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Mix Tape: Daily Prompt

Over the summer a beautiful  man made me a list of Pink Floyd and Beatles songs to get over my dislike of these iconic bands. The gesture was lovely and I had the urge to send him a list of mine back in thanks for introducing me to the song “Wish You Were Here”. Instead, my fabulous readers, here is my list:

1. State of Love and Trust -Pearl Jam. Best song in the universe, has been since I was in high school. Eddie Vedder’s voice just does something to me on an atomic level.

2. Rebel, Rebel-David Bowie. My favorite bisexual in the whole universe personally wrote my anthem.

3. Tomorrow Never Knows-The Beatles. A favourite game of my neighbor is to play Beatles songs and have me ask who’s this. I love this song more than words can say. I love Ringo’s beats and the lyrics are from the Tibetan Book of the Dead which is in my desk at school. Masterpiece.

4. The Thong Song-Sisquo. I did not know how I lived before this song. Totally ratchet, but I love it.

5. Human Behavior– Bjork. No words can describe the ecstasy I feel when I hear this song. I love the drums and the lyrics. In my debut novel the love interest is Icelandic. Bjork is a strange one and I have always admired her independent spirit. Debut is her best album.  

6. Beetlebum– Blur. In college I had a Brit Pop radio program and I opened with this song as often as possible. It is melancholy, but I believe in having a whole spectrum of emotions, not just what is comfortable.

7. Waiting Room– Fugazi. I am a punk rock girl.

8. Fuck Was I-Jenny Owens Youngs. Perez Hilton introduced this song on his website. I think it perfectly captures  heartache and the dark humor that develops as a result. “Maybe I’ll be the lucky one who doesn’t get hurt/ What the fuck was I thinking?”

9. Settle Down-Kimbra. It is about not wanting to settle down and live your life to fit society’s mandates.

10. Pure Morning-Placebo. I listen to this song every morning. No words can describe my attachment. It just is. I have no memories for this song in particular, but the opening riff sends me to heaven. Sometimes I like to imagine I’m a Bond Girl and this is my song as I enter a room in my Jinx bikini and shoot down all the chandeliers.

11. A White Tara Kirtan-Various Artists. I had a Thai Buddhist monk introduce me to this deity a few years ago. I try to do my malas as much as possible.

12. Closer-Nine Inch Nails. Nothing needs to be said.

What Was Your Biggest Mistake as a 20 something?

I was having dinner tonight with A, my friend. Our busboy settled into a conversation with us about how hard it is being in your 20s without family or supportive friends. White knuckled is how I spent my twenties. Many lessons were learned and I passed on my wisdom to the kid. He found comfort in two women listening to him with empathy.

On the way home  A and I launched in a discussion into the tribulations of being 20 something girls. We had different experiences, yet we had enough of common. I wondered what other people wished they knew when the adult world is both terrifying and delightful. 

What do you wish you knew?

What was your biggest mistake? 

I wrote this last night before the DP came out. Funny how the universe works. I have an appointment to turn my dog into Courtney Love for the 4th of July fireworks, so I will answer when I get back. Please let me know your experience and I will share mine.

Musee Rodin: Daily Prompt

I always thought sculpture was not truly art. It was the dentist/chiropractor of the art world. Met the qualifications, but no one took it seriously. Two summers ago, I went with my London family for two weeks to Paris. My sister-in-law rented a flat in the 16th district. She is type A so we marched around Paris until I thought my feet were bleeding.  We came to the Rodin museum and for the first time I became enraptured by sculpture as perhaps the purest form of art. I walked around the house mesmerized by his sketches and pieces. Rodin was a genius and his house is like a portal to another realm. In the garden, my s-i-l and I had lunch. It had been fairly normal, except for a bee that was out to get me, when we had a very honest conversation about life. It was the first time we exchanged private information.

When I think of the Musee Rodin I think of the beauty of sculpture and the communication that allows others into our private world.

