2021-09-14 The One About (Not) Dealing With Inequitable Partnerships

I’m really very tired of writing about the same things over and over and really wish I could get out of the funk that is, for all intents and purposes, self-inflicted. 

I’m also not sure what direction this particular piece of writing will go given the Rolodex of thoughts infesting my tired mind. 

In exactly two minutes I’m supposed to have a meeting with my “partner” at the GLR yet I made the choice to step down the stairs to my treadmill anyhow, totally expecting him to dip for the hundredth time. That’s just one thing on my mind. 

It feels like an 85/15 split with the actual work that gets done between us with me taking on the lion’s share. I do it because I care. I do it because I have higher standards than he does. I do it because I have no other choice (unless I want to cause huge drama by ousting him from his position). Make no mistake though, I don’t do it because I have more time or energy or feel my priorities are any less important than what he has going on. 

Who am I trying to convince? Myself as always. Yes, he has a young family and a full time job and I’m just a housewife and stay at home mom. I struggle because I used to have a career and know what it’s like to juggle everything on top of .. we’ll.. everything else. Good grief. But it seriously takes just as much time or more for me to do here, at this house, than what I eas spending at my day job.

My issue is working with someone who does a fraction of the work and does not follow through and still basks in taking credit. 

I spent hours on a proposal for the coordinator of our MFA program—toiled over the language for two potential internships and possible lectures we could give. I did all the work and then sent the email off, with attachments I’m sure my “partner” did not even read. Then one hot second after he (the coordinator) responds, my partner replies. 

I sometimes wait for days and weeks for feedback from him and often give up. But here we have something visible and public and he’s all over responding right away. That’s just rotten. 

I’ve complained to my closest peeps about this and they all say I need to have a talk with him. But I’m a chicken shit and I hate confrontation. 

I hate the way his Twitter handle has his title for the lit mag like he earned it. I hate Twitter too but that’s just beside the point. It’s all about appearances and I have to get over it. And get over social media too. 

I daydream about a world without social media and I daydream about a world where I never entered into this stupid partnership. I would not trade the experience and what I’ve learned for anything, I just wish it was an endeavor I initiated on my own and was the sole leader of. 

This gives me so much heartburn and I don’t know what to do about it. It’s a tricky pickle. 

It’s been exactly 20 minutes since I started writing and now… Now he’s finally ready for our 1pm call. I already told him, no zoom today so I have to get myself somewhere in the house where my phone has service (which is not in the basement). BRB

***

(One 30 minute call and a round trip to Papillion to pick my son up from school later)…

It’s all going to be fine. With each interaction with said person I’m learning how to be a more patient and understanding human. I’m also well aware that if I want specific things done, I need to ask pointedly and attach deadlines. It’s a much more diplomatic and reasonable approach than the solo takeover (or murder) that was playing out in my head earlier.

I tell myself that having another person at the helm with me means I’ve got someone to take the blame if something goes horribly wrong. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

I also have to remember he’s not being paid for any of his efforts either and I really have no insight into the rest of his life which could be just as messy as I feel like mine is.

In any case, thanks for reading and for understanding that I’m just a lonely human being lost in a sea of broken humanity. Most days I’m just trying hard not to drown. Most days this blog is a good way for me to work through how I’m feeling. Some days though, nothing really helps. That’s life. 

With peace and love and a dollop of understanding,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-09-05 Working through Control Issues

This morning I’m thinking about control. I’m thinking about how to truly let go of something I have no control over and more than that questioning why I let something I know is out of my control dig at my insides. 

My day yesterday was consumed with taking a car in for an audio upgrade, getting a bike for my daughter to use on campus from Craig’s list, and catching up on different house projects. The goal for me is always about balance and all that had to be over and done with by 4:30 ish so Jim and I could get ready for our double date. 

We planned a morning bike ride and that did not happen because Of timing and the bike search. I wanted to get some steps in the afternoon and that did not happen because my time was hijacked by the realization that a group of folks from my MFA program have just launched their own lit mag. This, folks, is the thing that set my anxiety off, for whatever reason, and then all of a sudden I felt threatened and insecure about my own endeavors. 

Yes, I realize my insecurity and anxiety were not rational, but it took root anyhow and pretty soon I could not stop thinking about all the things “we” at the GLR could be doing better. Everything we have not been able to do and all the things I’ve personally been procrastinating. I worry that people on our staff will decide to leave us and join their team instead. I worry about other things too, but I know it’s irrational and don’t even want to acknowledge these worries. 

