Saturday, November 20, 2010

On Life Lessons and Hail Marys

This week was a relatively pleasant one at both jobs, so I dare not spoil it by fishing for negativity. Instead, I would like to share a warning with you: be careful about what's on your iPod, mp3 player, or computer when sharing with others. I don't say this because I care about your security, but because you might wind up very embarrassed if you're not vigilant.

A co-worker of mine synched his iPod with another co-worker's. The co-worker on the receiving end of the iPod synch now has hours of his pornographic videos, much to the first co-worker's chagrin and embarrassment.

The lesson here: unless you want the entire staff at your job to know you like to watch videos of young men sodomizing each other to the soundtrack of Schubert's Ave Maria, do be careful.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oh, THAT'S What My Carpet Looks Like...

I hate cleaning. I really, really hate it.

Actually, cleaning is tolerable. I can scrub a toilet or mop a floor once in a while (sure as hell nearly broke my back deck scrubbing the dining room floor at my job for a year as a closer), but it's the organizing that I can't stand. I take off my work clothes and leave them on the floor. I don't fold and put away my laundry much of the time. Papers accumulate in haphazard piles next to my bed. I just don't care to keep things tidy, and by the time I actually feel like doing anything about the clutter, it's an hours-long task.

It may seem simple to an organized person that I should just put things away right at the time I'm done with them. And when it comes to laundry and other items that have a clear place, I agree. It's the rest of the junk that I have; no matter how much time I try to think of clever ways to organize, label, or arrange things, it just never turns out right. Then I get mad, then I just start throwing things into random boxes anyway.

Today I decided to make use of all my old shoe boxes. I had one for electronics, one for jewelry, one for cards and stationery, etc. But then there was still random shit everywhere. Like, where the fuck am I supposed to put ski goggles the guy from two relationships ago bought me for my foray onto the bunny hill? Or that old padlock for which I swear I have the combination written down somewhere? Or that busted up magic wand from my Tinkerbell costume?

I can't ever believe it. I get annoyed with myself for letting the clutter get that bad, then again for being unable to throw things away. Then I question how and why I acquired so much clutter in the first place, what that says about me, and whether or not I would be able to live without most of it. I think about how far away we've gone from basic needs of food, water, and shelter, and how appalling it is that some people in the world still go without one or more of these things while I try to figure out what to do with fifteen years' worth of writing utensils.

I really, really hate cleaning.

I have needed to for months, but I finally got around to actually picking up because my landlord is coming over tomorrow to remove our window air conditioner (I imagine the same will happen when he has to return in the spring, as my mess will no doubt have returned by then). I've been putting it off like nobody's business, and this weekend got so worked up over whether cleaning would take away from noveling time and vice versa that I just didn't get anything done at all.

Today, however, I wrote 1,700 words while at work AND cleaned once I got home. And while I'm still around 13,000 words behind where I should be (I have 12,000-ish at this point and should have 25,000 by mid-month), at least the damn room is clean and I have one less concern standing between me and 50,000. And I now have a clutter free, relaxing space to write. Behold:



Now, about that novel...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pimp My Blog

I've been trying to figure out how to get more readers, and after consulting my blog stats I had an idea. The most traffic that ever reaches this blog comes from Google image searches of Kim Kardashian that eventually lead to this post, therefore all I need to do to get more page hits is to bring in perverts and simpletons from all over the internet. Then, once their appetites for funny or titillating pictures have been satisfied, they will think to themselves,

"Hey, I just now realized I really enjoy reading about customer fuckwads; in fact, I'd rather spend the rest of the afternoon reading about them than look for boobalicious pictures of halfwit celebrities. I think I'm gonna bookmark the Bagel Fairy and make sure I can have as much life wisdom imparted onto me as possible!"

Clearly, this is genius because visitors=readers. Behold your sampling of Things People Like to Find on the Internet, and then watch as the new readers start rolling in. (Oh, and if they happen to be Anonymous trolls, then bring it, bitches.)









Yup. Genius.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Permission to Say "I Don't"

I got the idea for this post from a very odd place: Christian talk radio. (Or, at least, it's strange for me, as I am a staunch follower of the Church of I Don't Know and You Don't, Either.)

I was on my way to my second interview for my current job and couldn't find anything to calm my nerves. Sometimes I'll get hooked on random talk radio as I flip through the stations, and this includes the religious kind. Not surprisingly, I often disagree with what I hear, but this particular talk had a message that I felt was pretty universal: the idea that we can't be everything, all at once.

A guest author was talking about how we tend to focus on what we "do" do (Friends moment!), will try to do, or should do, and overload ourselves with expectations. She then provided her "I don't" list: ways in which she demonstrates that she is, in fact, human, and that she has limitations. (It's a deceptively simple concept, but I doubt I'm the only one frustrated by my insistence that I should know and be good at everything.) So I decided, especially after an entire summer spent worrying about all my weaknesses and whether they would keep me from having a real career, that it was time to give myself permission to not do and be certain things.

