Friday, December 30, 2011

This will only hurt a little bit--maybe

I think the tangerines are multiplying. There was one on my desk yesterday, when I came into work, which I ate, and now there are two. Some people might think it odd to eat a tangerine (or food) of doubious origin, however all food is of dubious origin, isnt it? And I like tangerines.

I apparently have this problem where I think I am invincible. I know this is going to get me in trouble one day, but you see, perhaps I wouldn't believe it if it wasn't backed up by evidence like, getting exposed to strep all the time and never getting it, being immune to salmonella (recent claim since I eat the same food as other people and they get food poisoning and I don't--mostly involving poultry), or hitchhiking, and picking up hitch hikers. A good bit of this is probably luck, the rest is who knows...more luck, and a strong immune system.

The issue then becomes trying to grasp "normal", and how to make characters seem normal, or have "believable" reactions to things, like eating slightly under-cooked turkey, a normal remark apparently is not "eh, it will be alright." Some of my characters have a bit of my sense of invincibility, they live life along the "if it doesnt kill me it makes me stronger" belief, and well, if it doesn't make me stronger it only hurt a little bit right, plus scars are cool.

The issue that I run into is that I base characters on people, real people, or well real peoples personalities. And the personality I am best able to dissect is my own, which brings me back to my limited knowledge of normal. So my characters sometimes react to things in a very un-caviler way and I loose a readers since of belief, they dont understand the reasoning behind it, and want me to explain more...but well, that reaction is normal to me. So, I'm left trying to explain a rational that is perfectly reasonable to myself, to people who don't think like me, which means I have to think like them, which isn't an easy task.

How do you manage it?

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I dont particularly like confrontation, I much prefer to be sneaky and backstabbing.

Not that I am particularly sneaky or anything, with my surplus of grace, my ER record speaks for itself.

I am also a pretty equal opportunity partier.

Growing up in Georgia, not being Christian often caused a couple of issues, especially at this time of year. In elementary schools we learned Christmas carols, not Hanukkah songs. I had kids tell me Hanukkah is a made up holiday...not to mention getting told I would go to hell, but that's not really on the point. We made Christmas cards, and Christmas ornaments.

I went along with it because well, the school wasn't set up to handle the 1% of the Jewish population, and like I had already said, I am an equal opportunity partier, what did I care that the cookie/cupcake/glitter card/etc had santa clause/christmas tree etc on it (my parents drew the line at crucifixes though), its still a cookie damn it.

However it does upset me when other people do not take such lax point of view. What kind of world do you live in if you honestly believe your's is the only holiday that exists (after all I did grow up forced to celebrate your silly holiday). But, going around and stabbing those people in the back would most likely not be viewed as a public service and would probably land me in jail or something, and for as little for as little as I like confrontation I think I will dislike prison more.

So I have decided, if I cannot stab the people who refuse to be equal opportunity partiers, and insist on voicing their refusal, I will confuse them.

If you've been reading this blog, which I hope you have, and if you haven't I am impressed with how far you've managed to go. You might have noticed I have a habit of making up words, I'm like Shakespeare that way, without the beard or the duels or the rhyming. Okay fine, I am nothing like Shakespeare. But I do like to make up words.

My newest word is Hapsmechkwanachan. Pronounced Has-me-ch-kwana-chan

It means, Christmas-kwansa-hannaka-holiday.

Not only is it fun to say, its confusing to people who are clueless...and its (mostly) all inclusive

I came up with it (I think) the other day when I was leaving Target, and someone honked at me, for crossing the street (in a crosswalk) and I yelled at them "Happy Holidays!"
They yelled back "Its Merry Christmas"
To which I replied, "Happy Hapsmechkwanachan!" and kept walking.

So in celebration of this festival season I wish you all a Happy Hapsmechkwanachan! Go forth and spread the joy, and feel free to confuse the haters with this awesome word, not only is it fun to say but its also fun to watch the confused people react.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu: You look oddly familiar

I am oddly excited to be participating in the Deja Vu blogfest

At first I was all like, what will I post. But the more I thought about it the more I realized I knew exactly what post to re-post. Why, well its been nearly a year since the headache of death started, and because this was one of the first posts in a long time that made me really enjoy writing, and because I have a headache (well a hangover) today. All good reasons to post "Oh the" again.

I hope you enjoy.

I am no stranger to headaches. I lived with one for a little over a month and a half in January/February/March, a constant pain concentrated between my temples, radiating through my brain. I lived in sunglasses and earphones (often with no music just to drown out the noise). I took stock out in Tylenol and Excedrin, since I went through a bottle (of each) a week, screw my liver or kidneys. I had mini nervous breakdowns. I cried in bathtubs. I sent text messages to friends saying "I wish I could stop my heart from beating for just one second so the pain will stop." I cried at work, I cried at home, I cried on the subway and in my car. Light made my eyes feel like they were bleeding, a whisper pulsed in my ears with the grace of a hammer. I ended my day with two pills and started it the next with more.

