Archive | October 2015

When Nightmares Come to Visit

Halloween was my favorite non-Christmas holiday for a long time. I loved decorating my room for it, actually had boxes of Halloween decorations. It was spooky and fun: a night to pretend to be someone other than yourself, and imagining that ghouls and goblins really are around the corner. I was living with my parents, going to Cal State… when I found out that not all Halloween Nightmares end.

I did not celebrate Halloween (other than handing out candy) from the time I was 24 until I was about 38. One year, during that time, I went over to my brother’s house to hand out candy while he and his wife took the boys out trick or treating. That first night started a tradition, a way of raising a toast…

You see… my mother, she who loved the very dry and sometimes tasteless British sense of humor died on Halloween.

That particular Halloween Nightmare— you don’t ever shake. You learn to live with it, but it’s always there. I can’t remember parts of that day– I must have blacked out while picking up a chair and throwing it at a window in the hospital. I remember many friends who helped, who made phone calls and came by the house to hold my hand while I made phone calls. I also remember going to the airport to secure the flights for my sister in Missouri and my brother who at the time was in Arizona.

My friend Jackie drove me. It was a good thing she was there, because I remember wanting to punch Raggedy Ann in the face. Yes, a lady at the ticket counter, dressed as Raggedy Ann gave your good old Wynelda Ann a temper overload. Jackie quietly stepped between us, defused the situation.

When we returned to the house, it was just getting dark. Trick or Treaters were starting to swarm the streets. The neighborhood that I loved, the holiday that I adored… suddenly was way too much. As a group came up, the kids just starting to come up the drive, I told the grown ups “no Candy.”

“No candy? What’s wrong with you?!!” It was someone I knew, someone I’d known since childhood. He probably meant it in a joking matter, but I couldn’t…

“Mom just died.”

I don’t know how he did it. But there were no trick or treaters that night. None.

My soul sister came in from Reno, spent that first Halloween night with me.

After that, I couldn’t get into the spirit of dressing up, of decorating. Halloween lost its appeal for me. Slowly, the boxes of decorations disappeared.

Then came the toast. It was quite a few years after Mom had died. I was watching the house and handing out candy for my brother, Charlie. They came home, and were separating out the candy. “Hey, a Butterfinger! That was mom’s favorite candy bar!” Soon came to find out, she would con me, my dad and Charlie into buying her just one candy bar… sometimes on the same day. She was diabetic, so if we had known… well. If we had known then what we know now, we would have bought her a bag of full size bars.

SItting there, on their living room floor, Charlie, Beth and I held a toast with Butterfingers, to Mom. It’s a ritual, a tradition now. Even when all I did for Halloween was hand out candy, I always made sure that I had a Butterfinger. Sometimes alone, sometimes with family.

And the tradition spread through parts of the family.

After all that, I’m here to tell you… Sometimes nightmares come to visit, and they don’t leave. But you can learn to live with them… and start enjoying what you once loved.

Because I have a child now. He’s 9 years old. I’ve dressed him up and taken him trick or treating, but haven’t decorated beyond the general fall decorations that my dad has. That changed this year. Princeling wanted to decorate. Please mom! Please!

Love the dollar store. Love it! Halloween items were a true BOGO, and we got a bunch. Mostly stuff he chose– a mummy hand, a skull candelabra centerpiece, signs for the yard, big spider and webbing… I tried to steer him away from outright demons and ghouls, because my dad… but he had fun!

But then there’s my 2 items. That’s right. My. Two. Items. I actually found 2 things that I thought were cute. And then they needed to be mine. And they were BOGO, so how could I not? They are black and purple and witchy and sparkly and they had to be mine. I’ve started up my decorating again… Last night, we watched the Dreamworks Scary/Spooky collections on Netflix and laughed our butts off.

This morning, I’ll go over to my neice’s house and raise the toast with Princeling, the niece and her family. We’ll probably also have the toast again tonight with Pappa.

It’s hard to learn to live with your nightmare. Hard to learn to walk everyday with it.

I plan to dance with it tonight. I think Mom would like that

My wish for you is that you give yourself time to learn the steps. It isn’t easy, it isn’t nice.

