Sunday, November 13, 2005

Please stand by....

Apparently I have been suffering from technical difficulties all along. But since I have been reading and writing the blog using Netscape, I didn't know it.

I got my first spambot comment today, which is what alerted me to all the extraneous coding in my posts.

When I tried to delete the stupid thing, I couldn't find the icon for deleting comments. Blogger's oh-so-helpful instructions suggested that I try another browser.

Now you have to understand that my ardent love affair with Netscape is my pathetic little way of flipping the bird at Microsoft. You see, like most everyone else who has resisted the allure of Apple, I use Microsoft products. All my clients use Microsoft Word (with the exception of the Federal budget Nazis, who inexplicably prefer the even-worse WordPerfect), so I am professionally indebted to Mr. Gates and his team of monopolists.

But that doesn't mean I have to like it. So I embraced Netscape and never looked back.

I had no idea that meant my blog was essentially unreadable. (And I mean from an aesthetic standpoint, not because of the drivel I occcasionally spill here.)

When I finally decided to try Microsoft IE (cue Psycho music) , I discovered that my handful of readers has had to wade through a bunch of unintelligible computer-ese to read my scribblings.

Mea culpa.

I still can't locate the damned trash can icon. Some days I think I should just find a cave to live in.

Since I can't figure out how to erase spam comments, I decided to move to moderated comments. Please don't let that throw you off. I've already had one intrepid commenter today, and he made my day. Now it's your turn....

Southern Baptist Wedding

It’s been a long time since I went to a wedding outside of the Episcopal Church. Our weddings are pretty formal affairs. They are dictated by the Book of Common Prayer, and one doesn’t get a lot of extemporaneous speeches or prayers.

But yesterday I went to a good, old-fashioned Southern Baptist wedding.

I tried to be good, truly I did. I bit the inside of my cheek every time I wanted to laugh or scream. Today the inside of my right cheek is sore.

We had to sing not one, not two, but four verses of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” during the middle of the service. And I thought Episcopalians were bad about forcing you to sing too many verses!

For some reason, the theology of that particular choice bothered me too. I’m not quite sure why, but I’m always uncomfortable with the notion that the couple is not only marrying each other, but they are marrying God too. It sounds far too much like a ménage-a-trois for my taste. (Which just goes to show you what a crappy Christian I am. But you knew that already.)

Thankfully, the bride did not have to promise to obey the groom. I kept waiting for that to come, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when it didn’t.

There was, however, a lot of discussion about how the groom needed to be a good provider, and how she needed to be tender and supportive. No mention of children, though. Since the bride is all of 22, this surprised me. (If I were in charge, it would be illegal to get married before you are 30.)

At the reception, the groom smashed cake into the bride’s face. She was clearly shocked, as was I. I cannot think of anything more humiliating and disrespectful to do to your spouse in front of a roomful of people. If I were her, I would have gone to the minister and said “Don’t bother filing the marriage certificate. I’m done with that asshole.”

Alas, she did not. She just smashed cake in his face.

Ah, family values.

The Writer Who Couldn't Write

I ask myself why I’ve posted so few entries to this blog. I claim to be a writer, so what gives?

Part of the issue is that I write for a living. In any given day, I write letters, memos, e-mails, speeches, manuals, reports, etc. I actually write all the time—-just not for myself.

I feel privileged to do the work I do. My clients are people I like and admire, and I make good money. My schedule is largely my own, and I can work in my pajamas if I feel like it. It’s kind of the American dream, I suppose—-minus any benefits, but you can’t have everything.

But the truth is that writing is difficult for me---even the paid stuff. I believe so strongly in the power of words that I am often paralyzed at the thought of putting them on paper. In my world, words still mean something, and the thought that I will choose the wrong ones, or that my writing will be unclear, wordy, or pedantic fills me with dread.

I try to do more editing than writing. Editing to me is fun and easy. I get a charge out of taking someone else’s words and making them better. I’m fortunate in that my clients have learned to trust my judgment, and nobody gets huffy when I fix something. Everyone wins—-I have fun and get paid, and they get what they need to communicate their ideas.

But when it’s time to sit down and write, suddenly I need to rearrange the supply closet or run an errand. Only deadlines can force me to sit down and do it.

There are no deadlines on a blog.

There is also the issue of privacy. I started this blog thinking that I wouldn’t tell a soul about it—-that it would essentially be my online journal, and no one would know who I was.

Of course, the writer’s Achilles heel is the desire for others to read her work. I couldn’t help myself. I told a small handful of folks about the blog, and now I’m afraid to write to it.

So much of what I want to write about now has to do with this strange situation in which I find myself—-I believe it’s known as “middle age.” I feel angry, sad, bitter, and hopeless some days, and—of course—those are the days I want to write about. I want to talk about how disappointing my life feels right now and see if I can figure a way through the malaise.

But it all feels so self-indulgent. Not to mention that the things I might write about my spouse, my kids, etc. would not always be complimentary. How would you feel if you discovered that your spouse was lusting for someone else through her blog? Or that your mother had days on which being single and child-free looked mighty attractive?

I know all bloggers have this dilemma. How much information is TMI? And should you bare your soul to any Tom, Dick, or Harriet who wends his or her way to your blog? (Of course, chances are that if you are reading this blog, you already know who I am. I doubt I get much traffic from any other source.) Prudence suggests not. As so many have discovered, there is no such thing as anonymity anymore.

But what do you do when your mind needs clearing, and corners of your soul need to be swept out? Therapy would seem the obvious solution—-but it isn’t feasible right now. If I were Catholic, I would go to confession—-but I’m not sure that would help a lot either. I’d end up confessing the same damned things over and over again.

This is really depressing.

On the plus side, I finally wrote a blog entry.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The New Oz

My book club just finished Gregory Maguire's book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Great book--I highly recommend it.

And then a friend sent this to me today: