It's like Sixteen Candles.

One thing I've discovered, from time and lack of effort is, my birthday won't matter in ten or twenty years when I'm married and I'm taking care of a couple children. Why should I bother now? I'm nineteen, a birthday just isn't the same as it used to be. I should be excited about some new audio CD that I may have asked for, or a movie recently released on DVD. But I'm not. It's just another notch on the wall for me. I hardly see myself as cynical, but that's sort of the gusto with which I approach birthdays.

(Mr. Thesaurus says, "Gusto = appetite, appreciation, ardor, brio, delectation, delight, enjoyment, excitement, exhilaration, fervor, heart, liking, palate, passion, pleasure, relish, savor, taste, verve, zeal, zest.")

It's a capitalism on my life to deal with how old I am at a given time. As children we ached and yearned for each new moment and each new day. We even told people we were half ages. And as we learned new fractions we incorporated them into our regime of time. Oh how wild we would have roared to celebrate Half-Birthdays as well!

The likelihood of a thirty-something telling you he's thirty-three-and-a-half is somewhere between nil (n. Nothing; zero) and zip (n. Slang. Nothing; nil; zero) in the dictionary. But that's pretty much my philosophy on life; I'm never halfway anywhere, I'm either there or I'm not, it doesn't matter how much of an in-between I could be.

With that said, my life is Sixteen Candles. The main difference is, I won't be upset if my birthday is forgotten.

The man my sister is marrying is Greek Orthodox. What this means is: my sister got baptised; the wedding is in a Greek Orthodox church that looks like the Parthenon; and there's going to be roughly two hundred and fifty people from his family, and only about twenty people from ours.

Does anyone remember that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Ian's family goes to visit and meet Toula's family before the wedding, and they're conservative and boring and the Greeks are loud and flamboyant and boisterous?

Like Sam in the 80s classic Sixteen Candles, I will be a casual observer of unbridaled (but bride-d and groom-ed) mayhem. My world will be turned upside down after I've met the fourth cousin named Nick. Only then will I truly understand the sheer audacity of the world we live in.

And what of my poor sister who will be caught in a web of Greek Orthodox motherhood? What of her? She will turn over a new page in her book of life. She will hand in her deck of tarot cards, the goblet of eternal youth somehow missing from her chosen few slips of futureboard. But who needs eternal youth when you can get married to a wonderful person and have wonderful children and do a job that you truly enjoy? What's more perfect than growing old with your true love and seeing your children go off to college to benefit the world? Nothing, as long as you stop worrying about how old you are. Nothing, as long as you forget it's your birthday. If everybody forgets something exists, you can't very well celebrate it, can you? How old could you possibly be without a birthday? I propose I stay nineteen forever, simply through neglectfulness.

My sister's thirty year old kids with their twenty-eight year old mother, now that's a story for the newspapers. As long as she doesn't name any of them Nick.

And wouldn't she be twenty-eight and a half?

(Note: In an ironic twist of fate, I realized that the word "very" is between nil and zip in the dictionary.)

Writing Jack London once wrote, “You can't sit around and wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Dear E2:

It was past two in the morning, I had to wake for work in less than six hours, but I simply couldn't bring myself to stop to read your nodes. As a child who loved to read, this was not an uncommon scenario. The node was Sid's Human Rights and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia , and as weary as I was, I simply couldn't stop. Tramping alongside the poor, sick, and hungry, was much more alluring than turning to the confines of my bed. As I visualized running through the thick undergrowth, dying of poverty, I did not feel tired. Rather, I tasted my bitterness of how much the world generally speaking fucking "sucks" these days. For the first time, I was experiencing something rather than just reading about it. Among this, my earliest desire was to write you a thank you note.

I subsequently began to consume every genre of writing. Fiction, non-fiction, drama; books, newspapers and magazines; I read them all and started to glean ideas for what to write on my own. When I sat down to write a novel in the December of eighth grade, I could not have been more excited. I gave my parents advance notice of how I intended to dethrone Stephen King from his lofty perch. Outside my room I taped a sign with the following message: The Talented Miland is writing a famous novel. KEEP OUT! Ten minutes into writing the “famous novel” I was already frustrated; I didn't like what I was writing, and the words were coming too slowly. After thirty minutes, I regretted making such sweeping statements and posting the sign. Finally, after two hours, with only two messy pages to show for it, I quit. Every great idea I envisioned appeared distorted once scrawled on paper. The writing was repetitive and mechanical, and it lacked the piercing emotion, clarity and imagery I found in all my favorite books.

