A Book Idea I’ve Been Working On Since Seventh Grade

Needless to say (but I’ll go ahead, anyway), it’s one of my more urgent New Years’ Resolutions, to finish the book this year. Hopefully, I have the extra ten days the Maya calendar has denied Mankind, to do so. I’ve got a weird concept, a good hook, and a main character you can’t help but to adore. What’s the holdup; you say?

I don’t know how to introduce such a mind-bending concept in layman’s terms, correctly. I’m going to have to fly by the seat of my pants and trust the whimsical mind I own to take me where it will and drop me gently on my feet. I have (for the first time, ever) no real rough draft or what I call, “the bones”, which is just an outline of what I want to convey in each chapter and where I want to knock my readers’ socks off.

For once, I am going to take the box-full of loose notes, my Encyclopedia of Religion, a  couple of books on the Mother Goddess concept, my Bible, my collections of folklore and its worldwide origins, a thesaurus, and my MP3 player; sit down, shut the door, and write the shit I feel in my soul and find rattling around in my brain. It’ll be bonkers. It’ll be stupid. But, I’ll be damned if I don’t give it a try.

Who knows…maybe it will turn out that this is the way I should have been writing, all along.

One last thing: Are those who forget history doomed to repeat it, or, are those doomed to repeat history, compelled to forget it??

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Why do YOU write?

I know why I do and the reasons vary from just having to get it off my chest, all the way to my trying to change the world for the better. I know, I know; melodramatic, much? But it’s true. Deep down, we all hope our words will hit home and help “some strange brother or sister” (to borrow from Bukowski again) in, at least, letting them know that they are not alone. And, in reaching out from a deep-rooted hope that we are not entirely alone, we make connections with all types of people we’ve never met and never will.

I think we sometimes write out of a hope that our words will live on after we go; making us immortals of the Mark Twain and Ralph Waldo Emerson (even, Poe) variety; likewise legends of pen-to-paper.

Either way, relating to our fellow man, for a dream of the occasional instance that these words we slave over will reach them feels like the truest genesis of this (sometimes) art form. Even when we’re only blowing off steam, we are putting forth our selves; our very most vulnerable and heartfelt, earnest selves to be tested and tried, by the rest of humanity.

So, I ask you, why do you write? It remains, to me, the boldest sort of wager.

-J-

All I Want For Christmas Is…

(…damned, if I know)

12/21/11

The shortest day of the year and Christmas, only a few of them, away. Kyra’s finally old enough to be psyched about Santa Claus bringing her a very specific gift: Thomas the Tank Engine. It’s her first train set. She wrote a letter asking for it and everything.

Mom’s birthday on Sunday was fun, although it was only me and her almost from the get-go. I enjoyed cooking for her nearly as much as I enjoyed getting drunk with her. She took it pretty well; turning 49, and all (which was her Wii Fitness age, too).

I’m at work, now, watching the kids nap and waiting to get off at two, so I can finally have something substantial to eat. I’ve munched a little, today, which is more than I can say for yesterday (when I didn’t get home until 4pm), where my only sustenance was provided by Starburst candies. Still, my tummy is a-grumbling and it’s only one-oh-five. The time seems to have stopped, since I started watching it. Nap-time is always painfully boring and today it’s worse, with no one to talk to in here. Unless, of course, you count telling Andrew to be quiet about 3 dozen times (which I don’t). At least Landon finally got to sleep after an hour and a half of alternately chasing him around the room and patting his back once he returned to his mat.

Looking around at the Christmas decorations and wistful snoozers, I still have no idea what I want for the holiday. Maybe, just some peace, quiet, and beer, would do  the trick. I already know better than to hope for any of that. We’ll be at the in-laws’ after presents, and then a bit of running around, followed by some more craziness from Kyra, as she finally gets to mind-travel to the Island of Sodor, where Thomas and his friends await her command. Oh, well. At least (perhaps) I’ll get the beer…

It’s going to be worth every minute, however, to get to watch Lil’ Bit  playthe role of  Mr. Conductor on the wooden version of her favorite railway: the first toy she’s ever (officially) asked for from Santa. What a brazenly hectic and magical day, it will be!

-J-

Babes in the woods…

…all of us. And, each of us, as lost as the other.

We use our wits, our strengths, our hopes and dreams, to try and figure it out, but when it really boils down, none of us knows anything. And I mean ANYTHING. We don’t know shit, honestly. We guess and hope and pray (I imagine it’s all the same thing) that we mean something, that we count; hell; that we truly exist.

Sometimes, i just want to look at my kids (the after-school group of 6-8-year-olds where I work) and say, ‘Look: you are a beautiful mess. We all are. No point in hiding it, or messing about. Humanity is, as it should be, a big, beautiful mess. Accept your place in the tangle, and move along.’

Nobody ever really pulls you aside and tells you that. When you’re a kid, everything’s sugar-plum fairies and bill-less days, followed by sleep. Real sleep, too. The good kind. The little kid, I don’t have a care in the world, kind. But, you think you’re missing something, so you invent grown-up dramas to keep you busy, without realizing how much it sucks to grow up.

