Making Things Better

Wow! At last count, my photo is still in the lead with 135 votes so far! Voting ends Sunday night at 11:59pm, so if you haven’t already, please go vote! Mine is the CN Tower reflection on page 8, and you can find it by scrolling to the bottom of the photos on the first page, then clicking on page 8 in the list. You’ll see my photo at least halfway down the page, if not closer to the bottom. And I think it’s still in the middle of the row, though people keep adding more pictures at the front, which shifts things around every once in awhile. Anyway – please vote for mine! I’d love to win that GoPro, among other things!

In related news, a co-worker asked what the first place prize was, and when I showed him, he started mocking the GoPro, because it’s not the latest model, or something. He didn’t even look at the rest. I was, like, “Well, it’s more up-to-date than the none I have now!”

Not that I actually said that. I thought it, though. At least he’d already voted for my picture by then.

Moving forward with planning a radio play reading for next week, as well as the beginning stages of a proposal for applying to set a new Guinness World Record. My bear should be visit-able any time now, my new legit credit card should arrive any day now, I started my day with a spoonful of buckwheat honey and honey butter (okay, not a spoon-FULL, but a taste), I have to find time to get my thoughts on Carving The Light together before I meet with the Writer in Residence next weekend, and follow-up on a few more projects that I’ve started but haven’t really moved on for quite some time. I’ve realized that I could probably do well at a couple of things if I really focus on them, but I keep spreading myself too thin in trying to do bits of too many things. So if I can force myself to really do it, I will hopefully trim down my list of projects and things to try and just starting focusing much more deliberately on the ones with which I think I can have the most success.

Part of my difficulty is that I like trying things. I like learning and experimenting and I love accomplishing something, even when it’s something small. From breaking a Guinness World Record with an event I’ll always be proud of, to a sweet little display of Star Wars (mostly Luke Skywalker-themed) stuff in my apartment, to raising wildflowers from seed for the first time…I find I’m always trying to make my world – my every day life – better. More me, if you will. More attuned to the thoughts circling through my mind.

I don’t know if I’ll be good at something until I try. Unless it’s sports or otherwise requiring athleticism and/or grace. Then I know I’m not going to succeed at all.

On another note entirely, I think I expect too much of some of my friends, and should get back to seeing my therapist regularly. Maybe that will help me be a better friend all round.

Advertisements

Kindness and Writing

I’m not very kind to myself when I am unhappy.

I have an opportunity to make a big change, which will make me more out-of-control unhappy for a while, but may balance out in the end naturally, if I stay on top of things.

It’s weird to not be quite certain as to whether you are doing something good for you in the long run, but knowing it’ll make you even more miserable in the short term. Like, would I be doing it for the potential long term gain? Or because I believe on some level that I deserve the short term misery?

Similar scenarios have come up…pretty much my whole life, I think, but I really only noticed the bizarre nature of the conundrum within the past decade, or so. I even like to push myself occasionally, just to see how much I can take. And I can take a lot. And that, too, makes me proud.

Maybe only part of it is thinking I deserve it. Maybe part of it is about finding some new part of myself to be pleased with.

Twisted as that is.

I think I’m in an abusive relationship. With myself.

Then again, I think most people are, to some degree. I’m just better able to recognize it, and that also pleases me, about me.

Also – like, I usually have more than one thing going on in my daily life. And way more than that on my mind. Narrowing it all down to one topic or two to graze the surface of in a blog post isn’t meant to indicate that I only ever have one thing to talk about. Or that I want to talk about. Or that there isn’t far more that I don’t want to talk about. Sometimes I think maybe I should just focus on doing different little writing exercises, instead of trying to come up with something to say. I actually want to do more writing exercises, because they are fun, and forcing myself to do them more often might somehow improve my writing a bit. Part of me always worries about putting my writing online, because then it’s a public forum, not copyrighted, and easy to steal.

But then again, if someone really wants to claim something I whipped up on my lunch break at work was actually something they wrote themselves, then perhaps I should just be flattered, and let them have at it.

Obviously they would be in far worse shape than I!

Seeing The Forest AND The Trees

Last night I dreamed I had a job interview. Of sorts. We were at a Tim Horton’s for a chat and she got me a cookie when she was getting herself a coffee. It was kind of informal. But an interview nonetheless.

And I think it went pretty well, which – of course it did, because it was my dream and existed entirely inside of my head. I remember I was fighting tears as I gave a couple of answers (one about teaching, and one about my current job), but I worked hard to answer honestly, and it felt kind of like a release after. Getting some of that stuff out felt good, even if it wasn’t real. I realized one of my problems might be that I often see the big picture, as well as the details. I see the whole forest AND the trees, which can be overwhelming sometimes. There is the universal struggle to find balance, but added to it is the understanding that it’s an impossible line to walk. You see all the things to do, how each of them affects the whole, and all of the things not done. Because they can’t all be accounted for. You can see all the trees, but you can’t give each of them the individual attention they need at all times. I think it’s what made teaching hard for me, and what makes my current job difficult, as well. It drives me crazy sometimes.

Well…crazier.

I also realized I was behaving kind of like an abused animal – one who has forgotten that human kindness exists. She bought me a cookie and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Which is somewhat true of me in real life, really, so that was interesting to me this morning, as well.

Anyway, what I really want to talk a bit about today is writing. I haven’t been doing a lot of it lately – this blog aside, of course – but I have been doing a lot of mental preparation for more new writing, as well as editing of things previously written. Last night was one of the more painful examples of the editing process, as I needed to get a short story down to under a certain word count, and I wasn’t a huge fan of what I knew I had to do to get it there.

There was a section of text that I’d written a long time ago – a scene that was one of the first conceived when I thought about writing the story to begin with. I loved that scene. I remember working harder on that one segment than on any other part of the story. Even as I was going over it more recently, I found little ways to tweak it and make it even better. The words flowed, the imagery was strong and beautiful and felt like it came out of some long-buried piece of my heart.

And last night I deleted it. The whole thing.

I knew it wasn’t necessary to move the story forward, and that I could get from A to C without needing B taking up more words, even though they were so very pretty. So I deleted B. And as all writers know, B is for Baby. I killed my Baby.

I did it quickly – didn’t give it one final read-through or anything. I just highlighted the whole section and hit the Delete key and then reminded myself to breathe again. And it was fine. It’s fine. The story is better for it. I think. Pretty sure, anyway.

Hoping to get it sent out later today, too, so that will feel good. It’ll feel complete.

That’s a weird thing about writing, hey? Most tasks require you to add more or do more or achieve more in order for it to be complete. Yet with writing, you build it all up, and then the sense of completion comes only after you take enough away; subtract from. Delete. Sometimes you go back and add things – dialogue, description, even entire scenes. But even those aren’t done until you’ve edited them and tightened them up and taken away the unnecessary.

Writing can be like sculpting, in that sense. The art of subtraction.

There’s probably a life lesson in that, but I don’t want to discuss it right now. I’ve killed my Baby – that’s enough subtraction and sadness for the moment!

Another thing that came up yesterday and got me thinking had to do with Carving The Light, my first novel. My Facebook memory feed gave me a look back on my imaginary dream cast for the no-doubt-Oscar-winning film adaptation of the book, with a few different suggestions for each major character.

Since those days, though, I’ve actually gotten to know many crazy-talented artists, and I started thinking it might be fun to dream-cast THEM into the imaginary film. At the risk of desperately wanting to shoot such a film, it could be very interesting to see what I come up with. My mind has already been working on it a bit, but that’ll be a post for another day. The important thing – for this entry – is that there is a tiny twinge of excitement inside me surrounding the idea of revisiting the imaginary cast with people I actually know. Even just talking to Tim about it a few minutes ago got me all wound up about it again.

In addition, there’s something about having people I am more familiar with in mind for certain characters that makes me want to tweak the characters and/or the story itself more – not necessarily cater any part of it to any of them, but to make it better on the whole. Flesh out the trees, improve the entire forest. Somehow, the idea of certain people in certain roles makes the story more concrete in my mind, and therefore I can already see ways of improving the overall piece.

There is definitely something there.