dos lunas

I would say to my pagan friends the same thing I would say to my friends of any religion: beware thinking your way is the One True Faith. There are many paths back to the Source, but judgement and rigidity are not amongst them.
I’d start calling him President Cthulhu but that’s an insult to Cthulhu.
You know, I’ve supported Nancy Pelosi all this time but mostly kept quiet because I didn’t want to fight with people, often people I liked and admired. I’m a little ashamed of that, but oh well. I knew, you see, that Pelosi is one of the canniest and most experienced politicians in Washington and I knew she was holding fire for a good reason. Last week that reason became eminently clear: she was waiting for a smoking gun. One that these cretins couldn’t wiggle out of, one that the general American public could readily understand. It may be argued that the Mueller report was a smoking gun, but even Mueller himself obfuscated and demurred so much that it wasn’t something that could be easily conveyed to the larger public. But everybody understands the kind of brutish and heavy-handed strong-arming Trump attempted with Ukraine. It was schoolyard bully stuff and illegal and immoral as hell. It’s enough to start changing minds–except for his rabid believers, of course. Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and no one would hold him responsible. What he was too stupid or arrogant to realize was that when he did give Nancy Pelosi an easy-to-hold gun of her own, she would have no hesitation in pulling the trigger. Good work, Madame Speaker. I’m sorry I didn’t defend you.
You know that overworked and ridiculous phrase in writing: “She (he) released a breath she didn’t know she was holding”? I’ve always loathed it in a work of fiction, but when the Ukraine news broke and with all the revelations that came out… I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
I used this deck quite a lot at one point in my life. Can you tell?

Fortunately, the cards don’t look as disreputable as the box. And after literally decades of using this deck, I just discovered that I had two Knights of Swords. I’m not sure what that means. I would probably have never known if they both hadn’t come up in the same reading. Reversed. And yes, I guess the day of that reading had been about being, “indiscreet, extravagant, and foolish.” I’ve been through the entire deck now and there are no other duplications and no missing cards. But I guess I’d better pay attention to that Knight, hadn’t I?
I was born in the last six hours of Virgo, just seven hours shy of the Autumn Equinox (West Coast time), so I have a hella amount of Libra in my chart. I was really feeling the effects of the new moon in Libra at the end of September. I tried to use that energy well. Balance and rectification. Throwing off the shackles of old bad habits that are holding me back.
One of the best parts of living alone is that when I’m not feeling well I can sit around and groan and not worry about driving anyone crazy with my drama queen ways.
I was watching one of those ghost shows on TV and the house owner was talking about how a ghost threw her cat across the kitchen. And there’s the cat sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with its leg up cleaning its nether regions. He seemed very unconcerned in general. She took the ghost hunters into the bedroom to talk about what happened in there and here comes the cat to sprawl on the bed. “I ain’t afraid a no ghosts.” In fact, I kind of regard cats as a reverse ghost monitor. If they are there and not concerned they ain’t no ghost there.
Every time I watch the science channel I wonder if the people who came up with the SciGo acronym realized how close it sounds to “psycho.”
When the estimable Dr. Lucy Jones, eminent geologist, says that she fears climate change more than earthquakes one should really pay attention. I saw her state just that in a recent interview.
I may have finished writing something that seemed very much like the denouement of my current novel. Only the coda left, and that’s already half written. But it’s been a couple of weeks now and I still haven’t finished it. I can’t help wondering if this resistance is a way of preventing myself from moving on. Or knowing that once I finish that coda, I’m done with this world for the foreseeable future. I can’t see writing any more Dos Lunas stories any time soon–and I’ve lived there on and off for so long (since 2000), I may be reluctant to let go.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I like having mindless tasks to do, things that most people would never have the patience for. I suspect it’s a Virgo thing.
Oh yeah, that probably explains a lot about the last few months. I forgot until just last week that I have summer SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Somehow I manage to forget that every freaking year.

Here’s what I was concerned about on March 23, 2011. I never posted this, don’t remember why now, but came across it while cleaning up my hard drive. This is still something that concerns me, still a valid question to ask myself, but my life is so much more complicated now—and my creative life so much on hold—that it has slipped down the list of worries.

I have no idea when the Dos Lunas saga will see the light of day, although a member of my “fan base” was inquiring about it last week. I use “fan base” ironically for those who don’t get the quotation marks. When I was generating a lot of these DL stories I had a dedicated band of local readers who really liked them and always asked for more. One of them contacted me Friday to find out why I hadn’t e-pubbed them. I explained that time is not my friend these days and why.

Yet I still hope to do just that one of these days.

And so, last year’s concerns:

So. I’ve got this contemporary fantasy novel that I wrote about a mythical Southern California county by the name of Dos Lunas. I’ve been writing about this place for years, a bunch of short stories, and this is the first completed novel (though I’ve started and hope to finish others). Some of the vast cast of characters who inhabit Dos Lunas are Indians from a tribe called the Kintache, a tribe as mythical as the county they inhabit. I have for some time felt rather sensitive on the subject of cultural appropriation, as in this post, for instance. That’s why, with notable exceptions, I’ve tried to write from the outside in, rather than in the POV of my Indian characters. Being a middle-class white girl, I knew I couldn’t do justice to an Indian POV.

