Monday, June 30, 2008

Honor Thy Blog... 100 posts, and a year since the move

So! This is my century post.


I never thought I'd keep up with this blog for this long. I'm not good about keeping journals, electronic or otherwise. I've been working on keeping a longhand journal, but it's been sitting dormant for over a month now (not surprising). With blogs, I usually get bored. I feel as if I'm posting those kind of I-had-cereal-for-breakfast entries that nobody gives a damn about, including me. But then I go back and read over them and see that even in the most boring entries there are things that make me remember other things that I'd have probably forgotten about. It's an exercise in perpetual nostalgia.

So. WHOO!!! ::spray of fireworks:: And on to other things.

Today is the one year anniversary of me moving to SC. So for a minute I'm going to reminisce about the last year, and Indianapolis, and all that good shit. So, here goes. If you're bored, hell, go back to YouTube or take a nap or something.

A year ago, I burned a new CD to add to the collection in the CD holder that lives on my sun visor, packed my truck (an aging 1994 Ford Explorer, Eddie Bauer edition) with as many boxes as it would hold, and set out for a new life in South Carolina. It was a Saturday, and I left at 7 am or so, so it wasn't even really all that warm yet (because Indiana doesn't have the kinds of hell-on-earth summers that we do down here). I kissed my cats goodbye (especially Max, who was still a kitten), took a good long look around at my beautiful apartment, and headed down the stairs with a mingled sense of fear, sadness and excitement.

The drive down was long and uneventful. I calmed myself with music, especially the new mix I'd made. I still listen to that mix on a regular basis. There's a song on it called "Shut Your Eyes" by Snow Patrol. To this day, hearing that song makes my heart rate slow down. It's like some kind of audio balm. The morning was misty and green. I stopped at Starbucks, got breakfast and hit the road. Ten hours later I was in Lyman. I'm glad I drove - flying is too fast for a trip like that. It was a pilgramage.

Indianapolis is starting to fade for me now. I guess that's not surprising, considering it's been a year to the day. There are still things I remember with perfect clarity, things I want to hold on to. Things like the herons that lived around the lake behind our apartments, or the huge colony of turtles that shared the lake with the herons (and ducks and geese and fish and raccoons and a hedgehog we named Herman who liked to dance in circles along the edge of the brambles near the lake and all sorts of other woodland creatures - all living on a tiny square of undeveloped floodplain that was on the north side of Indy, off 82nd street). On hot days, the turtles would climb up on the shore of the lake and sun themselves. Sometimes, they'd stake out logs, and then the smaller turtles would climb on top of the bigger turtles until there was a mound of them, one neatly stacked on top of the other, largest to smallest, perfectly symmetrical.

Things like the perfect tree over on 96th street, with its wending branches and gnarled roots knobbling improbably out of the black Indiana soil, or the way the sky seemed ten times bigger in the late afternoon, stretching on eternally over the flat plains, unbroken by hills or even tall trees. The taste of Da Vinci's Italian Kiss gelato - good lord, it was delicious. Or the way I loved to lie on my stomach in our bed, looking out those huge windows in our bedroom that looked out over the lake. I could spend hours just meditating like that. In the summertime the fireflies made their homes in the brush between our building and the lake, and just after twilight they'd all come out to dance and play - literally hundreds, if not thousands of them. It was charmingly overwhelming. Amazing - like a faerie dance, a magical congregation meeting each night at the same time just under our bedroom windows. Breathtaking.

In the last year I've grown comfortable with being in SC again, learned that I really can live here and be responsible and not fall into my old habits of self-destruction. I still feel like I just got here, though.

I've more to post on this but I need to get my thoughts organized for it, so I'll leave it here for now. I'm smiling as I think of those stacked turtles, those fireflies sketching their way across the velvety darkness of post-twilight, dancing in the darkness, playing along the firey rims of my imagination.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chew on This

Here’s a love letter wrapped into an acronym for all you people who want to tell me the best ways to lose weight: STFU.

Yeah, you heard me.

I know you mean well. I know you think you’re just trying to help. But trust me – you’re not. Not at all. Especially when every bit of the “knowledge”, “information”, “suggestions”, “guidelines”, and, god help us, “wisdom” you have to share with me I’ve already heard, read, seen, researched, and known for years. Don’t tell me these things because I ALREADY FUCKING KNOW THEM. I’m 32 years old. I’ve been fat for 2/3 of my life. Do you not think I’ve dieted over the years? Do you not think I’m aware of the fact that my appearance and my weight are pretty much socially unacceptable and hold me back from having a life that’s just like every other “normal” weight, skinny person’s? Do you not think I’ve researched the situation to death, tried everything I could find, done all I can do? Oh, wait, of course not – I’m still fat. If I knew all the magical shiny information you keep in your brain filed under the tab WEIGHT LOSS, I’d immediately become thin. Christ.

Hey – do you really think you’re going to help? Or do you just want to show off how much interesting crap you’ve gathered in your little brain on the subject of weight loss? Let me tell you, I already know what you’re going to say. You’re going to tell me that starving myself doesn’t do me any good. That I need to eat six small meals a day and control my calorie intake steadily over the hours I’m awake. You’re going to give me that bullshit about how a pound equals 3500 calories and if I can just cut 500 calories out of my daily intake, I can lose one pound a week with regular exercise. You’ll say that I need to drink lots of water, around eight glasses a day or so. You’re going to tell me that I need to get plenty of sleep, because that’s when the body regenerates itself and does the most weight loss. You’re going to say protein is my best friend when I’m dieting, and I should exercise regularly (walking’s great! Don’t forget walking!) and take weight lifting slowly and eat lots of fiber. Oh yeah, and you’re going to sanctimoniously offer with a placatory smile that I can give myself a little treat every now and again, as long as I don’t go overboard. Because it’s all about a lifestyle change, right? Hallelujah! Praise Jeeeeeeeezus! A LIFESTYLE CHANGE! Witness, witNESS!! Can I get an AMEN! Can I get a HALLELOOOOOOOJAH!! I’m fucking saved from the ranks of the fat-tasmagoric! Thank Christ for lifestyle changes!!!

Those nuggets of information are only a sample of all the ridiculous amount of garbage I’ve ingested about weight loss over the years. There’s not a diet I haven’t read about. There’s not a weight loss tidbit you can tell me that I can’t already quote chapter and verse. I’m informed. I’m in the know. I am completely aware of how it works, what it does, why I should or shouldn’t do it. I don’t need YOU to tell ME how to lose weight. If I wanted a personal trainer, I’d go pay for one. Since I didn’t give you any money to help me lose weight, SHUT YOUR FUCKING FACE.

You may not have come to terms with this yet, but some people, many people are just fat. Like some people, many people are just thin. And all manner of weights in between. I got the shit end of the gene stick. I know I’ll never be svelte and beautiful, at least not by society’s traditional standards. And that’s ok. I don’t need to justify myself to anyone, least of all to you. Unfortunately, I’m going to be fat forever. But the way I look at it is, I’d rather be fat forever and a relatively cool person who respects other people’s boundaries than AN ASSHOLE THAT PREACHES GARBAGE TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT OR NEED TO HEAR IT.

So. Yeah. When it comes to weight loss, when I want your opinion, I’ll ASK FOR IT. Don’t volunteer it. Because I’m done being nice. I’ll either stick my fingers in my ears and say LALALALALALALALALALALALA until you get the point or I’ll just tell you, in no uncertain terms, to shut the fuck up or fuck the fuck off. As an old friend once said… “You have two choices: shut the fuck up, or blow me. Either way, you stop fucking talking.”

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I’m disillusioned today. It might be because of my enormous lack of sleep lately. I’m just having a really tough time going to bed and making myself stay there long enough TO sleep. Even when I’m in bed with the lights off and the TV off my mind is racing. The past few nights I’ve been using my old treehouse trick. That’s where I pretend that my bed is high in the boughs of an enormous tree and is gently rocking back and forth. Dunno why, but my brain gets caught up in imagining it and slows down enough for me to relax. It doesn’t work all the time, though.

Even with the treehouse trick I don’t go to sleep before 1:30 or 2 most days. Which wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t have to be up at 6:30. Most nights I average about 5 hours of sleep. I can function on such, but an extended amount of sleeplessness is definitely taking its toll. I’m exhausted all the time now. And I’m cranky as shit. EVERYone annoys the bejesus out of me. Especially people I work with. And to a lesser extent people online… ::shrugs:: OK, most everybody I interact with then.

I’m so tired that my main two emotions are apathy and irritation. I know I have work to be done, but I don’t care enough to make myself do it. And then I’m irritated with every person that comes to my desk asking me to do something or needing information. Just about the only place I’m not irritated as hell with is my new forum, But one can only surf the web at work so much before one gets oneself into deep shit. So, I don’t live on the forums as much as I’d like.

New writing is currently at a standstill. I resurrected one of my very old stories, “Home Again”, and edited it. I’m going to take it to writers’ meeting and see what they think. Personally I’m not too fond of the story, but I think it has some kind of potential somewhere. I think I’ve come a long way in the six years since I wrote it. The story’s a lot tighter now and has a lot less empty words, but I still just don’t know if it’s good enough to send out. Not that I’m sending anything out anyway. But you know what I mean. The new stuff is gestating (I hope). Right now I’m just concentrating on getting through the days at work without killing myself or anyone else, so when I get home, especially after not sleeping well, I’m no good to anybody, least of all my muse. This has gotta stop somehow…

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Blog Title

Some of you (I'm really mostly talking to the crickets, here) may have noticed the name change on the blog from Aspiring Scheherazade to the new title, Dead Ringer for a Real Life. The change is multi-reasonal. Ha, I just made that word up, and I like it.

First, and mostly, I think it reflects me, my writing and the point of this blog more accurately. Aspiring Scheherazade doesn't really do it for this group of random observations and hey-we-had-a-great-time-on-this-trip entries. So I retitled accordingly.

Second... and yeah, this may be blasphemy, but... fuck Scheherazade. She had all day and all night to come up with stories. Her only jobs were staying alive, coming up with stories, and eating all the ritzy palace food she could stuff into her gob. I love the romantic concept of holding someone spellbound for a thousand and one nights because you're so adept at telling stories, but I can't be that person right now because of the rest of my life. Every time I saw the old title I felt silly and as if I was making claims I couldn't live up to. I work 55-60 hours a week, so I write when I have time. Which is almost never. So I give up sleep to write. At this point I think I'd give up breathing to write. Because it's what I do. It's what I am. And a storyteller... it's what I want to be until I die.

Fuck "Aspiring". Aspiring means nothing. Are you or aren't you? Do or do not, there is no try, bitches.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

At the sound of the tone, the time will be half past Tuesday... BEEP!

Well, that's frustrating.

I have this habit of starting and stopping blogs over and over again and then getting bored with them and leaving them by the wayside (this one is the only exception to that rule). Periodically I'll go back to the old blog and look through it and think about the person I was when I wrote those words. I just went to visit one of my old journals at journalspace and found that they'd deleted it. I guess I can understand - the site's going through an overhaul and I hadn't updated that blog in quite a while - but it still saddens me a bit. Basically it's like losing a shoebox full of old letters and notes you'd written to yourself. It's not essential, but it's still nice to have so you can look back and see how far you've come.

When I started that blog, I was married, living in Greenville, and six years (or so) younger than I am now. I think I've changed quite a bit, and I'm glad about it. I think about the person I was then and it seems like some kind of weird dream. I'm so glad I moved to Indianapolis - it's like the event that really kick-started my life into reality. I used to go back and read that blog and marvel at my own naivety. That, and my complete and total ability to dupe myself into believing that I really was happy the way I was. I didn't believe something was really wrong until April or so of 2004, when we moved to Lyman and I had kind of a breakdown that lasted a few months. I'm not proud of that time in my life, but I am proud that I lived through it and used it to make me stronger than I was.

I'm trying to think of the "important posts" that were lost when that journal got deleted. I remember blogging about Power Hour, and my friend from high school Kim that was killed in the war. And my grandmother's passing. All the writing (i.e. "creative writing") I pulled off the journal long ago for safekeeping. But still, it's sad to know all those words got flushed into the blogosphere sewer lines.

Oh well. From now on I'm going to do what I can to keep this blog active and only use it. It shouldn't be too much of a problem - this is by far the longest blog I've ever kept. It's a year and a half old and has 95 posts! Yeah! Go me! Hahahaha...

Real quick-like because I need to get back to work:

~ The trip to NYC was awesome. I took about 200 pics (no lie) and got some great video. I also journaled (rare for me) through the whole vacation, so I have lots of interesting little details to dump into my newest story, where my main characters are going to New York on the next leg of their journey. We went on a boat tour and saw the Statue of Liberty, and sailed all the way around the island of Manhattan, which was really interesting. There's a lot more green on that island than I realized there would be - the northern tip is basically not developed at all. I also saw a few tiny islands in the rivers around Manhattan that really caught up my imagination. There's one in particular called North Brother Island that's just hella cool. It's a tiny island that used to be home to a psychiatric institution/sanatorium and a surrounding village of little houses that the doctors and staff lived in. When NYC opened up the new hospital for psychiatrics this one closed and everyone moved off the island (this was in the 50's I think). Then nature basically just took over and now the island is covered in flora and fauna and the hospital and the surrounding village are crumbling away into decay in this middle of this forest that's sprung up. I mean, how frickin cool is that? I'm definitely going to use that in my story. Other than that, we also went on a bus tour of the city, and a carriage ride in Central Park, and we went to the MoMA, which was INCREDIBLE. And we had a lot of vegan/veggie food as well, not my particular cup of tea but it was still tasty grub in its own way. I'll post a whole entry about NYC very soon. Like maybe later today if I get the chance.

~ Been to see Iron Man (twice), Indiana Jones, Prince Caspian and Sex in the City. All were awesome (ESPECIALLY Iron Man), and Sex and the City surprised me, it was so good. I'd definitely watch them all again but I think my least favorite was Prince Caspian - Caspian annoyed me, Peter was being a whiny little shit and the whole movie just seemed... flat, I guess. If you're not a Narnia fan, I'd suggest waiting until it comes out on video.

~ Still working on the long piece, "Little Savior". Up to almost 10,000 words now. I'm excited about it but it's kind of slow going. The writers' group likes it, though.

~ I kicked my room's ass this past weekend and made it into something I really like now. The room was a fricking disaster area when I started cleaning on Saturday morning (imagine a huge, like 40MT clothes-dishes-unopened-mail-and-other-papery-trash bomb exploding in a tiny room, and you'll understand how bad it was), but I got in the cleaning groove and it was completely spotless by six. Then the next day I moved everything from my office down into my bedroom. Now when I walk into my room I immediately see my computer and have a visual reminder to WRITE. Plus, the room looks phen-fucking-nominal. I even put my Vinnie poster up on the wall above my bed. And with it being so spotlessly clean it's easy to keep it that way, for now at least. I hope I can get into the habit of cleaning it on a regular basis instead of once every three months or so.

~ I can't think of anything else and that wasn't real quick anyway. I gotta go back to work, my clent's expecting a project bid today and I need to finish it up.

Dear reader of this blog, hope all is well for you, whomever you may be.