2019-11-11 Sort, Organize, File.. Repeat

First things first, tipping my hat today as a loyal numbers nerd. It’s eleven eleven. That’s got to mean today is going to be a great day, doesn’t it?… Yes!!

There were a lot of things that happened on Saturday. As I said yesterday, it was too much and too overwhelming to write about. Like a big plate of broccoli.. if there’s one serving on your plate, you have no trouble digging in to consume that deliciousness. But a whole plate overflowing with green florets and stems might just make you turn your nose up, put your hand up, and just say “nope.”

Yeah.. it’s was just like that. Yesterday I began to compartmentalize so I could consume all of Saturday. Some things get lost in processing, forgotten as I sift through fading memories. But I do believe I successfully sectioned things into a set of perfect portions. Each of these could be a blog post, I suppose, if I do continue to have the urge to write about it at all. But no promises.

As life continues to happen, whatever is happening today could easily become more important. Still I think that the list will be helpful for posterity….

1. Notes on the 7 presentations I went to at Barcamp.

2. Notes on my own presentation and what I did to cope with my anxiety.

3. Interactions with other Barcamp attendees which included two people I previously dated. Doh!!

4. What happened after it was all over, lunch and walking the Old Market with my daughter, which should include both eating delicious cheeseburgers and a visit to Hollywood Candy.

5. Notes about getting home just before dark and doing yard work. Which seems minimal compared to the rest of the day, but it’s not.

6. Deciding to reward myself with binge-watching a tv show (Stranger Things season 3), which I gave a third shot to after a terrible first and second episode. I wasn’t disappointed.

7. Not being able to sleep despite the 20 hour day! Good Gravy— what is wrong with me?!!

8. A wrap-up on my time alone in the castle.

I think that’s it. Like I said, life keeps happening and things that need to get done for school and the kids and Jim more of a priority.

That includes finishing the poetry assignment due today for Advanced Poetry Studio and several forms and workshop materials that have to get submitted for winter Residency for my MFA today.

The kids are out of school because it’s veteran’s day. And it’s snowed. Not that THAT is news or has anything to do with anything except ewwww snow! Ick!!

Jim is back home and took the day off too just to get a bunch of stuff done before going back to work tomorrow. Needless to say, my attentions are already being tested.

On that note, I’m gonna Jam before the day really starts getting away from me.

Taking One damn bite at a time,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-11-10 Not the Conclusion I Had in Mind

Friday I wrote about my latest assignment— to do something uncharacteristic and uncomfortable and then write about the experience. Well, folks, yesterday I definitely did that. The day was an extremely long one which started at about 6am.

I planned to give a “talk” at barcamp omaha and doing any sort of public speaking is way outside of my comfort zone. The short story is that I did it and didn’t die. The longer story? Well that’s the assignment isn’t it.

I’m supposed to record as many details as I can.. sensory input, bodily reaction, conversations, interactions. The hard part about that, which I realize now that it’s all over, is that I’m supposed to take all that and write a poem. But something in me is not feeling that. I’m not sure why. I kind of don’t even want to write about it at all. Weird.

I mean.. I did the thing. Like I said, I woke up early (half an hour before my alarm was supposed to go off). I was already a ball of nerves and anxiety by like 7. I did some morning chores and gathered everything I needed for the day. Soon after that I headed out the door for downtown.

Perhaps it just feels overwhelming still, because there is too much to put into words. I did the thing and then it was over and that’s when all the best parts of my day started to happen. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel like writing about it, because there are so many other things I’d rather write about.

It’s not the conclusion I thought I would be writing today, but fuck it. I just want to write what I want.

On Friday I had talked to my daughter about my plan and she expressed interest in coming to watch. I gave her all the details and even promised that I would try and schedule my session in the middle of the day to give her time to wake up and get moving. The talks are every half hour starting at 9 but I had to be there at 8 to get the time slot I wanted. She was coming from her dads house and I wasn’t sure she would actually get up and drive downtown. She did.

My talk was at 1pm, right after the lunch that I didn’t participate in or eat because I felt sick and too nervous. She showed up, on her own sweet time, at 12:45 and I actually had to go outside the building to direct her on where to park. She had never driven or parked downtown before so that was a new experience for her.

It was actually sort of nice to have that last minute distraction to take my mind off of what was about to go down. We came in the building and made a straight line for the room my talk was in.. where I had reserved a seat for her in the front row right in front of me. She has anxiety too and for me, being in the front row and not seeing people behind me helps me focus.

The talk was about 20 minutes which I mostly read off of my laptop. I realized the day before when I started to put together in my mind what I wanted to say, that it would be easier to just write it all out. Then after if was all written out, I decided I should just bring that, read some of it and then improvise when more details were needed. So that was that.

