Writer’s Boot Camp Day 10

I don’t want to do this, it’s 6 PM on a Friday night.  I would rather be going out with friends. I had two different concerts in my planner for tonight.  I decided which one to go to, the later show, with the more talented musicians, but I have decided against going at all for a few reasons.  One of which is I have to do this stupid writing and two is that planning is hard and I don’t want to drive out to a show alone.

I had two doctor’s appointments today,  I forgot to have any caffeine before I left the house this morning, meaning I have a headache now.  The computer screen is bright and the computer is oddly loud.

I feel like the advice in the book today isn’t currently relevant.  It is about using brainstorming, story mapping, outlines, and timelines.  How doing these things can make the writing process more efficient; saving time and helping you create a better story.

20180511_182807I agree, brainstorming is fun and has helped me when I’m having writer’s block.  I found two old brainstorming sheets from novels I started.  Both of these novels are still in the works, so if anyone is actually reading this, thank you for that, but don’t steal my ideas. I’ve never used story map, but it sounds like a good idea. I know from experience outlines can speed up your writing, while also keeping the story on track and making sense.

 I used to not be a fan of outlines, I felt like they were extra work and would stifle my raw creative genius. Then I realized I’m not some literary savant, but I normal person who loves to read, who loves to make up stories and who wants to tell stories that others want to read.  

So now I use outlines, especially in longer works.  Sometimes I don’t in short stories.

Which brings up why this exercise is irrelevant today.  I’m almost done with my current WIP, which had a rough outline.  I only need to write a few more scenes and edit, so I can’t follow the book’s advice and do an outline for my WIP.   I guess I could it for the project I was researching yesterday, but I don’t want too. I would rather finish one before getting too involved in another.

This books is encouraging multitasking a little more than I would like.  Yes, that makes it feel more like a “real” job, but also I think might decrease productivity.  But who am I to say, since clearly people buy Rachel Federman’s work and not mine, so I guess that means she knows more than I do.  

I’m going to work on my WIP for 30 minutes now.  I wish I had finished the painful emotional scene yesterday, working on it today seems really, really hard.   I hope writing this shit helps me get over some stuff. Maybe stop thinking about it so much so I can forget a little,  but not forgive.  I will never, ever forgive.

Maybe I can do editing type stuff on it instead, I don’t know.

I mostly just read what I had so far and did some edits.  I’ll do the hard stuff tomorrow.

Total time worked today is 1:25,  much less than yesterday, felt longer.

Writer’s Boot Camp day 7

Today’s theme was freestyle writing,  which I think should be writing whatever comes into your head, but there was a questionnaire to fill out.  I honestly didn’t understand having a structured free writing exercise. I did it, but it just annoyed me.   So I’ll just do my own as this blog post.star

I’ve written something every day for a week!  Yay! At first, I feel proud of that, then I feel silly for feeling proud.  I always feel silly when I have pride in my accomplishments.

I feel both happy that I have managed a week, but also annoyed and guilty that I haven’t done more,  I always feel like I should do more no matter how much I do in most areas of life. I constantly feel like I’m failing at everything.   Things that I see as optional, like writing, I normally choose not to do at all, because either way, I’ll feel like a lazy loser. It’s hard to not get down on myself when I have the honest yet unhelpful thoughts like

  1. You have spent hours this week writing,  editing and doing blog posts, but ultimately this time is wasted because it isn’t commodified.  You could have spent this time in a money making task.
  2. You spent hours writing and all you have to show for it are some blog posts that no one will read or comment on and a few pages of a short story that you don’t have plans to submit to anyplace
  3. You worked hard this week,  and if you kept it up you might accomplish something someday,  but you are almost 40 and you only have a few published short stories and one novella length piece that you refuse to edit,  if you had been more disciplined you could have been a writer, but now it is probably too late. Give up.
  4. You are not good enough, never good enough. Not a good enough writer,  not a good enough career person, not rich enough, not smart enough. This is why eventually everyone leaves if you were worth more people wouldn’t leave.

Today is very much a give up day.  I so badly don’t want to do this, it feels like a stupid, vain, pointless waste of time.  And I feel like a pointless waste of space.

20180508_143934I guess I should mention that today would have been my 8th wedding anniversary, to explain why abandonment is on my mind.   The one person who promised to love me forever stopped loving me. The person I respected and loved most in the world betrayed me.  The person I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, who promised to never leave me, left. It’s been over a year since he left me for another woman, who clearly has more worth than I do.  It has been a few months since we were officially divorced.20180508_144007_HDR

Yes, these pictures of from our wedding scrapbook.  Yes, I have kept it, and will continue to do so.  I put dozens of hours of work into the wedding and then into the scrapbook.  It is a fucking working of art that I’m proud of even if that marriage was a failure.

