New Novel

I’ve been almost done with this novel for months now.

Maybe that’s actually fast in the literary world. I once read that the Diary of a Wimpy Kid took the author like, nine years to finish. Of course, he probably had a job and kids and a wife or whatever. Me? It’s just me.

I get discouraged. I open it up, all of its 88,000 words and like, 250 pages or whatever, and I see all of my 145 comments of things to change, and I just get sad. There’s so much more to do, and I’ve already written it over three full times.

Going into a bookstore is like getting reprimanded. LOOK at all these books. Surely, by odds alone, mine has to be better than some of them. At least one. It would be statistically impossible, otherwise. Someone would publish my book as is, right? It’s interesting. It’s well written. It’s certainly long enough, for the first time.

So why can’t I just finish it and send it somewhere?

Because I’m scared. Not of a publisher rejecting it, but of a publisher accepting it, and giving me a sign-on bonus or whatever, and going through cover design and marketing, and holding my first hardcover copy and crying and flipping through it, and going to Barnes and Nobel and not finding it but a week later finally seeing it…and then only selling 400 copies.

Not terrible, but nothing good, either. And no awards, no nothing. And then years later seeing it in a bargain bin at Big Lots.

All those books, even the worst ones, went through a similarly heart-breaking process of writing, rewriting, rejection, waiting and waiting…I am fragile, I am sad, I am overwhelmingly pessimistic to the point where it’s annoying even to myself. I don’t know if I have the strength to do this, despite my finger-trembling desire.

I’m going to, obviously. I just keep putting it off. Which is horrible.

But you, metaphorical you who knows me better than I know myself, who can bear to read back in this blog and see the “ME” I pretended to be for you, the ME who viewed my wordpress stats and had high hopes for advertisers and supporting myself off this silly blog, YOU say it’s worth it. YOU say being an author is all I’ve ever wanted, what I’ve been working for every day of my life since I was in second grade.

You’re always so right.

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The stories others remember 

Today for class my professor had us text our friends and family and ask them, “what’s your favorite story about me?” She then had us put away our phones and wait.

After awhile, we were to pick one of the responses and think about why that person remembers that story, and what it says about you. The idea was to deconstruct why we tell each other stories–to see the stories we tell at parties as a (true) mythology of ourselves. This is how we cement our personal identity in a group.

My sister told me her favorite story was the time we were playing hide and seek in my grandmothers house. It was my turn to hide, and the grown ups were telling me ideas on where to go. Now, my grandmother collects dolls. Three-foot-tall, life size dolls that live in the corner of her living room. My sister is counting down, and I decide, hey, I’ll be a doll.

So I posed in the back, smiled, and waited. My sister hunts around the house for a long time–she even makes eye contact with me and keeps looking. She actually thought I was a doll.

I thought for awhile why she remembers this and what it says, both about me and about her. It was funny, sure, and I do love making her laugh. But why does she tell other people this story? What trait of mine does it show, in disguise? 

I realized that this story shows that I don’t shy away from a challenge. Yes, a “safer” hiding spot would have been under the table or in a closet. But I chose to be a doll, the more interesting and difficult path.

This class literally just ended about 10 minutes ago, but I can tell this will be something that sticks in my mind. Why d we tell stories? Funny stories, cool stories? What does it say about us and our relationships? How is it that we bond through storytelling?

Telling stories is, of course, what I plan on spending my life doing. I guess it had never crossed my mind why stories exist in the first place. It had always seemed so obvious, just an integral part of humanity. It is, I think, integral. 

First anniversary

So, turns out today marks my first year since I registered with WordPress. I got an achievement for it and everything.

This blog has changed a lot over the year. At first it was deep and depressing and then it was day to day and then it was A to Z and then it was a bunch of things and now it’s…whatever this is. I guess just whatever I’m feeling, approximately once a day.

Jeez, not the best blog theme, is it?

I’m sure I will start up Conversation Starters and Short Fic Friday and other stuff soon. I’m just in a weird place and not ready for that sort of thing yet. It’s been a time. Not necessarily a bad time or a good time, just a time. And that time has required a lot of energy.

Anyway, before the notification that I’ve spent a year here, I was going to write a post about happiness. I’m writing a novella around the theme of happiness. What makes us happy, how do you find happiness and keep it, etc. I am working on it because it’s a problem I’m working on in my personal life as well.

I find it frustrating that my happiness is dependent on my surroundings. I wish I had an inner peace that could just let the outer stuff go. I want to go to sleep generally happy no matter the circumstance. Maybe that’s a lot to ask, but I find myself overly emotional (both positive and negative emotions) over events, people, etc. in my life. Minor things can make or break a day for me. I wish I wasn’t like that.

How can I make my happiness independent from the situation that I’m in? Is that even possible? I guess I don’t mean happiness, just peacefulness. I want to be peaceful.

Of course, I’m about the worst candidate for “peaceful” ever. I bounce my knees and move my hands around constantly. I can’t stand silence, because I get tinnitus, and I don’t like darkness, because I get visual snow, which I just recently learned isn’t something everyone has. Meditation makes me jittery. I’m even stressed out in my sleep–I grind my teeth so hard I’ve broken four night guards.

I guess it’s a good goal to strive for, anyway.

This blog has always been tied someway or another to introversion, and this is no exception. Introverts spend a lot of time doing introspection, and maybe this is what this new leg of my journey is about. Introspection, concerning happiness and peacefulness and a general sense of love. Not a bad new year resolution.

The introvert alone

So often, we speak of introverts out of their natural habitat. Today, we journey into the unknown to observe an introvert in the wild.

As we approach the nest, be sure to keep quiet and hidden.

Ah! A female introvert, going about a daily morning ritual of yoga with coffee. She seems to be spending the day just as she likes–no work today.

Look–what now? She is settling into position on a couch and browsing the internet. Such calm beauty! And now she chooses a book. The hours fly by.

Dinner time, already? She puts on light music and begins to flutter about the kitchen when–NO! Disaster strikes with the sound of a ringing phone!

My friends,  the biggest danger to the introvert is destruction of habitat. A single phone call or doorbell can turn the introvert’s quiet space into an infestation of humans! Alas…as she chats on the phone she discovers it is her friend, another introvert. She invites him over for dinner, having had the whole day to recharge.

They share a meal and watch a movie. Truly, nature is a mysterious, wonderful, beautiful thing. Even the smallest of moments can be a wonder.

A shelf of unread books

When the Used Book Superstore opened up two miles down the road, I began buying books by the dozen. Books I’ve never heard of, in genres I’d never read before. Classics, like Gone With the Wind. Collections of Shakespeare and the full Sherlock Holmes.

I don’t think I’ve read a single one of those books.

When I began working at the Globe, my trainer told me that if you walk by the arts section, there are always bins full of books you can just take. They’re books they’ve already reviewed or have decided not to review, and instead of tossing them they just let you take them. Advanced copies! Unpublished gems! I would take one every day, maybe two on Fridays.

I haven’t read any of those books, either.

It’s not that I don’t like reading–I LOVE reading. It’s just that it takes up a lot of time. I used to devour books, but now I read them at a snail’s pace. It took me six months to finish Life of Pi, only reading snippets while on the subway.

It’s not that the books are boring, either. They’re on subjects I like, like poetry, art, religions, even on writing itself. They’re fun fiction stories with grabbing back covers. I just haven’t gotten to them yet.

And so, I have a shelf of unread books. Well, shelf might be the wrong word…it’s more of a full bookcase. I have four (!) bookcases in my bedroom at home: one for my absolute favorite books, one for books I loved as a child, one for miscellaneous books and Harry Potter, and one for books I’ve yet to have read.

It’s a disease, really. I’m addicted to hoarding books.

I recently made myself admit that I wouldn’t ever read half of the books I have acquired, and donated about 15 to the library. At least there, there’s a fraction of a chance that someone will read them, as opposed to my room where the chance is practically zero. My next book won’t be Art: Unraveled, no matter how cool the cover looked while walking past the arts section.

I don’t know why I do this. I don’t hoard anything else. I go through my closet at least once or twice a year. I never buy anything I know I won’t use, except books.

