This is Blood-Visions with 01604ever.
This is Blood-Visions with 01604ever.
That's why I'm writing this post. I've avoided my blog. I've been avoiding writing in general. Not all summer. I had a good run in the beginning. I've had a lot of introspection and a lot of deep thoughts but it's been scattered. I've been writing in pieces. That might sound confusing if you're not a writer. You're writing, so that's good, right? But when you're writing in pieces that often means you're not finishing. It's a lot of jumping around.
There were some deaths this summer. People I knew, people gone much too soon. There have been shootings. Everything all in a row like it always seems to happen. I've been sad. Not depressed or distraught, just sad in a deep way. Just heavier. Sometimes there is so much going on in your head and your heart that you can't get anything out.
But it's hard because it feels like you owe it to get it all out. Owe to whom or what I don't know. Maybe that other person who might be going through the same thing?
So... I knew the victim of a workplace shooting. I lost a family member to sudden cancer. I know a family who lost their child to cancer after years of fighting. There were all too young for what happened. I don't often talk about these types of tragedies because they're not my stories to tell. (And I feel very strongly that I don't deserve attention for other people's pain.) But in this cycle of avoidance that I've been in, I suddenly feel like I should speak my experience. Especially in the wake of other mass shootings. It's been utterly heart-wrenching. Those days where everything just seems very heavy and seeped in sorrow. Those days where anxiety rules and won't let go. Those days where nothing seems to improve. I feel it, too. You are not alone. You are never truly alone, even when it feels like it.
And yet... I still believe in people . I still think the world is full of amazing things. I still have faith.
Perhaps the greatest weight is that the world holds both all the time. And we have to hold it, too.
I'm not saying anything new here. I'm not offering any solutions. I think I'm just saying... I've been sad. It's OK to just be sad. It's OK to grieve that life is hard. It's OK to still smile, too. To keep going.
(I thought I was avoiding writing. Funny how that happens, huh? As all these feelings crash down.)
Love you guys. - wg
It is the end of the school year! Usually by this time, there have been so many events and and extracurriculars and end of year of projects (besides getting up at the ungodly hour of 7:00 o'clock every morning for months!) that we're all a little bedraggled and ready for a good summer rest. Summer plans are made but the day to day is vague and heavily reliant on "nothing". But I don't know, this time it feels different. There is energy in the air. It feels like something is about to HAPPEN. I don't know what exactly, but it feels like purpose is stirring.
*shiver* Ooh! It's all vague and oracular and delicious feeling. (I should totally write horoscopes. But not, you know, ones tied to astrology because I don't know anything about that. Except my ADHD and talking shit is so Gemini.)
Maybe I'm just not as tired, maybe I'm ramping up with the sun. I feel like writing a lot. I think about writing all the time. So perhaps, this summer, will be... extra productive? (Don't jinx, don't jinx, don't jinx.)
Fingers crossed please.
I seemed to have tweaked a muscle in my collarbone. I wasn't even doing anything, just sitting at a meeting and when I moved it felt funny. I didn't think pulling that particular area was even possible. I mean, I can't flex my breasts like Dwayne Johnson can. Especially not both girls separately. He really gets them going so that seems like he would pull a boob eventually. (I suppose I should call them "pecs" but that just seems silly. We all know he's boob popping.) I figure there must be a gene that lets you isolate those muscles. One I don't have. (I had to immediately go google that by the way. If the government is really tracking all of our google searches then I bet there's a file on me somewhere that is a real interesting read. (Google results were, sadly, inconclusive. But don't worry Google, even though you let me down, I still love you.)) I also don't have that gene for rolling your tongue into a straw. But despite that I HAVE taught myself to sort of whistle weakly! Like an airy, tuned hiss. I am very proud of that. I can do two, maybe three notes. I might, someday, be even able to do a limited variety of bird calls! A girl can dream.
I guess I'm kind of addicted to internet searches. I google stuff all the time! Sometimes I go to bed and then something pops in my head and I have to look it up or I can't sleep. Have you ever tried to sneak google so your family doesn't catch you? (Me too!) I'd like to say I can quit at any time but I'm not sure that's true. I blame it on my parents and the educational system. I collect knowledge like a magpie. Then I promptly forget that knowledge because I'm old and I have to google it again. It's an addiction that feeds itself! Well, I do remember random juicy facts like platypuses only have one working ovary and toilets come in different heights. Because I totally need to know both of those. (Actually, the toilet one comes in handy. I'm short.)
Anywho, if I've really pulled a muscle in my collarbone a quick search says I need to stick rice on it? Wait, no, that's an acronym, R.I.C.E. Yeah, that's too much work. Did I mention that I have a short attention span?
Holy shit, I just googled the rolling tongue gene and it's been debunked!! Our educational system LIED!
Ugh! I did not mean to let so much time pass between posts. Things got real busy real fast. I got called for jury duty right about the same time that I realized I needed to plan whatever we were going to do for the summer, and also at the same time that I needed to get a bathroom remodel going because, oh my god, our bathroom is falling apart.
I mean, it's functional. It works, you can use the toilet and take a shower and all that. Just try not to pay attention to the dripping faucets (3), broken drawer (1+), the mineral buildup that even acid won't eat through anymore, and the mysterious stains that look unmysteriously like (ahem) mold. The last time it was updated was somewhere around '89/'90 so... You know when people say things like "My bathroom/kitchen/bedroom is perfect! I love it! I'm going to keep it this way for the rest of my life!!" Well, I can tell you from personal experience, 30 years later a lot of stuff is going to be broken.
But I gotta give it to the previous owners... lasting 30 years shows they bought quality stuff! However, I am over 80s mauve and colonial blue. SO. OVER.
For those of you who don't know what mauve is... behold! This is almost the exact shade of our bathroom tile. Everywhere you look.
As part of the compendium of hideous mauve items you can also enjoy a mauve skinny tie or skinny jeans.
The jeans are a slightly more palatable shade. However, I don't think those hips are real. Or maybe her waist. Something was definitely photoshopped there.
Here's a beautiful cake in mauve! But let's face it, out in the end, it's not gonna be pretty.
In fact, when you type "horrible things in mauve" in google, Barney the dinosaur pops up! Although technically, Barney is horrible purple. Mauve as well were quite a number of bridesmaids dresses that are just trying too damn hard. There is also a book, "Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World"!
Um... my bathroom thanks you?
I gotta tell you I'm not digging this menopause thing. It's painful, lumpy, awkward, and odd. There are also smells. Years ago, I put together a whole list of the Things They Don't Tell You in Lamaze, all the silly, gross, funny details and shared experiences of pregnancy. I'm half-tempted to start a new list for menopause. Except I'm really hoping it'll be over before I have enough for a list. Really, really hoping. Who I am kidding? I've already got enough; I just don't want to relive them.
The symptom I'm currently enduring is my boobs growing. Because, apparently, one out of five women's breasts get bigger during menopause! Who the hell knew that?! It never even occurred to me that could happen. I believed that once you were done growing, except by pregnancy or purchase, your boob size was set. But no! At first I thought my girls were just bloating, like maybe I ate too much salt. Then I thought my bras were worn out, that's why everything felt weird. Then I got mad at the manufacturers for changing the design of my favorite bra because it used to fit! Damn you bra manufacturers! Just stick with the design already. My ta-tas were sore and sensitive, too. That's when I realized it was hormonal and I thought, "oh, well, the swelling will go down soon". But it hasn't gone down. I bought bigger bra sizes and they still didn't feel great. In fact, some days I don't want to wear anything at all, except now I've got flotation devices bobbing all of the place. Then I went and got professionally fitted. It was the fitter who casually mentioned breast growth during menopause. I still didn't think that was happening. But my hooters kept swelling, everything kept hurting, it all just seemed out of place. Finally, digging through the internet, I read up on it.
One out of five.
The worse thing is how blind-sided I felt. It's not like they went over this in that puberty class in 5th grade. "As your body goes through hormonal changes you may experience sore breasts, mood swings, acne, possible weight gain, and painful cramping. Oh, and by the way, you'll go through all of that again when you have kids. AND when you go through menopause. Enjoy!" That would have been helpful. Or any class on menopause would be helpful! How about just an informational luncheon? Older ladies coming together to share a new chapter of The Talk. "Well, dear, things may start falling out of your twat now. Or it'll dry up. It's hard to tell. " It's the stage that no one covers. You'd think there would at least be a pamphlet on menopausal breast growth because one out of five is, you know, kind of significant.
