Things I learned this week

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

― Charles M. Schulz

I learned this week…

…that, at the ripe age of 40, I’ve finally taught myself to swim.  I have kept this under wraps for a while.  I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing – not my friends; not my family.  I’m sure they are going to be shocked because they’ve put up with my number one phobia for a very long time:  drowning.  It’s kept me from doing a lot of fun stuff over the years.  However,  I am thrilled to announce that this week, I did the front crawl from one end of the pool to the other – without stopping.    And I did it a dozen times.  All by myself.  With my daughter cheering me on.  Of course, being a 40 year old unaccustomed to the physical exertion of swimming, I nearly collapsed and drowned.

…that my daughter is an evolving enigma.  She has quirks and habits that I’ve come to accept, even rely upon, as evidence that she is an independent spirit.  Take for instance her hair.  She is cursed blessed with thick honey blonde tresses that frizz curl wildly around her beautiful face.  She hates every strand, and insists that she not be seen without it firmly secured in a slick-backed pony tail.   This is non-negotiable.  If, by chance, there is an instance of variance from the norm, there will be long sighs, nasty glares, and even tears.  This week she rocked my world.  Out of the blue, she announced, as she pulled the band from her hair and let it flow freely down her back, that in a year or two she just might start wearing it down.  The truly remarkable thing, and what threw me into a state of shock, was that we were at our neighborhood pool.  In public.  Surrounded by dozens of strangers.  Who have now seen her with her hair down.

…that the next installment in the Jason Bourne saga (sans Jason Bourne) has been unleashed on the nation.  In the past, I have railed against Hollywood’s dirty habit of unnecessarily rebooting and remaking movies in order to capitalize on the viewing public’s need for familiarity at the box office. I won’t rehash my feelings – you can read them for yourself, if you are so inclined.   I have to admit, I don’t understand the need for another Bourne film, especially one without its namesake.   When I first heard rumor of it, I thought it ridiculous.  I swore I wouldn’t see it, but curiosity got the better of me.  I saw it.  I hated.  As I write this, I am watching a the original Bourne trilogy in hopes that it will wash away the stench of The Bourne Legacy.

For some additional reviews of the movie, check out:

Om Malik

Movie Talkies

Sweep the Legs

IMG_2213…that a girl in China was found to have spider living in her ear – for a week.  A lot of things creep me out.  Spiders, oddly enough, are not one of them.  However, upon reading this article (and viewing the pictures), I was struck by a sense of familiarity.  Then it hit me – that spider’s brother took up residence in my car two months ago!  It may be time to dig out the old bug bomb.  I now have serious case of the heebee-jeebees.

…that I can check “staying up late(ish) to watch a meteor shower” off my list of things I must do before I die.  I stayed up.  I sat in a lawn chair in my driveway, stared up at the sky, and – got nothing.  I didn’t see anything, but low flying airplanes.  Well, there was that one thing, with the flashing lights and erratic flight pattern.  I told myself it was a weather balloon – because they’re always weather balloons, right?  By and large, though, I was bored out of my freaking mind.  I bow down to my geeky science loving friends who have the discipline for such things.  I, obviously, do not.

…that while working on my WIP this week, I discovered that Anna’ brother is a lot more trouble than he’s worth.  Luckily my writing group was more than willing to come to my rescue.  If you write and don’t have a writing group – get one.  You won’t regret it.  Unless your group sucks.  Then you might regret it.  So choose wisely.  I did.

…this week’s awww moment is brought to you by these water droplets clinging to a spider’s web.  I know, there really isn’t anything warm and fuzzy about it.  So what.  I like it and it’s my blog.  Enjoy.

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Things I learned this week

“Knowledge is power.” – Sir Francis Bacon

…or was it Kim Kardashian who said that?

I learned this week…

…that Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson, sending a shockwave of despair through the fanatical world of Twilight fans everywhere, shattering dreams of a sparkling vampire happily ever after.  I don’t think my faith in monogamy will ever be restored.

…that water yuppies do exist.  I know, right?  I was just as surprised as you, but my research doesn’t lie.  Until this week, it was a term that was wholly unfamiliar to me.  I stumbled across it while researching houseboats in Amsterdam – a perfect place to hide someone who doesn’t want to be found, by the way.  It’s one of those words that just struck my fancy.  I’m dying to use it in the course of a casual conversation.  I haven’t figured out how I’m going to manage that yet.  When I do, I’ll let you know how it goes.

