January 15th, 2004

15 Jan 2004, by

Fragment follows. This week’s meme taken, as always, from
Last post’s musing about writing merited a little actual writing as the followup, don’t you think?

This week’s fragments (they’ll be italicized in the text) are :

  • still the same old
  • that is the kind
  • smelled so damn good

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15 Jan 2004, by

Whenever I get ready to do a blog entry after I haven’t done one for a while I feel like I ought to apologize and explain my absence. I’m not sure why this is. I have been busy or sick or otherwise engaged, I proclaim in the opening paragraph of my entry. Or else I just say that I’m sorry and that I have no excuse and isn’t it lousy of me not to take more time with my blog. The truth is, however, that I take a lot of time with my blog and a lot of is invisible. When I was in high school a friend of mine and I devised a theory about “thought time”. Thought time is the amount of time (and thus energy and effort) that you spend thinking about things, people, objects, situations. We said that when you thought about people who didn’t and wouldn’t ever consider you, you were giving them power over you. Yes, this is bottom of the social hierarchy in high school thinking, I’m not going to dispute that. However, I still hold to the “thought time” theory, in that whatever you use to occupy your mental cycles is a reflection of what you care about, whether you know it or not. And in that measure, this blog is enormous to me. I compose entries for it in my head all the time, and think “Oh that’s something I could blog about” when stuff happens or I notice things about myself, my family and the world. I tell myself on waking up “Today I will blog!” and on going to bed try to make myself get out of bed, be less lazy and record the details of my life as I purported to do when I started this thing. As you’ve probably guessed, this exhortation almost never works. Sleep is too precious to me. I make lists of things that I don’t want to forget to blog about, and find the lists months later, realizing sadly that I haven’t written about these things and now I don’t really want to anymore. I even have a half dozen half-composed entries that never do anything but sit in the draft section of my blog. I don’t know if I would blog more faithfully if I had less going on in my life, but sometimes I wish for a Thoreau style get away, where I could alternate walks in the woods with leisurely pondering and bouts of writing. I have a lot to say and I live in a very fortunate age where I can say whatever I wish in a very public forum and even though the tide of people doing exactly what I’m doing precludes a massive audience that’s not really what I’m after anyways, and it’s all good. To write and have someone, anyone, read it is worthwhile, as far as I’m concerned. And yet, so many are the aborted children of my writings. Conceived, planned, sometimes even partially executed, and then abandoned. Is this really because the pace of my life is so frenetic? I do wish I had less to do and more free time, but I know that as a middle class American I have it pretty easy. I’m not out foraging for food every day in debris. I’m not working two jobs to put clothes on my child’s back and a roof over our head. When we are sick, I can go do the doctor without thinking about it. All our basic needs are met, plus some. I am, essentially, too fortunate to complain about my state in life. And yet, I long for more free time, for time to walk through the natural science museum with my daughter without thinking how to fit a trip to the grocery store in. Time in which I can do nothing at all without feeling guilty about it. Time to create works I think are important and worthwhile, to express myself and watch the world. I feel overbooked in every instant, even when doing things I enjoy, and I notice that I tend to take care of the things that will fall apart before the things that will nourish my soul and so the blog (among others) gets left behind. I can always do that later, I tell myself. My grandmother used to use the phrase “eyes bigger than your stomach”, in reference to people helping themselves to more food than they could eat. I suppose my ambitions are bigger than my time, and I have no idea at all how to get more time. I have eliminated so much from my life already, what do I squeeze out to get the time I want to do the things I want to do? I also wonder if my experience is unusual, or if its merely symptomatic of living where I do when I do. Is everyone else juggling and dropping balls too? I don’t know.

We had a very nice Christmas, in which we traveled to Michigan to see Kurt’s family. We had a low key New Year’s, in which we dropped by a party for a short while and then came home to sleep. I decided to forego the New Year’s resolution business this year since it’s not something I’m terribly faithful about anyways, though I was grateful for the extra day off we were given by the outgoing governor. I didn’t vote for him, but I’ll take the day off! I truly believe in having a pause, a moment of reflection, between the closing of one year and the opening of another. I hate that there’s not a whole week off for everyone, where you just eat and drink and think about what it means to be alive, to end one period and to begin another. With the baby coming I know our life will change profoundly in this upcoming year, and I figured just being ready to roll with whatever happens is resolution enough. We have had a very good year so far, and last week was crazy hectic for me at work, but this week has been a bit calmer. I’m starting to feel the weight of the things I need to finish before I go on maternity leave, and trying to avoid the stress of that by focusing on one thing at a time. My job is changing, moving from a lot of theory and planning to a lot of doing, and I’m really excited by it, but I also worry that there’s more for me to do than I can do and that I need help. Our staff has been reduced through one means and another and we’re kind of strained now that things are really kicking into gear. Work on the home office proceeds as well. Kurt’s done his part in cleaning by taking down and selling his windows box. We are now officially windows free at home! Christmas decorations have come down as well.

In the next few weeks I’ll be running a one shot game in a pulp genre. I’m really looking forward to it, as I have limited game running experience and none outside White Wolf products.

I’ve been having loads and loads of pretty vivid dreams lately, but none of them have made it to the dream portion of my blog. I regret this, though I imagine I’m the only one who does. During my stint cleaning the home office I came across an ancient dream diary and found it really interesting. I’m still waiting on the annunciation dream for this pregnancy. I didn’t actually have one while I was pregnant with Sophia, though I did have several dreams about her and she was always a girl in them, which I think is kind of interesting.

I have starting reading two more blogs pretty faithfully. Both are author blogs, and I started reading them back in November during Nanowrimo. Both of these tend to be more specific on the nuts and bolts of their everyday writing experience than Neil Gaiman’s blog and I think that’s why I’ve gotten attached to them. I’ve been thinking about some issues dealing with writing. There was a time when I really wanted very badly to be a published author. Now I find that need is less pressing. I still wonder whether I could really hack it as an author. It seems rather a difficult life, and I think I’m far too bourgeoise to really be able to do the whole starving artist thing. I suppose there’s the name in print affirmation, but I wonder if that’s truly worth the price. These authors tend to talk as if they are practically persecuted by their public personas and publishing houses as well as audience expectations. There’s no expectations set on what I write or how I write it. I know that my writing could not stand on its own as publishable. I know I’d need a good editor, and you don’t get that unless there’s a printing press and bookstores involved. I tend to think of everything I do, therefore, as unfinished, like those cars that go down the street with just a coat of grey primer on them but no paint. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve written, but it’s not really what I set out to do, either. On the other hand, I’m not sure, anymore, what publication truly gives you that just slapping your stuff up on a webpage doesn’t. Maybe freedom. Maybe once you’ve handed over the manuscript to someone else then it really is purged, whereas if you put it up on your site you’re still essentially attached to it, maintaining it, making it part of you. I don’t know that I never ever want to publish anything, but it certainly isn’t a motivator for me anymore. During Nanowrimo 2002 I asked in a forum about licensing schemes for novels that might follow an open source model, where I could allow my work to be freely distributable but with certain conditions (that I were credited, that the work was passed in unaltered form and that no profit was derived from it). You could have heard a pin drop in the silence that ensued. It was as though no one was interested in just freeing their work to a potential audience, only in getting that capital A author title and that capital B hardback book. This surprised me some, because any author will tell you that there’s not a lot of money in it, and precious little glory. I don’t know if I’m just standing alone in a current or if I’m just looking for likeminded people in the wrong places.

Last comment for now, and it’s completely unrelated to anything I’ve said before now. I’ve kind of been following the Supreme Court case about the ADA issue and I’ve been wondering about people with disabilities and how they get on in the world. Are things better than they were twenty years ago? In my building there’s a lady who parks in a handicapped space every day but there’s nothing physically wrong with her (that I can discern) nor does she have a handicapped license plate. I asked a couple of co-workers at lunch whether they knew why she parked in the handicapped spot and neither of them knew. I suppose it’s her right to keep her handicap secret, but I wonder about it anyways. My husband said he works with a guy in a wheelchair and said he asked him one day about the sink height in the restroom and the angle of the faucet and the guy answered that it was a little inconvenient, but not as inconvenient as having to maneuver the entire length of the bathroom in a wheelchair to get to the handicapped stall. I had never thought about that before. And yet, in every bathroom I’ve ever been in the handicapped stall has been at the far back, the last stall. Why is that? Was there some pressing architectural or design need that made people do it that way? Because it doesn’t make sense when you think about it. Why not put it first?

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