Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting to that Age

Within one week, two complete strangers asked me about my marital/motherly status. Please don't let this become a regular thing...

When I was at work, a coworker called to ask me for synonyms. Upon hanging up, this lady asked me with a big, vapid grin if I was helping my SON OR DAUGHTER with English homework.
Excuse me?.......................................... May I leap across the counter and throttle you now please?

And at a party, a friend of the host asked me when I was intending on getting married.
Uhhhh.......what?
And then he lectured me on how, at 26, I'm getting to that age of marriage and that it would probably make my mother happy and that I should really consider getting settled [tied] down and that the host has a really good heart.
No, no, no and this was only the third time we had ever hung out! Apparently the third date-ish thing is when you propose now.
Sir, could you please shut your big, dumb mouth while I shove this broken bottle up your ass?

Wrinkles, weight shifts, gray hair and other parts of aging don't bother me - it doesn't make sense to me when people worry over them. But apparently 26 is that age when complete strangers start lecturing you on marriage and children. GAAAAHHH I hoped that I would never reach this age! Up until now, there was always the dumbly-knowing nod "oh you'll feel different when you're older."
YES, I do! I feel FUCKING PISSED OFF!!! Apparently by settling down and having kids, whether I want to or not, and listening to normal people, I'm getting to that age when my mind shuts down.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaNoWriMo Masochism

You probably aren't aware of this, but I've written a handful of short stories. The first few were horrible harlequin romances and my apologies to those who read them. The most recent are more literary and symbolic; nobody's read them. When I write short stories, it's more to get something out of my system - to articulate a concept and/or story that comes across vest in words.

This evening, I wrote a very short story. Putting words to a strong emotion can diffuse it; not only did writing this out act as a catalyst, but it also gave me a horrible idea.
NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, is a thing in which participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel each November. It's highly masochistic. The official goal of NaNoWriMo participants is to complete 50,000 within November, but common personal goals include finishing a novel and writing as much as one can in a month. I've never done this before but it's intrigued me, especially since so many people tell me I should write (more than this blog and secret short stories).
So I'm writing the events that lead up to the short story I wrote today...it's EXTREMELY semi-autobiographical. I keep telling myself "The Bell Jar was semi-autobiographical, so this still counts as fiction..."
Here is the original short story (and yes, I'm cringing as I post this):



I'm concentrating carefully on not spilling my tea, the rest of the room evades my vision. Upon setting my cup down and collapsing into the couch, I look up.
There's a baby.
A baby in his lap.
How on earth did that get there?

In my rambling adventures, a baby appeared. And it is in the lap that I left. Smiling, my old comrade says “this is Emma.”

With angry, wrangling trumpet blasts, earth and stone shoot up through the floorboards. Dust and slivers shatter through the air. The ground rumbles and the walls shudder. Water blasts from wrecked plumbing. Everything is coming apart in the shocked quake.

A small bird trembles in its tarnished cage. What was once a comfortable home is now a steaming bell jar and the little creature must get out at any cost. It flutters against the tight bars, losing feathers and eyes flashing. There must be a way out! The bird throws itself desperately to get away.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Women Protagonists

I prefer women protagonists in novels. However androgynous I identify, the way I'm usually perceived in the world, is as a woman. Protagonists who are treated as women in their worlds are more appealing, interesting, validating and relate-able to me.
Not all women protagonists in general. Although they are among my favorite authors, Lois L'Amour, Isaac Asimov and John Green (he may be removed from this list come January!) have rather one-dimensional, sometimes sloppy women characters. Asimov's Susan Calvin, to use the most famous example, is a feminist's heroine for being a strong-willed, intelligent woman of science; he managed to touch a few chords with her, but it isn't her cold demeanor that makes her so distant from the reader.
Clearly, making a general character, however strong, female isn't enough. However powerful or weak, pleasant or hostile, the way a woman character moves in her world can make the novel invaluable.

- "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb
- anything ever written by Toni Morrison
- "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston
- "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak
- "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker
- anything ever written by Virginia Woolf
- "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath
- "Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong
- "A Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
- "Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean Auel
- "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera
- "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
- "Valley of the Dolls" by Jacqueline Susann