Imagination

Prompt: Arctic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to imagine the Arctic cold when it’s 32F and there are waves languidly lapping the sand. Just as it’s difficult to remember the feeling of a hot sun on your skin on a frozen winter day.

Or a teenager utterly unable to relate to an older person; and an older person critical of the young, having lost the memory of being young themselves.

Or a conservative trying to understand a liberal; and a decent, progressive human being trying to understand a Trump supporter.

(That last one doesn’t really work.)

Empathy, which requires imagination and good intentions, seems in short supply these days. That’s why there are such unnecessary divisions in the world: From politics, to art, religion, and generational, environmental, cultural and gender issues.

Trump supporters skew older, among other things, and like Trump, they often resemble the stereotypical angry old man ordering the kids off his lawn. They also tend to be culturally isolated; i.e. live in white communities with very little interaction with Black or brown people. They have a strong sense of entitlement and are hostile towards those who have more than they do— more money, maybe (but America worships the rich in general) but also in terms of education and status. They tend to favour authoritarianism, which is obvious not just in their blind support for Trump, but for their steadfast believe in a God, no matter how outlandishly her commandments are misinterpreted. But mainly, they lack imagination and good intentions.

It’s hard to imagine creatures actually suffering from the effects of climate change. It is much more convenient to side with those for whom the truth is too frightening to consider. It feels better to believe the authoritarian figures —not scientists, but politicians and religious leaders— who soothe their fears about horrific truths at the same time as they stoke fears about imaginary enemies, all the while being manipulated into accepting attitudes and policies that are damaging and harmful to them but which serve the wealthy elite.

Whew. I had no intention of dragging Trump into this post. Let’s step away from the Tr*mp, and browse a few of my favourite cartoons relating to the prompt, “Arctic”:

cartoon arctic american

cartoon eskimo

cartoon dog sled


Stay safe, warm, and imaginative!

~~FP

Disappointment

Prompt: Disappointing

trump van

Hello Wednesday,

Disappointment. Wouldn’t you love to go back to the days when disappointment was a terrible, even heartbreaking feeling, instead of living at a time when rage, frustration, cynicism, and fear are the dominant emotions? I should be disappointed in myself for writing such a depressing sentence, but no, I’m angry and frustrated. Grrr on me.

But look at that Trump campaign van pictured above. Full of rage and stupidity, with “Make Liberals Cry” the policy statement. I suspect the van was so embarrassed it blew out its own tire. Which disappointed the team inside, who no doubt had lots of creative and colourful ways to demonstrate their ability to make liberals cry. I’m kind of disappointed that I don’t get to hear their exact message. I need a laugh today.

Why? I guess we all need a laugh. We all need to flip this dark coin over and relish the light side again: love, hope, respect, humour, and energy. Let’s yank ourselves out of this black and white movie and shift into technicolor. Let’s listen to birdsong, breathe fresh air deeply, feel the potent silence of a dark night, rejoice in small pleasures so we have all the practice we need to rejoice in the big ones. The big pleasures, the changes, are coming, I promise.

Meanwhile, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons relating to today’s theme?

cartoon pitcher disappoints

cartoon big apple

cartoon fallen


Love and hope,

~~FP

Good Bones

Prompt: Place


Hello Wednesday,

Have you ever counted the number of places you’ve lived in? I wonder what the average is? I mean houses, in whatever location: would the average be about four? six?

I know I’ve lived in 12 different abodes, including this one, in five cities and one tiny town. I’ve packed more boxes than I can count. Gone house hunting so often that now that I am relatively settled I am a Househunters (TV show) addict, particularly Househunters International. I know it’s completely fake, rigged, and laughably predictable, but it’s still fun to mock the unbelievable clueless house hunters, their sleazy realtors, and the appallingly inappropriate homes.

Househunters is a TV show gasping for a drinking game. So gather your loved ones of drinking age around you, set out the wine and beer, and take a swig anytime one of the following happens on Househunters:

