Something Just Like This

Have I mentioned how much I love Coldplay? I love Coldplay.

Chris Martin may sing about not seeing himself on a list of mythological supermen, but as far as I’m concerned, he has a definite Midas thing going on artistically speaking.

Plus, this video is bright and colorful and there is confetti involved.

Goal Setting for the Planning Impaired.

Okay, I’m back. We’ve been having computer issues, and the ongoing attempt to fix them has included lots and lots of huge update downloads and turning the reins over to distant techies. Oof. Here’s hoping the problems get solved soon.

At any rate, I have the chance to blog now, so I’m taking it! Carpe diem, people.

I’ve been discussing goal setting with my resident poet lately. As in, really lately. As in, today. I’m horrible at goal setting. It always seems completely arbitrary to me. Like, “I wanna get published before I turn thirty.” What the actual heck. There is no possible way of guaranteeing that. Unless you self publish, but oh lawrdy that idea does not appeal to me. If you’re cool with it, then more power to ya. Not for this girl.

Anyways, that was a rabbit track.

Goal setting. Now, it may come easily to you, and if so, congratulations, this post is clearly not something you need to read, because I’m going back to the super basics. The ABCs, in fact. That’s because I am a complete infant in the ways of reasonable goal setting. In fact, this is literally me:

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Okay, so that’s not literally me. But it’s literally me. You know what I’m saying. Moving on.

The resident poet gave me the three things that a good goal has to be:

  • It must be measurable. Because otherwise it’s not even a goal. Duh. Even I understand that.
  • It must not depend on anyone but you. So “I wanna get published” isn’t a good goal, because somebody else has to decide to publish you. Decide that you’re going to submit to three journals per month, instead. Or whatever.
  • It must go beyond what you have already achieved. Awwwww, so you mean I can’t just set a goal to do something I already know is possible? Shucks.

Because in the end, goals are about progress. You have to stretch yourself in order to make progress; you must be able to measure your progress, or else how do you know when to celebrate or ramp up the pressure; and your progress can’t be dependent on other people.

So yeah. Super basic, and probably really rambling and clear as mud. But this is a blog about my process of becoming a writer, and sometimes it’s not tidy. It’s not tidy in my own mind yet, but I wanted to get it down somewhere to help lock it all in my mind.

Welp, that’s what I’ve got for you today.

TTFN.

 

Spaghetti Bolognese and Other Things which Require Stewing.

So if you’ve taken a gander at my Twitter feed recently, you will have noticed that I’m a klutz. I grabbed the handle of a pan that had just been taken out of a 350 degree oven. Hey, that pan usually just sits on top of the stove, okay? The handle isn’t usually hot.

Besides, I was writing. Maybe that should be the theme of today’s post… never try to write while simultaneously making dinner.

But I digress…

Anyways, what I set out to write about was how weirdly parallel cooking fancy noodles and writing stories can be. So here goes.

I don’t know if anybody else out there has noticed, but a certain slice of the internet has been losing its composure over Spaghetti Bolognese… Whether or not celery should be added, how much butter equals a “generous knob,” and WHY ON EARTH WOULD IT EVER BE EATEN WITHOUT SPAGHETTI???

At any rate, I had gotten a package of ground beef out of the freezer early in the day, with absolutely no plans, because that chef thing is not my thing. Usually I’m the brown-the-beef-and-dump-some-tomato-sauce-over-it-and-call-it-good type. But gosh, that just sounded so boring. And here was the internet being all hilarious and everything, so I figured, meh, why not throw my hat into the ring?

I interpreted the recipe as best I could, and let me tell you… Best Bolognese Ever. Possibly I’m biased, because it’s the only proper Bolognese I’ve ever tried. That’s beside the point, however. The thing that really made the difference was shoving it into the oven and letting it sit for a while. If any of you cook, you’ll know what a difference that makes, but it was kind of revelatory for me. Basically, everything mixes together and comes out tasting marvelous.

