Sentimental Fool

I was on vacation last week. My vacation actually started a day early. I normally take a week, but this time I took the Friday before as well because my best friend and her husband and daughter were driving out from Pennsylvania for the weekend. They arrived Thursday night, and we started Friday with a fun trip to the zoo with her mini-me and BFF’s hubby. Friday evening, she and I drove up to Boston to see Wicked.

I should explain, I’d seen the play three times before this, so it wasn’t new to me, but it was something I’d wanted to do for a very long time, to see it with my BFF. See, I say she’s the Galinda to my Elphaba, but the characters in the play are not just like us – while my younger life was a lot like Elphie’s as far as being a social outcast, Nichole is not at ALL like Galinda when they first meet. And yet, their friendship is still so similar to ours. We are the yin to one another’s yang, she is the light to my dark (and I think sometimes I’m the light to her dark), etc. We are so different in so many ways…and yet so alike in other ways. We both have strong opinions, feel deeply, are nerdy and quirky and creative.

There are people who come into our lives for a reason, and while it might hurt when they leave our lives, we eventually realize that the reason is because their purpose was achieved. But true friends…those are the ones that are special enough that you feel like you’ve known them forever and can’t imagine your life without them in it; in fact, sometimes it’s hard to even remember a time when they weren’t in your life.

Seeing Wicked with Nichole was a magical experience. Two best friends who probably wouldn’t have known each other if not for circumstances that we didn’t even control, a friendship that began with one of those people who came into our lives for a reason and left as soon as the purpose was achieved.

I don’t know if everyone has friendships like ours. I hope so. I never have before. My bestie is family. Sure, we have our disagreements on things, we argue, we’ve gotten angry at each other…but we always manage to find our way back “home” again. We are attached at the soul. We have seen each other at our worst and our best, have held each other up when we needed it or pulled each other back down to Earth when necessary. Sister of my soul, the Galinda to my Elphaba, the Elphaba to the Galinda in me.


FOR GOOD
LYRICS BY STEPHEN SCHWARTZ

ELPHABA

I’m limited
Just look at me–I’m limited
And just look at you–
You can do all I couldn’t do, Glinda…

[She gives Glinda the Grimmerie. Glinda: “Elphie, you know I can’t read this. Elphaba: Well, then–you’ll have to learn.]

Because now it’s up to you
For both of us–
Now it’s up to you

ELPHABA

[spoken – You’re the only friend I’ve ever had.

GLINDA

And I’ve had so many friends. But only one– that mattered.]

(sings)
I’VE HEARD IT SAID
THAT PEOPLE COME INTO OUR LIVES FOR A REASON
BRINGING SOMETHING WE MUST LEARN
AND WE ARE LED
TO THOSE WHO HELP US MOST TO GROW
IF WE LET THEM
AND WE HELP THEM IN RETURN
WELL, I DON’T KNOW IF I BELIEVE THAT’S TRUE
BUT I KNOW I’M WHO I AM TODAY
BECAUSE I KNEW YOU…

LIKE A COMET PULLED FROM ORBIT
AS IT PASSES A SUN

LIKE A STREAM THAT MEETS A BOULDER
HALFWAY THROUGH THE WOOD
WHO CAN SAY IF I’VE BEEN CHANGED FOR THE BETTER?
BUT BECAUSE I KNEW YOU
I HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR GOOD …

ELPHABA

IT WELL MAY BE
THAT WE WILL NEVER MEET AGAIN
IN THIS LIFETIME
SO LET ME SAY BEFORE WE PART
SO MUCH OF ME
IS MADE OF WHAT I LEARNED FROM YOU
YOU’LL BE WITH ME
LIKE A HANDPRINT ON MY HEART
AND NOW WHATEVER WAY OUR STORIES END
I KNOW YOU HAVE RE-WRITTEN MINE
BY BEING MY FRIEND…

LIKE A SHIP BLOWN FROM ITS MOORING
BY A WIND OFF THE SEA
LIKE A SEED DROPPED BY A SKYBIRD
IN A DISTANT WOOD
WHO CAN SAY IF I’VE BEEN CHANGED FOR THE BETTER?
BUT BECAUSE I KNEW YOU…

GLINDA

BECAUSE I KNEW YOU…

BOTH

BECAUSE I KNEW YOU
I HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR GOOD…

ELPHABA

AND JUST TO CLEAR THE AIR
I ASK FORGIVENESS
FOR THE THINGS I’VE DONE YOU BLAME ME FOR

GLINDA

BUT THEN, I GUESS WE KNOW
THERE’S BLAME TO SHARE

BOTH

AND NONE OF IT SEEMS TO MATTER ANYMORE

___

[They sing simultaneously]

GLINDA

LIKE A COMET PULLED FROM
ORBIT/AS IT PASSES A SUN/
LIKE A STREAM THAT MEETS A
BOULDER/ HALF-WAY
THROUGH THE WOOD

ELPHABA

LIKE A SHIP BLOWN OFF ITS
MOORING/BY A WIND OFF THE
SEA/ LIKE A SEED DROPPED BY A
BIRD IN
THE WOOD

___

BOTH

WHO CAN SAY IF I’VE BEEN CHANGED FOR THE BETTER?
I DO BELIEVE I HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR THE BETTER

GLINDA

AND BECAUSE I KNEW YOU…

ELPHABA

BECAUSE I KNEW YOU…

BOTH

BECAUSE I KNEW YOU…
I HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR GOOD.

