Dita Parker

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen—and kissed me there.

(Walter de la Mare, 1913)

Happy holidays, sweetie darlings, and a smooch on top,


Friday, December 13, 2013

Running in the family

My aunt contacted me. She said she'd found something among my paternal grandmother's belongings I'd want to see. That my aunt had unearthed whatever it was I knew nothing about didn't surprise me. Geography and the uneasy rapport my mother had with her in-laws in general and her mother-in-law in particular resulted in my never being close to my father's side of the family as a child, a gap we've done our best to bridge in my adulthood.

My paternal grandmother was a complex woman who'd lived through happy and hard times alike. She was immensely grateful for all the good in her life but forgiveness was not her first impulse. In good and bad, her memory was infallible. She would recite lengthy poems, and often did on someone's special occasion, and when she spoke you got the impression she'd thoroughly thought through what she wanted to say before she uttered a single syllable. And you got the impression you weren't hearing the half of it.

What my aunt sent me only cemented that impression. My grandmother knew I wrote. I never knew so did she. Pages upon pages upon pages of thoroughly thought out lines I never knew existed. And here I thought that I was the black sheep, right-handed with some of the athletic and artistic inclinations running in both sides of the family but someone who'd rather be writing.

I don't know why she chose not to tell me. Was writing just a pastime? A private passion? A shattered or buried dream, just one of the things countless women of her generation couldn't cultivate because it simply wasn't an option, profession-wise? Where did all those lines come from? What was she thinking and how did she feel and did she have someone to share those words with, a reader, another writer? 

I stare at those pages and she's with me, breathing in every word. And then I lose her all over again. We'll never talk about this. I'll never get to ask all I badly want to ask and it makes me sad and it makes me angry and it makes me ashamed of myself because it's a selfish, childish wish. If she'd wanted to share she could have. It also gives me solace and satisfaction of the mischievous kind to think that maybe this was too important, too personal to share. My writing life was mine and mine alone. And hers was obviously none of my business. That is so true to character my first impulse is to forgive even when my gut reaction is anger and a vague sense of disappointment and regret. We had this in common and we never got to share it. And that's how she wanted it.

I hope she found what she was looking for when she sat down to write. I hope she dreamed and soared and reveled, lost in those innermost thoughts, that inner life that was hers and hers alone, that immovable, unshakable core we all possess. It's beautiful and it's powerful and I've witnessed people pull through the most awful of events and circumstances without losing their minds, hope, integrity or dignity because they never lost touch with it even if it seemed they'd lost everything else. Promise me you'll cherish and nurture yours, whether you're sharing it with all of humanity or never telling a soul, whether you call it soul, heart, spirit, grit... Whatever you call it, you know what I'm talking about. So promise me. Promise.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Something's gotten hold of my heart

'Tis the season, sweetie darlings, wedding anniversary season, a season that makes an insufferable lovey-dovey-shiny-happy-want-to-throw-my-arms-around-the-world girl out of me, a girl brimming with love; romantic, platonic, filial, maternal, sisterly...you name it, I'm feeling it, dearest dearest denizens. So I decided to celebrate this many-splendored thing with thoughts on the subject ranging across time and continents. Just because. Because love! So what's your favorite?

Before I met my husband, I'd never fallen in love. I'd stepped in it a few times. 
~ Rita Rudner

We choose those we like; with those we love, we have no say in the matter. 
~ Mignon McLaughlin

The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of. 
~ Blaise Pascal

The eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love. 
~ Margaret Atwood

Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.

~ Lao Tzu

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
~ Victor Hugo

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
~ Bertrand Russell

We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.
~ W. Somerset Maugham

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
~ Dr. Seuss

A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself - and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is.
~ Jim Morrison

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

~ William Shakespeare

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

~ Pablo Neruda

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. 
~ Zora Neale Hurston

Love withers under constraints: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited where its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. 
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Stand by me.
~ Ben E. King

I'll stand by you.
~ The Pretenders

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I dreamed of Africa

Temperature: a bleak 0/32 degrees

Eating: is it too early to start baking Christmas cookies? Just for refresher training purposes, of course. And maybe just a little for that sweet and spicy dough.

Drinking: årets glöggar sont arrivés! (Wittgenstein said the limits of our language are the limits of our world. I've found that to be true, so, sweetie darlings: To broaden your horizons, learn a foreign language. If you want to delve deeper into a country and its culture, learn the language.)

Watching: Frances Ha and L'écume des jours, as should you, dearest denizens, if you want to laugh cry cringe sigh

Listening: to the Treme soundtracks

Reading: Chuck Norris has browsed the entire Internet. Twice. Ha! I'm on my third round. (If you don't know where to look, you won't find it. Finally reached for the phone. As I should have done two rounds ago.)

Writing: translating

Feeling: Always be yourself. Unless you can be Kira Salak. Then always be Kira Salak.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Romance Horror Picture Show

It's Halloween, dearest denizens, the perfect time to not let reality get in the way of some tomfoolery. Or a good story.

