31 January 2022

Racism of the 'Special' Variety

 They always enter through the backdoor, off the alleyway that runs between Main Street and the next street to the east, that’s been revamped to be a pedestrian-friendly, wannabe-indie-type walking path that stretches the entirety of the 100k-town’s “Downtown.” She, an obvious ethnic minority of some sort (even with hat, sunglasses and double-masked face), he, some urban white guy (not from around here), they make up one of two (known) interracial couples that are recognized (&or confused for each other or are perceived as being only one interracial couple of the asian/white variety, throughout the town by various white and latin locals). Smells of a well-stocked spice cabinet mixed with a tinge of all-natural soap (if you don’t know this particular scent, it is the scent, in my mind, of camping) blasts her through her masks as she follows him through the dated metal-rimmed, glass backdoors. Under the weight of her body’s pressure, the all-natural, light-wood floor creaks.

They pass bulk bins of pet food and pet-related goods on their right, an opening to some backroom storage and an area, perhaps, for employees on their left, a white woman pumps all-natural soap into a byob container from a large (extra large) wood barrel. As she makes her way to the dried fruit area, she passes another white woman scooping spices from the bulk jars. She stops to take a gander at the bulk dispensers dispensing chocolates, and decides to stick to the plan. 

A small eco-friendly brown paper bag is filled with dried mangoes; she writes the number of the item on the bag with a shitty blue ballpoint pen. Another small eco-friendly brown paper bag is filled with dried dates, and another number is scribbled on the outside. A third and final bag is filled with an assortment of rice crackers, number scribbled. Her bodybuddy/lifemate peruses the spices, and then they are ready to pay. “Six dollars and three cents,” (the change borrowed from her bodybuddy/lifemate) the young white male cashier states. “Would you like a receipt?” the cashier asks. “Yes, please,” she requests. After a mess-making pump from an enthusiastic pump of all-natural hand sanitizer, they make their way out the front door, only to be accosted by an aged white woman who stops them to sell them a product not yet shelvable. 

She had seen the old lady out the front window while filling her bags with treats, and had already decided that she was not going to participate in whatever this old lady was sampling. Nevertheless, as she exited through the front doors, the old lady shouted at her, “I’m sorry if this is ignorant, but do you celebrate Chinese New Year?” And as this old lady is saying this, she rounds the table toward the obviously ethnic minority and nearly attempts to reach out and grab onto the ethnic minority’s arm as the ethnic minority subtly shifts herself away from the old lady and takes a step back from the table. She didn’t know exactly what to say so she spoke the truth after a little giggle, “We celebrate when we’re in Korea, but not here when we’re in the States.” And then this old lady’s wheels really begin to churn. You can see it in her face, and you can hear it in the way she struggles through her little spiel about how old her business is, what she’s trying to do, etc., etc., etc.

“So, what I have here is one-hundred percent vegan energy,” the old lady goes on about the variety of flavors she’s created and that the obviously ethnic minority placates. When the old lady is done going over her everyday varieties, she then looks directly at the obviously ethnic minority and says, “But I have something really special just for you. It’s my Chinese New Year specialty.” 

At this point, the obviously ethnic minority is thinking a few things, firstly, Does this old lady think I’m Chinese?, and secondly, Does this old lady not know that it’s called Lunar New Year and that many other countries and cultures celebrate Lunar New Year? She had to strongly consider whether or not to take it upon herself to educate this ignorant old white lady.

Finally, the old lady makes her Chinese New Year vegan energy pitch, “It’s got honey, ginger, spiced [something or other], and wait for it, goji berries!” The old white lady waits for the obviously ethnic minority to react, but the obviously ethnic minority has absolutely no relationship with whatever excitement the old white lady felt about these particular ingredients. Goji berries? Do they have some sort of significance in Chinese culture? Who knows, she’s Korean. 

And then, the old white lady explains, “I would love for you to try it and give me your specific feedback on this special Chinese New Year recipe.” Ignoring the white man accompanying the obviously ethnic minority, “Here’s a sample. I would love your thoughts.” 

