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B.S. Subtitles April 13, 2013

Posted by sarahsfate in Thoughts on People, Writing.
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Today I watched a movie called “Dakota Skye”. The main character is a girl named Dakota Skye who can tell when people are lying to her. She refers to it as her superpower although I think, and she says frequently throughout the movie, it’s more of a curse. I’m not sure I would truly want to know when someone lied to me. Especially in a world when the truth is so hard to tell.

Dakota is obviously surrounded by people who lie to her, including her boyfriend of 9-months who tells her he loves her while they are having sex and she sees this little subtitle at the bottom of the tv screen that says he means he loves sex. Her boyfriend’s good friend from back in the day shows up one day for a visit of a few weeks. He and Dakota end up spending a lot of time together, due to her boyfriend’s busy schedule with his band and her lack of a car. This friend, when he first turns up in the movie…I thought, no this can’t be the guy they’re talking about in the movie info on Netflix. He’s so not like Dakota’s boyfriend and really not like her either (that I could tell at that point). Plus, he’s kinda goofy looking, disarming really.

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But as it turns out, this friend, Jonas, never lies to her. Which perturbs her. Confounding, really, this anomaly of virtue. But he’s insightful and considerate…and honest. I found myself actually liking him. No–not just liking him, wishing for a Jonas of my own.

At one point in the movie she thinks he actually lied to her but somehow the lie flew under her superpower radar, leading her to believe she can’t tell when he’s lying. So when he tells her he is in love with her she says “but how do I know?” He is naturally confused by her question, her superpower being a secret of epic proportions, and says “because I just said it?”

But really, how do any of us know?

ImagePeople say “haaaa Sarah you’re so funny!” sure, I think, but…why aren’t you laughing? They say “sure I’d love to pick you up from the airport at 11:30 at night on a Tuesday” but, let’s face it, who really loves that? Obviously not. The lies don’t hurt anyone but in the long run we’re all a bunch of dishonest people who expect dishonesty from other people and therefore have no faith in people. We all become more self-reliant, more self-involved, less socially interactive, less loyal, less governed by an understanding that we are all in this together. Because we isolate ourselves by carving out the b.s….because it’s all b.s.

Technology being what it is…the b.s. is all there is. People put on their Facebook profile they went to college. You think that means a college degree but in reality they dropped out after the third semester. People on eHarmony put on their profile they absolutely adore spending time with their children or dogs…the reality is those comments are what people want to hear. That doesn’t make it true. It just makes someone an idiot for not seeing through it.

And if we do see through it…if each of us sees through all the b.s. with little subtitles at the bottom of the screen–what then, will we have?

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Spinning Wheels April 12, 2013

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials.
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I haven’t written in a while. I imagine my thoughts would be as boring to other people as they are to me. The truth is there are too many thoughts…the act of trying to streamline everything into a focused conversation seems…arduous. I’ve remarked, over the years, the various changes I see in myself. Lately I’ve expanded the circular quality of the reference to those around me. To those that are nowhere near me. Just wondering. Do other people look inward as I do and remark upon the changes? Am I one in 7-billion? I’m not suggesting I’m unique, please don’t think so. My morphing is obvious if you ever have cause to come to my home. Over the years my changing interests make themselves visible on my bookshelves. I remember the day I bought “The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything” by Melissa Kirsch. It was at Barnes and Noble in Plano in 2007. I was newly single, likely the reason why it’s so memorable a purchase. I got married right outside of high school and had kids…stayed that way for 10 years. How the hell does one be a single girl?? At the time I was struggling to figure myself out. I loved Dr. Pepper. But…I figured out I loved it because my husband of 10 years loved it and I had acquired the taste. Before him…I was a Pepsi girl. I liked rock and roll. Did I? I don’t know. My husband did. I spent two years ironing myself out. This girl’s guide book was a necessary purchase. In 2008 I expanded my single girl book collection to include “Life is Short, Wear Your Party Pants” which was a fun read and made me feel like a fun girl again. In 2009 I bought a book called “Anthropology Explored” because I’d watched a mini-series on tv about anthropology and decided I loved it. I also bought a book called Walking with Cavemen. Very interestingly realistic photographs of said cavemen. I even looked into a degree in the subject. But…that was a short-lived phase. I have most of the Allison Weir books on the King Henry’s, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Anne…because in 2011 I became fascinated with the British Monarchy. This year I’m reading “The Warmth of Other Suns” and “The History of the Ancient World”. Historical books. Naturally they have nothing to do with anything. But less frou-frou party-types. You know if you have to tell people you’re a fun person…you’re probably not. As in the case of me. I consistently work on my goals, increase my skills, work on learning new tasks like hemming pants and putting puzzles together. But…for the most part, it feels like spinning wheels. And no one wants to hear about that.

