Finding Everyday Inspiration: Why I Don’t Watch the News

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Why I Don’t Watch the News

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

I’m so inspired! I mean, I’m not inspired at all, therefore I asked actually inspired people for inspiration what to write about. This, and also because I was prompted to do so by the writing challenge that we The  Tribe (you know who you are!) are plodding through now.

Lynn proposed. I mean, she didn’t propose to me but she proposed that I write about something I don’t do and why I don’t do it. Lynn didn’t know that she shouldn’t feed animals because they may bite. That’s a far-fetched metaphor meaning that Lynn’s suggestion feeds my innate negativity and the result may be a biting post.

I’m unplugged

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.
—Sylvia Plath, from “Daddy”

I don’t do any number of things. One wonders what I even do when I don’t do anything. Well, I mostly work. When I don’t work, then I’m thinking of work and feeling guilty that I’m not working (it’s happening right now). On an unrelated note, my one-year anniversary since my holiday in the psych ward is approaching and I bloody wish I had the time and means to go for a second round.

On a note related to this post’s title, I don’t watch the news. (That’s STD, I mean, STO, meaning Stating The Obvious, since I already said that in the post title). As to why I don’t watch the news, it’s mainly to protect any residual remainders of sanity I still might possess.

People often wonder why I don’t watch the news. I wonder why anyone would watch the news. I’m very stubborn-headed in not doing something only because other people do it. That’s not a legit reason to me. Even if most people do something, they might be wrong, or they might be right, but it might still not be the right thing to do for me.

A common argument for watching the news is to stay informed about the world. That sounds like a nice idea, but why exactly should I stay informed about the world? When I don’t close my eyes fast enough and a bit of news pops in my face, it’s mostly political intrigue, mass murder and natural disaster.

How exactly does knowing where the last terrorist attack happened broaden my horizons? Sure, it is a tragedy, but that’s sort of STO again, stating the obvious. What can I do in the light of this news? Tell me because I have seriously no idea. I don’t think I could prevent bombings, bribery or hurricanes.

I might be narrow-minded not to watch the news but it’s alright with me really. News is the perfect trigger for depression, and I already generate enough depression without that, so I’m good. I simply can’t see why I should expose myself to something that makes me feel helpless, hopeless and terrified. I don’t believe this exposure would make me a better person. If you do have a good reason to watch the news though, please tell me! I need inspiration.

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Finding Everyday Inspiration: I Hate My Body

Finding Everyday Inspiration: I Hate My Body

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

When I plagued my readers with the inquiry what I should write about, Michael from Morpethroad came up with a topic I never considered before: “Your body – how you see it, have used it, have cared for it, how it’s regarded by others.” That’s an appropriate occasion to list some of the complaints I’ve been receiving from my body, which I apparently hate, considering how I mistreat it (I’d say outright that I abuse myself, but I suspect it might come out wrong).


I was born with an unsightly brown patch on my face. Since we don’t live in Sparta, my parents didn’t resort to tossing me off the cliff (though if they would have, they’d save everyone a lot of trouble). Whatever the patch was (probably a witch mark), it disappeared before I got old enough to be disposed of in pre-school and exposed to mean kids laughing at me. The kids laughed at me anyway because my father was regularly forgetting to pick me up as he got easily distracted by the pubs he was passing on the way.

I was also born bald. My baldness persisted for several years. My mother made me wear a headscarf to hide it (back then a headscarf didn’t have religious connotations because we were tucked behind the Iron Curtain and knew nothing). She also treated my hairless head with green water in which nettle plants were boiled. It probably worked because I grew hair, lots of hair, and my mother is never going to forgive me that I wear it half-shaved these days. I mean, she put so much effort into growing it.

Some body parts

When I was a kid, I apparently attempted to kill myself. Don’t get scared, it qualified more as incomplete manslaughter rather than as attempted murder. I was warned not to go sledging down the steep hill in the woods behind the house, so I naturally went to sledge there. The sledge gained unexpected speed and since I was too clueless to remember that the sledge had brakes, I hit a tree in full speed. I was unconscious for a bit and had a wonderful dream about the Hansel and Gretel fairy-tale. I spent two weeks in hospital with concussion but was most worried about my parents yelling at me.

