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I’M NOT MAD

HOW DO I MANIFEST MY ANGER IN WRITING? LIKE THIS. THIS IS ANGRY WRITING. WE ALL KNOW IT’S A SUREFIRE WAY TO LET SOMEONE KNOW YOU ARE YELLING IN TEXT FORM. YEAH, YOU HEARD ME – AND YOU DON’T EVEN NEED TO TURN UP THE VOLUME.

Although I do shoot out the occasional “ARE YOU [insert expletive] KIDDING ME?!” text (which often resolves nothing), I’ve found that angry writing can serve concrete and very beneficial purposes. Personally, I have a hard time writing anything unless I’m moved by some overwhelmingly intense emotion, with anger being one of them. Some of the best and most personal writing I’ve done has been initiated in fits of rage when I could find solace in nothing else. I’ve taken to the keyboard or grabbed a pen and paper to express thoughts that were better left unsaid aloud, and I think that’s important… to be able to distinguish between what should be spoken and shared and what should be written and tucked away (or set on fire). Angry writing affords you enough time to make the more logical decision. It’s a different kind of “counting to 10,” though the writing time will most likely last more than 10 seconds. Angry writing is a deep breath.

Sometimes my angry writing consists of fragmented thoughts, while other times it takes on the form of a letter to a friend or a poem. One of the goofiest moments I had as an adjunct instructor so far was when I was a bit frustrated with my students and went to write a passive aggressive email, but what came forth from my fingers instead was this:

Thanks to all those who came to class last night.

I hope your midterm grades didn’t give you a fright.

I was happy to meet with you all as you did peer review,

But sad those who didn’t submit drafts will receive minus two.

Just a reminder if you look on your syllabus you’ll see

An important note underlined at the bottom of Page 3:

If you’re absent you’re still required to submit what’s due,

Whether a central claim or paper draft, this rule holds true.

Even on Halloweekend, deadlines are firm,

And meeting them will help you be successful this term.

I look forward to collecting your papers Monday night.

Add commas where commas go, and don’t forget to cite.

I hope your Halloweekend is super sweet,

And that your papers have no tricks; make each one a treat.

So very corny. I know. But what could have been an email that said “WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU DON’T HAVE TO SUBMIT A DRAFT IF YOU’RE ABSENT FROM CLASS?” and “YOUR LACK OF CARE FOR YOUR WORK WILL NEVER FLY IN YOUR FUTURE JOBS” took on this shape instead. Could the students tell my blood was boiling? Not really. [They actually complimented me on the email during our next class period.] And I know that after I cooled down I would’ve regretted sending a passive aggressive email, so I was pleased that I took my writing breather to work through my thoughts.

Angry writing is all around us. We see and listen to it every day in the form of song lyrics. We’re able to connect to the combination of the words and music, which help us feel or release our own anger. Listen to an Eminem song. Throw on some heavy metal. This type of music moves us to feel and serves as a great example of the power angry writing can hold for us too.

I think it’s essential to draw the line between public and private writing when it’s so jam-packed with emotion. Not sending a passive aggressive email you’ll later regret or one of these YELLING-I HATE YOU-YOU ARE ALWAYS WRONG-YOU ALWAYS ANNOY ME-AND IF WE WERE TOGETHER IN PERSON MY HAND WOULD BE IN YOUR FACE texts is a step in the right direction. We all just need to take a deep breath, sigh the thoughts out onto the page, and take an extra moment before clicking “send.”

Private Joker’s Field Journal.

DAY ONE

1200: Read Derrida. Begin to question reality and mutter “Differance!” in inappropriate situations. “Nihilists! … I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” (The Big Lebowski) Morphine injection imminent.

1300: My best friend tells me in a letter from home (text) about her tests in nursing school. I write back and tell her about 15-20 page papers. Even in the midst of her anatomy and physiology class she writes back two words: “oh (rhymes with Lit)!”

1400: Veteran reminds me of Hydra and how cutting off the head just makes another grow in its place. I realize that the Greeks may have been grad students, and the “gods” may have been professors giggling in Olympus.

1430: “The possibility of physical and mental collapse is now very real. No sympathy for the Devil, keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride.” (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas)

1500: Some really good music received from a pal in the trenches. Get a hug. Spirits temporarily lifted. “I might disintegrate into the thin air, if you’d like / I’m not the dark center of the universe, like you thought. Well it took a lot of work to be the ass that I am and I’m real damn sure that anyone can equally, easily…” (Modest Mouse).

