Vacation = Writing Time

Yep, this is pretty much it.

I’m still writing fanfiction, and since there’s a finish-your-fic challenge going on in a forum I participate in – a challenge which just happens to begin at the same time my child-free summer holidays begin, well… Let’s just say I couldn’t say no.

This long weekend couldn’t come soon enough. Last night was a great start, because I was at McGillan’s last night, watching this:

MissFareira, performing a cover of ‘Roar’ for her set opener. It was late (she went on at 11 p.m.) and I was caffeinated, and a good time was had by all.

Today’s going to be a whatever-we-want-to-do day, and after this week at work, I’m certainly ready for it. I’m set to write something, somewhere today, muse willing, and brain able to concentrate.

Coffee and breakfast will help both of those. Jo out.

There IS time to write.

I stumbled upon a lovely little blog today, one which I am very glad to have run across. It seems that one of my new favorite authors, Sharan Newman, is (and has been) contributing to a group blog called The Ladykillers – a collection of ten mystery writers who, well, write: about writing, certainly; lately, about food in writing (Sara will approve).

I started to comment on a recent post there, and, well, it turned into a blog post.

I have recently begun writing fiction, allowing myself the luxury/crutch of starting with fan-fiction, just to see what happens. What has happened is that 15,000 words and two plots have come out of my hands onto a blank computer screen in my spare + commute time in the last month or so.

There is, truly, nothing like that feeling of bumping along, words flowing out, meshing, drawing in bits and details that you wrote about yesterday or last week. The only comparable thing thus far is returning to a story, to a place where I’d been stuck, and having the solution work itself out right there in front of me.

This is where the fan-fiction makes it freeing, of course, instead of terrifying – I don’t worry about other people liking it, because I do, at that’s what matters. But the next step might be writing up that original fiction I started last year, and see where those thoughts take me.

So blog comments turn into blog posts now. Sidebars in the admin backend remind me I used to write haiku. The words pour out, my voice is found, and my mind is busy and free – and content.

Had I but world enough, and time

Home sick = time to write, it seems.

I hadn’t realized it, but I’ve had this blog for … more than 11 years.  Yes, it’s sat largely abandoned since the summer after grad school, and I do occasionally re-commit myself to it, for at least those thirty minutes I think I have time to say something.

I feel the emptiness in those convictions at the moment.  I know how my life will take over, and I won’t write, because I won’t take time to be quiet enough to think.  How I’ll run on fumes and stress until I collapse, and then there’s no time.  There are so many things that are missing from life just now that were a permanent fixture in 2001 when I started this blog.  I was still singing regularly then.  In fact, I had just been to New York on a choir trip two months before.  I sang at the High Holy Days services still.  The previous summer I’d gotten my first apartment. I lived alone.

There’s more reminiscing to be done here.  But now it is, like it always is: I write, and life decides it’s time for me to do something else.  This time, my child (nearly 4 now) has decided to lay out a picnic for us this afternoon, and has raided the picnic basket for silverware and the refrigerator for fruit.

There are worse reasons to end a blog post.

Simplification

Break down, pare down.

I spend so much of my time swirling around in my head that I just don’t focus on much, and when I do, I often get distracted on the way. I am still so comfortable with the chaos that I create it if it doesn’t find me, and my online life is a reflection of that: fragmented, scattered, and, for the most part, neglected.

Apropos of nothing, as it were.

I, like so many people in this linked-in age, have come to think of relative luxuries like Internet access and smartphones (without which we lived quite comfortably, before their invention) as basic to life, if we think about them at all. They are, for many of us, assumed. Assumed to be true, present. The question isn’t “do you?”, it’s “which one?”

I was even a relatively late adopter, buying an iPhone 3 in the summer of 2009, right after the launch of the 3GS and a fortuitous bit of grandmotherly surprise money made it “affordable”.

Actually, it just paid for the hardware.

After “only” paying $30 a month for unlimited data for almost three years, I realized how much I could have used that $1,000 or so, especially if it had been applied to those pesky student loans or something of that ilk.

It should be noted that I’m composing this post on a smartphone. Ahem.

All ironic self-awareness aside, I’m hoping to cut that expense, and do something useful with it. I’ll still use the existing hardware, reduced to wifi, and probably sense little difference.

After all, a commute is easily filled with knitting projects and library books.

On the Road Again

Another day, another ambition abandoned.

I started a new blog, Asana Year, about two weeks ago, intending to do, and blog, yoga on a daily basis.

Hahahahahahahhhaa, I hear you say.

Actually, that was me. I know my propensity for what my fellow Ravelers call “startitis” – great ideas with inadequate follow-through. I knew it when I started the site, just like a few others I’ve made – and some I’ve joined.

It started with Geocities. I have a long history of aimless Internet presence.

To which I say: So frikkin’ what?

I love order. I find it comforting. I want to compartmentalize my life until it ticks happily along without my interference or maintenance.

Life just doesn’t work like that.

If I am disordered, or haphazard, or neglectful of my ambition-of-last-week, OK. As I have occasionally proven to myself, I do come back to previous endeavors. If my focus is elsewhere, fine. If this is the way my mind works, devouring interests in fits and starts, then that’s what I’ll go with.

I discipline myself to concentration and persistence in my job, 40 hours per week. If the rest of my mental exercises are scattered as a result, let them scatter.

Chances are they need it.

