Thursday, October 27, 2005

What do Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth How, and Sarah Wilds have in common?

Give up?

They were hanged as witches in Salem on July 19th, 1692.

Now, let's look at just one of those names.

I give you Sarah Wilds. She was, by some accounts, a somewhat wild young woman. She'd been arrested twice for lewd behavior in the past.

One of those arrests was for wearing a bright scarf.

The Salem arrest warrant for Sarah (and others included in the same warrant) reads:
Salem Aprill the 21'th 1692

There Being Complaint this day made (before us) by Thomas putnam and John Buxton of Salem Village Yeomen, in behalfe of their Majest's for them selfes and also for severall of theire Neighbours, Against Wm Hobbs husbandman and Delive' his wife, Nehemiah Abot Jun'r weaver. Mary Easty the wife of Isaac Easty and Sarah. Wilds the wife of John Wilds all of the Towne of Topsfield. or Ipswitch and Edward Bushop husbandman & Sarah his wife of Salem Village, And Mary Black a negro of Leut Nath Putnams of Salem Village also And Mary English the wife of philip English Merchant in Salem for high Suspition of Sundry acts of Witchcraft done or Committed by them Lately upon the Bodys of Anna putnam & Marcy Lewis belonging to the famyly of the aboves'd Thomas putnam Complain't and Mary Walcot the daugter of Capt Jonat' Walcot of s'd Salem Village and others, whereby great hurt and dammage hath benne donne to the bodys of said persons above named therefore Craved Justice

High suspicion of sundry acts of witchraft.

That's terrifying stuff, if you live somewhere that is very dark indeed, when the sun sets. The devil might walk just out there, in the forest, just beyond the palisade that protects the village from wild animals and . . . other dangers.

The trial is shockingly brief. It consists of a flurry of exchanges that I'm tempted to paraphrase, just because it would sound so terribly ridiculous.
Here's the transcript:

Hath this woman hurt you?

Oh she is upon the beam.

Goody Bibber that never saw her before sayd she saw her now upon the beam, & then said Bibber fell into a fit

What say you to this are you guilty or not?

I am not guilty Sir.

Is this the woman? speaking to the afflict[ed]

Thay all, or most, said yes, & then fell into fits.

What do you say, are you guil[ty]

I thank God I am free.

Here is a clear evidence that [you have] been not only a Tormenter [but that] you have caused one to sig[ne the] book, the night before last [What] you say to this?

[I n]ever saw the book in my life [and I never] [saw these per]sons before

[Some of th]e afflicted fell into fits

- 807-

[Do] you deny this thing that is [torn]

All fell into fits, & con[firmed] that the accused hurt th[em]

Did you never consent that [these should] be hurt?

Never in my life.

She was charged by some [with] hurting John Herricks mo[ther]

The accused denyed it.

Capt How gave in a relation [and] confirmation of the charge before made.

She was ordered to be taken away, & they all cryed out she was upon the Beam, & fell into fits.

She was condemned, of course. Then she hung. Sarah, John's wife, with a daughter of her own. Sarah, who once wore a brightly-colored scarf. I wonder if she loved that scarf, loved the color of it.

I hope so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Coyote Wild tagged a handful of folks with the following meme, so here goes.

1. Take first five novels from your bookshelf.
2. Book 1 -- first sentence
3. Book 2 -- last sentence on page 50
4. Book 3 -- second sentence on page 100
5. Book 4 -- next to the last sentence on page 150
6. Book 5 -- final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.
8. Feel free to "cheat" to make it a better paragraph.
9. Name your sources
10.Post to your blog.

Here's mine:

Nothing moved but the wind and only a few, last, lingering drops of rain, only a blowing of water off the ruined wall. Was it enough just to survive? They discussed the mystery while perambulating the sunken mounds of the settlement. Jonesy's wide gaze did not falter, but Horn saw that the skin around his eyes was drawn tight with tension. Then they walked down the steps and across the lawn side by side, Jonesy limping, Horn with the sleeping child in his arms, and for that moment the only darkness was their shadows trailing behind them on the grass.

The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour
The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company by Brian Hall
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

Why, no. I don't alphabetize, unless I'm procrastinating terribly...

Coyote also tagged Jason, at The Clarity of Night--he churned out a really creepy paragraph;
and Kira, at Loving Twilight--who posted a rather surreal paragraph. Kira then tagged Tish at love and sex and hope and dreams, Michelle at Random Thoughts, Chris at Skittermagoo, and Dawno at NVNC ID VIDES, NVNC NE VIDES.
Jason tagged Anne Frasier, Static (it's only fair)
Kara Alison, Mountaintop Architecture
Chemical Billy, Chemical Billy
Anne, Something Under the Bed is Drooling

Tag to ALL of you regulars, but especially Jill at Writes Like She Talks; Mark Pettus at The Bluff; .:J.r.A.:., at The Thought That Almost Was ; Joanne, at Writing After Dark; Jen, at Creatif; and Ms M, at PhDBlogIt (err--you did take novels with you, didn't you?)

*Grin* If you don't have your own blog, feel free to post it in the comments here. Post a link here, if you do have a blog, and choose to accept the assignment.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Children Left Behind

An opinion piece in today's New York Times states:

The Bush administration responded characteristically this week when it put a positive gloss on national math and reading scores that were actually dismal - and bad news for the school reform effort. Faced with charges that his signature reform, the No Child Left Behind Act, was failing, the president played up the minor positive results. He should have seized the moment to acknowledge the bad news and explain what it would take to make things right.

He should also, of course, have reminded the nation that as long as it fails to take school reform seriously, American children will fall further and further behind their peers abroad.

Public Education just isn't one of those sexy issues. You know the issues I mean--the ones it's so much fun to get all worked up over and scream at each other: war, scandal, indictments, criminal neglect after hurricanes, and all manner of corruption and dirty deals.

In fact, instead of addressing our kids' crappy science scores, we're debating teaching the Intelligent Design speculation* in our science classes. Because what the heck? It's not like we're actually teaching science very successfully anyway, right?

"A 2004 study by the National Science Foundation found that the United States ranks 17th in the proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds earning science and engineering degrees, down from third place in 1975." (Houston Chronicle)

Ironically, Congress cut the National Science Foundation's budget in 2004.

Figures, huh? This is the same party that wants to yell about family values and prioritizing, yadda yadda yadda.

We better get our heads out of our asses pretty soon and start educating our children, though.

I was talking with friends who have a toddler. They've started the application process to get her into a good private school. Apparently, there's quite a waiting list. Also, it's quite expensive. It made me wonder what the heck happens to kids with parents who just can't afford to do that? They go to public school, of course. They get an education that might--if they're lucky, bright, and motivated--equip them to fill out W*l-M*rt applications.

For the record, I don't blame teachers for this situation. I think the whole system is broken. I think far too much of the money we spend on education gets syphoned off into administrative bureaucracy, and far too little gets spent on things like books, computers, and lab equipment.

Also for the record, I could care less whether people believe in a supreme being who designed the life with deliberate intent. I do think that supreme being might have put a bit more effort into designing more efficient backs for bipedal primates who walk upright. . .

Which only further reinforces that ugly gap between haves and have-nots, doesn't it? Right now, we're building what America will be for the next generation. Why, for heaven's sake, can't we just once show a little forethought?

*I refuse to refer to ID as a "theory" because, in fact, it is NOT a theory in the same sense and definition of the word as the theory of evolution. No amount of referring to it as such can make it so. The media has been treating the word as if it means the same thing when applied to either evolution or ID--which is either ignorant or intellectually dishonest, but certainly inaccurate and misleading.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Orphan books: a shameless promotional pitch for someone else's writing

Here's a post from the Zack Company blog that's pretty educational for the writers out there.

Sometimes it happens that a book gets sold to a publisher, but then the editor leaves. That editor is the person who sold everyone else in the house on publishing that book. He or she is the champion and voice of that book. So when the editor leaves before the book goes into print, it can be devastating.

The Dead of Winter apparently lost both its editor and its publisher, and pretty much everyone else who was originally involved with the decision to publish the book. (Except, apparently, its dedicated agent.)

"...More than half a century after the last shots of World War II were fired, a team of forensic scientists and relic hunters enlisted the aid of several veterans of the Bulge for one last mission: to return to the battle site and recover the lost remains of their brothers-in-arms, to ensure they would be buried with all the honors they deserve. Written by a member of the expedition, this is a story of loyalty and the bonds of war, a compelling scientific mystery, and a long-awaited homecoming for families who waited decades for the return of their loved ones." (from the Amazon editorial review.)

