I used to really really hate housework but don’t hate it so much any more — ever since I developed my fabulous new housecleaning system wherein I just do 15 minutes of housework a day, but do it each day consistently, using a timer so as not to cheat.

You’d be surprised how much you can get done in just 15 minutes, but you gotta do it daily, no matter what — even if some newbee student dentist has just finished scraping all those extra bone fragments out of the socket of your recently-pulled (phantom) tooth and then practiced her rusty stitching techniques on your poor bleeding gums.
''The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been kindness, beauty, and truth.'' - Albert Einstein
And here’s another added bonus to my housecleaning system:  After having spent approximately 5,475 minutes a year for the past six years on trying to keep this damn place clean, I have actually sort of started to bond with my home.

      So.  A few days ago I was cleaning stuff out of an old filing cabinet, and came across a whole bunch of articles that I had written way back in the day — back before we had all kinds of self-publishing apps available online; and even back before there was FaceBook or blogs or Kindle or Twitter or even Instagram and YouTube.

And, way back in those old paleo days, writers such as myself had actually been forced to photocopy our articles, write up a cover letter and then send them all off to magazine editors with self-addressed stamped envelopes enclosed.  Totally old school.  Can you even imagine doing that now?

And there at the very bottom of one of those file drawers, I found over two hundred rejection letters from various editors and publishers.  Amazing.

     Dontcha just love publishing over the internet instead?  (And thank goodness for net neutrality too — which is currently being threatened.  Shouldn’t we start boycotting Verizon, AT&T and Comcast over this?  C’mon, all you independent bloggers, Tweeters and self-publishers, let’s get off our butts and fight for less intervention and more high-speed!)  http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-net-neutrality-20140114,0,522106.story

And speaking of the internet, those huge and powerful corporations which now own our government are still using it to spy on all of us — and not just us writers.   Now why would corporations want to do that?  Because they are paranoid.  And greedy.  And afraid.

     I used to be paranoid and greedy and afraid too — but am now here to tell you that, in the long run, paranoia and greed and fear are just too damn much hard work.  Wisdom and kindness are better.  And easier too.  Just ask Jesus.  And Gandhi.  And Martin Luther King Jr.
     “But Jane,” you might say, “that kind of slacker attitude could get you killed.”  True.  It certainly got King and Gandhi and Jesus killed.  But at least I would die while feeling all proud of myself as I cross over — not huddled up in some miserable isolated Midas-like earthly fortress while watching the rest of the world end before my very eyes and with only my black, ice-cold-hearted evil soul (that nobody else would ever want to spend time with, ev-ah) to keep me company.  Yuck.

     Anyway, back at the filing cabinet, I began reading through some of my old articles again — and some of them were really actually quite good.  The one about my struggles to get my aging father into an assisted-care home was particularly poignant — and how my mean sister had dragged me through probate court after he died, just when I was grieving the most.  I later published it on the internet, entitled “Probating the Family Feud” — and a lot of people actually read it there too.  http://veracityvoice.com/?p=1158

And I also found something I had written back in 2005 — back when Fallujah was a horrible war-crime-induced hot mess; about all my efforts to embed with the Army there.  And how I finally did embed with the Marines in Heet and Haditha two years later http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_archive.html.

But apparently Fallujah is still a war-torn hot mess even today; the only difference being that Iraqis, not Americans, are now doing most of the killing in Al Anbar province.  So does that make all this current senseless slaughter of civilians less of a war crime — because civilians are now being senselessly slaughtered by local hordes instead of by American hordes?   http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-third-battle-of-fallujah/5364369

Ten years later, I still want to go to Fallujah.Or as one friend in Iraq calls it, “Fallujahpaloooza”.  Laughter through tears.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt5qaMHQDfw&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DDt5qaMHQDfw&app=desktop

And then I discovered, hidden back at the very bottom of my filing cabinet, a rough draft of my first novel.  I loved that novel so much!  But NOBODY would publish it.  Nobody.  That novel had everything — love, death, war, peace, history, philosophy, drama, even intergalactic travel — and even one fast-moving chapter on how wisdom and kindness always trumps greed, paranoia and fear.  “Pictures of a Future World” was the title.  I may get around to publishing it yet — but this time I’ll try Kindle.

PS:  Here’s an excerpt from my old unpublished novel, “Pictures of a Future World”:

     All eyes turn to the Shaman, who continues to speak from his deep trance.

The atmosphere in the sandstone kiva comes alive.  The Shaman moves his mind to a new point of consciousness.  Another one of his emanations begins to speak, this time in an intensely penetrating tone.  “There is a tree on the mesa top,” the deep voice slowly intones.  “It has watched the raider warriors kill our people one by one.  It has seen us begin to build our houses here in the dark shadows of the canyon walls instead of up on the sunny mesa tops where they belong…so that we might be safe…from the raider warriors.

     “They are killers.

     “We are prey.

      “So has it always been.  So shall it always be.

      “There is no place that we can go on the face of this earth that is safe from them…either now or in the far distant future… when even our mesa-top trees are dead.

      “Raiders will always hunt peaceful men.

      “They will find us, and they will kill our bodies just as the coyote kills the hare.”

Absolute silence falls like a black shroud inside the kiva.

Everyone waits for the Shaman to speak again.  Even the Shaman himself waits.  Is this all that he is going to say?  By now the ceremonial kiva is as bright as day, the elders rigid with attention.
“Of these things we must never be afraid, ever,” the Shaman continues.  “The raiders may search us out, the barbarians may chase us down and trap us and corner us like rats…from now until the end of time.

      “The needy ones, the greedy ones will hunt us in order to make our wisdom and our abundance their own.  They will act out of evil caused by envy, jealousy or need.  Whatever their reasons — that is the way of it.  No place is safe.  We must be prepared to give up our bodies at any time, willingly and without fear or regret.

“Because our bodies are not us.”

The Shaman breathes slowly now, and the clan members sense that he is struggling within himself, trying to clarify what he alone is seeing, forcing himself to go on.  A moment passes.  The mask presses heavily upon him.  Finally he continues:  “We of the pueblo all know this.  We are all made brave because of this knowledge.  This we know:  That always men of peace will die bravely.  That always barbarians will try to kill us and to take our spirits.

      “All of us know that the spirit of a man of peace can never belong to a barbarian and can never be harmed.  Ever.  It is this knowledge that gives us the courage to continue to live without fear in a world exploding with enemies, enemies gone mad with their own anger and need and violence and lust for our blood.”

The air inside the womb-like kiva begins to take on a life of its own; humid, dense, and pulsing.

Inside the ponderous deer-head mask, the Shaman tries to refocus his energy.  He watches his body and his mind divide into a series of complex grids.  Each one of these grids contains an image of himself.  A part of him wonders which grid is his real self.  A part of him knows that his real self is all of them — or none.

More chanting fills the air.  The Shaman forgets about the raider warriors.  They are a part of life.  They will always be there…like the trees.  Like the mesa.

Picture from QuotesEverlasting licensed under Creative Commons