And that's just the tip of the tender iceberg. Everyone hears about hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings, but there's a whole slew of other symptoms that I, at least, had never heard about. Enough wacko symptoms to make you think you're going crazy.
So if you've got a menopause story, feel free to share it. I'd love to be crazy with company.
Things have been alternately busy and pokey lately, in that way that culminates in having too much to do one day and not caring to do anything at all the next. On the busy end, my kiddo (who is suddenly much too grown up) finished his play for drama and his drum show and then went off on an 8th grade D.C. trip during spring break. Whoof! (Yeah, a whole lot could be unpacked there but I'm putting it on hold lest I go maudlin.) And in two weeks he has auditions for high school! (Oh, my heart.) In between all that we have a bathroom remodel coming up and I'm trying to organize summer plans.
And then there are those moments where I just stare for way too long at this game on my phone that involves making matches and hatching dragon eggs. Come on, everyone needs a dragon.
So while I sort out where my head has gone while my legs went in another direction I'll leave you with a bit of music.
This is Vola Tila, with New Behaviour. Cheers!
I seem to be in a good writing groove at the moment (knock on wood, fingers crossed, step on a cat... wait, no). I've hit a pocket of ideas for the second book that I'm exploring and it's turning into some interesting copy. I have a rough outline and an idea of the big story arc, but I'm still definitely in the experimenting phase. I actually really enjoy this part. All the small details start to come out but it's still very open and organic. I begin recognizing layers of themes; ones I intended but also surprises that develops as I write. It's always fun to see what your unconscious comes up with when you're not paying attention. (Sneaky, sneaky unconscious.) I get to play while I'm writing and that's always more fun than "hurry up and finish and/or fix".
I'm still not the fastest writer but I'm happy if I'm steady. I find I waffle between being furiously jealous of "fast writers" and slightly disappointed in the results of said fast writing. I mean, a lot of the time when I read someone who says they're a fast writer it's still really good (then, oh the jealousy). But sometimes, sometimes I'll read something and it feels... well... rushed.
But I'll be honest, the envy still wins out. If I could get to twice my current word count and still feel like I'm playing... I'd be very, very happy. ♥
I wrote this a year and a half ago...
"Occasionally I come up with mottos for my life. It's entertaining and sometimes pithy. Or maybe they're just mottos for the moment, since I keep changing my mind and creating new ones. But one of the overarching lessons I keep running into through my trials and tribulations is this one: Stop holding back, Girl!
Which is a little scary because I'm not exacting a shrinking wallflower. And maybe that is the point because I think I need to scare myself a little."
I never posted it; it's been sitting in forgotten draft mode this whole time. It's interesting to see where I was then. That unfinished post was about my tendency to curb my gut instincts. It was about letting my fears get in the way of starting things, of second guessing that I knew what I was doing, or that what felt right was too strange, or what I wanted to accomplish was too much. It's funny how often the strength of our power and the strength of our doubt mirror each other. I was essentially afraid to trust myself.
But part of me must have remembered that motto because since then I've finished a novel and I'm starting another. I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone a number of times. I've tried new things. I was successful at some things and not others. I've been proven wrong when I thought I knew something and I learned because of it. It was hard, but it was great.
Lately I've been getting a lot of messages from the universe that seem to boil down to an entirely different motto...
I just got used to not holding back, to getting things done, to just do it! I accomplished quite a bit in the last year and a half. I've gotten real good at being in control of all the details to accomplish things! I became the master of my own destiny. Except now I'm supposed to... not be the master.
*groan* I'm not sure which motto is scarier. And have no doubt, I am scaring myself, I am uncomfortable. I know (with the gut instinct I've learned to trust) that in another year or two there will be more progress, there will be more accomplished, there will be more learned, and there will probably be another step and a new motto. I know this! But I gotta ask... why does every incidence of growth require so much dang discomfort?
(Until then, breathe and repeat... "May I open to my experience just as it is. May I open to my experience just as it is. May I open to my experience just as it is." Taken from the Self Compassion Pause.)
