More personal: So Apparently “Black-xican” isn’t a thing

I have been filling out a lot of forms recently: school forms, medical forms, insurance forms, new social media account forms…and I have become aware of something rather curious. Being multi-racial, particularly, the race section of the form has always been…a “close enough” experience. You can’t simply check the Black-xican box. And it is this section of the form that has become curious.

Now, forms have displayed the curious section for a while, I just make no claims of extreme awareness to the mundane. That being said, what makes it curious? One day I was filling out the latest form and I had to ask myself…why is “Are you of Hispanic or Latino decent?” a separate question from “Which race or races do you identify with? Check all that apply.” Well of course I had to find the answer.

kevin

Black-xican

Right, I choose to express my race with the phrase “Black-xican.” My father is African-American and my mother is Hispanic/Latina. Black-xican is a name I have given myself, please don’t go around calling others of a similar racial mix this…it tends to be fairly personal.

Anyway! I have been a Black-xican all my life and I usually went about filling out the forms with a sort of “meh” attitude. I check an assortment of boxes, as it pleases me, depending on the form, never really thinking about what I was checking. Here is the problem with that: aside from the issues that always come from a sort of teenage, youthful angsty-ness, I found a government website that explains how the afore mentioned questions should be answered and according to that, I am doing it wrong.

The Form: Hispanic/Latino

Let’s start with the first question. Now there is a lot of formal and general arguing that goes on when it comes to “labeling” people from different areas or cultures. This will not be one of those arguments. For the sake of civility and curiosity, let’s look, solely, at the description the government website provides.

Hispanic or Latino: a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

Right…right…mmmmhummm…wait what?

what

So, according to this, Hispanic/ Latino is not a race! “Regardless of race.” Welp, that explains why it is separate from the race question. Apparently, it is a cultural/ ethnicity question. Ok, let’s accept that and move to the next question.

The Form: Race Selection

Right, race…tough subject matter to talk about…lots of questions: what do you call the races? What are the races? What came first: the categories defining human divisions or the assorted forms of competition? Argue amongst your selves; get it out of your system…Cool. Now let’s look at the definitions that the government website offers:

American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

So, this seems as reasonable as it ever has…in fact most people sort of assume this when looking at these selections on the form.

Sarah…what makes this curious?

Riddle Me This

I use the term Black-xican to explain my race…but according to the logic of the form, Black-xican isn’t a thing. In the words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word…I do not think it means what you think it means.”inigo

Let me explain:

The “xican” part of the term is the part that I used to denote my maternal ancestry or the Hispanic/ Latino part. According to the form, that isn’t a race, that is an ethnicity. But the “Black” part is an acceptable race label…according to the form.

“MY WHOLE LIFE IS A LIE!!!”

So what am I?

Now, we just have a simple…convoluted and ridiculous, math problem. Yes, math. Here is what I thought: (X/2)+(X/2)= X. Or in English, half my race (Hispanic/Latino) plus the other half of my race (Black) equals all of me. That math works except, according to the form I am no longer dealing with the same variable, X, or race, but I am dealing with X (race), and Y (Ethnicity).

Math: Hispanic/ Latino

Now I have (Y/2)+(Y/2)= Y. Well, I know one half of me is still Hispanic/ Latino. What is the other half? For as asinine as it may seem, the other half is obviously Not Hispanic/ Latino! That is the only other option on the form, either you are or you aren’t Hispanic/ Latino. And, lucky me, I am both.

The-Riddler-jim-carrey-1013901_544_304

Math: Race Choices

Strap in, party people! This is where it gets even more…acrobatic, for lack of a better description.

Now, one half of me is still Black and that one is easy: Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. My father’s father’s father etc, is from Africa somewhere, though slavery and poverty don’t make for the best ancestral record keeping. That being said, what is the other half, I mean, Hispanic/ Latinos aren’t raceless.

My mother’s ancestry comes from Spain and Mexico. But there was not a “Spain or Mexico” option on the list…or was there? If I go directly by the form definitions:

Mexico is part of the North America, and the people of Mexico are generally considered indigenous. Another way of saying indigenous is native…yup that’s right, I am saying if you are Mexican filling out the form then: American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community attachment. You know my family does do a lot to maintain “cultural identification thought tribal affiliation or community attachment.” My tribe is as big as my Grandmother’s family, I think the last count was 215 people, that was ten years ago and I can name most of my first, second, third, fourth etc. cousins. With Thanksgiving approaching (ignoring the irony) we only just recently decided who would make the enchiladas and who would make the menudo. Does any of that count?

