May 25, 2013 § 6 Comments
Here’s the thing about writing.
It has to be organic in order to get to the next piece that might or might not be the one that connects you to the world, but will always connect you to yourself.
I wished I hadn’t needed to write what I did yesterday, but we don’t choose the journey.
The words choose us.
I’m sitting here in bed this morning having just eaten the most delicious pomegranate Greek yogurt with strawberries and plain old Cheerios. Quite a good choice that like the words who write themselves, found its way into my bowl without a lot of thought.
I’m watching Eat, Pray, Love which I recorded last night knowing it was too far past my bedtime to absorb any of its meaning.
It’s a major coup that I’m moved to watch the film.
When the book came out I read the first twelve pages and put it down. Didn’t even get close to my hundred page rule.
I tried again weeks later. Same thing. Twelve pages and put it down.
When the movie came out, Oprah sang its praises while interviewing its author, Elizabeth Gilbert, but I refused to see it.
Upon Redbox release, I rented it, watched the first half an hour, and returned it the next day.
As I watch it this morning I realize I’ve been again gifted by the universal rule that things happen in their time.
The meaning is profound.
Foods should be eaten with pleasure, disregarding the self-loathing from the resulting extra pounds.
Searching for a guru is an act, but the guru actually lives inside us all.
I’m not at the part yet where Liz gets to the love.
My kids are with their father and the five texts I’ve left unreturned are being avoided out of love for them all.
They will figure it out and I will figure it out and one day when I’ve eaten without fear and accepted my inner guru, I’ll be ready to read Eat, Pray, Love from start to finish.
“Hurt will happen to you again. Only way to heal is to trust. It’s okay. To have broken heart means you have chance for something.” – Ketut, Bali Medicine Man
Trusting in love.
Did you read Eat, Pray, Love or see the movie?
April 8, 2013 § 7 Comments
E-books are gaining popularity for writers because they lessen the need for big time traditional publishers who may never love your cherished piece of work enough to buy it, promote it, and ultimately set it on shelves.
According to CNN Money Online, 2011 e-book sales surpassed paperback sales for the very first time. The trend continued in 2012, making it pretty obvious that e-books are here to stay.
For many readers, however, holding a book in their hands is the reading experience, making e-books an unnecessary addition to their lives.
Traditionalists opposed to technological advancements.
Some e-book writers will never win that war.
In the blogging community, e-books are often used as a tool for something else.
Blog Tyrant (probably my favorite blogger on the subject of blogging) explains that e-books are excellent tools for marketing; one of the most effective ways to build a blog’s subscription base. But e-books developed to sell a service are very different from fictional stories via e-book.
Which leads me to wonder where I fit in?
I write. Right?
But how does any writer decide where to focus their energies?
Go full force into blog building, writing free e-books to gain readers, eventually write sellable e-books that, fingers crossed, will sell?
Focus on traditional forms of writing, not putting the cart before the horse in regard to publishing.
Didn’t I say I wanted to write a book?
Long ago, before social media wrapped itself around my little finger, tapping into the part of me that could have spent her lifetime as a learner in a classroom, I imagined my name (and work) in palpable book form.
Finding myself at a cross-roads I hover over the options.
All writing takes time. Does the guy who’s writing an e-book work any harder than the other guy who happens to be drafting his novel?
The issue is how I (or my fellow writer) want to spend precious time, and what has the likelihood of a better outcome?
Sounds more like a classic time management issue, no?
I want blog because I love it, and the fact is that continued caring is the only way to keep any blog relevant.
I can still accept clients who hire me for help on their social media journey. Clients. Over here clients!
I will continue to think about where I might like to work to fund all of this writing. Doesn’t the Apple Store look fun? How about Starbucks? It is my favorite office space, and … free drinks?
If I can manage my time better, the book can again become a part of the equation.
One day I might actually see it sitting on a bookshelf where I always imagined it’d be. But if I end up self-publishing as an e-book and selling on Amazon?
That’d be good, too.
Do you read e-books? Do you ever read the free e-books that are offered to you? How do you feel about paper books as opposed to virtual ones?
