Category Archives: Noodling

FPQ24: Fear of Failure

Fandango provocatively asks…

โ€œHave you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all? Whatโ€™s one thing would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?โ€

Yes, many times. But I don’t consider this some sort of character defect ~ I consider it a rational decision.

Let’s take the dating scene. I’ve decided to stop looking for love because I’m afraid of another heartbreak, not to mention how annoying and time-consuming the process is to begin with. This is a logical choice, given my experiences since 2009 when my ex-husband left.

There are other examples throughout my life where I’ve made safe choices over more “interesting” ones because of the fear of failure. But in my mind, I’m making a good decision based on risk analysis. The reason fear of failure even comes up is because the more exciting choices are riskier.

I choose the road that has been taken, along with a GPS phone, extra water, snacks, and a jacket. I’ll leave the wild, overgrown path for an intrepid explorer.

PS: The one thing I would do if I knew I could not fail? Spend all my time and resources writing The Great American Novel.

One-Liner Wednesday

I’ve been neglecting my reading. May has been a zero-book month. How sad. I’ve been super busy with projects outside of work, including my own writing, and I’ve simply been exhausted at night. I need to make reading a priority again. Writers should read more than blogs and twitter. I miss books!

The great thing is that they’re all still there waiting for me.๐Ÿ“šโœจ

~*~

One-Liner Wednesday

Siberia High School


My best high school fren.

Stole these Q’s from Fandango, who says he found them at Barbara’s.

1. Did you know your current significant other?

No. I met him in December 2011 at the Orange County Animal Shelter.

2. Make and year of car?

Whatever would start at 40 below zero.

3. What kind of job?

Babysitting, then K-Mart cashier.

4. Where did you live?

Siberia aka suburban Illinois.

5. Were you popular?

Everyone was jealous of my awesomeness and avoided me.

6. Were you in choir?

As if.

7. Ever get suspended from school?

No.

8. If you could, would you go back?

๐Ÿคฎ

9. Still talk to the person that you went to prom with?

Prom, lol.

10. Did you skip school?

Of course.

11. Go to all the football games?

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

12. Favorite subject?

Math.

13. Do you still have your yearbooks?

Nope.

14. Did you follow the career path you planned?

Didn’t plan, which was a mistake.

15. Did you have a class ring?

God no.

16. Still close with your best friend?

Actually we recently emailed.

17. Who was your favorite teacher?

All the weird math dudes. And I liked Mr. Foreman, the creative writing teacher too.

18. What was your style?

Jeans and ten million sweaters.

19. Favorite shoes?

Boots obviously.

21. Favorite music?

Top 40.

22. High school hair?

Long & boring, same as now.

23. What kind of cologne/perfume?

Don’t remember.

24. How old when graduated?

18.

25. Did you play a sport?

One guess.

Why I Write…

The answer to this question varies with my mood. Some days I have a story to share that I think people will enjoy. Other times I simply need to express myself and words are my best tool for that. There are times I feel like being clever with language. Other days I have this ridiculous notion I’ve come up with something important to convey. Once I answered this question by talking about how writing fiction and poetry is the best way for me to organize my scattered thoughts and make some kind of sense of this messy world too.

I was thinking about all this a little while ago when I re-downloaded my drafts of Attractive Nuisance and Sweet Nothings from the cloud. The other day I’d told a friend I hadn’t been working on a novel lately, only flash fiction and poetry, because I can’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time. But ever since yesterday, when I impulsively replied to Jim’s post about a song, by jabbering on about an old pile of writing, I’ve been energized about working on this layered tale again.

Thing is, I don’t think it’s coincidence that this happened at the end of a week when I’m feeling especially frustrated at other people’s behavior. I’ve never been good at seeing patterns in the actions of real characters unless they’re completely obvious. I’m much better with fiction. And, of course, writing my own gives me a feeling of control I get nowhere else ~ I create a new world, populate it with my creations, and make them do what I want.