Living with grief is of like trick or treaters. Sometimes you’ll get a ghoul, and sometimes it will be a princess. But you always have the power to decide which candy you’ll feed your nightmare.

And there will come a time, either soon or in the distant future, where you can dance with your nightmare and celebrate the one you’ve lost. It takes a while.It takes a lot of ugly, messy tears before you can get to the point where you can remember them with joy and not want to ball.

But you’ll get there.

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Broadening Horizons: Book Review of Reunited, A Cybil Lewis Story By Nicole Givens Kurtz

So I picked up something to read that I never in a million years would have imagined that I would love.

Reunited-Book Cover-1

Re-United, by Nicole Givens Kurtz. I know! I read a Sci-Fi title! Can you believe it? I haven’t read Sci Fi in too long, mainly because the titles that I picked up way back in the past seemed to sacrifice both character and plot for hard science. Or, you know, they’re all “The future sucks, we’re all going to die!”

But this story had everything that I love… Great story line, kick a** heroine and accessible story telling. I was caught up, and stayed captured for the duration. It’s great read, which means Kurtz doesn’t bounce you out of the story just to tell you how something whizbangcool works.

In a lot of ways, this reminded me of the urban fantasies that I love: Kim Harrison, Anne Bishop… only, you know… more mechanical and less magical. But here’s the thing… It reminded me that I actually started out loving Science Fiction. When I was a teeny bopper all those years ago, I’d check out Heinlein, Card, Herbert… (Never any Asimov, although I don’t know why. )

Oh. And I loved, loved loved the Crystal Singer Series by McCaffrey, though I didn’t read her Pern series until recently (I know, go figure).

Re-United caught that enthusiasm for the future and made it bubble again. Since then, I have checked out  a couple of SciFi titles…

And on pay day, I’m going to have a new Cybil story on my reader.

Weird Western Wednesdays-We’re All Weird, Here

I always wondered what a a weird western was… great explanation of the genre.

Other Worlds Pulp

Weird Western Wednesdays Weird Western Wednesdays

October is Black Speculative Fiction Month. Black speculative fiction is as diverse as the African diaspora itself. The sub-genres and stories that are birthed from black speculative fiction speak to a universal humanity, resilience, and creativity that are hallmarks of those who rise above oppression and hardships.

It’s one of the reasons I love weird westerns. As a child growing up in a housing project in Knoxville, Tennessee, my mother loved watching Clint Eastwood westerns. Well, those were her favorites, but we watched all the television western show, Little House on the Prairie, Gunsmoke, Rifleman, and others I was too young to remember. Often I lost interest because, well, none of the characters looked like me, and honestly, the plots seemed too simple. You’ve seen one; you’ve seen them all.

Looking back, I discovered that intrigued my momma was the difficulties those early pioneers endured and how they persevered to overcome them.

The…

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America The Broken: Mass Shootings, Hashtag/internet activism, the NRA and other BS

I normally stay away from outright political posts. Today, however… Today I have had enough. It’s time to piss some people off.Wyn is going on a rant.

Our greatest enemy is not ISIS, or some random other country. It’s ourselves. Americans have somehow lost sight of America the Beautiful and allowed it to become America the Broken.

Not the Syrian refugees.

Not immigrants trying to make a better life.

Not even Russia.

Or North Korea.

We are doing a damn fine job of destroying ourselves.

There was a mass shooting recently. People did not come home from school. Once again, parents are left without their babies, and babies are left without their parents. It’s a horrible situation that needs to stop. Needs to stop right now and yet…

And yet…

The only solutions I’ve seen on Social Media comes from NRA supporters who are bleating about “Don’t take away my guns… ” Really? Really? This is a discussion we, as Americans, need to have. Gun control issues need to be addressed. Period. Win, loose or draw, this is a discussion we need to have and have soon. In person. Face to face, in communities all across the nation. Because we are not getting any better at this. We are getting worse.

Mental health issues come into play with the mass shootings, as well. You know, the programs that our elected officials have no problems defunding. Republican or Democrat, doesn’t matter. Mental health issues have come into play with most of the mass shootings. And we’re not only letting the issues be swept under the rug— we keep voting the same people in that do it.

