The Daily Communiqué – 14 April, 2019 – Week 2 Recap

Monday’s announcement of the Hugo nominees led me to write about my experiences with WorldCon and meeting authors.

I’ve been listening to a lot of different music at work, thanks to the global record collection, and shared some of my discoveries on Tuesday.

In the same vein, on Wednesday there were works by artists I found intriguing.

Some reflective writing on writing on Thursday.

A tiny bit of fiction for Friday night.  The monster is real!

And rounding out the week, my reaction to former pope Benedict’s letter about sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Currently reading:  Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James.  I don’t know what I think about it yet, other than it’s weird.

The Daily Communiqué – 13 April, 2019 – Benedict

I cannot let this pass.

The ex-pope known as Benedict released a screed blaming the sexual revolution of the 1960s for priests abusing children in the Catholic church.

Rachel Donadio’s article in The Atlantic is a fascinating look into the bizarre writings of a 92 year old pope emeritus, and how they’ve just muddied the handling of an already fraught situation.

“From afar, the Vatican is seen as an impenetrable and mysterious world, a place of ancient, sacred rituals and quiet religiosity. Inside, it turns out it’s a bureaucracy like any other. Sometimes the former boss weighs in, and what was once opaque becomes clearer, and even stranger.” (

Let’s be clear, abuse is not about an absence of God or the presence of naked bodies on billboards, it is about the agency of predators.  Millions of children have been traumatized because priests chose to sexually abuse them.

I know from experience how difficult it is to deal with the complex emotions of loving your predator, and the shock which comes with realizing what was done was abuse.  I was powerless, so were all those children, in the face of abuse perpetrated by a powerful person in our lives.

The Catholic church is powerful enough to do something about this, and has yet to fully address it. Not enough is being done to protect the congregants of the Church.

I cannot let this pass without comment.

The Daily Communiqué – 12 April, 2019 – The Coffee Break

Harold whispered through gritted teeth, “Go back to your desk!  Go! Now!” His eyes moved quickly as though watching for danger,  face screwed up in fear.

Uh oh.  It happened again.  Scurrying back to my desk, I put my hands on the computer keyboard and listened.  Who was it this time?

Somewhere on my aisle, a phone rang.  Heads popped out and made shushing motions.  One of the rules was, don’t make noise, she might hear you.  And if she heard you … better to not even consider that.

My hands fell into my lap.  I squeezed my eyes closed and tried to hold my breath.  “Not me, not me, not me,” my mind chittered nervously.

Memories of the last time popped to the surface.  I’d barely escaped, tried to cry quietly in the bathroom, great heaving sobs escaping.  It was horrible, and every day I dreaded a repeat.

I sniffed.  Cigarette smoke?  I didn’t know she … oh, that’s not good and it’s not cigarette smoke.  Crouching down, I wrapped my arms around my head. I knew everyone else was doing the same thing.  Something loud was coming …

My neighbor let out a little squeak.  I crawled across the aisle into her cube and we wrapped our arms around each other, trembling in fear.  “No, no, no, nonononono …” Opal whispered.

Leaning closer to her, I whispered in her ear, “Whose turn was it this morning?”

A tear rolled down her cheek, “Mine.  I got in late, she was here before me …”  Her face fell. We were all terrified.

The last person got fired on the spot.  The floor around them scorched from the flames coming out of the monster’s nostrils.

As the roar died down, quiet clinking came from the break room.  Glass on porcelain. A spoon stirring in liquid. The smell of coffee rose over the smell of sulphur.  Who was stupid enough to be in the break room right now?

Then, porcelain on floor tiles.  The metal of the spoon moving the liquid.  Opal and I put our heads down, our fearful tears mingling as we held our breath.

Quiet.  Slurping.  Really loud slurping.  The sound of heels moving across the floor.  The swish of clothing. A collective sigh as we all went back to work.

Crisis averted.

The Daily Communiqué – 11 April, 2019 – On Writing

Mostly my writing doesn’t get read by anyone.  Writing so publicly in The Daily Communiqué is challenging on more levels than just publishing something, anything, on a daily basis.

There will be a discernible variance in quality as I find my public voice.  Critical reviews are one thing, I can hide behind the intellectual and LitCrit when writing those.

Getting more personal, staying away from the diary like posts requires a willingness to be vulnerable to a buncha “I don’t know who might be reading this types.”  To be clear, I chose this and I welcome the challenge it brings.  I want it to elevate my writing.

Reading M. Todd Gallowglas’ Stopwatch Chronicles recently shook something loose.  I’m not sure what yet, but it definitely changed my visceral thoughts about my writing.  Some of my daily communiqués will be working through these new ideas.

And since writing this in November, I’ve been thinking about memoir.  River Queens is a great example.  This needs more research, and careful study, but I think there’s some things I could write that wouldn’t be too cringe inducing right now.

Aside from the work with my mentor on metamodernism (yes, it’s a thing and yes, I dig nerding out about it), I have no other “assignments.”  What we’re reading is challenging, and will take some time to get through them thoughtfully.

There are memoir-ish ideas for very short pieces floating around.  I want to weigh where the boundaries are for what I want to say.  Stopwatch Chronicles will have a fundamental impact on how I approach these pieces.

How I’ve evolved as a writer since October leaves me a little befuddled some times.  More than ever I claim “writer” as a part of my self and I’m becoming even more dedicated to pursing the craft.  Bette Davis said it best, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy [ride].”

