Saturday, February 4, 2012

Forgive Me. I've Been Busy.

The death of any blog is waiting to long to post an update. Lucky for me I only have one official follower and I know she'll read anything I post. Thanks Lynsey! I could sit here and give you a myriad of reasons for my absence over the last two weeks, but something tells me you're not exactly sitting on the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation of learning what I've been up to. So, I'll take you down a different road. Follow me, please.

 Imagine with me, if you will, a land of enchantment. In this land the weather is a dry 70 degrees. Sweaters aren't needed, but they're appreciated on breezy days. In the air is a sound of joyous laughter with occasional giggles. At night the mighty beast protects the land. There are also a few cougars lurking around, but the Beast also rules over them. They are harmless anyway. There's nothing to fear in this land. It wards off evil by attacking it with the laughter in the air. If you really pay attention, you can over hear the witty back and forth flirtatious conversation between a man and his wife of fifteen years. This land is a happy land. It's called my living room.

The beast is the rottweiler/bloodhound mix. He's likely snoring louder than a human in the corner with his squeaky duck nestled nearby. The pumas are our two cats who, unlike the dog, are allowed to climb all over the furniture and the humans alike.

The laughter is coming from my mother as she and my step-father watch wheel of fortune and make fun of the people on it. My stepfather will take any opportunity turn the topic to pictures of Vanna White that made their ways into Playboy Magazine a few decades back (He'll also take this opportunity to let you know he has a copy of it... somewhere... he thinks... unless he lost it... at least he USED to have a copy of it). My mother will then finish his story for him, because we've all heard it a million times. Then they start making fun of the contestants again.

 Over in the far corner of this land you'll see me sitting in a high backed chair, with my face glued to a computer screen. The computer sits in an armoir; the doors are open and there's bright orange pieces of paper taped up in side of them. At the tops of these papers you'll find words like "Character Development Questions" or "Plot is Movement" in black permanent marker. And then if you were to come up behind me and look at the screen you'd see words flying up on it as my fingers dance over the keyboard.

This is the land I've been trapped in for the last month. I'm sorry, but I cut off all communication with my blog at the halfway point. Writing an entire novel's first rough draft in a month's time is not only a daunting task, but it's a nearly INSANE one. When you add "Write a new blog every day" on top of that... you will surely end up certifiable. Actually, I have no idea how you'd handle it. I couldn't. Not for lack of trying. This is as honest as it gets. I'm basically telling you that I haven't been updating for reasons of not wanting insanity... or I was just lazy. You decide.

 This magic land proved to be quite fruitful. My parents understood I was writing, and if I chose to pull myself out of it and join the conversation for a little bit; they were cool with that too. We really do live in a laid back, happy, cohesive little environment day to day around here. Despite the happiness in the land it experienced a roller coaster of emotions and drama in the last 30 days.

 My story was about love. And we all know love is fickle, jealous, greedy, passionate, angry, all consuming, and the one thing we all want more than anything else in the world, right? Well... I tried my best to tap into all of these things and the butterflies in the stomach that make all of the above worth it. These emotions and dramatic scenes only happened in my head and in my manuscript, but they were real enough to me. When I was done I felt like I'd been through all of these situations and they were all still fresh in my mind. Though some of the novel is inspired by things I've actually experienced, trust me when I say a lot of it is straight from my imagination.

Many have told me they couldn't do it. But you know what? I actually loved it. I fucking loved it! Nearly everyday I woke up knowing exactly how many words I needed to write to keep up with the quota. I planned ahead when I knew I had obligations to friends or family. I knew I was going to be busy for an entire weekend. So one night I wrote from 10 pm to 6 am (a full 8 hour shift complete with two pots of coffee, and several smoke breaks), and I completed 10,000 words. That's 1250 words, on average, an hour. My daily quota is was 1667 words. The night I wrote 10,000 words was the night I learned I fucking rock.

Then one glorious afternoon I finished it. I crossed the finish line of 50,000 words and I wrapped the story up. It was nothing short of awesome. I received many "atta-girl!" greetings, and I was quite proud of myself and my accomplishment, too. But the moment was short lived. The next day I had this terrible gut feeling as all these "what if" questions entered my brain like Dr. Suess Who People whispering in my ear.

"What will I do today? What will I write?
I could start editing, but I don't have to, right?
What if it's horrible? Terrible? Wrong?
What if the dialogue is too short?
What if the descriptions are too long?
What if it doesn't make sense?
What if I have to chuck it?
Could that be a consequence?
Will I have to say, 'Fuck it?'"

