Elizabeth Gilbert says that memoir is actually far less intimate than fiction writing. Isn’t that interesting? Writers actually reveal more of themselves when they write fiction than they do when writing memoir. Because you get to write about the things that happened to you, I’m going to. But I’m not stupid. Naive yes, but stupid no. I know the legal parameters and consequences involved when doing that. And that is where my love of fairy tales comes into play.
Fairy tales have so much: good and evil, magic, mystery, adventure, romance. So I was re-reading the (horribly shitty) draft of the dark fairy tale I posted here a few months ago, and it does seem to have the basics of the story I want to weave. I haven’t had a lot of time to really focus on it lately. But I have some more quiet time coming up and I can give it more attention. I’m going to print it off, edit, make some plot and character notes, and off and away I’ll go.
Meanwhile, there’s the pool, and a possible trip to a cabin on a lake with my family, and about ten books in my To Read queue I want to get to. A busy, good summer ahead, with a couple of projects to keep me busy (always a good idea). My daughter and I are adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet and are going to take some hikes on local nature trails, do lots of swimming, and try yoga and belly dancing together this summer. What’s cool about having a 9 year old, I’m finding, is she can do STUFF now. I can share some of my favorite bad 90s rom-coms I love with her: Hope Floats, Music and Lyrics (okay fine that’s 2007, but BARELY out of the 90s), Notting Hill, My Best Friend’s Wedding, While You Were Sleeping, Muriel’s Wedding, Never Been Kissed…she’s already addicted to Clueless. And other movies that I just love with all of me: Forrest Gump, The Color Purple, Legends of the Fall, Practical Magic, Titanic, Groundhog Day, Edward Scissorhands, Braveheart, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Dances With Wolves…I mean, clearly we’ve got Movie Nights at Home covered.
I took her to see Solo the other night. Meh. And she slept through half of it. I think the Star Wars stories with female leads are simply better now. More Leia, less Luke. Why are movie dates so expensive?! $28 for two tickets, $25 for one popcorn/drink. Crazy. Movie night at home is so much better, plus less people to wade through and process. The theater we saw Solo at had reclining seats. The man sitting next to me took his shoes off and brought a blanket with him…I mean what?? Also, he used the arm rest between us. I vowed if he tried to use my shoulder as a pillow, I would poke one of his eyes out with an elbow. I am really really beginning to avoid strangers more and more. Other people exist in the world, and it is not all about YOU, strangers in movie theaters.
On the other hand, I can’t wait to take her to some concerts. And outdoor Shakespeare in a park! Or Shakespeare in general. And some plays. And some concerts she likes. I thoroughly enjoy my daughter’s company at these things. And I like talking to her afterwards, to see her perspective on what she experienced.
I feel like this is an incredibly bland, boring blog entry. It’s entirely possible it’s bland and boring because so am I these days. I am over drama and people who thrive on it. My last complete rage was Saturday, when that calmed down I vowed to never allow another human being to disrupt my inner peace like that ever again; I have spent the last 3 years being scared, crying my eyes out over a selfish person, and being made to feel used rather than wanted. I have said my piece, and I am focused on doing what is best for me now. And what do I want right now? I want quiet. I want peace. I want to work through my darkness and bring forth the light again. The best (and only way) I know how to do that is to write. And I write openly and publicly because I just do. This is how I’ve always done it, and I’m not going to stop because someone else gets their panties in a wad about it. I was advised, in the past, over and over: nobody owes anyone else a thing. And so I’m putting that advice to good use now and focusing on writing in a way that makes ME happy.
When I was writing blogs in 2014, I was completely able to do this…I never thought: is XX reading this?? Or: if I say this, could XX feel this? Or: who cares about this?? I just wrote. Because I felt like it. In my head, I created an imaginary person, someone I’d like to hang out with very much, and I wrote to that person. That was my audience: an imaginary person that didn’t actually exist, but if they did we’d be BFFs and they’d read everything I wrote and high five me. I’m having a hard time finding that person again. And the girl who wrote that 2014 blog.
My boyfriend says I sound just the same as I did back then. So maybe it’s that I no longer FEEL the same. I have been skittish since late 2015. Now my skittish is skittish. I like people (who don’t take off their shoes and bring blankets to movie theaters), but I understand the darkness of people now, and how their darkness can bring out your own. And what that does to a person. I know what it has done to me. I don’t feel like myself anymore. It makes it hard to find (an imaginary) muse, and to feel free as I write. Which, again, is why this may be my most boring, bland blog.
Oh wait! I thought of something to write about that’s not bland…can I say one more thing before I sign off (I’m not actually asking, that was rhetorical)?
Being a woman is scary. I once was followed for about 4 blocks in Midtown Atlanta by a man who “just wanted to talk to me.” There was no one else around and I made it very clear I did not want to talk to HIM. Yet he continued, and kept following me, until I reached the main road where a female police officer was standing on the sidewalk…I practically ran to up to her to ask directions to the theatre. And the man disappeared.
Online, I have learned there are men in the world who deeply hate women, and some of them hide this very well. Others just do it anonymously, the coward’s way out: the other day on the Internet, I had a scary man with a scary @ name retweet and reply and quote tweet some of what I said…none of what he was attacking me about had absolutely anything to do with him; it didn’t involve him at all. My real face and name is attached to whatever I say there, so I think it takes a special kind of coward to verbally attack someone from an anonymous account. The person I was interacting with was male…and he wasn’t attacked. So you can imagine what narratives my brain can run with on that. Whatever the case, male misogynists are on both sides of the political aisle, and they are all horrible people. I find gamers to be particularly plagued with this problem, and women are regularly attacked online for expressing emotion, opinion, or telling our stories. There’s a reason the #MeToo movement is so huge; women have been dealing with crap like this for eons. Don’t even get me started on what black women have had to put up with, still do.
I’ve read very well-written, thoughtful pieces by men about the hardships women face online…and then these very men are often discovered to be guilty of that which they have protested and judged. Men are interesting like that…is it their ability to compartmentalize so thoroughly, they can’t see the log in their own eye? I don’t know. I love several. I have a good handful of men in my life who are very, very good men, so this is not a diatribe against all men. I’m just stating what I have experienced at the hands (fingers?) of men on the Internet (100% on Twitter, by the way) and have observed happening to other women.
So I fight back verbally now. If I catch bad behavior by a man, I’ll call it out. I am ONLY interested in interacting with and hearing from decent men, who deeply and truly respect women. Men who quote Bible verses then retweet a porn video? Bye, Felipe, you’re one sick puppy. Men who write about protecting women online then go on the attack against one? See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya. My boyfriend hates blocking people; I don’t have a problem with it. Blocking and wall building are my two special magical talents, and I like to use them freely on that particular social media website. It is very very bad there. Very bad. I’ve said (20,000 times, I’m told) I hate that place and am leaving. I’ve even been encouraged to delete my account by certain icky men there. The fastest way to get me NOT to do something is to tell me to do it, though. But mostly I don’t because I was fine there for a very long time. I let one dweeb in, then another, then a true sociopath, Donald Trump gets elected, and BAM. Now I’m doing regular battle with bored psychos who hate women. Crazy. But I’m tough. I’M not quitting.
I know I could easily get rid of them by just quoting happy happy peace peace friendly cute puppy gifs and memes. Be completely boring. But I want to write again, and I’ve Google researched it: writers HAVE to have a Twitter. And, like Mara Wilson observed in her excellently written article about this particular website, I genuinely like SOME people there. It has brought me some very good people–two women friends and a lovely gentle soul in Los Angeles who writes poetry and has been quietly supportive for a steady three years of utter nonsense from me. I met a man I love deeply there. These aren’t just patient people, they are people who don’t seem to have rules or unspoken expectations for conformity from me to the friendship. And those are the best kinds. I find.
Where was I? I think I’m completely off tracked now…writing, dark fairy tale, 90s movies, weird theater people, misogynists on social media. I have no idea how to wrap this up. I think I just felt like typing thoughts out. And thus goes my brain.
Wait! Here. Here is a summary of my Memorial Day, 2018. I had delicious shrimp teriyaki and mango boba tea, bought sunflowers to foil the rainy day, there were sweet memories, and tie dye shoes were made (plus one shirt destroyed), and one crazy picture of the love of my life was taken – quirky gifts I am occasionally left to find when I open my phone.
I’m gonna be okay. I just need to be tough and THWACK! at the hyenas out there, and get to a point where I just completely and utterly and totally ignore their whining and yapping. But mostly: write. Writing always makes me feel better, even if what I write makes no sense to anyone else (secret: I’m not writing for anybody here but me) (…and an imaginary muse, if I can think one up).