A Post in Which I Declare My Love for Shia LaBeouf
The video below is Shia performing the Sigur Ros song- it is way more weird. However weird, it is beautiful and clearly about the damaging and tragic repetitive cycles we live. I don’t care for the part with the candy and fish- I think the director was trying too hard at that point. But overall it is a heart breaking video. Trigger Warning- it shows abuse/partner violence. And this is one is NSFW, on account of showing shlong and naked lady.
Lack of Originality
Recently I was ranting about my desire to burn down the library after coming across a book with very similar premise to my current work in process. I had thought my idea was so original and different! Yet here it was, taunting and pointing at me from the bookshelf!
“I’m here first,” it sang at me snidely. And I did not respond diplomatically. I may have startled the nearby patrons with my cranky retort.
Of course the book wasn’t exactly the same idea. Just a similar concept….sigh…but still…
I raged to my writing group, who put their virtual arms around me in comfort. They told me to just make it mine, do it better than other author had, or that by the time mine was ready for release the other would be ages old and forgotten, if it was even noticed in the first place. But I was still cranky and dismayed. I sort of wanted to set fire to something.
However my outlook changed a bit today. I was listening to the TED Radio episode Where Do Good Ideas Come From– and it made me feel TONS better. Writer Steven Johnson essentially said that there is no such thing as an original idea anymore. That innovation comes from taking ideas and repurposing them to make them your own. And that does seem true. It goes along with the idea that there are really essentially only seven different story plots.
So when my character comes into a specific birthright on a specific birthday and I come across a novel where nearly the same thing is happening to the character in that book, instead of getting upset I will understand that characters everywhere for years and years have had strange things happening on birthdays. The world is not out to get me.
Therefore I will embrace that fact that there probably are no truly original story lines out there anymore (notice smut novels featuring dinosaur partners as proof that everything under the sun has been done) and I will continue blindly plugging away because it makes me happy. And if someone says, “Hey, you’re book is like this other book I read.” I’ll decide to take it as a compliment and move on. I think Stephen Fry said it best. “An Original Idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.”
Someone’s Poisoned the Waterhole
This last few years have been less than ideal. And before I start my little ranting post I want to preface with my Perspective Acknowledgement – Yes, I get it. I’m lucky in a lot of ways. I am healthy, I am able bodied, I have many luxuries and securities that so many people don’t. I know this. But knowing this doesn’t make my yuck go away. I can’t “Perspective” to death my own life discontent. Yes, I have it good. And so do you in some way, shape or form. But it doesn’t mean we can’t hope and dream for more. Or begrudge the crap that makes things bad. Moaning will commence in five seconds.
Okay, perspective check done.
You’re still here? Okay, then you asked for it.
I just need to write for a moment, to let out some feelings and some anxieties so they can make their way out of my brain and somewhere else. I left a job almost exactly a year ago, that I very much loved for most of seven years. With people I very much loved. That last year something happened. My job got into a serious car accident and sustained a closed head injury. From the outside my job looked very much the same, but it became anxious, agitated, paranoid and quick to lash out. I watch my job become something I didn’t know, something that drained me and left me feeling broken at the end of the day.
I tried to minimize the things that happened at my job, I made excuses for it and rationalized that it was just feeling a lot of pressure. But then the people in my life, the ones who cared about me, asked me “Jacque, what is wrong with you that you think it’s okay to stay somewhere that makes you feel so bad?” And I realized that the job I loved wasn’t the same job anymore. That job was gone. When it left, the love I thought it had for me left too. If it was ever there at all. So regardless of how much I still thought I loved my job, it was an unhealthy one.
So I broke up with my job. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I got violently, physically ill the day I gave notice-my body purging all the yuck that had built up over the last year I’d spent coping. Job, of course, was passive aggressive about it. At that point I just needed to get things in order and I wasn’t up for playing any games. I knew at that point job didn’t want me any more than I wanted to stay. Sometimes I wonder if job made up the entire car accident just to drive me away. But I’ll never know.
My last day, I didn’t say goodbye to some of the people there, and hugged some others. And I left to be with a new job elsewhere. New job was cuter anyway.
