I know that my last post had its ups and downs, but on the whole, it was a bit of a downer because it emphasized the negative parts of the trip. I do not know why I did that, especially because the trip was amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I think a large part of my problem, what keeps me from being genuinely happy nine times out of ten, is that I rarely accentuate the positive. I am going to make a concerted effort to do so, but unfortunately, it is not going to happen in this post. But the next one will be exceedingly uplifting, I promise, and I am starting to really keep the promises I make to myself so that I can learn to trust myself.
I must admit that I have been feeling incredibly uninspired as of late. Not only have I utterly and completely fallen off the wagon as it pertains to dieting and exercising, but I have not written anything creative in quite some time. My journal is filled with entries in which I complain about my shortcomings and nothing more. It is a disappointment and again, I berate myself for having nothing to write about because I have not done anything worth writing about. There has been no chance encounter, no startling image, no overheard turn of phrase to fire up my neurons and facilitate some kind of epic brainstorming session.
Then again, that might not be entirely true. The other day, as Dad and I were getting ready to watch “The Following,” (which is an excellent show on FOX starring Kevin Bacon that I am thoroughly obsessed with now) he was making himself a sandwich. As he reached for the loaf of bread in its plastic bag in a drawer beneath the meat slicer, I noticed an unpleasant look of disgust smear itself across his face. He picked up the bag with what seemed like intolerable reluctance and hurried to place it on the kitchen table, looking at his hands in disbelief. Naturally, I asked him what was the matter, and he told me the bag was wet. Intrigued, I removed myself from reclining upon the couch in the living room to investigate. None of the other bags bread, bagels, and rolls was wet. As a matter of fact, I did not notice anything peculiar or out of place about the bread drawer. I looked at Dad and shrugged before moving to examine the bag in question. The top of the bag, near the tie that closed it back up, was wet and there were tiny, red dots of moisture both on the inside and the outside. I was completely baffled and asked Dad what he thought it was. He brought a hand to his face and sniffed. His face went pale and he told me plainly and simply that it was blood. Then, betraying his flair for the dramatic, he told me it smelled like “dead blood.” While it took both my father and I all of ten seconds to figure out that while Mom had been slicing roast beef in her brand new meat slicer, some blood had dripped onto this particular bag of bread and that nothing sinister nor truly creepy had occurred, regardless of how gross it was, I thought it was a great scene to manipulate, twist and dramatize and use.
Similarly, I had a totally bizarre dream the other night. The details have faded and in all honestly, the dream was more like a few weeks ago than “just the other night,” but the main image has resonated and stayed put. It was a royal blue beetle of large proportions, and with legs made of pink, plastic straws, crawling across the face of a female. The beetle began small, walking in meandering lines across the face and out of view. But when the female stranger turned to face me once more, the bug had suddenly become huge and covered a quarter of her face. It seemed so genuine and real, that I wondered if I wasn’t hallucinating more than dreaming. Thinking of hallucinations had me thinking of one of my ideas for my next novel, one involving a man on lithium and I wondered if I couldn’t somehow forge a connection between the two. I suppose it would be fairer for me to say that there has been inspiration, but I have been too lazy to utilize it. I need to be motivated and I promise to you that I am working on it.
I am reading two novels currently (one I kind of hate but have to finish now that I’ve started, but the other is absolutely fabulous) and cannot stop listening to the soundtrack for the upcoming movie “The Great Gatsby.” My obsession has reached new heights, actually, and is not restricted to the compulsive, repetitive playing of the soundtrack. When I visited BookTowne in Manasquan to try and set up an event, I ended up dropping off contact information and buying a t-shirt.
I cannot remember which author it was, but rumor has it that a contemporary novelist would type out The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald whenever he had writer’s block to cure himself of it. I am curious as to whether or not I shouldn’t give it a shot.
I recently ordered a photography book by Eric Meola which features Bruce Springsteen from the year 1977 to the year 1979. Perusing the photographs and reading the lyrics and essays which accompany them, I did feel a creative sort of tingle and briefly pondered returning to the idea for my next novel which was entirely inspired by the Boss.
