June 30, 2000
Nothing New Under the Sun
As I'm moving tomorrow, Brand was kind enough to contribute a guest entry. It's a rambling bit of a rant that came up after reading a rather annoying webpage, to which I refuse to link. Anyway, comments or questions should be emailed to Brand.
Recently I've become annoyed, yet again, with the trend towards insistence upon originality. There is little that annoys me more than the assumption that something must be original in order to be worthwhile, interesting, or insightful. So let me begin this rant with the following words:
Everything I say on this page has been said before. There is nothing new under the sun, and all my thoughts are based on the thoughts of others. Through me the dead speak.
With that out of the way, let me give you my thoughts on originality. (Unoriginal, I don't really know if I can even properly call them "my thoughts" as they came to me through the works of others. The only claim I have to them is that I believe them to be true, and will until my mind is changed again by something else that I come upon as a result of someone or something else's actions.)
There was a time when originality was not the God upon the Pedestal. There was little value seen in drawing things out of the air (and most did not really believe it was possible, as knowledge is based upon experience) as creation was seen not as the result of one genius, but of the ongoing dialogue of ages and times. Now there was genius seen in the act of taking the words of others and synthesizing them, or of restating what was old in a fashion that was powerful and true. This, you see, is the genius of Shakespeare. He did not create from nothing, and for this some modern critics -- caught up in the chains of their own pathetically self-referential discourse -- attack him. He did not create Romeo and Juliet , he simply re-spoke the words of others. Well of course he did -- that was what he was supposed to do. The point was that he re-spoke them well.
The whole emphasis on creative originality is a long thing that ties into many facets of history and the development of our culture. It has issues of the development of the individual as subject (which was not, by the way, all about making us free people, but was also a subject that developed due to new methods of categorization and control), and several other things, but the largest of them is money. Yes, that is right, we created the ideal of creative originality for money. You see if you base your words off the words of others, if everyone is part of the same ongoing discourse, then no one can copyright and claim an idea as being theirs and no one else's. It is only by claiming sole patent to an idea that you can charge for the idea.
Didn't Shakespeare charge for his plays? Why yes he did -- but he did not charge for the intellectual material of the play, he charged for his statement, his words upon that subject. Anyone could tell the story of two star-crossed lovers, it was just that only Shakespeare could tell it with those specific words. The difference comes when suddenly we had authors who were claiming that they did not just make the words, but the whole of the story and so even the idea of two star-crossed lovers must be attributed to them.
So what has been the result of this dependence on money and personal glory that resulted in the emphasis upon original creativity? Well, it is deep and subtle, but it is easy to argue that it was one of the lead causes of alienation and the death of poetry and literature. When everything of a book belongs to the Author (the Authority ), what is left to the reader? To sit and admire the genius of the Author? That is an exercise that gets old quickly. The most enduring works were always those in which the audience participates in some way -- in which they feel a part of the work and not just a stone to sit still and be spoken to.
However, all those deep issues aside, the thing that irritates me the most about it all is when people that are little more than wagging jawbones and headpieces filled with straw claim originality. "I am me, and these are my ideas!" They yell, "If you think what others think it is because you are weak minded! Be like me and be yourself, not like them, like me!"
Please people, get over yourselves. There is nothing new under the sun, and every word you will ever speak or think was given to you out of the mouths of others. You may (and I sincerely hope do) process the words into your own form and contemplate and work over the ideas given to you.
Just don't tell me that you came up with the idea that a hate crime is the same as or different than any other crime all by yourself. You didn't, and you aren't fooling anyone. Be part of a discourse, not a self-nominated genius who preaches to us poor masses. We all know that you aren't spouting your own water, oh fountain, but that of the deep well which feeds you.
June 29, 2000
When I Was Ten...
(This entry was written as a part of the Waning Poetic collab group.)
I was thinking about this particular collab topic and wondering what I'd write about. Then in the mail today I got the copy of the 1983 movie version of The Pirates of Penzance I'd won on eBay. You know, the Gilbert and Sullivan musical. (For the record, that's the source of all of today's quotes, as well.) My love for this particular operetta started early. Right about the time I was ten, in fact. I think in 1981 was when the New York Shakespeare Festival did their big revival production of it, of which I caught glimpses on things like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (my source of info on all things theatrical as a kid) and telethons and such. I thought it was fairly nifty.
Then my mom decided to join the Columbia Records Club (yup, they were still selling records then). She let me pick out some of the records I wanted. Lo and behold, they had the Broadway cast album of The Pirates of Penzance. I decided I wanted it. Got it, listened to it a few times, and lost interest. Most of it went over my head. The language was too formal and the music too close to classical. Rex Smith was kinda cute though. (I never said I had any taste when I was ten.)
Then in 1982, the summer I turned ten years old, The Pirate Movie came out. It wasn't until I was sitting in the theatre -- I believe with my best friend Stephanie, although it may have been my other best friend Michele -- that I learned that The Pirate Movie was an attempt at an updated remake of The Pirates of Penzance. "Hey," I told either Stephanie or Michele, "I have that record at home!" They failed to be impressed.
I, frankly, adored that movie. I walked out of the theatre that summer day with an overwhelming crush on Christopher Atkins. I thought he was the cutest thing I'd ever seen, and The Pirate Movie was the absolute pinnacle of moviegoing. It was romantic, it was funny, it was just 'dirty' enough to titilate a ten year old, and it had (I thought) awesome music. (Allow me to reiterate: I never said I had any taste when I was ten.) As soon as I got my allowance, I bought the soundtrack album, and listened to it incessantly. Stephanie and I would act out bits from the movie and dance around and sing along to the soundtrack. I must have seen it at least four times that summer.
