Monday, April 29, 2013

A lesson in reading labels

So, I've given up soda, yet again. But I'd been reading some on artificial sweeteners, and was becoming increasingly alarmed. And drinking diet soda had clearly not been doing me any favors on the weight front. So. Cold turkey, no soda, diet or otherwise. I've done this a few times now (and even talked about it here at least once); maybe this time it'll stick. I've been drinking coffee (with milk and cocoa in it) and tea and lots and lots of water.

So. We have an iced tea maker I got at Wal-Mart for like ten bucks, which is a quick and fabulous way to have readily drinkable tea in the house. Typically we go for green tea, and then I'll use like, three bags of green tea and one of chai, or two green two Earl Grey, that kind of thing. We ran out of our regular green (though there is some in a multipack we have, now that I think about it) and so I got a new box (also at Wal-Mart, ugh) the other night. I guess I didn't really read the box (mostly because my misanthropy is such that by the time I make it to the tea in Wal-Mart, it is only through sheer strength of will that I don't lose my shit). I was doing some dishes, and making a cup of coffee, and I turned around when I heard the tea maker stop dripping because I was going to unplug it and was like "OH MY GOD, BLOOD TEA!"

Only the dog was awake to share my dismay. She was more concerned with her rhino. I would be too; I just spent some time down the rabbit hole of international rhino horn sales. But that is a post for another day.

As it turns out, the tea is strawberry orange green tea, not just green tea. Red antioxidant green tea, which is made with hibiscus and rooibos and stuff. So, all right. But that was kind of a bad surprise. Read the labels, kids, or else you too might end up with blood tea.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Word Association exercise

Word associations can almost make a poem in and of themselves, no matter where you start. Now, whether that poem makes sense to anybody but you is up in the air, but what's that Stephen King says? Write your first draft with the door closed, edit with the door open? That's a lot like "write for yourself", isn't it? That's what so many of us do, isn't it? I say that a lot, probably. Because really, who else am I writing for right now? A hypothetical future? Hypothetical children who will be embarrassed by my badness or boldness?

You can start with a simple thing. A state.

Bruce Springsteen
Asbury park
sun gold summer
dewy green grass
lightning bugs at dusk
stars in the gloaming
Cheshire smile moon
Andy did you hear about this one?

The words that come out of you can be a punch in the stomach, a slap in the face. Writing is so private and so raw, sometimes. We're naked, it the audience knows how to look. We're inscrutable if they don't. Friends, strangers. Sometimes it doesn't matter. The worlds in our heads are of our own creation, and the windows we create to them can be so small.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quotes around the house (and work)

Housemate: I'm really hungry. But I ate all the cereal.
Me: I'm sorry. Wait, no you didn't, there's rice squares.
Housemate: I don't want rice squares.
Me: Why not? You  can put sprinkles on them!
Housemate: Where do you come from?! 

Coworker: Wait, what are you talking about?
Me: Forensics. Really, what do I ever talk about, other than that, nukes, and dogs. Well, and serial killers. Which is forensics again when you think about it.

While playing D&D (well, Pathfinder):
Me (to housemate): That's right, I hit your box!
Tim: You can't hit her box back.
Mahria: That's not a friendly square.

Me: You don't understand me!
Fiancé: Oh, I understand what you're saying. I just never know why, or what you're doing exactly. 

Me: Well, that's a nice little town. Apartments there might be cheaper, too.
Coworker: Yeah, but they had that murder suicide there recently.
Me: They did, but those things are usually pretty self contained.
Coworker: I guess they are, but there is definitely something wrong with you.

Me: According to this, apparently Funny Foam has/had butane in it.
Coworker: Maybe that explains the things you're interested in.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Process

My process, such as it is, tends to be rather private.

Or, at any rate, I'm not really social while I'm writing. When I'm really into it, sleepwalking the dreamscape of my inner mullings, transposing them onto the page, I don't want to be bothered. I don't want to talk. I don't want to be interrupted.

Sometimes I listen to the same song, over and over. For the mood I'm in, or the emotions it evokes, or the memories it dredges up from that subconscious I try to mine while I'm awake. For The Last Song, there have been a few songs: "One", covered by Warren Haynes at Bonnaroo. "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?", covered by Nirvana. A lot of Nirvana in general. "Everlong", by the Foo Fighters, both the acoustic version and the regular album one.

I remember the first time I heard the acoustic version of Everlong. It was on the radio, probably Rat Rock, and I was driving home uncommonly late one night. Had I gone to see a movie? That seems likely. I was in my Honda, a 1992 five speed hand me down from my dad, with its Grateful Dead Space your Face sticker in the rear passenger window, and the Shrinky Dink fish, fishing lined to the rearview mirror. It was summer, so all of my windows were down (I eschew air conditioning, for one, and it had also broken in said Honda a year or two previous on the return drive from Cape Hatteras, NC), and it was the dewy, overcast pink skied Jersey Shore summer that happens sometimes, where it isn't raining and probably won't, and the next day will be a completely clear, perfect, humidity free beach day where the edges of everything seem just a little bit sharper, and you probably forget to apply, or reapply, your sunscreen. There was nobody else on the road, and I slowed down. The limit on the back road I drove was thirty, but I didn't want to get home before the song was over, and I dipped to twenty five, twenty, dropped it to second gear. I'd kicked off my flip flops and drove barefoot, toes curled over the top of the gas pedal, right hand on the gearshift. When the song was over, I turned the radio off. I didn't want to hear any other songs, any commercials, any other voices. I didn't want the spell to be broken.

So, when I listen to songs on repeat, or listen to a certain sequence of songs on repeat, I don't want the spell to be broken. I want to sustain it for as long as possible, make it as complete as possible. I don't want anybody in the room to remark upon my musical choices. I don't want anybody to ask me what I'm doing. I don't want a phone, or social media. I'd prefer Elka not have to go out. I don't want neighbors. Just the words on the page (text on the screen). Just the characters of my making, living their lives, thinking their thoughts, feeling their feels.