BookCrossing: Absent Minded Book Hunting

I just submitted this as an article to BookCrossing.

It was on the tip of my tongue… but I’ve forgotten it, again.
by ThatGrrl

I’m sure my brain is at least one memory card short. Rarely can I remember author’s names when I’m in one of those mega bookstores looking for a good book to read. I’m the one wandering aimlessly, tapping my fingers on my purse strap and wondering if it began with a W or an M. I try the computer inventory, looking up topics, possible author names and what I think the title might have been, but it doesn’t usually help me.

I know it happens to everyone. Some people lose car keys, reading glasses or forget birthdays, it’s all kind of the same thing. At the time you are sure you can remember. You don’t need to make a note, it’s just one little thing, your brain can store one small additional fact. Right? However, just like all those times you skipped making a grocery list cause you only needed to pick up a few things… You forget what all those things were once you’re actually standing there wheeling your cart down the aisles.

This wouldn’t be so bad, lots of people have other things to think about and the name of a writer can escape your thoughts. But, I am a writer. Doesn’t it seem I should diligently remember another writer, especially one I thought well of?

This lack of memory is my secret shame, I try to hide it or pretend it’s just a temporary thing. I blame it on having too much else on my mind, too many things on the go and so on. Still, I know that’s just a bluff. I’ve never been good at remembering names. Faces are a different thing. If I met each writer as I read her or his book, I’d remember their names, I’m sure of it. I like to look at the author’s picture when it’s included in a book. Sometimes seeing the picture again does click and I do remember that I read something by that person before.

BookCrossing has been a help. I keep track of the books I really liked (we can even rate them) and if I stare at the author’s name long enough on screen the odd name does sink past the layers of dumbness and I do manage to have flashes of light bulbs while cruising through the racks.

My favourite haunting places for good books are the second-hand stores and GoodWills. You can’t get those oldies in your local bookstore, once they go out of print they go out of stock. It’s only in the second-hand places: thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales, that you discover those secret stashes of books. Plus, you know someone else thought enough of it to buy it before you.

One thing about shopping at the second-hand bookstores is that you can never go back and expect your same book to be there again. If you thought it was good, someone else will have been there and thought the same. Likely, they have a better memory, or kept all those handy notes more organized in their purse or wallet. It’s not hopeless however. Sometimes by pure accident or Irish luck I come across the best treasures. Once in awhile I even bring home a book I forgot I wanted a year or three ago. Priceless treasures, better than chocolate!

Without BookCrossing I’d have to resort to more crumpled, dog eared pieces of paper in my purse. You know what happens to bits of notes you keep in your purse. It’s a rough life. They get squished down to the bottom layers where the forgotten candies and toothpicks roam. Eventually you are forced to clean out your purse and you find them again. “Oh! I wish I had known that when I was shopping last week..” By then it’s far too late of course.

Another good thing about using BookCrossing is being able to see how many other people have read that book and what they wrote in their journals. I can look up an author name and see what else they have in print and how many copies were registered on BookCrossing. It is a great book popularity contest around the whole world, the Miss Universe of books.

The funny thing is, in the back of my mind I am trying to live up to the image of myself as a book connoisseur. Something more than the standard book consumer. I can become just a touch obsessed with a book’s author. If I liked the book I can’t read just one and leave it at that. No, finding the others in the series, or by that writer, becomes a quest. Until, of course, I forget the author’s name, again.

Trust Yourself

I feel like I’ve been trying to live underwater for most of my life. Not quite part of the world of civilization with everyone else. I’ve been born flawed in some basic way that becomes apparent to everyone within a short time of getting to know me. So, I’ve spent years (generations without actually generating) trying to find the magic answer so I can fix myself. I’ve had a fixation with self fixing. It seemed that if I could just read the right book at the right time, hear the right words from the right person… etc.

I was looking in all the wrong places and the answer was something known to me all along, I just wasn’t really listening. Trust yourself. So simple and so much around me all these years. But, I didn’t do it. I pushed it aside in my quest to be perfect, better, beloved, admired, wanted, desired… well I’m not any of those. I’m just me. If the world came to a screeching end I’d still be just me. I’m pretty ok with that really. I’ve come to like just me. Not everything about me but I’m certainly not horribly off track in being the person I want to be. Nothing I can’t fix as I keep moving ahead.

Trust yourself. I will start doing that. I will trust ME not to let ME down. I will not look to someone else to approve of me or to like me or to tell me I’m ok. I won’t listen to negativity from others, including those echos which come from inside myself and my memories. I will trust myself rather than keep holding myself back waiting for someone else to say I can do it. Or even waiting for someone to come along and rescue me, that old knight in shining armour stepped out of the dog earred bodice ripper.

