Skip to main content

Writers Love Drama--When It's Not Ours

Buck buck moose! It's rutting and hunting season, and I, like any serious fiction writer during the month of November, am hiding inside my warm, snug house with my nose pressed to the window, feasting my eyes upon the beautiful, delicious, horny drama outside. And when that's not happening in the backyard, I'm at my writing desk doing "research" that kinda looks like reading smutty trash talk about rockstars--See the end of this post to get your fix, you gossip fiend. How else do we learn how mammalian beings interact but by observing them from a safe distance?

This photo shows three bucks--a big guy in the background, who is standing guard in front of a fair lady doe in the bushes (not visible here), and two young bucks with baby horns. The pubescent yearlings worked in tandem to circle closer and closer until the big buck put his rack down and charged at them, and then they ran away--over and over again. What was the young bucks' strategy, I wondered? Trying to wear down the old man by literally running circles around him? Trying to tempt the fair lady away from her super stud? I laughed at their foolishness. But then again, I'm into old dudes.

Incidentally, have you heard the good news that Yanis Varoufakis is teaming up with Bernie Sanders to save America from Steve Bannon and the world from fascism? Now that is a fight I want to watch. Especially if it takes place in the form of panel discussions that showcase YV's exquisite accent. God, that vowel sound when he says "loan." Can you even stand it? I cannot.


In my personal life, I've spent my youth learning how to avoid my own drama. As a teen, I sought out my own spiritual guidance, clinical therapy, healthy friends and lovers, and strategies to manage my own emotions and achieve my own goals. As a fully baked adult, I have little patience for people my age or older who are still acting like poor Cinderella waiting for a fairy godmother to come along and magic away all their problems. Fix your face, Brenda! (Sorry, I've been watching drag queen shows. Did I mention how I love other people's drama?)

I also work for an organization that helps provide charitable resources to the real Cinderellas of this world. Refugees who are missing limbs and family members they'll never see again. Guatemalan children who can't go to school because their family will starve if they don't scavenge the dump all day. Trans kids abandoned by their own families. People who have been wrongfully incarcerated for decades. You know, people who don't have a closet full of bootstraps like Brenda over here, making it all about herself with a constant warbling about "If you really cared about people, you would...!" Stahp.

I like my drama kept safely behind glass. That's why I dress my kid up like a furry animal and put her in front of the lion enclosure at the zoo--but not on the shore of an alligator-infested Florida pond.

I do not like seeing loose dogs charge at my face or pimply yahoos brandish pistols while I am walking down the sidewalk.

I do not like witnessing domestic violence in person. I do not like wondering when the next person I know will get murdered. I do not like watching the violence escalate, yet again, and feeling helpless to do anything about it after all legal and nonprofit agencies in the land have done everything they can. I do not feel better when the authorities assure me I've done all the right things--when it means nothing. I do not like feeling powerless to help people whose hands I can reach out and touch. I do not like wondering whether any help I can offer will put my own family in danger. Sometimes, I find myself praying that the abusers will off themselves before they slaughter anyone else I know. I'm tired of grief counseling and trauma response teams and the very word "exhausting."

Especially when Brenda-who-doesn't-need-to-work-for-a-living says it. Take a nap, Brenda!

At times like this, it is helpful for me to remind myself that I am no one's fairy godmother. I have no magic wand that can fix Brenda or any of the people I wish I could rescue from their catastrophically failed existences. As they say in Rome, especially when all the buses and other modes of transportation are on strike and there is no way to attend a meeting, "If you can't, you don't have to."

I have worked so hard throughout my life on taking responsibility for my own business that it is sometimes hard for me to let go of feeling responsible for other people's lives too. But, like everyone else, I have far less power over others than I do over myself.

So that's why I continue to hide in my writing bunker every morning, reminding myself to channel the forces of drama into good, juicy fiction. I may not have the slightest bit of magical power in the RL, but in Matka Danu Miklagarth, I am the supreme goddess and HBIC.

Watch me stay in my lane like a seasoned Michigan driver in the November snow. Binches.

And maybe also read a few silly Buzzfeed articles about sexy old men and how other creative and social people also love drama when it's not theirs.

POR EJEMPLO. Here it is, the old man gossip. I've made a recent update to my salacious Bad Romance post about Till Lindemann, lead singer of Rammstein. I'm digging his new lady because she looks vaguely like me + some mediocre plastic surgery + Kardashian/popstar hair and makeup FX and she is exactly my age and just had a geriatric-pregnancy baby named Tilde/Tilda, obvs in homage to her super stud, who is probably not actually the father of the baby but enjoying acting as babydaddy beard because the real daddy is hysterically slashing his wrists and crying. OMG, true romance.

Meanwhile, Svetlana and Till are apparently going on tour together with the Lindemann show, and Till has been supporting her through some kind of serious kidney disease. He recently picked her up at the hospital after an emergency treatment.

These two are doing a fantastic job of sowing coy trails of breadcrumbs on long paths to nowhere. They make titillating but vague statements to the press, neither yes nor no, and Svetlana released a photo of herself posing with her new baby, older daughter, and a mysterious man's wrist and hand wearing a wedding ring. The gossips of the Eastern realms seem to want to believe this is Till's hand in the photo, but every slavering fangirl who has gazed up on hundreds of pics of our man gripping the Tilldo mic onstage can see that it is clearly not Till's hand. The wrist is too thin and hairy. The thumb is not at the correct angle. (We true artists, we notice such details.)

The plot is thick and layered like delicious cake batter. Go to the post and comment with tips and links and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories if you please.

Celebrity intrigue is such a great distraction from real life's sad and hopeless dramas. I feel nourished on this--thank you, thank you, Till and Svetlana--and ready to create some highbrow buckin' literature here. I'll check in next week with my progress.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be:
You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")  35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't waste time o…

We Grew Up in the 2010s

We might be '80s babies, but my husband and I truly grew up in the 2010s. Consider this our decennial family Christmas letter.

Reviewing the main events of the 2010s has been kind of shocking for us, honestly. We feel very hashtag-blessed and whatnot, and if my 2009 self could time-travel to this very moment and take a look around my life, she'd have no idea about everything we've overcome. It just goes to show that resilience, hope, the-stuff-kids-call-self-care, and leaning into joy really do work. And that grandparents are essential.

First, I'll lay out the challenges we've faced since 2010. This is the brutal part. Then I'll list the joys and accomplishments that saw us through to this, our best year ever. Next week, I'll delve into my wishes and goals for the 2020s. But first...

the worst:
We racked up crushing debts. On top of our already substantial student loan debts, we added thousands of dollars of credit card debt making trips to Florida once or t…

Back to Belly Dance

Being an old millennial is weird. I still have acne, and I'm about to need bifocals. I'm still fit and at the low end of a healthy weight, but I have a new blerp of fat on my lower belly that's just my life now. My feet and my back and my hips are doing fine, but for how long? I have skeletal issues in all of those areas, and it's only by staying strong and supple that I avoid injuries and aches. For the sake of my overall health and my mood too, I've decided that now is a good time to get back into belly dance.

This art form is great for thin young people to show off their washboard abs, but it's also ideal for people of older ages and curvier body types, especially those of us with some jiggly bits to throw around. In belly dance, having a belly is an asset, not a problem to work off. Dance expert Dr. Valeria Lo Iacono gives solid reasons for loving belly dance as someone who only began learning it in her 30s.

I find that I'm usually more cheerful and en…

2020s Vision: Playgrounds, Not Prisons

To the tune of Green Day's "American Idiot":

Don't wanna live in an Instagram photograph!

But I do want to keep having fun using Instagram and every other dumb thing in life, so my personal vision statement for the 2020s is to turn everything I can into a playground, not a prison--my house, my yard, my thoughts, my diet, my budget, my creative practices, my relationships. Everything. By that I mean I want to live mindfully to get the most joy out of life, to create the most freedom within the circumstances I find myself in, to stay creative and flexible and adaptable in a changing world, and to avoid the traps of addiction and mindless habit that turn pleasures into chores.

I'm entering the 2020s with a crisp, clear new pair of rose gold glasses. Vision is something I don't take for granted. I've been wearing glasses since first grade and contact lenses since 6th, and I come from a long line of artists--painters, writers, composers. Nearsighted people wi…

TBT: Eat organic, local, vegan, raw, fresh superfood.

Happy Throwback Thursday! From now until I get tired of it, I am going to resurrect an old blog post from the 2000s and see how it holds up today.

This one is about my journey as a young adult from sickness to health as I figured out how to feed myself properly. I wrote it in a silly, humorous way, but I think we all know by now that eating well is a matter of life or death. Certainly it determines one's quality of life, and there isn't any way around it. There's no substitute for eating a well-balanced and varied diet in healthy amounts. There's no secret to it that any stupid fad diet will address. Paleo is passe, and keto is krap. Restrictive diets for weight loss should always be temporary and monitored by a healthcare professional. There are no shortcuts or workarounds. There aren't any vitamins or magic supplements that can make up for junk nutrition; in fact, most supplements are just more trash that further degrade health. There are so many scams out there …

$Monday: You can't afford a poor diet.

