General Nonsense

How many plotlines is too many plotlines?

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Here I go. Here’s a whole blog post dedicated to crying about my novel instead of actually writing a novel. I’ve probably whined about this on this blog before but to catch anyone up that is interested, I am writing a novel that is inspired by true events and it is taking me a LONG time to get it out of my head and onto paper. And I’m frustrated. I’m 55,456 words into this thing and I am not near done and I’m all over the place with it and it sucks. And this is where I am.

There are two roadblocks I’m having a hard time ignoring. Because they’re imaginary, I know this. But I can still see them and I’m having a crisis about all of it. The first one is because the basis for the story, the whole point of the story, is based on a really painful, uncomfortable memory, like a real thing with real people that I knew and it’s taken me some time to get over my anger enough to want to explore this event. Even though, I’m making up 70% of everything else. Probably more than that but the characters are originally, somewhat based on real life people that did real life unfriending me on Facebook kind of stuff and I’m real bitter about it, you know? They are mean. So I really want to finish this book because I don’t want to live with some of these people in my brain anymore, I hate them.

So why write a book about them if you hate them, Amy? I can feel you asking me. Well, dear readers, because it’s funny. Which brings me to roadblock #2. I am sitting here trying to foolishly write satire when I am the most unfunny person I know. No one wants to hear me rattle along for 55,456 words. It’s pretentious. And there’s more words that need to come out so it’s even worse than where we currently sit. And reading this back it looks like I’m digging for validation. Well, in fairness, I’m always digging for validation, but that’s not what is happening here. This is a legitimate tantrum I am having with myself and I need to get it out of me so I can just move on and finish this book.

I had thoughts about abandoning this project, but the characters and the storyline just keeps doing stuff when I’m in the shower or in the middle of the night and it’s like that scary, wet girl in The Ring and she won’t leave me alone until I share her with others.

How do I get over my nonsense? Does anyone have any tips? Can I just “blah blah blah” the middle parts with the holes in them? Because that’s what’s there now and I could just be done with the whole thing, close my laptop and have a peaceful life. Maybe I have too many plotlines. What will get me out of this funk?? I know what I need to do. I need to be patient with this beast. I need to continue filling in hole by hole and not be overwhelmed by the big picture. Because I know the plot. I’ve already written the dramatic conflict/resolution scenes, I already have the ending pretty much wrapped up, it’s all the little stuff in the middle and it will end when it ends, I just need to keep filling in the holes and stop worrying about tone and timing and the beat of each individual sentence.

Oh my god, I know what the problem is. I need an audience. I need to be telling a story to somebody. Because writing for me? This is not the story I want to be hearing over and over and over and over. Not because I don’t believe in the story itself, but more because I lived it. Not all of it, but the bad parts. which brings us back to problem #1.

BUT, I think to solve both of my ridiculous made-up problems, I need a beta reader. One who likes me. That’s important. And one who will be willing to beta read chapter by chapter. Like work in progress, fanfiction. Without the smut. Ooh! Should I add smut?! Also, this person must be willing to overlook my typos and stuff.

This beta reader idea solves the second roadblock as well because I’m not thinking about being funny when I’m writing a blog post or a Facebook status update or whatever that I know someone will read. I just write. The idea of writing a book is horrifying because I’m too worried about being perfect. And that’s just not how I write.

Although, how does one even go about getting beta readers? How do I get someone to devote their whole life to following me around and laughing at my bad jokes, while they comb my hair and tell me I’m pretty?

This whole blog post is a mess. Alright, that’s a sign I need to get back to filling holes. Seriously though, if anyone has any answers to any of my annoying questions above, I would love to hear them.

I am also accepting compliments.

Day 26:

Earlier today, I came across a question on one of those old facebook surveys that we used to fill out and then post in the notes section or whatever it was called way back in the beginnings of facebook before the Russian bots and racist family members took over and ruined it all. And this question I found has awakened this memory that might as well have been Eternal Sunshine‘d out of me, but now I so vividly remember fondly that it’s today’s Camp Nano: Question of the Day. Day 26.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Once upon a time in my foolish early 20s, I had a friend named Ijah who lived way out in Sylmar, which feels really far away when you live in Studio City and have an old car that doesn’t have a/c in it. Ijah and I were in a band (I know, this is what I do, I make bands with people and then don’t learn how to actually play music) and we would practice in her garage, and by practice, I mean, Ijah playing piano and singing really loud and me writing songs and pretending I could play guitar.

Me in Ijah’s garage pretending I could play guitar.

Ijah wasn’t your typical, early 20s, Southern California girl. She was loud. She was brash. She ate the apple all the way through, core, seeds, stem, all of it. She drove like a maniac. She walked around naked. She once got fired from her job and still showed up the next day in uniform and clocked in and started working until they sent her home. She had bright red hair that was completely natural, it just grew from her head that way. And to top it all off, she wore these really not in style, wire-rimmed glasses. Non-ironically. And we didn’t even say that back then.

