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In Fact, Most Advice Is Lame

Late Lame Post Friday posts are just going to be a thing. I offer no excuse. For one reason, all the writing advice givers say there is no excuse. Write Just Write, they say. I believe it is good advice, but like all advice, caveats apply. However, since for “caveats” some people read “excuses,” I will offer none of those either.

What will I offer? My favorite Lame Post Friday elements: random observations and half-baked philosophy! Perhaps I should go sit on my front porch so I can actually observe something other than my messy living room or the local news.

Is this an azalea?

Full Disclosure: I did not observe this bush just now. I am still sitting on my couch. I don’t have shoes on, and my husband, Steve, tells me it is chilly outside. This is a picture I took of a neighbor’s lawn sometime last month. I had deleted some pictures from my Media Library in hopes of freeing enough space for an illustrated Pedestrian Post, but WordPress only allowed me to download one new picture. It was rather a sore spot for me.

Another Full Disclosure: my depression is really kicking my butt these days. I always cringe a little when I admit that. I worry that I should just suck it up and not bother others with my problems which are in fact much fewer and smaller that those suffered by others. Then again, depression is a problem for many. If anybody told me they were suffering from depression, I would not, in fact, advise them to suck it up.

Now that I think about it, I am not sure I would offer any advice at all. For one reason, any advice I might give would come with caveats, and that just seems like a lot of trouble. I will give myself a little advice, however. I advise myself to take a walk. Exercise is a potent anti-depressant. It might also make a good blog post.


Wrist to Father’s Day?

I am torn between my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday post and posting a profound thank you to my father, in honor of Father’s Day.  Well, I am poised with the back of one wrist on my forehead because although my father deserves the most profound and thankful of posts, I just don’t know how capable I am of writing such a post.

I really have the most wonderful father.   When I was a little, little girl, I thought he was funny enough to be a comedian on TV, because when we were watching Underdog and they would sing,  “Unnnderdog!” my Dad would sing, “Unnderwear!”  As the years went on, I had no reason to revise my opinion.   My father is funny as all get out.  My whole family has a lot of laughs when we get together.

My father is also highly skilled at many things.  His hobby is restoring classic cars.  Come to think of it, I need to bring my Tablet to his house, take some pictures and do a blog post about some of his projects.  Dad is also a craftsman when it comes to painting and hanging paper, among other household improvements. He has offered to help me with my poor house, although first I have to clean, and let us not contemplate that revolting necessity.

I will also mention that I seek advice from my father in many situations.   Remember when you were a teenager and you thought you knew everything and your parents were woefully ignorant?  Boy were we wrong!  Actually,  I think I always knew my Dad knew more than me, at least about some things.   Now I know, it’s A LOT OF THINGS!

I guess I can’t be as profound as my Dad deserves,  but I can say, I love you,  Dad.  Thank you for being you.


Yet Another Pre-Rehearsal Post

My heart is sore.  There, I’ve said it.  I don’t want to go on whining about my ills.  It’s tiresome. People will become bored and impatient or, worse yet, will worry.  Or they might give advice.  Sometimes advice is hard to listen to.  You know it is the right thing to do, but you already knew the right thing to do; you just didn’t do it.  Or it isn’t the right thing to do, but you know they mean well.  Or they are just being officious, and you want to throat punch them.  But I’m sure none of my readers fall into the last category.

One reason I feel wrong about dwelling on my problems is that it is Sept. 11.  I wanted to dig out my TV Journal from 9/11/2001 and share some of the things I wrote at the time.  I was home recovering from a bunion operation and sat glued to the television all day.  What a terrible event.  But I’m too tired and ill to brave the mess we call a library.

I just looked up at the television and saw something about the latest hurricane soon to make landfall.  I feel terrible for everybody in the path of that.  I do appreciate that I am not currently dealing with any severe weather, under the heading of Count Your Blessings.

In the meantime, I have a blog post to make, and I must make it before I head tofirst dress rehearsal for Shattered Angel, being presented by the Herkimer County Historical Society in cooperation with Ilion Little Theatre.  Opening night is Friday. Yikes!  It is Sept. 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22 and 23.  Performances are at 7:30 on the 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22; and 2 p.m. on the 16 and 23. Tickets are $15.  For more information, contact the Historical Society at 315-866-6413.

