What I love

There are many things I love. I won’t enumerate them as we would all be exhausted by the mere process. Though I do advise the occasional stock taking of that which you love. I digress, I just wanted to post, that in the many ways in which I am a spoiled creature, a creature of privilege and joy, well my greatest privilege by far is the amazing and kind company of my wonderful friends. I have built a family out of ether and it is a beautiful gathering.

Root Canal

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the words Root or Canal, the same way there’s nothing inherently wrong with the phrase Up All Night and the word Working.

I’m not going to spell it out, but trust me, it’s bad.

On the plus side of the equation, I found the most awesome blog: Feminist Ryan Gosling.

I finally located my perspective somewhere under a pile of weep. I realized that I tend to have my little meltdowns well after the crisis has passed. Like many children my age, first things go bad, then I handle them, then I realize what I went through and suffer from emotional hiccups. Then I calm down and see that everything is going to be okay.

So there. Everything is going to be okay. Plus a little helping of Feminist slogans: Hey Girl.

Reasonable Girl Vs. Buzzee Bee

So I have a new alter ego in my life: busy bee, or for marketing purposes, Buzzee Bee. Buzzee Bee is frantically roaming the world, going from project to project, trying to suck up all the inspiration before the season’s up.

Reasonable Girl, who would like to take a measured, polite assessment of what’s doable and get a good night’s sleep, is still in there, but she’s getting shouted over by Buzzee Bee.

I was trying to embrace Reasonable Girl, but I find myself staying up later and later, pushing myself to get more and more done, and constantly feeling preoccupied, slightly overwhelmed, and often (and most lethally): unfocused.

I’m hoping that my assuming the guise of Buzzee Bee for Halloween will somehow be an act of healing exorcism and that on November 1, I can cut off my wings, put my Reasonable Girl cape back on and get a bit more sleep.

The Ren Faire

After I wrote my third paper of the semester’s seven, we took off for the PA Renaissance Faire. I’m always intrigued by what gets acted out at the Renaissance Faire. I like that the space embraces misfits and curiosity seekers of all stripes. I always wonder at the elaborate costumes some wear. I wonder at the meaning of the costumes, the getting of the costumes, how often the costume gets worn and under what circumstances and in what company. Is it a special occasion, a Halloween of sorts, a once yearly occurrence? Or is this just another day in a specially constructed alternate reality? I enjoy costumes. I love the freedom people can feel when they slightly change their garb. I respect the need to redefine the self, enlarge the possibilities, look in the mirror and see someone new. All those things I get and love and have practiced myself in different ways over different ages.

After all, my memoir is about redefining parts of my self, repeatedly, over the years. Certain accessories and experiences have made me feel full of possibility and possibility is exciting.

What I came to understand after some experimentation with different costumes and styles was that all clothes are costumes of one type or another–we are constantly sending a message out into the world. In this period of my life I resort to reasonable girl costuming–totally unremarkable–because I see it as an all access pass. I threaten no one, I’m not very splashy, this lets me fade in and out of environments at will. Nothing is jarred in my passage and that gives me freedom to observe the world. I am un-aligned, unmarked, and in this simplicity I feel free.

Prayers Answered

Life is very exciting in these parts. I just tackled my second memoir chapter rewrite, and it felt downright successful. That’s two pleasurable chapter rewrites in a row. Inconceivable. (“Are you sure that word means what you think it means?”). Miraculous.

The experience is good because I can read feedback on particular chapters that tell me I’m currently failing and take the critique in stride, and when I re-read the chapters, my X-ray editor/writer vision is in full force. I can see when this empress has no clothes. And I have the gumption to make my own cloak and fix the problem. This is a very empowering process. I can be pointed to a problem, and I can tackle it. Oh sweet rewrite siren, how sweetly you sing.

Tonight, I also rewrote my intro to my book using language that I first plunked here. It’s been tweaked, but it’s still good and evocative (thanks Blog!). I also started re-organizing the order of the memoir chapters. The memoir order is not exactly chronological, but it’s now more thematic. Kind of.

