Maybe I’m Not A Fraud

Do you ever have moments in your writing where you think, “damn.  Maybe I’ve actually got a smidgen of talent,” and the possibility of what you’re doing is made a little brighter on the horizon?

That’s why I keep this blog.  It’s a snapshot of my writing.  As I originally wrote in my About section I used to write silly little things in the margins of newspapers or in magazines and on random napkins and leave them wherever they were.  After a while I ended up missing the chance at keeping those random writings and having them to look back on.  The stories in my head were gone and I’d never read them again.  So here I am now.

I was reading back through some of my past writings of the last couple of weeks.  I came across a few that I remember enjoying when they were done and I gave them another scan.  I smiled.

“These aren’t that bad,” I said to myself, “actually they’re pretty good.”

Then I kept reading.  I read two or three more and then I got to one that I didn’t really remember what it was about and I opened it to read.  It was short, not even a thousand words but the further I read into it the more excited I got.

It wasn’t a great story or amazing surprise but I felt like it was really good writing.  The flow was good.  The descriptions made me feel.  I put myself back into the character, the narrator, and I could feel it.

Of course I’ve instantly gone into anti-ego mode and told myself that it was easy to get back into the character because the character is me.  Someone else might not find it as easy, but I still liked the writing.  I enjoyed the description.  I felt something and that’s what I always try and do with what I write.  I’m not a great plot organizer or twist ending writing type, but I think I have the ability to write things that can make the reader feel what the characters are feeling.

I hope that’s enough because it’s always enough for me.

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When your daughter’s school is anti-woman

I don’t do a lot of blogging.  I prefer to lose myself in creativity but something recently pissed me off and I wanted to vent about it.  It’s going to make me jump off of a cliff of ranting but it’s frustrating and doesn’t seem to be changing, despite the bullhorn placed to its mouth in today’s society.  I’m afraid it’s just going to fade away.

My 11 year old daughter told me on the drive home from school last week that a boy called her a Stupid Ass Bitch in class.  She said it without any emotion and it didn’t seem to upset her but it made me mad.  I asked why he did that.

She said, “because I wouldn’t let him use my glue stick.”

I seethed during the ten minute drive home from school.  I ran things through my head about just letting it go because it didn’t bother her, but the more I thought about it the more angry it made me.
She wouldn’t let him use her glue stick and that’s the natural response he gave?  It was extreme and vulgar considering it was a boy calling a girl these names.  The word bitch has much worse connotations when directed at women, so there is no “it’s awful when anyone gets called a bad name” nonsense.

I asked my daughter if she told anyone and she said she did, she had told the teacher but the teacher was busy and didn’t hear it.  The only answer my daughter was given was “okay, sit down,” and a passing “I don’t want to hear any cussing” to the class in general.  This boy’s verbal assault was not addressed individually.

So I decided to email the teacher and I wasn’t satisfied with the response.  I didn’t tell her the exact words that were used, simply “some vulgar language was directed at my daughter.”
The teacher’s first line was apologetic in favor of the boy.  She said that the girls were rude to him but she would investigate further (this despite her saying she didn’t hear what was going on).   At that point I decided to let her know what words were used and was further let down by her follow up response.

My daughter is a rule follower.  She is pushed to tears if we’re going to be late for school because she doesn’t like the attention of walking in after the bell rings.  She finished homework well before its due.  I’ve asked her numerous times to skip half days because no work gets done anyway and she refuses to stay home.  The information that the teacher gave in response to my email and her follow up goes against everything I know of my daughter.

The teacher said that the boy had his feelings hurt by nearby girls not wanting him to use the glue stick.  The boy then lashed out with “you stupid…” but managed to hold back the nasty words.  Yet, according to the teacher, the “bolder and more outspoken girls” filled in the blanks and spread rumors of what he said.  They then went onto harass the boy at lunchtime so he had to go to the Vice Principal.
The teacher followed this asinine description of events by informing us that she told the boy to ask other peers or her for supplies if needs them in the future to avoid these kind of triggers.

I was floored by her response to this situation.  I was not expecting them to string this boy up on the flagpole by his underwear, but she completely ignored any wrong doing of his and took his words as to how the events occurred!  She called my daughter a liar by saying he never said mean words.  (We confirmed that she heard the “stupid ass bitch” part first hand and she said yes, she heard the words out of his mouth).

The way she categorized the other girls as bolder and outspoken made it come off as a negative trait.  That these were mean girls picking on this poor, little boy.  That they were a scourge of the playground and the boy needed to be coddled.  How can a woman in today’s society be taking this position?  Outspoken behavior should be encouraged when constructive.  Boldness should be cheered.

I didn’t respond to that email.  There was no point in doing so.  I wanted to.  I wanted to email the principal and ask if this is how the school sees the female population.  I wanted to ask why the boys take on events were accepted as what actually happened.  I wanted to cause a fuss and make problems about this incident.
The reason I didn’t was my daughter.  She didn’t care.  She didn’t want the attention and I didn’t want to cause problems for her with a month left in school.

Which is a shame because I wanted to be her guardian.  I wanted to defend her and if she said this boy spoke those words then she isn’t lying.  I wanted the school to know that this kind of bullshit is unacceptable.  I feel like I should have kept pressing and made a bigger deal so the next time a boy verbally assaults a girl a proper punishment will be applied.  I wanted this boy to know that he can’t get away with talking to girls like this because he’ll grow up and it’ll be acceptable if that’s his initial response to adversity with women, to call them a nasty name.

I’m glad my daughter wasn’t bothered by it because, unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t be the last time some neanderthal male calls her something awful.  I just hope she knows that I will always be there to defend her when she needs it.

You are dirty words written on my wrist

Your body is poetry to me and I want to write the words along your curves.
On your hips they’ll cascade down between your thighs.
Along your chest they’ll circle inward until no room is left.
Around your neck they’ll be written in blues and blacks tightly together.
A single word for each toe.
A single word for each finger.
My teeth will leave the words marked into your fleshy bottom, an unintelligible yet universal language.
When I’m done,
with the ink still wet,
I’ll have you on me and we’ll smear the words into each others skin
and fuck the poetry into each other’s sin

At the garden’s gate

Can we overcome human nature?  Is there a point in trying?

When a little boy picks a flower, he picks the most vibrantly colored flower.  He doesn’t go looking for it, he just notices it.  It’s beautiful and he wants it, so he trudges through the garden and picks the flower for himself.

He doesn’t think if it belongs to him or someone else, or whether he has a right to pick this flower.  There is no consideration that other people might find this flower beautiful and they would like to enjoy it as well.  The little boy doesn’t stop to think of the flowers he tramples to get to the one he wants.  The path is now strewn with crushed stems and petals from his triumphant charge.

As the boy gets older will he stop and think that the flower does not belong to him?  Will he consider the collateral damage of trampling through the garden to pick it?  Can he consider other people’s enjoyment of the flower as much his?

Is human nature the destruction of everything in pursuit of individual wants?  Or is it the realization that there are other individuals with other wants that are just as valid as anyone else’s?  Perhaps its both and one overcoming the other.  That it’s the growth from one phase to the next and not everyone is able to complete it, and that’s why we’re in the world that exists today.

Hopefully we can all notice the flower and appreciate its beauty while, at the same time, allowing others to appreciate it too.  And, maybe more so now, protecting the flower from those who haven’t overcome the urge to pick it.

Morning rush

I ate my breakfast standing over the sink this morning.  I guess I really shouldn’t specify that it was this morning because I do that nearly every morning, the ones I eat breakfast on anyways.  Sometimes I’ll lean against the counter with the sink behind me, eating a bowl of cereal.  The other times my waist is pressed into the edge and I’m leaning over the sink so anything that drips or falls out of the breakfast burrito I made lands in an appropriate place.

It always seems like the most practical thing to do.  Why dirty a plate when the sink is right there.  Of course the root of it all is the rush in the mornings.  Get up, get showered, get dressed, get ready and go.  Go, go, go, go, go, go, go.  Move.  Let’s go, time to leave.

Have to hurry kids off to school.  Hurry myself off to work.  Then hurry home.  Is dinner ready?  No?  Hurry up and make it, then hurry up and eat it.  Okay, it’s bed time for kids.  Get them in bed, don’t take too long.  Is it all settled yet?  Is there anything else left to do?  The dishes?  The laundry?  Did you schedule that appointment?  Okay, good, hurry up and relax before bed.

Is it over?  Okay, get in bed.  Pull up the sheets and the blanket.  Close your eyes.  It’s around 11 pm.   Hurry up and get to sleep because tomorrow’s Tuesday.  Tuesday’s are always busy.

Wake up.  Get in the shower.  Clothes on.  Breakfast over the sink. Out the door and do it all again.

