The Huddled Masses Shouldn’t Vote


Me on November 8th awaiting election results.


And so we are, as a nation, without principals. I grieve for what we could be, what we promised to be. But I shouldn’t be surprised, right? The Founding Fathers wrote equality into the constitution even as they raped, pillaged, and oppressed. Aren’t we then, both the ones who oppress and, the ones who free?


We’ve been waging war against one another since the beginning. Those in power protect themselves. The disempowered demand a fair shake. This, of course, has gone on since we stepped outside the cave. But, the Founding Fathers wrote the possibility for something more into the Constitution. They aspired to something no one had before–the evolution of thought. As the population grew, ideas changed, and amendments were written. The Fathers knew that they didn’t know what they didn’t know and thankfully, their humility allowed us to lurch forward.

Now we have a serious problem. The largest economic recession of our time created debt the likes of which people have not seen in their lifetimes. I cannot pay my student debt. I cannot even use my Master’s degree. My fault, perhaps, but not one that exists in a vacuum. Everyone needs support, a thriving economy not just for the well off and the wealthy. There must be opportunities at every level. Instead we have a glut of jobs available in technology and the sciences and none for those with little to no education. And that trend continues. As education grows more expensive, only the elites can afford to have a career.

And so we have the GOP and we have the Democrats, both propping up candidates that don’t represent the population. One an anarchist and dictator. One a conservative boomer, her understanding of the world, in many ways, stuck in the 20th Century. Economic evolution will not happen in the next four to eight years. We face the option of total mayhem, or stability and a little bit of growth. I believe in Hillary. I am, however, losing hope in our country.

The seething masses don’t think for themselves. They blame the media for liberal bias. They don’t trust anything the media covers. We can thank the Republicans for that.

The GOP has been winning the narrative for years. Decades. This idea that the media is biased, that they are Clinton shills is their story. They are the masters of the sound bites and political tag lines. It’s the media who gives them a platform, follows them around, begs them to weigh in, never challenges their hypocrisies and lies. Fighting makes for better television and no one fights dirtier than the Republicans. So, who is the media shilling for?

This week, just 11 days before the election the Guardian, a highly respected news source led with a headline stating, Newly discovered emails relating to Hillary Clinton case under review by FBI. 

What does that title suggest to you? That they’ve discovered new emails. That the investigation has been reopened. Neither are true. Incidentally, the Guardian has since removed this article.

They had jumped into the media feeding frenzy, then discovered, only after the fact, that the emails were not new. They were in the original investigation and that it had not been reopened. But the damage is done. The GOP won again. The voting masses will not read past that initial headline. Thanks media.

I’ve been wondering a lot if voting should be put in the hands of the huddled masses.

In California we vote our judges onto the bench. On it’s face, it may seem like an empowered and even liberal idea. Judges determine civil and criminal matters, set precedent, make laws.

They must remain impartial, communicate their work ethic, demonstrate their knowledge of the law and issues that face the community. Yet, how does one communicate impartiality if they’re appealing to voters? Voters want to be courted. They want their candidates to prove they care about the same issues. That is, if they care at all. Voters, in large part are uninformed. They don’t know and they don’t care to know.

This email thing with Hillary will be our undoing, not because it’s true, but because it feels true.

FICTION FRIDAY: The Place Where You Started–a libretto


I’ve just finished collaborating on an opera with my husband, which will open in Portland in November. I wrote the libretto (script) he wrote all the music (much harder than the script). We developed the story together. This is the first act–about a five to eight minute read. The synopsis is just below the cast list should you only want to read that. I may post the rest, should anyone like it. It’s modern, funny, and toward the end, tragic. Enjoy.


Meredith – Frustrated writer
Macario – Gardner
Steve – Meredith’s long-time, underachieving boyfriend Brianne* – Steve’s sister-in-law
Brendan☩ – Steve’s brother
Samantha – Meredith’s agent

Soprano Baritone


A literary phenomena at age 19, Meredith never imagined that now, some years later, she would be writing un-produced screenplays and teaching part time at a community college.

