Here I Sit. Coffee?

My mission to detach from Facebook didn’t go nearly as well as expected.

But this blog is merely an echo of the last.

Also, I keep paying for this blog address and completely ignoring it.

I’m still glad I never got into the Twitter thing, no matter how old that makes me sound.

Forget Snapchat and Instagram.

What’s not to understand about the draw to social media, though? In 2006 I found my posse. I’m friends with two dozen people I’ve never met–and mind you, I do mean friends after eight years of interacting, no quotations or alluding here as I used to do in the early years. I’ve seen marriages end, relationships begin, new jobs, big moves to new states and even countries, successes, failures, regrets, or proud moments. And their kids…stinker activity, varied report cards, graduations, clever one liners, brilliant questions about life/love/the universe, and growing into their own skin. Pictures of nearly every one of those things came attached. I’ve been there watching as 4 year olds became 12 year olds and that’s what *really* blows my mind. The passage of time is different in the uNetverse.

Facebook has become the default for the electronically social middle ager (and nearly everyone else). I could just as well post this jibber-jabber in the notes section and stop pretending “the blog” hasn’t gone the way of the dino for amateurs and enthusiasts, but I’m not there in spirit yet and I might never be. There’s a lack of focus in my sharing for this blog to ever become one of the Big Blogs that draws cash, accolades, and an audience, but I also have zero interest in being that public. I have no central fascination I’m dying to write about and no authority through experience to speak about something that hasn’t been done to death elsewhere.

My reluctance to setting this blog on fire and walking away has got everything to do with the collective writings in the sidebar. A smattering of nonsense that began on Yahoo 360, transitioned to Multiply when that died, then was dragged here kicking and screaming when yet another site bit the dust. I shop at the same grocery store and get my gas at the same station. I’m reluctant to change when I find a groove that works. There’s just something about giving in and acquiescing to Facebook that doesn’t sit well with me, and that’s likely tied to the notion above that this spot is a dino bone. It makes me sad. These writings are where my eHistory is stored. You might not have any interest in perusing my nonsense circa 2006, but it sure as hell amuses me.

I’m the little old lady underwear come to life, the person who’s tried to get them all back to the same type of place we met. I miss the long, rambling updates about their personal lives and the nonsense blogs about the ridiculousness of life on Earth in general. Facebook is too immediate, too impersonal, and something has been lost in the transition. Facebook has also become a real downer with all the  yammering and infighting about whatever’s hit the news. I see endless gun tragedies, child abuses, religious hatreds, political manipulations, and planet killing “accidents” in short, opinionated smatterings bandied about like candy thrown from a parade float. It’s not good for my overall opinion of humanity, and it does absolutely nothing for my day to day joy levels. So why do I keep going back? Well, it’s the clubhouse, of course. Without all the negative drama there is no reading between the lines to see how my friends are doing. You don’t just bail on people because you don’t like the ads and privacy issues, do you?

Maybe you do. I don’t know. I won’t go into one of those cliched rambles about ditching the web. This ramble is cliche enough as it is. We’ve all said we’re done with the whole mess and we’ve all come back. But I can admit that the three inch thick layer of dust on this blog is about Facebook and being one of a tiny handful of the old gang to still blog on occasion. Writing here feels like speaking into the void now. I can sit down with my coffee in the morning and scroll updates on Facebook and not find myself bored before the cup is drained. I haven’t felt the pressure to perform feats of writing magic in years–though on the downside, this has led to atrophied writer muscles. This whole ramble has the makings of a look back in time at apple pie, pickup trucks, and small town parades and there’s a bittersweet aftertaste.

Facebook is a Space Odyssey and I’m still an old black and white film, but I suppose it’s time to grow up and face the digital music.

Oh, the Silence is Mighty.

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Here I sit, less than 12 hours from my choice to detach from Facebook, and I’m already A) missing the hubbub and B) rationalizing my choice by remembering all that’s negative about a life lived in electronica.

A) My friends. I do love them so. They’re one click away from entertaining me, updating me, listening and lifting me up, laughing at my lame jokes, and letting me give it aaaall right back to them, those lovely lads and lasses. The experience is one part voyeurism, sure, but it’s three parts heart when you’ve been connected to the same group of people for close to a decade. I already feel a sense of loneliness creeping at the edges. The feels won’t get too bad–I tend to live a life of distractions no matter where I’m at–but the feels are there. Yep.

