Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh my god. Blogging is ridiculous!

Oh my god. Blogging is ridiculous! I thought at first it would be like exercise--something you do for thirty minutes a day to keep yourself sharp. Like Jazzercise.

Now I am realizing a blog is more like a pet, or a child, or a super demanding philodendron. It has to be nurtured! You worry all day about how it is doing! You wonder, is it developing normally?

Last night, I couldn't fall asleep because I was trying to figure out what I would write about today. Then, today, I realized that my entire inner-monologue had shifted. I am now a blog-oriented thinker. A BOT. As a BOT, one never stops asking herself, "Am I interesting??" A BOT goes about her day storing up items she might eventually discuss in her blog like a squirrel stores nuts.

I spend ten minutes on an exercise bike right next to my ex-boyfriend's father, and I don't say hello. (Neither does he. We just sweat together, side-by-side not speaking, peddling to nowhere.) Is that blog-interesting?

I buy a bunch of groceries willy-nilly (I am mysteriously drawn to kale--a vegetable I've never even touched), and the total is $61. Even. Not one cent more or less! The check-out girl says, "That never happens!" Interesting to me, but as I drive home, I wonder--is it blog-interesting? What will I blog about?

These examples are inane, but it gets more serious.

I go to climb into my shower and find my 2nd deadly Hobo spider in the tub. That doubles the number of deadly spiders I've found in my shower. And, the moment after I ascertain it is a Hobo spider (on account of the dangly balls hanging from its head--actually fangs, for the irachnophobes out there), I think: perfect! Something to write about in my blog! Then, as I bring the shampoo bottle down over its poisonous little body, I hesitate, just for a moment, because...if it happened to bite me...wouldn't that be blog-interesting?!?! At least a week's worth of material, so long as I don't let it bite me on my blogging hands and I seek appropriate medical care.

All of which just goes to prove that blogging is as dangerous, as self-destructive, as I've long suspected. And, as usual, now that I know it is bad for me, I'm hooked.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Color Is Your Now What?

I have just returned from seeing Julie and Julia, and now I'm blogging about a movie about blogging. But, while I thought seeing the movie would motivate me to blog, it actually made me feel weirder about this whole thing, if that's possible. Here's why: it highlighted, once again, the importance of a theme (in this case, being saved from despair by cooking several Julia Childs recipes a day--unfortunately for me, cooking shoots me directly to the profoundest depths of despair).

Also, the movie does not sugar coat the fact that blogging is narcissistic and, well, weird. Especially this kind of blog, my blog, which is shaping up to be little more than a weird trip through my brain.

Finally, do you know what Julia Childs and Julie Powell (the titular characters of said film) have in common? Amazing husbands. Seriously wondrous husbands, revelations of the male persuasion, who are understanding and patient and encouraging and blah blah blah. Now, if you thought I was about to complain about my own lack of husband, or even affectionate boyfriend, or even cute orange cat to meow at the oven when my boeuf borgnone (sp?) begins to burn), you'd be wrong! I can accept that this will be an aimless and narcissistic blog, but if it becomes a whiny blog, I will find a gun and I will shoot off both my big toes, and then blog about it--and that's a promise.

Because something I've got, that nobody else has got, not even Julia Childs, something that I thank my lucky stars for everytime I think about lucky stars (which happens, mostly, in the shower where I've got a window--and how luxurious is that?? A window in your shower is about as good as it gets, even if it is cracked and lets spiders in--and I shower at nighttime looking out at the sky where there are often stars, so now we're back to lucky stars, see I knew where I was going even if you started to wonder) is my friends. God, they're brilliant, my friends.

So yesterday I was thinking about my friends when I was struck by a very important idea (a V.I.I if you will): my friends are not only funny and accomplished and kind-hearted and attractive (really, freakishly good looking), they are also--down to the last one--smarter than me. Not just book smart, or street smart, but the deep-down, emotional-smart that leads to fulfilling lives full of good relationships. I thought first of the friends I had already talked to that day--definitely smarter than me. Then, I thought of the friends I was about to talk to at dinner: so obviously smarter than me. I widened the net, hoping I would come up with one friend--from college? from those four months I spent eating my way through Spain? from the summer when I pushed carts of printer paper from one copy room to another?--who I was smarter than.

Nothing doing.

And I felt really bad, really despairing, for about a half a second. Then, I started to feel really, really good. Because, what better than to be surrounded by, practically drowning in, wisdom? Wisdom that people will give you, for free, because at some point you convinced them they should be your friend!

Now for the best part: these brilliant friends aren't that worried about me. Sure, I call them and I ask, "What am I doing with my life?" or "Where in the world should I live?" or "What job do you think I should do?" And they listen, and they ask probing questions, but they don't seem too worried that I won't figure it out. And they're brilliant, so if they're not going to worry, I'm not going to worry. Too much.

Andrew says, "Are you above reading self-help books? Because I'm not above reading self-help books." Then, he recommends What Color is Your Parachute? and another book called Now What? And even though he is six hours away, I just want to hug him through the phone because he is a super-smart guy who happily cops to reading self-help books, and then genuinely recommends them to a friend in need. So I'm going to read them! I'm going to find out what color is my now what!

Katie tells me about the conversation she had with her s.o., Scout, ("significant other" for those of you who don't speak blogginese fluently) at brunch:
Scout: Why doesn't Kendall have a blog? She needs to have a blog.
(When Scout says "needs," he means, "for her professional development she needs to have a blog," and not "the world needs for her to be blogging." He didn't mean that at all.)
Katie: I think she thinks she is not funny or interesting enough to write a blog that anyone would read.
(Katie is entirely correct in her interpretation and knows me too well.)
Scout: But she wants to be a writer, right? So doesn't she kind of need to think she is funny and interesting enough for people to want to read?
(Touche, Scout, touche.)

