Twitter

Testing, Testing, 1,2, Oh, ‘Murica

Surely you’ve read about it, or at least heard about Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 yo boy arrested at school in Texas for bringing in a clock.  Just in case being a new high school freshman isn’t terrifying enough.  I’m not sure I can come up with any new or brilliant commentary on this, but I couldn’t bring myself to let it pass without mention.  The school to prison pipeline grows ever shorter, while the concept of American public schools being about anything other than testing and warehousing grows more fantastical.

When we moved into this apartment, I dumped or donated most of the no longer used toys and build-your-own kits that clogged the shelves.  But I looked into the boys’ closet this morning, and found this:

Contraband?

Contraband?

And now you know the truth, Mrs Fringe and Husband are subversive enough to have encouraged our kiddos to use their imaginations, and *gasp* learn outside the classroom.  I would say I’m going to send the pinhole camera kit to Ahmed Mohamed, but since he built his clock using his brain, imagination, and spare parts, I’m guessing he’s advanced well beyond this type of thing.

I’ve seen many comments to the effect of “oh, Texas.”  But it isn’t “just” Texas, this type of lunacy, this profiling, this purposeful stifling of children’s minds is everywhere.  Test scores test scores, who needs learning? Or creativity? Or ingenuity?  We do.  Who needs to question school rules, what’s being taught and valued in our schools? We do.  Who needs to speak up and say racism and fear has overtaken common sense? We do. The teachers in Ahmed Mohamed’s school failed him.  The first teacher he showed his clock to who told him to hide it, and the second teacher who reported him to the principal.  The principal who called the police. The police officers who arrested him, fingerprinted him, questioned him without his parents or attorney present, stated that he was passive aggressive because all he would say was that it was a clock, they failed him. Not just him, but every kid who attends anything other than the “elite” schools where science and creativity are encouraged.  Schools with precious few seats where you either have to test in, win a lottery, live in the right zip code, or pay tens of thousands of dollars per year.

We send our children to school with the assumption and reassurances that the adults in charge will do all they can to keep our children safe.  Safe, first and foremost.  Before academics, before test scores, before athletics. This boy wasn’t kept safe, he was terrorized.  My heart aches for his parents, trying to imagine what his mother must have thought and felt when she first heard.  Anyone else remember being taught that old trick about principal/principle? The principal is a pal. Not to a kid who’s brown. Or poor.  Or smart.  Or questioning.

I’m guessing most of us have been faced with at least one moment in our lives where we made a decision based on fear.  Those moments don’t generally result in rational thought and educated decisions. But yesterday’s incident was based on pure, willful ignorance and prejudice. It isn’t an honest debate about the advantages/disadvantages of high stakes testing,  if it’s worth having our schools look and act like prisons complete with lockdowns, metal detectors, and bars on all the windows, or even whether or not girls should be allowed to wear belly shirts in school.  If you’re thinking Mrs Fringe doesn’t sound impartial and unbiased, you’re absolutely right–because Mrs Fringe is a blog, for my blatherings, not a fact-checked news source.  If only we were teaching our kids to tell the difference.  But I suppose that would also be suspect; mustn’t question what’s on the screen in front of you–unless of course you disagree, and even then, don’t question, just attack, facts be damned.

I read something yesterday, a comment on a Facebook thread that referred to his arrest and suspension as science-shaming.  WTF?  This doesn’t need a pretty and politically correct label, it needs to be called what it is.  Bullshit.

This morning everyone is gleefully celebrating the support shown through the #IStandWithAhmed hashtag on Twitter.  President Obama invited him to the White House, he’s being celebrated and receiving invitations from the techiest of the big tech folks.  That is wonderful for him and his family, and honestly, I hope they win a huge judgement in a lawsuit.  But I can’t quite celebrate, because this shouldn’t have happened, and no matter what opportunities come his way, I imagine being criminalized for making a clock will shape every decision he makes from now on.  Him, and every other young person who saw this news.

We Are Looking For

A clue!

A clue!

Normally, I use this neatogroovycool magnifying glass to examine the minuscule creepy crawlies in the tank.  Today, I’m using it to examine context clues.

I have a Twitter account (@MrsFringe).  I don’t use it much, but I hop on semi-regularly to see what’s trending, and sporadically I’ll spend quite a bit of time for a couple of days having fun with one-liners. Some of those I follow are friends, some are Fringelings, some are people I admire, others are agents/editors who are sharp, or funny, or interesting.  Quite a few publishing professionals will tweet tips–what to do/what not to do, why they’re requesting or rejecting queries, and query trends.