February 19, 2013 § 12 Comments
This afternoon’s chapter 76 of the Life of Pi tied in beautifully with this morning’s lesson of the day, taught over the marble kitchen bar wiped clean, so that the Barbie’s had a pristine surface upon which to dance.
The lesson was about mean girls. It came up, and so a teaching opportunity was taken.
Me: If it looks like a duck, it’s a what?
Daughters: A duck!
Me: If it quacks like a duck, it’s a what?
Daughters: A duck!
Me: If it look like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a what?
Daughters: A duck.
Me: Very good. Next.
Me: If it looks like a girl, it’s a what?
Daughters: A girl.
Me: Yes. If It’s mean, and a girl, it’s a what?
Daughters: A mean girl?
Me: If a mean girl says something mean to you what do you do?
Me: Stand straight (maybe jut a little hip). Head high. Look them in the eyes and tell them that they’re mean.
As it relates to chapter 76, which was not discussed with the five-year olds, but which I can discuss with you here …
Dealing with a mean girl is exactly the same as dealing with a constipated tiger when you’re lost at sea together (how Piscine survives I just cannot ascertain).
Look them in the eyes “long enough to give them the right signal … long enough to give them the willies … glaring, but not so long to provoke … badger, but not so long that you’ll be their next meal.”
“To stare is an aggressive act.”-Yann Martel
Protection happens when your eyes meet the eyes of the aggressor. Somehow it gives your words more meaning. -Me
Ever been a mean girl? Ever confronted a mean girl? Ever talked to your kids about mg’s?
February 14, 2013 § 8 Comments
With so much not to love (there’s a lot if we choose to look for it), let’s focus for a moment on all that there is to heart, squeeze, and kiss.
1. The number one search on my site today (as it is on many days) is the Lululemon Skinny Will Pant. Yes, I love those functional and flattering pants. Yes, go buy them. Yes, Yes, Yes!
2. A dinner of chicken dipped and rolled in egg, whole wheat flour and whole wheat bread crumbs, lightly fried in olive oil and finished off in the oven. Served over arugula with sliced tomatoes and avocado. Heaven on a plate.
3. Wearing pink and red together and not feeling silly about it, or wearing a lot of pink (or red) loudly and proudly. Isn’t Valentine’s day fun?
4. Running into an old friend at Target who I miss seeing every day at pre-school pick-up, but whom I delighted in seeing this afternoon. What aisle were we in? I have absolutely no idea.
5. Hearing from the oldest of old friends that she read the Wanderlust piece and is seriously considering it. Like. She’s. Seriously. Considering it.
I might cry this makes me so happy.
6. I wrote a piece today that began from a dream about a stack of papers I watched go wishwishwishwishwishwishwish out of a window. The piece morphed into a book review of Girl Interrupted, but ended with the Dixie Chicks singing More Love.
And this is the reason I love to blog … for the answers that come … some that I share and some I don’t.
It took all day, but there it is!
Was it obvious to you? Do you tend to see the love or does the miserable usually shade the happy?
February 6, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ve come to believe that I do not choose books.
Instead, the books choose me, or rather, the Universe picks the books, which in turn pick me.
When I look at the list of the last year’s reads, their purpose is so obvious (if it weren’t so late I’d go into all of that).
Today, my Libran curse, the zodiac sign that I was delivered into at birth, tipped and teetered on its metaphorical and literal scales.
Indecisiveness was painfully present. Do I run? Do I write? Do I cry? Do I smile? Do I believe? Do I quit?
Even the weather acted like a Libra, asking, “Is it winter? Is it spring?”
The biting cold morning turned just beautiful by mid-afternoon; freezing again when I went to collect the mail at sun-down.
In my headphones, I steadied myself by listening to the Life of Pi, by Yann Martel.
Chapter 16 was so illuminating, describing God and the Universe and religion and the answers, that I rewound and replayed it twice.
Piscine (the narrator and protagonist) decided (as a boy), to become a practicing Christian, Muslim and Hindu.
Upon discovery of this, his wise men, men with whom he’d secretly built relationships, who had taught him their ways, told him that he couldn’t be all three, that they have nothing in common, and that it was impossible for them to be practiced together.
