Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! (A Saturday Rant)

I’m so frustrated! It’s hard to put into words, and you all know how I am, that means a LOT of words will follow.

Everyone I know would probably agree that I’m one their biggest cheerleaders. I’m mostly around writers, and I’m a strong believer of encouraging these other pen monkeys. I want them all to succeed. I try to make them feel like they are worth something.

I spent too many years with a foot on my neck being told subtly and not so subtly that I shouldn’t write, that I wasn’t good enough. That it wasn’t something, I should take seriously. Or that I would never succeed. Those people in my life eroded my confidence, exploited my fears, and generally frakked me up mentally. You can see why I don’t want others to fall victim to this.

So, I made it a practice to encourage other writers. To make them feel welcome among the various groups I’ve been a part of. To show them they are good enough. To make them feel a part of something important. Or more accurately, that they have the right to be a part of it.

I did this to the exclusion of myself.

Now, (actually for months) the writing group I go to is in the process of destroying itself. The group as a whole seems to be less important than Marsha ONE, Marsha TWO, Marsha THREE and so on. (This may sound minor but it is not. The details don’t matter here as I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.)

Each Marsha is so wrapped up in themselves or is busy being snide to each other, they don’t even see the Kristi’s of the group are suffering from the fallout.

I really want to indulge in some constructive selfishness, but I’m the only one in the group not allowed to do so. I’ve learned the hard way, if I, who is expected to stay in my role as cheerleader, express an opinion, I’ll lose friends or at least offend everyone for calling them out. Or I’ll be the final straw that breaks the group. Dammit ONE, TWO, and THREE, cut your shit!

The last time I said how I felt everyone acted like I’d grown horns then screamed it over a global intercom and shook my demon finger in their faces. No one could believe I had feelings other than encouragement for Them.

The other response is denial. It’s quite frustrating when someone tries to convince you your feelings are not legitimate because they refuse to see the problem. Pretending there is no issue doesn’t absolve one from being part of it Marsha.

Hell, I’ve felt like I’ve been on the outside for so long I don’t know what I would do if that changed. I know other people have felt this way, but that only meant they didn’t notice I’ve been going through it. So I keep my mouth shut about me and cheer-lead them. It’s strange to try to convince someone to not listen to those inner doubts when the same fears float around the top of my head.

I’m left with a new dilemma. Say something or stay home. Who am I kidding? I’ll keep going and keep repressing and keep getting angry. Then option two will bubble up, and I’ll have to spend all my time fixing all the Marshas’ hurt feelings at my audacity for having feelings!

Like most rants, this one rambles around and probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to those reading it. However, getting the words out, especially on ‘paper’ helps me more than I can say.


I’m Thrown Off My Game Today

The title and the picture sums it up. I had a lot of plans for the day, well not specifically for this day but for every day this week. Nothing has gone according to said plans.

My daughter has a late start at school today due to standardized testing. This meant no workout for me this morning. I was shocked at how upsetting it was. I plan to go when I take her after lunch but it’s messed with my head.

Also, this is the first Thursday in a very long time my husband isn’t home. His schedule changed at work, including days off. I tried writing but my muse is hiding in a corner sucking her thumb and insisting Thursday is NOT a writing day. Tomorrow could be the same since he was previously off then too.

Another throwing off factor was some lingering disgust with a popular weekly national magazine yesterday. I got a subscription a while back because I’ve always heard they published one good piece of fiction every week. As I am looking to submit some short stories to various places I thought it would be beneficial to read the types of stories they pick. Call it research if you will.

The problem was I had surgery and wasn’t reading anything. I had 15 issues stacked up and while doing some cleaning/organizing I decided to start reading them when I got tired and needed a sitting down break.

I opened the first one, which was the newest issue, found the story and began reading. When I got a paragraph containing this description: “Where her eye part and mouth part met…” I almost threw it away. Instead I kept reading, hoping there was some reasonable explanation for the way this person wrote. I only found myself more disgusted and a little outraged. I hate to criticize another writer but it was awful. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to rant too much.

Even worse, whoever the editor of the magazine is allowed it to be published. It must have been a fluke, I thought. So I picked up the next one. The first paragraph of its fiction piece had eight sentences starting with the word ‘he’ and five instances of the word ‘that.’

I know damn well I’m not a perfect writer but come on people! Do they not have a proofreader? Who the hell is their editor anyway? If I submitted something to this magazine and got a rejection letter I would probably frame it!

Still, I kept trying. It got worse. One of the stories started with (and this is not an exact quote because I’m not going to dig in my trash can): The trees along the street that every spring bloomed purple flowers had bloomed purple flowers.

I threw that issue. For the record, I don’t throw things when I’m angry but for a moment I understood the people who do. It was the final straw. Technically I had paid for nine more issues but I got on the computer, went to their website and cancelled. I laughed out loud when a screen popped up asking if I was sure.

Ugh! I wasn’t going to focus so much on that stupid magazine but clearly I’m still disturbed by the whole thing. My takeaway is always read a few samples or twelve of any magazine you plan to submit a story to. One will not do.

The rest of the day has potential. As mentioned, I’m going to work out after I take my kid to school, then go to a coffee shop or something and try to write. I won’t have much time because my husband gets off at four but I need to try. Maybe having a ‘deadline’ will be advantageous.

My kid is playing a keyboard in another room as I type. Perhaps you can see why this blog post is all the writing occurring this morning? Did I mention she only began learning a few days ago? It is a loud reminded that this is the last month of school…

Eventually I’ll adjust to all these new schedules but there might be a few more posts like this one between now and then.

The picture was taken by me. The banana peel is patiently waiting for me to slip on it, I can tell.