It’s official. I am boring and uninteresting

In my previous post about my boring life, I let you all know about my insecurities and my active imagination. The fact is, I am feeling vulnerable about my writing. I feel rusty. And I’ve been doing the never-do-that thing of comparing myself to others.

I am not Shakespeare and I am not Amy Tan. I am not anybody but myself, and that can make me feel depressed and inadequate.

I chose to spend a little time writing about myself, and it made me feel better. I shared it with you all. It amused me to write it; I thought it would amuse others to read it.

You’ve seen it on my page here, and I submitted it to another site so even more people could enjoy it. I submitted it late at night, and it was too late for the editors to check it and post it.

I was excited and checked my email to see if I had gotten any comments about it in the morning. Here is what the editor said:

Dear Murphy,

Thank you for your contribution, “My Boring Life.” Currently it is not suitable for the needs of [our site] and will not be published. It’s been placed in Draft to give you an opportunity to get a copy of it for your computer.

To be resubmitted, the article would need to address the following:

There appears to be no discernible reason why you went from having a boring day to being quite upset. Was this an effort to inject some level of excitement into an otherwise boring day or was there a catalyst for this?

“Chris” is mentioned only in passing so we have no idea who this person is or their place of significance in your life. Where did you meet this person? How has this person come to be involved in your life? What is your relationship with this person? What book was this person reading that needed to be returned?

Although the title and opening paragraphs indeed define the boring life, it’s unclear whether this is a problem to resolve or a rant about the way things are. If the former, the article would then need to include resolution of some kind, perhaps any steps you’ve taken — successfully and unsuccessfully — to bring more enthusiasm in to your life. If the latter, it’s not likely to hold the reader’s attention.

It’s been my experience that even the most boring life is only seemingly so, that in fact many opportunities pop up all on their own and, if taken, do wonders for the humdrum of routine. Additionally, seeking out opportunities instead of making the most of things that could happen but didn’t (dropping car/work keys in the library drop box) does also lead us down paths of ever-growing activity where we oftentimes meet those who share our interests.

Other issues you might address would be why you work out, where you are employed and your duties/relationships there, the significance of both your mother and yourself having seemingly boring lives, what’s going on with your car and how you resolved its issues (and if you didn’t, why not? Money? Time? Knowledge?), and how it is that you came to live in this town for about a year (when/why did you move?).

Feel free to resubmit the article after it’s been reworked. I look forward to what you do with it.

Sincerely,
[missy editor]

What?!? had I asked for armchair psychotherapy? Maybe she read it too fast. Couldn’t she see the hyperbole? I mean really, just the phrase “The mind boggles with such humdrummery” should have rung the “time to laugh” bell. Everything in this email seemed to say “I am stupid and I don’t get it.” I replied quickly:

Missy E.,

This piece was meant to be a piece of humor, talking about the busy excitement of ordinary life.

The first-person narrator complains about having a boring life, but in reality, her life is actually rather exciting. I believe “ironic tension” is what I was striving towards.

It is possible, I suppose, that you found the piece boring and uninteresting, and therefore did not see any tension between the “boring” premise and the things that followed.

You are right, though, about me not introducing Chris. I will edit that to say that he’s my boyfriend. But I don’t think the title of the library books would push the momentum of the story, and would only distract.

Perhaps you would like to give it a re-read, with the understanding that is a piece of ironic humor, and see if your below objections remain unresolved. Then we can go forward with the next step.

Murphy

Her very quick reply back cleared things up:

Dear Murphy,

As a good portion of the article was speculation per things that could have happened but did not, there is little in the way of ironic tension between the general theme (of a boring life) and that which actually took place.

The article will not be published as is. It will remain in Draft until 9pm eastern time and then it will be deleted.

Sincerely,
Missy Pissy editor

Harsh. Harsh. My life was excruciatingly boring. It is proven so. And the only possible humor is the one that Missy Pissy understands. After all, one must have standards and hold all others to them.

