The fine art of avoidance

The writing class was a great idea. I’m writing drek, but I’m writing, and the only way to get to the good stuff is by telling myself that I need to turn in a story every other week and that I don’t want to be embarrassed by turning in something lackluster. So that’s a huge help. I’ve still got so many bad habits to lose, though. When you’re writing fanfic, you assume backstory and description, and it’s hard to get back into both working those in and doing it subtly.

For those of you I contacted about the novel, I haven’t forgotten, but while researching faeries was pretty straightforward (and a freaking huge thank-you to Sam for raiding the Princeton University library for Elizabethan travelogues of faeryland and Irish oral histories), researching social work turns out to be nigh impossible because A: Social workers generally have more important demands on their time than satisfying idle curiosity, and B: Laws, terminology and organizations differ so vastly from state to state that it’s hard to figure out what I’m doing right or wrong. But there are a couple of people I’m talking to, and thankfully, I only have to tear up the 15 pages I’ve written so far, and we’ll hopefully get that show on the road fairly soon.

So naturally, with all these good reasons to write, I plan to spend my weekend transcribing, sorting and winnowing the various books of quotes I’ve been scrawling down since 7th grade into a word document. In my defense, I’ve just spent almost a week really ill, and this promises not to use too much brain power, but for goodness sake, if writing makes me happy and not writing makes me unhappy, why not go sit in a Barnes and Noble cafe this weekend and just write my little heart out?



What’s really disturbing about this is not just that it appears that several hundred registered sex offenders have a Myspace profile, but that Myspace’s main effort to date seems to have been pushing legislation forcing sex offenders to register their email addresses. Such legislation would probably get a lot of political support, as it’s a PR-friendly way to be tough on crime with very little effort, but how practical would it be? I don’t know about you guys, but I have three email addresses, two webpages and two blogs right now, and half of those are free accounts I got for my pen name, which, obviously, isn’t my real name. Do they think sex offenders somehow don’t know how to register for a free email address? I’m just worried this legislation is a way to shift responsibility without actually doing anything about the problem.

The modern girl

This may just be me, but I just heard an acquaintance say that at age 30, she has no work experience whatsoever past the babysitting she did as a teenager, and that absolutely floors me. It floors me even more because she’s the second adult woman of my circle and age cohort to say that recently. I don’t get it.

Maybe I’m being judgemental of people who live differently from me, but when I was entering high school, a huge number of my friends’ parents were getting divorced. (Not surprising, since the divorce rate has been steady at something like 33% for my entire lifespan.) And I kept hearing the mothers say that they’d been unhappy for years and years, and had stayed mainly because they had gotten married young and had no clue how to make it on their own financially. From this, I learned how important it is to know how to be self sufficient, even if you make different choices later down the road. I guess I assumed that most of my generation, the children of that legacy of divorce, learned the same lesson. Maybe you’ll need to separate from your husband. Maybe a parent will get sick, or, God forbid, a child, and you’ll need to shuffle financial and time obligations to take care of them.

I just don’t get it. I don’t get how anyone can go through college without ever doing an internship or a work-study job, or working retail to pay for new clothes or CDs, or substitute teaching, or temping in an office, something, anything. Even if you trust the people you rely on financially not to leave you in the lurch, whether we’re talking about a husband who believes kids need their mom around when they’re young or parents patronizing a struggling creative, you never know when fate is going to throw a wrench in their lives. I especially don’t get how any woman of my generation, growing up on stories of deadbeat husbands, ENRON job losses and grandparents with crashed-market IRAs can think that these aren’t skills they might need down the road. And they do need them; both women were complaining about this because their lives have changed recently and they need to try and sell themselves as viable, entry-level employees for the first time in their thirties.

*sigh* I feel bad for them, but at the same time, I feel like I’m trying to cross this gulf of understanding to see how they came to this pass.

Fast update

This was probably the gentlest and most meaningful Yom Kippur I’ve had in recent memory. Last year, I couldn’t fast because of medication issues, which left me feeling a somewhat divorced from the whole thing (although I was happy to come pray and root for my cousin, who was leading services), and the year before that I was slamming myself pretty hard mentally. This year was much more about acknowledging the past and thinking about meaningful changes in the future in a gentle way.

I’ve signed up for a writing class and this wednesday will be our second meeting. I’m liking it so far: the students are friendly, the assignments are interesting, and the demanded level of output is nearly to Clarion’s standards, which makes me very happy. I like having a high bar to try and meet. I came home from the first class and stayed up until 2AM writing a story where the protagonist was a kid who used to beat me up in school and the villain was my 13-year-old self. Needs polishing, but it was a fascinating idea. I saw him as a human being for the first time.

More later!