I remember being outraged at the end of the year when it was resoundingly declared to be the worst movie of 1982. Looking back, of course, and having seen it once or twice since, I know just how awful it is. You can make the argument that they were doing exactly what Gilbert and Sullivan did when they originally wrote The Pirates of Penzance. I mean, both were meant to make fun of the society they sprang from, but The Pirate Movie ultimately lacks a lot of the wit that its predecessor holds.
It doesn't matter. The Pirate Movie turned me back onto The Pirates of Penzance, which remained a mainstay of my album collection until I lost all my albums when I left Gary. By the time I was in high school the role of Ruth (the matronly alto character -- a type that shows up in every G&S operetta) was one of my dream roles. My sophomore year in college we did a production of Pirates and I got my one and only chance to play one of my dream roles when I was cast as Ruth. It was seriously the pinnacle of my theatrical career.
And to think, I owe it all to Christopher Atkins and Kristy McNichol.
Damn it. Now I've got The Pirate Movie soundtrack stuck in my head. Not only that, I'm feeling horribly nostalgic to see the movie again.
June 28, 2000
Today's my last day of work before I move on Saturday. It's going to be a busybusybusy couple of days. I hate moving. Hate it with (as we used to say) a flaming purple passion. I would positively worship anyone who could invent a teleportation device that would allow you to teleport your belongings from one place to another without packing or carrying or any of that mess.
Of course, it's my own fault I'm going to be so busy, as I've been rather slack this week in packing and cleaning and such. Ah well, it's been a good week, for all of that. Max is doing much better. His voice is slowly but surely starting to come back, as evidenced by him wandering around the house meowing last night. He scared me to death last night as I was trying to go to sleep. He was laying next to me on the bed, sound asleep, when his hind legs would periodically kick and twitch violently. At first I thought he was having a convulsion, it was that bad. As he seemed okay otherwise, and was so soundly asleep, I started to realize that it looked like he was fighting something off in his sleep (he fights with his hind claws). I guess he must have been having a nightmare. I worry sometimes about what he's been through.
I did get something accomplished yesterday, however. I mentioned possibly creating a gaming journalers' webring in yesterday's entry. Well, I did. Gamer Geeks: Journals With Character was created yesterday and currently has three members with a fourth waiting to be approved. Woohoo! Of course, in the process of setting up the webpage, I taught myself CSS for real, instead of the faked version on my journal pages. Now I'm eyeing my journal and tempted to re-vamp everything. This is the first big redesign bug I've had since going to frames last November. I think any major overhaul is going to have to wait until after I move for sure, and quite possibly until after I finish writing the book.
Yes, yes, I know I've been terribly vague about it here, but the book plan I mentioned nearly a month ago did get accepted by Dream Pod 9 , and I'm currently working on the first draft, which is due at the end of July, and waiting for my contract to come in the mail. Mail from Canada to the US (and vice versa) is decidedly weird. The contract hasn't gotten here yet, but the waiver for the story they published on their webpage got here last night. It was sent about a week and a half after the contract. Sigh. I mean, it's not like I don't already know what the terms will be, I'm just impatient to actually SEE it. I've mentioned to a few people that I'm 'under contract' to write a book, and that's not exactly true, yet. Until that silly form comes in the mail.
June 27, 2000
I got a birthday present last night! Yay! It's about two weeks early, but that's fine by me. Brand pulled it off my wish list, the stinker. Ironically, he got my birthday present for him yesterday too. I wish he could make it up here for our birthday (that's not the royal 'we', both of us have our birthdays on July 7), but we're hoping to get together sometime this summer. I haven't seen him in a year and a half.
I went a little nuts with online shopping yesterday, but I'm so ecstatic (and I'm not the type to normally get ecstatic about shopping). Look at this! It's an attractive, casual dress in my size, for $11! I can't normally buy underwear for $11. Did I buy it? Oh you better believe I did.
And since I'm linktastic today, if you haven't read Sluggy Freelance yet, well why not?! Actually for the current story, which so far is causing me to spew potable liquids all over my keyboard, start here. "Goddamn the evil! It always approaches in the middle of dinner."
I haven't talked much about the non-Max related parts of my weekend, but they were cool. I finally had a chance to run Tribe 8 on Saturday with Jo and Eric. It was a lot of fun! As I reported to the Tribe 8 email list:
Well. I survived. What's more, all my players survived. And beyond that, all their /characters/ survived!
So we must have done something right. :)
Overall, we had a blast. We rolled far more dice than I normally would in a session, but there was more combat going on than usual, and there was a lot of risk-taking involved.
My PCs are a riot. Their newly formed cell consists of the two PCs (a decidedly butch Magdalite 'toy'-maker who's probably going to be either a Jacker or a Lightbringer [Jo's character] and a puny, illness-ridden, sarcastic Yagan who's either going to be a Herite or a Doomsayer [Eric's character]) and two NPCs, a Dahlian Herite (I think she was, she might have been a Lightbringer, I forget offhand) and a Terasheban Herite.
Probably the single most amusing OOC moment was when both PCs fumbled sneak rolls for passing through the woods at night. Both players started going, "SHHH! We need to be QUIET!" very loudly, sending me into hysterical giggles.
A close second though was some quick thinking from the Yagan. Said fumbled roll resulted in an encounter with some squats who were eyeing the two women of the party speculatively. The Yagan pipes up, "Yes, well, these two were cast out of the Tribes because they were diseased. They gave their men horrible sicknesses..." The squats lost interest. :) I thought the Magdalite was going to kill him once they were home free. Heehee.
