Writers Corner – Red Dwyer

UntitledAs I awaited the arrival of the feisty and energetic Madam Red, I thought back to our first encounters with a smile and a shake of my head. Never would I have guessed, not in a million years our friendship would have blossomed to what it is today, that I would be sitting here in this fortunate position, gently tapping my foot watching the greening of the Fairy waiting for my friends arrival.

Good hostess that I am though, I want to be certain my victim quarry today is well lubricated and comfortable in her surroundings. My offering of Green Fairy’s and Chocolate Truffles are in line with Madam Red’s native roots and the Green Fairy recipe is at the end of the interview.


1. Tell us, what is your secret for keep it straight with more than one book in the works at a time how do you focus?

Think about the people you know. Each one of them is different, but most of them require many of the same things: listening, understanding, tolerance, water, crust of bread. Books are the same way: editing, beta, editing, layout, proofing, more editing.

2. Writing across genres what is your inspiration for your fiction, especially for your characters.

I have met my characters. Each one is a blend of at least three people, which helps with the “coincidental resemblance to any person”. They are complex and, in many instances, case studies in incongruent interaction, much like the interaction of FAB people.

3. You have published two books in the past year on human behavior and emotional health, one on child rearing and the other on letting go nearly the two ends of the human experience. How did the experience of writing and publishing these differ?

A comparison of good and evil. (wry smile) Life often deals us joy and pain in unequal proportion. Ironically, the disproportion is in all situations.

From a reader’s standpoint the books are oceans apart (subject). As a publisher, the books are strikingly similar (treatment). Both seek to ease discomfort in a life event which is likely, provide both technical and experiential knowledge and comfort the reader with the concept hardship is not singular, ergo survivable.

4. Let’s talk for a minute about your poetry, which I am a huge fan of by the way; you have talked about Mantra often, how did you pick what would go into the book?

Thank you. Poetry is eclectic for me. Like my fiction and non-fiction, it spans the gamut of subject, form and emotion. Unlike every other thing I write, I begin with a title or in the least a title concept. Once I can name the chapters, the poems line up. It is a creative concept; otherwise, I would not have a chapter named Words You Cannot Take Back.

5. I suspect everyone wants to know more about your processes, where do you start with a new storyline, do you jot down ideas or is there a real step-by-step process for you?

Yes. (grin) I have notepads (physical and digital) with jotting. Those concepts wait until I either have a fleshing session or move them into a workspace. I also have a template, which occasionally takes a script from the initial concept draft to final proof. Both ways include a step-by-step for getting out of the WIP folder.

Break time, I am sure our Fairy’s are fluttering their wings and I can hear those truffles calling to me, can’t you? Let me refill your glass. Red, is such a lady, she takes tiny sips and bites before we continue.
Absinthe sip

6. Now, with the start of Redmund Productions, how is it going? Is your writing being influenced?

Redmund Productions is a phenomenal achievement. While the initial books are hitting their stride in terms of sales and reach, the new productions are lining up. We have a set of trailers out over the next two weeks, two books we have going live 01MAR plus a Café Comics  edition, two out on 01APR and new authors signing each week.

My writing is definitely being influenced. The constraints of time are not forgiving. When I am too tired, I am physically unable to write. I have additional audio notes which are beginning to replace some of my notepads for concepts. I am expecting to take a hiatus from blogging soon to concentrate on a new novel and a sequel.

7. Okay, spill pet peeves in the process of publishing or writing?

How about a list?

  • The Oxford comma
  • Passive voice
  • Tense shift
  • Capitalization of random words in sentences
  • Plot stuffing which is better served by writing another book

The last one is both authors and characters. Occasionally my characters get into situations which necessarily need to be edited out for one story yet serve as a core or base conflict for another book.

For the sake of brevity, my writing pet peeves list is topped with my lack of a transcriptionist.

  • 8.  Break it down for us, would you please. You have 15 seconds (maybe a little more) tell me about each of your most recent brilliant books (Oprah is calling).

