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Writing Resolutions

December 14, 2015

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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.)

 

 

SNL40

February 16, 2015

Tonight the only TV event I care about aired–the 40th Anniversary Saturday Night Live Special. Overall it was a fun tribute to the series. There were a lot of missteps and things wrong with it, sure, and there are and have been a lot of things behind-the-scenes wrong with SNL throughout it’s history.

But it’s a huge part of MY history.

For as long as I can remember, Saturday Night Live has been a staple of my life, and a constant source of happiness. There are skits that I distinctly remember watching in the early ’90s when they first aired and laughing my ass off at them, and laughing at them the same way when I see them in syndication. There are skits and episodes I only ever saw in syndication because they were way before my time, but I shared laughter with my family because they remember watching them in real time and cracking up at them. It’s a show that brings my family together and one that’s always been a source of comfort for me and for that I’ll be forever grateful. I recall purchasing the Best of Eddie Murphy special on VHS and forcing my family members to watch it at least once a day—thankfully, they didn’t seem to mind too much.

When Comedy Central started airing reruns I’d build my schedule around that and the reruns of Kids in the Hall. I would quote Wayne’s World ad-nauseum to whoever would listen. I was inspired by “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy” and built joke websites with my friends based solely one series of funny and absurdist one-liners. I might not have been the most popular kid in school by any means—but I made my little group of friends laugh (or at least hoped I made my friends laugh)—and that was all that mattered to me.

At one point in my early teen years I got really into the history of the show and would carry around that huge, hardcover 25th anniversary book with me everywhere, reading passages from it like it was the Bible. I’d get weird looks from other students who thought the sight of anyone reading a book of that size not for school was weird, regardless of the subject matter. I devoured every bit of information about the show and the craft of sketch comedy and aspired to one day find myself in one of those SNL writers rooms—I even took a stand up class and entertained the idea of becoming a stand up comedienne. The show also taught me that women can be and most definitely are funny. From Gilda Radner to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jan Hooks, Julia Sweeney or Cheri Oteri, I found a woman I could relate to in some way that gave me hope that I could fill people’s lives with as much joy as they did to mine.

Sure, I’ve gotten cynical towards the show over the past few years. And, admittedly, I haven’t really watched it regularly for the better part of a decade, but the place it holds within my heart will always remain. Re-watching classic episodes non-stop this past week has been a blissful, cathartic affair. So many of those skits transport me back to my youth and not only make me laugh, but fill me with a sense of nostalgia and happiness. Watching again also make me realize that, deep down, being in that writers room is still a dream of mine. Maybe my dream is to get in a time machine and be a writer/cast member from the ’70s-’90s, but I’d settle for the former, too.

It might seem pathetic to babble on for this long about a TV show, but, I mean it, it’s truly more than just that to me. SNL and TV in general in many way has been both a best friend and therapist of sorts throughout my life—maybe that’s fucked up and wrong, but if it made me happy then who’s to say?

Thank you, Lorne Michaels. Thank you, Saturday Night Live, even if being a part of it is an unattainable dream, it’s given me a goal I never want to stop striving for—and that’s making people laugh and smile through my work. Here’s to 40 more years to come!

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

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.

My Life In Pizza

June 29, 2013

I get hit with nostalgia often–like on a weekly, if not daily basis. Certain smells can transport me back to a specific place and time from my past. I have an absurd relationship with déjà vu–it doesn’t have to be something hyper-specific for me to feel like I’m experiencing an event all over again. And sometimes I feel as though I can command it–drive down a certain block, think an unrelated thought, and I’m back to this moment in time that just makes me feel… good.

I know, this is getting just a little too verbose yet still somehow very vague. I don’t need to explain what nostalgia or déjà vu is, I’m sure most people already know, and probably experience it often themselves. And I know, we kind of live in a culture of romanticized nostalgia that can get far too out of hand for its own good and even borderline dangerous. But, it’s not as though I smell a scent of rosewood and it reminds me of when I was four years old, rummaging through old luggage trunks in my grandfather’s attic and experiencing flight as I lived vicariously through the pictures of all the places he traveled in his youth as a traveling salesman.

Ok, maybe that never happened. Maybe I never spent early afternoons rummaging through old trunks gazing at souvenirs from across the globe. Maybe I don’t actually know what “rosewood” is and had to look it up to make sure I wasn’t confusing it with that Cher movie. And maybe my grandfather never traveled, or owned fancy luggage, or even an attic. Maybe both my grandparents have lived with me and my mom my entire life in cramped apartments. Maybe my grandfather’s longest “trip” was from Yonkers to Connecticut, where my mom cursed at him because he kept counting down all of the exits. Maybe my grandfather was never a traveling salesman, but instead a bartender. None of that really matters, that example was just for effect anyway. And, for the record, I’d rather take away awful puns and parlor jokes overheard from bar patrons than some dusty old luggage, anyway (though a nice old-fashioned trunk would look amazing at the foot of my bed.)