Overall, I've got a lot of potential to work with here. :)
Now, of course, I'm all psyched to run Changeling again. With me moving though, God only knows when we'll be able to get that group together again. Hopefully sometime in July.
Speaking of gaming and such, I'm considering starting a journaling gamers' (or is that gamer journalers'?) webring or 'burb. There was a gaming 'burb once, but it didn't go anywhere. Anyone out there interested? Can the journaling community stand another webring or 'burb? Email me if you're interested.
June 26, 2000
Watch Thou for the White People
This is one lucky kitty. Note the wacky fur and stretched out demeanor. He's doing better. This morning as I lay stretched out across my bed before work, he started 'marking' my face and head by rubbing against them. It was entirely too cute.
Today was also a day of much silliness around work. Or rather, one particularly silly moment that left me gasping for breath with tears threatening to run down my face. One of the other receptionists, Linda, was on the phone at the desk closest to mine, giving directions to our office to someone who had apparently gone past it. I heard her say, "Do you remember when you passed the white people by the side of the road? Go back there and turn left." I blinked, then got the giggles. It took Linda a moment to realize what she'd said. Then she started giggling, while still trying to give directions. Eventually, the guy she was giving directions to started laughing as well.
You see, one of the landmarks we use for people coming to our office is this rather bizarre set of statues that sit right before the turn onto our road:
Linda apparently couldn't remember the word 'statues', and so told the man to look for the group of white people. So, if you're ever coming to see me at work, look out for the white people.
June 25, 2000
Max is home. After nearly two weeks, he's back in the house, and he is a greatly changed kitty.
Saturday morning, about 11 am, I got a phone call. It was a man saying he'd been trying to reach me, but didn't want to leave a message on the answering machine. He'd found a black cat a week prior, he said. He didn't want to get my hopes up, but if I wanted to come take a look at him, I could. I dressed in a hurry, but I didn't hold out much hope. Three times prior, I'd gotten a call from someone who'd seen him, someone who knew where he was, and nothing.
The man, late-middle aged, looking like he'd just woke up and smoking a cigarette, let me into his house. I almost didn't go in. He creeped me out a bit. He went on and on about how he'd found the cat, described him as a "real love bug", and talked about how sick the cat had been. "He was so dirty, covered in garage grease and dirt. He couldn't hold food down, he had diarrhea..." The litany went on. I saw the cat, and my heart sank. It wasn't Max. It couldn't be Max. This cat was bedragged and lethargic, and didn't answer when I called him, nor showed any sign of recognition. I shook my head, "No... I don't think that's him." I went over and picked him up. He didn't feel right. Too skinny -- although I knew Max had probably lost weight -- and he didn't want me to hold him. He didn't want to be held at all. His fur, although about the right color, was matted and fluffy and tangled, and looked nothing like Max's glossy, fine coat.
I thanked the man and started to leave. The cat meowed. It sounded nothing like Max. Nothing. It was hoarse and tiny and pitiful. The man said when he'd found the cat, it had no voice at all, and was just starting to get it back. Abruptly, the cat flopped on the carpet, exactly like Max. He looked up at me, and his face was so similar. So similar that I leaned over and called, "Maxie, come here, Maxie." Slowly, the cat got up and walked across the man's living room to me. I tested him several times, and each time, he ignored 'Max' and came to 'Maxie'. I realized that's what I usually call him. Finally I was so undecided I knew I couldn't take the chance that it was Max. I agreed to take him. The man, while nice, was creepy, as I said, and promptly told me that Max had bitten him during a bath and that Max was under quarrantine. I told him I would call the animal shelter, then skedaddled as quick I could from the man's house.
Max fought me the whole way. He did not want to go outside. He did not want to get in the car. I was disheartened, wavering between absolute certainty that it was Max, and absolute certainty that it was not Max. Finally, I got him in the house. He started checking everything out. He found his food dish. He went in and used the litter box. He checked out his old haunts. I called my mom and left a message for her, then called Brand and woke him up. I started to tell him about Max, and just lost it. I started blubbering like a baby as I talked on the phone and followed Max around the house. I was sad, I was scared, and I was so relieved I couldn't stand it. Then I took Max to the vet, who said he seemed healthy enough, and gave him some medicine for the diarrhea and an antibiotic in case he'd picked up an infection.
Once we got home, Max went and hid under my bed, where he stayed for the rest of the day. The more I watched him, the more certain I was it was Max.
Later that night, after Jo and Eric left, I had a chance to brush Max and pet him, and I realized it really was him. Every mannerism I see now, where he hangs out in the house, how he walks, how he eats, I know it's him. He's breaking my heart. Where he was once a talkative cat, he's silent. His voice is hoarse and nearly gone. I'm hoping it comes back. He needs to be groomed, badly. He needs more grooming that I can manage, so I'll be taking him to a groomer after I move. But what hurts the most is seeing how wary he is, even of me. He'll let me pet him, but he hasn't jumped in my lap once, and doesn't like for me to hold him. He's weak and sick. Jumping up onto the couch takes an effort. I think that's why he didn't sleep in my bed last night. He couldn't jump up there.
I'm still worried, but I'm so glad he's home.
June 21, 2000
Okay, So I'm Moving -- When Do I Get to Stop?
Well, it's official. I'm moving in a week and a half. You'd never know it to look at my place. I'm going to be a busy, busy girl over the next couple of weeks. Oh, who am I kidding? I was already a busy, busy girl! It took me an hour to get my phone line transferred over, and I can't find any movers who are available that weekend, but other than that, things are peachy. I sent out a plaintive email to everyone I know begging for help moving. We'll see what happens. I offered to feed the movers and offered my firstborn, if I ever had one. (Although I didn't offer to feed them my firstborn. Hrm.) The only response so far was an offer to help conceive said firstborn, but that's another story for another day (to steal shamelessly from SecraTerri.)