Anyone who knows me (or has visited this blog before) knows I am not a cook. I can bake up a storm and make anything with sugar, I'm just not skilled with, like, the stove and meat and stuff. Plus, Keen's food tastes way better than mine, and even if I'm a crappy cook that doesn't make me stupid. Given a choice I'll eat the tasty dishes, thank you very much. But I have been trying to expand my skills over the years, considering I have a young'n to provide for on the days when my husband isn't home. Tonight I made this delicious, easy casserole and now I'm going to share it all with you just like those professional cooking blogs! Aren't you excited?
Step 1. Get your husband to poach some boneless, skinless chicken thighs for you. (Pan frying is OK, too.) Point out that the chicken will go bad if he doesn't cook it or entice him with whatever favors he prefers. (This is a family blog so I'm not going to go into detail.) Firmly turn down his offers to "teach you" how to poach. That's just his enabling tendencies.
Step 2. Get a frozen Stouffer's Mac and Cheese family size dinner! Microwave that sucker according to directions. No, really.
Step 3. While the mac'n'cheese is cooking, chop/shred the chicken into chunks. They might fall apart like mine did. I tried making them into those cute little chicken blocks you see at the store. I don't know what happened there.
Step 4! Season the chicken with assorted spices, because did you know that poached chicken is super plain? Yeah, me either. I used salt, pepper, celery salt, and poultry seasoning. It was easy. I just threw the spices on the chopping block and mushed it around with a spoon.
Step 5! Pull the mac'n'cheese out of the microwave and transfer it to a slightly larger pyrex dish. Then microwave 1 cup of frozen peas in a separate bowl until cooked. I used Trader Joes peas so you know they're all healthy and organic and crap 'cause they use those special organic freezers that keep the healthy bits in.
Step 6!! When the peas are done drain the pea water (ha, pea water), then mix them and the chicken into the mac'n'cheese. Stir well.
Step 7!! Top with shredded cheese and bread crumbs. Both of which Keen fortunately had! Then pop the whole thing back into the microwave for another 2-3 minutes until everything is heated through.
Step 8!!! Scream at your family to come look at the almost homemade looking, delicious creation you have made!! Threaten to take away your child's video games if they do not comply.
And finally... eat. Yum! Bask in the validation.
Thank you. Thank you very much. - wg
Well, this blog has unofficially gone from having a baby to entering menopause. I say "unofficially" because while my hormone levels are technically well in the grooving to the oldies range I'm still having spotty encounters with Aunt Flo, and while I love and honor Auntie in my life, it's really about time she stop popping by. It's not you, it's me. OK, some of it is you. You never call, you're kind of flighty. You're always talking about cats and making a mess. You eat all my chocolate. I'm done.
Anywho, I think the confluence of high hormones and cranky Aunt is making my OBGYN's head explode a little as he has insisted on doing a biopsy. (Because, you know, the medical community... they'll do one study on women in the 80s and then insist that every woman is JUST LIKE those twenty women in the study always!* Then they'll go back to testing important medicine like penile enhancement.) Do you know what a uterine biopsy is like? It's like changing a tire, except instead of using the jack to hike up the car you use that on the girly bits to crank open muscles meant to hold in a baby roughly the weight of a bowling ball. Those muscles? They're like barre workout strong! (I took a barre class once and it kicked my ass. Sore for days.) Then after you've cranked the muscles open, you take a long pokey stick and scrape your insides. Scrape your insides!! Because you get to feel everything. So. Much. Fun.
Well. Two weeks until we get the results for that. Which kind of reminds me of when we were trying to have kid number two; there was a lot of waiting. It wasn't that long ago. I mean, over the course of my whole life, fertility to non-fertility really kind of flew by. Say, if I live to 90 that means only about 30ish years were baby-making years. That's kind of weird. Especially since I started this blog because I had a kid.
But that also means that for most of my life I won't be having periods, so WOOT! New chapter, baby!
*Not based on scientific fact. Just lots of observation.
I was cruising curvy Barbies (because yay! real women!) on Amazon, and of course I go for the redheaded one, even though she's not actually as much of a redhead in real life as she was online. More of a strawberry blond. Not even a true ginger. (Commit Mattel.) But! She's got a butt! I've got a butt! AWESOME! She's super pretty, too. Just beautiful if she were a real girl. Now I kind of see why some people get obsessed with dolls and then do too much plastic surgery. (Not really.)
