Before I begin my explanation, I should offer you an apology.
Once upon a time I told you that I only wrote when I was really, really happy or really, really struggling. That was a lie.
I don’t write when I’m really happy. I’m afraid that I’ll jinx it. I’m scared that sharing my happiness, making it public, is daring the gods to shatter me.
It’s definitely happened before.
So allow me to offer an apology and a reprint.
I only write when I’m really, really struggling, or when I’m ready to shake my fist at God in the midst of a struggle. I only write when it’s raining or when I’m daring the impending storm to do its worst.
So now that I’ve apologized, let me explain something to you people who love me and believe yourselves to be encouraging me when you say you want to see more posts on The Swill. That you want to see me here (gasp) everyday.
First of all, you’re lying. You’re lying the same way you lie when you say you’re a Mary J. Blige fan. You love her music…but only when she’s going through it. Let that bitch be happy though. She gets fewer spins than Chief Keef on an oldies station.
So let me tell you what I hear when you say you want me to write more.
"Erika, dammit, stop being happy so we can revel in your pain. We miss being entertained by your sadness and your loneliness and the consequences of your stupid decisions. Can we get some more of that, please???"
I know that isn’t what you mean, but it’s what I hear.
It’s what I hear because I’m not a writer as much as I am a web diarist. (Fact: Autocorrect TOTALLY recognized that, so it’s a real word…wonder if it’s a real job too.) My strength as a writer isn’t fiction. I can’t start with blank paper and spin characters and plot and conflict out of nothing but will and talent. I’ve tried; I don’t have the chops for it. I write mostly about myself, and as I just explained, I only feel the impulse to do that when my life has gone to shit.
So stop asking me to suffer so you can get web updates.
If you really want to see me here more, give me a story to write. Tell me about YOUR shitty life. Call me when YOU need a good cry.
Then sign a release so I can put YOUR dirty clothes in the front yard.
I know you love me. I love you too.
Now stop asking me to write more. Enjoy the silence; it means I’m happy.
— Outpatient reflections
Just got off the phone with the most pleasant man, the VP of Customer Relations for Southwest Airlines. He gave us a full refund on the travel disaster that inspired my last post. Never underestimate the power of a well-written email sent to the right people. If you ever have a #travelgodsHATEme moment, check out www.elliott.org to see who and how to email for faster service…and why calling that customer service line WON’T work.
— Courtesy of Jacqueline Bisset. I struggle with forgiveness, but I’m vain as hell…maybe this will help.
If you follow me on Twitter (when I actually bothered to tweet), then you’ve seen me use the hashtag #travelgodsHATEme. I always manage to be about 30 seconds from not being able to check my bags or not making the plane at all. I’ve actually been at a gate between flights and missed my connection because I fell asleep in the terminal. Usually these mishaps are my fault; I think I’m an adrenaline junkie and I enjoy the high of almost ruining my own travel. The travel nightmare I had a few weeks ago, however, was the result of another bad habit I have that finally caught up with me: flying discount airlines.
As an English teacher and general word nerd, I’m fascinated by etymology. The idea that a group of people can come together to create a language is a miraculous concept on its own; that words from this language can take on a life of their own and evolve to ensure their continued relevance elevates this social miracle to something not unlike the stubborn persistence of the very societies that create them. Words, like people, must evolve to survive.
Think about it. Most of the kids I teach have no idea what a typewriter is, and by the time their kids have kids, the word, much like the tool it names, will be obsolete. Words that can’t evolve to fit the world around them become linguistic dinosaurs.
The word “friend” was threatening to become extinct for me as of late, until someone I love very much helped me see what I was doing to endanger its existence.
In two minutes, write about the object in the picture below.
With his oversized cranium and body not unlike a calcified candle wick, Watermelon Dum Dum, WD to his friends (the few that he had), often felt like an outsider. He was a favored target for bullies—the Sour Patch Kids were the worst, coating their bitter denigrations in sneaky sweetness—and ignored by the girls, who usually took to calling him by his last name only.