Monday, April 30, 2012

Coming Into My Own: Why So Hard?

     My brother brought something to my attention.  He dutifully read my blog (after I badgered him for his input) and claimed that my writing was tense and sounded nothing like me.  He also made that claim that I was trying to sound like other writers.  My answer?  Yes and No.

     Yes because I want to write.  I love to write.  However, if I wanted to write for my own amusement, I'd keep a diary.  I have kept diaries in the past, but quickly lost interest in writing in them.  For one, I don't feel comfortable writing private things when I know I'm running the risk of someone stumbling across my deepest, darkest secrets- another reason why I don't understand the Vampire Diaries series.  For two, I want to entertain people.  I don't see the need to write when no one will read it.  And if they do read it, I don't want them to feel as if they've wasted their time.  Sure, that's a risk you take when you put yourself out there, but I'm an educated gambler at any rate.
    I also say "No" because I don't really know what my voice is.  I've written lots of things, but different things call for different styles.  I certainly wouldn't have turned anything like this in for an Advanced Writing course.  Syntax, grammar, and proper punctuation is fun to learn and all, but it makes for very stale writing.

   So how do you find your own, unique voice?  Free writing, perhaps?  That's what I'm doing right now.  Letting my thoughts bounce from the void inside my skull, down through my fingers dancing across the keys, and onto the screen.  I suppose my biggest problem actually comes from my brother.  My brother is a great writer, always has been.  I've asked him on numerous occasions to read things I've written, and he's pounced on every opportunity to pick everything apart and leave me in a puddle of tears.  While that may sound as traumatizing as it is, he has also given me some great pointers.  I force myself to stop and really, really think about the things I'm trying to say, and more importantly the ways in which they could be argued against.  So, while I'm building my case and opinions, I'm also creating counter-opinions to strengthen my arguments against them.  Should it matter if you disagree with me?  No, absolutely not.  Do I want to look like an idiot with unsound opinions?  Once again, No.

    And maybe other writers have influenced me.  Isn't imitation the highest form of flattery?  I don't intentionally do it, mind you.  Maybe it's my subconscious envy of published, respected writers.  But do I want people to enjoy and respect a shell of me?  The Literary-Whore part of me is gleefully screaming "Yes!  Yes!  Love me and publish me and nationally syndicate me!"  The Literary Critic inside of me is...kind of pouty actually because it too wants fame and fortune.  I shouldn't care if I profit from my art.  It gives me pleasure and that should be gain enough.  It's not monetary, it doesn't buy my kids fancy clothes, but if I work really hard and strive to please no one but myself, I should be happy that I've given you my best, most original work.

   So, here is my promise to you, and I shall do my very best to honor it.  I will strive to only channel me in anything I write in my blog.  I will entertain you, inspire you, and hopefully teach you a little about life along the way- and it will be all ME.

    What about you guys?  Do you do things because you enjoy them or because you receive money and/or attention for your efforts?  I'd love to hear from you!

Love Zombies, Will Travel

I am completely fascinated by Zombies.  Sure, Vampires are shiny and get all of the face time on the silver screen- followed closely by Werewolves, but Zombies are just way more fun.  There's just something about a lumbering, rotting, reanimated corpse wanting to gnaw the flesh from my very bones that catches my imagination and utter devotion. 

First of all, I love being completely terrified.  My heart races, my veins rush fun-filled adrenaline to places I'd forgotten I had, and sometimes I wet myself.  Just making sure you were really paying attention.  Zombies are my favorite go-to fright factory, but I can settle for ghost and haunting stories, but my fascination with those things are for another time.

I've tried to rationalize my relationship with all things Zombie, and I just keep getting distracted by shiny objects and  fiddling with my fancy iPod.  But really, what is it about these yucky-looking critters?  Let me see if I can reason through this.

Death: Death is a pretty final, permanent commitment.  You live such a short while, but you're dead for eternity.  Sucks, right?  Death is freaking scary because no one knows anything about it.  Like I said, it's a permanent commitment.  No one comes back from it.  Now, I know what you're going to say- "Now Jessicca, what about all of those people who wake up from some horrible ordeal claiming they rendezvoused with long-gone loved ones and muttering something or other about the white light?"  I suppose you could also mention that during heart by-pass surgery that you're technically dead for several minutes until they decide to juice you back into existence.   Sure, while your brain is sputtering around on fumes without oxygen, you could hallucinate all sorts of things (a common explanation) or you did actually see these things, but it just wasn't time for you to clock-out for realsies (explanation numero dos). 