…that pumpkin patches are rarer than diamonds.  Or, so says my daughter to her friend while enthralled in a game of online Minecraft.   This is good information.

…that an orthodontist visit + a hormonal preteen entering 7thgrade + talks of a full set of braces = E.P.I.C. meltdown.  Take heed people.

…that the Cheer Moms at my daughter’s gym may have finally sacrificed their coach to the almighty Cheer God.   Their perky ponytails, color coordinated tees, and snarky, narcissistic chatter as been oddly absent from practice in recent weeks.  Now who am I going to sit and judge while I should be writing?

…that Jen Garner has made a warm and fuzzy Disney flick.  Excuse me while I bang my head on my desk.

(Pause)

Now that I’ve given myself a headache, I think I’ll go console my broken heart with an Aliasmarathon and a bag of Oreo’s.

that Donald J. Sobol died on July 11, 2012.  I’m not really sure how I missed this, but I did.  He is most noted for penning the Encyclopedia Brown seriesof kid’s books about a boy detective in high top sneakers.  I loved those books when I was young…um…younger.  RIP Mr. Sobol.

…that this week’s awww moment is brought to you by one of the bunnies I stumbled across during a recent early morning walk in the park.  I don’t believe he’s the criminal who has destroyed my flower beds, but I took his picture anyway.  You know, just in case I need to identify him in a line up.

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Things I learned on vacation…

…and beyond.

You might have noticed that, with the exception of a few photographs, I’ve been largely absent from the blog in recent weeks.

Or then again, maybe you haven’t. 

That’s okay.  Sometimes, I don’t even notice when I’m missing. 

June turned out to be busier than I anticipated.  I had an impromptu week-long visit from two of my nephews, participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, turned forty, traveled to our nation’s capital on vacation with the family, and had an unexpected sharp increase in caseload at the office.  This inability to adequately judge my level of anticipated activity seems to be a recurring theme in my life.  You would think by now I’d have worked out the kinks.

As you can imagine, all of this activity came with a laundry list of new things learned.  Over the last month, I learned…

…that no matter how you try to spin it, turning forty sucks.  And, please, spare me the “forty is the new thirty” bullshit.  Turning thirty sent me into a depression so deep it took four years to recover.

…that my nephews think that I may not be completely human.  Here’s how that conversation went:

Nephew #1:  Aunt Peggy, don’t you ever get tired of typing (I was working on my NaNoWriMo word count).

Me:   No.

Nephew #2 (in a hushed voice):   Aunt Peggy is a cyborg.

This revelation was followed by a fit of giggles.   Of course, in response, I gave them my best stink eye.  I have a reputation to uphold, after all.  This earned me a fresh round of giggles.  It seems my stink eye needs an upgrade.  I’ll have to work on that.

…that as humans, we have been conditioned to stand in line, to patiently wait our turn. It is ingrained in our psyche even as we whine and cry and complain about it.  If you have ever had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. or any tourist hot spot, for that matter, you know that a great deal of time is spent standing in line.  There are lines for transportation, lines for security, lines for admittance, lines for viewing.  It is the way the world works, and something that we’ve come to accept as the natural order of our day-to-day lives.  It brings us comfort, gives us a sense of organization, and takes the thought process out of our hands.

At the National Archives, they like to mix it up a bit.    Sure, they shuffle you in like herds of cattle.  Force you through a line for the metal detector, another to search your bag, then corral you into a long snake-like line at the base of the steps into “the vault.”   However, once you cross the threshold into the room that holds our nation’s most revered documents, the rules of the game suddenly shift.   You will be instructed to go against your intrinsic nature.  Lines are not permitted.  You must move freely about the room and view the displays at your leisure.  Such a radical departure from the norm will cause you to cast a panicked look at the person standing behind you.  They will appear as shell-shocked as you feel.  No lines?  Crazy talk.  That’s simply not the way these things are supposed to work.  Of course, in reality such instructions are futile.  Humans behave invariably in the manner in which they are most accustom.  On my visit to the National Archives, that’s exactly what the masses did – they filed into the room, walked directly to the exhibit at the far left, and worked steadily to the right, in a nice neat single file line.  Myself included.

No line?

That’s the most barbaric thing I’ve ever heard.

…that in large metropolitan areas where public transportation is consistently utilized, there are rules of etiquette that must be followed when riding the escalators that lead to and from the underground metro system.  Stand to the right, or get your ass run over.  Lesson learned.

