Pent-Up Anger Isn’t A Sleeping Aid

An insomniac night. Sleepless. Left to stand the watches of the night alone with my thoughts, as they roll through my mind in wave after wave of restlessness.

A good part of this insomnia is due to working a late shift. But there’s more to it than that. Always is.

Sister, oh Sister, wherefore art thou, Sister? Deny thy victimhood and refuse thy childishness. For what is in a child? That which we call thou by any other word may make me want to punch your teeth out just as much. And so Sister would were she not Sister called.

Sissy Darling is living with her ex-boyfriend’s family, free of charge, and seemingly treated like a princess. Me, I work full time, and pay all of my expenses myself. But I’m still supposed to safeguard my darling sister’s things that she left at the apartment we used to share. Which, apparently, is why she’s dodging the issue of giving her key back, no matter how much the landlord says he’s going to replace the lock and charge my dad for it.

My dad. Who got forced into retirement (though still basically supporting my sister and I) a few months ago. But Sissy doesn’t have a job. So she can’t pay for it herself. Poor little princess, lost in the big, cruel world! I think my heart just might break for her!

Well, maybe it would bleed a little, if she wasn’t blaming everything on me. How stupid of me for standing up to her. How could I possibly be so inconsiderate as to make her attack me with scissors? How dare I call the police and tell them lies to get her arrested? Why, is there anything in the world lower than this humble slave to her older sister?

Then she’s accusing me of stealing things. Breaking her DVD player. So, what does she do? Use her key to get in while I’m gone, and steal some of my things. Though the kindhearted princess was considerate enough to inform our parents of this.

I want her stuff out of my apartment. I want her gone. I don’t want to see her or have to put up with her anymore. Let her be someone else’s headache, for cryin’ out loud! And my landlord has been a saint about the entire thing—not pushing. But I want that key back, too. Maybe she wants to keep it for her own twisted security reasons, since she left so much of her crap here, but I have my own security problems. Somewhere in the distant back of my mind is an irrational fear that I’m going to have my throat slit by a pair of scissors in the middle of the night. Or that she’s going to feel free to keep playing klepto.

I know that if she doesn’t respond the next time I ask her about the key—or if she tells me to chill out and deal with it one more time—I’ll pay for the damn lock change myself, as well as the new keys to be cut, and earn that money back when I get rid of all the stuff she left.

At least, that’s what I tell myself I’m going to do.

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Those Writers and The Legend Of Mary Sue

I did something with my life this week. I joined the local college’s writing club, and got to participate in critiquing other club members’ stories. As a natural-born proofreader with sharp, pointy teeth filed to perfection, I was roaring and ready to go!

Before going to the meeting, I got the opportunity to read one of the two pieces up for the workshop. And boy, did I tear into it, mocking it aloud to my roommates at every opportunity. I’ve eviscerated their work, as fellow writers, plenty of times, so they’re used to it, and beginning to learn like good little minions.

Anyway, this piece. . . it was a high school vampire story. Overly dramatic, rushed, awkward and dull. Something all too easy to mock. And I delighted in it.

Then, of course, I got to the meeting. Met the other writers and critics. Got to taste some writer blood. And begin a friendship with another Grammar Nazi.

That, of course, is when the vampire author is brought into the spotlight, and it is this so-called Grammar Nazi. And I began to fear for the future of humanity. Again.

This girl is in college, but the story is based on her and her friends. And even as I—heavily biting my tongue—gave few well-placed comments, she looked like she was about to cry. Even though we were giving her the kid gloves, and giving her praise that she really didn’t deserve, and that we’d had to fight like hell to dredge up. It was poorly written. Plain and simple.

So, to all the aspiring writers out there who haven’t heard it, I have a few words to say. Not everyone’s going to like your work. Ever. Fact of life. Deal with it, pin up another rejection, and keep trying until you get it right. The big bad world doesn’t care about your feelings. It’s about what you can give them. There’s always going to be someone who thinks it’s a stupid story. There are always going to be critics. They keep you in perspective,

Also, some of you just weren’t meant to be writers. If you’re not a reader, first of all, just go ahead and rule yourself out. Writers are a strict, snotty club, and require you to know your medium. If you can’t get beyond the stuff that sounds like the regular Internet drudgery, rule yourself out again. Go for the exceptional, not what’s been done a thousand times under a thousand different names and descriptions—here mostly meaning our good old friend, Mary Sue, and the hackneyed plots that follow her around because they have no will to stand on their own. Besides, don’t you think you’d be better suited putting your talents to use elsewhere? Maybe your writing is depriving the world of future leaders. Doctors. Teachers. Techs. Dictators. Expand your horizons!

To those of you adding to The Legend Of Mary Sue, us who are criticizing you have been there. We got smart. We’re just trying to keep you from making our mistakes.

And, let me just point out, there’s a good reason I don’t often show any of my own stuff. I’m not a bad writer, says me, but I’m a better proofreader.

Father Poppa Daddy

I’ve posted repeatedly about three fourths of my family. But, I realized that I’ve never really written much about my dad. I’m too busy complaining about the other two.

My dad is an awesome guy. He’s put up with my mom’s crap for twenty three years. And he managed to make sure that I didn’t go totally insane.

When I was home schooled, he taught me and my sister more than our mother ever did. While Mom had us reading Amish primers, Dad was getting me hooked on DraculaHarry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. All of which my dear mother considered evil. While she neglected our education all day long, Dad would come home and ask us geography questions. It’s thanks to him that I managed to pass my high school geography class with a B+ without doing most of the homework, and get 100% on all the tests without studying.

While Mom was always the one restricting us and telling us what we couldn’t do because it wasn’t appropriate, Dad was the laid back one who could be firm if we got out of line, but generally allowed us to be who we wanted to be. He taught me about Christmas lights and computers, geography and science, music and books. That living in a hoarder’s house isn’t normal. Most importantly, he’s taught me that humor is an important part of life.

Every one of my friends who meets my parents share an opinion—my mom is scary and crazy. My dad is really cool. He’s the funny old guy who tells all the jokes, and is unfailingly generous.

Of course, Dad isn’t perfect. He’s terrifying when he’s angry. He’s a highly conservative homophobe. He gets road rage. But I’m incredibly grateful for him.

Without him, I know I wouldn’t have turned out so well. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would have become a sociopath. All seriousness and none of that sarcastic and very witty sense of humor. No androgynous qualities in sight. A proper lady who wears dresses and sits up straight and speaks when spoken to—and becomes a serial killer. Or who, conversely, is a victim all her life.

Thanks to Daddy, I’m better than that.