Tag Archive for online dating

Tell a True Story INVITATION.

More of an announcement.

For the peeps I’m not friends with on Facebook and the peeps that fall into whatever category, I’m reading two chapters from my book OUT LOUD on Thursday, July 17, 2014. It’s at SHINE on 14th an E in Downtown Sacramento from 7-9pm.

Here is the Facebook link to the “event”: FACEBOOK!

And here is the link to the actual event: TELL A TRUE STORY

See you there! I mean, I did buy fake lashes for this event. Come see if I apply them correctly as a licensed cosmetologist.

My Writing Process Blog Tour.

Long time! Oy. Day job and June, in general, were rough. Many highs and a couple lows. I owe an explanation in another blog post but for now….THIS. I was invited to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour by Scott Springer, another Sacramento writer. He kindly wrote about me and my little ebook in his Writing Process blog post. His new book, Bound by Blood, comes out in September! Thank you, Scott. (And I’m sorry I’m posting this late!) x

Bound by Blood

My Writing Process is an ongoing blog tour in which authors blog about their own processes by answering four basic questions and then pass the baton to other authors. The questions and my wordy answers follow.

What am I working on?

In truth, I’m working on procrastinating but I have been working for a few, slow years on a book I wrote about my experience in beauty college. I’d been working in a government job I heavily disliked and at the time, my mom was nearing the end of her eight-year battle with colon cancer. I knew that I didn’t want to return to the dirty, lonely cubicle I had been in for 14 months when I lost her and decided to do something drastic: I enrolled in beauty college.

My dad’s reaction: Hey! Great idea!

My mom’s reaction: What.

My girlfriends’ reactions: I will be your model!

My brother’s reaction: Whatever.

My guy friends’ reactions: Will you introduce me to your single classmates? (I was too old for them, apparently.)

My coworkers’ reactions: I’m so jealous.

Anyhow, I told my disapproving mother that I was going to write a blog about my year in beauty school. Every day, I would write. It would be just like Julie and Julia, the blog turned into a book and then into a movie. I was going to write my first book. Mom was dubious, all the way up until I lost her. I could never tell her why I did it, though. I didn’t want her to know her impending death was tearing me up inside and I needed a change.

To quote a favorite book of mine, “My mom was the love of my life.”

Ugh, tears.

So, anyhow…working on Draft #3218 at the moment of Hair AmErica. First, an ebook. Next, Oscar-winning movie with Jennifer Lawrence playing me with fantastic hair. I may write a romance into the screenplay though because the only love affair I had in beauty college was with my State board final preparations. It ended with a happy divorce.

(Tangent: I do have an outline for a picture book based on my experiences grading student exams about ten years ago and the silly answers the kiddos would write that would deserve high marks but didn’t receive them based on stupid educational standards. And an intermediate fantasy book about SLEEPING. The idea works, I’m telling you. You just have to wait, though.)

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Ehhh…I don’t know really how it’s different than others in its genre except that I haven’t read anything else like it. I write what is called creative nonfiction or narrative nonfiction. Or…memoir. I learned recently the different between “memoir” and “autobiography,” actually. (You’re about to learn something useless here.) A memoir is written work about a period of your life, not your entire life. That would be an autobiography. So, I’m currently writing a memoir about my year in beauty college. I can just see all the heterosexual males lining up to buy my first copies. Truth: my dad read the entire blog as it was happening. He loved it, and he’s also biased. When writing a book, you’re supposed to do some research first. You’re supposed to find out if others have written what you’re wanting to write about. You might find some competition or learn that it’s been tried and failed. I have only seen one other mainstream book written about beauty college, and that was Kabul Beauty SchoolI started reading it years ago, and while it was good, I didn’t finish it. It also takes place in AFGHANISTAN. My book takes place in SACRAMENTO, so I think I’m golden, that is, if I can ever get this book finished. And this is still a work of nonfiction. I am writing about myself. But it’s not a “how to” book. That’s why it’s called creative or narrative nonfiction: it reads like a novel. So I’d like to think.

Why do I write what I do?

I have no deep answer for this. I even Googled other writers’ responses to this question to get ideas.  It should be easy to write about myself; my books are memoirs. However, I write what I know, which is about things that have happened to me or things that I have done. I have difficulty answering questions about why I write these things, and the only thing I can think of is that quote I see people post often on Facebook by Toni Morrison:

“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

She was probably referring to literary fiction, but I’ll take it. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to read a book about beauty school, but I think people can relate to being stuck and looking to something else for happiness. This book about beauty school also deals with death, grief, cancer, volunteerism, politics, love, friendship, and grace…though that description may make the book sound way better than it actually is. That is my biggest fear at the moment, that no one else will think it’s great. It will be dedicated to my mama, so that makes it superb.

