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Cat’s Out of the Bag

Not that the cat was ever in the bag to begin with.  Seriously?  That would just be cruel.  Who comes up with these things?

Okay, so sometimes I might chase my dogs around the house with the vacuum or try to trap them in the laundry basket.

But that’s not the same thing.  Because they know it’s all in fun.  I’m pretty sure.

Anyway.  For some reason, they’ve let me post another article to the site, Musings on Life and Love.

Even though I have no clue what I’m talking about.

Shhh.  I won’t tell if you won’t.

Go check it out!

There are Many Things that I Would Like to Say to You

But I don’t know how…

Scratch that.

I do know how.  But that doesn’t make it any easier.  So I’m going to get straight to the point:

I broke up with my counselor yesterday.

I’d forgotten what that was like – to break up with someone.  To tell another person you’re pretty certain he or she no longer has a role in your life.  It feels pretty shitty.  But also pretty good.  Because, while I don’t want to hurt her personally, I know – in my guts – that this was the right move for me.

Of course I took the typical chicken route and did it via awkward voicemail.

I figured since we hadn’t slept together, I was still following acceptable breakup protocol.

And I might have called during a typical appointment time, so I knew she probably would not be able to answer the phone.  I know.  You’re thinking my cojones are like the size of bb pellets right now.  And you’re probably right.  Because instead of confessing the truth – confronting her with the real reason I wanted to break up – I left a rambling message something akin to, Umm.  I need to cancel my appointment for tomorrow.  I’m sorry for the short notice, but I think you said you need 24 hours, so hopefully this works.  Umm.  I think I’ve decided counseling just isn’t something I want to do right now.  Soo yeah.  Call me at this number if you have any questions.

Counseling just isn’t something I want to do right now?  That’s the reason I gave her?  I’ll admit that part of that excuse rings true, but that’s not even close to the real reason I’m certain our relationship won’t work.  And it’s not me – it’s most definitely her.

I knew it by the end of our second appointment.

I hadn’t really felt a “click” from the beginning, but considering I’d never seen a counselor before and wasn’t even sure if there was supposed to be a “click,” I wanted to stick it out and give her a chance.

But, like I said, by the end of date #2, I just knew.

At the risk of potentially alienating some of you lovely readers, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you something about me in case you haven’t already figured it out:  I’m not a particularly religious person.  I wasn’t raised that way, and no one since has been able to convince me that any particular religion is right for me.  Or just “right,” period.

I’m sorry if this upsets any of you, but trust me – people have tried to convince me to “join up” with certain religions.  Sometimes it feels like I’m being heavily recruited by several competing sororities and some are telling me, “Sign with us because we have the BEST social events,” or “Our philanthropy is TOP notch – we’ll spend your money wisely” or “WE have the nicest church, so you know God loves us best.”

And I’m sitting there thinking, really?  I consider myself a spiritual person.  And personally, I don’t feel the need to sign up for any particular dogma that (I feel) might keep me from growing and learning on my own.  And I love to learn from everybody.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else based on my fluid, loose-leaf belief system.

I mean, that’s kind of the point.

So.  My intention here is not to open a discussion on religion.  It’s to give you a little background information so I can properly explain why I felt the need to break up with my counselor.

To my second appointment, I wore my distinctively gaudy and very noticeable Ganesh necklace, which represents a Hindu deity known for his ability to remove obstacles.  And I’m not gonna lie – I could use some obstacle removal in my life.  I mean – remember the old lady and the kittens?

Long story short, I expressed to her my interest in trying out some mind expansion exercises (aka. “meditation”), and she all but flipped her lid.

I’ll expand on this little pet project of mine at a later date, but all you need to know for right now is that I did not bring up the subject of religion, but had simply told her how elated I felt when I started reading this book about meditation that my friend in India sent me because, after reading only the first chapter, it finally – finally – felt like someone “got” me.

Someone understood my particular brand of “depression.”

Which is more than I could say for this counselor.

I could tell she was trying to remain professional, but she spent the next 20 minutes (cutting 10 minutes into her next appointment) delicately dancing around the subject of how meditation practices could be extremely dangerous because they could take me further away from THE God and let demons into my life and did I know that people in India worship cows, for crying out loud?

