Monday, March 29, 2010


I've long said that fall is my favorite season, but I have to say spring has become a very close second. I hate winter so very very much that when warm weather arrives, it is the happiest moment of my life. I also like watching things begin to bloom and grow and working in my garden. But spring in the Chicago area is a total tease, which is maybe why it can't be my absolute favorite season.

A couple weeks ago I started to see signs that it was coming. The main sign was this:

My cats emerged from their warm upstairs dens, where they spent the day sleeping either all huddled together in a pile on our bed or all huddled in a pile on the bathroom rug because the bathroom is the warmest room in the house.

Now they are eager to lay in the sun in the living room and occasionally stare out the window looking for wildlife to return.

Other cat-related signs of spring:

Hairballs. Highly unpleasant but unavoidable as winter coats are shed.

Moments of pure inexplicable madness. The night before the spring equinox, my littlest cat Lars went totally crazy, running around the house like a madmen in the middle of the night, mewing excitedly, attacking innocent house plants. Clearly, he had spring fever.

Other signs of spring:

Driving home from my bartending job late at night something small darted across the road, not a cat or a rabbit, both of which I've seen throughout winter. It turned out to be a robin! This was very exciting until I remembered that he and his buddies like to start singing in the very early morning... like when I'm getting home from work at three a.m. and trying to sleep. This is a part of spring that I could do without.

And when the snow melted, look what happened in my yard!

Why the wee crocuses were blooming and the tulips are beginning to sprout!

Of course unpleasantness in the form of *lots* of litter on my front lawn was also revealed. I really hate living on a busy street. And I really really hate litterbugs! Seriously, how hard is it for you to find a garbage can!!!!

I was up in Madison, Wisconsin on the 15th and 16th of this month and we finally had our first truly warm days. I was walking around in just my hoodie, no big coat! Hoodie weather is the best! But like I said, spring is such a tease in the Midwest....

On the Vernal Equinox this is the kind of day we had:

Poor little flowers!

The weather hasn't fully recovered yet because we keep getting these bursts of cold air from Canada. (Please keep your cold air to yourself, Canada! We have enough of our own, thanks.) But I have to believe that soon spring will come full force and it will be time for spring projects!

My biggest project will be my garden. Last year it languished. Between a book release and wedding planning, I had no time to tend to it. And the summer was on the cool side, which didn't bother me any, but my plants didn't like it. My veggies either didn't grow or grew slowly and a lot of my herbs gotten eaten by bugs. Frustrating.

I have three gardening plots surrounding my townhouse. One is an herb garden, another was split between vegetables and prairie style plants and sunflowers. The front garden is all flowers, but mostly I had lilies and they are done mid-summer and then it's just ugly and weed-infested out there. Since it gets a lot of sun, I've decided to move the sunflowers down there this year as well as some prairie plants and make more room for vegetables. My husband has recently gotten into canning and pickling things so we have to come up with a list of stuff that might be good for me to grow so he can use it. I always do the standard tomatoes and bell peppers. This year I'm hoping to succeed at growing cucumbers. I'm also considering carrots, squash and some beans.

I'm definitely looking for more veggie ideas, as well as gardening book recommendations and advice on composting and organic gardening. So if you have any of that to share, please share away. I'm not a natural green thumb, but with the help of my mom who is (and no longer has gardening space after moving to a condo), I'm learning!

My other new project is caring for the feral cats in the neighborhood. I finally met the woman who comes to feed them. She also works to trap them so that she can take them to get spayed and release them back into their colony. And for those she has failed to spay that have kittens, she tries to capture the kittens before they become too wild and find them homes. I want to help her with all of this. So far I've started feeding them two days a week on the days she cannot get to them, but hopefully I can help with the trapping, too. And I believe one of them is pregnant (she sure looks it!), so there may be kittens to deal with too this spring.

When I first noticed these cats about five years ago, my roommate and I tried to feed them and capture the kittens (she only succeeded in getting one). They were very skittish then. Now when I am putting food out, they come right up. They will not let me touch them, but they don't mind being close enough for me to take photos.

