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Friday, 3 August 2012

Distractions These Days

For the past few days I've been distracted by personal issues in my life.  They're serious enough to sap creative strength, but not serious enough to cause real problems.  The question is, how does one learn to deal with those types of distractions, when they're really not a very good excuse for not getting any work done?  I haven't been doing any serious writing for a couple of days now, so I've been less and less inclined to do so.  That's the way my brain seems to work, anyway.  Inertia can be a good thing, but it can also be terrible.  When I'm in motion, I really move, but once I've stopped I'm like a cargo ship to get moving again.

I suppose this is where having a blog can come in handy.  I don't have to write something specific, or really all that focused, but it gets me in the writing frame of mind again.  I've also found, lately, that I enjoy receiving writing assignments.  It gives me a topic to focus on, instead of having my brain scattered all over the place with the millions of ideas I seem to have overwhelming me.

Of course, one of my biggest problems in life has always been lack of focus.  There are simply too many things I want to do, and it's hard for me to just pick something and then do it, so that I can move on to the next.  I'm always hesitating, trying to figure out what would be the best thing to do first.  Hesitation isn't always a bad thing, since it keeps us from doing things impulsively that might be harmful to our lives in some way.  "He who hesitates is lost," is usually the more accurate of the two, however.  We end up putting things off until a decision is forced on us and we no longer have choices.  That doesn't have much to do with my writing, really, but it applies to almost every other area of my life.

I think the biggest thing that keeps me from changing the way I do things, is the fact that usually things work out just fine, and sometimes way better than they would have if I'd made my move right away.  Sometimes it doesn't, but it's pretty hard to tell the difference between the two beforehand when I'm really not omniscient.  I just pretend I am.  Hindsight is always useless, unless it's something we can use to prevent something happening in the future, but even then it's hit or miss.

Well, would you look at that?!  I've only been banging away on my keyboard for about ten minutes, and already I have a new idea jotted down for an article I want to write.  Time to go before I lose the will to do so!!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Crazy Lady Downstairs

Yet another change is on the horizon, but I choose to look on it as a positive change.  It's moving time again.  My daughter and I have been living in the house of my former mother-in-law, which has been an adventure in itself as she's gone 'round the twist' a bit these days.  Now her house is being sold, which means finding alternative accommodations.  Considering the last year, in which we've resided in a living hell, this will be a good change.  Sudden, but good.  It'll likely mean finding something that will 'do for now', but at least we won't have to worry about the crazy lady downstairs.

Let me explain the crazy lady and her antics.  Over the last few years she's let herself go quite a bit, both physically and mentally.  She's decided that her only intellectual stimulation should be Jerry Springer and his ilk.  She's said on numerous occasions, because she's forgotten she's said it, that she doesn't want to learn anymore, so Jerry Springer is typical of her tastes.  In the year we've lived in this house, she has decided to kick us out at least once a week, and then turned around and said, "Thank God you're here", which gives a pretty accurate picture of her mental state.

Her anti-depressants aren't working, obviously.  She takes them, I know she does.  She has those blister packs for seniors, so it's the one thing she generally does right for herself.  However, she's diabetic and eats white sugar right out of the bowl, with a spoon.  Then she cries because her legs are burning (that happens when you don't keep your blood sugar under control).  I've told her on multiple occasions that she's not allowed to complain if she's going to keep doing it to herself.  She's asthmatic, but refuses to take her daily green & white inhaler to keep it under control, insisting that she's only supposed to take it as needed.  That's the blue one, not the green one, as I've explained to her at least a hundred times in the last year.  I should know, since I used to go to her appointments with her.  Then I just gave up.

She also managed to let herself go financially.  She doesn't bring in a high enough income to support herself in this house, so it was only a matter of time before she lost it.  Now she'll go into a seniors' building, and will probably have to have someone come by every day to check on her.  I think my ex was hoping I'd be some sort of caregiver for her, which is exactly the opposite of my personality type, especially with someone who refuses to take care of themselves or take responsibility for anything.

To illustrate the extremes she'll go to in order to garner sympathy, I'll give you an example.  This is not an exaggeration in any way.  This is exactly what happened.  Her older son, my former brother-in-law, was over one day.  She told him she was sick, and that nobody was taking care of her.  I simply called out, "Bullshit," from the kitchen, and seeing as I was making her an omelet at the time I had good reason to say that.  Not to mention the fact that when she was asked what was wrong she said she had a sore on her face, which turned out to be a pimple.  Yes, you read that right.  She had a pimple, and was telling her son she was sick and that nobody was looking after her.  Good God!  If I'd said I was sick every time I had a pimple I'd never have held a job more than a day.

Last Christmas, when we were all together, she actually had a cold and was sick.  However, she specifically sat there and moaned, repeatedly.  She told every single one of us that she wanted sympathy.  She repeated it over and over.  It was disgusting.  Never in my life have I actually wanted anyone's sympathy.  Someone I knew a long time ago used to say, "Sympathy is between shit and syphilis" (in the dictionary), and I have to agree.  Empathy would be one thing.  Understanding someone else's plight is something that should be part of the human condition.  Sympathy should be reserved for when someone dies.

So, as you can see, despite the somewhat urgent nature of the situation, there's good reason for me to be looking forward to a change of residence.  My daughter and I get along great, as we're both very much alike, and it's rare for us to have any kind of fight.  We'll get crabby and bitchy sometimes, but neither of us is all that offended by it and we usually just let it slide.  We're thick-skinned and often call one another names as a form of affection.  The fact that we feel free to do so is a good indication of our relationship.  It helps that we're both very solitary people.  We like being alone, so we don't bother one another very much.  We still spend time together, often watching movies, playing with the ferrets, or even just talking, but we're alone more than we're together.  For us that's a good thing.

At this point I don't even care what kind of place we find, because anything is better than being accosted every time I try to eat or make coffee.  We'll go back to living our lives the way we want to live them, rather than working around a person who can't even agree with herself about what she thinks, let alone anyone else.  Now that I've gotten into my writing in a much bigger way, I'll be starting out in a new place already in the habit of going after my dreams, and that sounds like a great start to me.  It only took me 41 years!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Banner Surprise

I went to copy HTML code for my banner, so that it could be pasted onto my website, and discovered some very flattering news.  I'm apparently in the top 100 writers on the site, as my banner code states.  My popularity on there is increasing bit by bit, and I'm starting to get more search engine referrals, which is great news.  With over 3,000 views of my articles, I'm beginning to feel very good about my future as a writer.

I've never really been sure if I was afraid of failure, or afraid of success.  Rejection doesn't bother me, really, as not everybody is going to like you, or what you do.  I can accept that.  I do know that it's easy to tell yourself you're not a failure if you haven't tried, because you haven't tried yet and haven't actually failed.  Of course, it doesn't make you a success either.

The thing is, I've done lots of things I was afraid of, such as skydiving.  Something bad usually happens, too, such as me hitting the ground at 20 miles an hour and actually bouncing, which was what happened when I did go skydiving.  I always know that the chances are good that things might not work out the way I want them to, but that doesn't usually stop me.

Writing is a different sort of fear, however.  I've always been told I was very good at it, getting top marks way back in school (about 25 years ago), and whenever anyone read my work.  There's always been a niggling doubt about the veracity of those compliments, though.  Most people aren't likely to say, "Man, this sucks!  Don't quit your day job."  People generally try to be nice, at least to your face.    I always wondered if people were being honest with me, or if they were just being tactful.

I've been getting lots of feedback on my writing lately, all from strangers, and all of it good, so my confidence is increasing.  Enough so that I've queried an agent.  I was a little surprised at myself for that, as I wasn't intending to do so just yet, but the impulse hit and I thought, "You've waited long enough.  Just send it off and see what they say.  It certainly can't hurt, and it's better than having it sit in a file on your stupid laptop, just waiting for the perfect moment."

There are no perfect moments in life to get anything done.  You just have to get it done.  For a long time I wasn't writing, and was waiting for inspiration to strike.  Finally I gave up on inspiration and simply started to write again.  Once I did that the inspiration started coming from out of nowhere.  Now I can't seem to stop.  I have a list of articles I want to write, and I think there are about 35 ideas on that list.  Some ideas won't stand the test of later perusal, which is the way inspiration works.  Sometimes it's just a silly thought, rather than a good idea.  Some will make it onto the pages of  Other ideas may end up being turned into fiction, and end up on my website instead.  A few might work their way into contests even.

All I know is, now that I'm actually writing again, the rewards have been great.  Emotionally for the moment, and maybe fiscally later, but the good feelings are still the same.  I've accomplished some things I've set out to do, and whether those things turn into successes on their own, I still feel like a success for having done them.