Tag Archives: psychology

Writing Misc.

I’ve read a few books lately that have broken some “rules.” They’ve mixed first-person and third between chapters. They’ve included pieces of a “destroyed” diary in italics, so the reader would know what was going on when the first-person protag didn’t. They’ve told stories in the present tense, first-person, and then stuck in an epilogue from another character. On and on. Yet, I enjoyed these novels. Just shows to go ya!

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I don’t have writer’s block. I’m not sure how to describe my “ailment.” I’ve written a boatload of bloggery lately, a bit of it fictional, some poetry for Twitter, etc. I still feel that all my previously outlined story and novel ideas have potential… but I can’t work on them, given my lifestyle.

One, I’m no longer capable of getting up at 5am and writing for a few hours before work. Just can’t do it. Maybe once a week, but not consistently like I did 10 years ago.

Two, I’m not capable of writing fiction for 3-4 hours at night after work. Or even two. I’m tired. I can fling off a blog poast and some texts, but my eyeballs rebel at doing solid screen work.

Three, I’m too OCD to let my cleaning and chores mount up on weekends to write. I need to get stuff done. And I enjoy seeing movies, hanging with friends, and, most of all, spending time with family when I can. I’m not going to give up that stuff to pound out chapters of a book only a dozen people at best will ever read. Not motivated.

But that’s not the same as writer’s block. If I had the time ~ if I were retired, forex ~ I’d be cranking out those stories like I did years ago when I had more energy. They are still in my head. Dunno how long they’ll stay there. That’s a different issue.

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Conversation with my daughter…

Me: I don’t feel safe putting my documents in the cloud.

Sharon: Why not?

Me: Because I’ve already shared a photo folder with people, so they might be able to see all of them.

Sharon: You’ve sent emails to people. Can they read all your other ones?

Me: Good point.

Sharon: Now I know how Mark Zuckerberg felt in front of Congress.

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No Sinning Here

Today I read that one of the seven deadly blogging sins was jabbering on too much about oneself without giving something to the reader, so before I indulge in more navel-glazery tonight I will give back. Yes indeed. Here is a lovely link to my books you can buy. Now, please don’t say I never gave anything to my blogfans!

Okay then.

The otter day I commented somewhere (can’t remember where) that I’m a chatty introvert. I meant to talk more about this because it’s interesting to me, since it’s about myself, and honestly what could be more interesting than meeee?

I enjoy my own company and am happy in solitude ~ reading, writing, organizing stuff, watching a movie, chilling with the cat, etc. I’m fine going the whole weekend without talking to another person as long as I know my kids are okay. My office is quiet too, and I like that; I don’t chat much with people usually nor do I go to lunch with anyone. I think I’m probably more of a loner than the average introvert. My friends call themselves introverts too, but they seem to need much more social time than I do.

However! Speaking of friends, and being social generally, when I’m with people, I’m on. I talk. I talk a lot. I’m an open book. I’m warm and friendly, not shy, not quiet, not reserved at all. You really can’t shut me up, basically. I’ve even done open-mic stand-up comedy!

But after a few hours or so, my energy level will sink like a phone battery with a million apps open. I’ll become noticeably drained to the point that peeps might comment on it. My head feels too heavy for my neck… it’s overloaded with all the peopleness in the room. So much sensory input. Eventually I can’t process one bit more. Must escape!

I recharge again by being alone.

So Many Photos!

I’m a bit compulsively organized, as I may have mentioned previously. So, it was already bugging me that I had a giant box full of disorderly photos. They were of my children and my pets, my exes and my parents, ancient relatives, random friends, cakes and flowers, and whatever else, all spanning like a hundred freaking years. There were “leftovers” that hadn’t made it into my cute memory albums, duplicates I couldn’t bear to dump, and sepia shots of strange people who possibly are related to me.

I tried not to think about this too much, even though the box was lurking right there in my hall closet like a sleeping demon.

But then my former sister-in-law gave one of my daughters another big box of photos consisting of all the photos I had given my in-laws over the years while they were alive. My daughters took the photos they wanted and gave me the rest, which was a lot. A lot.

Now what was I supposed to do? Add this box to the other, so they could weaponize against me? Hah. I know how that works: soon my closet would turn into the devil’s disaster zone. No thanks. Only one option ~ I bought big envelopes and am sorting all the photos into categories and filing them away.

It’s taking me longer than I expected. Some of the photos provoke memories that I stop and linger over for a minute or three. And some I struggle to categorize. My girls look very similar as babies; I’m happy when they’re both in the same shot so I can toss that one in the “sisters” envelope.

Now everything is on our phones and in “the cloud.” Don’t think I’m not making folders there. Are you kidding? My cloud is totes foldered up.

I am the Goddess of Folders!

Barbara Double D [dating story]

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I met a man named Ozzy. We’re calling him this because he’s originally from Australia, or so he said. You never know with guys from dating sites, since they tend to lie about everything. He lived in NorCal and was working here, in SoCal, and was (allegedly) separated from his wife. I didn’t care at the time that he wasn’t divorced yet because I wasn’t either. He was very sympathetic regarding the recent death of my mom, which drew me to him.

For our first meeting/date, he took me to a very nice Japanese restarant, where we had a long, leisurely sushi and sake lunch. (Back then, I loved sushi and also drank alcohol.) It sure beat the boring Starbucks meets favored by the majority of men on dating sites. We kissed afterward and it was very fireworky. He also enjoyed writing and sent me a sexy story starring us and included a special pasta dish similar to spaghetti carbonara but named for me.

Ozzy and I began dating/sleeping together. He was fun and cute and had a nice place provided by his employer (I had a child at home and didn’t bring dates over). We had agreed at the start to be monogamous and deactivate our dating profiles, but for whatever reason I didn’t trust him. And I wasn’t even that cynical yet, but I simply didn’t.

So, I reurned to the same site where we met, but instead of reactivating my profile to spy on Ozzy (which he would see and then deny doing anything, except accuse me of still being active too… stalemate), I created a new, spoof profile. I named her BarbaraDD and stole a photo of a blurry blonde off the web. I made her profile very different from mine: outgoing saleswoman with implants, loves to travel, likes watching football, wants to keep things casual. I made deliberate spelling errors, though that was difficult. Barbara viewed Ozzy’s profile and said “hey how are u” ~ something I’d never do in a million years. Of course he responded because he hadn’t deactivated.

Naturally, Barbara also received 90 kajillion messages from other men, pretty much every man on the site. She ignored all of them and focused only on chatting with Ozzy. She said outrageous things, like she wanted to come to him right after she had unprotected sex with another man, and he said that would be great. Ughhh. Then he sent Barbara the sexy story, changing the names, including the recipe to Pasta Barbara.

I was so mad! Obviously Ozzy sent that stupid story to all his women.

Barbara told him the story was incredible and made her want to meet him right away, but she’d lost her phone. Could he just meet her tonight at this bar in Newport Beach at 8:00? Of course he agreed.

At 8:00, BarbaraDD deleted her account. I blocked Ozzy and never spoke to him again. Dunno if he figured it out.

Not Superstitious… Much

I don’t have the “normal” superstitions; in fact, I love black cats in particular. They’re so gorgeous! Well, all kittehs are adorable imo. I don’t fear walking under ladders, stepping on cracks, or the number thirteen. All my life, if someone told me a thing was “bad luck” I’d scoff at it.

However, I do have my own ideas about… shall we say “positive and negative energy.” I’ve noticed that if I use certain words or types of speech, unpleasantness tends to result soon afterward even though the result seems unconnected from my words. No, I’m not going to poast them here or tell you what they are! They exist. That is all. And I avoid them.

Since that is not logical, it qualifies as a superstition, I suppose.

There are certain numbers I associate with positivity, so I try to keep aligned with them when I can. But no numbers are bad.

I enjoy keeping things in my personal space organized in certain ways. Sometimes it’s at right angles, but not always. One of the key factors is that my space looks uncluttered and I can quickly find my things. But this isn’t a hard and fast rule because I do have some spots that may appear “cluttered,” yet to me they are arranged pleasantly. Forex, I’ve been keeping more greeting cards on bookshelves. I don’t know why ~ maybe it’s because people have been giving me really pretty ones the last several years. Also, one of my daughters has hand-drawn some.

I’m a big proponent of tossing stuff in the trash, except for the few things I want to hang onto forever. Why? Idk. Maybe I suspect they’re good luck charms.

Age > Abundance

Summer is the season of plenty! From all the juicy ripe fruits available at the market to the plethora of outdoor concerts, there’s abundant deliciousness and fun to be had on a daily basis.

And yet… and yet… I find myself just as tired after work when the evening is warm and lovely as when it was dark and cold. I still don’t feel like doing much except going home to my sweet kitty and reading or watching a movie on Prime.

On weekends? Well, the weather may be perfect for the beach or a BBQ, but I still have to do laundry, dust, vacuum, grocery shop, etc., just the same as I did back in January. Gatsby’s litterbox does not take a summer vacay, unfortunately.

If I were a decade or three younger and single, I’m sure I’d be enjoying this great SoCal summer abundance ~ in fact, I can vaguely remember doing just that when I first moved out here in the 1980s. But, alas, I am old. Age > abundance.

Regarding Writer’s Block

Jenga

Dusty commented about WB in my last poast. It’s true that I can’t seem to sit down and force myself to write the things I believe I “should” write, such as the next short story in my epic collection of long connected stories, or even finish one of Anna’s hot romances I’ve left in limbo. But that doesn’t mean I can’t write anything ~ in fact, I’ve been blogging a ton (have actually deleted several ridiculously verbose and pointlessly rambling poasts in the last several weeks before I hit publish), emailing a bunch, and tweeting a twitload. I have even poemed a bit. It’s just the fiction I’m not into any longer and thus have given it up.*

Fiction writing feels like regression. Maybe that’s a lazy copout, but it’s how I feel right now. Writing fiction was an escape from bad times in my life, and my life is no longer bad. I don’t need an escape into a fantasy world of make-believe characters I focus on instead of my own situation. Unlike poetry, which stimulates my love for language, wordplay, and brief, intense emotional exploration, writing fiction feels hollow and fake. (This doesn’t apply to fiction reading at all, which I still love. Or movies dur!)

Writing about real events, however ~ slightly enhanced for entertainment value ~ such as the “dating stories,” is still a lot of fun for me. I was going to write about my trip to the wilds of Los Angeles last Tuesday, the crazy Bentley who tailgated me (a freaking Bentley!), the trippy sidewalks, my adorable granddaughter (I’m a grandmother now, if you didn’t know), etc., but there wasn’t any outstandingly funny moment to regale y’all with, and I’m all about the regaling.

[Just had to delete some amusing nonsense about regal and regaling because the words aren’t related. Dictionaries are our friends! But eccentric comes from outside the circle of normal, which was the WOTD yesterday, and since I can’t sleep in this heat even with a Valium and it’s now tomorrow, that word is definitely appropriate.]

Now, at this point you may be wondering if this poast isn’t one of those ridic rambles that should go into the trash heap… no! First, this is an experiment to see if it’s easier to blog from my old Kindle, since it’s larger than my phone and has a more finger-friendly keyboard. Second, it allows open tabs to be visible at the top, like a puter, which is helpful for switching back and forth when looking stuff up while blogging. Third, it’s difficult to create links when blogging by phone (have not tried the WordPress app) ~ basically have to write them down on a piece of paper and type them in again like a cavewoman. But on my Kindle I can copy and paste like a normal person. However, there is one issue: my bitmojis! I only have access to media already uploaded to WP, no new bitmojis or photos on my phone, since this thing isn’t connected to my phone. Of course, I could save this as a draft and then reopen it on my phone, where all my pics are. But that is not exactly an efficient, streamlined operation, is it now?

I put the previously used Jenga blocks up top, meh. Other solutions were: (1) use a previous bitmoji that didn’t really go with this poast; (2) use an ugly stock WP photo of blocks; or (3) begin some complicated process of installing an app on my phone that will give my Kindle access to photos, but it is 3am and I don’t wannu.

There is a rumor going around I might be getting a Mac, which will render all this angsting obsolete, but in the meantime… the blog abides.

*One of my friends said he learned in a yoga class recently that stress damages the brain and is potentially one of the leading causes of dementia. So, this just proves I’m on the right track giving up stressful things like dating, Facebook, fiction writing, etc. If only I could give up driving, that would be AWESOME!

Oh, now I have to stick on all the tags that will allegedly attract zillions of readers to this poast. Bwahahaha!

Still the Same [dating story]

Haven’t poasted one of these in a while, eh? Don’t worry, there are more. That’s a threat and a promise. Better keep checking in. 😉

As always, names are changed to protect the guilty.

This particular story is an example, as if one is necessary, that people don’t change. My vast amount of experience haz taught me very little, but I finally glommed onto that nugget. It’s not 100%, but it’s damned close. If someone does a thing once, chances are good that is who they are. There are exceptions due to extenuating circumstances, but they’re rare enough that we can feel safe using this rule of thumb. Well, I can. Do what you will.

Early into my dating adventures I met a man on OKCupid I clicked with. Let’s call him Bob (for Bob Seger’s song “Still the Same“). Bob was handsome and intelligent. He lived in Los Angeles, but unlike every other man in L.A., he didn’t freak out about the distance and driving on the 405 to meet me. In fact, he approached me on the site. Also, unlike most guys, Bob enjoyed texting and emailing. We exchanged loads of messages without him bugging me for the first phone call. Finally, we did chat on the phone and it went really well. But he confessed something: he wasn’t actually divorced, not even legally separated (though “emotionally” he had been for ages, natch), and he hadn’t even moved out of the house he owned with his wife cuz their finances were “complicated” bla de bla. If I had a dollar for every one of these guys, I could buy a house. Well, maybe a condo. Okay a steak dinner for two. At Morton’s!

I told Bob that I was legally divorced and not interested in dating a married man (BTDT, didn’t get a tee shirt). He understood, but said we should meet anyway “just to see.” I didn’t want to see. What was there to see? I didn’t care how much chemistry we might have over lunch ~ why did that matter? He was still married; he hadn’t even filed papers yet. He said that was imminent, as soon as his wife would cooperate on the money things. Sure. I got that. I said when this happened, and he had his own place, we could haz lunch. We kept interacting online and via text because we had built up a good rapport. But finally he faded away, as they do.

Jump to a year and half later. I was back on OKC. And… so was Bob! At first, I was happy to see him. He had a new screen name and photo. I thought maybe he had divorced and all was cool ~ I remembered our great rapport in writing and got my hopes up for a mo. We began to chat. And… guess what? He had become entangled in an almost identical situation! He was divorced. He had bought a new place. And now he had a new girlfriend living with him, they weren’t happy, and he was already on dating sites behind her back. Ughhh! WTF? Why would he do such a stupid thing to himself?

Because people do what they do. They can’t help it. They don’t change. Except for me: I gave up dating sites and am an exception to my own rule. You can take that to the casino.

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Conflicting Philosophies on Chronic Pain

In honor (lol) of migraine awareness month, here is another poast on the topic.

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There are two basic ways of dealing with chronic pain, and neither is “right” nor “wrong.” They are simply different. One may work for you, or the other might be more helpful. One may be more useful at certain times in your life (say 9-5) and the other at different times (nights and weekends, possibly). I’m just throwing some ideas on the table and clarifying them for myself via the written word, as I do.

1. Fake it ’til ya make it.

This is the traditional approach of visualizing the thing you want (a happy, pain-free existence) by pretending you already have it and smiling, acting cheerful, never mentioning your ailments, etc. Just ignore the throbby slammy hammer pounding itself through your eyeball and soon you won’t even notice it’s there cuz you’ll be having so much freakin’ fun! Seriously this sometimes works for me a little if only because I just don’t even want to talk about the fact that I’m feeling awful (especially in the office), since it doesn’t help anything and why bother; while I might not be chipper I can get immersed in a task, and there are times (if I’m lucky) the pain may subside somewhat.

2. Eff that ~ lying is stressful.

What a relief to read on the migraine site that we don’t have to fake it. As if it isn’t stressful enough to suffer from migraines, we also have to deal with society’s pressure to always be happy and smile. Why? Because we make other people uncomfortable if we don’t. Well, that’s their problem, isn’t it? Our problem is that we’re in horrible pain, nauseated, dizzy, etc. They’ll just have to deal with the fact that we aren’t flippin’ cheerful at the mo. This is my preferred approach outside of work. If I’m in pain, I’m not gonna lie about it to my family and friends. If I need to rest at home, that’s what I’ll do. Why the heck would I lie, say I feel great, go out to a loud, bright movie, and throw up? Dumb!

“Not trying to be positive all the time is a radical act of self-care.” ~ Kerrie Smyres, from the above-linked article.

Futile Pursuits

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I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Mark Manson phenomenon. I found his blog ages ago, as I do. At first, I loved him. He was new! He was brill! Then when he become super popular and began charging for his words (NTTAWWT), I viewed those words more critically. Hmm, I thought, he’s actually just recycling stuff advice columnists have said forever but packaging it up in cool terms with swear words. Feh. Also, I was mad because someone advised me not to use F*CK in a title and I listened, but Mark did and his book became a best-seller. We won’t talk about the fact that I never actually finished my book. That’s irrelevant, people!

But lately, in the last year or so, I’ve wandered back into the MM fold like a lost little sheeple. Not really in the fold, more like on the edge of the field, ready to bolt away again at any moment, but… I kinda inadvertently subscribed by email to his newsletter. The free one! Gawd. And I may have the PDF of his free self-help book ready to download in another email. Maybe. Not saying if I do or not. I’m certainly not a stan, just an interested observer. Curious, ya know. He’s interesting. Once, lol, I wondered if Mark was actually a real person or the creation of a marketing team, so I did some sleuthing and concluded that he probably does exist.

Anyway. Point is, this last article from Mark knocked my socks off. I mean, it was the bees’ knees, my friends. The cat’s PJ’s. And the best thing about it? It is only telling you what you already know! But Mark puts together a bunch of disparate things you know in one place and ties them together in a way that makes sense and gives you a clear insight into something really profound: the relationship between effort and reward.

Why The Best Things In Life Are All Backwards” may be the most brilliant piece I’ve read from Mark, and that’s saying a lot. I encourage everyone to read it right now and keep it bookmarked. I intend to reread it many times. The following quote is one gem, and it makes logical as well as intuitive sense:

Pursuing happiness takes you further away from it. Attempts at greater emotional control only remove us from it. The desire for greater freedom is often what causes us to feel trapped. The need to be loved and accepted prevents us from loving and accepting ourselves. — Mark Manson, in “Why The Best Things…”

You need to read the whole piece to really grok what he’s saying. It’s so great, and yet so simple too. That’s what makes it outstanding. I sort of stumbled toward this idea several times when I grew frustrated with my writing and couldn’t bear to do marketing, and then went back to my WIPs but only on my terms, which were pleasure-only. I can’t pursue writing for the goal of making money or selling X-number of books, since that only makes me frustrated and upset when it doesn’t happen. I don’t enjoy writing when I’m pursuing those goals because I’m thinking about them instead of immersing myself in words. I start obsessing about details of marketing and sales instead of points of plot and character or intricacies of rhyme and rhythm. And then I give it all up and watch TV.

There’s so much more to MM’s article ~ I’m just giving you a little taste in my bloggery here. If it doesn’t appeal, check out one of his greatest hits. I’m not getting a kickback. I just think he has some good things to say.

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This poast was inspired by Daily Addictions WOTD: Futile.