Happy National Friendship Day: A Tribute

In the past two months I have written two short stories about a single woman looking for love.  One, specifically; the other, well, she sort of finds love by accident.  (Well, she meets a couple of dudes, we don’t know that she loves either of them.)  Neither of these stories would accomplish the wretchedly simple job of passing the Bechdel Test, a test I find important, but not as important as representing “real” women, whatever that means (see my post about Thor v The Avengers).  But neither story is about female relationships (although one could analyze the female relationships in the first story).  I tend to write about what I’m currently going through and my mind was heavily on my own hetero-romantic relationships while I was writing them.  Because those are in a constant state of flux.  I didn’t write about my female relationships because my female relationships are solid.

Today is National Friendship Day, or some such nonsense, and it’s got me thinking about my most significant friendships.  Weirdly, or not so weirdly, the older I get the more important my female friendships are to me.  I still love my boys and my life would be sad without them, but it’s my girls, if ‘importance’ were a scale, who are the most important.  There are specific women from various points in my life who have greatly impacted me and continue to be my friends despite my wildly narcissistic and transient lifestyle.  And, the beauty of these women is that they are all different.

My oldest friend is someone who has always been supportive of me.  We met in the third grade in violin class and I have valued her opinion and her esteem and her friendship very highly ever since.  We had a small period of separation in college, but managed to reconnect afterwards and are still very close.  A very confident woman, she is also confidence-inspiring.  I never feel more encouraged, more empowered, than after I speak with her.  She took me clothes shopping for a “professional” outfit when I was temping, she sends me information on writing retreats and contests, she buys me dinner a couple times a year, and a birthday present even when I want to ignore my own birthday.  Always so career driven, she has served as an inspiration in my own professional life, making me believe I can forge ahead with the notion that I am a writer and might actually get paid one day to write.  I was happy to be a part of her wedding party when she asked.  She and her husband are one of the coolest couples I’ve ever met and have never, even inadvertently, made me feel badly about being single.  Their daughter is five months old and I know they are going to be excellent parents because they’ve been practicing on me for years now.  Every time I visit with them they feed me, give me career advice, and counsel me on my most recent romantic disaster.  When their kid is a teenager they’d be wise to remember how they’ve advised me over the years.

In high school I met my Best Friend (technically, all these women are my “best friend”, after all, like Mindy Lahiri says “best friend isn’t a person, it’s a tier”, but this one is my Best Friend).  My Best Friend is a funny woman.  She’s very analytical, enjoys making lists, and loves setting “life goals” — she was the only teenager I knew with a five-year-plan.  We met in a church youth group when we were sixteen and have been friends from the moment she introduced herself to me.  I don’t really know what drew us together initially, but a desire for a certain sort of connection kept us together.  Best Friend is a friend with whom I can discuss Important Topics.  From the time we were juniors in high school, she has been the friend with whom I discuss books, articles, philosophy, current events, the political impact of music, education, careers, travel, and religious matters.  We rarely talk about boys, men, love, or sex.  It was never a subject either of us brought up in high school and we rarely bring it up now.  Only occasionally have those subjects arisen, and mostly when she’d first met her now-husband and wasn’t sure how she felt about him.  Our friendship not only passes, but defines the Bechdel Test.  Which is odd for a Best Friend relationship, one might think, in stories it’s always the best friend who the protagonist goes to for sex or love advice.  It’s an entire category of movie character, usually played by Judy Greer or Jeremy Piven.  But our friendship has never been of that sort.  In high school it was sort of a relief, because there were plenty of other girls who were happy to talk about those topics ad nauseam and nothing else.

