The thing about the missing stair people that always gets me is that I have never been confident of being sufficiently in the in-group to be one of the ones who knows.

This is not why I never leave the house if I can help it but it does kind of sour me on lots of social groups.... Large gathering? What do I need to know that nobody's bothering to tell me? Don't know. Can't know. Better stay home.

(If you think you know what I'm talking about, it's more than that. No, more than that too. And that.)
kiya: (ancestors)
( Dec. 1st, 2012 10:32 pm)
I did a long-planned ritual tonight, which involved my grandmother being placed in a position of prominence on the ancestor shrine and a lot of talking. KJ was involved with the process for a number of reasons, and thus had some commentary.

She was heading off downstairs afterwards to get a before-bed diaper change from [ profile] artan_eter, and asked how Grandy M was doing. (Grandy M being my mother.)

"That wasn't Grandy M," [ profile] artan_eter explained. "That was Grandy J. Grandy M's mama."


I explained, "That is your mama's mama's mama."

KJ was very thoughtful as she declared, "... that's a lot of mamas."
kiya: (hethert)
( Feb. 26th, 2012 01:33 am)
"You don't get to be sensible. You get to learn to truly love, which is beyond sense."
This is a first draft, I'm trying to get my thoughts in order. Suggestions for useful revisions are extremely welcome.

'God' is a service role. )

The Unitarian Universalist church I attend opens each ceremony with a short prayer, an affirmation, which begins "Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law." (Or 'goal'. Some do it differently, and I can't recall which one is in the order of service right now.) It and I are both descended from the Puritans, who would probably not approve of aspiring to godhood or teachings about finding the divine, holy spark in each other, but nonetheless here we all are.
I've been following bits of the Wiscon/Elizabeth Moon debacle, as one does, though Wiscon is a con I have actively never considered going to, and the last couple of days I've been pondering picking up The Otter and Saint Jude again. I think I need to do some hefty revisions to get it back on track, but ...

... I started writing this thing years ago. And one of the things that's important about it in this context is that the Otter is a Sufi, more or less. (A chance-encounter-converted-this-species-to-Islam sort of Sufi.) And it's a major part of her character, but it's not, in the grand scheme of things, important to the story; she's just a Muslim character in spaaaaaaaaace. (I'm not writing it to write a Muslim character, y'know, it's just that the character I'm writing is.)

But I'm left with the sense that somehow this book needs to be written so that it might be out in the world. Because I'm more than a little agitated by [ profile] james_nicoll being able to rattle off more than one "Scary scary Islam!" SF title when asked. So I'm not writing it to make a political point, but I might finish it to make a political point. Or something.

A bit of the draft, in which Otter quotes the Qur'an. )
kiya: (mama)
( Aug. 26th, 2010 06:20 pm)
There is a little playground about a quarter of a mile down the road, hidden in the trees and fences such that we only noticed it was there when we saw a tandem stroller trying to make the cross to get to it.

Today I brought KJ there.

It was ...

She spent a while sitting snuggled in my lap filling my socks with sand, and a more apt metaphor for parenthood I know not. I sang to her, and she jumped and startled every time a truck went by beyond the fence.

After a bit, I put her midway down on one of the plastic slides - there was a sort of twin slide, and I put her on the inner curve - and slid her down. We did that one or two more times, and then she sat at the bottom, dug her toes into the sand, turned, and started to climb.

She clambered up the slide to the first curve, and slid down. And dug her toes in, planted her hands flat on the blue plastic, and kept going. I lay down on the other slide and watched her climb. Every failure made her laugh, gleeful in her experience of unsuccess. She gripped the sides of the slide, pulled herself to her feet, and clambered, a little higher this time, making it partway up the curve before she slid, cackling, down to the bottom again.

Each setback inspired new joy, new experimentation, and each slide to the bottom was a reward.

And there is a lesson.

I stood next to her as she climbed, and as she reached the curve, I rested one hand under her foot, giving her just a little more purchase.

She made it around the curve. I put my other hand under her other foot, and she kept climbing.

We climbed the slide together, like that, her putting forth the effort, the drive, the desire, and me giving her a place to stand.

She reached the top, and sat there, turning back to me, radiant and laughing, triumphant. She had done the work, and I had helped her find her way up.

A more apt metaphor for parenthood I know not.

Tomorrow, from I believe 10 am until 1 pm, Boston Common: permit achieved for near the visitor's center which is I believe by the Park Street T. While our festivities are in response to certain gentlefolk who have contributed to the decline of civil discourse, we intend to be genteel in our gathering.

Should you desire to attend for tea, kindly do endeavour to bring an appropriate contribution: cookies, wee sandwiches, other appropriate foods; tea, of course; drinking vessels and similar supplies. Do dress in a manner appropriate to polite society, and, "if not to the nines, at least to the four and a halves". Polite signs in favor of decorum, cucumber sandwiches for ready money, and excellent tea are encouraged; the official website has some suggestions.

