Thursday, March 28, 2013

09 Twenty-Nineth Beginning (Nanowrimo 2007) Organizing Aunt Sheila

[Do not read the Twelfth Beginning as if it were a story or things will get strange. In 2007, my strategy for Nanowrimo was to cram the story into the category 'literary' and go completely non-linear, dumping ideas and references I had collected just to get them out of my mind and off of my desk.

Don't let yourself get confused trying to make more of the bits than are there. Thanks.]

[ . . . Continuing the discussion as Barbara helps her Aunt Sheila to organize.]

Reinventing your life, by Jeffrey Young. 

Book not read.

You’ve got a lot of self-help books.

And a lot of cleaning books.

More on self-help.  With an emphasis on procrastination.

Yup.  That’s me.  How many do you have listed.

Let me count.  In fact, let’s see if you remember them all.  If you do, I can rate them.

This one might not count.  It’s The Hilton Head Executive Stamina Program by Peter M. Miller, Ph.D.

Not procrastination.  Older book I keep it for the exercises.  It has recipes and diet info, too, but I’ve read so many diet books that nothing impresses me any more.  I haven’t burned out on hoping to maintain an exercise program.

Live the Life you Love by Barbara Sher.  Her stuff is pretty good.  She’s done other books and shows on PBS.  The one I like most is Wishcraft.  It’s very how-to.  Live the Life is an exploration of yourself. 

I’ll flag that.  It may give me ideas for interviewing you. 

I wouldn’t mind that.  I don’t remember the questions in it, but I don’t remember being embarrassed by any of them.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. but Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

I don’t remember that so much.

It had a lot of post-its in it.

Hmmm.  Still not coming clear. 

Making the Case for Yourself by Susan Estrich.  No Ph.D.

No, she’s a lawyer.  And that’s sort of a diet book. 

Does it have exercises? 

I don’t think so.  The words came out slowly.  I’d have to check to be sure, though.

Doing It Now by Edwin C. Bliss.

Was that a little paperback?

I didn’t make a note.

That’s the good one.  You read the beginning and it tells you to make a list.  Then you start the first chapter and it asks you if you made the list.  And tells you to go back and do it, if you’re at all serious about dealing with getting things done, because if you’re just going to read the book, you’re wasting your time.

You found it motivating?

Yes, and I could go back and it would work again for awhile.  Reading is comforting, relaxing.  If I’m working up to doing something it’s easier to read about it first and launch off from there.

So, you’re saying that having a book tell you something is different from having a person tell you something.

Oh, yes.  Especially with the procrastination.  Make a note in Primatology about making social connections to reading or computers.  I’m sure there’s something significant to know about that.  I’m fairly sure I’m more attached to books than to a lot of people.

I won’t ask if you like books more than you like me.  I know it’s not that simple.

Thank you, dear.

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, by Neil Fiore, Ph.D.  That one had post-its, too.

Nothing coming.  Just a general feeling that it’s pretty good.  I remember reading it from the library and then getting a copy. 

The Procrastinator’s Handbook:  Mastering the Art of Doing it Now, by Rita Emmett.

Might have bought that one for the title.  There’s one about growing a spine that I checked out from the library more than once.  It was on tape or disc.  I don’t think I ever bought it.

So this other one makes you think of spines? 

Maybe.  Hard to tell.

I’m going to give you homework from these books, you know. 

I’ll find a way to live with that.  If I can get the energy together for it.

I’m going to give you homework about that, too.  Barbara’s eyes went straight down.  There was no chance of meeting them.  Which was convenient.

Perhaps.  That’s a hard one.

Maybe we can start with why it’s hard.  The fingers clicked on the laptop.

What are you entering.

Personal Medical History.  What should the keywords be?

Long pause.

Energy, Digestion, Joints, Stress, aaaaaaand Uterus. 

Which is the most embarrassing?

What’s most embarrassing is that I can’t pick out which symptoms are caused by what and I can just hear the doctor saying “Well, you’re getting older, you can only expect so much.”

Has a doctor ever said that.

Not to me.  I’ve heard many other women complaining of it.  Mostly, I got asked if I was under stress.  I had a big run of it.  Including a rash I had on the back of my hand. 

Were you under stress.

Of course.  Almost everyone is under stress.  I’d been under stress for years.  I still am, although I’m fairly sure that most of my stress is caused by my symptoms, rather than the other way around.

You said you were embarrassed because you didn’t know what was wrong, what was causing the symptoms.  But isn’t that the doctor’s job?