B) I do not miss the political bullshit, the religious tripe, or the racial nonsense. Half a day in and I already feel a bit more relaxed. That pending ulcer seems oddly quiet and the indigestion is already fading (seriously, I didn’t make that crap up). I do not miss the two dimensional compression of every single little opinion or statement into a black and white war of ignorance. It’s a hot mess out there in Weblandia. Is the information good? Damn right, but it’s nigh impossible to void the mouth breathers/rage-aholics/you-name-it–ists, etc. The best piece of internet advice out there is DON’T READ THE COMMENTS! Which is mighty unfair since much can be drawn from the random brainy/heart-ish/wise person who throws down a clever tidbit or challenge. It’s the other 90% that make you want to eat your face. It’s that 90% we’re warned against. It’s so bad for the chi, man. Yep.

3) <— Because I like to break the rules. This is where I take a sharp left and talk about my day since I feel like yammering. School is a bitch. Quantitative reasoning is a bitch with S&M gear. Writing papers is a never ending mill of production (in fact, I have a paper to write when I finish all of THIS typing–shut up, I like fun typing). I knew what I was getting into so the whinging is pretty lame, but every once in a while, this girl needs to vent because college is a sixteen hour a day job wherein I pay someone else reeeally well for all the work I do. Yep.

Oh, right, there’s the people teaching me. I suppose I’ll call it a draw.

Badee, badee, badee…that’s all, folks.

More YARGH!

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Found out last week I’m moving a thousand miles in about 30 days. I knew I was leaving the south eventually, but WHAM! As they say, the chips fell into place.

If you ever wondered why I chose the name YARGHING for this blog, it’s situations like this one (though to clarify, they are mostly of my own making).

I’ll be dog-paddling until mid-November, I’m guessing.

See you again when the turkeys get nervous….

STAAAHP!

*begin rant*

I don’t know anyone else who has to eat plain oatmeal with soy milk, and coffee with soy milk and raw sugar, and drink 32oz of water with their 800mg of Ibuprofen, so they can do light housework and not wind up incapacitated for the next 48 hours. But we all get stuck with junk in life. I know NOBODY who’s living a fairy tale day in and day out.

The reality is, no matter how well we try to guard the boundaries, sh*t still gets in. The energy put into fortifying the walls is 90% waste. We can’t prepare enough. We can’t lie to ourselves enough to change reality. Learning to roll with the punches beats wearing 100 pounds of metal plating. Think about the logistics of that, how much work it takes to carry it around and tend to it?

We can’t be perfect–pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, or nice enough. We can’t be prepared–death and taxes and random weather and any other number of things are still coming for us.

The thing we CAN do, is live our lives the best we know how without falling for the hype that we have to measure up to the standards of other people. Being able to see and accept what we are at face value, when we’re doing our best, is what makes us strong. We can live our lives fearlessly even knowing we can get knocked down at any moment. Getting back up is what makes us strong. Being able to humble ourselves and ask for help when we need a hand makes us strong.

I get so tired of the spoon-fed concept of “cool.” Having to own more and better than the rest. Having to appear totally in charge, with zero weaknesses, and all of the negative things that come with it. It’s just more armor. At every age, across our lives, there is something about us that is more beautiful than all of the unreasonable standards out there could ever match. Through any of the battles we have to fight, we can still bring people and thoughts and projects to life, and they carry far more emphasis than the struggle. Every mess in our lives will be cleaned up in its own fashion.

We are not separate from each other, and no amount of pretending we are changes it.

I want to live in a world where the things we expect from mankind come from reasonable ideals, and the things we expect from ourselves bring us joy rather than stress. Life shouldn’t be about fear and measuring up. A good life, to me, is one lived with freedom and honesty.  Even if universal social standards will never coalesce into one ideal, there is still the possibility of resetting the base principles. And if the human race could accept life is not a contest, then maybe, just maybe, the constant undercurrent of anger out there would start to wane, because as I see it now, it’s consuming people.

The day I stopped watching network television was the first step in changing how I perceive myself and what I want from my life experiences, but I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t realize how powerful advertising could be in shaping my views and wants. My point isn’t to demonize TV, but to express the freedom I feel from being told what to want, how much of it to want, and where I can get it. My life feels more authentic because I don’t have images thrown at me every seven minutes shaping my expectations. But this is my experience and my experiment and I don’t assume anyone will care about the results, honestly.

