I Will Write In The Dirt

We aren’t owed a specific number of days.

Regardless of your beliefs about what happens after we die, in this life, we all die the same. Well, not the same same. That would be ridiculous. I mean our bodies stop working, we stop smiling, and we become someone’s happy memory. Hopefully.

I’ve been terrified of how all our lives will be affected since a year before this shit show of an election. Between November 8 and January 20, my high anxiety became my normal anxiety. I did have a day of feeling light-hearted on the 21st. People showing up against hatred from all 7 continents made my soul feel light. For a day.

Through it all, Randy has been my rock. He has been telling me that it will be okay and we will all be fine.

He’s starting to fray. He’s watching our access to information wink out like stars. He understands how bad this could get. He sees the vile direction the new administration is taking us and he is fraying.

I had a choice.

I could give in to the fear that has been screaming in my ears for months or I could take my turn at being the rock.

I did what I do. I took a stance, bent slightly at the knees, threw my head back and screamed “Bring it, motherfuckers.”

Okay, I didn’t really do that, but I did make a decision.

I am going to paint the cabinet in my kitchen. The one I got from Ikea when we moved into this house. My coffee maker sits on this cabinet.

I’m going to paint it white and then tangle it up with black sharpies. It’s going to take a while. The end result will be questionable because I don’t have the patience to do precise work, but that is okay. I need a project.

I need to create something. A distraction is imperative.

We are going to keep living our lives. I will draw and paint badly. I will keep telling you stories. I will go to work. And I will fight with everything I have to defend my family and fellow humans from the oppression of this administration, but that will not prevent me from creating art.

They can’t stop us. They can kill programs that support the arts. We will make our own art. They can silence the internet so that we can’t share with each other. We will meet in libraries and parks and street corners. They can shut off the electricity so that we can’t listen to music. We will sing.

They can burn all the paper. I will write in the dirt.

When it washes away, I will write it again.

I will keep fighting until I can’t. And I hope, when my breaths dwindle to the last few, my final thoughts are peaceful. Because I did what I could. It would be nice to have a few moments of peaceful thoughts before I expire.

We can fight for what we believe in, but that doesn’t mean we are guaranteed the outcome of our choice.

No one gets that guarantee. We are still waiting to find out how we are going to be bound. What freedoms we are going to lose. Maybe, we will recover quickly. Maybe, it will be worse than I have imagined.Β Although, I doubt that. My brain has been very thorough in creating detailed doomsday scenarios. Regardless of what lies in store for us, we get to decide how we are going to live our lives.

I am not owed a number of days. I am grateful for the ones I have. I am excited as fuck that I even got to be alive. I know the future looks bleak and scary because it is bleak and scary.

But I’m still going to write. I’m going to paint. I am going to read. We are going to live our lives, make our plans, laugh and play and cook. No matter how bleak life gets, no matter what is taken from us, we get to decide how to live. I will keep telling you stories, even if I have to speak them to you one person at a time, then I want sit back and hear your stories. They can’t take this from us.

I don’t know how yet, but I’m taking my joy back. I suspect it will start when I begin to paint that cabinet from Ikea.

Make something pretty. A noise or a letter or a picture. Anything. We are going to need as much beauty as we can get, because we can’t look at ugliness all the time.



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  • Yes, yes, yes! I’m going back into my bubble for a while. I can’t take my eyes off the car crash when I come up for air and that is bad for me. I will fight though, fight for the rights of my niece and nephew to be EU citizens, fight for my friends across the pond in as much as we can over here. Hopefully the voices of the sane(r) will start to be heard soon!

  • Amen. I’m going to continue to blog and call out the bullshit, with humor (whenever possible–my humor glands feel severely depleted some days). And as for making something pretty, I’m taking a pottery class. What I’ve created so far isn’t so pretty, but those three hours on the wheel just fly by and I don’t think about anything else–which is a very good thing lately.

    • I bet they are gorgeous. You just have to redefine your definition of gorgeous. I tangle. It looks like a toddler’s work. I don’t care. I love doing it and I love the patterns I leave behind.


    When my beloved started being really ill a lot of the time (heart issues, cancer, etc.) I started painting on the walls and doors of our wee cottage. Painting BIG helps.

    I did a lot of Seuss repros because they’re happy and made Bob smile. My kitchen walls are covered with flower doodles and the stairway is a giant koi pond. There are stars on the bathroom walls.

    Not sure what’s next. Maybe Hokusai’s Great Wave in Bob’s study (now a guestroom). Maybe a fleet of turtles in my bedroom.