I love WWII history stuff.
It also looks like a damned good book.
Andy Zack has been a seriously stand-up guy in terms of helping writers for free whenever and wherever he can. He blogs, and he answers questions on the Ask The Agent forum on AW. He doesn't ask for much in return.

Mostly, though, good books deserve to be read.

Here's an interesting thing...

So while cruising the blogosphere in avoidance of real work, I came upon this Ginmar post, linked at Philobiblon via Carnival of Feminists. Go read, or at least skim. I'll wait.

Ginmar quotes one of her posters as saying:
What you and other commenters have said about anger got me thinking. I'm not afraid to express my anger when provoked, but one thing I've noticed is that people often laugh.
Actually, I say people, but the faces that come to mind all belong to men. See, I go clubbing a lot because I enjoy dancing to loud music. What usually happens is that some idiot thinks that because my clothes are tight he can grab my ass. I turn and get angry. Invariably, these guys laugh at me and are all "what's the big deal?"
One particularly bad night I had been groped maybe ten times in under three hours. I was standing outside a club waiting to get in, feeling really on edge. Someone standing behind me grabs my ass. I whirl and almost punch the guy in the face before I realise I know him; he's a friend of a friend. I glare at him and say "that was not cool." He grins. I repeat, vehemently, "that was not cool." He says "aw, c'mon, I was just joking around!"

Now, I don't know if you read the comments following, or not, but what struck me most was that nearly every poster had a story about being touched, grabbed, groped, or otherwise man-handled--and laughed at when she objected. Both the offending groper and other men in the crowd laughed or otherwise dismissed her objections.

What really freaks me out is when other women participate in this bizarre and alarming attitude.
I remember one night an acquaintance's husband (who was a complete creep) grabbed my ass when we were all out at a bar together. I whirled around, planted the heel of my hand in his chest, and shoved hard. Then I told him off in no uncertain terms, and in pretty graphic language. I was furious.

He was indignant and offended. His wife was perplexed. She laughed and told me I was overreacting. Explained that, since I was a lesbian, I apparently just didn't understand that I should be pleased and flattered by the attention.

Yeah. She really said that.

Gag, retch, blech, ptoooie, ICK.

Now. At the time, I thought this was mostly about gender-preference. I was very young--mid-twenties--and self-absorbed. Largely, though, I interpreted both his and her actions as sexual aggression in response to my open lesbianism. The bigger picture was a lost on me. I did realize that I really didn't want to know anything more about the dynamics of their marriage. Whatever freaking kink they shared that made it okay for them to participate in molesting unwitting acquaintances in social situations was just too icky to contemplate.

Now I'm wondering, though--is this attitude something women do to other women on a regular basis? Is this something straight women do to lesbians, to keep us in line? Some of both? Because women participating in the subjection of other women happens a lot.

What's the social motivation for that? It cannot possibly be pleasant for a woman to go to a bar with her husband, for chrissakes, and defend his entitlement to grope other women.

In a sane world, she would have been as pissed at him as I was.

No. Scratch that. In a sane world, it would have never occured to the guy that it was in any way appropriate, acceptable, or otherwise okay to grab a woman's ass in public.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I'm too sleepy to write anything political, or to think very hard about things controversial.

Instead, I'll share a realization I had the other day. Perhaps it's indicative of getting older, I don't know.

When I think back over romantic attachments in my past, the people I remember most fondly are seldom the ones I actually went to bed with. Rather, the almosts hold my memory: The single kisses, that for one reason or another never went any further; the flirtations, with the too-long eye-contact that never quite turned into anything. The potential interrupted. It's just irresistable.

I'm not sure what that says about me. Commitment-phobe, my ex would probably say. Heh.

How 'bout y'all?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The trouble with thought crimes...

I remember when the first hate-crimes laws were proposed. I had a queasy feeling about it, even though I'm a member of one of the groups of people thought to benefit from such laws.
Now, as you can imagine, mine isn't a popular view with my gay and lesbian peers.

