Friday, August 28, 2009

Final Post (Until Monday, that is)

I don't usually post anything on the weekends because I am working (unfortunately I have the pleasure of a weekend only job) and at night I hang out with what friends I have.

I just wanted to thank everyone that commented and decided to follow me this week.  It makes it well worth the move from MySpace to here.  I can tell that everyone truly cares about the ideas and stories we all blog about, and it is a great community.  I'm ecstatic to be a part of it, and hope that everyone continues to enjoy my blog, and I will continue to read and comment on all of yours. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Couldn't help it.  So many people post pictures of their kids and pets, and I felt the need to show off my kid-pets.  

I was bored one Sunday afternoon, so I built a house out of a box.  Despite hating their cage, they love this box.  And here is the proof.

What is that yonder, through thy window?  Seems to be covered in fur!
Why, it IS covered in fur!  I can see the head!
This creature seems to be relaxing!
I seem to have woken up the poor, pitiful furry thing.
"What goes there?"
"You hath disturbed my Lady!" he cries from the window.
"Gone!  Be gone with you!"
Lady Beauty peeks from behind ears of ebony.
"Who calls, my darling?"
"He has run!" Sir Cooper exclaims.
...To be continued...

Fill-In Fridays...My First!

I was browsing through other bloggers and came across Dawn, who had done a Fill-In The Blank sort of thing, and so I had to check out the page that created it, Friday Fill-Ins.  It's actually pretty neat, so I've decided to participate today. we go!

1. He was a peculiar sort of man.

2. Swimming and barbequeing are what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. My best friend is a big dork, but I love him anyway.

4. Sometimes it's just easier to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be deceiving, but try not to judge.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was the person I share all my secrets with.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with some friends and drinking, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in, then working, and Sunday, I want to get to finishing this novel!

My Job Is Harder Than Yours, He Says

Stephanie, once again, wrote an awesome blog that I have to follow.  How To Annoy A Writer is all about the things that people should NEVER say to a writer- unless you wanna get your head bashed in by the nearest reading lamp.

I know I don't get paid for doing what I do right now.  I'm a part-time sales associate for my paying job, and it's the least creative thing a person can do for a living (unless you count the many ways we create to catch a thief).  But when I'm at home, my laptop is on, I have some beverage beside me, and I'm either researching, reading blogs, writing a blog, or working on my novel.  I do take breaks, of course.  I move my legs around, go pet the rabbits, brush my hair.  For the most part, though, I'm sitting with my laptop in front of me, tapping away at whatever I'm working on.

Most days my boyfriend comes home, and he is absolutely exhausted and in a bad mood because he didn't make any sales at work.  He's a telemarketer.  For those of you that hate telemarketers (like me), let me defend him for just a moment.  He only calls people that are interested in their home sales business and they actually request more information, so he's not cold-calling or annoying people that have no interest.  Anyhow, he's a telemarketer.  He spends his day on the phone, calling people that want to make an extra income from home, and he tells them how to do it.  His days are short (he works six hours), he sits in front of a computer (playing pool on Yahoo!), and he talks to co-workers (while smoking a cigarette every five minutes outside the office).  I don't bash on him about what he does for a living, though.  He makes his money, and I support that.  He, however, just doesn't get why I happen to be exhausted right along with him.

"What'd you do today?" he'll ask.  Right there, I can tell he is mocking me.  Do not mock me. 

"Well, I cleaned our room, washed your dirty underwear, did the dishes, cleaned the living room and bathroom, picked up dinner, and made dinner.  Oh yeah, and I wrote 50 pages on my novel and worked on three different query letters between doing all those things."

The query letters alone give me headaches that sometimes last until late into the night.  Yesterday I had one from about noon til eight.  And I didn't work on the novel at all.  That was just query letters for different agents.

If I could get paid for doing what I do, I would.  As a matter of fact, I'm TRYING to get paid.  I'm pursuing a dream I've had for a very long time, and I'll bet half the country can't even say they're doing that.  It takes a lot of hard work, not just a few nights of typing some words.  Some days I don't even have the inspiration in me to work on the new book because I'm so tired.  I haven't worked on the new one for three days, in fact, because I'm trying to find another part-time job to actually pay bills, and despite being a large city, Phoenix has none.

Stress, stress, stress...and he says his job is harder.  Please, let's trade for a week, and we'll see if you can get anything accomplished in writing, and still have dinner ready when I come home.

In fact, I'd like to see you just do all the housework I do, work your six hour shift, then come home and make dinner.  I'd even consider that a hard days work.  But do not mock me when I say I'm exhausted.

