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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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2:23 a.m. - 2014-03-25
Night Writing

Now in a completely vague-blogger douchey move I'm going to blow right past discussing The Big Mess and speak of other things. The Big Mess is a process and the doing of it is agonizing enough in my 3-D life. Aside from taking a moment in every entry to express my sincere gratitude for your friendship and love I'll be leaving The Big Mess off the topic list, m'kay? Thanks.

Things are weird enough for me anyhow, what with having David Cassidy hair. For real. Like this:

Only I'm not as pretty. Never was, for that matter. But then again...nobody was as ever pretty as David Cassidy. I am very sorry to hear of his recent troubles too. Guess, like me, he's finding out the hard way that life is very different on the other side of Pretty Town. You don't get DUIs in Pretty Town. Though yesterday I had a brief nostalgic visit in Pretty Town. Well not quite, but I was seen and I was spoken to with respect and attention by many, many people. Something really rare these days.

This isn't a mopey wail about lost glory. Quite frankly being seen and spoken to was a startlement. Nice but startling. I've gotten used to being invisible, mostly enjoy the quiet, and remember very well the hassles that aren't mine anymore. No leers. No slimy come-ons. None of that ugly shit. I didn't choose this, it was foisted on me, but I've come to like the invisibility cloak of middle-age. So when I do get noticed I feel odd. Sort of like the Canterbury ghost who's been busted by a clear-eyed visitor to my castle. "Wait, what? You can SEE me?" It was kind of fun yesterday, but on the whole I'm cool with sliding along under the radar and going about my biz alone. One of the (very) few perks of being menopausal.

While I'm on the topic of middle-aged women, no more 'crazy cat lady'. I mean it. It's fucking insulting. The time for that trope is over. It's not enough that women are chewed up and spat out by a society that has no use for us once we leave our 'Girls Gone Wild' years behind us, oh no. We have to be mocked and diminished for doing something as decent as taking in some animal companions. Why the hell not have cats? The husband is off with wifey #2 (who's half his age). The kids are grown and gone. Career-wise we're peaked or redundant. In public we're mostly invisible except for condescending 'tudes from clerks and such. Your average 'crazy cat lady' has fricken earned the right to dress as she pleases, do as she will and have as many damn cats as she wants. And do it without being mocked and sniggered at. Next time you're at the grocery and the woman in front of you is wearing a crocheted vest and a bobble hat, and she's unloading 118 cans of Fancy Feast onto the conveyor and you're tempted to roll your eyes and snort why not instead give her a friendly hello? Pass a pleasantry about the weather. Look her in the eye and acknowledge her humanity. Can't hurt and you just might come away surprised by what she has to say.

I'm inspired here not just by my own recent experiences, but by how today (Tuesday the 25th) is Gloria Steinem's 80th birthday. Please go read Gail Collins's excellent op-ed about THIS.

Plus I am reading Anna Quindlen's most recent novel 'Still Life with Bread Crumbs' and am alternately swooning over and gnashing my teeth with envy of her writing. It's so tight! The imagery biting and concise! Yet her story flows. It's not ungenerous or arch. I also envy her real life friendship with Meryl Streep. Imagine having Meryl Streep's personal cell phone number in your contacts list. Coolest. Thing. EVER.

Anyway, the writing. Good writing is the only thing I envy and covet. I never feel 'less' because you own a Porsche or a Birkin bag. Or because you have a smaller waist or a tidier house. In every area other than writing I am glad for your success and ungrudgingly admire your toys or toned bod or talent. If your children are well-mannered honor students or star athletes, well, YAY! Now that I am firmly established in the Land of Post-50 I have no cool to lose. Enjoy being hip. Record a hit record. Argue a case before the Supreme Court. Own a vacation house in Costa Rica. I am honestly delighted for you.

BUT...make piles of money with shitty writing? I hate you. Yes I am talking to you Stephanie Meyer, Jodi Picoult, E.L. James. You can't write for shit. Your characters are cardboard, your plots contrived, your syntax mangled, your clichés are so weary I want to throw up from the sheer banality of your lousy prose. I resent your monetary success and loathe that you will never, ever have to sweat the very roof over your head and food in your belly as I do. You suck.

Good writers? I don't begrudge them their financial security and their cool celebrity friends. But their craft is my kryptonite. To read and know my own skill will never produce a metaphor that sharp or a character that true...GAH! That's when I think about going back to selling cars or schlepping bagels. My words fail. They're garbage measured by my idols' words. I feel dumb for ever trying. I just don't have it. I am not that good.

So here I sit in my hydraulically-challenged chair, awake in the wee s'mas, listening to the coy-dogs challenge the fat, well-fed house dogs with howls and snarling barks, and the owls in my back woods hooting insults at each other, wishing like mad that my writing could set us free from financial woes and/or make some other moderately talented obscure writer gnash her teeth over how clever and slick my words are.

And I wish I could figure out what the hell to do with my dopey hair. ~LA

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