river, river, river

not always about rivers, though

This I fucking believe

Before this election, I believed people are greater than politics. I’m not sure I believe it anymore, because I have observed people I have heretofore loved and respected choose politics over basic human decency. That’s hard for me to understand. Because if I believe people > politics but they believe politics > people, then where does that leave us?

What I am certain of is that in electing Donald Trump, the Republican party has sold its soul:

In electing a man who brags about groping women without consent–which is assault, make no mistake–and who has bragged on stage, at a nationally televised political debate, about the size of his penis, Republicans can no longer claim the moral high ground of family values.

In electing a man who wants Muslims to register and be monitored solely because of their religious beliefs, Republicans have ceded the claim to being champions of religious liberty.

In electing a second-generation millionaire who inherited the wealth that seeded his fortune, whose business conflicts of interest with his elected office are epic in magnitude, Republicans have ditched their bootstrap, hard-work ethos and embraced crony capitalism and nepotism.

In electing a man who calls Mexican immigrants “murderers and rapists” and accused an American-born judge of bias based solely on the judge’s Hispanic last name, Republicans have chosen to deny that America as the land of opportunity.

In electing a man who didn’t disavow David Duke with anything resembling alacrity, and who has appointed Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, who is planning to appoint men with histories of racial prejudice and discrimination, and who has remained silent as white nationalists gather to publicly celebrate his win, Republicans have embraced the ugliest fringes of our society and a blatant racism that we have been trying to stomp out for generations.

In electing a man who mocked a war veteran for being tortured, Republicans have undermined their message that America is home of the brave and have allowed patriotism to be subsumed by chauvinism.

In electing a man who set up a foundation to serve his own interests instead of the world at large, who defrauded thousands of customers in countless business ventures, who financed casinos that failed and resulted in lost jobs, livelihoods, and homes, who defrauded and refused to pay contractors, who filed for bankruptcy rather than work through his financial problems, Republicans have demonstrated a reckless carelessness for fiscal responsibility.

In electing a man who mocks people with disabilities, Republicans can no longer claim the mantle of Christianity. Jesus healed; he never mocked.

In electing a man who advocates violence against those who disagree with him, who threatens our first amendment’s freedom of the press, whose disdain for thoughtfulness, intellectualism, education, and listening is not just apparent but a bragging right, and who champions strong-arm dictators and authoritarians, Republicans have ceded any claim to the leadership emulated by Ronald Reagan.

In short, Republicans have shown themselves to be motivated by greed (tax breaks) and misogyny (control over women’s bodies) and fear (change) and hate (the Other). That they would choose healthcare as their hill to die on in the Obama administration not to mention their continual efforts to repeal the ACA shows their utter contempt and disregard for the well-being of other Americans.

Republicans are not champions of family values, religious liberty, hard work, courage, opportunity, Christian values, or Ronald Reagan. Republicans are morally bankrupt and not worthy of calling themselves Americans. They have sold their soul, and it is now up to liberals to challenge them these next four years as they attempt to steamroll the Constitution and the very values that already make America great.

The writerly imagination

Preface: This is sort of a drafty draft of some thoughts that have been tumbling around in my mind for a long time. It’s very rough. It is poorly worded in places. It is not quite saying what I want to say, but it’s part of the process of me figuring out this problem.

In my secret, as-yet-unpublished book that is presently 96,162 words long (!), the main character has…let’s say an experience that becomes a large part of her story. I don’t want to spoil the plot so I’ll just say it could be a number of things, such as miscarriage, assault, affair, murder, incestuous affair with her brother (okay, one of those is definitely not it!).

Putting the cart so far in front of the horse that it is hidden by the curvature of the earth, I’ve been imagining how I’d respond to a question I readily anticipate, should I be lucky enough to have the book sell enough copies to be invited to do a reading, and the question would be something like, “Have you ever had a miscarriage/been assaulted/had an affair/murdered someone/had an incestuous affair with your brother?” Read the rest of this entry »

Hey, remember when we all blogged?

I remember. Those were the days.


[testing, testing]

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How water feels

It’s a hot August morning when we finally arrive at Boundary Creek. Grasshoppers accompanied the truck and trailer along the washboard road, our winged honor guard, as we pulled through the last dusty meadow. Ahead, the middle of Idaho yawned in front of us with a narrow, deep blue ribbon shimmering into the north. It seems to pulse in the heat.

Onward. Onward.

It is a few feet from that ribbon where we sit beneath a Forest Service awning listening to a bored forestry major, ready for August to be over, ready to go back to school where she’ll learn more about the wilderness and won’t have to deal with, for God’s sake, the people who use it, not until she graduates and learns the hard truth, lecture us on what we already know: snakes, bears, ticks, fires, litter, alcohol, dishwashing, toilets.

Yes ma’am.

Permits? Yes ma’am.

Have a good time, she says, already walking away. Yes ma’am.

And then we’re sliding the last boat down a log ramp smoothed of its slivers by age and use, and there’s a splash, and minnows and fingerlings too young to know this place dart away. Bags are loaded, strapped, tightened, shake-tested; fly rods are assembled, flies selected (hoppers, this time of year), placed within easy reach; people are divvied up, boat by boat, standing at the river’s edge, not quite sure of their role in all this.

There’s just one thing to do before we go, and I’m in and under and looking up at the watery sun as the current gently reminds me how water feels, how inexorable its forces are, pulling me in and under like Jonah’s whale until, legs kicking, I vomit myself up and out.

One of my fellow rafting guides calls this first dunk a sacrifice to the river gods, but for me, it’s a baptism.

River, river, river

In graduate school I had a professor who, apologetic for being born white, male, and straight in America, referred to his wife as his “heterosexual marital life partner.” While I applaud the spirit of this description, I also secretly concur with the more scarlet end of the political spectrum who thinks political correctness has run amok.

This has almost nothing to do with what I wanted to say tonight, except that I was trying to think of ways to refer to my heterosexual marital life partner that didn’t involve his name, but I’m still coming up empty, though That One seems to be floating toward the top of the list.

Anyway, he, my heterosexual marital life partner, is the reason this electronic entity is called “River, River, River,” for he once accused me–correctly, but I hardly see how that is relevant–of always looking at, talking about, writing about, thinking about, and wanting to be in or near rivers: fishing, rafting, camping, or just being.

Once, when we were still dating, we talked about where we’d like to live someday. My dream house would be on a river, I said–

RiverRiverRiver! he broke in.

Just so.

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