When Susan Got Busted, Philadelphia 1975
by Barbara Ruth

I’m not sure when the air began to change, to vibrate differently. I know the molecules screamed alarm the day Bryna and Val were walking down the street holding hands and a cop pulled them over. Routine harassment. Except the cop had been flipping through the FBI Most Wanted files just that morning at the Roundhouse. He looked at Val. She matched an updated photo, a possible ID of a woman who had eluded the Feds for seven years.

“You’re Susan Saxby.”

Bryna tells the story this way: ‘No, you fool,’ she thought at the cop, ‘she’s Susan Saxe.’ Bryna maintains she didn’t know Val was one of the two women who’d gone underground after expropriating funds from banks and giving the money to the Black Panthers. Who had broken into an armory and found plans for a detention camp in case of a Boston insurrection. Susan and her comrades mailed the plans to a radical newspaper they knew would publish them.

In the six months they had been lovers, Bryna says she never guessed Val was Susan until there in that squad car. I say: if Susan had to get busted, it was incredibly good luck she was with her lover at the time – who just happened to be a paralegal at ACLU.

Susan’s bust terrified us, not just for her but for ourselves as well. The other woman who took part in the actions with Susan back in the sixties was named Kathy Power. She was still free. Grand Juries had been convened in cities across the country in an attempt to capture members of the Underground. Dykes in Kentucky and Oregon were doing time because they refused to tell the Grand Juries who had been lovers with whom, who attended what meetings, who might have “sympathies.” The FBI collected names of candidates for Grand Jury inquisitions in Lexington, Kentucky, New Haven, Connecticut. Now they were here in Philly. They disguised themselves poorly – it was obvious which woman at the lesbian concert did not attend because she loved the music. Mostly they didn’t try disguises. Mostly they were men in suits who flashed their badges and said we had to answer any questions they asked us. They flashed those badges at our workplaces, at our bars, to our parents and neighbors. Pamphlets signed by “Lezzie Fair” began appearing in radical bookstores and gay bars, telling us it was against the law to lie to them, but it was our right, it was duty to the movement and our sisters, not to talk to the Feds. Nobody knew what the FBI would do next. I wore buttons that read “We harbor fugitives” and “Kathy Power to the Kathy People.” But I knew neither my buttons nor my mace would make them go away.

Meanwhile, a media extravaganza upped the ante. The Philadelphia Inquirer printed a picture of Susan and Bryna’s bed on page 1, with the heading “Self-Styled Revolutionary Lesbian Love Nest!” The paper said the incriminating evidence the cops collected at their apartment included Susan’s poetry.

That got to me. I was becoming a moderately well-known poet and I was guilty of writing poems against the state.
Susan’s post-capture press release said, “I continue to fight on, as a lesbian, a feminist, an amazon.” Of course I had to love her.

Yes, I knew a guard was killed during one of the bank robberies. Surveillance tape showed one of Susan’s accomplices – who had been caught long ago and died at Attica – pulled the trigger. But it happened in Massachusetts and that made Susan guilty of felony-murder. And writing poems against the state.

I thought the felony-murder law was an outrage. I thought what Susan had done was heroic – especially the part about not getting caught all those years.

The newspaper had used the words to belittle Susan, but “self-styled revolutionary” was exactly what I was becoming. And I was not the only one.



by Carly Smith

It is 11:04 a.m. The cursor blinks on my computer screen, an aberration against the pure white of my word document. It flashes on and then off, black and then blank, I have watched it do so for too long. The cursor almost replicates my thinking process; my thoughts blinking quietly, appearing and then dissolving into a blank space, before I can even grasp at them. I cannot elaborate on anything that enters my mind, or turn the thoughts into sentences that could sit, malleable yet solid, on a computer screen.

I have been awake for two hours, since I somehow managed to pull myself out of my bed and into my computer chair. I have a bad habit of spending too much time tucked between my sheets, whether my eyes are open or not. Waking is difficult, my muscles soften too much in my sleep and my head weighs me down. Usually, I feel as though I am holding the heaviness of an unwounded sergeant who has lost a thousand troops in war. I am getting better at resisting the urge to roll over and pull the blankets over my head, although it becomes grueling sometimes. The sooner I can get out of bed, the sooner I can start writing, I tell myself. However, when I do manage to leave the sheets, I mostly just sit in front of a blank screen for hours at a time, my mind not allowing me the ability to think at all. It’s not that I don’t want to do anything, it’s that I can’t do anything. There are projects to finish, drafts to begin, and research to obtain, but my brain simply won’t let me get started.

