“You need to sign my garden hose,” my friend Carl said. I looked up, feeling confusion bloom across my face. “Um, what?” This is it, isn’t it? This is the … Continue reading Garden Hoses and Memories
Some of the strangest sequences of things which has happened since I published Far from Ordinary back in November is the amount of editing work that people have asked me to do since.
For a bit of context, I was a solid C+ / B – student in school. Most of my teachers probably gave me the “doesn’t apply himself” tag at one point or another.
That’s fair. I didn’t. I was a fairly intelligent kid, but school didn’t really appeal to me. Especially not in French.
So fast forward fifteen years or so, and all of a sudden people say I’m qualified to edit their shit.
Word to the wise: I’m not. Ask me about the rules of grammar or the best placement of a semi-colon. I dunno. That’s not what I’m good at.
If you give me a sentence with a mistake, well, I know that it doesn’t look right, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you why it’s not right. This I blame on the 12+ years of French immersion which I went to.
Hell, dude, I just write. I don’t have any interest in editing. Of course, in my experience, most writers don’t like that part. It’s just a necessary evil.
Besides, sometimes editing other people’s stuff only reminds me of how bastardized the King’s English has become. It’s all “LOL” this, “On Fleek” that. And that’s mui depresso.
But, even though I complain about it I guess I’m better than most. What surprised me, in getting to know different writer communities on Social was that there are a TON of writers who aren’t very good at English.
Oh, enough to get by for sure, but those things that are so intrinsic to me – when to use your/you’re/yore for instance – don’t come so easily to everyone.
Maybe those people just need a French education.
I’ve started training for a half marathon. It’ll be my 6th, so I’m not exactly a stranger to them. But this will be the first one I’m doing after thirty. My knees are going to kill me. But in the spirit of transparency, I’m doing it for fitness. I’m down about 8 pounds and counting.
My secret? Metamucil and no fast food. I’m a genius. Oh, and I’m on a diet. Why am I on a diet? Because my sister is on a diet. So I get shamed every time I eat a cheeseburger.
It’s working wonders.
Imagine how much I’d lose if I gave up drinking wine for a couple of months.
What did we learn this week?
- Don’t marinate shit in olive oil, then cook it over an open flame. I’m happy I still have eyebrows. I blame Lisa.
- If you have to get the cat high to have her scratch a post, maybe she doesn’t like the post
- If you’re Irish, the sun is your enemy and should be avoided at all times. You’re pale for a reason
- Apparently I dress up so little that, when I do, people assume I have an interview
- Cardio is always better when you drag along people to keep you company.
Until next week,
Truthfully I’ve been having some issues writing this blog post. There have been three different versions of it so far. I started writing about being sick (enthralling literature, I know) before I decided to write about books instead.
That had a bit more promise, my bookcase IS pretty awesome, after all, and most everybody has a favorite book. But I couldn’t write that either, because the words weren’t flowing, and when the words don’t flow writing is the most frustrating thing ever.
I feel like that should be a post in itself, but to set it up a bit:
What is it about your favorite book that you love the most? How did you find it?
Maybe that will be the next one. Let me know in the comments if that’s something you’re interested in reading about. In the meantime…
You see, the problem is that I don’t just want to write about just anything in these posts. You deserve better than that. The problem is that most great works of art have a theme that ties them together.
This one doesn’t.
But I think that’s the thing that gets me the most. This is a blog about my author’s journey, and that means it’s important that I give you guys the best. Truthfully I always look back on my past posts and think “I could have done that better” or “I should have talked about this.”
But it’s also a blog about my life. And when I’ve got an atrocious man-cold, I’m not doing much, so I don’t have much to write about. Imagine THAT blog
8:02 am: Went back to bed after ingesting the maximum dosage of cold/flu medicine
8:03 am: Did I take the blue pill or the orange pill? Isn’t this how the Matrix started? “Take the orange pill, Neo, and the journey continues. Take the blue pill, and wake up four hours later in a pool of your own drool.”
There are only so many jokes about the man-cold that I can make before I start to feel a little dead inside.
But both the times I tried to write, I couldn’t. The blank page is not my friend. I’m talking about that moment when a perfect, blank page is in front of you. A writer can do one of two things with that.
The first? Fill it with amazing and magical things. Really make the words come alive until the reader feels like they’re right there with the main character, wherever they are. If the writer does it right then time stops. You forget about the problems of your day and small things like eating or drinking. There’s nothing but you and the next page.
