Originize! and a Poem About Clocks

Earlier this week, I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by my friend Tom from Tom Being Tom, who is an amazing blogger and human being, and I love all of his dogs almost as much as I love him. He nominated people based on the names of Santa’s reindeer and I got Dancer, which was OK, but if I’m being honest, I wish he would have invented a new reindeer named Player One, who would have supplanted Rudolph at the head of the sleigh team due to her speed, and also it would have made up for my sadness over the fact that my fantasy hockey team, which is also called Player One, is currently at the bottom of the league. I think. Because the hockey app on my phone stopped working and I can’t access the standings anymore, but no one at work is approaching me ominously and saying oddly sexual things like, “Don’t get too comfortable being on top”, so I assume I’m no longer a threat to JEFFREY.

Anyway, as part of the award, I have to provide my origin story and offer two pieces of advice to new bloggers. First my origin story, which is nowhere near as cool as like, The Avengers or whatnot:

About 5 and a half years ago, I was going through a hard time at my previous workplace because of a group of extremely nasty people, so to save myself and my sanity, I started focusing on the funny things that were happening each week, and started writing them down. I already had a WordPress site that I’d been using professionally, but I completely revamped and reinvented it so that I could share my humour with the world, which also explains why the blog is mydangblog but the domain is educationalmentorship.com—I can’t for the life of me figure out how to change it and I quite often forget that Educationalmentorship is actually me because it sounds way too professional and fancy. But being able to do that, to shove aside the negativity and revel in life’s absurdities, is what drives me to write. Even though I’ve changed jobs and now I work with some truly awesome people, I still write the blog because humour is important to me.

Two Pieces of Advice:

1) Whenever you are full of self-doubt, picture yourself as a supermodel on a catwalk. Play the song “Cover Girl (Put The Bass In Your Walk) by RuPaul in your head. Then walk down the street, or down the aisle in your office like the fierce f*cking queen or king you are. I do this regularly and it’s amazing how effective it is.

2) If your dog tells you that he hasn’t been fed yet, don’t believe him—he’s a notorious liar and just stole half a chocolate log cake off the kitchen island when you were out buying an antique stained glass window, then claimed it was “the fairies” when you accused him of eating it. Ignore the specificity of this piece of advice—I’m sure it’s true of all dogs.

(Nobody said the advice had to be about blogging. Here’s an actual piece of blogging advice: Write because you love doing it, not for any other reason.) And now I’m supposed to nominate other people, but some of you don’t like awards (weirdos, but I love you anyway) and some of you have a bunch already, and there are so many of you who are wonderful, so here’s my challenge: Post your own origin story and two pieces of random advice, and say that I made you do it.

On Friday, I was getting ready for the day, and I looked up at the clocks in my bathroom. They both said 11:34, and it completely freaked me out. Why? I hear you asking. Shouldn’t the clocks both be telling the same time? And the answer would normally be yes, but in this case, one clock works and the other DOES NOT. And isn’t it an amazingly strange coincidence, or a harbinger of doom perhaps, that I happened to look at both of them when they were showing the same time? Or maybe it was a good omen, I don’t know. At any rate, nothing particularly good or bad happened the rest of the day, and also don’t judge me for not getting ready for the day until almost noon, because I’m ON MY HOLIDAYS.

But then I started looking around the house at all the clocks. It’s a very large old Victorian house, built in 1906, complete with a front staircase AND a back staircase, which is apparently fascinating to young children who will spend hours doing a circuit involving going up the front stairs, running through the upstairs of the house, going down the back stairs, and running through the main floor of the house. Then repeat. I know this because over the last few days, we’ve hosted several children who all took tremendous delight in this activity which, I have to admit, is pretty fun and I do it myself on occasion. In fact, I did it on Saturday as I was clock counting. You may be surprised, and somewhat alarmed (best pun ever) to learn that I have 43 clocks in random places around my house (and I’m not even counting phone, computer, microwave or TV clocks). 16 of them work, and 27 do not. 1 of them was actually just in a drawer. And out of the 27 that don’t work, I found two more that had stopped around 11:34-ish, and another two that had stopped at 6:57, which looks frighteningly like 11:34-ish from a distance. I should probably mention at this point that I collect vintage alarm clocks and most of them are wind-up, and do I have time to wind up 27 clocks? No, I don’t. Plus all that ticking would drive me crazy. But why are some of my clocks fixated around the 11:34-ish mark? Is that when the ghost in my house died? I may never know, but anytime something either wonderful or terrible happens, I’ll be sure to look at one of the working clocks to see what time it is.

