Writing

I don’t remember when I started this one. But, it’s worth revisiting now. You would think that since I titled this “writing” I would have written more. Alas, I have not, so I will write now.

Writing… Erudite. One of these strengths quizzes I took (an app on my phone, no less!) billed me as erudite.

er·u·dite

/?er(y)??d?t/

Adjective
Having or showing great knowledge or learning.
Synonyms
learned – scholarly – lettered – wise

Yes, I would say that is true. I like to think I have great knowledge. There is a certain eloquence in using a variety of words to explain your ideas. There is a certain satisfaction, for me, in being able to process all these colliding thoughts that run rampant in my brain.

The act of writing is enjoyable for me, too. I love the sound of the keys as I tap away at the letters. I love how the appear instantaneously on my screen. I love how I use my fingers to communicate my meaning. I love that I can type sometimes faster than the thoughts can trip out of my brain. (I type on average 90-12o words per minute. But don’t look at my error rate.)

Sometimes, I worry about writing though. This blog has proven to be the most effective place for me to transpose my thought sin a readable, searchable  healing way. But, I am human, and I question things, often. I am cynical  and sometimes pessimistic about interactions, and I have to write about them to refocus on positivity.

So, I write. And, I worry that what I write will piss off the wrong person. I worry that I will fracture relationships and destroy chances at a new job.

But, I have to write. So, it’s a risk I am taking. I am trying to be truthful and honest about what I see and how I think about these things. I wonder what a future employer will say after they’ve done their requisite Google searches. What will they say? What will they think?

Those close to me often congratulate me on my ability to string together phrases in an articulate manner. But what about those not close to me? Or what about those who don’t say anything? What do they think? Do they consider this an unglamorous journal that should be left to the confines of a locked notebook?

It doesn’t really matter though. This is for me. This is how I can process all those interactions in a format that works for me. I’m taking a risk that whomever has found this site (by direct Facebook posts, through linked shared sites, or simple Google searches) has found value in my pontifications.

So, thank you, for reading my writing and working with me to make sense of it all.

Wednesday, May 23

I feel compelled to write. I really want this habit to reform. I really want this method of reflection to just be a part of my day. But, here I sit stuck again. Today was simply a day. It was neither too eventful nor too boring. It was a sort of “just right” sort of day.

So, why am I stuck? I guess I hope I can be a witty, thoughtful writer who has something poignant and quotable to say every day. (Maybe the American Psychiatric Association is right, everyone is a narcissist.)

how to get unstuck? I figured it out, at least temporarily, last year. Just write. It doesn’t matter what I write. i don’t have to be witty. I don’t have to make my 750 or 300 word dreams. I just have to write.

January 1, 2012

Seagulls
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Today is the first day of the new year. Today, I am beginning a new, now self-imposed, post a day challenge.

As we read yesterday, I was 318 of 365 posts in 2011. I more than doubled my total posts on this blog, as it has moved from blogger to wordpress.com to my own hosted wordpress site. I had ideals of 750 words per post, and they actually ranged from no words and only photos to 1,300 words.

I will hope to write at least one quality post a week, this year. I will hope to have an average of 750 words to get the thought processes to move and digest my day and comment on the things around me. I will hope to fulfill this challenge.

So, I will continue with little to no rules. I will continue taking time to post once-a-day, even if it means tapping away at the keyboard while darling husband tries to explain his latest sinus problem. I will double up on days that I forget to post. I will post more than once a day. The goal, simply stated, is to come out on December 31, 2012 with no less than 366 posts. It’s a leap year; we now have an extra day.

To kick off this new year, here’s a small post of just over 200 words. Perhaps something to whet your appetite. Let’s ring in the new year!

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Fiction: The Things We Do

French press cafetiere with coffee on Coffee R...
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Sharon grumpily handed the man his mug, barely sloshing hot liquid on the counter and his hand. Oddly, with his own grumpy attitude, he did not notice this move.

Sharon was a little surprised that she let him get to her with his snide, inconsiderate comments. Usually, she had good command of her own emtions and with an ablility to articulate her needs in a more productive way. Not today, though. Today, last night, this morning, it all rolled into one grumpy mess. She even wore her bright red lipstick to match the sassiness she felt.

Last night, she sat knitting while her husband complained about everything. He complained about the traffic. He complained about the hot meal cooked on a hot day. He complained about how their preschooler didn’t pick up his toys in a timely manner. It was Sunday. Sunday nights were always the most annoying. She couldn’t believe that after all this time, Monday coming after Sunday was still a surprise to him. After they put their child down to bed, she sat with her knitting watching an old mystery classic. Through eyes filled with contempt she watched as he drank beer, after beer, complaining.

Anticipating an annoying morning, she got the lunches ready the night before. She even went to lengths to explain where everything was just in case something was missed in the morning. She hated starting her days with more grumpiness. It’s enough to keep her own emotions in check. How do you keep others in check too? And, they were supposed to be raising someone else in this world. How does evolution work if as a couple, a team, you were constantly regressing?

Sure enough, when Monday morning rolled around, the alarm went off. He was going to ride to work. Although there had been strides to minimize congestion with, finally, an influx of public funding for transit, traffic was still a problem. Her husband didn’t like driving anyway. He rode a motorcycle instead. Motorcycle laws had changed over the years, but one thing remained steady: motorcycles could weave when cars couldn’t. So, it offered a quicker way to get to work.

It was hot, as it often was this time of year, so her husband hadn’t slept well. She wondered what sort of sleep training he had as a child. As a couple, they used painstaking efforts to ensure their own child could self sooth. Why couldn’t her husband?  So, he woke up grumpy. Couldn’t find his clothes (that he set out the night before). Couldn’t get his lunch to cooperate in his bag (the one she pointed out and explained time and time again). Couldn’t get the bike to work properly (even though he checked it over the day before). For whatever reason, when it was from him, she internalized everything. She was getting much better at keeping others’ own emotional issues outside herself, but not her husband’s. So, through all this complaining, all she heard was “my fault, my fault, my fault.”

Finally, he left, but she couldn’t shake the grumpy mood with his departure. Getting the child up was even more difficult. He wet the bed, and there was no time for a bath. So, now laundry had to be done in addition to getting ready for work.

When she finally got into work, she was just grumpy. She nodded good mornings to those already there. It was times like these she wished she worked back in the Cube Farm where she could find solace in that cold, gray wall. Instead, she worked for her sister at her sister’s coffee shop.

The man who came in was a regular. He was known to be grumpy. Sharon just couldn’t take one more bit of grumpy on this already grumpy day. He made another one of his misogynistic comments, and she about blew her top. She was rarely witty on Monday mornings, so how did she think of such a zinger? She couldn’t even remember what she said. He just looked at her, shocked she asserted herself. The rest of the staff sort of paused and looked awkwardly at each other, eyes twinkling.

Maybe, just maybe, the day was looking up.

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Anonymous Real Life

Levi's 4th Birthday
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

The Question

Do you blog anonymously or as “yourself”? Why?

The Answer

I blog as myself. I came across an anonymized blog a few years ago. Until then, I never considered that such a thing could (or should) exist despite all my flirtation with the online world. Suddenly, I was immersed in anonymous blogs where people spoke about what they felt, what they dreamened, what they loved, and what they feared. They did this with seemingly little thought to anyone finding out their real identify. I must admit, I was in awe. It was raw. It was honest. It was heartwarming.

So, I tried it. I opened a new wordpress blog, and I tried one post. It was awkward. I fumbled. I couldn’t do it. Someone even commented, but it was all so… false. So, I deleted it.

I have managed, now, four+ blogs. I tried to do a sustainable only blog, but felt too restricted. I wanted to talk about Levi, silly things my husband and I said to each other, school or work. So, I started a personal blog. But, then I was stymied, too. Then, I wanted to talk about green things, equity, and social responsibility. I was going back and forth between the two, neither of which was getting a good response from the outside world nor proper attention from me.

Somewhere along the way, tags developed. This tool seemed, in conjunction with classifying things with categories, to be a perfect marriage of the separate blog conundrum. I realized, with my limited attempt at an anomyous blog, that I am more interested in exploring the things that happen in my day within the context of the wider world. I hope you, reader, don’t think me a trite complainer wining about every little thing someone did wrong to me – because that is not my attempt.

I am accepting, more, that we all live emotional lives. We do things based on the feelings we have at any given moment. We express love when we feel gratitude. We express shame through various acts when we’re embarrassed or know we’ve done something wrong. So, with this One-a-Day-Challenge, I’ve also accepted this space as a way to explore those many emotions I have in any given period.

Because I don’t divulge everything, in a sense, I do anonymize my blog. Although, I try to make it clear this is me and this is my life about which I write. If I misunderstand a certain personality, for example, I won’t mention the name. If an event is too close to home, but I have difficulty understanding it, I will try and speak in vagaries. Although it’s anonymous, it’s still my real life.

I have accepted that I am an introvert. I have begun to cherish that I like to write. Now, it comes together. Now, I write, I process, I refresh through this one space where I can talk about the importance of bringing together people, places and the other things that make the world go round. I can share pictures of my growing son and the art I see daily. One blog for one me. One me with a myriad of interests that make up my real life.

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The Dumbing Down

There are many thoughts going through my head.

Zoom!

Did you see it go?

Wham!

There went another.

I can’t catch them. So, here’s some things for thought.

Bomb in the park.

Urban food code zoning. Take the survey! (The deadline is August 29th! Just 11 days away!)

Ursula K Le Guin, an author I should reconsider. She’s funny.

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The Post Whirlwind

Freer Gallery of Art
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

It’s amazing how much can be written when you write daily. Now, when I go to write, I often check myself with, “Didn’t I write about that before?” This year, I have posted more than 180 posts. My post count, to date, is 509. I’ve almost written in 6 months that which took me three years to write. Although, I don’t feel as if I’m changing my thoughts any quicker than before, I am processing more. Enter the post whirlwind.

This is terrific, for me, a deliberative introvert who needs time to think. With this rule of “butt to chair” so I can allow my fingers to tap away at the keys, spewing out whatever thought happens in my brain — it frees up time for other things. I’ve noticed I have been able to work through some tough brain-drains a little quicker than before. I’ve explored more thoughts and have even branched out on what and how I like to write.

That is to say, this challenge is working.

I was going to do it for just this year. Establish the pattern and be done with it. In month two I found myself feeling quite trite in my writing. Although my writing, all about me, could still be classified as trite, it no longer bothers me. This is my space, my blog, for which I can do whatever I want. The easiest thing to write about is the daily comings and goings. And, for habit forming that works.

Sometimes I play with words, express art in pictorial form, or share a family photo. Sometimes I branch out of the “me-me” into the creative verse that surrounds. Sometimes I just complain about personalities that perplex and other annoying things. I haven’t philosophized in ways taht I enjoy, which I find a little curious. That could be explained with the lack of give and take in this form. When I philosophize, it’s the exchange of ideas that creates the energy, not just me typing reflecting.

So, we are at day 192. We have surpassed the half way mark. And, now, I have no desire to stop. The Pioneer Woman even suggests continuing the writing every day. And, if the Post Whirlwind suggests anything – this really does serve as a great journal of progression, maturity, maybe wisdom, wit, and life.

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Catching the Thoughts

Levi's Home Art Introduction (+ some preschool)
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I’ve had at least a half dozen thoughts float through my brain today. The thoughts have piggy-backed on this week’s themes, but I haven’t had a chance or the ability or the gumption to sit down and capture them into a significant blog post… so they have drifted away.

It’s interesting to me how much writing is discipline, refining the discipline to exercise the mind. That’s it. That’s all I have today. Wishing I could have captured the thoughts… instead I write about wishing.

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Nothing Profound Here

Pacific Northwest: 1841 Map of the Oregon Terr...
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I like to write. I like words, and I like thought exploration. I am an introvert, so daily processing is a must for my sanity. As such, writing serves as a useful tool for something I can do by myself to process, as I’ve said before, all those daily inputs in order to make sense of the senseless.

I saw the “Post a Day” and “One a Day” challenges on January 2nd. I’ve needed/wanted motivation to write daily for some time. It’s commonly stated that if you want to be called a writer, you must write daily. Free writes, simple exploration of thoughts, branching out into new literary territory – these are all up for grabs for the self-proclaimed writer.

I’m not comfortable calling myself a writer, just like I’m not comfortable calling myself an artist even though I can sketch better than the average bear. But, I do enjoy writing. So, to do something, you must practice. Practice is best had daily. When I saw the challenges, it seemed a natural merging of my wants with a public accountability system. So, I signed up. I’ve been successful in posting more than enough posts for a post-a-day. There have been a few times where I haven’t had time to write on that day, but I wrote more than one on a previous day so I use the “scheduled post” option WordPress graciously gives to allow for a seamless post a day.

But, how much of this writing is worthwhile? I imagine it is a good conduit for family living far away to keep light tabs on the life happenings here in the Pacific Northwest, with commentaries on birthdays and job changes. I’ve written a few things that I found were enjoyable to read, maybe thought provoking, and even, yes, a little profound. Writing a post a day though – not everything is profound.

The lack of profound thoughts is something I’m … adjusting to right now. On one hand, I’d like every post to be a quality post. But, to achieve this challenge, most things posted are simply to get that post a day done so I can state that I’ve done the thing I said I would. This is an experiment in habit forming and word tests. I am experimenting with the discipline of putting “pen to paper” or “fingers to keys” or “butt to the chair.” I’m experimenting with doing what I’ve wanted to do for a very long time: write.

Thank you for following along. Thanks for commenting, when posts justify comments. Thanks for telling me about how you’ve been keeping up in conversations outside the realm of the Internets. It’s all motivation to keep up the habit, to practice, to experiment, to write.

So, I would rather have more than just “I don’t want to write posts.” Sometimes, they will be, in keeping with the habit. But, I did have some guidelines in mind when I accepted this challenge. The basic guidelines being I want my posts to be between 500 and 750 words. More than 750, I’m being too verbose. It’d better be a damned interesting post if I’m going to spend that many words on a daily thing, that I would like read. Less than 500 seems like cheating. I’ve admitted they exist and will continue to exist because habit forming trumps quality. But, the idea is that 500 words is a good cut off for an essay. A good cut off for exploring a thought through, explaining my pros and cons, or describing the alliteration of a thought.

While there might not be anything profound here. I’m hoping for consistency and something fun to read. You can help keep me accountable by commenting! (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

My month of not wanting to write!

Steps of St Paul's
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

But, here are a few words anyway.

I am tired. Board meetings are tiring, sitting in those chairs. Conference calls from the ceiling are funny. Dramatic change is, well, dramatic. I want to educate people on the importance of a sustainable society. I have been doing that and I am working towards doing that more. We leave for Michigan in less than a month. Yea, vacation! Levi is excited to see his cousins and grandparents. We have consensus training for our food club on March 19th. Super yea! WordPress has another update. I think I have it figured out how to do it right, if only the plugins would cooperate. Why hosting service, why?

I am now going to marinate the lamb and read Cat among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie.

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