Writer's Lament: Part 3

T-minus 55 days.  And all's well.

"T" meaning Monday, the 28th of March; the day my senior thesis is due; the day all the seniors* dress up and parade** through the school, proceeding afterward to revel in a crazed, school-wide bacchanalia that lasts all night and into the next morning.  Technically, it's bad luck for underclassmen to partake of the merriment, but that rarely stops anybody.  As a result, Tuesday morning classes have very low attendance the next day.  Then again, people tend to start drinking Monday morning, so those classes are pretty empty, too.

But from where I sit now, March 28th is still a long way off.  Right now, fifty-five days out, I can't stop sleeping.  It took all day just to work up the energy to shimmy down from the my lofted bed, pull on some jeans, pop open an energy drink, turn on my Pandora station, and add a few, measly sentences to the chapter I was supposed to send to my advisor yesterday.

Want to see a "writer" at work?  Check out the state of my glamorous workspace:

This is why I write. I could never make it as a photographer. Or a housekeeper, clearly.

Note the pile of books, the countdown that freaks out my senior friends whenever they come in, the notebook and mug stacked precariously on the strings of my dusty old uke, the hula hoop that sits stuffed, unused, in the corner now that I have no time to hula.  It's like anarchy in my bedroom, I say.

Now! I am off to keep typing tipping tapping away on Chapter 14 before my advisor hunts me down and tans my hide for writing too slowly, but stay tuned! Tomorrow begins the Fortnight of St. Valentine, and I have exciting things planned.  Juuuust for you.

Okay, enough creepiness. Happy Monday to you.

*Those not too drunk to walk.
**And by "parade" I mean stagger and stumble back and forth like a giant millipede.  I am going to ride through the parade on my friend G's shoulders and yell "EEEAGLE!" just like JD and Turk do in "Scrubs."  But I know I'm going to be a little scared when the time actually comes.  G. is very tall, and I am very small.
All together, now! EEEAGLE!!
(From here)


New Shoes

I'm going swing dancing tonight, at a place called the Bohemian National Hall in Cleveland.  I've been swing dancing for about three years now, but I usually just dance in my ratty old Keds or in some tap shoes with the taps taken off.  I think it's time to shake it up and get some fancy shoes, like these from Forever 21:

Even if the soles aren't great for dancing, a little duct tape on the bottoms works perfectly to slick 'em right up.  AND THEN THEY WOULD BE SHINY ON THE BOTTOM, TOO.  Could anything be better than that.  The answer is no.

The only downside to having such flashy shoes is that everyone will notice if I mess up.  And if a light shines on them, I might blind my partner - and then who knows what calamity could befall us and the dance floor at large.

Still...I think those shoes are worth the risk.


Things I Will Never Do

Line my kitchen drawers with that sticky paper.  If the bottoms of my drawers are ever really that crappy, I will just get some new drawers, or put a new wooden bottom in it; I'm fairly handy, and that seems just as time-consuming and potentially frustrating as measuring, cutting, and placing paper to line my drawer with, especially since the liner will eventually grow just as cruddy as the drawer would, and I'm going to have to re-fit that paper -- except, inevitably, I won't have enough extra paper on the roll (or I won't be able to find what's left of the paper), so I will have to go out and buy new paper that won't match the rest of my drawers. As a result, my obsessive-compulsive tendencies will mandate that I change all the drawers' liners so that they all match.  Nothing else will do, I say; nothing else will do!

And really, who has so little in their drawers that they can actually see a drawer liner, anyway?  If I have any empty drawers in my home, I will simply fill them with crayons.  Or maybe donuts.

The only exception would be if the drawer liner had dinosaurs on it or something.  But still, it's totally not worth the effort.


Things I Dislike

Anyone who says "get on board" in any context.  "All aboard" is only okay if he or she is a train conductor.


The Writer's Lament: Part 2

It's Monday.  There are sixty-two days before my senior thesis is due.  I have two chapters, fifteen pages of critical analysis, and a pronunciation guide to finish, in addition to all the revising.

So, basically, I'ma git back to that, but in the meantime here is a cool wikipedia article on will-o'-the-wisps!*

These bad boys just like kick it in like some swamps and stuff, you know?

*Which I am DEFINITELY NOT USING as a source for my folklore-based novella, just in case my advisor were ever to read this.


Adam & Eve and the Baby Makes Three

So here's the thing.  I've always been freaked out by pregnancy.  I don't want to have kids for a long time, if ever.  I'm sure someday I will want to HAVE kids, as in have them around to make me laugh and tell me funny little kid stories and give me an excuse to watch cartoons and go to the park as an adult, but I'm pretty sure I will never want to be pregnant.

But I keep hearing that at a certain point in a woman's life, usually right after she gets married but sometimes only after she's been in a committed relationship for a few years, people start asking when she's going to plan on adding a little addition to the family?

