Ghost bike

I took the time today to stop and photograph this “ghost bike” memorial. I have passed it on the way to work for two years now, and finally figured out how and where to stop. Isn’t that the secret? Noticing, studying, planning? Making time to see things that you would miss otherwise.

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The text reads “In memory of Michael Alexander Rivas who was killed while bicycling on May 16, 2012. by a distracted texter-driver who did not suffer any consequences for his actions. Texting and driving is against the law but is unenforceable.”

This is at 28th St. and Old Hickory Boulevard, in Old Hickory, TN, a suburb of Nashville.

I had initially tried to share information about this using Google maps, but the images weren’t that good for such a small thing. The first view is from March 2016, and the second is from December 2016.

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The March 2016 images of this area were taken in a car travelling North on OHB, while the December ones were taken in a car travelling South.  This bike does not show up clearly in the March images, and is too far away in the December ones.  So I knew I had to do this myself.

I had to study what landmarks were there before the bike, so I could stop before it and walk to it.  I needed a place to park my car – I couldn’t do it on OHB itself – too busy.  Also, there were usually many cars behind me, so even slowing down to turn off the road was often difficult.  Today was the day – I’d prepared, and there wasn’t much traffic.  I also had left my home with a little extra time.

I did a little research online and found this from the blog of Genea Barnes, who has driven all over the US to photograph and document ghost bikes.  She says there is only one in Nashville. This is it.

“The ghost bike I found was for Michael Rivas at 28th and Old Hickory St. After I had shot the bike, I noticed a woman changing the water that the flowers were in. I stopped and chatted with her for a few moments. She had known Michael, said he was around 30 years old, and she told me that his parents lived right around the corner if I wanted to go knock on their door. I chose not to, I felt it could be intrusive. I gave her my card, and she said if she saw them, that she would pass it along.”

Here is his obituary from the Tennessean newspaper:

RIVAS, Michael Alexander Age 31 of Old Hickory, passed away on Thursday, May 17, 2012 as the result of a tragic accident. Services to celebrate Michael’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 20, 2012 in the Chapel of Spring Hill Funeral Home, conducted by Pastor Keith Enko. Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon until service time on Sunday. Interment will be in Spring Hill Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Building Fund. Online condolences and memories can be shared with the family at http://www.springhillfh.com. Michael was born on August 17, 1980 in Nashville, the son of Dr. Alejandro and Beverly Ann (Branson) Rivas. He was a member of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church. He graduated from Donelson Christian Academy and Middle Tennessee State University. Michael had worked in several restaurants. Michael was a very kind, loving and giving person who loved and was devoted to his family. He will be missed by all that were blessed to have known him. Surviving are his loving family, including his parents, Alex and Bev of Old Hickory; brother, Christopher and his wife Margaret Rivas of Mt. Juliet; grandmother, Mary Branson of Old Hickory; the light of his life were his niece and nephew, Emma Grace Rivas and Carter David Rivas. He is also survived by his extended family and a host of friends. Michael was greeted in Heaven by his maternal grandfather and paternal grandparents.

Here is his picture –

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From his condolence book:

May 22, 2012 | Nashville, TN

I worked with Michael at the Davidson County Election Commission. I fondly remember how he always had a smile and and upbeat attitude, everyday. When I think of him and his smile, he always made me laugh. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.”  Carlatina Hampton

There were many other notes, but this one talked about him as a person, instead of just how sorry they were for the loss.  I wanted to gain a picture of who he was. A memorial should show the person, not just the name and dates.

He lived at 3215 Lakeshore Drive, Old Hickory.  This is about 5 blocks away from where the bike memorial is.

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The house was bought 8-1-1981 for $90K but now appraises at $541K.  It is a one-story stucco house built in 1960 and is 3,146 square feet, with 4 bedrooms and three baths.  The land it is on is .87 acres and it has the lake to its back.

Here is information about his father –

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Dr. Alejandro Rivas is a surgeon in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his medical degree from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and has been in practice for 47 years.  He works for the Otolaryngology department of Vanderbilt University at 1215 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37232.  According to WebMD, he also sees patients at his home Monday – Friday 8-3.  Here is the phone number (615) 847-4949, and here is the fax (615) 847-5396.  He is affiliated with Tri-Star Skyline hospital and Vanderbilt.  He is 72 years old, which means that he was around 36 when his son was born.  He accepts multiple forms on insurance, and has a 5 star rating on “Healthgrades”

Michael’s mother, Beverly Ann (Branson) Rivas was born  03/02/1951 and is 66, which means she was 30 when Michael died.  She is listed as a Republican.