 1. Darkness Introduced

  • DIsCover

An explicitly intimate look into the erotic world of BDSM which does not substitute sex for plot-line, but does not forego it.

2. Killing Us SoftlyKUSsCover

An enlightening education on the emotional and physical state of caregivers to terminally ill partners, served with impartial, practical, pragmatic advice and comfort.

  • 9.  You know I just have to ask, what spurs you on? What gives you the energy to keep writing, mentoring and not only pushing yourself but others?

We all gripe about not having enough time. After burying a child and husbands, I am aware how short life really is. More people regret the things they have not done far more than a few hours of sleep they miss here or there. Dreams do not have to stay in the REM world. They come true every single day, especially for those willing to chase them.

The excitement of a new book in the hands of an author ignites a terrific feeling of congratulatory joy, satisfaction and camaraderie. I would not trade it for the world on a string.

10.   What should writers know when preparing a manuscript for submission; you have done this more than once now. What one piece of best advice can you give?

Follow the directions. As non-creative as that is, the submission guidelines are in place to make you work less. Begin your pieces with submission guidelines in sight. The days of double-spaced, 1.5 inch-margined, printed manuscripts is a thing of the past. Submission editors do not read unedited manuscripts. If you do not meet guidelines, it may as well be unedited.

11.  Do you self-edit?

Yes and yes. I am a Grammar Nazi. I edit my own work …and wonder who typed it. I also let stories age. When I come back to them, I will often cut scenes and chapters because they are superfluous to the story. I also find the biggest of the story holes in this way. Then, I send it for editing.

12.   Anything you want us to know about you? Spill, come on we are all friends here.

If left to my own devices, my bathroom would be the largest room in the house. It would have a chaise, wifi, Blu-Ray, surround sound speaker telephone, quad-sized jet shower, Jacuzzi, a dumb waiter from the kitchen and towel warmers. I would spend all day there.

Madam Red you are the bomb! Those who have had the joy of your company and support know whereof I speak. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me! Red’s books are available through Redmud Productions, easily found here:



Green Fairy

Over Ice in Strainer, gently pour 2 oz Absinthe over sugar cube in slotted spoon until melted completed.

Shake and pour back into Absinthe glass.


This is the first of what I hope will be many interviews of the Redmund Pro authors. Madam Red is trying to school me on the use of hash tags, if you are inclined to share this post please use the the hash tags #authors, #books, #amwriting

Hell to the No

KickmThe American people are held in thrall to a bunch of highbinders, think this isn’t true, let’s explore together. The realities of our current politics, as a nation are so completely polarized we are unwilling or incapable of holding our own to appropriate standards. We accept from our own what we would burn down the house if the other side even mentioned. We make excuses for our own, accepting hyperbole in place of transparency and action.

Think this isn’t a problem consider the following:

  1. Indefinite detention continues, in fact has expanded to include the detention of American citizens.
  2. The Patriot Act is continued; in fact, the assault on Civil Liberties has expanded.
  3. War, war and more war we continue to send our troops into danger, in foreign lands. Despite promises to the contrary, we are still all in and our young men and women are serving not one, not two but sometimes three and more rotations.
  4. Gitmo is still open.
  5. Drone strikes and collateral damage of civilians, most especially to date 174 children. Now we kill without looking our enemy in the eye. War is becoming a game, assassination a YouTube sensation. The rules are expanding and soon Drones will be targeting a neighborhood near you.
  6. Supported and signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and 2013, one of the worst destroyers of Civil Liberties of Americans.

These are some of the issues as Progressives we should be concerned with. The US continues to expand its military presence, the defense budget is out of control and trillions of dollars are literally lost, why are we not demanding an audit? Are we honest? Did we fail to notice these problems, these expansions or do we simply not care as long as it is one of our own, not one of theirs.

Now let us move on to the new constant campaign. We cheer, the president is finally showing he cares about what we care about; he is showing he will fight back. Wait though, what is it he is talking about on this forever road trip to induce hwyl in the masses of his already fevered supporters.