I will trust myself to do it, cause I already know I can. I feel like I’ve just been waiting for clearance from some outside source. I’m not even sure who, maybe just random people, society at large. But, they don’t really matter. I have myself and I can trust myself cause I don’t want to let myself down. I don’t tell myself I’m hopeless, that has always come from outside of me. I will start denying all those old echos of how useless I am, how I can never accomplish anything I want to do. I will only listen to the optimistic comments now, from inside and outside of myself. I will trust myself to do this too.

Even in a room full of people, you really only have yourself to trust. How did I miss that small point all along?

I feel like some old part of my brain has been burnt out, new information has been copied over the old broken/ damaged cells. I could even feel a burning sensation in my mind a short time ago when I read the following and at last, listened to the words rather than skimming and filing them as not THE Answer I needed.

“It may take awhile to wade through all your resistance, fears, misperceptions, and basic disbelief in yourself – it may take far longer than you think it should. But if you can just go through the process and trust yourself in a basic way not attempted before, the joy will be yours. Like a muscle, your vision and creative instincts will become stronger, clearer and more vital each time you connect with them. Your commitment will strengthen, and with it, the world will cooperate in ways you never would have expected. Little signposts will appear along the way, offering support and encouragement. People will show up, bringing challenges, ideas or information. Your dream will begin to materialize, the result of nothing more than finally listening to the still, small voice from within.” Suzanne Falter-Barns ‘How Much Joy Can You Stand’

She’s not saying we are alone in the world and neither am I. But, under it all we have ourselves and it’s up to ourselves to filter out the negative and trust ourselves to accomplish and succeed and make ourselves happy. We are in the world, apart of it, but we have to stand up and take our own steps if we want to get where we want to be.

I’d Rather Be…

I’d rather be writing. Why am I such a good little procrastinator? It starts with email. I set my browser to open to my webmail. Bad move. Yes, I keep up with things better. But, I get nothing else done. Every email needs some kind of response. Some are simple, a basic reply back with something I can pull out of my brain right at that moment, easily. Most require extra work, digging up information, going into the web to find something, change something, etc. An hour goes by and I am still working on email, not one word written outside of email. It’s not a good thing. Martha would know.

Did you hear about NaMoBlogMo? Where do they come up with such babyish names? Or am I just getting THAT old? What is so wrong with English that people want to chop it up and make it look silly. Or are we, as a society, just getting THAT lazy? I like good use of the language. The name is putting me off ever doing NaMoWrite (whatever). Anyway, it’s not like I need middlemen to help me write. I just need less procrastination and email.

The Great Escalator Debate

My Stupid Mouth

Why do people walk up escalators when there are stairs right beside it? This bothers me too. I’m tired, or carrying a lot of shopping bags, etc. I’ve chosen to take the escalator cause I can just stand there and rest, put down the bags on one of the steps. Then some dork comes along trying to step over me, push me around, whatever so he/she can walk up the escalator. That’s so rude! Just as he wrote in this blog, there is no excuse for people who want to walk to take the stairs and leave those of us on the escalator alone.

The other thing that bugs me is the door opening debate. Why do people act like a herd of cattle, following each other through the same door when there is a whole line of doors anyone could open. Is that just stupidity, narrow mindedness, or all they all walking along brain dead and can’t do more than follow the leader? I come up to the line of them waiting for their turn at the door and I pass them all by opening a second door for myself. I’ve never watched to see what happens behind me. If they all get the bright idea to use other doors or if that just creates a new line and the old one is abandoned.

I Don’t Want to Go to Work Today

I’m tired of being nice. Six hours in a sauna (no air conditioning) is not for me. Plus, I’d really rather go back to bed and rest my brain. Something else has happened with the family bunch. Mom was going to email me but she hasn’t. I could phone but sometimes this period of time of not knowing is kind of nice, to be enjoyed a few hours longer. Anyway, I’m usually the last to know. Living so far out of the city bites. I doubt I will ever like this town or this house. The renovations are stalled, not one room is actually done. We still have half a kitchen, no sink yet. I tried meeting men online but it’s so worthless. I can’t accept that there is not one guy out there (at least) who is just fricking normal and wants someone else in his life. Being alone is not great all the time. So far every guy is some type of dickhead. It would be a nice change to meet a guy who can think with the brain above his waist. Or maybe I just need to stop thinking or caring. I need a vacation from everything. Could I win one somehow? I’ve run out of things I’m willing to sell or return. I have to phone my Mom now. I’m worried that someone else has died now.

Toodle loo!

Proper Deadside Manners

My dad isn’t officially signed off yet. But, he is dead. He was dead before I left for Ottawa, I think. I told Eric that I thought he would live but I think I was indulging in a bit of denial. When I saw him I felt nothing. He had a face but he wasn’t there.

