It’s Paula Poundstone’s fault I’m not writing

If I’m writing about not writing, does it mean I’m not not writing?

I tried to do an exercise from the What If? book today, but my mind just wouldn’t cooperate. It’s a good exercise, I think, but it calls for an early draft of a story, and I just don’t have one. I have some pre-drafts. I can’t seem to get to the draft stage. So I’m taking a vacation. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

My mind is full of other things and I think I just need to let myself focus on what I’m focused on. Like Paula Poundstone. Last July, Sally had a birthday, and at the time I looked for a concert she might like, since I’d just give her books or music and she’s always giving me the books and music that are overflowing on her shelves. I gave her a choice of several things, and she picked Paula Poundstone. Last night was the concert, and it was hysterical. At times I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. At other times I just laughed so hard tears were pouring out and yes, I peed a little a couple of times, but I’d prepared for that so it wasn’t a catastrophe. I can’t even explain what was so funny, except that she has a way of making anything sound funny. One of her shticks is asking audience members what they do for a living. It seems it was a medical audience – three therapists, a former nurse, and a physical therapist before we finally got to a guy who sells furniture – who’s married to a therapist. Since Paula is pretty famous for being maladjusted, she got a lot out of all the shrinks. And the Pop-Tart routine. And fiddlers, which is something Sally loves. So it was really good stuff, stuff we loved, and Sally had a great time even though she had some significant pain.

We had dinner first at Local Sprouts, a Unitarian restaurant. Of course there is no such thing as a Unitarian restaurant, but the chef and one of the partners are Unitarians and they’re all about local and organic and all those Unitarian buzzwords. The meal was good, I had a rice casserole baked in filo dough, and Sally had pollock on top of a slice of squash. We shared so we ended up having half each, and it was a lot of fun. Then the concert. And we even got a good parking space!

So now that I can free that from my mind (I really didn’t think it was going to happen, I figured Sally would cancel for some reason or I’d die or the concert would be cancelled) and all I can think about is cookies. And vetebrod.

So I’m giving in to it, I got my cardamom to make my real vetebrod instead of the stollen thing, and I have to get some booze to make fruitcake cookies and pfefferneuse. I’ve already got the oatmeal chocolate chip cranberry cookies packed up. I overbaked a batch, but they aren’t bad. And tuiles, they look nice and light.

I’ll give myself a pass on writing until I get bored with cooking. Then I’ll go back to it.

Writing Group

I went to another of S’s writing groups today.  I don’t think I want to go to any more. I just feel so out of place. It’s not a writing group as I’ve come to use the term. I can’t write on command like that, even the Flash Factory took me days to come up with something, I write stories, not journal entries, and to blind-write just doesn’t suit me. I write on my computer, not by hand. I don’t like to read out loud unless it’s completely proofread. I can’t even listen well, I’d rather read with my own eyes. It’s just not a good fit for me. I feel very stand-offish by not wanting to go, but just how many negatives do I have to endure in order to be around people who aren’t interested in me anyway? And then there’s the pre-thinking everything, is it ok to talk about this, have I talked too much, will this sound normal, are my stories too rough, is this something someone will find offensive, etc.

I just feel like I’m an “other” when I’m there. I’m not sure if it’s because I am an other, or because I’m crazy. I’m just not interested in doing it any more. And if that means losing touch with Sally, well, that’s going to make me very sad, but I can’t do it.

Catching up

I have been remiss! This is how it goes for me, I have little to say so I stop and then it’s a month later (two weeks, whatever) and I delete the little I’ve done. Maybe I will change this pattern. At least I can start.

I have not been doing well. On the writing front, every sentence I write is wrong. No, I’m supposed to start with an action. No, it’s too internal. No, I have to offer more detail. No, this isn’t interesting. No, no one cares about that. I have been poisoned. Ellen asked for a bio for the three stories that will appear in Frigg, and I am hoping to use that as a springboard to do more. I wrote a little this morning. Otherwise, it’s been bleak. But I have been doing edits on the glasses and drown stories. For all the good that will do me, I’ve been getting those “we love your writing send us more but we don’t want this” rejections. Interesting they have a form letter that says that. I suppose even in my failures I’m nothing special.

I’m in one of my shrinking back phases. I’m going to quit TWoP because I’m sick of getting dinged. Another place to censor myself, no thanks. And even though I read everything there, I find I don’t know who people are, so I’m assuming no one knows who I am. It’s impossible to talk to people because that’s considered board-on-boards. They’re really fascists about this posting purity thing, worse since Bravo took over. Before, the recapper did moderating, and it was nice to have little comments from time to time, but now it’s like there’s this automated bot yelling at me all the time.

So I guess I’ll have to start my own running commentary on the shows I watch! And I will in separate threads.

Sally came over this week to work on her chorus music. After, what, two months. She finally found time to work on it, and now she’s all, wow, I have to learn this, I should put more work into this. So we worked on the piece, and I gave her a few tips on singing. Vowels. Holding notes. Terminal r’s. Pitch. Didn’t even bother with breath support and tone placement, those are things I’m not really all that qualified to get into anyway. she has very good intuitive reading ability, I think she’ll do fine, it isn’t like he’s going to throw her out if she isn’t good enough. He’ll just put her in the back like he put me.

I don’t understand how I ended up like this. How is it possible? The last person who really liked me was a 16-year-old goth depressive on Codman 2. And maybe Bet, who likes everyone. I wonder how Bet is. I doubt Cathy would bother to tell me if she’d died, she’s too busy changing her name and figuring out ways to impress people. I don’t think Bet is cognizant enough to realize I’m not around, and if she asked Cathy to get in touch with me, I doubt she would. I don’t know how to get in touch with her and I don’t really want to deal with Cathy. I suppose I should.  It isn’t Bet’s fault she has assholes for kids. Her grandkids seem to have turned out fairly decent.

I have to face it that I am not a nice person. I keep thinking I am but I’m not.

Writing Group

I went to Sally’s writing group. It isn’t hindering but it isn’t helpful either. I’m just very uncomfortable around these super-charged people. I’m uncomfortable around everyone lately. And writing has been nearly impossible – every sentence I write is wrong.  The aftereffects of The Writing Coach to the Stars. some day I’ll be able to write without thinking, no, that’s too internal, no, too much dialogue, no, not enough action, no, not in the moment of the scene, no, not specific. Steve Almond’s little book is somewhat comforting. But I can’t send it along with submissions and say, “Look, here it is, he says to provide a context, that there is a need for background.” I wonder why I bother. I could sit in the corner and do nothing for the rest of my life and no one would notice.

I think I’m depressed. Thanks, WCTTS.