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What are the things in life that you're truly passionate about? Submitted by Jess.


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On Vox: Naaah.


View typewriter’s Blog

Naaah. Don't just do something! Stand there.I get a little worked up sometimes. But no matter how unemployable I may be, I'm not going to change course just yet. I'm going to stick with my writing plans. The editor for...


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thankful five

1. What are you most thankful for?

I am thankful for my little family, our collective mostly good health, and the freedom from want that we enjoy. Thankful my Mom is still my Mom. Thankful I don’t live in a war zone. Thankful for beautiful days like today and the ones in between, too. Thankful for clean water. Thankful for butter, chocolate, and indoor plumbing.

2. Think back one year, have the things you are thankful for changed?

My situation has changed, but the things I am thankful for are the same. Last night, looking at pictures taken about a year ago (I am trying to put together a photo album for my niece), I was stricken by melancholy. I see the pictures and I know what I was feeling then and I hurt for my old self. By next year, when I look back I hope to see something very different. Hope and the beginning of a new life, not a dead end.

3. What did you feast on yesterday?

Roast turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade stuffing with sausage, cranberry sauce, succotash, green beans, biscuits with butter and raspberry creamed honey, pumpkin pie. High traditional all the way. My daughter, Criminy, age 11, baked five pies on her own. She even made the crust for two of them.

4. This time of year is filled with parties, gifts, friends, and family, what are you looking forward to the most?

Getting my writing assignment done by Monday. Sorry, the holidays aren’t really my thing. (Too much to fret over.) But if and when I get my assignment in, I’ll have money for a tree and presents.

5. (insert December holiday here) is coming up, what if anything do you want for it?

What I want won’t fit under a Christmas tree. Viz., security, peace of mind, a new place to live. But if a wonderful man comes down my chimney, I’m keeping him.

*BONUS: How do you like to cook your turkey?

I’m sold on the high-heat method.

spelunkhead

I taught my classes today for the last time. My boss-friend (who, incidentally, has been calling every day to complain about us contract teachers not getting paid yet) asked me not to say anything to my students, so I didn't. And of course the kids seemed awfully sweet and I felt guilty because I'd griped about them here last night. But all day long I could feel a low humming happiness deep down, like a quiet stream running through the bottom of a dark cave.

(Jesus, I must be giddy. I'm talking about caves.)

After I got home I changed into the softest clothes I could find. I'm not terribly formal when I'm working but what I love most of all is to wear clothes that do not have any corners. Then I felt my psyche easing up on me. It is the most glorious feeling to not feel obligated to anyone. So good it almost makes up for not being paid.

And tomorrow, if it please the gods, a writing assignment in my e-mail. Fingers crossed. Toes likewise.

quitter

Today, I did something difficult. I quit my job. That might seem stupid, when you consider my abject circumstances, but I felt I had no choice. Why? Because the fuckers haven't paid me. I was supposed to have been paid on the first of the month, and it's now the 18th, and worst of all, they're dissembling about it.

I feel emboldened because I've been corresponding with an editor and I expect to receive an assignment from him on Friday. What's shocking is that I managed to quit the teaching gig before I actually had the assignment in hand. Usually I'm too superstitious to do things like that. Now if I don't get the assignment for some reason I'll feel stupid. But honestly, I don't care. If it does slip through my fingers, which seems unlikely, I'll just have to find something else. But I can't work for people who won't honor their contracts. If I were in a better position financially, sure, I might not mind so much, but the resentment and fear have been building inside me, day after day, until I'm walking around like a giant human pimple.

Besides, I don't even like the kids that much. Isn't that terrible? I mean, they're okay, whatever. They're kids; I don't hate them. It's just that most of them are fundamentalist Christians, which I find exhausting. I feel as if I'm always walking on eggshells with them, or if I'm not, I should be. Last week one of the girls pointed out that a poem I had handed out contained the word "damn." She pursed her lips at me. What was I supposed to do, apologize? Self-flagellate? Put on a hairshirt? I didn't know. I still don't know. I don't want to know! I just don't think I belong in a classroom. At least, not a secondary school classroom. If I ever teach again, I'll teach college. But right now I would be fine with not teaching ever again.

Vox

I've been cheating on you, making yet another journal over at Vox. The site is done by SixApart (the same people who did Movable Type and own LJ) but it's got some new features that I'm grooving on hard. If you want an invite, just tell me where to send it.

primp and prompt

Felt like writing, but wasn't sure what to write, so I did a couple of the Friday Fives. Forgive me.


1. If you could have a super power, which one would you have?

Omnipotence.

2. What would be your supername?

I thought you couldn't pick your own superhero name. Or is that just something I heard in The Incredibles?

3. Who would be your arch-nemesis and what would be their superpower?

My arch-nemesis would be an all-powerful demon taking many forms, mostly female but sometimes male, including that of Ann Coulter, except her supervillain name would be Dorcas (the least attractive woman's name I can think of at the moment). Her villainous powers would be untrammeled ignorance and negativity, the ability to cultivate hatred in large groups, and wanton, pointless destruction.

4. Who would be your sidekick and would they have a superpower?

My kids would be my sidekicks, and each of them would inherit one-sixth of my powers. That way, even if the three of them ganged up on me, I'd still have more power than all of them combined. (Hey, even an omnipotent superhero has got to be careful when it comes to her kids. Remember that stunt Isis pulled on Ra?)

5. What would be your motto?

"It must have been my fault." Because if I'm omnipotent, and something goes wrong, well...

1. Given a choice, and imagining that money and time were no object, would you rather cook dinner, eat out or order in?

Tonight, I'd order in. Some other night, in the summer perhaps, I'd go out. But I'd rarely choose to cook if I could pay someone else to do it for me.

2. What is the most elaborate meal you've ever prepared yourself or purchased at a restaurant?

I don't know. When I was in my early twenties my boyfriend and I threw a dinner party for 20-odd people and we made all the food for that. I was always doing things like that when I was younger, but I don't think I would attempt it now. Not without a lot of help. I find it terribly hard to get an array of different dishes to the table hot. Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners--I like them, but they're stressful.

3. What food do you find yourself making and/or eating way too much?

Lately buttered toast with peanut butter and jelly, because that's my favorite comfort food from childhood.

4. What was your most disastrous cooking/eating out experience?

I'm not sure, but I do remember one time at Denny's, at about two o'clock in the morning, my pancakes had large shards of broken glass baked into them. When I complained to the manager, he said he would "check" with the cook, implying that I was trying to perpetrate some sort of hoax. How he thought I could've managed to smuggle in shards of glass with baked-on pancake parts and kept it all warm, I cannot guess. But he came back from the kitchen and said, "Yes, you're right." Meaning the cook had smashed something, and gotten it in my pancake batter, and still there was a residual arrogance about this little shit manager. He was never sufficiently apologetic.

What seems strange to me in retrospect is that I was eating pancakes at all. I don't really like pancakes very much and I hardly ever eat them. I must have ordered them on a whim.

I don't entirely trust my memory on this point--I may be remembering as one night things that happened on two separate occasions--but if I'm not mistaken, that very same night, after the pancake incident, someone tried to rob the restaurant, and was chased out by all the men who worked there. They caught him and started beating the crap out of him on the sidewalk. That's when we left. You can be sure that I have not been there since.

5. Would you rather cook for someone else or have them cook for you?

That would depend on which of us is the better cook.

news today oh boy

I aspire to be a serious person. I'm troubled by the revelation that North Korea tested its nukes. I'm disturbed by the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. I spent a couple of hours last night thinking (again) about the Amish and how I would like to have a better understanding of their policy of forgiveness. (I realize a religious tenet isn't a "policy" per se but I can't think of a properer word, sorry. You'll live.)

But in an alternate universe, on KOL, I just killed the Bonerdagon after, like, twentysomething painstaking tries and I am TOTALLY stoked. I almost hate to tell Jinx; he'll be so mad. He gets frustrated when I get through the quests before he does. Never mind that I'm more than five times older than he is. I'm his Mom, and I don't play console games, so he thinks I ought to be entirely inept, gamewise. Little schmuck.

wait for it

Today in my therapy session, Dr. Staplegrain said, "You have a great voice! Just your stream-of-consciousness stuff--that whole thing you just said, just now--you ought to be writing it all down! You ought to keep a diary!"

If I were paying more than the $15 co-pay required by insurance, I might have been irritated. After all, I've already told him I do keep an online journal. (Three, actually, including this one.) I've had one going more or less continuously since late 1999, and everything it has ever done for me professionally can be summed up in one word: Nothing.

He meant I should write my thoughts down in a paper journal, I suppose, and then try to make it hang together as a book. And I do think about ways to do that, of course. Outside of practical things, there is nothing I want more than to publish again. But it feels like one in every three people is already doing that. I don't want to be just another "blogger." I was being paid to write long before there was such a thing, such a word. Such a word! It's such an ugly word. Blog.

Me, I lack confidence. I lack an agent. I had a mentor figure once, but he died. My health is shit; I'm tired all the time. My dog ate my homework.

These excuses won't hold me back forever. I really don't think it will be too much longer now. Everything is coming together (dare I say it?) for the best. I will publish again and it will be terrifying and I will regret having done it. Then again, again, again, until my tattered nerves settle down and I will be myself, one day, at last.

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typewriter
L. A. Jones

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