Like a Phoenix

Okay, so it’s like this…

I promise you that I was going to streamline my media as of the January 1st post, but I do in fact have readers of The Crone who prefer the direct mail method as the way to get news from the world of this Crone. After some thinking, I’ve decided it’s cool to keep the Crone, AND I’ll be duplicating this content at my website as well, with links proliferating Facebook, Twitter, and those places where I park. I will also link to general author tidbits here, but not hardcore like in the author newsletter. And The Crone remains free. And my Ko-Fi account remains open for those of you who want to tip.

So, first some author stuff: I did a reading and interview with Swamp Fox books last Wednesday. Thanks to the awesome Terri LeBlanc for hosting. You can visit my website and find a link to the recording. At the same link, you can catch John Busbee interviewing me at Culture Buzz as a precursor to the reading Doug Engstrom and I will be doing at Beaverdale Books in Des Moines, on Saturday, January 22nd at 2 pm. In case you’re local to Des Moines.

Now, let’s talk Covid. It is brutal out there. I spent most of my Christmas break with a sinus infection, and I tried to see a doctor twice. The first time, I went to an urgent care where there was one doctor, and I had to wait three hours to see her. That urgent care is currently closed because they do not have enough staff to cover it. The meclizine I received from her did not help me, and so I moved on to another urgent care. I avoided another three hour wait by getting up at 5 am and waiting outside the door in negative 20 degree windchill. I procured the necessary antibiotics and got better, but couldn’t help noticing the 50 people waiting their turn as I walked out.

I know Omicron is milder, and people are saying maybe we should just get it. I suspect I will, because I am teaching at a college where most of the students don’t wear masks. My state’s governor is oddly okay with that, to the extent that our legislature has baked it into our laws we can’t require masks or ask about vaccine status or none of it. I have done my best. I have 3 shots and I wear those kick ass masks. Also, 5 out of the 6 classes I am currently teaching is online, so I’m only live three days a week. If I catch it, well, that’s that.

The reason I’m still trying not to? Well. I keep hearing these stories from more people in my circle who have relatives dying because they can’t get care because of Covid. I’ve heard about tumors growing, heart attacks, pneumonia cases, and these folks were unable to get the care they needed. Our healthcare system really can’t handle Covid right now. My advice? Stay safe out there, okay? Also, don’t get Covid if you can possibly avoid it. It’ll still be fashionable later.

While couch bound this break, I watched television. A lot of television. So much television. 😀 Expect more analyses of shows. I also want to spend some time talking about the new Mythology course, which I am truly, truly excited by. It’s the class I was born to teach, baybee.

I will see you in a couple of weeks, more or less.

January 2022–The Year of Living Authentically

Welcome to my website. This is where I will be writing my reflections, thoughts, and pithy screeds from here on out. I will be continuing my author newsletter to keep people abreast of my professional appearances, publications, and so on. However, I’ve decided to replace The Crone, my Substack publication, with reflections in my blog in an effort to streamline. I can link to these things in my social media, and there will be less overall duplication this way.

Or, I guess, work smarter, not harder. Plus, you can leave (moderated) comments here, as long as that continues to work in the age of the troll.


There’s nothing like the third year of a pandemic to get you to really reflect on what matters, and this year I’m keen to stay in the zone of what matters.

This past week I’ve been sick. Not with Covid (and I have the test to prove it!), but with a thing that affected my ears and kept me on the couch for literally four days until I staggered into town on Friday to hang out waiting for the doctor for a literal three hours. My reward seemed understated–a bottle of hard won meclizine, but I’ll admit I was able to do things more like normal today, albeit much more slowly.

During the last several days I’ve been watching a lot of television. One of the shows I’ve completed was Canadian comedy Kim’s Convenience. You never know where life lessons are going to come from. Here’s the situation: Mrs. Kim was making a list for what she would do after Mr. Kim died. Mr. Kim was not planning on dying any time soon, and he was affronted that Mrs. Kim had many things she wished to experience when he was gone. He started making his own list, and the couple’s daughter suggested that maybe the time for both of them to do these things they wanted was when they were both alive and could appreciate the delight of them.

Oh. Well, yeah. Sure. There’s that.


I always mean well, and every year I make more progress. And every year, eventually, I get caught up in the agenda of other things where I am less authentically myself. It’s all the stuff I tell myself about what matters, and the relative worth of a variety of things, and expectations I manufacture for other people. I have made progress. Long ago, I gave up living for the college, and I write and publish my own fiction now, rather than waiting passively for a dream from others who give me the thumbs up to write. I am a work in progress and I’ve been making progress.

It’s just…well, why shouldn’t my whole life be satisfying? I know I can’t be happy all the time, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m looking at is a general sense of well being and a general sense of contribution. I’m trying to make sure that purchases, actions, social life, all these things are based on who I am, rather than who other people think I should be, or more to the point, who I think other people think I should be. That’s some messed up headology there, but that’s the legacy of being the pleaser/star kid. You know, I’m pushing 60. Time to be done with that.

My goal this year is to lay out who I am, the pieces that I know, and the pieces that I have yet to know. All of me, as complicated as I am, with my gender shifting, my love for costume and theater, the living of my writing, the need I have to give back. All of it. Whatever I do this year needs to come back to who I am, and I have to feel my choices are the right, honorable, authentic and true choices.