So here is the cat colony I am trying to help. I believe there are six of them all together. There is also a mostly white one with black markings that I didn't get a picture. One of the Socks cats as I call them, the black ones with white paws, is the one I suspect of being pregnant (she is the one eating in the first pic). They are not in very good shape and have wounds from fights with other animals, etc that you can see if you click on the pics to enlarge them. One poor little guy is missing most of an ear either from an injury or frost bite. But they are sweet. I hope I can help ease their hard lives a bit this year:

So gardening and kitty caretaking are some of my spring projects in addition to writing. What are yours?

Of course spring also means SPRING BREAK!!!!

I leave on my much needed spring break trip to Seattle on Thursday, so I won't be back to blog until I return... actually possibly not until a week after I return because I want to get in major writing mode when I come back. But you can follow my Seattle updates and writing updates on twitter in the meantime. And I will be posting one last blog before I go over on the MTV Books blog tomorrow, so be sure to check that out. Until then, enjoy the beginning of your spring and any spring break trips you are taking!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

For Maukin

Yesterday my dear friend and former roommate Tai had to put her sweet son Maukin to sleep. He was suffering from kidney disease as many older cats do. When Tai moved in with me in August of 2005, Maukin and his buddy (or really more like tormentor) Kaspar came to live me and my cat, Sid. In 2007 we added Lars to the brood. That spring, Tai moved out west and Maukin went with her, but Kaspar stayed behind because he got along better with Sid and Lars than Maukin. In fact everyone beat up on poor Maukin, though sometimes little kitten Lars stepped up in his defense.

He was truly one of the sweetest cats I've ever known. He had a great big demanding meow, especially when hungry. Some of the softest, most unique fur (it was curly because he was part-Cornish Rex). And he enjoyed the simple things... like licking butter and watching the leaves blow outside... even through blurry security glass that we weren't sure how he could see clearly through.

I missed him once he moved west (though he probably didn't miss my mean cats much and probably forgot about me once I was no longer a food provider) and it breaks my heart that I wasn't able to say goodbye and especially that I couldn't be there for Tai, his mom, when she had to let go. Here are some photos of his adorableness:

One of his favorite places to sleep:

With Sid (left) and Kaspar (right)
Taking full advantage of a sunbeam:
With his little kitten friend, Lars:
A rare moment of peace with his brothers:

We'll miss you Maukin and we love you very much!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Women Who Rock Wednesday: Kick-ass Girls in Literature

Welcome to Women Who Rock Wednesday! As I'm still all absorbed in writing, I'm still doing this a little bit differently and just sharing some thoughts I've had lately about women who rock, but don't worry, the interviews will be back later this spring.

A couple weeks ago, I talked Riot Grrrl and got some great responses from all of you about the women who influenced you. The winner of my zine and a riot grrrl-themed mix CD is.... Josef M. of blogger! Josef I will try to find your email through blogger or you can email me at stephanie at stephaniekuehnert dot com.

Today I want to talk kick-ass girls in literature, the fictional characters who are inspiring girls and women. There are tons. I will always go back to Weetzie Bat of course who was a huge inspiration for me in high school. And I'm sure I could come up with quite a list of others as well (of the top of my head, Leslie from Ink Exchange, Katy from Beige, Ciara from Jeri Smith-Ready's WVMP series....), but the inspiration for this blog post today is Tally from Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.

People had been telling me to check out this series forever, but my TBR pile is big, so I only got around to it at the beginning of this year. I just had the first book. I started reading it on the plane home from my honeymoon and immediately became addicted and had to buy the rest of the books.

What I liked about Tally is she struck me as a very real girl. At the beginning of the first book, she's insecure, she just wants to fit in, I think a lot of people could identify with that. I certainly could've as a teen and wish this book had been around when I was 14. Throughout the series, Tally comes into her own. She stays real and makes mistakes and sometimes you just want to shake her, but at the same time, you're proud of her and the way she makes her own way and develops her own set of beliefs, particularly in a futuristic world where developing your own beliefs and carving your own path is next to impossible.

