The prompt is strategy.
Being human ain’t easy. We suffer at the hands of others, and we cause a lot of our own pain. You’d think that since we have such big brains and opposable thumbs, we would be able to figure out a way to alleviate this situation.
I imagine that a lot of people enjoy causing others to suffer, and there are some who don’t like causing the suffering, but they do like to watch it, or just know that it’s happening. This must be normal because it’s been going on since people got started.
I need a strategy for keeping my suffering to a minimum. I would also like to help a few other people along the way. Some people use religion for this purpose. Some seek pleasure in sex, drugs, food, and shopping. We all do what we can to get through this life. I will probably keep doing the same things over and over with a few variations. Is that a strategy? Maybe it’s the opposite.
You can start writing a blog post thinking you’ll come up with some answers, and then only generate more questions. I go around in circles, and probably will until I leave this life. The trick might be to keep my body and mind occupied with the world’s mundane wonders.
A surreal digital collage by me.
The prompt is finally.
2017 has been some kind of crazy year, hasn’t it? There was bad stuff. We were faced with events that we’d like to wish away. Some believe that reality split in two with one person becoming president in this universe and the other person winning in an alternate universe.
We were told to be fearful of so many things. Some of us faced true danger; others were privileged enough to have never been at risk. If you got to December 30 without developing a drinking, drug, or food problem you are to be commended. If you had enough food to be an overeater, you were luckier than those who went without.
In 2017 I got a better job. I became a better jewelry and art maker. My health improved, but I also gained weight.
I lost a dog and a parent in 2017.
Does moving into a new year have any real significance? Sure, things will be the same tomorrow, but we can decide to change ourselves. We can, at the very least, change our attitude.
Let’s move forward and be better human beings in 2018. That’s my plan.
The prompt is confess.
I often see myself as an outsider.
At work, I am one of the writers, but I don’t have a degree in English, so I feel that I am not one of them. A writer writes. I write.
I don’t know what writing most of the others do outside of work. One of them writes fiction and is working on a novel. Another attended the recent IU Writers’ Conference, so I know she must be legit.
I stumbled into my current job. If I had applied, I wouldn’t have been considered, because I majored in Dance. Someone in human resources would have discarded my resume because it shows no English or Journalism degree. I wonder if my grammar skills would be better if I had majored in English.
I’m reading Stories from the Twilight Zone by Rod Serling. I found a preposition at the end of a sentence in the first story in the anthology, The Mighty Casey. I wonder if editors were less persnickety about the preposition rule at the time of this writing. Today you’ll find articles explaining why the rule should be abolished, but I continue to follow it when writing something for work. I wouldn’t want people to think I wasn’t an English major.
I’ve always felt like an outsider in the dance world despite my Master’s degree in the field. My dance technique was never great, but I made up for that with my choreography skills.
I make art and jewelry, but I have no formal training. I could go on about this, but I imagine you get the idea.
In the end, none of this matters. I do what I enjoy doing, and I give it my all. I’m willing to try and fail. Being an outsider sets me apart from the crowd. I like feeling special.
I never claimed to be an athlete, but I did play softball in my youth.
I had a friend whose husband was named Loyal. He’s the only person I’ve with that name. According to one source, the name Loyal peaked in popularity in 1890 when it reached 555 on the list of top 1,000 boys’ names.
That friend and I lost touch after she moved to New York to be an arts administrator. That’s one small story in my life. I’ve met a lot of people over the years. I bet that you lose contact with the majority of people with whom you’ve been socially acquainted. If you move away from your hometown, friends from childhood slip away. I sometimes wonder how my next door neighbor is doing. We called ourselves best friends when we were 5, 6, 7, 8. My family moved out of state, and that was that. I heard she majored in Math in college. I would have never taken her for a numbers person. We probably would have drifted apart if I hadn’t moved. Who can know?
Is the Autumn of the year a time when we tend to ruminate on the past? Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve lived a thousand lives. It seems as if the places in my dreams are spots I have physically inhabited. There’s a dream I have where I find possessions that I hid away in an attic. It always seems so real that I expect to come across the items in my waking world. I keep asking the universe to tell me what is real and what is not. I probably know, but don’t know that I do.
Although I thought I knew what the word aesthetic meant, I Googled it to be sure. I found that the official definitions jibed with my concept of the term, so I was ready to start writing. I considered talking about a declaration I made years ago to improve the world by adding beauty to it. The statement was a response to my inability to fix the world’s problems. I figure the least I can do is make a few people’s lives a little better by showing them beautiful works of art.
My search brought up more than standard definitions. Urban Dictionary defines it as “Something that tumblr weirdo’s say way too often and use it for every damn thing under the sun. A generally annoying word.”
A site called Know Your Meme says, “Aesthetic, often stylized as a e s t h e t i c, refers to retro-inspired visual art and music associated with the vaporwave subculture, which typically include Japanese lettering and nostalgic themes from 1980s and 1990s computer operating systems and video game consoles.”
What is Vaporwave?
Vaporwave sounded interesting, so I did a search. I skimmed an Esquire article about it and found myself not caring. There’s a YouTube playlist you might visit to see what the genre is like. I’d say that it’s not my thing.
Back to the word aesthetic.
Vlogger, Ben J. Pierce did a fun little song about the word aesthetic.
It looks like aesthetic is a word tossed about by hipsters hanging out in independent coffee shops and talking ironically about hipster topics. Here’s a guide to being a hipster if you’re looking to get involved in the movement.
The prompt is interior.
When I was a kid, my mom had the Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book. I loved this book! I would look at the rooms (all in 70s style) and dream of having my own house to decorate. As a teen, I read decorating magazines like House and Garden and House Beautiful. I continued to dream of one day living in immaculately decorated spaces.
Now I have a house, a husband, two inside dogs, a cat, and a lot of clutter. I will never live in one of those magazines. I have not made peace with that fact. It makes me anxious and upset when I see all of the disorganization and clutter in my house. If I’m feeling depressed, thinking about dealing with the clutter worsens the depression. I know there’s a way to overcome the problem, but I have other priorities just now. Yes, I’ve considered reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The idea scares me for some reason. Sometimes I watch Hoarders and thank the gods that I’m not one of them.
I ordered a used copy of that Better Homes and Gardens book. When it arrives I will gaze at the photos and fondly recall my childhood dreams. The book itself will contribute to the clutter problem. I am sometimes not so smart.
Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book on Amazon
The prompt is gone.
Is it a good idea to sit down and list the things that are gone from your life? Let’s see how it goes.
1) My childhood (but, not really)
2) My modern dance technique (mostly)
3) My mother (but she’s always with me)
4) My Cincinnati Reds toboggan – some call it a knit cap (lost a few days ago)
5) My strong desire to perform (mostly)
6) My beer can collection (from childhood)
Some, but not all of my fears have disappeared. I’ve lost some bad habits and gained new ones. Counting losses doesn’t feel productive, but it may be a legitimate way to evaluate one’s life. Self-evaluation is something we should add do from time to time. Right?
Mom and me.