Today I picked up three assignments another writer had abandoned. 2000 words apiece on Florida injury laws. All three are due tomorrow at 10am. I have been spending the afternoon writing. Each one takes an hour and a half to two hours to write, but in between, there is a moment I need to recharge, either in mind or with some glucose, or both. This last post is like pulling teeth to write, mostly because I’m feeling a little bit fried. You would be surprised how much brain power you use up with this stuff.
I have the third assignment outlined, but I have to continue to read some really dry statutes on workers compensation laws. As much as I would love to just spend the rest of the evening slacking, I need to get these done. The money doesn’t always flow immediately, and I have a lot of unreviewed assignments that haven’t sold yet. They might not. They could trickle in over the next several weeks. There are no guarantees. It’s like playing bagpipes. You put effort in and it slowly plays out. When work comes in, you pick it up, because sometimes there could be several days when there is nothing.
It might seem a little counterintuitive that I am taking a break from writing by writing this, but I needed to fill my tanks writing my thoughts, rather than writing copy. There’s a big difference. Unless you do this kind of thing, it’s probably impossible to explain. I needed to fill up on some happy before making the final push.
At this moment, I am drawing a blank for the assignment, and I need something to invigorate my brain. Freshly tuna-fish sammiched, Carmello-ed, and watching some YouTube, I feel the brain power meter going back up. Maybe not to full, but at least no longer at empty.
I need to do some reading tonight as well. It has been too long since I have read for pleasure. Lately I’ve been working on photography, reading up on travel writing, and even some new scenes for the next book. I’ve put edits on hold for a bit. The edit brain is different than the writing brain, though you often find yourself rewriting. It is more critical. Right vs. left brain if such a thing actually exists.
The rest of the day has been somewhat productive in other ways. I hung my laundry out to dry. I took Penny to the park and played ball for a bit. Several cups of coffee have been drunk. I also took a vitamin, so now my pee gets to be flourescent yellow for a while. Yesterday I made gumbo from scratch and I have plenty of leftovers. Tomorrow I might make a Marry Me Chicken. I have website stuff to work on then too.
I had better go. I’ve started yawning and that’s not a good sign.
Update: I finished the third assignment, but I’m doubtful as to whether it will sell. They didn’t have any guidelines attached to it and I did the best I could without plagiarism and staying within my word limits. So, three for three today. I hope they sell!
It was a full day, with about 8 hours (counting breaks and food and such) for three assignments.
One of the things I have always struggled with my entire life has been that need for connection. I am not a fan of birthdays and other holidays because they just feel like another day that reminds you how little other people know you.
The other day, I was in a Barnes and Noble and a woman was talking to her little kid about Father’s Day. “You know what would make your dad really happy? A Barnes and Noble gift card. Your daddy loves books!”
It was nice to hear that someone still reads, but what kinda bummed me out was how she just phoned it in with the gift card. If I buy someone a book, it’s because I’ve poked around and found out what they like, or what they might be interested in. I’m sneaky like that. I ask questions. I use subterfuge. Why is that? Because for fucking once, I’d love it if someone put in the work to get me something I wanted. It’s not hard if you listen to someone. And I love that look on their face when you have gotten them something they love.
I’m sure the dad will be happy with his $20 gift card. He’ll probably buy something he wants. But wouldn’t it have blown his socks off if they got him exactly what he wanted? It’s the connection that is the gift. Not the gift itself.
I once dated a woman who gave me a $30 gift card to King Soopers (the local Kroger franchise) for Christmas. Why $30? Hell, I’ll never know. What did I get her? An illustrated copy of The Rhime of the Ancient Mariner and the Atlas Obscura. One book was something she mentioned she used to teach and really loved, and the other was something to help her push her comfort zones. Her gift to me required almost no thought. When I asked her about it, she said, “You’re always complaining you don’t get to go anywhere. I thought you could buy gas with it.” When I filled up my tank, it cost $37. It didn’t even get me a tank of gas.
It’s always been like that.
I’ve been lucky enough to where I’ve gotten gifts that did mean things. My last serious gf spoiled the hell out of me. She would buy me Dutch Bros. tumblers, hoodies, cigars, scotch, etc.. The next woman I dated…ish, would randomly send me Dutch Bros. coffee. Birthdays, Father’s Day, or just because. It was sweet, but I never had the heart to tell her the reason I loved the DB merch so much was because of Leslie. It helped me stay close to her even though she was gone. It’s why I still try to go every month. It reminds me of happier times. One of the rare times in my life someone actually listened to what I liked. But, I think the moment that charmed me the most about that one was when she ordered my coffee and remembered that I like Americanos with three raw sugar packets and one cream.
I remembered that she loved Van Morrison, Dave Matthews, and nobody had ever bought her flowers before when they weren’t trying to make up for mistreating her. So I bought her flowers. Daisies, because they were some of her favorites. The last thing I bought her was a hard cover copy of the Princess Bride. I gave it to her on Christmas, even though I bought it as a birthday present. I knew things were ending, and I couldn’t stand having it in my house for another three months.
‘Ere the bonny boat was won as we sailed into the mystic…
I’ve walked away from friendships that just made me feel lonely because they only saw who they perceived me as, but never took the time to get to know me. I’ve had a lifetime of that. I have no desire to waste anymore time on surface connection.
Lately, if someone flirts with me, I just phone it in. I’m not there. I know how to make the words, but my heart is no longer in it. I do it just to lose myself. They don’t know me. They only know this facade that I’ve put up. This shadow of someone I used to be. He’s gone. He died a little while ago. He dies a little bit more each day. Eventually, I’ll forget where the bones were buried. He was for someone else. It’s not fair, but sometimes I have that glimmer of hope that I will be able to feel something. Anything.
There’s nothing left though.
I keep seeing TikTok videos that talk about “Where are all the good men with beards and dad bods and tattoos?” Some people blame women for screwing them over and they have given up. I think for me it’s different. I opened myself up too many times, sometimes to the person I knew wasn’t right for me, but they were better than nothing…which is almost always what I’ve had. I just don’t think I have it in me anymore. I’m tired. I am tired of learning favorite colors and middle names and all of it just for it to disappear again and for us to become strangers. I’m happier just remembering the perfect slope of someone’s nose or those smoky eyes or the adorable way they sneeze or getting lost in their kiss.
It’s lonely up here in the mountains, but I’m here for good reasons. Nobody is going to fix me. Nobody is going to carry me. I’m here to do that on my own. In opening myself up, I also know that I rely on others too much. I’m happy to let a version of myself make it look like everything is fine when it’s not. This experience is a spiritual journey to become a true version of myself who no longer wants that.
Maybe one day, someone will come into my life again who rekindles that fire in my heart to find a companion. Right now though, I’m not good for her. I know this. And what if no one ever comes again? That person who gets me and I get them? The person who matches my energy and my values? The one who isn’t afraid to be loved passionately, unconditionally? Women ask where all the good men are? Where are the women who will be vulnerable enough to be loved like that again?
Maybe in another life. When we are all young again and not calcified by all the damage we’ve hardened ourselves against.
I guess I miss those few times someone actually got me. Or cared to try. Like I say, I don’t write happy stories.
This clip comes from one of my favorite bands. In a weird way, they are hard to watch because the lead singer looks very much like my former gf’s sister. Seeing her reminds me of the first night we all met. It’s another one of those bittersweet moments that won’t mean anything to anyone one day. I miss them all. I live in the past, it’s true. The past has carried me through some of the toughest times. I trust it more than I do the future. I guess it’s just one of those nights.