The point is, there are times when déjà vu and nostalgia are just expected–of course if you smell the exact same scent as you smelled 15 years ago it might remind you of some time or place or person. But, for me, I’m often reminded of small clips from very specific moments of my youth by random things that are in no way related to that certain time. And it’s often different things that remind me of that same moment, too–and I can almost command them, if I really, really want to.

“And what is that moment in time?” you may ask. It’s this: a gray October afternoon, Halloween to be exact. I’m sitting at home in my kitty cat costume watching Caddyshack.

 

That’s it. That’s literally fucking it.

 

“Did she seriously ramble on for four paragraphs about nostalgia and déjà vu and other cryptic things just to tell us that occasionally she remembers watching Caddyshack in a cat costume when she was a kid?”

Well, yea. I guess I did.

But I suppose what I was trying to get at was this: there are certain moments in life that “define” us. There are things that make us aware of who we are and what our purpose in life may or may not be. Maybe we listen to that song, that one perfect song that has those brilliant lyrics that just capture the essence of our being so well it was like it was written about us. Maybe we pick up that novel and feel as if we’re reading our own autobiography, just told through the lens of someone else as a fictionalized character. Maybe we can name three or four or five things that “describe” us. Maybe safety pins and kerosene and porcelain dolls and India ink are your thing. Put those four objects on a table and it tells your life story better than any author could. Maybe rosewood, old pictures, dusty luggage and stuffy attics are what defines you, and that one nostalgic moment in your life shaped you and, no matter what you do or where you go in life, returning to that moment in your mind is your where”home” truly is.

This might all be getting a little too far-fetched, maybe even nonsensical to many. But I’m sure others have experienced an intrinsic connection with inanimate object that just made sense to them and their views of life. Maybe.

Smells, thoughts, feelings, emotions aside, there’s one thing I’d like to explain my life in.

That thing is pizza.pizza copy

Let’s return to that moment of my childhood mentioned before: It’s not that I just remember watching TV on Halloween, it’s the vague details I can recall from the rest of that day that will better help me explain. I was about four years old, wearing my kitty costume, watching Caddyshack to pass the time. I didn’t go trick-or-treating. I lived in an apartment building full of older women who weren’t too keen on opening the door for people they didn’t know. (My family was no exception, we were the awful “grinches” of Halloween who would pretend we weren’t home and wait until the kids knocking on the door inquiring about candy left before we could continue chewing away at our stash of mini-Snickers bars.) I doubt my mom would have enjoyed carting me around to get candy from strangers, either. Instead, we waited until we had to leave to pick my grandma up from work, and then we’d just buy candy at the nearby CVS on our way there. It might not be “free,” but it would come without the high price of social interaction we so militantly dreaded. Seeing my grandma after work was the real “treat” that I looked forward to. I missed her when she was gone and couldn’t wait until she returned to play with her and talk to her.

And there was also the high probability that she would come out of work with a very special gift for me: a perfect slice of pizza.

My grandma worked in a pizza parlor from before I was born until I was about five years old. You know the old saying, “like a kid in a candy shop”–fuck that noise, being a little kid in a pizza parlor is where it’s at. Occasionally I’d get to go to work with her and watch her create her art. I’m not saying that to be facetious, either, making the perfect pizza is an unrecognized and vastly under-appreciated art form. A flawless slice from a local, family-owned pizza shop is a piece of fine art, while every Dominos and Pizza Hut’s mass-produced grease-filled slabs of under-cooked dough, fake cheese and “tomato” sauce are the maligned commercial art. My favorite part was not only watching her skillfully make pie after pie, but also getting to steal handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese when no one was looking. My grandma made the best pizza around. She knew the ideal sauce-to-cheese ratio like the back of her hand, and could successfully reproduce the recipe over & over again. I always knew when the slice she’d bring home from work was hers compared to one of the other cook’s, and I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t one of her masterpieces. I’d settle for nothing less than the best.

I’m a harsh critic of pizza and a frequent searcher of the best slices around, but it doesn’t stop me from trying any and every kind. I get as kiddy as a child at the prospect of pizza and the phrase “pizza party” tickles me to no end. That said, I’m not of the belief that all free pizza is good pizza. In second grade I remember scoffing at the slices we ate at a pizza party we had in our classroom. “Grandma, I don’t know where they got that pizza from, but it tasted like… like… like ARTICHOKES! Not pizza!” (I loved artichokes dearly, don’t get me wrong, but pizza’s supposed to taste like pizza and nothing else!) I’ll order Dominos from time to time, but don’t call it “pizza,” call it “Dominos,” for it is most definitely a food item of its own category. And don’t even get me started on the tomato tortilla hybrid that they dare try to pass of as pizza at California Pizza Kitchen…

And I absolutely loathe anytime someone tries to inform me that Chicago deep-dish is better than a New York slice. Pizza is the perfect meal because it can be a sit-down dinner or an on-the-go snack. I don’t want to have to mentally prep to eat pizza, it should just be consumed.

