Another Absence, Another Excuse

Tonight is the first free evening I’ve had in a while – my play’s run having finished on Sunday.  I’m surprised it took this long to get to a free day, in which I had few obligations to keep me away.  In fact, I had to ignore a prior commitment to make this appointment with myself.

I hadn’t intended to write anything tonight; there was no real reason for that, it just wasn’t in my mind.  But I’ve missed it.  Whenever I pick up acting or singing or dance or writing, and one of those as a result, I miss it.  I’m not sure how to fit them all into my life at the same time, I’m just not, but it’s clear that I need all four to feel completely happy.  What a strange thought.

There were a number of other things I had planned to do with my first free evening in over two months, but the depression hit about the moment I entered my room.  After setting my backpack down on my bed, I found I could not get up again – could not force myself to do anything productive or leave.  I had a birthday party invite from one of my castmates from the play, and I simply could not make myself go.  Granted, I had asked her for details and she hadn’t gotten back to me yet, but still I could have gone and I didn’t.  I told myself I didn’t have the money – but I could have.  I told myself I didn’t get her a gift and I didn’t – but I could’ve brought a card or bought her a drink or something.  I gave myself all these excuses, but I realize now that it was the depression talking.

Show runs end – another audition lies around the corner – school goes on – work never ends – and the damn sun keeps on rising and setting on the same bloody schedule every day of the year.  Here I sit, wishing that once – just once – it would stay down and let me sleep for a while.

I got quite a lot of good news this week relating to my voice training and performance, but post-show depression has managed to trump even that.  Finals are in 8 weeks, I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot of auditions coming up – I do not have time to be depressed.  On the other hand, I need to deal with this so that the stress of it doesn’t eat at my body and cause me to get sick again.


There are so many paths my life could have taken – I can see so many different endings from moments now long behind me.  I could be a mother now, married to my first serious boyfriend out of high school.  He was going to propose to me, which I only found out after I broke up with him.  I wasn’t happy and I had no idea why, but my friends and family convinced me that he was the reason.  To be fair to them he was a rather large part of it, but not the only reason.

Later, I fell for line of the wrong men – each in a horrible time in their lives, each broken in his own way, and each made me more and more unhappy.  I could have shut my mouth and landed with any one of them, but I kept fluttering away (sometimes chased and sometimes during pursuit).  I even fell for the wrong woman – who turned out to be crazier than any guy I’d dated previously.

The wrong woman led me away from my first main cage and into one of her own making.  It’s funny how much someone can love you when you’re free to fly away, how much they loath you once they’ve locked you up behind their bars, and how much they shame you for trying to or even succeeding in breaking free.  Once I was thinking for myself, I realized how crazy and controlling she was and saw how I’d placed myself into that situation, questioning nothing and letting myself feel as though I deserved it and couldn’t do better – yet more reasons for my unhappiness.  I left.

I can see, however, a life that could have led from that.  A marriage.  An adoption.  The gods forbid, a pregnancy (not hers because she was hell-bent against that, but my body wasn’t hers so it mattered far less that I was hell-bent against doing that to myself).  A house.  A lot of unhappy years at a job I didn’t like to support her and the kids – well, him now.  I can picture it so clearly now.

All of these possibilities lurk in my peripheral vision, endless futures that will never be.  I don’t want them and I don’t wish I could go back and make any one of them a reality.  The only thing I wish is that I could go back and tell this amateur figure skater that no adult knew fully what they were talking about.  That a young woman who started skating at 15 could go on to make a future for herself by following her dreams – it might be unrealistic but realism is overrated anyway.  I wish I could tell her that she was beautiful and bright and talented, and that she should ignore anyone who told her otherwise.  I wish that I could tell her that she could do anything she wanted to do as long as she worked her ass off, and stubbornly pushed against every block others placed in her way.  I wish that anyone would have told me these things – just once.

The thing is – I’ve finally realized these things about myself, and it only took a lot of years of good friends and even some random acquaintances telling me these things over and over again before I could allow myself to hear them.  I know I’m not alone in feeling this way or discovering these things later in life.  Hell, I think it’s so common that anyone who manages to read this far can post this on their own blog as though it were their own with few to no edits.  Yea, I’m that confident.  That does not, however, mean it’s a useless thing to state or write here.

Because I can see it now – a bright future doing exactly what I want to do with my life and, yes, making a living that way.  I can see it.  It only took me ****** some-odd years, and a lot of what I used to think were empty compliments – words that people just threw at one another – until I really started to hear what was being said to me.


Writing – I’m going to do my best not to abandon it in my pursuit of other passions.  I need this, too – this release.  It keeps me sane, clears my head of all of the echoes and needless chatter or screaming.  And silence is the best state in which a mind to finally get some sleep.

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NaNoWriMo: Challenge Completed

Current Total:  52,019

I have completed the fifty thousand word challenge.  That’s it, I’m done.  Not with my novel – far from it – but with the challenge that NaNoWriMo puts before us all.  My final total reflects a spurt of writing that I did over two days while sick in bed with the flu, and – wow – I had no idea I had written so much in forty-five minutes spurts between naps, short dog walks, food, tea, and shower breaks.  Really, I was outlining scenes more than writing them because I had ideas I did not want to lose, and no energy with which to complete them.  Discovering my word count this afternoon was quite a pleasant surprise.

