Tag Archives: writing

Our Bodies Are No Longer Our’s To Own

uterusI actually had quite a few other things that I had planned on working on today.   And then I saw the news of the latest Supreme Court decision.  To be honest, I can’t say that I am surprised at the decision.  I rather expected it.  The many decisions leading up to this one, each one chipping away at our basic human rights, voices and liberties.  And this one, even in the face of the sheer hypocrisy of the company that took the suit all the way to the justices.

We, the women of this country, can be refused coverage for contraception based on the professed beliefs of our bosses, even if the organization is not a religious institution.  Because the “rights” of a company trump the rights of an individual. However, a great deal of the responsibility for this decision I believe falls on the heads of the citizens of this country.

The outcry wasn’t loud enough, it held far too few voices and wasn’t backed by the outcome at the polls.  It takes a protest on a far grander scale than any we have seen in some decades here.  It was protests of such a scale that garnered us those rights that were lost today.  Rights that have been slowly stripped away from us for the past number of years.  The women seem to have lost focus on the true impact of what these decisions mean to the freedoms women have come to enjoy.  As the old adage goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

You know?  This isn’t an issue of whether or not you use birth control.  This isn’t about whether you would ever choose to have an abortion or not.  This isn’t about whether you want to be a career woman or a stay at home mother.  This is about basic human rights, basic respect given to an intelligent, conscious human capable of making decisions about your health, your choices and the right to keep those choices private.  As such they should be.  Your employer should have no more right to dictate something out of your health insurance any more than they should have the right to dictate how you my spend the paycheck they give you.  It is part of your compensation package that you should be able to use as you see fit.

It truly is humiliating to realize that we are now, as women, faced with having to obtain permission to be granted a medical prescription.  We must shut ourselves in with them and tell them of the private, possibly embarrassing details of our bodies to get their permission to obtain medication to alleviate painful and debilitating conditions.  To tell them that our menstruations are irregular and we need this medication to bring them under control.  And those that just want the simple ability to decide when to, or if to, become a mother, well, you are on your own for that one.

Not to fear though! Those same restrictions do not apply to the medications to aid men suffering from ED.  They will still be covered for their Viagra, Cialis, etc.  They will even be covered for their vasectomies.  So, a man’s choice of sexual and reproductive freedom is not, has never been and never will be under question.  They don’t even need to have a sit down heart to heart with their boss to explain why they need it.

I remember an incident a couple of years ago before the presidential election a response I got on something I said on Facebook.  I don’t remember what the specific topic was, though I am sure it had to do with my either expressing my support of the Democratic candidates if for no other reason than their support of women’s and LGBT rights.  A man who was a friend of the friend that made the initial post told me that, and I quote, “You women need to quit voting with your uteruses and not be so afraid to take a step in the kitchen once in a while.” Well, you know?  Women comprise 50.8% of the population. Control of our uterus is critical to our ability to succeed in the world.  It is critical to our ability to have the freedom to choose the life and education and chance at a decent income.  Things that men take for granted.  All they need is have the desire and initiative.  A woman can have all the desire and initiative in the world, but if she doesn’t have the right to control her reproductive capabilities, she could lack the means to act on those dreams.

The actual truth is that abortion is at its lowest point in decades.  Teenage pregnancy is also at its lowest levels.  That is, with the exception of a handful of Southern States where it has been made difficult to obtain access and education to reproductive choices.  Young women are entering Colleges and Universities in record numbers.  And they are also graduating in record numbers.  They are breaking barriers and changing the landscape in virtually every area.  Granted, they are still somewhat held back in certain fields.  The old boy’s club doesn’t give up easily.  But, one of the critical things that has made possible for the numbers that are breaking through these walls and barriers is this ability to control and regulate our reproductive health.

We, as women, spend our entire lives with a stacked deck against us.  We are judged by our looks, how we dress, how we carry ourselves.  There is a different vocabulary of words used toward us, about us; negative words to the positive counterpart to the same behaviors in men.  Everywhere we turn, society, and corporations in particular, are looking for a way to excuse not letting us take any further steps forward.  Or demonizing us for the ones we have.  We slept our way to the top, its a good thing we have our looks to rely on. Even Hillary Clinton was challenged in the media lately when it came out that she was about to be a Grandmother.  How can she expect to be considered a candidate with a grandchild?  It doesn’t matter if you like Hillary or not, its about the fact that no such questioning would arise if she was a man about to become a Grandfather.  In fact, it has NEVER been a question in that situation.

