The Distraction Game: What I’m Doing to Disengage from the Trump Presidency

Hey, Fickle Readers! This is my first official, written post for 2017, and I’ve been avoiding it for weeks now. In fact, I’ve been avoiding writing anything at all here because of the election. Like many, I was not pleased with the outcome of said election. I would say, in retrospect, I tried very hard not to be devastated, because I’ve lived through devastating elections in recent memory and I know I’m not strong enough to let yet another get to me the way those other disappointments did.

What I wish I could do is vow to stay away from news of the Trump <hurk> presidency for the next four years. I wish I could do this for a number of reasons. First, picturing and/or thinking about Trump in the White House makes me viciously, brutally, destructively angry. Just reading the news (let alone seeing his bloated chipmunk face and pompous, puny-fisted hand gestures) threatens to send me into a She-Hulk-like rage, where I tear at my clothes and go out and find something to smash.

Artist's rendition of one possible scenario.

Artist’s rendition of one possible scenario.

There’s also the fact that I don’t want my wrath against the government to rule my life the way it kinda did during the <urk> Bush/Cheney administration. Back then, I homed in on every lie, every idiocy, every legistlative abomination, and held it in my mind as I waited for the day when someone would finally notice and make the whole thing stop. Needless to say, for eight whole years, my mental perseverance did nothing. I don’t want to start fixating on Trump the same way (and I know myself–I will fixate) and have him destroy my peace of mind for years on end.

And yet, and yet. My Twitter feed is full of outrage and snark over the narcissistic craptocracy of Trump and his cronies, and I’ve found I can’t avoid peeking, reading, retweeting, and happily getting sucked in. Inaugural crowd size! Women’s March! Imaginary immigrant voter fraud! Mistreating Melania! Punching Nazis!!! How can an anti-Trumper like me not get into the spirit when it seems as though Trump has already pissed off huge swaths of the high-end snark-crafters who patrol the Internet?

Furthermore, ignoring the <hrp!> Trump presidency could have serious consequences for the country. I strongly believe that. If everyone who’s disgusted by Trump averts her eyes and goes off the grid, nothing about his wholesale destruction of the government will change. I don’t want to look back and remember how I sat on my ass and played video games while the U.S. collapsed. Not when a few mechanisms in our rusting democratic process still function and can still be operated by citizens to effect change.

So my overall strategy for dealing with the indefinite future is to find ways not to think of the future–or the present–all the time. I’m trying to cultivate new interests, new obsessions, and let them take me as far away as I need to go to prevent myself either from chewing off a limb or leveling some Republican lobbyist’s shi-shi Capitol Hill brownstone. (And I have been to Capitol Hill, and the brownstones there are beyond shi-shi.) Hopefully, I’ll be able to overcome my usual inertia and write about some of the new shiny objects now taking up my brain. Otherwise, I’ll continue my usual pattern of remembering I haven’t posted anything to my blog in forever and quickly digging up a halfway interesting iPhone photo. Y’all like chickens, right?

Happy 2017, everyone! Stay safe, and try to stay sane.

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Dear God, I Have a Tumblr Now…

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Move over, Mighty Tiny Bill!

Hey there, Fickle Readers!

Just wanted to get the word out that, in my continuing attempts to join the 21st century, I’ve (deep breath) gotten myself a tumblr account. You can now go to my tumblr page at missficklereader.tumblr.com and see all the fun concoctions that have been eating up my time and occupying my brain. In some cases, I’ll be posting old poems that can’t be found online anymore. In other cases, I’ll be posting some mixed media stuff that I’ve been working on. (And in case you missed it, check out my big entree into erasure poetry and art in Queen Mob’s Tea House. The first of many Shakespearean sonnets that I’ve dismantled to form something reflecting those of us who live in the margins of dominant literature.)

So please check out the obscure lunacy and, if you’re on tumblr, please follow me! I’m getting lonely with all these young’uns out here.

In Excellent Company: I Get Published in matchbook

Hey, Fickle Readers! Just thought I’d share with you that one of my pieces is featured this week on matchbook, a lovely flash fiction journal that posts one story at a time along with authors’ notes about how that story came to be.

