All done.

The sign I put on my inner bedroom door:

"No more watching your life go by. Make it happen, Sunshine."

Yes, it's kind of sad that I need a sign like that. Maybe it's some kind of delayed aversion reaction to all those posters of the kittens hanging off trees I saw through elementary school. I just know that visible positive reinforcement is a good thing.

I felt the inspiration for a particular kind of writing on this blog because I had a sort of moment of clarity awhile back. I remember clearly standing by the lizard cage, on the phone, listening to my aunt talk about my impending move out of my dad's house to Aptos.

"I know it's scary, but you've got to leave the nest sometime." I wanted to laugh and cry simultaneously.

I felt in that moment a unique, for me, feeling. It was said once at BayCon that you should write a novel when you have something the world needs to hear. Not being able to say one single word in response to my aunt at that moment of theoretical passage felt absolutely like something the world needed to hear. It felt like my brain was trying to tell me something, but what?

I don't know. Since I started paying attention, I've found books in bookstores that tell the world what the world has already known millions of times over, sometimes uniquely and sometimes just with a pretty cover. For every writer out there, an ideal reader waits--or happens to be illiterate. There are spiritual connections authors have made to the art of writing, the glory of inspiration, and there are equally intense and creative ideas for why authors find themselves unable to write.

Since I've begun working with discipline, I've starting looking at the ways people use willpower, where they put the stuff. Athletes and people that are intent on being physically fit do it through their body--they finish the damn marathon, make the time, lift the weights and get it done. Artists put it into finishing work. Entrepreneurs and capitalists into encouraging growth.

The freedom I now have to organize my life has been a little intimidating, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. And I think one of the things that has to happen is that this blog has got to go. I'll back it up and keep it for my own reference, but I have a journal if I want to whine: I don't need to involve the world in the random meanderings of my mind for the fun of it. I have other things to do. Like a list of story ideas about 3 pages long--that'll start me off. From there on out, we'll see.

Skip last post. And guns.

I don't like the last post I did. If I believed in deleting posts, I'd delete it. But I don't, so that's that. It's a personal-power thing, and gods know I need all of that that I can seize with my grubby little hands. Pity I'm so gun-shy about the grabbing, but I'm working on it.

Third-wave feminism has taken a little while to really reach me. But I'm reading Bitch now (sorry for the wiki, their personal site is down!), so that should clear itself up soon. And in other news, I shot a handgun for the first time on Saturday! :gleeful:

Yes, it was me and the Mensans on the field of the Chabot Gun Club, and I fired a .22, some kind of gunsmithed .27 that fit in my pocket, and a .40. The second casing from the .40 hit me in the temple, but I actually got both shots on the target, of which I am rather proud. I bought a hand-strengthener off of Craig's List and I hear you can get cheap ammo at Wal-Mart (if someone else knows a non-evil and still cheap place to get it, I will listen) with which I intend to wheedle my way into trying a lot more.

Sunday I went to Vylar's Freemont writing session, and spent the time diagramming Belinda by Anne Rice. I feel like I have learned a little about the structuring of a novel, and it was fun to imagine things about the book that I've never imagined before. I've out-grown it just a little bit, now, but I still adore it for what it used to be to me: a story about an abused kid who is neither angelic inspiration nor doomed.

Monday I went to a concert with the Art and Film for Teens group (I'm sort of a mentor): it was my first of the genre that I think is called 'New Music', and it was all inspiring. I like the idea of 'New Music'-als, but it would have to be carefully orchestrated (sorry), of course. Mildly upsetting thing is that I think the now-bare theater used to be the home of a few nifty exhibits; must quiz the Yerba Buena folks for specific information on that.

And Tuesday Art & Film took me to Sonny's Blues, a production of Word for Word studios by the Lorraine Hansbury theater, for which I missed my Music Fundamentals class. But it was worth it. I will be reading more James Baldwin.

Now I'm off to do my jogging on the CCSF track; my waist is 33 inches and shrinking quickly. I will be carrying my cell phone, just in case the temp agency calls me with news on my two potential employment opportunities. And just in case they don't, I have taxes to do, which'll get me a bigger refund this year and more free classes.

Why I'm not really writing.

(If you don't feel this needs to be said, skip it.)

In my dad's house, I had no emotional stability whatsoever. I bounced between ecstatic joy and crushing sorrow. Consequently, I did not think logically about my own life, or not often--I was too busy feeling and being creative, because my dad's house had absolutely no discipline, either.

So, growing up, I said whatever I felt (but sometimes I was being playful) at the time I felt it. Not really cognizant of the fact that people would be judging me or reacting to the things I said. I loved people that didn't really love me back, and I reacted intensely to certain emotional triggers. Well, but not taking care to make sense means people treat you weird.

So I collected all of those strange looks people had given me over the years, all of the things they (sometimes) jokingly said, and I told myself "It's ok, I'm a genius, they're treated like that sometimes." Then I came to understand that geniuses really aren't that much different from anybody else.

