Sunday Confessional

Today is one of those days I’d prefer to interact with plants and animals rather than contemplate the mind-boggling awfulness of some human beings. I can’t think of one instance in which a clematis bloom caused me a moment’s pain or anxiety.

Until they flower again, I’m basking in the memory of their quiet beauty.

Sticky feelings

I took this photo in October 2015 and never looked at it closely (I recommend clicking on the image for full efffect). After deciding to highlight it here today, I went in search of a fitting quotation.

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:
from the sky,
from the earth,
from a scrap of paper,
from a passing shape,
from a spider’s web.
~ Pablo Picasso

That quote feels particularly apt because today has been emotion-filled. SO.MANY.FEELINGS. coming at me from every direction. It was like being surrounded by a sticky web trapping every single one of them.

It’s cool, though. I’d much rather feel it all than be numb to it all.

Walking toward clarity

It’s been a murky day filled with emotions, confusion, and an overall sense of TIRED. But I finally succumbed to cute Emma the Dog’s wriggling reminder that it was time for our daily walk, and went out to do just that.

Movement plus a smiling, happy dog by my side brought clarity to the day.

I’m feeling so much better. Today, Dog is most definitely this woman’s best friend.

We would be robots

Poppy downed by May hailstorm before it had a chance to bloom.

If we were to lose the ability to be emotional,
if we were to lose the ability to be angry,
to be outraged,
we would be robots.
And I refuse that.

~  Arundhati Roy

 

To smile, or to stab — that is the question

Today is the day, I thought. Today, the photo of me with the Stabby bus will make its blog debut. (The image was captured our first day in Uppsala. Zebu spotted the bus coming up the street, and I quickly handed off my phone and posed next to it when it stopped. Those who know me well know that I quite frequently “feel stabby,” which is why I was thrilled when Zebu captured the original Stabby bus image for me.)

Today is one of those “I’m feeling stabby” days. So I went back and found the photo.

Huh? That woman does NOT look as if she’s feeling stabby. She’s smiling, happy, and, aside from the claw-like curve to her right hand**, looks pretty damned relaxed. Not at all stabby.

I almost gave up on today’s stabby theme. And then it hit me: this photo is perfect for today’s post. Why? Because the reason for my stabby feelings is that I’m struggling with two characters’ friendship in the opening pages of my new project. I’m struggling to smooth out their interactions so as to establish their relationship and character arcs, and suddenly, it feels as if the first 60 pages are a steaming pile of mixed messages.

So what better photographic representation of mixed messaging than this photo of the smiling me next to the Stabby bus?

HA! I’m suddenly feeling slightly less stabby.

** me simulating holding a pointy object in preparation of stabby motions.

Micromanaging my emotions

When I get frustrated and angry it sometimes helps to focus on something else, preferably something pleasing and/or interesting to look at. Something with different colors and textures, sizes and shapes, and quality of light.  penstemon

Something that reminds me of my tiny role in the universe.

 

 

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One of those days

Oddly enough, this seems like a fair representation of today:0017

I was very tired and so didn’t accomplish much. I felt a bit, you know, pointless. So it’s weird that this is the photo that jumped out at me from Morguefile.com when I went cruising for photos. But somehow these pointy-headed mannequins capture my mood.

Two positive notes regarding today:

  1. Loki and Marcel took turns curled up on me as I read and napped on the couch.
  2. No one used my head to play Ring Toss.

 

 

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Punching is for expression

GET FUZZY by Darby Conley
Get Fuzzy on writing as expression

This old Get Fuzzy strip does not represent any personal animosity toward poets.
Rather, it’s more a statement on my current state of mind.
Specifically, my desire to punch something.
Although, stabbing would be equally therapeutic.

As Zebu would say, “Mom’s feeling a little stabby today.”

“Stabby and punchy.”
That’s me.

Shouldn’t there be a t-shirt or bumpersticker?

 

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Monday Attitudes

My default outlook on Monday mornings is this:file0001003820993

But if I try faking my way into a more upbeat and optimistic attitude, I could end up with sore facial muscles:file000502394427

So I’m aiming for a more measured approach to this particular Monday:file0002039134823

Thoughtful and slightly wary. Ready to take flight should the need arise.

