Category Archives: writing

The soundtrack of life

It’s rare the TV is off in our house, especially once we brought home our new baby — a fancy 47″ flat screen, HD, Netflix-equipped, monster of a TV. But, on the off chance we turn the TV off for an hour, the house is still rarely quiet.

There’s the tick-tock of the cute Motown/Detroit clock I bought for DD for our first dating anniversary.

There’s the rumble and crash of ice in the ice-maker.

There’s the ding of the elevator in our apartment building, usually followed by the slam of a neighbor’s door as they arrive home.

There’s the muted tones of people talking on the street 2 floors below my window.

Every few minutes, there’s the smooth humming of the People Mover, Detroit’s “mass transit” — an elevated train that runs in a loop of downtown.

Many days, there’s the swish of our washing machine, that can only be slightly muffled by closing the closet door.

If I’m REALLY quiet in bed, I can hear the thump thump of the treadmill in the fitness center that butts up to our bedroom wall.

If it’s a weekend or a Tigers game night, I can hear the honking horns, throbbing bass, and excited yelling of people out on the town.

If a certain neighbor is in a foul mood, I can hear her arguing with her boyfriend, sometimes followed by shattered glass and always followed by slammed doors.

See, when you live in a 2 bedroom loft that also has a combined living/kitchen/dining area and faces a burgeoning downtown district, there’s really no such thing as silence. Even though Detroit is a relatively quiet city, with a density nowhere near its big sisters Chicago and New York, it still has its own soundtrack. And when you couple that with living in a building with thin walls, many of your neighbors’ every day sounds are heard too.

For many people, my soundtrack probably sounds like more of a screeching nuisance than a pleasant melody. For me, it’s the latter. Sure, the thumping treadmill isn’t so awesome when it wakes me up at 5 a.m., but overall, it’s home to me. It’s vibrancy and activity and even security. Knowing there’s someone else close by, even when I’m completely alone, is a comfort that I’m not fully prepared to give up someday when we move to our own home on a nice, quiet, suburban block.

This blog post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Weekly Writing Prompt. Perfect for when I’m just getting back into things and need a little help.

Mama’s Losin’ It

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Filed under blogging rocks!, Detroit, writing

My Obituary

A few weeks back, my boss and I were having one of our not-so-regular professional development conversations. For me, these are torturous; akin to watching an episode of Skating with the Stars. I have trouble thinking much past next month, so don’t even try getting me to make a five year plan.

But, there we were, talking about my future. About next steps. As the conversation evolved — with me fighting it every step of the way — my boss suggested I write my obituary.

Yes. My obituary.

After getting over the general skeeviness of it, I realize it actually is an interesting assignment. The point is to get you to think about what you want to be remembered for. Though I haven’t completed the assignment yet, I can assume that it’s an exercise to get those thoughts on paper, which should ultimately help you determine a path for both your career and your life as a whole.

Sounds easy.

Except. Well, who am I and what is it that I want to be remembered for? As I thought about that, everything that came to mind was personal.

Who am I?

A lover of books.

A lover of people.

A lover of dogs.

A lover of good writing.

A lover of travel.

What do I want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as a good person.

A good wife.

A good mom.

A scintillating conversationalist.

While these things are all well and good, they offer no insight into a future career. Wups?

So, after the initial brainstorm, I’ve stalled out. For the past few weeks I’ve avoided the assignment like the plague. I’m sure it’s given my boss just another reason to lose faith in me because I haven’t completed yet another professional development task. It’s been both a contributor and a casualty to that pesky writer’s block.

See, right before I got this assignment, I got all high and mighty on the writing thing. It was about the time work was really starting to tank my self-esteem. I was getting lots of criticism on my writing and was beginning to feel like I’d taken a complete wrong turn by making a career out of it since, clearly, I was awful at it.

To overcome the voices in my head (and my Inbox), I decided I was going to make my personal writing more of a priority. I thought that if I could get back to my own writing, it would make me hate my job — and the writing it requires — less. Heck, it might even make me better at the on-the-job writing.

To get back on the bandwagon, I’d also decided I was going to take my writing offline and start journaling. I was going to use the writing prompts offered by Writer’s Digest and go back to my roots with some good ol’ pen and paper.

It was going to be great.

Until I was told to write my obituary. The empty journal sat on my nightstand for weeks. I felt like I couldn’t start on my personal writing until I accomplished this actual assignment.

(It should be noted that who I am also includes a huge procrastinator and excuse-maker. Because even I know that’s a lame excuse.)

I finally sat down one night a drafted my obit, but instantly hated it. And I haven’t touched it — or the journal — since.

I’m stuck. Not only do I need to finish the assignment, but I also need to get jazzed about writing again. I think about the days when I used to love creative writing. When I had ideas for a book floating in my head. When I could sit down and just write for hours.

I haven’t done that, or even had the urge to do that, in years. And it really scares me. It scares me that after growing up with stories in my head, the real world has sullied me. The writing career that I worked so hard for has ruined me and taken away my imagination, my creativity, my voice. It scares me that the writing career has taken away the writing passion.

Because something else I want to be known for? Is being a great writer.

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Filed under career, Hmm, rambling nature, writing

A blockage

So, now that NaBloPoMo is done, I thought it’d be a good idea to start blogging again. Ironic, no?

Really, though. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this whole writing thing and well, I’ve been dealing with a pretty intense case of writer’s block. And I’d say it’s still a long way from being cured.

But, here I am. Taking the first step.

As bad as writer’s block is for the blog, it’s even worse for the 9 to 5. You know, where I get paid to write? Let me tell you, it’s been rough coming up with corporate-speak on demand the past few months.

To be honest, it’s more than writer’s block. In fact, the stuff at the 9 to 5 is really more than I can even get into here. But, it’s been a big factor in dragging me down for the last few months. Increasingly I feel undervalued, and often, unnecessary. For a girl who strives to be busy and be an integral part of the team, it’s been really hard for me to watch the world spin without any help from me. It’s been really hard figuring out what exactly my role is on a team I’ve been a part of for nearly four years at a company I’ve been at for over six years.

But, I’m persevering. Enjoying the quiet and taking time off. Taking advantage of a normal work day and indulging in yoga and other personal activities that just didn’t fit in when I was working 50+ hour weeks. Working on overcoming some of my weaknesses. Taking a lot of deep breaths.

A lot of deep breaths.

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Filed under career, writing, Y is for Yoga

Yes, I’m alive. No, I’m not a multi-tasker

Hello world. Miss me much?

I seem to be getting increasingly bad at this whole keeping up a blog thing. Most of my favorite bloggers post every day. Me? I can’t even get on a weekly schedule. I could tell you I’ve been working my skinny little ass off, but that’s not a very good excuse.

The real reason? I’m just shitty at multi-tasking. 

It often boggles my mind that others with more on their plates still find time to blog every. single. day. Single mothers who have kids and jobs. Women my age who work full time and plan their weddings. College students with mounds of homework on top of jobs that pay the bills. And me? I’ve just got a job. No kids, no homework, no major life events to plan. Not to mention the fact that my man is away 5 out of 7 days of the week, so you can’t even really count my relationship as “getting in the way”.

So what gives?

Even though the majority of my blogs are a brain dump, written from my stream of consciousness, they still require time. Time to sit down and focus. Or, more accurately, time to not be focused on other things.

That’s my problem, I guess, all the “other things” that tie up my day and require focus. I’m learning that I can’t watch a new TV episode or one of my Netflix finds while doing something else that requires focus — like blogging. I’m no longer able to listen to the TV with my ears and surf the web with my eyes. My brain just can’t handle all those inputs. Sad, but oh so true.

It’s also a matter of my day job I suppose. Every day, I sit at my desk and write. Words that become sentences and eventually turn into paragraphs. Key messages that get plugged into various assignments. Part of my job is to write and you know what? When I get home at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is come up with more words. 

And part of it is a lack of blog fodder. I used to use the drama in my life as blog content. But these days, there’s just no drama. And I just don’t know what to do with myself! But if I’m going to keep attempting to build a blog, I should probably reframe how I think about the content and find something to talk about on a regular basis.

But that would take focus and energy. And remember, I’m not a multi-tasker. Nor an energetic sort.

What all of this is is just an explanation of where I’ve been. And where I’ll probably still be sometimes. I may never be an every day blogger. When I started blogging, it was out of enjoyment and I didn’t feel pressured to be constantly up-to-date. Now, I’m feeling some self-inflicted pressure. Eventually I’ll find my rhythm and get back to the enjoyment of blogging. In the meantime, follow my tweets, because I’m definitely keeping up with that.

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Filed under rambling nature, writing

Look at me now!

Things are changing up in here. For starters, I finally got off my bum and picked a new theme so that I could use my own header. I’ve been wanting to have my header be a skyline shot of Detroit for awhile now, and I finally remembered to snap a shot, and then finally got around to messing with WordPress and getting it up. Voila!

It’s making me very excited and my thought is that I’ll upload a new photo header every week (or so), and dedicate a blog post to where the photo was taken or what it means to me.

This week’s photo was taken from my car during my morning commute. I can’t put on make-up while driving, but I take a mean photo!. It’s taken on Woodward Ave., which is a main artery of Southeastern Michigan and boasts being the first mile of paved concrete road — ever — in the world. Sometimes, the potholes remind me of just how old that damn road is.

Anyway, because construction sucks balls my usual freeway exit is closed, I’ve resorted to driving the 15ish miles to work straight down Woodward from my suburban downtown to the real downtown. I absolutely love the point in the commute where this particular shot comes into view. It showcases some of downtown’s skyscrapers from a different view than the oh-so-overshot view across the river from Windsor, Canada.

I’m really hoping this new photo header turned blog topic sparks some blog fodder, because lately I’ve been suffering severe blog block. If the block doesn’t end soon, I may have to start stealing topic ideas, like this guy’s. Actually, I love the idea he came up with, so I may still honor it by doing something similar, but not the same. Is that so wrong? 

With the theme change complete, there are a couple other things in the works, namely some new pages with an updated blogroll and awards that prove just how super I am, as well as completing my 101 things. So please forgive any dust as I get it all set.

Something else I’ve been thinking about is a name change because, well, duh, Supergirl is a trademarked name and as I work to grow my readership past 10, I should probably think about changing it. Honestly, I didn’t even think of this when I started the blog (yes I’m a little slow). But last week I had a potential legal issue arise at work not related to the blog, but it’s still made me quite the hyper-sensitive chica.

Problem is, I really don’t want to change the web address, because that’s just a hassle. So what I’ve decided to go with is A Super Girl and use the same web address. Yeah, I know, it’s not as cool as just being Supergirl, but it is cooler than being thrown in the copyright jail.  Those white-collar criminals can be scary. I’ll probably become “a super girl” in all your comments as well, just so you’re not confused when you see me pop up next.

And I think that’s all from the land of blog maintenance. Whew, I’m tired!

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Filed under Hmm, rambling nature, writing

Epiphany

While I was talking to a coworker over lunch today, I had an epiphany. I abhor the writing process.

Yet, my career is writing. And in my personal life, I aspire to be a writer.

There I was, talking about an article I’m (sort of) working on at the office. I say “sort of” because I’ve been taking procrastination to new heights. The article’s an easy thing, just a couple pages. But I’m struggling and have been generally avoiding it for the past couple of weeks. So I’m telling my coworker about this and explaining why: “See, I have to write these two pages, and I have no idea what to write, and it’s different messaging than everything else I do, and like I said I have no idea what to write and I hate how I write and what I write when I do write, and, well, I just hate the process of writing. I love the end result, but I hate the process.”

What kind of crazy, fucked-up writer am I? To hate the process of writing, which is basically the entire practice of being a writer.

This is something I’ve always known about myself, but never really articulated until today. Upon further reflection, though, it’s so true. And I think (I hope) the writers in the crowd will agree with me. The process of writing just plain sucks. But the end result is practically orgasmic. The process — staring at a blank piece of paper knowing you have to fill it? Scary. Coming up with the right words in the right order that talk about the right thing. Tedious. The self-esteem issues that come with not thinking it’s your best work but it’s the best you can do? Exhausting. But the result? Getting in the groove and creating something really cool? Having people tell you it’s just right, that it’s funny and wise? Ah, those highs bring me out of the worst case of the blahs.

I think my problem is that I feel like as a self-proclaimed writer, everything is just supposed to flow out of me like some sort of prophesy from God. Sometimes I think that’s what people who aren’t writers believe happens. Let me tell you, it doesn’t.

Here’s a typical Supergirl-in-writer-mode experience: Open Word document. Stare at Word document. Check Facebook, MySpace, and Yahoo! Mail. Go back to the still-empty Word document and curse its very existence. Get up from my desk, find someone to talk to. Come back to my desk, stare at empty document. Again check Facebook, MySpace, and Yahoo! Mail. Maybe throw in some blogs as an incentive. Grudgingly go back to document and pen a few (in my opinion) bad phrases. Repeat above procedure until document is made up of lots of (in my opinion) bad phrases. Sit on it for an hour or day depending on the deadline, and edit it. Make it sound slightly better. Send it off and be done.

This tediousness extends to my personal writing. I stare at the document, and then abandon it for something much less scary — like reality TV. I’ve claimed to be writing a book for probably three years now. I haven’t worked on it in months, because I came to a point where the groove stopped grooving and I’m stuck. I have no idea where to go and I’m back to staring at a word document before closing it in favor of The Bachelor or Dancing with the Stars. Or I blog, because that feels like a much easier goal to attain than a 200 page book.

So, some astute readers may say…what’s the point. If you don’t like doing it, why do you do it? Or more bluntly, find a new career honey, this obviously ain’t your thang.

Well, I thrive on the end result. On seeing my words and phrases in an organization’s printed or electronic materials. Coming up with that rare witty line that makes me believe in myself. My life’s dream is to have a book published. (And to have people tell me how witty and fabulous it is.) So that’s why I keep writing, because I get such a high from the final product. Most people could care less with what people think about the sentences they write in a letter or some boring work report. But me? I live and die by those same sentences. If someone criticizes them, I fall to pieces. If someone bows down before their splendor, my ego exults from on high.

I haven’t quite figured out how to combat this hatred of the process, and unfortunately, there’s no way I can work around it. In my career, I have deadlines. That’s really the only thing that saves me there. But I’ve learned I can’t self-impose deadlines on myself in my personal writing; my excuses and love for trashy TV will just blow right through them. So I really need to figure out another way to get past it, otherwise, I’ll never get that book written (much less published!) and my ego will never reach divine heights.

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Filed under career, writing