Marketing is Hard. That is All. (Whiney Artist Alert)

I go through phases where I'm angry with the audience for their desire to purchase emotional rides. I have more feelings than I need, but bottling them for sale is challenging.  I have to translate the emotions first, and then package them in some identifiable format, which is the part that's hardest for me to understand.

I understand soup.

Soup is an art form. Quality comes at base from the raw ingredients. The recipe documents the chef's labor-intensive process of finding balance between individual flavors and textures (yes, there is work in soup.)

Like any other art, the ultimate reward is finding something that is good for the artist and also for the audience. Those lucky few in the inner circle get to taste the soup and ebulliate:
OMG. This is the best soup ever. You could sell this. if selling multiples of a brilliantly-crafted work of art to people with suspect discernment is a reward in itself. Okay, fair, sometimes it is.

My taste is pretty eclectic if expe…

Short Fiction: Iqbal the Cat

Iqbal was born into his 33rd life as a cat. This would have surprised him had he retained more memories, because his 32nd life had been spent as a Muslim who believed no such thing could occur. Iqbal the Muslim had in fact spent delightful hours over tea with a Hindu neighbor discussing the possibilities, or lack thereof, of reincarnation.

Iqbal the cat dutifully washed his paws in the drinking-bowl after visiting the litter-box.  Then, catlike, he would be distracted by the trail of water splashed out. He would follow it with his nose and return again to the bowl to splash out more water, never able to solve the mystery of gravity.

Iqbal peered out from behind the door of the barn where he spent his sleeping hours.  He took his naps in the straw-pile, which was much like the bed of straw his momma made him as a young boy growing up in the Swat Valley.  Iqbal the cat didn't so much remember his  human childhood as he felt a natural comfort in the smell of straw, in the slight cra…

Writing Love Letters vs. Being a Unicorn

I get how the internet is evil. People of diminished capacity (and yes, this is measurable) can feel confident in spewing their ill-formed ideals and even have them validated by other idiots. A movement begins.

Face-time is important. TOUCH is important. Knowing real people is important.

But then there's me.

Some of us are unicorns, hiding in plain sight. We've been burned by popular society since we were old enough to form opinions, and we've been advised to fit in. Just be normal.

Make do with what you got is the Girl Scout motto; I learned that very well. But I see beautiful things in the world and in my own mind, and when I try to share them I get deer-in-the-headlights stares at best, called crazy at worst. Normal people seem to have no imagination, or they eschew it for their own reasons.

At this point in my life I realise that every thing I believed when I was 7 years old contained a kernel of truth. All my fruitless efforts to fit in (which only resulted in further…

Big Texas Road Trip - San Antonio and Austin (Photo Link)

After Canyon, we headed south toward San Antonio. Maz's sister lives there and said we could stay at her house while she was away. North of Sweetwater, a little before sunset, Maz made a video (which we thought was hilarious) of an Oil Crane Pump Well (which looked like a grasshopper). We didn't make it to my family's ancestral graveyard but stopped at the Ballinger intersection where we could have turned left toward Brownwood. There I picked up a rock that may have touched either foot or hoof belonging to my old settler Ewings. As we passed Paint Rock, I thought about how Southwestern petroglyphs really freak me out. Like cold to the bones and feeling nauseous freak me out.

I swept slabs on construction sites in San Antonio during 1983 instead of graduating from high school. My daughter's father's father lived in Universal City, and we landed at his place for a few days before finding a trailer and getting jobs in the booming home construction industry. I sometim…

Unpacking Debiver's Travels - a prologue, maybe?

I came home from this road-trip to find my cat Noori hiding, crying, in the closet.  She was so well-entrenched that I couldn't even find her in the closet at first. Finally she came out and hid under the bed, still complaining. By morning she was walking on me and  yelling for breakfast as usual.

She went out briefly earlier to eat some trumpet vine, and then I made her come back in.  She's sitting at the front door now, telling me to open it.

I want more, she says.

"You can't go out there. You're getting too brave. I need you to not be brave," I tell her, and then immediately I re-frame those words as if she were a human-child, and I feel a tinge of something akin to regret.

I don't care, she says.

"There are things out there that will EAT YOU." Again I flinch; but this time I know I'm telling the truth, not setting up unknown dangers to bind the child's spirit. "There are owls and foxes and stuff." There really are.

They won&#…

Van Kahvaltı - No Gender Difference in Unhealthy Drama

Life Coach Roxanne Jackson asked:  "Why don't women have healthy relationships with one another?

My before-coffee response was this:
Yeah, I think we have unhealthy emotional relationships with women for the same reason we get into unhealthy emotional relationships with men, but in different ways. I am guessing it originates with a need to connect that turns into a demand to connect that ultimately will accept any connection it can get, which can turn into drama addiction among other things. Whoa. I need to go think about this. So I got myself a coffee and thought about this. As you may expect by now, what came out isn't obviously tangential to what went in, but it is.

I struggle these days with lack of connection, choosing to rein in the beast rather than go out and try on new persons. Clothing is a pretty good metaphor. I know exactly what I want when it comes to clothes; it's useless to experiment because I'll end up shoving the new adventure into …

The Republic of Deb - aka This is How Stuff Happens

I've lived in Texas twice: once in San Antonio, and once in what we call Deep East Texas. That's part one of this story.

Part two started in 1997 on AOL. There I met my poet-guru, who gives away guy-secrets for free, and also Linda,who made magic out of my attempts at poetry. She squeezed my hand through the ether when life got weird, and reminded me how we'll survive it. Texas women are matriarchal by necessity, says the guru.

