See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me

“Don’t see me!”

My 6-year-old nephew holds his hands over his face. He’s angry because I teased him, and his punishment is to withhold himself from me. “Don’t see me.”

I admire my nephew for being able to be angry. For being able to look at someone who’s an authority figure over him and say that he’s angry and that they deserve punishment. I admire him because he can do something I can’t. When I’m confronted with authority, I can’t express anger. In fact, I can’t even feel it.

I used to work for a large company. My boss was very social and the two of us split the work of our department up between us – she schmoozed her superiors and made PowerPoint presentations, I did the actual tasks. She regularly told me that if I didn’t like working there, I could quit.  That I, a glorified marcomm dork in a job that paid over $100k a year and came with great benefits, could just waltz out of that office and find another job. In tech writing. During a recession.

I had frequent discussions with my boss about the source of our disconnect, but she never saw it as a disconnect. She saw our inability to work together as something I did on purpose, as though I was a different person outside of work – one who loved social gatherings, cats, and knitting – and just chose to be introverted, sarcastic and OCD at work to piss her off.

In these confrontations, she would tell me that my task execution was fine, but she hated everything else about me. I didn’t come to work early enough – she got up at 5 so she could be at work by 7. I didn’t stay at work long enough – she never left before 5:30. I didn’t interact enough with people from other departments – she scheduled meetings and lunches and get-togethers with other departments. I didn’t act happy enough – she acted like every day was a birthday party. Every word she spoke had the same meaning: Why can’t you be more like me?

She’s not the only person in my life who has excoriated me for being the person I am. My parents, my teachers, every authority figure in my life took me to task at some point for not being more social, for not being more cheerful, for not being more extroverted.

There was never a way to express my frustration with adults. As a child, I didn’t know words like “introvert” or “circumspect,” so I didn’t have any way to defend myself. I couldn’t explain that I hated big crowds. That being dragged to parties with people I didn’t know made me anxious and exhausted. That my bad moods weren’t just me being willful, but because I was overstimulated and unable to escape. And without a defense for my bad behavior, I was guilty as charged.

When you’re little, it’s easy to feel hopeless and sad because the adults around you don’t understand you. It’s commonly thought that the reason children in the “terrible twos” are so cranky all the time is that their reasoning ability outstrips their ability to communicate, leading to frustration. What happens when that inability follows you throughout your whole life? What happens when it’s not your ability to communicate that’s lacking, but the willingness of those around you to listen?

It takes a sense of power to feel angry. To express anger, a person has to start with the belief that they’ll be understood by the person they’re talking to. But when you’ve been misunderstood your whole life, you don’t have that. Anger gives you courage; to take away anger is to dis-courage.

I moved away from my family and quit that job, but I still struggle when it comes to feeling that I have the right to be the person that I am without explanation or justification. I struggle with the feeling that I could pour out a sea of words, and they would never be enough, because what I need isn’t for people to listen to me.

What I need is for them to see me.

Who Am I, Again?

As I walk down Highway 9, I can smell the wet-redwood smell and hear the tinkle of the rivulets from the recent rain forming tiny streams that will trickle into the San Lorenzo River all of 20 yards away across the street. I feel awkward, unsteady on my feet, but otherwise fine.

I’m  just passing the laundrette when a car with two people comes toward me from the south. The car pulls in, blocking the parking spots in front of the laundrette, and the driver, a woman in her 50s, smiles at me. Her passenger, a small man with a mustache, doesn’t look at me.

“You’ve been out long enough. It’s time for you to come back.”

I freeze. I don’t know this woman. I’ve never seen her before. I turn and run back the way I came. The woman has gotten out of the car, as though she meant to open a door for me or something, so she has to get back in and start the car back up. I run straight up the street, stumbling over redwood roots and clumps of foliage since there’s no sidewalk. Dashing across the street, I run down the driveway of a house set back from the pavement. The driveway slopes steeply downhill for about 50 feet and the entrance is partially obscured by redwoods, so I hope that the woman didn’t see me.

The morning overcast, compounded by the shade from the redwoods overhead, mean that the house is in shadows except for the kitchen. Through the open door, I can see a man at the table with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. I don’t bother knocking.

“Help me!” I shout as I run across the threshhold and stop myself against the table. “There’s a woman chasing me! I’m afraid of her! Please, you have to help me!”

