Just Keep Spinning

There’s a spider that’s moved on to my house. I say “on to” my house because he’s outside. I don’t actually know if it’s a he, but I nicknamed him Pete (as I do with all the spiders I find in my house – I don’t know why) so it’s a he.

He’s living just outside my door on my porch and has chosen the sidelight to build his web. I’m not particularly creeped out by spiders, bugs or other creepy crawlies, but I’m not one for having them so close to me. Especially to my face. But, there’s a nice piece of glass separating the two of us, so we manage to make it work.

It’s been a few weeks since Pete’s moved in and I’ve become utterly fascinated by him. He’s nocturnal, so during the day he hides out just above his web in the framing of the door. He bunches up into a ball and, I don’t know… Sleeps? Hangs out?

Then at night, this happens:

My new friend Pete.

My new friend Pete.

As you can see, he comes down from above and hangs out in the middle of the web. Classic spider stuff. And, yes, he is as big as he looks. I haven’t measured him, but he’s bigger than the spiders I’m used to seeing.

I’m not going to lie, If I saw Pete in the house, I’d be a little freaked out.

After the first week, I noticed one morning that the beautiful web he spun (hard to see it in this picture), was destroyed. Most of the inner circles were gone and the bottom was almost non-existent.

I was sad, but it happens. Circle of life. I figured he was done and moving on.

Except the next morning I came downstairs and noticed that the web was back. Good for Pete, I thought. Another meal will be served.

A few days later, I noticed the web was destroyed again. And, I was sad again.

But, this time, as I was heading upstairs for bed, I saw the most amazing thing. I saw Pete spinning the web!

I’d post the video, but it’s not that great. Pete would walk around the spokes of the web, the webbing trailing from behind him, and at each spoke he’d take a leg and guide the webbing onto the spoke, making it stick in place, walk to the next spoke and repeat, creating the web.

I was utterly mesmerized. At first I wasn’t sure I was sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. I couldn’t really see the web as he spun it. It almost looked like he was walking on air. It wasn’t until I looked back at his work that I actually saw what was being created. He would lay the web and move on to the next part, but I couldn’t see what he just spun. The webbing is mostly transparent at first. It wasn’t until Pete was maybe three parts over that the web started to become more opaque and thus, more visible. And each time around the web added a layer and eventually, Pete had a complete web.

He didn’t stop, he didn’t look back, he trusted his process. He just kept spinning.

Watching him do this has inspired me to adopt him as my spirit animal, and I could use one right now. I know a spider don’t seem like a likely choice for spirit animal, but it’s hard not to want to be like Pete. He moved in and set-up shop like it was no big deal. When the web was destroyed, he went back, fixed it and moved on with his life. When the web was destroyed again, he fixed it again. And even though it maybe wasn’t immediately clear or obvious to me what he was doing, it was to him. When I watched long enough, things came into focus for me, too. They became real to me, just like they are to Pete. And Pete keeps spinning.

There’s a lot going on right now. Not just for me, but for everyone. Even for people I don’t know, haven’t yet met or may never meet. And I’ll probably never know what they’re up against, and they may never know what I’m up against. And that’s OK. But, I’d suggest if you’re feeling lost, out of focus, disconnected or just plain blah, find a Pete and watch him spin his web. Because we all need to keep spinning our web, and eventually, whatever it is will come into focus for all of us.

The End and The Beginning

This has truly been the summer of endings. The job finally, finally, finally, ended. In some respects it was a long, slow lingering thing. We knew it was coming, we just weren’t sure when. And when it was finally done, it was done. I’m sad. It was such a great job. But, that’s life, and it was a job. There will be others.

Unlike the other major ending from this summer. Death. Of a person. In the family. And, much like the job it was a long slow lingering thing. And when it was finally done, it was done. Death is final like that. And, much like the job, I’m sad. Of, course, it wasn’t “just a person.” Their won’t be “other people.”

Dying was easy. Getting the final arrangements done wasn’t. This was the first time I was on the planning side of things. Even with premade and prepaid arrangements, it was a bit messy. Not horribly so. Not oh my God I’m so writing about this messy. But disorderly.

