There is no perfection.
I pull books off the shelves, stack them on the floor, shove the stacks out of the way with my foot when I need to sit down.
There is no perfection.
I run, outside, down sterile suburban streets that make boring straight lines to the horizon. I’d rather run on trails but today I’m stuck in civilization.
There is no perfect time, way things happen, arrangement of circumstances so everything is easy. Because that’s what I mean when I say ‘perfect.’ No obstacles, bumps, no struggle.
In reality, perfection never happens. Cut through anyway, and do the thing you need to do.
There’s no easy way in–or out–of some situations. Things happen; you make choices and give big effort; it adds up to experience. The experience continues in you, helping you navigate in the midst of book piles and laundry piles and dirty sinks and long, boring runs and chaotic work schedules.
There is no perfection and that’s okay, I tell myself daily. You are doing this for you. Because you love it and because it brings you a great deal of pleasure and because you know someday it will bring pleasure to others. Every time you cut through the chaos and write you’re confirming to yourself that you can, despite whatever is happening. Despite a pending move across the country. Despite work chaos. Despite all of life, for your own life’s sake. You must move forward and do what you need to do, period.
This week I wrote a guest post for a fellow author, Khaalidah, who wrote a story for the Grim5Next anthology I’ve been helping with. I got to read her story in advance, and loved it. She has a wonderful, clean style, and she handles science fiction with class, even reptilian aliens about to eliminate humankind. I was honored when she asked me to post some thoughts on her blog about time management. You can read the post here.
(February 1st, 2008, was the day my husband and I moved from California to Wisconsin. Happy anniversary to us.)
General Mitchell Airport, Milwaukee Wisconsin
I don’t quite stumble down the broad hallway leading to the security check. It’s more like almost tripping past lighted signs displaying neon letters and happy business men, beneath bleached fluorescence swimming in the lofty ceiling. I can’t tell if I’m sick or just asleep on my feet. Of course, now is when I need to be assertive about who I am and what I’m doing in the airport to begin with. Not to mention tying and untying my shoes while people wait in line behind me, calculating the liquid measure of my portable toiletries and remembering on the spot if I removed my favorite pocketknife from my jeans pocket.
Every time I perform this travel strip-down I shake my head; we’re disarming on purpose, so in the event of an attack, we just made things a little easier for antagonists. Well, I still have my Sharpie pen. Continue reading
“Tell me your three favorite words,” someone requested, “and use all three in a sentence.”
Hooboy. I’m in trouble. Whenever I try to answer this sort of
question, it turns into a mental argument with myself, beginning with an
avalanche of ridiculous quotes and ending (in frustration) with ‘bezoar,
rheumatoid and polymethylmethacrylate!’
“Medical terminology doesn’t count,” I chide myself. “And those terms
are unrelated in any case.”
“Fine, I don’t have any favorites!” I huff.
“You can’t pick three favorite words? Inconceivable!”
“What? Being impartial makes me a derelict?”
“You’re just borrowing from the Decemberists. Learn to use your words.”
“What’s the superlative of curmudgeon?”
“You’re better off using ‘quark.'”
“I suppose ‘timey-wimey’ is unacceptable.”
“Only when used in conjunction with ‘ding’ and ‘stuff.'”
“How about David Tennant?”
“So…not Wilhelmina. Because that’s a favorite. How about syzygy?”
“When do you use that…ever?”
“But it’s fun to spell.”
And so it goes. Chalk it up to being a speculative fantasy fiction writer I
suppose. Nothing fits into the norm, not even my words. Most of the
oft-used favorites are in there, however, including Decemberists,
Tennant and Wilhelmina. (I do love them.) There I suppose are
favorite three words in one sentence at last.
If I could talk sense into someone, I wouldn’t waste time on a random celebrity. That would be like trying to pick up the ocean between thumb and forefinger. I’d rather talk to someone who, in fact, wants to listen. That strikes out about ninety-eight percent of the customers who visit the drive-through Starbucks that employs me currently. I’m old enough (which is sad, considering I’m not yet 30) to remember when coffee shops were homey places that instigated conversation and quality over speed and quantity. If you’re smart, you’ll take the former over the latter, and make your to-go coffee at home (here’s a hint: French press. Better coffee, every time. Google it).
I worked in a coffeeshop in Nevada where one could hold an actual conversation with a customer and learn something interesting. I don’t vouch for the cultural depth of Nevada, because last I lived there, it didn’t much exist (unless you like rocks. There’s lots of rocks. And bull riding, and wind and fires and sage). However, into that little shop would walk some of the most interesting people. Some were drunk, stumbling in through the glass doors looking for something to kill the afternoon buzz they’d found in the bar two stores down the sidewalk strip mall. Not much culture out of them, unless the ferment in light beer counts for something.
Some were friends of the owners, who dropped by on occasion to admire the brown flagstone floor and the coyote mural painted across two walls, and drink a caramilla (pronounced cara-mee-ah) made to order by yours truly.
One of my favorite customers was a wiry, pepper-haired man from San Francisco, with a Van Dyke also peppered gray, tapering over his narrow chin. I have no recollection what he was doing in the desert when he could have stayed by the sea, but nevertheless. He introduced me to Coltrane, even brought his CDs in so I could listen to them while I worked. He knew his coffee, and I was just learning what riches lay below the corporate-glazed surface, so we had plenty to talk about. He came to the jazz nights, when we had live music playing and the whole store was a hum of bodies amidst the high walnut tables cast in the yellow glow of fan-shaped wall sconces. He liked lattes steamed extra hot with the shots poured in last: Upside-down. I began to drink my lattes upside-down, and I learned to appreciate the nutty bite of espresso, perfect tamped, hot and dark in the first sips, smoother and lighter with the last. I learned more from listening to that man than I ever would have debating brewing technique and music theory on a forum.