  • Is he talking about VAWA?
    • With the exception of his State of the Union address on 12-Feb, the answer is no.
    • We, the American woman see our security, our place in society further eroded nearly every month as states slash and burn Aid to Families, Health Care, definitions of Rape and yes access to safe and legal abortion. The immoral Minority of the oh so Christian Right will soon turn us into a nation much like those we disdain and are fighting to free in the mountains of Afghanistan, hetaerism will be our standard we will be the first western nation to don the veil.
  • Is he talking about reasonable Gun Sanity laws?
    • With the exception of his emotional appeal on 12-Feb, again, no he isn’t talking about gun violence or gun sanity; this problem has been turned over to Joe Biden and members of Congress willing to be in targets.
  • Is he talking about reasonable solutions for the economy and sequester?
    • He is talking about the Sequester, he is campaigning hard on what the other side has not done and how the Sequester will hurt the nation. He is using his bully pulpit to make the other side look bad by their inaction.
    • The rubber meets the road on the economy and there is a presumption that elections have consequences. We should be demanding one of the consequences of this election is a conversation about jobs, not slash usgs_lineand burn of spending or deficit reduction at a time when frankly neither is called for.
  • Is he talking about campaign finance and fixing what is so clearly a problem?
    • The president and his staff have been unsurprisingly silent on this issue. Though his adherents clamor for changes, expect him to stand up for their principles and cross the bridge with them arm-in-arm against the tyranny of big money in politics, POTUS has not indicated his intention to do so.
  • Is he talking about voting rights and gerrymandering?
    • Is he trying to create ground support for any of the above issues with real solutions and specific steps the American Citizen can take? Our President invited Desiline Victor to the State of the Union, she drew the ire and several attempts at comedy by the talking heads of the other side of the house, however what was the real point. Is the Justice Department taking on Gerrymandering? Is this President using his Bully Pulpit to hammer home the message that each citizen of this nation has the right to a vote without compromise.
  • Is he talking about Immigration?
    • Not since his State of the Union, his impassioned statements aside our President has allowed his agenda to be set by the losers of the election.

What the POTUS is in fact doing during his constant campaign is pointing out he is powerless to do anything at all. He is showing us he is held hostage by Congress and thus must continue to campaign. What the constant campaign provides is the bully pulpit for the POTUS to continue what he is best at, communicating his high ideals (we love these) but hypobulic  when it comes to driving those ideas through a brassbound congress. We get the hypostasis of Barack Obama, what we don’t get is real substantive ideas put in front of Congress which the American People can latch on to and demand action be taken against.

I am a progressive, I have always been a progressive. It is my strong belief we must as a nation stand up, as citizens we must demand of all our representatives at every level of government they act in the best interest of this nation that is why we elect them and what they are paid to do. We cannot afford to give a pass to those who wear the same badge we wear, this includes the President of the United States. We may well like him, he may well be a moral and decent man. Does not matter a lick, he must do the job we hired him to do. Hysterogenic bully pulpits do nothing for us, fear, loathing has been the staple of politics for far too long we must demand better. We must demand real solutions to real problems.

Today Washington and Congress in particular is nothing more than a group houghmagandy party without the participants liking each other or wearing protection. This has to change.

The Hell to the No Words I liked



corrupt politician




a state of society characterized by the holding of women in common


the substance or essential nature of an individual




fervor, excitement


weak-willed, lacking in will power


inducing hysteria

March of Marriage

I am feeling a tad on the evil and mean side this morning, thus my ode to all those sweet young things who enter marriage with cads. This is not to say all marriages are doomed to fail or that all men are cads, certainly neither is the case. Nevertheless, many of us have had our share of cads in our lives and heartbreak to go along with those cads. Many of us have suffered through the break-up of marriages or long-term relationships, been left standing in the wreckage of our trust. In my personal opinion the cad of today is gender free, however this is written from a woman’s perspective, thus the cad is a man.