By the way, my mom always talked about how she wanted to write a book. A mystery. She lacked the confidence and time, though. This is why my pseudonym includes the original spelling of her maiden name, is now attached to my first book, a book about online dating. I feel like online dating is a bit of a mystery…as in you never know what you’re going to get. x

How does my writing process work?

I don’t have a process. Clearly. I just write when I can. I save every draft by dating them so I know which version is the last one I worked on. I do have some whiteboards with outlines on them that have half-wiped clean accidentally during the four moves I’ve made in four years. My desk is a mess, as is the living room coffee table which adds to my procrastination, I know. I sometimes write for other websites for free with the promise they will send people to my blog and then book for purchase, but that has not proven to be fruitful, so no more…for now. I have been trying to submit a few query letters a week for representation for the hair book. I am about to do the same for my now award-winning ebook based on my online dating experiences in a blog called So Many Tools in the Internet Shed. Anything to leave my cubicle farm. I think the dating book makes an excellent bathroom read.  xx __________________________________________________________

I’ve invited two writers to participate in this tour thingy. (It should have been three but had a difficult time hearing back from people and I owe poor Scott a blog post!) You may want to follow them. They’re pretty interesting and diverse.

Josh Fielder writes as Hack Kerouac. (Just select the link there so you don’t have to spell “Kerouac.” You’re welcome.) I met Josh in an interesting way. He wrote an amazing post not long after the Newtown shootings that was shared endlessly throughout Facebook. I stalked him and added him and then won a dog collar from his side business for a dog I never got. He had gained many fans (and stalkers…real ones…and not me) and started blogging about his experiences as a cab driver, gaining MORE fans. That blog is about to become a book, and he’s about to embark on a national tour in his RV with his sidekick dog, Izzy. Check him out.

taxi__________________________________________________________

Edward Medina. I met Edward in a writing group on Facebook, and he’s done a LOT. Lemme just post this from his profile because I couldn’t say it any better.

Amazon bestselling author Edward Medina is a native New Yorker who was raised by his mother and grandmother to believe that life is an adventure best lived to the fullest. To that end he has lived his life on the edge of creative possibility.

Well, that doesn’t exactly say what he’s done, but I had to include a line about his mama and his grandmama. Trust me though, his canon is full of creative goodness. Okay, here’s a little more:

Amazon bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic steampunk adventure novels, short stories, and poems. Find Edward HERE.

by Edward Medina

by Edward Medina

(Almost) Everything is Gold.

I came home from a long trip up the 101. I’d been wanting to visit Oregon and Washington for awhile…to see if either were a place I’d eventually want to move my life (and cats) to since Sacramento has become so mundane to me these past few years. (It’s my hometown. It’s time to go.)

Mom had always wanted to retire somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. She’d grown up in the Sacramento area and never liked it. She passed away trying to earn a nice retirement working for the State of California, a retirement she never got to enjoy. That will not be me.

I drove Mom’s car up the 101…drove through Avenue of the Giants…towering and overpowering giants of indescribable beauty. Smart phone pics and my amateurish photography skills will never do them justice.

My first day on the road.

My first day on the road.

The 101 was so beautiful, I often found myself driving without the radio on. The 101 is its own soundtrack.

The Oregon Coast was exquisite. Oregon’s beaches are different than California’s, and I can’t quite put my finger on why but maybe it’s because they’re empty. They’re cooler, not hot. No need to worry about tripping over bathing beauties. No, you’ll find readers and meditators bundled up in long sleeves and pants, enjoying everything a beach with no heat has to offer. The scenery is too pretty to lay down on your back in a suit and miss it. The beaches smell different, too…but not in a bad way. The consistent clouds and inconsistent glimmers of sun create a special filter that cheap sunglasses and Instagram cannot duplicate. Seriously, it felt almost alien. I like sci-fi, so that’s a good thing.

The Oregon 101

The Oregon 101

I found the place my little family enjoyed a week-long vacation at in the early 1980s. It’s still there. My dad remembered the name, Cape Code Cottages, and said, “It’s between two little towns called Yachats and Waldport.” And he was exactly right. The cottages were exactly halfway between the Yachats and Waldport “Welcome!” signs. And management still provides VCRs and have updated their VHS collection to the 1990s…at no additional charge.

While they didn’t have room for me to stay on my way up the 101, they had room for me on the way back down. They gave me their best cottage: on the beach with the best view.

The Cape Cod cottages have been in Waldport Oregon for decades.

The Cape Cod cottages have been in Waldport Oregon for decades.

 

My cottage. Includes VCR.

My cottage. Includes VCR.

The view from my cottage.
The view from my cottage.

Another view from my cottage.

Another view from my cottage.

The 2,000-year-old stump.

The 2,000-year-old stump.

Walk on my beach.

Walk on my beach.

After my walk.

After my walk.

During my walk.

