Saturday, May 9, 2015

Television Brain Suck, Pain Hell, and Suchlike

I promised myself and all of Facebook I'd write today, then I went off to be an incredibly loud soccer mom for someone who says she hates sports. 

Things are different when my own little baby I created my damn self is out there in her little uniform and her little team, the most adorable and underdoggiest team ever, score their first goal of the season. In their second to last game. 

They still lost, but not with a score of "Some little number to zero". Not that we're caring about scores. But we screamed so much one might have had the impression that we cared. 

We then visited the in-laws where I lived an ancient and well-cherished Appalachian Woman's tradition: I sat on a glider on a shaded porch sipping iced tea and watching gorgeous half-dressed men operate heavy equipment.

The hot dudes were my husband and brother-in-law and the iced tea was water, but we take artistic liberties, you understand. They weren't even half naked. It was sad.

Then the Bird went to the movies with her BBBFF, or Big Brother Best Friend Forever, who's actually her cousin obviously. The phrase, and I should not know this, is from My Little Pony.

Rainbow Dash 4-evah! 

Then I got sucked into the telly that has much, much more brain suction power now because we got expanded cable and BBC America is in my life now. Shane asked today if I was aware we had more new channels than just BBC. I said, "Yes, I've found there is also Syfy."

After my television-induced fugue I thought I'd try the PC just one more time in case it had only been moody and not broken. Broken AGAIN. And then I gave up and am blogging on my iPhone.

My refurbished iPhone because what the fuck IS IT with me and tech?! Shane calls me a Techubus, which sounds vaguely cool but is really just everything breaks all the time and I swear I didn't even touch it.

It's my aura, he says. It's made of chaos, he says. 

And I can't argue so I quote Delirium or Loki and shrug.

So that's my day. 

Previous days have mostly been a narcotic or muscle relaxer haze in a pain flare up that was just bonkers.

In lucid moments I've been sharing the gigantic collective swoon experienced right now by Neil Gaiman fans in and near Charleston since finding out he'll be here for our Book Fair in October. Jodi Picoult is coming too and the couple of books I've read of hers are fantastic.

Souster introduced the idea that the book club (which I keep intending and then failing to attend) should do 'Trigger Warnings' and a Picoult book that month. Genius. 

She's also been conscripted into service as a wheelchair pusher so we can go have our book and tits and such signed. I kid—I'll ask him to sign my ass. The man doesn't have all day. (My boobs are big, you see.)

Be well, fair bl'eaders who may well be demented imaginings by this point. I love you even if you're pretend. If you are pretend, I'm going to start calling you 'Boners because what—are you gonna be offended? You don't even exist. Uppity figments, you lot.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day 3.14.15...

Happy Pi Day, bl'eaders! In celebration, I have a story and a poem.

So a few weeks ago, Molly asked me if I liked black and white movies, and I told her two of my favorite films ever are black and white, The Following, by Nolan; and Pi, by Aronovsky. 

"There's a movie called PIE!?"

"Yeah, only it's Pi like in math, P-I."

She wanted to know what Pi is. I found it very hard to explain, though I told her about pi times radius squared but she was still looking at me like I was speaking Greek. {pause for collective groan}

I gave Shane the task, and he brought out three plates, a measuring tape, and a calculator. When she understood, which she did and which makes my think she's a goddamn certified genius, she immediately sat down and wrote this poem. Shane's and my jaws hit the floor and I declared her the newest incarnation of the Buddha. 

I loved that she grokked the quasi-mystical nature of the irrational number. I love the poem and will treasure it forever.

I give you The Pi Poem:

Pi, like a constant wave that rides away
   like wind into space.
It rides away like daisies on a cool spring
   day in a grassy field.
Oh, Pi, tell us the way of life.
Oh Pi, how do you constantly spin into
   space, all alone.
How did you begin?

- Molly Evans, age 8-nearly-9

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Working Versus Innate Talent

Sometimes we see a blog post so compelling, so relevant to our tribe that we immediately pop that link on TwitterFaceTumblBook with hyperbolic punctuation and MANY CAPITALIZED WORDS. 

More rarely, we find a treasure that necessitates an entire blog post of our own because it speaks to us such that we gotta speak back.

Oh my Gorgeous Metaphorical Gods, this post! This wonderful, insightful, brilliant goddamn post! This is an article I wish I could have read in grade school. This is an article I'm going to paraphrase and pass the age-edited wisdom to my child. (She doesn't mind the cussin'. She is my baby after all.)

If you're a writer of any kind, you should be reading Chuck Wendig. He drops the mic like a boss on the regular and is a font of writerly advice in the most practical and usable ways. (The fact that his language is all snappy snark and peppered with yummy curses further endears him to my own filthy fucking heart.)

His recent post speaks to the billshit idea of talent. He relates having been labeled not only talented but gifted at a young age and the burden of that word. To this day, this day on which I'm a year and a month-ish away from being forty goddamn adult years old, that word gifted puts a stone of dread in my belly.

He says we can't—no one can—live up to the ideal of talent or gifted. He is so right it slapped me in my smartass face.

He talks about work. A revelation, I know. I won't regurgitate his every point but it's a bitingly insightful piece about the utter bullshit that the idea of talent/giftedness is. 

He explains, and I feel I maybe ought to here as well, that it's not about "Oh, I am so Burdened With Glorious Purpose!* Woe to me, the Gifted One looking down on you masses of normals." It's not that. It's a bar set in a spaceless height and no matter what you achieve, it magically raises so that you're never, ever worthy.**

So fuck it, right? In my head I started failing to reach my potential (because I wasn't perfect) as a kid, so by the time I finished junior high school, I'd settled firmly into the lazy-hazy idea that I'd skate by until someday my genius would magically manifest and I'd wake up with art in the Guggenheim or the NY Times Bestsellers List. Because: talented.

And so I very giftedly took eleven years to earn a four year art degree and worked retail and secretarial jobs for all the years that my body functioned. Hmm.

My fear now, the coldest and sweating one, is that Bird will react to her intelligence the way I did. It's been a long road through my thirties to reprogram my brain not to see my life as wasted potential.

I try hard to praise the work she puts in—I'd heard a while back that it'll instill some semblance of a work ethic in a kid if you don't say "Hey, there!, genius offspring! Aced math, because you're brilliant!" It's better to tell her you're so very proud of the work she did to earn that A+.

It's pretty mind-blowing what I learn from guiding my Birdy.

For consistent brain expansion and creative mental treats, do check out Wendig's blog. It's a jewel in the oft-beautiful setting of our interweb. 

Go now darlings and unleash that rapier wit and vorpal sword of creativity. Go practice and practice and work and work! And don't forget to take breaks for tea of coffee or wine or beer. Then work more!

*See, Mama Bones can get a Loki quote into ANY post.

**Bonus (if vague and highly nerdy) Thor reference! w00t!