Live fast ’cause it won’t last. – Chris Stein & Debbie Harry
In Monday’s column “Crystal-Gazing” I wrote, “I don’t think it’s likely I’ll be around to see [the mid 2030s], but many of you will be.” Several readers asked me why I believed I wouldn’t make it to that point; after all, I’d only have to live to 70, and the average white American woman born in the 1960s lives to about 75. Now, I could point out that statistically, my chance of dying before 70 is roughly equal to my chance of living past 80, but that wouldn’t quite be true; a lot of the reason the life expectancy keeps increasing is that infant mortality keeps decreasing, so anyone who survives childhood isn’t statistically likely to live as much longer than her ancestors as it might appear just from looking at those life expectancy figures. Also, most of the female members of my family live into their ’80s, even if the male ones have an odd tendency to die under strange and often newsworthy circumstances (ask me about that if we ever get drunk together). That having been said, a fair number of relatives of both sexes have contracted cancer or more-exotic terminal diseases, some of them at early ages (like the maternal uncle who died of leukemia in his late teens), and I’ve had several close brushes with sudden death (two of them of the “hushed-nurse-saying-I-shouldn’t-be-alive” variety), so I don’t think my familial or personal life expectancy is quite as high as that of the general population.
And thereby hangs the tale. As I’ve stated before, I have absolutely no intention of ever enduring chemotherapy; if I develop cancer I’m going to seek out palliative care, put my affairs in order and let the disease take its course. I’ve seen more than my share of people I love spending their last days hooked to machines in sterile institutions, dying in infernal contraptions surrounded by shouting doctors and nurses pounding on their chests and shooting chemicals into their veins, or electrically shocking their soon-to-be-corpses, instead of expiring quietly in their own beds surrounded by loved ones. So I have a DNR order; if it’s respected I will die when I die rather than being dragged violently back across the threshold because mere humans have decided I’m not allowed to leave this plane yet. Furthermore, though the more strictly-rational among my readers may scoff, I’ve never claimed to be strictly rational; my several close brushes with death (and a frank assessment of the chances I have taken in the past and those I continue to take on a regular basis) have led me to feel that I’m living on borrowed time, and Death knows that “when he at last come to collect me it will be a rendezvous rather than a capture“. Death and I are old friends; he was gracious enough not to interrupt my work before it was done, and it’s the least I can do to return that favor when the time comes. He’s passed me by on several occasions when he probably should have taken me, and I’m not such a fool that I think he’s going to keep doing that indefinitely.
Nor would I want him to. I’ve clearly stated my philosophy on this subject many times, including in my fiction; it’s mortality which gives life meaning, and I think it’s a bit rude for those whose dance is done to keep hogging the floor rather than making “room for the new dancers who are always waiting for their turn.” And besides all of that, I’m far too independent to be able to enjoy a life of decrepitude and dependence, and far too vain to desire a life in which I’m no longer the object of desire. The song below has always been among the larger group of my favorites, and I don’t feel any differently about it at 50 than I did at 15; when I go, I want people to still be able to honestly talk about how beautiful I was. Shallow? Probably. Silly? Maybe. But my friends will tell you I rarely ask for anything, so I don’t think it’s greedy of me to ask that no one begrudge my wish to not have to endure years or decades of life after the things I like best about it are gone.
