All That You Can Leave Behind

You’re annoyed.

You shift uncomfortably in the ottoman as you check the time on your iPhone and note that the doctor is now forty minutes late. You try not to think about all of the barf germs that you’re now merrily collecting on your favorite ugly pajama pants as your daughter, the one with curls like a halo begins to pull on her shirt, the one she insisted upon wearing, indicating that she, too, is highly annoyed and would like to take off this shirt and GO HOME, thankyouverymuch.

Your toddler son is engrossed in a game of Angry Birds on another iPhone but stops his game for a couple seconds to cough that worrisome I-smoke-three-packs-a-day cough that’s sent you all on a field trip to the doctor in the first place. You frown but quickly turn it into a smile. Even with this annoying bout of what you think is bronchitis, everything is just as it should be.

You are happy. Finally.

You think about the first time you were ever in this pediatrics office; nearly two years ago now. Your new infant daughter tightly clutched in your arms, the frightening MRI images of her precious head on the computer, the referrals to the new neurologist – one who will take your insurance – and you remember how you wept. In public. Again.

You remember those horrible, heartbreaking days well, although the colors are fading into the background, the sights and sounds and triggers all fading into a dusky shade of their former vividness.

You won’t forget. Ever. You know that on your deathbed, you will remember, as those are days you can’t forget, but now, they’re losing their power.

Life is moving forward.

You think of the year that seemed like it was never going to end. The year ends tomorrow.

All of those things you thought you’d never leave behind, all of those things have been put squarely to bed.

Those dragons have been slayed.

Certainly, there will be new dragons to battle, but for now, you stand with your daughter, the one with curls like a halo, proud and triumphant over the bodies of the fallen dragons.

A smile plays on your lips as you think of what’s to come. Of the people you’ll meet and the people you’ll learn to love. Of all of the things that you’ll do with the next 365 days. This year, you know there is hope because there is always hope.

The doctor finally comes in and greets you by saying, “I can hardly believe you’re the same people!”

And you smile and laugh, because you know just what she means.

The Unbearable Darkness of Being

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

-Leonard Cohen “Anthem”

I used to believe that the universe was a random place. Everything that happened to us was simply, well, random. If I ran into you at the store, it was only a coincidence, not something that was “supposed” to happen or part of a preordained master plan with the two of us merely bit players on a much broader stage.

I don’t think I believe that any more.

Certainly, I believe there are many random parts of life. I don’t believe in some gigantic playbook that dictates when and how I will go about my day:

Tuesday, January 24, Becky Sherrick Harks will have Cheerios for breakfast at 9:45 AM and she will remark that they smell like pee. Delicious pee!

but I simply do not believe that what happens to us – the connections we make, the experiences we have – I cannot believe that they are entirely random. Maybe I’ve had too many weird, fucked-up experiences in my life. Maybe my brain is trying to find patterns where there are none. Maybe I’m just grasping at something to make it all more meaningful, I don’t know. Frankly, my Pranksters, I don’t really care.

This is the way I started 2010:

I approach 2010 full of renewed hope for the future, because no matter how full of the darkness I feel, I can feel the light on my face and I know it’s all around me. Soon it will be within me.

I am hopeful.

I have hope.

Happy New Year.

Days after I wrote this, I randomly found the famous tattoo artist through a referral on The Twitter who started my phoenix tattoo. She’d had a cancellation in her booked-months-out schedule and could fit me in right away.

Phoenix Tattoo Outline

Months later, when I went back for more work on my phoenix tattoo, I’d find out that she had just been diagnosed with an encephalocele. Like my daughter. I do not need to tell you that the odds of this are cataclysmically tiny that I’d find another with precisely what Amelia was born with.

Starting with that phoenix tattoo, I vowed that this would be the year that I Brought Aunt Becky Back and I have.