Every time I attempt to think, my thoughts just bounce back, as though there’s a brick wall in my mind which wishes to repel everything. There is a mug next to me which I have drained of coffee, and a spent sheet of multivitamins which were supposed to increase my level of focus and performance. Nothing has pushed my brain past the languid stage of morning and into a highway of productivity. Even when I tried to read a book in order to increase my thinking process, I found my eyes reaching the ends of the pages without having actually read any of the words.

I am slouched, my left foot sits on the chair, and my right foot rests on the floor. One hand is poised on my keyboard, and the other I run through my hair, scratching at my scalp out of frustration. I am feeling panicked about wasting my time but too sad about my inability to think to be able to do something else.

I know why I cannot concentrate, but I am reluctant to think about it because I know that doing so will simply make me bitter, so I continue to stare at the screen, still scratching at my scalp as though I am digging for gold.

Mental illness has clouded my life for some time now, presenting itself in the form of various conditions. Today, it is my post-traumatic stress disorder which is affecting me the most.  I developed post-traumatic stress disorder after a particularly tumultuous childhood, during which my parents were mentally ill and were not in any capacity to protect me from my physically and emotionally abusive brother. Post-traumatic stress disorder, while limiting my memory and my reflexes, also affects my concentration levels and thinking capacity. When I have been triggered, it is difficult to focus on anything, and I cannot complete even the simplest tasks, no matter how hard I try.

These kind of mental blanks used to occur when I had recently come into contact with my family, but since I have relocated from Brisbane to Melbourne, and removed myself from whatever physical triggers were present in my home city, I thought that I would never have to deal with a mental block again. But I was foolish. I forgot that whenever I write about my trauma, I trigger myself, instead of performing an act of catharsis.

I have tried on many occasions to write an account of the experiences that led me to trauma. For the past two years, I have been working on an extended memoir where I discuss the trauma I experienced in my childhood, and how it has effected the remainder of my life. While the act of writing about the trauma is purgatory, it is not until later that day, or even the next day, that I begin to feel the mental blockades that occur after I have been subconsciously triggered.

And my mental blocks aren’t the only things limiting me from writing my memoir. I have a large portion of memories which are missing, gaps in my life which I am trying to restructure so that I can actually write about my life and not just the scatterings of memories that I have of it.

There are only some portions of my childhood that I remember – scratches on my face, bites on my arm, bruises from being hit with a cricket bat. All of them add up to a scathed mind which cannot match memories to times, dates, or even places. It is all a nonsensical landscape where I imagine mismatched collections of events floating around suspended in space, with no gravity to send them to a common ground.

Every now and again one will return to me, often when I have not even attempted to retrieve it. I will be in a mundane and otherwise unremarkable location – the reception area of a psychiatrist clinic, on the train to work in the morning, the kitchen of a friend’s house.

When I do remember an event, though, it’s as though the memory never left me. The memory will flash through my mind and I will think of it as though it never went missing at all, as though it was just an old favourite shirt that got lost in the bottom of my closet.

One morning, when I was sitting in front of a new psychiatrist, she asked me if I had ever been injured so badly that I had to seek medical advice. I had been to psychiatrists before, had been asked this question many times. But for some reason, on this occasion, the memory popped straight into my mind.

One morning, Tyler had been chasing me around the house. He often chased me around the house. It would normally start in the kitchen and he would chase me up the stairs and down the stairs and into the bathroom and down the hallway and up the stairs and down the stairs and into the kitchen and into the family room and into the dining room until we ended up in the lounge room, me standing on the armrest of the couch in the left corner, back pressed against the wall. Sometimes he had a knife in his hand, sometimes his hands were empty. One morning he had a video game case in his hand. It was a Tom & Jerry Playstation game that came in a VHS case from Video Ezy, the way that you used to borrow them out back in the early 2000s. This VHS case had a chipped corner, and the edges were jagged. Tyler cornered me in the back of the lounge room, and I had my hands over my face. The jagged edge of the case came down on my head like a farmer trying to decapitate a chicken. I felt it sear my consciousness with pain, a continuous concrete throb. Once I managed to compose myself, I chased him around the house, trying to get him back in some way. I caught up to him for the first time, and I pulled on his hair with one hand, and placed my hand on my head with the other. I realised my hand was wet, and wiped the moisture away, thinking it was sweat. I removed my hand and noticed that my fingers were dripping with blood. I ran outside to Father, who had been sitting, staring at the trees outside while all of this was happening. He looked at me and walked to the cupboard upstairs. He came back with an old towel, one I hadn’t seen before, for me to put on my head. He walked to the garage and started the car, and drove me to the doctor. Tyler buckled in next to me in the back seat, mouth closed. We sat in the waiting room, not saying anything, until we were called to the first doctor available. The doctor had a white-toothed smile and he stood in front of a wall full of drawings his children had made. He put a bandage on my head and sent me home, joking with Father about “kids causing trouble on the school holidays.”

