First Cup of Coffee – July 15, 2022

A bit more on the internet/cell data saga (fair warning), and then further ruminations on RPGs, Wizardry, my own experiences along with other female/enby/etc. folks in the community, and Frosé.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Very good. Um, today is say it with me Friday woohoo. Ah July fifteenth the ides of july.

Ah, beautiful here in Santa Fe this morning we went for a walk. It was very pleasant even more pleasant and exciting is the xfinities tech is supposed to come um between nine and eleven this morning. And it’s now none I’m running a little bit later today partly because we went for the walk and we went up to the store and then I had to like move shit around in my office so that they had all these instructions you know, make sure that. Technician we can get to the outlets of that. There’s nothing in the way. Um, so that has been It’s interesting to me how much of a contributor to my feelings of chaos to have my office disrupted. Oh. There’s my mother. I asked her how she was and she never replied up. She’s thinking more clearly she’s feeling better all right I will reply to mom when I am done doing the podcast I’d left my phone on in case, the Xfinity tech calls. Um, it’s funny cause they send these some text messages saying. You know reschedule and you know as all these you know press one to confirm and None to cancel and None to reschedule it. It’s like I was just terrified of hitting the wrong wrong button and so please come please please please come and fix our internet. Yes, ah. Ah, ongoing saga if you have been following. Um, my phone was not working right yesterday I tried to tried calling Megan because um, so so I’ve answered my question that I posed yesterday of why can’t I just run internet through my hotspot. Maybe if I hadn’t gotten the basic plan I could but you know I got like the most basic unlimited plan I could and uploading my podcast video to Youtube took a fucking hour hou hour hou hour you guys I couldn’t believe it and it was. I could barely do anything else on my laptop at the same time because it was like hijacking the signal from my mouse and my keyboard and everything was running very slowly and it was it was miserable I mean champagne problems right? but still it was miserable I didn’t even try to upload to instagram. Apparently instagram is changing like if you’re going from if you’ve had a business page and now they’re going to teams or something so that’s probably why I can’t upload the podcast video to internet or to instagram sorry um, so then.

After I finally got everything uploaded and I thought this just is not a tenable substitute and I need to do the s simple board meeting yesterday afternoon. So I called my friend Megan she had texted me and said did I want to go for frose – #perfectlyfine – Um, in the evening fros or Harry’s and our whole tradeoff balance there is is it raining or not because it’s monsoon season monsoon rains come in in the afternoon. Um, if it’s a sunny hot afternoon frose is the thing to do if the rain has come in. Because we’re high altitude desert. It gets cold right? So yeah, then it’s then it was Harry’s roadhouse and margaritas. So I was thinking about it that we were getting together anyway and so I tried to color because I didn’t feel like typing it all out. Um. Another minor inconvenience is that I’ve been using the the text app on my laptop to do a lot of my texting but I can only do that if we actually have internet because you have to have the phone and the laptop on the same internet but apparently having the laptop get internet from the phone is not the same thing. Don’t ask me so I tried to call her and my call would not go through would not go through would not go through then she tried to call me back and leaves me a voicemail saying hey I saw you tried to call me but it didn’t ring on my phone. Ah. So then I had to get on with chat with the verizon tech and it was one of those deals where the Verizon tech was taking like 5 minutes between replies and you know because they’re clearly helping I don’t know None different people at the same time. And eventually after 45 minutes I got to a place where they had me reset reset the network on my phone and now my phone is working fine and they’re like well I’m so glad that and maybe they are doing this because they said you are awesome. You made this work. And I was like yeah too bad it took 45 minutes to get to the solution. There was a point at which the person had said to me. Um, you know Well so I understand that you’re having trouble with your hotspot is that correct and I said no, that’s not correct. And they said well can you tell me what the problem is exactly and I said how about you reread the conversation. We’ve been having for the last half an hour during which I’ve explained what the problem is exactly multiple times and which I think they did because then they came back and said oh you’re having trouble making and receiving calls I was like.

