May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Thursday, January 21, 2010Etiquette for Friends and Relatives of Authors that I'm Making up off the Top of my Head Right Now
1. It's okay if you can't attend your friend or relative's book launch party. You don't have to write the author a long email explaining your excuse for not attending. "Hey, I can't go to your thing because I have to clean the gutters on my house that day. But good luck with the whole writing business!" See, if you're close enough to an author to receive free copies of all her books, and she sends you an invitation to her reading, it's not because she actually expects you to go there and buy more books and act like she's some kind of celebrity. It's because she's hoping you'll pass the invitation to 50 of your own friends in an email that says, "Hey, this is my cousin I was telling you about - the author who writes super awesome books. You should totally go to this event and buy 20 copies of her book and tell all your friends to do the same." Because, that way, she makes more money and springs for the better tequila at family get-togethers. Get it?
2. It's okay if you can't attend your author friend's reading or don't want to help publicize her books or don't even like her work. But it would be nice if, after all that, you refrain from telling your author friend how much you love the Twilight books and how you've bought two copies of each one and how you're telling 50 of your friends to buy them, too.
You know what I mean? It's okay to like Twilight and not your friend's work, but try to be sensitive about it, is all I'm saying.
For example: If you were an insurance salesman, your author friend wouldn't email you and say "OMG, I just met the AWESOMEST insurance agent and I bought 6 policies from him and then I told my friends and now we're gonna have a little insurance party where we all meet up with this guy and buy his policies! I thought you'd like to know that, since you do something involved with insurance, don't you? Hey, maybe you could meet this guy and learn how to sell policies like he does! Then you could have a corner office downtown and drive a BMW convertible like he does!"
At least, I hope your author friend wouldn't do that to you. I know it's not exactly the same thing, since you can own books by more than one author but you generally only have one insurance guy. But I'm just saying: sensitivity, people. Your author friend has feelings that can be hurt by book-related comments, so be careful.
3. You know what? Don't worry about it. Go ahead and do everything in the two items above. Your author friend is just a crybaby who needs to toughen up if she wants to make it. But, if you are going to do the stuff described above, please don't follow it up by referring the aspiring writers you meet to your author friend for free advice, free editing, and free co-authoring... not unless you plan to start giving your author friend free insurance policies.
Right now I'm doing 3 things.
1. Publicity for my new novel, Lone Star Legend, in stores any second so buy your copy now (or next weekend, probably). I'm happy to report that it's getting enthusiastic reviews from professionals and real people, alike, so you'll probably enjoy it. Download it on your book reader. Show up at one of my upcoming readings and get a real copy.
2. Working like a crazy person on my next novel. What? No, I didn't say "sitting here avoiding working on my next novel because I'm terrified about the way it's coming out and that it won't come out well and that all the success I've ever had has been a complete fluke." Why would you think I'd said that? Jeez, guys.
3. Being happy that I'm meeting a lot of awesome people in Houston, now that I have a tiny bit of time to do so. Because Houston has so many freaking awesome people, as some of y'all might be starting to suspect now that we've got our gay mayor and a special Web site boycotting our whole city and all. The combo of going part-time at my day job and my kids being old enough to completely ignore me means that I'm attending a lot more local events lately, and I love that shit. But I probably need to buy more dresses. But that's okay... don't think about that right now.
Important Job Tools
I bought a giant paper calendar for my home office. It happens to be the same as the giant paper calendar they ordered me at my day job office, except that I drove to Office Max myself for this one so it cost half as much as the one Office Max shipped to my job.
I have my Outlook calendar at work, my iCalendar at home, my calendar app on my phone, and my brain. But none of those work as well as paper calendars on a wall. Don't know why that is.
All right. Back to work, peeps. Talk to y'all later. 1:12 PM # (9) comments
Thursday, April 23, 2009I want to be Amish.
You know? I want to live in a house that I built and cook food that I gathered or raised myself. I want to sew my own clothes and knit my own blankets. I want to take care of myself and my family, and only occasionally have to weave baskets to trade for the things I don't know how to make. That's just a different way to live... a way that isn't based on spending 8 to 5, every week day, dealing with other people's egos. I don't like working with or around other people's egos. Not so often, you know?
The problem with being Amish is that you have to conform to their ideas about good taste, and you can't use electricity. Maybe I want to be a Mennonite.
Or maybe I just want to be a farmer. In the movies, when times get tough, farmers always say "Well, we're fine here -- we have enough to feed ourselves for the rest of our lives. It's the other people [their neighbors or love interests] I'm worried about."
I want to be like that -- where I rely on myself, and I'm completely reliable.
Really, I think all of that just means that I want to start my own business. Because I don't really know how to slaughter anything, and I'm too finicky to sew whole wardrobes out of calico.
Or else I'd be happy working in a room by myself, maybe. Making widgets according to written specifications. It's not the working that bothers me -- it's everything else.
It's not even about people being jerks. I could be in a building where every single person is competent and nice, and it'd still exhaust me mentally. I'm an introvert, okay? (People who know me in real life, stop telling me I'm not. I am! I want to live on a farm or work in a room alone!)
Every spring I feel restless. I want to get up and run out the door.
Last night, though, me and Dat and the kids put together one of those patio structures that Target calls a gazebo, but which is actually more like a canopy with mosquito netting on the sides. Dat and the boys put it together, actually, while I trimmed the pear tree above them. We got a new lopper (is that what it's called?) a while back and this was my first time to really use it, and it lops off the branches very beautifully. I did the pear tree so it'd be out of the canopy's way, then started on the oak tree on the other side of the back yard.
Tonight I want to finish those and then do every tree and bush in the front yard. I'd been planning to do that anyway, but now that I've felt the power of the new ... loppers... I'm excited. I love trimming the trees -- giving them little haircuts and making them feel lighter.
We have a bunny living in our front yard, randomly. When he was smaller, he fit through a gap in the garage door and so spent his nights there. Now he's bigger and we're guessing he just lives in the nandinas. We get home from work and he's there in the flower patch, eating weeds. He just watches us. We watch him. We say "He's growing." Then we go inside.
It's okay with me that this entry might be boring.
Sometimes it has to go down that way.
Life's just plugging along. Like the bunny, our wedding is growing. It's still an informal wedding in our house, but now Dat's parents are getting even more into it, and so they're inviting extra people. Which is fine -- I want them to be comfortable and stay the whole evening, and having their peeps next to them will make that possible. I'm starting to think the wedding might spill over into the front yard, though. We still have physics in which we have to work, you know.
We're gonna... transform the back yard into a fairyland or something. You know how people do that for weddings, sometimes. It involves Christmas lights, mostly. It's not difficult, I don't think. I feel confident in my fairyland transforming abilities.
At first I didn't think we were going to buy flowers, but then my cousin said she wanted to buy them for us, and now I'm thinking of many ways in which flowers will be called into service. See? It's a tumor. Weddings grow faster than rabbits.
That's all. Back to work! Happy spring.
Oh, one last thing, just to annoy my kids....
My kids didn't know that Ozzy Osborne was the lead singer of Black Sabbath. Really, now that I think about it, how would they have known?
They found out the other day because they wanted me to look for MP3s of Black Sabbath songs, and I searched for Ozzy's name. And the kids were like "No, Mom...." and then I told them, and then they were like "What? Oh. But.... I thought he was just a guy on TV." And I was like "That's why that World of Warcraft commercial shows him as the Prince of Darkness. Right? Get it?" and they were like "Oh-h-h-h...." and I saw their minds reconfigure around the world.
They're also learning which musicians are dead from ODs and which are dead from suicide, and which were ever called "the best [guitarist or drummer] in the world" and which dabbled in black magic or were rumored to have done so. That's important history, I think. Kids should know these things. Don't you agree? 5:34 AM # (6) comments
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Since my fiance and I started carpooling to work, I pushed my 8-hour work day back an hour, so that it now coincides with the busiest part of the morning commute, and also with our HOV lane’s 3 Rider Rule. For a certain portion of the morning, you have to have 3 people in the vehicle in order to get into the High Occupancy Vehicle lane. Therefore, even though we’re carpooling, we still have to pick up a stranger from the Slug Line each morning in order to make it to work in less than 90 minutes.
The Slug Line forms at the park ‘n’ ride bus stop. The bus at that stop goes into downtown on Smith Street. It goes all the way down Smith, then turns around and comes back to the park ‘n’ ride. The Slug Line is formed by people who don’t want to ride the bus – who stand in line and wait for drivers who need extra riders to meet the HOV requirements. See how it works? See the mutually beneficial symbiotic parasite relationship that’s sprung up?
We don’t work downtown. We work near downtown. So we pick up a stranger, haul them downtown, then turn around and hurry back out west, to our workplace in Houston’s beautiful Montrose.
If we drop off our passenger on Smith Street, we can easily make it to our workplace in time to enjoy breakfast at its cafeteria. If, however, we drop off our passenger anywhere past Smith, we fall into a time warp whereby each red light adds an exponential amount of minutes to our drive, and then we get to work late and can’t eat breakfast, and then we’re hungry, cranky, and sad. You see? Every minute counts on this morning commute, for us.
Some slug line drivers will take riders wherever they want to go downtown. I used to do that, before I started carpooling with my fiance. But some drivers don’t. Some drivers say “Bus route only.” Smith Street only, they mean. So we decided to start doing that, too. Before a rider gets into our car, we roll down the window and say, “We’re only going down Smith.”
Before I say anything else, let me say that this is America, and I was born here, and I believe that we all have the unalienable right to pursue happiness. If it makes you happy to wait in line at the bus stop for a free ride that’s going to take you directly to your place of work, like a hired chaffeur, that’s totally cool with me. I support your right to do that. Rock on.
