Tag Archives: FPQ

FPQ41: Perfectly Tense


Fandango provocatively asks…

“So this week’s question is for you to discuss what you think about Zadie Smith’s quote. Do you believe that the past is always tense, the future perfect?”

I suggest you visit Fandango’s link to get the full sense of what he’s on about before you try to make sense of my jabber, but do as you will. Obviously, I am going to speak only to my limited experience on this.

In most cases, I believe people engage in a cognitive dissonance regarding their past. Well, let me back up. A disclaimer: Memory is notoriously unreliable. Even our short-term memories can be wrongola, so the idea that we can accurately remember what happened decades back and make judgments from there? Pffft. Let’s get that out of the way. Okay then.

Do I believe the past is always tense? Well, no! That’s silly. Some people say they had wonderful childhoods. Others have had or are currently in long, happy relationships. These people may or may not be optimistic regarding the future, depending upon a whole bunch of factors, including their individual personalities. That married man I was with for 2.5 years was a “glory days” guy, always telling stories of how much fun he’d had back when, and how the future would never measure up. Always nice to hear, amirite? 🙄

I’m somewhere in the middle, as usual. I had an okay childhood, not great, not awful. I recognize that my memories might be inaccurate and there is no one around to verify anything with. I accept responsibility for my part in failed relationships as an adult, which mostly connects to choosing the wrong men and then doubling down. [Note to self: Don’t do that.]

I’m kinda gloomy about the future, I admit. Maybe it’s a function of where I live, but I see people working their butts off and just getting nowhere. Is this happening in “the heartland” as well as on the coasts? You work a normal full-time job, plus maybe do some part-time work too, and can barely afford to rent an apartment? Forget ever buying a house unless Grandma leaves you one or you win the lottery. Maybe you save and save and can buy something with a group of others, but that’s not exactly “the American dream,” to live like a college student decade after decade.

Okay, so Fandango’s post was more about learning from your mistakes in order to create a perfect future. How realistic is that though? I’ll be 60 in 1.5 years. I understand I could have done many things better, but those chances are gone. I can’t redo where I went to college (passed on Northwestern and UCLA like a freaking idiot). I can’t improve my relationship with my parents because they’re both dead. I can’t make it 1995 again and fix my marriage with what I know now.

Learning is great, but opportunities do not stay available forever. Times change, the dogs bark, the caravan moves on. 🐶


2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ40: Control Freak

Fandango provocatively asks…

“How much control do you believe you have over your own life?”

Not much!

Now, that might strike some as a strange response, given that I’m sort of a control freak, but I think some of us CF types are that way precisely as a reaction to how little control we actually do have.

I mean, there’s really nothing I can do about so many things. Natural disasters come when they will, and sure I can have some bottled water and flashlights on hand, but I doubt those will help me in a real crisis. I don’t have the resources to create an underground bunker, assuming you can get to one in time and can last out whatever thing. What do you do in said bunker if you have a heart attack and need a doctor? Do you kidnap one and bring him with you just in case? How about surgery and meds?

Unnatural disasters are pretty much the same thing. I drive defensively, but there’s always some idiot blasting out of nowhere ~ and indeed one hit me and sped off three years ago. You try to plan for the “black swan,” but the one that appears is often not the one you modeled. I stay home a lot to avoid people and accidents, but a while back I fell in my bathroom and cracked my head on the tub.

Shit happens, and it keeps coming. I was contentedly living in my cozy apartment when the owner decided to switch things up, brought in a management company, and raised the rent 25%. Nothing I could do. Moving is expensive; housing in SoCal is insane. Leaving the area for a cheaper one… and hope to get a new job in my late 50s? Umm. I do feel trapped like a mouse.

How do I cope? Obsessively arrange my paper clips and shoes. Make sure all my socks are folded the same way. Keep items at right angles. Create lots of lists so I can cross things off. This all gives me the illusion of control in a chaotic world. But I know nothing is really in my control and that sucks.

(I am not seeking advice. Thank you!)


©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ39: This Magic Moment

Fandango’s provocative question

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Do you believe in magic? Define magic any way you wish and explain your belief about magic.”

My definition of magic (for the purpose of this discussion*) is events occurring via the supernatural ~ thats is, outside the realm of physical laws. Things that fall into this category include but are not limited to: vampires, ghosts, gods, and life after death. And my answer is no.

Certainly, there are things that science has yet to explain. But that doesn’t mean we should leap to the idea they were caused by “magic” ~ that’s what people did when they didn’t know anything. We know so much now… not me personally, but scientists and others who take more of an interest in keeping up with the latest developments in the various fields.

Now, for writing and poetic purposes, it can be fun to include some magic. I enjoy art that’s about escape from reality, so I often try to create the same myself. It makes life more sparkling to have these fantasies.

*Outside of this discussion, we can use the word magic (or magical) to mean a magic show/seance or something wonderful, such as a kiss by the beach, warm chocolate chip cookies, a snuggly puppy, or a spectacular piece of music.

I wouldn’t use it to describe cereal with little colored marshmallows however. Maybe s’mores…

At midnight…

With John Cusack…


© 2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ38: Lyin’ Eyes


Fandango provocatively asks…

Do you believe that honesty is always the best policy? Is there is ever a time or circumstance when dishonesty (lying) is justifiable? Please elaborate.

No. Yes.

(I’m going to skip over the obvious stuff about lying to a criminal to save someone’s life and situations like that. Or even lying to someone you care about to keep them from harming themselves. Tedious.)

Generally, of course, the truth is best. But there are exceptions. Sometimes kindness is better than truth, especially where things are a matter of opinion. You can also slant the truth, by wrapping it in a compliment. This is what we were taught to do when giving writing critiques. That’s called tact, and it’s certainly lacking on the internet, although not here in our little WP group.

You can also say nothing. This is the best advice I was ever given, and sadly I have not used it often enough. It’s perfectly fine to decline to comment, or to say hmm I’ll get back to you on that, or let me think about that one, etc. If pressed, you can say you can’t decide. It’s okay not to have an opinion on every issue (even if you do).

“I don’t know.” <~ Good answer to lots of controversial questions, particularly if you suspect the questioner is looking for a fight.

Kindness > bluntness.


© 2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ37: Agree to Disagree?

Fandango provocatively asks…

Is it possible anymore to disagree without being disagreeable?

He is mainly referring to the topics of politics and religion. I’m going to answer from my own personal experience, not what I perceive to be “out there,” which sometimes is fake fighting, designed to generate flames for views/clicks.

I used to be a more intolerant atheist and have mellowed as I’ve aged. I see the value in many Jewish customs ~ my family is Jewish. When I do have an issue with a particular practice (such as turning off the phone on Saturday), I find it much easier to agree to disagree than I did years ago. I find that life’s experiences have made me more open-minded to different ways of doing things.

As far as friends/bloggers, I’m not seeing any big arguments over religion. Maybe I’m not looking for them, in which case… great! I realize that people are still murdering each other over religion, or allowing the powerful to manipulate them into it, but that’s nothing new.

Now, let’s move onto politics. It appears that everything is horrible everywhere. But I don’t think this is something new. It seems more intense and in our faces all the time because of the internet and because the news channels have to produce content 24/7, but we could shut it off. I know. But we could. Pretend you’re Jewish and every day is Saturday.

People (was gonna say men, but Prof L may be reading) have been screaming about politics for centuries. They’ve been dueling over politics. Slandering and libeling each other. When were people civil? We had a scorched earth war in the US because we couldn’t work out our differences. Maybe we’ll end up in another one.

Can I personally disagree about politics without being disagreeable the way I can about religion? It’s much more difficult. I don’t really care if someone believes in an afterlife ~ this doesn’t impact me. I don’t believe it, and this doesn’t affect them. We can still be friends. It’s harder to be friends with someone who believes that the US is only for white people. In fact, I’d rather not be around someone like that at all, and vice versa, I’m sure.


© 2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ36: Ends & Means

Fandango’ Provocative Question

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Do you think the end or the means is more important? Explain.”

It depends on the situation.

It’s acceptable for firefighters to break down a door to save a life.

It is not acceptable for a neighbor to break down a door to grab a cookie just because they smell so delicious.

Live and learn, my friends! 🍪🍪🍪


© 2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ35: Standards

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Do you believe public figures (e.g., politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors) — or anyone, actually — should be judged by today’s standards for their words or actions from decades earlier? Why or why not?”

Yes, I do. The thing is real standards ~ well, mine anyway, and those are what we’re talking about here, amirite? ~ have not shifted with the tides. Fandango gives a few examples.

One example is the recently unearthed Reagan monkey comment. That absolutely should be judged by “today’s” standards. But in my view, not calling an entire ethnic group monkeys was always the standard, whether in the 1970’s or now. Maybe I had a weird upbringing, but my parents never used ethnic slurs and neither do I.

Now, I happen not to be a Reagan fan in general, so it doesn’t bother me to say eh that was bad. I don’t need to twist and squirm to defend my “hero,” since imo he isn’t one. There are a lot worse things he did than this! But if you are a Reagan fan, so what? No reason why you can’t admit your dude was flawed. Everyone is.

Another example Fandango gives is Biden on the Anita Hill hearings. I absolutely judge Biden for being a weak doofus back then who didn’t stand up for what was right and now we’ve been stuck with the godawful Thomas on the bench ever since. It’s not a matter of “today’s” standards ~ doing the right thing is evergreen.

However. That’s politics. We need to judge these people on their words and actions so we can make decisions about their future behavior and how it might impact our lives and our finances, the environment, etc. There are other milieus, such as film, music, literature, art, and everything else. Do I care what some musician said about blacks or women or whatever the fuck? Eh probably not so much. I just can’t get so worked up about entertainment types. They’re always saying stupid things. It’s not that I don’t care at all. I may get outraged for a minute.