Um, my gosh this week I tell you I’m just hoping that the xfinity appointment goes well that I’ve internet. So anyway, I finally got to have a voice conversation with Megan and I said can I come up to your office to radius and use your internet for this board meeting and then we can go for Drake’s you know. Me a quiet corner and I could do that and she said well even better. Why don’t you go to my house because ah, her husband is out of town I guess I could say husband now right? Husband is out of town doing San Diego comic con working and. They have the big dogs that prefer to have company and she’s like it would be a great favor to me if you would go over and sit at my house and do your board meeting there and use our internet I was like perfect and she said and then I could come home from work and we can go have drinks well then ah a wrench in the works as her daughter is having a medical crisis. And mean ended up being home. She said I’m just she so I’m gonna come home I’ve got to arrange everything and now she’s um, leaving this afternoon flying to to Arizona to be with her daughter and she’s gonna be there for the whole week because her daughter has to have surgery and all this kind of thing. So ah, she would so she spent her afternoon like finding house sitters and dog sitters and all of this and she had to run out and then she came back and so it was like none and I’d already started drinking her champagne as. She had told me to do my board meeting was done my other work was done and so she was like she still has cases of champagne leftover from the wedding she was like please drink some champagne so I was sitting out on her porch drinking champagne when she got back and she said okay so the house Sitter’s coming over at None and. I said well do we have time to go for Burgarita still and she’s like oh it’s gonna be a little tight and I said you know why don’t we just sit here and drink champagne and have food delivered and she was perfect so we had italian food delivered. We sat out there. We drank champagne we chatted and now she’s taking off again. So I may yet be going over to our house to use internet. We’ll see ah yeah, ah, such as life right? It’s amusing to me. Can’t recall if I reflected on this yesterday, but it’s amusing to me that ah it has wreaked so much havoc in our lives this week not having internet and having so difficult cell service for these 2 things that.

And I know I sound like an old lady at this point you know shit came like can you kids don’t know but you know that I before you know that there was a time in my life would those were things that we did not have we simply did not. Have it all and it’s like and now the loss of them makes it almost impossible for me to work. Um and yet I remember a time when I worked without those things was trying to find a way to embrace it. But it’s just um, it’s disruptive. So hopefully after this all will be back to normal. Um, follow up on um, excuse me the game stuff I talked at the beginning of the week about I guess on tuesday. Tuesday’s podcast I talked about um, doing the roleplaying games and I told you the story about a pith Jennifer Dieys and my high school boyfriend who was involved in that story did listen to the podcast I did not point it to it so I don’t know if you listen every day kev or if you saw the descriptor on that None but he replied to me on Twitter and he said actually let me tell you exactly what he said because he told okay I found his clarifying tweets. He said wizardry was the game. We sent your poor low- level character into a dungeon with a higher level crew. Even if Jennifer had survived the pit. She definitely would have been slain in the none encounter with enemies. She was set up to fail. Ah, and I kind of. Loved that he told me all of that and I don’t recall if we if he told me before that my character was set up to fail but it was very interesting having this conversation with Gregory Wilson and some other people another um. Female friend of mine who is an amazing fantasy author ah told me a story saying that she stopped playing games rpg games I guess that’s redundant isn’t it role-playing games when she was 19 when the boys that she was playing with decided to cast a sleep spell on her character and rape her and yes, it’s the fantasy of the game but it’s also a representation of yourself and we know that people take this.

Kind of things seriously right? You know it’s that it’s the avatar of yourself and I felt so bad for her and it was interesting sharing with them. Kev’s information about it being wizardry and ah Gregory Wilson said oh that he had this epic rant about wizardry and playing it in the eighty s. And how much he hated that game and I will link to his rant because it was an entertaining rant and it’s just like 9 minutes long so um those of you interested might enjoy hearing this rant Kev if you are listening ah you may enjoy hearing this rant. And um, but it was it was It’s been interesting to revisit that because I had never really connected that maybe a lot of my current aversion to. Role-playing games or lifelong aversion to role-playing games may have stemmed from that incident in which I was set up to fail ah in which my boyfriend and his friends mainly wanted to get rid of me and successfully did so um, you know and it’s like hardly a big thing. In the scheme of things but it is interesting. How we do learn aversion to stuff and and I mainly am still thinking about it because I know that this has been such a pervasive experience for women and. Non-binary non um, heteronormative people in the science fiction and fantasy community that that gaming particularly roleplaying gaming is such a big part of the um, kind of the group. Interaction right? The the fantasy of playing together and that there you know has been so much terrible, cruelty and abusiveness that’s flourished in that aspect of the community and a lot of people are doing much better work to to combat it. But. Um, yeah, it’s ah it’s just it’s too bad. That’s gone on for so long and I’m glad that people are battling it and I’m glad to have conversations with people like Gregory who are very welcoming and saying you’ll come back and play this game and and I think I’m gonna try I’m gonna. See about playing some of these games because maybe I would like it. ah good kev also clarified that ah the town I mentioned was gold hillll and it was till desk do party was the name of the production company doing the murder mysteries. He says None stars would recommend.

