Free Form Journal Day Wherein I Might Have A Point…Or Not

ETA (10/10/15):  The below “Flash Journal” was written with a timer nearby. I had just enough time for one brief scan for editing and hoped I’d caught the major typos, grammar issues, repetitiveness, and dull drivel. I forced myself to click “Publish” when the timer went off. I had plans that evening and had to go without delay.

There are some serious errors that are driving me INSANE since I’ve read through it a few more times.

I’m not allowing myself to edit this.  Just know that I know.

Let’s see how this shit pans out. I haven’t done much journaling in a while.

Lots o’ shit tumbling in my head today that’ve made unable to keep my focus on the book I’m currently reading and made my fingers itchy-twitchy for the keyboard.

I have a ‘hangover headache’ from lack of sleep. I didn’t drink anything last night, but I stayed up until 3 AM like an idiot. A good book will do that to me.

It’s interesting, as I get older *cough*, that I find myself waking up earlier in the mornings. I used to be able to sleep until noon or later without any remorse. Now, my body usually has me waking naturally around 7:30, and that’s sleeping in on days I don’t use an alarm clock. I did sleep till 9 today, so that’s something. But still only 6 hours of rest.

Whatever.

I have dinner and the theater tonight and I need to start getting ready around four, be ready for cocktails by five, departure for the restaurant by quarter to six. All I can do is sit on my porch sucking back coffee with bleary eyes and mild headache and zero energy and dread all the effort it takes to take a fucking shower and deal with hair and makeup and what in the hell I’m going to wear that will look sharp and be comfortable at the same time. Fucking fuck of going out in public.

I don’t even know what the play is. Season tickets, yo. I’m just gonna wait and be surprised. I’ll tell ya aaaaaalll about it later.

I gotta stop thinking about that now.

‘Cause I have other thoughts pressing.

So…on the Twitterverse I follow authors, bloggers, book reviewers, and other shit I find relevant or amusing. I don’t have any real life friends there at this point. Those are on FaceBook, which I avoid like the plague for reasons. Twitter is my outlet for communication with folk who are doing and enjoying the thing I like most—reading. It’s my hand out to connect to other like-minded people because I’ve found myself in a little bit of a closet.

The Closet of the Romance and Erotica Reader. Yes folks, this is a thing.

I stuck my toe out of that closet a few weeks ago – and it didn’t go too good.

I was out at a restaurant for dinner with some folks, a party of 11. We’re all neighbors. The five ladies plus me all get together for cocktails at someone’s home once a month. Every few months the five spouses are involved and we go out to eat or call it a party at one of our homes.

This wasn’t a dinner to celebrate an occasion; it’s more like we come up with multiple occasions as excuses to toast our existence and togetherness. These dinners happen regularly, thus the non-special aspect. But, someone always has news. And that’s cause for celebration and ultimately makes every dinner special.

But see, I’m the young’un (they’re all over 50). I’m also single. I’m also living with my parents. I don’t have a significant other and don’t date. I work from home and don’t get out much. My life is sort of stagnant and really goddamn boring in many respects, and this is by design on my part. I’m content with all that. Mostly.

Except, this often makes me the odd-one-out.

So anyway…we’re at dinner. And, as you do when you’re around loads of other people, there was the round table give and take discussion regarding what everyone’s been up to lately. Someone’s birthday was in a few days, someone’s had just passed. Someone was having surgery the next week, someone had just been through surgery and had gotten a great report from the doctor. Someone had just booked a trip to Europe.

It gets to me.

And…I’ve got nothin’.

When asked what I’ve been up to I shrug, smile, and say not much. Heads tilt in confusion, laced with pity maybe.

This shocks me because these people know me.

This has pretty much been my standard answer for more than a year.

So, I shrug and try again.

It goes like this:

Me:  “Work’s been really very busy, which is a good thing since there were layoffs early in the year. I haven’t had time for a whole lot. But, I’ve been enjoying the summer sitting on the back porch reading.”

Them:  “What exactly is it you do again?”

Me…smiling the ‘knowing’ smile that I’m about to confuse and bore everyone at the table: “I’m a software programmer for blah blah blah, we blah blah blah for blah blah blah and blah. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I like it.”

Glassy eyed bewildered stares (this isn’t new to me). There’s a bit more repartee about my job and the company, but they’re not interested…just being polite with small questions that have big boring answers that make me not very entertaining at dinner parties. Then…

Them: “Well, what have you been reading?”

I pause, lean back in my chair, and take a few breaths thinking…do I dare say?

See, these folks who are my neighbors? A few are wildly successful and highly educated, some very conservative some very liberal, all of them well-read, and all highly opinionated on seemingly every topic. It typically makes for stimulating conversation and exhilarating debate.

I notice I have all eyes on me because maybe the “kid” at the table is going to share the title of the Best Book Ever that they’ll need to rush out and buy because they’ve had their noses too stuck on the business section of the Wall Street Journal to know what they’re supposed to be reading right now.

Me (finally, because why the fuck should I be ashamed?) “I read Romance.”

Them: ………….

Me: …..did I really just blurt that?

Them: {quiet laughter}

Me: …..I really fucking blurted that…stick to your guns, girlie. “I also read Erotica.”

Them: (NO FUCKING JOKE) Wild cackling from four of the five men and three of the women that has managed to turn the heads of others at nearby tables.

Me: “Umm…I also write reviews on what I read and post them on a website I’m a member of, and I’m thinking seriously about starting a blog.”

More hooting, caterwauling laughter, because….erm, why exactly?

Because Romance and Erotica…are what? Worthless pursuits? A waste of my time and money? Only there for the less educated? The pastime for lonely, bored housewives who aren’t being sexed up by overweight husbands? Not literary enough? Dime-store, bottom shelf garbage by talentless hacks? Pornography? What?

I felt heat creeping up the back of my neck and to my cheeks.

I attempted to compose myself to defend this THING that I love.

This THING that I choose to immerse myself in and am compelled to add my tiny voice. This THING that allows me a mental break from a complicated, highly-technical job that takes a lot of fucking analytical brain power focusing on code and numbers and lists and spreadsheets to design ways to make computers and equipment do things to make other people’s lives easier. This THING that I love that is a way for me to escape all that logic, all that reason, which is really nothing but insanity for a brain like mine. This THING that is a billion dollar industry that I happily, eagerly, give my hard-earned money to because it does its fucking job for a person like me who needs those escapes. This THING that has saved me from giving up on the concepts of decency and humanity, hope, love, acceptance when my marriage blew to pieces in a cataclysmic explosion ignited by the perfect storm of events colliding without apology. This THING that includes everyone, every story, and has sub-genres that reach into every other genre out there but keeps its main focus on people and emotions. This THING that makes me laugh and cry and feel all the feelings, that tears me apart and puts me back together in colorful ways …and…and…and….

I lost my chance.

Conversation shifted.

The moment was lost.

I love those neighbors of mine. I really do. They’re generally a lot of raucous, sometimes raunchy, fun. Typically, they’re right up my alley.

But it’s not fun being so easily dismissed for a THING that’s important to you.

I’m back in my little closet in the real world amongst most of my immediate peers.

But I started my blog.

I’m still on my porch reading my books in all their smutty glory.

I even bought a fancy new laptop so I can write and blog on my porch. I’m doing that now.

Yay me!

I have an electric blanket to haul out here when the temps turn chill.

Fuck that real-world nonsense of judgment for what I read on my porch in all seasons.

I’ll use my little old voice right here to keep those moments alive and be a part of this thing that I love.

That ain’t all folks.

But I must be gone to ready myself for the theater.

Tell me what you think!