Monthly Archives: October 2006

Update on the Doritos Addiction

The Doritos Addiction is fierce. I quit smoking 2 years ago (ah yes, thereby ruining the repose of my “angst ridden writer smoking cigarette while contemplating angst of protagonist with unfulfilled desire and road of challenges and maybe even heartbreak” while healing the cilia in my lungs and extending my lifespan by a few years)…but now I’m hooked on Doritos.

I’ve been hooked since summer, when I rebelled against the “healthy diet” at the writing colony. I was being so “good” I wanted to be “bad.” Doritos made me BAAAAD. Yah. BAAAAD. Orange-neon-bits-everywhere-in-my-cottage BAAAAD.

I thought I kicked the habit last month, and I had a couple of Doritos-free weeks in there, but now I’m back with the craving-of-the-Doritos.

But now it’s because they’re GOOOOOD.

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Filed under Funny Shit, Life

spanning space

Woo! I have satellite internet at our mountain retreat! (We were previously unwired here–a bane and a boon). I imagine a big tractor beam from the stars to my house–that is how I am connected to the universe! That is how this post is coming to you, bouncing off a star somewhere in the southern sky.

I am spanning space, these words are EVERYWHERE. Maybe they met a martian somewhere on the way to wordpress and to you.

Of course, an engineer would explain it all away–take the wonder out of it by detailing the scientific processes. I’m ignoring that for now, I prefer the mystery of it all, it feels much more beautiful this way than the reality of metal and wires (though to an engineer that is perhaps an ultimate beauty).

It is truly Autumn in these mountains: Aspen trees fluttering with leaves so yellow and bright they look like glass and hillsides dotted with orange and flaming red in the evergreen backdrop.  The air smells like leaves.

A biologist would explain it all away–the trees are changing chemistry, reacting to light and day length.  I prefer the vision of spanning space.

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Filed under Abstract Thoughts

under the weather

A cloud has settled down over so many of my writer friends these days.

I’m helpless and scared and very concerned about the doubt we writers experience. I’m talking about the doubt of others (“Why is it taking you so long to write your book? Are you still writing it? Have you published anywhere lately?” or worse, “Why would anyone want to be a writer? Why are you writing?”). I’m also talking about the more insidious self-doubt (“What the f*ck am I doing? Am I any good? Am I full of shit?” and um, etcetera, etcetera I doubt (oh a pun!) any writer will have a hard time imagining all the other phrases we shoot at ourselves).

It’s the self-doubt that makes me hit the delete key, the self-doubt that has me paralyzed in front of the screen for thirty minutes before I start typing each day. It never goes away. Sometimes I call on fantasies to deflect the fear and questioning.  I fake it till I make it.  Or more usefully, I say, “F*ck it.”  Man, I have done some amazing things under the auspice and spirit of “f*ck it.”

I’m so scared of self-doubt that I keep one foot out of writing at all times.  I keep a “day job” so that I feel like I have at least one thing in my life where I can invest some of my self esteem–so that all my eggs are not in the writing basket.  (“Hey, I wrote SHIT today, but at least um, my boss said I rocked at that project!”)  Maybe that’s wimping out.  But I’m not that hardcore a person. I’m so scared of self-doubt that I feel like I need to find a “cure” for it: for myself and for my friends.  I want to save all of us from this self-doubt, and create a world where writers are confident and happy and productive and sure.
Why am I so scared of self-doubt?  The vulnerability frightens me.  The power of self-doubt over my production freaks me out.  And maybe self-doubt even erases a bit of my voice in my writing.

Am I right?  No.

Self-doubt keeps us true (well, as my writing mentor said, “Self-doubt paired with a desire to write provides the writer with her best tool: a great bullshit detector.”).  There is a balance implied in that equation: your desire to write must always be present and in equal if not greater amount than your self-doubt.  (ugh, I just did math on my blog).

Now I am doubting this post.

Am I making any sense?  What am I accomplishing?  Am I making anyone feel better?  Am I feeling more enlightened?  Am I full of bullshit?  Is this full of bullshit?  How many grammatical errors have I made?  Bleah.

I guess self-doubt is just part of being a writer.  I can’t fight it.  I must ride with it.  And see it as a poignant, beautiful thing.  It is our heart, isn’t it?  It is all of our vulnerability as a writer and it informs our writing.  I think without it, our writing would not have soul.