And he also said it’s possible. He had an unfair advantage in the game as well since he had attended many times before as I recall he was also the only person who wasn’t drinking so another unfair advantage. So um. Let’s see so there’s those things I’ve got rogues possession upload it ah ready to release soon. What did I say July Twenty Sixth something like that I should know I know that and it’s all upload. It. So. It’s nice to have these things where I’m not ah uploading under the wire rogueeson continues to sell very well I did see on um, good reads. My assistant was saying that it wasn’t on Goodreads and I found it for her. But now we have multiple versions so I have asked. The librarians on goodreits to consolidate the additions. But I couldn’t help noticing that there was like ah not great reviews on the new edition. Some of them could be trolls. Ah but there was one on there like the the top review. Um I didn’t read all of it I just started to. Read it but she was complaining that there should have been a trigger warning for exactly that section that I was thinking about deleting people I was like yeah but it was funny because she said um that that was an abusive relationship and that she dnfed at that point because. Should have been a trigger warning for abusive relationships and that she just couldn’t read that and it was like well that particular section is an abuse. It’s not supposed to be ah, a relationship. It’s it’s basically torture. It’s it’s It’s like it. No no, no, it’s not an abusive relationship. It’s being kept captive by hostels who torture you? Um, so maybe not a close reader. Ah maybe a troll I don’t know so anyway, if you have never reviewed. Ah, rogues pawn on good reads and you feel like saying something nice about it on either edit I assume they’ll blend together and so that will that will help I do think it’s funny because it’s like ah now I’m back to thinking maybe I should have deleted that scene. But It’s really important for her character. It’s important for shaping what happens later and so when I did look at deleting it and having it be like just flashback and all that it would have been really hard to disentangle at this point.

And I know that a lot of readers feel the same way and I don’t blame them a bit but for prisoner of the crown that prisoner of the crown starts out with um, her early life and how you know how she was basically set up to be a victim. And then how she’s victimized in her marriage and all of this is about how this changed ah changed her family and ultimately brings about the downfall of an empire because she was they picked the wrong girl to victimize um and. I understand people hesitating to read that first book. But yeah, it, It’s what shapes our character so funny and what else.

I’m I’m making good progress on shadow wizard I’m having a lot of fun writing jadron um I’m I’m liking Cellie too but Jadron in particular is in really interesting character isn’t he. Here’s one of those characters by the way if you have read the bonds of magic books when he appeared on the page in bright familiar. Basically when he stepped out of the carriage I did not know what was going to happen in that scene and when he stepped out of the carriage. It was like this character who had decided he wanted to be part of these books and. Total surprise to me and so I’m so I’m enjoying delving into exactly what his deal is and I’ve been listening to the audio book of bright familiar and then I’ll finish that then I’ll read that listen read the audio book of great magic. So. Getting those things done and hoping to get a lot of stuff cleared out of my office because oh as I started out and probably didn’t finish saying my office is utter chaos in part because like the modem and internet connection was all behind bookshelves so there’s like. Books everywhere and I also have to mail out a whole bunch of stuff for Sifwa and I have a whole bunch of stuff for a polycon. So I’m hoping this weekend to like put my office back into order and then I will feel like um, it makes a big difference for me. I I um I wouldn’t say I’m a scrupulously neat person but I am like a clean desk person and I am a non-cluttered organized office person and um, yeah, deep cleansing breaths right? on that note. I hope that you all have wonderful relaxing fabulous weekend and I will um, talk to you all on Monday possibly with internet how you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – July 12, 2022

My crazy afternoon and evening yesterday, including a vehicle near-mishap, along with thoughts on role-playing games, doing the Bag of Giving, and about my early game-playing trauma when I was a teen.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