So despite the disappointing lack of redness I'm glad I bought her. Then Mattel made it up to me because as an afterthought I searched for other redheaded Barbies and I found...
GAME DEVELOPER BARBIE!!!
She's got punk red streaked hair! And glasses! And jeans! And AND an army green jacket over her nerdy grey t-shirt!
HOLY CRAP, this is me!!!
I have never seen my style epitomized in a doll before. She is lacking a booty and her hair is long and straight instead of short and curly. But you know, it's pretty damn close. The essence is there. I bet she watches anime and Doctor Who, too.
My two as yet unnamed redheaded sisters. Although I'm thinking Cat for the hot curvy one. Cat's a feminist. Obviously.
My nerdy girl is going to need more time for her name. If you got ideas shout 'em out in the comments. I need some inspiration. Here she is spending too much time on the Internet again. Twinsies!
My husband smiles every time he sees her, my punk nerd Barbie. Lucky me. ♥
On Valentine's weekend I attended the 2019 San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC). I've gone to this conference three or four times now and I always come away inspired... but I have to say this last trip I just really enjoyed myself! I met great people, I liked the sessions, and it felt extremely personally productive. (Pretty funny considering I didn't write a lick while I was there.) I had a consultation with Agent Laurie McLean that was especially helpful. (Thank you!)
I know there are writing conferences out there that are focused on the craft of writing, with writing workshops or mentorships, and I'd like to try one of those sometime. However, what I like about SFWC is that it includes business and industry view sessions, such as how to get started online, marketing ideas, or discussing trends in a particular genre. Maybe it's just the marketer in me but I love those sessions. I'm all about learning the industry in order to succeed. In particular, I feel like I learn what I'm doing right as a writer and that's very validating. Second, I learn what I may be doing wrong in a way that let's me course correct in actionable ways. And third, I come away with tips, data, and inspiration. Yay! (I wish I was this type A in highschool; I would have gotten better grades.)
And big win... I met a lot of other cool writers, several of whom were interested in writing groups or swapping critiques! I also approached presenters several times during the conference, either for professional advice or just to chat, and everyone was open and nice. Writing conferences can feel overwhelming, if not downright terrifying, so I think that friendly attitude goes a long way. Especially for those writers who may be more introverted. (I mean, I was a mess of nerves the first time I went and I'm not a shy person at all!)
For writers out there thinking about attending a conference, especially one with a business bent, I recommend checking out SFWC*.
*Totally not a paid plug. I just like to gush.
I have been slogging through loglines/elevator pitches for the last couple of weeks. I have discovered that it is much easier to write a logline before you write the actual book! This sounds like a disaster but it's actually helpful, because when I have the book complete I do that writer thing where I blather on like, "Well, it's about this girl who has a temper and gets bullied for her special needs and then she's trapped, and there's magic and homeless people and, oh! and there's this bad guy and then another bad guy, but it's really about belonging and self-empowerment couched in the metaphor of Alice in Wonderland and there's spirituality and chocolate and mushrooms and..."
There is no chocolate. Why is there no chocolate?
I just have too many of the details living in my head, breathing their importance down my neck, clambering for attention, screaming for sugary goodness. "Don't forget me!"
However, my second book that I've just started, where I have nothing but a few thousand words and a preliminary outline? That logline popped right out. I was half asleep even and poof! (Speaking of which, why hasn't anyone invented the machine yet that can capture the brilliant ideas we have while we're sleeping? It could be an app even! Just stick that electrode on your forehead, plug it into your phone, and snooze. That would be SO USEFUL!)
So THAT is my new plan... write the pitch before you write the book.
That and completely silly pitches for stories that don't exist keep popping into my head. I'm just calling that practice. Like this one, in movie narrator voice of course...
In a world ruled by sorrow, where the horrific SKINBEARS use tears as currency, the perpetual perky PETRA must team up with the dour CANDYMAN to beat the system or have her smile crushed out FOREVER!! (ever… ever…) She only wants to smile… but it may be HER DEATH!
