Think I’ll buy me a football team

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I found a ten dollar bill on the street before, which is the type of thing that never happens to me. By contrast, I lost a fifty a few weeks back, which I hope wound up in highly deserving hands. Because it was the only money I had on me at the time, I had to run home, get more, and continue my shopping – and it was on the second trip that I found the image above. So there you have it: triumph over tragedy. An expensive rainbow. 

My new thing – which is really not much of a thing – is leaving my phone at home when I’m doing errands or being walked by the dog. These analog moments are crucial; were it not for the fact that I’m so damn used to being reachable, I’d have them more often. I have people I communicate with almost exclusively via email, or text, or, most shameful of all, Facebook – and so I need to stay on top of these things we’ve all come to depend on far too much. It goes without saying (though I’m saying it anyway, so I’m not sure why I said that) that it is far too easy to misconstrue words on a screen. I’m guilty of it too – of mistaking one-word texts for apathy and reading too much into exclamation points – and it’s absurd; I’m staging a backlash against the tech gods by bringing back the phone conversation. So much warmer, so much more can be said in far fewer words, so much better for our eyesight. 

Call me.

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Watch out, the world’s behind you

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In the past couple of days I’ve gotten up uncharacteristically early, which is one of the bright sides of things not going according to plan. I’d forgotten – or lost sight of, really – how beautiful early morning light is and how whole I feel when I’ve gotten things done before 9AM. I’d like to continue on this path but for the right reasons.

Yesterday morning as I was walking L, what I thought was a song lyric popped into my head. It dawned on me that it was actually something I wrote – and then I was horrified by the realization that I’d inadvertently quoted myself. As I like to say … never mind. 

Of course I’ll share it; I wouldn’t have brought it up if I wasn’t planning to. And while I would love to offer all my usual disclaimers and “It’s really unpolished”s and “it’s kind of embarrassing”s and “don’t look at me while I read it”s and “never mind I’ll just send it to you”s, I shall refrain. (see what I did there?) It was from an assignment I gave myself some years ago to write a sonnet – in the Shakespearean rhyme scheme, versus the Petrarchian, from whence springs the name of this blahhhhhhgggggg. The scheme is abab/cdcd/efef/gg … the last six lines of the one I did, written to no one in particular – it was an invented protag talking to an invented lover – went something like this. Actually went exactly like this: No matter how the pages will unfold/this was never lost or wasted time/look back upon these days when you grow old/and know our love, though fleeting, was sublime/A stubborn silver clings onto the night/I’ll always miss the early morning light. 

I don’t know – I think it’s kind of pretty – but maybe it’s all kind of other derogatory words whose definitions I vaguely know.

It’s only by forgiving ourselves mistakes we’ve made that we can move forward. Not always easy to do, but necessary. So necessary. To err is human. Painfully so. To forgive can also be human. 

I have big, productive plans for this weekend where writing is concerned. Huge ones. 

The sea was red and the sky was grey

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I had a dream the other night that I was working as an English tutor and had been hired by a couple who were their country-of-origin’s equivalent of Hollywood royalty. I could not for the life of me determine what their country of origin was, however, and their native language was one I’d never heard of. Its name contained the letters d, j, l, q … I think I’m playing too much Scrabble these days. 

My trip to Los Angeles was excellent (thanks for asking) – and as is often the case when I visit there, I didn’t want to come back. Yet. I got a lot of writing done, for which I’m extremely grateful — basically spent my days writing in my little bungalow and swimming laps (what I lack in aquatic grace and technique I make up for in enthusiasm) and the combination worked really well. I worked on The Novel and I revisited a screenplay that I started last year and put aside. It’s actually got potential. Maybe. Or not.

Never mind. 

It’s not laziness that has kept me from completing so many of the writing projects I’ve begun; it’s fear. Fear has gotten in the way of many things in my life, and has kept me mired in situations long after I should have extracted myself. Fear of change, fear of failure, fear of realizing I’m not a writer at all – in which case, what the hell am I? I had great conversation the other night with a writer friend about this very common, unremarkable phenomenon, and also about the fact that if someone is hellbent on having a negative opinion about you there is very little you can do to change that – and more often than not your efforts to do so will wind up reinforcing it. e.g. “You have such a sense of entitlement.” “What?! I do not!” “Of course you don’t think you do – that’s how big your sense of entitlement is.” … or words to that effect. Owtte. So, I suppose, the answer is to know that you know who you are and to relinquish the notion, which many of us have at one point or another, that being misread is a terrible thing. Because it just might not be. We will meet many more people over the years than we have bandwidth to incorporate into our lives. The ones who don’t see us as we (think we) are may actually be doing us the favor of freeing up space for another. Too many times I’ve let others’ opinions alter my sense of self, I’ve believed the negative hype despite the accolades of those with my best interests at heart. This has not served me well. I know myself very well – my strengths and my weaknesses, and I have many of each. I know when I’ve done wrong and I absolutely know how to apologize and how to forgive myself. And so this needs to dominate my self-perception.

