aging · AS · Health and wellness · Language

Selective Mutism

Sometimes, I simply have to be quiet because the sense of words and their effectiveness have left me.

I only think I am speaking words in languages that anyone with ears to hear could understand.

I have to stop talking to listen effectively. What I hear does not please me.

Sometimes, I have to stop talking to have the internal room to process all of the outside that bombards me.

When I stopped talking, I started making notes.

Community · ethnography · Language · observations · power · research · social observation · Sociology · trauma

I Don’t See Color

Here’s a phrase that sincerely chaps my ass. What if the police ask you to describe me? Whachugonsay?

Discovered my disgust with this statement after getting into a discussion about who can and can’t say nigger. We concluded with the thought that anyone can say anything (conditional) because this is a country that constitutionally guarantees freedom of speech. I added that saying anything means being ready and able to take the consequences of those utterances.

See, you can’t say nigger to everyone. I don’t care how you spell it, inflect it, think it’s cute or a term of endearment, you can’t say that to everyone. Some folks have a reflexive action to being called nigger. They will bust you in the mouth, with love, ’cause they ain’t having it. I think I am one of those people.

Nigger is a slur, an ethnophaulism. How’d you like it if I walked up to you and called you my Dago, my Wop, my Mick, my Chink, my Gook, my Buddhahead, my Guinea, my Spic, my Kike, (recent) my Beaner? Does it grate a little? If not, do you know someone who might not share your attitude?

It is difficult to find a slur for whites that carries the same punch as nigger. By becoming white, those ethnics who look more like the dominant group eventually became white. Hunky or honky no longer packed a punch. Even Jews thought, and think, they were white. It only takes a second to be disabused of that notion when faced with real crackers who think the kikes are out to replace them.

We are all color struck. We are overly concerned with the color of another’s skin because to be anything other than a variation of pink is to be diminished in the world. We don’t talk about slavery. We don’t talk about Jim Crow. We don’t talk about the Trail of Tears. We don’t talk about segregation, an active factor in our lives today. Why are we all color struck, especially those who come here from other countries where there may or may not be a racial history of torture and abuse? Loss of cultural and historical memory? Loss of self-awareness? Loss of our humanity? For certain, it is because we have been taught to be conscious of color, particularly for purposes of differentiation and separation.

We need to speak to one another in the way we wish to be addressed. Don’t come @ me with your nigger speak. I really will bust you in your mouth, with love, and dare you to call the police. Since you don’t see color, you won’t be able to give a credible description and I will go on my way, hoping I taught you something of value.

Diversions · Fiction · Language · nanowrimo · Therapeutics · Uncategorized

That Nanowrimo Thang

It is here again, that nanowrimo thang. I signed up this year, and announced, even wrote a couple of chapters. Already too much pressure.

Trying to develop this habit for an activity I once loved as a child and engaged in effortlessly. I promised myself I would write if I got old enough to have done something, been somewhere. Here I am.

Allegedly, I just have to write something, e’r’day. Doesn’t have to be long, or even make sense, only written.

So, here goes, though late, but whatchugondo?

Think I need to change the background to commemorate the moment.

AS · Health and wellness · Language · observations

Autistic Inertia

Newly rediscovered concept

No Longer in a Box

Autistic Inertia is basically a state of wanting or needing to do something, but being completely unable to do it, almost like a paralysis.

There is a good article about Autistic Inertia here: and one of the examples it gives is:
-Wants to do math homework
-Is frustrated about not doing math homework
-make elaborate plans to do homework
-STILL does not do math homework.

Now one thing that non-autistics might have trouble understanding is, is that this is not for lack of wanting. It’s because of an error in processing. Or, the choices are too arbitrary. Or planning and going through sequences of steps is difficult.

This is how Autistic Inertia affects me. I sit in my room. I should be doing something, I want to be doing something, but I just can’t get started on anything. I end up sitting there doing nothing, or sitting and stimming. And…

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Craft · Fiction · Language

One Day the Lord Knocked

Our house has only one bedroom, so I slept in the living room on a fold-out bed that doubled as my desk and bookshelf when the bed was folded into the cabinet. It was about six in the morning when a knock at the front door roused me from pre-adolescent dreams. I turned over, hoping the cat had knocked something over, or that the sound was some noise from next door. The houses are close enough to nearly share a wall; we’re packed in here like matches in a book. The knock came again.