You should, in turn, support my right to offer strangers rides to Smith Street only. Or to Milam only. Or to the Sam Houston Tollway, or to the moon, or to whatever point I choose. If you don’t want to accept a free ride from me, that’s fine. But don’t argue with me about it. When I say, “We’re going down Smith only,” don’t stand there and say, “I’m just going a few blocks away, to Fannin and Dallas. Why can’t you go to Fannin? It’s only going to take you a few minutes longer. Where are you trying to go?”
It’s none of your business where I’m “trying to go,” or why I might need the few minutes that dropping you off on Smith would save me. Step away from my car so that the next person in line can get into it. Wait for the next driver to come along, and see if she wants to play chaffeur.
When I very politely tell you, before you get into my car, “We’re doing the bus route only,” don’t stand there in the way and tell me, “What? Why? I don’t see what difference it makes.”
Yes, that’s right. You don’t see what difference it makes. And I don’t have to explain it to you. Just like I don’t see what difference it makes if I drop you off on Smith and you have to walk a block or two, the way you’d be obligated to do if you were riding the bus. I don’t think walking a block or two is going to kill you. And I wonder, if you can’t walk a block or two, why you don’t drive yourself to work, instead of putting yourself at the mercy of strangers on a daily basis. But I wouldn’t block traffic to tell you that, and I wouldn’t ask you to explain it to me. Especially when there’s a whole line of people behind you who understand the social contract of the slug line and who exhibit manners and common decency.
Most people in the slug line are perfectly polite. But some of them are so bizarrely entitled and rude. It would be funny to me, if it weren’t so early in the morning.
I don’t want to go on and on about bad behavior on the carpool. (Well, I do, but I won’t.) I’ll just say that, if you get into my car and I turn the air conditioning too high, it’s probably in a vain attempt to blow your cologne cloud out of my face.
Also: If you’re a blonde woman who lost a pair of glasses two months ago, or if you’re someone else who lost a pink mitten three months ago, email me. You might have left them in our car.
Weddings are like tumors.
Because they grow, you see. No matter how small you think you can keep it, it grows. But this one’s a benign tumor, so far, and I believe we’re strong enough to keep it that way.
We realized that Harris County doesn’t do real courthouse weddings. You pay for the judge’s or JP’s time, and it costs the same whether y’all meet at the courthouse or he drives to the location of your choosing. So we’re having Judge Yeoman come out to the house in the evening, right before our
The cake-and-champagne has become a dinner. Dat looked it up in his list of Cultural Heritage Statutes and realized that he’d been contractually obligated, at birth, to serve catered fried rice at any wedding in which he might eventually become entangled. So we’re doing that. (I love Asian parties because, along with the fried rice and egg rolls, they always have goi, which is vinegar-y salad with shrimp and peanuts. So we’re having that, too, of course.)
I’m relieved, because I felt a little uncomfortable about having a party and not serving a meal (Chicano Cultural Statute, Clause 57.03), and I was already planning to sneak in a brisket (Clause 57.92) next to the wedding cake… and now I can put the brisket on a nice plate, right next to the fried rice, and it’ll be beautiful.
You can’t have a dinner without extra seating, and you can’t have extra seating without building a gazebo in the back yard, and you can’t build back yard structures with remodeling the bathroom, first, and you can’t go through the trouble of remodeling if you aren’t going to wear a nicer dress than you’d initially planned. So you may as well have a photographer or three, and printed invitations.
And you can’t have relatives without opinions, and they can’t show up empty handed. So someone’s bringing flowers, and someone’s bringing lights to string through the trees, and someone’s bringing special crunk champagne flutes with our initials engraved in emeralds or something. And (more than one) someone has volunteered to do our family planning for us and tell us when we should have babies, and how many babies we should have, and what they should look like, and what we should name them. But that comes later… we told them to wait to the day after the wedding for that, if possible.
And… let me say right here, right now that I’m sorry that we can’t invite everyone we know. We wish we could, but we can’t. This was supposed to be a quick courthouse wedding because we couldn’t justify the expense of a lavish 300-guest fantasy wedding. But weddings are like tumors, so it’s gone from a practical elopement to a tiny version – a 1/10 scale model – of a real wedding. But our house is pretty small, as is our budget… so please understand that, and don’t be upset if you haven’t been invited. It wasn’t because we didn’t wish we could see you there. We wanted to invite you, but we had to invite our immediate family, first. We wanted to invite everyone we know, but there was literally no room.
Now, between books (assuming I write another book soon), I’m going through a mid-life assessment. Trying to assess where I am and decide where I want to go.
Every time I’m between books, I think up a lot of crazy ideas. But now that I’m in my mid-40s (i.e., 37), the crazy ideas seem not only more plausible, but almost obligatory. Like: “Do I want to spend the rest of my life [x thing]? No.” Like, “If I have to spend the rest of my life [x thing], shouldn’t I at least [y and z things]? Yes.”
I’m sure y’all know what I mean. Don’t you go through the same phases? Aren’t we all getting older, but also smarter and more efficient and better at making ourselves happy?
Hope so. 6:07 AM # (8) comments
Wednesday, March 18, 2009Guess what? 25 Random Facts About Me!
because I have been inspired.
Now, all I have to do is think of 25 new things to tell y'all, apart from the stuff divulged in the 100 things meme I did back in 2005, and apart from all the other stuff I've told y'all over the past 12 years.
1. I'm going to do a reading/event tonight in which I'm supposed to talk about my creative process(es). For that, I've decided to give a 5-minute history of my writing career. It's my first time doing anything like that, so I'm kind of nervous. But I'm always kind of nervous about all the events I do, no matter how new or old the material. Unless they're readings for little kids, that is.
2. I feel that the best Easter candy is Russel Stover's creme eggs, in coconut-in-dark-chocolate flavor.
3. I like to go to the grocery store with my fiance. That's, like, a serious date night activity for us. Sometimes I think it's because we both experienced hard times in our youth. But usually I don't try to analyze it.
4. I'm getting married on May 23rd. (THIS NEXT PART IS SECRET - SHH:) At first I was a little bit sad because my future in-laws didn't think I was the right person to marry their son. Not sad enough to let it stop us, or to dwell on it on a daily basis, but kind of disappointed. But, recently, my fiance talked to them about it, and they voiced their concerns... and now they're coming to the wedding. And I'm happier/more relieved about that than I would have expected.
5. I'm actually a really good daughter-in-law. No one here knows that, because last time I served in that capacity, it was in a tiny town that no one cared to visit. And then I left my husband, effectively removing the possibility of further communication with my parents-in-law. But I know that they loved me, because they told me so, more than once. And I loved them. And I spent jillions of hours with them, and I did what I could to make their lives easier. And I enjoyed doing so, because that's just the kind of crazy I am. And, I have to say here that my ex-mother-in-law was way, way, WAY more opposed to that marriage (and more vocal about it) than my current future in-laws have been. So, in general, I'm optimistic about the new in-law relationships I'm starting. I can rebuild them. I have the technology. I am... the $6 Million Daughter-in-Law. I've just been waiting for the paperwork to go through so I can begin.
6. I didn't realize, until recently, how much I missed being a daughter-in-law.
7. If it were up to me, and no one's judgment had any effect on my life, I'd cut my hair short and never wear makeup. It is up to me, I know, but I live in this world. In this world, prettiness can be a kind of armor. So I put on eyeliner every morning, just like a knight of old.
8. I turned 37 in December. A while back, something made me think that I was "almost in my forties." So, since then, I keep thinking that. "I'm almost in my forties -- I don't have to deal with that." "I'm practically 40 -- I should know better." "I'm in my forties now -- shouldn't I be doing [x] by now?" So now, in my mind, I'm in my mid-40s. I completely, mentally bypassed the last three years of my 30s. Weirdest part: I don't mind. I like being in my 40s. It's giving me an excuse to break old habits and try new things.
9. My favorite thing I've ever written is what I believe the fewest people have read: the very last story in my very first book. Every time I think about that, I imagine musicians I admire whose own favorite songs probably don't match up with my favorites. And I have no sympathy for them, because I wouldn't change my favorite Pavement songs, even if Stephen Malkmus hated those ones the most. And then, in turn, I have no sympathy for myself. So what if I like the ant story best? That doesn't mean it's the best one or the one that resonates with anyone else.
10. Sometimes I worry about Norm MacDonald. I was watching SNL, live, the night he accidentally said fuck and then immediately realized he'd get fired for it. He was fired. Then, after that, his career did a long, slow slide. I saw him on the Comedy Central Bob Saget roast, and he still looked sad, but you could also tell that his colleagues loved him. They joked about his gambling addiction. That made me worry about him more than before. I don't know why I worry about him, in particular. But that happens to a lot of people, right? You feel some weird connection/intuition for a certain celebrity or stranger, and you carry them around in your mind, right? Like a lot of people worry about Jennifer Anniston, or like Ben Folds worried about Muhammad Ali. I worry about Norm MacDonald. I hope that he's okay.
11. I fantasize about speaking every language.
12. I fantasize about having the psychic power to answer any question truthfully, and charging people (anyone) $500 a pop to answer their questions. Scientists' questions would be answered during weekly press conferences, though.
13. I fantasize... not about having the power to heal people, but about having the power to prescribe the perfect diets for them. I mean the diets that would make them healthy and happy.
14. I fantasize about having the power to perform telekinetic, painless, instant platic surgery on people. Because, you know how you'll see someone, and they're obviously self-conscious about some aspect of their appearance? Like a mole or their teeth or something? Well, I fantasize about having the power to fix that for people, without them even knowing it's being done.
