Archive | May 2013

Misconceptions About Writers

Write drunk; edit sober.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Writers stay up all night and write. OK, this one may be true…but only for those who do not have day jobs or families, or children, or any life outside of writing. I think this comes from the fact that most of us wish we were so successful we could stay up all night and write.

Writers look fabulous and writer-ish when writing. No, I look like someone who has had the flew for several weeks. I have on glasses, non-match clothes, barefoot, hair pulled back and usually a large glass of wine very close. And make up? Whatever my face happens to look like at the  moment.

Me looking very non-writer-ish  and non-glam while writing

Me looking very non-writer-ish and non-glam while writing

We all have to be alone, on a pond, or somewhere is Europe to be inspired. Oh, how I wish this were true. But it is not. Fact is I have been inspired while riding the bus, in church, while having sex, in the middle of a break-up (not while having sex in the middle of a break-up, that would be very strange…Please notice there is a comma there), while sitting in traffic, in the tub while shaving my legs. Most of the time writers get inspired by life. Everyday, plain things.

Writers are all brilliant. OK, this one may be true…or maybe it’s just me. Actually, I wish I were as smart and people thought I was. Somehow every thinks that because I am a writer, I must know everything. Most of the time don’t correct them and stay quiet so as to not prove them wrong.

Writers are hermits. Some are, some aren’t. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

Writers must be eccentric artists. – No, some of us are accountants, teachers, business owners, etc. Sure, some of us are crazy, have a sock drawer that is pure chaos, have 4 cats, sometimes forget to get dressed and talk to ourselves (or maybe that’s just me), but most of us just happen to be good at using words.

Writers are brooding, tortured souls – No. Maybe some of us, but most writers I know are pretty happy. We get to do what we love, and if we are lucky, make a little money because a few people read our stuff and liked it.

Writers are all like Carrie Bradshaw, living fabulous lives, and having lots of sex. No, no and no. While my life is pretty fabulous, I so do not live like Carrie Bradshaw, nor am I having lots of sex (did I just write that out loud?!?). Most people think we lead glamorous lives. Many of us have day jobs. Many of us, if we are lucky enough to be able to work form home, may bot even get dressed or take a shower when we are writing. Super. Glam. I know.

Writers are all Fat or fabulously thin. Not so much. Some of us are, some of us aren’t. but most of us are caught in that Bridget Jones hemisphere of if we could just lose that extra 20m pounds, we could fit on our “skinny jeans”  that we refuse to throw away  – just in case, say a world famine happens are we can actually fit into those jeans.

We are starving artists or super rich. Nope. Just like the skinny jeans thing, most of us are making a living, somewhere above the lower and below the upper.

Writers know everything about literature. Um, not so much. Or spelling, or grammar, or sentence structure. That’s what editors are for.

We have wonderful offices in which to write – This one is also many times true. I know I have a wonderful home and work office where I am supposed to write. Many of us do. And most of us never use those spaces. I had a great home office, with lots of books, magazine, stacks of papers. However, where I actually write is completely different. Where I really write is on my couch, in my bedroom office, or in my bed.

Me and my total Glam writing life:

Adventures in Travel

When you are a clumsy girl, you have many adventures while traveling. Not just normal, fun, coll adventures that often come with traveling. The kind of adventures that make you laugh later, because they are “sitcom moments,” those moments you know cannot really be happening in your own life, because they only happen on TV sitcoms.

Traveling to one of my best friends weddings was no exception. Getting to the plane was not a problem, getting ont he plane however, proved to be a little more difficult.  It all started when I got to the Atlanta airport and the security line was stretched out way past the normal security area into the atrium. Those who are familiar with the airport here no it is huge, so for the line to be stretched out that far is quite significant. Over an hour to get through security because TSA was short staffed.

Meanwhile, another of my best friends who was already at the gate was frantically texting em – where are ? They are boarding the plane, how much longer?

After the 75 minutes it took to get through security, I ran to the tram that takes you to the concourse. Just a tip: When you take your shoes off in the airport tram, you get a lot of strange looks. But I was on a mission. The doors to the flight were closing at 1:50. It was 1:46. I have 4 minutes to make it to the gate and on the flight.

