Saturday, November 27, 2010

Go to sleep

When you really think about it, sleep is a very weird thing. Who thought this would be a good idea? If you believe in God, why was sleep created? Why not have Your creatures be awake for all the hours of the day and night to see as much of the world as possible? If you are an evolution fan, how was this a trait that was even selected? How is being unconscious for about a third of the day making you more likely to survive? We must have been competing against the creatures who were sleeping 12 hours a day or something. Although somehow cats made it.

I wish I could get back that sleeping time. I'm not greedy, I don't need all of it: just give me two hours back every night. I'm pretty sure I'd waste most of that time, but I'd still like the option of having that extra time to still not exercise.

There are nights that I start to overthink sleeping. I lie in bed, close my eyes, and think, okay, how do I do this again? What if I forget how to sleep? I am lying there, trying to remember, how did I fall asleep last night? What was in my head? What was not in my head? It's not like walking or eating -- you can't show someone how to sleep. You can do things that might help you sleep, but there isn't some magical formula.

There are nights where I can't even figure out what to do with my body. It's usually one of my arms. It's just in the way. I can't remember if I sleep on it or do I put my head on it or is it off to the side, and every  way I move just doesn't feel right. It feels like I have this extra thing on my body. Seriously, how have I been sleeping with this all these years?

Of course, there are nights when you get that delicious chunk of sleep. When you just magically drift off and wake up eight hours later, feeling absolutely refreshed. Those are lovely nights, but also frustrating. What did I do to get that great sleep? Can I do it again? Why can't I do it again? But, alas, the next night is never as good.

I hope you are a good sleeper. I am jealous, but happy for you. No matter how you sleep, tonight, I wish you good sleep.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Never been kissed

Clearly, I can't stop talking about "Glee" and how they keep getting it wrong. Take this week's episode. It could have been good. It's timely and relevant, and they dropped the ball. That's why I get so frustrated with this show. If they didn't have good ideas, if they didn't have a talented cast, if they didn't have the ability to pull together something amazing, I could just dismiss the whole thing. But they could get it right and they seem to always pick the wrong direction.

There's a bunch of things wrong with this episode, but I want to focus on the kisses. We'll start with Kurt. The minute I saw that bully pushing Kurt around, I knew they were going to have him be secretly gay with a big-ol' crush on Kurt. Why "Glee," why? Because the reality is that, more often than not, bullies are not people with secret crushes on you but, rather, simply assholes. So instead of addressing a real issue that exists today: that there are bullies out there who will physically assault you because you are different, "Glee" chooses the, "oh, I'll bet they're pulling your hair because they think you're so cute route." That's totally the right choice. That'll help all the bullied kids out there.

But there was a moment that they could have saved it. When Kurt told Blaine that the kiss from the bully was his first kiss, there was a moment that was so sad and deep and true. That was a moment you really felt for a character, where you couldn't help but look back on all those little milestones in your life. I really felt for Kurt, that his first kiss would never be a sweet, little stolen moment but rather this mix of violence and confusion and self-hatred. That his first kiss would never be something special. Which brings me to the Coach Beiste kiss. I know most of the attention has been focused on Kurt's kiss, but, frankly, I find the Coach Beiste storyline much more offensive.

Okay, I get the joke: Coach Beiste isn't a pretty, size 2-shaped lady so we can make fun of her! That is funny! Thanks "Glee" for reminding women that they need to be Hollywood-pretty in order to be kissed.  That's a great message. Just remember that, girls: you can be smart and sweet and career-minded, but if you ain't pretty, you ain't getting kissed. Unless (hope and pray for this, ladies), the fabulous Mr. Shue can feel sorry for you and give you a pity kiss. (And, seriously, is there a woman Mr. Shue won't kiss?) I'm sure that's exactly what Coach Beiste had in mind for her first kiss. At least Kurt's kiss was from someone who was attracted to him.

I'm not expecting "Glee" to solve the problems of the world. But if they choose to take on issues, they should try to do a better job. This could have been an amazing episode. Let me write the second half of the episode. Kurt ends up talking to Coach Beiste about being different in high school. Maybe he thinks she's gay. She tells him that, although she's not gay, yeah, high school did suck for her, but she found she could turn to things she loved to do, a support system (which he's in the process of finding with the glee club and his new friends at the other high school), and a good family. Now she's got this great social life and she was just named "Lima's Hottest Single Gal." She tells Kurt he can come to her, give her the names of the guys on the team who are giving him grief, and she'll make them pay -- it'll be their little secret. The last scene has Coach Beiste getting picked up after school for a date with an extremely hot guy. Kurt catches her eye as the date takes her by the arm, and Coach Beiste smiles and says, "It gets better."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNoWriMo (beep beep-pah beep beep)

It's that time of year: not the holidays, but the push to write a novel in a month. November is National Novel Writing Month (a/k/a NaNoWriMo). The idea to to knock out 50,000 words (which amounts to a short novel) in one month. Of course, that's a pretty high word count in a quick period, so it's unlikely that the novel you write will be ready-to-go on December 1. In fact, if you go to their website, they make it quite clear that what you will be write will need revision and this is just a start. The idea is to push yourself to write.

In case the task wasn't intimidating enough, a few days ago, there was a piece in Salon urging people to not do NaNoWriMo. The author of the article argued that there were enough bad books out there and that people should stop writing and start reading. (Her evidence that writers don't read was really just "I was talking to a guy at a party...") She brought up a lot of other reasons to not do it, and, needless to say, the defenders of NaNoWriMo came out in full force. Which made me start to think about why I did it and how it affected me.

You may remember that I took this on last year. As I'd written virtually no fiction in my life, I figured what better way to dip my toe in the pool than to cough up 50,000 words in a month? At the time I thought it was crazy (and it was), but it was really a good thing for me to do. When you have to generate about 2000 words a day, you can't waste time mulling over whether or not the words you are writing are "worthy." You write and write. The edit button has to be off. This freed me up to let go of any inhibitions I was having about writing fiction.

At the end of the month, I'd done it. I was sitting on over 50,000 words, a good start to a novel. But, truly, I needed to not see it anymore. I put it away and, until recently, had done very little with it, and without enthusiasm. This was fine; I had other bits of writing to take care of, and this would be there when I was ready. A couple of months ago, I was finally brave enough to seriously look at what I had written last November, and it wasn't half bad. Since then, I've done some shifts to the story, I've made a lot (a lot) of edits, although surprisingly, not as many (or as deep) as I anticipated. (Although I haven't gotten into the end-of-November writing from last year. Keep your fingers crossed that I wasn't completely insane by that time.)

The point is that without NaNoWriMo, I may have given up on the story or stopped at 10,000 words or flitted to another project. Before last November, I looked at my writing as a hobby, as something I was dabbling in. Sure, I had a blog and a few ideas for stories I might write some day, but this was just spare-time stuff. NaNoWriMo told me to keep pressing on, to not be afraid of that silly idea in my head because, if nothing else, I need the wordcount. Now, I have a book. I wrote a book! Not a long book and (at this point) not a finished book, but it's there. A book. And now I have to say, yes, I am a writer.