For Real?!

Ok, I seriously don’t get it. These humans cannot be for real.

You know the ones I mean, everyone has seen the photos. Usually titled “Wal-Mart customers” and show a series of seriously disturbing pictures of humans in various costumes which I have to think had to have been done on purpose.

Why would someone, anyone wear any of this in their own home much less in public? These photos have to be a set up and these people are part of the gag. My initial reasoning is there are no innocent bystanders nearby staring at them with a shocked, deer-in-the-headlights expression on their faces. Trust me, if I saw someone who was dressed like any of these people that’s what I would do.

That leads me to my second reason why these have to be staged. I have never seen this in any of the Wal-Mart’s I’ve been to, even the ones in the south. I’ve been to stores in South Carolina,Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Arizona and nothing-zip-nada.

One wonders why an individual would allow themselves to be photographed in this way and be displayed so disparagingly? To allow oneself to be ridiculed and viewed with contempt is beyond me. But isn’t this what many celebrities do? Except they have the looks to get away with it, and their antics are usually kept to venues where such acts are acceptable and expected.

It must have something to do with wanting fame.

In what environment does laughing about the now viral shot of your huge butt crack or nasty camel toe lend itself to thoughts of esteem building, fame and fortune? It really does sum up the allure of reality TV. Reality TV is the soap opera of my mother’s time. Topics not for public consumption were dredged up and put on display to help the average housewife/college student live vicariously in the romance, pain and intrigue.

Who decided these people’s lives and their unwarranted narcissism is interesting and worth my time? Who wants to see a marriage crumble under the onslaught of real or imagined infidelity? What is “real” about this stuff and what compels someone to display themselves like this? If a camera is following you around while you conduct your life it isn’t real and won’t be.

If you really want to immerse yourself in living someone else’s life, do your brain a favor and read about it in a book. Exercise your mind and develop your imagination in a way the side-show antics of over paid and non-talented celebrity lives can never do.

So leave the too tight, too short, too see-through and too nasty at home and give Wal-Mart shoppers a rest.

-N

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Are you a good guest?

I’m planning to spend the weekend with my sister and this has me thinking about what it takes to be a good guest.

I’ve had those nightmare quests who so put me off having visitors in my home ever again, as well as the dream guests I hardly know are there. I started thinking about the two of them and what they are like. Here is my research.

Nightmare guests move in, take over, take up space and cost you money. You know the ones I mean.

They move in – meaning they give no thought to what and who they bring into your home, where might be the most appropriate place to store it and expect you to make them comfortable.

They are really good at commandeering the TV, refrigerator, washer and dryer and computer. They think nothing of moving your things out of the way to make room for their personal items. It is truly a nightmare if you have no guest bath they can make their own. They drive you nuts asking if they can have the rest of grapes, the unopened bag of chips or your unused ream of printer paper. They are constantly asking for your mealtime schedules. If they are sleeping on a hide-a-bed couch it will never be put up until you strip the dirty sheets after they leave. I suppose in their mind as a guest washing their own linens and towels is your job as host.

I’ve had that guest who proceeded to inventory my refrigerator and panty and tell me what I needed to buy for them, as if I was waiting breathlessly to have this chance to serve them. It never seems to occur to them to offer to pay or contribute some cash for these extras.

I’ve also had guests who show up, disgorge themselves into my house and the first thing they ask is if they can do “a couple of loads” of laundry real fast. What happened to hello it’s so good to see you and thanks for letting us bunk here? It’s as if they are doing me a favor by staying with me.

And what about those humans who stop by with just a brief phone call warning on a work night and once there will want to stay up eating, drinking and catching up until all hours? They may be on vacation and their time is their own but I’ve got to get up early.

Are you a nightmare guest? If not then good for you. Remember the old saying to treat others the way you want to be treated. I would love to hear your own experiences.

-N

Learning how to be a friend

Most of my early life was spent traveling with my family as we moved from one air base to another. I enjoyed the different places we lived. I liked traveling. When dad retired in 1971 I wasn’t ready for it and told him, pleaded with him to wait so we could go more places. He was finished and we stayed in Tucson. I still have that restless gene. I was a Junior in high school. Except for several months I lived with my aunt in Arlington, Texas I was stuck in Tucson. I graduated from high school, married, had my two children and stayed in Tucson. It was not what I wanted but that was how it was.

The problem with my early life as an Air Force brat and this steady relocating was that I really never made long term friends.

If you know you will be leaving there is no need to make attachments. I didn’t know how to make friends. Humans need others for balance and support in life. I didn’t understand that concept. I had my family and my parents friends and their families. In many cases these people moved with us. Yet I cannot say I had any close friends. I was pretty tight with my cousins but they always lived somewhere else.

I didn’t really didn’t know what a friend was.

