Tag Archives: writing

To Sum It Up….

I’ve been silent.

 

I have so many words incoherently babbling in my brain, yet I don’t write any of them here and for a while I didn’t understand why.  There’s words of rage, sadness, despair, hope, joy, thankfulness, delight, misery, anger, offense, love…you get the idea.  Sounds like great fodder for a blog, right?

 

I found this quote and it explains why I haven’t written out my brain droppings:

 

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.  ~ Paulo Coelho

Everybody is expressing everything it seems, but is it doing any good?  I’ve become more a listener than a speaker lately, and I think it’s going to be that way for a while.  

When I have something to say, I’ll be here.  For now, I’m off to set a good example.  Be kind.

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I’m Like a Sponge

In many ways, I absorb a lot whether it’s by reading, observation, listening, poking about where I don’t belong, osmosis, or my other superpowers.  Vividly recalling the memories I do is like watching a beloved rerun and losing myself in the memories of that time.

Of course, that means the brainsponge has limited capacity to absorb anything new.  So when I ask the Daughters what their plans are for that day and they shoot each other that look then I know I’ve forgotten something they just told me.  So I’m like a sponge that needs squeezing out, but who gets to decide what goes?

Initially I blogged because I wanted to become a better writer.  I have since learned that writing is too lonely and solitary a vocation for me.  It’s the same reaction when I was deciding if I would become a professional musician.  Practicing your instrument six hours a day and scrounging for other money-making resources is lonely work, and I’m the gregarious sort.  (Of course, I’m gregarious on my terms; I want my alone time too and woe to you if you don’t realize when that is and you don’t beat a hasty retreat.)  My focus then turned to recalling memories of my youth for my daughters, kind of a correspondence they can look back on with nostalgia and recall when their mom was just SUCH a hoot in her blog.

Now?  Now I’m just trying to figure it all out, where my next phase of identification of being is, and why the hell I can’t just accept where I am.  It’s like my Hubby watching TV, heaven forbid he watch just one thing, he’s got to flip to all the other channels to see if there’s something better there that he’s missing.  Am I supposed to be doing something differently now?  Is this the watershed moment when I’ll look back and say what an idiot I was, that I should have taken advantage and done such-and-so?  Who’s got these answers, anyway, because I want some.

I’m also like a sponge because it’s August and there’s sweat.

Aren’t you glad you’re reading this now?

People are so quick to judge.

People are so quick to judge.

 

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Warning: Soul-searching Ahead

Apparently I’m lost because I’m trying to find myself lately.  There is a lot of daydreaming serious thinking happening here and I’m not used to that; usually I just read or play games or knit, but now everything is kind of tinged with a “…maybe I should try….” or a “…I could try this, I suppose…” and it’s happening more and more.  Am I going through another kind of puberty God forbid?

As a musician and teacher, I played several instruments fairly well.  Now I have absolutely zero interest in picking up an instrument, so what does that make me?  Most real musicians would never let their skills fade, so does that mean I was a sham?  I loved teaching, but I was lonely because the music department was two people, and I longed to be a “team” like a grade level or subject matter.  Now I wonder if I could ever do that again (and judging by the response to the resumes I’ve sent out, probably not) or have I given up because of the bad association with my former job?

I used to do beautiful calligraphy, and as well as the obligatory envelopes for weddings, I would write and illustrate quotes for selling at craft fairs and I enjoyed it.  But again, I haven’t done it in so long, and do I have all the hubris to think I am still good enough?  Drawing/illustrating is so pleasurable yet I am so highly critical of myself that it’s easier not to start.

Writing has always appealed to me as well.  I blog to give me practice in writing on a regular basis (stop laughing, it’s regular for me) so that perhaps I can write this young adult novel that’s been kicking around my head, so if that’s good enough I can write the book I really want to write.

I used to sing.  All the time.  It occurred to me that the last time I really sang was at Christmas Eve services which was over eight months ago.  What happened to me?  Where have I gone?  Who have I become?

I think I have become someone who is actually enjoying not working at a Monday-Friday job, and puttering about the home.  I am spending a ridiculous amount of time on my iPad, but I am reading so much, it’s not just games.  It’s a lot of games, but it’s also a ton of reading.  I am knitting and actually finishing things.  I can meet people for lunch.  During the day.  During the week.  (I know!)  

I am also sort of hovering.  Is this my new reality?  Is this temporary?  Will I ever be employed by someone else again?  (Part of me really hopes “no.”)  Could I write/illustrate/sell a book?  Can anybody point me towards a real shot of self-confidence?

If I had a dog this is what he'd be thinking.

If I had a dog this is what he’d be thinking.

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When I Grow Up

How many different people have I wanted to be in my life?  Too many, and I’ve done many of them, but I think I’m about to embrace one of the paths and it’s sort of filling me with dread.  

