Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As of this very moment Matt is sitting in the living room, waiting for me to come out so he can open his gifties.  I cheated and already opened most of mine.  Which I pretty much do every year so it isn't any different this year.  But for some reason he wanted to wait until Christmas morning.

I just wanted to get a jump on writing out thank you cards...

Okay that's a half lie.  Sometimes I just open the presents whenever I want.  So there.

Anyway, don't want to torture him any longer so I'm heading out but before going I really wanted to wish everyone a safe and happy, super Merry and joyful Christmas day!  And if this isn't the holiday you personally celebrate then I hope whatever that one is/was becomes the most awesome of celebrations too!

Its unlikely I'll be back over before the New Year as we're going to have some out of town company over the turn of the calendar so while I'm at it hope everyone enjoys their New Year's celebrations too.

This year I resolve to pay no attention to anything that sucks.  People, places, things, etc.  I only want to put focus on the best of stuff in the world and see where the ride takes me!

Enjoy the last few moments of 2011 everyone...bring it on 2012...

Love ,
Jenn (& of course Matt)

PS If I've disappeared lately its for two reasons...


And this:

After the New Year I'll share all the details about both I promise!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where Have All the Tomboys Gone?

The other night I went to my second meeting with the Scottsdale society of Women Writers. This is quite a dynamic and enthusiastic group of women who all have the same common goal of writing, publishing and selling their work. At least those I’ve met are interested in that path. Many of them have already been published traditionally or have self-published. And self-publishing is an act that I’m coming to learn is slowly becoming more traditionally accepted form of publishing as well.

We sat around the good viewing side of the table, there were six of us at our table, and chatted while we waited for dinner to arrive and the leader of the group, Patricia, to get things kicked off for the night. I was wearing my name tag in guest red but had just joined that night and it felt great to know that next month I’d be sporting member blue; no longer just a guest but one of the people who can call herself a Writer. As we talked about the projects we’ve all worked on, our lives in general and what our current success has been in publishing, I suddenly realized that a few of the women at our table were asking me about the steps I’ve taken in publishing my novel.

I am not yet published, this first manuscript that I wrote during (the dare known as) NaNoWriMo in 2009 had its edits completed in mid-2010 and I’ve been shopping it ever since. My time doing research to find out the proper steps and ways to go about getting a 60,000 word Chick Lit novel into mainstream publication has armed me with a whole bunch of knowledge but no contract with an agency as of yet. But I still felt great that I could contribute to the smaller group at our table with a little bit of information on how they too could get their work out into the world. Maybe those yet unpublished authors at our table would find quicker success than I have and I hope they all go for it!

My book, I professed, is a specific sect of a specific genre. Generally when I make these kinds of statements the person I’m talking to nods and says “oh, that’s nice” but they don’t ask the follow up questions. These ladies asked exactly what genre it was, what makes it more niche-y and I was overjoyed to describe it! I need to create an elevator pitch as if I was the book talking, it will help with queries, so the more I can narrow down by saying it out loud the better.

I told them that it qualifies as Chick Lit but my female main character isn’t like typical girlie-girls. She’s not all about shoes and purses, she’s a tomboy who loves The Bruins and beer and jogs almost daily. One of the women at my table said “ooh, cool!” and I almost ran over across the table to hug her. It hit me in that moment that there have got to be hundreds, if not thousands, of women just like my main character out there. Women that would think a story about a tomboy and her friends hanging out at bars, building businesses, and finding love in Boston is cool. I mean, I’m that way. My character’s disposition and activities came out of my imagination so while she isn’t a carbon copy of me, there are still a whole lot of “she’s the me I’d be if I could create the dream me” moments.

I agreed that I thought it was pretty cool. It’s not likely I’ll ever write a girlie-girl story with a high heel wearing, Prada bag carrying, powerful and rich type of girl simply because that is not me.

So while I pondered the fact that there is a definite market out there for my work I started to wonder if I already know that entire network of people. In theory of course, I hope more than the few hundred women I know will enjoy my book. I guess I mean that if I’m a tomboy and most of the gals I know might also be considered tomboys it must be reasonable to deduce that there are many, many others out there too. Maybe even some Agents.

Next step: find an Agent who likes a good Porter and an Irish Townie who knows how to kiss, can’t live without hockey, and is there in a crisis for her friends regardless that she too is essentially in the middle of a crisis.

Or at least find an Agent who wants to read about that girl because although it nerves me, I can’t wait to stand in front of the group and talk about my soon to be published novel.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Landmarks, Boston Style

I was watching a Bruins game a few days ago and during a commercial when they panned around the Garden something hit me.  Many of our famous bronze statues and landmarks that we send tourists to check out are sports related.

Is this a regular thing in other cities too or are we unique in our fandom of sports? 

There are certainly the random-historical-dudes-on-horses statues in the Public Garden, Boston Common and other places.  But when they pan over the TD Garden sign & down to the ground during Bruins games the camera rests on the insanely popular, well photographed, and very cool bronze statue of Bobby Orr flying through the air during his famous shot. 

In fact the shot is so well known in Boston it is simply referred to as “The Goal”; I’d wager that hockey fans everywhere know about it though, not just those of us from Boston.

Ted Williams putting his huge cap on a little fan’s head is at the entrance to Fenway, and, as I said, Orr is at the entrance to the Garden but look around beyond major league stadiums and you’ll discover all kinds of neat bronze people. 

At the Roxbury Crossing station on the Orange Line of the T, tucked into a corner of the quad on the Northeastern campus, you’ll find a fantastic bronze sculpture of Cy Young.  Allegedly placed where the exact pitches were thrown from in the original baseball stadium, he’s one big guy watching over the students who come and go from class.

Take a walk down to Gate D at Boston College’s Alumni Stadium and you’ll come face to face with the brown, metallic version of one of the greatest football players ever to grace New England with his talent on two teams – the BC Eagles and the Patriots – Doug Flutie.

Head to Quincy Market to catch Red Auerbach hanging on a bench, hop the Green Line to Kenmore and catch a pass from a bronzed Harry Agganis outside the arena named for him, and if you happen to run the Boston Marathon be sure to locate the statue of George V. Brown in Hopkinton as he stands ready to tell you to go.

Not only are there players, coaches, directors and inspirational people associated with Boston sports sprinkled all over the city but there is actually an entire tour dedicated to the thrill of finding some of them!  It’s called The Boston Sports Trail and quite possibly as important (if not more important) to the residents of town than the Freedom Trail or and other historical landmark. 

Mostly because in Boston, the sports are a historical landmark!

If you want to get more info on The Boston Sports Trail for next time you’re wondering what to do on a random Saturday afternoon, you can check out this link on  Not everything I mentioned above is even on this trail, but there is also a lot more than I mentioned in this post, so I definitely suggest digging into your Google searches for the bronze gods & goddesses of Boston and hunt down even more sports greats on your own!

All I can say is I know what I’m doing next time I’m visiting my hometown!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Tale of the Pop Princess Turned Novelist

I’m not progressive, edgy, hipster, or any of the other things that used to separate a person from the crowd of “cool” kids and now in some miraculous twist of fate, they allegedly make you the cool kid. I like boys and cheezy girlie heartstring type romance stories. I like comedy and the color fuchsia. I like pop music, a good hook, and lyrics that have absolutely nothing to do with anything.

And you know what? I saw “Chasing Amy”, I know that “Idiosyncratic Routine” doesn’t get as many fans as “Bluntman & Chronic” but Adams' character had fans. People did actually line up at the front of her table and ask her to sign their comic book. She wasn’t completely cynical and bitchy like Lee’s character but she also wasn’t an idiot like Affleck’s character either. She kind of fell somewhere right in the middle.

That’s the type of writer I’m aiming to be – just edgy enough it will keep all the cool kids interested in today’s have-to-have-it-last-week society, but also hopeful enough so the people who still believe in love will have a sense of everything being right with the world. Ah, balance.

And that’s exactly what my book is so I think it is high time the thing gets published. Seriously, I’m just sooooo sick of talking about it being in the pre-published stage. I want to start talking about it in the published sense! That manner where I tell people to come to my book signing, go to buy it, perhaps even load on your eReaders.

