JUSTICE? REALLY? – Marilyn Armstrong

Friday RDP: JUSTICE ISN’T


I don’t have anything useful to say about this except that whatever we think justice is, I’m not seeing any evidence of it these days and not for a long time.

After yesterday — which I presumed and assumed was going to be horrendous — and which was indeed horrendous even beyond my own expectations, I have little hope left that we will see anything like justice in my lifetime.

Garry is fuming. Pity he finally got his hearing working just in time for hearing this bullshit.

Someone said, “you can’t burn the truth.” But I’m here to say “Yes, you can. We have. We are.”

We aren’t going to stop, either. Unless all of you who hate what’s going on show up and vote during the mid-term elections, it will keep getting worse until you are living in a country you do not recognize.

Personally? This isn’t any version of the U.S.A. I recognize. I don’t know what it is, and worse, I fear what it is becoming, but it’s not my home anymore.

GOOD AND EVIL – Marilyn Armstrong

I can’t read “Lord of the Rings” these days without thinking about Stephen Colbert and his obsessive passion for these books. They are great books and eventually became rather amazing movies, but still and all … he knows things about these books I’m sure J.R.R. Tolkien forgot.

Nonetheless, in this time of stress and strife, I’m rereading the series for the umpteenth time. I’ve gotten all the way to the third and final volume of  “The Lord of the Rings.”

The book is entirely about good and evil. The great evil that is Sauron. The somewhat lesser evil of his cohorts. The striving evil of Saruman, and the fear of everyone in the battle that they can find the right way and stay woven in the fabric of good.

When evil is everywhere, goodness can get a little complicated.

I bumped into this quote last night. I was tucked in for the night and I hoped I would remember it in the morning. I didn’t exactly recall it, but luckily for me “Lord of the Rings” is such a well-quoted book, I found it quickly on ye olde Internet.


Eomer said, ‘How is a man to judge what to do in such times?’ As he has ever judged,’ said Aragorn. ‘Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.


In the great fabric of life of which we are merely threads, good and evil are also a part of us. We are born with a genetic understanding of both. It is in our DNA. When we see evil and allow ourselves to become part of it — when we live in evil times, excuse and forgive evil — we become part of it.

A bad man and his bad adherents don’t have “a good side.” Lying about it changes nothing except maybe us.


When you read this book, you will sooner or later end up talking like this. You can’t help it. If you are really into it, you might just do it in Elvish or worse, Orcish.

And in the darkness bind them …

FUCHSIA – PERFECTLY PINK – Marilyn Armstrong

FUCHSIA – PERFECTLY PINK – Marilyn Armstrong


And from now to the end of the month, it will be fuchsia. I have a lot in different colors, at different stages of development … and I love them.

Fuchsia
More pink and purple and white – Fuchsia

THE NARRATION – Marilyn Armstrong

When I was little, I had imaginary playmates. I talked to them. They followed me around. I was never bored because I had friends who really understood me.

After I started school, my shadow friends left, never to return. Instead, I got a narrator who has been my lifetime companion. Whatever has gone wrong in my life, I suggest you blame it on the narrator.

It’s all his fault.

“Narrator?” you ask. Before you decide I’m schizophrenic, a lot of writers have one or more narrators. I understand the narrator is my voice. He has just one story to tell. Mine.

My job is to live. His is to tell the tale. His is the eye that sees all but isn’t involved. He witnesses — but causes nothing, changes nothing, makes no suggestions except to correct grammar. I wish he were a better proofreader.

My narrator does not instruct, chastise, or judge. He records events, remembers the background, and fills in the story. I’m in charge except I can’t get him to shut up. He gives me a third person perspective on my life. I’m so used to hearing the running commentary, I don’t know how else I could see the world. I’ve grown fond of him. And yes, it is always a male narrator. No idea why.

There are narrators and then, there are narrators. You can get into serious trouble if you forget the narrator is you, not an “other” entity. Should you find yourself listening to a narrator who is telling you to blow things up or kill someone, you might want to drop by a doctor’s office for a little chat. Just saying.

