Today, I’m at Writer Unboxed with a post entitled “The Island of Misfit Characters.” Hope you’ll join us there! And while you are there, have a look around at the other posts from WU contributors. I’m proud to be a part of WU.
I almost ignored the request from AMA because I walked away from most everything related to my writing life for several years. But, I am glad I did not ignore it because it is time to further dip my toes back into the writing/reading community.
Saturn was always my favorite planet because it is so gorgeous. When I finally did turn my attention to other planets, I recognized their beauty, and as well, how interesting they are, too. Still, Saturn is mesmerizingly beautiful. Yet, up close hovering in the lil log spaceship, the rings aren’t as lovely but instead feel cold and a little deadly—chunks of ice and rock, some small as little specks of sand and some bigger than a building. I need to back up a little, out of the thick of things and determine what direction to take so I’m not smashed to smithereens.
Hey, if I spin it right, that’s a great metaphor for dating!
Saturn is mostly made up of gas, especially hydrogen and helium; helium, like the kind you put in birthday balloons. I wonder if we took a breath on Saturn (pretending we’d survive it), if the helium would make our voice all squeaky! Let’s hop in the lil log spaceship and go find out! Is that a date? Sure! Okay! Wow, what will I wear? It’s pretty danged cold, like minus 276F—better wear my coat.
Because of those gasses, Saturn could float in water!
Saturn’s year is like 29 Earth years; Saturn’s day is 10 hours, 14 minutes. Born on this day, 1970, you’d be less than two years old and your next birthday wouldn’t be until July 15, 2029. If you weighed 118 on Earth, you’d be 125.5 on Saturn.
Saturn’s nickname given by the ancient Assyrians is “Lubadsagush—meaning, “oldest of the old.” Some days I feel rather lubadsagush, and others I feel rather kickass sexilicious. Ha!
The planet Saturn has 150 moons and little moonlets. 150! Dang! If I were dating, which I am not, I’d say that sounds like a fun date: helium voices while on a floating beautiful planet (if we pretend it’s floating in a milky-way sea) with 150 moons to stare up at.
Today is the second post in my dating and relationship series. And, as promised, I’m delving into some Dating Do’s and Don’t’s. All of these are anonymous, of course! Let’s just start today with Five “These Should Be Obvious” Dating Do’s & Don’t’s, shall we?
I changed the information somewhat to protect privacy. Do’s/Don’t’s are not gender specific, and not specific to hetero, though my few examples are “he/she.”
(I’m not referring here to “Hanging Out,”—a whole other thang, but actual Dating.)
Do show up showered and dressed appropriately, and on time.
Oh, the stories I have heard about dates showing up nasty and late. Do I really need to say that’s a No-No? A Red Flag? You’d think not! But it happens more than you would imagine.
A friend once recounted her experience of having her date show up an hour late, straight from working out in the yard, beer in hand (see below!), scratching his crotch, and saying, “Did you cook somethin’? Cause I don’t feel like goin’ to the restaurant after all *burrrrrp*.” She asked him to leave. They didn’t have a second date.
When a man met his date for coffee, him smelling all nice and all, she showed up sweaty and stinky from her run—this apparently happens a lot to people, this “sweaty gym date thing;” I even saw an episode of The Big Bang Theory about “Gym Sweaty” date behavior! Huh. Well. No second date here, either.
So, by “appropriately,” that means show you care! Take a little time to dress, and show up on time and if you are going to be late, call or text, people! R _ E_S_P_E_C_T!
If you ask someone out, maybe give them a head’s up if it’s extremely casual or very dressy. If you are the one asked out and you aren’t sure how to dress, it doesn’t hurt to ask if it’s casual or not-casual.
Long long ago, I once arrived with my date at what turned out to be a formal event. Oh the beautiful gowns and tuxes! And me in my casual pants and top, while nice enough, were completely inappropriate. Ungh! My dates earlier words of, “Just throw something on,” didn’t help *laughing.*
Watch the booze, y’all.
Sure, the nerves may need a little priming, you may think. Why, just a little bit o’ the booze will calm the nerves, right? Welp, maybe a beer or glass of wine before the date never hurt anyone, but more awkward, and scary, moments are created by alcohol than not. While I would never go as far as to say “Do not drink,” I will say that keeping those drinks to no more than two for that first date will never do you wrong.
Oh, you and I both know what sometimes can happen, don’t you? Of course we do! By the third drink—the first two went so fast! Where did they go so fast?—you’re heading to that giddy nice glowy stage where you think you are SO clever! (And I’ll interject here: if your date can slam them down and not show any sign of intoxication: Red Flag. There are always exceptions, but, yeah, I stand by it: Red Flag).
Passing out, puking, cursing out someone, becoming angry, grab-assing, stumbling about, etc etc etc—all of these are of course Red Flags and yes I have heard these stories, including how a friend had to carry his date to his car, carry his date to her door, and when no one was home and he couldn’t find a key, carry her back to his car, carry her to his apartment, where he deposited her on his bed (he slept on the couch). Next very late morning when he was finally able to rouse her, she was pissed off and ornery and on the way home she asked if he’d mind stopping at the store—he did, and she came out with a six pack, one of which she opened and said, “Fucking hair of the dog, man.” *laughing* oh dear.
I don’t care what excuse they give. Want to give them another chance? Maybe it was just that once? I stand by my: Red Flag!
If your date is obviously loaded, please do not leave with them—call a cab, a friend, or if you have your car call your date a cab, and then leave. It’s about respect, but it’s about safety, too. And about them becoming a big pain in your ass.
If you had too much to drink, then for gawd’s sake do apologize! Even if it’s the next day when you wake up in a blurry haze and go, “Oh shit!”
Perhaps many of us have had a little too much to drink when we were nervous, so before that date even happens, just take some deep breaths, and imagine yourself doing something really embarrassingly stupid where you say Oh Shit—then drink responsibly.
Do pay for something—or at least sincerely offer to.
Notice I wrote “sincerely offer to”—the disingenuous offer is annoying. If you don’t want to pay for any part of it or feel you should not have to or the situation just does not call for it, then just don’t offer while expecting them to decline!
“Bad” date story a friend long long ago told me (and I ain’t sayin’ if this was a man or woman): The date not only ordered the most expensive items on the menu, they also had drinks, plus dessert. Ah but they weren’t done, my friends. To boot, the date also ordered a complete, and expensive, “To Go” meal “for later,” and they didn’t offer to pay for any of it. Haw! I’m laughing as I write that. But yeah. Don’t do that.
If the date pays for dinner, why not pay for dessert? If the date pays for the movie, why not pay for some treats? If your date does not drink and you do drink, maybe you want to pay for your drinks. Perhaps it is my independent streak, but it feels weird to me to have someone pay for everything. Offering to pay for something, even if small, is a nice gesture, and doesn’t leave all the control to one person (okay, that empowered control is probably my issue!). And I don’t care how much money they make compared to how much you make. That’s not the point, at least in my thinking. Actually, I never know what a person’s income is—it’s never been a determining factor of my dating/relationship life.
If your date seems insulted by this offering to pay for something gesture, or awkward about it, let it go. Actually, if your date is actually “insulted” maybe that’s a Red Flag. If they are that touchy, then what else is hiding under that skin? Hmmmmmmm.
Don’t desperately slobber and drool and manhandle. Yeah. (Sex is also something I’ll get more into later.)
Date Disaster: Date arrives nicely dressed, smells nice, all smiles, says, “You ready?” Why yes, of course, she says. He opens the door for her. Why thank you! How gallant! As he drives, he chats
about this and that, but suddenly however, they are in a neighborhood, pulling into a driveway. He gets out, opens her door, and she exits (oh oh – no no – don’t go in there!), thinking, “Ummmm . . . ?” Folks, if you are going “Ummmm . . . ?” Pay Attention to that! But she thought, “Maybe he forgot something or . . . ?” Ha! No, when they were barely inside, he sticks his tongue down her throat and swabs the contents of her tummy and starts pulling at her clothes, and says, “How about a little appetizer before dinner?” OMGawd! I’m laughing again. No, this is not funny, but I’m still laughing—only because I know everything turned out okay and the woman was safe, grossed out, but safe.
Yeah. Don’t do that. And don’t feel embarrassed to say No Effing Way! And especially do not feel pressured about ANYTHING! Who is in charge here? You are!
Or like the woman who was all over her date in the parking lot of a family restaurant. Parents were grabbing kids and running *laugh* Do.Not.Do.That.
Please don’t stick your tongue so far down his/her throat you scoop up some dessert (ewwww!). Kissing should have a little finesse. It should be an exploration (but not of one’s stomach contents – lawd!). If it’s the first date, go a little easy there, ‘kay? Red Flag is if someone is super handsy while their tongue is exploring your bowels (ewwww).
Look, if you’ve not dated in a while, or been out of a relationship for a while, the loneliness is an issue, oh how I know that! But beyond that, having no sex is an issue. All systems are on HIGH ALERT; your nerve endings are on fire; your body is revved and R.E.A.D.Y. But if you’re all over the man/woman before you figure out what kind of person they are, you aren’t respecting yourself and could potentially be setting yourself up for something you’ll Regret—who wants to wake up the next morning thinking “Oh shit.” Ha! Nope. You can’t tell enough about a person on a first or second date to determine if they are cray cray. I don’t care how much you are thinking, “Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Please god now, SEX!” Rushing someone, or rushing into it yourself, could lead you to Something Oh Shit, or Something GOOD—waiting a bit will help you to know which one. Even if it makes you tear out your hair in frustration, laugh!
Do talk about SOMEthing, but not constantly about ex’s please.
If someone can’t stop talking about their ex to the exclusion of everything else, then likely they aren’t over that person. Likely, they are still working through “issues” with that person. Likely, they still have a world of feelings about that person—whether it is love, or rage, or hurt, or the more insidious, hope—and you don’t need to be embroiled in their Continuing Saga of As the World Squirms. They are likely dating Too Soon. Not your problem to figure out. Red Flag. If you are the one doing all the talking about your ex, then maybe you need to give yourself a little more time. Been there; done that!