The Wedding

You are all bright-eyed, white tulle and giggles; your girls surround you and you have dreams, big dreams. Dancing in your head are picket fences, two and half and Volvo’s; your future is bright and shiny, just like those appliances you looked at yesterday. Today though, today you are hoping for the limo to be on time, the driver to know where the church is and your soon to be spouse to not forget his vows.

Did he even remember to write them?

The Marriage

Things are not quite as expected in suburbia; actually, you haven’t quite made it to suburbia, but the trailer park outside of town is nicer than you expected. That Volvo you were dreaming of, yeah it’s a fifteen-year-old Ford Explorer with 150,000 miles on it and the back bumper held on with wire hangers. That two and half, what you really ended up with is three and one in the oven, all under the age of six; at least the oldest is starting school this year. Maybe dreamboat will finally agree to wear a condom after this birth, at least until you can start on the pill again, if only you can afford it. Maybe the doctor will agree to tie your tubes, as a favor; maybe he will take pity on you. If you can stop getting pregnant maybe someone will hire you and you can get off State Aid, dreamboat doesn’t seem to mind but it embarrasses you at the store and the doctors offices.

Remember when you dreamed big and parked by the lake?

The End

You heard on the grapevine by the two-day-old bread dreamboat had sucked another one in and was promising new picket fences, Volvos and life in suburbia to another sweet young thing. You heard he had another shotgun wedding planned, should you warn her ask her to visit your suburban dream and take a ride in your Volvo perhaps.

Or just dance at the wedding to the music of your soul.

FTP 6 Happiness

She saw them again today, their faces bright with joy. She watched as they ran from swing, to slide, to jungle-jim and back screaming their delight as their mother placidly looked on. She watched them as they played with others, running across green grass and sand boxes in equal paces.

They didn’t notice she was watching them. She watched from outside the circle of mothers and fathers who brought their children to the park. She was invisible to them, her children but hers no longer. Did they know they had a different mother once? Did they know, she had screamed damnation as they ripped them from her arms?

She scratched the scars on her arms, her nod just right as she watched their play from the edges. Yes, this is just right now. Her happiness complete, her home on this bench perfect where she can watch her not children grow.


Flash in the Pan is brought to you by the amazing Red of M3 fame

This week’s word is Happiness. The word limit for January is 150 words. This one comes in precisely at 150.

Appease or Alone

Sleeping BeautyWhether negotiating a peace treaty between warring nations or who will do the dishes, each side has in mind a desired outcome. The parties come to the table girded for a war of words, their negotiating tactics firmly in mind. Each party, whether they admit it or not wants the upper hand, wants to win.

Do you find yourself wanting to win? Maybe just who makes the coffee in the morning or whether the coffee cup belongs in the sink or the dishwasher sometimes these simple things grow into what breaks us with resentment. Marriage, partnerships whatever we find ourselves in are not hearts and flowers all the time despite what we would like others to believe; indeed they are often something far more challenging than negotiating a piece of contentious legislation or world peace.

Princess Bride Forever

Princess Bride Forever

With the pronouncement of solemn vows, the agreement to love, honor and cherish something shifts. We think the honeymoon will last forever, it doesn’t; truthfully it cannot life has a habit of moving in with you when you return from paradise. We may believe roles don’t or won’t change, they do and they will.

No matter how clearly we have drawn our lines in the sand, written our boundaries (in our heads), those little words “till death do you part” have a profound effect on both of you. Whether it is social norms, cultural norms, gender norms or a combination of all of these, whatever you thought during courtship will change.

In the politics of relationships our hearts and our futures are on the line, we have often invested years in our marriages / partnerships. It is what you do when negotiating your relationship, your boundaries and your future that makes or breaks you. Not just your relationship but you.

  •   Concede – Accede
  •   Appeasement – Concession
  •   Compromise – Reconciliation

The above are words we might think of, might act out in the rough waters of our marriage or partnerships. Only one pairing has a good outcome, yet all too often, we find ourselves doing something other than what is healthy, what is good for our relationship and ultimately us as individuals.

