Persistence and Letting Go


Reading time: about 4 min.

We went out to dinner tonight–a new ramen place opened really near our house, it looks like it’s a small chain in the northeast. I had the Tonkatsu with chashu pork. I had them leave out the nori and wakame, as I don’t care for either of those types of flavors. The boiled egg was perfection and the broth and meat were both really top notch. Paul got the Shoyu with chashu pork and he really thought his was good, too. We’ll definitely be going back.

Unfortunately, today was Ozempic day which means the possibility of what we like to refer to as potty emergencies and that’s been the situation since we got home. I’m at least getting a lot of reading done. When we got home I was also feeling a touch of nausea, but luckily, I have a supply of Zofran that I keep on hand and not the nasty sublingual stuff you get in the ER, either. Actual pills.

My plans for the evening were either knitting and a murder show (Vera, I think) or gaming, but I have a weird headache that I’m not sure about, to be quite honest.

So here I am, feeling a lot of conflicting emotions. I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Shane MacGowan but also deeply satisfied that Norman Lear outlived Henry fucking Kissinger.

And when I think about this meticulously researched and incredibly painful reporting from the Texas Tribune, FRONTLINE, and Pro Publica I am filled with rage and sorrow that my country’s love of guns is greater than its love for our children and their educators.

Also, of course, there’s the horrifying situation in Gaza. I can barely comprehend what the Israeli government hopes to accomplish other than genocide. And I don’t know how to talk about it. But I recently read this piece by the ridiculously talented Amal El-Mohtar, Sour Milk and Bitter Herbs and I get a glimpse of what it is to be part of a recent diaspora (I am a child of earlier diasporas, generations removed from my ancestors’ privations). The heartbreak which so many people are feeling right now: I see you, though I am mostly silent.

I am thinking a lot about religion, too. I’ve always been, at heart, a non-denomination Christian deist (though I was baptized Catholic, I was not raised with religion) and I’m feeling that shift into something more personal, but not wholly Christian. I have a little side table in my office that holds things I find precious: a chunk of coral from Hawai’i (removed from a reef by my father in the 1970’s when that was still legal), a fossil ammonite that has this amazing iridescence, a bird’s feather that I found in the yard last year, pretty rocks, and shells collected from various beaches in Massachussetts.

It feels nebulous, but when I am in the place I am supposed to be at a moment, there are blue jays, the most yelly of the corvids. Which is fitting, since I am kind of a yelly person.

For those of you who have missed my yelling, I will probably yell at some point during Readercon next year, for we have determined that we will make it happen–health permitting–since it is the con of my heart. And I also have opinions. Maybe I’ll finally propose that panel about Clan of the Cave Bear that I’ve been wanting to do since forever ago, but I’d probably have to pair it with the parallel V.C. Andrews obsession in my AFAB age cohort. Trunk of manuscripts my ass.

I have missed being able to extemporaneously write something and just put it up on a website without the anxiety that came with the territory at the end of Pretty Terrible. Most of y’all really do not understand how cursèd 2021 was for me, and how so much of that revolved around my anxiety over how people were going to treat me at Worldcon.

For the record, I was treated very nicely by everyone I spoke and paneled with and those of you who were in the audience who cheered for That Essay? You were my favorite part of the whole experience. You still are–because you proved to me that my writing was worthwhile. My confidence had been so rattled that I simply wasn’t sure.

I’ve felt like I’ve had to hide my light inside me for so long, to hold myself together through nothing more than willpower and stubbornness. Most of my family has never encouraged my writing, not once. I don’t know if any of them know of my writing or what they think. I’ve been told my whole life to be quieter, to be more easy-going, to not be so sensitive. At this point in my life, I want to yell more and let my feelings out.

Which is what this place is for, I suppose. And I know I’ve been nattering on about this for eons, but this is one of the spaces I use to make what I’m thinking feel more real to me.

I leave you with this bleak and beautiful recording of Shane MacGowan reciting Yeats’s “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death”. I have the CD this came from and this is the only Yeats poem I can recite from memory, thanks to Shane MacGowan. And it’s pretty fucking nihilistic when you look at the whole thing.

I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.