Goodbye 2017…

Ha! You thought I wouldn’t post anything today. Well – you were almost right. I read a lot today and spent time with Nugget Nephew and family. But – I did write. 

Today was going to be an exercise from The Write-Brain, but instead it was another from The Imaginary World of ____. Today was writing a personal history of myself and what makes me unique. I’d take a picture of it but it’s upstairs and I’m snuggled up by the fire at the moment. Just trust that I made my goal today.

So – I wish you all a good night, a good end to 2017 (whatever it’s brought you this year) and a wonderful 2018. Good night and good luck my friends. 

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Day 2: The Database

One of the first activities in “The Imaginary World of ______” is creating the Database. It’s a collection of items in various categories that you’re drawn to. I’ve actually been working on my database for the last 3 or so days, but today I finished it.

It was fun. It was a good way to tap into happy memories and exercise my brain in a different way. Part of me wanted to rush through it so I could get to “the good stuff” but I didn’t let myself. I took my time and savored creating this database. I think that’s another resolution of mine: to take my time and enjoy things.
Like with reading – usually I devour books but not the one I’m reading now.

Alright – two days in and going strong. Hopefully the pattern holds šŸ˜œ

Day One

Have you ever heard of Reedsy? I found them via an add on Instagram (I think). Anyway, every Friday writing prompts are delivered to your inbox with the opportunity of winning $50 if you write a short story based on one of the prompts. I have no delusions of winning anything, or even completing a short story from one of the prompts; however, it’s a good place to get the ball rolling.

Here’s the prompt:

By law, everyone must make a New Year’s resolution, and they must have it approved by the government.

So – here goes.

Edith started blankly at the government form she’d downloaded from http://resolutionapproval.gov. It was her first year to officially have to submit a resolution for approval, and to say she was pushing it – well, she still had an hour to upload the form.

She’d heard it got easier each year. The day after Christmas, the government would issue you your official Resolution Report where it graded you on how much you’d improved over the last year – as well as give you suggestions on your upcoming resolution. Getting approval on a suggested resolution was supposed to take no time at all. However, since Edith had just turned thirty, not even two full days ago, she was supposed to come up with one all on her own.

Edith resisted the urge to bang her head on the kitchen table, and instead got up and wondered into the TV room where her roommate – Katie – was wrapped up in a blanket watching some trashy reality show.

“Did you already submit your resolution?” Edit asked as she flopped down next to Katie and stole a handful of buttery popcorn.

“Yep – last week.” Katie pushed the bowl so it was wedged between the two of them.

“And?” Edith prompted.

In response Katie unlocked her phone and opened an e-mail before handing it to Edith.

Your resolution to “spend 40 hours a month volunteering with underprivileged children” has been approved. Please report to the North Street Education Center on January 1st at 10:00am to pick up your welcome packet and undergo orientation.Ā 

We wish you a productive and fulfilling New Year.

Sincerely,Ā 

The Department of National Resolution Approvals

Edith scowled and handed the phone back to Katie.

“That’s a good one,” she grumbled. “How do you know you’ll be able to make the hours though?”

“Part of my internship is working with kids. I just figured I could try and piggyback the two.”

“And you still got approval?”

“Yeah. There’s this pamphlet I picked up at the store the other day. Hold on.” Katie got up and disappeared into her bedroom. She came out a few minutes later with a glossy pamphlet in hand and gave it to Edith. “This helped me figure out the best way to get something approved and work it into my schedule. There’s even tips about getting official approval for stuff you already do. That way you don’t have to worry about the fine if you don’t make your quarterly quota check-in.”

Edith looked down at the pamphlet in her hand. Stuff she already did? She doubted there was a way to get approval for anything related to her secretary job OR any of her “hobbies.” It’s not like watching copious amounts of science-fiction TV was really a benefit to society.

Edith just groaned.