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Posted in Miscellaneous, Philosophy, tagged holidays on December 31, 2016 |
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The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it. ― Omar Khayyám, via Fitzgerald
And so we come to the end of another year, and good riddance. I recognize that 2016 may have been quite good to some of you, and fairly typical for others, but for me it was (as regular readers already know) one of the most difficult of my life. Oh, it can’t hold a candle to 1984, 1994 or 1995; 2015 was not far behind it, and 2008 could definitely give it a good run for its money. But while all those other years were bad for me personally, I’m not remotely alone in feeling that 2016 will go down in the annals of time as one of the crappiest and most ill-famed. How many brilliant and beloved musicians and other public figures did it take from us? How many political disasters did it host? How much tyranny did it preside over? To be sure, any year in the course of an empire’s collapse is going to have a full measure of awfulness, but this one had far more than its share. Still, at least we have the comfort of knowing that next year is unlikely to be as bad as this one was; even if it’s equally unpleasant in most ways, we’ll at least be blissfully free of the obscene vileness that Americans call a “presidential election”, which is something like an immense super-geyser from Hell that spews infectious disease-laden diarrhea over the entire planet. Of course, we’ll have to live with the aftermath of the last one…nah, I had better stop before I say something that will tempt Fate. In any case, my own life seems likely to be at least somewhat better; the stress has been slowly easing since August, and I’ve recently made some very difficult decisions that, though they’ll complicate my life in the short run, will simplify it (and, I hope, make it better) in the long run. So while it’s never possible to predict what a coming year will be like, 2016 showed its colors within the first few weeks; on that note, here’s a toast to the Moving Finger, and a plea for the next year of its writing to be less tear-provoking than its last.
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Posted in Holidays, Philosophy, tagged holidays on December 26, 2016 |
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Just a reminder of what this day is for: relaxing and sharing what you have with the less fortunate. And they needn’t be strangers. Happy Holidays, and Blessed Be.
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Posted in Perception, Philosophy, The Dark Side, Tyranny, tagged activism, agency denial, cops, holidays, law, violence vs. sex workers on December 17, 2016 |
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Until our society grows up and stops believing in ridiculous fairy tales about magical sex acts and ritual purity, sex workers will continue to be treated as disposable. And until the day that sex work is universally recognized as work and sex workers recognized as fully human, we must never stop reminding our society that it has our blood on its collective hands. – “December Seventeenth”
Last year, I wrote the words above just two days before keeping vigil with my sisters for our fallen; less than three weeks later the “authorities” in Seattle saw fit to destroy one of the means by which we try to prevent the violence which claims so many of us. It was a grim reminder of the deep evil of Prohibition, the sociopathic belief that a certain group has the right to dictate which kinds of peaceful, consensual behavior are acceptable within the confines of imaginary lines drawn on a map, and to send out armed thugs to destroy people’s lives in hope of “sending a message” that the so-called “authorities” don’t approve of the behavior in question. I want you to really think about the morality of that for a minute: these “authorities” know that they can’t ever stop consensual behaviors; everyone knows it. No form of prohibition in the history of the world has ever succeeded; the twisted monsters who pretend to “lead” us can’t even stop people in prisons from getting drugs, so how can they possibly succeed in stopping people who aren’t locked up from having sex with each other for the “wrong” reasons? It’s utterly, completely and absolutely impossible; nobody but a madman could possibly imagine it had even the slightest chance of succeeding in a million years. In fact, most prohibitionists willingly admit this, hence their oft-repeated statement that by inflicting savage violence on peaceful people they hope to “send a message” to others. But the morality of that motivation is even more profoundly sick, evil and vile than the idea that “authorities” have the right to control people’s lives in the first place; it is based in the notion that those “authorities” not only own every single person within their claimed jurisdiction, but that the worth of our lives to them are as that of pieces of paper, to be used to “send a message” upon at their whim. Under prohibition, my life, your life and the lives of everyone reading this are nothing but cheap, disposable and interchangeable objects with which “messages” can be sent to all the other pieces of human trash…and then crumpled up and thrown away. That is the real “message” sent by the very existence of prohibitionist laws: we own you and millions of others, and we can dispose of you at a whim. On this day, we remember the sex workers whose lives were destroyed by the State’s “message sending”, but the State sends similar “messages” using the bodies of others 365 days a year. Its agents shoot people down in the streets like mad dogs; it shovels them into holes in the ground like garbage. And though our bodies and those of our clients are the ones the State mostly uses to send its “message” against sex, that isn’t the only “message” it wants to send; it also wants to send “messages” against drugs and many other forms of pleasure; against free thought, free speech and free movement; against self-determination and self-ownership; and most of all against the dangerous idea that it does not own you and has no right to control your body, your mind or your possessions. And when its power-mad functionaries decide to emphasize a “message” that you happen to be a good example of, you will find yourself just as disposable to those functionaries as sex workers are to them now.
