Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks.

It's been a rough year for most folks.  Sometimes, when it's been a rough year, it's difficult to find stuff to be thankful for.  No one knows that better than I, who is coming out of a fairly rough two year cycle, emotionally, and now, financially.

But here's what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful that my family is healthy and happy.  I'm thankful that I'm going to be a grandmother next summer. I'm thankful I'll have a new job starting next week.  I'm thankful for my friends who love me and have been so supportive of me over the past several months.  I'm thankful that, for all the difficulties my government and my country are having right now, I can go to sleep at night and know that the bus isn't being driven any longer by a man who hears voices in his head telling him he's the Anointed One.
I'm thankful I have this new PhD program at Pacifica in my life, and I'm grateful for the army of fellow zanies and lunatics who come with it.

I'm thankful I have a roof over my head.  I'm thankful I have food to eat.  I'm thankful I share that roof and food with my daughter, who for reasons only she can explain, chose to want to live with her mother again.  I'm thankful for her darling friends, who've been around so long, they feel like family.  I'm thankful for her new boyfriend, who is already family as well.

I'm thankful my friends are well and happy, and that they never cease to amaze me with the generosity of spirit and their raging humor and good will.

I'm thankful I'm healthy.  I'm thankful I'm here.  I'm thankful for you, the people out there -- some of whom, I know personally, some, I don't -- who read these pages and choose to check in on my life from time to time.  I'm just thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  May you be blessed to spend it with people you love and cherish.



Monday, November 02, 2009

Yes, Before You Ask, I Am Clinically Insane

November, for those who don't already know, is National Novel Writing Month.

I wasn't supposed to be doing this this year. I was supposed to be concentrating on school and finishing projects and writing papers. For the next three years, my life, outside of anything I might do to earn a living or keep my household going, is to be devoted to only one thing -- school. No unscheduled fun. No unstructured creativity. No pleasure art of any kind. Period. Everyone has let me know nine ways from Sunday what my responsibilities are where school is concerned, and that writing 50,000 words of fiction that might not lead anywhere is a foolish waste of time.

I get that. I get that it's frivolous to even consider reading a book for enjoyment or writing anything that doesn't garner a grade of some kind, or isn't at least written on a syllabus somewhere.

But when I told thriller novelist J.T. Ellison that I was busy, that I had school and a life and how on Earth could I possibly fit NaNoWriMo into my schedule, her response was a little different.

"One hour a day," she tweeted to me. "You can find one hour a day."

Here's the thing. I'm a writer. It's what I do. More to the point, it's what I am. I'm not allowed to act or sing anymore, unless I'm willing to do it inside the boundaries of what someone else thinks I am. I'm not working, and I've done all I can do to look for work. I've sent out the little messages in the bottles, and now must await their return.

So, while I wait, I will write. I will write about Hindu Traditions. I will write about Greek Mythology. I will write about Dream Interpretation. And then I will write what I want to write, because I want to write it.

I've included an excerpt below, which comes from the middle of the 3,714 words I've written in two days.  Count your lucky stars -- my cousin, Brian, made the mistake of asking to read it, so I sent him the entire beginning, in all it's unedited glory. Bless him.


It’s the hoping that makes it the worst. Hoping that maybe you were wrong, that you misinterpreted, that maybe he will or has changed his mind. That maybe he’ll see what he’s walked away from so cavalierly, as if all the times your body was stretched along his, skin to skin, limbs wrapped around each other, never mattered a damn.

If not for hope, you’d be sad and grief-stricken and broken, but you’d know to stop listening for the phone. You’d not to stop running to check e-mail. You’d know not to want to continue in a friendship with someone that you don’t want as a friend nearly as much as you want them as a lover, though you’ll take them as a friend because, when you’ve lost a love, you need all the friends you can get, right?

That’s what hope does for you. It makes you dream for the impossible. It makes you wait for a promise full of hot air and good intentions. Until suddenly, you wake up one morning and find yourself telling your best friend that you’re wasting the best years of your life being a stalker, when you could be off being stalked.

Hope is sick. Worse, hope makes you sick.

I blame Ancient Greece.