Soooo…did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I sort of did and didn’t at the same time. What I did was decide not to make any resolutions. I’m going to take it one day or week or month at a time. I’ve made some decisions that could be viewed as surrenders when taken individually.
I’m not buying into the woe is me-ism of people who say “thank God we made it through last year; maybe this year will be better.” ***yawn*** My last year was pretty good overall. Sure there were less than stellar moments mixed in there. I got sick a few times and made a complete and total ass of myself on few occasions. But there were wonderful moments too. I’ve been having a blast with painting class.
I have a mother-in-law who takes finding the dark cloud in any silver lining to a whole new level. If she won 500 million dollars in the lottery she would bitch about paying the taxes on her winnings. If you gave her a brand new Cadillac, free and clear, she would complain that now she had to figure out how to operate the seat adjustments. Or worse, refuse to figure it out at all and call my husband every time she wanted to get in the car.
Surrender #1: I am never going to love my in-laws as a collective whole. It’s been an unnecessarily stressful endeavor to even try, and this has been dragging on for 10 damned years. OK, I admit it there are occasions when I out-and-out hate them. Sometimes just the thought of them makes me grind my teeth together. I’m going to stop beating myself up for having these feelings. Just acknowledge them and let them go, like the urge to install a laser cannon on the hood of my car to vaporize people who cut me off on the freeway.
My brother-in-law pulled the biggest gifting boner ever, and I mean EVER in the history of mankind. We got him a custom framed sports SIGNED jersey from a team member of his alma mater college. His reaction? He looked down his nose at it and said “I don’t think this thing will fit in my car. Days later he informed Hubman that it just wasn’t going to work in his house and refused to accept the present. I didn’t say anything when Hubman told me, but it festered all day and I finally told him, at the top of my lungs, that I thought it was beyond rude and that all jerky brother-in-law gets for Christmas next year is a subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club. I’m not kidding!!!
Surrender #2: Being bipolar I’m going to have mood swings. Taking enough medicine to prevent any swings at all is a chemical lobotomy. Not enough and I’m angry enough to take out the entire neighborhood. And furthermore, sometimes things happen that just flat-out piss me off, they would piss off anyone. (see above behavior by brother-in-law)
Surrender #3: My weight. No, I’m not going to give up trying and eat a chocolate cake every day for breakfast, but stressing out and beating myself up about it is not helping. I know what I need to do and I haven’t been doing it. I was talking to my sister the other day about it. The most dangerous thing about getting older is that you get really good at sitting on your ass for long periods at a time. That used to drive me crazy. My weight maintenance secret for the first 40 years of my life was that I was a fidgety person. I spent my time flitting around the room like a June Bug that flew in when the screen door got left open. Aging and medication has stopped that behavior so I have to consciously make an effort to shake my booty on a regular basis or turn into a mound of blubber.
Surrender #4: Some people, maybe even a lot of people, are going to laugh at my artistic endeavors. I’m just going to suck it up and go on anyway. I can’t control what other people think about me. Example: I had a wild and colorful dream recently. I woke up at 6:30 am and spent 4 hours painting it. When I showed it to Mr. Husband he burst out laughing and almost choked on his coffee. He tried to back pedal, but he didn’t succeed. I thought that I rose above the ridicule, but it just occurred to me this morning that I haven’t picked up a paintbrush for 2 weeks. Phooey on him I say! I’ll just cover up my paintings when I’m not working on them if he persists.
Well 4 surrenders is enough for now. I need some opinions to stick too. Why I don’t know, but there you have it.
PS: to fellow bloggers. Don’t forget to renew your web domain name, etc.
I think I sprained my brain. Woke up with a bizarre throbbing headache that I was certain would be visible to someone other than myself. Cranking out 2 short stories in 2 days left me breathless, exhausted, and tied up in knots.
Oh come on you wussy, you may say, what is so hard about that? It is if you think like me, that every little thing you do is an excuse to pick apart everything other thing you did or said in excruciating detail back to the moment of your birth. It’s a vicious circle. But, I learned some things about myself the past few days. If you are an experienced writer maybe you’ll chuckle and think back to that time when you ripped five hairs out of your head for every word you wrote. And I’d bet money you’re glad you past all that. Please don’t tell me that you never got past it or I might have aneurism.
