Sunday, December 7, 2014

shy again

I turned shy again. Or maybe I just realized again that I'm shy. Either way, I don't really feel comfortable around people, especially groups of people, anymore. And I don't always really like this return to my innate nature so much. Because I'm living in a new place again and I like and need to be alone a lot, but maybe not as much as I am. As much as I have been for at least the last few years. I have made two major moves in the last eight months, and I am ready to be settled and known.

I started to write this post today while I was at this street festival with my friends and their baby. I paid $20 for a pretty little pottery bowl and five tickets for chili from various restaurants. I walked around by myself for awhile, because one of my friends designs t-shirts and stuff, and she had to stay at the booth and the other was doing baby stuff. And everyone had babies and dogs. And boyfriends and girlfriends and wives and husbands and children and many, many babies and dogs. Maybe I just noticed all of the babies and dogs because they were so cute, but I felt the absence of both.  And I felt invisible and, at the same time, very visible for my lack of anything or anyone to assist in defining me. So I felt sort of blurry.

I am not young or skinny or tattooed. I do not have a significant other and I didn't have a friend to wander with for most of the time. I could have talked to people, but I felt shy. So shy. Like, painfully shy. It hurt me to think of talking to people, of attempting to get to know people, probably because I just spent six months in a different state trying so hard to get to know people, and it was exhausting. I am tired and shy, and these might be the first two adjectives I would use to describe myself if anyone asked.

BUT, I am living with a friend and her children and it is so nice. I have lived by myself for many years, and I thought I required it because I was too difficult to live with and too easily irritated by others, but it turns out I love living with my friend and her children. I have people to talk to every day and to eat dinner with. People who know or wonder where I am or where I've been. I do not have to answer to them. I am free to come and go as I please. But when my friend's 12 year-old daughter lights up and gives me big hugs when she gets home from school, or when I arrive home for dinner, it is a lovely thing. And I learned I am not so difficult to get along with, and I am sometimes irritable, not really because of them, but because normal people sometimes just get irritable. I feel like I am part of a family, and I have not felt that way for the longest time, if ever. Partly because I was too shy to assert my place as a daughter or sister, and partly because I always felt wrong. And so this is a wonderful thing for me.

I am not going to say anything about writing, because this time is about me figuring out how to be shy and still be part of the world. I have friends here and I will keep trying, even though it is hard and effortful and painful and disappointing sometimes. Because, ultimately, I believe in connection. It is what I want and it is worth working toward. I believe that connection is the meaning of life, and that it is my life's purpose specifically, and that it keeps me alive. And that is how I will end this post. I am shy and scared of people, but I want to know them, and even more so, I want them to know me. There are some good things to know about me. I believe this like I believe I am shy. These are things I could have always known, but, much as I believe in connection, I believe in detours and disconnections, and in learning how to be who you are again or for the first time. So, I will go back to observing and listening, and being shy, but not timid. I am strong in knowing what I want and smart enough to know what I don't. And even without dogs or babies or tattoos, I think that people might want to see and hear me, even if I ask very quietly or not at all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

moments, hours, days

I keep forgetting that I might not totally suck as a writer. I have been sending some things out lately, and received very nice rejections - very close, liked it a lot, but ...  I have moments (or hours, or days, or years) of doubt, during which times I think about quitting writing because I am so bad at it. My insecurity is not grounded in feelings of competition. I am very happy for my successful friends, and look to them for inspiration and motivation. It is more complex than that. I think I'm just uncomfortable with compliments and unable to receive them with grace. But people seem to like the book, and I'm working on the comfort thing, so I will share some more links and some kind things people have said about the book toward that end.

Some additional reviews/niceness:

Small Press Book Review

Mary Miller (Tumblr)

The Good Men Project

Grab the Lapels

Two for Tuesday


There are also some kind reviews on Goodreads, including these:

The prose in this book is like a box cutter etching words into the glass of unwashed window panes. I definitely mean that in a good way, a wonderful way. There is a grace there, but it is definitely sharp and cutting. Marvelous voice and images. Evocative and haunting. Strong stuff.

***

I stopped giving star ratings to books, but if this helps boost an algorithm or something, I'm happy. This collection was exactly what I needed to read at this moment. Highly recommended.

***

Becker has an incredible way of putting you in her shoes and putting you at the forefront of these situations. I loved every single story in this collection.

Some more reviews are forthcoming. I've heard they're good, and I wish I could cling to that less, but it is nice to have a book and to hear that people like it. And sometimes it helps me with those moments, hours, days of doubt. So I won't quit writing. It makes me happy, mostly. Even when it doesn't, it gives me purpose. You might not ever read anything new I ever write, but I will have written, which makes me not a quitter, and that makes me mostly happy, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

today

Today was non-existent. I watched some tv and ate some chorizo and eggs. And some multi-colored organic carrots. I'm starting to sort of see my jawline again. Which is cool. Maybe I'll write about my day tomorrow. I might go to the DMV for a new driver's license, as my expires in a little over a week. I don't really identify as Texan yet. But I guess my identification will show otherwise. Maybe I'll follow suit. 'Night y'all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

where does it go?

Time. It's been more than two months? For real? I guess I haven't had much to tell. Went some places, read some books, did some readings, sweated a lot because it is 7000 degrees in central Texas, ate too much, and that's about it. So pack up and head on out. Nothing to see here, folks.

Kidding. I'm sure I'm forgetting things. I know I always blab about my book, but I really like having it. Something I can tell people about and they go is it on Amazon? And I go yeah, and they pull it up on their phones and there it is. My little book. It really is little. You can (and should) fit it in your pocket. If you felt like buying one to put in your pocket or elsewhere, but mostly to read, it is on sale from my publisher, Curbside Splendor, right now. And, yes, you can get it from Amazon and other fine online booksellers if you felt like it.

So, I'm excited about going back to the Bay Area in October for Lit Crawl/Litquake, at which I will be reading for the wonderful reading series, Inside Storytime. I will also be having an outrageously fun belated Oakland book launch party, hosted by Vouched, to be held at a place yet to be determined, but I'm pretty sure I know where. I'll let you know. I moved right before the book came out, so I didn't get to celebrate with my bay friends. Keep the evening of Friday, October 17 free if you're in the area. It will be epic.

Hmmm. What else? Well, I was gaining some weight and feeling sort of down about myself, and Weight Watchers and other diets are kind of ridiculous, so I did some research, and I'm doing this pretty strict thing called Whole 30, which is basically 30 days of very strict Paleo eating. No artificial crap or sugar or grains. I have to cook because they don't make prepackaged stuff, and it's kind of fun. The protein part is hard because I have pretty much never cooked meat or fish and I am sick of eggs after only a week, but it's good for me. And I feel better and under more control of my life, and I'm not craving anything. Even though you know I loves me my competitive cooking shows, so I am always observing delicious-looking foods.

So, I was watching this show I think is called Bizarre Foods (non-competitive, but I like the host) and he was at the Minnesota State Fair where this cookie stand sells overflowing buckets of chocolate chip cookies. And I sat there thinking those look good, but I did not go to the airport and buy a ticket to Minnesota or even to the HEB to buy some Chips Ahoy. I just thought how weird it was not to have cravings or feel that sort of desperate hunger that comes with eating artificial junk and sugar. Trust me. I am not evangelical. I'm just feeling better after a week, so I thought I'd tell you about it because it's something to tell.

Other things: I went to this Meetup group for people to get together and write, and the leader didn't show up, so it was sort of a loose bunch of us chatting, and these two very young guys started talking to us, and, long story short, they were driving cross-country, and one was writing a novel about it, and they were very sweet and I let them sleep on my floor. Even after the things I've been through, I have good intuition. Plus, I could totally have taken them. They were mere children who didn't appear familiar with free weights or food that didn't come in a plastic bag. Sweet guys. I also met this Australian guy driving a van across the country at another Meetup group for people to meet people and play board games. I learned, yet again, that I am too competitive, and therefore don't enjoy playing board games, but I ended up taking this guy (who has a girlfriend and was a perfect gentleman) to my favorite divey karaoke bar, and we played a little pool and did a little singing. I like strangers. It's easier to navigate interactions with strangers. I'm working on that.

The wind is blowing and I hear noises and sometimes I think I have ghosts or the other thing is happening again or that I'm just overly vigilant and sensitive to noises. I'm betting on the last.

Noah's doing great.
He says hey.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

some things i can't say

My brother told me to stop posting anything remotely personal online. So did my dad. Much as I dislike being told what to do, it's probably smart. So, here I am, with nothing to say, because the things I want to say are about things that could come back and bite me. And I am prone to being bitten.

If I haven't said it outright (and I believe this passes the father/brother rule because it is pretty easy to find out with basic knowledge of the internet), I moved to Austin, which I wanted to do for quite awhile. Somebody once said to me that Austin loves me. And it did. We had a lovely vacation romance. But Austin doesn't seem to like me that much on a permanent basis. Maybe you should go home, it says. I don't have a home, I say. Well, where did you come from? California, right?  I don't like Californians that much. You come here and make the price of real estate go up. I say, well, I'm not buying anything and your rents are too high. And everyone here drives really scary and tailgates and stops short and yells at you when you make mistakes. And Austin says, they're my roads. Deal with it. Go back to your 12 lane freeways and signs that are pretty easy to follow. Don't expect me to change for you. And I say, I just want you to be like you were before. And Austin says, more gently, I didn't promise you anything. And I say, no, you really didn't. I guess I just hoped this time would work out. And Austin says, I'm sorry. And I'm also sorry about what I'm doing to your hair. I say, it's ok. I knew humidity wouldn't do good things for it. Austin says Seattle and Portland look like good places for me. Or Alaska. The men way outnumber the women there.

It's not that bad. Or even bad at all, really. I just live kind of far from where the good stuff is and there's some other stuff. And I joined this writing group that I was excited about and it didn't work out. And everyone here is very young and very attractive and very cool, and I might have missed my window by about 15 years. They drink a lot of fresh juice here, too. Juice is very popular. Delicious, too. Juice and beer is what they drink here. Not together. I sort of like beer now, when it's very, very cold. I knew it would be hot here and it is. And that is why I enjoy cold beverages.

I have been doing Weight Watchers because, well, for the same reasons anyone does Weight Watchers. To try to stop being fat. Not working so great. I think I will give in and drink juice. And get a different haircut, maybe with a stripe of dark red in it. Maybe drinking the juice will make me very thin and I will be able to wear anything and look good doing it.

I know it's only been two months. There are things I cannot say. But I'm glad Austin and I had this little talk. I think we can work it out.