January 31, 2007

I, Meme, Mine

My fellow turtle wrangler (Influx Transposer) has tagged me. Apparently some literary game of blog tag has landed on my linkable doorstep. The tossed gauntlet in question is being called a meme, or a story encapsulated is six words. Below are my attempts at brevity. I can’t resist throwing around my trivial knowledge at this point: The story goes that Ernest Hemingway wrote a six word missive and declared it his greatest short story. And so the meme began…
Oh, and to perpetuate the madness, Valley Ninja, I’m calling you out of retirement. Tag!

Earth found unworthy—ooh wait, iPods!

Monkeys steal prosthetic thumbs, rule world.

Cancelled World of Warcraft subscription: Life!

Lonely girl, impotent boy invent cuddling.

Email deleted. Number deleted. Heart hardwired.

She walks labyrinth to find herself.

Random is a hillock near Gibraltar.

January 28, 2007

Saturday Night

Sitting near the fire,
surrounded by various
shades of love,
I watch and listen
and wait to be fed.
Two votes for,
two votes against,
a handful un-cast.
The only eyes to find mine
are a lifetime too late,
and there only for
the joy of remembering,
not the pain of possibility.
My eyes flick away.
I’m here for the pain.

January 21, 2007

Me and the Plants

Sunlight is an amazing thing. Yesterday was the eighth day of uncharacteristically icy weather for my little part of the world, and I was awash with depression. Today, the sun is out, the sky is blue, and I’m downright chipper. Yesterday, I dwelled on the distance between myself and friends, obsessed on the people who have hurt me, and thoroughly reviewed my lack of significant love interests. Today, none of those circumstances have changed, but they now seem like the manageable, albeit shaded, aspects of what is an overall happy existence. Yesterday, I told myself that’s all they were, but today I believe it.
Is it really that simple? The weather?
Am I really that simple? Me and the plants—bi-solar?
Perhaps it was my good self-esteem self-assurances coupled with a good night’s rest that did it. Perhaps all I needed was yesterday’s one good cry, the simplest catharsis, to face the world again at full self-reliant strength. Perhaps it’s me after all; I’m not afraid to face my darkness and I’m not afraid to be happy afterwards. I am a well-rounded individual—a little yang, and little yin. Surely, my emotions are as much my fault as the season’s.
All the same, I hope the weather holds.

January 15, 2007

Texas Sunset

My Shoulder Hurts

My shoulder hurts.
I carry too much:
what was, what wasn’t,
the things that get in the way.

Which old hurt should I cry about?
Which new love should I toss and turn for?
Where should I store the people who fall away?

My mind spins.
I think too much:
where I was, where I could be,
everything that’s not today.

