Telling True Lies

canstockphoto13593413I’ve been stuck for a long time, re-writing bits and pieces of my novel. It’s the windmill at which I’m constantly running. I’ve come to question whether I have enough skill or ambition to be a writer.

When I read about other writers, I learn that they’ve been writing since they had enough manual dexterity to hold a writing utensil. Testimonials in this writing culture always say “I have to write”. I’ve written similar things. Earlier this week I wrote that I get a little more odd when I don’t write for awhile. I get so hopped up on words that they saturate everyone around me and putting them on paper provides some relief.

I’ve been telling myself that I’m a writer for several years now, but it’s a lie. I write – sporadically, in fits and spurts. I have a rough draft of a first novel that hasn’t engaged me. I set goals only to stroll leisurely by as they die from neglect. But then I write a blog post and it’s like lancing a boil. I feel a sense of relief – I can tell myself once again that I am a writer.

This last week, I had a come-to-Jesus talk with myself. I looked at the truths that I’d been avoiding. I have a little talent. I have very little ambition. My ambition for writing has been the same as for anything else I’ve done in my life. I am the jack of many trades and master of absolutely nothing. I’ve never taken anything all the way.

canstockphoto21574383For all the whinging on I’ve done over the years about balance and writing and family, the fact is, my life is about as balanced now as it will ever get. I love my family, I have friends, I’m not in a tight spot financially, I’m relatively healthy – ambition just seems like a huge expenditure of energy that would only take away from what is, it seems to me, a pretty damned good life. So why this repeated banging of my head against the wall? My ego desires that which my ambition ill-reflects.

I was comforted by reading The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine, because like many of her clients, my interests have been short-lived and intense, then I’m onto the next thing. I have a passion for knowledge, but not for the pursuit of excellence. There is no limit to the number of subjects that interest me and every time I tell myself I’ll follow through to some expertise, I find something else. My cognitive bias is at work – rationalizing all these incomplete endings by an ever-hungry pursuit of knowledge.

As you get older, you see the themes and patterns emerge over the course of your lifetime. In my twenties, I believed that people can change – that they can will themselves beyond their nature. In my forties, this seems like dubious optimism at best and willful ignorance at worst. If I stripped away all the layers, learned skills, coping mechanisms, the bravado and brass, all the mannerisms and quirks, I am the same as I ever was.

As a child, I learned to lie with alacrity. Hungry for approval, fearing what were sometimes dire consequences for minor misbehavior, I could look you in the eye and lie my ass off without a twitch. I’d get mad if you didn’t believe me. When I was six, I was on the playground with a classmate. We were goofing around and I fell down and ripped my tights. My family was poor and I drove my mother into rages with the pairs of lost gloves, lost lunch money, stained and ripped clothes and misplaced anything.

canstockphoto23479633I convinced my friend to walk home with me, leading an unknowing lamb to the slaughter. My mother opened the door to us and immediately saw the shredded tights. I knew what was coming. With a quivering lip and tears in my eyes, I blubbered, “Scottie pushed me down on the playground.” She angrily told him to go home. The lie did not work. But that is the first time I remember feeling guilty for lying.

There were lies of survival and then there were the weird lies. In eighth grade, I once told a new friend that our family used to own a baby grand piano. Since my family had just moved from an apartment above a tavern, to the floor above a dilapidated gas station, I’m not sure why anyone would believe that or why I was compelled to lie about musical instrument ownership.

During my daddy issue phase of dating, I dated a jealous drinker. This was funny (eventually), since I fail at small talk and flirting and really, I just don’t inspire that much passion in other humans. But drunks will be irrational, accusatory bastards at times and so I lied some more. My number of past boyfriends grew incrementally smaller until my hymen almost completely grew back.

The older I got, lying became more difficult, especially as it grew unnecessary. I had healthier relationships and more self-confidence. Fear was no longer a factor, nor was the need to impress anybody a priority. Lying became insulation, little pretensions to keep me sound.

I’d lie to get out of social commitments, saying I had to work when all I wanted to work at was remaining un-showered while curling up with an Agatha Christie novel and slurping rainbow sherbet. In my current life, my tribe knows me. I can say “I’m feeling very surly and introspective, so I’ll have to pass” and it’s an easy, honest moment. And it has made it easier for me to say “yes” at other times.

