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December 27, 2011

Bill of Rights, TLC Style

Bill of Rights, TLC Style

By Kathy Reschini Sweeney

One great thing about blogging at TLC is that there were very few limits. We blogged about everything from voting to vibrators.  The other great thing is that the comments were usually better than the blogs themselves.  I am going to miss it - more than I imagined, in fact.  I debated about how to use my last blog and decided to just do exactly what I've done since I started blogging here - type whatever came out.

Thus, I present to you my TLC Bill of Rights, and I hope you remember them when the situation calls for it.

THE RIGHT TO READ.  We have the right to read whatever the hell we want.  That means nobody gets to burn books or ban books or restrict your access to books.  Like all Rights, this one comes with Responsibilities.  If you want to continue to read a favorite author, you have to buy the books.  You have to ask for them at your library.  You have to recommend them to other people.

THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE.  This is a tricky one, and I was 40 years old before I really got it.  You have the right to choose how you spend your time and WHO you spend it with.  If you find that you've somehow accumulated companions that are racists, homophobes, jagoffs or just plain toxic, it's time to weed the garden, baby.  Nothing new can grow if there is a tangled mess around you.

THE RIGHT TO WRITE.  Not everyone can (or should) be a published author.  Most published authors - if they are honest - will tell you not to try to make it a career until you've published and sold several books.  That doesn't mean you should stop writing.  Writing is good for you.  It not only keeps your brain in shape, but it can be a fantastic exit valve for all the toxic crap you have brewing in your subconscious.  

THE RIGHT TO SAY NO.  This is a big one.  It means more that the fact that you have the right to decide who can put their hands on you. It also means that your resources - time, energy, funds, emotional fuel - are limited and the only way to keep from stressing yourself out completely is to learn to say NO.  It's okay - the first couple of times are really, really hard, and then it gets easier.

THE RIGHT TO VOTE. One wouldn't think it would be necessary to remind people of this, but it is.  There are people who died and women who went to prison to assure that we all have the right to choose our elected officials and otherwise direct the destiny of our country.  Don't neglect it.  

THE RIGHT TO BITCH. This one is, of course, my favorite.  You have the right to call or write to your elected officials, or school principal, or retail outlet or television station and bitch-slap them when they deserve it.  You might think you are a voice in the wilderness, but if everyone thought that, nothing would be fixed.  Instead of sitting in front of the TV, or in front of your computer and ranting to yourself, make a call, or e-mail a note or write a letter.  Otherwise, shut the hell up when nothing gets better.

THE RIGHT TO HELP.  This is a two-way right.  You have the right to ask for help, especially if you do not feel safe.  Any person who abuses you does NOT love you.  Something that hurts you - whether it is a pain in your chest caused by heartache or a heart attack - needs to be addressed. This bullshit about "toughing it out" is just that.  Social services are being massacred in this country, but there are still places to call for help.  Start with 911 if you don't know where else to begin. But if you are reading this, then you have access to the Internet, and you can find options in your area with a simple search.  The first step away from abuse is the hardest, but it is so worth it!  The other side of this right is that if you see someone who needs help - whether they fell in a parking lot, or have kids who don't have winter coats - you need to step up.  If you have limitations - physical, financial, or whatever, then you can at least get someone else to help.  Yes, it takes time and energy, which are not unlimited resources.  Boo fucking Hoo.  It's called humanity and even though you can't always tell, it is the mark of a civilized society.

THE RIGHT TO KNOW.  We all have it, but if you don't ask, you're not going to get any answers.  This applies to so many things, but today I will focus on just one: early detection.  Nobody looks forward to medical tests.  Mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies, prostate exams?  Not on anyone's wish list for ways to spend time.  And sometimes they hurt.  Plus, denial is one powerful weapon - hey - if you don't follow up, or have a recommended test, then you don't have to worry.  That's how you end up sick as hell or dead.  If you need someone to hold your hand, ask.  If you need a ride to the doctor's office or hospital, ask.  If you need to have something done and you don't have insurance, ask.  There are programs, including the one right here on the TLC website, that provide free tests and screenings.  Remember our TLC Bumpersticker - Bitch Slap Cancer!  You can't fight if you don't know your enemy.

It has been a real honor to meet all of you here on TLC and I hope we can stay in touch, at least electronically.  I won't be blogging anywhere for a while - the semester starts soon and I will have three classes - almost 200 kids - plus my day job, so no time to figure out a website or anything.  I am on Facebook, though, where I make wisecracks and post funny links, so I'd be happy to be your friend - search for Kathy Reschini Sweeney.