I’ve Seen the Light!

                 

This is NOT me.


                                                                                     image from morguefile.com

The photo, however, represents how I feel right now.

Just one week ago I was a weepy little mess as I struggled to learn Scrivener.
Today I’m thrilled to announce I understand the basics of this writing software,

and that I’m looking ahead to a more streamlined, organized approach to writing novels.
 
I’m still a huge fan of carrying around a notebook, and that won’t change.
 
But.
 
 
I appreciate the words of encouragement and tips shared in my original post.
Thank you, friends!
 
                

Exhilaration vs. Hyperventilation

           

I love roller coasters.
But I also panic at the thought of roller coasters.

I’m feeling those same mixed emotions as I prepare to embark on this revision.

I’m thrilled at the thought of finally creating the book I’d intended
but also a bit nervous about what I might experience along the way.

I know there will be thrills and spills.
And undoubtedly this revision will involve some screaming
and white knuckles.
Followed by more screaming.
Let’s just hope I don’t ever wet myself,
not even a little bit.

Okay,  here goes . . .

Dreary With a Dollop of Optimism

The sky is gray.
The temperature is below average.
The sun is nowhere to be seen.

But.

I’m feeling something today.
Something positive.
Hopeful.

It makes no sense.
And I’m almost afraid to admit all this.
But I’m going with the optimism.

            
EDITED TO ADD:  The sun just came out.  Hooray!

            

Give Up the Funk

It’s been one of those weeks.
A week-long funk.
Yesterday I felt crushed under the weight of it all.
But I forced myself to spin my hoop
while Zippy did his treadmill workout.
As we twirled and walked, we listened to an album that came out 25 years ago.
Yikes. 

And I thought about where I was 25 years ago.
I remembered listening to that album (tape) in my car during lunch hour
when I worked for Giant Turd Enterprise (GTE).
I’d eat my fish sandwich from McDonald’s
and think about, well, I don’t remember what I thought about.
Probably not much.
Maybe I thought about the sweltering parking lot and
how my boss was the world’s biggest asshat.
Or that maybe the next day I should pack a lunch.

Fast forward to this week
in which I’ve had feelings of being that gerbil in a wheel,
always running and moving,
but never getting ahead.

It’s no fun feeling that way.
It crushes your spirit.

So I say to myself:
Tracy, you have made progress.
For one, you’re no longer spending time in a paint-peeling ’64 Ford Falcon Sprint,
sweating and ingesting questionable food.
And you don’t have to answer to that horrible boss-man ever again.

So.

Give up the funk, Tracy.

               

I’m a confident writer

Friday night I had a conversation with two parents from Zebu’s basketball team.  We don’t know each other very well so I was thrilled when the dad wanted to talk about books.  The conversation moved from books we’ve read to the kind of books I write.  I’d told them upfront I’m a writer and also said I hadn’t yet broken through but that I knew I was close to getting published.  The mom wanted to know if I’d made any money from my writing.  I said no.  The conversation continued with the dad asking questions about my current book out in the world.  The mom stared at me and then stated, "You write but you’ve never made any money."

"Not yet," I said.  "But it’ll happen because I’m not giving up."

At that moment I probably should’ve been a little nervous.  Or depressed.  Or angry.  Something.  But I wasn’t.  I felt absolute confidence in me and my work.  

This whole exchange couldn’t have been better timed since Nathan Bransford recently linked to this analysis of writerly confidence versus delusion.  And now that I’ve reread it, I can say without a doubt that while the basketball mom undoubtedly considers me delusional, I know the truth:  I’m a confident writer.

                 

Revision Angst

I’m having one of those moments.
One of those "this is crap, who are you trying to kid?!" moments.
One of those "what made you think you could pull this off?" moments.
One of those "this isn’t even close to working so you might as well
go fill out an application at Taco Smell" moments.

I hate these moments.
But I know they always pass.
Especially when I read those vile criticisms aloud in R’s voice.

Okay, now I’m smiling again.  
Thanks for listening.

I gotta get back to it.