Because I am a writer.  My job is to think of creative ways to kill someone and hide the evidence. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Behind The Idea

This picture inspired the idea for the novel I'm working on right now.  I love when this happens.  I'm drawn to mysterious and "deep" photos.  I love dark clouds and water and old houses and beaches.  I've been waiting for the day I can afford a great camera to go out and capture pictures of my own to use as my story starters.

Does anyone else have a photo that has inspired them to write a story, or just a blog?

A Shimmy In My Spirit posted a few wonderful photos that could inspire some great ideas for a novel.  I might even take it upon myself to do just that.

It's Gone Stale

As usual, Stephanie has a great blog today: Sex After Marriage.  I can thankfully say I'm not married at this moment.  What I can say is, it can't be much different from a long-term relationship and sex after a while.

I haven't lost interest in sex, no.  What I have lost interest in is trying to create the mood.  It's only been a year.  He's already begun to notice it.  In fact, I'm frequently awaken by his "sleep-fondling" and sometimes it really pisses me off.  Other times, I think to myself, "Yeah, I guess it's about that time."  So many factors have to be considered in the reasoning behind the dry spell.  Stress at work, stress at home, exhaustion, depression, feeling lonely.  I believe a lot of the time I start a dry spell just because he is not interested in having a night alone with me, without video games or the television.  I don't feel we have that special connection like we did at first, when all we did was go at it.

He has said several times he honestly believes his sleeping problems come from the lack of getting laid.  I laughed in his face and said that I wished that was my problem, because I'd be tapping it every night.  Usually, though, my problems are deeper, like most women.

I believe that keeping a healthy sex life is exactly like keeping a healthy relationship.  We have to be open and honest with each other, we have to spend quality time together (WITHOUT distractions, except maybe a good movie), we have to create the mood.  I don't mind doing all of those things, but I don't like being the one to do it all the time.  By creating the mood, I don't mean turning off the TV and lights, and then spooning and rubbing yourself on me.  I mean, MAKE DINNER FOR ONCE.  Light a few candles.  Rub my feet if I ask you to.  I do it for you all the time without being asked, and so should you.

I think a lot of women like to hold sex over a man's head.  I'm not all about doing that.  That situation could probably be the driving reason behind cheating.  However, maybe we're not the only ones who have expectations.  Communication in a relationship goes both ways, and men should tell us how they like to be seduced.  I mean, after all, we have fantasies, so why can't they?

I know my man loves me.  He has taken care of me for the last six months without one complaint.  I know a lot of men do that for their wives and girlfriends, as well.  All I'm asking for is some effort in the home.  Nothing turns me on more than watching him wield a vacuum cleaner and mop!  Seeing a clean house when I know I haven't touched a thing makes me wanna jump right in bed, because I know I have the energy!

If all of us took time to focus on our partners and shared what we would like, I think that sex wouldn't feel like such a chore to some.  Even if it is only admitting how stressed out we are or that we just haven't been up to it because of exhaustion.  However, we have to share that emotional bond along with the physical bond, otherwise one or the other will end up feeling resentful.  All it takes is one conversation to stir up those sexual desires again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Job Hunt

You dread it.  You wish it was like pulling off a band-aid: a quick pull, slight stinging, but over as soon as it started. 

Unfortunately for you, that's not how it happens.  There are hours upon painstaking hours spent filling out applications, perfecting your resume, reciting the answers to questions that most employers ask. 

This next prospective job is it, you just know it.  They'll love your resume; how can they turn it away?  You wait impatiently by the phone or staring at your email inbox, anticipating their response. 

You wait.  And wait.  And wait.  You finally call them, to see if the position is still available.  They tell you they are reviewing resumes and will contact you if they think you fit the bill.

You never receive the call.

This is my life currently.  This is what I spend all day doing.  My resume is posted on ten different career finding sites, and yet I'm still waiting for one callback.  I've had several leads, more than a few interviews, and still I'm stuck in a ten hour a week job, struggling with bills and rent.  At this point, I'm getting desperate.

I can probably say this honestly without much research- most people hate job hunting.  It is stressful and time-consuming.  Every employer you go to seems to have a hundred more applicants that they are going to interview.  The wait seems to last forever, only to find out they won't hire you.  At least, that's how it seems to me.  I have had phone interviews, in-person interviews, and even webchat interviews!  I do not know exactly what I am doing wrong, being as I've NEVER been turned down for a job up until recently, but for some reason, I am just having no luck.  Maybe it is my over-powering personality.  Maybe it is because they feel I just do not have enough experience.  Or, most likely, because I am asking for too much money.