I’m sure you’re dying to know, so I’ll walk you through my list of qualities a good slice of pizza needs:

  • An almost-paper, crispy wafer-ish type dough. Not burnt, but seasoned brown from years of wear from a good, old pizza oven.
  • The dough should also have some kind of flavor, not just a bread-y taste. And though it’s thin, it should still be durable.
  • A good heaping of tomato sauce. Not so much that it drips all over, but enough to properly coat the pizza and not make the dough soggy.
  • As crispy and non-soggy as the dough should be, it should also be able to be folded over without breaking or ripping in half.
  • CHEESE. Cheese-to-sauce ratio must be on par.
  • Grease. Most definitely NOT over-greased, but at least a little bit to get that nice, small drip.

I could go in-depth on toppings, too, but that will take far too long.

I’ve been fortunate enough to find a few places that make some really delicious pizza.  But I feel like I’m forever searching for the one place that makes the perfect pizza. The one that will send me back in time… the taste that will transport me instantaneously back to Halloween of ’92, my old living room, plopped down right in front of that TV.

Funny, isn’t it? To seek out a taste to remind me of a time when I wasn’t even eating? Isn’t it weird what triggers things in our minds? Isn’t it weird how finicky nostalgia can be?

I mean, the more I think about it, I didn’t even dress up as a cat when I was four. I think my cat costume was from when I was two (though I would wear it just for fun after that as well). I dressed up as Cinderella when I was four. And, thinking of it again, the CVS on my street didn’t even open until I was about six or seven…

Strange how the mind can mix up facts.

But I do remember being dressed up as Cinderella and sitting in my grandma’s pizza parlor, waiting for her to finish her shift. I remember the crinoline under my dress itching my tiny thighs. I remember being bored and wanting to go out and play in the park across the street, instead of sitting in a pizza shop waiting. I remember seeing a booger on the table I was seated at and it scarring me for a while after, not really wanting to eat there or even eat pizza at all for quite some time. I remember venturing to the back of the store and smelling the awful back-alley stench and seeing the broken down space behind the ovens.

I remember those moments quite vividly, actually.

And I remember all the times my grandmother quit that job, and the awful experiences she had working there.

But she did make a damn good pizza.

So, if I had to lay the inanimate objects out on a table that are characteristically “me,” what would they be? A cat costume, Halloween trinkets, a slice of pizza… ? Do these things define me? Does that one single moment I return to time and time again say anything about my personality and the person I am and wish to become?

No, I think it just means I like nostalgic vibes, I dig Halloween and I really enjoy eating pizza. It’s probably why I’ve spent a good portion of my day writing this, and maybe it’s why the person who I’m in a committed relationship with has a birthday on Halloween, and why I’ll never turn down a slice of free pizza, no matter where it’s from. These maybe facets of my personality, but not my life as a whole. What, did you think that my constant quest for the perfect slice is actually a symbol of my search to find my ideal “self”? That maybe I know the qualities about myself that I need to tap into to be the best me I can be, but I’m still working on creating the masterpiece that is my life by trying over and over again to harness all those qualities and apply them in a positive way. That maybe no matter who I encounter and what I try, I’m still searching for my true, perfect self, but that one moment in time I can return to at any point is my safe haven, my “home” to go back to when I feel lost in my searching…

 

Then you’re reading too much into this. I just really like pizza.

 

“Did she really ramble on for fifteen paragraphs and 2242 words just to tell us that she likes pizza?”

Well, yea. I guess I did.

Think about your life in relation to the seasons. What is your favorite season and why? During which season were you born? How did you feel as a child about each season? Have significant events happened during one season over the others? How do you see the world around you change at the start of each season? Use these musings to fuel an essay about one or all of the seasons. 

As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m in a quaint park on a residential street. It’s close enough to the main, highly trafficked road to be distracting—but just enough to serve as a reminder that my time here is temporary. Not like my time on Earth or anything existential like that, just that I have about 45 minutes to write this before my lunch break is over and I have to return to the office.