I think I may not submit to that site any longer. I enjoy my own writing too much.

My boring life

The fact is, I find my life mostly unexciting. I do rather ordinary things and I am not very interesting. So, I don’t necessarily talk about what I’m doing, because even I don’t find it interesting.

This is a problem for me. Really it is. Because when it comes time to say something, to give an account of myself when someone poses the questions “How are you?” or even “What’s new?”—I am at a loss.

How am I? About the way I was yesterday, the previous day in my unexciting life. Nothing of any significance is new.

So, I end up saying something inane and leaving the question-poser disappointed. Yes, I know they only ask because their life is also without excitement. They are asking in the hope that I would have something to bring to the table, some appetizer of excitement to share.

Nope. I hate to disappoint, but I got nothin’.

Yesterday was a particularly uneventful day. I came home with very boring ambitions. I wanted to eat dinner, exercise and deposit some checks in the bank. Maybe putter into a little housecleaning. I wanted to be sure to charge up my Ipod since I had neglected to do so the day before.

The mind boggles at such humdrummery.

I wasn’t hungry right away, so I got a jump-start on the puttering. I put the Ipod to charge and began righting the housekeeping wrongs of the weekend.

Order and cleanliness emerged shyly in places they usually were not invited to. Good news! Even better, the Ipod was charging faster than I had hoped, so I got to putter wearing the ‘pod.

I was listening to podcasts. Podcasters are enviable to me—people with cleverness and gumption, with something to say, something worth capturing and distributing. I listened and envied and puttered.

Then mom called. No more podcasts, but I got to tell her about the cool stuff I had been hearing. I told her about my despair of being dull as dirt.

Mom had called, because she herself was doing something uninteresting. She had lots of copying to do at school, and just wanted someone to entertain her. I guess I got to be her live podcast.

Well, she had a lot of copying to do with an uncooperative machine, and I had a lot of things to tell her about my boring life, and the artistic poverty of my blog.

“Oh honey! You are an excellent writer! I love reading what you say on your website!”

This is very nice to hear, and adds considerably to my enjoyment of this phone call. But to be realistic, she is my mother. She has to say that. The compliment has a short half-life.

Nevertheless, I spent too long on the phone to my mother. When I hung up I was very hungry. And I still had to get to the ATM! Not to mention working out.

I was rushing now. Grab the checks. Find my shoes. I’m hungry! I am not in the mood for this!

“The library books are overdue. Can you return them?” Chris asks politely.

I’m in a hurry. I’m hungry and I have things I need to finish. “No.”

“It’s right next to the bank. You can do it.” The needle had moved from polite request into the indignant/whine zone.

“Fine!” I snagged the books, hopped into my shoes, crabbier than ever. I shouldn’t have talked on the phone so long! Did I have a pen? I would need it for the deposit slip.

I get into my car. Well, at least the radio is playing something I like. But it’s dark and I can’t remember exactly where the bank is. It’s somewhere on this street. I’ll find it eventually.

Just past the railroad tracks, the car shrieks.

FWEEE! A picture that looks like an inkwell sprung a leak—a gusher of newfound Texas Tea…Oh crap. Something is wrong with my oil.

I don’t want to deal with this! I am not stopping. I’m going to the bank. I’m going to deposit all this stuff and go home and eat.

Where is that bank anyway? It’s got to be here somewhere. I will figure this out, look up this German symbol of an inkwell with a geyser, but only after I reach the bank.

But then I have to yell at myself. Oh great, so now you are going to ruin your car just because you are pissy and don’t want to return library books. Is a seized engine worth this?

FWEEEEE!!!

I answer myself, I’ll do whatever I please and I don’t feel like talking. Where is that stupid bank? I thought it was here.

There was a bank there, but the wrong one. I pulled in anyway and turned off the car and the radio. At that point, the inkwell geyser blinked off.