Macario finds peace working as a landscaper and gardener. These daily tasks help keep him from becoming consumed with memories of a terrible tragedy in his past.

Through a chance encounter, Meredith and Macario discover they have much in common and form an unlikely friendship, transforming them both. But a petty act of jealousy will tear the friendship apart.

The Place Where You Started is about living fully in the moment, not being held hostage to past decisions, and discovering a future wide open to possibilities.



*Each scene should proceed immediately and without pause into the next. The one exception being between scenes 4 & 5, where a significant pause should be taken.

Duration: ca. 1 hour and 35 minutes 3


(Lights up on MEREDITH in the living room of a small, very modest Southern California bungalow. There are hints of a window, a door to the outside, a door to another room. MEREDITH is sitting in front of an open laptop, staring at the screen.)


Why is this hard?
Why is this so difficult?
It never took so long
To write a simple line of dialog

Stuck in a rut with a –
A black cursor on a blank page

How can I not write this?
This should be easy
Samantha said it would be easy

Write it in a week or two.
It’s been three weeks instead

And I’m banging my head

Night and day

Be romantic, Meredith!
Be sexy, Meredith!
Be everything, but don’t be you, Meredith!

It’s good girl meets bad boy

Fantasy romance
I know how this goes
And yet I got nothin’.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself

Just do it.
Come on, let’s go.

I just received an email
Turn off your goddamn email!

Focus, Meredith, focus Here I go  (She writes)



Lucinda and Roland…

(Lights come up on LUCINDA, hip virgin and ROLAND, brooding, sexy vampire – think “Twilight.” They sing dialog as MEREDITH writes.)


Roland – I’m excited And nervous
But I feel safe with you.


You should not feel safe with me, Lucinda Ever


But I do
You’ll never convince me you’re evil


I’ve done terrible things


I see kindness in your eyes


You’re so innocent

Vulnerable to the world
A world that takes advantage

That is my world


I want to see your world


I will show you things you cannot imagine

Terrifying things
Wonderful things
Things no mortal should ever see


I want to see


I want to show you



I want to spread my wings


Spread your wings and let me in – To your mind

(ROLAND takes LUCINDA’s hands)


(Reacting to his cold hands)

Your hands are so cold


You smell like life


Smell me, Roland, smell me!

(ROLAND and LUCINDA freeze in their current position)


Smell me?

(Lights down on ROLAND and LUCINDA)

Is this the best I can do? I can do better
I’m better than this

Vampire romance sickly sweet

Uninspired fantasy

How did I get here?

Once a “literary phenomenon”
A fresh new voice!
Endless potential
The New Yorker at nineteen!
“On the threshold of a spectacular career!”

That’s what they said

But I chose film
Derailed by flickering promises of fame and fortune


Ah well, too late to undo

I might have been more

There were no guarantees

But I was on the right track

On my way

People believed in me, heard of me I want that time back

I want to rewind
Start again, start over, have another chance!

I’ve wasted so much time!

Is this the best I can do?
I can do better
I’m better than this
I want to be better than this I want…

(STEVE emerges from somewhere)


I want a beer
Do we have any beer?

(Opens the fridge – success!) (Opening beer)

How is it going?


It’s not


Want a beer?









Wanna watch TV?


(Getting frustrated)



(Thinking, taking a long moment)

Want to…fool around?


(Thinking, shrugs)


(Fast lights down. End of scene 1)



(The next morning. MEREDITH is getting coffee. Her laptop is open on the table as it was in the opening of scene 1. MEREDITH’s cell phone rings.)



Hi, Samantha

(Fast lights up on SAMANTHA, wearing a power suit. SAMANTHA is located somewhere on stage indicating that she is calling from her office.)


Hi, honey!
Is it going well?
Are you almost finished?
The studio loved your treatment

They had some notes:

Make it more romantic
More sexy
But not too much!
Lucinda should be sweet and innocent

But not too much!