Abyss

ABYSS

abuse-neglectfemale1
The things that make her who she is. A child’s face gazing up from a deep abyss, innocence lost in the touch of a hand, the flick of a tongue where a tongue shouldn’t be. The fear of telling the one person who should be told. The words of a monster . . . “You did this. It’s your fault.” A life lived with fear and guilt that should have been lived with Barbies and dress-up games.

A 45-rpm record on a turntable, relentlessly cranking out a song that will haunt her forever, send chills down her spine and prompt a return trip to the abyss, the one safe place to be, where there are demons to keep the monsters at bay.

A sneer across a dinner table as they say they’re going out and she [it] has come to babysit. Leaving her alone with it again. A single tear (“Baby!”) overlooked and laughed at, left to drip silently onto a half-eaten mound of mashed potatoes.

A scar that runs too deep to cover, a rift straight to the abyss, where the demons become her friends and show her things she shouldn’t see (“Witch!”). She walks disguised in darkness, day and night, the underneath never showing on the surface, the facade etched with pain mistaken as weakness (“Loser!”).

A laugh, a jeer, a taunting face. She holds out her arm, long slim finger pointing. A burst of energy from the abyss and the demons bring peace. Justice. They keep their distance now (“Witch!”).

Nightmares filled with angels disguised as demons chasing her. She retreats to the abyss, where the demons drive the angels away and keep her safe, teach her things she needs to know. To be safe.

Older now, a touch on soft skin, a flutter where a flutter shouldn’t be. Or should it? A faltering step toward the abyss, toward safety, then two back. A touch, a shiver. Two steps forward. (“Jesus Christ!”) Anger, the touch growing rough. Lust. (“Bitch!”) Then down, down, where it’s safe. (“Bitch! What’s wrong with you?!”)

Older still, another touch, rough and hurried. The abyss isn’t so close this time. A laugh and a jeer. (“Cunt!”) She can hear the demons, there’s safety there in the abyss. She moves forward. (“Frigid!”)

Older still, but young again, this time a soft hand, gentle. A word (“love”) where the word shouldn’t be. Or should it? The demons are silent. The word again (“love”), not in her vocabulary, but could it be? Another gentle touch, the word spoken (“love”). This is truth, she knows it. And safety. Part of what makes her who she is, a child’s innocence returned at last, a little shattered, a little dusty, a little bruised, returned with one word (“love”). Same abyss, different name. Release, rapture, safety.

This is truth. The Bitch is back.

© 99shadows 10/27/1992

Unofficial Discover Me Challenge: 20 Questions

This post was prompted by this article.

20 QUESTIONS TO ASK SOMEONE THAT WILL REVEAL THEIR TRUE SELF


20-questions-logo1. What’s your life motto, or philosophy you live by?

If you don’t have something nice to say to the person you’re talking to, then find someone else among the other 7 billion people on the planet to whom you DO have something nice to say.

Life’s too short to be an asshole, and the world needs fewer assholes. If we all just surrounded ourselves with people we actually like, turn the other cheek to those we don’t like (or who don’t like us) and let people just be themselves, the world would be a much lovelier place.

2. What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

There isn’t really just one thing, but these things all sort of go together: My creativity, my imagination, my mind, my insatiable curiosity. I love that I have managed to maintain some of the wonder I had as a child and still remain curious about life, the universe, and everything.

3. Do you follow a religion or spiritual practice?

I say I’m an atheist, sometimes an agnostic, but I don’t really think the answer is that black and white. The closest I’ve been able to find to what I think about the world around me is the Hindu term “namaste,” which roughly means “the spirit in me recognizes the spirit in you.”

namasteI think there is a “divine spark” in all of us, though I don’t know if that’s even what it is. I think we are all connected on some deeper level than just being members of the same species. I believe there’s something much deeper…our soul?…that connects us all to each other. Most belief systems have something in their teachings about the connectedness of all things. Even Christianity was based on the gnosis, which was the belief that we can all become “one with God.”

I don’t think we’re only connected to each other, I think we’re connected to everything–the animals, the plants, the Earth–I think we’re connected on a level even more infinitesimal than the atomic level.