During our garage band practices, we would practice for about 15 minutes and then we’d usually end up doing other things like drink tea and have her mom read our tarot cards and then we’d go explore Sylmar on foot. Sylmar is actually where the high school scenes of Encino Man were filmed so if you want an excuse to go watch the movie again, here’s your excuse. You’re welcome. Anyway, Ijah and I would just walk around and talk about stuff, people we were crushing on, the band, I don’t even remember, actually.

I remember one day we were at the bottom of the hill that went into her neighborhood and we didn’t want to walk back the whole way, I remember it was really warm that day. An ice cream truck slowly passed us with that music playing, so we ran up to catch it and flagged it down. We bought some ice cream cones, I think mine was strawberry for some reason, and then Ijah bribed the guy to let us hop on the back of the van and take us up the hill.

Okay. You know how they won’t let you do a bunch of adult things when you’re young like, rent a car? Well, this is why. Young adults don’t make good decisions.

The ice cream dude waited for us to hop onto the bumper and grab on to these poles that were on the back of the van and then the music started and we were off. I was on the driver’s side, meaning that my dominant hand, my right hand was holding an ice cream cone while my ridiculously weak arm was trying to wrap itself around the pole and not fall. My left arm was shaking and I could feel my Chuck Taylors sliding off the metal bumper as we started climbing the hill and I kept trying to scooch my feet back closer to the van, but this was a normal sized bumper so standing sideways, one foot in front of the other was as close to scooched as I was going to get anyway.

We were probably only going 15 miles an hour, but it’s uphill. I have ice cream running down my elbow on one arm, the other one is trying to keep it together and not let us fall us, while whimsical, ice cream man, clown music is playing the theme song to my bad choices. And I’m sweating.

It was the longest 2 minutes of my life and I don’t know how I didn’t die that day, but life lessons were learned. One of them is that I am not as cool or carefree as a tardy Marty McFly, and especially when he was that werewolf and got on top of that van to surf.

Day 15: Hollywood

We’re going to rein in what is quickly becoming an angsty diary instead of what was supposed to be a fun Camp Nano project. See? This is what happens. I overshare and then I get anxious that I’ve overshared and then I don’t want to share anything because I figure that the whole world now hates me and wishes I would shut up. But we’re in the middle of this project and I still have a ways to go. So let’s pretend my 15 year old emo self was never even here. Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. Day 15.

What fictional character is amazing in their book / show / movie, but would be insufferable if you had to deal with them in mundane everyday situations?

source: here

Character tropes are fun. As a writer, you get to flesh out a “person” into a 3d living, breathing entity, the quirkier the better. As readers, we get to get inside this character’s world. Hang out with them. They seem really cool and we want to be friends with them. Maybe it’s the “manic pixie girl”, maybe it’s the “tortured artist”, maybe it’s not a character in a book at all! Maybe it’s the stand-up comedian, maybe it’s a rockstar, or a movie star. Personalities set to 11.

I lived in Los Angeles for 21 years up until last summer. I love Los Angeles. I love the culture of Los Angeles. I love the people in Los Angeles. And a lot of people in Los Angeles have hiked their personalities to 11. Sometimes, it’s wonderful, other times, it’s plain awful.

Los Angeles doesn’t exist on the same plane as anywhere else. Possibly NYC but I can’t speak to that as I was only there once for like a day, although I’m going to assume it’s still not. My outsider view of New York is that people don’t put up with your nonsense. People in Los Angeles encourage it. A whole town of people encouraging other people’s dreams. It’s glorious. To an extent. And let me preface this with saying that this is young Hollywood. This is “haven’t made it yet” Hollywood. Once someone gets a touch of fame, people come out of the woodworks to grab onto their coattails and instagram selfies with their new bff, and leverage their relationships to build up their xp points. (Did I use that reference right? I always hear the kids playing Fortnite or Sea of Thieves or something and yelling to their friends about xp points. I think I’m right. Let’s go with it.)

Then there’s the middle tier people and a lot of them are amazingly wonderful and just trying to do a job but a lot of them would also drop you like a sack of potatoes if need be. Then the absolute worst ones are the ones that have bought into their own fame whatever level that is. And then you get the STARS. The people who don’t think twice about picking flies out of your wine for you and rubbing lipstick off your teeth in the middle of a sentence and envy that you live in an apartment. And not one of these people act like your standard midwesterner. Even though most of them are from there.

My favorite are the two on the ends of fame; the haven’t made it set, and the famous that doesn’t need to act famous set. Obviously, I’ve met and known a significantly higher number of the never made-its. But the innocence of both sides of fame is fascinating.

A few years ago, my kids and I were at a neighbor’s birthday party. It was in a party room at the Dave & Buster’s at Hollywood and Vine overlooking the black carpet premiere of Ghostbusters. I wish I would’ve taken a picture of it, but when there’s a movie premiere or an awards show, they close Hollywood Blvd to traffic, (obviously) but people can still walk the Walk of Fame and the stores are all still open, but it’s all barricaded off and they put up bleachers and big fake walls that say E! on them or whatever and make Hollywood look glamorous, and limos are rolling up and glittery gowns are stepping out onto the carpet that’s covering up the boulevard and cameras are rolling and big lights with filters are making everything look perfect. But what you don’t see on tv is that 10 feet behind the wall that say Chris Hemsworth is being interviewed in front of, the guy that actually works Hollywood Blvd dressed as Miss Piggy is puking into a trash can next to a dj passing out club flyers to tourists in fanny packs. And none of this is probably new information, but to have an aerial view of it, split screen and in real time is AMAZING.