1700: ANOTHER assignment added to my pile. Not sure whether to head to liquor cabinet, medicine cabinet or meditate and do some yoga to deal with anxiety and anger resulting from this surprise attack. Decide on two of the above (yoga first, though a different order might be more fun).

1730: I inhale food and forget that food is supposed to have a taste. I remember that sometimes food is not wrapped in foil and Kind Bars, pretzels and candy aren’t a normal dinner.

1900: Jacques Lacan. MEDIC!

2100: I waste a few minutes of my precious nonexistent time thinking about a precious nonexistent paper that would involve Labyrinth, Zelda, Hunter S. Thompson and T. Rex (the band, not the dinosaur).

2200: I wish that I was Wordsworth’s “Solitary Reaper”. Just sickling and singing mournfully. Realize I’m doing that already, and it’s very metaphorical but not romantic at all.

2300: I get antsy during theory class. “Order us some golf shoes, otherwise we’ll never get out of this place alive. Impossible to walk in this muck. No footing at all.” (Fear & Loathing)

2315: B+ received. Two metaphors used in “serious” paper. Must stop being creative in papers. Gangrene sets in (to brain) and I lose my temper at myself.

2330: On my way back to base, think of an idea for a poem I can’t write. Sarcastic voice in my head says “Oh you thought you could write a poem?! When?! In your spare time?!”

owl

hi.

 

DAY TWO

000: Arrive back at base. I should be tired. I’m not tired at all.  I have to get up early. Thinking about this makes me less likely to sleep. Repeat cycle. Get 3 hours of sleep full of weird lucid dreams.

1100: Enemy growing by threes for some reason. Trifectas not my specialty. (Odd)

1130: I commute. Still commuting. Still commuting. Still…………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….@*%$#* DRIVERS…Still commuting….My windshield gets a crack straight across. I watch this as it happens. Make a mental note that before it’s replaced, I’m going to take a hammer to it for fun/therapy.

1200: Heidegger. Face down in mud (being!) for a few days (time!).

1300: Try really hard to avoid thinking of these upcoming battles. This doesn’t work. Decide to eat candy instead. Tell myself I’ll do extra squats and bridges to make up for this. Won’t happen.

1430: I’m cold but I don’t like wearing coats inside so I’ll just be cold and complain instead. Consider that I might be a reptile. “Season of boogers” will replace “winter” henceforth and I am convinced that men are biologically warmer than women and therefore will never understand our plight.

1530: Last Sour Patch Bunny package stolen and hidden (realized when rustling heard in neighboring cubicle). Punishment for plundering of rations is severe.

1600:Air raid, freshman!” You won’t get that unless you were a nineties child and if you do, “alright alright alright.” (Dazed & Confused)

1630: Parasite in the trenches. They call it “3-400 pages of reading” and we’re losing soldiers by the day.

1800: Partake in some self-doubt. Quickly get over it. No time for such nonsense.

2000: I’m still cold and so I get soup. I like saying the word “soup.” Soup soup soup. Warmth and happiness abound.

2100: Call in coordinates, another assignment has been added and I don’t have the womanpower, need reinforcements 10-4. Do you copy? *yes we copy soldier that’s a negatory hold your position*

2200: “Reminiscin this & that’n havin such a good time oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally golly what a day” (Roger Miller, from Robin Hood) *Feel free to whistle along, or sing along, like the sing-along-song videos with the little bouncing thing over the words.


2300: White flag waves, but it’s not mine. Sheer endurance, combined with having a sense of humor (default response) has won the day(s).

 

“Do not hold on to anger, hurt or pain; they steal your energy and keep you from love.” (Unknown)