  • One wants city, one wants country.
  • One wants modern, one wants traditional.
  • One is adamant about the budget, one who doesn’t care a whit.
  • The music for International is hopelessly clichéd (Oompah soundtrack in Germany, for example).
  • In any large city where the couple are shocked their $600 rental budget isn’t enough.
  • Someone crawls into the bathtub.
  • Someone enters the shower and comments on the height of the shower head.
  • Someone criticizes a light fixture in a million dollar home.
  • Someone expresses shock that: the toilet is in a separate room from the bathtub.
  • Someone expresses shock that the clothes washer is in the kitchen.
  • The couple is adamant about an outdoor area for their dog but settle on an apartment.
  • A parent frets that a child will fall off a railed landing or balcony.
  • A “joke” is made about a closet being large enough for the woman only.
  • A “joke” is made about the closet only large enough for the woman’s shoes.
  • Someone blathers on about “natural light” when they mean “this room has windows”.
  • That frequent Paris realtor talks about “good bones”.
  • The buyers complain the oven is too small for a Thanksgiving turkey.
  • Someone says “I can see us drinking coffee/sipping wine on this balcony”.
  • Someone bemoans lack of privacy instead of remembering curtains can be closed,.
  • They insist on a heart-of-the-city apartment then complain about the noise.
  • They insist on extra bedrooms for “visitors” who many come once a year for a week.
  • They faint from horror at the sight of a popcorn ceiling.
  • The shots of the previous location is all snow and ice if the couple is from Canada.
  • The realtor tells us that the housing market has has a recent uptick and finding a place will be “challenging”.
  • The realtor shows them a pile of rubble and asks them to see the potential.
  • The realtor shows a couple with four children a two-bedroom home.
  • The after picture looks exactly like the before picture except for a new cushion,
  • They pick the worst option by far.

I’m sure there are many more. I’ll make a game, print sheets, and send them out to other fans. Contact me!

Meanwhile may I present a few of my favourite cartoons also related to today’s prompt, “place”?

cartoon socialist wasteland

cartoon oz or kansas

cartoon great screen japan


Stay safe!

~~FP

 

They Know Me

Prompt: Purpose


Dear Wednesday,

There are some things that should not be controversial.

Don’t wash whites with colours. Don’t leave a dog in a hot car. Clean water is a right. Wear a mask when you cannot keep a safe distance during a deadly pandemic.

Yet for certain segments of the population, especially in a once-great nation, a basic safety precaution recommended in certain circumstances by every reputable doctor and expert has become a political issue, a freedom football.

The virus is spread in the air, via droplets in our breath. Many people who have the virus are asymptomatic. So to protect others, a non-medical mask is sometimes necessary. It’s part of living and surviving in a community.

So when people of astonishing ignorance and gullibility shout (don’t shout, it spreads germs) that wearing a mask is a freedom issue, then the rest of the world, the sane ones, react with incredulity, revulsion, and anger. Does astonishing selfishness and shortsightedness always accompany ignorance and gullibility? It’s as if they think that they are the only ones tired of this pandemic; of not being able to see loved ones, having our movements limited, losing jobs and livelihoods, feeling exhausted and lonely.

I mean we have other issues to concern ourselves with. Bigoted, racist heads of state, lawmakers, and peacekeepers. Karens and Donalds and Vladimirs. But masks? Little bits of paper or cloth that we wear over our mouth and nose to protect the most vulnerable in our society—temporarily, until this crisis is over? Should not be given a second thought. Not controversial.

We know people of astonishing ignorance have existed among us, and should not be surprised, in this climate of ignorant populism, that they feel confident enough to shout out their nonsenses. But I am surprised. And angry, that they truly can’t seem to comprehend that their “freedom” does not include the right to endanger other lives.

Related to none of the above is the following small collection of some of my favourite cartoons. Enjoy!

cartoon hows the squid

cartoon what I saw

cartoon they know me


Peace and love,

~~FP

Astonish Me

Prompt: Flick


She entered the darkened room silently, the glow of her cigarette acting as the dimmest of lamps, and saw the silhouette of a large cat crouched in front of a window draped with a thin lace curtain. She could smell embers from a now-dead dead fireplace. 

She sensed the movement to her right before she saw it, and spun on her heel, kicking hard in a fluid, violent movement — it was Nick, one moment licking his lips in triumph at tracking her down again, now reeling backward, turning, and hitting his head on the brick mantle. The cat was quick to pounce, bloodthirsty, to lick the crimson liquid pouring from his forehead like thick cream into a bowl. She could suddenly hear the tick of a clock and smell the burnt waxiness of the extinguished wick of a candle and felt a prick of fear scud along her spine.

She flicked the ash of her cigarette as the cat leapt back onto the windowsill. She felt sick, knowing Nick would survive to tell Vic about the trick she’d played, He’d once called her a hick, a foolhardy chick— now he lay ominously still at her feet. She had no choice: She pulled the Colt from her belt and heard the click as the gun was cocked. 

The cat, in silhouette, silent and angry, flicked its tail in the moonlight. 