They have other writers working
But don’t worry, you’re their first choice I know you’ll get the offer
If you finish soon
No pressure
But finish soon!

How about tomorrow?
Is that possible?
This is such an opportunity

You’ll be set

You’re on your way

On the “A” list
Their go-to writer

We’ll be on our way! So finish soon

Can you finish soon?
I know you’ll finish soon

Remember: keep it hot

Make it steamy
But not too much!


Roland should be dark and dangerous

But not too much!
I’d love to send them a draft
Perhaps tomorrow, or Wednesday?

No pressure

But finish soon!

I know you will
You’re perfect for this

Just the right voice
You always come through

Know how to deliver

Work well under pressure

You’re on your way
We’re on our way
So finish soon

Let’s get a draft to them tomorrow, or Wednesday

But no later than that
Call me when you’re finished
Once you’re finished

I can send it to them
Before the other writers
Don’t forget the other writers
But you are their first choice

Make sure you’re their first choice

No pressure!
But finish soon!

Okay, honey Call me!

(SAMANTHA hangs up. Lights off her quickly. Beat. MEREDITH’s phone rings again. Fast lights up on SAMANTHA.)


Oh, I almost forgot
Can I bring anything on Saturday? No?

Okay, honey
Call me!

(SAMANTHA hangs up. Fast lights down again. MEREDITH sits down at the computer.)


Finish soon


Don’t sleep
More coffee
I can do this
It’s just girl meets boy

Who wants to bite girl

(She takes a deep breath as she begins to type. Lights back up on LUCINDA and ROLAND)


You can’t understand how I feel


I can see into your soul


You only see my youth


Your beauty is eternal


Beauty is fleeting
My body has a sell-by date!


I…don’t understand


I’m on the clock here, Roland! Yesterday I found a gray hair

Down there!



(Sound of a weed-whacker – loud. It’s coming from outside Meredith’s house. LUCINDA and ROLAND freeze momentarily. The weed-whacker stops and MEREDITH sighs and continues.)


Roland, aren’t you hungry?



You have no idea!


Then take me…





Don’t you want me?


More than anything


Then what’s the problem?
Make me like you, and we’ll have eternity! Everybody’s happy


I will not condemn you to my existence

Roaming the night
Never aging


As long as I’m young I’ll always be relevant


Frozen in time
In perpetual youth


I don’t see the down side…


Ah, sweet innocent, pure, Lucinda


Would you bite me already!


(Weed whacker. Everyone stops. Waits. MEREDITH aggressively erases last few lines, stabbing the “delete” button. She starts to type again, aggressively)


I need more time…


Be careful what you wish for


I wish to live forever!


Forever is damnation!


Oh, don’t be dramatic!


I only want to protect you


Okay, here we go!


You are my everything

Only you understand me


Of course I do
You were born in the 18th Century
To you mouthwash is a technical marvel



It’s so minty…


(Exposing her neck)

How about it, Roland, just a little nip You know you want to!





But I need more time to restart my career!



(Hysterical weed-whacker. Lights off immediately from ROLAND and LUCINDA)



(MEREDITH slams the computer closed and stomps over to the door to the outside and goes out. Lights up on MACARIO, who is yielding the weed-wacker and wearing ear protection)


Excuse me! Excuse me!
Do you mind…?


(Jumps – surprised. MACARIO removes his ear protection.) My apologies, Señorita
I was not aware…


Can you do that somewhere else?


I am sorry for the noise
But I noticed this area needed work


Do you have to do it now?


It can wait (Turns to go)


Wait! I’m sorry Please – it’s not you

I forgot the day



It’s alright


Please, continue

Anyway, I need a break

(MACARIO goes to put the ear protection back on.)


Oh – may I ask you a question?


Of course


I was thinking that some flowers here might be nice

Growing something might inspire
It’s just…
I don’t know how


It is not difficult
Depending on the flower
But they all require some attention


I can learn
It would be good for me
Are Marigolds difficult to grow?


Not difficult
But they are…
(Attempting to translate internally) Not – nativo?


