Yes, slow was the theme today, floating down the Clinch River with 4 family members, 3 inner tubes and a canoe. We decided to go the short stretch which meant, 2 miles, instead of up to 8. We imagined it would take 2 hours, but not with tubes! It took 4.5 hours because our tushes were dragging in the water, or in my case, I swam a lot of it, and others did too.

Wildlife spotting: one small snapping turtle, two great blue herons, neighboring birds, tons of rare freshwater mussels, minnows, bigger jumping fish, nesting habitat for swallows under Kyle Ford's bridge, and mystical wafting, water grasses.

At one point, my sister Dani and I were swimming towards the end of the group, holding our inner tubes, and Dani decided she didn't want to get so close to the slithering creatures lurking in the water grasses. She went to the bank to maneuver her bottom into the tube. But I chose the grasses, deeming them magical. I lowered my glasses lenses into the water, and watched the grasses swim and dance next to me.

This day was the most magic I have had in a long time. We even ran into old also out of town friends at the store/ meeting place. On the ride home, Mom and I drove under a rainbow that had all the colors and even was a double rainbow in parts for over a half hour without ceasing.

When I got back to the house, my jaw dropped. There was another rainbow of sorts. In my mailbox, an EARLY birthday card to me from Daddy and Barbara. Remarkable and I'm not going to say why!

I am so thankful for this day, because of Joey who threw it together, because of Dani and Richard who paid for it, for Anna and Mark who funded the car rental, and because of Mom, because Labor Day wouldn't be a day without Moms. (At least not for me it wouldn't.)

Posted Sat Sep 1 23:29:54 2018

Water cold enough to cool us down

we idly floating passers by

bobbing gently to the sound

a warm perspective gained beneath her sky.

Posted Sun Sep 2 02:21:45 2018

Me at 18 to the tune of The Office A Comedy by Maggie Hess


Friend from back home (1): It wasn’t like she was crazy or something.

Friend (2): She always was a little different but aren’t we all.

Friend (3): I just remember her being excited about moving to the city. But it was because she said she was imaging ghosts.

Friend (1): She had a really big heart, you see.

Friend (2): She was like any one of us.

Friend (3): But we all swam in the river so much after the toxic spill.

ACT I Poppy’s Hotel

Minga has been staring at Manny for a long period of time, across the staff meal table while he Manny reads the paper.

Manny: So Minga, have you explored the city much since being here.

Minga: Oh come on! You cannot fool me!

Manny: I am not trying to fool you in any way. I frankly don’t know what you mean by that. I just thought since you are in the city you might want to get out.

Minga: This city was founded hundreds of years ago. There is a map on the wall. You can’t convince me I could discover a new district.

In walks the hotel manager..

Minga: Hey Poppy.

Manny: (sitting up taller) Hey boss.

Poppy: Don’t call me boss.

Manny: Yes sir.

Poppy: Don’t call me sir.

Minga giggles.

Manny: Oh, yes Mr. Hersh.

Poppy: You know you can call me Alfredo, don’t you Manny? (exits through the door to the staff kitchen where the comanager Mr Primavero is cooking.)

Mr Primavero: You harassing the new intern?

Poppy: Me? (chuckling)

Minga: (reads the reverse side of the newspaper that Manny is holding)

Manny: So you just got back from Mexico right?

Minga: Don’t play stupid.

Manny: Really, Minga. I am trying to be your friend. I promise I think you are nothing but cool. I really had heard you were in Mexico like last week. That’s why I asked.

Minga: I was in the mental hospital.

Manny: (mouth drops and pushes up newspaper so she doesn’t see his expression) Oh sorry.

Minga: You don’t have to be all weird about it. The doctor says if I take my medicines I will stop having the visions. (But cries a little.)

Poppy: (comes quickly in) Are you upsetting my daughter?

Manny: No sir. I didn’t mean to sir.

Poppy: Don’t call me sir!

Manny: Yes, boss. (ahem) Mr. Hersh. (ahem) Alfredo.

Poppy: Did he? (to Minga)

Minga: What, Poppy?

