Tuesday, 15 November 2016

People will die

I watched the American election results with growing horror. I’m Australian. We have compulsory voting which kind of solves voter suppression issues. You live here, you vote. If you don’t vote you get fined. If you want to spoil your ballot or donkey vote (number it from 1 down) go ahead. We also have preferential selection. Each party decides which other candidate their votes go to if they don’t have enough to win. To demonstrate, you could have made a third party protest vote to Johnson and then, if he gave his preferences to Clinton, they would count in her total.
We also gave the world Rupert Murdoch and for that I apologise.
As it is, Clinton won the popular vote and will probably not win the Presidency. The Electoral College system is unique. No one else in the world has copied this form of voting because historically, it’s based on slavery. I don’t know who the EC voters are, or how they are selected, but they hold too much power as anonymous citizens for this to be democratic. I have seen reports that some people are trying to lobby them. I fear that will not work. I don’t change my mind because someone shouts at me. Most other people don’t either.
I do not know how Americans could vote for a man endorsed by the KKK, the US Nazi party, by North Korea and Russia. Daesh celebrated when he won. He is not a successful businessman. He seems functionally illiterate. A man charged with the rape of a child and about to appear in court for fraud. Almost the only group he hadn’t offended was Jews and he did that in the last days of his campaign. I thought his daughter Ivanka married a Jew and practiced Judaism. I am horrified that whole counties voted for him.
I don’t get it. I don’t care if you think it was a protest vote against the establishment. From the outside, it looked like an easy choice: reason vs madness.
My kids found me sobbing at my keyboard and all I could say was, ‘people will die’.
It has already started. My twitter stream is full of reports of people who with this last straw have decided they can’t carry any more. They suicide because they are gay, or trans, or they feel their health bill will be a burden on their families. Then I am trying to comfort people because trolls tell them they made up the death of their friend.
Maybe it’s because I follow and have befriended a lot of writers. Writers are what they are because they constantly think of ‘what if’ situations. They can turn a one sentence prompt into a whole novel.
Writers are frightened right now. Often they use their words to generate income because they can’t hold down a nine-to-five job. They may be struggling with chronic illness, or mental health issues. I know people whose lives have been dramatically changed by the last eight years. They got married, they got Obamacare and with the extra income they have started new businesses or become full time authors and given up the day job; the one with the health insurance.
I have friends who say without Obamacare, they will not get health insurance and they do not know how they and their children will survive. I have friends who are frightened to hold their spouse’s hand in the street. I have friends who are rushing to get long term contraceptives now before that choice is taken away from them.
The people Trump has flagged to assist him are genuinely terrifying. They have already proved their inhumanity and incompetence, and he is giving them power.
‘What if Trump is elected?’ was a scary enough proposition. But when people don’t get what they think they voted for, they get angry. America already has a problem with guns. Angry people with guns? More people will die.
I don’t have it in me to be positive right now. I’m still angry and sad. I’ve been reading a lot to escape to other worlds; worlds where there’s a happy ending, where love wins, where different people are accepted. Today I am going to write. I signed up for Nanowrimo and my word count graph hasn’t moved in days. I need to fix that.
I reckon the world is going to need more stories.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Dammit brain!

There are days when I despair of myself and my ability to knock ME off track.
To explain: I’ve been doing the Artist’s Way workbook course. It’s a twelve week therapeutic drill-down course into yourself. One of the set tasks was to eat a favourite food from childhood. Being a good Aussie kid I chose fresh bread with butter and Vegemite.
Sounds easy, right?
Not for me.
Did I go to the store and buy a loaf of fresh bread or a newly baked bun?
Oh, no.
I decided that I needed to make my own bread. I already do this. I own a bread machine and I have a giant Tupperware container that holds five kilograms of the bread mix.
Did I choose that method? Oh, no.
No, you see. I decided that I needed to make sourdough.
I have never tried this before. I do not have a sourdough starter, nor do I know anyone who does that I could steal some culture from. It’s living yeast bread. You need a little bit of the starter yeast to feed and grow before you can start making a single loaf.
So, I needed to harvest wild yeast from within the environment of my own kitchen. This is why sourdough from different places tastes different. Nifty, eh?
This, naturally, took six days.
Oh, AM… shake my head.
But, after almost a week of feeding, weighing and crooning my starter was bubbling away. I’m sure the crooning to it was an essential part of this process even if the kids did look at me weirdly.
Then to make the dough. This, also took more hours than I thought possible. Fold it over on itself four times, and only four times, cover and then leave it for half an hour. Do this for three hours.
Wait… what?
That was just one step in the daylong process. But, eventually, I made two sourdough loaves. They were crusty. They were bubbly on the surface, and they had big air holes inside. They were almost perfect, if just a little bit vertically challenged.

They tasted good, too.
Did this work in the way the exercise was supposed to; to transport me back to a moment in my childhood? Of course not. You don’t think my mother would have had anything as odd as sourdough bread, do you?