I like jokes, verbal and practical, and I like a good story as much as the next gal. But sometimes a gal needs a little gas, some fuel to the flame, you know? You do know? Well, whaddya know, here you go: 10 pics to help you tell a tale.

Fantasy or reality? Secret rendezvous or an exhibitionist's night out?

Ooh, Poe-esque. Black magic woman? Shifter?

He wants to kiss you. No, kill you. Kiss you. No. I don't know.

So hard to pin down. So many possibilities. So lovely.

Yeah. Real steel. That goes for my blade, too.

Apocalypse Yesterday. But do you run to him or do you run from him?

Model by day, aspiring actor by night, hampered and pissed by constant comparisons to James Dean. Until one day...

Rescue or kidnap? Runaway bride? Groom, best man or best friend?

This beach was supposed to be private. So what's he doing here? Is it a merman? Is he dozing? Drowning? Better go see if he needs help...

Sexy? Sinister? Your call.

But that's just me. What do you see? Share if you dare or start scribbling away, as long as you're writing. Those brave enough to take on NanoWriMo: May the Force be with you...

Happy Halloween to all, and to all a good fright!

P.S. All pics purchased from 123RF.com, in case you want one of your own.

Friday, October 11, 2013

All hands on deck

I know it's Friday and you're gearing up for a fun night and a funtastic weekend but it's also International Day of the Girl Child so could you do me a favor and lend me a hand in support of girls' right to quality education?

Thank you! Love you!!

Here's how:

Sign the petition

Raise your hand using Facebook

Or tweet a picture of you and/or your friends raising hands, just please make sure you add the hashtag #bcimagirl

Why should you care if some girl you don't know can't go to school or some woman you'll never meet can't work? In this economy, global, connected, skewed, screwed, can we really afford not to educate girls and employ women?

He-men and gentlemen, women are more than happy to carry their own weight, share the burden. We don't consider it your responsibility or right to act, speak or choose on our behalf so why do you? We're here to help. So let us. All of us. Each according to their talents. Can we really afford to waste a single pair of capable hands?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Now, voyager

Warning: Verbal incontinence ahead. 

(Come on, I've been so thrifty with words these past six months surely I'm allowed some now. And I've tried to write a post, several times, these past few weeks but what came out was a heap of all important nothings, and as important a part of convivial civilized interaction as they are, if the world were as civilized as it makes itself out to be, you and me and that guy over there should be able to speak freely without feeling fear, trepidation or threatened. So I thought, why not?)

Where on earth have I been, doing what exactly, leaving all (seven and that drive-by Serbian) of you wondering WTF? What the hell am I thinking?

Let's see.

I'm thinking anything worth doing is worth doing well and that I'm not as masterful a multitasker as I thought I was (imagine my surprise) so now that there's something else I need to do and somewhere else I need to be, I thought that's what I need to do and that's where I need to be then.

I'm also thinking about moving, or Hubby and I are, contemplating relocating quite far from where we are perched on top of the world. Only a thought at this point. Small but with immense potential for growth. Not even close to making a decision but we're considering options, thinking ahead. We told the kids we're playing with the thought and none said no outright, they just started asking questions. Where would we live and what's it like out there? What about school? The language?

They've traveled. They know this isn't all there is to the world. I've lived the life from a younger age than they are now. I know the pros and cons, believe me, and my kids know my history, where I've been and what it meant to me, what it gave me and what it took away. Mind you, it gave more than it took, by a wide margin, but I'll admit there was a time I resented the hell out of my parents for leaving Brazil. (The choice wasn't entirely theirs but I was a navel-gazing preteen who knew, who just knew they were doing it to run and ruin my life.) I got over it. Most of it. I think. Any day now.

But we're talking an absence of 5 to 10 years here. And in five to say nothing of ten years from now the place you now call home will have changed. Sometimes there's no going back. It happens. I grant you it's much easier to keep up with what's going on in any given country than it was in my youth. But there'll be moments when you realize you speak the language and still have no idea what people are talking about.

It's often some trivial mundane thing that betrays you but those prosaic touches reveal you for what you sometimes feel you are: a stranger in a strange land. Am I just faking it? Can they tell the difference? Like a spy hoping not to be made. I've found it's best not to hide those feelings or insecurities. Admit you don't know, don't apologize for all that you do know, alternative ways of thinking and handling matters and viewing the world.

This whole thing...not my idea or initiative. Hubby's. Related to his line of work and oh God don't be one of those stand-by-your-man women hauling ass and playing house so he can have a career and a family. Way ahead of you and the game, sweetie darlings. What I do I can do pretty much anywhere. The tropic, the arctic, sand, snow, home or away, I've got it covered.

