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

2017-11-10 The Good, the Bad, and the Really, Really Ugly

Let’s start with really, really ugly.. This morning when I woke up the temperature outside was 21 degrees. Brrrrrr, what?! Sometimes I wonder why I even live here since I hate the cold so, so much. I think the answer is/was family way back when, but now it’s definitely the kids. When they are grown and gone, all bets are off and I’m predicting a 90% chance of permanent relocation.

OK, now the good.. Last night I participated in a “Show and Tell Story Slam”. There were ten storytellers, three judges who were volunteers from the audience, and about 40-50 people sitting and standing around the room. There were more people in that room than any of the previous events I’ve attended. Of course it was.. because this is the one I elected to be my debut.

I went second to last and sat in the back row, and watched as all the other people got up and told their stories. As each one went by, my nerves became more and more unravelled. As each one went by, a few more people came in the door. So by the time 8:40 came around, it was a packed house, i was totally sweaty, and I had nowhere to escape to. So when they called my name, I grabbed my phone and my bottle of sand and walked up to the front of the stage.

Of all the storytellers, only myself and one other person read their story. He read from paper and I read from my phone. I probably would not do that again because it was very easy to lose my place, especially since I was really trying to look up and make eye contact with the people in the audience. The whole thing was over in about 9 minutes. I ran over on time, so that means I did a good job pacing myself since my story was right at the 8 minute mark.

I put this event in the “good” category for a couple of reasons. The first is that I actually finally did it. Yay, for trying new things and overcoming my fear of public speaking AND my social anxiety. The second is that I actually tied for 3rd place. It was a thee-way tie which basically means I was in the top 50% for scores. They did not have prizes for three people so the only thing I came away with was a book from the Omaha Public Library, one of the sponsors of the event.

Now for the bad.. I cut my hair. OK that part is not so bad. I have cut my own hair for years now and nobody does it better than me (and nobody does it cheaper 😉 ). However, yesterday I was in a really down mood all day and so when I showed up at Simon’s house and he didn’t even notice or comment it was like earwax icing on a shit cake. Yeah, it felt that terrible.

I mean, I cut off like 4-6 inches and not only that, but it was straight, which I rarely do, and he’s never seen it that way before. How in the world do you not notice that??! I want to be with someone who has enough interest in me to pay attention to those details. I want them to care about my writing, cheer me on when I try new things (like last night), and be an equal partner in the relationship. I’m not OK with lopsided anymore. The hormones may have had something to do with the way I was reacting to his non-reaction, but I’m not feeling really good about that relationship right now anyway.

That probably deserves to be expanded on somewhat but I just don’t have it in me today. I’ll save it for some other time when the swell of hormones is over, it’s not effffing 22 degrees out, and I have more time. I really need to get out of bed now and go do something productive.

Until Tomorrow,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-31 Maui Day 2 🏖️

Our second full day on Maui is coming to a close and though we had very similar activities to yesterday, the day felt very different.

Yesterday we visited two beaches near Kihei. It was very casual and we were just getting acclimated to the ocean waves. Today we travelled north and west and visited two more beaches, but this time, it was more upscale and had a completely different feel.

The first beach was Kaanapali beach which we gained access to through the Sheraton Maui resort. Our AirBnb host, Matthew, was the one who told us that even though the resorts own the property/land they occupy, the beaches can’t be owned by them and are always open for public access. What this means is that you have to walk through the resort to get to the beach. It kind of feels a little like trespassing, and you really have no idea who is a guest of the hotel and who’s just some random schmo walking in off the street.

Of course we did have to figure out where to park and they certainly don’t make that easy (or cheap). It was 2 bucks for every 20 minutes… yowza! I think of all the beaches we had been to thus far, this one was my fav. It would be a close call with Kihei Park III. We spent a couple of hours at this beach and then opted to leave in order to find a different place, where we could do some snorkeling.

