Friday, October 30, 2009
I'm kinda the same way about knitting, but the difference with knitting is that you have "projects" that are more long-term, and in blogging, you do a lot of One Shot to Make An Impression stuff.
I suppose I should write a book, but I'm so damn stubborn that I would never bring myself to start writing a book in November because that's when everyone ELSE is writing their books!
So NOT a joiner.
And I gave it some thought, and realized that the incredible "love" story (more like a "fight" story) that's been brewing and morphing in my brain for the last, oh, 20 years or so, is a pretty great story, but also that all those people would sound awfully familiar and it would be very Jackie Collins of me to write about them and then claim it isn't about them.
Also, to paraphrase Cyrano, I keep finding myself the hero. Which brings me to my point (you were starting to wonder if I had one, weren't you...?)
Many moons ago, as I was writing the story in my head, and putting some of it on paper, the lead character was like this full-blown expansion of all of the things I personally wanted to be, only, she was infinitely more troubled than me, crazy rich with family money, and did some rather extreme things, which was what made her more interesting than I was. But she was 20-odd years old, just like I was at the time, and she and her soul mate were in such strong denial about their feelings for each other (she, because how could she ever love someone who was such an elitist snob and he, because how could he ever love someone who was such a mess...) that all they did all day was pretend not to care, even though it was all they could do not to tackle each other every time the other was near.
Which is EXACTLY what was going on, for real, in my life at the time.
I guess I'm not very creative.
Fast forward almost 20 years, and I've settled into a fictional love story in which both characters are kind of a mess, but not so much of a mess that the other can't handle it, and neither of them are incredibly rich or extreme, and they're both in their 40's.
The opening scene in the original story has the heroin stumbling, drunk, through the grounds of her massive estate to the site of her father's grave, where she proceeds to have a one-sided discussion with him about how damn difficult things have become for her, what with being incredibly wealthy and famous and drunk all the time, not to mention being hopelessly in love with someone who was being a total jerk about it, as if she could help falling in love with him. Bastard. Then, she passes out in the snow and is discovered by some grounds keeper and/or bodyguard who is supposed to be keeping an eye on her because she is prone to do stupid shit like that. He carries her back to the mansion to sleep it off, and the next day, her hangover is interrupted by her father's brother, who is also insanely wealthy, and famous, but less extreme, and he is scolding her for doing stupid shit like that.
It's a damn good scene--don't any of you steal that, because I would know...
The new opening scene has something to do with eyes blinking open and the heroin needing coffee. Subsequent scenes involve juggling work and kids' schedules with a completely non-existent social life.
So you see my dilemma?
Yeah, yeah...it doesn't have to have anything to do with me or my life, and that's why they call it a "story" after all...I could probably write that character better now than I could then, anyway, even though I know that her so-called "soulmate" is really only the lust-muffin d'jour. I think I'm close enough to the pain to pull it off.
And the man would still have to be the source of all frustration to make it work, which I think I could also pull off. Hmmm...
To all of who are starting, finishing, or working on your books in November, best of luck to you all! If I do get all excited and start writing this thing again, don't count on any excepts...the part in the story where the heroin stuffs the barrel of a handgun into the cheek of the reporter hiding in her garage really has little more going for it than shock value, and I don't want to be a spoiler.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It is a really spectacular day.
I'm not just saying that.
OK, maybe I AM just saying that, but…believe it!
Here are a couple of reasons for the spectacularness—first of all, I walked into my office this morning and found a substantial bag of candy on my chair. My co-workers are so sweet and so awesome. Have I mentioned how glad I am to be here?
Second, I was able to locate both a shirt AND pants easily this morning, with no hissy fits. OK, I cheated. They were both in the dryer. Undergarments, too. Jeez, what the hell was I thinking when I threw that load in to be washed? I'd like to blame one of the kids for that, but it was all me…
Third, well, it's just a damn fine day. Feeling the warm, fuzzy thoughts, and senses are high. You know how you can just tell someone is thinking nice things about you? Yeah…that's super-cool. Even when they are being a total brat. ;-) You know who you are.
