Posts Tagged ‘ overactive imagination ’

Cheer.

Over the few years I’ve been traversing planet Earth,  I’ve built something of a reputation as a person with a cheerful and sunny disposition.

I aim to please! I take great pride in being able to eventually elicit a smile from the grumpiest person, and like to think that I spread cheer wherever I go like a small, female, non-seasonal-or-widely-recognized Santa Clause.

It’s bad enough that whenever I seem grumpy or sad, people have exhibited feelings of disbelief that I could possibly be in a negative mood.

However, I have a secret. It’s a big, deep dark one.

I’m secretly a pessimist. A terrible, dour, always-assumes-the-worst, negative, pessimist.

In my brain, I’m more like Marvin the Robot than a small female Santa Clause.

The reason I’m a cheerful person is because I am constantly surprised that everything is going so well.

For example, I woke up in a good mood this morning because last night I head a mysterious buzzing noise in my room. I quickly concluded that it was probably a bomb or an assassin robot from the future and I was about to die in a horrible fashion. So when I woke up, it was automatically a good thing because hey, I’m alive!

I think I’ve always been this way, at least at some level. In college one of my close friends dubbed me a cheerful pessimist, while she was a dour optimist. It was rad.

However, I think that just over the last year my tendency to assume the worst has become more pronounced. I suppose it’s partially because I’ve been thinking about life a lot, so therefore thinking about death. You can’t consider one without the other.

So far, though, it’s working fine for me. My habit of assuming the worst lets me wallow in my overactive imagination, and if I end up seeming like a cheerful person because of my constant surprise at being alive, that’s fine.

Let’s celebrate the fact that you’re apparently breathing!

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My Strange Relationship with Books

As far as I can tell, I’ve never had a normal relationship with books.

Maybe it’s from being homeschooled. Maybe it’s strictly that I’m strange. Most likely it’s a combination of both.

Anyway, my observations have informed me that the way normal people interact with books is something like this.

They’ll have a book that they’re reading for a while; days, weeks, months even. It’s a nice way to spend free time, a companion for lonely lunch hours. A chapter here, a few pages there.

I cannot relate to books in this fashion.

Mostly, I don’t understand how people keep track of the plot. If something important happens that was referred to in chapter one, which you read two weeks ago, how can you remember it?

I mean, I’ve had this problem with the few books I’ve had a “normal” relationship with. (Mostly school books. Figures.)

The thought has crossed my mind that I suffer from memory problems, but that doesn’t affect my mode of interacting with literature, which usually goes something like this.

I acquire a book, read the back, flip through for maps, pictures, and snippets of dialogue. I let the book ferment for a few days, waiting for a day off. Then, when the glorious day of freedom finally arrives, I devour the book in as little time as possible.

This has some downsides– it’s made me late to work on more than one occasion, and when I’m in the middle of a story, I find it difficult to focus on anything else, causing me to stare off into space at random times.

Also, I’d really prefer not to run out of books so quickly, since it’s been a long time since I’ve found a book that took me more than a day or two to read.

However, I would never change my relationship with books. Despite its downsides, I love the total immersion feeling I get when I’m in the midst of a good book. It’s an adventure. Nothing quite like adventures in imagination!

So, how do you interact with books? Do you like it? Do you read like I think most people do or am I really not that weird?

Now.

So, as you might already know, this summer I had a too-close-for-comfort brush with death.

Although I’ve made a full recovery physically, the emotional turmoil has been the worst part.

For a while I was somewhat paralyzed by fear– every time I had a twinge in my back, my overactive imagination would put me right back in the hospital, delirious from dehydration. Over the months, the fear has subsided, but there is still a constant thought running through my head. I could die tomorrow.

This theme has been strengthened and pounded into my brain by a number of things in addition to my own health scare. Two of my friends are battling cancer right now, both for a second time. A barista in Gresham was randomly murdered.

Life is tenuous.

I’ve realized how important it is to live right now. I have a really bad habit of putting off things I know I’ll enjoy because I’d rather not put in the effort. I’ll do it later, or tomorrow, because I’d rather just curl up on my couch and watch TV shows than get dressed and go out into the real world.

Since I realized this habit of mine, I’ve been thinking about the scope of my life. If I died tomorrow, would people have any good stories to tell about me? I don’t need to be remembered for long, but I do want to be missed. No one is going to miss a creepy girl who spends hours on Facebook every day while watching Netflix and serving coffee to pay rent.