“I’ll pass,” the obviously ethnic minority kindly responds, holding out her right hand as if to physically stop this old white lady, using every ounce of her willpower to not say thank you, going against every fiber in her body that makes her the friendly, respectful American citizen that she is. Without another word, they depart. Once out of earshot of the old white lady, she finally asks her white bodybuddy/lifemate, “What the hell? Some help you were back there.” To which he responds, “She never acknowledged my existence except to look at me as if pleading with me to help her. No fucking way. That racist old white lady needed to struggle, and I wanted to watch her squirm.” 

        As they make their way off Main Street toward their destination, the Public Library, they laugh and chat about that crazy old white lady, wondering if that crazy old white lady even knows that she’s a racist.   

[end story]

Notes & Errata

This is a true story. This is a work of creative nonfiction, and as such, the events of this story are absolutely true. The saddest part, to me, is that I wrote out a first draft, obviously, and then proofread the thing. I do little to no editing on my writing, in general, because it’s not really my style, which is not to say that I’m a lazy writer (but it sorta is) so much as I identify as an artist (as opposed to a writer) whose favorite medium or medium of choice is words. My point being that as I proofread this thing, I noticed that I switched into the past tense during the most wrought parts of interacting with that racist old white lady. It made me wonder what’s going on inside me, psychologically, when I write about my experiences with racist old white ladies. I was raised by one. Thusly, I imagine that the particular psychological gymnastics my mind does and uses to cope with racist old white ladies is not something about which I ought to take lightly, I think. I suppose this is something I should raise with a therapist. Thanks for reading *peace*  

28 January 2022

정호연 keepin' it ^two Virgils^*

 *as described by Sesali Bowen in her book Bad Fat Black Girl p 225

정호연 (Jung Hoyeon) on the cover of VOGUE, February 2022

first posted to Kakao Stories @tkscm &yes,
i use the library, so #sorrynotsorry for the
attempt at privacy ;)

25 January 2022

from our couch to yours, happy 2022^^


w/ the bodybuddy/lifemate to capture a quiet summary of 2021
Happy New Year

Bromides | The Last Chapter—Posted

[the last chapter of Bromides, a novel-length work of science fiction by yours truly, Sun Sailor, serving as a sequel to Red & Blue Make Greenhas finally been uploaded to both Lady Polarity and Bromides on Medium; here's The Synopsis, in an attempt to bait some clicks outta you ;]

[begin synopsis]

“Are You Ready for Orbital Living? Take our assessment to find out!”
c. The Numerical Years
By Iya Sun

Chances are, you are not ready to live on an Orbital. A few, perhaps, have been living in such a way as to make them good candidates for Orbital Living, but the rest remain largely unable. Nevertheless, if you do believe yourself to be the type of person who would not only survive but also, thrive under the conditions set forth by the Bromides of the Orbital Naturalization Governance, take a quick peek at our Four Points of Assessment to find out whether or not you qualify for further consideration. First, though, find out what Orbital Living means, not only to you but also, in reality! Argus Pntch, a long-time journalist of Orbital Living has returned from a special adventure and has shared it with us all in his new audio piece, "Life on the Orbital," and we've published it here, first!

the voice of Iya Sun in the Preface of "Life on the Orbital" with Argus Pntch

Of course, I've never spent any time, personally, on any Orbital, much less The Orbital before this assignment. Nevertheless, this special opportunity has afforded me an interview with a number of Orbital Inhabitants, and the stories that they've told me is enough to make me tell you that there's no way in godforsaken hell that I would ever, EVER want to live on an Orbital. Despite my personal feelings, and they are many, I've also come to the conclusion that Orbital Living may just be inevitable. Perhaps some will escape unscathed by the dread of containment, but that just leaves these types to essentially starve to death or survive by a modicum of sustenance and hope. The reality, ladies and gentlemen, is simple, you are going to die! Planetary life is no good for anyone. At some point, in some faraway future, a planet's resources, along with all of its inhabitants, will be depleted, in that beautiful cycle those Earthlings call … LIFE.

Orbital Living, on the one hand, means that everything is always perfect for human life. Orbital Living, on the other, means that you subject yourself to the powers that be, the Bromides, specifically, the Bromides of the Orbital Naturalization Governance. There are few … less than whatever few equals … who have had the honor of meeting these Bromides, but none come away from an encounter unchanged. I, fortunately, do not know the specifics of these encounters, but I have heard a tale or two from humans of various planets who have all either seen with their own eyes or heard with their own ears some horrific story about something that they simply cannot remember. There's something there, however, and so, I went digging, to see if I could unearth, as they are, a Bromide of my own. And luckily for you, I have.

