Monday, May 03, 2010


Yes, I block some people. So far I haven’t blocked any comments that are relevant and polite. I have blocked a few that show the person posting has no idea that they are PUBLISHING and that their post will cause people to see them in unflattering ways. I delete the ones that are totally off topic. I leave the pandering in hopes that others will be impressed.

I’m more likely to censor what I have to say myself. Some things are better back-channel. People in an urban anonymous world have no idea what an idle or misinterpreted remark can to do to one’s actual physical safety, much less the kind of treatment you get in the local stores. Montana politics, especially when it comes to art or water, is cut-throat, hot, and covert. I have stopped “saying” anything to some people, not because they actually participated in such behavior, but because they are siphons carrying information straight to the ears of enemies. Not just my enemies but also Bob Scriver’s -- and that extends out to another world, that of Western art and publishing. Even MORE corrupt and murderous. I guess they’ve internalized what they fancy the Frontier West was like. The ones I despise the most are those who think I am a bitter cast-off wife. I was divorced forty years ago. Life went on.

There are people around here who did me grievous harm in the past and now want to be “bosom buddies”, but more than that to put their foot back on my neck and rub my face in the dirt again -- now that they’ve shown me who’s boss. It’s junior high stuff. But I no longer eat shit. They entirely mistake me. I choose to avoid them.

There are some people who have free passes: former students, former parishioners (although sometimes it’s hard to tell who was really parishioner and who just hung around), PNWD ministers circa 1975, Tim and Cinematheque, of course, and a short list of others, many now dead. When you are seventy, many friends are dead. But still present.

My rule in life now is “no hitchhikers, no leftovers.” Everything I do online is my life (but not ALL of my life) and must meet my standards -- otherwise it’s delete, delete, delete. I’m an INTP (Myers-Briggs) who lives in happy solitude with an occasional friendly visitor who isn’t easily shocked by bad housekeeping nor allergic to cat hair. I watched my mother come to the stage in her life when she began finishing all the tasks she had put off, discarding the things she would never get around to, and opening up a little space for new ideas and experiences. This is evidently hereditary.

People constantly confuse my “voice” in this blog with the reality of who I am and what I do. So something I say strikes to your very heart! I’m glad for you. It doesn’t mean you can come live with me. Go hire a psychotherapist and pay for the time. I’m not certified to perform that function.

The same thing happened when I was preaching. I soon learned why a minister needs an office, a big desk and a secretary: there are so many needy people out there with no boundaries at all that a person is often swamped if not raped. (No, that’s not necessarily a metaphor.) Talk to each other. Form a group. Pretend you’re all reading the same book or say it’s a knitting club. I’m not an oracle but I know what you’re supposed to do to a guru -- kill ‘em.

If I shut you out, it doesn’t mean I hate you or that you’re bad. It means I don’t have time for you because I’m living my own life, now, constantly. If you need to know about it, read the blog. I don’t need a pen pal. If I’d wanted children, I’d have had them. If you’re an agent and you want to discuss a manuscript, that’s different. That IS my life, or a big part of it. I came here to live plainly and simply. I’m intrigued by the book currently being promoted as “Possum Living,” not least because I know a lot about possums. This is probably more like “Gopher Living,” considering how much time I spent burrowing under my house to fix something.

I have a co-writer, thank you. Tim Barrus is all I can handle and, bless his heart, I’m often glad he’s an ocean and a continent away. If you follow Subterraneous, you’ll know why. I’m not doing my share of “agenting,” partly out of incompetence and partly because . . . well, I’d rather write. I do the part of agenting where one supplies encouragement and offers advice about strategy. I do not edit Tim’s writing. I have no death wish. He never edits mine either, though he might or might not use a piece I write because I’m not always very clued in about what goes on in Paris.

Paris. I relate to Paris, not Montana. The juju has gone out of Montana, carried away piecemeal by tourists. Stuffed into databases and supervised by NGO’s who are experts on regulations and own really expensive outdoor clothing. May they all migrate to Louisiana.

They’ll never get away with the sky. The wind is endless: take all you want. The snow may be gone off the mountains but the mountains remain. The rivers may go dry, but the coulees are still there. Some years the berries are abundant, sometimes they are scarce. The tipi rings are there so far. Not all the ancient glyphs are covered with graffiti yet. Seasons make their rounds whether you recognize them or not. Blackfeet families expand whether you can recognize them or not.

Tim would say to intruders, “You don’t matter” or “I should care because . . .” But I say, sometimes I ignore you for your own good and sometimes I delete you because they’d arrest me if I shot you through the heart. And they don’t let convicts use computers. Most of the time. They might take my books and cats. Still, one’s chances of getting away with murder are said to be fifty/fifty.


Old Scrote said...

Wow! This piece left me breathless. So much resonates with me. I loved the sentiment about loved ones who have died still being with you.
Take immense care of yourself, and mind how you burrow gopher-like under your house.

Art Durkee said...

I really relate to this right now. I've been through several round of very similar events going on in my life and around my blog. I recently ended a long friendship over very similar things. But the friendship had evolved to a point where I felt like everything being sent to me was toxic. Granted, I have changed—who wouldn't, after going through life-changing experiences?—but there was an insistence that an old image of who I used to be was who I still was. Untrue, and painful.

So I relate a lot to what you're saying here, both in general, and in some cases (related to online life) in very specific parallel.

You're absolutely correct: This is YOUR sandbox. Anyone invited in to play is invited by you, where you set the rules, and can disinvite anyone, too. I'm moving towards very similar feelings about my own blog.

Thanks for stating it so clearly!

Dona Stebbins said...

Mary, you made my INTP day! I read you every day, but seldom comment. I always come away with lots to think about, though. Thanks for being there.