15. All those fantasies mean that I'm a narcissist. Every time I take the personality disorder profile quiz thing, it says I'm mostly a narcissist. Which kind of annoys me, because I don't believe that I am. But then, people I admire score high on narcissism, too, so at least I'm in good company. Second-highest scoring for me is OCD. So what? I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Unless you're a clean-freak OCD'er, like our friend Cathy, because then it's just too much stress. (I like to converse with Cathy about various compulsions, but then I feel bad for her when she stresses about the cleanliness and germs.)
16. The score I don't get, and the personality disorder for which I have the lowest tolerance? Is histrionic-ness.
That means "attention whores." I especially hate being around attention whores who are boring -- that's the absolute worst. Second worst is catty attention whores who, for some reason, believe that I have something they want. Then they start trying to compete, and I never want to engage in that. I just want to get away. Actually... I've had histrionic friends, but they have to be interesting, and they have to have different taste in men, so that there's no competitiveness. In that case, I'm okay with them.
17. Really, this isn't 25 Random Things About Me. It's 25 Things That Have Been on My Mind a LOT Lately, Because I'm Slightly OCD and Think About the Same Topics Over and Over Until I'm Sick of Them. Thank you for reading, if you're still reading along.
18. I used to think that I'd hold my old grudges forever -- you know, like "She'll be sorry when I'm published and then I see her in public and she has to feel stupid about that time she said my writing was trite!" -- but it turns out that I don't. I work as hard as I can, and I forget about the old petty stuff because I feel like I've grown so far away from it. You know?
19. I worry about my kids way more than I let on. Sometimes I lie in bed at night having long, long strings of worries about them. But I choke it down because I don't want to be like Nemo's dad on that movie Finding Nemo. When I saw that movie, I cried super hard whenever his dad was on the screen. Because I totally empathized with that (fish) man, and I've never even had kids who were eaten by sharks. But, yeah, I don't want to bum out my kids like that. So I keep that stuff to myself, as much as possible.
20. I'm proud of the way my kids have turned out, but don't like to say that to people too often because it seems like a compliment to myself. But it's (mostly) not -- my kids are good kids. They were born good and worked to get better, independently of me or my parenting skillz.
21. Sometimes I want to post more pictures of my family online, but then I worry. Worry, worry, irrational worry....
22. I'm simultaneously excited and anxious about writing my next book.
23. I'm waiting to see if the last kids' book I submitted will get published. Trying not to be anxious about that. The kids' books get rejected way more often than you might imagine. Which doesn't feel too fabulous, but it toughens me up. It's all a business, you know. This writing stuff, I mean.
24. I feel bad/guilty/annoyed when I write an entry here and people feel compelled to reassure me about whatever I complained about. I always feel like I'm just venting/ranting/babbling, but then, if it comes off like whining or needing comfort, that bugs the crap out of me and I feel like I somehow betrayed myself. (But if it doesn't sound like whining, but people just want to offer comfort/reassurance, anyway, then that's okay.)
25. I don't like to need anyone. I like to be independent.
Whew. I did it!
The end. 5:58 PM # (9) comments
Thursday, March 12, 2009getting married
Part of the reason I’m marrying my boyfriend Dat is that we share many of the same values and beliefs. Like “Art is a priority” and “You should never do something just because everyone else does it.” We’re no Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre, but I do enjoy the home life we’ve created for ourselves, in which the dining area can become the crafting area and music practice isn’t considered noise and fake birds can populate any space for no other reason than their cuteness.
Some of our values might make the act of getting married seem like an oxymoron. But, as so many of y’all know, there are jillions of reasons to get married other than “because I want a big day that’s all about me just like everyone else gets to have on TV.” So we’re doing it for those other reasons. Of course, we want the wedding to reflect our values. Meaning, mainly, that we don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a ceremony that has no personal meaning for either of us.
I went through the old dilemmas that braver women than me have lived through before I was even born. Like: Are we getting married for ourselves, or for others? and then: Even if we’re getting married for ourselves, what do we owe our families and the people who care about us and feel invested in our relationship?
Even though other couples have answered these questions admirably and come up with workable solutions, it’s really a case-by-case kind of thing, isn’t it? No two couple and no two families are alike, so you have to work with what you have and not stick your star-shaped block into the octagon-shaped hole.
Here’s the solution we came up with. Here is what our “wedding” will be:
1. On a Saturday morning this May, we will get married at the courthouse downtown. This was going to be just us and the kids, but one of my cousins really, really wants to be there, so we’re opening it to anyone who wants to show up.
2. Right after that, we’ll have dim sum. Because dim sum has great cultural significance in Dat’s family’s culture, of course. No, just kidding. It’s only because we like dim sum a lot and use any excuse – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Ash Wednesday – to eat it. Again, we planned it to be Dat, me, and the kids, but we’re imagining that some of my family might want to attend. So we’ll invite Dat’s family, too. Anyone else who wants to attend is free, as we live in America, to show up. But we’re only paying for ourselves and the kids and our parents. :)
3. That night, we’ll have a party at our house. At that party, we’ll have wedding cake and champagne. Maybe appetizers, too. Or brisket, if someone wants to bring a brisket. Maybe some potato salad. Or maybe sushi. The food part hasn’t been worked out yet. But we’ll have a cake and champagne, for sure, and a few more people we know will be invited.
4. In June, we’re going to Hawaii. (Not the kids – just me and Dat.) That’s our honeymoon. In Hawaii, we will eat dim sum again, if they have it. If not, we’ll just eat everything else.
And that’s it. That’s what it’s gonna be. Now that that’s settled, we’re actually looking forward to it. You know? I mean, we were always looking forward to our marriage, but now we’re actually excited about the wedding, too. (I don’t want to be a person who looks forward to her wedding and not her marriage. That’s a commonly used recipe for unhappiness, in my opinion.)
Do I sound defensive? Right now, there’s a message in my Inbox from a certain person. I can’t see it until I get home tonight, but I kind of don’t want to look at it, anyway, because it’s undoubtedly in response to my recent Facebook announcement that I’m planning our wedding. Earlier in our engagement, this person was trying to plan our wedding for us. I love her, but she’s one of the people who comes over to our house and says stuff like, “Why the hell do y’all have fake birds on your bookshelf? I don’t get it.” So I don’t really want to get into a discussion about the wedding with her. If I were rich and wanted a big wedding, I’d hire a planner. But first I’d show that planner a bunch of photographs of random things that we think are cool, and I’d watch his/her face. If s/he made a wtf face, I’d know s/he wasn’t right for us. You know?
something else that’s related to the stuff above, but which I’ll discuss in third person
In case anyone’s curious, here’s a list of possible reasons that a married couple might decide to have separate bedrooms:
1. You both want your own space, not just for sleeping but for other things – fashion, hobbies, decorations – that might occur in your bedrooms.
2. You have completely different sleeping preferences. Maybe one of you needs the door open and the other needs it closed. One of you can tolerate the light on the cable box and the other can’t. Both of you like to sleep with your arm under your head, but you face each other and therefore your elbows are at odds. One of you needs cats posted at the foot of the bed throughout the night, and one of you can’t sleep with cat hair in your lungs. And so on, and so forth.
3. You can’t afford separate houses. :)
4. You see that, often, elderly couples sleep in separate bedrooms, and it’s not only because they’re more comfortable that way, but also because they’re so old that they no longer care what anyone thinks of them. And you think, “Why do I have to wait until I’m older, to stop caring what people think?” And you don’t care what people think, and you want to be comfortable.
5. You realize that sleeping in the same bed is neither proof of romantic love nor a guarantee of a satisfying sex life.
6. You enjoy attention, and therefore you enjoy having people come to your house and say, “Oh my god, WHY do you have separate BEDROOMS? What’s WRONG? Are you guys breaking up? Are you guys secretly gay? I thought you guys liked each other. I don’t understand. What do you mean, you like it better this way? What’s WRONG with you two? That’s not what married people DO. What do you mean, you like your cats to sleep on the bed? That’s DISGUSTING.”
Just kidding on that last one. That one goes on the cons list. But, hey, it’s one of a very few things on the cons list, apart from “can’t yet afford a house with separate bedrooms.”
I’m not telling you guys this because I believe you’re the kind of judgmental that needs an explanation. I’m telling you guys this because maybe some of you want to sleep in separate bedrooms and are going over the rationale, compiling lists of pros and cons. In that case, you’re welcome to my reasons.
… feeling like you’ve created your own space in the world -- you and your partner -- that doesn’t need anyone else’s approval. Or maybe that’s what codependence is? I get those two confused...
Just kidding. Ha. Love is... worth sharing, right? I feel protective of the people and things I really, really care about, which is why you don’t see me posting a lot about my relationships with Dat and my kids. But I know some of y’all have been following this journal for a long, long time, and that some of you identify with the main character in it (heh) in certain ways. So, for the sake of the story and its readers, I’m sharing with y’all that, after careful consideration, I’ve found love worth making into a legal entity, and a relationship that I believe will create long-term, overriding happiness for me, for him, and for our family.
And, in sharing this with y’all, I’m sending out good vibes and hopes that y’all have found or will find the same. 6:27 AM # (21) comments
Wednesday, January 21, 2009Being a writer.
A couple of weeks ago, I reached that point in a writer’s career where the writer stops reading reviews and stops searching for her own name on the Internet. Not a moment too soon – it was killing me. Every time I did it, I’d get anxious. What if some stranger – some person I’d never met and whose impressions I couldn’t control or even affect – said something bad? The fear of that eventuality was making me feel sick, every time I opened a new review, no matter how favorable the review was or how many times I found favorable ones.
Then, it finally happened – I read an unfavorable review. (A real review by someone who didn’t care for my book, I mean. Not a “How dare this woman write such a thing! I have issues!!!” review.) And, after reading it, I thought, “Yeah, I guess I can see why that person didn’t like it. Oh, well. Not everyone’s gonna like it.” And then I stopped worrying. And then I stopped searching.