I looked down at my necklace and contemplated this predicament.  My counselor, whose job, I thought, it was to help guide me to my own conclusions about what’s best for me in life without giving any true opinions of her own, was flat-out telling me that a drug-free mind exercise I wanted to try was essentially evil and, even worse, she was essentially laughing at another culture – another belief system that while I certainly don’t practice, I definitely respect.

Like I said – I’m here to learn.  Not judge.

And clearly, she thought she was qualified to judge.  Either she noticed my necklace and is extremely insensitive, didn’t notice it and is extremely unobservant, or noticed it and didn’t know what it was, which pretty much makes her completely unqualified to comment at all.

So that’s that.

Irreconcilable differences.

I don’t judge her for her beliefs, but I certainly judge her for judging mine.

Or something like that.

I realize I probably should have told her the real reason I don’t want to see her again.  But honestly?  I think she knows.

She took it really well.  In fact, she called me back shortly after and left me a very kind, professional voicemail.  (I didn’t answer the phone because I was in the bathroom – not because I was avoiding her calls.  I think.)  To her credit, I’m pretty sure she knew this was coming.  Even though I hadn’t implied that the problem was her, she did leave me the names and numbers of 2 other women in her office with whom I might be more comfortable working.

Those were her words – more comfortable.

But the thing is, I’m not sure I’ll ever be “comfortable” spilling my guts in the office of a complete stranger.  If she doesn’t make the mistake of spewing her own religious beliefs on me, I might be sitting there wondering – Is she judging me?  Does she think I’m an idiot?  Am I a lost cause and she just gets me to come back every 2 weeks so she can bank off my insurance?

No.  I think, for the time being, I’d rather spill my guts here in my own office to a whole bunch of complete strangers.  Because “listening” and giving feedback is your choice – not your obligation.

This doesn’t mean I’m done with counseling for good.  But right now, I have one other avenue I’d like to pursue, just to see if it’s a better fit.

My sister’s roommate (hey, Teagan!) gave me a quote from Lady Gaga who, surprisingly, describes my current sentiments based on this last experience exactly:

“I’m terrified of therapy because I don’t want it to mess with my creativity.”


What she said.

I Suck at Life. Sometimes.

Well, it’s official.

I only made it through one week of setting and completing goals for myself.  This past week, I failed miserably.

What can I say?  Sometimes I suck at life.

I’m not sure what happened – it’s like the past 7 days just disappeared entirely, and I have (almost) nothing to show for them.

If you recall, I had a whole laundry list of “small” items I needed to complete, including mailing out for a new social security card (not complete), book our favorite boarders for the mutts for our upcoming trip to Spain (not complete), call my counselor for a reminder of the name of the book I’m supposed to read by Thursday (don’t need to complete because I found the scrap of paper with the name of the book, but yeah… I haven’t bought it yet), find at least 2 healthy recipes (only found and made 1), and research at least 3 potential publications to which I could submit article pitches (COMPLETE).

So I’m 1 for 5.

Oh, and this pile still looks exactly like this:

1 for 6.

I rock.

So.  Needless to say, my goal for this week is to complete all of last week’s goals.

AND I need to finish at least one lesson per day of Spanish from Rosetta Stone, picking up where I left off before I went to Costa Rica.

The good news is that I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the weather and my ability to get things done.  When it’s beautiful and sunny and the birds are singing, good things happen.

And I’m pretty sure good things will be happening this week.

Because the thing is, sometimes Mondays are just a fresh start from the mess you made of the week before.

This is one of those Mondays.

More of My Messes

I seriously feel like I have a backlog of things to tell you about on here – things other than food and house projects – but these days it seems like I’ve only been inspired to write while I’m driving or while I’m drunk (which are never at the same time), but I’m fairly certain that writing while doing either is not the greatest idea.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Sometimes I’m interesting when I drink.  At least to a point.  And then I probably just get annoying because I only think I’m interesting.

And this is why I maintain that it’s better to drink alone.

Okay, I don’t really mean that.



Is it really Monday again already?  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been bummed about Mondays.  See, that’s what happens when you quit your 9-5.  You make up with Mondays.  In fact, you might-kind-of-a-little-bit look forward to them because you will have the house to yourself and feel motivated to get things done.