But as for now, now I’m in this park—just close enough to reality to keep me grounded but far enough away to let me live in my own fantasy world, if only for a short while. I’m perched upon a stone stool, situated in front of a matching stone chess table, created for someone with all the time in the world to just sit, play, enjoy—not for people on borrowed time like myself. Not for many at all really, since no one ever seems to be in this park. The sun is beating down upon me, but there’s a breeze just cool enough to keep it comfortable. There’s a bed of vibrant pink tulips to my right. There’s a child singing in her front yard just across the street. Birds are chirp, chirp, chirping away… all of that good shit. Spring has arrived… and about two months too damn late.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit unfair. Technically spring equinox is on March 20th, which means that spring is really only just over a month late. And sure, the weather never really changes in accordance with the seasons on the first day of their supposed arrival. And yes, there’s also that pesky climate change to factor in—but screw that noise—I’m getting older and more and more impatient in my advancing years.

I don’t think of the seasons in terms of dates and meteorological facts and science—I think about seasons and weather in relation to years passed. Last year, spring “arrived” around the second or third week in March, and then stuck around for a while. The same goes for the spring the year before that. And, come to think of it, the year before that too. Right now it’s the first week of May and the month of renewal is only just barely, cautiously approaching—like a middle-aged woman slowly dipping her toes into a just-a-tad-too cool swimming pool. But for me, it should have been out there, past the kiddie pool, and wading around in the 4’2 foot section by now. (Are these pool references indicative enough of my yearning for summer?)

Sure, we were “due for” another snowy, long, “bad” winter, but that doesn’t mean I have to be cool with it (forgive the pun). I remember analyzing a piece of poetry in the first literature class I ever attended in college—I don’t remember the poem itself, but it prompted a discussion of the “rhythm” of the seasons. Spring is a time of rebirth while winter is a time of death. Death doesn’t have to be taken in the most literal sense—it could also mean a stoppage of creative thought and expression. To me, winter is a time of stagnancy. The cold air and obtrusive, dirty snow forces me to retreat, cowering under my fortress of blankets, cut off from any outside creative influence that might be trying to break in. A time of idleness.  A time of waiting… and my God, do I hate waiting. With each passing year, the “winter blahs,” as I affectionately call ‘em, get me badder than the year prior. The cold, the grey, and the wind hits me harder each time.

So the fact that it is May and it still feels as though winter hasn’t quite left the building, the fact that it’s bitter chill hasn’t yet been found keeled over on the toilet, means that I have a harsh pile of excuses to fall into and make lie-angels in instead of creating. The humid, bitter rain is only just approaching—even  the April showers are late to my pity party.  Summer seems so far off that it feels like the only option is to create my own “summer,” or even my own “spring” for that matter. Albert Camus once said “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” That absurd bastard. But I do suppose he has a point… imagination is my tool and my pen and paper is my broken toy that needs repair—it will just take envisioning the perfect season I want to experience and creating it myself, even if only in writing.

…Hey, that’s not a bad idea. Maybe I’ll start working on that when Mother Nature stops being such a bitch

I’ve been pretty down on myself lately. In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t really been following up on my resolution to post fiction, non-fiction and poetry based on weekly writing prompts. That’s no one’s fault by my own. I’ve got writing prompts from weeks and months ago saved across multiple computers, email inboxes and USB drives. I return to them every now and again and—if I’m lucky—maybe add a sentence or two to each piece. If I let them go long enough with few enough paragraphs, I lose interest in where the piece was going, or forget the genius idea I had for it because I forgot to make note of it because didn’t have a pen on hand, or whatever. In the 21st Century Digital Age of iPhones and tablets and mind-to-walkman transmissions (that’s a thing, right?), I’m not even certain if that’s a viable excuse anymore. (EDIT: No, it’s not.)  In short, I’ve been coming up with more creative excuses to not read or write than creative words to pen on paper.

I recently read a wonderful post on Looking For Pemberley on writing even when you don’t feel like it by Miss E. And just a few minutes ago I read another excellent piece on continuing to write after your work has been rejected on The Rumpus. And I soaked in every word. “I get it…” I thought. “I sooo get it…” Especially in regards to Miss E’s post. I read it in the car on my iPhone, and just let the sentiment resonate with me. But what did I proactively DO after reading it? After reading it on this magical technological device where I can not only READ but also WRITE? Nothing. I did nothing. I thought about how true it was and how, no matter what, I must push through and write, but I only thought—I did not act.

I guess a big part of my problem is that I WANT to be writing. I want to be writing a lot, actually. I’m just NOT. I’m thinking A LOT but writing A LITTLE. And again, the only person to blame for that is myself. I’ve found myself in a rather strange predicament lately where I feel a bit unsettled and uncertain of some things in my life—nothing too earth-shattering, but enough to leave me feeling sufficiently… bummy. And I’ve been coming down pretty hard on myself and my place in the world because of that. My only resolution has been to do some things on my own accord—mainly get back to writing regularly. Finish pieces of prose I’ve been dying to finally cap off and edit. And read voraciously—finish the three books and zines I’ve started reading but can’t quite complete. Stop over-analyzing why I haven’t been able to finish them and just DO it instead.