I’m very glad when people like my writing – especially when they identify with my characters and feel less alone in the world after reading about them. But I no longer need to read about people’s opinions of my work (or me) in great detail anymore. I’ll do my work, put my work out there, and do more work for as long as they ask me to. I’ll continue enjoying the work of others. And that’s enough for right now.
Are you an artist? Did you or will you reach that point in regards to critiques about your work?
Here’s a conversation I have often:
Other person: Hello. I am obligated to interview you, speak to you, or otherwise interact with you because of my job.
[We conduct the interaction. Then, afterwards….]
Other person: You know, I’m a writer, too.
Me: You are?
Other person: Yes. I write [poems or plays or a novel or librettos for operettas about mimes]. But, unlike most writers, my goal isn’t to get published.
Me: Oh, really?
Other person: That’s right. See, my goal is to create art, for myself. I don’t care if anyone ever reads it. I don’t need other people to read my work in order to feel fulfilled as an artist.
Me: Well, that’s good. Congratulations.
Other person: [Voice gets louder and faster.] That’s right. Because I write for my love of the craft. Not for money. I think so many writers these days are writing for the wrong reasons. Don’t you agree?
Other person: Sure, I could submit my work to an agent and probably get a two-book deal… if I were needy like that. But I’m not! I’m confident. Therefore, I don’t need the quote-unquote approval of being published, like some people. Do you know what I mean?
[Half an hour later…]
Other person: … and then I said to my friend who was debasing himself by sending his sonnets to all the journals, “Why do you hate yourself? Why are you so insecure? You must not be secure about yourself as an artist.” And he said, “I just signed a three-book deal.” And I felt sorry for him. You know why? Because….
Me: Right. Yeah. No, I know. Um, listen, are you going to email me the interview, when it’s done, so I can make revisions? Or are you just –
Other person: … because I’m a real writer! I’m the only kind of legitimate writer there is!! Anyone who seeks to be published is a lap-dog of popular culture and the lowest common denominator! Anyone who kisses ass in order to get published is….
Me: Okay. I have to go now. My kids are waiting for me. [Turns to go.]
Other person: What? Oh, okay. Hey, well, I’ll email you, okay? Take my card. Oh, and… Will you let me know if your agent’s looking for anyone? Hmm? Oh, okay. All right. Good talking to you! :) Bye!!!
(I’ll regret typing this half an hour after I post it. Then I may or may not take it down. But, then again, what am I risking? Being alienated from people like that? I’m too nice most of the time. See, people are rude to me and I just stand there and smile, because I want to be “nice.” Then, I worry about even describing the rudeness, because I’m *nice.* My friends tell me all the time – quit being nice to rude people and psychos, Gwen. Hell, I tell that to other women. (Except I don’t call them Gwen. I call them by their own first names.) ‘Cause it’s mainly a woman thing, right? No, it isn’t. Now that I think about it, I know men who are “too nice,” too, who put up with crap from people. Especially from interviewers or “connections.” You know why? Because, sometimes, unhappy people seek to have power over happy people. Like, if the “other person” described above put his/her energy into trying to get published, instead of putting it into trying in vain to make writers feel bad about being published, then this other person would probably succeed. But for some people, it’s way easier to put the energy into being negative. And then, for other people, like me, it’s easiest to just be “nice.” I hate being around the negative, unhappy people. But fighting them on their own terms would expel too much energy. My Nice Muscles are well developed. My Trying-to-Make-People-Feel-Bad Muscles are lax. Work to your strengths, I guess. That’s what I try to do.)
While I’m ranting…
let me just say something I’ve been wanting to say for a long time, which is this:
Homophobic parents, please stop encouraging your gay children to closet themselves.
I don’t know what the deal is, lately – maybe it’s just because I live in a conservative state? – but there have been quite a few closeted gay people in my life lately. And they are the most miserable, effed-up people I’ve ever met.
Seriously as hell, there have been at least four miserable closeted gay people in my life in the past year. And this is how my friends and I all talk about them:
“Joe just needs to come out.”
“He would be so much happier.”
“It’s, like, so lame – the way he’s always lying to us about all the women he sleeps with and whatever. It’s so uncomfortable to listen to him and know that he’s lying right to our faces and thinking that we’re dumb enough to believe him.”
“Or thinking that he has to lie to us, because he assumes we’re homophobes.”
“Right. I don’t know what the big deal is. Like, are his parents going to disown him if he comes out?”
“I guess. He never talks to them, anyway. They live in Hoboken.”
“It makes me think that he lies about other stuff, too. It makes me not trust him.”
“Really? I just feel sorry for him. He's young and handsome, and he could be happy dating guys, but he's not. He's throwing away his youth and he's gonna end up like Larry Craig, married to some woman and tapping his foot at a cop in the bathroom.”
“Really? I just lose respect for him. He’s so chickenshit.”
“You think so? He makes me sick, because I’m gay, and it’s like he’s saying that it’s shameful that I’m gay, and that you all must secretly be ashamed of my gayness.”
“Really? I just don’t care. I just ignore him as much as possible, because I can't deal with his closeted gayness.”
Then Joe walks in and says, “Oh, hi guys! Guess what! I just met a total blonde hottie with a nice ass and nice tits in the coffee shop today! And I’m going to screw her brains out! Ew, Bob, your shirt looks gay – watch out for the gays with that shirt on – they might gay you! Just kidding – your shirt’s fabulous, Bob! Let me feel the material…. Okay, well, I’m going upstairs to jerk off to this Victoria’s Secret catalog now! Because I’m straight! Toodles!”
And none of us say anything. And I imagine Joe’s parents, and I want to shake them until their teeth rattle. Just like they probably used to shake Joe.
If you have a son or daughter you suspect (know) is gay, and you're directly or indirectly asking that child to pretend not to be gay because you're worried about what others will think, then you are weak. You're not a good parent.
I'm on the phone with AT&T Uverse now, and I have to save some ranty-ness for them.
:) 8:53 PM # (14) comments
Tuesday, December 09, 2008this weekend
I’m going to be at the Edward James Olmos 6th Annual Houston Latino Book and Family Festival on Sunday, at noon, on their children’s stage in the George R. Brown Convention Center, reading my first book for kids, Growing Up with Tamales. Last chance to get a signed copy before Christmas. It’s a free event. Not only will I be there, but they’ll most likely have lowriders, food samples, and people dressed as Clifford, the Poky Puppy, or other characters. You should check it out. It’s Saturday and Sunday, and it’s fun. Oh, and sometimes Edward James Olmos, AKA Commander Adama, shows up, too. I’ve met him three times now, at various points in my life, but he never remembers me. However, I like that, every time I meet him, I’m more successful than I was the time before. Hopefully I’ll see him Sunday, then, and I’ll be like, “Hi, Commander Adama! I have five books now! Last time you met me I only had one! The time before that, I had zero but I was playing Anita in West Side Story! I loved you in Blade Runner!” and he’ll be like “Hello, nice to see you,” and he’ll smile while my boyfriend snaps a photo of us, and the photo will come out with me in mid-blink, so that I look high or developmentally delayed, and I won’t be able to post the photo on my Flickr and no one will believe that I ever met Edward James Olmos at all, much less three times.
So you should come to the festival and see me. This Sunday.
Welcome to the (Publicity) Machine.
I had a meeting with my publishing peeps the other day and we wrote a bunch of dates on a bunch of pieces of paper, and now I have to do a lot of work to make the dates come true. I have to research stuff and email people and ask my publisher to mail books to people and write press releases and coordinate schedules. It doesn’t sound like hard work, and it’s not, but it is a lot of little details to manage.
Doing publicity for yourself is like a whole other job, in addition to your writing and to your day job, if you have one. And in addition to your parenting and your household-running and your girlfriend-being.
Most writers don’t like that part of the job very much. (I think it’s because most writers are introverts. Do you agree?) I’m not complaining, because I’d rather have something to publicize than not. But the publicizing isn’t my fave part, either.
Things I like about publicizing my work:
- Doing readings, making people laugh during the readings
- Meeting readers
- Exercising my creativity by thinking up new ways to describe my own work
- When they have free cheese and wine
Things I don’t like about publicizing my work:
- Needing to remind people about my work constantly, which makes me feel gauche
- Feeling like I’m bragging about myself
- Feeling frustrated that I could do more/better if I had more time
- Receptions where I feel pressured to “mingle,” instead of just eating free cheese and drinking free wine and chilling
- Putting my work and myself out there (like, say, on a Web application for sharing and rating books), inviting random strangers to criticize my stuff at will, as opposed to simply writing my stuff (like, say, on a blog) and letting interested people read or ignore it as they choose
But I’m getting over those petty peeves, with the help of self-directed cognitive therapy and the daily horoscopes of Mr. Rick Levine. Like I said, I’m not complaining. I’m just telling y’all how I feel so that you authors can empathize, and you aspiring authors can know what you’re in for. Some of you are reading my list of publicity dislikes and saying “What? That sounds like fun!” And to y’all I say, boogie on, reggae extroverts.
(That’s a take on a song by Stevie Wonder. “Boogie on, reggae woman.” Sorry – I’m kind of obsessed with that song ever since I saw a drunk guy try and fail to sing it at karaoke three or four years ago. So he danced, instead. Drunkenly and heartfelt. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I wrote about it, here on this blog, back when it happened, but I think that entry’s been deleted. But I still think about that guy and that song all the time, especially when I think about people doing what they want to do, despite the laughter of friends and strangers.)
(The subtitle of these paragraphs is my take on a Pink Floyd song. Yes, half my blog entries are actually just classic rock song lyrics, altered slightly.)
