If We Were Having Coffee // I Slept a Whole Day Away, Again

“If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Hello, dear readers! Whew look at the time, I’m so sorry it’s late. Then again, coffee in the evening can be just as nice as coffee in the morning, you know? Coffee that you drink not because you have to but because you want to because coffee isn’t just for keeping you awake but actually tastes good too, when you take the time to make it right, serve it right, and sip it slowly.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I was actually up early this morning as I always am now because Of my stomach and my medication but I wasn’t feeling well and as, after I had eaten, I fell right back to sleep on the couch. I fell asleep for about hours, waking here and there and trying to will myself up and around the house and losing every time.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, but it is very unlike me. I like naps, don’t get me wrong but not that early in the day and not for that long.

My new medicine still isn’t working yet, and my body is just tired. I’m working on accepting that this is my new normal, at least for now. The doctor said I needed to be patient and wait five or six weeks to see if this medicine will help and it hasn’t even been three, yet so I have a long way to go still. In the meantime, I’m being taken off the steroid which is contributing to this yucky, sleeping feeling.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am so bummed to have to return to work tomorrow. This past week was our spring break, and while I did have to work a little, a very, very little, and there was some bad weather, we did manage to get out and have some fun.

Thursday we went to the Denver Art Museum for the Star Wars costume exhibit which turned out to be much more in depth and interesting than I thought it would. I was glad for that, I didn’t feel so guilty dragging my girlfriend to it.

It should have been called the Padmé Amidala exhibit, though, since she had the most costumes throughout the films and each was more elaborate and more beautiful than the last. If you have no idea what I am talking about you need to stop here and go start a Star Wars marathon.

Afterward, we tried out a new seafood restaurant, one we had never heard of but had received a Groupon gift for. It was in a hidden part of town I had never now about before, with a few blocks of shops, dining, and bars surrounded by housing. I’ve lived in this city nearly my whole life and never knew about this gem. The food was great, and I can’t wait to go back to the area for more exploring.

Friday we were supposed to head up to Boulder, CO but the weather went to shit, and neither of us wanted to visit an outdoor mall in the rain. We ended up at the movies instead, my favorite thing to do anytime, and saw Raw, an artsy coming of age horror film lots of cannibalism and gore. Then we went for sushi and shopping :)

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my first post for the Blogging A to Z Challenge, A is for the Arctic, Which is Melting, turned out pretty well I think, but I’m sitting here quietly panicking because I have nothing else written, at all! I’m the worst blogger ever I swear. Like, sometimes I don’t even know what I’m doing here, but I can’t stop?

Anyway, I have notes for tomorrow’s post, and some vague ideas for a few other days, but that’s it. I don’t know what I expect you to do about it, except throw me a few ideas if you have any? I’m looking for catastrophic failures of humanity here. News stories about our inability to save ourselves or any other life on this planet. I want to know about all the ways we are destroying whatever is right and good inside ourselves. You’d think I have plenty of ideas, and I do, but I need them narrowed down to specifics.

But, whether nor not I get help, I am determined to do the best I can all through April and during this challenge. It’s important to me to tell these stories.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, sadly, I have to go. In the short time, we have been here I have switched from coffee to red wine, and my lovely girlfriend has finished making what looks like the best lasagna I have ever seen. Tonight is a bit of a special night, we are watching the finale of Big Little Lies, and I don’t want to miss a moment.

I hope you had a wonderful week and a very relaxing weekend. SLEave a note in the comments below and catch me up. I’d love to hear how you are and what you’ve been up to.

Until next time :)

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Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or buy me a cup of coffee perhaps? 

Written for to the Weekend Coffee Share link-up hosted by Nerd in the Brain

Featured image via Unsplash

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Blogging A to Z Theme Reveal // The World Really is an Awful Place

Hey, hi, hello! Here I am, late to the big Blogging from A to Z Challenge theme reveal, as usual, but better late than never, right?

If you’ve never heard of it, the challenge takes place yearly in the month of April. Bloggers pledge to do their best to write and publish 26 blog posts, one for each letter of the alphabet, on a schedule. Most choose themes, not all, but I hear it makes it easier.

