Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Fresh air

The air always smells cleaner and fresher after a good hard storm. You can see farther and there is a sense of renewed hope that goes with such unbridled natural displays. The problem is that more often than not such powerful storms destroy everything in their path, forcing us to rebuild and reinvent our lives, ourselves and our homes.

Troy was once a powerful city that stood for centuries unconquered by many civilizations and armies until they were tricked into taking a wooden horse through the guarded gates and into the heart of their protected city. They were destroyed from within, giving rise to the warning about Trojan horses and the inherent devastation they contained.

We always fail to look the gift horse in the mouth and take what is pleasing and even ragged to our hearts and into our homes because it looks so innocent and needs our strength to help bring them inside. That is not to say that all wooden horses -- or seeming victims -- contain the death of our lives and the devastation of our hopes, dreams and generosity, but more often than not...

Troy was restored many times. Victim of earthquakes and nature's worst, Troy rose ever grander and higher and more beautiful each time it was knocked down. The Greeks made sure Troy would never rise again. The terrible storm that gripped Troy in its screaming, heaving wake would not allow the city to rise like a phoenix from the ashes an eighth time to mock their victory over the once formidable opponent. The Greeks sowed the fields with salt, enslaved the women and children and killed the warriors, leaving none to tell the tale. Yet the tale survives even today.

When all seems lost and destroyed, as long as there is an ear to hear the forbidden whispers of long lost grandeur and a tongue left to tell the tale. Even when the fields are sown with salt eventually the lashing rains and bitter winds will leech the salt from the earth and flowers will bloom again.

A friend told me once that the only way to keep a secret is never to tell anyone. When you tell one person, no matter how long it takes, the secret will leak out and the world will know what was hidden. People are social animals and they need the contact of other people. They need to feel a connection to the past as well as the present, and curiosity is in their genes. Apathy unfortunately keeps most people locked in their dark cages, but there will always be one person, one curious individual unable to leave the past in silence. They will find a way to make a connection and bring the darkness into the light. It will always be so as long as there are humans on this or any other planet. Curiosity drives us to know the truth.

Even had no one survived to tell of Troy's grandeur, the victors would have trumped their tale of conquest of the unconquerable to increase the admiration of their peers and the fear of their enemies. One way or another, despite destroying Troy and stealing away all its assets and treasures, the tale of Troy's great and glorious past would live. And it did.

The tale of Troy's fall is a cautionary tale but it is also a tale of hope. Humans are resilient. No matter how many times you knock them down, bloody their noses, black their eyes and drag their names through the mud and blood, they will rebuild. They may carp about it, but they will rebuild.

No matter what storms and devastation are visited upon us, we, like Troy, will rise from the ashes and breathe the sweet fresh air of freedom and truth.

Count on it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Oh, the webs we weave...

There is a lie going around outside of LiveJournal that began with minnalavendar and it is time for me to tell what really happened.

Last year I offered to edit -- for free -- one of Mattie's books because she said she couldn't afford to have it done. Just after I received the book, which took two tries to get here -- some postage issue on her end was the trouble -- I was informed by my doctor's office that they mistakenly told me my last mammogram was negative when in fact it showed I had cancer. They had waited six months to let me know. "We're sorry about the clerical error." Right.

During this time I was emotionally distraught and having a really hard time coping with the knowledge that I had breast cancer and it had had six months to get a good hold on me. I wasn't thinking about Mattie's manuscript. Meanwhile, Mattie was on a very long cruise and vacation, but the minute she got back she asked about her manuscript. I explained the situation and she said she didn't care about what I was going through and that she wanted her manuscript edited and returned. I did so and sent it back. She told me she didn't get it.

Because of problems with mail not reaching its destination, and specifically because of the snafu on this particular manuscript, I took the time and my materials and had made a copy of the manuscript just in case. When the manuscript still didn't get to Mattie, I offered to take the copy (printed on the back of a first draft of one of my novels) and redo the editing. Mattie told me to just throw it away. I explained that, despite what I was going through with the doctors and waiting for my appointment for themammogram and biopsy to be redone the following month, I wanted to finish what I started. She again told me to just throw it away, asking me why I bothered to offer to help when I had no intention of doing so. Feeling very snarky and not a little narked, I wrote her back with a very flip remark. "Because I wanted to steal your book and have it published under my name." I went on to explain, yet again, that I had wanted to help her but my own situation with breast cancer got in the way.

Mattie didn't want to hear it. She said she didn't care what I was going through and she went on to say I was no friend and that I would get what I deserved. She said again to throw away the manuscript. She didn't want it back.

By this point, I was angry and I won't work on anyone's manuscript when I can no longer maintain my objectivity and neutrality. I threw away the copy I had. I never mentioned it to my friends and I didn't give it a second thought. In my mind, the situation was ended.

Not so.