There are these birds migrating through Houston right now.
Andrew told me that the grackles are very smart, for birds, which I already knew. I know this because they steal sugar packets from local restaurant patios, forcing restaurants to think harder. They take the Sweet n Low first, a waitress told me. The pink packets are their faves, basically. Even if they’re generic, I imagine.
Andrew told me that grackles go under parked cars and climb into the radiators to eat the bugs that gather there. Can you imagine?
People here have been commenting on how awesome the birds are for lining up on the electric lines, all spaced two bird-widths apart. I agree that it’s beautiful, and not just because I wish humans would keep two people-widths from me at all times, either.
Male grackles are iridescent black, kind of like black Infiniti G35s in the sun. Female grackles are dark dove-brown and always defer to the male grackles when it comes to food. No matter how many times you throw ciabatta pieces at female crackles, they’ll have to let the male grackle have them, if he shows up and wants them. Even if you yell at the male grackle, “Hey, you get out of here! Those are for her!” They have entrenched patriarchal inequality. But, besides that, they’re awesome.
One of my winning-the-lottery fantasies is that I’ll throw a masquerade ball on New Year’s Eve. For my costume, I’ll fly to Venice and have them custom sew me a (male) grackle costume. It sounds weird, but I have it all planned out, and it’ll be better than you’re thinking.
Don’t tell anyone I told y’all that, though. It’s kind of private, my grackle masquerade fantasy.
I wish PBS would do a show about city birds and their behavior. Maybe there’s one already? I wish someone would do a whole documentary about city birds in Houston. No, I wish someone would fund me and a team of ornithologists to do a documentary about the birds at three or four Houston establishments. Probably Empire, La Madeleine on Shepherd and West Gray, the zoo, and any random Jack in the Box. I wish it was my job, to make that documentary.
I’ve never understood elderly bird-watching hobbyists, but now I’m obsessed with grackles. I still don’t understand them, though, because they travel around, seeking out various species in the wild. I wouldn’t do that. When I’m too old to do anything else, I’ll totally go to different restaurants and name the grackles, pigeons and wrens. I’ll be like, “Here, Julio and Veronica, I bought you an almond croissant. But you have to share it.” And people will be like, “Oh, that’s so sad. Look at that old lady with ‘90s hair. She thinks those animals are people.”
I wonder if I’d even like grackles so much if they weren’t named grackles. If they were just crows or ravens or blackbirds.
Yes. I would.
Okay, don’t tell anybody anything I said about birds today. I’m starting to think it’s a little crazier than I knew. 6:13 AM # (14) comments
Thursday, December 04, 2008Now I have time to be stressed out.
I haven’t written here lately because I’ve been under some stress, and I never feel like talking on the blog (or to anyone) when I’m under stress. But now it’s all over, thank goshfully.
If I were in an airplane crash (God forbid; knock on wood), I already know exactly how I’d react. Cool and alert as hell, I’d put the oxygen mask on my face then put masks on everyone else. I’d pull out the floatation device seats, hand them out, calculate the distance, count it off “3, 2, 1, inhale!” and then swim everybody to safety. Then I’d go back for the more valuable plane cargo. Then I’d help with the rescue/recovery. Then I’d clearly and cogently debrief to the authorities.
Then, I’d go home, where I’m safe. Then, I’d go to the bathroom and throw up. I’d climb into bed, trembling, and cry. I’d cry for two hours, probably. Then I’d fall asleep and have a nightmare or two. Then I’d wake up and be ready to start a new day.
I’m guessing I’d do all this because that’s how I usually react in less major catastrophes. Except that I rarely throw up afterwards – it’s more like momentary nausea and retching.
Last week I finished my second novel and turned it in the night before deadline. (Extended deadline, actually, but that’s okay.) Also, last week, I had extreme Family Court drama that magically resolved itself on the same day that I turned in my novel.
And now I feel… relieved, right?
No! I feel stressed! I feel all knotted up and uptight and downtrodden. I feel crazy and unsafe. I feel scared.
I’ll probably try to cry a little bit tonight, before I go to sleep. But there’s hardly any time. I have a lot of stuff to move on to. I think I’ll just move on, instead, then. Sometimes I find that stress is the best distraction from my stress recovery. :)
(This is what you call Type A personality. This is what it takes for me to succeed. Don't feel sorry for me. Be happy for me that I'm this crazy, because the sickness is what makes the dreams come true.)
shout out to Carl Jung
Do you ever have a recurring bad situation that makes you question your existence and your karma and all that? And you think “Why does this keep happening to me?” because you believe everything happens for a reason, but you can’t think of one single reason for this crappy stuff to keep happening to you over and over again?
And then, finally, you find the one silver lining in the crappy thing, or you realize the one lesson it’s taught you?
And then, the moment you have that realization, the crappy thing stops happening?
Yeah. That’s happened to me a few times. It happened just the other day, in fact. And I’m very, very relieved that the crappy stuff seems to be over.
Thanks, Carl Jung!
I’m excited about this weekend. Here’s what I plan to do:
- Go see that movie Milk
- Go to the Turkish restaurant with the super fabulous dolmas that are not called dolmas in Turkish
- Start shopping for xmas presents for my brats, since they’ll be at their dad’s house and therefore unable to see what I’m buying them
- Go to an Indian restaurant in my neighborhood that a real live Indian person from my neighborhood said was good. (I totally, gauchely but desperately, hit up an Indian stranger during a carpool ride. I was like, “I’m sorry to be rude, but are you Indian?” He was like, “Um… yes.” I was like, “Can you please tell me if there are any good Indian restaurants in our neighborhood, because the only one I’ve found isn’t very good.” And he was like, “Oh! Yeah, sure.” And then he told me where two of them are. Thank gosh, because I was starting to have the Butter Chicken DTs and I can’t be driving all the way instead 610 for treatment all the time.)
Despite my irrational feelings of discomfort, which are probably only Seasonal Affective Dysfunction, anyway, things are pretty awesome.
Even the carpooling has been awesome, lately. I’ve been talking with a lot of nice/cool/smart people, and that restores my faith in humanity and makes me happy to be alive. The other day I met a geologist who seemed like a really decent person. Another day I met a guy who’s sort of obsessed with ballroom dancing and he told me a lot of fascinating stuff about that scene. I met a Republican precinct judge’s wife and a former Democrat activist precinct judge on the same ride, and that was a good chat.
I continually meet legal secretaries who have hilarious or shocking stories to tell. I often talk with older peeps who have insightful viewpoints on local issues. Sometimes the people are witty and we laugh, and that’s good, to laugh with strangers.
Today a transplanted Floridian and I gave a woman advice on what to buy her grandkids for Christmas, and I felt like we did some serious good. Usually, if I’m driving, I just drive in silence. Especially with men, who don’t care if you talk or not. Also, I like to concentrate super hard on my driving, so that everyone is comfortable. I’m currently obsessed with learning to brake my van as smoothly as possible, because my van has annoyingly tough brakes. Sometimes, though, I’ll get yakky with people and talk away the miles. Either way, it’s good. I don’t mind my commute anymore, now that I’m doing the HOV all the time. Even when I’m not talking to people, there’s always a lot to see out the window. I love my city, despite its flaws, so it’s good.
Some of you might consider this big news.
My boyfriend (fiancé) is moving in with us. I feel like I already told y’all that, or like most people reading this assume he lives with me, anyway. But...
(saying this next part knowing, and knowing that you know, and knowing that you know that I know, that plans like this are likely to change and shift and grow)
we’re thinking about eloping now. Or just going to the courthouse or whatever.
See, we’ve never been as worried about the wedding as we were about the marriage, and particularly about the physical love nest. So we set a long engagement, and kind of set the timeline around the housing market. Because we didn’t feel we could be married until we’d secured a house in a certain area. And that’s not feasible until at least two years from now. So, while we were in deep talks about that, people around us were asking about the wedding. And we’d be like, “Um… two years from now… string quartet, samba band, and DJ.”
But now, the stars have aligned such that it makes more sense for us to live together in my house. And, now that that’s happening, we’re like, “Wait, why do we need a wedding, again?”
It’s kind of like: living together was the final step, so why do we need an expensive middle step? You know?
It’s kind of like: why spend on a wedding, money that would be better spent on, say, a trip to Europe? Where we could hire an Italian homeless person to pose as a priest for a few photos to send back home? You know?
So, that’s where it’s at right now. In case anyone’s interested in that aspect of this eleven-year-long narrative. Plans subject to change, of course. Subject to Pricing, Funds, and Comp. Everything on Earth is subject to change, right? Even rocks, albeit very slowly.
(Every time I write “soon” for a subtitle, I think of the My Bloody Valentine song of the same name. Do you?)
Pretty soon, I’m going to announce dates/times/locations for readings for my novel, Houston, We Have a Problema, which is coming out January 9th.
I’ll go ahead and tell y’all right now that there aren’t going to be many physical readings. I feel guilty about this, because every time someone’s asked me in the past, I’ve been all glib, “East Chickenfoot, Arkansas? Yeah, sure, I’ll do a reading there in January or February.” But it’s not actually like that. My publicist peeps have done the math, and they think online and media efforts sell more books than physical readings around the country.
So… if you’re a book blogger or media peep who wants to review my book or interview me or otherwise be involved in some way when this book comes out, now is the time to tell me, so I can put you on the list or put you on the calendar. Actually, tell me also if you’re hosting any literary events or own a bookstore and would like to have me visit. I’m not supposed to invest a lot of time/energy/$ in readings out of state, but I am going to do a few, even if it’s only for the excuse to travel around a little and write it off on my taxes. :)
So, yeah. Contact me now. Our operators are waiting to take your call. Buy my product. Get a giant one for her pleasure and doesn’t leave you. All systems go. See you soon. And thanks.
