Did you get Christmas letters this year? Do you love them or hate them? Here’s a confession from someone with a long history of sending Christmas letters– me. I try to keep a sense of humor about it.
Gloria Siren Lisa Lanser Rose wrote this dog story, “flash nonfiction” that appears in this month’s Word Riot. It is powerful and understated. You can read it or hear Lisa read it.
Sadly, the allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of everyone’s favorite TV dad of the 80s and 90s, Bill Cosby, makes the following in-depth essay written in the wake of the allegations against Woody Allen timely and relevant again. Different celebrity, different allegations, same old bull from small-minded people who say the predictable type of things small-minded people say when a victim comes forward: she wasn’t actually raped, she’s only after his money or out to ruin his reputation or to make a name for herself, and if she took so long to come forward it can’t be true because all real rape victims report their rape immediately.
Below is my essay, “What Would You Say if I Told You? Talking About Sexual Abuse,” that covers sexual abuse from allegations against Woody Allen to sexual abusers who prey on those in their own families to a case where I represented a teenage girl for an injunction for protection against her mother’s husband. What is “real” evidence? If charges aren’t filed against an accused rapist, does that mean police and prosecutors don’t believe he did? Read on for answers.
Catherine Frederick is a former student of Siren Susan Lilley, and she’s a student at FSU. Here, she shares her story of the shooting that occurred in the early hours of morning. She makes some very strong points. One of them: “We shouldn’t even feel lucky if twenty years goes by without another school shooting. Because to feel lucky that it hasn’t happened, means that we anticipated that it would.”
The Gloria Sirens are showcasing all creatures during the Dog Days of August. Here’s a Leda and the Swan poem by Calypso Jewel.
Speaking of Gluttony, Siren Susan Lilley shares the SIN FINALE featuring Avarice and Pride with a side order of Lust in this tale of debauchery that took place in sweet little ol’ College Park.
Adventures of a U-haul lesbian by Tiffany Razzano.
“My best friend flew back home the morning after we arrived in Spring Hill. “It’s hot and I hate Florida,” he said. When he left I had nothing to do but sit up late outside, trying to enjoy the sticky, sweet nights and the quiet, reading or writing, realizing how incredibly alone I was in this new state. Nothing would be the same ever again.“
Katie Riegel shares a poem by Tria Wood on The Gloria Sirens, and here it is for all of you. If we all printed it out and taped it on our refrigerators, we’d get tired of it being there, just as we are tired of living the truth of the poem.
Karissa Morton’s blog on how we should support one another hits home with me. She writes:
It doesn’t take much to open someone’s link & read a poem he or she is proud of. It takes even less to click “like” or make a congratulatory comment, to metaphorically say, “Hey, I see your achievement in this tough, competitive world!” If we’re really a community, let’s engage like one.
Several weeks ago, I was at home alone, reading, when a very friendly orange cat came up to the window and wanted to be let in. He was persistent. I finally let him in. I got his owner’s phone number from his tag and sent a text. Beans (the cat’s name, according to his tag) followed me from room to room, making me feel less alone. He was adorable. I suddenly wanted a cat.
Growing up, I didn’t have a cat. “Do you know what they do?” my mother asked. “They’re nasty!”
When my children were still at home, we got a cat. It was a sickly kitten that crawled up to my friend’s back door one night in a rainstorm. My children loved him. I was busy with school, so I didn’t bond with him the way they did. They let Fitz sleep with them, they laughed at his “kung-fu kitty” moves, and said he moved like Neo in The Matrix. Fitz was always trying to cough up a hairball. I finally mentioned that to the vet. “Have you ever seen a hairball?” I hadn’t. Fitz had asthma. That was the sound we’d heard him make so often. He suddenly had two prescriptions that he’d always have to take. Even with his meds, though, Fitz had awful asthma attacks. Emergency vet kind of asthma attacks. At least three times when I took him for an emergency, he had to be put in an oxygen chamber. I finally told the kids it was cruel for us to let him keep suffering. They would miss him. We chose the day, and they all spent good time with him, loving him and willing themselves to remember everything about him. He was three years old.
Heartbreaking as that sounds, my feelings were much stronger for my children and what they were going through than they were for Fitz. I hadn’t spent much time with him. But I loved how much my children loved him on top of their love for our dog, Honey, who we had long before Fitz and long after.
So I guess you could say I was never a cat person. Then along came Beans and opened my heart. Too bad he had an owner. He (or she) texted me back hours later and said to let Beans back outside and he’d find his way home.
I looked a long time for a kitten. I was told it was not the right time of the year yet for kittens, that there are kitten seasons when they’re ubiquitous. Like a mother feathering her nest, I bought all of the things I would need for my kitty. One Saturday I drove from pet store to pet store to visit adoption events, hoping I’d find my kitty. And then, when I went back to the first pet store because they had a litter box I really liked, there were cats there for adoption. I hadn’t seen them earlier in the day. I asked the woman if they were up for adoption and were they there earlier. She said, “Yes.” There was a female tortie in a cage with a too-active little calico. She was sweet. She responded to me. I put my fingers in the cage and started talking to her. “Yes, I said. You are the kitty for me!” I looked at the woman, excited. “I thought there was no way I would find my kitty today. I’d given up hope.” She said, “I’m about to pack up and leave. She’ll be here tomorrow.” What?! “Well, is there an application? I don’t want someone else to adopt her before I do.” She gave me an application, then squatted down and started putting things in a box. As I quickly filled it out, she loaded up her van with the cats and her stuff. She didn’t say another word to me. I put the completed application on her bag and went back to get my litter box. When I came back, she was gone.
She was not there the next day, nor was the kitty. The woman who came that day– with the cats she fostered, which is how it works, so the lady the day before was fostering “my” kitty– contacted the other woman by phone after she didn’t show up all day. She didn’t know I was serious about adopting the cat, she said. That was a lie. The truth is, she somehow decided that she wasn’t going to let me adopt that kitty. Whether she misjudged me or what, I won’t know because she wasn’t honest enough to say. “It’s probably the best thing that ever happened to you,” my fiancé said, which is what his mother would always say to him when things didn’t go his way. And it was the best thing that could have happened to me that day, because it kept me looking for a kitty– and I found Audrey.