But old job followed, like an ex-boyfriend stuck so deep in my veins that the only way out would be for a full body blood transfusion. I was pathetic. I would wonder what was ex-job doing and if ex-job missed me. I’d dream about ex-job and would wake up angry, anxious and mad at myself. It was just a job after all, right?
I buried myself in my new work, out of requirement more than necessity. It took up a lot of my time and the stress of new job, something I hadn’t anticipated, reared an ugly head the moment I stepped through the door. It was a many headed hydra that, to this day, continues to grow heads. I found myself longing for the days of pancake Fridays and bathroom shenanigans. The dreams about ex-job became more frequent. I knew, in my head, I was romanticizing ex job because my new job proved to be a whole different strange monster I wasn’t prepared to deal with. I cried. New job was supposed to have been perfect job. I just didn’t understand how things could have become so warped. I became a person that was told “You need to smile more.” ME!? ME??!! A person that had, at one time, been asked to be a happiness consultant?
It has been almost a year with New job and we have had our differences, we’ve grown to appreciate each other and have fallen into a comfortable existence. But it was not an easy process.
And old job, well last night I had a dream that I was back working there again, super uncomfortable and unhappy. I suppose it was better than my dream that I hadn’t memorized the lines to the company play-that one was worse. But it still shows me how much old job is still polluting my ground water…
Parenting can sometimes be a little tricky, obviously this is an understatement, it is always tricky. But sometimes I feel like it is even more so and not only does my child end up getting corrected, but I am forced to learn a lesson myself.
For instance, when my 3rd grader complains loudly, for like the tenth time in a few weeks, that it was no fair in Kindergarten when he had to clip down because there was no way to clip up-I want to make fun of him. I want to say, sarcasm dripping from my voice, “Son, I know this was very traumatizing for you but you have to pick up the pieces of your shattered life and move on. You can’t carry the trauma of the Kindergarten clip chart with you for the rest of your life.”
However, I can’t quite do this, not with the other kids around because then his older brother tries to chime in and, not quite understanding the artful funny moment of how to poke fun of someone who is making a small thing into a big thing, he just ends up being mean. Sigh.
Kicking Out Mommy Guilt
Mommy guilt wasn’t something I often struggled with until recently. Now I seem to struggle with it all of the time. Having a demanding work schedule along with my responsibility to my photography clients, writing and my role as Municipal Liaison (ML) for my regional NaNoWriMo, has left me with not a lot of quality time. That is when Mommy Guilt came roaring at me. And before you say, “But Jacque, just stop doing some of those other things. Family is first!” Yes, I know this. My role as ML is only demanding during October and November and, sadly, I turned down a lot of photography jobs because I just didn’t have the time. It is mostly my work schedule, and that can’t be helped. Not if I want to do a good job. But I digress.
Recently, while I was hanging out with Mommy Guilt and berating myself because it seemed like the only time I had with my kids was spent cleaning or cooking or putting them to bed, I had a great idea. I would make my kids cook and clean and I would take a nap. HA HA, just kidding. But I would give them more responsibility in cleaning and taking care of the house through using planners and we would do it together! We would plan out our week, have chore charts and each kid would help me cook a meal that we could also eat later in the week as leftovers. It would solve so many problems! Only I couldn’t find anything online like what I was looking for. Especially the planner part. So I made my own planner pages!
Now two weeks into this process, and mission accomplished. Mommy Guilt has packed her bags and is now chain smoking in a seedy hotel laying in wait for a poor unsuspecting overworked mom to move in with and my house is a little bit cleaner!. The kids are learning how to clean and we are spending quality time together cooking! Plus we have healthy meals for the week. Win win!
I’m adding my planning pages and chore chart to this blog post so you can make use of them. We put their planner pages and chore charts into a three ring binder, added some binder sleeves to it to throw in their school work and art projects and let them decorate the front. Initially I only put this together for my eight and ten year old sons, but my five year old daughter jumped on the band wagon and demanded her own planner. More free labor! I plan to post my kid tested cooking together recipes later, so stay tuned for those.