Poppy: Nevermind bumpseedoo.

In walks Alfredo with a pile of boiled Artichokes.

Primavero: What in the world is new?

Manny: There’s an Flaming Lips concert tomorrow night.

Primavero: Good luck collecting the change for that!

Minga: I wanted to go.

Poppy: My little girl wants to go? I’ll be sure to get some tickets for us.

Minga: I will go if Manny comes.

Poppy: I thought you wanted to go?

Minga: I do. But Manny has to come too. That’s okay isn’t it Poppy?

Poppy: I don’t know. I’d have to chaperone.

Manny: ahem

Primavero: Then it’s settled. Hope you three have a wonderful time.

Manny: (gets up and leaves the room in a huff)

Poppy: (calls after Manny) You like your job, don’t you, Manny?

Manny: Yes, sir, Mr. Hersh, Alfredo, that is.

Minga: Are you hiring another intern, Poppy?

Poppy: We are, yes.

Minga: I would like to try for the job.

Primavero: That might be a conflict of interest.

Minga: What is that?

Poppy: Don’t mind him. I don’t think it should be a problem, honey. You are so much brighter than most young people, Minga.

Primavero: We are really going to have to agree on this Alfredo.

Poppy: You’re hired, Minga. You can start tomorrow morning.

Minga: But I saw that Manny is working the night shift.

Poppy: Right. And that means you will work the day shift.

Minga: But I’d never see him that way.

Primavero: You know what Minga, you are hired!

Posted Mon Sep 3 18:27:11 2018

Everyone is born with the potential for creative genius, to be a creative genius. There are writers, inventors, artists, gardening, computer developers, designers, humorists, culinary artists, musicians, play writers, actors, dancers, crafter makers, many other imaginable kinds, and the unborn. Those whose great potential has not yet been tapped into, who don’t yet have confidence or belief that they have a creative bone in their bodies are called the unborn. Their skill is most necessary.

Everyone is born with the ability to earn income from their creativity. Together we could make up the creative economy. Our world could be about something more. The very word "more" could have a quality to it, rather than sheerly being quantitative. Creating is one way to heal the Earth's ailments. Creativity is perhaps the best therapy, redirection of material oriented desire, and creativity is positive and constructive. As creatives we should build off of the ideas our friends have, instead of inventing wars over whose is the smartest.

Inventive thinking admits humility first off, so that as swiftly as possible, the next person can suggest to build and grow our instinctual idea. This is what creative people call brainstorming. Creators pay each other just to sit together thinking out loud about cumulative projects. Human suffering and environmental demise reduces in part, as a course of natural action.

The capitalist model has it all wrong, because Earth resources are finite and money is seen as infinite though based on oil, food, raw material goods. Creative economy thinks about improving whole Earth. Creative economy aims for wealth of Earth, so human gardening is one part of creative economy.

Fresh water currently runs low. Ultimate goals of creative economy aim at refreshing aquifers, ending corporate ownership of watersheds, and keeping water clean. These are early thoughts. Humility admits all thoughts are early thoughts, as these are. Onward and upward, creative economy grows.

Posted Wed Sep 5 19:03:38 2018

If every man considered himself a feminist,

every woman would be considered a sensible equal,

every girl would allow herself to carry away on her wildest dreams,

every boy would know to respect women and girls.

I try to be specific but it becomes like a description of a foreign utopia.

Descriptions become jagged statistical comparisons with our present.

If all genders were paid equally,

power would spread equally,

leadership would be for actual leaders

with merit based elections.

There are male feminists today.

It's why the world hasn't completely ended.

May they learn to multiply.

Posted Fri Sep 14 19:38:26 2018

I had this hope that I would keep working for the train crew transportation company, but I should have used my common sense and taken the reviews more seriously. Upon being hired I was told I would never be asked to work more than 12 consecutive hours without taking a required break. I thought 12 hours sounded like a lot to work in a row, but this is what happened Thursday.

