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New Blog.

I'm not gone from LJ precisely but I do have a writing blog now that I am posting short short stories on and poetry. Check it out if you like.
maniacmarmoset at wordpress.

Why I Write.

This started as a comment from a thread on the marvelous nanowrimo group on facebook. Then, when I realized I was about to crit all my writer friends with a wall of text, I moved it. This was the result.

I learned to read when I was five, in a wholly average way along with my peers. I was not one of those extraordinary types that reads in preschool or while still in diapers, but that moment when all the individual letters and phonemes clicked was magical. That I could make pictures in my head and immerse myself in other worlds was a defining moment. My parents had recently divorced and my mother was newly out of the mental hospital. Add to that constant, daily, bullying and it is not surprising that I escaped into books. These mysterious creatures, authors, made the world better for me. It was a logical leap to go from reader to writer.
I dived into storytelling, making little books drawn and written in pencil and bound with staples. Later, in the whirlwind involved in being my bipolar mother's hostage to fortune, I turned both to other people's stories and my own to make up for the constant moving, the questions no one would answer, and my immature and undeveloped social skills. I wrote on my mother's ancient, 1960's style typewriter. Several moves and two states later, I worked on a groaning dinosaur prototype vt100 pc that my father had gotten from his job. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote all through elementary school, middle and high school. Most of my high school work was poorly imagined angst ridden poetry, and whiny journal entries, but that didn't stop me. When I got to college there was very little I could imagine doing besides major in creative writing. Despite my parents misgivings, doubts, and in my father's case ultimatums, I went ahead. It was gloriously fun. My senior year, I wrote a linked short story collection for my thesis. The future was limitless in it's potential. I was living my dream. It was exhilarating.
I got pregnant with my daughter in what was to be the last semester of my senior year. All the creative force I had put into my work was rerouted. I do not regret it, she is a wonderful weird creature who I love to distraction. And distraction she was. Is. Present tense. My husband and I went through a long series of hurdles involving abject poverty, near psychotic postpartum depression, physical disability, and losing all of our friends. It was a bad year, except for the kid. The kid was worth it. But writing went on the back burner. There it stayed, reducing down to practically nothing in the intervening years, forgotten. Blackening the pan of my once fertile imagination.
The ten years when I didn't write were full of nonspecific existential ennui. I worked a crappy dead end job. I watched a lot of bad television, so that I didn't have to think about how depressed I was. I lost two pregnancies. One at 7 weeks. I thought that might have been the worst thing that had ever happened to me. And then, as though the universe was punishing me for my hubris, another at 32 weeks. If it had not been for my daughter, I am certain I would have lost my mind. I kept it together for her, and then for the surprise kid that came along afterwards. He saved me too. I continued to stumble through my life. Not writing. Working the same crappy job at the same crappy place and hating my life.
In the Spring of 2012, a wonderful, magical, horrible thing happened. I got fired. It was stupid and pointless and terribly difficult, but on the other side of it I discovered something profound. My creativity was not gone. My imagination was not a black burned wasteland. It was still there, waiting for me to be ready to use it. This is where I am today. Why do I write? When I started this, tongue in cheek, I was going to say to relieve boredom. I won't deny that is part of it, I bore easily and need lots of stimulation. But, the bigger piece is that writing is a wild and exuberant statement that I am alive, I am well, and I am doing what I love. My life is not particularly unique, I am certain I share many of my experiences with others, but that doesn't make it any less my own. That ownership allows me to tell my own stories, because they are there inside me, waiting to get out. So why do I write? I put words to paper because when I do, when the words flow and the inspiration is with me, I feel alive; and that is beautiful.


Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
2013 was the first year in my adult life that I haven't been gainfully employed, at all. It's been weird. Scary. Also wonderful from a certain point of view despite the terrifying free fall after the unemployment ran out. We've adjusted, and things are okay. I also taught myself how to run, I am a wimp about Winter running but I will be back at it once it's warm again. Lastly I finished the first draft of a novel, it's a hot mess that needs massive amounts of overhaul but I did it and more importantly it revamped by writing habit which is the best part of all. I also sent my son off to Kindergarten. Free time is a lovely concept and he loves it.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I believe I resolved to keep doing what I'd been doing as far as food logging and regular exercise in relation to weight loss. With the exception of the Holiday Slide, I have been doing that. I lost 32 lbs this year and that is no small accomplishment even if I've gained ten of them back in the last six weeks. Stupid holidays. I'm not looking at last year's resolutions, but I am pretty sure there was something about getting back to writing again. I've done that. It feels good. As for 2014, my resolutions are the same. Food logging, daily exercise, at return to running when the weather permits, getting closer to my goal weight which should be a natural consequence of the above stated goals. Also I plan to write 90 minutes per day. Revise the novel and see what I can do about wading into the world of submitting my work for publication. So really this is just a more detailed list of last year's resolutions. I can do this.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Ian's cousin Polly took her own life at the end of April. She was very young, only 27, and she had severe, poorly treated bipolar disorder. It was desperately sad, she was beautiful, scary talented and a very nice person and she is terribly missed by all that knew her. She also did on the six year anniversary of my stillbirth which only adds to my complicated feelings.

My maternal grandfather who was 97, had a stroke in October. He passed with my mother at his side. He had a long, interesting life and died the way he wanted to. I miss him very much.

My paternal grandfather, who was in his late eighties, died in April. I had not seen him since my late teens. I don't really have much contact with my Dad's side these days. I found out via my Uncle Andy posting about it on Facebook. I could go on a long rant about how complicated my emotions are in regard to my dysfunctional relationship with my father, but that is another entry's worth of material. Suffice to say, I wish I had gotten to spend more time with him and not just because he lived in Hawaii.

5. What countries did you visit?
I remained within the contiguous United States for all of 2013, though I did take a two week trip to Seattle with the kids. It was a great visit with my family.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2014?
A bit more financial stability. A finished and publishable novel or more than one.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Well April 30, both the day my son Owen died and the day Polly took her life is pretty prominent though not in a good way. I was pretty sure I'd turned a corner on my grief with the first and her death made me reexamine my own loss in a way that brought it back.

Also November 28 was the day I finished my draft. That was pretty damn good day.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Running for thirty minutes straight, that was pretty good. I'd like to get back there. Also the book. I can't shut up about the book. Oh and I successfully got my mortgage modified and subsequently did not lose my house. Not sure how I almost missed that one.

9. What was your biggest failure?
This wasn't a year that was full of fail for me. For once. Though I suppose failing to find work before my unemployment ran out is significant. Also lots of little petty paperwork mistakes about signing up for public assistance. I also have not sorted out what's going on with ACA website which is a constant source of stress since Ian and I are losing our coverage because we have the worst governor in the union.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My asthma decided to remind me that it's a bitch in heels this year. I had to nebulized three times over the Summer for severe, scary shortness of breath. I've had the annual colds and a sinus infection but otherwise nothing noteworthy and the asthma is better controlled now.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Plane tickets to visit my mom, a really sharp knife, and a wonderful deep dish pie plate.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Food, the mortgage, keeping the utilities on. You know, sexy exciting stuff.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Writing, saving the house, running.

14. What songs will always remind you of 2013?
Pretty much everything off Amanda Palmer's, "Theatre is Evil."

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? I am happy for the first time in a damn long time.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner, though I need to banish these creeping ten lbs that I gained over the past six weeks.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer, see above employment status or lack thereof.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I'd gotten my act together on the writing prior to National Novel Writing Month.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
It would have been good to not spend six months marathoning tv shows on netflix. It's fun but it doesn't accomplish much except for making my husband annoyed with me.

18. What are you glad you did more of in 2013?
Writing, so glad I'm back on the horse. I am also very satisfied with me level of exercising the last six weeks notwithstanding.

19. How did you spend Christmas?
Up North in Marshfield with the Aunts Bloczynski.

20. Did you fall in love in 2013?

21. What was your favorite TV program?
Doctor Who, or maybe Bones.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Well I hated Governor Walker last year, but I hate him more now. Kicking me off my health insurance makes me grumpy that way.