Of course, if you know it’s God talking to you, who am I to interfere?

Through the years, the narrator has filled the holes in my life story, adding “He said, she said,” describing action and scenery, “novelizing” my reality. I have grown fond of my narrator and wish he could type. It would save me so much work.

A couple of years ago, the narrator left for a while. It was a particularly turbulent period, so maybe the noise in my head was too loud and I couldn’t hear him. Eventually, he came back. There a correlation between when I’m writing and the voice of the narrator. If he’s gone, so is my creativity.

The narrator can be distracting. I have had to learn to not let him derail me. He does not respect the moment. A running commentary in one’s head during sex makes it difficult to focus. Men take this personally and trying to explain always makes it worse. They then think you are not merely disinterested, but also nuts.

A narrator can also take the fun out of parties. You have to make an effort to participate, not just observe. With the narrator describing the surroundings and each individual you meet, while occasionally arguing with other narrators (sometimes I have more than one), it’s tricky to connect with people. When narrators argue, I have to step in, settle the dispute, tell all but one to shut up.

Problem is, there’s more than one way to see stuff and when a lot of points of view clamor for attention, it gets noisy in the brain-space. It can keep you up at night. It can keep your partner awake too

What light through yonder window breaks?

I’ve learned a lot from my narrator. I’ve learned to see life as an endless story with chapters, back stories, weird incidental characters, tragedy, romance, hope, and despair.

My job is to live it, not forget to write it down — and fix the typos.

Kavanaugh Is Not Fit To Be On A Supreme Court Because Of What He Didn’t Do

How could he show such emotion and it not be true? Well gee, have you ever heard of actors?

THE SHINBONE STAR

On Tuesday a pampered, hugely advantaged and once beloved 81-year-old black man went to jail for 3-10 years for a crime he undoubtedly committed 14 years ago, and perhaps 60 or more equally appalling offenses that escaped judgment since he grabbed the golden ring, the prosecutors said.

Former comedian and America’s marvelous TV dad Bill Cosby will spend what is perhaps the balance of his life in a Pennsylvania prison cell paying off his sentence for drugging and sexually abusing women for a hobby.

Thursday morning a privileged, white Maryland federal appeals court judge born with a silver spoon embedded in his psyche goes to a mock trial before the Republican-controlled judiciary committee of the U.S. Senate for committing an alleged high school sexual assault and an alleged prurient exposure offense while at Yale University during periods of acute alcohol inebriation. His character is on trial. Potential Supreme Court justices…

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MY BROTHER ESAU WAS A HAIRY MAN, BUT I AM A SMOOTH MAN – Marilyn Armstrong

BEYOND THE FRINGE – TAKE A PEW

Because for reasons unknown, being hirsute is offensive to God. And from this, Monty Python was born.

You may put away your bibles. Don’t forget to drop some money in the basket.

CIRCLES AND CURVES: CEE’S BLACK & WHITE CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Circles and Curves


This first shot is the camera that took the rest of the pictures. It is a Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000. After I gave Garry the FZ-300, I realized I didn’t have a long lens anymore since the 300 was my long lens. It was why I’d bought it and it had been brilliant in the pursuit of small things a long way off.

Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000

There wasn’t any (affordable) upgrade version of the 300, but I found a really good price on the FZ-1000. It does a lot more than take long shots with its zoom. It is a very smart camera. Sadly, I am not as smart a photographer and though it is some months later, I’m still learning what it will do.

Lots of curves and circles but you’ll have to look for them.

One of the things it does (finally!) better than any other camera I’ve owned is to take pictures in “real” black & white rather than “sepia” and white.

Utensils in a form titled “Ice Cold.” Maybe because it’s so blue?

Taking originals in black & white leaves limited ways you can use color in the final print since there was no color in the first place. Using monochrome filters, I’ve been able to find some interesting variations on a theme of black & white.

Garlic drying in a barn

From antique to sparkling, it’s kind of amazing. I think I will own this camera for years and never fully grasp its capabilities. There is a manual, but it was not written by a writer.

