Monthly Archives: November 2014

Black Sheep Going Home

I’m spending Thanksgiving with my parents. This shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s practically expected given that we live in the same city. But I haven’t talked to them in almost a year. Not since planning for last year’s Thanksgiving caused considerable tension between my mother and me.

When dad called and invited me this year, I didn’t want to say no. If there are things that need saying, let them be said. Let’s get this over with already. The problem is that when I try to picture the actual conversation, the whats and the hows and the whys, I can’t do it. I have absolutely no idea where this is going to go or even where it will start. Will we sweep it all under the rug and pretend the past year didn’t happen? Will we actually address the differences between me and mom? Will someone cry? Will all of us? Or will we swallow our emotions the way we always do?

I have a few things planned that I want to say, my way of explaining my absence this past year. We needed the space. I needed the space. I’ll take the blame and put it on me. It was something I had to do and, once that sort of silence was established I was unsure how to unestablish it. Because like any relationship that isn’t working, there needed to be room to breathe and re-evaluate. This is not the same as not wanting a relationship at all. But it was starting to feel forced and I didn’t want to force my way through a relationship with my parents. Nor did I want to fake it or continue to lie to them about my life. And I didn’t want dad to be the middle man between me and mom.

I doubt I’ll bring up kink stuff. There’s simply no reason when differences of religion and sexuality need to be brought up first. Maybe someday we will broach all the subjects but one thing at a time seems best here.

I’ve started to plan what sort of presents I might get them for Christmas if things go well. And how to repurpose such gifts if things go completely tits up. I have one present left over from last year that I never got a chance to give my mom. It wasn’t expensive and it’s not big but it should be with her instead of in my storage locker. I’ll probably take it with me, along with a couple of other peace offerings.

I keep wondering if I will be sorry I went. I hope not. I hope I can at least say that there was progress, positive or negative. I don’t think everything will be resolved in one day but…god, I just don’t know.

The writer in me wants a script. I keep thinking of how this would go if it was in one of my books. But it’s no use. I can’t plan when there are so many possibilities.

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My Editor

If there are two more pretentious sounding words in my vocabulary right now, I don’t know what they are.

I need to talk to my editor about…

My editor said that…

So I got the latest round of edits back from my editor and…

See what I mean? It doesn’t matter that I hired her rather than going through a publishing house. It doesn’t matter that she’s been incredibly nice and helpful. All my brain hears is this obnoxious phrase that should be reserved for Other People. And by other people, I mean professionals. Real writers. People who are actually good at this. People who plan their novels instead of saying, “let’s write this down and see what happens.”

It doesn’t matter that I have a solid goal of when I will be self-publishing the first book (end of January for those keeping score at home) and it will be approximately two years after typing out the first sentences just so I could get it out of my head. You would think that at some point I would have gotten used to the idea that I’m going to be a published novelist, but I haven’t. Though seriously, how impressive can it be when I’m publishing it myself? Anyone can do that right?

Part of this feeling, on my part at least, can still be attributed to negative comparisons. I look at writers I admire and know I will never be in their league. I watched a documentary on Gore Vidal recently and his attitude seemed to be “you’re either a writer or you’re not.” That is to say, if you’re a writer that’s what you do. You don’t have a day job until writing pays enough. If you’re really a writer, you will succeed at it and work only at that. Easy for him to say. He came from money and was indeed an excellent writer. No doubt about that, even from his first book.

Me? I took the scenic route. And then, per my usual ineptitude at direction, got lost a few times, doubled back, and still wasn’t sure I would get here or even wanted to. But here I am. One of these days it might even feel real.

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A Craft Show Rant

I was really spoiled by my first couple of events this craft season. They were big geek events and as I posted previously, there is a reason I get along with the geeks. We understand each other. And being around them so much helped me forget just how weird I think the rest of the world can be.