You’d think so.  But they tend to diagnose what they’re used to hearing about.  If you’re vague in describing your symptoms or you don’t describe them in the way they’re used to hearing, they can miss things.

You want to know enough to be able to lead them to the proper conclusion.


I never thought I’d hear myself saying this, but you might need to do it the way my Mother does.  She complains and just keeps complaining and implying that it’s someone else’s job to figure out what she needs and make it better.

I’ve always hated people like that.

Me too.

Well, maybe not the people.  The behavior, certainly.

Yes, but only because hating people isn’t nice and I want to be a nice person.

Sheila exploded a snorting chuckle.

I admit nothing.

OK.  Maureen O'Sullivan, micorexpressions.  Is that a book?

No, I think it’s a subject and a researcher.  We’d have to go into journals to get anything.  Maybe.  It’s about these quarter-second fleeting expressions giving away our true feelings as we lie.


Sounds right.

Success through Failure by Henry Petroski.  Procrastination?

No.  That’s a Book Not Read.  It’s on how the best designs evolve through repeated failures. 

Book, keyword evolution.

No.  Keyword design.

k.  How about:  May Padian and Edward Othniel – dinosaurs.

Those are character names for if I’m feeling puckish and find a story where they’d be appropriate.  I’d have to look up how much of the names are dinosaur names.

So, they’re not books you’ve never written, they’re characters who never had a book you didn’t write.

Basically, yes.

Let me add the category.  I’m assuming that Characters would work.

Yes.  We did pack toilet paper in that backpack, didn’t we?

And a trowel.  Do you need them.

Not immediately.  It’s reassuring to have the equipment nearby when things start shifting or otherwise making their presence felt.

I’ll get them out.

Thank you. 

This next one is longer.  “I pit the fact that we are losing touch with the natural world. Please convince me that our children's children will be able to experience a glacier, a jungle, a desert, or a forest in the same way that I did. Otherwise, I'll feel ashamed that we did such a lousy job as keepers of the planet.”

I think that was supposed to be part of the list of things people should know, where know means experience. 

So we just need to keep glacier, jungle, desert, and forest?

Yes.  That would be enough. 

What does pit mean?  Where it says I pit the fact?

It’s from a very civilized chat board that I found.  There are different board topic areas and one of them is called The BBQ Pit.  It’s a place for ranting and accusing and questioning the decisions of the moderators.  You’re allowed to cuss, but not to be foolish.  People who are getting too worked up on the other boards are told to “take it to the pit.”  When one member wants to excoriate another they invite them to the pit.  The natural progression of language produced sentences like “I pit people who won’t control their children in public.”

Ah.  So I’ll erase the rest of the quote and just keep the nature areas.  How about this:  Peter is -4, 4 . . . a bunch of other numbers,  I'm 4, -5 . . . a bunch of other numbers, then:  Enneagrams.

Primatology.  Enneagrams are like zodiac signs or Myers-Briggs Personality Styles.  They’re a system for categorizing human behavior, assigning behavior traits to individuals to predict their behavior and feelings.  I believe I’m going to take a quick walk back to the trees.

Take the cane.

I’m not sure I can hold everything. 

It’s in a bag, here.  I figured we may as well use those plastic grocery bags.

Good idea.  Cane – bag – going.

I’ll play a Mind Assault or Two.

Or look around.  The scenery is nice.

That, too, maybe.  I’ll turn on some tunes so you don’t get lost.

I appreciate that. 

There weren’t any trees worth hiding behind, but there was a bit of a ridge behind the log, with a decline behind it.  A little way down the decline was a boulder tall and smooth enough for Sheila to lean against and crouch.  The trees were thin-trunked, but plentiful enough to block sight from any trails. 

I’ve gotten too good at this, she thought.  But the regret was all for the clumsiness of her declining body, she felt no regret for her skill in manipulating it and relief and a small triumph for having done so successfully in this instance.  There was a great deal of noise but in the end it was only gas.  Comforting to relieve the pressure, though, and there was no way to tell ahead of time.

The liquid unload hadn’t been necessary, but put her comfortably ahead of the game.  Sad to waste so much worry over her digestion.  That hadn’t been any part of her plans for the future. 

[Well, something finally happened besides the talking.  There are pages and pages of this.  It felt good to get it out of me and written down, but it obviously shouldn't all stay in one infodump.  Maybe a third to a quarter of what's there might profitable be spread over a whole book.  You have been warned.]

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