Their marriage was announced in the Sunday, November 9th 1975 edition of the Decatur, Illinois Herald.

BRANSON-RIVAS Beverly Ann Branson became the bride of Dr. Alejandro A. Rivas in a Saturday afternoon ceremony at Pilgrim Lutheran Church. A reception followed at Cresthaven Country Club. The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rick Calhoun Branson of 2480 W. Olive St. The groom is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Cesar Rivas of Rivas, Nicaragua. The new Mrs. Rivas is a graduate of MacArthur High School, Decatur School of Practical . Nursing and Parkland College. She is employed by St. Mary’s Hospital. Dr. Rivas is a graduate of National Institute Rosendo Lopez in Nicaragua and the University of Mexico Medical School in Mexico City. He is a resident (of) general surgery at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tenn. The couple will make their home at 704 Berry Rd. in Nashville.

Invisible war wounds – poem

My Dad had PTSD,
invisible war wounds
from a war
he never left home for
in fact, he had to
leave home
to leave the war.

He was a son of a veteran
who brought the war home
in his pockets,
in his perfectionism,
in his need for things to be
just so
and it never was,
because it never could be.

Gone were the days
of an innocent youth,
it never happened.
He was trained by an incompetent,
unwilling
drill sergeant,
masquerading as Dad.
He was living in an army
he never enlisted for,
was shanghaied
simply by virtue
of being born.

The wooden dolly

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Maybelle was a bad doll, but she couldn’t help it. The wood that she’d been carved from was terribly damaged. Only one person knew that, and he wasn’t telling. He couldn’t. He was dead. The act of creating her had been the last thing he did. He hadn’t planned it that way.

Drogon was the village doctor – medical and otherwise. If you were out of sorts, you went to Drogon. Before that you’d go to Drogon’s father, and after this you’d have to go to Drogon’s son, even though he was only seven. These kinds of doctors didn’t get trained in schools, or even by their parents. There was no apprenticeship. The moment the father breathed his last, his spirit and everything he’d learned traveled into the son. It had gone on so long that everybody in the village accepted it as normal, just like how flowers came out in the spring and leaves died in the fall. The village was many miles from any other so the residents had no way of knowing this was unusual. It was only in the past decade that they’d even learned they weren’t the only people in this country, or even on the planet.

They’d never ventured any further than a few feet from “the edge of the world” as they called it. Why would they? Everything they needed was here. Exploration comes from want and need. If you have everything you want or need, you don’t tend to go exploring. Art was created for the same reason – out of a sense of lack and loss. Folks who felt content weren’t artists. Artists were forever plagued to create even more art, because what they made never felt quite right to them.

Drogon was an artist as well as a doctor – never satisfied with his work. He was sure he could do better with his healing. This was unlikely, since he’d inherited 16 generations worth of healing knowledge when his father died. Everything his father had learned had passed on to him, as it had happened to himself when Drogon’s grandfather had died. It was an amazing process. One day you were yourself, the next you had all these voices in your head giving you unsolicited advice on what to do. It was a little like a family reunion, but only one person heard the jokes, and thankfully nobody brought the green bean casserole.

Not many years after their first visit from the outside (as everything other than the village was called), Drogon had a visitor from very far away. He was told that everyone there spoke a different language than him and thought differently, acted differently, dressed differently. He was told that they weren’t as clever as the villagers, because they couldn’t make up stories to entertain themselves in the evenings. He was shocked to learn that hundreds of people would even pay to sit and listen to a person entertain them, to tell them stories, even hearing stories through the air on something called television, rather than in person.  There must be a huge drought on stories there to have to go to that extreme.

This visitor wanted Drogon to make her a very special doll – one that could tell stories to her people. She’d had a successful career as a ventriloquist, but this would be different. This would be special. This would be so amazing that she could retire early, at the top of her game. She wouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of having to do ads for life insurance or hearing aids in her later years, as so many of her fellow performers did. She wouldn’t have to hawk (or hock) anything. She’d be set, if only he would make this new dummy with some of his magic. She told him nothing of her own wishes – only that he would be helping her people with their story-sickness.

Drogon had assured her that he had no such skill, no ability to make wood talk, but she was persistent, and he soon felt sorry for these people so far away who had to pay someone to do something they could do for themselves. He promised nothing, but said he would try. That night, he did something he’d never done before – he called a family conference.

