Growing Pains — And Not Even the Kind With Alan Thicke

small__2784224532Is it in your head yet? Show me that smile again… Don’t waste another minute on your crying… (As a kid, I always legitimately thought Alan Thicke was singing that. It’s really just the guy who sang “Rain Drops Keep Falling on my Head” though.)

So I did a horrible job titling this post because Growing Pains isn’t actually even the TV show I’d like to discuss here. I have at least four other things I should be writing right now, but something I read earlier hit me with a sucker punch, and I’ve been mulling over it ever since then. Seemed like I should come here to mull, clear it out, and then get on with my other writing. What I actually want to talk about is Friends (the people and the TV show).

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Come Back, Simplicity

Despite the fact that I began a part-time job that pays actual money last week, I’ve had an excess of negative energy recently. I attribute most of it to side effects from the new job — I was trying to learn everything quickly and, since I work from home, I was staying up to work until 3 a.m. I slept an average of 4.5 hours every night last week (and dreamed about the WordPress interface numerous times, thanks to all of my work), so by Saturday I was feeling particularly grouchy.

So I want to write about two completely simple things I did this weekend that made me feel significantly better (three things, really, if you count the fact that I slept for 10 hours last night). It makes me wonder why, the older we get, the more we feel the need to over-complicate things.

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So…About That Novel.

You know that feeling when it’s like a parasite gets in your head and you feel like you need to do everything humanly possible to keep yourself busy? If you stop for even the shortest time, that parasite starts nibbling away at your brain, causing everything to unravel. I’m convinced it attacks reason first.

I’ve been doing a lot to keep that parasite at bay, and it’s got a lot of reasons to keep creeping up on me. Sometimes I deal with multiple parasites. In an effort to keep myself busy lately, I’ve continued to read everything from blogs to books, thrown myself headlong into learning something about the business world, committed myself to networking for professional purposes (after, of course, figuring out what I want to be), and started really learning about social media.

I’ve also taken up knitting and maintaining a Facebook page for my dogs. When things get really bad, I’ll have conversations with my fish, Richard Marx. I zone out with Netflix. I’m way too into The Real Housewives of NJ.

And sometimes, even after all of that, the parasite just keeps on keepin’ on.

The parasite is, I think, the reason I’ve become so incredibly passionate about writing lately. It’s not that I didn’t love writing before. I always have, and that’s how I’ve identified. There’s just something very different about my relationship with writing right now. It’s more extensive, going beyond just the creative.

And everything beyond the creative has kept me away from the novel for a while. Six months, to be exact.

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Human Pill Bug

The human body and spirit really are tricky, fascinating things. It’s funny how emotional exhaustion manifests itself to make us feel physically and mentally drained, as well. It also amazes me how much energy it takes simply to put on a happy face.

(I’ve spent the last two days sitting in a chair next to my dad’s hospital bed. This is his 5th hospital stay since the beginning of April and those chairs don’t get any less uncomfortable. I don’t necessarily have anything profound to say, but humor me by reading on.)

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The Fear of Fear Itself

This is a more personal post than I usually write. I’m just trying to write some things out tonight, as it were, so if it’s not your thing, feel free to check back next week.

Growing up with a sister who is two years younger than me, it was a given that people would compare and contrast us. My sister was always bubbly, cute, wearing the right clothes, dating someone, involved in plenty of activities, and always surrounded by a large network of friends. To this day, when we go somewhere, she’ll make conversation with people she doesn’t know, and she pulls it off.

On the other hand, I have always been reserved, quiet, shy, frustrated that no one makes clothes for the little teapot, habitually single, involved in plenty of activities, and with a select core group of very close friends. I’m not very outgoing because I get really nervous talking to people I don’t know or don’t know well. I stammer and stutter and say stupid things. I think I’m a generally awkward person.

We are basically nothing alike, which is probably why we find ourselves arguing a lot and unable to really understand each other. But that’s not really where this is going to go. Over years of comparisons, people always assumed that because I was quiet and not very outgoing, I’d always be more interested in staying close to home. I’d probably attend the local campus and stick around close to mommy and daddy when school was over. My sister, on the other hand, would run off and live somewhere interesting. She was much better suited to take care of herself.

My sister ended up going to college about 20 miles away. In the fall, my brother, the most outgoing and adventurous of the three of us, will be heading off to college about 40 miles away. Surprising everyone who thought I’d go to school in my back yard, my college was just over 100 miles from home. And on move-in day of my freshman year when my whole family stood on the sidewalk telling me tearful goodbyes, I didn’t cry with them. I gave them hugs, sent them off, spun on my heel, and got to my life.

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On Why I Think Tina Fey Should Be My Best Friend

Oh, Frank. The neglect!

Well, readers, I’m really sorry that almost two weeks have gone by with no post. I’m going to apologize if I seem like I have wicked A.D.D. or if this is really rough. I’m easing back into writing. Building up my chops, if you will. Remember a few weeks ago when I said I’d had about the busiest week that an unemployed person could have? I lied. That was actually last week, carrying over into this week. And let me tell you, it wasn’t all very pretty. But I’m here now. And also, since I had a lot of time on my hands at the end of last week to sit and worry about something over which I had no control, I decided to read a book. My criteria for this book included being funny and being smart.

Enter Tina Fey.

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Word Vomit and Creative Constipation

It’s flu season. That must be it. It’s the only reason I can think of that, with all my verbal spewage, my creativity seems to be all blocked up. I hope it’s not a result of too much cheese (in my writing, I mean). Whatever it is, it’s starting to become painful.

Oh, sure. I can talk a good game. “Here are all the ways I’ve gotten myself out of writer’s block before because I don’t really believe in it.” My tried-and-true methods have, for some reason, failed me.

I have writer’s block.

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Resolve

I’m not typically the kind who makes New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not really my style. That being said, the only resolution I can ever remember making was on the final day of 2005 when I let a friend make my resolution for me: I’d start carrying a purse and not just my keychain wallet. Sigh. Okay. I stuck to it too, and now it feels weird if I don’t have my purse (mostly because it’s full of the gum that I compulsively chew).

The theme of my 2010 seemed to be, coming off of a terrible 2009, that I was just trying to figure out what I want. I don’t know if I’ll ever totally figure that out, but as I’ve been sitting on these first couple of weeks of 2011, it’s occurred to me that there are a few things that I want to work on.

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Frank’s Reads: 2010

Over the past year, it’s occurred to me that I’m frequently asked for book recommendations. It’s also occurred to me that sometimes I give them unsolicited. In any case, as my final post for 2010, I wanted to leave you with some book suggestions. Please note, though: these are not books that were published in 2010 — in fact, only one of them is. They’re simply the five best books I’ve read this year in the order I read them (I’m not ranking them). Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2010: Who’s a Champ? I am!

I get it. It’s December 9th and NaNoWriMo ended over a week ago. I should have posted this then, but my immune system seems hell-bent on taking me down before Christmas. You will forgive my belated post on the matter, I hope!

When I wrote about NaNoWriMo before, I talked about how I hit the ground running. I followed that up by talking about how I survived a long weekend away and managed to write quite a bit. So here’s how it all turned out. Continue reading