I am going up to Bloomfield this afternoon for drinks with some friends from college. I am going to catch up with some of the most wonderful and beautiful women I have had the privilege and pleasure of knowing, but also, selfishly, to perhaps be inspired. Perhaps something will happen along the way; why knows? I suppose the point is that no one knows, and that therein lays the point. A very wise colleague of mine, who is unfortunately retiring at the end of the academic year, encouraged me to take risks and I am proud to say I have taken that advice to heart.
It is time to catch up with my life; frankly, it has been long overdue. Every single weekend in April, I have had some obligation – all enjoyable, to be sure – that consumed my only free time, so to speak. With the conclusion of this weekend’s activities, I have a moment to breathe and collect myself, smooth the wrinkles from my clothes, wipe the crumbs and debris away, and tuck bothersome strands of hair behind my ear. I have a precious few seconds to compose myself before Monday starts. It is a wonderful feeling I missed more than I believe I realized.
The first three weekends of this fourth month of the year were all about furthering my professionalism; three workshops dealing with subject matter and the future of the teaching profession. As I said, all of the workshops were useful and I loved meeting colleagues from all over the state, but this last weekend was my favorite because it was filled with love, friends, and romance, and it inspired a few daydreams to implement when I am in danger of bleeding out from boredom.
Friday night was Christine’s wedding and it was breathtaking. I genuinely believed I was witnessing some sort of fairy tale brought to life before me. Christine looked positively gorgeous and as twilight fell upon the meticulously manicured grounds of the estate, I felt all the wind rush around me and out of me, vacating my lungs like rats on a sinking ship. I know it is a crude analogy that does not really fit with the rest of the image, but I suppose that is the point, precisely what I’m going for. I feel sheepish admitting, no matter how silly or common it may be, that in that moment of Christine’s complete happiness and beauty, I succumbed to a sudden, vicious and crippling attack of loneliness. There I was, surrounded by all the things in life that should be celebrated and that make all the unfortunate events in between worth it, and I could think only of myself and only of the negative. I am not proud of it, but there it was all the same and unsure of what else to do, I cried. I cried for how pathetic I am, for how beautiful Christine was, for how happy her and James were and are and always will be, for the friends around me, for the lights and the decorations and the love and the smiles and the good food – I cried for all of it.
Saturday was Liz’s bridal shower. It was held at an adorable place called Café Paris in Metuchen. I went to the shower straight from the hotel where I stayed at for Christine’s wedding, so I looked less than spectacular, especially since I had fallen asleep without washing my face. Mascara caked inside my eyelids and as a result, my eyes were bloodshot. I can only imagine what kind of first impression I made. I would be more horrified but since I knew the people I was sitting with, it could have been worse. Lauren, Lindsay and Christina are all happily in love, and Meghan is planning her wedding. I slung back mimosas. Tim and Liz are two of the greatest people I have ever had the privilege, honor, and blessing of meeting. Both – Tim in particular – shaped me into the woman I am today. They introduced me to an amazing organization and collection of people that taught and inspired and supported me more so than I ever deserved. Tim and Liz getting married is evidence that sometimes, good things do happen to good people and that love is alive and well. It makes me happy and it makes me cry.
Today, during mass, the priest blessed a couple who had been married for 60 years. I turned to my little brother and smiled. I wonder if he thinks it’s weird that I’ve never brought anyone home to meet Mom and Dad. I wonder if what he wonders even matters. I wonder if the blessing was a sign from God that it is going to happen for me one day, or if it was just a coincidence that I was surrounded by marriage all weekend. I wonder if this all stems from that hormonal time of the month, a beer or two too many, watching “When Harry Met Sally” alone in an empty hotel room after the wedding, or because my next novel idea is about an engagement that is wrecked irreparably. Do I want to wreck it because I am bitter, lonely and resentful, or because I honestly think the plot is entertaining?
I worry that I am a broken record; I know this is not my first blog entry of this nature and I am can confidently guarantee it will not be the last. Is that a bad thing? Am I throwing another spontaneous pity party? Am I sticking to what I know because it’s comfortable?
I need to start living – meeting new people, experiencing new things.