Monday, March 29, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time there was a beautiful gypsy princess with a lot to say. Ok, she wasn't all that beautiful, and she was only a gypsy in her soul and her pedigree was about as far from royalty as you could get - but would you have been as interested if I'd said, "Once upon a time there was a frumpy middle-aged suburbanite with a blog"? I thought not.


So the (ahem) beautiful gypsy princess told her stories for over a year, even though no one was really listening. She spoke at length about her feelings and her struggles and sometimes just about the day to day experiences in her frumpy suburban/beautiful gypsy life. Since no one was listening, she was unencumbered by rules or obligations or social niceties or censorship. She spoke from her heart.

One day in her travels she fell upon a group of people who seemed eager to hear her stories. The only requirement was that she listen to theirs in turn. What a wonderful group this was! They quickly embraced her to their welcoming bosom. Before long they were inviting her to join in their games and their parties - some even offered her gifts and awards in return for her pledge of loyalty or a few kind words about them when she relayed her stories to others. She happily obliged. It seemed a small price to pay for the ever increasing audience her stories were attracting.

But then something happened.

She noticed that she was no longer speaking from her heart. She was playing a game and she'd never really been good at games. She was never going to win. She became unhappy. Despondent. She considered giving up storytelling altogether. She stopped listening to the stories of others - even the ones whose stories she loved - because the whole storytelling gig had lost its luster.

She was tired of spending hours a day with fluffy nonsense and was more than a little embarrassed that she'd produced more than her share of it. But when she tried to silence her voice, she found that she could not. She decided to continue telling her stories on her own terms. She vowed to no longer speak only for her listeners, but to return to speaking from her heart.

This decision cost her many followers - I mean - listeners. She didn't care (much). She was being true to herself and it felt good. It was freeing. She didn't care if anyone else felt the same way or not.

But then two beautiful, kind, and excessively smart princesses from a neighboring village organized a group of storytellers who indeed DID feel the same way. The gypsy princess was delighted. They asked her to join their merry band and throw off the shackles of group mentality for the pursuit of blogs - I mean stories - of substance. (I realize the inherent irony involved in joining a group to escape the shackles of group mentality. It's like rain on your wedding day, or the smile on a dog or something. Wait. I think one of those is religion. Anyway.)

Those two princesses were the lovely Pam and Sandy and their village is Words of Wisdom - a brand new site for showcasing what they believe to be blogs of substance. I am honored and thrilled that they consider my little venture to be worthy of that accolade - specifically, the accolade: Blog of Note (or BON if you want to sound like an insider, and I know you do...) The only criteria is that I link three of my favorite posts. I don't know if I'd call these three of my all-time favorites, but they are three relatively recent posts that I kind of like.

If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher is a post about - um - reading, and teaching and thankfulness...

I'm Not Like This is a self-reflective post - a real navel-gazer.

The Bon Jovi Mom is thrown in here because I'm not all about tooting my own horn or studying my belly-button. In my basest (and arguably happiest) form, I am a squealy fangirl.

So if you're stopping by from WoW (another of those insider acronyms - now you're in the loop) - thanks! I hope to swap stories with you again very soon. If you're not, you might want to give them a visit. Tell 'em a beautiful/frumpy gypsy/suburbanite named Mommakin sent ya!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Every Tom, Dick and Ozzy

Warning - the following content is - well - just be warned, is all.

It's wonderful to marry and then proceed to give birth to the sort of people who enjoy the same things that you do and - better yet - who can make you laugh. I've established that my family is musical, but we are also all avid readers. We've always talked about the books we read with each other, and we particularly encourage Liv to do so because she has a lot of trouble when she is asked to summarize a book for school. "What was the book about?" generally prompts an answer that lasts twenty minutes and leaves one feeling like - without having read the book oneself - one could still probably write a pretty decent summary of the summary.

She's working on it.

So we were out to dinner last night and she had just finished a lengthy explanation of the book she'd just finished. Tom jumped on the conversation train and decided to share an anecdote from the book he'd just finished, I Am Ozzy - Ozzy Osbourne's autobiography.

"He was talking about Jack's birth and their decision to have him circumcised. Sharon is half Jewish or something, I don't know - Ozzy sort of writes like he talks. Anyway - he talked about the fact that he himself had several brothers who were not circumcised, but that he was. He asked his mother about it and she shrugged and said it was what was in fashion at the time."

I took a nice long sip of my margarita as he continued.

"So Ozzy said, 'Wait? Because it was in FASHION you cut off the end of my DICK?'"

