Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I don't want to be a paperback writer

I like to write. I would like to do so professionally. However, when people inquire about my career goal, I never say "I want to be a writer" because that is easily misconstrued. I say "I want to be someone who writes something" which is as vague as my ambition and, more importantly, steers minds clear of unintended connotations.

You see, I don't want to write novels or poems or whatever thing it is that fits this stereotypical typewriter-key-clacking, tweed-jacket-wearing vision of a writer that people have. I have written fiction--short stories here and there, a poem or two in my angsty teenage years. But it's not something I really enjoy doing or would ever want to depend upon financially, primarily because I have no good ideas. I think if someone gave me their idea, I could write the proverbial poop out of it. But that, my friends, is not generally how people want to do things, and if you ever asked ME to come up with a lengthy piece of fiction--with characters and plot points and a climax and a denouement--you'd be sadly disappointed by the result.

(Also, don't give me your ideas because I think I just admitted I'd steal them.)

Aside from fiction, I would--as my vague ambition suggests--write pretty much anything. Manuals, website copy, book blurbs, entertaining fake news, anything. I get the sense that a lot of people who want to write want to be expressing themselves. I don't care about that. I express myself all the time. Too much, probably. I just want to play with words. And work with words. And take extended vacations on private islands with words. I love them that much.

I get the kind of satisfaction out of finding just the right phrase that I imagine a hurdler gets out of clearing a jump. I enjoy the writing process (although the quality of this blog suggests that I more likely just spit these posts out like text-based diarrhoea and then flush them away into the Internets, I actually do have a writing process) and I never get bored with it. I never procrastinate about it. There is no part of sitting down with a paper and pen and turning an idea into words that I don't love more than I could ever love even the perkiest perk of any other job.

I just wanted to say that. Put it out there. Not in a The Secret kind of way. That is bunk-aloney (which is doubly fictitious and fallacious). I am not asking the universe for anything. I'm just saying that's what I want to do. I want to be someone who writes something.

I've gotta work on conclusions, though.

Monday, 12 September 2011

No, sorry, I can't go on a date on Friday night. I'm busy trying to CHANGE THE WORLD

This is going to be a short blog post.

I spent a lot of the last couple months furiously dating. I also spent a lot of it being disappointed that nobody seemed to want to date me so much, even though I really only met a couple people in whom I was genuinely interested. I spent a lot of the last few weeks in particular thinking about how I maybe just don't have anything to offer a partner in life. And I probably don't. Honestly.

But the other day I realized that I think I have something to offer, like, the world. Or at least my corner of it. And maybe it's a self-defense mechanism talking, but I think that's more important. That's probably why I will never have much to offer in the way of domestic living. I just feel like I can fry fish that are SO MUCH bigger than that.

I don't think I can be somebody's perfect wife and still try to change the world.
And I'd rather change the whole frigging world than learn how to make a pot roast.
I'm kind of the sort of person who could do it, too.
The world, not the pot roast.

 I could do something worthwhile if I stopped worrying about finding someone to watch a movie with on Friday nights and remembered that I don't even watch movies on Friday nights. Know what I do on Friday nights? I read world news, and look up facts and figures, and review legislative transcripts.

Okay, sometimes I go out and get irresponsibly drunk and do crazy things.
But most times--nope, it's pretty much the stats and transcripts.

And I don't want to give that up. Sure, sometimes I like to watch a movie. But I don't want just that. Don't misunderstand: family is really important and I would never put anything--not even the fate of world--before my kids.  But I don't ever want to feel that all I need is my own comfortable life when I know I could be making so much more than that happen. And marriage seems to breed that attitude while it's breeding little humans.

I don't know--maybe someday when I've figured out exactly how I'm going to change the world, some guy will come along who'd be okay with me having more to offer it than to offer directly to him. If he does--cool. I bet I like that guy. If he doesn't--whatever. I think I'm still okay.

That's all. I guess this wasn't that short. It was short for me. And short on pointfulness. But that's pretty much standard for this here blogarooni.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

It's a Great Time to be a Geek

Geeks are the new black. They're cool now, and they're everywhere. They're your neighbours, your dentists, your grocery store clerks, and your friends. And they're terrific. They're enviable, even, in their coolness.

