Archive | December, 2013

Quiet at Last

23 Dec

I’m reading a book on introversion called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. I’m gobbling it up. It’s brought back many memories of how utterly demonized I was throughout my childhood because, horrors, I was an introvert. As an introvert, I was completely unacceptable.

The book talks about how the workplace and business schools are extremely pro-extrovert and pro-teamwork and extremely anti-introvert. This is bringing up memories of humiliating job hunting and jobs. So many job descriptions emphasize “teamwork,” making me feel ashamed and rejected because I “don’t play well with others.”

As an undergraduate, I majored in costume design (theater) for a couple years before getting a degree in creative writing instead. It’s just sunk in with me that as an introvert, I was demonized and judged and rejected in the theater department. Indeed, this was the number one reason I switched majors. I also recall an introverted friend—a loner like me—saying that instructors were criticizing him for not being more sociable. He said he can work in theater without being über sociable. It’s very true, indeed, but those extroverts didn’t appreciate us, just as my relatives and elementary school teachers and the bullies at school didn’t appreciate me and instead demonized me for being an introvert.

I’m savoring the book Quiet and find it very empowering and validating. It’s such a relief from the years of trauma. It contradicts the manipulative lies with which I grew up. Of course, for some time now I’ve embraced my introversion and have rejected the messages from my childhood. It’s best to not associate with people who have such attitudes.

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College Campus Dream

16 Dec

I had a dream in which I was a very confused new student at Harvard University. I was young and scared of all these strangers, and people weren’t particularly interested in me.

I lived in a dorm room, and to get to it I had to enter a door into a run-down-looking little corridor and staircase.  I don’t remember my actual room. On the first day of class, I got to the bottom of that staircase and went along with a bunch of students to an acting class or rehearsal. I was supposed to play a male character in a play, because I had apparently signed up for it, or maybe my mother signed me up for it.

A clique-ish group of girls, maybe four, were somewhat friendly toward me (they weren’t hostile, and they were willing to let me tag along, and they acknowledged my presence and spoke a little to me). They all lived in the same dorm as I, and they were in this acting group. So I tagged along. We met up with other students and with the director, a cheerful woman with grey hair and a pale blue cardigan. We met in a sort of patio area, where we ended up walking down a few steps before the acting stuff began. I think we were reading from a script or something like that.

After that, I went along with the other girls to my next class…and I’m not sure what that was, now that I’m awake. It may have been a drawing class or such, something in the art department.

At some point, I was with a group of students—maybe the same group as before, the actors—and was following an older woman around, a woman in her sixties. She led us to what I’m tempted to say was a library, but maybe not. Yes, I think it was the library. There was a large room—the building looked like it was designed in the 1960s (nothing looked remotely like how I remember Harvard, which is full of beautiful old buildings).

I seemed to keep running into the acting students and had a vague sense that I was supposed to be one of them, if nothing else because we were all first years. At lunch break I ran into them, I think. I don’t remember a school cafeteria—we may have been eating on those few steps, eating bag lunches.

On the second day, I still didn’t know my schedule and made my way through my first class much as I had the previous day. I listened in on other students’ conversations and followed them to class. I was totally winging it, all still very confused.

At some point, after one class, I wandered to a strange building. It was another building that could have been from the 1960s. It was very wide and dark brown. Inside, there were quite a few people, all older than typical college age (I’d say they were mostly in their fifties and sixties). In the center of the room was a beautiful sculpture. It was kind of abstract but also kind of like a twisting tree such as trees I saw in India—a bodhi tree or banyan tree, one of those trees that seem to made of twisty ropes. But at the same time, it was like a huge yoni or Goddess sculpture, right there in the center of the room. I think there were candles and much smaller Goddess statues sitting around on the benches and floorboards around the sculpture. Nearby, such as next to me, were dark brown tables where people were, looking busy with pens.

