It’s Friday, and I’m having some feelings.

Hello, friends and strangers. I, your friendly correspondent, have some words today.

It occurred to me recently that the art of the blog may soon die. With the loss of net neutrality, the dominance of corporate media, and our increasing reliance on social media platforms for information, I find myself feeling that the average human is robbed of real voice. At one time, Twitter was the place for uprising, and lately it feels like a roiling cauldron of toxic rage with no productive outlet. And while I don’t think I’m going to change all that with my little blog, I do want to take a moment to remind you to resist. The regime is consolidating its control of our main mode of communication, but we must refuse to be silenced. Find a way. Write, my loves. Create art. Live your life as the ultimate creation of your truest self. Let your life be your statement. Don’t look to fashion magazines to find out who you ought to be. Don’t drink the poison of mass media and call it truth. Know your own heart and mind and act in accordance with your truth.

I don’t really think very many people read what I write these days. I’ve always had a modest readership of friends who kinda relate to what I’m saying, and I used to think that wasn’t good enough. I wanted to have mass appeal because I thought that’s what it meant to be a good writer. I tried really hard to mimic people who were successful in the way I thought I should be. That didn’t work because it wasn’t who I am. Now, when I write here, I am just writing for you and me because something has brought us together and that has value in itself. And I think what brought us together was that we have some shared values, some hope for the world, some desire to believe that we are basically good and everything is going to be ok. And what’s been really hard about the past couple years is that things don’t feel ok. In fact, things are not ok. So I’m writing for you and me because when things are not ok, we need each other.

There are uncertain times ahead of us. I have every hope that the Democrats will flip Congress and impeach Trump, but I can’t honestly predict if it will happen or not. And scary things could happen either way. If 45 completes a full term, what further damage might he do? Will our next presidential election be as much of a farce as Russia’s? And if he doesn’t complete a term, will we end up with a president who wants to impose Biblical law? Vote, my friends. You. Must. Vote. If you do nothing else, fucking vote. But also, keep exercising your voice, and practice regular maintenance of your mind and heart. Step away from the internet. Re-evaluate relationships and pass times that aren’t supporting your wellness. And meditate. You don’t have to be good at it, but find a way to empty your mind. If you have trouble sitting still, go for a meditative walk. Shut off the constant stream of information and give your mind a few quiet minutes at least. Remember that you are human. Reconnect with your body. Sweat. Cry. Scream if you have to. We’ve been living in an intense emotional stew for the past 18 months, and I often feel numbed out. I can’t keep taking it in. I can’t keep feeling it. And yet, if we stay numb, we lose our humanity. So remember to be human and feel it, but also let yourself scream. Let it not be ok. Cry about it. Yell about it. Protest about it. Write about it. Create art about it.

We must do what is within our power, and we must strive to uphold our own values because that’s what it means to be the Resistance. Today, what is within my power is to get up, get dressed and go do my damn job, and to write to you with love and encouragement for the day ahead of you.

So, let’s go do our best today.

Read More


This is from a journal I share with my sister, Katie Daniel. In the picture below, the handwriting is mine, and the drawing is hers.

Invective by Durght

Sit down every day, every goddamned day, sit down and do it. And don’t give me any guff about your muse or being blocked because you do so much shit every day — complete and utter shit — that is neither inspired nor inspiring. You sit down and write emails, make phone calls, count the bills in someone else’s cash register, and you don’t whine to your boss about not being inspired.

Can you believe you have a fucking boss? You who used to be so fond of saying “You’re not the boss of me,” are now saying “yes sir” at every turn to every corporate douche bag who comes around the corner. Frankly, your six-year-old self would’ve given those guys the finger.

What ever happened to the you who thought you could do anything? What ever happened to that girl who thought she was a total superstar just because?

If you can make that blessed little hellion sit down, be polite and answer phones all day, for the love of god, for once, one hour, even one minute — for every day you  make her sit down and do this bullshit, you — the responsible adult asshole — owe it to her to sit down and fucking write.