It sounds crazy but it would be nice to eat breakfast sitting down once in a while.

Ramblings

I think I need a new name.  Not for me but for this wordpress thing.  (I hate calling it a blog because a blog is something someone does with a purpose to be a blogger [in my mind] and I don’t have enough coherent thoughts to ever attempt that.  This is more just my practice writing.)  It feels like the name “legitimately unfunny” doesn’t really fit the vibe of my writing.

I picked the name because, well, it fits more my personality than my writing.  The idea of being unfunny is that not only is someone not a funny person but they are so not funny they make funny things unfunny.
Great, not the word funny sounds strange when I say it because I said it too many times.
I got that idea, the unfunny thing, from when I try and tell a story or anecdote.  I butcher it.  I leave out details.  I have no idea how to hit the points to make them sound like they’re important.  I have no rhythm.  So I can take a funny story and make it unfunny.  Then, legitimately is well, my confirmation of it.

But then I have the issue of not wanting to sound pretentious.  I don’t want to try and have a name and have it sound so uber cool that it would make me want to vomit.  Not literally but still, you know what I mean.
Or, if not pretentious then something so serious and drab that it’s depressing and “emo.”
And then really though, it’s so hard to come up with a name.  Being stuck with that thing as what you’re known when referred to as.  Picking names for other things or people or pets isn’t so hard because I’m not the one who is stuck with it.  (I feel bad for my cat I had when I was a kid.  It’s name was “Kitty.”  I was not creative.)

So, these 300+ words so far are just me saying that I’m thinking about changing then name of my wordpress thing.  We’ll see I guess.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Whatever.  Shut up.  Whirling, whirling into the abyss that is my rambling mind.

What If I Suck?

Insecurity is an odd feeling to have, especially when it’s not prevalent in anything else I do.  This feeling of inadequacy.  To think I’m a fraud even before I could get to the point of being a fraud.  To think what if I’m no good at something I seem to love to do.

The hesitation is crippling.  The doubt clouds over everything.  It distracts my mind and pulls it away with little voices in the back telling me to delay and get distracted.  If I don’t finish then I’ll never find out.  If it’s never completed I can just think of what could have been rather than I couldn’t.

What if I suck?
What if I suck?
What if I suck?
What if I suck?

What happens if I put all of my effort into something and it’s terrible?  What if I put everything I have into something and it’s mediocre?  What if I’m completely indistinguishable from hundreds of thousands of other people wanting and doing the same thing?  What if I suck?

I was watching a clip of The Larry Sanders Show recently and it was a short clip of Jeffrey Tambor’s character before the show cowering against a coat rack as someone tried to ease his fears.  He repeated the same phrase over and over again.

“What if I suck?  What if I suck?  What if I suck?”

Rip Torn’s character tried to help him get through it with words of encouragement.  Those words are always appreciated.  They aren’t disregarded at all but that fear is relentless.  It’s like a wave that constantly beats you into the sand.  What if I suck?  What if I suck?

The way he looked as he clung to the coat rack, his facial expression and his body language, hit me hard.  The tone of his voice and the way he repeated it over and over again.  What if I suck?  What if I suck?

It was everything inside of me.  It was my entire mental state.  My entire life.  It was me.  What if I suck?  What if this dream I have isn’t realized because I’m not good enough?  What if I put myself out there and it’s rejected?  What if I’m just another face in the crowd, completely indistinguishable from so many others?  What if I suck and every second I spent on this was wasted?  What if I suck and I have nothing to look forward to?  What if I suck and finally see there’s no way out?  What if I suck and this it?

I’m kind of neurotic.  I have a general laid-back personality but it’s because most things don’t matter to me.  When it comes to the things that do?  I want them to be perfect.  I want them to soar.  I want them to be amazing and I’m paranoid and self conscious about them.  I think false praise is everywhere, which I hate.  I don’t know if anything I do is that great and whenever I think it is I bring myself back to reality to shield from being hit with criticism.

This isn’t going to end with a lesson.  This doesn’t have a rosy outlook to finish it off.  There’s no uplifting words at the end.  It’s just me ranting about the thing that runs through my head every single day.   The thought that keeps me from doing anything because if I do anything all I ever think is, “what if I suck?”

Bit By Bit

Where to stand?  In front of the glass that’s half empty or the one that is half full?
Can there be positive outcomes from general failure?
Successes from defeats?