I want to be over this so badly,  and some days I am. And then other days I miss him so much I ache.  I want to send him cute pictures of my cats, that used to be his babies, that he loved so much until he didn’t.  I want to tell him about things I’m doing, places I’ve been going, my goals and plans. I want to ask him about his life and be a part of it.  However, every day the urge to reach out to him trends a little less, I now go weeks without communicating with him sometimes. But then he texts me about something,  or I end up sending him a cute cat picture and we start talking, and while we are chatting for a few moments I feel like I have my best friend back in my life. A few days ago we had a conversation about “Noir” by Chris Moore, one of our favorite authors,  we talked about the Avengers, he laughs at the funny things I say, and it feels good in the moment, and I know it shouldn’t. I want to text him now, but today of all days I will not.

I’m moving soon and once I do I guess that will change.  Once I leave this house, this part of town there will be nothing else connecting us. We have common acquaintances, but no common friends anymore. He doesn’t talk to my nieces or nephews anymore. There will be no logical reason to speak to him. Any chance of us repairing any part of our relationship will evaporate. This makes me sad, because after everything I still care for him, and still wish we could be friends.  But that isn’t a thing that can actually happen. He is someone I used to know, he is part of my past and has no place in my future, the present is brackish, because I’m still in between two states.

I should write a poem!!!!   I haven’t done that in a while, freestyle is the perfect time to for that.  

Brackish

Adrift, out to sea for ages,  hot sun beats down, skin burned, crystal crusted.

Thirsty

wanting is everything

Begging, prays unheard

Wish, need

floating in a sea of salt tears

Too dry to cry, nothing left

Thirsty

A swallow eases the pain, for a time.

A tiny taste, face upturned to fresh, fleeting rain

Moments of joy, relief

Sun beats down, skin burned and crystal crusted

Adrift

Thirsty

Begging

Praying

Lost at sea

Something in the distance, a mirage

it must be

Land a dream,  stability a fantasy

Wave tossed,  powerless to the currents

Belonging to the tides, forced to go with the flow

Solid mirage?

Is that land?

Dropping down flat to the boards

hands in stinging water

pushing against the waves

Clinging to you saved me, my only solid state

Holding me back now, too slow

Abandon ship

One last push towards survival

The water is changing, becoming less salty

Soothing burns, cool

Swimming upstream

If I don’t drown in brackish water than soon I’ll drink

As much as I want

Hands, no longer flat in prayer, empty, begging

But full, of infinite water.

For now, I swim against the current.  

 

 

Today’s work log

Timer was at 1 hour 42 minutes when I realized I was I’m super thirsty and needed a drink!  🙂 Paused for a few minute break.

Time at 2 hours and 3 minutes when I finished editing and adding pictures.

I worked on “Eat the Rich” my WIP fiction piece until the timer said 2 hours and 19 minutes.   Not bad!  I think this is the longest I’ve worked since I started “Writer’s Boot Camp”

 

 

Social Media isn’t my Friend

This is a continuing problem for me, a toxic behavior, maybe even an addiction.  It eats my time, increases my anxiety, and encourages me to censor myself. A while back I did an experiment where I stopped using Facebook for several months.  I missed it horribly for a while, however after a few weeks I found that my life without it was better.  I was able to spend more time doing the things I enjoy and working towards my goals, while also not constantly questioning my value to other people.

UninstallSince then I slowly started using it again. A few days ago I realized I am checking it every few minutes. I am fighting the urge to check it now, while writing this. It is especially hard in the hours after I post something.  I poke the icon on my phone over and over, opening it and closing it, holding my breath in anticipation of likes or comments.  If no one replies, I start questioning the worth of my words and thought, dwelling on isolation, lack of human connection, and my failures.  I wonder what I have done to make my “friends” dislike and ostracize me.

Social media has made me confused about the entire concept of “friends”.  The majority of the people I interact with on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are not my friends.  They are people I met at burns or cons. They are people who know people that I know.  I only interact with a few people in real life, and those seldom, aside from the one who lives with me.

Yet I want these near strangers to like me.  I want them to be interested in what I’m doing, to reply, to ask questions, to debate the issues of the day with me.  I want them to be proud of me, to encourage me.  I want them to interact with me in ways that I don’t often get in real life and I’m not sure I would like if I did.  I want them to be the television version of family and friends.  I somehow want the people on the other end of the tubes to give structure and purpose to my life.

