I am not a writer

I recently read This Great Article on John Steinbeck, and this quote stuck out to me.

“I’m not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people.”

He scribbled it in his journal while he wrote The Grapes of Wrath. Pretty much one of the best books ever written.

We haven’t touched on imposture syndrome here too much (don’t worry we will) but I’d like to actually skip over that conversation for right now because this quote resonated with me for an entirely different reason. Something that occurred to me last week, as I was brooding on my back porch ( a common occupation for me when I’m working on my writing) and Steinbeck’s words brought it all back.

I am not a writer.

I know, I told you I was. I thought I was. I mean I write. I write all the time. But I’m not a writer. Steinbeck wasn’t a writer, King isn’t a writer, no writers are writers.

But it goes further than that.

My brother composes beautiful music. He’s not a composer. My artist friends, they’re not artists. The directors aren’t directors, the filmmakers aren’t filmmakers, the actors aren’t actors and cartoonists aren’t even cartoonists!

Before you get angry, before you click away, please just float with me a little longer on this brooding mind tangent of mine from last week.

What we are, what we all are, us dabblers in the creative, are storytellers. No, not storytellers, translators of stories.

Imagine yourself as Steinbeck, with this beautiful epic, gritty, heartbreaking chunk of America in your head. It’s so poignant you can feel it trembling through your soul and you know, you KNOW it’s powerful enough to change how people think.

But all you have are clunky words to translate it. You might be good with words. You might have the best words even, but are they enough to really convey this masterpiece that has settled in your mind?

This is the challenge, friends. This is the truth. This is why an artist paints and a musician composes. There is a story and it needs to come out and they are only the poor fallible vessels for it, with only their limited skill through which to pour this brilliance that is embedded in their soul.

Translating the story. With these mortal fingers, trying to convey something we don’t quite understand ourselves, we either fold and give up, frustrated that we can never get the image right, the feeling right, the words right. Or we keep practicing. We keep refining our skills. We become writers, artists, musicians so that that next story is translated better. So that someday, when the Grapes of Wrath comes together in our heads, we can torment ourselves long enough to get it out.

When we give up, what happens? The stories stop coming, I think. Or maybe they just don’t ever reach that level they could have reached. I think maybe all of us get those first simple stories and whether we discard them or try to put them down on paper, in the infuriating mangled mess they turn out to be, determines whether we become artists, writers and musicians, developing our creative muscles, or go on to explore other avenues.

It’s just a thought, though. 🙂

Unlucky 13? An Ancient Smear campaign

It’s Friday the 13th! Hide under your beds! Lock your black cat in the basement and stay away from mirrors! Don’t step on any cracks, walk under any ladders, or say Bloody Mary three times in the mirror because… because why?

Thirteen is unlucky!

Why?

Umm…

Well, I’ve heard it’s unlucky because Judas was he thirteenth guest at the last supper. Of course, this would also mean that pretty much anywhere Jesus went with his apostles he was traveling in a group of thirteen.

And the Knights of Templar were slaughtered on Friday the thirteenth.

Who are the knights of Templar?

Umm… a group of French Christian mystics who fought in the crusades and the early fathers of the Freemasons. So that’s interesting…

So what is the actual deal with the number 13? Obviously it’s steeped in our culture that it’s bad. Like so bad we don’t acknowledge the 13th floor of tall buildings. 11, 12, 14, 15… Wait, isn’t the 14th floor really the 13th flo- Nope! Nothing to see here! Thirteen ceases to exist if we don’t acknowledge it!

Hollywood certainly likes to play up evil Thirteen. Satanism, Supernatural, and those damned wicked witches.

Ahh, Witches, yeah. That’s why 13 is unlucky. Because of the witches. They like 13 stuff.

Would you care to elaborate hypothetical imaginary person I am channeling through my blog?

Well- they do thirteen stuff all the time, right?

Why?

Why 13? Why would witches be all about 13?

Back in college I had an awesome professor who pretty much took my brain out of my head, pulled out a bunch of preconceived notions and opened up alot of space for seeing things a different way. One of my favorite lectures was on the number 13. He wrote the number on the board and leaned in, speaking in the low, conspiratorial way that made the entire class lean in and listen.

And he lead us down the same trail I just laid out for you, until we landed on witches.