Frustrated, I bemoaned my utter lack of skill. What I wanted were intense, colorful characters, an intriguing plot, and a vivid setting; what I produced were only vague shadows of my idealized imagination. It seems ridiculous in retrospect, but my naïveté led me to believe books – the end products of a year or several years' work – could be written effortlessly.

One day, having long retired any idea of writing, much less becoming an author, I stumbled across a quote by Joseph Heller: “Every writer I know has trouble writing.” With that short statement, it finally dawned on me that no writer – not even critically acclaimed ones – begins writing quality first drafts. Everyone starts off rotten. The only characteristic that separates those who want to write and those who do write, is persistence.

When I put together my first article for E2, a voice in the back of my head taunted me relentlessly. Each word, phrase and sentence I wrote was inevitably targeted with crippling self-criticism. At many times I was on the verge of quitting just to rid myself of that painful voice - but I gripped my pen tightly and pressed forward, keeping in mind that it was only a rough draft. When I completed, it was in a deformed, sorry state. I could have stopped to save myself the embarrassment, but I was tired of being someone who says one thing and does another. With my determination redoubled, I rewrote the article. Each subsequent revision added definition and complexity to the crude original, and the article began to form. The structure, at first haphazard and inconsistent, slowly grew a shape. The words, once lackluster and uninspired, began to breathe with energy that I could hardly believe had come from me.

Although the time I spend writing has only increased, every time I sit down to do it I still face the same challenge. Before me looms the same monolith and I only have a blunt hammer to carve my way past. For an instant, I hesitate, an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and inadequacy overtakes me. The end product may flicker elusively in the distance, but I grasp the hammer anyway, and with both hands, I start to chip away. Thank you

~Love~,
Miland

This was originally posted in the node Supplier where a short-lived (?) newbie noder had posted a writeup which exclusively contained: elo wats is this—he had already made some noise in the chatterbox but any explanation about E2 there seemed to sift right through him, something which is understandable given the buzz and useless sarcasm that abound in the cattybox whenever a new user asks questions. I was just trying to find a medium that would hold his attention for a couple minutes, so I quickly wrote up and posted the introduction to E2 below. Given its wildly inappropriate placement it was quickly klaprothed but I still wanted it to live on in the database. I hope today's daylog will be a haven for this no-good bad "noding about noding" bit.

 

E2 is the way the internet was supposed to be. E2 is a reference collection, a novel that writes itself, poetry that reads to itself, and the shiny toy that never grows dull. It is the potential to exceed the sum of its parts.
loquacious

This is a node, i.e. a page inside Everything2 (this website). What you just created was a writeup. Writeups are basically articles, written about what the node is named. You've just experienced the Everything2 (E2) experience, because this is what we're all about: nodes and writeups.

E2 is a website full of writing about, well, everything. As long as it's high quality, it can stay. If it's not, it gets deleted. And that's all there is to know. That's what we're about and that's what we do.

This place also functions as a sort of encyclopedia, so we like nodes to be connected with each other. We do this by including hypertext links (the usual links you see on any webpage) in our writing, which point to other nodes inside E2. We have hard links and pipe links which are included inside our writeups, and soft links which are included in a table at the bottom of the node, below the writeups.

You've spent some time in the E2 chatterbox, which is a chat feature that E2's Management built, notably, to help newbies like you understand this unique and wonderful place. But it's not what matters. We're not about idle Internet chat. We aren't bulletin board or web forum either. Unlike this one, writeups are expected to be relevant to their node title, and to stand on their own, as opposed to just being an asinine reply to an above writeup.

What we do here is write stuff that gets put into E2, read stuff that's on E2, and talk about what we read and what we write. If you have something unique and beautiful to contribute, and everybody does; if you can do so in proper English, can learn about three HTML tags and have working [square bracket] keys, then you will do magnificently here.

And remember:

Enjoy yourself. This is utmost in importance.

An e-mail to a friend:

Yes, it has come to this, I WILL tell you about my day, because what the FUCK it was so weird.