What I do know is this: I’m far happier now than I was in the years I spent witnessing every tragedy and finding myself paralyzed by fear. I’m free to move and breath and participate in making the world around me a better place, rather than locking myself in a tower. I no longer care what my boss, my family and friends, my neighbors, or a stranger walking down the street, think about how I look. That’s MY business.

I’m free to hop out my front door and experience my life, come hell or high water, content with the skin I’m in, and it’s a better adventure than any I’ve dreamed up.

*End Rant*

Night of the Living Dead Writer

Every writer person needs to give themselves a periodic evaluation. Some points to cover here are; work ethic, enjoyment, knowledge of craft and industry, process, production, goal setting, understanding and attracting audience, fears, social media, add infinite sub-categories, ad nauseam. So I’m going to break these few down for myself, one by one. My answers have nothing to do with you at all, but maybe, in context, there’s something in the following purge to be picked up and put in your bag of tricks.

1. Work Ethic: “Work Ethic is a value based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character.” Now that we have the meaning, how does this play out for yours truly? Well, not so good. In the beginning, back in February of 2008 to be exact, writing a novel was for funsies. Then I quickly found out it isn’t all fun. CAN there be fun? Yes, and there should be, but the long haul is also going to be work. Quips about getting paid for a hobby aren’t all that accurate for the average individual. “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life!” I call shenanigans, me hearties. Mama said there’d be days, yanno?

My overall self-assessment here is like looking at a bar graph. Once I finished that first novel (however terrible it was) I made the realization I am CAPABLE of writing long tracks of story. That was a serious eye opener. When I compare myself to compatriots who’ve talked about wanting to write a novel, and who’ve never completed a novel, and then I see I have written a dozen of them in five and a half years–I realize I DO have a decent work ethic. But I have to be glaringly honest, also. The time when my heart was huge and beating like a drum and my fingers were pounding away at the keyboard is behind me now. I have a more realistic outlook about what it takes, and how to get where I want to be, and I’m not putting in the time and the work to get there anymore. The inner struggle over “what do I want to be when I grow up” still rages, even though I thought I had it figured out. I still want to be a writer, but reality dictates this is not the most common of dreams come true. There are still a few years between me and burger flipping, so I get serious again, or I concede the career path and go another route.

2. Enjoyment: I used to enjoy writing with a bloody passion, even on the days I hated it with a blind fury. The joy comes and goes now, but it’s been mostly gone. This is the first year the spring/summer season passed without my writing a new manuscript. But the fall/winter season is upon me. The kids go back to school, I usually spend a week or two falling back into the “time to breathe and think” pattern, and then something clicks and I get busy. Watching the leaves change, feeling the cold sneak in, holding the warm mug with finger-less gloves and pulling the scarf from the closet; something about it renews me every stinking year for as long as I can remember. Autumn is “my” time to blossom. I’ve made a deal with myself this year. I’m going to try and regroup and get serious again, and love writing just for the sake of loving the experience, publication be damned. I think focusing on the monetary outcome and recognition is what finally zapped me of my happiness, and I miss it.

3. Knowledge: There was a time, after that first novel, when I spent more time researching craft and industry than I ever spent actually writing. It took me a good five years to get a solid foundation under my belt. There is SO MUCH to learn about this process it can seem a little overwhelming in the beginning, but the trick is time and moderation. It’s just as important to spend time writing as it is to spend time learning. I’ve done a lot of both, so I’m pretty set in this department. Is there a lot I don’t know? Hell yes there is! But I have enough in my toolbox to go confidently to the blank page. Anything else at this point I can learn on the way, and THAT is a good place to be.

4. Process: I’ve already mentioned my big energy burst in the fall. and that’s definitely a moment to take advantage of. But there’s more. There’s a lot of talk about writing by the seat of your pants vs. plotting out what you’re going to write. I’ve discovered I fall in the middle. My tactic for this year is to use the post-it note system. Screw fancy writer programs, screw thinking I can wing it–brief chapter summaries stuck to the wall are a decent enough guide, and a little notebook for details about name, descriptions, places, is about all I need. Different things work for different authors, but trying a lot of things so you CAN discover what works and what doesn’t is time well spent.