During my “reading”, when I got to the most emotional component, I started to lose it up there in front of all those people.. and there was my darling daughter right in front of me, a huge part of what I was speaking about. I looked at her and steeled my nerve and pressed on.

I powered through the rest and as predicted, had about 5 minutes left for Q and A. I actually gave the audience a choice.. they could either ask me anything they wanted, no subject being off the table -or- I could read them a few of my poems. The resounding answer was poetry and I could not have been more pleased and relieved.

I read three poems I’ve had published and called it good and done. After I had several people come up to me and introduce themselves saying that some part of my story resonated with them. That made me feel good. One gal just thanked me for sharing saying that the more people share their struggles, the more we know we’re not alone. It’s so true!

Z and I stuck around in that room for the next two talks and then decided to split. It was 2:30 in the afternoon and neither of us had eaten yet. We went to the tap room for cheeseburgers and fries and had a great chat. We talked a little about my “talk” and she admitted to getting emotional too, when I did.

She said, “mom, I was there too”. And as a parent you know that when you struggle your kids are affected, but you hope it’s not going to screw them up too much. Still, it meant the world to me that she came to support me, and that she sees that life is hard sometimes, sometimes heartbreaking, and that you just do the best you can. And.. that whatever it is, it is most likely temporary. Even the pain from losing a loved one, though it never goes away and is always a part of you, does get softer with time.

It’s a good message and I felt like the talks (not just my own but others too) along with the conversations afterword were a good experience for her. It was a proud parenting moment and that means more to me than any stupid anxiety or public speaking fear.

Instead of just giving her advice and telling her how to try overcome her anxiety and fears, I showed her. I modeled good behavior, I’m sort of just now realizing that! Go me!!

After the Tap room we visited an establishment in the Old market she had never been to, Hollywood Candy. The place is part candy store, part museum, part antique shop… and 100% what happens when a hoarder has a lot of money. $1.75 for a Twix bar.. no way man. That’s insane!

Ask me sometime about the dirty little secret I know about Hollywood candy. It’s a good one!

There’s more that happened yesterday.. so much more and I didn’t go to bed until 2am. But I’m going to stop there. I guess I wrote more about my talk than I intended so that’s good. I’m still not sure it’s the right stuff for a poem. I’m not sure what I will turn in tomorrow. 🤷‍♀️

I’ve got stuff to do today and am picking Jim up at the airport in a couple of hours so I gotta scoot.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-11-08 All Backstory and No Conclusion

This week I have disparate assignments. Comments from my mentor on my 3rd big packet of work came back and along with a ton of great feedback was a statement something like, “you’ve earned the right to have a blast with packet 4. Write what you want.” However, I’m still in class and getting those very specific prompts and instructions to write in a very specific way about the subject at hand. What’s a girl to do?

My answer is of course to split the difference. Half of what I write will be the freeform fluff that comes to my brain and the other half will be attempts at completing those pesky, yet quite reliably fruitful assignments.

One of the prompts was basically a repeat of the one earlier this semester where we were to return to the most painful moment of our life and write about it with a new lens. No thanks. Been there and done that and I’m not going back again. Not this time. Which leaves me with only one other prompt which was entirely new.

It’s a long one, but summing up, We’re supposed to put ourselves in a situation that is completely out of character, that We would normally never do, and then record all the results of the experiment. All the sensory input and reaction, other people as well as our own. Obvi it’s supposed to be something that makes us uncomfortable. After that, we take our notes and write some bad-ass poem. Yup. That about sums it up.

When I think about where I am this weekend, alone and left to my own devices, it’s like the universe is pushing me very strongly in a particular direction. I mean, I’ve got from now til Sunday afternoon free and clear for whatever I want to do. It’s ripe with possibilities. AND (and this is a big and deserving the all-caps) it’s also Barcamp weekend. Hold-up.. what??!

Rewind. Barcamp is a conference where a sizable group of people come together to listen to other people give mini-speeches and presentations about their passions— cool tech info, new entrepreneurial endeavors, interesting hobbies, ideas, just whatever. There is a focus track for tech and also those movers and shakers and makers, but there’s also a kitchen sink track which is open for any topic. That’s where I’m going to try and fit in.

Yes.. my plan is to speak at barcamp this year. The sign ups are day-of and you only need a ticket to get in, so very little planning in advance is required. That’s part of the appeal and also, for me, the sheer terror. Thinking too much in advance about it has caused me to chicken out in the past. But now.. I’ve got a prime directive and it’s perfect for my assignment.

Did I mention Public speaking terrifies me? It’s pretty common I guess. I heard once that most people are more afraid of public speaking than dying. Yeah.. that. To make matters worse, I’m not going in super prepared. I mean, I have a topic but it’s just going to be me up there talking. No PowerPoint presentation for distraction, no guaranteed plants in the audience to laugh at my jokes or ask pre-planned questions (The universe better save me if I run out of things to say and it falls into a Q and A!).