January 6, 2007

New Year Irresolution

I have a good imagination. It has allowed me to create completely unreasonable expectations for life.
I haven’t written a screenplay yet, but I do have my Oscar speech ready. Unfortunately, I’ll trip walking up the stairs to collect my statuette, suffer a concussion, and miss the entire thing due to coma. I haven’t published my book yet, but I know what I’ll call the series. I can already see the fan sites now and how they’ll use my cherished characters in their nasty little porn stories that have nothing to do with the integral storyline and have horrible grammar. I know where I’ll go shopping when I win the lottery. I also know which relatives and friends will turn ugly in their greed and plot my murder. I’ve planned the award-winning video, but I’m not sure if I’ve written song or someone else has. I think, this week, it’s going to be written by my future rock star husband who dedicates the song to our undying love. Once he dies in a terrible plane crash (the pilot will be woozy on allergy medications) I’ll refuse to ever listen to the song again and strike up a comic, yet still meaningful, friendship with Courtney Love. I’m assigned to a project at work and before I know it the CEO is shaking my hand due to its success. After he promotes me past everyone in my department, however, their bitterness and envy leads to the end of my friendship with them. One even commits suicide which I have to learn how to live with for the rest of my life. That is, if the apocalypse doesn’t take place this week. Though, if it does, it’ll probably be on some other planet. I start a karate class and am quickly beating potential rapists into apologetic pulp. Then I break my arm right before my test for the black belt (damn prairie dog holes) and never realize that dream. I see an interview with an everyday Joe who saved some endangered child and I’ve already figured out how I would have done it better by the end of the show. I never do get comfortable, however, with the sudden media attention and adoration of the masses. I meet a new guy and he is already doomed to never be as romantic as he is in my head. Within a week of knowing each other he’s already stood me up at the alter, helped me conceive three beautiful little boys, and been killed in Iraq. There is no suggestion I can’t blow out of proportion. There is no intimation I can’t turn into past tense. There is no ending I haven’t rewritten so many times, so many ways, that reality can’t help but taste a little bland at times.
This is to say nothing of the created population in my mind of people and creatures I torture day in and day out with love, hate, boredom, defiance, and the other plot devices of life imagined. Their stories twist and twine as quickly and colorfully as mine tends to in my vivid imagination.
A good imagination can take up a lot of time. It can waste a lot of time. I’m not sure I could stop my imagination if I wanted to (barring pre-Oscar acceptance speech comas). I enjoy aspects of it and it has done wonders for my writing, but I hate the times when it seems like it supersedes reality. Life, the real one, isn’t all beige details after all. Reality can explode unexpectedly in ways that my imagination hasn’t gotten around to conceiving yet. Though I don’t want to exorcise my imagination, I do need to control it enough so that I can live my life happily.
So I’m a good little yogi; I sit quietly and try to clear the clutter of my mind. I do my best to live in the now, not the now if we had laser guns. And, for the beginning of this New Year 2007, I have no resolutions. I’m trying to cut back on unreasonable expectations.

January 2, 2007

Cloud Gate

Why a pet turtle?

I am a writer. Forgive me for repeating myself, but, I am a writer. I had to practice saying that. I am a writer. For years it was, “I want to be a writer.” That was my response to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and its taller equivalent, “What are you planning to do next?” At some point the “want to be” seemed silly. When do you cross over from the “want to be” to “am?” I’m not sure, but in the years of journaling, the hundreds of college papers, the newspaper articles written freelance, and the smattering of poetry throughout it all, surely I crossed over. The first time I was paid for something I wrote, the first time something I wrote appeared in a publication people had to pay for, the first time someone I worked with said I was a good writer—was that it?
I remember feeling like a liar the first time I said I was writing a novel. The responses were fairly standard.
“Oh,” from the non-writers.
“Yeah,” plus a half laugh from the writers, followed invariably by a page count, “I got to page 32 on my novel.”
When I finished mine I felt so justified. I had done what so many others didn’t really think I would get around to doing. I must have been a writer at that point. The sense of accomplishment slowly evaporated, however, with that eternal question, “What are you planning to do next?” Sometimes I say, “I am an unpublished author,” rather than “I am a writer.” It raises fewer questions, though the same amount of eyebrows.
Having done both, I can honestly say that I prefer writing to the trying to get my writing published. So, why do I bother? Why not just write for writing’s sake and leave careful instructions in my will that all the journals should be cremated along with my body? It can’t be money. If I thought I could make money from clever wordplay, I wouldn’t drive myself to cubicle land five days a week.
There’s that nagging need for someone to read it. If someone writes a note in a forest and no one ever reads it, isn’t it just paper? Someone else has to read it. They have to read it and respond. They have to love it or hate it or walk away perplexed by it. They have to take the time to acknowledge its existence and then pass judgment. That’s writing. I never felt like a writer so much as when I held my first rejection notice. A major publisher had read my first 30 pages and deemed it, “not what they were looking for at this time.” Ah, validation.
I still send out my first little novel that could. I occasionally work on its sequel. I write in my journal once a week. I write down the nonsense phrases that collect in my head and call it poetry. And now, due to the influence of other writers I know, I keep a blog. (Egad, what a word. Perhaps I’ll call it something else more poetic, like “pet turtle.”) I am a writer. I’ll keep writing and occasionally force myself to send my little words out into the world. Someone might see them. Someone might acknowledge them and pass judgment. I’ll keep writing. If not for glory and fortune—though I won’t turn those down—then for that elusive sense of accomplishment from knowing I wrote something worth reading, so someone did.