Today after reading that wonderful post on the Rumpus, I decided to search in my backpack for my notebook instead of just numbing my mind with Facebook games (sorry, Disney’s City Girl!) and actually work on one of the six or seven pieces I’m “in the middle of.” And in my search, what do I find? Two notebooks, one novel and a Poets & Writers magazine. That’s not that bizarre, but it made me realize that I have the tools at my disposal, with me on my person, literally every day of the week. And what do I do? Let them sit in that dark knapsack waiting. Being unused. Adding weight to my back but very little else. I also found at least three different blue pens. Why so many? Because when I start writing something it bugs me if I start in one pen type/color and change to another. It also creates a good excuse for me to NOT write “Ugh, but I started this short story with a blue fountain pen—I can’t finish it with a black ballpoint!” (Again—creativity wasted on excuses and not on actual writing.) Well, I’ve got both blue and black fountain and ballpoint pens AND even some pencils on me right now, so that solves that tremendous dilemma.

What’s ironic is, now that my lunch break is winding down, I won’t have the actual time until after 5:00 PM to get back to writing with those utensils and those notebooks I found. But you know what? It’s ok. Because while it may seem like I instead decided to procrastinate by posting on here, I did it by writing. And that’s at least something. And hopefully a sign of good things to come.

Cheers, and keep those pens and pencils (or styluses and fingers!) working and your creative waters flowing.

New Year’s Resolution

January 3, 2013

One of my resolutions is to write more so that’s why I’m writing this.

‘Til next time!

Ok, I’m just kidding. But I’ve decided to exercise my writing on a more regular basis, even in short spurts for only about 20-30 minutes at a time. The lovely people at Poets & Writers have a great Tools for Writers section, and in it they include weekly writing prompts for a poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. I’m going to try my best to do one a week and update it on here. Just wanted to give a little background before I jump into it, so everyone’s on board and knows what’s going on. It looks like it should be fun!  I suggest giving it a try if you’re looking to keep up with your writing. Even if it’s only a paragraph at a time, it’s still something. And so, without further ado (Gee, I say that a lot, don’t I?) …

