Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Orange and Unassuming

They sat there still,
All round and orange and unassuming,
Nestled in big cardboard boxes,
An Autumnal premonition.

The turn in weather,
Not always received with welcome,
Echoes the assumption,
Autumn is coming.

Something in their aspect,
Their lackadaisical nestled posture,
Was warmly comforting,
This Autumn morning.

Soon life transpires,
They'll change their shape,
All fang-toothed smiles
One Autumn night.

For now they sit,
Still striped with dirt in cozy piles,
Not knowing their fate
As Autumn falls.

This morning on my drive to work, I passed by Winco in the early morning. Despite the months I've worked this job, and the past few weeks when I've managed to ride my bike to work, early mornings are still not my friends. Something about the big pumpkins poking out of their display boxes in around the sliding doors warmed me inside. Fall always promises certain things. The skies turn gray and the rain begins to soak the ground, but the trees go all ablaze in a display of the fires inside. My birthday will come (not always sure how welcome that is at this stage, but I still like presents ;). Halloween will have it's day, bringing with it some ghoulish delights and age old traditions. Then there's Thanksgiving and all the taste sensations it inspires: pumpkin pies, turkey, endless treats. And this year the promise of another round of change, both professionally and then personally. In the midst of life that is ever flying, something about those pumpkins helped my mind to settle. They reminded me of the promise that every day is new, but that there are also sweet reminders of the past, those remembered traditions, to be enjoyed. They got so in my head that I thought of them all day, and even though I wrote a post earlier today I felt the need to write again. Just had to get it out, to help memorialize the moment.

Now Entering...Full-Time...

Not sure if I should be jumping up and down, or questioning what I was thinking as I venture, potentially, into the world of Full-Time retail worker. It's not all 100% official just yet, they still have to get all the big wigs to sign off their approval, but yesterday I had my interview with the "District Manager" and she seemed pretty excited to get me on the fast track to the management team. This rather surprised me since in all my other dealings with her I wasn't worth the time of day. Suddenly, I've entered into the realm of reality in her book. Ah well.
So here's how my day went yesterday. I came to work at the normal time, got started helping organize everything as it came in off the truck, and then received the call. Originally the interview was going to be at our store here in Moscow, but since things have kinda gone insane at the Lewiston store due to staffing changes, it was requested that I head over thata way. It was agreed that I could be spared at the moment by my own team, so I hurried out to my car, thinking that I'd just do the interview, maybe help them out a wee bit (they get their truck at 4:30 or some such ungodly hour and I figured they should be just about done by then anyway) and then be back to finish things on our end. Listened to a little Sufjan Stevens to help soothe my nerves, and headed over the mountain and down the wickedly winding road (think Walk Two Moons people)to Lewiston.
Naturally, when heading to an interview, you expect to be, well, interviewed. However, when I arrived I was informed that the person I was there to meet wasn't there after all. Instead I was instantly ushered into their stock room and expected to just pick up where I'd left off at my store. Only things weren't the same. Everything was slightly askew, as though the entire process had been tilted. Didn't exactly help to speed up my processing time. Plus, I ended up doing shoes, which I've only done a total of twice at my store. Not exactly an expert on that one. I was the chosen one for apparel, and that's pretty much where I've stayed.
Anyhow, after a couple hours of hanging I did have the interview. As stated before, it went well. While I did fumble a bit over a few questions, like why I wanted the job, etc. she seemed well enough impressed. It was quite obvious that she hadn't read my application, because when she asked about my past jobs, the list and locations had her pretty much flabbergasted. Always fun to blow people's minds with the sheer randomness of my life itinerary.
Once the interview was complete I was sent back to work. At my lunch break, where the "DM" had graciously bought pizza for those who worked late, I checked my phone and learned that my normal boss had called, begging me to come back quickly because we had 36 boxes of apparel. For those not in the know, when we have 20 we know we've got our work cut out for us. 36? That's just not even reasonable. So as soon as I helped them get their truck settled away, I hurried back to Moscow to take on a few more boxes and run them to the floor. I'll confess, I did feel a little like Superwoman today. (A much better title than the acronym insinuated when my manager dubbed me "Super Sarah." Yes, there were a few tasteless jokes tossed around that day.)
The moral of this story is, yesterday was a long day, and I'm now running rapidly down the path to full-time/management position. I wonder if this greater authority role will give me the right to start teaching grammar lessons? Just sayin.'

