Bleeder

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There are three kinds of writers. There are “sprinters”: people who write projects in a hurry and fix the typos later. There are “plodders”: people who write in a disciplined, steadfast way and always meet deadlines.

I am what’s known in the writing business as a “bleeder.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean that I write with my heart on my sleeve (even though I know I do, occasionally). It means I am distracted by my own grammatical and syntactical mistakes. I have ludicrously high expectations for myself. I am surrounded by distractions that are not necessarily under my control. I am mortally afraid of failure.  

As a result, I write very, very slowly.

I expect myself to be the next Flannery O’Connor. The next Ray Bradbury. The next O. Henry. I expect my writing to be deep and intricate and to plumb the depths of human nature, yet to come out smiling.

I am incapable of these things. I am not a brilliant writer because I do not practice. I do not practice because I get swallowed alive by a thousand duties that I neglect my duty as a writer to do what I am. I set out to write stories, but have written precious few, and none worth mentioning.

I am not Flannery O’Connor. I’m Stephanie Meyer.

But then again, maybe it’s asking too much of myself to become a Flannery O’Connor unless I let myself start as a Stephanie Meyer. If I never start, I’ll never improve. No matter how poor the start, there’s nothing that won’t improve with practice.

And I can’t expect to write like anyone but me.

Why Cats are Cool (A List)

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  1. They are the perfect foot warmers.
  2. They purr.
  3. They don’t require constant attention.
  4. They bury their poop.
  5. They are amused by little things, like red dots of light and boxes.
  6. They make funny faces.
  7. They are dignified, except when they’re not, and then they’re hilarious.
  8. They are self-cleaning.
  9. They are perpetually curious.
  10. All of them are different.

Here’s Hoping

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Posts have been scant, and they’re about to get scanter. 

For once, I have a good reason. I’m writing a story. 

Unfortunately, I can’t show you all this story. I’m writing it for a contest. The prize money is $2,000 and possible publication. There are no lesser prizes. It’s all or nothing. 

The only guidelines were a word count and a theme: memoir inspired by a place or a person you love. 

I wrote a paragraph tonight. The deadline is midnight, September 1st. 

Wish me luck. 

Alternate Timelines

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It’s funny how vacation can make you feel as though reality has been suspended, if only a little. Time runs differently in your head, and a day feels like a week, a week feels like a month, and a month can feel like a year.

Take Croatia, for instance. I go to Croatia for a couple of weeks at a time, but it feels like a year has passed by the time I get on the plane to leave. I’ve done so much and seen so much in those two weeks that it feels like I’ve been there far longer than I actually have. But when I get back, suddenly I’m aware that only two weeks have passed back home, and I’ve got catching up to do.

My vacation to North Carolina this year was more like a long weekend than an actual vacation. I was there half of Friday, all of Saturday, and most of today. Now I’m home, but I feel as though I’ve been gone a month. Not nearly rested enough to have been gone a month, but still.

I’d love to know what my mind is doing in these alternate timelines. I wish that, if I were really gone a full month like my body seems to think, that I could’ve done a bit more with it.

 

Reviews

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Vacation means watching a lot of movies. That’s just the way we Ramblers roll. We go on vacation, we find a movie rental store or a Redbox, buy pizza, and watch movies.

We’ve watched four in the last two evenings. For your amusement and for your warning, I’d like to share a few reviews.

Austenland: Whenever the cover showcases people you don’t recognize, usually it’s wise to put the DVD down and walk away. But this movie was about a girl obsessed with Jane Austen’s novel who blows her savings to go to an immersive Austen-themed experience in England. Sounds interesting enough, but with poor acting and humor that descended from inanity to crudity faster than a New York minute, I’d call it a waste of time. However, the ending was enough to make me walk away and call it “cute, sort of.” The credits told me the movie was based on a novel of the same name by Shannon Hale, a well-known children’s writer, which made me want to go read the book. The credits also told me that the film was produced by Stephanie Myer, which explained everything.

Family Man: Nicholas Cage once again plays a man in a situation that gives him a reason to act as if he’s gone insane. The film is It’s a Wonderful Life, but backwards. All in all, I believe it was one of Cage’s better performances. An insightful movie that made me get awfully teary and want to watch it again. And possibly another time after that.

Divergent: I’ve heard a lot about how good the books are, and by the looks of the film, I’d say the books have got to be incredible. Go watch Divergent. Watch it now. Watch it before the Groupthinkers in the world ban it, lest those of us who hold to our individuality get inspired and out of control. The film was remarkable, and I can only hope they’ll make more of them as the books series continues.

Pompeii: Everybody dies. Don’t bother.

Bring It On

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I’m ready for the cold.

I’m ready for crisp air and a reason to wear sweaters.

I’m ready for pumpkin spice everything.

I’m ready for walks in the leaves and hikes in the mountains.

I’m ready for fog and London fog tea.

I’m ready for hardy food.

I’m ready for fun patterned socks and corduroy and flannel and boots and scarves.

I’m ready for perfectly blue skies.

I’m ready for autumn.

