Reasons not to Write: #2, Something Rotten in the State of Denmark

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Alright, so no ghosts have appeared to me in the night (or day, for that matter). No corrupt politics in the Stocke household, though we are dogsitting and so the balance of power has shifted a bit. In fact, things with me seem strangely, markedly, un-rotten, and for someone prone to brooding, this is a sure sign of rot.

I bike, almost daily, to the grocery store in this heart of January weather, and though the air is cold, the sun seems to smile warmly each day at just the time I pop out. I walk into the store and glance at my lately always-complete list, and as I walk down each aisle, each corresponding item is on sale. When I arrive home, my every attempt at a new baking recipe goes off without a hitch, not one (proof below).

Then I wash my dough-caked hands. (Out, damned spot!) I look down and see perfectly manicured fingernails, the same nails I’ve been biting since I could really chomp, let’s say twenty-five years. I was never a timid nail-biter. Not ashamed to bite in public nor when my mother constantly scolded me in private. I even remember a meeting with the elementary school guidance counselor to discuss my habit, I’m sure at the behest of my worried mother. And now, here were these fingernails, white, pristine, squared off at an even length, and I couldn’t even remember when I’d last bitten them to the bone. Here were hands I didn’t recognize as mine.

The nails clatter on my plastic keyboard; I think now that I even hold my pencil differently so as not to disturb them, and some days it’s all you need. It’s all you need to throw you from writing, an inkling that something somewhere is off.

Lavosh Cracker Bread

Lavosh Cracker Bread

Morning Buns

Morning Buns

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Reasons not to Write: (Really) Bad Haircut

This week, after a blog hiatus, I decided to write my reasons for not writing. All of them irrational, though the haircut is especially heinous.

After two solid days of crisp-looking, spunky, even well-thought-out short curly hair, I woke to a cross between Lyle Lovett circa 1991 and Bozo the clown minus the orange highlights. Every morning, without fail. The first week, I laughed and pinned it down with a variety of hair apparatus. The second week I cried. The third week I decided this omen surely meant that my blogging career was over. It was that easy.

Hence, this is me, and the hat I’ve been wearing since November.

Hat Photo

Defining a Scene

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I’ve been to a lot of literary festivals, but prior to Friday, I hadn’t been to one in The Netherlands. And then here was this thing: Writers Unlimited. Not stodgy, not stuck-up, not held in a musty room filled only by equally-musty people all speaking with six-inch NPR voices. It was sound booths and DJs pumping international tunes, twenty-foot live trees and tabletops covered in chalkboard, so that while you gulped your beer, you could instantly self-publish. Fiction. Non-fiction. Short speeches dubbed Tirades delivered from a soap box in the middle of the crowded floor. For me, it was love. I will be back again next year.

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