a two part post

 

playbuzz

 

Yes, Taylor Swift, champion of artists everywhere, girlfriend to the world, the mega, mega, mega star with the ordinary voice and the best publicist ever. Yes, I’m snarky as hell today.

I just read the Vanity Fair piece on Taylor. As a writer who writes a whole lot for no money, I cannot thank her enough for her voice and mighty stance for the underpaid and unpaid artist. But am I the only one who finds all this fuss over Tay Tay and her susie-cream-cheese persona a bit nauseating? And boring? This was a fairly long article and I can’t help but think that author Josh Duboff must have been pulling his hair out trying to come up with something interesting (i.e. snarky, witty, revealing) to say about this young woman. She loves her parents, she now loves Kanye West, she loves, loves, loves her fans, she loves, loves, loves her girlfriends, and news flash, Taylor and the blondtourage (sorry Selena) do not discuss shoes during their sleepovers or over the bountiful breakfast a la Taylor–there are more “pressing matters.” Like…???  And she has a moral code–of course she does. I cringe at the words. Sorry, Josh, a whole lotta somethin’ over nothin’…yeah, I’m pretty snarky today.

 

Part 2 – on trying to become a successful artist, or another spin on how do you measure success?

 

I swell up, I swear, when I think about my potential, when I think about how hard I have worked, when I think about how I should have started writing thirty years ago, when I think about the highs and lows of putting together a story. It has been a long and difficult and almost satisfying journey. Yes, almost. I would like to make some money doing this. That’s right, money as motivator–successful artist. I have a friend who sees writing as some kind of burning passion to express oneself, some kind of esoteric calling, the writer as tortured, fragile, Anne Frank furiously penning, Hemingway puking out whiskey and words. Blah, blah, blah. I LOVE writing, I believe it’s what I should be doing and I believe I’m good at it. But I have wants and want an income, and I have not been satisfied in that regard. What I’m trying to convey is my complete, realistic and esoteric, passion for the craft of writing. I can’t stop writing and won’t stop writing, even if I can’t do it in some apartment by the sea. But don’t think for one minute that that apartment does not push me to work harder. I admire every single one of you who have ever put yourself on paper. Carry on.

 

photo credit: playbuzz.com

 

birthing Claire

 

heffner_cover

 

It’s with great pride, dear friends, that I introduce you to Claire Somerville.  My book baby is born!  I really haven’t processed all of this and truly am at a loss for words. They will come to me, no doubt. Read her, please, read her and enjoy.

Note: Please forgive the relentless childbirth analogy, it’s just stuck with me.

 

photo credit:  Harriet Yake

The near Transformation of Claire / enjoy

 

friday the 14th

17rul1enowtkwjpg

I first quoted from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird on April 29th. Go back and take a look if you have the time. She is one of my writing gurus. Today I was reminded of another Lamott quote below:

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

‘nough said.

 

anne lamott / bird by bird / awesome

 

 

guns

languagetranslation

American police kill more people in one day than Norway cops have in 9 years

from tech insider

 

The above article on Norway police and their gun usage showed up on my facebook page a short time ago and I’ve been struggling with what to make of it. While I see non-violent, gun neutral Norway as close to utopian and a model to aspire to, I find the excerpt below regarding their homogenous population to be somewhat disturbing. And I’m not only disturbed by the excerpt, but also by the fact that I’m just now understanding the truth in the statement– the implications and connection between a peaceable nation and a single race society–what it means when everybody looks the same, when there is no diversity, when there is no threat from either the police or a criminal element.

“”Trust is an extremely powerful mechanism of informal social control,” Oddsson tells Tech Insider. In smaller, more ethnicanlly homogeneous countries like Norway, building that trust is easy. People feel a sense of togetherness for many reasons, including the fact that most people look similar and hold similar beliefs.”

Please read the piece in it’s entirety. Comments appreciated.

 

photo credit: languagetranslation.com

 

the only list you will ever need

 

list

Just about every blog I look at has a list of some sort. Lists to make you happier, healthier, sexier, smarter, pain free, pimple free, lists of what to acquire, what will inspire, lists of what will shake us, make us, break us, the best of, the worst of, what to watch, what to eat, where to live, and where to die – yup, lots of lists on that.

Well, I’m a blogger, so here’s my list – for no good reason or purpose, a list of things I like and things you should like, too. It should be noted that there are many other things I like not mentioned here, and that this list is in no particular order–with the exception of pot at #1.

 

1) Pot – I don’t care if you tried it years ago and didn’t like it – try it again. Every person in every nursing home in America should be smoking pot. The only way to age.

2) Comedy – watch something funny every day. A movie, a sit-com, a stupid dog video, a stupid guy video, whatever. Laugh.

3) Girlfriends – get ‘em and keep ‘em.

4) Pizza – you can never go wrong with bread, tomato and cheese. Never.

5) Shopping – retail therapy is always a cure for something. Fuck buyers remorse – regret is not born in the mall.

6) Nature – plants, trees, mountains, lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, birds, beasts, all good (except snakes).

7) Dogs – the best that nature has to offer.

8) Sleep – good luck with that. A lofty and elusive pleasure.

9) Dancing – just dance.

10) Poetry – sweet or sour, tragic or euphoric, a window into ourselves and others.

11) Football – everything is better when it’s football season. Go Ravens.

12) My children – and you would like them, too, if you knew them. My world encapsulated in two bodies.

 

photo credit: sonquioey10.hubpages.com

note: while searching for an illustration for this post, under the heading of “making a list,” Taylor Swift showed up a lot– obviously at the top of many “lists.” Ew. Where’s Brad Pitt, for cryin’ out loud?