 

The Daily Communiqué – 10 April, 2019 – Art

What an interesting thing art is.  All art.  Someone thought of something and created it.  They looked around them and thought, “Hey, what if …?  Wouldn’t it be cool?  I want to try …”  And then through practicing their craft, they create the idea they had.

Sometimes I’m simply overwhelmed by the amazing things people create.  Every once in a while, amazing stuff comes out on the screen in front of me.  Words rushing out in a ethereal process which can never fully be explained, only felt and wondered at.

In the March 2019 issue of National Geographic (email subscription required) is a spread called “Conjured Clouds”  Puffs of clouds hang in the air where they normally wouldn’t be and it’s mesmerizing.

A search led me to this in Harper’s Bazaar. Four fashion icons posing with clouds. I suppose we could go deep into how ephemeral both art and fashion can be.  Maybe another time.   That’s the original book hoarder himself, Karl Lagerfeld.  (Life goals.)

The artist is Berndnaut Smilde, and he’s amazing.

Here’s another one from the same issue of National Geographic by Jodi Cobb.  It’s a reflection of Venice in the water, symbolizing her grief.

I can’t even …

The Daily Communiqué: 09 April 2019 – Music

My curiosity for music can more easily be satisfied now with technology.  I’m in love with searching through the global record collection available to anyone with the bandwidth to listen.

Here are a few I’m enjoying currently

Ash Grunwald “Money”- Aussie blues singer
I’m pretty enamored of Grunwald’s work, adding him to the heavy rotation list

Joe Bonamassa “The Ballad of John Henry”- American blues singer
It’s easy to forget just how young Bonamassa is, he’s been blues royalty for so long it seems like he should be older.

I love knowing about other creators’ process, it’s fun to watch Bonamassa in action. But watch how awkward he is without his guitar when it’s just him in singing in front of the mic.

This is a twofer, Leonard Bernstein forever won my heart with his Young People’s Concerts.   Aaron Copland was a favorite on Sunday mornings in my family.

Jamie Cullum – “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” – British jazz singer

This came up on a random playlist, and while I’m not much of a ballad/love song person, something about Cullum’s voice caught me.

Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong – American singers

What a surprise find! These two work really well together.

Amon Amarth – Swedish death metal band

I’ll end with this because it’s so delightfully bad. The instrumentals are standard metal, the leader has an incredible deep voice which he can use to great effect, but the lyrics and presentation are just so …. pedestrian.

The Daily Communiqué: 8 April 2019 – Hugos

2019 Hugo nominations have been announced.  I’m so pleased to see at least one book I’ve read, and a fanzine I know well, nominated.

WorldCon 76 was almost literally in my backyard, someone helped me decide I HAD to go, and it’s the only time (so far) I’ve been able to vote for the Hugos.

One of my favorite authors Mary Robinette Kowal, and astronaut Kjell Lindberg hosted a “Koffee Klatch” to talk about their work, and answer questions.  There were ten of us, and we were enthused about meeting them.   We learned some pretty interesting stuff about writing and being in space, and carried out a good amount of signed swag.  (Kjell even signed the inside of the Canadarm hatch door on my model shuttle.)

Since I don’t anticipate going to WorldCon 77 in Dublin, sad doesn’t begin to cover how I feel about not being able to vote for at least these two nominees.

There’s such good stuff which has been nominated, and good lord how do people read it all?  I’m still working on last year’s packet!

Being a list making/keeping type of person, it’s tempting to download the list of all Hugo winners/nominees and see how many I can read, but that way lies madness.  There are two many other books to read, my apartment would explode with that large an influx of books.

Speaking of which, Marlon JamesBlack Leopard, Red Wolf just arrived.  Here’s a great long read from The New Yorker published just before the book was published.

Part of my assigned reading for LitCrit involves N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth Trilogy, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and James’ book.  To bring it back to the Hugos, Jemisin won three years in a row for Broken Earth, and with as much hype as there is about Black Leopard, Red Wolf, I won’t be surprised to see it nominated for a Hugo next year.

The Daily Communiqué: 7 April 2019 – Recap Week 1

Weekly wrap …

When the idea arrived, I could barely contain my excitement.  It was scary but it just felt like a thing I was ready to do.  Basically, free write in public every day.  The story about my inspiration was the very first Daily Communiqué.  Back at my desk after lunch, the voices got to work.  You know those voices.  The ones that jabber on about how you’re just gonna fail anyway, so why bother.  Yeah, I argued with that one all afternoon.

Fortunately, I have a cheering section who told me to “do that thing!”  And here we are, at the end of the first week.  If my stats are right, people are finding and reading my pieces.  Thank you!

The Drink Tank‘s issue about Hamilton was published on Saturday. I’m excited to read what others have contributed.  Almost as excited as when I finally finished my piece.

Writing about procrastination, was a great reminder to look for ways to remedy my own.

Leadership is one of my favorite topics, mostly because I don’t understand how people can get it so soul-searingly wrong, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

My favorite piece to write was “20 Questions,” whose inspiration came from several places.  Dinner with a friend revealed an interesting tidbit about one of the aforementioned bad leaders.  I wondered if I could tell the story by playing the game Questions, and played with the notion of Twenty Questions.  All of which proves the point inspiration comes from anywhere.

There’s plenty of inspiration for me in my email and on one of my Pinterest boards, but there’s no plan other than to write something every day.  That’s the only rule for The Daily Communiqué.  Thanks for coming along on my adventure.