Table Scraps - Collected Writers' Cafe Lamentations
I've belonged to a site called Writers' Cafe since 2007. Its always been a love hate relationship...and sometimes I must vent.... www.writerscafe.org
So its been three weeks since the infamous Writers' Cafe 'incident'; that nightmare event when I and 20 thousand other writers in various stages of evolvation signed on to our revered sanctuary only to find the vast expanse of empty cyberspace where our pith and vinegar once flickered across the screen. Smug and self absorbed byotch that I be - after wiping away great saline excretions from beneath my reptilian orbs whispered to my twitching muse "I have them all on my hard drive...all 210 entries...I am whole..."
Suffice it to say in the days that have followed I've come to the awareness that I am not in fact impervious to virtual chaos doled out by the click of a mouse - the mute evidence eats at my synapses in wild abandon as the house lights come up and the bare spots on my virtual stage present themselves in yawning aching voids formerly known as:
For the Babies - a venomous diatribe against gangstas, complete with my own brand of toxic spit and monkey justice and a few expletives thrown in for good measure - a poem who's imprint lingers in my psyche but the words are completely gone except for that f bomb I dropped in stanza two...or was it three...to the toddlers in Torreon who starved with only coffee grounds in their tiny tummies - cuddled next to the corpse of their babymama...I dont know if I can do it again...
a random poem written for Carmen who passed away in 1983 - only a quoted line or two remains in comments at the cafe...like you Carmen...the memory is beautiful and intangible
Gilt Guilt, Where's My Salad and a couple of other ascerbic blograntessays penned in the heat of whatever foul concoction of hormonal sludge and daily life happened to be occuring...gone...those essays that garnered me the temporary rush of Top Writer...only the pale blush of memory remains circling my cortex - taunting me - the powers that be know too well I am incapable of resurrecting transient glories.
So along with 40 odd broken links to reviews - two weeks of non stop cursing and crying and the loss of most of my frontal lobe here I am...You'd think it was over but now. Now comes act two...in which I surface to commiserate with my sisteren and bretheren only to find many have packed up their pages and run screaming from the room - leaving a trail of broken hearts and unrepeatable expletives in their wakes...I have obliged the majority of you - should you return you will not find me on your pages as I cannot bear to collect closed accounts - (with just a few exceptions for Helen, Lara, TL and Jude...)
Perhaps some of you were smarter, more mutable or simply less tolerant of continued hardened excrement flung generously at your soft underparts and so you moved to the next hot cyber cafe - your bruises and attitudes in tow like small children behind you...but as for me - being the cockroach that I am - I can only do what I was designed to do...and that is drag my disgusting segmented hindparts from beneath the rubble and survive - prooving that existence is possible for pests like me - even when we are headless and kicking our multiple limbs spasmodically whilst resting on nasty exoskeletal backsides.
In retrospect I was hasty to delete my humble Y360 blog as I migrated my 'better works' to a 'better place' - where I thought I would garner the respect of my peers. Maybe I should have kept to my first incarnation at Multiply - rather than revamping my identity in October. I know I should have been more diligent in archiving my work. Like a friend I no longer had daily time for, my words slipped away unnoticed...and now I cannot retrieve them from the void.
My dear friends, if you are a writer, you must know your words are your identity. Therefore - do not be careless with them. There are blog sites which allow cross posting - enabling the writer to save work virtually on multiple sites for easy retrieval, as private entries if one so desires. Consider all options. Email your work to your self and keep an efile in your email. Don't be smug like me....while I survived the fallout, I am significantly bitten...
I spent my day yesterday barely treading water, swamped by my own insecurities and choking on the life that has become unmanagable. The swirling chaos of my days spin in ever tighter revolutions and it seems I am becoming a black hole...pulling everything around me down into darkness so strong even light does not escape...only the event horizon keeps the memory of brightness...
I could go into graphic detail of my morning and evening with my child who raged uncontrollably last night, cursing and screaming....the subsequent fight with the husband and the tear induced coma into which I finally succumbed. I could give you bullet points of my days 'at the office' and the drone of existence the eight to five life produces in soul sucking monotony...but let's just cut to the chase.
I cling ferociously to a dream- as so many of us do...and I have been waiting for something....anything. A sign from my Creator God that perhaps I was for once doing what I was supposed to do....and today...I come to sanctuary only to find that all the tables are overturned - the building is on fire, and so many of those people I love are running for the exit.