Gwen 6:08 PM # (13) comments
Thursday, November 06, 2008I live in a Red State
and therefore envy those of you who don’t. I wanted, on Election Night, to be somewhere full of people. But I couldn’t think of where that place might be, in my part of town. My own little neighborhood is very lackadaisical and quiet, and no one on my street had signs of any kind in their yards. (Shoot, they barely had Halloween decorations.) But our neighboring ‘hoods were peppered with McCain/Palin signs and I couldn’t think of a nearby restaurant or bar where those people wouldn’t be standing around looking sad/mad.
My boyfriend came over to watch the news with us, but I was falling asleep on the sofa by 9:30. It’s the freaking time change, plus the sun. The sun keeps taking off faster, and it makes me fall asleep. The other night I went to bed at 7:45 PM because I thought it was 8:45 and was too tired to be ashamed. I’m not nocturnal. I’m a rabbit or a day-time lizard, even though my boyfriend (fiancé) is a bat or a marmoset or whatever stays up at night with red eyes – you know those ones in that special red room at the zoo. That’s what he is, and that’s what I’m not. So I conked out, planning to celebrate in the morning.
I woke up early in the morning and did my normal commute routine (commutine!). Everyone around me was silent, like usual. I don’t know what I was expecting, but everyone stayed quiet. Downtown, a man passed me carrying several newspapers in one arm. He was holding them in such a way that Barack Obama looked out from the front page. I saw that and smiled a little, then looked up at the man carrying the papers… and he had such a look on his face. Not happy, but kind of defensive. Like daring someone to say something against Obama, the day after Obama had won. I dropped my smile and minded my own business.
All day long, I read Twitter and Gawker talking about people celebrating. Here in Houston, it was silent. There are a lot of people at my work who voted for Obama – I know there are, because they told me they were going to – but now that he had won, everyone was silent. Only one person (a person I love but who is immune to social mood) said anything about it above a whisper. She was immediately engaged in conversation by an unhappy McCain voter, who told us unhappily and earnestly that Obama was working very hard to make abortions “easy” to get.
Day 2, this morning, I didn’t feel like going to work at all (Seasonal Affective Dis-Wanting-to-go-to-Work) but marched myself to the park-n-ride, where I was picked up by a married couple in an SUV.
I don’t like to say ugly things about the strangers who give me rides, because they’re giving me rides for free, but I have to say that the woman drove very poorly and that their SUV smelled bad. They talked amongst themselves, like married people, while I sat in the sour-smelling back seat. I had to wait for a break in their personal married-people conversation to tell them where I was going, and make sure they could drop me off there.
They talked and talked, and I had the impression that they were aware of me as their captive audience. You know – they said some cutesy things in a louder voice for my entertainment. You know what I mean? Me and my boyfriend (fiancé) do that to, sometimes, with the captives we pick up from the park-n-ride. I think it’s a natural human compulsion.
But mostly they talked quietly about all the many, many things they were planning to buy, and how stupid people were for not driving or buying SUVs, now that gas was magically cheap again. I pulled out my brand new, special-ordered Math Puzzle Book and worked on math puzzles (trigons, for those who know). During yesterday’s ride home, I completed a whole trigon (6 digits, for those who know) on the bus ride home, and I was very proud of myself afterwards. But this morning, I couldn’t make any progress at all. That’s how I am on the trigons. Either my brain is working in such a way that I can do them, or else it isn’t.
I put the book away and meditated throughout the rest of the half-hour ride, then. I told myself not to get upset about the smell of the SUV, its horrible suspension system, or the woman’s sloppy driving. Because I had chosen to get into their car, and they were doing me a service, and I should just be silently gracious. Graciously silent. Either. I tried really, really hard not to listen to the couple’s conversation, because it was none of my business, and because I’m trying not to be so judgmental, now that I’m older and more mature and etc. But I couldn’t help but hear them list all the things they were going to buy for Christmas and other occasions. The man’s very important business phone call. His suggestion to his wife that she try a personal trainer that so-and-so had sworn by. “I get it,” I thought. “You guys are rich. You’re completely awesome. Ride’s almost over, ride’s almost over….”
And then, right at the end, the woman switched the radio from Houston’s annoying Top 40 station (Roula and Ryan, for those who know and can commiserate) to a conservative talk station. And the talker said “blah blah blah Barack Obama.” And there was a pause in the couple’s conversation. And I said nothing, but I felt weird, all of a sudden, like there was tension in the air. Like maybe they wanted to lament his winning, but censored themselves because of me. And for the purposes of this story, I now have to tell you now that both of them were Caucasian.
The pause un-paused, and the woman launched into a story about making fun of some young man. She recounts that the young man retaliated by telling her, “Oh, yeah, well I heard you’re pregnant.”
She’s telling this story loud enough for me to hear it, mind you.
And she says, “I told him, ‘Right, I’m pregnant, and the baby’s due in 2015.’” Pause for audience laughter. Her husband obliges with a chuckle. I keep pretending I can’t hear her, even though I can’t avoid hearing her, because I’m polite like that. She continues: “I told him, ‘I’m having sextuplets, and one [is] Obama.’”
Her husband chuckles again. I’m puzzled. One of the sextuplets is Obama, or Obama’s? Or they’re named Obama? I’m not sure what she said, exactly.
She goes on to the final punchline: “And two are Michael Jordan's!”
Long, long pause for audience reaction. Her husband chuckled, but more faintly. I maintain my pretense that I can’t hear them, even though it’s obvious that I can and that she meant for me to hear. I don’t even know why. Was I supposed to laugh? Maybe. They wanted me to prove my solidarity by laughing at the joke, so that they could feel “safe” with me and go on to disparage the president-elect, maybe?
The thing is, her joke was so effing stupid that, even if I were a bigot, I wouldn’t have laughed at it. You know? I like to imagine that, even if I had been born in Vidor, Texas, to the Grand Daddy Dragon of the local KKK, I’d still have a decent sense of humor. Or… well, forget that. I haven’t really considered that scenario, ever. I’m just saying – her joke was racist and lame.
I thought about piping up and saying, “Oh, yeah? My husband’s black, too.” That way I would not only deflate their racism, but emasculate her husband by pretending I'd assumed he wasn’t her husband.
But I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything. I was scared to. I admit it. I was in their car, and I was relying on their kindness to get me where I needed to go. I said nothing.
They stayed kind of quiet until we got to my stop. I steadily pretended to be interested in what was out the window, but it was obvious that I’d failed their test, and they knew that I knew that they knew that I knew it, and she was emanating the stink of the bully now, who has a victim cornered, and he was radiating the smallest bit of shame, because he seemed to know that her joke was lame and because there was now a specter in the air of his wife being impregnated by at least two men who were not him and not even of his own race.
(Instinct tells me that we’ve reached the climax and I should wind down now for maximum story flow, but I’ve been writing this blog for so long that I can break rules and ignore instinct and go off on a tangent here, and be even MORE candid, because I’m never going to run for office, so I just don’t care, so check this out now….)
There were so many long, long seconds between the end of her joke and the few blocks to my stop. And I’m so observant or intuitive or hypersensitive or overly imaginative that I was able to draw long threads of story out of each of those seconds. I’d already noted, upon entering their car, that while he looked and sounded like a run-of-the-mill son of a bootstrap Republican, she was lower class who’d married up. God forgive me for saying this – some of you are going to comment or email me and tell me I’m just as racist/hateful as them – but I could tell by her eyeliner that she’d grown up poorer than him (black inside the lower lid with sparkly color underneath) and I could tell by her voice that she was so, so proud of that fact. So there was that. But then, when she made the joke about her multiracial sextuplets, while he might have enjoyed her crude racism, just as he enjoyed her looking up to him as her financial savior, I could tell that the Michael Jordan reference had gone too far for her husband.
“Why Michael Jordan?” he was probably thinking. “I get the Obama part, but Michael Jordan hasn’t been in the news for years. Why didn’t she say Tiger Woods or T-Mac or Tracy Morgan? Does my wife have a secret crush on Michael Jordan? Does my wife wish Michael Jordan would get her pregnant?”
There was just starting to be that level of silent awkwardness when we got to the corner where they’d agreed to let me off.
“This is the end of the ride,” I told myself. “Now you can safely say something against them. Do it right before you get out of the car.” I thought up what I would say. I would look at her and say, “Thanks. Congratulations on your pregnancy!”
“But,” I told myself, “isn’t that kind of chickenshit, to say something right at the end like that? Isn’t that every bit as chickenshit as making racist remarks in front of a stranger while she’s trapped in your car and you’re not alone?”
I was going, with 70% certainty, to say it. But right before I got off the car, the woman turned to me and, in a voice as sweet as small-town-Texas honey, her best Southern hospitality voice, she said, “Have a good day, okay? Be safe!”
I muttered thanks and got out of the car and walked away without looking at them. I’m sure that, after I was gone, they told each other that I was rude.
I swear to God…
Some of you want to think I’m making that up, but I’m not.
Some of you think, “Well, Gwen lives in Texas, and the South is full of racists, so I’m sure that happens every day.” But it doesn’t.
Usually, I have to know racists for at least a few days before they’ll make those kind of jokes to me. And then I’ll say, “Yeah, my dad’s Mexican.” And they’ll say, “Oh, well, I didn’t mean you,” and then they’ll get quiet and hate me, but at least they’ll have learned not to assume everyone around them wants to hear racist shit.
But it’s very rare that complete strangers say those things around me. I was kind of shocked.
That makes me think that the racists in Houston are very uncomfortable and are seeking comfort from the herd, just like I was when I wanted to be in public on Election Night. No succor for anyone, then.