These are creatures of real magic, folks; people who can do extraordinary things; people who exist apart … from … time. They're living among us. Well, sort of. It's more like they're living above and around us … making decisions that affect all of us but on a scale that we cannot comprehend. For some of you, your sole existence only conjures itself into the physical world of the real when one of these types is walking around Earth (or whatever planet, apologies for my playing favorites) around the same time and place that you're existing within. And Orbital Living is just a magnified version of this. The bottom line, I suppose, is that you don't really matter. Most of us only exist because they exist … figments of the imagination … conjured … to fulfill the reality around those who truly matter … the Bromides. For it is within their world that all of us exist … LIVE.

So, about the Bromide I was fortunate enough to get a mere glimpse of. He is actually not a Bromide at all. He, instead, is the Listmaker. Of course, I did not meet the Listmaker myself. And good for me, after what I did get to experience. Let's just say that -unlike the Bromides who simply make you psychologically not really you anymore, or arguably, the you you really are you die when you encounter the Listmaker. Like dead, die. Anyway, the Listmaker is said to be a real badass, sort of on the same field as the Bromides, but like also embodying all of the rules or something. The Listmaker lives on The Listmaker's Ranch, and I never got a clear answer about whether or not there's more than one Listmaker. Everyone refers to the Listmaker's Ranch and the Listmaker, as opposed to "his ranch." And to state the obvious, he makes lists. He writes lists. I don't know what the lists are for, and no one told me, and I guess I didn't really ask. In hindsight, this feels like a stupid mistake, but when I think about what I was thinking in those moments, the thought just never crossed my mind. Well, never mind for now. I suppose another trip is in the making.

As far as the character of the Listmaker is concerned, everyone seems to be in agreement that he is rather powerful, someone who ought not be disturbed. He is also someone who can fix things, apparently. Again, I have absolutely no details about this. You would understand if you had to face these people yourselves. They're relentlessly loyal to these beings, and any perceived threat against them (the beings) is basically dismissed. I've hit the pavement outside a number of homes quite hard in the past few weeks. I digress. As the story goes, there's another being called So Jeong. She is, how do I explain this? She is, um, pure luck combined with pure aspiration? In short, if you have a goal, one strand of her hair will make all of your goals come true. But you hear that? GOALS. Not dreams, not hopes, not the acquisition of stuff. If you have something defined as self-created work in an artistic or creative capacity toward which you are working very hard, one strand of So Jeong's Locked Luck will inevitably make a success out of you. And she lives at the top of the middle-most peak where the three peaks meet, so there's that. Oh, right, you have to climb the middle-most peak where the three peaks meet and pluck a strand of hair off her head, yourself.

Of course, everyone who could, would do this, right? But do you know where the middle-most peak where the three peaks meet is? Yea, exactly. I don't either. But apparently, some people do, well a lot of people do, and before So Jeong's sixth birthday, she nearly died from her generosity. With only a few strands of hair left on her head, she grew weak. A Bromide heard So Jeong's cries from atop her glassen castle in the middle of the purple moat and sent a message to the Listmaker via Ladybug and the Singing Leaves. Ladybug, being the ever reliable messenger, delivered the message to the Listmaker before the click of High Noon on the Listmaker's Ranch, and by the light of the Moon Click, the Listmaker had written a new list for So Jeong, and she's survived through eternity. That's it. That's the story I know. I know.

By the time I had finished interviewing everyone who wanted to talk to me and report about Life on the Orbital, I realized that I had drawn the attention of a number of Bromides, most notably, someone referred to solely as the Older Woman, which sort of indicates that there's an old woman? My point here is that I did not intend to leave The Orbital when I did. I was returned to Earth. Upon my return I lost myself. Of course, no one here on Earth knows whether or not this lapse in memory is intentional or not, but luckily, with a few bouts of hypnotism, I returned to myself … although … not fully … just changed. There is still much I cannot remember. And so, with that, I will simply end with this. Orbital Living comes at a price, but so does planetary living. I suppose the only question is whether or not the price of one's own mind the inordinately high cost of Orbital Living is worth the low cost of daily life and living, or if the high cost of planetary living starvation is worth your psychological freedom.

