An open letter to lawmakers

To those who govern and those who make legislation,

What purpose does it serve you to discriminate against those whom you are sworn to serve? Or to encourage and support those who would do so?

First of all, your oaths of office are to serve your states, counties, countries, cities … not select portions of it, but all of it. Seems to me, you’ve an obligation to all of them, minority or not, rich or poor, LGBTQIA+ or not, it doesn’t matter.

Then there’s the simple fun fact that you’re an elected official. Seems to me that running on a platform of hatred, oppression, discrimination, etc. may help in the short run, if you can stir up enough of one crowd and hope more of them can get to the polls (or somehow discourage the rest from making it to them) than those whom you’ve just campaigned to alienate. Once in office you have to hope your vitriolic efforts don’t push too far and alienate even those who once supported you.

Most importantly, it’s just self destructive. What good is it to legislate or govern a state that is destitute? What worthwhile businesses will a state, city, county, country, or what have you attract if that place is doing all it can to tell people they aren’t welcome here? Worse, what businesses will want to be beholden to the laws of a place that might be so two-faced as to claim to be welcoming but then is exclusionary in practice?

Businesses want the best and brightest. Most have learnt that this means accepting people for who they are so that they aren’t missing out on some brilliant individual who will help them to turn over that almighty profit. They won’t find their best and brightest in a place that drives them off, that discourages them moving there in the first place, and so on.

Alabama and other states fighting so hard to block marriage equality? You might want to stop and realise how foolish you look.

Georgia, Texas, and others trying to pass “right to discriminate” laws? Oh, you’ll attract some businesses with that, but not the kind you’re liable to be terribly proud of: places that’ll be in constant litigation over wage theft and other labour abuses looking for one less thing they can get sued for.

Uganda and other places trying to actually criminalise people being themselves? Newsflash, this isn’t the Dark Ages; we’ve broken the sound barrier and walked on the moon! Can’t we get over such archaic lunacy? Certainly not too many companies are liable to want to do business somewhere that is stuck in the 10th century.

It doesn’t just have to be sexuality or gender identity. How about women? The poor? True, if no one is treating a demographic well then you’ve nothing to worry about; but that’s not the case. When every Carolinian who can is headed to California, Vermont … or Americans headed for Switzerland, Norway …

Taxes! Your money. Where will it come from? You want people to want to stay, and to want to come. You want people to have jobs that pay them well. Conservative politicians may not have realised it, but the 19th century is over, and with it the viability of a system ruled and owned by a small elite over an enslaved majority. That can work in agrarian societies, feudalism or its analogues, but today that just won’t fly. What makes money isn’t pigs and corn, chickens and beets … it’s money, it’s commerce. Industry, even, in the end is commerce.

Commerce doesn’t work if people haven’t jobs. Jobs are worthless if there’s no money. Do you really think it wise to encourage unemployment by acting rashly?

Yes, you have constituents who believe a woman’s place is in the home and by an extension of “logic” that is more than a little meandering shouldn’t earn the same as men (and which has apparently, blissfully, started not to be argued … now it’s sticking to weird political slants), that marriage is defined thus, that [race] are God’s special ones … you’ve also constituents who believe their sofa talks to them. All of them have the right to believe that – in most democracies, anyhow, and it’s a good idea to push for it in places that don’t – but the rest of us have the right not to be subject to that by the same freedoms. I mean, barring ones where being non-Muslim is illegal, even Islamic states with the Quran enshrined in their constitution draw a line where non-Muslims aren’t subject to that holy book except where ideas overlap (e.g. No Stealin’!!). Just as you would not seriously pass legislation that sofas are citizens with rights et al you shouldn’t take seriously those who, no matter their numbers, would argue beliefs as law.

You want to legislate holy books? How about “judge not”? How about charity? How about hospitality? How about Man was made to be the stewards of this world? All of those come from the Christian Bible that so many who are fond of legislating intolerance seem inclined to cite … funny how the same ones legislate against social aid programs, environmental protections, equality, immigration … then again, those same voices do all they can to defund education; funny, the American South tried banning slaves being literate, even for a time before that tried to not let the slaves be Christian at all in order to keep them knowing about things like the book of Exodus. I suppose shouting the Old Testament to people who can’t make heads nor tails of the New Testament works, but to what purpose?