Speaking of which, work is going well. Feeling genuinely accomplished and useful and I've found I need that. I need to be of service. Moving would mean another culture to study, another language to learn. Always a plus in my line of work. What is it that I do, again? What I love best, work with words and languages. On most days it's...I wouldn't use the word fun but certainly challenging and rewarding. On some it's a fight against cynicism, I kid you not. What's-the-matter-with-you-For-the-love-of-all-that-is holy-open-your-eyes-Enough-with-the-pettiness-and-provincialism-Let's-get-things-done-already-All-I'm-hearing-is-me-me-me. Days when you think that maybe you'd be better off on some desert island surviving on fish, mangos, avocados and coconut water, away from it all with books and pen and paper because the world is bat-shit crazy and beyond redemption or repair.

But then you remember that your family has other plans and that you'd miss your friends, partnered sex, boozy leisure, audiovisual entertainment and a regular change of scenery and that you really tire yourself out sometimes with your navel-gazing me-me-me so...no...and while you sometimes fantasize about a world of enlightened despotism with yours truly madly deeply in charge so we'd get things done already, it's not in the cards, is it, so now what? Go back to the task at hand and soldier on.

Isn't that precious, you say. It is. Invaluable, I say. Don't lose your head and don't waste your talents. There are people out there willing to pay good money for what you can do. And the writing? I haven't seen the forest from the trees. I don't have to strive to write for a living, I already do. Wonderful stuff, interesting stuff, meaningful stuff, just these past few months. Hiding in plain sight, really. If you knew where to look you'd find me, a woman who looks a lot like the lady in that pic ("What do you mean by a lot? That's not what you look like?" God, no. I don't usually bother with a straightener.), maybe even recognize my voice. If that happens, sweetie darlings, if you think you do, it's our secret and I trust you to keep it.

Every storytelling technique, every trick of the trade has only helped. Nothing's going to waste. And every new thing I've had to study only makes me a better storyteller. Win-win. What about the Romantica I had in the works? I'm still working on them.  S l o w l y . I can't leave my characters hanging. I promised them a happy ending and right now they're really pissed. And I know what you're thinking. What's the point? With the pace I write and publish romance, what's the point?

That is the question. That is a very good question. A question every author, every professional, every human being should ask themselves every now and then. What am I doing? Why am I doing this? For me, counterpoint is the point. Counterbalance is the point. I need to write fiction more than this scene needs another book by the Parker girl. Not that I don't care about my readers, never think that, dearest denizens. What I'm trying to say is that writing fiction fulfills a need and grants a pleasure that supersedes other motives. I will always write fiction even if I never publish another book. But the fiction, just the fiction, ain't enough. I've tried so hard and for so long to strike a balance. And then I just...I didn't give up, I gave in. For country and for crowd or bust. That thought somehow takes off all the pressure. Anxiety and frustration lift. I will never be top banana. Doesn't make me a bad writer. Doesn't mean I don't have drive. Doesn't mean I don't have a voice or stories to tell. Will anyone be interested in that voice or those stories... That's another story, one I don't get to dictate on my own.

The rumors of Dita's social death, suicide really, have been right on the money. Sometimes there's no coming back. It happens. I've tried to keep up with what's going on but there'll be moments when I realize I thought I knew where it's at but have no idea what people are talking about. I'd be quite content just writing away, working behind the scenes. I'm painfully aware and constantly reminded of the fact I don't brand and market as aggressively as I should, but the brand and name recognition stuff...it's so messed up. Once upon a time you became a brand when you did something particularly well, when you were a cut above in your field or art or whatever. Nowadays, you have to have a brand, the whole package, laid and thought out before you've made a single move or created a thing and you gotta love the me-me-me.

Yeah, I know, nowadays be nowadays, not ye olden ways, and this is business and you don't sell a product without a USP so you better have one or make way for those who do, but what if you don't feel like a neat package, more like a multiple personality without the disorder? Is that a brand? "This is me then." Is that ever enough? The level of frustration and confusion, a general feeling of where shall we go, what shall we do, has reached new heights among...well, I guess Dita can't speak for anyone except a small segment of erotic romance authors. Established, popular authors seem to be doing okay. The rest... Maybe it's too early to call but some have put their numbers out there asking is it just me or have sales truly declined so drastically? Some are responding no it's not just you, others with thanks, not what I wanted to hear, I'll get my coat, what's the point.

That is the question. What's the point? No promises, no guarantees, a lot of work, sweat, even tears, for what exactly? But who promised or owes us, any author, any professional, anything, ever? Who guaranteed sales or success? Perpetual Pleasure hasn't sold well at all and of course it makes me sad and it makes me wonder and makes me quote Dickinson on occasion. I'm Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody – too? (Not particularly proud of those moments but there you have it.) Is it the price? Sub-genre? An author people don't know? The fact I'm not an aggressive marketer? Did they hate Alex and won't risk another disappointment? No reviews, not enough buzz or word of mouth? So I'm biased but it's not a bad book.

And I know how you feel. You put endless hours into something, do your loving best...but I'm thinking so does everybody else. What are you gonna do? Where shall we go? What shall we do? "Frankly, Dita, the Internet doesn't give a damn." True, that. I honestly don't know. I guess all we can do is ask what's the point, take it from there, and see how far it takes us.