And I’m not done… Yup, I’m going after everything that is killing babies today.

Here’s my problem with the hashtag of #alllivesmatter. First of all, is the duh factor.Everyone matters, regardless of race. Period. And yet… Whether you want to admit to it or not, there is a problem going on and it seems to center in a segment of America that not everyone wants to understand. It’s easy to say to ourselves “Well, if they hadn’t done something wrong, it wouldn’t have happened.” “Well, they were dressed like a thug and were treated like one. Go figure.”

Yes, I’ve actually heard those two sentences.

Sounds kind of like “Well, her skirt was too short, so she was asking for it” to me.

Nonsense.

Because it did happen to someone who was dressed appropriately to what he was getting ready to do. A black athlete, a tennis player (sorry, don’t know his name as I hate tennis) waiting outside a fancy-schmancy hotel for his car to come pick him up for a tennis match. Detained, cuffed and humiliated by a policeman who didn’t think he was where he belonged. Yes, it made the news. But no one… and I mean no one… has connected the dots to their own thinking. To the “Well… if… then…” falls apart in one, clear instance.

Quite frankly, it sucks.

The genocide of violence that sweeps across America occurs in many forms: gangs, police brutality, rape, school shootings, and non-stranger homicide. We need to have honest and genuine conversations across communities to develop ways to combat these issues.

Then we need to DO something about them.

Because a baby… still in her crib… was collateral damage in a drive-by shooting. How did that baby do it to herself? Why is this still fucking ok? Or if not ok, swept under the rug… Generations of Americans are killing each other and we have to stop it.

And it ain’t gonna happen through Social Media.

One last thing before I get to what I see as a solution for this broken America.

Syrian refugees.

Did you know that during World War II, originally our borders were closed to Jews fleeing the concentration camps? Huh. I learned that it college and it rocked my world. The president at the time closed the immigration because of rampant racism against the Jewish. Eventually, the borders were opened and we joined in WWII. Eventually.

Right now there’s a meme going around that says Vets before Syrian Refugees.

Really?

Really people?

Why are we going back?

Think about this…

It’s easy to post memes, forward articles, and update your status on social media, but what physical action have you done in the community. Armchair activism doesn’t do much to help stop the blood flow of innocent people at school, at college, playing in their neighborhood or driving their car down the highway. The polarizing aspect of Americans is that we don’t get out and meet the people we’re dismissing on social media.

Because that’s what it’s going to take to fix America. You, me, everyone… getting up off our ASS, shutting off our devices and doing something to fix it. Big or small, we need to take the steps to fix America.

My dad gives money to the poorest school in the district. Not my son’s school… but which ever one has the greatest need. I have a friend who feels very strongly about the phrase “gone but not forgotten” and do you know what she does? She goes out and helps to clean and maintain the grave markers of fallen soldiers. Another friend feels strongly about church and community and children. So she arranges movie night at the church. She makes it possible for people from church to go to the snow. She tries, each and every day. She does not like what video games have done to society… and keeps them out of her house.

I had been hoping to teach a class on journaling to heal at a women’s shelter but because of a conflict of interest was unable. I need to revisit that. Or doing poetry or story telling with teens. I need to do better. I need to follow through.I may be pointing a finger today, but I am fully aware that there are more pointing back at me.

If we want our kids to be safe, and secure… We need to give all of them something to belong to. Something other than a gang, or a video game world, or a hate group…

Let’s give them US. You, me… everyone. Let’s become INVOLVED American’s. If you love playing darts, or playing pool… how about sharing that with others? Kids who need a place to belong. Art, books, so many different things we can get them into. Make a part of your garden open for kids to grow their own veggies. . Will it fix the problems? I don’t know. But if it can save one mother from crying over her dead child…. How can we not try? Stop posting divisive, ridiculing things on Social Media and start fixing our country.

Let’s build America the Beautiful, all parts, from sea to shining sea.

“This is your call to action. Get up. Get out of the house. Get involved. Get connected to real human beings beyond the isolation and mask of social media.”

Lets start a conversation. Comments are open, but I shall delete anyone that belittles or berates anyone else. We need to find a solution, and that solution needs to start with us.

*** thank you to Nicole for her help***