Have a great week!
Download from the link below and have fun!
Planner pages in PDF but an editable excel version can be found here
Cleaning checklist younger child
The Band-aid Between Sunday and Monday
I’ve decided that the time between Sunday to Monday (which for me feels like most of Sunday really) is approached in the manner of a child that needs a bandage ripped off.
Fears, tears, crying and avoidance. Trepidation and anticipation of the pain.
But once it is over, you pretty much forget about it and go on your merry way.
Asking for Help
Day Three of the Do Over challenge tells you to actually ask for help. I have a lot to post about the topic of asking for help. In fact, one of the few famous people that I would gnaw my arm off to meet wrote an entire book about it. The Art of Asking. I stumbled across a signed copy in our local bookstore and bought one for me, then later got one for my sister-in-law. I haven’t had a chance to begin reading it yet, I will start it after I am done with Stephen King’s writing book. But I’ve seen her Ted Talk on the topic and I can only imagine how good the book is.
Back to the whole “asking”- I have asked my husband to help cheer for me but have also asked my sister Judi, one of the most goal focused people I know, to help as well. I think she is participating so perhaps we can help each other. I also offered to be a partner to anyone who needs me in the 30 Days of Hustle FB group.
With today being Sunday, I spent most of it being productive for the week. I braved a snowy blistery day to get groceries, cleaned, even packed lunches for the kids. And now I’m going to take a nice hot bath and read the book Twice Shy, found below. A friend was reading it and sent me a note to ask me if I had written it and not told her. Ha ha! Figured it should be a quick fun read. I’ll let you know. I did not sit around and think about writing as an art or ponder needless words, I didn’t have the time. I also won’t have the time to work on Soulstone, the book I started in November. But I believe reading fiction counts as my 10 minutes of Do Over stuff because reading other writers is part of learning about writing. Plus I spent at least 10 minutes typing this. So there.
For Want of Time
If you read yesterday’s post you’ll see that I started the10 Day Do Over challenge. For my challenge I chose to learn more about the art of writing. Something I’ve been meaning to do and something I wish I had spent more time doing in college.
This morning I grabbed the Do Over workbook and turned the page.. to discover that I hadn’t finished Day 1. Apparently there were some questions I was supposed to answer that I didn’t. So here they are.
1. What’s an activity you love doing that you have stopped for some reason?
I put down Acting/Theater. Something I did through HS and a little in college, but put aside to be “practical” and because I didn’t have time with all the other stuff I was doing. I haven’t done anything theatrical since my college interpretive reading course. I miss it. A lot. I have a FB friend that does Theater and every time he posts something I am so envious. There is NOTHING like opening night. That feeling, the excitement. It is a serious high. I miss it!
Question 2 tied into question 1 for me. It asked -Have you ever been jealous when you’ve seen someone else doing something? What was the activity they were doing that you wished you were?
Clearly I just spoke of being envious of a friend in the theater. But that didn’t end up being what I wrote down. What I wrote is that I was jealous of the people who seemed to have time. Time to do anything. Sitting and having a cup of coffee, getting groceries, writing at the library, anything. I am jealous of people who have time. I don’t think I’m alone, in fact I just saw a FB post today from a mom ranting about someone who seemed to have the time to get to the gym in time to get a good parking spot before a class in a very leisurely fashion. She was lamenting that she couldn’t get in because she got there two minutes late. But I saw the pain of having not enough time. And really, I think her post was about time because being turned away from that workout when you aren’t able to make it to many, hurts. To me it is Time that is the enemy and I completely understood that
want need for more time to do what you’d like to do rather than having most of your time taken up with things that you have to do. Or rather, I understood the part of her message that spoke to me. I was feeling it.