So now that the sprint is finished, the real work begins.

NaNoWriMo gives me inspiration to write, but I cannot imagine anyone with any clout will reach fifty thousand words and say, “It’s a masterpiece!  It’s ready to be published now!”  In fact, with very few exceptions, it’s the first of many dozens of drafts, always assuming the NaNo Winner in question realizes the work it takes to produce a well-written and interesting novel.  I’m still learning, myself.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that self-publishing takes the monopoly of storytelling away from publishers who seem to only be interested in certain kinds of stories with certain kinds of heroes, and certain types of love interests between very specific genders.  It’s terrible that we’ve allowed a relatively small number of groups to determine the future of our cultural contributions, and what stories will be remembered versus what stories will be lost, all based on what will sell to the masses.

I love the idea of self-publishing, but I dislike the reality of it.  I, like many others, have spent money on self-published novels, only to set them aside several chapters in unable to wade any further into the bogs of spelling errors, grammar errors, and inept sentence structure.  No doubt there is a good story behind all of these dangling distractions, but readers need to be told the story through the well-written and properly edited medium that is published writing.  They should not have to try to decipher it from within massive amounts of run-on sentences, sentence fragments, repetitive wording, spelling and grammar errors, needless scenes, redundant characters, and awkward dialogue.  The point of a novel – the job of every storyteller – is to tell the reader the story without forcing them to search through all of your errors or needless side-stories to find the overarching theme.

I wish I could be less negative about self-publishing, because I really want it to work as a medium for stories that go against our current ‘socially acceptable’ norms.  The problem is that so many authors are using it as an easy way out.  Anyone can now call themselves a ‘published author’ because of the relative ease and low-cost of this era’s publishing opportunities, but that doesn’t mean their story should have been published in its current form – if at all.

Now, to be fair, we are also seeing a lot of poorly written stories being published by modern publishing houses, as well.  So how do we deal with this lack of quality?  My answer to this question is that we do it with our words.  That book you purchased that you couldn’t put down because it was so cleverly and masterfully written?  Tell everyone what you loved about it, and why.  In fact, ask yourself why it was so compelling, and what drew you in and kept you interested.  Did it make you tear up in places, or smile in others?  Did it reach into your chest, and squeeze your heart until you thought it would burst?  How and why?  Tell others about these things.

Alternatively, if that book you picked up is so horrible you’re not sure your sanity can take reading further, return it, and tell everyone you can reach your exact reasons for disliking the story.  I don’t mean flaming the author, by any means.  I am referring to constructive responses such as “Once you get past the sentence fragments and repetitive wording, which are quite distracting and difficult to read through, you’ll find that this story is demeaning to women because, if the main character is any judge, the writer is telling us that a woman simply cannot accomplish anything in life – even just surviving from one day to the next – without having to depend on a man for their existence as well as for their happiness’ (the Twilight Series).

There are two authors I can think of off the top of my head who are regularly published by major publishing houses who write poorly.  Perhaps their stories are interesting.  I don’t know because I cannot get through the errors of sentence structure and grammar, or the constant repetition of words and phrases that an online thesaurus could have easily prevented.  These authors make a lot of money without seeming to try to hard, proving that adage that tells us ‘It’s all about who you know.’

Why should self-publishing be any different or better?  Because we, as consumers and as writers, should be demanding better quality for our money and for our art.  We should be outraged when poorly written stories are lauded, and infuriated when we purchase a book that still has pointless sentence structure and grammar errors.  Every rule is meant to be broken if there is an artistic reason for it, yes, but watching people who clearly don’t understand the rule, let alone why they’ve broken it, get applause for shoddy work should not be tolerated by the writing community as a whole.  We should be striving toward a body of work with higher quality, not settling for lower quality just to get it published, and we should be demanding that others in our field do the same.  There is no excuse for giving up before a draft is perfect because you’ve decided that ‘It’s as good as it’s going to get.’  (After all, that’s for an editor to decide.)

So, now that NaNoWriMo is over (for those of us who have reached the word count goal), it’s time to continue on, striving for quality and clarity.  And, above all, knowing that this is only the very beginning of a hell-of-a-lot of work that is the novel-writing process.

Thank you for reading, and have a lovely day.

The Writing Books On Which This Budding Author Depends

The Writing Books On Which This Budding Author Depends

It must be said that I have a pretty extensive library of books, and I’ve begun to add literary magazines to the shelves now, as well. A good part of this library includes books on writing, on editing, on reading like a writer, and those full of writing exercises that keep me from falling prey to the boredom-born monster who goes by the name of Writer’s Block.

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NaNoWriMo: Technical Difficulties

Due to a major arthritis flair-up in my right hand and wrist joints, I only wrote 904 words Thursday and none at all yesterday.  It’s still pretty uncomfortable right now, but today is Saturday and it is officially NaNoThon so I’m going to do some writing!  I plan to catch up and surpass the word count I should be at for today if I have to take double my arthritis pain meds to do it.  That sounds bad actually.  I think I’ll just suffer through the pain, keep writing, and make my word count that way – probably with lots of breaks.  Wish me luck?