Without social media, when I am by myself, I am alone. Which is not a bad thing at all; I do my best work alone.  I have spent the vast majority of my hours alone and I like it that way.  With social media I’m lonely.  Reading other people’s posts, seeing their pictures, reminds me that humans are supposed to be social animals and that I am therefore failing at that aspect of being human.

Recent articles and studies criticizing Facebook and other social media let me know I’m not alone. Other people are feeling the same way, having their lives and self esteem sucked into the always hungry maw of social media.

Today I am deleting Facebook from my phone. This will not stop me from checking it.  . I will still be able to check it on my desktop to look for background acting jobs and keep up with my friends. I am mostly home all day. What it will do is stop me from checking it in bed, while I am taking a bath, while I am out having dinner with real life people or when I am outside in my garden.  This is a step in the right direction.

The Big Question

Let’s not bother with that mystic, metaphysical bullshit. I’m not searching for some deep meaning here.
I know the meaning of life, at least mine.

Two little words

I WANT
The last flame in a bed of orange coals and black ash
Cracked, dusty ground, once a fertile field
The ocean reaching towards the pale, beautiful moon only to be pushed away, again and again and again.

Do you feel constant thirst?
Hunger?
Desire?
When you are alone, do you breathe out the words in a tiny whisper “I want…” never finishing the sentence, because all you are is the wanting?

Do you collect distraction?
Of course you do, I don’t know why I even asked.

I WANT
To be satiated
To be at peace
To be average

Nature or nurture?
Do we want because we are, and wanting is what compels us to spread over the earth dropping our spores every place they might grow? Is there a critical mass that will push us out and away, to distant galaxies, currently free of our fungus?

Is there someone to blame? Did Mr. Rogers tell me I was special one too many times? Did I watch too much TV, see too many ads? Was I bullied too much? Was I told how broken I am one too many times by people who were better than me, people who had more?
More money
more love
more beauty
more fulfillment
more sanity
less calamity
less longing
less crazy
less hunger
less empty

I WANT
to write these words and make sense
to know that you feel the same
to know exactly what the fuck it is that I want
your approval
your love
your life
your experiences
your friends, your family, your favorite food, your nice clothes, your perfect smile, your easy realistic laugh, your calm, your fucking silence, your complacent existence, your closed eyes, your blissful ignorance, your safe delusions

I WANT
to stop wanting
to be complete
to win
to be finished
to sleep
to die

Butterfly?

It’s easy to never leave. Anything I need can be delivered.
Nexflix to watch, Amazon to read, groceries dropped off for a small fee.

You say I must go out, be part of the world.

You say I have friends, should have friends, or will have friends depending on your argument for the day.

You tell me people interact, they build bonds, tribes, families. Come out you say, to a movie or a play. Let’s go visit this person or that and pretend they’re happy to see you.

Put on a nice dress and a smile. Nothing is prettier than a smile.

You list out my virtues, telling me all the reasons people like me: brains, humor, talent, imagination, compassion.

But your logic is weak. It’s based on people being reasonable and stable. It relies on them choosing simple over complex, and easy over exciting. You think other people are rational like you. You think they value substance over form.

I was thin and pretty when you met me. I was full of excitement and energy. I wasn’t afraid all the time, every moment of every day. I had big plans. Today I was supposed to be a CPA, a senior accountant on my way to CFO. I was going to wear nice suits and go to power lunches. I wanted to be a mother.

Instead I’m an unemployed cat lady in her pajamas peering out the window, checking all the locks.

You fell in love with my heart, which aside from the lack of courage has not changed. You fell in love with how much I love you, and love me for how much I love you still.

This me happened in slow motion and backwards.

Frame by frame, a butterfly goes back into the cocoon.
A beautiful garden becomes an empty lot.
A confident woman becomes a frightened child.

How is it that when you look at me you still see a butterfly?

butterfly

***

This was written for the trifecta prompt Weak -3: not factually grounded or logically presented

I am 5 days into taking SSRIs for the first time. It is not supposed to do anything yet, but I feel horrible. My anxiety is way higher than normal, I feel alienated and depressed. This poem or prose, or whatever it is, is not very good but it is what I felt like doing today.

Fuck Facebook

I have been back on facebook for a week now.