The process, however, has been excruciating. It’s incredibly difficult to take a look at the life you’ve deliberately crafted for yourself and realize how fucking miserable you are. It’s brutal to have to mourn everything you’ve swept under the rug when you were all EYE OF THE MOTHERFUCKING TIGER, AUNT BECKY. Especially when you feel you have no ally with whom to share it with. After all, there are people with no legs in the world. How can you possibly hate your life WHEN THERE ARE PEOPLE WITH NO LEGS?

There were days when all I could do was curl up on the couch and weep. My heart broke over and over again. The darkness obliterated the light and it was all I could do to make it from sun-up to sundown again. It wasn’t the kind of darkness that a pill can help. It’s the kind of darkness that you simply must slog through.

Eventually, though, there were entire hours that the darkness would just…leave.

Those hours melted into days and soon, the darkness only tinged the periphery. The rest of my world was bathed in the most wonderful rich, vibrant colors.

It was like I had begun to wake up after a long sleep. I felt like myself again for the first time in a very, very long time.

When I saw that Leonard Cohen was playing in Vegas, my jaw dropped ungracefully open. Kismet.

Sometimes, when I was adrift in the darkness, it was his words that kept me going. Whether or not you care for his music, his words are beautiful. And words – all words – are more true a love than anything I’ve ever known. Letters strung together into words elegantly arranged into sentences that flow into paragraphs can make my heart soar; make me weep, and give me hope. Words can cut into the darkness.

I found myself alone in the theater, watching rapt as Leonard Cohen sang and the tears inelegantly rolled down my cheeks. I’m certain that had anyone noticed, I’d have been locked away at the hospital for such a vulgar display of emotion, but I simply didn’t care.

Listening to him in that dark auditorium was like neatly wrapping up the year in cheesy wrapping paper, like vindicating my sorrow and sadness and allowing me to finally release it. It felt like the end of an era. It felt like a new beginning.

I’ll never escape the darkness entirely, I know that. It’s part of who I am and it’s what drives me. You cannot go through hell without bringing a little darkness back.

But in that light, in those un-random connections, I will find redemption.

I will find me.

Phoenix Tattoo

Fear And Pranksters In Las Vegas

I was somewhere over Chicago when the drugs began to take hold.

Subterranean Homesick Blues squealed through my earphones and for a split second the airplane was submerged into complete darkness. I opened my mouth to shriek; to warn everyone that we’d reached the abyss and just as my vocal chords let out a squeak, warm color returned. My seatmate turned to me; he clearly hadn’t seen the black, and as I moved to explain that we’d hit the edge; there was no going back, when I realized that he’d see it all soon enough.

We were going to Las motherfucking Vegas.

I couldn’t explain myself properly at this altitude. Instead, I grinned a fake toothy smile, hoping it passed for the real deal, mumbled something about vodka and turned up the volume on my iPod, my eyes darting to the bag on the floor. It was filled with a dazzling array of uppers, downers, grass, cocaine, mescaline and some ether thrown in for good measure. The ether, for sure, was the hardest to procure. I wondered if I could get away with using some mid-flight.

As the plane touched down in McCaren Airport, my seatmate began to weep openly, which scared me. I don’t handle emotions and I knew the tears meant that he too was entering the abyss.

Welcome to Vegas, motherfuckers.

Email me if you’re going to be there so that we may swap phone numbers. Because we need to HANG OUT. Have no fear, I am no longer sunburned. In fact, I am pasty white. “Blinded By The Light,” white. BUTT ASS white. So you need not fear my redness. Only that I may make you act as my attorney. Which, DUH.

Defending Your Life

I was warned that the recovery from the abdominoplasty would be hard. The pain, I expected. I didn’t expect it to be so long, so omnipresent and I didn’t expect that I’d frequently say, “holy fuck, I miss my abdominal muscles.”

But when my surgeon suggested that I might have some postpartum depression-ish feelings during my recovery, I sort of dismissed it. Not that I hadn’t had postpartum depression (hell, I’d had antenatal depression, that’s depression DURING pregnancy), just that it hadn’t been the sort of surgery that I’d been building up in my head for MONTHS or anything.

I kept the possibility in the back of my mind.

And after three weeks on the couch, I realized that I was getting pretty depressed. I don’t sit around well. I’m a terrible patient. I hadn’t expected the recovery to take so long. I ran out of help and couldn’t bring myself to ask for more. I was in pain all of the time. And furthermore, I just didn’t feel very good.

When I don’t feel very well, I get sensitive. When I get sensitive, I don’t feel like writing. When I don’t feel like writing, I get depressed.

For the first time in my incredibly mediocre blogging “career*” I felt stifled. After a couple semi-personal attacks, I simply didn’t feel like writing on my blog. I was tired of feeling like I had to defend my life.

I think therein lies the crux of blogging: we write about ourselves and our lives and that’s what brings people in. But sometimes, when we spill our secrets and expose our underbelly, it’s almost impossible not to open ourselves up to an attack. When they happen, what then? Knowing you have a legion of people out there rooting for you to fail, how do you continue?

I’ve been thinking about that all week.

It’s made me really sad, too, because I love what I do. I’ll never achieve fame and fortune, but I do have a Band of Merry Pranksters who (mostly) understand me and that’s always been more than enough. Telling stories, making people laugh, making people cry, stringing all of my words into sentences that flow into paragraphs; telling stories, that is what I do. Without it, I don’t know who I am.

So there is my answer. I will keep doing what I do because that is what I do. I’m not about to let anybody stop me from doing what I love. When I stop blogging, it’ll be because I choose to stop, not because I feel frustrated or full of the sads.

My life isn’t on trial here. It’s not open for debate.

And moreover, I’m nobody’s bitch.

*career is used VERY loosely** here.

**after seeing “loose” misused as “lose” for so long, it looks bizarre now.

Who The HELL Is Inspired By Dexter (Don’t Answer That)

This has been the longest time that I’ve had to sit around and do nothing while I wasn’t acutely dying and/or pregnant (I don’t handle pregnancy very well) and I’ll be honest that I haven’t exactly been a model citizen to anyone I live with. While some people may long for the time when they can sit around like a banana slug, I will tell you that I am not that person. It’s always been my biggest nightmare (besides being stuck in an episode of 7th Heaven) that I become stuck in bed for days on end.

I’m not exactly in bed but I am wearing a healthy ass-groove into the couch. I sort of fear for the moment that I am released from the couch because I’m deathly afraid that I will go leaping off into the wilderness wearing a tinfoil hat screaming “THEY’RE AFTER MEEEE!”

There is one sliver of good that has come of this whole “sitting around like a cockroach” and that’s that it’s forced me to consider things like, “who is the best detective on Law and Order?” and “How can I hate The Who so much?” and “How can I take better care of my blog?”

The latter sounds douchier than it should, but this is the year of Bringing Aunt Becky Back. My blogging cohorts all seem to be a bit better business-people than I ever have been, and I was sitting there on the couch, the voice of the motivational speaker from Dexter echoing in my head, “TAKE IT!” Trust me, it’s creepy as hell.

I’ve been saying that if I can’t make it as a writer (hel-lo shitty market!)(read: hel-lo shitty writer!), I’ll try and make it as a blogger.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I parted ways with my ad company, I’m selling my own ads and I’m making some changes on my bloggity-blog. Most of all, I’m trying to get motivated to do more.

Why?

Because this is what I do. This is what I love to do. And I needed to remind myself that I am worth it. I need to take myself seriously as a business-person, even if I don’t own the powersuit and sensible heels.

If I don’t take what I do here seriously, why would anyone else?

As female/mommybloggers, people don’t take us very seriously anyway and we all know that’s bullshit. But how are people supposed to take us seriously if we don’t take what we do with some semblance of seriousness? I don’t mean like we need to play our “We Are Women Hear Us Roar” records and dance around the room but I do mean that we are mighty and we are many and we should act like we deserve the power we have. We need to own it.

