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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Tomorrow morning 

For the first time since starting this project, I'm looking forward to working. I'm exhausted. It's 1:34 a.m. and I've been writing all day. Okay, okay, except for that break when I went looking for garden furniture. I couldn't help myself. A girl's gotta enjoy her spring. Anyway, I've wrote 6,000 words today and am completely pooped.

Tomorrow morning. This is my plan.

Wake up, get dressed, brush teeth. Grab folder of chapter first drafts, get keys and smokes and head to the local latte joint. Get an enormous bowl, have a cheese danish and start editing. Edit the shit out of my work.

I'm looking forward to it. The reason? I can't stand letting my words drift in a murky haze as they do when I've written something but not actually read it. My method of working: write something. Go back and read it. Edit. Read again. Edit again. For longer stories, I'll work on four paragraphs a day. It's slow going, I know. But it's what I'm used to.

With this book, I just started writing and haven't looked back once. I can't stand it any more. I need to read what I've written and see if anything makes sense before I can write another 40,000 words in the next week.

I'm so excited. Maybe more for the latte than anything else.

And this, I know, is what places me dangerously close to the anal ward.


Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Drip, Drip, Dripping of Words 

I write.
I sit, ass in chair, and write like crazy.
Every word is painful. Do I like "sparks"? Is a heart swelling cliched?
My eyebrow is twitching madly. I think it's stress.
My right arm is seizing up. I stop and massage it every 10 minutes or so.
My mind is racing. Even when asleep, I'm writing. I dreamt last night that my pen was out of ink but I couldn't stop trying to write everything down.
In 15 days I have to produce 85,000 words. I've written 15,000 that I'm proud of. I've written another 20,000 that I hate. That's 35,000 words to write in 15 days. Doable. 2,333 words per day. Okay. Breathe.
I write.

Things I'd rather do than write:
-prune my roses.
-change the cat litter.
-laundry.
-pick my nose.
-have sex.
-go shopping.
-read.
-see a movie.
-get a pedicure.

I love writing but I'm tired of it. And it's my fault. I don't work well unless under pressure. I'm under tremendous pressure. Huge pressure. My "book" is an elephant that sits on my shoulders even when I'm supposed to be "taking a break," "eating" or "sleeping."

I write. For myself, true. But mostly just to meet an arbitrary number that some editor picked as a good length for a book. This blog has gone the way of the dinosaurs for the past few months. I'm learning not to make any cyber-promises.

Must go back to chapter four. Having trouble with it. Not enough background but no time for more interviews.

On a bright note, my sister gave my super hero underwear for my birthday. It's got a yellow waistband, red bands around the leg holes and on the navy blue body of the undies are white stars. Now I can be a super hero any time I want.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

I'm baaaack 

You know when you get so wrapped up in your own neuroses that you can't even think straight? If not, go away. If so, settle in and have another cup of coffee to further rattle your nerves.

As you can see from the time between posts, I took a break. A long break. And I was good - I didn't read any blogs. I didn't write in mine. I didn't talk about blogs and I even avoided the Internet completely in order to minimize the cravings. "Why?" I flatter myself by thinking you want to know. Well, I was freaking out.

The whole losing my job thing was wearing thin, even to my own ears, and I was tired of thinking or writing about it. Buck up, Theo. Suck it up and move on. So I did. I wanted to focus on myself for a little while without trying to analyze it. Instead of blogging, I wrote ideas for paintings and books in my old diary. I read books. I wrote a killer book proposal that has - I have to tell you this because it's SOOOO exciting - won me a fantastic book contract with an amazing publisher (let's hope they never discover this blog and cancel the contract for my atrocious writing...) I hung out with my cats. I finally picked a colour for my bedroom - after three years, I chose... wait for it.... white. But it's "cloud white" which is a really pretty white. I also started working as a freelance writer and editor.

In short, I needed time to start my new life.

The irony - and there had to be one, of course - is that my former employer called me up yesterday to ask if I would come in and work freelance for a special project that they're doing and that needs to be completed asap. What I thought was "Take your pathetic offer and use a rusty shovel to stick it up your pie hole." What I said was "Sounds very interesting and I'd love to do it." I've learned that as a freelancer, you can't be stupid. And I would've been incredibly stupid to give up that kind of cash, especially after juggling all my bills for the last few months. Besides, I'm the one walking back in there with a book deal. They're the ones who all want book deals. At least, that's what I'm going to keep telling myself.

It's good to be back in the blogging world. And thank you for being patient. I'll make it worth your while. Well, I'll try. I'm not willing to post nudie shots of myself or anything but I will try and make you smirk every now and again.

Friday, January 09, 2004

I'm sorry. 

The time has come for a shower of sorries. First and foremost, I need to apologize to Kat. My darling, I didn't understand. When you were unemployed the first year that I met you, I knew it was tough. I knew it was weird being at home for months on end. I knew that it was hard to get yourself going in the mornings. I knew but I didn't know, you know?

And my Boy, I need to apologize to you, too. I need to tell you that you are much better at being unemployed than I am. You got up every morning. You worked a set number of hours. You pushed and pushed to get things done. You had the guts to remain unemployed and the teeth to keep gnawing on finishing your album.

I need to apologize to my sister, Victoria. You've been working from home for years now and how you manage to do it, I'll never understand. Well, I hope I'll understand someday. You are committed and determined and solid and whip yourself into a working frenzy without the benefit of a boss. Actually, the same goes out to my parents. You all amaze me.

I planned this week as the "get resumes out" week. Instead, I've slept a lot. A lot, a lot. I've done a whole lot of nothing - reading blogs, reading magazines, napping, cuddling the cats, cutting my nails, playing The Sims. But, the week is not a total loss. The tree is down. I've showered. The cats are fed. I'm drinking tea. I've had some good (hopeful) news about my book project. I made it to the gym twice already. I've read the jobs section of the local paper. And I've watched more TV than I have in the last three years combined. (For example, I watched Porky's II twice last night. I went to bed at 3 a.m. I also watched Extreme Makeover and cried at the end.)

And the resumes? Well, they're finished but I haven't written all my cover letters yet.

This is the first time in eight years that I've been off of work for longer than two weeks. I'm still reeling. It's been two months. Two months. God, that feels so strange.

And so, I want to apologize to all of my previously unemployed friends. I'm sorry I didn't get it. But I do now so if any of you are off work any time soon, I'm free. We can watch some TV or maybe even count our freckles.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

From the perspective of my Christmas tree 

It's been fun. Sure. But man am I itching to get out of here.

I can tell by the way my owner heaves a sigh when looking at me that my time is coming to an end. And, to be honest, it's a relief. I mean, I know I was planted for this very reason - to become someone's Christmas tree - but it's a pretty dull job.

All of the trees in the lot were excited when December came and we were chopped down and trucked off into the city. We were finally fulfilling our destiny. There was a buzz on the truck. Who knows where we'd end up or if we were even pretty enough for someone to spend $75 to $90 on us. That's a lot of cash for a tree with a bare bum or a crooked top. I had a medium sized branch that was threatening break and as I was unloaded from the truck and placed on the selling lot, someone grabbed me the wrong way and it was wrenched from my trunk. Oh, the shame. I couldn't believe it. Who would want me now?

Along came this woman. She emerged from an impossibly small blue car - an old rusty heap that I thought for sure meant she wouldn't be able to afford us - and she started rummaging through the different trees. Fir? Spruce? Tall? Short? I hadn't given any thought to what I wanted. Tall? Blond? Early 30's? Was that any indication of a good home?

Anyway, she picked me. I was chuffed. There were still so many trees on the lot and she picked me. Me. Even with my broken limb and dried up skirts. She liked me the best. It was such a good feeling.

Shoved into the back of her car, I wondered what my new home would be like. Well, it was nice. The room was small and I was disappointed that there weren't any children around. I'd heard that they were pretty fun even if they did tug at your branches from time to time. She did have cats, though. And one of them I got to know quite well. A big, tubby fellow with fur the colour of café au lait. He liked to sleep under my branches, curled up on the heating vent in the floor. It was pretty cute. In fact, he's under me right now. Unfortunately, that bloody heating vent was too.

Oh, the heat. I wasn't made for such a warm blast of air hitting my tender bottom all day, every day. And then the woman placed things on my limbs. I know that's par for the course but I wasn't even a theme tree. I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to represent. I mean, the balls were all different colours and the ornaments ranged from lovely to down right hideous. What are those strips of fabric she's tying into bows on the tips of my branches? So girly. [shudder]

For a while, after I got used to the heaviness of the stuff she placed all over (even deep within my branches, near my trunk!), the feeling was good. Every day, more presents were stuffed beneath me for safe keeping and I felt proud. She would smile every time she looked at me and when people came in they would admire my height, my girth and my decorations. That felt nice.

But now Christmas is over and the presents are gone. I'm feeling pretty stupid - still up, still shining with little white lights, still standing tall and true. But I'm dried out from being indoors. I want to go and meet up with trees from around the city and chatter about our various posts before we're turned into something else. Toilet paper. Cereal boxes. Fertilizer for gardens. Something else that is a little more exciting than watching over a fat cat sleeping on a heating vent.

Take me down, lady. Get over it. Christmas is done and so am I.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I don't like poetry 

Wanting sneaks up on me.
It starts
with little things.

Sip
from the half sweet, non fat chai latte
and feel
the luxury of time wasted.
Yes.

Wearing my best coat
—sheepskin scraping the street, warm and heavy—
I allow it to fly open.
You may. Be free.
Even in the breath snatching cold.
I'm impervious to weather.

March to M.A.C.
Demand a makeover.
Savour the feel of being
pampered
and
coddled
and
coerced
into buying.
Maybe I will.
Yes.
I don't say please.

The new me floats
into the moneyed world of
Holt Renfrew.
The smell of wealth is
almost
stinky.

Expensive perfume?
Yes.
I don't say please.

For one afternoon,
I am rich, but left
wanting more.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Why blog? 

I know better bloggers than me have tackled this question. But it came up last night in a conversation too exhausting to explain. Suffice it to say that I overheard two members of the group sniff at the thought that there could be any use in blogging. Unfortunately, the Boy was one of those two twits muttering about the dangers of blogging, the ego that must be involved and the plain indulgence.

This annoyed me. Actually, I was livid. The situation was made worse by the fact that I was unable to tackle the Boy head on about this because a) I was eavesdropping b) he was drunk and c) we've vowed not to argue in front of people. I was going to bring up the issue later. I really was but we fell into bed, exhausted, and just as I determined that I was far too tipsy to try and talk to him about it, I also realized that he'd fallen asleep.

The Boy and I have talked about my blog in the past. He's been supportive. Interested. He's also stated that he wouldn't read it simply because it would be too much like reading my diary. He's a man of his word and I believe him. He's expressed some concern but it's always been couched in the careful manner of a man who knows that he might set off the woman he loves and he wants to avoid doing that at all costs. However, to (over)hear him talk down about blogging with a friend really bugs me. I mean, I know I didn't hear the whole conversation and I know that I must of missed some context but still - the low voices, the occasional sentence floating up across the table, the shared chuffing of two non-bloggers who believe that their secrets are safe. Argh.

This did, however, make me question why I blog. Simply put, I enjoy it. I love the task of writing a personal essay of sorts on a daily basis (okay, almost daily. Oh alright, definitely weekly.) It's so fulfilling to write for myself. I can follow random thoughts or try and work my way through deeper questions. I can be funny, sad, happy, angry and no one questions it or tells me to get a grip. It's the wonderful freedom of having a diary.

But why do it for an anonymous audience and in such a public forum? It boils down to a couple of things for me. The first is the deadline nature of a blog. I work best under tight deadlines. I need the pressure and, for some reason, the online aspect recreates a similar pressure to hovering editors and costly printing delays. A blogger writes for herself but also for her readers. And having readers visit your site daily to see what's new in my mind is a wonderful feeling. I don't want to disappoint the people who visit and I don't want to lose my readers because I've fucked the dog for a week. It's all about the pressure.

Secondly, I like having my thoughts floating out there for people to comment on. In my most selfish moments, I can pretend that I know everything and that I am, without a doubt, correct in my thinking at all times. But I know better. Having a cyber stranger think about the snatches of my life I choose to share online gives me a new perspective. Readers can change my mind or open my eyes in ways that close friends can't because, as we all know, our stories are already edited for friends. Their personalities dictate how much we choose to share or how much weight to allow into the conversation. With a blog, you can be as honest as possible and you have no idea how different people will react. It's refreshing. It's exhilarating.

Maybe I should give the Boy this blog address and tell him to shove it where the sun don't shine. Or maybe I should calm down and stop eavesdropping. I should probably also stop getting angry about conversations that I didn't really hear properly. But that's so boring....

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