Category: blog (page 1 of 2)

Back into hiding

I am curious if anyone who went to the Women’s March in DC (or anywhere else) had the same experience that I did.

When I arrived at the airport in Seattle, ready to fly to DC, there were 100+ women in pink pussy hats at the gate. I was on the fence about going, and I hadn’t heard much about those hats. I was nervous about being a part of this club. I felt shy and these women did not seem like the same species as me.

As we boarded the plane and took our seats, we all realized there were only two men on the flight. TWO! I can’t remember any time when I was somewhere where women were the dominant group. I’ve been in the technology industry for 20+ years, surrounded by men. I was exhilarated and frightened (much like the two men).

When I got to DC, people were giving out pussy hats at the airport–handmade, suitcases full–and I got one for me and a friend. When I got to the house where I was staying with a group of women, there were hats for everyone.

And we marched. And I got teary-eyed when I saw a particular sign that said Protect Girls Rights. It was written in a sort-of third-grade-style cursive font, and it made me feel I was failing my daughter and I started to cry.

The president could grab my daughter’s pussy if he wanted, because when you’re rich, they let you do it.

I was mad. And ecstatic. And confused. And chanting. My body, my motherfucking choice.

Recently I was listening to a podcast called “Hysteria” and the host said, “What if someone needed a kidney and you were the only one who was a match to donate? Could the government compel you to give that kidney? And make you pay for the person’s medical bills for the rest of their life?”

But enough about abortion.

Back to my point, which is this.

When I went back to the airport after the march, the hats were fewer and fewer. My fellow women had put away their hats, and so I tucked mine away too. After all, the inauguration had just happened and people (mostly men), were at the airport wearing their MAGA hats and I was afraid of angering them.

When I got on the plane back to Seattle, I acted as though I hadn’t even been at the march, though the two women sitting next to me were reminiscing about it. I don’t know why I didn’t associate myself with them. Just one day earlier, I had been proud of being a woman. But now I felt shame.

I thought we were all going to wear those hats everywhere from now on. Until we had equal representation in Congress. Until we ran most of the US’s largest corporations. Until women of every color and heritage were with us at the top. Until there was never an unanswered question about our power and our abilities.

Am I the only one who felt strange, putting the hat away? Did we admit defeat? Or are we spies in hiding?

Camping

Went camping this weekend. Nothing is as good as being on the beach before the crowds. To watch the fog burn away and be grateful for this beautiful earth we live on.

You can collect rocks, watch your kid nearly fall off cliffs, play with weird sea stuff that’s being swarmed by tiny bugs.

You can make s’mores, inhale campfire fumes, get holes in your fleece, pee on your socks in the middle of the night, wake up with a back ache…

My husband hates it and won’t come with me. I can’t understand why.

Story feedback

If you’re a writer, I want to give you a recommendation for a service called “The Spun Yarn.” www.spunyarn.com

I sent them a draft of my manuscript and I got back the most amazing report. They assign three random readers to read and review your book, and then give you a report that tells you what the readers thought.

The report had great info about what I need to fix. Some of it I knew, and some of it was hard to hear, but it was more than worth it.

I highly recommend this service to my fellow writers.

And if you’re one of the three readers who reviewed my manuscript, email me so I can send you the updated version! I swear it’s even better than the one you already read!

It’s a real mind-bender to get this kind of honest feedback from people you don’t know. I guess I’m more used to criticism from the people I love.  : )

xo

Suzanne

Birds

I live in a condo in the city. I recently put a bird feeder on my deck and now nature comes to me. It’s magical.

When I sit at the dining room table and write, I can look out and see the birds, flitting away, secure in the knowledge that they don’t have to eat city garbage to survive. While other birds in this environment are living off hot dog wrappers and the rare dead rat, my birds are feasting on Safeway bird food.

Sometimes when I’m lying in bed in the morning I can hear them chirping to one another. It opens my heart.

When I sit at the table and write, I glance up and watch them.

I wonder what they’re saying.

“Boy, this lady’s a sucker for feeding us. There’s a whole park full of acorns right down the street.”

(Do they eat acorns? That can’t be right.)

“Look at that lady on her computer. Doesn’t she know there’s more to life than that?”

“Look at that posture! Does her mom know she sits like that for long periods of time?”

“Why won’t she spend money on better quality food?”

Jesus birds! I’m trying to do a good thing here. Why are you trying to destroy me?

They’ve left other proof that they’re mad at me. They shit all over the deck railings and throw a bunch of the food out of the feeder and onto the deck floor. Sometimes I’ll see them, there in the feeder, and it almost seems like they’re purposely using their tails to shove food out of the feeder and onto my deck. I assume it then falls onto the deck below ours, but I’m afraid of heights so I can’t lean over and look. And also I don’t really want to know.

