I Am Woman, Hear Me...Cry?

In preparation for Hillary Clinton's landslide win on election day, I choreographed "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy for my Zumba class. In searching for this feminist anthem on iTunes, I flashed back to my first rock concert (with my divorced-and-discovering-her-power mom), and then stumbled on this generation's version.
When you compare the lyrics to Jordin Sparks' (yes, highly dance-able) "empowering female anthem" from 2011 to those from the song that hit #1 on the Billboard pop charts in 1972, it's easy to see how today's women could have voted for an unapologetic misogynist.
97d4fec718348d76f1ba5e05b10b49e8Her lyricsIt ain't easy walkin' in stilettos/But somebody gotta do it; It's so rigorous
Doing what I do / Always on point / Always on cue; Don't need to talk / I speak with actions / I've perfected the laws of attraction / I'm the whole package plus satisfaction, bespeak the traps of perfection that today's young women find themselves in, always under someone's gaze, someone's judgment, with no deep self-connection. Trump's women—wives, daughters, hangers-on—are to a one shaped like Barbie, with hair-commercial locks, dresses over smooth bellies and teetering high heels. You get the feeling they'd better look like that or they're fired.
helen-reddy-jan-1978-home-2Reddy's lyrics "from the olden days" spoke of connection ("standing toe-to-toe") with other women, of wisdom, pain, and strength, and the incredible, generous heart of mothers and lovers, ready to "spread my loving arms across the land." Also, it politely acknowledged the impossible struggle women have with politics and with men, "With a long, long way to go/Until I make my brother understand." It is women seeing women from the inside.
Today, many women are crying. Our hardworking but unfuckable heroine was smeared by lying Russian trolls and a candidate who made bullying cool (for some), tapping into the vast community of voters who are suspicious of women (and anyone different from themselves).

 There will be another cry, coming very soon. And it will not be one of sadness. It will be a roar. 


Muse Madness!

I am usually crazy confident about titling my works, but coming up with a title for my winning work in the 2016 Lake Merritt Flash Mob Play Festival was harder than writing the play itself!

The original title was "Disgruntled Muse." I didn't want an adjective-Muse title, since I just re-named my newsletter (muse-letter?) "Generous Muse." And I have worked hard to have a positive relationship with my muses... want to keep it that way!

I came up with over 50 potential titles, based on the contents and theme of the play... with help from a rhyming dictionary and thesaurus, of course!
  1. A Goose Waits in Oakland
  2. A Kick From a Muse
  3. A Muse and a Goose
  4. A Muse Crosses the Street
  5. A Muse Grows in Oakland
  6. A Plague of Muses
  7. A Push from the Muse
  8. Abused by the Muse
  9. Bossy Muse Blues
  10. Can't Stop the Muses
  11. Choose the Muse
  12. Choosing the Muse
  13. Confused by the Muse
  14. Control your muses
  15. Cuddle the Muse
  16. Dances with Muses
  17. Demands of the Muse
  18. Distressing the Muse
  19. Don't Mess With the Muse
  20. Embracing the Muse
  21. Goose from a Muse
  22. Goosed by the Muse
  23. Juice of the Muse
  24. Kill my muses
  25. Mad at the Muse
  26. Make Way for Muses!
  27. Muse Calling
  28. Muse Madness
  29. Muse Sings the Blues
  30. Muse Trouble
  31. Muse-a-palooza
  32. Muse, Don’t Abuse
  33. Museday Afternoon
  34. Muses Made Me Do It
  35. Not A-mused.
  36. Perfectionist Muse
  37. Persnickety Muse
  38. Plagued by Muses
  39. Provoking the Muses
  40. Refusing the Muse
  41. Seduced by the Muse
  42. Seize the Muse
  43. Shaking the Muse
  44. Sing with the Muse
  45. Slave to the Muse
  46. The Madness of the Muse
  47. The Muse Moves 
  48. The Trouble With Muses
  49. Tighten the Muse
  50. Turn of the Muse
  51. View from the Muse
  52. Voice of the Muse
  53. Wealth of the Muse
Sifting out the negative ones (wanting a more neutral tone for the title), I selected the top six that I thought were memorable, evocative (of a feeling or another cultural reference), and carried the right sort of exciting energy:
  • Be Mused
  • Bossy Muse Blues
  • Choose the Muse
  • Muse Madness
  • Museday Afternoon
  • The Trouble with Muses
And then I set about pestering friends and family. I asked a few dozen writers and other creatives to vote for their favorites. Of course, most of them were much more clever than me, suggesting even more truly wonderful ideas, such as:
  • If you Give a Muse a Muffin 
  • Win Some, Muse Some
  • Muse En ScĂ©ne
  • Blue Suede Muse
  • The M-Spot
  • Afternoon with the Muse
  • BeMuse
  • Beggars can't be Musers (however, in my play, they can...)
  • Dark Side of the Muse (my personal fave)
Ultimately, the poll results were clear. Be Mused (which my aMUSEing husband shouted out a week before I thought of it), won definitively. An equal number of votes were split between The Trouble with Muses and Bossy Muse Blues, with a few clear votes for Muse Madness.

"I don't find this stuff amusing anymore." —Paul Simon, Graceland


Fool's Errand

You fooled me once
Thinking we could fool around;
‘Cause you don’t suffer fools
And I’m nobody’s fool.

But you rushed in
To act the fool
To part with money
To fool away your life
With me.

I took you for a fool
Made a fool of myself
Played the fool
For you.
With you.

You could've fooled me
But you weren’t fooling.
You were no fool.
You stepped off that cliff
And caught me before I fell.

So tee-hee, I declare:

Fooling around
With you
Is a certain kind
Of paradise.

Happy Today.


(Originally hack-posted to Entropical Paradise...)


A Nifty Superbowl Craft!

 We try to keep our football parties fun for everyone... and now we're sharing our favorite Superbowl craft for you to share with your guests!

As seen on Instructables & Medium.

Download the template here.