Instead, I want to be a better person and let go of that which I can’t control. I know there are literally hundreds of online lit mags and hundreds of publishers operating out in the wide world today and one more doesn’t affect us. I want to congratulate those people I know who are finally realizing a dream they’ve had even before the GLR was a seed planted in our heads. I want to embrace this circumstance as positive because it means more success for people from our MFA program. It’s win-win and that’s the way I want to view it. 

Still, it takes me a while to sort through my feelings and the information is so new. And.. get this… since they just opened for submissions (unpaid) I happened to have already sent in a poem. 

This shows how little I’m paying attention to the places I’m submitting. I read their mission and vision but did not visit the masthead. If I had, I probably would not have sent something in since there is too much IRL connection. Or maybe that’s ok and I’m just overthinking it. I’m not sure. 

In any case, I felt compelled to reach out to each person individually and congratulate them on their launch. It takes me a while to compose exactly what I want to say and so that consumed some of my time in the afternoon. However, after that was done, I did feel better about all of it. It was good. 

I was able to enjoy my sushi double date with some new friends and, getting back home by 9, get to enjoy and early evening bedtime. Yes it was Saturday and I’m old and lame but I don’t care. I was spent. 

Here’s the rub.. I had rotten dreams all night, restless sleep, and woke up feeling anxious again. Good gravy!! What in the Universe am I supposed to do now?! 

I know it’s not all about that one thing. I’ve got a host of feelings about different things eating at me. Angst about my relationships with my parents, a new experiment my husband has asked me to partake in regarding the news, and strangely enough, the drop-deadline for materials for my book. I need (need need need) to get those things submitted and ASAP.

What I feel like I need is one or two days in isolation to get on top of all of the things that are under my control. I just want several hours of uninterrupted time. Not 30 minutes to scramble and do something half-ass. Ugh!! 

Today. unfortunately is not going to be a day for that. Today my focus is spending time with the family and then going to Lincoln to spend some time with my darling daughter and bring her some things she needs to be successful this semester (including that bike we picked up yesterday). 

That all starts now. And my treadmill time is done. 

With peace and love and rainbow rolls, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-16 This Blog Post is Not About Toads 🐸🐸🐸

Jim and his boys brought back about 12 toads from their adventure at Two Rivers State Park and we released them in the stream behind our house. I feel a little bad for displacing them from their original natural habitat but feel confident they can thrive here too. Lots of cool places to burrow and hide in the day and bugs to snack on at night. The bugs are kind of bonkers right now with all this rain and heat. 

This would be a perfect intro to the garden update that I’ve been wanting to write about for a hot little minute lately but it’s not what’s on my mind today. Nope. 

Today I’m thinking about the grinder as a necessary tool in “sausage making.”

Sausage making (in this case) being the production of poetry which is opposed to where I first heard the term applied to developing software when I was working as an engineer for a software company. The metaphor, as it turns out, works well for both. 

I think that’s because there are a lot of similarities. There is a SDLC to poetry I don’t think people recognize.. call it a PDLC. Poetry Development Life Cycle. 

Complete with analysis to development to testing, iterations, and IF you’re good AND lucky, a little bit of implementation too. 

I’m also beginning to be a firm believer in the mathematics of it all. Proven formulas that work and methodologies that can be applied to increase the chances of success. But this is all just metaphorical until I can explain using real life examples to help solidify the thoughts. 

That’s a good disclaimer actually. These are all just my thoughts and what works or makes sense for one person might not for someone else so take that for what it’s worth. Back to “sausage making”…..

About a year ago I had just finished my last semester in an MFA program and my Master’s thesis in Poetry. It was also shortly after the “peak” months of the pandemic when folks were still on serious lockdown and waiting for news each day about what had transpired around the globe in the last 24 hours. I was working full time but had a growing desire to hang on to my MFA magic somehow and use the momentum from that to channel my creative energy into “something.” At the time, I didn’t realize that “something” was going to turn out to be publishing my poetry. 

Sure, I was also starting an online literary journal, but I needed something that would be more personally satisfying. Plus, Trish Lear lectured once that if you have a lot of balls in the air, something is bound to land successfully. You just gotta Toss ‘em up!! 

Yeah… it was near the end of July in 2020 when I started to submit my thesis poems like crazy. As it is with a lot of things you do for the first time, you learn as you go. The main platform I submitted on was Submittable and I slowly developed my own process. 

This process included things like finding and researching potential publishers, tweaking my cover letter and bio, and of course selection and revising poems I thought might be a good fit. After completing my thesis I felt as though I had about 50 poems truly worthy of letting loose on the world at large. I also had another 20 that had potential with more work and (not exaggerating) over a hundred others that will never see the light of day, so to speak. 

I had been told it’s a numbers game and so that was also part of my strategy. All this feels very much like an analysis phase tipping into development. I put the time and effort in. I created a spreadsheet to keep track of my submissions and with each submission and subsequent rejection, I made slight modifications. 