But then I introduced the idiot idea of setting weekly goals for myself to get much-needed projects done around this house and announcing them on this blog so you, dear friends, can hold me accountable.

And even though my first week was a success, I have been dreading today, Monday, all weekend.  Because it’s time to set new goals.  And I think last week – and my subsequent trip to IKEA (more on that later) – sucked up all my motivation.

And it’s cold again.

And rainy.

And right now my walls look like this:

(More on that later.)

And I want my mom.

But she has a business and a step-grandbaby and has no time to visit me.


Wait.  Was I going somewhere with this?

Moving on.

I need a goal.

I have several small-ish “to-do’s” that I’d like to complete this week:

  • Mail out for a new social security card because there’s a possibility I may have misplaced my old one.  Possibly.
  • Book my favorite boarders for my mutts because there is a highly anticipated trip in our near future (more on that later).
  • Call my counselor for a reminder of which book she wants me to read and when my next appointment is scheduled because I may have misplaced the piece of paper she wrote it on.  Possibly.  (Counselor?  More on that later.  Maybe.)
  • Find at least 2 new healthy recipes to make this week (I think I already found one!) because, ready or not, summer IS coming.  And so is a vacation.  And both will involve bathing suits.
  • Brainstorm pitches for at least 3 freelance articles and potential publications.
  • Make a list of all of the things in this post I promised to write “more on later” so I actually remember to write more on them later.

The problem is, I don’t really think any of these things fall into my weekly goal category, because a) they’re not big enough, and b) I really have to do them anyway.

The other problem is, some of the house-related goals I had in mind either happen outside (like organizing the garage) or require me to work outside (like staining shelves for the office), and that was great when it was all 80-degrees and sunny last week, but now it’s like 45 and miserable and I just don’t wanna.

So here is my goal, which is slightly less labor intensive this week:

I, Katie, do solomly swear to try to dispose of or find permanent homes for as much of this pile of crap that came from the desks I sold on Craigslist as I can within the next week so I have room to finish the office:

And, time permitting, will do the same for all items in this office closet (brace yourself – this one is far, far worse than the last):

I know this seems like small potatoes, but getting Justin to purge things he doesn’t need can sometimes be difficult.

I mean, it’s hard to get past that mentality of, the second I throw this out, I’m going to need it for something else and you’ll be sorry you made me throw it out because then I’ll have to buy a new one.

But here’s my logical response:  You end up buying a new one anyway because a) the old one isn’t good enough, b) you can’t find the old one, or c) you didn’t even know you had the old one.  And then we end up with like 6 of these doohickys and they’re cluttering up my office and therefore my entire LIFE and why are you looking at me like I’m crazy?

So there’s that.

Cross My Heart and Pinky Swear


I fully intended to have a post for you by this afternoon.  I did.

But it turns out these goals actually take work and time to accomplish.

Go figure.

But, I do have great news!  I have completed the 2 goals I set for myself this week.

Let’s recap:

1.  Finish that damn closet. Yep, it’s finished!  And it actually looks awesome.  Who knew that painting the inside of a closet, replacing the wire shelf with a real shelf, and adding some hooks and organization could be so much work?  But it was totally worth it because I’m convinced this is the type of thing that’s eventually going to sell this place.

Sound crazy?

Think about it.  You can walk into a place you’re potentially interested in buying and it might appear clean, but then you open a closet and see where the mess went.  Subconsciously, this makes you wonder what else the homeowners might be hiding.

Well I’ve got news for you, judgy wudgy – we ain’t hiding nothin’ but some dog leashes and a Dyson.  No skeletons in this closet, thankyouverymuch.

The other closets in the house are another story.

2.  Sell a bunch of the “big” items taking up space in the garage and office so they can both get cleaned out.  Well, I sold almost everything I listed: 2 desks, kitchen range with hood, and a dining table with 4 chairs.  The only thing I didn’t get any bites on was an office chair, so I’ll wait a bit and try again.  I have a few other things I want to try selling, so I consider this a successful start.

Now.  Here’s the kicker.

I don’t have pictures of the garage and office for you tonight.  It’s getting too dark to get a decent picture of the closet, and I’m covered in primer and paint, and I still need to take the mutts on a walk and give them baths, and I’m so hungry and I need a beer.

So those things need to get taken care of.  Not necessarily in that order.

But I will update this post tomorrow with photos.

Pinky swear.

And I never go back on a pinky swear.

Notice that I picked the multiracial pinky swear photo from to emphasize the fact that I’m not racist.

Or maybe it was just one of the first photos to show up.

Potayto, Potahto.

Weekly Goals and Paninigasms. You Heard Me.

My friend Leslie was kind enough this morning to point out that I neglected to fulfill a promise I made last week about keeping you posted on my weekly goals so I can finally get a bunch of projects done around this wreck of a house.

I was supposed to tell you yesterday (Monday), but instead, I was actually working on fulfilling said goal.

But Leslie made me realize – If I don’t disclose the goals on here (or to anyone, for that matter), I’ll never get them done.

Because no one would give me a hard time about it.

And that’s what friends (and blog readers, who are practically friends because there isn’t much on here I don’t disclose about myself) are for – to give you shit when you start slacking.

Because they care.

I actually have 2 goals for this week:

1. Finish that damn closet so our coats can get off the guest bed and back into the closet where they belong.  Haven’t you heard?  It’s springtime, baby!

2. Sell a bunch of the “big” items taking up space in the garage and office so they can both get cleaned out.  That’s what I was working on yesterday – putting our old dining table, range, 2 office desks, and an office chair on Craigslist in the hope of selling them sometime this week.

Because this is what the garage looks like right now:

Nope, it ain’t pretty.

So far I’ve learned 2 things:

1. I priced the dining table and range too low.  I’ve gotten about a billion responses, and now I’m kicking myself for letting people convince me I couldn’t get very much for them.

2. Craigslist folk are unreliable.  The lady who was supposed to buy the range told me she’d be here before 10:00.  It’s now after 11:00, and she still hasn’t shown.  She’s probably going to be pissed when I call the next guy in line, but sorry lady!  You snooze, you lose.  This thing has got to go.

I should’ve known, though.  Erin warned us once about the perils of Craigslist:

So, yeah.  It’s not going that great so far.

On a completely unrelated note, have you ever seen the movie Spanglish with Adam Sandler?

It’s one of those movies that wasn’t originally my cup of tea, but for whatever reason I watched it again, and then again, and then again because there’s just something about it that’s so honest about human nature and our flaws and our idiosyncrasies that it just feels raw and real and… I don’t know… imperfect.  But that’s okay, because that’s the point.


There’s this scene where Adam Sandler’s life is just crap.  He’s an amazing chef with a beautiful house and family, but it doesn’t matter because things are falling apart in his marriage, the kids are suffering from huge self-esteem issues inflicted by their crazy mother who can’t recognize the reasons she’s so unhappy, his mother-in-law lives with them and happens to be a raging alcoholic, and their entire family is having a negative impact on the “pure” and holistic upbringing their nanny, who is a beautiful, single, illegal immigrant from Mexico, is trying to impart on her own impressionable young daughter.

And all of these things are weighing on him.  They tear him down every day.

But in this scene he’s about to have a moment – a moment of pure bliss.  He’s fixing himself this amazing sandwich.  We’re talkin’ the mother of all BLT’s, with crispy bacon, fresh butterhead lettuce and ripe tomato slices, mayo (of course), and thick wheat bread with some Monterey jack cheese that’s been broiled to perfection, all topped off with a glorious fried egg whose yolk doesn’t break until he slices into the sandwich’s divine center belly, the golden fluids bleeding out onto the plate for a perfect dipping opportunity.

Then – then – he pours himself some kind of gourmet-looking dark beer into a tall pilsner glass (at which point I completely jizz in my pants) and the entire scene is done in silence with just the sounds of the egg being fried, the crack and fizz of the beer as it’s poured into the glass, the grate of the knife on the plate.


I will never forget that scene.  It’s like this moment he so desperately needs – just himself, the paper, the perfect sandwich, and a beer.

Of course, it all gets ruined for him before he can take the first mind-blowing bite, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that sometimes you don’t have to get too fancy to have a completely satisfying meal.  Sometimes a sandwich – a sandwich that you take a little care and time to prepare correctly – can be the perfect ending to an otherwise less-than-perfect day.

