Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I've been here for an hour and a half

Ask me how much I've accomplished. Go ahead, ask me.

I have managed to type in a single page. This raises pathetic to a whole, new, appallingly laughable level.

Usually when I leave my house to write, writing is the first thing on my agenda. I get a coffee, or whatever, to pay my 'rent' at whichever Starbucks I'm inhabiting, sit my ass down, stick my headphones in and get to work. First writing, then editing the first book or typing in the second.

But today I thought I'd do something different - mostly because I was so fuzzy-headed when I sat down in the first place. Dehydration, doncha know? I decided it wouldn't hurt to log on. Mistake #1. I've sent an e-mail, ordered another book from the library, checked my e-mail 45 times, reloaded my Starbucks card, read through a couple of blogs and started an IM conversation.

Then I decided that since I was so fuzzy-headed it'd be smarter to just mindlessly type in the stuff I've already written instead of trying to create something new. Mistake #2. But I edit when I type, and I can barely concentrate on my words, much less on making them better, so that's why I've only inputted a single page of work.

And I've sucked down forty oz of water, twenty oz of coffee, a cup of soup and still don't have to pee - in fact, I'm still fuzzy-headed and want a bit more water. And I'm beating myself up for not creating, and not editing and basically not being an author when an author is what I'm supposed to be. At least that's what the little voice in my head keeps telling me. And I think I'll keep starting sentences with "and" because that's what all the kool kids do.

Can you guess what Mistake #3 is? I'll clue you in, it's a combo of Mistake #1 plus Mistake #2... it's taking what little creative energy I have and staying online and blogging about it instead of logging the eff off and writing. Because I am aiming for that point buried a few feet under the new low of pathetic that I have already reached.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

You know what I hate?


It's a very romancey sort of word, "prevaricate." You see it in all kinds of manuscripts. The dictionary definition is this:

–verb (used without object), -cat⋅ed, -cat⋅ing. to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.

In books they use "prevaricate" to cover the hero or heroine when they don't want to say that they're lying, or omitting a necessary element or just too balls-ass cowardly to tell the truth. In the real world though? In the real world people who prevaricate are usually just manipulative liars.

They know that the real truth is going to have some sort of negative effect, they know that if they tell the whole story people won't react they way they want them to, so instead they straddle the fence, they look away with their eyes while their mouth trots out some story that will deflect attention away from the original question.

It's a great literary device, this "almost the truth, a quarter of the truth and, anything but the truth." The author gets to make their prevaricator look accommodating, or clever, or show them being uncomfortable. They get to work in a twist or turn, showing a side of the character who has been manipulated (victim) that we might not otherwise get to see. I guess it's better than The Big Misunderstanding, but as a reader, I gotta say, the person who prevaricates is not the person I want it my life. It cheapens the hero or heroine, and if they're using this trick it better be at the beginning of the book when they have lots of time to recover their integrity instead of near they end when we're supposed to be seeing their True Colors.

I say this because, as a human being, I am completely sick and tired of not being told "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. " When I ask a question, I want the answer. That's it - just the answer. Tell me the truth and I'll deal with it. Prevaricate and eventually, I'll deal with you. Do not try to play me. Do not omit necessary facts in hopes that I'll be understanding when they eventually come to light (because they always come to light) just be an adult, speak your truth and deal with the fall out.

There's another option - it's slightly less polite, and, in this world, often more courageous - that option is to look another person in the eye and say, "I'd rather not say." People have the right to
keep their secrets. They have the right to choose who they want to open up to, when they want to open up, and how much they want to open up. It's more than fair to say, "that's personal." It is, in fact, preferred to say, "there's more, but I'm not ready to share that part right now."

To say that is to allow yourself limits, to build a mystery, to show you have boundaries and the other person hasn't earned the right to breach them. But to imply that you have told the truth when what you have really done is build a house of cards is just pathetic.

Currently reading: Tanner's Scheme
Just finished: The Bride With No Name
Just about to start: Looking For Alaska
Just about to start: Rapture In Death

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Whatever happened to "until PROVEN guilty?"