Native! Of course
Hard to grow in the desert


(In his element)

Have you thought about… Cacti, aloe






Zanzibar, agave, echeveria, rosea

Some even bloom with proper attention

Plenty of sun
Not too much water


That sounds like a lot of work


At first much work
But rewarding!
Working with nature

Calming the mind
One simple task to the next

Brings…paz interior

(Taps his chest)



I could really use that


If you would like, Señorita, I can help you get started

Bring the right soil
Next Tuesday

Arrive a little early?
Show you how to elevate the ground


And please, call me Meredith




Next Tuesday then, Meredith


Thank you



(MACARIO puts ear protection back on. Lights down as MEREDITH goes back into the house and MACARIO goes to re-start the weed whacker. End of scene 2)

Dear Monica, We Are The Villains

New York Times Insider

I saw HBO’s 2002 documentary on Monica Lewinsky, Monica In Black and White, not too long ago. I wanted to understand her. I’m in a different place in my life now. Was she, as I thought at the time, a seductress, a home wrecker, or was she, as I thought now, a victim of male dominance and power? The truth is simpler and far less sinister.

Monica fell in love. She doesn’t see herself as a victim. She was a woman who reached for what she wanted and got it. “I have a crush on you,” she said to him that snowy day when the building was nearly empty. He took her into his office and the two of them passed the time.

Following the Ken Starr witch trials, she went on to give interviews and pose, scantily clad, in every major fashion magazine, which seemed unseemly to a world working so hard to shame her. How dare she. Show some regret, woman. Who do you think you are? You’re not above our wrath. And she wasn’t. Because we won. After that she tried to live a normal life. But the joke’s on her.

What do you mean you’re not going to give us sex, Monica? You have no purpose.

She received her Master’s at the London School of Economics, but when she returned home, she couldn’t get a job, even as a volunteer. Some hiring managers went so far as to interview her just to see what she was like.

She’s the circus freak. The Bearded Lady. All because she had sexual relations with the most powerful man on the planet, who unceremoniously dumped her, because for all of his power, he was as much a coward about ending things as any man.

My journalism instructor, once the AP Entertainment reporter, said he’d been one of the army of journalists camped outside her Beverly Hills home. I shared this piece from the Guardian. Monica has put her life together and, as the first cyber-shamed person in the world, uses her story as a spring board for an anti-bullying campaign. Her talks have put her in front of audiences on the Ted stage and at Facebook headquarters. They’re taught in schools alongside Harriet Tubman. She has created an anti-bullying app. It’s a hug. Two arms wrapped around a shaking heart. She hopes to spread empathy, and, to save kids from suicide.

In his email my professor wrote back, “None of us really thought of her or what she was going through. I’m sorry about that now.”

Nobody wants to think about her, but it’s a problem for us. Monica may not have been Bill’s victim, but she’s ours. We shamed her. We scarlet letter A’d her. She should be part of the national conversation about slut shaming, but she’s not even a footnote.  We’d have to admit we were wrong. And we’d all, especially those of us on the Left, prefer to think of ourselves as better than that. Right about now, we should be asking her for forgiveness.

She’d give it. One gets the sense that she’s generous and loving.

The New York Post

Nevertheless, Monica’s 22-year-old specter lingers over Hillary and Bill, perhaps not directly, and not for everyone, but for those of us who lived through it. Ken Starr ripped a hole in the nation’s fabric, and sealed a Monica, Hillary, Bill-shaped scar there. Can’t you see it? There, just out of the corner of your eye. Yeah, when you’re least expecting it, her image flits across your awareness. You wonder, what happened there? What really happened? Did Hillary really forgive Bill? Did she know about all of his indiscretions? Why did she really stay with him?

Inquiring feminists want to know.

Monica was a child. Hillary was a wife and mother. Bill was the leader of the free world. I imagine he did it because he could. Monica did it because who wouldn’t? Hillary stayed, perhaps, to heal the country.