I'm feeling more than a bit loopy at the moment. I have more to do than I know how to do, but instead of making me stressed, it's making me feel exhilarated. Maybe it was the walk I took earlier today. I don't know. Yes, yes, once again I'm trying to make some changes to my basic very unhealthy habits. Please note that I did not say 'diet' or anything related to that. I just realized today on my walk that I'm less out of shape than I was the last time I move, and that's a trend I'd like to see continue. I stumbled onto a new journal a bit ago, and the entry from June 18 really really spoke to me on this particular issue. I could have written it, in a lot of ways. I don't usually quote huge chunks of entries here, but this is so me it hurts:
You know what else, though? I think it's scary to really contemplate changing myself that much.I really need to drop her a note about that.
So much of who I am, so much of the personality I've built up, has its basis in being overweight. That is not all I am, but it is a significant part --
I want to pause here and say: Fuck, this is hard to write. Fuck! I need to, though. I know I'm repeating some of what you longtime readers have seen before. This is the hardest major issue in my life. I stopped writing about it for a long time because I never said anything new. I've had some time to stew, though.
-- of me. I know my parameters, both physically and mentally, when it comes to physicality. I know what reactions to expect from people. I know how to dress for my body. I have all of these loops in my brain that help me cope with the fact that I am fat. I quite possibly even measure how much I can trust people by how quickly they judge people based on physical appearance.
In other news, I started writing my book again, yay me. I cranked out three whole paragraphs yesterday, paragraphs that suck, but are complete nonetheless. Today has been too crazed with moving plans for me to even think about concentrating on my fictional little world, unfortunately. Oy, and then there's my Changeling game to plan for and my Tribe 8 game this weekend... Someone remind me, quick: why did I want to run two different games?
I miss roleplaying. I used to roleplay online every single day, just about. Now I can't seem to work up the energy to do it more than once a week or so. It's not that I'm burnt out, I don't think. I think I've gotten pickier about who I want to play with and what sorts of scenes I want to do. When I first discovered MUSHing, I'd play with anybody and do any scene, no matter how pointless. Now I want exciting scenes with a good storyline and to play with someone who's a good writer. My standards went up. I suppose that makes me a snob. Ah well. I miss playing more often though.
June 19, 2000
Matter of Habit
Max update: I got a second call about him Sunday morning. The woman called and said she'd just seen him outside her house. She gave me the address and I took off. I wandered up and down the streets calling him for about forty-five minutes, but no luck. If the two calls I got are right, he's still in the neighborhood, just a few blocks away from me. That's so unbelievably frustrating. I don't have the words. He's right there, and I can't find him. I'm changing my signs tonight to reflect the new information and to offer a reward.
I spent most of yesterday in a funk, mostly because of this. And I was ungodly tired. I went to look for Max around eleven, then did some things around the house to get ready for moving, then fell asleep in front of my computer. And I mean fell asleep. I was there for over four hours, out cold. And this was after sleeping over nine hours the night before. So of course, I couldn't sleep last night. Finally I think I dozed off for good around 3:30, and got up at 8. My frame of mind was not good last night. I was tense and anxious and sad.
Today's a little better. I'm still tired (imagine that!), but I'm not as tense. I haven't worked on my book in two weeks. Granted, I did write a short story in that time frame, but aside from that, the only writing I've done has been here. I need to change that. My goal is to work on one of the stories for the book today, or if work doesn't permit, tonight when I get home. I'm letting my personal life knock me out of the writing habit, and I can't do that. I've come too far recently for that.
I just want to be settled. That's all. I'm tired of upheaval and change all the time.
So, okay. Is it just that there's a glut of forums around? Or am I not asking the right questions to get a discussion started? Help me out here. :-)
June 17, 2000
It has been a very long, but mostly very good day. I'm tired as hell, so I don't think I'll be up for much longer. I spent most of the day driving around with my mom. We were in the car pretty consistently from 10 until 4. The good news is that I have an apartment, assuming I get approved for it. The bad news is that the Humane Society didn't have Max. (I did get a call about the signs I put up though. More on that in a moment.)
I think I'll be quite happy with the apartment we found. It's right across the street from where I last lived with Hollingsworth. I'm back to my old stomping grounds, and this makes me very happy. The apartment itself is a rather small one bedroom, but it should be big enough for me and my stuff and whatever animals I have (hopefully Max!). My financial crisis is at an end, hopefully for good. This also makes me quite happy. My mom said today, "I want nothing more than to see you settled and living, not surviving from paycheck to paycheck." Amen. That's where I want to get too. Maybe this will do it. I really think it will.
The Humane Society was tough. I admit, I had my hopes up. They had several black cats, but none of them was Max. Most were too small or too gray or both. I'll keep checking back every few days. The hardest part was while we were standing in line. The lady in front of us was holding a little dog. She was holding him so tight, we thought that he'd been lost and she'd gotten him back. Then the worker came around and took the dog and gave the woman a pamphlet called "Dealing With the Loss of a Pet". She started crying, and I realized she'd brought her dog in to be put to sleep. I looked over at my mom, and she was crying too. I love my mom for stuff like that. It shows that I get my tender heart from her. It turned out that Mom got reminded of when she took my childhood cat Ki-poo (yeah, that was his name, my dad named him) in to be put to sleep. And here I'd thought she'd always hated that cat.