Must. Garner. Agent.

I had queried an agent that I thought sounded PERFECT for this project, she’s semi-cynical, but fun, and just reading her blog I knew our personalities would mesh. That is very important because I can’t have an agent, and she can’t have me as a client, if we don’t get each other. She’s going to be like my BFF, boss, Psychiatrist, the person who hangs up on me and the person who fish-slaps me back to reality for the next (God willing) 10-20 years. 

Its like a marriage of sorts when you set up a long-term Agent relationship.  Or so I'm told, I would like to find out.

About seven weeks ago I sent her a pretty nicely crafted query for my MS and in her auto responder it specifically says that if it’s been more than six weeks to go ahead and nudge her with a re-query.

Okay now I’m a little nervous. I’ve never done that before. Most agents say that if you don’t hear from them there’s pretty much a reason for it. Yeah, you know the reason. But I knew from the start this Agent was a little different – like I said, kind of like me which is why I was drawn to her to begin with. Plus she handles Chick Lit. Plus we’re similar in age so that 10-20 year thing could actually be a reality.

So basically I don’t want to go and fuck it up now. I don’t want to not re-query and have my letter out in the abyss, but at the same time what if she sent me back a form rejection the first time? And then she simply forwards that without so much as a personalized 'sorry you didn't get my hell no the first time'.  Could my poor little recoculous Writer’s ego take that kind of a hit when I’m already planning what kind of basket I’ll send her to thank her once we’re on the shelf at B&N or wherever?


I’m going to do it, and I’m just going to get it out of the way right now. I’m going to trust my gut instinct and send out what I feel to be right. And then if nothing else at least I can say I didn’t sacrifice who I am just to get this project off the ground floor. But I can still keep my fantasies of celebrating our birthdays together over a cup of tea as we laugh about how we became rich and famous together.

And I promise, I’ll keep the cursing to a minimum.

In the query at least.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Proofreading, Just One More Service I Provide

I think there is a huge market out there that should be looking to me to help them and I’m offering those services starting today. That market is, specifically, the people who post content online but clearly have no clue how to re-read, review, or proofread their own work for mistakes. Or perhaps they are just too lazy and don’t care.

Can someone please explain to me how these people maintain a readership and sell thousands of self-published books every year? Perhaps they would have an even bigger following and sell even more if they were able to make the best possible use of the English language. I am here to help them get there.

In the many years I’ve been online I’ve started to notice a trend where people post things they clearly never read through a second time (let alone a third or more) and mistakes are blindingly evident. One of the first places I saw it occurring on a regular basis was job postings.

Nothing made me want to scream more than reading through a job posting that was asking someone to be “detail orientated”. After a while I started applying for jobs by editing their job posting and emailing the revised version back to them with a copy of my resume.

It made me feel great knowing I was helping them even if they never took advantage of the changes I had suggested (I never really went back to look). I felt I was the detail oriented candidate they were allegedly looking for so it naturally surprised me when I didn’t land a single one of those jobs. Go figure.

Now, the writers of online content have upped the ante. Yes, I said Writers. I’m starting to question if perhaps what I should have been doing back then was posting my resume to include all those website links that I proofread and edited for spelling and grammar because not only is it still happening in places like Monster, but Writers are doing it too. Again, yes, I said Writers.

Writers not knowing how to spell? Writers not proofing their own blog post at least once before it goes out on the internet? Writers that are selling thousands of copies of their book on Amazon, have people complimenting their posts and all the while they can’t format a complete structured sentence???

Yes I’m on a soapbox. Yes I totally hold myself to a higher standard in my own writing. Yes I also acknowledge the fact that I definitely write in a conversational tone on my blog and uber literary types probably cringe at my work sometimes. But at least I flipping know how to spell definitely.

So that’s it. I’ve had it with reading articles every morning that alleged Writers have posted, just to become frustrated; popping a vein because it reads like a third grader’s paper.


And no I’m not sorry for shouting, this shit is serious.

I’m saying it out loud, here and now, that I am available for hire. I truly want to help you to be better. Please, for the love of WORDS, just send me your work before you put it out on the internet. I will do my best to make it read professionally. I’m not even going to charge a lot, just get me at my fiverr listing and I'll start working to proof and edit your 2000 word piece. My turn time will be quick. I’ll pull a contract together and all that happy crap. You can just send me money through PayPal.

This is a service I’m willing to provide for the following types of content:
• Blog posts
• School papers (15 pages or less, over 15 let’s talk)
• Articles
• Interviews you’ve done
• Merchandise listings
• Other stuff just email me

Please, please, PLEASE help me clean up the internet’s bulk of information to read more smoothly. In this world of acronyms we can’t let the placement of them in sentences, or the spelling of words around them, to exhibit lessened intelligence.

Hire me today.

randomlunacy11 at yahoo dot com

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Because I Need to Post Something

So I’m doing a silly meme for the first time in a long time for a few reasons. First, I haven’t posted in 3 weeks and have been feeling like I want to but didn’t know what to write. Second, because I ran across it on the page of one of the writers on my blogroll and it seemed like a fine idea. Finally, just because. And all of that seems good enough for me so without any additional rambling you won’t already be privy to while sorting through the drivel below…enjoy.

1. Why did you sign up for writing your blog?
Because it seemed like a good thing to do that first winter after moving back to Massachusetts when I hadn’t yet started back to school and barely had any jobs painting. I kind of felt like at least I could find some people out there that I could force to read my stuff, even if those people were only family and friends to start.

2. Why did you choose your blog's name? What does it mean?
Um, well I think ‘Random Lunacy’ is mostly self-explanatory. My brain doesn’t seem to want to focus on just one thing and I’m certainly pretty mentally fucked so it seemed all encompassing.

3. Do you ever had another blog?
Yeah, I know this is the internet and sometimes there are lower standards and all that jazz but I’m correcting this question right now. Either “Have you ever had another blog” or “Do you have another blog”. Seriously people, grammar is something we all learned starting in the third grade or earlier. Embrace it. Use it. I beg you.

4. What do you do online when you're not on your blog?
The usual stuff – read the news, read blogs, read email, sell shit, watch stupid videos, tweet, waste time reading crap on Facebook, participate in my school forum discussions, write a couple other blogs…oh yeah, I was supposed to tell you I had those in the last question wasn’t I? Sorry, got all caught up whipping out my grammar police badge and kind of forgot.

5. How about when you're not on the computer?
If you’re asking what I do during that time…exercise, balance my checkbook, obsessively white out things in my day planner, apply Chapstick, dance in supermarket aisles, watch hockey, watch football, smoke cigarettes, read books, have sex, brush my teeth, drive to the doctor’s office, drive home, take pictures of empty beer glasses, point and laugh at people who pass me on single lane roads when they end up right in front of me at the next red light…honestly, there are far too many things to list them all.

6. What do you wish people who read your blog knew about you?
I’ve pretty much told all my stories already which I suppose is the main reason why I only write like once a month these days.

7. What is your favorite community in the blogosphere?
Hmm, don’t really belong to a community per se. Maybe I should get on that huh?

8. What is your philosophy on your blog layout?
Philosophy: noun; the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct
Clearly I couldn’t possibly have a philosophy due to that word ‘rational’ being plunked in there. See question # 2 as related to the name of my blog again.

9. Tell me about your picture you use to represent you on your blog.
It’s a self-portrait. Simply stunning isn’t it? And obviously I’m like a reincarnated Picasso with those sharpie marker skills.

10. Pick 3 random blogs from your blogroll and tell us about them.
Not doing this, it’s almost as bad as asking me to tag my friends in this piece of crap excuse for a blog post. If you want to know about them then get your ass over to their blogs and read for yourself, they're all pretty rad.

11. What features do you think your blog should have that it doesn't currently?
Incredibly high paying sponsorship.

12. What do you consider the 10 most "telling" interests that we would infer from what you blog persona?
I’m going to spell this very slowly with spacers so maybe whoever wrote this can learn from the second example since they may not have noticed their error the first time – g r a m m a r – should I define it too?
What I think it’s asking of course is to reveal 10 things I like that people who are too lazy or busy to just read through my whole blog should know. Okay here goes: smoking, drinking, sports, sleep, relaxing, writing, music, Matt, family, friends. Not necessarily in that order.

