Friday, March 6, 2015

Memoir structure -- working it out (mentally)

Is anyone else still rocking out to the Disney Tarzan soundtrack? Because I sure am.

It's Friday, y'all! Yippee!

What does everyone have planned for the weekend?

Remember that hike I told you I was so excited about last weekend?

Well it didn't happen.

Because,

wait for it,

it RAINED in Los Angeles.

I know.

Remember those celebratory Bud Lights I told you about, that happen post-hike? Well those did happen. So put a little smile on your face for that fun factoid of life.

Let's see what else I can tell you.

Have I told you I've done hardly any reading this year?

Sucking face -- I mean, writing -- will do that to you. It really eats into your reading time.

True confessions, the only book I've finished this calendar year is "Frog and Toad are Friends." Last year my tally was 50 books by Dec. 31 (granted several of those were meant for an audience of ages 2 - 13, so calm down before you think I'm some reading genius. We're talking "Pippi Longstocking," People, not "Brothers Karamazov").

I have read almost all of "Hyperbole and a Half," which was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law. It's laugh out loud funny, y'all. I especially enjoyed the chapters about the repeating parrot and the hot sauce. I was essentially choking on my spit, and I thought my neighbors might think I was a little cray. But no one knocked on the door to check on my well being, so I guess things are OK.

Or maybe I should be offended.

I'm also currently reading Donald Miller's "Scary Close," his latest book about relationships and emotional intimacy. A friend was kind enough to gift it to me. I've been a fan of Don for a while, and I'd like to review this book and pitch it to a publication. And the subject matter is timely for my life.

Last Saturday was my mandatory writing day for the month of February. I did all right. I'm not hugely proud of what I accomplished.

Interestingly, Don Miller speaks to this in his current book. He says that he is never satisfied with the amount of writing he does; it never feels like enough.

This reminds me of something I learned in psychology class in high school. It's best to set moderate goals for one's self. If you aim too low, you'll never be very proud of yourself, because you know you're doing something easy. If you aim too high, you won't be proud, because you can't achieve what you've set out to do.

I don't think that setting aside a day each month to write is unreasonable, but I am still trying to figure out what exactly I want to accomplish in that time. Originally the plan was to write a book chapter during each mandatory writing day.

So far I'm two mandatory writing days down, no book chapters to show.

I did submit a short memoir to some contests this year, and I feel like that was a great hash-out exercise to get something resembling a draft of a larger memoir. So I thought about expanding on that, just filling in all the spaces between paragraphs with more word-vomit to flesh out the story.

I've also told myself, "Well, if you write another essay [for a contest] about your senior prom experience, then you can use that as another outline to get at your feeling-left-out-feeling-weird-in-high-school section of your book."

But is my book going to have such a section? Is it going to be chunked by themes, or chunked chronologically?

Of course I won't know this until I get to the editing phase, and I won't get there until I first vomit all the words onto the page.

I talked to a writer this weekend who I've only met twice but whom I like and trust, and he reminded me what all great writers remind us: there is no way around it, no matter how special you think you are, you've got to just get the words on the page.

Part of it is that I don't want to open up painful wounds. I don't want to talk about anxiety, depression, feeling left out in high school. I don't want to go there, admit that.

The other part of me, honestly, is bored. I'm boring myself. I know my story too well.

Or do I? In writing I discover so much.

When you think what you're writing is boring, let me just tell you this is not a motivator to keep writing. Because then you think your readers will hate it.

Scratch that. You think you won't have readers because they'll be bored hence they won't bother.

Well this same new writer friend who I barely know but do like and trust also encouraged me that my story is worth telling, with me as the specific, though at times seemingly mundane (my words, not his), author.

So that was good. And I greatly enjoyed gabbing with him over beers.

So that's where I sit, homies. I have plenty of free Saturdays and Sundays this month to declare as my mandatory writing day for March. Who knows? Maybe I'll schedule in TWO of them. Ooooh.

Today's pay day. That's exciting.

First purchase? Mini donuts and coffee.

Second "purchase"? Payment toward the credit card bill.

Holla.

Over and out. Keep writing. Loves. -- The Daily Bailey

Sunday, March 1, 2015

PMS -- Pretty Miserable State

Guys, PMS is the worst.

For starters, I'm eating everything in California.

Mac & cheese, pizza, a burger, all things with ranch dressing, sushi, tacos, burritos (yes, multiple).

I can't be stopped.

