Because I’m a sappy parent, I believe in writing things down for my daughter. That’s why when she turned seven (though I wish I would have done this much earlier), I started writing her lists of “random thoughts” each year on her birthday. Some of my random thoughts are funny, some are heartfelt, and some are downright ridiculous. But, regardless of how corny or sweet these simple lines are, as I’m writing them they remind me of one important thing—and that’s just how grateful I am to be her mother. As we all know, parenthood is a tough and thankless job, but someday I hope my daughter will read these lines (and hopefully I’ll still be there when she does) and through her laughter and maybe a few tears, she’ll understand why I did the things I did (and why I wasn’t always sane).
Hello, my name is Jamie and I’m a living, breathing sensitive (and sometimes insensitive) human being. It’s taken me awhile to make that admission out loud, but it’s true. You’re probably wondering why I bring this up, however, if you watch the news and experience the world we live in, it won’t take you long to figure out why.
Wanderlust is a great word. Originated from the German-language, it means “a great desire to travel, or rove about.” It sounds poetic and pretty awesome, and it explains part of my absence from this blog since my oh-so enlightening “Year 44” post back in March (insert eye roll here).
Since that last post it might seem like I haven’t been doing much writing. This is both true and untrue. I’m still working on a third novel, and surprisingly I don’t hate it (yet), but sometimes writers just need a break to reevaluate where we’re headed, and we need to remind ourselves why we write in the first place. Sometimes even when we love it, we hate it—especially when the rejections we receive start to outweigh the amount of words we can kick out in one novel. (I’m really bad at math, but if you add the word count of both of my finished novels together, plus my half-finished third novel, that’s a lot of motherfucking words.) Breathing in new experiences, meeting new people and letting them simmer inside our heads so we can cook-up really twisted versions of them later just for fun is just good for the soul. This is called being an observer. You don’t need to be a writer, or even really be all that creative to be an observer, you just need a pair of eyes an and an imagination. Being an observer with a little bit of wanderlust is a great way to kick start inspiration.
Another year has come and gone and I’m grateful for the opportunity to take another orbital spin around the sun. Time passes a lot faster these days then I wish it would, still, I’m not ashamed of my age—at least not yet. I think the reason life seems so short is because we literally spend half our lives wishing it away. Think about it—we race through childhood, stumble through adolescence and then break free and run like motherfuckers toward independence only to find ourselves collecting the plastic “thanks for participating” trophies on the other side of the finish line with the rest of the tired assholes who now realize that being an adult kinda sucks ass. Before we know what hits us we’ve worked, screwed, spent and wasted most of the precious time we had to be young. But, because we’re human, and because we really have no other choice but to live, grow and hopefully learn from our mistakes, we celebrate each new year of our lives with hope and gratitude (or, at least we try) even though the thrill of living is pretty much gone. (Cue the John Cougar Mellencamp song.)
So, it’s mid-January, and right about now is when all those New Year’s resolutions you made two weeks ago start to fade into oblivion—along with what little money you had left in your bank account after Christmas. Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I think they’re just one more way of setting myself up for failure, and believe me when I tell you, if there’s anything I have plenty of—it’s failure.
The “slush pile” has nothing to do with Wisconsin winters or brown semi-frozen water. It’s what happens when a whole lot of people write books and then send them off to literary professionals (editors, agents, publishers) who can’t possibly keep up with the insurmountable pile of work that crosses their desks. The slush pile is the place where they find a few gems, sure. But mostly, it’s just a big pile of shit (I’m guessing).
Lately I’ve been waking up with one sock on and one sock off. Usually it’s my left foot that ends up sockless, while the sock on my right foot seems perfectly in place. When this happens, I get up and go about my morning routine while walking around the house wearing only one sock because, apparently, it takes too much time to remove the one I’m still wearing. What annoys me most about this scenario is then, when it comes time to make the bed, I end up searching through a sea of blankets until I locate the missing sock. If I can’t locate it within thirty seconds, I give up, make the bed and go about my day only to find a bunch of unpaired socks wrapped up in the sheets on laundry day. First World problems, I know.
For some reason Christmas is the time of year when I feel the least inspired. Lately, instead of writing or enjoying holiday drinks with friends like normal people, you can usually find me wrapped in a blanket on the couch with my favorite winter cocktail (decaf with a splash of Baileys) either binge watching Game of Thrones, or immersed deep in the words of Virginia Woolf. I’ve done this so much lately that one of these days I might just wake up with an English accent—I’m living on the wild side, I know.