After I got off the racist SUV, I plugged my ipod securely into my ears, to soothe myself. After that, I got on the bus, which had riders of many ethnicities. Everyone looked uncomfortable. I wondered why but didn’t wonder hard enough to unplug my ipod. I was tired of uncomfortable people.
There were several black gentlemen sitting in the back of the very small bus. One of them was talking very loudly, throughout the short ride to the complex where most of us work. Despite my earplugs, I heard him say the words Texas, McCain, and racist. I saw the other riders, of all colors, glance at him and look even more uncomfortable. I left my ipod in, as did the woman sitting next to me. I’m not a Texas McCain racist, so he wasn’t talking to me. He was only talking loud enough that I was his captive audience. But he wasn’t driving, and I had my ipod.
I thought he was a rude and hateful person. But, at the same time, I tried to imagine him undergoing what I’d undergone in the strangers’ SUV, times 5000, for his whole life, and especially since the election. And I couldn’t imagine it.
So I said nothing.
Sometimes I wish I lived in a blue state. Usually, I wish it around election time. But in general, I do still love Houston. Because, ironically, it’s diverse. And it’s warm, and we have good food, and the people are usually friendly.
I never lie. Sometimes I exaggerate for a better story, but I never lie.
I told a friend that story, this morning – about the racist white people and then the angry black man. And I don’t think she (a liberal white woman married to a black/Mexican man) believed me. She said, “God, why does stuff like that happen to you?” I think she wanted to believe I’d somehow caused it, that it wouldn’t have happened on its own.
But I said, “Because I’m out among people. You live nearby, and you get in your car and drive straight to work. I’m out with strangers every day.”
She had to admit that it made sense. She was sad. Yeah, so was I, because that shit is sad. Hopefully it’ll stop happening soon. Some day in the future, before my children grow old and die. 7:35 AM # (23) comments
Tuesday, October 14, 2008My work is under stress.
My company is going to be sold, no one knows to whom or when, and we already know what our severence packages will be, if applicable, but I have no idea whether it'll be applicable to me.
I wish that, if I were meant to get laid off, they'd do it RIGHT NOW. But they won't, of course. They'll wait until some date in the murky future. Something I can't control. I'm trying not to want to control it, then.
Last week I wanted to tell you guys a bunch of stuff about my work and all the extreme, literal-national-news-type drama that's going on, and all the misconceptions and the un-fair-ities, and my giant mission to make people understand what's really going on, and the media distortions, and how much it hurts to have one's hard work disregarded and one's company's reputation completely trashed without warrant by all that stuff,
but this week I'm just over it. Which is probably for the best, because I don't need to get in trouble for blogging about my job.
Toby is going to the vet tomorrow.
He has a jacked-up claw on his right hind leg. The jacked-upped-ness of it has a scientific name that I can't remember how to spell, but you've seen it on humans -- especially on their pinky toes. It's when the nail gets all hard and crusty like a rhinocerous horn, and you can't even cut it with the clippers anymore.
Poor Toby -- he's had it for a long time, it looks like. I only just realized a couple of nights ago. Now I know why he's been more and more lethargic. His toenail is sticking out way too far, and it probably bugs him to walk. I don't think it hurts him, but it most definitely probably bugs him.
I trimmed as much of it as I could with the biggest toenail clippers in the house, and that seemed to help a little. Already, he's been more mobile and lively. (And evil, but that's probably just because of the full moon. Starbuck's more evil, too, and her claws are fine.)
So I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow so they can mess with it. I don't know if he's going to need surgery or medicine or just regular professional single-claw trimmings or what. Something in the future that I can't control. We'll see.
Things in the future that I should be able to control but am finding it hard to because I have, like, zero personal time lately.
Namely: my writing.
Also: I need to redo this Web site.
That's all I can say without having stress-related stomach stress.
Today I went to a shopping center in my neighborhood and felt like hitting everyone in it with a two-by-four containing a single rusty nail. From the incompetent punk kids who work at every single retail establishment in this zip code, to the punk kids who perambulate in every shopping center because they have nothing better to do, to the shitty, shitty drivers, to the trollish old women who exist only to give strangers unsolicited ugly looks.
I was cranky. I was bothered. Then I realized, I always get this cranky right before Halloween. And I always get a little fatter, too. And stressed about looking fat in my costume. And preemptively background-stressed about eating or not eating on Thanksgivng and Christmas.
I don't think it's all about my weight and eating, mind you.... No, that's only one part of the annual holiday emotional ferris wheel. (Didn't want to say "roller coaster," but you know that's what I actually meant.)
And... yeah. Here it goes again. Whatever. I'm tired of it. Purposefully refrained from tailgaiting the asshole who'd been tailgating me. Tried really, really hard not to hate every single person. Succeeded in only hating half.
Tomorrow is another day. Another phase, another degree in the sun rays' refraction. Anohter chance to be a better person. Wish me luck.
I think I should go to sleep now. First I'll do a few Variety Puzzles from my Dell Variety Puzzle book, and then I'll go to sleep.
I'm going to be a "pirate vixen." Josh is going to be a pirate. Rory's going to be the guy from V for Vendetta. The Guy Fawkes guy, I mean. Tad's going to be Jesus. Toby's going to be a cat with a refurbished claw. Starbuck's going to be a little bitch.
It's gonna be awesome. We're gonna have fun.
Leave a comment telling me what you're going to be for Halloween, if you want. Put a link to your Flickr when you get back your pix. 9:06 PM # (6) comments
Thursday, August 28, 2008And also, you kids get off my lawn.
Today I did one of those things that Houston park'n'ride bus riders sometimes do: I hitched a ride with a strangers so we could take the HOV lane. Hurray!
(Don't worry. There's a complex social structure in place. I follow the structure and refrain from getting killed.)
I like to do the Spontaneous Stranger Carpool because I have the most interesting conversations that way. Today, it turned out that none of the three of us strangers had our degrees. And, I'm not saying this because I want to encourage you youngsters not to get your degrees, but...
...but, um, why the hell am I worried about encouraging kids to get their degrees? That's what we talked about today. Why are kids, lately, made to feel like getting a degree is the only was on Earth they'll ever get jobs? It's just not true.
I feel almost hypocritical for saying this, because many people have heard me say in real life that inner city schools sucked for not exposing poor students to the idea of college.
I do still believe that all school counselors should talk to all students about college. But I don't believe that's the only thing they should talk about.
The facts are that not everyone is cut out to go to college, not everyone wants a white collar job, and even if everyone did, there wouldn't be enough white collar jobs to go around. There are gazillions of jobs that don't require degrees, but you wouldn't know that to hear the way Generation Y (or whatever they're called) is getting indoctrinated.
One of my fellow 'poolers said she thinks that not only are kids brainwashed into college at any cost these days, but they're also made to believe that if they don't get promoted every two years, they should quit their jobs. She cited the college-or-loser mentality as the reason behind increases in high turnover and low morale in Corporate America.
I don't know if I'd go that far, but it was interesting to hear her opinion.
I have to say that it took a while before each of us in the car admitted that we didn't have degrees. But once one of us did, the others quickly followed suit. It was funny that we didn't feel comfortable saying it -- that we were all obviously used to keeping that fact on the down low.
And yet we each had good, long-time careers in profitable industries.
We talked about the Air Force and the Navy. We talked about vocational and trade schools and how you just don't hear as much about them anymore.
And... that's all. That's all I wanted to tell y'all about that. That, and I like talking to strangers in the HOV lane -- connecting with them without learning their names. It's fun.
Workplace Magazine Centerfold
I hate it when you work at a big company and other people who work there think they're celebrities because they work on a certain floor or in a certain department.
Like, the other day, Jane Doe's assistant called me and told me to come pick up something Jane Doe had for me. I said, "Okay. Where do you sit?"
She made an audible throat emission of scorn and said, "In front of Jane Doe's office."
And I had to laugh, and I said, "Okay. Would you mind telling me where Jane Doe sits?"
And she acted like I had just fallen off a turnip truck full of lobotomized people or something. Because I didn't know where Jane Doe's office was. Because.... Why? I don't know. Who the hell is Jane Doe? Do you know where she sits? No, why would you? Why would anyone? I'm sure Jane's a really nice person, but she's not famous, as far as I know. Or else, as I said later to a coworker, "Is there some celebrity magazine about the celebrities who work here that I forgot to subscribe to?"
I think, if you get all your life's importance from the belief that you sit in front of an office that everyone in your company should know the location of, then maybe you should look at a globe or something and remind yourself how big the effing world is.
Same day, some person got angry to the point of rudeness because I didn't know she was the boss of some other person. And she made reference to her department's org chart and the copy of it she was certain I must have (but that I didn't). And I thought, "That org chart must be in every issue of the magazine that I'm not getting that is specially designed for people who have nothing in their lives other than this job and their perceived positions on the hierarchies that exist in the lower echelons here from 8 to 5." Because, otherwise, I can't imagine why I would have another department's org chart, or why anyone would expect me to know her place on it, unless she was really insecure and solipsistic. (Or just stupid.) (Or all three.)
If I found out there was such a magazine about my workplace, I'd read a few issues, but only in my dentist's office, for free, and only to laugh at it.
Except that it probably wouldn't even be funny.
Part of me wants to pity these people. But most of me hates them because they're rude. I hate rudeness. It's hard for me to care about people who don't have manners. Especially when they're also miserable people who spend their time trying to make others miserable, too. You know?
But it won't work on me, because I don't want to be miserable. And my happiness isn't based on who I'm allowed to boss around from 8 to 5.
Thank God for that.
(Some day a real rain will come, and I won't have to work a day job anymore.)
1. It's hard to feel it in Houston -- you have to wake up early in the morning to feel it, or else you have to pay attention to the refraction of the sun's rays -- but fall is in the air.
