LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

Crystal ball

Me, staring into the future of Fanfreakingtastic.com

I have not been around much. Perhaps you have noticed. Perhaps you have thought, where is the witty? The entertainments? The delights? The bizarre obession with song lyrics? Where has it all gone?

It has gone to a variety of places, my friends. It went to FlowerFest, it went on a ten day vacation with strep throat, it went to work. Work, you say? Surely not.

Indeed, I reply, but not the work you think, the work involving phones and W-2’s and 1099’s. It was work involving writing.

Gasp! You say.

Yes, says I.

Things have been afoot in my writing world. It may even be that yours truly has–

DUN-DUN-DUN

An agent.

I know. Craziness. And so, Fanfreakingtastic is on the dark side right now, but it shall come back, a new and better Fanfreakingtastic. I have visions, my friends, visions. Also, dreams. Dreams even more glorious than nailing 99 Problems. (NOT A WORD FROM YOU, SEAN CANNON. MY RENDITION WAS AWESOME AND IT BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN.)

But I digress.

Please stay tuned to this channel for more. Do not be surprised to find some awesomeness occurring in the near-ish future. DEFINITELY by October, the hallowed month of my birth, there will be awesomeness.

In the meantime, probably more blather about song lyrics.

At the Behest of the The Rejectionist, My Essay On Rejection

LE R, HOW DID YOU KNOW? I AM ON A HORSE! 

Me and Spirit

Me, On My Horse

But I digress. 

Rejection. More specifically, the question: “What Does Form Rejection Mean to Me?” Answer: Not much to nothing. For a more expansive response, I thought I’d sit down with an old friend and get her take. She is a lady with whom I see eye to eye on such matters, and I am sure her comments will speak for me. 

CLF: Some people find rejection unpleasant. So unpleasant it becomes a deterrent. What do you think about that? 

LM: Make thick my blood; Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it!
 

CLF: See, this is why I had to talk this over with you! You have such a clever way of putting things! Now, another issue commonly associated with rejection is the What If disease. People are tempted to conduct a post-mortem, wonder why, mentally fidget with what could-have-been. 

LM: Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what’s done, is done.
 

CLF: That does make sense. Perhaps what looms largest of all in the writer’s imagination is the issue of failure. One works so hard, always trying to improve, better one’s writing, one’s self. It can be daunting to think the process itself will be the only reward, that one’s efforts will ultimately result in failure.  

LM: We fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking place,
And we’ll not fail.
 

CLF: But there is no denying it, the writer has no guarantees. 

LM: Art thou afeard 
To be the same in thine own act and valour 
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that 
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, 
And live a coward in thine own esteem, 
Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,” 
Like the poor cat i’ the adage?
  

CLF: I’m not saying the lack of guarantees should keep a writer from trying, I’m just saying. 

LM: (Silent Disapproval) 

CLF: Just sayin’. 

LM: Consider it not so deeply. 

CLF: Anyway! I don’t actually disagree with you, so let’s move on. You know, I’d like to add, it’s important to be at peace with the fact you can only control so much. You have control over your own actions, your own writing, and nothing else. It is best to simply endeavor to be the best writer you can be and let the chips fall where they may.   

LM: Why, worthy thane, 
You do unbend your noble strength, to think 
So brainsickly of things
.

CLF: Yeah, I kinda thought we might not be on the same page with that. Anything else you’d like to add? 

LM: Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? 

CLF: What? 

LM: What? Wait, what did I say? 

CLF: Something about blood. 

LM: Oh. Yeah. That was about something else. 

CLF: Okay. Well, thus concludes my essay on rejection! Thanks to LM for stopping by and so generously doling out her wisdom!

My Writing Place

***
The Rejectionist had a most brilliant idea – she would create a post about her writing spot whilst asking her readers to do likewise, who would put then link to their posts in her comments.
***

Where I am.

THINGS OF NOTE

 

CATS 

  • Kitten lounges upon the half-sized bookcase.
  • Mama Cat’s tail and back can be seen as she walks past.
  • Max looks down upon them all, framed above the bookcase. This picture of Max was given to me by my friend Tony. One of the best gifts I’ve ever received.
  • The empty trashcan sometimes contains Pumpkin, who has a special way of unceremoniously lumping his fatness face first into it, before settling into a curled heap at the bottom.

BIRDS 

  • Outside my window is my bird feeder
  • Bird bath
  • Other bird feeder
  • Some pics had birds in them, but they were so blurry you couldn’t really tell what they were. Titmice, in case you were wondering. Or perhaps titmouses.

HOUSE 

  • Beadboard walls are hard to paint. When we bought it the entire house, and I mean to say THE ENTIRE HOUSE – walls, trim, fireplace, light sockets, everything – was painted mint green.
  • The windows are the old fashioned kind with the rope pulleys.
  • The house directly across the street was recently gutted by fire. I look across and see the neighbor’s white cat, waiting. It will be good once the neighbor’s back and they are reunited.
  • I love our house. It is small and it is old and it is home.

MISC 

  • That box and laptop bag are not usually to the left of my computer. I’m kinda annoyed they’re in the shot.
Close up

Up close and personal.

DESK 

  • Mug of something hot. Not usually in a Scorpio cup. But I am a Scorpio.
  • Undealt with mail and miscellany piled to the left.
  • Space for sleeping cat to the right.
  • Prescription bottle of cat antibiotics.
  • Cheap, half-destroyed headphones. Expensive headphones destroyed by Pumpkin. Cheap headphones half-destroyed by Pumpkin.
  • Birds close at hand. Good for me, good for the cats. (Cat TV.)

 AND FINALLY: 

Jadwiga, Mama Cat and Little Bastard, from many moons ago.

An old photo, perhaps 2005. Before Jadwiga died, before Little Bastard got sick, before Mama Cat got old. The whole family sitting on my desk, looking out the window.

 

Quick Note: Truth Be Told Trailer is Up!

Hello Fanfreakingtastic Friends!

This post is almost as slow off the mark as I am (and as we’ve established, I am incredibly slow) but I wanted to share with all of you the book trailer for Truth Be Told. We had a great time making it. Axel Gimenez from AGBK Productions flew down from Brooklyn to direct (he also edited) and scores of local friends and friends of friends acted as cast and crew. The quality of the final result is a testament to what a great team we had. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Truth Be Told Book Trailer

The Ambulance Men

This was originally written as a part of my Team in Training fund drive.  The epic battle that was my first 5k occurred sometime in May, 2006. Possibly April. I’ve blacked out the details.

 

ambulance men

Two ambulance men. Not MY ambulance men, but a close enough approximation thereof.

I did not think I would be writing to you again so soon, but here I am, already in the homestretch! So many of you have contributed, and if I were able to do math, I could impress you all with the incredibly high percentage rate of contributors. Alas, I cannot. But let me just tell you, anecdotal evidence suggests a very high percentage rate!

This morning, as I slowly ran my way through eight miles around Furman University, watching the marathoners streak away into the distance in their tight black running pants, I reflected upon the generosity of my friends and family, and how this experience has been a journey.

In case any of you were curious, and had a lot of time on your hands – because, let’s be honest, I write even more than I talk – I thought I’d share with you how this all started in the first place.

Last January, I attended my company’s employee appreciation party, and there they unveiled a Wellness program that had some nice rewards attached to it. I went directly from there to the Biltmore Estate where I had a vacation package and roughly 40,000 calories of food waiting for me. I also weighed myself while there. Now, if I were able to do math, I could tell you how much weighed. Alas, I cannot count that high.

Upon my return I promptly tried to lose as much weight as possible before meeting with Jeff Thompson, our Wellness manager, who I suspected would try to weigh me. He did. He then said he’d think over my situation. The next week he sat me down and said, “Carrie, I have three goals for you. Before the end of the year, run in a 5k, a 10k, and then a half-marathon.”

It goes without saying I was deeply concerned for Jeff’s mental health, for obviously he was insane. I do not run. It is not something I do. And yet there was Jeff, optimistically handing me a sheet with a run/walk schedule that would get me to the point where I could run 20 minutes without stopping.  When I began, I could not run any longer than one minute. (Did I mention my cholesterol has dropped 50 points in the last year? Yeah…I was, you know, a little bit out of shape. Not a lot, or anything. Just a little.)

Before I knew it it was May, and time for my 5k. Jeff had picked out a “Take Back the Night” run around the Clemson University campus. Only we were going to be taking back the night at 8:30 in the morning. He kindly offered to be there to support me. “NO,” I said, accidentally almost yelling it. Like a wounded animal that slinks off into the woods to die, I preferred to be alone during my time of suffering. 

I had worked up to three miles in the area around my house, which is as flat as Kansas. I nervously arrived at the run, immediately got lost in the search for the start, and stupidly followed signs for the event for a mile before realizing I was following the course itself. Retracing my steps, I found the sign-up area, where a handful of people were milling around. They were frightening people in spandex and aggressively sleek eyewear. It is possible they were from the future.

I got in line for my number, but was immediately accosted by a woman. “The line is behind me!” she snarled into my face. Her boyfriend got behind her and shouted, “You go, Trish!”

“Am I going to get into a fight?” I thought. “Am I going to have to get into a fistfight and then run 3 miles? I don’t know if I’m up for that.” Thankfully, Trish and her cheerleader decided it wasn’t worth coming to fisticuffs over it. I wandered away, deeply grateful that at least I had my iPod. My little iPod shuffle had become my aural gasoline, fueling my gasping efforts to run the flat little loop around my house. It would be my lifesaver. I turned it on.

And it died.

After struggling with the desire to run home instead of running the course, I refocused, and remembered my battle plan – let all the runners go on, then I’d follow them, so that I could float in the in-between land between the runners and the walkers. My thoughts were interrupted by a woman making announcements, “…and an ambulance will be following the slowest runners…” to the woman’s surprise and mine, an arrogant snicker came up from the people from the future, in their spandex and aggressive eyewear. I tried to look inconspicuous.

The gun went off and I waited and waited and waited, until there were only walkers. I set off at a jog, and immediately realized I’d waited too long – everyone was walking in front of me! What the heck did they think they were doing, running 100 feet and stopping? I weaved my way through the pack, and as I did so, the ambulance got a bead on me. The ambulance men discovered that there was not a pack of slowest runners, there was just the slowest runner, singularly speaking, and that was me.

For the first mile I resented the ambulance lapped onto my flank like a remora suctioned onto the side of a whale shark, but even more I resented the sorority girls who could not decide if they were running or walking. Endlessly they’d sprint past me, get tired, walk, then I’d pass them, and the whole process would begin again. I think they deeply, deeply resented being passed by me.

Two miles ticked by, and I thought, wow! This is great! I could do this all day! Fantastic!

And then the third mile hit. The brilliant planners of this event charted the final mile as follows – from the Esso Club to Death Valley Stadium to Tillman Hall.

Steep Hill

This is a photo of the actual hill that precedes Tillman Hall.

For those of you unfamiliar with Clemson, that route would read as follows – from steep to steeper to suicidally steep.

Within a 1/16 of a mile I was done for. I took a walk step.

“KEEP GOING!” hollered a deep, masculine voice. “DON’T STOP!”

It was the ambulance men.

I started running again.

“WE’VE BEEN ROOTING FOR YOU THE ENTIRE TIME!”

The path became steeper still, I slowed even more.

I then heard a strange, click, click and the whine of a P.A. system turning on.

Surely not, thought I.

And then the crackling voice of the ambulance men, magnified 100 times.

“KEEP GOING! YOU CAN DO IT!”

I will grant the ambulance men this. It is quite impossible to stop running once the ambulance men decide that you’re going to keep running.

When it became apparent that I would make it to the finish line, the ambulance men raced on ahead and jumped out, so that they might give me high fives as I entered the rope tunnel thing that foot races have at the end of them. The ambulance men clapped and said, “that’s pure determination right there!” (Actual, verbatim quote.)

I looked up ahead to see my time on the giant, electric light board. The time read 39 minutes, and seconds were ticking.

“YOU CAN MAKE IT UNDER FORTY!” the ambulance men shouted. And then:

“RUN!”

And, by God, I ran. Somewhere I found the ability to sprint home, reaching the finish line before the clock hit forty.

If I was able to do math I could divide 3.1 into 39 and give you my average mile time, but I think it will suffice it to say that it was slow. But apparently, ladies and gentlemen, I am pure determination, which is something in and of itself.