College.  So many significant things happened to me in college.  One, I learned that I am smart.  Highly intelligent, even.  Not like Mensa intelligent, not like best-friend-from-college smart, but of above average intelligence.  I also learned how to drink alcohol, kiss boys, and to travel independently.  Sophomore year I met previously mentioned best-friend-from-college at our tiny college, in our even tinier English department.  Originally an equine major, she moved to the dark side after taking a seminar on Tolkien freshman year.  She and I wound up in almost all the same classes Sophomore year, including a Theater History class where, I feel, we really bonded.  Self-centered moron I am, I didn’t realize how close our friendship was until after the opening performance of Fahrenheit 451 when she ran up to me, gave me a huge hug, and told me how well I’d done.  Starting then our friendship deepened significantly.  We were travel buddies during our semester abroad, she was there the first time I got really drunk, the first time I got really hung up on a dude, the first time I went home with a guy.  And I was there for her when she underwent similar foolishness.  We saw each other be incredibly silly about men, and make unbelievably wise decisions about our education and work.  We are each other’s favorite theater-going friend and she is still one of the first people I will talk to about dating woes.  All the things that brought us together in college — literature, theater, writing — are still our favorite topics.  She is lovely, generous, and supportive.  I see her the least of the four women I’m writing about today and, therefore, I miss her the most.  But I am always incredibly proud of her.

The friend I’ve seen the most lately is technically my boss.  We work for a seasonal outdoor education program where staff live all together on site, and recently I’ve shared a house with my direct supervisor.  We started working together in the spring of 2014, before that we knew each other a little, mostly by sight.  That first spring we worked together, however, our knowledge of one another turned from knowing a little about each other, to knowing everything about one another.  Staff relations that season were a little tense and few came to our house (even though that’s where the food is).  The Boss and I found ourselves, many nights and weekends, the only two hanging out.  A fun, friendly, chatty woman she and I quickly opened up to each other about a whole many things.  I used to lament that I didn’t have any Sex and the City friends, no group of women with which to discuss life, dating, and sex over brunch.  Suddenly, amongst other things, I had this: a woman I regard highly to whom I could unburden myself when feeling emotional, or frustrated about anything (not just men or sex).  She is a friend who would drink whisky with me when I broke up with someone and get excited with me when I met someone new.  The twelve months I was 29 turned out to be a particularly trying twelve months.  I was getting down about all the bummed out things that happened, sure nothing good happened that year.  But then I remembered the new friendship I’d developed with my housemate and colleague.  If there has ever been a bright spot, it has been her.  I am certain I would not have struggled through certain things as well as I did if it weren’t for her friendship.  I am happy she is there when I need her and I am more than happy to be there when she needs me.

The Girl Scout Law commands that one tries her best to “be a sister to every Girl Scout”.  Growing up with three older sisters, Girl Scout sisters, and, once I started school, a number of girl friends, I’ve always felt that line applies to all girls, all women, I chance to meet.  Sometimes those relationships don’t last, but others remain strong even when far apart.  That isn’t to say the latter is “better”, or “more real” than the former.  As Cher Horowitz says “all my friends [are] really good in different ways.”  I love all my friends for those things that make them good.  These four women, in particular, are friends whom I am exceptionally lucky to have because my life would be significantly different without them.

Advertisements

Today’s Entry

I am currently working my way through Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking:

So far, it’s very, very worth reading.  Reading about someone else creating, and struggling to create, has me doing creating of my own, and that, alone, makes reading this book a good decision.  But it’s also a good decision for other reasons.  You should read it.

.

Today’s Entry

Amanda keeps coming back to this concept: “On a good night, you couldn’t tell who was giving what to whom” (Palmer, 104). She writes it specifically about flowers. Flowers she gives as a thank you for dollars in her hat as the Bride, flowers at Dresden Dolls shows. She’s writing about the back and forth appreciation between artist and patron; and recycling that love: giving the flower to a third party, someone in need of that rose, or petunia, or daisy.

My senior year of college my American Literature professor, an extraordinary Polish woman with whom I am still in awe, invited a writer she knows to come speak at our school, a woman named Suzanne Strempek Shea. As with everything at my college, it was a small gathering. My professor suggested (in the same manner my mother “suggests”) I stick around afterward and speak with her since she is a writer and that’s what I wanted to do.