We make concessions, or concede our positions on some points. Perhaps these are minor, things we can easily give. Concerns that have no real bearing on our long-term happiness or the foundation of our relationship or the agreements we thought we had made. But wait, before we accede do we talk about them, do we discuss why these concessions matter or do we simply give in, setting the pattern for all future interactions within our relationship.

My mom & dad 1951

My mom & dad 1951

With each concession, do we allow our resentment to grow? Do we disappear under the weight of another person and his or her demands for ‘their way’? Do we become a passive member of our relationship simply to appease the other, out of fear of loss, fear of public condemnation or shame, fear of loneliness. What happens to our ego or our boundaries as we appease, as we concede positions?

The boundary we established for ourselves that line in our mind the one that said we would be a full partner has now changed. We have agreed to a different more passive role in our relationship, without realizing or acknowledging the change in our status. Our emotional investment in the relationship is greater than our partners, it is no longer an equal partnership. Truthfully, it is no longer a partnership at all, rather it is a relationship without balance.

Can a new balance be established?

Is it possible for you to reassert yourself, redraw the boundaries and redefine your needs within a relationship where you have practiced appeasement for peace. This is a question I suspect many women in my generation ask


Amazon Image

themselves. We teeter between fear of growing old alone and resentment when we have given too much of ourselves away. We are a hybrid of our mothers and Betty Friedan, we burned our bras yet shopped for the perfect wedding dress. We demanded equality in the workplace, yet remain uncertain how to negotiate equivalence in our homes.

We talk a good game, yet we still lose ourselves within our desire to be loved, needed and not alone. Initially we might say, it is small perhaps even it is nothing. The coffee cup in the sink rather than the dishwasher, the bed unmade or love notes unwritten on our heart. It is important though, are we conceding authentic self, our true need for the sake of not being alone? Is not being alone enough?

These are questions I hear from more and more women today, women my age. Women in long-term marriages, both first and second go-arounds, seem to be questioning their relationships and their standing within those relationships. Are we having another awakening?

Consistent Consent

justiceAs part of my Victim Impact volunteer work, I speak in Juvenile programs, a little over a year ago, I came out to one of my long-standing coordinators about my experience as a juvenile rape victim. Since that time, I have taken on a very difficult program, the juvenile sexual predators Victim Impact. The make-up of this group is tough:

  • 95% male, in fact to date I haven’t seen any girls.
  • All incarcerated, none are on probation or parole when they attend.
  • All under 18, the youngest I have had in a group is twelve (12).
  • All their cases have been adjudicated, some will release as inmates from Juvenile others will be moved to the adult system.

This is a delicate and often troublesome issue, one that crosses many boundaries. People from all walks of life, when asked have an opinion, yet many have not considered the disparities found state to state. There are variations on the theme, the age of consent is neither standard nor clear anywhere in this country, it differs depending upon the situation, for example:

  • South Carolina a female may consent at 14 a male 16, unless either is homosexual in which case they may never consent.
  • West Virginia males and females may consent to heterosexual encounters at 17 but must wait if they are homosexual until they are 18.
  • New York consent is 17 across the board no matter your orientation.
  • New Jersey law says at 16 you can consent without regard to orientation.
  • New Hampshire says that if you are heterosexual you are ready at 16 but have to wait till 18 if you are homosexual.
  • Montana claims that girls at 16 can consent but boys and homosexuals must wait till they are 18.
  • Texas says any person of 17 may consent. Texas has a built in Romeo and Juliet loophole of three (3) years, a DA or Judge may ignore if they choose. The other legal problem Texans have, sodomy for everyone is illegal, at any age; this includes all forms of non-vaginal sex.

The list goes on, state by state, the picture becoming clear. The lack of consistency nationwide places young men and women at risk. These risks include the possibility of becoming victims of predators or becoming victims of a legal system that could brand them as sexual predators for the rest of their lives. Why is this important? Why should we be bothered if predators are put away? Good question, I can answer that.