I have heard rumors and whispers from several sources that Mattie has spent the intervening months painting me in deepest black and accusing me of stealing her manuscript. Please. She accused me of trashing her book. If she never got it, how could she know what I did to it. I didn't trash her book. I suggested that she get into the story at the heart of the action instead of taking the long and winding road through the protagonist's personal history and angst. She could weave the threads of the history into the rest of the story once she got into it, but begin the book with the murder and how the protagonist was involved first. The rest of it was grammar and sentence structure and clearing up a lot of passive voice. I have never trashed anyone's book, story or writing. I have, however, gone straight to the heart of the matter and pulled no punches when dealing with sentence structure, grammar, passive voice and characterization. People pay me for my professional opinion not to be their glad-handing, back-patting friend. If you don't want my honest PROFESSIONAL opinion, have your buddies and family edit your work. I don't have the time.

Now I am hearing that I have stolen another author's work and plan to publish it under my own name from people outside of LJ in the real world. And I know where it comes from. It comes from elementalmuse. How do I know? Because several people told me what she has been saying about me just last night. For four hours I listened to the laundry list litany of my sins and how some of these people, who had been told about my evil doings, were so afraid of crossing my path (probably for fear I would blast them with a spell to turn their brains to mush -- something it seems has already been accomplished without me lifting a finger or casting a wand in their direction) they didn't go to the metaphysical fair that was held over the weekend. Like one of the people said, I am indeed a powerful force to cause so much fear.

For anyone to take an offhand comment made with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek as gospel, someone who supposedly knows me and has been the recipient of many favors done and gifts exchanged, things they said they couldn't afford and I happened to have and not using, they must be either high on drugs, need their anti-depressant dose increased, or are just plain stupid. I'm sure the real cause is that I didn't make my smiley face big enough or noticeable enough -- or, more than likely, I left it completely off.

If, after reading this, you believe that I am capable of stealing another author's work, this is not the place for you to be. If you have helped to perpetuate this lie, please remove yourself from my friends list. If you cannot tell fact from fiction, I feel sorry for you. If you believe that I would take any author's work as my own, especially someone who writes fantasies about LA bartenders who are part elf and thrust into the middle of a murder in their bar, you need to find somewhere else to be. I don't write that kind of fantasy and I don't need to steal anyone's work. I have enough of my own written and in progress that stealing someone else's work, especially when it needs so much rewriting and editing, would be a waste of my time and energy when I could take that same time and write it from word one.

I have kept quiet about this situation, and many others involving these two people, long enough. I have apologized and been slapped in the face over and over and yet I remained a good friend, finally being forced to walk away and wishing them both well. I have not lied about either one of them, but the persist in perpetuating lies about me to people who have never met me and don't know me. Some of those people took the time to find out the truth. You now have a piece of the truth. If you want to know the rest of it, ask me. I have nothing to hide. For the most part, I write everything in public and I don't hide behind a friends only journal or concoct dramas to make people feel sorry for me. I don't wear masks and I am not different from one day to the next or from LiveJournal to real life. I don't say anything behind someone's back I won't say to their face. I do keep confidences when asked and I don't do or write anything that isn't true. This is my life as I live it and I make no apologies for it. I only apologize when I'm wrong -- and I am wrong more often than you think.

If you are going to judge me -- and many of you have judged and pronounced sentence on me without both sides of the story or giving me my day in court -- you need to get both sides of the story first. Don't settle for just my side or only someone else's side. Don't take as gospel (that means good news, btw) what someone who was not involved says, but has heard second or third hand. Do what those people did yesterday: take the time to dig a little further and seek the truth for yourself. Sometimes a lie is woven out of the dusty spider threads of half truths that might contain a small microscopic fragment of the truth. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Take nothing at face value. Weigh and measure the stories carefully and pay attention to where they differ and where they are the same. Ask yourself if the person seems to always be in the midst of a drama and playing the victim.

If I am a victim, it is of my own making. Had I not been angry and upset I would not have made such a sarcastic reply that was taken to be true by someone who should have known better, should have known me better. I have been tried and hung in the court of whispers behind my back and without a chance to defend myself. How would you feel?

Oh, and one more thing... I find it difficult to believe that someone who spent many tedious hours talking about so-called friends to me behind their backs can be believed when they say they don't talk about me behind my back. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. If strangers who never met you, don't know you and were not involved in the coven when I was still there can recite chapter and verse of all my evil doings, they don't have accounts on LJ and do not know Mattie at all suddenly come to me out of the blue should I believe that their only link to me -- the muse -- is not talking behind my back (some of whom joined the group within the past one month) or should I believe they pulled my name and stories about me I never spoke of to anyone before, except the one person involved, out of thin air? The air in Colorado Springs is thin, but not that thin.

And btw, in order to be convicted of slander or libel the accuser must prove that the information is false and has cost them standing in the community, damage to their reputation and/or loss of revenue to their business and/or livelihood. The key is that the information must be false and the intent malicious. Telling the truth, even in a public venue or in print, is not slander or libel. Want to test it? File charges and let the court decide. I'm ready. Are you?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The truth of myth

We ought always to deal justly, not only with those who are just to us, but likewise to those who endeavor to injure us; and this, for fear lest by rendering them evil for evil, we should fall into the same vice.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
~Edmund Burke

For too long I have been silent and I am guilty of allowing evil -- or at least wrong -- to triumph. This morning an email changed that.