Now that I have fulfilled my writing prompt responsibilities, in this case trying to incorporate as many ‘flick’ rhymes as I could into a rather thin story—which was the only idea that came to mind with this word prompt— may I now present a few of my favourite cartoons relating to the hero of our story, the cat, and her favourite prey?

cartoon cat editor

cartoon church mice

cartoon Astonish me


Peace and love,

~~FP

A Beer is a Beer

Prompt: Beer


Hello Wednesday,

Summer is coming and it’s nice to anticipate warm sunny days relaxing on the patio, maybe taking a break from tending to the garden, being served (why not? It’s my fantasy) an ice cold bottle of Danish beer. A crisp, cool lager that slides icily, fizzily down the throat and is one of the glories of being alive.

The problem is, while I like the idea of summer beer, I don’t particularly like the taste of it any more. I don’t like the alcohol weariness that accompanies beer. Yet the romance of beer beckons with more and more intensity as the sun moves higher in the sky.

 “A beer is a beer,” my father used to say. He was an unpretentious man, who never failed to appreciate the icy luxury of a beer fresh out of the fridge after a hard day’s grimy work. He didn’t need or even appreciate fancy beers, though he harboured no grudges against those who fancied themselves connoisseurs. He loved beer culture, which is to say he was happiest when he could ensconce himself in a cosy pub surrounded by his easy-going friends. I like to think that is where he is now. With my dog at his feet, snatching up stray peanuts. Yes, I’m into flights of fancy during these days of isolation.

So I will stock the summer fridge with the things that satisfy me as a cold beer satisfied my father. I’ll sip and be delighted, whether it’s a cold white wine, a decadent vodka cooler (I love those), a non-alcoholic beer like Beck’s which I have just discovered and which is freaking delicious, or a frosted glass of clean cold water, in the spirit of being grateful for the truly fine moments in life.

Meanwhile, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons related to today’s prompt, “beer”?

cartoon solar beer

cartoon cloud beer

cartoon belly button beer


Peace, love, and patience,

~~FP.

Madness

Prompt: Spit

banana-peel-skin-fruit

“I’m not going out there.”

That’s what he said, so I got supplies together and made a meal with what was left. It looked interesting… perfectly seared steak and a new age salad. The salad was composed of bananas, chickpeas, and minced dandelion flower (for colour). He did not like it.

“I can’t eat this.” He spit the forkful of salad onto his plate. “What a waste of a banana,” he said.

The sun beamed through the window like a spotlight, illuminating dancing, fluttering dust specks. We ate early these days, to conserve electricity. I had suggested dinner by candlelight instead, but he snorted. We ate at five o’clock. It had to be right at five, since he discovered a rigid routine was soothing to him in these stressful times. He rose at seven, took Nancy for a walk, sat down to breakfast at eight, read email and the news online an until his light lunch was served at noon. In the afternoon he liked to watch legacy sports, football mostly, and nap. Another walk with Nancy took place before his dinner, the contents of which were starting to disturb his equillibrium. 

“I can’t work like this,” he said after dinner. He wrote in the evenings, parked in front of the computer screen in the spare bedroom, set up as his office. 

“What’s wrong?” I asked, against my better judgement. 

“I’m hungry, for starters,” he said. “And this house is a mess. You know dust bothers me. I need peace and order. You know that. Did you clip Nancy’s nails?”

“Not unless you found the clippers,” I said boldly.

“Do I have to do everything around here?” he asked. He stood and came to me, standing in the doorway with a plate of dried apple and a cup of tea, his evening snack. He took the apple and the tea and closed the door. 

“I need my privacy,” he often said.

I turned on the television and grabbed my stack of handkerchiefs. The sewing machine was broken, so I stitched all the masks by hand. It was time-consuming. He liked to have several in rotation, and he liked to give extra to his friends outside. So I sewed extra ones.

The TV show was about a young woman living in a strict, Orthodox religious community, where her marriage was arranged and her duties clear and inalienable. I envied her. Then she gave it all up to run away to Berlin and study music.

The world had gone mad.

But I, sat there in the sagging armchair with my stack of white cotton handkerchiefs, had not gone mad. 

I put on a newly sewn mask, got a sweater, picked up the car keys and Nancy, and walked out to the old Saab. 

It took all night to drive there. I had forgotten what salt air smelled like, and forgotten the sweet bitterness of a fresh lemon. 

I pictured him at 8:45 in the morning, having foraged his breakfast, annoyed, opening his email program and finding my letter.

“Fuck off,” it said.

