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Friday, August 8, 2014

A Few Books

So I've been reading some books. Here are some of my more interesting reads.


This post-World-War-I family drama explores the friendship between two women, whose destinies are merged by their unique relationship to one man. Having just returned from fighting in a gruesome war, Fidelis Waldvogel is ready to begin a new life as a family man and butcher. Hoping to erase from his mind the awful images of war, he travels to America looking for a fresh start. I'm partial to post-war stories. Add a little family drama and I'm all in. On a scale of five stars, I give this books a 3.75.







The reviews and blurb for this book were intentionally vague. My curiosity was piqued because there's the mention of a sister in the family who suddenly went missing. There's also the mention of a missing brother who may be in trouble with the law. The narrator, 22 year old Rosemary, is the one sibling left to tell the story. Spoiler alert! Turns out the missing sister is actually a monkey. I enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book. The last quarter became an animal rights campaign which made my eyes glaze over. I actually enjoyed the book until the campaigning began. I give this one 2.5 stars.







You'd have to be a fan of memoirs and care about Anna Quindlen's thought patterns to want to read this book. It so happens I've previously enjoyed a few of her books and she offers some amusing viewpoints on marriage, aging, parenting and "stuff". This book reads like a blog which you can either love or hate. I liked it: 3.5 stars.







In this story an activist attorney is murdered and the Los Angeles Police Department is filled with prime suspects. I need a little violence and mystery in my reading life once in a while. Add lawyers and cries of racism to the mix and things can get really interesting for summer-time reading escape. I give this one 3.5 stars.







This period novel takes place in 1937 and is basically a year in the life of three best friends enjoying the New York City party life until fate intervenes and turn their world upside down for a bit. It's a riches to rags story and I thoroughly enjoyed the way Towles tells a story. I give it 4 stars.






I should say up front, I've always been a John Grisham fan. So when I read that this book is a follow up in the life of the star attorney from Grisham's A Time to Kill, I was hooked. I'm all tapped out writing these reviews, so I lifted the following from Goodreads.com:

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.
The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

I give this book 4.25 stars.



Those are some of my latest reads. Please tell me you have some book recommendations for me too. What are some of your favorite books so far this year? Do you finish books that you dislike? Or do you skim towards the end like me?

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Labor of Love- SEWING!


Look what I dug out and dusted off!

My mother was never the kind of woman to coddle or coo words of love, though she's loved us very much. It's taken me a bit of time to understand and accept that about her. In her mothering brilliance she found a way to make up for the things she lacked: shopping.

Throughout the years my mother bought and shipped numerous household goods to my home. Her gifts were never connected to birthdays or holidays, instead they were  her whimsical generosity linked to love of the Home Shopping Network and her kids. There's been a blender, a patio set, a television set (or two) just to name a few. Some things I've used and some things have sat in the garage collecting dust.

One of the BEST gifts she's ever given me was a sewing machine. And yet, I was drinking too much to pay much attention to it when it arrived on my doorstep fifteen years ago. Don't get me wrong, at the time I was elated to get such a useful gift. My love of sewing was well known, as I used to be a little girl who sewed clothing for all of her dolls. However, in adulthood alcohol addiction had begun to consume much of my time.

I mentioned in an earlier post, I would be embarking on a few projects during my stay-cation, including a start of bible reading from beginning to end (which will probably take at least a year). I can now check sewing a wearable skirt off my to-do list.

First I had to shop! No big ticket items, just a few important things like fabric and thread.



First stop was Walmart. While I did get a few necessary things there like scissors, thread and pins, my favorite purchase came at a local specialty fabric store with much nicer selections.


 
This was the fabric I chose for my practice-run. I had no idea this gray material would be too thick to hang nicely as a skirt. You'll see.
 
 
 


I went on Youtube and watched a few videos on how to make a skirt. There were simpler skirts for beginners to make, but I love long skirts and I've always adored mermaid style dresses, sooo ....... As you can see, my cutting job was not so good.