Today (sometime) they may take his body off life support. They put tape over his eyes so he would look less like a corpse when we saw him last night. I thought it was nice that they keep him shaved. What an icky job, shaving the faces of the dead. Sounds like a horror movie title.

I don’t know why people feel the need to visit dead people. Do they think the conversation will be good? Do they wonder what dead people look like? I, myself, had no curiousity about any of it. Peer and family pressure and now I have seen a corpse. I did not touch it, however. It stinks.

It’s amazing how much of a funeral and related service are about pleasing other people. It’s really annoying me immensely that my Mother is thinking about what will please other people when it isn’t their dad/ husband that is dead. Let them rot. Last night she started discussing what I would wear. I will wear whatever I feel like wearing. If I want to I’ll wear flaming red. Go to hell if you don’t like it.

Anyway, they are all kind of annoyed with me. I’m not being the proper deadside daughter. I think I should take out my brain and just give it to them. No one really likes when you have a mind of your own.

You might think things would be better once he is officially dead. But, no. I can see it will just get uglier. Our own brand of Survivor.

Words Hounding a Page

I haven’t been too chatty lately. For the past week I felt I was losing my rockers. My Dad is having a quadruple by-pass, tomorrow they say it will be now. It was going to be Monday then he had some more heart attacks and they had him on a nitro drip. So then it was going to be today but now I hear it will be tomorrow. They told him he had 80% blockage. You don’t get that by living sensibly. Is it cruel and insensitive to say he deserved it? I am his daughter. Who can be cruel and insensitive if not your daughter?

He has always been stupid about his health. He eats garbage and he loves to yell and spaz at us. It’s definitely cruel to say that some part of me is saying “nah, nah, nah” all the time in the back of my mind. I once wrote about calling the men in your lives ‘bastard!’ and I know I was thinking of him as much as my ex-husband. I’m not sure who I was angrier at then. Now the ex is fading into the past. But, my Dad is always lurking around. Ready to snap at me, blame me, tell me what a loser I am. Anyway, nah nah nah! Bastard.

Yes, it’s horribly rude, cruel and disgraceful of me. But, there you go. I never aspired to perfection. Being perfect would be boring and lonely and far too much work. So I will happily be imperfect and partially messed up.

I can live with it.

He might die. We don’t know anything for sure. I don’t wish for him to die. But I admit I do like the idea that he is going to get a little misery back for all he has inputted all these years. I wonder what will happen next time he tries a spaz attack. Usually his eyes bug out, his face turns red then purplish and his voice blows hot wind over your general environment. Pollution, the pollution of years of violence suspended. No, he seldom hit me or us. But the verbal abuse was more than enough pollution. I can’t fully get over it. No matter how much I tell myself nothing he said matters, that he never got to know me so his opinions carry no weight. Still, it all sunk in too deep too long ago. I can’t get over it or around it and I can’t seem to get past it.

I don’t know if you can make yourself believe in yourself just cause you say so, to yourself. It does seem there has to be someone else to back it up. Not even that. Cause anyone who tells you how good you are gets qualified. Your brain is geared up for qualification so well, it can do it on auto pilot. Tell me how well I write and I know I’m only faking it, or I’m not getting paid or I’m really not even putting my full effort into it. So, how well am I writing really. Qualifications make the grrl drag on. I don’t get things done, I procrastinate cause I’m afraid to even start to try.

It’s all so silly cause I know I can do it. I know I can write. I love to write. I love watching my words take shape on the keyboard. I love the sound of my own words as they fly out on the page. I love words and I love writing them, giving them order, purpose and style. My style!

So, what holds me back. I’m not always sure. Fear of failure, fear of having someone confirm that I really am just a phoney after all. For, once someone does that, there will be no hope at all. How can I overcome someone confirming what I’ve been afraid really is true all along.

What a lot of words on a page. Isn’t that the whole point of a journal? A chance to let your brain stop holding back and just release the hounds! Let them see what they can catch today. So the hounds were out there. I don’t think they caught much. But it will be interesting to see what kind of soup it will make when it all gets cooked up.

Happy day!

PS- Today I found out that I did get the days off to meet Eric in Ottawa! Great news. Now I can start being happy again and planning the trip. πŸ™‚

Too Much Journalling

Why does any one person need or have so many blogs and journals? I don’t know, don’t even ask me.

I’m cold tonight. It’s like all my ghosts are standing behind me blowing, soft chilling breaths down the bacl of my neck. They are there, ghosts I mean. Not spooky, white sheets. All the ghosts. The people who came into my life, were reflected on my mirror and then sank back into the shadows. Never seen again, but thought of once in awhile.

