Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Vampire Story, Part II.

So here is the next part of my untitled and unfinished vampire story. Soon, I am going to be completely out of already written material and will have to actually finish it... Oh dear.

Anyway, on to Part II:

            It had always been eerie and strange to her, the way public spaces changed at night, when all of the lights were off. During the day, there was nothing unnerving about the library. The fluorescent lights killed off flights of fancy and creepy shadows in its unflattering glare. At night, though, it was different.
            In a way, it was a little exciting.
            For this reason, the librarian kept the lights off for the time being. Everyone should be allowed some excitement in his or her life, however ill advised it might be. She also figured the young man could not have gotten far.
            This is insanity, she thought. But, she also reasoned, he cannot be a thief. If he was, he would’ve stolen something by now. He could have stolen the one hundred dollars in the register. He could have taken some of the library’s more valuable books. But this had not happened. Everything was always exactly as it had been the night before. At least, the daytime librarian had never said anything about it.
            It was silent and still inside, but she could make out the faint glow of a lamp toward the back of the store.
            All she had to do was go to the front desk, pick up the phone, and call the police. It was simple. And yet, instead of doing this simple task, the librarian made her way towards the light. It was unclear what drew her back there, if anything. In one sense, she had complete control over her faculties. However, she also felt an almost imperceptible pull, coaxing her forward, one foot in front of the other, until she stood in front of the man from the street.
            He was seated at a table, a book opened in front of him, his head in his hands as he stared down at the typescript pages. He didn’t know she was there, even after she cleared her throat. Finally, she stepped closer.
            “What are you doing in here?” she asked.
            He immediately lifted his head so his face was pointed in her direction. In his new surroundings, the man appeared a bit different. The yellow glow from the lamp gave his features a less gaunt and pale look. 
            “You aren’t supposed to be here,” she added, in case he wasn’t sure what she meant.
            “I know,” he said. His voice was low and gravelly, as though it wasn’t used to speaking.
            “You have to go,” she said.
            “This is the only time when I can come here,” he said.
            “I’m sorry,” she said, “But the library is closed. We might stay open later, if we can get the budget passed. Maybe that would work out better.”
            “That does not make a difference,” the man said. “I still could not come during opening hours. It is just not possible.”
            She crossed her arms. He wasn’t angry, but it was clear he was not happy either. She didn’t know what he was. If there was such a thing as an emotionless being, he was one. Even animals convey their emotions a little, the librarian thought. He, though, was blank. Not robotic, and not bland, but blank.
            “Do you not like people?” she asked. “Is that the problem?”
            “No. People do not like me,” he replied.
            The librarian looked him up and down, briefly. He was a handsome man, despite his coldness. He was thin, but well dressed, as though each piece of clothing was tailor-made for his body. That was unusual: she didn’t know when she ever saw each little seam lined up perfectly with each contour and edge. His jacket was made out of faded black material, not cotton exactly, and not canvas. She wasn’t sure what it was. His shirt was odd, too. It was a brown, collared shirt, but its collar was turned up. He even had a buttoned deep maroon vest layered underneath. An undone tie hung from his neck.
            How had she not noticed how meticulously dressed he had been? Perhaps it was the jacket; it was usually buttoned up. And he usually had a scarf wrapped around his thin neck.
            “I’m sorry,” she said again, “But we can’t just go and make accommodations just for you. Then we’d have to do it for everyone and stay open all night.”
            “I was not asking you to make any accommodations whatsoever,” he said, crisply.
            This was true. There wasn’t anything she could say to that. She shifted from one leg to the other. “I’ve seen you,” she said. “I noticed you hanging around here for a week.”
            The man watched her. He was very still. He was the most static person she had ever met. He was about as animated as the chair he was sitting in.
“And if you’ve been breaking into the library at night… well, you can’t do that. I noticed you doing that for a while, and you can’t do it anymore. This has to stop, right now,” she continued, wondering why any of this needed explanation.
            His black eyes glinted at her confrontation. “I noticed you as well,” he said, finally. The librarian caught her breath. But he lowered his gaze back to the book. “And I may do as I like,” he added.
            She had just about enough of their conversation and his haughtiness. “We’ll see about that,” she said, turning on her heel and walking towards the front desk. But before she could take another step, she felt something metal grip her arm and yank her back. At least, she had thought it was metal. When she looked down, she saw it was the man’s hand. It was cold and hard.
            “Have a seat, please,” he said.
            The librarian did not want to have a seat. She was startled by his strength and his speed; how had he managed to stop her that quickly? Her back had been turned to him, but he had managed to slip past her and grab her by the arm in a split second. Her throat had gone dry.
            This was a mistake.
            But she sat down, her body stiff and inflexible as she dropped into the wooden chair. The man took his seat again, across from her. He put one hand on the book, but he didn’t resume reading.
            “You gave me no other choice,” he said. “Hasty actions lead to trouble, you know. It is better to take pause, reflect upon what consequences your actions may have, and then act.” She stared at him, dumbfounded, but he didn’t seem to notice. He just kept talking. “This may surprise you, but I am somewhat observant. I’ve noticed how people these days seem to think that decisions must be made quickly. Everything is so very hurried. Automobiles move so alarmingly fast, and yet bystanders are still dismayed by the wreckage of a collision. The human body was not meant to move in that fashion, at such speeds. But everyone moves so quickly, and everyone tends to make foolish decisions, without for a moment considering what the outcome might be. But the latter is not particular to today. Mankind has always had a hard time grasping consequence and mortality.”
            This sudden monologue startled the librarian almost as much as his forcefulness. She wasn’t sure what to think. One minute, he was using his strength to stop her from doing what she legally had a right to do, the next he was lecturing her on the downfalls of civilization.
            “Let me go,” she said.
            “I cannot allow you to leave,” he said. “I already told you: this is not my fault, and this is not how I wanted my night to begin, but you gave me no alternative.”
            “You are breaking the law,” she said. She had started to shiver, but she wasn’t cold. She was afraid. She wasn’t sure if that had ever happened to her before in her life. Perhaps he was right: she had never truly grasped her own mortality until that moment.
            “No I am not,” he said.
            “You broke into the library,” she said.
            “I did not,” he said, looking back down at his book.
            “What do you call this, then? You’re in here,” she said.
            “I did not unlock any doors,” he replied.
            “Yeah, that’s right. How did you do that anyway?” she asked. She wasn’t shivering anymore; her courage had come back with her curiosity.
            He didn’t answer, though. He held his head again as he continued reading. 