…that my family doesn’t understand or share my love for history.  This week I learned that some of the Dead Sea scroll fragments, along with other artifacts from the time period, are on exhibit just up the road in Ft. Worth.   So thrilling!  After a little digging, I discovered that in addition to the exhibit, there will be a series of lectures offered on varying subjects related to the scrolls and their impact on the history of Judaism and beyond.   I enthusiastically shared this news with my husband, my mother, my best friend, and my daughter.  All of them metaphorically patted me on the head and said “you have fun with that.”  I guess that means I shouldn’t buy them a ticket.

…that taking 5 days off in the middle of Camp NaNoWriMo is detrimental to the success of the project.  I did manage to rack up 30,000 words in the first 20 days.  That’s pretty darn good for me so I’m going to take a page out of the Book of Sheen and declare myself a winner.

…that the path that hugs the Tidal Basin and offers up a view of the Jefferson Memorial across the water, looks better in my head than it does in person. I will now have to adapt a scene I’ve already written to accommodate the lack of suitable spots for a clandestine meeting.  Bummer.

…that my daughter thinks my detailed character profiles complete with photographs are “cute.”   I’m not really sure, but I think she is mocking me.

…that last, but not least, this week’s (month’s) awww moment is brought to you by a duck I encountered while visiting the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.  I had the distinct impression that he was a waterfowl on a mission.  His waddle was very determined.

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Irises

I’m still plugging away at my WIP, trying to keep up with the daily word count quota so that I can mark Camp NaNoWriMo off my list of to dos as a successfully completed challenge.  Unfortunately, I’ve hit a bit of snag.  You know, one of those minor speed bumps where you write an entire scene that is completely out of sync with your character’s profile, or you kidnapped a bad guy when you should have just killed him – now what the hell are you going to do with him – or the pulsating club scene has unfocused dialog that circles around but never quite hits the mark.  What is it that Elliot is trying to get out of Gerhard?  Do I even know?  I think maybe I don’t.

I’m a little frustrated.

So I took some pictures.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. 

Why on earth would you take a black and white photograph of beautifully vibrant irises?  Seems a bit pointless, I know.

Indulge me for a moment.  I am practicing the art of avoidance. 

Plus, it’s growing on me.  I think it may even look a little bit…cool.

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Distractions

I should have been writing.  I am a few hundreds words behind on today’s Camp NaNoWriMo word count quota.  But it was an extra hot day, and the plants on the patio needed to be watered.  Of course, with water comes dripping droplets that reflect the sun just so, and I was powerless to fight the urge that began to build within me.  I had no choice – no choice, I tell you – but to pull out the camera and waste an hour of valuable writing time taking pictures.

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Things I learned this week

I learned this week…

…that Donald “Duck” Dunn has died.  You might not recognize his name, but I guarantee you that at some point, you’ve heard his telltale bass line.   He was a member of the studio band at Stax Records in Memphis and played with such artist as The Blues Brothers (he was in the movie), Eric Clapton, Arthur Conley, Neil Young (with whom he extensively toured), CCR, Wilson Pickett, Bob Dylan (who you all know I loathe), Rod Stewart, Otis Redding – just to name a few.   One of my favorite songs is a little ditty called “Green Onions” by Booker T & the MGs.   He wasn’t the original bassist on the 1962 recording, but I think he does it best.

…that Donna Summer has died at the age of 63.  I often talk about how my father’s love of old school country, early rock & roll, and 60s R&B influenced my taste in music.  However, in all honesty, my mother probably had a greater impact on my personal “musicology.”  She is a lover of all music.  She doesn’t discriminate – from old Dean Martin and Sinatra to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and the Beatles to Gordon Lightfoot and Simon & Garfunkel and everything in between and beyond.  When I was a kid, one of my mother’s favorite things to do was to throw open the windows, cue up a homemade reel to reel tape and crank the volume until music filled the house – and the neighborhood.   Sometimes we listened to oldies, sometimes to folk, sometimes to country, but more often than not, we listened to disco.  What could be better than doing your Saturday morning chores to the infectious beat of ABBA, the Bee Gees, and yes, Donna Summer?   She will be sorely missed in my house.  My friend Kelly said “disco died today.”  Perhaps it did.

