Home

Writing Resolutions

December 14, 2015

960

It’s around that time of year when everyone starts to get a little self-reflective. The holiday season is here and when people aren’t completely forgetting about any sort of manners or decency by acting like savages in the name of giving, they’re thinking about the things and people they have in their lives (sometimes in the form of anger, as it tends to be with families, but we’ll focus on the softer, kinder side of the holidays for now). Moreover than that, the new year is quickly approaching and, even though the flip of the calendar (I suppose a purchase or gift of a new one makes more sense here, though it kills the flow of the metaphor, so just go with me on this one) means nothing more than the just natural order of things (assuming you believe time is real and not just a human construct because of the brain’s limited memory, size and processing capabilities), we attribute rebirth and renewal to the emergence of a new year, in a season that’s usually wrought with death and stagnation (on an unrelated note, how bout this weather we’ve been having, huh? If climate change means an infinite autumn, then sign me up!)

Ok, enough asides (we’ll see about that), what I’m getting to is that the time has come for looking back upon our personal successes and failures in the previous year, and how we plan to improve ourselves in the upcoming one. It’s hard for me to look back on 2015 with anything but starry eyes; I’ve done a lot. But why revel in happiness when you can dwell on disappointment? A lot of change happened in 2015. I moved out of my family’s house for the first time ever, I boarded a plane for the first time in my life, I traveled to another country, I got married (in another country).

So yeah, to say it outright: 2015 was a banner year for me.

Other minor things of note: I wrote a bunch of stuff. I got published (at least online) a bunch. That should make me happy too but, it doesn’t, really…

Because even though people liked my writing enough to give me a chance, a lot of that didn’t last. Articles written and published have somehow disappeared from the world wide web, leaving behind only unedited and unfinalized drafts to showcase. Computer glitches left a hard-worked submission to be revoked from consideration, yet the notes on it still remained. The notes were middling at best: some people pointed out flaws I knew of, while others highlighted strengths I didn’t expect. Yet another reviewer ripped it to shreds with no remorse (whatever happened with emphasize the positive first? Geez), while another focused on only the negative, though my essay was their top pick (were the others really that bad?). Personal projects creaked to a halt. Many essays and articles were written and left in the cold to die. Promised funds were not transferred over pieces that did see the light of day. And at least one article was rewritten to a point where it wasn’t even recognizable. I’ve also been publicly humiliated about how bad and unfunny my writing is BY a head editor (I’ll decline to comment on whether or not those last two instances were in any way related).

So, suffice to say, this latter part of my writing year has had me pretty down in the dumps. I keep wanting to pick up my pen once more and give it another go. I keep wanting to submit to another writing contest. To reach out again to the magazine who has always held me in a fairly high regard and who has consistently been extraordinarily kind and complimentary of me and my writing. I want to go back to those stories I’ve left behind, the ones that deserve that extra attention, those final few lines. But I feel stuck. So like the other losers, I assume that the new year will, for some reason, bathe me in new opportunities, new projects and, most importantly, a renewed interest in things I’ve soured on.

In reality, it’s all me. All of that bad writerly shit that happened doesn’t have to follow me around like a black cloud. I can be that change. And I can start now—because fuck people’s expectations of a new year. Change can start mid-December because—well, why not? If I want it to, then so it shall be.

Sure, I have my resolutions of being better both in finance and in health, but I can start my creative ones now. Like, right now. Ok maybe a little later in the evening, but in the figurative sense of the word “now.” I can take those pitfalls, challenges, critiques (especially the critiques) and use them to improve my writing. I can take my discouragement and turn it into something worth writing about. I can stop being quiet and actually use words to express my discontent, instead of letting it fester inside me until it bubbles into depression or unjust rage. I can be better. My writing CAN be better, but it doesn’t mean it was bad to begin with. It’s time to channel the negativity into something productive. Maybe not positive, but productive.

And that’s my resolution, to just keep going. Do what I love even when it doesn’t love me back. And you should do the same.

(Also, in my head there was a whole part of this blog post that involved a quote/life tip from Nick Offerman, but in the end it didn’t quite fit into this particular piece. But I left the image of him in here anyway because I mean, look at that beautiful man.)

 

 

Advertisements

Zen Writer Challenge: 9.16.14

September 16, 2014

I’ve just downloaded a neat PC program called ZenWriter. I recommend it for anyone who wants an app that will help them totally zone out and zero-in on their writing. It provides a full-screen notepad with calm music and scenic backgrounds that help you block out any background noise that might interfere with your work.  I was busy editing a piece I had been working on, and I needed to step away from it, take a little break and just go into zen-mode. I figured it would provide the perfect space to just do some stream-of-consciousness-style writing based on some ideas I’ve had floating around in my head. Sometimes I come up with lines I’d love to write, but no story to build around them. I think this will be a great way to capture those thoughts as they occur and share what I’ve come up with: unedit, unrefined, just pure from my own zen.  I’m going to try to do these sporadically, but without any sort of time constraints. I challenge anyone who has this program, or just anyone who likes this idea, to do the same. Here’s my first one of, hopefully, a series.

 

My notebooks are graveyards of words. Unfinished stories left to wither away and die in pages forgotten by time. Ideas that were once so fruitful and full of possibilities have stopped producing fruits of wisdom, instead just collecting dust and grammatical mistakes. Why is it so hard to return to a work that’s gone untouched for so long? Is it because even though new ideas form, you can never quite recapture the emotions and creative surges felt at the time, and therefore can never have any soul left to pour into those words? I’m afraid that all of my works will never be done, because my body fills with creative energy in small spurts of time. I become to enraptured in the ideas of creating that I forget to do just that. I get too excited and must put my pen down to take some time to think, but it’s so tough to pick it up again after that because, by then, the feeling’s already gone.

Is it possible to have creative ADD?

What would be the knee-jerk chemical solution for that? Maybe whiskey will flow through my veins, through my blood, into my fingers and they’ll keep moving and moving and moving and moving the words and thoughts and ideas and notions escaping before I even have time to notice and give up on them.

I fear I’ve noticed them already

I’ve taken the time to read this. Reading has become the enemy of my writing. The more I read the more I hate the words I wrote and the more I want to stop. Maybe I’ll stop reading now and go at this blindly. Put this out there for someone to read and hate but not me–someone else’s hatred of my words bears more fruit than my own. Because if someone hates what I write they’ll be compelled to challenge it with the written word and a new conception of words and a birth of ideas will be formed. But my own hatred will just stall me.

And so more pieces of verse will lie in their coffins. Abandoned, neglected, abused.

But I want you to abuse my words. Abuse them and reuse them and confuse them.

Because if you do, I’ll have to challenge it. And write and write and write and write and write.

 

 

….I’ve stopped.

Summer Lovin’

June 18, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012. While at my desk at work I look out the window separating me and the world, and see the signs of summer propping up all around me. Actually, it’s pretty awful looking outside right now and kind of chilly, so disregard that. It is June, though, so it’s kind of summer, almost. Well, it will be officially summer in just a few weeks so I suppose it’s…summer’s eve?

Hey, everyone! Sorry for the delayed absence. I would have posted more but I was totally avoiding writing anything on this blog altogether! Hope you didn’t miss me too much, but I also definitely hope you did because I’m back! And it’s almost officially summer which makes me think of summers past. This season seems to bring with it nostalgia for youthful experiences and teenage dreams. Past loves, friendships, adventures, thoughts, plans, hopes, ideas…all that good shit. I figured it was about the right time for me to buckle down and write about my life and all that the summers of my adolescent and teenagers years brought to me. Here goes nothing…

2002.

It’s June, and it’s the last day of 8th grade and the beginning of the last summer of elementary school.  Every one is gathering around and taking pictures and shedding tears. High school is only a few months away, and everyone is ready to close this chapter of their lives. Discussions of summer trips and high school plans surround me. Being in a Catholic school, this means that the first year of high school will separate us all. For the most part. Kind of. Actually, the girls that are crying the most are all going off to the same two schools, while I and my rag-tag group of pals are heading to completely different institutions. Before summer’s over, however, I have a few plans that I’m certain to see through: Tell the boy I have a crush on that I like him, and actually make some male friends. If Sarah Dessen’s books (my usual pool-side reading at this time) have led me to believe anything, it’s during these years that I’ll befriend either the sweet-but-shy guy next door or the mysterious rebel from a rough upbringing with a soft side under his hard exterior. And things will be unsure and rocky but first, but then we’ll realize we’re exactly what each other needs and fall in love. It has to happen. It happens to every 14-year-old girl.