I spent a few minutes playing with some of the kittens in the cages. One of them started gnawing on my finger and licking at it like Max does when he plays. That was when I almost lost it. Damn, I miss my cat.
Originally, I wasn't going to write so much about Max yet again. I had a wonderful evening tonight. After I got home from apartment hunting, I hung out for a while, restless. I wanted to go do something rather than just sitting at home all night. So I took off and went to go see Titan AE. I should mention that this is the first movie I've seen in a theatre since The Blair Witch Project last summer. Titan AE was a lot of fun. The animation was fantastic, as I expected. The whole thing had a decidedly anime feel to it, but that's also about what I expected. Then after the movie I went to dinner, then came home.
I was feeling great. Seriously, I was in the best mood I'd been in for weeks. Moving back closer to the Ann Arbor area feels like moving home again. I've been a total recluse in the time I've been here. About 95% of the time, I went to work, then came home. Weekends, I stayed home. I don't think that was a bad thing. Looking back, I think I needed that time, to come to terms with a lot of changes in my life. 1999 was a tough year for me. Last summer was especially tough in a lot of ways. I had a lot of grieving to do, some over the ending of the relationship with Hollingsworth, some over other issues I've been dealing with. Shutting myself away was how I dealt with that all. Now I'm ready to come out of my cocoon. I'm starting to already, and it feels good.
That's what I meant to write about when I got home. How happy I was. How I could see things were in an upswing after a lot of darkness. Then I got home to find this message on my answering machine: "Hi, this is Sandra. I, um, saw your cat. We're on Canyon Drive. He was heading on the east side of our house. My number is [her number]. Thanks!" It was too late to call her back. But what the hell is there to say? I appreciate her calling and all, but how does that help me? Okay, she saw him wandering around. I don't know when. I don't even know if it was Max she saw. I don't know how that information is going to help me find him. All it did was make me sad.
I know I'm avoiding dealing with Max's loss. I don't know how else to cope right now. I'm hold until I decide that he really is gone for good. I don't know how to react, because he's probably still alive and he might come back. I just don't know. That's absolutely the hardest part about all of this. Not knowing. How can I grieve and cry and get all weepy about this when he might come back? I don't know how to feel, so I hide from it. Probably not wise.
Today was such a good day, too.
June 16, 2000
T.G.I.F., In a BIG Way
It has been one all-around hellacious week. Car problems, money problems, and my cat is still missing. The good news is several-fold. I'm taking the car to get fixed on Monday. My financial situation, while tremendously crappy in the short term, is taking a huge upward swing in the long term. And I'm going to the Humane Society tomorrow to see if they have Max.
And, well... besides that, one good thing did happen this week. This sorta makes up for a lot of badness. Scroll down to my name. Yes, it's my first real and true professional publication. Yes, I'm being paid for it and everything. No I won't tell you how much. *grin* I'm actually really excited about this. If it hadn't been such a crappy week overall, I'd probably be bouncing off the walls. I'm now officially published!
I'm dealing with a lot of guilt as well right now, to be honest. For all practical intents and purposes, I'm borrowing a rather large sum of money from my parents, to bail me out of my financial mess. I hate it. It is not a good feeling. I feel like I should be past this, at nearly 28 years old. Admittedly, I haven't been here in a long time, but... it still sucks. I'm grateful, don't get me wrong. I'm immensely fortunate to have my mom. I just feel awful about it, that's all.
I suppose I can start focusing on the more positive aspects of my life right now. My writing career now actually exists and seems to be doing well so far. I have a wonderful relationship with my family. I have great friends who love me and who I love. I'm not on the street. I'm not starving. I have a decent job.
And if nothing else, it's Friday.
June 15, 2000
Missing, Day Two
Max is still missing. Day two. Last night was rough. I felt horribly, awfully alone. This morning was rough. I finally broke down and cried while talking to Brand online. I miss him and I'm worried about him. I put up signs today and I'm calling the pound when they reopen this afternoon. When I get home, I'm checking with the neighbors. I left food and his cat carrier out. In short, I'm doing everything I can. I don't know if it will be enough.
I've thought about how I'm going to move on, if he never comes back. If I haven't found him by the time I move, I'm going to start thinking about getting a kitten from the pound. Maybe two. The idea of two kittens romping around my house makes me smile. It makes me feel a little better. I wonder about that, what it says about me that I want to replace Max so quickly if he's really gone for good. Does that mean I didn't love him that much after all? I don't think so. I hurt too much over losing him. I've been beating myself up for two days now. (I should have gotten him tags. I should have known he'd fall out of the window. I should have been a better/more responsible/perfect cat owner.) I just don't want to live without a cat or cats for too long. I need a fuzzy little critter or two to snuggle with and play with. That's one reason I'm so upset, aside from just missing Max for himself and his own unique qualities alone.
The worst part about this is not knowing. If I knew he was dead and was never coming back, yeah, that would be hard and horrible, but I'd know. If I knew that someone else had him and he was starting to be happy in his new home, I could deal. Although, if I found out who had him, I'd definitely go knocking on their door demanding my cat back. But I don't know. I don't know if I should talk about him in the past tense or the present tense or what.
I miss a lot of things. I miss him curling up in my lap when I'm on the computer. I miss him sleeping on my feet. I miss him walking up to the head of the bed when the alarm goes off to get some morning scritches. I miss him following me around the house. I miss him yowling at me to pet him as soon as I get home. I miss him biting my feet when I'm on long phone calls. I miss the way he used to always cuddle with me when I was sad or crying. I miss the way he twines around my legs when I'm in the kitchen, regardless of whether his bowl is empty, or even if I'm actually getting food. I miss the hyper spells, the nonsensical freakouts, the sprawling out in front of my path on his back with the 'love me!' expression on his face.
