Just bitchin'

#Bowie — Life Like a Rainbow

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I don’t usually pay tribute to the passing of people I’ve never met, but today…

…oh, today of all days…I have to acknowledge David Bowie, gone from us at age 69 after a very private battle with cancer.

When I was little he was already a colorful burst, exploding without apology across music, movies, pop culture. He was unique, odd, strange, quixotic. His style was chameleonic, a constant reinvention of freedom of expression.

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‘Sham glam’ was the term that birthed into my child’s mind when I first saw him. It’s still my private label for the style of a firebird. I’m the girl who gravitated toward beads and glitter and rhinestones and color, mostly because of watching people like Bowie at my fashion-formative age.

So today I’ll play his music and tonight I’ll watch ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’…

…and I’ll do it all spangled from head to toe…

Thank you, Mr. Bowie, for a life like a rainbow.

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animals, Just bitchin'

#JeSuisChien…I Am Dog

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By now, if you follow Twitter, you’ve seen the massive trend #JeSuisChien.

For those who don’t know, it honors a French police dog named Diesel who perished in this week’s raid on a terrorist cell in the wake of the Islamic State attack on Friday the 13th in Paris.

What you might not have seen is the somewhat feeble backlash. There have been those who question the ‘morality’ of the outpouring of grief on a dog’s behalf when no such phenomenon accompanied the deaths of individual humans. And there have been some who openly laugh at how twisted they believe the world to be when an animal is honored above men.

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My first, gut reaction to these backlashers was anger, because their opinions don’t mesh with my own. But after the initial emotional glitch, I had to give their words some thought. They are opinions after all, and have every right to be voiced.

So…why does the death of a police dog elicit such a deep welling of pure sorrow? Why does the death of a human make my heart sore for a moment, but that of an animal sticks with me and shatters that same heart in a howl of grief?

Well…I’ve never been mugged by a dog, but I have by a man. A dog has never jumped out of the shadows with a knife and stabbed me. A man has. A dog has never broken into my apartment. A man has.

But that’s not enough of a reason.

Think deeper.

When a dog misbehaves, I can usually understand why. Not so with humans. Mankind is capable of a depth of depravity unequaled by other denizens of the animal kingdom.

Man is the only creature capable of true cruelty. Animals don’t have it in them.

Some people will say cats are cruel…the way they play with a mouse instead of killing it outright. That’s instinct. Mankind’s cruelty is by choice.

There’s a tremendous difference.

So, as unbalanced as it may seem to some, I will continue to be more deeply affected by the death of a dog than seems appropriate. I will trust animals more readily than humans. I will welcome a dog into my life more quickly and wholeheartedly than a person who must earn my trust over time.

And even though it was started a bit tongue-in-cheek, I am touched by #JeSuisChien and the gallant animal whose demise it honors. Because just as cruelty abounds in humans more than any other member of the animal kingdom, the opposite is true of nobility.

Dogs have it in spades. Precious few humans do.

RIP, Diesel.

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Just bitchin'

…lest we forget…

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MSNBC’s tribute ‘9/11 As It Happened’ begins with silent text tracking across the screen, saying that the broadcast is not only an homage to the terrible events 14 years ago at the World Trade Center, but is also intended for the future…lest we forget.

Stomach dropping, I stare at the bleak words.

Remember the Alamo…a ghostly voice whispers.

All I remember is growing up in Southern California where Spanish was a required class in elementary school. All I remember are the friends and classmates of Mexican descent and their wonderful culture and cuisine that spilled over into the lives of everyone who lived in that region.

Pearl Harbor…a day that will live in infamy…

All I recall is my oldest friend, my roommate from college, who is from Tokyo. I remember sharing holidays with her family and learning about the Buddhist religion from a charming people.

And I watch the words…9/11… lest we forget

…and I know

that someday

we will

forget.

And the cycle will repeat.

And that is the moment I understand terror.

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Uncategorized

Goodbye, Melinda…

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She was an artist.

Her work extended to jewelry, costumes, painting. She had a way of expressing her spirit, imbuing her work with it, that rendered her soul accessible.

That is the apex, the epitome of an artist’s goal. It takes courage and talent.

I met her in a jewelry store some years ago. Her husband is a jeweler. They found each other through the creation of her art. Her life was like that: following and defined by her ability to create.

A strange feeling I’ve learned to recognize had been haunting me since mid-December. But life and obligations and duties and necessities distract one from following up on these psychic blips that one never mentions…that one keeps secret because they invariably prove true and intensely private.

But today I gritted my teeth and followed the indefinable promptings.

I found her.

She died. Mid-December. Unexpectedly.

Of all the people I’ve encountered in my life, she was one of the two I can say I envied. In my lexicon there is a difference between jealousy and envy. Jealousy has a tinge of hostility. Envy is a tribute.

So this is my farewell and tribute to a gentle spirit and a beautiful soul.

Melinda Mary Rogers Cowdery…artist.

Thank you for sharing your art and your spirit.

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writing

Niteblade Magazine & The Newbie: A Fond Farewell

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A couple of years ago I stumbled across something sharp and edgy and winsomely wicked. It was inspiring, and it sort of felt like home. It was Niteblade, a magazine devoted to horror and fantasy and sporting an encouragingly feminine…yet sinister…logo.

I’m a newbie compared to the seasoned writers comprising an astonishingly vast subculture that feels like a simmering presence once you’ve discovered the literary haunts of the internet. But newbie or no, I was compelled to submit to Niteblade. I just had to.

When my story was accepted, I gave a fan-girl squeeeee!! and then began to worry about how the editing process might work. Every editor is different. And I had no idea what Rhonda Parrish would be like.

I’d only had a couple of stories published, but for one, the editor rewrote at will, adding his own bits that only came to light when I received my contributor’s copy. It was then I also realized he’d written my bio himself, publishing my full name and the city where I lived. This led to readers tracking me down and coming to my door. A bit unsettling. I moved and got an unlisted land line.

But maybe that was par for the course, my newbie-brain thought. So, drawn by the magnetic lure of Niteblade, and yearning with every fiber of my writer’s soul to be granted a place among its contributors, I waited to see what would happen.

What transpired was courteous, professional, yet painstaking, as Rhonda led me through her editing process. It was like being steered with velvet reins. I learned a lot. I was proud of the final product. It was also the first time a story of mine had been illustrated. I promptly bought the original rendering and hung it over my workspace.

It proved inspirational, because Niteblade accepted a second story.

And soon after, Rhonda short-listed two more for inclusion in her anthology ‘Metastasis.’ The one that made the cut was shorter and tighter and more powerful than at its birth, thanks again to Rhonda’s scalpel-keen editor’s sensibilities.

I’ll miss Niteblade as it prowls off into the wings, but I’m grateful for its edgy, sharp, winsomely wicked influence on me and my writing.

And I have a feeling it might sweep back to the forefront someday, black wings spread wide to foster other newbie-writers…

So on the eve of Thanksgiving it seems appropriate to say….thank you, Niteblade…and thank you, Rhonda Parrish!

nitebladecat

cat image from theinfinityplane.com

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