WHAT?! The car light had been screaming at me, telling me something is wrong, and then just goes silent, like “never mind, you’re busy, I didn’t mean it…”

Don’t toy with me! Either there is an inkwell oil geyser happening or not. Them’s fighting words round here. I pulled over for you, car, and now you want nothing to do with it? I don’t’ think so!

I turned on the radio again. I’m not losing my good tunes for this passive aggressive car. I got the manual out of the glove compartment.

I’ve been through this before. The alarm documentation is not intuitive. It’s not even in the index under ‘alarm’. After flipping back and forth for a while, enough time for the tunes to segue into commercials, I discover that my windshield wiper fluid is low.

I’m certainly glad I stopped.

I drove around and finally found the right bank. There is a line at the ATM. But maybe that’s just as well, because I need to add up the total of the checks. No calculator. Well, I should know how to add and carry.

I wonder what they would do if you got it wrong? I mean, is it no big deal, or do you only get so many chances from your bank? You could get some kind of notice.
“Dear Bank member:
After received your third addition failure we are rescinding your ATM deposit privileges.”

That would be very humiliating.

Or worse, maybe they would think you did it on purpose! I know of a girl who was dating this guy. He would deposit empty envelopes to withdraw money out of his account that wasn’t there. He needed the money because he was a crack head. They broke up, thank god. I should call her.

I triple checked the math on this deposit—I’m pretty sure I got it right. And at least that is done. Now to the library.

It is so dark out; I can’t see any signs. Geez, I’ve lived here almost a year. When will I figure out where I am?

I fall back on my strategy of starting one direction and going somewhere until you are there. It worked, and I found the library. I know the distance from the bank to the library was shorter than the drive I took, but I got there, so who cares and leave me alone.

I found a parking space quick. I jumped out, leaving my door open and my purse inside. I grabbed the library books and my keys in my hand. There’s the drop box. Pull it down; in they go. Be careful not to drop the keys in the drop box!

I wonder what would happen if I had dropped the keys in? I wonder what I would do? Good thing I had left the car door open. I could get to my purse and cell phone to call Chris to come help me.

Would the library people come and open the library to get me my keys? Claremont is small and very Mayberry, but I don’t think they are that Mayberry. I would have to wait for them to open in the morning. Well, afternoon. They open at 1.

But I would be okay, because Chris would come get me and there is a spare key to the car and to my house. I’d be okay. The only key I don’t have spares for are the work keys.

Oh man! That would be terrible. I couldn’t get into work. I would have to call there and say I would not be in because I had dropped my keys in the library drop box. That would be beyond embarrassing.

I could just say I was sick. I would have to lie. Call in with a cough or something. There has been a cold going around. I could make it convincing.

I have never called in sick when I wasn’t sick, but I know people that do. Why do we have to do that? Why are we forced to lie? Why must we come up with some story? Why can’t we just be given respect? I mean, we should just be allowed to say, “I will not be able to come in today” and leave it at that. That would have some dignity.

But my keys were in my hand, so I drove home. I knew my way home from the library.

I made some soup and sat down to talk to Chris. I told him about my boring unexciting life, and about all the enviable podcasters and bloggers who are so far above me in importance and relevance.

He was kind and acted interested.

Dammit. I didn’t get to workout.

Dreaming of Me

“I remembered what I dreamed last night.”

I had asked him when he first woke up, as usual, but Chris couldn’t remember his dream right away.

“You did? What did you dream about, baby?”

“We were in New York for some reason, and you were there too.”

“I was with you?” I’ve never been with him the times he’s gone to New York.

“Yeah, and you came up to me and said, ‘We have to go!’ Apparently you had tickets to somewhere.”

“I did?”

“Yeah…to India.”

“India! I would love to go to India!”

“yeah, well, you wanted me to go right then, you said we had to leave in a half an hour. But we weren’t even packed! I asked you what airline the tickets were for, but you weren’t sure. And you didn’t know which airport we were supposed to leave from.”

“Wow, I was totally unconcerned.”