I know the economy is slow right now, but there is no way I'm going to work for under ten dollars an hour.  I think it is reasonable.  I have management experience, I have worked at several retail stores, I've ran front desks at hotels.  I have only been let go once (and it was due to absence for medical reasons), I have terrific references, and none of it seems to manner!  Here in Phoenix, though, I've learned that you have to bargain with employers when they can hire Mexicans under the table for less than minimum wage.  Why would they hire someone legal that expects a high wage and benefits?

It is so frustrating.  Even with college credentials it has made no difference.  I'm still stuck in the same position I was when I first got out of high school.  Except I can't get a job at Burger King because I have too much experience.  NOT JOKING.  Managers these days fear hiring employees that could potentially snatch their jobs up.  Not in a million years would I want to manage a fast food joint, but I have to pay bills, just like everyone else.

I hate job hunting.  How about you?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Long To Wait?

I'm not a relationship expert.  I've never even taken a psychology class.  However, it seems to me that my friends usually come to me for relationship advice, and they all agree I'm probably right.  Why don't they take it?

I'll call my friend Jane for the sake of this blog.  Jane is 26 years old, and spent ten years with the same guy, John.  Her high school sweetheart, they planned to get married and have kids someday.  But someday was not soon enough for her, and it was too soon for him.  John has had many, many problems in the past five years.  Unfortunately, one of them includes drug use.  It hasn't been occasional, either.  Jane does not endorse drug use and asked him to stop or she would leave him five years ago.  He quit.

Until about four months ago, they were doing fine.  Suddenly, though, John began to forget to do things.  They lost their place together, and he had to move back in with his parents.  Jane wasn't sure what to do, so she gave him an ultimatum: it's me, or the drugs.

John chose the drugs.  That was two months ago.  Jane has been a wreck since then, and every time she seems to be doing okay, he seems to call or text message her, and she becomes an emotional wreck again.  This is not the topic, though.

How long should she wait before getting back into the dating scene?  Well, my answer to her was, "Dude, seriously, you've been in a relationship with the same guy for ten years.  You never even explored your options or had a chance to have fun.  I think you need a break." 

This lasted a week.  First, she hooked up with my boyfriend's brother for a short time, because they were both going through a hard time.  I understood that.  They connected and that is fine with me.  I knew it wouldn't last, and it didn't.  Thankfully.  Just a couple weeks later though, she started hanging out with a co-worker (whom also works with my boyfriend).  They basically are together all the time.  Every weekend we all get together and we have drinks and have fun.  We go bowling and barbeque and play cards and really, it's great to have another couple we get along with to hang out with.

The problem is this: this past weekend, Jane got a text message from John, telling her he misses her and hopes she is doing okay.  I wouldn't have said this was a problem.  However, the guy she is hanging out with (Joe, for the sake of this blog) was with us.  We were watching a movie and she gets this text, and suddenly Chris and Joe get up to go to the store. 

Jane bursts out in tears and says she doesn't know what John wants from her.  Why is he doing this?  Doesn't he know how much it hurts?

I can understand her pain; what I don't understand is why she is trying to distract herself from getting over him by using Joe.  She says they are in agreement that this is just hanging out for now and it's not serious, but Joe did say he'd like to settle down soon. 

It seems to me in this situation Jane needs to stand back and take things slower.  I haven't seen her without Joe for over a month now.  As far as I'm concerned, this is a relationship without the title, and Joe is playing along with it so she doesn't feel uncomfortable. 

How long should you wait to start seriously dating again?  How long should you give yourself before you jump back in the game?  I'm not sure what the correct answer is to that, really.  I'm not pretending to be an expert.  Since Jane has talked my ear off about this I figured it'd be a good blog.  She claims she is fine with how things are right now.  I say, she is only fine because she is hiding behind Joe.  As long as she is distracted, she doesn't have to deal with her feelings about breaking up with John in the first place.  I can see her, with Joe, in several months, and being happy, but then John coming back into the picture and making her break down because she never settled her feelings over him.

It is a very long and confusing road.  I am young, myself, and have only had one serious relationship before the one I'm in now.  I guess I just knew that I needed time to get over the ex before I tried dating again.  Otherwise, I'd break someone else's heart, and still have a broken heart, myself, and wind up right where I was.  I waited three years before settling down again.  It seemed an appropriate time length for me, because I'm an emotional person.  Jane is even moreso, but can't see that she is going to hurt herself even more.