Okay, Dr. Seuss wouldn't say fuck. But I'm sure he would if he were to write a story about Destiny Fritz freaking out over her first ever completed novel rough draft. The word Fuck would be the title of it. Because that's the word that was repeating itself in my head during this little freak out. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK! Why do I have to stop writing and start editing? I don't wanna read it. I'm scared."

Finally, I got over it and started the process. And, from what I can tell so far, it's going to be a long, drawn out, grueling process. The fun, looking forward to waking up everyday and writing, part is over. Now the real work begins. I hate proof reading my own stuff, so I have some feelers out in the water to find some trustworthy editors.

I will have to actually reread all of it at some point or another, though. When this happens I'll have to keep in mind that I'm not looking at it with criticism, but instead as a member of my audience, reading it for the first time ever. That will be the real test. I'm ready, and also very NOT ready for that day. It's a long way away, however.

During this past week of getting the editing process started, I've been in a blah mood. It's not that editing isn't fun (okay, editing ISN'T fun) that's not why I was blah. I've been feeling iffy and weird because I haven't been writing. For the last month I was distracted from all of life's little problems. I had created this world of characters who were eager to learn their story lines. They beckoned to me in my sleep and wanted me to give them all my attention. I happily obliged. and now I've been ripped out of that little bubble of distraction and brought rudely back into the real world with a thud. Ouch.

I've got the Post Na-No-Wri-Mo blues.

I was actually warned about this. My solution to this was to flex some writing skills and post a blog. But, to be honest, this really isn't enough for me at the moment. So what I'm going to do is compile a list of favorite songs and write based on the mood each of them provokes. I'm considering it to be a free writing exercise to let me feel the fun aspect for a night. Besides, it's a great distraction from the fact that it's Saturday night and I have no plans.

I learned a lot over the past two weeks, and maybe in the next installment I'll think of a witty way to tell you all about it. Until then, thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Beasts and Snowballs

Brrr it's cold out there, folks. We've enjoyed a mild winter until now, and I dare to say that it's a lucky winter when we don't see accumulated snow until the middle of January. We've become a spoiled lot with warm toes and dusty scarves, but it's time to break out the gloves and double up on socks because that bitch called Old Man Winter has arrived. His grasp is icy and his breath will chill you to your bone.

In the past couple of days I've been holed up at my friend's house with my king sized fleece blanket as I ward off the shivers. Her kids warm my heart, even when they're ill tempered and being ungrateful brats. All they have to do is smile and give me a hug and I'm pretty much putty in their hands.

Her daughter turned 6 yesterday, and, as any friend of mine on facebook will tell you, it was a big occasion. She was awakened before 7 am and allowed to open three presents. Her mother and I took pictures of this event and they were plastered all over the social networking site within minutes. I had a taste of what a mother goes through to make her child's birthday a special day as I ran errands with her all over town. We picked up a cake, and cupcakes for her kindergarten class. We couldn't help ourselves as we stuffed the cart with decorations and balloons.

By the time she came home from school the living room was decked out with Balloons, Banners, Streamers and ribbons. I made an arrangement of colorful balloons and ribbons and hung them on the porch so that everybody who drove by saw that something special and momentous was happening there. She squealed in delight as she watched me curl the ribbon with scissors... a magical detail every child loves to witness (this I know first hand since I learned while watching my mother from a young age).

In the evening her friends came over and we celebrated with more presents, more cakes and lots of little girl giggles. The night held one more surprise for her as she learned she was being treated to a movie. Not just any movie... Beauty and the Beast in 3d at the theater! This was her first experience at the movie theater and she was in awe of the big popcorn machines and the seats that come with their own cup holders. She didn't want to wear the glasses, because they weren't purple and she didn't want to sit still and be quiet at first. But then, when Belle started singing and the flatware sprang to life in song and dance she settled in and gaped in amazement.

Her little friends decided it was nap time in the dark theater, but she stayed wide awake the entire time. This could be due to the amount of sugary soda she inhaled, or it could be accredited to the candy contraband we had stowed away in our purses. But I like to think it's because I kept telling her, "This is the best part! Watch!" And she did... with delight.

I will most likely be childless by choice, but I do enjoy these children who've wormed their ways into my heart. Yesterday, I learned a lot. I still love to see Disney Classics on the big screen and I thoroughly enjoy bringing a smile to a little girl's face on her birthday.

So, today I dug myself out of my blanket and forced my lazy ass off of my friend's couch until I made my way home. My friend, Lynsey come over for about ten minutes. My dog (her former dog), Damien was running around in the snow while her step-son bounded alongside him. She says to him, "Make a snowball and throw it at him." I watched as my dog attempted to catch it. The snow exploded in his mouth and all over his face. He shook it off and opened his mouth in a big doggy grin as his tail wagged with glee. I watched this take place over and over again and I said to Lynsey, "I didn't know he enjoyed being smacked in the face with snow."

"Oh yeah, he loves it."

"Hmm," I said, "You learn something new every day."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Second Chances and Hot Dogs

I didn't post anything yesterday. That's not because I didn't learn anything, though. I decided to take a break from the computer yesterday. I absolutely refused to type even one word for at least 24 hours. The night before last I wrote over 7000 words in one sitting. And while that gave me a great word cushion for my Nanowrimo challenge, it also made me have to take a breather before attacking it again with full force. So, as an unfortunate byproduct of my day long computer strike, I didn't get yesterday's blog written.

Yesterday's lesson was a rather simple one, but it took a fair amount of confidence on my part to accomplish. There is a man I was supposed to go on a date with the day before NYE, but he had to cancel. I didn't believe he was blowing me off, and I really did think he was going to call back the following week. When I didn't get a call, I started to think, "Okay, well maybe he WAS blowing me off."

So, yesterday, during my computer strike, I texted him. I let him know I don't appreciate being blown off, and if he didn't want to go on a date with me, why did he ask me to in the first place? He responded nearly immediately with an apology. He also had an explanation, which, to him, was kind of embarrassing; therefore I won't mention it here.

I'm not going to lie. In the past I've been very hesitant to ever give out a second chance. I'm one of those who doesn't allow herself to get burned twice. That old saying "Once burnt twice shy" applies here. It's part of a deep seeded defense system that I seem to have very little control over.

There have been times when I have given second chances and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. My friend, Lynsey, is one of those. She and I had a huge falling out a few years back. We've gotten back into each other's good graces, though, and we currently have one of the best friendships of my life. She's the kind of friend who calls me out on my bullshit, and I really like that about her. She's been known to tell me that my defensiveness and tendencies to push men away as soon as they hurt me in the slightest is something I need to change about myself.

Where I see it as self-preservation, she says it comes off as bitchy, cold and distant. She knows how to fight this side of me and force her way through my force field, but she says that not many guys will do that if they don't know me well enough.

The lesson yesterday wasn't that this new guy can fight his way through. It wasn't that I can learn how to give a second chance... No, it was that I can recognize the moment in which I have a choice... write the person off completely or CONSIDER the option of giving them a second chance.

Because this guy was honest to a point that it forced him to set aside his pride and be transparent to me, I decided to give him another try. He told me that he really likes a woman who'll call him on his bullshit, and he loved seeing that side of me yesterday. So another thing I learned is standing up for myself doesn't always result in people thinking I'm a bitch. Sometimes it results in people actually forming more respect for me.

Today's lesson is really easy and simple. Today I learned I cannot eat hot dogs unless I want them to start barking as soon as they hit my stomach.

Since before Christmas, but more hardcore since the beginning of the year, I've been eating as much non-processed food as possible. My body has been reacting positively to it. My stepfather made two packages of hot dogs for supper tonight, so I decided to eat a couple of them. Right now my stomach is hating me and attacking me from the inside. Somebody get me a piece of fruit, STAT!

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's in a Name?

"There is a Destiny Fritz living in Kansas City."

"No way."

"Yes way. Look!" I turned the monitor towards my mother, "See. Destiny Fritz lives in Kansas City, MO."

"What do you think the chances of that are?"

"I don't know, but I'm blaming my last name. Unlike my first name it's pretty common. It looks like there are at least five people named Destiny Fritz."

"Yeah, check out my name." I then type my mother's name into the search box. My mother's last name is different from mine.

"There's one in New Mexico."

"Only one?"

"Yeah. Only one. There's more of mine then there are of yours."

"Try Terry's." Terry is my stepfather. I type in his name, and, since not even he has a face book page, a big ol goose egg comes up.

"Nada. It appears he's the only one."

"Hmm. Who'd of thunk that your name is more common than Sherry or Terry?"