(More to come...)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Vampire Story.

So, a few years ago when my husband told me I should start a blog, he said I could use it as a vehicle for putting out my fiction. I kind of balk at that possibility, especially when it comes to my long novel.  But on the other hand, this might work a little, especially on shorter pieces I need to finish up.

My friends know how I feel about Twilight. At least, most of them do. Without going into the long diatribe I usually go into whenever this popular series is brought up, let's just say I'm not a huge fan.

I also think Vampires are a little overrated these days. At least, they are in Twilight, since there are no drawbacks to being a Vampire. Being a Vampire in Twilight is basically the best thing that could ever happen to you. The only downside is your skin sparkles in the sun. But really, who says that's a bad thing? It's interesting, anyway. Not a curse.

Anyhow, I've recently read a lot of different vampire stories and books, because they're ubiquitous. And pretty much all of those novels or stories sucked. (But I also saw one good Vampire Movie!) I have to say, I agree with Neil Gaiman: Vampires work best when the story is not all about being a vampire, or is at least subtle about vampires (for example, Silas in the Graveyard Book).

And yet, on a kind of lark, I decided to write my own Vampire Story.

I have to apologize to some of my friends in advance: it is, unfortunately, not an Amish Vampire Novel.

And this is only a portion of the story. It's not finished, first of all, and second, it's too long to fit into one blog post. Hopefully this will motivate me to finish.

Here goes:

            The librarian began to notice him after daylight savings. She wasn’t sure if he even existed before then. It was possible he was a strange, uncommon plant that sprouted out of the sidewalk overnight once the frost set in. This classification didn’t come out of nowhere; she had a hard time determining whether he was animal or vegetable, since he hardly moved from his spot near the streetlight while she unlocked her car door. He just waited, immobile, and aura of impatient stillness surrounding him.
            She knew he was watching her.
            She was the assistant librarian, and so she was the one who had to close up every night, while the more established, important librarian went home to her family, cats, and nighttime drama television shows.
But she couldn’t come up with a reason why this closing shift was so terrible. It was relatively early in the evening, nine o’clock, and would she, if given the opportunity, even go out for an evening of raucous fun? With which friends? She wasn’t even certain whether or not she had friends. Friends were people you actually saw once and a while, and spent time with, weren’t they? And she hardly spent time with anyone besides the library patrons.
In fact, she got the sense that the only person in the world who really noticed her at all was the man under the street lamp.
His eyes were shadowed, and appeared to be black holes sunk deep under his heavy brow. His shoulders hunched forward, perhaps against the cold, or perhaps due to years of improper posture. His clothing was also dark and shadowy, his hands sunk deep into the pockets of a black wool jacket, his heavy feet contained in worn leather boots. He didn’t even blink.
The first night she noticed him, the librarian didn’t think twice about it. She briefly observed a gaunt, solitary young man beneath the lamp across the street, and then got into her car and drove home. The second night, she did think twice about it, since she remembered him. The third night, she became a little more nervous. After four nights, she was terrified.
But once a week had passed, she was merely curious.
If he had wanted to hassle her or stalk her, he could have easily followed her home. But it didn’t seem he had a car. Besides, he hadn’t spoken two words to her. He kept his distance, and he waited, but he did nothing else. He wasn’t there for her.
The librarian knew this made sense: she was, after all, a forty-three year old bespectacled single woman who bought her clothes from online catalogs and went to bed around ten o’clock at night at the latest. She was short, and had noticed lately that her form was expanding in a strange, imperceptible way. She found a single white hair in her comb the other morning. And clothes that had once been loose were now becoming a little uncomfortable, a little tighter around her arms and legs and waist than they used to. She hadn’t changed any of her habits, though, so when she looked in the mirror she realized it was simply a side effect of the ailment that affects all: age.
Still, before she did her final walk through the shelves, she slipped into the bathroom, applied a light layer of lipstick, and ran her hands through her short, cropped hair. It was only while she was halfway through this ritual that she paused and realized that she was doing it for the skulking figure under the street lamp.
This night, she decided, she would change her routine. She wouldn’t go home at all. She would get into her car, drive away, but then loop around the block, and pull around to watch what he did once she was gone.
The librarian drove slowly down the side street near the streetlamp, and switched her headlights off. The man still hadn’t moved from his place, although he had straightened. His movements were slow and painful, as though his limbs and joints were frozen stiff. He pulled his hands out of his pockets and she saw he didn’t even have gloves on. It was strange, how underdressed he was when it was only twenty degrees outside. And he was cold, that much was clear.
He took a tentative step towards the street, and then stepped down from the sidewalk. He was frail, and moved like an elderly man, although he couldn’t have been more than twenty six or twenty seven years old. Perhaps he was ill; people with cancer often looked decades older than they really were. For a brief moment, the librarian felt a pang of sympathy for him.
This sympathy, though, dissipated when she saw him swiftly walk across the street and up the front steps of the library. He became graceful and smooth, as though his joints became lubricated after the initial jolt of movement. He gained some momentum. And then he disappeared into the shadows around the front steps.
The librarian moved forward and squinted into the dark. Then she flicked the headlights of the car on. Fully illuminated, the steps were empty.
“What?” she asked.
She wasn’t given to talking to herself often. She was too levelheaded for such a thing; speaking out loud when there was nobody to hear was pointless. Yet she couldn’t stop it this time.
            It was her responsibility to find out what was going on. She grabbed her cell phone out of her bag and flipped it open. The battery was dead. Of course she had forgotten to charge it. She sighed and set it aside. Then again, whom would she have called anyway?
            She walked up the steps and took the heavy, brass door handle in her hand. She tugged, but the door remained firmly shut. For a minute, she just stared at the door, unsure if she was imagining things. She had seen that man walk across the street, walk up the steps, go to the door, and then disappear. It was only logical he had entered, somehow. She knew she had locked it, but some people could pick locks. She didn’t know they could pick them that quickly, but she knew it was a skill some people possessed. Maybe, she thought, he walked down the street without going inside, and I didn’t see him slip away.
A dim light flickered in the window, and she knew there was someone inside. She sighed as she took the key to the front door out of her pocket.