Over the past few months I have lost my zeal for LiveJournal -- or any of my journals -- because of personal attacks on me. I allowed their lies and prejudices to stand because I believed that the people who truly knew me would know the truth from the lies and they would stand by me. I was partly right. Many people have stood by me, but people I trusted and believed in did not. They took the venomous words spewed by someone they knew longer as gospel and failed to realize there was no good news in them. In particular, one person who has always believed and stated that if you had nothing good to say about anyone you should stay silent. He silently departed without a word of warning or an explanation when I privately emailed and asked for one. And so I sank slowly into the west without a plan to rise again in the east. Instead, I threw myself into work and other pursuits in order to fill the gap in my life left by writing and LJ and my LJ friends. After all, if so many people were leaving this burning ship maybe they were right and I was wrong. It has happened before, although not in recent memory.

The email this morning told me something I already knew, that someone I openly gave the hand of friendship over numerous rocky trails and seemingly bottomless chasms has spent the past few months trashing me publicly, on list and to people who knew me and did not know me, all in an attempt to blacken my name. She was not alone. Someone for whom she has little respect, regard or liking has joined her unaware that he, too, has been trashed by her. I believed by walking away and not looking back all that would end and the evil they perpetrated would die. It has not and it will not until I stop doing nothing. That ends now.

Yes, this is a little bit of drama. So bow out if you'd rather not know. But beware.

What I learned this morning is that I have been accused of evil, theft and adultery. I have also been likened to a role model and standard for evil, and this from two people who have spent most of their time bashing and trashing people they called friends -- and not just me. So, here is the truth.

I cannot refute the charge of evil because I do not know what evils I am being accused of, other than theft and adultery. I cannot claim I have never stolen anything because that would be a lie. I have, however, when I have stolen anything, either returned it and apologized or paid for the object in question. I have had my weak moments but I have always paid for my moments of weakness honestly and openly. In that respect, maybe I am evil.

As for the charge of adultery, it is completely false. Never at any time during either of my marriages did I commit adultery. For those of you who are unaware of the definition, you have to be married to someone to commit adultery.

The accusation of adultery coming from my "friend" is laughable at best but deeply saddening, especially coming from someone who has been involved in a relationship with a married man for nine years, part of that time when she was still married. She is not guilty of adultery in fact, but definitely guilty of adultery in her heart because she was married when he first contacted her. She did wait until her husband was out of the picture to fly to Alabama to spend a weekend with him and she wasn't married when she drove down to see him earlier this year and become intimate with him. I don't say this to excuse myself, but to put my accuser's statements in context. It is a very clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.

As for her companion in blackening my name and reputation, he is not without his faults either. He has propositioned both of us and asked us to be his mistresses in a BDSM sense. Both of us unequivocally answered no, I because I am otherwise involved and she because he disgusts her. She has said many times she would never get involved with a black man -- and certainly not with him. She tells him it is because she is otherwise involved as well, but she has no problems having sex with other guys she has met and has known for years when the itch becomes unbearable.

I stood by and listened while she trashed someone she called her best friend, reading private emails sent to her by the friend and helping her rid herself of the negative influence she feels that friend magickally cast in her direction. I spent many hours weaving counter spells and shielding her from further harm. After what I have learned over the past months, and particularly this morning, I realize that any negatives in her life she has drawn to herself through her own actions.

She called me one Saturday morning screaming and yelling at me that she would have to leave Colorado Springs because I had destroyed her reputation by my accusations. Aside from relating the facts of what had happened between us here and privately to a few select friends, her name has not come up, except when she calls or emails her attacks. I have been content to let this sometimes sleeping dog lie, but it looks as though the damage continues and runs deep enough for two concerned souls to seek me out and ask me to meet with them so they can see the truth for themselves, to view the evil incarnate that resides inside of me. When we meet I will tell them what I have written here. I am not perfect. I never claimed to be perfect. I am a flawed human who has chosen true love over social conventions and religious morals to which I do not subscribe. I do not apologize for my past because if you take away even one of those moments -- good, bad or indifferent -- you change who I am at this moment. I cease to exist as I am and I become another person, maybe a worse or better person, but not who I am. I prefer to remain as I am, warts and all, because it is this ME to whom people come because they say they feel compelled to meet me. These strangers see in me what my one time friend should have known over the years we shared and walked this rocky trail of life.

Be sure your sins will find you out.
~Luke 23:32-43
~Numbers 32:23

My sins never have a chance to find me out because I face them head on and admit them openly. It's like being completely open and honest. It doesn't always go down well with people in today's world, but you never need to worry if I am who I say I am or if I am hiding something because it is all here in black and white. It's up to you to decide what to believe, but at least you know that even when I seem harsh, stern or abrasive in my views and my writing that it is the real me and not crap dressed up in sugar and spice and everything false.