New Fiction: Anyone But Me

I get to live forever…well…for a really long time. That was, after all, the crux of the deal. It’s why I sought Jonas out. And like the fool he knew I would be, I hadn’t asked him what the catch was. Don’t get me wrong – there would have been a catch even if I had asked. I know what happens when you make deals with the devil, ask favors from genies,  wish on a Monkey’s Paw. But that’s part of their magic – they make you think you’re the one – the one person in all of history – who could game the system.

“Ugh. Are you thinking about our deal again? Boring!”

I hate him.

Jonas circles around me again. “So, who’s it going to be this time, Shalini?”

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New Fiction: Anyone But Me

Christian Humanism and Jay Bakker on Atheists Talk

We have an interesting guest on Atheists Talk radio this morning: Jay Bakker, a Christian, pastor, theologian, and the son of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. I’m the host for this show, which means I’m not doing the active interviewing part (that’s all Travis Peterson, president of Minnesota Skeptics – Go Travis!), and as a result I’m typing this in the studio as Jay and Travis are speaking.

Travis and Jay spent the first two segments of the show talking about Jay’s experiences growing up as the son of the Bakkers and in the shadow of the PTL (Praise the Lord) Club TV show. Right now, Travis is asking Jay why, after all of his experiences and struggles, he’s still a Christian. Good question.

[Oops – I got distracted with listening to the interview – I’m a shitty live blogger, lol. You’ll have to catch the podcast to hear Jay’s answer]

So, show’s over – and just when it started to get extra interesting, darn it!

Jay and I started to debate about the definition of Humanism in the last two minutes of the show. We continued speaking off air for a while, but we didn’t reach a resolution.

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Christian Humanism and Jay Bakker on Atheists Talk

Writing for Readers vs. Writing for an Audience

I’ve started writing short stories and reading them at an open mic. I’m becoming aware that there can be a difference between writing a short story that I would like to be read by a reader, and writing a short story that I intend to read out loud for an audience. I find myself trying to  balance two competing urges: Writing a story and writing a script. I want to write a story that can be read on its own, and I want to perform a story for an audience.

For instance, today I struggled with wording that went something sorta kinda like this:

“You don’t have to do that.” His voice dropped lower. “I could make it go away.”

If I was writing that for a reader, stating that his voice dropped lower is essential – I’m not aware of many ways to tell you that his voice dropped lower without telling you that his voice dropped lower.

But I was writing this knowing that I would probably perform it, and I don’t want to say “his voice dropped lower” – I want to actually drop my voice lower when I’m reading his line. To help me remember to do that my short story now has notes that I’ll want to rewrite after I’ve performed it.

“You don’t have to do that.” (drop voice lower) “I could make it go away.”

I want that visual cue, because if I forget to lower my voice during the reading, I might deliver a different message to the audience than I intended when I was writing it. Which probably wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Or – also from a performance/live reading perspective, I could just leave it as the original:

“You don’t have to do that.” His voice dropped lower. “I could make it go away.”

…and then fluctuate my voice to drop lower as I’m reading “His voice dropped lower.” I’m guessing this is how audiobooks and author readings work.

I do actually find this all to be quite exciting and fun. It’s not stressful; this is more like:


Image is the "do ALL the things!" meme (allie brosh - excited cartoon person holding a broom and punching the air in excitement) with the text "Play with all the possibilities"

Any of you writer-type people run into this? If so, what have been your thoughts?

Writing for Readers vs. Writing for an Audience

One-Sided Conversation

“…and we’re having some work done on the house. We have a new guy painting inside today. He’s Chinese.”

(why is that important?)

“He said he’s from Malaysia”

(then he’s probably not Chinese)

“His name’s Ollie”

(where’s this going)

“And I said that doesn’t sound Chinese”

(oh my god)

“He just laughed. He thought it was funny.”

(I’m sure that’s exactly what he thought)

“He told me that people sometimes think he’s Mexican. I told him that he didn’t look Mexican to me.”


“Oh well…I better get going.”

(please go)

“It was so nice to see you again!”

(screaming on the inside)


One-Sided Conversation

Saturday P365: Peace

This past Saturday morning I tried to stop for coffee at Cafe Southside located on Chicago near 34th street. Alas, the cafe was not yet open, but I did tromp around through the snow in the outdoor garden and grabbed a few photos for Powderhorn 365. The black and white is the one I submitted.

Black and white photo - a bird house atop a 6-7' pole is along the right of the image, bare flowers with dried buds line the bottom. A row of two-story houses and fences extended throughout the photo. A white, square pole about 5-6' tall is center in the image, and the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" is written vertically down the pole on the side facing the camera.

May Peace Prevail on Earth

Cafe Southside - A two-story building with a giant, colorful mural. In the foreground three bike frames repurposed as garden art. An outdoor table with a closed bar umbrella. Snow covers the garden. Houses visible in the background. The sky is still husky blue as the sun is about to rise.

Sunrise at Cafe Southside

The brick and windowed front of Cafe Southside. In the window is a Black Lives Matter Sign. On the sidewalk is an airbrushed sandwich board with the words "South City Cafe - Cafe Southside - Fair Trade Coffee + Salads Sandwiches"

Black Lives Matter ~ Cafe Southside


Saturday P365: Peace

Fear and Paranoia

I was in the car this past Sunday morning and I flipped the radio on to MPR News. There was an interview underway by Rachel Martin of three young Republicans. I stopped to listen because I heard one of the women describe herself as a Black pro-LGBT attorney. I wanted to hear what things a young Black woman pro-LGBT attorney found enticing in the current Republican platform.

Unfortunately, before the interview got there they asked Will Estrada, a 32 year old home-schooling advocate, what he thought about the current conversation on immigration policies and Syrian refugees. I was able to find a transcript of the highlights from that interview:

WE: As an evangelical Christian, we see in the bible that we’re all created equal in the image of God and a lot of the rhetoric that is used in modern American politics detracts from that. We need to be caring for the poor and the vulnerable.

Good, good. I mean, we disagree on using the bible as a reference for policy, but if you want to draw inspiration from your holy book, this is the kind of message I’d prefer to see you use.

… But

Goddammit. There’s always a but with these guys.

having said that it also starts with we’ve got to protect our citizens, we’ve got to protect men, women, children here in America. And I’m very concerned, Rachel, and I think a lot of Americans are concerned when we see young men of military age coming over from war-torn countries, who we don’t know and we can’t verify. I always think, what would happen – that movie Red Dawn that came out in the 80s – what would happen if our country were attacked? Would we be fleeing or would we be fighting for our country?

Red Dawn? Really? Goddammit! You are representing young Republicans on frickin’ Weekend Edition and you’re going to use frickin’ RED DAWN as a reference!? I like to think that Rachel Martin shared my incredulity because she said:

RM: But Red Dawn is a fictionalized account that stirs up fear and paranoia.

Fear and Paranoia