Wednesday, August 5, 2009

refining the lens

So, right. Since BlogHer, I've been thinking a lot about writing. Less worried about HOW to write, more worried about WHAT to write. Always been worried about the STORY. Always been worried about the PITCH. I am way way too self-aware about my writing. I had a great thing happen at BlogHer: a smart, sassy, well-meaning soul asked me in the middle of the Sparklecorn Extravaganza, "When you write, who do you write for?" and I was mildly aggravated. This was a deep (I thought) existential question and I couldn't be expected to answer it when Prince was exhorting me to Go Crazy and there was a gigantic unicorn cake winking at me over my left shoulder.

But. It was an excellent question, from someone who was trying to help me jumpstart things a little.

People at my meetings talk often about how we are "egomaniacs with inferiority complexes." That is me to a T, people. I could never get journal-writing off the ground in my adolescence because I pictured the media dying of boredom when they ultimately got hold of them after I became world-famous (for what I did not yet know) I would always do a lot of PLANNING but never a lot of WRITING.

The Saturday of BlogHer, my beloved cousin and I went out for dinner and I was telling her a wacky story about me in my 20s, and my cousin shook her head and smiled, saying, "you HAVE to start writing some of this shit down..."

So I feel like a novice artist doing still lifes of apples and wine bottles. Maybe a little dull, but important in refining one's talent and getting comfortable with the craft.

Belated answer to the Sparklecorn question, Miss K, is that I write for Me, and I'm gonna stop worrying about You, and it's all good. You've helped me more than you know.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

15 Things I learned at BlogHer09

1. The 65 CTA Bus to Harlem does NOT go by the Sheraton Towers. (fortunately was only two stops in before I realized I was moving rapidly AWAY from my destination)

2. I have something to say, and who knew, there are tons of people willing to listen.

3. There's a fascinating dynamic where you are sort of starstruck by people you've read for a while, and simultaneously, there's this realization that they aren't that different from me.

4. I have a lot to learn about blog/web design - any ideas where I should start?

5. Sober people blog too.

6. Crocs flip-flops are possibly some of the most comfy shoes ever.

7. I have not resolved my own "quest to be a mom" issues, and that's ok.

8. This sentence is somewhat controversial: good writing produces good blogs.

9. I need to explore my comfort level with disclosure - how much is too much?

10. I'm more confident than I knew. I walked up and gave my card to a woman at Sparklecorn party because she was a fabulous dancing fool. Turns out we are in very similar career fields. Love that. I don't know where else I would have felt comfortable doing that.

11. I need to take a photography class. I thought I knew what I was doing, but beyond the fundamentals, I think I kind of suck.

12. Laughter is extremely important. My ribs and abdominal muscles actually ached because I was laughing so much and so hard.

13. Glitter makes me feel fancy.

14. My writing will not become better if I do not stay consistent, both in me writing and me reading the writing of others whom I admire. Period.

15. Missing BlogHer10 is not an option.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's the BlogHer09 Panic Attack Edition

So, yah. I'm goin' to BlogHer09 in Chi-town with my favorite cousin to meet some really cool women and learn more about blogging - and here we can insert that perhaps if I know more, I will BLOG more. ahem.

Many of the women I follow in their blogs and on Twitter have posted entries which suggest nervousness and even dread about going to this event and being unprepared, either emotionally or, perhaps, and this seems to be mentioned more, in terms of the preparedness of one's wardrobe.

Well, I have clothes to wear, I don't know if they are the "right" ones, I hope they fit by the time I get to Chicago because the way I deal with stress like this is to EAT, which is counterproductive, I know, but still. This is me, BlogHer! Woo hoo!

So my bigger concern relates to being a single, childless, sober woman at BlogHer. My biggest nightmare is that I will burst into tears in the middle of a group of lovely kind well-meaning mommybloggers because I do not share their experience, regardless of how much I wish I did. It is coming up on a year that my whole adoption plan fell through, and I am still quite conflicted. I feel like I am going into the eye of the storm by going to this event, but perhaps this is one of those experiences that I will just say, "wing it" and have a greater understanding on the other side of it.

The sober part will be fine. I just know that I will be around more drinking more often than I have in quite a while. I have taken steps to ensure that I can get away to a meeting or two, so I will do what I've got to do.

My sense is that this event is meant to be about inclusion, participation and celebration. If I don't funk up my head too much, I might learn something about blogging and myself as well. (cue the afterschool special credits, please...)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I think I'm doing this wrong...

So when I was ten years old or so, I was a playwright. I wrote a play about pilgrims and indians for my cousins and sister to perform on Thanksgiving. Now let's just excuse the patriarchal overtones of the condescending pilgrims and the vulnerable, grateful indians. I was ten, people! In fact, what I remember best about the actual performance of my play, which took place at the country club my family attended, (somehow talking about pilgrims and indians at a posh country club seems particularly dissonant to my adult self but anyhoo...) is that it had a lot of movement (I picture about twelve pre-teens shuffling around with "scripts" of spiral-bound notebook paper, patiently taking my fervent hissed and whispered direction - "no! over THERE!") and I had no self-consciousness about the whole thing at all. Brilliant disaster, indeed.

Then as a teen, that self-consciousness crept in, but truly, how could it have been stopped? The two go together like milk and cookies. So while I recognized that I wanted to keep a journal, I was constantly stopping because I was certain that I was not writing for myself, but rather for the fans that would ultimately unearth my insightful teenage memoirs years and years after my death. I know it's folly, but I'm just telling you how it was. I have a friend from college who has successfully kept a daily journal since he was a sophomore in high school. How envious I am of him, for his discipline and ability to see the bigger picture, what a treasure those are!

I think I have been plagued by the same doubts regarding any blog I would put together. As a recovering person, I am familiar with the phrase, "egomaniac with an inferiority complex" and that describes me to a T! I have interest in so many blogs that are out there, but I am not a mommy, I am not a chef, my life is a series of projects with loose ends and I can't imagine that anyone would want to read the musings of a daft individual like myself.

I have been getting some mentorship from a dear family member whose friendship and companionship has been so valuable to me throughout my whole life and specifically about my on-line persona. She has navigated the blogger waters and has carved quite a comfortable space for herself in this world. I admire her because she has a terrific, strong voice that I'd not heard before, but that I never doubted was there. She tells me, "You've gotta get blogging!" We are going to BlogHer together and I want to have some roots put down for myself in this world.

So I expect you will be hearing more from me, I just don't know what I will be saying yet.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Behind the Name

So, when I was thinking of the name for my blog, and I came up with 'chunkybumble', I Googled it just to make sure there were no other blogs with the same name - I think I would have been a little amazed if there had been. 'Chunkybumble' did yield several references to the Bee Girl from Blind Melon's classic video for "No Rain," and while this was not my inspiration, I feel enough of a kinship with the Bee Girl to be more than ok with the reference.

No, 'chunkybumble' is short for 'Chunky Bumble Bee."

When my sister and I were quite small, and my parents were still married (they divorced when I was five), they would go out on the weekends a lot. Enough to have a babysitter over often enough for my sister and I to become terribly attached to her. Her name was Elaine and I think she also babysat for my cousins who lived nearby. Elaine was only in high school but she had a confidence about her well beyond her years. Elaine would play with us and make us laugh, and she was a master at getting my sister and me to go to bed like no other babysitter before or since. We were the masters of the "I'm thirsty," "I'm scared" and the vague but often most successful, "I just can't sleep."

Elaine somehow crafted this tale about a man named Henry Cuesta, who was the lead clarinist for The Lawrence Welk Show. This timeless classic was on every Saturday at 7 for an hour. Elaine dubbed this man, "Chunky Bumble Bee" and sort of infused him with this magic vibe. He was a tall man, with a thick head of curly black hair and very thick black Clark Kent-type glasses. He would sway to the music and bring, dare I say it, a little soul to Lawrence Welk. I always thought he was a magical kind of guy.

Since he was the lead clarinist, there was a high likelihood that he would have a solo at some point each week. Elaine managed to convince my sister and me that he was playing for us, and that it was a lullaby of sorts. Once Chunky was done doing his thang, it was time for bed.

So then when I was thinking of the name for this blog I was trying to think of quirky, individualistic-types like I have become and strive to be. So I guess the Bee Girl fits, too. Mr. Cuestra died in the 1980's but I choose to keep his memory alive as the namesake for my blog. Here's to you, Chunky...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A 2009 Resolution List, for Posterity. Umm, and Posteriors.

OK, 2009. Here's the deal. Resolutions normally kick my ass, but I'm feeling, oh, I don't know, hopeful? Optimistic?

So, in the spirit of potential folly, I propose a few resolutions for myself for the New Year.

1. Start running again. You know you can do this, you've done it before, you know you feel a hell of a lot better than you have felt these last few years since you stopped. Just, err, do it.

2. Once and for all, confront your demons about this doctorate. Are you going to finish it, or are you going to stop here? If you stop, can you find any redemption from the efforts of the last six and a half years? You owe that much to yourself. Be strong.

3. Get organized. You have a tiny little house that could be quite charming if you didn't need hipwaders to slosh through all the CRAP. And now you have to share your abode with a dog. Don't think she hasn't noticed the clutter, by the way. You know you are a packrat. Be brutal and ditch some of this stuff, will you?

4. Stop being a doormat. You are a people pleaser and there are people in your life who know it. You are worth redefining yourself and your relationships. If they can't take it, screw 'em.

5. Find out where your money is going. Find out where your money is going so that you can hang on to as much of it as possible and you can have the freedom to spend it on what you want as often as possible. Like an iMac. And some new kitchen cabinets.

I should stop here, not because there aren't a million other ideas worth consideration and inclusion, but because I know myself well enough to know that my indian princess name should be Bites-Off-More-Than-Can-Chew.

So, blogs are cool that way. I can hold myself accountable as I truly have a plan IN WRITING this year. That's a first. Kind of psyched to get started. Happy New Year to you. See you on the other side.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NaNo NaNo

So the blog doesn't write itself, go figure.

Keeping a blog going requires discipline, which has never been a high priority of mine, despite high marks for the wonderful people around me who employ it in their lives.

It requires imagination, which I have in fleeting moments, but they generally happen when I'm in the car, or even worse, while I am at the bedside of a dying patient for whom I am caring. I have tried to start keeping Post-Its in random places throughout my life so that inspiration will not be lost (not at the patient bedside, of course, but you get the idea).

It requires a little bit of ego, or confidence, or chutzpah, that says, "I can talk about toast for three pages and SOMEONE out there will totally want to read the whole damn thing." But the beauty of the internet is that, Yes, Carolyn, there is.

I totally admire these brave souls who have engaged in this ritual NaNoMo thang, religiously blogging, or noveling, or knitting every day for the month of November. Maybe by the time next November rolls around, I will have gotten the hang of all this... We can hope.