Time is not the only way to determine whether or not a person should be getting to her short-turnaround work-on-the-weekend craft-book edit. Additional indicators include (but are not limited to):
googling bulletproof coffee and considering whether or not she should make some
letting the dog out in the rain five minutes after she has come in (said dog does not mind the rain, please don’t call the authorities; she is an exceptionally well-looked-after beast—allowed on the bed and everything)
trying to look up publishing slang because you think you remember that “beauties” refers to the pretty pictures in the beginning of a chapter in a craft book, but you don’t trust your brain anymore
making a fucking breakfast bowl
reflecting on how “bowl” is another piece of slang, which means vegetables and sometimes meat on top of a grain or noodle, or “food” as the rest of the world calls it
being inordinately pleased with one’s self because of a most excellent geographical pun (involving one’s breakfast bowl) that only a very few people in an obscure county in the Upper Midwest would find funny
conducting cross-house yelling conversations with spouse about utter silliness and explaining in exhaustive detail why one’s pun was hilarious
playing “acceptable garden plant or weed” in one’s new-to-one garden in the rain
What are you supposed to be doing today?
I’m one of those irritating people who (almost) always knows what time it is. My trick is to live a boringly predictable life with as much natural light as possible. (Yes, half of the reason I went freelance was that I had no windows at my full-time job.)
Yesterday, however, it got so dark because of an impending rainstorm that it reset my inner clock. I thought it was 6 p.m. at 2 p.m., and apparently that meant that I thought it was 6 a.m. at 2 a.m. too.
I need to copyedit things (my work slowdown sped back up for a few days at least), but I can’t tell if I’m coming or going. Lack of sleep makes me do weird things like hear Beethoven’s fifth in birdsong, wonder if I’m losing my mind, and then consider that Beethoven himself might have based his famous melody line on a birdsong.
ADD is exacerbated by lack of sleep. Between the last paragraph and this I spotted and identified a red squirrel in my yard (who knew they were so small??), got a glass of water, and found a radio station I could stand to listen to.
How’s your raging torrent of consciousness today?
Pretentious author photos: I get that you have long curly hair (I do too, yawn), but does it have to be fanned out? And since I’m on the subject of curly hair: don’t flip your hair for effect while reading poetry to an audience as an otherwise-gifted reader once advised me to do. No one wants to see that shit.
Instagram. I’ve developed an instagram non-presence to feed my stationery addiction and also to do research for a top-secret project. It’s great to drool over pens, paper, art, and Japanese stationery items I had no idea I needed BEFORE NOW.
However, the “normally I use my [average page flags] for hopes and dreams in my planner, but yesterday I used them as a to do list. And I got everything done!” made me scream inside my head with murderous rage. I do not live in an insta-perfect world. My sheets are dirty. I can’t manage my time. I had two separate set of plans for today, both of which have been changed. It’s mud season. I don’t live in Southern California. My hopes and dreams really involve getting a new editing job and putting some words down on the page. Did I make you laugh? Because that would be awesome. Is there bourbon at the end of the day? Fuck hopes and dreams.
And since I’m hating on instagram, let’s talk about quotes. You know the ones. Peppy “you’ve got this, boss babe!” quotes in pink or “you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to perfectly be” (I made that up and might now have to go commit hari kari on my special edition olive green traveler’s notebook [see, I’m part of the problem]). I’m so glad you have time to make a floral wreath (that looks exactly the same as every other instagram floral wreath) around your perfectly lettered quote, but I’ve got some garden-variety depression to deal with and a stupid domestic squabble I need to have with my spouse. ‘kay? Learn how to write and develop your own damn quotes.
You know what I don’t hate though? You guys. Show me some love back by unloading your hatred here. What do you hate today?
I walked into the market in my nearest town. In my neck of the woods, local markets are like corner markets only better stocked, sometimes even with local handicrafts and local meats and cheeses.
Today I was going on a journey, and stopped for seltzer, snacks, and a loaf of bread. My dog, who hates the car, stayed in the car and shook. As I was going in, I heard someone honking a bunch of times behind me. Usually it’s just someone honking at someone else in greeting. But three honks is a lot.
I turned around and saw a puppy following me up the market stairs.
No, not a puppy. A raccoon. In the middle of the day. Oh shit!!
And I went into that store about as fast as I ever had. Turns out it was the game warden who was honking at me, or maybe at the raccoon to startle it. I imagine it startled us both. I laughed and chattered about my near escape to the cashier and two customers, then went to figure out some good snacks.
I took long enough that the game warden shot the raccoon in the driveway of the house next to the store. I waited for the cashier to finish her report before she rang me up. I yelled a thank you at the game warden as I drove away. He lifted his garbage bag filled with dead raccoon in acknowledgment.
Here’s where a proper blogger would make this into a life or writing lesson. But fuck that. I’m just glad I was not bitten by a rabid raccoon. It would have ruined my day.
What dooms have you escaped recently?
I need to do some work at the old homeplace, but it’s snowraining and I’m hiding away drinking my coffee and reading a mystery novel.
I need to be writing, but I’m at the old homeplace, because there is work to be done.
I need to be searching for jobs, but I have writing to do.
Yesterday I caught up with a copyeditor friend, and she thinks our line of work—in specific, copyediting scientific articles—is going to be phased out sooner rather than later. We both like what we do.
I should be thinking about new careers, but my poetry workshop scheduled for tomorrow didn’t fill, and anyway I’m in a different state avoiding working at the old homeplace in the snowrain.
But I’m drinking coffee, which should give me enough energy to do work even in the snowrain.
Then I’m headed back to my new home where I can nurse my cold feet under the blankets and get some writing done.
Maybe if I finish my book, writing can be my new career, because we all know how wealthy those writers of poetry and literary nonfiction get.
What are you hiding from today?
Invoice past clients.
Paint the kitchen.
Look for more work.
Write that cover letter you have been meaning to write for
Look at pretty pictures on Instagram.
Don’t buy anything unnecessary.*
*But I need those pens!! You don’t. I do!!! You don’t. How about that pretty pretty notebook?? Are you out of notebooks entirely? Er, no. Are you even out of pretty notebooks? Um, no. Then get the fuck off of the Internet. ok, ok.
Walk the dog.
Label all the spice jars because in the former house spice jars were on their side, but current setup has them upright in a drawer, and very few spices companies print the spice name on the cap, and you’re tired of hearing, “[last name redacted]! Where is the cumin??”
[Before you accuse my spouse of Stella’ing me, remember he is cooking me dinner.]
Read. (Toby’s Road by Pat Barker reminded me what novels could and should be. Howl’s Moving Castle is fun no matter how many times you read it. And Travels With Charley is wrapping up, which makes me sad. [library book, ancient purchase, and stolen from parents’ bookshelf years ago, respectively])
What do you do without spending money?
Start with a good line. Maybe some nice vivid nature imagery, but don’t make it too vivid, you don’t want to come across like you’re trying too hard.
Add some subsequent good lines about nature and a season, let’s say winter. After all it just started snowing again. Revel in a couple cold icy stanzas.
Now it’s time to mention your mother, in specific, your dead mother. The poem’s non-plot thickens. The stakes have been raised! This is not another boring poem about snow.
You’ve hit line 17 or so. Your attention begins to waver (because you are, after all, a poet). Best wrap it up. You’re hungry and the dog needs a walk.
Write an ending. It will seem to be about nature, but it is really about your mother. Slap a title on the poem, and go find a leash.
That dog needs a damn walk.