What Is Life

Today I have been tested by way of:

(1) Letting the landlord and a worker into my bathroom only to realize that my dog had apparently gotten into the trash and strewn all its contents throughout. And so, yes, humiliated that in their minds I live in a constant state of abject squalor, I locked myself in my bedroom for the duration.

(2) Literally feeling my pulse in an eyelid vein set to twitching by the torturously simple and redundant song of what I can only assume was a mentally enfeebled bird directly outside my window.

(3) (In a return to abject squalor:) Tugging the garbage bag out only to find that said bag is decidedly NOT Hefty so when I had adequately stretched out the top and momentarily set it down to get a second bag in which to encase it, this happened.

Cartoon approximation.

Ewwwww, garbage water!

All of which threatened to lead me here:

Because I am but flesh and blood.

And this is not how you treat a Thane of Whiterun!!!!!!!!!

Everything She Wants

It’s about that time, no?

::5 days pass::

::and then literally 3 weeks::

So yes, Jelena, the blogging got away from me. It would be easier if…. wow, that gif quickly becomes distracting… as I was saying: if I were an open book and could just tell you everything I’m doing, writing, et cetera, because the source material never ends. Mais alors. Instead, lemme tell you about the wonderfully random and completely inconsequential minutia of life.

So Josh and I are sitting in a doctor’s wait room this week and people-watching, as one does. First of all, I love the number of people who have a translator with them – and I mean that. I love living in culturally diverse places and what is more interesting to watch than the translator her/himself, navigating two cultures at once? I’ll tell you what. The obligatory old woman pretending to be slightly senile because she is here to win, kids.

Old Woman (OW) has arrived for her appointment.

Receptionist requests her medical card.

OW does not have.

Receptionist says she’ll reschedule her appointment.

OW will see doctor now.

Receptionist like, whu? Gimme the card then.

OW left the card at home. She sees doctor now.

Receptionist is tryna keep the bite out of her voice because the whole wait room can hear whether we want to or not and OW got salty immediatement. Receptionist insists that cards must be proffered.

OW: (verbatim) I don’t have it with me, what can we do? (Rhetorical) I’ll see doctor now.

OW steps. toward. hall.

Reception door opens, refusals are stated strongly.

OW does not understand what you are not understanding. She should’ve brought her card. She didn’t. She is not going home, y’all. She will see the doctor now. She will.

It’s at this point that 2nd receptionist decides to help out because perhaps his being a dude will change something?

It doesn’t.

OW figures out how to grease this wheel. Pulls out OPUS card. That one uses to ride public transportation.

Receptionists are silent. Because what?

OW: (verbatim) Visa. (Shows credit card… and then immediately puts it back in wallet.)

Receptionists are silent. Because where are we. What’s happening.

You guys I cannot wait to get to this age. Head full of white hair – seriously, her tress game was crushing it – and using a cane while simultaneously holding a huge parka, a purse, several bags and clearly this woman has her faculties is what I’m saying.

OW will TALK to the doctor. Final offer.

When the receptionists tell her the doctor is leaving for the day very soon they should really have anticipated her attempt to break for the hall again. They really should’ve. I did.

Receptionist AGAIN insists that OW will be rescheduled. At this point, OW’s indiscernible muttering is her strength. That and she clearly has nowhere else to be. She will stand at this counter all day.

Receptionist, loudly, because she knows that we know that she has been bested: Just have a seat.

I mean. Better luck next time, baby girl. OW knew what she came to do.

Two Things.

First this:


You have to know your story and – if they’re separate – your concept. Otherwise, yes, belabored, it will be. So I’m finding that if I’m writing in short 50 to 100 word spurts (if you can call it that) and then needing space, there aren’t very many words allotted. As in, each one counts and the story is trying to be captured in few. Which is happening with the new story, which means adjusting the expectations and because I’m me and excel is my lifeblood, noting the day and change in tracking. What once I gauged at 4k is looking more and more like 1200, 1500 at the most. Feels right. And to this point, never have I thought a story would be shorter and it ended up longer.

Pretend that’s the first time I’ve posted that. Because GAH.

Second thiiiiiing.

What if there were a movie… for real fans?

[Distant stadium cheers]

What if – finally – it wasn’t just about the love of the game? But the love…of the people in the office, on the phone, talking about the people who might potentially play the game?

[Distant, slight confusion]

Now there is.


