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The Corporatorium: I Am Prometheus (Episode One)

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I am Prometheus . Prometheus. Say it slowly, roll the letters around in your mouth. Prometheus . It is not my real name but it is name most fitting for me. Prometheus, the creator of mankind and its greatest benefactor, chained to a rock, his liver eaten daily by an eagle, in eternal damnation for stealing fire and gifting it to mankind. Yes, there are definite similarities between us. I am Prometheus, and this is my story. Except it’s not my story. I wish it was, but I am not unique or special. This is the story of untold millions of hapless chaps and chicklets caught up in the grinding gears of the corporate machine. This is a faux memoir told episodically. You will be inclined, at times, to laugh at us, and cry for us. Do not hold back either impulse. That is the point of sharing this story—to remind us that life is nothing but a series of small comedies and tragedies. What is important is what we take away from each occurrence, what we learn from each calamity and jo

Let's Talk about Inclusion and ...Tiny Pretty Things

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So can we talk—about Tiny Pretty Things , now on Netflix, which I understand is based on the YA novel of the same name by Dhoniele Clayton and Sona Charaipotra about a group of ballet students at the fictional prestigious Archer School of Ballet? We’ve been watching Tiny Pretty Things and each episode reminds me more of the danger of the WOKE creating “inclusive” stories. I suppose the ambition is worthy, even if the execution is appalling. It seems as if the writers decided to achieve inclusion in this instance (and many others but I’m only focusing on TPT here) by creating a check list of diverse types. There, however, apparently can only be one of each type; this is, after all, is a show set in the rarified world of privilege: white upper middle class, skinny but toned students all of whom own evening clothes suitable for the opera and the girls all wear coordinated Victoria’s Secret under things. But I digress. The first challenge of allowing only one of each demographic is th

On Writing Part Two: (You’ve Got to be) Ruthless

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I remember when I first started writing seriously, I would come across all these articles where writers talked about “honing their craft.” That would immediately trigger an eyeroll and a metaphorical flipping of the page (after all most of these articles appeared online). Now seven years later as I begin work on my fifth novel, I’m rethinking that. I still dislike the term, sounding as it does as if one was practicing sorcery. Though, now I’ve come to realize that when we write, we create something out of nothing, which is kind of a neat conjurer’s trick; you (hopefully) pull gold from straw like a literary alchemist. And sometimes, too, being a writer can feel like you’re playing God playing house. You breathe life into your characters after all and give them companions and adventures. The story itself is the Universe you created for them. The characters are the bones of the story; the plot and the conflicts are the capillaries and veins and arteries. And the words are the skin. T

On Writing (Part One): Self-Discovery

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I’ve always thought of my writing as organic, as happening beside and outside of me. I read somewhere where a sculptor (I forget who) praised for his statue insisted that he hadn’t created it, that it had existed inside the stone; he’d merely used his chisel to free it. That’s the way I thought of my writing—I likened it to capturing fireflies in a jar. My characters are a visitation (blessing, or curse, I’m sometimes not sure, especially when they jabber incessantly, distracting me from the task at hand, waking me from my sleep). If they are a visitation, I am but a helpless medium, charged with channeling their spirit energy, their words, while I remain unable to control or direct them, unable to summon them at will—that is at times that suit me when I am ready and able to write. The characters, the words, they are there in the air, I just have to capture and share them. At least, that is what I used to think. Now, I’m not so sure. Of course, it was another who raised this doub

Seventy-Six Million Voices

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  Anyone who reads this blog knows I worked election day as Judge of elections in my district. I’d decided months ago I was going to serve. If I was going to get Covid, it would be after I cast my vote to oust Trump and his GOP enablers. Like everyone else working the polls that day, I spent 15 straight hours wearing a mask and plastic face shield. I didn’t think much about the value of what we were doing. But all day long people thanked us for our services as they came and quickly went having exercised their rights. People brought us pizza and water and one little girl and her mother brought us homemade butter cookies. It felt good to be seen, to be appreciated. I didn’t think much more about it until Saturday night when both the President-elect and the Vice President-elect made a point of thanking every poll worker for their service. They thanked us even as Donald Trump worked to demonize poll workers, voters themselves and delegitimize the election results. The contrast was stark—ev

Vote

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  I’m Judge of Elections in my ward/district so of course the election is very much on my mind. Actually, I may be obsessed. If you follow me on Twitter you know that I am consumed with outrage over this administration; trolling Trump has become a favorite pastime. I truly believe exercising our right to vote is critical; it is a calling, a sacred obligation, an opportunity not to be dismissed. In a recent conversation, I suggested employers should close on Election Day—especially this year when unprecedented voter engagement is expected to result in long waits to vote, causing a disruption in work schedules and obligations. A phenomenon compounded by the social distancing required to prevent the spread of Covid 19—after all we don’t want voting to turn into a super spreader event like the #RoseGardenMassacre. (See, I can’t stop trolling Trump). Anyway, my suggestion was met with resistance; the argument was made that employers shouldn’t be paternalistic, “parenting” employees by

Dog: Lost & Found

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We didn’t know his name when he streaked past us that first night. Tangled, dirty, underweight, he ran from us. When we caught him, I scooped him up in my arms. Scared, hungry though he surely was, he was gentle, affectionate. With no collar and no microchip we had no choice but to hope and wait he would be claimed. He decided we were his home before we decided we’d keep him. We named him Victor Lorde Riley after a fictional soap opera character. In retrospect it wasn’t a great name given the character herself was by turns alcoholic, schizophrenic and locked in the attic by her stepmother. We called him Riley. I’ll never forget the look of gratitude in his eyes that first night when we took him home and carefully cut out his mats and the burrs that were scraping his skin. He settled in, claimed a toy and decided he was staying, claiming a spot in our bed and our hearts. No matter how many times a day I left and returned he greeted me at the door with a toy and a wagging tail. He

Eight Minutes and Forty-Seven Seconds

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Eight minutes and forty-seven seconds. The length of time a white police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of a handcuffed black man, George Floyd. For eight minutes and forty-seven seconds—three minutes longer that it took George Floyd to stop moving and breathing—he knelt on his neck, hands in pockets. The brutal murder of George Floyd—and make no mistake, George Floyd did not die—he was murdered. His murder sparked 13 straight days of protests, some peaceful, many riotous—as a nation and its global neighbors rose up and said Enough! Thirteen days during which “President” Trump teargassed a crowd pf peaceful protesters, appropriated God and the Holy Bible to use as props to bolster his failing reelection campaign, and turned the White House— the People’s House —into a gated fortress. My husband and I attended a protest last night at McMichael Park in our East Falls neighborhood. It was peaceful and it did my weary heart good to see so many neighbors—of all races and hu