Have you a plan for what to do with these people? Certainly not hire them, even the good straight Christians are now illiterate & useless as employees beyond the most menial tasks. Not have them in your cities; you’ve done all you can to criminalise being broke and/or homeless … even if you regressed things to an Antebellum society, are you ready to live in an age of outhouses, woodstoves, gas lamps, and horsedrawn buggies? Today’s society was built by, for, and with a middle class enjoying freedom and economy for leisure … they sent their children to colleges, bought cars and computer, they watched movies, listened to radios …

No sirs, madams, and others … conservatives who want to maintain a status quo that no longer exists must, therefore, push for regression; and regression is always harmful. History teaches us this; the Dark Ages didn’t get their name from a candles shortage or some solar calamity. They were a regression from a time of high literacy, education that permitted the building and maintaining of such things as flushing toilets, hot & cold running water, widespread international (and intercontinental) trade, effective medicines and surgeries, and more. Put bluntly: for a few centuries, most of Europe had lost the fork.

Conservativism has a place. It’s good for society to have a voice that says “hold on, now, is this change good? Or is it just change for the sake of change?” Fiscal conservativism doubly so, except today’s fiscal conservatives less often ask “General/President/Congressman, just where in Hell do you expect to find the money for this idea?” and, instead, are more inclined to cut specific spending, but hand blank cheques over to other sorts … often much more expensive sorts.

It’s all related. Is it worth spending so much to defend state laws & amendments that should never have been taken seriously enough to have made it to a ballot in the first place? Defending it costs money. It’s bad press: businesses looking askance at your environment & thinking they can attract better talent elsewhere (whoops, there goes various tax & license funds). It’s that much less work for existing business (more marriages means more caterers and florists get work!). It’s that much more spent on welfare to take care of children waiting to be adopted. It’s lost spending by people who leave, never move to, or never want to visit.

It is said that evil carries the seed of its own downfall. What can be more evil than hatred, whether you choose to dress it in fancy clothes and call it discrimination or not, it is what it is. And denial of rights or denial that what is being withheld is a right is intolance, discrimination, in a word: hate.  Look at World War II Germany … perhaps, if the Nazis hadn’t been so eager to round up Jews, gays, and others it would have been they who had the first atom bombs; it was more than a few of their scientists who helped the US invent the thing, after all.

Simple point of note: history remembers Lincoln freeing the slaves, and that Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. No one knows the names of those who put the slaves in their chains, and in the Biblical story of Moses the oppressor was a villain and liberator a hero. Who is recalled more kindly? Dr Martin Luther King or Chancellor Adolf Hitler? Ghandi or Genghis Khan?

Your place in history was recorded the day people took to the polls. What role will you play in history’s narrative? Hero or villain? Saint or sinner? Healer or murderer? Bringer of peace or of war?

Maybe it’s time to look around and see that there’s a bigger world, a bigger picture, than your campaign podium and your biggest contributers, because shortsightedness could cost you personally, will almost certainly affect your children, is all but guaranteed to affect their children, and their children have no choice but to face the consequences of our actions today. Remember that Reconstruction, after the American Civil War, was a slew of rash decisions that came to a head almost exactly 100 years later.

Good day.
Ms Jaye Edgecliff

Happy New Year

Buddha in Sarnath Museum (Dhammajak Mutra) Loc...

Buddha in Sarnath Museum (Dhammajak Mutra) Location:Sarnath Museum, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, unless I’m doing bad math, I’m pretty sure it is now 2015 across the entire surface of the Earth.

I don’t know about where you’re from, but here there’s a tradition to make New Year’s Resolutions.  I don’t really know why, because it’s also pretty traditional to never actually meet any of these lofty goals.