Recently I logged on and happened to catch a tweet at the top of my news feed that’s stayed with me.  While it probably isn’t politic, I’m going to address it.  Since I’m 40,000 years old and not twitter savvy (read: a blabberfingers), I’ll respond here on the blog.  Someone (agent? I think, maybe) tweeted something to the effect of:  Two spaces after a period and I know you’re over 40, don’t do it.

Really?

Well I suppose it’s true, those of us who learned to type on typewriters did learn to put two spaces after a period.  If you learned in typing class and/or did a lot of typing for any reason, it’s kind of ingrained–and if you do think about it, one space often looks “wrong” to us ancients.  Despite my advanced age and inherent slowed mental faculties, I actually understand that things change.  The world changes, advances are made, things that were once acceptable are now either extraneous or completely unacceptable.  Language evolves.

A friend of Nerd Child’s is staying with us for a few days.  He hasn’t been here before, and when he first walked in he said, “This apartment is sick.”  Hard to believe, but I didn’t go running for the Lysol, nor did I tell him to get off my lawn.  I thanked him.  Context clues.

I promise you, Fringelings, I am not what anyone would consider a delicate flower.

I checked. Nope, this is not a self portrait, but I may add it to my salad tonight.

I checked. Nope, this is not a self portrait, but I may add it to my salad tonight.

I also understand publishing professionals are inundated with queries, and there are many reasons to reject manuscripts.  What I don’t understand is why someone would think it’s ok, on a public venue like Twitter, to make this type of blanket, ageist statement.  True, I (and others like me) should probably try to break this wasteful habit of two spaces after each period.  All that white space left to rot by the end of a manuscript, shameful.  Also true, there are practicalities and logistics, reasons someone might not want to take on a debut author who’s 90 years old.  You wouldn’t have to dig too deep through my archives to find I’m quite open about not loving some of the facets of aging–oh, those saggy bits!  But these are query letters for manuscripts, not applications for centerfold models.

I had dinner with my journalist friend the other night.  She is (gasp) older than I am.  Not only still writing, but people still pay to read what she has to say, because she’s good at what she does.  If I checked the list of current best selling novelists, I’m certain a significant percentage would include authors over forty.  If I checked tweets of those I follow on Twitter, I’m certain all would include tweets (from men and women) about being feminists, supporting feminism.  You cannot separate feminism from ageism.  I’d like to see that placard carried at a women’s rights march, “Equal Pay for the Perky Now!”  It doesn’t bother me to be told to break an outdated habit, but the implication that my words hold no value because I’m a woman of a certain age?  That bothers the hell out of me.

I think I’ve posted this video before, but you can just go ahead and blame senility for the repeat.  Or, yanno, trust I felt it was appropriate for this piece.

*And yes, I made sure to add two spaces after each period for this post, ’cause that’s how I roll.

Peace

Between the grand jury’s decision not to indict in the Eric Garner case, Art Child being sick, looking at a half written short story with no new words coming to me, and debating whether or not to participate in #pitmad on Twitter today, I’m having a hard time gathering coherent thoughts.  While I try to do so, I’m staring into the tank, and figured I’d share some photos.  Invertebrates–not the prettiest, but some of the most fascinating creatures that live on reefs.

Blood red fire shrimp

Blood red fire shrimp

Nassarius snail. These guys live in the sand, popping up when they smell food.

Nassarius snail. These guys live in the sand, popping up when they smell food.

Conch buried in the sand, proboscis and eye stalks making sure he isn't missing anything.

Conch buried in the sand, proboscis and eye stalks making sure he isn’t missing anything.

Did someone mention food? Emerald crab.

Did someone mention food? Emerald crab.

Spiny star astraea, working hard to clean the glass.

Spiny star astraea, working hard to clean the glass.

Conch cruising along, eating diatom algae off the sandbed

Conch cruising along, eating diatom algae off the sandbed

Red legged hermit, lived through the cycle

Red legged hermit, lived through the cycle

Emerald again, searching for bubble algae to eat

Emerald again, searching for bubble algae to eat

Conch and another nassarius, working to clean the same patch of sand.

Conch and another nassarius, working to clean the same patch of sand.

Yup, this is about all I’ve got in me today.