This will be my third year of participation and you’d think by now I would have figured out the ropes and be well ahead of the curve, but you would be wrong. I’m the kind of person that can’t muster up enough enthusiasm or inspiration to complete a task unless there are looming deadlines and real consequences. I’m working on that.

To be honest it isn’t just my awful work ethic. It’s been a rough year so far and I haven’t had as much time to plan for this thing as I have in recent years but I still hope to rock this thing!

My first year’s theme was astronomy and I failed miserably. My second was fiction. I was able to finish but the writing was kind of crap and I beg you not to look.

I thought about doing fiction again, but I’ve just about given up on that kind of writing, publicly anyway. It doesn’t come easy to me the way that essay/memoir does. I thought about poetry but poetry and I are just starting to get along and I don’t want to force the relationship and risk pushing her away, you know?

So, instead, I looked to what has been on my mind lately. What is it that I can’t let go of? What do I feel the need to spend and whole month talking about?

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”

― Albert Schweitzer

Since this past year’s election, all I can see are the ways the world seems to be coming apart at the seams around me. Not just because of that man living in the White House. No, the world was falling apart long before he came into the picture, but he made me more aware of it. His actions have forced me to take notice and face my false sense of safety.

I watch the news nearly constantly now and I think a lot about the privilege I have. I don’t fear bombs. I can find food easily. I have a home and work and money enough that I hardly worry at all, but I haven’t been very good at doing my part to help those who have so much less.  I haven’t even worked very hard to stay informed or raise awareness.

In my defense, I have been a bit overwhelmed but even that is a privilege. So many others don’t have the option of turning away when it all gets to be too much. It’s too easy for me to look away whenever I want to. It’s to easy for all of us to hide inside our homes and go one believing that the fire will never touch us but it will. I promise it will unless we take notice. Now.

The world is full of suffering and bad scary things and I’m not sure what to do now, yet, but it feels right to start by using my platform here for research and awareness. I carry a fair amount of guilt for not doing enough, then or now, to help.

So, my theme this year is the awful world around us.

That’s right, I’m going to write 26 posts, one for each letter of the alphabet all about something in the world that is going wrong but that no one seems to be willing to look at, care about, or fix. Everything from the arctic ice melting, to diseases on the rise, to famine, and war, and much, much more.

I know it’s a strange one. It’s not fun and flashy but it’s real and it’s important. I hope that I can teach you something or point you in the direction of a cause you can care about. I hope we all start thinking more and more about what is happening out there and what our part will be in fixing some of this shit.

April is going to be a real blogging dumpster fire, and kind of a downer, and I encourage you to come along for the ride.

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If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or buy me a cup of coffee perhaps?

If you want more information on the challenge, head over to A-to-ZChallenge.com and if you are participating leave a note in the comments below and let me know where to find you :)

Featured image via Unsplash

The Week’s End // A Roundup of Interesting Reads

Hello, friends! If you’re looking for some interesting reads to check out while you relax, look no further, I got you covered. Here are some things I found important, inspiring, and interesting enough to share:

Believe.

Segregation never stopped.

Use what you have.

Promises or Lies?

More lies.

It’s never 9 to 5.

Obama.

A reading list.

Entering white spaces.

Let the men twirl.

Aaliyah + Rihanna

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Subtle Ceiling

 

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This list was sent out with yesterday’s newsletter Resist!. Check it out and subscribe!

Original image via Unsplash

Be Useful

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t supposed to be good days, but let’s imagine for a moment that they are. Let’s imagine that Mondays are the days when we get to start all over again. Let’s imagine all the bad things that happened last week don’t matter anymore and that we’ve been given a second chance to do it all right again. If that were the case wouldn’t you be a bit more excited about Mondays?

Yes, you would, so let’s make that dream a reality. Treat this Monday as your big chance to get out there and get some shit done!

So far, for me, this Monday has been a busy one. We are just days from the regular school year starting and things are a little chaotic and crazy at work. I’m doing my best to stay out of the way and out of the fray. All in all, I feel good today, though. I slept better than usual, and I have had my smoothie, my matcha, and lost of water.

Two so simple words that are so easy to forget. Every day when I wake up I try to remind myself of just that: Be Useful.

