Thursday, October 07, 2004


No, not the political kind, the personal kind.

There is a discussion going on in one of the communities about whether or not marriage has outlived its usefulness. (wouldn't you just know I'd get caught up in this one?)

At any rate, the idea is that marriage doesn't work any more and poses more problems than answers. I find it rather funny that homosexuals are pushing for marriage while heterosexuals are questioning the validity and need for marriage. Don't you?

The conservative political factions in this country are determined to define marriage in terms of male and female when what marriage has become is a tool for bureaucracy. Easy to get into and really hard to get out of, except where fancy, over priced, and over done weddings are considered.

In the good old days (really old, mostly ancient days), marriage was about political and financial liaisons and legitimizing children. That's why it was imperative the bride be a virgin so the husband could be sure the offspring were his, which turned out to be the case in very few instances. The only parent a child can be sure of is the mother, which is why in really ancient days (before the advent of society, civilization, and marriage laws) knowing a child's father wasn't all that important and most communities were matrilineal. But with civilization came laws and bureaucracies and legal marriages.

I see marriage as a commitment between two people to live and work together for the good of all involved. The kinds of open, multi-partner marriages that Robert Heinlein posited in his later books are more feasible than what marriage has currently turned into. It has become a pleasure trap at best and an emotional and societal trap at worst. Although polygamy is outlawed in this country, there are literally thousands of polygamist marriages. The people involved are happy with their situations, although they are a bit unfair about how such marriages are run, especially since they consist of one male and lots of females. In the Middle East and Asia they are called harems. Personally, I believe in quid pro quo where polygamy is concerned and those women who want to marry more than one man (and the men who agree to that kind of arrangement) should have their share of the polygamist pie.

Has marriage outlived its usefulness? Should a different type of marriage be instituted whereby you contract for a certain number of years? Such a contract could be renewed at the end of each period of the original contract, but if things aren't working out or either of you want to be free to sign a contract with another party, then there would be no onus attached to letting the contract expire and moving on. Children would still be taken care of by their parents, something that could be built into the contract, but there would be no loss suffered on either side. The contract would expire and the parties would remain amicable. Of course, if the contract term is not yet up and both parties feel the need to end said contract, why not end it early without rancor or penalty (mental, physical, emotional, or financial)?

Modern pagans hold handfastings and the term of commitment is usually a year and a day, but can be for longer. However, bureaucracies and lawyers tend not to take handfastings as legal marriage and that poses its own problems.

Personally, I favor the contract method for those who need such things (and to satisfy bureaucracy and lawyers) or polygamy for those men and women who prefer that route. I do not believe government should have any say in the manner or style in which a marriage is conducted or that religions should be allowed to define marriage for people outside of their faith. Marriage is a personal choice and should be more malleable and move with the changing needs of society and religion and the style and mode of marriage dictated only by the people involved.

What do you think?

Foggy day in Tabernash town

...A foggy day in London Town had me low and had me down. The lyrics go with the gossamer veil between me and the rest of the world where trees are ghostly shapes in faded greens and browns, but not with my mood.

This is the kind of day to go for a walk in the fog, disappear into the mists and breathe cool, wet air searching for ghosts and the fairy realms. It's such an unreal day when anything is possible...even dreams. A day when I feel like I can shape my own reality and make it real. This is the kind of day I hope for at Halloween when the walls between the worlds are thin as spider webs and crossing into a different reality is as easy as walking thru the fog.

I am reminded of some sad news I got the other day. One of my friends in Arvada and I talked and he told me his father died. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year ago and the chemo didn't work. Now he's gone, but, my friend says, not too far away. He still sees his father.

I had many wonderful conversations with his father, who wasn't much older than I am, and I miss him. That makes six people close to me that have died in the past six months. Not a good average. I am sad to know he's gone but happy that he is no longer in any pain. My favorite aunt died of pancreatic cancer after successfully battling breast cancer and I still miss her.

Maybe the fog makes me think of ghosts and dying more or maybe it's just because so many people I knew are now gone. There are new friends to take up the slack, but they can never fill the space left by the friends who are gone.

On a happier note, my parents arrive tomorrow morning and Saturday we will be traveling to Silverton for the Royal Gorge train ride and then back to Old Colorado City so my mother can gorge herself on chocolate and wander among the antiques on Colorado Avenue. I seldom come down from my mountain for long trips. There is some talk among the locals that I'm turning into an anchorite, but it's not that bad yet. I'll be the one with the distinguished and handsome gentleman with the silver hair and very Cherokee features and the tiny little woman with the glittering brown eyes who's telling me my hair is too red. You'll recognize me by my smile.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Low down

I feel lower than an old sow's dugs right now. I need to get busy and write and for some reason I'm getting a lot of requests to review books. Must be that time of the year. I'm saying yes but what I want to say is leave me alone right now. I hope something can pull me out of this silent funk.