Take note...I'm the one on the right...

Take note…I’m the one on the right…

Let’s Vacation July 23, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
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I had forgotten how saltwater effects my ears but, for the first time in years, the hearing in my left ear has returned. And so as my children squabble over the television channel, space on the hotel bed, and the hot tub, I can hear every octave of their shrieks and even their mutterings.

It’s currently almost ten o’clock at night and the children are finishing a long day with a dip in the hotel’s indoor pool. Well, two of them are anyway, my fourteen-year old daughter, having espied a good-looking boy with a mohawk in the hot tub, has decided she’d like to swim after all and has gone back to our room to change. After a short period of time she returned clad in her yellow bikini with her hair nicely combed.

My ex and I then began a conversation about the dating ritual and concerns of youngsters. My ex, Ben, referred to the kids (teenagers and all) as “carefree”, to which I replied  “who, in that room, is carefree?” My argument being that a 14-year old girl is extremely sensitive to her expression, hair, laughter, outfit, swimming technique — every nuance of behavior matters. That’s not carefree — that’s all care.

And then Ben says how silly that is because guys that age don’t particularly care about any of that. She’s cute and that’s the be-all, end-all. He says the majority of men, as well, are this way. Good to know, I say.

It was nice, though, that we were all completely unconcerned with all nuances of behavior (other than behaving in a socially acceptable manner, that is) at the beach today. I didn’t even notice other women being particularly concerned with their persons. What I noticed, instead, were the families building poorly constructed sandcastles, flying kites shaped as hawks, and wading deep into the intense waves slamming to shore. The temperatures remained in the nineties, a lovely change from the over-100-degrees for three weeks weather back home, and the breeze remained constant.

My son, upon his first experience with the ocean, deemed it acceptable entertainment in his 6-year old mind with the exception of all that pesky salt in the water and, therefore, perhaps the hotel pool was better. Kids. My 11-year old daughter has outdone herself in remaining positive and atop our non-schedule. Directly after dinner tonight she, my son, and Ben went outside to be free of the arctic air conditioning system of the hole-in-the-wall we found, and my 14-year old and I sat inside, eating ice cream and discussing the benefits of moving to the coast.

We decided it was difficult to judge the benefits because it’s easy to enjoy a vacation spot when you don’t have to work or go to school because then there’s no stress or responsibility really. But if we moved to the coast, the stress and responsibility would simply follow us to the coast and then…would we still enjoy the coast better than home? It was too difficult to decide so we simply finished our ice cream, pondered the intensity of the waves some more, and then stepped out into the ocean air.

Holes June 9, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011.
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“One must desire something, to be alive.”-Margaret Deland

I am 32-years old and have always loved a man. Not always the same man. When my heart has been broken, it has taken the desire of a new man in order to heal my heart and move on. Therefore, even though it’s not always been the same man, I’ve always loved a man.

Until now.

The difference in my mood, behavior, and train of thought is obvious to me. I find very little funny, very little interesting, and very little worth the effort of any effort whatsoever. It’s deadening. I’ve been sitting here thinking tonight about the feeling…trying to figure it all out because I’m an overly-analytic person. And what I’ve realized is that Margaret is right…you have to desire something in order to be alive. Even if your desire isn’t a mate, you need the feeling of excitement — those butterflies, the breathless anticipation of whatever it is.

For me it is the breathless anticipation of the sound of his voice, the smell of his skin. When you desire someone, the whole world fades into insignificance, disappearing altogether until the moment of his arrival and suddenly the hills really are alive with the sound of music. It’s like that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy steps out the front door of her black and white existence and into techni-color munchkin land.

I try not to be so stupid about love, I honestly do. And sometimes I’m fine. But other times, seems more and more frequently now while I’m in this hole, I wonder why I bother painting my face, artfully securing my long hair back, and changing out of sweats. Why do anything more exotic than rolling over in my bed and returning to sleep. Because the dreams are currently better than reality.

It’s pathetic I know. I just…I’ve never experienced this hole before. It’s as boring as this blog.

Dear You… May 19, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Writing.
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Dear You,

Today I told you I was bored. Exceedingly bored…so full of disinterest I had begun to compare myself to an elderly person just waiting for “it all” to end. I told you I couldn’t find a spark…that little fluttery thing to ignite my interest. Every day is the same thing, all day. Ho-freakin-hum.