Daily Prompt: You’ve Got the Power

If I had the power to enact a simple law it would be that everyone had to think for themselves. People could not hide behind religion, political ideologies, apathy or ignorance. Initially some people would be paralyzed with fear or their brain would hurt with the new activity.  In order to make an informed choice, people would have to gather information just as the cavemen gathered berries.

What do you think about the NSA?

Is there such thing as global warming?

What happens when we die?

The saddest thing to think about is we do have this power and it can be taxing. Those that think the most are called introverts and pushed into the shadows, those that barely think get their own reality shows.

My law would be punishable by taking away the people who do not think television set and hand them a real newspaper for them to read.

How to Write a Book in Two Weeks

My biggest challenge has been writing a book in exactly two weeks. It would be a self-help book. My twenty-year old ghostwriting  client gave me an outline to follow.  He chose topics that only such a younger person would. Always think positive and focus wins every time. Although I did  not agree with every single thing he said I accept the project. I did not exactly know how much it would take over my life.

For a week I woke up every morning drafting in my head and remembering stories that would fit into my client’s outline. It was something hanging over my head until I sat down to write.  If I wasn’t working on it, I was just about to. The deadline was looming and I was not even halfway done.  So I had to set up a work area in my apartment and sit there for at least four hours a day. Five days in, I purchased a wrist brace, a keyboard pillow and a butt cushion. This was not fiction, so I could disguise my opinion much easier and the words could gush or trickle depending on my mood.  A self-help book was a new adventure for me. One that I would never have taken on myself. Ray Bradbury found them a poor substitute for actually reading and I find some patronizing and simplistic. Still, I found myself actually enjoying the whole advice giving vibe.

By no means am I an expert in mental health, but I have had plenty experience in life. Losing parents, losing friends, break ups, searching for friends, trying to stay gainfully employed, having your heart broken so many times that connections are scary, keeping hope alive when doom is easier, and other things.  Fiction has always been my first love and now I was cheating on it with reality.

Then the deadline suddenly was way too close. I had not wasted time, but had not lit the fire under my ass needed to write a book in two weeks. My first book took me close to five years to complete. It was a lovely two week affair with non-fiction. However,  I had to end it and quickly. Yesterday I woke up early for the summer and made my couch as comfortable as possible. I layered on pillows and got a gallon of water. I had 12,000 words due in 12 hours; it was go time. Procrastination was not my thing, but I was never going to get it done unless I bit the bullet and sucked it up. I wasn’t sure how I would respond to the pressure.

Ideas stalled at first.  I had to write a thousand words an hour to deliver the goods. I had to research different topics and write as if I was on fire. Some of the ideas I could not wrap my head around like showing genuine interest in every person you meet tripped me up. I goggled a few ideas and took off. Just because it was my view that you should only like the people you do otherwise friendships become shallow were obsolete. This was about the client and I had to get out of my own way. Luckily, my hands did not ache and for hours on end as I wrote. I kept track of track by posting my progress on Facebook. My “friends” must have been confused but I needed to gauge my progress. A thousand words an hour became my goal and as the day wore on, I was able to bring it down to forty-five minutes.

Then my nephew came for a visit. When he is around, he is priority and I stopped my writing. He said I looked like a woman possessed as I nested on my couch, engaged in my own speed writing contest. As midnight neared I became on edge. Never one to miss a deadline, I feared this might be the first. My client did not contact me, but another one did  wanting a huge chunk of their piece done by Sunday night.

Right after this project another awaited and then the phone rang. Another client rang and wanted to discuss a project. I begged him off telling him I had another deadline and would call when I was done. It is a general rule to make each client feel like the only one, but today was not the day for that. Every one had to be a hostile stranger today.

Around one o’clock, I was  done. My eyes were sore and my brain was crispy. The television had not gone on all day. I had been strangely peaceful  as if my nervous energy had direction for once. Coming down off the writing high was tougher despite my complete bodily exhaustion. I had not moved all day and I likened it to flying to Thailand non-stop; you want to move, but you have to stay in your seat.

