Suggested Reading for January 2017

I have added the following links to the Reference Materials page:

#ReportHate — Southern Poverty Law Center’s online form for reporting witnessed or experienced hate incidents. If you witness or are the target of a hate incident, report it to local law enforcement first. Reporting such incidents to SPLC as well via this form will help them monitor patterns of hate incidents nationwide. This is vitally important to maintaining a clear perspective on the current social situation.

Indivisible Guide — A practical guide (pdf, free download) on how constituents can organize for effective communication with members of Congress, compiled by a volunteer group of former Capitol Hill staffers. In-progress volunteer project. Sign up for email alerts of updated versions.

Ur-Fascism, Umberto Eco, NY Review of Books, June 22, 1995 — Eco’s essay on the universal patterns of fascist systems and groups based on history and his own personal experience of fascist Italy. A profound explanation of how to tell if what we are dealing with is actually fascism or not.

We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump, Sarah Kendzior, The Correspondent — In case it actually is fascism, this insightful article describes the deeply personal betrayals — including betrayals of self — we may face and the need to maintain our own moral compass in living as dissidents, something few Americans can imagine.

2017 — Trump — Are We Ready To Rise?, Otto Scharmer, MIT, Tsinghua University, Huffington Post, 12/27/2016 — A science-brained analysis of the present US political/social situation and the closed, fundamentalist mindset that got us here, with a proposal of a counter-mindset to guide actions in opposition and reclamation of our society.

Are Americans Ready For a Municipalist Movement?, Alexander Kolokotronis, ROAR, Truthdig, 12/3/2016 — An intriguing argument (also made in a different setting by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg) for cities and counties as the practical locus of social change, climate action, and the defense of democracy, globally.

Posted in Suggested Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Be It Resolved: Never let the bastards get you down


Happy New Year and welcome to the third incarnation of the blog Muravyets, a journal about building the world.

This blog began as a free-form hang-out for a group of my friends, then followed our interests into art, drama, literature, and now, as life imitates art, it becomes a journal of life in conflict.

We find ourselves at one of those “instigating events,” as they say in the writing racket, one of those opening scenes where the protagonists are swinging along, singing a song, when some bastard villain ups and explodes their whole world. On November 8, 2016, a new story began with a bunch of bastard villains rushing forward to set their plot in motion. Our days of beer and skittles are suddenly ended. Chaos erupts, and the race is on to see which team will be the one to sort it all out.

The shock of which brought me back to my friends’ hobby of creating realities. Back to ideas. To visions and speculations and seat-of-the-pants experiments. To world-building.

Most people think of world-building as a fussy little exercise of fantasy/sci-fi writers creating backgrounds for their adventures, but in fact, we all build worlds every day, in all walks of life. Artists do it — a romantic landscape and a futurist collage present two very different realities. Historians certainly do it. Propagandists have done it again and again, with varying success. Marketers are masters of it. And then we get into the sciences, agriculture, industry, war, economics, etc., all building world after world.

And look at the world so far:

Extremism. Rising fascism. International conflict. Violent and divisive propaganda. Corruption and inequality. The global environment spinning out of control all around us. The Bad Guys seizing power. Cries for Resistance echoing everywhere.

And also advances in science, medicine and technology. Demographic change. Generational change. New voices. New energy. New thinking.

Everything is moving. Everything is open to challenge and improvement.

If ever there was a moment to talk about building worlds, this is it. And I, for one, do not intend to let the bastard villains write the story this time.

So this will be the new Muravyets — a journal of making order out of chaos, of change, resistance, and appropriately tonight, resolutions.

For those seeking  sense of perspective with which to enter 2017:

Thirteen undeniably good things that happened in 2016, courtesy of PBS Newshour:

How to conduct a personal end-of-year review, courtesy of

See you soon — Mura.

Posted in Keep Calm & Carry On, Opinion, Resistance | Tagged , , ,

And now… Intermission…

Dearest Readers, please enjoy snacks at the concession in the lobby while we set the scene for the next act.


Why, Lord Rudolfo! What pantaloons are these?


A new beginning, a new theme, a new topic of conversation, all require a new look. We’ll be going private tomorrow and shall return shortly with:

 Muravyets, a Journal About World-Building.


Toy Theater image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons,

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Gomez Addams, the Astonishing Talking Cat, 1997 – 2015

With the start of 2015, we in the Muravyets household and extended family suffered a profound loss. Here in my word world, as well as in my art world represented at “Instant Elixir Cures All,” please read of the passing of a great being. – JF/Mura

Jen Fries: Instant Elixir Cures All

gomez portrait 1.27.15

“I love cats because I enjoy my home, and little by little, they become its visible soul.” — Jean Cocteau

On January 25, 2015, at about 10:30 AM, Gomez Addams, the Astonishing Talking Cat of World Renown, passed away after a struggle with a protracted illness. He was eighteen years old. He is survived by his feline friend, Leah, his human friend, my mother Carol, and his devoted life companion, me. We are all devastated by his loss.

I loved Gomez as much as any human can love anything or anyone. I’ve had cats all my life. I’ve loved all of them, and I’ve grieved for all of them as they passed, each in their turn. But Gomez was special. He was more than a pet, he was a partner. His bond with me was more mutually interactive than any other cat I’ve known. It wasn’t just me doting on…

View original post 1,340 more words

Posted in Uncategorized