"What do you mean you don't know? You honestly don't know, make room for those who do." Be my guests, please. But half, more than half, like a good two-thirds don't know, even if they say they do. You can wish. You can hope. But you can never know for certain. Not until you get there. That's when you can say, "I always knew I'd [insert your goal]." That's the only time you can make that claim, really.

"No, seriously. You don't have a contingency plan?" You need an expected outcome to devise one, two, as many as you think you need. Since the business of writing comes with no guarantees: Of course we didn't! That would be like saying, yeah let's give it a try, let's commit but let's not get carried away, excited even, as if this means something, as if we're all serious and shit. Serious as fucking cancer! Anything worth doing and all that. It breaks my heart that my wonderful, talented, ambitious author-friends are hurting. It makes me wanna squeeze them and soothe them and tell them it's gonna be all right but I can't promise that, not to them, myself, anyone. But I will say this. In the undying dying words of Seamus Heaney: Noli timere. Don't be afraid.

Am I scared? No. Genocide is scary. And gendercide. Fascism. Homophobia. Hate in general. This? Since you are my sweet escape from all of the above, pour le fun, no. You know what else I'm thinking? You don't have to follow paths. Forge your own. Make like Gertrude Bell or Ranulph Fiennes. Tap into the explorer. There's one in everyone. And I know what you're thinking. Things are moving too fast for anyone to keep up with or analyze so how do you know where you should be headed and if you do know how do you get there? E-commerce, corporate cultures, the economy, it's all moving and evolving at the speed of sound, light even. New business models emerge and dated ones die and who knows where to head and how to get there. It's all one big expedition.

And I know you think fear is healthy, proof your self-preservation instinct still works, but too much is nothing but paralyzing. Who knows what's going to happen next year or next month or in the next two minutes. You can wish. You can hope. But you can never know for certain. Not until you get there. That's when you can say, "I always knew I'd end up [insert your destination]." That's the only time you can make that claim, really. So why worry. You may have no power over how the game is played but you can always improve your own performance. That's all you can do. That much you can always influence, whatever it is that you're trying to achieve.

That's what I think anyway. And you're thinking I'm not helping. This ain't helping. You want to write and you want to be published and you want to succeed and you know, you just know published authors know something you don't but they won't tell you what it is because it's a secret, The Secret. The Secret Ingredient. The Recipe. Now listen close. Like really listen. All ears? Here it comes. There is no recipe. And you're secret ingredient. And that's why this whole business can feel like one huge clusterfuck of frustrating counterproductive and counterintuitive forces at work, not the energizing life-affirming expedition you thought you'd embark on. No promises, no guarantees, a lot of work, sweat, even tears, for what exactly? You tell me. What's the point? Your point? Goal? Destination? Answer those questions and you'll know where you should go and what you should do, maybe even how to get there. Methinks.

As Takei would say, oh my. Shall we lighten up things some? What else have I been up to? Tackling my TBR and TBW pile and revisiting old favorites. Having a good time with Hubby. Raising my kids to be dissident decent compassionate human beings. Having fun with friends. Planning and saving up for future travels. Studying life, the universe and everything, trying to improve and advance one thing and day at a time. The Harvest Moon was magnificent and the fall equinox came and went and took the sun with it. The leaves are turning but the days were so warm for so long it was as if the summer had never ended. It was nice but it's coming to an end and as much as I'd like to think I'm ready, I'm all settled, I'm cool with this, I have my Dylan Thomas moments. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage on against the dying light. Then again, what's the point?

Told you I'd get logorrheic on you. Thanks for listening. TLDR? Hey, it's my blog. And it's your prerogative. Are you saying you haven't missed the soapbox and the sermons? Say it ain't so. And all I'm hearing once again is me-me-me. What have you been up to, sweetie darlings? I see you but I never hear from you. So now I'm listening. Like really listening. All ears. Still not hearing anything.

I'll get my coat.

Monday, September 16, 2013

For the Love of Romance

From Publishers Weekly contributing editor and PW Beyond Her Book blogger Barbara Vey:

Dear Friends in Publishing,

Over the past 6 1/2 years, I have listened carefully to what you've had to say. The one thing I heard over and over again was how romance never received any respect. Many of you were thrilled when I started writing my blog because it seemed to make your genre more credible in PW's eyes.

Well, I finally have managed to get a PW Romance Webcast off the ground. In the past, PW has done every other genre and even webcasts on Faith and Yarn that were highly successful. 

The time has come for everyone to help support the romance genre. I really need everybody to sign up for the webcast (Sept. 17th Noon EST). Signing up does not obligate you to listen to the webcast. You can either listen live or later on iTunes if you'd like. It is absolutely free and listeners have a chance to win giveaways (because Romance is best at that!).

