I shouldn’t write when I am emotional but I always do, so what the hell. Have you ever found yourself living in someone else’s body? That when you talk to them, you can see yourself through their eyes and you actually like what you see. That you can talk to them about everything and be who you are without a single note of artifice, which, actually, is the most difficult thing to do. That you burned your security blanket and allowed yourself to be who you are just as you are at that exact moment. And they do the same. Mirror people.
For once you don’t feel as if you have to run to the rescue. Their demons, you have met them. Perhaps they are scratching on the door of someplace you may have entertained. One day the door will open and you won’t know what to do or where to go or who could possibly comfort you. But at the same time, you’re not afraid. You could never be afraid again. Because of this person who lives in your body and looks out of your eyes. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, it’s ok.
You are me as a boy.
Perhaps it’s just as well we found one another at this time and not at any other time. The world wouldn’t have been able to cope with the combination. We would have burned so bright, people would have been lured to their deaths. As it is, the fire still burns, sometimes its beauty makes me look away, at all the light that is us.
I’m on the ledge with you.
If I could, I would be right there in person. But this will have to do. I hate that it will have to do. But this is the way it is. Perhaps you don’t know this, but life is a kiss when you show up. It’s not a party without you. Even if the party is somewhat muted these days. We’re still there in spirit and glitter and glimmer, like Santa Barbara and the Star of the Sea.
This is way too emotional but I make no apologies. The funny thing is, you might not even read this. And if you do, you might not even know that it’s you. That would be so you. But baby, it’s you.
This is an article on a subject I wrote some years ago following a long period of trying desperately to find the right words to do it justice. After many years of struggling, and failing, inspiration came in a most peculiar and unexpected way, as it often does. I was propelled into action by a piece of throwaway hate I read online. The article was seen by award-winning author Maggie Anton who said it was one of the most powerful pieces she had ever read.
This story contains a cliche. Cliches, while being annoying, tired and often trite are rooted in the truth, which is probably why humankind simultaneously uses and sneers at them because, unpalatable truths are, well, unpalatable.
So, here’s the bones of it. I once read a piece of improbable hate in a Youtube comment. As heinous and cowardly as it was, I will get it out of the way now. It read: You fucking piece of Jew scum. You oven-dodger.
At this point I would like to add that this is not a story about irrational hate, but rather about turning that hate into a love story.
I once saw this shoe. In a museum. It lay nestled amongst a lot of other pairs of shoes, a little brown suede, wedge-heeled shoe with a pale green trim. And I fell in love with it. I imagined its owner to have been a stylish young woman who loved life; she had an infectious laugh that made everyone who heard it at least break out in an involuntary smile as she skipped through life in her beautiful brown suede wedge heeled shoes, dashing from cafe to cafe, chatting with friends. The shoe looked to have been my size, so I’m guessing she was a petite woman, prone to mischief and flirting. She could have been me.
This shoe that I fell in love with lay in a pile of hundreds of thousands of other shoes. But amidst a pile of decaying, broken shoes – black shoes, brown shoes, grey shoes; red, white and blue shoes – I saw just this one shoe. And her. Yet I know nothing about the owner of this shoe, everything I have said about her comes from my own imagination.
It’s been years since I was at Auschwitz, but she’s still there. You don’t have to go too far to walk in someone else’s shoes, as most human experiences are shared. But oven-dodging is not one of them. And for some reason, it hurts me to know that she didn’t.
The truth. Everybody demands it, nobody knows what it is. It’s just perception. There are truths that grasp you by the nape of the neck and shake you up hard until you think your brain will explode with the pressure. And it won’t let go of its hold on you, no matter how much you struggle. These are truths that you won’t – you cannot – admit to anyone and least of all to yourself. And then there are the lies, the lies you tell yourself to hold the truth in check, to stop it from spilling out of the prison in which you’ve held it captive. If the truth escapes, the whole carefully constructed charade you’ve built up and called a life, will crumble to dust.