We drove further north and I intended to go to Kapalua Beach on Kapalua Bay because it was in the top 5 list for snorkeling on Maui, but because I was trusting in the nav on my phone, I ended up at Napali Bay instead. We rented the snorkel masks and fins and made our way, which was again not an obvious path, to the beach. After much hassle with the eq we were finally in the water and trolling around and looking at a lot of sand. Z concluded that we were supposed to go way out to get to the cool stuff, but neither one of us was willing to do that.

C, who seemed to take most naturally to the snorkel, was happy as a clam (haha) staying right up in the waves crashing on the beach. He had no interest in seeing anything cool and just wanted to continue to feel tossed about on the shore. Unbeknownst to them, the whole snorkel thing was a really big deal for me.

I’ve had two “near death” experiences with drowning. I put that in quotes because I have no idea now near death I was. The first instance I was too young to remember and my dad can only shudder when the story comes up. The second instance was at the National White Water Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was not under long enough to become unconscious, but the entire experience was so traumatic for me, it does not really matter. It left me terrified to have my head under the water and and I have moderate fear when it comes to any water sports where 1)My feet can’t touch the bottom 2)I might not be in complete control of my surroundings. So when it comes to the ocean, you can just say I’m exponentially fearful of things that could happen.

Despite that, though, I was able to don that mask and almost regulate my breathing as I floated on top the water. I had to get over a lot of what felt like hyperventilating at first but I eventually was able to gain some composure and navigate around close to shore. However, as I stated, we were at the wrong beach and there was nothing to look at but sand. After just a little bit, we all got bored of the mask and fins and breathing apparatus and gave it up to just swim.

We swam at that second beach for about an hour and a half I think. I was not paying attention to the time at all today so I really have no idea how long we did each thing or even how long the drive was to get there. We did have to be back to Kihei in time to gather our things from the AirBnb and migrate to Ken’s place. His house will be home base for the rest of the duration of our stay here on Maui.

That’s actually where we are at now. I’m worn out from driving and the sun and the fact that there was not time for a nap today like there was yesterday. That makes a big difference. I would offer up opinions on which beach out of the four we visited was the best from both C and Z but they have both gone to sleep already. I’m sure I’ll be there too, as soon as my head hits the pillow. I need to get a good sleep because tomorrow is hiking on Haleakala seeing the sunset from the summit.

No Laila, Pule Hoola
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-23 I Did It!! 😃

I’ve been writing for over 30 years. I’ve been meandering happily along the path of life and always choosing something else as my priority. Be that as it may, writing has always been my rock. It’s been my “way out”. It’s been one of the only things that I could truly rely on at every turn. 😃

I’ve always wanted to be brave with my writing and overcome my fears in sharing it with others. In 2010 I made a very big leap of faith and started posting content online to a WordPress blog.

https://shyspark.wordpress.com

That’s where all the poetry goes. It’s still active, though not as active as I would like. If people ask me for my blog, that’s the one I direct them to but I have several other blogs that I have started for various reasons since then.

I have a blog of not so polished/publish worthy things. This one is super inactive and I have not posted since 2015. It’s supposed to be rough drafts and attempts to use daily prompts and I’ve often found with everything else, I have not had the time for it.

https://twollamaspajamas.wordpress.com/

I have a blog that was a journal of my daily life and times for the entire year of 2014. Due to the fact that this was a blog dedicated to just that one year, December 31st, 2014 was the last time I posted to it.

http://miss-sugarcookie.tumblr.com/

I have a blog of rants and negative thoughts (written in a collective 1st person). The last post on this one was last year.

http://shyspark.tumblr.com/

The interesting thing about tumblr (or at least the theme I use), is that the year isn’t present, so a person has no idea if what they just read was from 2012 or 2017. I think I stopped posting there because I’m wide open for ranting on my Organic Miss SugarCookie blog

https://theorganicsugarcookie.wordpress.com/

Which is, of course, the blog you are reading right now. Somewhat akin to what I did in 2014, but much more.. ummm.. organic. 😉

So I guess you could say that I have become used to posting things online and have certainly gotten over my fear of having other people read what I have written, even if it is only a small handful of people.

What doesn’t make sense then, is why it has taken me so long to open up to the idea of submitting my work for print or other online publications. I am sure fear of rejection has played into it somewhat, but a few days ago I dug a little deeper into this topic and found that my fear of rejection probably stems from fear that my work is worthy and my poetry is mediocre.

At the heart of it, I am wondering if part of my motivation for applying to the MFA program is to somehow get credentials to validate that I am really a writer and that my work will be more worthy because of that. I can certainly say after spending the last few days researching “how to submit poetry”, having a degree shows people you are serious.

Otherwise, I worry that I am just going to come across like a girl with a broken heart who keeps trying at life but often feels like a failure. Will people just see me as a Hallmark card writer with a flair for the melancholy? I hope not. The jury on my MFA application is still out (for the love of Cheese and Crackers what is taking them so long?), but while I am waiting I’ve gathered the courage to officially start submitting my poetry. YES!!

Just a few minutes ago, I finally pushed the submit button on the online submission form for a literary magazine that I really dig, “The Sun”. That’s the one with a call for submissions of poetry with a theme of love and justice. They allow up to five poems per writer and so that is what I have gathered to send.

I wrote three new poems, which was just outstanding and included two others that were “sort of” in line with the theme. It feels like I’ve finally opened a door that I’ve been peeking inside of for years. Immediately after I hit submit, I started to cry. I can’t believe I finally did it.

Obviously if they accept one of my poems, I will be on the tippy-top of the world, but it doesn’t even matter if they do at this point. What matters is that I did it and now that is behind me. The next one should be even easier.

I can’t even begin to imagine what will happen next. If history repeats itself, in another seven years I might just have submitted to hundreds of publications and contests. I may even have been published in a few. I may have my own book and be the one on the other side of those writing workshops. Who knows, anything is possible.

No matter what happens, at least now I can finally say I am following my own advice.. “Today is a Good Day to Start”.

Cheers!
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-05-18 The Ledge

I’m standing on it. I’ve been inching closer and closer in the past few weeks and now I am peering down into the abyss. But I’m no longer scared. I think I’ve had trepidation and fear and somehow in the last week, I have gained the clarity I’ve needed to overcome those feelings and really believe that it’s all going to be all-right, no matter what happens next.

Interestingly, I had my mind made up about this big life decision and since being home from Austin (less than two days), and having a few conversations with some other folks I am close to, I think the right first course of action is actually more conversation. Knowing what you want and what to ask for is one thing, and an important thing, but being able to negotiate terms, to the nth degree, without fear is on a different level.

I’m not afraid of them saying no. I’m not afraid of tendering my resignation. I was prepared to do that already. The biggest question in my mind yesterday was if I should give two weeks or five. I did also think that waiting until a few other persons in management were back in the office on Monday would be best, so that kind of swayed me away from actually pulling the trigger today. There’s nothing magical about today, and Monday would be much better.

Both of the people I’ve talked to about this in the past 24 hours urged me to just talk to my manager about the current situation. I fully intend to keep it as positive as possible and really just matter of fact, because that is what he responds to. He won’t have the authority to approve any changes, especially what I’ll be asking for, so this conversation will directly lead to the one that will likely happen on Monday. That will be the big one.

So what are my terms?…

– I’d like a 3-4 month sabbatical.
– I’d like to work remotely 5 days a week unless there is a reason to be in the office.
– I’d like to have an additional week of vacation time each year.
– I’ve also considered requesting to step down as team lead.

It’s a lot, but you know what is not on that list? More money.

Anyway, today should be really interesting. I’m excited and feeling very hopeful.

Ready to Jump,
~Miss SugarCookie