Karen Pownell, where are you? Lately it’s you I’ve been thinking of. Do you remember the nose picking song? Probably not. You had so many friends and I wasn’t even one of them. If I had just been less worried about what everyone thought of me we would have been great friends. I still think of you but lately I’ve been thinking of you more often. Whatever did you do with the rest of your life? If anyone is about my age (39) and lived in The Rouge (Port Union in general) in the east end of Scarborough send me a note. It would be great to hear from other old people. πŸ™‚ Who knew you really could get so damn old! I was a year back, everyone in my class was one year older than me. They’re all 40 now! I still have about 8 months to be in my 30’s. Just barely, but still there.

I am ldr (long distance dating) with Eric. I don’t like it. I like him I just don’t like being with him virtually. It’s not enough. I decided to try again it seems only fair that I get that chance. I think I’m going to crack up on this long distance part. It’s no one’s fault, not even mine. Dating again is hard. I’ve been dumped every time or found out something that just proved I have no dating sense what so ever. You think you’re smart until you do something really stupid. So many things spinning through my brain like lightening on the water. In the end I just come to the same conclusion, keep trying. Give it a chance. Not every guy or every situation or every decision I make has to be a bad one. Just because my track record with these things is pretty ugly… I want it to work. Yes, there are pretty huge details to figure out. Kind of overwhelming when I dare to stop and think. He once said he doesn’t want to get married again. I don’t want to be the ever ender girlfriend though. Do I want to be some kid’s evil step girlfriend? I don’t want to be disliked just cause I exist. Then, do I really want to be married again, go through that again, take that chance again? Eric isn’t messy or dirty. It won’t be like that again, but it still scares me. I never want to be there again, trapped and no one even really believing me. They thought I should have just tried harder. But I was trying my hardest. Trying hard doesn’t matter. Some days were so bad and everything was my fault cause I wasn’t doing enough, trying enough, being enough. Never enough. Just not enough of me. So empty. So nothing.

I still remember the road kill. It was like a symbol for everything. Road kill, the fresh kind, splattered and bloody and chunky. Or, road kill, the kind that has become plastered to the road, dried up by rubber burning over top of it. Little flakes fly up as the cars drive over. Even the maggots have left it to harden and crust on the road.

I’ve never looked at road kill the same. I never will. If I had just listened on the way down to meet him the first time. When he was still just a man on paper. All the way driving down there, over 15 hours, road kill was amassed everywhere along the way. At the time I thought it was strange to see so much road kill. More than usual I thought. But, I made my own fate. I didn’t listen to the signs though I acknowledged them at the time. Later, there was always road kill. Even talk of road kill, eating road kill deer. Road kill was everywhere, like a theme. When I left I was road kill myself.

But I lived. Crawled away. Peeling myself off the tar. I’m not road kill any more. I don’t know what changed exactly, how I fixed myself. I thought I was unfixable for a long time. I’m not sure now if I gave up or not. It was a muddled time. Pure satire that I learned to drive then and became someone capable of making road kill myself. I did hit a chipmunk at some point. There is irony in life.

Anyway, that’s far more blab than I intended to get into. Actually, I was only going to post this quote:

“In every corner of my soul there is an altar to a different god.” – Fernando Pessoa

Confusion is a State of Mind

I sent this email to someone, intending to ask about Site Gadgets only. But, as often happens other things crowd into my brain as I’m typing. Often I put them aside, make notes in NotePad or forget them 2 seconds later. But, today I wrote them and then decided to stick them here so I could remember that I actually thought them. Confused? Good, confusion is just more state of mind. At least you know you’re still here.

Have you seen this before? It looks interesting but how free is free? If you take a look let me know what you think. I should read the fine print myself I just don’t really want to enough. πŸ™‚ Usually I’d sign up and let the chips fall where they may. Todd (the ex) was always horrified. He read every letter of the fine print. He probably still does.

About him, it’s interesting. At first I didn’t think I was allowed to be mad at him. Then I felt guilty for being mad at him. Then for about a week I was furiously mad at him. Now, I’m getting over it. About time, eh? I’m still mad at him but not so mad that I want to do violence and blame him for everything. I’m going to add this to Live Journal so I can read it later when I wonder if that’s what I really wrote.

Hi Kareem :)

Hi Kareem, I did the newbie thing and replied back to the auto notification email sent through Live Journal. So, you’ll never know what devious little things I said. It was all really fabulously clever too. Not that I can remember any more, but I know it was really good. πŸ™‚

I’m downloading that HTML program for Live Journal tonight. Thanks for the link. I looked at the downloads the other night but decided there were too many to choose from. Besides I only wanted something to do one simple little thing. Anyway, it’s really hot and humid here tonight. It’s starting to cause fogginess in my brain. I know it’s not that I’m tired. I got tired of being tired and I rebelled against the whole tired idea. Now, I’m just… sort of laid back. Yeah, that’s it… laid back. Never tired.