{Insert dream here}

Hey Sarah,

If you recommend “Fierce Conversations,” I will check it out as soon as I can. It sounds like something I could use. The biggest problem I have (as do a lot of people) is a lack of self-discipline. Mine happens to be in regards to committing to a line of work. I just came back from my Columbia visit. Found myself in countless conversations regarding nutrition. I’d had a feeling that I’d always have a more receptive audience there. It seems like the perfect in-between place, where people know they need it but haven’t yet followed through with learning a lot of stuff. I guess that’s most places, though in Columbia there aren’t a whole lot of health coaches, I know. Don’t think I’ll ever live there again, though I might go for long visits. But who really can say? Life could always change dramatically . . . and lead me back to sameness, ha. Thanks for the long letter, i love those.

Yeah, you say sacrifice in regards to the boyfriend and the distance, but I’m thinking if I don’t know where I want to be, anyway, the only sacrifice is the one of giving up sitting, waiting for shit to happen to me instead of going out and making it so. Make sense? I think since I travel a lot most people don’t see me that way, but that is truly how I see myself. I’m all about renting my property but it’s difficult to keep it rented in the winter because if the tenant doesn’t have 4WD they are stuck hiking a ways in and out every day, and trust me, I did it for months and it sucks big-time. In the snow-free times it’s great, but it sticks around for at least three months. I hope you get to visit sometime in good weather, because it is an amazing place. Too isolated, I’m realizing, at least for just me, but really good when there are other people around. I am picky, of course, about who I live with, so the pickings are often slim in the housemate department. I’ve had great ones, so far, but only temporary. Very few people want to spend the winter in this town, including ME.

Re: your recommendation, I have a hard time telling the difference between brutal honesty and debilitating self-criticism. Obviously one theoretically gets things accomplished and the other one makes me just want to sit and hate myself and leave town and face nothing and no one, just stay transient. I’m realizing I cannot deal well with conflict on anything above a very small scale, and it makes me feel especially claustrophobic in this small town. I can’t handle gossip or negativity and I think it’s often simply a constant by-product of people all living within metaphorical earshot of one another. I feel as if I grow more private every day to protect myself from criticism. Paranoid and silly and isolationist, I know, but I still do have good friends (if not great) and usually it’s not a problem. I cannot supress my social side, either way.

My main challenge lately seems like it’s staying relaxed when my boyfriend appears to forget I exist because he’s so wrapped up in school, and I’m 2.5 hours away and only know that I feel forgotten. I just need more going on, basically. I don’t even like him to see that I feel this way, but then I keep it inside and it grows.

I am working on starting a nutrition/health blog, and have been energized by my trip to Columbia and the encouraging feedback I’ve received. Trust me, though, if I could start with “I’ve always wanted to {enter dream here},” like you said, I would. I guess I’ve been presented with so many options that I feel too paralyzed to pick something. Nothing satisfies what I think I want out of life, so far, anyway. My mom told me a couple of days ago (post her long Africa trip) that my values are out of place. I think that she’s at least halfway correct, but I don’t know how to do something totally fulfilling and still stay in the world I want. I don’t think it’s possible and yet I know it’s necessary. In other words, to feel truly fulfilled one must learn how to give as much as possible to others through one’s work, and to do that you have to go far out of your comfort zone. Not necessarily true at all, but I guess that’s how I keep myself safe. She wasn’t even necessarily referring to work, but more to how I’m relating to Brooks and our future together. She actually said some useful stuff that day . . .

I think part of the problem is I want to do EVERYTHING, and that’s impossible. So I’ve done some cool things, but they haven’t really led me to much greater things, yet, due to my own inertia. I am working on a proposal to do an article on climbing in my hometown, and am being prompted by a pretty successful photographer who wants to team up, so I plan on following through with that. We’ll see how that turns out.

Later,

Lydia

Capitalizing on bowel movements

Alright, where’d you go? I did it, I made a blog with these here letters, and I was waiting for you to give me permission to use your parts, but it’s too late, it’s been posted for all (29) to see and now there’s little you can do about it (except have me delete it).

No shame required as insisted upon. I find it charming that you said me writing about my mucus was charming. I find it a mystery as to why that charms some people/boys and why girls know that and thusly capitalize on that knowledge by talking about their bowel movements, B.O., periods, feminine itching, etc. Weird. But better than feeling compelled to pretend none of it exists, for sure.