Take all of that into consideration as you determine how critical you now think it to be for a woman to control her reproductive health? Then we have the issue of religion.  Should an employer have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees?  That is a terrifying can of worms for anyone to open.  Because, if you allow that for one, you must allow it for all.  Because you cannot ONLY give this right to one belief of one religion;  correction, demonination of that religion (the misspell began as legit and decided it should stay).

Add to this equation the fact that roughly 12% of the hospitals in this country are owned by the Catholic Church.  So, you now have a Supreme Court ruling that says an organization’s religious/moral belief can dictate what you can and can’t have.  You currently have 12% and growing of the hospitals in the country that are owned by a church that is anti-birth control, abortion, gay, and any belief other than their own.  As it is, if you go to a Catholic hospital, you are subject to the Bishops laws, regardless of your beliefs or instructions.  Some of those are:

The Bishops’ Directives forbid: •    Contraception •    Vasectomies and tubal ligation •    Abortion under any circumstances, including an ectopic pregnancy, which is a life-threatening condition •    Most fertility treatments •    IVF •    New treatments (e.g., for Parkinsons or Juvenile Diabetes) that make use of embryonic stem cells •    Any participation or referrals for patients who want to exercise their legal rights under Death with Dignity laws   The Bishops’ Directives require: •    tube feeding in the case of a persistent, vegetative coma (similar to Terri Schiavo) regardless of any Advance Directive to the contrary •    Employees to override patients’ Advanced Directives if they conflict with the Bishops’ Moral code – See more at: http://states.secular.org/states/washington/post/impact-catholic-hospitals-acquiring-secular-ones#sthash.aVVpJm5k.dpuf

Getting a bit nervous yet?  We’ll save my rant about how it won’t matter if you have legalized gay marriage in your state.  They won’t allow you at the deathbed of your spouse because their moral rights trump your legal rights.  Good grief!  They burned at least tens of thousands of people for their beliefs.

Right now, I want to scream, I want to pound my fists violently on a table top.  More than anything else, I want to shake the living shit out of all the women who have not been taking this seriously, who have been too busy to be bothered by it, who didn’t believe they could get away with it.  I want to scream at them, “Do you have any idea what we went through to get you those rights?  Did you think they came without sweat and blood?  Women died for the rights you are taking for granted.  They have been humiliated, abused, degraded, beaten, ostracized.  Did you think just because you had them, they couldn’t be taken away?  Well, wake up time little girls!  If you don’t hold tight onto those rights, they will grab them away in a heartbeat.  They just did.  And they are doing so every . . . . . single . . . . day!  It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in abortion.  It doesn’t matter if you want a family and don’t need contraception . . . . now.  It doesn’t even matter if you call yourself a Christian.  What matters is that you have had the right to make a decision for yourself taken from you.  You have allowed a hypocritical company take away decisions that are personal, your’s and that only belong being discussed with your doctor.  Its a damned pain to have to keep such a tight hold on the rights when you get them.  But, its a whole lot harder to get them back once you lose them.  And they ain’t done yet.   Its your body ladies.  We used to be owned.  Is that what you want again? No?  So then its about time you young ladies get off your asses and start fighting. ”

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SephiPiderWitch 06/30/2014

In God We Hate


I shouldn’t be surprised with the news these last months, weeks.  I was a child of the 60’s.  I lived through the time of desegregation.  I spent two of my father’s stations in rural Georgia.  And I was raised by a woman who followed the crazy fundamentalist hate mongers of which many are still spewing their vitriol while holding out their hands for your meager dollars, threatening damnation if you don’t take it out of the mouths of your children to give to them.  I’ve been to many a Bother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.  I’ve heard it, read it, had it beat upside my head, and screamed into my ears through all of my formative years.  I’ve seen racism up front, looking at the bloodied face of the neighbor caught walking down the street with his white girlfriend.  Have felt rejection and hatred of being found unworthy for not believing as I was expected, as those around me did.  And yet . . . .