Of course, ex’s come up; they’re a part of our experiences, but yammering on about an ex during the entire date is a Red Flag. Surely there are other things to talk about? Surely there are other interests besides how that ex is a fucking asshole/bitch who deserves to DIE DIE DIE! (Red Flag: if your date is talking like that, exit stage left-good lawd!), but as well, Red Flags are: your date starts to cry (oh oh, dang), your date is still heavily involved with the ex (maybe there are children, and this is completely understandable, as it should be, that they would still be involved, but, if you are listening and listening and listening, and thinking, “Hmmmmm,” then Hear that “hmmmmm,” ‘kay? And, if there are children involved, don’t pretend you are okay with this if you are not—more on that and other “accommodating behavior” later).
Dating should be about exploration and discovery and enjoying each other’s company. It should be for finding out if you are compatible as dating partners. It should feel safe; it should feel respectful; it should feel GOOD! It should not be about “finding your soul mate” – please stop with the Soul Mate stuff already (more on that later). It should not be about grabbing onto this person you barely know and thinking about “your life together as a couple.” If you want to find a “relationship,” fine, but expecting the other person to go along on your ride to Forever-tude probably is unreasonable, particularly on the first few dates—lawd, let’s take a breath!
I’ll explore more of this next post.
Still time to comment/like here or on Facebook for the “Kat’s Choice” drawing, which will be soon.
And my novel The Lightning Charmer is on sale August 16 – 31, for $1.99, e-books only! It’s for all e-books, not just Amazon, though the link above takes you to Amazon. There’s actually some delicious, or disastrous, dating in there, too.
A haunted man shadows the Smoky Mountain forest. A lonely woman returns to what she left behind. A legacy unfulfilled calls out to them both. .
The sky darkens, the lightning seeks . . .
The Lightning Charmer is full of whimsy, enchantment, ancient secrets, and dark earthy seduction. Magendie taps into those primal secret places we all harbor, with a powerful story of learning where one fits in a world that may not fit us. Braided with color, humor, and loyalty to family, this is storytelling at its best! Sharla Lovelace, Bestselling and Award Winning author of THE REASON IS YOU
Later, y’all! Time to jump in the lil log spaceship and head off to my next adventure. Um. All alone. Dang.
Kat’s “Tutorial” – (ha! Tool-torial – ungh).
allen wrench, pliers, crescent wrench – do you know what those are?
There is a big cloud of alcohol in space many many light years away. Larger than our solar system. As well, in our Milky Way Galaxy, at Sagittarius B2, is a vast alcohol cloud that it is thought by scientists that it tastes a bit like raspberries and smells like rum. Alcohol is an organic compound made up of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. For such a simple molecule, it holds great power. Consider that we are made up of four main elements: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. So, alcohol—building block of life? Ironic isn’t it? Since alcohol often tears down lives.
So we steer towards that alcohol cloud, safely park where we won’t have to drive again, and stick a big straw out of the Little Log Spaceship to have us a big ole raspberry-flavored rum drink party. Wheeeeee! Of course we can’t drink the alcohol in space—it’s full of poisons. But isn’t the alcohol we do drink a poison? Poison to our minds, bodies, families, friends, lovers, loved ones. If it is abused.
If it is abused. Again—if it is abused.
Now comes the hard part. I feel anxious even as I begin to write it publicly.
Last night I parked the Lil Log Spaceship, for I have a hard and fast rule I have never strayed from: no drinking and driving, and I drank too much. I did it with purpose. Nothing good ever comes out of saying, “Fuck it.” Once you utter those words, you are giving yourself permission to act like an idiot, an ass, or to be hurtful, or reckless, or stupid, silly, childish.
While I drank, I noted with distant fascination that I can hold more alcohol than I used to be able to. That somehow over the last year or so, I’ve built up a tolerance—one or two glasses of wine, or a bottle of beer, at a time. While the grownup rational side of my brain thought, “What are you doing? This isn’t healthy!” The “Fuck it” part of my brain laughed gleefully and went on social media and thought how witty and funny I was being because my inhibitions were released all willy nilly. A party of one in the Lonely Woman’s Galaxy slurping up the alcohol gas cloud at Sagittarius B2.
There was a time when I drank socially. Other than my mad-wild-partying teen years, I have not since then been a big drinker. There’s alcoholism in my family—my father stayed sober 50 years but his years of drinking took a heavy toll on his life and loved ones, and very small children—of which I was one.
Until last night, I never considered that alcohol had suddenly, sneakily, insidiously, wormed its way into my life as a Bad Friend, a very bad sucky friend who pretends they only want to be your friend and all the while they are sucking the life out of you and leading you down Bad Decision Making paths. Why, I told myself, I only drink a glass of wine or drink a beer every so often—though “every so often” began to mean almost every day. I told myself: “I don’t get drunk!” Though, last night I did, and I wasn’t sick or dizzy and I didn’t wake with a hangover—this sounds great, but it is not great. It means I have built a tolerance. It means my body and my brain are growing used to me poisoning myself.
But consider that most evenings I do not over-drink. I have one, and on occasion two drinks. In the big scheme of things that’s not so bad, right? Maybe not.