Additionally, there are 4 days remaining before the fund-raising challenge is over, and I’m still only halfway to the goal!  So if you want your name or a name of your choosing to be featured in my novel, please donate!  (Click here for more details.)  I’m also not above taking pledges for word count goals: perhaps something like a penny a word?  That seems reasonable.

My current word count is 10,425.  I’ll update later on with my progress.

Good luck to everyone out there who’s currently working toward a creative endeavour.  You are all brilliant!  Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

I’ve Lost My Drive

So anyone I’ve talked to about my studies or my future will tell you that I’m very passionate.  I know for a fact that I’m determined, a hard worker, and someone who just doesn’t give up.  Lately, however, I just haven’t been able to care about anything on my to-do list.  

I’ve been questioning my path since this year began… I don’t know what to do.  I feel as though I’m in a kind of limbo… and what’s worse is that I honestly don’t care.  

Submission & Rejection

I have recently decided to put myself out there as a writer the traditional way. I know all about the self-publishing paths and I see their merits, but I want more than anything to be published through an actual publisher. So I have begun submitting my work to little online competitions as a precursor. The thing is: I’m not sure how good of a judge this is or is going to be for my writing. I just wanted to see if any of my pieces were accepted by random people online before I submitted them to actual literary magazines.

Perhaps I should be going straight to the literary magazines for feedback? Maybe that’s the better route for someone who wants to be published the traditional way? I know I’m not writing in any niche genres, and that seems the only way that amateur writers are getting published lately… at least the ones about whom I know.

I’m afraid of that rejection letter – the one that says my work isn’t good enough or that it’s weak or uninteresting or common. I know it’s part of writing and that once the first couple are out of the way it will become much easier, but I also worry about finally putting myself out there. Silly, really, when I look at the situation logically because I know that there’s no way I’ll ever get published if I don’t send my work somewhere that might publish it.

Rejection: what a fear. It’s the reason people don’t always chase their dreams, the reason not to tell someone you love that you love them, and the reason so many artists stay in the closet about their works of art. What a fragile thing, the human ego. I think mine could use some more character building via pain. Submissions – here I come!

Silence: A Break-Up

It’s funny how angry I was before all of this began. I had started dating someone who really annoyed me pretty much the minute he began to be himself around me (which he began to do after we had sex). I’ve never experienced that before, but, being who I am, I sat back to figure out why I was often annoyed to be around him rather than breaking it off right away.

After noticing several traits in him that are pet peeves of mine, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I had been afraid he was my mirror, and that the things that annoyed me about him might be my own traits reflected back to me. Don’t get me wrong, one or two of them were, still are, and are on my list of changes I’ve been working on in my life. However, the traits he accused me of having… it’s funny how seriously I took him before. I believed him about the things he said about me even while knowing that he was incapable of seeing past his own ego long enough to see anyone else clearly, including me. No, he had this idea of what he wanted, and he thought he could force me to be this fantasy, only to become surly and irritable when I would break stride with his imagination.

‘He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.’
– Elbert Hubbard

He sent me a nasty message via Facebook. It’s funny because before I read it I thought I had a lot to say to him about the way he treated me or the lies he told me or the things about him that bothered me so much. Then I read what he had to say, and realized that he already knows about those traits. He doesn’t see them in himself unfortunately, but he’s well aware of their existence. I know myself well enough to know projection when I see it.

I thought I would be angry or hurt by his harsh words, and was afraid to read them at first. The moment I read them, however, everything dissolved. I pity him, in a way. I thought I could help him for a time, and after several failed attempts to do so I realized that it’s not my responsibility; someone else’s happiness is not my responsibility. That might sound cold, but it’s true. I’ve spent my entire life trying to make other people happy, forgetting entirely about my own happiness in the process. I’ve done this so habitually ever since I can remember that people simply expect if of me. They call me ‘selfish’ for changing and wanting to focus on bettering myself and my own life, but it’s not anymore selfish than their expectations that I focus only on them and making them happy. I moved away from home so that I could finally do something for myself, to better my life and my future, and I do not need to let anyone shove his or her way into my life to interrupt that pursuit.

I’ve been happier since he stopped contacting me, and his sporadic communications during the past month have only made me tense. In fact, I’ve found that when the relationships end, the ones that dissolved in the last year and a half, I suddenly feel huge weights lifting off of my shoulders and my heart. I’ve been able to breath easier once those people are gone, which is sad really because I feel that relationships should be about sharing, and should make one’s heart lighter… not heavier. Clearly, I keep allowing myself to be drawn into the wrong kind of relationships. It’s time for a change, I think, and I’m well on my way.

After all, art is, and has always been, my mistress and my master – art in the form of writing and acting, and it makes me happy – it keeps me sane, in a way. Anyone who tries to get in the way of that should receive a good, hard whipping.

Thanks for reading my retrospection, and have a lovely day!