ten little indians (the books)

Page Thirty-one…    last page of website outline

I never had any intention to be writing on the internet. 2008 changed all that. Very drastic events in my life drove me to this public form of writing, and to public hopes that I could find someone to help me and my animals. I’d heard so much about everything that could be found and accomplished on the internet. The internet had been portrayed to me as a powerful place where even the poor could find help.

But it didn’t work that way for me. I didn’t find what I was looking for. And yet I kept on doggedly writing. Writing as a way to fill up the empty hours where my life used to be. Writing to keep from screaming. Writing to dump somewhere each day all the anger, sadness, and resentment that had been created by the year 2008. The hours and days are still empty. My life as I knew it for fifty-five years is still gone, and will stay gone. The grief, anger and emptiness still need to find a vehicle for expression, and writing is still that vehicle.

So I’m shaping a lot of this writing into small books, largely in the vignette. The vignettes are either newly written or taken straight out of blogs. I like the vignette style of autobiography, both as reader and as writer.  Two of the books, Lifelines and Mugsy’s Book, are written in the usual linear narrative. This page provides the links to these books-in-progress, as well as to the poetry blogs. Page One provides links to all books and blogs.

When I was a kid, we used to sing the Ten Little Indians song. Ten little written Indians, typed onto virtual pages in virtual colors by an actual human being with some Sioux blood on her mother’s side.  A little part-Indian driven to this phantom form of writing by the destruction of a life.

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1.     spite and malice    the details of  the landlady, the mafia-chick, the illegal eviction and destruction of the animals; the protection matthew told me about, and matthew himself.

                                                                                                  www.nightdays.wordpress.com 

       ii. ~ iii.  ~  iiii.  ~ 1.  ~  2.  ~  3.  ~  4.  ~  5.  ~  6.  ~  7.  ~  8.  ~  9.  ~  10.  ~  11.  ~  12.  ~  13.  ~  14.  ~  15.  ~  16.  ~  17.  ~  18.  ~  19.  ~  20.   ~

 

 

2.   all my stars   the animals of my life from 1953 — 2006

 ~~~~~~~~~~~   www.allmystars.wordpress.com    ~~~~~   41.  ~~  42.  ~~  43.  ~~ 45.  ~x~  47.  ~~  48.  ~~  49.

 

3.   stolen stars      the fourteen animals stolen in 2008

        www.stolenstars.wordpress.com   —   (2.  ~  3.   ~  3b. ~  4.  ~  5.  ~  6.  ~  7.  ~  8.  ~  9.  ~  10.  ~  11.  ~  12.)

 

 

4.   being toward death    who I was before the destruction of my life in 2008, and who I am since then

      i.  ~   ii.iii.  ~  1.  ~  2.  ~  3.  ~  4.  ~  5.  ~  6.  ~  7.  ~  8.

 

 

5.   lifelines    history from childhood on

                        www.braonny.wordpress.com

 

 

 

6.    mugsy’s book   mugsy the dog with issues

                              mugsysbook

 

 

7.   don’t ask    satire vignettes on a range of subjects

                      www.sehnen2.wordpress.com

 

 

8.   poison and snowflake trees    about turners falls, in massachusetts

                 www.turnersfalls.wordpress.com     

 

 

9.   neverending solitaire   my own experience with asperger’s syndrome

            www.autisism.wordpress.com   (deliberately misspelled)

 

10.  kaikenlainen    thoughts on the death of a brother

               www.kaikenlainen.wordpress.com

 

{*}     The ongoing micro-saga of bill   ~~~~    wandering after bill

{*}      Strictly poetry  ~~~~  scealta liatha  ~~~~  shadowpoems

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 (blank books at www.gaelsong.com)

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new posts

Page Twenty-six, website outline

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Dec 15 (2008)  ~~  Dec 15

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Dec 8  (2009) ~~  Dec 22   ~~  Dec 24  ~~  Dec 24  ~~  Dec 30  ~~  Dec 30  ~~  Dec 30

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Dec (2010) ~~  Dec 1  ~~  Dec 1  ~~   Dec 2  ~~  Mugsy  ~~  Dec ~~  Dec 4  ~~  Dec 5  ~~  Dec 6  ~~  Dec 6  ~~  Dec 7  ~~  Dec 7  ~~  Dec ~~  Dec 8  ~~  Dec 9  ~~  Dec 9  ~~  Dec 10  ~~  Dec 12  ~~  Dec 14  ~~  Dec 15 ~~  Dec 15  ~~  Dec 16  ~~  Dec 16 ~~  Dec 16  ~~  Dec 17  ~~  Dec 19  ~~  Dec 21  ~~  Dec 21  ~~  Dec 22  ~~  Dec 26  ~~  Dec 27  ~  Dec 28 is at www.nemo-mentalhell.blogspot.com  ~~  Dec 28  ~~  Dec 31 ~~}

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 Dec 3  (2011) ~~  Dec 3  ~~  Dec 3  ~~  Dec 4  ~~  Dec 4  ~~  Dec ~~  Dec 6  ~~  Dec 7  ~~  Dec 10  ~~  Dec 11  ~~ Dec 12  ~~  Dec 12  ~~  Dec 17  ~~  Dec 18  ~~  Dec 18  ~~  Dec 19  ~~  Dec 19  ~~  Dec 29  ~~  Dec 29  ~~  Dec 31
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Dec 15 (2013)