I'm happy just for that, because fall ("Autumn") is my absolute favorite season.
2. I had the flu on Monday and Tuesday. I might still have it now, but only Monday and Tuesday were bad enough to stay home. And they were pretty bad. I only get sick once a year, and it's always the flu. And I always get very, very sick for two days, and then I'm good enough to go back to work after that.
I like to do things quickly like that. I like to get sick quick and get well quick. Get drunk quick and get sober quick. Get emotional quick and get over it quick. I like that kind of efficiency. That's what fits into my schedule best.
3. I had to rent a marimba today. This weekend, I have to shell out a gazillion dollars for percussion instruments and percussion instrument accessories for one of my brats. I hope he enjoys learning percussion and that he sticks with it for life. He might. It's worth the cost, that possibility.
4. My brother-in-law and I pledged to start a cover band. (He's actually my future brother-in-law, but it's easier just to say it like it's already happening. It may as well be, for all intents and purposes.) (Not the dentist brother-in-law -- the other one. Let's call the other one... the wise-ass, drunken-ass, half-breed-ass, cold-blooded-ass, funny one. No.... Let's just call him the other one.)
So, okay, we were drinking when we made our plan. But we were also singing karaoke (my in-laws are Asian, so they have a karaoke system in every room of all their houses), so that makes it much more serious.
And.... What was I talking about? Oh, yeah -- we share an appreciation of Everclear in which my fiance does not indulge. That right there is practically an obligation to start a band, as far as I'm concerned.
5. I keep telling people I'll give them copies of my kids' book, or sell them copies, or sign their copies, but then I never get around to it. Okay, you know how we can fix that, people? If everyone comes to my Official Book Party for Growing Up with Tamales, in October, at MECA, which is in Houston's neartown west-end inner loop whatever-o region. More details on that when I look them up in my gmail and then post them in that section at the top of this page.
Oh, and also, I'll be at Houston's Latino Book Fair in September, of course. On Sunday, not Saturday. September 21, I think. So there you go.
6. I'm not very good at promoting my art. :|
7. That's all. I hope y'all are doing well. I miss y'all and wish I had more time to post more meaningful, insightful, whateverful things. Maybe some day soon, when the real rain comes, if you wish real hard and light those candles.
Thanks, if you do. Thanks if you're reading. Thanks, especially, if you're buying my books. Hate to be crass, but I have to say that sometimes. Otherwise, this site can't be a write-off. I think y'all understand that. I mean, I don't want you to feel guilty if you read this site for free and never buy any of my books... but, then again, I'm actually okay with you feeling guilty under those circumstances.
:) 7:53 PM # (6) comments
Wednesday, August 13, 2008An Open Letter [Feedback Form] to Whole Foods
Hi. I went to the Kirby location for lunch on Monday. While there, I asked [the hot deli] team when they'd have Moroccan Chicken again, because I really like it. They told me to come back Wednesday (today). So I drove over after work in order to pick it up for dinner. They didn't have the chicken. A female clerk on staff apologized, then suggested that I speak to the manager. I said I didn't want to wait. But she said he'd find a way to make it up to me -- that maybe he would have the staff prepare the chicken the next day and then give it to me on the house, for my trouble. I thanked her and started to leave, but then the manager, Andre, walked up. The female clerk explained the situation to him.
He said, "Oh, I don't think we make that salad anymore."
The clerk explained again that it was chicken, and that the staff had told me to come back for it today.
Andre suggested that I come back the next day or Saturday. I said I didn't want to do that. He suggested that next time, I call ahead. I asked why I should call ahead if showing up in person hadn't worked. He had no response, other than "Sorry!" with an insincere smile. He was very glib about it, and didn't seem to fully comprehend what had happened.
I wasn't *too* upset, because I figured that the staff had misunderstood me on Monday, and there was nothing Andre could really do about it, anyway. But his uncaring attitude had annoyed me a little.
I went to put back my other purchases, not wanting to stand in line for just a few things. As I did this, I overheard Andre complaining about me to clerk at the cold deli. He was shrugging his shoulders and saying, "Well, what was I supposed to do?"
Maybe you guys can give Andre some tips on what to do when customers drive to his location after work in order to buy an item that his staff has incorrectly said would be available.
Maybe you can at least instruct Andre to carefully look around his department and make sure the unsatisfied customer is gone, before he starts talking about said customer to his coworker friends.
Or, hey -- maybe you can demote Andre and promote the female clerk in his place, since she actually had some ideas about providing customer service?
An Open Email to Central Market
To Whom It May Concern:
Hi. I am a frequent Central Market shopper and prefer you guys to Whole Foods.
The only thing Whole Foods has that you guys are missing is Moroccan Chicken. Their deli sometimes has chicken that's been marinated with olives and preserved lemons.
Unfortunately, they aren't very reliable about providing that chicken, or even about telling customers the correct day to show up and purchase said chicken.
Do you think you guys could make a similar, Moroccan sort of chicken? I'm sure it isn't copyrighted or anything -- Whole Foods' tastes a lot like the chicken tagine you can get at Saffron and other Moroccan restaurants.
I hope that you'll consider it.
Gwen 7:34 PM # (9) comments
Thursday, July 24, 2008girl clothes
It's good for women who care about their image to be friends with women who also care about their image and who have a similar taste level.
Because you know how shallow people ask if women dress for men or for other women? I dress for myself, but having a female peer inspires me to greater heights in that regard.
Hence, I bought the silver sandals.
actually learning at a training thing
At my job today, my dept was forced to take a time management seminar. Basically, it was punishment for the actions of one or two disorganized people. I was super, duper annoyed with the situation, because I had a lot of work to get done today and I'm normally very efficient at work, but it's hard to be efficient when you're taking a four hour course about time management.
So I went in as a hostile witness, basically. I was determined to learn nothing. I admit it.
But then, of course, I did learn a little. I learned tips for managing my personal time, and also several things about myself. Here they are:
1. I manage my time super efficiently at work.
2. I don't manage my time as well at home.
3. I have a Type A personality, relatively, for a girl.
4. My job takes up too much of my time now.
5. Instead of trying to help people by trying to figure out the answers to questions I don't already know, I should totally send them to the person who knows and save us both the time.
6. I would probably make a benevolent dictator of a manager.
7. I hate the word veggies a lot and need to add it to my list of words and phrases that annoy the living shit out of me, such as comfy, hubby, baby bump, sweet spot, and tongue bath.*
You want to know the tip they taught me that's going to help my personal life? You make a Master List. You put on it all the stuff that you have to do in the conceivable future. (I already do that, but here's the key:)
Then you use that to make Daily Lists each day. You only fill the Daily Lists with stuff you really need to do that day, or stuff you could reasonably accomplish in one day.
See, the Master List is to clear your mind. The Daily List is the real to-do list.
See? Up til now, I've been making periodic, mile-long Master Lists and then getting disheartened when they take more than a week to finish. But this way, you don't put unrealistic pressure on yourself to complete everything in an unrealistic time frame. You see??
Maybe you already knew that. Maybe you took the same seminar. I'm pretty sure one of my friends has taken it, because she talks about "eating [her] veggies" at work (meaning, getting least pleasant tasks out of the way) and
Sorry. I really hate that word.
The older I get,
the more I like to hang around with secure and successful people. I especially like to talk to super successful people and ask them nosy questions about their lives. The most successful ones are always willing to tell you everything, I find. I think they get lonely, successful people. I think they don't often meet people who want to know what they really do and who'll understand the answers. Because, unfortunately, a lot of people are insecure haters. Insecure haters don't seek to understand -- they just make assumptions and then hate.
You know what I mean?
Like, you'll meet a rich real estate guy, and people will say, "Oh, he's just rich because he's a sell-out" or "because he's good looking" or "because he plays the race card" or "because he kisses ass."
But then, if you walk up to that guy and say, "So how'd you make your money?" he will straight-up tell you, "I heard that the Indians wanted in on our hotel market, but they didn't know our business culture well enough to approach it yet. So I researched their culture and then offered my services as a liaison for a decent-sized cut."
And you're like, "Sweet."
Because how can you hate on somebody for being smart/successful/awesome, unless you're just someone who hates anyone who's doing better than you?
You can't. Come on. Seriously.
something else I learned today
If you are my fan, then you like what I create. You might think that means that you like me, but you could be wrong. Because you don't really know me. You might assume that you'd like me, then see or read something that makes you realize that you really, really don't. And it's okay if you only like what I make and not who I am. That happens to me all the time... I like music made by people who are assholes.
If you are my friend, then you like who I am. Because you know me in real life, so to speak.
I guess it's okay if you're my friend and you don't like what I create. I guess.
I talk/think about that with my arty friends sometimes, actually -- what it means if we like each other, but not each others' work.
I think I need to have both kinds of people in my life. Not "fans," per se, with all those connotations... but people who like me, and also people who like my work, whether or not those groups overlap very much.
It's bed time now.
I'm sad/pissed/resigned because I wanted to play World of Warcraft for a little bit, but, instead, I spent an hour and fifteen minutes on the phone with AT&T and then with Yahoo, trying to get my remote DVR function straight.
And now I'm gonna go to bed, then wake up and go back to work and work my butt off. And... I like my new job a lot, actually, but I don't like that it feels like I'm always there now. (Or else always in my van or on the bus, on the way there or on the way back.) I feel like my free time can't live up to my hopes anymore, and like my life is rushing by, week by week.
Then again, tomorrow is Jeans Day. Yay! Jeans Day!
That's all, for real.
I'm not going to play WoW. I'm going to bed. Seriously.
Talk to y'all later. I have more to tell you, but it's time for bed.
* Typing those made me grind my teeth. 10:48 PM # (12) comments