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
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.
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
The husband has finally graduated from the University of Florida so this weekend we drove up to Gainesville for the commencement ceremony. Officially, his degree is a Master of Science in the Geomatics program that’s part of the School of Forestry and Conservation in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Florida. More layers than an opera cake, that.
He’s a good blend of coder, environmental science geek, cartographer, and statistician. He’s absurdly smart. Yet goofy.
No, that’s not a real disease as far as I know. But I do often feel like I just don’t fit it. Anywhere.
I mean, I love office supplies and stationery and pens and planners, but… I’m not a high end collector, but I also don’t just buy anything shiny at the Target Dollar Spot, which seems to be the two most vocal extremes. I don’t care for the Pilot Frixion pens either, which might be as blasphemous as saying I don’t care for Mont Blanc. I can find no other fans of my favorite pens even in the most vocal stationery communities and as for planners? I’m not buying an Erin Condron. Ever. I don’t constantly buy new ones or spend hours washi-taping and stickering my weeks. Which makes me kind of an outlier in those groups, too. Continue reading
I was trying to explain this last night to friends; I have a love-hate relationship with Miami. It has tons of culture and a thriving arts community, cool architecture — art deco, Mediterranean, modern…certainly some of their newer buildings around Miami-Dade county are more visually appealing than some of the boring boxy glass towers Broward has let get thrown up — funky signage, diversity of people and activities… There’s a lot to see and do and experience and a vibrancy you can feel. It’s also full of the most insane traffic this side of L.A., terrible drivers, illogical parking — when you can find it, — rudeness and entitlement stemming from that sort of obsession with hyper-coolness I can’t begin to understand. Continue reading
I think it’s time we admitted, as a nation, that we have a problem. I mean, if I can find all of the following in a matter of minutes, we are clearly overworking ourselves and then, because we know we’re working ourselves into early graves and we still have a healthcare/insurance system that rewards us for being wealthy and healthy and never using either, we elevate the notion of “working hard” while denigrating those who actually do.
Let’s start this off with what I think has become painfully, bleeding-on-the-floor obvious, but may still be a little fuzzy to others: There is no “right way.”
Maybe there used to be. I mean, for most people. Back in our parents’ or grandparents’ generation, depending on how old we are and when those people had kids — which is probably about the same range for 80+% of them because that was the “right way” to do kids back then, — there may have been a right way for almost everyone. Sure, if you were some sort of maverick, or too mentally ill to blend in, or were in some other way “different” or “defective,” which, let’s face it, for that generation was pretty much the same thing unless you were super wealthy (and maybe even then, you just got better shock treatment). Continue reading