Archive for the ‘Writing woes’ Category

Wow, hey, it’s been over a month since I last poured out my soul and neuroses here, eh?  I’d love to say that it’s because I’ve been sailing smoothly through life but alas, it’s mostly that I’ve grown weary of always having shit to bitch about and/or analyze.  Well, that and my brain and expository writing have not so much been friends recently.

So, Jen, what’s been going on?

I am 8 days from the end of the semester.  I have drafted 4 of my5 papers (thus far 29 pages of writing with another 7 to go…), shuddered at the sight of one of my two exams, and started reviewing for the second.  I have one paper due Sunday, one Monday, an exam Monday, an exam due Wednesday, two papers due next Friday and one due next Saturday.  I have completed my board postings and readings, and have had anxiety attacks from noon to 3 pm every day for close to a month.  I no longer get any sense of accomplishment at finishing tasks because there is always.something.else.  It’s sort of sucky.

In addition to the massive school thread, I decided back in October to do some editing of old poems.  So I messed around, rewrote, condensed, and then this past week I sent some out to various poetry contests on the theory that they aren’t doing me any good sitting on my hard drive and if nothing else, I really like having people read my writing, even if I have to pay them to do it.  I’m not all ‘I’m gonna WIN!’ or anything but I have at least gotten back to the point where I feel like I can write poetry that doesn’t suck.  That feels nice, honestly–it’s been a long time since I’ve tried to write creatively and I was starting to feel like maybe I’d been kidding myself that I could do it.

I have also been doing the visual arts thing from time to time, or at least playing around with it.  It turns out that, like my poetry, I like the pictures I draw.  Who knew?  And I like to paint, and I like to have ideas, and it’s pretty cool.

I have not played my dholak at all though.  I will.  Just not yet.

Otherwise, I am trying to keep my head from flying off of my body, trying to deal with the daily anxiety, trying to remember that I am really going to finish all of my work for the semester and am going to do it well, and trying to remember that my head *cannot actually* go flying off of my body even if it *feels like* I can’t keep it on.

And I’m excited about the holidays even though we don’t have a tree yet and the Halloween decorations are still up and I haven’t a clue when, how, or what I’m going to do about gifting this year.  I still can’t believe it’s December already.  I do think that we’re doing a Solstice something this year, Lucy and I.  I’ll come up with something.

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I had a Karate Kid moment whilst sitting on the john this morning (aka the Seat of Knowledge).  See, I’ve been feeling like all I do is writing for other people.  Like I’m never going to feel like just *writing* again.  Like maybe I’m not cut out for this writing thing anyway.  Then it hit me…wax on, wax off.  No, wait.  I want the glamor of writing but I really hate the stupid mechanical exercises that I’ve had to engage in.  Poetry analysis.  Discussion questions.  Peer review that bears no resemblance to workshop review.  Writing new scenes for existing plays.  The things that improve your writing but in the least satisfying ways.

I have been painting the fence when I want to be kicking someone’s ass.

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Box of Applause

Once upon a time, I was working nights in a factory sewing men’s pants.  I was going out with a 19 year old who was failing high school English for the second time despite having me to help out whenever he needed.  I had a pretty mundane routine those days–I would get up and do a Bodies by Gilad workout on the tv and then watch Designing Women.  It was a lifeline for me, and half of my being able to get out of the bed in the morning was because at least I could watch Designing Women.  It wasn’t a good time for me, although it was brief.

My favorite episode was one where a man designed a box that would play a track of applause and cheers when it was opened.  I can’t say I remember any mroe of the episode than that, probably because that little bit was the part that resonated with me the most.  I desperately needed a box of applause.

I don’t know if it was because I was thrust on stage early on for dance recitals and skating competitions, or if it’s my Leo craving of the spotlight, or maybe it’s just human nature to enjoy being appreciated.  Either way, I go through periods where I need desperately to be the center of attention.  Which is hard when you’re a mother, and hard when you’re shy, and hard when you want the people around you to shower you with compliments without having to ask for them.