And I want to thank my sister, who reminded me of that last night when she encouraged me to make this:

Known henceforth as the “Orgasm Panini,” which, if executed correctly, could cause a paninigasm (thanks Jeff, for the term).

For a list of ingredients I used, check out the description of this photo on the Domestiphobia Facebook page.

Yep.  I’m sneaky like that.


Here are is the cast of characters for the Orgasm Panini (I figure it’s only fair if you stumbled across this later to not make you search for the ingredients) from bottom to top:

Some type of thickly sliced bread, mayo with lemon juice and basil, Cajun turkey from the deli, fresh tomato, freshly sliced or grated Mozzarella, cooked bacon, artichoke hearts, fresh baby spinach. Toast in panini press and enjoy.

Maybe even multiple times.

Some Revelations

This month will mark one year since I started this blog.

When that realization hit me last night, I decided it was time to do something I’d been putting off this entire time.

That’s right.  I needed to define domestiphobia.

What does it mean, anyway?

The truth is, I’ve never really known, because I’ve never taken the time to define it myself.  Until last night.

And honestly, I think its meaning to me has morphed and evolved a great deal over the past year.  The word is fluid and subjective, and when you read it, it might mean something different to you than it does to me.

The following is my current perceived definition and subsequent explanation that I wrote on my newly revamped “About” page:

noun də-‘mes-ti-‘fō-bē-ə

:  the exaggerated, inexplicable and/or irrational fear of domestic life

Example:  Her fear of leading a stagnant, lethargic life devoid of personal growth and meaningful experiences could be described as a mild case of domestiphobia.


adj. də-‘mes-tik

1   :  tame, domesticated <the domestic cat>

2   :  of or relating to the household or the family<domestic chores>

3   :  devoted to home duties or pleasures <leading a quietly domestic life>


My name is Katie, and I’m a domestiphobic.

I didn’t know it when I married my wonderful husband in 2006 at the ripe age of 23.  But, for reasons I didn’t yet understand, I slowly began to feel a terrifying sense of suffocation as all of the “expected” pieces of a “normal,” domestic life began falling into place.

Stable office career?  Check.

Fixer-upper in the ‘burbs? Check.

Couple of mutts?  Check.

Kids?  Now wait just one damn minute.

These were the things I was supposed to be doing, but did I really want them at all?  My actions were leading my life into a revolving door of repeated days, weeks, years.  The same morning traffic, the same weekly meals, the same company parties, the same family gatherings.  Maybe it’s because traditions are one of the most painful castrations in a divorce-torn family like mine, but my newfound sense of repetition provided me no comfort.

In fact, it was quite the opposite.

In what can now only be described as a quarter-life crisis, I quit my job in 2010 to travel to Costa Rica with a dear friend (and temporary blogging cohort) for a couple of months.  The experience only further spurred an itch I’ve been longing to scratch for a long, long time.

Now I realize some things.  I have some wants that lethargy simply won’t feed:  I want to be a better person.  I want to be a better partner.  I want to change, and grow, and experience new people and new cultures and new cuisine.  I want to learn how to play the guitar and become fluent in at least one other language.  I want to write and make people think.  I want to inspire.  I don’t ever want to leave without leaving something good behind.

I’m not afraid to say what I want.  I’m not afraid to be selfish or make mistakes.

Because, it turns out, I can’t be who anyone else needs me to be until I embrace who I need me to be.

Today, I still live in the ‘burbs with my (astoundingly supportive) husband, the mutts, and zero babies.  But now I’m trying to find that thing that feeds my wanderlust – both physical and emotional.

This blog is a journal of my domestic and non-domestic experiences – where I struggle to tie together the things I’m fortunate enough to have with the things I’m crazy enough to want – where you will find me learning to cook and working on home renovations when I’m not playing with ‘gators in the Everglades or jumping out of planes in Hawaii.

Welcome to my world.



Taco Rice Bowls of Deliciousness

Okay. I was totally going to share this recipe with you a couple of days ago, but I got side-tracked by a music man in a coffee shop.

Then I was going to share it yesterday, but I painted the inside of a closet instead.


Let me explain.