And I am. One thing at a time.

——————

Here’s where I’m asking you, Pranksters, The Question. The question of the ages (that’s a lie).

I pulled down my blogroll while I revamp it (= it’s gone right now) and I’m wondering honestly what you think of my blogroll. I’m adding a poll and I’d love your comments. Do I bother revamping it and putting it back? Do you guys like having it? I kind of do, but I get upset sometimes because non-Pranksters will be all, PUT ME ON YOUR BLOGROLL, BITCH, and then I realize they’re using me for the free real estate.

Oh, and I will always keep it as an open-door policy, meaning it won’t ever be just like 5 people on it. Does that change your opinion of it?

Is A Blogroll Awesome?

View Results

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Rad, yo.

Imperfect Shiny and New

In order for this to make sense, you have to read this post first.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Done?

Okay.

So, that plan didn’t quite work out. I shouldn’t have expected it to.

Let me back up a moment.

I’ve been in terrible pain for so long that I cannot remember when I wasn’t. I’ve had daily migraines since Amelia was born, something that I’d had off and on before that. I take a drug called Topamax (I lovingly call it “The Max,” when I’m feeling especially jaunty) to treat them, but it leaves me feeling a bit blurry.

The muscles spasms I have in my back, neck and shoulders are relatively new, and they trigger the migraines that The Max once blurrily held at bay. Through a mixture of muscle relaxants, pain medication, and daily chiropractic appointments, I’ve managed to keep them decently under control.

The pain has made me excruciatingly depressed. It makes me feel broken that “something is always wrong” with me. My friends tease me about it. I hate it because deep inside, I fear that they’re right. I’m irrevocably broken.

Because nothing can go according to plan, it’s no surprise that the surgeon took one look at my breasts and said that while they were, in fact, large, the insurance company would deny my reduction. It wouldn’t be enough tissue removed to meet their arbitrary criteria. I could, of course, fight it, appeal it, and in the end, perhaps get it covered. But, he also warned, I’d also probably want a lift and restructuring of the breast as well, not just a removal of tissue.

I saw dollar signs add up and I knew he was right.

I’d also gone in to talk about an abdominoplasty, which, in non-medical terms is a full tummy tuck. I’d heard you Pranksters talk about having both done at once and figured that I might as well, since I was going in for a reduction that I was certain insurance would pay for, see about having that done at the same time. Or really, just see what that was about.

We all have Those Things that we hate about ourselves. Maybe you hate your hair or your nose or your feet. I hate my gut. Always have. I was blessed with a pot belly and I’ve always planned to have it removed…eventually. No matter how skinny I become, I can’t lose it from there. Drives me bonkers.

The surgeon palpated my abdomen and discovered that the three babies that gestated in my short torso had done a number on my abdominal muscles. I’d suffered diastasis recti, or the separation of the abdominal muscles, which was weakening the core muscles of my body.

It made sense.

The surgeon wasn’t pushy about the surgery at all. He didn’t promise a miracle cure or that somehow my symptoms would miraculously improve overnight. But between what he said, my nursing/anatomical knowledge, and my symptoms, I felt that it made sense. Yes, it will be partially fulfilling my lifelong dream of having a tummy tuck, but also, and it’s a shot at me trying to get better.

I’m having surgery next week on Wednesday. I’ll be having the full abdominoplasty, not simply the outpatient cosmetic one, which means I’ll be in the hospital overnight.

Frankly, Pranksters, I didn’t want to post about this.

I’m nervous about the procedure and I know that there will be enough people reading this who don’t agree with what I’m doing. Whenever you open up about some health-related thing on The Internet, there’s some faction of people who are all, “YOU SHOULDN’T DO THAT, YOU SELFISH HEATHEN,” and really, I don’t need to hear it. This is my decision and my body.