Now, I do have one character, JK Montmorency, who is three-quarters Irish and one quarter Indian. He’s been raised mostly as a middle-class white boy, privileged, taking his life for granted, so I’ve felt comfortable writing from his POV. And I’ve written in this special protection for the Kintache, a mother goddess who walled their valley off from the rest of the world through most of their history in order to protect them from the negative currents of history. They missed out on the Holocaust that visited most of the California Indians when the white men invaded their land in the late 18th century. They observe it happening to the other tribes, and they mourn for it, but they have stood somewhat outside the sweep of history. It’s been my hedge, you see, because most of the Dos Lunas stories are semi-comedic. With serious undertones, sure, but comedy-dramas, and the Holocaust isn’t really a suitable subject for comedy (Roberto Benigni and a different Holocaust notwithstanding).

I thought I was writing something I knew, this serio-comic place called Southern California with its goofy and eccentric ways. But like many things that are silly, there’s a vast reservoir of serious, tragic things just below the surface. I thought I was doing a decent job of reflecting that, too, but I’ve never been without doubt about it.

These days doubts are blossoming and growing, like the wildflowers in Dos Lunas, where it’s springtime at this writing. Reading Sherman Alexie, whom I love, has me feeling desperately inauthentic—and even disrespectful. Above all, I want to be respectful to the real suffering of the real native people of California. But I worry about it constantly. I think I’m being respectful, but what if I’m deluded?

I can only keep on, I suppose, and hope others let me know if I’ve stepped in a big pile of dog shit. Hopefully, with the same care and consideration I’ve tried to have in these stories.

Some of you who have known me for a long time, and read my stuff for a long time, may remember Hortensia Bustamante. She’s the strong-willed sister of the Bustamante Brothers of Dos Lunas County, the first white settlers to invade the Kintache Indian homeland.

Ever since I finished Venus in Transit, my Dos Lunas County novel, strong-willed Hortensia has been bugging me. “Where my novel?” she’s been asking.

I’ve explained patiently that I’m working on other things now, to make a change from Dos Lunas, but Hortensia has never been one to listen to the reasoning of her writer when she’s made up her mind about something. “Where’s my novel?” she repeats at every chance.

I staved off her insistence some time back by writing a 30k plus novella, but—although she liked it quite well—she’s informed me that it isn’t sufficient. Her story deserves expanding and exploring. I have been thinking along those same lines myself for some time and even had several ideas on how to do that, but I hadn’t thought of taking on that challenge at this juncture.

“It’s time,” Hortensia insists.

I find myself sighing fatalistically a lot these days. My imagination ping ponged all last week between chapter two of the Carmina novel and a short story, and I’ve been considering that maybe it’s time to start the rewrite on Venus in Transit. All the while Hortensia kept crooning in my ear: “It’s time. Where’s my novel? It’s time.”

I pulled the novella out today just to, yanno, look at it. Hortensia squee’d with glee. I told her not to get her hopes up. She scoffed.

So I don’t know what I’m working on now. Perhaps Hortensia would be the antidote to my restless. I’m sure Venus would be. Maybe I’ll let Venus and Hortensia and Carmina and Sea Eyes from the short story fight it out amongst themselves. Just let me know when you’ve figured it out, gang. Only, don’t start sending me tweets advocating for yourselves. That would be one step too far over the line.

The heroine of my novel Venus in Transit has been named Marian St. Cloud for at least ten years, ever since I first started working on the beginning inkling ideas for the book. Now this movie comes along and I’m thinking the whole St. Cloud family of Dos Lunas might have to have their names changed. I’m not going to do that now, because that name is so entrenched in my consciousness, but I assume that everyone will assume that I stole it from the movie.

It looks like a fairly paint-by-the-numbers, dorky movie, too.

Of course, I still have to finish the read-through, the time with betas, the hardcore rewrite, then the marketing of this novel, so considerable time could elapse before even the possibility of a publisher or readers seeing it. Maybe ol’ Charlie will have faded from memory by then. Or maybe it will become a huge freaking hit, what with soulfully blue-eyed Zak Efron drawing in the sighing crowd. I don’t know.

Names and titles. They’re tricky business in the fiction game.

In other but related fictive news: Titles come to me out of the ether on a regular basis, often without a story attached. I keep a file just for those. Sometimes they’re so suggestive that I have to come up with a story to go with them. It becomes an obsession. Blood Geek was one of those. Ironically, sometimes the name that gets me to write the story becomes obsolete with the writing and has to be changed. Charged with Folly was like that. It became A Rain of Angels. Changing titles like that can be painful.

I’ve got another title that popped through the ether the other day. A drumbeat has started in the center of my body. Good stories begin in my brain, of course, but the ones which have to be written always eventually migrate to my core, to my second brain: the heart. I have no idea what this story is about, but it’s already migrated.

We’ll see what comes of that.