Until you look at your face in the mirror the morning after you drank too much and acted like an ass and begin taking stock of how you are using alcohol to cope with the anxiety, and with the loneliness, and with the stress. You are using alcohol to numb the fact that you are not writing and that has made you unhappy so you drink so you don’t feel unhappy but then you act like a ridiculous ass and that makes you more unhappy—and more anxious—and more alone. And the big ole ferris wheel of horror goes round and round and round and round and round. If you are looking up from below as the riders whizz by, you see faces lit up with terrified glee—a few gripping the bars and begging to be let off. You see yourself and you are not having fun.
You again consider that the thought you had while slamming down that alcohol last night is a thought you’ve had before over the last few months—the: “Wow, always before I was unable to drink this much without being dizzy and sick! Huh.” Oh well. La Tee Dah. Shrug! *Guzzle Guzzle Glub*
This morning, as I crawled out of bed after a sleepless night—for alcohol may put you to sleep right away but it will shake you the hell awake all night—and drank my coffee in the Little Log Spaceship, the realization and recognition of just where I am heading slapped me hard against my very hard peahead.
Here it is. The hard thing to say. What I didn’t see coming. What I don’t want to publicly admit but I am:
Alcohol is beginning to be a problem in my life. If I don’t jump off the Ferris Wheel of Horror, alcohol WILL be a problem in my life.
Alcohol is already a problem in my life.
I’ve watched as alcohol destroyed or near destroyed others’ lives and I always felt my Power and my Control over it. I was nearly arrogant in my complacent attitude towards alcohol despite my family history. Despite my own history from my teen years. Despite how lately my drinking to numb whatever I thought needed numbing was happening more often.
This Morning After I sit writing this and consider that if I am writing it, then I am living it. That if I am concerned over what seemed “innocent drinking” then it isn’t innocent. If I am sometimes an ass or out of control, or reckless, or maudlin, or giddy-then-depressed-then-regretful, then it is time to stop before it goes any further.
Like a very bad for me lover, I’m kicking alcohol out of my life. Forever? I don’t know. But it has to be until I know for sure I am not heading down a slippery path paved with Morning After regrets and a body that I have made healthy and strong over the years that alcohol will have no problems at all destroying. It has to be when I am not afraid of my drinking. It has to be No Alcohol until it has no power over me. When I am not lying to myself any longer about it.
Or when alcohol is not lying to me.
Because if I can’t stop after one, or if I look forward to that One far too fondly and anticipating that One too much, it is time to steer the Lil Log Spaceship away from the alcohol cloud.
And even as I write this, I am missing the person I was—the one who could sip on one drink once in a while and barely finish it before she felt all giddy and light-headed and would then just put it down. I miss that woman, but I’m not her right now. Maybe I’ll find her again. And maybe I won’t.
I love myself too much to let myself ever say, “Fuck it” to anything again. I love myself too much to poison myself and my thoughts and my dignity with alcohol. My dignity—just writing that I realize the truth: I care about my reputation and my dignity as a woman and a writer and an editor and a mother and a friend. Alcohol-induced “Fuck It’s” take away our dignity. Alcohol-induced buffoonery makes us look ridiculous. Makes us asses or assholes. And years of Living Right and Working Well and being proud of the reputation and life and work I have built can end in a destructive rubble after one night of Fuck It drinking.
I love myself, so I am going to prove it by taking care of myself. I am strong. I am independent. I am a woman who has much to lose. I am too smart for this. I am ready.
I feel relief now. As if the weight of those bottles has been on my shoulders pushing me into a hole. Free. Free. I feel free.
If you find yourself in my words, I hope you will love yourself and free yourself, too.
There is still time to click “like” or comment for the pound of Starbuck’s coffee drawing (below post). I’ll be drawing for that in about a week.
If you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to myAmazon Page. I appreciate your support! And I thank you, my readers.
I do also, suddenly, realize as I am about to publish this, that my Graces books have alcoholism- and alcohol-related themes to them. Huhn. Well now.
On a popular “talent” program, often the judges will tell the “contestants” that they must kick it up a notch, take it further or farther than before, give more, be more more more MORE! No matter how much the act sings her heart out, juggles his arms and legs in amazingly weird pretzel shapes, climbs towering structures and falls–almost–to his death, dances their feet bloody, the judges tell them it’s not enough. You must engage the audience in ways you never thought you could! In ways that show what you have done before is Just Not Good Enough! Two such acts on a recent program showed me how we do not have to set ourselves on fire.
The first act rose to death-defying heights on their motorcycles, proclaiming, and rightly so, that what they do is extremely dangerous. These guys have lost (and by lost, I mean they died–gone from this earth–no more) friends doing what they do. They pushed themselves to the limit, yet at the end of the death-defying heart-stopping act, the judges said, “You have to do more if you want the audience to love you.” So what did they do the very next week? They set themselves on fire, and did the same death-defying act as before. Later came the Houdini act: a man hung upside down while struggling quickly out of a straight jacket. How did he pump it up? By lighting himself on fire.
What next? How to top something so out of control? How to prove what doesn’t need proving: you are who you are; you do what you do, and you are good at it even without the flames. And the flames aren’t really fooling anyone–they see your core.
