Category Archives: Journal Writing
How is it still fascinating to people that women can write fiction? Action, suspense, thriller, crime, dark comedy, etc. are not exclusive to cockbearers. In fact, the capacity to tell stories or write prose has nothing to do with genitals! And yet here we are, 2014, still discriminating against writers because of their sex. I know it’s inherent, it’s conditioned, it’s assumed decorum, to marvel over a woman’s achievements in a predominantly male field, but just because it’s your habit doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.
In recent correspondence, an emailed compliment included the phrase “…for a woman…”, which caused me immediate stomach pain. I fake-appreciated the adoration from an older man, who, as he paid for my book said, “So you’re the authoress!” in a tone really meant to express, “So you’re my hot Latina nanny!” Ay yay yay…
Then there’s the guy who’s gotten all his socialization cues from porn. Somehow the relay of my business card to the gent turns into a, “So what’s up?” followed by a wink and an overt head nod towards his car. I use this card for promotion, not prostitution. I’m glad the new prints only have the website and my business email address…can’t imagine how many “U up” texts I’d receive had I left my number on there.
And women…SISTERS…you are really bad at helping promote your own! Women can be criminals without having some gruesome, sex-related trauma catapult their character forward. Sheesh, the amount of victimhood women look for in their anti-heroes. Aren’t you sick of the “Good Girl Gone Wrong” arc? I sure am! You were looking for someone to cry herself to sleep every night after a day’s work? Sorry, try the next aisle, you’ll find that bullshit between Melissa Bank and E.L. James.
Yeah, I look fantastic in nothing but knee-high boots. You’re right, I do have a pretty mouth. But don’t let the tits and ass distract you, I also write great fiction.
With an exhale he resigned to his fate, not in the matter of settling, not in the matter of right-for-right-now, but knowing, ever so clearly, ever so authentically, that she, the woman sitting two seats to his left, is The One.
That they met amongst friends was a save; he could inquire about her, inconspicuously, and find more than one person who could, in real time, vouchsafe for her availability.
Availability. Because all this time, he had availed himself, but never found the right fit. The right arm to link around his, in the present, in public, to proclaim, this is real. A big man, an athlete, so society deemed him only qualified for the vapid and unrestrained, the daddy worshippers, the gold diggers. It became not just tiresome, but depressing.
As cliche as it is to meet someone at a wedding, it feels right, even rewarding. Her happiness for the couple is genuine, and she is void of that defeatist burn the other women are emanating. She speaks softly but laughs loudly, and that combination from such a tiny woman is strangely desirable. Single? Yes. Kids? No. Dating? No time. But then she blurts out, “Would you like a girlfriend?” followed by a quick reddening of her throat. How adorable!
The person to his right lifts from his seat, and she immediately takes it. “I can’t get over how good you look in that blue,” she delivers with sincerity, eyes dancing with fascination. She looks as if she wants to confess something, but holds back.
He nods to himself, then, in an ever so faint declaration, says, “You have my heart.” He looks down to her and sees her smiling widely.
She nods, “Okay.”
Her small, naked arm finds the keyhole his arm makes against the table.
Then I wake up.
This was one of those rare, two-parter dreams, where one segment played out a night ago, then finished two mornings later. And the guy, Samuel, looks just like David Gandy, but that might be because I was reading GQ magazine.
If you’re out there, Sam, looking like David Gandy is a plus, but your authentic self is way more desirable. Here’s hopin’!
Another urgent email containing a list of companies desperate for me to apply, as per the Subject line. You want me? You want me that bad? Fine. Let’s see what you got…
Oh. Director of Blah Blah Blah for a sports agency. Need to be a “winner” and able to engage athletes, their managers and entourage. Next!
Creative Content Manager for a medical group. Should be able to conduct research (yes) write technical papers (ooh) critique drafts for academic journal submission (ooh yes) analyze policies regarding the pharmaceutical industry (ohh baby) manage blog and email content (ooh right there) and work alone or with minimal supervision. Yeah Daddy! Don’t stop!!
Requirements: PhD. Waa waa waaaaa
Now here’s a winner: Contract Writer for a market research group. Satellite position; that means, I can work naked during the summer months! Research trends, behaviors, motivators for a given sub-population. Shit. I’m a fiction writer; I do that all the time! Work with editorial staff, manage other writers? Pffssshhhttpppptttthhhttttttt I got this.
“Upload resume.” Really??
When I double clicked on the closest thing to a current resume in my Old Life Directory, my system prompted me with, “What application do you want to open this file with?” It’s THAT old!
Check this snapshot out…
Slow down, Superstar! Did I *actually* use this resume content? Did the last gig *actually* hire me using this douchebaggery?? Oh my living gawd, am I an egotistical asshole. Well, was. Well, maybe. I dunno.
Not an egotistical asshole. Just an asshole.
I love my reinvention as a creative writer. I love that, if I’m forced to assign a title, it is “Published Author.” I also love that I have three years’ documented experience as a creative artist so I can pursue “Editor” and “Writer” and “Content Manager” contracts without hyperventilating.
But yes, I need a little left brain love every once in a while. I do this, troll for research/analysis gigs, pretty often, and if you need someone who’s into that, baby, holla at me, because I love turning raw data into salient strategies. Statistics, market trends, matrix builds, primary data collection…? Ooh…I just felt a chill run up my spine! It’s a special kind of Strange I am totally into.
The rest of the dusty resume was an enjoyable laugh. Some highlights:
I wore construction boots. I remember the division manager had to special order my steel toe boots because of all the field personnel, I was the only specialist of the female persuasion, so they didn’t have my size in stock. I wore them whenever I was called off site to wherever the computer-mounted trucks were stationed, proudly rocking pink camouflage boot laces to compliment my fluorescent vest.
I froze my ass off in the name of science. On the way to the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania to conduct qualitative data collection, I got caught on the summit of one of the many mountains of the Appalachian Range. A commercial truck had jackknifed at the foot of the mountain, and, of course, the road I was on was the only passage from one side of the mountain to the next. It was the longest, most prayerful two hours of my life.
I was a shorter, fatter Remy Danton. As the DOC representative at the State Building, I essentially spent all day lobbying House members to support our mandatory campaign in their respective districts. Power walking in heels was a norm, as well as delivering the solid, two pump, “Wanna wrassle?” handshake. To this day, people are taken aback when my wee hand comes out and delivers them a lightening bolt!
“So you got a girlfriend?”
“Why have a girlfriend?”
“So you don’t live alone.”
“I live alone.”
Ambitious. But then again, they all are.
“Ech,” I shrug, ” People will talk. This town? They all up in everyone’s business.”
The corner of his mouth lifts, “I don’t live here.”
We high five.
Moments later, he returns to my cafe table holding a piece of paper, which is ceremoniously placed beside my wine glass before he struts off. I lift it and observe a phone number, written in his own hand, circled, with his actual name under it. I’ve been calling him something else for over a year! I laugh into my glass while thinking, I was 17 when he was born.
Ardent. Overconfident. Of the Generation of the Oversharers.
A casual traipse through my LinkedIn feed brought me to this article: How To Leave Your Ego At the Door Although this is framed for the corporate/private sector types, the points are applicable to the artists/wannabes as well! Here, my reactions to the points…
1. Keep introductions short
You know who are the WORST at this? Poets! They spend thirteen minutes to introduce a three-second poem! Their meanderings about their mother’s nicknames for vaginas and the need to always wear a hat because of medications (as recently-experienced examples) take away from the poetry listening experience. Standardize an intro; read it if you have to, commit it to memory, OR, since you’re a featured poet, just read the damn poem!
2. Don’t let recognition or achievement get to your head
Wow. Completely inapplicable to artists. The whole point of artistry IS recognition and achievement! The fun part is listening to these lists of awards they provide, feeling they’re completely fabricated or worse, distributed amongst a handful of club members. I notice in the blogosphere a bevy of circle-jerking awards (not gonna point any violators out; I’m limiting myself to general snark today). Recently I sat in on a book reading and was impressed by the award this woman had achieved for her memoir, but the excerpt she shared was so…what’s the best way to put it…? Entitled White American Woman Problem I couldn’t conceive how she earned it!
3. Surround yourself with humility
The artist who’s the WORST at humility? One Man Show Performers. Oy vey! I like the author’s statement here: “If you hang out with egomaniacs, you’ll likely become one.” Damn straight.
4. Present yourself through logic
The moment this happens in the arty world, time will stop, space will implode, and all we know to be true will be GONE.
Coming from a technical background, thinking scientifically by nature, and having dealt with people of all mental disorders, it is very painful for me to try to plan even the SIMPLEST events using who, what, when, where, and why with my fellows. Let me correct myself; it’s always ONLY “why”! The decision makers are the main violators of #3.
5. Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk
I’ve sat in writing groups where they take it much further: don’t call yourself a writer if you’re not published, don’t call yourself published if you’re not under a major press, don’t even fuckin’ THINK about sitting at this table unless you have an MFA from a liberal arts college! So of course, I attend because I love watching people go ballistic once finding out I fulfill only one of all their demands. Hehe.
Nothing like spring cleaning while streaming Netflix in the background. I had the P!nk Truth About Love Tour going first and then Madonna’s MDNA Tour. Two great shows, two performers I’d love to see in concert. Then I thought, QUICK! Top five concerts…GO!
#5 – Janet Jackson Velvet Rope Tour
“Can you pull together eighty bucks?” My girl is breathing hard into the phone as she asks me this. Of course, hood tendencies make me think she’s in a pinch. So before I ask who’s holding the gun to her head, she explains, “I just got two tickets to Janet Jackson!!”
So she’s not dying and I’m about to see one of my idols. I respond with “Whew!” and “Yes!”
Now. Lemme SPLAIN something here. Janet Jackson and I are best friends. Ever since Control, I’ve been on her dance crew. As soon as I graduated from high school, I was going to join Janet’s European tour, be Tina Landon’s choreography assistant, and never look back.
Flash forward to 2001, and, well…I’m a software engineer instead of a dancer. :(
Not only are we seeing Janet, but our tickets are for THE FLOOR. Yes! Room to demonstrate the years of training to my master. Oh Janet, look this way! Please do “Rhythm Nation”, please do “Rhythm Nation”, that’s my tightest routine. And the demigod delivers. I break that shit down LIKE A NINJA.
#4 Limp Bizkit at the San Antonio Rodeo Grounds
My siblings and I have an interesting habit of not being into the same kind of music, ever, so it was history in the making when the three of us made this concert our first together. We’re already adults, mind you, my siblings each parents and me a full-time tia. The best part of the whole venture was watching my sister tease her hair out to stratosphere level. You know we’re going to a ’90s rock concert, not a ’80s rock concert, right? Didn’t stop her.
The concert was meh as is figured for rap-rock-white trash fusion. You know who opened for them? Godsmack. Yeah! That Godsmack. They were ridiculously good and much more memorable than Monkey Mask, Britney’s Ex, and the Bizkettes. But the three of us, hanging out, as kin, now that was fantastic.
#3 Marc Anthony at Dallas Bowl
That skinny dude can SANG. And what luck to experience that voice in such an intimate venue. I was with two of the most annoying Puerto Ricans on Earth, but blessed be, the moment their brethren hit the stage, they both shut the fuck up for the duration of the show. Now that’s power! This was pre-J. Lo Marc Anthony, top of his game. That night, we drove home in what seemed to be a Category 18 hurricane. At some point on 635 I was certain we were gonna crash and die, and I still remember thinking, ‘but at least I caught a helluva concert’.
#2 – New Kids on The Block in Mannheim
My first boy band concert. With adult supervision. It was polite, enjoyable from the distance we were at.
#1 – New Kids on The Block at Frankfurt Festhalle
NO ADULT SUPERVISION. This was the year Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch were opening for NKOTB and my crew was not gonna miss out on that! We’re standing about 14 rows back from the stage, and the decent member of the crew laments we’re too far away. So I look at my girl, she looks at me, we both heard our friend complain about the distance, so we commence to crowd control. While I snatch girls by the collar and hair and toss them to one side, my girl is throwin’ ‘bows to clear the other side, and we get from row 14 to row 4. The final distance not so much physical work than bellowing, “MOVE DA FUCK OUTTA DA WAY!!” to visibly terrified German girls. Yeah, hooligans at a New Kids on The Block concert, I know, I know.
But timing was perfect. Marky Mark just hit the stage, just stood mere feet from us, and just dropped his pants. HOOAH! Mission: Accomplished!
QUICK! What are YOUR Top Five Memorable Concerts? GO!
Sometimes a Brit can remind you how safe and sane we are as Americans. Or at least, delude ourselves to be.
A standing routine of mine is Documentary Day. Usually a Sunday, if not dedicated to doing something away from the screen or requiring the brain (one in the same, right?) With March Madness ABSOLUTELY earning its name this year, I needed something to help me restore faith in my fellow countrymen, to see Americans as my compatriots again, and to do it in the most non-polarizing way possible.
My friends, Stephen Fry in America. Watch it. It’s on Netflix or elsewhere on the Interwebs and it’s magic. Yes, I did try to embed it and failed so I’d rather you just type-y type-y in the search engine…saves us both effort.
While it’s all from the perspective of a sensible, self-described neurotic, it’s a valid take on what people of other nationalities think of us; we, the insular, proud, and megalomaniac U S of A.
I had me a good round of laughs in a reclined state, and by the end of Season 1 I actually felt better about my national assignment and my chosen station in life. Spirits not quite restored, but yeah, feeling a bit more Mericuh! after it.
I found Season 1, Episode 4 hit some familiar notes in that a few of my novels are based on or about the places he happened to visit. So there’s synchronicity folded in too. Huh.