During my walk.

Tide pools.

Tide pools.

Spent a day in Portland. Bought many books and ate some funny doughnuts. Left the next day for Seattle.

LOVED Seattle.

Ferris wheel.

Ferris wheel.

Seattle. On the way to Bainbridge Island.

Seattle. On the way to Bainbridge Island.

I loved Seattle. To live, it might be perfect.

I met the male version of myself there, as well. I learned I enjoyed hanging out with someone…much like myself, for once. I have looked long and hard for that in Sacramento and have yet to find it. He told me he had never met anyone like me before. I hadn’t met anyone like him. He asked me write about him, so here is his 15-second-reference. And that is all everyone is going to get on that subject. ;)

I stopped at Cannon Beach, as well. Here is Haystack Rock, or as Generation X-ers know as the key to One-Eyed Willy.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

Stopped at some other Goonies hot spots, too.

The Walshes.

The Walshes.

 

The jail.

The jail.

 

The Baby Ruths.

The Baby Ruths.

 

And The David.

And The David.

The last two nights were spent back at the cottages in Waldport. On my way up the 101, the second I stepped onto the beach, I cried. Hard. I had remembered it exactly as it was 30 years earlier. I called my dad, and we cried on the phone. Mom loved that beach, and it was one of the happiest memories I had with my family. My dad said I had an impressive memory.

Mom.

Mom.

When I came back to the cottages at the end of my trip, I wasn’t sad. I was happy. I got to read a mystery book I picked up at the famous Powell’s bookstore in Portland on my mom’s favorite beach near that ugly stump.

Reading.

Reading.

And then it was time to go.

Entrance to the beach.

Entrance to the beach.

Bye, Big Stump.

Bye, Big Stump.

My trip was almost everything it could have been. A friend said I *won* at vacation.

I arrived home last Sunday. I had Monday off to pick up these jerks at the kennel. Their caretaker sent me this while I was away.

Clowns.

Clowns.

A good friend came over and we swam in the pool. And the reality of my returning to the insidious working environment I am currently experiencing was overwhelming. It was the one thing that took away from enjoying my trip completely, sadly. I’d pulled over at a rest stop my second day on the 101 to compose an email to the deputy director (again) about management. I couldn’t fully enjoy the 101 until I had my grievances in writing. I am still waiting for a response.

During this last day of vacation, I received a message: my little dating book that I published for kicks won an award. A GOLD AWARD…from the Nonfiction Authors Association.

I hadn’t been expecting it. Maybe a bronze…but I got GOLD. And I officially became an award-winning author.

BIG GOLD SEAL.

BIG GOLD SEAL.

It reminded me I have *other* things going on. And it validated these projects I’ve been working on, not making money, trying to get out of a situation not meant for me. And…this isn’t even the *big* project.

The dating book was never supposed to win anything. I have this other book I’ve been working on for a few years that I believe in and keeps me going. Trying to achieve that golden life I’ve worked a little hard for. I also promised my mom I would publish that *big* book, no matter what. This award helps tremendously, though. People I don’t know have read the book and enjoyed it. I not only needed this nudge to keep working on the other one, but a nudge to include in my query letters to compel some strangers my books might be worth representing and publishing.

I learned a few days later I get to read from my AWARD-WINNING book out loud in July. I got picked to be a featured reader. This little dating book based on a dating blog I wrote while working for the State of California because they had no work for me to do. Who’d have thunk it.

I guess I owe some credit to California taxpayers and the manager who didn’t have enough work for her analysts.

This award also made me incredibly annoying at work last week. Anytime the insidious managers would say something stupid or start some drama, I would remind them I am an award-winning author and that I write about everything. EVERYTHING.

Being a blogger might prove more useful than calling my union.

I miss my ethereal Oregon beaches, Seattle, and Mom.

Yes, I was.

Yes, I was.

 

Nutcracker.

I’m reminded of a line from a movie my mom loved: “The lyin’, cheatin’, sack of shit is here.”

That movie is Something to Talk About. Julia Roberts’ character found out her husband, Dennis Quaid, had been cheating on her, and her sister, Kyra Sedgwick opened a door to greet him after Julia told her to keep him busy while she got ready in another room.

Kyra kicked him in the nuts. Dennis fell to the floor in immense pain.

Julia screamed at her sister.

“You said to keep him busy. He’s busy holding his nuts.”

Sometimes, I feel like kicking some nuts online.

While on the dating sites, there were handfuls of married men looking for flings. They were up front with their needs, and most said to not even bother sending a nasty message, that if they were not interested, to keep moving. I recall one guy who messaged ME, and his profile would appear “disabled” RIGHT after each time I received a message from him. Peeking outside his bedroom window into the neighbor’s window and then quickly drawing the blinds before he gets caught, taking that peek.