Today, I thought I would ask a few Halloween questions! Ready?
- One of my daughter's friends is forbidden from trick-or-treating this year because she is now a 9th grader. Personally, I encourage my kids to go trick-or-treating, as long as they are respecting the tradition: Dress up (no creativity, no go…), have fun, and be courteous of both the homeowners and the little kids who are out having their own Halloween fun. What do you think? Cuz I think that parent needs to lighten the hell up...
- Candy, Candy, Candy. What kind do you give away, and what kind do you sneak out of your kids' treat bags? Ever give away crappy candy on purpose? How about broccoli? Ever give out broccoli? Wouldn't that be freaking hilarious?
- Will you be wearing a costume this year? I'm wearing devil horns. Actually, I have them on right now. I think I'll just leave them on from now through the weekend. I have to hit the DMV on Saturday, and I'm sure the devil horns will be a huge hit. Maybe I should renew my license with them on, too? Oh, never mind—they didn't let me get my picture taken with my sunglasses on my head, what makes me think they'd let me wear devil horns? There are people on this planet (you know who you are) who have literally never seen me without some variety of glasses propped up on my head, so it's not like I don't always look like that…
- Is anyone else soooooo done with the Chicks Dressing Up Like Hookers/Strippers and Calling It A Costume thing? Self esteem that low, huh? Daddy issues? Then why don't you show some guts and become a REAL Hooker/Stripper? Chicken-sh*t…
Is that enough to get you thinking? Gooooood....then my work here is done.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
- Person in the ladies room using six paper towels. A) Your hands are not that large. B) the sound of the motion-activated towel dispenser spitting out towel after towel is almost as annoying as your standing in front of it and frantically waving. There is something wrong with you.
- Me, for washing, drying, and folding, but not putting away, my work clothes, and subsequently spending a good ten minutes this morning cursing my way through a large laundry basket of clean clothes, looking for my favorite black pants, which were actually in the drawer the whole time. DOH!
- My children, for failing to understand the urgency of me wearing that specific pair of pants on this particular day, and calling me out for throwing a hissy fit.
- My car, for not magically replenishing itself with motor oil or transmission fluid, or any of the other go juices I can't keep track of. I'm just gonna say it--keeping cars running is what men are for. Yes, that is kinda rotten of me to say, but it is on the list, right next to "Brings me coffee in the morning." I especially want some MALE to do this for me because when I, a person without a penis, walk in to a mechanic shop, there is automaticallly a lot more wrong with the car than my puny female mind could ever grasp, the work is all urgently needed, and the cost goes up exponentially, depending on whether or not I'm wearing cute shoes that day. I'm only sexists because the mechanics are, people...
I decided this morning that I should write something, so I started.
Actually, I had a mini panic attack this morning because I woke up not feeling a thing.
Just an empty spot that had always been filled with urgency before.
I thought for a moment that it might be comfort and contentment, but, it wasn't—it was just numbness.
So I started writing, because I was pissed. I mean, seriously, is that all there is? No intensity of emotion? No bliss? No gut-wrenching sorrow? Just….nothing?
Many times when I write, if I am using a notebook and a pen, I bring myself to tears. I used to think it was weird, but honestly, there is something so real about dragging a pen across a page and using your hand to create something—it makes you feel it, and it is quite powerful. It is as if you were speaking aloud, to the person in question. Of course you're going to cry. (Well, you're going to cry depending on what it is that you need to say...) Writing is magically cleansing to me in that way. I am not afraid of crying—I'm infinitely more afraid of feeling nothing at all than I am of crying.
So I started writing about that bad, bad thing that we do…when we deny ourselves the tears. When we think that "numb" is better than sorrow. Why is it that when things don't turn out the way we want them to, we're all "No worries! It's Fine! I'm good! I needed the time alone to practice my underwater basket weaving, anyway!" as if replacing sadness with busywork is OK…?
