Author Archives: Jill

Born to Die

Birth is a sure sign of death, unless you are Elijah and get carried away on a chariot. Even Elijah passed from this world to the next; he just didn’t do it in the ordinary way. I’ve brought this subject up before because people are famous for striving after a new Eden, where death will not get us and weeds don’t consume our gardens. There is no way to rationally strive after Eden, but we will try anyway.

I’m trying to be understanding of that as we sit at home and let the economy rot over a virus. It’s very frustrating, though. On one hand, I can understand temporarily closing down businesses and gatherings in order to “flatten the curve.” I can see a case for even our civil rights being trampled on for a short time; a couple of weeks ago, Trump said he would leave it up to governors and wouldn’t get involved in state rights. He had the correct attitude. We aren’t under martial law. Rather, we’re under the dictates of our home states. Fine. There will probably be lawsuits after it’s all said and done, and in some cases, I’m sure federal courts will determine that the rules states implemented during this time were draconian and a breech of our rights. But I’m also just as sure not all of the lawsuits will be successful. Of course, it’s unconstitutional for any level of government to shut down churches and gun stores (etc.) — whether it is constitutional to do so short-term during a pandemic is another question entirely. I will hesitantly say it probably is, and who am I to question the paradigm of all of us “doing our part.”

Sure, I’ve been riding along doing just that — my part and staying home unless I have to go to the grocery store. It’s not easy to do, and I have to maintain a certain stasis of faith in order to not view the future as bleak. Yes, I’ve been hit financially, but my entire state will probably have a hard time getting up again after the governor has shut down the vast majority of mom and pop stores, filtering everyone (and all their germs, all at once) through big box stores. And this is the other hand. The rules many governors are instating make no sense. Why is it better for an entire town of 50,000 plus the outlying population to shop at one or two stores only? Why is this virus so bad compared to viruses we’ve been exposed to in the past? For heaven’s sake, I live in an area where the bubonic plague is still endemic. However, this has never stopped anyone from taking their flea-ridden pets on walks where will they will sniff other dogs, or from doing anything, really. Nobody cares that the bubonic plague is here. And they don’t care about all the various flus that have killed thousands of people in the last few years. Why is it that now, with this virus, people are being shamed for being potential carriers, when healthy people with strong immune systems have always been potential carriers?

The thing is I don’t live in New York. Perhaps the media’s story about mass graves and bodies piling up is actually true (somehow I doubt this; their videos and images are constantly being caught out as false). Perhaps this virus really is the plague of all plagues, so deadly that we should hide indoors for months on end, while people lose their businesses and livelihoods. I doubt this very much, too. I’m willing to go along for a short time, as long as people get it through their thick skulls that there is no Eden and there won’t be as long as we’re on this Earth together. In the long run, you can’t prevent healthy people from going outside their homes because they might get your granny sick. It isn’t a rational position in the slightest. Nor is it Christian to extort the Golden Rule to bring this about; if a person does not know they are carrying a disease, they can’t be held responsible for getting another person ill. It’s a position that doesn’t reconcile the basic idea of herd immunity, let alone the philosophical idea of life leading to death.

I admit that I myself am not thinking entirely rationally right now. I’m irritated with all the smugness and prissy little twits breathing their hot air over everyone else. If this virus has done nothing else, at least it’s brought to light all the cockroaches you know you can’t trust, who will snitch on you to the government over a virus. I can’t imagine what these twits would do if we were under more duress. Who knows? People will surprise you. That reminds me…. There was another part of the Jacques Lusseyran book I wanted to write about. Maybe tomorrow.


Défense de la France

I mentioned the autobiography And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran in a post sometime ago. It’s a very good book, and I recommend it to anyone who likes biography and history. He was a fascinating person with a strong faith. I’ve been meaning to mail the book to my dad. I missed his birthday, and he’s stuck at home like everybody else. But I haven’t quite culled all the quotes I’d like to from it. I’m terribly slow at life! I’m sorry! Anyway, I’m going to provide a couple of paragraphs of inspiration for you, my friends. Remember, Lusseyran and his friends were teenagers when they became resistance fighters in World War II France. They were young men with hearts and souls turned toward what is good.