Cliff put his paper down. He was thin and slight, with a fringe of thin white hair that went from one ear to the other around the back of his head, set off by a deeply-tanned dome up top. He wore a vest and a white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and had half-moon reading glasses perched at the end of his nose.

He looked across the table at the woman who had just burst into the kitchen. She was in her late 30s, maybe. Fit-looking, long, curling brown hair hanging lose around her shoulders, a face that would be attractive if it weren’t drawn with worry. She was screaming that someone was chasing her. He’d been expecting it. He put the paper down in front of him, exposing the photo of the same woman, taken at a time when she hadn’t felt under threat. I thought she looked pretty, but he didn’t care for her kind of looks. He was all eyes for his wife. I have a weakness for men who are in love with their wives.

Herb came in from the garage. He had heard the commotion and came to see what it was, and he stood in the doorway looking from Cliff to the woman, back to Cliff again.

When the second man comes in from another room, I feel like I have to start over in my story, although I haven’t really said anything. I can’t talk to the guy at the table because, in some ridiculous way, he reminds me of a shoemaker. The second one is fatter, with black, curly hair. The pink of his cheeks make him seem a little friendlier than the dour shoemaker.

“Help me. There’s a woman. She stopped her car in front of me and told me to get in. I’ve never seen her before,” I’m trying to create some kind of flow, some list of the facts that will make these two men understand why what just happened terrifies me, although the longer I stand in this cheerfully-lit kitchen in front of two men with quiet expectation on their faces, the less sure I am about why I was so scared.

“Who was she?” the shoemaker asks.

“I don’t know.”

“What kind of car was she driving?”

“A light tan sedan with white interior, but an older one.”

“Was she alone?”

“No, there was a man in the car with her.”

None of their questions sounds like they don’t believe me. They both look friendly and interested. I think if they thought I was crazy, they would look different, but I’m not sure how. I open my mouth to say something else, but I have no idea what else there is to say.

“I. I. I don’t think I’m … human.”  I didn’t expect to say that. And still the men don’t look skeptical or condescending or even surprised.

Cliff pushed a button under the table. The bookshelf behind the kitchen table slid back to reveal a hidden niche with a phone in it. He picked up the phone and pushed its only button. “Gary? She’s here.”

Herb brought her a cup of tea and took her into the living room. He told her to take a seat on the sofa, handing her the tea once she was comfortable. He kept up a steady stream of soothing words, and none of them sounded like the kind of words one uses to keep a lunatic calm. They were more like the kind of words that one uses to reassure fellow combatants just before a battle.

“We’ll get through this. Help is coming. We’ve got a plan.”

Before anyone could talk about this plan, another woman burst through the now-closed kitchen door without knocking. The woman in the living room, hidden in shadows, froze, but Cliff and Herb regarded the new intruder.

“Hello! I’m sorry to burst in on you like this!” Her bright, cheery smile looked straight out of tv, and she pulled an iPad out of her shoulder bag. The screen showed the woman in the living room, in the same photo as the newspaper showed. Herb moved between the new woman and the kitchen table, and while he was obscuring the table, Cliff quietly folded up the paper like he was done reading it.

“A friend of mine is missing,” the woman continued. “I’m really worried because she needs medication and she’s missed several doses. She’s not well, and we need to find her before something bad happens to her.”

Neither man said anything, and both kept their faces pleasantly neutral, but as Cliff came around the table craning his neck like he wanted a closer look at the picture on the screen, he pulled a gun out and took a shot at the woman. His arm had been in motion and his shot went wide, the bullet hitting the wall behind her and to her left. The woman’s smile disappeared and she shoved her hand back into her shoulder bag, dropping the iPad and bringing out a pistol of her own, Herb had ducked behind the door to the garage and was shooting at her from there. Cliff crouched in the hall doorway. The woman was backing into the doorway she had just come in, but it was a mistake. She was exposed, and before a dozen shots had been fired, she was down. Where had the guns come from?

When the shooting stops, I get up off the couch. The woman’s body doesn’t look right. There’s whitish goo puddling on the floor, and swirls of oily black, and the skin around the bullet holes looks like burned fabric. The men are good shots – there are seven bullet holes in her.

“You okay?” the shoemaker yells from the hallway leading off the kitchen.

“I’m good. She grazed my arm, but it’s fine. You?” the fat one yells. I’m glad he’s not hurt.

“Never touched me. They’re lousy shots.”

