Friday, November 30, 2012

Feeding the Wolves

I wish you’d been the one
to dream the dream
I had of you.
How much more fascinating
if it were your subconscious
putting you in provocative positions
and trying to seduce me.
Not that it wasn’t already fascinating
and don’t worry, you were succeeding
it was simply a case of wrong place, wrong time
and nothing came of it.
I’d like to think that if it had been your dream
you’d have been as persistent as necessary.
If that isn’t the kind of dream
you want me having about you,
don’t worry.
I woke up.

The above is what we call, well, prose with line breaks. Nice prose, lovely line breaks perhaps, but it’s not poetry. It might make a song, but it will never be a poem. There’s not a single metaphor in the whole thing, for one. No symbolism, nothing representing something else. Ok, the line breaks make that statement slightly false, but only for the first line. I don’t mind at all that it isn’t a poem. It’s still fun.

Today’s been rough. We had a quarterly social last night for work, which means free food, wine, and beer. I had a couple of glasses of a red blend, then went home. When I got home I opened the Gnarly Head Malbec a friend gave me for my birthday and somehow managed to drink the whole thing over the course of the evening. Considering I had goldfish crackers, Haribo gummi bears, and half a piece of chicken for “dinner,” I felt the wine a little more than normal.

I’m still hungover.

It’s not bad. Just a mild headache, body aches and tiredness. I feel as awake now as I did when I woke up, but it doesn’t help that I’ve been sitting at a desk most of the day with little to do. I have always been one of those people who gets more energy from being active. It is somewhat ironic then, that I enjoy resting so much.

The miserable part is being a pillow away from falling asleep at my desk coupled with the massive boredom of daily life here. I don’t like nor care very much about doing my job. More than half of the stuff that has gone across my desk again today had unnecessary corrections my co-worker makes obsessively. They have to be checked every time our production department makes the corrections. The lack of necessity makes it really rough. I don’t care to do more than check that the changes she requested were made and why would I? The sentence means the same thing whether it says, “One offer per customer,” or “One offer per customer only.” There’s no need to remove the word only from that sentence. It’s just more work for everyone else. And that period she added at the end of the date on a lone sentence saying, “Promotion valid through 2/18/12”? A great way to waste the time of people who have better things to do.

I’m really quite done with being a proofreader. I’d love to continue writing books, but I don’t want to do it at work when I’m supposed to be doing, you know, work. If I’m going to be working on my own projects, reading tons of books, and surfing the internet more often than not, I would much rather be doing so from my favorite café or at home.

Speaking of my book and moving away from the bitching, I finished reading the first draft for the first time today. It’s really not too bad. The second half of the book needs fleshing out and there’s plenty of rewording, trimming, and other editing to do, but for what it is, I’m not too disappointed in myself. It’s better as a first draft than some of the garbage I’ve encountered trying to find something worth reading on Kindle. If I’m going to spew crap for public scrutiny, at very least I’m going to make an effort to shape it into some kind of crap sculpture instead of just a pile of dung.

I suppose that if we take into consideration that the average reading level for Americans is eighth grade, and our newspapers are all written to a third grade level, then it’s probably unreasonable for me to expect more from aspiring writers. I just wish they would spend more time on the writing and crafting than the aspiring. I’m really happy that Kindle allows you to read samples, otherwise buying books would be a lot like looking for a needle in a manure stack.

Worry not, my fine friends. I will present my dung sculpture when it is finished. Perhaps I’ll model it after Rodin’s Fallen Caryatid; a woman crumpled beneath the weight of her burdens, but trying to carry them nonetheless. As I have mentioned before, I wrote something I didn’t care about in order to practice my writing. That’s not going to stop me from trying to share it with the world at large, however. If Twilight can make it, it may just be that my nose for crap is extra sensitive. It doesn’t help that I was reading The Vampire Lestat in the 6th or 7th grade, let alone the 8th. Once you read a good book, it’s hard to go back and read garbage in the same genre.

I have similar but slightly more respectful feelings about Harry Potter. It was good, but kind of overrated, especially for someone who’s been reading real fantasy novels since he learned to read, starting with C.S. Lewis. While Rowling’s is easier to read than Tolkien, Harry Potter is no Bilbo Baggins. I liked the first book, the fourth, and the last. The rest were sawdust. The sixth was hogwash.

I may be overly self-deprecating regarding The West Wind. Self-deprecation is excellent armor against the cruel, cold world. It protects me from my own perceptions. It also feeds the wrong wolf, which is a constant battle and not one I’m winning today. It is somewhat difficult to remember in contemporary society that romance is not just the province of women. I am a romantic. I like romance. I enjoy watching romantic comedies. I am Duke Orsino from Twelfth Night, in love with love and waiting for someone like Viola to come along. I really dislike feeling embarrassed by these facts.
It’s time to remind myself that some of our most famous romances, both historically and contemporary, were written by men. Shakespeare comes to mind first, not only with Twelfth Night, a romantic comedy, but of course Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado about Nothing, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, the sonnets, etc. Love is quite regularly a theme of some kind in his works.

On the contemporary side, there is Nicholas Sparks. While I don’t think much of him as a writer, since his movies seem to tell his stories in more depth, he is quite famous and has a significant number of popular romance novels and movies. One of my favorite romantic movies is A Walk to Remember, which I have always believed should be an inspiration for any couple. People talk of Hollywood romance and describe it as something that doesn’t happen. In my world, A Walk to Remember is the way love should be, minus the tragedy at the end. Bucket list? Let’s help each other make our dreams come true. It just takes a little imagination and the ambition to see it through. I should know, I have walked that road, I have danced on that rooftop.

The Notebook was pretty rough for me. Not because I am gigantic sap, which I am, but because the story reminded me too much of my own, specifically the story with the aforementioned rooftop. In all honesty, it is also the only Sparks novel I have attempted to read. The movie is richer in detail and tells more of the story, so I gave up. He does have quite a few successful stories he’s shared, from the two I’ve mentioned to The Vow, Dear John, and the new one coming out soon, Safe Haven. Admittedly, I usually choose to watch romantic comedies over pure romance stories. Definitely, Maybe, anyone?

I miss having romance in my life. It has been entirely too long. There is an entire passionate side of me that just sits there, twiddling its thumbs. It has become a horse, bridled, with the reins pulled too tight and the bit digging into the soft parts of its mouth. It longs to walk, trot, canter, gallop. I may have to admit I am a little afraid of giving it its head. It hurts when someone knocks your horse out from under you when you’re in motion.

Sometimes I wonder how much I really practice what I preach, or if I have become to shy about it. I talk about imagination often, and how what we can do is only limited by our imaginations. I shy from a lot of possibilities, however, because they’re too far, too hard, too strange, in a different place in life. It is possible I am simply limiting my imagination, probably to protect myself. There is no gain without risk, however. Am I using my judgements, complaints, and uncertainties to keep myself safe from harm? I like to think not, that I am simply waiting for the right situation.

I may be hiding from it.


And a thousand words, goodnight.


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