As you all know, everything is a numbers game, so we need the numbers. Here's the link: http://bit.ly/13M3XeT

Please help me show everyone why romance is number one by registering for webcast and feel free to forward this email. It's kind of like an election. Every single registration counts.
Thanks so much for your support over the years and please let me know if you have any questions.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Written on the wind

Temperature: a sunny 20/68 degrees

Eating: trying to perfect the art of smushi, aprés le Royal Café of Copenhagen

Drinking: hmm, what's the perfect smushi companion? Aquavit? Hate it. Beer? This ain't your average smørrebrød. I'm going with C, champagne. There's a champagne for every food and occasion. Yes. I have smushi and champagne for lunch all the time. Not. Just messing around making a mess in the kitchen planning a tasty weekend treat. Shh. It's a surprise.

Watching: in the mood for something massive, dramatic, melodramatic, painting-with-picturish. Luhrmann or Malick. Sirk?

Listening: like I said, in the mood for something massive, dramatic, melodramatic, wall-of-soundesque. 30 Seconds to Mars? “Honest to God, I will break your heart / Tear you to pieces and rip you apart.”  
And dancing to Jessie J! It's all in the hips, sweetie darlings. Press yours to mine, look me in the eye, lemme take the lead, and let go. “If this is a dream, won't open my eyes / Am I asleep? No, I'm alive.”

Reading: something so good, it almost made me stop writing. You know, “This is it. Nothing to add, nothing to subtract. This is perfection.” (Not available in English. Sorry. Ooh, would looove to translate it. Would the mastery somehow magically rub off on me by association, do you think?)

Writing: just tossed I won't say how many Ks worth of words for obstruction of story.

Feeling: energized by the summer. No living thing thrives without warmth and light. OK, maybe some deep-sea creature. Ocean's daughters? Not so much.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Woke up with this song in my head

But what does it mean? I'm thinking Dita vs. I. I'm thinking maybe I feel too much and think too little and that maybe if I thought more and felt less I'd feel much better.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In the eye of the storm

Temperature: a gusty 15/59 degrees

Eating: berries from the garden. Such a dry summer it ain't much of a crop. Sure, it's raining now.

Drinking: more coffee in a minute, that thunder and lightning kept me up half the night!

Watching: Before Midnight, ASAP

Listening: to Concha Buika

Reading: Sarah McCarry's All Our Pretty Songs as soon as my copy arrives

Writing: something I hope will make a difference

Feeling: raw about leaves fallen off the family tree. Still. Always?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Another year

Temperature: a sunny and rainy 20/68 degrees

Eating: a death by chocolate kind of ice-cream

Drinking: some coffee in a minute

Watching: over the kids as they run in, "It's raining!", and right back out, "It stopped raining!"

Listening: to The Black Keys' El Camino

Reading: through my favorite Latam recipes

Writing: a menu for my birthday next Friday, a Friday!, now doesn't that just beg and bleed for a party?

Feeling: like the ringmaster of a three-ring circus. That's summer for ya. Or me, to be precise.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The war of the words

Temperature: 12.5/54.5

Eating: at some point, sure

Drinking: Why do you keep asking that? I do not have a drinking problem. I have no problem whatsoever having a drink on occasion.

Watching: Rock the Ballet later today!!

Reading: Graeme Thomson: Under the Ivy: The Life and Music of Kate Bush

Writing: I can't tell you. I'm sorry. (But I miss you. More than I thought I would.)

Feeling: professional pride

Monday, April 22, 2013

This is an occasion for genuinely tiny balbriggans

More proof of global warming, Earth Day edition.

Exhibit number 1. Summer of 1908.

Exhibit number 2. Summer of 2013.

I rest my knickers.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Temperature: 5/41 degrees, on the fifteenth of frickin' April

Eating: lost my appetite, my will to live! see above (just kidding)

Drinking: might as well get juiced; see above (didn't mean that either)

Watching: Searching for Sugar Man (If you only watch one documentary this year...)

Listening: to Tortured Soul by Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators

Reading: Joshua Foer's Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Writing: a thank you note

Feeling: uplifted

Monday, April 1, 2013


We regret to inform you that Dita can't come to the blog right now. She is on a Super Secret Mission to... It's not very secret if we tell you what it is, is it now?

Don't hold your breath, this may take a moment. For proof of life, subscribe to the RSS feed (below the blog's header), or contact Dita via ms dot ditaparker at gmail dot com.

In the meantime

With a comma, not a full stop, and with love, always,

Your knight in dented armor,


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Advice for the smutty at heart

It's Dita day again at 69 Shades, my last. So I don't have a backlist from here to the moon. It doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention. This much I know.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you're going,
And the insight to know when you're going too far.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Ides of March

Temperature: an unseasonable -15/5 degrees; this ain't funny

Eating: all done

Drinking: coffee to wake up, tea to keep warm

Watching: some northern lights later today, mehopes

Listening: to Biffy Clyro

Reading: Rolf Dobelli's The Art of Thinking Clearly

Writing: all manner of stuff

Feeling: a wee bit weary

Friday, March 8, 2013

Let's hear it for the girls

A girl passed me by the other day, her coat open. It wasn't that warm but at least it had stopped raining, and standing in the sun you could bask in the illusion of spring warmth. She was about fifteen. She could have been seventeen. I'm not sure. So much eye shadow. Even more mascara. I remember myself at that approximate age, putting on extra years by applying too much makeup.

