And Press “Pause”

Today is the finish line for the 15th Year Slice of Life Story. It’s been a great run. I have not missed a day, and while I have definitely pants it close a couple of times this month, this is the first year I was never in danger of missing a post for 2022. I must say, that’s a pretty good feeling. Alas, another 31 days and flavors is in the books. Off to the next big thing, right. Hmmmm, not exactly.

Usually I go straight from the Slice of Life Writing Challenge straight into National Poetry Writing Month as I have done for the past several years.  

However, there are 18 items sitting in draft mode here on WordPress alone. Some are partially done poems needing tweaking, some essay ideas to be fleshed out, three are nothing more than a couple of lines of an idea I want to work with at some point. There’s a book I’ve been working with off and on for a couple of years. There’s my fanfiction. And let’s not talk about the literal pages of ever multiplying plot bunnies clamoring to be fleshed out into something more. Thus, I know it is not because I do not have anything to say. Because in spite of Muses best efforts to get as much out of me and onto paper, canvas and pixels, it’s all bottle-necked. I don’t like that for all my output, the things I want out the most are not getting out there. And I don’t know why.

I don’t like not knowing.

I do consider myself a decent story-teller, and yes, it pleases me that some want to hear/read what I have to say whether in poem, prose, essay, blog or my Verbal Diarrhea Diaries, but I also feel something of a responsibility to that which will remain behind in these pixels long after I am gone. Because one edict I did have is this: if I felt strongly enough about something to put it out there, even if I must apologize later [and as a Virgo who abhors being -gasp- wrong, believe me, I avoid being in that situation like it’s plague], I may edit or tone it down, but I do not take it back.

Noticed that did in there?

It is that responsibility, where I have increasingly found myself thinking of better ways to express a thought coherently only after I hit ‘publish’, which has me galled to no end. Between the bottleneck mentioned above, and this lexical lethargy has become increasingly worrisome and hit its head earlier this week. La Impostrata, a personification of the Imposter Syndrome coined by fellow blogger and real life friend GirlGriot, struck big time and for the first time ever I trashed something I wrote. No, I did not return it to draft mode to be pondered over and reworked for another time – I trashed it. And then trashed the trash can in my perturbment. I can all but hear writer friends of mine gasp in the horror at this cardinal writing sin. I know, I KNOW! I sincerely apologize to you for that horrid lapse in judgement. But mostly I apologize to myself because as a person who has files with snippets of discarded writings in the belief it will be used elsewhere later, I damn sure know better. I am ashamed of myself. Something has to give.

So rather than submit myself to another month of more writing pressure, I’m choosing to press pause on challenges for now. I’m going to step back and sit out this year’s National Poetry Writing Month.

Oh, I will still write and post poems in April, fret not (not that those who know me were). There is no way Calliope, Erato or Melpomene are easing up on me. It just won’t be for the next thirty days straight. Naturally, I’ll be here on Tuesdays for our weekly slices.

I want to feel comfortable in what I write, whether it is poems, blogs, short stories, flash and fan fiction. That the something I say that makes sense. Sometimes I need to write because I feel confident that what I say that will inform or entertain others and sometimes I need to read so that I can be better informed and entertained myself. What I will always need regardless, are times when no matter what is going on in my life I pick up my pen.

I’m simply allowing myself the grace to ease up on the writing pressures I put on myself.


We made it! Day 31 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out this final day of the challenge.

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

The Oopsies Have It!

I sometimes use my phone to compose posts on WordPress. It’s convenient when I’m not in front om my computer to write my posts. For example, when I’m on the subway and an idea comes to me for a poem. As it’s one Ill have to link to via this blog it made perfect sense to start it here. One less step to do. Yeah, not quite.

Convenient as it is, it comes with with a few problems. I am not the world’s best speller to begin with, I’m prone to grammar typos and don’t forget my adoration of dangling participles. Most of which I don’t catch until after my post has been published. And oh, let’s not talk about the autocuumber – I mean autocorrect. That charming little helper that constantly insists I have no ducks left to give, yet will occasionally decide in a food post that I had fuck a l’orange for dinner. Oopsie!