In my early 30’s I went to work for a group of heart surgeons. One of the women hired to do filing was about 10 years younger than me and having the time of her life living in a new town and making friends. She was fun and interesting and did things I was curious about and wanted to hear about. We struck up a friendship. Rather than talking about kids and illnesses and doctor appointments she was going out dancing and taking weekend trips to Mexico. I had done the bar scene but going with a group of friends to festivals and the beach in Mexico was never in my flight plan.

One day she asked me to go to Rocky Point with her and after a call to my husband to clear it with him I said sure. Just like that.

That began the discovery of what friends were all about. We are still fast friends to this day. We have shared secrets and dreams, and been there for each other through all those life events that mark our time on Earth. All of those sayings about what friends are apply to she and I.

She has been my friend for nearly 30 years. She taught me how to be a friend.

-N

 

Coffee’s ready

Ding!

Coffee is ready, whew that is good timing. Heard the garbage truck go buy so the mad dash, in my sleep fogged brain, to put out the cans was worth the effort.

Coffee, coffee.

It only took me an hour to fall asleep last night, and boy did I have some crazy fun dreams. The best one was being in space. It was really cool and in my slumber I experienced weightlessness.  I love my dreams most of the time. I wish I could tell my brain what kind of dreams I wanted. I especially like tornado dreams or flying dreams or dreams of my father.

I dream in Technicolor and surround-sound, and I always remember the last dream but often I will have snippets of most of the others. I’ve heard or read this means something but I’m not sure what it is. I also have a recurring dream set in three or four different scenarios. This one usually starts happening when I am feeling restless and antsy. Its that dream where you start out but you cannot get to your ultimate destination. It has been a road trip across country, or not being able to take the right exit off a maize of freeway. I have also had the one where I am in a big house and even though I have retraced my steps I cannot find the front door.

I get restless and antsy being in one place for very long. I was an Air Force brat and I loved it. The adventure of where we were headed next was exciting and imagination stirring for a young girl. My siblings were not so happy about that, they wanted to stay put. There is so much to see out there so why would you want to miss it.

Well that was an interesting side trip.  Coffee must be working.

I want to visit every state (I am at 38 now) and then start knocking countries off my bucket list. Most of my bucket list is travel oriented. Ride the Orient Express, fly in a hot air balloon, swim with dolphins, walk the bluebell fields of Kent.

Ok, mind is wandering.

Did I mention singing? Singing a full set of Ella Fitzgerald with a soulful quartet in a basement club. I think I would probably do a real good job with that one.

-N

Stories are keeping me awake

I spent most of last night’s insomnia story plotting.

The historical story that needs the big showdown, the 1886 setting that needs to be converted to present day, the contemporary set in Hawaii with characters that need to find a way to each other and so many more. These people kept pushing into my mind insisting that I focus on them and their lives.

I couldn’t shut their voices off.

These people are real in my imagination. I know what their voices sound like, the way they walk and the good and bad of their personalities. I can see the way they move their hands and hear the way they laugh. Their lives are reality in my imagination and the way they respond to the situations I put them in is as predictable as the real humans I interact with in my real life.

I am fortunate that my husband is very helpful in providing a male perspective when I’m not quite there or stuck on how my character will express himself. He can also help with motivation for why my character would react in a certain way or where the confusion comes from that my lead man is experiencing.

It surprises me how often I will write for a while constructing a scene that, as I am writing, I am having so much fun. It pours out of me as it is unfolding. I will stop for a break and then come back and after reading it I think, “Where did this come from?” It doesn’t work. It is so out of character for my people or it stops the action in a way that I have to let it go if it cannot be adapted or modified. It is hard to let go of words that came from my heart.

Time to get going. Rock on!

-N

 

 

Making me a better writer

I have been looking in a variety of directions to help mature and development my writing. My research has started to change the way I look at the stories I have completed, the ones I am working on and the plots I have for future work. So much of what I have plotted, written and thought of is a jumble now and the direction of my ideas is confusing me. It makes sense that while I am trying to develop my author voice I am compelled toward a broader spectrum of characters and plot device.

I have one story nearly finished, and then in a moment I huge change in direction came to me. This would disturb the main characters assumptions about themselves and each other, and drawn in the secondary characters as well. Lines of alliance will be drawn.  Where did this come from??? It has stimulated my imagination but there is a lot of re-writing  to be done to fit this huge redirection. I know these people pretty well and it will be interesting to find out how they respond to this major alteration to their lives.

It may change the beginning of the story.

I will need to be true to the time period and what would be the expectations and assumptions of the cultural influences at that time. There was a huge difference in what was acceptable in Boston and Billings in the late 19th century.

Another thing that has altered in my writing is the sex. As I have read many stories I find that romance and romantic scenes don’t have to necessarily include graphic sex. In fact I have read books that the graphic sex seemed to be a filler to make up the required page count and adds nothing to the heart of the relationship.

What is romance?