Fully awake, I asked, “Who is it?”

“The Lord,” came the reply.

I dashed to the back to get Mom. “Mom, the Lord is at the door.”

“Say what?” Mom always woke ready. I think that was the Texas in her.

“The Lord, Mom, is at the front door.”

“Well, why didn’t you let Him in?”

Mom got up, put on her robe, and went to the door. She looked through the window and saw Pluko standing there in her nightgown, hair disheveled, a confused look in her eyes. “Who is it,” she asked. The answer came back, once again, “The Lord.” So, she opened the door.

“Come in. Would you like a cup of coffee,” she asked, always with that Southern hospitality. The Lord smiled and said yes to the coffee. Mom seated Her at the kitchen table and went to fetch a wrap because she thought the Lord might be cold. It had rained the night before and, while the morning was fresh, it was also cold and damp. She returned, dropped the wrap across the Lord’s shoulders, and began to make coffee and biscuits. 

She served the Lord, who gave her a beatific smile in thanks for the comfort, then went to call Pluko’s cousin to let her know where the Lord could be found. 

The Lord sat in our tiny kitchen, slurping coffee from a saucer, sopping a bit of it with Her biscuit. She was contented and calm, happy even, until Her cousin showed up to take Her home. Her face took on the look of a brewing storm and the Lord began to grumble under Her breath about what a hateful soul lived in Her cousin. “Her throat is an open grave,” She muttered.

The Lord was coaxed to the front door and just as She was nearly out, She turned to say something to Mom. She held up her arms as if preparing to offer a benediction and said, “Blessed are the kindhearted. They shall know gratitude.”

With those words of thanks, the Lord turned on Her heel, and was gone.

Craft · Fiction · Language

Phoebe, Intermezzo

On the Wednesday Phoebe was expecting a call from Glen, she received an air express envelope instead. Inside it were a set of keys, train tickets and itinerary, $500,000 in bearer bonds, an Oklahoma property deed with her name on it, the cell phone that he had purchased to speak exclusively to her, with this note written in Glen’s impeccable left-handed script:

You’re right, Phoe. I have been keeping something from you. You’re too perceptive. I need you to promise not to be stubborn about this. 

As you asked, I sold your dad’s property and invested the money in a property I think is just right for you. Take the train and go see it. My driver will meet you and take you to the cottage. If you like it, it is already yours. If not, you will have to sell it or dispose of it as you see fit. Yours is the last legal transaction I’m handling.

These past months have been the favorite part of my life. No one would believe all we did was talk … and listen to one another. I couldn’t love you more if I wanted to, but I will always love you, that’s certain.

I have to go, Phoe, and I will not be coming back. I’m not going to bother you with the details, but I know you have that wild imagination, so let me try to quiet it by saying I do have a medical problem for which I’m going to seek help. The prognosis is not good, but I know you’d want me to examine every possible angle and to fight. Even so, I don’t expect to return because however things go, I will not be in any shape to come back.

You always made this old man feel young. You made me remember and talk about things, people, places, experiences I hadn’t remembered in years.You talked with me. You listened to me. You gave me back my life, Phoe. Let me do this thing for you now. Don’t be stubborn.

You’ll like living near the river. Crew is big there. I want you go out and row for me. 

Don’t be sad, Phoebe. Just love me like you have, and remember me from time to time. I’m glad your heart overruled your head and you told me how you felt for me. If there is a way to talk to you from where I’m going, I’ll do it. 

Listen for me.



Health and wellness · Language · observations

Differentiation: Listening v Hearing


There is a difference between listening and hearing.


I can hear the hummingbirds clicking, someone using electrical equipment – a circular saw – the scree deafening. I hear that damn ice cream truck that must stop right in front of my house every time hailed by the consumers across the street, including the one that stops every night at 10 pm.


I listen to the radio, particularly KPFK, to Amy Goodman, Sonali Kolhatkar, my friends on the phone, if they don’t go on too long.


But, I hear the seemingly never ending crying of the infant living in the House of Violence. I hear the drone, the underlying humming buzz, like a hornet’s nest warming up for a major swarm, that emanates from that house on a near daily basis. I hear these things and must force myself not to slip into listening, else I might begin to interpret the child’s cries as one of serious distress, that buzzing as the warm-up for a violent outburst.


Yes, there is a distinct difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is passive. Listening is active. Both can be informative.