This may not seem like it's related to writing, but in fact, it is. It's the backbone to a hundred plots out there. It's the wounded hero, the broken heroine, it's the story of redemption and revenge and public humiliation combined with private hurts, it's the story of Chris Brown vs Rhianna.

For those of you who have been under a rock since the Grammy's, I'll do a quick recap. Chris Brown, a popular young singer was (is?) in a romantic relationship with Rhianna, another popular young singer. Individually they have both racked up an impressive number of hits, and together they are a power couple to rival any of the glitterati.

Both of these singers were scheduled to perform at the Grammy's. Both pulled out at the last minute... we're talking mere hours before they were supposed to be on stage. The story is as follows:
The night before the Grammy's they were at a pre-Grammy party together.
They left the party together.
An altercation occurred in the car on the way home, during which one or both parties sustained physical injury.
The police were called.
The next day, Chris Brown was arrested and booked on suspicion of making criminal threats.

Here's the tricky part. Rumor has it Chris beat up Rhianna. RUMOR has it. He surrendered to the police and was released on bail. He has not been convicted. Both parties are remaining mum in the press regarding the details of the ALLEGED assault.

I abhor physical violence. There is no need for it. My husband makes me wish it was legal sometimes, but even when I see red from something he has said or done, there has never been an instance of physical assault between us. War is bad. Capital punishment is the ultimate in hypocrisy, and beating on someone you claim to love is so wrong I need a new word for it. That said, I am disturbed at the bandwagonning going on regarding this case.

Chris Brown has been accused, he has not been convicted. There is a difference. However, the world is acting like he has been proven guilty of this crime. It is a heinous crime, to be sure, but he is allowed the right of due process, just like every single one of us would demand if we were accused of a crime.

Chris Brown's scheduled appearances have been canceled. His endorsements have been pulled, and more than one radio station has removed him from their playlist. I would applaud all of these actions if they had happened after a finding of guilty. If any of these companies kept him as a spokeperson AFTER conviction, I would be appalled. That they are removing him as a celebrity endorser before he has had a chance to defend himself in a court of law though speaks poorly of our society.

I haven't thought through all the ways he is being villified, at the very least his reputation has suffered, at most his career is ruined. And perhaps he deserves it. But, perhaps he doesn't. Can we as a society be open-minded enough to know that we don't know? Before we paint him with a scarlet letter, and convict him in the court of public opinion can we maybe, just maybe, consider what damage we may have visited on the man without being in full possession of all the facts?

Currently reading: Menage
Currently reading: Tale of Two Vikings
Currently reading: Dreams From My Father
(I was unable to finish this because the library demanded it back, but I'm going to take it out again and finish it)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Special Thanks to my Fairweather Friends

Dear Fairweather Friends,

I don't ever expect any of you to see this--we've long since lost touch, and this blog is under my pen name, not my real one, but I want to offer my thanks to you anyway.

See, here's the thing. I've learned so much about friendship and who I am and who I want to be from you. You are responsible for so much of my personal growth that I have to tell you what you've done for me and how much you mean to me.

We had good times. We really did. We laughed our fool heads off. We shared our souls, we allowed a tear to shed from our eyes for each other's little pains. And I would not trade that time for the world. It was a special time for me to go through the joy of falling in love with new friends again. And when you decided that I was no longer cool enough to play in your sandbox, you broke my heart and left it in tiny little pieces.

The worst part of it was, you denied the break-up. When I asked you what was going on, you pretended you didn't know what I was talking about. When you got together to talk about me behind my back, I could feel it. When you met on the playground and dropped my invitation in the rain, I cocked a brow and thought, "Well, I guess I know my place now."

But here's what I learned. I learned to be true to my own heart. I learned the value of old friends again who leapt to my defense when I shared this story. Old friends who soothed my ego, and took my side and hated you on my behalf when I couldn't hate you for myself (I still don't).