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2016 ~~~~~ 

jan 4 ~~ jan 5 ~~ jan 6 ~~ jan 18 ~~ jan 20 ~~ jan 20 ~~ jan 22~~ jan 22 ~~ jan 27

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((())) — a list of the books-in-progress is here
 
 
 
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the pygmies keep dancing

Page Twenty-three, website outline                                                   

The Pygmies Keep Dancing is the name of the only chance I ever had at some success — success as neurotypical human society defines it; success as those who believe that you are nothing if you don’t earn money define it (but not as I define it). It’s the name of a novel I wrote in 1994 and 95, when I was 41 and 42 years old. It’s a largely silly book, and was intended to be so. Midlife crisis? Sit down and write a silly book? I don’t know.   

I do know, though, that those who knew me took it for granted that if anne nakis ever wrote a novel, it would be serious and literary and probably too la-di-da for anyone I knew to want to read. That’s what I myself thought. So it surprised me as much as it did anyone else that when finally I sat down to write a novel, it turned out to be a silly one.

About six months into it, I sent the first five chapters out to some agents, and heard back from two of them (one in New York, one in Toronto) that they’d like to see the book when it was finished. I was as baffled as I was delighted: What do they want with this silly book?                                                                                                                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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There were those who thought the book was funny, including a brother of mine and a friend. And judging by the way the Toronto editor went on for a paragraph about the experience he had marketing humor, I guess he thought it was funny too. I didn’t quite know what to make of all this funny. I myself regarded the book as primarily an allegory on the human subconscious, set in a very fanciful future, and only secondarily somewhat humorous. But I kept my mouth shut. If others saw it as first and foremost a funny book, and had interest in reading it only because of what they saw as humor, then I wasn’t going to debate it. The humor I used I saw as sardonic at times, tongue firmly in cheek at others. Serious humor, to use an oxymoron, but I kept keeping my mouth shut.

I rushed to get the thing finished, knowing that rushing was probably not a good idea, but I couldn’t stop myself. Excitement was only part of it. The other part was a lifetime of experience watching neurotypicals change their minds from week to week, if not from day to day. I had always found people so inconstant that, although both agents had told me to take my time and send the manuscript along when it was finished, I didn’t believe them. I feared that if I took too long, and then sent the book off, I’d get a letter back saying: Who the hell are you? I never asked to see your book. I had started it in mid-May of 1994, and mailed it out on 3 May 1995. I was forty-two years old.

May 3 had been chosen as mailing day at least a month in advance, so that I would have a deadline to work for and thus keep myself on task. But the damnable randomness of living decided to rear its ugly head on that particular day, and three hours before I was planning to be in the post office putting my first novel into the mail, one of my cats was killed by a human driving a car. The sudden death, the sadness, nearly kept me from doing the mailing. I honestly don’t know exactly how or why I went on with it, considering how devastated I was. To this day I don’t understand how I could go through with it. Except for the time I was xeroxing the last few chapters, and then doing the mailing in the P.O., the rest of that day and night were spent in a blur of sadness.

I’d wanted to go with the Toronto agency, since it was the Canadian branch of a very big amerikan agency, and I figured that richer and bigger and possible distribution in Great Britain was better. But, like so many things, it came down to money. Big agent charged a hefty fee (for me) to read the manuscript, and the smaller agency in New York charged nothing. New York it was. In June I got an answer: the manuscript needed to be edited, after which she would read it again. A good argument against rushing. She gave me the name of an editor, I talked to him, didn’t like him one wee bit, and his fee was ridiculous. A few months later I found another editor on Cape Cod who would do it for half the New York guy’s price, and my mother gave me the money. Randomness struck again: some emergency or other happened, maybe with the car, and the editor money got spent. After all of this, I was completely depressed and discouraged concerning the book. By the end of 1995, the manuscript was planted on a shelf and never looked at again.