 

I remember being in elementary school and thinking that the secretaries had a great job.  They had a nice big desk, got to play with a typewriter all day, had a never-ending source of pens and markers and tape and staplers and different kinds of paper, and they got to decorate their desks and answer phones.  What fun!  I could doodle all day with all the different markers, I could make posters, comic strips, draw dresses for fashion models, and talk to whomever I wanted on the phone. ( I was clearly a special child with a good grasp of what a job was!)

Teachers, too, got to do fun things.  First, they were the boss of the whole class so they got to say and do whatever they wanted.  If they weren’t in the mood for math that day, they didn’t have to do it.  If they wanted to give us silent reading while they worked on a craft project for us, they could, and they also had lots of neat supplies.  If they wanted to fill the blackboard with fancy writing in different colored chalks, they did and they looked like they were having fun.  Many of us truly believed the teachers lived at the school; one horrendously bad-weather day while I was stripping off my steamy raincoat in class and wiping my wet bangs out of my eyes and pulling up the sock that always slipped down into my boot, I decided to become a teacher so I would never have to deal with bad weather again, I could just slip out of bed, get dressed, and go into my classroom.  Clearly a well-thought-out career path.

Being a photojournalist seemed easy as pie.  You bought a camera, wandered around wherever you felt like, took lots of pictures and some magazine or newspaper paid you to have those pictures.  Wow, what an easy job!  I, of course, would take pictures of kittens and pretty dresses and maybe some flowers and I like the houses on the next street so they’re on the list too.  Why would anybody take a picture of a bunch of barns?  Or clouds?  Or just a bunch of faces?  I know, I’ll sell pictures to ALL the magazines and then I’ll be rich!  I already have a Kodak Magi-Cube camera, so I’m set.

Getting older meant broadening those career horizons.  I didn’t understand people in high school who knew what they were going “to be.”  How do you know until you’ve tried?  What does that mean, exactly, that you’re going to college for “marketing?”  Is that a career?  What made you decided that selling things had a fancy name like marketing?  And hey, business majors?  What is that all about?  Isn’t every single job a business?  How do you major in jobs?  What do you hope to get out of it?  And as a passionate math-hater, I just don’t get you 17-year-olds who are planning on majoring in accounting.  Really?  Spend your entire life adding up numbers?  (Full disclosure: I married an accountant, and no way could I ever ever do what he does.  I would cry.)  I didn’t understand communication majors, sociology majors, anything to do with science (see aforementioned hatred of math; science was the evil cousin) or archaeology…in fact, I was lost thinking of a college major.  I was lost thinking about college and really didn’t think about it much until I said halfway through my senior year and well after I bombed the SATs “yeah, okay, I’ll go to college.”  

I decided to be a music major, because clearly there was a huge need for female French horn players in the world, and I was just the gal to do it.  Or, more accurately, that was what I was good at, so that’s what I should focus on as my guidance counselor explained to me.  I suspect what he was saying was really “You aren’t displaying an aptitude for anything really except music and English so let’s get you squared away with music and good luck with making a living out of that.”

Except I didn’t.  College made me want forty different careers which was crazy because everybody else I knew had settled on “what they were going to be” at the age of 17, and here I was at 19 wanting to be a painter, a singer, a cafe-owner, a teacher, a secretary, a college president (because let’s face it, they get an awesome house), a star of a children’s TV show, a high-powered executive with a snazzy leather briefcase doing heaven-knows-what, work for an advertising agency (again, lots of markers and paper and doodling), work at a magazine because magazines were fun, and be a writer.

Which is a very long way of getting to the point, which is that I am going to try NaNoWriMo and put together that young-adult story that’s been simmering in the back of my head.  I have a rough first chapter done, but I haven’t looked at it in two weeks because … well, because.  It’s like beginning a new project in knitting.  I’m seduced by the colors and the patterns and the yarn choices and the urge to cast on and start knitting with the new yarn and follow the new pattern is irresistible.  Then you’re in the body of the thing and you read the dread words “continue until piece measures 24 inches from cast-on edge” and you realize you’re stuck for a good long while.  I’m worried that the beginning was so fresh and fun and easy and once I’m in it for the long haul I’ll run dry, hate it, do everything possible to avoid it, and realize that I just don’t have the internal drive to see it through.

Which is why I don’t make resolutions any longer and why I don’t do diets any longer.  I do not have stick-to-it-iveness.  I am not a disciplined person.  I do not follow self-devised schedules well and so I need lists.  Once I cross an item off the list, it is like being back in elementary school and getting those gold stars (although I preferred the blue ones, they were prettier and deeper in color than the flashy gold ones) and I have ACCOMPLISHED.  Maybe if I do this project it might be the metaphorical kick in the pants I need.  I’ve always wanted to write, without actually saying out loud “I want to be a writer” because I never saw it as a career, more as a “of course I have to write, how else do you cope through life?” and because I love reading so much that I want to create the same joy I have received.

This is way too heavy for a Wednesday.  Time to leave on a lighter note:

 

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Rattling Chains

I think my laptop is haunted.  It’s a little bit ancient, and it makes a rattling sound when it encounters a site that requires those new-fangled moving pictures to come to life.  It has reached all the updates it can maintain, it’s never featured in any kind of alluring ads, and it weighs a hefty amount.  It also does things that baffle me.

It’s a 2007 black MacBook (the sight of which made my students gasp “You have a black one? That’s so cool! Where did you get it? Is it new?” because it’s so old it was new when they were in kindergarten) and it is running on some sort of Apple-determined animal system (lions and leopards and critters, oh my) that is the end of the line for me.  I also have the Microsoft for Apple suite of word processing, spreadsheet, and pointing the power, and that stubbornly refuses to update for various reasons.  

I think it’s haunted because it performs these cool tricks all by itself, with no input from me.  Open a new tab?  Switch to a psychedelic patterned screen with horrifying neon color combinations that force my retinas into overdrive.  Of course, once I blink, it’s gone, and the screen is blandly looking back with a smug attitude like “Yes?  You wanted a new tab open?  And?”  Or I click on a link in a website, and it magically gives me seven minutes of free time to do what I want.  I usually use that time to sit slack-jawed watching the spinning beach ball of doom do the dance, and then I’m hypnotized.  I don’t know what happens during that time, but when the link finally loads, I come back to life and look at the little clock in the upper screen and am mystified to discover those seven minutes have passed with no input from me.  What happened?  Invariably, I shift my eyes to see if anyone has noticed even though I’m alone in the house at the time.

Then there’s the mysterious box flashes.  You innocently type a website into your address bar, and as the page haltingly and begrudgingly deigns to load, a rectangular-shaped object flashes momentarily onto the screen and disappears.  Oh, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I do shrink the page to get rid of the ad that must be running behind the main page.  Except there’s nothing there.  It’s like when you catch a fleeting image out of the corner of your eye but it’s gone when you turn your head, or that whisper of a movement behind you when you look in the mirror and swear that somebody is about to go all Norman Bates on you.  I know I saw the box, I know it was there, why won’t anyone believe me?  

The strangest part is my Microsoft Suite for Mac.  I say suite because that’s what was on the box, but I really only use the Word application.  Whether I click on the stylized “W” in my side bar or I double-click a document I’ve saved to my desktop (for easy access!) I enter into a black hole of despair and gnashing of teeth and deep groans.  Because here is where the poltergeists take over.  The “W” icon bounces merrily away, deceptively looking for all the world like it’s excited to have been selected and it will be there in a minute it just needs to use the bathroom first.  If I listen closely I think I can hear “Tubular Bells” playing which in the movies is the cue that it’s time to hightail it out of there.  Then it stops bouncing and gives birth to an opening screen, as if it’s introducing itself to me (for the hundred thousandth time) and urges me to select a task: thoughtfully, the “new document” option is already highlighted, but that’s another black hole and I won’t go there.  I click on the document I am currently working on, and things start bouncing again.  (I’d like to report that this is the part where the lights flicker and go out, but thankfully my laptop isn’t that powerful.  Yet.)  Hesitatingly, the full screen brings itself up, moaning and clanking, and it’s completely blank.  

This is the part that used to give me a heart attack (which is one of the ways the older victims in the horror movies die and I believe they really get off easy; wouldn’t you rather have a heart attack than be subject to all the gruesome that’s headed the way of the oh-so-attractive and perky young people); the page then loads my words, but oddly enough it loads the last words first.  Seriously.  There they are, the last few words I wrote the day before, and a huge gap of nothingness before it; no intro, no hilarious metaphors, no scintillating ruminations, nada.  I’m patient.  I can wait.  No I can’t.  I attempt to scroll to find the pages, and it happens again!  The spinning beach ball of doom!  What in the world can it possibly be doing?  There are no ads to load, there are no pictures, there’s just the basic text.  When the seven minute gap has passed and I am returned to earth again, the page has loaded except for the last few words.

There are spirits toying with me, my friends, and it’s not amusing.  When I finally am able to get some writing done, and I hit the almighty “save” command, suddenly my disc drive begins to whir and click.  I don’t have a disc in there, I don’t have any settings remotely connecting the two, but the ghosts are not done playing with me, it seems.  I do get a message assuring me my document has been saved, and I decide to leave this nefarious program before something worse happens.  Mousing over to the upper task bar, I click on “Word” and scroll down to “Quit,” because I like closing out programs I’m not using.  It’s like folding and putting away a towel after you’ve finished drying the dishes.  Are you surprised to learn that HOURS later, the program is still attempting to quit?  I imagine those twisted souls hanging on to the document as it spirals down into the “Quit” drain screaming silently and refusing to let it go and clawing at it with their sharp dirty nails, consuming some of my written words in the process and vowing they will make me pay for this transgression.  It’s a scary set of events that I don’t think even the t-shirt-wearing geniuses at Apple can solve…

 

 

 

Or, I just might be letting all the Sleepy Hollow episodes get to me.

 

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