I have to do homework, so i have to leave well enough alone for now, but I may have found a new technique: I get an hour (on nights when I have five hour homework stretches in front of me) to work on my memoir (timer and everything) and then I have to attend to homework. This creates a positive kind of force. I am compelled to face my fears, write, and be efficient, because my precious minutes are tick-tocking away. Oh the precious!

And with that. Good night.

The Gazillionth Rewrite

“I feel stupid and contagious” allows me to a) honor Nirvana belatedly (jumping on media bandwagon), and b) succinctly express how I feel when my writing group critiques my work. I have been working on my Frenchness and Identity piece for a while. I must be in my fifth major re-write/re-org at the very least. Last night I had the audacity to share the piece with my writing group, and those lovely wizards clarified the million different ways in which my piece is limping along on crutches, with a bad case of…(I don’t know. I want to say charlie horse, but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong) broken ankle. They rightfully exhorted me to simplify, streamline, focus, deepen, add fuller scenes, and feel the rage. These are all excellent suggestions. I’m going to need to put on my small cape to tackle this mess. It’s not like it was a revelatory session, it was a session of dread. I hate being told that what I suspected all along was right–my nagging doubts are totally warranted. My piece doesn’t suck, it’s too tentacular. Tentacular spectacular. Apparently I have the outline of a book buried in an unevenly paced essay. Oh me oh my, I’m gonna have to work like the dickens to figure this out (again), after having worked so hard to figure it out (before) because nothing is damn linear for me when it comes to writing (darn).

“I’m worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed”

Smells like teen spirit.

Imagined Universes and the Christmas Letter

You know how families send around those Christmas letters detailing the year’s accomplishments and memories for the family as a whole and for its members? I got jealous. Single girls don’t send these letters. So I tried to write one (but maybe that’s already been done and it’s called Bridget Jones’ Diary) and it’s harder than it looks. I determined that in order to qualify for Christmas letter writing, I needed to have a family. So I concocted the only kind of family I could–an imaginary baby. Once I went through the process of imagining my family, it occurred to me that my life was full of imaginary things, or at least my mind was in constant dialogue running amok between my dreams, my perceptions, my past, my imagined future, my desires, and my realities. This was rich terrain. I wanted to write about identity, my identity, but I wanted to capture the influence of my multiple internal dialogues, including the very strong relationship I had with the imagined future.

Where did that realization come from? I knew about the imagined future because I had realized that the one aspect of breaking up (many times, over several decades) I found most difficult to deal with cognitively was the loss of my imagined future. It was an imagined possession that I truly missed having stolen.

So that’s where I got started. Also, I’ve had a small, but potent relationship with the idea of multiple universes, in a very self-serving way. Whenever I feel constrained by my lived life and current choice sets, I like to imagine multiple other universes where I made radically different choices at critical junctures. There’s the me that spent a year abroad with the Rotary Club, the me that went to Bryn Mawr, the me that never left New York City, the me that got an MFA, the me that married young and disastrously, the me that is a junkie, the me that is a professor. They comfort me. And they remind me of my possibilities.
So those are the seeds of the memoir. The imagined. The possible. My identity. And my history (though I am more interested in the future than in the past, as a life philosophy).

my small cape

This is my second blog site, but something about owning my own domain has changed the game for me. Maybe because it feels like I’m finally making a sizable commitment to my craft. You heard me–I really mean it this time (the claiming of a writerly identity I whisper).

The creation of this blog (a banal enough occurrence in the greater scheme) makes me feel like I’ve called a press conference and shown up, unmasked, holding a pen and wearing a cape. The cape wearing makes me slightly more sophisticated than my Jane Austen action figure because she doesn’t have a cape. (I feel bad when I look at her because I’ve lost one of her two accessories–the book is gone, but the feather tipped writing utensil remains.)

I’m so excited to write to you, dear reader, that I woke up at 5am unprompted for no good reason at all, besides my being hyper at the prospect of travel, studies, my shiny new two page website, manuscript readers, and the beginning of the school year at work.

My brain is no good whatsoever when it’s sleep deprived, so today’s modest writing goal was merely to print out three of my short storiesĀ (yay fiction!) so I could edit them in Montreal.

And now I’ve napped, and thus can blog. A good day to all.