Tobias van Schneider

Lately, and I guess my whole life, I have struggled to find a direction. Writing has helped but even in writing I find I am flailing around, trying desperately to find a purpose and a direction. I know I love people, and I know I want to reveal some truth about myself and all people, but I don’t know how. I know that I love people, and I want to help other people love and care about others too, but I don’t always know how.  I know that I want to share my story because it helps other people who feel alone, but I don’t always know how.

I don’t know how to connect to people or how to move forward to a place where I feel like I am accomplishing my goals and expressing myself.

Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.

— Hippocrates

When I boil it all down, I guess I just want to make the world a better place. I want to leave it in better condition than I found it and with that in mind I set out to learn as much as I could about the world and the people in it. To find out why they do what they do, and try to change their perspectives, since I probably can’t change their circumstances.

So I have become an amateur philosopher, someone who is always learning and always thinking, and who seeks to help those looking for it. I do my best to help, or I do nothing, so I do not make anything worse or harder.

This blog is an attempt to do something—rather than nothing—but I’m not always sure what that something is. So this week, I’m doing my best to remember what it was I set out to do, to help people. I am working on a new editorial calendar and with every idea, I ask myself, is this useful in some way? If it isn’t, can I transform it into something that is?

In all things, we do we should ask ourselves if it helps someone somewhere. It’s ok if the thing is only useful to you. We are all here to help ourselves too, right?

This week, try to be of some use. Give all your actions and interests purpose. Give yourself direction and give your name a meaning. Make it so that where ever you are and whatever you are doing you are an asset to those around you. Make it so that you are a person people look to for help, guidance, and direction.

I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.

— Leo Rosten

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From Notebooks to Novels

I don’t remember exactly when writing became a part of my life, but I know it was long before I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I only knew that writing offered a way to say the things I couldn’t tell anyone. I only know that it was a very private thing, a secret expression of who I was. I knew that it was all I had.

It started somewhere between when my 14-year-old self gave up on the world and when my 17-year-old self gave the world a second chance. I think my first notebook was probably picked up in a Hot Topic, probably along with a pack of plastic lip rings and a stack of discounted Johnny the Homicidal Maniac comics.

I don’t remember when the journals became a part of my daily life, but I do remember there became a time where they were pulled out multiple times a day. I remember trying different pens and inks and even wondering about writing with coffee or even my own blood. Now that would be a true self-expression.

Like my first love, I longed to spend all my time with writing and searched for ways to bring us closer than was probably possible or healthy. I remember that I bought new journals before I could finish the old one, hoping that I could write better with a cover that really represented who I was. I remember I lost one on a bus somewhere and I still feel the loss of it as a tiny hole in my heart.

I don’t remember what I wrote about; I know it was a lot of “sad girl” stuff. I know I was lost, and I know I was angry. More than anything, though, I was lonely. I wrote about being depressed before I knew what it was and I wrote about love before I knew what that was too. I doodled and painted. I wrote my name over and over again, trying to make it into something beautiful and real.

I still have some of them. I keep them in boxes under the basement stairs and whenever I see them I feel a strange combination of love for my younger self who poured herself into them and shame that my deepest, and very often foolish and dramatic, feelings exist in a physical form. A form that anyone might come looking and see.

I don’t remember exactly when those journals moved from paper things to digital things, but I remember spending time on old computers learning HTML and typing away on online diaries along with other “sad girls.” I remember the thrill of making my feelings public and fearing that someone in my family might read them one day.

I wish I could still log into my old Open Diary account. The first place I ever met other sad, lonely girls like myself. I felt free when I wrote there and just like the paper journals that came before I wrote there multiple times a day. I was obsessed. I could change the look of it to suit whoever I was that day, and I could delete one and make another whenever I wanted to start over.

I don’t remember exactly when I first heard the term blogging or associated it with something I was, or wanted, to do, but I know I was doing it long before I learned the word. I moved from Open Diary to many different blogging platforms over the years, and each one was abandoned and forgotten eventually. I read other people’s blogs and fell in love with their lives only to have them abandon the medium, and me, too.