Jump ahead two years, to the fall of 1997. My depression over the book has begun to lift, and I find myself interested in it again. I am living back with my parents in a miasma of mental illness and psychological abuse, for both me and my father, that I never imagined would be waiting for me when I arrived. I decide to edit the book myself, and see this project as one way I can attempt to stay grounded in something solid amidst psychological chaos all around me. The book and the animals are my compasses.

But even that went south. My mother became so jealous of any time I spent writing, and any time I spent gardening, or being with my animals and her animals, that she would just ratchet up the bullying. I gave up, telling myself that when my situation got better, I’d go back to the book.

My situation never did get better, but only worse with every passing year. My mother’s changing a certain legal document and taking from me my future rights to the family home thrust me back out into the rental market with a lot of animals, and no more rent subsidy. Every year the finances were harder, the physical illnesses got worse, as did depression, anxiety and PTSD. Each landlord was more mentally unbalanced than the one before, with only one exception. From 1999 to 2003 there were many animal deaths, as happens when you have a large family, as well as the deaths of my father, his brother, my nephew and my housemate. All the fiction I had ever got started on — the finished novel, other unfinished ones, short stories and plays, got packed into a big plastic bin, never to be looked at again. That very bin is moldering now in a storage unit for over three years, and if I ever see it again, will I even open it? I don’t know. Since the stealing of my animals, the killing of them, the tossing me onto the streets in my fifties, I have only been able to write truth: journals, memoir, and much less poetry than I ever wrote before.

The only inner force that tries to compel me to promise to get at the novel again is one that comes strictly from the heart. I consider the novel to belong to the animals who watched me write it, just as much as it belongs to me. One cat in particular sat or lay beside the word processor nearly every time I sat down to work on the book, as if she were supervising the work. She died five months into the writing, and ever after that the time spent at the word processor was poorer, emptier. In honor of this cat, and of all the others who shared my life while I wrote, I’d like to go back to the novel someday. But it doesn’t look good at the moment.

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jump ahead again, to august 2012. manuscript found. pygmies has begun. read…    the pygmies

read…    Mugsy’s book…    Scealta liatha

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turners falls, in massachusetts

Page Twenty-one, website outline

                        “Human beings are a lot meaner and stupider
                                     than they think they are.”
                                           ~~~   Kurt Vonnegut
                                                     Timequake (I think)
 
 
                       Bite the hand before it feeds you;
                       feeds you poison, feeds you shame.
                       Bite the hand before it beats you,
                       beats you to a bloodless name.
                                                                       

 

Two days ago I was talking to a woman who said this, just about verbatim: I came here three years ago when I fled my ex-husband, and my life has done nothing but go downhill since I’ve been here. I’m doing everything I can to get out.

And I did that too. For years. After I’d been in this town about the same amount of time that she has, I wanted out. And I tried for years to get out. Finally, in 1997, I escaped back to my original town in eastern Mass, and found utter mental chaos going on in my family home. So again I tried with diligence to find another place to live, but one out there. To stay in eastern Mass and never cross route 128 again. But it didn’t work. After thirteen months, my daughter found me a place in Turners Falls that I could afford and would accept my animals, so that after only a brief escape, I was back. Back with a very heavy heart in many ways.

In 1992, when I’d been here for seven years, I had the idea that I’d write a book about this place with the title Poison and Snowflake Trees. I even began work on this book, but that particular word processor disk is one of the many, many objects that other people have deprived me of since 1998. For me that title completely grips the painful dichotomy that has always been life in Turners for me: the undeniable, mesmerizing beauty of the nature; and the equally undeniable, tenacious ignorance and meanness of the people. Poison for the humans, snowflake trees for the nature.  All these years later, I’m starting that book again, structuring it as a collection of vignettes that are the blog posts I’ve been writing about Turners for close to three years now, together with new writing.

This year’s crop (2010)              

                                                                         

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And now it’s April 26, and the snowflake trees have sprouted to six inches high along the canal. The cherry trees (the center of Turners is full of them) and the lilacs are blooming. The ducks want people to feed them. There’s a black squirrel living near the library. The Turners spring I know so well is in its happy throes. 

I walk in places where my animals and I used to live, where we used to walk, where we were so happy in each other’s company and so fascinated with every molecule of nature around us. I walk,cry and remember. And if the nature that we loved together for nearly twenty-two years is still here, still all around me as I walk and cry, well so is the poison. It emanates from every human body that I pass; it is in the words from their mouths; it is in their behavior.

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The flowers on this page: I can just hear the wheels turning:  There’s no such thing as snowflake trees. This broad’s really nuts. No, as far as I know, there is no such thing as snowflake trees. The common name for this plant is meadow rue, but when I found them I didn’t know this. It would be two or three years before I would find out the plant’s actual name, and in the meantime  — with my Asperger’s penchant for naming people and things in ways that fit them better than their real names — I called them snowflake trees. I’ve been naming things my own names for years.

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The snowflake trees and butterfly flowers (also known as milkweed) are blooming now; now being June 16. Nothing of the snowflake flower’s grace and nothing of the sweetness of the not-much-to-look-at milkweed flower can stem the human toxicity here. I’ve always wished that it could. That the sweetness of lilac scent and laurel scent, milkweed and rose could somehow alter the wormy psyches of these people. That the soft mist rising from canal and river could wash the nastiness out of them. But such has never happened, and I don’t suppose it ever will.

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Something I sometimes do these days: squiggling a mouse around a table to use the Windows Paint. I see this one as an abstract rendition of the anxiety,anger and dislike I feel among the people of this town.

                                                                Junktown 2010

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read…  Braonwandering…    Don’t ask

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a human family

Page Seventeen, website outline

Yes, I have, technically speaking, a family comprised of human beings. But I have them only in a biological sense. I don’t have them physically or emotionally or geographically.

In 1997, the seeds of disaster that had always existed in my human family (which I’d hoped would never sprout, never take root), grew into things of ugliness that it would take me a very long time to describe. Suffice it to say, for now, that due to venom in some, indifference in others, and naked self-centeredness in others, there has been since 1999 no human family for me in matters both practical and emotional. I was cut loose to twist in the wind, and have been twisting ever since.

In the twenty-three months since I’ve not had an apartment, I’ve lived in rented rooms, shelters, hospitals, respite facilities, a park — and not once has even one member of this human so-called family come to Franklin County in Massachusetts to see if they could help me. In April of 2009 I asked a cousin and a sibling if I could come and stay with them, and no answers were ever given, meaning the answers were No.

I can’t think of one essential thing about myself that wasn’t criticized or laughed at in my family (even if only behind my back, as if I were too dumb to catch on), and also in the world at large. My bookiness and tendency to isolate; my infrequent smiling; my feelings for animals; my anxiety disorder; my depressions; even my brains and education were used to bludgeon me. Anything at all about Anne was always fair game. Still is. I had a greater need to feel accepted by family than most people do, perhaps, because I found the larger world outside the home so difficult, as many people with Asperger’s do. And the more I was singled out for laughter or bitching or general criticism, the more scared I became that there was nowhere where I was “at home.”

And yet, there are many good things to be said about my upbringng too, and about the people who are related to me. It’s these good things, and the need I’ve always had to have family (both animal and human), that contributed to my constant efforts to stay connected with my parents, in spite of everything that hurt (until extreme events in 1998 broke off communication for good). My great difficulty managing in the larger world beyond  the family has played a role in increasing depression, PTSD, and anxiety since losing the people from whom I came.

Very unfortunately, for all of us I think, not just for me, those good things and good qualities that are part of my relatives didn’t win out over selfishness, jealousy, control-freakism, and other emotions that would not be managed.

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read…  Lifelines…   Neverending solitaire   (books in progress)

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

atheism

Page Nine, website outline

                      “And you hate religion?”
      “It just seems juvenile, a child’s conception of reality.
       I’m always a little surprised when I find reasonably
       intelligent people who haven’t outgrown it.”
 
                   Rebecca Goldstein
                   The Mind-Body Problem
 
 
 

Yes, I’m an atheist, and have been for many years, and have no intention to change that.

I’m an atheist. When I say that to some people, they get this truly mean-spirited look on their faces. The same look I get from some people when I say “I have 14 animals,” or “I have 25 animals.” A look both irritated and appalled, as if I’d just said “I burn babies in my backyard.” Having a lot of animals and being an atheist, these are apparently completely reprehensible things: like burning babies in the backyard.

There are also people who like to say to you, “There are no atheists in the trenches.” This is an old saw that comes from wartime. When you are in the trenches and being fired upon, you cry out to god. Well, I’ve been in the trenches. The trenches of the psychological war that has been my life, and since I became an atheist at the age of 23, I have never once cried out for  a god when I was suffering so much that I didn’t think I could take another step. I have, however, cried out for human companionship and empathy, and have usually only received it in very parsimonious fashion, if I received it at all.

