Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tell Me a Story

--> I was talking with a friend the other night who, after hearing about my work-based meth-addict moment of the week, commented, “You have the best stories.”

The next day I thought about that statement a lot longer than my sun-frazzled brain should have, because, I wasn’t really sure if she was correct.  Sure, I may have some great stories, but so does she, and so does nearly every other human being I have ever been trapped in an elevator with, talked to in a slow grocery store line or been squished next to on a red-eye airplane flight. 

I am the type of person who will unashamedly strike up a conversation with almost anyone. The group of little old ladies at the gym, the bored looking teenager at the DMV, the crazy looking, obviously armed, tattooed biker who is waiting in line for his drink at a coffee shop, I have no problem making eye contact, smirking and saying, “Hello.”

Due to the fact that my mother burned any sense of shame I might have ever possessed out of me at a very young age, combined with a low fear of danger affecting my person, I have gotten to hear remarkable, fascinating, joyous, heart-wrenching, funny and courageous stories from around the world.

The thing that constantly amazes me is how much coaxing it often takes to assure someone that no, really, I do want to hear their stories. When I profess an interest in hearing a random snippet of someone’s life I’m usually given a facial expression that someone might reserve for looking at a penguin that magically just begun singing and dancing The Time Warp.

I’m not talking, necessarily about deep personal stories that someone might only want to share with a therapist (though, I have heard those as well). I’m talking the everyday, my grandmother used to live across from my high school and bake me cookies every day, I used to have a job working as a telemarketer and I had this one crazy call, I once taught myself how to build chairs from scratch, stories.

It saddens me that so many people believe that their stories are worth so little. Our stories, as an extension of our experiences, make us who we are.

So let me encourage anyone who happens to be reading this to not only listen to others’ stories, but to share your own. No, seriously, go and tell a story to your friends, post a moment from your life here in the comments, strike up a conversation with a stranger and find out you have something in common. Your stories are part of what make you unique, so why not share bits of you with others?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Can't I Just Start in the Middle?

I have the absolute worst time starting things.

Conversations, massive organizing projects, cooking dinner, blog posts, are all harder for me to begin than a limbless shrew attempting to start a lawn mower.

I'm not a procrastinator, well most of the time. It's often that I just get completely overwhelmed by the thought of the entire process.

My intentions start out well. I get up and with great purpose stride towards the mop determined to clean my floors.  I will have victory and clean floors!

As I walk towards my intended target I start thinking about all that task will entail.  Ok, I have to move some furniture, then sweep and make sure everything is up off the floor... 

About halfway there my brain shorts out and I suddenly realize that my shoes by the front door are not lined up and for some reason that suddenly offends me more than being smacked across the face with a herring. Then I realize that I should probably go through the fruit on my counter and make sure none of it has gone bad. Then, of course, you can't forget to double check to see if you paid the electric bill yesterday or not. Then some of my books are upside down...

At this point it's been an hour and honestly I would have been finished long ago with my chosen task if I had just focused and gotten it done.  Now I begrudgingly wander towards my kitchen and start the mopping process very much in a "Hard Knock Life" type mood.

Each and every time I have the same exact feeling of, "Ugh! Why was that so hard to start!?"

When it comes to writing I am ten times worse.  It took me 45 minutes just to write the first two sentences of this post. However, in that 45 minutes I also checked my bank account balance, picked the perfect writing music, saw what was going on on Facebook (nothing, as always), chose different perfect writing music, looked up how long the movie "The Shining" is and whole bunches of super useful stuff. 

Sadly, it isn't until around this point that I can just start writing and continue to do so without having to pause every few minutes to Google the lyrics to that one song that I can't quite remember the chorus to.

Once I get into a rhythm with my writing things tend to go better, and I feel much less like I'm trying to squeeze out my words as if I'm trying to fit a koala into a wine bottle.

And, of course, as I get into my "writing zone," I hear a pathetic meow come from the other room.  Santeria, my rather danger prone one-year old cat, has managed to get stuck upside down from the back of the chair, her tiny hind claws stuck in the material.

Well writing focus, it was nice of you to stop by, but I should probably go rescue my cat.

As this is the first post in a brand new baby blog, I felt this was an appropriate failing of mine to admit.

Am I the only one who has this inability to start projects? I would love to hear any and all input, particularly if you can tell me how to avoid my dilly-dallying ways without the use of a cattle prod.