These days, the polite lies get a pass for guilt. There’s no point in hurting someone’s feelings unless they’re asking you to help them with a move or whether or not they should marry the guy that “borrowed” their life savings to start a head shop. The lies that seem less excusable are the ones that I’ve been telling myself. If I keep lying to myself, nothing will ever change. And something inside me has to give.

canstockphoto10829751I’ve been out walking in the woods this week. Some days, I think that if I just keep walking, the pretensions would slide off of me, all the raw neediness would be exposed, and I’d see whatever truth it is that I am supposed to see. Meditation in motion.

The truth is, the universe doesn’t give a shit whether I write or not. I imagine that the universe would prefer that some of us would just shut up – it’s a noisy planet. The truth is, I won’t die if I don’t write and I don’t owe talent or ego anything.

The truth is, I just can’t seem to let it go, this idea of writing, this idea of actually being something. And this novel – the truth is that it’s awful because I’ve been trying to be a real writer and I’m not one. But I’ve always been a bit of a liar and sometimes liars who don’t lie anymore are really good at telling stories.

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Top 1,216 Reasons I Need to Write and Then Came Spring

canstockphoto1910165Dragging myself to the keyboard has been nearly impossible since spring began moving in a few days ago. Winter, saturated with gray, undramatic weather and brittle temperatures, is finally in its death throes. I began to clear garden beds, a delightful task of discovery. Tulips and crocuses have made their way up. The lilacs and cherry tree are tipped with buds. Strawberries are tentatively putting out their runners.

This need to revel in open windows and sunlight and the sound of the earth coming back to life makes it hard to sit still. But writing demands it and I start getting odd if I don’t write for awhile. My eccentricities, which under normal circumstances might be cute or mildly irritating, get amplified until one day I realize that I’ve been singing Henry the Eighth I am at the top of my lungs and there are people walking their dogs on the street, glancing at my house and walking a little faster. Boo Radley with overtones of Crazy Lady avec Cats and/or Shotgun.

Writing is a grounding force in my life. It puts order to things, calming me like no amount of meditation ever has. For all my awareness of mental health issues, I recognize spring as a special kind of mania, especially in Minnesota. But there are some indicators that I might need to settle down and do some serious writing:

  • I make up click bait titles.
  • I write comments on people’s blogs that are longer than their actual post.
  • I wake up and Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” is playing in my head. I’m pretty sure that signals some sort of cognitive impairment.
  • I irritate my daughter by finding all the words that rhyme with her name and then sing limericks all morning long.
  • I have long conversations with my cats who, in their stoicism, make me feel inferior.
  • I spend an hour searching the internet for a bird sound, so that I can identify the birds that have been yakking outside my window since 3am. Damn you, black-capped chickadees.
  • I sharpen and oil my garden tools while alternately humming the movie themes to “Jaws” and “Psycho”.
  • I cut up 50 pounds of produce for “snacks” and then microwave a burrito.
  • I yell at the microwave to shut its pie hole, as it beeps to let me know my burrito is done.
  • While practicing back kicks in the kitchen, I accidentally put a dent in the refrigerator.
  • Dancing becomes erratic and unprovoked. I start reciting Ren’s monologue from Footloose. Leaping and dancing, my friends, leaping and dancing.

Spring is when nature starts firing on all its cylinders, but I fear as my synapses snap and crackle, there may be a few shorts in the circuitry. I’d like to believe writing is a big roll of electrical tape. Obviously my metaphors could use some work. I should write, but the black-capped chickadees are calling and Paula needs a backup dancer. I hope she approves of leaping as well.

Wishing you a happy Monday!canstockphoto3890075

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Real Imaginary Friends: Life and Death in Cyberspace

I sat back in my chair, stunned. Ruth passed away from cancer. It was a simple statement at the bottom of a comment section of her last post. Ruth and I had been writing buddies for NaNoWriMo in 2012. We exchanged comments on her blog or mine for the last few years and I kept up on her entries dealing with cancer treatment. I feel terribly sad that her voice, which was so distinctive, sometimes sharp, sometimes funny, will no longer be heard. I never met her, but she was my friend.

