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Showing posts from April, 2012

On the bright side -- there aren't any slugs in the shower

I was moping around the house, because my brain didn't feel like writing -- It's the stress of being financially disabled, I concluded. Everything would be so easy if I didn't have this money thing hanging over my head. I knew it was a load of crap, but you make allowances in these situations, because writers can go from blocked to homicidal in a heartbeat.

I tried all of the usual remedies -- yelling at Jerod, scolding the kids for hitting one another with rubber spatulas ... nothing was working.

The situation was deteriorating rapidly when Jerod started to pray on the sofa -- Please let her come up with something, otherwise the whole family will suffer.
I felt the early pangs of self pity building in my stomach, but before I could put them into words I was overcome by a memory -- one of those Dickens-like flashbacks that gives you perspective. 
We've been through much worse 
Jerod and I have always had an abundance of shady characters threatening our financial securit…

Telling me you're smart doesn't make it so

There are a crap-ton of "geniuses" out there who think they know everything there is to know about this art of putting words together in a manner that makes people want to read them -- don't do this, young, aspiring writer; you'll never be as good as Jack Kerouac, young, aspiring writer; perhaps if you're struggling to find the right words, young, aspiring writer, you're not really a writer.

I hate them; the egomaniacs who call themselves writers -- I don't care how many books they've published. Writers aren't supposed to be in love with themselves.

If you think you're smarter than every soul on earth; do us a favor -- STOP WRITING

Take columnist Crawford Kilian for example. Kilian was featured on NPR's Talk of the Nation last week discussing a column he wrote nearly two years ago urging young writers to steer clear of great works from Kerouac, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger and others.

"Any young person who wants to be a …

My husband did it

Feminists have said for years that women -- especially married women -- should take control of their personal finances -- Never trust a man to do it for you.

WELL -- my husband's been telling me for months that his clients owe him thousands of dollars, and I'm starting to think he's a liar.

I got this nagging feeling a couple of days ago that something was fishy when Jerod made three separate trips to the grocery store. My husband's far too perfect to do something absent minded, like driving home without the groceries or losing his credit card in the parking lot -- those are my kind of screw ups.


If I was bit by a poisonous snake, and my life depended on Jerod making a second trip to the grocery store for a vial of life-saving antivenom; I'd die. 
"I'm sorry," he'd tell me. "It's a waste of gas to drive in circles like that."

But here he was going back and forth -- six trips -- from the grocery store for no apparent reason. He fo…

The Golden Rule for writers?

I'd like to say that I don't feel sorry for myself -- that I never raise my arms to the sky and whimper "Why me?"

But I do feel sorry for myself on a rather regular basis, and it triggered a thought on my way home from work today that I am a character in a book -- that all writers are characters in other writers' books, and our stories are determined by the way we treat our characters.

When I ask "why me," I have to consider: Am I a benevolent writer, or am I a cruel and twisted writer? The answer -- considering the joy it brings me to snap photos of my children crying -- is that I am the writer equivalent to (choose your evil dictator). 
I would certainly take away my protagonist's livelihood within hours of her giving birth naturally to an 8-pound baby who never sleeps. But I would be meaner than the putz who's writing my story -- I'd make the baby weigh 12 or 15 pounds, and I'd give her long, sharp fingernails.
I'm a vengeful sort…

Better off comatose -- maybe

I almost didn't come home from work today -- not because I love my job or my home life is unsatisfying. It's just that so many things went so terribly wrong in eight hours that I feared I would die in a car crash.
To begin with, I didn't get paid -- my paycheck this week was NEGATIVE-$20.90. Every penny I earned (plus 2,090 pennies I didn't earn) was deducted for medical and dental premiums -- "congratulations your benefit enrollment form was processed!" This would get an "awe shucks" under normal circumstances, because I work for medical insurance and milk money. But seeing as Jerod is owed somewhere in the neighborhood of $11,000 for work he's done since February; my negative-balance paycheck that will carry over into next week was received with something more colorful than "awe shucks."

Before the folks at payroll explained the situation, I convinced myself that some hacker cleverly usurped my paycheck before it reached the bank. I…

Wish in one hand ...

It's not enough to be sick, poor, exhausted and crazy -- no way. Let's top that poop cake off with a pimple as big as a walnut -- WOOT, WOOT! Now I'm deformed, sick, poor, exhausted and crazy.

I was only slightly deformed at sunrise, but being home sick with nothing better to do than poke at my chin with straight pin I'm all set to join the traveling freak show -- which was my goal all along. If you can't pay your bills the old fashioned way; charge people obscene amounts of money to look at you and say "at least I'm not that person." But it turns out that freaks don't get paid -- just the asshole in the waistcoat. So I'm back to square 1 -- repulsive and penniless.