Where do those emotions go, people? They don't just disappear, you know…I think they turn up as ulcers and panic attacks.
Anyway…like I said, feeling Nothing scared the living crap out of me. I pictured myself aging into one of those who's only real emotion is anger because they've stuffed all the other ones, like after somebody looked at them funny for laughing too loud—whatever you do, don't feel THAT kind of joy again! People will look at you! Their days are spent in righteous indignation at all the people who have done them wrong, and they never admit to once feeling hopeful and having that hope dashed—too painful to talk about. They will never see a psychiatrist, because they think counselors are for crazy people (OMG are you kidding? Someone PAID to sit and listen to you vent for 50 minutes? It's the best thing, EVER!!!) They will never admit to wanting someone to love them and having it not work out—they'll just label that other person a jerk and claim they never felt anything at all. They will never dance like no one is watching…they feel the weight of judgmental eyes upon them at all times. They are not free.
This last year has been rather amazing in many regards, and a very big one has been that I've felt an awful lot of pain—it was the kind of deep, ancient pain that had been hiding since I was a child. Of course, I learned early on to stuff that kind of thing and never let if be known that you felt something. Don't fall in love, don't want anything, don't put yourself out there to be harmed. For a long time, I didn't.
Then, all of a sudden, that whole notion of "Protect yourself at all costs!" seemed utterly ridiculous. I did some things that people would consider a bit nuts. I left my husband, for one. Why? There was nothing there, and I felt very bad about holding him in a situation where I was totally absent. Oh, there were other things going on, compounding the fact that there was no emotion, and when asked why I left, I made sure to list only those "other things" (which were insane enough to satisfy even the staunchest of Stay Married advocates) and leave out the part about my heart not being in it. Not too many people would have said "go for it" if I told them that I had to follow my muse, which, in a sense (not a literal one) is exactly what I did.
All this time spent alone has drawn a lot of the past hurts out of protective custody, and I am very glad to let them mingle. I now have memory of these things, where before, I was content to pretend they never happened, or that I never felt anything, or that those people don't exist. I've had so many people from my past re-appear in my life this year that I can't HELP but think about those relationships and what might have happened (at least that which I could have done differently) that may have contributed to their ends. Being alone with your thoughts is quite healing. Even if you cry.
Especially if you cry.
True to form, I had to grab a tissue or two while writing about feeling like I had nothing more to write about. It was sweet relief. I'm not a person who likes to dwell in tears and sadness, but all things considered, I believe it is better to stay there than to feel nothing at all. I hope that I'm able to do my "muse" enough justice by following my inspiration that he doesn't mind hanging around some more. Waking up without him sucked…
Monday, October 26, 2009
The pre-shower face in the mirror this morning was pretty frightening, what with "jowel-y" not being considered a compliment in today's society.
Luckily, severe exfoliation seemed to help.
I loved my Grandma Roseanna, but seem to recall her face looking so much better on her, and on my mother.
The Grandma Face thing is making me think about the number 43. Yes, age is just a number, but age combined with Grandma Face can lead to tears.
Correction: Age combined with Grandma Face DOES lead to tears.
Because I tend to follow these kinds of thoughts to their bitter end, I concluded that most men don't have the capacity to appreciate interesting-looking women (or Interesting Women in general…), and if you're in your 40's and don't happen to look like Demi Moore, you can pretty much count on never having sex again, ever.
Not that I plan to stop exfoliation and moisturizing and battling grey hair and eating good food and getting off my ass to move around, in some insane effort to test this theory…
…but I won't be doing it because I'm worried some guy won't think I'm cute. I mean…why would I want someone who is incapable of being interested in Interesting? I've been interesting for 40 years…it's all I know how to do. Besides exfoliate.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Some wise person said that if you want a thing to manifest in your life, write it down. Write down exactly what it is that you want, to give it validity, and more importantly, to force yourself to actually think about what it is that you truly want.