I’m not going to be able to finish the NaNoWriMo challenge.  It’s pretty obvious at this point.  Having only two days a week to write puts a handcuff on things right from the get-go.  I was never able to be even caught up for a single day.
By Saturday I should have 40,000 words and a week from Friday I’ll need to have the full 50,000.  I don’t have any delusions of grandeur, because unless I have a quiet room I can hold myself up in for the week it ain’t happening.

And strangely I’m okay with that.  Partially because I was always skeptical that I would be able to do it to begin with.  Not because I’m not able and can’t stick to it but because I just don’t have an ability in my current life to devote that much time and concentration.  When writing, as I’ve mentioned before, I need complete focus.  I need to lose myself in what I’m writing and have no distractions around me.  That’s just not possible except for a couple of days a week.

So the positives, successes and half full glasses?
I stuck to it.  I didn’t give up after being down the first three days and thinking, “oh shit.”  I found a direction and started it.  I had been thinking of starting this story for literal years.  I’ve thought about starting a novel for years.  I’ve officially done that now.  I have a work in progress novel.  I’m attempting to become a writer instead of talking about it and dreaming about it.
I don’t have the near 40,000 words that I should have in two days.  Not even close actually.  What I do have?  21,000+ words.  An outline for the story that gives me a direction.  Ideas for each part of the outline.  An ending that is thought out and mostly plotted where all I need to do is fill in the blanks.
I may not be able to complete the NaNoWriMo 50,000 words in a month but it did give me the push to start writing something instead of dreaming about it.  I now have all of the workings of something that could, with some luck, actually be a novel someday.  Which I believe is the purpose of NaNoWriMo anyway, isn’t it?  Just because you write 50,000 words in a month doesn’t mean you’re done.  There’s editing and re-drafts to do.  Adding to sections that were rushed through to get your word count.  All of this would have needed to go beyond the one month anyway.

So no, I don’t think I’ll be able to finish NaNoWriMo (unless I can write 29,000 words in two days this weekend.  Not bloody likely.)  But I am glad that I decided to do it.  It was a good push.  It was a fun goal to try and reach.  It was a great starting point.

Lastly, since this is the US Thanksgiving…I’m also a little thankful to be over the idea of trying to keep up with it also.  I was posting some of the poetry and pieces I had written over the last few years and nothing new because I wanted to keep my post a day streak up.  I’m going for a full year of posting every day.  I missed sitting down and being struck by something and pulled to write about it.
I’m going to continue writing my story on the weekends but I’m also going to give myself breaks to write poetry and prose and anything else that inspires me instead of pushing it out of my head because of daily word counts.

Onward and upward, creativity.

Outline!

I got an outline.  I got an outline.  I got an outline.

That was supposed to be done in a kind of a dancey, singing way for those of you who don’t know.

I was supposed to write today.  Get another 6,000 words and then be caught up.  I did other stuff instead because of course I did.  But what I did was invaluable.  I outline the entire freaking thing!  Woo hoo!

I made it to 16 chapters (averaging around 5,000 words a chapter) with a proper progression and climax, I think anyways.  I’m kind of happy how it all worked itself out because I had a wonderful ending in mind.  I changed it around to be something similar yet completely different.  I struggled with this for a week or so thinking I was messing up something I had planned for so long but I think I really like the way its going.  It gives it a bit of a more realistic yet “whoa” ending.

So yeah!  I haven’t done it and probably impeded myself from finishing the 50K unless, now that I have the plan, I can kick out more during the middle of the week than originally I had been able to.  But, beyond that, I think I solved the problem that I was fearing before: how the hell do I finish this?

Another idea I had was to get a piece of paper or something and do a kind of timeline on it.  Draw a horizontal line and make little tic marks along the line when events happen in the story.  With this story there is a bit of a time jump back and forth.  It’s being told from two separate generations and is a bit historical in nature and I don’t want to goof up any of the timing of what happens when.  This would be a great thing to have to reference.  It’d be even better if I had my own little writing space where I could put it on the wall to look at to keep my mind in the story.  But I still feel like a bit of a fraud at this point so saying “oh yeah I need to take up this corner for writing purposes” feels stupid.

My inner monologue is kind of mean.

Anyways.  I’m a little juiced right now.  I have a direction.  I have a map.  Now I just need some gas.  No…not…what are you?  Fuel.  Fine.  I need some fuel.  Geez.

Happy writing!