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Food and Crafts

Let me start out by saying I am NOT a food blogger. Shouldn't come as a surprise to most people. Generally speaking, food has never been my strong point. On a wedding gift card my friend Ben pointed out that I'd made the comment: "Food is Fuel." He thought I should change my outlook and see it as something exciting, invigorating, life giving. A little tough to stomach.
But since getting married, or even since Mark and I started our relationship, I've learned that food is important. Part of creating a family requires feeding them, after all. And more and more I've found myself blogging about food. Not just pretty little dishes that I threw together to feed me, or different things that I ate in restaurants, but actual food that I cooked by myself. Not to mention the fact that I've become a little obsessed with shows on the Food Network, and reading Rachel Ray magazine. But despite all I've read and watched and tried to let infiltrate my being, cooking still sorta freaks me out.
Sure, when it comes right down to it, I can make something to eat. My parents have been gone for the past week and Mark and I have neither starved, nor eaten at McDonalds. That's quite a feat considering that our first month or so of marriage we were staying in McMinnville and I bought BigMacs for Mark almost every day. But that's the sort of spending trend that was destined to end. This week he's been served a variety of egg burrito renditions involving pepperoni, not to mention countless pepperoni, butter and cheese sandwiches, and some egg salad for good measure. Still, I'm a long way from being any sort of culinary anything.
Today, Mark said he wanted something chocolate. We were out of anything specific, and so I decided to make chocolate chip cookies. Only problem: no chocolate chips in the pantry. But did I let this stop me? Normally the answer would be yes, but today I decided to do something brave, something bold. I used the internet. Wahoo! I knew we had nutella so I did a search for nutella cookies, and was blessed to find one that only required 3 ingredients. How cool is that? And how could even I possibly go wrong?
So within half an hour of so I was able to serve Mark a platter of cookies.

They're a bit on the crumbly side, and probably wouldn't suffer from having a few more ingredients, but they were even relatively moist.
To make things even more shocking, I decided to create my own variation. I added about a tablespoon of peanut butter to the mixture that was left after baking the first pan full and came up with these little buddies.

In my opinionation (little salute to "Blossom" there ;) you just can't go wrong with nutella and peanut butter. And basically I'd say I was right. While they basically fall apart as soon as you pick them up, they taste pretty fantastic, and went excellently with my Hills Bros. Mocha.
I'm pretty all over the place with the links today, but they add a little something, and I like to give credit where credit is due. As I said, I'm not any sort of expert who will tell you about the brilliant and complex combination of flavors, or the expert plating designs of a dish. It's just a mishap or a magical moment here and there in my own haphazard experiences in the kitchen.
Now on to topic number two. After all, this is my blog, my place to say what I feel like saying, and I can be as mishmashed and all over the place as I'd like. So I'm going to share a recent inspiration/project idea. I've decided, thanks to years of personal experience, to create journals. In Prague I found what might be called, found journals, on display for 300kc+. In American markets I discovered re-purposed book journals for $15+. I've also found different sites online where you can buy handmade journals like one of my current blog faves Gadanke. All of these visions have helped to inspire me with the idea that this is something I could do as well.
Over the past few weeks I've been to a lot of garage sales collecting components for this fun new project. I still have a way to go in figuring out how to really do the book re-purposing, partly because it's hard to bring myself to cut up the lovely old books, and partly because it's hard to figure out how to get the pages securely inside. But I'm working on it, and am slowly gathering ideas on that front.
The past couple of days, however, I have done a lot of work on one journal in particular. Here's a little sneak peak into what I've come up with. It would be my niece Adelia's dream journal for sure:

Beyond what I've already inserted, I want to add bits of my own poetry to some of the pages. I thought about doing famous quotes and maybe Bible verses, but I don't want to risk any sort of copyright infringement, so for now I think I'll steer clear of things like that. With my collection of photos from around the world, I'm certain that I can create unique journals and pieces of art, that hopefully other people will enjoy as well. It's a thought at least. And if no one buys them, then I'll always have the chance to fill them myself...Perhaps at some point I'll even add creative covers using my powers of crochet, or include original artwork by Haley. Always best to incorporate family, right?
The writing dream is not dead. It still resides here in my head. But life proceeds. I just have to do my best to keep up and not go crazy in the process.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One of THOSE days...

