A week of revision, wine, screaming, & decoupage.

This last week has been about as good as I could have hoped for. After last week,  it was just what I needed. After making some mistakes, it only seems appropriate that fate rewards me with less trying and more rewarding seven days.

I spent the earlier part of the week revising a piece to share with my writer’s group. This meant coming home from work and spending the better part of my evening at my computer, reworking the same paragraph I had been staring at for twenty minutes. As tedious as it sounds, it was extremely rewarding. One evening, I took a bike ride down by the river, found a soft grassy spot and went to work. I got a lot more done without an internet connection.

I used to hate revision, but that was back when I thought everything I wrote was gold. Now I’ve accepted that first drafts are typically shit and have learned to appreciate the process. And though I don’t usually sift through old drafts, I’ve saved each one. This means I have a folder of each story with at least four or five drafts. Speaking of, I should really back that up on two separate hard drives.

On Wednesday, I met up with three of my aunts. We went to a wine bar for dinner and I spent the rest of the night burping moscato and beef carpaccio. After that, we went to Lifest. Lifest is a christian music festival that my family used to go to when I was young. I hadn’t been there since I was fourteen with my boyfriend at the time. Ten years later, it was bizarre to see a music festival lacking stumbling drunks and an excess of cleavage. Since I grew up nondenominational, I’m pretty sure most of my extended family assumes I at least claim to believe in God. While I’m not willing to state there is no God, I’m not willing to say I believe in a God. I know that saying this will probably give me some backlash from some friends and family, but I don’t want people thinking that because I went to Lifest I’m a god-fearing young woman. And I’m not saying that out of some sense of hyper-vigilance, I just don’t want to present myself as something I’m not. I know many good things done in the name of God, but there are also some pretty dark things done in the same name. At this point, all I am willing to say is that I haven’t found compelling evidence. When and if I ever do believe in God, it will be something that occurs organically, not by shocked friends and family sending me bible verses.

So anyway, I was at Lifest. I spent most of the time talking with my Aunt Laurie about men, dreams, passions, mental obstacles, The Bloggess (and Beyonce, the giant metal chicken), and goals. I went home feeling refreshed, inspired, and content.

On Friday, I went to Six Flags Great America with some friends where I went on rollercoasters and screamed a lot.

Yesterday, I met with my writer’s group, got some great feedback (“You have a lovely way of being funny & witty while also being poignant, self-deprecating, and reflective”), and left feeling inspired. I shared a more reflective version of my last post, and I had several requests for a story next time. I think I’ll do something more prose-like for next month, but my biggest obstacle is going to be getting away from my second person narration. It’s emotionally easier to write second person. It allows me to distance myself from the material. I think that was pretty evident with my last list. It’s strange: I’m willing to share fairly intimate details, but I’m not, apparently, willing to attach the “I” pronoun. I could be wrong, but I think that if I want to write memoirs and personal essays, I’m going to have to get over that.

Or maybe I’ll just revolutionize memoir and write a collection of essays in the second person.

Nobody steal my idea, okay?

Then Andrea and I had a decoupage day. We listened to Rilo Kiley, ate some pizza, drank some beer, and pasted things on foam board and canvas. I created some things to hang on my walls.

[Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.]

All in all, this was a mediocre blog post about a rejuvenating week. Now it’s coming to a close with a heat advisory that I’m using as an excuse to sit inside and read Kurt Vonnegut all day.

Just individual egos, crazy for love

So, I just got internet in my apartment. I came home after work and attempted to secure my wireless network. Then I realized I’m a silly girl who has no idea how to do such a thing. I screwed it up and then a friend told me about the reset button. So as of right now, my internet has no password. But I’m connected. That’s the cool thing.

Somebody should come over to my apartment and secure it for me so my neighbors don’t hack into all of my very sensitive files (17 drafts of my seminar piece, 9 attempts at the above shot with my webcam, russian vocabulary translations).

I have a feeling that someday I’m going to turn into the sort of person who begins every sentence with “My therapist says…” Right now, I’m too poor for that. But it’s good to have something to aspire to, right? Anyway, I realized the other day that I’m certainly my own brand of crazy. Crazy isn’t the appropriate word, but my head hurts too much to think of something else. But everybody is. We all have our weird quirks and terrible ways of dealing with things. Me? When I cry, I fold my tissue into halves. I try to prove that whole seven times thing wrong. I don’t think it’s worked. But I do my damndest. I’m a very dedicated worker. I could go more into this, but I’d rather eat ice cream for dinner and quickly change the subject.

I’ve also been reading my Norton Anthology of Short Fiction for fun. I haven’t touched it since my intro to creative writing class about ten years ago (I lied, it was only about four, but it feels like it’s been ten years), so I’ve been reading stories for what feels like the first time. I spent about $70 on the thing to read four or five stories out of it that semester. Apparently the professor had never heard of a copier. It’s become the thing I fall asleep with at night. It’s a nice giant book that feels like a bible but with way more insight into the human psyche. It’s fantastic.