5. Goal Setting: Two novels this school year, at least 70K each. That’s my goal. In the past, I sort of just wrote stuff, however the words got on the page, and in whatever genre struck my fancy, and whenever it got completed was sort of moot, but having studied market and trends, I have a better knowledge base for goal setting. For some people, the goal is words per day, or trying a new genre. It’s an ever changing little monster, those first few years, sort of like process. But the day comes where you settle in and know what to shoot for, and I’ve hit that day.

6. Audience: This one is interesting. I settled in right away with middle grade and young adult genre fiction. I LOVE hanging out with my kids, and am pretty good with everyone else’s. My particular sense of humor is a life saver because the young-uns dig it. But there’s also a part of me that’s dying to make a move towards adult literature (non-genre). The trouble is, I don’t think my knowledge and chops are up to par yet. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing for the time being, and maybe make that transition later, maybe not. Who knows. Either way, I love READING genre fiction for kids as much as I love reading adult lit, so I’m good with what I’m producing and for whom.

7. Fears: Oh my, there are so many that must be overcome. Am I good at this? Will I ever catch a break? If I catch a break, will anyone actually buy what I’ve written? Do I suck like a drain? Am I fooling myself? A lot of these fears hinged on publication as a goal, and I’ve decided it’s far too life sapping to care about any of it. Seriously, it almost caused the downfall of this entire gig for me. SCREW THE FEARS. Things are going to happen just like they are, much like the rest of life, and there’s only so much control we’re given over the outcome. So, I’ll show up and do my part, and I’ll stop worrying so much about the end game, and let fate take the rest. It’s the only way I’m going to stay sane enough to produce the stories I want to tell–and I MUST want to tell them, or why did I ever start?

8. Social Media: This is where I drop the ball and watch it roll into the street in full traffic. Let’s just all be honest about what I’m doing online. I’m a tad bitchy, I’m on the tame end of vulgar, I’m fairly private about who I am and what I want to share, and I just plain don’t give a crap to spend a lot of time arse kissing. So far as platform goes, I’m probably shooting myself in the foot every time I post a blog, but I’m happier being ME than what someone else might want, so that’s what the world gets. I’m totally okay with this. If the publishing industry isn’t okay with it, I’ll fall into the “tough sh*t” barrel with the rest of the rejected snarks. So be it.

Let’s wrap this blog entry up! I’m okay with my standing in all areas but work ethic and enjoyment. To be fair, the second had an impact on the first. But a few of those later questions about knowledge, process, and fear were what infected number two to begin with. I think realizing my internal state and expectations are reasonable and in control are what’s going to help me get my house back in order. Night of the Living Dead Writer be gone! A new day breaks.

As always, thanks for putting up with me while I ramble, and go be awesome!

“You can’t make me!”

Guess what, sugar butt? Yes, I absolutely can.

Depending on who you are, of course, and what tactics I use.

Control starts very early on. It’s so ingrained in us at such an early age, that the urge to fight it might rear it’s head, but the average bear will eventually submit. It’s such a part of who we are, that we don’t often realize just how controlled we’ve become.

The Miley Cyrus thing has been talked about in many ways since her VMA performance, most notably in terms of racial and cultural appropriation, and the good ole’ slut shaming arguments. (Click this sentence to read a blog on the Miley subject that actually makes sense)

I’ve never bought into slut shaming–you have to believe sluts exist to go there. It’s actually sex shaming. That SHAMEFUL, SHAMEFUL, nasty sex girls are having all over the place. How can they be so SEXIFIED? I dunno, maybe because they’re wired to reproduce, and it’s fun, and they have free will. There’s an oxymoron at play in the way society places expectations on women. You must be virginal and “good” and not be naughty with your goodies! That is, until some man or woman or alien from Zantax 92 wants you to be a royal dirty strumpet behind closed doors, or say, on a stage being viewed by millions.

For everyone crying, “Hanna!” there’s someone else jeering, “Yeah BABY!”

Seriously, people?

And for those of you straight up making fun of her arse in those shorts? What is YOUR problem and who made you the Butt Judge? Or is this about something more, like say, tearing down a successful, wealthy, celebrity who happened to have a bad moment because your life is mediocre…well then, take control of your life and make it something more. Get so busy being awesome that you don’t have time to sit around judging butts.

