Dear Diary - February 1999

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February 1st, 1999

I just spent an hour futzing with this web page. If you hate or love anything let me know. Check out my new journal index. Ooooh, a new index. Ain't I good to you?
Hey, remember that cool job I told you about at Xinet? Well, I got it! Yup, I had the second interview this afternoon at 2pm. It lasted about a half an hour or so, and they called me before 3! What a relief! My temp job looked like it was going to end sooner than I expected, and I was getting tired of looking for jobs. It seems I've picked a good space to settle down in, too. Not one, but twopeople I know work there (Ria and Ti- Fred), and both swear that it's the best job they've ever had. It's a receptionist position, but I'm also going to have other, office manager type duties, which will keep me busy. There's also a chance of eventually moving on up . . . maybe get that Tec h Writing training I've been considering. At any rate, it's already cool and it's got even more potential.
In other news*, my new housemate, Aron, moved in tonight. I think he'll be fine. He makes me laugh, a lot, which is a good quality to have in someone who's sharing your common spaces.*So much news! I got kind of disheartened after losing my Jan. 24th journal entry . . . it was one of mom's f avorites. Sorry for the lag in entries.
I had a crying jag earlier this afternoon. I think it was the relief over the job that did it; I've felt like I've been holding a lot in lately . . . y'know, holding my breath, trying really hard not to do anything wrong, and h oping everything will work out. I've been doing that with my job, my boyfriend and my housemate situation, and all three are going well right now. And let me tell you: It's exhausting.
Sweet dreams, dearies.

February 3rd, 1999

Good morning, sunshine.
You know, I walk around all day at work, composing journals for this page in my head. But, when I get home, I'm too busy or my system is too slow and I don't end up writing them down for you. In a way, it's a good thing, because I'm sure you wouldn't wade through novella-length journal entries. But there's always something I wish I had more time to talk about here. Or the liberty to.
I've been reading a lot of online journals. Ok. Not a lot. A few others. I don't know if this is a good idea or not. I mean, on one hand, I'm trying to spiff up my page now, new tables etc. But I'm also trying to go with a theme every journal entry. Maybe even add titles to them, who knows?
So, influence can be good.* But it makes me insecure in a couple of ways. 1. I started this journal more or less so my mother could check it and find out how I was doing. Brian and Kellie, too, since they both had web access at startup. It was like a general letter to people I knew. But that means I can't say just anything up here. There's stuff I'd tell Kellie that I wouldn't tell mom, so that gets cut. Then I read other journals, journals where you have to get a secret URL to visit them, so the author can make sure they don't know you personally. And I get jealous, because if no one I knew was reading this, I could really dish. (And, boy, would the hits go up then)! Which brings me to 2. I worry that either other journalers (peers, if you will) either don't read this page, or have read it once and found it wanting and have never come back. And then I don't know which bothers me worse...that I'm losing readers or that I even care what everyone thinks. *Although I definitely don't want this to happen. Sunday, I had written a long rant on jealousy, with links to Mary Anne's page and everything. It was probably ok, but I'm a wimp and would most likely feel I had to get her ok before I posted it. Perhaps I should start an "evil twin" page where I can really dish . . . and ask those I know not to read it. Yeah. I know. I would read it too.
Because I think mom was just happy with this journal the way it was. Oh, sure, she'll be thrilled if I really do manage to have daily journal entries. She might even like the themed entries. But I'm no longer talking just to her. I want strangers to read this journal. And like it.
Later: I can never tell you everything. There are things I want to talk about and never do; sometimes I even think I've written about them, but when I check, the entries aren't there. It's like those dreams that are so vivid that you think they've happened, and it's not until you see your roommate and she actually talks to you that you realize you never lost it and dumped spaghetti sauce all over her bed. Either that or she hasn't found it yet.
David and I went shopping on Sunday. We were buying me a desk . . . ok, David was buying me a computer desk, because he hadn't gotten me a birthday present yet, and it was, "an easy out". While we were at Target*, I finally convinced him to pick up some more T-shirts and socks. David's style is very basic: jeans, t-shirt and flannel/cardigan. And his T-shirts are never printed with anything (he hates that). So we didn't even have to look through racks of clothing - Hanes Pocket T's come in packages. He let me pick out the colors. And, at the risk of annoying him by sounding too "couplely", I really got a kick out of helping him do this. I love shopping, it's something I'm good at. I felt very close to him, pi cking out his essentials like that. I felt very girlfriendy even reminding him that most of his wardrobe was getting holes in it. Oh, hell, I'll admit it: I was just thrilled to get him to do something that needed to be done. He's always so practical; it was nice to be the responsible one for a change.*What, do you think we're made of money here? Bring on the pressboard!
We went hottubbing Saturday night. Jodi and Carol had rented out Kiva for Jodi's birthday, so it was just people we knew. Well, people Carol and Jodi knew. The drive from San Jose to Santa Cruz was terrifying; it wa s raining alley cats and rabid wolves, and we were trying to negotiate the Santa Cruz mountains . . . ugh. So, we were nice and tense and ready to plunge our nekkid bodies into the steaming water.
I make it sound like something exciting happened next, don't I?
Have you ever hottubbed in the pouring rain? It was a freezing run from the house to the tubs*, but the immediate warmth as we sank into the bubbling water was amazing. It was as if we were in a bad sitcom, each nude body shivering and chattering until the moment the heat sank in and "AAHHhhhhhhhhh". Ok, I don't know any sitcoms like that either. Anyway, the tubs always get too hot after awhile, but that night, with the big, cold drops of rain dropping on us consta ntly, we found we could sit for longer before we had to prop ourselves half-out of the water to cool off. *Although David and I brought our flip-flops, so at least we weren't walking barefooted on those cold rocks.
The rain eased up after awhile. People came and went between the different tubs and the sauna, and at one point, I realized I was the only woman in a tub full of 7 men -- and I made the mistake of pointing this out (t oo proudly). Whoo boy, it may have just been me, but it suddenly got very quiet (after the initial burst of hey-hey kind of laughter). David left at that point, and Ian was grinning at me, and I was trying to figure out how to leave the tub gracefully w ithout anyone noticing that I was fleeing. I wanted to back out, too. Anyhow, I took a deep breath and went out onto the grass, away from the tubs, where I let the cool sensation of the rain fall against my cooling body. And I danced.