Yellow berries along Manchaug’s stream. This is where I start to wonder where monochrome ends and some version of B & W begins. This is considered a monochrome format and to a degree it is. But … is it really? I love the texture of the berries and leaves, so I included it … but still, I wonder.

Many of its abilities are not explained in a way that makes sense. To me. I’m sure someone understands what’s being discussed, but I am not one of them.

Over time I will, presumably, figure them all out.

SOFT COLORS – Marilyn Armstrong & Garry Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pastel Colors


I’ve been doing a lot of pink lately for the September Pink-O-Thon … so now I need to find some pastels that I haven’t recently used. Surely I’ve got some that are not pink, right?

Sure I do. I just need to find them.

Somewhere in my 100,000 photographs, they are waiting for me. Waiting …

One pastel kitten – Photo: Garry Armstrong
The soft tones in the mosaic in downtown Uxbridge – Photo Marilyn Armstrong
Softly falling water – Photo Garry Armstrong
Gently nostalgic by the Blackstone River – Photo: Garry Armstrong
Softly lit orchids – Photo: Marilyn Armstrong
Soft begonia macro – Photo Marilyn Armstrong
Graphic stone and falls – Photo Marilyn Armstrong
Pastel dam and falls – Photo Marilyn Armstrong
The falls and grasses – Photo Garry Armstrong

 

 

FUCHSIA – DARK VIOLET WITH WHITE – Marilyn Armstrong

FUCHSIA – DARK VIOLET WITH WHITE


And from now to the end of the month, it will be fuchsia. I have a lot in different colors, at different stages of development … and I love them.

Macro fuchsia – Dark violet and white

BE INSPIRED! SAVE YOUR WORLD! – Marilyn Armstrong

Wednesday RDP – INSPIRE


There is so much going on in the world. All around the world, not just in the U.S.A. There has been a terrifying resurgence of the kind of retrograde, negative, and hatefulness I thought we fixed with that huge second world war that was fought just before I was born.

We forget. Or maybe, more accurately, we never fully understood what happened. We know what “we” did. We went and we fought the evil powers that had arisen “elsewhere.” Even today, we obviously don’t understand how it began. How it came to be so powerful that it took an entire world at war to make it end.

So here we are, 75 years later, and it’s happening again.

We don’t understand what happened then and apparently, we don’t see what’s happening now. Sometimes I blame the failure of our schools to properly teach history — real history. The truth about how a country goes from a democracy that has always been a home to every form of the arts and instead becomes an engine of terror and destruction.

It’s not alone, either. It may be the “biggest” of the countries that became the opposite of what they had always held dear, but they were by no means alone. There have been horror stories on every continent and no nation has been exempt.

Here we are again. Lying to the public with a public willingly believing the lies because the lies notch naturally into their personal hatreds and prejudices.

Do we have to completely destroy ourselves before we are inspired to look at our cultures, our societies, our world and say “This is not the way? Let’s be better.” Or, as Jim Jeffries likes to say, “We can all do better.”

We can all do a lot better. We need to do a lot better. We need to inspire each other with truth, honesty, caring, integrity, decency, and honor. Because if we can’t find those things and make them part of our souls and teach them to our children, there’s nothing worth saving.

Be inspired. Find the best parts of yourself. Spread the goodness to the world around you. Be better!

INSPIRED: WHY I WRITE WHILE YOU PREFER GOLF – Marilyn Armstrong

Wednesday RDP – INSPIRE

A friend asked me why I do this, why I blog. So I asked her why she plays golf.

This is an evergreen post for me. I’ve modified a bit with each iteration, but it says something that’s fundamentally true about the creative process and certainly about my creative process. Writing is me. It’s the sport I play, the goal I seek. Sometimes, I need to remind myself of things I already know, so here it is, again.


We do what we do because we love it, need to do it, or both. For me, writing is like breathing. If I don’t write, I strangle on words never used. My friend needs to compete, to be active. To play golf or she will suffocate.