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Last month, I met another blogger friend for coffee. I had to laugh when she said “You’re much nicer than you seem on your blog.” Distance. The distance between who we write ourselves as and who we are. If we do it right, that little first skip from cyberspace to reality is a short one. We’re able to shake off preconceptions and get on with the business of getting to know one another. If we obfuscate and seek to deceive, it becomes a terrible blind date where we take a circuitous route home to avoid being followed.

I’ve been fortunate in my cyberlife. I’ve met friends who love to read and write as much as I do, who encourage me when I’m really slogging through things. When I moved to Minneapolis years ago, leaving behind a stale job and relationship, I placed an ad with Yahoo online personals (a precursor to the current menagerie of dating websites), because I was too old for bar scenes and too introverted for networking events. I exchanged messages with a man who responded to the ad. After I scouted his address, ran his plates and notified all of my friends about who I was with and where we were going, we went on a date. Eventually, I married him. That’s how introverts do it, yo.

When I read comments on various forums, I am often amazed at how willingly people reveal themselves to be racist, misogynist, homicidal shitheads. They think that cyberspace is actual space between what they say and who they are, some sort of magical buffer zone. Whoever they are online, it’s never diametrically opposed to who they actually are offline. They just take pains to hide it better.

Alarms have only gone off a few times in my online dealings. I tried to buy some old computer hardware from Craigslist. The equipment was good, but the seller was creepy, even in a public space. I decided to go nowhere near the trunk of his car, lest I become an unwilling passenger. And I tried to remember exactly where his kidneys were located, should I need to incapacitate him in a pinch. Instead, I had to get his phone calls blocked, which was likely a bigger hassle than a kidney punch.

I’ve never viewed the internet as a place where I lived some other life. My online persona is merely an extension of me, one that at times is more nuanced or strident or intellectual or silly than what everyday life allows. The gap between online and offline is a puddle jump. People who know me are rarely surprised by what I write here and thus far, the people who meet me after connecting online rarely run away screaming.

When I talk to people who don’t use the internet socially, it feels like I’m talking about imaginary friends. They “uh-huh” and nod and feel slightly superior for their numerous fleshy friends. I could hardly explain why I would cry about a lady I’ve never met or why I feel a void where her voice once was. It would seem to them like crying over the demise of a fictional character.

But she was real, so let me tell you about my friend, Ruth. Better yet, I’ll let her speak for herself, through her comments:

I don’t believe happiness can be ‘caught’ but is often ‘stumbled upon’ unexpectedly. I think we have to be open to those moments when they catch us unawares. Happiness to me is having nothing to do except write, or go on a ‘photo safari’ with my partner. Even then, I’m not sure if that is happiness or contentment. I am perfectly happy to be content most of the time with some giddy moments of happiness thrown in to mix it up a little.

******

Success and failure are constructs we make. If you think you’ll succeed or you think you’ll fail, you’re right. Failure isn’t in my vocabulary any more. But that depends on how you define failure – if it means not living up to someone else’s definition of success then it isn’t a failure. And if you do fall short of your own expectations, but keep trying, then that isn’t a failure, either. And I never, ever, think of myself (or anyone else) as average – there’s no such thing. We are each unique with our own set of talents and quirks, and that’s what makes us special, not average.

******

I don’t know about ‘fitting in’, but I’ve always marched to my own drummer, even in high school in the early 60s when I was taking science classes and most of the other girls were taking language and arts. I’m sure there are some demographics I fit into, but the more you drill down from the broad categories of age, gender, occupation, the more people become unique to themselves.

******

And that’s what love is – a journey together into the unknown.

******

I think there comes a point in our lives when we realize our mortality. That’s the point when we ask ourselves if this is all there is. We either get depressed and accept that life is over for us, or we get off our butts and realize we still have a lot of living to do. I read somewhere that happiness is the journey, not the destination, and that we are so often too busy pursuing what we think is happiness to realize it’s right here with us.

I have learned that nothing is certain in this life and I have also learned that it’s up to me what I do with my time here. I choose to live as long as I am physically able, and to enjoy whatever time I have left. None of us know how long we have; we don’t know our expiration date.

******

Ruth Rainwater was here. And she was my friend.