Add in that my fifteen words per minute typing cannot possibly keep up with my fifteen hundred thoughts per minute mind. I drop words mid sentence. I know I thought them, but the fingers do not reach my keyboard in time before other thoughts and words crowd them out. And le pièce de résistance: big fingers – little keyboard. I’m constantly hitting the c, v, b, n, or m key when all I want is amspace. (<– like what just happened there – oopsie!). Using my phone for drafts is convenient, but a recipe for disaster.

Especially the times when I was not done composing posts, and did not want to lose the work done thus far. At some point I accidentally managed to hit “Publish” because that button is too dang close to the dropdown menu where “save as draft” is hidden. I know the app designers emphasize posting, but it’s bedeviling as all get out when drafting. Because naturally, once I have realized that it’s live, I don’t want to trash it, so now I am scrambling to edit my accidentally published post, only to have hit “update” instead of “save as draft” in the process – yet another oopsie(!). This especially galls me for I constantly tell my students, “If it’s a mess in draft, it will be a mess live. Submitting it will not magically fix anything FUBAR.” Goodness knows this mess of a blog is proof of that. It’s bad enough when working from my PC. It’s especially true for me when composing on a mobile device.

All that to say, so, if you happened to see my first, second, twenty-second, failed attempts of what probably looked like an incomplete or an incomprehensible posts for the few moments it was up before I could fix it, I apologize.

Day 18 of 31 – Come see how the rest of us are slicing it up this Friday!

Slice of Life 15th Annual Story Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

So Burnt

I have semi-personally been trying to find the joy in life again, in peope. Oh, I’m doing an okay job of faking it until I make it, but right now? In this exact moment I am simply burnt the fuck out.

And I’m torn…

– in my sorrow for the shit that’s happening in Ukraine. The sanitized politics that’s being parsed out as news over here versus the sensationalized what’s supposed to be coming directly from there on top of what I hear from my colleagues. All of which means everything and nothing as I try not to fret and fear over the fact that I have not heard from someone I personally know there in over a month. An erstwhile colleague, he went home when his mother became ill not long before the world shut down because of Covid. We remained in spotty contact mostly via email. He lives in the Holosiivskyi raion (a district in Kyiv) and would be among the men now in uniform fighting for his country. I fully understand, I am far from a priority now. I don’t know and won’t know until he can find a moment to reach out.

– in my exasperation over Prince William who tells the world with a straight fucking face that only Asian and African countries wage war. That Europeans just don’t do these things and he’s surprised by the situation in Ukraine. Are you fucking kidding me?! England has a track record of poaching and taking by any means necessary, under the sweet term of ‘colonizing’ a mile wide and an ocean deep. I find this particularly galling as England recently celebrated Commonwealth Day the partnership of 54 nations, mostly made up of countries that were previously part of Britain’s Empire because I’m so absolutely sure not a single one of those 54 nations ever had a British gun fired upon them. Yes, Prince William is a grown man, but still, boy if you don’t go sit your selectively blind arse down!!

– in resignation along with these allegedly warmongering Asian and African countries, as well as Black Twitter, who are all sitting back, looking around with “you SEE this bullshit?” expressions. They are understandably side-eyeing a world at large that is seemingly losing its shit over Ukraine while also wondering where the fuck was all this concern for them when it was people/countries of color being invaded?

– in enmity with the state of Florida and their “Don’t say Gay” bill which would ban “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” for primary school children in the state. What that fuck is this reverse “Field of Dreams” bullshit? If you don’t say it to the kiddies then LGBTQ won’t exist. Yeah, good luck with that. And how long before someone amends the ban to include middle school, or high school?

– annoyance and semi fear of my own city, in fact – most of this world, with its relaxing of Covid restrictions. Every one is so much of a rush to behave as though everything is back to “normal”. Yes, I am so sick of having to wear a mask 12-16 hours a day when I step out my house to go to work, and/or try to have something of a social life again. But I much rather be sick of a mask, than be sick from Covid. Vaccination does NOT equal immunization. Less likely to become so sick from Covid that one might die, does not mean one won’t get sick. It most certainly does not mean one won’t be a carrier regardless and transmit it to someone else regardless. We [the world at large] are not anywhere near ready for what we once knew as “normal”. Especially for those at risk who genuinely cannot take the vaccine. Do they get relegated to become some form of agoraphobes to better protect their health from a world that demasked too soon? I’m waiting for the Covid numbers to once again start rising as more masks get lowered.

– in a form of self-induce ambivalence where I get through my days in a state of “I’m fine”. In the Venn diagram of me for the most part I really am fine in my little bubble of the world. But in another part of me there is this powder keg of utter helplessness within that feels like it is going to explode any fucking second and it’s slowly expanding over space. And the thing is even I am not sure if that explosion will be in egregious rage, in sinking depression or in an apathy that is borderline socio in self protection. Because I know what happens to me when I try to be everything to everyone. I’ve gone the self-martyr route and it was a bitch digging myself out of that emotional quagmire to allow myself to be happy. I cannot do that to myself again. I’m justifying to myself why an upcoming pleasure trip to Atlanta in a couple of weeks is sorely needed. Yet, I’m also chastising myself because I feel like a whiny little brat when I know I don’t have it any where near as bad some of my locals who are truly shouldering some heavy burdens in which I can do nothing for them but be emotional support – it’s enough for them – I know it is, and yet it’s not.

I’m trying to give myself perspective to keep all my petty shit together and get through the daily, but it has been so fucking hard. I’m just so burnt with outside forces playing havoc with my inner equilibrium right now.


Day 17 of 31

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

I Don’t Wanna

From Monday morning my mind has been on GO!  It’s been pulling teeth while herding cats in the midst of putting out fires on the professional work front. Meanwhile my personal Inbox of work overfloweth. It’s the reason some of my slices have been posting really late this week. It’s been a string of “I’ll get to it in a moment as soon as I *fill in the blankety-blank-blank*”. Only I get distracted by this, then remember that and and dammit I forgot about whatever…  Next thing I know it’s after 9pm-10pm and I’m pantsing my slices. <– That somehow sounds wrong, but I don’t wanna think about it.

Oh good God, I'm exHAUSTed
Bonus points to those who know where this is from…

I’ve been mentally flying by the seat of my pants all week and I know those planes of thought -because trains of thought are too slow for my needs right now- are about to crash and burn. Sunday starts daylight saving time for most of the U.S. and I’m so tired the thought of losing that hour on Sunday has me worn out. I don’t wanna…

While the above gif is a THISCLOSE second place, this scene below is the most relatable thing to my brain’s processing capacity right now because I don’t…

At least it’s Friday, I think…right? Right.


Day 10  of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

The “I”s Have It (When I Don’t Have Anything Else)

I sat all day wondering what to slice about. What am I going to do? What am I going to say? I have no idea…

I… I… I… oooh wait…

I have an idea…!

I am 
so over being cooped up in my apartment this winter.
I keep 
my fingers crossed that the a trip I have planned holds.
I wish 
I was on that trip right now.
I dance
like I have three left feet and two are broken – doesn’t stop me from dancing.
I sing 
badly – doesn’t stop me from from grabbing a karaoke mic and belting out a tune anyway
I think 
teachers are hardly paid enough for all the work they do.
I want
to hit lotto, but don’t need to to be happy and glad to be in a place in my life to know this.
I should 
finish that painting project started months ago, because
I can 
be a serious procrastinator.
I always 
try my best.
I love 
I myself, inside and out at last.


Day 9 of 31 – Come see how the rest of us are slicing it up today!

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Fuse

If there is one thing I have not missed since my fulltime return to office in October it is the daily commute. Door to door, it is an hour and fifteen minutes in the morning; then an hour and a half in the evenings. And that is if it is a straight run, meaning no sick passenger, some idiot somehow running amok in the tunnels, train suddenly going out of service, standard delays, and a host of other things that are the bane of daily commuting.  Especially in the evenings when I hit the height of rush hour where a two-hour run happens at least once a week.

