Thursday, October 25, 2012

Petty Pointless Bagging

I've been a mess, friends. Some Big Things have been going on and I don't do well with Big Things.
Big Things like:

MY NOVEL. Query-writing sucks so bad. It really really does. You know what's worse? The rejections that follow. I've received a couple. You know what's worse? The Requests for Fulls that I'm convinced are flukes because I want Everyone (!!) to Love Me (!!) All the Time (!!)

Neurotic Much?

Anyway - so I have fulls out. That's good. But it makes me insane for reals. Like I go from being all sad and morose and wallowing like a BOSS to YAY! Hooray! This is WONDERFUL!! I'm toying with the idea of becoming bi-polar. Like full-up total bi-polar. I'll let you know what I decide.

Also? POLITICS. ELECTION. I know I'm just a silly woman but I have concerns about these things anyway.

Also also? Ellie had a solo recital and it went really well but you guys know I psychically hold that concert grand together with my BRAIN while she plays. It's exhausting. And Jasper tortured me throughout the entire thing by loudly squeaking his seat - it was one of those that pops up when you're not sitting in it so yeah - he did that. A lot. In several seats. When it was over, he curled himself up in the fetal position during the reception, alarming at least one college student who seemed to want me to do something about it. I slid a plate of crackers over to him (he was on the floor) and a few minutes later the crackers were gone. I looked hopefully at the college student but he remained dubious of my parenting skills.

He didn't realize Jasper needs time to "acclimate." Last weekend I took him on a roller coaster and as it climbed up for the first drop he yelled, "I'm not acclimated!!" He's like that.

Also also also? I have a sick friend. Like really sick. As in chemo sick. Chemo sick sucks.

So let's talk about Petty Things, shall we? To take my mind off it all?

I got a new car. It is red. If you look in my closet you will find exactly ZERO red things. There's a reason for that. I look like sh*t in red. I won't wear it in a t-shirt, a lipstick, or a nail polish. But apparently it's okay to drape myself in tons and tons of it and then become mobile. If you see me, I totally apologize for looking washed out. It's red! Gah.

Also? I have a pet peeve that has nothing to do with red cars and everything to do with our culture's obsession with bags. As in plastic bags. Or paper bags, really. Why is it that people want to put everything they buy in a bag? People buy a bag of chips - it gets put in a bag. A bag of bread? In a bag. A bag of potatoes? In a bag. WHY?? Why can't you just carry the bag of bread you carried to the register out to your car? Why must you place it in another bag first? I just watched a guy buy a soda at a convenience store. A single soda. That he was going to drink on the spot. It was put in a bag, first. He'd taken it out of the bag and tossed the bag in the trash before he was out the door. It stayed in the bag for like two feet, people.

And when I take my pinko commie canvas reusable bags in the store? They try to slip a plastic bag in anyway! God forbid the Q-Tips end up right up against a package of spaghetti - all naked and rubbing right up against it. We need to put it in plastic bag first, and THEN put it in the commie bag. Because it's technically a toiletry item. Or some such nonsense. OR the bagger will put like one item in each bag so he can run out of my reusable bags and be forced to pop out plastic for my remaining 900 items. This happens while the cashier is distracting me. It's like a THING THEY DO ON PURPOSE.

And why, you ask, does this petty sh*t bother me? Because it keeps me from worrying about queries, kids, my rights possibly going down the toilet, and sick friends.


Keeps me sane.

Oh mah God - I almost forgot. I'm on The Twitter. I say that in the voice of an old, Jewish man. I'm on The Twitter. I have No Idea What I'm Doing. And there's always the chance I'll go all Courtney Love on The Twitter and you wouldn't want to miss that

Signing Off @sardinemama

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Pointe Is...

Recently, Camille stood at a barre, surrounded by boxes of painful torture devices disguised as pretty, pink slippers.

"It's important that they fit," the sales girl said. "She's way too young to have her feet disfigured."