Fine, Sarah, but what about the Spanish part?

So, following the same sort of logic: the Spanish part would be White! White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. Spain is in Europe. Well isn’t that exciting!

thinking

What does it add up to?

When you put it all together, ethnically, according to the forms, I am Hispanic/ Latino and Not Hispanic/ Latino. And racially, according to the forms, I am Black and Native American/White.

So…

I am not sure I know what the “so” is. I started this investigation because I was annoyed that I had to separate my Hispanic/Latino and Black origins. But this has led to more than I ever imagined.

As always, my investigation has led to more questions than answers. I know I am not calling for some sort of form reform. I doubt I would be able to conjure up a better form than the ones currently in use. If it were me, given my sense of humor, I would just offend people. For race, I would probably just ask “on a scale of Coffee, Black, to Milk, how brown are you?” and then have pictures of assorted coffees of assorted dilutions. For ethnicity…it would probably be an elaborate BuzzFeed-esk test that amounted to a sort of quipy conclusion. Despite how much I love coffee (so much!) and despite how much I love BuzzFeed quizzes (my love life would be Beauty and the Beast if it were a Disney movie)…I would offend people.

Is this an identity crisis? Maybe? Does it give me more to think on? You bet, for example, why is Hispanic/Latino the only ethnicity they (who ever writes the forms) list? For that matter, why is it the only ethnicity they have been able to clearly define? I don’t know. Why don’t I jus check “other”? Well, even though the forms are not all encompassing I would rather be counted as something than not be counted.

There is only one thing I can think of to say when an investigation has been logically executed and deeply considered, and despite the interest it has generated, has left no answers…

“Fascinating.”

 spock

“Definitions for New Race and Ethnicity Categories”<http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/reic/definitions.asp&gt;

Research: Setting up a schedule

With everything I do in life…I should know how to keep a decent schedule.

24 years is a long time to exist as some sort of time nomad, wondering about when it compels me to wonder. I would count myself successful without despite not having one but, I have been told that the super successful know how to maintain a schedule…or as my English boss would say “a diary.”

Why need one? Well I realized I have a lot of things going on

I have a job

My nephew has matches

I am making an effort at volunteering

I also have the writing thing

I am planning to go back to school

There is book club

I also have friends now! Which is probably the biggest achievement of the year

So… a plan.

schedule

I have very little idea of how to keep a useful “diary”. But I am apt at looking things up.

According to the assorted sections of the internet here is what I can surmise.

1. List the things you do

2. Make goals

3. Prioritize

4. Pick a medium

5. Put everything on it

6. Stick to it

7. Evaluate

Right… that is the easy stuff. It is actually doing it that is the hard part!

1. List the things you do?

Well there are the important things: Working, writing, reading, mingling, volunteering, being a good daughter/sister/aunt. Then there are the random things: Napping… eating…standing around thinking…How specific is the list? How detailed is the list? How much should my work and personal schedules overlap?

2. Make goals?

The websites were clear. These need to be specific. Some of the writers list word counts or page goals. Stephen King, so I read, insists on 10 pages a day minimum. Some list posting deadlines if they are bloggers. I should probably pay attention to that since my posts are fairly erratic. What other goals are there? What life goals can you actually plan for? I am not a professional writer, so there is that to consider.

3. Prioritize?

I am sure they did not mean in order of what I want to do (nap) verse what I need to do (work). This is also where you figure out if something needs to be worked on daily or monthly…again with the goals.

4. Pick a medium?

One site said to use a monthly planner in combination with a weekly one. But is paper or your phone better? I don’t think I could list “read for an hour” on every day of my phone but maybe that’s why I have not had a schedule I can stick to. I think I will try an Excel based schedule for the daily stuff and but the one-time-eventy stuff on my phone calendar. I need alarms.

5. Put Everything on it? Fill the planner ! Easy…once you know all the things.

6. Stick to it? Right, how… no site really touched on that. I guess it takes discipline.

7. Evaluate? Go back and make sure your planner is working for you. If it isn’t then tweek it. I am left wondering on what grounds to evaluate it?