And there are the endless attempts by Christians to convert me. Christians both Catholic and Protestant cannot simply accept me as an atheist: they must try to bring me back to god. Since I was raised a Baptist, duly saved and born again and baptized by immersion, they see me as simply having wandered from god, from my true and legitimate state of christianity, and I only need to wander back. Back to the one place they see as right and good. The one place where they can see me as right and good. Why can’t they just leave me alone, leave me my own beliefs, and take me as an atheist. I don’t try to convert them to my way of belief. Why are christians so bloody arrogant that they take it as their right to nag me and plaque me over god.

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read…  Mishibone Neverending solitaire

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 all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 

languages

Page Eight, website outline

Foreign languages were an enormous interest in my life from 4th grade (when they started us on French lessons) to age 55, when my own life was obliterated.  And in all those years between age 9 and age 55, I studied, both formally and informally, ten or more languages. When I tell this to people, they immediately want to know do I speak all those languages. No, I don’t. And that wasn’t my intent, except in the case of German, which I do speak. All of the others were studied mainly because I was a grammar nut. I liked to learn enough about a language to have a good idea of how its grammar functions, how its sound system works, and learn a certain amount of vocabulary. So that I could read a bit, learn songs in that language and understand them, things like that. Not so that I could take a plane to whatever country and start babbling away.

Prior to the eviction two years ago, I had it in mind that before I was dead or senile I’d like to learn something about Finnish and the Greenlandic languages. I didn’t move fast enough on this, and the eviction happened, and with it the end of most of my interest in anything at all. While I was living outdoors for two months in 2008, I did get a Finnish book from the library and took what was my first look ever at that language and how it works. The verb system was terrifying. I must be getting more chicken in terms of grammar as I get older because I’ve certainly met cantankerous verb systems before (the Irish one is a good example), but that Finnish one made me say: well my life as I knew it is over anyway, and my interests have pretty much been beaten out of me, so I don’t ever have to make myself look at this verb system again. And so far I haven’t.

So there’s a hodge-podge of languages sprinkled about in my blogs. I don’t know anything about translating with a computer, whether one needs to know what the language is before translating, or what. And it doesn’t matter to me. The languages are there on the page for me, because of their significance to the life that’s gone. Because sometimes I want a phrase, when I read it, to sound and to look a certain way.

I have indeed acquired several books in recent months for languages that I only just started to learn years ago (Dutch, Danish, Norwegian), and thought I might now go further. No use. It’s as doomed as reading is, as doomed as listening to music, as ripped into thin shreds that blow around in the wind as so many other parts of me are since three women let loose their fierce mental illnesses on me and my poor animals.                                                                                                           

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If you’re a bit of a language-nut too:

French 1.  ~~    Flemish/Dutch 1.  ~~    Latin 1.

German 1., 2.   ~~   Greek  ~~  Irish 1.   Irish 2.  ~~  Welsh

Or you can go to an English post that has little wanderings in some other tongues, right here.

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read…  Being toward death…   Sehnen

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

poetry, and other arts

Page Seven, website outline

what I consider to have been my own life, my real life, ended on 12 march 2008. this page is a sort of sampler of things I was intensely interested in during the first fifty-five years before that happened, things that are now nearly completely gone from my days, as the result of trauma.  an archive of a lost way of life, lost pieces of myself. for myself primarily, because who else cares about  the person I was before the assault of some aggressive, disturbed and unprincipled people.

poetry

writing poetry began at age nine, and reading it even earlier than that. I continued to write poetry all my life, but have written (as of 2010) only one poem since the summer of 2008 (One New Try). during the summer of 2008, the first summer after my life as I knew it was destroyed, I wrote a collection titled Naked in Cold Space, in the very new and raw pain of what had been done to me and my animals. a few links to some of those poems are still here, waiting to be moved into shadowpoems.

#23 ~~   #24 ~~  #25

#26  ~~  #27  ~~   #28 ~~   #29
 
Naked in Cold Space has never been re-done, which is what you’re supposed to do with your first draft of a poem: re-do it until you consider it to be as perfect as you can make it. but that will never happen with these poems. I put them onto the internet in 2008 just as I had written them in the health food store and bart’s cafe and cafe koko and wherever else. I wrote them by hand in a little notebook, and then fled greenfield in august of 2008 before all the poems had been copied into my blogs. when I have an apartment, I hope to get that little notebook back from a woman’s barn. then the rest of the poems can be added, and added just as they were written in 2008. the naggy, ex-poet part of me knows I could make them technically, artistically better if I re-worked them. but the mother in me, the broken mother’s heart that wrote those poems by hand when the stealing of my family was a very recent event, wants to leave them in their original state. the broken mother’s heart wins out.
