Friday, April 18, 2014

A New Day

Hey World,

Wow, I really forgot about you for a good long time didn't I?  Let a whole year (and then some) go by without a word.  Of course, since I have no followers, no one would have really noticed.  Still, since I'm the one that started this whole blog thing, you'd think I'd have a little more responsibility towards my own creation.  Of course, if you knew me as well as I knew me, you wouldn't be surprised at how I could just let something I started fade into obscurity.  Well, further obscurity, since as I already mentioned, I have no followers.

But, it's a time for new beginnings (for about the third, or fourth, or fifth time).  It looks like Spring is finally here in more than name only.  I've started saving money for some rainy day where I just can't stand it anymore and need to go on vacation.  I'm trying to buy a house, although as it turns out I'm just as picky about houses as I am about men.  And, I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel for my book.  Of course, that means I still have to revise and edit, which is a whole other chore I can't even begin to contemplate.  But, at least I'll be able to say I finished something.  Something I wanted to do.  That's more than I've ever been able to say before.

So, I guess the real question is whether I'm happy or sad.  It all usually comes down to that.  Oh, there are elements to happiness and sadness.  A bunch of other descriptors of emotion that run the gamut between the lowest, flat out depression to the highest, soaring elation.  Most of us that are lucky will rest somewhere in the middle, maybe finding that accidentally fall on the side of happiness without even knowing it.  And I guess that's how it should be.  The truth is I don't really know where I fall.  I do know that I happened to be walking outside yesterday and noticed how blue the sky was and how nice the sunlight felt.  The world seemed a little bigger and I was a little further outside of my own hear.  And, it was pretty good.

It'd be nice to feel that way more often.  Maybe if I can find my way outside into the sun once in a while, I can get it back.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmastime is Here

Hey World,

Well, here it is, another Christmas and I'm visiting family.  I have a new chapter (or two) that I need to write before my next writers' meeting, I have a bunch of analysis I need to do before I go back to work on Friday, and I recently accepted a new job that I can't seem to stop stressing about.  Although, I guess all of that is a good kind of stress.  I mean, I could have no dream at all, no current job, and no future job to look forward to.  So, what do I really have to complain about?

So, again, here it is.  The time of year that people most dread and welcome.  It's hard to know what to expect to feel when the holidays roll around.  Growing up, Christmas for the average child in a fairly financially stable family can be magical.  But, the years come and for some the magic becomes a little less sparkly or fades altogether as life changes for the better or worse.  For me, it's still an enjoyable time, although I haven't gotten the kind of change I'd wished for in my youth.  Perhaps my presents no longer inspire quite as much joy, but they're still fun to open.  And perhaps I'd like to be able to spend bright and cheery days with someone that I've fallen in love with, but I still have all of my important loved ones around me.

I try to do a little bit for others, as that's what's truly important at this time of year; and I try not to let any of what may be the world's problems and tragedies impede on my clear sight of what the season should be.  I watch the old Christmas movies: Christmas Story, the Grinch, Rudolf, Frosty and Santa, while trying at the same time to avoid the saccharin sweet monstrosities most channels like Hallmark like to pass off as entertainment these days.  I try very hard not to let people get on my nerves, as they are likely to do as the mad rush of consumerism seems to get bigger and bigger every year, and I try to be a good daughter and granddaughter, at least for the few days that I'm around my mother and grandmother.

And, for me, that might be all there really is.  Doing my best and continuing to look for those pockets of happiness that are just within reach.  If I'm lucky enough to recognize them.  In it's own way, life is still more magical and heartbreaking than I ever thought it would be.  But, I get to live it.  And, I'll do that the best I can.  Or, at least try a little harder everyday I get.

Until next time.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Kid at Heart

Hey World,

Well, it's happened.  Another year has gone by and I'm now 29 years of age.  The last year of true youth, the last year I could realistically be called "Miss", and if doctors are right, probably the last year my reproductive system won't come with a cautionary asterisk.  That's right.  In a little less than 365 days I'll be the big three-o, and have to start taking this whole adulthood thing seriously.  Which, for me, is going to be an uphill struggle.

I've come to the realization (or should I say, I've always known) that I'm not the complete definition of an adult.  Oh, I am by dictionary standards.  I've attained my full size and strength, grown up, and matured physically.  Hell, I've been there for over ten years now.  Yes, I've got all the attributes of a female in the early-mid stages of her life.  However, that information didn't quite reach all portions of my brain.