I very much enjoy reading your writing, especially when it’s addressed to me, of course. No surprise there, and all women probably feel that way.
I’ve reached the point with my boyfriend that if I wrote him a love letter he’d wonder why. I’d be worried he would think I’m trying to get something out of him, like a proposal or something, which I’m not. We’re pretty happy with each other 98% of the time, and he wrote me a great love letter once, right after we started dating, and I tried to write him one back, but it was so retarded I finally gave up. And by now, it would just be strange. Sad? He would appreciate a retarded poem, I’m sure, but it would still have to be inspired by a special occasion, I think.

I just pooped, I mean popped, one half of one of his blue pills (the kind yungins take, not old dudes). Now my heart feels a little bigger than it did five minutes ago. I gave my dog CPR when he died. He came back to life, but then blood started coming out of his mouth, and he was gasping every twenty seconds, and I hated myself for it. He died an ugly death from an enlarged heart. Common to poodles, I guess. God, that dog was so amazing. I would clone him again in a second, if it was free or pretty cheap, and if it meant he would live a full life (instead of a half one which apparently is the life expectancy of clones, or at least that was the case several years ago…). My stomach feels funny. Skeeter had a bit of an eating disorder, though. He was a binge-er, and would find food and eat ’til he almost popped. You couldn’t handle him because his skin would feel so tight over his belly you’d be afraid he would burst. I’m pretty sure he learned it from my dad. He also picked up this neurotic thing where he would pull the fur out of his paws and his sides with his teeth. Pretty sure that came from being around my dad, too. He has plenty of his own self-defeating neuroses.

I have to pee. Is that charming? Okay, later.

Lame as male

“Hey now, I didn’t blow any smoke, damn it! I held back. I didn’t want to creep you out with detailed high praise.

This response is lame. I’m sorry in advance. I just spelled lame as “male” and this is the first time I realized that could happen.

Don’t knock being 30. You’re still wee, and supple. Yum. I’ll stop myself here. I’ll be 30 this year. I like 30. Moreover, I like girls in their 30’s more than 20-somethings, and I’m awesome for this and anyone who disagrees is less awesome than I.

YES. Write about your mucus. I find that subject very charming coming from you.

I haven’t been writing about myself, but I like stories more anyway, so I’m not having a problem with that. I cram a buttload of subtext into my tales and if it’s possible for anyone to decipher them you’d see how incredibly personal they are. It’s fun to do if you let 3rd person characters think and act out your thoughts.

To be quite honest, if you desire to post something for the intardwebs, your two messages here are extraordinarily well written and relatable and I’d just post that or a variation of that if I were you. You’ll get way more helpful responses than I could think of. I’m just there with you, and I’m stupid, and all I can think of is “I KNOW, HUH!”

I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. I wish I could be and I wish I could do better to make you feel better. This is one of those things that I’ll think of much better responses to after some time passes, probably when it’s too late. I can be very slow when it comes to these subjects because it hits home. Reading your message is like reading a clarified version of the thoughts I have on a daily basis. Which either means I think like a girl or you think like a boy. Both things satisfy me. But more likely it has nothing to do with our dangly parts.

Oh, oh, oh. Oh. Oh. Me not working. The easy answer is fear. I’m afraid of everything and it’s really difficult even just to get myself out of the house to buy food. An ex once told me that I’m afraid of living and she was right, but I still want to kick her a little (for other reasons). I’m still in a shame spiral from losing my job. I liked that job. I didn’t do anything wrong but I feel like I could have done better in the time I spent there and got myself a more secure position so I could have moved to the bay area with the new company that took over. I got myself a few interviews after and moved in with my cousin for like a week, but he disgusted me and the thought of no rent and being with my dogs was too tempting, so I moved to my dad’s in _____. Temporarily. It’s been over two years of “I’ll start really looking again next week.”

I can respond to your message better than this. I am ashamed of this. I can do better. This is just for now.”

What I needed to read.

“You are writing to a friend,” she said. “Write privately, not publicly, without fear or timidity, right to the end of the letter, as if it was never going to be published… Don’t rehearse too much, the story will develop as you go along… Remember not to think of the reading public. It will put you off.” -Muriel Sparks

Air it out.

{scroll down to begin at the beginning}

Well G___,

Thanks for the terrific response, even if some of it was smoke-blowing and all that nonsense, it still does good. Even if only for a split second. Winter sucks the life out of me, the love for my fellow man, the will to move and lift heavy things and not eat crap, any desire at all to be at my really depressing house that is really isolated and draped in slush and snow and at the end of the really long driveway which busted my oil pan for the second time in a year last month, and which I finally got to the shop after driving cross-country in it, and about which I got a call this morning informing me that I also busted the rear oil seal on that last bout with the driveway rocks, which means another part and approximately six hours of extra labor. Sob. Vehicles are depressing sometimes.

