This is the time when everyone is gobsmacked by the passage of time.
“Can you believe it’s June already?”
“A new month?”
“How are we almost half-way through the year?”
“I’m still writing 2018 on my checks!”
(“I’m still writing checks.”)
It’s one of those inoffensive small-talk topics that starts off in the shallow end and stays there, similar to the weather or local restaurant, television shows, or something parenting-related (but not the tough parenting stuff, the haha we’re all hanging on by a thread isn’t that hilarious stuff.)
And for me, that’s enervating. I can do it, of course, and I do. But I’m not a fan of small talk, and May is replete with events that require it for the good of the social contract.
Small talk is polite, safe, and as much as I’d love to engage acquaintances in conversation about the realities of being in the sandwich generation, or why friendships are sometimes tricky in adulthood, or the psychology behind Howard Stern’s latest apologia/book tour, or maybe why parenting makes us feel like we’re all hanging on by a thread full stop no need for the hahas to mitigate it…
We don’t do that. That’s intense and not appropriate when you’re talking with people you see a few times a year in the moments before a kid’s school event or in passing in aisle 5 of the grocery store.
We just don’t do that. We, or, should I say you behave yourselves and stick to the weather or the time of year or weather at this time of year.
And yet, most of the time, I don’t do either small talk or deep dives in these brief moments. I go full-on weird.
Example: the other day my husband and I met some lovely folks, who are doing some construction on their house. They mentioned in passing the ugly dumpster that is in their front lawn.
Do I nod and say, “Yeah, ugly dumpsters, right?”
Do I ask questions about the construction?
Do I let them continue?
I say, “‘Ugly Dumpster’ was my nickname in college.”
And they were polite about it because they are normal human beings. But even my husband, who after all this time is used to me, was taken aback.
Is my small talk weirdness a bug or is it a feature? Who knows?
It’s fine, though. I know I’m not the only weirdo out there. I just wanted to send this little ping out in case any of you other weirdos need someone to sit with. I’ll save you a spot. If you’d like we can talk about big issues and philosophies. Or you can just tell me what your “college nickname” was and I promise I’ll laugh.
The book rewrite #1 is going well. I’ve decided to stop being scared about going full weird there, too. If it’s “too much” or “unlikeable” or something like that, I’ll let agents and editors make that call. I’m just gonna write what I’m gonna write.
I’m making decisions about point of view and cutting out things that in no way serve the story. It’s amazing how that works as long as I put it in another file of “Killed Darlings.” Then it doesn’t feel like I completely wasted my time, although I’m sure I will never ever look at that file again.
- This month, I submitted a few pieces, which always feels good. I don’t think I’m going to make it to 100 submissions, or even 50, by end of the year, but I’m happy with what I’m putting out there.
- Easily the best part of this month was getting published on The Belladonna. I hope to be back there someday!
- The best thing I read and watched last month was Cloud Atlas. I love when stories have threads woven into and around one another. Definitely one of those books that is humbling and inspiring to read, and the movie did a fine job with the complexities of the stories.
- Hi, Stevie Nicks
- And speaking of Stevie Nicks:
Until next time!