What’s a writer without writing?

I never thought I wouldn’t want to write. That I would ever feel like I’m not even a proper writer anymore. My whole life, no matter what role I’ve played or job I’ve taken on, student, editor, teacher, any of it, I’ve always found a way to still keep that one part of me alive. Because it was always my saving grace. It was always my way to let out my anger or frustration or to distract myself from the positively mundane existence I was currently experiencing at the time. To write was to be who I truly am deep down at my core and now I feel like I’m losing myself. Does not writing mean I’m not a writer anymore? If I take a break, will I end up breaking from it indefinitely? These are the constant struggles I face within myself because, every time I gather an ounce of energy and motivation for my writing, there always seems to be some more pressing matter that gets in the way. Like doing the dishes. Or folding laundry. Or cleaning the house. Grocery shopping. Lesson planning. By the time I’ve done all these “grown up” things, the only energy that remains is enough to get me to the beach and get me comatose. There is nothing left. And even if there is, it isn’t enough to stimulate my brain to get the creative juices flowing and leak out something brilliant. So instead, I just find other distractions to pass the free time that I do have. Watching T.V. Playing mindless iPad games. Reading someone else’s greatest accomplishments. Publishing someone else’s piece of literary genius. All of which are enjoyable but none of which get me closer to my realization of being a published author, a writer with a purpose. It terrifies me to know I’m slipping further and further away from myself. I’m scared to think one day I might just wake up and not even remember who that person is anymore.

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Sometimes everything just goes wrong

You know how things can be sometimes. No matter how hard you pray for something good to happen or no matter how hard you will things to be different, they are just plain crappy. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort you put into planning something, either: sometimes everything just goes wrong.

So this weekend, my boyfriend and I were supposed to go on a fishing trip with my mom and stepdad. We left after work on Friday and drove the 4 hours to the east coast of Florida, pulling in late and exhausted just around midnight. Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is great, and it’s awesome how close we live to the water, but we wanted a change of scenery, and the chance to catch some different species of fish, so we planned an overnight trip to West Palm Beach for some dolphin fishing (the fish, not flipper, calm down). Getting up at 5:45 a.m. is only possible when you have the adrenaline and excitement of a big day ahead of you, so dragging our butts out of bed yesterday was no big deal. Driving the 20 minutes to the dock and dropping the boat in was also no big deal; we’ve done this before, right? Right. Bill had checked and double-checked the marine forecast the whole week, making sure our day wasn’t going to be too rough (and also making sure it was worth the 4-hour drive). The Sea People claimed it was going to be 10-15 knots, with 2-3 foot seas. Shouldn’t be a bad day, right? Wrong.

Those Sea People are down-right lying assholes. Once we got out past the inlet (which had about 12 foot seas from where I was standing), we thought things would calm down. Probably, y’know, because the marine forecast only called for 2-3 foot seas. Well those bastards were wrong. It did not calm down. It made being on the boat uncomfortable, and it made even the attempt at casting, let alone reeling anything in, basically impossible. I don’t think any of us wanted to give up (after all, we made that long drive and planned this whole trip and all), but it was clear it just wasn’t going to happen. So we turned around and headed back for the dock. But not, of course, before I puked all over the side of the boat into the angry sea.

Everyone knows I get car sick or motion sickness if there’s too much going on (like say, going on any type of spinning amusement park ride or being on a boat that’s being tossed around like a cork in a wave pool). So it’s not really surprising that my stomach felt like it was upside-down inside of me the whole ride out and back. But usually when I get like that, I can control it and at least keep my breakfast down. Not this time. When it’s going to come up, it’s going to come up whether you like it or not. Thankfully I was able to spew it all over the side of the boat into the water and not fall over board in the process (my mom was not happy with this; she was afraid I’d fall in and wanted me to puke in a bucket, but who wants to puke in a bucket for everyone to see and smell when you can just let it go into the deep blue sea? sorry mom). Although I’m not thrilled I puked (especially since that means I’m now on the scoreboard with Kevin for who’s puked since we’ve been dating- but it’s 3:1 and I’m still ahead so it’s fine), I did feel a little better after the fact. So it’s probably for the best. And we all made it safely back to shore (where we checked the marine forecast again and those bastards were STILL CALLING FOR 2-3 FOOT SEAS THE JERKS). Being alive and back on land was really the end goal, so all in all, it was okay. We didn’t get to fish, and I barfed, but we got in safe, so none of us were mad (just disappointed and bitter towards those lying Sea People).

We loaded up the car and decided just to hit the road and come back home to salvage the weekend (because at this point, it was only like, 8:30 a.m., and we really had no reason to hang out in West Palm). We got about 20-30 minutes in to our 4-hour drive home when the engine started smoking and we had to pull off the road. At first we thought we were just out of coolant, and that’s why the engine had overheated. So we used all the water we had, got back on the highway until we found a gas station and bought some. Problem solved, right? Clearly you should know where this is going by now.

Turns out the radiator was leaking and we needed a new one. We drove to the local Chevy dealership but they told us they wouldn’t be able to even look at the car until Monday. MONDAY. Yeah, because we can just sit around in some random Florida town for two days waiting for the car to be fixed. No thank you.

We had passed a sign on our way to the dealer that said “radiator repair” so we drove back that way to inquire, where we encountered yet another asshole to add to our shit list. While he rambled on about god knows what, we got in touch with NAPA, who told us they had a radiator for us. Finally, someone competent who could actually help us. We bought the part and struggled to find a body shop that was either a) open past noon or b) open at all. Apparently no one in the town we were stranded in liked to work on Saturdays. Assholes. Just when it looked like Bill was going to have to change it himself (and probably die of heat exhaustion in the process), we FINALLY found a shop that was open that would do it for us. They got it done in under two hours and we were (finally, actually) on our way back home. After all that, I am grateful it wasn’t any worse, but I’m still bitter towards the Sea People for steering us in the wrong direction in the first place. You know who you are, Sea People, and don’t think you are getting off so easy.

My friend Nicole sent me a book for my birthday called “Dear Asshole.” It’s filled with tear-out letters to send to all the assholes in your life, yet there isn’t one for Sea People. So I’d like to add my own (and hopefully the publishers will revise the book and release a second addition with my personal letter included, although probably not because they don’t even know who I am). Anyway, here it is:

Dear Asshole Marine Forecast Sea People,

You are liars. You continuously broadcast incorrect marine forecasts to innocent boaters and drive them (literally) into danger. We could have been killed out there (highly unlikely, but still possible). It’s your fault we were even in that situation in the first place, because if you had done your jobs correctly and told us what the seas would ACTUALLY be like that day, we never would have risked it. It’s your fault we drove all the way out there and didn’t get to fish and it’s your fault I barfed everywhere. It’s probably not your fault our radiator crapped out, but I’m going to blame you anyway because you’re an easy target and I hate you. Please stop being terrible at your jobs so people like me and my family can actually know what we’re driving our boat into.

Sincerely,

The girl who barfed

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Yard work is hard work

I love being in my own house. Granted, we are just renting, but it’s still our own space, so I want it to be homey and welcoming (considering I spend a lot of my free time there and everything). So yard work was a necessary part of moving in, especially considering the last tenant clearly never lifted a finger to mow or rake the entire time they lived there. The house may only have been sitting vacant for a few months (according to our landlord) but it’s obvious the yard hasn’t been tended to for about a year. At least, that’s what I would assume based on the amount of leaves and debris covering our yard and clogging the outdoor space.

Kevin and I both wanted to get the yard cleaned as soon as possible so we could get to the part where we actually enjoy the house and living there, so spending a weekend doing some serious yard work seemed like the best plan. But aside from the one random afternoon I spent raking my mom’s yard a few years ago when I lived there (which did not go over so well, as I remember finding a dead cat in the grass and being stung by a bee ten times), it’s been years since I’ve had to attend to anyone’s yard, mine or anyone else’s. So I don’t think I quite knew what I was getting into when I agreed to spend my weekend raking leaves and weeding. Because I was not expecting this:

29 bags was just the front and side yards. Add about another 10 bags and you've got almost 40 bags of yard waste cleaned up over two days.

29 bags was just the front and side yards. Add about another 10 bags and you’ve got almost 40 bags of yard waste cleaned up over two days.