…that I have been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award by kittyb78.  She’s a fellow writer who just happens to be a Black Dragon Kung Fu instructor.  I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds very cool and makes me want to write her into one of my stories as that bad ass character who…okay I digress.   Many thanks to kittyb78 for bestowing such an honor on me.  I appreciate it very much.

Of course, these things come with rules.  I’m supposed to tell you seven interesting things about myself and then pay the award forward to a few bloggers I think are deserving.

  1. I give good stink-eye, and not always intentionally.  I have an odd face with a heavy brow and a natural frown.  It makes me look angry – even when I’m not.  It serves me well.  People leave me alone.  Usually.
  2. I hate the sound of people eating.  Seriously.  I hate it.
  3. I am cynical by nature, but I try very hard to use humor to stave off the negativity.  It’s made me a happier person.
  4. I am a James Bond fanatic.
  5. I have no natural rhythm and no amount of alcohol can change that.  Ask my BFF how long it took her to teach me the Electric Slide back in the day.
  6. I have an affinity for dates.
  7. I love striped pants.
Now to pay it forward:kreativbloggeraward
Check ’em out.  They are all creative, innovative, and worthy of your time.

…that yoga for a grade is like a bad penny.  It just won’t leave me in peace.  As a memento of our time together, it has left me with a little hip injury.  Nothing too serious, just some tendonitis.  They tell me it will go away – with a little time and four weeks of physical therapy.

…that I am captivated by the train-wreck that is Ancient Aliens.  I spend the entire hour yelling at the television, snorting in disbelief, and cursing their flawed logic, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to change the channel.

…that last, but not least, this weeks awww moment is brought to you by a pair of small woodpeckers who distracted me from my gardening this week.  From their behavior, I can only assume they were a mother and her lazy child who refused to get off his ass and get a job.  I could be wrong, though.

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Cake for everyone!

One year ago today, I posted my very first blog entry.  I did it in an effort to find out who I am in life and to find my creative voice.  I think I’ve largely succeeded, though I imagine with every passing day, every new entry, I grow and evolve, and will continue to do so.

If you’re up for a good laugh, you can read my first blog attempt here

Now, who wants cake?

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Things I learned this week

This week I learned…

…that sometimes being a responsible adult sucks.  It’s that time of year again when everything converges and there just isn’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.  There’s certainly no time to do the things I want to do – read, write, sacrifice a few brain cells sitting on my couch wearing holey pjs, eating ding dongs, and watching everything the Bravo channel can throw my way.   It’s just the nature of things, and usually I am very good at accepting that this is the journey I chose to embark upon – you know, that whole personal growth bullshit.  This year, however, my rebellious self seems to be having a little trouble keeping his eye on the prize.  Spring is warm, sunny, and intoxicating, and the allure of it all, is just so damned tempting.   So, what do you do when you have a nagging conformist on one shoulder and a mocking rebel on the other?  You lock the conformist in the closet, and you go out to play.  Duh.  Of course, these little bursts of self-indulgence are not without their consequences.   I’ve spent the last week or so digging out from a stack of homework so deep it surely rivals Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stouts’ garbage pile.

…that after sitting through a lecture on sleep deprivation, I realize that I should probably reevaluate my anti-napping ideology.  My husband will be relieved to hear this, and I’m sure he will take full advantage of it should I decide to change my stance.

…that just when I thought I might actually miss “yoga for a grade”, the instructor goes and does something that makes me want to roll up my mat, go home, and say screw the GPA.  From the onset, this class has been disorganized – and that, I feel, is being generous.  Goals and expectation were never established and we’ve had very little guidance in the actual fundamentals of yoga practice.  All of these shortcomings and failures could be overlooked, indeed forgiven, because for the most part, I enjoyed the physicality of the class.  We did, of course, have that little incident early on with the humiliating quiz – you remember, the one where we had to each perform a single pose at the front of the room for our classmates to guess. Charades for a grade.   Couldn’t get much worse than that, right?  Guess what?  I was wrong.  I should have seen it coming, but alas, I did not.  Two weeks before scheduled final exams, she dropped the ultimate bomb on us.  It was nuclear.   It seemed our final exam would require us to come up with a sequence of yoga poses, combine them into cohesive segments, and then teach them to the class.   But wait, there’s more.   We had just two class periods to get with a partners, choose the poses, arrange the poses, practice the poses, and choose our accompaniment music because she wanted to do our final a week early.  Oh, and by the way, our performances would be videotaped so that we could relive our most humiliating moment at the end of semester party she’d planned.  I’m sure I will see the humor in all this someday – when the scars have healed.