 
In the picture above, I laid my cut pieces out on the couch. I knew my cut was pretty bad, but once it's cut it's kind of hard to save it when you see your mistake. As you can see, the material was too thick and the skirt hung stiffly on my body. Oh well, lesson learned.
 
 
 
 
Next!

 
This time I found a thinner, more stretchy fabric at the local specialty store I mentioned earlier.
 
 
 

 
I took my time and was waayyy more careful with my cutting. Unfortunately this time around I was too focused on my labor of love to get a picture of my final cutting results. I assure you it looked much better.
 
While my mermaid cut came out nicely, I struggled to cut the hem evenly. In the far right picture above, I ended up hanging my mermaid-cut fabric to re-cut the hem.
 
 
 


The teachers in the video took no more than thirty minutes to make their skirts. Ha! It took me all day Saturday - a total of six hours! - to make my first wearable skirt. I really had a hard time sewing the hem neatly. If you look closely at my finished hem you can see how crooked the stitching is, but you'd really have to get on your hands and knees.





 
Tah-dah! This is what I wore to church yesterday! Yup, I plan on filling my closet with homemade skirts. I feel accomplished and down right proud of myself!



Do you sew? Do you know anyone else who sews their own clothes?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Books, Black People, Neighbors and White People

This is one of those posts that makes my heart race a little as I write. It's gonna be a little bit all over the place, so bear with me as I try to spill my guts and have it all make sense. First, this is NOT a continuation where the last post left off. I'll do part 2 for the time post later. This morning my mind is filling with all these thoughts and I just have to get them down before the feelings leave me.
 
Books
Why do I love to read so much? There are a number of reasons I enjoy being immersed in a good book, I can't name them all right now. But the one that's looming foremost in my mind at present is this: I love reading because in books writers are talking about the things that no one appears to be talking about in real life.
 
 
 
If an author can get me to mumble, nod, or smile, he is speaking to my core, whereas in every day life, others are barely scratching at my mind's surface. Oh sure, sometimes I get scratchers who break skin in ways that can be euphoric or heinous, as well as simply good or bad. But it doesn't happen every day.
 
So I read because it makes me know I'm not crazy. Books help me to hush the buzz of my thinking because my mind is always puzzling at the complexities of life. You know that little boy or girl who hit age four and began asking endless why-questions? Well picture five of those kids occupying my mind along with a few cynical and dopey adult characters. That's the group that lives inside my head; I refer to them as the "committee." They never stop talking!
 
There's a bounty of life topics which interest me. Lots and lots of them! Among them are racial issues.
 
 
Black People
I've always known I was black (smiling). I'm just saying that for the record because I don't want you to think that it's ever left my awareness. As much as I would enjoy having a life without thinking in skin color, I can't be free of that awareness for more than a few occasional strung-together moments. When do I NOT have the awareness? one might ask. Oh there are all kinds of moments. Take these for instance, just to name a few.
 
When I write- Sometimes when I'm writing about a universal subject, such as a good movie or book. Or maybe I'm writing about a human condition such as alcoholism. In those moments I don't think about being black or white.
 
When I'm sharing a friendship- During phone conversations or visits with one of my girlfriends, a few of whom happen to be white, I'm just being me. When we're swapping stories about our families or sharing a good laugh, I don't stop and think about what color I am.
 
When I'm with my family- When I'm playing tennis with my husband or kids race is pretty far from my thinking. Or when I'm spending time chatting with my hubby, discussing family events or our finances or sharing a funny story, I'm not thinking about my color there either.
 
However, in reality, the majority of my hours are spent with constant reminders of being black. I've lived through many different stages of rejecting and accepting being a black person, living in America. Having arrived at the middle-age season of my life, I've finally learned how to live with it. And yet, me being me, I can't move fully through this stage of my life without examining the black part of my persona.
 
Yes, it's just a part. It's not ALL of me. There is so much more to me than just being black. (That's a delicious little nugget of wisdom which has taken me a few years to acquire)
 
 
The Neighbors
Now this is a tough one to tackle, because here we arrive at the crux of my constant-awareness-of-being-black persona. Nothing reminds me daily of who I am in this world more than the place in which I dwell for nourishment, love and general rejuvenation.
 