Of course, I do do most of the things that come with adulthood.  I moved out of my mother's house, I hold a steady job, pay rent and all the bills, even vote in the occasional election.  However, I do not now, nor have I ever, felt like an adult.  In my mind, I'm still about a fifteen year old kid; which was about the age I really settled on my personality and outlook on life.  Every year that has passed since that age has run together and fallen into little patches of my past, but they all feel recent, within reach.  All of it seems only two years back.  Even while I know it's not.

But, even stranger than my amnesiac memory for the passage of time is my unchanging routine.  Many of the same things I did then, I still do today.  Which, in the grand scheme of things, probably doesn't mean much, but inside my own mind are fairly significant.  I still watch cartoons (in my own opinion, some of the more interesting and intelligent programming on television).  I still love to get up on Saturday mornings in my PJs and eat cereal.  Whenever I see a swing set, my first inclination is to find out how high I can go.  And, I still consider Halloween one of the best holidays out there if only because of the free candy.

Now, that isn't to say that I haven't augmented my routines somewhat.  In addition to cartoons, I'll occasionally catch the news (never for longer than ten minutes).  My Saturday morning cereal is no longer Fruity Pebbles or Twix, but instead a healthy, whole grain mix with fruit.  I no longer push other kids out of my way in the race to the swings.  And, I'm more likely to be giving out candy than Trick or Treating these days.

Still, I can't help but think of myself as a Kid at Heart.  Which, if the old cliche holds true, is supposed to be a good thing, right?  Of course, that might only be true if the kid side of you doesn't impede on things that adults find important.  Like love and building a family.  I could wish I was still immature enough to find boys icky, and to want nothing but my dolls to keep me company.  I could wish even more that I did not have the looming sense of my own mortality.  It was nice to feel the invincibility of youth.  To be unconcerned with both the trivialities and all too real responsibilities of grown ups.

Perhaps that's why I still like to think of myself as just a kid.  As long as I'm that, there's still time to get things right.  Mistakes are expected and accepted and the fulfillment of a dream is still something a long way in the future.  Of course, I guess that would make most people merely children, playing at dress up and hoping that they're getting it right.

Until next time.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Writer's Group / November 28

Word of the blog: Inertia (n.) - inertness, especially with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like; inactivity; sluggishness
Jade Rosen's inertia in regards to her blog did nothing to encourage followers, or herself.

Hey World,

Bet you thought I'd forgotten about you again.  Well, ha!  I've proved you wrong.  Sure, it's been a month, but I'm still here.  Sending out my random thoughts to the universe and hoping that somebody, somewhere reads them...  And knows what the hell I'm talking about, because I sure don't half the time.

So, what's up with me, you might ask.  In book news, I've finally come to the end of the revisions to the first half (God, please let me be half done with this book), which means I can officially begin writing new chapters.  Now, if I could manage to think those new chapters up in my head I might be able to get somewhere.  It's not that I don't have some idea of where I'd like this book to go.  It's just a clusterf#$% of information and ideas is brewing around in my mind with not too much rhyme or reason.  I should really hire a professional organizer to go through my upstairs and get everything in order.  But, those people are probably expensive and I don't have that kind of extra cash.  Guess that leaves me with sifting through the mess on my own.  Very time-consuming.

In family news, as we're in the midst of holiday season, I've just returned from spending Thanksgiving with my Mother in Atlanta and will soon be travelling to Pennsylvania to visit both Mother and Grandmother again for Christmas.  Joy to the world and all that jazz.  And while I'll be busy berating myself for over-indulging in all the food we love to eat and hate to exercise away, listening to my Grandmother complain of how she'll never be a Great-Grandmother, and crossing my fingers that I won't have to whip out the old credit card to pay my regular bills in addition to Christmas gifts; I'll also be thankful for the break and happy (never repeat I said that; have to maintain my apathetic exterior) to see at least my immediate family well.  And, there's always the hope that I'll score some good presents!

In work news, I'm still doing the same job.  But, I have had some prospects for a couple other positions.  Of course, both of them will heap greater amounts of work on me, leaving little time for me to pursue writing.  It's like these people don't know I'm only here for the paycheck and they actually expect me to want to advance in this career!  Don't they know I have no interest whatsoever in becoming a permanent part of their corporate structure?  Honestly, you give people a good few hours of work a day and it's like they want you to actually be useful.

Okay, was that enough sarcasm?  Because I can do more.  No?  That was good?  Good, then.  I am a little worried that I'll get so caught up in working that I'll lose track of the dream.  However, on the other hand, I'll still probably dislike whatever job I may get enough to keep pushing to the completion of the novel, despite exhaustion and stress.  In fact, it might get me even more motivated, so there's that.  And, I wouldn't turn my nose up at a raise in pay either.

