Dita Parker

Friday, March 25, 2011

To Edward Murphy, thanks for everything, Dita Parker

Say you're putting your child to bed. Your bed, because he was feeling funny, and you felt sorry for the little guy, because you're his mom, and you love him to pieces, and you only want him to be comfortable and feel better.

Say you're finally ready to go to bed yourself after making sure everything is in order for the next day, and you're feeling a bit funny yourself because it's an important day, one you want to face sharp of dress and mind, you know?

Say you hear something that could be categorized funny if you didn't know what it is you're hearing, a series of serious coughing coming from your bedroom, and you know, you just know, that in five seconds you'll be knee-deep in the chili you cooked for dinner with dessert thrown in (read: up) for good measure.

Say that's what you're dealing with three past midnight and it will be three till one in the morning before the child is washed and clothed and calm enough to try to go back to sleep in his own bed, and your bed, well, you're thinking of burning it because how will you ever get it clean and smelling decent, and it will be two before you've done all you can so the whole house doesn't stink, and two thirty before you've set up camp in the living room and are calm enough to try to catch some sleep yourself, and three thirty before you start believing you'll never sleep again, and four o'clock in the morning when you realize you're totally and irrevocably fucked.

Oh well.

There isn't a thing I wouldn't do for my babies, and today...today's for you, sweetie darlings, so we could be together a little more, so let's hope that not everything that could go wrong necessarily heads in that direction, and wash your hands, and stop picking your noses, and if you don't know what it is, please don't put it in your mouth, okay? Okay. I think I smell coffee. I think I need it. I think it will be all right.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quo vadis

"What does it mean?"
"Where are you going?"
"To the movies."
"What's playing?"
"Quo vadis."
"What does it mean?"
"Where are you going?"
"To the movies."
"What's playing?"
"Quo vadis."
"What does it mean?"
"Where are you going?"
"To the movies."
"What's playing?"

Muse on that, meritorious munchkins of mine, while I take time to make time for us. So we could be together. And we should be, should we not, because we go together like salt and vinegar, runny cheeses and robust wines, like Ardbeg and a splash of water.

Until then, sweetie darlings! Behave.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Right now

[We interrupt the current state of play to bring you this message.]

There is a massacre under way. Single incidents that together spell gendercide.

A baby girl is being aborted. The child is not unwanted, only the wrong sex.

A baby girl is born but not cared for or fed. Soon, she's left for dead.

A young girl switches households. She is nine. He is forty-seven. She is his wife now. His slave. His family's slave. Of not much more value than the dirt she sweeps.

A father sells his daughter to the highest bidder. They break her in. Break her will, break her body, then sell it, the only thing she owns, except she never sees the money, only a train of faces. When she has served her purpose, she disappears.

A girl is being raped. It's a punishment. It's retribution. An act of aggression. A means to secure a wife. An attempt to dispel disease.

Yet another is buried in the sand, her head pummeled to a pulp by a hundred men, a thousand. She may or may not have done something to disgrace her family but they suspect.

A young woman lives in fear of abduction, imprisonment, torture, death, because she dared open her mouth, voice a grievance, demand change. Is today the day? Will they get her in the market, in traffic, her own doorstep, while she sleeps? Every second, in fear.

A woman breathes a sigh of relief as her husband goes off to work. With a few hours of respite to look forward to but with no money and no place to go, she decides to try to make it through another day. She makes it through four more. No more.

A woman dies at eighty-seven praying to the heavens that if she has to be born again, please let her be born a man.

A deficit of one hundred million women. More women killed and girls unborn in the last fifty years than men lost in all of the wars of the twentieth century. That deficit has repercussions, effects that in some countries spell trouble for the women who have survived, who were allowed to be born. Some really wish they never had.

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, dearest denizens. The official theme this year: "Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women." That is a good one, a highly commendable one. Education and economic empowerment, putting girls through school and women's vocational training can make all the difference.

You may have heard of micro loans or microfinancing. There's Women's World Banking and then there's Women's Bank, which I prefer because it's not just about money, it's about skills and rights as well. Feeling galvanized? You too can support a sister and become a shareholder.

Or, if money's too tight to mention, call your mother and/or grandmother, meet up with your sister, give your daughter your undivided attention, make a date with a girlfriend, smile at a stranger. Let them know how much you love and respect and admire them. And those chicks you really really don't... Maybe today you'll refrain from any badmouthing. Your thoughts don't hurt them, only make you miserable, don't they.

And as for those important men in your life, those who rarely raise their voice against you and who would never ever raise a hand...a kiss, a hug, a compliment wouldn't hurt anything, would it. Let's face it, sweetie darlings, as Phil Collins used to sing, it's just another day for you and me in paradise.

Now go love someone and shine on.

[This concludes today's sermon.]

