More home fantasies

Swiped from an e-mail

This little beauty came to me in an e-mail.  All homes should come so equipped.  Most of my saved magazine clippings and random pieces of paper have to do with one of two things:  writing ideas or home ideas.  Maybe I should write of homes.  Maybe I could combine fantasy fiction with home design.  It will be a house that never stops changing. Each room will be different, and it will be different every time you enter it.  I think I’m onto something.  If you want to get started, send me a blurb about your room.  In the meantime, mine will absolutely have slides, secret doors, endless hallways, soothing smells and music.  So where does the conflict come in?  A story needs conflict.  Perhaps it is in its everchangingness.  Could become quite unsettling.

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Right and Wrong and God and Science

The older I get, the more I turn to the idea of cause and effect or action and reaction or action and consequence for answers to life’s big why? how? what’s it all about? questions. Like, how can some people be so awful, I mean murderously awful? Cause they can. There’s no “wrong” and “right” in the sense that someone or something is going to smite you down for your misdeeds. Clearly. Because people do shitty stuff every day. No lightning bolts stop them in their tracks. Punishment in the afterlife? That makes no sense. Who would set up such a delayed response system? Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the “punishment” is here and now in the natural laws of the universe. You want to be a power-hungry vengeful angry violent assfuck? Sadly, you can. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Maybe God or god or whoever won’t stop you, but other people might. And if they don’t, then you get the life you create. You’re angry and unsatisfied and restless and have to live with the fear, disdain, and hatred of others because of your actions. If that’s the kind of life you desire, it is yours. It is freedom in the fullest sense. You choose; the universe responds. The beauty is, of course, that you are always free to make a different choice.

What about people who fall under the category of innocent victims? This is the stuff that eats us up. This has us praying and cursing and fearing the world around us. A neighbor out for a walk is hit by a drunk driver. A friend’s young daughter is diagnosed with cancer. This shit shouldn’t happen. It seems “wrong” and we wonder where the justice is. The neighbor did nothing “wrong”—merely chose to go for a walk, but someone else drank too much and got in the car and this is the result of that action. The trajectory of the car met the pedestrian. It is where free wills collide. The young girl hasn’t lived long enough for the cancer to be considered an issue of lifestyle, so maybe it was just the awful confluence of some genetic tendency meeting the right environment. Or maybe we have so polluted our air, land, and water that this is the “consequence.” It’s not about right and wrong or just and unjust. It just is. The words looks like justice—just is—justice—maybe that means something and maybe it doesn’t. Ultimately, the fact that something can, is able, to happen seems to defy the notion of “wrong.” There is no master plan. God is not a micromanager. God is in gravity and physics and chemistry. The rest is the stuff we do. God is science.

Then again, what do I know?

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The power of words

Tonight I was doing some research online for a book proposal (this writing thing is starting to become tangible), and I stumbled onto a blog by an Australian stay-at-home mom. I don’t know her; I wasn’t looking for a blog to read; I was just trying to find stats on SAHMS (stay-at-home moms). And there she was. I started reading her story, and I found myself bawling in my office. She had recently become a widow when her husband hung himself in front of her and her daughter, leaving her with two small children. Her posts were raw and unfiltered, powerful and heart-breaking. This is the power of the Internet. This is the power of blogging. Her story would not have made the news here in California, but online I found her, and her words made me weep.

It’s amazing–wonderful and horrible and meaningful and just simply amazing.

I am awed and humbled and grateful for my life. And for her words. Thank you, Lori.

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Dreaming of Total Organization

Dreaming of Total Organization

I’ve always been one of those fairly organized people, meaning I can find stuff, but it’s probably buried in a pile of crap somewhere.  It is paper that haunts me most.  Piles of papers to be sorted through, filed, decisions to be made.  They outright taunt me.  It’s quite insidious the way they sit there growing larger and larger with no hope of being stopped.  What I need is a Rambo-esque, over-the-top, unbeatable tank of complete and total organization.  In other words, a system.  Maybe system is a strong word.  A plan?

I fantasize about living in a Pottery Barn catalog (with a Victoria’s Secret swimsuit model’s torso), but nowhere do I see in those glossy photos piles of papers—candles, sure.  Maybe even vintage, all-one-color magazines, but no bills stuck to crayon drawings with rice (which, by the way, I think might be a better construction adhesive than any substance known to man).  PB has cucumber water-filled goblets on elegant table tops instead of cottage cheese-coated sippy cups hiding under a couch cushion with chocolate milk made four days ago.  Even their bar collections of open shelving with rustic wood bases look elegant.  I put a bunch of glass on a piece of wood and it looks like dishes that need to be washed or target practice for prancing kittens.