Thursday List

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  1. Collaborative food is extra delicious.
  2. Nothing helps me relive junior high better than The Curse of the Black Pearl.
  3. Also, The Phantom of the Opera.
  4. Laughs from the gut–the kind of laugh that makes you double over and hold your sides and just cry–are the best.
  5. Six and a half hours a night is not enough sleep for me. Wait, that’s not news.
  6. Who would have thought it would take me nine hours to draft a handout?
  7. Socializing all the time doesn’t wear me out as much as I thought it would. I guess all it takes it the right people.
  8. Sometimes quinoa can be as surprising as people, and vice versa.
  9. I have the soundtrack to Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella completely memorized.
  10. Being not normal is ever so fun.

Oil City Update

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Just in case any of you were wondering about how not washing my face was working out for me…

(I promise this will be short, but I figure there’s a fellow acne sufferer/hippy or three who follows The Rambler who would really be interested in knowing.)

…it worked surprisingly well.

I didn’t expect a miracle, but I got a little bit of one. After 2 and a half weeks of not washing my face, my skin stopped being oily, all the big red bumps went away, and almost all the little bumps were completely gone.

My skin was the clearest it’s been in over a year. No soap, no special expensive cleanser, no powder, barely even any water, but stopping the obsession and enjoying things like I did as a little kid when the only soap I used was body wash.

This lasted for a little over a week.

Then it all came back.

Well, not all of it. The oil came back, but not as much. A few nasty red bumps came back, but not as many.

It could be the shampoo. You can’t really keep that off your face when you shower, no matter how hard you try. So I switched to using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Yesterday. Still nothing on the face. We’ll see what happens. 

There you have it. Even though nothing on my face is perfect, I realize it doesn’t have to be. I feel a lot less encumbered, and getting ready in the morning only takes as long as picking an outfit and brushing my hair.

The experiment continues.

Bachelorette Life

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It really doesn’t get more bachelorette than this.

I spent the afternoon alone, passed out on the couch after watching two old episodes of Doctor Who. A cat curled up behind my knees and slept with me.

I went to church. I came back and put groceries in the refrigerator. Two bags. I cleaned cat boxes, then changed into slouchy clothing.

I scooped out a serving of chocolate coconut ice cream, which was promptly consumed. Followed by chips.

I’ve been watching Netflix for the last several hours.

Summer. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Hurdles

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Yes. Yes, yesterday’s post was late. It showed up the morning after instead of the night of.

Here’s why.

I wrote it. Then forgot to hit the publish button.

At least, i think I did. I remember hitting it. But I got up this morning and lo, ’twas not published.

To add insult to injury, the Undisclosed University’s Proxy filter prevents WordPress from functioning properly. Not only can I not insert images, but I can’t edit post details (like the publication date), and sometimes I can’t add tags. Basically, I can post text. And that is all.

Thankfully, my cries of distress reached my Adventure Buddy’s ears, and he went in and changed my post’s publication date from his computer, which is attached to a network that doesn’t prevent websites from functioning normally. Thank you, Adventure Buddy, for once again getting me out of a tight spot.

I feel like I should add a warning to this post. In the future, there may be more technical difficulties involved in blogging than I’ve ever had before. It may be difficult for me to post things, or things may turn out weirdly, or you may get phantom posts in your emails when i’m experimenting with what will work under the proxy and what won’t.

If nothing else, I’ll post from a Starbucks.

Royals

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A friend of mine gave me a fantastic gift for my birthday. It’s a journal that asks a question for every day of the year. There’s a question per page, with space for you to answer the same question on the same day for the next five years. That way you can look over your answers for the previous years and note how much you’ve changed, or not changed at all.

The journal asks interesting questions. Questions like “What makes a good enemy?” or “How did you start your day?” or “What color socks are you wearing?” They range from the practical to the whimsical to the esoteric. Day by day, I am crafting a fascinatingly random self-portrait.

Yesterday’s question was “Who are you?”

That seemed like a very existential question to plop into the middle of the first week of August. I haven’t had much time to think about that one recently. I certainly haven’t thought enough about it to fit the full answer into a few short lines.

I thought about putting my name, and just my name. My full name. but that didn’t seem right. I am more than the sum of the syllables that fill the blanks on my birth certificate. Then again, maybe I’m less.

I thought about putting my occupation. But I don’t really have one. I’m sort of a library worker, though technically I’m just an “assistant,” stuck in an intriguing limbo between being a student worker and a staff person. I’m not even a student, at least not all the way. And I’m a writer, but I’m not paid for that. Yet. I am many things. I am a Jill of all trades.

Where is my identity? Where is yours?

There is no simple answer. I don’t care who you are, there is no one sentence that can hold a human being. A sentence might scratch the surface, but it could never delve deep into the heart of a man and reveal what rests at his core. That’s impossible.

What were the writers of this journal thinking?

Now as I think about it, I remember what my identity is as far as God is concerned. Even that is complicated and multifaceted, but the simplest way of putting it is the way He puts it. I am His adopted daughter. He looks at the bad things I’ve done and sees Christ’s holiness instead. He cherishes me more than my earthly father does—let me tell you, that’s a whole lot. I am a child of the King.

I am a princess.

So many conflicting positive and negative associations flit around that one little word, but I’ll stick with it. I am the daughter of the King. Because I am His daughter, I conduct myself with grace and discipline myself to strength. Because I am His daughter, I will be gracious and considerate of the needs of others. I will always act in the knowledge that I am not only representing myself, but more importantly, my Father. I am given the freedom to do as I choose, but I learn to use that freedom wisely.

A child of a King, then, is what I am. As is anyone who lets Him in.