Just noodling. Back to work! ๐Ÿ˜€

Gloomily Yours

Sadly, I haven’t been very creative this week. Every time a prompt appears in my feed, I diligently save it in my folder with the intention to write something later. But night after night, later has faded into sleep. Also, I’ve been stressed about some stuff, but I gently remind myself… it’s not that important. Family (including Mr. Gatsby), health, work: those are hugely important. Everything else? Less so. Much less. The news can get me feeling hopeless about the future too, but I at least I only read it and don’t watch it obsessively on TV like many do. That would drive me more nuts. Doubly depressing this week was the weather, turning cold and rainy again, triggering a bunch of migraines. Or one long migraine rather, broken up with meds. Hopefully I’ll get back on schedule soon and be able to tackle the items on my writing to-to list. ๐Ÿ˜

The Mighty Quinn

Jim writes about this song today and gives various ideas on what it might be about. An ex told me it was about a drug dealer. That makes sense. I nicknamed a character in a book “the Eskimo” because of that, and yes he was a drug dealer. I didn’t write much about the drugs themselves, since I don’t know anything and research is boring; instead I wrote about two guys having a long funny convo in the drug dealer’s house about which women they’d rather bang, such as Ginger or Mary Ann, etc. My story got way off-track because I began to enjoy writing these conversations more than the lurve scenes between the actual main characters, and I struggled with giving the protagonists enough screen time, so to speak. For some reason, this book isn’t even up for sale in my glob of books. That must be because I couldn’t decide which version to self-publish. Let’s take a vote.

1. The long one with all the off-track scenes left in that don’t even have much to do with the lurve story at all and make the book way too long for a romance novel but are funny?

2. The semi-cleaned up one that is less funny but more focused on the actual lurve story?

3. The super cleaned up version?

Then vote:

A. Prologue, which Elmore Leonard hates, but adds texture.

B. No prologue.

Title:

i. Attractive Nuisance (relevant legal term).

ii. Sweet Nothings (name of her lingerie store).

Thanks for your help!

P.S. Please remember that I still can’t read minds and you actually have to tell me in the comments what you want! ๐Ÿ˜€

In Other Words, flamingo…

These birds are so extremely stinky,

But their feathers are a gorgeous shade of pinky

(I read it comes from consuming vast amounts of shrimp),

And they can stand so gracefully upon just one slender leg…

I wonder if anyone’s made an omelette from a flamingo egg?

~*~

Prompt from Patricia

FPQ23: I Burn Whole Cities

Fandango provocatively asks…

โ€œHow do you manage or deal with stress? Is there a specific strategy or approach that youโ€™ve found to be particularly effective?โ€

My post title comes from the HBO show Game of Thrones where dragons have been known to release stress by destroying cities with fire. I am not a dragon, alas, though I have gotten vicarious pleasure especially during stressful times by reading A Song of Ice and Fire and from watching the show.

In general, I find that losing myself in a fantasy world of a novel or movie for a few hours is a great way to deal with stress. I do prefer movies over series, or series that have finished, because I don’t want to have to wait for the next season (and these days, that can be so unpredictable), which ends up leaving me at the mercy of people yapping online about the show and giving their predictions. Annoying!

Depending on what the stressful even was, I may wish to talk about it privately, with a daughter or a friend. I’m careful what I say to whom these days though, so as not to end up with more stress from the convo itself. I may write about the situation in a diary for my own clarification. I find the act of writing words on a page/screen to be therapeutic.

For immediate relief, deep breaths work. For a 24 hour period, repeating the mantra that “this too shall pass” helps a lot. If I can’t sleep, there’s always the Valium or Benadryl last resort. It’s really bad not to sleep because then I’ll feel even worse the next day, which will increase my stress. Cuddling my kitty and spending time alone at home usually helps me feel better.

Here are some stress management techniques that are supposed to help but do nothing for me:

1. Exercise. I know it’s good for me, but it makes everything hurt more and I end up with a (worse) headache.

2. Taking a vacation. Way out of my budget and I would be completely stressed about the money I spent.

3. Glass of wine. This is a migraine trigger about 50% of the time.

4. Music. This is tricky because a lot of songs pull up sad memories for me. I have to be careful about music. Plus, Gatsby doesn’t like it. Mostly I only listen in the car.

5. Sex. With a man? This was generally the cause of almost all my stress and giving it up has reduced my anxiety to nearly zero.

Dracarys! ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ

The Most Important Lesson from GOT

***WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GAME OF THRONES’ SPOILERS!***

It’s sport for GOT fans to mercilessly drag every episode of this last season, in gory detail, and I agree with the main criticism ~ the ending is rushed. The show runners spent 7 long seasons setting up an intricate story, and now they’re zooming to finish, stuffing two wars into three episodes out of six, and leaving lots of loose ends.

Meanwhile, I’m basically enjoying the eps, besides wishing there would have been more of them. I don’t share the common criticism that the plot twists and character arcs are “unearned.” The first seasons generally followed the books, so if you’d read them, you weren’t shocked by twists. Ned’s beheading was accepted because those of us who read the books knew it was coming, but normally the sudden death of a beloved character early on would have generated criticism from fans.

So, when I read today that people are upset about Varys’ death, I roll my eyes. The dude was a great character, but he was always plotting and scheming against rulers, and it was inevitable one would discover it and kill him. You have to wonder why it took so long really, except for the fact that he was smarter than all of them. Littlefinger was also, but Varys was not evil and selfish, so he caught more breaks. Both men were lucky they lasted as long as they did.

People who are carrying on today about Daenerys going “mad” haven’t been paying attention. She has stated all along that she was going to take what was hers “with fire and with blood.” She has torched people throughout the show, but that was okay with us because we didn’t like them. Her character has been stable, her mission unchanged, and her vision focused on one goal.

If you want to pick apart the military strategy of Euron and his crew, I get that. One day he takes out a dragon with his first shot and sinks the entire opposing navy; in the next encounter, he’s totally inept. What the hell happened there? Gotta say though I enjoyed his rambunctious battle to the death with Jaime. Good stuff, though I did think Euron would have mentioned the baby he thinks is his. Might have thrown Jaime off-balance.

Okay, so Jaime fooking Lannister, amirite? People are yelling about his character arc. Pffft, I say. You know what? It’s perfect. The more I think about it, the more perfect it is. Here we have a handsome, spoiled, rich jerk who is in love with his sister and does horrible things for a long time. Some of these things he does for her and some he does just because he’s an arrogant ass.

Then, Jaime gets captured, tortured, and has his comeuppance and epiphany. He begins to be a slightly better person. He sees that he could maybe love a woman who isn’t a monster and be loved in return. He could fight for the people instead of his shitty family name. Some of his interior ugliness is replaced with goodness.

But then… then… bratty, snotty Sansa (more about her in a sec), says nyah we’ve taken King’s Landing and your sis is gonna die! Jaime immediately reverts to form, dumps his new sweet love and breaks her heart, and gallops back to his wicked twin. Why?

Because people don’t change!

That’s the lesson here, folks. And it’s a good and important one. Dany never changed, not one iota. Jaime appeared to change, but he didn’t really. And what about Sansa, who began as a pretty wounded bird and allegedly turned into a strong confident woman? Nah fam. She’s still a petty, snide, gossipy bitch. Dishonest and backstabbing.

Jon/Aegon never changed either. He can’t help but be a noble, relentlessly honest lump of boring. Tyrion is still the same brilliant little scamp who puts his family first no matter how terrible they are. And he does sometimes back the wrong horse, especially when it’s very pretty. Sandor had one main mission in life, and though he did get sidetracked with other tasks along the way, ultimately he refocused on his goal, the Cleganebowl.

Arya? Let’s see what she does in the final ep. Any predictions? I admit I was wrong when I predicted Jaime would kill Cersei, and I’m glad to be wrong. I love that they stuck to the “people don’t change” theme instead, and decided to ignore Maggie’s prophecy. Now, the prediction is that Arya will kill Dany. I don’t know… What do you think?

Thanks for reading all this!

Mystery Prize

A big thanks to Sadje for nominating me as a recipient of the Mystery Blogger Award. I don’t think I’m very mysterious after 15 years of blogging non-anonymously, but I suppose there are always new things we can learn about each other.

Here are 3 things about me you may not know:

1. I don’t like posting lists of rules, so I’m not going to for this prize, sorry.

2. I don’t much like tagging people, so I’m not going to do that for this either.

3. I really love dried mango snacks!

Here are 3 of my favorite posts:

Dreamlove

Valentines

Gatsby’s Movie

Now I will answer Sadje’s questions:

1. Have you every been surprised by your own achievements?

Not really. I have high expectations for myself and am more often disappointed.

2. A surprise holiday is granted; What will you do?

I prefer to stay at home and read/write, watch movies, and spend time with my kitty.

3. Have you ever kept a diary or maybe a food diary? If so can you tell us something about it?

Yes. No, it’s a secret.

4. Jack and Jill went up the hill toโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ..? (Funny, if itโ€™s not apparent already!๐Ÿ˜œ)

Sneak pics of baby Archie.

5. How do you think your input has made a difference in the world around you?

I hope I make people laugh occasionally.