Here's what I would hear if someone said that to me:


Or, alternatively:


Maybe that second one was a little extreme, but I cannot overstate how much pregnancy freaks me out, both because of the physical aspect and because of what it means to me as a woman.  I realize that there are many women who want to have kids, and even some women who would kill to have my healthy, young ovaries.  I respect them.  One of my best friends can't wait to have kids even though she isn't in a relationship, and that's cool; it still gives me the heebie-jeebies to think about all the crazy stuff that goes on in your body during those nine months.

Whenever I actually sit down and think about the option of having a child - a decision I must make for real at some point, thanks to my stupid X chromosome - thoughts come into my head like, I bet mutant children are much more common than we think they are.  And, what if I turn into one of those women who talks like a baby even when there is no infant or tiny animal in sight?  Or, I'm not sure I'll be ready to give up my sailor lifestyle for at least twenty more years - especially considering what I'd be giving it up for!  And most distressing of all:


Image source.


Oh, the Blues

Have you ever seen "Dirty Dancing"?  The scene where Baby carries a watermelon and she sees all the staff dancing scandalously in the employees-only section of the camp?  Johnny takes her onto the floor and shows her how to move her stiff hips from side to side as everyone else hollars and gyrates around them?

That's blues.  Sort of.  A little more like grinding and less stylized than blues can be, but in basic terms, that is blues.  And it is hot.

I've been dancing blues for about two years now. My first time was at a Blues Weekend in Connecticut.  There were lessons all day and then a dance late at night in an old, converted schoolhouse with wooden floors and a poor ventilation system.  So many bodies crammed close together, combined with the stiff windows, made the air thick and heavy.  I was sitting on one of the chairs around the edges of the room, watching all the dancers gliding across the floor as if gravity had no control over their feet.  After a moment, a skinny, dark-haired young man came up to me and asked, in a very thick French accent, if Ah wourld lahk to dence wizz him.  His name was Stephan, and he was from Quebec.

I took his hand and he led me to the floor, then asked if I had danced blues much before.

"Never, actually," I replied, but I still placed my right leg in between both of his, as the teachers had instructed us at the lessons that afternoon.

Stephan chuckled and moved his right hand to the small of my back, taking my right hand in his left.  "Bend your legs," he told me.  "Don't keep yar back so steeff, and leesen to zee music."  He was just like Patrick Swayze, if Swayze were French Canadian and smelled like eight different people's sweat.

We danced.  If blues done well is like making love on the dance floor, then I was an awkward teenager fumbling around in the backseat of a Chevy.  Stephan kept telling me to stop thinking, stop thinking, just leesen to zee music, you know, and by the end of the song, I finally relaxed enough to start moving zee hips and let my feet glide across the wood floor.  By the end of that dance, I was hooked.

Even though I have taught jitterbug at school and know several other types of dance, it's always blues that gets me at the end of the night.  Dances like this are so good because the dancers don't just dance to the music; they are the music.  In most dances, you have a basic step, such as the "one-two-rock step" of east coast swing.  The basic in blues, however, is just a pulse.  Everything else is a feeling.  The only point of blues dancing is to interpret the music with your body, to be completely connected to your partner so that you move as one--you, your partner, and the beat of the music.

On Wednesday night, good friends came over to my room; by the end of the night we were dancing blues, and I started crying right into my partner's chest as we moved together to one song.  But as this article suggests, this kind of emotionally charged movement to music can be extremely therapeutic.  Even as I wrote that, though, the word "therapeutic" sounded sterile and distant.  Blues music is all about soul; it's about pain and struggle and release...the blues, you know?  When you move to it with someone, whether your lover or a stranger or just a good friend, all that emotion seeps into you, running through your veins and swirling around you like smoke for three minutes; and when the song is done--oh, how good you feel.  How clean and light.

Still, I could never say it as nicely as Lindsey Lee Keel does in her article.  You should read it.  And then you should probably go gitcho blues on.

[Hey, man.  Look, I'm really sorry for the lack of snark in this post.  It's just been like a really hard tiiime lately, y'know?  Okay, well, let's talk soon.  Take care.]



Ah, there it is.  That little tickle of excitement in my elbows that jumps up to my nose and then to the cartilage part of my ears, reminding me that eventually I need to snap out of this silly, sad stupor and remember that I CAN DO FLIPPING ANYTHING*!!

You know when you're human, and you like to plan things because for the most part humans don't like uncertainty in their futures? I don't just mean lying in bed trying to decide a plan of attack for lunch tomorrow (Veggie wrap and yogurt. Maybe a milkshake.), but the big things.  Why is there suffering in the world? we humans wonder, stroking our beards thoughtfully.  Why does a creature as useless as the sea slug exist? Should I include olives on my veggie wrap tomorrow?***

One of the things I do, which may not be universal to all humans, is think that I need to feel sad for a long time about bad things I cause, like cracking nice boys' hearts.  I've been stuck in that feeling sad and bad and unglad stage for the last couple days, but the fact is that I left the relationship so that I would be happier.  So it's time to get on that, I think.

