Blogging University, Writing

Writing 101: Not So Great at This Inspirational Quote Thing

Let’s talk books a little. I am slightly ashamed that, based on the frequency of book discussions on this blog, I read rarely to never. As a librarian, I do read way less than I feel I should. Like now. I could be reading right now, but I’m probably going to write this blog post, get my shit together for tomorrow, and sleep. If you want to give me a break, I’m recovering from grad school (that’s a shameful lie…my program ended almost a year and a half ago [YIKES]).

I just started reading Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Small Backs of Children. Fine, it was 2 weeks ago and I’ve only read 50 pages. I decided to pick up the novel after reading her short story “Woven,” which is so beautiful and sad. The quote I want to talk about in this post is from that story.

“Now, when someone hurts me, I remember that they are only living the terms of their own fictions—sometimes desperately—so their selves don’t unravel.”  —Lidia Yuknavitch, “Woven”

I think that’s a sucker punch to the gut kind of quote. Can you appreciate why it’s taking me so long to get through her novel?

Let’s keep it honest: I’m not a very forgiving person. People suck, don’t they? But I think this line of Yuknavitch’s is brave and painful and empathetic. It hurts to feel like you’re unravelling and that you can’t do anything to stop it. When there’s nothing else you can do, it becomes so important to make sure you aren’t vulnerable to other people realizing what a shit show you are and how easily they could knock you over if they wanted to. That’s when you hurt other people so they don’t hurt you first.

Like the narrator, I try to remember other people aren’t as in control as they might like to think when people get pissed at me because I don’t know what they mean or some asshole cuts me off or my neighbor acts like a dick (I’m never letting that go).

I feel I could’ve gone more inspiring with this post. Enjoy this pretty picture of the sky at night from Unsplash?

Day 7 Image

Blogging University, Writing

Writing 101: Commentary You Never Knew You Needed

This prompt, you guys. This prompt. I was browsing through my comments looking for my, erm, incredibly insightful(?) feedback and found this instead. This is a response to kelsee727’s day 2 list on her blog, Kelsey’s Journey:

Ben & Jerry are the most important men in my life.
I’m a Phish Food girl. 🙂
Love your list! I hate shaving, but I do like the smooth leg feel.

That is the closest a blog post comment has ever come to capturing my essential nature. Things I do a lot: eat ice cream, touch my legs, read lists. Things I do rarely: shave my legs.

The end.

Oh, 100 words isn’t good enough? Fine. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Ben & Jerry’s then, shall we? So we already know Phish Food is the greatest of all Ben & Jerry’s flavors; however, my current obsession is Cinnamon Buns. I acknowledge that I may have overdone pumpkin in autumns gone by (pumpkin soup, pumpkin mac & cheese, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cream cheese cookies [but I will NEVER apologize for pumpkin waffles with apple cider syrup]). This year (as we careen wildly towards October?!!?!?), I’m not really feeling it with pumpkin, but I’m obsessed with cinnamon. Admittedly, cinnamon is appropriate for all seasons, though it tastes better when you’re wearing a sweater, no? Or is that just a librarian thing?

Pretty sure it’s no longer available, but Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road was amazing, and not only because it was the Elton John flavor. Chocolate, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle. Also delicious: Clusterfluff (stupidly renamed What a Cluster because it offended people and Ben & Jerry let the terrorists win [I can only assume]).

You thought this post was going to be about more than just ice cream? You don’t know me at all.

Blogging University, Writing

Writing 101: Poll Time

The concept of writing in a coffee shop or the library or outside appeals to me, but truthfully I’m too neurotic and allergy-prone to work successfully in any of these environments. I need to be able to work with minimal interruptions, and I have paranoid delusions about members of the public standing behind me and judging the brilliance (or dullness) of my blog (not aided by this actually happening to me in a Waffle House once). I’m such an introvert that the idea working anywhere in the proximity of people is exhausting to me and know that every time someone walks into the room I’ll be thinking, “OH GOD, x/y/z person knows I’m writing the shittiest post in the history of blogging.”

For whatever reason, this picture of Grace Metalious (Peyton Place) has stayed with me: huddled over a typewriter, hair pulled away from her face, baggy jeans, plaid lumberjack shirt, canvas shoes, and looking unfairly gorgeous and focused.

Here’s a charming scene: me. Couch. Laptop, slippers, cat. Variations on shorts, ratty jeans, sweatpants, PJs, bra, no bra. I work on my post. Sometimes I listen to a Motown station on Pandora, sometimes Penguin Café Orchestra, sometimes nothing. The cat sleeps or, since the arrival of Bertha Mason, bites the shit out of my ankles. Occasionally I leave the room to make another cup of tea. I’ll leave that scene to your imagination.

It takes me an embarrassing amount of time to form a sentence because my brain is too busy overanalyzing the shit out of the next word I may or may not write. I always try to convince myself to write things out by hand, but I’m an incredibly lazy person in my heart and don’t want to have to write things out and then write them again. Now you know I essentially write as if I’m a poorly dressed hermit who is allergic to sunlight. You shouldn’t be all that surprised.

Since it’s required for this prompt, poll time:

Blogging University, Writing

Writing 101: Social Media

It must be increasingly clear to you, readers, how obsessed I am with Emily Carroll, cartoonist, master of Twitter, and all-around cool human being.  So I’m sure it surprises no one that I picked one of her tweets for this social media inspired prompt.

https://twitter.com/emilyterrible/status/637286397729050625

I woke up and my mood was “PENDING.”  I love that, and it’s brilliant.  Isn’t it always pending?  At this particular period of my life, I try to wake up and tell myself it’s going to be a good day.  Don’t hate me–“try” is the operative word here.  I don’t always do it, but I try.  It’s not like songbirds flock to my window bearing freshly plucked daisies and gum drops (obviously I know nothing about birds b/c nothing about this scenario is particularly bird-like).  The alternative is thinking “OH GOD, WHY” and seriously considering crawling back to bed and never leaving.  Tempting but impractical.

It’s going to be a good day…pending I remembered to pick something appropriately business casual-y the night before, pack my lunch, set my alarm.  I have 2 alarms on my phone and 2 on my clock radio for good measure.  Some mornings the clock radio feels like a mistake, like when the first thing I hear in the morning is “Don’t Stop Believin’” or the absurdly cheerful DJ’s voice.

It’s going to be a good day…pending I maintain a semblance of coordination when applying makeup and don’t send little droplets of foundation flying everywhere.  Let’s not even get started with the close calls with mascara wands and eyeballs, shall we?

It’s going to be a good day…pending that I actually feel like eating breakfast (I love breakfast, guys, but sometimes I just don’t feel like eating it.  I honestly think I may have been body snatched.  Do me a favor if you eat breakfast:  savor it.  Put a little extra syrup on your waffles.  Add some cheese to your hash browns.  Eat a sugary cereal like Cookie Crisp that is so sickeningly sweet you have to eat a piece of cheese right after or it will be all you taste for the next 6 hours).

On the bright side, there is approximately no chance of spilling Coke Zero on my keyboard.  Hot tea, on the other hand…

Blogging University, Writing

Writing 101: Story in a Single Image

Yeah, I’m way behind with the Writing 101 prompts. It’s to be expected. YOU CAN’T RUSH ART.

I feel it should go without saying that I took this prompt to mean “find the weirdest possible image on Unsplash.”

And here we are:

Day 4 Image

Also this image made me think of my blogging partner Christa…is it just me? Maybe I love you too much, Christa, so I see you everywhere.

I was going to try something else since all of this writing about myself makes me feel like that annoying dude at a party who won’t stop talking about himself and completely fails to pick up on any hint that you’d like to talk about something else. Anything else. Fuck it, though. It’s my party, right, since it’s my blog?

I’ll be honest, guys: I would wear a deer skull as a Halloween costume if I could. It’s possible I would wear it every day if only any institution I’ve worked for would accept it as business casual. Maybe it’s me being morbid. Maybe I just like to try on different faces (metaphorically. Please be assured I mean this metaphorically). Maybe it’s nostalgia.

Years and years ago when I was maybe 13 or 14, I volunteered to help with a holiday walk at the local rec center. So I did dress up as a snowman and a reindeer and, one year, a Christmas tree where I had to show my uncomfortable teenage face and have people ask me questions I didn’t know the answers to. Honestly, it’s like what I do now except I’m older and have to wear more professional attire.

So really I suppose we can rule out my nostalgia for the days I dressed up as a deer from my list of possible motivations. I wish I could say I miss being a teen, but I don’t. Not even a little bit. And those costumes were itchy, gave you an extremely reduced line of sight, and were so hot, even in the winter. I feel this was one of the first times I learned never to volunteer for things, especially when you don’t know what they will entail. You’re probably going to end up blindly tripping along a snowy path surrounded by holiday lights as you soak in your own sweat dressed as a reindeer.

Blogging University, Writing

Writing 101: Cats = Love

Yeah, let’s just be honest, guys: uncertainty/regret were the words that jumped out to me from today’s prompt. However, I’m sick to death of those words. Instead, I’m focusing on love because I LOVE my kitten and she is underrepresented on this blog (in contrast to my Instagram).

We do not talk about Bertha Mason.  Largely because I don't trust you not to steal her, people of the internet.
We do not talk about Bertha Mason. Largely because I don’t trust you not to steal her, people of the internet.

Bertha Mason takes her name from the madwoman in Jane Eyre. I’m hoping we can avoid a situation in which she burns the house down and severely injures any members of the household. It hasn’t been quite a month since Bertha Mason joined the family, but I’m already insanely attached to her. Since she was a stray, she’s still a bit skittish, though she’s very affectionate and quite brazen. The other cat, Joey, is 10 but has already succumbed to her intimidation techniques.

20150822_193917
BM on left.

Bertha Mason’s rules for intimidation of other creatures are as follows (apparently since I started making lists I can’t stop):

1. Make eye contact with your object of intimidation while biting the shit out of something nearby: wicker chair, a beloved toy, stairs. Pretty sure this is also a mafia intimidation technique.
2. Follow him constantly. CONSTANTLY.
3. If you see him approaching, run up, swipe at his face, hiss, and run away. Repeat.
4. Make yourself look huge even if you are only 5 pounds. It’s helpful if you’re really fuzzy.
5. Chase him around the house and don’t relent. Once he’s on the run, keep him on the run. (Bertha Mason is preparing for her future as a military strategist).
6. Sit or stand above him and try to hit him in the ear.
7. Eat his food slowly and deliberately while making eye contact. Do this even if you’re not really hungry.

In the past month or so, Bertha Mason has become a lap cat without losing her edge. She has to wear cat hats occasionally, but not too often because I love her and want her to be happy. I don’t think it’s possible to love her more.

Cathatted.
Cathatted.

I’m already not looking forward to getting her spayed. I know it’s necessary, but I feel like a Nazi for essentially forcing her to be sterilized. And I really hate making a decision that chooses fewer kittens over more, but they would be kittens of neglect and possibly grow up to be serial killer cats. …Or President of the United States. Sorry, I think the pro-lifers have gotten to me.

Blogging University, Writing

Writing 101: Things I’m Learning

I prefer to think of this list as Things I’m Learning instead of the Things I’ve Learned list today’s prompt suggests. It’s a work in progress; I don’t think there’s anything I know for certain as undisputed fact.

Things I’m Learning (in no particular order):

  1. Lebanese food is amazing. Will work for falafel.
  2. You never reach a point where you feel grown up and successful and have your life together. I didn’t believe adults about this for a long time because I didn’t want it to be true, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  3. Etsy and Kickstarter are evil places where at least 60% of my paycheck goes.
  4. It’s okay to feel like a shit show. It’s okay to be a shit show. It’s okay to be everything you are.
  5. I miss being in school. If you’re currently in school, feel free to throw an encyclopedia at me because if my grad school self ever found out, she would do the same thing.
  6. Teleportation is probably never going to happen in my lifetime, if ever.
  7. Doing domestic work can be therapy. Also eating chocolate and binge-watching period dramas. I’m sure you can imagine which of these two things makes me feel better about myself.
  8. It has been a rollercoaster of love, hate, and apathy, but I’m really glad I’m in the library profession. Your library does a lot more for you than you may realize. 😉
  9. Other people being awful to you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. I know variations of this quote have been a meme since before the days of Facebook, but I love it and need to remind myself of this almost daily.
  10. It’s really hard to teach a kitten to high-five.

 

May you never stop learning!