4. What was the best time of your life?

The best time of my life is probably right now…because it’s only in the last several years that I’ve finally been able to throw away some of the inhibitions of my youth and accept myself for the weird, strange, eccentric, wonderful being that I am.

5. What was the worst thing that ever happened to you?

Losing my father when I was 24 years old and he was 47. It was hard for a number of reasons, not least of all being that my brother was only 14, so I did a lot of mourning for him before I ever really mourned for my own loss.

missmydadThe loss of my dad was a catalyst for the way my views would change for the rest of my life. It’s almost as if that one event, that one moment in time, changed everything–from the way I viewed religion to the way I interacted with people to the way I lived my life from that point on.

When I returned to work the week after my dad died, suddenly the petty squabbles between my coworkers seemed just that–petty. I found myself thinking instead of reacting; rather than taking offense at a comment, I’d think on it, then tell the person why their comment was offensive. I lost a few “friends” in the few years after my dad’s death, mostly because they didn’t like me calling them out on their bigotry or offensiveness. Tough shit.

That day shaped my life in ways I probably still haven’t even realized. It opened my eyes to the sheer brevity of life–we are all in the same world and none of us is getting out alive; it’s therefore a waste of precious time to spend so much of our energy on hate and bigotry. There is plenty of room in the world for all of us. Live and let live.

6. What’s your biggest dream?

writingMy biggest dream. I think my biggest personal dream would be to finally be able to finish a book; to be able to really consider myself a writer. I know that the only thing required to be a writer is to write, but I’d be kidding myself if I said we write only for ourselves. Yes, the stories I write are stories I write because I want to read them–but I also want to share them. I guess too…I want to be able to leave something of myself behind. Body and mind fade away; but the things we create with our imagination and our creativity–those things are eternal.

7. What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a writer and an artist. To me, they’re both the same thing. Painting with words is no less a form of art to me than running a brush across a canvas or sculpting clay into something tangible. Words, music, paint, clay, fabric, etc.–these are the tools we use to create things we want to share with the world, to let little pieces of our soul out into the world for others to enjoy.

8. What was/is your biggest accomplishment?

Seriously? Probably myself. Maybe that’s egotistical or conceited; I don’t think it is, though. My childhood could have sent me on a few different trajectories, not all of them very good–and I’m proud of the fact that I definesusmanaged to choose a decent one. My only regret is that it took me so long to realize it and to gain the self-confidence and self-esteem necessary to finally say “Fuck it, I am who I am, and I am fucking AWESOME!”

9. Why do you think we’re all here?

I’ll put one of my favorite quotes here: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

That’s what I think. I think we’re here to learn something, and one of the things so many people miss is that the destination is not what it’s about. It doesn’t matter where we go after this life (Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, Summerland, etc.). The journey itself is the reason we are here. The journey is the destination.

10. What was your best relationship?

My best relationship was the one I had with my brother, especially when he was young. Having endured my mother for as long as I had and seeing her beginning to treat my brother the same way she had treated me, my goal in life at a very young age (he is 11 years younger than I) became to keep him safe and help form him into a kind, loving, intelligent human being. Mission: fucking accomplished!

11. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

everybodyshumanI’d want everyone to be able to look at everyone else as a wondrous and amazing creature of individuality and beauty; to see beyond what their eyes see–beyond skin color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identity, class, religion, faith, etc.–and just see the soul of people.

12. Do you like your job? If not, what would you like to do instead?

Honestly, no. I wish I’d gone to school to be a teacher or a writer; working as a secretary is not for me. It pays the bills:(

13. What are you favorite hobbies?

Writing, reading, image editing, photography, fangirling.

14. If money was no object, what would you do in life?

First? I’d pay off all my loved ones’ bills. Then I would be a full-time writer and I’d travel all over the world.

15. Have you ever broken someone’s heart?

I think so, but I’m not sure. I had a boyfriend who dumped me on my 21st birthday and went back to his former girlfriend. A year or so later, I got a letter from him saying that breaking up with me had been the biggest mistake of his life and asking if I’d give him a second chance. I replied back that I don’t give second chances and that I deserved better. Did I break his heart? Who knows. But that’s about the closest I think I’ve come.

infp16. What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful for my family and friends; my mind and my creativity.

17. What do you wish people understood more about you?

That I am not shy, I’m introverted; that I need time alone to recharge sometimes; that I feel deeply.

18. If you could turn back time and do anything differently, would you?

Absolutely. I’d probably stand up for  myself–to the bullies and to my mother.