When, I wondered, is it ever okay to have your feet disfigured? I wanted to snatch my child away. I've seen the pictures of dancers' feet - I've seen Black Swan and other ballerina angst films. Why was my daughter about to start on this journey of pain and OH MY GOD EXCUSE THE ALL-CAPS possible disfigurement? At the age of ten?

I'm no dance mom. This dance business, it's no dream of mine. Flashdance only inspired me to wear leg warmers, for crying out loud. So how did I end up here, in the dance store, about to buy pointe shoes for my child? Only the most driven dancers, the itty bitty percent, end up on pointe shoes. Even fewer stick with it for the long haul.

Camille has talked about this moment since she was old enough to talk. Shortly after she began walking, she began dancing. And while other kids loved PBS for Elmo and Big Bird (strongly resisting the urge to talk about Romney here), Camille wanted to know when the next ballet or opera would be on. And then she'd watch it. Actually, that's an understatement. She'd become it. And it didn't matter if it was in German, Italian, or English - she was absorbed by it.

We were treated to endless den performances - tutus, tickets, dramatic lighting - all before she'd set foot in a ballet studio.

She put a lot of work into making the tickets.

And of course into the performances.
Who knew that only a couple of years later she'd be backstage, waiting to dance in a professional production of Copellia?

She knew. She always knew...

"Tell me if it hurts when you go up," the girl said last week. "First position..."

It all seemed so casual - as if this were not the moment she'd dreamed of pretty much her entire life. It was just a store, these were just was all so technical - getting the right fit - no music, no celebration, no fireworks.

And then the girl said, "Go up."

Everyone, obviously, was looking at Camille's feet. The sales girl, my dad, Camille's friend who'd come along to watch, and the other people shopping in the store. Everyone stared at her feet. But for some reason, my eyes flitted up to her face - at just the right moment.

She didn't gasp, she didn't squeal, she didn't even smile. She looked...surprised.

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but we humans are not meant to be on our toes. We're not meant to balance on them, we're not meant to spin on them, we're not meant to hop across a stage on them. And Camille's face reflected that - not the pain of it - sadly, I'm sure that will come, later. It reflected the surprise of achieving the unexpected.

Her eyes met mine, briefly, in the mirror. Did you see what I did? Wasn't that spectacular?

It was spectacular. And it was spectacular in a way that I will never truly understand. Because her dream is not my dream. But I got a small glimpse, in that tiny dimple that appeared out of nowhere on her right cheek, of what it might feel like to suddenly balance on your toes. To achieve, for the very first time, that which you feel you were quite possibly born to achieve.

Actually, I think I might have felt what she felt at that moment. The shock, surprise, realization, and awe of your own badass self. Yes, I have! I have felt it before! Five times, to be exact. Because five times my body has done something unexpected, something that it seemed it shouldn't have been able to do. Five times I've surprised myself. And each time, I held my newborn and looked at Jeff. Did you see what I did?

It was, indeed, truly spectacular each time. And it was also incredibly and unbelievably painful. And frightening. Because creation isn't easy. And we surprise ourselves with it each time. Even when we knew it was coming.

These are miraculous things we do, and we do them every day. We rise on our toes, we paint, we sing. Sometimes we squeeze words out of the ethersphere.

We give birth.

It's worth the pain.

I'm so glad I was not looking at her feet. She will rise on pointe many times over the next few years. But she only rose for the first time, once. And it was all in her eyes.

I won't feel badly for letting her do this. I'll do what I can to get the best-fitting shoes possible. I'll make sure she has the best teachers to guide her. But I won't stand in the way of creation. Because I saw her eyes when the girl said, "Go up,"...and she did.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I Yam What I Yam

So I went to a writer's workshop on social media. I hate workshops, and I hate social media if it is any kind of social media I'm not already using and comfortable with. Also - I went as a newbie/non-member to this workshop - cold turkey without a buddy and I am a better with a buddy. In general.