What about the Jimmy the high-school football hero? You know the one, he worked hard, studied hard, plays hard and hasn’t joined a gang. He caught the winning ball at the last game of the season. He has a shot at college and will be the first one in his family who might make it. You know him, we all have read stories about him. Well, he broke up with his girlfriend and she cried rape. Her father, mad at our hero called the courtesy bleacherreport.compolice and they took our high-school hero and his girlfriend’s claims of rape to the DA, who proceeded to prosecute. Now, instead of college Jimmy is sitting in Jail, when he gets out he will have be on the sexual predator list, for life.

This is the other side of the horror story currently unfolding in Steubenville, Ohio. This case has created a public outcry the facts around it though are not a case of consensual sex. This case is about rape, two of the minors involved go on trial in juvenile court on February 13.

I believe the Age of Consent laws are antiquated, they do not address the needs of our communities nor the realities of our society. We desperately need to ensure we have in place laws that are both unvarying and appropriate so children and young adults are protected wherever they might be and under whatever circumstances they might be in. Where once young people rarely traveled outside of their home town during their teenage years today they do so on a regular basis. Young people today frequently have access to their own credit cards, cell phones and transportation making the possibility of a trip outside their home state likely. Today it is easier to exploit a child than ever before. To ensure there is no question of the consequences of their choices it is critical national standards be in place, be communicated and be consistently administered.

Many today are concerned with states’ rights and the amount of power the federal government is ‘grabbing’, however, there are functions, such as this that would be best addressed by a national standard. As a society, we should consider what is important, what must take precedence; the protection of our next generation is one of those critically important issues. While the age of consent might seem a minor problem in comparison to other more weighty issues facing our country, consider the repercussions of not protecting our children. What will happen as those young unprotected children grow into adults?

I do not claim this single small thing, creating a national Age of Consent standard will stop the growing evil of predators. I do not claim it will suddenly balance the scales for our young people. However, I do believe if everyone understands the rules, our focus will shift to more important issues. With national standards we will start to see consistent prosecution of predators and we will stop seeing young lives ruined with inconsistent or absurd prosecution of laws that should never have been applied in the circumstances. We will start seeing the focus on other more important issues, education, reduction of teenage pregnancy, strengthening the foundation of the future.

FTP 5 Lonely

She lay on her side in the semi-dark room; barely breathing; right leg dangling off the edge of the bed as if she might make a break for it at any moment. The television a dull white noise, as if hummingbirds were endlessly whirling their wings.

Trapped beneath the heavy arm he wrapped around her, she clings to fifteen inches of the king sized bed she shares with her husband of decades. His breath whistles slightly, warming her neck; his body conforms to hers, as it has every night since the first. Tonight, just as every night she will be sleepless as he dreams; of what she wonders, not her.

Tomorrow he will hug her and smile as he leaves for work. She is lonely after all these years, possessiveness doesn’t equal love, she learned. Someday her right foot will hit the ground and she will run like the wind.


Flash in the Pan is brought to you by the amazing Red of M3 fame. This week’s word is Lonely. The word limit for January is 150 words. This one comes in precisely at 150.

My Anniversary Shots Fired

LVal_2010I looked out at thirty-three faces all staring back at me as I stood at the front of the room. Some young, some old, one woman the rest men. They did not want to be in this stuffy room sitting on those uncomfortable chairs. They didn’t have a choice, each one of them had been ordered into this room on this night for Victim Impact. Each one of them was a Texas Department of Criminal Justice Parolee; if they hadn’t signed in tonight, they could be revoked and returned to prison.

So there they slouched, White, Black, Brown; staring at me mostly I suspect hoping I would talk fast so they could fulfill this requirement and get the hell out of there.

“Tomorrow is my Anniversary.”

“Twenty-one years ago tomorrow, three young men decided for no good reason to try to take my life. Before I tell you the rest of the story we are going to play a game, it is called ‘What do you See’, so just shout it out when you look at me what do you see.”

