Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taking Stock

Years ago, my friend Bev asked why I was so hard on myself. I don't remember the specifics but the context was writing--more specifically--not writing.

I do have a tendency to beat myself up over things I should have done, wasting time, etc. Sometimes it's counterproductive. At other times, it's needed to get me back on track.

I wasted a good opportunity for some solid memoir writing last week. I came back home with a mental map of what I needed to do this week. Since I had to include what I should have done last week, the map is full. But I didn't follow through--I have very little to show for the past two days. And that means more pressure to do things today and the rest of this week and the more I want to just say no--fuck it and hide myself away and read or watch Bette Davis movies or something.

It's not that I'm a perfectionist--far from it. I'm not sure what my problem is. I asked Jeff last night what's wrong with me? (He didn't reply--probably thought there was no right answer.)

I recognize that I am going through an emotional, stressful time: death, legal challenges, impending relative visit, underemployment, financial concerns. It's a lot to handle. Despite that laundry list of woes, I also recognize that I am lucky and privileged--I have resources to deal with them.

I've just got to figure out how and where to start.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jersey Shore Season Two

Four episodes into the second season--it's not quite the same. I prefer my guidos and guidettes in their natural habitat of Seaside Heights--the boardwalk and the t-shirt shop.

The Miami season is not without its charms. I liked watching the road trips of Pauly and Situation and Snooki and Jenni, Snooki the munchkin at the gelato shop, and the ridiculous farce of Snooki and Jenny writing an "anonymous" letter to Sammi and hiding it in her bureau drawer. Sammi may be dumb, but can she possibly be that dumb?

There's much too much of Sammi and Ronnie and their repetitive arguments. And then there's Angelina. I hate her. I can't help it--she has no redeeming qualities.

I'd like to see more family meals, GTL and non-Ronnie and Sammi relationship discussions. I'm still watching--the cast mates beat the Kardashians anyday.

Back Home

I wish I could write that my pet sitting/writing retreat was a resounding success. In a post last week, I wrote about my slow start. I also had one afternoon that revolved around legal issues and a morning with Internet access problems. Actually not having Internet access could have helped my writing, but alas I thought I needed Internet for the legal issues.

I did do a lot of writing. I wrote in my regular (morning pages) journal and my art journal. I just didn't do as much as I would have liked on my memoir selections--maybe 1000 words.

I want to enter a memoir writing contest and the due date is September 7th. I wasted a golden opportunity and have to turn myself around.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dr. Laura--First Amendment Crusader

Why apologize? What is the point when you will turn around and talk about ugly hateful groups that have usurped your First Amendment rights?

And just FYI, that last statement demonstrates your misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

The audacity of calling Jade out as over sensitive and then, claiming usurpation of your First Amendment rights?

It pains me that people look up to this woman.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pet-sitting/Writing Retreat

Melissa--Jeff's sister--asked if we wanted to pet sit their golden retriever, Lolly. I left the decision with Jeff--he's the one who has a job commute to consider.

Jeff remembered that I hadn't been on a writing retreat this year, and suggested that I could use this housesitting assignment as a writer's retreat. He even offered to bring back take-out every night. (I have said that having fixed meal times--especially if the food is good--is helpful for writing--you don't have to think about and plan dinner--just show up.)

I'll be upfront. So far I haven't done much writing. I read U is for Undertow in two days, read lots of blog posts, watched TV and movies. I am trying to convince myself that this is part of my creative process and I have to ease into my writing.

I did my morning pages--yesterday slowly and haltingly--a little faster and smoother today. I looked at my Presbyterian Flirtation piece--I have been struggling with that since I started it about two weeks ago. I should just leave it and work on something else.

Yesterday, I also started something about my dad's death--133 words--pitiful output for sure.

Wondering if I should work with Russia and Egypt trips. Regardless, I need to write.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Most Important Civil Right: Dr. Laura and Other Whites Must Use the N-word

I was blown away by the stupidity and blindness of Dr. Laura' s rant. It may be old news but I'm still thinking about it.

I didn't expect much from her. I used to occasionally listen to Dr. Laura. Just as I occasionally listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage--when I'm curious of what is being discussed on talk radio, have a few minutes in the car and have already heard the daily headlines.

Based on previous broadcasts, Dr. Laura is a jerk--at best. I'm thinking about a digression when she discussed how salad spinners were good wedding gifts, although she preferred her salad with mist. WTF?

She has always had a nasty, judgmental streak--although I can't cite any specific examples from the past. This time she attacked the caller almost immediately judging that some comments that bothered Jade were not racist. Soon after that, she began her N chorus.

When she went off on her tangent about HBO comics, she reminded me of my brother-in-law. He once reprimanded me because he assumed I was okay with the N-word in rap music, but not in Southern racist singer, Johnny Rebel's music. I said I didn't like any use of the word, but he's not the type to utilize facts when it can interfere with a rant.

I don't understand how the right to use the N-word is such an important right for whites--why it's raised to the level of a philosophical question by stupid "philosophers" like Dr. Laura.

I don't want to argue about the historic use of the N-word as used by Mark Twain or Margaret Mitchell. I wish the funeral for the N-word had taken, but I guess we'll always have idiots like Dr. Laura who will grab the chance to spew shit across the airwaves because they are so deep, thoughtful and philosophical.

As a writer, I generally hate euphemisms and the using "N-word" can be classified as one. But rather err on the side of caution and respect; I hereby reject my white right to use the N-word.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Senior Canine Citizen

Spike will be 10 in November. I thought of him as middle-aged, but earlier this year the vet called him a senior citizen.

That was a blow--reminding me that his life span is so much shorter than Jeff's and mine.

I've seen the signs that he is growing older--his caramel colored patches are whiter, he doesn't run as often as he used to, he's slowed down in general.

It really hit home last Saturday. We decided to walk to the Sono Arts Festival--about one-and-a-quarter mile Spike seemed fine during the walk, but it wore him out. We hunkered down at Burger Bar for lunch and rest. Spike was revived by the smell and taste of burgers.

We took it easy the rest of the afternoon. We walked about a block, rested, walked a little longer, then rested some more. We took a cab home. Spike vegged the rest of the afternoon and evening.

I don't want to be melodramatic about this. We worked Spike a little too hard but he recovered by the next day. But last Saturday was a reminder of how little time we really have together.

Ups and Downs Redux

10 days since my last post--no excuses. I could just reprint my last entry and be done with it. Because-that's been my last 10 days.

I process things by writing about them. But at this point, this blog is not the place for writing and processing everything. I continue to do morning pages and I have an art journal. At least I am on a page, it not this one--but I will be back on here more often.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ups and Downs

And now I've been torn up before
But I can handle that once more
I've been down for a long, long time
But now it's time to ease my mind

From Ups and Downs: Paul Revere and the Raiders

One thing about looking up lyrics online is that you find discrepancies. I think these lyrics are correct. They've been running in my head the last few days.

On Wednesday, for a brief gaudy hour (apologies to Margaret Campbell Barnes whose novel of Anne Boleyn had the same title) I felt mellow and peaceful. I had a nice morning walk with Spike at the dog park, a good workout at the gym, then I did a little writing and worked on my to do list.

By Thursday, however, I was both depressed and angry. It's a tough realization that members of your family are determined to ruin your life as best they can.

I'll rise above the depression and I'll channel the anger. I won't let them get me down again.