#YesAllWomen

This is the hashtag making the rounds on Twitter right now.  Yes, sorry, back to back quasi feminist rants.

The Gilded Cage

The Gilded Cage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The hashtag and tweets are in response to this atrocity. A young man went on a rampage and killed seven people, including himself, in Santa Barbara, California.  First and foremost, my heart goes out to the victims and their families, including the family of this young man–who reportedly saw his rantings/manifesto, tried to get him help, reported him to the police.  I’m not sure how this still happened, and I’m not blogging about this to speculate re who dropped the ball.

No matter how many episodes of Criminal Minds I watch I’m not a psychiatrist, not his therapist, not an expert in human behavior, I can’t say if he was a sociopath or plain old crazy.    What I am is a woman.  And this young man’s harmful delusions centered around himself and women, their rejection of him.  His sense of entitlement to “get” hot (or whatever the current catchphrase is) blonde women, and their lack of interest in having sex with him.  Gee, can’t imagine why, his videos make him seem like such a charmer.  #YesAllWomen have said no at some point. If you’re an asshole, you’re going to hear no a lot.

The problem as I see it, the reason #yesallwomen is the hashtag and not something tied in to gun control, or “affluenza,” is that he was so easily able to find his peeps, other men who feel their dangly bits entitle them to say insulting things to and about women, have sex with whatever women they want.  In addition to his 140+ page manifesto, he left a hell of a cybertrail, rants on misogynistic websites.  No, I’m not going to link them, I’m not going to help give them more hits and traffic so easily.

It’s the same sick fountain of bullshit that allowed the man I wrote about in my last post to not see any jail time, for his ex-wife/victim to be told instead she should forgive him. #YesAllWomen are still individual beings with the right to say no, even if we get married

How many women, whether they’re twenty or fifty, can say they’ve never had the experience of being called a bitch or a tease because they didn’t want someone touching them? Or commenting on their bodies?  Because, yanno, we should all be flattered–it’s a compliment, someone wants you.  Yeah.  #YesAllWomen have experienced that moment of fear and tension, hoping the man making kissy sounds and following them will leave them the fuck alone.

Of course, this isn’t limited to misogyny, this young man’s rants had a heaping dose of racism and self hatred (he was half Asian).  Because it all goes together.  Hatred is hatred.  I do believe, I have to believe, that he was mentally ill.  But I don’t believe everyone who agreed with him, egged him on, everyone who is trolling by making provocative and hateful comments in response to the Twitter hashtag, is mentally ill.

Like every other social issue, I don’t think there is one answer, one solution.  So many things feed into these attitudes, beginning with children, teaching little girls to hate their bodies and at the same time teaching them their bodies, their faces, and how they display them are the most important part of who they are.  What? You would never feed into that! Never teach your little girl to objectify themselves, or teach your little boy to objectify girls/women.  Of course not.  So how come there are padded, push up bras in minuscule sizes in the girls’ department of clothing stores?  I’m a shoe gal, I admit it.  Heels are sexy, they make me feel…I dunno, powerful, in a way.  Women are and should be entitled to dress however they’d like.  Women.  Not girls, women old enough to have learned their bodies are a part of who they are, not the sum total.  Sure I’m uptight, sure I’m not an expert, but what is the reasoning behind these types of things beyond objectifying girls?  #YesAllWomen don’t look like the ones in magazines, and it can be a hard battle to find self acceptance.

Children are still told that when they’re shoved to the asphalt on the playground, it’s just because he/she likes you.  The same pressures put on girls are put on boys.  Stop it. Being a man has nothing to do with your girlfriend–who she is, what she looks like, or if she exists.

Women are still attacking each other for individual choices. What do you mean, you don’t want to have children/be married/have a career/use cloth diapers/breastfeed/formula feed? #YesAllWomen are being told they not only can have it all, they have to do and be it all.

With all my waiting on agent replies, I’ve been doing a lot of obsessing thinking.  One of my thoughts (and I’m sorry, I can’t remember how much I blogged about this and I’m too lazy to read my old posts) is about those romance novels that I wrote.  I’m wondering how much our society’s emphasis on romantic love contributes to these delusions.  I know, the romance heroes (mine or anyone else’s) aren’t misogynistic assholes–or if they appear to be at first, they quickly realize the error of their ways and come around to worship the heroine.  On the writer’s forum I’ve seen several instances of people being told by agents or editors they need to add in or increase the romance in their stories to make it more marketable.

