Frustrations of the Writing Life

Writing is hard. It’s like doing push-ups. Your arms quiver and you think “dear God why”, but if you work at it you get amazing arms. Only with writing you get carpel tunnel and a sixteen page short story. This post deals with some of the “aargh” moments of the writing life. The moments that make you want to become an accountant. Only not really because you hate numbers.

  • You write some truly horrible stuff. Even worse, you write some truly boring stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written the sentence, “I had a good day at work today.” It’s my journal, but still.
  • You won’t find that obvious typo on page ten. You read it until your eyes hurt and you still don’t see it. That’s when you commandeer a relative to read it for you.
  • People reject you a lot— cliché but true. Anything less than thirty times and you’re not doing it right.
  • You get jealous. Other writers put out really good stuff and half of you wants to crumple it into a ball and set it on fire. The other half wants to hear it again.
  • There are pieces you can’t show people because you based a character on them. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used in a short story.

Eventually, when the moon is full and you’ve scrapped two drafts, inspiration will hit. Until then, make like The Little Engine That Could and remember how much you hate numbers.

Baby’s First Protest

I made history today. I marched with 10,000 other Americans in my hometown of Olympia, WA to protest after the inauguration. We came to stand up for civil rights and claim the “people’s house” of government, in solidarity with millions of other protesters around the globe.  A lot of us came in pussy hats.

I wore a pussy hat and a pair of pink socks with “fight” written on them. My mom made the hats herself, and they were purr…fect. The cat ears posed a challenge though; I only hope they didn’t look like balls in a pink scrotum.

We marched not only for civil rights, but for a variety of issues. One person had a sign that said, “There’s no planet b.” And that’s right; there isn’t. Carbon in the atmosphere has reached over 350 parts per million, and we’re no longer evolved to survive. We’re toast—literally.

Even the nerds showed up (including yours truly) ready to fight with their Voldemort comparisons and their quotes from the Lord of the Rings. A group of people had signs with “A woman’s place is in the resistance” and General Leia’s picture on them.

Everyone’s place is in the resistance.protest

Four Awesome Women You Didn’t Know About

A couple weeks ago, I attended an art exhibit/lecture on “Dead Feminists” where I’d never heard of most of the women listed—Eleanor Roosevelt and that was it. I felt like I was in a class where I hadn’t done the reading. If, like mine, your education has some gaps, then this list is for you.

  • Shirley Chisam—the first African American congresswoman. She fought for the Equal Rights Amendment and against the Vietnam War.
  • Vera Rubin—an astronomer who pioneered discoveries in dark matter. Dark matter is an unidentified substance that takes up most of the space in the universe.
  • Emma Goldman—a women’s rights, free love, labor activist during the early 20th century. She was imprisoned for two years for opposing the draft during World War I and later deported in 1919.
  • Dorothy Parker—a biting critic and short story writer. She once said, “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

In a history written mostly by men, women’s stories get lost.  I’m trying to find them.

Five Tips for Airport Survival: Holiday Edition

Holiday flying is even worse than regular flying. There are more crumbs on the seat, less space in the overhead bin, and the person next to you is probably sick. This is a list of tips on how to get through it.

1). Bring headphones. One screaming toddler can terrorize an entire plane. The coloring books the stewardess gives them will do nothing whatsoever.

2.) Make sure you have your license before leaving the house. The alternative is shoving three credit cards across the counter and praying.

3.) If possible, use an airport that can handle weather. Rain shuts down SFO. My sister tried to fly in there. She had to wait three hours and her plane was diverted to San Jose.

4.)  It’s perfectly acceptable to squat down in the newsstand and read a book without buying it as long as nobody catches you.

5.) Don’t be too optimistic. A 10:10am departure could easily mean a 1:58pm departure. Even if you’re on the plane, they may turn you around and march you right back off it.

Lastly, if you hear the phrase “we appreciate your patience” more than five times, feel free to scream like a toddler.