Yesterday I broke my long silence with silliness, and today I face the complete opposite problem–a mind so full of ideas that I have too much to say. So you get the honor (or the torturous task) of following the jumble in my mind as I try to get control over the chaos.
My post yesterday enabled me to focus a little. I spent the rest of the morning at one of my local coffee shop offices pounding out a rough draft of chapter one of one of my writing projects. You will be happy to know (or completely disinterested) that I remembered to pee when a kind woman shared the wall outlet near me so I felt comfortable asking her to watch my stuff.
As some of you may recall, I am currently enrolled in a course to help me write this book, because I felt that having deadlines and an “editor” to offer guidance would motivate me more. In some ways it works, but in some ways it doesn’t as the gaps between sending my assignments and receiving feedback leave me hanging in the “should I move forward or wait” mode of writing. These gaps are made a little longer by the fact that the person I am working with does not accept assignments via e-mail. I’ve dealt with it by writing random scenes or simply brainstorming more about the story, and reading a lot of the course material. When I received feedback two days ago about my plot summary, I was excited to dive in. I was encouraged by the feedback, where he raised some interesting questions that I hadn’t thought of yet; the answers of which will only strengthen the novel (I hope).
So, loaded down with my course manual and computer, I headed out, intending to read and write. Of course, I then left my course manual in the car and had already set up the computer and settled down with my drink, so I decided to write first, read later. The end result of that process was interesting, in that I got a “shitty” first draft down, then read about what makes a strong first chapter, and had lightbulbs go off in my head. “Oh, you better fix that! You made that mistake. Go back and make it better.”
These thoughts wandered through my brain last night, to the extent that I grabbed a printout of my draft and started scratching down notes as I waited for Sarah to get ready for school. I think I’m on the way to something decent, or at least I am tricking myself into believing it.
I confess, I do not like to cook. It’s not that I can’t, I actually make some decent dishes, but I don’t like to cook especially when it is just for two or three people. Nathan likes to cook, so for the most part he does the cooking and I keep the house in some sort of organized state.
Of course, that posed a challenge when he left Sarah and I for a month on our own as he went off to his summer job adventures and Sarah still had school. Suddenly I am the one who has to figure out dinner.
We’ve done okay. I’ve cooked a few meals. We’ve had a few breakfasts for dinners (love that). We’ve gone out a couple of times. But, I have discovered two scary facts about me and the kitchen:
- My Rice Cooker Hates Me! I love rice cookers. I have used them since I lived in Japan, where I would cook up a batch of rice that would last me for days. I mixed it with protein (tuna or some other fish) and called it many a meal. So, I thought, I can make rice and that will be good. But no! For whatever reason this rice cooker refuses to behave like rice cookers should. I know the rice to water ratio. I know how to cook rice in a cooker. So why do I keep ending up with a crunchy layer of overcooked rice on the bottom with good rice on top? Is this kitchen karma?
- I Need an Air Popper! On my second weekend of being completely alone I decided I would watch something I enjoyed and treat myself to some popcorn. What I didn’t realize is that I don’t know how to pop popcorn on the stove. One smoke alarm and destroyed pot later, I recognize that I either need my old air popper or microwave popcorn. I also have to go buy a new pot.
NPR Thoughts and Career Dreams
I’ve also been doing a lot of serious thinking and self-reflection over the past few weeks, which I believe has caused both the silence and the chaos. I am participating in a webinar sponsored by my college alumnae association on changing careers, which has made me reflect a lot on where my life is heading. Last week we were “assigned” an assessment worksheet to help us figure out what our ideal work environment/dream job might be. The assessment included some interesting questions, and I surprised myself with some of the answers. One of the ones that intrigued me was this:
As I was driving in horrible traffic to get to an unpleasant (lady parts) follow-up doctor’s appointment, I heard some fascinating interviews on NPR:
- discussions about recent conflicts which are both depressing and fascinating
- a discussion about a book called The End of War, which I now need to read. The interview made me think about whether or not I believed it was possible to end conflict, and what it would take.
- an interview with a Minister as she reflected on Obama’s presidency and racial issues in the USA.
- a report on Aung San Suu Kyi, who fascinates me as a woman who has fought oppression and proven the power of peaceful resistance
As I listened to each story, I thought I want to know more about that. I want to sit and talk intelligently with interesting people. I want to write about the stories of this world. I want to work for NPR!
A Mind in Chaos
There you have it, a sampling of the chaos going on in my mind these days. I’m not sure which is better, silence or noise.