Work In Progress

I’m determined to get a blog post up today, so I thought I’d talk a little about writing.  With the arrival of summer comes an increase in meetings for my writing group.  There always seems to be so much to discuss & try to undertake; an hour and a half seems like hardly enough time to get everything done.  More & more, I wonder if I should try to do this full-time, whether that means trying to do a class through Parks & Rec or attempting to open a writer’s space of my own.  The ideas are wonderful to consider but I’m nervous about moving forward with it.  Partially because it would mean actually demanding that I get paid to do this & I still get shaky thinking about having to value myself & my work.  Even crocheting scarves for people & asking them for X amount in payment is weird & brings back all sorts of boundary issues that make me squirm.  But, now is as good a time as any, I suppose.  I’m not going to get less shy about it until I test the waters.

I’ve also started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  It was incredibly popular when I was working at Borders in the long ago & the far away & I’m just now getting into it.  I really appreciate the morning pages exercise.  Even if I never get past the 2nd chapter of the book, it’s given me the flexibility to sit with my thoughts for 40 minutes & just get everything out of my head.  As someone who usually wakes up anxious, the three-page internal monologue purging helps me focus & makes me feel ready to deal with whatever for the rest of the day.  I’ve logically known that just sitting & writing can help improve my mood, but these focused pages have helped me trust that this is something that helps me for the better.  I haven’t totally gotten the schedule down, but I try to do what I can.

Anyway, I’m packing today & my study is slowing filling up with boxes.  For now, I can still get to a few notebooks, but all of my writing books have been boxed up & I have to make do with what I have.  But, that’s the best impetus, right?  Necessity, the mother of invention?  I hope so. . .


Midweek Time-killer

Ugh, you guys…this really is one of my lesser posts. I had blogging on my to-do list today & I’m feeling a little bounce in my step due to getting some of items checked off, so here we are. The husband & I have been packing & slowly filling out rooms with boxes & boxes, both packed & unpacked. Which tends to get you in the mindset of getting stuff done & is ultimately a good thing. The extreme of that though is pure laziness that sets in once you consider the overwhelming amount of stuff to be done and/or emotional states.

But, I’m going to try to be positive & say that while my physical life is in disarray, I’ve gotten some cleaning done in my digital life. I finally finally got my writing group resources all cleaned up & organized, ready for my writers if they need them. It helps clear the way for any future compilations I want to put together & serves as a nice foundation to work from if I ever make up my mind about helping writers as a full-time job. On top of that, I also got my email inboxes under control & set up with rules & filters. I know, I know, that all probably sounds deeply boring, but as someone who is frequently anxious, the small victories of control & preparedness makes the inner crisis planner quiet down.

I’m going to have to pack my craft supplies soon. The things that I do with my hands to calm me down…it’s hard to picture. We’ve just about packed up all the books, & I’ve had to remind myself that I can still check out stuff & I’ve got my tablet so I won’t run out of things to read. But not being able to have something at hand to work on & focus…I’ll have to use writing more as my quieting habit.

Ok, well, not really sure how to end this but it feels like the end. Fingers crossed that I can keep the balance of action & relaxing in the next few weeks.


Not Without My Decor

Curtains Have I Made
A set of curtains I’ve made

I’m feeling possessive of my curtains.  Paranoid might actually be a more accurate descriptor.  We’re getting ready to move again in a few months & my anxiety has decided to fixate on whether or not we’ll be taking them with us to the new place.

I’m sure that sounds like a small petty thing; maybe it is.  Let me explain it a little better.  We moved around a lot when I was a kid—not military-family a lot but as my parents’ jobs & finances changed, we inevitably found a new place every 3-5 years.  We never took the curtains with us & to this day, I don’t know why.  Maybe they didn’t want to deal with the hassle of taking down the rods & hardware & putting it up at another place.  Maybe there are super secret real estate arrangements that hinge on whether or not a family willingly gives up their window dressings.  Maybe my parents have some heretofore unknown superstition about carrying draperies (& by extension bad luck) from one dwelling to another.

I don’t know & for the most part, it was just a thing I didn’t get to have a say in, like the moving.  It didn’t really bother me until I got older, had a job, & was able to spend my own meager income on decorative things.  We moved into one house where the owner had left behind her own drapes in some of the rooms.  (Why?!  What is the reasoning?)  These were blackout drapes that were coated in cat fur near the top.  I was working at a linens store at the time & I spent a couple of weeks looking at what I liked & comparing prices, before finally settling on green panels & long gauzy white swags.  It would hardly make House Beautiful but I had ambitious dreams & a minimum wage budget, so I made it work.

A few years later, it was time to move again.  And when I brought up how I was trying to figure out how to pack the curtains, my mom told me I couldn’t take them because, they weren’t included in the contract.  HUGE fight followed: I’m screaming that I bought them with my own money & my mom yelling back that she’s not going back to the realtor to dicker over curtains.