“What can you do?” Father half-asked, half-joked. He laughed, the polite awkward laugh he uses when he isn’t sure if something is funny or not. He paid the medical bill at the front desk and drove us home, like he was just picking us up from the cinema. When Father pulled the car into the garage, Mother was closing her car door. I was clutching my head with my left hand and holding the bloodied towel with the other.

“Not again,” the look on her face said.

I stared at the psychiatrist, stunned and unable to speak. Now this memory reappears often, as though it was always there.

I don’t know how many more memories I have waiting to come back to me. But I feel as though my life will be a continuum of childhood experiences reappearing in my brain, and the malleable nature of my past makes it particularly challenging to write a coherent piece of work.

I think about my post-traumatic stress disorder all of the time, probably more than anything else. I think of the ways it has limited me and I think of who I would be without it. Someone a lot more capable, but with less of a story to tell. I am determined to speak about my illness. Maybe one day I will be able to do so without the negative mental repercussions that accompany it.

Carly Smith is a Melbourne-based writer with a keen interest in the writing, publishing, and editing fields. Smith recently graduated from a Fine Arts: Creative and Professional Writing degree at the Queensland University of Technology, and is looking forward to expanding her experience in the literary industry. She has volunteered at the SLQ Brisbane Writer’s Festival and completed work experience at ACP Magazines. Smith has also achieved publication in Cow, Hide Journal, and was long-listed in the 2015 Scribe Non-fiction Prize.

32 HIGHBURY PLACE, Lisa del Rosso

by Lisa del Rosso 

God said, “Get off the Tube and call.” It was the only time a voice, an outer voice I swear I heard, spoke to me.  There are, of course, other explanations: it could have been Buddha, Mohammed, a Martian, Satan, or I could have had a schizophrenic episode.  Nevertheless, whoever it was said, “Get off the Tube and call.”  I thought of it as the Tube by that time, not the subway, not anything remotely American.

There was a tiny box of an ad in one of the free magazines proffered at the mouth of most Tube stations. I needed a job and a place to live, so had been perusing the stack on my lap and finding absolutely nothing in my skill set, which was also absolutely nothing. I had graduated from LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), and then was subsequently cast in the Academy’s graduating musical, “The Pajama Game.” The gig came with a small stipend. Very small.

I got off the train and called.

A posh, slightly harassed voice answered. This was Angela.  She said she was a journalist.  She sounded welcoming, trusting. I wondered why. The woman didn’t even know me. My interview was for the following day at 32 Highbury Place, overlooking Highbury Fields.

I hate children. I had been forced, for what I now see as economic reasons, to look after my two younger sisters every, single summer in my teen years (until I got a real job, that is) and resented both my mother and them for what I perceived as a raw deal. Then, it was explained to me that I was the oldest. At thirteen, I was supposed to be “the responsible one.”  And I had no choice.

Those summers completely colored my view on children. I was unable to go to summer camp, even if it was in my own town: unable to hang out with my friends. My time was not my own.  What I could do was read, and hate my sisters. I did watch them; I did keep them safe. But I never wanted to feel like that again: trapped. Caged.

What I was doing applying to be a nanny was beyond me.

If I had had any sense, I’d have read a few books, maybe “Nanny 101,” or “Nannying for Idiots,” or even “What Not to Wear on Your Nanny Interview.” But I read nothing, and showed up at the interview in my street clothes, which would have gone down perfectly well in theater circles, but not so much in nanny circles, or the mothers who hire.

I wore: black opaque tights, black suede heels, a tiny black and red plaid mini-skirt, a black sleeveless semi-sheer tank, and a short, black jacket. Designer Vivienne Westwood would have loved me that day, but she was not looking for a nanny; Angie was.

