Irene North




They tell me I’m good at telling stories
but they don’t want to hear mine
it’s too dark
it’s too sad
it’s too scary
and they don’t want to think about it

They want me to tell them stories
but accounts need to be happy
tales need to be funny
a narrative which can be shared

“Tell me another story about your grandma,” they say.
Those are fun
those are nice
those make me think of my family
and not anything sad

They don’t want to hear my stories
of violence and anguish
they don’t want to hear my stories
of loneliness and torment
They don’t want to hear my stories
unless there’s a smile at the end

No one wants to hear descriptions
of potential snatched away
or chronicles of terror and screams,
suffering and tears

keep those stories to yourself
that’s for you to figure out
shoulders to cry on are rescinded
it’s too much for them to endure

I write my stories down on paper
for no one else to view
Everyone says they want to read them
but no one ever does

They say they want me to share my stories
but as soon as I open my mouth
the topic gets changed
keep that to yourself

Tears stain the paper as I go
memories I don’t want in my head
transferred to dead trees
but the visions live on just for me

They don’t want to hear my stories
of brutality and struggle
They don’t want to hear my stories
of solitude and sorrow
They don’t want to hear my stories
unless there’s a smile at the end

No one wants to hear
stories with terror, screams, and wails
of potential snatched away
or lamentations of what could have been

keep those stories to yourself
that’s for you to figure out
shoulders to cry on are retracted
it’s too much for them to bear
weeping should be kept solitary

Asleep or awake
my stories are continually shared
only with myself.
Everyone says I’m a good storyteller
but joy is all they want to hear
There is no desire to receive my speech

Their reticence serves to placate themselves
pat themselves on the back
with empty platitudes
thinking they provided guidance
and good deeds
while I process the images alone

I sit alone at home
putting horror and repugnance into words.
With my little blue book and black ink
I detail my stories
that no one will ever read

They don’t want to hear my stories
of trying to pick myself up again
They don’t want to hear my stories
unless it’s tied up neatly with a bow
They don’t want to hear my stories
unless there’s pleasantness at the end.

So, I’m a podcaster now

For the past few years, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a podcast about history, particularly, the history of western Nebraska. The biggest factor holding me back was whether I should do it alone and whether my mental health issues would allow for such a committment. From 2020 to 2021, I really wasn’t in a place where I could do much of anything. I was functioning on the most basic of levels and could barely do anything except go to work and sleep.

Throughout the course of 2022, this all changed. I haven’t spoken much about what I did in 2022 for my mental health and how I worked on my PTSD, but I made significant changes and progress in that area, which I will, eventually, write about.

Today, however, I am pleased to announce the launch of a new podcast, Storytelling on the Plains. My friend, Conner, and I have been working for several months on our plan, creating a story list, researching, writing, and recording. Our first podcast went live yesterday.

Nebraska’s LB626 would be devastating for women

I recently sent the letter pasted below to my state representative, Brian Hardin. The bill, LB626 passed through the committee, on which he sits, and will now go to the floor for debate.

If anyone wants to use what I wrote, please feel free. As readers of this blog know, this is an important subject matter for me, one in which I never thought I’d have to be fighting. It is 2,285 words long. Regardless of whether or not Hardin listens to me, or even reads my letter, I said my peace. I truly hope the bill fails.

Monday Musings: Educational Videos

Over the past month, I’ve been watching videos from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. I thought I’d share three of my favorites.

Opening containers

When people work through traumatic events, their brains process what has happened so the person can begin healing from those events. While they are healing, the brain brings up intrusive thoughts, such as flashbacks and nightmares. The natural tendency is to push those intrusive thoughts away because they can be highly distressing. The brain’s ability to do this can be used to the person’s benefit, so that the intrusive thoughts and distress can be safely “contained” until the person is in a better situation to handle them.

My comments in opposition to LB626

Nebraska state senator Joni Albrecht has once again attempted to ban abortion in Nebraska. My state representative, Brian Hardin, supports the bill. Many doctors in the state oppose the bill. The legislature is taking comments from constituents until Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at 12 p.m., Central Time, 11 a.m., Mountain Time.

“America is a Gun” by Brian Bilston

Solace from evil

Along the Oregon Trail in western Scotts Bluff County.

The world feels different at night when all the people and bullshit go to rest. I am alone with my thoughts and can feel comfortable being me. I don’t need to deflect from the constant intrusion of christianity upon my life. I don’t have to hear empty platitudes of misguided people who think they understand everything about everyone and dole out insincere phrases which only make them feel better.

At night, I listen to the sound of the coal cars rumbling through town and the wind blowing, gently shaking my windows and the trees. This time is mine. I have no obligation to be doing anything. I read. I write. I breathe.

Solace does not come in darkness

Harvey outside our place at 554 W. 42nd Street.

Monday Musings: I didn’t need it anyway

I ordered a cover for my webcam from Amazon because, even though the lights aren’t on when I’m not using it, I still don’t trust that it’s not scanning my place. The package containing the cover, however, has been on quite the adventure and still hasn’t arrived at my house.

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