Now I think my body is trying to communicate with me but I mostly ignore it. I mean, I’m trying to defeat its demands through sheer willpower. I’m not particularly excited with how the body is working, but since it’s past its expiry date, I can’t return it, so I guess I’d better just get used to it. I could have ended up with a worse one. For example, I could have had crooked teeth. Wait. I got crooked teeth. Anyway. Let’s look at the bright side: it will be so awesome when my teeth fall out and I’ll have perfectly white and perfectly straight dentures to replace them. No?

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Czech Turkish Coffee Recipe

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Czech Turkish Coffee Recipe

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

I’m still finding everyday inspiration. Or rather, looking for it and not finding it. Here’s where my readers’ suggestions come in (cheers to you, guys!). I asked what to write about and I’m still shocked that anyone bothered to advise. Actually, it looks like everyone bothered to advise! I have shit to blog about for the rest of the year. I mean, I  have suggestions to blog about, which I’ll turn into shitty posts (like this one, you’re welcome).

Trent from Trent’s World came up with a challenge for me to “do something that is completely different”. I love the idea (wait, I don’t love anything). Anyway, what I’ll pull off is something I’ve never done before and shall never repeat again. I will blog a recipe. Yes, you heard right. I don’t blog recipes because a) I have none, b) my concept of cooking is so barbarous that my recipes would probably get me banned from WordPress.

The recipe result (serving suggestions)

I give you a recipe for a Czech Turkish coffee. I don’t mean Czech-Turkish with a hyphen. It has nothing to do with Turkey. Therefore we call it Turkish (because logic). I have no clue how the misnomer happened. And I make the most terrible coffee (ever, forever). You absolutely shouldn’t try it at home, even if you manage to get hold of the rare ingredients required for this abomination.

Ingredients

  • the cheapest generic brand of coffee you can buy (or steal)
  • tap water, preferably hard (so it gives your kettle limescale)
  • optional sugar, absolutely no milk (this isn’t baby formula)
  • booze (preferably slivovitz, but rum will also do, as will anything really)

Steps

  • Fill the kettle with water and switch it on (use only as much water as you need to save electricity).
  • Grab a large mug (half a liter is about right). Throw in two or three spoonfuls of ground coffee.
  • Pour boiling water in the mug.
  • Add slivovitz to taste.

Notes

  • It’s perfectly normal for the coffee grounds to float on the surface.
  • The coffee tends to be strong, so have your heart medication ready.
  • The grounds are not consumed but left at the bottom of the mug.

Pro Tips

  • Some people stir the coffee to make the grounds settle, I just blow on it—less dishes!
  • If you can’t wait for your coffee to cool, just throw in an ice cube or two.

If you’re wondering, all of the above is true and that’s how I take my coffee. It’s a thing.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Consistency is a Hobgoblin

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Consistency is a Hobgoblin

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Continuing to take clues from my readers, here’s a suggestion by David Bennett (hello and thanks!). The suggestion isn’t a suggestion (wait, read on). But I can easily recast it into one! David originally thought along the lines “anything to get the writing juices going” (I really shouldn’t get so much freedom for my free writing). Then David’s own writing juices got going on the subject of consistency (consistency to be continued after an inconsistent digression below).

Apropos Creative Juices

Now, the phrase creative juices always startles me. I’m creating in my head the image of juices flowing and I’m not sure what to make out of it. What juices in the first place? Orange juice? I don’t currently contain orange juice. I suspect that the brain juice which makes the mind work is blood really. So I’m imagining blood flowing. You know, as in, Let’s spill some blood and type some thoughts on the screen. This is getting mildly Gothic. By the way, guess what my native language says instead of creative juices? We say poetic saliva. Literal translation. This isn’t any better than blood. You know, as in, Let’s get the body fluids flowing and get creative.

