Sunday, May 20, 2018

Faeries aka Fairies Are Real

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," safe harbor for faeries since 2005! My name is Anne Johnson. I believe in faeries. I do. I do.

Sunday morning I was dozing in the peace and repose of my bedroom when, promptly at 9:00, the overpowering drone of heavy machinery commenced in the street.

A developer has bought the property directly across the street from my house. There was one home on it when he bought it. Now there's one finished one and another, larger one, planned. When the whole fiasco is finished, I will post photos.

But this is about faeries, right?

Turns out the workers across the street were intent upon slaughtering three fully mature maple trees on this sleepy Sunday morning. The noise of the shredder was deafening. The sight of the shapely limbs falling to the ground was heart-wrenching. A cluster of neighbors gathered in the street, including the new neighbors from the brand-new dwelling. Their three-year-old, blonde son was captivated by the tree slaughter.

All of this is an affront to the faeries, of course. Big time.

It's also an affront to a hard-working and proficient school teacher who has to go to work tomorrow and teach Act 3 of Romeo and Juliet. So while I petitioned the faeries to put a stop to the mayhem, Mr. J more reasonably called the Snobville constabulary. It only took 45 minutes for an officer to arrive -- his appearance brought great consternation to the work crew, who scurried for their trucks. A few more limbs were hacked down and then work ceased. It's against the law to run heavy machinery in Snobville on Sunday.

Quiet descended, and the sun came out. It had been raining for four days.

I had been planning to freshen my outdoor shrine if the weather was good, so I went out to do it. My shrine is dedicated to the ancient deities who no longer have praise and worship teams, to my ancestors, and to the faeries. It is loaded with crystals, marbles, stones, sea glass, and other shiny objects that honor the tastes of the fae.

I was so upset about all the big trees being cut down. I have a hard time pulling out seedlings in my own yard. (Now I have little trees everywhere and coppiced trees too.) My heart was heavy as I commenced to spruce up the shrine.

When I first built my shrine, I put three dozen or so quartz crystal points in the very center of it. None of them remained. Or so I thought. As I began to sift through the pebbles and the sea glass and the trinkets, I began finding quartz crystals. And more of them. And more of them. And even more of them. More, I promise you, than I ever put out there. When I assembled all the shiny stuff to wash it, the pile was just brimming with quartz crystals!

Quartz crystals don't mate and multiply. But it's my experience that, if you give the faeries what they like, they reward you.

I needed to spend time at my shrine today. I needed to clean and beautify it. I needed to be reminded that I have a faerie portal in my own yard, that I made it, and that they are using it.

So you say, "What do faeries look like?" And I answer, "What have you got?" There are as many varieties of faerie as there are of biological life in the apparent world. Some faeries are human shaped and sized, some are tiny, some look like animals, some like birds, and some are just beams of light. Be careful if you make eye contact, because they like to distract. And whatever you do, show them respect. Even the "critter" ones. Call them "Ladies and Gentlemen," or "your majesties."

It was tempting to ask the faeries to wreak revenge on the tree-killers and the developer across the street, and even the rich young families who buy the houses. But with faeries, they will tell you they are fulfilling your wishes, whether they plan to or not. So my advice is, don't petition the faeries. Just be respectful, give them trinkets, and keep their portals fresh and lively.

If you want to attract faeries to your yard, set out a little pile of polished stones, beads, marbles, crystals, pins, and anything that looks like a trinket. Keep it all clean, and bow politely as you pass it. Before you know it, the stuff in the pile will start to re-arrange itself. This either means you have faeries or there's been a stampede of buffalo that you somehow missed.

Now it's Sunday night. The tree-killers will be back tomorrow, I'm sure, to complete the sap-bath. (It's only a bloodbath if you have blood. Trees have sap.) I'll be at work, but the faeries will be watching. From their spruced-up portal, all bright and shiny.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spotwood 2018

Every year since 2006 my daughter The Spare (I just like that better) and I have gone to a festival near York, PA that celebrates the faeries. The festival was held on a charming farm property with a Jane Austen-era farmhouse and a babbling brook.

I'm using the past tense. This year was the final Spotwood Fairie Festival to be held on the farm property.

EXHIBIT A: THEN


EXHIBIT B: NOW




Spotwood drew thousands of free-spirited people like me -- people who liked to drum and dance and join tribes and put together amazing outfits from thrift stores and honor the faeries. It's one of two places I've visited in the last decade where I met people I really wanted to get to know. I thought Spare was outgrowing the festival, but she got swept up in the spirit on the final day and was loved by all the folks who have gotten to know her over the years.