I can't say a ton because I will spoil it for those who haven't read it. But I did love Tally for her fighting spirit and all of her flaws. I also was so impressed with the world that Scott Westerfeld created in these books--a world so obsessed with image and later "face rank" or popularity. It did what good dystopia/sci-fi does and explored where our culture could really be headed. It just made me think and nod a lot and when I finished the series (and I even enjoyed the last book, Extras, even though it seems to have gotten mixed reviews), I was so bummed that I couldn't have new adventures in that world with Tally and the other characters. I seriously didn't know what to read after that! And ultimately I went to an old standby... my literary form of comfort food, and I started reading about another girl in literature who I've admired since I started reading, Laura Ingalls Wilder. From the future to the past. But it was an interesting experience to read the Little House books after reading the Uglies and think about how both Tally and Laura were forced into certain roles in their society, but grew to be women who made their own paths and lived how they wanted.

So, go read the Uglies series if you haven't already. And please tell me about some of your favorite trailblazing, rebellious, or just damn cool women and girls in literature!

Women Who Rock Wednesday will resume once more in mid-April (with interviews and giveaways), after I return from Seattle and get my writing in the place I want it to be. And speaking of Seattle, if you want to know more about my trip and how I could totally be a professional rock 'n' roll vacation planner, visit the Teen Fiction Cafe and read all about it here!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Radio Interview, Top 100 YA Novels, and other interesting links

Hello all, I am back from Madison, Wisconsin and in a mad dash to get some writing done before I leave on my Seattle trip on April 1, so the blogs may be brief until then but for good reason.

Still some interesting things to share. Before I left to Madison, I wrote a blog entry at MTV Books about my experience living in Madison. I graduated high school early and moved there with a friend when I was seventeen. It was an experience that really shaped who I would become and how I would get lost along the way before becoming the writer that you know now through this blog. So please check it out here!

Also a Madison radio station 92.1 did a great interview with me. Stu Levitan who interviewed me probably did the most research about me and my books than anyone who has ever interviewed me so the result were some seriously interesting and different that the usual questions. You can listen to part one of the interview here, part two is here. And Stu also interviewed me when I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE came out so you can listen to part one and part two of that too if you want. If for some reason these links prove problematic the whole list of them is here and you can actually download them as podcasts.

Speaking of interviews, I cannot recall if I blogged about this one, but it was an interesting one too. I did an interview here about my Chicago connections, why I write about Chicago, etc. and I talk about the earliest work of fiction I ever wrote.

Here is something all YA fans should be interested in. Adele Walsh AKA Persnickety Snark is doing a poll of the 100 Best YA books. Her explanation of the project is here and you can vote for your favorites here. I'm not posting this to tell you to vote for my books as I kind of doubt they would wind up on there (though if they are in your top ten best list that really really means the world to me), but because I think it is a very cool project and intend to get around to voting myself as soon as I have time and have thoroughly thought my choices through (you write in your top ten, in order) since you have until April 30 to vote. Please tell me about some of your choices. It will add to my to-be-read list!!!

Oh and if you want a chance to win Ballads and some other great books that you might like to vote for on that list, Kate C of Read That Book! is running a contest for it that you can enter here until April 20.

Last but not least, are you in Chicago and would you like to take a writing class with me??? Well, there are two opportunities. One, if you are attending Columbia College Chicago next fall, I'm on the docket to teach Fiction 1, so you can have a whole semester of me. But if you don't attend Columbia or aren't prepared for that (I'm not sure I am either!), I am teaching a one-off class on Tuesday Maay 18 at Story Studio Chicago about character development. I did this in the fall/winter and I *loved* the environment at Story Studio and I'm feeling confident about the course since I already taught it once ;) You can read all about it and sign up here.

Okay that is all the excitement I have to share for now. I need to get to this morning's writing (yes nearly noon = morning for me)! But tomorrow I will be over at the Teen Fiction Cafe talking more about my Seattle trip!

Friday, March 19, 2010

GCC Presents: Elizabeth Scott!