I ran into a few guys I knew, guys I KNEW had girlfriends. One didn’t even pay the extra $5.00 or so a month to enable anonymous browsing, and before I’d even noticed him in my visitors list, he’d sent me a message, telling me he could explain. He tried to make light of it, and said he was only looking because he and his longtime girlfriend were having problems, but to not tell anyone.

This was a middle-aged man, and an esteemed professional. Ugh.

Online dating has made it easy to cheat. Even opening an account, just to look, could be cheating.

A girlfriend of mine found that her boyfriend of five years had created a free OKCupid.com account. She saw his “sent” messages and found he’d been speaking to a woman. They appeared to not have met yet.

My friend confronted her boyfriend, and he said he was sorry. He’d had weight loss surgery and was finally slim, and needed validation from other women that he was attractive, something he’d never had until he met my friend as an obese man. This is what my friend told me, anyway.

I thought what she did next was genius, though. She created her own account, and then she showed him ALL OF THE MESSAGES SHE RECEIVED. She was, after all, a beautiful plus-size model. She asked him how many he received from women who had initiated contact, and he said none.

They both closed their accounts and as far as I know, they’re still together. Though it had hurt, she told me.

Not too long ago, I saw a male coworker on Tinder. A male coworker with a girlfriend. Online dating came up later in conversation, and I told him I saw him. He’d been embarrassed but said he hadn’t known how to close down his account.

Mm-hmm.

EvR

Don’t Stop Being Nice.

I had a little cry last night. A “man” who’d contacted me a few months back online and whom I stupidly gave my number to suddenly decided to reach out in the worst way.

Tuesday evening, he texted me to see how I was doing. I’d never met him. But we’d texted about our jobs and religion and cancer and our parents and then nothing happened last January. Not unusual.

He also lived two hours away, which I hadn’t known when we first started talking.

Well, apparently, I didn’t give him enough attention on Tuesday night, so all day yesterday, he texted me. How are you doing? What are you doing? Oh, I guess you’re busy. Are you home yet? I guess you’re not home. Why are you ignoring me?

I’d actually responded to a few to say I was busy. I really had been busy. I also was not interested in this guy. We’d added each other on Facebook (the best background check) and his “fit” pictures were from 2008, according to the truth-telling date stamp attached to every pic posted on Facebook until the end of time. He didn’t match his most recently posted pics.

When I got home yesterday and wanted to eat my Subway sandwich and then work on my book, he asked if I was busy. I said, “Yes, Joel.”

And that was it.

I was suddenly “patronizing,” “rude,” “self-centered,” and a cunt.

He said he knew why I single and why no one wanted me.

And those were the nice comments.

In the case he reads this blog, as he knows my author name and book title (and my website is on the first page of my ebook), I’ll spare you all the rest. But he sent text after text after text. Novel-length. I barely looked at them as I deleted them the second I got them but my eyes did pick out a few words here and there: bitch, whore, loser, cunt (again).

At around 11:00pm, he called me. I ignored it. And THEN I figured out how to block him on my phone thanks to a friend.

I’d already blocked him on Facebook. He’d texted me about that. He couldn’t believe it. That I would actually block him on Facebook after the garbage he was texting to me.

Maybe he was calling to apologize but I DIDN’T FUCKING CARE. YOU DON’T HIDE BEHIND THE INTERNET TO HARASS PEOPLE.

You know what, though? I know why he’s single.

Besides being rude and scary, he’s clingy.

I canceled my online dating accounts in March 2013, not long before my dating book came out. I even talk about it in the book. I’d canceled because of a guy who’d threatened me when I turned him down. I was living with my dad, and he insisted I cancel all of my accounts. I didn’t blame him. We were actually a little concerned about the last guy.

Out of boredom and loneliness, I signed up again over the summer. I was on and off since but canceled all accounts in February.

And then this guy confirmed my decision. The TRUTH about online dating is that it is largely unsafe, scary, and has ruined dating.

I know folks disagree and there is a handful. Only a handful who have found love online (compared to the number who actually use the internet to date), but fuck it all.

A male coworker of mine who online dates offered to mess with this guy on Facebook for me. He asked for his name.

While it was kind of thoughtful, one, he’d be doing the same thing this guy did to me, and two, you DON’T MESS WITH CRAZY.

I cried a little bit last night because I was scared, but I also cried because I can still be surprised at the cruelty of folks to each other. For no other reason than it’s fun.

I can usually keep it light and laugh this crap off. But I want to be pissed about it a little longer.

I really wanted to tell my dad last night. Because I was a little nervous. But I didn’t want to worry him. If this guy had shown up at my place, my cats would have welcomed him inside with open meows and then stood under the bag of cat treats on top of the fridge, hoping he would knock them down for them. And then sleep.

To the nice guys, don’t stop being nice. (But don’t be clingy!) x

EvR