Like that ditty, from Donald Barthelme’s “Me and Mrs. Mandible”. Tell me that isn’t true. I dare you.

Oh, I’m also reading Freud’s Dream Psychology Psychoanalysis for Beginners. You know, for fun. Making fun of Freud is something that will never get old. I promise you. I expect to someday talk to a therapist about things in this book.

I’ve also been self-medicating again. Large doses of Ok Go and evening jogs on the trail near my apartment. Going almost two weeks without internet forces you to get creative with your time. There is really only so much a phone and 3G can do for a girl. She’s forced to return to books and writing without blogging. It’s weird. There isn’t any immediate gratification from pressing that “publish” button. She has to write the kind stuff that requires (and deserves) revision.

If you’re feeling down or lonely, I can’t recommend Ok Go enough. I know, they’re that band you liked in high school and pretend you’re too cool for now, but seriously. You’re a robot if this video doesn’t make you smile or at the very least breathe a sigh of relief. Listening to this band will decidedly end your pity party.

Also, that’s the first acceptable use (outside of the military) for a ghillie suit that I have ever seen.

I think my therapist would say I’m avoiding what’s really bothering me.

Five Shockingly Boring Confessions

My writer’s group has a fascination with lists. Since most of the group is composed of men, they usually don’t pertain to me. (Last month, somebody shared “Five Signs You’re Ready for Fatherhood”.) Usually they’re written with the perfect balance of intelligence and self-deprecation. I’ve been trying to find that balance in my own lists, but I’m all about self-deprecation and no intelligence, apparently. My mind has been operating in lists for the last week or so. I learned it’s not exclusive to my sober mind either. After an ER visit the other night, I walked away with a diagnosis of “Abdominal Pain, Right upper quadrant” and a prescription for vicoden. This is what I came up with while on vicoden. (Just a head’s up, my sober-minded lists aren’t much better. )

1. When my nail polish chips, I peel the rest off.

I’ll take great pride in completing a beautiful manicure only to deliberately ruin it as soon as it chips. I like how my nail feels when it takes in air after by suffocated by three layers of polish and I get an unnatural sense of satisfaction from peeling a chunk bigger than an pencil eraser. It reminds me of being in grade school, getting Elmer’s Glue on my hands, and peeling it off after it dried. A normal, self-respecting young woman would simply use remover to take off the thing when it starts looking like crap. Not me. I’d rather peel the stuff off and look like a thirteen year old who doesn’t take notes in algebra class.

2. I have no idea how to wear lipstick.

I genuinely envy women who can wear lipstick. I have no idea how to apply it. As a former Mary Kay lady, I’m probably supposed to know how to do this. I know that the “proper” way involves liner, lipstick, and tissue, but I’ve never been able to figure it out. Whenever I use liner, I’m never able to figure out where exactly my lip ends and where my skin begins. You’d think the color difference would be enough, but no matter where I trace the line, it never seems to be right. Also, if I’m trying to wear a shade other than red, I’m convinced that my liner is too dark and my lipstick is too light. There’s some comedian who has a joke about the dark liner/light lipstick; he says that it’s the most hideous look ever and it looks like a butthole. I’ve never been able to get that visual out of my head.

3. I have watched Say Yes to the Dress for more than two consecutive hours.

When I had my own television, I genuinely enjoyed Friday nights alone. TLC plays wedding shows from about 4pm until 11pm. I often used this as an opportunity to shut my door, hang out in my underwear and drink too much moscato by myself. The show isn’t exactly compelling. It’s just women trying on wedding dresses. Where’s the appeal? I don’t like half the dresses they show, and about 95% cost far more than I would ever consider spending.

4. I don’t know the words to Rich Girl but I insist on singing along anyway.

After creating a Bee Gees Pandora station (Bill used to play in a disco band and I was a supportive girlfriend), I came upon the realization that I genuinely enjoy music made before I was born. This includes, but is not limited to, the Bee Gees, Simon & Garfunkel, Earth Wind & Fire, and Hall & Oates. The last time I heard Rich Girl, I told my friend, “This is my jam!” before rocking out and attempting to sing along. As long as I catch the “it’s a bitch, girl” parts, I consider it a success.

5. I own a piggy bank. 

And it’s currently empty. There is literally no reason for me to own a piggy bank. I used it for a few months before I took a trip to California and collected about $70 worth of latte-making tips. Since then, it has not held more than $13. I know that because I used the last $13 as my bar money for Halloween. But it’s cute, isn’t it? I bought it because it looks exactly like a piggy bank you see in a cartoon. Did I mention I’ve been known to spend my money irresponsibly?