 
 
 
Twelve years ago when our home was being built, this community was a fairly new development. Since ours was among the first of new homes being built among older homes, neighbors were sparsely spread out.
 
In a short period of time many more homes sprung up all around us. Most of the new homeowners were black. As the community became more populated, a few of the white owners who were here before us, quickly sold there homes and left. Despite those departures, there remained a bit of a  racial mix in our community, which includes blacks, whites and a few Latinos. However, there are definitely more blacks around us than whites.
 
Now I know "neighbors" in general tend to be the luck of the draw and some community members struggle with getting along regardless of any one's race. Be that as it may, the fact is, I spent many of my childhood years growing up in predominantly black communities. There exists a palpable tension among my black neighbors which I recognize from my youthful years in Brooklyn. If I had to name it I'd call it a "hostile hum of energy."
 
Some days we nod or wave hello politely at each other, most days we don't. We either make eye-contact because we're bored and looking for engagement or we avoid eye-contact because we prefer to have no drama. I confess to choosing the latter most days. One of these days I'll write more about this "hostile hum of energy," but for now, let's move on.
 
 
White People
As much as I blog about the varied happenings in my life, I rarely talk about my job. I figure one of these days someone from work is going to find my blog -- if they haven't found it already -- so I try to be as vague as possible if I touch on my workplace as a topic. Except in this instance. Here's why, life is happening and we're all moving parts of history in the making. What I have to say is not going to be harmful, but it's the truth. There's no getting around it: some things need to be blogged about.
 
I'm the only black person at my place of employment. Our offices have seven women and one man. It's hard to deny an awareness of my black persona at work. Not necessarily because I feel out of place, though sometimes I do, but for reasons having less to do with race and more to do with personality. The fact is, living in a country where race looms like a pink elephant, one black person working in an office full of whites is noticeable.
 
I've worked here five years and we all know each other and get along pretty well for co-workers. Rarely do we tread on the topic of race as pairs or threesomes during water-cooler chats. So when a racial remark came up recently during one of our group discussions of laughter and teasing, it took me by surprise.
 
The ladies were teasing me about a white male client who appears to have taken a special liking to me (saying he has a crush is a stretch, I think). Whenever he comes into our building, he often stops in the doorway of my office to say hello and chat briefly. This has been going on for a few months and I've been teased by them as a group on two or three different occasions.
 
The most recent episode was two weeks ago. One afternoon when business was slow, five us were gathered in an outer office; there was more ribbing and joking. One of the ladies said: "You know he loves that dark meat!" And they all roared with laughter. I may have blushed, but I laughed along and said something like, Oh don't be such a hater. Another of the ladies smiled but she didn't laugh. We chuckled and talked some more but there was definitely a slight tension among us and we eventually moved good-naturedly to a different topic.
 
Was the joke meant to insult me or hurt my feelings? I don't believe it was. I think the co-worker just got a little carried away with her feelings of camaraderie. I've done that. I've been in situations with groups of friends or family and said something that made people gasp. I've gone too far with outrageous humor or unpopular opinion. So I know my co-worker wasn't trying to be malicious.
 
* * *
 
Given the fact that most of my co-workers lack the comfort and honesty to discuss racial issues with each other, myself included, I think their joking about it was in poor taste. Even if there really was no harm done with the teasing, I'm sure each of us went to our respective, familiar corners of life and recounted the discussion.
 
My familiar corner is the blog. I found the episode too uncomfortable to discuss with my hubby, so he'll just have to read about it when he gets around to this post. What does it all mean, asks my four-year old committee member? I'm not really sure. All I know is the world is filled to the brim with complexities; and reading books help me in figuring some of them out. This morning my train of thoughts was pulsing around that moment in time when my co-workers unwittingly highlighted our differences when it seemed too uncomfortable to see one of us getting more attention than the other. It was a last straw on my tired camel's back.
 
By mid-July I was beginning to feel heavy with a cumulative exhaustion of all the 2014 days so far. Thank goodness for vacation days. I don't know how everyone else is making sense of their life. But this is how I do it. I read. I write. I live. And repeat.
 
 
 
 
 
Do you have an awareness of your skin color? Do you discuss racial issues in your home? Do you get along with your neighbors? How do you make sense of it all?
 
 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Time Takes Time

So I'm a few days in on my stay-cation and it's been wonderful! I've been reading, taking naps, journaling, and embarking on a few new projects (which I'll write about later). One of my new projects is I'm reading the bible from beginning to end. Of course there's no way I will finish reading the bible in eight days! But it's a project worth mentioning since it started on my vacay. I thought I was going to post yesterday, but I needed time to just be still and reflect. Despite all the days of note-taking in preparation for blogging while on vacay, I needed quiet moments of bible reading and meditation to bring my thoughts together in writing. Inspiration came again! As I wrote my post this morning, I saw that it would be too long for one entry. I'm not sure how many parts there will be, I just knew I needed to pause at the end. Here's where my mind took me so far.
 
* * * * * * *
 
When I first joined AA I resented hearing the old-timers say things like time takes time. I was new but didn't want to be a newbie. It's one of the fun facts about humans, we always want to appear to be in the know. Nobody likes being the new guy.
 
After I had more than a year of time under my belt I thought I was pretty smart. I thought, Ha! Look at me! I haven't gone this long without alcohol since I was a teenager! I feel like I know stuff.
 
 
 
 
 
And then one day I heard an old-timer say, "Ya know, they say it takes alcoholics five years to get their brain fully functional again."
 
Whaaaat?!! The  committee in my mind went berserk! That's a load of bull right there! He's just an idiot! Don't forget he also did drugs! His brain is FRIED! Yours is NOT! He probably started drinking way earlier than you! Look at him! Do you think he even finished high school? Probably not.
 
All brains are NOT alike! Don't listen to him! So what if you've heard other old-times say that? They're dumb too! They probably did drugs! They probably started drinking when they were six! Of course they would need five years to dry out!
 
Not you! You're different! You're smarter than these other alcoholics, Maria! You were functional. You didn't lose your job. You didn't lose your home. You didn't ruin your marriage. These people lost so much. What did you ever lose? Ha! Not anything super important.....!
 
* * * *
 
Apparently, time does indeed take time. It's taken me four years and three months of sobriety to understand in a deeper way that I lost just as much as some of those old-timers. All alcoholics lose things when they're buried in their addictions. Some of what we lose can be more or less noticeable than others. But I can assure you, I lost precious things.
 
I lost time. I lost the time that I wasted being in occasional blackouts. I also lost time during the hours when I wasn't drinking, but pushing through the hangover minutes and hours. By the time my brain started clearing up from the hangover fuzz, the day was almost over and I was nearing my cocktail hour all over again.
 
Over the last four years, I've watched as the layers of fog lifted from my brain to reveal life more clearly to me. As a newcomer to AA admitting truths to myself was too hard for me to take in all at once. I can say now, without a racing heart or a defensive stance, my brain was soaked in alcohol because I drank for 26 years.
 
It's only logical that the body would need as much as five years to rid itself of toxins built up over even longer periods. Just this morning I read in Genesis, that Noah and his people, following the rain of forty days, were stuck on the ark for ten additional months waiting for the land to dry up enough to become inhabitable again.
 
My brain was soaked for much longer with alcohol. I'm not proud of this, but the truth is, alcohol corrupted my brain cells. That was a fact that I had to come to terms with. This is why when we first get sober, AA sponsors tell us not to make any major decisions for the first twelve months. Thank goodness there were no major decisions for me to make back then because I'm a natural born rebel and apparently four years ago my brain cells were crud.
 
I was already in a solid marriage, so I had no new relationship to consider. I was living in my marriage home with kids in still in grade school, so the chances of me moving were nil. I was working at the same job I have today, so there was no career change to consider. On the face of things I was an obedient newcomer to the AA rules. On the inside, because my brain was still mush, I was challenging a lot of AA wisdom.
 
