Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1000 words a day

Well today is day one of my newest challenge, one thousand words a day for a year.  It won’t be easy I’m sure but I just told my aunt who is currently in college and has her first writing course that writing 1000 words isn’t hard.  So here I am setting out to prove it.  If I keep up with my promise then I will have over three hundred and sixty five words at the end of a year.  I will try to complete a book, or a series of poems.  Perhaps I will just journal my way through a year.  Who knows!  But this is leg one of my journey. 

I found writing prompt online the other day and saved it for when I was stuck, but I think that it may serve me well in this endeavor:  you find yourself in front of seven doors.  A voice from above tell you: “these seven doors lead to seven places, Narnia, Neverland, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Camelot, Middle Earth and Westeros.”  Which door do you go through?  Why that door?  What happens?   And now it truly begins…

“Mandee, these seven doors lead to seven places, Narnia, Neverland, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Camelot Middle Earth and Westeros.  Choose wisely.”

“What on earth?” I mutter to myself.  “Where am I?”  I found myself in the middle of nowhere with no recollection of how I came to be in such a place.  There seemed to be nothing at all anywhere.  I was in a sea of endless white; the only thing within my sight was seven doors.  They were free standing; I could walk entirely around them.  Each door was identical heavy oak doors with aged coppery gold fittings.  As I looked closer I noticed that the doors weren’t quite identical.  There was one difference that distinguished each door from its counterparts; the handles.  The first handle was inset with the head of a lion, the second a clock.  The third handle had a caterpillar on it, the fourth a pointed witch’s hat.  The fifth and sixth doors both had swords on them, though one shined blue, and the last door had hand grasping a crown.
Each symbol clearly designated the supposed location that each door led to.  The lion was for Narnia, the clock for never land, the caterpillar must be for Neverland, the Witch’s hat was clearly for Hogwarts, the swords were for Camelot and Middle Earth and the grasping hand and crown for Westeros, wherever that may be.  That was, at least according to the magical voice from nowhere.  I rolled my eyes and squeezed my eyes shut tight, and when I opened them I would be back home in my bed, after all this was clearly a dream.   I opened my eyes and sighed, I still wasn't awake.  Time to try the pinching, I hate being pinched and so I try to avoid it at all costs, I took a deep breath grabbed onto my arm and squeezed, “Ouch!” I yelped in surprise.  Well that didn't work either.  Well, I could always walk away and wait for this to turn into some other crazy thing.  I did an immediate about face and marched off, away from the doors. 

I walked for what seemed like forever.  I walked until my legs ached and my breath was labored but nothing changed, all I could see was the white nothingness of this strange place.  I stopped and turned around to see what kind of progress I had made; I was no farther from the doors than I had been when I started on my trek.
I sank to my knees panting, my mind reeling, how could I have walked so far and gotten nowhere?  Had I walked all the way around in a circle?  There was no way for me to know, I was too tired and thirsty to try again, and I apparently wasn’t going to be waking up any time soon.  I threw my hands up walked closer to the doors.  Now the question was how to choose?
I closed my eyes and spun myself dizzy one hand out, index finger extended, I would leave my fate to chance. 

I spun and spun; the joy and freedom of my childhood returning, laughter bubbled up in my throat and as a stopped spilled from my mouth.  When I had caught my breath again I opened my eyes and looked at the door my wild spinning had brought me to.  The door with the caterpillar on it; I was headed to Wonderland. 

I walked to the door, the many versions of wonderland I had seen ran through my head.  The version I envisioned when I read the classic Lewis Carroll tale, the Disney Cartoon version, the Warped Version from American McGee, the ABC miniseries and the Tim Burton Movie all made an appearance.  I wondered which one was closest to the truth, if any were close at all.
I was right in front of the door now, I touched it, and it felt like regular wood, I’m not sure what I expected.  I pressed my ear against it to try and decipher any sounds from the other side, to give me warning of exactly what was waiting for me on the other side, my hears found silence.  I held my breath and reached for the door, I jerked my hand back before I even got a grip on the handle.  My heart was pounding, and I was shaking, nervous as I had ever been. 

“This is ridiculous,” I scolded myself.  “This is a dream, it’s not real.”  And I reached out for the door again.  I steeled my nerves and yanked the door open stepping though without giving myself a chance to back down again. 

I felt a cool breeze and let the door close behind me.  I had stepped into a wood, I was surrounded by the tallest trees I had even seen, and I was standing on a carpet of soft moss, I could hear birds chirping in the distance.  I turned to take not of where the door was, so that I could return to it if I needed to, but it was no longer there.  I was now in wonderland with no discernible way of returning to the hall of nothingness and doors.

that is the beginning my friends, I don't think I will post every 1000 words, but I wanted to document my first step.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Best Part of Wakin' Up... Racist Radio Announcers?