I opened the hallway closet to put something away, and this is what I saw:

In fact, that is what I’ve seen every time I’ve opened the closet since we bought the house in 2007.  It’s where we put things when we want to forget they ever existed.  I realize the trash can would make much more sense, but logic isn’t always my strong suit.

So, I did what any normal, energy-riddled woman sitting at home on a Tuesday morning would do.  I dumped everything out of it, ripped out the wire shelving, puttied the holes, and painted the dirty, scratched-up drywall with leftover paint from the office.

I may or may not have broken all of the screw anchors when I pulled them from the wall, but no worries.  They’re easily replaceable.  Not that I’m going to replace that crappy wire shelf, which means I need to make a run to Home Depot.  Hopefully I’ll have a (highly anticipated, I’m sure) closet “after” photo for you by next week.

So why am I here again?  Oh, yes.  I’m sharing a recipe.

I’m really kind of excited about this one, and here’s why:  It’s not fancy, refined, or sophisticated.  Not in the slightest.  But remember how I told you I like to experiment with different world flavors when I cook?  Well this dish is actually a super simple mix of Hispanic, Asian, and Indian flavors.  Sound crazy?  I thought so, too.  I thought this would be a complete mess when it was done.

But it wasn’t.  It was so, so delicious.  It’s good ol’ comfort food at its finest, and it’s easily adjustable to fit the tastes of you or the people you’re trying to feed.  These things have mass appeal, so you’ll definitely want to keep this recipe.

(I’m telling you – if you can’t please ’em with this, it might just make more sense to keep the recipe and find new people to cook for.)

The original recipe is called Okinawan Takoraisu (from the Japanese island of Okinawa), but I just like to call them Taco Rice Bowls of Deliciousness.

To make them, you will need:

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef (Next time I make these – and there will be a next time – I might try substituting ground turkey to make them a bit healthier.)
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder (If you’re super sensitive to spicy stuff, you could cut this back a little.  I thought a tablespoon was about perfect! *Correction: Turns out I had the extra spicy “Mexican style” chili powder – Made it again with a Tablespoon of the plain stuff and it’s not spicy at all.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups steamed Japanese rice (sometimes labeled “sushi rice”)
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • Tomatoes (optional)
  • Queso Blanco or shredded Mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • Salsa and/or hot sauce (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)

I realize this looks like a lot of ingredients, but keep in mind that the last 5 are toppings and are entirely optional, according to your tastes.

1.  Get your rice cooking according to the package directions.  Like I’ve said before, I use my rice cooker to justify its existence.

2.  Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the 3 cloves of minced garlic and the chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes until the onion starts to get soft.  See?  Simple stuff.

3.  Add the pound of ground beef (or turkey) and break it up and cook it through.  You want to make sure it’s cooked because making people sick is never a good thing – it would make it nearly impossible to blame them for being too picky if they don’t like the food.

4.  Once the meat is cooked, drain some of the grease if necessary, then add the 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  Let the flavors mingle and simmer and the liquids reduce for a few minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, prepare your toppings.  If you managed to get a hold of some queso blanco (Mexican white cheese – they sell it at my crappy little grocery store), crumble it up.  Otherwise, shred your Mozzarella (or whatever cheese you decided to use… I hope you’re using cheese), tear up your lettuce, dice your tomatoes, etc.

Then simply assemble in individual bowls!  Here’s how I did mine:  Rice, ground beef mixture, Cantador hot sauce from Chile Town (a nice, mild, garlicy sauce), queso blanco, lettuce, roma tomatoes, sour cream.

My mouth is seriously watering right now.  I can’t explain to you why this is so good.  You just have to try it.

Wonderful Deathless Ditties

I knew what I was going to name this post before I wrote it.

That never happens.

Or has never happened, I should say.  Up until now.

I once read a book by Mark Haddon called, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  It’s written in the voice of a 15-year-old autistic boy named Christopher who, at one point in the story, expresses his dislike for “proper novels” because they are essentially lies.  And the beauty is that his disdain for lies is not a question of morals – he doesn’t care that lies are wrong – what bothers him is the fact that while only one thing really did happen at a particular time and place, “there are an infinite number of things which didn’t happen at that time and that place.”  And when he starts thinking of all of those things that could happen in a lie, they keep filling his head until he feels shaky and scared.