I’m particularly honored by this publication because I’m in such amazing company. The wonderfully talented and remarkable Annabel Banks and Megan Giddings both have stories in matchbook. There are many other beautiful pieces in the archives, so if you haven’t already I personally invite you to go there and explore. It’s a marvelous venue for very short fiction.

Call for Submissions: New Orleans Review’s Shakespeare Issue

Hey, all you Fickle Readers Who Are Also Writers! Do you like Shakespeare? Of course you do! Right now, I’m here to interrupt my regularly scheduled navel-gazing to tell you about the New Orleans Review and its special Shakespeare issue to be released in 2016, just in time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. (Yes, it’s sort of a macabre thing to celebrate, but whatever.) Here’s what they’re looking for:

We welcome submissions that riff on, respond to, reimagine, or recast any of Shakespeare’s works. Submissions may be in any genre, including short fiction, poetry, image/text pieces, creative nonfiction, and scholarship.

Deadline is December 31, 2015, so that should give everyone plenty of time to brush up their Shakespeare-based projects or start new ones.

Am I going to submit to this? You bet your booty I am! I’ve been re-re-re-inspired. Deadlines and submission calls do that to a person. It’s easy to want to fulfill someone else’s desire.

News News News! New Name and Found Poetry Online

Hey, Fickle Readers! Believe it or not, I got sick again this week, hence the lack of posts. I’ve been trying to save up all my news to post in one big info dump. Usually this is easier to do when mental energy is low and words and ideas get caught in my brain like wads of hair in a bathtub. Anyway, without further ado:

My blog has a brand-spanking-new title: Miss Fickle Reader’s Backwater Domain! I feel this new moniker has a bit more bite, and it has a pun in it, too. (Domain, you know. Domain = kingdom, and also web site stuff. Get it?) Mighty Tiny Bill would be proud.

“Thou’rt as monumental as buzzard urine.”

Second thing to report: This month, I’m officially a Poetry Month Scout in Found Poetry Review‘s National Poetry Month project. (Say that three times fast!) I have to say, I was a little trepidatious about doing this–I haven’t been working at poetry very much recently, and it’s always nerve-wracking to post spur-of-the-moment pieces. Kinda like leaving photocopies of your naked butt at random intersections in your hometown. But so far, it’s been pretty engaging. The FPR people have links to a lot of cool internet tools to get your creative mind spinning. My fave so far is this random username generator, which you can set to Shakespeare as well as emotions, body parts, and (my preference) just plain random.

In the interest of really hanging my nude ass out the window, I’ll be posting the links to my found poems here all this month. Here are the first two:

Narcissism x3. This was generated using three haiku (or maybe they were technically senryu–I’m not up on my Japanese terminology) by Shiki and put through the Haiku Discombobulator.  I think I may have boffed this one up a bit. Other scouts got lovely results, whereas mine were mostly mixtures of prepositions and conjunctions. Ah, well.

Vulgar Ballads. I was much happier with how this one turned out. The assignment was to take a phrase from the random username generator (or make up your own), plug it into Google, collect words from the descriptions that Google spits out, and write a poem from that. I quickly dumped “zip death” (too clinical and depressing) and “liquid thunder” (apparently a form of explosive diarrhea) and eventually went with “bawdy weeping.” Surprisingly enough, there’s a lot of overlap between “bawdy” and “weeping.” Much of that overlap is even old-school literary or–gasp!–Shakespearean. So I had a lot of fun with this exercise. Also, it may have loosened me up for writing sex stuff. Enjoy!

Belated Congrats to a Wonderful Armchair Scholar!

A shoutout and a shot of tequila (or maybe hot cocoa is more appropriate these days) to Sari Nichols, auteur of the blog The View from Sari’s World and newly minted holder of a Master’s degree in the Humanities! Congratulations, Sari! Mighty Tiny Bill says he’d offer to pen you a sonnet, but the only writing implements within reach right now are made of plastic.

“Procure me a butt of sack and a gathering of vellum! I’ll ink my genius with mine own blood!”

Stick around for the rest of Sari’s article, where she discusses one of my all-time favorite zany topics, the Shakespeare authorship controversy! Enjoy!