Conversations with My Muse: Working with Children

August 25, 2009

Oh my gosh, is that Modern Bride magazine you’ve got there?

This? Eh, just a little something I picked up at the local quickie mart.

It’s pretty telling. Got a secret to share?

No, not really…I’m kinda bummed, actually.

What’s up?

Well, I’m just so tired.

Oh, I know how that is. I’m worn out, now that school’s back in session.

You think you have it bad? Try having my job for a day — you’d never be able to handle it!

Yes, but I teach middle school students.

Yea, so what?

So, I teach WRITING to middle school students.

Ohhhhh…

Yes, it’s tough, but I love it.

You like teaching middle schoolers?

Absolutely! It’s a great age, they’re a real hoot.

What’s so fun about hormone issues, bodily odor emissions, growth spurts, acne, sneezing into their hands and wiping it on the desks, blah, blah, blah?

Oh, I can handle all that, I’m a mom. What I love about this age is their enthusiasm — or watching their enthusiasm grow. These kids really can put the pencil to the paper, if I let them.

Wow, you’re actually getting them to enjoy school?

Of course, that’s my job. I’d be a miserable failure otherwise.

True.

You do realize, of course, that I have had  a sizable amount of help with teaching them to become better writers.

Oh? Do you work with another teacher in the same classroom?

No, silly! YOU.

Me? What’d I do?

You have no idea? Honestly?

No. Give me a clue.

Ha, ha, ha!!!

What’s so darn funny?

Notice how the tables have turned! Wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago that I was completely clueless about your job?

Yes, so?

Well, well, well, I guess my muse isn’t as insightful as I thought she was.

Ummm…

Oh my goodness! My Muse is SPEECHLESS! Mark the calendars! Alert the press!

Actually, no. I was thinking about something else.

Lemme guess: shiny objects and sporks, huh?

How’d you know?

Come on, muse! Haven’t we already covered this? You’re so easy to read, you’re transparent.

What do you mean by that?

Transparent — able to see through. I know you know this.

Sorry, but you said “sporks”. I started to hear dolphin squeaks and whistles shortly after that.

Do I need to rewind this conversation then?

Just go back to the “spork” part — I’ll catch up from there.

What is it with you and sporks?

Don’t forget shiny objects.

Of course not.


Conversations with My Muse: The Editing Process

August 21, 2009

Arrrrrrgh! I can’t do this!!!!

Whoa, whoa, whoa, girl. what is going on here?

Oh. Hey muse, didn’t notice you sitting there.

I was flying over on my way to California and heard you muttering to yourself.

California? What’s going on there?

Eh, got something brewing in Hollywood.

Going all “Hollyweird” on me now?

Not sure. They want me to help with a new reality TV show idea.

That would be?

I dunno, something about “dads” and “divorce”? No clue.

Oh my god, please say you’re not getting involved in THAT freak fest.

What’s a “freak fest”?

A place where all sorts of freaks gather. In this case, if the name “John Gosselin” comes up, I suggest you run far, far away from that scene.

Gosselin…Gosselin…where have I heard that name before?

Ed Hardy Shirts?

Oh yea. EWWWWWWWWW! Glad I stopped. Let me just twitter them and let them know I’m “previously engaged”.

Sure that won’t affect your job situation?

Naw, I’m in pretty good with lots of folks. I’m a big hit on Facebook and WordPress, and have more than 5 million followers on Twitter. I can afford to dump the Hollywood set.

Please do. They’re useless. They’ve gone to this stupid “reality” show format that is as far from “reality” as it can possibly be.

Gotcha — and it’s done. I’m all yours for the moment.

Great! I can use all the help you can give me.

What’s up? Why the angry face?

My face looks angry?

Smoldering. How come?

Well, I’m struggling with this piece I wrote.

How so?

The woman who wants to publish it had some questions she needed me to answer.

You’re getting published? Wow! How exciting is that!

I told you this two weeks ago. Way to stay on top of things, chickie.

You did? When?

Right after you met the “love of your life”. Hey, how’s that going anyways?

Well, about that…

Uh oh. Do I really want to know?