You told me to find something that excites me, some event to entertain — to relieve the boredom. As I drove home, I put serious thought into it.

What, for the LOVE of God, would I find entertaining?

The question is harder than it seems. When the boredom creates a feeling of lethargy from the top of your head to your toenails…how do you convince your blood to boil…your heart to beat a little lot faster?

You suggested sex, which of course is an obvious thing to get the ole heart going and, as you are a man, completely predictable that this would be the first suggestion offered. But aside from that…what?

So I drove, lost in thought and completely uncertain how I managed to drive the entire route on auto-pilot, and I thought I was just like Winnie-the-Pooh…think, think, think. And so I did.

I thought about all the things in this world I find pleasure in — like dancing when I vaccuum and finding that perfect scenic spot for a picnic. I thought about playing boardgames with my kids and having coffee with my sisters. I thought about all the times I laugh with my friends or scream on carnival rides. I thought about the movies I see on dates and the photographs I take when I go somewhere to be alone.

I thought about the sound of dozens of different voices laughing over the years. And I thought about you. I thought that perhaps all I really needed today was to hear from you and be reminded of all the pleasure I already have, just in the every-day.

And then I thought I would Google sky-diving.

Writer’s Block May 13, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
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People of the world have various no-no subjects. They don’t talk about abuse, or drugs, or the devil. They don’t talk about interracial relationships, or sex, or the end of the world. And perhaps its weird, when compared to these other life-effecting subjects, that some people won’t talk about writer‘s block.

WRITERS BLOCK.

Big no-no subject. At least it is for writers. When I stare at a blank page desperate for the fledgling of an idea to take root…to grow legs and become words on that blank page, I never ever refer to my issue as writer’s block. No, I’m just thinking. Brainstorming. Waiting for the right way to express my thoughts. It’s not writer’s block. *shudder*

But why isn’t it? Why do I sit here spending my ‘thinking’ time coming up with excuses for why I can’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were) instead of really coming up with the story? I would like to think it’s the amount of pressure we put on ourselves as writers — especially if you have ever taken a writing course or attended a writer’s group. We know how important that first paragraph is…indeed the first sentence of your story could mean the difference between overwhelming success…and a dusty manuscript in an equally dusty box in a ridiculously dusty attic. So we stare at the blank page waiting for some absolutely fascinating sentence to appear there.

They say when you begin to write your story you should write as the words appear in your mind. Drawing a picture of the images, of the characters, of their trials, so that readers can see what you see. After your manuscript is complete then go back and edit it for perfection’s purpose. How many people manage to write this way? I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that I wrote a 850-page manuscript that is accumulating dust in a box beneath my bed. Why? Because I wrote it as I felt it and saw it and thought it. Then I went back and edited it. And edited it again, which is tiresome. And eventually…it is boring. So I set it aside and, taking with me all that I know now about the right way to write a novel, forged ahead.

Forged onward to the next story that can be written correctly the first time around with few editing and changes necessary afterwards. It’s a great idea in theory. So…a great theory (because they’ll tell you in the writer’s group that you can remove the ‘idea in’ and be more concise. But I’ve sat in front of my bright white computer screen now for a month watching the cursor blink, blink, blink at me blankly like a deer in the headlights. And instead of writing that opening sentence, I’m staring off into space thinking about writer’s block

I’ve read books about how to get past this anomaly, which I find humorous…writing a book about how to write a book when you can’t write a single word. But it isn’t really an anomaly at all…in fact it’s pretty damn common. But the suggestion for moving past the blinking cursor is to start typing. Type anything because as long as you’re typing, the story will shape itself and you can go back and edit it later. I like editing almost as much as I despise its necessity. 

How boring a book would it be if I began it in the same manner most of my childhood books began? How must dust would that manuscript accumulate? Tons. No one wants to hear “once upon a time…” because well, obviously it was once upon a time and you’re really not supposed to state the obvious. So, what isn’t obvious? “Jane Doe turned out to be Sara Crawford, who single-handedly ran the city prostitute ring for almost 50 years, and was probably recognized the moment she was brought into the morgue but her body decomposed for two weeks because no one wanted to admit they knew her face.”

Fine. So I can type nonsense. 

So, which is worse? Writer’s block, or typing nonsense?

Descent of Silence May 5, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in Writing.
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I wrote this in February when I was stuck indoors for a week during the snowstorm….

