Friday, July 9, 2010

Flash Fic recs, Metal Art rec, New guideline for living a life

I haven't had much time to read lately. Thank the lit gods for flash fiction.

And thank whatever clever devil resides in David Barber's skull, rattling words and stories around for our enjoyment. The Millenium Princess took second in a fic contest. I don't know who won first, and I don't care. This piece is one of the extremely rare ones with a twisty ending that doesn't make you groan or roll your eyes. I laughed, charmed and thrilled, and can say that Barber got there honestly. 250 words. You can do it. Especially you Brits.


Circus Cunt by Misti Rainwater-Lites.

You have already clicked, haven't you? I add kill author in case you didn't.

Did I write this? No. I could never write this. And it's hopeless wishing I could write it. It's already been written. By Ms. Rainwater-Lites. If I was a serial killer, I would think seriously about serially busting her brains out of her skull and checking out what makes her tick. Maybe it isn't her brains. Maybe it's her duodenum. I don't know. All I know is, my duodenum is sick with lust and jealousy. And why does it smell like greasepaint in here...


Ghost by snegoratchka

Wearable metalwork based on the skull of a sparrow. If I had seven grand to drop, yes, I'd have it.

I, myself, have not been very crafty lately. Or, I've tried to be, but the results have been less than desirable. I thought it would be cute to make the Prince and his Katamari, but his head fell off and he won't stand and he's slightly burned anyway. B thinks he's solved the basic problems, so we'll try again. The Katamari is actually all right, but then, it's just a fucking ball with little blobs on it.

I'm midway through a horror anthology that claims to feature the newest, freshest voices in horror -- the next generation, supposedly turning things upside down and re-writing the rules of the genre. I'm not impressed. There's far more great writing, and stuff that is truly visionary, on the internet. But -- more on that later. With a handful of stories to go, maybe I'll find something to change my mind.

At any rate, I have read a few stories that have an element or two that's stuck with me. One, Little Red by Peter Straub, has presented me with a bizarre list of guidelines for your life. The past two days have seen me rethinking a few things I normally do, often on a day to day basis. I am always concerned with being a better person, as I am an awful individual, a blight on our race. If I could only incorporate one of these guidelines, it would be: speak no ill of anyone, but especially of those you dislike.

Especially those you dislike!? But... but... I dislike a tremendous number of people! And I derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction by telling a friend all about it in private conversation!

In fact, I've spent a fair amount of time recently cataloguing those who have behaved badly in regards to me, and poring over the evidence that I have so anally kept. With great satisfaction. I fantasize about numbering them, and posting the correspondence for the whole word to see. Another fact: I had forgotten about two of them until yesterday. Forgotten! Finding the old evidence gripped my heart with both morbid satisfaction -- yes, that word again -- but it also felt...


Diseased. Letting go of those incidents, now that would be the healthier route. I know this. And yet, I want to say these things. Perhaps to show a good number of people that I acted with good grace under often unbelievable circumstances, time and time again.

Ah, there it is. The heart of the matter. We want to be validated. We want to be -- yes, let's admit it -- superior. The better person.

And isn't that what I've done for the last six or seven months? Been the better person? It's exhausting, let me tell you.

It's also not very rewarding. And don't give me any of that spiritual mumbo-jumbo.

But if I'm being honest -- and here, for once, in my true voice, I am -- I did feel better about not reacting negatively. And the only thing I might regret is some of the nastiness I've then spewed in private conversation with a third party.

There's an entire internet full of people telling you how healthy it is to "vent." People encourage one another to do so. I'm not here to tell you that keeping it in is healthy, not at all. But perhaps there's more to "don't speak ill of others" than meets the eye. In conversation this week with a friend, I attempted to explain why I will not be confronting someone, laying it all out on the table, as she said. And my reasoning had to do with understanding that particular someone's mindset, how she operates, mentally. How she ticks, yes? Yes. And so I understand why she did what she did, and I also understand that presenting new evidence in this case would still result in the same outcome. But it's not so much a matter of knowing the battle is lost before you begin, but that I cannot change anyone. Everyone is doing the best they can today, even if I do not think it is the best for me. And I accept that.

And perhaps acceptance is the best we can hope for before we move on in our own lives.

And there's one other facet to this guideline: I am a firm believer that like attracts like. Negativity will only beget negativity. Surround yourself with what you want, and make your life the way you want it to be. If I bitch about someone, that's negative energy, and more will come of it.

Well, that last bit's rather New Age-y. But as I said, firm believer. So, to sum up: going to give this guideline some solid effort. I know this means that fairly quickly, perhaps two days at the most, someone will piss me off mightily. I'll try to hold my tongue and accept that they're idiots.



  1. "There's an entire internet full of people telling you how healthy it is to "vent.""

    Not only do they tell you to vent, they tell you how. That if you don't name names, it makes it okay. That if you only put in vague descriptors, rather than details, it's better, because only those in the know will get it, and the targets can prove nothing. And that if you didn't start it, if you're only chiming in, it absolves you somehow.

    It's a tempting quicksand, one that disguises itself as a therapeutic mud bath, and I've found myself mired in it more than once.


    Now, in an attempt to breed positivity, I'm going to coo over Maverick the Shetland Sheepdog on your Daily Puppy gadget. Because there is little in the world more positive than a puppy.

  2. Well, obviously, I was indeed thinking of specific situations related to one part of my life. And yes, in that area, a lot of people -- *a lot* -- think that's perfectly okay behavior. Those on the sidelines love it. It's good sport.

    But I suppose I didn't make it clear that I meant all venting. About your husband or best friend or sister, none of whom read your blog, or your boss or client. Etc, etc. And not just venting in public, but in private.

    There's got to be a balance between "getting it out" and trying to handle the situation.

    You're right, they all say how "therapeutic" it is. What if they're wrong, dead wrong? What if it isn't therapeutic at all, and is in fact hurtful? Not just to those you're ranting about, but... to you. What if saying these things does bad things to your own mental state, soul, karmic field, you name it. What if it's just not a good thing.

    I should lastly state that my sister is researching Buddhism, which I studied many years ago. So we've been talking about it, and it reminded me of how far I've come from the days when I meditated regularly and walked this earth in a profoundly peaceful state.

    The Daily Puppy gadget should have something you can click to add to your own page, btw. There are so many gadgets...

  3. I can has puppies? :-)

    Perhaps it depends on the kind of person doing the venting and the kind of person listening to them vent. Some people will vent the initial anger and then have a constructive, reflective conversation about how to solve the problem and move on--acceptance, as you said. Other people will turn the vent into a long-term simmer of resentment, which is only fueled by memories of the vent, a particular problem with blog/email vents where a written record exists and can be called up at any time. If you have a person listening to you who will say, "Fine, good, you got it out of your system, now how do you fix it?" then that will contribute to the first way. But other people, in it for the gossip and the conflict, will encourage the grudges.

    As you said: balance.

    Keeping it in entirely, for me, leads to brooding and passive-aggressive behavior. Fortunately, BF is a constructive listener, who waits patiently until the anger is out and then suggests ways to move forward. However, this may be my 20-year-old coping method, and possibly a different outlook will present itself with time and experience.

    My family dabbled in Buddhism for a while a few years ago (there's a meditation center near us, and I went to lots of their kid/teen classes) and, for what it's worth, I think it is one of the sanest forms of organized spirituality in existence.

  4. I have read that venting can actually prolong the anger you feel. It seems that the better solution is to act the way you WANT to feel. To treat people who irritate you the most with the most affection. (I should add that one of the books I am currently reading is The Happiness Project. I'm finding it very enlightening and helpful.)

  5. Hmmm. Interesting topic. I think it depends on what you're venting about. If we are talking about slander/gossip that's one thing. If we are talking about en emotional situation... a loss or grief or so on... well, i think you have to figure out whether it's catharsis, or if you're just being bitchy. :D

    The hubby is a CJEA facilitator (Creative Journal Expressive Arts) and a firm believer in all things venting/purging... on paper. He has a bazillion journals and is always telling me to write in mine. But for me, journalling almost makes it worse. I dwell on what I've written. And whenever I see him sit down with a journal, I think, "Great, what'd I do now!?" :D