I'm back from my adventures in Madison, Wisconsin. (I went to do a reading and hang out with old friends. In case you missed it, I posted on the MTV Books blog about my time living in Madison. I moved there on my own when I was 17.) And while I was there, spring finally arrived!!! But I will post about both of those things next week sometime when I'm (hopefully) a little less crazed (yeah right!). Right now I need to get ready for my reading tonight as part of the Story Week Festival of Writers, an awesome fest put on by my alma mater Columbia College Chicago. I'm doing a reading at Smart Bar (3730 N Clark) in Chicago that starts at 7 pm. It's 21+ and gonna be a blast so if you are of age I hope to see you there.

Today I am honored to bring you an interview with the amazing Elizabeth Scott. The thing I love about being part of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit is it puts me in a sisterhood with these incredible authors who I idolize (and honestly sometimes don't feel worthy of hanging out with in the cyber sense) and I get to interview them. Elizabeth's books are pure awesomeness. I stayed up all night in my bathroom one night (because hubby was sleeping and I'd gotten home from a slow night at work where I'd started reading it) to finish Living Dead Girl. So intense. The Unwritten Rule sounds different, but equally as good and I can't wait to pick it up myself.

Here's the lowdown about The Unwritten Rule:

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don't like you best friend's boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she's thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It's wonderful...and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more...

Now let's meet Elizabeth:

Elizabeth Scott grew up in a town so small it didn't even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She's sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn't want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, DC, with her husband; firmly believes you can never own too many books; and would love it if you visited her website,

And here is my interview with Elizabeth:

Q: Please tell us what your new book is about and what inspired you to write it.

Elizabeth: The Unwritten Rule actually came about because my editor at Simon Pulse, Jennifer Klonsky, and I were talking about friendships and high school and the things you just instinctively knew you could never ever do then, like be interested in a friend's boyfriend and I said, "Yeah, it's like the unwritten rule," and bam! There was the story. It just popped into my head--all the characters, everything that was going to happen--and I love my editor for letting me take the idea and run with it!

Q: If there was a soundtrack for your book what are five songs that would be on it and how do they relate the story?

Elizabeth: I don't listen to music when I write, so I have no idea what would be The Unwritten Rule's soundtrack--but I'd love to hear from readers about it!

Q: Who were some of your inspirations to become a writer or the inspirations that keep you writing? Feel free to include other authors, teachers, parents, or people in other creative fields, whoever is an inspiration to you!

Elizabeth: I started writing because I was bored out of my mind during a meeting. (No, seriously, that's really how I started!) As for inspiration--that would be my friends, who have believed in me for far longer than I believed in myself and who actually got me to get out there and try to get published! Plus they read all my crappy drafts. (I have some VERY nice friends!)

Q: Even though music plays in so heavily into my storytelling, I rarely can actually listen to it while I'm writing. Can you? How does music fit into your writing process?

Elizabeth: I don't listen to music at all because I get so sucked into what I'm doing that I don't notice anything. (My husband has had to pretty much come up and yell right into my ear to get my attention more than once!)

Q: What is next for you? What are you working on now?

Elizabeth: My next book, Grace, will be out from Dutton in September. It's about a girl who's been raised to be a suicide bomber--and what happens when she decides she wants to live.

Wow, that sounds like another truly intense book. Elizabeth is an amazing writer so do check out her books if you haven't yet guys!

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women Who Rock Wednesday: The Riot Grrrl Movement

Welcome to Women Who Rock Wednesday! The winner of my last contest, a prize pack from the Windy City Rollers is... Erica from Blogger! Erica I will email you shortly about your prize if you don't email me first at stephanie at stephaniekuehnert dot com :)

As you may have noticed I've gone to every other week with Women Who Rock Wednesday and it might remain that way for a little while. It takes a lot to set up these interviews, contests, etc and I'm trying to focus more on WIP writing than blog writing. Hope everyone is cool with that. I promise to bring as many cool women to your attention as often as possible.

This week I want to talk about a whole movement of women who had a huge influence on me as a teenager: the riot grrrl movement.

I did an interview with New York Public Librarian Marie Hansen in honor of Women's History Month and she asked me a whole bunch of questions about my involvement with riot grrrl and zine making. It made me seriously nostalgic and happy. So I wanted do a whole Women Who Rock Wednesday feature on it.