The other time I remember noting the dichotomy of Hollywood was a few years after I moved to LA. I went with my friend to an audition to be a phone sex operator. And I’m sitting in this office building with other voice actor hopefuls with an unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign. It felt VERY Pretty Woman.

I haven’t even answered the question yet, this is how I get when I think about Hollywood. Anyway, all of this to say that there are a lot of people that would make great characters that live in LA. I had a neighbor who was a clown and she would answer the door in a clown suit and she drove an uber. I don’t know if she combined the two, but it’s Hollywood so it could go either way. And then there was the girl that video recorded everything, every conversation she had and claimed that she was was friends with Ray J and he wanted to produce her reality show. That was like 10 years ago, I’ve never seen her on tv.

I hung out with artists and comedians and writers and actors and some of them have actually found fame. I’ve been at those parties in West Hollywood with all of these personality to 11 people, you’ve seen those parties. Someone runs by naked, and others are sleeping in the bathtub, while someone is playing the guitar on the toilet, and people are painting in the corner and there’s loud music and everyone knows everyone and people are talking about their scripts or their headshots. The kind of parties that you see in movies about Hollywood. They’re real. A nerd like me has been to a bunch of them. And they were fun. But much like characters in book or a film, most of these people don’t stick around for longer than their story. Sometimes I’ll see one of the people I know back then on tv, or scrolling tumblr, there’s another one holding an emmy. But we never bonded over friendship the way you normally do. We bonded fast and quick like a makeshift family because we all came here alone. And we all supported each other in our dreams and then our dreams took us on a different journey.

Then there are the ones that are the embodiment of wacky love interest, unconventional girl in some movie written by a dude. These girls are a hot mess in real life. All of them either move back home , wind up in jail, or are dead from an overdose in 6 months. Let this be a lesson to all my Hollywood hopefuls, don’t ever allow yourself to become a trope out of some guy’s version of romance. Hollywood will eat you alive.

Los Angeles. I love you with my whole heart.

Day 10: The Dollhouse

I am always avoiding several things at all times (like finishing the Day 8 post) and today is not a new or special day in that department, but instead of overthinking that and causing myself undue stress over something I’m still not going to do, even after I’ve worried about not doing it all day, I’m going to funnel that procrastination into my Camp Nano question of the day project. So on to Day 10…..

What’s a hobby you would like to take up?

source: I don’t know.

Dollhousing. Is that even a word? But that’s it. That’s my future hobby. It’s a completely impractical hobby for me but I can’t help it. I am obsessed with dollhouses. I always have been. I got a dollhouse when I was a kid for Christmas or something and I used to love playing with it and pretending I was small enough to live inside of it. And sometimes at night right before I would fall asleep, all of my muscles would tense and I would get the feeling of shrinking way way down very quickly to the carpet and seeing it magnified and I can still feel that dropping feeling in my stomach and on my skin. Maybe I watched The Incredible Shrinking Woman too many times.

Oh my god, The Incredible Shrinking Woman! Do you remember that movie?? That was my favorite. I’m going to use this opportunity to share the only tweet I’ve ever tweeted that makes my twitter mean anything. It got zero likes.

twitter

I like going into those shops that sell all the tiny furniture. And those little paintings? And the tiny chandeliers?? I could spend so much money on this that maybe I shouldn’t even start. I had a friend in 6th grade whose mom made little furniture for dollhouses. That’s also a thing I could see myself getting very into. Ooh! What if I revived my etsy shop but instead of purses sitting all over my house getting dusty, I could make dollhouse stuff! My husband would hate it. GASP!

Oh my god I need to stop! Where would I even put a dollhouse?? My mother-in-law has one. It is gorgeous and handmade I think. I have no room for a dollhouse.

Imagine painting it! And pretending it had a ghost! Would I have people? Maybe they could host dinner parties and have a tiny little record player.

I have a creepy attic that has Greg Brady looking carpet in it and a mirror attached to the wall. It even has a closet like someone was living up there once. I at first thought that I could make that my dollhouse room but I’m a little scared of it up there to be honest so change of plans, maybe I can convince my husband to move his game room up there and I could use the guest room as my dollhouse room! It’s gotta work. I have just convinced myself in this small span of time that I cannot live without a dollhouse.

It could even have it’s own instagram and a youtube channel where I could investigate the ghost. Alright, I’m cutting this short. I have some internet research to do.

Day 9: The Internet

The internet. (To be said with a deep sigh). Day 9 of Camp Nano Question of the day and I’ve decided to tackle a question that is currently a source of my mood. I woke up today and for no real reason, I felt, and still feel like I don’t want to deal with the internet. No, it’s not the internet, it’s social media. It’s such an invasive drain on my emotional and mental health and it has been and I know this, but I don’t stop because with the bad does come the good, and most times there is more good than bad, but at what cost? So let’s get on with it.