So now I’m sitting in a cafe in Athens pretending that I’m getting something productive done (I’m not, but for communicating with you, so), avoiding home life 2 1/2 hours away in my teeninesy town by hanging out in my boyfriend’s town (he’s in grad school here), trying not to eat too much (this morning I coughed up GOBS and gobs of green gorilla glue that refused to wash down the drain until the water was hot enough to scald, though I feel fine! too much sugar, I think). Should I write about my mucus production on my blog?

The thing is, I don’t want anyone I’m around to know anything real about my life. So that now also keeps me from writing anything worth a shit, because if I don’t have an audience I don’t want to write, and the only thing I’m good at writing about is the mundane absurdity around me.

And I guess it’s not just that I don’t want people to know anything, it’s just that it’s not worth it. Nobody deserves a window into my life . . . how depressing. Even more, I don’t want people to judge me so I just keep them the hell outta my bizness.

I don’t want to get any older. That shit sucks. Especially as a woman. This existence is so WEIRD. WHY are we HERE? WHAT the fuck are we DOING and how does everyone keep walking around and being motivated to procreate and work and produce shit and get straight A’s when it DOESN’T make any SENSE??? Thank Allah they do, so I can keep being useless, but still. I don’t get it. So when I say meds, I guess I was thinking less anti-depressants (which I’ve learned are only truly “effective” in about 10% of cases, in the severely depressed) and more like ADD stuff. I just want the easy way out at this point. Out of aimlessness, of uselessness, of being a pointless consumer of pointless shit. And of course, I know it’s still not a ticket to productivity, but I’d try anything at this point for just a little boost in the right direction…

(but I also know what it has done in the past is simply turned my inner monologue outer, and in a way I guess that could help, but my best thinking is really done on paper, not out loud to a captive audience)(I mean, rapt)

You know where I went wrong? All that stupid reading I did. I read non-stop as soon as I could, and I could hardly be pried away from unreality to write history papers or perform calculus or anything (though I did love playing sports), and the real world just became something to be experienced from the third person. I’m not buried in books anything like I used to be, but I think with everything it gave me it also took something away. I think it might be some form of PTSD, possibly. I experienced so many other people’s violent rapes, cancers, car accidents, deaths of their own children and parents and siblings, genocide, rabies, comings of age, retardations resulting from child abuses, amputations, house fires, schizophrenia, wars, galloping consumption, adultery, and so on, that I can’t get these things out of my head. I’m paranoid and depressed because the human condition is horrible. I love people, I love human interaction, but at the same time I think we’re completely irredeemable. We are a sorry ass species and we deserve to die for what we’ve done and continue to do to the world around us, the people, the animals, the plants, the oceans, ourselves. Often I sincerely believe that depressed people are the only sane ones. When I went through my own period in the depths, I truly thought that the suicidal were the only people who truly saw reality. I knew that at that point I would have to start pretending again like all the normal people that there was a point, simply to start functioning like all of them again.

So how does one hold a job that requires passion, or pursue a dream, or write a book, if this is what she believes? I’m not even “depressed” right now (but I probably would be if I hadn’t just been on the road for a month), I just live in the head that thinks these things. I just want to be in too many places at once, and nowhere fully. I want to have meaningful work (but how does one become a health coach when they believe the above?–though in a way I believe in spite of it all people can at least halfway redeem us by simply being less oblivious/more aware of the damage they’re doing, and that tends to go well with a conscious lifestyle) but I can’t figure out what kind of work will make me happy enough to sustain the passion to pursue it.

At last you feel compelled to write. I envy that. I’m sure we both have things to envy about each other, of course, but the main thing to envy about anybody is drive, as far as I’m concerned. Lack of disease is probably also a good one. I’m sure plenty of people envied Hitler for his motivation, even if he was a shithead. Maybe only shitheads are sincerely motivated? (Whatever makes me feel better, right…?)

What’s truly keeping you from getting a job? Where are you living right now and in what kind of situation?
You could write a children’s book with that black and white drawing stuff (is some of that done on the computer? It’s neat) like you did in your book. It would stand out from the others, and I’m sure it would be a kickass one…

Okay. I guess I have to bring myself to bring this to. a. close. and try and pretend to do something else that will ultimately lead. to. nothing.