I forced myself to swallow that mouthful of margarita rather than following my natural impulse to spit. Insert your own spit/swallow joke here - I'll wait.

"Wow. I'd like to thank you for waiting till I had a mouthful of libation before saying 'dick' in front of my daughters."

Laughs all around. When the laughter died down, though, Liv said, "I didn't completely understand all of those words, though."

Ever helpful, her sister answered, "Well, a dick is another name for a boys..."

"Not THAT word!"

Not that word indeed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You've Got Your Passion, You've Got Your Pride

After all of my job-related whining (not having a job, having a job but being overqualified for it, blah blah blah wah) a friend recommended the book How Starbucks Saved My Life: a Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else by Michael Gates Gil. It was far from the best book I've ever read, but it did carry exactly the message I needed to hear at this particular point in my life. That message, in the simplest terms, was: get over yourself. But that sounds so negative - and the tone of this book was actually very positive. I don't recommend it as a literary masterpiece, but it might be a nice read if you're a little down in the dumps about where life has plopped you.

And it gave me the strength I needed to make a confession: My name is Tammy, and I like my menial job.

I really do.

I like the people I work with - kids and adults alike. I like the way I am treated there. I like coming home from work and leaving the job behind. I like when a kid tells me a silly story and we laugh together. I play games - games! - on the clock.

It's fun.

But I felt obligated to be grumpy - even embarrassed - by it. Why? Aw, I don't think we need to scratch the surface too hard to figure that out. It's the education thing and the money thing. It's all external. It's not sexy or glamorous or high-falutin' or high paying. There is not a special skill set involved, so the qualifications are very minimal. I'm not saying ANYone could do it, but - oh, what the hell - yes I am. So it didn't make me feel special. Everyone wants to feel special. Even in the moments when I allowed it to make me feel happy, I still didn't allow it to make me feel good. How could one possibly feel good about oneself when one is performing a job that ANYone could do?

Y'know how?

Get over yourself.

Get over yourself, get over societal expectations, get over what you're supposed to do, get over money (ok, I'll admit, that one's proving a little harder to do) and - at the risk of being ridiculously cliche - follow your bliss.

I allowed that attitude to seep in a little yesterday - to wear it instead of just speaking it - and I had a really lovely day for it. I smiled all day long - and people smiled back.

Ah ha!

This morning I needed to run a quick errand. I needed to have something notarized. I did what anyone would do - I googled notary public along with my town. I was given three places - one of which was convenient to my errands. I first hit Kroger to use the Coinstar. (Hey - it's the day before payday - I told you money was an issue.) Next I headed to the place the internet had suggested - a FedEx/Kinko's. As I approached the information desk, the young lady greeted me with an open smile (I reflexively smiled back). I told her I needed to have something notarized and her smile faded fast as she told me they no longer offered that service. I told her their website still advertised it - being careful to do so in a manner that was informative rather than accusatory. She apologized and seemed genuinely sorry that she wouldn't be able to help me. Then she very helpfully suggested the check cashing place across the street.

Now, across the street in this instance didn't mean finding a crosswalk and waiting for the light. No, across the street meant getting in the car and a couple quick turns and through a parking lot and around a couple buildings. But still. It was across the street, not across town. I decided to follow her suggestion. Same thing happened at the check cashing place. I walked in and was greeted (from behind the bulletproof glass) with a welcoming smile. Her smile also faded as I made my request and she was unable to fulfill it. She, too, seemed genuinely sorry that she wouldn't be able to help me. She suggested I try the bank located inside - Kroger - the very spot from which I'd begun my journey.

They were able to do it for me.

My point?

These two young ladies did not have glamorous high profile jobs. I can't imagine that their jobs were very high paying. I'm pretty sure these jobs don't give them bragging rights in social situations. One of them did her job behind bulletproof glass. And yet they did them in a way that made me smile, even through my frustration. When they couldn't help, they made an attempt to help me locate someone who could. The Macy's Santa suggesting Gimbels...

Any job - ANY job - when done well - can bring happiness to others. It's almost impossible to bring happiness to others without becoming a little bit happy yourself. I'm going to try to be a little more conscious of ALL the people who - just by doing their job - make my life more convenient or just a little happier. And I'm going to celebrate them, even if it's just with a smile.

Try it with me! Let me know how it goes...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It Ain't Easy, Livin' Like a Gypsy

Especially when confined by the restraints of money and obligations and responsibilities.

Nope, it ain't easy at all.