How long could you survive without the internet?

source: the internet

I grew up during an interesting time, one where we had computers in elementary school but all we could do with them was play games or type. It wasn’t until I was in high school that we ever got one in the house and we were one of the few because they were very expensive and kind of useless unless you were doing bookkeeping or playing Solitaire and Myst.

The internet arrived sometime in the early 90’s on floppy drives through the mail. And then you were charged by the hour. We didn’t have Google back then, Yahoo wasn’t a thing, there was no such thing as a search engine. You just put your disk in the drive, punched a phone number into your modem, waited awhile to see if you could connect and you had one homepage to direct you to your mail or a chat room. And you had one hour. The timer was set. I think it was actually less than that. I think you got 25 hours a month and then they would charge you by the hour. I remember I had a friend in high school get ADDICTED TO THE INTERNET and it was this big scandal because her parents got a $900 bill from Compuserve. “And who spends that much time on the internet?! What could you possibly do?!

25 hours a month, can you imagine?? I spend 25 hours a day on the internet now. And it wasn’t even that long ago. I remember in the late 90s when Colgate got a website and we were all like, “Why would Colgate need a website?” and one of my friends goes, “Well, there goes the internet. You know it’s not cool anymore when corporations get onboard. It’s going to ruin everything.”

Overall I think the internet is an amazing thing. People know more about the world, people are able to connect with people all over the world. It’s made more of us more socially aware, more politically aware (or misinformed…), it allows us to to connect with the world and information and our passions in ways we never had before.

There’s also a lot of bad about the internet and mostly in form of whatever drew me to it in the first place. Social Media. It wasn’t called social media back in the day, and it wasn’t the horrible place it’s become. It was fun, it was supportive, it was a creative outlet. When MySpace happened, I went from using the internet a couple of times a week to using the internet a couple of times a day. It was addictive. Everyone you knew had their own mini website! What a cool way to keep in touch with everyone and to let them know what you were into, what you thought was cool, what song you needed them to hear immediately upon opening your page. But it was still safe because you controlled it. You were in complete control of the information you chose to take in.

Soon everyone moved to Facebook. I remember this vividly. I had a Facebook back in 2006 because my sister-in-law was in college and she knew my love for social media and invited me in. That is when I became Colgate. This was back when it was meant for college kids only and you had to be invited to create a page. I was 30 and everyone was still on MySpace so I didn’t even try to figure Facebook out. Until 2 years later when I was alone on MySpace because everyone had jumped ship to the next biggest thing. Facebook.

At first Facebook was alright because you still had to actually go to someone’s page to interact with them. But then Facebook decided to Twitterize and soon, you got to read every single thought everyone was having, every single moment they were having it. All day. And you would scroll and scroll because you had to know why Sheila was having such a bad day you weren’t allowed to ask about it. And everyone you have ever known was there airing their dirty laundry like a soap opera in real time. It was addicting.

You got to know people in an intimate way that you never got to before. It was very voyeuristic. But there’s a limit to everything. My social media breaking point came in 2010. It was the mid-term elections and republicans swept up a bunch of seats in the house and senate giving them a majority. I am very liberal and I have a lot of liberal friends, but I also have some conservative friends, probably not as many anymore, but that’s the environment we live in now. But back to 2010, I could not believe the casually racist things I was seeing out of people in my “friends” from Facebook that just escalated from Obama’s first 2 years that when the GOP took over majority I was done with facebook for awhile. And actually, to this day, I have never gone back completely. For the past nine years, I log on to Facebook to say something that makes me laugh, scroll the suggested posts until I see one that makes me want to hit my head into the wall and then I close the app. In doing so, my mental health has skyrocketed when I didn’t even realize it was so bad. I was so angry at everything. And hurt by things I perceived as slights. I hated people. I took mental notes of who was liking what and whether or not they were liking my posts. And now I don’t even know. I can’t be bothered to care. And it’s so freeing. But even in limited form, I keep going back.

My husband got a new phone a few months ago and never installed the Facebook app and he says he feels so free. And he never had a Facebook problem. Can you imagine?? Not going on social media???

I keep ALMOST getting to the point of ditching Facebook, but for one, my birthday’s next week and you know how popular you feel on Facebook on your birthday, it’s like you’re the prom queen! Also, who’s going to laugh at my jokes if I ditch Facebook? Nobody else thinks I’m funny. How am I going to know my friend from college, Benilda died if not from an ominous post from her page talking about it in first person from the afterlife? How else will I get invited to join a pyramid scheme?!

What do people do without the internet all day? What are you going to get mad at? The outside? Well, actually, I am able to curse the outside quite a lot. Like right now. It’s too hot and I have to go to the store. I don’t want this.

I don’t see myself ever going internet free. Not even social media free even though I have cut way back. I keep going back because I miss the fun parts of social media. The good parts. The seeing friends part. But I can’t get as invested as I was. It’s not good. It’s even worse than your parents getting a $900 bill from Compuserve.