See…that's the tricky part, isn't it? Thinking about what you want? Actually verbalizing or committing it to paper? So often, we feel as if saying what we want is an incredibly selfish, or self-centered thing to do, like we don't deserve to have it. The truth is, we make a million of these little decisions every day, from "I would like some coffee in the morning," to, "I don't particularly care for raspberries." No big deal, right? As long as you're not harming anyone, you can have your coffee, or not eat raspberries.
So what's the harm in saying how you feel about the bigger things, like, what kind of work you want to do, or, what kind of people you want to hang out with? Just as you know whether or not coffee or raspberries make you happy, you know what other things bring you joy or don't bring you joy. You know whether or not hanging around with a closed-minded person feels good to you (and, if it does, I'm guessing that you are close-minded as well. Mind if I ask what the hell you're doing here?). You know whether or not you like dancing, or knitting, or playing cards. You know if you like to sit at a desk all day or if you'd rather dig ditches. If you pay attention, you know exactly how you feel about…everything.
It is not too much to ask that the people with whom you share your time happen to agree with you about a lot of things, be they your boss or your friends (Family Exclusion!!! You know…can't pick your family…). The main thing you should agree upon is how YOU should be treated, and how you will be treating THEM. You say your girlfriend is mean to you? Well…do you like that sort of thing? No? Then what the hell are you doing? You say your friend doesn't consider your feelings and says things about you behind your back? And…you don't like that sort of thing? Hmmm…
The question becomes, why are you giving so much to these relationships, when all they do is bring you pain? If you got sick every time you ate raspberries, would you still eat them? Because that's what happens with people with whom you don't "fit". You get a little sick. You probably don't get sick to your stomach, although, in extreme cases, that can happen, but you do get sick—sick to your soul. You feel bad, and you know that you do. You can feel it.
What happens with a lot of people, myself included, is that we rush into things without even paying attention to whether or not it's what we really want. We might buy a car that's a clunker because the salesperson was soooo convincing, or, we might get into a relationship with someone who is not good for us because we were lonely, and convinced that the "bad" person was the only one who would ever ask us out.
The problem is, it takes much more effort to get out of those situations than it does to get into them. You bought the car, now you have it. In order to not have it anymore, you have to do something (sell it, wreck it, have it stolen…?), and, you also have to go buy another car. You bought the cow, uh…married that person, and now, you're figuring out that you don't even like them, or, they don't like you. Now you have to untangle your lives, which is going to be a very emotional, and probably expensive.
I started writing this post because I've been told to make a list qualities I would like to have in Perfect Man, Exhibit A, at least a million times, and I've never done it, but, out of curiosity, tried that today. It's not that I expect him to show up all of a sudden, but, I suppose it would be nice to know how to recognize him if he does, right? Funny thing is, as I was making the list, I discovered that what I wanted to be true about this person were all the same things I wanted to be true about any of the people I would want to spend my time with--whether they were my boss or my friend or my boyfriend. This is probably true because there was nothing on the list about how much money he makes, or how he has to be so smoking hot that I want to tear his clothes off (well, that's kind of on there...). It was all about wanting to know if being with them was going to feed my soul (coffee), or make me sick (raspberries).
I chose coffee.
And it's kinda nice to have the option to choose really, really good coffee, I might add.
All in all, an interesting exercise. Also, since I have completed THAT list, I can mark the list off my to-do list. List. Now I can just sit back and watch the fabulous people roll in...
Thursday, October 22, 2009
To make up for the lack of writing lately, we'll just make this a really, really looooong thing so you'll think that I've spent this entire time thinking of things to write, rather than just working at the new job, but I didn't have any "actual" time to commit anything to the page because of the new job.
Truthfully, I have been spending this entire time think of things to write, I just haven't had any "actual" time to commit anything to the page. This page, I mean. Web page. Yeah.
The other truth is that what I have is not much more than a collection of fractured thoughts that I never expanded upon, because I haven't had the "actual" time to do that.