I miss my cat. I know I keep saying that. The next couple of days are going to be very very rough. Bear with me.
In happier news, after Olwen sent out an announcement that she'd started her own forum on Greenspun, I decided to reopen mine. I've been having fun on other journals' forums lately, so maybe I'll have as much fun with mine.
June 14, 2000
This is not shaping up to be a good day. Max is missing. I'm sitting here at work trying not to go nuts with worry. Since I've had the windows open at night, he started sitting in the window of whatever room I was in, pouncing on the bugs outside. I was worried sooner or later that he might knock the screen out of the window, but not horribly worried. Well, last night, he did, and fell outside.
It wasn't a far fall, certainly not enough to hurt him, so I headed outside to get him. He wasn't anywhere to be seen. It was dark, so I called and called to him. Nothing. I went back in and got the flashlight. I wandered around my neighbors' yards, calling for him. Nothing. After about an hour of frantic searching, I went back inside. Every so often I went back to the door and called. I woke up this morning just after dawn and ran to the door, hoping he'd be there, sheepish and hungry. Nothing.
I'm worried to death. Max is my baby. He's been with me through a lot of things, good and bad. He's never been outside for more than ten minutes at a time, and that was with me watching him. He's declawed. I'm trying to be optimistic, but I'm certain, deep inside, that I'm never going to see him again. I hope I'm wrong. I've never wanted to be wrong so badly in my life.
I miss him. I think he probably misses me too, and I'm hoping that's what will bring him home. I missed him sleeping on my feet last night. The hem of my nightgown brushed my calf this morning, and I thought it was him. The little guy is a huge part of my life, and if he's gone for good, it's going to leave an equally huge hole.
I haven't cried about this yet. I've been close, but stopped, because I felt like I was being 'silly'. I've felt hysterics threatening, though, and I have a feeling the break might come tonight, if he's still not home.
Aside from looking through my neighborhood, I'm going to post signs tomorrow morning if he's not back. Then I'm going to call the shelters to see if he got picked up. Beyond that, all I can do is wait. I'm horrible at waiting.
But I'm even worse at losing pets.
June 12, 2000
Guilt and Taco Hell
Well. Today was supposed to be a productive day for taking care of all sorts of things I couldn't get done before and after work. Like apartment hunting and taking care of some car stuff. And therapy.
Supposed to be. Well, I did at least manage to call in. That's about all I managed to get done today. I don't know if it's the weather (which is currently cool and rainy), or all the heat and activity of the weekend, but I've been comatose for most of the day. I sat in front of the computer and fell asleep, then crawled off to bed and slept for several hours. I still feel out of it. My legs hurt like hell. I can't figure out what I did. The backs of my thighs and my calves hurt. The backs of my thighs? I don't get it.
I spent most of yesterday doing some long overdue housecleaning. It suffered from extreme chaos (translation: Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome -- I forget where I stole that from). If anything, I think it was hotter (or at least muggier) than Saturday. Then last night Jo and Eric came over. I always forget when people aren't around how much fun I have when they're here. We watched Labyrinth, which Eric had never seen. He liked it in spite of himself, I think. Then I introduced them to Tribe 8. (You didn't really think I'd go an entire entry without mentioning that, did you?) Yes, it's sad but true, I'm now running two different games. They made up their characters, and we talked a lot about the game world as a whole. I think they're going to enjoy this. I know I will.
Somewhere during all that, we decided we were hungry. It was almost midnight, and I knew that anyplace that delivered to my house had long since closed. So we piled into Eric's car at about 12:30 and went hunting for something that was still open. Needless to say, at nearly 1am on a Sunday, there was very very little open in this area. Another reason to miss Ann Arbor. We drove and talked and drove and ended up in an area of Westland that I was unfamiliar with. I was sure we were going to get lost. Jo's eagle eye managed to spot a Taco Bell, and we zoomed over there. There's a new trend in Taco Bell drive-thrus: a pre-recorded greeting. This big cheerful voice greeted us and invited us to try a combo meal, so Eric started talking, then another, slightly less enthusiastic voice jumped in. "Oh," said Eric. "I thought I was just talking to you."
"Nah, man, that's just a recording." Then he proceeded to do a wickedly hysterical imitation of the big cheerful voice: "Welcome to Taco Bell, thank you for choosing us!, etc etc." Jo and I were rolling around hysterically in the car. The four of us had a good time getting the order placed. Then before giving us our total, he said, "Is there another car behind you?" There was, and we told him so, then he gave us our total. Driving up to the window, I asked, "Would it have been less if we'd said no?"
Apparently we'd gotten there just as they were closing. We were the last customers, unfortunately for the people behind us. I have to admit, I haven't had that much fun at a drive thru in a long time. I need to see my friends more often, I think.
I'm feeling extremely guilty for missing therapy and not getting anything done today. I need to call and reschedule the therapy appointment tomorrow, in addition to getting a lot of things done that I didn't do today. I have to admit though, taking a nap on a rainy afternoon felt really really good.
June 10, 2000
Cheaper Than Therapy
Yes, it's a rare weekend edition of, well... me. That picture was taken moments before I yielded to the insane heat once more and put my hair up again. I took down to take a shower, then left it down while it dried. It's hot here in Michigan. Or, rather, it was hot earlier today. I have a feeling it's much cooler outside, and just hasn't cooled off in here yet.