In health news, I've actually started a regimen to get into some kind of shape other than round, which is a very good shape for say a ball, but apparently not so much for a human being.  It began a little before Thanksgiving and I'm happy to say has managed to be picked right back up after that holiday of food-induced debauchery.  The trick of it was to not think of losing weight, dieting, or getting in shape; but, to save money.  By buying my own food and making my own meals, I save over going to a fast food place.  By getting in a little activity I can hopefully stop having to buy new clothes in bigger sizes.  Although, if I actually manage to lose I'll have to buy new clothes anyway.  But, I'll then get to be as superior as all those skinny bitches who stroll into 5-7-9 or Forever 21 and can immediately get their -2 size jeans.  So, that would be money well spent.  And, on the plus-side, maybe I'll also be able to bring my blood pressure down enough that my doctor stops breathing down my neck everytime I go see her.  Getting the whole "you're gonna stroke out" spiel from a health professional is not high on my list of enjoyable experiences.

In personal news...let's see...there's, um...  Oh yeah, there is no personal news.  Still single.  Taking it one day at a time and hoping that spinsterhood syndrome (where I stop caring about my inability to relate enough to a single other person enough for them to want to sacrifice themselves in matrimony) kicks in soon.  Or, maybe just hoping at some point I can have enough time to spend on a pet I can lavish all of these disgustingly needy feelings on.  I mean, really, feelings are such a hassle.  I wonder if men get this at all?  Maybe it's just a smaller part of their brain.  Makes it easier to ignore when there are more logical things to consider, like when the next SportsCenter will be on, or if they really have to put on pants just to get the mail.  I don't know.  This romance thing is a chemical mystery I'm kind of wishing someone could cure if only so it would stop getting in the way of my concentration.

And, in other news, my birthday is coming up next week.  I'll be 29.  The last year of official youth.  I probably don't consider it as big a deal as others because I didn't really do anything with my twenties.  I certainly never had the crazy adventures that typically come standard to that age group.  No real heartbreak, crazy episodes with friends, or things to regret.  Well, other than I have nothing to regret.  And, while I still consider myself immature mentally, I've been pretty much otherwise responsible.  Maybe I'll be strange and all the excitement in my thirties.  Maybe I'm just boring.  Either way, it's a blessing to have made it another year without an overdose of tragedy.  Maybe that's the best way to look at it.  Every year I can get through that my life is still more up than down is a good one.  Things could be worse, much more so.  Put things in perspective and get past your complaints.  Look forward to that birthday and all the things the future can bring.  Might be cliche, but things get to be cliche for a reason.  They're usually true.

Until next time.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Writer's Group / October 23

Word of the blog: Apophasis (n.) - denial of one's intention to speak of a subject that is at the same time named or insinuated, as "I shall not mention Caesar's avarice, nor his cunning, nor his morality"
"...Now I have no desire to be a backseat driver--"  Apophasis, Chris thought; saying you're not going to say something in order to say it.  Nixon's favorite device, and Newt Gingrich's, and Karl Rove's--fine old Republican tradition.
    --John Barnes, Directive 51

Hey World,

I'm getting later and later with my posts after group, aren't I?  I have no defense.  I must throw myself upon the tender mercies of my readers and beg for forgiveness.  That is I would if I had any readers.  But, since this is me pretty much talking to the infinite abyss of the internet itself, no one was probably much on pins and needles waiting for my next post.  A dark cloud with a silver lining in that there was at least no one to disappoint when I got off schedule, although the no one part of that statement stings a little.

Anyway, I've lightly revised three more chapters and am ever closer to ending my grand re-write.  I'd hoped, back before I went on this binge to bring my writing up to snuff, that I'd be nearly completely finished with my book by this time.  But, if I've learned nothing else from this experience, I have learned that what we expect and what actually happens is much more than a hop, skip, and a jump away.  The whole of the grand canyon could fit between what I thought would be a novel I could finish in a year and the reality of what is now two years of work and still half a book to go.

Of course, I suppose that's much like anything else in life.  I mean, is there anyone, of modest means and average beginnings, that doesn't have some dream of what life might be like?  And, for most, does that dream not diverge ever so slightly as we grow to take on the daily trappings of of our own lives?  A pretty, poetic way of saying that the things we fantasize about as children will one day be crushed under the heel of adulthood.  For some, the crushing probably won't be so absolute.  Hell, for some maybe there's no crushing at all and they are instead introduced to some new dream that eclipses the old one.  But, as a realist I still believe that most people leave behind what they thought they knew of life when they were young and settle instead for the contentedly mundane everyday that we all know so well.