To those of you who feel it’s important to come and attack me for my choices: I don’t have to ask permission. If you do not like what I am doing, that is absolutely fine. I don’t ask that you like it. I ask that you respect it as my choice.

But as my Pranksters, I know that you deserve the truth.

The Internet Mole People that will invariably come and shit all over me can suck it.

And to the person who said that I am proof that bad things happen to bad people? You can eat a bowl of hot dicks, baby.

The Skeleton Waltz

I hadn’t realized just how long I’d allowed myself to stagnate. Maybe I had and just hadn’t wanted to realize it, I can’t be sure. But the process of purging most of my closet forced me to really stop and take a look at just what it was that I was holding onto.

The answer is: nothing.

When I “became a grown-up,” I tried to live my life the way that I thought a grown-up should live. I never bothered to take into consideration that despite my age, the number of crotch parasites scampering about my feet, and my mortgage, underneath all of that, I was still Your Aunt Becky. The product of two alcoholic parents, I’d never had someone to teach me how to be a grown-up, how to live a life where I was responsible for anything beyond a fish tank, so I made a mash-up of what “grown-ups” did in my mind and I did that.

It never worked for me.

I’m not the person that can hold onto twist-ties “just in case” because I’ll end up storing them in the toilet tank. Extra crap stresses me out. Always has. And yet, because holding onto “just in case” stuff was one of those things I thought that I should do, I did it for years.

Undoing that has reminded me of all of the other things that I’ve been doing simply because I felt that I should.

Every single thing that I remove from my house reminds me that I’m moving on to start my own new life as Your Aunt Becky, not as who I think I should be. While it’s undeniably a positive step, there’s a lot of grieving I’ve been doing along the way.

I suppose this type of purge removes stuff from your mental closet, too. I’m pulling out all of my skeletons and teaching them the motherfucking tango. My skeletons, in turn, are teaching me the waltz. It’s a fair trade, I think. I have to learn from my past or I can never move on.

And I must move past this Waiting Place; this stagnant place I’ve found myself in.

So much of what I want to do with the rest of my life relies on outside forces and while I’ve set the wheels in motion, I have to simply sit back and wait. I’ve been waiting for so many things for so long. I’m ready to move on with my life.

The Waiting Place is a terrible place to be sometimes.

I’m ready to move on with my career, or at least, make one for myself. I’ve got the tools at my disposal, I’ve got the dedication and Lord knows I have the drive, but I’m stuck waiting on outside forces to allow me to move forward in such a manner that I can do something with it.

The Waiting Place is exhausting me.

So instead of focusing on the negative, I’ll see what other tricks my skeletons have to offer me; what else I can learn from them. Something will come to fruition, it always does. And if the past is indicative of the future, it won’t be anything like I’ll expect.

I hope that The Waiting Place soon turns into forward movement.

It’s what I want. It’s what I need. It’s what, eventually, I’ll get.

Once, I’d guess, my dance repertoire is complete.

The Incredible Lightness of Starting Over

I don’t like stuff.

Okay, wait, no, I like diamonds and other precious stones, and things that sparkle, but besides that, I’m not someone who holds on to mementos and feels good about it. I don’t look into my cabinets and feel fulfilled that I’ve held onto that “just in case” crap. It makes me feel tied down and unhappy.

Since I’ve moved into my house, I’ve always just sort of made do with what I’ve had rather than try to make any part of it my own. There have always been excuses as to why I’ve never bothered to save up for that new chandelier or the curtains or the Elvis-on-velvet-painting that would make me smile when I saw them. I am the sort of person who is affected by my environment, and somehow I didn’t think that having not one single room that reflected my personality would affect me.

It has.

It’s time to stop.