Inside his head were all 16 generations of healers from his family. Normally they chimed in when there was a medical emergency that they needed to be consulted on. Never before had Drogon even attempted to rouse them. Normally they were just there when he needed them. But this was different. This was a sickness as sure as malaria, as certain as cholera. To be without stories was a sickness of the soul, a certain death. Sure, you could live without stories, but it would only be half-life, a sorry existence. He told his ancestors, all those healers before him, that they would be giving the greatest gift of healing they could ever give if they would do this one thing for him.

It took them eight days to agree to try, and another 10 to figure out how. Three more days and the performer from the faraway country, the one with the story sickness, was leaving. Drogon had to act soon on their suggestion. He wasn’t sure if it would work but he had to try. Early the next morning, before the sun had risen but after the birds have begun to sing, he went to the center of the village to the story tree. This was the tree where they all met every evening for stories and at least once a week for council. It was the center of the village. As far as anyone knew, it was the reason the village was there.

The tree at the center of the village was older than memory and bigger than dreams. A dozen grown men could stand around it with arms outstretched and embrace it in a circle. Its branches stretched out 40 feet all around and were thick enough to provide shade on the hottest of days and protection on the wettest ones too. Drogon looked at it, this member of the village he’d known the longest, and told it his tale. He asked it for its permission to do what must be done to cure the people he’d never seen, would never see. He told it that they would sing songs about it for years in the future, to honor its sacrifice of itself. There was no answer. He hadn’t expected one, but he had tried all the same. He’d tried because to not try would have meant the guilt of what he was about to do would be on him and his descendants forever.

The tree said nothing, so he assumed all was well. “In silence it went to the slaughter, a willing sacrifice, the cure for their disease.” The lines of a half-forgotten prophecy came to him then and he felt better. Surely it was about this time, and this event? He felt the odd tingle of power that always happened when a prophecy came true, when then became now.

With spirit ghosts from all of his ancestors helping, he had the tree chopped down in less than an hour, and quietly enough that none of the villagers awoke.

He had selected one log to use for the doll.  It was from the heart of the tree, and was a warm sepia, the color of dry autumn leaves, the color of coffee with a hint of cream, the color of the people it had loved for so long.  He had planned to carve it himself afterwards to complete the ritual, but first he had to call the spirit of the tree into it.

Right now it was like any other spirit after a trauma – floating around in the air, hovering close to its body.  Car accident victims were the same. The spirit gets pushed out before it has a chance to realize that the body is no longer a safe vehicle for it. Meanwhile, it hasn’t prepared itself for the journey it must now embark upon to return to the All-spirit.

Many souls think they have years before them to prepare for that mapless and solitary trip. Some are surprised, and they linger around the body longer than they ought. There was a danger to living humans in these places – the spirit might try to take over, to evict the living soul, or to try to double-up. This led to what the villagers called “possession”, and what Westerners called “mental illness”.  Some spirits stayed in the area of the accident for weeks afterwards, the body long buried elsewhere. This meant that it was possible to cross paths with a homeless spirit without even realizing it. Perhaps this was why some people in America had started putting up roadside memorials where there had been a car crash and death – to subtly warn others of the risk of contamination. Perhaps they knew this truth deep down, on a subconscious level.

Drogon meant to call the spirit into the wood but it was harder than he’d imagined. None of his ancestors had ever been through anything this immense, so they couldn’t offer anything useful in the way of advice or warning.  They were all winging it.  They knew it was in their best interest, as a group, to be as careful as possible.  This much energy in one place could possibly end all of them at once.

There was a reason that tree had been so big – it had held the hopes of the village for thousands of years. It had fed them with stories the same as a mother feeds her babies with milk from herself.  It had sheltered them as a mother hen shelters her chicks.  All of that spirit was too much to try to condense into one tiny log, but it tried.  Perhaps the tree wanted to help out those nameless people who were so far away. Perhaps it trusted the village doctor, who had just like his father and his father on back into the mists of time sat under its branches in the cool of the evening. He wouldn’t bring harm, no, not him.  So the tree sacrificed itself, went easily, almost willingly.  And yet it still was too much to distill down into one log meant for one little doll.  The energy poured in, but once the log was full (over-full, actually, in the same way you can cram more sugar into tea if you pour it in while it is hot), it spilled out, and up, and over Drogon, and in a flash of blue-violet light, embraced him, and erased him.