 In one of life's best surprises, the two of them fell in love while I was away from the internet. My guru, known to some as Doc Blossom, eventually moved to Texas and made it bloom, too, for Linda. Literally and in all ways.

I've been trying for the longest to go visit them in person, but logistics have been complicated. I finally went all-in and set a date, and that's when part three happened. Maz is gonna road-trip with me.

I also know Maz via internet, through our mutual friend Rolb Coepmann. We talk a Venn diagram of art, food, pho…

Downtime is Weird - Unfolding Space

My day-job has been insanely busy for several weeks now - not just in sheer volume, but with complex challenges. I like that; I do. And it was planned so I was able to allocate mental and spatial resources.

In the coming days I have to prep for Texas. Now we're in the eye of the storm, and all my projects are still waiting. But there's no toggle switch - I can't just move over and pick up what's been tabled.

Downtime is weird, especially when there isn't much of it. There's some decompression happening, some unfolding of what was packed under pressure. It makes sense, of course, but I'd forgotten to plan for the unfolding when plotting out my life.  And I should have known better:  I've been unfolding for a year and a half out here in Annandale.  I'd smoothed out some wrinkles and was cutting into the fabric to make something new, but I had to put it aside for the paycheck that keeps me free and legal.

I need to not start admonishing myself for &qu…

On What Was a Wedding Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of my (to-date) only legal marriage. I feel like I should give an official statement.

I'm not angry. I'm not sorry. I made my peace before proceeding with divorce.

There was some awkwardness, mostly outside the marriage, while I tried to maintain calm in the household during the steps leading to the divorce. It was important to me that there not be a messy blow-up, and there wasn't; apparently that was important to my former husband, too, if predictably so.

We arrived at the court successfully in a state of calm. The judge seemed confused, possibly relieved. I'm sure the rest of his day didn't go so smoothly.

My counterpart shed a few tears when I gave back the wedding rings; I wanted to dissociate myself from them and leave him to decide their fate. That was my only bit of meanness, because I knew deciding what to do would be harder for him than for me.

My first year of divorce was a sea-storm. The surges and doldrums were to be expected,…

"Only You" vs. Flirting with Clowns

So it annoys the [expletive] out of me when I pull one of my typical shenanigans, which of course was not a shenanigan when I did it but just a fact of nature, and someone says (inevitably):

"Only you, Deb..." and laughs.

...because No. It's not only me. There are other people in the world who are willing to go outside the box, to eclipse convention, to take the risk. Dare to follow possibility. We do that; it's not only me.

But then...

Every year I go with my friend Liz to Markoff's Haunted Forest.  Please disavow any other scary thing you've been visiting in the DMV; this is what you wanted all along.

My favorite bits are the pirate ship, the Viking encampment, the dragon graveyard and the hardcore bus (it's like being in a Mad Max movie.)  I love the giant Krampus, which this year was wearing the LED counter telling you when it's your turn to enter the forest. I hope I'm not giving away too much here.  The sets are really amazing. I'd lov…

Van Kahvaltı - Nothing But the Best... *Delayed Poetry Alert*

Is anyone else suspicious of the phrase "I wish nothing but the best for you" - like there's something the speaker is repressing, denying himself the right to feel something that conflicts with what he wishes to convey?  - @debsvalidation ...butis inferred, isn't it? But I can't deal with you. But I have to choose my own path. But I...  It's valid, but know that something else is there. There are things unsaid that are as important, if not more, than the best you are wishing. You're setting someone sail, but this is really about you.

Best isn't a real thing; it's a glittering, undefinable, ideal. There are piles of n yet unnamed, and you can't claim to know where they will be categorised and whether you should be wishing them.  Time and space are not clearly identified; choose a word with more useful connotation, like  room Give all of you room, and leave the boundaries fuzzy.

Give your disappointment room to unfold - it's valid and…

I was tired: Parking Handicap vs. Social Grace

I was tired. I pulled awkwardly into a parking spot in front of my bank's ATM; when I realised it was a handicap spot I weighed whether to do my business instead of taking the time to re-park squarely and in a non-designated spot. Yeah, I was that guy. What's 3 feet, right? As I approached the machine, I got called out on it.

"You have a handicapped parking tag?" I do not, I said. I weighed again, considering whether I should just get my business done, or do the right thing.

"Why are you parking there, then?" the lady demanded.

Have you met me?  Of course I was going to do the right thing, but my tired self took a bit too long to respond. Also apparently I shrugged, because the lady yelling at me mimicked my shrug, and demanded again to know why I was parked there. I told the truth.

"Well, because I'm lazy and rude,"I said sincerely. "Would you like to go first while I park properly?"

So I got back in my car and parked along the cu…

On Coffee and Ghosts

Here's me having no concept of time, at work four hours early. I didn't mentally note when I'm to show up because we always start extra office coverage at 10 AM. Except when we don't. Thinking like this is how people die.

Starbucks ground coffee was on sale at my local market, so I bought Espresso Roast for the office. There's crack in it - I never actually want Starbucks coffee until I drink it and then I think it's so great. Starbucks tastes like nostalgia*.

Upon first sip I remember sitting under the palm tree outside my Palm Springs apartment with my friend, or at a table outside the Starbucks on the strip, or in my car at the drive-up window with two poodles and a dalmatian in the back seat. The SBUX employees crowded around the window; they knew the poodles and wanted to know my name.

They were hard times, very real times. I love real so much.

The brain is a funny thing; I can drink this coffee and conjure up the feel of sun on my skin at 7 AM in the des…

*POETRY WARNING* Battle for Sunday Breakfast

How can I eat
digest and become what I eat ready to battle
won't I wither at first sight  mountain that's mine to conquer? 
What for breakfast stops me dreaming back to bed safe under cover?