Why am I talking about “sluts” and twerking, anyway, when I started out ranting about control issues? Because it’s the exact same thing. There are people afraid the girls are too slutty! There are people afraid the girls aren’t slutty enough! And what do we know about fear, me hearties? It’s firmly attached to those people who want to be in control.

Why not educate young girls and boys about sex in a way that’s NOT shaming, and about all types of birth control, and about pregnancy options without judgment? Because then there’s no control. We can’t even give adults that sort of freedom and trust.

Cultural appropriation–ask yourself what people are afraid of here? A loss of identity and individuality? A loss of respect for their specific mores and styles? Because all of those things play into this topic, too.

Why not band together as a world of people rather than specific types? Because then there’s no control of borders and ideals and those sparkly things we think make us MORE SPECIAL than others. The ONLY thing making this one in any way relevant, is the fear it takes to put a whole race on the end of a chain or on a few plots of land and then systematically reduce their numbers and relevancy while using their images and products to make cash. That’s just messed up so bad I can’t handle it.

The forms of control are endless.

Monetary control among the poor. Giving them just enough to survive but never enough to thrive and improve. Keep them right where they belong, under the boot, so some rich arsehole somewhere can exploit the little he or she does and get the pity vote from the tax payers who are scared sh*tless by that poverty.

One of the most common, from where I’m sitting, is relationship control. You want to know what I think about divorce rates? A lot of times, it’s about people not getting their way with someone else instead of letting everyone BE who they are. Men are sort of programmed to want to take care of those little women, but the reality is, not all women want or need this lovely “service.” Some women want to change their wayward men, which ain’t all bad, but sometimes they expect way too much. Just please get a clue in this department, bickering couples of the world. Are there women who want to be taken care of? Of course, and if they get their way, more power to them, so long as they didn’t get their way through manipulation of another. Are there men out there looking to change? Sure–I hope they are lucky enough to meet people who inspire them to be more than what they are, to achieve their goals, but I feel sorry for the sap sucker who links up with a bossy wench.

I won’t even go into parent/child relationships. You all know the score there. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to deny that specific control is rooted in fear.

And what about physical control? I can’t even discuss the level of BASTARD it takes to control another person in this way when it’s unwarranted.

Which brings me to laws. We can pretend all we want it’s about order, but it’s still rooted in fear. We keep making laws to control the people who act in ways we find “bad,” which is many times subjective, and the criminals keep pushing back because they’ve proven they won’t be controlled. Who enjoys more freedom: the fretful, suspicious law maker, or the guy sitting in jail because he base jumped from a skyscraper? Yeah, crime is real, and it’s not going anywhere, but instead of wasting the time and money focusing on seat belts and body modifications, how about we stick to rape and murder and theft? Let’s try and keep the fear reasonable.

But this crap’s been going on since we crawled from the ooze, right? We’re used to that sh*t, right? Why think for ourselves and stop being afraid?

Every time we log in, every time we turn on a radio, every time we look at the TV, there’s some peppy jerk with perfect teeth telling us what to want, how much of it to want, and where to get it. BUT WE KNOW THIS ALREADY.

Haven’t we had all of these conversations? I swear to Christ every single thing wrong with the world has been hashed and rehashed to the point I’ve realized it’s all talk and games. Pretending to give a crap is great, really (not really). It’s what we do that defines who we are, says a gravelly voiced Batman, so what exactly are we DOING?

We’re buying into all of it. We’re buying the shit we’re told to buy, from stores we’re told to hate. We’re telling our daughters to not have sex when we know full well they’re going to. We’re telling our sons to “man up” even when we understand some of them were born with a gentler soul. We’re invading other countries, and calling each other names, and taking what isn’t ours, and making everyone apologize for everything that comes out of a mouth sideways. We’re demanding, demanding, demanding….in all the wrong ways because we’re afraid.

Sure, there are people demanding peace, and tolerance, and sharing, and loving, and truth, all of those good things we should aspire to, but the numbers aren’t there. It’s too few against too many.

And if the majority was more aware of the reason they’re so off track, change might actually be possible. To go back to the beginning, the point is not IF I can control you, the point is, I don’t want to because I won’t live my life worrying about what you’re going to do next..