"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shaving the Couch

Today I found myself bent over my couch with a dull razor, giving it a shave. Why you may ask, was I shaving my couch? No, I haven't gone crazy (relatively speaking). My couch has the nasty habit of becoming rather fuzzy. And after exhausting all other options to no avail, I followed a friend's advice and attacked my couch with a razor, desperately attempting to return it to its prior flawless condition.
I think the real question is, why would a fuzzy couch drive me to such extremes? Well, lately things have been rather out of my control, and every free moment I have I feel the need to fill with something. I write, I garden, I de-fuzzify the couch. I just can't sit still, because sitting still means allowing the clouds of worry and terror descend upon me and my fragile mind. Instead, I need to be occupied. Busy. Productive. The only way to maintain my sanity seems to be to act crazy. Why am I worried and feeling out of control? Well, I'm currently looking for a new job, as is my husband. My husband's job has finally ended (which is no surprise, we've known about it for a long time), but as such, I can no longer be content with the insufficient hours and low pay I receive at my current job. So, both of us are on the lookout. And there's only so much you can do. You apply and apply and apply, and then you wait. It's mind numbing. For so many jobs the process seems endless, and in the meantime all you can do is wait and worry. It's out of your hands.
Which brings me back to shaving my couch. I guess I just need to feel in control of something. When I do yard work, or shave the couch, I can see change occurring. I am affecting something, I am in control of it. Whereas with job hunting, so much of it is out of my control. So, I will continue to shave my couch, weed and rake my yard, scrub and clean my house, in an attempt to save my sanity through this nerve racking process. At least my couch is finally getting a good shave.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Upside of Having a Day Job

I've read advice from many prominent writers in which they pontificate that having a regular day job can actually help with your writing. It provides valuable inspiration. I don't know about any of that, I work because I have bills to pay and I enjoy eating. Writing is something I have to make time for on the side, in hopes that it will one day be my only job.
I will admit that I do get a lot of my inspiration from my daily life and the experiences and actions of the people around me. I often find myself channeling my frustrations in any given situation into a piece of writing. The two are connected. I don't think I'd have near as many ideas if I didn't work around people as much as I do. People are strange creatures, and one can spend their entire life trying to understand their motives.
I'm still hoping to one day have writing as my only job, but until then I can appreciate my day job for what it brings me, money to pay my bills and buy food, and loads and loads of inspiration.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Lesson The Hedgehog Taught Me

I recently read a novel called The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. It was beautiful. The author, an extremely intelligent woman, is not only a gifted story teller, but has untold skill with language. Her prose were utterly beautiful. I never thought a good book should have beautiful prose (not to say it should have bad or awkward prose, but rather that the author shouldn't be overly obsessed with making the words beautiful).
I'd always held the belief (and had read enough to back it up) that the power of a story would get lost in beautiful prose, that the reader would get too caught up in the language to appreciate the subtleties of the story. Instead, I found myself luxuriating in the silky flow of her words, puzzling over the intellectual phrases, and still finding myself immersed in the clever observations of the characters. I became invested in the main character's journey, so much so that the ending brought me to tears. But I wasn't upset. I appreciated the way the author chose to end it. I saw the beauty in the moment she created, the beauty of the ending itself, not just the lovely words she used to describe it. The book challenged me not just on a human level, but as a writer. It made me want to be a better. And for that, I will always be grateful.