Archive for December, 2008

“Ed Who?”

December 31, 2008

Ah, how fleeting fame can be.  Ed Wood.

And since I know better than to try and follow an act like THAT, I’ll just wish everyone a Happy New Year’s Eve, and remind you that no matter HOW good the party is, it puts a real damper on the evening to end up in the hospital and/or die from it.

So here’s a candle to light your way home.

The damn book is officially “awesome.”

December 30, 2008

According to Daron S. of Utah, who is also officially my FIRST non-family reader who has finished the book and gotten back to me.  (My mother also finished the book and enjoyed it, but that hardly counts and I know it.  What DOES count though is she only found two typos, both minor, which means I only had to sit through two gut wrenching instances of “I found something wrong with your book.”  Thanks Mom.  I’ll get those fixed in a future printing, I promise.)

Daron asked if I was planning to write a sequel, and I told him if enough people ask me to, then I’d consider it, but I was totally lying.

I’m writing a sequel no matter if anyone asks me to or not.  In fact, I’m planning to write a sequel even if people ask me NOT to.

So here’s a candle for Daron for making my day.  And while I’m at it, here’s a candle for Ed Wood, patron saint of “I’m going to keep doing what I love even if it means sailing directly into the teeth of criticism.”

“I wonder if he’s talking about something other than tennis . . .?”

December 29, 2008

And I’m back.  I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday . . . mine was quite nice, but I ran into an overabundance of tennis enthusiasts this year. 

Now I understand this is a special time of year for them, and I respect that.  I also want to make it clear that I like tennis . . . even use to play it when I was younger, took lessons and everything.  I understand it’s a fine sport with a lot of fine points, but people . . . PLEASE.  I know this can be difficult for some of you to understand, because for you tennis is everything.  You know there are other sports out there, but nothing can hold a candle to tennis in your mind and you’re not interested in changing.

But there ARE other things to talk about.  There are OTHER gifts to give than tennis inspired ones, and EVEN IF YOU THINK THEY’RE WRONG, you HAVE to understand that there are SOME people in the world that have never played tennis, and, honestly, don’t want to.  It’s fine if you want to give them a chance to play IF they seem interested, but enough with asking them EVERY week if they want to play tennis with you, ENOUGH with giving gifts of tennis themed bracelets and tennis books, and ESPECIALLY ENOUGH with gifts of tennis rackets and other tennis accouterments to people that DON’T PLAY TENNIS! 

You like tennis . . . A LOT.  That’s quirky, but in a good way, and I even LIKE quirky, but beyond a certain point . . .

Well . . .

It’s no longer a good thing.  That’s all I’m saying.

Have a safe and joyous holiday

December 23, 2008

Here’s a candle for everyone out there this holiday season.  No matter where we may go, may we all make it back home safely.

I’ll talk to you more after Christmas

A brief followup

December 22, 2008

One of the occupational hazards of being me is that I play with words . . . a lot (like the whole “make yourself happy” vs. “happy with” thing).  Sometimes I’m just quibbling for fun over semantics, and sometimes I actually come to find something I hadn’t noticed before.   Either way, what and how someone calls something . . . what they REALLY call something . . . DOES make a difference, and says a lot about the speaker and frequently gives a hint about how they think.

I remember going to a club once, and making a comment about having never seen so many pretty girls in one place.  To which a friend of mine replied “I know what you mean.  I’ve never been so turned on by whores in all my life.”

Let’s just say the silence that followed was . . . profound, but it’s a good example of what I’m talking about.  We both went to the same club, watched the same people, but I saw pretty girls . . . and he saw “whores.”

And there in lies the answer to the question “What’s in a name?” (Or in a word in this case).

P.S.  By the way, just because I am happy WITH something, does not, of necessity, mean I shall be UNhappy withOUT it.  Just thought I’d mention that.

A brief thought

December 19, 2008

Bit short of time/energy today (last night I had difficulty sleeping), so just a brief thought:

When you consider all the implications behind the idea of something MAKING you happy (i.e., some outside of yourself is FORCING you to be happy against your will), it sounds kind of silly.  I far prefer the idea of being happy WITH something.

A Reminder (Especially for Me)

December 18, 2008

Ever have one of those days where something in the news catches your eye, something not necessarily any more petty or asinine than anything else you’ve rolled your eyes at in the past, but THIS one catches your eye and brings all the stupid trends you’ve been watching for a while into sharp focus? 

I hope so, because otherwise you won’t have ANY idea of the mood I’m in right now. 

Honestly, my first impulse was to rant about it, but then I took some of my own advice regarding candles, and decided to do something else instead . . . something so AGAINST the trends of the Internet they may pull the plug on me just for considering it. 

I’m not going to rant, nor am I going to point fingers (or links) to the article I read about a gentleman who has grave fears about the future of this country and the world.  Though I personally find his manner of expressing those fears . . . well . . . asinine and petty  . . .  the whole affair is easily overlooked if one keeps in mind it was a gesture that truly harmed no one.

But, for the record, neither did it HELP anyone either.