…that there are few things in life more enjoyable than sitting poolside with my BFF, a little drunk on wine, trading child rearing war stories.

…that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys has died.  There have been a lot of notable deaths of late, but I find his to be one of the saddest.   I can’t say that I am an ardent fan of Beastie Boys’ entire body of work, but their first album brings back fond memories of my favorite summer.  It would be my last carefree summer; not long after, the reality of adulthood reached up and bitch slapped me.

…that the three seat belts in the backseat of my car are deceiving.  It is nearly impossible to fit three passengers back there.  Guess I should have considered that before I volunteered to carpool a Sunday field trip to Boyd.

…that I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by my fellow writer Julie over at Word Flows.  It’s always so nice to receive an acknowledgement from one’s peers.  It is doubly nice when it comes from someone you admire and respect.  She, herself, is one inspiring lady.  Go check her out.

…that my work in progress, Retribution, has evolved into something quite different from my original vision.  I blame the outlining.

…that when you add a warm late spring day, a community swimming pool, and a tennis ball together with a group of twelve-year-old boys you will get stupidity to the ninth power.

…that last, but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by this little creeper who has taken up residence on my back patio for the duration of the season.

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Things I learned this week

I learned this week…

…that while bears and sharks top my list of the world’s scariest creatures, Cheer Moms run a close second.  My daughter’s gym has been inundated with them the last couple of weeks.   They are like nothing I’ve ever seen, and as I watch them from the safety of my hidden corner, I can hear the voice of Marlin Perkins echoing in my ear:

Today on Wild Kingdom we travel into the barbarous depths of the neighborhood gymnasium in search of the mysterious and elusive creature called the Cheer Mom.    They are a capricious lot, social in nature, tending to move in tightly knit packs of a dozen or more.  We are in luck today, a group seems to be congregating at one end of the tumble track.   As with all of these factions, there is an alpha female among their ranks.  See how her domination of the other members is easily discernible by her superior vocalization, aggressive fist pumping, and springy ponytail.   Note the catty banter.  We believe this behavior to be both a defensive and offensive tactic used by the beta members as they jockey for the coveted top spot.  Collectively, they are fearsome.  Today they appear on edge, dissatisfied by something they see just beyond the balance beams.  An underachieving offspring?  A rogue coach?  It is unclear…

Wait…what’s happening?

They appear to be organizing for something.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say they are preparing for an attack.

Yes, they are on the move.

The rogue coach seems to be the intended victim.

Yes, they have the coach in their line of sight.

He sees them.  Note the terror that flashed across his face.

He tries to escape, but it’s too late, they have him surrounded.

*gasp*

The circle of life is complete.

…that my new neon pink tennis shoes are indeed the most hideous things I’ve ever put on my feet.  I know this because the young hip girl who sits in front of me in Sociology thinks they are “beast.”

…that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are finally going to tie the knot after spawning (and adopting) six children.  I am so relieved.  For a while there, I feared for the survival of the human race should these two forsake the sacred vows of matrimony.

…that it’s the 100 anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the fifteenth anniversary of the debut of the James Cameron film.  In honor of this event, we have been given the gift of Titanic in 3D.  You know, because 3D makes everything better.  One might think that the use of 3D technology could  somehow allow the captain to better ascertain the enormity of his impeding doom.  Guess not.

…that Florence + the Machine’s new MTV Unplugged album moves me on a level that I can only describe as transcendental.

Drumming Song

…that there are only 3 weeks left until the end of the semester.  That means the chapter of my life known as Yoga for a Grade must come to a close.  I find myself oddly saddened by this prospect.  I’d like to believe that this is because I’ve come to understand the spiritual melding of the mind and body through meditation, physical strength, and rhythmic breath.  Unfortunately, I think my melancholy has more to do with the knowledge that I will soon lose a wondrous well of writing gold.

…that last but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by Herman the Rabbit who haunts my backyard.  And, yes, I’m pretty sure that Herman is a she, but who am I to argue with my daughter over gender based names.

Things I learned this week

I learned this week…

…that Nadya Suleman has finally figured out that prolific reproduction is a costly endeavor.