And we? We’re the real villains here. Our drive empowered Ken Starr and created a media landscape that would go on to look more like the Enquirer in twenty years, partisan, salacious, vicious and grievance driven.

We slut shame. We call one another bitches and cunts. And when a guy says, “You’re too needy,” or after sleeping with you, “I’m not looking for a relationship right now,” or goes missing for days or weeks at a time, it’s fine. His momentary needs matter more. Even if they outweigh the needs of the entire country.

In spite of us Hillary has shaken off the filth of those days and remade herself. But, as Obama’s presidency blasted a klieg light onto the rabid racism that still seethes in the dark places of our continent, we’ve only just begun to see the effect a woman president will have on the culture. It will divide us and hurt us while lifting us to new grounds of strength and hope. She will show how we are strong, while we reveal how we are foul.

The Los Angeles Times, Mark Fritz

And Monica? Her narrative is tied to Hillary’s as well. She’s a model for 21st Century strength in different ways. She survived the burning at the stake.

I’m not sure what’s in store for us. We are the mob. We destroy with impunity.  It just feels good. Perhaps I’m just being pessimistic. If we can elect a black men, and now a white woman, perhaps there’s hope for us still. I’m just not sure.

Fiction Friday: The Lipstick Chronicles, Adventures in Retail Cosmetics


Each Friday I’ll be posting a new installment of the Lipstick Chronicles. This is the pilot. Follow Jennifer, a third generation Japanese-American single mother, as she navigates the perilous waters of the retail cosmetics world in a Southern California mall. 

“Can you pick a lipstick for me?”

Jennifer turned around and peered over the black unit stacked high with lipsticks to see a middle-aged, razor thin, rat-faced woman with slick, dark hair. Her accent was distinctly New York, which was not unusual in Southern California. New Yorkers moved out and, after decades of residency, held onto their accent as a point of pride.

“What color did you have in mind?” She asked the woman.

“Neutral. Isn’t that what’s in this season?”

Jennifer held up a brown one. “Here’s a nice neutral.”

“Every lipstick I own looks like that. Pick another one.”

“Is there a certain look you had in mind?”

“You’re the professional. You tell me what would look best for my skin tone.”

“OK, how about this one?” Jennifer held up a soft pink.

The woman let out a sigh of disgust and pointed at another. “I said NEW-trall,” She stretched her mouth around the word as if Jennifer was the moron. “What about this one?” She pointed at a dark shade.

“Ma’am, that one is red.”

“No it’s not.”

Jennifer held it up for her to see the color written on the bottom of the tube. “Red,” she said.

“Well then, pick one for me.” The woman demanded.

“Ma’am, I don’t know what you already have in your collection. If you could offer some assistance I might be better able to help you.”

“Don’t get sassy with me, young lady. I’m the paying customer. Isn’t this what you do? Aren’t you capable of picking out a simple lipstick? Don’t they teach you how to do that in makeup school?”

Jennifer smiled. “This one is perfect for you.” She held up Blue Mocha, the lipstick for dummies, the one the girls selected to make the most difficult customers go away. It had an Emperor’s New Clothes kind of effect. It looked good on almost everyone because it barely had any color. All people saw then, was their own lip color with a bit of gloss. Not too sticky. Not too color-y.

The rat-faced woman put it on and worked it into her lips. “Is it long-wearing?”

“It has a patented hydration technology. Long-wearing lip colors are drying. The hydration is a particular benefit as we head into winter.”

That seemed to satisfy the woman. She was dry as hell. “I’ll take it.”

“Cocoa Moon Dust is the perfect liner for that.”

“I’ll take that too.”

“Great, I’ll meet you at the cash wrap down at the end here.” Jennifer pointed to the register to her left past the mirrored shelves of foundation bottles and multi-colored eye shadows.

Lipstick customers were the highest maintenance, lowest return on her investment of time and energy. Lipstick customers wanted to treat themselves, but usually didn’t want to or didn’t have the thirty or so dollars to spend on a lipstick. Yet, they’d convinced themselves, that for the perfect lipstick, it was worth it.