Earlier than 3AM, my trainer called me for a final training run. He said we would be driving to Kingsport, and after that he would have to check to see where they wanted us. I drove in the dark down to Kingsport (from Bristol) where we picked up a crew and started the long trek to taxi them to a small coal town near Pikeville, Kentucky. It was foggy and rainy, and the 3AM call itself was unexpected. I had been told the early hour was 4 not 2:45. I drove slow to be safe, and finally made it to the station where the CSX coal trains stop.

These are the trains that chug through deep mountains, on their way to Kingsport, where the coal is wanted so badly. It's the very track where the freight train goes over the Clinch River, on that great trestle bridge that I always seem to notice. They only go 25 miles an hour on that bridge. It takes them 6 hours to get back from Kentucky to Tennessee, mostly going 50 or 55. Unless they hit a tree...

The engineer had to check the back engine, so we planned to meet the conductor a couple miles up the road in Marrow Bone. For a while the conductor drove solo, as we drove the other engineer to that little stop.

It was getting light in Kentucky. We ate a 3.50 breakfast in the Food City there. Then my trainer drove the rest of the way. From Kentucky to Kingsport to Irwin to Kingsport up to a yard on the boarder of Sullivan and Scott County where the same crew from Kentucky waited stranded due to running into a tree. Then we brought them to Kinsport, drove again to Irwin, then went home.

It was in total a 600 mile, 15 hours that day. The boss called 1PM or thereabouts, and she told me I had to work beyond the 12 hour limit. I was given no way to not work the extra amount because I was stuck in the car, and I felt it was disrespectful and also against what I had agreed to do. So when I got home, I called the boss and quit.

Posted Sat Sep 29 21:42:07 2018

Endurance impresses me. Teamsters and train conductors, drivers of all kinds. Here's to those who press on in the night, who carry on night and day, who persist regardless of how they feel, ignoring their inner resistance, working to bring home a necessary paycheck that their families need.

When I work I push too hard. I focus every ounce of energy on the task at hand. Sometimes I'm transcribing, so fixed on the project nothing can distract me. Or when I was a professional cleaner, I pushed so hard my back ached after an hour. I am determined but my endurance is not that of a driver, I find. I use up all my energy in the first week in so many new jobs. I try too hard. I have a legally observed disability, and part of it is that.

If you have to work the night shift on the railroad, goodness bless your soul. But if you are like me and you can't handle a 15 hour shift, and especially if you already have another source of livelihood and almost can squeak through a sustenance, you maybe should not work, and you definitely should try to quit trying so hard. At least that is what I am trying to tell myself. I have needed so much rest these past few days, since the 15 hour shift and quitting. I am glad to give myself this time.

In the meantime, my best friend, Brazen, my pup, landed hard on some chard of glass, chasing a cat, and split her paw pad open. It impaled an artery, and I rushed her to the vet within the hour. The vet made it sound almost like she wouldn't have survived if I hadn't have done that. Immediately Brazen went into surgery, which the vet said almost required amputation. Now she has to wear an e collar, one of those head cone things, so she doesn't chew up the bandage when we aren't looking.

To top all of it, in her effort, walking to use the bathroom, using her 3 good paws poor Brazen seems to have hurt her other front ankle just this morning. I am babying her. When she got home, I wanted her to drink, and only encouraged her to sip out of my hand. Now it has progressed to me hand feeding her every bite she has had, and kneeling before her with a little bowl of water too. I am glad to baby her. But I am worrying just a little about that other front paw that seems sprained.

As I told the vet, she is the most important living creature in my life and the best pet I ever have had. I am praying she heals up soon, and I hope everyone can send her a loving feeling.

Brazen turns 7 on October 1.

Posted Sun Sep 30 14:11:07 2018

I did not ask you to touch me inside.

I did not ask you to mold me like clay.

I did not ask you to peel this sensitive part of me wider.

I did not ask you to hold me hard as the world spun

because I did not chose you.

If I had asked for this you would know I was asking.

The palms around me would not jerk me open.

The hands would be a feminine touch.

They would not squeeze the life out of me

but they would let me find myself in them.

They would not rape me

but they would lead me to lead myself.

So is the artist making something sensual?