    (some images here http://donna-tellmeastory.blogspot.com/2016/07/seeing-and-feeling.html
    http://donna-tellmeastory.blogspot.com/2015/08/heinously-humdrum.html )

  • I have to be my own rock now, but you have no idea how much it helps me to have you and others who are sane and like-minded as a touch stone to keep me grounded. Yes, I said SANE! HAHA!!! Compared to anyone who would vote for a fascist who lies in bed with Putin, we ARE the sane ones! For some time now, I’ve been considering getting back into my art. I put down the pencils, pens and sketch pads years ago and have only dabbled here and there since. But, you have convinced me that NOW is the time to do it. NOW is the time to quell that same nagging fear and dread that you’ve experienced—that we’ve ALL experienced. I also have to maintain faith that there are some rational, caring GOP members remaining that may still believe in our democracy, our Constitution, who will stand up against this dictator and his minions. We need to stand together. I wholly believe that there are more of US than there are of THEM. NOw, I must be off to learn Morse code, just in case we need that to share our stories! HAHA! Don’t forget the pictures of your finished project! Peace!!! πŸ™‚

      • I have started worrying about my horses being used for food or for pulling war equipment and my sons being drafted.

        NOBODY is taking my horses, I’ll shoot ’em myself first. And my sons? It’ll be hard, but I’ll probably shoot them too and then commit suicide.

        For real, Terri Lee and Michelle, since the Muslim ban, I have had serious panic attacks over our future.

        Suddenly, being poor and living in a singlewide doesn’t sound like the worst πŸ™

        Have either of you read ‘The Dovekeepers?’ by Alice Hoffman?

        We might have to consider it as a training manual…

        So, before I decide to commit Hari-Kari with a purpose, I shall make sure my library is open and accessible and friendly.

        My art is toooooo dark and my music is toooooo screechy.

        Just like my thoughts.

        Thanks for staying positive and putting it out there, Michelle! I miss playing with you Terri Lee πŸ™

        • My son is 18 and I am terrified. But I’m not giving in to it. Not yet. The WHOLE WORLD is speaking out against this administration’s hatred. The whole world.

          • And THAT has NEVER happened before!

            Twitter and Facebook have a solid standing in that and that is a GOOD social media use.

            I’m relying on the ‘history repeats itself’ theory and people who passed history class to make sure it doesn’t.

            This time.

        • I miss playing, too, Lisa! It has been one freaking thing after another with this house, the cats, this new regime in D.C. (can’t even call it an “administration”, it’s so heinous) and trying to keep my health on an even keel throughout it all. Had a roofing guy come out to give me an estimate now to repair wood damage to roof on utility room shed—will probably end up another several thousand dollars and on a greatly reduced income. But, I was made fun of by a Trump supporter online (a longtime “friend”, no less—no more, either! Haha!) for worrying about what will happen to Social Security. Hey! I’m not a fucking psychic and it will be two years yet before I can apply to get my husband’s benefits back. They were completely taken away from me in addition to his pension being cut in half. I think it’s quite normal and rational (which Trump supporters apparently can’t relate to) to worry about what might happen within the next two years before I can apply! πŸ™ I need to seek out that book The Dovekeepers. I haven’t read it yet. I agree with both of you that watching the entire globe react to this monster and his disciples has been both frightening and exhilarating. I have to say I am thrilled that the world is joining in with those of us who truly believe in the principles upon which this country was founded. I fear though for the future of the kids in this country. My innocent little great nephew and niece, who are just happy, playful, funny—no cares in the world. I fight for them as well as myself. I worry about the fact that, this summer, my niece, her husband and those two little children, 6 years and 6 months, are flying to Ireland. I want them to be able to fly with nothing to fear. I want them to simply have a safe and fun trip over and back again. The same with my goddaughter and her fiancΓ©. They are young, in love, happy and they travel outside of this country all the time. These are crazy times, my friends. I’m going to go blast some Beatles songs, like “Imagine”—well technically, that’s just Lennon—“All You need Is Love”, “Let It Be” and maybe, most importantly, “Revolution”. Yeah, that’s the one! Revolution! “Cause if you want money for people with minds who hate. All I can tell you is brother, you’ll have to wait. Don’t you know it’s gonna be—All right! All right–all RIGHT!!!” HAHA!!

  • #resist#notmypresident
    amen, sistafriend. i don’t think many of us have had a full night’s sleep since the 20th. and most of us have played out our various doomsday scenarios on a constant loop. but we will fight, we will protest, we will use our voices, and we will love and live and share our hearts and fears and hopes until whatever end we do have.
    our spirit will not be defeated. not by hate.

