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too much to say, thoughts on collective action. image of bees on a spherical allium flower
Thoughts on Collective Action 



My social justice awakening began seriously at age thirteen, when, to my shock, I discovered the adults I interviewed for a school project all supported the death penalty. I began marching and blockading and engaging in minor acts of political vandalism at age sixteen. I have never stopped considering matters of justice and injustice since, while doing my best to work for the former.

These past few years, I’m not out on the streets much, because of the aftermath of a brain injury coupled with an autoimmune disorder that sometimes slows me down. Instead, I write fiction that mixes my radical sensibilities with magic. I write poetry and engage in small actions, trying to help the people working on the ground, wherever they are. I talk with friends.

And right now? There seems to be a battle on every front. There always seems to be too much to say. About too many things.

I wish we could sit in a circle, with cups of tea, and share our stories, bridging the divide sown by misinformation, terror, and fear. But we can’t, so I write these words instead.

There are psychopaths in the world, and not the benign kind—which do exist—but the kind that crave money, power over others, violence, and control.

There are also too many people who carry water for these severely unbalanced human beings, profiting from the actions of those who have no use for empathy or compassion. Most people would rather work together on some level, and be kind. Yet collectively, we have allowed the cold and calculating, power hungry ones to rule us all. The lovers of authoritarianism feel safer that way.

The dangerous ones and their water carriers enslave others. They use rape as a tool of war. They control bodily autonomy. They try to purge anyone who stands against them. They take hostages. They slaughter tens of thousands: in Sudan, Congo, and Palestine. 

They strive to pit ordinary people against one another. They tell us to fear those they deem not like us. They tell us being gay or trans is a crime. They tell us having a uterus is license to give up personal sovereignty. They tell us that to arrive as an immigrant or refugee is to be subhuman. They send children into mines, blazing fields, and meat packing plants. They tell us that being Indigenous means to deserve less than nothing. They say that being Black or brown is a sign of suspicion, and sometimes a mark of sudden death. They tell us being impoverished is our fault. They say that the wealthy are rightfully blessed. They tell us to shut up, roll over, and get back to work.

They cling to wealth and righteousness, to shareholders and war.

Sometimes there is too much to say, but I can say this:

We don’t need to follow their game plan. We can resist. We don’t need to pit ourselves against each other. We can seek deeper conversation, instead. We can think. We can act. We can eschew the shackles of xenophobia and hate. We can look to the bees, pollinating the next season, working together to create sweetness.

We can claim our own collective power.

We can each take one action—large or small—and grow a little braver for each other and ourselves. We can imagine pathways toward joy, pleasure, and liberation.

In this way, we shall build a more just world.


This essay was written with the kind support of my Patreon friends. Care to join us?



 When Things Go Wrong

I wrote this essay for my Patreon supporters back in March, but it felt as if others might find it useful.

What is my process lately?

It’s been a bit strange, to be honest. I’m in that time of year between focusing a bit more on running my publishing business and focusing on writing. I’m itching to get back into full writing flow, peppered with business tasks, rather than the other way around.

You see, I both write and do business all year long, but have found that my more generative writing months coincide with early morning light. So, here my brain was, tooling along, as the morning light grew earlier and earlier and bam, the pesky and ridiculous thing called Daylight Savings Time shifted the clock back toward darkness.

Plus, a few business systems I’d put in place to help me in the past year failed spectacularly, increasing my workload by at least double. Surprise! And then I got a weird eye injury. Specifically, detached vitreous fluid. I thought it was a detached retina at first—same symptoms—so, while I’m relieved it is not, it’s still slowing me down.

And here’s where we get to my overall process: 

How do I remain creative and keep working when life, or health, or random things seemingly conspire to get in the way? I rely on the stability of my inner practice. I listen to my body, energy levels, and notice whether my brain is too tired to work. I meditate. I rest. I read. I go for walks. I work for one hour. I work for five hours.

In other words, I pace myself. Luckily, I’ve always been a person who uses sprints to run a marathon. I can get through five things on a to-do list in the course of a few hours. If my brain and body are both in decent condition.

I recently broke out my Pomodoro clock for business tasks again. I do twenty-minute writing sprints all the time, but have grown lax about using a timer for business work. Timing my business tasks was a suggestion from an occupational therapist back during the worst phase of my brain injury. She got me working and writing in ten-minute sprints only. I slowly worked up to twenty-minute sprints over time. Then I felt well enough overall to forget about timing my business tasks, only stopping when my eyes started to feel cross eyed, or I felt the pressure in my forehead that signals brain fatigue.