So, the real question is: in the long-run is that okay?  I mean, even with my hobby of writing this book I've dreamed about how my life would change if it actually became popular.  Authors are not exactly the first-tier of celebrities, but they do enjoy a certain presence within the public eye.  How I would handle such a rise in my own social standing has occupied no little bit of my time.  But, that doesn't mean it will happen.  Should I be able to finish this book, get it edited to give it near perfect form, have it published by traditional or self route, and actually gain readers doesn't mean it will allow me to throw off the weight of my existing life in exchange for one I would find more palatable.  In fact, the odds are more stacked against, than for me.  And I have to think about that.

I have to have a backup plan where I get on with the ordinary.  It's not a word most people probably want to be associated with.  Everyone wants to feel--wants to be--special.  Maybe not to the whole world, but at least to one or two other people.  They want to be held up as important and necessary within their family, or social group, or workplace.  They want to be anything, absolutely anything, other than ordinary.  But, that's kind of what most people are.  There may be a few moments in life where you have an extraordinary epiphany, but for the vast majority of us those will be far between.

I'm not sure there should be anything wrong with ordinary.  To me ordinary people, like my mother and grandmother, do what needs to be done for their families, try to help others when they can, and learn to enjoy the simple things in life that can make it enjoyable.  Maybe they don't have every building block that makes up true self-actualization, but they do have a sense of self that allows them to make the sacrifices of a purely selfish life in the hopes that they can have a certain degree of pride in how they live.

And, when I think about it, that's not a bad way to be.

Until next time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Writer's Group / October 17

Word of the blog: Veloce (adj.) - played at a fast tempo
And when I tired of reading I would swim in my pool, parting the azure blue water like a veloce human knife.
    --Sergio De La Plava, A Naked Singularity

Hey World,

The close of another week.  Where did the time go?  Not that I'd want to go back to the beginning of the week.  I just wish I could remember what I've been doing with myself the past five days.  Working...yes.  Eating and sleeping...definitely.  Trying not to pitch a fit when someone asked me for one more piece of data after being inundated by waves of Excel spreadsheets and dizzifying rows and columns of numbers...yup, got it covered.  The rest of the time must, therefore, have been spent in a drowsy haze of self-imposed amnesia of the just completed working day and decided denial of the morning's 6 'o clock hour, at which time I'd have to get up and start all over again.  Yeah, that just about covers it.  With so much to do, you'd think it would have been easier for me to recall.  (By the way, that last line was sarcasm, just in case you missed it)

At least I managed to complete another chapter.  Not a new one or anything, but it did have new parts to it, which after the last few weeks required a supreme effort to get down on paper (again with the paper, I use a computer for God's sake).  I'd like to say that group this week encouraged me to forge ahead and to look upon the upcoming new chapters I have to write with excitement, but that wouldn't be precisely true.  After group it was more something that had to be done.  Like taxes or exercise (the latter of which I refuse to believe is fun for anyone; I don't care what all you skinny people say about endorphins, I know it's a conspiracy).  My feeling on my book is pretty much summed up in all those cliches about continuing on: going too far to turn back, in too deep, way past the point of stupidity to try and get smart now.  (That last one I might have made up)

But, you get my point.  Even if what I'm writing isn't especially good, even if no one's especially excited to read it (I mean, I'm not putting them to sleep, but it's probably not exactly heart-poundingly, edge of your seat, gripping stuff), even if I think I'd like to give it all up as a lost cause...I can't.  I can't let go.  And maybe I should, but...maybe I don't want to.  It's mine, you know.  It's all mine.  Like a (good) mother who just happened to have an ugly baby.  Just because it's ugly doesn't mean you love it any less.

Well, this is my ugly baby.  I've nurtured and cared for it past infancy.  It's now a toddler, about to graduate into being a pre-teen, and all I can do is tell it how beautiful I think it is; no matter what anyone else might say.  Everyone already knows the truth, but what can I say?  Beauty's in the eye of the beholder.  And, I might be blind to it, but at least it's an admitted blindness full of good intentions.

I think I've stretched that metaphor about as far as it will go.  So, what else...what else?  Oh, I booked my ticket to go visit my mother over Thanksgiving holiday.  I know, I previously got done talking about how I've never had a "real" vacation, but you've got to spend holidays with family, right?  It's like some kind of unspoken rule, set in stone the day you're born and signed in blood when you first move out of the house.  And, it's not like I'm against visiting my mother.  She's not one of those that smother me to death (to the point of unconsciousness, sure; but never death), she's pretty non-judgemental (unless it comes to my weight, and probably my romantic life, if I had one), and she loves to laugh and have a good time.  Other than her boundless amounts of energy, and her asking me to go out and play tennis with her, it should be a good trip and fulfill my role as dutiful (somewhat caring) daughter.

