Apropos of nothing

Fireflies

If you have ever seen Grave of the fireflies, you’ll know what the perils of waiting too long might be.

It has come to my attention that despite my best promises, I have not come up with any content in quite some time. As much as I would love to say that despite my absence without leave from the world wide web, I have been very productive in the real world, I’m afraid it isn’t so.

Yes, there were the holidays to tackle, and they were a rather hectic period.

Yes, I have made some drastic changes to my life, which of course took up a lot of time as well.

No, I don’t believe I have a valid excuse for my creative blank page.

I am not “being my harshest critic”, I’m just being honest. There were moments aplenty for me to get my act together and write, as I always claim that I want to do.

Sure, I’m against constantly blogging apropos of nothing and ending up just cluttering the information stream with exercises in self-aggrandizement, as I have found so often to be the case. I still believe in quality over quantity.

But I do admit that it is a fine line between being fussy about doing things right and being downright lazy, and I have crossed it over a million times. It’s far too easy to just say, “Nah, I can’t write today, I’m too distracted and nothing worthy could ever come out of it.”

I have been making excuse after excuse for not being able to get down to business: my working hours were too tough, I didn’t have a computer of my own, I didn’t have anyone motivating me. That’s exactly what they were: excuses. A metaphorical note from my mom to excuse me from class today.

I may be well in my thirties (hint: yes, I am looking for responses such as “But you don’t look a day older than 25!”) but there are still many sides of me that are… unfinished.

Do I think I should be all-knowing and wise by now? Of course not. I don’t expect that to happen when I’ll be well in my nineties. But I did expect to have developed a more graceful way to deal with the awkwardness and self-loathing I developed when I hit puberty and that I had since then clumsily mishandled.

It was rather disappointing for me to realize that I hadn’t progressed much from being a “little girl lost” in my mid-twenties. It was even more disappointing to notice how even that metamorphosis hadn’t really changed me much from the dazed and confused teenager I used to be.

Suddenly, it hit me that the name of this blog, which I thought I was using as a punchline developed over 10 years ago I had simply grown fond of, was the most honest and appropriate thing I had produced. I am still waiting to happen. I don’t consider myself a woman in my own right.

I see women, often younger than me, and I admire them. They’re in a world that still hasn’t figured out what to make of them, that still questions them. But despite how insecure this might make them feel, they stand there, determined to feel comfortable in their own skin.

And then I see overgrown children, of any gender, my age or older. They often put up a front but when push comes to shove they just huddle in a corner of self-indulgence and do nothing. They just wait for life to happen to them.

On October 1st 2015 I handed in my resignation letter from the school I had worked for since September 2002.

Sounds dramatic enough? OK, so here is some background.

I had just turned 20 when I started working there, and throughout the years I had let it become the new authority figure that would determine my life’s opportunities and limitations. As a teenager, you blame your parents and your teachers for “ruining your life”. After that, it usually is your workplace.

It’s a comfortable lifestyle. You practically never have to be responsible for yourself because you always have someone else making those hard calls for you. And when the outcome is unpleasant you rant about it for a while and then wait for things to blow over. But you’re stuck in limbo.

I was young when I started working, and I’ll allow that to be my excuse then. Most people my age were in university extending their leave of absence from adulthood, getting acquainted with it in small doses. I thought I was “being real” instead, but in the end I just allowed my emotional growth to be stumped, having replaced the parent to please or rebel against my employer.

I am not unique in this behaviour. As a matter of fact, this accusatory finger could be pointed to every other person in the western world: overgrown babies across the internet, take a pledge to grow up with me! (I’m giggling as I type this, please take it in that spirit.)

So what about that letter of resignation, then?

I’m now doing exactly what I used to do, I teach English as a second language. And I still work with the school I resigned from, naturally. But I’m a freelance now, so everything I do is all up to me. My mistakes. My victories. My responsibility.

It’s scary, and I must admit I’m not entirely sure of the timing. As mentioned in my previous post, I have a wedding ahead of me. That will probably be followed by the messy business of setting up a family, eventually. I’m not sure it was the right choice to make.

But it was my choice and I’m not making any more excuses for myself.

My working hours are the ones I make for myself, so I can easily fit some writing in there.

I have both a working laptop of my own and a working tablet, so I can easily write wherever I am.

I have had people who have been preciously encouraging my efforts and motivating me for years.

I’m very excited about this new year, let’s see what it will bring.

But I’m not waiting anymore. I’m good and done with that.

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The Everything Junkie

Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble cherries gobble gobble ghostie gobble

Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble cherries gobble gobble ghostie gobble

I suppose there are some people who are more inclined than others to get addicted to things. Whenever I latch on to something that I like, I devour it. A bit like Pac-Man, apparently I cannot content myself with just a few white dots. I must have all of them, and then more, and then more. It might be food, or literature, or a good TV show, or a stupid game app, or some pretty crazy behaviour like categorizing everything in alphabetical and chronological order. Yes, I’m looking at you, CD towers and bookcases. It wouldn’t be so bad, you know, but as it usually is with addictions, it means you tend to let go of everything else. Sleep, money, order, brushing your hair…

Last weekend I had to take a break from writing. I didn’t have a block, I kinda knew what the next instalment was going to be about, but I had been losing sight of the other things in my life that are important. First and foremost, there are people in my life, the ones that live outside my head, that deserve to be given at least the same amount of attention the ones I create get. And in some cases, well, even more. Secondly, wanting to be a writer mustn’t mean I can forgo being human and living in a human dwelling that wouldn’t resemble a prehistoric cave. And finally, enough with the egomania, I really cannot float through life expecting people to bend over backwards to help and support me and not be willing to do the same for others. I mean, I usually dismiss the guilt Scott Pilgrim-style, but I’m not a twenty-something any more, and egotism stops being cute when you’re supposed to be building a future with someone. So yeah, I spent last weekend sorting things out.

Which means I haven’t edited any of the things I wrote last week yet, nor have I reviewed this one. Same old same old, it’s late, I’m tired, etcetera. I’ll probably end up mass editing everything during my Christmas break. Ho ho ho!

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Down the rabbit hole

#NotNaNoWriMo begins! And what an unexpectedly prolific beginning it was!

#NotNaNoWriMo begins! And what an unexpectedly prolific beginning it was!

Well, OK.

I’ll admit I wasn’t particularly optimistic about this project. And to be entirely fair, it’s far too early to say that this enterprise won’t sink. I can already see lots and lots of icebergs ahead. But at least I started, right on time.

First day of November, first 500 written words. Actually, more like 800+, a fact you may have no doubt I will soon use as an excuse to write far less in the days that are to come!

My biggest concern was that I haven’t actually written anything in a while (no, years) so didn’t think I had any stories in me at the moment. Sometimes while walking home from work I would try to create plot lines in my head but nothing would come. So today, when I found myself sitting in front of a blank page, I was pretty much ready to give in, white flag et all.

And then the first paragraph just appeared in my head. And right after that a name. OK, the name was lifted, to be completely honest, from Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites, but it was by pure chance! I read that book ages ago, and the name just suited my protagonist perfectly! Then after the name came the rest. I started typing and typing and from without even knowing where it was going I suddenly got to have a precise setting and an ending. Well, the final result is definitely not Discworld material, but rather Philip K. Dick inspired. (In case you were wondering, I did not leave it blank. But telling you which author it is would be a dead giveaway! If you don’t mind spoilers, just highlight that blank space. Otherwise do it after reading my piece and see if you guessed it right.)

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