I’m not really ready to discuss it yet. Let’s just say things have been “temporarily put on hold.

Okay, I’m fine with that.

Thanks, now back to the issue that brought us here today. What’s so hard about answering these questions?

That’s the problem. The answers she wants aren’t so simple after all.

Now I’m getting annoyed.

That’s kinda funny.

Why so funny?

I probably should tell you the title of the piece that she wants to publish.

That might work. Maybe we can work from there.

“Conversations with My Muse: Inspiration and Origins”

WOW! You mean she’s publishing that conversation?

Yes, can you believe that?

Holy crap. Where is it going?

Into a national writing gallery. It will be read by adults and children.

Oh nooooo…

Yea, exactly.

We do have some rewrites to do. That is so not appropriate for the “younger” crowd.”

Well, that’s not really the problem. I was able to edit out the bad language and all that..

Well then, what’s the problem? It seems to me that all’s fine and dandy then.

It’s not that cut and dry. I am struggling with trying to explain our relationship.

Whose relationship?

Ours! Yours and mine. How we work together. How we can’t do our jobs without the other’s contribution.

Huh?

See! that is exactly what I mean. I’m just as confused about her questions as you are about my explanation.

I’m still not getting what you’re saying here. Maybe we need to start over.

That’s probably a good idea. Let me get more coffee first.

You and your coffee. Okay. Java-up. We need 100% focus here. Fortunately, I’m still on my meds.

That’s good to hear. I can’t have “inattention” added to the list of issues today. My head might explode.

Um, no.

Okay, let’s try talking through this one issue at a time. Maybe that will help.

Sure, where to start?

Let’s first start with the question she posed: “Do you think readers will make the connection with the phrase “Yank it like a monkey in a mango tree”?

YIKES, that’s a touchy issue. Especially since that is the part that talks about…well, you know.

Yes. I had to edit that whole section out. Can’t have that in a place where kids can read it.

I totally understand. Were you able to fix that?

Yes, and it seems to make sense to me, but the publisher is still confused by it. She’s concerned readers will not understand the reference.

How can we fix this?

Well, fortunately, I add another reference a little later on. In fact, I’ve even offered to include a bit of the poem I wrote based on that line you gave to me.

Hey, that’s a great idea. Just throw in two or three lines from your “Soundin’ Off Again” poem and it will make much more sense to the reader. I think it’s important that you include that.

Okay, done deal. Two to three lines from that poem, and that should clarify things.

Next?

Next comes the need to explain your job.

My job? Why must I explain my job to your readers? Isn’t it a bit obvious?

Well, not everyone knows what a “muse” is or actually does. And remember, this bit was all about the writing “process”. So, the publisher wants a better clarification of the actual writing process.

Hmph.

YES! That is exactly why I am stuck at this point.

I totally get that. You are being asked to explain something you can’t explain away that easily.

BINGO! These conversations aren’t about the mechanics of writing. They aren’t even structured, logical, sequential writing pieces.

I hear ya on that one, sister. Especially on those days where I’m off my meds. Whoo! We’ve gone off on some interesting tangents, eh? And that conversation with the sandman…Wow

Okay, okay, stay focused here. I’m almost done.

Sorry, just reminiscing about the good old days.

Good old days? Jeez, that was last month, if I remember correctly.

Well, when you’re a muse, time travels at an entirely different pace.

I guess so. But, let’s get back to this. Dr. Phil is almost on.

Sure. Our relationship. My job, your job. What about all these things?

Well, I’m trying to point out to the publisher that the “dialogue” we have between us is the actual “lesson” to be learned. In that conversation we had, the inspiration was given by you, and the origins was the line from the TV show.

Ahhh, I get it.

I know. You get me, I get you. But, how can I get readers to “get” the both of us?

Wow. That’s a really good question.

Got an answer?

Not really.

Gee, I guess I need to keep struggling with this, then, huh?

No. I’d recommend you keep everything “as is” and only focus on the mechanics: grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

Why?

Because our conversations are “ours”. They belong to us and so what if others don’t “get” them right away. As long as you and I continue to understand each other and talk these issues through, I say let the words stand as they are.

Wow, that’s pretty profound.