I asked a woman in her sixties—a woman who looked like she could be a librarian—about the particular building for which I was looking. A shaggy, bearded man (a brown beard and wavy, shoulder-length hair—he looked to be in his fifties) told me how to get there, and I headed out the door with one last awed glance at the central sculpture. I ended up at the building, the one that was the library I’d visited the day before. This was, I thought in a sort of intuitive sort of way, where my next class was supposed to be.

I don’t remember a lot of details about actual classes. I do remember being in a classroom taught by a man, and the walls were very white and there were all these students in the room, and I was very quiet. I think the teacher gave a lecture, but I don’t remember the topic. I was probably too confused and worried about what on earth the rest of my classes were that day. Considering the time of day and the fact that my classes apparently averaged one and a half hours long each, I calculated that I’d better skip lunch that day—that I wouldn’t have  time to sit down to lunch. I also didn’t have any snacks with me.

After at least two classes that day, I headed back toward my dorm. I had trouble remembering where it was and almost wandered into a similar building that had a tiny convenience shop on the bottom floor. The dorm was the next building over.

Inside the dorm building, I was in a hallway that widened into this chaotic section with bulletin boards and such on the walls. There was a huge table in the center, and it was covered with what appeared to be potluck food, or at least enough food for a great many people. I noticed chanterelle mushrooms that looked raw and uncut and thought it was too bad they hadn’t been made into stew or something. There were other things—I think there was a big hunk of gross meat that put me off, made me inclined to pass up the entire feast. There was what may have been a gigantic cinnamon roll (similar to the cinnamon roll I took home from Blossoming Lotus and had for breakfast this morning).

I came to realize, as I wandered around from building to building and such, that I didn’t actually have my schedule and that I was sort of winging it. I didn’t know what my classes were or when they met. It was stressful and scary, even though nobody was mean to me. Everyone except me seemed very confident and knew what they were doing, which made me feel embarrassed and stupid. (In real life, of course, I would have made a point of having my schedule or going to the registrar’s office and getting it, but because this was a dream that didn’t even occur to me.)

I also came to realize, to my shock and confusion, that my mother and teachers had gotten together and made up my schedule for me. I had had no part in it, of even choosing which classes to take—my mother had taken over the whole thing. I felt shocked by this realization, as I absent-mindedly looked at rows of books, I think in my dorm room. The walls were quite pale, like off white, and there was a large window with a great deal of sunlight beaming in, at the time that I made that realization.

Next—at least, I think this was the same dream, oddly enough—I was with one or two young women, and we were outdoors in a sort of courtyard. We were talking (I forget the  topic), and we sat down on some random bleachers.

Next to the bleachers was a small tree, and as soon as we sat down next to the tree, a huge flock of little birds suddenly descended upon it with a chorus of chirps. They filled up the tree. For a few seconds, I thought the birds resembled bats and were black. But as I watched, I realized they were green, very green. They had strange little monkey-like faces that were a combination of light green and a darker green—their snouts were light green, and feathers or fur stuck out around their heads. They seemed to look back at me. With the other young women, I was debating what colors the birds were—I had originally said they were black and afterwards said, “Oh, no, they’re green.” In response, one of the women said, “They’re blue.” I stared at them more closely to figure out if they were blue, and they looked that much greener to me.

Before having this dream, I’d read part of the book In Her Image: The Unhealed Daughter’s Search for Her Mother, by Kathie Carlson. It’s a book about women who didn’t  get enough nurturing as children and still yearn for it, and about how our society expects real live mothers to be the archetypal mother, which isn’t possible. So we should turn to the Mother Goddess instead, and reading up on Goddesses is therapeutic and nurturing for us.

In connection with that book, the dream involved Goddess statue and what looked rather like a Goddess shrine in the middle of a library-like space. There was my real-life mother trying to control my life and dominate it and conspire against me—she and the teachers had created my class schedule and I was expected to blindly follow it, the schedule (life plan?) that my mother chose.

Books, Glorious Books!