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Brain Blurts on the Treadmill

One of my favorite workout songs is the Foo Fighters “Walk”. It’s a nice warmup piece, starting with motivational lines like Getting good at starting over... and I believe I’ve waited long enough…

What I like most about this song is that it makes me laugh every single time I hear it. It’s the singer’s crescendo to a primal yell of “I never want to die!” that does it. When I’m running on a treadmill at the Y, sweating along with a young, old, multi-gendered, multiracial, differing needs crowd, it seems like a great equalizer.

That’s why we’re all here, in this odd, smelly place littered with medieval/bondage equipment, right? Fitness, strength, weight, appearance, functionality, it doesn’t matter the reason, because when you strip everything down to the primal basics: We don’t want to die.

Except for the lady next to me, because if she keeps talking about her gall bladder surgery to every passerby, so loudly that even blasting Foo Fighters doesn’t block her voice, I’m going to sidekick her into a pile of elliptical machines.

Have a happy Wednesday!

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Tea and Toast: Stories at Breakfast

Writing prompts have never appealed to me for a couple of reasons. There is the Rule of Obstinacy that guides most of my life. Suggest something to me? You’re not the boss of me. Join a group, a trend, a club? To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would take me. Recommend something to me? What are your supporting sources? I need to do the research.

canstockphoto17725260The second reason that writing prompts don’t appeal, is that I cannot eat a simple breakfast without my mind falling over itself with ideas and thoughts. I so often start conversations with people, “I was just thinking about…”, which is to say, I spend a lot of time inside my head. I get up at 4am every morning, so that I can sit in solitude and silence for a few hours. I read or write, eat breakfast or have some weird-ass epiphany.

This morning was no different. I woke up at 3:42am with a cat sitting on my chest, purring its sycophantic feed-me purr. I had a post ready to put up on this blog, but I didn’t like where I ended it, so it stays in the draft pile. I wonder if I’ll post anything at all. No worries, time for breakfast.

The first order of any day is to put on the kettle. We have a lovely ceramic electric kettle. Tea has been a part of my life since I was born. It was the cure-all for whatever ails thee and the only proper way to begin, well, anything. Nothing happened until the tea was made. Visitors could not talk, Christmas presents could not be opened, phone calls could not commence.

My family came to the United States from England in 1953 on the last White Star liner built, the MV Georgic. They arrived rumpled and tired at Ellis Island, and made their way to Savannah, Georgia. They lived there for a year with a disagreeable relative before taking a train to San Francisco. Eventually, my mother, reluctant father, and I moved to the midwest, where I have lived most of my life. This is all to say, that much of what was British was left in a trail all over the country, with the exception of tea and accents and a certain reticence about…everything.

The tea is not a fancy one. In my cupboard, there is almond, chai, green, white, jasmine and a lot of made up flavored teas. I’ve tried them all, but my regular cup is black pekoe with sugar and soy milk. The soy milk is a nod to my newly acquired veganism, but I expect with all the soy I’ve been consuming, that I’ll be growing a third breast any day now. Moo.

The mention of veganism is an awkward segue to the other part of my breakfast, toast. I baked the bread yesterday, after making vegan adaptations to the recipe. I use the oven, don’t have a dough mixer and the recipe has no weird ingredients. This means I’ll be finding flour in the kitchen for weeks to come. It takes 3-4 hours to make this bread, which allows several hours of proofing the dough, pounding it down again and letting it rise. And if you can’t see the analogy to writing in that, there’s no helping you.

canstockphoto18405495I once worked in a bakery at a grocery store. I’d arrive at 5am, mix dough for doughnuts and plop those little rings into the fryer. I didn’t last in that job long. I was still wearing the Hi My Name is Michelle. I’m New, but I’m Exceptional nametag when I quit. I now have a lifelong doughnut and nametag revulsion. The doughnut’s history is disputed, but it is thought that olykoeks, meaning oily cakes, were brought over by the Dutch settlers. I went to Amsterdam once and got food poisoning (not from doughnuts), but no pot. It was a disappointing trip. Except for the tulips. They were pretty.

canstockphoto6826957Which reminds me that I have to get some fencing up around the still dormant flower beds. The rabbits go to town on the tulips, spitefully biting off full blooms mid-stem and leaving them on the ground. They don’t even like to eat them, the little nobs. Still, every year, I plant in excess to make sure that after all the animals get done with our open buffet, we get a damned salad out of it. This year, our full ecosystem is in swing. The rabbits, mice, voles and chipmunks have brought in owls, hawks and last year, a red fox. Population control is cruel, but innate.