  • YES! You go girl! I so agree with this. I have been so afraid and really stressed about all of this …then I realized something. I have survived through so many things…I can survive THIS…I survived 2 divorces(to the same man), raising my 3 kids alone and my son’s suicide…nothing, nothing is going to stop me. I will survive!

  • This!!! I am a tough cookie…have learned to push my anxiety and panic attacks to the back with the help of meds, martinis and laughter….but the last couple of months has chipped away my confident, smug world and after this weekend I’ve lost it…I’m a puddle right now and that pisses me off and then I’m a bigger puddle…I’m a sponge of all the energy around me…I need some good energy…so I think I’ll pull out my mosaic project that I sat aside some time ago and create again….his name is Bruno the Gargoyle and he will be my therapy….well Bruno and keeping up with Rubber Shoes in Hell…Peace!!!

  • This Orson Welles quote seems timely:
    “In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
    I think that unfairly disses the cuckoo clock which has its own aesthetic appeal even if it ain’t as jaw-dropping as the Sistine Chapel ceiling and also Pope Julius II said, “Goddammit, Michelangelo, I meant paint it WHITE!” but still…I’m kinda following your point here that we should respond to great adversity with great beauty or else we’ll all go cuckoo.

  • Ok, my dirty little secret. I voted for the smuck. I really didn’t I voted against his opponent. No ugliness please. I regretted it as soon as the results started coming in on election evening. I got sick to my stomach. I tried to say it was going to be okay. I tried to say there is a balance of power and the worst thing that can happen is he will be impeached. I still have hope that will happen soon. When the mayor of Dallas was on tv Saturday night I realized the magnitude of this thing. My first goal is to quit watching the damn tv. My second goal is to create something beautiful. Lord know, I have enough projects…..Yes, please post what you have done!

    • I won’t be ugly to you. I am disappointed that you voted for him. I resent it. But our situation is what it is. Please do create something beautiful. And please, if you want to work against the fascism and hatred in our country, tell your stories to your elected officials. Call them and tell them that you feel you’ve been duped. Resist. I can’t tell you what to do, but I think it would be the RIGHT thing to do, to try to counter your vote as much as you can.

      I wish you peace and beauty and happiness and I admire that you are speaking out against this administration even if you helped bring it in. Your voice matters. xo

  • Damn, Michelle, you nailed this. It is a very dark time. I feel incredibly raw and my edges are frayed. I am stunned that people are celebrating his actions, and still being sucked in by the Fox News and Breitbart propaganda machines. Of course they think we’re the ones being duped. History will be the judge. I wonder if those who justified lynching claiming public safety ever came to terms and recognized the evil they were complacent and complicite in? I am frightened. I march, I call my representatives, I send emails, I rage… but let me create, too. There is light in this darkness and we will fuel it’s flame.

  • I started making stencil paintings, while having one of the debates play in the background. I made a painting called ‘Patriarchy’. Without actually realizing what I’m doing.
    But yes, since then I found my solitude in art. Art is resistance. Any form of it.

  • This is beautiful, funny, scary, and very Michelle.

    I do fear that the internet, and cable (my landline I can’t get rid of) will be cut off. But I’ve been sick and am going for a lot of testing so I might just be delusional.

    • I don’t think you’re delusional. We are seeing daily how these things COULD be in our future. All that matters is how we react. I will always fight. And I will do it with paint under my fingernails.

  • It has been encouraging to see so many people get active over the past couple of weeks. But I’m sorry it took so much and I fear there are some very dark times ahead.

    • Nasreen! What’s up with your blog?
      Sorry about using your comment thread as a messaging tool Michelle, but Nasreen’s excellent blog has been marked “private” for a few days and I am concerned about her, and this is the only way I could think of to ask her about it.

  • Powerfully put!
    I have started watching the news again–but, I take “free days”. Friday was my “free day”. I went shopping for the oldest and worked to find her a dress she would wear that wouldn’t give her dad a “My daughter is not showing that much skin because in my eyes she’s still my baby and not a teenager” fit for her upcoming birthday. I think went online and bought the younger some manga “just because” because she likes to have the actual books to look through.
    Then I wrote, and listened to music. I watched the youngest play video games with her father, and heard that teenage girl giggle from the eldest because she actually *gasp* was talking on the phone rather than just texting. I figure she must have been talking to a boy, because I remember how I sounded when I was talking to a boy I liked.
    And I smiled and enjoyed my Friday.
    Then I went back to watching the news on Saturday. As my sweetheart has not always lived in this country, this hits closer to home. So after some time to process, we went as a family unit to our airport and joined the protest. The protest helped restore faith even as the fact this protest was needed made us all frankly angry, sad. and scared.
    I don’t know how many more “free days” I will be able to have. Even now, I am writing this while listening to a online lecture about how things in my field are expected to change under “the new administration”. But I know I will need to breathe between resisting. I’ll do the best I can at both.
    Thanks as always!