Life After Death?: Religiously, I believe that there is some existence elsewhere after death where you are rewarded for your goodness, or forced to atone for your not-so-goodness.  But there's a weird little limbo that I wonder about.  There are things that can't be explained like ghosts and such.  And what about the occult things like the dreaded, possessed Oijia Board that you can't seem to shake no matter how many times you burn it, chop it up, and bury in the most remote places on Earth?  Which reminds me, I need to renew my frequent flier miles. 
    As humans, I think that we want to believe in life after death.  We want to clutch to the hope that you can somehow contact the loved ones you left behind and continue to influence their lives in some form or another.  To me, that's an utterly depressing thought.  I don't want to spend whatever portion of my eternity blowing in people's ears and hoping they'll notice and talk to me, or hope some Medium comes by to exorcise my spirit from whatever place I wander into.  Might be a dream come true for some, not so much for me.
   At least Zombies get to stumble around and harass people.  I could even track down the people I didn't like and make a meal out of their innards.  I can think of a few literary agents to be my zombie lunch special.  Who's going to put a Zombie in jail?  No body, that's who! 

The Opportunity to Shed Social Norms and Mores: It's the whole appeal for anything taboo, really.  It's the thrill of doing something that you know is wrong, but for whatever reason, under new circumstances, you no longer have to follow the popular guys' rules. 
     Fashionistas Need Not Apply: Zombies don't care how they're dressed.  They only care about you...well more exactly the yummy-gummy taste of you.  Usually they're all crusty and musty and that only adds to their appeal.  Sure, you smell like rot and decay, but you're a Zombie.  Just eat your critics.  Also, handy in the publishing world I would think.
    No More Responsibility: Going to jail for not paying child support?  No worries, just eat them- your spouse or your children I suppose.   Hate your job and want to quit?  Eat his coffee swilling butt.  That'll teach him for taking away Casual Fridays.  You don't need money anyway.  The people hiding from you in their basement- they're your meal.  And you don't need a house anyway.  You're already (mostly) dead.  A little rain will only serve to wash away some grime.
    Aggression is Your Friend:  Susceptible to bouts of rage?  Ever fought the urge to tear someone limb from limb?  Good, those things will come in handy when the survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse start thrashing at you with a hatchet.  I can't think of a better qualification for being a zombie...except maybe unquenchable hunger.
    No Need For Niceties:  Forget having to suck up to your gross co-worker with the things crawling around in his hair just because you're afraid he'll get the big promotion just because he's your boss' son-in-law.  You don't have to worry about what people think of you.  Like I said, eat your critics.  They're yummiest with a little mustard.

Dealing With Fear: Like I said, death is the great beyond, the great unknown, maybe a great let-down depending on where you end up I suppose.  Face it, whenever you hear about a death, or an impending funeral you wonder what happened?  Could I have contracted whatever killed them by going?  How old were they?  While funerals are a way for the living to say their good-byes and pay tribute to the person you were and what role you played in their lives, you find yourself missing seeing them whenever the mood struck.  Great thing about Zombies?  You can see them dragging their bum leg behind them, staggering down the street gnawing on a femur and just as happy as a lark.  Is it the same Great-Gramps that tucked you into bed with a pat on the head and a kiss goodnight?  No, but you can't have your cake and eat it, too.
   Also, there would be no need for further debate.  You live, you  die, you come back as a Zombie and eat the masses.  Is it a fairytale?  No, refer to the above cake comment. 

Cannibalism: Most everyone is familiar with the Donner Party in 1847 in the Sierra Nevada in California.  Over half of the initial 87 suffered from disease, starvation, and eventually succumbed to cannibalism.  Nutritionally, eating the flesh of other human beings is not a good idea.  We don't exactly digest it, thus you can't get nutrition from it.  But when you're super starved with nary a McD's in sight, you eat what you can I guess.  Cannibalism is probably lower on the totem pole than incest, pedophilia and the thievery of candies from babies- all three of which should be punishable with death by Rabid Zombies...which is way, WAY worse. 
    This probably isn't the go-to selling point for Zombies, but taboo things seem to get perverted attention for the sole reason that it's taboo.  Speaking of McD's, from the horror-filled stories of chicken eyes nuggets, chicken feet strips, and the occasional spittle in your sweet tea, that doesn't sound much more gourmet than the intestines of the annoying neighbor revving engines and playing crappy music all night...when they know you work. 

I'm sure that there's way more to their appeal than that, but I can only think so long and so in-depth before my ears start to steam and the hamsters fall out of their exercise wheels.  Plus, I have lots more to do today than sit at a desk and regale you with the awesome-possumness of Zombies. 

The Zombies Are Coming!
Are you a fan of Zombies?  Do you think Vampires are better?  Comment below and share your ideas.  I won't bite...unless you blatantly contradict anything I've written above.  Those Rabid Zombies I mentioned before, are totally real and I'll give them your address.  Enjoy!

Blog Virgin

Okay, so I know that blogs are uber popular and all that, but I never really knew of anything I deemed important enough to write about.  I love to write, and I love to talk about myself even more, so a blog should be a natural fit for me.  However, I didn't become really interested until my older brother decided that he would use one in his quest to better himself.  I don't see how I could get any better than I already am, so while I deem his quest a noble one, I have decided that I shall follow the honored tradition of monkey see, monkey do. 