A Match

Topher Chapman was the Marco Polo Regional School Chess Club President, which consisted of 14 syllables if you included the definite article. He was also five-time National Chess Association Teen Tournament Regional Champion, but this is significantly less interesting as it contains 21 syllables. This year was Topher’s final year of eligibility, and he was pretty determined to take the State title, which would replace “regional” with “State of New York” (a total of 22 syllables).
Topher’s success was due in part to his unpredictable style. While he largely followed advanced strategies, it was more important that the game end with an even number of total moves between the two players. At the early stages of the tournament it was easy to track the total number of moves, because Topher could dictate play with little resistance. If he needed to extend the game, he simply added nonsense moves that his defeated opponent failed to notice. At the higher levels Topher was certainly capable of defeating his opponents, but managing the total moves became increasingly difficult. Thus, “regional champion.”
Over the past year, he had compiled a collection of exactly 200 permutations of the most likely attack and defense combinations that ended with an odd number of total moves. He studied them religiously in preparation for the upcoming NCA teen tournament. These were the combinations he must avoid at all costs. However, before Topher could compete in the tournament, he had to get through his senior year of high school.
This seemed rather straightforward. He was doing well in his classes, and his school was relatively without bullies. He had come to an agreement with those few offenders. They could be “members” of the Chess Club, giving them a free period, so long as they came in peace and came in pairs. Membership had held steady at 12 for the last two years. Everything seemed in perfect order until Margot Markov transferred to Marco Polo Regional. As a requirement of her transfer, she had to participate in an extracurricular activity. When she chose Chess Club, she was succinctly denied. Topher had no other prospective members, and was therefore unwilling to admit a thirteenth member.
While he had no actual authority to deny/accept membership, Margot Markov was not aware of this. She told her mother she was rejected, her mother threatened a sexism suit, and Margot became the thirteenth member the next day. As part of the “plea bargain,” the Principal insisted that Margot be offered an opportunity to represent the school at Sectionals. Because of his track record, both at the tournament and as Club President, Topher was able to negotiate a qualifying match between Margot and himself. A showdown.
Unfortunately for Topher, he was too distracted to count the total moves and found himself otherwise poised for defeat. Margot, a competent player, couldn’t quite figure out Topher’s seemingly weak tactics. She was hesitant to go for the kill. In the middle of the chaos, Topher played to a stalemate.

Epilogue: The stalemate resulted in Junior Oliver Frickman being sent to sectionals, but more importantly, it left the story short of 500 words by just one. This was fine with Topher. He had his high school diploma and an additional 12 free days in his summer. He spent all of them with Margot, whom, it turns out, doesn’t like tricycles, third wheels, three-tined forks, Neapolitan ice cream, or March. Topher didn’t know a lot about love, but he did like that it came in pairs.

true life: I survived my MA program

I’m pretty sure I mentioned my thesis in almost all my recent blog posts. From late August until late January, it was my life; I ate, slept, breathed, bled thesis, thesis, thesis. (Literally: I got a few paper cuts while shuffling through my research.) It was all I thought about, often what I dreamed about, and pretty much the only thing I talked about. It was a tremendous source of stress, which is probably unsurprising, given how big a project it was (2 years of research turned into 78 pages, including Works Cited).

And it is with a huge sigh of relief that I can now say: It’s finished. I handed it in, received my grade, and now my diploma is in the mail, and I am done. Forever. (Well–with this particular program, at least.)

I don’t think I can put into words the giddiness I experienced when I handed my final copy off to the Graduate School. It literally felt like a weight had been lifted, at least spiritually speaking; suddenly, I could think about other things again! I could talk to people! I could go out! I could read a book for fun! A flood of possibilities washed over me, and yes, it was as absolutely overwhelming as it sounds. I spent a day basking in my new ability to do nothing, which I think was a good idea, and is something I’d recommend to everyone as they come away from a big, stressful writing project. Whether it’s a thesis or just a 10-page term paper, take that time afterward to let yourself breathe. Give yourself some kind of reward, if you can. Maybe sleeping all day is your reward, or maybe it’s spending 5 hours playing your favorite video game. Maybe you get a massage (the reward I promised myself), or go out with friends, or binge watch something on Netflix.

I can’t emphasize this enough: When you’re finished, disengage. Let the stress trickle away before you tackle something else. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Writing Through the Winter Blues

I don’t hate the winter.  I just don’t like living it in Northern New Jersey.  A few weeks ago a friend and I visited Bennington, Vermont for the first time.  We were scoping out hundreds of acres of land that a larger group of mutual friends hope to buy with the long-term plan of building a sustainable community and home stay.  We’ll build our own houses out of hay and clay, chop wood, grow food, ferment vegetable, raise farm animals, and use wind, solar and firewood for heat and energy.  Live off the grid so to speak.  Give up the dialed in life for the farm life.

It was 13 degrees below zero in Bennington while we were there, and yet as we hiked the acreage and I envisioned my hay bale cabin with two wood-burning stoves, the winter was only beautiful.  Waking daily at 6am in the hills around the Green Mountains on a crisp winter day to cross country ski mini trails, trekked only by a few locals per week, seems like a lovely way to experience winter in the Northeastern United States.