…that my daughter is turning into a girl.  I know this may sound strange, but if you knew her, you would know exactly what I mean.  She is the epitome of tomboy.  So much so, that I often forget that she is indeed a girl.   It’s not a bad thing.  She is who she is, and we love her unconditionally.  It’s just that sometimes we catch a glimpse of her elusive femininity, and it leaves us speechless.  This week we were treated to a full moon.  My daughter loves the moon and in an effort to get a better look at it, she dragged her telescope out into the backyard.  She invited a couple of her friends to join her.  One of them was the boy she likes.  When she had confirmation that he would be stopping by, she barreled into the house and up the stairs announcing as she went that she only had a few minutes to change her clothes and brush her hair.   Exactly one minute later, she reappeared with her hair freshly coiffed, wearing a brand new pair of shorts, and her low top Converse sneakers – her idea of dressy.  As she disappeared out the backdoor, I was left feeling a little shell-shocked.  I don’t think I’m ready for what lurks right around the corner.

…that it seems I will never learn that studying just before bed will lead to strangely disjointed dreams that seem to mock my efforts.  I diligently studied for two tests, back to back, and was rewarded with a night filled with images of Stalin chopping off Trotsky’s head as Darwin preached of natural selection and social stratification with a finch perched upon his shoulder.   Otto von Bismarck stood atop a trench and expertly choreographed the slaughter at Verdun while Milgram and Durkheim argued the importance of imperialism as an innate function of society as a whole.  This dream was almost as strange as the one I had about Jen Garner and the lady in the orange overcoat.  Almost.

…that sitting poolside for three hours on a warm spring day will yield three things:  convincing conflict between Anna and her father, a crudely drawn map of cities Anna will have to visit during her crusade for vengeance, and sunburned knees.

…that some people have something to say about everything, even if they don’t really have anything to say at all.  This annoying habit will provoke me to say something that might be construed as snarky or spiteful.  I’m not proud of myself, but sometimes sarcasm is the only viable alternative to homicide.

…that the misuse of quotation marks is on the rise in social media.  I’m confused by this epidemic and wonder what makes this particular outlet so susceptible to ignorance.

…that last but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by this cute little bunny.  I can’t help but wonder what he’s up to.  Is he bashful?  Did someone say something funny?  Oh…I know…he’s allergic to Easter eggs.  Somebody get this bunny a tissue.

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Source:  http://v-o-g-u-e-i-s-a-r-t.tumblr.com/post/13590455052

Resisting the Itch

A writer writes.

That manta has been drilled into my head since the moment I decided to embrace my desire to put pen to page.   There is a societal expectation that if you have the audacity to call yourself a writer, you must produce proof of such a claim.  I’ve always taken this to heart.

I think, therefore I am.  – Rene Descartes

I write, therefore I am a writer.

It’s a mindset that is very hard for me to reconcile at the moment.  If you read my posts, you will remember that at the beginning of the year I made the decision to shelve my work in progress.  Recently, I’ve felt the magnetic pull of characters that will not be ignored.  In an effort to stave off the voices, and because I believe in the essence of this story, I decided to begin again.

Back to the drawing board.

To start over.

From scratch.

As new ideas begin to take root, grow, and blossom, I am overwhelmed with the desire to write.  Witty dialogue mingles with vibrant action in scenes that swirl around my brain, begging for an outlet.  It is the order of things.  In the past, I’ve been very much a fly by the seat of your pants writer.  As the voices grew louder, the scenes more vivid, the siren’s call of the keyboard more desperate, I inevitably gave into the temptation to write, mindless of the consequences.

Herein lies the reason my first stab at Retribution went down in glorious, Technicolor flames.  I gave into the voices and lost sight of the big picture.  I planned poorly – or rather – I didn’t plan at all.

This time it will be different.  It must be.  I took an oath to myself that I would resist the itch to write until I had a thorough, well-planned outline.   It was a promise that fell freely from my lips.  It sounded so easy, such an attainable goal.

I was wrong, as I am so often lately.  It is very hard to resist the itch to write, especially when you have set such boundaries.  It is as if my rebellious self is testing the limits of my resolve by spitting in the eye of my iron will.

But, my iron will is a determined beast.  Resist I will.

For now, anyway.

 

Just write: Self-shaming Sunday update

This week it’s all about the map.

My first attempt to write Anna’s story of retribution was a dismal failure.  I allowed myself to get caught up in the complexity of individual scenes and forgot a vital rule in novel-writing:  Every character action/reaction must benefit the progression of the story as a whole.   As a result, I lost sight of my final destination.  To rectify this problem, I’ve gone where I’ve never gone before.