Speaking of Emerson smoking weed (below), here’s some weed

As to Consistency…

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
—R. W. Emerson

The above quote would have been so deep if anyone knew what a hobgoblin is. Don’t tell me, I know already, but I had to Google it years ago, which really deprived the quote of any potential spontaneous aha moment. I don’t particularly revere Emerson (I don’t revere most classics, I promote my own) and I still blame him for the horrible weekend I had ages ago trying to crack his essay on Nature. I mean, “I become a transparent eyeball etc. etc.” What the heck, Emerson? Whatever you’ve been smoking during your trips (as in drug trips), quit it, it’s not making your writing any more transparent.

As David pointed out in his comment/suggestion, consistency is a diagnosis of its own. I collect diagnoses, so I naturally couldn’t miss on this one. I’ve been pathologically consistent most of my life, and so far I’ve discovered that it’s good for one thing only: proofreading. Otherwise it sucks. On the other hand, I’ve made a huge improvement. Professionally, I’m still so consistent that I annoy the shit out of everyone, including myself and my cat (whom I feed consistently at 7:30 pm, not 7:29, for example), but on the blog, I don’t care. That’s my anti-consistency therapy.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Humans Have It the Worst

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Humans Have It the Worst

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

In case you didn’t know, I’m a serious overachiever. I usually apply myself to overachieve in areas where overachieving is worthless. In keeping with this admirable principle, I’m currently publishing my n-th post in a 20-day writing challenge series, where n equals a lot and certainly more than 20.

As I’m talking about equations, I’m sooo sorely tempted to throw in some JavaScript. Not to do something useful (see my overachieving principle above), but to practise and pleasure myself (please myself? I’m looking for a word which suggests a pleasure practically perverse.)

A JavaScript Digression

I’m learning coding for the kick out of it. While I do hope to use what I learn, I can hardly hope for it. So, third time the charm, we’re back to my twisted overachieving principle. I’ve done HTML and CSS and am now tackling JavaScript. So far the best high. Let me quickly state in code that I’m an idiot.

let overachieve = true;
overachieve ? console.log('Mara sucks.') : console.log('Not happening.');

Don’t be alarmed. The above is pretty straightforward. It says that if the overachieve principle is true, then Mara sucks, but if it’s not true, then I don’t know what because it’s not happening. What’s the practical purpose of this? Absolutely none. See what I mean?

Why Humans Have It the Worst

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
          Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
          For promis’d joy!
—Rabbie Burns (obviously)

Before succumbing to the dubious delirious delights of JavaScript, I was about to respond to a blogging challenge. You’d never have guessed, right? My overachieving here lies in my ambition to tackle every single suggestion what to blog about that I received from my readers (who are apparently also overachieving).

The prompt by Brett of the oh awesome O’ Canada blog is pretty poetic and tickles my literary strings (if strings can be tickled. Also: I just used an if conditional, are you terrified that I’m going to write in code again? Ha! Gotcha. I won’t. But I have to be literally restraining myself. With strings.) Here’s the prompt:

The way ants and other wild creatures go about their daily activities to survive . . . the light breeze causing a wind chime to tinkle . . . a peculiar word . . . the intricacies exhibited by a simple tree leaf . . .

A relevant photo of a leaf!

Ants and mice and lice have it pretty good. They go about their business and have no clue. Humans, sadly, have feeeelings (misspelling deliberate for a dramatic effect). Even worse, they have awareness (not to be confused with mindfulness, which effectively blunts awareness and tones downs feeeelings, hence it’s a good thing).

To circle back to Burns’s poem from which I quoted above: the speaker, careless bastard, ruins a mouses’s nest as he is ploughing a field and instead of saying sorry to the poor rodent (and supplying a replacement nest), he concludes that the mouse has it bad but he has it worse because the mouse doesn’t have awareness while he does.

Now I want to cry (which, ultimately, might be better for you than when I wanted to code). Which brings us to the question of the leaf (don’t ask me how, it just does because I say so). I’m gradually becoming wrinkly, crinkly and creased like said leaf. And like said leaf, I’ll soon drop dead (especially if I’m not going to quit smoking). What a prospect.

The trouble is not being dead, obviously, the trouble is the process. While I have no first-hand previous experience of it that I’d remember, judging from the state of the leaf, it’s not going to be nice. Plus, we need to add in the Burns factor: the leaf doesn’t know it’s about to drop dead from the tree, but the human does.

