Talking To Myself

You’re not taking it seriously.
I know. But isn’t it better to do something rather than nothing?
Could be.
Building strong muscles takes endurance, doesn’t it?
I suppose.
I might get more serious when spring rolls around but it might be that the warmer weather will interfere as much as the cold.
Well, you know what so and so says, ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right’ — Ford wasn’t it?
It’s not a matter of whether I can or whether I can’t — I already am. It seems to be more of a question of what others think ‘being a writer’ is. Should someone who writes think at all about what others think?
Maybe if they’re trying to make money at it?
Cold weather makes me want to cuddle and knit and warm weather makes me want to go out and mingle with the ants and birds.
Is that procrastinating or avoidance or just plain preference interfering?
Maybe it’s a matter of not wanting it enough or not wanting enough to be great? How much weight needs to be lifted to become a great weightlifter? Or a good one for that matter — not that it matters — or does it?

Do you think you do — want it?
Want what?
To be a writer?
Yes, but I’m not sure I want to be a ‘great writer’ — whatever that means. Can someone only be a ‘writer’ if they have unwieldy expectations of grandeur to become a real and great writer?
What do you mean by ‘unwieldy’?
Oh, possibly top heavy or awkward or overly stacked one way more than another such that everything else in life is balanced more toward writing. Something like that. Maybe that’s a poor choice of words but it came to mind when I was thinking about how writing every.single.day. seems to weigh so heavily on my mind and how if I don’t do it I feel a sense of guilt —  but I also know that not every day something good is written because it’s actually only done for exercise and building writing muscle so that eventually words will flow out and into a real kind of structure that might have a little more meaning and value — even to myself.
Are you talking to yourself again?
Yes, I’m talking to myself again.
Someone in the grocery store said the other day that they talk to themselves because they were only good at listening when they were listening to themselves. I said I wasn’t even good at listening to myself because I lie to me and can’t be trusted to tell myself the truth so why bother listening if I’m lying — and, I think most everybody else lies as well so why listen to them either.
Actually, I’m not that bad at listening to liars if the liar isn’t me — b
ut, I’m bored with listening now — so, can we go out and play with the ants?
I suppose except that the ants are hibernating now so we can just go out and wait for spring when they’ll all come out to play again.
That sounds good to me. Or maybe we should read?