“Yeah, and I was trying to look it up. You knew what time it was supposed to go, and you thought it was Air India, so I was trying to look it up. And I was trying to type in Expedia, but I kept getting it wrong.”

“You were dreaming of the internet? You were dreaming that you were looking something up on the internet?”

“And I was worried that we didn’t have anything packed. I asked you how long we were going to be there. You said 14 days, or two weeks or nine days. So, I couldn’t figure out what we needed to have ready.”

“I wasn’t very helpful was I? Boy, I’m mean to you in your dreams.”

“Yeah!”

“That’s a great dream baby. I’m glad you remembered it.”

HAPPY SOLSTICE EVERYONE!

This is a special day. This is the day that the earth begins it’s change.

Up until now, 2006 has been getting lighter. Lighter and more sunshine. It has been getting slightly warmer too.

But now, NOW, the earth will get darker. More night.

Interstingly, it will get hotter for a while longer. The next 3 months should be extremely hot. Maybe 4 months.

But it will be darker.

And I think everyone should notice. I myself will be eating barbeque with Chris tonight.

TV Review: _The Red Green Show_:the last season

My friend described this show to me long before I actually got to see it.

“There is this guy, Red Green, and he’s part of the Possum Lodge. He’s hilarious. He has all these friends and his nephew Harold…. Every episode at the end, they say the man’s prayer: I’m a man…and I can change…if I have to…I guess…”

I honestly couldn’t picture it, but he was so excited. I finally got a chance to see it for myself this last year. I have not been this into a Canadian PBS show since Degrassi!

The show is only on certain PBS stations. So, it’s hard to see. Second, 2006 marks the 15th and final year of The Red Green Show.
Thank God for reruns. I’ll be watching this–waiting for all the episodes I’ve missed. They also made a movie Duct Tape Forever! I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

It’s so silly, and very refreshing. It’s a nice change to have a truly entertaining show that’s utterly clean. Comedy that’s not shocking? That takes talent.

Of course, Red Green (actor Steve Smith) is part of every show. He also has a rotating cast of regulars who come through. There is Dalton Humphrey, the proprietor of the Everything Store, and Winston Rothschild III of Rothchild’s Septic Sucking Services, just to name a few. My favorite, of course, is Red Green’s nephew Harold, played by Patrick McKenna. Harold has a lot of trouble with the ladies, and everything his Uncle Red has to say he takes with a grain of salt. Red has no respect for Harold’s opinions either, though, so it works out.

Duct tape, backyard projects, practical jokes and misadventures take up their time. Flannel shirts are the fashion.

The show has virtually no women, although the personalities of the lodge members’ wives dominate the background. They are frequently referenced while the guys are considering their plans. Of course, Red Green has this advice: “Remember, if the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

Each episode makes the grade by following their formula, but still being totally unexpected.

And any TV show ever that makes it through to 15 seasons is remarkable. It is hard to convey the genius of this show; you just have to see it.

You really have to see it.

_Women in Love _ by D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence is scandalous. He’s most famous for Lady Chatterly’s Lover, which announces its scandalousness loudly by having “Lover” in the title. It screams “Sex is happening here!”

This meant that he got banned and censored. Even better! Nothing so titillating as a banned book.

Yeah, except…A lot of the time the books that are banned are not as raunchy as the imagination of the people who banned them. True smut is seldom banned; it’s just put in the back room and left for the pervs who want it.

And D.H. Lawrence’s smut is sort of weak and intellectual. Yes, Lady Chatterly had a lover. And yes, Lawrence tells all. But when you get down to it, the all is kind of disappointed. He tells it like it is, and wouldn’t that be the definition of “prosaic”?

In daily lives, relationships are like that. They’re not scandalous—even the scandalous ones.

Well, I read Lady Chatterly a long time ago, and that’s not the book I’m reviewing now. I picked up Women in Love because I knew D.H. Lawrence was a highly regarded author, and I had only read LCL and one short story by him. I wondered if other his other books were worth reading.