I try to keep it clean. I sweep it and throw the discarded food in the garbage, and sometimes I even wipe down the railing with a paper towel and water. Then I scrub my hands like a madman because I’m afraid of bird flu.

Like I said, these birds bring joy into my life.

Rent money

Recently I did a “flash fiction” challenge, where I had to write a 1000-word (or less) story with these cues:

  • Type: a crime caper
  • Location: a chocolate shop
  • Object: a freezer

I live in Seattle and the neighborhood where I live has been completely overrun by amazon.com in the past five years. They’ve destroyed two of my favorite diners, not to mention my ability to walk around in my neighborhood without being stuck behind a dude with a backpack on his cell phone.

But I digress.

Here is a picture I took the other morning when I was walking to work. This is not a job I could do. Or maybe I just need to try new things.

These are “Bezos’ balls.” What used to be a Toyota dealership is now a tribute to the hubris of amazon.

Anyway, I guess I had amazon on the brain when I did my flash fiction challenge story. Here it is for your (potential) enjoyment.

***

Rent Money

Henry and I held hands in public. Sometimes we even kissed. I know this annoyed people on the streets — the depth of our passion and connection — but as I recall my mother telling me, you are only on this earth a single time.

Henry worked at See’s Candies, the neighborhood chocolate shop, and when I saw him there, behind the counter, I knew he had to be mine.

“Free sample?” he said, placing a milk chocolate butterchew seductively on the counter.

“You know it,” I said, winking at him.

And we have been inseparable ever since.

I work two stores down from See’s at the Sephora. Henry and I wear the same eyeliner. We are both broke and live with roommates we hate.

“I wish we could afford to live together,” Henry opined one day while we were on our break.

It was a beautiful day in Westlake Park. The sun was shining, people eating hotdogs, kids playing on the playground.

“We just need to save first and last month and deposit…” I said.

“It’s going to take forever,” he said.

“I know. Amazon.com has wrecked housing prices. And the homeless thing is out of control,” I said.

Then, “Sorry. I can’t stop parroting the news.”

“It’s going to be OK,” he said, giving me a hug.

“Thanks,” I said, “But I just don’t see how it’s going to be OK. I mean, I’m trying to save money, and Lord knows your primary nutrition is chocolate, but it just feels hopeless, and I want to be with you all the time.”

“Well I did have this idea…” Henry started.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. But I don’t know how I feel about it.”

“What is it?! Now you have to tell me.”

“Well, it’s not the most moral thing to do, and I don’t want you to think I’m a horrible person,” he said.

“Henry, that’s not possible,” I said.

“Well obviously this is not the best idea, I mean even describing it, I feel like a criminal.”

“Ooh, you’re sexy when you talk about crime,” I said, and I started kissing his neck but then made myself stop.

“What IS it?!” I demanded.

“Well on Tuesdays when we close, it’s just me and Darcy in the store.”

“And?”

“And maybe I could just, well, when she’s in the freezer, I can grab some money from the register, but there are cameras…”

“Maybe I can put something over the camera,” I said.

“This is never going to work,” he said.

“Yeah probably not,” I said.

We were deflated. I scanned the park. Homeless people, drug dealers, moms with kids, office workers at lunch — it was an eclectic mix.

“Tourists! We could rob some tourists!” I said.

“True, but that would be taking the easy way out,” Henry said, and we laughed.

I thought about it. How hard could it be to rob a tourist? They seemed to be walking around chatting with their families, taking pictures and leaving their backpacks half-open all the time. Surely they had cash hanging out that we could snag. Or cell phones or passports we could sell. How did you sell a cell phone or a passport anyway?

I looked at my phone. It was time to get back to work — break time was over. I looked at Henry, then looked over at the door to See’s. At that moment, a man wearing a ski mask walked aggressively into the store.

“Henry! Look!” I said.

The man walked up the ramp inside the store and to the counter. He pushed a few tourists aside and was waving at Darcy and Rick, who were standing there with their mouths open, frozen with fear.

“We have to do something!” I said.

It was like I was watching a movie. Everything slowed down and I was watching myself act.

I grabbed Henry’s hand. He didn’t say a word.

We crouched and ran over to the door. We slowly pushed it open. There were a few tourists who were now lying on the floor of the store. A woman made eye contact with me and I put my finger over my lips. “Shh, you dumb lady. Shh.”

Henry and I crawled quietly up the ramp. The man was shouting.

“Hurry up!” he yelled.

He had his hand in his pocket like maybe there was a gun in there, but I didn’t believe it. Sometimes you can get people to do things just by yelling at them.

I took a few deep breaths and then I did it. I stood up and ran at him from behind, knocking him up against the counter. Then I ducked down and chopped him behind the knees. He wasn’t expecting this bit and his knees buckled, but I had really pissed him off. He roared like a lion and started to turn around to what I can only assume was murder me, when Henry jumped on him.