Ah, that’s good. Delicious. Today is Tuesday July Twelfth Two Thousand and twenty two and well big news in our household is my mother has COVID. Um, it’s the first time that it’s hit my immediate family I guess guess everybody’s getting it now. Um, um so they caught it pretty early. She hasn’t felt too terrible tired headache little bit of a fever. She is um you know twice boosted four shots. So and they’ve got her on Paxlovid so hopefully she’ll kick it pretty quickly and it won’t be a big incident. Um, it reminded me though of an incident from fairly early on in the pandemic it was after. Walk down had let up. So I think it may have been summer of 2020 and a lot of the restaurants around Santa Fe had opened again. But they’d also created all of these socially distanced outdoor spaces and I went to dinner with. My friends Megan and Charlie and they yeah we went to the Compound and the Compound had set up these tents those you know like the kinds you get for parties. They’d set up tents with tables and them so we’ve been hoping to like. Sit on the patio. You know just have drinks on the patio and or d’euvs and stuff and it turned into this whole. Um we couldn’t because the patio had been taken up by the tents because in case it rained I guess but we were having a good time. And we were talking about New Mexico had a mask mandate very early on so we were talking about people wearing masks and not wearing masks and the young man came up to fill our water glasses and. There was something about where we like we’re explaining our conversation to him. We’re like oh ah, you know we were just discussing masks and we appreciate you wearing yours and because all the servers were really, but we were sort of.

You know, like sometimes you randomly include the survey in your conversation and he said oh yeah, he said we’re all wearing masks because we have to and he says but I figure. Um, you know there’s not a lot of point in it because sooner or later. We’ll we’ll all just have it and there may have been more to it but it was really kind of funny because we went from being jovially optimistic and compliant to this like complete downer and the young man left again and ah and Megan said well that went downhill fast. Like yeah bit unexpected and now I feel like soon or later we’re all gonna have it right? He was um, oddly prescient which I don’t attribute to any foresight of his. But. Seems to be the the case at Megan and Charlie’s wedding somebody asked the morning after when we were all kind of like sitting around in a big circle nursing our hangovers and somebody said so has everyone here had covid already. Which I thought was a funny question and I think several other people did too because we were like no and and I said not to my knowledge and couple of girls said yeah not to my knowledge. You know if we’ve had it. We’ve had it asymptomatically there are mosquitoes buzzing around me this morning. Getting on the laptop screen. So um, hopefully everything will be fine. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. So um, otherwise things are going pretty well, we’re struggling with our internet we had this outage from xfinity a couple of weeks ago with big storm I may have mentioned that and ever since they restored it. It’s been um. Different and weird and this morning I can’t connect to it at all. So I’m doing this through my hotspot I’ll have to discuss with David Hugh when I got home last night. It was a very frenzied evening for me. Um. Because I knew it’s go to be a busy day anyway, it’s kind of a busy week. A lot going on and I think I get so used to not having anything going on that having a lot going on always feels like much so I got to um, got my words in which is great and.

Writing went fairly well finished um talked to Grace on the phone for the first time in a long time and that was really nice. We talked on the phone for about for over an hour and I had to leave for my very important mani/pedi. Had an appointment at 3 so I just kept talking to her in the car and um, got there did the mani/pedi got back home at four thirty left the jag running outside the garage because I didn’t know if the airlock was on. Because Jackson will escape if he’s in the house and the airlock isn’t on and it’s if you’ve been listening to to this for a long time. You know that? um my jag battery ah is drains fast. It’s like something to do with the old car. And my mechanic has told me that it’s much better to leave it running if I’m driving it for less than 20 minutes at a time. So if I’m going to like go in the house and make sure that I can open the garage door I just leave the car running. So I go in. And David starts talking to me about the internet and how we need to change the administrator on the router and he wants to know what email address I’ve been using on to you see the hummingbird humming hovering over my head. That’s very nice. Youre on video getting very nice hummingbird shot. They’re coming in for the feeder. It’s buddy. Ah so you know he’s like changed the password. But. He doesn’t know what email address I’m using for it and you know it’s like one those communication things where I sit down and look at it and he’s like is it a capital j or a lowercase j for the email address and you know so I try that one and he said no I think it’s supposed to be capital j and I’m like. I don’t know that’s it and he said well that’s email you’re using for the router and I’m like I don’t fucking know the email address I use for the router and I’ve got this thing at 5 that bag of giving deal and time is ticking. It’s like 20 minutes till and I said I need. Internet I have to do this thing at 5 so he’s undoes, whatever it is. He’s done and fortunately I could get on the internet in time. So ah, you know? so then I like go pee and put on lipstick and I sit down and I get there like right at 5

