Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Art Is a Great Way to Avoid Finishing Your Book!


Well, I missed my first self-imposed weekly blogstress deadline, but I am here now, and that's what matters, right?

I hereby establish a new weekly blog deadline, and this time I will not fail or The Enforcer will come crawling out of my bathroom mirror to smother me with pages torn from a daily calendar of impossibly cute animals like that scene in "The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover." And we do NOT want to see another scene anything like that. EVER.

I've found myself inspired by numerous people, places and things since we last blogged together. I defy you to tell me that you would stick to a blog schedule or finish that last grueling and intimidating chapter of the book you're writing when faced with these delights:

  • A new letter from my famous author pen pal--- this one the very first scrawled from start to finish in his own loopy, girlish hand instead of printed by an inhuman computerized printing device and merely signed. This one also included rubber stamp art. And somehow, incredibly, I have not answered yet! How can this be? I need to answer that flipping letter!

    What else happened?

    • In my capacity as a features writer for an independent weekly newspaper, I interviewed several people who inspired me in the sense that I actually breathed their heady little personal atmospheres of creativity into my lungs and became infected beyond redemption. One is a man of 74 years whom I describe in my headline as "The Luckiest Man on Earth". Why? He has spent 40 years teaching and performing music, he is working on his second book, he gardens, he cooks, he carves things out of discarded ivory piano keys he finds at the dump, he gathers beach plums and makes them into brandy 2 to 10 gallons at a time, and he spends three months out of every year in Sicily. How fantastic is all of that? I don't want to duplicate all of those things in my own life specifically right down to the scrimshaw, but you understand--- this can be transmogrified into a Jen Sextonesque equivalent which would be even more perfect. With rescue ponies.

      • Oh, and also I interviewed a woman who mirrors back to me the same sort of creative juggernaughtiness that I feel boiling under my skin. Founder of an art and performance collective. Producer and actress and you-name-it at a local theater. Passionate! Many a thing comes second to the vital presence of creative energy in her life, and although I have some things and people in my life that must come first, I can also let some of that burble and boil and bubble come out more than I have been, which is why I made a phone call to my local art supply store this noontime to inquire about the availability of clear epoxy casting resin. Ah, yes. The art is coming out again. Photos to come.
      So. Although I have been distracted by these and other events, I am also redoubling my efforts and recalibrating my determination to complete my novel in a reasonable amount of time. Like how about during the month of October? That seems reasonable, right? I already have the cover figured out, complete with new title. I just have two people to speak with first. An artist and a museum director. For, you know. Verisimilitude.

      How about I call this a post and make it my life's work to post again a week from now or sooner with news of my progress? That sounds good. With art pictures and news of the unbearable finishingness of book!

      Until I blog again,
      I remain,
      Your Blogstress

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Blob Blog Post:

In Which Jennifer Sexton Illuminates her Tendency to Sit on Blobs. 

“Whoa! What is that?!”
            I’m nine years old. My father has just walked me into the garage to show me a surprise he has brought home from work. I open my eyes and I am stunned and baffled by a huge, blobby organic yellowish thing balanced on a couple of boards on top of two sawhorses. I approach the mass, which is five feet long, about 18-inches wide and two feet high. It is rounded on top and flat on the bottom, like a gargantuan Twinkie. It vaguely resembles the headless and legless body of a horse, and perched on the saw horses it is just about horse height. I poke at it. It seems to be made of a firm yet spongy, foamy substance.
            “It’s a well plug!” my father announces triumphantly.
            My father works for a natural gas company. He started out in the field as a young geologist and engineer, but moved swiftly up through the ranks to become General Manager of Geological Services, complete with suit and tie and glassy corner office downtown
, though he would much rather be back out in the field, covered with mud. He savors any chance he gets to visit well sites. Nevertheless, I announce his title with pride whenever anyone asks what my father does. In layman’s or nine-year old’s terms, he is the man who decides where the wells are drilled in our beautiful Western New York State countryside, turning meadows and thickets (like the one where Bambi was born) into ugly muddy puddly scars which quickly sprout over with buttercups and Queen Anne's lace and buzz with cicadas. I am not sure exactly how the well plug works, but it has something to do with squirting foam insulation from a tank truck through a huge hose into a hole in the ground to stop up a well. This plug is what is left after the solidified insulation is pulled from the hole.
            “I thought you could carve something out of it,” my father says.
            I get a knife from the kitchen and stand in front of the big yellow horse blob. I stare at it. I walk around it. I tentatively poke the blade into a spot underneath where it won’t show. I put the knife away.
            I get a five gallon bucket, which I turn over and use as a mounting block, and I swing one leg over the big yellow horse blob. I sit on it. It feels like sitting on a horse. I know this, because I ride several times a week at lessons. In a year or so, I will have my first horse, a big red chestnut quarter horse gelding with two white socks on his rear feet and a white diamond between his eyes. I will name him Red Cloud. My second horse will be a big blood bay grade gelding, possibly a draft cross, named Oscar, with a white snip on his nose, a tiny white dot on his forehead,
wavy blue-black movie star locks and three white socks. I call him Captain after the old war horse character in “Black Beauty”. Later, without parental consent or knowledge, I will trade a saddle at a 4-H Club meeting for a solid chestnut off-the-racetrack Thoroughbred gelding named Buffalo General, called B.G. for short. But for now, I have my big yellow horse blob in the garage on its saw horses. I sit on it every day.
            Even after I have my own horses, I occasionally sit on the big yellow horse blob in the garage between the stacked firewood and the game meat freezer, facing my mother’s sunshine-yellow station wagon. Why? It becomes like a meditation cushion. A familiar-feeling seat where I can let my attention wander, unlike on a real horse, and which my father carried home to me in an uncharacteristic gesture of fatherly congeniality. It’s a place to puzzle. To ponder. To be alone in the chill of fresh air but out of the wind, close to the family but far enough away that their voices hush down to an unintelligible drone. A place to be alone. But not too alone.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Silence Has Broken.

After a long and trying pile of months, I return from my journey through the happy-ending horrors of house buying, the adoption of a dog from Alabama who looks like a small black wolf, and the delight of a recent Emmy nomination to break my blogging silence on day 19 of a 30-day Juice Fast. 

I don't really have a whole lot to say, except that things are looking extraordinary from here. I've managed to let a lot of unnecessary and just plain unpleasant, draining entities out of my life and coincidentally (or perhaps not) a lot of great stuff has happened. I have a right regular pen pal correspondence going on with one of my author heros, which feels simultaneously natural and normal and cosmic stars exploding crazy ass inSANE all at once. I am sitting in my very own house with my very own dog snoozing by my side. And an episode (webisode?) of our web series China: Through My Eyes has been nominated for an Emmy. This is all amazing stuff. 

That's really all I've got at the moment. My intention is to Blog regularly now, starting today. Going to try to steer some of my Facebook prolificity into the blogosphere, as the kids are saying nowada¥s≥ . Whoa-- my dog jumped on me and I started typing in some alien tongue which is still somehow readable. ANOTHER AMAZING DEVELOPMENT. 

My dear and excellent good friend Katie is sending me a pink laptop on which to finish my book, so I will keep you posted on my progress when that arrives. Shouldn't be long. I'm somewhere in the early 200 pages or so. Here's a microscopic excerpt conversation snippet:

“You’re getting all double dogstar on me”
            “Too serious. Get it? Double is two, and Sirius is the dog star. Double dogstar! Too serious!”
            “Funny. But good slang doesn’t require an explanation. Or a dictionary.”
            “So you

Do you think I should sign my novel as Jennifer or Jen Sexton? Fishing for comments and feedback here. 

and so
I remain,
Jen BLogger Sexton

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wow. After all that jibber jabber about not forgetting to blarg, what the heck did I do for months? Forgot to blarg. OK. This is a heads up. Pithy blog post coming up later today, or my name isn't Jennifer Freaking Sexton. I have much to say. A comment or two would really spur me on, please. Thank you. Check back here later.

I remain,
Jennifer Freaking Sexton

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Don't Forget to Blarg! I Mean Blog.

Things To Remember When Blogging
Dear Jen,
First of all, please don't forget to blog.
And also, please tie a red string around your right index finger. You know. For what? To remind yourself TO BLOG, that's what! To remind yourself to freaking BLOG. Blogging is really important.

Thirdly, don't forget to smile.

And D., don't you even think about forgetting to dance. That's vital. Because like that song said, I hope you dance, Jen Sexton. I freaking hope you dance. And if you don't dance, I hope it isn't just because you freaking forgot to. 

Fifthly, try to remember that you are loved beyond measure. That is bound to come in handy. 

And then there's the whole Japan thing. For corn's sake, don't forget about Japan. 
That could get ugly. Real quick. 

And something to absolutely and without fail remember is this: 
Do NOT forget to have a good time. How many times have you done that, sister? A couple. 

What are we up to, eighthly? Eighthly, Jen Sexton, I don't think I have to remember to remind you not to forget to be awesome. That goes without saying. 

But the most important thing of all to remember when blogging late at night 
to get back into the swing of blogging is this: 
Charlie Sexton and his gigantic hair. Do not under any circumstances forget that. 
Beat's So Lonely, baby. 

Once again, 
I remain, 
Blogstress Sexton. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blogging Is Fundamental: Advice to Jen Sexton from her Trusted Advisor, Jen Sexton

The first thing one must to is determine that blogging is vitally important. Move it near the top of the To Do list, alongside sleeping, eating, showering, washing clothes, remembering to not wear the same clothes every day, getting a spot of exercise, and showing up to work once in a while.

Number two: juggle the many things in the day. Juggle additional things at night. Try not to juggle in dreams. Fail.

Step C: invent a new type of timekeeping which allows one to physically insert one's person directly in between moments of time and take a biiiiiiig breath, thus pushing the very moments of time apart with one's expanding ribcage. Quickly exhale and shrink back down. Write as much as possible before time contracts back around you, squeezing your very life out.

And finally: just do the thing that you can't help but do. Let the juggling knives and clocks fall where they may. When the phone rings, sneer at it. Good things happen to those who swing up on the horse and hang on. Not so much to those who walk all over town saying, "Anybody know whose horse this is...?"

It's my freaking horse.

I remain,
Your Blogstress

Thursday, May 3, 2012

MAY DAY, MAY DAY... Oh, wait. It's May 3.

Hello, Bloggity Blog!

Here is a lovely view of Valparaiso, Chile from our recent Through My Eyes adventure. LOVE that pile of rainbow blocks with windows that calls itself a town.

Today is the Three of May, and I am all a-scatter with crazy to-do lists and piles of projects to get to. I am making slow but steady progress on my novel, and trying not to be discouraged about it not being FAST and steady progress. I am managing to keep up with my newspaper deadlines just barely, and I have no freelance deadlines at the moment, which is great. Cape Horn: Through My Eyes is here with me on my desk in the form of a tall pancake stack of discs from the amazing Clayton Harper, photographer and videographer extraordinaire. I have my footage and stills, and everything is coming along as everyone on the crew juggles his (or my) various lives and duties.

Also I am catching up on Kickstarter rewards that have yet to be delivered. There are even a handful that haven't yet made their way to the Beloved Backers of China: Through My Eyes-- but they are coming very soon, I promise.

Here's Ava in Valparaiso. Woo!

I am organizing myself to do a series of presentations about Through My Eyes in elementary schools and libraries in upcoming months. Through My Eyes received six cultural council grants, and this is part of the deal. I need to prepare some video to share and a series of images and what I am going to say... I am much better at writing than I am at any of this. I would like to have an assistant who is really good at filling out forms, giving presentations and readings, doing my taxes, organizing giant piles of papers and fixing the deck stairs. Please fill out an application at your earliest convenience.

Gumballs are really expensive in Chile!

$100 for a gumball? Well, OK!! They must be spectacular! ...hmmmm. What do you know! They just taste like gumballs. Oh, well! Live and learn! Actually that was 100 Chilean pesos for a gumball, which is just under 21 cents. Pretty good deal! If you want an excellent price on Chilean gumballs, I can hook you right up. 

Now if you will excuse me, I have three newspaper stories due today, so I guess I'd better start making phone calls. Wish me luck! I leave you with Ava and Menina, the Chilean Street Market Cat. She has the cutest little cat chin ever. I mean-- just look at that chin! 

I remain,
Jen the Regular Blogger