The old lady who was lying on the floor jumped up too and piled on him. I pulled at the man’s feet while the others laid on top of his body. He was trapped.

Darcy ran into the back room and returned with garbage bags.

“What are we supposed to do with those?” I asked.

“Put them over his head?”

“Won’t he suffocate?”

“Who cares!” she said.

Stone cold, Darcy! I hadn’t expected it of you.

Darcy came over and we helped her attempt to put a garbage bag over his head. It was a futile effort and not the best idea. We needed to subdue him — he would not stop thrashing.

I looked around but there were only boxes of candy. Nothing to hit the guy with. We would just have to hold him down.

Everyone gathered together and we drug him into the freezer in back, shutting the door with him safely inside.

Before the door closed, I asked him, “What was your plan there, sir?”

And he replied, “I just needed money for rent.”

Soup

“When you let your guard down, you get burned,” my friend said to me the other day.

“Whoa! What happened?” I asked.

“Well, I got soup at the store, and on the walk home, half of it spilled out into the bag!”

I was going to write more about this, but I think it speaks for itself.

When you buy soup at the store, always check the lid.

Painting a picture

I’ve been working on the same stories for maybe 20 years now. The same damn stories–the ones I tell to anyone who will listen whenever I have a few drinks.

And I’m getting better at working on them for longer periods of time–getting closer to being finished –though every time I pick it up again, it is a challenge to not judge myself too harshly.

It’s that same feeling you get when you hear your voice on tape. Angst and self-doubt.

Recently my mother-in-law showed me a pretty painting she had in her house. It was kind of like a Monet–only in that it was pastel colors and a bunch of brush strokes. It also had finger marks and other streaks and it wasn’t a painting of a scene–but it was kind of nice.

“That looks familiar,” I said when she showed it to me.

“It should!” she said, “You did it!”

“Huh,” I said.

It did look familiar, but definitely better than something I had done. I’m not a painter.

But years ago we bought a big house with blank walls and for six months I filled canvas after canvas with paint and hung them up. We ended up moving–it was too much space for just the two of us–and I had to throw the paintings away but my mother-in-law saved one from the garbage. It was 12 years ago I think.

When I sit down to write I try to remember that painting.

Logo

I was thinking about my earlier post that said #vaginafirst. Wouldn’t that be a great name for a bank? Oh my god, someone needs to make a bank logo for me–one that says Vagina First. Need to figure out how to set up google analytics on this blog, because:

  1. I just used the word “vagina” – views are going to skyrocket!
  2. If fewer than 10 people view this post, I will likely have to contract out the logo work.

suzanne@suzanneyeagley.com for any and all attempts (including hand drawn).

I can safely put this out there because I’m fairly sure no one will see this. Although my parents may know I have a website. Let’s hope not. Anyway.

Websites

When you have time at work to look at websites, where do you go? I know the woman sitting next to me is likely keeping youtube in business. She laughs and yells at her screen…

But I’m clueless of where to go. I don’t want to read about politics. I will go to oprah.com but that only lasts a few minutes.

I feel like everyone knows how to kill time on the internet except me.

This sounds like a lame way to try to “build an audience” and I swear that is not my intention.

Everyone who posts a comment should do so anonymously, so you know I’m not tracking you and so you can take over the comments section with links to sell your cut-rate penile implants.

And this is why I can’t enable comments.

Politics

Let’s just get this out of the way.

I think Trump is a bigot and I am going to vote in every election going forward. #vaginafirst!

Any time I write something with a hashtag, I feel like if it were 10 years ago, I’d be saying “.com” instead. vaginafirst.com

Anyway, I predict that when this whole disastrous experiment is over, there is going to be a renaissance of creativity. All of the energy we’ve all been spending, being in shock about the unbelievable levels of corruption and profiteering–it will be this massive release and everyone in the U.S. at least will turn back to being creative for creativity’s sake, rather than for the sake of the best way to express their outrage/confusion/snarkiness that is sucking our energy and filling our leisure time (as it must right now).

I know very little about history but I wonder if, while Hitler was rising to power–were anti-Hitler protests happening in the streets? Did he have a 40% approval rating?

One thing that feels true–if you don’t have a mommy who loves you–it can really fuck with your ability to cope in a healthy way. Did Trump have a mom in the picture? You always hear about his bigoted/anti-semetic dad, but was there a mom?

Sorry, now I realize I’m saying you need a mom–a loving dad would be fine too! I should’ve said parent. Person. Human.

Ugh. See how much time and energy I spent just there? Let that be a lesson.

I will vote, I will be calling senators, but I can’t let this thing continue to eat me alive. I wish the same for you.

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