February 4th, 1999

Well, I told David earlier that there would be a journal entry tonight, and, god damn it, there's gonna be a journal entry tonight.
I just finished watching the Simpsons with Aron, our new roommate. Sharon doesn't like animation, so this was the first time since Kellie that I've sat down with my roomie and giggled over the Simpsons. And it was on e I hadn't seen, too: Halloween Special VIII. Before the Simpsons, the three of us hung out in the dining room*, chatting and talking about our day, our friends, etc. The house is so different - so nice and mellow! Earlier tonight, before anyone was h ome, I was bummed because I wanted to hang out! It's nice to have a Home again.*(don't ask me why, we just ended up there)
I got a rejection letter from Seventeen magazine today. There was the most encouraging handwritten note on it*. Sharon thinks he means it's too racy for Seventeen...I dunno, I'd rather think it was also too deep, too complex...Now I have to fi nd another market for it. I was going to sit down tonight and figure it out, write a draft of the letter to print out at work tomorrow, etc., but I got caught up chatting. I'm trying to decide if I should go for something really big, like The New Yorker or Harpers, or if I should go for something like The Iowa Review. I think it's a solid story, but it's set in high school, so I really wonder about sending it to a "sophisticated rag" like The New Yorker. I also wonder if fiction writing is like theatr e, where you don't audition on Broadway until you're ready -- otherwise, you get a bad reputation as a kid who's trying to go too far too fast. Somehow I keep thinking it's like that, and if I get rejected once, everything with my name on it will go into the circular file. Paranoia, paranoia... *"Dear Heather Shaw - Thanks for 'Feeding Time'. It's fine stuff but I think it covered too much ground in too little time for our young readers. Good luck placing it elsewhere. Best - Ben Schrank"
I had a lovely time last night with David. We had a good talk tonight as well. I wish I could freeze time or whatever it would take to make things always so easy, so wonderful. Life's a roller coaster, though, huh? Sometimes, I swear I wake up nauseous from the ride.
What else? Oh! I found Shmuel's journal finally. Not even a month old, and he's putting up entries every day! I was fascinated, reading about him. He and I have some things in common, such as wanting very badly to be a writer, but in other ways we seem very different. I'm very into love and sex, and there was very little of that on his page (that I could find). And he's all into primary colors and detests eart h tones, which is just about my polar opposite there. Not that these are huge things (some might say I picked the most superficial details and some might be right), but they really caught my attention. What's wrong with green, I ask you? Green is the c olor of growing things. Hi Shmuel! Thanks for listing my site on your page.
I should probably do a "pages I read" section, huh? Oh, I mention them here, but there should be a nice, concise little list you can refer to. But then again, there's a lot about this page that needs revamping, and o n a 14.4 modem*, I don't like to upload too much at once. *Hell, if it were faster, I'd probably be much better at updating this journal everyday.
So much for themed entries! I've said just about all I can think of, and it's past my bedtime. G'night, doves.