I’m going to try to stop raising my voice, to be patient, and to see the world from any other side. These are my New Year’s resolutions, a smidgen early. Forgive me; would you (for jumping the gun)?

I hope I can uphold them, so as not to be too hard on my kids. Or, anyone else.

As usual, thanks for reading. Happy Christmas! Or, Chanakuh, or Kwanzaa, or what-have-you! The spirit is the same, so it all means as much, to me.

-J-

Happy Friday!

There are black Fridays, Friday the thirteenths, and all manner of superstition, therein. But, for those of us with that five-day, regular work schedule, every Friday is a celebration. And yes; when I get home, there will be laundry and dishes to be done, floors to be vacuumed, and tables to be wiped, but tomorrow, I get to relax with my little girl and that makes every messy bit of it right with the world. We can play outside, or go for a drive, or even lounge around on the couch in our pajamas until we just don’t feel like it anymore. For all of those reasons, it’s a beautiful thing to see 1:30 on a Friday afternoon.

Working here, with kids of all ages, and new mothers and grandmothers, to make brighter the worlds of our little people, is a blessing in and of itself. One for which I am never thankful enough. And, yes, I go home smelling of cookies and pee, with spit-up on my shirt and no voice left, for trying to talk over my older (louder) after-school kids, but it’s well worth it, to have made the slightest difference in any young life.

To have been at home with Kyra for her first three years was both amazing and rewarding. To be able to be here, now, looking at  a life in the field of education, is pure bliss. I have found my calling: the baby whisperer, the malady soother, the teller of tales, and little kid at heart (if nowhere else).

Cherish your children, as they lead us into tomorrow.

Happy Friday!

Picking up bad habits…

Oh, boy; was I unprepared for this one. At least, I had no idea it might occur so soon, at her tender age. My daughter, at 3+ years old, it seems, is already running with that bad crowd. Those daycare hooligans.

Of course, I kid. Well, mostly, anyhow.

She has picked up some horrid habits, from exposure to others, her age. She only just entered a couple of months ago, when I started working there and, already, I see traits I’m going to have to help her unlearn. For example, there is (what I like to call) the daycare whine. Because there are so many kids in one room, with one or two teachers, they learn that the most efficient way to get our attention is to cry about nothing, as though they’re still newborns with no access to legitimate communication. The reason it frustrates me, is because the older kids can talk, but choose instead, to whine out half sentences in high-pitched, dramatic scenes. Kyra has taken to doing this at home, too. She has started talking worse and bursting into tear-less tantrums better. It’s rather discouraging.

Also, you see, she has begun to hit people to get her way more regularly, telling me “no” with the self-assured, know-it-all, ridiculous attitude of a  worldly teenager, and (most awkward of all) exploring her nether regions. She has noticed that certain things “tickle” her ‘tutu’ (our cutesy word) and I’m going to address that, first, because I feel weird talking about it, but it really is way too common an issue at this age, to ignore and leave all you other new(ish) parents hanging, as though you’re the only ones going through it. I am trying to discourage the behavior without freaking out about it, making it a taboo, or letting her feel like she’s gross and there’s something wrong with her. I had to sit down with her and explain that she only needs to have her hands down there when she’s washing up in the tub, or wiping after she goes potty and she seemed okay with that. It did afford me the opportunity to make sure she knows that NO ONE ELSE is EVER allowed to touch or “tickle” her tutu; without it being a weird or random subject. I think that talking about this behavior, and addressing it candidly has got to be the best way to go. I think it takes care of the immediate issue and opens communication for later, in life, when they have much harder questions about this mostly innocent exploration of their bodies.

As for the hitting, I act like my feelings are hurt, gazing at her with a mixture of shock and pain, to let her know that it’s something to be ashamed of; striking without provocation. Self-defense is one thing. Entirely another, is to hit someone who’s innocent. If she remains unfazed (which has only happened once or twice), I merely don’t talk to her for a bit, so she can see that she hurt me, without condoning or encouraging the behavior by hitting her back.

Her telling me “no”, when I ask her to clean up the three-hundred toys she dumped out for fun on the living room floor, only to let them sit there all day (for a recent example), is usually met with an “attitude adjustment”. Attitude adjustments are just periods of being alone in her room with no television, to think about what she’s done. It’s probably the most effective punishment, in that, it hurts her pride, and she knows that she’s done something inappropriate. I allow her to play quietly, but she rarely wants to. She usually cries for a few minutes and then apologizes to me, asking to come downstairs with me, again. Her defiance is diminished, and she quickly returns to her sweet, cheerful self, laughing easily at any silliness and cleaning up with the accompaniment of the old, familiar song. I always tell her that I love her, and that all I ask is that she respect Mommy, the way I respect her. I let her know, calmly, that I tell her things for a good reason, to teach her, or help her, or save her from some disaster (like running into the street, or eating cleaning products), and not just to be mean and punish her. I always try to explain that when I tell her “no”, it’s for her sake; not mine.

All I can do is keep on truckin’ and hope that, one day, she understands all of that.