But Spotwood was a victim of its success, growing bigger every year and facing challenges from Mother Nature. Word has it that the festival will relocate elsewhere. This is a solace to the people who have become family because of it. But what about the land?

You see, I do believe in faeries, and I do believe they are present on the property. They don't just pack up and move to a neighboring campground. It's a lot more complicated than that. The special qualities of Spotwood Farm will be very hard to replicate because faeries exist. Spotwood has faerie energy, and that's not found everywhere.

I'm telling myself that Spotwood had become a habit and that maybe, if I got less lazy, I would find more places with people like me. Brushwood, for instance. I've never been there. But right now it's hard to be optimistic. About anything. That's why I haven't been writing much. I used to be silly, but now I'm sour. I feel burdened by the ugly soot of the Trump regime. Snobville, as if this was really possible, has become even snobbier.

Where do I belong? Where's my land base? I knew I wouldn't always have Spotwood, but the ground is just shifting dramatically under my feet. I don't know who I am in this post-farm, post-daughter, change-ridden landscape.

I don't even recognize America. Do you?

Anyway, sorry for all the tears and self-pity, but I really will miss going to Spotwood, not just for all the fun reasons but for the spiritual ones too.

(My regulars will see that I misspelled the name of the farm throughout. This was deliberate, I haven't gone completely around the bend yet.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Waiting for Judgment

Some of us are eager to please, and some of us are super-competitive, and some of us are both. I'm both. Give me a job, and I want to do it well. I want to be the best at it.

Bored Gods and Goddesses aren't plagued with doubts about their skills. They're perfect all the time, and they are not particularly eager to please. Oh, to be divine!

I'm still waiting for my final teacher evaluation of the year. I've had two already: one announced, one unannounced.

Have you ever been hunched over and overwhelmed by your grueling job, only to look up and see someone standing there with a clipboard, charting your every move? And then scoring it numerically? How can a number be affixed to something as nebulous as teaching? Well, fling some money at some specialist, and they'll find a way to quantify everything.

Have you ever sat down to lunch with a bunch of colleagues who've all been evaluated numerically, and their numbers are all better than yours? Welcome to my world! The 25-year-old, second-year teacher who is with me 8th period got a better score than me ... and he was late to class.

I'm never late to class. I still wallow in mediocrity.

Our school district uses an evaluation tool called Danielson, which has about 10,000 categories, called "domains." Supervisors breeze into the classroom, watch the goings-on for a class period, and judge all of those domains based on a 40-minute span of time, one day out of 181. One would think that everybody would be mediocre under those conditions, but some teachers are always distinguished. They get 3.95 out of 4 possible, time after time. (I'm beginning to think some select few of my colleagues are actually bored deities. But I'm afraid to out-and-out ask.)

The thing about observations, they're the only time a boss even comes in your classroom. It's not like these people pop in to say howdy and see what you need. They don't drop by to chew the fat. Three times a year they slither in and start assigning numbers to every little thing. Then they disappear.

It's the middle of April, most of my co-workers are long finished with their evaluations, and I'm still awaiting the clipboard.

 At night I dream the observer is in the back of the room ... and I'm passing out textbooks and dropping them on the floor ... and the document camera won't turn on ... and the kids aren't paying attention ... and half of them are asleep. Then I wake up and go to work. Day in, day out.

All this and Donald Trump too.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Texting a Bored Goddess: Persephone

Anne
seph where r u? i'm cold af


Persephone
i'm home w/ my man <3 <3


Anne
plz plz plz hop on da
train!!!!


Persephone
ive had enough of my mom im staying
home for the summer


Anne
if u dont come there wont be
summer!!!!!


Persephone
my mom doesnt respect my
man its soooo obvious


Anne
u no u missed easter


Persephone
for realz? early


Anne
not that early seph ...
come on its supposed 2
snow tmr


Persephone
why should i care
down here im queen
up there im princess
and u try goin 6 months
w/out ur man! Im 3000
yrs old i deserve respect


Anne
well u no how moms are
but i think ur mom likes hades
come on she is crying, be a sport


Anne
seph? u there?


Anne
SEPH PLZ


Anne
discounted easter candy
chocolate bunnies 74 cents
at shoprite


Anne
peeps at deep discount
and still soft ... aren't u
sick of pomegranates


Anne
????????


Persephone
k k k tell my mom 2
pick me up 30th st station
2:00 on wed. It's baseball
season & it's all He watches
and He likes the Yankees


Anne
YAY! will do <3 u seph






Monday, April 02, 2018

Interview with a Bored God: Dionysus

Boy, am I ever in a slump! Here I sit, it's Spring Break -- the longest holiday I will have until next Xmas -- and the weather is straight outta February. To make matters worse, I'm now gun-shy about writing on this platform, since the Trickster God of keyboarding wants to blot out all my hard work.