Yes. My writing is gone. Almost a year of effort swept away with the "click of an errant mouse" (Hell of a sign Heavenly Dad....Hell of a sign) and with it....my hope. But the more insidious damage is only beginning. You see, for whatever it is worth, I am so damn anal that I cannot - would not put all of my faith in ONE spot....my writing is saved on my hard drive and also in hard copy (in two different places.) So the writing is really not my biggest issue. It's you. Its the feedback. The 11 months of encouragement, gentle teasing, and even a few "what the HELL was THAT" wake up calls. Gone. I find it - cresting on the rogue wave of events of the past few days...almost unbearable. I've lost myself - because I lost the reflection of my worth to YOU.
I will start the process of reposting and I pray (although it terrifies me now to do so) that YOU, my friends will do the same. I pray that you will remember me. You will read me. You will continue to encourage me = because now I am completely empty and I cannot motivate myself to even breathe...I'm just holding my hand over my mouth so I don't cry around my coworkers. I hope you will remember me. Those of you who stay. I am your friend. You are my reason for being here. I will read you....I will encourage you....Today I will even mourn with you...but with out you...I am not me...
I don't blame Charlie. Disasters happen. Systems crash....no program is failsafe....I still use paper copies. But DAMMIT. My heart is broken.
I love you....please, don't leave me all alone.
Brew Ha Ha
Don't Sugar My Coffee
Call me ornery. Call me angst laden. Call me misunderstood. But never in my life have I been nice. The oh-so-gooey, saccharine laced drivel worthy of at least 2.59 and a dollop of glitter “I love you so’s” and gratuities – the Helen Steiner Rice mindset – has never spilled its Lisa Frank glitter gel ink across my page. Let’s face it. In the midst of mortgages, teenaged male loin-fruit, and the daily debriding provided by corporate America, nice is a four letter word of the most onerous variety, right up there with love, and baby, and cute. Not your average Hallmark fodder.
No, damnit I am not “nice.” I am real and raw, malevolent and bellicose, and occasionally offensive in the face of those girlie sensibilities passed off as the norm by my gentler sisters of the scribing aspirations. Weaned in 1979 from my Donny and Marie induced prepubescent daze by images of toilets filled with arterial blood and commentator discourse listing the number of deceased found with asphyxiated by their own sliced off scroti (google Santa Fe Prison Riots) I traded nice for truth. I boxed up my Barbies and Andy Gibb posters and I picked up my pen. Wielding it over my head as my only defense against the blur of gangsta’s and punksta’s and yes – even bad kuntry music lyrics I steadily became the acidic purveyor of toxic sludge that I am. Never nice. Never catering to the cute. Never rendering shlock moments of romantic crap and candy hearts. I write what I know and what I know is the festering mess emanating from every phrase I excrete – clicking quickly across the screen like roach nymphs in a sewer.
So why the hell do I find when I scrape enough bile together to form a paragraph or two, slapping it against the wall at the Café and adding some reek for a noxious effect – the cuddly little sweethearts climb out of the cupboard and leave minty fresh kitty prints in their wake – coating my page with glitter graphics and happy smileycons. .
“I really like this.”
“You have such a way with words.”
“xoxox, luv u bunches….”
This after describing in technicolor the evisceration of my guppy. (His little Piscean mouth still gulping for air or water or what ever the hell a guppy makes that fishy face for) some people come along and leave a nice on my page. GIMME A BREAK! Perhaps there is an infestation of little happy drones at the Café after all because certainly my guppy’s horrific finny demise did not merit any comment even close to “nice.” This only serves to pick the scab from my already inflamed and gaping emotional wounds. I know you people don’t really read me. You’re only here to see your happy little hearts and stars avatars (or headshots or pot shots or what ever the hell you call ‘em) on the TOP reviewer section because God knows you can’t write a sentence complete enough to merit a TOP Writer moment.) So if you need to leave your trail of sugary droppings – please – patronize myspace. Send a big gooey virtual cookie on facebook. But don’t come here and call my writing “nice.” Its an affront to my intelligence, and blatant disrespect to the memory of my gutless guppy….Don’t sugar my coffee….Review me true, like my words convey - strong, bitter….and dark….
TL Boehm 2007
Cat's Don't Cry
So I sit here again in my quiet corner as the sunlight slips serene from the western rim of the Rockies and the high desert night waits to take hold of another September evening. I find my humble offering featured for a moment in the Cafe I dearly love. Today - for a nanosecond...I exist beyond the phrenetic tapping keyboard and flickering screen. I should be happy.
Perhaps I am just too tired after another skull numbing, soul sucking week in corporate hell, punctuated by dragging teens and tweens to places of public education and myriad small items de spouse I am always tasked to perform. As if I am the only creature on the planet who understands the complexities of the liquid dish soap bottle when its contents are combined with hot water. (that heady elixir known only to flow when testosterone producing bipeds stand nekked in the shower. I've never actually been blessed by its ethereal refreshment) Perhaps I still nurse virtual jitters from the new brew here at the Cafe...or maybe its something deeper. That indefinable 'thing' permeating the bandwidth as I form my fragmented thoughts...that sadness...
