housekeeping for the brain

augh! (as claudia kishi might say.) another week has gone by & i failed to recap “top model”. & last week’s episode was awesome, with jessica molesting nigel barker & the ridonkulous photo shoot concept (don’t buy knock-offs, ladies! you’re bleeding the fashion industry dry!) & angelea flashing her crotch during the challenge. every cycle, i am skeptical about whether i will enjoy the level of LOLs i had with previous cycles, & every cycle, i learn not to doubt. but if you need a halfways decent blog recap (with pictures), i direct you to http://www.seriouslyyouretheworst.com. my long-time zine friend laura is writing up each week’s episode on thursdays. other posts there are also interesting.

today i started my big novel-in-a-month project. so if i stick with it, i should have 50,000 words, give or take, as of may 12. wish me luck! i’ll need it. i petered out today at around 600 words & had to step out on to ailecia’s porch for a free menthol cigarette (she gets free packs at club nights & stashes them out there for smoker friends who have run out of smokes…& for supposedly “non-smoker” friends who are trying to avoid becoming full-time smokers again by actually buying a pack). a little quiet reflection recharged me & i got up to around 2000 words–beyond my goal for the day! granted, the entire scene is just a woman getting up in the morning & making coffee. seriously. i had a scene i wanted to write, ripped from the headlines of a hilarious conversation that had transpired earlier on the porch, but i just couldn’t seem to get my protagonist out the door. we’ll see if i make any headway tomorrow.

i know, i know, i am tempting fate by writing about this at all. conventional writing advice is pretty strict about how you need to power through that first burst of writing, get the words on the page, & not start yammering & giving away the details before they’re formed in even the most rudimentary manner. & i agree! i’m just excited. this is my first really significant new writing project in almost a year. i can’t even begin to imagine what shape it will take or if it will ever be something i actually want to show other people…for now, i am just enjoying the process of getting to know my characters & seeing what kinds of situations they get into. (also, this is my first foray into fiction in something like seven years…maybe more.)

about the advice column: i have three pretty awesome questions so far, but i want to launch with four. so i really need another question, guys. preferably soon, so i can offer answers to the folks who have already asked. again, leave an anonymous comment here or e-mail me privately at learningtoleaveapapertrail (at) hotmail (dot) com. anything! sex questions, book recommendations, advice on starting a zine distro, fashion faux pas, recipes, mental health issues, whatever! bring it on.

about my zines: i’ve decided not to make more copies of the logic puzzle zines. i was going to limit myself to 300 copies of each, & i lost count of how many i made, but i feel like it’s been more than 300 for sure. a new issue is waiting in the wings (seriously, the puzzles have been written from july & they just need to be pasted into a zine format). i’m also down to 23 copies of “love letters to monsters” #2 & i’m not making more after that (500 was my cut-off). if you want one, paypal me $2 to the e-mail address above or send me a trade! i like trades:
ciara xyerra
1126 tennessee st. #4
lawrence KS 66044

trades must be received by may 25 or i won’t get them until mid-july. if you run a zine distro & want more copies, let me know soon! i think this fiction project is going to eat up all my writing energy between now & when i leave for philadelphia, but i’ll try to write a new “love letters to monsters” #3 while i’m out there & get it all pasted together & illustrated by the end of the summer. i’m kind of vaguely planning on attending the portland zine symposium again this year (i was at the first one, it would be nice to be at the tenth one!) & i’d like to have something to sell/trade. i’m not that invested in actually having a table, now that the distro is kaput, but…we’ll see.

i’ve also been thinking that it would be nice to have a roundtable discussion on zine distribution at the symposium–for distro peeps past, present, & future. ericka from pander is trying to get the funds together to make the trip & i think it’s be really interesting to hear what she has to say about ten years of running a zine distro that was instrumental in bringing or keeping so many of us into the zine scene. but i’m also interested in how things have changed over the years, in terms of web catalogues & paypal & such forth & so on. in my imagination, i picture just a big gossip session with all us past & current distro ladies talking smack & taking names, but i guess it can’t really go down that way in a public setting. thoughts?

a few other TV tidbits: seth aaron has got to win “project runway,” right? emilio is insufferable, & his clothes, while very well-constructed, are a major snooze. jay has taste issues–his shit is wicked L.A. & mila…her clothes are generally well-made, but what the fuck is going on with her color palette? for the last five weeks, i’ve been working with the theory that she’s actually color-blind. there’s just no other explanation. i admit, i didn’t care for seth aaron at first. he was like a bootleg jeffrey sebelia, & the fact that he hailed from vancouver, washington (for those not in the know, it’s just across the river from portland, oregon & city buses run between the towns, but there’s zero excuse to live in or go to vancouver when portland is RIGHT THERE) only made me hate him more. the first dress he made was straight off the sale rack at hot topic, as far as i was concerned, with the hideous exposed red zipper. it wasn’t something that anyone over the age of 23 would ever wear, & my mind was being blown because the dude is 38! but he won me over, big-time, & now if anyone else wins, i’ll hulk out. also, if you are a crazed “project runway” fanatic like me, you’re missing out if you’re not following tim gunn’s video blog: http://www.youtube.com/user/LMCS1515. he floats the theory that emilio has a crush on seth aaron & essentially cannot contain his loathing of emilio. love it!

& re: “lost”. i’ll try not to give anything away for those who aren’t caught up to new episodes, but…last week’s episode? the scene with desmond & charlie in the water? was i the only one that noticed that they were about fifteen feet away from a boat that had some dudes just walking around the deck, doing nothing? did those dudes just not want to get their clothes wet? why the fuck weren’t they helping? i admit, i laughed out loud. i get the impression that we weren’t supposed to notice those dudes due to the drama of the scene, but i noticed them & it was hilarious.

lastly–remember that huge spider i wrote about, which necessitated the recruitment of some KU undergrads to come smash it for me? that was a week ago & i have been having epic anxiety ever since. i keep feeling like there are bugs (or, more precisely, spiders, which i know are not insects, so don’t bother correcting me) on me all the time. i have been too stressed out to relax when there’s a window open, & it’s still topping eighty degrees on a regular basis, so open windows are kind of a necessity. i’ve been having nightmares & sleeping badly & generally freaking out. i talked to my therapist about it & she says the first step in confronting a phobia is to look at pictures of your fear. but i can’t even look at cartoon drawings of spiders without panicking. i have had this phobia ever since i was a tiny child & it seriously, SERIOUSLY fucks with my life. always has. once i saw a spider (a HUGE one, in my defense–a wolf spider) in the laundry room, when i was about 15, & i screamed for so long i lost my voice. which took seven hours. my mom finally gave me a valium to shut me up. even writing this paragraph is making me all clammy & shaky.

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One response to “housekeeping for the brain

  1. I thought the scene in Lost was weird, too, until….

    …last week, an elderly man drove his car into one of the huge ornamental ponds in front of a condo complex in my neighborhood. One of our reporters interviewed a witness, who told him that he was getting ready to go in the water after the man, but another guy stopped him and said, “That’s not your job. Let the police do it.” The guy ended up drowning.

    So maybe the Lost writers knew some people WOULD actually stand by and watch other people drown because it’s “not their job” to rescue them?

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