Ours was not a political paper. Not one of us at Défense de la France had any commitment to a doctrine. We were too young for that, and other things were more pressing. We placed our trust in the ideal of Western democracy as embodied then, in forms that differed but were of equal merit in our eyes, by Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. To perfect democracy would be the task of the peace. We had no partisan cause, no material interest to defend. We were poor and full of ardor.

The only belief shared by all the members of Défense de la France was the survival of Christian values. Ours was frankly a Christian paper. But let us be clear on this point. We were not protecting any one church at the expense of the others. There were many Catholics among us and very devout. But there were also Protestants, equally sincere. We were not even speaking in the name of the churches, for some of our people did not belong to any. It was simply that we stood for Christian morality and its absolute demands for respect and love.

pp. 212-213 in the 1998 edition, Parabola Books

We often mock young people for being foolish and having no forethought, but that is exactly what they bring to the table. They often hold ideals, while the older folks have replaced their ideals with cynicism. They rush headlong into what they believe to be right causes, no thought to the consequences of their actions — or, in this care — little care for the consequences of their actions. It’s obvious Lusseyran and his friends understood they could die; they understood they were at war. They had a certain zeal, though, that convinced them that what they were doing was more important than their lives. This is why generations need each other, obviously. To be willing to die for a just cause is a nobleness itself, and those of us on the wrong side of forty could use some of that nobleness. Of course, along with their youth, they also had no wives or families, which is what can bring caution to older people. An older married couple will be primarily concerned with keeping their children safe.

And he and his friends did pay for what they did. They were betrayed, and most were arrested. Lussseyran was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp along with 2000 other Frenchmen. He was among 30 out of the 2000 inmates who survived.

Just in case the previous paragraph killed the inspiration for you, remember that these men stood up for what was right; they were willing to give up their lives. Many of them did give up their lives, but evil did not ultimately prevail. Germany and the Third Reich were defeated. I don’t know about you, but I would not like to say at the end of my life, Gee, I’m glad I survived this horror by hiding away in my house doing nothing. I should also not like to say, Gosh, I talked a really good game on the internet. I want to be able to say that I stood up for goodness even though my life was at stake. I’m almost certain the world around me will not remain in this complacent comfort. It might. But I don’t think God wants me to remain in it.

So, here I am. Send me. Dangerous words, those.

***Don’t forget, The Minäverse is free until Friday. Get it now!***


The Skeleton of my Life

1. No, no skeletons in the closet. I’m simply having to rework my day frames because I’ve taken up homeschooling again, and it feels like ‘dem bones being resurrected into a lively skeleton. This is a little shaky right now. I might make a video about that later. If so, I’ll post it below.

2. Don’t forget The Minäverse will be free until Friday (which also feels like resurrecting a skeleton). Here is a description:

Forty years ago, Tomi Corp, headed by Albuquerque’s own Oso Beñat, designed and gave life to fully-sentient androids and triggered an economic collapse. In response to widespread outrage from the masses of suddenly-unemployed, the government forced all androids to become useless fools, and the corporation refocused its efforts on mindless robotics. But the post scarcity world has left America’s youth unhappier than ever. The release of Tomi Corp’s latest idea, a line of taco-bearing vanity bots, is gearing up to be the trigger that finally causes a societal upheaval as big as the atomic bomb.

Oso’s granddaughter doesn’t believe he’s the monster her generation imagines him to be. As a struggling journalist, she hopes she can both restore her family name and boost her career with an Oso Beñat biopic. Revealing the truth turns out to be a lot harder than a few simple interviews, however. She might have to risk it all—her career, her boyfriend, and her life—in order to set the record straight.

Here is a link:

3. I’m still working on edits for The Order of the PenTriagon; however, I’m at a stage where I should probably collect some betareaders. If you’re interested, I’ll put you on my list.