Each morning, I ask myself how I want the day to look. If I want to have good stories to tell about the day, I have to make things happen myself.

If I died tomorrow, would people say that I lived life to the fullest in my short time, or would they shake their heads and sigh about a wasted life?

Life is short. Each day is valuable. I intend to use the full value of each day that is granted me by living in the now, and living more every day.

 

In which Bethany Chooses not to Make Excuses for a Late Post

Today on my way home from SE Portland, I stopped a few bus stops early to go into the coffee shop of my employ, and as I was walking home (a walk that’s actually quite nice when it’s not rainy,) when I had a sudden realization.

I really like walking with a sort of heavy backpack.

When I have food and clothes upon my back and a shoulder bag with a book and a journal, it’s easy for me to pretend that that’s all I have in the world.

I imagine how simple life would be if all my possesions fit into a backpack and a shoulder bag. Maybe in this imaginary life I would strap a ukulele to my pack, and play it on busy street corners when I ran out of money, and after I had a few dollars I would sit in a coffee shop with my journal and record all the interesting events of the day.

If I were a wandering vagrant, maybe it would be more difficult to get distracted from God by the materialism of our culture, and maybe I would be a person more in touch with the Creator and the Cosmos.

In this imaginary life, maybe I would be free to travel anywhere I could walk, ride a bus, or afford a plane ticket to. Maybe if I had a companion we could jump onto trains and hitchhike.

I really like walking with a backpack.

The rich Lake Oswego people drive by, some of them rubbernecking as if they believe the imaginary life I’ve written for myself. Maybe they think I’m a wandering vagrant, on my way to the next wayside where I’ll spend the night. But I have them fooled.

Just up the road, I live in a house with a refrigerator and a pantry, where my mattress, bass, guitar, and desktop computer all sit on the floor because the farthest I’ve taken my minimalist dream is to the point of no furniture.

But still… I like the idea of being able to carry everything I own.

I like walking with a heavy backpack.

Definitely a Very True Story

Today during the intermittent spurts of sunshine I went for a walk.  I’ve always known that springtime in Oregon is sketchy, but until I moved to the valley I never had to deal with pouring rain between the fits of sunshine. Central Oregon is really nice in that even when it does rain in the springtime, it’s usually pretty light and managable.

Anyway.

So today as I wandered down to the park , there was a sudden rush of wind through the tops of the tall trees, and  I ran for cover underneath a low-hanging pine tree.

I squinted up at the sky, my rain-flecked glasses partially obscuring my vision. Then, what I saw made me question first my own sanity, then the quality of Lake Oswego water, and finally the quality of the pain medicine I took this morning.

Descending from the sky, regally, even magnificently, was a huge winged llama.

Its fur was deep amethyst and its wing brilliant heliotrope. Resting on its violet face was a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses.

It stood across from my on a grassy knoll, just staring. My knees shook, but I was too frozen to speak, approach it, or run.

The winged llama took a deep breath, opened its mouth, and in its extraordinary, bleating voice, said only one sentence.

“I’m a badass.”

Then it looked up into the sky, bent its knees, and leaped, flying away at a remarkable speed.

Artist's rending.

I staggered out from under the pine tree onto the grassy knoll, searching the skies for the remarkable creature– but it was gone.

Forever.

(P.s. Obviously, I’m using  April Fool’s day as an excuse to write a ridiculous story to go with a ridiculous doodle.)

(Another p.s. I’m compiling a list of the funniest words ever, and I want your contributions! I just want words that sound funny coming out of your mouth, regardless of meaning. Obviously I won’t necessarily be able to include every suggestion, but I have SUCH great plans. So let me know your funniest words ever in the comments!)

Bob, the continuing story. (aka part 7)

So I know that me just updating you guys on my book is probably getting really boring, but just know that I don’t want to write what happens next.

I’ll give you an excerpt to read because  I forgot that I’m supposed to blog on Wednesdays.

____

Together, Alex, Bob, and Shirley moved one of the heavier desks in front of the door to the stairwell, and another in front of the elevator just for good measure.

As they worked, Bob and Shirley questioned Alex.

“What were you trying to get from here? And why?” Bob asked as they lifted a second desk onto the first.

