Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Screaming Memes Day Two!

Day Two: Nine things about yourself.

(Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.
Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.
Day Five: Six things you wish you’d never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot (in no order whatsoever)
Day Seven: Four turn-offs.
Day Eight: Three turn-ons.
Day Nine: Two images that describe your life right now, and why.
Day Ten: One confession.)

1. I hate sleeping alone. In fact, when the pup recently started sleeping on the bed, I found it easier to get back to sleep when I was awake. Interestingly, he usually sleeps in the right lower corner of the bed, so I have him on one side and the missus on the other, so I'm not on the outside where a hyena could get me. Don't get me wrong, I like hyenas, but I assume they were the main nipper nabbers back when my cortex was swelling.

2. I thrive on pressure and die from stress. Give me a vital life-or-death decision to make Right Now! If I don't chew my thumb off, the bomb explodes! Does this animal have a chance, or does it need mercy killing? That kind of shit. Love it, love it, love it. Even if it's a horrible situation, it just feels right.

On the other hand, give me two months and a financial aid form and within weeks I'll be a hapless emotional cripple. Ever wonder why I wind up in so many dodgy situations? They're like vitamins!

3. I'm not that fond of sweets, and I don't get chocolate. I mean, I like chocolate but I don't love it. Caramel, nuts, and salt are more the kinds of things you'd find on my dessert isle. But it's grease, salt, and pungent, spicy flavors that are my weakness. A double chocolate mousse cake? 's okay. But let me get my hands on some nasty old cheese with a slice of raw onion on the side...

4. I'm much less easy to read than I think. It turns out that when I'm taking things in and trying to figure them out? I don't necessarily come across as baffled, semi-conscious, terrified, or enraged. Which is usually the case when I'm not emoting. If I seem pleasant, neutral, slightly guarded? Ask me which of those four I actually am and I'll give you a straight answer.

Oh. Make that five. I forgot licentious. But I might fib about that one.

5. In a lot of ways, the definitive cultural movement for me would have been the Lin Carter-led and Frank Frazetta-fueled fantasy revival of the seventies. I didn't recognize it as such at the time -- to me, the world is of necessity filled with hulking, brutal savages and the delectably chubby women who love them. I keep going back to that stuff, unsatisfied by its alternately twee and muttonheaded qualities and I sigh with wistful yearning...

6. Speaking of which, when I was a kid my two role models were Conan the Barbarian and Sherlock Holmes, and when I tell this to people who know me they go, "Yeah, I can see that."

This makes even more sense if you're actually familiar with the characters, by the way. Conan was heard to say that poets are in the end more important than kings, and Sherlock Holmes was a drug-sucking freak.

7. By my standards, I'm exactly the right size. I can buy all my crap off the shelf. There's a size of bed (the California King, by some coincidence) that I can sleep on lengthwise, rather than diagonally. I'm not obligated to buy two seats to fly, although if I had the cash, I would, I need two more inches of shoulder space on each side... but basically? I'm as big as you can be conveniently.

8. I wasn't actually thinking of getting a card saying, "Sean Craven, Super Genius." It was a Wile E. Coyote reference. But let's be honest for a moment. Why the fuck not?

9. There is a certain class of person that is beloved by children and animals. I am one of those. At times it borders on the uncanny. Those who have seen me in oaf mode might not credit it, but I can change a diaper with the best of them, and there was this one time I shared a house with this dude?

He'd gotten himself a cat, but he'd also gotten himself an interest in cocaine. As a result, he never got his kitten spayed, so his kitten had kittens. She was still basically a stray, and when her time came to have her litter, she tried to have it in my bed. My housemate put her in a box and moved her to his room, where she gave birth.

That night when (I would only find out in later years) he was out snorting coke and impressing girls with the trifecta of six-six, seems rich, and unbelievably naive, his cat scratched at the door of my room.

I opened it; she had a kitten in her mouth. I went back to bed and she followed me. Jumped up, walked up my body with cool deliberation, and dropped the kitten into the notch of my sternum.

It was still a little damp.

Then she left. And a while later she was back with another one. It took her nearly an hour to move all eight kittens down to me. Then she went out the back door and hit the alleys. Wasn't back until dawn, when she performed the same operation in reverse.

There was no way to sleep with those kittens in the bed.

And that was just the first night. She did it every night until I moved. At first it was just that they were tiny and helpless and delicate, but they swiftly moved on to frustrated futile suckling, and then from there the fights, up and down, left and right, all night long...

It was a good thing I'd quit trying to pass classes by that point or I would have been bummed out.

I hear Ed Gein and Hitler rocked that one as well. Children and animals are good judges of certain superficial elements of character, aren't they?

A Screaming Meme, Day One

This is pretty much how I'm feeling.

So I've been creatively blocked recently. Call it midwinter, call it the pills, but things ain't coming for me right now. I've got a lot of shitty manuscript and nothing to show for it. I do have a number of 'real' blog posts in the works, but I just want to put something out. So I'm caving in, and just for the sake of getting something out into the world, I'm jumping on something Ferrett's doing over at his blog. A meme! A meme!

Day One: Ten things you want to say to
ten different people right now.

(Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.
Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.
Day Five: Six things you wish you’d never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot (in no order whatsoever)
Day Seven: Four turn-offs.
Day Eight: Three turn-ons.
Day Nine: Two images that describe your life right now, and why.
Day Ten: One confession.)

1) Congratulations to you and your family on the latest addition. I hope Calvin grows to be as good a friend to the world as you are.