Reading + Writing + Revamp

I picked up an old friend tonight.
Plain book cover image, title reads: An Introduction to Old Norse by E.V. Gordon

After five years, I finally feel like studying again. And writing too, although what outlet (and how much energy for that outlet) I’ll have at the end of 12-hour days is up for debate.

Not that I have time to, of course, but I might revamp the site a bit soon. I feel like having a place to write again, and making it mine for how I am now, not the me of 2009.

On being a mama, and being a mama of a small child.

There are a couple of recent guest posts at Feministe written by a woman named Maia regarding children in public spaces and what it means to be a mama. I was horribly late to the comment-party (-FAIL), and when my “thank you” got to be more than 200 words, it got transferred here. So.

The bit of Maia’s post that stood out to me:

im not a feminist ( yeah, i said it…shrug). but i dont understand people who claim to be feminist on one hand, and on the other hand think that children should be designated to certain public and private spaces, not mixing in ‘normal’ public areas, such as restaurants, stores, airplanes, etc. cause in us culture, when you create little reservations for children, you are really creating little reservations for mothers. it is the mother who will be sent away to take care of the child. and how is that supporting all women and girls?

I am the mother of a small child, who, long before becoming the mother of a small child, had the opportunity to watch small children in situations that most people in my area (US Midwest at the time) wouldn’t consider “appropriate” places to bring kids.

The four year old child of my voice teacher ran and played with other kids up until the few moments before my teacher’s recital began, when the kid climbed up into a chair, sat face forward and paid attention to what was going on, with only a small reminder from his mama to do so. This was normal for him, going to concerts and being quiet when they started, because he’d gotten the opportunity to do it.

Thing is: if you take kids places that don’t specifically cater to kids, they learn to do the things the adults do. My two year old already knows, when we go to our local cafe, that you go get in a chair and sit down, that when we go to hear music somewhere, you listen to the music. There are times we go home early, sure, but that’s usually for kiddo’s well being (too tired or hungry).

Expecting children to be on airplanes is the reasonable thing to do, yet some fellow airline travelers seem to think that my child getting to go see the grandparents is some sort of infringement on their right to quiet. If they know they are bothered by children and would take the time to buy a $2 package of earplugs at the dollar store, they might be much less bothered when/if the hollering begins. Pressurizing and depressurizing the cabin hurts some people’s ears, and if you’re not verbal yet, the only way to deal with that is screaming.

I haven’t encountered self-proclaimed feminists with this attitude yet. My usual interactions with the why-are-children-in-my-WAY crowd have either been with complete strangers or with people whom I know to not be particularly interested in treating children like human beings (or women, for that matter, although they’d deny both charges).

The key to treating someone like they’re actually human is not getting in the way of their self-determination. If my child doesn’t want to say “hi” to a complete stranger, I don’t make that happen. I have watched my nieces and nephews (chiefly my nieces, of course) be told to smile, to give people kisses, to say hi and bye when they didn’t want to, all in the name of being “polite” or “respectful” or “because this is what you DO”. My eldest nephew, for example, went through a phase where he didn’t want to say hello or goodbye, but halfway through our visit he’d just come up and start talking to me. He wanted to approach me on his own terms, and I let him. When the adults around him started to insist he go through the formalities with me, a relative stranger, I brushed them off, telling them I wasn’t bothered by the lack of salutations.

The other thing is, the way we treat children teaches them how they’re supposed to treat themselves and others. If you ignore their needs, you are teaching them that it’s ok to do that to other people, and that their needs aren’t really important. I certainly learned that lesson well. I’m grateful I woke up to

One small note: I call myself a radical feminist. I don’t know if that label says all the time what I want it to say, that the problems of misogyny and racism and ableism are at the very roots of our society, so what needs to happen is for all that to be rooted out – that it won’t get better with patches and creams, cosmetic changes like allowing (some) women to vote or making the wage gap not-as-bad or making abortion theoretically legal but only marginally obtainable. The problem is at the root, so the solution has to go there. I don’t know what my part in it is, but when I just read what bfp and other WOC say about their lives, that just kids just being kids while black or brown gets them arrested and abused, that the places mainstream feminism has repeatedly ignored women of color gets them killed.

This shit has to stop. I am not going to go off all delusional like the Great White Woman Who Saves The Brown People From Themselves. What I can do, right now, is raise my child to treat others like human beings. What I need to do further than that, I don’t know. But I’m not going to go expecting WOC to tell me, either. It’s my job to educate myself.

Observed: Power Dynamics

This is apropos of nothing, except that Notorious, Ph.D. demanded requested that I actually write something.

I went to Commercial Coffee Venue today, and chose a comfy chair to occupy with my drink and my knitting, which was in a loose grouping of three such chairs, but was more removed from the other two. While I was enjoying that bit of free mindspace, a couple of people, a young man and a young woman, came into the room, looking for a place to park themselves. The young woman took the further comfy chair, and the young man balked at the selection, and then made an attempt to sit down anyway. What followed was done in a language I didn’t understand, but body language told it: he didn’t seem to have a strong preference (not having immediately taken one of the many open tables), but seemed to disagree with her choice. She acted apologetic, got up and went to a table he indicated several times during the quiet exchange.

I don’t know what their story is. I couldn’t have said what was actually going on, whether either one had reasons beyond simple preference (comfort, for instance) that informed their differing choices. All I can say is that he was not the least bit deferential, and she was almost entirely so. It was to me a pantomime of power dynamics, power which he wielded, and to which she yielded.