To be continued...

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Hate My Dreams.

Like about half of the American population, I went and saw Inception over the summer. I really liked it. When we were leaving the theater, I started going on and on to my friends about how I thought Nolan really captured what it's like to dream lucidly, and how it is to make yourself die in a dream just so you can get out of it. 

And they kind of looked at me like I was a little crazy and said things like: "What the...?" Because apparently, most people haven't committed suicide in their nightmares so they could get out of them. That's the stuff movies are made of.

I think the first time I had a dream like that was when I was about six or seven years old. In the dream, my mom had taken my little brother to be on some clown-game-show, like Bozo, and left her daughters at home in the house, which had somehow inexplicably acquired a large, ravenous alligator in her absence. For some reason, going out the front or back doors or windows wasn't an option. So most of the dream was about my sisters and I trying to escape, while looking at the TV every now and then to shout at the screen for our mom to come home and save us. 

Then I realized: "Oh. If we just let the alligator eat us, I'll wake up, and this super-scary and stressful situation will be over!" So I ran over to where it was waiting on the stairs and flung myself down. And I woke up. 

More recently, I've been disturbed by how my dreams don't seem to mesh with the current situation I'm in as far as life goes. For instance, last night I had a dream that Jeff and I had to give up our cats and Bella (who, if you haven't been keeping up with this blog, has been dead for almost 2 months), which probably has something to do with the fact that we had to give up a dog we had recently adopted. 

I've also had dreams about teaching. And they aren't these super happy dreams, either. They're just filled with this tense feeling, like I'm totally unprepared, and the students are asking these impossible questions, and they don't understand a word I'm telling them. 

Once I woke up screaming from a dream, because the cats were having a hissing-and-spitting-and-screaming fight out in the hallway. I almost gave my husband a heart-attack. I was just screaming and pointing a finger at the bedroom door, completely freaking out. And I'm sorry to say, while that is the most dramatic instance of me waking from a dream, it isn't the only one.

I can't remember the last time I had just a nice, happy dream. 

I mean, is that too much to ask of my subconscious? 

But that's the thing. These nightmares and miserable dreams come from something going on in the back of my mind, keeping me from just letting go of things, or enjoying life, even when I'm completely unconscious. And that totally sucks. 

And it totally throws off the rest of my day. Instead of waking up, feeling like it's a fresh and new day, ready to start, it's like my day's already been off to a bad start. Something is off, and I want a do-over. It's too bad I'm not the kind of person who listens to herself: no matter how much I tell myself it was just a dream, it still affects me.

But what do you do about it, anyway? Meditate? Take lots of Tylenol PM? Drink? Pray? I'm already an intense person, even when I am awake, and I find that most of my conscious efforts to relax, breathe deeply, stop obsessing or thinking about things too much, do pretty much shit-all as far as getting me to be a more zen kind of person. So forget about it when I'm sleeping.

Did I mention I also grind my teeth in my sleep?

Freud is kind of full of it a lot of the time, but maybe some of his theories are right: having subconscious thoughts/desires/issues kind of sucks. (I'm almost positive Freud said that, too). And it wreaks havoc on your sleeping life.

Let's just get rid of it. And yes, by "it" I mean our subconscious. Other creatures seem so happy without it, and just have dreams about chasing things. I'd love a dream where I'm just chasing something.

A Sun Came.

Yes, I understand this is lazy blogging.

But this song somehow felt right for today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inspiration vs. Foolish Consistency.

Everyone knows Platypuses are the most inconsistent and wise creatures out there. 

So I think I should write a blog post because of that lame resolution I came up with a couple months ago, not because I really want to do it.

Is this okay?

I hate writing when I have to do it, or if I am not feeling inspired, and it shows. The writing itself is terrible, and uninspired. But if everyone only wrote when they were inspired, a whole lot of trees would be saved because they wouldn't be used up by being turned into paper to hold a bunch of crappy, useless, uninspired words...

Oh wait. Shoot.

Should my resolution/revolution really clutter up the already way too cluttered interwebs? I mean, really. It's like it actually matters what I have to say on such and such thing, and what I had for breakfast yesterday, or what I think about certain political or cultural bric-a-brac. But we all know that isn't really true.