Blast from the Past

November 28, 2012

Hello, people of the internet! It’s been a while, but I’m here for your blog-viewing pleasure once again. Crazy weather out there, amiright? Fortunately, I’ve been spared any bad damage from both the hurricane and the Nor’easter (I live on the East Coast). Unfortunately, I can’t use either of those as an excuse for why I haven’t been writing as much as I should have been. Ok, wait, I can come up with an excuse, here it goes: I wanted to write a lot this past month, but because of the storms I got super lethargic and decided to just be immobile in my bed, eating leftover Halloween candy and watching marathons of 30 Rock and Law & Order: SVU on Netflix. Ok, that’s not really an excuse, that’s just the God’s honest truth. But, I will say that I’ve learned something from this: leftover Twizzlers really aren’t all that bad. Sure, they’re stale and tougher to eat, but they still taste pretty damn good.
Anyway, I hope everyone out there, especially on the East Coast, has been staying safe, warm, and dry. And if you are, I hope that you’re doing everything within your means to help out with those who aren’t as lucky. It’s tough out there for a lot of people, but if you have even any inkling of ability to help in any capacity, it doesn’t hurt. We’re all here for each other, and as long as we remember that, we can make it easier to weather any storm–figuratively and literally.
Ok, so I got a little mushy there, but the message still rings true. And now to the point of this entry: this year I’ve finally decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. (So the procrastinating on writing has hit me even harder than usual–woowee!) But it’s a really interesting venture and I hope to at very least make some progress in my work. I usually stick to writing short stories and non-fiction, so this is a challenge for me. I’ve decided to amp up the challenge aspect a bit even more by writing a YA novel. I have a ton of ideas, it’s just now down to the point of getting them all out eloquently and really visualizing how I imagine it all playing out. I’ve been reading through on all of the amazingly helpful and handy info and hints on the NaNoWriMo website and a few have really helped me flesh out my main character and her life.
Basically, it’s through the eyes/mind of a socially awkward high school Freshman, who has difficulty making friends. One of the writing exercises I came across was to have a journal in which you write in the voice of your character. I decided that was perfect, and resurrected my old Xanga for just that purpose. Then I realized, while I’m there, maybe I should go back years and years ago and take a look at what I was writing when I was a socially awkward 15-16 year old, to get an even firmer grasp on how my character views the world.
Oh, boy, did I find a treasure chest of awkward embarrassing gold. Allow me, in one of possibly many posts, to introduce you to 15 year old, high school sophomore Jamie. I briefly have alluded to her in a prior post, but in this you’ll get to the heart of the seedy world that was my online journal and all of the deep, dark, personal secrets kept there for random online people to see.
So, without further ado……
saturday, august 16, 2003
anywho, thursday night was the big blackout–that wasn’t fun. but yesterday was pretty cool. first, the power came back on at our house at 7:45 am–so i was extremely happy lol. then i went 2 cc w/ my mommy. we went at 11:30 and there was like, no one there lol. and i bought the movie “the ref” which made me very happy. i’m sorry but i think denis leary is sexy . there’s something about the whole attitude/leather jacket thing that attracts me to him lol. plus he’s really funny.anywho, i’ll write more later. now i hafta tape denis leary’s roast, and go in the other room and try 2 see some of the beginning of snl, since it’s the one w/ brittany murphey and adam sandler sings the chanukah song part 3 in the beginning–ahh adam sandler, my love . oh well even if i can’t see it i taped it the last time it was on anyway lol. well, that’s all for now–buh bye.
What 15 year old girl in the year 2003 DIDN’T have crushes on either Denis Leary or Adam Sandler? Oh, all the 15 year old girls, you say? Oh. Anywho…. Oh, I should also mention that “cc” = “Cross County,” a local outdoor mall. At this same exact time countless other teenagers, most of which were my peers and the like, were at the same mall–except hanging out behind the movie theater drinking, smoking weed and doing ecstasy  I took pleasure in going out with my “mommy” to Sam Goody. I felt bad ass roaming the aisles, looking for  the new Las Ketchup CD. Then I’d go over to Suncoast and stare at the VHS section for what seemed like hours, before finally ending up in the YA section of Waldenbooks. How I miss those rebellious years.
friday, august 22, 2003ehh…today was pretty boring. i slept like, almost the whole day lol. oooh but i asked larry to be my fake fiance!!! we’re gonna get married in vegas in one of those elvis chapels on april 5th!! lol and katie’s gonna be my maid of honor. i always wanted to pretend i had a fiance lol. i’m such a dork. ttyl. ~jamie
Larry & I stopped talking not long after this took place. Not for any reason other than we weren’t actually friends to begin with. He was the friend of my friend’s boyfriend at the time. They also broke up not long after this, putting the nail in our fake-engagement coffin. I think I was supposed to be “set up” with this Larry fellow, but I didn’t actually know much about him or what he looked like, and I never really left my house outside on my own anyway.  I’ve seen him a few times working in the grooming station at PetSmart. He has no clue who I am, which is probably for the best so he can judge me just as a stranger staring through the glass pane at all of the cute puppies who are not mine since I don’t even have a pet, as opposed to judging me as the girl who lost all of her faculties after her fake fiance stopped talking to her (I think there’s a series of ABC Family movies on that topic.)
tuesday, august 19, 2003omg today i bought the ice age dvd…dude i thought that movie was gonna be really funny…it made me cry!!! the baby’s mom and the mammoth’s family, and diego , dude that was not cool!! i was sitting there bawling. i hate crying during movies lol. and i bought the dvd to see the behind the scenes stuff, so i could see denis leary–and they only showed him for like 1 minute!!!!! loland i looked all over sam goody again for the comedy section, and they definitley got rid of it. where the comedy cds were is all techno crap now. techno????? who the hell buys techno cds??? lol. anyway i hope fye still has their comedy section. even though it’s kinda expensive there i don’t care lol.what’s up with that ataris song? “boys of summer” or whatever. am i the only person who doesn’t like it?? lol they play it everywhere and it really annoys me. oooh i wanna try to make a cool neopets guild layout. hehe neopets…i’m such a dork lol. well, that’s all for now. i’m out.ok i just re-read this and i really have to stop saying “dude” before i annoy myself lol.~jamie

I still don’t like that Ataris cover. And I still say “dude” too much.

friday, august 29, 2003 
i’ve got bangs again! well sort of, they’re kinda half bangs, lol. anyway, when they’re not fixed up and stuff they get kinda weird but that’s ok b/c i can just clip them back. yah. well…that’s my big update for today lol. now i’m going to eat my hot apple pie, listen to the radio, and wait for someone to come on lol. oooh yay the colin quinn forum is back up–woop woop!!! ttyl  ~jamie

“yay the Colin Quinn forum is back up.” Also, I still have messed up bangs. Except now they’re messed up cuz I clumsily took a kitchen scissor to them on Halloween. Which sounds more like something that should have happened then, not now.