“I don’t know why you’re making this into such a big deal. Just volunteer at the pet shelter or something like that. You love dogs.”

“Yes – and you know if I spend ANY time around them I’ll bring them home. All of them.”

“Hm – I see your point. Well, read the pamphlet. I think they’ve got an online quiz component that might generate some ideas for you. Now go,” Katie gave Edith a friendly shove. “Sarah and Jacob are about to go on this super romantic date and she’s a raging bitch. I want to see if he figured it out this episode or not.”

Edith rolled her eyes and got off the sofa. Katie was right. She was making it far more difficult than it needed to be.

* * *

Well – there we go. Day one, over and done.

It’s that time of year again…

It’s that time of year again. The time where we look back on the last year and forward to the new one. We take stock of all we did, but mostly all we didn’t do and we make those pesky promises – or resolutions – to ourselves about how we’ll better ourselves next year.

Well – screw that. I’m going to get started early.

So – here’s the thing. I keep making excuses about my writing.Ā  First, it was my old job. It was draining and I was just too exhausted to be creative. True – but an excuse non-the-less. Then, it was my laptop – my trusty companion from college and grad school entered into its twilight years. It still works. But not well. So it was frustrating trying to get anything done on it. Well, then Husband in all his amazing awesomeness got me a new laptop for Christmas!

Here’s my plan. No. My promise to myself.

I will write something every day. And I will post it here. I need to hold myself accountable.

What are my rules? Should I have rules? Yes – I think so. Writing of any kind will count. It could be a regular blog post. It could be a writing exercise. It could be one of my “critical essay” type blog posts. It just has to be SOMETHING.

Length? Because a single word shouldn’t count. So – maybe AT LEAST a paragraph. Yes, I think that sounds good.

In moments that I need inspiration I’ve got two books I’ll be using. First is “The Write Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer.

thewritebrainworkbook

And the other one (the one I’m really excited about) is “The Imaginary World of __________” by Keri Smith

1011441611

On the days that I work directly in the books – I’ll post a photo of the writing. That seems fair.

So – let’s get this year ended on the right foot.

Back. Again.

Annnnnd we’re back. Again. I realize that I do this ALL THE TIME. At least I’m consistent.

So a lot has happened since I last wrote. I don’t even know when that was if I’m being honest. Mostly, I got a new job. I’ve been thinking about posting about my new job for a while now, but I hadn’t really gotten anything formulated in my head.

The best part about my new job is the rejuvenationĀ that I’ve gotten from it. I didn’t realize how much of me was getting sucked away by my old job. Now – for all the readers out there who know me personally (THOROUGH my old job non-the-less) let me make one thing clear: I am who I am because of that job. That job contributed to make me into the woman I am today – and I’m so grateful for it. Many of my old coworkers from they are part of my Found Family.

But.

That job was killing me.

Not me physically. But the existential energy that made me me was getting diverted and was feeding other things. Now – I feel like I’m back. I’m devouring books again. I’m picking my knitting back up again. But mostly, mostly I’m writing again.

I haven’t worked on my writing in at least four years.

FOUR YEARS!!!!

Writing used to be my drug. Back in middle school, every piece of paper I came across had some blurb of writing scrawled on it.

Then, I went to school to hone my craft. It was probably one of the best and worse things I’ve ever done for my writing.

The worst, because I forced myself to finish my thesis in 2 semesters. I burnt myself out. By the time I was done with it – I wanted nothing to do with writing or even that genre for a while. Then, by the time I was ready to get back to it – all my energy was going into my work. I mean, that’s great if that job/position was going to be a career, but that wasn’t me. Part of me loved that job. I was GOOD at that job. But – that job… it didn’t take anything away from me, but I was too tired at the end of the day to focus on those core parts of me.

Now, I’m not.

This post was supposed to be about something different. It was supposed to be about what’s it like to be “writing” again (even though I haven’t actually put any new words to paper…) but then – this came out.