Well, breakfast is done. Now I have to do some offline laundry. Which reminds me of a story…

Look at what this artist did with a simple idea. Have a lovely Sunday!

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Parting with Pretension: Writing What You Write

canstockphoto5194069I’ve been stuck for months trying to rewrite my first novel. As a skilled organizational artisan, I’ve created the storyboard,  character sketches, and timelines. I’ve scheduled writing time, forced myself to write every day and each time I sit down and write, it feels torturous and miserable, every chapter a chop shop of hijacked words.

I’ve spent too much time lately reading books by lauded authors, writers who have been hailed as literary greats – writers who other writers spend their lives imitating. My own writing became more and more strangled, as I leveled world class academic criticism at it. Everything was shit and sitting down to create more of it became a moribund exercise in self-flagellation.

After working through yet another book that had collected dust in the halls of literary greatness, I sat in silence. This anger that kept erupting inside of me was the result of my own inferiority – this need I could not name. I wanted something that I could not have, that I could not want and still continue to write. I didn’t want to be called a hack. I imagined reviews that mentioned my simplistic prose and unsophisticated ramblings. I didn’t want to be unmasked for the pop storyteller that I truly am. I did not want to be naked in my ignorance, in my lack of creative invention, in my sheer earnestness.

canstockphoto20549017I’ve always believed that in order to be better at anything, I needed to look towards those who are the best in their fields. I needed to read material above my intellect, wrangle with prose until I understood what the author was trying to say, slog through story lines that were miserable and depressing. It finally hit me, I don’t enjoy the books that I’ve been reading. I don’t want to write miserable navel-gazing buckets of guts. I don’t want someone to get to the end of my novel and realize that they need a drink, a rope and a chair. I don’t want someone to read my novel and say “What the hell? I just read 600 pages and nothing happened.”

I wanted so desperately to be something I am not and the words, which I poured out onto the pages were these disappointing, rather stupid children. Why would I expect to write that which I found little joy in reading? Why would I want to imitate authors who I found pedantic and arrogant, writing post-modern, avante garde, experimental bullshit that was more irritating than enlightening. I understand subjectivity, but I was in denial that I am the masses. I am a sheep. I am a pedestrian proletariat with a touch of vulgarity and a smidge of mediocrity. I am all the things that people get called when they just don’t get it.

canstockphoto12772484I like to look at paintings of landscapes, not melting vaginas in the desert. I like music that I can sing to and orchestral pieces that are harmonic. I like a damned good story in language that flows. It doesn’t need to sweat me or make me travel through every minutiae of a character’s day. I don’t need to re-read passages ten times trying to figure out who the hell the dialogue is attributed to and why it’s suddenly daylight.

This is a particular cruelty of self-awareness. You know what you don’t know. You know what you can’t do. You know what you aren’t. Perhaps it was my working class upbringing that has made me so ridiculously sensitive about being perceived as anything less than brilliant. Which is odd, as I have never been described as brilliant. Maybe it’s that I decided to make a deliberate run at this writing thing. Maybe it’s because I’m scared to death that this thing I thought I would always be was a delusion and I’m going to fail so big that it will break me.

This is an epiphany of sorts. We all carry preconceived notions, prejudices and beliefs and as a friend of mine has reminded me “Just because we think it, doesn’t mean it’s true.” Truth has become a priority in my life. And like a true navel-gazer, truth must start with being honest with myself. And letting go of the idea of best and perfection and greatness. Those things were likely never within my reach.

I am a writer. I have stories to tell. I hope that someday, someone will read and enjoy them. The end.

Write your story. Screw literary punditry.

 P.S. Some of the great writers seem like real wankers.

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Inarticulate Hyperbole: Yes, Internet, It’s Too Soon

canstockphoto6161461I’m a fairly peaceful person, but I often write about punching people out, delivering roundhouse kicks and ramming my vehicle into other vehicles. It’s mostly in humor, but every once in a while I step back and think about the language of violence and whether it adds to the actual nature of violence in our society. I also swear a lot, which sometimes I think is funny. But again, I question if, on occasion, I use it humorously to replace actually being humorous.