So here’s a candle for all the people actually DOING something in an effort to make the world a better place, people’s whose efforts frequently go unnoticed simply because they don’t feel the need to make pointless gestures that get their names in the papers. 

Keep up the good work, folks.  It is DEEPLY appreciated.

Zen and the Art of Snowmen

December 17, 2008

So the other day my mother was driving alone and had a tire explode on her.  She was fine, and managed to pull over to the side of the road and call AAA.  Now as anyone who’s ever been stuck on the side of the road waiting for help knows, the waiting can be a chore.  Yes, I know . . . a Zen master would accept the situation, and possibly take the time to meditate, but the Zen master vs. non-Zen master proportion is pretty high in favoring the “non” in the current world population, and that is something some Zen “masters” seem to have difficulty accepting.  Non-Zen people tend to get bored and annoyed waiting stuck on the side of the road, and I assure you I’ve never thought of my mother as a Zen master, so she got VERY bored and annoyed.

So she built a snowman.

Turns out there had been a recent snowfall, and not all of it had melted, so my mother took what snow she could and made a mini-snowman while she waited, a mini-snowman complete with gravel eyes and a little hat made out of leaves.  According to my mother, more than one passerby must have thought she was some crazy lady that had pulled over to the side of the road just to build a snowman, but it helped her pass the time, and she was no longer annoyed or bored.

Like I said, I have never thought of my mother as a Zen master, or even a Zen master in the process of becoming.

But perhaps I should have.

“The damn book” (Final)

December 16, 2008

There were times I still struggled as I wrote “In Justice’s Shadow.”  There were still distractions, I still got in my own way . . . a LOT, and I still berated myself for it.

But despite that, I still managed to move forward on it, however slowly at times, and it began to dawn on me I was ACTUALLY writing a book, and that was . . . very, VERY cool. 

But something was missing.

You see, by that point I had met a number of people that were also writing books, or had book ideas at least.  Some were more serious than others, of course, and there was the usual list of reasons why they weren’t finished/hadn’t started yet:  Not enough time, not sure where to start, lack of confidence, etc.  All places that I had been, but I couldn’t help but notice almost all of them seemed to be hooked on the idea of WRITING a book . . . not FINISHING writing a book, or ever really letting anyone (outside of perhaps a select few) ever READ it.  Almost everyone seemed stuck in the writing process.

Like my grandmother.

And I went home . . . and I looked at my manuscript . . . full of what seemed to be good ideas but incomplete implementation, full of typos and clunky structure that I thrown up as a prop until I could get back to polish it, and I was filled with the realization that it would never be perfect, and that some people would read what I had written and absolutely HATE it, and some of them wouldn’t be shy of telling me that.  

But some people would like it, and even if they didn’t, my only alternative was to remain stuck (as I had been for so long) in an endless loop of working on a project without finish, and while I didn’t know what finishing it might bring, I already knew how NOT finishing it made me feel, and then it struck me:  For many reasons,  from personal pride and simply justifying how much time and energy I had already invested, to honoring my grandmother in the best way possible that had never occurred to me (i.e.,  by FINISHING a book and letting other people read it the way she never could with her own writing) . . .

. . . I. NEEDED. To. Finish. The. Damn. Thing.

And THAT’S why I call it the damn book.

“The damn book” (Continued)

December 15, 2008

Now . . . some people out there decide to write something, and it just flows from them.  There can be a lot of reasons for that, but the main one I’ve noted is, as basic as it sounds, they simply do NOT get in their own way by trying too hard.  They WORK at it, of course, but without the “Gotta do this!  Gotta DO this!” chant that is common among writers, aspiring or otherwise. 

So . . . as I was saying earlier, I had decided I wanted to do a big project, so naturally I picked something of great personal meaning to me, something to directly honor the grandmother of mine that always wanted to write, but could never bear to show what she wrote to anyone.  It was an idea I’d toyed with in the past, I had even made some headway on the idea, so it SEEMED like a perfect plan. 

And with that decision made  . . . I promptly froze up colder than an ice maker on Pluto (which is too a planet, by the way). 

I struggled.  I retreated.  I berated myself.  I struggled some more, all the time telling myself “Gotta do this!  Gotta DO this!”

Months rolled by, and for some odd reason, I just wasn’t making any headway except in making myself feel like a total waste of life that barely (if at all) deserved the privilege of oxygen. 

Eventually . . . slowly . . . painfully . . . I realized I was so wrapped up in the idea of succeeding at writing my holy grail of a project, I was spending most of my time tripping over my own over enthusiastic feet and my fears of failure.  I was putting SO much pressure on myself, it was simply impossible for me to move forward.  Fortunately, by the time I realized this I had come up with an idea for project that I knew I could approach with a more balanced attitude.

And with the realization that all I had to do was ease up on myself, I wrote happily ever after, with good fairies unnecessarily spell checking my always perfect work, and the muses themselves handing me my tea and coffee . . .

. . . or not. 

(I’ll give you two guess which of the two it really was, and the guess involving good fairies doesn’t count.)