Day 7: Girl Meets Rider

Oops. I forgot to do Day 7 because yesterday (day 7) I was so worried about the appraiser from the bank that came into our home this morning and I was on Operation: Hide all Undies and Other Signs that we Live Here AND it was also the MLB All-Star Game and well, I didn’t finish this one. I’m going to try to do two of these today. Day 7 (pretend that it is) is exciting because this is basically how I live through all my relationships. If we’re friends, I’ve already assigned you a tv show character. Or a Beatle. I don’t make the rules. I do make the rules, actually.

If You Had To Compare Yourself To One Fictional Character, Who Would It Be?

Source: I don’t know.

My biggest problem with this question is that it says to chose one. I have several. This is one of my favorite sorting systems. Some of you use Harry Potter houses which I find fascinating and also confusing because I have only seen the first couple of movies and I never read the books and I’m kind of overwhelmed with the whole research needed to understand it and the closest I have ever gotten to using the houses as a personality measure is when I’ve told my husband to “stop getting all hufflepuff” over something. I don’t even know what hufflepuff means in the Harry Potter universe but it’s now become an actual word in my house that roughly translates to getting all worked up over something ridiculous. Which actually, now that I think about it, maybe I can’t learn the real meanings of the houses because “Hufflepuff” has its own life living as an adjective in my house and I’m sorry, JK Rowling, that’s just how it is now.

I’ll extend this out to to two posts because I have a lot to say about all of it. And I don’t think I’m going to properly answer this question because I have grievences to air. Day 8 will be categorizing everyone I know, but today, I’ll chose the one. If I was pressured to hone it in, a narrow it down or die situation type thing, I’m going to have to go with my fave, Lucy Ricardo. Because, number one, the schemes. Two? Being celebrity obsessed. Three? Looking like a fool a lot. Four? Stubborn. And! I can’t believe I almost moved on without mentioning this!! I’ve had a real life I Love Lucy episode happen to me. You remember the episode where Lucy sees William Holden in the Brown Derby? Well…

Summer of ’97, I had just moved out to Los Angeles (to be a rockstar) and I got a job at a retail store at Universal CityWalk. The store isn’t there anymore, it’s now a Sephora, but before that, it was this really cool bookstore/gift store/cafe called Upstart Crow.

Me (glasses), Claudia (blonde, owner), and Vanessa (the Ethel to my Lucy) at Upstart Crow during New Years Eve Y2K and kind of a little drunk and scared that someone was going to try to bomb CityWalk, because security told us to be on the lookout for suspicious people or unattended baggage.

So back to the story, sometime in ’97 or ’98, I was standing behind the register and there was a guy looking at the bestseller shelves right in front of me and I swore I knew him. And I could not for the life of me figure out how. So for like 15 minutes, I followed this guy around the store because it was killing me, where did I know this guy from???? Did I go to high school with him? (which would be weird because I went to high school in Colorado). I couldn’t figure it out.

A bit later I went out on my lunch break to the patio that was part of the cafe. So I’m out there, minding my own business, reading my romance novel, eating my mac & cheese and I could feel someone staring me down. I look up from my book and it’s the guy. He’s at the other end of the patio, sitting at an empty table staring me down. Creepy, but yes! He knows me too! Right? I’m a little thrown off because he’s staring at me, like intensely and purposefully staring me down. He obviously came out to sit on the patio with the sole intention to stare me down. So, I try to ignore it and go back to my book when it hits me. I don’t know this guy from high school. No. I know him because he’s Shawn Hunter on Boy Meets World and I’ve just completely been a creep following him around the store and he’s now paying me back. I got Bill Holdened by Rider Strong. I felt my face go red, I slammed my book shut, grabbed my lunch while simultaneously dropping my fork onto the concrete with a loud klank and spilling what was left of my coffee onto my shirt. I ran inside the store and hid in the back corner until my coworker assured me that he left.

I wish I could tell you that this embarrassing part of my LA story ended there, but it did not.

Most nights after a closing shift, my coworkers and I would drive 5 minutes up the road to Bob’s Big Boy where we would hang out for hours and laugh and eat french fries and drink multiple cups of coffee. I lived a very wild life. So a couple weeks later after the “incident”, we’re at Bob’s doing our thing, when the entire cast of Boy Meets World walks in and sits in the booth behind us. And I am once again eye to eye with Rider Strong. I tried to play it cool like I didn’t even see him, but I did. And so did all of my friends who have heard this story about 75 times. And whether he remembered who I was or not, I totally swear he was staring me down again and I wanted to disappear forever through the crack in the light brown vinyl booth I was on. Which I might’ve. Or maybe I fainted, or astral projected out of there immediately, who knows, but I could not tell you how that one ended. I have seriously blocked it out. Because it’s awful. And it’s all I think about now when someone mentions him or the show or bowl cuts.

I have never felt more hufflepuffed in my life.

Day 6: The MySpace Survey

Way back in the 2000s, I spent way too much of my free time filling out those MySpace surveys and tagging friends or whatever we did to make sure our friends read them, commented on them, and then also did the surveys. And that’s kind of what this Question of the Day project I’m trying out for Camp Nano reminds me of. And I LOVE IT. So today we’re doing things a little differently. Let’s roll back to a simpler time, a time when I could make you listen to whatever song I chose to autoplay, a time before social media became the worst place in the world.