I think this is going to require more research…

 

“How to Keep to a Daily Schedule.” WikiHow. WikiHow, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-to-a-Daily-Schedule&gt;

“How to Make Schedules Properly.” WikiHow. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.< http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Schedules-Properly&gt;.

Megabablo. “Online Writing Tips.” : How to Make a Writing Schedule and Stick to It. N.p., 4 Nov. 2008. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.< http://onlinewritingtips.blogspot.com/2008/11/how-to-make-writing-schedule-and-stick.html&gt;.

“Effective Scheduling: Planning to Make the Best Use of Your Time.” Effective Scheduling. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_07.htm&gt;.

More personal: Villainy

Never, not even in the deepest, most vile and deplorable crevices of my imagination, have I ever encountered a villain as commendably evil as the one that I was called upon to face this last weekend.

There are the general and daily villainous sort of tricksters that you entirely expect villainy from. This would be Loki or the Riddler or Hades or Q or Dr. Doofenshmirtz. These are the sort who do it for the fun of it. They cause damage, but we let them hang around because they are entertaining.

Then there are the villains who take themselves and their cause just a bit too seriously…The Death Eaters, Magneto, Kahn, Cardinal Richelieu. Whatever it is they have decided is important is pretty much the only thing driving them.

This villain is on par with the ruthless, soulless sort that haunt the nightmares of even the most sadistic sort.

This past weekend my computer was infiltrated, violated, and decimated by an elusive and vile villain: Ransomware!

Who is she you ask? She (I am not sure why she is a she … go with it,) is the callous and ruthless mother of Cryptolocker.

Here is their villainous profile.

You, an unassuming citizen, wandering about the familiar and relatively public portions of the internet. He lays is wait. Cryptolocker…he is fast and deadly, knowing only one job…one life and has mastered the skills to do it.

You let down your guard and bump into the partition that lets him into your world. He slithers in, downloaded!

Crytolocker

The next thing you know your computers Anti-Malware Task Force (AMTF) burst through the doors. They are bloodied, wounded…dragging the barely alive in! And they are dubiously pleased with themselves.

“We did it,” they tell you. “We stopped them.” 403 threats stopped they say. You stare, 403 meaning nothing. When suddenly you realize what has gone on.

You rush to your things, your desktop, your files, your USB…they are there. They are all as you left them. But what does it mean?

Then you see it. In your files, all the files…every single file, you see Cryptolocker’s calling card: Encryption Instillation Codes. It is a blooded Joker playing card, a feather from the parrot of Capitan Barbossa, the sweet flower scent of Poison Ivy.

You realize what has happened but it is too late. Wildly, possessed, you try and open your documents.

Word!

Encrypted – Cannot be Opened or Recovered.

Excel!

Encrypted – Cannot be Opened or Recovered.

PDFs! PowerPoint! Paint!

Encrypted – Cannot be Opened or Recovered.

Falling to the floor you weep, you beat your fists upon the ground, and you curse the foolish AMTF for doing too little too late.

Amid the rubble you see a letter. You pick up the green bits of code and they materialize into words.

“In order to get the decryption code you must pay a ransom-“

From her warm place in hell she laughs at you!

“CURSE YOU RANSOMWARE.”

Right, so what did I do? I did all of that mentally for sure. Then I gathered my self out of my own mind and became more reasonable. Considering that I judge most technology to be a careful collaboration of plastic and magic…maybe even gnomes, I called Geek Squad. They tirelessly cleaned up my computer (nearly a hour of work on their part) and managed to save some of my documents from encryption.

The point-

I have learned somethings about myself:

I do not know how to handle system wide catastrophes at one in the morning. I am greatful to Geek Squad.

Superstitiously, I tend to write everything first in notebooks. So the loss of my stories was not really a worry.

I also have the unknown habit of over zealously saving things…ten, twelve times. This made it easier to save the older stuff – older writings because my ridiculous AMTF managed to stop Crytolocker and Ransom before they reached everything…don’t fight a land war in Asia, I guess.

Finally, backing up files is important.

A Quick Note: NaNoWriMo

There is an idea…saying…theory out there that if you get enough monkeys together, infinite monkeys, typing on enough typewriters, infinite typewriters, we will eventually get Shakespeare.