Are you depressed yet? I am for one. I should’ve just copied and pasted good old (and dead) Burns in response to this prompt, which had so much potential for loveliness before I ruined it. To unruin it a little, here’s the classic conclusion of Burns’s poem. You can’t go wrong with quoting someone better.

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
          On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
          I guess an’ fear!
Finding Everyday Inspiration: So, You Think Your President Is the Worst?

Finding Everyday Inspiration: So, You Think Your President Is the Worst?

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Yes, I’ve noticed I’ve completed the challenge already! But I can’t see how it should stop me from getting challenged even more?

One of the writing tasks that I’ve done as part of the challenge was to respond to a prompt by your readers. Since I got multiple prompts, I think it appropriate to tackle all—when you bothered to waste a minute of your life suggesting something, how could I not bother taking up the suggestion?

Next is that little voice in my head. Wait, I mean, That Little Voice, which is not in my head this time but it’s actually Margo with this idea:

Write about something you like least, whatever it is. A hobby you don’t have, cats vs. dogs, the crazy president…

Thanks for playing with me, I specialise in writing about what I like least! I like pretty much everything the least. I’m hard to impress. What caught my attention though was the crazy president part. So, you guys think your president is crazy, huh? Don’t get me even started about ours.

I’m such a humanitarian, so I present below one past and one present Czech president, for education and entertainment, and so you could feel better about yours, wherever you’re from. Our past president got famous for petty theft, while our present one for being permanently drunk. It’s not that I blame him.

The Thieving President

The Drinking President

Feeling better now? You’re welcome.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: An Aha Moment

Finding Everyday Inspiration: An Aha Moment

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Remember my yesterday’s post when I was wrapping up this writing challenge? It turns out I was a day early. I did think it curious that the twenty-day challenge lasted nineteen days, but I deemed it safe to assume that either I or WordPress couldn’t count. I was somewhat surprised to receive the final prompt after I’d called it a day. Appropriately, the last prompt is about aha moments. Obviously, my most recent aha moment is being prompted to write something for the twentieth time, literally.

The exciting thing about being a clueless idiot is the number of aha moments you have every single day. For example, the word aha. My aha moment when the aha prompt arrived in my mailbox was, besides the sheer fact of its existence, that the word aha is even used in English. Since I’m Slavic-centred, I believed it was a Slavic thing. In my language, when you want to say you’ve had an aha moment, you literally say Aha, whereas in English, I understand you say I see. You see? Aha!

Slavic, specifically Czech interjections, like aha, are otherwise completely different from English ones. You ejaculate differently in different languages. (Or you interject? Whichever. Get your mind out of the gutter if it’s ejaculating there.) For example, when you’re in pain, you don’t scream ouch but au (a shout-out to AUstralians). When you’re in the opposite of pain, you don’t scream Oh my god but just ááá (individual variations may occur). And when you see a kitten, you don’t go aww but jéé. So when I comment jéé on your kitten photo, don’t go Google Translate.

See the hugging kittens top right? Aww! (or, Jéé!)
Finding Everyday Inspiration: And They Blogged Happily Ever After

Finding Everyday Inspiration: And They Blogged Happily Ever After

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s writing prompt is a non-prompt in which you are invited to do some of a number of things from which I can’t choose because I’m choosy. One of them was doing an interview, and I briefly considered doing a Q&A with the voices in my head but, again, couldn’t choose which one.

Another idea was to contemplate what you learned about yourself and your writing. I’m always contemplating: suicide, new tattoo, new life, new kitten, new therapist, brain transplant, also, cookies, coffee and crap. I don’t think contemplating does me good but I may be overthinking.

This should’ve been a computer keyboard but close enough

Before you get as depressed as me or worse, hang on because there follows a list of people who are out there. More specifically, fellow bloggers who for reasons unknown joined me in the Everyday Inspiration challenge and are doing a better job of it. I dread to think that I might have inspired them to jumping on the bandwagon. On the brighter side, at least no one jumped under the wagon, right.