And then they started talking about how this all applies to Jesus and I (literally) tuned out, but it's a good message nonetheless.

I don’t like cake.

It’s not that I don’t have a sweet tooth — I eat enough ice cream to make up for the lack of cake in my life — but I just don’t think cake is that good. I liked it when I was little, when I would lick the frosting off and give the rest to my dad to eat.

The reason I have to give myself “permission” for this is because not liking cake causes a lot of socially awkward situations. People love bringing cake to events, and because most people are into it they expect everyone to drool and fall all over themselves with excitement at the prospect of eating their delicious store-bought cake. So I have two options when someone inevitably notices: A.) pretend to like it and cut myself a "retard piece," as my uncle once critiqued at my birthday, or 2.) announce sheepishly I don't care for cake and invite scorn.

I don’t read pretentious literary journals or listen to contemporary art music.

I tried to get into the highly academic, highly pretentious writing and contemporary music when I was nearing the end of college — I really did. I believed that, in order for my work to be worth anything, I had to love and understand this art, too. Then I realized that I had caused myself so much anxiety trying to tolerate everything I was “supposed” to be reading and watching and listening to that I had stopped creating or enjoying art at all. And that even if my reading tastes were to devolve into an addiction to something like the Shopaholic series (which, thankfully, they have not), at least I was reading.

So when I think something will be interesting or fun, I will read/write/consume it. Occasionally I feel guilty that I would rather tear through another historical fiction novel (read: glorified Harlequin romance) than Ulysses, but I have realized that getting through Ulysses will not get me any closer to being the artist I want to be unless I want to write like James Joyce. Every bit of information one ever takes in informs one’s creative output, but it is a collective effort. I can’t say that I will read it or not read it, but I will no longer punish myself if I ultimately choose not to.

I don’t cook much.

I'm not good at cooking. I don't like cooking. I like the idea of buying interesting foods and whipping up something amazing, but I will never be that person. A salad, sandwich, or box of mac 'n' cheese is fine by me.

I don’t watch/read the news religiously.

There was another phase I went through in recent years. Some time during high school I discovered I was capable of watching the news, digesting the information, and forming opinions about the things I saw. Reading the news made me feel informed and worthwhile, and I scrambled for information. I started watching the news and reading the New York Times website nearly every day — not always because I always wanted to, but because I wanted to be prepared to demonstrate my knowledge. Everybody else in the world seemed to know more than I did. But it was also then that I realized that differing political views could ignite bitter debate and unspeakable hatred among people.

Now, I read news magazines at book stores, but only if the mood strikes me. I try not to force it. The balancing act between being information-obsessed and avoiding ignorance is a difficult one, but I am trying. And I’m trying not to punish myself so much over it.

I don’t do handiwork/repairs myself.

I hate being defined by gender stereotypes and don't like to admit that I fall under many of them, including but not limited to interest in the arts, shitty sense of direction, laughable athletic ability, chronic passivity, right-brained intuition, and total dependence on men to do anything mechanical.

I don't know how to change my own oil, don't remember how to change a flat tire, and have no idea what that light and awful grinding sound means. I don't understand electricity or plumbing. If you open a tool box in front of me I will glaze over. I hate that I have to have people do things for me and that I have to take a guy with me to the tire place so someone who knows what they're talking about will be there; it's embarrassing.

Still, I can't force natural abilities on myself. The best I can do is learn what I can and hire people to do the rest.

I don't like sports.

I'm tired of dealing with drunken idiots and limited parking because of them. I have no interest in painting myself and going out with tens of thousands of other people to watch people jumping on top of one another, throwing and/or catching objects, or hitting things with sticks. I realize I look like a sourpuss to people who live for it, but I'd just rather stay home.

I don’t make the right decision all the time.

Really, no one does - it's just hard to accept this sometimes.

I don’t feel comfortable having everything organized.

I'm a total slob. I don't want to be, but I am. I admit that I get fed up with my own messes and eventually do huge cleanings, and wish I could be more organized. Still, I can't stand spotless houses. Clean is good, but it doesn't look lived in if everything's shut away in a drawer or labeled container. And if that's what it takes to be grown up and respectable, then I'm not up for it.

I don’t give money to people on the street.

If there were any real guarantee that people asking for money had really fallen on hard times and needed a little help, I would open up my wallet all the time. But I'm sick of dealing with the same liars who change their "I'm from out of town, everything happened to me, woe is me..." stories each week. I even see them come in at my job - again, the same people who always claim to need "change for the bus" or have a sister with cancer or have starving children at home, but never seem to go anywhere. Nice, gullible people inevitably give them money, which only feeds their sense of entitlement. So I just don't trust anybody on the street anymore, and I've stopped caring about how much money is in my wallet or whether or not I look like a compassionate human for refusing them.

I don’t like fashion.

Let me be clear: I care how I look, and I try to find clothes that suit me. But Vogue is boring. Fashion shows are boring. I don't care what ridiculous getup a bleach-blond queen draped onto some 19-year-old waif in New York. I will never spend my entire paycheck on a piece of fabric to sling over my shoulder just because someone sewed a name on it that certain people arbitrarily decided was important. Other people can do all that, but I am no less of a woman if I don't.