Sigh.  If only everyone was as logical as I am.  What would you tell your friend if they were asking for your advice?  How long would you recommend waiting?  Or how would you know it was time to move on?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How Many Does It Take

I know there are millions of writers out there, looking to just get their work looked at. Just read the first chapter, is what we all think. If you just read the first chapter, I think you'll want to read the rest.

Unfortunately, most agents don't want to look at the first chapter right away. They want your query letter. They do not want just any query letter, though. They want an amazing and eye-catching query letter that will draw them in. Maybe it's just me, but writing a query letter makes me more nervous than the actual thought of someone reading my work.

I've given the first copy of my novel to two separate normal readers. They read frequently, enjoy a good story, and have good taste. One has said that it was great and with a little editing it would probably sell better than a lot of crap that is on the shelves these days. No offense to the people that actually write said crap. The second is still in the process of reading it, but she claims it is great so far (if you're reading this Deena, I believe you. I just hope the whole book is great!). So how are we supposed to portray this in a query letter that is up to only 2,000 words long without supplying the whole story summed up in it?

At this point I'm beginning to question my talent. I received my first rejection letter this morning (Sunday). I do not know what type of agency actually sends out rejection letters on a Sunday, of all days, but I just sent my letter on Friday. I just do not see how it is possible to get through the supposed hundreds of emails in two days and have time to send letters to each individual as well. This wasn't even a personalized rejection letter, either, and it was from a pretty known agency. I will not disclose the name of said agency but it was a real blow.

I know it sometimes many, many rejections for some authors to finally get to a "Yes," and I shouldn't give up. However, I'm not so sure how to deal with just this one rejection, let alone several, or possibly twenty. It makes my head spin just thinking about it.

My question is, how many rejections does it take before you get to an answer? Where do we go after spending so many hours upon hours upon days and weeks of perfecting our query letters and changing them but still only receive impersonal rejection letters that claim we "just aren't what they're looking for at this time."

It's not what you may be looking for, but what about the audience the novel is written for? What is selling right now? It takes more than just a glance at a letter to know what you are turning away. I can't help but wonder, how many more months or years will it take before I throw the towel in on getting published and just say, "It's not meant to be?"

Oh boy I sound negative. But really, I'm just looking to vent some.

I'll be published eventually. I just know it.

What's Your Style?

I'm not quite sure how some readers are, but for me, writing in complete silence is awful. I prefer to listen to background noise. And in specific, music. I love it. It is the perfect inspiration to write. Sometimes, how I perceive a song's lyrics can lead to a total story in itself. In fact, I've written many stories based on lyrics of my favorite bands.

Recently I've discovered iTunes radio. My friend used to listen to it all the time while we scrapbooked (I'm creative in more than one way), but most of the time I just got frustrated because there were so many commercials. But, last night I couldn't sleep, and didn't want to have silence but didn't want to listen to the same stuff we listen to all the time. So, I turned it on. We listened to jazz and ambient stations...and surprisingly, I was out like a light in minutes.

Who knew that the same thing that inspires me to write music on a day to day basic could inspire me to sleep dreamlessly and well? It was amazing!

Currently I have it turned to classic hits radio, and "Hold On Loosely" by .38 Special is playing. CLASSIC! Oh man. Good stuff. I'm quite young...but I love classic rock a lot. Every time I have people over at our apartment I turn it to classic rock because it doesn't offend anyone, plus it keeps the mood up and conversation going.

I generally listen to punk rock on a normal basis. This is the genre of music for my generation. There's no other way to describe how we feel about the confusing places we are put in from being...I don't know, in the middle. So I listen to a lot of the genre. I know it is hard for a lot of people born before 1978 to understand the point of it, but if you listen to the lyrics, it explains it all.

My favorite band happens to be Brand New. Don't know them? Go look them up. Yes, they DO SCREAM sometimes in their songs. However, several of their songs explain so well how I have felt in the past that I feel almost spiritually connected to the singer. So many songs from the 70's and 80's are written based solely on love. What about every other thing a person goes through in their life?

Punk rock actually now has so many sub-genres it is confusing. It can be so multi-faceted that one can't choose just one whole genre. Emo is term used considerably thsese days. What is emo, do you ask?

Emotional. It is emotional. I love writing while listening to emo music. You can feel what you write, because the music does move you. Despite the bad rep it gets for being so, "Woe is me, life is terrible, nobody understands," it really can move people.

So, I'm just wondering...What get's you writing? What's playing on your computer while you tap out the words to your latest blog?