I feel terrible about the trees.
Well, maybe terrible isn't the right word here. I feel bad. Yeah, that’s really a better description of how I feel about the pretty trees. There really is no need for hyperbole or drama, as I’m not writing a script for an action movie or a political speech. The word bad will suffice. So let me start over.
I feel bad about the trees.
I’m not a tree hugger by any means, although I have hugged a number of trees in my day just for the experience, which was stupid, because in the process I managed to scratch up my cheeks – damn friction- so although I can’t say that hugging trees was a positive experience for me, I still love trees and feel bad about them. I’m quite fond of all tree's cousins, the plants and grasses, (and all really anything leafy, especially mint) but ever since I went to Seattle last year for Mamacon and one of the janitors gave me the stink eye and a verbal spanking for putting my food container in the incorrect recycling container at the airport, I’ve thought a lot more about my use of the planet’s resources, namely my overuse of paper, which as we all know comes from what?
That's right boys and girls - Trees!
I am feeling bad about trees today, and really every day. Lately, I am writing like a meth fueled mainiac, using many pretty trees in the process, and since I am going back to Seattle in a month for Mamacon, and I know there are just so many trees there, I’ll be looking at them feeling bad. I would rather be feeling good about the fermented grapes in fancy glasses that I’m trying to enjoy with other Moms who have their own guilt complexes, that might or might not also involve feeling bad about trees.
I am a writer, a writer who writes everything longhand, on paper, after first outlining it, on paper. Sometimes several pieces of paper are in play at the same time. I go through paper faster than Taylor Swift goes through boy toys and writes songs about them. I wonder if she writes those songs on paper? But I digress.
I know that most writers these days feel bad about the trees, as we are a particularly sensitive bunch, but not for the same reason I sit here feeling bad about trees. Most writers I know don’t touch a piece of paper when they write. None. No paper whatsoever, because what kind of writer uses paper and pen these days when there are not apps on phones and computers?
I. Use. Paper.
Oh, and pencils. I need to be able to erase the evidence of my stupidity and pretend it never existed. You can’t do that very easily with a pen, am I right? So I write with pencils and I go through a lot of pencils during the week, and that makes me feel even worse about the trees.
On any given day, I use 5-10 post it notes, 5-10 little tabby thingamabobs, and one “to-do” list. I have three journals. One is personal, one is for ideas and the other is used to flesh out blogs and stories. Within these journals, I shove random pieces of paper I find when I’m out and have a thought about something and need to get it on paper because I don’t know about you, but for me, ideas, insights and observations fly out of your head as quickly as they fly in. I even keep paper and pencils in my bathroom and on my nightstand and in the car and in my purse and you understand what I'm saying here - so much paper and so much bad feeling about it.
The daily pile of shame.
These days, it’s not enough to just recycle. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the buzz phrase used to keep us aware of how important it is to be kind to our planet is this –
REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE!
It’s brilliant that slogan, isn’t it? I’m sure whoever first uttered or penned that glorious alliterative adage is a writer, a writer who isn’t making a goddamn dime from the use, reuse and recycling of the melodious marketing magicness they created. And that’s too bad, because that person is probably a writer and writers struggle enough as it is to keep the money coming in so it makes me feel bad to think that the mind behind the phrase is living in a fleabag hotel somewhere in Seattle crying into a Styrofoam cup that was previously filled with coffee at his last 12 step meeting, but he is re-using because he truly believes in his words.
Damn, can you believe how I digress? If digression was an Olympic event, I’m positive I’d be singing the national anthem at the top of my lungs on when I received my gold metal (and just one last digression - I think the digression competition should occur during the winter games, as writers tend to be at their best/worst during the dark cold months). Moving on.
Sure I recycle and try to reduce, re-use prior to recycling something, but it’s hard for me to re-use paper I’ve chicken scratched on, even if I do write in pencil. Could I commit to erasing all my scribblings after typing them out on the computer? Probably but what fun would that be? What would I have to feel bad about if I weren’t sitting around looking out the window, avoiding housework and work/work and feeling bad about the trees?
One thing I do feel good about is the progress I’m making in terms of using technology to reduce the use of paper in my life whenever possible and significantly reducing our use of paper in general at our house.
Paper towels? Minimal. We use old clothes and rags and water and vinegar to clean. It works. Don't judge.
Napkins? Not here! We use our shirt shoulders or pant legs thankyouverymuch.
Tissues? Again, shirt shoulder or sleeves are fine. Mittens or gloves work well too!
Of course we make exceptions when someone is sick, but even then we use toilet paper as booger catching tissue, because why not kill two birds with one role, yes? And I get my fuss on with the kids about their overuse of toilet paper around here because if I didn’t, everyone in this house would make a minimum of 3 poop mittens per dump (Definition: poop mitten (n.) 1) toilet paper wrapped around a human hand to simulate the coverage and fit of a mitten, but in this case for the purpose of preventing a person wiping their ass from getting poop on their hands and not keeping them warm, because as we all know, fresh poop tends to be very warm.)
I really DO try my best to reduce my use of Mother Earth’s resources whenever possible because you know what? We mothers have to stick together and I know just how it feels when people are demanding the last bit of MY personal resources and I’m like, “Hey you fuckers – you are taking everything I have here, sucking me completely dry and then demanding MORE? “
Hey Mother Earth!(read this in a sing-song voice please) I got your back, baby! And if you see your twin sister Mother Nature I'm on her side too! And I’m really feeling bad about the trees.
Ugh! (Pounds fist on desk and then shakes in the air while cursing for maximum effect. If you were here, you would be stroking my head trying to comfort me, seeing how bad I feel and wanting me to feel better) Ah, but nobody, even Mother Nature, really can’t make me feel better with words or even recognition of my efforts to amp up my green awareness and reduce my carbon footprint that make me feel a little less bad about the trees.
Only I can make myself feel better and I’m pretty good at that because who the hell likes to sit around feeling bad? When I find myself feeling bad, I do what I can to change that ASAP, as in TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN! That’s why I decided to say that I feel BAD about the trees instead of saying that I feel TERRIBLE about them. If I’m feeling terrible about something, it isn’t always a quick fix to get back to good. Which brings me back to how I am learning to use technology more efficiently as a way to keep me on the straight and narrow with regard to the three R’s and help me to feel less bad feelings and more good feelings about my friends the trees.
I, the technologically challenged ijit, have learned to use my iPhone to help me stay organized and on time as well as helping me to capture the floating bubbles of must retain imaginings and information that get away from me so quickly. (And MY jerk-wad of a phone often runs away from me, gets itself lost, and it in my opinion, acts like a very temperamental and unreliable shiny sort of short circuiting toddler and because of THAT, I don't trust it and I go running back to my beloved paper, which makes me feel bad about trees again)
But I AM currently giving this "technology will appease some of your bad feelings about trees thing" a shot, (even though paper will always be my first love) because I'm sick of feeling bad. Here are a few of my latest efforts to stop feeling bad about trees.
Squeee! And will you take a f-ing look at this magic?
Cannot forget THIS!
And now, the grand finale of my progress profile proving that I have my priorities straight not just when I’m feeling bad about the trees, but when I need to be reminded that it’s almost time to feel good about grapes, which we all know Mother Nature is responsible for and so I take this as evidence that Mother Nature does not want me to feel bad anymore about the trees.
Seriously, like I'd forget the wine. It just takes the edge off when the 5 alarm fire of dinner chaps my ass.
Hope to see some of you at Mamacon Seattle in May where there is a very good possibility that I will be drinking enough fermented grapes that I'll be hugging trees because I feel bad about them.
And if you haven't got a chance to do it yet, buy my book! You will love it.