Ever have one of those days when things just don't go right? It's like everything is just off kilter and bound and determined to get nothing but worse. Now, I've known a lot of people lately who've had ridiculous bad days. The kind where you wake up and expect normal, but by day's end someone you love is no longer in this world. It's been one of those years of death actually. Haven't known so many people that have died since 2003-04. (sigh) I certainly don't want to trivialize that sort of bad day with the kind I had on Saturday, but it was a doozy all the same.
It started out okay, pretty well even. Mark and I hit up some garage sales (something he's become quite fond of both hosting and visiting this summer) and we made a great find. A Foosball table in excellent condition. And not some wimpy little one, but a serious (heavy) one. So we had a little Christmas in September, and handed over the cash. It definitely wasn't going to fit in our little Milan, so we headed back to Moscow (all the sales were in Pullman today, due to the fair being the star event in Moscow this weekend) to borrow my Dad's truck.
While we were back at the house I had a little time. It felt good to sit be still for a while after getting up at 6 to check the sales, and I decided to check e-mail. I don't get much by way of exciting e-mail anymore these days. It seems most people now resort to facebook messages rather than actual letters (the paper kind obviously having fallen out of fashion years ago with the astronomical rise of stamp prices) so my inbox is mostly full of ads. It get lots from wedding sites, despite the fact that my wedding took place over seven months ago, as well as airline ticket companies, Publishers Clearing House, and different survey companies. Today, however, I got a most unfortunate e-mail that really kicked me in the stomach.
Basically I've been saying my entire life that I want to write. I've no doubt been spoiled by the praise of those near and dear to me. I got plenty of recognition in school, and figured I had a handle on the whole writing thing. Naturally, when my sister called me with the idea of joining some freelance writing website it seemed like a no brainer. I checked out a couple and was pretty excited by some of the options. Then I went to check my e-mail after having applied to a decent paying company only to receive a rejection letter.
It's not like this is my first rejection letter. When I was in High school I sent out copies of my manuscript and got a nice handful of the things, but I was aware that they were all unsolicited, and had been expecting rejection. But to have a company try to say nicely that I might have been told in the past that I could write, but it's highly competitive and I just don't have what it takes picked me up and threw me headlong over the edge. The thing is, I know I can do just about anything. Tell me what you want me to do, give me and idea of how to do it, and I'll manage. That's one of the reasons I've always been so irritated when job hunting. I know I can do these jobs, and all my previous employers will gush over me, but that doesn't mean I can manage to get an interview.
The whole episode brought me back to the day when I got a rejection letter from the Simpson acting group. The truth is, I probably would have been irritated by the sort of acting they did. It was all overly theatrical religious skits for chapel, but when I got the letter saying they felt like "God was calling me in a different direction" I was beyond crushed. I was down right angry. So angry that I wrote a letter to the club captain and informed her that she should seriously consider rewording her rejection letters because she had no right to represent herself as being equal with God when deciding what a person should do in life. The sad thing is, I haven't acted since then. Realistic or not, the entire thing put me off, and there really haven't been options since then. And I suppose you could say the rejections in high school put me off trying to publish anything, because I certainly haven't offered up a manuscript to a publisher since then.
It was just a black mark on the day. The sort of thing that's hard to shake. Mark and my parents were fabulous in trying to make me feel better and encouraging me to try again, but the truth is, a letter like that makes me lose the desire completely. Sure, there's another company that I can work for, but they pay an tiny fraction of the price and require three versions of every article. I'm the girl who didn't ever write drafts in college. They were a waste of time. Why write something over and over when you can do a great job the first time? Utterly pointless in my book. I know I should probably make myself do it, but it's really tough to force the issue.
After that it was hard to motivate myself to go and pick up the Foosball table. I wanted to sit in my chair and cry at my computer for the rest of the day. But we'd already given them the money. So we hopped in the truck and headed out. Unfortunately, the gas tank was empty so we had to put in a few gallons. I had the brilliant plan that I'd just add $10. It would be plenty to get us to Pullman and back. I asked Mark to pump for me, and I went inside to prepay. Nice idea, right? I mean, what station out there actually lets you pump before you pay without putting in your credit card first? I can't remember the last time I had that happen. Well, apparently the Moscow Chevron is a different sort of place. The trusting type you could say.
After waiting several minutes for the attendant to show up behind the counter, and then waiting a bit longer while she served the man in front of me, I was blown away when I told her to put $10 on 5 and she informed me that it was already more than that. Come again? Apparently, she'd been feeling extra helpful and just started it up without waiting to see if I was going to prepay. I rushed right out and shouted for Mark to stop the gas, but it was already up to $30. I. Was. So. Angry. I could scarcely contain myself. It was like adding expensive insult to crushed dream injury. I wanted to shout at the girl and ask her what she was going to do if all I had was $10. I mean, seriously. I was shaking and trying my best to talk politely, and assure her that I realize it wasn't her fault, nor was it Mark's fault. Most likely the whole mess was my fault. But I REALLY didn't want to throw away that much money at that moment. Not cool.
All this led to me just being a mess for the rest of the day. We got the Foosball table home, and after an immense amount of effort managed to get it into the basement. We won't talk about when it slipped out of my hands while we had it on its side to get through the door, or how my back is still not too pleased with how heavy the whole ordeal was. We just have to be happy that we have the beast. Not to mention how we had enough gas in the truck to drive up Moscow Mountain and have a romantic walk on our 7 month anniversary. (okay, so I didn't actually realize Monday was our anniversary until the next day. It also happened to be inventory day at work, meaning I was up at 4:15 AM in order to count a bunch of stuff. Not my favorite time of day.) Some days really are better to just put in the past and move on. Sadly, not everything is as easy to walk away from. I'd really been hoping the writing job could help us when we're living in Czech for three months with no jobs, and then returning to the US after, still with no jobs. Don't really have the life savings to fall back on that I had when we came back last time.
In his eloquent way, Mark reminded me that maybe this was all just God trying to wake me up from my every day life so I can start "REALLY" writing. Hard to say. For now I'm just going to do the best I can to keep on going through these days with the hope that some day it'll all come together for us, one way or another. And every day that isn't such a miserable, horrible, no good very bad day needs to be seen as a blessing. And I guess I even need to look for blessings in those icky days too. God does like to play like that every now and again, especially with me it would seem. So it goes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Meet me at the Fair!