Good for them.

You know what will never be cool?

That sucks. Because I'm not a geek. I'm a nerd.

Geeks know things about stuff--geeky stuff, but stuff nonetheless. They tend to know a lot about video games and zombies and cult-hit movies and internet lingo. And then geeks also know a lot about mainstream popular culture, which is almost unfair, because why do they get both? And when they get together, they all get along and have geekgasms about various mobile devices and new releases of operating systems.

I'm not a geek.
I do not know anything about zombies. I have not seen Shaun of the Dead.

I have also not seen most other movies that are enjoyed by cults of geeks. Actually, I've seen remarkably few movies--full stop.

I have never purchased a gaming console of any kind. There's an Xbox in my house. It belongs to my sister. I played Charlie and the Chocolate Factory once. It was really hard.

I don't know what any of the weird smileys ( like <.< ) mean, and I always have to get people to explain internet shorthand to me, or I have to look it up on urban dictionary.

I do have a BlackBerry. I like it just a normal amount. I would not defend it to the death. I would not even  camp out overnight to get one if a new colour option were introduced. I have no other devices that are even remotely mobile. Unless my car counts.

I'm a nerd.
I don't know anything about anything that could be considered useful.

I do know darn near everything about a few topics that are dull and could not by even the stretchiest of imaginations be put to practical use.

When people talk about anything pop culture, I get to practice my "try not to have a blank stare" face. I'm getting so good at it.

I only love Buffy because of the wordplay and the genius of the writing in a very literary sense. I don't give a damn about vampires or demons outside of the Buffyverse, and I don't intend ever to do so.

I am, in pretty much every single possible way--including but not limited to the way I dress, the way I talk, and the way I dance--undeniably uncool. (And I'm not a geek, so when I say UNsomething, I actually mean not that thing, and do not mean that it really is that thing, but in a supposedly unconventional way. I'm not cool in an unconventional way. I'm just not cool.)

I want to start a Nerd Revolution.
Make us cool, too, you know? Like the geeks.

But none of us know how to interact with others. Even among our own kind. I, for one, am usually too busy reading literary critical theory and legislative transcripts to organize a whole revolution.

In a way, we are the ultimate hipsters (hey, look at me! I know that word!) because we really TRULY don't know what the hell you're talking about and we are only interested in things that you've probably never heard of and would never care about.

The Nerd Revolution is probably not going to happen. I'm never going to be cool.
In light of the fact that real nerds will never be where it's at, I think I should shoot for "pretty girl with glasses" nerd, like in the movies--yes, I've seen enough movies to know that the nerd is just a smoking hot chick with bad hair and glasses.  

I'm smoking hot.
I've got bad hair.
I can buy some horn-rimmed glasses.
(Okay, one of those things wasn't true.)


It's been 23 years and I need to get this off my chest.

Hey, remember this? This, I mean:
I wrote a letter to my love,
And on the way I dropped it.
A little doggy picked it up
And put it in his pocket.
He won't bite me
And he won't bit you
But he'll bite the one who's got it
So drop it, so drop it
It must be dropped by now.

I distinctly remember playing this game on the black top at my primary school when I was in grade one, and not being able to concentrate on the game because all I could think was "WAIT A MINUTE!! NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!!!"

Let's line by line, then, shall we?

I wrote a letter to my love,
And on the way I dropped it.

Well, that's fine. It makes sense. It's disappointing that this letter was apparently very important to you and your love, and you couldn't keep track of it. But maybe it was a long trip, or a very small and easy-to-miss letter. I'm sure you have a perfectly good explanation.

A little doggy picked it up
Was it beef scented? Why would a doggy pick up a letter? Unless it was a postal doggy maybe, or like the Neo Citron dog, and just trying to be helpful.

And put it in his pocket.
Dogs don't have pockets! What the hell?
Why is this messed up dog going around picking up people's personal shit and putting it in what I can only assume are imaginary pockets? He's obviously not being helpful as we'd previously assumed because if a dog's got pockets, he's clearly pretty serious about keeping stuff hidden. I doubt he's planning to deliver that to it's rightful owner, or he'd just carry it in his mouth like a normal dog.