All of the pertinent details--how I discovered riot grrrl, my favorite bands, what zine-making meant to me, and the flaws that I saw in the movement that I think kept it from reaching its full potential--are in Marie's interview with me here.

I just wanted to say a few more things about what it meant to me. I got into riot grrrl at the end of my sophomore year of high school. I'd been into the music for a while, Bikini Kill, L7, Hole, and Babes in Toyland at least, some of which aren't technically riot grrrl bands, but they led me to more great music like Heavens to Betsy, Sleater Kinney, Lucid Nation, Bratmobile, Excuse 17, Team Dresch, and the Third Sex. But the summer between sophomore and junior year, I started reading zines and seeking out more information about riot grrrl because I needed some real girl power in my life. I was angry, I was depressed, to put it bluntly I was fucked-up on many levels. I'd just come out of an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship and I didn't know how to talk about it. I had low self-esteem from that and from years of being teased by mean girls and cruel boys. I took my pain out on myself with razor blades. I searched for control in my life by refusing to eat some days just to show that I could. So it felt good to scream along to Corin Tucker from Heavens to Betsy when she sang, "I got a knife that's sharpened exactly for one white boy." Because I wished I did. I wished I could cut everything that hurt out of me. Instead I learned to talk about it. That's what riot grrrl gave me.

I poured my pain into my zines. It was the early days of the internet but I found a forum on AOL about riot grrrl. A list serv was born and I chatted with girls across the country about the many hurts we had endured and how we could change things. It was part political movement and part group therapy. And there is nothing wrong with that. It was exactly what I needed at sixteen. I met one of my best friends on that list serv. She lived in another Chicago suburb and we met up at a Sleater-Kinney show at the Fireside Bowl. We would literally escape our painful pasts together by moving north to Wisconsin as soon as I finished high school. Our little apartment felt like a utopia at times. A place of writing and music and healing that I shared with one of my best friends and my cat.

In spring of my junior year I helped organize Midwest Girl Fest with some girls who had been part of riot grrrl since the beginning. You'll note that we called it Girl fest and not Grrrl fest. This is because people were already splitting from that term. That saddened me, though as I explained in my interview with Marie, I understood why. Regardless of what terms were used for it, I'd found a much-needed sisterhood to get me through my darkest hour. At the Midwest Girl Fest, we had an open mic and I read a spoken word piece about my abusive relationship. I admitted exactly what it was and told the whole story to a supportive audience. It was a huge step toward healing.

Those pictures above are me as a sixteen or seventeen year old grrrl and this is what riot grrrl helped me to become:

Yeah, as a movement or a scene it had its problems, but the music, the zines, the friendships I formed saved my life and made me into the woman I am today. And I will believe in revolution grrrl style forever.

To share exactly what riot grrrl meant to me this week (well for the next two weeks actually), I'm giving away a mix CD of my favorite riot grrrl/nineties girl power songs (because screw labels, lets just focus on good music) and a zine... maybe more than one zine. I'll have to go through my collection and see if there are some I can part with (ie. zines I didn't write) and I'll throw in one I wrote too.

To enter, as usual all you have to do is leave a comment. In honor of women's history month, tell me about the woman in history who has influenced you most. It could be history as recent as the 90s and riot grrrl scene seeing as those are some of the women who influenced me the most.

And you get bonus entries too of course:
+1 for each link to and/or tweet about this blog entry
+1 for each link to and/or tweet about Marie's interview
+5 for writing your own blog about women in history

Note your additional entries in your comment and be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win. I'll draw a winner in two weeks!

Monday, March 8, 2010

WIP update, Contests, Upcoming Events & a Ballads-inspired ballad

I know, I know, I've been terrible at this whole blogging thing lately. Hopefully I'll get back on my usual three to four posts a week schedule soon. I've been working extra shifts at the bar, trying to work on two books at once, fight seasonal depression and a major case of distraction, so yeah...