  1. I leave my house this morning to go to work. I'm wearing black pants and white shirt, no makeup, hair down, generally plain jane and not at all flashy. And my big Navy coat over it all. I'm walking along 156th by Pal-Do World, reading Love in the Time of Cholera, when I notice that a car is coasting next to the curb and matching my speed. I look up. It's an SUV with a clean-cut, nerdy-looking guy in the driver's seat. I stop (in retrospect, this was retarded). He rolls down his window (this is where I should have started running or snarling). "Uh, excuse me, miss? Um, I just wanted to say...you have the most beautiful red hair I've ever seen. Um. Have a nice day." "Thanks?" (wrong answer here, too) He waves and drives off. I notice that's it's an Eddie Bauer edition Explorer, no less. I immediately regret not cussing him out. In what fucking universe is this acceptable behavior?! I start to freak out a little. Is he stalking me? Is he a serial killer? Why didn't I cuss him out??? (an aside, for those of you who think this is perfectly acceptable: He DID stop the car. After cruising next to me for quite a while. That is creepy. Read up on how teenage girls get kidnapped in broad daylight on open streets by being pulled into cars, if you still feel like berating me about it.)
  2. At bus stop, reading book and trying to quell The Fear. Truck slows down to honk at me. I don't even look up. Bastards.
  3. Arrive at work. Coworker Jessi relates two tales of male creepiness that happened to her before I arrive. I relate mine. We commiserate. Feeling better afterwards for a while. Safer. We talk about psychology and anthropology and I drown my sorrows in intellectual stimulus.
  4. Jessi leaves, I'm on my own. Guy comes in that I sort of recognize, to tell me the chemical makeup of pewter (which we had touched on briefly a few weeks ago and I expressed an interest in finding out what it was). He's polite and leaves on his own. Okay. Fine with this, mostly. Now I know what antimony is, at any rate. Mm...data. Soothing.
  5. Young man walks past the store twice, grinning at me through the windows both times. I ignore him. Can't handle it today.
  6. Arranging racks. Some dude in a baseball hat: "Uh, excuse me? Like, I'm not going to buy anything, but uh...you mumble mutter." "What." "You look uh, nice." "Thanks." I'm fed up at this point. I give him a horrible sneer (which could be mistaken for a smile, I suppose) and he leaves. Fucking Christ!
  7. I close up and go to see the band that's playing swing music in the food court. Sideline: I like dancing. I like dancing with a partner. I like swing dancing. Back to main story: Talk to a neat older lady who's friends with Jessi and is a store regular. I tell her I wish I had a partner and she hooks me up with a slightly pudgy young man with black hair, beard and glasses. He's a nice guy, not creepy, not large, not anything. Just kinda bland and friendly and hey, he can dance. So we dance, and I only hit him in the face by accident a few times. Turns out he's a programmer (duh) and a gamer (duh) and a general nerd (duh). We dance and talk till the end of the set, probably due to me being desperate to unload my creeping feelings of misandry acquired throughout the day. He's One of Us, and totally nonthreatening. Anyhoo, I let him walk me home and he continues to be chivalrous, and interesting enough, and not creepy. So I introduce him to the roomies and show him some of my work and give him my e-mail address and kick him out because I have to work. And he goes. And he lives in Omaha, so I never have to see him again. Yay. Some faith in male humans is restored.

But why today?! What did I do today to be so...inspiring? Who are these other creeps? Why do they think it's okay to stop me on the street, or when I'm trying to work? WHY?

This, teaspoon, is the horror of being female. We were talking about it a little last night. This was a particularly bad day for it, and not just for me, but it's exemplary nonetheless. The constant FEAR. Were any of these men serial killers? Probably not, but maybe. I fit all sorts of victim profiles; I can't help it. Did any of them want to hurt me? A little more likely. But what if I -had- just totally yelled at them? More danger. They look for cracks in my composure. They want an excuse to keep interacting with me. I can't even... The fastest, least dangerous way to get rid of them is to smile and nod and say 'thanks.' I hate that. I hate feeling like I have to play along with this bullshit.