*dun dun DAH!!!*
Sometimes I get things in my head that I just need to get out into the world. I suspect a lot of people do. Ideas that bite and nibble at you until you do something about them. Usually it's words. Sometimes it's art projects, big and small. Some I get done, some I abandon, some I say "someday". The most frustrating ideas are the ones that I don't have the tools for. (Yet.) Some of them are things I know I can't bring into existence. Ones that are just so much essence and spirit and energy that I revert back to words in the hopes that someday I'll capture some small part of their being. It would make me sad, those things, except that I know that they exist anyway. Just not here.
It's that time of year again. New year, same old crap to sort through! I really really really want an intern to clean out my email for me. And yes, before you ask, I only clean my inbox about once a year, sometimes twice. Because it takes a looong time. And it is boring. And I get mouse shoulder from all the clicking. And did I mention boring? I suppose if I had racier emails it would be more entertaining but I don't. Maybe I should start an illicit pen pal affair. Preferably with someone who is slightly outrageous and inappropriately funny, but also kind of unreliable. Then when I got an email it would always be a pleasant and titillating surprise! That'd be kind of awesome. So... any takers? I mean, for the intern. I really need to clean my email. I'll pay $10 an hour plus cookies. No?
It's especially bad this time of year because of all the holiday ads. I probably have at least 1000 ad emails alone. I try to unsubscribe everywhere you can unsubscribe but you cannot order a SOCK without them putting you on the list again! I mean, that's just unproductive, marketing to the cheapo buying socks. You're much better off targeting the person who spent $500 on a sweater instead of hanging out in my inbox unread. Although, I admit, some of the cluttering emails are for good causes that I stay subscribed to totally out of guilt. Like the Red Cross. I know where their office is to volunteer or take a class. But I feel bad for their volunteer marketing teams, because you know it's a bunch of college kids just trying to get enough experience to land their first job, so I keep getting their emails even though I don't want them. (I'm helping!) I used to get emails from some of the civil rights advocacy groups*, too. But then their emails starting getting really obnoxious, like super demanding and kind of needy. And righteous. Righteous obnoxiousness is the worst! Like reformed smokers** or those people who make everything into smoothies. I mean, seriously, stop making cheeseburgers into smoothies! It's not healthier because you put it in a blender! Just eat it regular-like! Maybe stop halfway through and eat some veggies! DAMN! It's not that hard!
Unlike cleaning my email, which, since no interns have applied, I suppose I'll have to do. (le sigh) Maybe I'll just do an alphabet letter a day, like all the Zs first. If I start backwards the emails won't have a chance to multiply, right?
Yeah, that makes sense. - wg
*I support your cause, not your attitude.
**Just kidding, I love reformed smokers. You are my jam!
Christmas is over and I am sadly relieved. It is always such a rush and a crash and a conundrum to get everything DONE! And while you are doing so everything else from your previous non-holiday life stops, whether you intended to stop or not. Somehow I forget that every year, how all-consuming it can be. Like the memory repressing hormone that kicks in while you're pregnant, only for gift wrapping and baking and frantic cleaning before guests arrive. You remember the jolly instead of the exhaustion. Or part of me remembers, but it sort of lurks in the background, blocked by holiday laughter and pretty bows. And then suddenly it's all over. But before you quite catch your breath the New Year is here and you have to start all the things that stopped again. Plus, whatever the plans are for the future.
Oy. Deep breath now.
But you know, in the end... all those people and all that love, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I've had muscle spasms in my back on and off for the last couple of months, but I gotta say this week... this week has been a doozy. I've been trying to be good with stress, and eating well (dessert doesn't count), and taking the right supplements, and EXERCISE! I admit I'm having a hard time finding that balance of not too much and not too little. In fact, this all started when I started working out again. I just thought I injured myself, and I would get better, but I haven't. And now that my body has had a taste of the exercise... it wants more! I mean, what the hell, body, this is the addiction you're gonna choose? I don't even like exercise, and besides it hurts!
I can't find the thing that's setting off the muscle spasms, or strike the right balance of activity. All I know for sure is my body doesn't like to sit for long periods of time, which is kind of a problem when you're a writer. Staring at a computer is a big part of the job. Or have to drive a car. Or want to binge watch TV. I've been sitting (heh) with the issue, meditating more, trying to figure out what I'm doing (because I know it's something I'm doing - probably something silly like "don't cross you're ankles while eating oranges, oh and you're secretly worried about such-and-such"), and I'm still coming up with nothing. So I was turning the old tarot cards one night (because, yes, that's something I do when I'm stuck) and I was getting messages about shut up and listen. So I listened and listened hard, waiting for divine insight, the profound epiphany that will help me resolve my back spasms, and I don't hear anything except the cat meowing. So I start talking to the cat, and she meows back, and my husband is giving me the eye as I'm wiggling in pain on the couch in discussion with my cat, and I'm wondering why the heck is he looking at me like that?
It turns out... that no one could hear the cat except me! She was outside the whole time. But she did want to come in, so I'm pretty sure she was communicating with me telepathically. I mean, clearly, the muscle spasms are just the psychic ears opening up. It seems obvious now. I'm sure soon I'll be able to chat with whales, or possibly fairies. So cool, right?
(I reserve the right to refuse sense while in pain.)
Last week I had the rare occasion of an unplanned day. That’s not to say that I didn’t have things to do, because I always have things to do. It was just a period where there was nothing critical and, without any sense of urgency, I had foregone setting up my day. No lists, no schedules, not even an appointment or activity I had to drive someone else to. It was really almost an accident. I was wandering the house when I realized the day was luxuriously wide open.
Now usually when I have a sudden break my mind goes to “the list”. But for some reason, on this particular day instead of thinking, “What needs to be done next?” or “What should (guilt guilt) I do?”, or even “Crap! I’ve got to make a list.” Instead of thinking any of that, what popped into my head was… “What would make me happy?”
That’s not something that normally occurs to me, to ask myself what would make me happy. I am an adult, after all. I have things to do. That's my job. But I asked it anyway and you know what? It felt fucking great! In fact, it felt like a radical act. Like a fricking evolution of the mind/soul! Like something I should be doing all the time. It’s a question I can immediately answer in almost any given moment. What would make me happy right now?
The funny part was, the thing that would make me happy at that particular moment… it wasn’t being on a beach somewhere, or stuffing dollars down a hot stripper’s pants, or eating loads of chocolate… it was clearing off the table so I could decorate it pretty. See, that’s something that would have been on “the list” anyway. Most things that generally make me happy are everyday list items. But the thing about lists is sometimes they turn things into obligations and chores and urgency, even when they (and I mean me) don’t mean to.
(Such huge things, those little shifts in perspective. World shattering really.)
It feels much better to ask myself “what would make me happy”, instead of “what do I have to do next”. Because I’ll always have critical stuff to do.
But the majority of it, especially on those unplanned days… well, I think giving the happy ones priority seems like a really good idea. Almost radical.
I’ve completely pooped out on NaNoWriMo this year. I participated a couple of years ago for a serious writing push for The Byways (previously named Through the Holes), and it worked! I mean, I didn’t make 50,000 words but I was writing every day and I completed about 20,000 words, then, two months later I finished my first draft. (Four drafts to follow but worth it!) So I absolutely believe in and love the incentive NaNoWriMo can give you. I figured this year I’d use it again to jumpstart my second novel.
The problem was I wasn’t sure what my second novel was. Or rather, WHICH novel was my second. I have two tussling it out in my brain: one, funny and outrageous and short-ish (perfect for a month jumpstart), and the other, longer and compelling and niggling at me but without the details worked out yet. I started the funny one and then lost my funny. I switched to the other and wrote in drips and drabs. I toyed with switching back. I googled stuff about llamas. I stared at the keyboard. It was basically the writer’s version of doodling during a test.
But! I did finish writing my query letter, synopsis, and author bio for The Byways this month so… YAY!!! ‘Cause that shit was tough, yo. And I was a fricking marketing writer.
So yeah, poop out. It’s funny, though, I don’t feel the least bit bad about it. In fact, I’m pretty happy with the way the month turned out. In esoteric circles they say that winter is the time for dreaming. It’s a time for going inward and preparing for the growth and action of spring, just like nature does. Now, knowing me, I can’t guarantee that I’ll stop working the entire winter, but sometimes it’s fine to step back and plan, rather than do.
Especially when you’re just farting around anyway.