 

13) Brad Pitt.

 

on self-pity

deviantart  snarkies copy

 

I dip into self-pity far more often than I like or care to admit. It’s rather obvious what’s not to like—it’s uncomfortable, debilitating, counter-productive. But what I don’t like to admit is that these frequent visits into the sweet and sour center of self-pity reveal of how terribly selfish I am.

On one hand, I believe that it’s perfectly fine to indulge your misery. Humans will not be free of misery any time soon, so embrace it, feel it, it’s merely the flip side of the happiness coin. Have a good cry, you are the victim of something, that’s for sure. And then I stop sobbing long enough to hear my words and I’m ashamed, for I know I am not the victim of anything. I’m a self-centered fool, schlepping off responsibility for choices and mistakes made. And if I am indeed slipping into self-pity more often that I like, it is perhaps because I’ve made a lot bad choices lately, or perhaps because I’m not making any choices at all—sitting and waiting for good fortune to fall into my lap just because I’m deserving. How selfish is that?

I’ve researched self-pity in the past and again for this post, and there is little I can add to what information is out there: it happens, it’s universal, it’s stupid, selfish, think of others, think of those less-fortunate, move on, get over it. But I recently found this excerpt from Tom Robbins’, Fierce Invalids from Hot Climate, that adds a bit of snark to the “poor me” conversation, and snarky, for me, always, always manages to keep things in perspective.

 

“… And that’s why when you’ve exhibited the slightest tendency toward self-importance, I’ve reminded you that you and me – you and I: excuse me – may be every bit as important as the president or the pope or the biggest prime-time icon in Hollywood, but none of us is much more than a pimple on the ass-end of creation, so let’s not get carried away with ourselves. Preventive medicine, boy. It’s preventive medicine.”

“But what about self-esteem?”

“Heh! Self-esteem is for sissies. Accept that you’re a pimple and try to keep a lively sense of humor about it. That way lies grace – and maybe even glory.”  – Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

 

 

And if that doesn’t pull you away from the pity party, go back to my friend, James Brown:

GET UP OFFA THAT THING, and dance till you feel better

 

photo credit: deviantart.com    brooding by snarkies

car jar

 

SONY DSC

 

Note: This piece was originally written on the side of the highway while waiting for road assistance and recently edited for blog purposes.

 

The term “car jar” is slang for car fanatic, a variant on the combined expressions “jar head” and “car head,” a term coined by a friend to describe my husband. I’m with the “car jar” now as he trailers his race car to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m to be dropped off at my son’s home in Atlanta, but we are currently parked alongside the on-ramp to interstate 85, somewhere south of Charlottesville. My husband just pumped twenty gallons of gasoline into our diesel truck and we are waiting for service. The irony of it all is keeping me from getting pissed.

My husband’s passion for cars is nothing new. When I met him, he was driving a purple Porsche, his second or third or fourth sports car. He watched car tv, read car magazines, taught our sons how to change the oil in a car before their feet reached the pedals. And then one Christmas, generous and tolerant wife that I am, I gave my husband a fantasy-race-car-driver-experience and his demon emerged from under smoldering tires. My husband races cars on the club level up and down the East coast and has done very well in his class. This is the real-deal racing, road tracks, not ovals, with souped-up, stripped down, fast-assed cars. I’m not a big fan of the sport, frankly, I’m not a fan at all. The race season runs for about 7 months and I’ve come to love the weekends that I’m home alone, but massaging the car in the garage eats up the rest of the year, and that can be problematic. Racetracks are hot and loud, races are short, downtime is long, and an hours worth of watching is about all I’m interested in. And it’s dangerous and expensive, and while my husband has been doing this for some time and I have (for the most part) reconciled with the danger element, I continue to struggle with the cost.

I’ve only been to 2 races—one at Road Atlanta and one at Watkins Glen in Upstate New York. The Road Atlanta racetrack was 500 degrees or more and while I did get to visit with my son and daughter-in-law, it was too hot to even converse. At iconic Watkins Glen, I did get a ride around the track with another driver and it was absolutely a thrill, but an entire weekend of car racing is long and boring. I just don’t care enough about cars or competition, and the drivers, the participants in this madness, are very competitive—and the most interesting element of club racing. They are typically older men, fifty plus, and a handful of women, most with the means to support this expensive habit, but many putting up whatever money they can to stay in the game. There are a lot of doctor, lawyer, investment type drivers, of course, but the majority that I have met are engineers, including my husband—geeks with guts who fantasize about taking home some enormous silver cup, who fantasize about becoming master mechanics or perhaps the driver that gets the girl. I understand fantasies, but mine do not include cars. They are all risk takers and all of them going for gold, and yet there is tremendous camaraderie and a team spirit in the paddock not evident on the track.

Car jar and I will be back on the road soon. The very nice young man who sucked the gasoline out of the truck, changed the fuel filter, filled the truck with diesel, is sitting in his truck writing up the bill. This will surely turn out to be an expensive pit stop. It has already added 2 hours to a very long ride. I’m being very good, not gloating, not bitching, my poor husband is very embarrassed and the young man tells us it happens all the time. Car jar thinks there might be something going on between the gas people and this young mechanic who just happens to be up the road from the station, and he wants to go back and take a look at the offending pump. Good God, no, just drive.

 

Postscript – My husband’s race car died on the track in Birmingham, Alabama, one day after the gasoline incident. The engine block blew a hole, or something like that. It has been out of commission since that trip but hopefully will be back on the road for Labor Day weekend.

 

photo credit: pvgp.org