And I am indeed a gypsy in my soul. I've mentioned this before. Once, or twice, or a hundred-million times...

I am restless.

I need to be somewhere - other.

My children are in school. My husband has a career. I even have a couple jobs now myself. We have friends here, a house; all the makings of a home. Home is good, right? Home is what we strive for. So why am I so restless?

Perhaps it's as simple as us not having any vacations planned this year.

Perhaps it's because I've lived here longer than I've lived anywhere. I've lived here almost as many years as I lived in my childhood home. After I left that home, I never lasted more than three years in one location. Sometimes it was just a move to a new apartment, but always there was a move, a change, a shift. And always there was travel. When there was no money for an actual vacation there were friends who had migrated to different places, and I was never adverse to crashing on a sofa.

My house has the feel of something unfinished. It's like I've never actually settled in here and made it my own. I don't completely want to. The world is my home; this place I live now is just a house. I have no energy for it. I have no love for it. I wish I did. I give it just about nothing and it gives me just about the same in return. I envy people with beautiful homes - homes that reflect who they are. I have a house. God, I hope my house doesn't reflect who I am. I think I'm afraid that if I actually loved a place I lived, I'd never want to leave it.

And I always want to leave.

I don't want to leave my husband or kids - I don't want anyone, least of all them to think that. Billy Joel said it better than I ever could in his 1973 song, You're My Home:

Well I never had a place that I could call my very own, but that's alright my love 'cause you're my home.

He even refers to "the crazy gypsy in my soul" in that song. Oh, Billy, you know me better than I know myself. Well, Billy Joel circa the mid-seventies/early eighties knew me better than I knew myself. Then he married that Uptown Girl and we were no longer really on the same track anymore. I think he went changin' to try to please her, I don't know. And look how THAT turned out.

But I've digressed.

Yes, my family is my home, and I want them around me, but I want them around me somewhere - other.

I am so over - here.

I just finished reading The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. In this book, he visits ten countries in search of geographical bliss. One of the many conclusions he came to - and one that really resonated with me - was that there is no one perfect place to live, although there might be a perfect place for any given individual to live. Some people and places click - they fit. Some people fit in different places at different times. I believe that is me. When I think of the places I'm happiest, I'm almost certain I wouldn't be happy there if I stayed a decade or so. Maybe I use places up, I don't know.

I do know that I am restless.

I laughed right out loud when Mr. Weiner stated:
As any poet (or blogger) knows, misery expressed is misery reduced.
Indeed. And I am not miserable. Now that the sun is back and I'm on a more positive job track, I'm downright content, if not full-on happy.

No, I am not miserable.

But I am restless.

Perhaps restlessness expressed is restlessness reduced.

I'll let you know.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

The sun comes out, and things change.

Yesterday, I decided, would be the first day I would read outside on the deck. I do this all through the Spring, Summer and early Fall, but the first day is always special. I wasn't sure it would be warm enough, but when I stretched out, tentatively at first, on my trusty lounge I found that it most assuredly was. The rays were strong and the breeze was light. Even when the sun hid behind clouds it was warm enough. And I was reading about, of all things, the study of happiness. Life, she was good. I finished a chapter and placed my bookmark, but wasn't ready to go inside. I laid back and assumed sun soaker position.

Just at the moment when I thought perhaps I'd had enough of a good thing, the phone rang, forcing my decision.

Who was so bold as to call me out of the sun, you might ask? Well, only my new employer, is all. It was a call asking if I'd still be interested in the position. She apologized for the length of time it had taken her to get back to me. I was so sure that time period spelled rejection. In the cold gray winter, it was easy to assure myself that it was rejection. But the sun came out, and it was acceptance. The sun came out and it was success. The sun came out and it was promise and hope and confirmation.

The sun came out, and everything changed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Baby, Baby it's a Wild World

So last night Tom and I went to the Mexican place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. As you do. Hey - last time I checked margaritas were green... Anyway, there was live music and the only table available was practically right on top of the musicians - one of whom was - are you ready for this (cause I wasn't) - none other than the big fat piece of wiener himself. After a few moments I was pretty sure he didn't recognize me, so I relaxed and enjoyed my margarita(s) and the show. At one point when he was asking for requests he asked me specifically. I asked for Wild World because it's my favorite and no one ever plays it for me. They noodled around off mike for a couple seconds then played it for me beautifully (missed the second verse - but since no one else even takes a shot at it I sure wasn't going to complain about that...). I was delighted.