“Well, after people started acting so strange I figured I should loot what I could, you know?” Alex smirked, “This office wasn’t my first choice, but I thought I could at least trade some computers for food or whatever.”

Shirley snorted, and Alex continued. “Look lady, it was like 3 in the morning. I was stoned out of my mind, and I wasn’t exactly thinking anything beyond ‘oh my god zombies’”

“Alex, these aren’t zombies,” Shirley said, “Zombie implies living dead. These people are neither living nor dead.”

“What are you saying, Shirley?” Bob dropped a pile of vending machine snacks.

“I think they’re possessed by something,” Shirley said quietly.

Bob and Alex looked at each other, then at Shirley.

“Elaborate?” Bob asked, but Shirley shook her head. “It’s just a theory, and not a very good one at that. Let’s get to work.”

Shirley and Bob began dragging yet another desk toward the door to the stairwell. Alex didn’t move.

“Well, skinny one, come and help us,” Shirley snapped, “These doors aren’t going to barricade themselves.”

Alex still stood in one spot, and looked at Shirley curiously.

“You seem like a pretty smart dame,” he said, “So how do you think you’re going to survive in a place like this for more than a few hours? We need to find more survivors.”

“And how do you suggest we do that?” Bob growled, shoving the desk against the door. “Fly outta here?”

“Not exactly,” Alex began pacing, “But it’s going to sound just about as crazy.”

“I’m listening,” Shirley sighed, and Alex smiled.

“We’re going to need more fire extinguishers.”

_____

The crowd downstairs had quieted. Dusk was falling. Occasionally a voice would whine, “I’m so hungry…”

An ominous atmosphere settled on the office building.

The door at the bottom of the stairwell opened slightly, and Alex peered out.

“Ready, you two?”

Whether or not Bob and Shirley nodded remains unknown, but Alex didn’t care.

“Hey, zombie scum! Come and get me!” he shrieked, his voice cracking, and he sprinted headlong from the stairwell across the office, toward the back door.

“I’m so hungry,” one of the strange voices cried, and a figure stumbled after Alex. It was soon joined by more.

Bob and Shirley watched as the first floor emptied, then snuck out into the demolished area.

Each was brandishing a fire extinguisher, and had another crudely strapped to their back with duct tape.

A movement in the corner caught Bob’s attention, and he started, aiming the extinguisher at it.

“I’m so hungry?” a voice whined, and a shape stepped out of the shadows.

Shirley gasped.

It was a woman, dressed in jeans and a camisole—but she didn’t have eyes.

___

Again, to be continued– but I don’t think I shall be posting anymore direct excerpts. I can’t give away plot details, of course– and there’s a doozy of a plot detail in the very next sentence.

Suspense!

Still here!

I realized when I sat down I don’t really have anything interesting to blog about. Just rants, really, which I’ll spare you.

Actually, I’ve been struck by how easy a challenge NaNoWriMo is. To be honest, fifty thousand words is kind of a piddling novel. With my current font settings, and even with my habit of starting new lines too often, fifty thousand words is only one hundred ten pages.

Even the shortest book in A Series of Unfortunate Events is one hundred seventy pages, and the shortest book in the Harry Potter series has three hundred ten.

As I’m not really planning to make this a series, I realize that if I complete my story in one hundred ten pages, it will be a sadly lacking and one-dimensional thing that will require extensive re-writing and editing.

That being said, I already intend to spend the next six months re-writing and editing. I’d just rather it not be too extensive.

On that same vein, I killed my first character the other day. Since this is my first true venture into fiction, this was a new sensation for me.

At first, I felt slightly god-like. The power of life and death lay in my hands! Then I felt slightly demon-like, because I was using that power to put my characters through the worst kind of hell.

But then I remembered that all of this is fictional.

As I delve into this book project, I’m scaring myself a little bit, and in more than one way.

Firstly, because I can imagine horrible things that I’ve never really realized until I put them into words.

Secondly, and not to brag, but I have one hell of an imagination. When I spend hours each day sitting before my computer, writing and writing without breaks, I get really wrapped up in my own head.

After a while, I stop being fully sure of where my imagination stops and reality starts.

This is probably no good, but is definitely an indicator that I’ve chosen the correct career trajectory.

Anyway, that’s my blog. Writing about writing, hooray!

If you’re NaNo-ing, add me on the website—I’m Bethany_the_H. I would love to connect with you.

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