They tell us that God is love.  That only God can judge.  That one should love one’s neighbor.  Jesus taught that we teach by living our lives by our belief.  We are taught that he died for our sins and all the laws of the old testament were no longer necessary because of his sacrifice.

So, that means we can now eat pork.  We can wear fabric from mixed fibers.  All those hundreds of laws no longer need to be memorized, adhered to, punishments noted, applied, held out for all to witness.  We can now concentrate on what we were told to be Jesus’ message.  To love.  To care for each other.  To treat all as our brothers, sisters.  To know that unless we have lived without blemish, we have no right to judge another.

Now, I am not a Christian.  That got beat out of me, screamed out of me, hypocrisied (don’t care if its not a real word, it should be) out of me far too many years ago.  But, I can respect the honorable teachings of the religion.  And it amazes me how I, heretic, non-believer, borderline atheist can understand the messages of Jesus and his followers can not.

I am also a firm believer in the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech, including freedom of thought.  I believe that everybody has the right to fill their minds and their hearts with as much hatred as they wish to.  I believe they have the right to look at their neighbors and their family that don’t meet the mold they set before them and decide they are less than human, a monster, a pariah.  They have the right to wish them ill in their hearts.  We all have that right.  But, some of us realize there are much better places to invest our energy than in hating family that doesn’t meet our standards, hating our neighbors, hating strangers.  That life is much more enjoyable when you spend it doing things that make you happy than in doing things to make others feel pain.

However, what is different, what is so very frightening right now is the flood of hate speech, hate law attempts, hate politics that are in the air waves, on our news feeds and moving through our legislatures.  There are currently at least half a dozen states attempting to pass laws that allow for legal discrimination, claiming it is an issue of religious rights.  There are even more that have either passed or in constant submission on women’s reproductive rights, again citing the religious rights of a company.

Now, I am aware of the absurd ruling on Citizen’s United.  That really, really needs to be overturned.  A company is NOT, has never been and will never be a person.  It is populated with people, run by people and owned by people.  And each of those persons have a right, a vote, a voice.  And there is a very obscure chance that the entire population of a corporation could vote unanimously on an issue, but I would guess even that would be unlikely at astronomical odds. A corporation is not a citizen, it is not a living breathing entity with individual thought. One of the great absurdities of this is that it is communism at its most perverted state, the hive mentality, the Borg. Not to mention hypocrisy at the extreme. For as it screams that social programs for the individual is socialism and should be opposed, it is attempting to say that it has the right to make the decisions for the people. The right to decide which people are worthy to be allowed into the hive. The rest will be left out to starve and die.

The politicians are quoting ancient and even by biblical standards, irrelevant passages to defend their claims, to rally their forces. But, if they were to truly abiding the rules of their “holy book”, the passages no longer apply. They were negated when their son of God was executed on the cross and all sins forgiven. And if they are to resurrect the old testament, they must do so wholly. They cannot eat pork and wear their designer blended fabrics and condemn homosexuality. They cannot elect women to power. There are hundreds of things they cannot do if they wish to bring back the old.

Hate is admittedly one of the most powerful unifying forces. One has only to look at history to know this to be fact. Create an enemy, dress it in the costume of “different”, give it a victim that you must protect from its evil intents and the people will flock to the cause in hordes. Draw that line of separation, darken it, deepen it, build on it. Stoke the fire till it becomes an inferno and turn it loose. Don’t worry about the deaths, the horrors that follow from it. Use them to feed the cause of hate. There is no need to worry about logic. Fevered hate will burn away any trace of logic or reason.

And the hate machine is now out of control. I have lived through seeing what this kind of hate can do when it becomes law. Sadly, it appears I may have to live through seeing that happen again.

Island Home November 1, 2013

Its a very strange notion to look around yourself and realize that this is “your” home. It took well over 50 years for me to get to this point, a point I really never saw myself getting to. But, I am here and this morning I made my very first payment. Only 359 more to go! And the big question is, will I live to see the last payment made??? I do hope so.