I make molded chocolate. Specialized molded chocolate – lots of geeky designs but also lots of traditional holiday stuff. This past weekend I had a mixture of both. Knowing the audience would be looking more for snowmen and Santa Claus, I made sure to have plenty on hand, as well as best-selling designs from Star Wars and Dr. Who. Many of these are hand painted in some way. I work with a product called luster dust to add sparkle and shimmer to most of my products. It brushes on easily, doesn’t detract from the taste of chocolate, and is really pretty.

I don’t mind answering the question of why my chocolate is shiny and whether it’s edible. Unless you watch a lot of Food Network – and specifically shows on cake design and the like – there’s no reason for most people to be familiar with luster dust. I certainly wasn’t before I started working with it.

I even understand the people who don’t realize that what I’m selling is chocolate right away. Hell, most of it doesn’t actually look like chocolate and if I hadn’t made it, I would likely ask that question too.

But then there are the others. The others who look at my Christmas lights on a stick and ask, “Is that a sucker?” Inside voice is incredulous and asks, “Did the stick give it away?” Outside voice smiles and says, “Yes, yes it is.”

There are the countless number of people who declare, “It’s too pretty to eat!” I’ve decided this is code for “I’m not buying any but felt the need to say something.” To be fair, I get this at geek cons too – but they’re less likely to let that stop them from buying. I’ve given up answering these people. This past weekend, I mostly just nodded and laughed along sympathetically.

But I don’t mind that nearly as much as the people who seem to think they’re complimentary when they’re faces reveal something else. These people say something to the effect of, “Oh that’s so…different/interesting/artistic.” But these comments are accompanied by a sneer, a looking down of the nose, as if to say, “I’ve never seen anything like this and I don’t quite understand it so I’m going to dismiss it as too weird for me.”

I heard the artistic comment more than once this past weekend, and didn’t think much of it until I went to visit a cookie maker across from me and heard someone make the same comment there (she does beautiful, intricate work and I’ve bought from her two years in a row). Now, I realize we were vending in a rural area, but the feeling I got from these people was that our work was somehow too complicated for them. We were surrounded by vendors with dip mixes, bread, and other bakery. Delicious, but nothing fancy. And I wondered if what these people with the “artistic” comments were really saying was, “Why can’t you be content with simple cookies and chocolate? You know, it would be better if you just made buckeyes, or slapped a few sprinkles on there. We don’t go in for that hoity toity stuff around here.”

My point is not to demean people who live in the country. I am most definitely a City Chick through and through but I don’t actually believe that makes me better than those who grew up on or around farms. It’s a different lifestyle, not better or worse than my own. My problem is with people who take that we’re-just-simple-old-fashioned-country-folk attitude and act as if nothing should ever change ever.

And then I wonder if there isn’t a little jealousy in there too. There were people who came by who had clearly made molded chocolate themselves and looked at me almost disappointedly as they said, “Oh I never thought of that.” One woman actually bordered on angry as she asked about my process and where I got my supplies. I answered her openly and honestly and yet she was incredibly suspicious, sure I was going to keep some well-guarded trade secret from her. I wish I could have told her how often I tell people where I get my molds. Really, most are from a popular geek site online. I let people know that several times a day – at geeky events, many people actually recognize the designs themselves and simply look to me for confirmation.

I feel like I’m reading too much into this, trying too hard to analyze why more people don’t buy my stuff. Some of the reason really is my fault – I own the fact that I’m not a great people person. I am frustrated quickly by the number of people who won’t even say hello to me or talk about me as if I’m not sitting right there. I put on my best friendly face but it’s often faked and I’m sure that comes through.

I’ve already cut way back on the number of non-geeky events I do. The past couple of years, I was in a lot of churches and small meeting centers. This year my focus was on fewer but larger events and it’s paid off. I’ve found my niche and know where I belong. I’m confident in what I do and that I can succeed at these places. Next year, I plan to renew my focus on geeky cons. I’m going to look outside my immediate area and go where my people are. The fairgrounds? Well, I may have to leave them behind.

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The Return of Adult Films

No, not that sort of adult film, you perverts.

See, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I watched a little film from a new director about a creepy little kid and his new friend who just happened to be dead. Only the dead guy didn’t know he was dead and neither did most audiences until the very end.

But the reveal! And the attention to detail! And the clues that were all RIGHT THERE when you watched it a second time. It had to be a fluke right? Except it wasn’t. He followed that with a movie about superheroes and super villains only it wasn’t billed as a superhero movie and again, it didn’t become obvious until the end. And again the clues were all there if you just looked for them.

I loved Sixth Sense – I still do – and then I loved Unbreakable. I was one of the first people I heard refer to M. Night Shyamalan as the reincarnation of Alfred Hitchcock. He was a new Master of Suspense and I waited eagerly for his next film.

And then he tanked. Hard and fast. I went to several of his films after Unbreakable, hoping he would return to his wonderful pattern, but they weren’t the same after that. I actually liked the Village but the Lady in the Water was too much. It hit you too hard over the head with a Message. And I can’t even discuss The Happening. The trees are getting their revenge on us? Seriously?

Oh Night, you’re killing me.

I took his rapid decline hard. I’d been rooting for him and had been ready to worship at his feet as the next Promising New Director. And that ruined me for other directors. Normally a bigger fan and follower of actors anyway, I was more than a little hesitant to jump on any more bandwagons.

And then the Dark Knight trilogy happened. I didn’t love Batman Begins (I could do an entire essay on the questionable casting) but I did love the Dark Knight. And I mean I loved everything about it. I couldn’t wait for Dark Knight Rises and it wasn’t just watching Gary Oldman go against type as the one unequivocal good guy in the Gotham-verse. I didn’t pay attention to the name of the director but I loved the entire feel of the film and the idea that the “hero” could be portrayed as one of the villains.

And then Inception happened. And the name Christopher Nolan came up as also being responsible for the Dark Knight movies, and Memento. My interest was piqued. I had to see what else I might be missing from him. Not much but as I watched the rest of Nolan’s films, there wasn’t a one I didn’t enjoy immensely.

And now, I keep waiting for Nolan to fuck up.

I love that he makes you think. To walk into a Nolan film is to know that you will have to pay attention to all the details and follow a complicated plot. He doesn’t talk down to audiences or cater to the lowest common denominator. I come out feeling a little smarter, knowing that further viewings will reveal more and more details that I missed the first…second…third time around.

Yes his plots are sometimes overly complicated. He could probably cut a thread here and there and have just as good a film. And he’s not perfect. But I submit that he is one of the better young directors we have right now. I’ve just seen Interstellar and already need to see it again so I can actually understand all of it.

I can’t quibble over the little stuff I don’t love about him. Because for every little thing I would change, there are a hundred things I think he gets right, righter than just about anyone else out there. So while I am hesitant to declare anyone the Best right now, I will say he is among a handful of directors who can get my butt in a theater seat.

And so far, he’s been worth it.

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F/family

There are people in the kink world who refer to themselves and their significant others as U/us and their possessions as O/ours. It’s a way of denoting a dominant/submissive or master/slave relationship and I find it annoying as all hell to read. I think it unnecessarily detracts from whatever point the writer is trying to make. But there’s nothing actually wrong with it – I simply prefer not to read it.

That actually has nothing to do with this post but I couldn’t think of a better title and now, as I look at it, all I can think of is that weird, slashy speak that bothers me so much. Here, however, I find it oddly appropriate. As I’ve discussed before, I see a big difference between relatives and Family. Family are the people you choose to be around. For me, relatives are more often an obligation.

This Thanksgiving, for the first time in a couple of years, I have the chance to experience both on the same day. I’ve barely talked to my parents in the past year but dad has called and invited me to Thanksgiving with him and mom. I’m not a big enough bitch or a big enough coward to say no to that. But now I get to think about what to say for the next three weeks. I feel like this is my big chance. Finally, the time is right to say all the things I probably should have said years ago. But how? And how much?

The good news is that if things really go tits up, I have an invite from friends for later in the evening. Friends who more than  understand difficult relatives. Friends I can be myself with. I wonder how much I’ll need them.

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