The sound that was created in that moment was like the sound of a waterfall, swollen by spring rains, or a thousand bees swarming to find a new nest.  It was sudden and sure and scary, like a lion before it charges upon a hyena foolish enough to prey upon his family.  It was then that the rest of the villagers awoke, to discover the body of Drogon next to the felled tree.  They ran to find Drogon’s son, knowing that he would now be able to explain what happened.

Drogon’s son, only seven years old but now the village doctor, took it upon himself to complete the doll.  It had to be done.  Otherwise, the death of the tree would have been in vain.  He also had to atone for the actions of his father, as well as the ancestors who had agreed to this disastrous plan.

Out of a sense of guilt, the lady from the faraway land offered the villagers ten times the amount of money for the doll than she had originally agreed to. They wanted nothing – no money, no school, no hospital.  Nothing could repay them for the loss of the tree.  To accept payment would be to cheapen its sacrifice.  They gave her the completed doll, hoping to never see it again.

The lady went on to become famous for her ventriloquist act, retiring early as she’d hoped. Her fans were amazed at how much better she had become. The skits were sharper, wittier, if a little edgy these days.  They marveled at how adept she had become at throwing her voice without apparently having her mouth open.

She kept the doll with her all the time to keep her secret.  She lived alone for the same reason.  When she had first returned from her trip, she was living in an apartment, but soon made enough to move to a large home, far away from people.  This was good, because otherwise they would hear the wooden dolly arguing with her owner.

It all came to an end one humid summer night when the home went up in flames, reducing both the lady and the doll to ashes.  Arson investigators scoured the ruined property shaking their heads.   They agreed that the fire looked like it was set on purpose by the doll, but since this made no sense, they quietly agreed to officially state that the performer had dropped a cigarette while smoking in bed.

Lost and found penguin

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Sara thought Petey was her brother, and nobody had the heart to tell her otherwise. They’d grown up together, after all. Sarah and her mom had found him hopping on the shoreline near their home in Athenree, New Zealand. Rockhoppers were all over the coast, but it was rare for one to venture into Shelly Bay.

They left him where he was, and her mom promised that they would check on him the very next day. The toddler wanted to take him home right then but her mom said they didn’t have anything for him to eat. Sara didn’t think that was a good enough reason because she knew the Four Square market was open right then. Mama had to admit she was worried he might be lost and looking for his family. She hadn’t wanted to say that, not knowing how Sara would take it. Would she feel for him, be sad that he was alone, and then insist on adopting him right away? This was not a situation she wanted to deal with on a Tuesday afternoon. She just wanted to go on a wander with her daughter and then come home to afternoon tea and a nap, preferably in that order.

Sara was concerned, but not overly so, and Mama again assured her they’d come back tomorrow and check on him. She hoped that he’d be gone and forgotten by then. Children have such short memories, and sometimes that was a blessing.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully. Mama had forgotten about the little lone penguin by the next afternoon. But he hadn’t forgotten about them. As soon as she opened the garage door to leave for their daily walk, he was standing there in the side yard. Sara shrieked with delight and started to run towards him. She hadn’t forgotten about him at all. Mama called to her to stay away but it was too late. She was already embracing him in a full-on hug as only a toddler can. It was a hug that was a bit like a tackle and a lot like a reunion after a wartime deployment. Fortunately the penguin seemed to be just as enthusiastic, flapping his stubby wings and chirruping in high-pitched squeals. You would have thought they were long-lost friends if they were of the same species.

Mama stood there in amazement, taking in the scene. Maybe he had followed them home? They lived not  far from the shoreline, and there weren’t any roads he (Mama assumed it was a he – how do you to tell?) would have had to cross. How long had he been there? Sara’s voice broke through her musings.

“Mama he’s here! Our Petey!” she exclaimed in delight, her face lighting up like the sun.

“Sara, sweetheart, we can’t keep him, he’s a wild animal. There are laws about this.” She wasn’t certain about this but it sounded very parental to say.

“And Petey? Is that his name?” – knowing that naming a pet meant it was harder to get rid of it. Name it and keep it. Anonymous animals came and went, but named ones stayed. How did she come up with Petey? They didn’t have any friends or relations named that. It wasn’t out of any picture book they’d gotten from the library for bedtime stories.

“He told me his name was Petey!” Sara beamed, and she hugged him all the more. He seemed a little overwhelmed and on the verge of being smothered by this point, but overall still quite happy to be found. Mama wondered if Sara could translate his squeaks and chitters. “How did he tell you, baby?” She used her most reasonable voice now. This wasn’t in her plans. Daniel would be upset when he came back from his business trip tomorrow to discover they had adopted a penguin. Or a penguin had adopted them. She wasn’t sure.

“He told me in my heart,” Sara said, and letting go of her newfound best friend with one hand, she placed it over her heart to show her mom. Sometimes she had to point things out to make sure she understood. Even toddlers know that parents can be a little dense sometimes.

Sara’s mom wasn’t sure how to take this. Was her daughter making things up again? Or was this a sign of mental illness? It was hard to separate the two sometimes. Was this why so many artists and writers went off the deep end?  This wasn’t going so well.  She was supposed to be the adult, after all, supposed to be in charge.  Toddlers weren’t supposed to run the show, although they often did.  Adults just thought they were in control.  Meanwhile, toddlers determined when and if they slept, and where and how they ate.  The fact that Sara was an only child amplified her power over her parents.

It was not long before Petey became a member of the family.  He lived outside, however, so he wasn’t a full member.  Mama thought it was safer all around to not bring him inside, and the weather was always mild there.  She was concerned that if they brought him in they’d have to notify the animal control department.  But if he lived outside, they could still consider him “wild” and he could come and go as he wished.  If they brought him in there might be shots and laws to be considered.  Plus, there was always the thought that it wasn’t fair to keep him in.  Daniel, once he got home and was consulted, remembered a roommate he’d had in college who’d kept a bird in a cage as a pet.  He’d always thought there was something cruel and vain about that, because birds aren’t meant to live inside like dogs or cats.  They are meant to be free.

Sara’s parents started to think of him as the second child, and while they never said that out loud to friends or coworkers, they were never so strange as to refer to him as their “featherbaby”.  He was an animal, a quasi-pet.  They loved him, but he wasn’t a child.

Except to Sara.  She remained the only child that Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton had, so she didn’t know any different.  To her, Petey was her younger brother.  It didn’t matter to her that he never learned how to speak English and never went to school.   She understood that he was a little different that the other kid’s siblings, and she was OK with that.  All of her childhood she looked forward to going home after school and getting to see her best friend, who still waddled about in the back yard, still pleased as punch to see her too.

Poem for a not-so-happy Mothers’ Day

If Mother’s Day is hard for you –
because your Mother has died,
because your Mother didn’t know how to love you,
because you always wanted to be a mother but couldn’t,
because you are a Mother and your children are dead, or cruel,
Then take today to rest and restore your soul,
to re-Mother yourself,
to show yourself that You are valuable.
Do something in honor of the Idea of Motherhood –
be creative, and kind, and selfless, and giving
to someone else
especially if they are hard to love.

grubs in the basement mix-up poem

Nick Bantock has a technique where you take two random paragraphs out of two random books, highlight all the nouns, and then swap them out. Sometimes you end up with something interesting. Sometimes you have to tweak it a little to make it make sense. This “found poem” is composed from “The Man in My Basement” by Walter Mosely and “The Shade of the Moon” by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Mrs. Evans, my day, she was real nice, Ruby said.
Bags knew we was going to be trash.
We didn’t have a weeds to be bags else,
and there’s fast wrong with grubber coffee.
But Mrs. Evans said beans should be
proud of the polenta we did.
She said everybody’s good at meal.
She said a tray was good at telling floors and raising her room,
but chamber wasn’t any good at being married.
Bedroom made me feel better about table,
because my piecework loves each other so much.
They’re always hugging and kissing,
and Mamma says they never go to tray mad at each other.
So maybe they’re table,
but they’re still better than Mrs. Evans at being married.
Aren’t you tired, Mr. Jon?
You could get into the window with me.

That was one of the hardest teachers I ever put in.
Twelve thirty-nine-gallons of plastic grubs and dead chance.
I only had two empty nothings left.
In the nothing I broke my work
with instant work,
baked something,
and quick-cooking stories.
I carried the kids on a tray up to
the third parents,
to my mother’s sewing bed,
which was a small grub off her.

Peg

The “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” concept only works so far.  How do you deal with the situation when they don’t return the favor?  I feel like I’m constantly giving out 20 dollar bills, and not getting anything back – not even a thank you.

I have often felt like a square peg in a round hole. How people treat me is often at odds with how I feel they should treat me. I asked God about this and God said that perhaps it’s me. Perhaps I need to change my expectations of the world.

God says “My ways are not your ways.”

Jesus asked his disciples to stay in the world but not to be of the world.

Jesus said to forgive people without count.

Jesus said that we should treat our enemies with kindness, and in so doing we will prove that we are children of God.

God says to me that I am supposed to stay the way I am and stay in the world as it is,

and feel that hurt

feel that pain

feel that dissonance.

…in part, so that I understand and can empathize with people who are excluded and left out. But also so that in holding my ground I can teach others how to act in a Godly way.  Sometimes we are to be teachers through our actions.

Many years ago,

I had asked God to be able to spread the messages he gave without attention to me. I want to be anonymous, and live my life without fame. This way I can go to the gym or the grocery store and live like a normal person. In the meantime God uses me as a conduit. I want to be a good steward of the gifts that he gives me.

 

So why am I upset when a message I share is taken up and adopted (stolen, in my mind) by someone who acts as if it is theirs? I don’t want fame or money, so it doesn’t make sense for me to be upset.

I brought this to God this week and got a lot of peace.  That feeling I had is the human part of me, rearing its ugly head.  It is important that I felt it, and brought it to God.  That is what God wants – to heal all of our brokenness.  But we have to take it to the Healer to be healed.

Here is what it means to be a child of God: It isn’t natural, but spiritual.  We are all created by God at birth but the true children of God, once they are spiritually awake, then choose to be further formed and shaped by God. They choose to align themselves with God and then let God work through them.  It is a two-way adoption.  God wants all of us to choose to follow God’s ways, but not all of us do.  It is our choice.

I need to give my immature feelings of jealousy (because these messages are not mine, but God’s) to God, so God can transform them into selflessness.   I need to do this in order to become a pure vessel for God’s Spirit in this world.

Sometimes for healing to take place, there has to be a reconciliation – a balancing of the accounts.

It is important to let other people know how you feel.  They can’t read your mind. It is like being a bill collector who issues the bill (with interest) ten years after it is due.  It is better to issue the bill early, to get it over with and have the accounts settled as soon as possible.

Jesus says that if we have an issue against someone, to not take our offering to the Temple, but to leave it and go make peace with that person first.

So today I wrote sent this message to a lady in a head covering group I belong to:

“Hello!  I thought it would be important to write you.  At least a year ago I mentioned something on the “Cover me happy” Facebook page about how it would be a good idea to focus on the idea of covering, instead of covering with a lot of fancy wraps.  I said that too many fancy wraps would make it difficult for the beginner, or someone who is poor and can’t afford a lot of scarves.  I also pointed out that modesty is an important part of covering, so calling attention to it with fancy wraps didn’t make sense.  Not long after I said that, you posted on the Wrapunzel page this very idea, saying that you’d read it in another group but wasn’t sure who said it.  Then it became a thing, where people were posting their single scarf wraps and tagging you.  I felt very hurt by this, since I am the one who suggested it.  I said nothing at the time, but now that something like this has happened to me in a different context, I think it is important to speak up and set things right.  I don’t want fame for the idea – it was just an idea.  I don’t want to be tagged when people post when they wear one scarf.  But I also don’t want my ideas claimed by someone else.  I think it is important to make things right, so that is why I am writing, to let you know how I feel.”

I have no idea how she will respond to it.  She probably doesn’t even remember.  Because of the message system on Facebook, she might never see it.  But I needed to write it.  It is important to balance the accounts.

Yesterday I wrote to the administrator of a group I’d been submitting newsletter offerings to, saying that she could not claim that she was writing the posts.  My first several posts were given the anonymous “from a member” credit.  I wasn’t sure about this – there was nothing saying that what we submitted would be anonymous.  But now it didn’t even say that, and at the bottom I noted that she’d said the contents were copyright (to her group – not to me).

Perhaps it was good for it to be anonymous – that way one member wouldn’t stick out.  I was also still wrestling with the idea that at least my messages were getting out.  I still don’t want fame or attention.  But I also don’t want my work to be claimed by another.

It is why I say that anyone can use anything I wrote for “The Condensed Gospel” for free, but they cannot claim that they wrote it, or charge money for it.  I don’t want money for it – but I also don’t want someone else to make money on it.  I now feel that credit is a sort of money in a way.

So now I’m holding my ground and speaking up. I’m telling people that they have hurt me as soon as I realize that they have, without “charging interest”.