Name: Amy
Birthday: July 18
Birthplace: Denver
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Height: 5’6
Right handed or Left handed: Right handed. But this just made me think of a story my great-grandma used to tell us. When she was in school, they used to hit her hands with a ruler if she tried to write left handed. So she actually could write with both hands. This was back in Scotland though so maybe that’s a Scottish thing or she was lying to us. Both scenarios are highly likely.
My Worst Habit: Procrastination
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Shoe Size: 6.5
Pants Size: I’m a medium in lounge pants. I don’t know how that translates in real people pants.
Innie or Outie: Innie.
Parents Still Together? Nope. They got divorced when I was 7
The Shoes You Wore Today: my black Skecher running shoes.
However, I would like it on the record that I don’t run unless I think I’m about to be murdered.
Your Weakness: Physical strength.
Your Fears: Being murdered
Your Perfect Pizza: Cheese pizza. Especially if it’s from Barone’s in LA
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: Finally finish that novel
Thoughts First Waking Up: I don’t know that they’re thoughts, but I’m usually cussing out the cat.
Your Bedtime: Around 10:30 or 11. I’m an old lady now.
Your Most Missed Memory: I don’t know that I have one.
FRIENDS AND LIFE
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? An old Hollywood era diva so I can dramatically throw myself upon the staircase at the slightest inconvenience, complete with fur lined dressing gown and a sparkly chandelier
How Do You Want To Die? Well I know how I don’t want to die and that’s murdered in a cabin in the woods.
Who Makes You Laugh The Most? This is when you need access to your friend list so you can answer based on who has you in their top 8
Who Have You Known The Longest? I have a friend named Heather who I’ve known since we were 2 years old
When Have You Cried The Most? When my sister died. This is a boring answer.
What Is The Best Feeling In The World? Laughing
Worst Feeling? Anxiety.
Where Do You Want To Live When You Grow Up? In the house with the dramatic staircase and the chandelier
If You Could Change One Thing About You What Would It Be? The anxiety thing.
FINISH EACH SENTENCE
What a nice young man!
Where did all the cowboys go?
Silly, little snails
Never under any circumstance open that drawer.
I wish that people still did these surveys
Everyone has a secret
I am tired.
HAVE YOU EVER
Been In Love? Yes.
Been To Juvie? I had to go to juvie court once to act as a witness against the girl from Notre Dame High School that stole my car. She didn’t show up because she was in labor. This is a true story.
Mooned Someone? No on purpose
Been Rejected? Yes
Ran Away From Home? Once when I was like 8. I packed a bag and ran out and hid in the backyard for like a half an hour and then came back in because it got dark and I was scared.
Skipped School? No
Slept Outside? I have blocked it out if so.
Laughed So Hard You Cried? That’s the best way to laugh
Cried In School? Probably
Thrown Up In School? I threw up on the school bus in like 1st grade or something. It was embarrassing.
Wanted To Be a Model? I did. I went to the Barbizon School of Modeling too. I am not a model.
Cheated On Someone? No, unless you count board games, because then yes.
Done Something Really Stupid That You Still Laugh At Today? That pretty much sums up my 20s
Seen A Dead Body? Only at a funeral and I’d like to keep it that way.
Drank Alcohol? I’m 42
Smoked? I did I quit like 12 years ago when I found out I was pregnant
Eaten Sushi? Nope.
Been On Stage? I have! I was in choir AND I was a nerdy theater wanna be kid in high school. I failed every audition.
Gone Skinny Dipping? No! I don’t know what’s swimming around down there and the last thing I want is something touching my butt.
Shoplifted? Yeah. But it was way long ago, please don’t call the police.
Been Beaten Up? No. Surprisingly.
DO YOU
Sing Well? No. That doesn’t stop me.
Shower Daily? No.
Want To Go To College? I’ve been to college but sometimes I do want to go take some more classes.
Want To Get Married? I am already married, but here’s some life advice. Skip the big expensive wedding. City Hall it and use the money you saved on a down payment for a house.
Believe In Yourself? Sometimes
Get Motion Sickness? Yes.
Think You Are Attractive? Only under very specific circumstances in the bathroom mirror at like 10 pm.
Get Along With Your Parents? I do.
Like Thunderstorms? Sometimes.
Play An Instrument? I do not.
Own An IPOD? I actually do. I think it’s a second or third generation. It’s turquoise.
Pray? Only if I think I’m dying.
Go To Church? I’m not religious.
Sleep With Stuffed Animals? Only when they’ve made their way in with one of my kids in the middle of the night.
Keep A Journal/Diary? I used to. I reread them recently and that was a mistake.
Dance In The Rain? No, usually I’m running inside
Sing In The Shower? I do

Alright, that was long and probably boring which is likely the reason no one does MySpace surveys anymore. Okay, I did it, now it’s your turn.

Day 5: In the words of Harvey Dent, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Day 5 of my Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. I’m enjoying this little project. I feel like it’s keeping my brain active, writing-wise without bogging it down in the details of all the things keeping me frustrated about the novel itself. So on to today’s question that I saw on Pinterest like 75 times so I have no original source. I think it’s one of those questions though, that manifested itself into being like a mist of self-reflection.

