Sadly, during the election season, I wound up blocking and unfriending someone I'd gone to school with. Not because I didn't want to hear his views, which were completely opposite of mine, but because the ONLY time I saw him on my Facebook page was when he came to, shall we say - stir the pot. He never liked or commented on any non-political status updates I posted. Never liked/commented the rare pictures of my kids that I posted or the frequent pet pictures I shared, never like/commented on any of the funny memes I'm fond of saying. No. He came to tell me I was wrong. It got tiring after a while. I began to feel like I was being stalked, and it got so I dreaded looking to see who'd commented on what. He's welcome to his opinion, he's welcome to express his opinion. He has a right to both, a right, like any American, I'll defend to my death. I also have the right to not subject myself to his opinion, but more importantly, the manner in which he chose to express it. Perhaps if he'd managed (and I'd asked him a couple times to tone it down, and very nicely, too) to show interest in other things I had going on, not just showing up to start a "very spirited political discussion," I wouldn't have felt it necessary to block and unfriend him. I didn't take the action I did because I felt the need to trample on his right to freedom of speech, or because he disagreed with me. I did it because I felt attacked. I've several LOVELY conversations with people who have differing views, too. I welcome those discussions. Life is stressful enough offline. I don't need it online, too.
Phew. There. I've had that on my mind for a long time.
Onwards...we'll fast forward to current events. It warmed my heart to see how we Americans react in a tragedy, surging forward to help the injured without a thought (or much of one) of their own safety. It also hurt my heart that we get to see this due to tragedy. It's a crazy world, and it just seems to be getting crazier. I hope for the day that we are able to forget how we identify politically, sexually, geographically, religiously, colorfully and remember that we we are all part of ONE race: the Human Race. Until then, I'm sending prayers up on wings to Boston.
So lately...what have I been doing lately? Arguing with the Muse about two WIPS I'd wanted to finish and publish in February and March. Innit that special? We're still discussing these stories, but I'm determined to get them both done. Also helping to the stymi-ing is a firecely busy family life and a new job for me, outside the house. Being tired almost constantly doesn't help the creative writing juices.
However, I'm not creatively bereft. I've been having fun with a dollhouse I found for an excellent price at a local antique store. SOOOOO much fun. Here's a couple of pictures.
Attic: Sewing/Laundry Room
And, last, but not least, a bit of a teaser from the reissue of my Blue Plate Special: Pops' Girls novella, in anthology form with Shara Jones' novella. Enjoy!
“Mayor Stringham, if you’d eat more vegetables, you’d be more regular.” The elderly woman’s voice carried over the muted conversations of the other diners.
Janie Lowell almost dumped the plate piled high with biscuits and gravy into her customer’s lap when she overheard the suggestion caroled out much like one would discuss the weather.
“Sissy! Honestly. What a thing to say to our fine mayor.”
“It’s true!” The woman crowed. “Look at his expression. I’m telling you, he needs more roughage in his diet.”
“Never mind them,” the man told Janie. He winked. “Sissy Peters is always worried that everyone in town is constipated. You should hear them at Flannagan’s Market.”
Janie blinked. Even after living here for a couple of months, the open friendliness of Glen Meadow astounded her. A tough couple of months, as she lived off the minuscule savings she’d accumulated over the past ten months before she’d gotten the waitressing job at Pops’ Diner.
A near miss run-in with her ex-fiancé had scared her enough to tread with utmost caution this time. She couldn’t afford to get too comfortable here, as she had in that tiny town in southern Indiana. However, the need to eat and pay rent had forced her into the daylight once again. She promised herself to be more cautious this time around. Loneliness wasn’t an excuse for letting her guard down.
Janie mustered a smile, mindful of Momma’s admonishment that no one likes a sourpuss. Grateful to Momma and Pops for hiring her, Janie wanted to live up to their standards, even if it killed her.
So many habits to unlearn. She didn’t want to be memorable. No. She wanted to blend in and disappear. Talking to strangers made her nervous. The only comfort here was that the people she talked to were strangers. She didn’t expect to find anyone here that knew her.
“I’ll be right back with your eggs, sir.”
“He’s not a sir, young lady. He’s Myles. Myles Channing.”
And from Cindi by Shara Jones...
"Janie! Your order's up!" Pops bellowed.
Steve, focused on Cindi’s face, saw her smile slip into a moue of surprise. He heard, rather than saw, a coffee carafe crash to the floor, seconds before a rain of breaking dinnerware followed. Only dimly aware of the other waitress, Steve’s entire being focused on Cindi. He vaulted from his place by the front door to extract the small blonde from harm’s way.
"I told you not to bellow at Janie, Pops!" Momma scolded, as she hurried from of her office.
"Clean up, aisle six!"
"Mickey Flanagan, you're not helping."
Steve heard Momma’s voice chastise one of the locals who now blocked his path to Cindi.
Through the crowd he spied her, already galvanized into action. Her dark-blonde ponytail bounced as she shooed the concerned diners back to their tables. He moved further away, and hoped no one noticed his impulsive lunge toward her in the chaos of the scene.
"She's by the door, Pops!"
He glanced over to see the red-haired waitress, a stricken look on her face, straighten in what looked to be resolution as Pops approached her, wiping his hands on his apron.
"Are you hurt, hon?"
Steve found a seat across the diner. He wanted to keep Cindi within sight while he watched Pops and Momma hover over the shocked and injured waitress.
"That will need stitches." Pops examined the girl’s arm, careful to be gentle with both her and her injury. "It was an accident, Janie. Momma will take you to the clinic."
Cindi bustled from behind the counter and handed a purse to Momma as she escorted her wounded chick from the restaurant.
“Make your self useful, Big Earl,” Cindi commanded. She shoved a broom and dustpan towards a hulking bear of a man. The plaid shirted giant levered himself from his chair and fisted the broom handle in one paw, as meek as a mouse to follow the little dynamo’s orders.
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.