So…That Happened.

A couple of weeks ago, while the campaigns were still going on, I stumbled across this old Tomato Nation piece from 2003, about Iraq. As I was reading it, I kept thinking, “Wow… Replace ‘the war’ in this with ‘the 2016 election,’ and it perfectly captures how I feel right now.”

It still does.

I’m not going to comment on the outcome. I’m not going to talk about whether I agree with the results or not. It wouldn’t make any difference, first of all; and second of all, I’m beyond sick of the whole thing. I was beyond sick of the whole thing by February. I’m glad it’s over; that’s all I’m going to say about it.

Except it’s not really over, of course. It won’t ever really be over. The media’s been reporting about how divided the country feels, and I’m seeing that myself, too. Especially online. My Facebook feed in particular is split between people celebrating and excited, people who are genuinely terrified about the future, people announcing that they’re un-friending anyone and everyone who didn’t vote the way they did because anyone who voted differently obviously must hate them, posts saying “If your candidate lost, don’t despair,” other posts saying “Everyone stop telling me not to despair; I don’t even recognize this country anymore”… I can’t take it.

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Small-Town Fourth

The first year my husband and I lived together, it was in a small town practically in the country. Right on the main road, in the town square, was a huge house that had been converted into two apartments. We stayed in one of those. (It was also about six feet away from the railroad tracks. Living right next to the tracks…That’s a whole other set of stories.)

Of all the apartments I’ve lived in over the years, that’s the only one I really miss. I loved that town. And the Fourth of July is when I always miss it the most.

Most of my life I never cared much about the Fourth of July, one way or another. When I was at summer camp that week, everyone at camp would be bussed into town to watch fireworks. But if I wasn’t at camp that week, I didn’t give it much thought.

But my time in that small-town apartment, the Fourth became one of my favorite days. The town put on a celebration every year, with all the usual trappings: cookout, activities, games for the kids, and of course, fireworks. Living right on the town square, on that day? Was the best. Most people had to make a whole day out of it—but all I had to do was walk outside. And we could watch the fireworks right from our front porch.

Since we moved and left that town, the Fourth has never been as much fun to me. We’re still close enough that we could drive back there, spend the day… but it’s not the same feeling.

Life Is Short

Well, here it is… another prompt that just got me thinking about work, and life, and how much of my life has flown by while I’ve been at work.

I don’t mind what I do. But most days that’s the best I can say about it. I’ve been at my job almost nine years. I wonder how nine years went past so quickly when every day at the office seems to pass so slowly.

Life is too short for that.

I hope someday to find work I really enjoy that also lets me pay the mortgage. I AM looking. LifRight now, I can have one or the other.

Late Night Writing

It’s a whole different feeling writing a post so late at night. Usually I can scratch out a first draft over my lunch break or something. Not today; I had to cover for someone who was out on vacation, so I was running back and forth between two desks. Barely time to eat, let alone write. Late night writing… much more unhurried. The room is completely quiet and there are no interruptions.

I kind of like this, writing late at night. Problem is I’ve been up since five (same as every day…). Going to keep this post short and head off to bed, I think. Tomorrow’s post should be better, since I’ll be more awake.

Driving Me Crazy

I almost never take public transit—mainly because it isn’t accessible where I live. There is a bus line, but the routes never seem to run to anywhere that I need to go. And the rail line is even farther. On a good day, it’s close to an hour’s drive from my house to the nearest train station; on a day with heavy traffic (which is pretty much every day), it’s even longer. And when you get to the train station, you have to park, and buy a ticket, and wait for the train, and half the time the train arrives late… In the end, it’s the same amount of time as just driving to the city.

Thank God I don’t have to do that every day. I’d probably have a breakdown (and I don’t mean my car).

I hate my commute. Haaaate. It’s at least an hour one-way—and that’s if traffic is light that day. But my route to work has one thing in its favor: I don’t have to take any interstates. It’s a long, long slog through endless gridlock, but it’s a straight shot.
For years, there was one main road going between the town I live in and the town my job is in. It was two lanes, one lane each way. That was fine “back in the day,” when the area was in the country and barely populated. But then the development started. What used to be “the middle of nowhere” is a sprawling suburb now—tons of shopping centers, grocery stores, a brand-new Wal-Mart, lots of new houses, and I keep seeing freshly clear-cut lots ready for yet more construction. That two-lane country road became almost impassable at rush hour; traffic literally backed up for six miles at one stoplight. A couple of years ago, the Powers That Be finally constructed another lane in each direction. And that helped the traffic flow quite a bit…for about a week or two. It seems like traffic has only increased since then. At least that’s how it feels when I have to drive home. Coming or going, the drive takes the same amount of time used to before the road was widened. The only difference is now there are two lanes at a standstill.

Even so, the interstates are worse. Much as I hate my drive, I’m glad I don’t have to navigate the highway.

It might help we could get better transit. Or better yet, a transporter beam like they have on Star Trek. Why does something like that not exist yet? It would solve the area’s traffic problem, not to mention being able to “beam” to the office would cut at least two hours from my work day. Transporter. Someone please get on that. In the meantime, I’ll be in my car; I’ll get home sometime before dawn, I hope.


Back for NaBloPoMo!

So a couple of things happened today…

1) I noticed that that last post I wrote here was back in August. I need to get back to it.
2) I found out about National Blog Posting Month.

I’d never known about NaBloPoMo before. I’ve heard of NaNoWriMo, of course. The idea of NaNoWriMo has always appealed to me, and I’ve toyed with the thought of participating … but it also sounds like a bigger undertaking than I can manage. (I say that every year, but this year it’s actually true.) I love the thought but I really don’t think I can write a book in 30 days.

But a daily blog post… I can probably do that. 🙂 So I’m on board for NaBloPoMo, starting now.


The daily prompt from a few days back asked:

“When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about—and how did you dig your way out of it?”

When I was little, I loved making up stories. I didn’t always write them down, but whenever I’d play by myself, it usually involved making up a story. Eventually I started writing actual fiction. I didn’t show very many of them to anyone. But the ones I did share were usually received well.

But as time went on I wrote less and less fiction. Mostly because every time I tried to, I’d feel so blocked I couldn’t go on. I’d get a scene or two written down, and then…nothing. I’d try. I’d really try. I’ve collected a whole pile of books about writing—short story writing, novel writing, screenwriting, playwriting, journaling—you name it, I probably have a book about it on the shelf somewhere. I’d try the exercises in each book. Nothing would stick.

Nowadays I freelance for a couple of content-writing sites. I’ve had success that way. I won’t say I never feel blocked when I’m doing content writing — but it happens a lot less often. Something about being handed a topic, a couple of keywords, and a short deadline seems to break through any blocks.

It also helps that at a content mill, my name isn’t on anything that’s published. I seem to write much more freely with anonymity. And content writing isn’t personal.

The first exercise in one of the books I have is to list your fears. Before you ever start your story, list all of the reasons you’re afraid to write it. That exercise was a huge insight for me. It helped me see that part of what hinders my fiction writing is that fiction is so personal. The fear is usually what creates a block.

Even making this blog public was hard for me, since these pieces are personal, too.

I do still have stories in mind. I hope I’ll soon be able to break through the block and write them down.