Since then, coming out into the world and realizing how damn much I still have to learn, I don't really feel comfortable being creative. Sometimes I can't help it, my brain just does it, but it takes willpower to take a creative idea further than that, and willpower comes partially from confidence. Learning how much I still have to learn has really, really messed up my confidence. And it wasn't even all that good before.

But people walk around a little scrambled in the head: shit happens. Once upon a time, I had creative ideas, and I still remember them. I will pick up the pieces and make them someday, but the fabric of my life has some threads loose at the moment. Which I guess just really makes this a phase, like everyone has already been conjecturing. :shrug:

edit: Later on, this seems like BS I've already said before. I guess the emotional reasons are that I feel guilty upon considering the fact that I'm not writing (much more guilty than I feel about my dirty room), and I feel guilty about certain kinds of fun writing. The kinds of writing I don't feel guilty about tend to be a lot less fun. Ignoring the whole thing is easier, but that makes me ignorant. So I'm a masochistic joy-seeker. Which--given that most of my emotional states result from circumstances that are under my control--seems like an incredibly stupid thing to be.

So the next step is getting rid of the masochism. Right, then.

I could use some luck for this....

I went over the fine print of the Birthright application, and called the DC office to ask a few questions. Like whether you really needed that personal medical insurance, and how long you could delay getting a passport. They were completely awesome and said I would be covered by them for the 10-day duration of the trip, and if I chose to extend the trip, I could purchase insurance for $2.50/day.

Because kids do this sort of thing. They choose to just take a later plane back from Israel, and spend the remaining time tooling around Europe. Of course, you have to buy a round-trip plane ticket to your Europe destination from Israel, and had I only known about this during the year I was living at my dad's and working at Barnes and Noble because none of the publishing companies would talk to me...well, that would have rocked. Except there wasn't as much office work in San Jose as there has been in SF, so maybe it wouldn't have.

Anyway. I have a goal. If getting to Europe is actually within my grasp, I'm going for it. I applied to a new temp agency today, and I'm still pestering OC3--meanwhile, I just got my w2 from Manpower. Since the EIC credit will cover one month of rent for me, I'm excited, but I still need to be tucking dollars away now. And since keeping my stuff in SF over this trip would cost me about $1320, I'm figuring it might be a better idea to truck my stuff down to my dad's house just prior to when I get on the plane. Who at least will not charge me rent.

After that, it'll put me at about August, which seems like a good time to try applying to jobs teaching English overseas. Except I don't know if my cell makes international calls. Have to figure that out.

If it turns out I didn't completely screw up the TrJ's interview the other day, maybe I can scatter shifts around so I can make as much money as possible. Maybe this will work. Please, god.

how many times, pointless messages?

So I've been calling OC3 a lot lately, trying to see if they have work for me. Invariably, they don't, or don't say they do, and so they don't answer the phone.

Is it bad form to just hang up instead of leaving a message when you know the other person is just never going to get back to you? It isn't really for normal people, I know, but maybe potential employers are different. But I can't know for sure until I talk to him....

I'm doing a possibly stupid thing. Manpower has gotten me work before and acted like they would be able to again, and I need something now. None of the other temp agencies have even given me the impression that they cared, beyond keeping me past the first assignment or two. I know OC3 and Manpower have some sites that conflict, and yet I'm trying to get both of them to get me work anyway. It's a right-hand and left-hand sort of deal.

Since OC3 is currently doing the clamshell routine, I'm trying to see if I can't take those classes for workplace advancement they offer. maybe when I ace every single one, they'll find something they're a bit more willing to let me try. But from what I can determine from this end of the phone line, those talked-about classes don't concretely exist.

Professionalism and Complete Lack Thereof don't really bother me. It's just when the two of them mix in interesting and unpredictable ways.

The Birthright news

They were splendidly fast on getting back to me, and I am not eligible for trips leaving now: but there are trips that leave in May, I'm pre-signed up, and this gives me time to quiz Rachel on the extension she talked about. This gives me time to get a passport. Israel will hopefully not be as hot as a desert can be in May. This is ok.

Alas, the bookstore has fired me. It was not a rotten terrible no-good day, but neither was it pleasant. However, it was not a good day job. We'll see what I can replace it with: the manager offered to give me recommendations, which was very nice of him, and the other employees were a little too--well, I didn't really like them. Except one, and she's gone now anyway, too.

Negotiating the borderlands between fantasy and reality lately, which is a nice change: having lived in fantasy (of a sort) most of my life, I find that reality has a reassuring dependability to it. And I now have groceries, and I've learned the trick with dealing with being suddenly unemployed: exercise. Activity in general is good, but some activities are better than others. Someone was giving away phonebooks on Craig's List--I intend to duct-tape them together and make an aerobics step.