I don't dream of marrying.

I don't reject the possibility of a wedding, life partner, or children in my future. They're all just incredibly low on my priority list at this time. I believe I will change enough in the next five years that there is no possible way I could choose a life mate now, nor do I believe that children will fulfill me.

I don’t like my body.

I realize it's become a trope of American society for women to be unhappy with their bodies, but that's no reason to act like I'm a sulky teenager fishing for a compliment just because I express dissatisfaction with mine. There's simply no way to reverse that many years of insecurity, which came from so many sources; nor is it fair to say that I'm immature because I can't just "let it go" right away. And as much as I'd love to be happy in my own skin, I can't be until I stop believing there's far too much of it.

I don't feel happy all the time.

We're often taught to accept everything, and that we're ungrateful if we don't behave as if everything in life is a blessing. Sometimes life just plain sucks, and while others in the world suffer exponentially more than I, I can only speak for - and respond to - my own experiences.

What are you going to give yourself permission to NOT do, think, be, or say today?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Anonymous, I've Been Waiting for You

You really know you've hit the blogging big time when you get your first nasty comment from good ol' Anonymous. Anonymous, for those of you who don’t know, is a self-appointed expert on everything, who leaves comments on articles and/or blogs. (S)he knows everything about you, your life, and the situation you’re describing; and, claiming to have read your entire blog and understood the point of it, Anonymous has generously come to share his/her opinion about why you’re a horrible person.

Anonymous either A.) takes everything literally and has no sense of humor, or 2.) sees him/herself reflected somewhere in the blogger’s words and doesn’t like having him/herself reflected back. (S)he is not above name-calling all the while accusing you of immaturity, taking your words out of context to prove how you take situations out of context, and displaying faux sincerity by saying (s)he hopes you will change. Upon wrapping up his/her arguments about why you and your blog are a scourge on society, Anonymous then hopes to degrade you to the point of humiliation by asserting that, based on what you write in your blog, you have no love, friends, or joy in your life.

Of course, Anonymous will never reveal his/her identity, blog, or online persona, preferring to hide under the cloak of anonymity while the rest of us dare to share our opinions openly. After having used up all that time attacking people on the internet, after all, who really has time do deal with any resulting repercussions?

Blog Stats

Those of you who have blogs are aware of the stats feature Blogger now has, and let me say it is fantastic for the narcissists among us.

According to Blogger, my post about Kim Kardashian generated the most hits, most likely because the pictures I used came up in image searches for people trolling for glimpses of KK's boobies. My post on cougars comes in second.

The blog which has directed the largest number of people to this one belongs to The Bartender (thank you!). Facebook used to be the site that brought the most readers to me because I linked the URL on my profile, but I removed that once I got a new job.

Most of the keyword searches have some combination of Is This Desire, Bagel Fairy, or Prose Therapy in them because my friends and family can never remember the URL and are too embarrassed by me to ever bookmark this page. A few keyword searches such as "blogspot gloryhole," "cougar young men lawn boy," "douchey rich people comments," and (my favorite) "female tight wads can't afford dick and gas money" have also brought people to my rantings and ruminations.

Most of my readers, not surprisingly, are American, and some are British. Canadians, Australians, Chinese, Slovenian, Ukranian, Indian, and Spanish users of the interwebz have also stumbled in from time to time.

My frequency of visits climbed from the time I began writing in May and peaked in October, likely (and hopefully) because I have had less time and have been posting less.

Most important to me, however, are those of you who read, comment, get the point, and support what I'm doing here. Thanks for reading, thanks for having my back, and thanks for making me laugh.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Please go away. I'm NaNo-ing.

I might be a little scarce over the next month (right…as if I haven’t been scarce enough already lately). I will be writing a novel.

‘A novel? Are you out of your goddamn mind? You think you’re going to do that working six days a week, when you couldn’t even do it working part time?’

Yes, a novel. Yes, I’m out of my goddamn mind. Yes, I really believe I will do it this time.

Allow me to explain. (National Novel Writing Month) is all about getting its millions of participants to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. They do it in November because no one wants to go outside then anyway, and they do it in a month to light a fire under our asses. You write 50,000 words in order to “win.” Technically, you don’t win anything concrete, but you can claim the title of novelist.

I’ve tried it before, and failed so hard it was embarrassing. But I really do feel something is different this year. I think it was spending the entire summer broke and feeling like I had absolutely nothing, and once I got to the point of feeling like I had nothing, I felt like I might as well try anything. Being in that position helps you sort out your life and really think about what’s important, because when time is money and you have none of the latter, you’re willing to give all of the former to anything that might improve things.

Now that things have balanced out a bit, I’m ready to fully commit. Because I have so little time to kill anymore, I’m prepared to really do something I feel will be useful. I also think I’m better about focusing less on what happens if and when my work gets published, and how much money I can potentially make.

50,000 words a month. 1,667 words a day. Can I do it?