Complicated

(Note: This was a phone conversation. I collect books, Mr. J collects guns. We’d listened to the audiobook last year and this year finished the audiobook of Wise Man’s Fear. It took me forever to convince Mr. J that he would like it.)

Mr. J: I bought another copy of The Name of the Wind.

Me: Did you get the 10th anniversary edition or the illustrated edition?

Mr. J: I don’t know. It’s a book.

Me: Does it say “illustrated” on the cover?

Mr. J: I don’t know, it has pictures on it.

Me: That doesn’t help me. Does it say “illustrated?”

Mr. J: It has words on it.

Me: What words?

Mr. J: I don’t remember I didn’t look at the cover.

Me: How could you not look at the cover?

Mr. J: Books are complicated. Guns are easier.

Me: (laughs) I’m putting that on a t-shirt for you.

Cats at the Hemingway House

Last week I got back from vacation with Mr. J in Key West, Florida. And of course I dragged him to the Hemingway Home and Museum. Even though his typewriters, writing space, and the tour explaining all the drama were all amazing, the cats were the best part. The cat cemetery was also adorable. Here are a few photos of the cats we saw.

Bird Watching Beginner: Spark Bird

It’s hard for me to find hobbies I like. I’ve tried music, knitting, polymer clay, yoga (I know, I know, it’s a lifestyle). Nothing really captivates my attention or soothes for very long. Although, I am determined to learn guitar BECAUSE.

But I am a writer and writing, for me, is both a job and a hobby. I write when I’m not at my “day job” and I take writing very seriously. I strive for the best book covers, the best edits, the best stories I can tell. But the buck stops there. I’m not interested in making online courses, freelance editing, or implementing marketing strategies to sell more books. Or sell anything. I don’t want to sell you anything.

I have maybe 5 friends. One of them is my husband so he doesn’t really count but he’s my best friend so he does. And I like it that way. I don’t socialize, I don’t GO OUT and do things unless I’m with my mom or by myself and usually that’s just to walk around the neighborhood and take pictures of flowers. Or hiking. Beyond the day job, walking around sometimes, and writing, I don’t do anything (except read, watch TV, and play with the cats. very important).

A tiny part of me wants to change that. So I’m trying to find other hobbies to participate in so my brain doesn’t liquify.

Today I saw a bird I didn’t recognize. We get lots of cardinals, robins, and blue jays in our backyard but so far the most exotic bird I’ve seen here at home is the Brown-headed Cowbird. When I lived in Alabama there were Crows and Seagulls. And the occasional brown finch-like bird that is probably not a finch but I can’t be bothered to look up right now (House Finch).

This bird had black and white wings and a red throat. At first I thought it was a woodpecker of some kind because the coloring was right but the pattern on its back was slightly off and it had a cardinal’s beak. Not a woodpecker. I looked it up and found its name: Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

It’s my spark bird.

I learned about spark birds in Anna Russell’s Talk of the Town segment “Field Trip” in The New Yorker.

I did some research and discovered the works of Jason Ward and Lesley the Bird Nerd.

So now I really like bird watching. Mr. J bought me a pair of really nice Nikon binoculars.

Morning thoughts on academia

Not everyone gets to play in the sandbox.

Some have to stay in the weeds.

They get kicked out by the other kids.

Or they look at the sandbox and think: one of my colleagues peed in that. That is a gigantic litter box.

Or they get trapped on the jungle gym because the ground has turned to lava.

Either way I am in the weeds. I don’t play well with others and I don’t want to sit in someone else’s pee. Even if the sand absorbs it.

Who I Was…

I find myself regressing.

Repeating behaviors I exhibited back when I was in college.

I cut all my hair off and am letting it grow out again only this time the cutting was from losing the battle to save my ends from a bad dye job, not a surrender to early 2000s punk rock.

I return to my mother’s house where I live in the old room I had in elementary school. We played musical rooms a lot, my family and I.

I wear the clothes I wore as a child: jeans and oversized t-shirts only this time because they’re comfortable and not because we were flat broke and the authorities felt the need to hide my rapidly developing curves (I had the second biggest breasts in middle school).

I used to smoke cigarettes and I miss them with all of my heart.

I would tape magazine pictures into my notebooks for collages instead of gluing them, the glossy strips formed a layer of protection, preservation, I felt I could never attain.

I wanted to be a vampire. I wanted to stay the same, never age, never gain weight, never feel anything but cold.

Now I hate the cold and I weigh 50 lbs more than that girl I want to go back to.

She made a lot of mistakes.

I want to give her a hug and tell her to stop hating herself.

I want to tell her everything’s going to be alright AND she will find the PERFECT PURSE even though she’s also going to fuck up many, many times.

Fucking up is okay.

Do you guys out there feel that way too? Do you notice little things that you thought you outgrew? Or things you haven’t done in a very long time like make a collage or cut your hair?

Do you replay all your fuckups and cringe?

It’s okay.

Three Voices

(Phone conversation)

Me: You sleep well, love.

Mr. J: You too, get plenty of rest.

Me: Okay.

Mr. J: Actually do it, get rest.

Me: (silence…I was actually thinking about fixing a plot point and not really paying attention.)

Mr. J: Actually do it. And don’t use your rebellious voice.

Me: (laughs) I don’t have a rebellious voice.

Mr. J: You have three.

Me: (laughs) Really?

Mr. J: Yep.

Me: Tell me about ’em.

Mr. J: No.