 
poems and lyrics before November of 2010 are at  shadowpoems. newer poetry is at  scealta liatha.

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sometimes I quote other people’s poetry, if you care to see any of that:

yeats 1. ~~   Frost 1. ~~ Frost 2. ~~   Grace Paley ~~  Kenneth Patchen 
Louise Bogan 1. ~~  Bogan 2.
Opal Whiteley ~~  Anonymous 1. ~~  McLean
 
 
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between 1994 and 1997, I went on a big songwriting binge. lyrics to some of them are here now:  here for lyrics to Brave Hearts.  ~~   Dying Ribbons ~~  L’Abandonnée ~~  Serenade ~~  Winter
 
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I had other interests, too, during my own life. Music, art, animals (which I can’t emphasize enough), literature, philosophy. Most of that is repugnant to me now, too painful. Most of it I can no longer approach, since the destruction of life as I knew it nearly two years ago. But in the early months of my blogging, I still touched on these subjects, because, though my animals and I were separated, I believed strongly that the DMH would find us an apartment and reunite some of us (and in fact I’ve been told by someone in a position to know that there was a plan to do so). Later, after Matthew told me that I was being protected by himself and his fellow feds, I believed that they would locate me somewhere (as they do with most protected people) and give back some of my family. I told Matthew in no uncertain terms that I wanted his “people” to give me this home and protect me in a humane way. He never once said that relocating for protection was not going to happen for me. So I did many months of waiting, and believing, before I gave up on this home and gave up on all of my animals as lost. Since that time, since that giving up, that realization of total loss, I cannot pursue most of the interests that had exhilarated me for decades.

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photography

This was another serious interest I had, from about 1992 to 2008.

I took this fairy in 2007, set it up as a still-life. I used a pewter figurine and some chunks of amethyst and quartz crystals placed on the top of the lower window frame. Then I waited for the cloud to move into position behind the fairy.

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 An ice storm in 1995.

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An oak tree from 2004

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Sunset Moon, 2007.

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A bog in the woods where I walked my dogs before the eviction. Mishi loved to lie down and wallow in bogs, and this was his favorite in that woods. In the spring the bottom of it was mud as black as night. The blacker the mud was, the better he liked it.

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More storms, this one in 1996.

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Another sunset, from just a few days before the sheriff’s deputy came to put us out in March of 2008. I deliberately shot it through a window screen because sometimes I like that somewhat blurry, somewhat grainy look.

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It’s obvious I don’t use a digital camera — can’t afford it. To certain eyes it will also be obvious that I don’t even use a manual camera (the usual vehicle for art photography, journalism, etc.). Same reason: can’t afford it. But beyond the reason of finances, I have another ground for using an automatic, affordable camera and affordable film for my art photos: I resent the elitism inherent in the notion that beautiful, artistic pictures can’t be taken with an ordinary automatic camera. Yes, they lack certain features that a manual or a digital shot will have, but does that make them less valid as art? In other genres of visual art, anything goes. And no one form is more valid as art than another. So why this snottiness in photography? On a certain level, I’m glad that my finances have always forced me to use an automatic camera, because I’ve been forced at the same time to do what I can to rebel against the photography status quo, however unapplauded that rebellion may be.

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philosophy

Once I was done with universities for good, I kept telling myself I was going to do some self-study of philosophy. Years went by before I actually started to do this, and unfortunately I hadn’t been doing it long when everything I knew as my life was taken from me. I’ve even bought some more books on the subject in recent months, but as I’m usually incapable of reading a book anymore, there they sit.

While I still had my animals and an apartment and my own life, I decided to dive in at the deep end and read Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I even considered trying to get a copy in German, but in the end didn’t. I’d heard many times how abstruse and difficult Kant is, so I settled on English. Well, there were many times when it didn’t seem at all like English I was reading, but it was. Once in a while I would grasp a paragraph. I used the whole six weeks the library allowed me to get through a few chapters. It was arduous in the extreme. Later I heard various philosophy professors on the radio saying that they didn’t understand all of Kant, and that in fact nobody did, and nobody ever had. That made me feel a little better, because I’m by no means an intellectual lightweight, but that Kant was agony. Well, apparently he’s agony for everyone.