Okay, this isn’t actually turning into a food blog, I promise. I’m getting to the point now, which is that writing can be the same way. We’d all like to be those people who can sit down at a desk (or curl up in a cozy chair, or get in bed, or stretch out on the floor…) and pluck stories out of thin air. Maybe some of us are like that. Lucky dogs. I’m sure not. Yesterday, I was supposed to plan out the first draft of a short story for my writing class. I sat down at the computer like a good little writer, and… absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Typical.

So I spent some time on social media, because any writer will tell you that’s what most of their time is spent doing, and therefore it must be a good inspiration boost, right? Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Finally, I went to YouTube and watched makeup tutorials, because at this point why the heck shouldn’t I? It’s not like I was getting anything done. Yes, I was having an attitude. Yes, watching makeup tutorials is what I do when I’m having an attitude.

So, long story short, at about 12:30 AM, when, okay, I should not have still been awake, my brain came knocking on my forehead like, “Hey, here’s a couple of ideas! Would not a pair of these have bred? Yes, being kept together and put to use.”*

About an hour later, I had my storyline. Along with a random snip of conversation for some other day, and several ideas for blog posts. Including this dandy of a thought:

Writing is like Bolognese: sometimes it just needs to stew for a bit.

 


*Geez Louise, I thought I was going to make it through a whole blog post without any Shakespeare references. I’m incorrigible. It’s from Twelfth Night, in case you were wondering. And they’re talking about coins.

Happy Singles Awareness Day.

Hug one of those cute little solo flyers today. Or better yet, buy them flowers. Or chocolate.

Send some to me.

Anyways, I know it’s clichéd by now, but look… there’s a reason Sonnet 116 is so famous. Read it. Out loud.

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Or if the weird Elizabethan spelling is too funky for you,

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 

Admit impediments. Love is not love 

Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove. 
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
It is the star to every wand’ring bark, 
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. 
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle’s compass come; 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 
If this be error and upon me prov’d, 
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
I mean, it’s like listening to a stream. Gorgeous.

Barding Out… Again.

I almost titled this post “Ham & Eggs” because my punny brain went full renegade on me and said something like, “Heh heh heh… HAMlet and eggs BENEDICT oh my gosh you are the funniest person ever and you deserve some kind of award for this glory.”

No. You are not in charge here, pun-brain.

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Moving on now.

I live in an unfortunately uncultured pocket of the world where no nearby theaters partner with National Theatre Live. This is probably a good thing, because otherwise I would be spending all my money on tickets. That being said, however, there are a few productions that I’m fairly bitter about missing, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet is one of them.

Thank goodness for this:

I just love long, nerdy, discussion-type interviews.

 

 

Also, “Barding Out” is officially a thing now. I’m going to make a tag for that.

Constructive People Watching.

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I am a people watcher. I’m guessing many writers are. People (in the abstract) are endlessly fascinating to me. Their mannerisms, what they are eating, reading, saying… are they listening to music? Are they animated in their conversation? Are they watching ME?

Every time I see people (which, let’s face it, isn’t very often. My house is surrounded by very tall trees), I end up with a mind filled with faces. But I’m not always very good at harnessing those impressions and making them work for me. So I’ve decided to try something new. If I’m people watching, I need to ask myself two questions: “Why?” and “What if…?”

For instance, hey, there’s a girl wearing red lipstick. Why? Is she meeting someone? What if she’s wearing it specifically so that she will look pretty, but also to discourage any kissing? (I know if I were a guy, I’d think twice about kissing red lips…)

 

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Remember this moment from To Catch a Thief? Where she shuts the door in his face (Ice cold, like a total boss) and he turns around with her lipstick all over his mouth? Yeah, that’s what I always think of. I was trying to find a gif of that moment, because Cary Grant is hilarious, but I guess people are more interested in the kiss itself… I wonder why???

 

And there you have it. Plus, it will be extra motivation to carry my notebook around with me, a habit I’m still a bit dodgy with.

So anyways, just a quick declaration of intent. Now I have to actually do it. I’ll report back after I’ve tried it a few times, and let you all know if it’s working.

TTFN.