While I agree that we must always strive to do more and to be more, there does come a point in our lives where we must acknowledge that among all our striving, at the core of us, we simply are who we are. We give our best, and when we type The End, we feel pride and a sense of good work done. When it is just us and our work, we dream of our readers loving the words and language and characters because we created with love and hard disciplined work. No, we should not sit on our hands, rest on our laurels, give up and become lazy and sloppy. But to ask us to be more than who is the very core of ourselves, to give beyond the capabilities of our talents, well, what can happen is we set ourselves on fire and try to fool people into thinking we are doing something Great and Wonderful. It’s like the Wizard behind the curtain while fire roars! We’re still the little old man.
Do we really need to set ourselves alight with fire to grab our reader’s attention? Won’t our readers see what I saw with these two acts: they were doing what they know; what they do best, except for the addition of bright hot distraction. Why hide the behind the fire? What they’d done before was the top of their game, the pride of their life; a culmination of many many hours of hard work and sacrifice. We do live in a “viral video” society. Reality is that not many of us will ever go viral. I refuse to set myself on fire and risk a painful death of my Self. My readers deserve my best, and if I give my best, I do not need to add a distraction.
We are often those judges. The voices in our head judge us, tell us to set ourselves on fire–surely we’ll be noticed then. Surely we’ll grab everyone’s attention, so engulfed by flames we are! Are we only teaching others that we are willing to do anything to grab their attention? Anything at all? Why not let the work underneath the flashy flamed fire be enough?
1. Our interstates have a “system” to them. Odd numbers are north to south with the lowest numbers in the west. Even numbers are east to west with the lowest numbers in the south. Exits are assigned numbers to let you know the distance to the next exit—mile-markers aren’t always exits but they tell you distance “in between.” The interstate system is about 46,300 miles, and of those 46,300 miles, it is a known fact that 40.4858788584857% of the time, a bathroom will be ten to fifty miles from where you really have To Go Bad. And 50.4848482975875% of the time, a Left-Laner will hold up traffic for 20.225 miles, plus three, and then flip you off in indignation when you finally zoom by in frustration.
A skunk can spray up to ten feet away. The spray is a yellow oily substance—and guess what? Oil and water don’t mix; so if your dog is sprayed and you wet the dog, it’s going to stink worse—delightful, right? The spray contains as many as seven kinds of nasty “ingredients” that can easily be conglomerated by the skunk into a gas that explodes from the ass(it rhymed!)—that’s what makes it stanky; no, stanky isn’t strong enough a word—putridly pungent. A skunk stinks, yeah, but in a sobering addition to this light-hearted skunkfomercial: did you also know that skunk spray can cause severe anemia and death in dogs? Okay, only very rarely but worth a note if your dog loves chasing Pepe LePew.
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? According to science: 1,000. According to Kat: about 30 before she bites into it with glee.
When you google “Will I ever use Algebra in real life?” This is the kind of answer you find, which is an evasive non-answer in my Algebra experience: “This is a difficult question, but the simplest answer is that Algebra is the beginning of a journey that gives you the skills to solve more complex problems.” Uh huh. Nice try.
It’s a myth that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Where did that saying come from? Actually, it’s from the 1800s or some other time when people made up stuff out of boredom and other bored people readily believed it because there wasn’t Google, or Bing if you are a Binger, to debunk it (only 6.777558475% of people like Internet Explorer; poor thangs)—of course, ironically, the internet is full of BS that bored people make up and equally bored people believe. Anyway, lightning not striking twice meant: misfortune won’t happen twice in the same way to the same person. *fake-coughs out a barely perceptible bullshit*
Women’s colons are longer than men’s colons (so who is more full of sh with a side of it, you may ask? Answer with care, my male friends, answer with care). And our female colons are more twisted up. We’re all discombobulated in there. Why? Whyyyyy? They—the infamous “They People” (who I believe are Aliens! No, really!)—say it’s because we give birth. Oh. Okay. So, we have more colon so we can squeeze out a human? Uh huh. They—the Aliens—are tricksters. Just tricksters.
Conversely, a man’s brain is about 10% larger than a woman’s brain. Now, before you men’s heads swell up even more, no it doesn’t mean you
are more intelligent, or any less intelligent. It does mean you process differently. But brain size is not a correlation to intelligence. The brain is larger to accommodate the extra body mass and muscle. Is to! Is TO!
Speaking of brains. Artists have different brains. According to a scientific study (by “They”), researchers found sort ofishy scientifically that artist’s brains are structurally different from non-artists. I suppose that includes us writers, right? I need an excuse for my discombobulated hootnannies. Scans (by They/Aliens!) show that artists have more grey matter in an area of the brain that matters to scientists because scientists are awesome. That area of the brain could possibly (why aren’t “They” ever sure?) be linked to that “inner eye” that gives visual creativity/clarity.
While goofing off on Google, you find things that you think are jokes, then realize some people really do believe in these Thangs. Like, the “theory” that cats are aliens. Uh huh now; I see. Well, there is discussion of it Here and Here. Enjoy! The first one actually is called “catalienconspiracy.com.”