13. Do you have any unique interests that you have never shared before? What are they?

14. The best thing about blogging is all of the friends that you make, beside from those folks, do you think your blog has fans?
Aside from the fact that should read 'aside', not 'beside'...At night I go to sleep dreaming of the thousands of people that read my blog every day. Note the word “dreaming”.

15. What's your current obsession? What about it captures your imagination?
Tweeting. I’m a wordy bitch so trying to cram it all into that short a message is a challenge I can get behind. Well that and I pretty much just like to hear myself talk so it’s like the next best thing.

16. What are you glad you did but haven't really had a chance to post about?
Decided to give up my retail shop next year and solely focus on the only thing I actually want to do for a living which is to be a writer.

17. How many people that first became a blog friend, have you met face to face?
Hmm, guess I can’t count my mom since we met before the blogging part so I guess 4 so far but maybe another in January and I will get to Colorado next year to hopefully meet two more.

18. What don't you talk about here, either because it's too personal or because you don't have the energy?
Nothing that I’m going to start talking about just because you asked this question, duh.

19. What's a question that you'd love to answer?
“Do you want me to deposit this entire seven figure royalty check all at once or should we split it into a few separate checks?”

20. Have you ever lost a blogging friendship and regretted it?
Don’t think so. Writers & bloggers come and go. Friends, whether they blog anymore or not, are still friends.

21. Have you ever lost a blogging friendship and thought, “Was that overdue!”
Nope, not so much.

As thieved from Sunday Stealing

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Really, Verizon Wireless?


As I sit here in my office, typing away, I watch my phone shut itself down for no reason at all for the fourth time in 12 minutes and I realize that it must have been designed to fail. You know, considering my contract expires in just two short months it only seems reasonable that my phone would die right now; forcing me to buy a new one and renew the contract for another two full years.

Either that or pay the low, low price of $350 to end the contract early and go with another carrier like I actually want to do. Thanks Verizon for being so clever as to keep your customers unhappy but on the hook none the less. Fuckers.

So the battle with this phone started twenty two months ago for Matt, his started doing this power itself down for no good reason thing about three days after we got the phones. Mine was fine though so we thought maybe it was just some odd glitch in his physical phone and called to talk to the folks at Verizon Wireless.

They told him they'd do some kind of funky thing where they reboot software from their master computer behind the curtain in Oz and that the reboot would take care of the problem. They did their thing, his screen went white, they did more stuff, his screen came back up and voila, for about a month his phone was working fantastic.

Verizon Wireless became the saviors of the day and we all rejoiced. Yea.

Things went along as if nothing was ever wrong, with no home phone we rely on our cell phones as our only voice communication. This was in 2009. At that time, most of the world realized the (insanely overly expensive) awesomeness of Smartphones and people ran around like the bulls were chasing them directly into the AT&T store to buy their iPhones, post haste.

Must. Have. Technology!

Hipsters everywhere whipped out their little mini computers to check directions, level an entire log cabin or flick a Bic at concerts. Meanwhile I continued to do the things on the phone that truly mattered to me – texting with my friends and family.

And then it happened. About a year into my contract my phone started doing the same thing as Matt's had been doing. And then Matt's phone began doing the same thing it had been doing all over again. So I go into a Verizon store and they tell me, oh yeah, the LG EnV3 is known to have this problem. This is something they knew about for the past year or so.

You mean the past year I've had this phone? Awesome. So I ask how to go about trading it in, you know, considering the issue that they are fully aware of, and if Matt and I need to be together to do that since we’re on the family plan and all that. They look up our account, give me a polite smile and tell me that neither of us are eligible for an upgrade so it would cost us upwards of $200 to do so. Each phone.

Um, that's not an exchange on a product you know isn't working. How can we fix this? Blank stare.

So why weren't customers who bought this phone informed of the issue right away when it was discovered? Head shake, shoulder shrug, and blank stare.

He told me that I should call customer service and have them do a software reboot which will definitely take care of the issue because that’s what the LG people told them would work. So I went home and did exactly that.

The next day my phone shut itself down again for no apparent reason. The battery was fully charged. I had perfectly respectable reception. Software reboot my ass. Way to brush off your customer there Verizon Wireless employee from the day before.

We started saving for our move and basically just learned to deal with the bullshit pieces of crap that were our phones as we really had no choice. I looked up our contract end date so I could be prepared to dump them as soon as possible.

As soon as we got to Arizona mine began doing this shut down deal more and more often. It would randomly turn off when I was in the middle of a call. Sometimes it happened as I was typing a text message.

Matt got a phone for work through Sprint, which works the bomb, so he pretty much turned off his Verizon Wireless paperweight and stopped using it. We both opted to wait it out to get new phones when our Verizon contract expired in January 2012 because we're not made of the money “required” to purchase a new phone to deal with this known issue.

And now it’s just become recoculous, shutting down like it is this morning, and I’m already on the BestBuy website looking at phones to go out and spend money on. Money I don’t really have. Money that will eat into my savings. Money on a phone that is way more than I need. And guess what that means? Yup, extending the contract for another two years. Thieves.

I'm frustrated and more than irritated at Verizon Wireless for not taking care of the problem when they had the chance years ago, when I spoke both on the phone and face to face with someone who could have simply made the issue go away and had me as a customer probably for life.

But now all I want to do is become a Sprint customer and I basically can’t.

Those Verizon Wireless people know they have me over a barrel because I won't cancel two months out, pay the exorbitant fee to do so, and the only way I can “upgrade” these days is to buy a phone that has more bells and whistles than I actually want (which essentially means a more expensive plan and more expensive phone but of course it’s still cheaper than the cancellation of the contract).

Two months of a working phone is all I am asking for because I stayed with a company to fulfill my end of the bargain on the contract.

Sadly it has become clear that they can treat their customers however they want and do nothing to fix issues because in the end they will make a ton of money off of you regardless of what you do or don’t do. Again, fuckers.

Never before this moment have I wished so much to be famous(er). Famous people get their shit fixed when they ask for it to be fixed because they threaten to use Social Media against companies and companies don’t like that because masses of customers walk away, not just two like us.

People like me with only about 300 some odd readers of this blog and a few hundred Facebook and twitter followers are small time. We get the shaft because they know my reach isn’t wide enough to cause a major upheaval or uproar.

Does no one care about their paying customers anymore? Loyalty clearly gets you nowhere.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Position to Fill: Life Reign-er-in-er

Anyone want to be my life assistant?  Because its become clear to me over the past few months that I just simply can not manage to keep my own life under control.  The position might sound weird but all in all its a pretty sweet gig for the right person.  No really, I mean it.

Duties include:

- Whittling down, organizing and making my digital life much more manageable.
- Being an all-knowing god / goddess of the internet so you can use that magic wand to make changes like 'Poof!!' without having to learn anything first that ends up not working in the end. 
- Understanding exactly what I mean when I refer to something as a 'hoobie-do'.
- Understanding that I will refer to many things as a 'hoobie-do'.
- Connecting all my internet locations to read the same, look the same and function correctly while still split into two distinct personalities.
- Making suggestions about what is a piece of crap and a waste of your time (ie. my time) to have an account open with and unmercifully killing it off while you laugh maniacally.

Your compensation:

Is seriously lacking at this time.  As in, I'll make you dinner & give you a couple beers but don't expect to see one red cent until I'm rich & famous.  However, at the time when I become rich & famous you are more than welcome to accompany me to lavish parties, meet and mingle with anyone you like, and you will be compensated overwhelmingly awesomely.  This is going to take a little trust on your part but understand that the better of a job you do reigning me in the more likely I'll be able to focus on the shit that actually matters and get us to that compensation plan that includes rides in private jets, comp tickets to the Super Bowl and whatever other loveliness your imagination can whip up!


- Will pretend to love everything I love (but are actually comfortable enough to tell me the truth constantly how much you really don't like it).
- Will work from your own home, not mine, seeing as though everything is online I'm pretty sure you can manage that from your own sofa.
- Don't have kids or a spouse, because believe me, my many personalities will more than make up for your lack of family and keep you busier than if you did have one of your own.
- Get it.