We came home and turned on the TV to decompress for a few minutes. There was a commercial for Dancing With the Stars - which we don't watch, but since we don't live under a rock we are infinitely aware of. We briefly discussed Buzz Aldren and his participation. I was worried about his dignity. Tom was worried about his hips. Then Tom says, "And you know who else is going to be on this season?"


"Chad Ochocinco"

"I told you that a couple weeks ago."

"No you didn't."

"Yes I did. I heard it on the radio and I told you your boy Ochocinco is going to be on Dancing With the Stars this time around so you'll even get to hear about him in the off-season."

"You did?"

"You never listen to me."

At this point he picked up the dogs jowls and began flapping them up and down saying, "blahblahblahblahblah." (no dogs were harmed in the making of this post, for the record. She loved the attention and tried to get her jowls back into his hands after he realized what he was doing and dropped them.)

I feigned outrage - It wasn't a huge stretch - and he apologized profusely - which might've been better accepted if he could've controlled his giggling.

It was pretty funny, though.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Workin' for a Livin'

I've been thinking about work lately. I am doing a job for which I am ridiculously overqualified. Lest that sound like bragging, let me tell you that the educational requirement for my job is a high school diploma and I am almost (but not quite) an ABD. I am not unhappy in this job - not in the least. As a matter of fact, so far I rather like it. But I wonder about all that money and time that was put into an education that I am not utilizing at all. What did it give me, besides an inflated ego/sense of self importance? When I was applying for work, of the fifty or so places I contacted, only three called me for an interview. Two of those I thought I was infinitely - perhaps even uniquely - qualified for. The third was this one. While both of the others showed a strong interest, they ultimately found someone else who they felt was better suited for the position. I'm not all I crack myself up to be. I need to find a way to be comfortable in this new role, and I'm sure I will. It's just - humbling.

This afternoon Tom and I watched World's Greatest Dad. I literally cringed in the opening scenes where they showed the stack of Robin Williams' character's rejected manuscripts while he fantasized about "earning shitloads of money" for writing a book that mattered - that changed people's lives. Literally cringed. Doesn't everyone want to write The Great American Novel? Isn't that the universal dream?

I suppose it's the dream for those of us who write, or read, or have a love affair of one sort or another going on with the written word. For others perhaps the dream is to be a rockstar or a professional/Olympic level athlete or an actor or... few of us fantasize about waiting tables or washing dishes or parking cars or wiping the noses of other people's kids. Some people have cleaning ladies and nannies and drivers; some people are cleaning ladies and nannies and drivers.

I was at the ballet Friday night (yes, even working class schlubs who live in shitty neighborhoods and don't make enough money to keep gas in the car can go to the ballet if they play their cards right) and I was astounded, as I always am, by the sheer strength and power the dancers possess. I imagine as infants our bodies might have resembled each others, but through years of training they have morphed theirs into something quite different and spectacular. These are folks who are - and have been from a very young age - completely dedicated to their art. I wondered - to devote yourself to something so completely surely you must love it very much. But would that same love exist without the promise of the standing ovation at the end of the show?

We are a family devoted to music. I recalled a day several years ago when one of Tom's co-workers gave him tickets to a major soccer game. We took the kids, wanting to expose them to athletic events as well as musical and artistic events. It was a hot day. It was the sort of hot where you really want a cold beer, but the 100 yard walk to the concession stand is just too oppressive a proposition. So of course, Olivia, who was quite young at the time, decided it would be a good day to be bored and tired and need to lay on my lap. I was miserable, but if her whining was to be believed, she was a lot more miserable. At halftime, a band played (Bowling for Soup, if you must know. And yes, I AM still preoccupied with 19-19-1985). Miss Olivia sat up, paid attention and clapped enthusiastically after each song. When asked why she was suddenly no longer DYING from the heat, she responded, "They're working very hard to entertain us. We need to pay attention." When I told her that the soccer players were also working very hard to entertain us, her whole demeanor changed. She sat up, watched the rest of the game, and clapped when everyone else did, even though she didn't understand a daggone thing. She understood entertainment.

During the first half of the game she thought they were playing. During the second she understood that they were working.

Not an artistic person myself, I got to wondering - when exactly DOES it stop being play and start being work? Or is it always some combination of the two? If there were no money or fans, would they do it for love?

I don't know.

I write because I love to. I know, despite the ever so kind comments a few of you have made, that I am AT BEST quite mediocre. I know this. I understand this. I will never make a dime, much less a living doing this. Yet my body of work continues to grow. Or should I call it a body of play? Without recognition, is it even real?