I did talk to another old friend from high school that lives in the plains in eastern Colorado. He grows flowers. He also told me there is another one of our classmates here in Colorado and said he'd find out where so all of us could schedule some time to get together up here at my cabin--a little mini reunion of people who don't go to reunions. Interestingly, I'll be the only female -- at least so far.

The minute we started talking last night I realized something I didn't know in high school; he's gay. We talked about everything and nothing and even sex. We talked about the difference in relationships between gay and straight. I asked him how gays started relationships and he said they say "hi". Then they have sex and talk afterward, finding out about each other's likes, dislikes, etc. If there's anything there they move to a relationship and if not they say hi to someone else and start the process all over. He thinks it's easier for straights than gays and I think it's easier for gays. The grass is always greener.

Unfortunately, he is HIV-positive and has been for 25 years but is not in full blown AIDS. He also has a cast iron bathtub in his front yard and I accused him of being a redneck Fred Sanford and he laughed. He actually takes baths in the tub in the front yard under the tree when the weather's nice. That sounds at once sexy and weird. Something about the idea of a warm breeze and water on naked skin makes me weak in the knees. He lives on 15 acres and his neighbors aren't close enough to see (so he says), but I reminded him of telescopes, binoculars, and other spy devices. He laughed. "If they want to see me that bad they're welcome to watch."

He is that rare mix of innocence and openness that is so refreshing. And he's still a virgin at 49. For him, girls have a big YUCK factor and that's so funny, especially when he told me about the girl who chased him into the shower intent on changing his virginal status. He won. She lost. I told him he was safe with me.

I am still amazed how quick the connections are repaired between old friend who haven't seen each other in over 30 years and how much we remember. I've always believed the memories of youth are hard wired, branded into the synapses. Looks more and more like I was right.

Strangely enough he remembered me. I wrote him last week since I couldn't find an email address--and he isn't wired into the net. He has a laptop and it gathers dust on a shelf. Fine situation for an ex-computer programmer. He said I could teach him and bring him up to date.

He told me that several guys considered me out of their league. I can't figure out why. He told me it was because I was so smart, talented and pretty. Wish I'd known back then. I thought I was the original ugly duckling, but that I'd never turn into a swan. He said I was silly. Well, I think the boys were silly for keeping me in the dark.

In some parallel universe there is a Jackie who knew she had value as a youth. I wonder if she's happier?

Monday, October 04, 2004


As a reviewer whose name is all over the net, I get lots of writers wanting me to read and review their books. I get free books and they get my opinion. Readers may or may not agree with what I write, but I stand behind what I write and that carries some weight.

Last Friday night a writer contacted me to review his book About Nursing Homes. I wanted to know how he found me (it's a good idea to know where and how people find you) and he told me. We got into a discussion and have chatted on AIM from time to time, like this afternoon.

This man isn't much older than I am and he has had a rough year. He died twice after he was diagnosed with cancer and had a stroke. He was a quadriplegic in January 2004 and got out of a nursing home in June. Five days after he got out of the nursing home he met a woman online and he told her everything bad about him: broke, recovering from rehabilitation, twice married...the whole ugly truth of his life. She told him the ugly truth of her life. They were married less than one month later.

He has a simple philosophy about marriage and love. He says people are like restaurants. When you meet someone you look at the menu and if you don't want to take everything on the menu you part and go your separate ways. When you find a menu that has everything you want and the other person finds the same in your menu, you've got a match. This is his third time down the aisle and the ugly stuff is out of the way. Nothing was hidden and they like everything on the other's menu.

I know it sounds simple, but it also sounds and feels right. Too many people settle for less than what they want because they're afraid of being alone. To quote Mike, "If someone really wants you [s/]he would eat his[/her] way thru a mile of horse shit just to see you. If [s]/he is married, he would say screw [him]/her and be with you now. There are three bad reasons to stay in a bad relationship: money, vows, kids."

He also said he was an asshole once upon a time, but he died twice and came out of it knowing what was and wasn't important in life. My hope is that those of you currently in difficult or impossible situations right now don't have to die to figure out what is important to you. Don't settle for less than what you want, need, and deserve. If you're in a bad situation, get out of it. Find a menu that has everything you want on it. And when you find it, get all the ugly stuff out of the way. It will only crop up later. Now is better than later. If the person truly loves you they will accept you in spite of the bad stuff because you're the right person for them, too. Don't waste any more precious time figuring it out. You know what you want; start chowing down and go where you really want to be.