2) I'm so sorry that our friendship just sort of tapered off and vanished. The real problem is on my end... It ain't you and it ain't me, it's circumstances. From a distance it looks as if you're doing well, and I hope that's the case. You really helped push my writing along when we worked together. I'll keep an eye out for your shows and hopefully the next time I show up we'll get a chance to catch up, but you know how that goes. Oh, well. We'll always have those drunk plumbers.

3) I do not want to see you at my house again. I don't care if you're only going to help move something. You dicked around with me and finally sent me an email from which I (and a couple of people I showed it to) inferred a threat. I was able to behave in a gentlemanly fashion in dealing with you afterward, but that was a damned close situation. We are both honor-culture loose cannons, fond of violence and uncaring of our personal safety. You told me you were a scorpion and I picked you up and let's just stay the fuck out of each other's way and not make a mess for better people to clean up, shall we?

4) Dude, I know you want me to work with you and I have been flaky as hell. That's got a lot to do with my current circumstances. It also has to do with the fact that we're pals, and we meet under beery circumstances. Can we start this over again on a basis that's businesslike enough to trip my work ethic? Let's have a face-t0-face meeting on your turf and discuss things for real. I'll BART in.

5) I'm sorry that I sounded dismissive about Mom, and I've watched my mouth since then. But you have to understand that by the time Mom got to you she'd learned how to be a parent. When she had me she was a lonely teen, not an adult at all. I was half pet, half pal, but in no way a child to be cared for. Your mother was my hoodlum friend. I loved her, I treasured her -- but I simply could not regard her the way people regard their parents. I was not raised or cared for with any kind of parental intent except for a few defensive rear-guard actions the Parental Units tried in my teens. And I don't think you ever understood how badly it hurt me when you all moved to Berkeley and left me to live in Richmond. She certainly didn't. Mom knew she'd failed me as a mother, and wanted more than anything else for me to tell her otherwise, and she couldn't ask and I couldn't tell.

That said, you and her and Duncan seemed to work out okay, and my relationship with her was nowhere near the nightmare she endured from Grandma. She moved in the right direction right from the beginning. Shame I was the practice piece, but it had to be somebody.

6) Are we gonna be pals? That would be way cool, but it almost seems too perfect. Living on the same street, working in the same field, familiar with each other's work before we met, etc, etc. Plus, your missus and mine will probably love each other. Honestly, this seems more like a set-up for a sitcom than anything that happens in real life. That makes me a little suspicious.

7) I'm very sorry for not being more in touch with you over the course of our lives. It's just that I feel very uncomfortable when we spend time together. You all are nice Christian Americans, and I'm a vulgar loutish atheist who hates the government. I'm also a total loser, which makes things a little embarrassing. I mean, when I've come to visit you, Dad has had to help me out with the travel funds. We have had terrible luck with the males in our family, and I'm afraid that I might be another one.

But really, I'm making it sound worse than it is. I am pulling my life together, and I'm heading for the big leagues. My life right now is really exciting and I'd love the chance to talk to you about it. Please, though, just don't touch my butt.

8) Dude, I don't know that I've come right out and said it. But you getting me to work on Swill was one of the best things that ever happened to me. So much of what is currently good in my life has flowed from that. You're a good friend, and I'm grateful to have you in my life, but I can say that about quite a few people. Not many have done me as well by me as you have.

9) Hoo-boy. I think I've finally figured it out. I mean, you told me, but sometimes you've got to get a mule's attention. I'm sorry if I made you feel as though I was disrespecting your writing skills when I put up that notice for the writer's group. That announcement was by no means intended to be a description of our respective abilities. Rather, it was intended to lure people in. I'm sorry that it bothered you that I traded on your professional background rather than your writing skills, and if I'd known what I'd done would strike you that way I'd have done it differently.

Honestly? I've never seen anyone learn about writing as quickly as you have. You weren't just learning to write, you were learning to read fiction at the same time. That was a genuine feat. To go from ground zero to professional quality within a span of a couple of years is incredible, and helping you make that transition was a real privilege.

And when you referred to me as a mentor? Well, you know we're pals, but you're someone I also admire. To come from your background and wind up where you are? Come on. That's a thing. So when you expressed your appreciation for our work together, it really meant something to me.

10) I wish we could push past the state our relationship seems to be in right now. For me the sense of distance goes back to the fight we had after getting back from our homework vacations, but when I think about it I suspect that on your side it may have started when I responded to your post on animal extinctions with rabidity.

I apologized then, and I apologize now. It's an issue I'm profoundly connected to emotionally, and as a result when it comes up I will lecture loud and long, regardless of whether or not it's appropriate. And it wasn't. I wasn't arguing with you, I was continuing my argument with your position, and I went way, way overboard.

But since our big blow-up I've felt uneasy around you, unsure of where I stand. I've held back on talking about my life around you for fear of provoking another reaction. In a certain sense I feel as if part of the problem is that we're both very high-powered, self-obsessed people and there are times when I feel as if I'm the emergency broadcast system interrupting your show. If you know what I mean. The fact that we're both highly opinionated and articulate doesn't always help either.

I think things are basically okay now, but I do feel a sense of anxiety around you. I want to know either that you aren't going to blow up at me anymore, or that if you do then I can respond in kind and then we'll get over it and be real pals again. While I hope this feeling is false, and I do think it is, I feel as if we're in a situation where we might have another blowup and then won't be able to work together and I don't fucking want that. (!) You aren't the one making me do it -- this is explanation, not blame -- but feeling as if I have to walk the line between sincere and careful is getting to be a pain in the ass.

For the record. Watching you reinvent yourself has been inspirational, and if you ever look at my behavior and wonder if I'm ripping you off? I am totally ripping you off. Credit where credit is due.