Is this true, readers will be unsatisfied without romance in their thriller/fantasy/coming of age story?  Yes, we, as women, have come far.  As a society, we’ve come far.  Most people will at least pay lip service to lifestyle choices. But.  How often do you hear people asking a single woman when they’re going to get married? How about hearing someone ask your 10/11/12 year old if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet–and if the answer is no, why not?  And I’m not referring to Great Grandma asking these questions. If we believe a story is not complete without strong romantic elements, and we are partaking in a steady diet of these books and movies, how far away are we from saying people are not complete if they don’t have a significant other?  Hmmm, somehow this isn’t sounding as far removed from the days of “old maids”  as it should be. #YesAllWomen need to feel good about who they are, not just who they’re with.

Not all men are aggressive, entitled, driven-by-their-gonads jerks.  I believe, at this point, those men are the minority, especially as we look to the younger generations.  But too many still are.  And too many more are given a pass, because oh, well, that’s just men.  No, it isn’t just men.  It’s us, male and female, what we’re willing to say is ok and close our eyes to, and what we’re willing to stand up and say no to. Enough is enough.

#YesAllWomen because

everyone gets rejected. Deal with it.

rape jokes aren’t funny.

we still hear, “all she needs….”

we still hear, “well, what was she wearing?”

men need to know we value those who treat us as human beings, not objects.

you _____ like a girl shouldn’t be an insult.

love doesn’t conquer all.

 

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Tweet tweet, Bonus Post

Books

Books (Photo credit: henry…)

I could have left today with a relatively humorous and inoffensive blog post, but why stop there?  There’s one thing that’s been on my mind since yesterday.  I don’t have it in me for a full political rant, but I have to mention it.  Because I’m Mrs Fringe, that’s why.  There was a “campaign” on Twitter yesterday: #WeNeedDiverseBooksbecause  Part of me thought this was cool, and I suspect we’ll keep seeing that hashtag for a long time.  More of me thought WTF?  How is it that we need such a campaign, over 50 years after the Freedom Riders rode through the country, President Barak Obama on his second term as president of the United States…and yet we still have to tell the publishing industry we need diverse books that reflect the diverse people buying and reading those books.

The thing is, while tweets are catchy, they don’t really tell a whole story.  Kind of like the various colored ribbons representing awareness for different diseases–ribbons are cute, no one feels threatened by them, they might even match your t-shirt–but they’re a far cry from the messy, painful, and complex reality they represent.

I saw some clever tweets with that hashtag.  Saw some not as clever tweets, but well intentioned, the right idea.  Still felt sad that it was necessary.  I know it is, though.  I live in a diverse building, in a diverse city.  We are a diverse family.  But a few years ago, when Nerd Child was applying for high schools, I read an online comment from a parent who lived somewhere else, bemoaning the fact that the private boarding schools are committed to having diverse classes, stating that this isn’t representative of the “real world.”  Umm, maybe not this parent’s real world, but mine and many, if not most (once you branch beyond US borders) others.

Yes, both my boys went (one is still going) to private boarding schools, schools that put thought into the diversity of each year’s class, in addition to test scores, recommendations, skills/talents and after school activities.  Both on scholarship.  (And don’t kid yourselves, there many more  bright and accomplished disadvantaged kids, of color and not, who are qualified that the admissions committees think they’d like to spend 4 years with, and then have representing their schools as alumni. There’s no golden path) But you know what’s beautiful?  When I see my boys’ friends, and see how these things do make a difference and carry through. Both have friends from different cultures, different races, different countries.  Not just school friends, but friends kept beyond the boundaries of a school day or year.

Still, this trending twitter campaign feels a bit preaching-to-the-choir, no?  I have to think the publishing industry includes some of the most culturally conscious people in our society.  I mean, books! Reading! Classics!  Freedom of Speech and down with censorship!  Maybe the marketing/purchasing end of the publishing industry will pay attention to the twitter feed, maybe not.  Maybe they’ll take it to mean they should add a title or two to the “multicultural” lists.  You know, that small, separate section of the bookstore, stuffed between romance and erotica.

Years ago, when I was looking at kindergartens for Man Child, I went on a tour with two friends, both looking for spots for their own children.  We left the school, and one parent said, “I liked it, very diverse.”  The other said, “You thought so? I didn’t think it was diverse at all.”  Why the different perception?  Because to one parent, diverse = many children of color.  To the other, diverse = many white children. My way of illustrating that it’s all perception. So point of view in the books we read should represent these different perceptions, if we are going to do more than pay lip service to diversity.