I've just realized that this could sound like I'm covering desperation. I'm not, honestly. This really could be a lot worse, and I really am ok. I feel like I've figured it all out, as long as my grandmother doesn't call and scream at me, and I can make myself a little more in-person gregarious. The thorn in the rosebush is that I don't have internet at my house right now, which makes it harder to feel productive.

More challenging yet.

Some people will want to kill me. I screwed up socially and may be getting more money.

G-d knows I need it; my back started hurting today in the meeting room and that's why I'm posting now, instead of closing at the bookstore. But apparently my bewildered silence this morning conveyed a displeasure with the amount of money I was being offered?

Meanwhile, I was frantically trying to remember Adobe InDesign, or more accurately, figure it out, and I can only hope the level of their incompetence merges harmoniously with the level of my bullshit. And my housemates are in the kitchen, talking loudly and watching tv I hate--and the 2-inch wide crack in the bottom of my door forces my hand for the evening.

Please February, come. Let me find out whether this new downstairs room is everything they say it will be so I can make a reasoned decision on whether or not to move.

Meanwhile, miso soup tastes delicious, I'm not required to be in the same room as the housemate I once said was cute, and after only a 2.5-hour-nap, my back doesn't hurt. Truck truck truck.

And the Birthright people have not emailed me.

my life does not suck. It is challenging.

After some reflection today, I've decided that I am at least as responsible for my cultural ignorance as my crazy parental units. There's a lot of blame to go around there, but blaming doesn't help. I will be endeavoring to educate myself about most of human history, once I figure out how to get my butt to Israel.

Being stupid and shy, I didn't interrogate the kids at synagogue in regards to how precisely one properly applies for these Birthright trips.

I assumed one did it through their synagogue, and when I learned that was incorrect, then assumed one had to pick a trip organizer (like a larger contact synagogue that is used to organizing this rigamarole) around the end of January. Nope. The trips leave all through the beginning of January up to the end of February. And I don't have a passport yet.

Thankfully, being a November baby might save my stupid jewish ass, but I've just sent them a frantic email regarding the availability of their early February trips. Much rather do early, as late stomps right on top of my munchkin's birthday, but I have a sinking feeling they're all booked up anyway.

Which might be good: it might give me more time to earn the money to cover the roundtrip NYC airfare, which is always better than asking my grandmother. It isn't her fault I spent the hanukkah geldt on my dentistry. Well. Not directly anyway.

But all this financial fun means I need a real-money job yesterday. Or if not real money, at least the sort of money one can get from jobs that will let you leave the country now and again. But jesus, I get so tired of overhearing the conversations of SF kids that start with 'yeah, when I was backpacking through Europe...' One day I will casually hit them with my shoe.

grr, OC3

So far, you're acting just like another temp agency I knew. Only that one was pure evil in a bottle. Their trick was, they'd call me every couple of days asking if I was available for a phone interview. So I'd watch my cell phone anxiously, and they would never call back. Until tomorrow, when they would want another phone interview. And then never call back.

I'm interested in getting either an ushering job, or something that pays decent money, though except for the money it would bore me out of my skull. People have both suggested and been horrified at the idea of my taking a museum job. I've collected enough books from the bookstore job to wallpaper my room, and it's served its purpose of making me a bit more socially competent. Or knowledgeable of the fact that I already was--yay!

Classes are starting soon, and I've picked out Music 4 (beginning composition), Physics on Saturdays if I feel like it, and a class downtown that I hope will net me a letter. I'm working on the social median between confident determination and playing it by ear.

Oh, and I'm going up to Berkeley to see a play I once was in, but am no longer. To see if I can't finally write something for them.

I'm ok, but....

Thinking about my life logically, as a consequence of my actions in one way or another, is a new experience for me. Really new. This year, new.

I know I didn't think about my future in college at all, except to be terrified of it or dream about it in an absolutely unrealistic manner. I didn't apply to hardly any jobs right out of college because I had this terrible black hole where my self-worth should have been, and I didn't have much practice in talking to normal grown-ups on matters of substance. My letters of application to some publishing internships from then are really funny. Until you realize I was completely serious.

I reasoned that I liked books, so told everyone who asked that I wanted to work in publishing, and obtained the stuff I needed. The stuff I thought I needed, but really, I bounced around, too scared to apply for jobs with any kind of determination, and lacking completely the discipline anyone needs to project necessary social skills consistantly. I was not playing life by the rules, and not winning, though sometimes I managed to look ok.

The things I accomplished this year bear no resemblance to my New Year's Resolutions, but I had that coming. I need a cookie and a hug, but I definitely had that coming. I've damn near taken accomplishment for granted. Thinking of it that way means I need a damn break.

I read 54 new books this year, and then stopped writing them down around October. I'm going to switch to writing down stories and plays, and songs I learn to play on the piano, and days I exercise. I'm going to be better to myself, a mental trick that has as much to do with the appreciation as the being. And that will be that.

There's a lot I have left to do, and once I take that break, I'm pretty sure I'll feel better about doing it.