It just so happens that this November a few primates known as humans might just achieve that or something similar.

HAPPY NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH!

There will be plenty of people taking up pen and paper, typewriter (if anyone has one of those anymore), and computer.

There is also a national contest/challenge celebrating the writing efforts put forth by these bipedal apes.

NaNoWriMo

http://nanowrimo.org/

If you are in it- GOOD LUCK.

Given all things that are…given…I will not be participating (more on that later).

“I will be monitoring your frequency”… or progress.

I wish all the best of luck.

It is national bread month also… just saying.

A Book: “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”-Cheryl Strayed

“Oh you can’t get out backwards. You’ve got to go forwards to go back.”

-Willy Wanka & the Chocolate Factory- 1971

Warning: definite spoilers if a story as uniquely experiences as this could be spoiled.

“Isn’t that what it takes to become whole?”

I don’t remember which book clubber asked, but that question snapped “Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed into perspective for me.

wild

A young woman forces one step after another across eleven hundred-ish miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. She encounters the “wild” of nature, the “wild” of strangers, and the “wild” of herself. Strayed guides the reader with candid humor, well-chosen verbiage, and spirited anecdotes. Against nearly insufferable circumstances on and off the trial she finds herself returning to life.

The book clubbers faced their own sort of “wild” as the conversation meandered over assorted topics, aligned or opposed opinions, the breadth of experience, and the comforts of preference.

Cheryl “Strayed.” She started her journey in the lower regions of California. A book clubber with a light voice seemed to be with her from the start. He knew portions of the trail himself, being a “day hiker” and back packer from the Portland, OR. Others contributed remarks about their own experiences with hiking anywhere.

Strayed finished her first days on the trail and we noted that her journey did not truly start with those first few days but years before, with the loss of her mother. A book clubber, whose face reads genuine and kind, found her path crossed with Strayed’s here, having lost her own parents. We wondered what kind of mother her mother had been. What about Strayed’s fathers? Siblings? Ex-husband and boyfriends? Fellow hikers? What kind of people did she know?

A book clubber who has become quite a good friend interjected, with excitement. Strayed has just misnamed a bull, calling him “Moose.” Others mentioned the more aptly named animals that Strayed encountered: “fox,” “frog,” “Snake.” It is in these surprise and often alarming moments of bulls, frogs, burgers and Snapple, that gave some book clubbers and Strayed a steady footing.

Strayed explained her too heavy pack, her too small boots, her hunger, her thirst, and her exhaustion. We watched her make camp, count her steps, and try not to die of thirst. Across the table, a fashionable book clubber mentioned her annoyance with Strayed’s unpreparedness, sparking a conversion that speculated on whether or not “preparedness” mattered. We reasoned that it depended; mentioning the man who’d rearranged Strayed’s pack to be lighter and most useful. We also added that preparedness for life is always in short supply, the club having a collective moment of silence for a horse.

Snow eventually put Strayed on a detour and us as well. We chatted about women, the role of women in entertainment, what makes a “Strong Woman.” We ponder what the story would be like if Strayed were male. Strayed mused over ice axes, being “socked in,” and her feet while we discussed gender expectations, not sure who was making more important evaluations. The pleasing chuckle of the second of the only two male book clubbers present could be heard amid fervent conversation, he had sort of initiated the discussion and was openly amused.

We checked off the people she met. Strayed managed to keep the role of other hikers on the trail specifically distanced, hiking mostly alone. She meet many different kinds of people and looking around the table I could see how easy that was to do, even for something as sedentary as book club. A military book clubber noted the kudos given to Strayed by two military hikers. Others offered the names people that resonated with them, sounding a bit like a PCT trading card game.

Strayed had plenty of moments and reasons to leave ever decreasing portions of the trail un-walked. And while Strayed had a few days off at a “Dead” concert, we murmured about whether or not we personally could make it. I was not alone in thinking that “making it” might not be so hard a thing as “starting it”.

“Make it,” I was unsure and personally quite far from considering the PCT journey. I was rarely on the trail with Strayed. I checked in on her sure, but spent most of my time with Paul, her ex-husband. Book club chatted about him. Was he an enabler or an independent man who saw a need in someone he used to love. I tried to listen without feeling attacked, I was not Paul but the terms of my own ended engagement left me returning to his defense. I read Strayed’s words in the voice of my ex, feeling like this was exactly something he would do. Paul and I watched- I hoped with strength and dignity- as our “wild” ex’s made “wild” choices. And we would read their letters over coffee, as detached and as freed.

Books contributed to the weight of Strayed’s pack, but were unremoveable. She read as we read, carrying “The Dream of a Common Language” by Adrienne Rich the whole way. Someone asked while I was looking at my notes, “what couldn’t you leave?” The club pondered technology, music, and books. I smiled into one of two notebooks that I always carried. They would defiantly leave me “hunching in a remotely upright position.”

Not all finished the book. And not all finished the journey on the PCT that they had intended, making us reconsider the questions of preparedness. Strayed finished and about five hours after book club concluded, I read the last 10 pages. She eventually reached the Oregon-Washington boarder. But at some level all of us had made the journey with her.

Many book clubbers were surprised that the “summit” of the plot never seemed to arrive. The “life changing” epiphany had been missed. Strayed never summited the highest mountain during the course of the text and neither had we. Her march had brought her life back to her as she peered across to the boarder. I heard from across the table “what if the moment already happened?”

“So…we are reading the healing not the epiphany?” I mused.

Strayed lost toe nails, comforts, and a set of boots…perhaps that was better than what could be lost to heroin.

She was hungry for food, Snapple, and a shower…perhaps less costly to satisfy than the hunger for extreme companionships.

She staved off bears, snakes, frogs, and sandy-haired men…perhaps easier battles to fight than that of divorce.

She walked a precarious eleven hundred or so, ill-prepared and lonely miles…perhaps the best way to grieve a lost parent.

Alone and ill-prepared she found a way back.

Alone and ill-prepared is how many of us march toward life.

And on we march.

The end is just barely out of sight, but on we march. Just barely out of my line of sight, tucked into the row of book clubbers to my left, a voice called.

“Isn’t that what it takes to become whole?”

“There was only the stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began.”

― Cheryl Strayed “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.”