Do you consider yourself to be the hero or the villain of your own story?

source: Pinterest mist

I like this question because I think it’s the ultimate theme to my unfinished, above mentioned novel. Because everyone sees themselves as the hero, right? I mean, that’s what they say. Everyone identifies as the hero. But what if we’re wrong? What if we’ve burned every bridge in town for the dramatics, because we think we’re taking a stand against injustice, but maybe also because we’re leaving. Because if we don’t down burn all the bridges as we leave, we have to face the reality that we’re walking out alone. That life will go on exactly the same without us and not one person will notice.

I don’t know where I’m going with this exactly. I think that while we all identify with the hero, we’re all secretly scared we’re the villain. We’re so scared that someone will notice and call us out on our abhorrent morals so they can cast us as the new villain for the pitchforks of the community, that we are one accusing sounding question away from throwing the first stone. And regardless of all of it, I think if we’re trying to insert ourselves into the story in the first place, we’ve already chosen to be the villain whether we recognize it yet or not.

My son is the biggest Star Wars fan I’ve ever met and has been since he was about 4 or 5 years old. So, probably because I have had a Star Wars movie on in the background for the better part of 6 years now, I have noticed some things that parallel my current thoughts, so pardon my rudimentary Star Wars analogy that someone’s probably going to tell me I’m wrong about but, I don’t care. I can easily block out rude opinions on Star Wars so save your breath unless you genuinely want to have a proper discussion about Star Wars philosophy. Unless it’s about Jar Jar Binks. This is a Jar Jar Binks-free zone.

And, as you know, if you’ve ever taken Philosophy 101 or an English Lit class in college, Star Wars is an epic example of hero vs. villain and self-insertion into your own story. And if you haven’t seen Star Wars and don’t want spoilers, stop reading. Okay, so jedis, or is jedi already plural? I don’t know, I’m not going to look it up. But! The force finds them. They’re not trying to be heros, you know what I’m saying? They just are. They already have the force and instinctively use the force for good, like Obi Wan and Yoda* and Rey. I mean, Luke wasn’t looking for the force, he just wanted to go Tosche Station to pick up some power converters! but it found him anyway.

And then you have Anakin. I’m going pause here to deep sigh and eyeroll about how emotionally RIDICULOUS and DRAMATIC all Skywalker men are. And it’s specific to the male Skywalker gene. Anakin’s mom? Sacrificed herself for the betterment of her son; didn’t whine. Padme? Sacrificed herself for the betterment of whiny baby Anakin and baby Luke’s future; didn’t whine. Uncle Owen and Aunt Baru? Took in baby Luke only to be sassed at by him and his whining and then burned to their deaths; didn’t whine. Leia? A goddess; told everyone to stop whining. But the Skywalker men? Anakin, Luke, and the worst of them all, Kylo Ren? They all need naps and a reality check.

Now that that’s off my chest, where were we? Oh Anakin. Now, the force found him, same as it found Luke and Rey and the rest I imagine. Anakin wanted it too much, though. He wanted the fame and recognition and found himself burning in lava. Villain. Kylo Ren, wanted the fame and recognition, ended up gutting his dad. Villain. Also, both of them wanted to choke out Luke and I get that. I do. However, we let Luke live because he made better choices. Until he didn’t, and a Skywalker fit was thrown. And people died.

And here’s the point I’m trying to spit out. Everyone can be a hero, but when you start deciding that you need the recognition and the fame and all that for your heroic deeds, you’ve become the villain by default. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t redemption. Look at Anakin/Darth Vader. When he chose to help Luke rather than sacrifice him for the clout of it all, he hero’d out of his villainy. And then he died. And then was worshipped as a villain anyway. Karma, dude.

*Stop it now.

Day 4: The Bucket List

I woke up from a dream this morning and in it, a woman older than me was squatting down in front of a bench crying because she had just found out that she was dying in a couple of months or days or something and she goes, “Well, there’s 10 minutes of my life I wasted crying and I can’t get back,” and then she said she didn’t know what she wanted to do with the rest of her short life and asked me, if I found out I was dying in a couple months, or even weeks, what would I do? So I’m going to take this question from the dying lady with the messy hair from my dream and use it for today’s post.

If you found out you were dying in a month, what would you want to do with the rest of your life?