I'm not sure what I intend to discuss, but I hope to make it as pleasurable for you, my adoring audience, as possible.  I have this idea that my blog won't be about just one thing, ideally a hodge-podge of creative, whimsical, hilarious things that come to mind.  So, consider this inaugural post an introduction of sorts.

Since this is my introduction to you, I should probably tell you a little about myself. Obviously my name is Jessicca.  I am a female, 24 years young, married for seven years, and the mother to the two cutest kids on the freaking planet.  That's right, and if you try and tell me that your children are smarter, prettier, or more fun to be around I just won't believe it because it's simply not possible.

I have a four-year old son (who will probably inspire 98% of my blogs) named Connor Lathan.  I birthed him when I was twenty years old and still in college.  My mother helped me raise him into the little monkey turd he is today.  I have big dreams for my oldest hatchling which include but are not limited to: astronaut, nautical captain, President, doctor, lawyer, and/or my eventual caregiver when I'm hundreds of years old.  Basically, whichever field allows him to have lots of money to keep me up.  After all, I'll be doing it for him for 18+ years. 

Connor & Temperance
I have a four-month old daughter named Temperance Roiannah (nick-named Tempe or Sissy).  I always wanted a girl and now I finally have one.  She is at once Connor's bestest friend and his arch-nemesis in his quest for my attention.  She is my miracle baby.  She gave me lots of problems during pregnancy, put me on bed rest, and added tons of gray hairs to my head.  When she was born, her lung collapsed and she had to set up shop in the NICU for a week.  Doctors kept telling us that she would pull through and it wasn't all that bad as far as newborn baby health issues were concerned, but when you're infant is covered in tubes and monitors, you start thinking worst-case scenario stuff.  Anyways, she made a quick recovery and now she's healthy, happy, and chunky monkey.  I also suspect that she will add some pizazz to my posting.  While my husband works all of the time, my mother and father-in-law are pitching in to help raise her and Connor.  I know, it takes a village, right?

I am married, to quite possibly the biggest idiot I've ever met.  Okay, I know that's not fair- I haven't met that many people.  I'm just kidding...unless you know him, then you totally know what I'm talking about, right?  We married when I was eighteen, thought we knew it all, discovered we didn't, fought a lot, made up a lot, and created two human beings together.  Whew, that's a big roller coaster ride to fit into seven years!  He works a lot to support us, which is good for me so I can stay home with my tax deductions...children, but that also means that parenting falls solely to moi from Monday-Friday(ish).  So while he does play an important role in my existence, I don't really foresee him playing a huge role in my blogs.  Sorry, I just don't like to discuss my marital affairs with total strangers.  I save that misery for the people nearest and dearest.  Yes, it is totally okay to feel sorry for them.  I'm sure they've started a donation box somewhere for the sedatives they may or may not need to tolerate my nearness...and dearness I suppose.  That's totally a word!

Speaking of the weirdest nearest and dearest, I have a brother who is four years older than me (I mentioned him earlier).  We haven't always appreciated one another...and we probably don't now.  But, he's my confidante and competition for mommy's affection (you never really grow out of it I suspect).  He now lives four hours away and I really do miss seeing him whenever I want.  Sure, I didn't want to see him that often when he was fifteen minutes up the road, but I find that I want to see him way more now that I have to put much more effort into spending time with him. 

I do have a four-year college degree/education in Social Sciences.  I know, I know I totally blew it by not following the science route and becoming head brain doctor person, or not following the history route and becoming head viper in the lawyer pit.  Believe me, my mother reminds me of my educational shortcomings with almost every breath.  And no, I'm not currently doing anything productive with my fancy, expensive degree.  Also don't need to be reminded of that any more in this lifetime , thank you mother!  Social Sciences, Anthropology, and Theology just attracted me like a moth to a flame and I couldn't take anymore of those classes while maintaining a science-centric curriculum.

I love to read.  My shelves are stocked with a very odd, eclectic assortment of literature.  A little Tolstoy, romance novels, how-to-psychic books, mystery, horror- you see where I'm going with this.  Anything that interests me.  I also love to write.  I've written exactly one completed work, a romance novel...and it is a trunk novel for ever.  I tried getting it published, but it never really panned out.  So, I lost interest in writing for quite some time.  It's hard to maintain passion about something when no one wants to read what you've written.  So, the time has come for me to gather my gumption once more and dive back into writing.  What better way to get my feet wet than creating a blog, right?

So, there ya go.  I probably forgot lots, embellished some, and glossed over a little, but I just wouldn't be human  if I didn't.  Please enjoy my random, crazy, beautiful life!  Also, if you ever see a novel published by me, please buy a copy for yourselves and everyone you know.  Annoy them with the constant musing, sharing, and raving of my complete awesomeness.  Thanks a bunch!