This is all to say, that I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m writing and I make choices. Sometimes I stick with the funny, even if I’m very much against violence, don’t believe in calling people swear words and try very hard in real life not to hit other cars. If someone calls me on it, I accept the consequences for making a deliberate choice.

So often these days, I run across articles or posts or comments on posts where it is apparent that the writer is not thinking, but rather blurting. So I write this post for those people, who may or may not ever read it. I have to believe that they are just being spontaneous and not deliberately obtuse, because that’s one too many humans not thinking.

Grammar Nazi

I don’t know if the casual use of Nazi began with Seinfeld soup Nazi episode or with our truly dubious politicians, whose mouths run on platitudes and sound bytes. I was reading a blogger’s About page which said something to the effect, if your a grammar nazi, go away. And I did. Not because I participated in the Third Reich’s devastating destruction of millions of people. I did because if you’re bragging about being inarticulate and using unoriginal hyperbole, it is unlikely I will enjoy reading anything on that particular blog. Thanks for the warning.

KZDachau1945This phrase is problematic for me in a couple of ways. First, having read a significant amount of well-documented Holocaust stories, having visited Dachau and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, I find turning a perpetrator into a quip to be appalling.

There are a lot of phrases and words that have entered popular vernacular which are echoes of the torture and misery inflicted on  and by humans in the past. There’s a lot of distance from the events or the practices. One would have to do research to find that information. But references to the horrors of World War II, dropped into casual discourse because you don’t want to learn how to spell or punctuate or use correct tense is a problem. Do you know the history and do not care or are you imitating what everyone else says on the internet?

The second way in which this phrase irritates me is that having good grammar is treated as some sort of elitist skill. Treating good communication skills with contempt and derision speaks to a fad of anti-intellectualism that has swept across our culture and politics. I don’t freak out about typos (except my own). I do avoid reading media that is riddled with misspellings, lacks capitalization or punctuation, or leaves words in a dogpile instead of using paragraphs. Maybe e.e. cummings and Cormac McCarthy can pull it off, but I don’t read them, either. The whole point of grammar is to provide a unified system that can convey ideas to other humans. Maybe you’re writing for an extra-terrestrial crowd.

And honestly, if you know your grammar skills are shit, stop bragging about it and use the many resources available on and off line to start learning some basic rules. I’m still challenged by the many rules and continue to try and improve. In progress is forgivable. Giving up and calling the other passersby grammar Nazis only speaks to belligerence and inadequacy.

Drinking the kool aid

Troolie_cottages_in_Jonestown

Attribution: Jonestown Institute

In 1978, when I was 11 years old, we watched, with rapt attention, the coverage following the murder of Congressman Leo Ryan in Guyana. As the story unfolded, we learned about Jim Jones and the 909 people who apparently committed suicide on his command by ingesting a flavored drink laced with potassium cyanide. Hence the phrase “drinking the kool aid”, which I’ve seen repeatedly in articles, referenced in TV show dialogues and in tiresome comment forums. It has become a way of slapping down people who disagree, by suggesting that they’re not thinking for themselves. Ironic, since the use of this phrase indicates that as well.

The story behind that phrase is much more horrifying. The mass suicide was really a murder-suicide as many victims, especially infants and those who protested, received involuntary injections. Over the winter, I read A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres, who did an outstanding job of showing how ordinary people ended up on a path to their own destruction – a path that held more promise and hope than anything they’d experienced in their lives. They wanted what we all want – decent jobs, community, connections, a sense of purpose. Many of the people were marginalized in society – blacks, ex-criminals, the elderly, the young, struggling families. They died because they had hope.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

It’s quite possible I’m a humorless git who takes things too seriously. I just don’t find mass murder and suicide that quip-worthy. There are still survivors of these events alive and well on this planet – people who lost entire families to these hellish events, people who still wake up in a sweat, thinking of last words and moments and facial expressions. Maybe it’s too soon to memetically mock them.

A Few Resources:

Night by Elie Wiesel

A Concise History of the Third Reich (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism) by Wolfgang Benz

Voices of the Holocaust

Telling Their Stories: Oral History Archives Project

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown by Julia Scheeres

Q&A: A Jonestown Survivor Remembers

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