It’s not about playing or watching or even commentating on the game …anymore.

*Totally gonna watch it.


I Keep Saying I’ll Blog

Three Things Which Are True:

(1) I’ll never stop badmouthing George Orwell. *

(2) Never.**

(3) I’ve got work to do. (Wonderful, wonderful work.)

*I’m not saying my sentiments are new to you or this blog. I’m not even saying that’s the best article on the matter, it’s just the easiest one to find that refers to Orwell having reviewed Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. And I’m still indignant.

**As long as 1984 is on required reading lists and any list of well-received, impacting novels, I will continue to do so.


When I Come Around

Ezra was eating a banana. Whilst peeling it, he observed, “Peeling a banana is like saving the banana. It’s like something eated it and I’m saving it from the guy who ate it.” ~ Feb 1st, 2011

That was my peace offering. An Ezra-ism from two years ago. Poor little language-confused seven year old that he was. Adorabeezle.

So it feels like I owe you guys some big announcement. Or diatribe or rant, at least. And I have a few in mind – I watched After Earth and the super hainty attempt at covering up its M.Night connection was misplaced effort. The movie told on itself, IMMEDIATEMENT – but those are for another day. Just like, possibly, my ideas on Sleepy Hollow, Nicole Beharie’s apparent distrust of hair that originates in her own follicles (I’m increasingly judgey about this, given the alternatives she chooses/allows to be chosen), and the Ichabod Holmes attempt. Or the life being sucked from the Mindy Project and the way they almost lost me with that ridonkulously offensive “Christian pastor” boyfriend. I can’t even.

Come to think of, what have I been *doing*, people?? We need to talk, f’real, f’real.

For now, I leave you with a bit of wisdom from last night’s seriously serious dreams: You cannot quit at parenting; you can only fail.


Huh. I wonder if last night’s Nashville had anything to do with my dream’s subject matter.

Good questions, all.

In Face of Certain Defeat

Perhaps you haven’t discovered your favorite author until you feel – after reading their work – like you have nothing to say. Or nothing worth saying. In written word. Which is the vehicle said author used and therefore one that you could not possibly wield to any estimation of success.

I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

All I know is, I thought I couldn’t love someone as much as or more than Toni Morrison. I lay awake at night, struggling with my love for Orson Scott Card in fact, trying to make sense of them both in this hierarchical world we’ve created. But all of that was before. Not before I started Invisible Man – I take a notoriously long time to either read amazing books or else to move beyond them…which is why this is also before I was able to wean myself off of Ender’s Game enough to read Speaker…and I can’t even …..try to….

I’m sorry. Where were we. So no, not before I started Invisible Man, but before I was WRECKED by it. It stopped everything. Half my life came to a screeching halt somewhere around the union of factory workers. I’d known it was going to happen back when the man had him read the letters he’d been handing out. I knew it was coming, even though it had never happened before. That’s the power of this narrative. The narrative.

[Total sidebar because that was meant to be a complete sentence but then Twelfth Night overtook it and it became, “The narrative itself til seven years heat shall not behold her face at ample view but like a cloistress she will veiled walk and water once a day her chamber round allthistoseasonabrothersdeadlovethatshewouldkeepfreshandlastinginhersadremembrance!” And somehow it totally works. Ahem.]

The narrative carried me, that’s the only way to explain it. I didn’t want to read ever again. It’s like eating something and being in ecstasy which is dampened all the while by the fact that you know this won’t be the last thing you ever taste. And that’s only dealing with the LANGUAGE.

SERIOUSLY. I can’t stress that enough. It’s written down on a stark, pale screen, so you couldn’t possibly understand me, but try, my pet. Because I remember the way a man walks down the street, that’s what Ralph Ellison has done. I remember the air at a party, the darkness interrupted in a bedroom. And we haven’t even gotten to what cannot even be considered commentary because it is too authentically encapsulated in this farce of a world he reveals to us to be something as trite as “commentary”. (Commentary is now trite, that’s what Ralph Ellison has done.)

No. I did not just read the book. But I wish I had. Although nothing I’ve written since would’ve happened, because why bother.

It does make me love ToMo more, as well, because her voice is her own and there’s room for her genius. I’ll admit I’ve read others and all I could think was they’ve read Ralph and it wrecked them.

So, why now. When I couldn’t even talk about this book in complete sentences for what seemed forever. Oh, no reason really, except that SOME DUDE CLAIMED IT HAD NO LITERARY MERIT. And usually, I wouldn’t mind. But someone printed his words because they apparently had something to do with this novel being BANNED in North Carolina.

We’re not gonna discuss banning books or the way it is sometimes for better or worse “understandable” – because you don’t need to discuss the controversy of banning to discuss that RALPH ELLISON’S INVISIBLE MAN IS BANNED SOMEWHERE. That is enough. No commentary or context needed. But just in case you want some:

Ralph Ellison BannedAnd aside from the fact that it was the 50s not the 40s: You get me. I want that man publicly shamed.

*By the by, click the pic to see the NPR link. Only the first paragraph is about RayRay, but read the second one too because WHUT!

*P.S. I read this last night. Today I am sick. Coincidence? I think not.

I Might Need Security

I know Montreal loves to bring the drama, but today on Decarie, it was a little much. It was the old guys’ turn, and they showed up in great form, ready to prove that you don’t have to be young and foolish to be foolish and just extra.

I mean, honestly, guy walking toward me who’s making super creeptastic uninterrupted eye contact while I look everywhere but directly into your gaze. When you wait until I’m a few steps away and raise your hand and slap it repeatedly – which I guess is supposed to energize me to the point of high-fiving you?! – I don’t know how fast or far to run. Because I’m a lady in a pink and white striped dress and I need you to treat me as such. Cross the street if you must, I’ll wait. Physical contact shan’t. It shall not.

Hey there, buddy who raced around me? I wasn’t gonna pick up that open bag of whatever it was sitting on that bench at the bus stop. I wasn’t gonna stick my hand in and start eating whatever it was. You win, friend. The mystery trash food is all yours. And no. He did not look like he’d fallen on hard times, nor was there any activity that would’ve made me suspect he might race up to a bag on a bench and start eating. Having done so, of course, I give him a pass. Because…a guy just ate out of an open bag on a bus stop bench on Decarie. The verdict is in.

Lastly, there was the old guy riding his bike super fast on the sidewalk. Toward me. And a family walking pretty much with me – which we won’t even question. They’re affectionate. So geezer on bike who starts aggressively swiping the air with his hand, which is apparently meant to make us get the heck out his way? Apparently, his voice did work – jury’s still out on the brakes sitchiation – because as he passed through us, face still tight in what I’d assumed was a disapproving grimace? “Have a good day, you guys!”

In a super sincere tone? After trying to mow us down with a seemingly homicidal snarl of misdirected hostility? ….k.

But don’t let any of that distract you from the bus that didn’t show or the metro that sat for 18 minutes. Because I certainly didn’t.



Dream The Impossible Dream

The Arctic Circle, specifically Alaska. Eternal day.

Robert. Downey. Jr. ….versus killer – and possibly genetically modified – Caribou. Which may or may not live there but what am I, National Geographic? (Now’s probably a good time for this disclaimer: any semblance of accuracy or sense is entirely unintentional and the result of a good memory of Christmas themed elementary school lessons.)

RDeej, armed only with his wit and a pocket knife, faces down the murderous herd on land and in what I can only assume are the icy waters of death. Which actually should’ve killed him. Or at least made it impossible for him to keep up the totally unnecessary chatter. (Caribou can’t talk.) He’ll learn just how sharp a snappy rejoinder must be….to survive.

Was my dream last night. Well, one of them.

I awoke at noon and informed the boys that it was basically miraculous that I was awake. Scratch that. It was probably really unhealthy. Since I went to bed after 8am. Now, if you don’t know me in real life or simply haven’t realized that you and I, we don’t share a sleep pattern – you’re like, “OMGosh, whyyyy?” Then I explain that – especially coming off a revision bender – my brain goes, hey…..


Stay up with me.

But let’s skip that part for now and just talk about how some wiseguy replaced my brain with raw cotton.

^ That. Fillin’ up muh head skull.

But I’ve broken my covenant with sleep so. Here we are. Talkin’ about survival dreams. Which of course are the types of dreams one has when they’re just on the brink of brain death. And in those sleep-to-live instances – which I’m beginning to think are my favorite kinds of sleeping moments – I am apparently really preachy. Because jump back to the dream before RDJ and the reindeer with hooves that looked a lot like driftwood – which was a lot bit grosser looking than it sounds – and there I am, chatting with the mother of a toddler and for some reason, I was aggressively telling this not-even-walking-right-yet little girl that it was because of her Latina heritage that she would be a master storyteller. Isabel Allende came up. Because a passionate argument should only ever have one example.

But I’m really starting to think people would respond to that Robert Downey Jr makin’ his way in the tundra story.

…anyway, we’ll talk.

In The Meantime

A new Frinterview! is on the way, my friends, I promise. But since I am overwhelmed with the general cool and awesomeness of the subject, I’m not sure when precisely that shall be. And so I want to give you something in the meantime. And I don’t have a video of myself doing Tina’s body roll.

…not sure why someone made that gif go so fast. Aaaanyway.

No, but for real. My friend described this meme – not showed it to me, described it – and I laughed.out.loud. This has nothing to do with growing up listening to old timey radio skits from the likes of Abbott and Costello. (Isn’t there an episode of the Simpsons where Smithers describes the comic strips to Mr. Burns?) Upon actually seeing it and laughing harder still, I knew I could use it as a divining rod to find all of my soul mates. O_O I shall test it here:


Eleventy Queries

So, the other part of that lovely award granted by the Pen Punks was a set of questions.

1. What is your biggest personal achievement?

My family. My hubby, little boy, me family. <3
2. Do you have a goal for this year? If so, what is it?
Who…has no goals… just out of curiosity. Lol – yes, I have a goal. I want to hold on to what I’ve realized through my recent re-vision (yep, Imma be obnoxious and keep saying it thusly – HAH, see that, Jen?!). I want to be ever more courageous in my work. Actually, in all aspects of life, though it’ll look different depending on the area.
3. If you could pick any imaginary world (from novels/movies) to live in, which would it be and why?
Weeell. I’d love to see if I have what it takes for Battle School… otherwise, I’m a loyalist. We’ve talked about this before. I am bound to my world, my people, etc. I always root for the human, haha. So while I looove so many imaginary worlds (esp sci-fi), I don’t care to be in them. I like reality. (Is this a huge disappointment coming from a writer?)
4. If you could spend a day with any celebrity, whom would you choose and why?
Well, I’d love to spend a day with: Toni Morrison (obvious reasons – I already know I love to hear her talk thanks to multiple episodes of Charlie Rose); Bill Cosby; Charles Stanley. These are people I want to hear speak, up close, before their time is done.
5. What’s the last book you read that surprised you?
Speaker for the Dead – and YES, I’M STILL ON PAUSE BECAUSE IT’S SO OVERWHELMINGLY GOOD. And yes, every page, it seems, is a surprise. Just. The crafting. The clarity. The worlds. Gah.
I’d say Invisible Man surprised me, as well, in a different and yet similar way. I cried. I don’t know that I’ve literally, physically cried before while reading a book. I can be moved and carried aWAY by literature without physical tears falling – but they did. It was brilliant. Brilliant.
6. What’s your favorite game show to watch, and would you actually want to be a contestant on it?
I guess Wheel of Fortune? I really can’t be sure, I just know I loved playing that on the computer back in the time of floppy disks. :D
7. If you could pick any novel besides your own to be made into a movie, which would it? Why?
Well, Ender’s Game is coming out soon. :D ICANTEVEN.
8. What is your favorite YouTube Video?
That. Is a weird question, hahaha. If we’re talking representative videos (like music videos, whether homemade or professional) than it depends on what mood/season/stage of the writing process I’m in. I’m loving Hammock right now, if I haven’t been clear enough – and there are full albums on YouTube.
If it’s just ridiculous clips. Too many. #TooMany
9. What is a book you hate but wish you liked?
I’m sorry, I cannot. I can talk about films, shows, music by name when I hate it but I can’t with books. Except that one time, but it so doesn’t fit this question. I like it just as much as I wanted to.
10. Who is one of your favorite philosophers?
Way too loaded of a question. With far too many qualifiers. I will choose Herbert Marcuse and spare you all the diatribe of why and why not.

11. Where do you do your best thinking about deep questions?

On my bed, when I’m comfy with ice water and my laptop. Or near water – whether it’s in the bath tub, at an overlook point somewhere on West Cliff Drive, at Sentinel Point… it sort of centers on water.

This does not capture it at all. And, if you promise not to prosecute, I’ll admit that I actually did my best thinking past that bench, down a short drop to the actual cliff where you couldn’t hear much more than the waves.