So Close…Or Maybe Not

A while back I mentioned that I finished the first draft of a novella about a hallucinatory painter. Since then, I’ve revised the draft and sent out copies to some friends in the hope that they’d give me some good critiques. So far every person has given positive responses, and positive responses only. Hooray!

Actually, no. Not hooray. This is terrible. I don’t trust them. There must be something wrong, something insufficient, something excessive, something irrelevant, something, anything! I am extremely sensitive when it comes to my writing, but I refuse to believe that my work has no room for improvement. Rather than say, “Great! I guess I don’t need to edit anymore before sending out query letters,” I want to polish the novella until it shines brighter than a newborn’s bottom.


A couple of my trusted readers told me frankly that they weren’t qualified to review my work. They recognize my skill, but they don’t recognize my inadequacies. It’s an odd thing to say, but I want someone who can tear apart my writing. A professional editor perhaps? Ah, but how could I possibly pay for that? I’m a poor college student rubbing two pennies together in an attempt to summon a quarter. I don’t have the money to pay for an editor.

What do you think guys? Should I just edit the novella again and again and again? Sure, I have my own personal bias because I wrote the novella, but it might be the best I can do. I’m just disappointed at how long that might take. I want to publish this novella.

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Silver-Toed Sprites

Silver-toed sprites

Dance on sultry,

Summer winds.

Their forked, honey tongues

Lick the blood from my ears,

Brush the dust from my chest,

And leave only sleep

In my eyes.

A quivering faints

From my slender, starved limbs,

A pathetic, pulsing tremble

I never knew existed.

And in its place,

The pixies paint a tingle

In my brain,

On my skin,

In my veins.

Lightning rivers strike

The sorrow clean

From my flesh.

I chuckle in my throat.

They giggle in their breasts.

Our grinning, red cheeks

Burn hot around one another.

Then, burn lower,

Lower,

Dimmer,

Alone.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Though I am already suffering through my mountains of schoolwork, I decided to add to my suffering by eating healthy. In fact, as I write, I’m eating a dreadfully adequate salad. So, as you can imagine, my mind wanders to the sweeter and sadly, less healthy, foods.

Here’s the best thing I ever ate: 

A peanut butter and banana cream doughnut from Doughnut Plant in Manhattan. Now, doughnuts have always been a weakness for me, but my god, this is man’s greatest achievement.

First off, imagine your ideal plain doughnut. Soft and cushiony. Not too greasy. Melts in your mouth. Got it? Now smother that in peanut butter and top it with chopped peanuts for a little crunch. It’s homemade peanut butter too, not some puny Peter Pan or junky Jif with more sugar than peanut. Doughnut Plant gives you the real deal.

Oh and what’s that inside? A little surprise? Mmmm…banana cream. It’s like putting the filling of a banana cream pie and stuffing it inside a cozy, little peanut butter doughnut. What could be better? Nothing. Nothing I tell you.

Us Apart

Floating off the wave-torn

Wind, a feathery voice

Red with laughter

Tickles my ears,

Hardly felt,

Wholly unheard.

A silver smile lights the seas,

A shade too faint, too far.

Only a vague twinkle touches the eye.

And though a billion

Leagues of churning surf

Stand between,

I know you are more lovely

Than all the crystal water

Keeping us apart.

The Sex Guess

My friends and I had an interesting argument the other day. I can’t remember the conversation that lead into it. Regardless, my friend “Denise” said that when she looks at a person she assumes that there is a 50% chance that that person is having sex. I thought that was completely ridiculous and another friend of mine jumped in to back me up. We claimed that you could get a fair idea of whether it was more or less likely a person was having sex.

Yes, it’s an odd conversation, but let’s do it.

Denise argued that everyone has a life of their own with countless details unknown to you. She had sonder, the realization that every random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Given all this complexity, Denise believes there is no way to know if a person is having sex. There is just too much to consider. Thus, you can only say that there is a 50/50 shot a person is doing the deed. After all, even if you know a person on a personal basis, they could be keeping secrets from you. Your best buddy could’ve acquired all the world’s STDs without you ever knowing.

