Notes from a LiteraryVixen

Snarks and Randoms for Your Enlightenment.

For a Rainy Day. May 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — theliteraryvixen @ 3:35 pm

When my nephew was very small, perhaps 3 or 4, he already had life all figured out.

To verify this, all you had to do was give him a really pretty cupcake. Preferably one mounded with swirls of frosting so sweet that it would faintly sparkle in the sun, and decorated in his favorite color (blue).

What would he do with this cupcake that makes him so wise? He’d carry it around with him. He would love that cupcake for both the pleasures it had not yet imparted, and for the joy of simply admiring it.

And, if he refused to eat it long enough, someone would eventually give him a cupcake for the OTHER hand. And then he’d have two: one to consume, the other to carry proudly as an edible accessory.

What he had already learned, and what I have yet to, was the magic of delayed gratification. The faith in “later”. The ability to truly enjoy anticipation, rather than just consuming and moving on.

No matter the medium, this is where I fail. I, without exception, choose to play today and pay the piper at a vague, to-be-determined date. And now, at age 30, the powers that be are starting to call in the chips. There are debts to be paid, habits to break, messes to clean up, pounds to lose . . . the list goes on.

Despite the disparate causes and areas of my life, the common thread is always instant pleasure. From immersing myself in a narrative (book or movie form), to “retail therapy” to, yes, the consolation cupcake: deferring today’s troubles has always been my misbegotten way.

So now I have 30 years of coping mechanism to reprogram. I have structure to build. I have elbow grease to apply.

And I fear I may have left it all too long.

If anyone has any tips on shoving an amorphous mess into tiny little boxes, please: do tell!


I Should be Committed. (To Blogging, That Is.) May 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — theliteraryvixen @ 6:10 pm

This weekend, I got a small dose of “Physician, Heal Thyself”, which has led my back to this sad, abandoned blog.

I ended up having a conversation with a lovely songstress after a show this weekend. Since her last album came out, she has become a mother of two, and is having problems translating her happy, busy life into songs, lamenting: “I just need somebody to break up with me!”

Ever the “fixer”, I suggested that she take inspiration from her new perspective on life, and write about the things she wants to teach her kids*.

At that point, my own charming little Peanut Gallery (a.k.a. Miss Sara) chimed in, reminding me to take a page from my own book. And she was right. As usual.

I tell myself that I’m just too busy to write sometimes, or that I just have nothing to write about. While both of those may SEEM true when I’m excusing myself from creating a new essay, the truth is, I’m just plain uninspired. So I take the lazy way out and don’t write. And I fill that time with completely non-productive activities (like watching The Hills, a particularly guilty pleasure).

There are always hundreds of topics hurtling around in my brain. And when I don’t let any of these random thoughts gel into lessons or even fully-formed ideas, I tend to get a little withdrawn and irritable. . . because uninspired doesn’t stay in just one area of your life; it leeches into others without you even noticing it. I stop reading or seeking out movies – too scattered and listless (mentally) to lock into any one narrative for any deliberate period of time.

Now, odds are that my reticence to write is not the cause of my feeling uninspired – it’s a symptom. And I don’t know for sure that forcing myself to spend a half hour a few times a week to philosophize or just relate an experience will help resolve the root issue. But it can’t hurt.

There is a well-established, cyclical pattern of isolation in my life. Most people don’t see it, as I keep my social calendar well-stacked and am, therefore, nearly constantly surrounded by people. But I pretty regularly stop sharing anything personal. I listen, I comment, I blather about random trivia, but I stop giving away any clues as to what lies beneath.

I’m not generally a fount of personal information beyond what needs to be revealed in a good anecdote anyhow, so it’s not easy to spot – even to me! And it doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy or depressed, at least at the outset. But, because the longer I stay locked inside my own head the unhappier I get, it can be a fairly good warning sign.

I think it’s the vulnerability of sharing these random opinions that is what keeps me open and actively engaged. So, here I go again, with the hope that these little personal diatribes and philosophies will act as a release valve to keep me tied to my invisible audience.

As a side note: While it is the act of reaching out, rather than the gain of external support that I seek by posting – I sincerely appreciate the people who read this, and some of the comments I’ve received over the past few years of writing. While I don’t dispute my own special brand of crazy, it IS lovely to know that there are those out there who share in (at least part of) it!


* From “learn from my mistakes” narratives, to “this is what’s important” perspectives, I still think it’s a great idea. Sharing your ideals through song can be more transformative than hearing it in a parental lecture, and can avoid any semblance of preaching. And it can lock you into a topic, which is always the most important step to starting any new writing project!