Monday, February 20, 2012

Childhood Fears

Oliver is afraid of owls.  At least, he says he is.  He talks about where owls are, and how he would rather not be in the same places.

I'm not afraid of owls, but I do have complicated emotions when it comes to the dark, coyotes, and bugs.  Just a few minutes ago, I was relaxing in bed.  I guess I was trying to watch Seinfeld, but it's hard to do with a pack of coyotes outside the window.  An ambulance broke things up for a few minutes, but once whatever the fuss at the other end of the street was dealt with, the yipping and howling rose up again.  And then I remembered my first real fears.

When I was little, 3 or 4 years old, we lived out in the country.  In the summer, we'd sleep with windows open and screen doors letting the night breeze fill the house.  We also had dimmer switches in a few rooms - my bedroom being one.  I was terrified of the dark, and slept with the light dimmed about half way.  Moths and what I assume to have been all forms of winged monsters gathered on the ceiling of my room, right above my bed.  If I slept (or tried to sleep) on my back, I would see the bugs.  That didn't work for me.

I tried sleeping on my stomach, but my bed was right under the one window I had...overlooking the front yard.  On a clear night when the moon was full, it was a massacre.  The coyotes would gather to eat our cats. They'd roam the lawn in silence.  It was chilling.

So those were my choices: the bugs on the ceiling, or the coyotes on the lawn.  I vividly remember many a night hiding under my sheet, swatting at things that I thought were crawling on me, doing everything I could to keep my eyes closed.  After all, when you're a kid, the dangers are less real if you keep your eyes closed.  Sometimes I'd cry.  Sometimes I was too scared to sleep, and instead, I passed out from exhaustion.

I'm the grown-up now, and I protect my little one from the owls... he says, "there's nothing to be scared of" as he walks down the dark hall to go to bed.  He talks about the ghosts and the owls and the bats.  He's a tough kid, but I wonder if he'd tell me if something really scared him.  I never told my parents about the bugs or the coyotes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I came here with the intention of writing something much more meaningful...and instead I wrote the previous entry...a work-related rant.  Boo.

The other day I was asked a very simple question, and yet... it's changed something in me.  "How's the book coming?"  A person I hardly know at all is aware that I'm writing something.  I felt a bit of fear...pride, too, but there was some fear.  I've admitted to myself and to others that I am writing.  There's an expectation out there... and apparently it's no longer just my own.

There was a bit of unexpected good fortune in my writing class - those students who are working on a longer piece are able to submit the first chapter in place of a short story.  I had so hoped to be able to use this class as a method of fleshing things out.  I want more feedback.  I want some insight... the first book is still my stumbling point.  If only I could start with book two...I already know that world.  Creating a whole world is difficult...much more difficult that I'd imagined.  A small-scale world is one thing...a town, a house, a park... this is a whole world, its universe...the feel, the look, the people... it's every little thing that makes it real.  I can see it so clearly, and I know a few of the people who live there, but I don't know the world; I don't know the rules.

Oddly, despite the lack of a world for my characters to toil in, I am feeling confident.

My biggest fear with the class is that I have to tell my class how the story ends.  I've given details to 3 people...but haven't told them the most important thing about the story.  If I'm not even able to tell people I trust, how can I tell all these strangers??  It's too close to me.  If I believed in souls, this'd be a part of mine.

Anyway... I'm trying to avoid getting Oliver's current illness... The effort is entirely futile, but it's best that I sleep now anyway.  Monday morning always comes too soon.

Worker Bee.

I've learned some things in the last six months that I could have gone a lifetime without knowing.  In fact, I wish I didn't know...

I wish I didn't know that one stinky person is able to make an 8000 square-foot building smell so bad it makes your eyes water.  A few stinky people at once is probably someone's hell.  It's pretty close to that for me.  I have a low threshold for such things.  How do you tell someone that they're making you feel an almost uncontrollable urge to dry-heave over a trash can?

A while back we got a book about crafting with cat hair.  I'm serious.  Felted cat hair finger puppets.  It's pretty fantastic.  But, after checking in books for...all this time...I've decided that we need a Crafting with Patron Hair book.

I'm also genuinely appalled by the things that people seem to think library books are used for... a library book is not a plate or a coaster, yet they so often come back with bits of food stuck inside the pages and the tell-tale coffee cup-sized circle of dried liquid on the cover.  I would really like to NEVER again have to ask myself, or anyone else, "Is this chocolate or...?"  I'd be so happy if I never again found a piece of toilet paper being used as a bookmark.  At least I haven't yet had the thrill of picking a condom out of a book.

It's upsetting.

What little tolerance I had for people is quickly fading.  I do have my moments of being genuinely friendly, but it's tough.  I like the books far more than I like the people.