19. What’s the craziest, or most exciting thing you’ve ever done?

Craziest…I once “stalked” a cute guy I “met” at a local carnival (yes, he was a carny) from Massachusetts to upstate New York and drove there to see him for a weekend (my sister went with me; I’m not that stupid). Very non-introvert thing for me to do, but it was probably the very beginning of my gaining of self-esteem and assertiveness. Not my proudest moment, but it could have turned out a whole lot worse (lucky for us, those carnys weren’t bad people:)

20. What do you think about most often?

E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. For real. My brain is constantly churning, I think about everything all the time.

I’m gonna tag my bestie JustSomeJane here and demand that she do this too;)

How Did You Love?

 

insp0034First, I need to explain something with this post. Music has been a therapist for me throughout most of my life. I spent a lot of my childhood without a lot of friends and with a mother who really didn’t want me, so I also spent a lot of time alone, doing things that people do when they are alone–reading, writing, getting lost in my imagination and in fictional worlds, listening to music.

To me, music isn’t just background noise. It has meaning; it’s magical; it’s therapeutic. Music sometimes makes me feel the same way as some art does or some pieces of literature or a philosophical quote.

Musicians–and I don’t care if it’s a blues artist, a rock star, a hip-hop artist, or a dubstep DJ–are our modern-day philosophers. Art isn’t just painting or love-music-so-much-daily-quotes-sayings-pictures-810x787sculpting or drawing; art is writing, art is composing, art is dreaming–however any of us dreams–and then finding a way of expressing those dreams to the world, whether it’s in a song, a painting, a sculpture, a dance movement, or a series of words that bring a world or a character to life.

So when I listen to music, it’s not just sound that makes me feel good. I hear all its parts; I savor the melody, the beat, hear the bass, the guitar, the drums, the instrument of the singer’s voice, the words that they’re sharing.

Anyway, Shinedown is one of those bands whose lyrics speak to me; so many of their songs, it feels like they’re speaking directly to me (Bully is an obvious one). In my blog post yesterday, I made a meager attempt to describe how I see the world, and this morning, I heard Shinedown’s How Did You Love while I was getting ready for work, and I realized that it actually is in a similar vein with my post from yesterday.

Nothing ever feels quite the same when you are what you dreamed
And you will never look at anything the same when you see what I see
How we forget ourselves, lose our way from the cradle to the grave
You can’t replicate or duplicate, gotta find your own way woah

No one gets out alive, every day is do or die
The one thing you leave behind
Is how did you love, how did you love?
It’s not what you believe, those prayers will make you bleed
But while you’re on your knees
How did you love, how did you love, how did you love?

This ain’t no cross to carry
We are the judge and jury, we are the judge and jury

I see people every day chasing their tail, trying so hard to be what they think the people around them want them to be, as if it matters what people think of 114192-just-be-yourselfthem. It has taken me a lifetime to realize that what others think of you doesn’t really matter. The only person whose opinion of you matters is the one that looks back at you from the mirror. In the end, it doesn’t matter what people thought of you, all that matters is how you loved; how you made people feel.

I see this in my own life. I was raised by a mother who probably would have been better off not having had children. She is very self-centered and narcissistic, more worried about what people think of her than what kind of person she is. To the outside world, she projects a light that some people can’t see through, and so they think, ‘Oh, what a saint she is.’ But to those of us who know her, she has an ugly heart; she is vindictive and mean-spirited, cold-hearted and entitled. Is it enough for ten people to think, ‘What a nice lady’ when there is even one person who has been on the receiving end of a barbed insult or a flying fist? I don’t think so.

This is the reason that I try so hard to not cause conflict, to not upset people, and when I do? It destroys a part of me. I fuck up sometimes, and I almost never forgive myself; that’s just part of my nature. My mother holds grudges against anyone and everyone; I hold grudges only against myself.

This line right here:

How we forget ourselves, lose our way from the cradle to the grave

That’s the saddest line in the entire song to me. When you look into the face of a child, you see pure truth, innocence, wonder, hope–so many things that we lose rekindle-your-childlike-wonder-bsol-535as we grow and experience the world, and it’s so sad to me that the reason we lose those things isn’t because we’re supposed to, it’s because other people have caused us to lose them. Those things–those are the things I’ve tried to get back over the last dozen years or so…to reconnect with my inner child, to recapture the magic of looking at the world with new eyes, with innocent eyes, and not colored by the perceptions I’ve been taught. We strive so hard for “things” when all we should be striving for is to be ourselves.

Stop trying to be who you think others want you to be. Stop trying to make other people be what you want them to be. Just be you, and know that those people who are supposed to be in your life will accept you exactly the way you are. It doesn’t matter how big your house is or how new your car is, how much money you make or what job you have; in the end, the only thing that matters is how you made people feel. That’s your legacy.

 

Soul to Soul

human-beings-1So yesterday I was having a text conversation with my bestie Nichole where we were talking about how amazing it is to watch children grow up, to become the people they will become. Nichole said she was a girly girl when she was a kid, and I said I was very much not.

