Archive for the ‘Re-evaluating’ Category

I’m going to break the taboo. I’m going to share the secret (shhh!) of LIFE!

If you want the short version, just scroll down to the image and use that as profound, and out-of-context, wisdom to cling to this week.

Amongst my diverse careers, from hand model, to Princess walker and slave, to squirrel chaser, one day I found myself in the employ of a five-inch pirate who demanded I make him a new hat.

Now, my millinery skills are well-known among the twelve-and-under crowd, but that is age, not inches.

My response was, of course, “Squee, I would love to work for a pirate!”

Captain Baaa Humbug’s response was, “Squee again, girly, and I’ll make you build a plank!”

I have recently wanted to build a plank. Unfortunately, I do not have access to a moat, a pond, nor even a puddle.

Instead, I tried my hand at making this mini-terror of the seven seas a new hat.

And it was pretty icky. I tried to embellish the skull and crossbones by drawing eyes on the skull.

Never draw on a pirate’s skull. Er, or on his hat.

Because next week I will be turning the scrap wood in the backyard into a plank-to-nowhere.

Here is today’s out-of-context words of wisdom. Please remember them the next time you reach a point in your life where it is time to make a career change.

Please chant this to yourself while you sift through job search boards.

Please chant this to yourself while you sift through job search boards.

As you chant this on the subway tomorrow morning, beware that the other passengers may mistake you as a very wise guru, and this may lead you to an illustrious career as a lama (or a llama caretaker).



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I tried a foolhardy experiment, which is quite obvious from the status of my blog and social media accounts: one year, internet-free.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

It can’t be done, not completely, not unless you want to go live like a Yeti in the forest.  Not if you want any sort of modern life.

It started like this: I took a Dream Job, which, of course, as all Dreams do, paid way less than my former job.  So I decided to go 1982 on this bad boy: no internet, no home phone, no cable television, no Netflix, no nothing.  Actually, seeing as my house was built in 1942, it didn’t notice any difference whatsoever, except for the fact that I didn’t wear an apron and dance around the kitchen crimping pie crusts.

Losing the internet was the hardest thing. When I lived in England for graduate school, competition among companies kept internet rates more than reasonable. But here, two monopolies keep prices sky high.

I spent a LOT of time driving to Mumsy-Dearest’s house this past year, just to do “one thing” on the internet.

In fact, my experiment really only lasted a few weeks, if you count that Mumsy-Dearest went anti-medieval-times on my heinie and forced me to upgrade my phone to a Smart version.  My old cell seriously only made calls.  It couldn’t even text, not after my argument with the phone company about the sexy photo texts I was getting en espanol, on Elva the Spanish Sex Kitten’s old number.

I wish I could say that my Experiment was enlightening, that I accomplished So Much this past year and that I’m now moving to a commune to raise chickens.

But, as a writer and as a modern chickee-poo, it was a study in frustration instead.  99% of my writing and internet time was suddenly work-related only.  I’ve never been married to my Smart phone to the point of going out with a friend but texting the world during dinner as if said friend didn’t exist.  Sure, I could have done more social media from my phone, but when you’re watching your data limit (the modern equivalent of counting calories), you don’t dare take that first nibble.

The worst of it was that I spent more time watching television than I ever had before.  Whereas I used to catch up on one or two shows during lunch breaks, on the internet, this year if I wanted to watch, I had to plan my evening around it.  And, once I huddled down and curled up and got comfy… yeah… you can see where that’s going.

Medical research proves that people who watch more television are less happy.  I could feel it happening. It impinges on the freedom of leisure time.

Yet with all the movements toward a screen-free life, and screen-free children, it’s just not feasible. There’s productivity to take into account, as well as keeping up with ever-changing technology. You can still buy most things locally, but, unless you want to drive all over town, a quick internet search will at least tell you if what you need is available, and where.

Screen-free?  Ha!

But screen-savvy? Indeed.  Consider screen intelligence.  A little planning on the best use of our screen time, and THAT is what will buy us more time in this harried, over-scheduled age of the screen.



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Have I hit another fork?  Okay, the re-evaluation is pretty much over, or I thought it was.  Last spring it really started to hit me that my world isn’t quite what I believe it to be…  I found out a lot of people weren’t quite telling me the truth, they were keeping me… innocent.  And I finally, after a bunch of not so great stuff happened this past year, figured out: What’s so wrong with that, huh?  So I live in my own little world.  I tried breaking out of it to see the world at large, but really, what’s so wrong with my own little world?  It’s not hurting anyone.  In fact, on occasion, when I have visitors, they seem to like my world. 

 So I took everything I knew about the world, and I thought it over, and decided I rather liked it as it was.  But it took a while to get to that point.  And at the same time, I decided I still wanted to continue my education.  I want more in my world, I just have to be careful, keep a balance. 

Do I get cocky?  I like to think I work hard… sometimes.  Okay, often I slack.  I take shortcuts.  Even in my writing, I can’t give it my all.  I’ve found… like Kyoko in Skip Beat! that I’m lacking… something essential.  And like Ren, too.  I can’t write love if I don’t understand it.  I can’t write emotional characters if I’m cut off.  And man, have I gotten in touch with some emotions I never ever want to see again.  That ultimate fear, where you just break down crying, sobbing, and life looks like it’s over.  Is it because it’s winter and I haven’t seen the sun in months, and months, and months?  Anyway, I hope I don’t get cocky.  Sometimes I write something, and I work my butt off, and I have to keep in mind that it’s just not good enough, that it’s easy for people to pass over in favor of something else, even if I worked hard and think it’s uber-cool.  No Shelterbelt V-Day for me this year.  No GPTC, either, surprisingly.  Ouch.  That one hurt.  I took everything I thought I’d learned from the “luminaries” the past two years, and from arguing with other writers about the evils of writing for entertainment vs. deep thoughts… I decided to write, instead of a zany farce, a dry living room philosophical play.  Humorous if played right, or maybe it just doesn’t come out in reading it on the page, the dry humor.  I’ll never know.  They don’t say why they rejected it.  The kicker is that they offered, thanks to the “quality of the submission” to let me come participate in the two day workshop for the same price as the entire conference.  Ahem.  Ha ha ha.  Bwahaha.  Ouch, just slap me upside the head with a carving knife, why don’t you?  Basically it’s a $300 quick class on How Not To Write for the Theatre, Idiot Girl.  I got lost in that world between literary and functional.  Hmm.  I still haven’t been able to find the mix I’m looking for in my writing.  Ah well.  I’ll keep looking. 

 But at the first of the year, even school had been pulled out from under me.  No scholarships.  No word back from the one school I’d applied to.  And my doctor said, Uh, you’re sick, sorta.  But not really.  But you could be.  And even after she said, Nah, you’re not sick yet, but you might, but who knows, shrug–the insurance companies and all their bureaucracy said that there’s no way they’ll keep me as an individual if there’s a slight chance that in ten years I might be sick, or might not.  So then what?  A dream, or health?  Future safety?  Do I want to become a bag lady just because pre-existing conditions completely preclude Americans from getting health insurance?  They said I could get on the High Risk insurance for individuals with chronic disease or disability.  And I’m not even sick!  Argh!  But they can do whatever they want, because HIPPA only regulates group policies.  The companies are still private, so they can do whatever to the individual.  Ah, health insurance.  Ah, the real world.  I’ve been slapped with it.  And hence, I crawled back into my own little safe world I’d just barely crawled out of last spring, and decided there was absolutely no reason to leave my innocent little world.