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Filed under Abstract Thoughts, Writing

too snobby to blog

the other thing that cracked me up at a writer’s colony was the whole “logging onto the internet is evil for your writing” bit. somehow, email and blogging were as hated as carbohydrates (actually more hated than carbohydrates, judging from the amount of cookies we ate each day). anyone who got caught “logging on,”had to fucking apologize like they had just lit up a cigarette in front of a newborn baby and puffed in its face.

the Famous Writer was the most anti-blog of all. maybe because she was afraid the bloggers in the group would blog about her, real name and all.  (“you’re not going to blog about me, are you?  can we–keep this offline?”)

then there was the Wife (who happened to be a lesser known actor) of a Famous Movie Actor at the writing colony.  to this day, i’m not really sure why she was at the table–i think the writing colony was courting her for funding, who knows.  i didn’t get her at all, though sadly, she’s a familiar sort in my world.

anyway, she too was paranoid about the blogging.  “why would you write on the internet? what IS the internet anyway?”  (“You’re not going to blog this, are you?  DON’T YOU BLOG THIS!”)  of course, i have exerted all my self-control to not talk about the vibrator her Famous Actor Husband bought her just so she wouldn’t miss him while she was away at the writing colony.

oops.

hrm.  i guess i was just feeling really mean tonight.

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Filed under Writing

storytelling taste

I haven’t forgotten the questions posed in my post asking, “What is my personal writing style?” I have dialogues about my taste and style all day long (“Oh, I like those pants…Oh, I like that fabric…Oh, I like that color…Oh, I like that couch…Oh, I like that flatware–Oh, are my thoughts so banal?), and for some reason I haven’t really looked at my taste in literature/writing/reading styles.

Why is that? I guess a part of me wants to like it ALL. Or that literature is beyond reproach?  (Who am I to say what matters?  But of course, I’m clearly going to spend the rest of this post talking about what I think matters-ha.)  Or maybe I’m just pretty fucking ignorant when it comes to my storytelling tastes.

So what do I like in particular when it comes to storytelling? Maybe I better start thinking about it, even if my initial thoughts are plebeian (hey, stupid plebeian thoughts are better than no thoughts). I like anything the screen writer Charlie Kauffman writes (“Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”). I love Haruki Murakami’s stories. I like wacky twisted television shows like “Lost” and (now) “Heroes” and “X-Files” and when I was a teenager, I obsessed about “Twin Peaks.” Ohgawd. I just listed more movies and television shows than books.

My favorite book of all time is The Great Gatsby, hardly magical or surreal, though. Why is that? I have to think about the link between The Great Gatsby and the fantastic stories I love these days.

And of writing in general: I just love it when a writer tries to do something different.

One of the things that makes me SCREAM in workshop even before I got “worshopped out,” are stories that tread well-worn paths. If I had a nickel for every story about a “girl who grew up in an abusive family and then got suicidal but then recovered,” or “a white upper middle class twentysomething who goes to a third world country and experiences an epiphany amidst ‘the natives’ (and discovers love while at it)” or “a middle aged woman who contemplates cheating on her husband out of boredom in her marriage,” or “a whiny Holden Caulfield wannabe character,” or “a drug recovery story,”…man, I’d have enough for an ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s. (My other pet peeve is the word “nipple”–my first semester in my program, I think I read the word nipple AT LEAST EVERY WEEK IN a workshop manuscript).

Anyway, that is just to say that I love it when a writer does something different…and that I hate it when a writer “plays to the familiar.”

Unless you kick ass with your writing. Then you can write about anything you want. 😛

Um, not really. I still think you should try to do something different.

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Filed under Abstract Thoughts, Writing

quiet cousin

I wrote a letter to a cousin I had not seen in about twenty years.  We’d lost touch for complicated reasons, and only recently did someone relay his whereabouts.  He’s here in the U.S.!  The letter was short and courteous and curious.  How are you we are fine please let me know how you are doing here is my contact info.

I waited a couple weeks.  No answer.  I wrote a second letter to him, relaying similar sentiment.

I waited another couple weeks.  No answer.

I didn’t have his email but I did have his phone number.  So I called and left voicemail.  How are you we are fine hope you are well please let us know how you are doing sorry to bother you seems like you’re busy I won’t bother you if you don’t want but just in case here is my contact info.  That sort of thing.

No answer.

I had always thought we’d lost touch with each other due to circumstance–that the rift between us was a consequence of other family friction.  Perhaps he has inherited the rift.  Our fathers’ battle is not our battle too, is it?

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Filed under Life

Is this what August people are like?

From sulz at bloggerdygook:
1. Pick your birth month.
2. Strike out anything that doesn’t apply to you.
3. Bold the ones that best apply to you.
4. Copy to your own blog.

AUGUST: Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

(this meme is full of “hints”)–pick your month below
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