She was young. She was lovely. And she was stacked. Her breasts were oozing out of a v-neck top one size too small, a top that revealed more cleavage than it concealed. They were beautiful breasts, no two ways about it. They were also so prominently on display I couldn't help but notice. Or stare, just for a second or two, before I jerked my eyes back to her face. She looked quite lost in thought, not at all conscious of my ogling. Or maybe it was the confidence of youth, the one that alternates with deep uncertainty.

I had the sudden urge to stop her and ask her what she wanted to say with that chest so...out there. That she thought her breasts were beautiful? That she hoped others noticed exactly how beautiful? Or maybe that her coat was too warm for such a lovely day so she had opened it and the top was what she happened to be wearing? Does it matter? Since I've been obsessing over that sight for days now, wondering why it plagues me so, maybe it does. Since today we celebrate International Women's Day, I say it does.

A part of me wanted to compliment that girl. You got it? Flaunt it! The other part, the maternal, protective part, wanted to walk up to her and zip her up, tell her she didn't have to do that to feel good about herself, or beautiful. Because I sometimes feel that all we've accomplished is the right to take our clothes off when and where we please. And that maybe we shouldn't, you know, not everywhere and all the time, as if the only woman worth listening to and noticing and taking seriously is a half-naked one and that's no way to represent, not until we are free of misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

But the only way I know of getting there is acting as if we already were. Maybe she had arrived. It's just that she may have meant that sexy semaphore for someone in particular, or only herself, but she was flashing all the world while at it. Then again, you can't control how your messages are received and you're not responsible for the reactions they invoke. It's our responsibility to keep our hands and thoughts to ourselves, not assume what someone does is for our pleasure, that it's a mating call, anything at all besides, for example, a pair of very nice breasts. Luckily, not all men have to be reminded of that. Unfortunately, the most obstinate ogres will never get it. But we are free to set them straight. We are free. (Ladies, please exercise that freedom, even when it begs the question why are we forced into these situations time and time again in the first place.)

But never forget it wasn't always so and that for too many women in this world, it still isn't. For centuries, women's bodies have been a battleground. For cultural reasons. Religious. Historical. Socioeconomical. Political. Personal. You name it, they have had their say, even if no woman asked for their opinion. Our bodies come with baggage, baggage a girl has no concept of when she's born. As she grows, the contents of that bag are gradually revealed. In looks, comments, touches. Some welcome and well-meaning, some unwanted and unjust.

On a global scale, Western women in general and Scandinavian women in particular are men, equal in rights and responsibilities and in no danger of being arrested, jailed, tortured or killed for being women. (Not by our governments, at least.) But are we free to define what and who we are, free of the baggage, free of the interpretations and beliefs and definitions, caricatures, stereotypes, simplifications, competing with our own, a woman first, everything else we are second? Anyone else feel we are called to task for them, slapped in the face with them every time we open our mouths? Or our coats?

I don't know a single woman who hasn't been sexually harassed at some point, verbally or physically. You never forget your first one. I had just turned fourteen. He was pushing forty. I was helping out my aunt over the summer holidays. He worked in the same building, an office close to hers. It started quite innocently in the break room, hello and what you're eating or reading there. I thought nothing of it. I certainly didn't think that politely answering his questions would lead to the day when he would bluntly tell me what he had dreamed of doing to me for weeks, and if I was even a bit curious or interested, he would pay me for the privilege.

I should have gone to my aunt that very instant. Called my parents. Called his wife. Told him off. He's long dead but he lives in my head, an animal disguised as Average Joe, a predator I never talked to or glanced at again but who surfaces on occasion. I must have done something, said something, to make him say and think such things. That's how he made made me feel. That's how he made it sound. That's what he said, that I had reeled him in, become his sweet summer dream one day and word and gaze at a time. And here I thought I was merely going about my day, living and breathing, having a snack and trying to be courteous.

Of course it didn't matter what I said or did or didn't. Apparently my mere existence was a provocation. I was somehow responsible for his actions, reactions and impulses. How's that for twisted logic? That is still the logic and responsibility thrust upon women and girls day in day out all over the world. I don't know how else to fight it except to refuse it, time and time again, by being and doing what I want and saying to those who stare or snarl or snap that you don't own me and you can't talk to me like that and that you don't get to boss me around, my body and my mind and my choices are exactly that, mine and mine alone. Act and talk like you do with an unruly child who has to be told a hundred times what goes and what doesn't, a thousand times, before it starts to seep in and have some effect.