The freedom I felt at first always turned to fear. Fear of being found out. Fear that my family and friends might read my secrets and know more about me than I wanted. That felt like too much of a loss of power, but the feeling of being understood was too attractive, and I always came back to the online world of journalling.

I don’t remember when I decided that I would like to take the next step and write about who I was and what I felt under my own name, but it was around the time I began to connect the act of personal expression to becoming a published author. I know I hoped that by ceasing to hide behind usernames and convoluted email address I might be able to take this form of expression from notebooks to a novel.

I find myself moving from those private journals of my teenage years to more and more public writing every day. I set out to practice the craft and have ended up revealing more and more of myself to strangers. I am slowly learning to cope with my friends and family seeing me this way too.

I might not remember the details of how or when, but I feel that my life has always bent toward expression through words and toward the sharing of them. I am nowhere near the end of it, and I have no idea where I will end up. I only know that I have always felt the most like myself when I am writing.

I only know that it all started with a cheap notebook I bought in a store that catered to sad, lonely, overly emotional teenage girls like me. I know that that girl had something to say, and she’s still saying it today.

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Writen in response to the  The Daily Post’s Discover Challenge: Origin Story

Featured image via Unsplash

Blogging A to Z Reflections // What I Learned

I did it! I finished the Blogging A to Z Challenge on time and without cheating or skipping any letters. That isn’t to say I didn’t make mistakes or fall behind here and there but it was much better than last years attempt. I didn’t even make it to Z last year.

This year was a whole different feeling and I really felt excited and hopeful about it. Even when I was exhausted and almost in tears trying to make it work I still felt….good about it. I felt like I was doing something challenging and I was learning something new about myself and about writing. I kept telling myself the whole time that no matter what I was going to make it to the end. I had to.

My plan for the challenge was to post very small pieces of fiction that read more like excerpts rather than stories with a true beginning, middle, and end. I had never written fiction before and I think instead, some of the pieces turned into something in between, some more, some less. You can find them all under my AtoZ2016 tag.

Here is what I learned:

Research is so important.

There were many stories I wanted to write and many stories I wanted to write better but due to a lack of time, couldn’t. The reason came down to research. For example, I wanted to write a story about a man who hates his life but rather than commit suicide he decides to go back in time to prevent his parents from meeting. The thing is in my mind, his parents met in the 70s and I had no idea what things were like in the 70s.

The post titled The Father required me to do a bit of research on deer hunting and if I had chosen to be more detailed I may not have been able to write that post. Instead, I kept things vague and subtle.

The sequel to it, The Killer, required me to research was to dispose of a dead body. It felt weird to be typing that into Google and it made me nervous when I thought about all the court shows where someone’s search history was used against them.

A physically dictionary is better than any app.

When I was searching for ideas I needed to see the words in front of me. Staring at a screen left my brain feeling empty. So I pulled out an old dictionary/thesaurus I had and having all those words plus their definitions in my hands like that really jump started my brain. Looking through it made me feel like a real writer doing real writing.

It also gave me ideas I wouldn’t necessarily have come across on my own and it really helped during the days with the most difficult letters, like X, Y, and Z.

In this day and age, you don’t see dictionaries around as often but I learned that they are invaluable. I plan to pick up an updated version soon and too keep it on my desk rather than the bottom of my bookshelf where, before this challenge, it had collected dust for years.

Taking notes and making lists will get you halfway there.

My primary means of writing these posts were by hand on either index cards I carried in my pockets or a legal pad I kept in my bag. I made lists of words starting with the upcoming letters and next to them I wrote quotes or bits of story associated with each one. After I had chosen a word and story idea I used the index cards to make little outlines or write bits of dialogue.

These were especially useful when I was out and about and an idea struck and I worried about losing it before I could write it.

I plan to use the index cards for other writing projects too. I prefer them to notebooks because you can rearrange and replace them. Sometimes I would fill one up with one idea and then realize I hated it. All I had to do was start a new card and insert it in the proper place.

There are two kinds of ideas.

There are the ideas you work out of your mind. The ones you have to manifest by force. The ones you pull from yourself kicking and sweating. Those ideas are more often than not bad ideas but they are better than nothing. You work and rework them you turn them over and add more words hoping they become something you can be proud of. They are almost what you want to write but not quite and the longer they aren’t perfect the more you hate them.