Here they are. I might have forgotten someone. Not because I’m mean (though I am, admittedly, mean) but because I’m not an algorithm (though I aspire to it) and hence I might make omissions (I’m currently contemplating whether or not I might be suffering from early senile dementia). Now, for more cheerful, coherent and wholesome reads, go over here:

Whom did I forget? Come over and shoot me. Or, you know, you can just tell me if you’re not up to doing time for shooting me. Oh. I nearly forgot the happy ending. I even forgot that I forgot to mention that this is the last day of the writing challenge! And after that, they happily blogged ever after.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: A Series of Mornings

Finding Everyday Inspiration: A Series of Mornings

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s writing prompt is to present a series of anecdotes connected with a shared motif. Sure.

Not my view

The alarm rings and I tilt my neck to kill it and look out. From my bed, I can see a few bleak branches and an unexciting strip of sky behind the bare window. I still haven’t got curtain rods installed. The newly purchased curtains are stacked at the bottom of the closet, waiting for me to make a move. I can’t move. I don’t want to move. Just let me lie here. Let me die, if it needs be. I can’t even. Anything. Nothing.

The alarm rings and I tilt my neck to kill it and look out. Overcast. The branches are fluttering erratically. So windy too. Cold as fuck by the look of it. Semi-dark. Does this even qualify as a day? I frown and imagine a deep wrinkle forming on my forehead. I try to open my eyes more than to a slit. Not working. I don’t want to be doing this. Go away, day. Let me sleep. And not dream, if I may. Because nightmares. Another day in my life the worst of them.

The alarm rings and I tilt my neck to kill it and look out. Shy sunshine. I could go out take some pictures today. But whom am I kidding. I won’t. I don’t go out to take pictures anymore. I check the cat. She’s curled up on the bed next to my feet. One eye tentatively half-open. I make to move. The cat swiftly shifts to my face and crouches expectantly. I cuddle the cat and she purrs. Alright. Let’s get up and get the day over with.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: My Place on the Map

Finding Everyday Inspiration: My Place on the Map

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s writing prompt is a shameless advertising of Google Maps, which we are supposed to use as a starting point for our story. I’m not doing product placement. I don’t even like Google Maps. They’ve led me to unspeakable places where I didn’t want to go in the first place. They always get me lost. I wonder whether it’s the product’s feature (mind you, not a bug) or whether I’m just so clueless. (I don’t wonder, I know I’m clueless.)

There’s no place but where you are.

What I seriously wonder about now is where I got this quote. I couldn’t have invented it. Come on, you can’t invent anything original anymore. But since I can’t find the author of the quote, let’s attribute it to myself. You’re welcome. Thinking of the place where I am and how it happened that I am here—apart from the unfortunate coincidence that I happened to be born here—I recalled my nation’s foundational story. In the light of the story, no wonder I’m clueless. I took after my forefathers.

Cloudy: just like the vision of my ancestors

If Google Maps did their job, they would place me correctly in the Czech Republic. Lazy people call it Czechia nowadays, which leads to a common confusion with Chechnya. Well, close enough, one Soviet satellite state or another, whatever. We used to be Czechoslovakia. That’s when we were pals with Slovakia (not to be confused with Slovenia), but we had a little domestic and split states. Shrug. Here is how Czechia came to be according to a legend.

Once upon a time, there was this guy called (wait for it) Czech (surprise!). Today known as Forefather Czech (I dub him the Lazy Sod, you’ll soon see why). This First Czech and his tribe resided in what is now Croatia. (Which is where our foundational story really should end: so we are descended from Croatians and that’s it.) However, the mythological First Czech felt frisky, gathered his people and led them towards the setting sun. (People with sense would follow the sunrise but not the Clueless Czech.)

Our Frisky Forefather didn’t anticipate that the hike would be such a bugger. He and his tribe were soon totally wiped, so, probably in imitation of Moses on Mount Sinai, Forefather Czech climbed the nearest mountain. There, he didn’t receive any instructions, but he was hallucinating the vision of a rich and fertile land. He rolled down the mountain and, the Lazy Sod that he was, he told his people they could just as well stay where they were because it wasn’t getting any better.

He was so wrong. I wish he had the sense to move a bit further west, and I could have been born in Canada. Also, please bear in mind that this is a creative retelling which utilises a degree of poetic licence.