Since all men are like grass, and their glory is like flowers of the field that wither and disappear.

And if that's about men, then this little bloggy-blog is doomed, right?

The sad thing is: sometimes I think I do have something to write, and I sit down and get started, and I've got all these ideas and possibilities in my head, and something happens. I don't know what the hell it is, but it's not good. Maybe it's life. It just gets in my head and makes my head all cluttered up. And instead of focusing on what I need to do, I know in the back of my head I've got student worksheets to grade, carpets to vacuum, clothes to fold, groceries to buy, people to call, statuses to check, and on the larger scale there's worse things, like the horrible sense that there are jobs to get, babies to have, goals to reach, and I'm just tossing them all aside for this one constant in my life: sitting at a desk and writing stories.

So I want to write because I need to, but then life makes me not want to write, even though I must write to live. Wow. How very sucky.

But I guess I should keep on with this foolish consistency, even if it starts to acquaint me with hobgoblins in my little mind.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship: Organization and Structure and Creativity.

When I was a little kid, I used to thrive off of structure. My parents ran a tight ship, and I was a little OCD. It all evened out. If things deviated from the usual structure, all hell would break loose. Jeff thinks this is a little funny. He laughs about the story where I had a conniption because my jean cuffs weren't the same size. (What's funnier is that I called "jean cuffs" "rainbows," but that's another story for another day...)

Needless to say, I've grown out of that way of living. I think the real break came when I went to college, and I could do whatever the hell I wanted whenever the hell I wanted. No, I didn't cut loose and get drunk every night. I slept in, I did homework at the last minute, I stayed up late. I wasn't a total rebel.

But I kind of liked being the master of my own schedule. I still had a Joe-Job, so that came with some restrictions. But at least I could eat dinner whenever I wanted.

And now I am married and have my own house, and a non-Joe-Job. And I've become the opposite of my 5 year-old self. I have almost no structure at all.

When you are an adjunct instructor, your schedule is kind of all over the place. You have classes that meet twice a week for a couple hours. This makes prep time pretty loose. It's still got to happen, and you've still got to grade, but you can determine where and when and how this gets done.

This also allows for a certain amount of free time, which is great for me. If I am busy all day, I am not going to write. I just cannot get into that frame of mind when I've got other things to worry about. And I am a big believer in decompression time. And writing, while it is a lot of fun and my passion, is still work.

But a lack of structure is not good either, because I don't actually get much done. As in, I don't get anything done.

I am a little averse to the words "structure" and "rules" and "schedule." These things make me roll my eyes. These things make me want to play video games.  I admit this pretty freely to my students, along with my hatred of words like "math." (I probably shouldn't do this, but it just slips out).

This past fall, the pastor of our church asked if I would write these monologue-thingies for the Easter service, which I was all over... but didn't actually do right away. And I even had deadlines. I had several. First it was December 1st. Then is was January 1st. Now we're meeting February 14th with the group.

And I got it done!

But only after I said one morning: Okay, Monologue #1 is getting done today, no excuses.
And then only after I said another morning: Okay, Monologue # 2 is getting done today. Maybe a couple excuses...

I think part of the issue is the fact that I don't see writing as a "serious" thing. It's not "real work." This is bullshit, actually, but because I don't get paid to do it, and because it doesn't really "matter" in a real sense, it's easy for me to just shrug it off and put it on the back burner, even when I have obligations. And when life gets really hectic and sad and crazy, I am even less likely to get work finished.

I think another part of the issue is this idea that Creativity and Structure do not mesh. To a degree I think this is true: You cannot force creativity or writing, because then it can just kind of suck. But that doesn't mean you should just sit and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and eat Doritos until the Muse descends.

Something that my students and I often talk about is this feeling we get when someone tells us we have to do something. When a teacher tells a student he or she has to write a paper, the instant reaction is: "Damn it!" That's my reaction, a little. Maybe less PG. I have this sense that I cannot write something unless I came up with it, or unless I just have this sense that I need to do it.

Part of this, admittedly, is an attitude problem. I don't like doing work that I don't feel passionate about. And I won't pretend to be passionate about something (books, music, movies, food, etc.) just to impress people or get along with them. I can do what I want, and it doesn't matter what other people like. The world's not going to end.

