Do or Do Not.

Archive for February, 2006

Structural Integrity

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Sometimes I like to write my wife poems for special events or holidays — but because I’m really not much of a poetry kind of guy, I don’t usually take these poems too seriously. I’ve written her odes to Gene Wilder’s jowls, I’ve perverted entire sections of songs from Disney musicals. Recently, though, I’ve been upping the ante for myself and started setting myself specific structural challenges before starting to pen my preposterous poems.

The first, as you might remember, involved the poem I wrote her for her birthday in January. It was her thirty-sixth birthday, so I decided that not only should the poem have exactly thirty-six words (not too hard to accomplish), but the title should have exactly thirty-six letters (much more difficult to pull off). But I did it and was reasonably proud of the result — especially given that the trick was subtle enough that I doubt anyone would ever have noticed it if I didn’t point out. (Really, I just wouldn’t have expected anyone to give the poem anything more than a quick read.)

My newest trick was a little bit less subtle, yet I still think very few people ever would have noticed had I not mentioned it to Terry (though given that there’s now precedent to my doing goofy things to these poems, maybe someone would have). I first though about making her Valentine’s Day poem a simple acrostic, but that seemed too easy. I knew that it would jump out at any reader paying even the smallest bit of attention. No, I needed something more complex. So I thought I’d reverse it and have the first letters readingup form the acrostic.

Better, but still: not enough challenge. I then decided that the last letter of each line should be a regular top-down acrostic-but-at-the-end-of-the-line. I had my pattern — and my challenge — set! And not only did I succeed in piecing the thing together, but I think the message of the poem is actually coherent, even if it’s not the most romantic Valentine’s Day poem ever written.

Twoo Wuv Needs Not The Marketing

You never can tell these days with a modern woman, a twenty-first century kind of gal, adomestic goddess,

Written by Allen

February 15th, 2006 at 3:29 pm

Posted in Writing

Happy Birthday, Me!

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So I’m 35 today. I have to say that so far, 35 doesn’t feel all that different from 34, but then again, it really doesn’t feel all that much different from 27.

Thirty-five seems like a good time to do some stock-taking, being that whole midpoint-of-the-decade thing. For me, unsurprisingly, this comes down to evaluating my career and creative pursuits — I mean, I’m extraordinarily happy; I’m pretty healthy (the diabetes is under control); I have a fantastic family and wonderful friends, both local and spread throughout the country; I have a job that I like well enough for now and has potential to make me even happier. There’s truly no point in my life previous to this that I would trade for right now.

So yeah, the future directions of the career and the writing are really the big things dominating my mid-decade thoughts. I’m not sure exactly where either is going, but I think I’ve finally made some peace with the fact that it’s doubtful I’ll be supporting myself with writing anytime soon — and honestly, I’m not sure I even want to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all saying that I don’t want to write anymore — in fact, I think I want to do it more than ever — but I’m releasing myself from the constricting notion that I had to A Writer. I’m okay with thinking of writing the same way I do drawing and photography and playing guitar and piano: it’s something I really enjoy doing and something I want to get better at, but it doesn’t have to be This Big Thing. Writing’s still sitting a few steps higher than those other pursuits (it certainly does have much more income and prestige potential than any of the others), but I’m just trying to take the pressure off — longtime readers and friends probably know I’ve always tended to put unreasonable expectations on myself with regards to the writing thing.

None of that is to say I’m not taking the writing seriously, or that I don’t want to publish. It’s just an acknowledgement that for the time being, it has to take second place to The Work What Pays and will do so for several more years. And that’s 100% OK.

I’ve realized that I’m pretty lucky: I have a current job and career that I like, one I’d like to pursue more seriously. I enjoy doing what I do and it pays pretty well (with the potential to pay really well if I get better and better at it). It takes care of my family and allows Terry to stay home with the kids. And it allows me to work on my writing and get a bi-weekly paycheck without feeling like my soul is being char-grilled. I’ve known (or know of) too many people for whom it’s an either-or situation.

Furthermore (and this might be the topic of future posts) — there’s potential there for me to combine the writing and the current career. More on that later, perhaps.

Anyway, that’s some of what’s going on in my head. I’m sorry I haven’t been posting more often lately — things have just been a little bit nutty, both at work and at home. (I’ve actually been — gaspworking while I’m at work. Well, not so much today, but hey, it’s my birthday.) Do you people know that I actually feel guilt when I go too long without posting? I do, I swear.

Written by Allen

February 10th, 2006 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Personal,Writing

Happy (Belated) Birthd-Amy!

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I’m now three days overdue with my birthday post to the gorgeous and talented Amy, who closed the book on her twenties on Tuesday. Welcome to ThirtiesWorld, Amy… it’s really pretty rockin’ up in here. I’m digging it way more than I did my 20s, and I hope it’s good to you.

I distinctly remember the first night I really hung out with Amy — coincidentally enough, it was the night of ther 21st birthday. (Well, honestly, I’m not positive it was the exact day of her birthday, but her 21st was certainly the impetus for our going out.) I’d kind of known her, or at least known of her, for a couple of months; she’d been dating a buddy of mine at the college newspaper we worked at, and she was pretty damn noticable around campus anyway: the massive fall of curly, crayon-red hair made missing her difficult. But that night was the first time I actually started getting to know her. We all (and by all, I seem to remember somewhere around 20 people being involved in festivities) crowded into the Ruby Tuesday in Cordova Mall in Pensacola, and then some subset of us made our way down to Sluggo’s to get our asses rocked by Frogpond. Honestly, I don’t even remember anything I might have said to Amy or vice versa from that night, but I distinctly remember that night being when she graduated in my eyes from “the chick with the rockin’ hair” to “Amy.”

So Happy Birthday to Amy: good friend, great mom, gifted writer, and all-around cool chick. And the hair might not be crayon-red anymore, but it’s still pretty rockin’.

(Also a big, big Happy Seventh (OMGWTF) B’day to Amy’s older daughter, whose birthday was on Wednesday — bless them both for making the dates of their birthdays easy to remember!)

Written by Allen

February 10th, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Posted in General

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Okay, I think it’s entirely possible that my wife is the biggest dork ever. Which is, of course, one of the great many, many, many, many reasons I married her in the first place.

Thank you for that, sweetheart. It was beautiful. I had tears streaming down my face reading that, especially when I tried to imagine you actually performing it — maybe later I can get you to do so for me…? bigsloppykisses!

Written by Allen

February 10th, 2006 at 12:42 pm

Posted in General

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Written by Allen

February 7th, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Posted in Web

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