Soon, a few acceptances happened. If I revisit some of the blog posts I’ve written about being accepted and rejected in the past 12 months, I know I would find a sentiment of indifference. That’s kind of a curious phenomenon—to have a similar reaction to both. It’s like a brief shot of emotion right to the heart. An adrenaline spike when I open an email and see that a poem has been accepted and the same dose of a downer with each rejection. 

It passes so quickly, like minutes, and then I’m back to baseline. I’ve often wondered why I am so emotionally detached from the outcome—why I get so much more satisfaction out of revising and submitting than anything else? Maybe it’s the same rush as plunking your precious pennies in a slot machine and pulling the handle. The possibility of “hitting it big” is kind of a rush. 

That slot machine metaphors is also pretty accurate when it comes to getting your work accepted as a publisher, but I’ll stick with the “grinder” for now. 

I went on a serious roll, cranking that grinder daily and the last time I checked, I had amassed about 200 submissions (which equates to about 1000 poems). Being a numbers nerd, it’s an important part of the analysis. Law of averages melds with chaos theory to produce a result by which I can say now, with confidence, is about a 10% success rate. I put that statistic in my back pocket. 

Part of the PDLC is learning from mistakes and making modifications. And I’ve made a few. Some feel like big mistakes like submitting to a brand new publication with no idea about their presentation, professionalism, or vibe. I gave away one of my very best to a new place and was very disappointed in the outcome. I had to let that go, but will never do that again. 

Another mistake I made, which may or may not have been that big of a mistake, was spending too much (money and time) submitting to contests. Like Rattle, where I have very little shot of getting in. I know now that my poems don’t really fit with their vibe (or the current climate for rhetoric) and now all I have to show for that is 4 years of a subscription. That’s a lot of Rattle. I still aspire to get in there someday, but have to find the right poem for it and realize that I may never write that. 

I mention money. While this is not so much of a concern for me, it’s more about not just throwing it out the proverbial literary journal window. I’m all about support of small presses and startups but there are clearly some that have a good mission and vision and others that feel like they are just out to make some bucks. In order to ferret it all out, it takes research. And research takes time. 

It’s also a matter of observation and experience. For real! If I spent $20 on a submission and that hangs out there in “received” status the better part of a year with no communication back (even after the issue or contest it was submitted to has come and gone), that’s a serious red flag. 

Someone once told me that the longer it’s out there, the more chance it’s going to be accepted but I disagree. I think there’s a sweet spot and most of the acceptances I’ve received were at an average of 9 weeks. I think some places just don’t have a very good process for follow up on rejected pieces. 

It’s part of the reason I want to treat submitters to The Good Life Review way better and follow up on every inquiry and make sure each submission gets the care and attention it deserves. I digress. 

Anyway.. so now I have a process defined and operating like a well oiled machine. What this does for me is allow me to maintain my submission goals without a ton of effort. My current goal?.. maintain about 35 open submissions. 

This means when I get a rejection (or acceptance) the open count goes down and I engage with the process to crank another out. However, as most people in any sort of successful business know, there’s always room for improvement and ways to level up. My new aim, therefore, is not just to maintain 35 (or increase that number) but instead to make small steps forward to increasing the quality of the publications I’m getting into. Having names that are more recognizable on a CV or in a bio becomes important in the grand scheme. 

The grand scheme being what? Success. But, good gravy what is the definition of success? The true short story on that one is that I don’t know. Is it to someday get into Rattle or The Sun? Is it New York or Paris? Is it having a full manuscript published by Grey Wolf?

Maybe. I don’t know. 

If it is then I’d better get busy writing. What this post doesn’t address is that part of the process which remains shrouded in mystery. I’ve told a few folks my well of inspiration feels dry right now and what I get in return are comments like “well you are in the middle of publishing a book so I wouldn’t be too worried about it.” 

Good point. I’m not actually worried about it. I’m just a thinker and a planner so I know that if I desire to publish more, I’m going to have to write more. And prove to the world that I’m not just a one trick pony, so to speak. 

The other way one might interpret the grinder of which I speak is the way rejection can start to mush up your confidence after a while. Yes, I’m not so bothered by any individual rejection but after a while, as they start to accumulate without any acceptances to balance things out, I begin feeling like I’ve just gotten lucky and am really just an imposter posing as a poet. 

That’s ok. I fooled the world into thinking I was a rockstar engineer for about 25 years so I’ve got this. 

I know I’ve been shying away from public appearances lately and my social anxiety has thanked me, but I’m really jazzed about this topic and think I would like to give a talk or presentation on it. Barcamp? Winter Res? Nebraska Poetry Society? We’ll see. 