It's been a fairly relaxing day. I didn't do a whole lot, aside from some work and worry about moving and apartment hunting, and getting some things done for that. Everything is still so completely up in the air, I can scarcely see it. I am trying extremely hard not to stress about it, however. Most of the time, I'm succeeding. Actually, let me rephrase that. I'm trying not to stress about it, while at the same time, actually being responsible about the whole thing, rather than just burying my head in the sand and ignoring it.
I did some surfing around earlier tonight and came across a nifty little site: imood.com. That's the new little image in the upper right hand corner of the entry. Since part of my treatment for depression involves keeping track of my moods, I figure I'd let everybody else in on it too. I imagine it'll only change when I do a new entry, and whatever my current mood is will be reflected on all the entries.
I'm feeling a little blocked, writing-wise. I had some great roleplay last night on Something Wicked, but other than that, nothing. I'm waiting for feedback on two recent stories -- one from my 'professional' editor and one from my 'personal' editor, i.e., Brand. I think I'm feeling stalled because I'm a little anxious about what they'll say. I should just fire up the word processor and throw myself into one of the stories I have outlined, and just do it. Oddly, with each project I complete and feel happy with, the more anxious I get when I go to start the next project. I've had such an incredible string of luck lately, I'm just certain that sooner or later I'm going to fall on my face.
And you know what? I will. Sooner or later, I'm going to write something absolutely sucky. I need to just quit worrying about it and write anyway. Then if it sucks, toss it or rewrite it. I need to get over the idea that the first draft needs to be nearly perfect. Besides, everyone knows you learn more from mistakes than from successes anyway. And heaven knows I have a lot to learn here.
Heh. I promise, this is not going to become solely a writing journal. No, I shouldn't promise that. It very well might. Writing is something I'm feeling remarkably passionate about right now. The success I'm having there is bleeding over into the rest of my life and making things easier to deal with. I can't argue with results like that. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy.
June 09, 2000
I can say, with all honesty, that this has been a very good week. Like I told one of my coworkers today, it's been one of the best weeks I've had in a long time. Of course, as soon as I say that, I get a call that makes me start stressing about financial things, but hey. It's all going to work out. I just have to keep telling myself that.
I can also say that I don't completely agree with Mr. Pound's quote over there to the left, although it made me grin. I don't feel that way about writing all the time, but I know I've had my moments. Another thing that makes me grin: me with writing as my 'profession'. I'd consider it more a vocation. Especially since I doubt I'm ever going to make a living at it. I've said it before, however, I don't care if I make a living. That's not the important thing here for me. I know it sounds silly, but there's more to all this than how much money I make doing it. (So says the woman who's just getting used to the idea of being paid anything for her writing.)
Money. Gah. I feel like that's all I'm writing about these days. That may or may not be true; I haven't checked my archives recently. I know it's definitely about all I'm thinking about. Well, money and writing. And gaming, but that's a normal thing. Please note that 'work' is not anywhere on that list. However, work has been good this week as well. Busy, but I've been extremely productive (see the 400 call entry a few days ago), and for the first time in a very long time, I'm completely caught up on everything I do around here. Go me.
Aside from money and apartment hunting, everything's been pretty good this week. I'm getting plenty of sleep, I'm getting a lot done -- did I mention that I wrote an entire story yesterday afternoon? It might be utter crap, but that's not the point. After
months years of starting stories and finishing maybe one in four of them, writing a story in one day is a remarkable thing. I'm learning slowly, that the thing to do is finish. Before I would get stuck in a story and quit until I could get unstuck. Or I'd get the seed of an idea and wait for it to blossom all on its own -- and so the story would never even get started. Writing one of the chapters for my book, I got stuck. I stopped for about a day, and then pushed through it. Yeah, by the time I finished, that section was a little weak, but it was something I was able to fix in the editing. The thing was that I finished. I think that gave me the oomph to go ahead and write yesterday's story.
June 07, 2000
I'm going for a record here, my friends. It's not a record I especially wanted, either. As of right now, I've taken 383 calls today. That averages out, at the moment, to a call every 1.3 minutes. And I've been productive aside from the phones as well. Needless to say, today has gone by fast, but damn will I be glad to get out of here. People have been crankier than hell today too. I've been yelled at more times than I can count.
Despite all that, it's been a very good week for me. I've felt... well, emotionally self-sufficient. I've spent a lot of time doing my own thing and being quite happy about that fact. Those of you on the notify list already know that I got some very good news earlier this week. It's nothing I can discuss completely publicly yet, until a *big grin* contract is signed, but if you're dying to know before that, email me.
I'm feeling hopeful again, the way I always do before big changes, and during big changes. Of course, this is all also probably linked to the way I've been living my life this week: lots of good sleep, eating at least marginally better than usual. And quite possibly the Zoloft is starting to kick in. It takes a couple of weeks. Whatever the reasons, complex as they are, I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Things are at least marginally sunny from where I sit. I'd like them to stay that way for a while.
Thursday, June 8, 2000, 12:32 pm
Okay, so I, um, didn't finish this last night like I'd planned. I ended up going to look at an apartment -- yeah, that's one of my big changes, I'm moving again. I hate that I have to, but last weekend I sat down and went over my budget carefully, and figured out one reason I've been having so much trouble with money lately. I can't afford to live where I am. I adore the trailer and I would love to buy it, but... I've tried to make it work for eight months, and I need to be honest and admit that it isn't working.
So, apartment hunting again. Feh. Last night I drove out to the town my mom lives in, where I'd heard about a studio apartment for rent for an extremely reasonable price. I made an appointment to see it, and Mom met me there. I knew the apartment was part of a house. Not unusual for this particular town. First impressions: the lawn was a mess. The bushes had grown up over most of the windows. The front door was painted white -- once upon a time. It was filthy. So we opened the door and went inside. The interior was worse than the exterior. There was trash sitting around. The floors were dirty. I mean really dirty. The guy who owned it had made a big deal about how he'd just put in new carpet and just repainted. I couldn't tell for all the garbage and dirt. It was tiny, but I'd expected that.
