Of Writing Muscles

I haven’t written a plot driven story, poem, limerick, or really anything since I graduated. And it’s already been a year and a half since that momentous event occurred.

Recently I discovered that while my ability to ramble has not faded, my fiction muscles were defiantly out of shape.

When I first sat down at my laptop I was ready to kick ass. After all, in the past I’ve written fantastic stories on two hours of sleep and within extreme time constraints. So obviously this was gonna go well:

Anchorman - Big Deal

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The first draft was nothing more than awkward, unnatural dialogue. No imagery, limited movement, and hardly even a purpose. It was deleted.

So I decided it was best to start over. Now that the initial creative process kinks were out-of-the-way it was just a matter of accomplishing the task at hand:

Anchorman - Fight

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The second draft was much better, but not improved enough to make me say, “Good job self.” Most of this version will be deleted.

Now I’m embarking on draft three. If all goes well, this draft will be on par with the stories I wrote when I had only an hour to throw together a 2-5 page exercise to discuss during class. At this phase it feels a bit chaotic. However, now I’m invested, and turning back to the la-de-da world of binge watching Netflix is no longer an option. Sadly, this draft will most likely also join the scrap heap:

Anchorman - Regret Decision

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By draft four, maybe just maybe, it might be good enough to share with the internet. Because if by the fourth draft I still haven’t got my writing muscles back into shape, that would be a true travesty:

Anchorman - Glass Cage

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I think what I need is a writing group to keep me accountable. Whether they be strangers via the online universe, or people I may or may not know who live nearby. I need someone to give me a deadline and a reason to stare a computer for hours a day. Initially I will hate them for making me enter the treacherous love/hate world of writing. But when I finally have a tangible (and awesome) story that I can hand to a group for discussion, all I’ll be able to say is:

Anchorman - Love You

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They say that, “You’re always your worst critic,” but I’ve always thought I was decently awesome. So if I say it sucks, trust me when I say it’s a shitfest that’s not ready to be viewed by anyone. However, when my writing is once again impressive …. I shall show it everyone:

Anchorman - Jump for Joy

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Of Balloon Madness

Balloon Fighting

My friends Lainie and Jackie decked out in balloons.

We could be going to the bars. Instead we stay home playing with balloon animals, hats, flowers, and swords. Why? Because we’re awesome! And because my friends just learned about my secret talent. I know how to make balloon creations.

So what do I do when my best friends are in Vegas and I’m not? I go into their apartment, set up an Easter egg hunt, and decorate with balloons. Clearly I need more friends.

I wasn’t aware they didn’t know. When I attended the Lord’s Boot Camp (a two-week training period for the evangelical and handyman-esque skills teens may need on the mission field) I had the choice of wire laying or balloon making – I chose balloon making – twice. Course, two days ago marks the first time I’ve gotten bendy with balloons since I was seventeen. I think I did a damn good job.

Me With Balloons

The first balloon hat I ever made – and a flower.

This evening, rather than venturing outside and mingling with friends, acquaintances, and strangers in the way that young adults are supposed to behave. We stayed home and made MORE balloon creations. Lainie made a swan. Jackie made a flower that looked like a deformed-exploding-penis. And I made random things and a much better parrot than Jackie did – though she tried to claim that she was going for a vulture after both creations were complete.

Eventually this happened:

Then this happened:

Just because we’re all in our twenties doesn’t mean that we can enjoy some good ole’ fashion balloon fighting fun.

Of Family Reunions

The Family Circus

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For the past week I’ve been in Fresno, CA. I can’t imagine how anyone could live there, unless maybe they haven’t experienced anything else. And if you live and love it there, I apologize, I’m sure you’re used to the climate – I, however, am not. It’s hot. Too fucking hot!

When I arrived it was 100 degrees outside and throughout my stay the lowest the temperature got was maybe 93. I’m used to the moderate climate of the Pacific Northwest. 85 degrees is as hot as I’m willing to go, and even that’s pushing it. Thank God I was able to spend most my time in or around a pool.

The worst thing about Fresno is not the heat, it’s the air. Everywhere I looked it was dry and brown, and the air quality reflected the scenery. I could smell the dry soil of the earth Earth every time I stepped outside.

So why would I submit myself to the torture of the desert that is Fresno? Because it was time for the first non wedding or death related family reunion since I was a wee tot. All of my dad’s family gathered at my grandma’s house for five days to joke, grow closer, reminisce, swim, drink, and compete for who has the most interesting life.

Immediately I realized that I fit in better with my dad’s side of the family than mom’s. My mom’s family is wonderful, but they are a bit more serious, emotionally focused, and very conservative. I respect them, but I’m not very similar to them. My dad’s family is wacky, they tease each other, and aren’t as concerned with behaving like the perfect Christian. Hell, I was offered a beer before noon, as we sat around my Grandma’s pool – a place we would rarely leave until nightfall.

But ultimately what is a family reunion other than a competition with people you hardly know but are obligated to love? It’s hours of battling over whose children are the most successful? Who has the craziest stories (my uncle always wins that one)? And who’s the favorite? I loved sitting around and listening to stories, occasionally piping in with my own anecdote or tale. But it quickly became apparent that while my personality and opinions mesh well with my dad’s family, my skills come from my mother.

My cousin’s are all athletic – I hurt my finger catching a Nerf ball thrown by my wimpy little brother.

My cousin has a PhD in chemistry, another’s a nurse, studying physical therapy, and grass farming – I studied writing and am currently unemployed.

They can’t carry a tune or dance – music and dance is literally taking over my life.

They are morning people and are early for everything – I am a night owl and am late for life on a regular basis.

They can drink all day long – I’m a supreme light-weight.

I loved my family reunion and I wish I could get to know that side of the family better. But I sure am glad to be back where the air smells lovely and my dearest friends love to dance the night away.