Then, the actual funeral. Geeze. I had no idea the eulogy was the time for airing dirty laundry. Your’s or someone else’s. And that wasn’t the first time I had experienced it! I know people are sometimes grief stricken and aren’t thinking clearly but, yikes. (That could make a good book. All the eulogys in the world that have gone awry.)

white rose

When all was said and done and I finally got a chance to sit down, I got to thinking. When I write, I need to know the ending so I know how to start and how to get there. While I can’t exactly do that in life, what with its unpredictability and all, I can at least try to plan the end so there’s no laundry and no messy. Just something neat and tidy that sort of resembles a happy ending.

First, no long lingering anything for me. I just die. The end.

I will write my own obituary. Which makes sense because I’m a writer. I don’t want one of those standard, boring ones. In it, I will talk about what a great time I had while I was here.

I will also write my own eulogy. There will be no dirty laundry. Or clean laundry. Or any laundry. Mostly, I will talk about my own awesomeness and why you were lucky to have known me. Also, it will be the only thing said. No clergy, no anyone waxing nostalgic about me. Not only to avoid the laundry, but because I don’t want anyone to have to experience losing it in front of a room full of people because it’s contagious and then everyone loses it. And I don’t want anyone losing it while you are discussing my awesomeness.

After said celebration of all things me (notice, I did not say “funeral” or “burial” or any thing like that), there will be an after party. Not a Shiva or a wake or a memorial. An after party. Jello shots and champagne will be served. And, I will pay for all of it in advance. Because it’s my after party, which is why you are having jello shots. And why should you have to pay for it?

Super fancy shots. And I like that the container is edible.

Super fancy shots. And I like that the container is edible.

Hopefully, said after party will take place on the beach, but it’s not mandatory. A bar is fine, too. Whatever. I’m just thinking the beach is best because I’m going to be cremated and turned into fireworks. Because nothing says “celebration” better than fireworks.

That's me!

That’s me!

Lastly, when all is said and done and I’ve been gone for a while, random people from my past will start receiving random items in the mail. A comb, ballet shoes. Something totally odd and random with a note: I’m dead. You know what to do. Of course, they won’t. Why? No reason. It just sounds funny.

And, with that, I close the books on Summer 2015. I won’t exactly miss you, but I thank you. For helping inspire me to look as far forward as possible and for giving me new beginnings.

Also, I am looking for a job. Thoughts to follow. But, in the meantime, if you know of any job that is flexible and involves me sitting on the beach drinking margaritas, please keep me in mind. It can also involve drinking daiquiris poolside. I’m not picky.

Memorable Writing

Someone remembered my writing and used it as an example!

Of bad writing.

(Oh, come on. You had to see that coming.)

I can’t say that I disagree, per se. It wasn’t my best work and could have used some polishing. However, that’s not why it was used as an example. Of bad writing. (I might be a tad bitter.)

I know up front that I still have a lot to learn about the craft of writing. Loving to write, needing to write, being unable to stop writing, isn’t enough. That’s the truth I’ve come to grips with lately. Loving it isn’t enough. Very few of us are naturally “that good.” Most of us are good, but have to really work at the “that” part. I’m one of them, and that’s fine.

The reason it was held up as a bad example wasn’t because of the writing but because of where it started. Specifically, because this reader didn’t care about the character yet. There was no emotional involvement so why do we care about what is happening to the character.

OK. I see what she’s saying. Really, I do. But.

(Because you knew that was coming, too.)

Don’t you automatically care about the character because you picked up the book? Part of me wanted to say, isn’t that what book jackets and synopses for? You’re reading the book because your friend said it’s awesome, right? So, don’t you automatically want to know what happens even if you’re not emotionally connected to the character in the first 200 or so words? You don’t just give up on a book after 200 words do you? If you’re an agent, maybe, sure, but a reader? Don’t you keep reading a little further, just to see?

Personally, the soonest I’ve ever given up on a book was about 3 pages in. A record for me, to be sure, and it wasn’t because I didn’t emotionally connect with the character. It had to do with some really bad writing about testicles. Don’t ask. But that’s more than 200 words.

Don’t misunderstand. She wasn’t saying she had to like the character, which is a totally different thing. She just needed to connect. And that’s fine, for her. Not everyone needs to connect with a character just to keep reading.