Why can't we choose to be one or the other? I can do repulsive -- I'm a writer. There's no reason that anyone aside from my friends and family should ever be forced to look at me. Just make me a SUCCESSFUL writer and I'll be cheerfully repulsive for the rest of my …

A little help, Dear

I keep thinking I can train my husband -- if I write enough about all of the ways he gets underneath my skin; he'll get the message and help me in my endeavors to write the next best American novel.
Someone must either shoot me now or run me down with a car -- save the bullets -- although, gas is awfully expensive too ... I digress. My husband is a man and as such will never be capable of taking a hint because subtlety -- even subtle subtlety on the crossroads of direct and blatant -- is lost on simple-minded creatures.
It's tax time, and last year -- despite earning less money combined than I alone earned in a single year waitressing -- Turbotax insisted that we owed the IRS $500 that we did not and do not have. We filed an extension, and Jerod swore on my life that he'd sort it all out. But he didn't follow through which left me completing our 2010 tax return by hand on Friday evening instead of writing. Jerod lounged on the couch all night watching Adult Swim on Ca…

Verbal diarrhea: A family tradition

There are times when I'd really love to curl up in the fetal position and die -- say I drank too much on a Friday night and I woke up the next day not quite sure what I said or did. The pieces sort of fall into place as the day progresses -- each a little more embarrassing than the last -- and at some point it's all I can do not to drown myself in the bathtub.

Oh my God, did I really say that; did I really do that; did I really talk about uncircumcised penises -- I've never actually seen one, but I've heard stories from people who have and I sometimes share them when I'm drunk or sleepy or both.

Did I really do the Risky Business dance in my underwear? Did I really put my legs over my head at the office Christmas party? Did I really ...

I'm sure my parents talked to me about self control -- in fact they sent me to therapists and anger management classes -- but I couldn't tell you what they said. It's a weakness of mine -- keeping my mouth shut.

Therapy: I…

Tired, crazy, cranky ... TIRED

Sleep deprivation will make you crazy -- near homicidal as I discovered early Monday morning following a busy Easter weekend. 
We have a ritual at home. Jerod falls asleep on the couch; sometimes the kids sleep with him; sometimes the kids stay awake and jump on the bed and drive me crazy. Whichever scenario I go to bed at 9 p.m. I fall asleep around 10. Jerod wakes up with or without the children and comes thundering through the doorway into our bedroom between 10:45 and 11 p.m. I'm a lite sleeper -- the smallest noise or change in room temperature is liable to rouse me as it did this particular Monday -- or should I say Sunday; it wasn't quite midnight yet. I believe the time was 11:57 p.m. and three-quarters. 
I'd been sleeping for approximately 45 minutes when Jerod and company startled me awake hovering over my bedside like the demon folk from Village of the Damned. Considering that I pleaded with Jerod a couple of hours earlier to get off the couch and come to bed so…

The writing trap

All I think about is writing from the moment I open my eyes in the morning all through the day until the sun goes down, and I'm floating in that fuzzy place where my last lucid thought flutters away on paper wings.
And that's where God or Karma or the Devil cues my children to burst through the door and jump on the family bed screaming "WAKE UP MOMMY! WE LOVE YOU!"

Writing any more is a luxury. I have to choose it over life-saving medical procedures -- or a man screaming with a bomb strapped around his middle and a gun "write and die." This of course is the reason that so many writers are unattached shut-ins -- because everything with a pulse that shares space with you will compete for your time, and something will always need doing in the hour you schedule for writing.
The writing trap: Here's what happens
I have this panic alarm built in -- all writers do -- to jolt me when I'm not producing enough quality material. Then I tag every spare moment I…


I am one dumb-luck happenstance away from a full-fledged nervous breakdown -- no kidding this time.

My back is pretty sturdy by now -- random bouts of unemployment, mounting debt, hooligan children, crazy family members (they're all nuts including me) -- I can carry a shit-ton of crap in my nifty ain't-life-swell backpack, but I'm no frickin' body builder. And it's not even big things that are pushing me over -- random bouts of unemployment, mounting debt, hooligan children ... it's the shit-storm of stupid people raining down on me like poops from Heaven.
The latest was a Florida couple--a mullet-sporting, NASCAR-loving twat and her top-heavy husband -- in a movie theater parking garage. I was so close to knocking their teeth down their throats -- that's assuming they had teeth -- I could taste blood.
For starters they came fishtailing into the garage and nearly plowed into a row of parked cars. They raced around the place like a couple of Earnhardt wannab…