Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. No, really! It is!

Most of the time, I think of myself as being a rather observant person. A student of the world and the humanity that inhabits it. Apparently, however, I have a blind spot. It seems I'm so often so busy looking at things through a writer's eyes that I miss some things going on around me. Worse. Things directed specifically at me. My friends take great delight in this particular myopia of mine, especially when given an opportunity to point it out.

The latest Tale of the Blindspot involves this man. He's kind of a goofy man. Strange-goofy I mean. But not like serial-killer strange-goofy. At least I don't think so, but there is the blind spot to consider. Some of my friends and I hang out at a particular coffee place a few times a week, and I go there to write on weekends (the Bean inspires). Mr. Goofy also frequents this place and has for at least as long as we have. My only opinion of him is that he is goofy. He looks "normal" in a kind of 45-year-old mamma's boy kind of way: weak chin, doughy skin, watery eyes. Wears a lot of sweaters that looked picked out by somebody else. Somebody female and considerably older.

Mr Goofy is a religious man. This in and of itself does not, of course, make him goofy. I am as non-commital as I can be without being rude when he informs me for the eight hundredth time how much in esteem I am held by a certain aramaic-speaking offspring of the Big Man With the White Beard. It's a nice sentiment, it just doesn't happen to be part of my particular path. What makes him goofy to me are things like the fact that he constantly goes out to smoke cigarettes in his car like he's trying to hide it from somebody. No matter the weather. In winter, I can understand it. Not when the temperature is 90. And not every ten minutes. Between the smoking and the trips to the men's room, I'm amazed he gets any chanting done. (Oh, I didn't mention that he chants under his breath all the time? He does.) Ok, so none of this may seem goofy to you. That's ok, but it does to me.

So how am I myopic about Mr. Goofy? A few weeks ago, one of my friends told me that she'd been noticing Mr. Goofy paying a lot of attention to me whenever I was in the coffee house. She kidded me that he probably had a crush. Yeah, right, I said, he probably thinks I'm as wierd as I think he is.
Wouldn't you know it? Within a couple of weeks, Mr. Goofy began finding all sorts of reasons to try to engage me in conversation. I felt like an animal in a trap. All I wanted to do was chew my arm off and escape. Rescue efforts by my friends present have been sporadic and half-hearted. I'm not sure what I did to engender this penchant for watching me squirm, but I must have done something. Now Mr. Goofy talks to me all the time, smiling his dough-faced smile and showing me his odd little pointed teeth. And I never see him coming. It is just "poof" and he is right there. Or so it seems.

My myopia is not just concerning Mr. Goofy, or men in general. Even bigger amusement has been had by my friends when they have observed me not observe women trying to hit on me. They let it go on and on, snerking at my obliviousness until they find the most supreme opportune moment to let me in on the secret. I gape in surprise and disbelief and they guffaw. How could you not notice? they ask me. I just never do. My mind is usually on other things, and since I know what team I bat on, I assume women know it too, so why would they hit on me? I have no problem with the other team. (And now, there really is no way to say "some of my good friends are on the rainbow team" without sounding stupid. But it is true, I do have friends on the rainbow team).

After each revelation of my myopic state, I long for the time just before I was let in on what was going on around me. Whichever team is trying to draft me, I don't want to know. I have too much going on. Novels to finish. Novels to begin. A really full queue on Netflix. Leave me in my oblivious, myopic nirvana. Please.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


I have outstanding student loans. Outstandingly high amounts. I went through chiropractic school. I have the degree. I am technically Doctor Amadan. That and $4.75 will get me a Wild Cherry Mocha at Caribou. For reasons that are by turn semi-tragic and lightly comedic, I did not end up practicing that profession, but that is a tale for another time. A time when I have absolutely nothing else at all to write about. A time when generous amounts of Mr Jameson's special irish has been slipped into my Wild Cherry Mocha by persons of dubious character. A time I don't foresee anywhere on the horizon.

Now, I don't dispute that the debt is mine. Oh, it is. I also agree that I need to pay it back. Sometime. Like when I have an income that will allow me to make payments that actually have meaning. I try not to think about the fact that the original only slightly disconcerting five-figure amount has grown to a gargantuan six-figure behemoth. Every payment I make doesn't even dent the interest piling on. I would make as much headway against this debt if I just set the cash equivalent on fire and mailed the ashes in. The loan has become a giant, inflated balloon casting its dark shadow over the parade of my life. The Bloodsuckers walk right along with me, the long tentacle-like tethers hanging from my debt balloon held tight in their cadaverous claws, their noses raised slightly, sniffing the wind for any hint that I might have a dollar or two more this week than I had last week.

Every six months, I have to complete the exercise in humiliation otherwise known as a financial disclosure statement, in which I try to point out how the Bloodsuckers really are sucking my blood, and they show their pointy teeth and say "Oh, but it's really not that bad. It could be vorse." One of them really said that to me today. I think I added the bad accent in my head, but I'm not sure. She may have really sounded that way. Yesterday, I sent off my Papers of Poverty, my Documents of Destituteness via fax to Castle Bloodsuck, to await their decision on what amount they intended to suck out of my paychecks for the next six months. Sadly, I had entertained this fantasy that the amount I can barely afford right now might stay the same.. but.. alas! Countess Bloodsuck determined that because my last two paystubs showed I had worked a small amount of overtime, that meant that I had spare blood to give.

"But, Countess. It says 'Overtime' not 'Everytime'. And expenses have gone up, as I plainly documented." I thought I sounded reasonable.

"Vellllll...." the Countess drawled, if Bloodsuckers can drawl "But you live alone, at least you don't have family."

"I couldn't afford a family, unless I had it in mind to live like Fagin."

"Who?" I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that the Countess wasn't up on her Dickens.

"Oh, a guy who wore fingerless gloves." I said absently. "But he was a great one for assessing opportunity."

Countess Bloodsuck informed me of what my new payment would be for the next six months.

About another fifteen bucks a month. About three Wild Cherry Mochas. And I do owe the money. I just wish it wasn't all so futile. Making a payment only looks like I'm moving forward on retiring the debt, when the reality is Michael Jackson made more forward progress when he used to do the 'moondance' back in the day.

"Oh, but its really not that bad. It could be vorse."

I'll try to remember that.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

It's my blog and I'll write what I want to

I just titled the post that way because it amused me. It may amuse only me, but that's ok too.

Soooo... this is my blog. I've never done a blog before, though I have looked at many of them, sort of the way one looks at different cars on the road and thinks "that might be a fun thing". Welcome to my little corner of cyberspace. Leave a post if you're so inclined, or not, if you are inclined that way. In the meantime I'll blather a little about what is on my mind today.

Right now I have two literary agents looking at my novel. Well, I have no idea if they are looking at it right this minute, but I can hope. It is a bit nervewracking, I'll admit. You dream about it in between sweating over the keyboard and then the opportunity comes along and you discover just how scary it all is. My friends (who are all incredibly supportive and overwhelmingly positive in outlook) say to me: "what's the worst thing that could happen? they say no, and you try other agents." For me, my brain stops processing after the "they say no" part. I had to laugh the other day. I was reading an interview with novelist Christopher Moore, and he made a comment that writing was a mental cycle of "I'm a piece of crap!/I'm the king of the world!" Talk about something that resonates.

I guess that's long enough for my first post.



p.s. I feel much safer knowing that Paris Hilton is off the streets. Whew!