But I just handed in the third version of a partial and synopsis that I've been working on for over a year. While the major themes have remained the same--grief and Greek Mythology--the story has evolved a lot over that time thanks to extensive talks with my agent and consultation with my critique partners and lots of brainstorming, reading, and research on my part. Every book has a new process and I tend to forget how long it actually takes me to formulate an idea. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone came together slowly over three years or so. A crappy early version of what would become Ballads of Suburbia had to be written, abandoned for five years until I sorted out the way it should work. Though I have a lot of ideas, I'm not the kind of writer where lightning strikes and I know the whole story or even have a strong idea of the whole arc that will definitely work. If there are those kinds of writers out there, well I kind of hate you. I hope one day lightning will strike that way for me.

Regardless, I think the story is finally right. I'm extremely excited about it. My agent is excited about it. In a couple weeks, she'll give me some final edits and then it will go out the door. In the meantime, I tackle another idea that I've been toying with for even longer, probably since fall of 2007. My bartender book. I've got a phone date tomorrow and hope to get it on track then.

Anyway so that is what I have been up to. Focusing all of my creative thoughts on those projects has drained me so I haven't been blogging much. But I did write a couple of blogs in other places that I hope you will enjoy reading... Oh and they come with contests if that helps to bribe you...

One of my group blogs, Teen Fiction Cafe, is celebrating its three year anniversary through Saturday March 13. Every day since March 1, one of my TFC sisters has posted a blog about the challenges and triumphs they faced in their writing careers over the past three years. Most of them are giving out prizes too. So you will want to go to TFC, read all the blogs and enter all the contests. I posted my blog entry on Saturday. It was kind of perfect timing because three years ago on that day I *almost* sold my first book... but I didn't. I was in a scary place, about to give up on my dreams, battling the demons of self-doubt that aren't too unlike the ones I'm battling now trying to *stay* published. Anyway it is here. You may find it interesting or you may just want to enter the contest to win your choice of either of my books.

Then, yesterday on Read This Book! I wrote about the YA novels that have left a lasting impression on me, the one that influenced me most as a writer (Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block) and the one that has inspired me most recently (Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly) and you can enter to win Ballads of Suburbia. So check that out here.

I also have a string of events coming up... Events that I probably should have publicized a bit more, but I'm doing it now so please please please come if you can.

This Saturday, March 13 from 10 to 4, I'm taking part in the Litworks Festival in Harwood Heights, IL. I'm leading free (for teens, $5 for adults) writing workshops about music and writing and speaking on a panel with other fabulous writers including Simone Elkeles, James Kennedy, Daniel Kraus, Barry Lyga, Adam Selzer, Terry Trueman, and Jake Wizner. All the info is here.

Then Sunday afternoon I leave for my former home of Madison, Wisconsin to visit friends and do an event. On Tuesday, March 16 at 6:30, I'll be reading at A Room of One's Own bookstore in Madison. I hope to see my Wisconsin fans and friends out in force. All the details are here.

And on Friday the 19th, I'll be back home in Chicago, reading at one of my favorite bars in the city, Smart Bar as part of my favorite literary event, Story Week. That event starts at 7:00 and is 21+. Here there be more info.

So that is it until April, when I have a hometown event in Oak Park, and then I'll be in NYC at the end of May. I'll announce dates for that as soon as I have all of the info. I decided against doing a Seattle event while I'm out there. Partly because I only heard from one person interested in attending, partly because my favorite bookstore out there (Bailey Coy) has closed, but mainly because I need a vacation. Like a real one with no business obligations whatsoever.

