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Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Make Lemonade

When I first sat down to write this post, I had totally planned on talking about how demoralizing one of my classes has been, and what a struggle it is to write happy things when someone in your life is trying his damnedest to make sure you know just how horribly you suck.

But then halfway through I realized that focusing on the muck is what keeps you in the muck, and what I really should blog about was how to get out of the muck.

Ready? Here goes.

When life hands you lemons, send them through a juicer

Since toxic people bear toxic fruit, it can be dangerous to try and digest their special kind of feedback, skin and all. Instead, you have to separate the bitter/inedible parts from the juice, which might otherwise be useful. I like to do this by blacking out--either literally, with a Sharpie, or mentally--those things you think are invalid, unfounded, or just plain mean.

Can't find any juice? Don't worry about it. Some people are just mean for the sake of being mean.

Dilute, dilute, dilute

Being the designated whipping girl isn't fun, especially when it seems like every move you make is met with a smack on the rear. But the truth of the matter is, even though a person's ire may be directed at you, it's usually not because of you or anything you've done. Toxic people are experts at finding faults in others they think will deflect from their own insecurities.

Pour some sugar on it

Let's face it: rejection stings, even when it's from someone you don't like. Take the hurt out of it by revising their demoralizing feedback with something a little more constructive. For example, if someone accuses you of rambling inanely, make a mental note to double-check for cohesiveness.

Serve it ice cold

Never, never, never try and tackle a nasty critique right away. Let it sit for a day/week/month, until you can read it without over-analyzing every little thing.

And when you're done, put it on ice permanently by tossing it in the wastebasket where it belongs.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Room of One's Own

I love my office. For starters, I love that I have an office, because very few people do. I can't remember a time I haven't had an office, thanks to my mother having gotten sick of my books being all over the house by the time I was nine.

But there are times when my office is too confining, either because there are too many distractions or too few, and that's where the library comes in.

Of course, some libraries are better than others.

The library at school, for example, is pretty sweet. It's got the right amount of bustle to it--just enough so that you know other people exist, but not enough that you're distracted by what everyone else is doing. Unfortunately, I only get to that library on days I have classes. The rest of the time, I'm stuck at the bad library. The public library.

Don't get me wrong, I used to like this library. I even volunteered here when I was a teenager, and as soon as I got a job, I began donating both books and money to ensure it sticks around for the next generation of kids who like the smell of real books.

But like most things in this city (the city that wanted to spend $150,000 we don't have on NO OUTLET signs because the mayor thinks DEAD END sounds low-class), the library has turned into a pretentious little piece of shit. It's OK to browse the Internet for porn; it's not OK to send a text message. It's OK to sing to yourself with your iPod in your ears; it's not OK to cough or sneeze. It's OK to bring in a hand-held gaming device and turn the volume up to annoying; it's not OK to have your cell phone on, even if it's on vibrate.

The straw that broke the camel's back, though, was when two of the librarians huddled together and called for the downstairs Rent-A-Cop to come confiscate my Dasani.

Yes, you heard me. They stoled my water.

"You're not supposed to have that here," he said. "Because of the computers."

"But," I said, "this is my computer."

He didn't say anything after that, but I begrudgingly put the water away, anyway, thinking to myself that a) I was really, really thirsty, and b) Internet porn hurts the computers way more than sealed bottles of water do.

Not that I have anything against the Rent-A-Cop. I mean, rules are rules, and if water isn't allowed, water isn't allowed. And really, what a sucky job it must be, having to take water away from teary-eyed college students whose throats are so dry, they're already coughing, who really--really--need to get their essays done, like, yesterday.

But it seems to me that some rules are, well, stupid.

Like outlawing bottled water when you should be more concerned with that section of roof that has caved in on the third floor.

I'm just saying.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

4 Months

So this week I'm stuck writing an essay, so today you get KITTEH PICTURES!

Here's Nathan Fillion at four (and a half!) months old:

He still gives the best snuggles you can imagine. He's still a bottomless pit. He still sleeps on my pillow (technically, though there isn't much pillow left for me at this point). He still kisses me goodnight.

This is his brother Ephraim:

Ephraim has the best belly of the bunch. Too bad touching it tends to launch the worst stink bomb you can imagine.

I also decided to redo my office (again) a few weeks ago. It's still a work of progress, but the painting is done:

And thanks to Elvis and Nancy, so is most of my interior decorating:

I also found this way cute rug at Pier 1 at 90% off:

I know, right? Just how cute is that rug?

But it's not as cute as Emma, AKA my new seat cushion:

Happy Wednesday! And if you're feeling particularly generous, I wouldn't mind a prayer or two for a snow day tomorrow!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stephen King on Short Stories

I've spent the hour writing a follow-up to yesterday's post, but it's running long, and my hour is up, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's one of my favorite interviews with Stephen King, in which he talks about writing short stories (which just so happens to be my ROW80 goal for this session):



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