Now, when we get to the subject of witches, it is important to separate fact from fiction. Fictional witches are terrifying, selling their souls to the devil, sucking the breath out of children, cursing good people with plagues and misfortune. Do people actually do that? I dunno. Maybe some, but i hardly think such evil intentions are solely bestowed upon a group of cackling women hiding in the woods.

Actual witches were pagans. And before you get nervous with that term, the word pagan literally meant uneducated hick. People who were unaware of The Church, who practiced the religions of their culture before the Roman Empire conquered their land and Christianity was introduced. Small village people no one really cared much about, until they wanted them to convert.

They weren’t considered evil. Not initially at least. Just uneducated, stuck in their old ways, misguided.

And they practiced old religions which were bizarre and backwards to the very sophisticated Romans who slaughter cows for luck and visited the vestal virgins for oracle readings until around 312 AD.

But as Christianity spread to be the norm, many pagan beliefs were either assimilated or stomped out. Yule Logs? Easter Bunnies? Oh yeah, we can make them part of our holidays.

Medicine, wise women? Oh no no no no. In Roman based patriarchy women having that kind of secret knowledge did not fly. Hence, the birth of the witch. The woman who would brew a tea for a nasty cold, use herbs to assist childbirth, bury the placenta so that animals wouldn’t be drawn to the house where the new baby was. That woman has unnatural knowledge.

And in times of chaos, war, famine, plague, these ladies who practiced this ancient wisdom of healing were the first to blame. As you know, the blame spread outwards into mass hysteria and women from all backgrounds were being accused of witchcraft and burned.

Pretty horrific. But what does that have to do with this unlucky number 13? The Devils number, right?

Well now, lets look at the calendar. The Roman Calendar is made up of 12 months. The solar calendar, based on Ra the Sun God. ( i could go off on a tangent here, but I will spare you). It is the calendar we use today. We like our calendar.

But there is another calendar in use all over the world. The lunar calendar. Used today by many Asian cultures, it is a very efficient calendar because every month has 28 days. None of this Thirty days has September, April, June, and November. All the rest have thirty-one,Except for February alone.. junk. Because it is based on the cycle of the moon. 28 days between each cycle. Thirteen months in a year.

Okay, so thirteen months, so?

Sooooo….. (we’ve finally reached my point, I’m drawing it out because it’s so exciting!!!)

The Sun has always been associated with masculinity in pagan cultures, like our buddy Ra. Egyptians, Druids, Celts, to name a few, and the Moon with Femininity. For a very good reason. The typical fertility cycle of a women is 28 days. The moon was used to track pregnancies and ovulation.

The dark and mysterious moon, a symbol of feminine power. Dark and mysterious feminine power, peaking thirteen times a month, considered sacred by more matriarchy based religions.

So, my friends, thirteen became known as the evil number, the unlucky number of witches and witchcraft because feminine power, over anything at all including themselves, was just not cool.

Not cool at all.

Happy Friday the 13th. Enjoy the full moon tonight.

Please share your thoughts below! I’d love to hear from you!

Portrait of the Artist as a (very) Young woman

My parents are moving out of the home I grew up in. That means that I am acquiring many childhood artifacts that I am not ready to throw away.My dollhouse, my art portfolio from high school have now been crammed into my basement and I get to pick over a stash of excellent books. I now have the entire Narnia series, The Mists of Avalon (life changing book for me) and the Foundation series (which I have never read).

It also means that we have uncovered the first evidence of my early writing. There are many more in hiding but I got a kick out of reading this and seeing that some themes have been present in my writing since the early (very very early) years.

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It’s a bit scattered and the ending is simply an atrocious let down.

It is incredibly interested to see my early preference for dialogue driven plot and ghosts. And who knew that before Google was the world’s leading search engine it was a race of pink furry animals that turn into slimy monsters?

What were you first writing stories about?

Writing Childbirth and New Mothers: You’re doing it wrong

Last night my crit group reviewed a chapter I wrote where the MC gave birth and adjusted to new motherhood.

I’ve never ever had more polarized opinions of the accuracy of my work.

What was fascinating is that when I went home and read over notes they fell into two distinct groups. Parents and Not Parents.

The parents wrote : Great depiction of childbirth and motherhood.

The non-parents questioned the accuracy of EVERYTHING. Why are people coming in her room while she’s in labor? Why is she reading and stressing out over work while she’s in labor? She doesn’t seem very maternal while she’s taking care of the newborn. All she does is complain and cry!

