deconstructing things

You know, this blog really just began as an experiment.

At the time that I started it, I was blogging regularly at my other blog, my “serious” “this-may-lead-to-something-blog” and wanted to test myself to do something different. I wanted to write. I wanted to not care. I wanted to talk about more than just parenting.

So when I started this blog, that was my plan.

Until a month ago, I remembered this, or why I started writing here. But, you know, sometimes when things happen in your life, you forget such things. A month ago, or really ever since I quit my other blog, I forgot why this blog mattered. And in my desire to do away with that life I led online, that borderline obsessed, sleep-deprived life, I did away with this. Or, I didn’t do away with it, but I took it out of my daily routine to find new meaning in why it mattered.

I deconstructed it all and found that this blog does matter. And now I remember why I started here and that this place was the writing catalyst to me being a real writer. I remembered why writing here felt so right.

So, I am back. But let’s not get sentimental. Let’s just start where we left off…and go from there. Okay?

STOP.

Do you understand the words that came out in this post? lol. I hope so. I guess what I want to say is that this blog was neglected in my quest to find out why I did some things in my life. In being away, I figured out why it mattered. And I’m happy to be back…for good. 🙂 I don’t say this…ever, but thank you to all who read this blog. It means a lot to me that you care to hear my fragmented thoughts on cereal eating and extreme couponing. I mean that in all sincerity. 🙂

Advertisements
Posted in Writing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

When violence is senseless

This post is inspired by the recent random shootings that have been happening, almost, on a weekly basis here in the United States of America. When I heard about Oregon, I had finished a thought-provoking piece in The Atlantic on what to do about all the guns in America. The solution, the hypothetical solution, proposed  by the author, to the problem with the “insane” using guns is more guns. There should be more guns, but more people trained to use guns in our country. Or that was the most basic argument of the author.

But I think another solution is needed. I think there needs to be mental health support to those who are suffering in this country on a daily basis.

These shootings, I think they’re are poor cries for help to a society that doesn’t seem to be listening. The shooters kill others then themselves because they want to be remembered as dying out loud even if they do suffer in silence.

Everyday, I pass people in cars, in grocery stores, in libraries and I wonder how many of us need real help. It’s the holiday season here, and the themes of giving and sharing and togetherness are in full force. I wonder when I see the lights and garland how many work jobs that are killing them but that they keep at because they need their families to survive or feel “normal” on Christmas day. I once overheard a woman on a train say that she was tired. She was, she said, working overtime  on two jobs to “give” her children Christmas. That’s all she wanted, she said. She wanted to be normal. That’s all. Even if it killed her, that’s all she wanted.

I wonder this, and I wonder how many are in failed marriages or have been abused and enter the world broken from whence they come. I wonder how many have thought about suicide and gone to the mall instead.

I wonder this when I watch the news and my heart breaks. More can be done, I think. More can be done to help those who need it. More can be done to protect those who need , the innocent bystanders whose deaths should have been prevented. More can be done to change gun laws in this country. More can be done to make mental health a priority. More can be done.

STOP.

What are your thoughts on the recent mass shootings that seem to be happening weekly here in the states?

Posted in politics & news | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

stunted growth

I think this blog has become something like the Basil plant in my kitchen. I bought it in the summer months. It was lush and green and sweet smelling then. I put it in my window in a clay pot that I bought just for it and promised it and myself that I would water it daily. I would pay attention to it…daily.

And I did pay attention to it daily…Or, at least, I did pay attention to it daily until after some months of paying attention to it daily.

After cooking with some of the leaves for weeks, I would forget about it. Or, I didn’t really forget about it, it’s just that life got in the way. I would see it whenever I washed the dishes, and I would think about it, but I always felt too busy to attend to it until its leaves would start to yellow from lack of water. I would panic then and water it, give it more sun, and baby it in the way I said I would when I first bought it. And it, being a cooperative plant, would “come back to life.” Everyday that I would shower it with some TLC, the plant would turn green again and the leaves would separate to suggest some promise.

Right now, my plant is green, but it is not really growing. I neglect it too much.

Perhaps if I did do more to it and this blog, it could yield something promising. But maybe, I’ve been thinking…maybe I don’t really want that plant or this blog to grow. I think I want to just water these things and give them enough for it to be possible for me to nurture them again and see them get green then wither and get green again. This blog, like that plant, I realize, are exercises in nurturing something just for the sake of nurturing them. I nurture the plant because I imagine myself a gardener. I nurture this blog because I am a writer.

STOP.

The assumed purpose of a blog is to grow. But I think this assumed purpose is sometimes wrong. I think some of us do just blog and have no hopes for our blogs going anywhere just because it’s something we enjoy doing. What do you think? If you are a blogger, are you nurturing your blog to grow or for some other reason? (This post was over 5 minutes, hence the length. lol.)

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

the people who don’t like you

I read a post just now on a friend of mine’s blog that spoke to me. In the post she talked about how she often does care when she thinks someone doesn’t like her. She uses the example of a neighbor who seems close to everyone on the block except her. She goes through possible reasons why the neighbor doesn’t like her and ends with a realization, thanks to some wise words from her husband, that maybe when a person doesn’t like you, it has little to do with you and everything to do with them.

I think women often do care more about others’ perceptions. I know I seem to talk more about my concerns about people who seem not to like me. I don’t know why I care so much but I do care when someone seems to treat me differently than everyone else or when I think that someone has an issue with me.

I care too much about the people who I think don’t like me. And when I do this, I sometimes do become a people pleasure. I do try to win over people who don’t like me just because I think there is really no reason why anyone shouldn’t like me. (I say this even though this is a totally biased assumption.)

But I am learning to be different. I am learning to be okay with people in the world who may not like me, perhaps, because of how I dress, what I look like, or what my religion is. I’m okay with that. Even though I am not this kind of person, or the kind of person who would dislike someone just because of superficial reasons, I must acknowledge that there are some people out there like this. I can’t changed them. Even though the “fixer” in me wants to change them. I know I can’t.

STOP.

Do you ever find yourself caring about the person or persons who you think dislike you for reasons that have never been voiced aloud?

Posted in Life, womanhood | 6 Comments

the atlantic magazine

I received a free subscription to “The Atlantic” magazine. I’ve read two issues thus far and have fallen in love with real journalism and words. I think I’ve gotten so used to images, lots of images. People can’t focus much like they used to, so images are needed.

I like pretty pictures. But. I also like words. I have grown so used to not reading words, however. “Relentless” is how I would describe “The Atlantic.” There are very few ads and the articles in the magazine have at the minimum 1,000 words. Every article is good so to truly enjoy it, you must slow down and savor.

This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing that I kind of need.

When you’ve been blogging and online writing which is usually short and lead by subheadings and bold print for as long as I have, you can feel impatient with the pace that must come for writing to develop. You need things to happen right now. But not everything can happen right now. Sometimes, good things take a long time and require all of your attention.

I thought I was alone in this so I did a bit of research on the topic and found that I am not alone.

The more we are connected, the more distracted we are. Our ability to focus on words has deceased dramatically since the advent of the Internet.

And this is why I treat the Internet like sugar. I consume its beauty in small doses at a time. I used to go for quantity in my online session, but now it’s about quality. I want to leave thoughtful comments and read for deeper meanings that may be missed if I’m rushing too much.

I’ve gone off on a tangent but the point is the Atlantic is a writer’s magazine that is challenging me to focus more in a way I haven’t in a long time.

STOP.

Do you also feel like you have less ability to focus since your time spent online?

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

extreme couponing

After watching some  episodes of Extreme Couponing on TLC, I’ve decided to stop throwing away all the coupons I get in the mail and give the whole thing a try. I don’t want to go “crazy” and create a stockpile in my basement of Frito Lays chips and deodorant, but I would like to save some money on my grocery bills.

I told my sister my plan earlier today and she laughed. “What. I didn’t think you had that much time on your hands!”

I don’t have that much time on my hands, but this one lady on this one blog that I found after spending an hour looking for online coupons on obscure blogs said that she does her couponing in one hour out of one day a week. I think I can do that.

I think so often coupons get a bad rep. I, for one, threw out my coupons because I assumed that they were more trouble than anything else. “Who has time to take our scissors and cut them out?” That was my rationale then. But now, after seeing people save hundreds of dollars on groceries, I’ve changed.

I want to save money. I want to buy a white binder and baseball card holders and walk around grocery stores like I know what I am doing. On the blog I read about how to be an extreme couponer, she suggested that everyone know their targeted grocery stores’ coupon policies and include a copy of those policies in their white binders. It sounds intense, right? But, I guess it will be worth it. When I save some money, I’ll be sure to let you know.

STOP.

Do you use coupons at the grocery store? Have you seen the hit show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing”?

Posted in food & eating | 5 Comments

Salon commentators

I read Salon.com because I think it’s a fun, trendy, edgy kind of place online that you can go to stay in touch with somewhat controversial research on things like pharmaceutical controversies and male pregnancies. I also like the essays on the site because they are usually well written and geared towards the writer-ly crowd.