I think that’s it for today folks. Or should I say toad-a?!! 😜

With Peace and Love and Bacon Wrapped Dates, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-06-26 After the Storm there is Calm

I’ve once again navigated the sea of emotions my monthly cycle often laps over me in waves. Gritting my teeth through the frustration of the daily grind, the longing for peace and stillness, and anger when little pricks press into my skin like poorly executed acupuncture. 

My mantra? “Wait a few days and see what washes back out to sea.” 

In these moments, my mental accounting is both a blessing and a curse. Waking in the wee hours with unnecessary thoughts on repeat or awake and lacking focus, yet still surprisingly productive, flush with new ideas, and tapping into spaces in my psyche that are otherwise unreachable. 

I’m on the other side of it now and able to look back and recognize the waves that were / are nothing more than ripples in the tide pool—concentric circles created by pebbles tossed in by life. I can see them clearly now for what they are and decide what attention should be required, which is often none. I let it go and move on. 

***

I now have three poems in my daily in-box and today I’m very unimpressed and uninspired. 

I’ve tried to write a couple of poems this week—force myself to begin and just don’t have it. I’ve resorted to exercises and prompts and tricks and somehow those poems never hold the same energy for me. 

I spent a little time yesterday getting caught up with Submittable. My active submission count had fallen below my goal threshold of 30 and I wanted to hike that back up. I might have resolved to submit more to a few prestigious journals in July, but for now, my selections are mostly driven by cost and whatever journals show up at the top of the “discovery” list. 

I’m also spending time on the production of The Good Life Review’s Summer 2021 issue. It’s a fair bit of work but it’s coming together nicely. There are a few prerequisites I’m waiting on but hopeful we can get it together by mid-July. 

What else? It’s Saturday and we’re planning a family gathering, pending weather. If it looks like rain we are going to scrub it but waking up this morning the weather this afternoon looks pretty clear. I suppose that means I should get going to attend to the last minute outside things. The pool isn’t going to clean itself. 😜

Perhaps I’ll feel more like writing about the ins and outs of life again soon. I’ve kind of lost it lately. Maybe today’s party will provide sparks of thought worthy of writing about. 

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-05-25 What’s In the News… 🗞

Happy mask mandate expiry day! It’s been a while since I’ve walked/written/had time to think about the world at large. Life is that way sometimes I guess. 

The last time I checked in I was pouring over my stabilizing good mood and trying to decide what, exactly, it was that made the tide turn in my favor. I’m happy to report that my happy has continued to be consistent and I’m still waking up most days looking forward to the day. 

I’ve continued to not over-commit myself and have not volunteered to do anymore talks or workshops. I’m minimizing meet-ups and really digging in for quality time with those I have had. 

Last Friday I had a 4 hour happy hour session with my friend M and that was fabulous. This week I have two or three meetups mixed in with my deep dive into reading for the GLR contest (which I’m very behind on for nonfiction). It’s my priority this week and I have a LOT to read! 

I’ve finished a first pass at poetry and also scripts and am ready to discuss with other editors. The only category I’m not reading is fiction. It’s just too much. 

Anyhow, that’s what’s on the agenda today after this much needed walk. I’ve tried to get back into the cardio thing but finding it hard to get motivated. I think part of that is that something in me is still recovering from that stomach virus I had last week. Was that just last week? It’s already blurry (my memory). 

In any case, my stomach is still off and my energy is low. But.. the low energy thing has been chronic so I can hardly blame that virus. It may still be a contributing factor though. 

Good gravy!… I haven’t written for days and THIS is still all I have?!?! I guess that’s a good thing as no news is good news. Right?!!

What about the world at large??

Locally, our mask mandate expired today and I’m very curious how businesses around town will react. Since the mask thing became so political, it will be a statement when the business owners either continue to require masks or not. I think most locally owned places will quickly and happily remove the signs from their doors whereas many major chains such as wal-mart or Costco might continue to expect customers to comply with the company policy. 

Not that it will stop ass-hats from refusing to comply. Those folks will do what they want no matter what someone else says. I saw a lady rudely refuse to put on a mask going into a Walmart grocery last week. I wanted to follow her into the store and give her a piece of my mind. Why is it some people think the rules don’t apply to them?! Cwazy! 

Nationally? I heard a statistic that the last few months has been the worst in history for “personal” shootings and gun violence. Has this become so common place that each incident isn’t even enough to make the daily news? Or am I so desensitized that I don’t hear it? And how much do “we” have to endure before new laws can be passed. Then again, my position in this has not changed. 

