Category: fake words


Lately, I’ve been restless. Swamped with this need to be doing something.
A fellow Midwesterner and writer friend would say that this is our region’s neurosis showing itself—that Old Church need to account for every second of your day and turn aside the implied guilt of idleness. I don’t think she’s wrong. Every time my dad calls, he asks me what I’m doing. When I say, “Nothing,” he says, “Why the heck not?”
In eight months I wrote a book, revised, revised, revised, wrote queries, got rejections, wrote better queries and mediocre synopses, got rejections, wrote stellar queries and improved synopses. Now I’m waiting. None of the stories, books, or ideas that I’ve played with in the meantime have really felt like something I could work on in that frantic, obsessive way that comes with a project you know you are going to finish. I haven’t really worked on anything in a month and that thing inside of me that swears not moving forward is the same as sliding backward keeps asking me, “Why the heck not?”
I understand the importance of time. When I lay my boys down for a nap, I know I have one hour or less to focus entirely on writing. That’s why I spend most of the rest of my day only half-here. My mind writes while I wash the dishes, works over sentences while I sing with the boys, figures out wording while I change diapers, all so I’ll be ready. Put the boys down, get to a computer, type until your keys smoke and your brain hurts. There’s never going to be enough time to get everything done that you wanted to, but go, go, go until the clock runs out. Maybe that’s why when I hit a dead period, all that forward inertia rolls right over me.
“Go, go, go,” my brain screams.
“Where?” I wonder.
This feeling isn’t unfamiliar.* When I finish working on a story, I usually have a night of uninterrupted sleep and a day of victory. The boys and Josh and I play, go for walks, talk, listen to music, watch shows, read books, live life completely in the present tense. My mind stays with me instead of wandering off to write so that moment when everyone is asleep and I can get to a computer is not wasted. For a little while after I finish working on something, I enjoy the relaxation that comes with being directionless.
But that sort of floating can only last for so long. I have another writing friend who insists that there are “inherent problems” with the present tense. In my case, I think he’s right.** Living in the present tense means facing summer when it’s summer and winter when it’s winter. Staying in for supper when there’s no money to go out. Not having shoot-outs or crazy sex or turning into a crow and flying away. To live in the present tense means to live in the real world and the real world, to me, is not that appealing.
Or, this need to accomplish something can be looked at from a spiritual standpoint. We were listening to a Mountain Goat’s song once when Josh asked me, “Why does everyone think it’s so hard to live?” My answer was that if you really think about your purpose in life, what you are supposed to be doing compared to what you’ve actually been doing, it’s hard to go on living with yourself. “I know it is for me,” I said, not meaning to needlessly worry Josh about suicide. If you do think about it, though, God gives us each a purpose and a certain amount of time. From there it’s up to us. Any failure is on our shoulders and any wasted time is our fault.
Feeling bummed out yet? Josh would say that’s a really depressing way to look at things and I guess I can see his point, but for me it’s the opposite. If I have a purpose, I know I’ll find my way back to it. Another story will come along and I’ll work on it in a dead sprint and lay awake for hours in bed trying to get a paragraph just right so that I can type it tomorrow. Time keeps moving forward, whether you use it or waste it, and that’s comforting to me. Besides, if I get really desperate, I can always write a blog post.
*I’ll take a moment here to preemptive strike back at the accusations that I’m committing a capital offense by writing that something is “not unfamiliar.” This is not the same thing as saying “irregardless.” I recognize this sensation and that I’ve had it before, but I honestly don’t have it often enough to call it a familiar feeling. It’s not unfamiliar, though, either.

**But to be clear: In writing’s case, I think anything is possible if it’s done right and I will never, ever change my mind about that.