  • I read something two days ago that sort of lit me up a little:
    “Remember all of those times when you were reading your history book and saying to yourself ‘If I had been alive then, I would have…’
    Well now is that time.”

    I usually look to music to get me through my difficulties, and I have really had some difficulties, and I am still here, so I will probably continue to do so.

    So, from The Joy Formidable, who in one of their songs say that “a calm day will come” but in this song, “Cholla” say:

    “Where are we going?
    What are we doing?
    You siphon a smile from the source
    How do we move on
    When nothing is growing
    Your hands turned to daggers again

    Non par, non par nonpareil
    You rush to the future and paint it yourself
    Together we’re lucky
    Together we’re set
    When nothing comes easy
    Only the finest are left”

    And I think that can be us, the finest who are left, if we’re lucky…

  • I will be chairing the committee for the ‘Secret Garden Tour’ here in Cape May. I kind of inherited the job from a friend whose husband is being treated for lymphoma. Flowers and Art bring me joy. We all need so much joy these days. I would love to see your tangles!

  • Well said, Michelle. Keep creating for the peace it brings you and the beauty that inspires others who get to take it in.

    This shit show is even worse than I think I ever imagined it would be. I mean, we’re getting exactly what Trump promised we would get, but it’s just steam rolled so fast that I can’t even…

    It’s one thing to trample the rights of and kick people who are already down. Those people aren’t able to fight back and so many other people in society see them as “not their problem,” if that makes sense, so that they won’t help in the battle. Middle class America can turn a blind eye to the problems that poor people have, especially people of color, but when policies start to effect the rights of people that the majority of the population see as being their friends or families, they’ll fight back. I think we’re one policy against gays or women from really setting people off. Not that the people aren’t already ticked, but many folks who are one the fence right now, will jump off to fight for their gay sons and daughters and friends, etc. Same with fighting for women. My 2 cents.

    • I am already there. I will resist with all I have and accept the consequences. I cannot stick my head in the sand and live with myself. And thank you. πŸ™‚

    • I hope you’re right. I live in the middle of one of the reddest counties in my big red state – 92% for Trump. My worry is that so many people have such a 1950s attitude that they really don’t care about the rights of others and they don’t even want any diversity! I hear women where I live make comments about the crazy feminists (like me) who just need to get over this whole thing and go home to their families! I was at a funeral last week and this woman I know made a comment about her daughters, “they’re married now and have men to take care of them”. I couldn’t believe my ears. I used to live in a large metropolitan area and have moved to a small town and I feel like I’ve landed back in 1950 (or even 1850). I am stunned and dismayed by the attitudes all around me.

      • Stay the course..it’s going to be okay. I am not in the reddest of states, but I am right next to one. I totally get how disheartening it is. Just keep watching how the world is responding. We are overwhelmingly rejecting hate.

  • Loved this. What else is there to do but live our lives? Happiness is the best revenge and sounds like you’re on your way. I also find taking the news in small, manageable doses helps. Otherwise its too overwhelming.

  • I stand firmly beside you, with outstretched hand and heavy heart, in solidarity for all of us. Because we’re all being marginalized and we’ll stand and stand and stand no matter what that orange thing throws our way. What choice do we have? I think I’ll borrow your rubber shoes because they’re more comfy and cozy. xo

  • I so appreciate that you and Randy have each other’s back. And can make it through all this, with humor and putting your energy where you have control, meaning control in the present. It will make keeping yourself open to other opportunities to create change in future much more likely. I sound like a psychologist, but I am a psychologist. And if folks get too wound up in frenzy, they’re likely to miss what they need to see. Thanks as always Michelle.

  • It’s been a rough ride. The best day since the election has been Jan 21, the DC March which I attended. We need to remember that together we are strong, we are powerful. When you create your art from that deep place within, don’t forget to share so it can nourish everyone. When we speak, write, and paint our truth, we open up that space in each other.

  • Thanks for this. I’ve been so sad since the election, sad that so many people would vote for a “person” that openly expresses disrespect towards people like me. But I’m a hard-working, law-abiding taxpayer, dammit, and I will fight back with what I’ve got. When I’m not sad I’m pissed off, and most people know that New Yorkers should not be angered. To the trumpers I say, Bring it on bitches.

By Michelle


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