saturday, august 30, 2003
I got “two if by sea” on dvd today!!! woop woop!! lol despite what people have said, i liked it. i dunno i’mweird. i think denis looked soo hot in it lol. and sandra bullock is my favorite actress. oooh speaking of him, i mentioned about his celebrity hat trick event thing to my grandma…and she was like, seriously considering ways for me to go. i love my grammy!! but i’ll probably end up not going though . but if i did that would be so freakin cool.yah i didn’t see the whole vmas yet. but i saw the ending twice, which is ok since that was when sandler was on (hysterical) and the metallica performance when they played all the classic mtv songs. that was really cool. that whole britney/madonna/christina thing was soooo nasty. i didn’t even see it but the pictures alone are just….ugh. and she’s like, old enough to be their mom. sick.but it’s not even “shocking” anymore. they’re just doing anything to get attention. they’ve gone so over the line, what’s left? the only way what britney and christina do could be considered “shocking” is if they did just the opposite. and actually stayed fully clothed through a whole performance. or be really shocking and like, i dunno, have a duet and wear amish type clothes and sing air supply or something.now that would be good quality entertainment. i’d watch that lol.or the most shocking thing of all: stay fully clothed and actually show talent. that would be very jaw-dropping.well, that’s all for now. ttyl~jamie.
I can’t believe there was ever a time in my life where I said that something Metallica did was “cool,” but here it is–and in writing, nonetheless. Then again, this was from the same girl who searched tirelessly for one of the worst movies ever made, and then actually “enjoyed” it. Also my little cultural rant at the end is pretty intense. Kind of wrong on a lot of levels, but you still have to love the veracity of it! (I was very passionate about keeping things child-friendly. I once told a classmate that he must not love Jesus if he likes Marilyn Manson. At the same time I was also actively participating on the Cringe Humor forums. I was a girl of complex standards and ideologies, something I still pride myself on to this day.
time jump!
saturday, february 14, 2004

lets see, nuthin too interesting has been happening today. umm i attempted to make a valentine cake for my family. that failed miserably. it was fine until i had to put the eggs in. i put one egg in, and everything was fine. then when i tried to crack open the other egg, it wasn’t like, opening lol. then it cracked open a little bit, and it like oozed out (from the top i might add) all black and blue and bubbly. i almost vomited it was so nasty. and the smell was soooo horrible. luckily, it didn’t get in the batter, however some of it may have dripped in. the batter didn’t smell that good, so i wasn’t sure if any of that satanic egg got in, or the batter itself was just bad. anywho, my grandpa flushed the batter down the toilet and threw the garbage with the evil egg in it in the incinerator,so no one got any cake, obviously lol, and all of my mixing went to waste. oh well, maybe some other time. it was gonna have pink icing and i had that stuff where you can write stuff and make designs too . whatever maybe i’ll make it tomorrow, as long as i buy eggs that aren’t spawns of hell and batter that’s not possibly rotten. ooh, and on another note: i have no school next week!!!!! yayness!!!!!!!!! k, that’s it for now. buh bye. jamie

This is what happens when you’re 16 and you  have no Valentines nor any prospect of a Valentine. You make cakes for your family that are really just for yourself, then end up sacrificing a tiny baby chicken in the process. Oh, I remember this event clearly, and that’s something I didn’t include in the entry: when I initially saw that blue bubbly stuff, I immediately thought it was a baby bird’s brains and freaked out as well as almost started crying. I guess I didn’t want anyone who read my Xanga (two of my friends) to think I was that uncool. This was when I started transitioning into being a bit more witty and funny in my journal, but I’ll spare you those entries. Mainly so you don’t see how much more interesting I was then than I am now.
But basically, I could go back and comment on my old journal entries forever. So, I’m probably not going to base my character off myself entirely (are teenage girls into Colin Quinn? Do you think they’d relate?) but at least I know where I’m going with my character now. And no, she won’t be saying “dude” all that much…

Edit: Ok, so I had the idea brewing for this post for a while now, if you couldn’t tell. I started writing it about 3 or 4 weeks ago, but a couple of events stopped me from writing altogether for a short while. I recently had some self-reflection kinda thing going on and reading through all of this made me aware of some things about myself.

Despite all the awkwardness, childishness, silliness, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I remember at the time wishing I were “edgier” had more guys around and did cooler stuff. I remember being 16 and reading other girls’  livejournals, deadjournals, and xangas and just envying how much more interesting their lives were. Drugs, sex, alcohol, parties, mischief… it all intrigued me though I knew I myself would never be that girl. I’d lament then, and again later, at how little life experiences I had and then eventually wonder–how could I possibly be a writer while I never myself tried anything that most “writers” had tried and experienced? It took a while before I realized that I’d be fine doing what I’d been doing all along, writing a mix of what I know as well as what I’ve learned and picked up from others. Remembering every story told to me, every journal surreptitiously read, every AIM away message, every overheard school locker conversation. I keep all of that in mind, and keep my in-brain knowledge base forever expanding with every new person I meet and story I read.