Research: A fsih in a Tre… also known as a learning disorder

Caption: Here is a hand written blog for you. I am trying to illustrate a point. Sometimes I can’t figure out how to get things on paper and sometimes I can figure out how to get things into my head. So far so good. I took up writing in all caps not because I like to shout but because I pay more attention to how letters look.  When I don’t write in caps it gets a bit more muddled.  Tonight is an especially bad night for my… I guess its dyslexia. I try to write without stopping too much to think about what I have messed up as far as spelling. I have practiced a lot to recognize the problems.
Here is a hand written blog for you. I am trying to illustrate a point. Sometimes I can’t figure out how to get things on paper and sometimes I can figure out how to get things into my head. So far so good. I took up writing in all caps not because I like to shout but because I pay more attention to how letters look.
When I don’t write in caps it gets a bit more muddled.
Tonight is an especially bad night for my… I guess its dyslexia. I try to write without stopping too much to think about what I have messed up as far as spelling. I have practiced a lot to recognize the problems.
Caption: Here is what it looks like when I correct as I go. I will put the original text in blue and what my corrections would be in pink, red, or green. Why have I come to you in all my writing frustration? I guess I wanted someone to see that even the mechanics can hinder the writing process.
Here is what it looks like when I correct as I go. I will put the original text in blue and what my corrections would be in pink, red, or green.
Why have I come to you in all my writing frustration? I guess I wanted someone to see that even the mechanics can hinder the writing process.
Caption: Let’s look at what is going on here.  In the uncorrected section 1.“Written” has two (T)s . I leave out a lot of letters especially the double ones or in the case of “double”, the unneeded ones. 2.	I forgot what an (A) looked like. Sometimes it takes me a while to slow down and focus on what letters look like. As I breath into it my handwriting improves a bit too. 3.	Forgot the (E) (in my head I had to ask myself if that (E) was a three. 4.	Added a letter that time. 5.	There are two #5’s. Caps and Acps. Sometimes they [letters in words] like to mix it up.
Let’s look at what is going on here.
In the uncorrected section:
1. “Written” has two (T)s . I leave out a lot of letters especially the double ones or in the case of “double”, the unneeded ones.
2. I forgot what an (A) looked like. Sometimes it takes me a while to slow down and focus on what letters look like. As I breath into it my handwriting improves a bit too.
3. Forgot the (E) (in my head I had to ask myself if that (E) was a three.
4. Added a letter that time.
5. There are two #5’s. Caps and Acps. Sometimes they [letters in words] like to mix it up.
Caption: 6.Cross your (T)s right. I went back and circled “shout”. I keep reading it “short” in my head. I know it is “shout”, I wrote the damned thing.  7.	Started spelling “when” with the (E) before the (H).  8.	Dot your (I)s essentially. I typed essentially on my computer to make sure I had spelled it right.  9.	Two nines. Nite and Night. I just go with which ever spelling comes first sometimes.
6. Cross your (T)s right! I went back and circled “shout”. I keep reading it “short” in my head. I know it is “shout”, I wrote the damned thing.
7. Started spelling “when” with the (E) before the (H).
8. Dot your (I)s essentially. I typed essentially on my computer to make sure I had spelled it right.
9. Two nines. Nite and Night. I just go with which ever spelling comes first sometimes.
Caption: 10.Second guessed myself. Is it with an (I) or a (Y).  11.	This shift I don’t notice as much as it occurs or I just go back and cram the missing letter in. it happens when the first word ends with what the next word should start with. “As” ended with an (S) so “spelling” didn’t need to start with one.  I only noticed that “Shift” at the start of this, is missing the (H). on the third read through.  12.	That is just a bad sentence. I meant “I have had a lot of practice recognizing the problems.”
10. Second guessed myself. Is it with an (I) or a (Y).
11. This shift I don’t notice as much as it occurs or I just go back and cram the missing letter in. it happens when the first word ends with what the next word should start with. “As” ended with an (S) so “spelling” didn’t need to start with one.
I only noticed that “Shift” at the start of this, is missing the (H). on the third read through.
12. That is just a bad sentence. I meant “I have had a lot of practice recognizing the problems.”
Caption Note: I corrected mechanics to the wrong spelling, I circles words in green that I forgot how to spell or could not force out the letters, “writing” and “even” aren’t hard words. How do you forst half way through an easy word!  Note also the poorly formed letters, lack of overall punctuation & the bizarre spacing.  It is all the same when reading…  What is the point?
Note: I corrected mechanics to the wrong spelling, I circles words in green that I forgot how to spell or could not force out the letters, “writing” and “even” aren’t hard words. How do you forst half way through an easy word!
Note also the poorly formed letters, lack of overall punctuation & the bizarre spacing.
It is all the same when reading…
What is the point?

This is hard for me to post. Between the hand written stuff and the typed stuff are usually three…four…ten drafts in which all of the “issues” are discovered, worked out, written out, reorganized, reworded. It can take amazing efforts to go from “Hi, I like to write and want to talk to you about it” to “Hello, I enjoy writing and hope to gain conversation and perspective with you, my reader.” Sentence two is what it sounds like in my head and sentence one is all I can manage to write some days.

GAH!!! *jumps up and down in frustration*.

Why mention it?

The tips…of course!

Here is what I do to get from what I can write to start with to what I actually want to say.

1. Write in color!!! Read in color!! Change the backgrounds of Word documents or on reading apps. Print on construction paper if you have to! An amazing teacher of mine, in high school, started printing my tests on colored paper. She never said “Sarah, have you ever heard of dyslexia,” but she made changes enough to help me and some of my classmates. I write in multi-colored pens. I typed this blog in “burnt orange” font color.

2. I use a ruler to distinguish between lines of text. Even words that are next to each other on the same line can get crossed with words in the lines above or below. Out of sight out of mind. Similarly I will increase the size of digital font if I have to. And I use my finger as a guide.

3. Slow and steady. On the worst days…I don’t write a lot, a sentence…a word. But, I make the effort and the worse the “issues” gets the slower I make myself go.

Sarah what do you want to write?

I want to write “good morning.”

What comes first good or morning? How do you spell good? What does a (G) look like?

