Friday, October 24, 2008

Monkey With Typewriter Needs to Read More!

Monkey on the Brain

Obviously I'm running with a theme. Monkeys, Monkeys, Monkeys. Homo sapien (wise human), Homo inferus (inferring human), Homo novus (New Human [from Big Bang theory]). Ivan and I have joked all week about Bad Monkeys, Smart Monkeys, and those Dumb Monkeys that should drown in Darwin's gene pool. So I have included one of the 'Duh' moments when I want to slap some Monkeys on the head:

The caption reads: A pedestrian crosses Cushman Street at the 1st Avenue intersection while talking on a cell phone Thursday afternoon, October 23, 2008. City officials, seeing an increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic, plan to improve the snow removal program to clear out snow berms and sidewalks earlier to make it easier and safer for walkers and bikers to get around town. (photo by Eric Engman)

Wow! They think they should remove the snow berms and sidewalks earlier? Like when it snows. Really? You mean all those years when I trudged to work through knee high snow for three days following a snow storm might have posed a hazard to my being. They're joking right? Fairbanks has always had massive pedestrian traffic. Only that traffic was created by the Alaskans Natives and the homeless who roam there frequently. Now we are seeing more white and Mexicans, and whatever non- Alaskan Native races. For the record I'm not Alaskan Native, though many people mistaken me for one. I am Mexican and I pay attention to the way people are viewed and treated in this community. I see to whom this city reacts. It reacts to the people with the dollars and the right skin colors. Do I like being accosted by inhibriates in the streets? Nope. They are still people and I still give them respect. Do I like to be stared down by the gang banger wannabes on a Sunday afternoon? No, so I don't respond by staring back. I keep aware. I have learned how to protect myself and I do not travel in those uneasy hours alone. I know my city. I know people think this place is harmless. I know people try to hide the problems. You can't. So yeah, I think it's great that the city wants to plow the sidewalks within a reasonable time, but really did we have to wait until some white woman on a cell phone struggled to get across the street before we noticed the problem. No wonder business in downtown has been failing for several years.

Out with the Old, In with the New

Whew! After that rant, I think I'm ready for a beer and some TV. Instead I got to visit my second most favorite place in the world (okay not really). It is 2008, which means my driver's license expired. I have now realized that the stress, strain, and time consumption visiting the DMV in Fairbanks is all a myth. When I had to replace the driver's license featured in my right hand, I got through pretty quickly and with the exception of a grouchy Mexican man who crushed the seal and refused to replace it, all was well. My previous DMV visits had been hell (and don't plan on going to the Valdez DMV without chocolate, roses, and a submissive attitude) so I thought this last trip was a fluke.

Today though was not too much different. I got the paperwork (that part I did not remember). I got called to the booth before I even got the paperwork finished. I took my eyesight test in two seconds, had my picture taken and was out of there with a booklet for Ivan before an episode of Big Bang theory (30 minutes) could be finished. I even had time to get a cup of coffee before going back to my reading. Therefore, I proclaim the crowded, slow moving, frustrating DMV myth dead in Fairbanks, Alaska. I'm sure it will still hold true in Los Angeles, California where I once sat all day waiting for my aunt to get her license renewed. Coeur d' Alene, Idaho was not bad at all, but I haven't had to visit their DMV since I was sixteen years old.

Good Writers Read and Read, and Read Some More

OK. Yes, every writing coach has told me this. I've had it stamped on my forehead, notebooks, and email. I do read here and there, but little I finish. So yesterday I was confronted with the question. How many books have you read this last year. Shamefully, I had to write 1 (it might have been 2, but why think that's anymore impressive). I am very bad about reading to the end, which makes me think this is why I have trouble finishing writing projects. It isn't that I don't like to read. I love to read. I especially love to read textbooks and self-help books. Novels catch my interest, but I tend to get restless after ten pages. It's not that the work isn't interesting, I just have a hard time reading something that doesn't have a direct application to my life. But what I have not accepted until now, is that fiction does have a direct application. It is what gives me the juice to work on my own fiction. The past two days I have felt drained and I should. I have completed a short story and three or four new poems. Not all of them were good, but I gave it the good college try. Now I need to refresh, put new ideas into my head, and finish some of those books sitting on my shelf. This is hard because I just want to go home, eat, and do chores (or sleep). I tell myself there are better things to do than read. This has got to end. I need to read to work as much as I need to eat to live. I have a goal to add at least ten hours of reading a week to my schedule. I want to increase it, but ten is a good start. I'll keep you posted on how that goes and how it affects my writing.

Wow! I had a lot to say today.

I'll post more later... Peace... RK

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