But as of now, I wake to a crowded street next to a progressive grade school, on an artsy block of Montclair, NJ with no driveways and houses on top of one another, in a house that is slowly losing the battle to long Jersey winters.  Don’t get me wrong, Montclair, NJ is one of the best towns in the US to live in for an aspiring artist and musician like myself, but in the winter, everything gets a little more difficult. With no garage to work on projects and an overly cluttered house filled with lots of music gear, and piles of  stuff belonging to transitional friends in their mid 20’s, and the only escape being the crowded, icy, narrow sidewalks piled high on each side with frozen, gray, ugly snow tattered with plastics and debris, there isn’t much to do except play my guitar, plan my band’s schedule for the coming spring months, and binge watch “The Wire” – and I hate when I love a TV series so much that I sacrifice multitudes of hours to watch a crime drama instead of indulging in my own art.   The Wire is that good.

But this crappy Jersey winter hater frets not, because in exactly two weeks I board a direct flight from Newark airport to San Jose Costa Rica where I will catch two buses and by 5pm on February 17th I will be at Rancho Mastatal, a sustainable living education center in a small farm town in the foothills of an old growth rain forest in rural Costa Rica.  There I will again occupy my other home, “Starboard Cork,” a solar powered timber-frame and clay-walled structure that those same friends and I, who plan on invading Vermont, built at a similar community in Costa Rica.  In two weeks I will spend my days shirtless in shorts and flip-flops, tending to the crops, feeding goats, keeping an eye out for deadly, tropical snakes, and making farm-raised feasts for friends, students and guests.

So you may see by now, that this writing, which was camouflaged as a blues riff, whining about my winter doldrums, is in actuality a bragging rambling, from the guy who has everything he will ever want or need.

Once upon a time, long before presidents and pink hearts…

“Her majesty’s a pretty nice girl
But she doesn’t have a lot to say.
Her majesty’s a pretty nice girl
But she changes from day to day.

I wanna tell her that I love her a lot,
But I gotta get a belly full of wine.
Her majesty’s a pretty nice girl,
Someday I’m gonna make her mine.
Oh yeah, someday I’m gonna make her mine.”

- The Beatles, “Her Majesty”

Once upon a time, long before presidents and pink hearts, there was a portly, though rather charming man who commanded rapt attention from even the most easily distracted, including children and tiny kittens. He was loud and excitable, but kind. He was wise in the ways that both soldiers and priests are wise.  His complexion seemed to match the clay soil in the royal gardens, as if he were grown there, burnt by the sun and fed by the clouds into something more than human. The music of his voice carried so far that even hermits and dragons would wake to the sound, after dreaming of ale and wood smoke and warm beds with soft bodies. But the most fascinating thing, the thing that she noticed long ago, before all that came after, was his hands. Fingertips tell stories that no lips could ever hope to tell.

Her majesty always wore blue. She made this choice when she was six and swam in the ocean for the first time. Something that magical and free was something to be imitated, and so silk bodices in various shades of teal and turquoise were crafted by the royal seamstress. Flecks of quartz were sewn into each dress, and silver and pearls were made into delicate earrings and bracelets. She never wore a crown, though in spring and summer she wore a ring of flowers, lily of the valley or moonflowers to complement her hair. She was mercurial, but never mean. When she spoke, her voice could both command and comfort her subjects, like a witch’s conjuring. Though she was beautiful, it was her laugh which pulled him, gentle and strong, like trying to stay upright in a receding wave.

Halfway between winter and spring, a rich and beautiful pagan tradition still prevailed. Masked men draped in hides swaggered with antlered heads and mugs full of mead, while the women floated, hair unbound, sheer fabrics skimming bare feet. Their slender fingers held stronger drinks, and their faces were hidden in masks made of pheasant feathers.

Her majesty waited in the palace bedroom, which the servants said always smelled like sun striking soil after days of rain. When the moon was high and round in the sky, she rose. Tonight, she chose a satin silver sheath and fragrant jasmine garland, a lace garter on her right thigh, just wide enough, and a mask made of owl feathers, brown and white.

One stag stood tall and fierce. A maroon stained hide and black feather mask covered a Roman nose and forehead, Viking eyes peering through. He seemed to be borne of a fire which burns blue with intent and purpose. His belly was full of mead, his head finally empty of war, and his sword absent from his belt.

She moved slowly around the fire and smiled when she spotted him: an honest, open smile, the only kind she wore. He made a joke. She laughed. He whispered three words into her neck, and then three more. He gripped her bare shoulder and she felt as if a seed was planted there, traveling through her bloodstream to her heart, threatening to crack,  recklessly bursting the cavity to bloom.

