Odysseus and his men drive a burning stake into the eye of the giant Cyclops.
I’ve been doing an online course on the Ancient Greeks, my wheel house. I find when I start to learn ‘new things’, I don’t stray far from my field of interest. My degree is in History. Antiquities, think Romans and Greeks. An email popped up from Coursera asking if I would be interested in an Ancient Greek History course. Um, yeah-sure-you-bettcha I was interested. I was looking for something to side track a bit of my time as it was, I’m so recently immersed in my frantic world of writing.
You see, the kid is back to school. The triple digit (and 90 degree) weather has broken, and it has been lovely outdoor living. Windows open and a cool morning breeze rustling through the house…that sort of lovely. I have some big plans for my career within the next year. Just got a short story accepted for publication in a literary journal. (It’s slated to be published in February of 2020.) I’ve got a few tweaks coming to the old blog here and my ‘social network’. That one makes me uncomfortable and agitated, but we’ll deal with that later.
Needless to say, I’m back to spending uninterrupted hours a day in my head. Whether writing my new book, editing two old ones, submitting my work to the usual suspects, reading books on Italian literature and listening to Russell Brand’s podcast Under the Skin…my thoughts rush around, bouncing and snapping my synapses.
I was thinking about the way I used to do things.
Truth be told, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my life used to be. In my younger years. When I was more outgoing. Not as worried and scared as I have become of late.
It’s a strange thing, there has been a noticeable timidness that’s crept into my once outgoing nature as I’ve gotten older. Yet, strangely enough, my self-confidence has been on the rise. I like to attribute the rise in self-confidence to exhaustion. I kind of don’t have time for the bullshit anymore. By Bullshit I mean worrying about what others think about my shorts in the summer, my unkempt hair, my submission to their magazines, my letting go of things that don’t serve me and never did. The other part probably has to do with my therapist and yoga practice.
(Oh god, there I’ve gone and done it. Made myself human to my three fans. Yes, I have been doing yoga on a daily basis for the past two years and yes, I have silently become that person who, upon hearing of someone’s woes, thinks to myself, “there’s a yoga pose for that.” Stupid yoga.
AND, yes, I’ve got a therapist. Sooo in touch with my feelings…(insert choking cough here.) But isn’t it interesting, the fear we have of showing our human-ness to the outside world. When my mom used to have parties at our house –and my mom was the original Martha Stewart; people came to her house and stayed long past the agreed upon conclusion time of said party -but I digress, when helping my mom to clean for those parties, she had us hiding all sorts of things. Put the toothbrushes under the sink, put the extra desk from the dining room in the garage; all clutter cleaned up and put in a closed closet. My sister and I would joke, as we helped that we needed to “hurry up and hide the human side”. I still do this, when people are coming over to my home I hide my ‘human’. I don’t let people upstairs to see the mess that didn’t get cleaned up. I hide the toothbrushes and vitamins under the sink. Little by little, I’ve been letting this practice go. I like to see other’s human side, why shouldn’t they be allowed to see mine? It’s a strange thing, allowing someone in that deeply. Past the superficial. And yet, that level of vulnerability is what draws us closer together. Isn’t this the stuff Brene Brown is always talking about?)
I love John Cougar Mellencamp. I saw him in concert two years ago and I’m still not ready to talk about it. Seeing him in concert was intense bucket list stuff for me. I hold The Cougar in a private sort of way. I don’t hold him out in the open for all to see. His influence and presence in my life: I’ve always felt I needed to hold him close to the bone.
John Cougar Mellencamp, this man who stood for himself and did things his own way, regardless of what the world was doing…well, I was inspired, impressed, and wholeheartedly related to his message. As a sixth grade girl whose friends were evenly divided between Duran Duran or Michael Jackson (those were the times my friends, MJ hadn’t gone all creepy in ‘85. Not that we knew about anyway.) But those were the two camps available to me at that point in my life, and I decided to stand alone in camp with The Cougar.
He gave me a voice when I felt voiceless. He was a friend I rocked out to in my room, my small tape player turned up as far as it would go, distorting the sound of the music from a full rift of a guitar to a high pitched twangy strain of technology. He was honest and heartfelt and didn’t care what others thought about him, and that’s what I was desperately trying to be; but a girl in 6th grade in ’85 wasn’t really encouraged to stand out from the crowd. And still that was the beginning of a twinkle, when I began to think I wanted to do things differently than all the other around me. That was the beginning of my iconoclastic ways.
A woman writes in 1901
This is not the rejection you thought it was, it’s a different rejection of rejection. I’m pretty sure Yoda said that at one point.
So, this morning, I’m sitting in my haven of a backyard, the weather is nice and cool, cloud cover with active squirrels whooping it up, rummaging through the trees along my fence line.
I go through my normal morning moves: coffee, jazz, journal, and then check the email. I’ve subscribed to several informative ‘writer’ blogs and such over the years, and this morning as I read through one such one, an interesting article caught my eye, “Levels of rejection and what they mean.”
Of course, my gut reaction: What the fuck?! You mean there are different levels of rejection to feel bad about other than just the normal rejection that’s eating me up on the insides?!
A glutton; of course I read on.
Here’s a weird bit of information. When you publish short stories on your own personal website, it often voids the chances of said story to be published in a literary magazine, most of them require pieces that have never been published before. That rule includes one’s own blog.
That is one of the reasons I tend not to put any short stories on my blog.
But I love this one. I wrote it for a short story / essay contest held here in my little corner of the world where the theme was Fuel. Well, when I think of fuel, the one thing that always comes to my mind is my love for coffee. It truly fuels me!
Coffee Shops by Nicole Sharp Continue reading
Two rejected grant applications have wandered their unwanted way into my mailbox. This past Friday found the arrival of the second rejection.
So, how have I been handling it? Not well. Rejection, whether it’s the first one or the thousandth, hurts.
And sucks and makes me feel bad and I spiraled and quit because what’s the point and and and…
And if you’ve been reading, you’ve noticed a difference in my determination this year. Well, I will admit that there has been a shift in my depression demeanor as well. Is that a thing?
I jumped on the podcast trendy train. No, I’m not putting a podcast out there, but I started listening to them. I didn’t know where to start with the plethora of podcasts that are out these days. Before getting into the podcast these past few months, I’ve only really listened to two from years past.
Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter did one called A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment. They did about 28 shows, the last one being in October of 2015. The other one I loved was The Dead Authors Podcast. “Legendary time-traveling writer H.G. Wells (Paul F. Tompkins) welcomes literary giants to The Upright Citizen Brigade Theater in LA for a lively discussion in front of a live audience. Unscripted, barely researched, all fun!”
I’m moved into my backyard for the season. My flowers are starting to bloom enough for me to make small bouquets of fresh loveliness for myself every few days. I’ve been writing again in the early morning hours with my coffee and I find that there are so many life lessons that can be gleaned from where I sit and watch. No need to go too far afield. Of course, I love going far afield, but these past few weeks, it seems the lessons and magic abound right here at home.
A friend and I get together and walk every two weeks or so. Once the hugs of greeting are given; cellphones and keys are tucked away in various pockets; and hats are fitted into place – we get to the task of walking. And talking.
My friend quickly runs through her personal update and then asks me excitedly, “what have you been thinking about lately?”
I like that question, the way she puts it. Though, I have to ask myself, is that really interesting? The things I’ve been thinking about?
I don’t think so.
Of course, just as I’m about to go on and on about how I haven’t been thinking about anything interesting and I have nothing to say, I start talking about what it is that I actually have been ruminating on.