23 April 2011

But What If I Suck At It?

My time, of late, seems to be divided pretty equally between the vacuum, the Dollar Tree, and various school errands. Throw in the occasional grocery schlep and the Diaper Demon’s constant whining for mommydaddycheesemilkieatiwantcatigobyebye, my schedule is pretty full. I could probably even fill up a wall calendar with some to do’s, but...well, who wants to write crap like that on a calendar?

I’m not a huge fan of the “Me Time” phenomenon; at least, not in the weekly Mani Pedi, Coach VS Dolce eyewear debate way. I try to take little bits of my day to chill out, you know, here and there. It’s less “Me Time”, and more “Don’t Beat My Child Time”. I find a few minutes here or there to grab a cup of coffee, watch fifteen minutes of Top Chef, or pretend to be using the bathroom (when I am, in fact, trying out my new can of Veet).

The mother of all my time outs, though, is working on my blog. I love to write, you see. No, seriously, I fucking LOVE to write. Not about anything important, really. I don’t think I could even be placed into a specific blogging group. I don’t write enough about being a parent to be a Mom-blogger. I don’t write enough about current events to be a News Blogger. I don’t purchase anything regularly enough to be a Review Blogger. Mostly I just am inspired by a line, phrase, or picture, and the words start to flow. And boyohboy, do I love when those words start to flow.

Problem is, without a specific focus, you can’t much expect for your writing to project itself. There’s nothing instantly recognizable enough to attach itself to any one subject. That places me squarely in the land of Weblog Ambiguity, of which I am not queen, princess, or jester. Hell, I’m not even that handmaiden that gets to wear those kick ass low cut velvet Renaissance dresses. Which is why the recent suggestion to begin a resume consulting business really set my gears to turning.

“I hate that you did her resume,” she said to me one day (referring to a leader-by-title of ours). “I mean, she’s worthless, and now her resume is going to make her look kick ass.”

It was at that point that I began to feel the tug-of-war between “Shit, she’s right!” and “Hey, wait a minute, my resumes kick ass?”

I guess it’s not too much of a stretch, really. Blogging is just a way to creatively impose your opinion on unsuspecting victims, and there is little that I enjoy more than shoving my obnoxiousness into the great wide beyond (unless you count excessive commas, coffee, or reality television). I’ve noodled the idea around for awhile now, and this morning seemed the right morning to check some stuff out. As the web tabs multiplied, I came to some startling realizations:

You need a name for your company. Then you need a website. What if your name is taken by another website? Do you risk taking a .net or .org, or do you think of another name? Should you take the bull by the horns, and look at making business cards, or is that getting too cocky (no barnyard pun intended). Do you talk to people you’ve helped in this aspect before, and look to them for endorsement? Is electronic communication the best way, or should you include paper copies? Watermarks? Trademarks? And what if I end up sucking at it?

Any accomplished (fully, quasi, delusional, or otherwise) entrepreneurs, please feel free to chime in. Seriously. Please. Chime in, like, NOW.

21 April 2011

Your Devil Better Not Wear Prada....

Recently, Jennifer Egan won a Pulitzer prize for her newest fictional work “A Visit From The Goon Squad”. While I am not a fan of works that are (in my humble opinion) some kind of love child that could have been spawned by a brief, drunken tryst between Palahniuk and Grisham, I am pleased for the praise that the writing of a novel should receive, particularly because women have not been as recognized in this avenue that I believe they should have. I am not, however, pleased with her interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The interview began benignly enough, with all the appropriate statements about how things are unreal, uncanny, and how she had to leave her lunch reservation because it was just all too much. The dialogue continued, filling the page mostly with the interviewer asking repeatedly how winning an award of this importance made the author feel, and Egan giving modest replies, like “nutty” and “fantastical”, and stating that now that her book has received such attention, she feels like an outsider, as if she should go back and reread it.

Seems pretty harmless, right?

The last question she was asked referred to the difference in how men and women “come off” in the media. Her outlook on the subject was not focused on the differences in voicing opinions from a gender based standpoint. Rather, it focused on women remaining quiet and aiming for the literary stars. She went on to compare “The Tiger’s Wife” by Tea Obreht, to Kaavya Viswanathan’s quasi-plagiarism of “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life”. She called Obreht’s type a “young, ambitious writer”, and then blasted Viswanathan not for her plagiarism, but for plagiarizing works Egan considers to be “derivative, banal stuff”, and for utilizing the authoresses of “Chick-Lit” as role models for the written word.

