who the heck knows anything, anyway

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I don't know what you're expecting from a post at 1:30am, but this is probably it

There's a funny story in the Czuba household* involving my mother and a particularly charming malapropism (is it still technically a malapropism if she just made up a word, entirely? I'll finish the story and let you decide). My father, in particular moods--e.g. whilst experiencing flattery, great pride in the acts of his children, etc--likes to say "I'm all verklempt!" in his best Old, New York Mother fashion**. So, once, while feeling very emotional, my mom proclaimed "ahh, I'm over-kelmpt!" I hope she doesn't kill me for sharing this story; I really do find it adorable and sweet, even though we poked a bit of fun at her for it, at the time. The point of this little anecdote is that the term "over-kelpmt" has become its own Czuba Family Phrase, complete with alternate definition (instead of being generally overwhelmed with emotion, it tends to have an anxiously-overwrought flavor). Why am I telling this story? It's not to embarrass my mom. I love my mom! I would never embarrass her on the internet for no reason! It is, in fact, because I am feeling a bit over-klempt this evening, and made-up terms require a little background--unless you're Lewis Carroll, maybe. Somehow, he gets away with it.

So, why the long face, kitty cat?

Psh. Like I know.

Well, okay, maybe it's because I got to talking about craft and writers and people who consider a life of writing fiction to be the adult equivalent of Home Ec. Suddenly, my throat was a little tight and the inside corners of my eyes went a little prickly. Never a good sign; usually indicators of over-klemptness.

To side-step a little bit, I've a nice idea for the main character in my next short story. Sorry, no sharing! You know how these things are--one minute, you share a character idea with the internet, the next, someone with a generic name and penchant for stealing has published a steaming lump of poop with a horrible, mangled version of your character as the lead (hardly recognizable, but close enough that agents and publishers think you're biting THEIR style. Then you spend the next seventy-five years growing a beard and living in a secluded Vermont cabin, afraid of the CIA, writing a masterpiece that won't see the light of day until they find it hidden in a safe--which they were led to by a series of posthumous clues recorded on cassette tapes--twenty years after you die). Not that I think about this often.***

Back to my previous-paragraph point: new short story character idea! No "inciting incident" or interesting plot or even setting ideas yet, though, so that's a bit of a hang-up. Some may claim to give birth to ideas fully-formed, but I am not one of those bless'ed few. However, after so many weeks of editing my portfolio stories for grad school and worrying that I will never have another good story idea again, it feels really nice to have that little seed putting down roots in my brain. Little victories! I have to remind myself of the tiny goodnesses, because the roadblocks can seem insurmountable at times. Times like tonight, in fact, when my emotions get all woobly and I can't figure out (a) what I'm doing or (b) why other people are allowed to do it poorly. I have high standards, and I think folks should find it complimentary that I hold their work to the same as I hold my own. Unfortunately, it means a lot of daily frustration.

Why am I sharing this? A few reasons. First, I am notoriously unable to stay on-topic in auto-bio settings. How can I stay on topic? My brain is constantly zoomin' all over the place like a bumble-bee on uppers****. So, basically, I share whatever nonsense pops onto the blog page. SECOND, I like to think that, if by some fluke I become the kind of author that some other young lady or gent finds nifty, they can look at this here blog and know, without a moment's hesitation, that I'm just a regular ol' person. That's probably an odd manifestation of vanity, right there, but it's a nice idea. I wish all of my favorite authors had blogs I could read, wherein they kvetch about the lame day they had, or praise the heavens for some new idea. I like to see people who fumble around life a little, and then emerge victorious. It brings me hope and encouragement, perhaps in part because being a nobody-aspiring-author in Seattle is very lonely business. Journals are fun to read, you know? And blogs, though they may not always be as revealing and mysterious as a private journal, have this sweet perk of being open and available in the present tense. You don't have to wait for me to die to read this (because NO ONE IS READING MY JOURNALS UNTIL I HAVE BEEN DEAD FOR 100 YEARS. Thanks, Twain, for blazing that trail) and, likewise, I don't have to wait fifty years to read about Dan's travels through India, or Stacy's move home, or Kait's love of liminal spaces (which convinced me, in four words, that we are kindred spirits). So, yeah, my mood is not very eloquent this evening and is tangential enough to give a math teacher a headache, but it's honest, and it's immediate, and it's free. It's my gift to myself, and to anyone who wants it.

Voil√†! Catharsis.

*ha! as if there was only one... hilarious.
**my dad knows a lot of Yiddish terms for some reason. He can also swear a little bit in Farsi. A man of many mysterious talents, my papa. 
***translation: I am paranoid about plagiarism. Really. 
****trying to get to sleep is the ABSOLUTE WORST. that's when my subconscious decides that it's time to think about death for hours. literally, hours. conveniently, the only time my brain does not flip out is when I'm writing fiction or drawing comics. I'm hella zen when I'm in the zone. TGI The Zone!