"Like I said, I blame my last name, not my first."

Another thing I learned today... I'm not as unique as I thought I was. Oh well.

My Parents

I have unwittingly written about all three of the parents in my life in the last three days/posts. This wasn't planned, I assure you. It just happened that way. I also just realized it. I guess I didn't realize how influential they are in my life. I've always been very aware of my mother's influence, but the other two, I feel, aren't as consequential. That's okay, they obviously are because I'm only on day nine of the challenge and I've already written about both of them.

My mom, and my two dads... they've helped shape who I am.


As I'm sitting here working on today's word quota, I can hear my mother asking my step-father a series of questions. She's filling out an online form for social security retirement, and she needs to know information about his past before he met and married her.

For the most part we do know everything about his past. He was married twice before he married my mother. He has three children, a few different jobs, and he's pretty much lived in the area his entire life. There isn't a whole lot to know, really. He's led a pretty normal life.

So, she gets to these questions about his previous marriages. The government wants to know about only those that lasted longer than ten years. His first one was right out of high school, and it didn't last very long at all. His second one lasted over 20 years. So, per the government's request, he had to give my mother the facts about that marriage. Mainly when it started and when it stopped.

My stepfather is horrible with dates. In fact, he keeps a card in his wallet with the birthdays of everybody (from his wife to his kids to himself) he thinks is important to know the birthdays of. So, my mother knew it was a long shot when she asked him the wedding date of his second wife, but she had no idea how much he'd deleted.

He couldn't even recall the month, or time of year this wedding took place. He had to pull out his card of birthdates and estimate based on when his second child was born. So then my mother asked him when it was he married HER. No shit... he pulled off his wedding ring and looked at the inscribed date to tell her April 5, 1997. He just has a shitty memory when it comes to dates.

Today I learned it is completely possible to delete information about what is supposed to be the best day of your life.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Father's Love

Want to know what I learned on Christmas Day this past year? When my brother and I were having a phone conversation with my father, I didn't want to talk to him. I let my brother do most of the talking, and I only said the obligatory "I love you" and "Merry Christmas" to him.

He's making an effort for the first time in 15 years to be a part of our lives. Last year he called me on my birthday, on Thanksgiving and on Christmas. I honestly can't remember the last time that happened. In fact, the last time he called my on my birthday was over 20 years ago. And that time was a mistake, since he'd forgotten my birthday and was trying to convince my mother to let him come back home.

I could easily delve into the dangerous world that is my daddy issues, but I will only skim the surface.

On Christmas Day I learned that I'm not ready to let down my walls with him. I learned he's going to have to work super hard to get back into my life. He can't come waltzing back in like nothing ever happened, no pain was ever felt, like he never broke my heart when I was a little girl. She still feels this pain despite the fact that the grown up woman inside of me has forgiven him and wants to move on.

For better or worse, I'm apathetic to my father's advances. If we get a relationship out of this, fine. If we don't, fine. I've lived this long without him I can keep going without breaking my stride if I want to. I wrote him off once, and it's hard to undo that.

Today he announced on Facebook that he's lost 209 pounds and counting. That's an incredible achievement and all the comments that followed his status said as much. I recognized one name in the comments. She is my mother's cousin. Bless her heart, she's always been kind and open and receptive to everybody. Despite the fact that up until last year she thought he was dead (that should prove how little he has to do with my actual life), she is now facebook friends with him and telling him congrats on the weight loss.

All the other names of the people applauding his weight loss were foreign to me. I have no idea who these people are, but they are emphatically cheering my father on. Two of them referred to him as "Uncle." One of those "Nieces" liked my comment of "Good Job, Dad" (short and sweet), and I couldn't help myself from clicking on her name to stalk her profile.

She was born in 1962 and lives in Oklahoma. My father was born in 1955, and I know he didn't meet this chick until 2001 at the earliest, because that's when he met his current wife. So, she's only 7 years younger than he is and she didn't know him until she was well into adulthood... and she feels the need to call him "Uncle?" Really? Does that read a little fake to anybody else or just me?

Today I learned that the life my dad has been living seems to be cultivated by a brand new family of people who don't seem to really know him at all. Or maybe I don't know him at all... after all, I have no idea who this bitch is, but evidently she's my "cousin" of sorts.

Ugh... daddy issues suck. If I have any advice out there for young fathers, don't fuck it up. These little girls need you.