Roar.

This was not the direction I’d meant this post to take. Blame it on the rain. And the Gruner Veltliner. Which is as much fun to say as it is to sip. 

 

Filling up an idle hour

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I’ve been taking melatonin to help me sleep and one of the side effects I’ve been experiencing is unusually vivid dreams. The other night I dreamt that I was very good friends with Brad Pitt – practically best friends. Nothing was going on between us – I swear – we just spent a lot of time together. Movies, dinners, long phone calls, that sort of thing. You know how it goes. There was plenty of speculation – par for the course when a man and a woman are as close as Brad and I. I often have celebrities in my dreams – James Franco showed up last night, with his longtime girlfriend who turned out to be one of the receptionists at the office. Mel Gibson proposed to me once with sapphire earrings on stage in the theater at my high school. This was the kinder, gentler, Mad Max version of him, not the homophobic anti-Semite. 

I had the rare pleasure of walking Lou at 5:00 this morning; he wasn’t feeling well last night so when he woke me extra early I didn’t pretend to still be asleep. It was nice in a glad-I-don’t-do-it-often kind of way. It was quiet, except for the early morning chirping of the birds and rats, and the cop who was washing his van, and the trio of ne’er-do-wells who were smoking on the corner. I expected to go back to sleep but it didn’t happen. So instead I’ve been reading and writing and running errands.

I’m applying to a program that pairs writers with high school girls who want writing mentors — this is similar to a program I was set to volunteer with a few years ago, before my year of surgeries put me out of commission; by the time I resurfaced, the program’s funding had been cut. One of the questions in this application process is “Why do you want to be part of a writing community?” – That’s an easy one to answer. Writing is an incredibly solitary endeavor, so much so that it can feel lonely at times. This is where having a forum like this blahhhhg is invaluable – knowing that I have a built-in readership, that my words, however imperfect, will have an audience, makes a tremendous difference to me. Not everything I write here is profound or well-written, but it’s necessary in cementing my identity as a writer – something that can feel like an empty promise at times. I’ve been published many times in the form of articles and essays, but it’s been a while. So even this relatively small exercise in self-publishing contributes to my feeling of productivity. I don’t get feedback on this forum often but when I do it encourages me to keep going. When I started this last year – just over a year ago, actually – it served a definite purpose of helping me through a challenging stretch of time; I literally wrote myself out of it . And then I reconnected with a friend (hi, L!) who was going through her own challenging time and she told me how much my words helped her to feel understood. So my writing took on a role outside of a self-motivated one, and so I kept going.

I’ve grown my writing community in recent months – my literary Salon, which has been meeting for about 6 years, continues to be a wonderful outlet and source of inspiration. The fact that I’m doing this with my mom is amazing – when we first began meeting I wasn’t sure how open I could be with my mom as one of my readers – but it’s been really cathartic, I think, for both of us. We were seven in the beginning – three maternity leaves later we are now four – and we work very well together. Last Monday I started a second writing group with five women who were part of the online novel-writing workshop I took earlier this year. There are six of us that live in New York(ish – one lives in Jersey City) and we decided to meet in person and it was amazing. A wonderful dynamic – really smart, talented, strong women – I couldn’t have handpicked a better group. We’re going to try for every two weeks. The feedback they’ve given me on my work-in-progress is incredibly insightful. To have a group of people so invested in my story and in my progress is the loveliest antidote to the solitude of writing. 

Now I have to put the insight and inspiration for my novel into writing … I’m going to do an overhaul of my outline to reflect the new changes. 

But first I’m going to go to the gym. I put it in writing, therefore I must do it. 

Going to LA in two weeks for the first time in a while – there I will hike and beach and commune with “nature” and my family. And write. My version of LA affords me a lot of time and space to do so. Looking forward.