And then there were the flairs. The blinding moments when the pain was so bad and so extreme that I called people and said, I need to go to the Hospital. Or get in the car and start to drive myself to the emergency room, only to realize how loud, bright and crowded that place would be. So I would go back inside, and try to numb whatever senses I could.

The rational part of my mind knew what I was saying/thinking/doing was irrational. It would say things like, you don't really want to stop your heart. But I also knew that the irrational part of my mind was winning. My rational mind was shutting down, giving up, saying; "I surrender. Just make it stop". Normal tasks became difficult, hard tasks became impossible, it took all my concentration, and will power to wake up in the morning and go to work, to sit in front of a computer with the brightness turned all the way off, and try to do my job. And I felt stupid, slow, like my brain was getting scrambled, and I was loosing what made me who I am. I felt like I was loosing my mind, and in several ways I was. No sane person thinks about stopping there heart to stop there head from hurting. I felt my grip slipping.

It took a month to get in to see my Primary care physician, at no fault of hers, more simply that the primary care physician that my insurance assigned to me no longer practiced medicine. So after trying and failing to get a hold of her, I called the insurance company to switch, only to be told all changes will begin at the start of the next month. A full two weeks away. I broke down. Then tried again, got a more friendly agent, who made the change. I called the new doctor, who told me they could see me in two weeks. I broke down again. Then tried again, and after crying into the phone, got an appointment in two days. A prescription pain killer, and an MRI later, I saw a neurologist. The neurologist ordered blood tests, and put me on a steroid anti-inflammatory with the prescription pain killer, and then, by the time I finished the treatment, the pain was gone.

I wish I could say it was like waking up from a dream, that suddenly everything was normal again. It wasn't. There was no fog clearing moment. I couldn't see clearer now, the rain wasn't gone. The pain was, but the foggy, slow, stupid feeling remained. I felt like I was having trouble doing normal tasks. I felt like doing my normal job took me twice as long as it had pre headache. My focus was shot. My body was drained. My mind was in pieces.

I had moments of doubt, when I would look at a task and say, this should take me X amount of time, then when it took me twice that, I would wonder, am I really this slow, or am I remembering my abilities incorrectly. Was I ever that fast, organized, on top of things? I felt like a stroke victim.

My coworkers were supper understanding throughout the entire ordeal. They would ask me if they could help. They would stay out of my way when I ran from the office in tears. They never expressed disappointment in my speed, or frustration in my abilities. But it was the self doubt, the internal feeling of failure that I couldn't shake.

I have not written creatively since mid way through February. My brain couldn't, wouldn't, grasp the words. Until this weekend. I went to a cafe and started to write.

It has taken me four plus months to recover. I still get occasional headaches, like the one I have right now, which is like a tickle of pain on the inside of my skull, and I cant always shake that tiny bit of doubt that plagues me with insecurity and uncertainty, that I am still not quite what I was before. Every headache causes me a moment of panic, what will I do if this one never goes away, but now, Six months after it started, four months after it stopped. I am beginning to feel normal again.

I never wrote about this headache before, I liked to pretend that if I didn't voice my concerns about loosing myself, loosing my intelligence, it would just go away. That it wouldn't be true. That if I never said it out loud it would magically go away. But I don't think that's ever the case.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dating: A writers school

A while back I signed up for OKcupid, a free dating site. I was heavily intoxicated at the time. I mean heavily intoxicated. This was the night that I invented a new yoga pose, called the drunken child. Its a very relaxing pose that involves passing out where ever you are, on the floor. Needles to say this account makes little to no sense, and I went back mildly sober and cleaned it up a bit. I still very rarely use it, but I've been single for a while, and after reading some blogs by Obsessions of a Workaholic about the horrors of online dating I felt inspired to give it a go. Seriously, she mostly posts about the horrors, but I am a messed up person and decided, hey if she is going on these horribly awkward dates, maybe I can find some horribly awkward dates to go on too. Worst case scenario I end up dead, slightly better case scenario I end up with decent material.

The problem with this site is that it involves talking to people, and I dont like talking to people much. I grow quickly board with email conversations and typically stop replying. So I've not had much luck with that, well at least with the horribly awkward dates. I've had a few horribly awkward email conversations, after all these guys have very little to start a conversation with, aside from my drunkish ramblings. So a common way for them to start a conversation with me (I don't start conversations...this probably goes back to the thinking horrible dates are good writing fodder and not liking people) is to ask about my writing. As those of you who have read Why? you probably know how that goes, for those of you who haven't read it, it doesn't go well.