I can’t begin to count the number of people who have told me they want to be writers, but don’t know how. They want me to tell them how. That they asked the question makes me fairly sure they are not writers.

If you are a writer, you write. You will write and will keep writing because it is not what you do, it is what you are. It is as much a part of you as your nose or stomach.

75-FadedBooksFloatingWordsNK-004

I started writing as soon as I learned to read, which was about 45 minutes after someone handed me a reading primer. It was as if a switch had been thrown in my brain. Words felt like home.

Writing was (is) exactly the same as speaking, but takes longer. I have never minded spending the extra time. I love crafting sentences until they are just right. I love that I can go back and fix written words, that unlike words you say, you can take them back.

Raison d’être? I write because I’m a writer. Writing is how I express myself, how I interact with the world. It’s my window, my doorway, my handshake, my dreams.

If you are going to be a writer, you probably already know it. Practice will make you a better writer, can help you understand the techniques you need to build a plot and create books that publishers will buy. Writing itself is a gift.

If you have it, you know it — and most of us know it quite young.

computer gargoyle

Writers have words. They collect in your mind, waiting to be written. We have heads full of words, sentences, pronouns, adjectives, and dependent clauses.

My advice to everyone who aspires to be a writer is to write. Don’t talk about it. Do it. Whatever medium works for you. Blogging, novels, short stories, poetry. Whatever. I’d also advise you to not talk about your work until you’ve done a significant amount of writing. I can’t count the number of great ideas left on barroom floors, talked away until there was nothing left but a vague memory and a lot of empty wine glasses. Save your words to a better purpose.

Write a lot even if it’s mostly not very good. Sooner or later, you’ll find your thing. Or not.

But at least you will know you did your best, even if your best wasn’t quite up to snuff. If you don’t write, it might be a personal loss for you, but possibly, it’s the world’s loss.

You will never know how good you can be if you don’t at least give it a try.

PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE TODAY! – Marilyn Armstrong


Yesterday was “National Register to Vote” Day. It does NOT mean you can’t register today. If you are reading this, you have a computer and you can do it. It takes a few minutes. You might discover you are already registered, but it doesn’t hurt to check. 

More people didn’t vote in the last presidential election than voted. Everyone seemed to think their individual vote didn’t matter. The thing is, probably one vote didn’t matter but collectively, ALL those votes mattered enough to get Trump elected rather than Clinton who had three million more votes than Trump had.

This election is called “the mid-terms.” It is when we re-elect the entire house of Representatives and part of the Senate. There are a lot of governors up for re-election too as well as many state-level representatives and senators. Everything matters!

Please vote. Regardless of what you believe, I’d prefer you vote “my way,” but most important is that you vote. That all of you care enough about our form of government to make your voices heard. If we do not get out there and vote, we will not have a republic. It is slipping away from us and you are the reason that’s happening.

Maybe it really IS time to get serious about making significant changes to our Constitution. It’s a few hundred years old and there are artifacts in it that need changing, certainly including how the electoral college is created and used.

None of this will happen without YOU. There will be no power-structure changes unless you make it happen. Democracy lasts as long as the people who are governed by it care enough to make it work and if we don’t care, we’ll live in an oligarchy where the rich do whatever they want and we are crunched under their feet. Isn’t that already happening?

We are in real danger of losing the only thing that made this country great: our freedom.

There’s a website – USA.org – which gives the overall explanation of voting in the U.S. Each state has its own rules so you will have to find your state and follow the instructions. It is not complicated.

But please do it. Today. If you want to be a free person in a free country, you will either become part of the solution or you will be the reason it ends.

There is nothing you can do that is more important than voting. No donation, or signs on your lawn, or petitions can be as important as voting  — and getting everyone you know to do the same.

Don’t let your nation slide away so your grandchildren can’t remember this country was ever a democracy. That is exactly what is going to happen. I’ll be gone by then, but how will you feel about it? That you were too self-involved to bother and let your government slide away?


USA.org.


Do it now. There’s nothing more important.