And yet Piscine felt strongly that they could be; he loved God and wanted to know God, choosing to be Christened in church, praying to Allah on a small, rolled-out floor rug, and continuing to feel at home in Hindu temples like the first one his mother took him to as a baby.
He was not indecisive about this, the most sacred understanding.
In all of today’s Libran swaying, it was the only thing that made any sense at all.
How can that be?
Do you choose books or do they choose you? Have you read Life of Pi?
January 17, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ve been listening to the debut novel Girlchild, written and narrated by Tupelo Hassman.
It’s the saddest, yet most intriguing story I think I’ve ever read. It’s sad, because of (Girchild) Rory D’s early suffering, the result of her place on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. It’s intriguing because Tupelo’s words and voice are so true I’m having trouble accepting that the author and the young heroine aren’t one and the same.
Ms. Hassman is that good of an author.
Last week I saw a doctor with lots of framed diploma’s hanging on her walls (eight golden-framed diplomas) who spent an hour and a half talking with me …all about me.
“Why was I there? How is my sleep? Tell me about your upbringing?” etc.
They were all the usual questions a doctor asks a patient sitting uncomfortably at the end of a very soft leather couch and I answered each inquiry to the best of my ability, glossing over stuff that’s so old it doesn’t seem relevant anymore.
Often I was surprised by doctor lady’s physical reaction to my half-hearted attempts to sound completely fine with things that may not be.
“Oh dear,” said the sad eyes peeking over the laptop screen. ”Not fair,” said the furrowed, but soft and caring brow.
When she spoke the words, “that’s trauma,” words to match the eyes and the brow, I was surprised.
Trauma? If you say so.
In one of the last chapters I listened to today, Girldchild was discussing the directions you follow to draw a bird, any bird. You begin with an egg shape, because all birds come from eggs and so they fit in that shape.
The chapter went on to discuss how if a bird begins in an egg, and lives its life still shaped like an egg, then maybe all of us are like birds, permanently shaped from the places from whence we came.
But she reminded the reader that inside eggs are also wings that give the bird the ability to fly. They fly away, but can’t ever fly far enough to lose their egg-like shape; the shape that made them to begin with.
“You bet your sweet ass,” would have been R.D.’s response had someone else spoken those very same words; had they come to the very same conclusion.
She might have been poor and abused, but those truths didn’t negate that Tupelo’s Girlchild kept putting one foot in front of the other, was blessed with a reader’s mind, and was right about more than most people whose lives began glossy and never stray from the pretty.
Even if she never escapes the trailer park, I think this is the equation for a life well-lived. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, only where your going (even if it’s only in your mind).
I hope I’m not wrong.
My sweet ass is betting I’m not wrong.
Have you read Girlchild?
January 1, 2013 § 3 Comments
It seemed apropos that I finish my latest read, The Hare with Amber Eyes, on the eve of a brand new year.
The book, historical non-fiction written by Edmund de Waal, was deftly researched and written with care, carefully connecting the dots of De Waal’s own family history as it related to a collection of small hand-carved Japanese animals and mythical creatures (264 netsuke), created and purchased in the late 18th century.
The stories, spanning time (and every corner of our globe), resonated so much that I felt I must urge my dear readers to pick it up.
But how could I encourage the reading of this book in a way that makes a person understand that this is not a passive request?
Consider this your adult assigned reading, similar to the assigned summer readings of our youths. Those books helped mold us into better people and gave us an understanding of ourselves (i.e. Anne Frank, Catcher in the Rye, Little Women).
Despite my initial frustration with French words that stuck to my tongue (in the earliest chapters I cursed my elementary school decision to study Spanish over French), my patience was remunerated as I began to learn of the people who did their best to live the lives they were handed (in far away places like Odessa and Vienna and Japan).
Do not let your own limitations keep you from this book.
De Waal’s vocabulary is not simple. The story is not simple (none of our stories are simple). But if you take the time to invest, you will be rewarded with intricate mental images created from intelligently strung together words that reads like a novel (p.s. I had to look some up, I won’t lie). You will understand things you didn’t, learn things you hadn’t known; in regard to yourself, history in time (much we must never repeat), and the whole-wide-world around us.