To the fiery depths of Hell.

Well, not really.  Just into the depths of the dreaded outline.

I’ve been working on a vague sketch of Retribution using my favorite prompt game, “What if.”  This week the story is beginning to take form.  Through this process, it has become obvious that this will be a very different tale from the one I initially envisioned.  But it has to be, right?  Of course, it does.  The last one was complete shit.

So what’s the nitty-gritty on the my weekly progress?

I have a good overview of Retribution down on paper.  Of course, there are a few gaps, a few unconnected dots,  but I think they will work themselves out during the hardcore outlining phase.   Which is where I find myself now – the hardcore outline.  Up first, the set up.  I’m pleased with the sequence of events in this phase.  However, there is one hiccup.  Anna’s father.  In my last attempt, he was dead.  His in-depth characterization was largely inconsequential.  He had a peripheral presence that did not require any real exploration.  In this version, I have brought him back from the dead – at least for the interim – and his real-time relationship with his daughter is an essential element in the progression of Anna’s story and her quest for revenge.  Therefore, he must be fully examined and profiled.

This week’s goal = finish a solid first draft of the setup outline.

Goal = Sort of met, but need to find out what makes Anna’s father tick before I can really set this outline portion in stone.

Next week’s goal = Finish up character profile for Ivan and continue working on setup outline.

Things I learned this week

I learned this week…

…that inversion poses are where it’s at in yoga, and the handstand is king.  A notch down from the handstand is a head stand.  I can do neither.  However, this week in “yoga for a grade” I learned a pose that serves as a stepping stone toward a true head stand.   Tripod balance pose.   It’s not the most comfortable pose, certainly not the most elegant, and I wasn’t able to hold it for very long, but I did it.  And that’s all that matters to me.

…that sometime when I wasn’t looking, my daughter discovered that she likes my t-shirts.  I’m not sure which I’m more upset about, the fact that she is borrowing my clothes or that they actually fit her.

…that traffic will invariably flow contradictory to my immediate needs.

…that my daughter has been asked to the Spring dance at her middle school – and she’s going to go!  Last time she was asked, she declined because she was going to have to – EGADS – wear a dress.  This time around there is a more relaxed dress code.  Good thing, too.  My daughter’s idea of dressing up is a white button up shirt and low top Converse sneakers.

…that as I age, the fit of a good tennis shoe trumps aesthetic.   Recently, I spent two days scouring athletic shoe stores looking for replacement sneakers.  It was a trying process – it always is.  I can’t just walk into a store and buy the first shoe that strikes my fancy.  There are important factors that must be considered.   Do my prescription orthotics fit?  Are they made from natural material or synthetic?  Are they lightweight?  Breathable?  Cross trainer or walker?  Is the tongue thick?  Does it ride too high?  Too low?  Are they narrow across the bridge?  Do my bunions cry out in agony with every step I take?  These are all valid questions that must be asked before committing to such an important purchase.  After torturing a half a dozen salespeople, I finally settled on a pair of Nikes.  I usually steer clear of that particular brand because of their tendency toward a narrow bridge and a thick tongue, but I found a pair that fits all my requirements.  Of course, they are neon pink, likely glow in the dark, and are perhaps the ugliest things I’ve ever put on my feet, but who gives a shit.  They adequately serve their purpose.

…that I didn’t win the Mega Millions Jackpot.  Bummer.

…that five little words of criticism – “not as complete as usual” – written on an in-class discussion assignment will cause me a great amount of internal suffering – indeed, eat at my very soul.  I will obsess over this negative review until it encapsulates my every thought and I’m left with no alternative but to email the professor in an effort to explain my shortcomings as a student.   Of course, the realization that he likely never gave the note a second thought just adds to my level of frustration and humiliation.  I need to learn to let these things go.

Yeah, right.  Who am I trying to kid?

…that I am becoming a photography junkie.  I want to take pictures of everything.  Here’s one I took a couple of days ago of the Knock Out roses in my backyard.

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…and last, but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by this little miniature schnauzer named Bear.  I had the pleasure of spending my Monday with him.  He was rescued from a puppy mill and is up for adoption through a local schnauzer rescue group.  Photograph is courtesy of Efrain Sain, a local photographer, attorney, and musician, who office shares with our law firm.

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