Yes, I guess it is.

One final comment…

What’s that?

Don’t go to Hollywood. Your talents are much better needed elsewhere. You’re too good for them.

Aw, you’re so sweet. Hugs?

Always. Later, chickie.


“Social Committees” = “Us versus Them”

August 18, 2009

My buddy Bill just tweaked my “bitch bone”.  I’ve been meaning to write my next rant about this issue for some time, but when I read Bill’s post about reacting to others’ comments, it sent me into a froth. Ironic, huh?

The subject of this rant is:  obligatory office/school/work parties. I can’t stand those things. These are the parties where some young, annoyingly, chirpy bubble headed “life of the party” chick comes up to you and says: “Hey! Wanna donate to the social committee fund? Only 40 bucks for the whole year!”

Social committee, my ass. This is just one more way to suck money out of my wallet while making me realize how much of an invisible person I really am where I work. Let me give you an example (names have been removed to protect the obnoxious).

At the start of the last year (yes, I am in education), a staffer put a sign out that said “Social Committee: 40 dollars , sign up here”. Well, I was part time and worried more about paying my electricity bill and feeding my hungry children than contributing to a “social” committee. (So, I never bothered to sign up, nor did I ask what exactly the “social committee” was in charge of doing.) Allegedly, the committee was “created to raise funds to purchase cards and a candy bar for birthday celebrants, and generally any other occasion that requires buying a cake.” Oh, yea, sure. I just call it one more way to shake down people for money.

Not being on the committee, I didn’t think anything of it, until IT happened. My big day. Okay, I admit I didn’t TELL anyone it was my birthday before it came, but my birthday date was posted in the staff room. And, the sparkly tiara I was wearing all day should have been a big clue that “something” was going on with me (Yes, I DO have a tiara I wear on my big day, I’ve been doing this for 5 years now.) I wasn’t expecting a card or chocolate bar. After all, I never DID pay my money so that wouldn’t have been fair. I’m the kinda gal who doesn’t expect special treatment or feel I am above following the rules.

BUT, not one single person on said “social committee” even offered a “Happy Birthday” to me. The entire day went unnoticed, unspoken, unacknowledged. If it hadn’t been for my team worker bringing her kids into my classroom to sing “Happy Birthday” at the end of the day, the issue would have never been mentioned (my team worker is GREAT!!!) Meanwhile, “Chirpy Shirley” and her crony “Psycho Bitch” were showered in praise, chocolate bars, cards and a cake for their birthdays. And that pisses me off. It became nothing more than another “popular crowd versus the nobodies” event.

Yes, I know this sounds like I’m whining and begging for attention, but that is not what this rant is all about (is it ever really about the story?)

I am sick and tired of being asked to participate in “work parties” where I know I am not wanted. I don’t care that so and so is having a bridal shower or a baby shower. If I don’t hang out with them on a personal basis outside of the work place, then I don’t feel like I should have to fork over much needed cash to purchase them a gift. (Conversely, I wouldn’t expect them to do the same for me).

And the bad part is, if I don’t get involved, then I become the “snob”. If I do get involved, then I am giving away hard earned cash for NOTHING in return — not so much as an invitation to go to the local bar for after-work drinks. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

I’m pretty sure this whole issue started back when I first entered the workforce. I have always been “the odd woman out”. Very few women “get” my sense of humor or are willing to accept the fact that I don’t give a damn about shoes, purses, shopping, designer labels, vapid conversation, Cosmopolitans, Brad Pitt, etc. I also don’t have the time, desire or energy to sit around bitching about men. I love the way men think — it’s the bitchy women who sit around bitching about men who annoy the crap out of me.

I’m not a cold-hearted, uncaring bitch. I can be very generous when the situation calls for it. One of my colleagues has been battling breast cancer. She has a “meals on wheels” deal set up for co-workers to bring her and her family pre-cooked meals so she doesn’t have to worry about that while she undergoes the fight for her life. I eagerly and willingly volunteered my hubby to cook up a big ol’ pot of homemade chili (he’s the chili expert, I just delivered the food) and even included a bag of cheddar cheese with that.