It seemed to me that attaching stiffer penalties to crimes based on motivation of the perpetrator created an uncomfortable dynamic, whereby we defined and assigned value to individuals based on their "otherness". My sister was bartending at the time--and it seemed horribly wrong that should she be assaulted and murdered in an alley some night upon leaving work, it could be prosecuted differently than if I were assaulted and murdered in the same alley, upon leaving a gay bar. It also seemed both rash and wrong to make the motive--the thought--part of the crime itself.

Hate crime legislation doesn't seem to have made much of a dent, at least not here from the front lines. We're trapped in a painful tension of valuing ourselves based on diversity--embracing our "otherness"--and being separated from the greater part of our own culture and society by that same difference. I deeply fear that every time we create some official means of separation, we only deepen that dichotomy.

It's still a pretty regular occurrence to hear of someone getting beat up coming out of the wrong bar. There's apparently been a new rash of cross-burnings in the midwest, lately, too.
Recently, someone vandalized a local African American couple's house, here in the Seattle suburbs. They spray-painted racial slurs, swastikas, and obscenities all over the exterior.
It turned out to be a couple of local teenagers. They confessed. You've got to wonder just where they learn this stuff, don't you. The local news team interviewed people. The neighbors all professed their shock and dismay. I'm sure most of them were sincere.

Unfortunately, there seem to be some unforseen consequences stemming from an attempt to prosecute ideology. In the hysteria following the 9-11 attack, we passed a bunch of terrorism and Homeland Security legislation--a natural progression of trying to sort crime by the thoughts and motives behind it. Now we've come to a place where nine United States Senators and the White House all think it's just fine to torture people--as long as we think they're terrorists. It's just fine to hold even American Citizens indefinitely and without charge--as long as we think they're terrorists.

We've long made distinctions that benefit someone who commits a crime, with mitigating circumstances, self-defense, and other grounds for leniency. Is that really intrinsically different than finding grounds for even stiffer penalties? I actually think it is. Recent emphasis and movements for victim's rights aside, I applaud compassion built into our laws for both the perpetrator and the victims, whenever possible. I remain distinctly uncomfortable by attempting to impose greater penalties by peering into the motives of the defendant.

Hobbit Bones

Wee little bones from wee little people, found in Indonesia. Perhaps there was a hobbit massacre, involving orcs and balrogs and evil wizards.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I had a lovely post all planned

Don't worry. I saved it. It can go up some other day.

Today, though, I wanted to direct your attention to Writes Like She Talks. Jill has been taking us through modern traditional observance of Yom Kippur, and writes about a version of a confessional prayer recently sent to her. She's posted this sensitive, incisive, and eloquent "Al Cheit"--called "If Dubya were a Jew, he'd be in trouble on Thursday."

See you there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"Not that I'm a feminist, or anything..."

I hear a lot of women--especially youngish women--preface some fairly innocuous statement with the semi-apologetic disclaimer, "Not that I'm a feminist, or anything, but..."

I wonder how on earth that happened? How did it come about that women are embarrassed to be identified with an ideological movement committed to promoting women's equality?

A couple of days ago, I had a brief property line skirmish with a new neighbor. The guy has spent I don't even know how many hours with a hundred-foot measuring tape and a ball of twine and a handful of stakes, figuring out the edges of the lot he just bought. His lot sits right against the back of our lot.

The guy measures out his property line again a couple of weeks ago, about the same time I start constructing a dog run behind the house. We visit amiably about where he thinks his property line runs, and I set the fenceline on my side, by several inches. I set the posts in concrete because that's just the right way to set posts. He watches me do this.

A couple of days ago, the guy comes back with his measuring tape and other paraphanalia. Remeasures everything. Decides his line is actually not where he originally marked it. Decides my posts are actually on his property. Tells me so.

The really curious part of all this, though, is that it was so important to Mr. Wonderful that he could perceive himself as being in-the-right, to be justified in his anger, that he actually accused me of going back after he was gone and moving all those posts--posts he'd watched me set in concrete. The total difference? Less than six inches.

Now, I'm an extraordinarily competent woman. I'm not, however, an idiot. Nor am I an amazon. I'm pretty sure I would need a tractor to pull those posts out of the ground.

At this point in the conversation, I made a strategic error. I laughed at him. Then I might have, sort of, maybe accidentally, presented a logical false dilemma suggesting he was either a lunatic, or just not the brightest crayon in the box. I briefly considered asking him if this meant I was off the hook and he was going to finish building the fence--but was stopped by the purplish hue of his face and the veins bulging from his temples.

He demanded I move the posts the four or five inches, to comply with his newly-measured property line. I responded that he was welcome to solve the problem either by calling an actual surveyor, and presenting me with a legal property boundary--or he was welcome to pull the damn posts himself--I'd be happy to compromise and reset them, should he choose either option.

Actually, I may not have been quite that polite about it.

He opted to pull the posts himself. It was frankly a bit alarming. He started flinging himself against the posts to loosen them. The guy was literally running at these big posts, slamming his body into them, grunting and all but foaming at the mouth. I didn't stick around to watch him heave them out of the ground with fifty pounds of concrete clinging to each base.

My housemate managed to smooth it over, at least a bit. Much later.

She informed me that I could have handled the situation in a more calming manner. That seemed completely ridiculous, to me. Maybe that guy's poor wife has to calm his almighty temper, but frankly, I could friggin' care less if he strokes himself out having a tantrum like a two-year-old. She told me, "That's just how men are. You're not straight, so you've never really had to deal with it. But that's pretty much just how men are. Women learn to deal with it."

First of all, I honestly do not believe that's how all men are. Then I started thinking about a comment I would have sworn Kira left--but now I can't find it--to the effect that women engage in calming and affirming behavior towards inferior men, as a sort of culturally programmed response, to keep the peace.

The problem is, when bad behavior is rewarded with that kind of attention, it only reinforces the bad behavior. Why the hell would women want to participate in that crap? That brings us around full-circle, to the beginning thought: why do so many women reject a feminist identification?

Perhaps someone can explain this to me...

From now and ever after...

They will be called The Nazgul:

1. Wayne Allard, Colorado
2. Kit Bond, Missouri
3. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma
4. Thad Cochran, Mississippi
5. John Cornyn, Texas
6. James Inhofe, Oklahoma
7. Pat Roberts, Kansas
8. Jeff Sessions, Alabama
9. Ted Stevens, Alaska

These nine senators (all Republicans) voted against the McCain ammendment banning torture of prisoners.

"...they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgul were they, the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death."
From The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"

PNH has declared this a new meme. Feel free to pick it up and pass it along.

(via Makinglight, via Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings, via Procrastination.)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Just for JM

  • Come on out to Seattle any old time, Jean Marie. I know how you feel--there's nothing like horses.
  • Housekeeping

    Okay--in the previous comments thread, I promised a post when I'd recovered from spending the last three days piloting a truck and horse trailer across the Pacific Northwest. In the rain. (I went to eastern Oregon to fetch a friend's pregnant broodmare...but that's a whole other story.)

    I've fed the dog, consoled the cat, put the horses to bed, poured myself three fingers of top-shelf bourbon over ice, and checked my email.

    You can imagine my consternation to return from three days out of town to discover the inestimable and effervescent Miss Snark posted a link here while I was gone. Even if it was to...errrr...gently chide me for not posting my email within plain sight, at the same time she said kind things about the blog. My email is available in my blogger profile--should anyone else be wondering.

    I couldn't help but notice another Mac commented on the Joke post--causing a bit of confusion. At least, it caused some confusion for me. I had a weird moment during which I had to consider seriously whether or not it might be possible that I'd posted something quite intelligent, but utterly not in my own voice. That possibility brought up all kinds of unpleasant and self-reflexive questions about multiple personalities, checkbook balances, future therapy bills, and just how much time it's okay to be missing. Then I clicked on the link in the user name, and it took me to some complete other "Mac". At least, I'm pretty sure.

    For my beloved regulars--that actually wasn't me. Welcome, other Mac--nice to see you here. Welcome to Fran and the others who found their way here from Miss Snark, as well. Pull up an opinion and stay for a while.

    I was surprised to see that the joke issue seemed to hit a chord with many of you--and pleased, too. Jokes are strange things. I loved the splendid deconstruction that Lisa did. I was thinking I'd need to pester Ms. M to talk about jokes and cultural status issues, too.

    Don't go all paranoid on me, folks. It's interesting that the funniest jokes often have a bit of an edge to them. Which, I imagine, makes them intrinsically unfunny for the object, at least in some cases--the lesbian joke that I started the post with, for example. That joke has always seemed even funnier to me than to any of the straight folks I know--who "get it" but don't internalize it the same way.