I’ve started the Great Purge. It’s time to get rid of all of the stuff that I have lying around that I simply do not need or want. There is a ton of it and I hold onto it because I simply have felt that I should. I know that I shouldn’t. The Salvation Army will be immensely happy to see me coming. If I were wise, I’d eBay it, but I’m not, so I won’t.

If I find anything good, I’ll offer it to you guys. (Like the laptop I’ve used twice. Talk about a stupid purchase. I need to sell that. *sighs*)

I’ve been looking into hiring painters and finding someone to rip out the carpeting. I’m allergic to the dogs and I need to get it out of here. Even if it’s expensive. I’ve picked out some paintings and some end tables and will continue to try and find some things that match my gloriously tacky tastes. Think bedazzled toilet seats as wall art. If you guys have any decorating tips or places you like to buy stuff, please, I’m all ears.

I’m just tired of looking at stuff I don’t like and thinking, “someday, SOMEDAY.” Life is way too short for that shit.

I’m famous for all-or-nothing thinking and it’s only recently that I’ve realized that making the house my own doesn’t have to be something I do all in one fell swoop. I need to start somewhere.

Because I’m worth it, too. My happiness does matter. Somewhere along the lines, I’ve forgotten that.

Simply put: I’m starting over. One bejeweled bust of Elvis at a time.

It feels fucking great.

———————–

Tonight at midnight CST, I’m ending the Pulling the David Cook for Charities Prank. If you want to win free ice cream for a year from Cold Stone, you have until then to get your posts in.

The Importance of Being (aunt) Becky

2010 was the Year of Bringing Aunt Becky Back, after realizing that I’d lost myself amid the piles of shitty diapers, colic and teething babies. It’s a hard balance, being Becky and being Mommy. Kids are notoriously selfish creatures I realized that if I couldn’t be Becky, as herself, in addition to being Mommy, I was never going to be happy.

I started the year off by starting my Phoenix tattoo and resolving to find my missing pieces.

The tattoo was initially an outline of a phoenix:

I began searching for My Missing Pieces.

I knew I wanted to be a writer, since the whole nursing thing wasn’t going to work (what with not liking to take orders from other people and stuff), but breaking into Old Media wasn’t happening. As a member of the New Media, Old Media took a look at me and got all huffy. Fine, I thought, BE that way, Old Man.

Back to the drawing board I trundled.

While I tried to figure out what to do with the rest of my life, I realized that it was also time to start being kinder to myself. I gots my hair did, bought some purdy clothes, and lost a bunch of weight. My body treats pregnancy like a famine, so every calorie I put in goes straight onto my ass. I could probably eliminate the middle-man and stick the food directly onto my ass.

Either way, I knew it was time to start putting myself in nice clothes again. Cosmo may have mostly taught me that a magazine about “me” was actually about pleasing “him” but they also did tell me that if I looked good, I felt good. Cosmo, as much as I hate to admit it, you won that round.

Still, I tried to figure out what I was supposed to do with myself while I waited for my trophy husband. I’ve been looking for a career since I scrapped medical school for nursing school and I’m not blond enough to be a trophy wife. I’ve needed something, anything, to make me, Your Aunt Becky, feel all warm and gushy inside.

I’ve carefully filled in my Phoenix tattoo as I’ve waited:

Eventually, I knew I’d figure it out. I always do.

July hit, and my life fell apart. I hate to be all maudlin and all “WOE IS ME,” but it was a fucking mess. The realization that I’d made all of the mistakes that I’d always told myself I never would broke my heart. I’m not sure I’ll ever quite be over that.

It’s like I betrayed my younger self and I’ve been slowly picking up the pieces ever since. If there is a good side to this, it’s that I’m finally dealing with all of the shit that I didn’t realize I hadn’t dealt with. Therapy, it’s good. Especially if you’re as narcissistic as I am.

It was around that time that I was able to reconcile what I hadn’t before. If I couldn’t make it in the Old Media world, it was time to do what I knew best: The Motherfucking Internet. Maybe it was time to get off my dimply ass and use my blog to launch something new; something more useful to the world.