 But all that made me realize that, even though I’d been so decisive, even though I’d been sure of my path, that I’d suddenly come to another fork left in the middle of the road.  “Turn left at the fork in the road.”  “Um, Kermit?”  “What?”  “Never mind.”  So Fozzie and I are in this Studebaker, the sun is coming up in the west, and the world is topsy turvy.  Where do you go from there?  You’ve seen that there is such a thing as… possibly… evil.  Nah.  I don’t want to call it evil.  And yet, I can’t just write it off.  It wasn’t just a bad decision.  But it wasn’t… evil.  Just a little demon involved.  Ahem.  Anyway, I’m in a Studebaker, a bear is driving–he’s not a bare, he’s a wearing a necktie!–and I realize… no matter what, life is not going to always be so easy as it has been before now.  I have this looming… thing… that could happen, or might not, and I’m the bird–to I choose the cage, or the sky?  Not only that, but my writing has been rejected so many times this year, I’m getting buried.  I will never get published, I feel.  I’m not throwing myself hard enough into playwriting, so is that over with?  Do I give that up as a sideline?  Even though that’s the only place I’ve gotten any recognition?  Going to school doesn’t guarantee anything.  I want to get published.  I want those contacts.  But getting an MA doesn’t guarantee that I’ll meet anyone who will say, Ah, yes, just what we’ve been looking for.  But it might be faster than sitting here on my duff sending stuff out and waiting six months for a reply.  And even if I have the MA, it doesn’t guarantee I’ll even get a teaching position to pay off the master’s degree…  And I wanted to maybe do a PhD. Now that’s pretty much… gone. 

 Now what?  Where’s the spoon in the road when you need it?



Happy Daylight’s Savings Time!

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Friday started poorly.  It started Thursday.  Sickness is never a good way to start the only day a week I get off of work.  Why oh why do I work six days a week?  It’s starting to really get to me.  No time to myself.  And that’s only compounded when the single day off is commandeered…

I don’t plan to marry or have children.  Marry, maybe.  Children, I can’t.  I can’t take care of my family that I do have, so how can I take care of children?  I don’t have time, or energy, unless I foresake everything I’ve worked toward and just give everything to my children.  I found that out when Hannah was a kid.  I was just her play toy.  She wanted to read; we read!  But under the ideal circumstances, I wouldn’t mind marrying.  As long as I had time, and could go places, and have my own interests.  I could never define myself by a husband.  And I wouldn’t want him to do so, either.  He couldn’t just sit at home and wait for me to come back.  (I say that like I’m outgoing… and there is something in me that is… that was suppressed… because I used to be… and then someone told me… and I believed them… because I’m stupid that way…) 

I’m not meant to take care of my family.  I have that responsibility gene.  I have that guilt trip.  I love my family.  I want to be there for them. 

But I can’t give myself up.  I haven’t even been myself yet, so how can I subvert myself, and just take care of someone else?  How could women do that way back when, when they married right away, the age of sixteen or so, and just take care of another?  Of course, those were different circumstances. 

Friday my grandpa was in the hospital.  I’m Grandpa’s girl, so I was more than willing to take care of things.  My parents were in North Carolina.  He had a possible kidney stone.  Thankfully not heart related.  I voted to say nothing to my parents.  We spread the word to the family around here.  And Friday I was the one to take Grandma to the hospital, then take her to dinner, then take them home.  Lost the day. 

I have problems when I lose my Friday.  It’s my only day that’s mine to do with as I please.  Every other day is spoken for. 

The little old lady in the parking lot said rude things and made awful gestures at me in the rearview mirror.  I didn’t get anything done, and I’d so been looking forward to it, my first Friday without a roomie.  My first Friday all summer.  Summer gone, whispered along, and whisked itself out the door.  I came to on the first day of autumn to find summer gone, find a friend gone, and I said, I gotta do something for myself, I gotta get back to that darn novel! 

But at least I got to talk to my cousin about some serious things that have been on my mind.  Student loans, as I’ve never had any.  Scholarships.  Subletting.  Oh, such important things.  Before I turn bitter at the roots.



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The default post title reminds me of this adorable little keychain I had as a child.  A tiny kitten, falling into a commode, proclaiming: Good-bye, cruel world!  Which is probably only funny if one can look at the world as less than cruel.  Slightly sadistic, yes, odd sense of humor, yes, but cruelty should be reserved for those who do not believe in happiness and purposefully attempt to bring others down into the abyss. 

 The default post title also reminds me of the new world I’ve discovered over the past few months.  Rather than being confined to the city of mine birth, I’m poking my head out of this scratchy eggshell, blinking into the sunlight, and contemplating my next move.  Suddenly every opportunity is open.  Despite having scoffed previously at such things as an MFA, which I could easily do in my hometown, but, pshaw, what for?  I’ve been shown, through the eyes of a crazy person in my attic, that there’s something else out there–a la “The Boy Who Could Fly.” 

 So, hello, world!



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