Tag Archives: navel glazing

The Persistence of Me

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I confess I don’t know much about Tom Wolfe (RIP), but have only begun learning about his brilliance this past week from his obits and write-ups in the news. Of course I’ve used the phrase “The Me Decade” to describe the 1970s, never even knowing that he coined it. How embarrassing! I’m adding The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Bonfire of the Vanities to my reading list.

I think a strong argument can be made that the Me Decade hasn’t ended and shows no signs of abating anytime soon. All the selfies and oversharing, plus the endless quiz-taking, are encouraged by industries whose purpose is to make us feel insecure about ourselves, and are part of an infinite loop of superficial self-examination, wasting our time and energy as we search for enlightenment in our belly button lint, rather than expanding our horizons outward for fulfillment. I’m no stranger to these behaviors myself.

But something interesting has happened, a small thing, but interesting nevertheless: since I quit Facebook and Instagram two months ago, I haven’t taken any photos of food. My life is no worse for this; I don’t miss these pics at all. In fact, that was simply another superficial way to “connect” with people online when we really had nothing in common. In my opinion, this obsession with selfies, including food pics (unless you’re a restaurant critic or recipe blogger), is part of the narcissistic sickness of society. Notice me! Like me! Follow me! We see our favorite celebrity posting 857 photos of their face and we think we should too. It’s headshot day! Gah.

I suggest that the me-ness of the Me Decade never disappeared but instead spilled into online life, splashing over all we did, turning the entire social media experience from information-based, when it began, to communication-based, for a time, and finally now into a monstrous narcissistic ouroboros that not only controls how we behave online but offline too. We are even more self-centered now than we were in the 1970s despite allegedly “connecting” with all sorts of people different from us all over the world. We don’t actually do this in any kind of meaningful way. I doubt most of us even begin to relate to people in our own neighborhoods and what issues they might have in this primary election, if they are different from our own. All I see is people ready to bully, disparage, and dismiss anyone who thinks differently from them, more now than ever.

If you don’t conform to my reflection of myself, I push you out of the picture. Turn the camera back to selfie mode. Ah, much better. Smile. Click.

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I know some of you probably thought I would jabber on about the narcissists I’ve dated and link to my new poetry book All She Wrote, which explores quite a bit on that theme, when you saw the prompt “narcissism”… well, surprise! I actually do have otter things to say sometimes besides look at my stupid mistakes. 😀

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The Daily Prompt: Narcissism

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If You Don’t Got It, Flaunt It

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I’m going to indulge in a bit of neenerism for a moment and flaunt my “single and not looking” status. Why? Because lately I see so much drama both online and off regarding relationships and dating that it makes me extra double super duper glad with sprinkles on top that I’ve been staying uninvolved. Not to mention that the older you get, the more difficult it is to mesh with anyone in a romantic context.

When you’re young and you meet someone 180 from you, you’re all like, ooh cool, he’s different and interesting, yeah I want to learn about his culture, eat new foods, travel to new lands, adapt to a new philosophy, yada. But when you’re old and you meet someone who goes to sleep a half hour later than you do, you’re like, whoa whoa whoa, this will never work, bye now.

I mixed up flout and flaunt many decades ago, and someone gave me a helpful reminder: She flouted the rules and flaunted her boobs.

I haven’t forgotten since.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Flaunt

All She Wrote

It’s been a month since I created space to write in my free time again by deleting the bulk of my social media. This was tough to do and I lost a bunch of friends and fun chitchats in the process, which I knew would happen and so I procrastinated for a long time, but I’m a writer and I have to do Real Writing or else I get frustrated, angry, and depressed.

These very apt bitmojis magically appeared in my app today and made me smile:

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I’m also smiling because I finished that poetry book I’ve been nattering on about for a kazillion years and it’s up on Amazon for sale right meow! Some of my awesome friends who have hung in there with me already bought a copy and reviewed it ~ one of them had this to say:

“YOUR NEW BOOK IS OUT!!!! IT’S A FREAKING TREASURE!”

How lovely is that? And I didn’t even have to pay her. ❤

I feel so great to have finished this book and it means a lot to me to have the support of my peeps. Some of the poems were painful to write (and probably to read, haha), but each one is important to me in its own way and represents something authentic about where I’ve been emotionally the last several years and how I regained my strength. I’m ready to dive back into some of my unfinished fiction writing and get those stories done now too. I feel so productive and fantabulous! Should have done all this ages ago, but I think I needed everything to simply percolate. This was the right time for many reasons, both to cut back on social media and to publish All She Wrote.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Authentic

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Oh, radiant sun!
I explore this new morning
Weekend sans Facebook.

Suspicious birdsong—
Noisy swallows retweeting
Fake news on a wire?

Faceless in this crowd,
Bewildered I meander…
No one needs a like.

Frantic for caffeine,
I dash into greasy spoon,
But I can’t “check in.”

Foreign face in toast
Conjures Instagram moment—
Also deleted.

Toxic media,
Begone from my existence!
Not you, silly blog.

Present in present,
I incubate baby pomes,
My little Om-lettes.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Toxic

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Notes to Self

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Betrayed by expectations once again. Relearn. Remember. Keep the bar of wanting low. Desire little from others. Rejoice in small accomplishments and don’t agonize over failing to reach the stars. The stars will still be there tomorrow. Savor every cotton candy sunset. Nothing is more important than taking a minute to play with a kitty. Stay in the car to finish listening to a song. Jot down every poetic thought because you never know when one will take your hand and lead you to a path filled with starlight in the dark forest of the night. But don’t expect it.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Betrayed

App Gap

Ever since I deleted Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger from my phone last week I’ve had an “app gap.” What I mean is that I had two screens of 16 phone apps each, 4×4, all filled in, and now there are two missing from the bottom right of the last screen. I know you can all math, so yes I did “unbundle” my fitness apps or else there would be three missing. I also know you are all laughing at the idea that I have fitness apps. SHUT UP! I am planning on fitnessing at some point, and if that day ever comes, those apps will come in handy.

Initially I thought, hmm, I could d/l some innocuous apps I wouldn’t use much, like solo chess and another boring game, but that sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? My idea is to spend less time involved in distractions from my projects. Without FB, maybe solo chess would suddenly become exciting. You just never know.

Then I had an epiphany. The adorable photo of Gatsby I use for my home screen had been pretty well covered up by my 4×4 app grid, but the two missing apps on the second screen reveal his beautiful golden eye and sweet little pink nose. Plus they remind me how I’m not wasting oodles of time on FB and Messenger meow. Win win! Embrace the gap! (You had no idea how OCD I really was, didja?)

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On a related unrelated note, I stumbled across this article a few days ago (I have a lot more time to actually read the news now, go figure). The advice was written for men by a woman (or someone with a female ‘nym) and says to delete all your dating site apps because they are rigged, not fun, and a waste of time. I agree with this advice 100%, despite being a woman and allegedly having so many more opportunities than men on the sites. Maybe if I were 35 I wouldn’t say “allegedly,” but I’m not, so I am saying it.

If dating were a “numbers game”—if exposure to more people meant dating more people—then people would just go to the nearest concert venue, introduce themselves to as many people as they can, and magically end up with a date. — Sophia Benoit, GQ

Yes, some people have managed to beat the odds and find someone via a dating site blah blah blah. So what? Some people also win the lottery. That doesn’t mean buying a lottery ticket, or 100 of them, is a good use of your time/money/energy.

DELETE ALL THE THINGS! Or don’t, wev. But I wrote four crappy pomes this week for my book of crappy pomes instead of BSing on the Book of Face, and I am feeling gosh-darned great about that.

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Wherein I Nag Peeps to Blog

I’ve been on social media a looooong time. Found my niche, so to speak, early on with a pack of feral writers on Usenet, and we’ve been hanging around together on the various media as they wax and wane in popularity. We tried Twitter, but the 140 character limit was too stifling. Most of us have Twitter accounts, but it’s not our preferred way to communicate, since we like to talk… well, argue mostly, and we do go on and on and on. Many of us jumped into the blogging craze, but for whatever reason most dropped out of that, which I don’t understand. You would think that writers and blogs would go together like macaroni and cheeeese! Have I mentioned lately that not only do I love blogging, but I highly recommend it? I really do, from the bottom of my ice-cold heart. Then there were a bunch of rando express trains we hopped on as they arrived at the communication station over the years, but it turned out they all had the same destination: Boringville.

Except Facebook. We’ve all been on FB forever it seems. I closed my account in 2010, but ultimately returned with a new one within a year. I missed my peeps, and you know when friends say they’ll stay in touch via email and such they may have the best intentions, but… it simply does not happen. People are too busy for emailing, too busy for phone calls (plus many of us do not like phone calls ~ I am one), and you just lose touch. It’s not the same to see a few pics on Instagram or a tweet here and there. Facebook is how so many of us learn what’s going on with friends and family, unless you actually see people in meatspace or have a regular texting relationship. I have those, but not with hundreds of FB friends, just a few close ones, and my daughters of course.

But the Book of Face is all screwed up now with the latest data selling horror story. Will it survive? Who knows. It seems “too big to fail,” but that doesn’t mean it won’t. People are making noises about leaving, but we hear this every time something bad is in the news about breaches of privacy and whatnot. Yes, it feels different this time, worse, but even so. Hard to imagine a world without Facebook. But just because it’s hard to imagine doesn’t mean it can’t happen. We could all wake up one day to find a message saying the whole thing is down. OMG! And that could continue, day after day. What would people do? Watch TV, read books, ride bikes? The possibilities are literally endless.

Here’s one thing they could do, and in fact they could do it now, as insurance: BLOG! No, I am not getting paid to promote blogging, though I should be (pay me, WordPress); I just think it’s a Good Thing. Set up a blog, easy peasy, and start writing. If you don’t know what to write about, no worries, you can poast photos and memes and links to news stories in the headlines that everyone else sees same as you, like you do every day on Facebook (eyeroll), until you feel inspired to write an essay. But you might think about adding some original writing to your photo/meme/link. Hey what? Write a sentence or two about what YOU are thinking or feeling when you poast the link to that news story. Give your opinion. After a while, you won’t need a link and you can simply write an op-ed yourself. Like what I’m doing here. You won’t need links to validate your thoughts. Just jabber on and on and on like a Real Writer, wheeeeee!

After you blog, visit other blogs, like poasts, and comment. Follow. Then you’ll receive likes, comments, and follows. Soon there will be familiar avatars, topics, and interesting discussions. If you get a troll or someone otherwise unpleasant, block. Or engage, if that’s your preference.

If you already have a blog, then why aren’t you blogging? Hmmmm? Because you’re spending all day on FB, amirite? Best get to reviving that blog before FB goes poof. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

If not now, when? Get a free blog before they’re all gone. Hurry!

And FFS, don’t forget the most important thing: follow me so my count goes up. 🙂

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Chasing Sunsets

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It’s been a good month of sunsets
Outside the conference room window,
Splashing down behind the old Hyatt–
A riot of violet, indigo, crimson.
As the days lengthen
And storms malinger,
The sky waits for my drive home,
Candy striping on my commute–
Watermelon, apricot, grape.
I stop at the fairgrounds
To take a shot of butterscotch
Streaking out of sight.
Summer will soon push them later,
After I’m inside for the night.
I tire early now;
One day I’ll see my last.
I wonder which kind it will be–
The glorious burst of final savage color,
Or a slow unremarkable fade to black?

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Wonder

Clutter Flutter

Butterfly

I’ve noticed a higher tolerance for disorder in my physical space as my emotional landscape has become much less messy. This has been gradual, so I don’t know exactly when it began, but sometime last year I would guess. I suspect it has to do with giving up dating sites and some other activities that stressed me out. Now a cluttered desk and an unmade bed simply don’t bother me the way they used to. My obsession to compulsively keep my tiny corner of the world super organized and at right angles dissipates as inner peace manifests. Who knew? Ommmm…

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The Daily Prompt: Messy

Restart

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I was chatting with a friend the otter day and lost track whether it had been 5 or 6 years since my divorce was final. (It’ll actually be 7, this July.) The years roll on by. This month marks 5 years since my dad passed away, and April 13th will be the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death. At the end of August, I’ll have been at my current job for 17 years.

Nothing dramatic, but I feel that 2018 is finally starting for me now on March 1. I didn’t feel well for a bit and, except for my daughter’s wedding, 2017 wasn’t that great of a year overall… the end of it slid into the blackness without a splash. It’s taken a few months for this year to get going in my mind. Emotionally, I needed to process the fact that time passes so ridiculously quickly now and quit wasting so much of it. I saw some piece of trivia that we really only read around 4000 books in our life ~ so let’s not be gobbling up so many crappy ones ~ also let’s not allow a month to pass without reading any (note to self).

I read two books in February. One was supposedly “great,” a NYT bestseller by the demigod Ethan Canin Titled A Doubter’s Almanac, which took me a long damn time because I tried to grok the math, and lol the joke was on me [spoiler alert]… it was fake. Yes, in the era of fake news, we also have fake math. I enjoyed the beginning of the book so much, but then when the narration took a weird turn I started wondering about the math theorem and looked it up ~ fake! I thought, okay cool, he made it up for his fiction. I can respect that; I make shit up all the time. Fuck, I’ve made up whole cities. But dammit, I felt betrayed. I had invested so much time in the book’s philosophy up until that point. In fact, it reminded me of my own philosophy, my central thesis, my touchstone…

MATH IS GOD

But eh fuck it. I read the rest of the book much faster, skipping most of the “math” and just trying to keep it together structurally until the end because I had a hunch about what might happen regarding son/father and… viola… I was correct. Sheesh, what a long book. Unnecessarily so. All those beautiful women falling for dorky mathmen with no social skills because of course they do. I love male fantasies. They’re almost as stupid as female ones.

Then in two days I read a nice, neat, normal murder mystery by Robert Dugoni titled My Sister’s Grave. Well, it wasn’t “nice” exactly ~ made me cry a little. Good book. Significant flashback sections, but after the fake math stuffs? Totes fine.

Point being, with unlimited time I would read every book, see every movie, give each tune a listen that friends slap up on FB. But time is running out. Well, not time precisely. It’s not doing anything. But I’m finite. I don’t want to waste another 3 weeks immersed in a boring father/son angst marathon only to discover there’s no such thing as the Malosz conjecture. Break my heart! Never trust a writer.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Restart