And to the Book Tarts, I am grateful for this forum.  It's amazing how far this blog has spread - I still hear from people all over about some of my blogs.  Very cool.

This is the longest blog I've ever written but I have to add one more thing, because music is such a huge part of life.  This is my current favorite song.  Pray for peace!

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Every single one of the RIghts is just as important as the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. We need to remember them.... ALL the time....

Voting. I think I was part of that one.

Vibrators? I know I was part of that one. I still owe a Tart one, if I ever run into her again and get over the creepiness quotient to give it.

Kathy, it's been an honor. I mean it. You stepped up early and often, and we're the better for your presence here.

William, we have appreciated you here, too, more than you know. Thank you, sir. When next we meet, we owe you a martini--shaken, not stirred, of course.

Josh? Well, you can let the vibrator thing go and nobody will be unhappy, honest.

William and Josh were two people I never would have met if not for TLC!

And the vibrator blog(s) were part of the IOCHFTS (I only come here for the sex) contingent. If you missed them, or any blogs since 2005, check the archives - I think you can search by both calendar and author.

I believe the archives will be available here at least through January. Holly, is that right?

Nancy - it's been a riot!

Fabulous blog Kathy, but then I have come to expect nothing less. I will miss your writing and ranting and sincerely hope you continue expressing yourself in another forum. You have a gift and I hope you will continue to share it with others. You have stated so many truths in your bill of rights. I'm getting better at weeding my garden especially as I get older. Life is precious, fragile, and treasured to those that are in my garden. I will also keep reading and asking questions to gain knowledge. Without inquiry our lives become limited. I love you for so many things, but especially as my sister!

Awww. Thanks, Renee. I miss you. Heading to Indiana today for Kathy Pike's viewing. What a tragedy. Sure puts things in perspective.

Kathy, you've always been the voice of reason in a wilderness of noise (not on TLC--no, there was never just noise here. I mean on the Web, in general). You walk your own talk, and I admire the hell out of that about you. I will miss this more than I thought, too. It's amazing how important we've all become to each other.

Is it time to "out" you yet? Hmmm?

Kathy - it's been a pleasure. I'll miss your humor. I'll miss your way of saying exactly what's on MY mind! This blog was a special place to visit and I'll miss it.

Great post as always, Kathy...I'm so glad I found you all way back when, and I'll miss reading everyone's thoughts and wisecracks. Believe it or not, you guys have all encouraged me in one way or another, whether it had to do with writing, reading, or just sharing the pitfalls and pinnacles of life.

Karen - haven't decided yet.

Karen and Cyndi - we really do need to keep in touch! Hard to believe we wouldn't know each other at all if not for the chance meeting on this blog!

Kathy
As always, another good one. But as someone who has known you for a good forty years, I expect nothing else.

I know! It's also hard to believe we've become such close friends without meeting at all until last year.

What brilliant things to remember! Thanks for a great post; I'm copying so that I can remember all these things.

Especially bitch. To the right people. Congress and elected officials. Yeah, do what you were voted into do!

On the other hand, say when things are good, too! Let a corporation know when you did receive exceptional service!

Yeah! You tell 'em, Kathy.

Gosh, I will miss you.

These are all rights to live by, here and in the outside world. I would add the RIGHT TO LOVE whoever you damn well want to love.

Wonderful blog, Kathy. :)

You saved the best for last. Love ya lady and you words.

It was at my first Festival of Mystery where I almost met you for the first time. You were still blogging here under your nom de plume, Rebecca the Bookseller. You were flitting around doing what you always do when my eye happened to fall upon you and I had one of those "Oh my god, is that her; I can't believe it; It can't be?" moments.

I turned to my daughter and said, "I think that is Rebecca the Bookseller from the Lipstick Chronicles." Me being me and still not brave enough to post comments on the blog, did nothing and missed a golden opportunity to have met you early on in the game. Of course one year later and numerous comments under my belt I had no problem walking up to you and introducing myself since you had given up the anonymity of Rebecca and stood out under your own name.

My mother still talks about meeting you at the Festival of Mystery two years ago. I'm proud to be counted as one of your friends and where ever you go I'll be proud to support you.

Other than "Rebecca the Bookseller," what outing is there?

Josh - that was it. I couldn't decide whether to remind people of that. Doesn't matter to newer TLCers and the older ones already knew.