Good Gravy I’m starting to sweat just thinking about it. The thing I’m 100% certain of is that I can do it and I will not die. The best I can hope for is to not make a complete fool of myself and come away with some good starter material. The worst? That it will qualify more for that first prompt, the one about the most difficult moment of my life, than the second. 🤪

That’s it for today kids. The title said it.. all backstory and no conclusion. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that (as long as I don’t actually die).

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-11-07 Predictable Predicaments

Last night exactly everything I predicted came to pass… from mid afternoon all the way to bed. I said yesterday I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my self all alone here, but I did have an intuition on my side, along with history which always repeats itself.

I took Jim to the airport at 2 and when I came home I scrambled around the house making the beds, vacuuming, and doing one last set of dishes. I just want to exist here in a clean house for four days and there’s nobody else here to fuck it up. Glorious!

Then I sat down and really did not know what to do next. As strange as it sounds.. that was actually one of the most of the most predictable parts of my evening. Left to my own devices, and without chores, and with choice.. what I typically do is waste a lot of time just sitting and thinking about it. Even to the point of like getting irritated with myself about not being able to decide and wasting time.

I opened my notebook and laptop because a few days ago I decided I wanted to try writing a villanelle but after about 10 minutes I realized that’s a huge undertaking and requires a whole lot more thought first. Then my stomach began to rumble and i realized it was dinner time.

There was no way I was cooking. Nope. But there was another decision to make. I didn’t really have a ton of time to eat at a sit down restaurant and don’t care to do that alone anyhow. That leaves me with a quick run for fast food, takeout, or the grocery for a prepared meal I could bring home. Of course I had a craving (predictable) and of course it’s rush hour and of course I don’t care because I want what I want… which in this case was a sub sandwich from Little King.

No.. subway or jimmy johns would not do. Both have issues that really prevent me from ever eating there again. I also didn’t want to risk going to a new place and not being satisfied. I’ve never been to potbelly or Jersey Mike’s. I guess I really am a princess. So I ventured out for that 45 minute round trip and returned home with my delicious sandwich which I barely had time to scarf down before I had to leave again. (BTW, my regular #8 on white made the little king way minus oregano was delicious!).

The event I wanted to go to was a reading by an author visiting UNO. It was the last in the series of readings the university hosts every semester. I had communicated with several other people who expressed interest in going to such things so I was mostly assured I would not be alone. Mostly.

I have one friend who is near and dear to my heart who I’ve known for like 10 years and we always have trouble getting together because of our busy schedules. I was going to pick her up at 7 but she ended up working late and just couldn’t go. The other folks were solid maybes and one of them stayed home too. But! I ended up going and sitting with a new acquaintance from the MFA program we are both in. It was great. It was so nice to not have to sit awkwardly alone like I usually do.

Then I came home and resolved not to be so wishy-washy about the rest of the night. I dug into the first episode of season 3 of stranger things which I’ve been waiting to watch but Jim’s not into it and we only ever watch tv together. The episode was seriously disappointing. I mean, I loved season 1 and season 2 was not as good but still pretty good. This episode was just a mess. I’ll have to watch another just to see if it bounces back.

When that was over it was time for bed and I took a book.. yeah, an actual novel I’m starting to read for fun and not for school. I only read like 3 pages before my eyes got heavy and I knew sleep was inevitable. That was also pretty predictable. If it’s past like 9:30 and I’m anywhere near a bed or couch It just happens. The spontaneous falling asleep.

Despite having nothing to get up for this morning, I still woke up at 6:30am and got up right away. Right now I’m doing that treadmill thing I do and plan to hit my friend Leah’s Jazzercise class at 8:30.

The most predictable thing of all for the rest of this week/weekend? The steps, Jazzercise, and writing. Those are no brainers and I can’t foresee anything that would distract me from doing those things. We’ll see if life has any curve-balls in store.

Life is often predictably unpredictable.

Cheers to That,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-11-01 Friday Toy Boxes, Writers Blocks, and Botox

I’ve been kinda going through a dry spell with regard to my writing. Some would say that’s just a cop out. Some would say you just have to write everyday and the words will come. Some others might say that it’s ok and when it comes again be ready. I’m not sure what camp I’m in. I guess I’ve always had commitment issues.

I guess it’s a good thing I got married when I was too young and stupid to realize how daunting commitment can be. I guess it’s lovely to be young and not so broken by life that doubts dance all around and pop out from behind corners and couches when you least expect them.

I swear I was once a hopeless romantic but reality has a way of twisting that princess dream, folding it into a childhood treasure box and closing a lid on it. I suppose it’s good fortune if it’s still in the closet somewhere and didn’t get hauled down the driveway for some random garage sale like the rest of my childhood treasure. Yeah, at lest some peace from my past remains. Safe and Tucked away for another rainy day.

