Monday, September 14, 2015

Complications, you say?

From burke and spenn
Way back in January, I wrote a post about having goals rather than resolutions, I Resolve To Have Goals. If you haven't read it, go do that now. I'll wait...Back? Okay, good.

Most of the SMART goals I listed seemed very reasonable. At the time, they were very reasonable. But, I fouled the whole thing up.
I forgot one crucial part of life: Monkey Wrenches.

Friday, May 1, 2015

I Will Relax in the Garden at Midnight

Sometimes a girl needs to kick back, toss off the Manolos, put up her feet, and chill.

Back in May of 2012, I wrote an article about how to take a vacation in a world where the apocalypse could happen at any moment. I discussed how to plan a vacation that will not leave you unprepared if the apocalypse should decide that your vacation is a good time to happen.

I am on the verge of taking a vacation! I leave in a few short hours.

Truth time: I'm not very good at vacations. I do the packing okay. I usually bring everything I need (e.g. - toothbrush, comb, body wash, a book). I always bring the things I don't actually need (e.g. - computer, tablet, four paperback books). I get there and back fine as well.
Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA from International Atlantic Economic Society

It's that part in between leaving and coming back, the part where I'm supposed to relax that I run into trouble. You see, I tend to be a Worrier. I get that worrying is a misuse of creative energy (credit to someone on a Podcast for saying that; I think it was someone on a Nerdist episode), but that doesn't mean I can just shut that off.

Is it irrational to fear spiders bursting out of a pimple on my cheek a la The Believers? Yes, of course it is. However, I will have nightmares tonight because I thought of that movie and wrote those words.

For this trip, I am taking measures to fend off the darkness of my imagination. Actually, fend off might be misleading: the plan is to distract that part of my brain. To funnel the worry energy into entertaining activities as well as creative ones.

We didn't rent a car, so I will be able to work off some of the nervous energy that, even now, I feel building inside my gut, its muscles tensing, pulling in on themselves, getting ready to pounce. (Or, it's that Moscow Mule I am drinking. I think it's the Worry Panther in there though.) I am, of course, also bringing my laptop. While I haven't decided whether or not to blog during my trip, I do plan to work on a couple of short stories that I have been ignoring in favor of work, chores, and Facebook.

As a person who has trouble relaxing, I suspect I will spend my vacation working rather than chilling out like I need to. Internet, I beseech thee: tell me how you unplug from your daily lives and enjoy time away from the daily grind.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

What is this Gentle Rapping at My Chamber Door?

Raven by Bekka Tor
The Raven by Fuacka
In Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem The Raven, the narrator - a fellow who has lost his love - nearly has a conniption fit because of  knocks at his door. He tries to convince himself it's nothing; the knocker is an unexpected guest. Showing up on his doorstep at an ungodly hour. In December. During a violent storm...

Actually, I would probably be just as freaked out.

However, the narrator's visitor is a talking raven. At first he finds it to be a welcome distraction from his ruminations. Then, as the bird sits on a bust of Pallas without stirring, the narrator becomes agitated again.  Despite the bird's stillness (or, rather, because of it) and lack of vocabulary, the speaker becomes increasingly distressed. He imagines that the bird is actually a demon. The poem ends with the narrator in miserable distress.

So, what changed that made the narrator run through almost all these emotions (sadness, fear, bemusement, sorrow, anger)? Nothing we can see.

The changes are all internal. They all happen inside the narrator!

Instead of looking at this bird as an opportunity (talking bird!) he looks at it as a portent of doom. Yes, yes. Ravens feed on carrion and are generally considered bad omens. But if the bird is an omen, the narrator has a choice: be afraid of what might come or use the warning as a way to change the future.

Shot by Brendon1000
What if the raven is there to illustrate what the speaker's life will be like if he continues to pine away over his dead love?

Or, perhaps he was there to let the narrator know that the birds are planning an uprising and he'd do well to stock up on seed and maybe plant a worm bed.

Maybe the raven's single word, nevermore, was not a warning, but a promise: nevermore would the narrator be alone. (Admittedly, this could also be considered a threat. But that's a different post.)

When Hitchcock's horrific vision of a world overrun by birds comes to be, humans will need to be able to find the positive side. While going to school or work might be a tad more treacherous, feathered headdresses will come back into fashion. There will be fewer insects. Recipes for black bird pie will be in vogue. Just imagine the culinary adventures!

Opportunity knocks all the time. A bad omen is a chance to get out of the way of the truck that's bearing down on you at seventy miles per hour.

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