I feel horrible. Maybe it is not related, maybe it is. I slept until 11am today and yet I feel exhausted right now. I have a social event to go tonight and it feels huge and scary. I just want to go back to bed. It is pretty and sunny outside, I should be out there planting seeds, transplanting seedling and making my world beautiful. But I am in here beating myself up for how little I have gotten done this week.

As of last Thursday the house looked great, so clean. Now it is starting to be a bit of a mess. I have not edited my novel at all this week. I wrote a new story for Trifecta, but have not be able to motivate myself to read the other submission yet, which sucks because I know for a fact that I love some of these people writing. I would get enjoyment out of reading them, but the commenting seems so hard. I have not painted, but I have played the piano a little.

My task list started to take the place of facebook. I would come look at my tasks, pick one and do it. When checked it off I got a little dose of pleasure and pride. Now all my tasks look pointless or else overly difficult.

I found myself getting mad about people on social media again last night. People say stupid things, rude things, mean things and I get so mad. I want to punish strangers and I find myself hating people I have been “friends” with for years. Even people I am friends with in real life, who I actually like are so stupid on social media, so empty headed, judgmental and cruel. I know I am a bit of a troll. But I can’t seem to help it, when people’s words hurt me I find myself wanting to hurt them. In real life when people say things that upset me I normally just walk about, but on social media I can’t. Because unlike spoken words which break apart and float away as soon as they are said the status stay, and I can read the mean and stupid words over and over and over. And I do.

I have facebook closed right now, but I want to open it back up so badly. Has anyone commented? Are there any cute pictures? Can it fix me, can it take away the pain I feel right now?

Why does this have to be the way we communicate? Was a born in the wrong time? Will I always feel this disconnected and alone?

I am sure this post has lots of typos and mistakes. I don’t care. Editing it seems pointless, because odds are no one is going to read it anyway. I just write this shit for myself, because I can’t afford therapy. Which is for the best, because I find other people’s public displays of weakness appalling.

Losing Livestock

Dealing with the death of something you care about is always hard. When something dies of old age or illiness, it hurts. There is still sadness and anger. When you can honestly say the death was not your fault then there is no shame. But when the death is your fault, the healing process is really hard.
I lost two chickens about two weeks ago. Not old chickens or sick chickens, but healthy eight-month old hens. And their death was my fault.
When you get pets or livestock you make a commitment to take care of them, protect them, and treat them with compassion. I loved these chickens and took good care of them, except I did not keep them safe.
At night they sleep in a henhouse, up on a roost. A ramp from the hen house goes out into a run that they can’t get out of. I thought the run was secure, so I stopped locking them into the hen house all the way each night. I locked up the run, but I left the door into the run open. Over the time they have lived outside this happened several times. A few times we forgot, but they were OK. So after a while we stopped closing it all together. And it was always OK.
Until it wasn’t. Some animal climbed a tree down on to the top of the hen house and found a way in.
When the first chicken went missing, I did not realize what had happened. There was no body, no feathers. She was just gone. I figured she might have gotten locked out when I let them free range the night before. She was a very broody hen and it was possible she made a nest under a bush. So I spent two days searching for her. I looked under everything, and went into neighbors’ yards. I even wandered around calling her name. She was my favorite chicken, Speckles. She was the sweetest when she was a baby. I would hold her in my hand and she would fall asleep. She was the most beautiful, most friendly, and had the most trusting nature.
I could not deal with the idea that she was dead. She must just be lost and I would find her. So it never dawned on me that something was able to get in the hen house. Two days after Speckles disappeared I went outside to find feathers everywhere.
I can’t describe what that felt like. In one moment I realized Speckles was dead, another chicken was dead, and that both deaths were my fault. I cried, I screamed. I wanted to find the animal who did it and kill it. I want to punch something. But what I wanted more than anything else was to go back in time and fulfill the commitment I had made to these animals.
Goldie was the second one dead. She was the warrior princess of our chickens. She scared my two twenty-pound cats when they came out with me for a visit. She once ate a snake. She took on a rooster role with the other chickens, looking after them. I think she did that the night she died.

The feathers were everywhere — in the henhouse, in the run, even outside the run. She tried to fight whatever got in, but she could not manage it. And it was not her job. It was my job to keep her safe, and I failed.
The run is secure now. We lock them up tight every night. I have had trouble sleeping every night since then, listening all night long in case they need me. And every morning starts with fear. Will I find five chickens this morning? Or four and a pile of feathers?
I don’t know how to deal with that. Sometimes I still think they might just be lost. But it is a lie my mind tells me when my shame is too much.