For a long time, having a blog has satisfied my need for a way to showcase my writing and my ideas, and sometimes even my decisions in life.  Lately, however, I have been finding myself enjoying blogging far less than I used to.  The ideas come harder, sometimes it feels like a chore, and probably worst of all, I spend a lot of time wondering if anyone is reading (apologies to y’all who comment–I didn’t say it was rational wondering 😉 )  I find myself thinking things like, ‘If you care about me you should care about my writing’ which leads to the ever popular, ‘I must sound like a fool because I send out the address to people and they never come to read or they do a couple of times and then don’t come back’.  The truth is, it hurts me so much that people who are supposed to care about me don’t seem to read what I write.  And it makes me wonder if I am just pretending that I’m a writer.  And most of all, it makes me wonder if the need to have people read what I write means that I’m not finding the True Artistic What-The-Fuck-Ever-I’m-Supposed-to-Have.

Why do y’all do it?  Do you find enjoyment in blogging when you don’t get a lot of feedback?  Am I the only person who craves that box of applause?

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I haven’t felt much like writing lately. I think I mentioned before being suddenly into the drawing thing, which happens offline and blissfully without wondering/worrying who is looking. I haven’t found myself as comfortable with words as I usually am, and that discomfort has caused me to be especially sensitive about what I try to say, both in real life and, more especially, here. I just haven’t wanted the pressure of trying to explain myself. With drawing, especially the way I do it, I can be freeform and abstract and childish and what-have-you without worrying that I might lose one of the few readers I have. It sucks watching stats and seeing a familiar IP stop coming, and as much as I know I stop reading blogs for a host of reasons, it always strikes me that when someone stops reading me, it’s because of me.

Anyway, I was leaving a comment a few minutes ago wherein I said that I hoped this blog wouldn’t be my Magnum Opus. It shocked me to realize that I have been approaching blogging here with a pretty narrow view. As in, I like to think that I blog to get things out, to hash out ideas, as writing practice. In reality, it has become The Thing I Do. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t become a chore, or a burden. I just don’t like how I’ve come to view it.

Blogging isn’t my job and I don’t want it to be my job. It’s where I come to write, which is something I’ve loved to do on and off for as long as I’ve had words in my head and the ability to put them together. The problem is, this is all the writing I do. I don’t work on anything else anymore. And I have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of why I write here is because I love the almost-instant feedback.

I started blogging back in 2000.  I started as much because I wanted a link to put in my messageboard signature as anything else.  I moved from Diaryland to Livejournal in 2001, and then on to Blogger and finally here at WordPress back in ’06.  I’ve met a load of neat folks both in the parent sphere and in the environmental sphere, and I really enjoy the interaction I have with everyone.  I’m lucky; I haven’t had to deal with in-fighting or trolling or any of the nastiness that is out there and that many of you have had to deal with.  If I had, I don’t think I’d still be putting myself out here in such a public way.

It’s the best thing about having a small readership; the more of an impact your voice has, the more people feel they have the right to tear you down.  For now, I’m going to try to focus on writing just for me and not worrying so much about who is or isn’t reading because in the long run, it’s just another blog.

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I am damn excited for summer.  Well, for now.  I reserve the right to be desperate for the summer program to start after a week of full-time, 2 kid parenting.

Last night, we sat up and drank wine on a Thursday without fearing the oversleep-Lucy-late-for-school.  It was embarrassingly divine.  Yes, I am that lame.  It wasn’t even particularly great wine, but it was local!  This morning we are lounging about in the clothes we slept in, and I do mean clothes.  I finally shoehorned Luce into bed at a little after 8, and I wasn’t about to argue over pajamas.  Chico was awake until close to 11, and by that time I was ready to pass out.  Sometimes you just gotta sleep where you fall.

Today we are going to make yogurt cup dolls, a bracelet and necklace for each other, and hopefully get our veggies planted in their for-good containers.  Then I am going to make a strawberry rhubarb pie again, only I am seriously tempted to attempt making my own pie crust.  I probably won’t though, because I’m chicken and besides, if it’s anything like last year, I’ll be the only one eating the damn pie anyway.  It was good, though.  Then we have local clams for dinner with a salad made from greens from the CSA.  Or maybe some kale steamed up, but I think I’m going to look for some other way to prepare it.  Have I mentioned how much I love clams?  I could live on ’em.   And to think, I was in my twenties before I beheld the glories of clam.