KJ and I will be in attendance, barring disaster of the transit variety or rain. I will, of course, be wearing my morning coat and hat. Unfortunately, it will not be warm enough for KJ to dress for the occasion in her summer sundress, so the babe will be garbed in a prosaic and undistinguished fashion, alas.

Hope to see some of you there!

kiya: (one of them)
( Nov. 19th, 2008 05:06 pm)
It's not enough to be pissed off about Prop 8, okay? Pay attention to the Day of Remembrance, too.

Dilek İnce, killed with a shotgun.
Duanna Johnson, dead after going public about police brutality.
Aimee Wilcoxson, who the police claim was a suicide.

Names all from the front page of Questioning Transphobia.
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Love is radical.

Love is radical.

Love is radical, and I light a candle to shed red-glass light on Lilitu's owl-clawed feet, because today I am a child of the Mother of Demons. My love will shake the world, fan out like the peacock fan that spreads behind Her and glows in the firelight in honor of strife and compassion.

Love is radical, and its tears will extinguish Hell, but only if we burn with it. It is not enough to love quietly, mousily, in the safe spaces, because love is radically unsafe. Love will throw you through Hell and walk with you on the hike out. Love does not let you hide behind walls, it will slice you open, it will make you bleed.

Love is an act of blood. Love is an act of bone. It is your breath.

I am a child of the Mother of Demons. My love will rip up the foundations of the world if need be. It will tear apart your safe spaces. It will not let me be silent. My love is a claimed conspiracy to riot stashed in a jail cell awaiting judgement in Minnesota. My love does not wait for a permit or follow an established route. It is here now there then always not with a whimper but a bang and if your world is ending for it then remember that love will divide your families, set kith against kith and kin against kin, that you were warned and said you believed.

I am a child of the Mother of Demons. My love roars like the hollow wind. My love comes for the children. It does not listen to the doors. My love sees people married without checking their genitalia at the door, without evaluating the colour of their skin, without seeing if they have a hollowness that will be filled with a baby. My love sings and screams and goes to the ballot box dancing with the joy of holiness.

I am a child of the Mother of Demons. I walk a warrior path of love, and follow the song of my heart. I hold sunlight in my right hand and shadow and storm in my left, and am born of the serpent's dance with the falcon. I have the restored Eye and I offer it to you, that you may live.

I am a child of the Mother of Demons. I am one of the ones to fear, who goes stealthy through today in my cat-print pyjamas passing for one of you normal ones, the sane ones, the pretty children who went to school and then to the university and got put in boxes and came out all the same. I am the pervert among you, the polytheist, the deviant, the one whose world is wider than you can face, I stand at the open door in the desert from which there is no return.

There is no male or female, no free or slave, no line of race or creed or colour in love. Fear me, for I love you.

[ Apologies to those who get it twice. It matters enough to risk my semi-anonymity on the blog. ]
So with this impending move thing and various other matters, [ profile] teinedreugan and I are pondering the possibility of doing more of wintersolsticeholidayseason in our own house than we've ever done before. Which means I've been pondering, on and off, traditions and continuity, as those haven't been my responsibility to keep up with while I was still spending that time with my father (and also [ profile] teinedreugan's parents and my mother).

I just posted this to the Cauldron and commented that I now wanted to write about ka symbols, ma'at, and related stuff and would take it to LJ:

    The family tradition that I latched on to hard is that every living thing that spends the winter holidays with the family is remembered -- their name is written on an ornament that goes on the tree. If they visit, those ornaments are reserved for them to put on themselves, otherwise they serve as touchstones to previous instances of the holiday, maintaining those bonds and connections through time. My father's tree has ornaments that include cats who have been dead for over thirty years, his late parents, and so on, in addition to family members, treasured guests, and people who just happened to stay over one night. It's a storehouse of hospitality ties, family bonds, and connections to the echoing resonances of repeated time.

Holidays live in neheh, in repeated, cyclical time; part of the point of holiday rituals and traditions is to make it easier to fit that into the space of the pattern, to bend linear time back into the eternal.

One of the things that struck me about that particular tradition, looking at it now with Kemetic eyes, is how it enshrines ma'at using Assmann's definition ("the force which gathers people together into community"). It establishes the community of those who have shared the dark time of the year with the family, in the family hearthspace -- and here I'm using northern European symbolism and hearkening to northern European guest-law, but that's where my family line draws from, so that is the ka of my ancestors.

And if the ka is the incarnation of the family line, that memorialising, the keeping of the Names of those who have shared that time, draws the kau of those ancestors closer, celebrates the union across the line between the seen and the unseen: we have been here before together. It is not so cold with the family here, with our honored guests, with those we have given hearthpeace to with the sharing of our bread and salt. This is where we came from, and it is implicit in our being here now in the same time, and thus needs to be honored.