 

I saw a tweet from a publishing professional that reminded me why we still need this type of campaign.  Nothing terrible, definitely not racist, sexist, or homophobic. But it was the equivalent of #weneeddiversebooksbecause some kids want to wear boots instead of sneakers.  Umm, huh?   Individuality is absolutely important, I’m a huge supporter who rants often about kids being raised and expected to be sheep instead of critical thinkers.  But this particular campaign is about diversity.  About having characters that all readers can recognize and identify with, not just a default of middle class white girls battling dragons and making the world safe for democracy in Young Adult books, and the stifled white man in suburbia, or cute and earnest young white women figuring out how to get the guy, get that promotion and a good deal on those pumps they just had to have. Diversity of race, culture, religion, gender, socioeconomic class, politics, and sexuality.

I agree, we do need books that recognize and reflect the diversity of our world, our communities.  Real diversity, not just the token black/latino/male/lgbtq and not just “issue” books where that difference is the focus of the book, and not taking books that do reflect diversity and sticking them in the corner, on their own shelf, where only those specifically looking for those books will find them.

John L. LeFlore and Freedom Riders

John L. LeFlore and Freedom Riders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Gray Skies and Social Media Wallflowers

After a teaser of spring yesterday, this morning is pure damp and gloom.

After a teaser of spring yesterday, this morning is pure damp and gloom.

This week I thought quite a bit about social media, the concept of “platforms” and followings, blogging and tweeting.  Mostly tweeting, because so far it’s the thing I’m having the hardest time catching the rhythm of.

I keep saying this, but I just don’t get it.  I hop on dutifully most days, but usually end up feeling like the girl who needs electrolysis and a better girdle at a 1961 dance.  There are the cool kids, the nerdy kids, the popular rah-rah we’re running your student government kids, and the wallflowers.  Then there are the spammers.  Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop it!  I will usually follow links from new followers, check out blogs, etc.  But if you’re tweeting multiple times a day for days, weeks, months on end about how I should buy your book, just stop it.  I will start to remember your name/title of book, but only to make a note not to purchase it.  But they say it’s a good thing to do, have a Twitter account and tweet, so I keep trying.  I favorite, I retweet, I reply, occasionally I send out a tweet.  Somehow it isn’t shocking when no one cares what I ate for dinner.  If I had to guess, I’d say it’s not going to be the thing that gets me/my writing noticed.

Is blogging going to help me?  I have no clue.  As I query, some agents want to know about “web presence,” a more common term than platform when querying fiction.  My stats won’t make anyone drool, but hopefully won’t make them cringe, either.  If anyone looks closely enough, I think it could help that I tend to have long term followers who are engaged (thank you!).  Maybe an agent or two will like the content, think I’m someone they’d be interested in working with.  Or *gasp* become a follower.  Maybe not.  Maybe they’ll click onto the blog and be disgusted by my appalling language.  (If so, they probably wouldn’t be into my fiction, either.) Maybe they’ll think, “Wow, this woman is a fucking fruitcake, I’m steering clear.”

If you hadn’t noticed, I like blogging.  Mrs Fringe isn’t an overnight sensation, but I’ve got Fringelings, and gather more on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.  Many can relate to that feeling of living on the fringe.  As a wannabe writer, I should be keeping a blog about writing.  Yawn.  Pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I find most blogs on writing to be tedious.  Writers, their individual lives and processes?  Interesting.  A good blog with an thoughtful or entertaining voice will compel me to follow links and click the little buy button for a book.  Does this make me a voyeur?

No longer needed

No longer needed (Photo credit: eric.r)

Could be.  Blogging lets me ramble with no pressure.  I look at the blogs that hit it big, and the blogs that barely get any views, and sometimes, not always, but sometimes, it’s hard to see why one way or the other.  My buddy kk blogged about this yesterday.  I enjoy different bloggers and blogs, like making connections through reading and commenting.  I don’t read and comment as frequently as I did when I started.  Honestly, it gets harder to do the more followers I have, and I apologize to those whose blogs I’m not stopping by often enough.  Every view, every like, every comment  is important and valuable to me, thank you.  It’s a process, I’m learning the curve.  So I’m saying to kk and anyone else trying to figure out this blogging thing, relax. Figure out what you most enjoy blogging about, the voice that feels the most comfortable.

It’s Friday again.  Not sure if Fatigue will come for Friday Night Madness, his pup has been sick.  But if he does, we’ll have dinner and our usual routine discussing the trials and tribulations of being a wannabe in New York, trying to make it; one pen/voice/monologue/dance routine trying to hold firm and be noticed among millions.  Funny, because I grew up here, pretty much always lived here, I always knew I wasn’t special by virtue of being a wannabe, having a dream I didn’t want to give up.  Maybe the internet and social media have done the same for everyone everywhere.

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Twitching and Broken

Broken mirror

Broken mirror (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a day.

A friend sent me an email telling me today was a #pitmad day on Twitter.  You know, one of those insane days in cyberspace where you condense the pitch for your story down to 140 characters (including the hashtag pitmad, spaces, and genre) in hopes of catching the eyes of a few participating agents.  Truly, it’s insanity.  Twitter pitching, I call it twitching. Did it once.  No way no how was I doing it again.  Especially not with Astonishing, a story that doesn’t lend itself to a brief tag line.  I admit it, it’s a weird book with an unreliable narrator.  Enticing when distilled like that, right? Except here I am, doing it.  Came up with a fantastically meh pitch.  I’ve tweeted it a few times.  Sort of.

I thought it was going to be good that I had the doctor’s appointment for my back this afternoon. Yanno, so I wouldn’t obsess over the Twitching.  Went to the office, spoke with the doctor, she tapped, she pushed, she pricked, she looked at my MRIs, then she shot little electric currents and needles through my legs and lower spine.  Oh, the many, many ways I can twitch.

“So it hurts on your right side normally, yes?”

“No.”

“But it hurts on the right side now, too, yes?”

“No.”

“But you have blahblahblahdiscspinebulgenarrowheelnerve right side.”

“Nope, just down the left side.”

“Hmmm.” More looking, more needles, more electric currents. “You do have mwamwahmwahmwhahpbbt in the blah blah vertebrae and somethingsomething discs, and more mwhahahahwma sciatic nerve.”

I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure what she said was, “your back is fuuuucked up. Both sides.”

I left there with more prescriptions than I’ve ever been given.  It’s the trifecta of back fuckedupedness, nerve, muscle, and spine.  Those scripts are probably a good thing, because by the time I left my back felt as broken as it did a week ago. “We can also give you a shot right now, into the site, to see if that helps.”

“No thanks.”

One of the prescriptions is not covered by my insurance and way over budget.  I’m saying no thanks to that one, too. I asked about getting back to my yoga routine, in addition to the physical therapy scrip.  Sure, except for every stretch and position that actually works to get me in shape.

Hmm, do I go with broken and twitching but a better head space, or out of shape and upright but miserable?  A tough call. I’m beginning to see the allure of one piece bathing suits and floaty wraps.  And plastic surgery.

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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(Wo)Man Makes Plans

and God laughs.  That’s the expression, right?  I’m making plans anyway.  Well, I’m thinking about making plans, and we’ll see what happens.  There’s only so many days I can walk around sniveling before I can’t stand myself anymore.

Even Little Incredibly Dumb Dog looks bummed, and she truly is too dumb to be depressed.  ;)

Even Little Incredibly Dumb Dog looks bummed, and she truly is too dumb to be depressed. 😉

Several years ago it occurred to me that people need stuff to look forward to.  This is a problem when you’re stuck in the endless grind of life on the Fringe.  I came home from taking Flower Child to school yesterday morning to find that Big Senile Dog had gone out to the terrace while I was gone–my fault, I shouldn’t have left that door open–and torn into a bag of garbage that was left out there.  Yanno, so they wouldn’t make a mess while I was out.  Once upon a time he would have eaten everything in there, pistachio shells, tea leaves, and coffee grounds, while Little Incredibly Dumb Dog took care of the tissues and tea bags.  She did eat all of the paper stuff, but.  By now even he knows he can’t eat that stuff, so instead, all that crud was ground into and under the rubber flooring stuff I have down to protect the concrete.  Fantastic.

No shame.

No shame.

