Monday, April 23, 2007


Sorry that this is just a continuation of the same rant, but the Bush Administration has (surprise, surprise!) been continually cutting mental health funding, including for returning veterans. NAMI has a great summary of the cuts, the BEST part of which is "School Violence Prevention – A proposed $17.226 million reduction below the FY 2007 level of $93.2 million." HA HA HA HA HA. Oh, wait. That's not funny.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Violence and Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a good perspective. For example: "Overall, the amount of violence committed by people with schizophrenia is small, and only 1 percent of the U.S. population has schizophrenia....By comparison, about 2 percent of the general population without psychiatric disorder engages in any violent behavior in a one-year period." And, "The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that the likelihood of violence by people with mental illness is low. In fact, 'the overall contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small.' More often, people living with mental illness are the victims of violence."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Mental Care"

So, breaking news from the BBC says that the Virginia gunman "had mental care." Well, I've had mental care, too, and I'm not about to go around shooting people.

George W. Bush has never had "mental care." Timothy McVeigh never had "mental care." As far as I know, Pol Pot never had "mental care." Yet, the fact that someone has seen a psychologist or psychiatrist is "proof" that, had we been more attentive, we just might have seen this coming and prevented that guy from shooting kids and teachers in Virginia.

We like to make the murderer into someone not like us. He was a "loner," he was Korean, he was a resident alien, he denigrates religion in his note (Oh, no! He didn't believe in God!), he had "mental care." Push him away; push him away. He's not like us; we aren't like him. Only monsters do such things.

Here, surrounded by people who have never had "mental care" but who are nonetheless fucking up the world, we have a gunman who was referred to a psychologist and all of a sudden we can say, "Ah-ha! THAT explains it all!"

I have no trenchant conclusion for this rant. I just feel sad, and, once again, marginalized. I'll be okay; it happens all the time. Even my father seems to think that if I have a fit of anger it is because my meds are out of balance. My mom can have a fit, my sister can have a fit, HE can have a fit, and they do it because they are ANGRY and UNHAPPY. But I do it because I'm CRAZY. Fun, isn't it?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Why? Or, rather, why not?

After due consideration, in relation to Richard Gere (Richard Gere Out Of Tibet!), I have come to the conclusion that we in the United States burn far too few things in effigy. And, no, Dood A'Fire in the Desert does NOT count.

That is all. Thank you for your time.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Easter Neville
Originally uploaded by St. Blaize.

Easter Neville. On the Easter tree.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I have been thinking a bit lately about writing, and wonder, since my only real genre is the essay, what I could write were I to write something longer, i.e. book-length. I have given up entirely on writing the book report that would get me my Ph.D. My advisor, when I asked him if I should complete my dissertation, said that since I was not going to be a professor, what was the point? I should just write a book.

"Just write a book." As though that were easy. I asked my friend Ray, who HAS written a book, if he thought I should write a memoir-type thing, and he replied, "I think you should start immediately upon waking up tomorrow."

Now, I have been looking at the idea of autoethnography, and wondering if the more rigorous (academic) tone of that genre would suit me even better. Then again, I am too too wedded to my own emotional process to view it with anything approaching "objectivity."

With all of this in mind, here is something I wrote, sometime in the past, that doesn't suck too much:

There was the day, when I was about 10 years old, where tired of drawing square-jawed and triangle-nosed mermaids, I went home to Mom and asked her to teach me how to draw a profile. She taught me to draw a left-facing one, and to this day I am stuck with people looking always to the west with that indomitable pioneer spirit. Mom showed me, and I practiced, bringing each piece back for criticism. Drawing the eye as a triangle rather than an almond was a revelation to me. Never more would the mermaids suffer from a Cubist duality of perspective in their penciled features. Never more would Freda, the Norse goddess who gave us Friday, have to place all of her vanity in her miraculously upswept hairdo, hoping that her coiffure would draw attention from the relentless geometry of her features. Now, although perhaps a bit cute or trite, at least the features of the goddess were regular and somewhat life-like.

With Santa Cruz in the thrall of what serves for spring here, I have been swept, at least two months too early, into the vertiginous nostalgia brought back in that season. Brought back in every season, really, but of changing character, and it is the change I notice. Here, where many things bloom or are green year round, I am not sure how just the cherry trees manage to have such sway over me. Maybe it is more the gradually increasing light, and the way it falls on the hills in the evening. Something is moving me into a sort of agitation, which I am incapable, and not really willing, to suppress.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

"Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."

Today, I meant to go and garden. Mom and I have a community garden plot that is about 250 square feet bigger than my house. I think. I have to measure it again. So there I was, in my overalls and my hat, and I just couldn't do it.

Instead, I came home and looked for a picture of me and a picture of Bette Davis that might confirm the idea (which more than one person has put forward) that I look like her. Looking like her would be a good thing, because she was beautiful. Odd, but beautiful. I found a potential comparison, but, still in my overalls, I'm not sure I really "felt" the comparison.

Most of the time I go around in the world thinking I am invisible. This is a helpful point of view, because it means I can go to the store covered in mud and not care, because I figure no one sees me. It makes me "brave" in one of the ways Becky uses the word. However, once in awhile, I wonder how I look on the outside. Today has been one of those days, at least for brief moments.