You know, you hear the word "Supernova" and you think it's something really awesome.
But it's actually something really depressing.
Because what it is is an explosion. And it burns so bright, it outshines everything around it and then it fades away and then everything is gone.
So I've been pretty depressed lately, feeling like I've wasted my life up to this point. I'm not saying this to get pity or for someone to say "Noooo! You're special!"
Really, the earth has 7 billion people. There's a lot of competition for making a mark and, no, everyone is not special. We are not all individual little snowflakes who make the world a beautiful and lovely place.
Some of us are just breathing. Just consuming resources and taking up a little space. And when we go away we won't have a big bright explosion or a shining light. We'll just fade away. And that's it and that's all. And a few years will pass and no one will remember our names or our faces.
I've just been feeling like it's a wasted effort to try to make an impact because it will only be fleeting, it will only be overshadowed and it will only be stepped on by someone with more potential to be awesome.
I don't know what happens after a supernova. I didn't study enough to know. I might even be wrong about what I do know. I imagine the light goes out and millions of rocks are spread across the universe, moving and falling until they crash into another planet's orbit and burn up in the atmosphere before they can even make a mark on the land.
(I think I'm fairly safe in doing this as it's been so long, maybe no one's reading this any more.)
I also decided to get a mohawk again. Because when times get tough I usually do one of two things: shave my head or get a tattoo.
But my tattoo artist is in Chicago and I'm in LA
And I'm trying to grow my hair out for a new hairstyle that may result in failure and a newly shaved head anyway.
I just downloaded the Ellie Goulding album "Lights" and I've been listening to it all night. Plucking my eyebrows (perhaps inadvisably) and holding my hair back in mohawness and working on a smokey eye and drinking copious amounts of white zin.
You see I've had a day.
I work in "retail," but it's a specialized form. I am an optician and, goddamn, do I love it. I combine math and figuring out prescriptions and all the details of that, with styling a face. Finding the right frame to match the entire facial structure of a customer. I'm also a little bit of a seer in that I need to read the mood of the person. What I'm doing is helping them find their new face and that takes a certain view into who this person is. I imagine them in their day-to-day. I imagine them wanting to feel empowered or wanting to feel invisible--like the glasses don't obstruct them in any way. It's not something I take lightly, in fact, I study it. I read about it and study my calculations in my spare time.
Some days, people come into the shop and they get it. They get that what I'm doing is for their good. I want them to be happy.
Other days, I am treated like I'm low. Like I'm some shopgirl who failed at life and now, here I am, obviously dumber than the greater population because I'm working in retail.
The other day, a friend of mine, in trying to defend my choice in career, said she was upset when people put it down. But it felt kind of hollow. Maybe it's me, maybe it's my interpretation of things. But it seemed like she was just trying to say it was okay for me to settle.
Today, a friend of mine was talking about her career as an actress and how she had moved to LA as a next step and she had watched so many people "settle" for small town acting.
I told her that, maybe to them, it wasn't settling. Maybe they honestly didn't want the next step. Maybe they're happy. And she nodded politely.
Some people don't understand that if you're not reaching for the stars, you're happy. They will always look at you with a little bit of a thought that you're settling. That you could do more if you just put your mind to it. Shortly after I won the Rose Metal Chapbook competition, my friend (while we were walking fairly drunk together) told me that I needed to find some discipline in my writing. When I scoffed, he said, "oh, you have a chapbook coming out! yay!" in a way that was very much like congratulating a 14 year-old on being able to ride a bike. Nice work, but it's a little too little too late.
So, for career, I will say that I am superbly happy in my current job. The good days far outnumber the bad. And the good customers far outweigh the bad. And, most days, I am fulfilled at work.
And for writing, I will say that I always wrote as a way of communication. As an extremely lonely child/adolescent/adult, I write as a way of talking to some invisible entity. My goal never was and never has been to publish a big, fancy book, to be famous, to have name recognition, to be popular, or any of that shit. And when the expectation of all that shit was put in my face, I closed off. I stopped writing. I shut off. And I moved away to a new city. Because what I loved about writing was being pulled away from me, by people who were always asking me why I wasn't shooting for the next goal. Why wasn't I shooting for the stars? It was being pulled away by people who were so consumed with their own ideas of success they had dismissed me as a flame-out.
I've just now started writing again with any kind of joy. With any kind of feeling like I'm communicating again. I'm slowly beginning to find myself again in doing what I loved with writing, which is to do some kind of origami with feelings. To hide them behind a story and to look for that person to recognize what I'm saying.
My friend who was trying to defend my choice to work in retail, I love her. It is a friendship I hope not to fuck up like I have so many others. But what I couldn't say to her is that my life today, my life yesterday, my life for almost 30 years has had some element of letting the water roll off my back. Has been putting up with people who look at me like I'm less than them. Because I'm working in retail. Because I'm a short story writer. Because I haven't yet and I'm not going to write a fucking novel. The eyes of those who have low expectations of you are not hiding any truths.
So that's it. That's me saying I love my job and I'm fucking good at my job if you let me be good. And I'm a fucking good writer if you let me be in my own way.
*This post is called "Eye walk LA" because 1-Eye=I'm an optician, duh. and 2-I'm a carless pedestrian in LA by choice because I love walking places, not because I'm a flunky who doesn't understand cars. Let's compare carbon footprints and see who wins in that game of achievement.
I wrote this story for a Ray's Reading. The "constraint" for the night was to write about "The ghosts of Ray's" or something like that. I decided to put a little literal ghost work as well as the idea of a memory as a ghost and the ghosts of people who are still around, we just forget to notice them. I also listened to Santa Maria by The Frames A LOT while writing this. The song is based on Egon Schiele, so there are some connections there with the story.
"You remind me of that guy in the movies, the one with the eyes" will be in Precipitate!
This story was written while listening to the album "I am the West" by the band Lovers, particularly the song "How the Story Ends."
"Me and Theodore climbed to the top of the water tower because we were afraid of the tremors beneath the dirt." will be in Everyday Genius!
Originally this story was rejected, but Adam saved it from the "no" pile and moved it to the "yes" pile, thereby ensuring that I would continue to wear the small pin with the portrait of Adam's face on it. This story was written when I was feeling old and like I had lost my youth and was really sad because I realized I would never be young again.
I wrote this after sitting on my porch. I walked inside. Wrote it. Posted it at Fictionaut. Meg emailed me and said she liked it. That all happened in the span of about six hours. Crazy. I'm not sure when it'll be up, but I'm psyched about it.
"On watching the 2000 movie "Where the Heart Is" starring Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, and Stockard Channing in which Natalie Portman plays a pregnant teenager whose boyfriend abandons her at a Wal-Mart while on a cross-country trip and she then lives in the Wal-Mart until she has the baby and then the rest of the movie is about how she makes a life for herself with mild success as a photographer and a marriage to the town hottie/smarty-pants *meanwhile* the boyfriend who abandoned her gets arrested, stays a worthless drunk, loses his legs, and lives a life of regret, in short, he gets what he deserves and even though I paid ACTUAL money to see this movie when it was in theaters, and left the theater knowing the movie really only deserved, maybe, to be on Lifetime: Television for Women, the other night, when it actually was on Lifetime: Television for Women, or maybe it was on Oxygen, I don't quite remember, I do know that it was a television station "for women," I sat down and watched it, the whole thing, all the while knowing that I could be doing something like reading a book, or doing laundry, or writing a novel, or something productive like that." will be in the first Knee-Jerk print issue!
The title of the story pretty much tells the process of this piece. Also, it's about the last unicorn in the world.