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. ~ Stephen King

image credit: Katherine Streeter

The Showoff Business

Jamie Lee Curtis used those words, the showoff business, in an interview she gave speaking about being in recovery for substance abuse.
Kevin Bacon said in another interview that he had a make-up pro create a disguise for him and apply it so that he could go out into some public space where celebrities frequent but where other people also horde to try to catch a glimpse of one. He wanted to see what it was like to remain incognito. It worked. No one knew who he was. He hated it. It really bothered him that no one knew who he was.
I had to start wondering why any of us want to be seen.
Or heard.
Or read.
I garden.
I sew.
I research health-related issues.
I write.
I keep pages on Facebook for the first three and post links to things from here as they are completed each day on my own timeline — much to my own chagrin because I’m not really sure I want family and close friends to know me this well. Strangers are much easier — though, I must say, I have deep challenges to overcome due to responses, or lack thereof, that I have to navigate and I have to keep reminding myself that I post things strictly for accountability.
Originally, the pages on Facebook were just a means of trying to keep track of what I found as I investigated things — but, as time went on and followers accrued, emotional challenges started to accrue in relation to follower’s engagement or, again, lack thereof.
Lately, I’ve been reading a book called You Are The Placebo. It’s more of the research on health-related issues. As I’m reading it, I’m wondering if it is just pseudo science and if it will be effective the way the author claims. That said, it is being useful to uncover some things about thinking patterns and how delicate thinking really is. Thinking has a huge impact on outcomes with regard to how our lives manifest to large degrees respective to satisfaction or I can’t get no satisfaction outcomes.
Something I am WELL aware of, and he brings up, is the part nature plays in how satisfied or not we are with life and I think of how much, each day that I am out in it working with my own yards and witness ants and birds and lizards and stray cats and leaves falling, etc., etc. of just how utterly sustaining it all is and then I want to run in and tell someone/anyone/everyone about it.
My own mother spent five years enduring a clinical depression that almost exhausted all the life in her. Somehow, she managed to escape it — in large part due to two people, who are also not alive anymore, that wrapped their arms around her and, almost literally, lifted her out of it. There didn’t seem to be anything her own family could do — it was strangers. Strangers that saw her pain and loved her out of it. Our love, she expected — strangers she did not. It was a gift and once that started, her life began again.
I remember of how absolutely excited she became and animated when I would show up and she would present the list of things she had done that day. She made lists. She kept every novel she read in a rack, hanging on her bedroom door — a tally of accomplishments is the best way I can imagine why she did it. Once she came back to life, she needed some way of accounting, some way for herself to see what she was becoming again. For most of the years prior, before the depression, she was her children. We were her. It was the empty nest that started her dissent into that literal hell that is depression. She had everything she was tied up into us. She had to relearn a new way to be once she got past that living hell.
So, where I am in the placebo book, he is speaking to just how we become what we are — how reinforcing behaviors by constantly recalling them — like PTSD — there is some biological process, (I have to read slowly and process things so this is the best I can relate it back at this point), that makes it rather permanent. I will give fragrance as an example. I can smell the fragrance my sister wore or an old boyfriend and bam, the memories flood my mind — and not always good ones. I intentionally gave away many of my CDs because I DO NOT want to provoke feelings associated with the past that are dredged up when listening to them. I don’t want to hash and rehash certain memories. I listened lately to Police’s King of Pain and went directly to a broken heart episode in my life. I had to quickly find something else to replace the negative, unwelcome feelings. That might be the moment that Jamie Lee Curtis would go for the Vicodin. Me, I go outside and watch ants march, collecting things to make their fungus — cutter ants.
Writing is different, at least for me. It is cathartic. It is a way to get the memories out of my head, on to paper and then the words can be stared at like my mother might have gloried at the rack of books she had read or the list of accomplishments on a given day. My past serves as fodder for stories and once they are out, they become friendly again — almost like they are someone else’s life.
So, for interest and to make this so-called story asymmetrical, (since I favor odd numbers and think they are more interesting), Diane Keaton brought up how she loves kissing and having love relations but she meant while acting. She says, relationships are perfect that way, they don’t have to go on and become anything more, or less. They are what they are and can be left right where the movie ends.
Why is it that so many actors abuse substances? Maybe they don’t any more than the proportion they represent within their own sphere that the rest of those of us that abuse do in our own spheres.
Why did Jaime call it the showoff business — and when she did, mind, she did it with a little bit of a snarl such to imply that she meant for us to hear the words with a negative connotation.
Someone might say that my mother was showing off when she couldn’t wait to present her list of daily-things-crossed-off to me the minute I arrived — like she had been waiting all day for someone to see her. I love those memories of my mother. I love to remember how animated and happy she was the last few years of her life. She was a wonderful person and deserved to be a celebrity. She was to her children.
At this point in the placebo book, I’m almost wanting to quit wanting anyone to see, hear, respond/not respond, read me. I am wanting to just watch the ants and for that to be enough — the focus for living a life of meditation — contemplating meaning as seen through nature.
Trouble is, I made a commitment. I said, to myself, and YOU, I will write something every day and post it. I think I committed to one year. If not, I will now. That seems fair.
People have been leaving my gardening page. I don’t know why. I can guess all kinds of reasons.
People have been commenting on my comments on other sites where I have felt compelled to have an opinion. One called me bitter because I called out a professional artist/writer for dissing his own son because he thought his son was stealing his artwork. He chastised his son in public as if his son was just one of his followers. I thought he was wrong to do it and simply said, “I feel like I shouldn’t be hearing this.” To which one person said, “Thank you for saying that. I felt the same way.” The writer went into a long recital of why he did it and tried to make it sound like he was admonishing anybody for stealing artwork. But, sorry, he said, “my son.” So when I said, “That’s family business”, and some other, I thought, well-chosen words back in response to his excuses, the second lady called me bitter. So be it, but it did instruct me that I would rather spend my valuable time watching ants from now on.
I will, however, honor the 365 day commitment to write something every day and continue to post here and link it on my timeline — for whatever it’s worth.
I may drop off the pages on Facebook, (except for my own timeline for the remainder of the 365 day commitment). Ants are so much more interesting, they don’t care how I look, I can’t get them to leave me, (not that I would want them to), and I highly doubt if they think I’m bitter or a showoff — they’re way too busy to bother with that bother. From now on, I want to be more like ants — busy in my own world doing something of value.