I’m glad I didn’t have a lot of those experiences because if I did… I don’t know where I’d be right now. I’ m by no means trying to paint myself as a perfect person here, and more so than that I’m not trying to make villains out of anyone based on the choices they’ve made. But I am happy with the choices I have made, even if I thought I’d never say that. When you look around you and realize that you’re in the middle of a waste(d)land, with so few people boasting any sort of promising futures because of decisions they made in high school, it hurts. To see people who you knew could have been great if maybe they just never gave up the fight. And, the worst, people whose past choices and actions have contributed in taking their lives from them years down the line, when they were just starting to figure things out.

This isn’t an anti-drugs PSA. Nor an anti-alcohol PSA. Hell, it’s not even an anti-bad decisions PSA. Screw it, we all make ’em. It’s not a PSA for anything–I’m no good at telling others what to do. But I do believe that there’s merit in revisiting the past from time to time, even if it’s only to mock it. Retracing your steps and seeing what led you to where you are today; whether it’s for a do-over, or to be grateful.  And there’s nothing wrong with taking in the experiences of all those around you. When their stories are ended, someone’s gotta be there to put all the pages together.

Sometimes the people who made the hairiest choices and decisions will create the most beautiful words and images ever known. Sometimes it’s that girl who sat at her computer, trolling comedy message boards and eating one too many McDonald’s Hot Apple Pies (that’s a story for another time). Who knows? But if there’s a story you want to tell, yours or someone else’s, don’t be afraid to go for it; sometimes it’s all we have.

And if anyone else’s looking for good material to write about an awkward, goofy teenage girl, I’m more than willing to share embarrassing journal entries from yesteryear at any given time. Maybe I can even dig up some pictures to accompany them…

PS: If you are participating in NaNoWriMo–friend me! I know there’s only like, 3 days left in the month but there’s always enough time for friendship! Also, with that last tiny bit of rainbowponymush you’re completely allowed to strangle me 🙂

New format. Raw. Real. Uncensored. In your face. Girls Gone Wild. Live Nude Girls. Girls Girls Girls. Smoking in the Boys Room, I think you get what I’m getting at now.

But, for those not at my superior level of intellect, basically what I’m saying is that this blog will no longer be my attempts at creative…pretty writing. No more lyrical-esque, floweryish, pseudo-poetry about rain storms and lilacs and rose hips…you know, the stuff chicks with small tits write about. I’m focusing more on the day-to-day of life. The stupid, silly, bizarre, fucked-up shit that pops into my head on a daily occurrence. Because in the end, that’s me.

I haven’t done too much with my life. I’ve never been a “risk-taker,” I can only write memoirs about people whom don’t exist. I can’t draw, can’t sing, can’t dance…so don’t ask me. Actually, I can dance. So long as it entails me swinging my hips in an overly-sexualized manner and putting my arms up in the air. But I can’t dance in any sort of choreographed fashion. I’ve never done drugs, I’ve never drank with anyone famous, I can’t even ride a bike.

But I can hate people for funsies, flawlessly look like a doofus in every picture/video of me ever in existence, wrap my arms behind my head, stumble awkwardly over my own words on daily basis, eat meat like a savage, let my thoughts (and words) trail off mid-sentence, knock back whiskey like a classy broad, paint my nails every week, swoon over 90s nostalgia, swear far too much, constantly worry about how long-lasting my deodorant REALLY is, blatantly adjust my boobs in public situations, regret the shoes I chose to wear for nearly every occasion, diagnose myself (and others) with my own psychotherapy, occasionally spew some radical, intellectual thoughts about literature, be creepin’ at punk shows all over the city, be a slut in my mind,  tumblr like it’s going out of style and play ukulele. Ok, I can only play the beginning intro of “Backseat of My Car” on ukulele, but it sure makes me sound cuter if I say I can actually play.

Also, I’m learning how to play bass for a psychobilly band. I’m spastic as fuck but in my head i’m the baddest bettie you’ve ever met.

Now…who WOULDN’T want to read about my life?

 

Oh…and as for my creative writing…all of my unfinished short stories [once they’re finished, maybe] will still live on at my webzine.  But that’s still in progress. I have far too many websites and a different alias for each one to ever keep up with. But I like to consider it “social networking with the best of ’em.”

 

Now, love me?

 

 

 

So, I’ve realized that I find it almost impossible to write something creative of my own accord when I have work to finish. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but it’s always when I think about what I have to write that I remind myself of all my unfinished creative endeavors. That’s followed by me promptly wanting to work on said endeavors, but then feeling hindered by my impending work. I need to be more proactive about my writing when I’m in between paid writing gigs. I have so many short stories that I’m absolutely in love with (yes, my own stories that I’m in love with. But fuck it, that’s the way it SHOULD be.) and would really like to finish, but I just keep losing the drive to. It’s bad. I need to stop doing that and use my free time (since I have enough of it) more wisely.

 

While I’m on the topic, does anyone know of any good places to submit short stories? And does anyone know of good place to go for starting a zine? Two things I very much want to work on right now. All help appreciated, thanks!