10. The Perfect Every Time Boiled Eggs. Really! I swear! Put eggs in a saucepan and cover the eggs with water–I just added “the eggs” while re-reading this; didn’t want you to think I meant cover the pan with water -haha! Bring water to a boil and soon as it reaches that “roiling bubbling toil and troubling boil” turn off the heat, cover the pan with a lid, and let the eggs sit in the water for 14 minutes—no more! Some say 12 minutes; some say 13 minutes (what do “they” say?). I’ve had success with 14 minutes. Soon as the timer goes off—and if you don’t use a timer, you will forget and your eggs will suck–no one likes sucky eggs or to suck an egg; eww. No, you will forget–use a timer. I mean it; you will. Anyway, pour off the hot water, add cold water on top of the eggs in the pan, and add some ice to stop the cooking process. Perfect boiled egg.
Most writers make crap for money. If writers are in it for the money, nowadays especially, then those writers may surely be sorely disappointed in the results of their dreams of Lotso Casholo. No, seriously! You wouldn’t believe the people who think I’m rolling in it because I have 5-6 books and some stories out there. When they see me pull up in my 17 year old Subaru decked out in clothes from the clearance rack, an old Dell laptop, a broken-shattered iPhone that I refuse to replace until my iPad’s paid for, they think I’m being ironic, or eclectic, or
that I left my sports car at home with my Louboutin’s. Seriously, though, folks. There is about 0.555785959992445566999999% of the population of authors/novelists who can do this “for a really good living without having another income” and 0.2455668855599999494994949 of those 0.555785959992445566999999% spend a lot of their time writing inspirational platitudes and giving writers advice about how we should be doing this and not doing that and all this blah blah blahdidly blah that they half-believe themselves but they’ve paid their dues, by golly gee, and can tell all us other writers how it is done and if we can’t do it that way, well no wonder we don’t sell books! The rest of us are varying degrees of starving, doing okay, doing pretty well, and pretending we are doing very well by posting upbeat Facebook and Twitter updates about how awesome we are doing and how we aren’t drowning our sorrows in wine and chocolate and sex—la tee dah, y’all! Haw!
And speaking of Louboutin’s—while looking up how to spell it (I can spell Ked’s – wait, is that Keds or Ked’s – dang), a glance at a site that sells them yields this: “cheapest” (relative term): $525 for some kind of oogly-arse boat shoe looking thangs, to the more expensive sparkled heel at $4,225—my entire wardrobe does not come anywhere near that much—shoes included.
Now, aren’t you glad you know all that? I know I am!
At some strangeling point in an author’s career, she begins to be weary of her thoughts, and of the worries and stresses, and of the fears. Of the whole self-indulgence of it all. The whining and boohoo’ing and self-doubting. The loneliness and sacrifice. The highs and lows and the lows-highs-lows-lower lows-high-low and the roller coaster that was once so much fun begins to jerk you around and toss you into the air and pulls your stomach out through your mouth—Blorf.
The author begins to avoid the writing. Sneakily so. She’s crafty. Cunning. There is no lacking of excuses. Why, that’s the easiest thing in the universe, an excuse. You breathe explanations into your nose and down your throat and then vomit them back up—they don’t taste so bad once you get used to the sweet rotten of them.
People say to you, “I hear you’re working on a new book!” And they are so sincerely excited that you say (and you mean it at the time; you do!), “Yes! I’m working on something new.” And you are—sort of kind of. You are sort of kind of going into the word document and sort of kind of pulling it up and sort of kind of staring at it and then sort of kind of pecking away at it and sort of kind of considering how you just don’t want to do this anymore.
Maybe there will be a free-fall feeling. You’ll stand on the precipice, open out your arms, and just Let Go. The air will rush against your face. You won’t notice how the ground is growing larger and more menacing—the air feels so good! The freedom! The exhilaration that you’ve jumped right off the cliff and left everything behind you. “I was pushed!” you say, when people look at you strange—why, there you are flat and bloody where you and the ground met most undeliciously.
You stare at the bookcase, and there they are! Your books. You wrote them. They were published, and people read them—still do. They aren’t mocking you there but you turn your head away. Because it hurts to look at them, as if your published books are the morning sun and you are still sleepy and in the dark.
“Sometimes it just hurts too much,” a well-known author you admire once said to you. You didn’t understand that at all. You said, “Oh. Well.” And then you went back to work, smug with smugnitude. You think to contact that author and say, “Hey, remember that time you said that? Guess what! Me, too!” But you do not.
Why, it’s all about letting everyone think you are writing fully and happily, and the money is pouring in, and you are on the verge of greatness and successfulness and awesomeness and authorial queendomness! It’s about big smiles and posting pictures on Facebook with zippity do dah day quotes on them about writing. You are living the dream! You author you! You chuck yourself on the chin—aw now you!
You once looked forward to your royalty checks. How fat they seemed to you! How healthy and plump! You signed the back of them and skipped off to the bank, pride and love and luck filling your marrow. As time went on, you began to cringe, just a little, when you’d see the envelope from your publishers in the mailbox. You tell yourself that some authors would give up the fifth toenail on their left foot and then offer up the toe as well just to make any money at all. Still, you can’t stop the flutters in your stomach when you know the check will be arriving any day.
