Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fragments

OK, there's no putting this off any longer. I promised to keep this blog going. I wrote the frickin' "War and Peace" of blog posts after the last gap between posts, which was but a mere three days.

This time, it's been a week.

And I have no action to report.

Well, I have a couple of action-y things on my calendar for January 2013. My first writing-group meeting/workshop is on Thursday, January 3. And I agreed to go with my housemate the following evening to sign up for a volunteer program in which we'll be helping victims of domestic violence. (I'm not sure precisely what either one of us will be doing, but my housemate says the program directors have a need for people to help with "everything.") Also, sometime soon my boyfriend and I are taking a friend up on an offer to stay in one of our friend's dad's vacation houses, either the one in Elkins, WV, or the one in Montana. I'm sure we'll figure out some sort of trade or barter to "pay" for the sweet deal of free lodging in a cool, remote location. And I'm pretty sure we won't be throwing any raging keggers that will mess her dad's place up.

But honestly, I didn't make any of these action-y things happen. It was just -- boom, something pops up in my inbox saying the next short-fiction workshop is scheduled; boom -- my housemate asks if I'm interested in volunteering with her (I've been meaning to find a volunteer gig for a while now, so I was grateful at the spur to action there); and boom, our friend casually offers to let us crash at her dad's places, and my boyfriend says we ought to do that.

I haven't done anything job- or even creative-temping-related. Not one thing! I mean, we're in that odd nether-realm between Christmas and New Year's when you have a snowball's shot in hell of finding anyone at work even if you do submit a job application or send a "Horton Hears A Who"-esque, "I am here!" e-mail to the creative-temp rep. But still, here in the nether-realm dead zone I could have been working on my freelance site. Or better yet, Einstein... I could have been writing up one of my numerous freelance-article ideas. There's one in particular that feels hot in my pocket, that I feel has an excellent chance of getting placed just where I want it due to the subject matter and its Cinderella-fit with a particular publishing entity.

As always, though, it hasn't been all quiet on the writing front for me (i.e. my vital organs are still functioning). I finally read and typed up comments, questions, and encouraging, heartfelt praise for my writer friend Jason W.'s novella draft that he e-mailed me a while back. I spent the better part of an evening doing that, after going to DC9 -- a new club for me, off my usual goth-club circuit -- with him and having an excellent and responsibly tipsy (i.e. not barfing-drunk) time. I should do that more, "pay it forward" writing-wise, offer my thoughts and perspective to my writer friends instead of always pushing my writing on people. I did push mine as well, though -- this past week I shared a bunch of writing links with John B., a guy I met at Spellbound (which is on my usual goth circuit, is in fact the plucky li'l cobblestone-walled basement hub of that circuit) and who has published academic tomes on subjects including medieval history and Byzantine author Anna Komnene. So, without really trying, I have solidified my connections with two DC-area writer friends. Ah, accidental accomplishments -- I never really feel as if I can fully take credit for things when they just happen like that, unplanned and un-strived-for. A penny on the ground that I only stumbled across because I was out for a casual stroll.

Speaking of strolls, tonight I finally mustered up the gumption to take a goddamn walk, something I've done nearly all of my life (except for the past month or so) for at least an hour every night. With some endorphins flowing, I was able to conjure a few fragments to share with you. My energy level (physical, creative) has been at an all-time low -- I think it's because, deep-down, I'm a (mild and inconspicuous) rebel, and resistant to corny self-improvement regimens. Meanwhile, my indulgence in escapist fantasies has been at an all-time high. Thought coherence feels like a huge chore. But here are some things I can share with you that might let you know how I'm doing and what's going on with me, and that might serve as portents of change, or resistance to change.

-Things I have looked at and/or bookmarked on the Internet these past few days: "renewal rituals" (this led me to a page containing a Llewellyn magic spell that involves, I kid you not, eating a tuna sandwich as the sun rises); a page containing cute bios of the current batch of Rhodes scholars (being on a fix-myself kick and all, the Sociology minor in me thought it might be instructive or fun to skim the profiles of a bunch of ├╝ber-overachievers, to see if I could discern some pattern or theme; yeah, admittedly kind of a weird thing to do).

-A dream I had after going to bed the night I hung out with Jason at DC9:

I was driving drunk; my boyfriend was in the passenger seat. I knew I was drunk, but I was trying to play it off. He knew I was drunk, but didn't seem to want to call me on it, didn't seem to want to embarrass me. I hit some curbs and stuff with no real consequences, the way you do in a video game. Then I hit something and sent the car spinning, right in front of a cop. The cop couldn't not come over to us; I had been obvious as hell. I remember thinking that I would get a DUI, that I would not be able to ever get a job after that -- thinking, "My life is over." I remember my boyfriend seemed to be thinking the same thing. The cop shined a narrow beam of light on me, into my eyes, told me to do a few things -- look up, look down. Maybe checking to see how dilated my pupils were. The whole time I had been trying to fake like I wasn't drunk, trying very hard to act like a good citizen. The cop looked at me for a long time, with a sort of coded mercy. Pity, maybe, or acknowledgment for at least trying to put on the act of a good citizen. He let me go. I remember thinking he must have known that I was drunk, but he let me go. He gave me one more chance. The universe seems to keep letting me do that.

-A surprising compliment from a friend, after I mentioned that my main freelance client (also my last full-time employer, a nonprofit patient-education organization) paid me to spend a day on Capitol Hill, basically lobbying for them. They're a nonprofit, so they can't use the word "lobbying" -- something about how their funds aren't supposed to go toward that; they use the word "advocacy," for example -- but there was this bill up for a vote, and the nonprofit folks were against the bill, so they wrote this letter and had me distribute copies of it in person to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. I spent a day walking miles of marble hallway, opening the doors to hundreds of Congressfolks' offices, handing the letter to an aide, giving a 30-second elevator-pitch spiel about why my group opposed the bill, then getting the business card of the office's health-care aide and checking that rep off a long list. I had brought this up when talking with my friend, had joked about how lobbying is "sooo not what I do," what with my being a mousy, behind-the-scenes writer and all. My friend said he wasn't surprised that I would be good at that -- he said, "You might not think so, but you're very charismatic." He's right about one thing -- I don't think so, but when he said it I almost believed him. It's amazing how far a little bit of faith from a friend can make you feel you can go.

These are fragments. The writer in me hates that this post has no theme, no real conclusion unless I force one. So the next post will have those things in it.

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