When I finally moved out on my own, I didn’t take any curtains & lived in different rented places for seven years with just blinds & nothing else.  And then, my husband & I moved to our current place & I loosened up a bit.  There were no pre-existing blinds, the Target curtains we bought were flimsy & we had some drafts coming in through the windows, & I was learning how to sew. . . so I made curtains.  Nothing too fancy, just repurposed sheets that were on sale but they made me happy & they were pretty. . . & now we’re getting ready to move again.  And I don’t want to leave these behind too.

So I guess it’s time to grow up & ask why we always left the curtains behind.  At the very least, I still have the cheapie Target curtains; I’d have no problem leaving those for strangers.


So, This is a Nothing Post

Hi there, Reader.  Let me just say upfront that this is the third blog post I’ve typed up today.  I was working on one that got away from me & that I’m saving for another time.  I wrote another based off today’s Daily Prompt that I started hating halfway through.  But, I’m already signed into WordPress & my inner critic is demanding I put something up because its been nearly a week without a post.  So, here we are, this quiet little unnoticed section of the internet.

Y’know if this was a cafe or even just a little restaurant, I’d be staring out the window, people-watching & making notes in my journal.  Or, if we were together as friends, I’d recruit you into listening into the conversations around us, so we could pick apart the minutiae of strangers’ lives & maybe feel a little superior.  It’s really not even a challenge nowadays, though, because people conduct their entire lives through the cell phones for the most part & cell phones are so ubiquitous, people think its no thing to have arguments, discuss lab results, hire a landscaper, or tell a friend about their kids’ school problems all while standing a foot or two away from you.  Trust me, I work in a library, I know a lot of stuff about my patrons I shouldn’t.

Have you ever watched House of Games?  That’s a classic David Mamet movie that shows you just how easy it can be to deceive someone.  I would imagine in some ways it’s only gotten easier, while in other ways. . . I read an article a few years back about how pickpocketing has nearly died out as a way to scam people because wallets & their contents are quickly becoming redundant thanks to cell phones.  Although, I would imagine the surveillance panic about said devices has shifted things some.  Tides come & go, right?

Let me tell you a secret about writers.  Probably an unsurprising secret.  We’re the respectable voyeurs–or at the very least voyeurs who want to pretend that we’re respectable.  Everything we read, witness, overhear, suffer & otherwise choose to pay attention to & catalogue?  It’s all material for “The Piece”.  Or at least we tell ourselves that.  It’s all going to go into words somewhere, as we try to figure out why the hell writing makes sense to us & not to others.  Which is why I brought up House of Games earlier.  It’s all about wanting to observe, collect, & understand the layers of the world around us only to discover that what is some esoteric pursuit for us is life-and-death for another person.  It’s about a girl who wants to run with the bad boys.  It’s about intention, and action, & Ricky Jay’s ridiculous Southwestern jewelry.  You should totally watch it.

Well, I think I’ve probably wasted enough time.  I’m feeling less-than-terrible about not having written anything today.  It was nice talking to you for just a brief moment, here in the maelstrom of internet.  Hope to see you again.  I promise the next post will be at least somewhat more interesting.



Spread the Word

Over the past two months, an sneaky anonymous artist has been leaving small takeaways in the library where I work.  Typically, we’ll find a small plastic bag on the shelves filled with small magnets made from dichroic glass & a printed message inviting whoever finds them to take them & enjoy.  Patrons have found them too & in general, coming across the packets are a nice little unexpected surprise.  A disruption of craft & charitable feeling into a regular routine.

The whole experience has gotten me thinking about some of the more experimental writing prompts we undertook in my last year of Creative Writing at Mary Wash.  We students were encouraged to think of ways to get our stories in front of people: whether it was fliers we posted in the department hall, mini-books with flash fictions, postcards, or blogs.  The anonymous artists has inspired me to spread some found stories around my little town.  There’s even a sort of romantic element to the fact that we have a working rail station running through town & that anyone could come across my words.

But here’s where I trip myself up: thinking about what to write & to send out into the world.  I ask myself what I would want people to come across & the immediate response is, well, not my own words, maybe a bit of poetry or a collection of famous sayings.  Pardon me, self, but that is not the point of the exercise.  Then I think, oh well, I could root through something I’ve already polished, maybe pull out a snippet or two?  Again, self, this is about spontaneity, not a practiced recitation.  I mean, c’mon, you write a blog with entries you give not much though to.  You can’t think of anything?

The truth is, I can, but I’m nervous.  I work in a library in a small town.  I keep envisioning how one of the Libertarian regulars would react to finding my little anonymous work.  Or one of the homeschool moms.  Or what if one of my illiterate patrons came across it, realized there was nothing they understood, & threw it away.  Or or or or. . .

As you can see, dear Reader, this post is really just a way for me to talk myself into both the act of creating & the act of letting go control.  Because really, that’s the crux of any creative act & it is one I struggle with still.  But when the tension is resolved &, as a result, a stranger sees the world anew, something magical has truly happened.