Now, I am not going to come in here and give the “You’re not a parent so you don’t understand” lecture. Please, don’t ever let me get away with that giving that obnoxious lecture.

But I do want to point out that our preconception of childbirth and what happens in the weeks afterwards is basically wrong and it’s a nasty little secret that most people do not learn until they go through it.

The Hollywood childbirth looks like this:

Everything is good. Glowing pregnant woman is in the middle of something and then WOOSH. Her water breaks. Contractions start immediately. She is rushed to the hospital and immediately starts pushing. She hilariously screams like a maniac and says horrible things to her partner, while griping his hand so hard he cries. Then the baby is born and she immediately goes back to her size zero and blissfully cares for the baby in complete comfort and ease.

The reality is that maybe this beautiful myth can happen, but it’s not common and for alot of new mothers, the reality is a rude awakening they start to become aware of during pregnancy, but cannot fully grasp until they are home alone with a squalling infant and their lives are completely changed. Childbirth and new motherhood is beautiful. But like most things in real life, the most beautiful earn their place with a fair amount of pain.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, I guess that depends on how accurate you want to be? I, for one, am completely turned off by stories or shows that perpetuate the Hollywood delivery myth. It feels disrespectful, it undermines my experience and the experience of other mothers and parents.

On a larger scale it allows an unfair system to continue to thrive and a bent perception of what motherhood SHOULD be that puts an insane amount of pressure on new mothers.

So what are some key points that are usually wrong?

Labor takes For Ev Er!

As opposed to the “oh my water broke, lets go to the hospital and have the baby now” idea, the average labor is about 8 hours and the hospital will not admit you until the end of it. Contractions often start out painless and progressively hurt more as time goes on. That means most mothers spend a day or night or both sitting around the house, taking walks to get labor going stronger, hanging out with spouses, family, ect, eating while they still can (not allowed once you go into the hospital) and basically filling their time anyway they can. There is no standard for how this time is spent. It really is up to the mom.

Some women do have very quick labors. Some women have much longer labors. It is not unheard of for a woman to be in “passive labor” for a few days.

The pain is different for everyone

There are some gloriously gifted women who don’t feel more than some discomfort in labor and delivery. Its not even uncommon! There are some that don’t feel the pain until right before they are ready to push. There are some that hurt from the first contraction and it only gets worse. During transition, or the phase of labor right before pushing begins, typically the most intense pain is felt. Many women have opted for an epidural by this point. Many woman are able to get through it okay without one. For some women who haven’t gotten pain relief, the pain is so intense that they can black out or vomit or both.

Everyone manages pain differently

It is funny when the calm and collected character starts screaming obscenities during delivery, and it probably happens, but many women are too busy trying to manage their pain to scream at their partners. For some women it helps to shout. For some it helps to breath. For some it helps to hold their breath, pray, bite their hand, whatever. One size does not fit all and I would say MOST women do not turn into raving lunatics when the baby is coming.

The bond is instant, usually

Yes. The biological maternal instincts generally kick in right away, but so does fatigue, shock, confusion and baffled love. This beautiful little baby is here and he or she is yours and you just want to kiss them. And Sleep. And what are you supposed to do with them? And why won’t they stop crying?

Now a days, most healthcare providers do all they can to foster the bond between mother and child, but that was always the case and sometimes the bond isn’t so instant. The love, sure, but the bond that mothers thing is supposed to happen right away, sometimes it needs time to grow. Sometimes something interferes. Sometimes motherhood doesn’t come naturally. There is nothing wrong with that. It is common and shouldn’t be judged.

It is so very very hard

Labor is the equivalent of receiving major surgery while running a triatholon. Most women don’t come out unscathed. Aside from a body adjusting to pushing something that was inside of it outside of it, there is tearing, insicions, rapid hormonal fluctuations and giant sore achy boobs. If you ran a tratholon while getting surgery, you might anticipate a few days of sleep and rest to help you recover, but a new mother doesn’t get that. The baby needs attention now. And always. A new baby will cluster feed for the first few weeks, which means every hour to two hours. Sometimes with only half hour breaks in between. The result is that new parents, particularly nursing mothers, do not sleep. They don’t shower. They forget to eat.

Is there blissful gazing at the baby? Of course there is, but there is also rushing to the bathroom between nursings while the baby squalls to pee and clean spit off out of your hair. There is crying because the baby is crying and you are so very very tired. There is loneliness and isolation for women who were used to being social and independent.

In the United States there is a 30% chance of developing postpartum depression, which is frequently linked with our social standard of encouraging new mothers to suck it up and bask in the bliss of being a new mother. 30% is actually only the reported cased but most experts agree that the number is actually much higher.

New mothers are under an enormous amount of pressure and judgement at a time when they a literally more emotionally vulnerable than they have ever been in their lives.

The reward is still worth it, a hundred times over

A woman once told me that the old consensus was that veteran moms didn’t tell young women about what childbirth and new motherhood was REALLY like because it would scare them off having kids. She thought that the age of information was scaring the hell out young women. I thought that was the biggest load of crap I’d ever heard.

If its so awful that it puts women off having babies, why the hell would anyone have more than one baby? Knowledge is power and going into a situation with a solid understanding of its difficulty is not going to deter the biological and maternal drive to have and care for children.

Having children is wonderful. It is crazy hard. And still wonderful. But it isn’t for everyone. And that is okay. It is not what many new moms expected. And that is okay. It requires parents to give up things they didn’t anticipate and that is okay.

The key is information. Don’t lie to young woman about what to expect. Give them the fact and let them decide for themselves! Let them get themselves into a place where they can deal with the hard stuff.

So, how do you, as a writer want to approach this subject? Maybe as the wielders of mighty pens, we have a responsibility to present the world as it is and stop perpetuating happy myths that provoke judgments when the truth comes out?

The myth might be tidy and funny and make it easy to love your character, but the reality is so much more nuanced and, in my opinion, rewarding to the reader.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Tis the season to freak yourself out. In my house, ghost stories were a family tradition. Every time we gathered with our grandparents we would beg to hear their accounts that they couldn’t quite explain. In fifth grade, when we were assigned our first research report on any subject, other kids in my class did dolphins, Tori Spelling, and the Philadelphia Phillies.

I did my research report on ghosts.

My interest in studying the supernatural has never puttered out and I continue to seek out interesting and terrifying stories. Below are a few I collected to share with you this season.

Happy Halloween!

Myself & two other friends snuck into a supposedly haunted local park one night after it had closed. We heard there had been sightings of a woman walking around the lake. We got there and walked around for awhile, walking around the lake, the houses and other small buildings. We got to the woods which are near the back of the park. My one friend and I were standing about ten feet away from the entrance to this wooded area and we thought we saw this black shadowy figure, at first it looked like a dog shape with glowing eyes. Neither of us was brave enough to walk closer to see what it really was. We kept staring at it, straining our eyes to see it better when then it appeared to change it’s shape. Meanwhile, our third friend was there saying he didn’t think he saw anything. We then heard a noise, I screamed and so did my second friend and we took off running! Our third friend stood there, still not scared, saying “Guys I’m still not seeing it??” All I know is, I know I saw some strange black shadowy figure in those woods that night!!

-C

They say that sometimes spirits attach themselves to babies, and I believe my son was one of them. One night when he was just a few weeks old, he was sleeping beside me in his bassinet. He woke up to eat and started to cry, and as I opened my eyes I heard a loud, distinct voice say “SHHHHHH” that came from right above his bed. My husband heard it, too, but thought it was me. It sounded like any mom trying to quiet her crying baby — soothing, not threatening, yet no one was there. I was too tired to be freaked out though, so I put it in the back of my mind and it didn’t happen again for a while.

The next time I heard “her,” I was working in our guest bedroom using the computer and my son was asleep in his crib across the hall. I thought to myself that he would probably be waking up soon, and not even a minute later I heard a low conversation coming from his room along with the whispered words “Awake, awake.” Just then, he made a sound and I knew he was up. This time it was in the middle of the day, so I knew it wasn’t some weird semi-dream brought on my pure exhaustion. Once again the presence didn’t seem menacing at all, but nevertheless my mama bear protective claws came out. I walked into his room, stood in front of the crib and said to whatever was there, “Listen. I’m really glad that you find my son awesome. I do too! But he’s MY baby, and I don’t need your help. Please leave us alone.”

I felt half crazy talking to nothing, but after I said those words to thin air, I never heard another sound.

-V

I had a band and we practiced in my parents basement. I’d collected a handful of experiences over the years in that house but they were usually easy to write off because I was alone when they happened. One night at practice, I put a glass down on a dollhouse, which was stored on the shelf behind me and after we played a loud song I turned to find it shattered on the floor beside me. Okay. So the reverberations must have vibrated the thing right off the shelf right?

My band mates say no. They had watched it slide right off the shelf while we were playing. And after they say that a pack of guitar strings also slide off the shelf. And while we’re just staring dumbly at this shelf, the dollhouse itself slides forward about five inches toward me.

After a few minutes and nothing else happening my bassist says, “We rock the underworld.”

Good times.

-L

 

We had moved into an older house, and were fixing it up for our family. during the summer there alone my father had worked hard to renovate. we all moved in that fall, and also began to paint and help.

One night my mother and sisters went out and left me alone in the house. I was relaxing in the dining area, reading a book as the rain picked up outside. my ears perked up to a faint sound coming through the falling rain, as did my two dogs; a woman was crying in a broken-hearted manner somewhere. this made me very uncomfortable, and I became uneasy.

My teenaged self told me perhaps the lady next door was crying. what else could it be?

I settled back down to read, the crying picked up and waned, then stopped.

then I felt someone looking at me. I glanced up at the kitchen and a tall black figure filled the door frame to the kitchen!

I jumped up and it was gone. I was really scared- to me it looked like the grim reaper!

Then I paced and worried till my mother came home. This house did not feel safe after that.

-P

 

A few years ago, at the last house we had, I used to get the worst feelings. Ive never been one of those “oh im so in touch with the spirits” people, but always had a healthy respect for the other side. The first time I ever walked into this house-before we even moved in- I immediately got the overwhelming feeling that there was someone in the room, who hated me and wanted me to leave, staring at me. I wasn’t even alone at the time, my current boyfriend was standing right next to me. I could never shake that feeling like someone was standing behind me.

When it was dead quiet and I was trying to go to sleep at night, I would hear what sounded like angry whispers in the other room. Like they were just barely loud enough to hear, but I couldn’t understand the words, just the tone. My daughter was between 1 and a half and 3 years old in the time we lived there. She would constantly look at the empty space next to, or behind, me. And then she would wave or laugh.

One night, as my parents and my daughter were sleeping upstairs (I had a mother in law suite with my own bathroom), I turned on the shower and brushed my teeth. By the time I went to get in the shower, the windows had steamed up. The word “SOON” was written in the steam, backwards. But not just spelled backwards, it was the actual mirrored reflection of the letters. Except that the mirror didn’t face that window. No one ever used that bathroom but me and my boyfriend (who isn’t into pranks like that). I was so petrified that I called my mom and begged her to come downstairs. She still says my brother or someone must’ve done it as a joke, but the condensation of the steam was dripping down the letters, like it had just been written.

-L.M

 

Ray and I had just bought this house from the Landis Family. We were still living in our rental, but fixing up this house. It was midnight and we were both here painting our bedroom. I came down to rinse the brushes in the kitchen sink and I felt Ray’s hand on my back, and I turned around and to my surprise no one was there. I said out loud to the previous owner “I hope you like what we are doing here. I love this house so much”. About a year later Ray was on his knees-grouting the kids bathroom and the bathroom door opened up-and he thought a cat was there. He shut it, turned around and went to work again. The closed door opened and Ray said “Mr. Landis I hope you like what I’m doing.” I haven’t felt their presence since after that first year. I guess they wanted to make sure we were the right family for their house!

-H

 

The house I grew up in was always in a state of half repair. My father was a knowledgeable craftsman and was always starting new projects but not always finishing them. One of the projects was my doorknob. I can’t recall whether I had gotten a new one to my room or whether it was just damaged by one of my sincere bouts of flailing as a rambunctious teen, but it was loose and it stayed that way for awhile. I remember one night waking up to a loud sound directly in my room. It scared the shit out of me, but I eventually went back to sleep. The next night, the same thing occurred- I had just slipped off when the loud noise happened again. It was my door. My door knob was rattling and no one was there. This happened for two weeks straight off and on.
It stopped after two weeks and it never happened again. Other weird things would happen, like someone shouting “No” directly in my ear as I lay in bed, but I think that shook me the most. Like it was taunting me
-A

Fuck addiction

Here’s an old poem of mine that needs to be posted today

The Devil’s Games

Most of us have flirted,

caught a whiff of his cologne,

maybe even dwelling in his gardens for a spell

But the devil, he’s tricky,

and his potions are tempting.

The higher you fly the closer you come to hell.

Oh my dear friend,

you understand my protest

when I found you sleeping in the devil’s bed

For although I miss his kiss

I ran away

because I feared the place to where it led.

Oh my old friend,

I thought you knew

he charges a fee to sit on his lap.

When you have no more

he makes you his whore.

Oh darling, I though you knew of the trap.

You’re too naive

to think that you are strong enough

you could beat him at his own game.

He suffocates you with poison

He shits into your veins.

You fly, you scream, you stumble

and then, the devil has you tamed

Just a day

My baby is two. Not really a baby any more, but she still lets me hold her, still wraps her little self around me and sticks her thumb in her mouth, a perfect sense of comfort and trust.

I will never have another child as tiny as she is today. She will only continue to pull away, to establish herself, independent from her mother who, two years ago, held her for the very first time.

She’s only two. She has no great expectations for her birthday. Her brother told her there would be cake, and there will be. Maybe some pasta for dinner because that is her favorite. Today every birthday surprise is a completely new experience for her. She doesn’t know she gets presents. She doesn’t know that it’s her special day. When her brother and I came into her room singing today her face lit up like the sunshine with unabashed delight.

Every birthday is bittersweet when you become a mom. The pride of beholding your beautiful growing child, the relief of adding another years maturity after tantrums and diapers have worn your down, the anticipation of all the great things your child has to experience in the coming year for the first time, these things swell up in your chest, bursting wit joy and love, and yet those tiny fingers can now hold a crayon, write a name, paint a landscape, rewire a toaster, and then one day they are the same size as your own fingers, or even enclose your whole hand in theirs.

I am not a baby person. Babies scare the hell out of me. But my babies, as terrifying as they were, are sorely missed. They way they slept on my chest, the laughs, the soft skin.

I read a quote a while back on the internet that stuck to my heart like a briar. I’m paraphrasing it here.

“One day your parents put you down and never picked you up again.”

My son is a big boy, just DSCN6963.JPGturned five, but since reading that I try not to groan and beg off when he asks me to pick him up so he can look into the sauce pan to see what’s for dinner. When he scraped his knee the other week I picked him up and carried him the rest of the walk home. He’s so big, it should be awkward, but it isn’t yet. There’s so little time left, but I can still pick him up, still hold him on my hip for a minute.

And my daughter, well she wants to “walk walk walk!” as she screams when I carry her across a busy parking lot. But she still comes to me, particularly when I am in the middle of cleaning or cooking or just extremely exhausted and reaches her little hands up to me and says, “Mommy, I need you!”

She doesn’t say “Pick me up, although that is what she means.”

Mommy, I need you.

It won’t always be to be held, but please let her and my son always need me, just a little bit.

Because I will always need them.

 

Happy Birthday to my September babies.

Better get started now

I see it frequently. I lived it myself. People toil away at their jobs they hate and clutch to their dreams, keeping them tucked away secret and safe. They imagine a day when things will just fall into place, someone will stumble across their work and give them the career they want.

So years pass and that day never comes. Sometimes that dream fades out, too painful to hold onto. Sometimes they finally try to take initiative themselves only to balk at all that is required to achieve it.

The path to any dream is twisted, rough and overgrown. There are mountains and there are rivers. Sometimes there is no true destination, just stops along the way, achievements, successes.

You can wait at the edge of that path forever waiting for a car to come along and take you safely to your stop. That car will probably never come. Or it could be waiting further up the path.

So you better get started now. Take those first few steps. Then take some more. Rest along side of the road if you get tired. Check out a few little paths winding off the way, hell turn right at that intersection if you get bored.

Better get started now. You might find the terrain gets easier as you go on, or maybe your legs just get stronger, you pick up better equipment along the way.

Better get started now. It could be decades until you reach your stop but you will never reach it if you keep waiting. Or maybe it’s right over that hill, you have no idea if you don’t scale it.

It’s never too late. It’s never too soon. The path is there and you can find a way. Instead of looking and thinking, “Well shit, I wish I started walking this path ten years ago. I’d be almost done by now!” it’s better to get started now. Sooner or later you have to do the work.

Better get started now.

Birthday contemplation

Really, this is just an excuse to tell you all it’s my birthday.

But for real, I do have some thoughts I’d like to share, lessons learned that apply not only to writing but to life in general.

So in honor of my 34th, here are 34 things I’ve learned in my 34 years.

  1. Believe in something powerful. Whether it’s God, Science, Source or yourself, keep it for when you need something to drag you through the darkness.
  2. First impressions aren’t worth much (this is courtesy of my new neighbor who just brought over a delivery she got by accident while I was in the middle of my morning work out, shouting at the dog and my son not to open the door until i got the dogs outside so they didn’t maul her and her adorable children, all of whom i was meeting for the first time. Did i mention one of the dogs had shredded an unused diaper in the foyer that I hadn’t managed to clean up yet?)
  3. Everyone has something about them that sucks. Get over it.
  4. Everyone has something about them that is awesome. Find it.
  5. Jealousy detracts from you. Turn it to Admiration and use it to give honest praise and inspire yourself.
  6. Patience really is a virtue.
  7. Love is patient and love is kind, but the people you love can drain the life out of you if you don’t take time for yourself.
  8. The best stories root themselves into our hearts and continue to inspire us through out our life.
  9. Sometimes it’s okay to turn the TV on for the kids in the middle of the day.
  10. Life is too short to spend with people you don’t like.
  11. Dogs are some kind of angels. Messy, annoying, loud angels.
  12. There are no happy endings, because nothing ever ends (Stole this one from Peter Beagle)
  13. Sometimes the straightest path to your goal involves alot of difficult terrain.
  14. There is no us and them. Every group consists of individuals trying to do the best for themselves and their loved ones.
  15. Cats are assholes. Adorable, snuggly assholes.
  16. Relationships change because people change. It is okay to grow apart. It is okay to let go. It is okay to make adjustments and change with the relationship.
  17. It’s never too late to pursue a dream.
  18. No one will ever complete you. You are already complete. Find the pieces within yourself.
  19. Lies will always come back to you. Be honest, even when it is hard.
  20. It is possible, and important, to be honest and still be kind.
  21. Our planet is a beautiful gift. Enjoy it!
  22. Mistakes and failures are just lessons. They will never stop coming so just accept this already and move on to the next one.
  23. There is real magic. You will encounter it. Don’t brush it off or you won’t notice it the next time.
  24. Relationships are not supposed to be really hard. If it’s a constant struggle to be in it, then there is big problem.
  25. Everyone’s problems are the most important problems to them.
  26. Expect the best of people in your life. They will usually meet those expectation.
  27. Forgive the people you love. Count to ten, take a few days, whatever you need to do, but do it.
  28. Siblings are your best and worst friends. Cherish them.
  29. Whatever you do, whoever you are, own it.
  30. Don’t waste time trying to impress snobs.
  31. Giving compliments costs you nothing but it does alot to brighten the world.
  32. There are no calories on your birthday.
  33. If you don’t love yourself now, losing weight, gaining money, getting a boyfriend, a promotion, a new car, a boob job will not change that. You can always improve, but you have to like the product to start with.
  34. The world is NOT a bad place unless you focus on the bad.

Much love friends. Thanks for the support!

#WQWWC – Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – Memories

“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.” – Bob Dylan

This quote is engraved into a silver picture frame containing a photo of my wedding. Our whole wedding party is there. My best friends. My brother. My nephews. My husband. People I treasured eight years ago and still treasure today.

One of my bridesmaids gave me the frame. She told me that quote was her favorite.

This year I realized I hadn’t spoken with her in over year. Not just hadn’t found the time to hang out. We hadn’t even spoken. A dear friend who was my partner in crime during my single days, one who keeps stories of my indiscretions that I don’t think anyone else knows of.

We texted. We managed to organize a get together. I think we were both tentative. Our lives were so drastically different now than when we had been close. There was no need. We hung out late, talking.  My memories of her might have taken place in alot of bars and parties, but the venue was not what made the friendship.

She is again a dear friend to me in the days of diapers and mortgages.

So maybe the quote needs to be adjusted.

Take care of all your memories. Unless maybe you had too much to drink that night. Then take care of the friendship that remembers them.

Join the Fun

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