I like Salon, yes, but I think some of the commentators on Salon are horrible. I think of all the sites I frequent online, Salon is one of those few places where the metaphorical trolls live and play basketball. They love the Salon comment fields because, I’m guessing, it feels safe. It feels safe in a post on breastfeeding to call the writer of the said post a “douche bag” who “doesn’t deserve children.”

Salon is the place to vent, I think. It’s where some people go to “unwind” at the end of a long, hard day at work in which the “man” (read: boss) was “riding” them about getting their work done.

There are unhappy people there. Some would call them trolls. But I always remind myself that trolls are characters. People online who are angry for no particular reason are angry in real life, but they’re usually too afraid to show their anger.

Anger in real life is not safe. It can cost jobs, marriages, and other things that I can’t think of right now. So, instead of being angry where they need to be angry, some people come online or they drive cars really fast and honk and give you the finger if you get in their lane.

Misplaced aggression.

Yes, that’s what the commentators over at Salon have.

Stop.

Do you read Salon? What do you think about the commentators on the site?

Posted in Writing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

a million little pieces

Remember that guy who wrote that book that Oprah thought she loved but then decided she hated when she learned that The Smoking Gun was on to the fact that all of what he wrote was not entirely true? Yeah?

Remember that guy who called himself a criminal on day time television and then retracted that statement, in part, in a sit down heart-to-heart in which he revealed that like the rest of us, he was mostly insecure and broken? Yeah. That book called a million little pieces by James Frey.

I bought it from the Thrift store this weekend for $.25. $.25!! The cover was ripped, likely, I assumed in holding it in my hands, because someone who owned it watched the interview and was outraged at the deception!! Or, not. Yeah. Likely that’s not why the cover was ripped and it smelled of cigarettes and bad cologne.

I picked it up and bought it because I wanted to see what the hype was about and why he (Frey) moved Oprah and millions of, mostly women, Americans.

I started reading it and am not finished with it, but I can’t say that I get what the big deal was (is). You know how when someone tells you something is really good and then you try it and then you, assuming that “it” is a cupcake, keep eating it waiting for it to get good. Because the first, second, and third bites aren’t that good. But you keep eating, waiting for that moment that you kept hearing about? That’s what this book is like for me.

It’s like a highly acclaimed cupcake that doesn’t really taste that great but that you keep eating because you are unwilling to trust yourself that the greats who said it would be good could be wrong.

It’s odd to me that it was picked up by Oprah at all. It’s odd that Oprah and so many other women were drawn to a story of an addict who was, in a sense, broken and unable to love and be loved. Wait. That’s actually not strange.

I get the whiff of romantic tragedy in reading A million little pieces. I get that it is gruesome, but beneath all that it’s a story of a guy who just wants to be loved, it seems, by himself and women. This tale need not be told as a true story, so why did it need to be a true story? Or does this just have to do with truth and the responsibility of writers in the age of “truthiness” to be truthful?

Hmmm.

STOP.

Have you read “a million little pieces” by James Frey? What did you think of the book?

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

writing alone

I am working on something. I am working on writing my five minutes posts offline instead of online. I am doing this as a practice to get back into the habit of writing without any anticipation of my words potentially being consumed by an audience.

Since I started writing online in 2010, most of my writing have been done online.

I have for the past, almost, three years, neglected pens and pencils and papers that were once stashed behind pillowcases and in drawers because I thought I found an even better alternative. I went digital. I found myself writing on a keyboard and hitting publish and knowing that someone could/would find my words and do something tangible with my words. And it was that thought that was thrilling.

It was thrilling to think that I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. It was thrilling to think that someone could and, likely, would, given the nature of most online communities, agree with me about my thoughts in my head.

This, or having an audience to consume your words is a good thing, but it also takes something away from the therapeutic, educational part of writing. When you write by yourself and for yourself, you can be more in tune, I think, with your words as your words. You begin to speak more freely, I think. And that’s a good thing, a necessary thing.

So that’s where I’ve been.

STOP.

How often do you write offline just for the sake of writing (i.e., no deadlines, writing goals. etc.)? How often do you just write for yourself?

 

Posted in Writing | Tagged | 3 Comments

my new blog

This will be perhaps be the shortest post ever…on this blog. I think.

I have a new blog. I ditched Mommyhood NEXT RIGHT, my parenting blog, and I am now writing at www.jessicafhinton.com.

I am only telling you the readers this because I know many of you are writers and writer-inclined, and that or being a writer who is writer-inclined, is the grounding of my new blog.

I will write there about writing mainly, so I thought you would be interested.

I hope you’ll stop by and say hello.

Also, I have a new facebook page. It’s here. I will share things on my page like posts from this and my other blog, news, and writer advice and other fun things. So like me, if you like.

That’s all. For now.

 

 

Posted in Writing | Tagged | 4 Comments