One thing I learned is yes I can change something I’ve written after declaring it finished. This fear dates back to when hitting the send button on an email that someone took offense to could cost me my job. In the corporate nightmare you can recall a message, but you know everyone read it anyway and are already planning what they are going to salvage from your desk after you are walked out the door by security. That never happened to me, but I imagined it many times. And fear is fear whether justifiable or not.
Another thing I learned is, do not, under any circumstances, read a book like “38 Common Mistakes Fiction Writers Make – And How to Avoid Them, immediately after trying something new. I’m been torturing myself for days reading this damned infernal book from hell. It would better and less painful if I just smashed my thumb with a hammer and got it over with quick. Kind of like ripping off a band-aid. I do have to give myself some credit. Some of the 38 things I got right.
Maybe I remember more from that creative writing class in college than I thought. One of the criticisms I received was “your writing is too flowery.” Say what? What the hell does that mean? Turns out flowery meant, to this professor, that I referred to ladies as ladies instead of women. Excuuuuuuse me, but I’m from the south and there is a huge difference here between women and ladies. Women just happen, being a lady takes effort. But, thinking about it, I guess that is not obvious out of the south and unless I aim all my written efforts at the combination ladies cotillion, rummage sale, and church social, I need to weed that phrase out.
Another thing I learned is that, out of self-preservation and a strong desire to not be hauled away in straight jacket, is to let it lie for a while. Don’t sit there and reread your work 85 thousand times. All it did for me was turn me cross-eyed and question my sanity, although I question my sanity at least once a day anyway. I suppose that is OK really, but if it leads to others questioning my sanity as well, maybe I better calm down. Steven King mentioned the give your work a break for while bit in his book “On Writing” But did I take his word for it? NoooOOoo. I absolutely insist on making all the mistakes myself.
While writing this post my headache went away. Oh my God, what if I’m addicted to writing? Will I start burgling the neighbor’s houses in search of pen and paper?
Discredit Your Inner Idiot. Go on you know you wanna! I’m fixinta do it right now. (In case you haven’t noticed I’m experimenting with made up words today.)
It’s rainy day, so my decision to leave the house will just have to wait. Instead I’ve decided to find a pair of pliers and a hammer to go to work on my inner critic.
Inner Idiot: Why start a blog? You know you never finish anything?
Real Me: Shaddup! Been blogging for almost a year now. The only thing I’ve done this consistently in my life is travel and drink beer. OK, I also read Sci Fi and tend to scare myself to death reading Steven King books when I’m home alone.
Inner Idiot: Sooo you want to be a writer. Who do you think you are?
Real Me: Uh…me? Been writing all my life, just didn’t share it that often. Actually I’m a published writer. A story I wrote got published in a national magazine for kids when I was in the 5th grade. God, I wish I could remember what the name was. Also wrote stories for the school newspaper in high school. There has just been a brief 40 year dry spell. Now that I think of it, during the corporate years, I wrote entire books. They were non-fiction. Scintillating subjects like – User Manuals, Standard Operating Procedures, Employee policy, history of a company, successful proposals to fund projects, business plans, etc. Not edge of your chair, nail-biting, stay up all night kind of stuff, but hey! I AM a writer. So bite me!
Inner Idiot: Oh come on! Every time you fire up your Kindle you are confronted with pictures of fossilized great writers from days of yore. What makes you think you can stand on the shoulders of greatness?
Real Me: Seriously? Can’t those Kindle people put a picture in there of a person is has not been in the ground for 50 years? Why do you have to be dead to be considered creative? And further more, I’ll bet cash money that I’m every bit as weird as Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein), just in different kinda way.
Inner Idiot: *Sigh, and rolls eyes* Everyone wants to be a writer. It’s an easy way to explain inactivity, if all you do is stay up late at night and stare at paper.
Real Me: Well…No, actually not everyone wants to be a writer. Percentage wise, not that many do. Come to think of it, I’ve never met anyone, in person, who wants to do this. And I’ve met a lot of people.
Inner Idiot: Well, maybe I’m beating a dead horse here.
Real me: Yea, you are. I shall sashay forth and do my thang. Nice talking to you, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
NaNoWriMo update: Fell a little behind the last day or 2, but I was ahead already so I have plenty of wiggle room.
“Don’t Should on Yourself!” People told me this all the time when I used to go counseling and Al-Anon meetings. It means don’t spend time beating yourself up over what you think you should be doing, according to other people’s definition of what you should be doing, or not doing.
Sometimes I’m the master at this. I learned it from a long line of shouders and then, of course, I married a Master Shoulder. The even uglier side of the shoulding is the dreaded Should Notting. Should not do this, want this, think about this, or even let it creep into dreams.
I came home from my trip and turned into a vegetable. I should not have done that HA! See there it is again. Now I realized that what I was doing was taking the time to grieve grandson’s poor choice to leave the Guard and thereby forcing me to eject him from my home. Got past that and spent the next week feeling like I should be doing…something.
Finally, I put my foot down and said. OK dammit, Self, stop it right frigging now! Give yourself a chance to figure it out. You are retired and now you have all the time you need to let it all bubble and boil in your subterranean thoughts. It will come, you don’t need to force yourself into an activity just because you should be doing something. Sez who!
Then I got to investigating the annual NaNoWriMo contest coming in November. All you have to do to win is write a 50,000 page novel in 30 days. The purpose of doing it in 30 days is to force you to just bang it out without editing or rewriting or any other way fiddling it to death. The mere thought of this paralyzed me so severely that I didn’t write a single word for 5 days.
What happened? Well I know exactly what happened. The inner critic that sits on my shoulder started whispering in my ear. “Bleh, you never finish what you start.” Not true. “Anyone who reads the first draft of your novel will shout ‘what utter drivel’ and organize a nationwide draft burning party.” Yea, hows that for insecurity and hubris in the same fear? I will be invited to speak on CNN as the world-renowned author of the worst novel ever written. English lit teachers will buy it with the purpose of using in class as an example of how not to write.
I guess it is obvious how ridiculous my fears can get. The thing to do is switch from should to “so what?” So what if I write a 30 day novel and don’t even read it myself. So what? Just doing it is the accomplishment.
Yesterday, Mr. Husband and I went shopping and bought a tent and 2 sleeping bags. On the way home we stopped at the bookstore and bought travel books. Then home, lunch and a good hearty argument for desert that lasted a while. Evidently, we had some festering issues to air out. Washing everything in a gallon or two of tears always works for me.
We eventually became exhausted from this silly endeavor and collapsed in bed, rested for a while and squabbled some more. The upshot of all this is that he “worries” when I’m gone. I’m going to interpret this as he will miss me. I used to view it as him thinking that I can’t be trusted to navigate my way out of a soggy paper bag without some sort of calamity
To cheer ourselves up we went out to dinner just the 2 of us, no grandson. He’s 23 after all and should be able to feed himself on occasion. Our destination – a fabulous seafood restaurant, Vincent’s, here in Big D. It’s where we went on our first date. So romantical. We get a good laugh because we are always the youngest couple there. Youngsters just don’t appreciate good seafood and there is no TV in there. After wards we went to a sports-camping type store and bought a book of road maps.
Unfortunately, right before I went to bed I developed an extreme case of self-doubt and the starting singing the “who do you think you are” blues. It’s a long trip, I will have a melt down. I’m not up to this, what was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking at all. Yada Yada.
All this self talk invaded my dreams and turned it into the nightmare, wild ride, merry-go-round from hell. There were monsters on the ceiling, monsters under the bed, monsters knocking things off my nightstand. I got lost in Tennessee, took a wrong turn, and ended up in Libya. Tarried too long in a greasy spoon and when we came out the truck was up on blocks with all 4 tires gone. In a storm our tent collapsed with us in it, turning us into a burrito that rolled down a hill into a raging stream and we were washed out to sea. Never mind that our tent was 400 miles inland at the time. Anything can happen in a dream.
All of this nonsense exhausted me so much that I ended up sleeping until 10:00 am. That’s really late for me. I’m usually up with the birds.
I realize once again that I am human and just as prone to fears as the next person. I just have to refuse to let them paralyze me and stop me from doing what I dream of doing. Tally Ho!