“My advice for young female writers would be to shoot high and not cower”, ended her article.

I wonder how Egan would have felt if the Pulitzer Foundation had decided that her words were unworthy because…oh, I don’t know, they didn’t like her font? Or her chapter titling preferences were not theirs? The picture over the blurb-ography on the back cover was a bit too hippy-dippie?

Of course, the idea that a foundation dedicated to the existence, fostering, and praise of extraordinary works of art could be capable of (and willing to) degrade an author’s brainchild is insane.

Additional insanity, in my opinion, is the idea that a woman so keen on the idea of female authors would tread so heavily across not only other published, award winning female authors, but also across those who read the above mentioned, and are just finding the best way to let the ink flow from their pens.

Be it Jennifer Weiner, Peter Beagle, Norman Mailer, or the shadow writer for Nicole Richie, if it is inspiring to you, it is inspiring.

Whether your tastes lie with Kinsella or with Tolstoy, when you write, your words are your own, and let no one take your muse from you.

12 April 2011

Move It. There Is No "Lose It" Option.

I’ve stumbled over my typed words more than once today, trying to think of a witty way to start up this “We’ve Settled” blog. As my backspace key is getting a bit abused, I’m just going to get on with it.

For those that have sipped the Zuckerburg cocktail, you were no doubt slapped about the face repeatedly with my pictures of the diaper demon (in various states of distress and/or shenanigan), Check-Ins in towns where Wes Craven is no doubt Coming Soon.

If you don’t follow my status abuse or visual pollution, here’s your chance to catch up.

First? Maryland is FREAKIN’ BIG. Seriously. I didn’t know it was that big, and that it’d take that long to get across. You look at a map, and you’re thinking “Oh, little Maryland. You’re so sweet and little. Would you like a lollipop or a balloon? How about a hug? Ohhh, you….”

Stop it. Maryland isn’t little, and it doesn’t deserve a lollipop or a hug. It deserves a poke in the schnoz for being huge, having crappy roads, shitty drivers, and having the town of Hancock. Why do I have a problem with Hancock, MD, you ask? Google it. And when you’re done, send me the lollipop and balloon.

The next few days consisted of: WestVirginiaPennsylvaniaWestVirginiaOhioIndianaIllinoisMissouriKansas. I’d like to offer nice tidbits about each place. I can tell you (without having spent any significant amount of time in any of these contributors to the good ole Stars and Bars) is that their part of highway 70 seems to run pretty straight, and their traffic is us usually not bad. We drove on through Wyandotte County, Kansas, which I hadn’t seen for a few years. Looking at it in the early spring with late winter tendencies brought the move to (and quick move from) Kansas City to mind. It was then (and pretty much only then) that I did a quick and silent shout out in gratitude that we were not being stationed at Fort Riley. My gratitude and smiles were short lived, as we quickly passed through Wyandotte County and were greeted with a sign stating that we were passing the last “Free Exit”.

Last Free Exit? What the French, Toast? My husband and I exchanged panicked Walkie Talkie transmissions as we struggled to search for loose change while navigating vehicles laden with a thousand pounds each. Vehicles jerked in and out of lanes as he yelled at me that I’d LIVED here, how could I not KNOW that there was a toll?!, as I screeched back that I’d never BEEN past Kansas City, and did he SEE the landscape? Why would I GO out there?” Our shriek fest was short lived, however, as we only needed press the button to retrieve our ticket, and pay at the off ramp. Three whole dollars later, we had washed our hands of our current Midwest highway debacle, and we continued through…well…nothingness.

Our last travel night was spent in Oakley, Kansas. We were met there by a three story truck stop, and the first warm meal that didn’t come with a supersize option. We took the Prince of Processed Cheese swimming, and slept a little more easily than the previous nights.

We woke early and drove through one of East Kansas’ famed April snowstorms. As I bobbed my head to Esthero, suddenly the clouds parted, and Pikes Peak came looming beautifully into view.

About Effing Time.