I walked into the room, signed in, paid, and was given a name tag which I promptly stuck IN MY HAIR.  People tried not to notice as I began the tiresome process of separating my bazillion hairs from the name tag while acting like it didn't hurt. I hate being the new girl and I particularly hate being the new girl with a name tag in her hair.

Anyway - the workshop was great in that it affirmed some things I already thought in regards to writers' blogs, websites, and social media. The things it didn't affirm....whatevs. I didn't understand that stuff anyway. In fact, I actually lost consciousness several times - a little condition I suffer whenever anyone tries to force-feed me instructions on how to use electronic devices or whenever I'm forced into the plumbing/electrical aisle of a home improvement store.

Writers' Blogs: I kept wondering why I needed one. I mean, really. Who would read it? Other writers? What could I possibly say that would interest them that they haven't already said themselves? Like, I just didn't get it, you know? I don't like reading writers' blogs much, myself. And when I do, I rarely buy the book(s) they're pushing because I buy books by authors I already read or authors my friends suggest - maybe I hear about it on NPR - something like that. To buy a book from every writers' site where someone is hawking a book would be ridiculous and would possibly result in Inspirational Romance ending up on my bookshelves and I DON'T WANT THAT. Not that there's anything wrong with Inspirational Romance - I just don't want to read it.

So the workshop presenter said my blog needs to be about things other than writing. It is! It needs to show a unique voice that people like. I have a unique voice that people like! Humor is good. I totally crack myself up! You can talk about anything. I talk about anything!

What a freaking, amazing relief!! I cannot TELL you how sick to death I was of worrying over this writing blog and how I was going to have to deal with it in addition to writing novels AND how it wouldn't allow me to have time for Sardines in a Can and I miss writing my little old Not Really About Anything blog! Supposedly, my followers read me because they like me and they'll buy my book because they like me and then if they like the book as much as they like me they'll tell their friends and THAT is how Fifty Tons of Bullshit makes its way to the best seller list!! YAY!!

I'M BACK, MAH PEEPS! And I don't even feel guilty about being here.

There are a couple of things, however, that might be considered little problems, if we want to keep this here act all kinds of professional.

*I'm not supposed to post pics of myself.
I went to TWO Red Hot Chili Peppers concerts this month SO FAR! And I wore an Off! cap like Anthony Kiedis and I really thought everyone would be wearing one but they weren't and I'm pretty sure that Anthony was looking at me. Seriously. Right in the eyes. He was all like, "Cool! We have the same cap!" or possibly, "That bitch is wearing my cap!" I couldn't tell. But anyway - here we are leaving for one concert:

And here we are in the car leaving like the groupies we are to follow the band to the NEXT concert. Because we are not amateurs, that's why.

In addition to not posting pictures of myself that could be interpreted as anything other than strictly professional, I am also supposed to abstain from mentioning religion, politics, or using any form of possibly offensive profanity. Um...that would be no, no, and f*ucking hell no.

Honestly, though, if my followers are any indication of my offensiveness - I'm not too concerned. I love you guys! You are liberal, conservative, parents, non-parents, straight, extremely not-straight, religious, and atheist. Some of you are several of these things at once. And you keep coming here - even though I am prone to making fun of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin (GOD HOW I MISS SARAH PALIN - I MISS HER LIKE I MISS MEL GIBSON AND CHARLIE SHEEN). You come even though I don't share your faith. You come even though I don't send my kids to school, nor do I school them at home, and you might be a teacher or a principal or the president of your PTA. You come even though you can't possibly understand why one woman would have five kids - or why one woman would have only five kids.

I think you come here because you like what I have to say, or how I say it. Or because you're bored and I've become part of your procrastination routine.

You come. And so I'm not changing a thing.


I might change some things. Probably will, in fact. But for the most part, you're going to get what you've always gotten. Me.

The End.