Do you have to die to get it? I hope not.

Terrify me with your answers -- HORROR POLL

What are your top 10 classic horror writers?

What are your favorite top 10 classic horror stories?

What are your top 10 favorite modern horror writers?

What are your top 10 favorite modern horror novels?

If you have children, or are children, answer the poll for your children, too.

A new week

And maybe this one I won't screw up.

Looking out the windows thru the denuded trees, I see white capped mountain peaks and I don't think the snow is going to melt any time soon. There was frost on the deck this morning instead of the snow that covered it most of the weekend and the skies are a clear bright blue. When the frost melts and the deck dries I'm going to take advantage of the warm sun (it has been around 30 lately) and stain the deck because I don't know when I'll get another chance and it needs to be done this year. Don't want the deck to rot out from under me. That's a long fall, but it's the hard rocky surface that will stop me that I'm more worried about. The last thing I need is a broken anything right now. No one will find me and I'll end up being eaten by foxes and all the squirrels and chipmunks I ticked off when I took the plants inside.

Yesterday one of my winter visitors came back twice. He is a black crested jay. He has a tall sooty Mohawk crest and light charcoal gray shoulders partially covered by deep blue wings and a long blue tail. If he's here my beautiful iridescent blue magpie with the white shoulders can't be far behind. He brightens my days when I see him out there, his long beautiful blue tail draped over a tree branch like a waterfall of metallic blue.

As the trees lose their summer weight of needles and pine cones, more of the surrounding mountains are visible, all capped with snow. Winter is not far off right now. And there is so much work to be done before winter grips everything firmly and covers everything with glittering snow and ice. So much needs to be done and I have plants I'm going to transplant in the basement and set up under a grow light to see if I can get them moving. Not to mention, the work I need to get done between now and Friday when my parents arrive.

And I begin writing my columns for the new horror literature site I'm hosting. The site hasn't been completely changed over with my columns and info, but it will be done by the end of the week. I'm already looking into books to review and authors to interview. And I'm counting on my friends and casual passersby to give me their horror favorites and finds for adults and children. Keep your eyes fixed here because there will be a pop quiz -- polls actually. You and your families are the target audience, so it just makes sense to poll you all to find out what I should be doing. Get ready for the work ahead. Roll up your sleeves, give me your horrific choices, and then tell me if I do them justice. All opinions are welcome -- even the ones I don't agree with.

That is all for right now. Poll ahead (if I can figure out how to do it).

Don't go too far. Your input is required.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Sunday rains

It started to rain a little while ago, a whispering rustle of sound, first loud and then soft and then loud again conversation in a crowded room. Beyond the windows in the darkness, the rustling hissed and ticked on the deck. Inside it was warm and quiet, a soft light shining against the black beyond the windows.

Today was a day of contrasts. The sun cast a bright golden glow over everything and lit the blue sky above to searing brilliance. I slept late because I went to bed late, sitting in my favorite chair in the darkness while the moon silvered and blued everything outside.

Today was a day of thoughts and memories and hopes and wishes while dandelion and spices tingled on my tongue and warmed me inside. The subtle scent of sage still hung in the air from last night, sweet grass a clean under note that tickled my nose and teased the edges of my mind.

Today was a day of solitude and silence and it didn't hurt so much.

Today was a day of revelation and news.

My mother called several times to firm up plans for their arrival on Friday, asking about rental cars and what I wanted them to bring, and complaining Dad had gone to church and left her at home because she is supposed to be at bed rest. Dad told her she was going to stay in bed because he didn't want her ruining their trip out here. Strong words from my father who has spent most of his life traveling the path of least resistance. Made me feel good to know he's excited and happy about coming to visit.

Now, what I'll do with my parents for seven days is still a mystery, but it should be interesting. I do know we're going to take the Royal Gorge train tour from Silverton next Saturday and I have tempted Mom with a stop in Colorado Springs to go on the chocolate factory tour or at least to Russell Stover's for her favorite treat -- CHOCOLATE. Mom had mentioned she wanted to drive up to Wyoming and maybe into Montana, which would be a nice diversion for me and will mean me being gone from my cabin and my computer for several days. It would also mean you all get a break from me. I know you're cheering already.

But today was a day of no work and no thoughts of work, except the ones that flitted at super sonic speed thru the corridors of my mind. I'll get back to it tomorrow and get two weeks' work done in the next five days to make time for a little vacation of my own.

Today was a day of peace and calm, a day for understanding and a tiny glimmer of happiness and hope.

All in all, the Sunday rains dampened the ground and the outside world and provided a refreshing relief for my heart.