The second? Nothing happens. For me, I can feel the magic in my fingertips, or I’ve got the ideas in my brain but there’s a disconnect somewhere. I try to force it but it doesn’t work that way. The few prosaic sentences that I string together mock me on the page until I delete them.
And then the laptop goes into sleep mode because I haven’t written a word in five minutes, and I’m left staring at my sad expression in the reflection of the screen.
Some days, the words don’t come. Those are the hardest days. When you sit in front of a blank screen for hours on end just hoping for that one little spark that will get you going. You don’t know what’s causing it – the day before it all went great. But now you’ve just got a Blank Page in front of you, and an overwhelming desire to clean.
Because the reason why you can’t write is that your mantlepiece is dirty, right? That’s GOT to be it.
Maybe the reason is that the glass of wine beside you is empty, and that dry-red is the only thing keeping the words flowing.
Maybe the cold medicine is starting to wear off.
What I want to write is magic. That’s the plan I have for this blog. That’s why it’s got to be as close to perfect as I can make it.
SO. What did we learn this week?
- Yeah, I’m a big baby when I’m sick.
- Being sick was way more fun when I was a kid. I swear I only pretended to be sick back then once or twice, mom
- See? I’m getting writer’s block even right now
- Something something magic fingers something something buy my book
Grabbing the cough medicine now.
M James Murray
It’s minus thirty today. Again. You can tell it’s cold because the sky is so clear. The cold air chases away the clouds and it’s invigorating. Cold and crisp.
It’s the type of day that you don’t want to do anything or go anywhere.
It’s also the type of day where my sister’s car doesn’t like to start.
“I’ll help – not a problem,” I said, even though the last time I helped her boost the SUV my jumper cables melted.
There’s only one problem, besides the obvious car-not-starting problem, I mean. I haven’t driven since last Wednesday. Since then there’s been two or three big snowfalls.
“No worries,” says the sister-roommate. “We’ll just kick some of the snow away and it’ll be fine.”
Now I know right now some of you are asking: Why not just shovel it out!
Well, I think that’s a tremendous idea. If you own a shovel, that it. Maybe that was an oversight on my part. Maybe.
I admit to nothing.
Really, though, there’s been no reason for me to have a shovel until RIGHT NOW. I live in an apartment so they take care of all the shoveling needs, and my little balcony never really gets snow.
Regardless, no shovel.
So we kicked away all the snow and I got to the front of the car to push it out of the spot.
“Okay, we’re going to rock it out. Got it?” I said. The sister gives me the thumbs-up from the driver’s seat of my car.
“No, Lisa. We’re rocking it. That means you SHOULDN’T step on the gas. Last thing we want is for the tires to spin.”
I start pushing the car, rueing the fact that I left my glorious white snow boots at work yesterday as I stepped into a snow pile a foot and a half deep.
But try as I might, straining with all the strength in my arms, the damned thing wouldn’t budge.
“Should I have this thing in reverse?” The sister asks.
The cat hates me.
To give you a little bit of context, I’ve never been a cat person. To this day I’m allergic to em. My chest gets tight and I get sneezy.
But still I want this damned cat to like me.
I think she senses this.
I don’t know why it bugs me so much. I think it’s a game for her now. She’ll stare at me at a distance. If I ever get too close to her she leaps away.
So you know how cats like to push things off counters, right? Well the Khajit likes to do that too. But ONLY to my things. She also likes to hang out in my closet and sit in my dressers.
But ONLY if I’m not around, of course.
It’s some sort of a game to her – psychological warfare designed to slowly make me crazy, break me down.
A war of attrition.
But there is ONE place where she seems to adore me:
Sigmund Freud would have had a field day with this one. I really don’t know why she’s so obsessed with the bathroom. But she is. She paws at the door and meows until you do something about it.
And then she’s the most affectionate kitty in the world.
I think it’s another part of her psychological warfare. She’s probably constantly plotting of ways to kill me, and what better way than when I’m most vulnerable?
Or is it just her way of judging my shower-beer habit on weekends?
Nature’s deadliest predator. A seven-pound ball of soft fur and hate. The perfect killer.
She’s staring at me now. Wish me luck. If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know why.
Blame the cat.
SO. What did we learn this week?
- It usually helps if the car is in the right gear. Or, at the very least, that it’s trying to move the way you’re pushing
- It’s best if your shower beer is Bud Light or PBR. They’re mostly water anyway
- Cats are cunning, intelligent creatures who WILL hold grudges for no reason
- It’s a lot easier to boost a car if you spent more than $9 on jumper cables
- If you don’t have one already, you should probably get a shovel
Until next time.