And this was my norm pre-Covid.

Some reports say the trains are less crowded. That more people have chosen to drive their cars in order to avoid as much human contact as possible. That may be true, but I don’t see it, and the huddled masses packed into the trains each day would certainly disagree. After all, less crowded is still crowded. But now it’s crowded in a confined space where it’s a pure leap of faith, and for many the pure need of a paycheck, that the masked people around you are in fact vaccinated and not asymptomatic carriers breathing in the same enclosed space.

There are only two major changes that I can see:

  • Nearly everyone now wears a mask, including the homeless.
  • And nearly everyone seems to have a shorter fuse these days.

Still, I don’t have a problem with going to work. I am just a few very short years from retirement. And after close to a year and a half of remote working, the nearly three hours lost each day to my commute is grating my patience.

I found myself once again explaining “’cides” to a someone who asked for directions when our train went out of service this morning. She was standing considerably less than six feet away from a friend and I, and without a mask. My friend politely asked her to mask up. She did not want to.

Me (snarky to my friend): Then don’t give directions to a murder/suicide.

Woman (angrily): What fuck, I ain’t got nothing.

Friend: When’s the last time you were tested. We don’t know what you might have picked up a couple of days ago that’s can get us sick now.

Woman: Please I’m vaccinated.

Me. Vaccination doesn’t mean you won’t get covid. It only means if you contract it, you’re highly less likely to die from its complications. And you can still be asymptomatic and spread it.

Friend: Your masking up ain’t about protecting us from you, it’s about protecting yourself from us.

Me: If you knowingly refuse to mask up to protect us from anything you make have potentially contracted today that’s homicide. If you refuse to wear a mask to potentially protect yourself from anything we have contracted that’s suicide. We’re not down with either ‘cide. So, mask the fuck up or back the fuck up, or better yet, do both ‘cause we know how to get where we’re going.

We started to walk away to change trains. As I said we knew how to get where we where going. The woman put on her mask and we helped her out.

No, I don’t have a problem with going to work. I’m fine once I get there.

I just have a problem with going to work.

And it’s a little disconcerting to realize that short fuse I talked about sometimes includes my own.

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Slice of Life – Tuesda/y Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

Come see how others are slicing it up!





Got It Write This Time

For the past near sixty-one days, I have blogged every single day. Last month for Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Writing challenge was arduous enough. That self-promise of thirty-one days straight of blogging, especially when I had posted barely a couple dozen times from all of May 2020 to March of 2021, was truly diving off the deep end to see if I can swim. [I actually did that dived into a 16 foot deep pool without knowing how to swim.] No, I still cannot swim – don’t ask. Luckily I was much better at following through on immersing myself into regularly blogging again.

Because it is following right behind the March challenge, April is its own war as it is all about poetry. Each year for National Poetry Month I look around and enjoy the work of other poets. Each day I also post original work of my own, honoring National Poetry Writing Month. At least I’ve tried to. I admit I in previous years I have been a spotty poster during April at best. If a dozen new works happen it was a good year. C’est la vie.

As I had naught else to do, I also challenged my self to try more of a poetry form I was not fond of the Villanelle. I absolutely knew I could not do thirty days of them, but I have managed one new one per week, the most recent as of today which I published this morning. Which means I now have five villanelles in my poetry portfolio. Having written four more it is better than the single one that has existed for nearly decade by itself, so that is a huge win in my book.

2021 is the only year in which I have participated in National Poetry Writing Month where not only have I not bailed halfway through the month from writing exhaustion. Granted some were posted late, like yesterday’s coming in at nearly 11:30pm, but I will have thirty new poems under my belt, including four new villanelles! With the finish line a mere three days from now, I am confident I will complete it. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of myself for this!


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Slice of Life – Tuesday Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

When There Is No One There To See

I’m imagining the you, the you you choose to be
when there is no one there to see

When the company is gone and you close the door,
are you the same person you were the moment before?

If you didn’t know company was coming by,
would left-over take-out be the only food supply?

Who are you? The you you choose to be,
when there is no one there to see.

If I open a closet, will dirty clothes fall from on high,
because when you said you last did laundry was a white lie?

Do you rage at a world you want to throttle
or silently drown your fears at the bottom of a bottle?

Tell me about the you, the you you choose to be
when there is no one there to see.

Do you blast your music because the beats make you glad?
Or simply to drown out the loneliness making you sad?

Do you put your dirty feet on the coffee table,
and run around nude just ’cause you’re able?

I want to know the you, the you you choose to be,
when there is no one there to see?


National Poetry Month for 2021 Day 25 pondering who you are when no one is looking…

Unimited Funds and Instant Travel….

A year in quarantine has squashed my poor travel bug which is as antsy as a jumping bean right now. Reminiscing/Lamenting past travels brought good conversation and a good question.

Question:

If you had unlimited funds, and instant travelling with you and anyone you want to bring along at your disposal, what would your perfect day (24 hours, live it up) look like?

My Response:

Teleportation and some serious Red Bull/5 Hour Power would be likely needed, but I would bounce around the world.

This is a rough estimate timeline as I have no idea of sunrise/sunset times are for most of the places listed and would have to adjust my schedule accordingly.

* 9am – Breakfast on the Nile, with a tour of the Pyramids and camel riding included.

* Noon – Zip over to Antarctica for an hour of up close wildlife watching because I just have to step foot on that continent, not just see it from a cruise ship.

* 1pm – Warm up on Ireland and Scotland coasts mid-afternoon; I want to personally see the beautiful vistas and at least one of the ancient castles I’ve only seen in movies.

* 3pm – since we’re so close, a quickie bite at the Eiffel Tower (and perhaps a different sort of quickie afterward should I have a S/O by then).

* 5pm – New Zealand, The amazing forest shown in Lord of the Rings I believe was shot there.

* 6pm – Machu Picchu – for the amazing history.

* 7pm – Rio, Brazil, Statue of Jesus and the divers – self explanatory.

* 8pm – Sunset dinner in the Potala Palace is in Lhasa, Tibet. Can you imagine how glorious a sunset that must be at one of the most amazing architecturally impressive structures and at one of the highest points in the world!

* 10pm – Tokyo, Japan – Just to see the only place brighter than Vegas at night – lol.

* Midnight – Tromsø, Norway, Aurora Borealis – self-explanatory.

* 2am – Dubai (UAE) – for some serious late-night night life in an unexpected place, gotta get my partay on!

* Twilight/Dawn – Tonga Island – one of the closest places to the International Date Line – to be on the cusp of yesterday and tomorrow simultaneously.

* 5am – Sunrise on Uluru (Ayers Rock) Australia. For the sheer beauty and reverence of the place.

* 8am – New York, New York – because There’s No Place Like Home.


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Slice of Life – Tuesday Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Flashback Friday: 3-26

On this Flashback Friday we go March 26, 2013, when I learned of a magical thing called…

Firefly Squid

If, like I, you have never seen or heard of this before, let me introduce you to the marvel of it…

firefly-squid-2
firefly-squid-1

The Firefly Squid is a bioluminescent squid growing to a length of only three inches. The squid is equipped with special light-producing organs called photophores that emit a deep blue light. Large photophores can be found on the tips of the tentacles as well as around the eyes. Thousands of tiny photophores can be found throughout the squid’s body, giving it the ability to emit light along its entire form. In the Toyama Bay, in the central Japan Sea, the squid are found in fantastic abundance. Normally living at 1200 feet underwater, waves in the Toyama bay pushes the squid to the surface in massive numbers where they are fished by tons from March to June.


And as I stated back in 2013, I learn and/or am reminded of the wonders of this home terraform we call Earth. Regrettably, I have yet to make it to that side of the world, let alone to Toyama Beach just for this phenomenon. It remains someplace I would like to visit when, not if, WHEN, I visit Japan.

And of course post pictures when I do.

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Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers