If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say...Lie.
The first time I was ever published, I didn't believe a word of what I'd written.
In high school, I was selected to participate in a program where students would watch and review plays at other high schools. Some students applied because they wanted to pad their college applications with extra-curriculars, others were enticed by the promise of free food provided by host schools hoping to get good reviews. As for me, I genuinely enjoyed watching other schools' performances even when I had to pay for them, so why not take the opportunity to see some for free?
During the training session for new critics, one thing they stressed repeatedly was that we could not say anything negative in our review. This isn't the New York Times, and these aren't professional actors, so there's no need to take them to task. "Your reviews had a 600 word limit anyway," we were told, "so it just makes sense to focus on the stuff you liked and leave out the stuff you didn't." It's a fair point. If you see Hamlet, and you talk about how great Gertrude and Claudius and Ophelia all were, but you don't mention the guy in the title, people can probably put two and two together themselves. Besides, all the shows I'd seen up until that point were pretty good for the most part. Not perfect, mind you. It was high school theatre after all. But there were at least 600 words worth of good I could write about without worrying about how to dress up the bad.
Or so I thought. The first show I saw as a critic quickly put that principle to the test. There was one good-not-great performance, and, uh...the set looked competently built? Other than that, I was at a loss. So I threw journalistic integrity to the wind and lied. I heaped praise on the costumes and the acting and made the show out to be the event of the season. I felt bad about it, but I knew the people in the show probably would have felt worse if I told the truth, so I figured it was worth it to lie. Clearly, the people running the program thought so, too- I was selected as one of 8 reviews out of 50 to be published. While it maybe doesn't send the best message to reward someone for lying, I was still thrilled. I figured that if I could get published on my first try for writing about a show I didn't even like, it would be a breeze getting published again for a piece I actually believed in!
Not exactly. I ended up only getting published once out of the next five shows I reviewed and then a few more times after that, out of 20 reviews total. Often, the ones that got published weren't even the pieces I was proudest of. But it did still teach me a few things. For starters, I learned how to write quickly on a tight deadline, since I often had to see and review multiple shows within a 24 hour period. But most importantly, I realized that although I got lucky the first time, it's more rewarding to write the piece you want to write rather than the piece you think publishers want to read. You can edit your work to reflect the latter, but it's better to start from a foundation of something you actually believe in. That way, if it doesn't get published, at least it's still a piece you are proud of.
Things you can count on…
Whenever a man is ridiculously confident about their sexual skillset,
you can bank on the fact they are ridiculously incompetent in reality.
and I’m exhausted attempting to make my Children’s Christmas as full of loving memories as mine was.
It‘s nearly impossible to replicate something that died with family members, divorce, and shared holidays.
Tears are worthless.
They change nothing.
And yet. The flow.
glistening in the twinkling christmas lights.
dead inside. But.
I will be happy. For my babes.
I’m beginning to think loneliness breeds insanity and insanity in turn perpetuates the loneliness.
One of these days, I’m gonna shock the shit outta people and send a Christmas card back.
I released you.
why do you haunt my dreams?
You can have everything you need.
Even some things you want.
And in spite of that feel empty,
And still. Someone is looking at you. Wishing they were you. And you don’t even want to be yourself.
Life is not about the destination it's about how you make the journey.
How To Lose...Wait!
1. Go to a thrift store. Buy clothes a couple sizes too large. Walk around. People will ask if you've lost weight and inquire about your health.
2. Eat only boiled Brussel sprouts*. No matter what: eat only boiled Brussel sprouts. * no salt, pepper or other seasonings or sauces allowed.
3. Become a nudist. Live only in nudist communities, never wear clothes again.
4. Walk the entire Appalachian Trail. Bring no supplies beg off other hikers when possible. Eating bark and bugs allowed.
5. Stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Get off social media (except Prose), stop TV and streaming. Avoid any and all advertising. Wear what is comfortable. Eat when hungry. Smash your scale. Feed your purpose. Forget about appearances.
I sliced my wrists.
because you sliced my heart first.