Me: What time was it when you ate all the cake? I know it was you, so stop trying to blame “the fairies”.
Titus: Fine, fine. You left at 11:30. It was a few minutes after that.
Me: Are you feeling sick yet?
Titus: A little. I’ll probably throw up tomorrow morning, say around 11:34.
Me (whispers): Harbinger of doom…

Here’s a poem I wrote about clocks:

Unwound

Clocks that don’t work
Have a certain charm.
They remind us
That time is a construct,
An imposition on our freedom.
When clocks are silent,
They can’t tick down our days.

70 thoughts on “Originize! and a Poem About Clocks

  1. I didn’t know how to respond to your high praise, so to combat my uncertainty I just sashayed around the house telling myself “you better work, girl!” I don’t remember if RuPaul said “girl” in his song so I may have ad-libbed that part. It was oddly liberating. Let’s never speak of this again.

    I think your URL is fitting. Every week you come in here like a mentor educating me on squirrels, trains, wine, dogs that lie, dogs that tell the truth whether you want to hear it or not, ghosts, and things I might learn while travelling. And, honestly, it could be worse. You could be suzune.com.

    Your poem reminded me that life is short, and we need to enjoy every day. It also reminded me that it’s almost time for church. I’ll be back at 11:34. Slightly drunk.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Cats lie too, Charlie stares at his cat bowl and then snidely remarks I haven’t even bothered to feed him in over 20 mins AND that he can see the bottom of his bowl. Which to a cat is totally unacceptable supposedly. *Charlie yells from his dog sized bed* “It IS unacceptable human!”

    I have a friend who also collects vintage clocks but her’s, not one of them work, but she says she collects them for their charm. So Titus is hitting chocolate cake now instead of the wine? Or is he doing both? Lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great advice about the dog. It’s a good thing we don’t have a kitchen island. Think how much grief we saved ourselves! I mean, in addition to saving the chocolate log from the dog and the dog from the vet because chocolate’s toxic for them, we saved ourselves having to fill the kitchen with water in order to make that island work.

    And then there’s the whole issue of drying off the dog every time it gets hungry. And keeping the water in the kitchen.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Chocolate is dangerous for most dogs, especially tiny ones, but at 100 pounds, Titus seems pretty immune. He’s done similar things before with no consequence–he even ate a pound of grapes once, which was terrifying for us, but he was just fine!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Okay, so now I have just one complaint about The Dome: why on Earth didn’t you opt for a picture of yourself doing the RuPaul strut for the author photo? Seriously, though, I thought it was incredibly good and I left a little feedback for those silly Amazon shoppers who might otherwise pass it by. Just superb, Suzanne.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s so wonderful of you—thank you so much for that incredibly positive review! It means so much to me😊As for the photo, I had a better one with my Titus but my publisher wanted to stick with the one they’d already used. I should have stuck to my guns and had both of us strutting our stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, that’s a lot of clocks, but I have birds and none of them make noise except the ones every hour on the hour on, you guessed it, a bird clock! It freaks people out when they first hear it, and they start looking around the living room, kitchen (I have a small apartment) to find it. Thanks for another great post! Congrats on the award!🥰

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So in a previous life you were Captain Hook, which is completely believable since he’s a fictional character. And Titus must have been Smee. I’m guessing Ken was Peter Pan and I don’t know how that works but I’m sure it does.
    Anyway congratulations on your award, Player One, and be glad you’re not Rudolph who was bullied and neglected until climate change caused fog at the North Pole and he got to sarcastically say, “Oh, NOW you need me!” but that’s another story.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Titus thinks he should be Tinkerbell since “the fairies keep eating all the cake”! All of the other reindeer were jerks not letting Rudolph play in the Reindeer Games but I heard they were very violent games so maybe that’s a good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This morning I woke up at 7:30ish and thought: too early. Go back to sleep. I did. But when I woke up for real around 10 I saw there were no clocks in this hotel room so I guess I’m dreaming about clocks now?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Wow, as someone who’s obsessed with the notion of time, “Unwound” might be one of my favorite poems ever. Well done, Suzanne.