 

Fun with Poverty

Prompt: Poverty


Hello Wednesday,

No, there is nothing fun about poverty. Poverty means you don’t have enough of the things you need, often compounded by being looked down upon for something that is not only not your fault, but that you struggle to overcome against impossible odds on a daily basis.

Ok, sometimes people cope with poverty with integrity, courage, and grace. Sometimes people without material possessions learn to appreciate what is truly valuable. I know that because I grew up poor and that happened to me. But those are stories for another time.

Meanwhile, I have a few of my favourite cartoons to present under the prompt, “poverty”, which does not mean that poverty is fun, but that the trappings around poverty can be gobsmackingly nonsensical and that sometimes we deal with suffering by poking our fun stick at it.

So, here we go:

cartoon help wretch

cartoon too much money

cartoon hope

See also:


Stay safe, everyone!

~~FP

Infinite

Prompt: Count


Hello Wednesday,

This afternoon I was out playing with the puppy in the front yard when our neighbour shouted from across the street, “How did the colonoscopy go?”

Well ok, it’s fine if everyone for half a mile around knows my private colonic business, since there is nothing shameful about having the procedure and, in fact, it is a necessary, life-saving precaution. But I’m not thrilled with the idea of them harbouring mental images of me racing to the toilet, or whatever graphic scenarios their imaginations conjure up. Don’t even want to think about it.

The neighbour across the street, by the way, caught us sneaking away to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning and couldn’t contain her curiousity. I would have made something up, like we were off on a secret mission to Uzbekistan where my uncle, kidnapped as a child, had been located but had amnesia, and only the family medallion, an eagle in a circle within a flame had identified him and only he had the genetic codes that would…  Anyway we were rushed and my partner just told her.

Later that day I had to brag to my sister (who was generous with her personal colonoscopy horror stories, bless her) about the absolute ease of the dreaded prep; in fact I basically slept through it. She was more interested in the fact that the sedative did not put me under this time, but was enough that I wasn’t freaked out by the Fantastic Voyage: watching the exploration of my colon, in vivid colour cinemascope on the monitor, for half an hour during the procedure. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Set Them Loose in Fluffy’s Colon.

I was told from the beginning that different people have different reactions to the prep and to the sedative, and I count myself lucky that the whole thing was so easy-peasy (and that it wasn’t cancelled outright, in light of COVID-19 fears). Many who have had the procedure are emphatic that the prep is the worst part, but for me the worst part was worrying about the prep. May your journey down the path of colonoscopy be a similar cakewalk, with cake at the end of it— though my first meal after the fast was spaghetti and it was delicious.

Apropos of the prompt, Count, my adventures with internal organs, and nothing in particular, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon count blessings

cartoon look of eye

cartoon annual


Stay safe, and let’s all take care of one another.

Love and peace,

~~FP

Stephan

Prompt: Didn’t mind

doorknockers

I didn’t mind when they told me to stay at home. I was used to being at home. It was my home, after all.

But they wanted to control who came and went from my home. My friend Hilary was not allowed to come to the porch with her dog, Printz, ring the doorbell, and be admitted. 

They didn’t tell me why not. 

Yet my friend Ramone was permitted to climb the stairs to my front door with his dog, James. He could come inside and have a lunch of boiled eggs and tomatoes for lunch, while James slept by the fire. We could talk about books, religion, football, and art.

Thomas and his dog Purkin could turn up unannouced and join me for a meal of ham and potatoes. We talked about music, cookery, football, and the environment. 

I was not allowed to keep a dog at my home.

Juliana, with her dog Chaucer, called on me every Thursday at 4 o’clock, and we indulged in chocolate cake and Lapsang souchong tea, and reenacted great moments from women’s sufferage. That meant taking our cake and tea via a feeding tube.

One day a woman with glasses rang the doorbell of my home, and when I opened the door she told me I was adopting a young child.

The child turned out to be a boy named Stephan and we did not share a common language. We were unable to communicate until we developed our own sign language which involved not just the hands but also our legs and feet.

Stephan played on the carpet with James, Purkin, and Chaucer when they visited my home. During the historical women’s suffrage enactments, Stephan played the part of Everett P. Wheeler.

When Stephan turned nineteen, he married a woman named Katherine, who had a dog called India. Katherine and India were not allowed to visit me in my home.

I minded that Stephan’s wife and dog could not come to my front door, ring the doorbell, and be admitted for she-crab soup and a glass of wine. 

So when I opened the door to the woman with the glasses I brought her into my home and kept her. We communicated via Stephan sign language, since I refused to let her hear the sound of my voice.

Her name was also Hilary.