The shoemaker comes back into the room and looks at me. “You should go back into the living room. There’ll be more of them.”

I bend and pull the iPad from the woman’s bag, but when I try to turn it on, the screen is locked so I can’t see it.

“Here, let me have that,” the fat one says, taking it gently from my hand and leading me back into the living room. I’ve just sat down when the man with the mustache comes in, gun drawn. I’m afraid to move, because I know that I’m in shadow, so as long as I’m still, he won’t see me.

The mustache man comes in, but before he can fire a single shot, the fat man, hidden in the shadows of the living room, shoots him three times in the head. Before he goes down, the mustache man turns and looks the fat man in the eyes, his face expressionless. He raises the gun, then falls over the body of the woman. I know that I should feel something about this. It’s not natural to be in a position like this and feel nothing. But apart from a confusion about who these people are and why they want to kill me, and I presume they do want to kill me, I feel nothing. I continue to stay absolutely still, and the two men talk so quietly in the kitchen that I can’t hear them.

From outside, more shots. It occurred to me to wonder how long it would be before the police showed up. The two bodies lay in the doorway,  and Herb and Cliff had to sort of hop over them to get out the door. From inside I could hear voices, but because everyone was yelling back and forth, it was impossible to tell whether they were friendly or not. The woman was frozen, standing next to the couch, not even daring to turn her head to look around her. Only the occasional flicker of light against her moist, slick eyeballs betrayed their movement from the bodies in the doorway to the curtained window.

Through the window, only a sliver of the view shows through. The drapes are a golden color, and they frame the green of the shrubs outside like the filling of a pie oozing out when the golden crust is first cut. Flashes of color cut in front of the green and I get ready to duck, or to run, or to do whatever I will need to do, even though the woman is dead and I’m not sure that if someone I don’t know comes through that door I’ll know whether they’re friendly or not. Something nags at the back of my mind. Those things in the doorway. I can’t even call them “people” or “bodies” anymore because they look like nothing but machines. Am I like them? One of them? Are machines self aware? Does my computer miss me when I don’t open it up? Does my smart phone think I’m stupid? If I’m one of them, why did they want to kill me?

Did they want to kill me?

When Herb walked through the door, she almost burst into tears. She stumbled out of the living room, fell into his arms, stood there, weeping and shaking for a long moment. Once the crisis was past, he stood her back up and helped her sit down at the kitchen table. Cliff came in, followed by Gary. The men carried the bodies into the garage, saying nothing as they worked. When the bodies were gone, the woman stole back into the kitchen and sat down at the table. She snuck the paper open, looking for the picture of herself. It was buried deep in the B section of the paper, on page 8.

I’m still not sure what I’m reading. I see my face, but I can’t make out the words. It’s like trying to read in a dream, where you know that it’s writing, but the letters morph, or they’re unfamiliar glyphs or they’re in nonsense configurations. But there’s my picture. It’s me. And I can’t understand why I’m seeing my picture and, at the same time, seeing me sitting at the kitchen table, looking at my picture. Is the me standing a few feet away being watched by another me who sees her seeing me seeing the picture? How far out does that recursion go?

The men aren’t back from the garage, and I can’t hear them talking or working or anything. I think it might be time to go. She folded the paper and left it on the kitchen table, shutting the door behind her as she went.

The Anti-Social Network

Today, I told Facebook that I couldn’t play with it anymore. Not anymore ever again, but it’s been getting more of my attention than it should, and I’m a student with a lot of homework to do.

But what do I do with all that stuff that crossed my mind that I didn’t stick on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else? I thought I’d put it here, in one giant list, just so that you know that I’m still thinking, even when I’m not compulsively posting it and then compulsively checking to see if anyone “liked” it.

In no particular order, my random thoughts: 

  • I finally figured out why my pedometer keeps showing me working out vigorously at ~7:50 every day. It’s because at ~7:50 every day, I am on a particularly bumpy, pitted and frightening piece of road driving my kid to school. I’ll take it, though. Keeping the damn car on the road is hard work, especially when I haven’t had a cocktail in at least 12 hours.
  • Ontologist: a medical specialist in ontology, specifically in curing it. I envision them sort of like the Guild of Assassins in Pratchett’s Discworld.
  • You know what power smells like? The mushroom funk of money? No. Money has no smell – not anymore. Money is now a plastic card plugged into a convenient fiction. The bordello whiff of perfume with its undertones of crotch and armpit? No. Sex doesn’t have the power you think it does, even if you can thread it in one orifice and out another and do it all day for a week at a time. Once people are sated, they’re just as treacherous as ever. No, power smells like urine. You make someone piss themselves and you’ve got them forever. They’ll never forget it, and neither will you.
  • Is “mimetic verisimilitude” redundant?