I’m back to needing a timer, and that’s okay.

The main thing to know about my process though? I don’t give up. If what I have in me is thirty minutes, that’s what I have in me, and I use that time. Other days, all I need is a break for an hour or two, before getting back to work. With my current eye weirdness, that’s a nope right now, so I’m working all morning and then taking long afternoon breaks when my eye and brain have decided that’s enough. Except for two days ago, when I couldn’t work at all. Those days happen. Some non-self-employed people even call those something… oh, right. A day off!

Days off are good.

All of this is okay. While I would prefer to not have this eye trouble, I’ve got a good start on a short story. I’ve written an essay or two. A couple of novel projects are ticking away in the back of my head, waiting until it’s time to concentrate the bulk of my efforts on writing again. I’ve not done much research because that requires too much focus. I’m looking at my plans for the rest of the year.

This same process served me well when my health tanked eight years ago. Instead of throwing in the towel, I figured out what work I could do, and when. As a result, I’m now a prolific author with umpteen titles to my name.

Other writers I know have a different process or haven’t figured out a process. Some of them slow way down and others give up. Still others pivot where their creative flow goes. Maybe they’ve picked up crochet or gardening as a creative outlet until life settles down.

Regardless of what our life goals are, knowing—or setting—our process helps us in the long run. Do you have trouble with follow through on things you say you want or desire? You may need to figure out your process. Not the process that works for other people. Your process.

If you’ve figured out a process that works with your life, I’d love to read about it. And if you struggle with your process, I’d like to read about that, too.

Thanks for being here.


As I mentioned, this post was written with the support of my Patreon people who get advance copies of stories, podcasts, essays, and more, along with generally supporting my work in the world.


image of cracking ice: To Be More Effective, We must slow down inside

This week, I got the message, “Slow down.” It came in the form of a rune. Isa. Ice. One straight line carved into a smooth piece of wood. Another interpretation, at least this week, could be, “Chill out.”

It’s no surprise that I pulled that rune during a week filled with work-related stress, an existential crisis about the state of the world, and with day after day filled with the news of human suffering.

But really, “Chill out?”

How can we chill out or slow down when there is work to be done, and tasks to finish, and personal problems to figure out?

How can we chill out or slow down when there are genocides occurring, and autistic Black kids getting killed while holding gardening tools, and another trans teen bullied to death?

How can we chill out or slow down when the planet is in pain?

The answer is: We must.

Years ago, I studied the Gurdjieff Work. One lesson that Gurdjieff taught his students was to work quickly and quietly at a task like doing the dishes. Have you ever tried to quickly clean a sink filled with dishes while remaining quiet? It is difficult.  To accomplish doing something both quickly and quietly requires paying attention… and slowing down inside.

To slow down inside, I’ve realized over the years, is to be present in the moment while having a well-regulated central nervous system. When we speed up inside, we become agitated, clumsy, less precise, overwhelmed. Our central nervous system goes into overdrive, causing a cascade of physiological and psychological ramifications. Our heart rate spikes. Our breathing constricts. Our digestion rebels. We have trouble sleeping, or perhaps we want to do nothing but sleep. Our brains have trouble coping.

When we speed up inside—not from burst of joy or excitement, but from stress or anxiety—we become less effective in how we respond to the world. We react instead of choosing.

Right now? We need to slow down because we need to choose.

We need to ask: What is important? What is actually important? Not simply what is the biggest source of stress in the moment.

When we pause—to take some deep breaths, to re-center ourselves, to go for a walk, or sit in prayer or meditation, or rest beneath a weighted blanket—choice opens once again. We realize we have options. And if we are currently fortunate enough to not be living in an active battleground, I hope we honor those options.

By choosing to not live as if we are in an active battleground when we are not, we can offer help more effectively.

Is there a family who needs us? Can we feed someone? Can we write, or call, or join with friends in a targeted blockade? Can we listen to a teen who’s having trouble? Can we speak up? Can we listen more closely? Can we send money to someone who is offering direct help to those in need?

What is the next thing on our plate that needs to be addressed? Is that work problem really life or death? Likely not.

And what is one thing we can do to help the world? What is one thing we can do to alleviate suffering, right now?

It takes each of us doing that one thing, collectively. We hold each other, as James Baldwin once said, because the moment we stop, “the sea engulfs us, and the light goes out.”

We hold each other, and we breathe. We invoke hope, and then take action to build a kinder world to come.

So today, I’m slowing down enough to choose.

How about you?


 This piece was made possible by my wonderful Patreon supporters. I'm so grateful to each of them.


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