Monday, February 18, 2013

Writing and riding and living

This blog is in need of a major update. My mood in December took quite a long time to lift, but I've been feeling relief the past couple of weeks so I will force myself to sit and write.

Although I haven't been writing lately, I have been doing a lot of reading about writing and every book says the same thing; in order to get better at writing you need to write everyday, even when you don't feel like it. This piece of advice ends up applying to many things. The more you do the thing you should do (but that you have no desire to), the easier it becomes, the better you get, the more you enjoy what it is you are trying to master. As a woman mired in mediocrity and doing just what I have to do get by, I find all of this irritating. Even though I know there are many things I should be doing every single day, it's just not going to happen because all of that doing is hard.

Writing is hard. Even bad writing is hard. I know because I've been doing it for years now. This is when you all come in with the comments about what an amazing writer I am (please!) and I fend off the compliments with my self deprecating wit. Did you know that using cheap gimmicks like I just did right there is a sign of a bad writer? That's the great thing about reading books about writing. You learn about all the things that make for shitty writing and then you become gripped with with fear to the point of not even wanting to write and then when you do decide to maybe put something down on paper, you have no idea what you are doing anymore.

So yes, I read several books about writing and the only thing I can remember is all the stuff about what to avoid and now I just want to start using bad cliches, and switching tenses, and adding useless words like very over and over, and just being wordy in general. I always feel some compulsion to do what I was told not to do. I think many people are like this. Like when people see me drinking diet coke and tell me it causes cancer. I  want to drink more and sometimes I even want to throw some diet coke in the face of the person who feels compelled to tell me how to live my life. That's  the kind of person I am. I seem pleasant enough, but most likely if you piss me off I'm thinking about ways to inflict some kind of humiliation on you. It sounds cruel and petty, I know, but really it amuses me and keeps the rage at bay.

Speaking of which, I went for a bike ride on Saturday and I was feeling ragey for a solid three hours. It was windy and grey and awful outside. Rage can ruin a bike ride. I started yelling out things as I was riding like argh, and son of a bitch, and I finally succumbed and dropped a loud  f bomb over on 561. It was so windy that it honestly got to the point where I could barely pedal and I thought about giving up and calling Greg to come get me. But that would involve admitting where I was and then he would have given me a lecture about how he needs to get more life insurance on me because I ride in places I shouldn't be riding. I would have said, please, this is perfectly safe, plenty of people ride over here, and he would have said he isn't married to plenty of people. I would have looked at him and imagined throwing a huge diet coke in his face or maybe even a bike, since I do like to keep my imaginary acts of violence related to the topic at hand. And I probably would have called him a dream killer too. Suddenly, having him come get me didn't seem worth the trouble. I finished the bike ride and ended up being happy at the end, which is always what happens when I finish a ride.

My bike ride was much like the past several weeks of my life. Things sucked and I wanted to quit, but then things got better and I was happy again. I kept calling people and annoying them. People like my sister and my dear friend, X ( not her real name), who just sat and listened to my nonsense. At one point I  told X to just go and find new friends because I was lousy and would only infect her with my lousiness. This was X's first experience with my truly horrible and immature behavior and although she was probably shocked by my awfulness, she thankfully she didn't let on and didn't run away. She will never get rid of me now. My sister, she is used to me, but still, the phone calls filled with negativity and feeling sorry for myself and lamenting every choice I ever made must have been tiresome. If you manage to find people who sit and listen to your foolishness and resist giving you unsolicited advice, you should be grateful. My sister and X are the opposite of the diet coke police. They are fully aware that I'm acting like an ass but they know enough to just shut up and listen and make some jokes now and again to try and alleviate some of the misery. They know how to avert having an imaginary diet coke thrown in their imaginary faces.

For the most part, so does my husband. He was forced to live with me and endure hours and hours of my obsessive worry. He listened and every once in awhile he would say something and I would think, oh whatever, what do you know. So I went and talked to Fr. Robert to get some expert advice and he kept saying things which sounded vaguely familiar, and at one point it hit me and I said, oh, you know what, my husband said that. And then he said something else and I said, oh yeah, my husband said that too and after this went on for a little while Fr. Robert looked at me and said, Ann Marie, maybe you should start listening to your husband. What a novel idea! Ladies, have you ever heard anything so interesting before? Listen to your husband? Who knew? Anyway, I went home and told my husband and he didn't even gloat, he kind of laughed for a second and went on doing whatever it was he was doing and I realized I really do like him of a lot. That's the thing about marriage. You wake up in the morning wanting to throw diet coke at your spouse and by the end of the day you are wondering how you would have made it through the past twenty years without him or her.

So yeah, the past several weeks were not so great and I complained about stuff a lot and didn't write anything, but then, because life is the way it is (thank you, God), something happened and suddenly things looked brighter and less hopeless and there was some relief. There was a little shift that made getting out of bed much easier and it made me thankful I had gone through some weeks of agony because what's the point of life if you are always living on a high. It gets boring. At least for me it does. And hopefully for a little while now I will I write more than once every couple of months. Thanks for listening, capicola farts! I hope I didn't lose you all in my absence.


Terri said...

Well, I must be a glutton for punishment because I love Diet Coke and I love you! (Your blog too!)

Oh, and let me just add to the idea of terrible writing for a moment and use too many exlamation points. Your blog deserves it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

deborah said...

Terrible writing is offensive...
I think you should screen your friends and ask them
to send you some writing samples before you agree
to be friends with them...luckily your family has
a fairly decent propensity for fantastic writing, and you can't get rid of us anyway...and remember listening to others problems and complaints takes your mind off of your go have a diet coke!

Terri said...

lol! I see that I also gave you a lovely typo to relish. :)

ann marie said...

Don't worry about it Terry. I will chalk it up to you just being excited to leave a comment. I know my writing is so wonderful that you can't contain yourself!!!!!!!!!!! You and Deborah would be dangerous together. And I mean that as a compliment :)

Tiffany said...

I'm so glad you're back to writing again. I miss you. We need to have a coffee date. I would be happy to listen to all of your moanin' and complainin', I agree with Deborah--it takes my mind off of my own issues. Like getting too busy to think straight again. I still haven't unpacked from a trip I've been home from for a week. Ugh! I miss you. We need a coffee date. Love your writing, love when you blog. Love that you screamed the f-word on 561 which is a really dangerous road and you should not be riding your bike on it. :0)

Julie said...

This is so great!! You are so great! I'm disappointed that I am the last of your biggest fans to comment, it is no indication of my "biggest fan-ness", it's just that I was busy spending a lot of real life time with you today. The best part is you are as great as a conversationalist as you are a writer!!

Anonymous said...

Writing and riding nourish your mind body and soul, you definitely get inspired by both to write like this! It's your power source! Just plug your legs on that bike, and we're the lucky benefactors to enjoy the results of your energy!