Still I’m going to make a realistic approach to it:

1) I will get book 3 finished, get started on its editing, and hopefully make a go at book 4 before 2016
2) I will spend more time at the lake staring out over the water thinking about absolutely nothing whatsoever.
3) I will make headway on this 50lbs I really should lose if I want to be able to wear more of the styles of clothes I actually like.

There. That about does it.

While we’re at it, though, I think we ought to all look back at 2014 and the tragedies it held and make a resolution, as a species, to prevent such things from ever happening again.

Things like Leelah Alcorn’s suicide, the mess in Uganda, anything related to LGBT & Russia, various wars and invasions that took place (didn’t Russia invade Poland for some reason?  There’s the whole thing with ISIL, etc.), I could keep going but how about we just sum it up that maybe now that it’s the year we’re supposed to have Mr Fusion, flying DeLoreans, and self fitting clothing … maybe now would be a good time to get around to listening to the likes of Jesus, Buddha, and others who all said “Be excellent to each other”.

Thinking about penises, dolphins, and elephant trunks

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mind wanders, and to very odd places sometimes.  Maybe it’s because I’m an author; or perhaps it’s why I’m an author … I’m not even sure if there’s a difference.

This time it wandered to the notions of male power and phallic symbolism.

Certain people see phalluses everywhere they look and decide this is signs of male dominance.  If that’s the case, then perhaps it’s also a sign of God‘s gender, because the criterion I’ve encountered in scholarly attempts at these kinds of arguments really seem to amount to “anything even vaguely cylindrical is a phallus”.

Case in point:  A critique of the Little House books that I don’t recall terribly well, but it relied on the idea that Pa’s rifle was, in some way, symbolic of both his penis and his power.  Funnily enough, I strongly suspect that it was a symbol of nothing at all, and was a factual hollowed tube of metal which lobbed high velocity chunks of lead for the purposes of self-defence and obtaining of meats.

Really, by this same reasoning, dolphins are phallic symbols, elephants’ trunks are …

Thing is, some things just need to be cylinders or approximately so.  A streamlined shape for going through water?  Phallic.  A streamlined way to fill something up with high explosives so that it can reach escape velocity in a vertical orientation?  Phallic.  What other shape would you have them be?

I saw an image of a woman standing beside a taxi she’d made up to look like a vagina — it was interesting, but you must admit, not terribly aerodynamic.

True, yes, we are in a patriarchal society; true, yes, men do hold greater power than women (at least in Western culture, there are exceptions on some of the non-Western societies as I understand them); true, yes, symbolism can exist in certain things.  I just find it so amusing that so many feminists have penises on the mind to such extent that when they see a portabello  they see a man’s genitals.

This isn’t to say that, at times, penises are’t hiding places; either by design, mistake, or a bit of both.  Whether or not they’re symbolic of anything, I’m sure, varies.  Some fantasy book covers of a few decades ago?  Those towers and castles that look like towers and castles, nah; some of the more creative ones that … maybe at first glance might be modelled after mushrooms … look again, few mushrooms have a small slit at the point — that’s a penis.  A gun, no — a projectile weapon of that sort can’t help its shape; until we have particle beam weapons there’s no other pragmatic form, after that we can start maybe shaping them like trumpets since we may want to accelerate the particles or beams before ejecting them … still a ray-gun modelled after a pistol or rifle is just to keep it recognisable … the rayguns of more than a few 50s pulp SF mags and novels which had that odd little, shall we say ‘knob’ on the end?  Mmm-hmmm …

I honestly believe, especially in the case of the book covers, that a lot more of it is sophomoric silliness than any malicious anti-feminism.  I might be wrong, certainly wouldn’t be the first time; but such is life.  I just think that in the case of being taken seriously in a matter it is wise to think over the arguments in question.  That needless phallic symbols are places is undeniable, but are they malicious or childish?  The former is certainly a terrible thing, the latter is certainly foolish and rude, but hardly a statement against anyone’s rights.  It’s a reversable thing — making vaginal symbolism for malicious purposes makes you no better than the penis-mongers, making it to be sophomoric makes you no more clever, but it can also be used to make a positive and important statement — it all comes down to intent combined with reasonable interpretation.  But first you just have to relax and ask yourself: is this a cigar or a big brown dick, to paraphrase George Carlin.

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Maybe today is a good time to remember some things …

I can think of few religions that don’t highly value kindness, compassion, hospitality, and other words that boil down to:  be a decent person.

Oh, true, the ancient religions didn’t always preclude the ideas of raping and pillaging those you conquered, but they were generally supposed to be nice to each other, which is not a great start, but it’s a start.

Today is, ostensibly, the birthday of Jesus, a man who legend tells us was nailed to a cross for saying “Why don’t we try being nice to each other for a change?”  So what if scholars say he was probably born in the spring or summer, or that he was probably tried and convicted of political dissonance (fancy talk for trying to incite a riot on political grounds), and that there’s a curious lack of historical records that the Romans executed him?  Jesus may have lived or not, may have done all that’s said in the Bible or not, and He may or may not be a fictional character meant to prove a point.  Who cares, a good point is a good point (Matthew 22:36-40, KJV):

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a]38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

While I do hope we all got what we wished for, and I do hope we are all surrounded by those we love and about to enjoy a fine big meal, let us remember in our hearts and prayers that some are denied, still, their wish:  to love as they love and to be left to do it in peace; to marry and tell the world that they love, and are committed in heart and soul to one another; and those in places like Russia and Uganda who can denied life or freedom just for who they love.

Two wonderful posts from Rachel Held Evans blog:

If my son or daughter were gay…

Content Warning: intense depictions of bullying, suicide 

So someone shared this short film with me last week and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.

The creative premise is a world in which homosexuality is the norm and heterosexual people are bullied and marginalized. I’m not sure the film even needs such a premise to be effective, (in fact, it may distract from the main point a bit…and I hate to think there are people who need it to be reversed in order to empathize), for what really moved me was its depiction of bullying, which is based on real reports from LGBT kids.

(continued @ http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/son-daughter-gay)

And

Everyone’s a Biblical Literalist Until You Bring Up Gluttony

…Or divorce, or gossip, or slavery, or head coverings, or Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence, or the “abomination” of eating shellfish and the hell-worthy sin of calling other people idiots.

Then we need a little context.

Then we need a little grace.

Then we need a little room to disagree.

I got to thinking about this after I was criticized last week for my post about loving gay kids unconditionally. Some folks were very upset that I had the audacity write an entire blog post about putting a stop to LGBT bullying without including a Bible-based condemnation of LGBT people, or at least a theological discussion around the issue of homosexuality and Scripture.

Bible verses were quoted.  Open letters were written. End Times predictions were made.  Pillows in my home were thrown record distances.

(continued at http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/literalist-gluttony)

Whether you follow Christ or Buddha, Muhammad or Isis, Brahma or Ahura Mazda, Aine or Freya … even if you only believe in the power of the human spirit, don’t forget that every now and then we ought to remember to send our thoughts and our hopes for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.  The poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the persecuted … Sometimes, if we look around at what suffering others face, it might turn out that we’re better off than we believed.

A truer graphic hath never been seen

I so very much believe this.  I mean, why couldn’t a young lady wish to play with Transformers™, you a young man to play with Barbie™?

Why does the former have to mean she’s a “tom boy” or the little boy a … does anyone say ‘sissy’ anymore?

A toy is a toy.  If it makes the child happy, who cares what colour it is or what character it is?  Does it matter the child’s age or sex if they find joy in a dolly, or if they find a little pleasure in a Nerf™ gun?

Frankly the only time a toy ought to care about sex is, as the graphic says, when it’s for sex — some of those just don’t work for one set of parts or the other.

A momentary bout of the politicals

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who follow my twitter will have noticed that I shared a survey regarding Bernie Sanders‘ notion of running for the US presidency.  That survey, for those interested, can be found here:  http://bit.ly/18cujsk 

This is one point where I feel I must voice my opinion.

Senator Sanders represents certain ideals that this country is long overdue for.

He represents the notions of equality under the law:  I don’t care if you are gay or straight, cisgender or trans, man or woman or eunuch, black or white or green the right to live your own life should be fundamental.  I mean, come on America; England and several other European countries with a state religion have this equality yet with your first amendment protection of religion you don’t?!  Does anyone else see this as something that should have been positively embarrassing and immediately passed the day it happened in the Old World?!

He represents the idea that that health care should be available to all.  This one can probably be argued on the grounds of logic, but I’m too passionate on the subject so will posit a moral argument:  if this is the Christian nation that so many opponents of nationalised health care say it is, then this country should have had national health care from its inception.  Now, this isn’t a Christian nation; freedom of religion and the states shall establish no religion, et al ensures this.  That doesn ‘t mean, however, that moral arguments are invalid here.  Any faith I’ve ever encountered has provisions that say that we should care for our fellow man, therefore it ought to include that a man in need of medical attention should not need to check his pocketbook before deciding if he ought to seek medical attention; and health insurance is not health care of any sort, health insurance must be paid for whether used or not and there is still cost to the user even if it is reduced.

He represents the idea that, if the employers of this country do not wish to pay their employees sufficiently to live, then there ought to be laws to enforce that they do.  It’s a sad enough state of affairs that this is necessary.  Certainly not all peoples are so inconsiderate, there is no minimum wage law in Norway, yet they have one of the lowest disparities between the mailroom and the boardroom of any nation in the civilised world.  Minimum wage came to be in this country because employers would not pay people enough to buy a loaf of bread after a day’s work, the number of employers who fight against raising it or its very existence proves that they’d gladly go back to doing so; again, I don’t care what name you give to God, simple concern for your fellow man should say that this is important.  Again, I’m sure, for those who have no gods, there is a logical argument.  Ah!  Yes, this:  if people have money then they can buy your goods; if they don’t, they can’t!  Simple notions of profit ought to dictate that paying your employees sufficiently to have a home, utilities, and then something left over to buy your products with …

Put succinctly, I support people like Bernie simply because I believe wholeheartedly in every variation I’ve ever seen (some 100+ … I found a list once) of “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.  This means a lot to me.  I shan’t tell my neighbour the name and face of God, if she will give me the same courtesy (even if she doesn’t, I won’t, because I’m none too thrilled when she does it); I would want to know that, should I fall on hard times, I can still seek medicine and buy food, have a home, and other such things just as I want that for my neighbour if he falls on hard times; we all ought to wish one another the happiness found in being married to he/she/other we love.

I often look at my feelings and statements on this and will feel they are preachy and heavy-handed, but then I realise something:  the arguments against these ideas, every last one I’ve seen, are illogical, immoral, selfish, self-serving, short sighted, and often downright cruel.  Needless to say, given that, I do feel inclined to voice my opinions as loudly as I might in the hopes of swaying those people to a more chivalrous and noble point of view — a world of people who love, cherish, and care for one another, one that respects the humanity and lives of each other, is a world I’d far rather live in than the one we currently have.

Now & Forever ABCs (Sally)

Salencia Lily Constellino

12 June 1996
Theist

Sally was born in Toronto, but moved from there before she was four so barely remembers the place — though she still holds Canadian citizenship due to not being an adult and thus unable to apply for US citizenship and unable to inherit it from parents who have not, themselves, applied.  Through quirks of law in her parents’ birth countries she also holds citizenship, or at least a right to it, in France and Italy.  Sally is aware of these details and finds it funny — she belongs to three countries she has never lived in, but not the one in which she nearly always has.

Sally has always been mesmerised by horses.  Her favourite animals at the zoo were always the equines, and as early as two she would happily watch horse racing and equestrian competitions.  Oddly enough, however, she has never liked Westerns — despite their plethora of horses, many of which she will happily admit are gorgeous animals.

To Sally, home is and in many ways will always be Glade Falls.  She does have something of a love-hate relationship with the little community, but that is because the small rural town is a lovely example of conservative rural America.  The average person did nothing to directly insult or upset her, though they could be highly frustrating, as it was not unheard of for them to treat her with a certain caution in certain situations (showers at school, sleepovers, etc.) or in efforts to be ‘helpful’.  Some disgusted and angered her, not a majority, but Sally is too good with numbers and the realisation that twenty people in two hundred is a rather more significant figure than twenty in, even, a thousand.  The ones outright hostile or rude to her, though, were countered by those who were kind, supportive, and/or understanding.

She had never been, always, the most popular of people in the town.  Her sense of humour and tendency to speak her mind and damn the consequences put many a bit off.  Sally never means to insult anyone, she simply has no concept of reverence; to her God happens to other people, whether or not any deities exist (something she’s fairly certain is true as she can think of no alternate logical reason for the existence of the universe) she sees no reason why they should be treated any differently than other people — in fact she feels that, should God manifest before her, she is in full right to demand He be willing to answer for a good chunk of the last few thousand years of human history.

To compound her relationship with those around her, Sally’s rather broad-minded approach to the universe left her outed as a lesbian at nine years old in a small school populated, primarily, by Christian conservatives.  It had completely passed her by that ordinary people could take issue with someone being attracted to the same sex; she sincerely believed such people stood out and always made loud speeches while wearing buttons or t-shirts with really stupid slogans on them — and also had an impression they all spoke with bad southern accents or had shaved heads & dressed in camo.  She was friends, through Hrithrik and Theresa, with many different sorts of people — not to mention the members of her own family including someone who is transgender — from a gay couple to a polyamorist family of three men and five women, from Atheists to Zoroastrians.  She simply wasn’t prepared for the reaction her little note asking the little Miss Vivian Canadien, who sat beside Sally in Science class, if the two could be girlfriends would receive.

Sally was heartbroken by the reactions of her classmates, angered beyond words by the reactions of her school’s faculty, and stung deeply by the reactions of the parents of various of her friends (or, after this, in several cases former friends).  Until this point Sally had called herself Catholic under the logic that she attended a Catholic school, worshipped — if infrequently, and only when told she had to go — at a Catholic church, and was part of a primarily Catholic family … Sally’s relationship with God went from casual and indifferent to hostile, church and the Christian divine stopped being quite so amusing to her.

The friendships that held on remained strong, however, and the love and support from both her family and those friends that stuck by her helped her through; she even, eventually, made a few new friendships from the ashes of the old — people who saw how some treated her and offered their sympathies leading to a discovery of common interests.

The move to Washington was a devastating blow to Sally, though she remained philosophical enough about it to not become clinically depressed about the fact.  She didn’t want to leave her beloved mountains and horses, to leave behind cherished and deep friendships to try to forge new from a crowd of strangers in unfamiliar territory — the only time she’d ever been in Seattle had been a stopover at the airport while en route to visit a little village in Siberia.  Still she was not so naïve she couldn’t see that, even in a city like Memphis or Atlanta, the odds improved steeply that she might be better accepted (or at least tolerated) and might even meet some nice girls willing to date her.  She focused on the positives — getting to see her mother more often, more open minded populous, proximity to the ocean — trying to will herself to accept the move.

Now & Forever ABCs (Lauren)

Lauren Felicia Conners

9 January 1996
Lutheran (ELCA)

Lauren is a perfectionist.  She is always striving for excellence in anything she puts her hand to, be it her dancing, her studies, or setting the table.  Often this leaves her with an remarkable lack of confidence — she’s always worried she’ll mess up or fail.

She fell in love with dance at an early age.  By three she had shown such intense desire to dance that her parents had signed her up for lessons, because her wish to learn exceeded her family’s ability to teach her given that none of them knew more than ballroom dancing.  It became her life.  She has studied ballet from that first day — her love of dance having been born upon seeing a ballet, she’d begged to learn ‘the pretty dance’.  From there, however, she branched out and has taken further lessons in ballroom and latin dancing.  She has taken belly dance lessons, and is a long time student of a local modern and jazz dance instructor.  And, of course, ballet — always, she studies ballet.

Eventually she moved from her old ballet school to Mademoiselle Jeanette‘s as it offered a chance to gain greater experience on stage as well as a far more advanced study of technique.  In addition to dancing, Lauren has some interest in general performance so often tries out for school plays and takes drama electives when she gets the chance.

Lauren’s next great love is church.  She has grown up in a very religious family, and has a strong sense of the importance of God and faith.  Between that and having received all of her schooling from Catholic schools she took a strong interest in theology, especially Christian theology.  She has read every English translation of the Bible she could, and thoroughly, as well as making a devoted study of the history of the Abrahamic faiths and the Hebrew people.  She tries to understand her religion and its origins.  This has lead her to frequently excel in her Religious Studies lessons, such her school eventually ran out of options but to skip her ahead in subject, first placing her in Freshman theology in eighth grade, then in Junior’s level in her ninth grade year.  Even placing her in AP level courses has done little to assuage her boredom in these classes.

Her perfectionist and pious nature expresses itself in her relationships with others.  When she dates, she approaches it with the assumption that this person could be who she spends the rest of her life with — she doesn’t date to date or for social status, but to find the one person God has meant for her to be with.  When she makes friends she loves those friends and values those friendships deeply — even a casual friend, or even simply a friendly acquaintance is someone who Lauren cares deeply for and about.  Her capacity for forgiveness and caring even extends to those who are anything but friends — she’s human, she still manages to have angry thoughts and to see horrible things happen to those who upset her, but she simultaneously feels rather guilty about those thoughts and quickly tries to forgive them as much as she can.

This, plus her encyclopaedic knowledge of the Bible have led many to, depending how much they like her, affectionately or derisively refer to her as Saint Lauren and similar.  She’s seen as too sweet to be real, too good, and other things.  Those who know her well know this isn’t true — that she can be catty or mean when provoked, the she can hold the occasional grudge, that she does not always follow the rules, and that — despite being a virgin — she possibly knows as much or more than some who aren’t — she will investigate any curiosity she has in books and internet, including sexuality.

The one naïvety she ever expresses is in the form of aspects of pop culture.  While Lauren’s family has a television, it is used expressly for watching DVDs, Apple TV, and Blu-Rays; they have no cable nor antenna.  She does listen to the radio, both internet and airwaves (primarily satellite, but sometimes FM) and has an impressive collection of music, both physical and iTunes, and she enjoys movies from every era starting with the original silent silver screen flicks to the newest special effects blockbusters.  Still, the latest hit shows, latest popular talk show trivialities, and other goings on in the daily lives of the little people in the magic box are lost on her.  She’s watched the telly before, and it bored her.

Her friends call her a humble Hermione Granger (simply Hermione for short), and Linus — as in the Peanuts character who has such a habit of quoting Bible verse — but thanks to Salencia they’ve taken to simply calling her Pixie; a nickname she’s far more fond and proud of.  It’s also rather apt.  She has forever been a tiny girl, not always shortest in her class, but close to, very much lithe and petite — many of her clothes can still be bought in the children’s section of the department store, what of it she doesn’t make for herself, and combined with a complexion that is all freckles with copper red hair, she agrees with Sally:  the name fits.

Now & Forever ABCs (Bertrice)

Bertrice Skye Klasson

22 February 1996
Roman Catholic

Bertrice, better known simply by B, is one of Immaculate Conception’s more notorious gossips.  She enjoys having the choicest news first and being the one to tell the dirty little secrets of the school to those who’ll hold still long enough to hear.

She’s a very tiny girl, smaller than Lauren even, and without the musculature with incredibly pale skin due to her insistence on constantly protecting herself from UV rays to somewhat ridiculous extremes.

She’s musically somewhat skilled and fairly talented.  She plays piano very well and is in the school’s Jazz Ensemble class, and is in her church’s choir.  Though her dream is to marry an insanely rich man, or to design Haute couture fashions.

Bertrice’s mother was a huge fan of Bertrice Small‘s novels and named her for the author and her favourite book, Skye O’Malley her parents had actually bet each other over the sex of their child when learning Tasha was pregnant, the prize being naming rights.  Bertrice has actually been known to begrudge her sex because of this, firmly believing she’d rather be named Felix Aragorn.