Lastly I wanted to share with you something that seriously made my day. One of my readers, Stephen Kent, sent me a tweet (tweeted to me? using twitter and tweet as verbs still stumps me) that he'd posted a bunch of his songs on myspace including one inspired by my book Ballads of Suburbia. I cannot tell you how much things like this mean to me. Letters and messages from readers always make my day. And the fact that my art inspired more art.... wow. That's all I can say. And the song is really really good and gives me chills. The mood reminds me of the acoustic Alice in Chains stuff though obviously Stephen has his own voice/style. You should listen to it on MySpace here. The Ballads inspired song is called "No Shelter" (though it just appears as Shelter on the playlist.) Enjoy! And if Ballads or IWBYJR inspires you to create art, please do send me links like this. It makes me very happy. And until my Seattle trip/spring's arrival I need all the happy I can get :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Venting and Daydreaming

It's been one of those weeks that started out on the wrong foot and just won't seem to get on track. Saturday night/Sunday morning, I had the rare douchebag customer who reminded me of the jocks/mean boys that I hated growing up. We don't get many of that type in my bar (one of the many reasons I love working there), but when we do things tend to go badly. This guy disputed that it wasn't precisely 3 am when I told him it was time to go--despite the fact that I'd given a 20 minute warning (last call), a ten minute warning, and a five minute warning, all shouted at the top of my lungs because he and his stupid friend were screaming along completely offkey to the worst songs in our jukebox. I told him too bad, I'd given him adequate warning, it was my bar, my rules, and I'd decreed we were closing now. I also pointed out that all bars close a few minutes before closing time because, legally, I cannot have people in the bar with drinks in their hands even one minute past closing time so I need to make sure they are out. He argued that other bars didn't do this. Total bullshit seeing as where did the phrase "bar time" come from. Everyone knows that bar time means a clock set ten to fifteen minutes fast because bars *always* kick you out slightly early. But I did not get to argue that. Not that I wanted to because I was tired. Instead, my plan was to tell him to give me his beer and get out and if he was resistant, I planned to refund him his money and then he could get out and if he was further resistant, I would call the police.

Instead another well-meaning, but still somewhat irritating guy decided to stand up for me. I dislike this. I dislike the fact that some guys think because I am a woman they can push me around (ie the douchebag) and other guys think that because I am a woman, I cannot stand up for myself (ie well-meaning but still irritating guy). He told the guy that he needed to leave because "the lady says it's time to go." Then he attempted to take the guy's drink out of his hand. As you can imagine this did not go down well. Punches were thrown but since all involved were drunk, nothing really connected. A small brawl broke out. I got everyone out through separate exits and called the non emergency police number, asking them to drive by and make sure no one hung around and fought. But it ruined my night. It marked the end of my good week and the beginning of a bad one.

Now it is Tuesday afternoon and I cannot shake the funk. Emails are making me grumpy. I'm not feeling like I'm in a good place writing was. And I am so over winter. I'm fucking sick of being cold, of half-melted dirty snow, of the ugly Midwestern winter pall. Yesterday I attempted a bubblebath to lift my mood, but ended up crying because I'd cut jalapenos earlier and the hot water made the burning on my dry, cracked hands start up again and I was just having a total I hate my life moment.

Today was no better, another day of waiting and bad news from a friend. Shortly I'm having my brother over to watch Buffy and Freaks and Geeks and play old video games in hopes of boosting our spirits, but I just needed to make a list of aspirations in hopes that if I look at it tomorrow it will inspire me (as opposed to bring out my pessimistic I will never achieve that side) and the streak of shitty luck will come to an end.

Things I am working to attain:
-Sell another book. A book that will do much better and reach a wider audience than the last two books. A book that will make people want to go back and read the last two books, especially Ballads because I really want to see it have a wider readership.
-Move to Seattle. I can't do Midwestern winter anymore. Give me rain over snow. Give me the beautiful green. Give me my place that inspires rather than depresses.
-Travel abroad. Scotland and Ireland especially. I really must get to those two places as soon as possible.
-Go back to New Orleans. Miss it. 10 years is too long.
-More road trips. Want to drive to the Badlands, also want to drive all of Route 66.
-Bartend by choice instead of out of necessity. So I get to enjoy the company of the customers I love and avoid the douchebags.
-Get some new clothes. It's been awhile.
-Tattoos. I really want to be able to do my big designs soon.
-Sell another book, sell another book, sell another book. Books that mean something. Books that make me proud. Books that have an impact on people.

Okay that's it. And if I look at this tomorrow and am still frustrated... well at least my trip to Seattle is less than a month away.

Sorry this was a lame blog entry. I just needed to vent and daydream.