We had been assigned one of Suzanne’s books the previous semester. I’d read it in the way I “read” many books in college: read the first fifty to one hundred pages, skimmed some, paid close attention during discussions in class (can you believe I have a degree in English?). I felt weird about speaking to an author (one with actual published novels), let alone one for whom I hadn’t had the decency to finish the one book of hers I’d encountered.

But I had won one of her novels in a raffle that afternoon so I could use asking her to sign the damn book as an introduction. I cannot tell you what we talked about. I remember we both had somewhere else to be. She was very gracious in telling me I could email her whenever I wanted. Her email was on her website, she said.

Right. Like I’d ever have the confidence to do that.

About a year later I was working as a teacher in a seasonal outdoor school program. Which meant, amongst other things, that I was unemployed half the year. One of those bouts of unemployment occurred from Thanksgiving to Easter. I spent that first winter out of college drifting around my parents’ house while harrowing, frozen gales wailed without (I don’t like winter). To occupy myself I began writing a modernized version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion set in America with the full expectation it was going to be terrible.

At some point I thought maybe my story could go somewhere and I panicked about some of the concepts and language I was using and, dear gawd, what if my mother read it one day… or my grandmother? Gawd, what then?

That’s when I remembered something Suzanne had said at Caz. She said, as a writer, you can’t let what someone else might think hold you back. You’ve got to write it anyway. It’s your story, your voice, your authenticity. Forget about what would please your mother or your grandmother and just write. I was so overwhelmed remembering that piece of advice that I immediately, at one in the morning, looked up Suzanne’s email and wrote her to tell her my exact epiphany as it had happened.

She’d tossed a flower into the crowd that afternoon in New York, and I was handing the one I’d caught back to her to show my appreciation.

Little did I know just how much.

Some time later Suzanne’s book Sunday’s In America came out. I’d known of the project. Either she had mentioned it at my school, or else I’d read about it on her website (or both), I knew the book was out and that she was doing readings in the area. My sister, K, had heard NPR’s interview with Suzanne about the book. I mentioned to K wanting to figure out if I could get myself to one of the readings.

Excited, K was on board.

The only one we could both attend before I had to return to my teaching job in the woods was in an area of south central Massachusetts where no one goes unless they live there. In reality, it was probably only a little over an hour’s drive. It felt like K and I were driving forever. We eventually found the combination library/town clerk’s office/auxiliary firehouse/town municipal building, parked, and filtered into the library.

There were, maybe, twenty people there. Thirty, tops. K and I were clearly outsiders. All the (mostly older) ladies seemed to know each other. Many seemed to know Suzanne. But, as she grew up in the next town over and still lived there, it wasn’t surprising.

I don’t remember any of the reading.

Afterward, we were invited out into the hallway that ran the center of the municipal building where we could meet Suzanne, buy her book, and have it signed. When it was our turn, which was almost immediate — I think the nice town ladies were being polite giving the out-of-towners the chance to go first — I, very nervously, reminded Suzanne that we had met before, that her friend was my professor, that I had emailed her a few months back.

That’s when she said: “Rebecca?”

She stood and came around the table. I remember her being very tall. I don’t know how tall she is, but she felt tall; and I felt young. Very young. And insignificant. There was no reason for a locally known, published author to remember a recent college graduate/aspiring writer with severely limited Life Experience who was, at that moment, on a day trip with her Big Sister.

“I’ve been meaning to thank you for your email.”

What the fish?

She went on to tell me, when she received my email, she’d been struggling with the exact same thing. She was working on Sundays In America and was having trouble. She’d gotten stuck worrying what Other People would think of what she was writing. Then she read my email that parroted back the words I’d heard from her only a year previous.

“I printed out your email. It’s taped up over my writing desk. I look at it whenever I start to doubt myself.”1

At this point I was completely speechless.

Suzanne hugged me, repeated her thanks. I left amazed that my small, seemingly insignificant action, one done impulsively and spontaneously, had a very large, very real impact. My email, in part, gave a woman back the state of mind she needed to finish working on her book.

The one we were there to purchase and hear her read.

The flower was back in my hands.

That summer I finished my story. Not awesome. But finished. For me, that alone, was cause for celebration. And while that particular story has gone nowhere (it’s been on a bottom shelf for six years), the lesson I learned while writing it made the act itself worthwhile: The smallest act (poking a child’s nose, mailing a card, handing a stranger a flower) can do volumes of good.

It was a good night.

.

1My recollection of her words are approximate, but I am confident they capture the spirit of what she said to me that day.

Advice Every Single Woman Gets on her 30th Birthday | Megan Greenwell | Slate

Advice Every Single Woman Gets on her 30th Birthday | Megan Greenwell | Slate

I’m not thirty yet and no one has tried to cajole me into a speculative relationship conversation in a very long time (mostly it seemed to come late high school/early college from well-intended church people).  And the only times people have ever asked me my thoughts about childbirth have come on the heels of my sister birthing her babies.  Otherwise people seem to be content to smile blandly and nod whenever I tell them about my atypical, seasonal life choices.  It might be because I don’t look anywhere near thirty.

The shock and surprise people exhibit when I tell them my age, or they check my ID is predictable and staid, and, sometimes, offensive.  (Once, at the ER, the doctor thought my one-year-elder friend was my mom; we were 27 and 28; he thought I was around 18).  For years, I never understood why my actual mother was annoyed that she didn’t look her age – she was sometimes mistaken for my father’s daughter (disturbing) – but now I understand that sometimes people don’t take you seriously when they think you are younger than you are and when they find out that you are between five and ten years older than they placed you, they start treating you differently.  And that is wicked annoying.

But this may also be the reason no one is hassling me about settling down, getting married, and starting a family.  (Also: my fam is pretty cool in that way.)  But, even though my fam is pretty cool and I mainly associate with people like myself (nomadic free spirits who find creative ways to live), I am not free from the pressures of approaching thirty.  The shift Greenwell talks about as to when people are marrying has happened in our lifetime, meaning that we grew up with people talking about, and thus ingraining in us, the pressures of turning thirty and not wanting to be an ‘old mom’ who can’t get down on the floor and play with her kids (which is relative crap: my mom is 63 and she’s all over the floor with the grandbabies) causing even the least under-pressure of us to have our moments of “Holy shit, I’m thirty and single with zero prospects!  Ermagad, what am I going to do?”  Hopefully most of you are like me and your rational brain kicks in with “Whatever the hell you want, woman!”

Greenwell reminds us: “…women have an unprecedented number of opportunities…”.  More women attend college these days right out of high school with the intention of going to college (as opposed to going to get married), which pushes back marrying ages as we pursue higher and higher education and careers and the like.  Women today have the opportunity to be self-sufficient early in life, rather than wait for a divorce to reinvent ourselves Madeleine Albright style (although we retain that option).  Nowadays, Greenwell tells us

“The median age for an American woman to first get married is 27, compared to 20 in 1960. That number rises with education level. But despite the fact that 50 percent of Americans are now single, there are no signs that young women are less likely than their mothers to get married eventually, Coontz’s research has found—we’re simply more likely to do it in our 30s instead of our 20s.

It’s not surprising word of this reality is still making the rounds; it is in competition with generations of traditional expectations, including, but not limited to, Greenwell’s Lily Bart example from Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth (a book I could not get into when I was supposed to read it in college).  (Expectations I’m not convinced were ever actually real considering my mother told me her getting married at nineteen was not typical in 1970 and none of her friends got married that young.)  The current norm is still permeating the layers of conditioned thought.  One day it will be widespread, but the Millennial Generation gets the distinct honor of being on the back-end of the front line that probably really started with the Gen X Baby Busters.

Until it has permeated society, there will still be people who meet a single woman’s thirtieth with outdated statistics and well-intended pieces of terrible advice.  Because, as Greenwell states: “well-meaning older people offering unsolicited advice to eye-rolling younger ones is what makes the world go round.”  Our elders love to dispense wisdom we learned the hard way to our younger friends in hopes they will make different assumptions about what it means to be a woman.  A friend recently asked me what advice I thought would be helpful for her youngest sibling to hear upon her imminent college graduation.  The best advice I could give my friend was to give her sister no advice at all, but to let her see how she lives, that was the best thing my siblings did for me.  As the youngest, I got to see how four other people handled being an adult and could gauge how I wished to proceed.  Because you can tell someone a thing until you are blue in the face, but the best way for that person to learn it is to live it.

Link

5 Reasons You Should Live With Your Coworkers: Scenes from a Start Up

While these fellas make some very good points about co-habitating with coworkers (especially the following: “You might think this would be a recipe for conflict, but a tradition of radical honesty keeps tempers cool.”), it’s also important to remember a few things about living with the people you work with.

  1. It can create an insular society; one that is both a part of traditional society and outside it.  That can be a troublesome and difficult dichotomy to undertake.  People in this sort of situation create their own rules and value system and usually adhere to them exceptionally well, but they are also expected to stand by the normative societal roles.  Something that is acceptable within that bubble might not be acceptable in the outside world.  “Radical honesty”, for example, might not be taken in the manner it is intended by someone how does not live within the bubble.  That could lead to larger problems depending with whom one chooses to be “radically honest”.
  2. Relationships can get dicey.  Spending that much time with someone can be detrimental.  Even with boundaries, even with separate living spaces, spending that much time together can break down bonds that were once strong and eventually cause their deterioration.
  3. When Sex gets involved.  I begrudge no one their private life and believe they have the right to do what they like, but sometimes when people live in that close proximity to one another and sex gets thrown into the mix it can upset the apple cart pretty quickly.  Personal lives and Professional lives mixing like this cause them to often directly impact the other and it is important that the people pursuing a sexual or romantic relationship keep that part of their life as far away from their professional lives as possible.  Those two crossing can affect the entire “office” and things said in the “office” can affect things in the bedroom.  (This is not easy and therefore ought to be approached with extreme caution.)
  4. Falling into “roles”.  As in who cooks dinner, who cleans up, who scrubs the tub.  If one person loves taking a toothbrush to the grout in the bathroom, so be it.  But if one person is always cooking and never gives anyone else who might want to an opportunity, there could be tension and resentment.
  5. Which brings me back to “Radical Honesty”.  This is the most important thing to remember when existing in this sort of situation.  One of the best managed co-habitation with coworkers experiences I have ever had was, in part, to the agreed upon house rule of “No apologies”; we could be brutally honest with one another and, if we hurt each others’ feelings, we talked it out.  But it only truly worked when everyone was on board.  If one person isn’t on board with this basic understanding, tension will grow, and it will be bad; like dumping water on a Mogwai.

This sort of lifestyle is fascinating and mind boggling to those who have never experienced it.  And there are plenty of reasons to pursue this sort of situation, like the original article says.  As with everything, there is also a downside.  But as long as everyone agrees to certain house rules and doesn’t just say they do when they really don’t, and everyone is passionate about the work they are doing, then this is a wonderful way to operate.  Some very strong lifelong friendships are made and, if people haven’t learned them yet, you gain some valuable experience about living with other people.  I would recommend doing something to this effect at least once in your life, even if you lived in a dorm in college, this experience is one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

 

VA mom wants to widen school policy requiring parental permission for “sensitive topics”

Image

Because her 17 year old AP English student son was disturbed by Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

Now, while Beloved is the reading equivalent of running a mile in knee-deep mud, there’s really no reason to ban it from an Advanced Placement English course.  Ok, so it’s mildly disturbing, yes.  I read it as a college student and was pretty annoyed/disgusted/horrified pretty much the entire time.  Until I realized that as much as Beloved is about the dead girl and her mother’s guilt regarding the dead baby – it’s also about Denver, the living daughter, actually living her life — moving past her mother’s guilt and becoming a functioning member of society.