Also - the archives are by author only, not by date. Sorry for any confusion.

I hope the archives can be preserved indefinitely, so when we miss our daily dose, we can revisit. I figure if I read them one a day, backwards, I can keep pretending . . .
Kathy, it has been a pleasure and we will stay in contact. You tell it as it is -- and we need that!
You and Team Rachel gave me just the encouragement I needed when I needed it most.
http://thelipstickchronicles.typepad.com/the_lipstick_chronicles/2010/03/thanks-to-team-rachel-im-going-to-la.html
Thanks!!

Oh boy. Ramona and Peach. This is turning out to be MUCH harder than I expected.

We will have the 2012 Festival of Mystery, though! It is always at the end of April/Beginning of May - stay tuned to Mystery Lovers Bookshop and I hope to see you there!

Man, I am gonna miss you all.

Best line - "Boo fucking Hoo." Classic Kathy! Thank you (and everyone) so much for being such a huge part of my life. Y'all *will* let us know when your guesting on other blogs, yes?????

Kathy, this song is for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jckKmsCsmio

Mary - I just clicked on that link and read the whole thing, including the comments, and there was our Rita. She was a true gem.

Kerry -and everyone else - I think the last day of the blog the authors plan to tell you their upcoming books and blogs.

Marie - thank you!

Kathy -- one of the great joys of the Tarts was reading your blogs. You always say "I'm not a writer" but you're the best of us all.
And you know your music, too.

It's been an honor, Kathy.

Kathy, I love you.

xoxo Reine
_______________________
Walking is highly overrated.
Reading a book is not.

Thanks for this, Kathy. And for so much more. It's been a pleasure getting to know you all. I've printed up this new Bill of Rights and have posted it over my writing desk to remind me to write those letters once in a while instead of always working on that novel.

See you on Facebook!

Kathy, I've always enjoyed reading your posts, especially the way you tell it like it is--I like that in people! Thank you.

That's a fine Bill of Rights, especially adding Ramona's amendment.

It has been great, Kathy, and it will be great wherever we get together again.

Kathy I will miss your posts so much. I love your Bill of Rights - so true. It took me many years to learn to say no but it does get easier with time.

I will search for you on Facebook. For Karen and others who might be interested Diana in STL is Diana Wunning. It has been a blast!

The saddest thing about the blog going away, apart from our daily communion with one another, is that the collective wisdom of this oh, so wise group of people, will no longer be accessible.

I'm mourning that loss deeply. Is there no way to save it somehow?

Fabulous! Kathy, I discovered you here and feel as though you write the words in my head and in my heart. And write them the way I wish I could - Thank You. Girl! - PLEASE keep writing and please let us know where so we (I) can continue stalking you!

Kathy, I reread the comments, too -- and filled up with love all over again.
It also reminded me that NSN did put the audio on their blog, for anyone who wants to hear Scheherazade . . . http://blog.storynet.org/story-marygarrett
I wore my Team Rachel shirt to tai chi today --long sleeves felt just right, and what an inspiration! How is she doing in college?

Kathy, I'm counting on the archives staying up, because I've always promised myself I can go to your amazing music lists sometime when I have the time to bring myself into the 21st century musically.

I didn't know you were Rebecca the Bookseller, but, hey, you're 'both' pretty cool, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to meet you from here in the backblogger seats. Maybe someday in person. I started to say 'real life', but TLC is pretty darned real, thanks to you and the Tarts and the backbloggers. Meanwhile, FB.

Good luck with your new classes. I don't begin teaching again until the 11th, but far fewer than 200 new names and faces!

Kathy, as many others have mentioned, you have managed to say what was in my head-only MUCH better!! You have also taught me so much about things I didn't even know I was ignorant about! (Not the least of which is the word "jagoff...")

I can't thank you enough.

What everybody else said, and I'll think of you every time the SF Giants play in Pittsburgh-Pirates, I mean. Actually, I'll think of you and your wonderful rants more often than that. I'm dreading the day I take TLC out of my Bookmarks bar.

I could write Ditto, a bunch of times. Kathy, I will miss your clarity (my mother's polite way of saying bluntness!).

Learning how to say no is not an easy thing to do. This year I have said no to a long standing friendship, it was difficult but a relief once done. It was a combination of the right to say no and the right to choose. Do I want friends, yes, do I want dysfunctional friendships, no.