3 Dec

At Powell’s yesterday, I sold some books and acquired $32 in store credit. I did something I typically do at Powell’s: I picked up wonderful books, found other wonderful books, and put down books I’d already chosen and carried around. I ended up purchasing two large academic books to donate to the In Other Words lending library: The Gender and Psychology Reader, and The Transgender Studies Reader. My private library is quite large and includes many books I have yet to read. As the archivist for the In Other Words lending library, I sometimes think that more public library is an extension of my personal library.

According to the Wikipedia page for Compulsive Hoarding, I do not hoard books. Someone who hoards rather than simply collects books tends to buy books that they have no intention of reading and buys multiple copies of the same book. I’ve only done that with books that I intend to give away—books that, at the time of purchase, I know I’m going to give away. And unlike my full-blown hoarder mother, I am willing to periodically part with books. I’m conscious that I have some books I’m willing to read only once and then part with (and that alone has been an excuse for my mother to bite my head off). I also have plenty of books that I intend to keep and either read or consult multiple times.

Humbug!

2 Dec

This morning, I went to Burnside Powell’s Books in order to sell some used books and get store credit. If you have a car and bring many books, this typically involves turning into the entrance of Powell’s own garage and stopping in order to take the boxes or bags of books out of the car. This time, I had two bags, one of which had spilled earlier in traffic. Therefore I not only stopped and put my car in park—I also proceeded to dig books off the floor of the back seat and put them into the cloth shopping bag.

The parking garage does not have an elevator, so the purpose of putting boxes or bags of books by the ticket booth is so that you don’t have to carry them down several flight of stairs.

Today, while I gathered up my books and put the bags by the ticket booth, I had several distressing encounters.

The driver behind me yelled, “Are you going into the parking garage?” (What the frack do you think I’m doing?) A jerk walking by loudly said, “Lord have mercy!” I spontaneously replied, “Lady have mercy!” right before closing my car’s back gate. A man with an old woman using a walker stood glaring at me by the time I started getting back behind the steering wheel.

I hate aggressive, impatient, Type A people. Last season, I’d talked extensively with a friend about how aggressive and impatient and rude shoppers are during the month of December. Holiday spirit, my foot. Just because these fools are crass, über materialist, aggressive and impatient shoppers doesn’t mean that they’re entitled to bully me or other sane people. It’s not my fault they’re such shallow fools. They clearly don’t know anything about Winter Solstice.

I admit that I do give Solstice gifts. However, I purchase and make gifts throughout the year. I see something and it reminds me of someone, so I get it for them. Furthermore, I also give away things that I already own (I’m a borderline hoarder), and I make gifts. I do not max out credit cards in December. I do not harass other people every time I set foot in a shop in December.

I should avoid all stores for the remainder of the month, unless I’m grocery shopping. I’m not getting through December without pomegranates.

Ambiance at Home

1 Dec

Today is a gray, howling wind, lie in bed with books and a purring cat kind of day.

The End of this Year’s NaNoWriMo

1 Dec

I devoted the entire day yesterday to working on my NaNoWriMo novel. Yes, it was well past the goal of 50,000 words—it came out to about 101,000 words—but I wanted to have a complete first draft, devoid of summarized sections. I reached that goal on the final day of the month. I slept in, but after I finally got out of bed I went straight to my computer. I spent most of the day writing, from about ten in the morning to past midnight. A lot of it was simply a matter of changing the tense, since the present-day scenes are in present tense.

A week ago, during a NaNoWriMo write-in, I completed the first draft of a fantasy novel, the second volume in the Rowanwick Chronicles (a much more escapist and fun project than the autobiographical novel).

This month I’m thinking I’ll work at revising the first volume in the Rowanwick Chronicles, perhaps writing the third volume (currently it’s only twenty-six pages!), and hopefully getting back to designing my travel memoir, Every Day is Magical, in InDesign for the sake of self-publishing on Amazon.com. The latter project is rather intimidating, since I’m technologically challenged and struggle with InDesign. It’s a very complicated computer program, even if you learned how to do it in grad school. In any case, revising my NaNoWriMo novel—indeed, revising my past two NaNoWriMo novels—can happen after December.