I'm a glorified babysitter. I've waded out far too deep. Me and Edie Brickell. Time to head back to the shallow end - and we all know why it's warmer there.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Portable Magic

I haven't been posting as often over the last couple months, but it isn't because I haven't been writing - au contraire, I've been writing up a storm. About a month or so ago I started up a splinter blog because it wasn't the sort of writing that I generally do here on Mommakin. I'm using it as a forum for my creative impulses, such as they are.

I have it set up right now with a serialized memoir on Mondays, a serialization of a story I wrote over the summer for the girls on Wednesdays, and a series of stand alone fictional short stories on Fridays. Today there's a little something special posted, but I'll let you scoot over there to see what it is.

The name of the blog is Portable Magic, which is taken from a Steven King quote: Books are a uniquely portable magic.

I've been working on a few other endeavors as well, but I'll reveal them in their time. Till then - pay me a visit at Portable Magic and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset (or, When the Apple Outgrows the Tree)

I know I've done nothing but bitch about the cold weather and the snow and the winter and ohmygodblahblahblahblahblah - but I have to say there is one thing I will miss when it's gone for good: sunrises and sunsets behind the leafless trees. They really have been quite spectacular. I'll trade 'em for warmer weather in a heartbeat, though, don't get me wrong. Just sayin'.

This morning as I was taking Liv to school and we were watching a pretty fabulous sunrise, I mentioned something about how pretty the contrast of the stark leafless trees set off by the vibrant burning sun was. She said, "Oh! That reminds me!" and proceeded to tell me a story about school and Science class. The teacher was talking them through a compare and contrast between plant cells and animal cells. She wanted them to think like scientists. My Liv says to me, she says, "But I can't really think like a scientist. I think like a writer. My teacher thought I was taking notes - and I kind of was, because I was paying attention to what she was saying and stuff, but I wrote in my notebook: Book Idea."

She went on to share her idea with me, but I'm not going to share it with you because it was KILLER good and I hope she writes it up. I am seriously jealous of my twelve year old's book idea. There are probably a lot of things about that that are wrong.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Compromisin' Enterprisin' Anything But Tranquilizin'

So it's International Women's Day. I know this because it says so on my calendar. Also, Will Forte sang about Women's History Month on SNL.

Well, the venerable Mr. Forte addressed women in herstory (see what I did there?) pretty well, as did Maude before him.

I won't try to compete.

I read the following platitude somewhere:

Here's to wonderful women - may you know them, may you raise them, may you be them

I have been privileged to know many wonderful women in my life. I've known women who are strong in the way society values and women whose strength is quieter. I've known women who rocked the corporate world, women who rocked their babies, and women who just plain rocked. I have in my life women who are bitches, angels, geniuses, athletes, jokers, smokers and midnight tokers. I am so blessed, because I have women to laugh with, to cry with and sometimes just to be with. I know wonderful women. May you know wonderful women.

I have the huge privilege and responsibility of raising two wonderful women. My girls are beautiful and talented and unique. They are strong-willed and strong-minded. They have always been free to be who they are and (most of the time, anyway) who they are is pretty wonderful. I am raising wonderful women. May you raise wonderful women. (Even if you don't have a daughter! Remember - it takes a village!)

It would be immodest to say that I am one, so I won't - but I WILL say that I know there are folks out there who think that I am. For that I am lucky beyond measure.

eta: Those of you who generally stop here - don't! Read the Maya Angelou poem Unknown Mami posted in the comments. Seriously.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shape Up!

Perhaps you've see the commercials for Skechers Shape Ups. If you have been in a shoe store or a department store recently, you have almost surely seen a display. Joe Montana even touted their efficiency in a Super Bowl commercial. But if you're still unfamiliar, they are shoes designed to promote weight loss, tone muscles, and improve posture. As my new PT job requires me to be on my feet for a solid three hours every day, and I needed new shoes anyway, I allowed myself to be pulled in by the promises. I felt a little bit like a sucker as I tried them on and carried them to the counter. I knew in my heart that they weren't going to live up to the hype, but, like I said, I needed new shoes anyway and I figured it was worth a shot. Stereotype alert: Fat chick heading to the counter with the next miracle fix.

But here's the thing: I put those bad boys on and noticed an immediate improvement in my posture. Cool. One promise fulfilled out of three made isn't bad. It's a better promise to fulfillment ratio than I experienced when I was dating. It's a way better promise to fulfillment ratio than I experience from my kids. I considered the purchase to be a success.