There is some comfort in structure though. Habits can be a good thing, too. That's why children like structure: it reassures them everything is okay, that one thing will follow the other, life is predictable.

(Isn't it lovely how we lie to children for their own good?)

When you write, this is not the case. It is unpredictable. One thing does not always follow the other. Especially when you write pro bono.

Starting this blog was supposed to help introduce some more structure into my writing habits, and it has done something to get me writing in some sense at least a few times a week. But still, most of the time spent working on my novel(s) is going through and tweaking things I've already written.

Maybe this is writer's block.
Or maybe I'm not making writing a "job."
(The pay is terrible, but for me it's a job.)
(And I am not treating it like one.)
I don't treat it like one, because writing is more than a job.
It gives me something to think about, mull over, read, do.

Part of this issue with writing is something that has always come naturally to me. I've been "writing" stories since before I could write; I would draw pictures. Writing, or being a writer is not this thing I aspire to do. It's just something that I am, that's part of who I am in the same way I have a big nose. I can't really separate it from myself.

What really needs to happen is this: I need to acknowledge that I write for the sake of writing, but this is still something that needs to be taken seriously. It is something I need to make time for. And I need to get to the point where I will go OCD-crazy if I don't take that time to write.

I need to set a schedule or a goal. I need to organize my time to fit writing in, not just as an afterthought, but as an appointment that must be kept.

My five-year-old self would be so proud of me. Or else busy fixing the cuffs on her jeans.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I've Got the Hots for The Idiot Boksen.

I <3 Danielson.

So I decided recently I need to stop it with the TV. 

The sad thing is, we don't even have TV!

Okay, so we have Netflix Instant Play.

I think it is funny how some people seem so smugly proud of themselves when they tell other people they don't have television or cable or anything, but then add that they've completely caught up with their five favorite shows using Hulu. Seriously. Who do you think you are, anyway? It's the exact same thing. 

At least, for me, Netflix is basically television without the commercials, which means I get to watch even more with less interruptions. 

I've watched entire seasons of television shows in a couple weeks' time. I mean, that's about six months of programming finished in less than half of the time. 

I really love TV. I always have. I used to watch a lot of TV as a little kid. My parents called me EmTV (which is kind of clever and/or cute). I'd like to think I used to love TV because I loved stories, and it lead to me becoming a person who likes to spend hours of time writing extremely long novels and the like. But that would be a little too easy and convenient. Who the hell knows why I loved TV so much back then. 

One thing is for sure: I still like it. But it makes me feel like crap. 

So it doesn't always make me feel like crap. And it doesn't always make me feel like crap right away. Forty minutes of television watching is fine. It's great background noise while I'm correcting student work, or checking my email. Or basically anything; it's just great background noise. Not as great as music, but whatever. In normal doses, television does some good. 

But I am a little freaked out by how I use television.

It's different than watching a movie with someone. When I watch television by myself, it usually serves a slightly different purpose. Kind of like drinking by myself. Or dancing with myself. Okay, maybe not the last one.

Maybe this is a little bit morbid and sad, but what the hell: the first thing Jeff and I did after we put Bella to sleep was watch TV. We cried for a while, and then we were like: "Now what? Hm. Netflix."And it wasn't that we were callous, and it wasn't that we had gotten over it. I still haven't gotten over it. But Netflix was something to distract us from thinking about what just happened. It was easier to just not think about it, or anything else. 

When I was in grad school, it was the same thing. If I was feeling miserable and unhappy (which was probably about 80% of my experience at grad school), I'd drink. All right, just kidding, most of the time I'd just watch television. It was a way to avoid papers, work, the world, all of that stuff. Nothing on that screen was real. Even the news was kind of fake. There's a couple degrees of separation: the actors/people, into the camera, onto film, into electrical signals, into little fragments of light and patterns on a square panel in my living room. (Did you all like "Emma's highly scientific explanation of how televisions work"?) 

I don't think anybody likes TV because it's "real" or "raw." It's an escape from everything that is real.

But like all substance abuse, once the initial pleasure is over, it makes me feel like crap. Especially if I choose to watch the wrong sort of thing. I watched the first two seasons of Veronica Mars last fall, and it did not make my life one ounce better for it. It actually left me feeling inexplicably like: "WTF..." in kind of a let-down sort of way. Recently I've been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maybe that has added a little more than an ounce to my life, but it is not something that I feel elevates it at all. 

