Wednesday, June 16, 2010

En Open Letter to My Gnomon1

Vy hyu run avay from me? Ve so close to finish vat ve schtart, und den hyu stop talkink to me for mont’s. Hyu esk me to help hyu out vit’ some odder monsters–und Hy heppy to help!–but dat’s all Hy ever hear from hyu lately; es vhen hyu need help dreggink sumvun out from behind de door. Ve so close to done Hy ken feel it in my hends–ten, feefteen peges, mebbe. Und den hyu runs avay, hides on de Internet or in a book. Hides in hyu knittink. Und den hyu blames me for de leck of peges, says Hy don’ talk to hyu nummore.

Sveet, Hy tells hyu, mebbe hyu don’ listen nummore.

Hy onderstend hyu needed to breathe efter February-Merch und de big project ve ondertook. Vas huge! Hyu hesn’t written like dot . . .vell, never, really. Over a hundred t’ousand vords in eight-ten weeks. Ve didn’ write like dot in college. Heh–dot may be MORE dan we wrote in all four years of college es a Creative Writink major end an honors student.

But Hy esk hyu–how long hes it been since hyu set down and wrote like hyu hair vas on fire? Vere hyu saw de arc of de story right dere end snetched it out of de air like a peedgeon on de vink, to volf eet down right dere–no fire, no salt, schtill varm und bloody?

Hev hyu missed dot? Chure hyu hev. Hev hyu missed seeink me here in de chair, boots on hyu desk. Yah. Yah hyu hev–ken see it in hyu eyes. Hyu heart remembers vat dis ride vas, how hyu tried to make hyu hends keep up vit vat hyu saw end heard. Ho hyu gev up and settled for block kepital notes so hyu could go back and fill it all in. Vat heppen?

Hyu know vat heppen. Hyu lost hyu vay in, schtarted dot dem Don Music t’ink again vere it hed to be perfect, hed to be right. Hyu refused to try taking the beck doors in–or if de doors don’ vork, try a vindow! Chust write vat hyu hear und see und vorry about sounding like a fever dream later. Dot’s vat Chanuary es for–a re-write and edit of vat hyu accomplished de previous year. (Hy gev hyu a schedule, sveethott. All hyu hes to do is follow de directions.)

Hyu found hyu vay beck a couple times right here, didn’ hyu? Don’ lie to me–Hy ken read hyu mind, hyu know. Don’ try to tell me it’s gone end hyu ken’t get dere from here. Alla dot–alla dot is chust excuses for not doink. Veak lies, akin to “Hy try.” Sveethott–dere is no such t’ink es tryink. Hyu do. Hyu may not get vat hyu vant from de doink–hyu may fail!–but den hyu pick hyuself up and do some more.

Dis right here–dis right here is 484 vords. In vat–five, ten minutes? Ef hyu put fingers to de keyboard, vords come out. Ef hyu pick up de schtory end write–chust like hyu did vit me here–hyu get de missink peges and be ready to edit come de new year.

Don’ let de odder monschters vin.


1. Uf course hyu all er edyooketed pipple vit impeccable teste und know dot a "gnomon" es de tink on a sundial vat cests de schadow. But, dere are sctill dose who do not hev Google es a friend, end so ve hev endnotes.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Rock, Meet Hard Place

Today tastes like sand and loam, with a topping of caliche and a sprinkle of gravel.

When I was a kid, the worst worst worst punishment was when my folks turned to me and asked what form of punishment would be appropriate for this infraction. Can't you just spank me instead???

In college, the worst worst worst assignment was when the prof asked for a biiiiig semester summation of what we had learned--but you choose the format. Doesn't have to be a paper, could be a haiku. Or a dance. Or a meal. Whatever. Urk! Give me a forty-page paper with footnotes on every page and a six-page bibiography in the back, up to and including citations in freaky formats for graffiti under bridges and voices from UFO's because I forgot to wear my tinfoil beanie.

Now, the worst worst worst thing is when my boss screws up and acts . . . in a fashion that is not workplace friendly, and asks me "How can I, the BossMan1, fix it? How can I demonstrate that I'm not all that bad, but just have the impuls control of a toddler?"

I promised some time ago to be a better employee by telling BossMan when he'd shot himself in the foot. He was actually able to admit vulnerability to an underling, and that's a hard thing. He has indeed pulled that trigger into his tarsals YET AGAIN, and having a hippy-dippy chat might actually help him out. Or at least give him one more insight.

Then again, it's a hippy-dippy west coast fEEEEEEEElings talk with a guy who was raised in the East and has serious troubles with even the Little Chicago mindset that is Arizona, never mind the right out of Haight that will be this chat. He's very literal, and has trouble relating to me except in my most professional persona. I don't think he even sees my Whim of Iron, although he appreciates the results.

Do I even want to have that conversation? About how easy cheezy answers don't really address the root cause--about how anyone over six years old with half a brain can tell when they're being bribed to forgive one more time?

Or do I just want to tell him an easy cheezy lemon squeezy answer--lunch! Or money! Or lunch money!--and take my bribe and know that I can be bought for 30 pieces of silver?

Bugger. Bugger bugger bugger. Let's lay this out.

On the one hand: It's 30 pieces of silver more than I have right now. And isn't this an extension of the deal you make when you work for someone else? "I will rent you my brain and energy and everything that makes me unique and special; everything that I have and am. In return for pieces of my life and mind, you will give me money so I can live and eat while I support your agenda."

So when someone acts badly and harshes your groove, then offers to apologize in a meaningful way, should you accept that apology? How many times can he hit you if he always brings flowers and pays for the bills afterwards?2

On the other hand: Just writing the last paragraph makes me feel dirty. (TMI momentTM: I had to pause and answer nature's call before I could even write that last line. Body aligning with mind?) I want to take a shower and vomit; to purge filth inside and out. I want to be dead honest with BossMan and talk about trust and metal fatigue in relationships--about how you can only bend them back and forth so many times before they become brittle and break. And no amount of "I'm sorry" will put together a broken object again.

But BossMan won't get it. He is not a man of subtlety; he does not speak metaphor. He is very much a literalist and gets distracted by simile. He cannot follow a parable without getting caught up in detail. I don't believe he would be able to follow me, so we couldn't communicate at all. Like teaching a pig to sing.

And it's a pity, because this particular pig has a pretty good voice. He knows some good songs--filthy rolling in the muck songs, but still funny and appreciable. If only he could carry a tune.

On the gripping hand: Hell, I can't even find my gripping hand right now.

1. Now I'm even changing my nicknames for people in the eternal quest for anonymity. Sad, Spike, very sad that your paranoia has come this far. On the other hand, "Dooced" is a verb for a reason . . .

2. And no, I am NOT saying BossMan is physically or even verbally abusive. Abrasive and patronizing, yes. Condescending and egotistic, yes. Abusive . . . no, doesn't really rise to that level. I now have some empathy for Anita Hill, and understand better how she could continue to work for Justice Thomas for all those years. It's a good job, with good pay, particular benefits that don't come just anywhere, and the potential to open some doors later.