IMG_1971All new house stories should begin at the beginning and when you were first introduced.  Granted, it wasn’t what I had in my mind as the choice of homes I thought to ever see myself into.  But, as you walk through the front door, the very first room is big and roomy and lots of windows all around it.
IMG_1972Though I think I would have preferred if this window had been facing toward the backyard instead of the front yard.  But, it would still do.
IMG_1968Love all the black built ins in the kitchen.  And quite a nice amount of room in the kitchen.  Lots of cupboards, storage, and even an island in the center.
IMG_1969Not a “wood” stove, but a propane one to look like a wood stove.  I suppose its safer and maybe even more economical.  I will still have to get myself at least a firepit to put up in the back yard so I can have the flamage thing when I need it.  Plus, it will save on the trash take away if I can burn much of it.
IMG_1970Beautiful built in china cabinet.  Somehow, I have a feeling what will soon be inhabiting the cabinet is nothing like it has held in the past!
IMG_1966The back porch.  I can see that I shall be spending much time out here once I am settled and the weather allows!
IMG_1992Well, I have been in my new home for a month and a half now. I suppose the first couple weeks almost don’t count, as it felt like I was living in a storage unit. All the furniture plus the boxes in the house on the first weekend. The second weekend, in came all the books and things I was able to do without till moving day.
When the second load came it, it pretty much filled the rather large living room here. Cassie wasn’t quite sure whether to be disturbed by the box maze in there or if she had just gotten a giant new playground.She was trying to convince me that she was certain that this box contained her favorite toys.  I think it maybe had a jar of catnip in it.  I suppose that qualifies.
IMG_1983Day two of the box load.  Nice dent made in it.  Cassie thinks I am going to chase her through the box maze.
Another day of unpacking and the box count is way down.  Bookshelves are beginning to fill up.  Even though I realize how much I have gotten done, it still seems like there is so very much left to do.  And work keeps calling me which is seriously slowing down the unpacking process.  I have a feeling I won’t be able to get out and do the exploring I wanted to on my time off.
IMG_1996Shelves are almost filled up!  And I look at the stack of boxes in the center of the room and realize what a large number of boxes that is!  Woot!  Course, I still have to come back later and put them in order.  In my rush to get things unpacked, and clear the boxes, I just started stuffing books onto shelves.  That’s okay.  It will give me a chance to inventory them as I go.  There’s been a lot of movement in what is there, so what I
IMG_1985The kitchen is also starting to take shape.  It seems to be going back and forth between a state of mess and a state of coolness.  This is obviously one of the mess moments.  But, fear not.  All the things laying on the counters will find at least a temporary home behind a cupboard door or on a shelf.
RABBIT!!!  The squirrels were hiding at the moment so we must accept the rabbit substitute for the “squirrel” Intermission.  Actually, this shot was taken before I moved in.  But, it is still cool.  The rabbit just froze.  I guess it thought if it didn’t move, I could see it.  It was actually quite amusing, as it allowed me to continue to take shot after shot of it.
IMG_1986Little by little, things are falling into place.  The cabinet is filling.  The Ladies and their menageries need at least a temporary home.  The ones that don’t play will with others have found their own places in other areas.  So, there is harmony and the house now has its guardians.  The gardens will get their own in time.
The den.  Early stages.  This is the comfort room.  Right next to the kitchen.IMG_1984
IMG_1988The studio.  Early stages.  Well, at least the drawing desk and lamp are in place.  We still need to find all the tools and colors and such.
IMG_1990I have a place to sleep too.
IMG_2004The studio is taking more shape.  Books are finding their way in and in somewhat appropriate shelves and such.
IMG_2005And I even have my window seat in there with a reading/drawing/coloring lamp.  And this window looks out over the back yard where the squirrels and rabbits play.  The squirrels keep digging back there, so I think my yard is full of buried squirrel treasure.
IMG_1997Such a pretty back yard it is too.  Deep breaths.  Yes, I think it is a bit of a magical place.
IMG_1998Cloud gazing and sipping a cup of coffee.
IMG_1999Pretty clouds.  Even better than squirrels.
IMG_2007See?  The kitchen has been cleared!  I think I forgot how much cooking stuff I had.  Its been stored in a storage room for over 5 years.  Time to get it back to work.
 IMG_2013And there is Missy Herself Princess Foof!  How did I wind up with such a creature?  Ah well, she does provide much amusement!
IMG_2045Spider!  And no, its not the Zombie Demon Spider from the Bowels of Hell that would NOT die.  This is one of my friends and guardian spiders.  They seem to be forming a fringe around the perimeter of the house.  This one did the excited bouncy dance when I approached with my camera.  “Here!” he bounced!!
And what is a home without tools?  Found this lovely piece at a thrift store for a song!!!
IMG_2057House unpacked.  Finally got a sunny day on the weekend, so its time to put the watersealer on the front porch.  I figured the best way to get this done so I liked it was to do it myself.  Took me a few hours and was quite the workout!!!  But, I think it came out quite lovely.
IMG_2056See?  Lovely!
IMG_2055Welcome to my new home!!
IMG_2054And then there was another of those wonderful thrift store finds.  And yes, its an excellent tool.  But, it was just irresistible with the bonus uses it is capable of!!!
And this one needs to stay as a larger size.  It only has a couple of leaves left on it right now.  I suppose that shall have to be in a new post.  But, this is one of the lovely little trees I inherited with my property.