- Will have recoculously grand plans (that you will laugh at on a daily basis but try to accomplish anyway because you're just that flipping dedicated).
- Will be forever grateful that someone out there is as insane as I am that they would even consider working for me.

Sounds like the most amazing job ever right?  Submit your resumes to randomlunacy11 at yahoo dot com.

Can't wait to get started working together!  Woo hoo!

Monday, October 31, 2011

It Starts Tomorrow

If you've been hanging around these here parts long enough you know about my crazy past two years doing National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo, or NaNo, for short) during November.  For those who haven't been reading here since at least last November, NaNo is a thirty day challenge to complete an entire 50,000 word novel during just the month of November. 

Yes that's only thirty days, in case you thought you read that wrong, you didn't.

Its a brutal siege on your mental energy.  People in your life don't understand why you haven't showered in a week and a half.  Spouses figure out ways to automate the coffee pot to drip directly into the mug in your office which you haven't left for three straight weeks.  You learn impressive new techniques for ways to sleep while you type.

As I said to someone earlier this morning, I've never taken part in something so challenging yet equally (or more) rewarding in my life.  And I've been lucky enough to do it and win the challenge for the past two years in a row.

But not this year.

It pains me to even think that I'll have no excuse for being crotchety this November, that I can't play off my pale skin and wide eyed insomnia on character development, but with the new challenge of school plus a little travel in my plans next month NaNo just wasn't in the cards this year.

I have a manuscript that I wrote during NaNo in 2009 that has been edited to hell and is now being shopped for representation for publication.  I also met the goal last November but despite hitting something like 58,000 words last year, that one hasn't been opened since.  And you want to know what is so strange about that fact?  I love my characters in that book more.  Sorry RtT but my untitled second manuscript has my heart.

Probably because it hasn't been finished.  Once I've read it that many times I'm sure my feelings of murderous deletion of every single main character will take hold.  But until then I'm savoring them all.  So during November I plan to bring my MS along for the ride and do the re-writes I've been so desperate to begin as well as the necessary edits to what I've currently got in order to spring this book back into life.  It won't be the same but at least it will be writing.  And if all goes according to my nefarious plan I'll have two manuscripts complete by early next spring.

And be a red carpet walking mega writer type by next fall.  Ah yes, dare to dream.

The insanity begins tomorrow.  I'm pretty sure a couple friends are doing it again this year and I not only applaud you but also, picture me holding pom-poms in the shape of a typewriter and giving you the old college fight cheer.  Okay, the typewriter thing is dorky I know but seriously Wrimos, best of luck for a successfully completed challenge in 2011! 

Go do some finger exercises, finish those outlines and pick up your 10 pounds of coffee grounds now then get typing tomorrow!  Looking forward to being back to joining all of you next year.

Badge retrieved from the NaNoWriMo Website & doctored by me to include the word "non" in Photoshop.  Sadly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Seem to Recognize Your Face

They say write what you know. But what do any of us really know anyway? I guess the one thing I can for sure say I would be most able to figure out is myself. As of right now though, I don’t know if writing “myself” is something that would qualify as enough.

I’m only in my late thirties, so is there enough life experience in there to pull from and relay to keep people entertained; to keep them relating? I don’t know, and I struggle with the concept every day, but something forces my fingers to keep pounding on the keys; keep sharing what comes out.

All these changes taking place, I wish I’d seen the place.

Regardless of my calendar age, I feel like I’ve lived a million lives sometimes. I’ve done so many jobs, met so many people, gone so many places and, mainly, just noticed something amazing occur every day that it seems like thousands of years have moved through my head.

Memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.

So of course there are times I think back on with fondness, and others I think back and wonder if I stayed too long at that particular party. Still there are others where I know for sure I got out of that party just in the nick of time. Sometimes, figuratively. Sometimes, quite literally. Sometimes it was all about protecting my head, but most of the time it was about the heart.

Hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away…

I was always drawn to the shape of a heart. From a really young age as a girl when I would doodle on random pieces of paper, or my 3 ring binder and book covers when I was in school, I would most often be drawn to drawing the shape of a heart. The very simple ♥ shape.

So many notebooks and journals were filled with my daydream hearts. Who knows what scene was playing out inside my head while I took a black or blue ball point pen and scribbled out thousands of bubbly hearts all over the place, but there was no doubt it probably involved boy meets girl in some way shape or form. Romance was always at the top of my list in those days.

I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate.

A romantic living in the big city of Boston, dating nothing but Townies who will surely break your heart, can quickly become jaded, cynical, and crispy inside. Passion, and throwing oneself into a situation with the full force of it, means lots of deflated bubble hearts. So I think back to who I was with, what I was doing and how I did it back then and for some unknown reason I have no regrets even though my heart is possibly less bubbly these days than it was 20 or so years ago.

My God it’s been so long, never dreamed you’d return.

In another month I will be attending my 20 year high school reunion. To say that nostalgia is heavy on my mind these days would be a gross understatement. I think about the music I listened to back then, how far I’ve come and the relationships I forged during the many years I lived within the confines of one of Boston’s suburbs. I think about what I wanted in those days, who I thought I’d marry and what I had planned to do with my life.

But now here you are, and here I am.

I wonder who will show up, who will catch up and who has passed on beyond our physical world that won’t have the chance to walk into that room, smiling. I wonder if we’ll pull out some old school tunes and dance the night away. I wonder if we’ll all recognize how, no matter what we’ve done since that hot as hell day in early June of 1991 that somehow we managed to grow past ourselves. That we managed to grow.

Lifetimes are catching up with me.

No matter what its going to be damn interesting.

Lyrics by Pearl Jam

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Concept, No

I sat here this morning wondering what I want to specialize in when I graduate. Funny thing is I’d probably tell you that this is what I want to do after graduating with a Bachelor in English – sit here and write this purge-y drivel – and that would definitely be accurate.

Because at the same time I write my papers for school and blog for my company, the whole time I’m doing it I’m aching to be writing some character that’s trapped inside my head.  The character of Me, or maybe the one who represents who I am this week.  Thanks Fall Out Boy, couldn't have said it better myself.

I don’t know, I guess I just want to be able to write run on sentences for a living, regardless if its for reality or fantasy, and have it not matter worth a damn because everyone who reads it understands my voice so if I just blabber on in one long strain it’s a no brainer that I simply haven’t taken a breath yet. Duh. My voice is from Boston after all. That first sentence here in this paragraph? Yeah, not so much a run on in Boston. Why? Because in my native tongue that’s probably, technically, only about 6 words; they get spoken really, really fast so they kind of all mash together.  But when you type Word doesn’t recognize worthadamn as an actual word. I mean, what’s up with that?

Anyway, Matt and I were sitting here the other night and I was freaking out about not being able to make money right now and he had to fish-slap me and remind me that I’m in school, I graduate in a little over a year, and then is the right time to pursue the full time thing. I know he’s right, it just wigs me out not to be contributing financially right now. Especially where we’ve been looking to buy a house.

I love what I do all day – writing papers for school, reading, marketing, and creating little items that I list in my shop – just wish it could pay the bills ya know? I mean, If he were to go down in a tragic blimp accident I want to rest assured knowing I make enough to support myself. Well I don’t make anything but A’s right now. Good of course, but A’s don’t pay the mortgage, you dig?

So then he says to me “You know, you’re gonna get recruited the second you graduate right?” And I (completely unfamiliar with the concept) said “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout Willis?” Him “Your school, they’re pretty likely going to want you on staff when you get your degree. You’re like in the top 2% of your class.”

And what immediately goes through my head? No, it wasn’t how cool that might be. It wasn’t anything to do with actually securing employment directly out of school (the former version of the American dream btw). Nope. What I think is:

“Seriously? I wonder if I really am only in the top 2%? Maybe I should work a little harder to hit that 1% or I won’t be up for...”

It doesn’t matter what came next, it’s all just my psychotic inner monologue and trust me, no one needs to be privy to that much crazy.  Not even me but sadly not much I can do about that. But at any rate I kept thinking and eventually I got to the important stuff like the part where I could be working in a year.