But, my generosity should end there, guilt-free.  So please, folks, stop with the incessant “obligatory office parties” shit. It makes me want to join the post office just so I can go postal on some unsuspecting, chirpy, bubble headed woman.


The “Smart Car” is, surprisingly, SAFE!

August 16, 2009

Well, this is fascinating, and highly unexpected…I just want to pinch its little side panels and say “Awwwwww”:

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2008/05/14/cho.smart.car.crash.test.cnn

If a Smart Car could talk, I bet it would say:

“When I grow up, I wanna be a Hummer”

What would YOUR Smart Car say?


Conversations with My Muse: Gossiping and Privacy Issues

August 16, 2009

Hi, Nerd! Come on in…I’ve been waiting for you!

Nice place you have here. Thanks for the invite.

You’re welcome. I thought the Greek statue of  Aphrodite out in the front yard was a nice touch.

Yea, that really announces your presence in the neighborhood, huh?

Hey, was that a smart-ass comment?

Remember who you’re talking to.

Oh yea, duhhh.

Okay, so what’s this all about anyways? Why the sudden invite to your place?

I found a little part-time gig and wanted to let you know about it.

Part-time gig? Aren’t you working full time as a muse?

Yea, but that’s mandatory work. This is different — it’s more….fun

I thought you enjoyed your day job. Did something change there?

Naw, I still love my job and all, but it’s become so humdrum.

Humdrum. Huh.

What’s wrong with saying it’s humdrum?

I happen to think otherwise. I love working with you.

Awww, aren’t you a sweetie! And I enjoy being your muse, too. I think we have a really great thing going here. But, I needed more.

Why the need to burn the candle at both ends?

“Burn the candle”? Huh?

That’s another expression. Back before the days of electricity and indoor lighting, folks had to write by candle light. So, when the candle was burning, work was getting done.

But how do you burn it at both ends? How would you stand it up? What about all that wax dripping? Wouldn’t that make a big mess?

You’re over thinking again, muse. This isn’t the time to be so literal, okay?

Okay, I’ll let that one go. Besides, it’s “party” time!

Party? What party?

Oh, I am throwing a little engagement party.

Holy crap, you’re engaged????

Well, not officially. He hasn’t asked yet, but I suspect he has something in the works.

What makes you think that?

Well, he’s been spending a lot of time whispering into his phone, checking his email and updating his Facebook status.

Hmmm…

What’s wrong?

Doesn’t that sound suspicious to you?

Um, okay. Anyways, I just wanted to throw a little pre-engagement, engagement party.

Okay, whatever makes you happy, I guess.

What’s wrong? You sound a little put off here.

Well, I guess I am.

Something tells me you’re about to kill my buzz.

Not really, I “guess” I’m happy for you, but I’m also worried for you too.

Why worried?

I have my reasons.

Fess up, what’s going on here?

Well, I get a bad vibe here with this relationship you’re in. I don’t think you should be jumping into marriage this quickly.

Ouch, that’s kinda harsh.

Well, we’re friends right? Can’t we just talk openly here?

True, but I don’t like the direction this conversation is going. Is there something I should know about here?

I hate to be a gossip.

This isn’t a case of “gossip” around the water cooler, chickie. If you’ve heard something that is going to affect my life personally, you had better tell me now.

Well..not so much “heard” as “feel”.

SPILL IT.

You said he keeps “checking his emails”.

Yea, so?

Have you looked at his emails?

No!!!! Good Gods, that’s an invasion of privacy! I would nev–

Perhaps you should.

What the hell is going on here?

Your name is not any of the following, is it:  Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania?

No, no it is not.

Well, then I strongly suggest you check your fiance’s emails.

Ha ha ha!!!

What’s so funny?

Oh man, you’re a hoot.

Hey, I’m trying to protect you here. I don’t think emails to other women are exactly *funny* ya know.

You’re a goofball. Have you even looked at those names?

Yes.

Look again, closer.

Well, they all look Greek in origin.

Yes, and you don’t recognize any of them?

Well…Erato sounds famili- oh! Wasn’t she the bitch who stole your boyfriend back when you went amok in Italy?

Do we need to bring that up again? And yes, yes she did.

Ohhhhh…whoops!

Yes, whoops. Those are my sister muses, doofus. He’s been writing to them to invite them to our upcoming engagement party.

Yikes, my bad. I thought he was cheating on you.

Um no. He’s too great a guy for that. I know where his heart belongs, and it’s with me.

Oh yea?

Yeah. We’re very happy together. I’ve been on Cloud Fifteen for days now.

Don’t you mean “Cloud Nine”?

Naw, I upgraded to Cloud Fifteen. It comes with our own personal butler and spa service. The massages are to die for. Hercules brings his own body oils.

You mean to tell me Hercules is your personal masseuse?

Well, not mine personally..He gets around. All the female immortals request him. Except for Sappho. For some reason, she prefers getting rubbed down by big, burly women.

No duh.

Whatcha gonna do? To each his or her own, ya know?

Okay, so….you really are going to stick with this boyfriend of yours?

Told ya, he’s my life now.

Ya know, a week ago that sounded kinda creepy. Now, not so much. It looks like you’re really serious here.

I am. He’s wonderful. He encourages me to stay on my meds. He says he’s looking out for my best interests.

I can see that — you have a very healthy glow about you these days.

Yea, I’m in love. Okay, ready to come in and meet the others?

Sure, got any green apple vodka? I’m parched.

What’s vodka?

Oh boy, we have so much to talk about, don’t we?

You know it!


Conversations with My Muse: The Sandman Waketh

August 14, 2009

Dude, get up.

Nnnnnnnnnh…

I said, get up!

Wha? Huh? Whose zat?

Me. I said wake up.

Go away.

No, not until we talk.

What the fu–

Don’t speak to me that way, now get up or I’m gonna give you a wedgie.

Friggen leave me alone, dammit!

NO. I want an explanation now.

Bitch, can’t you see I’m trying to sleep here? WHAT THE FU-

That’s it, I’m grabbin..

Ow! Jezzus, what the hell is wrong with you?

Good, you’re awake.

Well now I am!!!

We need to talk about last night.

What about it? Ooooooh, my friggen head. I think I’m gonna hurl.

The bathroom’s over there. Go do what you gotta do and then come back. We’re gonna talk about that dream I had last night.

Dream you had? Sheeee it, that’s what this is about?

Yes, now go.

Little demanding there. Can you at least give me a couple minutes here? I gotta —

What?

I can’t stand up yet-

Why not? Ohhhhhh…

Yea, smart ass. Ohhh.

Sorry, I’m a chick. Nothing on me wakes up twenty minutes before I do. I’ll turn away until you’re, ahem, ALL awake and good to go.

You can at least offer to make me a cup of coffee while we’re waiting.

Sure, but let me tell you it’s early afternoon.

So? My shift starts at midnight.

Ah, that’s right…you have the night shift. Which is exactly why we need to talk.

I’m not getting into this without my afternoon piss and a cup of coffee.

Fine then – I’ll be back with two cups. I give you two minutes, make it quick.

Two minutes? I can’t whiz that fast.

That’s gross, just go already — sheesh!

Whatever…

Watch the attitude.

You’re a pain in the ass, ya know that?

Hey, I’m not the one with the raging hangover.

You try coming up with millions of ideas for dreams every night, night after night. Then you can come bitching to me about how much I drink. It’s not easy being me, ya know.

Oh, quit your whining. Geez, you can be such a girly man at times.

Excuse me?

You heard me. You have no idea what it’s like to be female.

Uh, yea, I do. I rummage around inside many females’ heads on a regular basis. And let me tell you, what I see is scary shit sometimes.

Like what?

You fantasize too often. Sorry, but Erik Estrada? How gay is that?

Me dreaming about Erik Estrada is gay? How do you figure that?

That guy was so..I dunno, 70s?

Ya, so what? At least I’m not fantasizing about Courtney Thorne Smith.

Hmmmm…..Courtney..

Hey, that’s hubby’s fantasy, not mine. Stick with the program here.

Whatever. So, I’m up now. What’s the big deal about last night?

Well, you threw me in a garbage truck. I’m curious to know what made you decide to do that.