“Money doesn’t measure our worth as a writer,” you say, and you mean it. You really do. Still. You begin to worry about money. Who doesn’t? But somehow money received for writing books becomes entangled in how you feel about yourself and your talent and gifts and love of this profession. It makes the love tainted. You hate that. A lot.
All you wanted to do was to write. That’s all. All you wanted to do is to write. And write. And write and write and write write write write. “Please let me write,” you say to the only one stopping you—well, you, of course.
You don’t want to, but you wonder how much money other authors are making. You wonder how they feel when their royalty checks come to the mailbox. You wonder if one day yours won’t come anymore at all and you can’t breathe for ten whole seconds, plus five. It’s madness.
So, one fine day that has really been about three hundred and two fine days, you consider giving it all up. You will always have your books that were published. You don’t have anything to prove at all. You can pretend for as long as you can, and then one day no one will ask anymore. No one will think about you and your books. You will be forgotten by most. Your books will end up at garage sales, dusty with faded covers and torn pages. Or deep inside e-readers in a file marked “Old shit from authors no one remembers” that is rarely opened.
You can take up art or cooking. You can pick up your camera and see where its lens takes you.
There comes a time in every writer’s life when she will consider giving up the writing.
A day will pass. Two. Fifty. One-hundred. Three hundred twenty days will pass. It feels as if a ghost is following you, but when you turn around, it disappears behind a dreamlike tree that only you can climb, only you can see. The apparition follows you every second, every minute, every hour, every day, week, month.
It winks at you—it knows the joke is all on you. It knows you better than you know you.
Once again, I awoke at the magical hour of one thirty plus change. I’ve had some alarming insane writer thoughts, like, “Is one-thirty going to mean something pivotal? like the hour I am to die one day?” Yes, I think things like this. Same as I used to look over at the clock and it would “always” be eleven:eleven, 11:11. I’d think, “Oh no! Why do I keep looking at the clock and it is 11:11, surely disaster is going to happen at 11:11!” Now, never mind that I could look at a clock fifty times a day and it is only 11:11 twice, but!, those four one’s just kept jumping out at me. So, dear readers, I’m sure I awake at other times than one thirty and change; however, I do not get up and look at the clock. So there.
So, I’m awake and lying there (after going to the bathroom and looking at the clock and wandering in the living room and looking out the window, and wandering into the next room and looking out that window) and I thought how writers (or at least this one) can take any little thing and write an entire damn page out of it. You noticed, huh? Well, dang. I answered myself in my head, “So, like what kinds of any little things do you mean?”
And I answered myself back, “Like little things. You know, insignificant nothings and I turn them into significant somethings.”
Myself said, “Oh, you mean, like for instance, peas.”
“Yes, that’s a good one, peas. Those green peas.”
“So, what about peas?”
“Well, peas are pretty boring; I’m not sure what I’ll come up with.”
“I’m sure you’ll find something, since you are, supposedly, awkwardly, maybely, fortuitously, unfortunately, *snicker* a genius writer *snicker*”
My other self is a gawdamned smart ass.
Anyway, I suddenly had an image of very green peas on a bright white plate. They are sitting there waiting to be eaten by a large bald man. (I just added the large bald man, though I didn’t picture him at one-thirty and change. He just appeared this moment! He’s pretty big and mean looking, so I’ll leave him here.) So, the very green peas on the bright white plate are there, waiting to be consumed by Large Bald Man.
One of the peas (and I swear this is exactly what I was thinking last night other than the large bald man who showed up unexpectedly just now), one of the peas decides it does not want to be eaten. It quivers on the plate, because it all of a sudden decides that being scooped up by a fork, shoved in a nasty moist mouth, chewed, verily I say, masticated to with an inch of its green, with hard teeth until it is a nasty green pulpy mess of gunk, and swallowed down the tube, and into the stomach, where the acid and digestive tract juices will render it even more unrecognizable from its cute round shape, then down it goes, still aware that it was just a moment ago still a cute round pea, and horrified that it is now a disgusting mess, it makes its way into the small and large intestines, along with other extremely disgusting gunk, and is deposited into the toilet, where it will be flushed to more unworthy places.
So, that one pea quivering on the plate, rolls and jumps off the plate, onto the table, and then onto the floor, where it cries out “I’m free! I’m free!”
That is where my thoughts of the very green peas on the bright white plate ended. I was then very tired and wanted to sleep without thinking about peas. I thought maybe I was insane and should be knocked unconscious before I did any more harm to my psyche. So, I wandered around the house again, and wrote on an envelope “Green Pea. Digestive Tract. Table.” And, thus satisfied I would remember things not worth remembering, I went back to bed.
You may be wondering what happened to the little pea that could? Maybe it rolled out the door and is hiding in the woods? or maybe a fox ate it? No, no one but the big bald dude likes peas. What do YOU think happened to that sweet pea? I’d like to know myself. But, it’s time to finish this cup of coffee, y’all. *Kat trails off . . . .* Dang.