Or is the artist taring the soul out and dragging it up the throat?

You've got to ask yourself these questions

because everything is art

and every encounter creates something

or chokes it.

Posted Sun Sep 30 15:16:12 2018

I think it was 2007 or thereabouts when I went on an impulsive trip to Unity, Maine to investigate Unity College on a sort of manic venture. Anyone else might have blamed their mental illness or the impulsiveness of the trip and blamed them self for what went wrong. It ended up being the worst disaster of a time. I really didn't enjoy the trip. The bus ride was too long, nothing was well planned, it was too cold for whatever spiring time month it is, and I was running out of money so had to stay an extended time with a fortunately kind farmer who I had contacted about WOOFING. I did little farm volunteering. I was exhausted. I slept a ton. I don't remember how long I imposed and stayed with her. I was afraid of her pet dog, because she warned me he was part wolf and might be unpredictable.

I never have really written about this time. It was somewhere between a week and a month. I am so blurry on the time.

Before leaving on that horrible Greyhound bus, my good friend had kind of randomly told me this sort of crash course advice on rape and assault. 1/3 of all women will be assaulted. She told me most women don't report their assaults, but she had studied sociology in college and emphasized that from her findings, the women who are more resilient in this hard time are the ones who report their assaults, but she said the most important thing is that the victim have someone to tell. I swear this was like a month before I went away and got assaulted.

I think if my friend hadn't have told me that, I don't know if I would have ever actually got home.

I was assaulted in a remote bus stop near Unity. It was a place with a building, but I was dropped off there due to the fact my host was busy and needed to return home. The building was after hours, so I sat on a bench outside, and a Guatemalan man with a knife came up to me and forced me to touch his exposed penis. I am leaving some details out because it is pretty raw still surprisingly, and I can.

I got on the bus when it came. I was so relieved there were other people. He boarded too. I was terrified he would try to hurt me, though looking back I should have asked the driver to call the police on him. I got off in Portland in the dead of night. I don't remember if I took a taxi. I felt followed. I went to a expensive hotel. I don't know how I afforded it. I think I had just got my month's paycheck, and just barely got home and paid for the night in the hotel, then had no more money that month.

In the hotel I took a shower. By then I told myself I had to tell someone. I called many people. I forget in what order or whom. I know I think I called my youngest sister first. She told me the exact right thing.

I have a mental illness where I get withdrawn at times. I don't remember if I slept. I do remember I had bought a weird little radio and I was on the verge of being delusional because I heard strange things in the head set. I remember being so confused and in shock and withdrawn and just in this place mentally. It never has been so bad. I wasn't sure I would get home.

I had been babysitting a couple kids in Bristol, and I remember I started, inside my head, talking to myself as if I were the six year old, reassuring myself that I was capable of doing this, I could get home. I could figure out which way to go in the big scary station in New York. I don't know why I didn't get on a bus to Tennessee where I needed to go. I guess I just took the train to my Dad's in South Carolina without thinking.

On the Amtrak, this man sat down near me. He was kind and I wasn't talking to anyone., but he said to me, he knew what I was going through. He didn't say he was "praying for me" but he extended this kind of compassion that is hard to describe. If he hadn't I don't know if I would have survived. There are good strangers too.

Then he left. He gave me my space.

I forget why my Dad was angry, but it didn't seem entirely the right reason. I think I told him what happened, but maybe I didn't yet. That was hard. Maybe someone else told him. I told all kinds of people.

Back in Tennessee, it was my friend Deni who made an impression that I needed to officially report the assault. Several other people said I was talking about the assault too much. Some didn't believe. That hurt. Felicia said I should talk about it more. That was the most useful advice.

It was so hard, but I called the police station in Maine and told what happened. Deni was right that the assailant was still out there and he would do it again if he wasn't stopped. I don't know if he ever was stopped.

In terms of sexual assault victims, I never would disbelieve someone who said that happened. Not entirely for conventional reasons. Just because I have been assaulted, and being disbelieved hurts too bad.

Posted Sun Sep 30 15:53:59 2018