So, let us begin…Currently Most Pressing: My daughter has finished driver's training (with the instructor) and now, it's all on me to let her drive for the next several months (and beyond), because it is my job to sit silently through a million mini-heart attacks and pretend I'm not FREAKING OUT during her Inexperienced Driver gaffs.
A little perspective, and, we may have already covered this, BUT, I grew up in Little Dot On The Prairie, North Dakota, population (at the time) around 300. People. There were, and continue to be, more cats than humans in that town. In the spirit of small-town multi-tasking, my driving instructor was also my chemistry teacher, and, he was also the mayor at the time. We drove the newly paved streets of Smallville (the pavement was something that Mayor Driving Instructor pushed for once in office—before he was elected, they were dirt roads…) where there were no city busses, no random bicyclists insisting that they have the right to reduce traffic speed to whatever their little legs could muster, and NOBODY sharing the road who didn't know your entire family, where you were going, and why.
I scraped through driver's training without killing anyone. The first time I drove anywhere NEAR Minneapolis, or any city this size, I was returning to Fargo, ND from a Sting concert on Harriet Island, and my sister let me drive her 1974 Mustang hatch-back on I-94 from Monticello to around Alexandria. I was probably 20 years old at the time, had no license, and was a terrible driver. Terrible. No question. But she was tired and didn't want to drive. She was wide-freaking-awake after that experience.
I finally got my license when I was no longer a student, got my first good job, and was a couple of signatures away from buying a brand new car. Driving meant almost nothing to me. I had friends with cars, and a bus schedule, and two good legs. Who needs to drive? But, I could afford a car, so, I figured I should buy one. Besides, I didn't want to be a mooch for the rest of my life, and I was about to break up with my boyfriend (cheating so-and-so), who had been my most recent Drive Me Around guy.
I don't think I stopped being a questionable driver until I moved to Duluth in 1996 or '97 (all a blur, people), a full 15 years after I completed driver training. It was the first town of significant size in which I had to regularly drive myself anywhere. Before that, my friends happily indulged my non-driving ways. Yes…I was coddled and enabled. Duluth changed all of that because not only did I not know ANYBODY in that town when I moved there, but as some of us are aware, much of Duluth is built on the side of a steep hill, and, it gets weather. I had to either figure it out or curl up in a ball on my living room floor and give up. The latter was not an option.
I got to be a rather good driver, which is something I measure by whether or not other driver's want to pull me out of my car in the middle of the freeway and smack me til I bleed. Not looking for any trouble, folks…not looking for any trouble…
From Duluth, I moved to Mobile, Alabama, which, by the way, is a fabulous city for driving—kinda reminds me of a bigger, older, and much hotter Fargo. After Alabama, I returned to Minnesota, and here I am in Minneapolis, where my daughter assures me that she's not gonna crash my car, and that I worry too much…
…and I'm not sure what to think of that. On the one hand, I want to tell myself that this is what car insurance is for. On the other, I recognize how bad I used to suck at driving, and remain unconvinced that Minneapolis is a good place for someone to learn how to drive. While I do recognize that "Trial By Fire" can be very effective, what I really want to do right now is take my child out to Monticello and have her drive to Alexandria. And then maybe keep driving all the way to my parent's house on the Western Prairie, so she can delight in the bliss that is a no-traffic zone. Just like her mom used to do. Then, maybe, she'll get that Over-Correcting, Swerve Into The Other Lane On The Freeway thing out of her system.
This morning, while driving to school, my daughter was merging onto the crosstown, and some douche who didn't think she was merging fast enough, passed us on a single-lane on-ramp, on the right. That is to say, they had two wheels off the road in their rush to get one car-length ahead of us, and they subsequently swerved in front of us, with maybe two feet of clearance between the two vehicles. Dude….you suck. And you scared the living crap out of both of us.
As inexperienced as my daughter is at driving, she is better at it than I was at her age—she has to be. She learned here, and I learned on a long country road. Big difference. But she's still not a great driver, so, I'd like the other drivers to give her a bit of a break. Also? I'd like them to give ME a break. I mean…I'm somebody's MOM, OK? As much as I am worried about her screwing up and me not having a car to drive, I'm much MORE worried about somebody ELSE being a jerk and traumatizing my kid. Aaaand of me not having a car to drive. As such, I have created a new sign for the back of the car. Instead of the traditional "student driver", it reads, "Student Driver/FREAKED OUT Parent. DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE!."
What do you think?
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
After all, this is ME we're talking about, and surely some venting will be required...
But if you should happen to notice that it seems more lame than usual around here while I'm starting my life over (again), please note that this is only temporary. After all, I am both compulsive, and a huge attention pig, and this does tend to translate into lots of "Look at Me!" behavior...
For those needing a more steady fix of smart-ass commentary, I recommend hitting me up on Twitter, since 140 characters will be more amenable to my training schedule.
Just watch--now that I have said all of this, October will turn out to be my most prolific writing month, ever! Aaaaand then the joke will be on you...
Much love, and Have Fun!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
- @RevRunWisdom IS INSIDE MY HEAD. OMG! Like, I have a thought, and he tweets it! How does he do that??? I'm a little freaked out.
- I hear from my inside sources that my replacement at my old job is also named "Shelly". I'm sure the intention was that it be a totally seamless transition and that if they just hire someone with the same name, no one will notice. This should work out just fine.
- The caffeine ratio in my body is a total mess because I'm not working this week. The usual day involves mega-dosing from about 6-9AM, then taper off to nothing before noon, maybe a soda later in the day. This morning? Half a cup of coffee, then sleep. Then around noon, another cup. And around 2PM, one more cup. No soda. I'm a bit bleary-eyed, is what I'm sayin'...
- The bad thing about days off, in addition to poor caffeine habits, is thinking that a handful chocolate covered peanuts makes an acceptable lunch, because you're just going to lay back down again, anyway.
- At some point in the day, on a weekday when you are not working, you look at the clock and say, "Good grief! How did it get to be three o'clock already? What have I been DOING all day?" and then you remember the long naps. Then your kids come home from school and scold you for not getting anything done all day except sleep.
- But the sleep? I need. Going to bed at 10, waking up at 2:45AM...still have no idea why. Annoying. Whatever is going on in the universe at 3:00AM that I need to be awake for...somebody better get me a One-Sheet, is all I'm sayin'. Shelly needs to know. I don't even care if it's true, just make something up.
- WOW! I need to get back to being busy...I'm a total slug. This too shall pass. Reminds of of a funny bumper sticker I saw once...it said, "Jesus is coming! Look busy!" Yeah...that's pretty much how I'm operating at the moment.
- I promise to be productive tomorrow...no matter who's watching! I'll pack the chocolate covered peanuts into school lunches so the children doze off in the middle of doing some complicated Math equation, and I'll eat nothing but fruit and vegetables all day! And I'll drink coffee like I mean it! I'll....I'll....yeah, who am I kidding...?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
- You have, really-really, changed your computer password to "Whatever!"
- When forwarding Power of Attorney paperwork, usually labeled "POA", you label it "POS" instead. (Think about it--it'll come to you.)
- You start coveting the pen you use every day...as if you might take it home with you, because it's kind of a nice pen.
- You finally take your water bottle home to be washed. (Ew! I'm just sayin'....)
- You get into long conversations with people who barely spoke to you before.
- You can no longer think of a convincing reason not to sing Puddle of Mudd's "Psycho" at your desk. And since you're up, might as well jump up and down on the chorus.
- You switch to Duffy songs for the benefit of the "older folks". You knock "Warwick Avenue" out like you were BORN to sing that sh*t.
- You loudly ask anyone who might be listening why NOBODY TOLD YOU THERE WAS A BUTTERNUT, WISCONSIN? AND HOW COULD YOU HAVE POSSIBLY LIVED THIS LONG WITHOUT KNOWING THAT?
- Kevin stops being the most annoying person in the office...it's all you, baby...