Then I said something that I sorta want to save somewhere because I kinda sorta surprised myself with the words. Half the time, I don’t know where some of it comes from. So just sharing it for posterity here:

I didn’t realize how non-girly girl I really was until just now…hated dresses, played baseball, was the one all the boys got to catch snakes and bugs and stuff because they were chicken, played with hot wheels, read superhero comics, rode my bike over higher ramps than the boys dared….hahahaha!

I think I’m in the wrong body!

What we are on the outside doesn’t always match what we are on the inside. Not talking sex or gender. Talking body and soul. Only when we let our soul out do we share who we really are.

I have no clue where that last bit came from, but it may have been my subconscious mind simply expressing how I feel inside in a way that I actually can understand. Because in thinking about it afterwards, it really is exactly how I feel. And it’s so difficult to express it to other people.

I don’t relate to people as people, but as souls. Like, I am not a woman; that’s just one little part of the whole wondrous being that is “me.” I’m not white; that’s just another part of me. I’m both of those things, but I’m also a mother, a sister, a wife, a daughter, a niece, an aunt, a secretary, an artist, a writer, a witch, a weirdo, a genealogist, a friend, a reader, a fangirl, a gamer, an atheist, a liberal, a foodie, a headbanger…all of those things, and then some, melt together to make me who I am. I am not a mother. I am not a sister. I am not an atheist. I am not a headbanger. I am ALL of those things and more. Most of those things aren’t things you can tell by looking at a person; it’s not in the way I look or the type of clothes I wear; most of the things that make me me are not physical traits; it’s something inside.

I think that’s why I (a) don’t see “race” or sexual orientation or gender identity as something to be concerned about and (b) don’t really understand why everyone doesn’t see things this way. Try this. Say these things out loud:

“You are inferior to me because your skin is brown.”

“You are stupid because you are a man and you are married to a man.”

“You are less than me because you have a penis and dress like a woman.”

How stupid did each of those things sound when you said them out loud? How embarrassed or ashamed did you feel verbalizing those things? <–This is how I feel.

Or did it not sound stupid or shameful at all to you? <–This is not how I feel, and I don’t understand it:(

feed-ego-feed-soulI don’t see people, I see souls. I don’t think we fall in love with people, we fall in love with souls. I wish I could make more people see that because it is life-changing when you finally do get it. If we fall in love with souls, then it changes the whole perspective of what love really is. It’s why I think people falling in love with people of the same sex is a completely natural thing; it’s why I definitely don’t believe that “sexual orientation” is a “choice.”

Souls have no gender identity, no sexual orientation, no color, no race, no religion; a soul simply is – it’s everything and nothing, it’s falling in love with a feeling or an emotion, the twinkle in an eye when you hear a child’s laughter, the feeling that washes over you when you hear a piece of music or see a work of art that truly moves you; all of those things are your soul speaking to you and saying, “This. This right here is what is important.”

The older I get, the more I realize that this is part of the reason I’ve had so much difficulty relating to people for probably most of my life – because I don’t see the world the same way 44879-whatever-s-good-for-your-soul-do-that“normal” people do. Things aren’t always black and white. It’s why I end up pissing off both sides in an argument…because I don’t see or acknowledge the limitations that others do.

But then, there are sometimes when it really is a matter of black and white. When I see a person with a black soul, I recognize them for their black soul, no matter how bright they try to shine their false light out into the world. That was something I learned from growing up in an intimate relationship with one of those kinds of souls. The problem with those types of souls is that they’re very easy to spot if you know how…but it’s very hard to convince other people of their true nature because they are masters at hiding their true selves.

Anyway, this is all random, and I wanted to get some thoughts down. So there they are. I’ll come back later and see if they make any sense or if I need to add something LOL!

Process

time concept, selective focus point, special toned photo f/xI think I’ve said in a previous post that my story is writing itself and I’m just along for the ride. If not, consider it said. In a way, it’s freaking me out because it’s like I have no control over it.

Sunday morning, I woke from sleep with a scene playing in my head. Remember this when you wake up, I mentally said to myself and rolled over. Then I rolled over again. Then I sat up in bed. Laid down and rolled over again. Sat up again. “Well, fuck you,” I said aloud, “You’re not gonna let me sleep until I get up and write this, are you?”

So I got up, pulled out a pad of paper I keep near the bed, starting scribbling on it, knew none of it would make sense because (a) I was half-asleep and (b) my hands were numb from my carpal tunnel; so I begrudgingly hit the Power button on my computer. An hour or so later, I’d added 2,500+ words to my book.

The same thing happened this morning. I woke at 6am and had to get up to write a scene that was in my head, knowing if I put it off until later, I’d forget it for sure. 1,500 words later, I started getting ready for work.

The other day, I decided that since this book seems to be “working,” I should make a note of my process, which I did; nice, bulleted list of my “ritual” or routine for this book.

  • I’m using Scrivener. It’s a writing platform (available for Win, Lin, and OS) that helps you organize your writing projects, and it’s given me a whole new level of “control” or oversight of my writing, far more than Word (sorry, MS, ily but…). Scrivener is good because……..
  • I write all over the place. No real order to what I’m writing. It started off a bit weird, then my main character sorta took over the story, so I’ve been mostly writing his story, then going back and filling in other parts. Scrivener is great for this because if something’s out of order, I don’t have to scroll around in one long Word document, I can navigate my way to the scene I’m looking for and drop and drag it to the spot where it will fit better. Looovvvvinnnnnng Scrivener! I have no clue how I ever wrote without it.
  • I have my muse. Googled a description of my main protagonist in an attempt to “get mymuseto know” him; he hasn’t shut up since and he doesn’t seem to want to let me sleep either. Scrivener sits on 3/4 of my screen, the other 1/4 of my screen is taken up by a browser window, open to an image on my Google drive, and my muse stares me in the face the entire time I’m writing. Sometimes I’ll sit back, maybe stuck for words, look at him, silently ask him what he’d say or do (yes, I talk to my imaginary friend) or just yell at him (internally, cuz aloud would probably be crazy) “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENINNNNNGG??”
  • I put on my noise-canceling headphones and blast SiriusXM Octane the entire time I’m writing. This is a new thing for me. I used to like it quiet when I wrote; now I wonder if that was backwards. Octane is the channel of choice because it’s new hard rock (think Linkin Park, Adelita’s Way, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, etc.), so while I do know a lot of the tunes, they’re always introducing newer songs to the mix, so I am not distracted by lyrics and singalongs (which I found didn’t really work for me when I switched over to the RockBar station; spent more time singing along than I did writing). So Octane works because it’s loud and hard and I don’t know most of the lyrics. And c’mon, it’s the apocalypse…the soundtrack ain’t gonna be Joni Mitchell…
  • Placeholders. I use placeholders. Notes: RESEARCH 19TH CENTURY BATHTUBS, baftubBITCH! or HOW THE HELL DID RUBI GET INSIDE THE BARRIERS??? or PUT SOME SHIT IN HERE ABOUT FINN FINDING THE
    GROUP. Placeholders of things I know are going to happen or things I need to research. Things I need to write but don’t want to interrupt the current momentum to work out. Screw details, make shit up as I go along, worry about “fixing” or “correcting” it later.
  • Take breaks – browse FB, YouTube, Google; I don’t “force” myself to write; I write when it flows, take a break when I want.
  • When I’m done writing for the night, I hit the Compile button and make a PDF draft of my entire manuscript and upload it to my Google drive.
  • I check my word count and update it on the NaNo site.
  • The next morning (if it’s at night) or later (if I’ve written during the day), I browse through the PDF, mostly focusing on the new bits I’ve written, or seeing how some of the newer parts flow with other stuff.
  • Start all over again the next day.

I’m sort of hoping that by recording what my “ritual” is during this book, it might help me when it comes time to write the next one…or a sequel…or a prequel…

I haven’t written like this in a long long time. The words, they’re just pouring out of me, the chapters, the scenes, this has been coming for a long time, I think. I only hope it’s decent LOL!

Want an excerpt? Why not.

dragonflyIn a world where there was so much suffering and pain, where sometimes you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from, the ability to lose yourself in the innocence of catching sight of a dragonfly flittering by—or watching a mechanical dog chase a mechanical cat—was a luxury very few took the time to enjoy, and it was free to anyone who sought it out. For people like Ethan and Ben, who had a thirst for knowledge or an urge to explore, such things were just a natural side effect, and for people like Rubi who were lucky enough to find people like Ethan and Ben, a side effect from which they benefited as well because it taught them to stop, look, and listen to the world around them. She was amazed at the number of seemingly small details of the world she might have missed had she not stopped to take them in; and for that, she was in debt to both Ben and Ethan.

Ethan’s my muse. Guess he wants his story told. I just hope he continues to think I’m the one to tell it and doesn’t give up on me…;)

Discover Me Challenge: Words to Live By

dmc4edit

This Discover Me Challenge prompt (see the original post on JustSomeJane here)

I know, I know… DMC prompts are supposed to be posted on Thursdays, not late in the day on a Friday. I am a day behind on pretty much everything right now!! You know, this reminds me of a famous saying… How does it go? A day late and a dollar short? What can I say? Life happens.

Speaking of sayings and the sort – this DMC is all about words. Of course, we aren’t looking for just any words, rather we want to know what words do you live by? What is your code, your mantra, your living quote, the words that are strung together so perfectly that they drive you through life?

Some of us may have a couple of these fantastic phrases or may have just one that is the pure definition of life. Whatever it may be, what are those words and why do they speak to you? Who said them first? When did they become so important?

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Join the fun and discover more about yourself!! Be sure to add your links in the comments section so we can read your awesome responses, too!

DRIVE YOUR FUCKING CAR!!!

I live 19 miles from my office. Nineteen. 19. Yesterday, I was 20 minutes late for work. So this morning, I left my house 20 minutes earlier. I was 15 minutes late for work. I should explain that I live in Southeastern Massachusetts and I work in Providence, Rhode Island. Rhode Island has the worst drivers – THE WORST DRIVERS – in the country. I tell you this because if you ever find yourself in Rhode Island, you should be forewarned.

welcome-to-riRhode Island drivers are notorious for being completely oblivious to the fact that there is anyone else on the road other than them. They do not use directionals, they will drive across three lanes of traffic to take a turn, they will stop in the middle of the highway for no reason that is apparent to anyone other than themselves. You will look at them and the look on their face is one of complete surprise, as if they’re saying, “Hey…how did I get in this car and where am I going?” As if they just woke up in the middle of the highway with no inkling of how or why they’re there or where the fuck they’re going.

If you are anywhere in the country (believe me, I know this for a fact) and you spot a driver who seems completely incompetent behind the wheel and/or oblivious to anyone around them, I guarantee you that 9 times out of 10, the plate on their car is a Rhode Island one. I have witnessed this – time and time again – in my travels. In New Hampshire, in Washington DC, in Oregon, in Virginia, in Pennsylvania, in New York. I will look at my husband when we’re behind an idiot-driving-a-car, roll my eyes, and say, “Look at the plate.”

It took me an hour to drive 19 miles today. An hour. The car in front of me in the far left lane let 23 cars in front of him. Twenty-three. 23. I counted. Then, after letting all those cars in front of him, he moved over into the middle lane.

By the time I arrive at work, my blood pressure is so high and I am in such a shitty fucking mood that I just want to kill someone.

ri-licThe image to the left is a clue as to the intelligence of the average Rhode Island driver. Do you know what that is? When you renew your registration in Rhode Island, you receive a sticker in the mail with instructions to affix it to your plate on top of the previous sticker. I once asked someone why I see plates with stickers all over them like this, and you know what I was told? “Well, it says to put it on top of the previous sticker…so that’s what we do.” For whatever fucking reason, they interpret “on top of” to mean “above,” and so they place the new sticker above the previous one…and when they reach the top of the plate, they just start sticking them all over the fucking place “because there’s no more room ‘on top of’ the other ones.” Seriously. I am not kidding you, I’m not joking, I’m not trying to make shit up to insult anyone’s intelligence…

dumbdumber[Why do you think Dumb and Dumber was filmed in RI? Did you think they were joking? No…it’s because Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne are typical Rhode Islanders!!!!!!! A large number of them really are that stupid!]

I had a coworker tell me once years ago that all her friends call her Blivvy. Why? “Because when I’m behind the wheel of my car, I’m completely oblivious to everything and everyone around me.” She seemed proud of this fact. Proud. No lie.

In Rhode Island, apparently the far left lane of the highway is the travel lane, even once they cross the line into Massachusetts. It doesn’t matter if the speed limit is 55 – or as it is in Massachusetts, 65 – they will drive 40 in the far left lane. You want to go the speed limit? You can go around them, pass them by way of the middle lane – because they’re not getting out of your way…no matter how long the line of traffic is behind them.

road-rage-620I have seen people texting, putting on makeup, talking with their hands (both of them)…one time – and no, I can’t make this shit up – I was standing outside my previous office on Eddy Street and the driver of a car on Eddy Street had his laptop balanced in the crook of his left arm, which was resting on the window and was typing away as he was driving. NOT. FUCKING. KIDDING.

I saw a woman painting her nails on the highway. I saw a woman with all of her makeup lined up on her dashboard during morning rush hour. PUT YOUR DAMN MAKEUP ON AT HOME OR WHEN YOU GET TO WORK. Seriously.

My morning commute is a bitch. I’m in a foul mood when I get to work, and I’m not a “morning person” to begin with, so it doesn’t make for a pleasant start to the day. The only time my commute is even somewhat bearable is during the summer. During the school year, it seems like there are 10x the number of people on the road during my morning ride. It should not take me over an hour to drive 19 miles.