    

Revolutionary Progress

I’m making progress on a couple fronts:

Number one, thanks to the revolutionaries who responded to yesterday’s post regarding LJ Overwhelm, I’m determined to wash that angst right out of my hair.  Thank you, friends!

Number Two, thanks to Wildebeest and Zebu being at camp for ten days I’m getting serious about my revisions.  So serious, in fact, that for the last two days (um, that’s counting today) I haven’t turned on my desktop until late afternoon when my writing work was done.  What a concept!  No internet play until the work is done!  Revolutionary!

I can’t read any journals now, though, because I’m off to visit R, but you know what?  Even though I’m doing a drive-by post, I don’t feel any guilt at all!  Now that’s progress! 

And here’s hoping you’re all making headway in your lives and work, too!

                

Be Afraid! Be Very, Very Afraid!

Today at the spaghetti dinner I had a conversation with a friend whom I admire in many ways.  Big heart.  Lots of energy.  A recognition that BushCo is a trainwreck of an administration.  Well,  I made the mistake of letting my curiosity get the best of me and so finally asked what it was she liked about the candidacy of Hillary Clinton that motivated her to place three Clinton signs in her yard.

"I don’t like him," she said.  "Because he didn’t put his hand on the bible and he doesn’t put his hand over his heart."

I screamed.

It was as if I was in a haunted house and some creepy, crawly creature jumped out at me; I had no control.  I screamed.  Because I was horrified to meet someone up close and in person who couldn’t tell me anything positive about her chosen candidate yet was casting a vote  against the opposition candidate based on media manipulation and lies.  I know plenty of people have done just that in the past seven years or so (for dawg’s sake, 27% still think Bush is doing a heckuva job), but I’ve resigned myself to them being so adamantly ignorant that nothing could blast them into reality.  My solace was that the majority of the population would use its brainpower regarding the upcoming election.  Wrong.

The whole scene got ugly.  Friend got upset.  I was embarrassed to have reacted so vocally and apologized profusely.  But then it got quieter and the conversation continued.  I pointed out Clinton’s vote on the Kyl/Lieberman Amendment which basically lays the groundwork for invading Iran in a repeat of Iraq, and someone else responded with "The U.S. is already the world’s police, so what’s another country?"

I kid you not.

What is there left to say when people put more energy into their ignorance than their awareness? 

After the fact I wondered if maybe I could’ve changed their perspectives if I’d mentioned Clinton’s vote against banning land mines.

Yeah, right.

                          

Running Past My Fears

I’ve mentioned the running group I joined in order to train for the Bolder Boulder 10k on Memorial Day.  What I haven’t mentioned is that I’m the oldest in my group.  And the slowest.

We’re grouped according to our race day goals and so even though we all hope to run the 6.2 miles in less than 50 minutes, some of us in the Sub 50 group are more sub than others, if you know what I mean.

We do speed workouts on Tuesday evenings and over the past several weeks I began to lose focus of my personal goals because I was too busy comparing myself to the other runners.  Instead of listening to my body, I was watching everyone else.  In my defense, it’s pretty easy to fall into the comparison trap when you’re continually running behind people.

Epiphany!  I realized just thinking about the Tuesday night training was making me anxious and that I could do some of those speed workouts on my own.  For instance, last week I ran the tempo workout (intervals) on my treadmill at home and was pleased with my performance. 

Tonight’s workout is a three-mile time trial in which we’re supposed to go all out.

Ever since I learned about that time trial, I’ve been a nervous wreck.  Each time I thought of it my heart would race and I’d feel awful.  There was absolutely no way in hell I was going to do that run with the group.  Not only that, I also gave myself permission to skip the run if it was going to cause me too much stress. 

But just in case, I had Zippy use this handy tool to map out a three-mile course on the only two (mostly) flat streets in my neighborhood.

This morning I gave myself a talking-to complete with the declaration that all I really needed to do was run three miles and that it would  just be a bonus if I ran them speedy-quick.   No pressures.

Guess what?  I ran three miles!  Speedy-quick!

Three miles in my time.  Who cares how fast all those young things run tonight?  Not me.