When the door to the tram opened, I was an Olympic runner ready to win the gold. My shoes were off, my roller bag behind me in my right hand, my purse firmly in my left. I shot out of the tram with the speed only Superman could comprehend. I ran as fast as I could down the long hallway leading to the concourse gate. Then I looked up only to realize that I was going the wrong way, away from the gate I needed.

Frantically I turned around. If the story ended there, it would be funny enough, but what followed is truly a sitcom moment for the ages.

I ran as fast as I could the other way, toward the gate. I had quite a bit of distance to make up, and only 2 minutes to get there to the plane for take off. So I ran, just life Flock of Seagulls (80’s song reference) as fast as I could. And I realized just how out of shape I am.

Have you ever been running and had your legs start moving faster than the rest of you? Well that is what happened to me. It happened in slow motion, as most of my falls do. I could feel my legs moving faster, feel my body start pitching forward as I desperately tried to correct it. It was no use. Down I went, flailing limbs going everywhere.

But it was not just a fall, no, it was a slide. I was going so fast, that the fall did not stop when I was down. I could have slid right into home base. My knees hit first, then my stomach, then my hands. As I slid, my bracelet dug into the palm of my hand. A huge bruise was already starting to form on my knees. Thank goodness the dress for the wedding was a long one.

When I finally stopped sliding, my bag was about 7 feet behind me, my watch that had been slung off, was 3 feet in front of me. I got up, looked around to see if anyone saw me, and to my great relief, there was no one around. Again, this is substantial, because for the first time in my life, there was not a super hot, body from the Greek gods man around seeing my display of clumsiness.

Once up the sprint continued. Finally at the gate counter, I just about collapsed and was trying to speak when the gentleman looked at me and said very matter of factly – “You’re too late. They already closed to door.”

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My jaw dropped and had I been able to speak instead of panting for breath, I would have said something charming to make him open the door. 5 minutes later, when I caught my breath and could speak, the moment had passed. During that time, the man who was there in front of me was yelling that they closed to door to the plane in his face, and about 23 other people who had been stuck in security were now at the counter, yelling and very upset because the door was closed and they would not open it for them either.

The relief that washed over me when I realized at least I was not the only one who was missing the flight, quickly disappeared when the airport staff told all of us that no, they still would not open the doors. it was not a good moment.

The situation continued for about 30 minutes, with more calls to customer service being called each minute. The things that was the most infuriating was that the plane was supposed to take off at 2pm…it was 2:20, and the flight had not left. the plane was right there, at the gate, not moving, not leaving, and they still would not open the door to let 25 passengers on. Many were screaming at ucstopmer service from their phones. I walked away, and got on the phone to customer service my self.

This is where a Southern Accent comes in handy. I calmly explained what happened and that they were going to get a lot of angry calls because so many were left off the plane, that had not left yet. My particular situation was that my best friend was getting married on the morning and could they PLEASE help me get on any flight that could get me there. – Oh and BTW, I overheard someone say that they worked for CNN and were calling this into the news. So just FYI, they might want to inform someone before it was on the national news. The lady asked if she could put me on hold while she talked to her supervisor.

A few minutes later they opened the door and let us all on the flight.

I had a nice stiff drink on the flight. Sitcom moments and adventures in travel. Somehow, I never to seem to leave home without them.

Yes, I am a Mother

I was asked one question several times while I was traveling over the Mother’s Day weekend to see my best friend’s wedding – Are you a mother? I instinctively said no I don’t. I don’t have any children so this seemed like the most honest answer. Most smiled and wished me a happy Mother’s Day anyway.   Then one person asked me if I was a mother, and I said no, but I do have a sister and nephew who are living with me. She smiled and said, “Then make no mistake, you ARE a mother.”

And upon further consideration, I suppose I am. After all, sometimes being a mother has nothing to do with biology.  I am typing this after every one has gone to bed, after dinner has been cooked and cleaned, everyone has settled in for the night. Kitchen is cleaned, lunches are ready for the morning.

I make sure this house is a home, full of love and comfort, Make sure those I love have what they need, and most of what they want. I work hard, every day, to make sure they know they are loved and wanted.  I support them, all of them, in my home and their own households when they are not here. I plan the grocery list, check the locks at night, turn on the alarm, make sure the household is running smooth.