The Eve of 2013

2013_starsToday is the eve of 2013. Thirteen is such an auspicious number. I cannot but believe that it shall bode well for the coming year ahead. It is the number of the moons that travel the sky through the course of the year. We get but one 13th year in each century. And it also comes on the tail end of a century that has left the teens behind. That makes it a mature and well established thirteen.

But, there are many that feel that thirteen is a number that bodes of bad luck, dire happenings and evil and malignant intents. So feared is this number that it has earned its own phobia, Triskaidekaphobia. Buildings are made without a 13th floor, though I wonder how they can pull that one off. you can’t just rename a floor a level number other than what it is. Counting would surely prove that one out. So, does the architect build in a mini floor or a solid floor that is sealed from use? Thirteen turns in a traditional hangman’s noose. It is the count of the witches as they gather around the cauldron deep in the woods stirring spells into the night.

In thinking on this, it makes the year leading up to this point make more sense. Those that have been opening their arms to welcome the magic of the thirteenth year and those that huddled in fear, wrapping themselves in their bible blanket and loading the chambers in their arms. The prophecies of the apocalypse running head to head with those of the advent of peace.

It is happening already across the miles around the world, making its way to this end of the world. The world survived the doomsday, proved the dire misreadings wrong. The old still hangs on to what threads it can, wraps them around to tie the known into place. But, thirteen is the disruption, the gate. The end of a teen and beginning of a new. The twisting apart and separating.

I have no doubt that it will be a rough year. The old do not give up their ghosts and their ways very easily. But, I believe it will also be quite entertaining as the new tries on its new dancing shoes and takes the universe for a spin. So many cycles changing in all the cultures in the world. The year shall be a spinning, whirling dervish dance that willing or not, we will all be caught up in. It will be a memorable time for all if you keep an open mind and a playful heart. The Mother’s been needing a good hoedown for a while now.

So, let us pick up our paintbrushes, our crayons, our dancing shoes and our marching batons. The passions and wonders of the new adolescence is about to open the door. It is time for the parents to go to their rooms and new things to be created. Welcome to you, lucky Thirteen! May your awakening leave our lives beautifully adorned!

The “V” Word.

  • The V WordA silent word, a forbidden word, a vulgar word. One that must be held in the secrecy of your mind, never to be spoken, even in a whisper, in mixed society. A magical word of such importance that it must always be contained and controlled, lest it break free and devour the world of its vast civilization. It is, as it has been for centuries. It is untamed, full of uncontrolled passions that can lead the most devout of minds astray. And it is dangerous beyond any other dangers that exist in the known universe. To utter its name in a public forum is to risk the shunning of the society where its villainous name was spoken. To dare deny domain over it shall end in the banning from those who pound their gavels over the words.It is a word that may only be uttered by those who do not possess that which it names. And from them, it may only be spoken when necessary to restrain it, control it, harness it, and blame it. It may be seen on those necessary legal briefs that must pass through the walls of the lawmakers as the work for the safety of the public good to diminish its power, to strip it of its glory and wilt its petals, to rob it of its beauty.Vagina. The entrance to where the seed of life is sown.Vagina. The door through which life makes its grand entrance. Vagina. A word deemed to vulgar and obscene to be uttered. Offensive, unthinkable. Even more so when it is uttered by one who is actually bestowed with one.