So here we are. At the moment, I’m gettingĀ to know my novel again. It’s been 4 years. I don’t know who those characters are. I don’t know the plot inside out. It’s frustrating, but I’m looking at it with new eyes. Eyes that are able to see all the flaws and strengths so much more clearly than before.

So stayed tuned – it’s going to be a bumpy (but fun) ride.

Willow Movie Review

Once upon a time, there was a man named George Lucas….

And if you don’t know who he is – what – have you been living under a rock since the 1970’s?

Anyway, back in 1988 just nine days before I celebrated my first birthday, the movie Willow hit screens.

Wikipedia describes Willow as a “British-american high fantasy film.” Husband described it as “like the hobbit, but different.” Prior to watching the film I knew these things:

  1. It was about a dwarf who finds a baby and has to do something with it
  2. It has Val Kilmer in it
  3. George Lucas wrote it
  4. Ron Howard directed it
  5. It’s not on Amazon Prime OR Netflix

I was very prepared to be vastly underwhelmed by the movie. BUT Husband was very adamant that I watch it, so we went on our own quests of sorts to find a copy of the movie.

So – earlier this week, we pop the DVD into the Playstation and I settle into the couch with hopes that it won’t be too boring or corny.

It was corny. But it was also made in 1988 so the special effects of the time are just part of the charm.

I promise, I’m getting to the point of this post.

I really LOVED the film.

What I realized as I watched it was how the film was pretty feminist WITHOUT taking away from the male characters.

The film is about this evil queen that is all freaked out because the Seers have foretold of a baby girl being born that will be the sign of the queen’s downfall. So – evil queen impressions all the pregnant women in her kingdom and waits for the baby (identifiable by a special birth mark) to be born. Once the baby is born, it gets snuck out by the midwife and found by the dwarf. Ā He’s told by this Queen of the Fairies to take the baby to find this enchantress who will help him and the baby. While all of this is going on, the warrior-princess and some pretty intense soldiers are hunting the baby to being it back to the queen so she can do this ritual on it. Willow (the dwarf) teams up with Val Kilmer who helps with all the fighting and whatnot. When Val Kilmer and Warrior-Princess meet, they start to fall for each other. As foretold, Warrior-Princess changes sides and helps Willow and Val. Eventually, there’s a big fight over the baby between the evil queen and the enchantress. Willow comes in and saves the day, but not after these two older women take some pretty intense beatings from one another.

Alright – here’s why I think it’s feminist but NOT femma-nazi.

The women characters all have SOME sort of power (physical or magical) as well as agency. Agency is the key word here. It means that the characters have the ability to act for themselves. Sleeping Beauty – for example – lacks agency. All her abilities (in the fairy tale) are given to her when she’s a baby, she doesn’t have to work for anything, and wakes up to a husband after a long nap. The women in this film, all have the ability to make decisions on what they want to do, and they do it. This is best shown by the warrior-princess changing sides. Yes, she does it for a man – but who cares? It was HER decision. And, she can kick his ass if she ever needs to.

Also, the human society overall seems to be more matriarchal (the dwarves are a bit more patriarchal – and there’s nothing wrong with that) . The queen doesn’t have a king and isn’t being threatened of losing her position in the kingdom by her daughter getting married, or being forced to marry again, OR by any sort of male. She’s threatened by being replaced by another woman.

Alright, and here’s where it gets good. No one is complete in their strength. The male heroes very much seem to compliment and fill in the gaps for the females and vice versa. Which is awesome, if you ask me.

So here’s my big issue with in your face feminist movies and whatnot. A lot of the time, it’s kinda in your face and you’re forced to be aware of it. And, if you’re anything like me, you don’t appreciate that. Also, not sure if there’s any real proof, but it would seem to me that if the message is more subtle, it’s more likely to seep into someone’s subconscious and then really start the wheels going.