It's fair time here in Latah county. Nothing quite like a small county fair in the heart of farming country. While know fair I've ever been to can be compared to the Leoti fair (a fair so cool they own all their own rides and only charge a quarter for each ride!) this one was quaint indeed. The fact that they still have free admission was a definite bonus, but they manage to inflate the prices of everything else so the carnies make out okay.
Before heading out tonight, Mark was a bit uncertain about the whole affair. The idea of farmer kids bringing in their prize pig, especially with the thought that the award winning prize will ring in the best price per pound, was a bit of a stretch for him. In the end, however, I think even the swine won him over.
All the classics were present and accounted for. Random booths with drawings and freebies, sheep, pigs, cows, goats, bunnies and chickens all groomed to perfection, kiddie rides and over priced impossible to win games, baked goods, art projects and random collections, and of course a hearty dose of over priced greasy food. Pretty much perfect.
After experiencing a real theme park earlier this summer, the rides didn't hold much appeal. That was probably a good thing, seeing as how it costs an arm and a leg to buy a single ticket, and each ride requires at least 3 for a 30 second ride. We did, however, break down and try a game. It's pretty incredible how they sucker you in. First, they always look easier to win than they really are. Then, even when you do win something, you could have paid twenty cents for it at 9riental trading company. The really big prizes require wasting so much money that it's purely unthinkable. But that next great payout always looks soooo close. (Sigh)
Naturally, we had to check out the chickens that Rowan and Adelia entered for judging. Rowan won Grand Champion for one of the most boring brown chickens ever. Apparently the fact that its feathers weren't bleached out was very impressive...Adelia was pretty crushed that her lovely bird didn't bring home the title, but what can you do?
Looking at the photography made me wonder why I've never entered the competition. Maybe one of these days. I've got some pretty postcard worthy shots if I do say so myself.
After the fair we celebrated payday with a trip to Starbucks where I learned that one of our regular baristas won a blue ribbon for his apricot jam. Who knew.
Well, it's been a very long week and the days when I could thrive on 4 hours of sleep are long gone so i'd best get some rest before the new day dawns and there are yard sales to attend...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Halfway point