Amazon Freebie

From April 6-10, The Minaverse will be free on Amazon. There is a link to the Amazon page below on the book cover, but I will also give an update and reminder on Monday, complete with a link. Please tell your friends it will be free. If they’re like me right now, they’re blowing through books they never had the time to read before. So this is my offering to those with a fast dwindling book fund: androids and humor set in enchanting New Mexico.


Making Movies

That’s a Dire Straits album. On it, you’ll find a song I always found appropriate to the writing life: Skateaway. There are a few others out there, like Tracy Chapman’s Telling Stories (There is fiction in the space between). Writing books literally happens in the space between for most of us. I’ve always liked Dire Straits, though, and Skateaway is special to me. I picture a girl rollerskating around town, lost in her own mental world as the music plays the theme songs in the background. And of course, that song is one of my theme songs, so all this becomes meta. The story of my life is boring, but at least the theme song isn’t.

Not unbelievably, that last paragraph has nothing at all to do with what I’d come here to write about this afternoon. I’ve had a good run working on my book and avoiding social media. I don’t avoid news, though; thus, I’m not living in darkness, hiding my head in the sand. In fact, lest somebody accuse me of reading only Faux News (or whatever the latest insult is) I read the stream that Yahoo News sends me on my phone all day. It’s a mix of everything: The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post. You get the idea. Mainstream news sources, some tipping right and others tipping left. I’ve also been keeping up with Trump’s updates. And I’ve been feeling all right about the world. Things are a little weird, as we’re hunkered down and only going out to walk the dog or buy groceries. My husband, of course, still goes to work, being an essential worker (firefighter). In general, though, my friends and family are well and surviving this pandemic one way or another. This isn’t meant to downplay others’ pain, sickness, or loss. It’s merely meant to say that I’m weathering it and not panicking, even though newspapers like The Atlantic would like for me to be scared.

From my perspective, the president has been doing a reasonable job at responding to the country’s needs and listening to his expert advisers. I find little fault with him regarding this virus. And then…I logged back on to Facebook to check up on extended family members, and I realized Trump was evil and everything was wrong and terrible and if we don’t all die because of Trump and how evil he is, our economy is going to implode and then he will shut down the elections and become a dictator. Also, racism. Everywhere. Especially in American Christianity. Gloom threatened to overwhelm me almost instantly. It was like being in an airless room. Even the people who were applauding Trump were racked in agony and terror. E.g. I have a very outspoken, brash and opinionated New York Jewish friend who is pro Trump all the way; she loves him, but she has a compromised immune system and unwittingly does pass along her terror to the Facebook world.

It’s like we’re all watching different movies of the world around us. In this case, it isn’t experience that changes the story. Nobody on my Facebook has gotten Coronavirus. They don’t even know people who’ve contracted it. It can’t simply be the media they’re reading — I read all media sources except those I do not trust to be factual (e.g. Raw Story or Zero Hedge). I’ve been struck with similar thoughts before this, that we’re all watching different movies when it comes to the same events. It really popped out at me this time back on Facebook, though. I go on and off and am generally lured back on only because I miss the friends and family I can’t visit regularly. I’m gong to start calling it Facebook’s Cave. The same reality, the same news, filtered through Facebook casts a strange series of shadows on the wall that aren’t visible to me while out of the cave.* I mean, there are people like my dad who does nothing but share his artwork and jokes and puns and poems and stories, but there is always someone else around to dump cold water all over it. The strange shadows are like little goblins casting projections. Theater goblins, of course. And when we veer off-script, they have to reel us back somehow. Oh dear, I think I’ve been living my book for too long. Except in my book, they aren’t goblins but aliens. Help!

I’m going to leave the house now. Walk the dog, I think. I can’t do much else, and I need a larger screen for my movies to play. The brilliant blue sky will answer my need. Too bad I don’t have any skates, but if I did my movie would end in tragedy because my dog is a spaz.

*My husband pointed out that he’s friends with First Responders instead of writers and artists, and all they do is share dumb jokes all day. They are a breed, you know. They’ve seen it all, and if they can’t crack jokes, they won’t stay in the career.