I will be less knowledgable without TLC, often you all have sparked an interest for me and off I go reading and researching. I will miss the 'conversations' about music and books and food. My world will be smaller with TLC.

I'm with you for the RIGHTS, everyone of them, won't forget them, won't forget you.
And I pray for peace everyday.
Bye Kathy

Learning to say "no": good reminder! For a great many years, I did not say No if asked to work on a committee or sign up for some sort of volunteer work, even if it was something at which I had no talent whatsoever. I have learned that it's good for OTHER people, too, when I say "no". An enthusiastic volunteer is not much help if he/she isn't any good at doing whatever the task is. Now I'm more selective and I do only what I know I can do and be a help, rather than a hindrance.

Right to Write: I would add that sometimes we may have an OBLIGATION to write, and not just to write letters to the editor or to congresspeople, etc. When I was recuperating from surgery a few years ago, I looked forward to the mail - some people I barely knew started sending me cards or even short letters every week or so, and it brightened my day so much! I now do the same thing. This happens to be one of the things I'm good at (see above) - sending silly little letters or notes to people who are recovering from illness or surgery, etc. Even if you think "I don't know what to say" there are cards out there already written; buy one, sign your name, add "I was thinking of you". Believe me, the recipient will appreciate it! I send cards and/or letters to friends, relatives, anyone from any department at work who is on medical leave, even if I barely know them. Everybody loves it, and one person told me that her family got excited when they saw my return address on envelopes, because they knew that the contents would be entertaining. One of my friends has had numerous orthopedic surgeries and she says that part of what makes recovery bearable is receiving the crazy little letters and cards from me. I know a woman who takes this many steps further, and sends out notes to about three HUNDRED shut-ins on a regular basis! It's a "calling" for her. Because of word-of-mouth, she hears from people who ask if she will send a card to their grandparent/aunt/uncle/friend, etc. I used to get cards from her when I was recuperating from surgery, and she even continued sending cards to me for up to a year. Writing: you don't have to be an author to make a difference with your writing!

Do this yourselves, and you may make new friends!

And Kathy: you have made SUCH a difference in the lives of so many people. You get people thinking, and that is good and healthy! Life will be so different without your regular contributions. I hope that you find a way to continue to get the wheels in other people's minds turning!

Oh, Kathy, I bet your students come out of your classes understanding the Constitution and are able to differentiate which Clause or Amendment does what, which, and to whom. You have such a great ability to put our rights and duties, both legally and ethically into terms we can all internalize.

I will so miss this blog and the back-bloggers. I have made so many good friends here—it’s been one of my lifelines. I raise a salute to all of you who have made this place possible.

May the Gods and Spirits bless us every one.

I love you, Kathy!

Thanks for this. Saying No and weeding the garden are two opportunities for me, personally. And are probably related somehow.

A tribute to the men of the blog..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyTkSXgy-K0

Hear, hear, Kathy!

I just got my internet back, or I'd have said it earlier. Instead, I will say it again.
Hear, hear.

I'm going to miss reading your straight, in-your-face, wonderful, awesome posts, Kathy!

xoxoxo

Kathy, you are a national treasure. It's an honor to know you. xoxoo

Kathy, you have added so much to an already wonderful blog. The humor, the serious stuff, the rants, the music lists, the comments... all of it has made this place richer. I suspect you have played a big role in overseeing the blog, filling in when the scheduled person couldn't manage, etc. I know you've made posts for me when Mr. Typepad wouldn't let me post.

For all of these things, I thank you. I will miss seeing you and all the other authors in this format, where we all gather around the virtual water cooler to hash over the topic of the day and whatever hijacks crop up.

I too am sad about having to take TLC out of my bookmarks. I might just leave it there for awhile, just as a reminder...

If the archives can't be left up, is there any chance they could be exported to a file that could be made available? I hate the thought of losing them completely.

Kathy, I can't help but think I had the honor of getting a preview of several of those rights not too long ago. Thanks for that.

I suspect you'll be back in e-print. I can't imagine you holding it in all in. You have to let it out; it's not an option for you so it's probably just a question of when and where. In the meantime, take care.

Kathy,
I will certianly miss your blogs, they are aways so uplifting with a sassy twist! Please keep me in the loop if you start to blog again. Today's blog was the best, all things that I already knew but needed a good reminder. Sometime I just get lost in my life, I am going to print today's blog and have it handy for reference, hell I may frame it!

Love 'weed the garden' I call it get rid of the fat. Have done so in the past and it really lifts a burden from your shoulders.

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