This novel is not easy and anyone who thinks it is has no idea what they are talking about.  This book is about a very tough issue.  But it’s no worse than any other book written in or about the mid to late 1800s America.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin, as lovely as it is, is the white, sanitized version of slavery.  Harriet Jacobs’ and Frederick Douglas’ slave narratives show a more real, more brutal, more honest side to what was going on.  Beloved shows readers the plight of women under slavery, how bleak a situation it truly was, and some really tough decisions women had to make sometimes.  It’s also a story of healing, of hope, of moving into a future without looking back.  It’s heavy.

Wherever there is prejudice and injustice and hardship there are going to be “sensitive topics” discussed.  The Grapes of Wrath was a book I had to read as a high school junior that left me rather uncomfortable – especially the ending scene; The Painted Bird tells the story of a boy roaming the ignorant and backward Polish countryside during and after World War II, some of the things he witnesses are highly disturbing; Night by Elie Wiesel shows what being in a concentration camp was actually like; In the Time of the Butterflies shows the fear of the Dominican people during President Trujillo’s dictatorship and what some brave few went through in order to gain some justice; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, pulpy, pop fiction, sure, is the story of rotten people perverting what is meant to be a welfare system on one hand, and a warped and twisted sociopath who abuses his own children severely screwing them up for the future, on the other.  What these books, along with Beloved, teach us is to recognize injustice and prejudice and, if we can’t do something to stop the greater problem in play, to have compassion for the people around us.  Do what we can to help the people we love who might be going through a hard time.  They tell us to be supportive of our friends and family.  To try to work toward a brighter future where these things don’t happen.  These books all end the same way: with Hope.

It’s idealist, maybe; some might say naive; but it’s a mature concept that is expected, and often demanded, by society, by authors, by critics.  If a high school student is deemed smart enough and mature enough to take a college level literature course you can bet your buttons that he or she is going to be expected to handle some “sensitive topics”.  The student is going to be asked to be mature enough to handle some adult topics, sometimes harsh and uncomfortable topics.  But being at a college level means acting and thinking like an adult, recognizing that you’re not a kid anymore, and starting to make your own decisions.  Taking a college level English course while in High School might be a “safe” way to introduce a student to college, but it shouldn’t expect anything less from the student than a college literature course would.

This Virginia mom might have a point about including parents in designing the curriculum to an extent, but I think the harsh reality is that her son wasn’t mature enough for Beloved.  There are worse books his teacher could have chosen, but it seems to me that he or she chose an appropriate novel to expect a teenager in a college level English course to be able to handle.  It might be disturbing at times, it might give the kid nightmares, but it hopefully is also opening his mind and getting him to think about the world in a slightly different way.  If high school students are expected to read The JungleNative Son, Johnny Got His Gun, Of Mice and Men, The Lord of the Flies, and The Bell Jar, then a high school student in a college level class should be expected to handle Beloved.

If the student can’t, then maybe he shouldn’t be in that class.

*Click on the picture to go to the NPR website to learn more about Toni Morrison and “This Virginia mom” to read the Washinton Post article about Ms. Murphy’s campaign to change school policies.

Glee. Oh yeah…

Image

Glee.  Oh yeah...

I wouldn’t say I watched Glee religiously, but some friends and I did stay up late to torrent the final episode of the first season the night it aired so we could watch it.

Recently, however, I sort of completely forgot about Glee. I haven’t watched it in over a year and sort of feel like it jumped the shark when they all started dating each other.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the premise of the show: misfit kids finding confidence through show choir. And highlighting the fact that even the most composed and seemingly sure of themselves person can still feel horribly out of place. But I got tired of the after-school-special feel that had crept into the episodes. (Again, even though they fit and worked within the context of the show.)