I'll also probably see my best friend while I'm there.  Looking back on how much our lives have changed over the past four years alone is daunting.  Actually, looking back on how much her life has changed over the past four years is daunting.  My recent past is more pathetic.  I mean she got married, was in a car accident, lost her father, became an aunt twice more, and managed to bring herself from the brink of a debt crisis.  Compared to that, I've moved to a small city and...  I don't know, gained weight.

Okay, this is all starting to sound depressing, which is not how I wanted it to come out.  Maybe I should stop now, while I'm somewhat ahead.  Hell, you probably stopped reading a while ago (if there was anyone to read this at all) so I could say almost anything at this point.

Anything like...MAGIC BANANAS!  :-)  I don't know why that makes me laugh, but it always does.  There, I feel better now.  Don't you feel better?  I thought you would.  Never underestimate a little well-placed, humorous crazy.  It works wonders for your mental well-being.  Also keeps other people on their toes.  No one wants to mess with the crazy person.  Trust me, I know. [slightly manical laughter]

On that piece of good advice I'll say, until next time.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Writer's Group / October 9

Word of the Blog: Litotes (n.) - understatement, especially that in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in "not bad at all"
I know it's a textbook example of what lit-crit geeks like to call litotes, a figure of speech in which an affirmative is expressed through the negation of its opposite...
    --Mark Derry, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

Hey World,

A little late with my after group post, but I guess sometimes (or all the time) I let things get away from me.  Well, this week I only turned in a few chapters with minimal revisions.  Nothing very exciting.  And nothing new.  I might be in a slump, putting off getting to the end of my revisions so I won't have to start writing again.  It's kind of a scary thing.  Even though I know I want to finish this novel to see if there's any future in this career path for me, it's still frightening to think I have to put myself out like there like that.  Hell, it's bad enough when I get a bad critique in group, and most of those people like me.  I imagine it'll be even worse from someone who has no inclination to spare my feelings.

Still, I have to do it.  This past week proves that (yet again) more than ever.  But, you've probably heard enough of that, and oddly enough I don't really feel like re-hashing it again.  I'm tired.  Very tired and would much rather talk about something else altogether.

So, what's to talk about...hmm...let's see...  Well, I'll say that I've really been thinking about something I've always wanted to do, but never had the guts (or money) to undertake and that's travel.  To this point in my life, and I'll let you know I'm in my very late 20s, I've never had a vacation that didn't include my family.  Every holiday and trip has been with my mother and/or grandmother.  And they're both lovely people, very funny and slightly crazy, which is where I must have gotten it from.  But, of late, this has seemed less like vacation time and more like an extended weekend where I'm re-establishing ties with loved ones.

There's nothing wrong with that, only...I'd really like to have a full-scale vacation wherein I make all the decisions and don't have to worry about anyone's feelings.  It would be wonderful to go somewhere and not have a voice telling me that I shouldn't be lazy, or that I need to try this, that, and the other.  To have no expectations of the day other than what I make them to be.  That would be great.  Of course, it would be better with a friend or someone more who was of the same mind, but we can't have everything.  My best friend is recently married and needs to save her money, and I'm single, so it looks like I'll need to vacation by myself.

Now I just have to decide what to do.  Should I start out small?  Maybe a short trip to a B&B in my state.  Or maybe expand out to a vacation spot around the country that wouldn't cost too much.  Of course, there's always a cruise.  I wouldn't have to go very far, maybe the Caribbean or some other exotic locale.  Or should I go for the full enchilada?  I've always wanted to visit Japan (don't ask me why).  Looking around on the internet there are a couple tours that would help me get around in a country so far and different from the place I call home.

If you're trying to get through your bucket list, do you start with the easiest thing and work your way up, or just dive in headfirst?  An interesting question since the point of a bucket list is to do all the things you've dreamed of doing and never had the wherewithal to get to.  Maybe I should think about it less and just do.  Isn't that the point of a bucket list anyway?  Stop thinking of what you want to do and do it while you still can.  I'm still (fairly) young and (fairly) healthy.  What better time is there than here and now?  Excitement certainly isn't going to come to me.  I've learned that very well during the course of my all to mediocre life.  I'm gonna have to go find it somehow.  Even though the thought of doing so is somewhat exhausting.  But, there I go thinking again.

I've really got to learn to stop doing that.  Otherwise, I'm never gonna get anywhere.

Until next time.