Then this morning, as I was driving somewhere, I had planned to get coffee on the way -- because it was morning, and duh -- and the Starbucks I pulled into was madness. I'm too lazy to make a dramatization illustration in Microsoft Paint for y'all, but there were a lot of cars and a lot of them moving all at once and only so many parking spaces.

I chose to leave.

I finally pulled into a 7-Eleven, feeling like I might cry, feeling very agitated, and wondering what had happened in the course of 20 minutes to make me feel suddenly so mad.

There was some success, as I gathered donuts during this foraging effort.

And I got myself the largest coffee they offered.

Then when I arrived at my destination a little headache decided to start brewing in my forehead region.

Sigh.

I'm feeling a little better now (and I've downed two glazed donuts), but I'm afraid that little twinge in my abdominal region is more than my imagination. It could very well be the next step: CRAMPS.

If you need me I'll be eating something salty -- or sweet -- or both -- and I might be in tears. Solidarity to my sisters. Holla at me if you're in the same boat.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mildly weird

I've -- somewhat -- stopped participating in the task of licking the foil yogurt lid before proceeding to eat the rest of my yogurt.

For whatever reason I've felt obligated to do this for many years.

Although admittedly I just licked a lid moments ago. I haven't fully licked the habit/urge/obligation to do so.

The yogurt I'm currently eating is the kind you stir mini M&M's into. I am five.

---

Tomorrow is my mandatory writing day for the month.

What does that mean, exactly?

Well it means that while I may likely take breaks to clean, make snacks, take a shower, smooch on Kitty Face, etc., it is my job to sit on my butt and write more or less continually throughout more or less the whole day.

Though I am sleeping tomorrow and waking up sans alarm. Girlfriend is tired. (Although I'm actually in pretty good shape, because I slept for approx. 10 hours last night).

---

I dropped my ballet class.

I love ballet.

And I loved my teacher.

And I met two potential new besties on my first day of class.

But it was a three hour class that took up a whole evening each week, and I just wasn't feeling it. The timing was not great for my life right now.

And my energy for writing has been really up lately, and I LOVE that and want to keep that enthusiasm focused and pumping. So I decided to drop. Sometimes I love being an adult, allowed to make my own adult decisions.

---

I'm going on a hike this weekend! I'm super excited.

I really enjoy the feeling of walking uphill.

Is that super weird?

Just mildly weird?

I like the steady rhythm of heavier breathing. I like the feeling of ascension -- it's probably literally psychologically effective in lifting one's affect, eh?

I like it. I'm looking forward to it. I believe we have a 7-miler on the menu. The last time we did a hike that long, it was tough, it was great, it was long. We finished by flashlight, and then gorged on bar food and happy hour Bud Lights. I'm excited for Round Two.

---

I just watched "Almost Famous" for the first time last weekend.

I. Loved. It.

Frances McDormand? FAB. FAB. FAB.

I watched it in my jeans on the couch, and someone I care about made me a burger with peppers and onions on top. I drank a Dr. Pepper and ate vegetables and delighted in the culinary and cinematic tastiness and the delovely company.

I actually found myself thinking, amidst the crazy plot, that this could actually happen. Yes, a 15-year-old kid could fool Rolling Stone magazine and convince his mother -- I mean, if his mother were Frances McDormand -- to let him skip school and travel with groupies and then write a national cover story.

Sure, I haven't written a cover story, with my master's in journalism, but sure. It could happen to William Miller.

Sure.

For a movie to beat through my cynical exterior and get me to just dopily accept its farfetched frameworks -- well, it's saying something. (That said, I've always loved movies like "Big" and "The Lake House," which stand on farfetchedness as their base. So...)

Though I just had to comment on the presence of a woman in a lead editorial position at Rolling Stone in the 70s. Um, I'm skeptical. Cheering for it. But skeptical.

The precious person who made me the burger told me to just enjoy the movie. But c'mon.

Also I want to be Penny Lane (or Mary Poppins (unrelated)) for Halloween.

*Also, finally, I have to give myself a hearty clap on the back for finding this movie via my own defeat over technology. By my very own self, I was able to find Netflix on someone else's TV. I braved the scary remote controls and the various "inputs" and the 21st century madness.

And there was Success.

This is big, People.

Big.

I still don't have texting, though.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Things I didn't plan

Two months ago I had no idea.

I went to church (I think), then to Rite Aid where I bought things for the White Elephant gift exchange to be held at work the next day.

I was tired and not feeling well, so I spent the afternoon being lazy.

The next day, December 15, I attended the gift exchange. I sang karaoke -- something I didn't see coming. I got overly, vocally excited about karaoke that was about to happen at the office (because really, how often does that happen??), and then our HR director called me to the front of the conference room to participate.