    Here’s my origin story: I spent fifteen years as a screenwriter in Hollywood (after a spec script I wrote in my last semester of college got picked up for representation), during which time my wife (repeatedly) encouraged me to start blogging, and I (repeatedly) insisted I “didn’t have the time.” In 2014, my once-promising screenwriting career imploded after a catastrophic falling out with my management, at which point I decided to try my hand at being a novelist, the career I’d envisioned for myself in high school. With no online presence whatsoever, I started my blog, initially writing only about storytelling craft, but expanding the scope (as I grew more comfortable blogging) to incorporate personal anecdotes, cultural critiques, and essays on environmentalism (my other passion). Not only does blogging exercise a different set of cerebral muscles than long-form fiction, but it offers a different kind of gratification (and direct engagement with readers). Many of the ideas developed on my blog have found their way into my fictions.

    Two pieces of advice (besides “listen to your wife”)? 1) Spend more time on the streets than on your smartphone. The streets are where it’s at. 2) Never end a sentence with a preposition. That one’s sacrosanct.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for a) the lovely comment about the poem—I wish you sat on the editorial board of every lit mag that rejected me recently 😊
      b) your wonderful origin story—anyone who doesn’t follow you should begin immediately and c) the grammatical reminder—ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to be mean to anyone as charming & fun as you — tho indeed I’ve known my share of joy-killers. When my K-D doggie is not trying to hypnotize me into re-feeding her, I worry that she’s ill lol wishing you the best year ahead

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Hello Dancer. I won’t be answering your questions because I’m Donner. I don’t know about 11:34… did you google it? I was informed about 4:00 AM. I wrote a piece on that approximate time… really wild, there is even a Ted Talks dude that goes over the 4 AM reason why we use 4 AM a lot…like why do I use three dots, a LOT…??? (kinda annoying!) Clocks, shell boxes, and antique tree toppers! Groovy, lady! ‘Player One’ I GUESS!!! Too bad your fantasy team croaked. Suzanne, I love your clock poem. Really good! Have a great week my friend. (I’d like to run the stairs in your house too. I’d need an ambulance when I was done but I’d still have fun while I was doing it!) ~xk.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I love, LOVE the poem about the clocks. It’s very empowering.

    Like you said, blogging is a good way to deal with the Bad Things in life. That’s the reason I started blogging some years ago. I needed an outlet because life was Horrible, and I decided the world needed yet another movie blog, haha.

    Your two pieces of advice are invaluable. In fact, I think I’ll help myself to a slice of chocolate log cake right now, before someone else gets any Ideas.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi Suzanne! Your blogs always inform as well as amuse. I was originally going to say “your blogs always provide a good time”, but with so many non-working clocks, I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate.

    Oh well … what the hell … it’s a new year. Your blogs always provide a good time!

    (They really do. If you don’t believe ME, just ask your dog.)

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I love all the clocks. It feels more like Wonderland. One comedian commented that all his clocks were at slightly different times so if he was running late, he’d just move to a room where he was early. Makes sense! Also a funny tidbit- when my eldest Thing One was like 18 months or so, she loved clocks, especially my mother’s little pink alarm clock. So she’d play with it and mess up her alarm every time, which made her getting to work fun. But she loved cuddling the clocks, ignoring her baby dolls. Then one day my MIL kept her for us which she didn’t normally do. We came back to get her and she said “I found Thing One curled up with my clock sound asleep.” We were like, oh yeah, she does that. She was weird.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. clsooner16 says:

    I have just read this post and want to Thank you for the advise in writing. I started my blog with the intent to make money as I have seen others do it. I have spent more money than I should on it. Sadly, I am not making money I’m losing by the buckets and I never know what to write about which is probably why I suck at blogging.
    I’ve never listened to RuPaul but I now have the desire to strut around my house as suggested by you, so thanks for that.
    I have 3 dogs and they are all liars. 2 of them are crazy chocolate thieves. They have no remorse is stealing the chocolate and will do again if I’m not mindful.
    Thank You for sharing with us. I know I am better for it. Cheryl

    Liked by 2 people

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