To summarize: I am not Julia Childs, I don't have an orange cat to meow warnings at the oven, I still don't have a theme for this blog, but I've got brilliant friends who don't worry too much about the fact that I don't have much at all figured out. I'm persevering with the blog--so far--and my parachute is about to get colored. It all puts me in such a good mood that I'm going to conclude with this:

Breakfast! Here's how you make it.
Step One: Buy Yogurt-Burst Cheerios on the cheap from Winco.
Step Two: Add Soymilk (or regular milk if you're one of the loonies not yet on the soy-wagon). In the voice of Homestar Runner, "Apply liberally" (pronounced "Appwy Wibewawwy").
Step Three: Reheat the coffee you made yesterday. Or the day before. It's hard to remember, but regardless, a minute and twenty seconds in the microwave makes it good as new (thanks, Mom, for this trick).
Step Four: Consume while reading an old library book covered in mysterious stains (try to avoid direct contact). I've chosen Portnoy's Complaint. It's dirty (and I'm not just referring to the cover stains).

I think we can all agree that I'm really hitting my stride with this blogging.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Why Angela Carter Rocks My World (and should rock yours?)

Something that people do on blogs is write about what they're into (see previous post concerning Rabbits, Manicures, and Owl Tats). Other things that people are into--and should into be one word or two?--include: handmade crafts, home-cooked meals, and their children. Of which, I've got none. No handmade crafts, unless you count the unibrows I draw onto the faces of models in magazines. No home-cooked meals, although I am tempted to take a photo of my bowl of cereal and give detailed instructions for how to make it. And, no children (but remember the plants--I've got those two adorable houseplants).

Anyway, something I am into is books I've liked reading. Aren't people always looking for interesting new books to read? Isn't it worth talking about? Then, dear imaginary reader, consider Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus.

Nights at the Circus tells the story of Fevvers, a Junoesque woman with a remarkable pair of feathery wings growing where her shoulder blades should be. She's got a wild Cockney accent (get it, "Fevvers" is Cockney for "feathers"), a mysterious, mustached foster-mother with special powers, and again, the wings. Then, a journalist falls in love with her (who wouldn't, she's a total charmer), and sneaks into the circus as a clown so he can follow her around the world. They find themselves train-wrecked in Siberia, and, well, I've got to stop there. But if you like love stories about circus freaks in the Siberian tundra--who doesn't--I recommend it. Also, if you, like me, believe there is something serious, sad, downright tragic about clowns, then you must read this book. I won't show you crafts, or pies made from scratch, but I'll plug a good book to my nonexistent reader when the mood strikes me.

(Angela Carter also has one of the best stories I've ever read, "The Fall River Axe Murders," about Lizzie Borden. Here is a picture of Carter (look at those cheekbones!).)

"The child's laughter is pure until he first laughs at a clown." A. Carter

What Other Blogs Do

Step One of Being a Good Blogger, according to Natalie who is an absolute expert and brilliant blogger, is reading other blogs. So, today I visited several bloggers of note. Here is what I found:

1. A woman who really, really loves her rabbits and painstakingly documents their complex social interactions. Admittedly, the rabbits are cute.
2. Another woman who is getting her nails painted every day for the entire year. (I think. It was hard to understand if she was getting all of her nails done every day, or just a single nail done each day. Maybe she is doing her own nails every day?? Regardless, it's ambitious.)
3. A blog about owl tattoos, and the people who have them--obviously, a clear winner in my book.

What this "research" made clear to me is that I don't have any owl tattoos (Yet. But those pictures got me thinking). Nor do I have the financial freedom or patience to be getting my nails done everyday. And I certainly don't have wack-a-doo rabbits, or any other pet, about whom I can take cute photos and tell amusing stories.

But I do have these:

They're a bromeliad and a philodendron (so says my mother). I call them...the bromeliad and the philodendron. And they're hilarious! The bromeliad is totally a classic cactus--you know, kind of stand-offish and independent, while the philodendron is high-maintenance, needy, but pretty endearing for the way it's always reaching out to you with its floppy stems. Adorable. And totally worth blogging about.

Or not. I'm still figuring this whole thing out.

In other news, of professional note, my first story was published in the Hayden's Ferry Review! It came out last week, and even though I haven't had the stomach yet to actually open it up and look, I am pleased as punch about this. Additionally, I spent two hours today working on a different story, and wrote a new line (that's right, one single line) that I really like. It all makes me feel that although the game is far from over, I'm scoring a couple points. Or goals. Touchdowns. I'm on the board. Whatever. Sports metaphors aren't really my bag.

Blog over.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I can try again.

Confession. I abandoned the blog. I am a bit of a quitter. I left "I can do lots of things," and I went off to do lots of things. I started a new job, found a new apartment, and had eighteen new boyfriends. One of those things is a lie. I got into a (minor) car accident and went to two strip clubs. I took several plane rides by myself.

But now, the weather is getting bad. And I am trying to watch less TV. So, the blog reasserts itself. I wonder: can I go back? Is it too late? There are problems, with the blog. It's not about anything, for starters. Another problem is that I don't want anyone to read it (No one does read it, of course, but I'm speaking more philosophically about the concept of writing a blog to have it NOT read. "If a tree falls in a forest, does anyone hear it?" Who gives a shit? That's my point. I think).

But my friend Natalie says to take time, find my voice, and not tell another living soul about the blog until I'm good and ready. Okay. She also says that good photos make or break a blog. So, I include this photo of me and my father, because one thing I can do is play "Heart and Soul" on the piano.