There are chores that are planned, who vacuums, cooks cleans and such. The snack plates and glasses are gathered from their rooms. There isn’t a time during the day that I do not think about them. They come before what I need most of the time. There are conversations about how their day went; hopes, dreams, thoughts and more. I brought up hot tea and cold beverages before setting in myself to write. This is a spring board, for them, I know.

Dating? Personal life? My family is my personal life. Between all the work that I am doing, all the writing, both contract and freelance, making sure my family is comfortable and has everything they need, I don’t have time to worry about men. And men like to come first. My family comes first, so that does not bode well for relationships. If a man wants to be with me, he will have to come after my family. And he will have to understand that my time is limited, valuable and make the most of it. He will have to keep up with me and the busy schedule that is my life at this time.

I give everything I can, all that I am, to my family, my writing and my home. I love hard, work hard and play hard.  There is fatigue when my head hits the pillow. There is pressure every day to do more, be better, than the day before, for them.

Sound like a mother? Yes, indeed I am. And I love it and am so blessed beyond words to have my home be their home too.

In Between

If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.– Katharine Hepburn

In between the blogs, the words typed and thoughts discovered, have been many events, smiles, laughter, fingernail painting, hopes, dreams, wishes and secrets. Indeed, life has been full, overflowing even. Jobs and contracts, handwritten notes and typed reports. I have flown, walked, driven, screamed, caught flowers, played jokes, broken rules, taken risks and won poker games. I have even felt a young man’s teeth on my thigh, as he slid a garter on my leg, then took the garter off, then put the garter back on, all with his teeth, at  my best friends wedding, all caught on tape.

There has been moving out, moving in and moving on. Many dinners, countless dirty dishes, some desserts and more glasses of wine. Family, friends, new chances, things gained, moments lost, seconds taken and actions pondered. I have cried in joy, frustration, fear and from missing someone. From missing you and your voice, and your touch.

The garage is full, closet packed, trunk empty, attic organized, grill bought, freezer stacked and shelves lovingly cleared. I have seen my best and longest friends married, seen one loose a friend, one get divorced. A close friend get a promotion, one loose a job, one pack to move and start over and one going back home.

Oh yes, in between the writing, there has been so much, of everything, to tide me over. And so many times, I feel as if I am about to pop if I don’t run and write it all down, saving, recording each moment, expressing each detail. But  that would require my absence in the moment, and I am too busy living, soaking it all in. All the while, my heart is full, Peace is at  my door and happiness through the clouds calls my name. And I answer.

So more to come, so much more, in between living life.

All in the Family

My house has been taken over by my family. And cats.  It’s like a whirlwind/tornado when my family comes to visit. It’s not like in the movies, where you open the doors and there are calm, sweet hugs and kisses. There are hugs and kisses yes, but then there is the unloading. The unloading of the van is like a race, it must be fun fast and furious, before anyone sits down or catches up. While this may not seem like anything substantial, it is quite the event because my parents pack for just in case – of a nuclear war, of a famine, of a mass communication outage or power failure.

There will be many coolers worth of food (they feel bad for making me cook and provide sustenance, so they bring a lot of their own). Meats, breads, cheeses, wine, filtered water, fruits, vegetables and a whole smorgasbord of home made, home cooked yummy goodness. Even fresh canned treasures from their own garden. There is more food than can possibly be imagined, and my mother immediately starts organize the treasure on the cupboard, refrigerator and freezer with such precision, talent and concentration, one can only stand back in awe and watch the master at work.

Next will be all of Dad’s electronics. My father is a professional engineer, and truly believes that having every gadget known to man-kind is a must. And so he travels with the Garmin, his laptop and several things I have no clue as to their purpose, but they have a lot of chords. And parts. And little lights. And sometimes they make noise. I try not to go near where ever his treasure of electronics are, as I am a clumsy disaster waiting to happen, especially after a few glasses of wine.

All the bedding is next. Blankets, sheets and more pillows than anyone should be legally allowed to own. There is no shortage of pillows at my house, however, they like their own and want to make sure they are comfortable sleeping. Don’t you hate it when you sleep at someone else’s house, and it’s not YOUR pillow? And you can’t get comfortable. And it smells different. And then you wake up the next day with a sore neck? Smart people travel with their own pillows.

My wonderful parents also always bring lots of things for me . And the house, or garden, the laundry, the garage, or just because you might find a way to use it, stuff. It’s like Christmas, but better because you didn’t have to spend any money on gifts. Or wondering what to get people who already have everything. (Monogrammed golf shirt? Dad doesn’t play golf. That new fangled, gotta have it, only available for a limited time, can’t find in stores, so call now and get free steak knives too, kitchen gadget? Mom already has it.  A nose hair trimmer? Now, that’s just tacky).

After all of this, two very small, almost dainty, overnight bags are unloaded, containing toiletries on clothes. NO matter how long they are gone, a weekend or a month, somehow everything they will use, wear or need fits in those little bags. I swear they have no bottom, like going to see David Copperfield and he pulls a 10 foot pole out of a two-inch hat? Yes, just like that. It really is amazing to see everything they fit into those bags.

After everything is unloaded, organized and put in the proper place, everyone sits down and starts to catch up. Coffee is poured (unless it’s after 5, then it’s wine). There is laughter and smiles, teasing and oh so much love. we talk, tell of our latest adventures, whether in the garden or across the world and have good family time. Yes, it’s good to have family come visit.

If You’re Comfortable, You May Be Doing Something Wrong

Let’s face it, life is hard. Being an adult? Sometimes not all it’s crack ed up to be. Aside from the fact that we get to eat dessert first, there are a lot of responsibilities of being an adult. There’s a lot of pressure. Just when when we survive adolescence, with all the awkwardness, body parts, hormones, zits, voice changes and growing spurts, we get a dose of reality called adulthood. Really, who was the genius who thought that up?

But we made it through being a teenager, and we can make it through being an adult too. What’s the secret? I don’t know, but I think that if you’re comfortable, you are probably doing something wrong.

That may sound counter-intuitive. Go ahead and read it again, I’ll wait…

What that means, at least to me, is that when you stay in your comfort zone, you are not learning, not growing. If you want to be successful, if you want to follow your dreams, get used to being uncomfortable. Because stepping out of your comfort zone, is by it’s very nature, uncomfortable. And it also means taking risks.

There is a saying that well behaved women never make history. Its very true, for men and women. You have to be a little bit of a rebel to be successful, you have to not be afraid of discomfort. It’s kind of like exercising: If you feel the burn, you know it’s working. You also can’t be afraid of anyone else opinion of you. People may call you crazy, silly, stupid, whatever. But as long as you have the vision, then you’re OK. Don;t worry about what “they” think. “They” don’t know anything.

Take a look at the most successful people in the world – Steve jobs, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, JK Roland, Richard Branson, even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson…they were all willing to stretch themselves, take risks, gamble a little and get out of there comfort zone. Now where they concerned about what other people thought.

Success isn’t just monetary, it could being a singer in a band, starting your own business, going back to school, making a career change, leaving your spouse, or whatever it is that would make you happy. Get uncomfortable. Nothing great ever happened to people who just sat watching TV wondering “what if.”

Those risks may require making sacrifices, and that may make you feel even more uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. It may mean taking that job that you really don’t want so you can save up enough money to take that trip, or start your own business. It may mean leaving everything you know, it may mean losing a bit of money and it will definably mean making a lot of mistakes. But so what? As long as you learn something, that’s what’s important.

And really what do you have to loose? You already haven’t accomplished whatever it is…so if you fail, so what? At least you tried. And you’ll learn something, meet new people, have some new experiences and maybe even a few new stories to tell along the way.

I have been blessed to be a successful writer. That meant being poor for quite a while. That meant leaving my comfy job to strike out on my own and do freelance work. That also meant taking many jobs I didn’t like in order to pay the bills. And it took a hellava lot of hard work. But here I am. And how do I know which writing projects to take on next? Which ever ones will make me the most uncomfortable, which ever ones make me a little scared and make me wonder if I can really do it.

Never stop growing, never stop learning, and always be willing to be uncomfortable. You’ll be amazed at how great it can be.