September is halfway done. Seems like only a moment ago that it just started. I remember when I was a kid thinking people were crazy when they would talk about time flying. Christmas was always forever away. Sure, I was able to make my Halloween candy last until I had to throw the last few crusty lollipops and tootsie rolls away for the fresh haul, but waiting for it to be dark enough to go trick-or-treating took AGES.
Now I find myself suddenly one of "those" people. The type that blink and find that a decade has gone by. Not even joking. College was like five seconds ago, right? How is it possible that April marked ten years since graduation. It just doesn't seem possible. But when I think about it, I know it has to be true. There was the mill, then Hong Kong, then Albany, then Hong Kong get the picture.
I suppose living life by the year has something to do with this. There is such a strange balance in my life sometimes. I love to be organized, to have things under control, to know what's going to happen next. But I live on the edge. I make a life plan for a year. Then it tends to get all thrown out of whack as I make the next plan. And that's how time just freakishly evaporates.
Right now it's been the non-stop work thing that's had my days all in a tizzy. Despite still being counted as part-time, I worked so close to 40 hours (over the course of 6 days) last week, that they sent me home earlier than scheduled. Heaven forbid they'd have to be me time and a half on my paltry $7.30 an hour. This week the SRL (stock room lead) has been out sick. That means I've had to step up and fill in her role. It wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't this silly mathematical equation I'm supposed to figure out to calculate how fast everyone is working and if we're up to company standards. In a word: LAME. But otherwise it's kept me ultra busy. Then I get home and another round of demands are made on my time so that suddenly it's bedtime, due to the fact that I've been getting up at 5:40 most mornings in order to ride "the bike" to work.
I like being busy. Don't get me wrong on that point at all. When I lived in Hong Kong I thrived on sleeping as little as possible. Every moment of every day was some how taken up with people and sights and activity and the joy of life. I actually had to block out times to go to Starbucks where I could be alone (amazing how well that works out in a cafe so crowded I generally shared a table with one or two complete strangers) and get my thoughts out.
The real problem when life gets all hectic like this is that I disconnect from things. I get all caught up in a daze and have to fight to focus on anything. And I have so much trouble getting anything actually done because there is so much to do that I can't even get started on anything. (sigh) I know, whine and complain a little more already.
I'm hoping this weekend that I'll have a little time to curl up with myself and reboot. There has been a lot of sickness going around at work, and I can't deny that there are moments when I think it would be a little bit blessed to fall ill and have an excuse to just do nothing. But I know that, in the end, being sick is miserable. I don't want to be sick. I want to have a job, and to do all things well. I just also need to keep that whole balancing act in check. Like those things I wrote a few weeks ago that I'd like to be doing. They're still there, wanting me to get them done.
Perhaps in a couple of months when we head to Czech I'll manage to find a little time to pull myself together, to figure out how we're going to work things out for the next year or so. Since I won't be working, and haven't exactly been able to save anything since we've been here, it's likely that there will be plenty of down time. I guess I just have to work to keep myself all in one piece for now, and wait and see how it's all going to work out. That's the great adventure of life after all. Just take it as it comes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Something New

The truth is, I'm lazy. Not in everything mind you. I'm one of the hardest little workers you'll find in some things. Granted, when my assistant manager at work would come and ask how long it would take me to finish hanging the ten boxes of apparel on the line I'd reply in my offhand laid back manner, "I'll do what I can." At The Maids they were always going on and on about how we had to clean both faster and better at the same time. Can't really be done you see. They have to take one or the other. And while people are paying them 80 something an hour, being paid minimum wage doesn't exactly inspire a girl to go all out. But my work ethic in Italy at the age of 17 inspired my leaders to imply that I might not have been honest about my age. I take work seriously, and do my best to get the job done right. It might not move as quickly as some superhero magic number that they arbitrarily come up with, but as everyone who went to high school can attest, I don't walk slowly. It's all about hustle and get it done.
So, yeah, I can make a fast sandwich, clean a room in a flash, and hang apparel like there's no tomorrow. I even got to the point where lesson planning didn't take every spare minute of my time, but could be completed on the fly when necessary (although this is a practice I do not condone for all the first year teachers out there!)
I wouldn't exactly say that my lack of art in the kitchen is due to laziness, however. I move pretty slowly there, but it's more due to ineptitude and insecurity than laziness. Of course there's also that, not really wanting to do it bit as well...
The real heart of my laziness, the prompting for this post, however, is focused on my appearance. I wouldn't call myself a sloppy dresser. While I've often dreamed of being signed up for What Not to Wear in order to have a new high quality wardrobe become accessible to my less than worthy budget, I try to make the best of what I have. For those in the know, I was more than happy to shop at Bossini and Giordano (HK) or Kenvelo (CZ). Stateside Ross and Old Navy work out pretty well. Steps above markets and thrift stores, but a far cry from Gucci and Prada.
Slowly we arrive more to the point. Where my laziness really stands out is when it comes hair. As a kid I had long stick straight hair that my mother painstakingly (mostly due to my incessant whining) brushed and braided and made gorgeous. I sat a lot better when my older sister got a hold of me I was more than happy to sit patiently for her to make me "beautiful." Makeup, hair, the whole shebang.
If I knew where they all were, I could plague you with my hair transformations throughout my growing up years. I was a child of the 80's and had my fair share of side pony tales, straight bangs, and perms, as well as waterfall bangs ratted patiently by classmates during morning recess in the Jr. High era. After a particularly heinous perm a week before the wedding of the very sister who used to care for my hair so well, I declared that I was done with them, and let my hair grow back long and with a surprising amount of actual wave. (That last add in is just for Jessie if she happens to read this...) But throughout it all, I was happy if I spent five minutes or less to get my hair, and in high school the minimalistic makeup, all in order. Five minutes is really a stretch if I must be totally honest.
My friends were always happy to perform a make over, knowing it would last that afternoon and then, the end. It wasn't that I didn't like the way they were able to make me look, it was that the time it took to figure out how to get it done for myself was always...well, just too much. So I stuck with wash and go.
In college, I took it all to new extremes. First I cut it within an inch of it's life, then later started the dying process. Red, pink, green, and four months of blue, not to mention the tropic burgundy that became the color of choice for years to come. The hair grew back, it shrunk again, kind of like yo-yo dieting.
Besides the fact that I'm lazy about doing anything to my hair, I also hate having to pay money to get it done. The maintenance on the really short cut needed to be done every 6 weeks to prevent the formation of mushroom puffs around my ears, and that was far too much for a college student to deal with, let alone an ESI teacher. So in the end I gave up and let it grow long again. Actually, in Czech I could get a cut and color for about $15 USD, which is pretty incredible, but I still only managed to get there once a year. Click here, or here for visions of my Czech hair experiences. I'm sure there are actually a few posts that deal exclusively with the topic, but I don't want to spend all day searching for them. My boss in Czech always freaked out a little bit because Regina, the hairstylist, would make my hair all beautiful, and then I would wash my hair the next morning, and that would be the end of it. She thought I should go at least a few days without washing to keep the shape. But then it gets all greasy... And several hairstylists have bemoaned the fact that, besides down, the only other way I wear my hair is in a ponytail, leaving a tragic line in my already less than exciting hair.
Yeah, I'd call my attempts with hair pretty lazy. Today, however, I went out of my way to make sure I came back with something a little different from the salon. I was in desperate need of something fresh and new. Naturally, this also led to a little unashamed photo shootage. Haven't let the poser out to play for awhile, so it was good to have an excuse :)

So it probably won't look quite the same tomorrow after I wash it and then have to put it up since I've picked up an extra double long shift smack dab in the middle of my three day weekend, but at least it's different enough from the normal shapelessness that it should be pleasant for a while.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Write: To Breathe...

There are people, unnamed of course, who would say that without publication, without national acclaim, it is unthinkable - or at the very least unrealistic - to call oneself a writer. But that only begs the point of what a writer actually is. No, I'm not a published novelist, a well paid journalist, or even a notable blogger. There are a scant few who "follow" my blog, and I get random hits that apparently come from some dentist site in Russia, but I can't claim a wide reader base. These accolades aside, I still believe that at the very heart of me a writer lives and breathes and dreams.
So what is it that makes a person a writer? Is it having a story to tell? Is it a desire to reach the masses? Is it knowing how to read the current market and figuring out how to manipulate words in order to make a profit?
There are a lot of people out there who have been granted the title of WRITER, novelist, poet, journalist, etc. I'm sure that in those categories you can find people who would answer yes to each of the above questions. But what about me?
When I was a kid I was always talking. Most of the time those "listening" to my words of wisdom or hilarity were present only in my own little head. I couldn't begin to remember what it was I felt was so important to tell them, but I was never a gifted story teller. That comes out sounding a bit off, but it's the truth. I could never just come up with an interesting story to tell when asked. Sure I can spice up tales from my own life of transience, but while my imagination soars on the page, I can't just speak it into existence. It's almost as though my fingers are an integral part of my story telling abilities, but I've never figured out how to talk with my hands except on paper.
There are plenty of things I'd like to tell the world. Sometimes it's as simple as: Grow up and figure out that life is not about you! I get sooooo fed up with this era of entitlement. It's as though people have come to the conclusion that because they were mommy's little angle, the entire world should cater to them. After all, we have it drilled into our individualistic developing minds that looking out for number one is not only critical, but also admirable. But as much as I like to talk the ear off of anyone willing to listen to my point of view, I'm not ready to start writing educational pamphlets to get the word out.
Then we come to the idea of a writing being a tool to amassing wealth. It is true that there are things to be researched when attempting to get into publication. Obviously, it's wise to write what the market wants if a person really wants to acquire the coveted "name in print." I wouldn't be so trite as to say that I'm above such things, or that I need to stick by my principles and write only what my heart desires. It's like saying I know better what people want to read than people do themselves. Sorta like on Design Star when Kelly decided that she knew better what the little boy should want his room to look like than what he said he wanted. Just because I have what I think is a stellar story idea, doesn't mean that there will be anyone else out there who wants to read it. At the same time, I can't just write to please a general populace. Just because "someone" was able to sell large quantities of sub-par books, doesn't mean that I'm going to stoop to that level just to make some quick cash.
When people ask me who I am, what I want to do or be, I still come back to the fact that I'm a writer, even though I can't answer yes to any of those questions. The truth is, for me, writing is like breathing. It's something I just do. Something I need to do. When I was several weeks behind in my journal I felt all tight in my head. My journals are not something anyone should, or even could, read. They are not literary master works, or even all that interesting if I'm being completely honest. But they have become an integral part of my life; how I manage my place in this world that so often doesn't measure up to my ideals or standards.
Likewise, my blogs are a place for me to express this world in a slightly more public forum. I don't guarantee that they'll be interesting to any person who passes through, but they're an attempt at both honesty and entertainment. A broader outlet for my light to shine so to speak.
Then there are those stories that still resonate inside my head. The snippets of ideas, the characters that haunt me, the ideas that seek to be revealed. If life was made of time, I would have more of it to spend on completing those stories. However, days evaporate before I even know what's happening. Today, for example, is just gone.
Perhaps, some day, I'll be able to add to my list of accomplishments a literary title. Perhaps I'll figure out how to get the word out and even make a buck or two. Perhaps not. Regardless, (yes, irregardless is still not a proper word despite the fact that spell check is currently registering it, and my boss uses it on a highly regular basis along with a handful of other nails on the chalkboard double negatives) I still call myself a writer. Lowercase is fully acceptable to me.