I read about Kim Kardashian’s bad maternity wear choices on the to calm down. My brain needed fluff to stop the rush of ideas and stories still running around.  It worked and I was snoring within thirty minutes. My mind had finally gotten the release it craved after so many weeks of running on toxic energy and panic.

Image I learned that I can be a prolific writer and if I need to punch out a fiction book in a month, I would be able to do it. My only secret is sit your bum on the couch and decide to do it. There are no shortcuts. It helps tremendously if you have already written a book and your mind has a blueprint. If you are a writing virgin, then just go for it as well. It was an empowering day, one I may repeat as the projects miraculously line up as if the universe has been waiting for me to stop torturing myself with self-doubt and start seeing that my energy has a purpose- to create.

To Outline or Not to Outline?

Dorothy Parker wrote a single draft for all her pieces. Think about that. The level of focus and precision needed to pull that off is not human. For my first book, Mermaid, I wrote without an outline. It was a rambling mess and I hired a grad school editor to help me organize after a year. She suggested an outline and I scoffed. Outlines hindered creativity. Words need to pour out onto the page without a rigid structure. Writing is very tangent oriented, no need to stop a good idea. I argued with her and was actually a bit offended in the process. I knew my process the best. Then something occurred to me the other day walking my dog. Maybe an outline allows you to be more creative precisely because you have boundaries to push against.
If it had not been for Catholic school, I would not have thought it scandalous to listen to Pearl Jam, stand up for myself, or forget to say my prayers. The structure is there to focus and preserve intentions. I began drafting an outline that night. The outline is six pages so far. Each day I work on it hoping to start actually writing soon. It is an experiment for me to see which is better suited to my process. Gone are the days though, when I would just vomit on the page and clean it up later on. Until then, I will continue to write in the sand and hope something of mine will finally be published.

Do you outline?

Do Not Be So Quick to Play the Fool, It May Become Your Role

I came of age during the late 90s grunge period. Flannel for the non-Seattle weather I was not experiencing in Miami and carb loading vegetarianism are my fondest memories. Rock stars were activists and monogamous.  Teenage angst took on poetic proportions.   I would hear trite lines like drugs are bad because plant life should not trump human life. Having fun as the world crumbled was selfish, evil almost. Any time you felt happy, you just had to think of starving children in Africa or the AIDS epidemic for it to pass.  It was not the jolliest of times, but now the pendulum swings in the opposite direction. Now everyone attempts to live his or her lives for entertaining you.

There are those among us that live as if they could be contenders for the latest reality show.  I understand the appeal of being unlucky in love or being put in zany situations as others look to you to be their manic pixie dream girl. The trouble is no human is as complicated or funny as they would like to believe. I have sat at dinner parties or just walked down the street overhearing rambling stories  in which the speaker swears what went down was “hysterical”. Their listeners summoning a tight smile silently regretting the one time they mentioned (probably in passing) this person had said or did something funny. These people come across as bit players on Saturday Night Live looking for that break through moment when they will click with the live audience at home. Instead, it is so desperate it almost chafes your brain. Then there are people who are so clueless about being boring that they tell the same story again with emphasis and tap you at the important points as if you just didn’t interpret correctly. I used to just smile politely, now I either move or step back until the person gets the hint. I want to tell them that I am not that interested, but that would be almost un-American to confess someone is boring you. When did their life turn into a series of misadventures to entertain others and not their own creation?


We all gravitate away from the simple to add to our complexity, but it is fruitless. The external will not validate us somehow and give us the qualities we always wanted. I have been to enough of my acquaintances’ amateur comedy hours to know that being funny is an accident or a coping skill generated as a child to ward off bullies. To try to acquire it as an adult is not feasible; it comes across as unnatural and tense. I know humans just want to be liked and accepted. However, life is not an endless cocktail party. Say something of substance and be natural.  This frantic pushing dilutes our worth.