There are too many options.

And sometimes, that’s how I feel about writing.

When I try to write fiction – to make up a story – I become lost with possibility.  I’m afraid to let a character choose a direction and get too far, only to find out that direction isn’t where I wanted him to travel at all.  My head swims with the possibilities and I give up before I even start.

But blogging?  This makes more sense.  I can pick a topic on which to focus – or not focus, as the case may be – and just have at it until I’ve exhausted the details to my satisfaction.  This writing is train-of-thought – typing the words as they run through my mind, with little thought of how they’ll sound or backtracking to make them be… better.

Because it’s something I have yet to accomplish, I admire those who can create a story, beginning to end, complete with developed characters and coherent, conceivable plots and inspire joy or compassion or hatred or grief.

I feel the same way about poets and lyricists – writers who can instill these same emotions or conjure vivid imagery without excess words.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found immense inspiration from just the right lyrics heard at just the right time.  They have the power to find ways into your subconscious like water through cracks in cement and

alter moods,

break hearts,

change minds.

Perhaps no one pays better homage to these artists than Arthur O’Shaughnessy in his poem, Ode.  Although you may not know the poem, you’ve likely attributed its opening lines to this guy:

“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams”

But it was O’Shaughnessy who first said it – who said what the rest of us feel but can’t express about those who create from scratch – novelists, poets, playwrights and musicians – those “wonderful deathless ditties” that leave marks on our souls (*if you don’t like poetry, pretend these are song lyrics):

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

The poem is actually nine stanzas long, but you get the idea.

Think of some of your favorite song lyrics.  How have they changed you?  Defined you?  Affected your spirit?

Maybe I’m just an idealist, but I think in the end, that this is the status for which all artists strive – perhaps not for the ability to “trample an empire down” with their words, but to make an impact.  Inspire change.  Become a “mover and shaker” of the mind of at least one person.

That – more than wealth, more than education, more than caste – is power.


How to Make $7.88 Per Year

Today I did something that scared me.

Not something that scared me a little (like opening a tube of refrigerated biscuit dough), but scared me a lot (like hand-serving a select portion of my insides on a platter to Hannibal Lecter and, for some inexplicable reason, finding myself hoping he likes it).

I wrote something and submitted it to an online publication.

Well that’s not a big deal.  You do that practically every day on this blog.

True, but I can write whatever I want on this blog.  There are virtually no restrictions except for the ones I place on myself.  And the people who read this are not under any delusions that I’m an “actual” writer – I’m just a girl with a blog.

Well I checked out the link and it looks like anyone can submit to that site.  Just like anyone can write a blog.  That shouldn’t be scary.

Theoretically, no.  It shouldn’t.  But this is the first step of a process through which I am trying to gain viable freelance writing connections and start building a portfolio.  I’m trying to get them to like me.  (And they will even more if you read my posting and hit “save” – you might need to sign in to the site to do so.)

Haven’t you ever been the new person at a job and you’ve had to head to the break room for lunch on your first day, frozen Lean Cuisine clasped in your nervous little hand, wondering how the hell you’re going to break the ice with these people?

Photo source

That’s a little what this feels like.

The editors at Trazzler are going to judge me based on 124 words over which I agonized for over an hour.  (Wow, it kind of sucked to admit that.)

What lit this fire under your ass?  We thought you were happy with this blog and your renewed passion for serving people food and alcoholic beverages?

I do love the blog.  And I’ll choose to ignore the food comment.  But honestly?  This stemmed from a surprising little email I received with the subject line:

Demand Media, Inc. sent you $7.88 USD.”

And I was all, Who sent me $7.88?  In U.S. dollars, no less?  And how do I get them to send me more?

Turns out I finally got a payout from for an article I wrote… I don’t know… about a year and a half ago.

But did the tiny payout deter me?  Heck no.  Turns out this is exactly what I needed to realize there is just a slight possibility that I could actually get paid for something I write.  I’ve just never tried, because I’ve never known where to start.

Turns out you start by writing.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I know there will be rejections.  I know there will be failures.  But in the end, I’d rather have the feeling that I failed after trying than failing without trying at all.