    What is not unacceptable, however, is allowing it to appear in permanent record in laws to regulate it, to control it, to define what may or may not be done with it. What is acceptable is for a panel of people who are not endowed with such a blessed gateway in their body to be the sole regulators of the keys governing the admission and exit from that doorway.

    Transvaginal ultrasounds. Determination of when life begins. Access to birth control. Access to proper health care. Laws determining what a woman may and may not do with the body that is uniquely woman. Laws that in at least one state basically make a woman pregnant before she has even had sex. Laws that deem that if a raper victime becomes pregnant, it  is “God’s” will and she should rejoice in carrying that pregnancy to term.

    There was a time when many women suffered incarceration, institutionalization, death, in the struggle to become enfranchised in this country. To be able to have a say in who governed them, to have the freedom to choose their lives, to keep the money they earned, to own a small piece of property of their own, to choose whom they would marry, or not. They fought for the right to have a say in the laws that would affect their lives and their freedoms, just as deserving of recognition as those of the men who fought for the freedom to rule this country. The fight continued for decades, inching slowly forward. The right to professions, to education, to sexual freedom, to define themselves as men have always done so.

    Many great steps have been taken in this struggle. Equality never truly reached, but the differences narrowing with each step. The shame dimming on a girl that became pregnant out of wedlock. Access to birth control to stave off becoming a mother till a woman was ready. Laws to protect a woman from abuse from a spouse or lover. The right to make a decision patient to doctor on continuing a pregnancy.

    Its a hot button issue, there is no doubt about it. Babies are one of the most beautiful and precious gifts in this world. Personal responsibility for one’s actions has its place in the argument. But, also is the issue that mistakes can be made. One must weigh those decisions. One must balance all of the information in such a case. However, it must be left to the woman and her care provider to make that decision. Without the intervention of one who does not, cannot understand all that needs be weighed in that decision. It is a private decision, a personal decision, and one of the hardest decisions I believe a woman can make.

    But, then you add to that the extension of the outside wanting to extend that interference in cases of rape, of incest, of the health of the mother. The only concern is for this unformed life that was introduced through that vulgar vagina, that if allowed to continue, will make its exit through that same vulgar vagina, whose name may not be said in mixed company.

    Gone are the rights of the woman. Her demand that laws have no place on that sacred part of her anatomy are silenced. The laws are passed and the woman has no rights, no voice. And talk of similar laws to regulate the sexuality of men in this forum are dismissed as ridiculous. The insurance companies can deny coverage for birth control, abortion, but we will not hear of any attempt to limit Viagra, to impose any regulation on any sexual activity of a man. We will try and make it harder for a woman to prove that she was raped. We will try and make her history a matter of record to find her responsible and deserving of her fate. We will take ownership of her body and make her responsible for whatever injury we inflict upon it.  We will bury her in guilt, we will make an example of her. And when she cries out in foul, we will silence her.

    We will feed the world misleading stories, false medical information, claim the rights of the employer, the medical provider trump the rights of the individual. We will allow ALL access to the most private areas of a woman’s life and strip her of the means to control her destiny. Oh, she will be told, she can still control it if she keeps an aspirin between her knees, watches her glass carefully so that some predator doesn’t drop something into it, is lucky enough that the uncle, grandfather, priest doesn’t impregnate her. And if she is not lucky, she will be forced to let her dreams vanish, suffer the ridicule, and be left with a life of struggle to try and provide for this child she was not ready for. She knows not to expect help, from the father, from the society that forced her to bring it. And if she fails, if she falls short, she will be held up as an example. She alone will carry the burden of any and all failings.