But the other day a guy asked me a different writing question. He asked me if I went to school to be a writer. And while this didn't help him out at all, it did make me think. I actually don't think I ever replied to that email because I was so busy thinking about the question (I might be the worst online dater in the history of online dating). Now, you might be wodnering why such a simple question requires so much thought. I mean, I did take a few creative writing classes in college. But I was writing well before then. I actually turned in a poem I wrote in seventh grade for something and got an A on it, and I'm not sure if that says more about the University of Georgia Public School System or my seventh grade poetry. I don't like poetry. The classes definitively helped, but what did they teach me?

Well, they taught me the definition of some useful terms that help me sound smart, like "Show don't tell" or like "plot" or "rising action" They taught me how to critique and how to handle critiques because we critiqued one another work. They helped me understand the value of having friends who are also creative, and it helped me develop thick skin. I don't necessarily believe any of those skills are mandatory to be a writer.

Helpful yes. Mandatory no. In fact there was very little I learned in those classes I couldn't have taught myself by going to writers groups and reading books on writing. But then again I don't know I would have ever sought out a writers group without having been in a college class about writing. But then again, if someone told me they wanted to take a few classes on writing I don't think I would try to talk them out of it.

Here's the thing. Some people don't have alot of confidence in their own ability. I don't always have confidence, but I very rarely let that show. Other people have tons of confidence.But if your one of those people without confidence in your writing and a piece of paper saying you have a certification in it or you have studied it or etc will give you the confidence you need to go out there and say "Hey I'm a writer too." you should do it.

Writing isn't something you have to study in a classroom (although perhaps you should study by reading at least one book) but it is something you have to do. I'm more apt to agree with someone who says they are a writer, who writes every single day, than someone who never writes but has an MFA in writing. So I guess my answer is, school is fun, and helpful, but, you get out of it what you put into it. And it doesn't make you a writer. Now I am off to make more people feel useless when I stop emailing them out of the blue.

p.s. If you know any single guys it would make my grandparents really happy if I started dating. Even if they are really bad, then I can just write about them.

p.p.s If you judge me, please do so behind my back. My confidence is really just a mask, or something.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Insecure Writers Group Post: Procrastination

"Never procrastinate today what you can put off till tomorrow."

Wise words of wisdom from my father (also one of my parents many trivia team names, they also have "My couch pulls out but I don't" and "I'm wearing woman's underwear, and it feels so good") Where was I? Oh, procrastination, and insecurity.

It seems a good topic since I am a day late on my insecure blog post, and because I've been procrastinating writing my blog, and because I've been procrastinating on writing a post on procrastiantion ever since Bobby my nemisis over at Wildy Urban wrote Procrastinators Anonymous .

Now you might be wondering what the P word has to do with writing, or perhaps the I word. Well back in October when I first found out about the Insecure Writers Group, I wrote a post about the difference between trying and failing (or something like that), and the P word in my opinion is basically based (like the alliteration)on the fear of failing, and if you never try you can never fail. Remember the insecure steroid guy? I'm gonna relate to that or well, I am going to try to.

I think there are a few things that lead to procrastination to me.


I've been procrastinating alot lately. Alot alot. I've also been under more stress than normal lately, work has been intense, I have a dance show this weekend (five hours of practice a week takes up alot of time), I am broke (dance show prep costs lots of moneys) and general life is stressful stress. So, because of that stress I've been doing other things that trigger stress relief, reading/knitting/running/watching tv.

But, those are all excuses. I know they are excuses, but I do them anyway.

Then there is the lazyness element, but I am not sure if lazy-ness is a true cause because a lot of the things I do to procrastinate writing are harder than actually writing, running/dancing/knitting (maybe not knitting). They are lazy in one aspect though, they dont require alot of thought.

But then there is the fear. Fear of sucsess, fear of failure. Insecurity. You procrastinate doing something if you are afraid to do it. But still. I don't think that is actually the root of the problem.

I love to write, I have fun crafting a perfect scene, or listening my characters bicker with one another in my head when I write their dialogue. Just me, my netbook/laptop/pen and paper, music and a cup of tea, sticking my head in a world where anything goes because its MY WORLD. Spending time thinking up what motivates my characters etc. Don't get me wrong, its work, but its fun. Here's the wrench though. The second you call yourself a writer, or make friends who are writers, writing is not just something you like doing. Its something you should be doing. Its something you have to do, or you are failing. Then there is stress, then their is worry, then their is insecurity.

The joy gets lost in everything else. So to me, the way to shake procrastination is to make it not something you should be doing, but make writing be what you WANT to be doing. If you are not a writer, but instead someone who likes to write maybe then you cannot procrastinate writing since its not something you should be doing, and if its not something you are doing for any reason other than you want to, you can also shake that insecurity from failing away.

This month, I'm gonna try to remember the joy, and see if it helps.

Do you procrastinate?

p.s. When I joined the Insecure Writers Group, I was the 173rd member, they are now up to 230 members? How many have you checked out?