It’s possible that cleaning up the house, uncluttering the house, also uncluttered my mind, and when it comes to deciding what to write about, I don’t think it’s a good thing. An uncluttered mind, tonight anyway, means a surface free of extraneous thoughts, extraneous stuff. I have a goal – sleep – and the path to my goal is unimaginative. Remove contacts, brush teeth, take shower, read book, sleep. Done. I can’t quite start down that path because John is in the shower, and I have to wait. Time to write, right? Sure. About what? Usually there are things everywhere. Papers on my desk, books stacked on the shelf, my riding boots in the corner. Today, those things are missing, stashed away, put where they belong. Not available for inspiration. Instead, this room is clear, and my mind is clear, and MAN, clear can be boring.
I have been blanking on things to write about lately. I feel like I keep talking about the same things: the weather, riding, running. There’s been a lot of music stuff recently, too. I’m happy to talk about any of those things when something interesting happens, but it’s all status quo around here. My riding is progressing nicely (I LOVE IT SO MUCH), but what’s new to say about riding in circles in the arena and jumping? I mean, until I start jumping higher or unless I fall off again or something, there’s a lot of repetition. I rode in the rain and wind today, but see? I just combined riding and weather. Not cool, bro.
I guess I’m in a writing lull. A writing gully. A culvert. A ditch. I don’t think I’m down a well or in a deep hole or anything. I’m just having a standard, somewhat boring week. Happy Wednesday to me.
Some days something happens, and I can sit down and write about it. Other days, maybe nothing happens, but I’m thinking about something, and I can sit down and write about it. Today, I started writing about something, decided it was stupid or boring, and deleted it. Then I did it again, but about something else. And then I did it again, but about a third thing. Considering what I do decide to post most days, that should tell you just how stupid or boring those three different things were.
So what have I got for you? Well, I finished The Sympathizer, finally. It only took a week, but it felt like an eternity. That’s not to say it wasn’t good… Tonight was book club night, and everyone had pretty much the same reaction except for a few people who LOVED it and one person who put it down after 30 pages and refused to finish it.
So far I don’t love my current book, but at least it has a plot.
That might be all I have for you.
Some days I have ideas, some days I don’t. Today I had something half-baked about feeling inspired by Neil deGrasse Tyson to read The Martian and Saturn Run, both realistic science in space stories, and something even less than half-baked about not caring much about Spiderman because I couldn’t think of the name of the editor who’s always demanding pictures of Spiderman.
None of that is really anything, and that probably means I should just keep quiet for a day, but hey – I have to live inside my head. I might as well share some of it with you, even if it is less than thrilling. Heh. As if anything I write is thrilling.
John liked The Martian, I’m enjoying it right now, and Saturn Run was really good (thanks, Erik!). And….that’s all I got.
Shoot, I missed a day. For those of you keeping track at home, yesterday is the first day I have missed since November 22nd. And….now I’ll just have to give up. Missing one day is the same as screwing up whole lives, right? I’d better lock my doors. The scary witch who lives in the woods at the top of the hill might be after me now.
This is about two blocks from our house. Maybe three. And sadly for the scary witch, her view out the front door (and down the hill) is of railroad tracks. Not so scenic. I should stop giving her reasons to come after me, since she’s obviously a dedicated reader (because who isn’t?), and I have let her down by skipping yesterday.
(Really, I am annoyed. I could keep it up during a cross-country move but I can’t remember to blog on a normal Sunday? I am disappoint.)
When I sat down in front of my computer, not five minutes ago, I knew what I was going to write about. In those last five minutes, I have ordered Chinese food (because I have no willpower) and watched John fly his flying Batman around the room (Batman is wearing a harness with two horizontal propellers over his head). John is trying to get Batman to land on my head, and I am threatening bodily harm to him (John) if Batman’s proprellers get stuck in my hair. This is all happening RIGHT now, AS I’m typing, and I have NO idea what I planned to write about five minutes ago.
I hope it wasn’t something brilliant.
The other day I was talking to John about how I try to post something every day, and that while I like posting every day, I’m not crazy about the pressure I feel to do it (self-imposed though it is). On the other hand, I’ve been pretty successful at it lately, and I’m not losing any hair over it. I posted 28 days out of 30 last month – that’s not bad. So then I checked my history. In seven years, my lowest number of posts per month is 2 (happened twice – May 2014 and July 2013). At the other end, in seven years, I’ve posted more than 30 times per month 11 times. I posted the most times in a month in May and March 2010 (36 times each), but I think I have to give the win to February 2010 (35 posts) since it only had 28 days.
The most mind-boggling part of this exercise is the realization that I used to post more than once a day! That hardly seems necessary. I just don’t know when to shut up.
In case you’re wondering, I have managed to finish my work things. Yay for me. But time for blogging I have not had.
Let’s be frank. All of us. We should all be frank. Frank won’t mind. He’s a generous guy. While we’re all being frank, I’ll say this. I probably have time to blog. But if I blog, I won’t be reading. And I want to read. I would rather blog than work, but that’s not the greatest idea, not if I want work to continue to pay me, so I can’t blog while I’m at work. Most days, I’ve been working a little later than I would prefer, so when I get home, I want to eat dinner and watch TV, and then I want to read and go to bed. Somewhere in there, I talk to John (because, you know, I still like him).
I’m not crazy about this trend, but blogging has not been my priority. Also, I don’t like using “blog” as a verb, so I’m going to stop doing that.
I want to want to write more. I have notes and drafts and pictures and things. They will all become posts. Soon. Really. Because I like you. And I like it here.
I’ve been hearing for years that blogging is dead. Maybe it is – it’s certainly changed over time. Maybe I’m a ghost. Well, I’m alive, but my blog is a ghost! Ghost-blog! Nananananananananana GHOST-BLOG! (That’s my theme song. It’s similar to Batman, but a little more melodic.) Back when I had more free time (less going on at work), I read a TON of blogs (seriously a lot). Maybe not daily, but certainly weekly. They’re all saved in GBookmarks (all 82 of them – I just counted), and over this long weekend, I decided to check them out after my long absence. My VERY long absence.
SO many of them have died! 56 out of 82 are gone. That’s actually not as many dead ones as I expected when I started checking and counting, but that’s still an awful lot of dead blogs. Some of them still exist but haven’t been updated in two years or longer. Others don’t exist at all. The next step (in cleaning out my bookmarks) will be to see if I actually go back and read the ones that are left. The bigger question is how long will it be before this happens to me. There’s nothing wrong with the people who have dead blogs (I hope). Life got too busy, they didn’t have anything they felt like saying so publicly, some made their blogs available to invited people only (and I was not invited)…I only know of one who actually died (Roger Ebert), but I guess I wouldn’t know if that happened to anyone who wasn’t famous or who I didn’t know personally.
Let’s hope I don’t get bored, too busy, or die so I can stay right here for a while yet. For all three of you who are still reading. Okay, maybe five. Love you guys!
What should one do when one can’t think of anything to write? One could stay far away from the blog, to avoid publishing the vapid contents of one’s brain, but I’m afraid that cat is out of the bag. One could surf the internet looking for inspiration, but that assumes one isn’t working and should not be on the internet at all. One could rifle through one’s memories of the past week, full of holiday cheer and conviviality and whatnot, searching for stories to tell one’s adoring readership, but then one might remember the last week was rather low-key and was already mined for interesting tidbits. One might consider regaling one’s public with details of the sinus issues one is currently experiencing, but one might reconsider, as that would be unseemly, impolite, and gross. One could try changing one’s writing style, but one might be worried about sounding stilted or snobbish. One wouldn’t want that. Best not to try it.
I just checked, and it turns out I didn’t actually publicly declare my intention to post something here every day in November (my version of NaNoWriMo, which, turns out, is an actual thing, as I discovered by reading Ms. Wombat’s blog). And it’s good that I didn’t publicly declare my intention because I’ve already failed, having skipped Sunday the 2nd. So let’s just say I didn’t even privately declare any such intention and move on. Nothing to see here. Except when I post something. Which will happen every once in a while. “Every once in a while” might look a bit like “every day”, but let’s not raise expectations. Expectations lead to obligation. I don’t want any more obligations.
We’re at the breakfast table this morning with Gaby, who is writing in her journal about what we did yesterday.
Gaby: Well, I want to write that we saw monuments, but…I don’t know how to spell “saw”.
John couldn’t hold the laughter in. She had no problem with monuments. And then I heard her spell Washington with very little hesitation. She’s a genius!
We’re all on our laptops (except Gaby, who’s using a cute little spiral-bound notebook) this morning, after a nice lie-in. Wolf Trap cancelled last night’s performance of The Pirates of Penzance, so we stayed in and had our picnic dinner in the family room with The Muppet Show. It’s just as well – we were all pretty worn out after the heat and the driving. We met up with Jess (Hi, Jess!) for a yummy lunch in Annapolis, blew some bubbles at the harbor (also thanks to Jess), ate some really good ice cream, and tried on lots of hats at Hats in the Belfry. Hey! That’s news for us – John found a hat. One that fits and looks pretty cool and will keep him from burning his head every time he goes out in the sun. It’s a miracle. I fell in love with a plum-colored cloche hat, but then I looked at the price tag. I just can’t spend $175 on a hat. Even when it’s this cool.
Today the plan is to stay inside and hide from the heat. No plans, no schedule, just whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it. And now that the internet is back (the storm late Friday night knocked it for most of yesterday)…you know, I really don’t know how to end that sentence. I don’t remember where I was going with it when I started it. Now that the internet is back, we can…play on the internet? But we’re not really going to do that today, so…yeah. No idea.
You know something? I’m pretty good at babbling. Sometimes it’s entertaining (I hope. It is to me, anyway.). More often, it’s not. And sometimes it’s surprising just how long I can go on about something (like school, for instance) before I realize it’s boring. To you, to me, to the dogs. Flat out not interesting to anyone at all. I TRY to delete (deletedeletedeletedeletedeletedeletedelete) that stuff. Like I just did. Blah blah boringcakes.
Unfortunately, there are some times (like, oh, I don’t know…now?) when I don’t have anything rattling around in my head to replace the long-ass rant I just deleted about the waste of time and money my statistics class has turned into (because a full half of this course is a repeat of the last two chapters of the previous statistics course, a course that was a pre-req to this one – I get review chapters, but these two review chapters are the only subjects on the @*&$%&*^ midterm – that was a much more concise way of putting it). Do you think that’s going to stop me from posting? Hmm?
Maybe. It depends on a number of things. Like, what time is it? How tired am I? Is my book particularly engrossing? If the answers are a) late, b) very, and/or c) ohmygodyes, then no post is forthcoming. Sorry. If it’s today, however, and the answers are a) midday, b) not particularly, and c) have you looked at the time? What do you think I do all day that I could be reading my book right now?, then the fact that you’ve read this far should tell you something. (Psst. Come here. Closer. Just you. You’re my favorite.)
It’s raining again. Still. Some sunshine would be nice, pretty please.
I think writing for a living would not be a good idea. For me. Meaning I would not be able to make a living at it. Put some pressure on me to write (even this) when I don’t have anything particular in mind and I freeze. Stare at the screen. Find everything else do to first. And then write about the weather. Hello, rain!
I’ve been thinking about stories a lot, at least partly because I’m in the midst of wanting to read my Dresden Files books nonstop, at the expense of EVERYTHING else. Like to the point where I’m more than happy to get stuck in a left turn lane with a red arrow because I’ll have an extra long time to read before the light changes again. (Yes, I read at stop lights. I swear I don’t read while the car is moving.) Yesterday, I sat in the car in the parking lot for a few extra minutes when I got to work to read a couple more pages. I did the same thing in my driveway when I got home. (Which makes no sense. Why not go inside and read? I was HOME.) Are they that good? Well, I enjoy them very much. They’re sometimes dark, but lightweight at the same time, and they move. Lots of action. I care about the characters. (After nine books (more, but that’s how many I’ve read so far), I’d better.)
I’d like to tell you a story like that. Of course, you may not want me to. I’m not good at stories. I can’t even tell a joke. (Seriously, I’ll forget how it goes midway through, and once I remember, I’ll start laughing so hard I ruin it for everyone else. And then I’ll screw up the punchline. Every joke, every time.) But I’d tell you a story anyway. I’d even make one up for you, but I can guarantee it’ll be not good. It’ll ramble (dear god, it will ramble), it’ll try too hard to be funny (and it will fail at that), and it will be full of plot holes. Plot holes so wide you could march a platoon of elephants through them. Like the elephants in The Jungle Book. (Love the elephants in that movie.) So I’m okay reading other people’s stories. WAY more than okay. I get less of an itch to write my own stories than I occasionally have to do musical theater, play in an orchestra, or be the drummer (or singer, or both) in a band. What’s the phrase that means you had a dream you never followed? Or maybe you followed it and failed. Or maybe you tried, but were brutally shut out. There’s a phrase for this.
Seriously, what is it?
It’s not unfettered ambition, it’s not untapped potential, it’s not a dream unrealized…maybe that’s it. But it doesn’t feel quite right. Something like that. Regardless, that’s not what this is. I’m happy to leave the novel-writing to others. As long as they let me read.
(A dream deferred? That’s a poem, so probably not.)