Hard things.

“I don’t know how to do this, but something inside me does” —Paul Williams

That is perhaps my most favorite quote as of late…

Final edits and a book launch coming up here, so life is a tad bit upside down—but I wanted to pop in and share this… just because I love the message so much.

Today, at an AWN event I met so many people who are up to (very) big things, so much so that I want to tell you all about them—simply because they really are life changing… but for now I’ll just say that I couldn’t feel more lucky to have surrounded myself with the community I have.

Oh and here’s to doing hard things, being ok with not knowing how they’re going to turn out, and seeing the beauty in that…

Moonshots:

You gotta go there.

“A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.” ― Ray Davis

I’m writing a part of Around The Bend (or I’m about to be, right now, obviously, I’m blogging:) that is no doubt going to cause me to pull from past emotional experience I’m not sure I want to pull from.

And you know what that’s like? It’s like being attracted to a flame, knowing you want to touch it, knowing that you have to, knowing that it’s going to burn—and yet forcing yourself to do it anyway.

So, I’ve cornered myself off in this coffee shop and am holding myself hostage here until it is DONE.

Then, I will pack up, head home and make it up to my kids (for working on this gorgeous Saturday) by taking them to see Big Hero 6. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll let all that pent up emotion out in a dark theater where no one thinks it’s odd to cry over a silly little kids movie.

Because I’ve seen the previews, I know what it is really about…and because…I plan well. ;)

Sometimes, you just gotta go there…even if you don’t wanna and can think of exactly one billion excuses not to—if for no other reason than because that’s where you’ll find the story within the story.

The Answer To All Life’s Questions.

“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.” ― David Foster WallaceBrief Interviews with Hideous Men

I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my upcoming novel, Around The Bend by this time next week, if not sooner, and I’m pretty pleased with where this story is leading me.

It’s been both a teacher and a lesson, that’s for sure. :) There were places I didn’t think that I could go, that I went. And there’s still a little ways to go…so, who knows, I might just surprise myself. ;)

In the meantime, in breaks between writing the hard stuff and having fun, I’ve been playing around with poetry and really not caring how bad or how good it is. :)

The latest, below…

The Answer To All Life’s Questions.

There’s beauty in the silence,

Wisdom in stillness,

When there’s no audience to please, nothing to be said, no one, and no where to be—

You’ll find yourself there.

This is everything, everything, EVERYTHING.

“If something you want is slow to come to you, it can be for only one reason: You are spending more time focused upon its absence than you are about its presence.” ― Esther Hicks, The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham

This lesson is one that has been HUGE for me in my life. As a type A personality, and maybe just a human in general, when I want something, I want it, you know, like yesterday. ;)

If there is resistance or fear or a decision to be made I have on occasion viewed it as an all or nothing sort of thing, when sometimes it just means not right now—you are not ready.

And I love that. Or rather, I have come to love that. Because….wait, there’s more? ;)

This video might be a bit out there for those not ready to hear the message. But it is sooooo good (specifically in regards to preparing for what you want) so, if you’re in for a woo-woo, oh shit, ‘I finally get it’, kind of experience, then you should probably watch. And then you should watch it again.

Because…when you know, is when you know. :) And knowing why you want what you want is everything.

EVERYTHING. ;)

Watch him squirm. I love it. :)

P.S. Please excuse typos and lack of editing. This was typed from my phone while awaiting a meeting and thus is exactly what it is.

Meteor Showers and You.

Wrapped up in blankets and each other we stare toward the sky.

At 4AM, I’ll swear, this is a magic show—created, just for you and I.

You watch, I wish, as the stars shoot across the heavens and fall.

We’ve got time you say, just wait, this is nothing at all.

One needs darkness to see the light so we let our eyes adjust until suddenly we see the stars are dripping all around.

This is love, I think. It’s a light show in the dark. It’s grit,…it’s perfect imperfection. It’s everything, I want to tell you, which has ever been lost, yet found.

That Fall…

It’s amazing how many ways you can fall in love with a person.

Granted, there are seasons in life when you have to look a little harder than others.

And then there are the times it’s as simple as the way he lights a fire in your honor and makes it dance.

IMG_3419.JPG

Short and Sweet.

“The things you own end up owning you.” — Tyler Durden, Fight Club

I’m going to keep this short and sweet as I’m on deadline and honestly I’m mostly only writing over here today so as to give in to the resistance (it’s so strong, you guys) and “cheat” on my daily word count goal. :) Also, it’s been a few weeks…

I’m not quite sure but it’s possible that I’m losing my mind. Obviously, I realize that I should probably watch what I say here, as one never knows what will be taken out of context. I’m not literally going crazy, just making a few necessary tweaks to my life. Crazy is subjective anyhow. And really, it’s all just semantics.

In my case, I blame this temporary insanity on the character I’m writing. Sometimes the lines do blur a little and I’m not certain my brain realizes when I’m on (working) or off. The full moon and mercury retrograde also provide relevant possibilities. Nonetheless, yesterday I found myself sitting across from my husband at brunch naming off all of the ideas I have for the future and a list of the things we need to get rid of, or cut out of our lives so we have less tying us down. Many, if not most of them, being not entirely rational choices. This obviously appears a little clearer this morning. ;)  But, you know what the amazing thing was… he not only listened intently (and I mean without batting a eye) but he told me he was completely on board.

God bless that man. :)

I think everyone deserves someone to embrace his or her level of crazy. I know this because I mentioned these same ideas to two of my best friends and they both told me I was indeed nuts. And, this my friends, is why I’m not married to them. ;)

That said, I actually have cut quite a few things, commitments etc. out of my life over the past few months (I feel like I write about this a lot here) and while I won’t bore you with the details I will say it has been incredibly freeing. And just when I didn’t think there was anything else left to cut….I cut a little more. There are two really great ways to know where cutting can occur and those are: take inventory of what’s on your calendar and watch where your money goes. It’s pretty simple from there.

Anyway, I’d better get back to the novel, which is tentatively scheduled for release on 12/2/14.

P.S. Love, love, love this episode of Shots of Awe. It totally explains my life. ;)

As for what I’m writing to these days… it’s mostly all about Paolo Nutini:

The acoustic versions are typically my favorites…

Signs, Signs,…Everywhere A Sign.

“Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.” ― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

I’ve always struggled a bit with how much to share and how much to keep private. When I originally decided to publish a novel I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to publish under a pen name but ultimately decided against it. Sometimes, I do admittedly regret that. Kids talk, teachers talk. People talk. But I still haven’t really found it to be a bad thing. I always figured that I am who I am. Also, I used to “mommy blog” anonymously and found it difficult in many ways when people knew your blog but not the person behind it.

I do however occasionally wonder whether I’m doing the right thing by putting myself and my work out into the world, in a way that at times can feel very personal. There are a lot things that happen which one doesn’t foresee coming the bigger their platform grows. It’s difficult to explain and I don’t want to seem ungracious or whiny– because I’m not. Recently though I decided to take a step back after I was sued. I’m not going to say a lot about the logistics because, well, it’s just not a good idea and it’s not my style. I will say that the lawsuit had to do with the business side of publishing and not what my books contain or what anyone else’s books contain.

They say that being sued is one of the most stressful situations a person can face other than losing a loved one. And I will say that I found it very similar– in terms of the emotions you feel during the process. Having a police officer unexpectedly show up at your doorstep and having someone you do not know “demand” a five plus figure sum from you is…well, not fun. And the process and expense (energy, time, and money) of defending yourself against all of the aforementioned not fun made me really, really question whether or not I wanted to continue putting myself “out there.” Because, the truth is, there are much easier ways to earn a living.

Anyway, the lawsuit was officially dropped this week and I don’t want to say anything else about it other than I learned a lot about the litigation process and about protecting myself going forward. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t still feel hesitant about it all…about putting myself and my work out there and everything that comes with that. At the same time, I refuse to view the world as a place where one has to play it small in order to avoid threatening and not fun situations.

And then, of course, there are the signs…

On one particularly rough day I opened my nine year olds school folder and discovered this.

I saw it as a sign.

It reminded me that… I may write for myself, but I publish, and I keep going for them.

P.S. This is what I’ve been writing to. Hoizer…I’m in love and I just can’t enough.

And this:

Time Out + Free Therapy

“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.  And rarely do people do things because of you anyway.  They do things because of them.  So even when it seems personal, it probably isn’t.  Remember this.  And when you find yourself feeling angry, heartbroken, or victimized by the actions of another, see if you can you find within you any seed of softness, some place deep within that understands how much pain that person must be in, how burdened their soul must be, how devastatingly hardened they must be in their heart in order to behave in a way that is surely out of alignment with their own integrity.” – Marc and Angel, Hack Life 

First off, I want to let you all know that Around The Bend will not be published on 10/14/14 as was planned, due to a culmination of unforeseen circumstances.

Right now, I don’t have a pub date in mind because I’ve decided to take a mini-sabbatical from the business side of things. To regroup. To figure out my next move.

Mostly, I’m taking some time off to fall apart a little and to put myself back together. Lots of what is happening personally, I can’t share here, but as for what I can, I will.

I’m still working on the book, still writing–just on a timeline that makes more sense for me right now.

As for what I can share: Lately, I’m just missing several people in my life. From my oldest who left for college to family that I spent the last decade (and then some) caring for, who are no longer around, well…lets just say I’ve found that it has left a bigger void than I might’ve thought and I’m feeling their absence more so than usual these days.

I guess, when you care for someone who is ill and/or who needs you…that becomes a part of your identity. It becomes who you are and then when those people move on–whether it’s ultimately because of a good thing, like college for example, or not so good, like death–it leaves a bit of a hole and thus perhaps requires a little finagling to figure out where you belong in the world.