By the way, I cheated. I know I said I was staying away from Facebook, but I just had to peek. It’s very strange, peeking at people who know that they’re being looked at, just not by you. Everyone’s looking at each other, trying to catch one another’s eyes and positioning themselves so that the other people in the virtual room can see them to their best advantage. Meanwhile from the outside everyone looks a little alone, a little vulnerable. I closed the door very quietly and went away for a good cry at the beauty and sweetness of it all.

To Tell the Truth

When we talk about writing, one of the most basic dichotomies is “fiction” and “nonfiction.” We tend to think of “fiction” as things that somebody made up, and “nonfiction” as things that happened and are being reported on.

Except that it’s just not that easy.

Let’s say that you go to a sporting event in a big, crowded stadium. The game is over, and as you’re going to your car, two guys in front of you get into a fight. There is scuffling, punching, blood flies. After a few moments, the two men separate and go to their own cars, each throwing hostile glances over his shoulder at the other guy. What can you say about that? You can report the facts (and by “facts,” in this case, I mean “scenario I made up out of whole cloth”). The problem is that each of those guys will come to you and say “That’s not what happened,” and will then explain to you that the other guy spent the entire game winding him up, insulting his team, insulting his wife, his mother, his choice of beers and then, as they were leaving, the other guy started it.

Do you put that into your story? If you choose not to, can you still call your story “nonfiction,” since you’ve chosen to leave out pertinent facts? If you find out that one guy has a long record of convictions for assault and the other guy recently went off his lithium, do you put that in? How about if one participant was Chinese and the other Argentinian? Or that one was 75 years old and the other on crutches? Do you even know if that had any bearing?

The point is that even newspaper reporting, the gold standard of “just the facts” writing, is skewed toward a certain point of view. The reporter chooses from the available, verifiable facts only those that seem most pertinent to the story and leaves the rest out, no matter how much the rest might mean to something like a criminal investigation or a civil lawsuit.

But where nonfiction is concerned with taking all of the available details about a situation and picking and choosing among them to craft a certain kind of story, fiction writers have exactly the opposite job. They start from the story and pick and choose what details to add to support it. This is where verisimilitude becomes critical. Verisimilitude means that a literary work depicts something real, something believable. To Kill a Mockingbird has verisimilitude. The Story of Babar does not.

Verisimilitude is different than the truth, because, to quote the old adage, “truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.” So if you depict Leonardo da Vinci leading a robot army, no one will believe you, despite drawings he made of both armored tanks AND robotic knights. If you portray American cowboys calling police “pigs,” no one will believe you despite the fact that the use of the word “pig” to describe police dates back to the 19th century.

If, as fiction writers, we want to talk about something that actually happened, but “fictionalize” it, that is to say make it seem like something that happened in a different place at a different time to different people so that we don’t get sued or socially shunned or beat up, we have to double back on the whole “make the scene up from scratch” scenario. We have to take a real event, take out telling details of one kind (and we decide what kind that is), and leave in details of some other kind. But then we have to replace the stuff we took out with stuff that we make up, and we have to make sure that the stuff we put back in keeps the story the same. That’s where it gets so, so tricky.

I want to talk about my best friend who skinned her knee roller skating when we were 9, but do I leave in the roller skates or the fact that we’d ditched school to do it and she couldn’t go back to school with a bloody knee, or that her dad beat her for ditching school and never let her come to my house again? (And no, that never happened either.) What do I take out and what do I leave in to create the same story of risk and error and loss without putting either myself or my former friend at risk?

These are the really hard choices we make as writers, and every time I find myself in this situation, I always have to ask myself “why does this matter”? If what matters is that I feel I was unfairly scapegoated as a child, then I can tell that story any number of ways. If what matters is that my friend’s father was an abuser whose only punishment for any infraction was a beating, that’s a different problem to solve.

At the end of the day, it’s down to the individual writer to decide what they’re writing. How much do you want to massage the facts of an event you witnessed and are presenting as the truth? How much do you want to stick to believability when you talk about a fictional meeting between two famous people? How much do you want to protect the people you know in real life when you’re putting them into a story that may or may not have ever happened?