I learned the importance and value of new friends, because some of you snuck around and cheated on them. You thought that I was still good enough to play with, but didn't want to be ostracized yourselves... so you did what you could to step to the side and maintain a connection with me while still protecting your place in the pack. I was moderately disappointed that you didn't recognize that if they could do it to me, they could do it to you--and hoped you'd get out while you could. But mostly I was thankful that you didn't abandon me entirely.

I learned to trust my instincts. I knew something was wrong and asked you about it. You denied it, but that didn't change the truth of things and I was proven right.

I learned that I really, truly, value honesty and maturity and integrity. I place a great deal of weight on plain-speaking, and dealing with an issue before it becomes an ISSUE, on speaking your truth and saying what hurts you and what makes you happy and on protecting the relationship by keeping it healthy.

I went through a backslide in my life when we were friends. I had a major set back - it was just another one in a long series of set backs - and I had to make a major decision about how I wanted to deal with that and who I wanted to become in response to that. I think it was this set back that was the first nail in the coffin of our friendship. You were all working your way up, step by excruciating step. I had fallen back on my ass and it wasn't pretty.

My old friends knew who I used to be and have known me long enough to weather this storm with me. My new friends, the ones who stuck around, they have been knocked on their asses too. They know what it looks and feels like. It's just life - it goes around, it comes around. My Fairweather friends though, you didn't want to be dragged down by it. And I can't blame you for that. You don't know I'm not the sort to pull someone else down. You perhaps thought, let me get out while the getting is good.

To allow hurts to fester is to allow them to infect you, body and soul. To allow them the power of ending relationships is to put more importance on the bad than the good. I learned to forgive. There was so much hurt on my side. So much (perceived) callousness on yours. It's like when a longterm boyfriend breaks up with you, and never, ever tells you why. All you can think is What did I do? What did I do? Then you obsess over why the other party is so evil. You relish in their upsets, you tell yourself they'll come crawling back. But they aren't evil and they don't come back.

I've gotten over that part of it.
I still hear about your lives, you fairweather folk, and I am happy for all your small successes, I'm thrilled for your big successes. Here's the shame of it, you don't get to celebrate mine. You don't get to share my joy. If we are ever in each other's lives again I will never trust you with my heart or sincere friendship again. I'm not built like that, a part of me wishes I was, but I'm not.

I'm a great woman and a kick-ass friend. I'm sensitive, funny, smart, compassionate, interesting, interested in you, and I even have a wealth of experience and know enough not to always share it with you. I want nothing but the best for you, and your family and your life. I really, really do. But you do not get to have any part of that from me again.

I thank you for the reminder, of who I am. I thank you for the reminder that no one else's opinion, no one else's treatment of me can change the depth of my heart or the beauty of my soul. I thank you for the reminder of how wonderful it is to have friends I can count on. I thank you for the good times and I am forever in your debt for the bad times.

I wish for everyone a Fairweather Friend like you, it is an experience I would not change for all the world.

Currently reading: Tell Me Lies
Still reading: Visions of Heat
Still reading: Harmony's Way

Monday, February 2, 2009

Please don't close my Starbucks!

I have a Starbucks down the road from me. I'm at it right now. The location is fairly small, but the staff is friendly and they have FIVE places (that I know of) to plug a laptop into, which means, I never have to fight for the "good" spot.

The tables are a bit small, and the music is a bit loud, but none of that really matters, because it's an excellent place to get my work done. I always act like a good customer and purchase something when I come in. With a Starbucks card, I also get access to their wireless Internet, which is a good thing, because then I can check my e-mails, and my blog and surf some, even look at the news if I want to.

However, having web access when you're supposed to be working can also be a bad thing. You know why? Because then I can check my e-mails, and my blog and surf some, even look at the news if I want to. You already knew that, didn't you?

Regardless, my discipline is up to me, not the guilty wireless server at my favorite Starbucks, and since I can never seem to get my goals accomplished when I stay home, I hope they don't close this Starbucks. I need it. My books need it. My career needs it.

Just finished: Dirty
Just finished: Playing Easy To Get