Needless to say I have no idea what is going on with the program now. Are we following Berry and Colfer in NYC (did they even make it?); are she and jock-boy still an item; is Brittany still dating the Lebanese; is Sue Sylvester still the villain; does the teacher ever actually go to any of his Spanish classes; is he still with Charlie from Heroes who dated Harrison from Popular on Ugly Betty but slept with Julie Bowen’s gay brother in that other show or is she back with Uncle Jesse?

Do I care enough to watch any episodes from the past year? Probably not. Only reason I am talking about this is because I was startled when all the actors from this show were promoting the new episode on Twitter…. and I had forgotten about the show… right.

A Coffee and a Cheese Danish

Image

A Coffee and a Cheese Danish

I used to get this all the time at the coffee shop in college and it was the best!

Yesterday, I sat in the Roadrunner Cafe all-freakin-day. It was two parts awesome and three parts amazing. Although it took me a long time to be able to write creatively. First I had to journal everything that has happened to me since Friday night in my notebook (not pictured).

A lot has occurred over this past weekend, a lot that will get the writing juices flowing and a lot that will get my tiny female brain spinning it’s wheels. But after a few hours of handwriting the events of the weekend and my thoughts on the situation I was able to get down to writing.

I haven’t worked on this story (not really) since before Thanksgiving (lame!) and I’ve been a little stuck. But I think I’ve got the ending down; I’ve reconciled everything that I wasn’t sure about and we’ve got a nice little bit of weirdness to end my super weird story with – it’s perfect — maybe. Nows alls I have to do is sort out the events that lead up to the ending.

The really confusing part is that I have written all three separate storylines in a jumble. I’m getting confused. But apart from separating them into three different documents and sorting through them that way (which feels tedious) I’m not sure what else to do in order to organize the events. I’ve fucked with the timeline; I’m jumping all over the place. Which, for the structure of the story, I sort of like, but its my own sanity that is getting screwed up. When I get home I might make a giant timeline and tape it up on the walls at my sister’s house. Actually work on organizing my writing.

I’ve never been very good at that.

But I am getting better at disciplining my life, so hopefully my writing will follow (or lead the way?).

Phrases or Words that Should Never be Used.

  • “Just Sayin'” – I think I’ve said this here before, but it still gets my goat, just sayin’.  You’re not actually saying anything when you throw “just sayin'” at the end of a statement.  And it’s usually a way to cover up something rude.  “That sweater is the color of cat puke, just sayin’.”  Or dumb.  “You were a real bitch in class today when you said that Ophelia was a ‘troubled soul’.  You don’t have to judge her like that, just sayin’.”
  • “No offense, but…” – With this one the person is going to say something that the hearer isn’t necessarily going to like.  The speaker most likely means what they are saying kindly, they’re not saying it to be rude, but saying “no offense” before making a statement still puts the hearer on guard and the statement still comes across as rude. “No offense, but did you mean to put the cherry next to the lime?  It looks like Christmas.”  “No offense, but that shade of brown doesn’t really go with your skin tone.  It makes you look jaundiced.”

I had a class in college where one of the other students used “just sayin'” at the end of her argument and our professor went off about it and asked us “what does that mean?”  The girl who said it answered “It means, ‘just sayin'”.  Then a few more tried to define it further and the whole argument fell apart and it was never resolved.

Go Read My Stuff

Alright, here goes, the first of my “Stories About Women” (working title) is now posted on Scribd.  It’s actually the second one I wrote, but it’s the first one ready for public consumption.  Don’t really know how I feel about it, but it’s there.  It’s, I don’t know, interesting, I guess.

It’s the story of Eliza and Sofy.  Two women who had been really good friends at the start of college, but things went bad and the women had a huge falling out.  Years later they’re at a mutual friend’s wedding and the story of their falling out comes to the surface and the two have it out.