He won't bite me
And he won't bit you
Really? Cause he sounds like kind of an asshole.

But he'll bite the one who's got it
But, but, THE DOG HAS IT!
We've established that this dog is stealing people's personal effects and either depositing it into imaginary pockets or has gone to the trouble of procuring real pockets for some underhanded purpose. And now he's either forgotten he has this letter (best case scenario: rabies) or he's hiding it in his fucking pocket and pretending he doesn't have it so he can accuse people of having it and bite them.

So drop it, so drop it
It must be dropped by now.
Excuse me, but I don't respond favourably to ultimatums from jackhole dogs.
I'll drop it when I want to drop it.
Oh, wait... no, I won't. I don't have it.
That shithead dog has it.

Thank you for reading. I feel so much better now that I've said that.
You may now return to your usual business.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

It Turned Cold and That's Where It Ends

Summer--the societal construct, not the season--is over.

Today was back to school time, and I was so excited for it. I'm not good at routines, so I need to have them forced upon me. My life has become a mess of spontaneity and irresponsibility over the past two months. It was fun, but I'm all funned out. I need to get back to BUSINESS.

Maybe it's because I feel like I've ALWAYS been in school--well, I don't just feel like that. There were only two years that I wasn't in school out of the last 24--but the year always starts in September for me. Summer is for fun and craziness and beach trips and lounging about and staying up too late. And then at the end of it, I turn another year older and get myself back on track in the Fall.

So now I'm getting my goal on. (What does that even mean? Why do I talk like that?) I'm going to tell you my goals. Why? Because it's my blog and I can do what I want, no matter how self-centred it is.

Goal 1: Think More
Don't tell this blog, but one of my goals is to keep my other blog more up to date. I started it a really long time ago as a place to write through the process of learning about things like politics and world issues and current events. I posted to it six times. Then summer hit. See above for what I spent the summer doing instead of thinking. The goal, in measurable terms, is to post at least twice a week to that other blog.

Goal 2: Do Winter Things 
Normally the only winter thing I do is hibernate. Almost literally. I've spent entire weekends wrapped in my sleeping bag. You think I'm exaggerating, but you can unzip just the bottom, so you don't even have to take it off to pee. Not exaggerating.

Last year I started learning to skate and I even got to the learning to stop part, which I think you'll agree is the hardest part. This year, I want to skate more and get really good at it.  I also want to go toboganning because I don't think I've done that in close to twenty years, and that is just way too long to have not literally hurled oneself down a slippery slope.

Goal 3: Get a Job I Like
I've never had a job I really liked. Truthfully, my favourite job was working at Tim Hortons because I really like customer service. My current job is okay, but irregular and lonely. I want to get a job doing something that is at least mildly challenging and in which I get to work with people. I think I can find one of those.

Goal 4: Establish Routines
As already stated, I don't have routines. None. Sometimes I have coffee in the morning; sometimes I don't. Sometimes I watch a particular television show; sometimes I skip it. Sometimes I go to bed at 9PM; sometimes I stay up until 4AM. Sometimes I brush my teeth before I shower; sometimes I brush my teeth after I shower. The only thing that could be defined as "my way of doing things" is doing things in a state of utter chaos. At times, I genuinely like that about myself, but I want to be grown up now. I at least want to have the option.

That's all. Four goals is more than enough for me for one winter.
Happy Fall, Folks!

Monday, 5 September 2011

This is (the Soundtrack to) the Story of a Girl

I was just sitting here thinking about a certain someone who used to be a significant person in my life and is now something other than significant, and I was more specifically thinking about songs that reminded me of said certain someone. And measure by measure, I was getting sadder and sadder.

And then I said to myself, "F*ck this. Why am I sitting here thinking about songs that remind me of him? I'm gonna think about songs that remind me of ME."

So I did. Here they are.

My Twitter friend Mark will appreciate this first one because he thinks that I "talk like an engine with a never ending gas supply." So, rest assured that talkativity is not something I've recently developed. When I was a toddler and a wee lass, my family used to sing this song to me:

That was probably kind of mean of them, but as I understand it, I really never did shut up.