Tomorrow I have rehearsal for Donate to Murder, the murder mystery LiFT, Little Falls Theatre Company, is presenting at Herkimer Elks Lodge on Saturday, Sept. 15.  Yikes!  That’s close too, with fewer rehearsals left!  It is dinner theatre with $25 tickets including a turkey dinner by Brian Hess of PK’s Pub.  Yum!  For more information, contact the Elks at 315-866-1439.

I guess I’ll call this a Tired Tuesday post and drive on.  At least I plugged two plays.


Encouraging Monsters on Tired Tuesday

Hello and welcome to Tired Tuesday.  I have been working on other writing projects and kind of used up all my oomph.  SAY IT AIN’T SO!!!!  For one reason, I haven’t finished the other things I was working on.  Maybe I can catch a second wind.  I bet some monster pictures would help.

“Did somebody say monsters?”

Now who could resist that smile?  How kind of Godzilla to drop by to encourage me.

“Remember, I’m always here for you.”

The Creature of the Black Lagoon and Julie Adams are obviously having a heart to heart.  I bet the green guy (I’m guessing he’s green; the movie was black-and-white) is giving her some good advice.  I wonder what advice he would give me.  Maybe he would tell me to go for a swim to clear my mind.  I knew I should have held out for a house with a swimming pool.  Then again, there is a thunder storm going on right now so I could not follow this hypothetical advice if I wanted to (oh, I would want to).


I don’t know who or what this monster is, but I like the sentiment expressed.

It is actually not too sweltering right now, but things are still pretty uncomfortable at work.  Of course you’ll still have that halfway through August, so I will not dwell on it.

I’d love a copy of this poster framed on my wall.

I do like to end with my favorite guy, Nosferatu.  I had forgotten the tagline on the poster: “You cannot escape your destiny by running away.”  I wonder what is my destiny?  To be a silly blogger, I suppose. Mission accomplished!


Just Write?

Write anything, just write.  That is the advice they give us.

“Who is ‘they’?” you may ask in that superior tone that so annoys me.  I may well ask back, “Who are YOU?”  Oh yeah, the critics in my head.  Who invited them to this blog post anyways?

So now I’ve written a whole paragraph without too much pain or problem.  I could go on like that, but am I really best served by doing so?  Another bit of writerly advice I’ve heard is, “Give that inner critic a voice, maybe even a name.  Write out your arguments with him or her.”  The idea is I will see how spurious the inner critic’s criticisms are and/or I will become bored with listening to that fool and tune him or her out.  So there.

Do all writers have this inner critic and are all inner critics as snarky and annoying as mine?  I would not be a bit surprised.

Regular readers know I have had a bit of a problem lately.  The other day I made up my mind to Just Write More.  Of course this is a recipe for ensuring that the one thing I just can’t/don’t want to do is write.  I tried to circumvent the automatic reaction with the caveat that I could Just Write  ANYTHING.  I also sternly told myself to Just Write Anyways.

And I have written, at least in dribs and drabs.  A couple of paragraphs in the TV Journal.  A few more lines on the banana play.  A not too contemptible lead for an article for Mohawk Valley Living (along with a few contemptible leads I crossed out).  Part of a letter to my sister.  And of course blog posts.

As I often observe, one must persevere.  Ah, I think that can count as a random observation.  Remember, today is Lame Post Friday, my day for random observations and half-baked philosophy.  I think this whole post counts as the latter.  Happy Friday, everyone.


Mature Woman Undergarments?

It is a well-known fact that if you spend too much time talking about your troubles they only get worse.  For one reason, people get tired of listening to you.  Then instead of sympathy you get eye rolls and, worse yet, advice.  And the longer you have been complaining, the less sympathetic the advice becomes, especially from the people that were not all that sympathetic to begin with.

The preceding paragraph was me trying to talk myself out of having Wrist to Forehead Saturday.  It is just about reaching the point (if it hasn’t already) when somebody tells me to put on my big girl panties, which is quite the confusing mental image, if you ask me.

In the first place, my panties as well as most of my clothes, have gotten smaller ever since I went on the South Beach Diet (not as small as I would like them to be, but let’s not open that can of worms). Oh, I know, by “big girl” they mean “grown woman,” and they don’t mean a growing waistline.  I wish they would say what they mean.

