So, I mentioned I’d been doing more painting and telling myself it was okay to like my paintings even if they aren’t connected to a fine art program at a high end university.
I’ve been outlining and reading up on better ways to write and plot and trying to absorb as much as I can about voice and sales copy and… I got burnt out. Granted, at the same time I was trying to relearn 5 very long forms for the 2nd degree black belt test (that I’m likely to fail “ass-some-ly” if I can’t keep these damn things in my head) and working afterschool care and spring break camp at the dojo — which turned into a few 13 hour days of kids and kicking and punching and running around. Continue reading
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I don’t play one on TV. I’ve never flunked out med school. Take all this with a grain of salt, unless you have high blood pressure and then maybe a grain of sand. Don’t eat sand There’s fish pee in it. Probably dog pee, too. And toddler. Don’t eat sand.
Way back in the day, I did gymnastics. I really liked the uneven bars, but I was terrible at tumbling because my back didn’t bend backward. I was also terrible at the balance beam because A) I was already too tall and B) this was before Baby Yoga and any suggestion on how to improve balance aside from “don’t fall over.” At almost-40, I could probably pull off a simplistic beam routine better than I did at 10, but now I kick things instead. Because I couldn’t do a backbend for begging or cash, and because the instructor got tired of moving the uneven bars just for me (all the other kids in class were normal sized instead of a runner up for the Jolly Green Giant), I got tossed from gymnastics. I can still cartwheel better than most of the six-year olds I know, so what did she know.
Anyway, turns out (turned out back when I was in my early twenties and someone finally figured it out), the reason I couldn’t do backbends was because my spine had its own ideas about where it should and shouldn’t bend.
Awesome, right? Continue reading
If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that people will pay for anything that makes them feel more productive, powerful, capable, or valuable. They will also eat up any content that is critical of a product or celebrity or gives them advice they think they need. This is why people will stand in line and spend $6 on a cup of Starbucks, but will steal your $2.99 romance ebook, stream a movie over a torrent site full of viruses, and Spotify their favorite artists. The coffee makes them feel like they are going to accomplish something because it’s COFFEE (well, mostly milk and sugar, but still, it claims to be coffee).
We value productivity so much in the US that I could likely sell a hundred copies of a 30-page guide to inbox-zero faster than half that many copies of a 300-page novel, even if they were priced the same. Continue reading
My last few posts have been a bit cynical and maudlin because I’ve been in a funk for months that I’ve been having trouble shaking. I’m trying. Still trying. Always trying.
Talks in Paris continue over what leaders think they can do about climate change, what they can agree to without upsetting their supporters, etc. And while many mean well, talk is cheap, and even treaties and laws are only worth anything if enforced. While they debate, places like Newtok are becoming Atlantis even as many of our own politicians and Presidential candidates debate whether climate change is real. Closer to home, cities like Miami Beach have been combating the inevitable with plans to raise roads, install pumps, add on to sea walls, and potentially abandon the lower floors of buildings while the equally-susceptible Fort Lauderdale (the “Venice of America” with hundreds of canals and low spots) appears to be hoping it’s just a fad. Then, Fort Lauderdale doesn’t have the tax base Miami Beach does. Most of Florida doesn’t, which means there’s little many towns can do besides watch beaches and buildings disappear.
I’ve been in a bit of a daze lately. I’ve been feeling disconnected from the rest of the world for a while now and so often when I try to reach out, to find some common ground, I find the earth’s been salted by screeds of hate or the hands on the other side would rather push me back into the darkness. Or that there’s nothing out there that sees me enough to even push back.
I walk around in life alternately invisible to the point that people run into me with carts, skip past me in lines, stare through me and like piece of meat hung out for dogs. Drivers are either honking and licking their car windows at me or their cutting me off and merging into me because they don’t know I exist.
I’ve been pondering Kickstarter a lot lately. Ran all the numbers and everything. Let them sit.
Because Kickstarter is highly controversial these days and I just don’t feel mentally strong enough to deal with the backlash, with the snark, with being hated anymore than I already feel like I generally am.
I left teaching for a variety of reasons, but among them was this overwhelming sense that I wasn’t doing anything good. I had gone from feeling like I helped kids, even if was just a few a week, to feeling like I was forced to do more harm than good. The state had tied the hands of both the facility staff and the education staff to the point where they had been reduced to a cross between jailers and poorly-paid babysitters. The facility staff were miserable and overworked, over-tired, and over-stressed from back-to-back shifts and never knowing if they’d be allowed to go home to their families. Education had been reduced to testing, test-prep, and forced instruction from books the kids (by and large) weren’t up to understanding yet. We’d gone from a sort of triage system of meeting the kids where they were and trying on all fronts to piece them together as best we could before they left to an aloof sort of HMO that did what it wanted no matter what showed up and input codes to make our overlords happy at the cost of all the patients.
I have always been somewhat awful at adulting. Not in the obvious, disastrous, off-the-rails sort of way. I don’t shoot up heroin or hang out in strip clubs until 5am selling cocaine. I don’t leave babies and dogs in cars. I don’t set buildings on fire. I am a generally law-abiding boring person who has such an aversion to smoke in general that I never even tried pot in college. (Really. Smoke just kind of closes up all my airways and I have to force myself to inhale and there’s just no way inhaling on purpose was ever going to work.)
Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, even Twitter are full of “positive thinking” quotes and hand-lettered sayings and all sorts of “You Can Do It” if you “Keep Calm and” “Think Positive.” There’s lot’s of pictures of coffee mugs with perfectly angled planners and glasses you know no one wears, maybe some glitter or pink flowers on a unbelievably white desk. (Seriously, who the hell has room on their desk for bud vases and what kind of “designer” can keep a desk pristine white without spilling coffee or ink or the leaky bits of yesterday’s lunch on it?)
These people are the opposite of “writers” though there’s some overlap, generally in the self-help genre. Most of the writers I know are surly, cynical, and will tell anyone who listens that there’s no money in writing, no money in publishing, that you’re going to need to keep your day job forever yet still probably die of a disease basic insurance could have cured, and that “writers write” everyday whether they want to or not, generally at the ass crack of dawn before going to the day job or in the middle of the night after tucking in all the children. They’re regularly drunk, over-caffeinated, under-medicated, bleary-eyed, and tend to wear their dysfunction like a badge of honor. They march around under a banner of “This Sucks and We Do It Because We Think We Have To or Maybe We Want To, We Don’t Know, But It Definitely Sucks.” Continue reading