Also, and this is something that I hear a lot, it seems that in children’s books, films, and even TV/ commercials, the women are strong at the men’s expense. For example, I loved the Berenstain Bears books, but my Dad hated them. He’d tell my mom that he didn’t like that the Dad was such a doofus and was worried I’d start to see him like that.

For me, feminism is about being proud of my gender, embracing the things that make women women, but – mostly – it’s about equality. Feminists will rant and criticize movies where the women are less than the males – but not when the coin is flipped. And that bothers me.

So – that’s why I really appreciated the movie. The women and the men all had their own kind of power and agency, but never at the expense of anyone else. They all had their special role to fill.

Anyway… that’s my rambling review of Willow.

 

Will Not Apologize for My Country Even if I Don’t Agree

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock or in a coma for the last 13 hours you know Donald Trump will be America’s next president.

I tend not to share my political beliefs (I mean, most people can guess) but I don’t like to straight-up say who I voted for or what party I’m more inclined to learn toward. It’s like, you say you’re a Democrat and suddenly people think you’re okay with late term abortions or want to take all the guns. Or if you say you’re a Republican people assume you and are totally homophobic and racist. I know plenty of Democrats who are against abortions and own guns. On the flip side, I know Republicans who are gay. It’s not fair to make those snap judgments about people based on their party.

I am an American. I am proud to be an American. Maybe more today than yesterday.

Our system gave us two candidates where (I believe) a majority of people felt that they had to pick between the lesser of two evils. I would argue that they are BOTH criminals. I wasn’t really proud to get behind ANYONE in this election. All the candidates (I believe) had major character flaws, but they were what we were given. We were given lemons and damn it, we’re going to have to make lemonade.

So – how can I be proud to be an American?

Because I live in a country where I can vote. Period. Right? Or – even – I live in a country where I have a real choice in my vote. I am a woman and can vote. Women haven’t even had to right to vote for 100 years yet, but I can. So – yay. But, I can also choose NOT to vote. That’s my right too.

Also, I can say whatever the hell I want to about our current and/or future president.

Am I thrilled with how the election ended? No. If it had gone the other way would I have been happier? Not really.

But I am happy that I am American. I’m happy that when I was at the poll yesterday the line extended out and around the building. I mean, did everyone who voted make an educated decision? Probably not. Did I? I hope so.

I don’t know if I can really express it well. Some people think this election tore our country apart and that Trump’s win will do the same. But maybe – maybe it will make us unified again. Like I said, we were given two choices that a majority of people didn’t really like. So – maybe there will be more people who will be there to challenge Trump when he’s on the cusp of making a mistake. Maybe there won’t be this blame that we put on one another during his presidency. I know that somehow, every mistake that Obama made I got blamed for because I voted for him. Um – no? Not my fault. And I don’t care if you’re kidding, I heard it enough from enough people that it wasn’t ever funny. Personally, when people did that I felt attacked. Maybe that’s because political leanings are so tied into our morals and the way we think that when we get blamed or pigeon-holed into something we aren’t we feel like others think less of us. So – maybe if we know that people want to make the best of what we have, there will be less of that.

All I know is that Trump is the antithesis to what our system is right now. And Hillary was the embodiment of it. I think people are tired of crooked politicians. Tried of career politicians who know how to play the game. People are tired of the Democrat agenda (or tired of the way it is being enacted/ pursued). Do people really think Trump – himself – will make America great again? Or do they think a change in the system will?

I believe that this election will be the beginning of change within in political area as we, and our parents, and grandparents know it. I believe that there will be some growing pains, but I believe that America will survive. And if we can’t tolerate Trump – we vote him out in 4 years. If he MASSIVELY messes up – we can impeach him. Ā Or not. Maybe I’m still too naive.

As far as having a business man run the country – I think we could’ve picked someone better.

As far as having the first female president – I think we could’ve picked someone better.

I will make lemonade. I will not apologize for my country (well, not on this point). I am an American and I am proud.