February 6th, 1999

Today I'm going to do something I sorta told myself I'd never do. I'm going to comment directly on someone else's journal entry. The ever popular Columbine no less. I hope I'm not taking on too much.
Columbine's entry is on his fingernails...the fact that he painted them blue and wants no one to notice. He wants to be "weird" just for himself.
Columbine should move to the Bay Area.
I moved out here from Franklin, Indiana, where I had gone to college. I moved because, although I knew that small town pretty well and made pretty good tips off my regular customers at the local pizza joint, I was too weird there. I didn't fit in, stood out like a brightly painted sore thumbnail. Now, I'm female by birth, so my oddly painted fingernails only carried the stigma that "acid green, peacock blue and violet are not natural nai l colors".* In fact, at the place I worked, I looked almost completely normal next to the punk rock teenagers with facial piercings that would occasionally gather hysterical comments such as: "What is that thing in his nose? What am I supposed to tell m y children!? It's not Halloween! You've got FREAKS making my pizza! That's DISGUSTING!!!"*And red is? I'll never understand that.
But there were incidents. One time, I was walking to class, wearing a multi-colored tank top, green shorts, and one of those multi-colored "hippie" hats (the picture on my Photo Gallery page h as me wearing it, if you're curious). A pick-up truck (ubiquitous in Indiana) full of good ol' boys (also ubiquitous) drove past, slowly. They leaned out, threateningly close, and screamed at me, "Jerry Garcia is DEAD, you fuckin' hippie! Jerry Garcia SUCKS!" and other such lovelies. They eventually drove off, after harassing me for a block or so, but it was scary. Rednecks get very upset when you don't look like everyone else, and will gang up and attack rather frequently if provoked too o ften with such visual offenses such as multi-colored clothing or facial piercings.* *Keep in mind that the grand dragon of the KKK lived just 20 minutes down the road. Or so I was informed.
But I didn't leave out of fear. Hell, Franklin, for me, was much safer than the questionable part of Oakland I live in now. I left because it was too easy to stick out. It was a breeze t o be different, to get attention, to be noticed. I won poetry slams on a regular basis. I was well-known among my friends as someone who would frankly discuss the more intimate aspects of sex.**I would occasionally cle ar a room because a story I told was "too raunchy". It was a running gag with Kellie and Brian.
What good is that, I ask you? Where's the challenge of being different in the conservative Midwest? My writing might have improved, living there. But, honestly, I had no influence, no real encouragement to write. O ut here, there's tons of writers. There's also tonsof freaks. If I wear my cape in Berkeley, the comments (if any) are, "Great cape!". No one notices, really. And if I write a good story, I'm gonna have to revise the hell out of it b efore someone gushes all over it the way they might have* in Indiana. And no one blinks an eye when I talk about sex. It came up in my last interview that I wrote erotica; they didn't fact, the HR director already knew because she'd been to th is page. *I only wrote one story, Golden Apples, while in Indiana. And that was for a Creative Writing course.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that my main group of friends came fr om Mary Anne. And, as jealous as I've gotten recently about her success, I have to remind myself that it was her casual comment, "I'm not sure my anthology is taking poetry. Why don't you write me an erotic story instead?" that spurred me on to write. Don't get me wrong, I've always written, and as a child I desperately wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I just needed some sparkling competition and a tougher environment to bring it out.

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