But here's the good news: I'm the daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me dearly. We're ALL God's children, dearly loved by Him, and as a result we're all fairly gifted and intelligent beings.
 
How else can an alcoholic like me explain some of her accomplishments and successes in the face of alcoholism? And the crazy thing is, I never even thought of myself as smart! Honestly, the committee of voices in my head allowed me to feel superior to some people, but it was just a delusion to get me though some of my more difficult moments in life.
 
Now that I'm sober, I feel the enthusiasm of the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. Woo-hooo!! I have a brain that works! Sobriety has introduced me to my authentic self.
 
 
 
End of part 1
 
 
 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Stay-cay Vacay

This is truly my favorite kind of vacation. I don’t work because I’m in love with my job, I work because it pays the bills. Stay-cations give me a taste of the freedom I miss as a card-carrying member of the rat-race.

Oh yes, of course, I enjoy the traveling kind of vacation as much as the next person. We went to Florida last year, visited lots of family members while there, ate out at yummy restaurants, laid pool-side covered in tanning lotion, and walked around like tourists. Sure that was fun too..…

But in my heart of hearts, I’m a simple girl who requires just the little things to bring her joy. Packing and unpacking, getting on and off planes, constant socializing -- which is occasionally forced because sometimes I’d rather be alone with a book, spending money to cover three meals a day while traveling ….. umm, yah! as fun as that all is, it also makes me tired.

So this year, due quite frankly to financial constraints as our youngest is in the last year of the college homestretch, I am on vacation, all alone, in the comfort of my own home. Woo-hoooo!! To celebrate the occasion, these are my newly purchased jammies to kick off my stay-cation.

 
A selfie taken last night


I am sooo excited to be here blogging again! For the next seven days I am free to ruminate on my own free-flowing thoughts. There will be no clogging of ideas due to distractions by co-workers or customers. Man oh man, I can’t say enough how good that feels as a writer!

And guess what!? For the last two weeks I’ve been jotting down pages of notes! Let me stop here and say this: What I am writing here this week is all for me. It would be nice if others chose to read along, but no one is expected to. I am writing to record my memories. Of course, it would be made all the better if YOU find it interesting enough to keep reading here. So come on! ;-)

I had a wonderful conversation recently with a dear friend and fellow blogger who reminded me of other uses for my blog. A few years ago I read about bloggers turning their blog into books. I vaguely promised myself I’d do that one day but never got around to it. Talking with my friend reignited my commitment to put my blog into a book that my grandkids can read. 

So this is Maria’s Stay-cation blog, day 1. I’m feeling giddy! My vacation actually started yesterday as I left work a few hours early, driving out of the employee parking lot with a giant grin on my face. On the way home I stopped at the library and the grocery store. Picked up some books and my favorite snacks.

Hubby’s working today, meanwhile so far I’ve taken a nap, started three different books, eaten too much candy and chugged coconut soda. Winning! I’ll be back on day 3. He'll be home soon and we'll be heading to the tennis courts, so I'll have to pause here.

What are your vacation plans for this year? Have you travelled anywhere fun? Have you ever taken a stay-cation?
 
 
 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Yeah, I'm A Little Bit Strange



I think I'm a bit of a weirdo.

Wait .... maybe not a weirdo since I just looked up that word and the definition includes words like psychopath and dangerous.

Eccentric is more like it. According to that definition, I'm uncoventional and slightly strange. Yeah .... that's sounds about right.
First off, this is not even going to be a full post. I just want you to know, I'm still here. And this is the prelude to the post-post, ya know? The real post, in which I may need hours or days to compose, will come later. For now this is just a post until I have time to write the post-post.

Making promises about future dates is not my favorite thing. But in deference to my blog-love, I need to make this commitment. Even though today is Saturday and I have some free time to myself ....

And even though no one's home but me and the doggies ....