So with the help of more people than I can ever thank, we did that. Band Back Together was formed. A place where anyone can go to put down their stories. Their stories of heartache and triumph. Of demons and light. Of laughter and love. It doesn’t matter who you are or how many hits your blog gets, over there, we’re all the same. We’re all in it together.

It’s not even close to reaching it’s potential, as one Prankster put it today. I believe the site will do so much good. It already has.

For me.

Running Band Back Together will never make me rich and famous. It will never send me on speaking engagements around the country or net me fame and fortune. I’ll never attract advertisers that drive dump trucks full of cash to my door just the way my dirty mouth scares them away from me here.

That, Pranksters, is just fine with me.

What Band Back Together is doing is more important than that. What I do here is all me. And being me, well, that’s worth more than anything.

It’s redemption.

Bringing Aunt Becky Back, Part Number 5-Niner

For those of you not painstakingly combing my archives because you know, you have a LIFE and stuff (which, hi, tell me how, okay?), I started a project back in January that I call “Bringing Aunt Becky Back.” I realized that I’d lost a lot of my identity while I popped out my crotch parasites and wiped endless poopy butts, and I realized that something had to be done about it before I ended up with Mom Jeans up to my nipples and some sensible white Keds on my feet.

So the Bringing Aunt Becky Back project was born.

The good news is, when you think you’ve lost yourself, you’re never as far away as you think you are. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear, it turns out. The bad news is, if you’re me, you have a lot of work to do to move away from your past.

These are luminous times, and I can’t help but feel that the changes I’m making are, well, change, and change is better than stagnation, so that’s forward movement. Starting therapy (which I return to on Saturday), is probably one of the smartest things I’ve done, and I’m looking forward to finally staring down the demons in my closets and making them dance the Funky motherfucking Chicken.

When you graduate college, it’s assumed you’re going to go on and have some sort of career. In my case, I grabbed my RN-BSN, knowing I would never actually be a career nurse and floundered for awhile.

Then, in the unlikeliest of places, I found something that I was not only (marginally) good at, but also made me happy: words. Glorious, beautiful, letters, strung into patterns, that formed words, put together in such a way that could horrify, delight, and make you weep. Writing. It was like discovering you could breathe underwater.

So I went with it. This had to be what I was supposed to do with my life.

I was fortunate enough to get literary agents and wrote up a couple of non-fiction book proposals–books of essays*–and waited. The stock market crashed, the publishing industry took a huge hit, and people stopped buying books.

So I waited, they waited, I went back to the drawing board, and in the meantime, I sent out essays, knowing full well real writers couldn’t get published anywhere, so the likelihood of anyone in The New Media (a.k.a. The Internet People) (potentially The Enemy) being able to get somewhere was about as good as me winning The Nobel Prize for Awesomeness.

Then I just…stopped.

And last week I had an epiphany: I needed to attack the problem from a different angle. Rather than focus on something so far out of reach, I’d try and do something I understood. So I revived Mushroom Printing as a group blog. I’m talking to a friend who runs an actual shirt screening press about getting “Shut Your Whore Mouth” shirts made.

If any of this leads to something else down the line, I’ll be doing the happy dance until my legs fall off. I still believe that making some sort of career out of writing is what I am supposed to do with myself, but perhaps this just isn’t the time.

It’s time to put my thinking cap on and figure out what to do next (any advice, I’m open to, Pranksters). Besides, of course, form a Neil Diamond tribute band.

Because, obviously.

*if you have signed up for an essay and haven’t gotten it, it’s been waylaid in your spam filter because it comes from a dummy email address. If’n you want it (and you do), email me. There’s a BIG OLD “email me” button on my sidebar. I can send you one.

——————-

It’s Toy With Me Tuesday! I’m talking about making a porno (no, not REALLY making one). Heh. It’s much sillier than it sounds.