No law can undo what’s already been done. And I’m not talking about the past shootings, I’m talking about the sale of semi-automatic weapons or lack of background checks attached to gun sales. No.. if you’re a criminal or have mental health problems, homicidal tendencies, or anger issues, you probably already have the guns you want. 

Rights to bear arms means you can have a gun, it shouldn’t mean you can have one that can kill dozens of people with one pass through a crowded room. That’s my stance and that has not changed. 

Today is the anniversary of George Floyd’s death and while the fire of that still burns in the heart of many Americans, America as a whole is now doing what it does best… sweep history into the archives without doing anything to change things for the better. What will happen to the BLM movement? It will smolder until another event sparks the flame anew. And round and round we go, decade after decade. 

The global news feels very much the same (as in, hot topics coming and going as fast as people change their underwear). Not a squeak about Gaza or the Middle East; not an ounce about the Coronavirus, except that America is urging folks not to travel to Japan for the Olympics as Japan is way behind on vaccinations. The summer olympics? Is that still happening? Who the hell would want to go to that anyway on the heels of a global pandemic?! Good gravy!!

OK folks, that is probably enough for today. I’ve got to get on the productivity train. 

Peace, Love, and BBQ Lays,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-04-11 Exhale and Release

Yesterday was a doozie. Hold up. This whole week has been kind of off the rails. I’m trying. I really am. And I’m truly doing the best I can. 

Yesterday the stress of the lit mag going live (and frankly being over a week behind the original release schedule) got to me and by the end of the afternoon, had triggered a migraine. It was terrible timing. 

I had previously committed myself to a social engagement which I did not want to miss. By 4 in the afternoon, after staring at a damn screen all day AND trying and failing to polish my “letter from the editor,” I developed a nasty headache and was worried it would prevent me from making the gathering. 

I hit the headache with all I had, ibuprofen, Tylenol, and sumatriptan. I would have tried to lay down for 15 minutes but there just wasn’t time. There wasn’t even time for me to shower, which was also quite undesirable. I basically only had time to change, put on some mascara and lipgloss and go. 

Normally I would also have a glass wine to calm my social anxiety, but that’s a big-bad idea with a migraine as it would definitely put me down with a quickness. 

The unfortunate set of circumstances put me in the corner at a far table with a group and of folks that I hadn’t met before. I did my best to be social as I suffered from my aching head.  Didn’t even have the spark to get feisty about the game we were playing. Normally the competitive board-gamer in me would override my social awkwardness but last night was not my night. 

The best I could do was make polite small talk, eat a little and drink a little, participate in the game (which was fun) and then say goodbye at the right moment. Like I said, I did the best I could. 

The same goes for the release of the third issue of The Good Life Review. I relied heavily on my friend, M, who is brilliant with web stuff, graphics, and design. I had previously spent hours and hours building the new issue 3 individual pages and the new home page but there’s just something about her special touch that nobody else can match. She’s a gift and I don’t know what I’d do without her. 

I did the best I could, but she really brought it all together. I was going to try to push the release live last night but just couldn’t do it. Instead I woke up this morning before 6am and pulled the trigger. Once I did, I immediately felt a sense of relief wash over me. Not sure what I could do differently with issue 4, but I would like to plan it out so that it’s not as stressful at the end. 

Here’s the result: https://thegoodlifereview.com

Today I would like to gift myself with a little bit of grace before letting my brain get twisted up with ALL the other things that I’ve been procrastinating. 

I don’t want to think about next week. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t. Good gravy I don’t even want to think about the vacation I have coming up very soon. How sad is that??!! I just want to sink into the couch and veg. Watch some trash tv and maybe, if I’m feeling up to it, go to a yoga class or something. 

I know there is no rest for the wicked and the week ahead of me is going to kick my ass again, but I’m still gonna try really hard to NOT think about that today. 

Nope. Not today. 

On that not.. it’s time to make a coffee, drag my tired body to the couch, and find some nonsense to get lost in. 

Cheers to exhaling and finally having a lazy Sunday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-04-01 Hello April! 🌷

Thank goodness that’s over! March… what an asshole!! 

And thank the Universe that the month didn’t go out like a lion and that our furry friend, Punxsutawney Phil, is wrong more than he is right. It IS Nebraska and there’s still a chance that Mother Nature will show some wrath, but my intuition doubts it. I think Spring has sprung and it will be smooth sailing right to those 90 degree days of Summer. 😏

I’m doing pretty good with regards to balance this week now that my sister is here and I have to savor the time as she will not be here for long. It will be interesting to see how my mom does after that. I’m certainly not going to drive to CB just to let her dog out to pee. Not when she has other options. 

I’m also not doing to clean her house or fix her meals. I have my own household to take care of and she should be to the point she’s capable of making her own food. This sounds cold, but sitting on the couch all day and napping and being waited on, hand and foot, is not going to speed her recovery. 