    Of course, that might just say something unflattering about my sense of humor, too.

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    A joke.

    Q: How many politically-correct lesbians does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: (delivered deadpan) That's not funny. You think that's funny? That's not funny.

    So I did that thing--that obnoxious thing so eloquently captured in the joke above. I stepped on a guy's joke. The joke had to do with the ideal woman--about three feet tall, with removable teeth and no vocal cords, so the joke goes. The guy made the joke on a public forum, in a sort of joking, just-for-fun thread. He wasn't off-topic or anything.

    I just thought it was breathtakingly offensive and misogynistic. So I said so. Talk about a conversation-stopper. Finally, another woman piped up, said something to ease the awkward silence, and the conversation resumed.

    I started thinking about whether or not I'd have done/said the same thing in a real-life social setting. Yup. I'm pretty sure I would.

    I don't think I'm a typically humorless person. Heh. However, I do think there are situations where something might by hysterically funny--but in other situations, desperately innappropriate and offensive.

    I also think misogyny continues to be a very real and serious problem in our culture. I came quite late to feminism, and by a rather sideways and circuitous route--and I'm not accustomed to thinking of myself as one of those chicks with no sense of humor...

    You know what, though? It wasn't fucking funny.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005


    You know what? The spam is getting out of control. If I actually was a person who slept more, I'd never be able to keep up with the onslaught.

    Here's the thing. I really loathe those little verification boxes, where you have to type in the jumble of distorted letters, to prove you're a real poster. I hate those. I find them insanely difficult, all out of proportion to how difficult I imagine I should find them, for one thing...

    So for those of you who have added the verification to your comments, do you find it helps? Is it really worth it?

    Because those little boxes are a serious check on my impulse to comment on other people's blogs, I gotta admit. I'll type a long comment, then I encounter the dreaded verification box, and it's about 50-50 whether I take a stab at deciphering the letters I'm supposed to type, or just say, "Aw, hell. Forget it" and delete the comment and go read something else.

    Miers' nomination

    So we don't know anything about her, really.

    The NY Times reports that she did make a conversion to evangelical Christianity, simultaneous with her move towards the Republican party.

    "Just a closer walk with thee..."

    I know more than a little bit about evangelical Christians and Republicans, both, having been raised among them.

    The shape of the US Supreme Court is going to be very different, for the next generation or so.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    "You remind me of the man...(what man?)"

    "In hoodoo practice, after one completes a "job of work" or magical ritual, the most neutral way to dispose of remnants such as left-over candle wax, incense ashes, footprint-dirt, or ritual bath water is to carry everything to the crossroads, throw it into the intersection, turn and walk home without looking back. (Alternative methods for the disposal of ritual items include throwing them into running water for get away or moving spells, taking them to a graveyard for hard-core enemy work, or burying them in one's yard for drawing influences toward one.) "
    --from this site

    "The man with the power...(what power?)"

    Can't you just see the crossroads? Robert Johnson's crossroads, where he sold his soul to the devil, the story goes, in return for genius. Oh, what we would trade for our heart's desire.

    It's a metaphor, of course.

    At least, in the clean light of day, I'm pretty sure it's a metaphor. We make those trades every day, right? Stealing time and energy from families and jobs, to put towards the monster we're building in our basement, or that manuscript we're assembling, or that degree that's supposed to take us somewhere, or...Well...You get the idea.

    "The power of hoodoo...(Hoodoo?)
    You do..."

    It seems so simple and clean, in comparison, just to take your guitar down to the crossroads at midnight and wait for that big black guy to show up and offer to tune it for you.

    It's a way of thinking, too, though--what do you want badly enough that you'd trade everything else you have, just for that one thing? Sacrifice everything? I think there are things we think we want that badly, but when the rubber hits the road we don't want it so badly after all. Not badly enough to go find our own crossroads late one night, anyway.

    That isn't a bad thing, by the way--it's about balance versus insanity. I don't believe you have to be tortured and driven to get what you want.

    "Standin' at the crossroads, risin' sun goin' down
    Standin' at the crossroads baby, the risin' sun goin' down
    I believe to my soul now, po' Bob is sinkin' down"
    (From Crossroads Blues, Robert Johnson)

    I also don't believe you have to be tortured and driven to be brilliant.

    But if you bad do you want it?