Shit.

G____ writes back

I’m not sure if drugs are the answer. I just started with this Lexapro stuff last week and all it’s doing so far is making me feel lightly awkward and mildly high and occasionally nauseous. Evidently it’ll start making me less insane if I stick with it over the next month or so. So far I’ve done best at creative stuff stone cold boring sober.

We have similar dilemmas. I waste more time than you can imagine. The past two+ years have been the most wasteful years of my life. I may appear productive on the Internet, but that’s only because all I’ve been doing is Internet stuff, and spending all my unemployment money on movies and gadgetry and puppies and vets, the bastard vets.

I swore off writing altogether when my mom had my brother-in-law order my book (my blog book—bleh) just because I had mentioned to her the word ‘book’ and of course my sister and brother-in-law got it and were all butthurt at my fictional interpretations of them, and this resulted in miscommunication and frustration and I didn’t talk to any of them for about a year and we were all pissed off at each other, and I of course was the unwitting bad guy. So, writing about family is always a fun subject, but as long as you can either keep them away from reading it or be cool with them reading it, which I find extremely difficult but seemed to have pulled off for my latest book. Waiting until their death is a fun idea, but in the meantime, you need some Fresh. I didn’t write anything about them in the new book (I wrote it from the perspective of: this is going to make up for the last book and then I’ll stop writing for a while and get a job (not working out!)) but it’s the principle of the thing. We’ve since made up because my sister had my nephew and he makes us happy. I promised them I’d write a kid-friendly book in his honor. Still trying to figure out how to get out of Arizona, though. I have dogs and this complicates things obscenely.

Naturally I couldn’t really stop myself from writing so I kept doing it (but I simply stopped writing in the first person). Of course I couldn’t get anyone to read my short stories because they were too long and everyone has been in 420 characters or less mode since MySpace went the way of the CD and nobody seems to read anything online anymore unless it’s on their own terms.

I’m also not doing any moneymaking things. In fact, I ran out of unemployment and I’m about completely broke and considering robbing old ladies of their purses. If you can get me a job with you I’ll move to where you are and give you half my earnings, and whatever else I have to give. Except my puppy. Hands off he’s mine!

Oh, I need to correct you on a couple things:

You have everything going for you. You’re brilliant, you’re beautiful, everybody loves you, you could easily kick my ass at anything, and you’ll have no problems doing whatever you want. It’s just getting yourself motivated to do it is the tricky thing. That’s difficult for me to help out with. I do everything I do out of compulsion and spontaneity, and pretty much ignore all the things I actually should be doing.

I don’t have any writers groups or any partners in creativity, though I’d love one. I’ll team up with you! For whatever there is to team up on, even if it’s just beating people up and stealing their money. I’m up for some fresh FRESH.

Newd Beginnings

G____,

How do I find the motivation to write again? Are you depressed? Is it working for you? How are you so prolific? I just want to write a damn blog but as soon as I type the first word, I start thinking about who will read it and choke. Ugh. Somehow my f*#$ing dad found my blog. I don’t want to make another one. It’s already boring enough. And you know what I need to do is make a blog regarding health and shit, because I became a certified health coach this year, but with each day that passes I’m less motivated to pursue it. I feel like a stupid unmotivated loser. I’m doing NOTHING right now for money. I have another voiceover copy-editing job starting in mid-January, but it’s not going to be very life-affirming, to put it mildly. What to do, what to do?

Is there something we can team up and do? A little writer’s group? Are you already in on one? If so, I don’t want to jump in. I just want it to be fresh. I WANT FRESH. I need the drive to PRODUCE something of substance godammit because I feel like all of it is evaporating altogether. I have none left. I’m a poseur. I have nothing “going for me.” I’ve even been contemplating going back to school to maybe become a professor. That’s retarded. Not seriously, by the way. I don’t contemplate anything seriously. I just waste time. Help.

What to do what to do? Remember I used to write blogs? The internet has sucked every last bit of will to write right out of me. Even if I’m away from the internet I now have a phone that can access it. I don’t even spend that much time on facebook. I just wander the webbed hallways.

My family is crazy. I could write about their history. I always thought that they would make great subjects because of all the fucked-up shit they’ve done, but I couldn’t publish it til after their deaths. That’s just a procrastinator’s excuse, probably. Are drugs the answer?

Excited to read yer book.

-Me