Gotta Be Cruel to Be Kind

In addition to my own writing and revising and inventing new literature, I do a great deal of reading and commenting on other people’s work. It’s hard revising your own work – you’ve been looking at the same words for months, or maybe even years, and by now your mind fills in all the things that aren’t there and should be, and glosses over all the things that are there are shouldn’t be.

girl with typewriter

With my new typewriting machine, re-writing every page a dozen times will be as easy as washing my 14 sister’s petticoats in my new mangler!

I have a long list of rules for my writing, and when editing myself, I can run through this very technical and mechanical list no matter how familiar with the material I may be. My computer’s “find” function doesn’t care whether the word “were” is in the proper context, is irreplaceable or is the prefix for something only half-human, it will find and display it. Also true for “had,” “seemed,” and all adverbs, including my own list of 50 or so that don’t end in -ly.

But when you’re editing for someone else, is it fair to hold them to the same standard you hold for yourself? For instance, I want to know the precise moment on the fourth page where the reader began nodding off, so I can punch up the action, but is it okay to doodle “losing consciousness….” in the margin of your editee’s manuscript? I want to know which of my jokes fall flat, but is it okay to rubber stamp “NOT FUNNY” on every failed play on words in your friend’s novel?

Frankly, I think it is. I think that not only is it okay, but it’s required. I feel that when I’m editing or critiquing someone else’s work, they’re saying to me “I want to make this work commercially viable.” Modern publishing being as competitive as it is, I feel that I would be a rotten friend, colleague or student if I soft-pedaled my opinion of things that aren’t up to snuff.

Mah Jong Massacre

The last one standing gets his blog turned into a book!

The one thing that anyone getting criticism from me has to remember, though, is that I am only one person, and a little bit warped, at that. When it comes to other folks opinions of your puns, your imagery or your use of “so” at the beginning of every other sentence, your mileage may vary. If you think that I’m being mean when I point out dozens of instances of passive voice or strike out as unnecessary an entire section it took you weeks to perfect, it’s not because I hate you and want you to die. It’s because I like you and want you to succeed. You’d be forgiven for confusing the two things, though. My kids do it all the time.

Sherlock Holmes and What Is Real

girl with fairy

Of course, everyone knows that in real life, fairies are horrible, evil creatures.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor of the detective Sherlock Holmes, was often asked by readers to solve their own real-life mysteries. He couldn’t respond to their cries for help, though, because unlike Holmes, Conan Doyle was famously gullible. His most embarrassing gaffe was the Cottingley Fairies, a hoax perpetrated by two girls who took photographs of themselves next to cardboard likenesses of fairies and gnomes and represented the results as real meetings with fanciful beings. Conan Doyle embraced the photos as proof of other beings and was roundly denounced for it, but I find myself entirely sympathetic to him.

As authors, we’re always asking ourselves “what if?” What if there were a man with a mind like a computer who could solve even the most bizarre crimes? What if there were life on other worlds? What if I were another person with another life, thrown into difficulty and danger? Our ability to sympathize, to imagine, to create the reality we wish to see is at the heart of our gift, and I think that Conan Doyle wasn’t necessarily being gullible, but was opening his mind to the possibility that fairies could exist in the same world that he did.

Weird Tales magazine cover from 1934

Bringing you fabulous tales of “what if” since 1923!

I find myself opening up to possibility all the time. Back when I lived in San Jose, I would drive down Quito Drive, which had long stretches of orchards, and for months I saw a sign that read “Mary Ferguson Offered” outside a house situated in the middle of a grove of fruit trees. For months, I wondered who Mary Ferguson might be, and what she might have offered to the maker of the sign. Whatever it was, it was remarkable enough for the sign maker to want to publicize the event. It was only after I’d seen the sign for at least six months that someone pointed out that it actually read “Massey Ferguson Offered,” meaning that the owner of the house was getting rid of a tractor. It was a letdown.

I’ve seen the Sydney Opera House being carted down the highway on the back of a flatbed truck, I’ve seen a dead cat in the gutter that maintained bodily integrity for nearly a year, I’ve seen a skyshark. And none of those things is out of the realm of the possible in the world I live in. Just today, my neighbors were vivisecting a hippopotamus.