Maybe it’s because I want to be a writer, and books fascinate me. Maybe it’s because I want to be the kind of person who reads everything, even though I just don’t.

Well. Maybe this summer I’ll be a big reader. If I have time, between work, Nano, blogging, German (am I still pretending to learn German? I haven’t practiced in so long), cooking, and everything else. Well, this is why I never get through books. They’re low on my priority list, even though I love them.

I think I put things I enjoy at the bottom of my priority list too much.

Catching up on Farmers Markets, summer….

Training Day 1 complete! I can already tell she’ll be a great co-op.

As I transition back into freelancing and new girl transitions into the Globe, I am being less bittersweet and more confident. This is going to be a good, new change.

I start, basically, the day after I leave. I’m covering a farmers market.

I love famers markets. So lovely, fresh, green. People walking around in sun hats, kids walking around in bare feet licking ice creams. The one in my home town offers homemade empanadas as well as fresh-picked strawberries. I like the infamous Haymarket in Boston, too, though that’s less wholesome and fresh and more…Haymarket.

For non-Bostonians, buying something at Haymarket is equivalent to buying a carton of milk that expired yesterday. It’s probably fine today, and will probably be okay tomorrow, but after that it’s a fifty/fifty shot between okay and diarrhea.

Ah, well. I’m exaggerating. Either way, this isn’t like Haymarket. This is a small town market squeezed into the library’s front lawn. This is a market full of fresh fish and ripe tomatoes and all-natural soap.

I love farmers markets. Such a lovely atmosphere full of hard working craftspeople and farmers.

They’re pretty introvert unfriendly, unfortunately. The whole idea is making conversation, approaching people, bartering. I always feel a bit bad when I enter a tent and then don’t buy anything.

Perhaps, like how I dreamt yesterday about the Introvert Boutique, it would be nice to have an Introvert Farmers Market. Though, I suppose that would just be Whole Foods or some other supermarket.

I’m just being silly. I’m excited for summer, I’m excited for farmers markets and sundresses, I’m excited to get back into my favorite version of journalism.

Really though, I’m excited to have more time free for writing and blogging, especially with Camp Nanowrimo coming up. Anyone out there a nano-er?

If not, check it out my friends: https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in

 

Also, this is my 200th post. Thanks for reading:)

Loving English’s flaws

English is flawed, which is perhaps why I love it so much. It takes skill and patience to make words say what you want them to. It’s easy to use one wrong word and have your sentence get thrown completely off track.

The common grievances are the “there their and they’re” sort of thing, how read and lead and read and lead rhyme, how you drive on the parkway but park in a driveway…these are just failures of the language to be easy.

I barely want to touch on how dumb spelling is. Acquire, believe, calendar, cemetery, eighth, embarrassed, guarantee, license, maneuver, privilege, receive, rhythm, vacuum… what the hell, English?!

Worse than spelling is grammar. How do you write it: Douglass’s or Douglass’? I never know. Do you say “Aerosmith was” because it is a singular band, or “Aerosmith were” because the band comprises of more than one person? When do you use lay vs. lie vs. laid? When do you use “that,” and when do you use “which,” and when do you use “that which?”

Mostly, I long for a more extensive language. Why, for instance, is there no stronger word than love? Why does romantic love and parental love and friendly love and familial love and object love and concept love all fall under the same category of love? The word that I use to describe my feelings toward pizza shouldn’t be the same I use to describe my feelings toward my loved ones.

However, I do appreciate this flaw in English, as it is this flaw that allows us to be creative. Since the beginning of writing it has been used to romance others. People use sonnets when a simple “I love you” just won’t do. The limit of “love” allowed us to create metaphors, to amaze our significant others and parents with stories and rhymes and humor and heart.

If there was a word stronger than love, we’d just whip it out when things needed to be more serious. Like a strong swearword, it would be a simple, common way to show emotion. The overuse of the word love lets us get creative, and it is this creativity, this drive to work harder to prove the extent of our indescribable love, that shows just how loving we are.

In the end, I love English. Warts and all. I do wish spelling and grammar were easier, though.

“Conscience?” Really?