Read More

American Grief

American Grief by Durght

For our souls. For the things we don’t have anymore. For innocence. For fashion victims. For seasons. For clothes. For vegetable gardens and flower beds wilted through with all our forgetting to water and doing it later and never really looking at it. For nonsense and small talk.

For fresh air and vacation days. For long summer afternoons. for having no plans. For faith. For the Dream. For remembering our dreams. For fantasy. For what we don’t know. For long lost secrets. For extinct species. For language. For truth. For trust. For the illusion of non-partisan politics. For government. For Freedom and justice for all. For human faces. For the concept of freedom and human rights as not mutually exclusive. For organic beauty. For undesigned bodies. For laying on the grass in the sun looking up at the sky through squinted eyes at the warmest, purest blue.

Read More

the human validation system

A cute doll

8/8/12 Stuck at BWI for the next several hours. The only appropriate thing to do is people-watch and write.
Attention BWI animal owners: The BWI Marshal service animal and pet relief area is located on the lower level …

People with loud cell phone ringers. White girls with R&B ringtones. White dudes who stare and shake their heads. Me being the girl who loves the flamboyance but doesn’t want anyone to stare too hard. Uncomfortable even with the over-the-spectacles stare of first class passengers.

Ellie says I have MFA voice. Actually, I said it, and she confirmed it. I said it tentatively, hoping to be contradicted but believing it to be true nonetheless. Ellie was honest: Yeah, I think you’re right.

I have had a fear of being labelled a “confessional poet” as male academics once labeled Sylvia Plath. And why should that bother me? I love Plath, after all, but do I believe in the value of her work? To me personally, yes. But to the world at large? The phrase “daddy issues” comes to mind, a cultural joke to dismiss the unquiet mind of the lady author, model, artist or entrepreneur. Are you angry? Daddy issues. Are you lonely? Daddy issues. Are you horny? Daddy issues. Because what else would drive a woman to express herself so flagrantly? She needs attention. She needs validation. She’s got daddy issues.

Me and my promiscuity and my daddy issues

But I don’t have daddy issues! I might have some third grade math issues (I never memorized my multiplication tables completely and still imagine “touch points” on numbers for basic addition), and seventh grade dance issues, but not daddy issues.

What I do have for sure are issues making friends with other women, not because I dislike them or they dislike me but because there has been bred in us a distrust of one another. We want to be friends, to support one another, and receive the support that can only come from a woman friend — someone who sees what we see and knows what we know.

But our cultural habit of dismissing women in general — their writing, their art, their ideas — keeps us from seeing one another truly as humans and as peers. Every intelligent woman thinks she is different from “other women.” We all think we’re alone. We feel, furthermore, that we have to prove ourselves. We feel like aliens. An intelligent woman feels like a toy that came to life on the shelf one night and looked around alarmed at the dead glassy eyes on either side.

Doll face

“I can’t be one of these! I’m not one of these! I must convince the shop keeper that I am not a toy.”

We have become trapped by the metaphor. Of course we’re not toys. But if we’re not, then how can we believe that they are?

Noticing something about my writing: I tend to start out meta, go macro, then go micro … then what?

The issue at hand is personhood. You’d think that was resolved ages ago when women secured the right to vote. “Congratulations — it’s official now — you’re a fully valid human being.” Except not. Because you have daddy issues or something. Because your value is dependent on factors: your taste in clothing and music; your choice of friends and romantic partners; the color of your skin; your ethnic heritage and its associated genetic traits; your weight and by association the foods you choose to eat. If all of these factors fall into the acceptable range, then you can consider expressing your opinions, beliefs and ideas as a valid member of society. Should your baseline criterion fall outside the acceptable bounds at any time, your status may be temporarily lowered or revoked entirely. It is therefore of utmost importance to keep up appearances whilst expressing any thoughts whatsoever. The thoughts themselves must be fact checked, sanity checked, sensitivity checked, and double checked — just to be safe.