That’s five hours worth of raking, weeding, clipping, cutting, all rolled and bagged into one. Or, er, 29. Not only did raking it all up into piles take forever and a day, but bagging it all was a giant pain in the rump. By the time we got to the back yard, I just wanted to be done and take a nap. It’s quite exhausting doing something so tedious as yard work, but I’m glad we took the time to do it, because now it doesn’t look like bums live in our house, and we can actually begin to enjoy the outdoor space we have (which is quite a bit- the more we cleaned, the more we uncovered and discovered what kind of space we were truly working with). I only hope the city will remove 40 bags of yard waste, because they never specified a limit, and I sure as hell don’t feel like lugging it all down to the facility myself and paying $5 for it. Really, what is that about? You’re going to pick it up at the curbside for free but then charge me if I bring it there myself? Whatever, Tarpon Springs. You have things ass-backwards, but I’m not complaining, because if you’ll haul it away for me, that’s 40 bags of leaves I never have to rake again.

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I’m probably just lazy and unmotivated but let’s pretend that isn’t true

I used to be so much more ambitious.

I am now the biggest slacker I’ve ever been in my entire life, and I’m pretty much working more than I ever have. How does that make sense?

Maybe it’s because I had more free time when I was younger to devote to writing and sending out pieces to publications and submitting to contests and other things of that nature. I hope that’s what it is, because if it isn’t, that just means I’m getting lazy. Which I completely endorse when it’s regarding anything else, but I refuse to accept that excuse when it comes to my writing. When I was in college, and my only job was to be a full-time student (and even with my various part-time jobs on top of that, I still had plenty of free time), I had all these opportunities to write and get my work out there for others to read. And now, I can’t even keep this blog up-to-date, let alone get anything published anymore. It’s incredibly frustrating.

I swear, the more I become an educator, the less I am a writer. So much of my time during the week goes towards being at work or planning for work or taking classes to further my credentials so I can keep being paid to work. I wonder how other people find the time to do the millions of things they do, even when they work 48+ hours a week like I do (which I realize isn’t a lot, but really, it is when you aren’t salaried). Part of my problem I think is that there are so many other housekeeping things to get done during the week that by the time I come home and do all of those things, I’m exhausted and all I want to do is either lay on the couch and relax or go to sleep. It’s hard to force yourself to get back into a routine when it’s so much easier to just do nothing.

*****

Okay, so I just went back and reread a post I wrote two months ago and it is basically almost exactly the same as this one, except I don’t make as many excuses. I am the worst writer ever. Recycling topics that weren’t even that good the first time around? Seriously, what is my problem? I should basically just give up on my dreams of ever becoming a full-time writer.

But I won’t do that, because then what would you read to entertain yourself late at night when there’s nothing better to do? I think instead I’ll go churn out some more terrible blog posts and maybe a depressing poem or two. See you guys in about another month and a half…

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Woe is me: a day in the life of Felix the cat

I had my 7th graders start a creative writing assignment today about the life of their pet, from the animal’s point of view. As an example, I wrote one from Felix the cat’s perspective.

I often wonder what my cat is thinking when she does certain things. Her behavior continues to baffle me, but if I had to guess, this is what must be going through her mind on a daily basis:

6:58 a.m. My food bowl is empty. I’m going to die in this place. There is no hope for me anymore. Goodbye sweet world. Meow.

7:21 a.m. That Julia girl finally put more Meow Mix in my bowl. I crept into her bedroom while she slept and stared a hole into the side of her head until she finally woke up and fed me. I’m saved. At least until the bowl is empty again.

7:45 a.m. She’s left me again, mumbling something about “work” on her way out the door. Not sure what this “work” business is, but I don’t like it. I’d rather she just stay home with me all day and pet me to my heart’s content. Or at least until she pets me the wrong way, in which case I’ll be forced to bite her and run away.

8:36 a.m. I’ve noticed that Julia just cleaned my litter box. I’m not sure what to make of all this empty space inside the box, so I think I’ll just poop on the floor instead.

9:01 a.m. I’m ready for a nap but there’s no suitable place for me to lay. I think I will just curl up inside this tiny box that is two sizes too small.

5:01 p.m. My eight-hour nap was great but I’m not feeling too well. I think I swallowed some of my fur while I was bathing earlier. I feel the urge to throw up, but I’m not sure where I should do it. I don’t want to upset Julia. I think I will throw up in her shoes; she will appreciate that.

6:03 p.m. Julia has come home from “work.” She wasn’t happy with the gift I left in her shoes; I don’t understand how I have failed her.

10:35 p.m. Julia has abandoned me and gone to bed. There are a few kibbles gone from my food bowl since she last filled it so I’m going to have to stare at her while she’s sleeping and meow all night until she gets up and fills it again. I think I will die before she wakes.

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