Fluffy TV is fine. This isn't anything against fluff. A friend told Jeff and I we were watching way too many "heavy" shows, and suggested we started watching Chuck, and I was just like: "Imma let you finish, but Mad Men and the Tudors are some of the greatest television shows of all time!" ... Which is true. But those shows make me feel like crap for a different  reason: they're effing depressing! After watching Anne Bolelyn's execution, we decided we needed to lighten things up a bit.

So I've decided to add to my 2011 Revolutions: No Alone-Time TV. 
I don't know if I can do it, but I'm going to try.

Because you know what: television, when it comes down to it, is a real time waster. And when I add up the numbers of hours I spend watching these shows, and then also consider the amount of time I feel like crap while I am watching, it's pretty clear I am wasting my life by filling it with something that doesn't matter. 

And I think my life is already a little crowded by things that don't matter already, just due to the complicated nature of modern American Life. Why add to it? 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Last Month was a Terrible Month.

Hello Everyone.

So I have been on an unofficial hiatus for a week. So much for New Year's Resolutions...

Last week was horrible. In case you haven't noticed, I have deleted the previous post about adopting another dog because Jeff and I no longer have this dog. We decided to give her back to the rescue.

It wasn't because she was a bad dog, or because she had done anything wrong. In fact, for the first three days, everything went well. But in the back of my mind I was worried because she is a mutt... as in part something like a dalmation, part pit-bull, and our condo association has a no pit-bull policy. But we asked a few people, and decided this didn't apply to her because she was a mixed breed.

But as soon as I took her out last Monday morning, my next door neighbor started yelling at me for having her as a pet because of her breed, telling me he wouldn't live next door to a pit bull, among other things. He also told another neighbor that if he ever saw her off her leash, he'd call the police on us.

Jeff went over and smoothed things over with him, and he said he was "fine" with us having this dog, but the damage was already done: I cannot stand the possibility that I might upset or offend someone. It was an unfair characterization of her: Lacey was the sweetest dog without the least hint of aggression towards anyone or anything. But it really bothered me that my dog could do nothing and yet make people that angry with me. Angry enough to yell and threaten me. I became anxious whenever I took her out because I was convinced someone would interpret her actions as somehow hostile or uncontrollable, even if she just really wanted to meet them, wagging her tail and jumping around. I didn't want to take her for walks, and I worried about coming across other people in the future who would be afraid of her.

Yeah, I'm a neurotic and anxious person. And being in a neurotic and anxious state is not good if you are trying to train and take care of a young dog. So we decided to give her back to the rescue for all of our sakes. It was very sad, and I am still very sad about it.

So, add that to the other stuff that's happened this past month, it it becomes pretty clear that the past 30 days have been very shitty.

Maybe I should re-do this resolution thing and start from scratch here. Over the weekend, I've felt so unhappy and so miserable and discouraged. I felt defeated. I still feel defeated. I feel like I failed. In case you haven't noticed, I am very hard on myself.

But this has to stop. It is warped and messed up, really. First of all, it is just damaging to me. And second of all, it's calling God a liar. Holding things against myself and being angry with myself, sometimes border of self-loathing is pretty much telling God that his decision to value each person individually isn't good enough, or true. At least, this is what people have told me.

New beginnings are a good thing. The day after we gave the dog back, my sister, brother in law, and almost-one-year old nephew came to visit, and I am glad they did. My nephew always brings such joy and happiness everywhere he goes. He's a happy little guy. Almost the entire day, we were laughing at the funny and cute things he would do. I think the reason why babies bring that kind of happiness with them is because they represent a new start, a new life just beginning. They are fresh and new, and everything is fresh and new to them.

That's how I want things to be again: fresh and new.

This is the beginning of a new month. January was a let-down. It was stressful. It was heartbreaking. It was miserable. But it is over now. I'm going to start my new year now. It is new again, and everything is starting over.

Plus, Valentine's Day is coming up. And for me, that makes February infinitely better than January, even though Valentine's Day was made up by greeting card companies to make other people feel like crap.