doesn't need more syllables
to be a poem.
doesn't need more syllables
to be a poem.
I'm sure you know that amuse and bemuse are not synonyms. I know it, too, but it's a thing I tend to forget. (Amusement is mild entertainment, whereas to be bemused is to be confused or befuddled. No knock on you if you didn't know)
The Simpsons once made a joke that played directly on the difference between the two--If I remember correctly, Ned Flanders created a Christian theme park to honor his late wife's memory. When people stood in front of the statue of her they started to convulse and speak in tongues. A miracle? No, the statue was near a gas leak, and the park was shut down. Someone, possibly Chief Wiggum, observed to the crushed Ned, "Looks like your amusement park is more of a bemusement park." Rimshot!
I get the joke, but the first time I heard it it was funny to me for a different reason. I thought the wordplay was not about the definition, but was distinguishing A-musing from B-musing, as in, not on the A-list. I think it kind of works on that level, if only because it sounds funny, and clearly that which is not an A is a lower or lesser thing. The sound of it reinforces the other meaning, too. Of course, over-thinking a joke tends to kill it, but it still caught my interest.
Do you have a pet peeve around any misused words? Do you like the new words that are being created through mishearing and repetition? Not so much "refudiate," but I noticed a repairman here pointing to a drip said, "See? It's condensating." That's not a word, but neither is "conversate," a verb that evolved from hip-hop lyrics into everyday speech, probably because it scans well and has a nice hard "T" sound to tap at the end. What were you doing yesterday when I called? Oh, you know, just hanging out, conversating. It's bemusing, but also makes a kind of sense.
So after years of priding myself on a sort of Foxfire-book-like dedication to doing without creature comforts, including those required to make my work possible, I had a spontaneous freakout and invested in mid-speed DSL service. Suddenly my life is very swanky and has Xavier Cugat's "One Mint Julep" on endless repeat for a soundtrack. Or would, if the locksmith would finally repair my door and all the other little failing bits and pieces of this place would self-heal. My neighbor has skin removed from behind his ear, then sent to a lab to create new skin which is later used to patch a cancerous area on his leg. What if you could scrape a sample of telephone line and grow new fixtures in a petri dish? The mind reels. Mine does, anyway.
This newness comes with a high price tag, and dovetails uncomfortably with a rent increase. It has been interesting to look at my squirrel-brained insanity around money and try to relinquish a little of it and trust that enough work will come along, that things will be okay, not to worry worry worry this into some sort of health crisis. Being displaced from my office by December's storms and the general sluggishness of payroll as businesses deal with 1099's in January has meant I've made exactly jack squat this entire month, though I've been busy as ever. So the wolf is at the door, and now she's got a litter to feed.
Exactly where the new and more lucrative work I'm seeking will come from as yet remains a mystery, but I am looking. Much faster than usual. And willing to put body parts to wheels and grindstones and Twitter feeds as required. Need copy? Get in touch. I'm ready to work.
As a person who has had a long-standing uneasiness with Facebook as a substitute for human interaction, I never considered Twitter anything but more of the same, yet somehow worse. I was persuaded to join by the Smashwords website, which advocated using Twitter to promote any ebooks I write. I'm surprised by how enjoyable it is to use.
To be fair, I'm working daily toward a world where most communication could fit into the space allocated to cookie fortunes, so maybe I should have seen the usefulness of a 140 character limit sooner. It's not just that, though. There's considerably less of the "here's what I'm eating, reading, buying" flow that makes Facebook difficult for me. Here's my life, from which you are largely excluded. Stand on the porch and look inside through the peephole at the tiny cluster of people inside. Now log off. Twitter is funnier, more direct, to the point. I feel a sense of place in the midst of it. I would not have thought such a thing possible.
I've tried twice to upload my tiny feed to this website, but it doesn't want to go. In the meantime, I am a human being named Heather Seggel who would rather have friends than a social network, but I'm also @HeatherSeggel, should you want to follow me.
Wow. This always happens with me and blogging. I get so comfortable with the fact that nobody's reading that I leave my usual measured voice behind and just start ranting and throwing cats around. But those last two posts ended up serving a useful purpose. While they might scare away potential clients (and they shouldn't, because I could be dismembered in a ditch and still produce clean copy on a really tight deadline, honest), I got some clarity about my situation and am less frantic. Well, slightly less.
Being homeless cured me of hoarding stuff, but I'm an inveterate word hoarder, and it sometimes overlaps into a tendency to think cumulatively and obsessively about things. It's funny, because I prefer to err on the side of brevity in writing, always. My first drafts read like I just ran into you after a summer away at camp and will positively DIE if I don't tell you about the book I just read, but 95 percent of that crap is removed to hopefully make way for a coherent piece that's more about the book and less about how cute I think I am. It's much harder to quiet my mind in similar fashion, and when things happen in clusters I feel conspired against by the universe. So a rent hike, mice, rats, leaks, rejection of two creative pieces I was nudging around...well, the only logical conclusion is that someone's got it in for me. And I suck as a writer, which means I'm good at exactly nothing. Yay!
It was surprising to be pulled up short by an advice column in my local paper (the only part I read, and that includes my own weekly column which just advises you to eat a lot of farmers market food). The idea that tying unrelated events together might be a play for attention based on a stack of false premises hit home rather forcefully. It doesn't mean I'm going to invite the mice into my bed, or that my ceiling is miraculously cured--in fact, a repairman came today and tore the whole thing apart, then left wet insulation and ceiling chunks everywhere and never came back or called. Conspiracy? No! The guy's just a dunderhead, and that I can deal with.
I still want to move, but treading water like this is building new muscles, too. I just need to get out before ten years have passed with nothing to show for them. Oh, and the answer to my writing question is, apparently, you just knuckle down and do it wherever you can. Sometimes the adversity is a headache, and other times it's useful to press against. So: drafting, editing, finishing. Fun all around.
Heather L. Seggel
imagines a world where blog posts are short enough to fit inside of cookies.