I used to tell my clients I trained to “listen to their bodies” to let them know how much they could do or when to pull back so there wasn’t over-use or injury. And that is mostly true, all y’allses beauties out there. However, I also recognize how this isn’t always the case. Sometimes our bodies/minds want to fool us, because what we are doing may be Haaaaaaard, and why oh why would our brains want to do the Hard Thing when it can at times easily convince us to do the Easy Thing? Even if the Easy Thing isn’t as good for us. Sometimes we must re-wire our thought processes.
Folks, there are times we must push through when our bodies/minds tell us it wants to slow down or stop—not to the point of exhaustion or dangerous over-working, but to the point of Kicking Our Asses and doing the Hard Thing—and not “once in a while” but “several times a week.” (Though, you must always consult a doctor before beginning a workout program!)
Some days I just ain’t feelin’ it, you know? Well, Kat, suck it up. Sit your arse down in the chair, fingers to keys, and write. Timed writing isn’t going to do it for me. If I watch the clock, then just as with my aerobics workout, I’ll be ever aware of that clock ticking: 15 minutes of writing? Okay – tic toc tic toc tic toc. *Yawn!* The work also isn’t going to be done by my whining about how haaarrrrd it is to be a wrriiiiiitteer.
Stop whining! It’s time to re-wire our “minds/bodies” from telling us we caaaaann’t to that of I can do this!–we have to, at the least, give it a try, right? Books aren’t written by rolling our eyes and sighing. Royalties aren’t paid to writers who aren’t producing books. The work is done by doing the work.
I used to crave junk and loads of chocolate. (Honestly, I still do crave it. And, I’m a Sweet-a-holic.) There were days I wanted to sit on my ass and do nothing but eat chocolate and feel depressed and not do a danged ole thing. Some days are sucky and I could fall into that trap again if I weren’t careful. But if I were to sit on my ass and gobble down an entire box of chocolates, feeling sorry for myself and the state of Everything, well, dangity it all to dangtown, but I’d feel even worse. My body would be bloated and sick from Chocolate-Junk-Sitting on my Arse Overload. Sluggish, tired, cranky, like in this pic from a few years ago–I was being silly, but there was truth behind this photo .
The more I work out, the healthier I eat, the better I feel, and the more I want to do those things to continue to feel better. Then when I do treat myself, it tastes/feels even better than it ever did before.
Sometimes I want to sit on my ass and do nothing but feel depressed and not write a danged ole thing and eat junk and drink vodka. Some days are sucky. Well, guess what? If thousands of us sat our asses on the couch and did nothing because life is haaarrrrdd, who’d write the books?; who’d deliver the mail?; who’d bake the bread?; who’d teach the kids?
This book/writing business isn’t always easy, but ask yourself: Is this what I really want to do? Am I ready to be in this for the long-haul? Am I ready to sacrifice? Can I handle rejection? Scrutiny both good and bad and in between? If not, then what do you want to do? Reorganize your thought-processes.
Sometimes being a published author (or an unpublished one) is the easiest best job in the entire danged ole world, and other times it sucks like a big fat suckity suck black-hole sucker—but I love it more than my right arm. Get back to work. Whatever that “work” is for you–if writing novels isn’t truly what you love but you’ve been slogging through it, then maybe there is something else in this business you will enjoy more? Or maybe you’ll discover a direction/road you never considered.
At the end of a grueling work-out, find time to stretch those muscles, and then just as important as the work-out and the stretch, comes the quiet moment of reflection. Time and distance and wants and needs lift away as we respect our bodies, minds, hearts. The old saying “you only have one body, one life” is true (reincarnation doesn’t count – because you’ll be someone/something else, right? so no excuses!). We have this one chance to make the best of our lives. To honor our bodies. To give ourselves the gift of good health and well-being. What will you do with yours?
When the writing day is done, find a moment to reflect on this writing life. Calm the voices, the rejections, the expectations, the harried hurry and the long-ass frustrating waits, and remember just why you love this writing life so much. Recall the raw beginnings of it, when it was just you and a white space of whatever in the world you wanted to say to anyone who would listen, even if it was only your own ears. Find that joy in quiet reflection. Time is going to pass anyway. A year will pass, and a year from now, where will you be? Will you have written a year’s worth of words? Or will you have angsted yourself to a wordless mass of messy nothing-on-the-page-ness. Time will pass no matter what we are doing with it; make the best of it by stretching your writing muscles.
Night comes. Time to rest the body. Rest is as important as movement. A good night’s sleep prepares you for the next day’s challenge. Your body/mind deserves and needs this rest. Requires it. Be grateful for the body you have instead of fighting against it. Why would you dislike your beautiful self? Our bodies are a work of art; a gorgeous scientific biological wonder!
When laying your head upon your pillow, remember to give gratitude for what you have accomplished. This business is so much about looking ahead to what we “should” accomplish, or what may come, or what we hope will come, that we must remember what we did achieve. Hold on to it, let it come with us into our dreams. “You Did This! Good for You!” Sleep. Dream. Going to sleep with a heart of gratitude will ready you for the next day’s challenge.
(post taken from a previous post. soon I’ll be writing original posts again, but this is a start to getting back to blogging regularly!)