Take The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I loved that book. But the first 70 pages. Yikes. What the hell was that? I couldn’t understand what all the fuss and hype was about. But, people told me not to give up and I didn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t. And, in turn, I shared that advice with others who wanted to give up. Don’t, I said. I promise.

I didn’t connect with any character in the beginning because, frankly, there was no one really to connect with. Lots of set-up, no action. Boring. When I was reading it I remember thinking, I could easily condense this into about 3 pages and move on, but, that’s not how that book was written. I would have missed out if I had given up after 3 pages just because of the lack of connection.

So, what does this all mean? While the critique was coming from a good place, I just can’t agree. I started in the right place. Perhaps I needed more characterization for context and connection, but, no, I was right to start where I did.

And I’m going to keep going.

Tuning Out

I’ve been trying to write this post for about an hour, but I keep getting distracted. I had a whole other topic in mind for today but I’ve forgotten what it is. I’m sure I’ve got it filed away in my brain somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it. Knowing me, I probably wrote it down somewhere, but I can’t find my notebook. I think it’s in my car, but I can’t find the motivation to get up and get it so I can see what I was thinking about the topic for today. I think it was about writing. I’m not sure. I don’t remember.

See, I did something stupid. Actually, I’m still doing it. Right now as I type this. I’m allowing myself to be distracted. I say “allowing” because I could stop it. I could close all the active tabs on the computer, make the Internet go away, tune Pandora to something less fun, close Twitter. But, I can’t.

Mostly, I’m fascinated by Twitter right now. Either I’ve never stayed logged in for this long or today just happens to be a very active tweeting kind of day. Every time I look, there’s new tweets. I go to refill my coffee cup, 2 more tweets. I open them, find an interesting link, click it, read the article, finish and, 3 more tweets. I look at them real quick, get up to pee, come back six tweets. Open those and… You get the idea.

There’s no real reason for this. Let’s face it, most of the tweets aren’t particularly earth shattering. Some have links to interesting writery things. Those are OK. Sometimes things are funny and I laugh. But, truly, most of the tweets are time wasters. Sure, you could say that the writer related ones are work related, what with me being a part-time writer and all. But, it’s not like most of the tweets are going to advance my career. It would be cool if they could, though. And, of course, there’s all the links to the quizzes and all the other click bait I fall for.

It took me about 10 minutes longer than it should have to type that last paragraph because of all the incoming tweets. Seriously! What is wrong with me? Don’t answer that. Because, I’ll answer it myself.

I’m having a case of doubt. Ever have that? Sure, we all have. And, this isn’t my first case of doubt. I don’t know what number it is, but I know it’s not the first, or the last.

My latest WIP is actually my third attempt (or maybe 4th?) at a novel. Non fiction I can do. Essays I can do. Ghost writing I can do. Rambling blog posts are clearly not a problem. Novels, though… Ack. I have a good idea, but it’s vague and as I develop it becomes a little less vague, but not clear enough to coalesce into anything resembling a novel. It’s not just the telling not showing thing, I can’t quite figure out how to end it. Or the direction it should take to the foggy ending. It’s like a road trip that starts off really well but then the GPS goes out and you don’t have cell service and you kind of go, well, OK, whatever, lets keep going and see what happens and you drive and drive and drive and eventually drive off into nowhere and run out of gas. The end.

Not a very good road trip. Though possibly how a good story starts.

So, I’m allowing myself to be distracted today by the tweeting (7 sitting there right now. I’m sure I’ll check in a second) to avoid the fact that I am, once again, stuck. It’s difficult to be stuck, because I don’t know how to get unstuck. I have a great idea, but that’s about it. No where to go with it. I’ve tried a few times, but run out of gas.

What’s funny (to me) about this whole thing is that for as many times as this has happened to me, I keep coming back. Trying again. Starting over with another foggy idea. Or beating the old one because I’m not totally convinced it’s dead. Yet. I hope that’s the definition of grit. Persistence. So that when the day comes that I have done it and I have finished it and it’s published I can say I didn’t give up. I kept trying until I succeeded because I believed.

But right now there are 4 new tweets to waste time with. Believing can wait until later.