This is how Angie described me:

The young woman standing on the doorstep could have come straight from a Hollywood film set.  A mass of sheeny black curls cascaded down her back. Full lips were glossed scarlet against a perfect pale complexion. She wore a spray-on tight mini skirt and little black sweater leaving no doubt about her curves. She teetered on kitten-heel shoes. 

I had taken a moment to glimpse through the sitting room window, as I always did when someone rang the front doorbell, making sure I wanted to open the door. To say I was shocked is understatement. I would never have imagined such a person as the owner of the warm, slightly shy voice on the phone answering my advertisement for a nanny for my sons Zek,9, and Cato, 5, 

Perhaps I should have taken pause when she gave me her name – Lisa del Rosso – which certainly has a touch of the flamboyant about it, or when I picked up the New York twang. But she sounded nice and enthusiastic and I needed a replacement nanny badly.

The door opened and a barefoot, lithe blond woman in leggings and a blue top greeted me, complete with a blond male child clutching her side.

Hello, I’m Angela,” she said. “Won’t you come in?”

We walked down a hallway with a checked black and white floor, then through a heavy door into a mauve-colored kitchen. Angie left me for a moment, taking blond male child with her.

I looked around, startled, and realized I was not in another home, or even another country; I was in another world entirely. Their house was a sensory-overload experience. The walls in the kitchen had writing all over them, great scrawls of pencil, up to say, 4 feet high.  The children were allowed to write on the walls? In the house I grew up in, if I had deliberately put one mark on any of the walls that would have been cause for a good dose of corporal punishment.

There was an ugly, grey, unvarnished table that would not have looked out of place in the woods of Maine in lieu of a normal kitchen table, with long picnic benches to match.  There was something called an AGA which heated the whole room and looked pretty old-fashioned and very cool. Colorful crockery piled up in and around the sink. Books, notes, magazines, newspapers and postcards covered every counter, shelf, and most of the table. From the kitchen, one could walk straight through to the sitting room, in an open-plan fashion. There, a worn, green leather sofa crammed with overstuffed pillows in African prints and a wicker chair worse for wear sat on a stripped pine floor. On the walls, a large, neon painting of two girls sitting next to each other, with their knees up, showing their vaginas co-existed next to black and white photographs of what looked like parts of Africa.

I walked away from the neon vaginas, and back into the kitchen. There were French doors that opened out onto an enormous, walled garden, at least 120 feet in length, which was surprising for London. More surprising were the chickens, not in a coop but roaming freely (the coop was at the very back, in a corner, I later found), and a large, panther-like cat being ardently pursued by a bowling ball-shaped white bunny.

I was definitely through the looking glass.

Angela called to me from the kitchen. “Tea?”

“Yes, please,” I said, walking back in and sitting down at the picnic table.

But could this glamour puss so inappropriately turned out for the rough and tumble of our energetic, high-spirited and at times unruly boys, possibly be the right stuff? Still, Lisa,19, had journeyed across London and I should at least invite her in for a cup of tea, and a brief chat, and then it would be thanks, but no thanks, I decided.

Angela asked what I was doing in London, and I told her about LAMDA, singing, and the hope of pursuing some sort of performance career. From there, we segued into museums, theater and books. We seemed to have similar interests and be on the same wavelength, so I didn’t feel intimidated at all, despite the fact that I really did not know exactly why I was there. And she seemed strangely…interested in me. This might have been because she was so used to interviewing people, but I didn’t know that then. Angela has a gift for making people feel comfortable; that what they do in the world matters.

Do you want children?” Angela said.

This was an interview question?

“No, I don’t,” I said.

Oh really, why not?”

And I told her. She said they all sounded like sensible reasons.

Then blond male child came bounding into the room. “This is Cato. He’s five.”

What kind of a name is that?

Ang, who’s this?” he said, rubbing his eyes.

This is Lisa, Cato.”

And they call their mother by her first name. Of course they do.

Another, older child came in, with an unruly mop of bronze hair and a scowl on his face. He was carrying a soccer ball.

This is Zek, and he’s nine.”

Not Zak, not Zeb, not Zeke, but Zek. Okay. If I had that name, I’d scowl, too. The boys kept inching closer to me to get a better look.

So you’re American?” said Zek, with an unmistakable note of disdain.

“That’s right.”

There was a pause. What did he expect, that I’d deny it?

This interview wasn’t going the way I wanted it to at all.

Zek’s small chest was puffed out, like one of those little Blowfish.