What is the truth of the things I’ve seen? It’s what it appears to be, because I accept what my mind tells me without question. If I see a foot-high man wearing a brilliant-blue vest and black trousers walking down the street toward me, I believe it. If I am looking at it, obviously, it’s possible, right? And, to tell you the truth, it’s kind of a let down to realize that it’s just one of the neighbor’s peacocks walking along the road toward me. The truth is usually less interesting than what my mind invents.

cover of Yann Martel's "The Life of Pi"

I like the Cheshire catness of this tiger

If you’ve ever read the book The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, you know that it’s about a boy who drifts in a lifeboat on the Pacific for 227 days with a Bengal tiger as his only companion (once the tiger has eaten the orangutan and the zebra that started the journey with them). At one point in the story, a pair of Japanese insurance agents question him. He tells them his story, but he also tells them a different story where, instead of a tiger, he’s in the boat with the ship’s cook, a sailor with a broken leg and Pi’s mother. The strictly human story is horrifying and grisly, lacking any of the wonder and hope of the story of the boy who survived more than half a year in the company of a tiger. In the end, Pi asks the insurance men which story they like better – the one with or without the tiger.

In my world, there is room for tigers, for Sherlock Holmes, for the Cottingley fairies, and tiny men wearing brilliant blue vests and black trousers. And there’s room for you, too.

When Worlds Collide

I’ve spent the past two days at TechRaising in downtown Santa Cruz. The Pirate crystallized the mood here as a lot of really smart people committed to sharing their expertise in the interest of creating a new and exciting future. Folks came here with great ideas, including an application to use a smartphone in order to determine the cost effectiveness of installing solar on your house, a micro-gifting website and a smartphone interface to control a quadcopter with speakers and lasers. There are all kinds of folks here, and the mood is universally can-do, hopeful and upbeat. These folks recognize that they’re making a difference in the world by being creators rather than consumers.

Last night, I went from TechRaising to Opera San Jose – opening night of Gounod’s Faust. The Pirate and I always attend the opening night dinner, an event held at a restaurant within walking distance of the California Theater in San Jose, where the wine flows freely, everyone is rich and white, and the food nearly always sounds better than it tastes.

Before dinner started, the Pirate and I were lurking near our table, surveying the crowd. I had been social all day, which is tiring for me, so I was contenting myself with watching the crowd rather than wading into it. A woman approached us and asked us if we were sitting at her table, and even though we weren’t, we all introduced ourselves and started talking. Everyone starts out the conversation with the same question – How long have you been a fan of opera? From there we talk about other operas we’ve seen, other places we’ve seen opera, etc. This woman asked us where we were from, and then launched into a tirade about how Arizona and southern California were becoming overrun with immigrants, stealing all the jobs.

The woman making this observation wore a silk tunic over silk pants. She wore gold and diamond jewelry, her hair was nicely styled and her shoes were new and expensive. She looked and sounded like a person living a comfortable, upper-middle-class life in America, but she sounded angry and frightened by this brown wave crashing over the border.

I don’t know which jobs she thinks they’re stealing. They’re certainly not stealing the “standing in the median holding ‘will work for food‘ sign” jobs, which I’ve only ever seen from white folks and black folks. Never brown folks. Maybe all those people who’ll work for food are on the median because when they were standing outside Home Depot, people actually expected them to work. She did opine that “they” let the immigrants in because the immigrants vote Democrat. I’m not sure who “they” are, but it’s their fault and she’s not happy.

That this woman is a bigot is beyond question. I can’t count the number of times that people have disparaged Mexicans to me because I am rich, educated and look white, and they therefore believe that I must hate foreigners who are threatening our way of life. My way of life is entirely made possible by foreigners. The products I buy were largely made in China. If I have problems with those products, I call India or Canada for support. My food comes from South America, Europe or Mexico and is made according to recipes from everywhere in the world.

What I heard from this woman wasn’t intolerance so much as it was fear. The world is changing, and she is becoming unsure of her place in it and her value to it. The paradigm she grew up with is changing, and she doesn’t understand those changes. That’s so different than the attitude of the folks here at TechRaising, where there is very much a feeling of competence, confidence and capability. Whatever the future will bring, the people at events like this will be the ones who bring it to you.

Where are you? Are you crouching in the dark, worrying about what the future may hold? Or are you out in front of things, creating innovative ways to solve your problems, connect with other people or make folks happy?

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