So, this morning, I finished Women in Love. The story starts with two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun. Both of them were extremely modern ladies, but with really old-fashioned names. Gudrun especially has that contrast. I didn’t even know Gudrun was a name, it’s that archaic, but she herself was an artist. She made her living at it, even. Ursula was a little more tame; she was a teacher.

There were the men, too. Gerald Crich and Rupert Birkin reveal themselves as the love interests for the two women in love.

All these four are strained to the breaking point with their sensitivity. They are constantly in rapturous heights, or seriously believe that they will die of their disappointments. It seemed comical to me, after the first time, how overcome they are by their feelings.

And they are constantly on very high intellectual discussions. What is the meaning of things, really? And they come to conclusions, by paths not apparent to others, which are very definite. All so important.

Love to them is not a soft pillow to fall into and languish upon. It is an argument to resolve, or a cause to take up. They snuggle sometimes, and ask “Do you love me?” of one another. But they had previously torn to shreds any assumptions about love and what the word means, so both the question and the answer are blind groping.

Oh yes, and add to the two cute hetero couples a strong homoerotic tension between Rupert and Gerald. Whew. Even I felt a little steamed up by some of the scenes between those two.

All of these characters seem to want so much. They don’t believe in anything they have known, but they want to find something that they don’t know to believe in.

…a phrase which sounds utterly nonsensical and as if I could have lifted it directly out of the novel. I don’t think I am inadvertently quoting, though…

These people are so modern; they seem unable to exist with any satisfaction in the world they are in. Gudrun, who is the most modern of the group, can find no satisfaction of mind anywhere. She does however, enjoy nice stockings. That particular detail shows that Lawrence is in charge of this book of contrasts.

Bibliomania tells me “Lawrence maintained that it was his finest work.” It was finished in 1916, but not published until 1921. I can tell that it fishes deep into the spirit of the time. Many of the ideas and impulses described seem so in keeping with what I know of the period. I could imagine that it would resonate strongly with his contemporaries.

It’s not an easily understood book, but I’m glad I read it. Especially now that I know he thought it was his best. I don’t feel like rushing out and reading the rest of his stuff though. But if one came to hand, I wouldn’t turn it away.

baby, you were born to blog

I watched a South Park episode last night. Kenny, whose most prominent feature is his propensity to die, had gained proficiency at a video game. The game was a war between heaven and hell. He was extremely good at it, achieving level 60

Of course, he died, but it turned out that his death served a purpose. The video game really was a simulation for the war between heaven and hell. His skill at the video game saved the world.

Kenny’s propensity to die, combined with his skill at the video game, had saved the world.

There are people who have incredible skills that are meant for highly specific intersections of the time-space continuum.

Remember Rubik’s cubes? My brother had a friend back then who was so good at solving Rubik’s cubes that he had to lubricate them to allow for the super-fast manipulations. What a genius! Incredible!

The rest of us cheated, and moved the stickers. But this one guy, he was a master.

What might have happened if he was born 50 years earlier? He would never have discovered his talent.

There are possibilities that are for only that moment. Right now, not any other time, blogging is happening. I have a feeling that blogs will evolve into something else pretty soon, but RIGHT NOW there are some earth-shaking bloggers out there.

Instapundit has a blog. He is like a perpetual motion machine of blogging. With the incredibly wide and sometimes deep levels of curiousity and knowledge he has, can you imagine what he would be like to live with before he had to blog to put that into?I imagine that his wife was relieved when he began to blog.

And in a totally different genre of blogging, there is James Lileks
His perpetually funny and often profound writing is also massively popular.

These two guys are totally different in style, but similar in that they are born to this time, this space, this blog

My blog has dropped from popularity lately. Not so many people are stopping by, because I have not been maintaining my ‘web-presence.’

I try to tell myself that I am a different sort of writer, when faced with the web titans I have mentioned.

But as for some people…They were born to blog.