4. I write like doctor’s work, always at practice. I read out loud to my dogs. I write the alphabet a few times if I need to. Some signs of trouble are poor handwriting (beyond spelling), awkward pen or pencil grip, and pressing too hard on the paper. I am pretty guilty of all three. In sixth grade my science teacher asked me to her class at lunch. When I showed up she put a preschool writing book down in front of me. I thought she had finally snapped. She just smiled. For months I went to that room and did the exercises in those books. When I held my pencil in an ineffective way she made me adjust, when I formed the letters wrong (forgetting to cross (T)s and dot (I)s) she made me go back.

Dyslexia 75. Most important. I try extremely hard to remind myself that this does not make me “stupid.” Reading out loud poorly and not being able to write out words I have known for a lifetime does absolutely nothing for my confidence. But considering how much I read and write, something had to give right? I will not let this slow, hinder, or halt the freedom I have found in writing.

Dyslexia 8

My tips are not unique or new. Here is a list of website that I have found useful.

The National center for Learning Disabilities: http://www.ncld.org/

The International Dyslexia association: http://www.interdys.org/

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity: http://dyslexia.yale.edu/whatisdyslexia.html

If you have more tips I would love to hear them.

More Personal: Why “Just Another” Me

My elusive and clandestine brother and I were sitting in an arm chair and on the couch, respectively. We were talking through our mother’s favorite TV show, which nearly did not bother since she had to put away her laundry anyway.

A commercial for a new romantic movie came on. We rolled our eyes, neither of us is the romantic type. He is twenty-two and homeless so his means and opportunity for romance seem as limited as they are creepy. I am twenty-four and have only just managed to sift through the sordid droppings of my failed engagement…all of that is immaterial.

We are not the romantic type.

My brother sighed and said of the commercial, “just another-“

He completed the sentence, I just don’t remember with what, specifically, but that hyphen could be replaced with nearly any ubiquitous thing…

Just another:

Romantic movie

Tear Jerker

Movie I am not going to go see unless forced

What I filled it in with however was: Just another blog by another writer about writing…

Thats me...the one in the back... to the left... yup ! OVER HERE!
Thats me…the one in the back… to the left… yup ! OVER HERE!

Crap! He is right…don’t tell him I said that.

It never occurred to me to consider why anyone would bother reading this and the reading is the important part of the blog right?

In the most humble of terms, I could read my blog all day, not because I am that great a writer, but because I am already interested in the topics and…as an introvert and general awkward person, I am a pro at personal entertainment.

Don’t get me wrong; I have no illusions of being or ever being the most profound writer to ever exist (which right now, it could be argued, that that person is Patrick Modiano, a French author who won the Literature Nobel Prize- Congrats to him! I have not read it, but I will mention it to book club.)

Right, so why read this?

Well, I am hoping to hear from other writers…

I want to talk about the process, the work, the ideas…THE STRUGGLE.

I did not plan to share anything here I consider the “product” but, instead, share the “work.”

I am not trying to be just another writer talking about their own work…there are plenty of those (and if you ever get a gander at my resume, you will know, I am really bad at self-promotion.)

I am not trying to be just another writer talking telling you how to write…there are plenty of those. (I have more questions than anything.)

I am trying to be…a writer.

I have approached this blog the way I approach a social situation (and usually it is the socially awkward that call them “situations.”)

I have entered the crowded room and skirted the edge holding a drink to my mouth occasionally so it looks like I know how to interact…but am just so “thirsty.”

I have scooted up to circle of others already holding conversations to eavesdrop and see if I know anything about the subject so I can join in.

Now, I am making use of my epic social “pick-up line,” if you will. I blurt out something unusual, un-relatable, factual, rehearsed, and/or completely endemic and see if anyone bites. (By the way, this technique gets someone interested in talking to me about 15% of the time I try it…so far it is my most reliable approach! GO ME!)

My posts have been slow, kind of random, and of assorted topics…but that’s me… and here I am ready to talk about writing.

And if you think about it, you …we?…you cannot be too hard on writers writing about writing because all blogs are written by writers…they have just ninjaed you. To me, talking about this is like my brother-in-law talking about skateboarding…he is not a pro and not many can relate, but he gabs on anyway (he also has the benefit of being funny. He also served on the USS Enterprise (which is brownie points for him for reasons I will explain later.) Parenthesis Inception!!)

Right…write…

You never know, you may end up liking that “just another” movie or hobby-writing- blogger.