The other kind are the kind of ideas we are all chasing. They are the “ah-ha!” ideas. The ones that make the story into something special. When I was writing The Yolk it was just a boring old love story, she was going to make her boyfriend breakfast and they were going to live happier ever after. I was almost done with it when I had an ah-ha moment, she was not his girlfriend but his stalker!

I had a few of these throughout the challenge and it was the part I loved the most. It made me feel like I could still surprise myself.

I know nothing about writing fiction, but I want to learn.

I am 100% I did a whole lot of things wrong in every piece I posted this month. From punctuation to structure to who knows what else. I don’t even know what it is I don’t know! I still had fun though and I like to think that I did a pretty good job considering how little I knew.

I started doing a bit of research before the challenge but there was so much out there I got a little overwhelmed. I decided to wing it and look up things as I needed to know them but not even knowing what I needed to know kept me from being a better writer, I am sure. So I think very soon I will be buying a book on the details of writing fiction. If you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments.

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All in all, I think the month was a success. The only thing I wish I had done differently is to have begun writing the posts much further in advance. I plan to have all of next years posts written before the challenge even begins. I may still  write a few more during the month of April. I enjoy the thrill of a deadline you know?

I hope you all enjoyed my little stories. I greatly appreciated all feedback I received and it was your kind words that have me wanting to dig deeper into flash fiction and make it a regular part of my writing.

If you participated in the challenge I hope you had as much fun as I did and if I missed visiting  your blog leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to meet you :)

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Featured image via Unplash

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Writer’s Quote Wednesday // E.B. White

Hello, hello, and welcome to the middle of the week, dear readers. If you are feeling a little run down or if Friday is feeling a little too far away, I encourage you to check out Writer’s Quote Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading and Ronovan of Ronovan Writes. My contribution this week is from the American author, essayist, and poet, E.B. White.

ebwhite-pink1Elwyn Brooks “E. B.” White was born on July 11th, 1899 in Mount Vernon, New York. Growing up Elwyn’s older brother Stanley Hart White, known as Stan, a professor of Landscape Architecture and inventor of the Vertical Garden, was influential as a child teaching E. B. White to read and explore the natural world.

He served in the army before going to college. White graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1921. He picked up the nickname “Andy” at Cornell University, where tradition confers that moniker on any male student surnamed White, after Cornell co-founder Andrew Dickson White.

Five or six years after graduating he joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine.

White is best known as the author of such beloved children’s classics as Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan.  He authored over seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1973.

Mr. White has won countless awards, including the 1971 National Medal for Literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, which commended him for making “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.”

White always said that he found writing difficult and bad for one’s disposition.

White died on October 1, 1985, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, at his farm home in North Brooklin, Maine. He is buried in the Brooklin Cemetery beside his wife Katharine, who died in 1977.

“I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.”

// E.B. White

I wish people knew how hard it is to be a writer/blogger. It’s not so easy as typing words and hitting “publish”. It’s a lot of work coming up with ideas, typing and editing and hoping you are saying the thing you mean to say. It’s hard to stop when you know it could always be better. It is hard to share it when you know you have nowhere near the talent of others doing better than you. It is hard to put yourself out there like that.

I feel like I should be getting pats on the back and congratulations wherever I go. I am being brave all the time and no one even notices and I can’t tell them how brave I am being because that would be bragging.

It might sound a little egotistical but I think what I am doing is pretty awesome. Not because I am any good but simply because I am trying to make something of myself and leave my mark on the world. I think everyone who is doing that is pretty damn awesome and I want to make more of an effort to show interest in the creative people around me.

I think we all should because we all know how hard it is and we all wish we got more recognition for it. Pat a writer on the back, congratulate an artist on drawing something, tell a musician you think they’re awesome, ask a crafter for a few tips. Acknowledge the people who are being brave every day because they get discouraged and feel stupid sometimes. They need to know they are doing something good and important. They need to be seen and acknowledged.

We all do.

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Biographical information via Wikipedia and Goodreads

Original image via Publicdomainpictures.net