But “perfect” was as illusive as a fairy tale ending, the very thing, incidentally, the cosmetic industry trafficked in.

Every season launched “The Same But Different!” Every Christmas was “More Sparkle! More Chocolate! More Burgundy!” Every Spring and Summer was, “More Nude!” And if more of the same wasn’t enough, just add more in general. This season the look was clumpy, gloppy, stiff and sloppy mascara. In other words, make your lashes look as gross as possible. No kidding. The sticks stomping down the New York runways looked like they had spiders growing out of their eyes.

Amelia, Jennifer’s co-worker waved her down. A blonde, heavy-set customer with dark-rimmed glasses stood at the counter frowning impatiently. This was the woman who tried to return a foundation that was two thirds empty because she thought it had gotten old. When Jennifer had refused, this person went all the way to the store manager, who took it back. Since than Jennifer took everything back, even products from other stores, just to spite the store manager.

“Oh god, kill me now,” Jennifer said passing Amelia.

“Yeah, good luck with that one,” Amelia said.

Jennifer approached beaming a big smile. “Hi!” she chirpped. “What can I get for you today? Would you like a foundation? Maybe I can match you to make sure it’s new!”

Amelia let out an audible gasp. The heavy-set woman’s mouth dropped open. “Is your manager here?!” She huffed.

“Sure. Probably. Let me get her for you.” She left the counter. Amelia followed her.

“Oh my god, girl. Why do you keep doing shit like this? You’re so going to get yourself fired.”

“It’s fine. Who’s on?”


“Great. Then I have nothing to worry about.”

“Jesus, Jennifer. You can’t count on that.”

Jennifer opened the door to the manager’s office. Sandra was at her desk. “Sandy, can you come see a customer? She’s that one who returned the empty foundation. Do you remember her?”

“How could I forget?” Sandra rolled her eyes. “You need me for this?”

“She wants to feel special.”

Sandra sighed and got up shaking her head.

“I owe you,” Jennifer smiled.

“Yeah, ya do.” Sandra said and marched passed her.

I Apologize For Not Reciprocating

This photo just felt right. 

I’m a makeup artist, of sorts. Technically, I’m a writer by trade, a makeup artist out of economic necessity. It’s the only job I’ve ever had that allows me time to write and doesn’t drain me creatively or intellectually. Not that I’ve been writing. I’ll get to that.

In high school and college I was an artist. I specialized in charcoal and pastel portraits. My artistry is not without merit. People say I do “pretty makeup.” Which is why I resisted learning to contour, that horrendous technique that makes women look like drag queens. (I’m all for it on drag queens.) You shade out the hollow of the cheek and sides of the nose with a brown hue and paint the high points of the face with a white or very light pink color. It’s best for photos and on camera work, but ghoulish in the daylight.

Nevertheless, it’s not going away, as I’d hoped. I have to learn it to stay employed.

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WordPress Meet and Greet – All Bloggers Welcome

This blog is a wonderful demonstration of what a global community looks like. In it thousands share their work, connect with like minds, and find inspiration. Please visit and post there. All are welcome.

HarsH ReaLiTy

Well this is the third post I have done like this so far and I have seen some great connections. I’ll keep doing these off and on and I think they provide a great way for “active bloggers” to network. This post now has over 2,000 active bloggers waiting to connect in it. I encourage anyone looking for new blogs to view or people to converse with to browse through the comment section and network.

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The Song Of David


Sunlight shot through her dorm room windows and burned a spotlight onto her bed. No more time in bed. It was Sunday, the day for renewal. God’s day. She’d planned a reunion with him. For weeks she’d been visiting churches on Sunday mornings but they’d each left her dry. She’d even tried to commit to one, a hip one, one that offered worship songs that swung and a pastor with a knack for storytelling. Her mother said sometimes you have to commit to one for a while, sow the seeds, for a time, in order to make connections that bear fruit down the line. A community doesn’t emerge overnight. It had taken a full four years for her high school friends to grow into a family.

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