There I was, thinking about nothing to look forward to and how many years it’s been since I really had a day off.  If you’re curious, it’s almost 19 years.  Man Child will be 21 in a couple of weeks.  Husband and I went to Aruba for a long weekend when MC was 2.  21 years since I had a day off *to myself.*  And then I was thinking about submissions, querying, and Astonishing.  The unpredictable nature of this business I’m trying to get myself into.  Well, what can I realistically do about all of this?  What is/can be within my control?  Two plans conceived.

First, today is a #MSWL day on twitter.  That’s when certain agents and editors post their “manuscript wish lists” under the hashtag MSWL, tweeting what they’d like to see come across their desks.  I’m watching, in hopes of seeing magical realism, literary fiction, dark lit fic…anything that would reasonably seem like a potential match for Astonishing, and then I will query those agents.  I hope.  A lot of the agents expected to participate seem to be more focused on Young Adult, Middle Grade, New Adult, but I’m watching.  The best part of this is no twitter pitching.  I suck at Twitter.  Seriously, I can’t quite get the hang of it.  I’d blame my age, but that’s a blatant lie.  Plenty of people my age and older who are twitter-savvy.

Second, I decided I’m going to go away for a couple of days when Big Senile Dog dies.  By myself.  No, his death isn’t imminent, but he is elderly and going.  Could be a month, six months, two years, but it gives me something to look forward to and a chance to save my pennies.  No, I can’t do this before he dies.  The logistics of getting him and Little Incredibly Dumb Dog walked and taken care of, Flower Child taken care of, too much/too expensive.  I mentioned this to Husband last night, I think he was horrified by my cold and calculated look at the future.  The big non-secret is that he adores this dog he didn’t want more than any of us.  Not enough to walk him, but adores him nonetheless.

For today, I’m going to watch the Twitter feed and create a playlist for my little eventual trip.  That’s the plan, anyway.

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Where Are My Damned Marbles?

Marbles....

Marbles…. (Photo credit: kevinjay.)

I seem to have misplaced a few of mine.  Ok, most of them.  Have any to spare?

Here I sit, twitching.  Is it because I’m pitching my manuscript on Twitter today, or the unreasonable quantity of espresso I’ve already consumed?

And just what am I doing on Twitter, anyway?  I should be wearing purple and making dates with ladies who lunch.  Shouldn’t I?  I tendered my resignation to Hope a while back, so what is all this? I keep saying I give up, I accept my small life, my downward mobility.  And yet, I keep writing.  And trying.  Not just querying, but things like this twitter pitch event.

Several months ago I saw a new lit mag being formed, looking for submissions for their debut issue.  Reputable names involved, and the theme for the issue seemed perfect for a story I had in the files.  Dusted it off, polished it up, submitted.  Said lit mag seems to have disappeared into a black hole of cyberspace.

When we moved into our current apartment, I did so with the understanding I’ll be here until I have the big one, join ‘Lizabeth, and Husband slides my stiff cold body down the compactor chute.  Funerals are so expensive, they’ve got to be bourgeois by now. I’d best stop gaining weight, it’s a narrow opening. So how come I keep watching HGTV, and studying real estate websites?

moon rises over the crumbling sand castle

moon rises over the crumbling sand castle (Photo credit: sandcastlematt)

A long long time ago, in a land of hope and extreme gas shortages, there was a movie titled The End, starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise.  It was a black comedy about a man (BR) trying to kill himself, who keeps screwing up, aided by a delusional mental patient (DD).  Yeah, so I feel like the Reynolds character.  If I had a cavity I’d probably be sucking down an ice cold milkshake.  I’m supposed to have stopped this nonsense by now.

I’m a mother of three.  Special needs/Medical Needs, plain old Growing Up Needs, they are my priority.  That’s supposed to be enough, knowing I’ve done/am doing my best to raise three well adjusted, responsible people.

 

Husband is off today.  Flower Child keeps hoping to see me packing the beach bag every time I get up.  “Is Daddy off?  Why is he dressed?  Why aren’t you dressed?  Are we going to the beach?  Why is it clouds today?  Why does it matter how many times you Twitter?  Do you have an agent yet?  Are we going to the beach?”  But I’m glued to Twitter for the day.

I’m well aware of priorities, well aware of *what’s really important.*  Health and well being of children, important.  Mom’s dreams?  Much further down the list.  I should be crossing them off.  Should have crossed them off long ago.  I thought I did.  I think it must be some kind of gag ink, those irritating fantasies of me-as-a-person keep reappearing.

My Year in Lists

My Year in Lists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)