I did that?

Yes, I was thrown into a garbage truck and covered in a whole bunch of disgusting crap. Then, I had to sit there and listen to the thing start compacting on me. It was scary, I started freaking out.

Wow, that’s nasty.

No kidding! I could even feel my head compressing. I feel things in my dreams, you know.

You do? Like what?

Oh, everything. Some people only dream in black and white. Many don’t even remember their dreams. I, on the other hand, remember everything. I also taste, see, touch, smell and feel in my dreams.

That’s cool.

No, not all the time. Imagine being able to feel the concussion of being shot. Think that’s “cool”?

Well, no.

Exactly. But that’s what happens to me when I dream. Everything is 100% vivid.

Hmm….

What? You actually sounded coherent there for a moment.

Well, I do have a theory about your dreams, now that I’m a little more awake.

Hangover going away?

Can’t ya tell? Heh heh heh.

Good Lord, it’s like visiting with a frat boy. This place is even littered with beer bottles, which is odd since I don’t drink beer.

Imagine how your dreams would be if, say, I dropped acid? I think you’re getting off pretty easy here.

How so?

Well, you get the benefit of my insobriety while I have to wake each afternoon with a hangover. I think you’re the one taking advantage of me.

Oh my god, I can’t believe you’re pushing your problems off onto me.

Listen, I’ll make it very simple for you to understand. Your dreams aren’t as incoherent and incongruent as you think.

They aren’t? Hmm, try explaining that to my husband. He thinks my dreams are indicative of something far worse than just an active imagination.

He does?

Not really, but he does roll his eyes whenever he hears me say, “You won’t believe the dream I had last night…” He usually follows that up with, “And it was very weird.”

Nice catch phrase.

It works. So, back to the garbage truck dream. What was that all about?

Simple. Remember last year when you got all caught up in that work stuff?

Yea, that was a load of crap.

Ahhhh…

Oh…I think I’m catching on. I had to take a load of crap last year from some fellow workers..

Keep going…

And now that the main trouble maker is gone…

Un huh…

I can officially “dump” the idea of having to take that same load of crap THIS year!

BINGO!!!

Wow, that is freakin’ amazing. You did all that?

And you thought I was nothing more than just a lazy, shiftless, raging alcoholic frat boy who enjoys the occasional picture show of girl-on-girl action and nudity..

Whoa, buddy…Let’s not go there, okay?

Hey, I’m a guy, what can I tell ya?

I guess we all have our weaknesses. Just remember, I don’t swing that way. So, if you’re in the mood for a little girl on girl porn, go visit my hubby, okay?

Cool. How does he feel about Jennifer Aniston?

You’re a pig.

You know you love me.

I’m out of here.


Ignoring My Muse? Naw…

August 13, 2009

I feel bad for ignoring my muse the way I have been lately. I’ve just been so preoccupied with other things.

I recently was offered a full-time position where I work, instead of having to go another year as a part timer. So of course, that’s more money and opportunity! In today’s economy, just holding onto a part-time job is hard for some folk! So, that was one blessing for which I am extremely grateful.

Yesterday, I was certain our “fat bastard” had run off to die somewhere. He is an indoor cat and usually never goes outside. Two days ago, he walked out the back door and was gone for more than a day and a half. Assuming the worst, we went to bed last night missing his mandatory evening lap sit and bitch fest. Around 11:30, my son went to get something to eat and heard Fat Bastard yowling at the back door. The prodigal kitty had returned, none the worse for wear. I guess he had grown tired of us and decided to take an unscheduled (and unapproved!) vacation. He’s neutered so we can safely assume he wasn’t going out for some pussy. He’s also declawed, so he wasn’t out searching for a cat fight, either. The only one who knows is him, and as I’ve said before, “I don’t speak cat”. (see: “Fat Bastard” post)

So needless to say, my muse has been unusually quiet, what with me having to focus my energies on my new full-time gig and cat wrangling. But don’t worry– I’ve tweeted her the following:

@themuse: Sorry ’bout the ignoring stuff, mind previously occupied. All better now! Back to business.. PS: Thank U God!!!

The Nerd