23. What was the best book you read?
The Year of Fog, by Michelle Richmond.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Jonathan Coulton.

25. What did you want and get?
Weight loss, a level of domestic tranquility I haven't seen in a long time. A really awesome writing community.

26. What did you want and not get?
A new ipod since mine bit it in October and I haven't been able to justify the expense yet.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
I really enjoyed Kickass and it's sequel.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went to Lombardino's with the family and the in laws. Had awesome pasta. Made an delicious Chocolate Stout Cake and then played Arkham Horror with my lovelies. I turned 34.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less drama.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Yoga pants, tee shirts and hoodies. The uniform of the American SAHM.

31. What kept you sane?
My husband, my medications, baking and my internet writing community.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
It's a tie between Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer and since their married, well the possibilities are lovely to contemplate.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Pretty much everything about the ACA, it's potential, it's poor roll out an implementation and the fact that our Governor didn't take the medicaid expansion which screws me personally.

34. Who did you miss?
My mom, siblings, stepfather. I even miss my dad even though he's a shit head. Spending two weeks with my mother really put into focus how isolated I am from so many people that I love living where I do.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
All my awesome writing buddies on the internet.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
That if there is something that you really want there is no magic trick of getting it. You have to turn your perceptions on their ear, put in the hard work, and be consistent. With that all things are possible.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
And in my mind
I imagine so many things
Things that aren't really happening
And when they put me in the ground
I'll start pounding the lid
Saying I haven't finished yet
I still have a tattoo to get
That says I'm living in the moment
And it's funny how I imagined
That I could win this, win this fight
But maybe it isn't all that funny
That I've been fighting all my life
But maybe I have to think it's funny
If I wanna live before I die
And maybe it's funniest of all
To think I'll die before I actually see
That I am exactly the person that I want to be

Fuck yes
I am exactly the person that I want to be

38. What will you be doing to ring in 2013?
We broke with tradition and went to a party. It was fun. I made the cannoli cake which is always well received. I let the kids stay up until two and my daughter is still asleep.

2013 has been a good year, yo. Let's make 2014 even better.



1. Car
Have- Toyota Yaris
Want- I wish the check battery light wouldn't be constantly lit. We've had the damn thing checked out and there's nothing wrong with it but that red warning light keeps freaking me out.
2. House
Have- Two bedroom condo on the East Side of Madison that is way too small for the four of us and all our posessions.
Want- Something with three bedrooms and more than one floor.
3. Job
Have- Stay at home parent.
Want- I am not really sure what I want. I love being SAHM though it definitely means that we struggle with the money end of things. It's weird because part of me thinks that going back to work is a great idea and then I start thinking about logistics and I get all flustered and nervous and then I need to go hide.

4. Relationship-
Have- Married. In fact it's our wedding anniversary today. We've been married for 14 years.
Want- I am pretty satisfied with my relationship though I could do with less day to day conflict.

5. Kids-
Have - Sylvia, 9.5 and Morgan, 5.
Want- Maybe one more but that would necessitate a huge change in our current circumstances and I am really on the fence as to what the right choice is because I am very much looking forward to the kids both being in school.

6. Money-
Have- Right on the edge of nervous making. To the best of my knowledge I have one more week of unemployment and then we get to see what living on one income is really like. That's scary.
Want- Enough to not be nervous.

7. Cell Phone-
Have- T Mobile Concord. It's a low end smartphone and it does the things I need it to. I've really never had another phone of this sort so I don't have a point of reference from which to say whether it is a good phone or not.
Want- I hear that iphones are awesome. But mostly I would like for my mom to keep me on her plan when she renews because there is no way I could afford a cell phone contract right now and it's gotten to be bit of a necessitate.

8. Cell Phone Provider-
Have- T Mobile
Want- A carrier that has local retailers.

9. Parents-
Have- My Mom who is frustratingly flighty and occasionally extremely mentally ill, and her husband Thaddeus who is by all accounts an amazing man who I like very much and is really, really good for her. I also have my adoptive Dad, Glenn, though we haven't spoken in 8 years and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I think he likes to pretend that he doesn't have a daughter anymore but since he doesn't talk to me I can't confirm or deny that.
Want- I wish my mother was consistently stable. I also wish I got to see her more since once a year with expensive plane tickets is not enough. I wish my dad would talk to me and be interested in actually maintaining a relationship. I am mostly over that, but it still hurts.