My friend and I argued that despite all a person’s secret complexities, oftentimes, you don’t need to scratch below the surface to see the truth. As horrible as it may sound, you can judge a person by how they look and automatically assume whether or not they are bumping uglies with someone. Sure, it is terribly objectifying to rate a person on how they look. But meh…screw it. On a scale of 1-10, the 1s definitely aren’t getting any and the 10s definitely are. You might also assume that the 2s aren’t getting any and the 9s are. The closer to 5/10 you get, the less sure you are. Regardless, the point remains that sex is a carnal desire based on physical appeal.

Fine. It’s not that simple. People in relationships are more likely to have sex, and relationships aren’t based solely on physical attraction. True, but relationships are based in large part on physical attraction, so you can assume that the more attractive you are, the more likely you are to be in a relationship, and the more likely you are to have sex. That just goes along with the trend set up above.

Additionally, you can look at how a person carries himself. People love confidence. Confidence says, “Hi, I am a mate that can protect myself and make myself happy, so I can definitely do the same for you and any children we might have.” So a guy who walks with his body erect, his gaze out in front of him, and his shoulders swinging proudly is obviously a confident person. Thus, he probably attracts more girls and probably has sex. Meanwhile, a guy who walks with his head down, hands in his pockets, and his shoulders slouched over his body doesn’t appear confident. Therefore, he probably attracts fewer girls and probably doesn’t have sex.

Even so, there are a lot of variables to consider. I’m probably oversimplifying, right? For example, what I consider to be a 7/10 on the scale of attraction might be different for someone else. That makes total sense when you think about people’s preferences. Someone might have a soft spot for redheads, and someone else might prefer blondes.

But…physical attraction usually isn’t that subjective. What I consider to be a 7/10 probably isn’t someone else’s 3/10. More likely, my 7/10 is someone’s 6/10 or 8/10. Actually, 5 of my friends looked at random pictures of 10 people and rated them. I know…small sample size and blah blah blah. Whatever. The largest difference in ratings was 3 points. But most people gravitated around the same number and rarely drifted past 1 point.

Tell me what you think.

The Self-Esteem Dilemma

I, along with the majority of people I’ve met, struggle with some insecurity. For some it’s just a bother. For others it’s crippling. They become so conscious of the way they look, talk, and/or move that they close themselves in their room. Then, the insecurities fester. When next this person interacts with others, they act as if they had never seen another living soul in all their life. They start to sweat and blush and stutter. They go into a panic attack.

Okay, it’s not so bad for most people. Regardless, who wants a low self-esteem? Don’t we all want to be strong and confident?

However, fixing self-esteem issues is an issue in itself. Self-esteem is such an abstract concept. I’ve heard several times in several situations, “You just have to be confident.” But it’s not so simple. You know that. One does not simply flip a switch to change confidence.Maybe you think to yourself, “If only people complimented me more, then I wouldn’t feel so bad about myself.” But if you think back, I’m sure there was a recent time when someone complimented you. It felt nice for a second…or maybe it didn’t. Maybe you didn’t accept the compliment because you didn’t believe it was true. Anyways, here you are now, still feeling sorry for yourself.

See, the thing is that it doesn’t matter how many times someone compliments you. It doesn’t matter at all what others say. Think about it. There’s always that guy who has nothing going for him. He’s a short, ugly, stupid asshole, and yet, incredibly confident. Why? Because he thinks he’s awesome.

The only thing that matters is what you tell yourself. That asshole tells himself that he’s awesome, so he believes it. You’re no different. Tell yourself that you’re special. If you keep telling yourself that you’re special, you’ll believe it eventually.

I know. Progress is slow, and it will always be a battle. Thoughts will creep in. Thoughts like “You’re hideous,” “You’re an idiot,” etc. Shove. Them. Out. Compliment yourself in place of that insult or simply say “Stop it. Stop it. Stop it,” until the poisonous thought leaves. If you keep insulting yourself, you will believe the insults. So. Fight. Fight. Fight. That is the only way. It will be hard, but it can only get easier with time.