Americans are rubbish at football, y’know.”

“You think so?”

Complete rubbish.”

“I used to play on a team,” I said.

Did not!”

“I did. Team won town champs every year I played, too. We were really, really good.”

Zek paused. He looked at his ball.  He looked back at me.  “Prove it.”

I said, “When?”

He said, “Now.”

I looked at Angie. I really wanted to kick this kid’s ass, and I’d do it in bare feet if I had to.

“What size shoe do you take?” I asked.

39, something,” she said.

“Um… translate that?” I said.

7 and a half, I think.”

“Close enough. Do you have a pair of sneakers I can borrow?”

 That might have been that, but within minutes of Lisa perching decoratively on the sofa, Zek, our elder son, came into the room. He heard Lisa ‘s transatlantic twang and burst out: “You are American! I bet you can’t play football”.

The years I played goalie in middle school, I found out I had incredibly fast reflexes, a perfect skill for that position. I also found out I could kick a soccer ball very, very high and very, very far.

Across the street, out on Highbury Fields, I continued to listen to Zek berate Americans and watch him stick his chest out, until I knocked the ball out of his hands.

“Go to the end of the fields.”


“Go to the end of the fields.”

Right, like you can…”

It was a perfect, early June day: not too hot or too cool. The grass on the field was a green I have only ever seen in the UK and Ireland, due to the rain; the sun was shining in a bright, blue sky. The English call this kind of day rare.

When I kicked the ball, it went so high and so far, I stopped watching it and instead watched Zek and Cato’s heads go up, up, up, and then all the way down.

All was quiet for a moment. Then Zek called to me.

I was wrong! You can play soccer.”

We stayed out there for about 45 minutes, playing and kicking the ball around. It was great fun.

It was a moment of transformation! Lisa kicked off her high-heels, asked if she could borrow a pair of sneakers and within minutes she was out on the green opposite our home with Zek and Cato, playing a makeshift football match. And, as Lisa later put it, she “kicked the crap out of them.”

That impressed me as much as it did the boys, and during the “trial day” Lisa came to spend with us, I was won over by her artless friendliness, her obvious delight in the unorthodox way we lived, and her immediate rapport with the boys.

Angie hired me, and two days later, I moved in.

We all sort of fell in love with each other; Angie had no daughter and I had no family in London. Being the boys’ nanny never felt like a job, it was more like being paid to play and wrestle and get mucky, like an older sister. It completed the circle of my interrupted childhood. Angie once told me, “I’ve always said my children are the best form of birth control.” Except, I became that daughter and for over twenty years, they have been my second family. My life was changed irrevocably because I listened to a voice I swear I heard, and made a phone call.

Lisa del Rosso originally trained as a classical singer and completed a post-graduate program at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), living and performing in London before moving to New York City. Her plays Clare’s Room and Samaritan have been performed off-Broadway and had public readings, while St. John, her third play, was a semi-finalist for the 2011 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Literary Traveler, Serving House Journal, Young Minds Magazine (London/UK), Time Out New York, The Huffington Post, The Neue Rundschau (Germany), Jetlag Café (Germany), Writers on the Job, and One Magazine (London/UK), for whom she writes theater reviews. She is working on a collection of essays and teaches writing at NYU.

THE A WORD, Barbara Ruth


by Barbara Ruth

Thank you Ann Thompson, facilitator of Writing Memoirs at Campbell Community Center. You’ve given me the best justification ever to play computer games. Better than “it soothes me.” Better than “it’s a harmless way of getting rid of aggression.” Better than “it sharpens my eye hand coordination.” Better than “it’s improving cognitive skills.” Way better than “I could be addicted to something so much worse.” THIS morning I playing “Mole Word” for half an hour because it was my homework. Or…I needed to play to do my homework. And….ta da!  It furthers my writing. I’m not playing computer games instead of doing my writing. It’s research for my writing. What more research do I need to do? I don’t have an answer for that one just yet but give me a few paragraphs and I’m sure I’ll come up with one. Or maybe a few more games and it will come to me. Because things do come to me when I’m playing computer games. I have realizations. I calm myself down. I think things through. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I notice the A word has crept into this already. And that is the fundamental problem. Beyond the waste of time, the tearing of my eyes, the ache of my head, the crick in my back, the swelling of my fingers, the dizziness from staring at the screen, is the issue of slavery.

From Dictionary.com:

Addiction: n. the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.”