    There was a time where the women of this country had begun to make progress towards equality. A time when our voices were finally beginning to be heard with respect. Civilization should advance. We condemn the horrors of the Muslim women who are mutilated genitally, who are locked behind doors, veiled and beaten and stoned. Yet, somehow we are not seeing our very own steps in that same direction. Their women were once educated, could teach, work, own property, decide their lives. They cannot any longer. We had made so much progress in this country, in our lives, in our choices, in our freedoms. And it is slowly being whittled away. If we lose the rights to govern our bodies freely, all parts of our bodies, we shall become slaves once more. Our veils may not be made of black fabric, but we shall be no less veiled, no less imprisoned.

    Its not about morality. That is something that we each must decide for ourselves. Its not about how the church feels, how our neighbor feels, how our employer feels. It is our bodies, it is our morality, it is our reasons based on our lives, our beliefs, unique from all others. We should not have to explain.  Right or wrong or neither, is something only we can make that choice on.  And if they don’t want to hear us speak the word vagina, then they should leave us to govern it for ourselves. It is our right.

    We fought for those rights, we died for those rights, just as they did for their’s. They have no right to take away what is ours.

Thank You Mr. Bradbury

I lost a friend yesterday. Though he was not someone that I ever had a cup of coffee with, ever exchanged a handshake with, ever had a conversation with, ever met, yet, he was still my friend. He was my friend through the words he put to the page, the wonder he instilled in my mind and my heart, and the inspiration he filled my soul with.

I don’t know that I can recall the first story of Ray Bradbury’s that I ever read. I know the first novel of his that I read was The Martian Chronicles. I know that for years, I would seek out magazines that featured his stories, including a small stack of Playboys purchased solely for an exclusive story featured in it, checked his collections out of the library and dreamed that I could some day be a fraction of the writer that he was. And just a few years ago, he put out a book that became one of my favorite books of all time, From the Dust Returned. So favored has the book become to me, that I have gifted copies of it to many of my friends. I have read it 5 times already and am sure there are at least dozens more readings still in it. Woven from stories over decades into a tapestry that sweeps me into its folds every time I open its pages, regardless of what page I first land upon. It is Bradbury at his best. Or maybe Bradbury at his best to stir my soul.

I spent many moments of the day wiping tears from my eyes over the loss of this man who left such an imprint on my mind and my spirit. Regret that I never made the effort to seek him at one of his signings, his speakings, even though I lived so close to his home. I never was one of the lucky ones to have a chance encounter in one of the dusty bookstores, libraries or other haunts that I am sure we both shared. I missed my chance. I missed it many times. To spend a moment in his presence, to maybe speak to him, to have him sign one of his books with my name on its pages, to maybe breath in just a mote of his presence into me, to plant a seed and inspire me to allow it to grow.

But, he has still, even though I have not looked into his eyes, inspired me. He taught me through his words the beauty and value of the story. He showed me that short stories are just as valuable as the longer tomes, that a story is as long as it needs to be.   And I think it is from him that I learned that a story doesn’t need to be truly complete. That it is okay to leave it slightly unfinished, spaces to be filled in by the reader, spaces to be filled in by the writer, at another time, when another voice decides to speak. He taught me that I can make my own rules. And the story is done when I am done with it. And maybe not even then, maybe just till another time.  Then it is up to the reader. And I think I am learning that if the reader asks for more, then maybe, just maybe, I am getting it right.

So many things I have learned about him, who he was, I find I can identify with. The hours lost in the stacks in the libraries, the love of toys, the clutter of things that speak  in the quiet times. I suppose that is why there are so many such things scattered around my house. I have always loved those little things, my statues, my stuffed animals, my baubles. There are stories in each of them. And I have been so very lax in listening to the stories they have to whisper. I need to listen to the words of that man. I need to write, to write every day. To write with joy and to dare to write badly if that is what it takes to get the words to start. Bradbury, I can never be. But, there is a gaping hole in his absence that those of us that are left need to fill. My dreams are different, but maybe there are souls my dreams can touch in the way his touched mine. I am saddened that there will be no more volumes of stories from this dreamer. But, he left a legacy that teaches those who allow his words into their hearts to dream, fully, completely and that life lived in the dream is a life truly lived.