This would have been a -completely- horrible day were it not for the very end, which was somewhat reassuring. And that's why I did it, because I can't let this sort of unsettlement take hold. It's crippling. Better to force myself to do something like dance with a friendly little programmer for a few minutes and then have a normal conversation. Better than walking home alone, in the dark, snarling and clenching my fists. This way I was forced to maintain composure, to keep myself from being derailed.

Can you understand these things? I am curious. Does it seem weak, or paranoid, or unreasonable? Maybe you have some similar issues with your fans. I do not know. I am...stressed, I suppose.

So now I work. If I can finish the site, maybe I will feel better. Like...a person. Maybe not a HUMAN. But a person.

I am terribly on edge, but it's fading. Day off tomorrow. Day off from...ugh...the WORLD.

- E

I am trapped.

Trapped between my parents.
Trapped between society's idea of a good life and a bad life.
Trapped between what could be the love of my life, and what could be just another girl.

Let's start with my father since that's been what my past few daylogs have been about.

We went to the windy city last weekend. He was there to meet his girlfriend's Mom, I was along for the ride because I happen to like cities. We're out to dinner one night at this quasi-nice French bistro (which my Dad's girlfriend's Mom, Avette, happens to own) when Avette starts to pull out ring diagrams and talking about "the reception". You have to picture, I'm absently chewing my cassoulet Toulousain, fork half in my mouth when I hear that they are in fact getting married. Soon. Later I will find out that my Dad still has not talked to my brother about any of this and he's even more in the dark than I am.

Speaking of which, he's not raising my brother properly. My brother told me he never see's Dad. He says he can't talk to him about anything, and my brother's a fairly level headed guy for a 17 year-old. Sometimes, if I'm in the right mood, I get the feeling that if life had a do-over, he would never have gotten married and had kids. He seems to only care that my brother and I are doing well in school, and that we have enough money for necessities. I have a sister he doesn't speak to. Does he care about us? Does he lay awake at night and wonder if his kids are happy like I do about him? He seems to be a very complex man with folds in his personality. You could lift one up and discover he's not the man you've always known him to be.

I was supposed to go over to my Mom's house last night so she could take me out for my birthday and I could do some laundry. My dog, Ben, always enjoys her two dogs as well. I brought up some problems I was having with my girlfriend: the fact that I can't get a good discussion or opinion out of her despite her being fairly intelligent. She gave me some cursory advice and then started to talk about the divorce. She brings this up whenever she feels she can fit it in. Normally I skirt away from such discussions, but I figured if she's listening to my problems, I can listen to hers; really I was letting her vent. One thing led to another and pretty soon she was telling me it was my own fault she threw me in a holding cell one night when I was 17.

I really must do a writeup on that, but long story short: she was blocking me from plugging a computer into the wall (after having unplugged it while I was working on a paper), so I turned sideways and nustled by her to plug it back in. Later, when the police were trying to explain to her that they couldn't arrest my 11 year-old brother for squirting water in the house, she tells them I pushed her. On go the cuffs, out go me.

It should be noted that even my sister, who was yelling at me at the time, says I didn't push her. This is only relevant because last night my Mom says, "...oh we're going to get into that! You pushed me!". Anyone who knows me for any amount of time knows that I am a passive person and would never push anyone simply because we're arguing. I stormed out of the house. Having my own mother throw me in jail is a wound I doubt will ever heal. Now I don't know if I'll ever speak to her again.

So you see I feel like I can't trust either one of my parents. One doesn't care what is happening, and one sees me as some sort of criminal over something that didn't even happen 6 years ago. Yet here I am in my nice apartment typing on one of my 3 computers. Do I have a right to complain? Am I living the good life, or do I have it hard? I actually feel guilty for feeling bad since I have it so good.

Hahaha welcome to my FUCKED UP life.

Are you too bogged down with worldly cares,
To even take the time to pray
Or lend someone a helping hand,
To help him along life's way?
Are you too busy to take the time
To speak a kind consoling word,
Or do you leave this task to others,
Hoping through them they will be heard?
There's plenty of work for us to do
And no time for us to delay
So why not do all the good you can
To help build God's kingdom right away?
Will you accept His plan of salvation
And receive the gift of abounding love
That He bestows on true believers
And is freely given from above?
Since the harvest is great and the laborers are few,
Will you let Him come in your heart to stay,
And will He find you working in His vineyard
If He should come today?
Fuck you, I am an atheist

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