Maria understands.

Plus, at this point I'm getting a little embarrassed about tearing up in front of everyone I meet, including the man who cleans my dorm.  I'm pretty sure all he wanted was a breezy "Fine thanks" when he asked how my day was.

But, back to the tickly ear feeling.  Now - now that a shiny little circle isn't lurking just in the shadows beyond my left ring finger, now that I don't have to follow where anyone's job takes him, now that I have fewer ties than a four-year-old's shoelaces - I have so much freedom!  It's almost suffocating.

And now, Some Things that May Increase Happiness:

1) More uke!  (I picked it up today for the first time in months, and it told me it missed me.  We had a moment. And then I strummed a very out-of-tune D7-chord.)
2) More sandwiches! (You can NEVER have too many.  Unless you are allergic to bread, in which case even one is too many.)
3) More traveling! (Since I have only gone out of the States once, to Mexico, for the best fish tacos I have ever had.  But that doesn't really count, because Southern California basically is Mexico--which means the food is GREAT and my four years of high school French are pretty much useless back home.)
4) More Freebird! (Naturally.)

*Except fly. I can't fly.**
**Well, maybe I can. Okay, jury is still out on flying, but all other ventures are a go.
***Alright, that's a bad example, because the answer is WHY, CERTAINLY.


putting the drudge in drudgery

Here I sit, so many things I should be doing, but instead I am mechanically refreshing Mr. H's Facebook page to see if anyone has commented on the fact that he "went from being 'in a relationship' to 'single'."  It's been an hour since he posted that, people! Isn't anyone going to console the man and tell him that I'm a big old jerk and that he's better off without me?!!

Vicarious consolation, that's what I want.

The worst break-ups are the ones where the other person is as nice as can be.*  No yelling, no blaming, no pleading. Even if they aren't expecting it and don't want it, they still show how much they care about you by being so damn considerate and concerned and understanding about the fact that it's what's best for you, when all you really want them to do is give you one long string of cuss words.  Or a punch in the nose.

Cary Grant doesn't mess around during break-ups.  Goes right for the face. 

(Via here.) 

*As if I am the break-up queen.  Ha! Thank goodness I'm not. Break-ups would be done very shoddily if I were in charge of them.


The Writer's Lament: Part 1

The great thing about going to a small, liberal arts school with an intensive senior thesis is that people like me, who have next to no motivation at all, are forced to spend a year devoting a significant amount of work to a project that will, presumably, be totally worth all the pain and stress when it's all done.

The bad thing about going to a small, liberal arts school with an intensive senior thesis is that I have next to no motivation at all.

This is how I feel all day long.

Today is the 17th of January.  The project is due March 28 at 5 pm.  Right now I have 120 out of possibly 150 pages written, not including a critical analysis section for which I still need to do some serious research.  I should have written much more than I did over the break, but instead I was doing things like working on my British accent and seeing how much fudge I could eat in a minute.  And now I am paying the price.



I'm leaving the eighty-degree-California-winter weather and flying back to the snowy Midwest today, where the temperature is currently 9 degrees.

And boy, are my arms tired!

A couple years ago, before I started flying back and forth to school four times a year and drove cross-country to move twice in two years, I romanticized travel.  The open road, the empty sky, the clouds like...exploded marshmallows, or something.  Now I just try to finagle it so that my layovers are in an airport with a Panda Express.

I've been hearing as much talk about these sites as I have about the Arizona shooting lately.  Even though they're kind of cutesy, I guess it's not a bad idea to think about what you want from a relationship and communicate it snarkily.  Even on a tumblr.

Image via Kate Starling.



O hai. So Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, and all that.*  I swear that I will never write anything sappy on the interwebs about the changing seasons or resolutions or the end of an era.  I don't even think I could do it, anyway, without mocking myself to the point of tears.

Recently, though, I did make some decisions about how to change one aspect of my life from being super crappy to only sort of unfortunate.  So maybe I will write about that sometime.

It was my twenty-first birthday a couple days ago, and my younger sister's two days before that. (Although I guess we are not Capricorns anymore? Or maybe we are? Who really cares.**)  She turned eleven, and look at what we made her:

I almost busted a cap trying to get the envelope to work with the printer.  I am not very crafty.

If anybody told me that an owl left this*** on our porch for me when I turned eleven, I would have cried a lot more as a kid.  First because I would be so happy, and then after that because on September 1st I would find out it was a fake. 

You know, I kind of hope, in a strange way, that 2011 continues to be something of a letdown.  I can just get all the crappy stuff out of the way this year, so that 2012 can be KILLER.


*There were so many caps in that sentence I almost had a conniption.
**I think I do.  Secretly.
***In case you've never read Harry Potter, it's an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, the school HJP goes to. Now GET OFF MY BLOG.