I’m very taken with a good deal of Socrates’ thought, and I’m equally taken with Heidegger’s idea of being toward death. It’s what I was doing all my life, only I didn’t know it was a bona fide philosophy until I read about Heidegger’s giving this idea this name. I had death hanging over my head for a long time, at least according to my doctors, and it started when I was only 2 or 3 years old. That must have been when I made an amorphous, toddler’s decision to try to spend the time I had doing things that had meaning and purpose for me. And the greatest sense of meaning and purpose and being toward my inevitable death was always, for me, living with and taking care of my families of animals.

From 1994 to about 2005, I read a great deal of what Cathcart and Klein (in their book Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar) call “airhead” philosophy. In different words, new age philosophy. In the end I became forced to agree with C and K to about 80%: I’ve decided that about 80% of new-age philosophy is airhead philosophy indeed, but I do still find about 20% of it valid to me. I have cherry-picked from the new age, taking for myself the bits that have meaning for me and throwing away the rest. Sam Harris would castigate me for this, as he’s very negative on the subject of cherry-picking (I’ve cherry-picked from him too), but I don’t share his antipathy. I think we spend our whole lives cherry-picking, in many different areas of living. Selecting from a certain batch or set or book or whatever, that which has appeal for us as individuals, and leaving the rest on the ground, so to speak. One of the things our brains are designed to do is to make selections, and this we do; and while I abhor a lot of the selections that a lot of people make, the basic tendency of the brain to select isn’t the problem. I probably have the opposite antipathy to Sam Harris’: I’m very much against swallowing anything whole: whether it’s a philosophy or a dogma or a manifesto or a constitution, whatever. I find the idea of swallowing anything like that whole repugnant, and I’m extremely bored by, agitated by, and wary of people who do that kind of swallowing.

read…  Being toward death

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drawing

Another interest that began in childhood. But I always had a rather fickle reaction to my desire to draw: I’d do it for a few months and then leave it alone for years. The last time I started again after a long hiatus was in 2002, and stayed with it with more regularity until the eviction in 2008.

Pheromones

This is the last drawing I ever did on a computer, from October 2008 when I was living outside in Turners Falls. I hadn’t done more than four other computer drawings before this one, and the others are locked in my storage unit, perhaps never to be seen again. The computer art can be fun to do, in its sterile techno way, but for me, it would never have replaced getting messy with inks, paints and such-like.

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Another abstract manifestation of anxiety, drawn with a mouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agoraphobia 2010

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music

While listening to music went on without interruption until I was 55, my own actual hands-on work with music (writing it, playing it, singing) was another thing with which I was always pretty fickle.

Ah, well, my singing career. I say that sardonically, the way I say many things. I say it sardonically, while at the same time wishing that singing could have been something other than a self-jeering footnote in my life. But that just wasn’t going to ever happen.

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The point, for me, in writing about and showing a little about the interests I had in addition to animals is to underscore how very much has been lost as the result of the behavior of a group of individuals in 2007 and 2008. To emphasize how much soul-damage and heart-damage it’s possible for cruelty and/or indifference and/or incompetence to inflict.

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asperger’s syndrome

Page Three, website outline                                                                               

 

                             

                      “Asperger’s Syndrome is not a mental illness, and it’s
                       not a disease. It is a neurological condition that sets
                       us apart from most of the people on the planet in both
                       good and bad ways.”
                                                             ~~~  michael john carley
                                                                  asperger’s from the inside out     

I began hearing stories about Asperger’s on public radio in 2004. When I heard the first story, I felt it explained a great deal about both me and the way people had treated me in my life. With that first story, I was pretty sure I had it. There were many more stories about it on the radio over the next four years, and I only became more convinced that I was an Asperger’s person.

In the last two years I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject, and I remain convinced. I did have a diagnosis, but that diagnosis was arrived at in a way that can only be called bizarre, and the result reported to me by a person who is not any kind of clinician  (this is covered in more detail on the blogs). In any case, I believed this person when he told me I have Asperger’s, because I didn’t have much doubt of it anyway. But I was 55 when I got this diagnosis, and am 57 now. Very late in life to find out you have a disorder that has affected, very negatively, your whole life.

Asperger’s is a condition on what is called the Autism Spectrum, and is the mildest form of autism. Like all forms of autism, it can vary greatly from person to person, both in severity and in its symptoms.