It's a tiresome task that takes guts and constant alertness when you'd rather not represent every woman or girl on the planet, when you'd rather just go about your business thinking let them shout or stare, fuck you very much, see if I care. It's a tedious task but you gotta do it, you just have to because if you don't stand up and talk back talk back talk back nothing's ever going to change and you can't stand the thought that nothing's ever going to change, for anyone, and you contributed to that, and that that animal had no right,
you were just a kid, but you're all grown up now and never again. Not you. Not anyone.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Expatriate games

Temperature: A sunny I don't care what degrees because the sun!

Eating: Just had lunch, thanks.

Drinking: Hmm, no.

Watching: Fry's Planet Word.

Listening: It's Black Tie Rave day (not that I'm going, but if I left now would I make it?) so what do you think?

Reading: About a very tempting offer. Those bastards. Just when you think you're out...they try to pull you back in.

Writing: Blog posts on the F word for March 8, a Very Important date if you're lady. Or a gentleman. Or a human being.

Feeling: A desperate need for light and the outdoors. Hurry, spring!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

And the nominees are

It's Dita day again at 69 Shades where I'm talking movies; the hot, the pass-the-fan, the oh-wow. So what's your all-time favorite?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013


I feel a sense of rebirth every time I travel. It starts the moment I leave home because I know the person that steps through that door...I never see them again. I come home transformed, sometimes in some minor way, sometimes in major ways, and that metamorphosis is not dependant on either the destination or the length of the journey. Neither do you know in advance what will touch you, move you, shock you, disturb you, and what will leave you cold.

That's the beauty, the horror and excitement of travel. If you do it with all your senses engaged and open, and all your electronic devices closed (OK, take a picture if you must, but remember: by the time the camera is out, the moment is usually gone, wasted), something always happens to derail the way in which you view the world, think about it. And yourself.

I rarely travel alone these days, but even with friends and/or family in tow, I always try to find a moment all to myself, go where I've never gone before, see something I've never set eyes on. It's a moment of zero reason and logic and total concentration and connection. All emotion, all sensation. Animal existence. Often fleeting, flashing, but I find there's something terribly healthy and healing in those moments. It's a chance to reboot. (I hate these computer terms, but in lack of a better term to explain the inexplicable...)

What you're seeing is of course totally indifferent to you. It demands nothing, asks for nothing, expects nothing. In that moment, you see exactly how tiny a place you occupy on this planet and how big an influence and importance you grant things that are of no consequence. Human pursuits seem mad, our aspirations moving, our fears ludicrous, and much of what is going on absurd. And your life...

You know the person who walks through your door upon return will feel strange. Strange because of what they brought home. Strange because of things they left behind. Some without thought. Some on purpose. This person who now occupies your house starts a string of interrogations. They question everything. Your thoughts. Your actions. Goals. Aspirations. Is this who you are? Is this what you commit yourself to? Is this what you want? Are these your thoughts and choices? Still?

Some things in this life bulldoze you with their implications and consequences. And then there are moments like the sting of a bee. More may be revealed to you in such a moment than you might find in a decade of determined search. What you do with that vision...now that's an altogether different journey.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And I think to myself

...what a wonderful world.

Sunset over Cape Pakarang, Thailand

Saturday, January 19, 2013

That was the week that was

Sweetie daaarlings, what have you been up to these past two weeks? I've been trying to manage four week's worth of work in fourteen days. And in the middle of all that, I've managed to write, creatively, fiction, can you believe it? I guess when you start running on a certain gear, anything is possible, but you run out of steam eventually so the trip we're taking comes not a moment too soon. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you're only a day a-waayy...

My shrapnel-shredded feet healed fast, so I've even been able to exercise almost as usual and am contemplating some sort of workstation revolution. All this sitting, it's getting harder and harder to bear. I don't know why. What I do know is I gotta solve it and soon. Winter returned, which is nice after that dreadful weather we had around New Year's. But I'd be lying if I told you I'm not violently happy to be taking off the skis and skates and stepping into some flip-flops. The sun'll come out tomorrow...

What else? Oh... To any extended family members reading: TMI alert. So. Why is it that what you'd rather post on FB/Twitter is the last thing you can? Because people would go, "I knew it! Nymphos. Each and every one of them." No. Hedonists. At least I am. But I got nothing on dearest, hottest Hubby. He's cooked and run errands, more so than usual, and he knows all work and no play makes me berserk. So one day, Inspector Gadget, conspirator and inspirator and provocateur extraordinaire, surprised me with some toys of my trade I don't remember mentioning or eyeing while roaming selected stores with him. Let's just say it was a massage with a happy ending and leave it at that. What?
I'll grant you those toys are not always worth the money spent but some are, and fun too, and fun is good. Besides, you gotta know what you write. Or was it write what you know? I forget.

