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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 joy.
What will be…

Ode to Words (Part 3): Silence

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My father taught me the value of silence. It was from him that I learned it takes more strength to hold your tongue than to loose it. Daddy was always the quiet one in our house. My mother’s voice was the dominant, reasoning soundtrack. My brothers’ voices were like murmurs on the wind .I was the noisy, unruly, talkative one. I was “like a clapper bell from hell,” my quiet father insisted.
I spent my adolescence resenting my father’s silence, my twenties and thirties trying to understand it, only to discover in my forties that daddy wasn’t intentionally silent: he only spoke the words that needed to be spoken. By the time I entered my 50s, he ended nearly every phone call with “I love you.” He used his words sparingly, saying only what needed to be said. If he told me over and over that he loved me it was because he knew I needed to hear he loved me.
For me, noisy kid that I was, my father’s silence was particularly jarring when set against my mother’s loquaciousness. Her words like foo…

Ode to Words (Part 2): Word Soup

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As I mentioned in Ode to Words (Part 1): One Line Wednesday, I recently attended a workshop on racial and gender equity. While there, and as part of the workshop, I was exposed to words that were mostly unfamiliar to me:
systemic oppression…equity-focused…gender justice lens…power imbalances…patriarchy…unpacking white privilege…micro aggressions…gender policing…monosexism…tokenism…White Fragility…intersectionality…
As I listened, perplexed, and watched others around me nodding and murmuring understanding, I felt oddly…isolated.
Have you ever played that game with yourself where you repeat a common, known, word over-and-over until it loses all meaning, all sense? Words are funny things, aren’t they? They can be powerful and meaningful—listen to any Barack Obama speech—or absurd—read any of DonaldTrump’s tweets, or heck listen to him speak extemporaneously.
systemic oppression…equity-focused…gender justice lens…power imbalances…patriarchy…unpacking white privilege…micro aggressions…gender…

Ode to Words (Part 1): One Line Wednesday

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Words, you see, are the thing.
As part of a workshop on racial and gender equity, we were divided into teams; each team was given a set of words and tasked with matching them with a set of definitions we were also given. I was unfamiliar with many of the words. One I hadn’t seen before but instantly understood was “fatphobia.” During the latter part of the exercise, each team had to share its words and definitions. Two people in the room objected to the word “fat.” They unpacked all the memories of hurt the word brought back to them. One detailed the trailing prejudice and assumptions about her health the word provoked. One of the facilitators explained that some people embrace the word as a way to rob it of its power to hurt, in much the same way some gay people have embraced the word "queer." There was mixed reaction to that. 

After the conversation went on for a while, I offered the opinion that words were just words; in and of themselves, they are harmless. They only have …

Moving On

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I haven’t been able to write.
If you’re not a writer, that probably sounds melodramatic. If you’re a writer, you probably d understand how upsetting it is to write those words, to be unable to write.
Like a lot of writers, I would imagine, I sometimes go long stretches without writing, because I don’t have anything to say. This dry period feels different though. I want to write, know what I want to say but somehow the words aren’t coming. Work on my next book stalled after the first paragraph. I tried to be patient, gentle with myself, solicitous of my fragile talent. I’m just tired, I told myself. There’s been a lot going on, I reminded myself: our dad died, I started a new job, there were the holidays…

I dreamt of Daddy the other night. I was walking through a crowded train station, carrying a heavy box in my hands, close to my chest. I have no idea what was in the box, but it was heavy. Everything was in black and white; the hard, white light falling from the skylight above made every…

In a Season of Excess

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I am troubled by the times we are living in. We have a Trump-driven, GOP-supported tax “reform” bill that is nothing short of a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and middle-class, who comprise 99 percent of the U.S. population to the richest one percent. Over the weekend it was revealed Senator Bob Corker changed his “no” vote to a “yes,” after a tax break that would hand him a windfall of millions was snuck into the bill.
As I ponder the current climate, a season of excess, a world where greed is its own reward, and robbing the poor and middle class to enrich the already wealthy drapes the robbers in gilt-edged robes of glory, I am deeply disappointed. And afraid.
Sure we’ve seen this before, most recently in the Reagan area (who can forget Nancy Reagan wearing red and ordering 4,370 pieces of Lenox china (enough place settings of 19 pieces for 220 people) at a cost of more than $210,000? Who can forget the halcyon days of “Dynasty” and the Carringtons, and “Dallas” and JR Ewing…

I am Grateful

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“This Thanksgiving is special,” Micah said, once they’d admired the turkey and seated themselves. “It’s the first time in I don’t know how long we have all been together for Thanksgiving. In a way, this takes me back to the beginning of it all, when the four of us declared ourselves a family. Even during the years we drifted apart, we remained a family.
“We never say grace—heck, none of us is religious—but I think, before we eat, we should each say what we are most grateful for. I’ll start. I’m grateful for the three people at this table.”
Calvin paused in carving the turkey and said simply, “Second chances.”
Skye, perhaps predictably said, “My stupid, romantic heart that wouldn’t let me stop loving Reid.”
Reid reached across the table and squeezed his hand.
Micah had to prompt Reid. “What about you, Reid? What are you thankful for?”
Reid pulled his glance away from Skye, and looked at Micah. He indicated Skye sitting opposite him, and said, “I’m grateful for what I see in his eyes.”
—Excerp…

An Open Letter to Senator John McCain

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This post is an open letter to John McCain—usually this blog is dedicated to the “Writer’s Life.” To an extent it still is since writers are people and, so I tend to write about my experiences, even those unrelated to writing because those experiences are a part of this writer’s life and often influence my writing which though I write fiction, that fiction is, more often than not, informed by reality. So here goes.
Dear Senator McCain:
I am begging—yes begging, and normally I’m too proud, too arrogant to beg but in this instance, there is too much at stake, too many people at risk to stand on pride—John McCain to change his mind and vote against Trump's tax bill. As Mr. Spock said in one of the Star Trek movies, “The needs of the many outweighs the needs of the one.”

We lost our father, a veteran, and a good man to cancer on November 8. He had access to healthcare. And, we did not have to worry about the cost of his care—even if we had to pay out of pocket, we had him covered. T…