Monday, March 7, 2011

Truth and consequences

Previously on Dita's Den:

During a weekly bout where coloring outside the lines and free speech had, at least up until the fateful date, been self-evident, creators suggested that perhaps our leading lady had taken on more roles than she could comfortably play at once.

Our protagonist waved it off with a laugh and mumbled something about why, when asked if she had ever wanted to be a florist, she could not have realized that by God yes, and meant it, heartily, honestly, an epiphany. Or that is what it sounded like to us. Then, quite clearly, "What would you have me do?" Her smile turned strained. "Perhaps one should concentrate one's efforts," we suggested. "Full throttle in one or two areas instead of second gear in all of them." Mirth and air went out the door, we kid you not. "And perhaps some should spare one the tedious biking analogies. I know what you drive. A scooter."

Pandemonium ensued, the conversation quickly deteriorating into a verbal free-for-all. Blows below the belt were exchanged, including but not limited to doubts as to the intellectual faculties of some and the taste in footwear of others. Soon after, Miss Parker was seen storming out of the building.

She likes to boast about her survival skills. We'd like to see her survive without purse or overcoat. We would also like to remind her that hers is not a solo career, and that she owes the creators an answer, Babs a tenner, and her husband an apology.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can I play with madness

It has been brought to my attention that I might not be all-powerful.  

Inconceivable. 

That much of what I'm trying to do may not come to pass because it's too much, too much to do in one lifetime, or at least all at once.  

Inconceivable! 

That I can't have it all, that I might have to choose, to concentrate efforts some.  

Inconceivable!! 

One lifetime. Yes, now you're getting it. Only one woman? Well, I guess... No. I'm not getting it. I'll never pass this way again and if I pass opportunities they may never sail my way again. And I hate loathe detest retreating. Admitting defeat. Surrendering. Saying no to things I really really want, things I'm good at, damn it. Things no stupid-ass pirate can touch. Things that bring home le bacon. Let up on that? Cut back?  

Moi? Inconceivable!!! (Anybody else out there love The Princess Bride?)

But but but. You see, some two years ago I started a joke. Or it wasn't intended as a joke. Not at all. I started writing again after realizing that when I write, I'm at peace with myself and at home in the world, that I'm always in the right place at the right time, wherever I am. And for a rootless person, that's salvation. That is home. Every time I sit down to do it. Every time I wake up at first light to strangers talking in my head. In every word, no matter what the language, be it literary or genre fiction. Some of the stories may be escapist from a reader's point of view, but from the writer's, they're an exercise in staying grounded and keeping your head on straight.

Did I stop doing other things? Now whyever would I have done that? (Whyever is still not a word, is it...) Things I'm good at and enjoy doing, damn it, things that bring home les tranches de bacon. Of course I didn't. That would have been selfish. Reckless. Irresponsible. A waste of schooling and talent and precious time. That one lifetime. And life is so short.

Ze plot thickens. The universe decides to conspire against yours truly madly deeply. I was offered a little more of those other things to do, those sensible, income producing things that make me feel competent and sure of my myself, my skills and my future. Things that made the writing, everything I've achieved in that sector, or sectors, look like a trifle, pastime.

I said I'd have to get back to them;  and thought about the joke I'd started. Or that's what it's starting to look like. And it doesn't feel right. I don't feel right about it. Not at all. All things considered, I've gotten pretty far pretty fast, methinks. That has to count for something. Mean something. I've tried to honor that to the best of my ability, but I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't want more of a good thing, that I didn't feel as if I should be doing more. Or it's nothing but a joke. A waste of schooling and talent and precious time, that one life to live, remember? Since life is short. So. Damn. Short.

The universe strikes back. They grant me time to think about it. And they offer me more money. Ego well stroked, conscience calling, restlessness rearing its hideous head, I stared at the stories I've been working on in the midst of life and death and work and play and sickness and health. And home improvement. (Spent the weekend stripping wallpaper. Four decades of it. The last layer, from the late 60's, was the toughest. I had a vision of our lot 500 years from now. The house is gone. The wallpaper is not. It stands proud and as fugly as it ever was. [Stonehenge? Prehistoric wallpaper. Oh yes.] A dirty, brownish yellow. Yellow wallpaper. Know that story? Writers see hidden life, meaning and connections everywhere. Imagine if you will what went through my head as I dueled with said d├ęcor. [Life is too damn short.])

Whatever possessed me to pick up a pen again, wherever the stories keep coming from, it satisfies something in me beyond the fiscal or the physical. It's home. It's that simple. You can't put a price on that. There is none. But (and forget what I may have said on the subject in the past) writing is by far, without contest, the most selfish act I've ever engaged in. And that, my friends, that dissonance, is no laughing matter.

I thought time was on my side. I thought wrong.