Paradise City was my favourite song when I was five. It was my first ever favourite song, as far as I can remember. There wasn't a lot of Sharon, Lois, and Bram in my house. I totally remember rocking out to Guns N' Roses all the time when I was young enough that head banging didn't hurt.

After that, my favourite song was We Built This City. I needed to make sure y'all know that I was marginally cool for a while before Tiffany became the absolute coolest thing I had ever heard of or thought could possibly be imagined into being. I wanted to be her. I remember getting a Tiffany tape in my stocking one year and squealing like a very happy stuck piglet.

For years, I would hear the original version of songs (yes, sometimes even by the Beatles) and be like, "Hey, why is this dude singing Tiffany's song?!?!?" I learned about covers and shopping mall music sensations later on.

I did, like most girls of my approximate age, go through a New Kids on the Block phase. I think I remember having an entire set of NKOTB paperback biographies? Anybody else have those? Then in high school, I discovered music of the 70s and 80s. I had grown up, in large part, listening to music of the 50s and 60s because that was what my parents listened to, so I guess I needed to go back and fill in the decades I missed.

I think I mentioned before that I Touch Myself by the Divinyls was MY SONG for years. Not because of any lyrical associations, but I just loved dancing to it. I also loved You Sexy Thing (I Believe in Miracles) by Hot Chocolate. I could have used a better video that would really showcase this song, but it would not have been THIS video, which may have ruined the song for me, but also made me giggle:

That's probably it. As my musical horizons broadened, I stopped having favourites, and I think the advent of personal music devices (not to mention general anti-social-ness) has destroyed, in large part, shared musical experiences, and I guess that's where a lot of my favourites come from.

Oh, and also at the end of high school, I met aforementioned certain someone, so there's a ten year gap in the story of me really having anything to do with me because I was THAT girl. I suppose I should find some new songs that are very me. I'm sure in ten years I'll have some that remind me of these current high happy times.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


I dislike the word Nice. I had a teacher in grade seven and eight who actually docked marks on our writing assignments if we used that word, and his lesson stuck. That one did. I remember there was also something about trees or motors or something one time... it didn't stick. But the thing about not using the word Nice stuck with me.

His reason, which has now been officially adopted into Amanda's Linguistical Code, is that Nice can mean so many different things that it really means nothing. Especially in writing, where there's no inflection or tone to indicate meaning.

By the way, I'm still looking for a publisher for Amanda's Linguistical Code, and please don't hesitate to contact me just because my book about language includes an un-word in its title. Part of my Linguistical Code is the acceptability--nay, the unrelenting excellence--of neologisms and sensical alterations to the language.  (Like, for example, the use of the word 'sensical' because nonsensical is a word, so why in the world would sensical not be a word? That in itself is nonsensical. Oh, hey, I see what you did there.  Good one.)

I'm a big fan of a subtly versatile word, but the word Nice means too many things. Allow me to demonstrate:

Today I had a nice golf game at a nice course with a nice friend, Alice. The weather was very nice, and I got some nice shots because of my nice clubs, and our skills were a nice match. We had a nice time at lunch, where the food was very nice. My friend spilled her drink on the nice tablecloth, though. They were nice about it, but geez--nice one, Alice! I gave the waiter a nice tip because his bum was quite nice, too.

See, it already means NOTHING to you, doesn't it?

Today I had a leisurely golf game at a picturesque course with a really kind friend, Alice. The weather was beautiful, and I got some impressive shots because of my well-crafted clubs, and our skills were a suitable match. We had a pleasant time at lunch, where the food was delicious. My friend spilled her drink on the elegant tablecloth, though. They were understanding about it, but geez--nice one, Alice!* I gave the waiter a generous tip because his bum was attractive, too.
*Some things, like idioms, don't change.

Isn't that more meaningful? I know--it's too overly describey, but at least all of the words MEAN SOMETHING. Of course, nobody would ever write the first paragraph, and hopefully, nobody would ever write the second one either, because it stinks in terms of readability and cohesion. But I think my point has been made, and so now I sign off and leave you with the same lesson that was impressed so indelibly on me so many years ago.

If you wince every time you accidentally say "Nice" for the rest of your life, well, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be passing out hammers from my bag.