And even though I'm feeling inspired with a big blog idea and my mind is filled with epiphanies I'd like to lay out here .....

My heart tells me I need to wait. I have a stay-cation coming up in a couple of weeks. So I'll be back to write out my inspired ideas then (hopefully).
Now, because I'm a bit of a weirdo/eccentric, I offer the following hypothetical exchange:

Reader- What if you forget the ideas you had when you felt inspired.
Me- I will jot down my thoughts in the coming days.

Reader- What if you don't feel like writing once you're on your stay-cation?
Me- Umm .... Ok, good question. Let's hope for the best.
Reader- What if you decide to clam up, which you've tended to do on previous occasions?
Me- By writing this post I'm trying to commit to NOT clamming up. 

Reader- What if this cat and mouse game is a turn-off and I don't come back?
Me- Ah yes, another good question. Alas, I shall be down to two readers instead of three? Or you can lurk and laugh until I write something infuriating. Heh.

Glad we had this chat. See you in a couple of weeks!
In the meantime, tell me something eccentric about YOUR personality. Do you consider yourself typical or a little on the quirky side?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Loner-ville


I haven't written anything about my conversion in a long time. On purpose. I'd been struggling to explain my feelings.

At first I was super-excited to be around so many loving and smiley people. But then something shifted at my core which had nothing to do with the gospel. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. Reading the scriptures sing a melody that rhymes with my strumming heart. I know that's never going to change.

In the early months, following my baptism, I was like the bubbles in a carbonated beverage, all shook up and spilling over. I felt smiley and happy most of the time in those initial hours. Hours became days, then weeks, then months. I looked around and what did I see? I was still me. New places and faces flanked, but at the center, I still saw her. That girl. From a little place which looms large in my mind: Loner-ville.

We, who've spent most of our lives in Loner-ville, live in our heads often. Some of us come from large families and have always had plenty of friends. Yet while in the midst of many, we have lived in Loner-ville. And then there are those of us, like me, who come from small families and have socialized infrequently.

I'm 48 years old and I think I can count - on one hand - the number of weddings I've attended. I can also count on one hand the funerals and on another hand, the baby-showers. No, I don't have three hands, silly rabbit!

(Confession: I'm not at all crazy about baby showers. I lack that particular girly gene. Though I know I'll LOVE it for my own daughters.)

Since joining the LDS church I've had moments of feeling overwhelmed. These feelings have more to do with ME than the church. I'm just not used to juggling interactions with so many different people. I'm accustomed to dwelling in Loner-ville, where life has been mostly quiet and manageable. 

It never occurred to me that I would have to learn how to interact with numerous people on a regular basis if I joined the church. I'm not knocking it, I'm just being honest. As much as I love the gospel, I am having to make a constant adjustment to all the people. 

As a little girl, I was acutely aware of my father's desire to keep us isolated from extended family and possible friends. He ruled the household, we had little input, so we lived in our own little world. Somehow I knew we needed more people in our lives. I used to sneak off to go to parties with my friends. Or I'd ride off on my bicycle to explore other neighborhoods. Helplessly watching my father corral us away from the world placed a yearning in my heart. Who knew I'd grow up and return to my isolation roots?

I spend 40 hours a day at a job I enjoy. The people? Not so much. It's not them, it's me! I prefer to be alone. It's a bit of Stockholm syndrome, really. My father went on to become a sweet old guy and a lovable grandfather. However, once upon a time years ago, he was battling his own personal demons when his family was young.
 
Here I sit today, still figuring out how to get along with others. Apparently we're always adjusting and readjusting to make old lives and new lives fit together.

After spending 40 hours with co-workers, some of whom I occasionally neck-punch in daydreams, I was accustomed to relishing evenings at home and two whole days at the week's end. Now there's church on Sundays, which is cool. But then there are all these people keep showing up! And they're just as flawed as I am! Oiy!

Occasionally I've wondered: God, what were you thinking?! Come ooooonnn! Do we really need to fellowship every single week? I believe, He chuckles lovingly and the answer lights itself in my heart.
 
Well, yah! We do.
 
 
My girl-self knew. We are not meant to be alone. Sure, I'll always cherish Loner-ville for its blankets of creativity, of safety, of comfort, of peace, of its numerous layers of protection. I'm beginning to understand that it's time for me let it go and step fully into peopled world God created for us. Do I go willingly? No, not always. But I can see the love-light through others around me and it gently spurs me forward. Sometimes it's a smiling face or a warm hug or a kindly text. 

Sometimes an invitation beckons, sometimes a home visit sparks. We all have this light inside of us. It's kind of nice when we hit one another's switch. My conversion is a moment by moment, baby-stepping process. I am on a journey. The path can go from smooth sailing to hilly and bumpy. Today is a good day.

Have you ever spent time in Loner-ville? How do you manage your time with people?
 
 

Friday, June 13, 2014

30-Minute Blog: OCDOCDOCDOCDOCDOCDOCDOCD


Can you write a blog in less than an hour? Really!?!

Would you believe I've NEVER written a blog in less than an hour? I'm giving myself 30 minutes to complete this one. So it's gonna be quick and random. My process is usually slow and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) methodic. Editing and proof-reading takes the longest. Okay enough of that.... back to the post!

Speaking of OCD, I recently finished reading a novel called, Motherless Brooklyn. If you guessed I picked it for the title, you'd be kinda-sorta right. But just so you know, believe it or not, I actually HAVE rejected books with New York-like titles. If you're reading my blog for the first time, you should know I'm a former New Yorker. 

Anywayz, the clock is ticking and I'm on a mission to write a 30-minute blog. If I get this done, it will be proof to myself that I can pop in here more frequently and write instead of acting like I need a three-hour block for every post. Besides, hubby's on vacay after today, so it's now or probably-gonna-feel-like never. We'll be hanging out together and there'll be little time for blogging.

See how I ramble when I put pressure on myself? Ugh. Okay, Maria, FOCUS!

So this book I read, I really liked it. I must of course, lay out a disclaimer: it's not for everyone. But if you're a little cracked like me, you might like it. Oh yes, as I've gotten older, I've learned to embrace my crazy. I'm not wrapped tight, I'm over it, getting used to it and learning to love it more and more.

The protagonist and narrator has tourettes. Yah! I know, right?! How does THAT story sound?! Well to me, it sounded like musical deliciousness! Not right away, mind you. At first I was all like, wait-what? Huh. I'm not sure .... do I really want to read this? Would I like random written outbursts from a narrator? Do I really want to be inside the mind of a tourette's person?

See there? That's called a reveal. Clearly I have my biases. 

Anywayz, turns out my narrator speaks a language I understand a little bit: OCD. To clarify, in my unprofessional novice opinion, there are varying degrees of OCD. My degree involves the obsessive studying of life's details. No, I'm not a neat-freak nor do I have a need to have every single thing in its place. Just the thought of that kind of behavior makes me tired.

But I DO have OCD tendencies.

What I obsess about is people. I'm an intense people-watcher. I notice SO MANY aspects of human behavior, I would end up looking like a loon if I ever tried blogging about it all.

Ugh. This is going on and on. I'm thinking too much right now, trying to figure out how to explain my OCD and how it connects to Lionel, my tourettes character in the story. I also obsess about my writing, clearly.

This was probably not a good subject to practice my 30-minute blogging. I keep digressing and rambling. Oh! The pressure! Tick-tock, tick-tock.

As I was saying, turns out Lionel is my kind of protagonist. He notices so many things about human beings. And just so you know, Lionel is also an orphan turned small-time thug whose thug-boss was murdered, so he's investigating to find the killer.
 
A crazy story, yet I found it compelling. Reading about him fed a void. There are others like us. Not that I'm a thug or wanna-be detective. But my OCD. Turns out a number of us never stopped being the infants who stared intensely at mobiles hanging over our crib with shiny and colorful shapes. And it's okay! 

That's it, I passed the 30-minute mark a few minutes ago. The end.

What kind of OCD do you have?