I sat in front of my computer that fateful June night. Alternating between checking out the Shane West fan forum and Neopets, I tried my best to muster up courage. I sat there, weighing all my options. What if he says no? What if he says yes? What if we fall in love over the summer, then have to go our separate ways as we both journey on to different high schools, even though I’ll be attending an all-girls school and he’ll be attending an all-boys school and we’ll still be living and hanging out in the same places? Will we be able to handle that pressure? 

Ok. I can do this.  I thought to myself. Then, with shaky hands, I typed out those fateful words in AIM. “Could you tell Brian* that I really like him?” I sent to my friend Alicia*. We had a system in place. Plenty of times prior I had online-befriended different guys she liked and Instant Messaged them asking what their situations were, and if they were available, setting the stage for her to ask them out. Then when she was denied, I’d “accidentally” IM them saying that she could do better, and that they weren’t worthy of her time, using carefully worded statements that she would tell me to say. Now it was time to pay the piper and she was going to do me the solid of asking Brian out for me. It was a foolproof plan that guaranteed success.

I mean she’s nice and funny and all, but I don’t like her like that. D’oh. Now it’s time to do damage control. It’s okay, I can handle this. I’ve seen it a million times before in movies. I get the courage to reveal myself from behind the curtain and IM him. Hey. I know you don’t like me like that and it’s ok. I still think you’re really cool and I hope this doesn’t change anything between us. Maybe we can still be friends?

…….

Ok. 

Good enough for me. Every further encounter with Brian will be awkward and we’ll never actually speak again (nor were we the best of friends prior to my proposition) but there’s still a summer yet to come, and I’m sure to at least meet a cute lifeguard or something…

2003.

It’s the first summer of my high school career.  In between morning fights with my mother over getting up early enough to get to the local pool before the crowds and actually being at the overcrowded local pool, sweating in the sun, freezing in the water, and getting inevitably pissed at anyone who steps on my blanket or bumps into my chair, I actually found some time to hang out with my new high school friends! Well, we hung out once. But it was a blast! I and my two new besties went to the movies to see, the eagerly-anticipated by us, new Adam Sandler flick (my tastes circa this time period were questionable). Also, during this time, I discover that I have an in-explainable crush on Adam Sandler. After the movie we decided to take fun pictures in the photo-to-keychain booth. It was a blast! I laughed so hard I nearly pissed my pants. I was wearing light jeans and had to tie my over-sized monkey-laden hoodie around my waist. I think I spotted the aforementioned Brian. I think that coupled with my awesome chatting him up skills is why I still get weird looks from him when I occasionally run into him in a drunk trip to the food cart outside the local bar.

I spend the rest of my solitary summer reading more Sarah Dessen novels at the overcrowded pool, eying the cute, young lifeguard and imagining him in the roles as the fun male friend while I’m the not-so-sure of herself cute heroine who will eventually be wooed by him. It’s not until my mother more or less places a razor in my hand that I realize maybe there are some steps I still need to take to catch the eye of any potential summer love.

2004.

I discover a love for stand up comedy and Xanga. Some of my fondest memories of this time are posting humorous responses to silly survey questions while listening to No Cure for Cancer. I also discover that I have an in-explainable crush on Denis Leary. Watching Rescue Me with my mother and grandmother will prove to be some of the more awkward experiences of my life. My day times are spent between reading at the pool, still eying the lifeguard, and trying to figure out successfully shave those random patches near my ankles. (A feat I’ll still be unable to master some eight years later.)

2005.

My time is spent often at the nearby bowling alley and youth centers watching young, mostly awful punk bands play and lusting after lead singers who will never notice me. I swoon over them in my Xanga entries, respond only with their initials or lyrics when asked in surveys who it is I like, scour their band MySpaces for more info on my mysterious rocker guy loves. I also discover during this time that I have an in-explainable and highly regrettable crush on Dane Cook. I’ll listen to his CD while at the pool, realizing that this new batch of lifeguards aren’t quite punk rock enough for my liking.

2006.

First kiss, first boyfriend, first break up, prom, graduation, vacations with friends–who really remembers any of that stuff, anyway?  Also, I upgraded to LiveJournal.

 

Ah, summer. Who doesn’t love it? And remember, now matter what age you are, you can still enjoy this warm season of love and adventure. Live it up to the fullest extent. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some survey questions to answer on Tumblr…

—————————
*Names have been changed to protect  the identities of the people who will never read this blog. 

and that’s never having been old enough to be a contestant on a cheesy 90s MTV game show.