The true character of man makes itself evident in a disaster. Neighbors either pull together or steal from each other — they take food and blankets, firewood if there is any left, and clothes. They will slice their neighbor’s throat to steal these things and justify it by calling it survival. No one believes it and the blood, no matter how vigorously scrubbed away, remains.

Friends forget each other unless a whimsical memory reminds them of that time they went to the local club and danced all night to the raging beat of a disco jockey. Sometimes, when the wind whistles just right, I can still hear that song in my head, the drum beat so loud it seems those around me can hear as well. But I know it is just a memory. Friends abandon each other in a disaster because it is easier to move without encumbrance. Travel is easier to manage single-file as opposed to large groups and criminals cannot find you when you travel alone.

Family sticks together. Most of the families died together because they stuck together because the damning truth is, it is easier to travel alone. I saw families, once I ventured out, lumbering down frozen streets. They traveled slow and hunched together for body heat, with small children carried on backs, in arms, or wept over beside a twisted tree representing the edge of the road.

The end of the road.

Had I seen every instance of the world falling to pieces, and the subsequent betrayal of one man against another, it would have shriveled my soul to some dark recess that, perhaps, would have turned me into one of the betrayers. But it was impossible to watch, because the first thing to dissipate into the darkness was not the character of man, but power.

Electricity was not something I ever took for granted as I found it necessary for heat or cooling and the refrigerator depended upon it as well. Power never became some unseen entity in my life. When it was gone, I mourned the loss but was hopeful of its return in a few hours, days even. I did not know that its return would never come.

We were told by the news anchors and meteorologists that an epic ice storm would hit the country with a blast of wintry air the likes we had never seen. We bought firewood, canned goods, and bottled water to withstand the hours or days the storm would last. The grocery stores had been a madhouse of shoppers, some desperate to stock up what they could, but most were laughing and conversing with other shoppers who were strangers to them. They mocked the storm and were grateful for the days of work they would be required to miss. Snow days, they said, and promised hot chocolate and Wii marathons with their kids.

The neighborhood kids were gleeful, playing in the streets and yards, building snowmen, sliding on sleds, and making the typical nuisances by people who rarely saw such gleaming product fall from the sky and linger long enough to play in. After a few days, the cold became unbearable and the children were noticeably absent outside. The passing of cars, the overhead hum of plane engines, and the noise made by electrical items in the house — all became noticeably absent. The descent of silence was unnerving.

The firewood, canned goods, and bottled water only lasted a few days and by then the roads disappeared beneath feet of snow and ice, making travel to a grocery store impossible, assuming the store would be open once you made it. I remember longing for a hot bath in a way that people long for food today; I stood in my bathroom door staring at the leaping shadows of candle-lit flames as the muted light bounced around the tiled room, wishing I could boil a pot of water on the stove in order to have that hot bath. I could not feel my toes and my fingers ached. My fingers. I consoled myself with the possibility of taking a bath in a few days and moved on.

The last television news broadcast, before the power went out four days into the storm, was a grave picture painted by meteorologist of their gross miscalculation of the coming storm.

Epic did not begin to cover it.

The snow flurries, expected to make their way north, continued to fall during the afternoon, followed by shards of ice carried on nearly horizontal wind in the evenings, a deep freeze of below zero temperatures during the night, and more sleet in the morning. Sometimes the speed in which they fell would slow to a crawl and there were complete afternoons with nothing falling at all, presenting a clear view of the world. A white world. Sometimes the speed was so terrible and fast, it proved fatal to step foot outside, where the mournful wailing wind carried invisible ice.

When the sun appeared, when an occasional break of the white clouds afforded view of the sun, I stood near a window pane to gaze at it until my eyes burned, allowing what little heat emanating from it to reach my frozen cheeks. My hallowed cheeks. We were starving to death in the blizzard. I would stand staring at the crystal-like sparkles flashing on the ground, ignoring the cold seeping through the window glass in favor of feeling those rays of sunlight. It gave me hope, when the sun appeared.

If the sun appeared.

Many months passed in global silence and I had no idea, at the time, of what went on beyond my front door for I refused to unlock the door to leave. I had enough food, blankets, and firewood to last six months — not because I planned it that way but because when one of my neighbors left “for warmer climates”, they left me their goods.

Every day I wondered about that warmer climate and if my neighbor made it. I wondered if it was only my street, only my town, only my state. I wrote in my journal every day about what I could see from my windows — about my fears and the strangeness of the silence. I wrote because I am a writer. The same reason why my people asked I write this bloody account of the change to mankind’s historical timeline.

Ice Age II.