This is their list; it took them a minute or so to get warmed up.

  • White Lady
  • Working Woman
  • Successful Woman
  • Educated
  • Well-Dressed
  • Rich
  • Articulate
  • Mean
  • Crazy Woman

Interesting isn’t it? I didn’t give them my list until much later. I did tell them my story though. I told them the story of what happened. I told them the story of what it did to my family. I told them how I felt when I found out the ages of the children who did such terrible harm to me, how I felt knowing they were going to prison.

I also told them a little bit about my own childhood, that it hadn’t always been rainbows, puppy dogs or easy. I told them about being declared a juvenile delinquent, being turned over to the state and being a runaway and on the streets at a very young age.

It matters they are not able to blow off the story of survival, compassion or Impact because of what they see when they look at me today.

I am not unkind, but I don’t pull punches about my feelings toward my attackers. I don’t lie about my feelings regarding their release either. Today I found something new, the reason why the youngest did his entire twenty, his complete sentence; his prison record was so bad he could never make parole. The one who was out and had his parole revoked, he was on the street less than a month, 28 days to be precise he is back in now. The last one, his parole was approved in October but he has not been released yet, he has nowhere to go.

Argicles.businessinsider Image

Articles.businessinsider Image

With each of these new pieces of information, I am torn. Torn between my wish they had made different choices. My wish they could find redemption. My true heartfelt wish they would or could be brought to the light and thus to a different manhood. Then there is the me that woke up this morning in pain again, the me that may face another surgery this year if the gym and physical therapy and acupuncture and everything else I am trying fails. There is the me that sometimes simply can’t get through the day without snapping for pain. There is the me that lies about seizures to keep people from worrying. There is the me who sometimes thinks I really will be alone someday because living with this me really isn’t a pleasant walk in the park.

When I look at this, these tears to my heart I have a very difficult time.

Whenever I speak at Victim Impact, I always allow for questions. I am always open and rarely am offended. Today I was offended, perhaps because things are close to the surface. Perhaps because tomorrow is my anniversary; but I think I was offended because it was simply an offensive exchange.

Sitting in the front row was a gentleman, perhaps in his forties who throughout the session had been fidgeting, rolling his eyes and clearly had something on his mind. Finally, he spoke up (this is paraphrased and not exact).

“Are you saying you never get angry, not even when you are in pain or when you have a seizure?”

“I did not say I am never angry, of course I get angry. I am human and have normal human reactions.”

“That is what I thought. So your interaction with the parole board to try to keep them inside is revenge!”

“No, it is not revenge. It is justice. For what they did to me, my family and their other victims they have never shown remorse. That lack of remorse or understanding means they will very likely do it again.”

“You threw them into prison, where it is insane, violent and terrible. You admitted they were children. You let them be turned into animals. Did you ever think about what they would become by keeping them there?”

“Yes, but what they did both before and after was not my choice it was their choice. They made these choices. At some point they have to take responsibility for those choices. They got time, I got life. Some day they will get out, they will choose what they do with the rest of their life. I don’t get to choose, my choices were taken away because of what they did. My life was shortened and changed because of what they did.”

At this point he started to argue but one of the host parole officers stepped in. In every crowd there is one like this. I don’t know why, there just is always one. The problem is there is a piece of me that will always wonder, always question my own heart. What if what he says isn’t at least in small part true, am I truly that terrible person who is only seeking revenge?

Tomorrow is my Anniversary. I am struggling with this.

My list:

  • Daughter
  • Grandmother
  • Mother
  • Wife
  • Sister
  • Aunt
  • Cousin
  • Friend

If you saw any of the above when you looked at me, your first instinct would not be to hurt me. That is why I stand up. That is why I do Victim Impact. Tomorrow it will be Twenty-One years since three young men and three bj-286x300bullets changed my life forever.