In other posts on my journals I’ve quoted from Donna Williams’ book, Nobody Nowhere, and it’s appropriate to do so again. So much of what she describes in that book describes some of my own behaviors and attitudes, fits so perfectly with who I am and how I react. So, to that end:

    ” … simple things left such a long-term impact .” ~~ “… a world I found foreign and unreachable.” ~~  “Although I was intelligent, I seemed to lack sense.”  And quoting something said to her by one of her friends: ” ‘ One day you were talking to me; the next day it was as though we’d never been friends.’ ” These are reactions and behaviors I still have. In fact, when my post-traumatic stress disorder began to get much worse in my forties, so did my Asperger’s symptoms, which had previously been rather mild compared to a lot a of people with the syndrome.

Smiling

This has been a tremendous problem my entire life, and I’ve been castigated for it for 57 years now, by a great huge number of neurotypical control-freaks (sometimes I wonder if all  neurotypicals are control-freaks). I wrote a post about it once on an Asperger’s website (wrongplanet) and hoped that I would get some feedback from the other bloggers concerning their own difficulties with smiling, if they had them. But as I got no feedback, I have nothing to report about other Aspies and smiling. In my reading, however, I’ve come across more than once the fact that being not much prone to smiling is almost a defining characteristic of Asperger’s.

Not only am I not much prone to smiling myself, but I have very negative reactions to other people’s smiling. I very seldom see a smile, whether it’s given to me or to someone else, that appears sincere. Most of the smiling I see going on around me looks (to my eyes) either 1. idiotic  or 2. insane. I cannot take it seriously, cannot take it as genuine. And a little smiling news item that just happened: yesterday afternoon the insane landlady who illegally evicted me drove by me with one of her unusually psychotic, ugly rictus grins on her face. I would think (what about you?) that if she were a person with even an iota of conscience, that she would have enough of it to drive by me, a person she willfully and knowingly destroyed, with, if not a somber face, or a remorseful one, at least a straight face. You really should have seen this madwoman, victorious, sick antic she twisted her mouth into.

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read…   Mishibone…   Neverending solitaire

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

the department of mental health

Page Two, website outline

In Massachusetts, the Department of Mental Health is a state-wide, state-run, state-botched, lumbering and uncaring bureaucracy. I wish I had known that in January of 2007.

It was to this (I now know) indolent and incompetent juggernaut that I appealed when I was being illegally evicted from my apartment.                                                                                                        

They had an entire year to find me a home where I could afford the rent and keep at least some of my 14 animals. They did almost nothing to that end. They did, however, do other things behind my back, some of which have taken a long time to find out. Some I will never find out. They, and their contract agency, Community Support Services, lied to me, told lies about me, and presided over the destruction of my life and a tremendous worsening of my depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. At 55, with these issues as well as physical health issues, they let me lose all of my animals, who were literally my reason for living, and be put onto the streets homeless. I remain without an apartment of my own nearly two years later. I do not maintain that this wretched failure of service was committed to stick it to me, to pay me back for reporting the DMH to Governor Patrick’s office and to their overseeing body, Health and Human Services. There may have been an element of revenge in it, but I still believe that the greatest reason for the downright unconscionable “service” I got from the DMH and CSS was laziness. These state employees are shockingly lazy, and to find a place with a low rent where some of my animals would be allowed was something they just didn’t want to bestir themselves to do because it would have taken some real effort. Their idea of helping someone find an apartment is to give you a phone number for a housing project. Projects do not allow more than one animal, so that was a solution that was not going to be right for me. These DMH cretins have lists of landlords in the community, and work with these landlords periodically. But to go through these lists making phone calls, explaining about the psychological meaning of my animals, and trying to find someone who would let me keep about half of them would have taken time and effort. The same time and effort they spent arranging for places for my animals to be hidden and later killed.

The conduct of the Department of Mental Health both shocked and appalled me, as I naively believed that because their purpose is to help, that they would help. I further naively expected that I wouldn’t be lied to by these people who were supposed to help me, nor that they would do things behind my back that they had no authorization from me to do.

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It’s now April 2010, and I’ve written in other places that on April 1 I moved into what can loosely be called a rental unit, but never an apartment. About the size of a ponystall, it is tantamount to living in a small cell that has a huge window and a bathroom to glorify it a bit. After two years and two weeks of living in a technical state of homelessness, when I had no rental unit of my own, thanks to the DMH and CSS,what I get is a cell with a few embellishments. And I’m claustrophobic.

I cannot say enough bad about this inhumane way of housing poor people, which I only applied for because it was the fastest way to get what is called a movable section 8, a rent subsidy which is not tied to the project you live in, but which you can use in any apartment where the landlord will accept it. You are not condemned to project living for the rest of your life.

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read…  Spite and malice…     Mental hell

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 

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