Channeling it Into Writing

Fair warning. What follows is a fairly whiny and scattered rant. I’m writing it in hopes of expelling the negative energy.

I had a big writing plan today. Big chunk of time to myself, plenty of ambition, just enough coffee. It was almost perfect. I say almost because I haven’t seen the sun in about a week (I think. I’ve lost track). Not that it’s perpetual night here in Chicago, but it’s been overcast for days and when I’m working the day job, I’m in a windowless room so even if it does come out, I’m not there for it. This has definitely brought the energy level way down. That and eating nothing but marshmallows for lunch. Don’t judge me. It’s the weather’s fault. Not mine.

But I was feeling it today. Big time. So, I fired off one angry email this morning, honestly assuming it would go nowhere (since everything else surrounding said email has gone nowhere. It’s a long story about a battle I’m fighting. I’d say more, but don’t want to mess it up. Social media is a surprising powerful thing).

Shockingly, said email resulted in a response, which I had to respond to. So, now that’s off my plate since I know (because of what was said) it will go no further today.

But, it’s really not off my plate. It’s still eating away at me. Bugging me. I said what needed to be said so it’s not like there’s any nagging, “Oh, I shoulda’ said this!” bumping around my brain. And it’s not like I was smacked down. In fact, it was the opposite. I smacked the other side down (sort of. And, I’m not proud of it. I hate it when I have to do that and can’t work with you as a partner. But, it had to happen, unfortunately). It’s just sort of still sitting there. Hanging around.

In part, that’s my fault. I got worked up and anxious. Not like I was scared or worried but just revved up and ready to go. Ready to battle. Maybe I should have done my primal warrior call to ease the tension. I don’t have one, really, but maybe I should get one. Anyway, the anticipation combined with coffee, never a good thing for me. My heart is still thumping away and shows no signs of slowing down even though it’s over. For now.

Anyway, I find myself unable to write. I know what I need to do in the WIP. In fact, I delete the beginning of Chapter 2, that’s how sure I am, but I can’t seem to find the inspiration. I’m pacing the house, thinking, thinking, thinking. About nothing, actually. I’m just pacing, letting my mind wander and feeling my heart thumping in my chest. I’m deep breathing, I’m doing this blog post, but I’m still a bit crazed.

And, I hate it when that happens. People wonder why my day job is not that of “writer.” I find it hard to explain that I only have a certain amount of creative in me per day. I have no idea if other creative types have this problem, but I do. Once I’ve used up my creative for the day, that’s it, I’m done. If I’ve given it all to a client (or steady job) I can’t do for myself that day.

While technically I did nothing creative this morning, I did have to thing creatively and craft the right response. Angry without being condescending. I think I nailed it. But, as a result, I’m creatively drained right now. Which makes me angry. I had to waste all my creative on something stupid. Well, not stupid. It’s important, but I shouldn’t have to deal with it because it shouldn’t have happened to begin with.

So, I’m using this blog post to vent today, in hopes that I can expel negative energy and get back my creative. See, my fear now is that this negative will end up in the WIP. While that could be a good thing, it’s not really where the MC is in the story and I don’t want to write 2000 or so words today only to have them in the trash. I know that happens a lot, but if I can foresee it happening and avoid it, I’d rather do that.

Or, I could try to use it to my advantage. Maybe the MC is angry today about stupid stuff. Maybe I can channel this into something awesome. Would that mean I have to thank the people that pissed me off today in the book? We’ll see what happens.

ETA: It worked. I got the negative energy out and pumped out about 1500 words today.

Holiday Madness

Yesterday, the conversation veered toward Thanksgiving plans. Makes sense since Thanksgiving is next week. When I was asked about my plans, I paused then said, “I think we’re going to do absolutely nothing this year. It’s just too much trouble in our family to deal with it and this year, I’m out.” Some at the table were in agreement, with one commenting that she wondered when it became such a traumatic nightmare for some families to be together on holidays (something like that).

Ignoring the incredibly awful commercialization of the holidays (I mean, really, who needs to go shopping for gifts at 6AM on Thanksgiving Day?! You can if you want to, I suppose and if you have nothing better to do, it’s something to do, but this holiday creep is insane) I’ve really come to dislike this time of year.

There’s the feeling that this time of year is supposed to be about being with family and that everyone is supposed be together and happy. If that could happen for everyone, that would be amazing. If you could be with your family – however you define it – and everything were as cheery as it seemed on TV, I think the world might be a better place. And if you have that, I envy you. Really, I do.

Because there seems to be this pervasive feeling that there’s something wrong with anyone who can’t get it together long enough to be around their family for the holidays. Even though, deep down we all know that not everyone lucked out in the family lottery and can’t have that. It makes great fodder for movies, the family torn apart by something, but by the end they’ve solved their problems, come together and are all enjoying some eggnog around the fire. Together, united as one big happy family.

We all know that doesn’t happen in real life, yet many of us pretend that it does. Or we suck it up and don’t say anything.

And those that do say something – for whatever reason – get “the look.” The one that says you’re the one with the problem. Or worse, you’re told “but, it’s family.” That may be true, but if being family were enough, would the problems that drove them apart exist? If being family were the be all and end all, why are there so many problems?

It’s like saying being biologically related trumps anything and everything else. Like just because you share some common DNA (or are married or adopted or however your family came to be) everything else that’s been bad about the relationship doesn’t mean anything.

Shouldn’t being related (however you are related) trump the other stuff? Shouldn’t being related mean you work these problems out? Or that they don’t happen in the first place? When did being related become and excuse for piss poor behavior? Piss poor behavior that you’re supposed to ignore because “it’s family”?

I’d love to see a movie, advertisement, even a Hallmark card that more accurately captures the essence of the season for (I’m suspecting) a lot of people out there. Perhaps Hallmark needs to have a line of holiday cards that express the sentiment of “Yeah, we’re family. So what?” (Note: new freelance idea to pursue.)

So, for all those who don’t have a loving family to hang with this holiday season, I feel you. There’s nothing wrong with it. It is what it is. I hope it gets better, but, if it doesn’t, that’s OK too. Because sometimes being family just isn’t enough.

What’s the Hurry?

And now for something a little different. A small rant I need to get off my chest.

Psst. You. Yeah, you. The one tailgating me and getting mad that I won’t speed up.

Slow down.

Seriously. Slow. Down.

Let me tell you why.

I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but school is back in session. Really. Around here, it’s been that way for a few weeks. Here’s how I know. I’m going to share this information with you so you don’t keep making the same mistake day after day after day for the next nine months. All those kids on the sidewalks. See them? Yeah. Put the phone down for a second (since it’s illegal for you to hold that up to your face while you’re driving) and look on the side of the road. All those kids. The ones with the backpacks? See them? They’re walking to that building over there that says “Elementary School.” That’s my first big clue. The second? The signs on the side of the road that say “Entering School Zone.”

Short of that, I don’t know how else to get it across to you that we’re driving in a school zone. And that you need to slow down. Way down.

I get that it’s a pain in the ass to drive through this school zone. Because it’s not really one school zone. It’s two school zones sort of squished together. Three if you count the high school, but that’s not marked as a school zone. It’s confusing and the speed limits change every 30 feet. It’s 35 MPH until the first zone, then 20 MPH then back up to 35 then back down again. And the high school isn’t a school zone but they have crosswalks in odd places and it’s not well marked. Plus, let’s face it, the street we’re driving on is kind of big and kind of major and it’s screaming for at least a 40 MPH limit. Maybe even 45. It’s wide, there’s nothing there – except those darn schools – and you’re in a hurry.

I don’t know why you’re in a hurry. And, truthfully, I don’t care. Because that’s not really the problem here. That speed limit sign applies to you, just like it applies to me. That’s why I only go 20 MPH when we’re in that zone.

See, I’m not in a hurry when I’m in those school zones. Even on the days that I am, I’m not. Know why? I don’t want to get a ticket. Because if I did get pulled over, I would be late and pissed off and I don’t like having those kinds of days. Especially when it’s avoidable. If you want to get a ticket, be my guest. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. The cops love hanging out on that street. Love. It. There’s a couple of great places for them to hide so you can’t see them until it’s too late and they nail you.

When you’re driving up my tail pipe (I take my foot off the accelerator when you do that.), get mad because you can’t intimidate me into going your speed, give me a dirty look as you pass me, then blast through the school zone, I’m just guessing here, you think the rules don’t apply to you. Or you’re late. Or whatever. Doesn’t matter.

Getting a ticket, well, that’s your choice. But, when you’re speeding through a school zone faster than the speed of light while yapping and/or texting on your phone, weaving around all us slow pokes, you’re not just making a choice for you. You’re making a choice for the rest of us. One that you may not be able to undo. In my car, I have air bags and crumple zones and whole bunch of other shit to keep me safe. If something goes wrong, I stand a chance. Plus, I’m driving defensively, keeping an eye on you and avoiding you. But, a kid on the street? No air bags, no crumple zones. No nothing. Just a backpack, which I’m guessing doesn’t function quite like my airbags do.

Listen, I know a whole bunch of other people are doing it, too. But, like Mom said, if they jumped off a bridge, would you? She also said, two wrongs don’t make a right, so, by my calculations, your two wrongs of speeding through the school zone like a maniac and using your phone while doing it don’t add up to right.

So, for the rest of the year, could you maybe, just maybe, slow down? Plan ahead and leave earlier for where ever you need to go so when you do slow down, you aren’t late? Or, take a different route? I’m sure there’s more than one way to get to where you’re going. At the very least, stop tailgating me. It’s not going to get me to drive any faster.

Thanks. I totally appreciate it. And so does everyone else.