Thursday, October 27, 2011

Part 1: Take away my closure, why don't cha?

I've been reading my old journals lately for a couple of reasons...

-- The main being to prove I was right about an argument that apparently had developed sometime over the past 12 years without my knowledge or participation, which is WRONG inasmuch as I was a key player in the event that the argument was constructed around. I mean when you find out that someone in your life blamed you for more than a decade about a situation that YOU thought was resolved, you tend to get a little miffed back. Especially when the accuser's details are TOTALLY off. Seriously?! I just...don't know what to say about this. It's so unbelievably NOT TRUE and it just feels like the closure I had was based on a foundation of half-truths and bitterness, rendering that closure invalid! How does that even happen? (whew what a rant, but that's not really what this post is about, I swear.) --

My expression upon hearing this irritating discovery.
and I realized after reading about moments in my life dating back to the early 90's that I've always been memoir-ing. The good news is that I have meticulous records of my life, and can use them to supplement and bolster the weight loss memoir that I'm writing right now. Down 65 lbs, btw. You can cheer and boost my ego in the comments (and also go ahead and mention how right I am about the confusing argument I mentioned earlier. I feed on validation.)

I even wrote out whole conversations word for word, like a script for a play. It's really fun to read the way I spoke back in high school. I am proud to say that I didn't use "like" in my writing as much as I did verbally. Although the habit might come back on account of how rattled I am. (Seriously, I'll get over it in "like" 2 days, b/c it's not that big of a deal. I was only taken off-guard, and once I chill, it'll be no biggie.)

Anyhoo, I gotta get to work. More on this later. I'll even give you an example of a chuck of dialogue that I wrote down from that time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Top 10 Things I Love About My Friends

10. Those who have more are always willing to share. I can't believe how generous and sweet some of them are. (Lisa, Kristin, Shan, and Texy, this one goes out to you.)
9. Debra just knows when I need Twizzlers.
8. I love that I think I know everything about my friends and then the dam breaks, and I learn SO MUCH MORE. (Oui, oui.)
7. When my best friend acts like a jackwagon, he more than makes up for it with a dozen post-it apologizes that make me smile all day long for several days.
6. Some of them are hilarious without realizing it.
5. Some of them get syndicated by BlogHer.
4. Bravery. I swear some of them have done some super brave things with their lives. I hope to have one ounce of their courage. (Nic, a shout out. I love your guts.)
3. Survivors. Some have survived some crazy shit, and I don't know how they do it. I wanna buy 'em all snuggies and hot cocoa.
2. They love a good rant. They can be the listener or the ranter. But either way they are always there for me.

1. They love me too.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Thing Under the Bed

(Brandi said I had to preface this story with this explanation: This is a 1st person fictional piece about a kid afraid of something under his bed.)

I knew something was under the bed because it purred when the lights went out as if the darkness stroked it’s tufts of fur, eliciting a meditative rumble in its throat. The sound is soft at first, but grows as the blackness settles on my room. 

I saw the creature’s paw once; a giant baseball mitt with talons that scratched scars at the end of my bed posts. But I’m not afraid, because I’ve learned to sleep with a flashlight ever since I noticed the purring. It doesn’t emerge when the beam of my flashlight pierces holes in the darkness. 

Tonight, I hear a new noise. Something rolling across my wooden floors. I clutch the flashlight beneath my two quilts, and peek out over the layers. The rolling continues, its source slowing. Unafraid, I ready my flashlight and squint into the shadows. I flip the switch on my flashlight. But nothing. 

Then, I made out the shape of the thing that rolled. 

A battery. 

The thing purrs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Steve Jobs is Haunting My Laptop

I write in bed with exactly 3 pillows; two for my lower back and one for my upper back so that there’s a slight recline to the set up. I stick my feet out on the bed and rest my laptop on my lap and type until one of three things happen. 

First, the noise from the other room becomes unbearable. My son has taken to tormenting the dog with his interpretation of what Godzilla sounds like. A metallic shriek. My husband attempts to correct the sound, to which I smile. I only taught Gavin how to do this horribly inaccurate sound because I knew it would drive my Godzilla-fanatic husband crazy that Gavin is “doing it wrong!” Now, I’m paying for it, as I cannot concentrate with the sounds of gargling gravel, which is what my husband’s corrective version of Godzilla sounds like. I put in headphones. 

I pound out another 200ish words before my laptop, a 4-year old dinosaur (and might as well be a typewriter for technology’s sake) burns a hole through my yoga pants. I cover up the scalding patch with pillow number 4, which I keep next to me for this anticipated reason. Sometimes my archaic school-provided laptop blacks out entirely, succumbing to heat exhaustion. Meanwhile Steve Jobs rolls over in his high-tech grave.
I restart the damn thing and go again. Gotta meet that thousand word goal or the writing gods or muses with abandon me for Stephenie Meyer. Again. 

Then, when I’m at a word count of 891, my daughter bounds in onto the bed declares something inaudible, b/c all I can hear is Weezer’s serenades and the muted tap tap tap of the keyboard. I can guess what’s she’s saying though. “I’m hungry, Mom.” Because even though we already fed her dinner, and she ate 2 full helpings and dessert, Elayna always expects Dinner 2.0.

And that’s it. Session over, whether I like it not. Because Hungry Elayna is worse than if Godzilla had shown up at the back door.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I didn't get a photo of Wil Wheaton collating paper, but I got these...

I went to two conferences back-to-back last week. Thursday was a writing conference called Book Academy at UVU, which was AWESOME. I meet some new friends, drank way too much free diet Mt. Dew, and got re-inspired to focus on my memoir.

Plus I got to meet some brilliant authors.

For example, I met critically acclaimed author, Dan Wells. If you've ever met me before, you know that you either love my personality or hate it. I daresay, in the 3 minute conversation I had with Wells, I was banking that he was member of the latter party. I thought that he tolerated me at best...until I saw this photo with his to trigger-fingers covering up the "Not" on his "I am Not a Serial Killer" folder thingy, and it changed my mind. I think we are kindred spirits after all. (either that or it was a msg for me to get the hell away from him. But I'm a barrel-half empty kind of positive thinker, so...kindred spirits we are!) Love you, Dan! heh. heh.[eyes diverted to a strange sound outside my window.]
Dan Wells and I hanging with the sequel to his I am Not a Serial Killer Series. The books are like Dexter for teenagers. Awesome series.
Kindred spirits or not, Wells recognizes Speed-Scrabble talent when he sees it.

Eat your H-E-A-R-T out, Brandi! That's a 8pt. word, btw. But I slapped it down on Double Word tile. BOOYAH!

And for Texy, a title commemorative of BGW 2011.
Here are a few other authors that I met...
Abel Keogh, author of memoir: Room for Two, which is about recovering from a traumatic event in his life (his wife's suicide). A truly inspiring story and man. He's overcome a lot of challenges and turned out to be an amazing writer. 

I've followed Lisa Mangum's career for the past 5-6 yrs. She sent me my first rejection letter, in fact. (No hard feelings though. I TOTALLY deserved it.) Anyhoo, I got the 1st book in The Hourglass Door, a book I should've gotten a LONG time ago. I'm really happy for Lisa and can't wait to read her book.

This is Elana Johnson, author of Possession, which is supposed to be a really amazing story, but since I gave it away as a wedding gift [choke of regret], I'll have to wait until my friend loans it to me when she finishes it. Hear that, Kirsten?! 

Then on Friday, I had the pleasure of going to the UCTE conference in SLC. I ran into some CUWP friends and met even more authors.

I read Unwind with my students last year and this year had the pleasure of meeting author Neal Shusterman. He was an excellent public speaker; funny, captivating, thought-provoking. The whole SHA-bang. So I bought another one of his books.

And what do you know, he made it out to my BGW nickname: Gams! I think we can add "intuitive" to the list of Shusterman's traits, right, Texy? Or at the very least, "observant".

Though, I've read Jeff Anderson/Write Guy's book, Mechanically Inclined, I had never met him until Friday. He is the most BRILLIANT public speaker! I'm not kidding. Jeff could easily cover for either Conan or Oprah without batting an eye, and the audience would thank him for it. Anyway, in an odd twist of serendipitous fate, I got to carpool with Jeff back to Utah County. We shared dog stories, recited Shel Silverstein poetry, confessed our texting-while-driving sins, and swapped Thanksgiving ideas. I think we're BFF's now. (That's my girl Chris on the right, btw. CUWPies For Life!)