And we’re doing setup and we’re doing things and we’re getting everything figured out and it’s ah you know like five-twenty I I did manage to pour myself a glass of wine because I have high priorities and ah. And it’s we’re going to start at like 5:25 and it’s like 5:20 and I said um, can I have a couple minutes because I haven’t explained to David any of this and they’ve told me it’s going to take 3 hours which I did not know it was going to take that long and so. I I said can I take a couple minutes and they’re like well only one or 2 and I said okay you know let’s play I just need to go talk to David so I go in and explain to him. This could be long but um I can eat dinner after or if he wants to bring dinner into me whatever and he’s going to go to the store and we talk about that and ah. And then I realize do you realize? oh alert listeners. Yes I’d left the jag running. It’s been almost an hour ah fuck my life. So I quickly ran out brought the car in. Turned it off then did this thing to like 8:30 and and during all of this my mom had texted me while I was driving back and my phone had fallen on the floor and I’m trying not to look at my phone when I’m driving anyway and so. She texts me around eight fifteen while we’re still going in this game and says you know where are you and I realize I never looked at that text from when I was driving back from the mani/pedi and that was when she told me that she had covid so sorry that I didn’t reply um so I was just it was just kind of crazy. Um, it was interesting playing the game. Ah Kelly Robson wrote me into it. Derek Kunsken was part of it and Derek is a great guy. Um Michael Underwood and ah the game master was ah Gregory Wilson I think that’s right hadn’t met him before and so you know it’d been this thing where they’d asked us to do this and people would be watching and I never saw. The interface where people were watching have no idea what’s wrong with this eye. Well right? So um, playing the game I had told them all that I am not a game player that I have.

Played very very rarely my whole life and they all said that that’s not necessary that I don’t have to I didn’t have to do any research to prepare that I could just come and play and that people would donate money was I’m like real. Okay. And I knew that it was like I wasn’t going to be any good because I I think with games like that I overthink and we can um we can get to that. But ah I as we’re waiting this is before I’ve remembered that my car is still running. Ah um. I said well can I tell you all my ah, my gameplaying trauma and I said oh yes, please and it’s funny because I hadn’t thought of this story for a long time and, Kev, I might tell you to listen to this podcast because I think you will be amused. Ah, no I’m gonna sneeze all right sneezing accomplished. So I said well my game playing trauma when I was in high school with my very first boyfriend. My first. Love not my actual first boyfriend but um, Kev he and his friends were playing this game that they that they stole that they shoplifted um and these were not poor people. But. They may have been out of money and I was already in great disapproval that they had shoplifted this game and they were all agog to play it and it was this is so long ago that it was one of these computer games. That you would play with like dos commands I mean there’s no graphics nothing um and you would just type in commands and it would do things and so. They they convinced me to play this game despite my high dudgeon and gave me a character because I think they wanted me to you know they wanted me to not take kev away. You know there was already some tension there with. Ah, at least one of his good friends who felt very competitive about the time that Kev spent with me and so my name is actually Jennifer many of you know that.

And so they’d named my character Jennifer and she was a mage and and I was just starting to get kind of intrigued because I had like these mage powers and could do things and then all of a sudden we’re like going down some tunnel or something and the dos readout says: A pit. Jennifer dies. And I was like wait. What does that mean and they’re like oh well, you know you didn’t have enough power or whatever we all fell in the pit but you died and I’m like well do I get another life or whatever and I said no no, you’re you’re dead now and. You know and that’s funny because ah I remember this so vividly and I was so annoyed and I so I was telling them all this story kind of at first in jest you know, just saying ah you know here’s my gameplaying trauma and I’ve really never gotten into roleplaying games. And Gregory said. Ah I mean he was incredibly sweet I I’m hope by getting his name right? Um, he was incredibly sweet and said ah I’m feeling like I should look up his name hold on. Let me make sure I’m getting it right. Was right? Gregory Wilson I um remembered better than I thought so anyway Gregory took this incredibly seriously and he said um, he said you know game playing came at a time in my life also in high school. When I needed it very very much and in many ways it saved me and so I’m really sorry to hear stories like this because of a bad experience and he says and there are other stories of people who had bad experiences like this from inexperienced game players who didn’t take things seriously. And didn’t take care of the other players and I’m really sorry that happened to makes me all over clumped and I wanted to say I mean I nearly came back and said well it wasn’t that big of a deal I’ve always thought of as kind of a funny story but but looking back you know I wonder. How much of that bad experience did affect the fact that I really never wanted to play any role playing games again. Um, and it’s not if you do listen to this gift. Maybe I won’t tell you to listen. Um, it’s not your fault that your friends were mean to me. Um, no brad was such a fucking ass right? You know? Um so competitive. Ah so anyway, it was an interesting experience playing this game. Um.

