THE LANDFILL CHRONICLES
Finding Happiness In All The Wrong Places
I finished chapter 4 of the second draft today. It's hard to rehash painful times, but it needs to be done to properly tell the story. I don't talk much about this process in person, because I don't want to deal with the skepticism and doubts.
No, it's not a libelous hate book about my ex. This is my story about me, though I suppose credit is in order since there would be no book if there wasn't a cheater to start the narrative. I do think I can put a unique spin on an old autobiographical tale. This book isn't for the people around me. It's for those I haven't met yet who will go through the same fire. I want them to know they'll come out ok on the other side.
I have so many doubts that I don't need to hear anyone else's doubts about my work. I don't know why I'm suddenly moving this project forward at such a clip. There's a drive coming from somewhere, but I can't identify the location. I just get up each morning and move the book forward because the spirits/forces/wind/voices in my head tell me to do so.
My memoir game feels weak (as does this post) so I'm revisiting Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. I read it years ago. I recalled her chapter called "shitty first drafts" as I completed my own horrible first effort. It's bad, and that's ok.
Now I'm revisiting Bird to get inspiration for the second draft. So far it's working. This process won't be pretty, but I will see it through because this story is telling itself for those who need to hear it.
Today I wrote 1,717 words. I completed chapters 1 and 2 of my second draft of the book I'm writing about my divorce. It's been in the works for a while, always getting pushed aside when life gets in the way.
Well now it's been given top-priority status. The first draft was finished over the summer of 2016. As with all first drafts, this one stunk even by landfill parameters. It was my story told blandly, without any voice. But you know what? I finished it, chapters and all.
I started on the second draft in October 2016. I expanded on the boring story, adding descriptions and dialogue in the right places. It's still not fabulous, but I can see my voice in it now and that's what was missing from the first draft.
You'll be surprised to know that "the story of my divorce" is not a hate-filled rant about a cheating ex. In fact, he plays very little in the narrative and nothing at all since then.
But back to today. 1,717 words in five hours isn't great, but it isn't horrible either. Given the fact that I was revisiting the worst part of my life, I think I was pretty damn productive. Onward.
New thing number 3: I sold a house I didn't even want to horrible people who deserve to have said dwelling tightly rolled up karma style and shoved up their asses. That horrible.
But it's done. Praise the Lord and this bizarre horse girl; it's done.
That's all I'm going to say about that. Onward.
I've ordered myself to try 100 new (to me) things. This isn't a new-year resolution. Rather, it's a gentle nudge to move and grow, all while getting out of my comfort zone. There is no deadline, because that's not how I do life. It ends when it ends.
Technically, my first new thing happened before Christmas. Since it took some effort on my part, I figured it was a good way to start the list.
1. Catch an exhibit at the fine-arts museum. I've never been to my city's fine-arts museum. That's kind of sad given how long I've lived here. That all changed when I saw an impressionist exhibit was there. I got there at noon, treated myself to lunch and spent some hours wandering through the exhibit all my myself. I have no problem with the solo thing. In fact, I preferred it in this instance. I could enjoy everything at my speed. It was a good "new thing" to start my list.
2. Go out on New Year's Eve. (to a stranger's house! Ack!) - I don't like going out on New Year's Eve. Mostly because I'm 100% positive everyone on the road that night is drunk. This time, however, I made an exception. I went to a party and was the designated driver for the night. This was ever so slightly out of my comfort zone because the NYE party scene is not my bag and I wouldn't even have the social crutch of booze to get me through it. What ended up happening is that I had a ton of fun and got my cargo home safely. If everyone on the road was drunk, I didn't even notice.
Ok, two down, ninety eight to go. LET'S DO THIS!
My sister came to visit last month. She lives in another state, but was staying with me for a week for work/study purposes. When she arrived, I gave her a quick tour of the apartment. This was the first time she had seen it. The last time she was here, I was married and living in a 4,000 square foot house. Now I was divorced with two bedrooms and two cats.
"Aren't you lonely?" she asked. It was completely honest and curious without a hint of pity in her voice. Probably what many people have thought and never would ask.
I am not lonely in my little apartment. It has big windows and sun. I can hear the waterfalls in the pool 24/7. It's also safe. But mostly it's all mine.
I can make toast for dinner and eat it on the couch. I sleep diagonally in the bed, with my cat next to me. But what about human interaction? Yeah, I get that, too. I'm not a recluse, people. And I am busier socially than I have ever been.
When people are used to being married, it's scary to think of having to live alone. In reality, if you give yourself time to develop your own life, you'll find that living alone is kind of fun and in my case better than when I was married.