Dita Parker

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Closing time

The last sunrise in two months has cleared the horizon in our northernmost towns. I can only imagine what it's like living in perpetual darkness broken by a fleeting twilight. I've seen some very atmospheric pics and those accustomed to it vow you get used to it, but I doubt I'd survive without the sun.

News broke that these parts have already seen a 2+ degrees temperature rise, courtesy of global warming. Winters are getting warmer and stormier, weather records keep breaking with flora and fauna trying to cope, some succeeding, some failing. Climate change rolls at a FF speed here in the Thule and since none of our known species existed the last time such rapid warming and changes occurred no one really knows what fate awaits them. Scientists speculate and it's not a happy outcome on all arenas. Some will go the way of the mammoth and become extinct, some will adapt and survive.

How blind we are to things happening right in front of us, but when you're in the thick of things and likely to be affected by changes in the status quo you tend to employ some motivated reasoning, maybe even denial. Belief and confirmation biases loom large and you'll always find information to support your views and opinions if you just dig deep enough. It may be your interpretation and your imagination at play but by God you'll have proof no expert can take away. Besides, everyone knows experts can be bought to interpret findings to suit any need.

But. Facts are still facts. Underlying truths are still underlying truths, bedrock to be uncovered and insanely hard to eradicate. You can cover them with muck and malarkey, coat them with lies, polish them using evasion and diversion while shirking responsibility and accountability and even succeed in your dastardly deeds for long periods of time. But not indefinitely. Because you're entitled to subjective views but you're not entitled to subjective facts and the fact is our species has made things worse for all species. Wars, storms, flooding, drought, famine and the unrest and migration that inevitably follows will make things worse still, so much worse before things gets better.

But we're not quitters, are we, sweetie darlings? We know it's never too late to mend! If it's man-made, it's mendable. It has to be. Or we'll go the way of the mammoth and you don't want that, but that's always an option, and Mother Nature will do just fine without us. It's we who depend on her, not the other way around. She may need our help cleaning house but if she sees none forthcoming she'll have no qualms showing us the door. Her way or the highway, folks! The choice is entirely ours.

Speaking of evasion, diversion, shirking responsibility and accountability: I'm still waiting on reversion of rights for my books with EC. Fact: I'll never write for them again. Underlying truth: I leave with a bad taste in my mouth. And when the ROR comes through and true? I don't know. Maybe I'll come across a siren server whose song I won't be able to resist but those are the opposite of freedom so right now the computer says No.

Self-publishing sounds more and more like serfdom. We talk about controlling our books, our careers, our fates, but the more you look into those services and servers the more disillusioned you feel. Or I feel. How do you feel? About Amazon and suchlike? I bet you're a happy buyer. Are you a happy seller, a happy author? Their template. Their playground. Their game. Their rules. What's the alternative, you ask? Good question. But not the one I'm asking. What I'm asking is are you satisfied with the service(s) provided? Are you?

I still write fiction but, more and more, writing is what dancing or drawing is: a reset button, a thing for moments when I'm alone with my head, alone with things that either need to be said and remembered or let out and forgotten. I'm violently glad I have more than one language, genre and sphere in my tool belt. Something doesn't work? Live and learn and move on. And I have.

And speaking of things I'm thankful for: She paid me a visit in dreams the other night, a dream where she stood under a bright yellow umbrella outside the kitchen window, smiling warm and wide, a ray of light in the rain. She waved and I waved back, she turned to leave and I couldn't follow. No pain. No tears. No pleas. Peace. Love. Hope.

That's what they are, the departed. They're like the dying light of the stars we track at night. Long dead but still transmitting. You know it's the past, you know that just like those stars they're not really there, that what you're seeing is no longer there. But they leave a trail, a long tail, a light for you to follow and remember them by.

The present? The present is a pressing matter. It's an emergency and I'm on call. Such is life, sweetie darlings; forever temporary, often arbitrary, but we had fun, didn't we, now we'll just have to have fun somewhere else. Sounds like an adventure. I'm always up for one. Coming along?

Last call! Join me for the parting glass? Can't leave and go home without one. Yes, I'm buying. So. What are you having? All set?

Here's to memories of the past and hopes for the future, to mistakes made and lessons learned.
Here's to Mother Nature and the Universe, to truth and consequences.
Here's to lovers and dreamers, to fighters and warriors of light.
Here's to the walking wounded, those shot through the soul.
Here's to authors and artists, to readers and keen listeners, to all of you with open hearts, eyes and minds.
Here's to fun and friendship, to passion and love.
Here's to courage and curiousness, to goodness and kindness.
Here's to health and happiness, to a long life and a quick death.
Here's to you, dearest denizens, wherever you are.

Cheers, saúde, santé, skål and sláinte, sweetie darlings. Joy be with you all!

Joy be with you all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A midsummer night's dream

I dreamed I wrote a rather long and rambling essay on the economy, ecology and equality. Long because of the amounts of cause and effect and problems and solutions I managed to cram into that one piece, rambling because of the myriad associations, the links and bridges I managed to build. Full of pathos, I went from global warming to refugees to immigration, from nationalism to fascism to racism, from global trade to global warming and back to refugees again. My theory of everything.

Too bad I don't remember half of it but I do remember feeling a strange but strong sort of relief getting it all down in writing, as if I hadn't quite known what I thought on the subject before I wrote about it and had now laid down a burden, the anxiety that comes with the feeling you don't understand the world around you, the hows and whys, the implications, the consequences. In my dream I had managed to collect my thoughts, observations and opinions, arrange them in a well-structured manner and lay them out coherently and elegantly. (One can dream, right?)

He built this garden for us, they were called, my nocturnal notes, a slight but quite deliberate misquote of a Lenny Kravitz song, I presume, since I opened with a picture of our garden, a garden I gladly work on but one my husband has had a heavy hand in creating. So he doesn't bring me flowers every day. He built me a garden. I realized this is the longest I've stayed put, and not the least because of the garden that grows around me, a house that's like the tropics in the arctic, the peace and happiness I feel in both.

Who has the right to peace and happiness, or prosperity? On what terms? On whose terms? Who promised life would be easy, fair or happy, a man once asked when the question came up, a man who'd never suffered or struggled, who'd never been and never would be any type of minority, an outcast, disenfranchised, displaced, the underdog. No one had ever denied him, crossed him, belittled him, stomped on him or stood up to him. I understood his question. I just don't think he did. I don't think he gave a second thought to where his wealth came from, to whom or what he owed it to.

Taking a close, critical, honest look at most anything usually makes you focus on the flaws and the problems in something, then promptly sign up for a transcendental meditation class, learn mindfulness, go buy one of those adult coloring books, whatever takes your mind off the fact the world is a pretty fucked up place getting worse by the second, now that you really look at it and think about it, so better not look too closely, better concentrate on things closer to home such as you, yourself and, well, you, Jon Lajoie was right: Fuck Everything. Wait, what?

One of my university professors believed cultures evolved in cycles, all cultures following the same cycle but at a different pace. All clashes between nations, cultures, creeds and even individuals stemmed from our conflicting values and views, our place on the cycle, and our need to impose those values and views, our will, on others. I've seen such forces in action, determinism, relativism and entitlement at its worst. I've seen evidence to the contrary, kindness and compassion and selflessness at its best.

Maybe authors and artists can't change the world but they show us what it's like to live in it, what it feels like to be human, living under the same sun and moon but very different stars.