I’m not jealous. You’re jealous.

I’m not jealous. You’re jealous.

There’s general jealousy, like envy, a sort of wanting of something that you admire, but you know that it will not satisfy you once you have it. Then there’s a deep, dark, rage-type jealousy that includes (but is absolutely not limited to) wishing you were as talented and/or intelligent as someone else, that you could be that amazing, celebrity-like, star person. And then there’s the type of jealousy that just makes you want to kill yourself, end it all in the name of “What the hell is the point of me even trying when someone like her already exists?” The “her” in question is none other than Ursula K. Le Guin.

Like all of my favorite writers, I found out about Le Guin not long before she passed away. I’ve read a number of her short stories and novels, but the truth is that I prefer her nonfiction, well, just the one nonfiction I’ve read so far (aside from essays and other, shorter nonfiction), No Time To Spare: Thinking about what matters. It’s a beautiful book about aging, growing older, being old. It’s the type of book that I wish I could simply quote in its entirety here, but obviously, that’s illegal. The book, nevertheless, is that good. I could and would gladly transcribe the thing in its entirety for you to read. Of course, you can, as easily, check the book out yourself from your local library (and I would encourage you to do so).

And so, I have decided to choose my top five quotes, the quotes that are resonating with me the most these days. They are as follows (okay, my top 6), in page order as opposed to order of importance, which would, theoretically, be impossible to determine:

6. “Old age is for anybody who gets there.” (p 9)

5. “When did it become impossible for our government to ask its citizens to refrain from short-term gratification in order to serve a greater good?” (p 118)

4. “It’s so much easier to blame the grown ups than to be one.” (p 123)

3. “Cruelty is a human specialty, which human beings continue to practice and perfect and institutionalize, though we seldom boast about it.” (p 151)

2. “Belief has no value in itself that I can see. Its value increases as it is useful, diminishes as it is replaced by knowledge, and goes negative when noxious. In ordinary life, the need for it diminishes as the quantity and quality of knowledge increases.” (p 195)

1. “The warmth of the sun is on my face as soon as its light is.” (p 211)

The Notebooks That Keep Us

The Notebooks That Keep Us

As an early, avid collector of notebooks, I fondly remember shopping for diaries and journals with my mother from time to time. In my youth, I traveled a lot on various “missions trips” (if you know what I mean, you know what I mean, and no, I am not that person anymore), and so, most of my notebook use revolved around documenting those experiences. Aside from the yearly “trip” journal, I mostly kept a diary of all of my secret thoughts, which were few and not very exciting (one imagines), since I did not keep a single one of my old diaries. What a shame.

Nevertheless, in my early twenties, I took it upon myself to do some writing, be a blogger, which ultimately led me to the discovery that I truly love writing. And so, like a good little perfectionist, I sought to be the best writer through the acquisition of various notebooks, pens, pencils, writing utensils, etc., etc., &c. And for awhile, my notebook(s) (depending upon how many I am utilizing at any given moment) was/were everything. The notebook itself was everything. I found that I had little to nothing to write in them, and so, they were little accessories to my #writerslife. And then, one day, I became a real writer, and with this comeuppance, the realization befell me that I just need some paper (and a pencil [not a pen, never a pen]).

But by this point, I was living in Seoul, South Korea, and so, coming across mere paper became very difficult. In the Land of All Things Cute, Seoul offers notebooks aplenty, however, those notebooks are always decorated in the cutest of cute graphics and/or images. Thus, for my new-found proclivity for simple sheets of paper, I was at a loss and was thereby forced to care through the sheer proliferation of notebooks designed to be adorable.

Now, I am residing in These United States, and I terribly miss the cute factor I inevitably began taking for granted in Seoul. I cannot find cuteness anywhere! Alas, I am reminded that as a writer, I only need paper. And so, I happily turn to the pages bound together in the style of “Composition Book” and remember that my notebooks only carry meaning after I’ve been carrying them for awhile. It’s the transition, now, that really breaks my heart whenever the pages of a current notebook either begin to run out of inspiration or physical pages.

I become attached to the thing, not because of the words written inside or the general look of the notebook, but rather, I become attached through its sheer proximity to me for months and/or years. The acquisition of a new notebook is no longer an act of excitement or anticipation. Instead, these days, a new notebook means the loss of a current notebook, the one with which I have become so familiar over the past months or even years. I now exist in this place where I couldn’t care less about which notebook will become my next new notebook. Instead, I’m attempting (every day) to enjoy this time that I’m having with this notebook that I’m using. The notebook wouldn’t be much to me without me, and I might not be the same me without it.

I don’t know about you, but for me, my notebooks know all of my thoughts. Usually, I imagine that my notebook knows me better than myself. It certainly stores my mental whims and wishes effectively enough so that years later, I may look back upon my mental whims and wishes and understand myself better today. Perhaps, then, my point is less about the notebooks I carry and more about how the notebooks carry me. Each one of them was used during a very specific time in my life (within a very specific state of mind). And so, as I write my mind into these books, I am imbuing them with the essence of myself. Of course, this can all be perceived as spiritual mojo, hub-bub, nonsense, but it could also be read with an air a bit more akin to realism, something fairly straightforward. The straightforwardness would have to stem from the thing about literacy, but I do not know what it is exactly that makes literacy so powerful for/to the intellect.

And so, I must end with this, “Am I the collection of words I leave behind?”