So there I sat, outside, smoking my cigarette and baking in the kiln (aka our south facing patio in Arizona) when it hit me that hard work might actually pay off. My heart actually started pounding a little quicker with excitement.

But you all know what that means right? I mean you could script it by this point couldn’t you?

The next thing to go through my head is that I really need to start focusing on my novel again. Sigh. Can’t blame me I guess but I just started getting my company stuff rolling and I’m not so sure I want to split focus because I know there’s no way I can do two things in a full time capacity plus school.  I tried it earlier this year and almost gave myself a nervous breakdown trying to manage it all.

So what to do? Full time faux, part time school and writing? I guess that’s possible. It’s the weekend now and here I am writing this purge-y drivel so why couldn’t I whip up a synopsis of my novel during the commercials of sports all weekend?

I don’t know why I don't just do it.  Why I procrastinate by sitting here telling everyone why I shouldn't procrastinate.  Hello?  No one wrote a synopsis by telling people they were thinking they should just write their synopsis.  I hate my head.

It’s probably fear right?

I fucking hate fear too. I get right to the edge and then talk myself out of jumping ALL THE TIME even though I see the stupid net, I’m also strapped to a bungee cord and there is a big thing that looks like a bouncy castle beneath it all. I’m well protected, I know it, but I still can’t fucking bring myself to leap.

But what am I even really afraid of? That's the question du jour isn't it?  Is it putting my writing out there to be openly criticized? Is it nerves that no one will want to criticize it? Am I a-scared of potential success? Am I afraid I'll have nothing to obsess over anymore if I just get a fucking book deal and move on with my life?  Am I nervous that I could actually do what I always told people was the thing I wanted to do…be rich and famous?

We were driving around a potential neighborhood yesterday and I just kept spewing off about how when I was a kid all I said was I wanted to be rich and famous. I kept on saying it as I grew up, and now that I’m old what the fuck am I doing? Certainly not taking steps to get there. Not by painting and doing finishing.

Because, while it is true that I could be rich and famous in a certain circle, that circle being the house painters and plasterers local 179 isn’t exactly what I had in mind as a kid. It isn’t what I had in mind 6 months ago. And if I open up my brutal honesty can of whoop ass all over myself it wasn’t what I had in mind 6 minutes ago either.

It must be in entertainment. Period.

I love to paint though, that’s the thing. There is a turn-off-my-bipolarity that happens when I’m painting or doing faux that is so unbelievably attractive that is probably the very reason I decided to pursue it in the first place. It is calming, soothing and satisfying to see labor and creativity come together in cohesion of something beautiful, it’s true.

But does that mean I have to do it full time, run the company that’s been taking a loss for the last 3 years and continue to beat my head against a wall? For what? So I can justify to all those judgy-wudgy bears out there what I do with my life? Why the fuck do I even care what anyone thinks?  Aren't the only important people here me and Matt?  And if he's telling me to just do it and I know deep down that I should...

And there is the real fear right? Not living up to my own level of necessary perfectionism to prove to the world how fucking brilliant I am.

Ugh. And this is why I fucking hate myself sometimes because I talk myself into and out of everything at the snap of my fingers. Still selling that dog off the meat truck, its just that the dog is what I can’t admit to myself I really want, the meat is me and the truck is my procrastination.

When I figure out how to make life work, decide how I can achieve what I want to be when I grow up, if I’ll ever actually allow myself to truly grow up and all that stupid crap, I’ll certainly let you know. Until then I’m heading off to have an existential crisis and a beer.

And fucking curse some more.  Damn it.

"All my life I've been searching for something.  Something never comes never leads to nothing.  Nothing satisfys but I'm getting close.  Closer to the prize at the end of the rope."
- Foo Fighters

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where I've Been

Its been so long since I posted here that at this point most people have probably dropped me from their reading list anyway.  Sorry about that.  Wait, no I'm not.  And even if I was, or said it out loud, those who I'd be fake apologizing to wouldn't be reading it anyway because they're not here anymore right?  Right. 

Anyway, want to know what I've been up to?  Here's the email I received this morning when I logged in... 

"Dear Jenn,
On behalf of the Faculty and Staff at Ashford University, congratulations on being named to the Dean's list for Summer 2011. Your appointment to the Dean's List is published on the Ashford University website under the Academic Superstars link. (Note: If you have submitted a request not to release or publish information about you, your name is not included.)
Your dedication and commitment to your studies make you a great role model for others to emulate. You and your family should feel quite proud of your accomplishment. All of us at Ashford University share in this pride as well and believe that students like you help make Ashford University the quality learning institution it is.
Again, congratulations for a job well done!

Dr. R.W.
Ashford University"
And also about 6 weeks ago I was invited to join Golden Key which is an unbelievable honor and priveledge.  Not everyone gets that invitation, only the top percentage in the class and it makes me happy to know that the dedication I've put into my studies is really paying off.  Matt is convinced I'm going to get recruited by my University after I graduate.  I don't know about all that, it would certainly be very cool if it happened, but unless its a home based position I'd have to turn it down.  Not a chance in hell I'm moving from the warmest, least expensive, sunniest place in this country for Iowa.

Anyway, its pretty exciting to be in this place in my life and even if no one is reading this anymore I at least wanted to put it out there.

I don't generally run around telling people how awesome I am or anything but I've worked extremely hard to get where I am in my degree program thus far and have sacrificed a lot of stuff to make sure I maintain a 4.0 GPA so I'm pretty stoked to share the news.

See you all in 16 years when I can get my fingers off the keyboard and face out of my textbook long enough to post again!  I hope everyone is enjoying their fall!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fuck You

I just can't do it anymore. 
Yes this will be cryptic; no I don't plan to explain it.
So if that bothers you don't respond.
I don’t want a fucking hug.
I don’t want you to say,
‘It’ll all be okay.’
Because sometimes it just won’t.
Sometimes what I need is to vent, to scream.
What I need is for you to nod and say,
‘I get it, I’ve been there.’
But don’t try to fix me.
I’ve been broken for years.
I will never be whole,
Just because you pat me on the back.
Give me false comfort.
For something you will never understand.
All that shit is so you can feel better.
So you feel like you’ve done the world a big favor,
That you’ve performed some good deed.
But again, I don’t want it.
It isn’t generosity when the recipient doesn’t want to receive.
Fuck it.

So here’s where it really gets good.
I’m done pretending.
That’s right.
I know you read, I know you obsess.
Well here I am to say I’m fucking done.
I’m done giving a shit about you.
About all the crap that happened back then.
It’s over.
Get it?  O.V.E.R.
So over that I finally have to just say it.
I don’t understand, I will never understand.
I. Can't. Care. Anymore.
Right now I’m letting it go.
I’m moving the fuck on.
Because if I keep sitting around here,
Dwelling, wondering, thinking, recollecting,
I will go freaking stark raving mad.
And I’m already mad enough.
Mad enough to spit nails.
Mad enough to commit something.
Maybe even myself.

I’m breaking the silence right now.
I’m telling you to fuck off.
I’m telling you to leave.
I’m forcing you out of my brain.
Because this is all my own.
Because I need to better me.
Because you have no part in that anymore.
Because this shit doesn’t have a happy ending.
Just the end.

Goodbye to you.
Good riddance to the pain.
Good day to all the shit that went along with it,
The fakeness that came with your alleged love.
The veil dropped away a long time ago.
It just took a lot longer for me to move on.
I’ve moved, now,
It’s over.  Now.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It’s the Little Things

Not that I need another reason to take time away from my already full schedule, or rather, I don’t need to add another profession to my already jam packed life, but I keep thinking I should be editing film or television for a living.

It started over twenty five years ago when my long time favorite movie “The Goonies” was released. I never saw the movie in the theatre. That’s a story for another day, but the first time I saw it, if I’m not mistaken, was with my friend Karen and the second it was over we both wanted to watch it again. I think we ended up watching that movie something like 27 billion times that year.

Or something like that. I used to keep an actual count but after this many years I completely lost track, and I suppose that’s not really tragic considering the number would probably make me feel tragic…

At any rate, the first time I saw the movie I noticed the first editing mistake I’d ever seen in a movie. Or at least the first very noticeable one that hit my radar on the first viewing. For those who haven’t seen this gem of a flick, first of all, HOW is that possible (???) and, second of all, run out right now, locate it in some format and then come back.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Now, for the rest of us who have probably seen this epic motion picture at least once or twice, you’ll know the scene that I’m referring to.