Leyton J Cougar, aka The Wolf Daddy, is a person who has devoted his life to the care of animals – domestic ones and wild ones. Perhaps you may have heard of him through the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, or through his love of wolves, as he tours the country rescuing hybrids, wild animals and educating the public with his team of Arctic wolves, who are loved by the Game of Thrones author, George RR Martin. Whichever way you know him, you know he deserves the very best success with his latest venture, a book all about the right stuff to feed the direwolf in your own home.
If, on the other hand, you haven’t heard of Leyton J Cougar, or seen his pack of amazing animals which includes foxes, coyotes, timber wolves, arctic wolves, hybrids and of course, domesticated dogs, get ready to be inspired:
Over the last 20 years, Leyton has rescued over 400 wolves and exotic canids and has raised over 20 rescued wolf pups from birth. He is passionate, selfless and driven in his life’s work, to protect these amazing animals and to educate people like us. One of the ways we can play our own small part and the canines in our world, is to ensure we feed them correctly.
Hungry Like A Wolf comes from all those years of love and care. It is full of sound nutritional advice in astonishingly easy recipes you can create to keep your pet (and yourself) in tip top healthy shine.
If you think cooking dinner for your dog is going to be a challenge, it’s not. How about some gluten free cornbread muffins stuffed with greens, cheddar and bacon? You’d eat those yourself. Or fancy some cornbread and sausage? Sweet potato fries (not deep fried in that canola gunk, that’s not good for you either), healthy meat loaf, a meaty stew with bacon and veggies? Well, that’s good enough for your dog too.
The Wolf Daddy’s book, Hungry Like A Wolf, is available from his website: https://wolfdaddy.dog/
“I once read in a book, or was it some chick singing on the radio, well I don’t exactly recall, but it was something like the heart wants what the heart wants even though, and this is the killer part, even though we know it’s gonna kill us to have it. Suppose an upright, or is that uptight, moralistic good person like yourself would never give in to something like that, eh, wouldya? But you know something? When desire gets into your guts and twists itself into a chain, ain’t nothing and nobody can stop it. And you’ll fight it all the way, but I know, I’m gonna be the death of you.”
You may or may not know who this woman is, but she’s the reason I am writing the Karen Yellowtail novels. If you want to change the world, you have to be brave. The truth is no place for cowards.
The moment I saw Ashley Callingbull and heard her story, she became a shining light to me. She IS a shining light to girls and women around the world, especially Native women, and she is true grace and strength in adversity. When I’m stuck writing a scene for Karen, I’m always thinking what would Ashley do? And having been lucky to talk with her on social media, I know that Ashley would be honored to have the role of Karen Yellowtail (and really, there’s no one else I would ever accept if it ever came down to it).
On International Women’s Day, this woman, this Enoch Cree woman, is the epitome of what it means to come up out of the darkness and succeed. She is true First Nations power. She walks in beauty. Thank you, Ashley Callingbull
Babygirl died. She died with the birthday sparkles still in her hair and a pink glittery now you are 10 button, a special birthday card gift from the famous Hollywood actor, pinned to her sunshine yellow party dress. Whoever killed her had lured her somehow from her birthday party, took her out down the road near all the hoopla and trailers and killed her and rolled her over in a murky ditch to hide her pretty face; to hide what they’d done in a pathetic act of stabbing remorse. Remorse for what? Whoever had killed her had thrown stones at her lifeless ten year old body and had poked her, hard, with sticks, just to make sure. Yes, she was really dead, so they had turned her face away and left her out there in the cold.
As homicide detective Karen Yellowtail would discover, this was no ordinary murder and it would have repercussions that would rattle and throb the heart of the community for a very long time. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a child for a child?
Excerpt from Babygirl by Basia J Wolf.
Change, by its nature, is almost always final; rarely does it give you the luxury of returning to any part of the past save down the winding lane of memories and remembrances. Sometimes this entity, this so-called metamorphosis, cuts a wide, sweeping swathe, churning up the neat paths and manicured borders you’d carefully constructed and called a life.
Other times it grabs your life by the nape of the neck and shakes it up good, for better or worse. But after change waltzes, leering, through your door, nothing is ever quite the same again.