I have deduced my existence I suppose not by those who were so kind as to agree with me completely after reading my recent love note to the writers at the other table - although I am so grateful but you should know that this Tam is so unaccustomed to cohesion and compatibility (i have a day job. I'm an accountant. Villification is expected) that when it happens - I find myself standing in mute disbelief. My validation there fore as at least a writer wannabe came more from those few who could not smile and breathe after reading me...yes, those who are still frustrated, angry....missing something important. There are those to whom my post was more bomb than balm. And this is heavy on my heart tonight.
So I make one more attempt to speak softly about this cafe nouveau in which we find ourselves still somewhat uncomfortable, by offering the only bits of clarification at my disposal.
BUNNIES. For those of you who remember the hacker episode and a complete ass in rabbit skin going by the name of "Baby Rectangles" - to put it simply. Writers were offended, damaged and it absolutely sucked. Many left, but I stayed. So yes. I hate hackers - and the bunny is a symbol to me of that mutant retard who stalked so many good souls until they ran screaming from the room.
SPIDER TREES. I did in fact love the tree. There is little beauty in my life and littler joy and the melancholy branches resonated perhaps more than the cool blue but I have grown accustomed to losing those things I find 'beautiful' as time advances. So my battles are now waged over people - and their presence. The rest - I have to let go...but I cannot let go of the living and the breathing. In respect to those who love the tree, I put it on my email signature - so perhaps it will serve as a tribute....this is my 'olive branch' for the moment.
We all have that deep burn to create something that will out last ourselves....in this we are joined. Perhaps for some of us the changes no longer nurture our souls and we must move on. For others - like myself....I will remain. Someday....I may be a writer or an artist of merit...but for today....I am here in the cafe with my keyboard, my pencil - and my scanner...firing off my lamentations to the void, and hoping - to someone - I make a difference...
Hope this eagle shows up....like my writing - I only draw in pieces. I am forever feathers shy. Reminded...cat's don't cry...
As I sit remunerating over the events of the week whilst sipping oolong at my corner table in the most definitely not 'smokin' section of the Writers Cafe (have I dumped enough prepositional phrases...shall we move on) I wonder if I can pass this bit of angst off as a legitimate essay instead of the venom laced diatribe it threatens to become - morphing like abandoned bananas in the back of the refrigerator - will the ink blacken into an amorphous goo of sticky words? Probably.
It seems as with any virtual community there are multiple factions in residence and this week I have seen everything from the saccharine passing pretties oohing and ahhing in unison to scum sucking porcine knuckle draggers bent on gutting and quartering any writer not fast enough to block the onslaught with that wonderful minus button in the right corner of every cafe-ers profile page. The feral brainless abominations prowl the pages, elevating their poor putrid hind parts by standing on the throats of the beautiful, the deep, and the innocent. I'd rather be locked in writers purgatory with Barbie and the Myspacers than see one more precious pen fall victim to the page stalking wannabe jerks I've seen this week.
But I had a better point and that is the review process which many of us seek more than we deliver - and while some of us play cyber chicken saving ourselves from virtual molestations - it is the standard latte special offered at the Cafe and therefore merits a thinly disguised blog essay reiterating that which the more refined amongst us already know: the ability to string expletives and insults into a complete sentence makes neither a reviewer or a writer out of anyone. It only serves to expose the soft, testicularly challenged, sallow under belly of the shameful and the cowardly.
Save me the toxic lamentations excreted in defense of a "bad review", the murderous blade sheathed in "better to be told your work sucks before you try to publish", as if peer slashing is less painful than a real publishing entity sending a discreet and oh so ambiguous form letter stating "your work does not meet our needs at this time." Oh the horror of the laser copied mass produced 'no' over the poison battle axe of a 'friend.' If you have your pinky on the carotid of the industry - innately comprehending the driving beat of this capricious dream we all seek - why are you still rummaging through the cafe while on break from your day job? Why aren't you in your cushy editor's corner office slashing Mr King's next endeavor, expert that you be?
I am not against honesty when thoughtfully considered and respectfully presented - perhaps even via the mechanism of the private message; but venom and malice are never appreciated in the context of a review - those slanderous few perpetuate the bitterness would be better suited writing for Rosie O'Donnell than wasting the bandwidth of the cafe. Your review - sweet or sour - is not only flowers and thorns for the writer to whom it is posted; but also the mirror image of you, your calling card, your snapshot - and the sample by which we plebeans may rate YOU as a writer. Consider carefully then the consequences of your caustic manifestos...or you may find yourself sharing a table in the 'nonread' section of the cafe next to an unknown, unread writer like me...the cafe is reading...peace.