source: Dream Lady

Part of me would want to actually do all the things I’m afraid of, like camping and traveling and ordering a pizza over the phone and deleting Facebook and wearing a swimsuit in public. But then there’s the realistic part of me that thinks that things would probably stay the same. I’d probably sit around all day in my lounge pants watching stuff on tv like I Love Lucy and When Harry Met Sally while I scroll through the internet like I’m getting paid by the hour. And I’d probably still yell at the kids for fighting and the dog for barking and the cat for waking me up at 6am. And I most certainly wouldn’t clean anymore. I’d need to delete my internet history and probably go through my things and burn the diaries I wrote when I was 16 but kept so that my loved ones could find one day and publish them when I die once they realized the genius prose and intellect I exhibited at such a young age. Unappreciated in my own time, and all that. But here’s the thing, I read one of them about a month ago and spiraled into a week long depressive state of shame and embarrassment that anyone knew who I was at 16. So I’d burn those. I’d make a point of hanging out with as many friends as I could get to answer my texts, and then I’d drive to California and put my toes into the sand again and drink wine and talk about things that excited me with my friends and I’d go look at the Hollywood sign, I’d hike right up to it. Well, no, that’s a lie. I wouldn’t. Snakes and fear of the law would stop me. But I would go see it. And I would walk down Hollywood Blvd and still not make eye contact with the Superman and Miss Piggy (they’re not the real thing, don’t buy into their scams). And then I would go back to the beach again and put my feet in the sand. And I would close my eyes and listen to the waves and the seagulls that I’ll probably have to fight off later and I would feel the sun on my face. I would drink and laugh with my people again.

It sounds ridiculous and corny because the first thought I had when I thought about this bucket list question was traveling and seeing the world and all the stuff that people put on their lists, but I think that I would just live the life that I know. With the people that I know. And the places that I know. In my non-pants pants. I would hug my kids and my husband and my family and my friends. I would see and experience everything that makes me happy. Nothing new. No skydiving or roller coasters. No rock climbing or bungee jumping. No thrill seeking. I want to feel love and security and hugs. I want to talk about thoughts and ideas and jokes over candles and wine and brie. I want to sing and dance badly and laugh.

And yeah, if I found out I was dying, I would probably cry crouched on a bench with messy hair like dream lady. I would allow myself those 10 minutes. And who knows, in 30 or 40 years, I might have a different view on my life goals. And hopefully Dream Lady wasn’t giving me a death sentence, because jokes on her, I made a deal with the devil to live a million years so, sorry Dream Lady.

I don’t know how to end this because I feel like I’ve left us on a really strange note. This is way more serious than I ever want to be and that’s as embarrassing as my 16 year old me journals. Go back and read this in glitter gel pen voice. And instead of this, I should’ve just finished my draft from yesterday about dogs and cats. So… I’m going to go drink a glass of rose’ and pretend this blog post doesn’t exist. Hug your people. Do what you love. Ignore what you don’t.

End scene.

Questions I Found on the Internet (AKA Avoiding Camp Nano)

July 3rd and I’m on Day 3 of avoiding my NanoWriMo Camp. As you do. But I did consider writing today, and I promise myself and my camp I will work on my never ending novel this afternoon, but I have decided to brush off the old blog before I do because, you know, procrastination.

Also as a side note that bears mentioning but is in no way related, I haven’t written a post in so long, everything here is different. I don’t know what all these changes are to wordpress so I’m probably doing this wrong. I mean, I was doing it wrong before but now I can blame it on my inability to understand change.

Anyway, so in looking through my mess of notes for the novel I’ve been trying to perfect for years that is essentially just several badly named and organised google docs, I came across a list of random questions that I had saved long ago to maybe use as character prompts or scene prompts and I thought they would be fun to do as blog posts while I’m hiding from my novel, but I just realized that if I do these, I’m actually working on my novel, which YAY!! But that also means that now that I’ve made the connection, I’ll probably ditch this project in a few days soon as well. But this is a good idea because while a lot of these probably won’t actually make it into the story, they will definitely be good jumping off points.

On to it! Question of the day is:

Do you ever doubt the existence of people other than you?

source: someone somewhere on tumblr

I think everyone has at some point. Like I think that’s a philosophical bullet point everyone hits eventually. Like the time I thought I was a horse in a human suit in 3rd grade and then made an invisible trap in a tree to catch mean kids at recess. I mean, that’s totally normal kid activity.

And then there was middle school which we called junior high back then but no one says that anymore around here now so this is also another thing I may have imagined, anyway, I remember thinking that everyone was in on a joke that I didn’t know. And they were playing a game with me to see how far I would go before they broke me and could point and laugh at me. Like, the whole school was in on this inside scam to make me look foolish and I thought I could trick them because I figured out the joke. But I couldn’t figure out the joke, probably because in reality it didn’t exist. I don’t think. Because that would be a huge undertaking for a bunch of 12 year olds to plan and perfectly execute. I mean, right? This isn’t Carrie. Did I mention that I currently live with crippling anxiety?

And then when I got my driver’s license, I was so weirded out that I actually existed out on the road, like, other cars would have to actually stop if I had the right of way. And then I hoped they all saw me. That I really existed, they they actually could see me, and I wasn’t some ghost car traveling a deserted road at night in mist that local teens would warn each other about on sleepovers.

I don’t think I actually answered this question. Because as far as people not existing, I’m clearly more on the Bruce Willis end than the Haley Joel Osment end in this scenario. Spoiler Alert. If you don’t get the reference, don’t blame me if you google it.

So unless you mean like, ghosts, which yes, obviously I believe in them, then I’m not sure I have actually believed that other people didn’t exist. I mean I have wished for it. I’ve also wished that ghosts not exist, but that didn’t work out so well either and I ended up sleeping on a loveseat for a year so a ghost could have the bedroom.

Alright, off I go to work on the novel. Wish me luck.