As I mentioned at the start, it was apropos to finish this book on New Year’s Eve. With a new year upon me, I wonder how the life I write for myself might read (inspire, uplift, teach or warn) to people I may never know; my far-future kin.
Have you read it? If not, will you now?
December 11, 2012 § 10 Comments
I am less than a week into the self-hosting journey (moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org); today being the first day that my website is up and running.
There were many reasons to make the leap (to be discussed later in a thoughtful post when my brain cells have had time to renew and recover from today’s social media extravaganza, 2.2).
There’s so much that I didn’t know.
Yet there was a lot I figured out on my own; even more that will need test driving to determine functioning ability.
I never considered myself an IT/HTML/code enforcer kind of lady.
But I’m no dummy, either.
So when my brain cells return I will have to share the wonderful world of Akismet and ham, Bluehost email configuration, Google Adsense, Google Analytics, and the difference between widgets and plug-ins. I promise to try to figure out “Child Themes” (and CSS code) enough that I can be of some service to beginners taking a similar leap.
The part of my brain that’s swimming in new knowledge can’t believe how much I’ve learned in just one day.
The corner of my mind that houses the fear wonders if I can really pull this off (can I?).
The place where my ego waits is like a kid on a bike; ”Look ma! No hands!”
“Is she wearing a helmet?” You might ask.
It’s called VaultPress. I might be crazy, but I’m not stupid.
Are you a blogger who’s thought about self-hosting?
December 5, 2012 § 10 Comments
Whenever I have a grammar or punctuation question, my first stop in the search is a visit to Grammar Girl.
Her answers always make sense, and when I’m still confused, she responds to messages on Twitter. How I love a true grammarista!
Yesterday I sent a question regarding what seemed to be a new push toward removing the comma from before the word “too”. My writer friends and I have been up in arms over the change.
Her response was that she didn’t get the impression it was a recent thing, but guided me to her post on the subject for some clarification.
Sometimes in grammar and punctuation, issues come up that can be discussed. In professional editing, when questionable changes are made, the best editors are able to justify their choices, making the act of editing much like writing; creative within boundaries of proper form.
“Do not use comma before the words “too”, “also”, “as well” and any similar terms.”
Such a definitive rule with no grey areas for discussion. No wonder I failed.
Grammar Girl’s post in regard to “comma too” gives a writer the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not the comma should to be used.
Apparently, many children’s book-publishers agree with Grammar Girl and not with CloudCrowd. In four recently published children’s books (checked out this week at our local library), the comma is being used freely in front of “too” restoring my faith in publishers everywhere.
I like commas an awful lot (it borders on an addiction), so I appreciate the freedom to decide if and when they should be used (in this case, specifically).
How about you? You, too?
Are you with Grammar Girl and me, or do you take the side of CloudCrowd?
November 26, 2012 § 5 Comments
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom tells the story of characters living in the 1800s; a time of indentured servitude and slavery; tough subject matter I would have shied away from had it not been for book’s glowing reviews.
Sometimes I choose a book that I’m sure will be a good read, only to close its pages in disappointment when it turns out to be a 100 pager. Other times I choose not to read a book because I’m afraid of the subject matter or because I’m certain it wasn’t written for me (basing a book on its cover is naughty and unwise).
The Kitchen House is turning out to be one that will be added to my list of all-time favorites despite (or maybe because of) it’s tough placement in history. The characters are well-developed. The story is beautifully written (could easily become a costume-rich screen epic). Clearly researched. Written with care and love. It’s tapped into the part of me that yearns for understanding and compassion. 30 chapters in I hope for a happy finish for Lavinia and Belle. I hope that Marshall finds a soul and that Mama lives long.
Yesterday I added myself to the website called GoodReads, which allows me to put its link (along with a picture of my current read) in the widgets on my sidebar.
If you scroll down you can see the box with The Kitchen House proudly displayed.
Click it. Read it. You will not be disappointed.
Are you on GoodReads? Have you read The Kitchen House?