Enough of that! I don’t want to think or write about my mom anymore. Ugh!! 

How bout this… it’s April! National Poetry Month! Time to write a poem a day? Yes please!! It’s also time for me to get my booty in gear to put together that workshop that I’ll be facilitating on May 1st. I’ve got one short month to cobble together a hybrid craft / generative session on the topic of poem openings. 

Oh.. and did I mention that the third issue of my lit mag was supposed to be released yesterday but we’re behind schedule by about a week? 

Oh and did I mention that the “materials” for my forthcoming book are due in two short weeks and I really need to get my act together on that? Ugh!!!

Maybe I’m not doing as great as I thought with regards to balance. Either that or the inclination to procrastinate is rearing its ugly head. Typical! 

So March was kind of a Jerk. Let’s hope April is a kinder soul. 

Cheers to Beginning Again, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-26 Dealing With Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde

I’ve been awake since before 3am. What time I don’t know because I’ve been told looking at the clock is waking up my brain. Ok. So the first time I looked at the clock was about 3:15am. It’s not the light of the clock waking up my brain. I’m pretty sure my brain does that all on its own.

I had a slight headache and think it might be the alcohol consumption from last night. That could have something to do with the not sleeping well. It’s not rocket science, but what came first? The drinking or the poor sleep? No matter.. these are not the thoughts that consume me at 3 and 4 and 5am. Nope.

What is it then? I had a brief conversation with Jim last night where I was lamenting about my thoughts always being consumed with something. In my margarita’d state I described a pac man that was chomping furiously through my mind perpetually consuming my thoughts. I’ve got a limited amount of dots, you know, on the screen everyday and the pac man is always navigating the map of my brain, searching and chomping.. rounding corner after corner, chomping and searching, and eventually all the thoughts have been eaten and the day ends.

What about the ghosts?? 

Yes.. Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde are there. They are there to drive the pac man’s decisions on which way to chomp next. 

Fun fact: Each of the four ghosts in the game has both Japanese and English names. In Japan they started as Fickle, Chaser, Ambusher and Stupid. In my case these alternate names seem more appropriate. Their current personas are defined further as follows… 

Fickle: Always something I can’t decide and am continuously analyzing and weighing options in. Currently this is the question of what to do about my title with the GLR? GLR stands for the Good Life Review and is the online lit mag I founded last year and am currently trying to keep afloat and moving in the right direction. When we first determined the masthead, I gladly accepted the title of “managing editor” and let Ed take the EIC title, but over time this had started to grate on me in ways I could not have predicted. My issues have do with perception, the division of responsibilities-who is doing the work, and traditional patriarchal roles, and also frankly the way Ed throws the title around as if it gives him more authority. Great guy, but I don’t care for that. 

The fickle thoughts I have gravitate between removing the titles completely, and all manner of variation in between. I can’t tell you how much brain power I’ve wasted on thinking about this. That alone drives me kind of batty. We’re still in our first year and have such a small fooorprint or following that it matters not. But it matters to me apparently. 🙄 

Chaser: The endless quest to lose 5 pounds and look better. This is often disguised as attempts to eat healthier or exercise more or detox. It’s an endless chase that never leads to success. Always failure. Always disappointment. And then forgiveness and then beginning again. 

Ambusher: This is the random thing on fire that seems to pop up out of nowhere to hijack my plans. It might be a sink that won’t drain, a car that won’t start, a kid with an F in English, or a show that demands to be binge-watched. They appear randomly and with varying degrees of severity. Whatever it is, it drives pac man in a different direction. 

Right now it’s a one-two-three combo of my sons school performance and feeling like I’m not pulling my weight here at the house PLUS my pending book contract. All will require a lot of effort to resolve or get through and any effort spent may not result in a solution. 

Stupid: Stupid is just stupid. 

No matter what I do, the pac man goes the way he goes. The ghosts pursue. The dots on the map get eaten and the sun goes down. The sun comes back up, there’s a fresh map full of new dots, and it starts again. 

Sometimes, like today, I get a new map before the sun comes up. There I am, lying in the dark and the pac man appears and immediately starts chomping. 

This morning it was the GLR stuff. Not just the title, but also the next release, the social media issues, the website that I’ve failed to update all month, the contest, the promo effort (or lack thereof), the lawyer and nonprofit establishment. All the dots. All the dots. All the dots.

At 4:30am I worked in the GLR website and updated the home page, the masthead, and the sound bites page. I’m going to try EIC on for size and see if that makes me feel any better. Cuz.. you know it’s all about how I feel. 🙄😜

Other than that I was thinking about my lack of sleep and not sleeping because I’m thinking about not sleeping and well… that’s just stupid. Thanks Stupid. 

There you have it folks. My Friday morning in a nutshell.

Cheers to the Weekend,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-09 Random Tuesday Musings

Most of the mischief I had planned for yesterday was managed. Wonder of wonders, what needs doing gets done. 

Right now it’s 5:28AM and I’m walking on my treadmill and thinking about the day ahead. 

I also just applied a clear topcoat to my fingernails to protect the polish I brushed on last night. If you thought walking and typing at the same time might be a challenge, believe me, this is next level. Especially considering I’m still operating on my first gen SE. It’s tiny but it fits my hands perfect and still works like a champ. 

I mean, every once and a while it runs out of space (like yesterday) and suddenly I have to fit the fix into my to-do list. The fix? To export all the pictures to my external hard drive. It actually was good timing as there was also yet another one of my favorite albums that I discovered was missing from my music library recently. So I had to remedy that as well. 

I might be stuck in 2009 with my tech and approach to listening to music, but I don’t care. I love it! 

Today I’ve got two meet-ups planned plus lunch with my sweetie at his office. I’ve also got to finish sending the latest round of declines for the lit mag. There are a few hundred to get through and it’s a pretty time consuming process because I read the comments from the editors and sometimes edit our “soft decline” with positive and encouraging feedback. 

Even without doing this, it probably takes a couple of dedicated work days to get through the stack, at least this reading period where we received an incredible number of subs. 

In any case, I’m hoping to balance my time today between GLR work, my meetups, and reading more of the craft book I’m on called “The Triggering Town.” It’s by Richard Hugo and it’s “full of excellent advice for beginning writers.” (Says so on the cover which I have propped up on my treadmill next to my paper planner).

Hold on to your shit for this next bit of info… I’m planning to conduct a workshop this spring for the Nebraska Poetry Society. Some of the concepts in the book will be things I’m working into the (hopefully) informative and generative session. 

I know… I KNOW… why the hell would I volunteer to run a workshop after making such a big-goddamn deal about that stupid lecture last December? I literally fretted over that for years, overthinking every angle of it day-in, and day-out in the weeks leading up to the presentation. 

Now here I am, offering to conduct a workshop. I mean.. they approached me as the managing editor of the lit mag and at the time I thought “what a great opportunity to promo the GLR.” Which it will be. So I said I would do it and that was that.

Right now, with the nebulous nature of it (plus the fact it’s a few months away) I’m not to worried yet. I’m already getting ideas from this book and formulating a plan in my head for how I want the session to go. 

I am also planning to attend the workshop they have scheduled in February and March to try to illuminate the possibility of duplicating any topic or approach. Matt Mason, the current Nebraska State poet, is conducting a workshop in April which is kind of intimidating but also encouraging.

In any case, I’m sure I’ll learn something and the experience will be good for me. The first step is getting through this book, which is pretty slim so it should be a snap. 

That’s it for today. Time to make the donuts. 🍩🍩🍩

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-06 What’s Got My Brain in a Bunch on a Saturday?

Spoiler alert. This post is a rant about social media. These are my opinions and I’m entitled to them. And I reserve the right to be flawed and change my mind. I’m only human and this could all just be coming from that special place in my brain that I get access to when I’m going cuckoo for coco puffs from lack of sleep.

I’ve got a solid streak of abysmal sleep going. 4 days straight of less than 6 hours and two of those were right around 4 hours total, including last night. 

Jim and Zoey kept me awake until midnight with the thought that perhaps staying up really late could work to force a long, deep sleep. Wrong. 

Good thing today is Saturday and the schedule is more relaxed. Yesterday I was hoping for more work days so I could have the house to myself while everyone else was away, but Saturday is good too. I mean, considering everyone else sleeps in, if I’m up at 5am I have a lot of alone time to do with what I please. 

Right now it’s just me and the cats. What’s in my mind today? Social Media. 

Or rather Social Fucking Media. 

Have I mentioned previously that I hate social media? I must have. It seems unlikely I’ve not had at least one or two raging rants about the evil platforms that have become irritatingly essential for communications on a grand scale. 

You want a little ego boost about your promotion, new relationship, or your kids’ good grades? Facebook has got you. 

You want to share that good hair day, fantastic looking vegan dinner, or your cat looking adorable for the thousandth time? Please consider instagram. 

You need to have a clandestine conversation or share some pictures your mom might not be super proud of? Snapchat is where it’s at.

How about that need to rant about something you feel super passionate about? Rage on in a string of 140 character tweets on Twitter. 

Is video more your style, You-tube it or if it’s under 30 seconds and really funny, maybe Tic-tok would be more appropriate. 

But you can’t just half-ass this. If you want the world to sit up and pay attention you have to grow your followers, curate your feed, and be on and ready to respond at all hours of the day and night. 

Watch out for the pitfalls. Rage on, but be prepared to defend your position. Don’t follow the wrong people or you could give people the wrong impression. And whatever you do, don’t ever appear weak or uncertain or vulnerable. People are interested in definitive options and desire taking sides and swinging dicks for comparison. 

This person has 348K followers so what they say must be treated as gospel, right? But wait.. this person disagrees and they have 779K followers so THEY must be right on. 

That’s enough of that. It’s all nonsense. 

Nonsense aside, if you want to promote something and don’t have a gazillion dollars to spend on ads, there are not a ANY other options. Last time I checked standing on a street corner or town square with a sign doesn’t really cut it anymore. Are there still town squares? Are there city squares? The most trafficked intersection in Omaha is 72nd and Dodge. Could that work? I digress. 

I see folks use social media for self promotion of all sorts all the time. It’s literally the concept Facebook (+ etc.) built their empires on. The Universe revolving around a single individual and spiraling out from one human connecting to dozens, hundreds, thousands, and good gravy millions of others.

The “all about me” sells. We’re so self centered and for love of cheese, so very vain. Humans are visual beings and it makes sense that pictures are better at getting people’s attention but the selfies are eye-roll enduring. Yes, I take them too. I post them too. I’m not special, I’m just saying I hate it. So why do it? 

Great question. I rarely post as I believe the less you post, the more weight/consideration people might give those posts. Like “Miss SugarCookie posted today.. that must be important.”

That’s a bad example because this blog is tweeted almost every day (automatically) but believe it or not, I’m banking on that one-dimensional approach being the reason people gloss over it. Like not noticing something because it’s so regular. For me, it’s just a door. An invitation, if you will, for people who want to read. I digress again. 

I obviously also rarely post because I hate social media. This week Jim and I went out to celebrate our anniversary. He doesn’t like social media either but interestingly enough asked me to post our little celebration to Facebook. I was like “whoa… ….Ok”.

Three days later I finally got around to posting. I posted in the afternoon and was disturbed by how much I checked my phone all afternoon and into the evening for likes and comments. I’m disturbed by my own obsession and also loathe the social etiquette that is paired with posting like this. Responding to every comment and liking them, thanking them. What a freaking time suck. You wanna know what I did for an hour this morning at 5am? By now you can guess. 

That led to looking at more posts and other people’s stuff and that’s one huge rabbit hole. Literally a time warp where I looked away and snap, just like that I’d lost at least an hour of my life. 

I see posts from people who I like and want to root for but it’s exhausting. I see people engaged in self promo for their forthcoming or published writing and think, “i should be doing that.” 

I’ve posted a few times this year about poems being published but mostly I haven’t. I had two more published this week at an online journal for their February issue. I’m pretty sure I haven’t told anyone about this. I promptly did the due diligence to add the details and link  to my personal website, but that was it. 

I’m still struggling with posting about it or not. I suppose that’s a small part of why this topic is on my mind today. Should I post?

The larger part is probably the fact that social media is make or break for the little lit mag I’m managing. And I hate that. If I’m truly committed to this endeavor, which I am, then I have to care, pay attention, and be involved. So that puts me between a rock and a hard place. I have to embrace utilizing something I hate. 

It does make me question why I hate it so much. Could it still be that one time I posted about my broken heart and poured my soul into a poem and that was “liked” by a handful of people. At the same time my little sister posted a picture of her pug wearing booties or some other such nonsense and had 70 likes. Probably each time I recount that story the situation is spun as just a little more dire, but it can’t possibly be just that. 

I think it’s way more likely that I hate Facebook and Twitter because of how easy it is to use and abuse the power of spreading content, including fake-news, misinformation, and hatred. How easy it is to divide people or make them pick sides. And even sicker than that is the algorithms behind the scenes that tailor your feed, collect your info and use that against you. Ads and promoted posts disgust me. And any ass-hat can spread lies and insight violence. Yeah… that’s it. 

There is a flip side and I forget this. This morning I also spent time on my @goodlifelitmag account following a list of good people and organizations. It’s a first step for being more engaged in the “conversation.” Whatever that conversation happens to be in any given moment. It’s also necessary to build an image, and begin shaping people’s perception about what The Good Life Review is.

This is essential and necessary. I know that.. I just don’t have to like it.

Ok.. I’ve been walking for an hour and a half and I have to cut here. Feels unfinished. I have more to say. This could go on and on and much like social media, I just don’t have time for that. 

Happy Caturday, 

~Miss SugarCookie