The gang gathers together over at Mikey Walsh’s house, Mom Walsh leaves with the jumpy housekeeper Rosalita, and everyone starts talking about the crap in the attic. As they pull down the stairs there is a jump in the film. The jump is almost imperceptible but the stairs are being shown opening from inside the attic and all of a sudden…blip! Up and then down they go. Its minute, like I said, most people never notice this.

But I did. First time I watched the movie it was like “hey, did you see that?”

I was hooked on picking out mistakes, and it started with “The Goonies”. Or, as Mikey Walsh would say “It all starts here.”

I haven’t seen the movie in ages (and now will surely watch it tonight over a couple beers) but off the top of my head I can think of a few editing mistakes or oversights that I noticed pretty quickly. After Chunk does the Truffle Shuffle the balloon that pops is a different color than the one that originally blew up, when the gang unrolls the map for Andy to play the bones there are char marks visible over the notes that weren’t there before (read the book [yes, I have that too]), at the end Data talks about the octopus with reporters but there’s no octopus to be seen (read the book), when they dump out the marble bag into Mom Walsh’s hand to reveal the gems she is then isn’t wearing nail polish, Jake Fratelli is singing when they kidnap Chunk but simultaneously smoking a cigarette in the side view mirror, when they smash the glass over the map they toss it off the frame but then Mikey pulls the map out from under glass…I think you get the point. There are a LOT and believe me I’ve pretty much caught them all.

So that level of dedication has led me to noticing all kinds of things in all kinds of movies and television shows over the last quarter of a decade. Stuff like:

• Time on a clock bouncing around (especially on a non-digital)
• Amount of liquid in a glass (especially dark stuff like wine)
• The length of a cigarette/ash
• The wardrobe of the character
• Stuff moving as if by ghosts (an example of this happened the other night watching “Royal Pains”, a show I love on USA Network. Character holding 2 magazine props in front of her but the back mag was not the featured one for the scene and in every other shot it was sticking up further than the front mag. So distracting!)
• Seeing equipment like mics enter the shot, or cameras reflected in glass
• Geographical mistakes (when the setting is said to be Boston but a palm tree is clearly visible, or something to that effect)

And that’s just the short list, watch television with me sometime and you’ll be amazed. A movie is even worse. Matt is always quite blown away when, on the first viewing of something, I utter an ‘ugh’ and ask if he just saw the so-and-so mistake. It might be a conservative estimate but approximately 100% of the time he says no.

Where would one even get a start in a career like this? I’m sure a double major in communications and film production would land you a fetching position with a film or television studio…fetch a coffee, mail, dry cleaning, etc. Maybe even after thirty years you could move up to the place where you get to talk to the assistant to the editor of the show!

Um, nah.  I think I’ll just keep my current day job(s) and continue to annoy my husband, family and friends with my insanely accurate mistake catches instead. And if they ever make the long discussed (but hopefully, please, please, please I BEG OF YOU, NEVER!) sequel to “The Goonies” I’ll be the one in the theater, whispering, “Ugh, did you catch that?”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ten on Tuesday Is Fresh and Clean

So yeah, once again I’m doing a meme. On the wrong day. Whatever, at least I’m blogging. Which is the reason for the meme because nothing else is holding my interest long enough to write about so…

1. Do you do laundry all at the same time or a load here and there?

I used to do it all at the same time when we had to pay with quarters because it was just easier to get 4 rolls and bang it out, but now that we have a washer & dryer in our apartment I do it when I get around to it.

2. What kind of detergent do you use?

The soapy kind.

3. Do you use fabric softener?

Yup, sometimes.

4. Do you use dryer sheets?

Nope, not as environmentally friendly as a reusable ball.

5. Do you iron your own clothes or take them to a cleaner to get pressed?

Okay, this is just funny. Iron? Cleaner? The only time I pull out an iron is when I’m sewing and need to get the fabric out of the ball it got shoved into when I smushed it into the drawer. The only time I go to a Cleaner is when I’ve got an especially difficult situation to tackle and Bonnie is on her way home from work.

6. Do you like heavy starch or light starch?

People who only wear cotton t-shirts and sweatpants, or other assorted cotton bottoms like jeans, don’t really have to worry about starch.

7. Do you wash all your laundry at once or separate it?

Well my washing machine isn’t that big so yeah a load at a time. That’s what you’re asking right?

8. How do you separate it? By people or by colors?

I’m suddenly feeling very prejudicial toward my poor clothing.

9. What clothes get hung up and what goes in drawers?

As much as possible gets hung up but hanging socks & undies would just be silly.

10. Do you use plastic, wire, or wooden hangers? Do they all match?

NO WIRE HANGERS!!! Okay, sorry, had to bust out a little quote on that one. If you know the movie I’m impressed. Some wood, some plastic. Usually whatever hanger the clothes came on when I bought them. That should tell you where I shop for most of my sweatpants.

Be sure to visit Roots & Rings if you want to play along on Tuesdays or whenever. Last time I posted one was May so it’s not like anyone will be beating down your door to participate.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I keep wondering at what age a person is supposed to give up on youth. I don’t mean that young at heart feeling. I also don’t mean that notion that you’re invincible. What I mean is simply, youth. I suppose more fairly, the trappings of youth.

There was a time when my hips were curvy, my butt was round, my boobs were small and my hair was brown. I loved that time. I loved wearing low cut jeans and tight tops and I dyed my hair for fun. When it was blonde, that was my favorite.

And I would go out dancing. And I didn’t care if I got drunk. And there were plenty more times that I didn’t than when I did. And I was a good dancer. And I could move well. And I was good at having sex. And sex was fun. And it was with someone different a lot of the time. And I was usually sober.

So when I look back on those times why do I see it all compartmentalized into this little box of memories that I feel some morbid obligation to let go of now that I am not in the youth anymore?

Now I have extra weight on my hips. Now I can’t get low rise jeans to look right under my muffin top. Now I have a saggy butt. Now my boobs are two cup sizes bigger. Now all my tops are tight by accident. Now I dye my hair to cover the gray.

I still love to dance. And drink. And I still dance pretty well. I think. I haven’t been to a club in about six years. Young people go to clubs. Or single people. Or hot people. I am none of those things. Not in youth. Cute perhaps, especially every six weeks after the dye job. Not single. And my husband hates to dance.

He can though. He just doesn’t like to do it. Because he has the same issue as me. He misses not caring. He misses youth. And we have sex. And it’s fun. But it isn’t new. It isn’t different people. Well maybe for him. I never know which personality might show up on any given day.

Sucks to be Matt.

And I am overly influenced by what I see and what I read and what I listen to and what I feel and what I experience.

And I’m okay with that but I feel tired and cranky a lot. And I really dislike being tired. Or cranky. I guess what I see and read and hear is exhausted and grouchy.

Sucks to be me.

And every six weeks when I dye my hair I sigh because it is such a bullshit waste of time. In six more weeks I have to do it again. And I do because I miss youth. I miss a wrinkle free face. I miss fresh clean slates. I miss perky bum cheeks and hands with smooth skin.

Mine and my husband’s. But he’s still cute. But youth has left us both. Replaced by experience. Replaced by some kind of wisdom. And nothing is surprising like you don’t like artichokes. And nothing is awful like subscribing to different religious philosophies.

So do I just give up on caring about the loss of youth and embrace the gray, the sag, the elastic waist jeans, simply because I’m too tired to give a crap different?

I like to look good. Would I look any less good with a full head of gray hair and boobs that point in different directions? Would the world notice or only me? Aren’t I the one who matters? My positive self image should be the important part of the equation. Right?

So I still get dinner out at restaurants. And I still work out. And I still have sex. And I still laugh at comedy. And cry at tragedy. Sometimes.

And kiss Matt before we go to sleep. And put on make up to go to the grocery store. And I still try on cute outfits. And they don’t fit over my hips. And they make my butt look funny.

But I’m not ready to wear elastic waist jeans. Yet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Don’ts and Do’s

I titled this blog post what I did today because I fully intended to do a quickie prosy type write up on all the things I do and don’t miss about Boston after being in Arizona for a couple weeks now, but as I sit and look at the windows I have open at the bottom status bar of my monitor I feel the title is appropriate for a completely different ranting babble instead.

And that babble is: what the fuck is with all of the options for joining and why in the hell do I need or want to join them?

This of course comes as a direct result of being inundated of late by whisperings of the newest social media site Google+. Apparently it’s hot, so hot in fact that you have to get an invite from someone who’s already a member in order to join. Well whoopee doo.

At least that was my first reaction. Now I’m not so sure.

Am I special enough to have been sent an invitation to beta test this site? No, not so much. Probably because I don’t have a Gmail account. Which is also why, after inquiring of one of my teammates as to getting an invite, I still haven’t sent her anything. Because, just like joining yet another social networking site (read: portal of time suckage) I really honestly do not need yet another email to monitor too.

I have a plethora of emails already -- 2 company related, 1 personal and 1 strictly for my writing life -- not to mention that there’s Facebook mail too. If I have to add another email account, another social networking site (read: portal of time suckage) to learn and explore, is it likely that I’ll ever actually do anything else with my life?

The short answer of course is no.

The long answer isn’t as simple as a two letter word.

Social media, as everyone knows these days, is the place to be if you want to gain any exposure to any kind of market for anything. Attorneys have their own twitter following, you can ‘Like’ anything from coffee to celebrities on Facebook and let’s not discount the fact that I never would have known that July 15th had been ‘National bitch slap an idiot day’ had I not gotten the notification of the mass invite on that very same site.

I have a company page on FB and twitter. I have personal accounts on both as well. I have 3 blogs. I belong to countless other silly portals of stupidity all over the internet (I’m looking at you HUBPages and eZine). Hell, I think my MySpace page is even still floating around out there. But I think this whole idea of Google+ was literally just the straw that broke my keyboard’s back this morning.

If I don’t join early, like I did with Facebook, I won’t get the super shiny user name that I want and then 2 years from now when FB fades away like MySpace did I’ll be on the tail end of the new technology wave. I’ll be the equivalent of the virtual dinosaur.

“What do you mean you don’t have a Google+ account? I mean, how is that even possible? Don’t you write books and try to sell them? How are you still only promoting yourself with these archaic means like twitter when you could be on Google+?!!!?”

And then the second I join that it will be ‘Join the newest social media site Strawberry Fields! Everybody’s doing it!’ And so on, and so on until eventually I’m the only one streaking naked through the quad up to the gymnasium.

So where or when does it end? Again, the short answer is, it doesn’t. And that’s what makes me question the validity of joining this new social media site (read: portal of time suckage) in the first place.

But again that also forces me to repeat the question -- when then will I have time to do something with my life? The something that forces me to join all the “networking” sites in the first place? If I never actually find the time to write anything to sell it to someone, then what good is knowing all the someone’s going to do? No matter how many times I post status updates that I’m working on the book, trying to find an editor or rewriting my query all that does is take time away from dong the things I just said I was doing.

Catch-22 much?

You have to join to keep in front of the public but the public can suck so much of your time that you have nothing to publicize.

It stinks.

So for now I guess I’m going to keep my profile off of Google+ and simply keep on keeping on in the manner I’ve been going. I’m pretty sure that someday when I get a publisher / agent / editor who enforces a deadline they will thank me for it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Garden of the Sun

School started up again last week.  Hooray.  Can you feel my enthusiasm?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it in a broad sense and it’s definitely helping with my composition, thesis, outline, reading, etc.  What’s killing me about doing it is two fold – 1) that’s a pretty significant amount of extra debt I’m taking on there and 2) I don’t have time to work.

The thing is, every single novel I read has a little blurb in the back about the Author and all of them (yes, seriously all of them) say ‘so-and-so big semi-famous author person got their degree at this college you’ve never heard of before’.  I want a degree from a college no one has ever heard of so a whole bunch of people can read my book and skip right over the author blurb and never see it!

I have wanted, for a long time, to join the ranks of the college ed-u-ma-cated.  Don’t ask me why because I’m not really sure how to answer that.  All I know is that I want to be wicked smaht.  Because it isn’t like people ask an almost 40 year old where they went to school.  That kind of stuff just doesn’t come up in casual conversation anymore like it did when I was 26.

Because what people ask an almost 40 year old is ‘what do you do’.  And maybe the problem is I can’t seem to wrap my head around saying I’m a writer without something to back it up.  I haven’t accepted it yet.  I don’t have enough experience, or haven’t really gotten paid to do it so it just doesn’t count.  In my head I mean, you don’t have to tell me how it does count because the other side of me knows you’re completely right.

I practiced this past weekend in fact.  We went to see my sister and ended up at the local dive bar where she and her friends hang out sometimes.  A lovely gentleman from Italy, with a thick accent and the most fantastic brown leather shoes I’ve ever seen in my life simply posed the question ‘so what do you do?’

It surprised me actually that we’d met all these people all night and that was the first time someone even asked that question.  I said I was a writer.  Of novels.  But that I also wrote a blog.  Oh and I’m a painter too.

Like I had to throw in that last bit so it would sound like I make money and pay my bills or something.  As if being a writer isn’t a legitimate enough profession that I can just own it?

Apparently I couldn’t.

So I thought a lot about that incident.  I know that he probably doesn’t remember it happening, and no one else who was there has any recollection of my bumbling, stammering, attempt at trying to decide what it is I do for a living.  The conclusion I came to is that, in order to feel more like a writer, I have got to stop doing things that don’t at all relate to being a writer.

Which really won’t be easy to do considering I have a company, people who want to hire me to do faux and a whole bunch of teammates that rely on my other endeavors as my day job (if you will).

So then I thought about it some more.  If I’m going to stay in school, which I intend to do because that shiny, useless in the real world but important to me degree is only about a year and a half away, why can’t I just write part time and place a little focus on the other stuff part time as well?  Why beat myself up over not writing full time when I’m not going to be writing full time anyway because of school right? 


One of the big reasons Matt & I moved to the Valley of the Sun was to kick back and relax, to enjoy life, take in the beauty of the little things, and leave the hectic chaos of the northeast pace 3100 miles behind us.  If I get here and immediately start stressing out over old habits how can I accomplish that goal?  You’re right, I can’t.  So this past weekend, I made up my mind to pour a cup of coffee, go sit out in my patio chair and drink it all in.  Then I made a few mental shifts…

  • I’m staying a part time student, not fast tracking to full time, because a year and a half is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to complete a degree without having a heart attack before it’s even in my hand. 
  • I will give it my best effort but I’m not going so far above and beyond anymore that I may as well be the Instructor of the class. 
  • I’m going to be happy with any grade I get as long as it’s above a 3.5 GPA; even if it isn’t the A I’m striving for no one is going to care so why should I? 
  • I’m going to see the clock as having plenty of time, the sun as having plenty of hours to shine and my brain as having plenty of capacity to store it all. 
  • If I start getting stressed I’ll do something different like write a blog post or workout.  Walking away is sometimes the best solution of all.
  • I’ll do a few projects related to paint, take on some jobs painting (especially for existing clients and those people who I already discussed projects with!) and keep the company open, but I’m not actively pursuing it as a full time thing anymore.
And anytime someone asks I’m simply going to state ‘I’m a novelist’.

Because I am.

(As a side note, I started doing the iPod song title/blog post title thingie I mentioned the other day.  If you don’t know Emily Elbert, the gal behind the title today, I totally suggest getting out and checking her out, she’s pretty sensational!)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Simply Irresistible

I must confess a secret -- my life is pretty lame. I don’t go on pre-paid trips to exotic locations, don’t get hammered in bars and have paparazzi follow me home, I don’t shield my face from the millions of screaming throngs outside my balcony and I don’t need a bodyguard to follow me around everywhere.

But I do live on the edge.

That's right.  You want proof you say?

Oh I’ll wear white sweats and a Clorox-esque white hoodie to an Italian restaurant. Don’t even dare me because I’ll do it. I’ll also smile at random strangers when walking down the street. And you know how I know that makes me an adrenaline junkie? I won’t even look away after they give me that ‘who the fuck are you and why are you looking at me with that idiotic look on your face’ look.

You want even more danger?  I’ll refer to Facebook in everyday conversation and will totally spell thingz that end in an ‘s’ with a ‘z’.

Yeah that’s right, you better watch out because I’m just crazy.

So it probably should have come as no surprise that the most exciting thing I’d done to date since arriving in Arizona was drinking too many beers mid afternoon.  While at the lake.  While still on vacation.

Such a party animal, I’m surprised Hollywood didn’t come knocking down my door years ago! Clearly there was an excellent made for TV, Lifetime movie script just waiting to be pulled out of my life. Or more. They probably could have gotten an entire mini-series of “drama” out of the history of my life.

Note the air quotes.  And the sarcasm.

The real issue for me in having had little to no adventures or experiences to speak of in the last ten years is I have no clue how to apply all the crap I used to do that technically could be counted as edgier to my current writing. And then the real kicker is that the more of these blog posts I write the more I really realize that I kind of don’t want to write fiction, pretty much I just want to write some kind of snarky as hell memoir about how awesome I am.

Or something like that. I can be flexible on the snarky part.

The basic rule I’ve been seeing when it comes to blogging for exposure is that you have to do it every day. Okay, that sounds great an all but this is the part where you circle back around to the beginning and review the “my life is a lame ass sleep-fest” portion of today’s post. And I can’t possibly be expected to do something earth shattering every day just so I can write about it, right?

Something tells me that’s going to get pretty expensive after a while.  Not to mention tiring.

I also shouldn’t have to reveal all of my past, let’s just call them adventures, in order to entertain the masses (read: the 30 people who currently read my blog) right? I mean shouldn’t some things in the past simply remain there forever?

Then that brings us back to this post. And a little nagging itch tells me that if I recycle this ‘I don’t know what to say so I’ll just tell you in approximately 700 words of circular prose how much I really don’t have to talk about’ concept day after day, that 30 person readership is pretty likely to tumble. Quickly.

So what in the hell is a girl to do? Should I kill off my other two blogs (the Company blog and the Greenie one) and combine all that stuff here instead of keeping my business/eco/bipolar-schitzo lives separated?

Okay, never mind. Seeing how it reads, I think that question’s clearly rhetorical.

Maybe I could create some kind of month long writing prompt of my own. Like one of those chain mail things where you’re forced to turn on your iPod and write down the first 20 songs so everyone can laugh at your recoculous taste in music. Only instead of just writing out the list I’ll use the song title as a writing prompt and the first thing that comes to mind when I see the song title -- poetry, fiction, non-fiction, random psycho babble -- is what I write and post.

You know, that’s actually not a half bad idea. Think I'll start today…

Friday, July 15, 2011

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Capsizes

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m more of the hotel type of girl.  I mean, its not that I don’t love a good campfire, some toasted wieners and s’mores, or seeing a billion stars at night, but that is all followed up by sleeping in a tent in the middle of the nothingness with no toilet, no shower and no mattress when you’re camping. 

Not to mention, I thought bears were scary?  Out here they have snakes and scorpions.  And you may wave me off but we saw and heard both of those creatures in the course of the weekend. 

We got in by way of the “Road of Insanity”, as I pegged it before even driving it but after riding on it, aptly so.  There was a sheer cliff on one side and it was a single lane with turns so tight it looked like we were going to careen off the side of the mountain.  Oh yeah and it’s a two lane road.  Thankfully we didn’t have to back up to let trucks hauling boats pass us because we would have been screwed.

Everyone else had pretty much shown up Thursday night so most set up was done already.  All that was left to do was crack a beer, look around, hug my sister who I hadn’t seen in what felt like eons and blow up our air mattress.

So here’s another side note…when you go to Target to get a camping lantern and turn around to see the rechargeable air mattress pump with the nozzle you think will work in your air mattress, the one you’re taking with you to the middle of nowhere with no electricity, don’t walk by it saying ‘oh but Wendy said someone will have a pump.’

Buy the damn thing because if you don’t you’ll be left stealing electricity from the Coke machine plug at midnight then walking back through the unfamiliar landscape carrying an inflated air mattress after the camera just got your face recorded for all of posterity.

But they didn’t come and kick us out so we were safe.  And we weren’t the only members of the group who had to use it so at least that was slightly comforting.  That night I peed in the desert because the walk to the crusty bathrooms was too far and I couldn’t find it anyway.  I tried to sleep but everyone was up until all hours chatting and laughing and the temperature in Wendy’s tent was so hot I tossed more than snored.

Woke up about in the morning and got coffee.  Matt and I picked up a Box o’ Joe from Dunkin Donuts (one of 2 we’ve already discovered out here hooray!).  I actually texted my aunt during that experience because we went in to buy it and that thing holds about 3 pots of coffee.  The girl poured a half a pot in and said ‘I’m gonna have to brew more.’

You know you’ve left Boston when Dunkin donuts actually runs out of coffee!  It took all my physical body not to drop my jaw in amazement at the statement.

Saturday afternoon all but 3 of us went out on the boat, I was starting to feel like the lack of shade might be a problem even with the 70spf sunscreen.  And it was a good thing we all hung back.  A couple 12 year old girls in a foot paddle boat went right over in front of our little patch of beach.  The friend of ours who was there had not even gotten the words ‘should we throw them a line’ out of his mouth before we saw the thing start to flip over. 

They were okay and everyone got back to shore but before they put the boat back in we all noticed it was kind of missing the plug for the front.  After dumping the overflowing hull we watched & shook our heads as they paddled back out, right into oncoming waves.  There’s something to be said for logic.  Sadly they didn’t really seem to have any but once they turned the corner of the jetty back toward their own campsite that was pretty much no longer our problem.

By the end of the day on Saturday the heat, sun and beers got the best of me and while literally everyone else (about 10 of our group) tried the high pressure sales pitch to go back out on the boat, I pled peer pressure and plunked my butt down in a seat unmoving.  I was happy to be alone for as long as they were gone, I was cranky and whiny and no one needed me bringing down their good time.  The breeze picked up a little and I was able to nap.  Everyone got back and we cooked dinner on the portable propane grill then we all sat around in the dark yakking for the second night in a row -- absolutely no campfires were allowed because it had been so dry.

We watched as a pretty lightning intense thunderstorm rolled through and the rain actually cooled it off significantly.  I still felt crappy so with a nice stiff breeze and lightning in the distance I dragged my Debbie Downer ass to bed at like .  Matt followed shortly after and I woke up the next morning totally refreshed.  We had breakfast hot dogs and noted that almost all food and beer was consumed.  A successful weekend was had by all!

With one last boat trip planned I got myself into a seat and enjoyed the breeze, the water and the insanely cool scenery, which pictures and words just couldn’t begin to describe.  Everyone swam but me.  I like to ease in and diving off the side of the boat was not in my future (like I said, indoor girl).  We headed back and finished packing up the campsite (This is where I got photos of the baby scorpion hiding out on the side of Wendy’s tent bag.  Yikes.).

As we went to go we started the caravan out the back way which I dubbed “Road of Moderate Insanity” since it wasn’t much better than the way in but admittedly a bit wider most of the way down.  Wendy and friends were in 2 off-road appropriate vehicles which got them down the mountain pretty quick.  We lost sight of them and as we were on our own ambled slowly to the bottom.  Chalk up another reason to get a truck!

But as we got to the huge “Man” Damn at the end of Roosevelt Lake we saw that our super cool friends had pulled off to wait and make sure we made it down safely.  Yea for super cool friends! 

Going that way took some extra time getting home but it was just the final extension of the end of a three week road trip for Matt and I and we couldn’t have been happier to get the chance to see all kinds of new scenery from the car.  With the little red ant population traveling back with us in the trunk, and potential for scorpion sightings, we dropped our stuff on the balcony and started up the washing machine right away.

As we put away the leftover food and plunked down on the sofa with a smile on our faces from such a fun weekend full of laughs and good times, finally ready to actually start settling into our new home, I thought ‘I think I’m gonna like it here…’