Wow, yet another entry wherein I say a whole lot of nothin’.  I just don’t have the attention span for any serious sorts of essays, but I’m hoping to again soon.  I had a mini-breakdown yesterday over feeling like maybe I’m not cut out for writing after all and should just stick to focusing on the copyediting/proofreading stuff.  And maybe I should, but I’d probably feel like I was missing out on something so I’m just taking a break from trying to write anything serious.  Also, sometimes there are things I just don’t feel like sharing, and it’s really tough to write about things I’m thinking about without addressing that stuff.  It’s tough; I know to write good nonfiction you have to be able to throw everything out on the page, but it’s hard with blogging to adhere to the other big rule, which is to get sufficient distance to be able to provide good analysis.  I’m right in the thick of some heavy thoughts, and I’m not able to analyze yet.  At least, not accurately.

A break will do everyone good, I think.  Lucy from school, me from killing myself over writing woes.

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In Absentia

It’s been some time since I’ve taken this long of a break from the blogworld.  Truth is, I’ve not been having the best success with expressing myself in words lately.   And the other truth is, I have been far more interested in doing than talking about. For the time being, I’m going to keep buzzing around my little comfort area and see how it ends up.  I may bust through this existential miasma (ha!) soon, or it may stick around for a while.  I think I just need a little while to get my thoughts together and figure out what exactly I’m doing, and heaven knows that with a super-clingy 7 month old and a 5 year old who deserves Mommy Time too, I can barely come up with a spare moment to rub two thoughts against each other.

It’s not that dramatic, actually.  I’m just thinking a lot lately.  I’m still reading, but the writing…it’s just not a writing sort of period.  Does that make any sense?

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There are two little blue-turning-brown eyes staring at me from a bouncy chair. Two little fists pump and two legs kick in an attempt to get my attention. But I shall be strong! I won’t give in to the pressure to look over because if I do…

GONE! No more drinking coffee, computer time-wasting, sitting alone.

Actually, it’s not nearly as dire as all that, although we are just coming out of a super-clingy time. And Chico does try desperately to get me to glue to him. And I do need my time in the morning, especially since we’re still nursing constantly and need to stand up to burp and Lucy is back in the bedroom with us on an air mattress next to my side of the bed that barely fits and I have to edge my way out of the bedroom like a giant, sleepy, cranky crab.


It’s just a phase, though, because much like his sister*, all of this random neediness is the big, doughy bread on either side of a laugh-sandwich. Which for those of you who speak ‘English’ means he laughed for the first time on Thursday night. huh-huh-heh. It was very cute, especially since he had the common decency to laugh for me when nobody else was around. See, I’ve been hanging over him like a fool making all manner of strange noise and funny face in an effort to coax out that giggle. And I’ve been certain that he would bust out laughing for Daddy, because he hasn’t been nearly as pressure-rific. But my boy knows better, and I am one happy Mama!


Lucy and I spent some time yesterday organizing our existing beads by color. It was so freaking much fun. Which I know is terribly dorky of me to be so into something so nudgy, but I find sorting to be rather soothing. So does Lucy. Can’t wait for new beads! Cannot.Wait.


I need to figure out what we’re going to plant this summer and how. I’m toying with the idea of getting a couple of self-watering containers and trying to do a bunch of greens. We’re definitely going to do some herbs again, and the tomatoes, and maybe peppers as well. What else grows well in containers and isn’t ridiculously difficult for a gardening neophyte?


It feels like forever since I’ve written something without all of these damn asterisks. My brain is working mostly in clumps these days, but it feels like it’s transitioning back to proper paragraphs. I spent much of yesterday standing in the living room looking vaguely panicked, wondering which of the zillion things I had thought about wanting to do while glued to baby I should actually start. My husband kindly suggested writing and I almost popped him one because, hello? But he’s right, even though I did anything but write yesterday.

*ETA–what I meant here is ‘much like when his sister was a baby, these periods of neediness are indicative of a new behavior or stage of development.  Jesus, remember back when I made sense when I wrote?

Me neither.

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