You may or may not know that I am an avid reader, of many many things, book, blogs etc, but also of the online Magazine XOJane.  Since I have been doing so I have become aware of many things that may have gone unnoticed before.  for example language that has been a part of my regular vocabulary that many people find offensive, some I have decided to change, and others I keep because I just like the word regardless of its offensive potential.  It has also made me more and more aware of things that others say and do as well.  (Thanks mostly to the amazeballs author Lesley Kinzel)

Enter the racial profiling I heard on the morning radio today.

At my job we have to park very far from our actual workplace, my job has provided a shuttle to those of us to lazy, or sleep deprived, still not awake.  it gets me a good bit more than halfway to my destination then I trudge my way on to punch the proverbial clock.  the bus drivers are a friendly bunch (mostly) and we get to hear the radio and get the weather etc.  The station this morning was no different, except that the guys hosting the show just kind of laughed and joked about everything, this is fine, i have no issue with it, in fact that is my preferred method of receiving my news.

And then they got to this story.  Kinda horrible, kinda funny (I know I'm awful).  one of the announcers was saying that couples going to the shooting range is therapeutic  it relieves stress and anger, plus if your lady doesn't know how to shoot you get to snuggle up to her to teach her.  He also claimed it's a double edged sword, because now she knows how to shoot a gun.  Funny right?  but then things took a turn for the worse.

The next words out of his mouth were "It's great for when Julio, comes through the bedroom window..."  Say what?  So many different words would have sufficed to describe a trespasser, trespasser in fact being one of them, burglar, intruder, invader, offender, assailant are all words that would sufficiently describe someone entering a premises without permission.  Instead this radio announcer chose to use a clearly Hispanic/Latino name.  Because of course people of other ethnic persuasions don't break and enter.  I tried to look up if we could sort perpetrators by race to see what race most commonly commits B&E's but the numbers are so skewed and so much conflicting information out there that there is no way for us to really know.

I like to think that any name of any ethnicity would have provoked the same ire in me, unless is was a general pseudonymous like "Johnny Break-In" or something equally silly.  But the fact of the matter is they chose and ethnic name.  

In fact it is my husbands name.  So yeah, there's that, I might be perhaps a bit more irritated than had they chosen another name, but irked and irritated and quite frankly angry.  I have no idea what radio station it was because once that little gem was heard I pretty much stopped paying attention, thoughts like "Did I really just hear that?"  were taking up all the space in my minimally functioning early morning brain.  

I wish I knew what radio station it was so I could copy this blog to them and send a formal complaint, because this is unacceptable in any media, and quite frankly in modern America and the world as a whole.  This is what so many generations of minorities and women and transgender people and more have fought against.  I wish that we lived in a world where these things didn't happen, but they do.  Maybe if we don't accept things as they are and we all fight back against these injustices someday our children's children can live in world without racial profiling.  I would love to say in  a world without hate, but I don't think that is what this is, I think that what I heard this morning was ignorance and ignorant people can be educated. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Goals for 2013 and beyond

Writing has been elusive lately, either I don't have the time, or I don't have the ideas.  A change of job means more hours and less pay, so I don't haven have time to try out any new crafts or recipes.    I did however have to make a goal sheet for 2013 as part of my job, funny thing is, none of my goals have anything to do with  my current job or company!  The exercise asks for personal, professional, and health goals for 1 year, 5 years and 10 years, it also asks you for specific tangible dates by which to have them completed, as well as one word to describe your goals for year 1.  Let me share mine with you.

1 Year

Personal:      Legally Marry J.  10/31 2013
                   Save $2000 toward my down payment on a house  12/31/2013
Professional: Finish editing my book 12/31/2013
                    Have 1 article published 12/31/2013
Health:          Be able to run 1 mile, without feeling like I'm going to die 6/1/2013 
                   (I'm REALLY out of shape)  
                    Eat more vegetables 2 a day by 3/1/2013
One Word:  Change

5 Year

Personal:       Be a mother of 1 12/31/2018
                    Be a home owner
Professional:  Get paid regularly to write  1/1/2018
                    Have my book Published  12/31/2018
Health:          Be able to run 5 miles  6/1/2018
                    Be back at my "goal weight" 1/1/2018

10 Year

Personal:         Be a  mother of 2
                      Learn to let things go
Professional:   Write as my only "job"
                     Complete second book
Health:           Maintain my "goal weight"
                     Have a stock pile of delicious healthy FAST recipes

Lets see if I can accomplish my goals for this year!  I am not off to a great start because I have been sick, but I am feeling better now so here we go!