A few days later, standing tall and straight, a little girl I know came over to me, excitedly pointing to my new shoes. She was having a pretty darn enthusiastic reaction to them. "New shoes! New shoes!"

"Yes, I got new shoes."

"MY shoes!"

"No, sweetheart, they're not your shoes. They're my shoes." I pointed to further make my point, "My shoes - your", I slowed down here as dawn broke on marble head. This little girl has multiple disabilities, and one of them is that one leg is shorter than the other. My built up shoes looked a whole lot like her built up shoe. She had clearly never seen a shoe like hers on someone else before. It made her happy. It made me ridiculously warm and fuzzy.

Better posture and a warm fuzzy feeling. These kicks are just paying for themselves.

Later in the week I found a new use for them. I was out with my sister having a couple beers. Please don't have a heart attack and die from the shock of that. The shoes became a good indicator of when enough was enough. These shoes require a certain amount of balance to maneuver in, you see. I knew if I could make it to the ladies room and back, I was ok. They were very fun to walk in with a little beer buzz, too. I always appreciate a good challenge. Bonus. Next up in Tammy and Wendy's Drinking for Fitness regimen: Jello shots on a Bosu ball. Maintaining your balance through that feat is sure to strengthen your core while weakening your inhibitions. Win/win.

But there was one more benefit to be derived. This morning when I put on my fresh-from-the -dryer jeans, I did not need to lie on the bed or jump up and down or perform any sort of acrobatics at all to get them zipped. That's right, kids. I appear to have dropped a couple pounds. Nothing significant - nothing you'd notice - I only noticed because of the difference in the fit of my jeans. But still. Something. Sure, sure, it could be because I'm standing three hours every day that I would've otherwise been sitting. Or it COULD be because I'm standing on my new Shoes of Wonder.

That promise to fulfillment ratio just shot to 2:3. With two bonus benefits that HADN'T been promised. Dude. They're not very pretty, but I'm going to wear them EVERY day.

(Oh, and just to be clear - this was a completely uncompensated endorsement. Though if future compensation should come my way, I'd be willing to change that line about them not being very pretty. I'm sure a free pair would be very pretty indeed.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Thought Provoking Post of Staggering Insight

So I'm reading this book. And I'm not loving it. I'm almost done, but am still toying with the idea of abandonment. I started working out my 'Goodreads' review:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is neither. Perhaps it's my age, but I just don't find anything entertaining about listening to a twenty-something expound upon the virtues and vices of the lint in his own bellybutton ad infinitum. While I do understand that the title is meant to be tongue in cheek, the whole work felt - to me - completely self-indulgent and

And then I stopped. And I deleted my review. Because it occurred to me that that's exactly what I do on my blog. Holy shit, I'm doing it RIGHT NOW!!! How could I condemn him for doing EXACTLY what I do? As a matter of fact - if I had found this author on a blog rather than at Barnes & Noble, I would probably adore him. He's a good writer. I like his style. It's - it's very similar to MY style - what's not to like? (See? I can be tongue in cheek, too. It's not so hard.) He's self-deprecating and low-key funny and he sometimes takes a meta approach. I should be singing his praises instead of deriding him for his indulgences.

So why am I not?

I wonder if it's because I DID find his heartbreaking work at Barnes & Noble instead of online - complete with a badge proclaiming it to be a Pulitzer Prize Finalist and a #1 National Bestseller? Surely the good folks at Pulitzer know a little more about genius - staggering or otherwise - than I do. Someone read his writing and said, 'We'd like to publish this.' And then other someones read it and said, 'We'd like to honor this.' And then lots of someones bought it and - whether they liked it or not - they made it into a bestseller. How does this HAPPEN?!? Is it because he doesn't overcapitalize or triple punctuate?!? It IS, isn't it?!?

I had the same reaction at the end of Julie and Julia. Tom looked at me and said, "That was cute," and I just shook my head - how did that HAPPEN? How did her blog turn into a book deal? How did her blog even become so successful? She didn't spend hours every day promoting it or visiting other blogs begging for hits or joining blogging communities [or, I suppose, to be fair, if she DID we didn't SEE it... (Crap. An ellipsis and double parenthesis. No wonder I can't catch my break... Shit. Another ellipsis. Somebody stop me... I am dot dot dotting my way right out of being discovered...)]

Jealousy ain't pretty, is it?

I'm going to finish reading my book. I'll try looking at the rest of it without my Emerald City Glasses, even though it is the month for the wearin' o' the green. Wearin' green and being green are two very different things. And we all know which one isn't easy.