That’s not to say if an entertainer makes a career out of being deliberately disgusting and offensive I’ll enjoy that. No. I’m not down with the Joan Rivers nasty school of humor. Sorry to use such an old example, but I saw her live once and she was so mean and gross; I don’t know of anyone currently comparable. I don’t seek it out.

If an artist I like makes a stray offensive comment… whatever. It’s pretty arbitrary though, I admit. I will get more tuned in to some things, like racism and antisemitism than rando sexist jokes/lyrics (such as the song in Fandango’s example). Sexism from a politician is important though; it clues me into actions they may or may not take that will actually affect people.

Bottom line: I do hold supposedly educated leaders and wannabes to higher standards. Not today’s standards. Just standards.


© 2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ34: Priorities

Fandango provocatively asks…

“What are the three biggest challenges your country (or, if you prefer, the world) is facing right now?”

People are people, and, newsflash, we all live on the same planet. Americans, Russians, Indians, tigers, whales, apples, wheat, bees, etc. Everything that affects one of us eventually affects us all, no matter how much money you have.

There was a scene in Game of Thrones where a lord (Ramsay) had a slave (Theon) so mind-controlled that the lord gave the slave a razor to shave the lord’s face and neck with. That’s where we are now. The powerful in the US are so convinced they have nothing to fear from the poor that they’re happy to have them armed to the teeth. We’ll see…

1. Poverty. It is unnecessary. We could help everyone do better. Don’t freak out ~ I’m not talking about “freebies.” The horror! But people want to do meaningful things. They want to work and live productive lives; it’s human nature. Why shouldn’t everyone who wants to work have a job and a decent place to live? I mean, duh. Not talking about kids, the disabled, and the elderly ~ they get a pass. The otherwise lazy should be killed, of course. 😂

2. The environment. Stop destroying it before every place is uninhabitable. I note the hypocrisy of celeb types who fly off in private jets to have confabs about this topic and generate mountains of waste in the process. Can’t they have a teleconference? We need to quit ruining our oceans! Idk what is wrong with people who don’t care about this. Just greedy, I guess. “I’m gonna own the libs by using plastic straws, ha ha.” Good job, idiots. You’ve just owned future generations out of sea life. The current libs you despise will all be dead, along with you. 🙄

3. Health care. What a freaking mess, at least in the US. It’s just ridiculous that we can’t take care of people. But it is important to control waste and corruption, and I don’t know how you do that, when all systems rely wholly on doctors to be ethical. I just remember when my frail 82 year old dad was scheduled for a totally unnecessary colonoscopy until I stopped them. But normally you have to depend on a doctor, on the spot; it’s not like you have time to scout around as if you were redoing your kitchen. Oh, hang on there, triple bypass surgeon guy, I need to get a couple more estimates… 😨

Okay, so these are my opinions. If you disagree, that’s fine, but be cordial about it. If you have intense, complex arguments to make against mine, then do your own post for this question. Don’t forget to link back to Fandango! 😀

FPQ33: The Moral Life

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Do you believe that one can be moral without believing in God or being religious, or do you believe that you must believe in God in order to have a moral compass and to live a moral life?”

For some reason, I feel I’ve answered this before, but maybe it wasn’t an FPQ. In any case, my answer is… it depends on the “you” who we’re talking about.

Surprised I didn’t flat-out say no? Well, that’s due to my arrogance. If we’re talking about me, then my answer is no. I don’t believe in God, and I’d say I’m pretty darn moral. Not perfect, but who is?

There are people who need belief in God to be moral though. I know the hardcore atheists will come at me for this, and I don’t care. Not everyone can “just decide” to do the right things, whatever they are. They need a reason beyond feeling good that they’re doing the right things. They need the promise of a reward and the support of their community. What’s wrong with that? Nothing!

I don’t need those things because of my huge ego. It’s self-sustaining enough to know I’m doing the right things and I can tell myself I’m good. How do I know what the right things are without a God? That’s the funny thing. With or without one, it turns out the things are not so different because, as maybe you know, men wrote all those rules.

And the basics hold up across systems. Treat others well. Don’t steal my parking space. Etc.

FPQ32: The Evil that Men Do

Fandango provocatively sez…

For this week’s provocative question, I am going to do something I haven’t before done in my provocative question prompt. I’m going to post something a fellow blogger wrote. In this case, the blogger is Judy Dykstra-Brown, and in one of her recent posts she wrote,

“I do believe that more evil has been done in this world by those absolutely sure of the rightness of their faith and their beliefs.”

So my question is this: do you agree with what Judy wrote? Why or why not?

Yes, I agree with this. I do think that mass evil is committed in the name of “righteousness,” not due to men knowing they’re wrong and believing they can get away with it. Some random crimes happen from the latter, but for coordinated grand scale evil to occur, not only do people need to believe they are right, but they must convince a certain portion of others also, enough to fight for them anyway. Not everyone needs to believe, but enough do, enough to intimidate the rest.

Sometimes, as it turns out, half the people don’t even need much persuasion to go along with horrible shit. It was already lurking there in their minds all along and they were just waiting for a nasty hateful unprincipled man with no boundaries to say what they were thinking.