Ally Condie, an excellent writer of Matched, which I just started and am totally LOVING. I'm a sucker for dystopian YA lit. And the guy is Jon Ostensen. He's vehemently apologizing for not giving me verbal credit for also being a co-editor for the Utah English Journal during the UCTE conference. He made it up to me by asking his friend Ally to sign my book so I didn't have to wait in the ridiculously long line at Ally's table.

Here's the journal, btw.

I got credit on the by-line, but during the conference, the guy in charge of thanking everyone only thanked Jon for the UEJ. I really didn't even notice until Jon mouthed "I'm sorry" from his table.

Wishful thinking! Wait, there's a bonus for that right?

Chris and Heidi, CUWPies!

The Aussie from another posse, CUWP Gary at the conference with us. I meant to get a pic with Debbie Dean too, but I spaced it.

Saturday morning, watching the Payson Temple ground-breaking in the rain. I'm furiously taking notes as I had a deadline a right after the event. [Click to read article.]

I've been really busy. Geez. I need a break.

(Oh, and if you don't get the title of this post, read the Bloggess already!)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How can you be a feminist and a Mormon at the same time?

My feminist Mormon family (2008 - San Francisco, CA)
The title of this post is a question that a friend asked me recently, followed by "they seem to greatly contradict each other".

First of all, I'll address what kind of feminist I am.

I am the kind of feminist who hates that women didn't have a right to vote until 1920 in America.

I am the kind of feminist who hates that women get paid "only 77 cents on the male dollar [...]. (That number drops to 68% for African-American women and 58% for Latinas.)"(Reference from TIME mag, based on stats from 2009.)

I am the kind of feminist who wants women to have equal rights, but don't want to turn my bra into a pile of ash. I don't look at it as a "harness", I look at it as a tool to improve my posture (as well as other practical applications during the winter season).

I am the kind of feminist who values her role as a mother, but who doesn't want to teach her daughter that the only satisfaction in life comes from being a mother.

Gavin at 3mon. Authentic Mohawk.
I am the kind of feminist who wants her daughter to be educated and have a rich life, not necessarily dependent on the status of her womb.

I am the kind of feminist who wants her son to respect women, not only in the natural way in which all people should respect one another, but also respect the fact that women are pretty much superheroes for being able to grow a human being in the gut for 9 months, and when they aren't doing that they bleed for a week outta every month.That doesn't mean they deserve "special treatment", just respect and compassion for these unique traits.

I am the kind of feminist who wants to kick sexual predators of any kind in the balls/ovaries.

I am the kind of feminist who recognizes the innate biological differences between men and women, but who doesn't let those differences stop me from reaching my goals.

I am the kind of feminist who can open and close her own damn door, (unless I'm pregnant at the time, and in that case, I still can open the door, I just am probably too lazy or tired.) but I respect that "chivalrous" tradition, and I guess you can open and close my door on special occasions. But in daily life if I wait for you to open/shut my door that means we're two-and-a-half more minutes late to work/school/church. UGH.

Tackling obstacles already!
I am the kind of feminist who likes to work outside the home, but respects that some women don't and that they stay home because they want to. I'm not the kind of feminist who feels that my religion forces me to be a stay-at-home mom; although Mormonism does get flack for that by people who assume for a woman Mormonism means being a slave to motherhood. But really stay-at-home mom-ery is just a major suggestion for the benefit of the children. They need daily care from someone who genuinely loves them.

I am the kind of Mormon feminist who thinks it would be fine it women had the priesthood. Sure, why not?The universe wouldn't explode. (Oh and while we're at it, go ahead and let the gays marry. What's the hold-up?) But, for now, women will remain "priesthood partners" shoving our husbands out the door to do home teaching, waving a lesson manual between the flat screen and our husband's eyes, and planning major events, functions, fund-raisers. We do it with flair AND in heels. We're the Hillary to our Bill. The Buffy to our Angel. The Zoe to our Wash.
Zoe and Wash from Firefly

And if this isn't enough to satisfy your curiosity, maybe you should consider your motives for asking. All religions are faith-based. I have faith in mine. You have faith in yours. We can still be friends.

But anyone out there who thinks Mormons can't be feminists or believe in equal rights, you are mistaken. The proof is in the prose-spective.


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