What else? If you're in NYC and not doing anything on February 28, (no, that doesn't sound right, if you're in NY and not doing anything, check your pulse to see if you still got one) The Swedish House Mafia would like to invite you to their Black Tie Rave. (Band and crew will work for free and all profits raised will go directly to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Black tie/ballgowns, only. Auction 2 coming soon!) Exceeded my rave limit back in the day, but if you could cover for me, I'd be forever in your debt. No, I'm not giving you a massage with a happy ending, but surely we can think of something else you'd enjoy. 

What else? The awesome contest we have going on 69 Shades is still running so run along and take part if you haven't already! And tell a friend! Tell two!! Don't make me look bad now. Spread the word!!!

I will see you in February then, dearest denizens. And if for some reason you never hear from me again (such is life, you never know, you know, it's tsunami coast and all), behave or I will haunt your ass. No massage with a happy ending for you, my friend. A massage with a medieval ending. Think about that while I'm gone, and be good. Willingly good. Except when you're being naughty. But even then you gotta treat 'em right or I'm coming after you and you don't want that. Are we clear on this? I said, are we clear on this? G o o d. As you were. Or as you wish things would be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

105 years of de Beauvoir

“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.”
~Simone de Beauvoir

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

As the days go by

It's Dita day again at 69 Shades, where I'm doing my best to compensate for the lack of inspiring start-of-year content here at the den. My post is about time, why it seems to go faster and faster as the years gather, and how you can try to slow it down a notch. Swing by, but not before you read the following:

Don't forget to follow the blog, especially now that we have a contest dipped in awesome sauce running through January 31. Check it out!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Bohemian rhapsody

Happy 2013, dearest denizens! I racked my brain trying to come up with a super inspirational new-age-can-eat-poo-this-is-the-shit post to ring in the new year, but I drew a blank, a total carte blanche you should actually fill because I have no idea what sort of end-of-year reviews you did or what hopes you have for the next twelve months. Do share, if you dare! If there's anything I can do for you this year, on the blog/elsewhere/otherwise, let me know. Always glad to be of service.

"How about you stop blabbering and go write a book, a bit faster than you have done, if it's all the same to you." I hear you, sweetie darlings, or maybe it's just that voice in my head, echoes from the writer's wishing well. I do have a plan for this year and a plan to implement said plan but let's save you from disappointment and moi from embarrassment and celebrate completion of aforementioned plan if and when it's a done deal, shall we, because I have nothing to show for it yet besides two incomplete manuscripts I'm not ready to show to anyone at this stage. Gang aft agley, don't they, best-laid plans.

In English, please! Yeah yeah yeah. I count myself fortunate, being able to switch languages when one culture or continent starts bugging me. That is my forte, absolutely, and it's my weakness, no doubt about it, because that's what I often do when FTS is how I feel. (In case you've ever wondered where I've gone for varying amounts of time. In case you're wondering what would ever make me feel FTS, well, that's a post for another time, a post about a disturbance in the force if you will, in the esprit de corps of the writing community. Don't tell me you haven't noticed. There's an elephant in the room, neon orange and playing the trombone. No? OK.)

It's strange but rather convenient how little these lives and roles intersect, but I think I'd be wackier than I already am if they did. Then again, writers are masters at keeping count of and marshaling copious amounts of personas, usually fictional, of course, but sometimes very real, as well, those writing under multiple pen names, for instance. But how do they do it? All that comes with the territory these days, social media and such, how do they juggle it? I don't have to worry about getting lost in transition, only in translation, because language barriers are mighty borders indeed, globalization or no globalization. Still, what you see is what you get. So what can I get you in 2013?

"Another book would be nice." I'm on it. I am! At it, as soon as I press Publish, promise!! Sorry I'm not faster. So much to do in one lifetime. So much to do in the next two weeks and then we're off for a vacation we've been planning and saving for for a long time. Not a bad way to start the year, going on an adventure. Rest assured it's not all R&R. A writer's brain never vacations. It's always hunting and gathering; sights, scents and sounds, tastes and textures. I hope to come home with a treasure trunk oozing with inspiration.

And I'm feeling much better, thanks for...not asking, and I think I asked you not to, didn't I? It's just that when you suffer from a mild case of Superwoman syndrome, you start thinking that nothing short of a deadly disease is at work. But what did I do just yesterday afternoon? Got dinner started by dropping a glass lid, which naturally shattered at my bare feet. I got two minor cuts and one that's really nasty but nothing a Steri-strip won't fix. No exercising with these feet for a while, though, and just when I had a really nice indoor rowing routine going. Oh well. Another scar for the Parker Collection. What this poor skin of mine has had to endure.

My apologies for such a rambling post. The start of the year always means list-making and organizing and sorting aplenty and right now the creative side of my brain is screaming to be let loose. But I think it was E-P Salonen who said that you achieve nothing without self-discipline, even if you are a Bohemian. So. I second Jack Rebney, Winnebago Man: "I don't want any more bullshit anytime during the day, from anyone. That includes me!"

Let's get cracking with this new year of ours, shall we? Have a most prosperous, productive and proactive one, sweetie darlings. Even if you are bred-in-the-bone Bohemians.