it–spots of joy that are blessings and distractions. Thanks to all the authors of the above blogs for helping to mend my cracked brain. Oh, and about manipulation from the media–I was ogling some techno ad yesterday, and my 14-year-old asked me if I was being swayed by a commercial. I told her “no!” I was swayed by the cool idea, I explained, which fit so nicely with the cool clicking sound effects in the ad. Yeah, I get it. I’m not fooling anyone, am I? But at least I don’t call myself a vagina ever [I almost completed the metaphor by calling you a d_____ b__ for the crime of not being fooled by my rhetoric].

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