Let’s Say Something Controversial about Abortion

Now that I’m 9 months and 4 days pregnant (according to a due date calculator I found on the internet), I thought I’d try to tackle a more serious subject. I know Andriana gave everyone a chance to publish their opinions of abortion on her blog a while back, but as usual I lost track of time (I’m so busy these days) and the topic closed before I got around to answering. It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll have anything new to say about abortion, but I have a deep-seated belief that people want to hear what I think about everything. This is what makes me a writer.

Before I begin, I’d like to say that I don’t consider myself to have been prejudiced about abortion because of my pregnancy. Everything I plan to say is based on beliefs I’ve figured out for myself and held for a very long time. I don’t doubt at all that I’m prejudiced by my religion, although my religion, too, is based on things I’ve been figuring out for myself since my sister showed me that the church we grew up in is made up of other humans and in no way infallible. If you’re one of the 2-3 people who read this blog and you think I’m wrong, or stupid, or misinformed, please feel free to post a hateful comment. Now let’s get on with the show.

Abortion is something I can’t condone for any reason–whether a girl thinks it’s the wrong time for her to have a baby, she’s been raped, or even if there’s a chance that having this baby would cause her medical problems or death. I loved Obama and held out great hope for him through most of the campaign, but couldn’t force myself to vote for him after hearing him say that abortion was in many cases “the responsible choice.” There is no situation where abortion is the responsible choice.

I imagine you’re already probably pretty ticked, but don’t give up yet. I’m about to state my reasons for what I just said.

At the absolute center of all my beliefs I’m a compassionist. That’s a word I made up today to describe what I think every religion should strive to be. Compassion (I think) is a consciousness of other people’s situations, coupled with the desire to understand, and ultimately, help them. Doesn’t sound like I’m making a good case, yet, huh? My very base belief is that compassion is love and that every living thing is deserving of this love. So, if you have compassion for another living being, you will do everything in your power to keep from harming them–even to the point of letting yourself be harmed instead. To have true compassion for another being you have to do one of the most unnatural things in human nature: stop thinking about what’s best for you. Because, let’s face it, how can you focus on anyone else when you’re worried about yourself?

A question Joshua likes to debate with people is: If you had a gun and someone attacked you with a knife, would you shoot them?

According to any scientist all organisms, even single-cells, are living things. Babies, then, are living things from conception (before developing any sensory or major organs). Like certain tribes of American Indians (the Lakota specifically), I believe that all living things are connected and that harming one harms them all. Ending any life scars not only that life, but also the person who made the decision, the person who carried out the act, the people who assisted in carrying out the act, and all the people who were affected or would have been affected by that life. Everyone considered, that’s a fairly large scar on humanity.

I haven’t yet mentioned Christianity, which on official forms I mark as my principal religion. I believe that to be Christian means to strive to be like Christ, who throughout his life taught his followers selflessness so that they might have compassion or love for the rest of the world. (Speaking of dying so others can live…) I couldn’t consider myself a Christian if I condoned harming another living being.

Lots of people will say, “But Christians believe in violence! Think of all the wars they’ve started in the name of God!” It’s true, I do believe in war (or violence), but never as a means for personal gain as is so often the case. The only time I condone violence (interchangeable in my opinion with “war”), and the only time I believe God condones violence (or war), is the taking of the aforementioned scar upon yourself for the sake and salvation of another living being.

This doesn’t, however, excuse the people who would harm an abortion-performing doctor or say sickening things to a girl who’s decided to have an abortion. A Christian who would do something like that has strayed pretty far from the path. First off, they’re forgetting to love everyone as Christ loved them, and second, they’re forgetting that no one person is worse in God’s sight than any other.

Well, I feel like I’ve come to the conclusion of an essay. The only thing that’s left is actually concluding. How to do that? I guess I just state that I disagree with abortion as a concept, decision, or action, and that I disagree with anyone who would try to physically or emotionally harm anyone involved with abortion. As Big Kenny would say, “Love Everybody.”

That’s a pretty lame ending, but it’s over nonetheless. Feel free to post hateful or angry comments now.