#Goals

#Goals

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE

2017 April 24 [Monday]

Mundane Monday (obviously)

*sigh. Well, a lot of time has passed, and yet, I don’t really have much to share. There are a few topics, maybe two or five, about which I would like to diary-type write simply because so much time has gone by and so much fiction writing has been accomplished. I suppose, then, I ought to just get to it. I remember being able to write more interesting or compelling intros to these things, but honestly, I just don’t care. As you’ll soon find out, I’ve been writing my ass off (but not really [but really]), and I’m tired. No matter, I finally have my first Monday off (I like to take the day after a ten-day due-date off from writing) from the fiction writing since February, and so, I thought it might be a “fun” “exercise in remembering” to write a Mundane Monday post. I have the time but more importantly, the energy.

First things first, the reason why I’ve been so thoroughly absent across all of my various blogs and social media (well, I’m always absent from social media, but I was on Instagram for about four months before I pulled the plug, so, yea, that’s what I mean). Yesterday, I proudly announce!, marked day 130 of my 200-day, 150,000-word-count extravaganza! For Episode Thirteen (due yesterday), I (easily) surpassed my 9,350-word ten-day quota. Each episode has had a steady increase in word quotas, with a slow growth from 900 – 8,000 words over Episodes 1 – 8, culminating at a 9,350-word goal for Episodes 9 – 14. This steady increase has proven itself demanding. And so, not only have I not had the energy to write anything else, but also, I simply do not care about much else except the book. Are you dying to read it? Probably not. Oh well. Woe is me.

What happens after Episode 14?, is sure to be the question hanging from all your lips! Well, that brings the second topic to the forefront, but for now, I’ll simply introduce it. We are going on our vacation next week, so Episode 14 is due next Wednesday (May 3rd), and then we will embark on our ten-day vacation, through which I will do no writing. This means that I have to reach 100,000 words before the trip, and then, when we return, I will have an 8,350-word, ten-day quota for the remaining six episodes (Episodes 15 -20) to reach that coveted 150 big ones. All of this will come to its deeply anticipated end on July 12, 2017. In total, my manuscript currently sits at 91,783 words, which amounts to roughly 152 Letter-sized pages of printer paper, typed upon in Times New Roman at an 11-pt font size. As you can see, I only have about 8,200 words left to reach 100,000 total words (before our trip), but I have a 9,350-word, ten-day quota for Episode 14, which happily means that I will (presumably) surpass my 14-episode goal! Obviously, I’m talking about all of this in future terms, so I still have ten days of writing work ahead of me. Nevertheless, I hope that all of this droll info helps to convey my current writing sitch and excuses my lacking presence here in this blogspace. Oh, and about Instagram … I sort of found it to be mind-numbingly prosaic, so I deleted everything and got the hell outa there. I wasn’t using any other social media, other than this and my photography blog, so that’s the only update I have for ya.

Now, for the good stuff! The lifemate and I are embarking on our 2017 ETMC Travels: Sydney Edition in just ten days! We fly out to Sydney, Australia, on May 03, 2017, and we’ll be back on May 13, 2017. I’m finally so excited that I can’t stand it! I’ve had to push the trip to the back of my mind as I write, write, write, but now that we’re so close and my word-count goal is all so possible, I allow myself now to daydream about the trip. I can’t fucking wait! It’s going to be so awesome – lying by the beach, eating cheap western foods, doing a whole lotta nonya, swimming in a pool, getting up to no good, smeezin’ some serious beez. *sigh. The lifemate bought a new backpack for the trip on Saturday, and it’s so damn cute. I wanted to take a pic to post here today, but I forgot to ask him if he’d mind, so a pic of the thing will just have to wait. I will say this, however, the backpack, as a whole, looks like a panda bear. Haha! And it’s not like a kids’-sized pack either. It’s a full-sized thing, and man, it’s so damn cute! He looks great with it.

What else … tutoring? Yes, I’m still tutoring two days a week but on Tuesdays and Fridays now. SJ is less-enthused about middle school, but she’s still convinced that school makes her happy. I could write a whole book about her. Perhaps one day. Uh … I’m gonna do some last-minute shopping today to pick up some travel stuffs so that I can focus on the last bit of fiction writing over the course of this last weekday week. What’s the book about? Well, if only you knew how irritating that question is, you wouldn’t have asked. Wait, but I asked. So, let’s see … yea, I’m definitely not ready to broach that subject. I will, however, (maybe) post a tiny portion of it here once it’s all finished. Obviously, there will be months and months of editing afterwards, but I have to at least get this “principal photography,” as the lifemate likes to put it, all wrapped up.

I guess that ought to do it for today. Like I said, there’s not much to say. Every day I wake up sometime between 8AM and 2PM, drink coffee, watch a movie, eat breakfast, drink more coffee, write for 1- 2 hours, go to tutoring (when applicable), workout (when necessary), grocery shop, eat dinner, watch basketball, watch one other show or another movie, eat more food, drink libations (wine, sparkling wine, beer, or vodka), read a chapter from a book that’s already taken a month to read, and I’m only a third of the way through it, and then pass out or fall asleep. On weekends, the sitch remains. I think we’ve “hit the town” three times this year, so far. The poor lifemate has to deal with my lame ol’ life, but he’s being a righteous (not like religious, but like badass) trooper. So, yea, I love life right now, it’s just not all that “shareable.” Hahaha! Suckers! I’ve read a few articles lately … okay … never mind. I cannot go there right now. Anyway, I’ll just say, when reality meets delusion, a life spent mostly online reveals itself as a life not at all.

Bis später (oh yea, and we’re learning German)!