Then we looked at the bathroom. My comment: "Well, I know for sure they don't have a water softener now." This particular town is known for rusty water. The shower stall, sink and toilet were all bright orange. The water in the toilet was brown. We looked at the kitchen. One half of the sink was backed up with the same brown water. It was, predictably, orange. I didn't look in the refrigerator. I was afraid one of the previous occupants might have still been in there.
Mom and I just kinda looked at each other and said, "Um, no."
I have seen unpleasant apartments before, so I wasn't horribly surprised. I think Mom got her eyes opened a little though. I have to admit, of the apartments I've seen, this was most definitely the worst. So, I'm still on the lookout. If anybody knows of a nice, clean, inexpensive one-bedroom or studio in the Ann Arbor area, let me know.
(By the way, for the curious, I ended up getting 400 calls yesterday. A new Services Reception -- sorry, Services Administration -- record. Yay me. I could never have done it with you. Well, you and the 400 cranky people I talked to yesterday.)
June 05, 2000
Rainy Days and Mondays
Oooh, a Carpenters reference. I'm evil, I am. My ex-father-in-law used to tell me I sang just like Karen Carpenter. I took it as a compliment at the time. I suppose I still would. I liked her voice, even if the stuff she sang was cheesy. Besides, it's Monday and it's raining.
I'm not especially down, however. My mood is in sort of a holding pattern, you might say. I'm hoping to hear for real about my book today, so I'm sort of on edge about that. I finished writing one of the chapters this weekend, so even if she doesn't want it, I've finished another story that I personally really like.
Big changes coming up for me, and not all of them I can talk about. I know, I know that's annoying as hell, but believe me, when I can talk about it publicly, I will. The other changes involve essentially restructuring my life, to remove some really bad habits. I've got a lot changing all at once, and I don't mind saying that I'm pretty nervous about it. Again, I'm facing having to act like a grownup. I haven't been terribly successful at it so far. I'm hoping this time will be the charm. (No, it's not the third time. I think I'm way past the third time.)
No, I'm not going to go into another rant about how evil I am and how irresponsible. That's another one of my changes, trying to let go of a lot of the negativity I focus on myself. I had a therapy appointment this morning, and it raised some old, old questions about myself. Questions that I still don't have the answer to. It's easy for me to say that I have low self-esteem, the question is why do I? That's the question I don't have the answer to, even as self-aware as I am. I have a lot of ideas, but most of those ideas point outside of myself. The idea here isn't for me to lay the blame for my esteem problems on some outside group of people. There has to be some reason I've clung to this negative image of myself for nearly 28 years.
If you have any ideas, drop me a line, seriously. Some of y'all know me better than I know me.
June 02, 2000
I didn't fall off the face of the earth this week, really. It just feels like it. I submitted the book plan on Wednesday, and heard briefly back from the editor yesterday. It was nothing more than essentially "I got the file, here's a concern I had on the first skim through of it, you'll hear from me in detail soon." The concern she had was over the title and a name we were using to refer to one of the groups. Apparently it duplicates something already in existence in the game world. At first I was mildly disheartened by this. Brand pointed out to me though, that if all she finds wrong with it is the title, we're golden. He also pointed out she obviously found it worth a closer look after her initial skimming of it, which was very promising. I didn't think of it that way. So we'll see.
I was so encouraged by that outlook that I started working on the manuscript in earnest. Of four chapters I need to write, one was pretty much done already (it was what I'd submitted to her as a writing sample), and after last night, a second is half-finished. I wanted to work on the second a bit today, but I couldn't find my disk this morning to bring it in with me. I'm boggled, frankly. There just aren't that many places the damn thing could be, unless Max ate it while I slept. I traced my steps last night after I turned off the computer, and found nothing. I even looked in the refrigerator! Ah well, it'll turn up sooner or later, and if not, everything's saved on my hard drive.
I started therapy again in earnest yesterday. No real idea yet how well it's going to work out. This is my first experience with 'managed care' mental health treatment. The therapy I did with Nancy for so many years was very free-form and low-pressure in a lot of ways. What I'm doing now is very focused, driven, and goal-oriented. I understand the reasoning behind it, I'm just not sure yet that I like it. There's a lot of pressure for results in a short time. I do like the MSW I'm seeing. We figured out pretty quickly what areas I needed to work on. She seems to be more of a behaviorist than Nancy was. I had a bad experience with a behaviorist when I was in college, that was my first attempt to get help for depression as a matter of fact. The exchange went something like this:
Me: I don't know what's wrong, I can't get out of bed for classes, I'm crying all the time...And that was pretty much his answer for me. I can remember being so angry. 'Asshole, if it was that simple, I would have done that already!' College counselors. Feh. I hope they've improved in the decade since then. This is a little different though. Once I got over being so skittish at the idea of using cognitive-behavioral therapy, I started to see how it might work. Part of the reason I'm sort of dreading this now has to do with the fact that it is going to take some major changes on my part. And we all know by now how Lisa feels about change.
Him: Why aren't you going to classes?
Me: I don't know, I just can't seem to drag myself out of bed in the mornings.
Him: Well, I think you'll feel a lot better if you just drag yourself out of bed and go back to class.
But overall I feel good just lately. I'm starting to feel more in control of my life, which can't be a bad thing. Even better, I'm starting to let go of some of the things I can't control, and stop stressing over them.