Where is this going? The Universe only knows. What other secrets have yet to be revealed? I sure as hell don’t know. I don’t think anyone does.

Another week is coming to a close and another month begins. It’s really easier to be a the beginning or ending of anything than somewhere lost in the middle. Perhaps that’s why I’m feeling good today despite my so-called writers block.

Im reading Terrance Hayes’s book, “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin”. The latest assignment is to attempt my own set of sonnets which I have so far failed miserably at. It’s a block I’ve had with other assignments this semester and it always seems to work out OK so I’m hoping this is no exception. I guess time will tell.

What about Botox? Yeah.. I’ve tried it. It’s like holding ones forehead facial expressions hostage. People always tell me I wear my emotions on my face. I never mastered hiding my surprise, disgust, or joy. Perhaps botox will make me appear mysterious in some way. And level the playing field somewhat; I’m not great at reading people.

That’s it for todays alliterative drivel.

Happy November!

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-10-15 A Serious Lack of Motivation

The week is rolling now and there’s no time to waste. I’ve got another big packet due on the 20th and I’ve been doing that classic SugarCookie thing and procrastinating the parts I don’t want to do. It’s this big craft essay thing. It’s mostly done but the final section and conclusion and a pretty bow to tie it all together. I’ve been putting all my energy into the creative portion and revisions, which is necessary too. Arguably more important. But that’s almost done and there’s no putting off the other any longer.

I’ve also got work things creeping in on my time. But at least I’m making some $$ for that. Everyday living expenses are one thing but when it comes to special road trips to KC or some new shiny laptop, it’s different. I need my own funds for that and every hour I work makes me feel better about that.

I’ve been struggling with new writing lately including this blog. Like my poetry, sometimes I think “so what”. I don’t have anything truly important or impactful to say and I’ve got lots of other stuff to focus on so why put the effort in. I think I need some convincing and and most of the time I’m pretty good at self-talk but lately I’ve been needy for external validation.

I’m now participating in several writing/workshop groups which is great. Sometimes I get so sick of reading and working on my own stuff and so switching gears to read other people’s stuff is a welcome treat. Still, that doesn’t fix my motivation issue. Especially when it comes to this blog.

I used to write everyday and now it’s like every 2 or 3 or sometimes 4 days. There’s a direct correlation to my time on the treadmill which used to be an hour every morning and that’s spotty now too. I just haven’t had the push to make myself do it. Everyday there’s just other stuff that needs doing. I use the word “need” loosely. Some things are and some are just an excuse.

Right now I feel like I’m coming down with a cold and my energy is zapped. I’m trying to reduce my caffeine intake and now instead of feeling dead by 11am, I’m dead by like 9am. That’s seriously serious! I could/should do a whole post about the caffeine and the sleep and the energy, but that a perfect example of a road that leads to the /shrug and question why?

I think I’m going to need to try changing things up and do something completely different. Not sure what that would be but I’m open for suggestions.

Perhaps I’m just having a down morning and need to wait a few days for it to change.

Time to cut and run. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Be kind to each other,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-10-07 The Assignment

The assignment (I may have mentioned) was to select the most difficult time of your life and write about it. I tried to. I wrote some words and turned them in. It felt like a failed experiment. How do you put yourself back in a place you tried so hard to climb out of and forget. How do you find imaginative language to help you describe your pain?

The assignment, though well meaning, was just all wrong for me. I tried to follow the prompts but the heart and mind aren’t always compliant. It all just feels so far away and it would be nice to forget, you know?

A question on my mind happens to be about writing what comes when it does versus putting your mind into a frame where it’s got to produce something. What’s right? What’s better. I get all these exercises. I get the point, but I read the words from my peers and it just makes me feel unworthy. They wrote some really great stuff from those prompts. Mines just garbage.

Turning that rock over in my palm, the other stuff I’ve written this semester, sans prompts, has been better. Quite good, in my not so humble opinion. This is obviously leading me to a conclusion. But what of it? It is what it is.

It’s Monday again and I have class today and we’re doing workshop. Yay for more feedback. I really enjoy going to class and so far the reading assignments have been good. I’ll be interested in how workshop in class will differ from the MFA Res workshop.

I really don’t have a lot to muse about today. The kids are going to their dads house for a week and that always makes me a little grumpy. It’s 11:30am and I’m still off caffeine and feeling a bit eye dead. It seems when I’m tired my eyes feel it the most. They get sore and I have a hard time focusing. I’m on the treadmill and looking at myself in the mirror and they are red and I look like I’m on the verge of tears. Maybe I am. I dunno.

I think that’s all I have in me today. Just one of those days.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie