I forgot that I’m supposed to blog today, but I did write 500 words, which I will now post as my blog. Wutever.

500 Words.

Ugh.

It’s awful.

But it’s necessary, too.

And it’s terrible how much I have slacked in doing something so simple as committing five. hundred. measly. words. to paper.

To screen.

To whatever.

At the end of every day I am just so tired. I don’t have anything creative left over to offer to the universe. I have the energy to ease my antsy body into a tub filled with bubbles and warm water and lose myself in my cellphone (pathetic) or a book (okay) as long as I don’t spend too long in that book, because then I’ll get antsy and stop focusing and losing the train of thought and submerge myself further into the water and I dirty it with my sweatless body.

126 words.

See? Where am I supposed to find the things to say? I try to put poetry between the ideas, to hold them together with the sticky, glittery glue that is wordplay. But even that only gets me so far.

Today I wrote a review on Goodreads (DOES THAT COUNT AS MY 500!? IT COULD, COULDN’T IT?!) and I struggled to shorten it. Not because I was paying any amount of attention to the number of words logged, but because it was so awful and clunky.

I littered my writing with unnecessary adjectives and clogged up my meaning and turned a brief piece of writing into a meandering neandrethal of prose. It sounded like I was trying to be smart, like I wanted to be taken seriously and, more than anything, it sounded like I was failing to do both of those things.

I’m going to count this as my two long hand pages. It isn’t longhand (obviously) but its content is exactly what those usually are. Incredibly fragmented, journaly, and soul-lifting.

Ugh. 300 words.

Still short.

Still painfully, painfully short.

What makes it so hard to find so few things to say?

180 to go.

177.

176.

I could count down, but that would be lame.

166 lines leading downward on a page, drawing the eye ever closer to my goal of 500.

Pathetic.

Absolutely, completely, unabashedly pathetic.

Is a journal actually any better, though?

Is my bitching and moaning about how hard it is to reach the low-hanging fruit of a goal of words actually any better?

Or is it even worse?

Maybe the honesty of a count-down is better. To admit that I couldn’t even try because my brain was fried from a day full of doing absolutely nothing and simply give up (77) and count the numbers down, like a doomsday clock whose final ring will bring my salvation from what is supposedly my passion.

Which is EXACTLY what makes this so pathetic. I’m supposed to LIKE this. I’m supposed to want to do this, to look forward to this. What is wrong with me? Where did my love for the things I love go?

I feel like a broken instrument. There was so much beauty inside me once and now it’s gone.

-5

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500 Word Formality

This is nothing but a 500 word formality.

Two of my “daily” goals for today are as follows:

1)  Write 500 words.
2)  Blog

The 500 words is an every day goal and, technically speaking, if one were to include emails and words I doodle on papers and Facebook comments, I probably hit 500 words around noon.  But those unilaterally do not count because there is no intention behind them and part of what makes 500 words a day a worth goal is that I have to actually reserve a chunk of time to sit in front of my computer and clunk out 500 words.  It isn’t hard.

But it is what I just did there times five, so it’s not exactly easy either.

The blogging part is actually a triweekly goal.  Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays, I believe.

It isn’t as hard to write a blog three times a week as I thought it would be.  Last week went down without a hitch.

For the last several years I have been convinced that I no longer have enough stuff to talk about to write one blog a week, much less three, so it has been surprising to sit down to blog and immediately have something to say every time.

That said, I have been questioning the usefulness of blogging three times a week.

For one, I don’t want my blog to get spammy.  I don’t want people to get tired of seeing that I posted.  Three isn’t a big number, but it’s big enough.

Secondly, I think my time might be better spent writing the fictional pieces that I’ve started and abandoned.  I could be writing articles to submit to paying sources.  I could be writing the pitches to those books that I supposedly really want to write, but have left simmering on a back burner for the last year.  I could write some more poetry, too, although something tells me that my focus on word count might make poetry a difficult thing to write while aiming at 500+ words.

It’s just a hunch.

I think I will cut down my weekly blogging to two posts a week for now.  Cutting it immediately down to one seems too drastic.  It would feel like I was giving up on something, even though I really don’t think I am.  I’m just realizing that there are more valuable ways that I can exercise my writing than by talking to an audience of friends and family who will not, much as they love me, give me any money for reading what I write.  🙂  Love yas.

It crossed my mind to start that change today and not post a blog.  But it seemed like such a cop out to delete a to-do list from my Habit RPG a couple hours before it was due.  Even though I knew full well that I have spent the last few days thinking about changing my blogging schedule, it felt way too harried to change that schedule a couple hours before the to-do list was set to expire.

And that explains this entry.  In 514 words or less.  Not less.  Exactly, actually.

I want my Daddy

I don’t have these days often anymore.

Even immediately after my father died, I didn’t feel as big of a gap in my day to day life as I expected.  Part of that was simply that I’d just started college, so I wasn’t around home to notice that he wasn’t.  I was in the middle of trying to spread my wings and find my place in the world, so I didn’t expect my Dad to be much more than a weekly(ish) phone call, an email here and there, and a part of my visits to Minnesota.

Of course, every once in a while I would have a question that I felt like only he could answer.  He, obviously, was not around, so I’d lose it.  I’d bury myself in painting or journals or blogs and I would stop fucking sleeping because there was only one voice that I needed and that voice was permanently unavailable.  I’d break down sobbing in a circle of friends, so lost in my own tears that I couldn’t even see the stutter of confusion flicker across their faces as they processed the suddenness of my outbreak. I would pick up and leave the place where I was, move to new cities or take trips to different countries with barely any notice.  I would walk the long sidewalks of Chicago in the comparative quiet of the night with my hood up and my earbuds in.  I would close doors both literal and figurative and shut my ears to every voice that breathed.  I could handle reading.  I could handle movies and television shows and podcasts.  I couldn’t handle the kind of people who stood, flesh and bone, in front of me, because they were never the right person.

And today, for the first time in at least a year, it hit me again.

Sitting behind the wheel of my big, clunky Buick, staring at a red light and trying to shape the thoughts in my mind into something cohesive, I realized who I needed to talk to.

Whose advice I needed.

Whose voice I needed to hear.

My throat constricted.  I bit the insides of my lower lip.  The insides of my torso pulled further inward.

Because that voice is permanently unavailable.

My Dad was one of those people who was uniquely capable of bridging viewpoints that are notoriously difficult to bridge.  He was balanced, level and incredibly gifted with perspective both nuanced and practical.  In addition to this he also had a very moral core from which he rarely, if ever, wavered.  He listened and spoke well.  He expressed his beliefs with gentleness and authority.

And that is exactly what I need right now.

Part of the struggle of growing up, the reason why you need to be surrounded by people who are intelligent and thoughtful, is because sometimes it is really hard to tell if the decisions you’re making are okay.

It’s really hard to tell if the compromises you choose to make err in unhealthy directions.  It’s really hard to tell if the moments in which you do choose to stand firm are moments of childish stubbornness, moral victory or some murky in-between.  It’s really hard to tell if you’re turning into an adult or if you’re just getting older and more authoritative.

Sometimes you need someone to tell you.

I have plenty of people around me who are incredibly intelligent and thoughtful who I could talk to about my struggle to grok adulthood.

But none of them are my Dad.

None of them have his nuanced world view, his way of very kindly telling me exactly why I’m wrong or why he’s proud of me, his moral compass or his warm hug at the end of a hard conversation.

That’s all I want.

And it is the one thing I cannot have.

Often life gets distracting and full and beautiful and I think it’s healthy that I don’t always realize how big of a hole you left when you died.

But then there are days like today and the hurt is just as powerful as it was when I first heard you were gone.

I miss you.

I wish we’d had more time.

I'd take another puzzle date with you and Matt any day.

I’d take another puzzle date with you and Matt any day.

2014/2015

So we’re a couple days into 2015 now.

Welcome to the New Year, errbody.

I haven’t made any resolutions yet, partially because of that Habit RPG thing I’ve been harping on about.  I’ve already put the things that would normally count as resolutions (start drinking more water!  floss your teeth!  don’t be a slobby slobster all the slobbing time!)  into Habit RPG, so I’m pretty set with the whole self-improvement thing, New Year notwithstanding.  The goals and the methodology for achieving the goals are in their very neat 8-bit place and at this point it’s just a matter of seeing which ones stick and which ones don’t and then deciding if the goals that weren’t so sticky deserve more attention or if they were kind of a waste of energy to begin with.

Like reading poetry, for instance.  Why exactly do I want to read poetry every day?  Is that really necessary?  Or is it just one of those things that sounds good for a minute and is actually kind of stupid?

Anways.

Something that I’ve been meaning to do is the Guillebeau Year End Review.  It’s a great way of looking back at the last year, evaluating what went well and what didn’t, and identifying the areas of your life that you want to put more (or less) energy into. It’s also great at distinguishing between goal setting as opposed to resolutions.

The thing is, though, that right now I’m just super content.

I mean 2014 was exhausting.

For a lot of reasons.

Part of that exhaustion was because of the good stuff.  I traveled to New York and Panama and experienced Chickentown (Sshhh) for the first time and saw some great concerts.  I went to a lot of plays and an opera, discovered some incredible albums and musicians, saw my nieces and nephews play sports and dance and sing.  I ate some really amazing food.  I met some really, really cool people.  I read some great books.  I did some really fun jobs, from managing a hostel to doing social media for a tiny publishing company and working some really fun promos.

Alternatively, I worked erratically and frequently was booked when my friends were getting together.  I lost a couple friends.  I had an ex who had a lot of trouble taking “leave me alone” at face value.  I sometimes had trouble balancing commitments, which made me alternatively feel like a bad aunt, sister, daughter, employee, friend, and girlfriend.

So it hasn’t been perfect.  And I obviously have goals and things that I’d like to be (or am) working towards right now, but life lately is very good.  I’ve been in Minnesota for a little over a year now.  I am surrounded by my family and am slowly by slowly rekindling relationships with old friends.  I’m able to spend time with my nieces and nephews and sisters and brother and mother with relative regularity.  I grab casual dinners with friends instead of catching up with months worth of material every time I swing through town.  I have a job that is very okay that pays better than okay.  I am half of an amazing couple and my partner is a person who I respect and love supermuch.  And the feeling is refreshingly mutual.  Lately I’ve been finding time to hole up in coffee shops and write.  I have started reading the stacks of books that I’ve accumulated over the years and I have the energy to read stuff that has actual content to it instead of the fluff that I’d started to read disproportionately.

2014 was, for lack of a less cliched cliche, a roller coaster.  And my head is kind of spinning and I’m a little out of breath, but I keep catching myself being straight. up. grateful. for where I am at this moment.

For now, instead of looking into 2015 for everything that it has to offer, I’d rather take a moment to appreciate the place that 2014 has deposited me.

Because it’s a good place to be.