Do I want to be a slave to repetitive clicking on a mouse, staring and aiming at balls, even making words as fast as I can? I don’t want to be enslaved to anything.

Why haven’t I stopped? I’m writing this to discover the answer. Or…maybe just to dance around the answer.

It could be computers themselves are the problem. Something about the blinking cursor, the hypnotic screen, and most of all the knowledge of all the things out there – in there – to find out, to amuse oneself with: I do believe computers suck the time out of the humans who use them.

And then there’s screens in general, connectivity, having buds in one’s ears, phones that make tiny pictures and contain your whole life, TVs, well, where does it end?

Which is all a way not to talk about my computer game addiction. Back to the assignment.

I remember in the eighties I was in a dream writing group. Not a group that wrote about our nocturnal dreams, rather a dream team of writers. We were all leftist lesbians, all writing novels which contained same, all serious about the level of critique we gave each other, and all respectful of each other’s craft. The meeting I’m thinking of was at Adrienne’s house. Grain was staying with her at the time. We had all arrived and settled in for the meeting, but Grain was still at the computer. I thought she was tweaking the section of her novel she was going to read to us that day. When she finally appeared, she confessed she couldn’t stop playing Tetris to join the game. I knew Grain also valued the group and I was horrified. What terrible power this game must have! How could I get it onto my computer? Then and now what flashes/flashed in my memory banks was when Janis OD’ed. There was a rush on the branded heroin that was too much, even for Janis.  These things are not the same, not at all. Why do I associate them then?

I did find a way to play Tetris, and I’ve found it again, on Facebook, of course. And there’s an app for it on my smartphone. But neither FB nor my android have the Russian folk music that went with the black and white eighties version. I know, I’m Old School.

Drone missiles are “flown” by people sitting in rooms thousands of miles away from the people who they kill.  It doesn’t look like burning and maiming and killing. Or it looks like the simulation of same on a computer screen. A successful drone launcher – that must not be what they’re really called – is a person who is good at simulated warfare in computer games.

Which brings us to Angry Birds. When I click on Angry Birds Friends – does this mean angry avians who are friends of each other? People who like to play Angry Birds and “friend” it on Facebook? Friends of Birds Who Are Experiencing Anger and Need Counseling? Who knows?

Anyway, when I click on the above, I am told Angry Birds In Space is the number one game now on Facebook. Again, multiple ways to unpack that phrase. But no doubt, it’s extremely popular.

Why are the birds angry? Why do birds want to wreck pigs’ domiciles? I know, there’s a backstory when you first begin, all in wordless graphics, but that was long ago and I was I just skipped past it.

Why do so many people like this? Is demolition hardwired into the human psyche. I don’t believe that? Is it just an American thing? That can’t be – the game itself is Japanese.

Why do I like it? The birds and pigs are not at all lifelike, and none of the destroyed structures are at all like pigsties. Is playing Angry Birds a way to avoid cleaning my house? Are ALL computer games ways to ignore the entropy which descends on my domicile, turning it in the direction of pigstydom?

Is the problem really distraction? Am I, like all conditioned by TV, and the various version of computers which surround me for fun and profit, reaping the fruit of an ever shortening attention span?

Attention. Another A word. The connection between TV shows, commercials, computer games and Attention Deficit Disorder – too obvious. Can’t be true. Isn’t the simple answer always too…simple?

I used to think the things which kept me from doing a week Buddhist retreat were lack of financial and disability-related access. That was in the nineties. I had a lot less screens in my life then. Going a week unplugged? Actually, at a Buddhist retreat there’s no phone, no computer, no radio. no iPad. No books even. And not much talking.

Why did I think I wanted to do that again?

So many questions. Fortunately, that Ann Thompson person told me that pieces for this class are supposed to max at seven minutes. So that means I can stop thinking about the why and play another computer game. Or twelve.

Afterward: This was written a few years ago, light years past in the evolution of computer gaming. I am inescapably old school.

Barbara Ruth writes at the convergence of magic and grit, Potowatomee and Jewish, fat and yogi, disabled and neurodivergent. She has performed her original work with Mother Tongue and Wry Crips Readers’ Theaters, taught in California Poets In the Schools, co-conspired with DYKETACTICS! and blogged at NeuroQueer. She writes autobiographical fiction, lesbian feminist theory, and memoir, and is a poet laureate of Fabled Asp.She is 69 and lives in San Jose, CA. She is the featured photographer for the June 2016 “Journey” issue of Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing.