Only Dreaming

December 2, 2013

I have been having recurring dreams lately. I keep returning to this place that changes a little every time it pops up in the dreaming, but is same-y enough that it is familiar, only as a place I have visited in dreams. Certainly it is an amalgamation of several places I have been in real life.

Most of the time, visiting this place is like some kind of wish fulfillment. However, that dream never actually comes true. There is always something keeping me at least an arm’s length from the end game of the dream. Funny little place really. I kind of just wake up annoyed, but also ready to do some kind of work.

Another common thing in the dreams is zombies. In a recent zombie-related dream, I had to kill pretty much everyone I have ever loved. Would have been slightly satisfying in this case, had a certain ex shown up, but thankfully I don’t really dream about him much anymore. Nor do I want to. The zombie dreams are sometimes terrifying, but usually I know it’s a dream.

The third kind of dream is some kind of bizarre convention-related dream. Sometimes the dreamworld reminds me of DragonCon, but sometimes it seems an altogether different atmosphere. Sometimes I know the people around me. Sometimes they are strangers. I usually wake up happy, warm and fuzzy about friends I have met at DragonCon and look forward to seeing again.

I haven’t really ever been one to keep revisiting the same sorts of places and ideas in my dreams, that I’ve really noticed anyway. I find the lack of variety a bit dull, to be honest. And I think I rather prefer nights I cannot recall the inner workings of my mind.

Anyway, I know this reeks of vagueness and I haven’t really said much of anything here, really. Just something I think about sometimes on the periphery, where dreams live.

I think that more than dreams while slumbering, I intended to write a little something about real life dreams, and how to make them come true. I don’t really think of end-games involving my creative projects anymore. The journey is the thing. And I like to focus on what it means to be creating the thing I want to make (because most of my dreams are creative by nature), and physically making that thing.

I have a couple of new (but kind of very old) projects I am ready to start on. There is some planning, some collaborating, and lots of work to be done. I hope I do my dreams of what these projects could be some justice. And I want to pour so much of my thoughts about changing the world into these two things, and I want to fill them so full of delight that they might burst, but then they might not burst, but then they explode anyway, all over everything. I want my dreams to scatter bits and pieces everywhere.

I know, again with the vagueness, but I find that talking specifics about projects tends to ruin them. And I’ve already confessed probably a bit too much to a friend about one of the projects. So I think I will stick to vagueness here, though it is probably annoying, and leave the specifics to my personal journal, which might actually be the place my dreams go to die.

Past and Future Selves

December 1, 2013

I think a lot about change. All the time. How it’s constant, and how that makes it such a difficult thing to measure. Because yes, change is constant, but it’s not like a constant in a math problem. It’s more slippery than that. It has much more in common with an unknown. I guess, really, I think about calculus all the fucking time.

Today, I was annoyed with my past self for procrastinating on grading papers. Most of this semester, I have been really good about keeping on top of grading so that I don’t have to get to it all on Sunday night. Since I teach twice on Monday, this has been nice. Past Lauren has been in the good graces of Future Lauren. With the 5-day weekend, and with the dread of having skimmed a few of the papers I needed to grade, knowing how terrible they were, I put off the grading. Future Lauren was quite displeased with Past Lauren when Present Lauren was tackling the massive pile of work. I know better than this for next semester, and how to spread out assignments a bit differently so they don’t all come due at awkward times. The second half of the syllabus for this class is brutal, and we’re not really supposed to tweak it too much because of the way the curriculum is set up, but wow do I know how to fix it next time. And also never to let the work pile up like that, because it made for a miserable day of grading, taking breaks until I no longer felt overwhelmed with disappointment, and then more grading. And then after all that, I still had one last lesson plan to sort out.

I complained a bit on social media, and a few teacher friends spoke up, which was actually quite helpful. Most of them have been teaching much longer than I have, and one of them told me that end of semester is either a time of excitement to be getting really awesome work, or a frustrating time of disappointment. And really, it’s both, with the edge going to the latter.

I was talking to someone the other day, who I hadn’t seen in awhile, and they said that from my posts it really seemed like I was taking to teaching quite well, that I seemed to really be enjoying myself. The truth is, I don’t love it. And I don’t want to continue doing this thing I don’t love. Or maybe, with more experience, my ideas about it will change. Right now, I am not sure. All I know is I want to do something else. I got my Masters degree with the intent to find more suitable employment, and I actually stumbled into something not terrible while still working on the degree, but I want more. I want to feel/be/do more to be more useful.

I have a few ideas about how I can begin to become more useful on a more personal level, with my writing. Hopefully, as I work on those projects, I will find my way to the thing I should be doing/ that thing where I am the most useful. I am not just hopeful about this, though. I am pretty fucking determined to make it happen. And I think my past and future selves will be much less at war with one another if my present self shapes up and does the work.

Half Funeral

November 30, 2013

I think that today I went to half a funeral. Not that it was called that. I didn’t know how to dress. I don’t really know how to funeral. I misappropriate its part of speech, that is how little I understand it. I really wanted to wear my red dress, just because my friend who recently died was such a bright spot in so many of our lives. Seemed a fitting way to respect her and celebrate her life, and how lucky we all were to have known her.

Once the moment to actually put on the outfit arrived, I opted for neutral colors, just about like everyone else. Boring, like that. Neutral because this wasn’t about any of us or our grief, but about the life of our dear friend. I still wore my bright green coat and my mustard yellow scarf and bright pink hat, because fucked if I am going to be the kind of person who has a funeral appropriate coat. It’s annoying enough to have to choose funeral appropriate attire. I dunno why I for a moment suppose this even matters. Just a silly thought, like so many others that happen when dealing with the loss of a friend.

I am glad that instead of a funeral, this thing was called a memorial/ celebration of life. Sometimes, even though labels are fucking annoying, a certain different set of words attached to an event at least makes it more descriptive, and in this case, somewhat less mournful.

It was, as always, lovely to see so many wonderful people gathered in the same place at the same time, though the reason was one that all of us had been dreading for some time, I think. The eulogies written by both Renea and Dave were absolutely perfect. Dave’s hit me because I had similar experiences in friendship with Sherry. She was someone who encouraged me to write when I was afraid I had lost my voice and ability to be a writer. It was nonsense. I just needed to do it anyway. Duh. Thank you, Sherry.

Renea’s words hit me differently, and it was primarily the last adjective that she chose to describe Sherry which had me listening so intently. Even though I was sitting in the back row, it felt like in that moment, I was sitting way up close. The word she used was “present.” It was really the perfect word. I think very often we try to live in the present, but the past likes to be all “Boo! Remember me? Haunting, aren’t I?” And the future likes to make promises it cannot possibly fulfill. But to be inside the current moment, enjoying it just because being alive is a spectacular thing, and anything we can’t control can seriously just go fuck itself, that is something. And that was how Sherry was.

Along with a few other friends, I sneaked out of the church after Dave’s speech because whatever the preacher was going to say was not anything that was going to help me deal with my grief. I already heard what I needed to hear, thanks to Dave and Renea.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of the day. Not sure how to live it presently, not sure I wanted to do anything other than sleep it away. Instead, I wrote down a lot of my thoughts, to try to help me get some of the sadness out of my head. I wrote so I could write some other words, for a few fictional pieces I needed to finish in order to complete NaNoWriMo, as today is the final day.

I just crossed that 50k word finish line, and it feels as shitty as I thought it would, without Sherry there as a cheerleader for our region. It feels kind of cheesy to me, like bad symbolism or something. I am not sure quite how to articulate it.

Maybe… Sherry’s mom came over to our group before the service and we all got up and hugged her, one by one. She said how lucky her daughter was to have so many friends. And I cheekily said that we were the lucky ones. And we were. And we are. As Lia said, so many of us are friends with each other because we were friends with Sherry first. I certainly have no shortage of people in my life simply because Sherry was in mine. And that’s something I can be thankful for in every present moment.

Happiest When Moving

November 30, 2013

I went dancing with some friends last night. Mostly it was just us ladies getting up and dancing. I should back up a second, because I’ve failed to frame this story properly, from the very start.

We were actually at a birthday party, a friend’s 45th, themed appropriately with the inclusion of spinning old 45s. Given that these were my music nerd friends, they spun some really sweet tunes. For those of us who enjoy dancing, there was plenty of floor space for that, and so we danced.

Dancing has been one of my favorite activities for a long time, since I first really remember enjoying it with some friends (from the same group of friends as last night, actually), probably back in 2003. There was an 80’s dance night once a month at a neat little bar in Dayton, Ohio way back when I lived there, and it was a rocking good time. That bar has long since been closed down. I wonder if it’s still an empty space, or if anything new is there now. Oh well.

More recently, I have been taking a burlesque class and have been learning a few actual dance steps. Since taking this class, I have realized that I have gained far more confidence when I go out to dance on my own. And it has led me to want to find even more dance parties in the future. For awhile, there was a good one at Northside Tavern, but I am not sure they do them anymore. I should look into that. Some friends of mine go to a more gothy/industrial kind of thing, which is probably okay to dance to, but I really like spinning around and shaking it to tunes from the 80s and 90s.

On my first day of Thanksgiving break, I spent some time listening to the radio (The Current, because mostly anything else is pretty fucking terrible) and dancing around the apartment in between getting some chores done. It was a lovely way to unwind, but also seemed to give me more energy throughout the day, enthusiasm begetting more of the same.

Dancing fills me with a positive energy, a way of recharging when I feel like the edges of life are a bit on the dull side. I always want to go out and do more dancing, even all by myself. I mean, if you’re going to dance like no one else is in the room anyway, who gives a fuck who else is actually in the room?

After a night of dancing, I just want to sleep, and I do, dreamlessly, peaceful sleep. I wish that I would wake up feeling recharged, but I end up feeling like a music box put back on its shelf. I am out of the way until next time I dance, and sleep, and get shelved. Maybe I should learn better ways to interact when I go out. I dunno.

A friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in months said to me that I seemed like I was “enjoying life at the moment,” and I wondered how hard I was faking it. That was my immediate reactionary thought. But in the moment of dancing, I was laughing, fun and free, and I was truly enjoying it. Back on the shelf, alone and without dance, I gather dust. And I’ll be fucked if I know what I’m going to do to it once I’ve gathered enough.

Weird Satisfication

November 24, 2013

A friend invited me to hang out with her and her girlfriend yesterday. There was a viewing of “The Day of the Doctor” at the University of Cincinnati, and my friend asked if I wanted to tag along. Her GF is a mega nerd like me, so we had tons to geek out over. Comics, various fandoms, and so on.

There were several things throughout the night that made it a good night, and really only one thing that was annoying. The stupid thing I will mention first was that we wanted to eat at this greek place that has been around longer than I have been alive, but it was oddly crowded and there was a couple occupying the everloving shit out of a table, even though they were done eating. Nice for them to just chill, because it was cozy warm in there and smelled amazing. In my experience, if I know a place is crowded, I try to GTFO as soon as I am finished, especially when I know other people are waiting. We bailed after it was starting to get too late and we were all getting a bit hangry.

We ended up at a burrito chain that was not the worst thing ever. Fuck a bunch of cilantro, ya know? As we talked about stuff, I might have gotten an invite to a weekly trivia game, which is awesome because I haven’t done that since before I started grad school. I cracked up that it was mentioned that I probably wasn’t welcome to the Monday night trivia because they play on a team with an ex of mine. I took a certain satisfaction in the phrasing, “Oh, she used to date the guy you don’t like.” I felt oddly validated in that break up decision, many years past.

After dinner, we journeyed across campus to the auditorium, where we walked through a cluster of geek stench that reminded me slightly of that time I was married to the gamer. Recently happily stopped seeing some other gamer and have really come to realize that gamer dudes are not exactly my cup of tea, unless they recognize that there is life outside of gaming. Because, hello world of things that do not involve the false narrative of the gamer’s life. Oh, I could unpack that statement, but I’ll just leave it. Luckily, we didn’t have to hang out with the smelly nerds for too long, as my friend knew the kid running the event and he let us inside early.

I won’t go too into depth about “The Day of the Doctor,” (spoilers, Sweetie) just that the first few moments of it show bits of London on which I had set foot and that filled me with a giddy warmness. I felt like, for a moment, I was back there, wandering through the streets and knowing that each step was taking me closer to figuring out what the hell I want to do. I’ve felt a little lacking in direction lately, and also filled with a need to see to that issue, so it was a lovely reminder of how far I’ve come. The rest of the the 50th anniversary special was filled with fan wank and ridiculousness, but overall, the hater in me didn’t win. After all, it’s an interesting fandom and I was sitting in a room filled with young nerds, some of whom reminded me of myself at that age. Also there were fish fingers, custard, and bananas, which actually improved the smell of the room.

After the viewing, we walked over to the dining hall, which was a first-time experience for me. Although I suppose, if I think about it, the student union at NKU was the closest thing I’d seen to such a place. I lived at home when I was an undergrad, and never had the dorm experience. I ate Lucky Charms and we talked about some fandom stuff, like Women in Refrigerators. It was an odd thing to introduce a feminist topic to a friend who has taught me so very much about feminism. Also we marveled at this kid who looked exactly like Doctor #11, even more so than a friend of mine I know from DragonCon.

It was starting to get late, so we walked back across campus, discussing random aspects of Game of Thrones. It was easiest to get up to the street where I was parked by going through a parking garage, so we walked up one flight of stairs and saw a bunch of kids smoking in the garage. It was fairly obvious they weren’t smoking cigarettes, and I don’t think any of us cared, so we walked along to the elevator, and then spilled out into the street. I walked to my car, happy with the night, happy to have hung out with an old friend and hopefully a new one. I really hope that trivia night happens soon.

Today I was feeling drowsy and made of headache. I decided to take some pain meds and go to the movies and see Catching Fire, as I’ve been a fan of The Hunger Games books and the first movie. Also, I had heard bits of the movie were filled at the Marriott where DragonCon happens, so I wanted to see it. Almost got into a fender bender because of headache issues on the way there. It was super close. Also the theatre was incredibly packed for a Sunday morning. Kind of made me happy those people were in the theatre with me and not at the megachurch around the corner. Heh. Anyway, I felt the same sense of warm happiness when watching the scenes that were filmed at the Marriott as I did when watching the familiar London scenes during Doctor Who. I was reminded of the friends I met at DragonCon, and how lucky I’ve been to forge those friendships. It also made me miss those friends a bit, all the while making me feel just a bit closer to them. So even though I have felt like my head was stuffed with throbbing cottonballs all day, it was nice to have something, anything help me to feel a little less alone.

The Art of Making Conversation

November 23, 2013

I like to drive-by converse like the wind knocking over a potted plant on the back porch. Like, “What was that?” “Who knows?” And then days later, looking out the window, seeing the overturned potted plant, wondering how it got knocked over. Maybe it was a raccoon. It wasn’t. It was me, the wind.

I jumped in on a few conversations in a crowded room today. This happened at the Crafty Supermarket, which has moved from Clifton to Over the Rhine (OTR). This is who I am in OTR: as I drove home from the craft fair, I was singing a song to myself about gentrification and then realized it was to the tune of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” and then I had to Google to make sure I had the correct artist (I didn’t- I thought it was Debbie Gibson, silly me). Anyway, the move was a fairly good one, my opinions on gentrification aside. Larger space, great acoustics in the ballroom at Music Hall, because in Cincinnati, our craft fairs have a DJ. By the time I left, it was getting too crowded for my liking, but it was still a more convenient space than the Clifton Cultural Arts Center.

Anyway, I heard some ladies talking about some butterfly necklaces, and one of them said, “That is so Silence of the Lambs,” and I jumped in on that because it made me laugh. Also, she was totally right. I kinda wish I had bought that necklace, but I was already budget busted at that point, so I resisted. I mentioned to her that I had a friend who cosplayed as Buffalo Bill and she said that was the best thing ever, and she’s right, it totally was.

Then I saw some TARDIS stuff and got all nerd-faced over it because it’s Doctor Who Day (50th anniversary and all). I was a fairly well contained snowstorm until I saw the Dalek and TARDIS chocolates, which I promptly bought while telling the lady behind the booth that I was exploding inside at the sight of them. And I so very was nerdily erupting from excitement, a snowstorm all shook up, glittery dashes of snow falling to reveal an exploding TARDIS on a field of Starry Night. I wished the lady behind the counter, “Happy Doctor Who Day,” as I walked away, leaving footprints of ash on the floor, dust in my wake, like “The Fires of Pompeii,” the episode with the 12th Doctor way before he was cast in the role.

Later I found out a friend of mine saw the Dalek/TARDIS chocolates independently of the craft fair (at Findlay Market) and purchased one for me. I had forgotten we were meeting to write later on, and when I showed up, she said it must have been for the gift. But it wasn’t, I told her. I could have gotten that next week sometime. Today I just wanted one of her fantastic hugs. And also to put words on the page, but mostly for hugs. But that was later. That was a time slightly before just now. Before that, I was still breezing through the market, trying to sort out some friend gifts.

I was looking at some jewelry and various sundries crafted out of birch bark and noted that the shop’s name was Betula, which is the genus of the birch tree. These ladies were like, “This is neat, what is it made out of?” And so I told them it was birch tree bark and explained the name of the shop was the scientific name of the tree. And one of them said, “Oh, well we’re really bad at science.” And I cringed a little inside, but outwardly I puffed out my chest and said, “It’s okay. I have a botany degree.” Like I was some kind of science super hero.

After that, I retreated back into the crowd, and withdrew into my typical introversion. The winds died down, and there was a stillness, as I walked back to my car, and then drove along, singing to myself. The winds reserved for another day, for tornado and hurricane, for gale force interaction. So you can say, “Did she just say what I think she said?” while I blow away.

Scurvytown, Season Two

May 20, 2013

I learned a lot about my process and peculiarities as a writer when I was in graduate school. I remember the frustration of trying to workshop Scurvytown and having people simply not get it. They couldn’t understand the POV changes, or the strangeness of the place. They didn’t get that it wasn’t realistic because it was a parallel world, and so on.

I think people tried to read it like it was straight-on normal boringpants fiction, which it is not. Scurvytown is entirely bonkers. I think once you get that, you start to get it a bit more. Makes me wonder how people ever got into Discworld, given how nutso that is, but then Terry Pratchett I certainly am not, nor do I try to be. The way Scurvytown jumps around reminds me a lot of John Scalzi’s The Human Division series that he put out weekly via Kindle. Of course, I am not a Scalzi of the world. I am still trying to get started. I will note that I was quite pleased with the fact that Scalzi was telling his story in a kind of scattershot POV manner, because it reinforced to me that, even though no one else seemed to get why I wanted to tell Scurvytown stories this way, at least there are other writers who enjoy taking those risks and experimenting a bit with storytelling mechanisms. To me, it’s sincerely a fun experience in storytelling.

One of the core issues, I think, was that folks didn’t seem to get the difference between writing for print and writing for the web. I tried revising parts 1-4 to make them make more sense to the workshop folks, but by the end of the class, I was saddened by the experience. The revisions felt untrue to Scurvytown and to the point of the entire endeavor.

All I had wanted was to tell silly stories (sometimes with biting social commentary, and always a bit sardonic), and tell them in silly ways. I tried to enter these stories into a conversation about writing, and that was not a conversation for which they were ready. Nor was I, to be honest.

But also, if I am being honest, I don’t want to change the way I was writing them. Yes, the program changed a lot about the way I revise my work, but not that much about the way I initially write things. Scurvytown was an experiment in raw, barely edited fiction, and I have felt saddened by leaving that world to focus on other stories. I feel like, with graduation now behind me, hopefully I can return to this place and find out what my characters have been doing for the past three years while I was away.

I have wondered if I should pick up where I left off, but I think that would be weird and silly. Instead, I want to revisit the stories I have already written, and try to recapture the feeling of utter delight in writing these strange folks in this crazy place. Then I want to write about where they are now, with a cheap little “three years later” to bridge that gap.

I find discovery writing to be a thrilling adventure in land-locked Ohio, a place where it is easy to get caught up in both wanderlust and monotony. I hope that I can find my way back to Scurvytown, and that I find everyone well and healthy when I make the trip back.

Capstone Project Defense

April 3, 2013

I passed my capstone defense. Totally to brag, I not only passed, but I passed without revisions. This means that I was able to turn in the entire project after my defense instead of revising for two weeks and turning in a revised copy.

I was the 4th person in the history of the program to pass without revisions (in the creative writing track). Granted, the program has only been around since 2008, but still, it’s quite an honor and a nice achievement to have unlocked.

I was hopeful when I awoke that morning, and so I printed out a copy of the entire project, hoping I would just get to turn it in and be done with it. Luckily, that is exactly what happened.

People ask a lot about what the actual defense process is like. Basically, you sit in a room with your capstone chair and two readers, and explain the project to them, and perhaps read a section of it. This should all be contained to about ten minutes. I decided that I wanted to record part of my project since it was written in audio play format. So I chose a few narrative portions of the project, and compiled them. My audio editing skills still need a lot of work, but I am learning.

I knew I was going to pass my defense, but I did not realize it was going to go as smoothly as it did. I suppose I should feel proud of myself, and I do, but for me, there was never any doubt that all my hard work was going to pay off. End brag.

Neglect

January 3, 2013

I have neglected this blog for 6 months. Six months is also how long I have been in pain from a slipped disc. I’d like to blame that for everything that fell to the waysides in the second half of 2012, but instead of wasting time on blame, I’m trying to make up for it now.

Simply put, I plan to “do the work.” All those little projects I’ll get around to “someday,” well, that might as well be today. I also have to do a hundred little things to keep myself busy in the winter months to stave off seasonal depression. So there’s that, too. Hoping I don’t burn out. Trying to schedule relaxing, fun things onto my to-do lists as well as things that I just really need to get done. The year of completing projects, yeah right. Oh self, that is a challenge and you know it.

Haha. Crazypants talk.

During my extended winter break (w00t, working in academia), I wanted to get away, but the Lunar Module is getting old and cranky, so that wasn’t happening. And I realized this apartment has gotten super messy since I’ve been in this icky crippling pain. So I cleaned a bunch, and while resting from overdoing that, read a bunch. I finished two novels that had been in progress while I was in my penultimate semester of grad school. And then I launched into Scalzi’s Old Man’s War since I saw Sword & Laser was going to be reading it for January 2013. It was incredibly fun and fast to read. After that, I dove right into Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, which had been on my list for awhile.

While I was reading that, I reorganized all my books. I now have things in a much more logical order. There’s an entire shelf of thesis research, a shelf of short stories, related non-fiction living together in harmony, and a shelf of books on my to-read list. I now have a physical and virtual to-read shelf (*nods to goodreads*). I also made a goal of reading 52 books this year, which either I count Infinite Jest as 3-4 books or save the rest of it for next year. Or I can shorten my goal and read a few other epic books.

Continued with Snow Crash, anticipating getting the new Warren Ellis book on Jan 2nd, but it arrived a day early, so I scurried through the remaining 25% of Snow Crash and into Gun Machine, which has been twisted in all the right ways so far. Typical Ellis phrasing that I enjoy quite a bit.

So not really a fan of resolutions, I am more about teaching myself to get shit done. So whatever shit I didn’t learn last year, I’ll learn more this year, and the year after that. I am plenty happy being a lifelong learner, and happier than I have been.

Who Made Me?

July 11, 2012

In preparing to attend TAM this week, I have been doing a lot of thinking about my elevator pitch about skepticism. On FB, I posted a link to a very helpful blog post by Emily Finke about this subject.

How best to articulate something that often has layers of complication, based on personal experiences of the skeptic and whomever comprises their audience? I’ll be thinking about this for the next 24 hours, as I’ll be in full traveling to TAM mode.

In the meantime, my mother sent me another of her fantastic emails, and I really feel like sharing this one because it’s relevant to this situation. Plus, she sends me the most encouraging words, and I love to brag on how awesome my mom is.

When I was a kid I was sometimes aggressively urged to attend summer Bible school. Okay, make that forced. I remember listening to ‘stories’ about Jesus and his crew. I was interested only when they told the story of the disciple Thomas. Good old doubting Thomas. The one disciple who not only questioned Jesus’s story, but went so far as to actually probe the wounds with his fingers. The ‘teachers’ expressed regret with Thomas and his need to question and his inability to blindly believe. But I liked him. Like Thomas I am a ‘prober’. I have to question and evaluate and sometimes stick my hands in the wound. I don’t like being told something must be accepted on blind faith. I have to see and, sometimes, touch.

My dad used to tell the story he was told by his grandmother regarding his mother. When she was a little girl his mother asked her mother “Who made us?” Her mom said, “God made us.” She thought about that for awhile and then said “Okay, if God made us, then who made God, and who made the thing that made him?”

So, you come from a long line of skeptical women. Make us proud. (But not too much probing. That can get messy.)

Funny, my main goal for going to TAM is to learn a lot, to break down my own misconceptions about things that I don’t even realize are wrong, and to make as much positive out of the experience as possible. Oh, how I dwell in possibility! Much of the skeptical thought process is important to me, in life, and in my thesis research. I want to prove myself (mostly to myself), that I earned the grant I received, that I deserve to be going to this event, and that I can turn this experience into a stepping stone, from casual skeptic observer to finally finding my skeptical woman’s voice.