Cameras in the Locker Room

redhatI have finally gone back to the gym. Everyone said I was ready and with support and a good trainer to help, I could do this. I agreed and so off I trotted. I like my trainer, she and I have worked together before, she isn’t body perfect and she has had some injuries, she understands.

What does she understand you ask, rightly. She understands if I say I can’t do that I am not being a whiny itchy baby, I am saying my injuries won’t let me do that particular movement. When I say that she modifies the movement and we work through it. That is why I like my trainer. We are working to rebuild me, from the ground up. We are working to rebuild my balance, my strength and my confidence. She isn’t asking me to step on a scale, she isn’t measuring my waist, my ass or my thighs. She gets I feel miserable in the layers of fat I am wearing today and don’t need reminders. She talks to me about food, nutrition and other programs my gym offers and we look for things that might work for me.

I like my trainer. I usually like my gym, but this is a Red Hat, so you know there is something that must have stuck in my craw, something that has me sideways.

I meet my trainer in the morning on the way to work, specifically I work out at 7am. This means I must change at the gym. I must shower and dress at the gym, this already grosses me out. I must use their facilities, their locker room. When you walk into their locker room there is a great big sign, you can’t miss it unless you are blind it:


Obviously not the actual sign, but a close

facsimileDespite this very obvious sign you cannot miss unless you are blind, women are casually carrying on extended conversations on their smart phones. Listening to music on their smart phones. Playing games or something on their smart phones.

Unless I am mistaken, all of these phones have cameras in them. I am fairly certain, I am not mistaken.

What I am most annoyed with is many of these women have walked directly by the locker room attendant with their phones plugged directly into their ears, nothing was said. Then there are the women who are sitting on the benches casually chatting on their phones, carrying on conversations as the attendant walks through the locker room without saying a word.

What the hell? Which one of them can’t read the sign? The member or the attendant, this is the question I want answered.

Yesterday, my patience finally reached a boiling point. Maybe it is me but the locker room at the gym is not a tearoom or a bar, especially first thing in the morning. I don’t want to navigate around body perfects standing in the middle of the aisles discussing last night with each other or the person on the other end of their smart phones. I don’t want to try to dress while other women are sitting on the benches with their phones to their ears carrying on complete conversations. I certainly do not give to tinkers damn, who they did or in what position they did them.

Can I just say…..You are not that important!!

It is unlikely there is anything going on in your life that is so important it cannot wait for the one hour it takes you to work out. Leave your phone in the car. I do.

If you want to work out to music, buy a $49 IPod. Yes, I am well aware your smart phone does everything today. Tough, it isn’t allowed in the locker room and it makes others very uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable.

In fact, it makes me so uncomfortable I thought about it all day. I stopped at the gym on my way home and talked to the Operations Manager about it, he wasn’t there yesterday morning. I told him about my experience of the morning, including his own staff not doing anything. He is apparently new to this gym.

He promised to talk to the staff.

He suggested I say something to offenders first. I explained, it isn’t my job to enforce gym rules but that I would be happy to do so politely once. The problem with this is I would be doing so to ¾ of the women in the locker room and I really didn’t have time to police the locker room. It was the job of his staff to prevent members from entering with their smart phones.

I suggested his staff do their jobs at the front end, at the door of the locker room instead and that if I had to do it for them it would only be polite once. We talked about the maliciousness of humans, women in particular. I reminded him of the pictures we have all seen on the Internet from time to time, those terrible pictures we all laugh at of Wal-Mart customers, Fat Girls and others. I asked him where he thought they came from, did he really believe people posed for them.

My next work out is Thursday morning. I will give him an opportunity. If things aren’t better, I will politely say to other members their phones aren’t allowed in the locker room, point them to the sign at the entrance and ask the attendant to deal with it if necessary.likemycamera

If things aren’t better, next Tuesday I will pack my 35mm film camera (without film) into my gym bag and when I am dressing, I will put that empty camera on the bench next to me. What do you think, might the important ladies of smart phones cadre be a tad discomforted by my camera?

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