Aside: Has anyone written a guide for the acceptability of women in the past few years? Someone should get on that. I keep proposing one but no one seems to have taken me up on it. It would be complete with sizing charts and a points system for various ethnicities. I’m scared to do that because a lot of people will hate it, especially if I am honest about the way people (men? women? everyone?) value women of different races on a different scale. For example, if you’re Asian, you get bonus points for being pretty, but if you’re overweight, you get some points subtracted. I guess you could say it’s a sliding scale. Anyway, I’m not sure if women would find it hilarious or horribly offensive. I’m afraid people find this type of honesty insulting, even if on some level they know you’re right.

Korean Dolls

After all the required forms for thought checking have been signed and your Valid Human Status has been confirmed, you may venture to express one opinion at a time. When submitting an opinion, keep in mind that should you make any future statements that deviate from the prior submitted opinion, points will be deducted from your overal Human Validity score.

Go back. Go back, Mary. Get this under control. I am urging myself to stay focused and also to keep writing, to see where this leads. Because this is not about “society at large.” We all know society is this way, don’t we on some level? But this is about me. For now, at least.

I have let this fear trap me. The mere threat of being harassed into submission has effectively caused me to submit voluntarily. I may not look like it with blue hair and tattoos and self-employment, but I have censored myself, stifled my voice, and shut myself up in deference to haters, shit kickers, and judges of all stripes. They are anonymous commenters, the boys club of reddit, condescending intellectuals, conservative relatives, and even the yoga community which is full of secretly self-righteous pseudo-sages.

Endings are the hardest part to write. The question is splayed wide open: So what now?

How does one reclaim a voice? Reclaim the right to full expression? Opt out of the bullshit TSA-ized Human Validation System?

I thought transcribing these pages would give me time to process it and come up with an answer, but I don’t have one yet. I’ll just leave this here.

Read More

how to write to your government representatives about marriage equality

I think a handful of Marylanders read my blog, as I do happen to live in the state. I’d like you to know that our legislature is soon to debate a bill to recognize same sex marriage. We’re very close to getting this bill passed, so now is the time to email your legislators about it!

Guys, this is really simple, and it’s really important. Here’s how to follow through:

  1. Go to and enter your address in the search bar at the top, then hit “enter” or click “find.”
  2. Check out the menu bar on the left — it should show you a few names of people who represent you in the government.
  3. Click the names of your state senator and state delegates. This issue is currently in our state legislature, so contacting your national representatives will not be particularly helpful.
  4. When you click their names, you’ll be taken to their individual profiles, which include their party affiliation and detailed contact information.
  5. E-mail is the easiest thing in the world to do, so e-mail them your opinion on this issue. If you’re really motivated and amazing, you can also call them.

In case you don’t know what to write, here is the exact e-mail that I wrote to my representatives. You’re welcome to copy it word-for-word if you like, or you can adapt it to reflect your personal feelings on the subject. I recommend that you at least plug in the correct name before hitting send.

Dear ___,
I’m writing to you today because I want Maryland to be the next state in the movement to respect equal marriage rights for all Americans. It bothers me that in our national conversation, we’ve resorted to using the clumsy rhetorical shorthand of “legalizing” gay marriage. Love is never illegal. Although it may be intoxicating, it’s not a drug, and it’s certainly not a crime. In times like these, when there is so much suffering, violence, and poverty in the world, we need to honor, celebrate, encourage and welcome love in all its forms.
As your constituent, I am asking you to support legislation to recognize same-sex marriage in Maryland when ever you have the opportunity. The right of consenting adults to marry whomever they love is a basic human right, and for a community to refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of such loving relationships is nothing better than petty bullying and group think. We can do better than that.
Please support the equality of all Marylanders, all Americans, and indeed all human beings by supporting marriage equality in Maryland.

In the event that you are reading this and you don’t agree with me, well that’s just a darn shame. But you, too, deserve to have your voice heard, so go ahead and write to your representatives as well. After all, this country belongs to all of us, and the one thing we shouldn’t do is simply hand over all our ideals and let someone else make all our decisions for us. Go ahead and speak up.


Miss Dirt

Read More