Most of my ambitious DIY projects were simply ideas I had. Moments of delusions thinking I have talent or patience to pull off something fantastical. Most times, these ideas remained in my head because I knew – or at least, assumed I knew – that I could never do it. That I would never complete it. Ideas that stemmed from cosplaying characters – both established and original characters – to gardening: flower beds, backyard produce crops, fairy gardens with Shaun, landscaping, etc.
For nine years, I worked at a public library. And for several of those years were spent working in the Children’s Department. DIY crafts were our niche. These were all simple crafts with common household items and construction paper. During the big Stay At Home movement in 2020, we all became YouTube content creators – though we mostly worked on Facebook, our personalities had to be big and present. Our DIY crafts got a bit more elaborated during our Summer Reading Program. Still, most of what I presented and did wasn’t exactly what I’d call ambitious – you know, outside of putting myself in front of a camera almost every day.
I suppose my most ambitious DIY project came in the form of a chapbook. It was made for a creative writing class in college and contained all the pieces I wrote that semester. It took its title from a verse in Psalm 137, and several of the pieces contained Catholic images (and guilt). There were some pieces in that little chapbook that I was quite proud of. Maybe still proud of. Maybe it’s time to revisit that piece.
We normally don’t think of slurs being a part of the general language; although, when we talk about slurs, we’re normally talking about one specific word. For the sake of this post, I’m also going to include non-slur words that are used in a derogatory way, and phrases steeped in racism and homophobia that have become common cliches.
It’s 2023 and if you’re still using this word to describe your free-nature ways (or worse, naming your daughters this), maybe it’s time to catch up to the rest of us. That includes using its verbified version when saying someone cheated you out of something.
This phrase is still used to mean something you find displeasing and dumb, though maybe we should have left that back in the 90s. I know I did when I learned about the harm it caused. And while we’re on this subject, maybe it’s time we stop saying this one as well.
Some words live more in the mainstream, appearing in rap songs and Tumblr posts. When people call them out for it, straight people normally just state their queer friends don’t mind it.
There’s a plethora of words that are used to talk about undocumented immigrants that dehumanize them, and maybe we should stop using them. Same goes for the unhoused.
Unless you’re visiting a peanut museum, maybe it’s time to retire this phrase as it has a sketchy past. And there are some phrases even I’m guilty of still using, which goes to show that everyone has room for improvement.
And I know some of you are sitting there seething at my words. And trust me, I was there too once upon a time. Why should you “censor” your language for the comfort of others? But think of it not as censoring, but improving and growing your vocabulary.
No matter what you think, there will always be some things that are out of your control. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you’ll stop being disappointed in people.
Notice how I typed, “the sooner you’ll stop being disappointed in people” rather than “the sooner people will stop disappointing you.” People aren’t actively disappointing you; you’re actively being disappointed in them. That’s something else you need to learn despite how cliche it sounds: the world (and its inhabitants) don’t revolve around you.
Writing poetry might be a hobby to you know, but you’ll go to college to perfect your skill. And you’ll never throw away those halfway-filled composition notebooks because you want to show yourself just how far you’ve come along. Not everything you write, however, will be worthwhile. And you will get discouraged a lot. But one Saturday night – or was it a Friday? – you will get on stage and share your work with strangers at a poet’s cafe.
This will then lead you to start reading your work at a library, and you’ll get to know the people there. You will later get a job at this library. And while the job might not be the most beloved, you will build so many great memories at this job. Most of them will involve reading to children, and bringing stories to life through puppet shows.
I know you don’t care about most of this. There’s one question you’re dying to know. Yes, one day, you’ll come to realize that there are some girls who will actually find you attractive enough to have sex with you. And some of them will actually let you. However, when you least expect it, you will meet a pretty green-eyed girl who will be the love of your life. Unfortunately, you will meet her after you start a relationship with another green-eyed girl and it will be two years before the two of you start something.
You’ll lose her, but gain something from the relationship. And I’m not just talking about your son. And it’s something I can’t exactly explain to you in this letter. It’s just something that you’ll have to experience for yourself.
Photo made on Canva. Those are actually high school photos of me. I’ve censored the faces of others in said photographs. And that background is an actual scan of a composition book I kept in high school. I censored the poem because y’all don’t need to see how awful it was.
My son spins around on the extra wheeled chair in my office, staring blankly at his phone. Majority of his classmates are probably still in their beds, sleeping off late night excursions on Minecraft or Roblox or Fortnite or whatever games kids play on their tablets and phones these days. I can’t fathom the thought of me, at his age, finding joy in joining my parent at work. My mother, the food prep lady at a high school. My father, the mechanic. Still, my son finds some morsel of joy in spending an 8-hour day (plus one hour for lunch) with his father, the library assistant in the special collections at an academic library.
He doesn’t bore me, by the way. I realize opening my thoughts with a story about my son made it seem that way. No. Work bores me, though my job is fun and exciting. It’s just moments like this, when my son is not in school, I’m wasting time away from him at my desk.
Ok. Maybe work just frustrates me.
It’s not like my job is a slow-moving book. Or a meeting that “could have been an e-mail.” Or church – my gosh, I still wondered how I managed to go every Sunday and sit there, not letting my mind wander.
And I wonder if my son gets bored. We live in an age where boredom is a thing of the past. At least, it seems to be. Yet my son, like so many of us – me included – can find solace in his phone. Staring at the screen. Watching video after video. And while such a time-waste may bring the ire of any other parent, I noticed that he becomes inspired by what he sees. He wants to make content, remix others content, build a platform with his friends.
And trust me – I get it. The idea that my son wants to be a content creator had me exasperated for a while. But he enjoys it. He’s inspired to learn tricks of the trade. How to edit. How to speak to a crowd. What kind of shit parent wouldn’t want that for their child?
“I’m on my third cup,” I say as I down the last of my chocolate cream cold brew. As much as I dislike the corporation that is Starbucks, they do come up with some fucking good, yuppie coffee drinks.
My coworkers look at me, a mixture of awe and intense worry. I’m sure they’re pondering when exactly an intervention is appropriate. “Dang, Guillermo, do you sleep?” one asks.
“Not well,” I respond. “Not well at all.”
It wasn’t always like this. There was the time that coffee disgusted me. I call that the sweet innocent era of Willie. Before I had people refer to me by my first name. Before I stepped into the library world. Before I worked with children.
I remember the first time I had the sweet elixir that is coffee. How I started off with the easy stuff before moving onto the heavier brews.
Trust me. I’ve tried to quit. But I’m not a fun person to be around when I do. I’m hardly a fun person period, so you can imagine how I am without.