"I'm being harassed by the HR director!" I yelled.

I sheepishly made my way to the front, sporting my Santa apron -- because duh.

I started singing with one of my coworkers, who's a professionally trained singer. That lasted for about a bar.

And then I took the microphone out of her hands.

I sang "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." I sang "My Favorite Things," which I'm not sure why it's considered a Christmas song, but I love it so I enjoyed the excuse to sing it. Also that was terrible grammar in that last sentence, but I'm leaving it.

The karaoke was unexpected. And it was fun.

That night I had a date. It wasn't blind, as I had met the guy -- and as he will tell you, I eyed him across the dance floor in a not-so-subtle way on the night we (officially) met (re: the "officially" -- another story).

I knew he was fun. I knew he could dance. He asked me out, which I appreciate, so I agreed to grab a drink.

But I had no idea.

After my karaoke session, I went home and changed out of my Santa apron and put on a sweater dress and some boots.

I tweeted something about wanting to stay home with the cat -- I had a headache, and I've been on a lot of meh dates -- and mentioned that this was why I was still alone.

I kissed the cat goodbye.

And around 7:15, my dancing pal walked into the bar. Around 7:18, he asked if he could buy me a drink.

By 7:30, he had probably asked me 10 questions about myself.

And by 10:30, I was like, "Who is this guy?!"

Here's to unexpected things.

Though his Valentine's gift to me is a t-shirt that reads, "My cat is my valentine" (because "It's true," he says), I assured him that he's my valentine.

Last night he told me our two months of dating feels more like six months to him. I love that.

I feel like I've known him for a long time.

Two months ago I had no idea.

I'm glad I grabbed the karaoke microphone. And I'm so glad I went out for that drink.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Manual labor -- received!

Remember when I wrote about need-wanting a desk, and needing help to lift it to my apartment?

Well raise your blogging spirit fingers if you received a desk for free, and the manual labor to go with it!

Annnnnnnd if you now have a big girl bed, and can slide into your 30th birthday without sleeping on a futon!

[Spirit fingers wagging]

It all started with a phone call on Friday afternoon; a friend of a friend was getting rid of a box spring.

Suggestion from friend: get the box spring and place futon mattress on top of box spring.

Hurdle: need to rent a truck or van to move said box spring across busy city with lots of traffic.

Positive: friend willing to help move box spring and ride through adventurous city traffic with me.

My sweet friend Laura is in town, and I got home from work on Friday and told her that, despite our plans to gorge on sushi for the evening's run, we may instead need to move a box spring.

Laura was all over this plan immediately. My focus was to crack open my "It's Friday after 5" Michelob Ultra, but Laura's shifty eyes starting ogling all of my personal belongings and she requested paper so she could start blueprinting our massive redecoration of my teeny tiny apartment.

We rearranged, making room for the bed. We took turns vacuuming. The cat took shelter.

At some point we got the word that a mattress and a desk would be thrown into the mix, so we reconvened around the blueprint on spiral notebook paper.

I put things on shelves.

Laura came behind me and rearranged them in a more feng shui manner. I trust her.

I got distracted by Facebook. Laura remained focused. When we left for sushi (we also learned that we wouldn't have to move anything until Sunday, so dinner plans were not cancelled), she insisted we grab my overflowing recycling and take it downstairs.

She'd be a great roommate. "Bailey, pay your bills! Bailey, do your taxes! Clean your room!" I'd be so on top of everything.

And she makes me laugh, which is a bonus.

I got hungry, and begged for a break, so we drove to sushi, which took a while, so we were extra hungry and extra excited for the food:


Then, in our zestful state, we over-ordered and ate way too much:


We slept it off and the next day we went to California Adventure, had a lovely time, and met Anna and Elsa!


Then, the next day (are you tired yet?), we rented a van and Bailey drove the giant hunk of metal on LA freeways and went over an unmentioned number of curbs, and Laura and I laughed. And I may have caused her to be frightened for her life.

But we made it!


And that's the story of how I acquired a new bed and desk (the former of which the cat meister is obsessed with). High up, cushy places, I tell ya. Cat heaven.

And finally, Laura, being her true go-getter self, completely arranged my apartment, made the bed, assembled the desk, etc. in the time it took me and another to return the van to the rental place.

And the place looks great. I essentially got a new apartment. But got to keep the cat, which was a huge bonus.

Needless to say, I thanked my moving helpers with a Thai dinner. Mmm.