Of Course

Of course, now that I’m finally out with a friend to work, my internet on the laptop blitzes. It always blitzes at this particular place I’m at, but it’s so close to my house, it’s really hard to resist. Everything on the internet works except access to my blog. Talk about the OPPOSITE of what I want to happen.

I fixed it once. But then promptly forgot it because WHY WOULD I EVER NEED THIS INFORMATION AGAIN?

Oh, Life. You betch.

And of course, now that I finally have resigned myself to the reality of lame interwebs, I open up Word and HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WRITE.

Keep in mind that during the regular day, I have so many thoughts rushing through my perforated brain that I want to chase down and think about more but if I do, I know I will forget it all when it comes down to write. (Not that I haven’t forgotten it all even without chasing those thoughts down, so I guess it doesn’t really matter which option I choose.)

Sigh.

I swear, I used to be a smart, capable, and competent person. With interesting thoughts and ideas. And nice hair and pretty (or at least, less boring) clothes.

In fact, I used to be an extrovert. And night owl.

Alright, I still am both these things. But even with every child I have, I become more and more introverted. By the end of the day, I just want to crawl and hide and read or watch TV or NOT TALK TO SMALL CHILDREN and then stay up all night doing the things I want to do.

Ok, I lied again. I have no problem leaving my house and chatting with my friends all night. I do some version of this with my late night group texting.

But this night owl business – it’s hard on a body.

And since I have a 5 month old who I apparently forgot to teach how to self-soothe because his hands are always stuck in mittens due to his constant scratching of his eczema face and because he is huge and strong he always breaks his swaddle to scratch and I have to perpetually nurse him so that he calms down enough to go back to sleep and OMG you know those babies who suck on a pacifier and are totally awesome sleeping while they have a pacifier in their mouths but as soon as the pacifier falls out they wake up?

MY NIPPLE IS THAT PACIFIER.

That last paragraph is just one huge run-on sentence that I swear had a point somewhere in the beginning but I forgot and am now too lazy to go back and edit.

Also? I often talk in run-on sentences so just be happy you’re getting the real me.

Oh, right.

This being a pacifier for my baby prevents me from unbroken sleep so when I stay up late, it always bites me in the ass and the next day, I’m exhausted and awake but I have FOUR children to keep alive (however minimally) and though Cookie Monster and Gamera are pretty self-sufficient (and therefore, can also take care of Glow Worm), I don’t really want to make it habit of consistently checking out and leaving the child-rearing heavy lifting to my seven year old.

Ooooh. TWO run-on sentence paragraphs in one post! Maybe this can be my new thing.

The benefit of all this rambling, however, has been that I now remembered all the posts I was supposed to be writing in the first place. So, your loss; my gain!

Let that be a lesson to you aspiring writers – just start writing whatever random thing pops into your head and eventually, you will think of what you wanted to write about and voila! You’re already writing so you can start writing that.

Other things that help include: going to the bathroom; cleaning something; folding laundry; taking a shower; going on a walk; doing something mindless.

In fact, that helps for any type of mental block. Do something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power (except reading/watching TV) and allows your mind to wander. Eventually, your mind will wander back to what you wanted to write about in the first place. In fact, your mind has been working in the background this entire time.

Look! I have now repaid you for your reading my blatherings with this gem of a mind hack.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

I’m going to leave now and go write posts about my undying love for the Instant Pot that you will consume and read and find brilliant on a later date.

Thank you and have a wonderful day. (Or barring that high bar, have a reasonably unsucky day.)

Psssst… I’m Also at LYTM SF’s Blog Today


You GUYS!! I’m at the Listen to Your Mother San Francisco blog today talking about the process for writing your submission to LTYM.

One thing I noticed last year while participating in LTYM SF was that though there was diversity in the age and type of story performed, there weren’t really that many people of color, people who were NOT mothers, or LGBTQ in the mix.

Since meeting the producers, I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t a conscious decision on their part – and they have actively asked us to reach out to POC, WOC, and LGBTQ in the Bay Area to submit their pieces.

Gather up your courage and dust off your keyboards. Let’s flood them with submissions!

S0, if you have ever had a mother, wanted a mother, didn’t have a mother, wanted to be a mother, are a mother, or anything related to having, not having, being, not being a mother, LTYMSF is having open casting calls.

This is the last year for LTYM so PLEASE submit! (Although they are coming back in different incarnations in 2018 – but SUBMIT ANYWAY.)

This could be your year!

What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Writing

Happy New Year, friends!

Ok, ok. The new year started nine days ago. I’m a little late to the game. But you know what? Technically, a new year starts every single second so there.

I decided to give myself a break from writing what with a two month old and the holidays and what not. But at some point, a break can become a state of being so I forced myself to take time to actually write.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about. But it is a muscle that has taken a good 3-5 month break because let’s be real, I haven’t written much in the back quarter of the year.

I couldn’t even get it together for the typical 2016 round up posts like my top posts of the year, my top Chinese posts of the year, my top books, etc.

So, what have I been doing instead of writing both to relieve stress, exercise my brain, as well as entertain you lovely people?

Here then, is a handy list:

1) Munching on Sasquatch.

Look. He’s two months and change and fat. SO DELICIOUSLY FAT.

He’s my last baby so dammit, I am his sole source of nourishment and he’s gotta be 15+ pounds by now and I MADE THAT so you know what?

I GET TO EAT HIM.

2) Playing Two Dots and its sequel, Dots & Co.

Instead of doing something productive like reading or writing or parenting, I play this mindless game. I’ve even thrown money at it. I’m not too proud to admit that.

I even got my brother, my sister-in-law, Cookie Monster, and some friends addicted.

I’ve done my duty to society. You’re welcome.

3) Read.

I finally got off my ass and started reading again. Ok, I guess I haven’t really stopped reading so much as took a month or so break from reading fantasy novels that really are a huge time investment.

It has been glorious.

I will be doing a book post soon so I will expound on those books then.

But needless to say, reading has been awesome. The authors are really stepping up their game.

However, this does cut into my sleep so I am tired. A lot. And this also does not help with the writing thing.

4) Stalked and overshared on Facebook.

Ok, that really isn’t any sort of new behavior. But it certainly has taken up a lot of my time.

5) Adulting.

Yes, yes. I have gotten a head start on my goals for 2017 and actually started to pay medical bills on time. (Seriously – this is the first time out of the four babies I have actually paid for the birth bills within six months of the baby appearing.)

I also submitted insurance claims and opened brokerage accounts and transferred money and added beneficiaries and made sure that if Hapa Papa and I were to both die that Sasquatch would get his fair share of our loot.

Priorities, people.

6) Avoided reading the newspaper.

Even though I have a digital subscription to the NYT and used to also read HuffPo religiously, I have completely stopped reading articles unless they are posted on Facebook.

I think I got burned out on the news during the election.

I know I should go back to reading because being informed during the Trump Presidency will be key to making sure our rights aren’t eroded and stolen out from under us.

But still. I needed a break.

7) Using my Instant Pot.

Okokokokok. I don’t want to overstate my actual usage. But I’ve used it 5-6 times since my friend came over and made me dinner so I consider it a win.

It doesn’t really take up that much time. I just wanted to brag.

8) Texting.

Again. Not a new thing. But I want to be honest.

Now that I list things out, I feel a little embarrassed. After all, you can’t call yourself a writer if you’re not writing.

(Although, really. Is it a constant state of writing that makes you a writer? Or you have to write a certain percentage of time? I mean, if you’re not actively seeing patients, you’re still a doctor, right? So how come you can only call yourself a writer if you write? Sorry. Tangent.)

Anyhow, this is just a pre-emptive pronouncement that there are BIG THINGS coming down the pipeline. And by BIG THINGS, I mean, just the usual. I just wanted to hype myself up to get excited about writing again.

Mostly, I just need to get back in the habit of writing and re-learning the fact that I can no longer dedicate huge swaths of time to writing (among other things) and need to figure out how to work productively in short spurts of time.

You know, be an actual grown up.

Alright. That’s it for today. What have you been up to during the holidays? Let me know in the comments.

Longing For Grace

For those of you who know me in Real Life, you know that I freak the fuck out and go from 0 to 60 in a eye blink. One second, my MIL is asking Gamera if she has a boyfriend (FFS, she is three years old) and the next thing I know, Gamera will be a stripper who needs men for attention and will be a strung-out junkie with a pimp.

Totally within the realm of plausibility, folks. Totally.

It is possible, perhaps, that my reaction was not in keeping with reality. That my MIL’s one off-hand comment will not forever alter the course of Gamera’s life. But that’s the way my brain works, people. I never said it was pretty.

I blame this all on a sermon I heard once (I think, anyway) about how all the choices we make in life can either keep us on the path of righteousness or diverge and take us away from that same path. Minor bad choices are actually slippery slopes. Like how an acute angle in geometry starts off at a minor angle, with the lines minutely apart, but if we go further out in time, at some point, the lines will be infinitely apart. I am plagued by the idea our choices in life are like these two lines, and if we make the wrong choice, no matter how small in degree, at some point further in time, the distance between the Path of Righteousness and the Path of Ruin will be infinite and they will NEVER MEET AGAIN. One misstep and you will NEVER get back to the Way, the Truth, the Life.

Imagine Time = r, Theta = minor misstep, and s = the space between diverging life paths.

Imagine Time = r, Theta = minor misstep, and s = the space between diverging life paths.

After all, the way of the Lord is narrow. And Hard. And difficult. And the way to Hell is broad and easy.

But what a terrifying way to live. What a stifling and constraining and graceless way to live.

I feel like this is my life. Graceless. Constant self-condemnation and judging. And fear. OMG, THE FEAR.

But the truth is, life is not an immutable straight line. There are infinite chances and opportunities. Infinite opportunities for “course correction.” And who is to say that there is only ONE correct way to live? I mean, just given the evidence based on 7 billion lives on this planet, and the 7 billion unique-ish situations these people find themselves in, I know that is not true.

Stated in a positive way, the idea that there is only ONE way to live, that it is the One Path to Rule Them All, is FALSE. A horrible, pernicious lie. (A lie that I hear often in churches, but let’s face it, comes in any and all directions. Just take your pick: organic, liberal, conservative, you name it, it’s got it.)

True love drives out fear. And if I truly believed that God offered perfect love, the kind of love that drives out fear and offers freedom, why do I buy into this pack of lies? (And it is a worthless pack of lies; a twist of the Truth to pervert and poison and obfuscate who God is.)

I long for freedom. I long for grace. I long to live a life as if it were okay to fail and to fail spectacularly.

I long for my kids to experience true freedom.

My heart breaks that even though Cookie Monster is so small and so young, (too small and too young, to be honest), he is already hampered by fear. He is already so afraid to fail. To look foolish. To be rejected.

I see it in the way he doesn’t want to try new things at preschool (mostly physical activities). I see it in the way he hovers on the edge of groups, the desire and yearning to join in on whatever activity the group is doing so painfully etched on his face, but him being too afraid to ask to play with the kids because they may say, “No.” I see it when he refuses to ask me for something he wants and instead makes a negative statement like, “I can’t play Halo” so that he has already rejected himself before I can dash his hopes.

I see it in the way Gamera will lie just to get my approval. And the way she cries and clings to me when she thinks that I disapprove of her.

It breaks my cold, dark heart.

I am devastated.

If only I could live my life the way I live my writing.

When I was in high school, I used to resent having to write first and second and final drafts. I found it the height of stupidity and a fucking waste of my time. I would literally have to “fake” a rough draft so that my final drafts looked sufficiently different and altered from the original. I mean, what was the point of writing a first draft? My first drafts were perfect. I would edit as I wrote so there really was no need to go back and change things. I mean, isn’t that what computers were for?

Then, in my twenties, I decided to write a book and that is where my perfect first drafts became my downfall. I would write a section and then edit. And then edit some more. And then edit some more. Then read my perfect words. Then edit some more. Which is great and all, to have a perfect set of 1,000 words, but 1,000 words does not a book make. Most books have about 65,000 words (a little more than your typical NaNoWriMo at 50,000 words), but either way, I was 64,000 words short.

So, I read about writing (because when writing, nothing is more useful and productive than reading about writing) and all the blogs and books I’ve read since then universally agree: you have to write. Just write. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, bad, utter shite. Nothing is harder than a blank page. You can’t do anything with it. Just write. Accept as a truism: You will write crap. A lot of crap. It doesn’t matter; that’s what editing is for. But you can’t edit what you don’t have, so you have to write.

That’s the beauty of writing: once you have stuff written down, you can delete it, you can write more stuff that is good/bad/meh, you can move entire paragraphs, you can do whatever you want when editing. Whole worlds are created and obliterated during editing. And then you can edit some more. But at some point, you will have to stop and move on. At some point, your writing will be good enough (or, sadly, as good as it will ever be).

Move on.

Accept that there may never be the perfect sentence. Just a bunch of good enough sentences.

And that, I find, is my perfect analogy for life. (If only I could buy into this theory in practice – and not just believe it only of my writing.)

You are never done until it’s done. (Even then, who is to say that is a permanent state of being – well, I suppose, for the sake of this argument, you are done in this plane of life.) There are few permanent mistakes (the laws of physics not withstanding) from which we cannot recover.

Most of life is a rough draft. We can edit and delete, but ultimately, we move on. We accept grace and forgiveness and try our best and we move on until we Move On.

So this morning, I wish you grace upon grace upon grace. Grace enough for parenting fails, for work fails, for life fails. Grace enough to cover a lifetime of sins, real and imagined.