Science really needs to discover teleportation because it would probably cure my high blood pressure all by itself. Either that, or I’m just going to start running people over. >:(

Has it really been that long?!

alzheimersI haven’t posted to this blog in over two years. It doesn’t seem like that long ago. Time flies! So many things have changed in the last two years. For one, my mother-in-law Del has become a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease; actually, I should say, our family have become victims of Alzheimer’s Disease – when you really think about it, it victimizes the loved ones around the Alzheimer’s sufferer in more severe ways, mentally and emotionally at least, than the person who actually has the disease. While she moves slowly into oblivion, we have the displeasure of watching it happen, watching her leave – unable to stop it or slow it down, unable to sometimes say goodbye to those little parts of her personality that slip away without us realizing it until they are zoe23gone. For those who know me, you know that Del is the mother I wish my mother had always been or could be, but never was and never will come close to being. To watch such a wonderful woman being slowly stolen away from us this way is devastatingly painful.

We have also, in 2016, lost two of our beloved pets. The first, Zoë, our Siamese cat was lost suddenly in late Winter. I don’t want to go into details – it was sudden, traumatic, and upsetting, and I don’t want to revisit it.

The second, Sassi, our female Boxer whom we brought home as a puppy in 2005, gone at 11 years old on July 2. While not as sudden, still traumatic and upsetting. I have still not recovered – from either of those losses. There are empty spots in my heart where those two beautiful souls resided that I don’t know could ever be filled again.

sassi and petey
Sassi (Petey behind her)

Other than those things – which believe me are enough to keep us busy, sad, upset, traumatized, and hoping for better days – life has been moving along. While we have lost two pets, we also gained another. Almost a year ago, we brought a new dog into our home – a Boxer/Lab mix who was living on the streets of Houston, Texas and was grabbed by a rescue just as he was being walked to the euthanasia room of a Houston shelter.

To think of Petey as lucky is an understatement. To say that he has adjusted smoothly to living in a quiet suburban home instead of as a stray on the streets of a busy, overcrowded city is an overstatement:) He’s bratty and spunky and street-wise. My favorite adjective applied to him was by a friend and coworker – “scrappy.” He is that…and so much more.

My husband spends a lot of his time at his mother’s. His family has decided to do everything they can to keep her in her own home. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s the best move (I think she would get better care by people trained to care for Alzheimer’s patients), but it’s not my call. My husband stays with her from about 6 pm until 2:30 am Mon-Wed, then from 6 pm to midnight on Thursdays. That leaves me CqcFlO7XEAAahaWand the two dogs (Petey and Mickey) home alone for most of the week once I get home from work. It’s lonely sometimes, but my husband does make it a point to set aside what time he does have for me. We have a date night on Friday and/or Saturday nights. The rest of the time I spend doing my own thing – lately, that’s amounted to either reading or playing WoW (or Playstation 4 lol). (I am older in body than I am in mind, believe me;)

My BFF Nichole (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BITCH!!! <3) is coming to visit me in a few weeks, and I will finally get to meet the beautiful little angel that she brought into the world last year – well, I’ve met her on Skype, but for the first time I will get to actually pinch those chubby little cheeks. Nichole has also motivated me to reawaken this blog a bit since we will be doing some blog writing challenges together. So life is getting better already!

So for now, dear reader(s), I bid thee adieu! <3

That’s Absurd!

chIt is. It absolutely IS absurd! I was prompted to write this post after sending an email to a friend with whom I share most of my “weird thinking” thoughts…

I came across an article on Absurdism today.

From Wikipedia: Absurdism…is a philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd) because the sheer amount of information as well as the vast realm of the unknown make certainty impossible.

I will definitely need to do some more research on this term, but on the surface it sounds like a better fit for me personally than the “agnostic with atheist tendencies or atheist with agnostic tendencies” label  tend to use for myself. Using those terms, I’ve always had a hard time having to deal with people asking <snide voice>”Well, if you’re an atheist, why would you study the Bible/religion?”</snide voice>

“OH…I don’t know…MAYBE BECAUSE I FIND IT INTERESTING?!” (Which I do…even if sometimes it’s only to try to figure out WHY people believe some of the shit that they believe).

camusAbsurdism seems to believe that the meaning of life is the search for meaning…and that there actually IS no meaning. Which makes an odd sort of sense to me. It reminds me of a saying I’ve always liked – “the journey IS the destination.”

In other words, it’s not what happens when you get to where you’re going (theists believe “Heaven” or “Hell” or whatever and atheists, absurdists, humanists, etc. mostly believe “nowhere”), it’s what you experience on the way there that really matters.

Joss Whedon (which is who I was reading about when I found the reference to absurdism) said this:

One of the few times that I really got to sort of say exactly what I think about the world was in the second season of Angel. […] [Angel] said, you know, “Well then, this is my statement. Nothing [we do] matters, so the only thing that matters is what we do.”

​I actually like that. Nothing we do matters, so the only thing that matters is what we do.​

journeyDo we: sit on our thumbs and let other people tell us what to think? – or – explore everything we can BECAUSE we can? I have to choose the latter, if only because my brain is never happy to just sit idle while there is knowledge out there to be had!

Anyway, just dropping some thoughts here:)