Question 3. What’s something you’ve always wanted to try? I said Yoga. Again, something I haven’t really done because of time. When you don’t have a lot of time, you get very possessive of what time you do have and what you do with it. Yoga is something I’d like to try, but if I’m working out with my limited time, it’ll be running or the boot camp class with the above mentioned FB friend. Sadly, I have only gone running a handful of times since taking my new job. Because, all in all, I am not the master of my own time. Sure, there may be Free Time skulking around in a dirty back alley somewhere waiting for me to walk by and notice it. But if I do find it, before I can dig out my $20 for a quickie, I am bombarded by everything else I wouldn’t be doing while having some fun with Free Time. So really, is free time really free? You go down that Free Time road and then you find yourself at the free clinic with a strange rash and a tattoo of a monkey on your ass. Regrets. Guilt. Mommy guilt. Guilt guilt guilt. And now I’m downward spiraling into the whole Work vs Family vs Self Care balancing act. I’m not going there. I’m just saying Time is an elusive whore these days and even if I do have a twenty dollar bill to toss at it, I’ll be paying for it later.
On day two, you find a person. A person that will be your accountability buddy for the next ten days. Someone to check in with each day. I’m picking my husband since he is the one that introduced me to this. And he’s cute. And he’s nearby so that helps.
It then asked me who the smartest person I know is. That was a real thought stopper. I thought about saying my brother, but he’s from a differing political party than I so he doesn’t count. HA HA! Just kidding. I actually put down a few people’s names. But I have no idea how to determine how smart a person is, especially since there are different kinds of smarts. I feel like I’m people smart, but can’t do math to save my life. Other’s can ace a calculous test but will back out of their driveway, across the street and into a ditch. True story. I know that person. So I threw down a few names and wrote “SHRUG”.
Finally it asks for a list of people you’d put on your board of directors for a fake company. That was much easier in my opinion and I finished that up quickly. I stacked it with people who are smart, honest with a mix of sugar coaters and blunt speakers. Tell me the truth, I’ll cry, a sugar coater will come around and help me feel better about it and then I’ll watch them fight to the death. Not really, no. I’d look away. But seriously. It’s like with picking Beta Readers. My husband is always my first reader because he is mostly blind when it comes to me. He thinks I’m amazingly talented, awesome, beautiful and a whole long list of other complimentary adjectives. I just think he’s crazy. So he pumps me up. Then I pass it along to a few friends that read a lot and will give honest feedback, but tend to be gentle and love me so they are nice. That helps me polish and fix things before I send it to my friends and acquaintances that write, read and will offer hard criticism. I need all those people.
Pretend there is a nice transition sentence here… birds.. flowers.. rainbows. BAM!
After I finished Day Two of the Do Over I decided I needed to actually do something toward my chosen Do Over. So I grabbed my book and spent time cringing through the tales of Stephen King getting his ears drained as a 6 year old…And then the screaming from the basement became too much and I had to stop. I’ll leave that up to your imagination.
See ya tomorrow!
10 Day Do Over Challenge
My husband found this guy, Jon Acuff, on Twitter that he sort of loves. Like, LOVES loves. To the point that my husband got a little butt-hurt when Jon Acuff acknowledged me on Twitter, when my husband has been following him for years. YEARS!! (imagine fist shaking and teeth gnashing). Jon Acuff is a motivational sort of person, I mentioned him in my Fear No Monday post, and now my husband has me paying attention to his 10 Day Do Over Challenge.
In the pdf he sends you he explains you spend 10 days focusing on that one thing for at least 10 minutes each day. Choose something big, choose something small. Whatever you want. Check it out, join me- leave a comment on how you spent your ten minutes each day and we’ll see what we think after 10 days. Click to sign up and then begin on day one.
For me today is day one. It started simple. He asks you to finish the following sentence. “One thing I’d like to Do Over is_________________?”
I decided I would like to do over some of my education/college days and more specifically, focused more on learning more about writing. I want to read more, ramp up my writing skills and put them to use. Interestingly enough, today the UPS man brought me a book I’ve been wanting to read on the subject of writing. It’s called On Writing by Stephen King and I’ve heard good things 🙂
So I plan to read it, think about writing, focus on being a better and more purposeful writer and blogging about it. I’m hoping this will prime my brain to be focused more on working towards a dream and a passion for 2015 and less on the fact that I’m not writing full time 🙂
See you tomorrow!