What do you think? Do you think you have what it takes to enjoy Orbital Living? Take our assessment to find out! But before you do, don't forget to read all 150,000 words of Pntch's experience, and be sure to recognize that the manuscript in its entirety serves as an outline for a forthcoming series!

[end synopsis]

Bromides is a work of science fiction by Sun Sailor
available digitally at Lady Polarity and on Bromides on Medium

02 January 2022

'72 in 2021' Reading Goal Completed.

 ... and she easily cruised her sails across the finish line ... 


72 in 2021


  1. Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? BEVERLY DANIEL TATUM, PhD
  2. The Witches Are Coming LINDY WEST
  3. The Black Presidency MICHAEL ERIC DYSON
  4. Upstream MARY OLIVER
  5. African Philosophy: The Essential Readings TSENAY SEREQUEBERHAN
  6. Decisions and Dissents of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Selection (edited by Corey Brettschneider)
  7. The Rib King by LADEE HUBBARD
  8. The Quartet by JOSEPH J. ELLIS
  9. One Life by MEGAN RAPINOE
  10. The Constitution Today by AKHIL REED AMAR
  11. Survival of the Thickest by MICHELLE BUTEAU
  12. The Known World by EDWARD P. JONES
  13. Carving Out A Humanity edited by Janet Dewart Bell & Vincent Southerland
  14. Honey Girl by MORGAN ROGERS
  15. A Promised Land by BARACK OBAMA
  16. How We Eat With Our Eyes and Think With Our Stomachs by MELANIE MüHL and DIANA VON KOPP
  17. Feline Philosphy by John Gray
  18. You Don’t Belong Here by Elizabeth Becker
  19. Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin
  20. First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara
  21. Silent Covenants by Derrick Bell
  22. Zone One by Colson Whitehead
  23. How To Slowly Kill Yourself And Others In America by Kiese Laymon
  24. Every Day Is A Gift by Tammy Duckworth
  25. How To Avoid A Climate Disaster by Bill Gates
  26. Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo
  27. Nine Bar Blues by Sheree Renée Thomas
  28. Fire In The Lake by Frances Fitzgerald
  29. FLAVOR by Bob Holmes
  31. THE FOUND AND THE LOST by Ursula K. Le Guin
  32. LONG DIVISION by Kiese Laymon
  33. ANTITRUST by Amy Klobuchar
  34. The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
  35. The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson
  36. On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed
  37. Metazoa by Peter Godfrey-Smith
  38. Noise* by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, Cass R. Sunstein
  39. Premonition by Michael Lewis
  40. While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams
  41. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  42. HRH: so many thoughts on royal style by Elizabeth Holmes
  43. home body by rupi kaur
  44. Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
  45. Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States by Jonathan Levy
  46. Year Book by Seth Rogan
  47. There Plant Eyes: A Personal And Cultural HIstory of Blindness by M. Leona Godin
  48. Trouble The Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson
  49. In The Company Of Men by Véronique Tadjo
  50. Josephin Baker by Catel & Bocquet
  51. Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection by Marissa King
  52. Spite: the upside to your dark side by Simon McCarthy-Jones
  53. The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe by Clifford V. Johnson
  54. Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea by Edith Widder, Ph D.
  55. Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo by Jo Koy
  56. Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova
  57. Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  58. On Being A Bear: Face to Face With Our Wild Sibling by Rémy Marion
  59. Seeing Serena by Gerald Marzorati
  60. Keep Sharp: Build A Better Brain At Any Age by Sanjay Gupta, MD
  61. Everyone Knows Your Mother Is A Witch by Rivka Galchen
  62. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
  63. The Rumi Prescription: How an ancient mystic poet changed my modern manic life by Melody Moezzi
  64. Credible: Why we doubt accusers and protect abusers by Deborah Tuerkheimer
  65. The Scapegoat by Sara Davis 
  66. The Immortal Game by David Shenk
  67. The Elephant’s Secret Sense: The hidden lives of the wild herds of Africa by Caitlin O’Connell
  68. Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton
  69. Elephant Don: The politics of a pachyderm posse by Caitlin O’Connell
  70. How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
  71. Around the World in 80 Plants by Jonathan Drori
  72. Carry On: Reflections for a new generation by John Lewis

Stay tuned for more reading in 2022^^
| And always feel free to share to where your mind wanders |