But soft! There's someone at the door! Oh. My. Goodness. I wish this God was more welcome here than he is. All the same, let's give a warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Dionysus, God of boozy parties!


Dionysus: Anne, baby! Spring Break! It's time to partayyy!

Anne: Don't you remember, Dion? I packed it in. I don't drink anymore. I just went to a wedding last weekend, and I didn't even have a glass of champagne.

Dionysus: And you wonder why you're so unhappy? I've got about 10 picker-uppers that will light your fire.

Anne: Nah, bro, I've been off the sauce for five years now. Mostly I don't miss it.

Dionysus: Don't expect me to nominate you for a position as a nymph or a dryad, or any of that! Grapes are good. Especially fermented.

Anne: Stop! You're not cheering me up! You're making it worse!

Dionysus: Well, if you're not jonesing for some vino, why else would you be depressed?

Anne: Do you want the whole list, or just the top ten?

Dionysus: Killjoy! Look, there's a sports bar within walking distance! Go up there and watch the NCAA finals, grab yourself a brewski. You've even got a local team in the game ... and I recall that when you and I were bffs, back in the day, you were a Michigan fan.

Anne: Pass.

Dionysus: Whoa, you are definitely in Downerville. Catch a God up. What's the problem?

Anne: We've got the worst president in my lifetime. He's so bad, I can't even joke about him.

Dionysus: As bad as Caligula?

Anne: Getting there.

Dionysus: ... Because no one could joke about him either.

Anne: This cold spring is a bummer too.

Dionysus: Come to sunny Italy with me! We'll eat some fish, some pasta, drink some red wine ...

Anne: STOP ALREADY! All I want to do right now is buy myself a big plate of pasta and a bottle of wine! You're a terrible God.

Dionysus (proudly): I do my part. Hey! Where's that cute little tabby cat?

Anne: She died.

Dionysus: Aww. I liked her. But ... you had a birthday not long ago, right?

Anne: Okay, I'm usually polite, but fuck you. I don't want to contemplate my age. Or my dead cat.

Dionysus: Well, surely you've been posting witty stuff on your blog ...

Anne: Not a thing.

Dionysus: Anne. You've got to get a grip ... around a nice crystal wine goblet! Everything looks bright through the bottom of the glass.

[Dionysus spills a whole bottle of finest cabernet on Anne's sofa.]

Dionysus: Oooops!

Anne: Gods damn it! Things were bad enough around here! Look what you've done to my upholstery! Ruined!  That's it. Out you go.

Dionysus: All right. Be that way! I'm off to the sports bar!

Anne: Knock yourself out. If there's anything worse than thinking about Donald Trump in a sober fashion, it would be thinking about Donald Trump after a bottle of whatever that awful deity just dumped on my furniture. Guess I could take a small comfort in that.

Friday, March 23, 2018

First One I've Missed

I've been having trouble with this platform. I'll write a 500 word blog, hit a wrong combination of keys, and the entire thing deletes with no record. I just wrote a passionate diatribe about guns in America, complete with photos, links to spoken word poems, and firmly held beliefs. I was proofreading it. Three keys later, it's gone.

I can't attend the March for Our Lives. I will be in transit to a wedding in Manhattan.

I can't re-write the post. It took me an hour, and that hour is done. Life proceeds.

I only have time to do this:


Next time I'll upload a goddamn Google doc.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Union, Yes!

We at "The Gods Are Bored," as well as Great Deities of Justice from multiple pantheons spanning millennia, congratulate the teachers' unions of West Virginia for reaching a deal on their contract demands!

EXHIBIT A: THIS IS WHAT SOLIDARITY LOOKS LIKE


Two weeks ago, if you had asked me about the future of organized labor -- as it faces certain disruption by a conservative Supreme Court -- I would have said, "Palliative care only, send to hospice."

And then ... in deep red West Virginia ... a "right to work" (for less) state ... the teachers just walked out. Fifty-five counties, all the teachers walked out.

EXHIBIT B: ANNE FEELS STRONGLY ABOUT THIS


Bring it on, corporate pig-dogs! We will taunt you mercilessly!


I'm not playing, here. I believe in unions. No system is perfect, but the practice of collective bargaining, so maligned in our modern times, is the only way to keep decent, living wages in the hands of hard-working people.

All glory, laud, and honor to the WVAFT, the WVEA, and their parent organizations! Guess what? The bargain the teachers brokered extends to all public employees in the Mountain State!

United we bargain, divided we beg.