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Posted in Diary, Philosophy, tagged blogging on December 13, 2016 |
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Grace will be arriving for her Christmas visit a week from tomorrow, and I’m so excited! We’ve got a number of fun activities planned, including a small holiday party (she doesn’t really like big groups) and a Christmas feast. But the best part for me will be just getting to see her. As most of y’all know, my life has changed so dramatically over the past three years that I barely even recognize it any more; it’s hard to believe that it was ever as stable and predictable as my memory tells me it was. In some ways it’s better now, and in some ways worse; some aspects of my life now are so full of beauty and sweetness that they are worth all the pain and bitterness which accompanied them, yet at the same time there were aspects of beauty and sweetness in my former life which are now gone forever, never to return. But of all the things I’ve lost, there is none I feel so keenly as the loss of having Grace nearby all the time. Oh, we still text every day, and talk on the phone several times a week, and visit in person at least twice a year, but it’s not the same and never can be because I’m not the same. Change happens; seasons come and seasons go. And though it’s impossible to revisit a season once it has given way to the next, it is possible to sit with dear friends and reminisce, and to open our old books to gently touch the pressed flowers from which the perfume has long since faded.
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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1
Long-time readers know that I am a firm believer in the Ecclesiastean principle, that there is a proper season for everything and that everything should be in its season. And because of this, I get very vocal (let’s be honest: bitchy) when I see freaking stores putting out Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving; this year my patience was sorely tested by stores actually putting out Christmas shit BEFORE FUCKING HALLOWEEN. But because I’ve gone over this so many times before, I’m going to give y’all a break from my anti-gun-jumper, anti-“Black Friday” shrieking; those of you who haven’t read one of my day-after-Thanksgiving rants before (or those who have, but are feeling a tad masochistic today) can click on the links I’ve helpfully provided there for the last four such polemics. Instead, I’m going to give you three wonderful ways you can help St. Nick’s favorite people, whores and children, this holiday season.
1) SWOP Behind Bars has a new program that will help you bring some cheer to incarcerated sex workers. Seasonal depression affects many people, but for people locked up in prisons it must be almost unimaginably difficult to bear. Getting mail is one of the few bright spots in their days, and even if you don’t have the time or dedication for a full-time pen pal, SWOP is making it easy for you to send greeting cards to them:
You provide greeting cards and stamps…
…We provide names and mailing addresses of incarcerated sex workers…
…Your guests can send holiday greetings and messages of cheer and goodwill without taking on a full time pen pal!
Just click on this link and write a short email saying how many guests you expect at your party; SWOP “will send you the names of 3 incarcerated sex workers per guest to send a card to!” Such an easy, inexpensive way to show support, and if you want to do more you can send them books from their wishlists!
2) Every year at this time, I run a “Toys for Tots” special: from today until Friday, December 16th, anyone who books with me for at least an hour at my normal rate and brings new, unwrapped toys will receive an extra 10 minutes per toy (maximum 60 extra minutes for 6 toys). For just one short trip to a toy store or big-box store and a modest expenditure, you can double your time with me and bring joy to a needy child who might otherwise be cheated of a holiday gift. If you don’t want a date but would like to meet me, for $100 and three toys I will have an hour-long coffee meeting with you anywhere in the Seattle area. And if you don’t live near me, please consider donating a toy or money anyway!
3) The Salvation Army is a horrible, anti-sex organization which uses a large fraction of its income to fund anti-whore and anti-GLBT campaigns; though its bell-ringers are ubiquitous at this time of year, please DO NOT give them any money! Contribute to either of the worthy causes above, or if you prefer charities which help the homeless there are many more deserving than the Sallies, such as this one headed by my friend, Allena Gabosch. And if you want to be like a politician and “send a message”, you can print out the protest slip below and shove it into a kettle in lieu of real money.
Do any one, or all three! Because they’re all a lot more positive and life-affirming than trampling children to get 20% off a new blu-ray player or something.
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