And it did remind me of one of the few other occasions that I’ve played a game similar to that which was also with Kevin his wife Linda David and I went with them in a group of other friends ah up to um, can’t remember what was called a. This old ghost town in the mountains where they did like the murder mystery dinner and you’re supposed to solve the mystery and both playing that game and playing this one last night I find myself. Interrogating the people much too closely and it’s an interesting phenomenon because I know that the roles that they’re playing that they have certain kinds of information that they can give and and Kev won that game. At the murder mystery thing and I think he knows how to abide by the game architecture in a way that I don’t because I keep trying to interrogate people more closely and I think it’s because I can tell they’re lying to me and so I’m always trying to extract. What what are they not telling me and I suspect what it is is that it’s that they’re lying to me because they’re playing a role and so they’re saying stuff that they know is it true? Ah, ah. So this is what I mean that I think I totally overthink this stuff. Um, it’s ah it’s a funny thing isn’t it. So yes: A pit. Jennifer dies. Ah I did um, kick ass with my bow and arrow and my quarter staff in the game last night so cheers um yeah I know that’s probably shocking to all of you that I may overthink these things. Um. I was also um I understand now more why so many fantasy writers generate books from their fantasy role-playing games. Um. Which I do think has a certain stamp to it and there were a couple of people who were like doing more to like be descriptive and talk about the storytelling type things that they were doing and I I feel like I I did not quite get into that because.

Um, Gregory was doing a great job of leading me through it and I think he was being especially tender with me knowing that I had this like terrible trauma from the pit in my teenage years and at the end everybody congratulated him on being a great game master which. I I probably should have just echoed. But I don’t know from good or bad but I enjoyed it and and he um was walking me through stuff but at one point he’s like all right, you know because I decided to rescue this deer and he said so what what are you going to do and I was like I don’t know what to say um and there was 1 other ah person who was um, being much more descriptive and so I don’t know it was interesting to play. So. That was my yesterday hopefully today will will be a little bit smoother. Hopefully my mom will be feeling better. Hopefully my stepdad won’t catch it from her and yeah and then I have to save this sticky note again for like Thursday. So. Um, yeah, well go get to work get away from these mosquitoes and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.

Penetrating the Heart of Darkness

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is The Book You Didn’t Want to Read and Ended Up Loving. 

This was kind of difficult for me to answer, because most of the books that spring to mind when I cast back and try to recall which I didn’t want to read are the ones I ended up hating. If I ended up loving them, I kind of forget that initial pain. Like childbirth.

But I finally settled on HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad, which I had to read for AP English senior year of high school. The edition above is the one I read – and still have. I know a lot of you hate it, but come on over to find out why it was pivotal for me. 


Signing at RWA and Thoughts on the Aurora Deaths

Sorry – it’s not a pretty picture. And I suspect I don’t really have “fans” out there who will be looking for me in the wild chaos that is the RWA Literacy Signing. BUT, if you are out there and and want to plan ahead – you can find me at table 105, right by the cashiers. See? I put a little red smiley on it.

I leave on an early, early flight tomorrow morning and will be at #RWA12 all week. I’ll try to post pics, but you regular readers know how well I do at that. Best bet is to look for posts on (@jeffekennedy) or Facebook – Author.Jeffe.Kennedy lets you see stuff without being my friend. To see posts on Jeffe.Kennedy, I’m pretty sure you have to be a friend. But who understands how Facebook works anymore?

On to less frivolous topics…

I debated all weekend whether to say anything about the theater shootings in Aurora last Friday morning. I’m not sure I have anything substantive to add and it annoys me when people turn a tragedy like that into being about them. I don’t want to be all “look at me.”

But I feel like I want to say something.

I grew up in Aurora. My mom bought a house there in 1972, just before my sixth birthday, and she owns it still. When we moved in, the address was Denver, but the City of Denver ceded a section to the City of Aurora, as part of the redistribution of taxes in the rapidly growing metro area. These days you can’t really discern that you’ve driven from Denver to Aurora. Like many big cities, the metropolitan area of Denver incorporates many smaller cities and towns.

Which is why I always just say I’m from Denver. My mom was born and raised in Denver proper, and that feels no different to me than my own growing up. But my high school boyfriend and first love, Kev, who comments on here from time to time, often gives me grief for saying “Denver” instead of “Aurora.” For him I suspect it’s a loyalty thing. For me, it’s a “no one has ever heard of Aurora” thing.

Until now.

Once we saw the news Friday morning, the internet network fired up. I figured Kev wouldn’t have been at that showing, because he’s not big on midnight showings, since he works early in the morning. And what were the odds, really? Finally, I texted him and, to my relief, he was fine. Then he said that he, his wife and son had gone to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises – but at a different theater.

So close.

We all sent Facebook messages among my old gang of geeky friends who love things like Batman premiers and, amazingly enough, it seemed no one we were connected to had been there. Of course, our little burb has grown considerably over the years.

Yesterday, I looked at the list of the dead that the police finally released and found myself weeping over it. I didn’t recognize a single name. And I was grateful for that. It’s a strange place to be – thankful that the people you love aren’t the ones who died.

When I see those videos of the lionesses carving out a hapless gazelle from the herd while the others dash away, I wonder if they have a sense of gratitude, those luckier gazelles, that they can go back to grazing in the sun, because their number wasn’t up that day.

I don’t know what the take-home message is. All the conversations now are about controlling this – banning guns, carrying guns, anti-terrorist training, more security, more psychiatry. But, really, these things are the attacks of the monsters in the dark. It seems there will always be monsters lurking, taking a cut from the crowd. A choice as simple as preferring one theater over another can determine fate. There’s no controlling that.

Maybe all we can really do is enjoy the sunshine and the sweet green grass.

Blog Comments and Worms

David took this picture. It might be my new favorite. Even my mom – the blonde behind the camera next to me – will like it because her glasses aren’t showing. She’s been having to wear glasses instead of contact lenses for the last couple of months, so her eyes will return to their natural state before her cataract surgery. Which is today.

Send good thoughts, please!

We had a lovely weekend in the mountains, up at Snowmass in Colorado. Friends have asked what we did and I don’t have much to tell them. We sat on the deck. I got to read a lot. We drank wine and hung out. There were presents – and then tech support for the presents. Mostly I just enjoyed being with my family.

My stepsister, Hope, and her hubs and boys called and sang me Happy Birthday. Then she explained that the fabulous iced-tea maker she sent me from Teavana is in homage to my blog post about there still being more summer. It’s funny that she mentioned that post in particular, because it was one of the ones that no one commented on. Now, I’ve said many times that I will never be one of those bloggers who begs for comments. I read a lot of blogs and I don’t always comment. Usually I just don’t have anything in particular to say. But – every once in a while – it’s because the blog post annoys me in some way. So, of course, when no one comments on one of mine, a little niggly voice starts suggesting that everyone hates me.

Which leads to the eating of worms. Never pretty.

When I learn, then, that someone did read and even better, took that thought away from her, I feel the opposite way. Like making iced tea and guzzling it so that sparkling drops fly everywhere.

Writing is funny that way. Even blogging, which is more interactive than most writing media. It often feels like talking to an empty room. When someone answers, it can be astonishing. My long time friend, Kev, sent me a birthday email, just to catch up his end of the conversation – because he can’t always think of snarky replies to my blog posts. A little while back, this gal, Rachel, said something very nice to me about my writing and we chatted a bit on Twitter. In an attempt to convince me that she’s not a stalker (much), she mentioned that the fact that she’d planted cactus in her Kansas garden and was wearing a Cat Woman costume meant nothing.

Yeah, she cracked me up.

But more – it made me realize that people do listen. Even when we think they don’t. When they’re off being too busy to think up clever comments.

It’s a good thing to know.

Now I’m going to make some iced tea.