Her majesty reached for her garter, once she knew it to be true. She grasped a small knife with a finely crafted mother of pearl handle, warm against her skin.

Sacrifices are only borne of love, and possession is a mortal wound.

The Sovereign Nation of Love is Destroyed in a Nuclear Holocaust! Let’s hear it for President’s Day!

As it happened, the President of Love was a renowned liar.  It almost goes without saying that the Vice-President of Love was also known for his ability to lie, but was unable to lie with the absolute guile of the President. She was believed to be the greatest liar who ever lived.  So, when it happened that she announced, during the State of the Union Address, that she had happened to propose marriage to her Vice-President and that he had happened to accept, no one really happened to believe it, despite the fact that he had happened to smile and nod in agreement quite convincingly. She’s just saying this to distract us from the deficit. No, it’s her lack of an exit strategy in the Bermuda Triangle. No, it’s her stance on music piracy!  Over the next couple of weeks, people started to come around to the idea –– still no one believed it would last. Even if they do get married, she won’t trust him! And him her! He’ll cheat! She’ll cheat! They’ll both cheat! It’ll never last! Never! But it happened that it did last, right up until the moment that they died in each other’s arms. It had happened that while the President of Love was incapacitated for a regularly scheduled colonoscopy or endoscopy (no one could be sure which), the Vice-President had the responsibility of retrieving the nuclear launch codes, in case of emergency attack, and keeping them on his person. Unfortunately, as it happened, the Vice-President was a bit of a nostalgic lush and whenever he had a chance, he would have Victoria’s Secret Service whisper him down to his old law school tavern for six or seven of his favorite Rye. There was something about Rye in an old wood tavern that made him starry-eyed. As it happened, he was doubly starry-benighted on this occasion and left the nuclear codes beneath his empties. Unfortunately, the busgirl was in a bad way about being rejected by a very handsome waitress and didn’t notice the Vice-President had left anything behind. She also didn’t notice when it had been picked up, but she did notice the mushroom cloud rising in the distance. Serves her right, she thought as the fire approached her. But the President and Vice-President of Love knew a good fifteen minutes in advanced of the mushroom cloud: they had intelligence. As it happened, the President and Vice-President of Love had just concluded an intense and rigorous debate about experimental philosophy, when the President turned to the Vice-President and sighed, if only I hadn’t pretended to love you all these years, this would never have happened. The Vice-President of Love turned to his President and laughed, No, it’s my fault. If only I hadn’t waited till that one time to be so convincing, then none of this would have happened. They both stared blissfully into each other’s lies as the fire ate through the rock and concrete of their underground bunker. Maybe we should tell the truth?

Just this once ?

Never.

It doesn’t become us.

Blog for the Blogless

So here’s something that I struggle with as a writer…no really, here it is. You’re reading it.

I’ve started and stopped a thousand different blogposts. Some of them made it to near publication, others are still rattling around in the attic. I’ve read so many posts on personal and professional blogs, and thought to myself, I could do that. Sometimes, very rarely, I’ll think “I could do a better blog.” “So what’s stopping you?” I say to myself. And that’s when I have nothing to say in response. So here’s a post about my inability to post. Assuming I actually publish it, my inability will be a thing of the past.

I’m not sure exactly what intimidates me or stymies me about blogging. It might have something to do with all the snarky, pithy, witty personalities I associate with blogs. These are personalities I do not feel comfortable inhabiting. I’m more of the slow, plodding, heavy-handed, overthinking writer. I don’t feel sleek and modern enough for the blogosphere. I can’t breathe in the bloggy air.

I try to tell myself that there are a thousand ways to write a blog, a blog for every voice, an audience for every blog. I tell myself that those cheeky personalities are just personas, edited personas. But the fear remains. There’s some sense of immediacy in blogging that terrifies me. It might be the piranha pit of discussion that ensues below even the most mediocre FB posts, or it might just be the vast, digital landscape itself. I don’t really have the answer, but it feels good to write about it. Maybe most blogs are just exercises in self-expression or DIY therapy. Even if the readership is nonexistent, even if the readership is a dozen spambots discussing natural male enhancement and dating websites, even if the readership is the same group of people who listen to you piss and moan in the real world, it still feels kind of magical to drop a digital page into the digital abyss.

So is this where I “sign off”?

Thanks for tuning in.

Catch me next month. Same blog time, same blog channel.

Au revoir!

…how do I shut this thing off?

…Are you still there?

 

Maybe next time I work on endings.

Be a goddess in a garbage bag.

“I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade

Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,

I promise to go under it.” – Bob Dylan

What motto do I live by as a writer? What motto should all writers live by? Very tough questions to answer. There’s so much out there. Should I use some Mark Twain-isms? Some Kurt Vonnegut verbal amazement? The typical Hemingway typewriter bleeding stuff? Keats or Coleridge or Blake (faves)? In the end I’ve settled on atiny bit of music and Hunter S. Thompson to offer some expression. No real surprise there, I suppose. I left out the Hunter quotes that were not appropriate (there’s a lot of them).

I tend to use a lot of lyrics in my posts. I can’t help it. I love words and I love music. They love each other.

“I’m a word freak. I like words. I’ve always compared writing to music. That’s the way I feel about good paragraphs. When it really works, it’s like music.” – HST

awesome mix

And that’s exactly what it is- whatever your preference. A screaming soul of a guitar solo or obnoxious snarling primal scream, acoustic vibrations and near-whimpering vocals, a ten minute jam or a manic violin, chest cavity vibrating bass hooks or catchy synth pop, the best hip hop drop beat you’ve ever heard, the funkiest trumpet whine your spine ever slunk to, drum rolls and hits that puncture your skin and poke your toes. Or (cliche) but actual chills, like this song:

“There’s a blaze of light in every word

It doesn’t matter which you heard

The holy or the broken Hallelujah” –“Hallelujah” [Jeff Buckley version]

Writing is a blaze of light, the strongest fuel you can ever give your heart and mind without it exploding into the vibrations of a thousand galaxies, and only those who have become utterly blinded now and then understand. It doesn’t matter if the page feels no more than a dumping ground for bottles filled with mud and slime, shoes with loose heels, half-eaten sandwiches and chewed electrical wires. Sometimes, holy water turns black as ink, and you exit purgatory and walk on water, just for a few moments. You’re blessed and possessed.

That’s the feeling that made me feel like this a long time ago (and still) though there have been some awfully awful dry spells and doubts along the way:

“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.” – HST

So where’s the motto? There’s been a few between the lines, so far, if you read closely- but… here:

“I find that by putting things in writing I can understand them and see them a little more objectively … For words are merely tools and if you use the right ones you can actually put even your life in order, if you don’t lie to yourself and use the wrong words.” – HST

Writing can be a way to find truth- truth you might not even know is there. Don’t lie in your writing because you’re lying to yourself, to your very being- really, you can’t. There’s a feeling I would get when I first started writing of thinking that I wasn’t allowed to write certain things, I couldn’t say things just that way, the strangeness had to stay behind muscle and tissue and bone, humming and pumping softly like the ocean in a shell. But you’ll never hope to answer any big questions that way and you’ll never come close to fulfilling curiosities or adding a few stops to the endless mind train at night, coal fire sweat between life and dreams and nightmares.

“She laughed. ‘It won’t last. Nothing lasts. But I’m happy now.’ Happy,” I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don’t have much faith in them and I am no exception – especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they’re scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them.” – HST from The Rum Diary

Hunter S. Thompson did not give himself nearly enough credit. Lots of writers don’t.

I Love writing because it makes me Happy. Can it really be that simple? I must be a priest(ess) or a fool. Or both- divinely idiotic. And tough. All requirements if you write and occasionally wield the big ones. So temporary. But so beautiful.

priestessthe fool

a matter of perspective

This is what procrastination looks like to me:

When I’m procrastinating, it’s all fun and games. Literally. I procrastinate in familiar ways: Netflix, video games, Tumblr, cleaning, petting my dog, contemplating the meaning of life. And it’s great. When I’m ignoring my responsibilities, I’m happy.

And then it all comes crashing down as I realize my deadline is that. much. closer.

I never used to be like this, and sometimes the old Heather who insisted on getting things done ahead of time comes around for a visit. I think, for me, it’s a question of stakes: the more important the assignment, the more I want to procrastinate. It might be fear; this is a problem that kicked its way into my life ever since I started in on my thesis back in September. It doesn’t get much more high stakes than that.

So I procrastinate. I avoid. I hide. And when I finally do decide to open that Word .doc, I’m overwhelmed with anxiety. I do it anyway, though, and… then I realize it’s not as bad as I made it out to be in my head. I think a lot of writers experience that. I think a lot of writers also experience the relief and joy I sometimes experience when I actually manage to get something done; then the above .gif still applies, but instead, I’m happily flailing about productivity instead. I much prefer that, especially since the joy I feel over being productive tends to stick around a lot longer than the joy I feel over having earned another gym badge in Pokemon.