10. Talents-
Have- I am an excellent cook. I try my best to be a good Mom to my kids and I can sing. I used to be decent at writing though I've kind of let that atrophy.
Want- To get my writing mojo back and to have a better sense of how to revamp my capacity for creative thought it a genuine and sustainable way.

11. Computer-
Have- Toshiba Satellite with windows 7.
Want- To have the money to get all the little things that are wrong with it fixed because not having functional speakers is kind of a drag.

12. Internet Service Provider-
Have- At&t
Want- Our service is fine though I do wish they'd stop trying to shove their cable tv down our throats.

13. Hair-
Have- Long, brown and wavy.
Want- I'm good with what I have though it'd be nice if there were fewer greys.

14. Eyes-
Have- Large, dark brown with eyelashes that need no mascara. I've been told they're one of my better features.
Want- I am very happy with my eyes myopia and all.

15. Siblings-
Have- Two half brothers. Eric and I aren't really close but I think he's happy with his life. Ben and I get along really well and I wish I got to see him more. I also have to stepbrothers and a half sister who I've never met from my bio dad who I've also never met. But those don't really count.
Want- Well I always wanted a sister but it wasn't in the cards.

16. Credit Cards-
Have- None.
Want- I am pretty happy with the state of affairs where the cc are all paid off and while I do see the wisdom in maintaining lines of credit to get a better credit score I've had that bite me in the butt a few too many times to think it's a good idea for me.

17. Alcohol-
Have- I don't drink.
Want- Happy that way.

18. Pets-
Have- None
Want- The kids and I have been lobbying hard for kittens since our elderly cats died in '09 but there isn't consensus on whether or not that's a good idea in our current living situation since we already have more people in our condo than is comfortable.

19. Collections-
Have- I have a lot of books.
Want- If anything I'd like less stuff.

20. Friends-
Have - A smattering of good, old friends who live far away but it's been a long time since I've made a new friend and I kind of don't have a social life these days. We do have some friends who come over a few times a month to board game with us but we don't really see them outside of game.
Want-I'd like to have more of a social life.


How this works:
You comment, I give you an age (please tell me how old you currently are - I don't know all of your ages unfortunately) and you fill out the meme questions with what applied to you back then, and now.
Belleweather gave me 22.

I lived in:
This would have been 2001 and I lived in a first floor apartment right off the Capitol Square. This was the apartment with an entirely interior living room with no windows and a false ceiling that was home to our own personal fabulous colony of bats. The first time one came out of the hole for the radiator pipe I was so freaked out that I called Ian home from work and made him deal with it. It gave our cats hours of entertainment and sport. This was also the apartment with nary a square of counter space, a bathroom with a toilet that would occasionally back up into the tub that coincidentally had no shower. The hoots and howls of drunken students stumbling home from the bar, the broken glass on the sidewalk, and people's propensity for parking in our front lawn were all just some of the sparkling wonders of living in the student ghetto. But on the bright side it was close to school, bus lines, Rocky and all the other lovely things downtown Madison has to offer. When we moved to Willy Street, I was relieved.

I drove:
I didn't. As a lifelong pedestrian and bus rider I'd never quite gotten around to acquiring a driver's licence. We were still over a year away from owning our first car and that wasn't until after Sylvia was born.

I was in a relationship with:

I feared:
Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. Being a failure. Never ever losing weight.

I worked at:
That was the year I started at Whole Foods. At the time it seemed like the best job I'd ever had, and I suppose if you looked at my previous jobs that was a fair assessment. I wholeheartedly threw myself into the culture and embraced it as my own. I was young and easily brainwashed.

I wanted to be:
A writer,


More Memes.

Reply to this post, and I'll tell you THREE reasons why I like you. Then put this in your own journal, and spread the love.