The art of solving a problem is in identifying the underlying causes, and I have decided the cause of my household disorganization is everyone I live with except me.  And that includes the cats.  And the dust bunnies.  And the damn dish fairy who never shows up.  Biotch.

And that is why I do not understand how people manage to become international terrorists or dictators or suicide bombers.  Don’t they have some laundry that needs to be folded?  I cannot even manage to motivate myself to negotiate the three piles of paper under my desk, and they have the time and energy to hate the whole entire world?  Wow.  I need a Red Bull.

I digress.  Actually, maybe this does have something to do with why my house isn’t more organized.  No, no, I must stick to my guns and continue to blame those around me.  It doesn’t matter that my 8-year-old daughter throws everything out, as does my husband.  It doesn’t matter that my three cats own no material possessions other than the Nerf blasters they have confiscated from my 4-year-old son.  It does not even matter that 98 percent of the objects in this house have direct ties to things I’m going to do, was going to get to, or still mean to deal with.  It’s all their fault.  Plus, those previously mentioned kids ask me for stuff all day long.  Like food.  Who can get anything done with such demands?

Or perhaps it is my environmental guilt, if I am to be completely honest with the psychological underpinnings of the issues at hand.  Even when I threw my hands up with complete and total joy at having recently shredded pounds of unnecessary papers, the moment was ruined when I realized that I could not bring myself to throw the confetti shreddings away.  I mean, I could use them as packing material when I mail Christmas gifts back East.  Or maybe I could glue them all together and create something new like a garbage can.  (Snicker, snicker…irony.)  Yeah, I could get some wax paper and spread glue on it, then…

This is it.  This is the underlying cause of all paper piles and boxes of old toys and bags of perfectly good clothes that just need a new zipper or button.  I cannot throw them away because I envision the garbage dump they all end up in growing ever higher, waiting for enough sunlight and oxygen to decompose.  Or even if recycled, I picture the fossil fuels needs to process those empty coffee cans into something else, like a new car or earrings.  Mother Earth is scolding me at every attempt at organization.

Of course, I don’t think this explains my dirty floor, but still.  As long as it’s someone else’s fault, or something else in this case, I can forgive myself a moment for the file folder of statements from an account that hasn’t been active in five years.  Sort of.

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A Writer Who Doesn’t Write

Can a person be a writer if she doesn’t write?  If so, then that is definitely me.  I come up with ideas and work on them in my head constantly, but I almost never sit down and actually do any writing.  When I do, I inevitably get stuck, stop, and don’t return to it.  Even letters to the local tree people.  (I’ve been working on one for years about the insanely excessive tree trimming my city engages in.  It makes me nuts.)  Mostly, I don’t even start.

Tonight I started reading Mark Karr’s third memoir, Lit.  She was my poetry professor in college, and I have always been proud of her success, as if it had anything to do with me.  I remember getting an A on a paper about one of Sylvia Plath’s poems, but there were no comments on the paper.  When I asked her for more feedback, she said, “What do you want me to say?  It was an A paper.”  I don’t know what I wanted–some inkling of what I did right so I could do it again, I guess.  So I asked her to go to lunch with me one day to talk about ideas for my honors thesis project.  She was generous and kind, but what I really wanted to ask was for her to be my mentor.  She sensed that I wanted something, but I couldn’t articulate it.  Since she did not suggest it herself, I let it go.  At 19 or 20, I didn’t have the guts to say, “Show me the way.”  I didn’t know where I wanted to go.  Then, a few New York Times bestsellers later, the whole world was knocking at her door and I was just a student she didn’t remember anymore.  I missed my chance.

Karr uses humor the way I wish I could–it’s smart and honest and not at all juvenile, which is how my own quips come across.  Her sentences are so packed, you can’t read them quickly.  She writes memoirs, however, which come from a place of honest self-examination.  Fiction cannot quite follow the same rules.  And my life is certainly not memoir-worthy.  At least I don’t think so.  So I think and imagine what I would write about if I were a writer.  And then I go online and look up something completely inane and time-wasting until bed.

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Don’t Know Where I’m Going, Hardly Know Where I’ve Been

I thought I would try a little experiment. I said to myself, “Self, I wonder if I started a blog and didn’t tell anyone about it, would anyone find it?” And so I begin. I have no agenda, no particular goal in mind. It just occurs to me that a wanna-be writer should probably write something. Since I haven’t kept a journal or diary in about 13 years, maybe this can fill in that void, and maybe someone will even stumble onto my page.

Today I thought it ironic that kids don’t want to go to bed but their parents make them, and adults have no one to make them go to bed but wish someone would. Staying up until 2 a.m. and getting my daughter to school at 8 a.m. is just silly. And that is one of the many reasons I have not written the next great American novel. I can’t even get enough sleep after a long night of…yeah, doing nothing remotely productive. Sigh.

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