The ka symbol is the upraised arms with elbows bent at a right angle; I have it written in this icon. One of the explanations I have seen for this symbol ties in to its possible representation of the soul of the family -- the arms open to hold, to embrace. (There is some interesting iconography playing with the strictures of Egyptian canonical representation -- a parent, arms held upwards in the ka position, with children seated upon his shoulders and upper arms ....)

So I reflect on tradition, and wonder how many names I will need to be prepared for.
kiya: (vow)
( Oct. 27th, 2006 01:52 pm)
John M. Ford memorial.
Inherited Negotiation, Obligated Commitment )
rasfc is currently having a discussion of sorts on the subject of intelligence and what it's good for, and whether it's an important factor in appreciation of books, and so on. Overall, it's one of those conversations that I find fascinating in the "I want to poke at this" sense but am wary of saying anything in, because the embroilment potential is very high.

There's something of a cultural divide going on, I think, though I can't figure out where the boundaries on it are, quite, since bits of it appear to be me and folks in the UK (or Commonwealth nations) on one side of the line. (I theorise a little that we're back to Yankee-people-and-their-culture on this, but who knows? I was raised in a culturally odd environment.)

This may wind up being long. Cultural and class stuff, intellectualism stuff, snobbery. )
Today I'm thinking that it takes guts to go out and be beautiful in public.

It's much safer to keep the beauty tucked away in the private nooks, only bringing it out to show a few trusted people, if anyone is allowed to see it at all. It's easy to lose it, forget it, misplace it in the corners of the mind.

When I dare to be beautiful, I am exposed: my reality is presented where others might see it, and those others might dismiss it, ignore it, miss it entirely. If I never show it, it can never be rejected.

But there is abundance, there is bounty; this is not a universe of scarcity. I cannot afford to be a miser and hoard away precious things in solitude; I learn to show beauty in private places, to safe people who will not treat it with contempt. I grow, I step forward, I allow myself to be beautiful in moments, in little instants, fleeting eyeblinks. Perhaps someday I will have the guts to be beautiful all the time.

And then I will shake my tail and fill the seven heavens with my thunder.
Preferring to run social interactions on gift economy should have an error-check mechanism dealing with cultural significances attached to gift transfer.
A bunch of threads of stuff are conspiring to make me ponder again. Funny how threads in various places wind up talking about the same sorts of things. And some of this is why I think I was pointing at something political in rasfc yesterday, not that it seems to have helped. Also, very lengthy and not entirely linear babble.

A quote from the Principia:

    DISORDER is simply unrelated information viewed through some particular grid. But, like "relation", no-relation is a concept. Male, like female, is an idea about sex. To say that male-ness is "absence of female-ness", or vice versa, is a matter of definition and metaphysically arbitrary. The artificial concept of no-relation is the ERISTIC PRINCIPLE.

Male, like female, is an idea about sex. )
This story takes a lot of context to tell properly; I'm going to tell it with all its context for the first time ever. It may well be frightfully dull. Some of it will be graphic.

In a way, writing this will be an offering to the Eyes of Ra for the new year: there is in here stuff that needs to die. Kheperu.

No Pity. No Shame. No Silence. The commentary. )

That's all of it. All that I can remember right now. All as coherent as I can get it.

If I rip open the scar tissue, maybe it'll bleed out the rot, and maybe it'll heal true this time.
I just wrote an impassioned sort of plea on the SDMB.

I wonder how he's doing these days.

I wonder if he knew how stricken I was by his question.

I'd known him for three and a half, four years at that point. We did lunches together, hung out, talked. He was a self-described "Nice Jewish boy with a nose ring."

He came out to me right after history class with Mr. Hines, late senior year, a class we both had seventh period -- it might have been one of our last days. Probably because it was less risky; he wouldn't have to see most of us ever again, if anything went wrong.

"Is that okay?"

Before he asked me that question, before he asked me that earnest, intense question, underlaid with obvious fear, it had never occurred to me that it wouldn't be. Never occurred to me that the question would be so intense, so personal, so terrifying, so necessary.

(Yes, I am that fucking oblivious. Please explain the customs of your planet to me.)

It never would have occurred to me that it wasn't okay -- but he still needed to ask me, he still needed me to give him the answer, because he didn't know that. He didn't know whether I was a sleeper homophobe, somewhere in the depths of my mind, one of the people who would turn away from him after four years of shared potato chips and commiseration.

Jerry, you wounded me to the heart and made me into an activist.

Wherever you are, I hope you're all right. And if you hoped to find someone to love in these past eight years, I hope he treats you as well as you deserve, and I hope that some tomorrow you will never have to ask anyone that awful question, that you never again have to suffer that sort of doubt for the sake of loving him.


kiya: (Default)


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