 

Mom, hovering over me

Mom, hovering over me.

 

Baby Diaper Pins

Veronica was the very first doll that I have any memory of. At some point in her early life, she got a haircut. My mother wasn’t happy, but she forgave me. I still have Veronica with her short do and she was somewhat small for a small little girl. Annie Laurie was next and she was big enough to hold just like a baby. She had a stroller too. She spent the first part of my life, rarely separate from me — she and Bar, who was my bear. He was bigger than Annie and since Annie had to go into a closet to be kept nice, Bar got to spend the nights with me.
When I was about nine, a friend’s older sister had a baby. She was only eighteen and it was quite a scandal — but we loved to love her baby. We got to use some real baby diapers for our dolls then too, whenever she got new ones. We were so excited — and plastic pants and real baby diaper pins. Diapers were fabric and required pins in those days and plastic pants — and we had to learn to fold them right. We had a blast — pretending to be mothers.
Why do girls play with dolls? Why do they think they want to mother? Is it because mothers puts dolls in their baby girls hands instead of trucks. It seems that girls, per se, gravitate to dolls no matter what.
Later I had a friend who had a minibike. She didn’t like dolls much. I played with her for awhile on it, but quickly lost interest — maybe because I knew I couldn’t have one too. I think I would have played more if I could have had one. I loved, loved, loved my pedal bike. But she went on to be very much involved with sports. I never was. I hated competition. Girls get vicious too and it looked ugly to me. I chose art.
I lost interest in having babies and being a mother too once I realized how exciting the world was and how much I loved art and wanted to make a living so I could do more of it. Kids and husbands looked like too much trouble and interference. People called me selfish. So be it. I didn’t mind much. The worst part of it was that employers always made me work holidays, weekends and evenings because, “She has kids.” I hated that and resented it very much.
Same thing again later with weekends off. “Do you have something special to do? If you do, we’ll schedule you a weekend off. She has a wedding to go to.” “No, I just want a weekend off,” was my response. Sorry Charlie. I said they should be on rotation. They said, “If you have something special, we’ll schedule one for you, but she has an event to attend with her boyfriend”. “No, I just want a weekend off so I can have a weekend off.” It didn’t matter. I had to lie. I didn’t lie, I fought and fought and finally became not a team player. There was no winning for someone who doesn’t play sports or want a weekend off to watch it.
So, once I got tired of playing games, I tried my hand at starting my own business. I didn’t like that much either. It all seemed like wasting precious time doing something I didn’t really want to. And…it required just as many games, just different — Walmart — need any more be said. Ugly competition rears it’s ugly head again. Always competition.
Now I just compete with weeds but not really. I let them have their way and the ants too. It’s hard to get in and out the front gate because cutter ants are in forage mode getting ready for winter fungus making. I just try to not let them have my feet.
A bee followed me around today. I couldn’t help thinking of the meme that asks that instead of being afraid of bees, to consider that they might have mistaken you for a flower. I just said, “shoo bee” — I couldn’t imagine how it could mistake me for a flower. It came back later, or another one did. I said shoo again and waved my hands in the air. That’s as competitive as it gets around here. And as for children, cats will have to do for now except for friends who brings theirs by from time to time. A dog may be in the future.