Additionally, at whatever size, “panties” does not conjure up images of toughness and the ability to handle things. I almost never call them “panties” anyways; I call them underwear.  In fact, they come in all shapes and sizes.  You’ve got your briefs, your hip-huggers, your bikinis and your thongs.  I suppose any of them could be “panties,” although the word brings to my mind the cute, lacy ones.  You try leaving the house wearing nothing but lacy underwear and see how far it gets you!

And another thing, what is with “girl”?  Shouldn’t that be “woman”?  It has been a sore point with feminists everywhere that in our language at least,  females remain “girls” throughout adulthood while males cease being “boys” and become “men” at least at some point.  At least when you’re talking about them; how some of them act is another can of worms we will leave for another day.

So, did we all enjoy that?  I started out to whine and instead dissected a commonly (over)used phrase.  I can’t help feeling I could make this a better post with a little more time, thought and effort, but, well, we’ve talked about the daily posting thing before.  We’ll just have to live with this one as is.

As a final note, and because I often over-share:  I’m trying to put off doing laundry for a little longer, so today I’m going commando.


Dear Abby I’m Not

It is often a mistake to give people advice.  They do not appreciate it.

For example, at work today, one guy started pushing another guy with his shoulder.  The other guy pushed back.  Back and forth, back and forth.

“Knock him down and step on his head,” I advised the second guy.

“Knock him down and step on his face!” exclaimed the first guy.

“No, I said, ‘Knock him down and step on his head.'”

A third co-worker asked what was going on.

“She wants him to knock me down and step on my face!”

“No, I said to knock you down and step on your HEAD, that is not the same thing.”

The guy I gave the advice to thought it was a terrible thing for me to tell him to do.

“It’s just an expression,” I told him.  “You know, ‘I’ll knock you down and step on your head!'”

“I’ve never heard that.”

“Oh well, I guess I made it up.”  Still, I’ve been saying it for years.  I’m sure it ought to be a well-known expression by now.

Long story short (I know, too late): He did not take my advice or even appreciate that I offered it.

This is a true story. I thought about it as I was running, and I thought it might be OK for a Non-Sequitur Thursday post.


Another Meandering Post

Last week I tried to write a post ahead, in case it was not easy to write a post during Fabulous Wine Tasting Weekend.   I ended up not using what I wrote, because I thought it needed to be edited and polished (I think I wrote a blog post about it).  Looking at it again, I feel it will work find for a Mental Meanderings Monday.  Here it is:


I ran Wednesday and thought to do a running commentary.  My inner monologue as I ran seemed interesting enough, to me anyways.


Of course the operative thing to do is to sit right down soon after the run and write the thing (YES, I shower first!  I said SOON after! Sheesh!)  That is my usual method, composing at the computer.  Today, however  (this was written Thursday), I am sitting in the break area at work before my shift starts, scribbling in a spiral notebook with a stolen pen (well, not exactly stolen; somebody left it sitting on a table.  Let’s call it purloined, which has the charm of alliteration).


I go on about this minutae, because I am fascinated by the mechanics of writing.  I think a lot of people are. Hence, the plethora of books about writing.  Of course, they don’t always tell me what I really want to know. When do you write?  Where do you write?  Pen, pencil or keyboard?  How long is a writing session?  And my biggest question:  How in a busy life do you carve out time to write and stick to it?


Regarding the last question, my growing suspicion is that a lot of writers don’t know exactly how they do it, and I make bold to suggest that a lot of them have the niggling guilty feeling that they are not doing it enough.  Most of them end with a huffy statement along the lines of, “If it’s important to you, you’ll do it.”


Yes, that’s all very well.  I find it more helpful to hear concrete suggestions such as, “Get up an hour earlier” and “Write on your lunch break.”  Some people intone “Time management” as if it is a magic elixir you can buy in a bottle that makes more hours appear in a day.  We all know it’s not that easy, and I appreciate the writer that acknowledges that fact.


Let’s look at the other advice about writing.  Many writing books say things like, “Find what works for you.”  Obviously.  In fact, I’d almost put that under the “Well, duh” category, except that there are some things the writing books say you ABSOLUTELY MUST DO.  There are always people who like to dictate as well as some techniques that work so well for so many people they take on the aura of a truism.


To take a non-writerly example: when you diet, only step on the scale once a week.  The idea  behind this is that you save yourself stressing over the one and two pound fluctuations that will happen to the best of us.  Most people are quite content to follow this advice and find that it works for them.  I personally step on the scale every day.  Those little one-pound gains you’re not supposed to stress over?  I take them as reminders to stay on the straight and narrow.  The one pound losses you also should not take too seriously?  Encouragement, which I need in spades.


So, yes, we must find and follow what works for us.  For example,  I find that it works for me to write a blog post every day, however silly it may turn out to be.  Ah, but an important part of that sentence is “I find.”  We must FIND OUT what works for us.  In that quest, I like to read other writers’ advice.  I do not always take the advice.  I hope nobody is offended.


And now I feel my mind has meandered enough.  Happy Monday, everybody.


Now We Know Why I’m Not on the Best Seller List

Lame Post Friday follows Non-Sequitur Thursday as surely as night follows day. I can’t say as surely “as spring follows winter” because many of us here in the Mohawk Valley are wondering when spring will come if ever. Oh, I know winter won’t last forever. I’m just afraid we will skip straight to summer. However, my purpose today is not to complain about the weather but to entertain with some random observations and half-baked philosophy.

And here is where I make a note to myself: when I see something worthy of being a random observation during the week I should WRITE IT DOWN. However, thinking of that makes me remember a bit of half-baked philosophy I can share. At least, I don’t know how philosophical it is. It is a hoary piece of writer advice you see everywhere, and I would like to address it.

Keep a notebook by your bed, the advice says. When you come up with a brilliant idea in the middle of the night — perhaps in a dream — you can make an immediate note of it. You will most likely not remember it in the morning. As far as that goes, it is true. I often wake up from a dream, think, “What a great novel that would make!” Then fall back asleep and forget it.

Once in a while, though, I do remember it. I’ve even been known to go so far as to write it down. Guess what? When I look at it in the morning, I find out that it ain’t so brilliant after all. When it makes sense at all. When I can read my own handwriting.

I suppose it is still good advice to write it down. After all, what if it really is brilliant? In that case I might like to remember it. So noted. In fact, I do sleep with a notebook and pen handy. Also, at least one book, a flashlight, my Bible, a handkerchief and a bottle of water (in case anybody was making comparisons with their own bedside).

However, all my life I have suffered from insomnia. The older I get, the more unhappy it makes me the next day. Therefore, I confess that I do not often waste time chasing down elusive writing ideas when to me the operative thing to do is to go back to sleep.

And now the operative thing to do is to go back to enjoying my Friday. I hope you are doing the same.

But You Should Have Read That Post in My Head

So there I was trying to write a blog post when it suddenly became clear: what I composed in my head while I was working (it’s OK, it’s the kind of job I can daydream and do properly) does not necessarily translate through my pen and onto the paper.

Oh, there are the Know-It-Alls gearing up to say, “I could have told you that would happen. You can’t THINK about things before you write them, you have to just WRITE.” Blah, blah, blah. I think I know better than to listen to those yahoos by now. Yes, sometimes it is better to sit down at the page (or screen) tabula rasa as it were and see what comes out. Sometimes it helps to think about it first. How much thinking you ought to do varies.

That last sentence is the crux of the matter. The thing is, any piece of writerly advice — even wise, insightful advice (and any advice that begins with a sniff and “I could have told you that would happen” is probably neither wise nor insightful) — is only good some of the time. Every piece of writing is different. What works for one may be a disaster for another. Likewise, one writer’s Rosetta Stone is another writer’s brick wall (ooh, isn’t that a nice metaphor?) (now I’m remembering another piece of writerly advice: if you write something particularly fine, strike it out. I forget who said it).

Another thing about advice is: most people like to give it, few people like to take it. I don’t much like to listen to advice myself, especially if I haven’t asked for it. So anybody gearing up to offer advice on this blog post, NEVER MIND! Unless you’d like to leave a comment. I like when people leave comments. But if you comment with advice, I will probably not follow it.

In case anybody hasn’t noticed, today is Lame Post Friday.