Nobody can. You've heard that "it's expensive to be poor." This is the gut-wrenching truth about eating poorly: real food costs a lot less than health care for preventable disease. So if you think you can't afford to eat well, it really means you can't afford to live. And that ain't right! While economic stress has a lot to do with access to healthy food, finding a way to eat well is the only way to avoid more poverty and a (probably shortened) life of suffering. The good news is that eating well is easier than our consumer culture--which feeds like a parasite off of the sick, poor, and tired--has led us to believe.

When I was in college, I had a classmate who nearly died (thereby wasting his college tuition!) when he attempted to save money by eating nothing but instant ramen. It's sort of a cliche or a joke in our culture to do that, because food is one of those expenses we obviously all have, and the grocery store is a place where we seem to have c…

TBT: Fast-Forward Fashion

This blast from the past is funny, because my personal style and shopping habits have evolved quite a bit since my 20s--in fact, full circle to the advice in the first paragraph I wrote, which I went on to reject at the time. In my 20s, I enjoyed extremely silly fashion. I'd look at Vogue magazines and then imitate designer looks in ridiculous ways. I tried to anticipate near-future trends, which I nailed in the first picture here, where I've "put a bird on it" before the meme was born. Yus! ...But.

Now that I am a fully fledged adult with a more relaxed budget, I hardly ever shop for clothes or accessories, not even at thrift shops, where I am now more afraid of picking up bugs. I still have a lot of clothes, but I rely heavily on swaps and hand-me-downs from friends and family. Occasionally I browse garage or church sales in communities I trust to sell clean garments. The world is now drowning in excess clothing, so it's easy to rake in quantities of barely-wor…

Someone Has to Do Nothing

Someone has to be home between the hours of 10 and 2 to accept the delivery. Someone has to be with the kids. Someone has to watch the neighbors' house while they are gone. Someone has to let the cat nap in their lap. Someone needs to chill out or keep it real or be more spontaneous, and that person must be unoccupied, or at least interruptable, for long stretches of time.

Someone has to look out of the window. Someone needs to notice when the sun rises and when the fireflies come out. Someone needs to remember to time the song of the cicadas so that we can measure the heat as it rises.

Someone has to rest. Someone has to be present. Someone has to pray or meditate or break the cycle of anxiety. Someone needs to laugh, and someone needs to watch this, y'all. And someone has to record it on their phone.

Someone has to listen. Someone has to think. Someone has to imagine what no one else has thunk up yet.

I spent my young adult life learning how to speak up and take action. I w…

Sparkles in the Dark

It's December in Michigan, when despite our distance from the Arctic Circle, we get about 10 minutes of direct sunlight spread out over 31 days. 'Tis a cloudy state, thanks to the embrace of the Great Lakes, and there isn't yet a thick blanket of glittery snow to reflect what light filters through. This season is great for building fires, snuggling on the couch with a mug of spiked cocoa and a disturbing foreign film (God help me, I'm not a Hallmark movie kind of lady), lighting one's home with chaotic tangles of string lights, and wearing glittery stuff in the daytime. This season brings out my latent maximalist.

Okay, maybe not latent so much as closeted. This is what the top of my dresser looks like at this very moment.

I'm feeling a 2020s home makeover coming for me that will involve a lot of dark, rich, and bold colors and luscious textures that glow or shine or glimmer in low lighting. I think that this will be a comfort and an inspiration to me. I want t…

Green Therapy Is the New Black Friday

At the risk of sounding like Calvin's dad, it sure feels good to walk off the turkey with a brisk nature hike. Woodlands, parks, and waterfronts are peaceful on Black Friday, when everyone else is playing bumper cars on the icy roads, bludgeoning each other with Nintendo Switches, or crouching indoors behind a screen to troll for great deals on the mountains of junk that sometimes keel over and crush people in Amazon warehouses.

If your weather outside is frightful, however, you may wish to stay inside until the latest storm passes. I recommend building a fire in case the power goes out--and if it doesn't, switch on your best reading light and curl up nearby with a stack of library books. I'm all stocked up with some marvelous finds of my own.

I also have a few other entertainment recommendations for the start of cuffing season. It has now been a nice, round 20 years since the prophetic music video for "Sleep Now in the Fire" by Rage Against the Machine. Pogo l…