Writer's Block: Marathon sessions

Giving birth, 18 hours.
Aside from sleeping and being awake, what is the longest consecutive amount of time you've spent doing one thing? What was it?


So I plugged in an excerpt from my latest unfinished short story:
"It really wasn’t a bad day out. It was sunny but not too hot. The neighborhood hummed with insect life, bird song and electrical wires. Once we were out of the house my sister was off down the street taunting me that I couldn’t run as fast as her. I kind of remember being this kind of spaz, I mean I’m twelve not twenty. But I seem to remember that I could be contained with a good movie or a book or something exciting and diverting. You ask Thea what’s she interested in, well unless you want to hear about the goings on of Strawberry Shortcake and her gang of confection named friends go ahead and ask her. But unless you want to choose between being Raspberry Tart and Huckleberry Pie, I don’t recommend it. I figured I would just follow her and let her run off some of her ya yas. It’s not like she was expressing in any structured activity that didn’t have to do with asking dumb questions and poking me in the stomach.
We’d been walking a while when we found her. It was in a part of town that I wasn’t really familiar with. In fact I had been about to corral Thea and tell her it was time to turn around and head home. It was all urban and concrete. Steel bridges and crumbling overpasses. Visions of muggers and homeless drifters danced through my head. This was nothing like our cozy safe neighborhood of mature trees and fenced in yards. I felt a sinking in my stomach when we came upon the girl we would come to know as Thistle.
She wasn’t what you would normally think of when someone says fairy. She wasn’t all pale and ethereal, she didn’t have those pointy Spock ears, and if she granted wishes well no one told me about it. She looked about sixteen she was kind of dumpy with pimples in the corners of her mouth. She wore too much eye makeup and too short of a skirt. The wings were real enough though and sort of brownish red and delicate. One moved the way I imagine it should have and the other just kind of hung there limp and useless."

King huh? Now there was a time when I would read a King novel and lament my writing ability and my seeming lack of follow through as far as finishing anything. I would think that perhaps I am past this now as this just kind of makes me giggle with puzzlement.

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


Care and Feeding Meme

1. How can I tell if you're angry?

Unless you are really close to me you might not. I tend to calmly talk about things that make me angry with people I don't know so well. If it's my nearest friends and family I am kind of loud and bitchy about things. Something I need to work on.

2. How should I behave around you if you're angry?

Don't yell back and try to be rational with me. I tend to respond like with like. So if you want to diffuse me be calm and I will mirror you. If you want to get into it feel free to get pissed off.

3. How do you want me to behave when you are hurting emotionally? How is it best to comfort you?

Hugs, an open ear and a willingness to go with my impulsive whims.

4. Are there things we should not discuss?

No. I am pretty open to anything.

5. How should I treat you when you are ill?

Chinese take out, cookies and science fiction genre television show marathons.

6. What makes you happy that's in my power to grant you?

Spending time with me. I love being social, but often am just out and about with the kids. I love them to little bits and pieces but sometimes it would be really nice to talk to adults besides my spouse. This isn't to say that he isn't a good conversationalist but diversification is good for the soul.

7. How would you like us to recognise your birthday?

Birthday wishes are appreciated and of course spend time with me. I miss my friends.

8. Are there any standing categories of presents that would be appropriate or unwelcome?

I would be delighted if you decided to gift me with something provided it wasn't just something else to clutter up my home with. I have to say I would be kind of unhappy with large pieces of furniture in the vein of the large dining room table Ian's aunt gave us without any warning.

9. Are there times of the year that are difficult for you? Please explain if you are comfortable.

Winter is a challenge and I also tend to get all squicky around the time that Owen was born for obvious reasons.

10. Are there important anniversaries in your life?

wedding anniversary in August, kids birthdays, Owen's day.

11. How do I cater for you if you are visiting me?

Provide me with caffeine and direct me to how best I can help you out while I am there. Let me cook for you.

12. If I want to contact you, how should I do it?

Phone is fairly reliable as well as email and facebook messages. I do also respond to lj messages if the seem to warrant a response.


Plow and Stars

He tethers the kine
Celestial bodies shift
Makes way for new suns