This in and of itself would be easier to take if it weren’t combined with other not so good things occurring and a whole lot of pressure, some of it admittedly self imposed.

Which is why I feel it’s important to call a time out. And in this time out I have a few things planned to get me reacquainted with the girl I used to know– the one who was pretty sure of herself, and where she was going.

My grandmother spent a lot of time in and out of rehab hospitals in the final five years of her life and my grandfather spent lots of time hooked up to a dialysis machine. One of the things I noticed during this time and found myself unsatisfied with was how we treat the elderly in this country. I would often meet people who had no one, no visitors, no advocates, no one making sure that they were receiving adequate care. I’m not judging here because I will be the first to say that it  is very very hard to watch someone you love wither away and eventually lose the battle. It’s a constant reminder of what is important and what is less so. It’s a tug of war with being the person you want to be (free) and the one you need to be–and sticking to the job at hand. Hard is definitely not a good enough adjective to do it justice.

That said, I made a lot of older and wiser friends over the years. People who were just happy to have someone sit with them for a bit and care about their lives, where they’d come from, and where they’d been. Because there wasn’t much denying where they were going. We all got that.

I learned a lot during that time about life and love and…people.

These days, I feel like maybe it’s time for a refresher and spending some time at the rehab hospital where my grandma spent so much of her final years is on the agenda.

But I’d be lying if I said that my volunteering to sit with the elderly is completely unselfish.

Old people, like children, are so pure, so wise, and so loving. There’s no bullshit. There simply isn’t time for it.

Which, for me, means there’s a lot to be learned there.

It’s pretty much like free therapy. ;)

P.S. What I’m writing to this week:

Thanks Brandy, for sending this. Sometimes you introduce someone to something and they introduce you right back. <3

 

And an oldie but a goodie.

Please Don’t Answer. And Other Unexpected Surprises.

I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” ― Khaled HosseiniThe Kite Runner

This past weekend I celebrated my thirty-third birthday, which was filled with family, friends, flowers, and  lots of love. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever received so many flower deliveries in one day before– so much so that my husband mentioned he was having a hard time keeping up with my fans/friends. Anyway, they were all lovely surprises. But, I also received a surprise of a different kind, one that has undoubtedly rattled me…

The day before my birthday I heard my phone ring and when I picked it up I saw my father’s name pop up on caller ID. We hadn’t spoken, really, since my Grandmother died, a year and a half ago. I’ve written about our relationship, or lack thereof, here and here. 

It was so unexpected to see his name that I couldn’t bring myself to answer. What did he want? Was something wrong? Not now, I pleaded to no one in particular. Not now. My life is sooo good. I worked hard to get to this place…

He didn’t leave a message and I didn’t really think much about it until the following day (my birthday) when my phone rang again. This time I answered.

“Happy birthday,” he said.

“Thank you,” I replied, honestly surprised he remembered.

“Are you at home now?”

“Um…Yeah…Why…”

“Well, I rang your doorbell a little bit ago and no one answered.”

“My doorbell?”

I had no idea he knew where I lived.

He proceeded to describe the house and vehicles out front while I remained mostly speechless. I explained that I was home but that we were about to go to lunch and he asked where at. I told him and he said that he’d meet me there because he had a birthday card he wanted to give me.

In 33 years, this is probably the second time, third at max, that I can recall my father giving me anything for my birthday, including a phone call.

At lunch, I sat there halfway paying attention what my husband was saying, anxious about how awkward things were about to get. And I’m not one who routinely gets anxious over much.

Part way through lunch I turned to see my father walk in. He looks good, I think. Like he’s taking care of himself, like maybe, he sort of dressed up for the occasion. I watch him walk past a girl in a booth, turn, and really focus in on her, before finally realizing it wasn’t me. How sad I thought, not to be able to recognize your own daughter. In fairness, she did at least look a little like me. I turned to my sixteen year old and felt crushed when I saw that he’d noticed too. How lucky my kids are not to know what that’s like, I think in that moment. 

Long story short, he came over to the table, handed me the card, said me he’d at least wanted to get me that, told me happy birthday, asked if I was 33, made some small talk, then told me he loved me, and walked away.

I sat there stunned– thinking about the card and wondering how one goes about picking something out for this kind of occasion. I wondered what it might be like standing in the greeting card aisle choosing a card for a daughter you don’t know. Then, despite the fact that I’d planned to wait until I was at home, in the solitude of my bedroom, alone (by this time the kids were arguing over anything and everything) to open the card I didn’t make it through lunch without my curiosity getting the best of me. As I opened it, the first place my eye was drawn to was the signature.

He had signed his name, my brother’s name, and my Grandmother’s. I realized that must be painful for him, too. And boom just like that I was crying in the middle of a Mexican restaurant. The three Benjamin’s tucked inside didn’t help matters much.

I smiled a little through the tears. As if, a few Benjamin’s could solve it all…

I put off calling to thank him for as long as I could, ultimately, though, knowing it was inevitable.

Today, I dialed his number and said a silent prayer I’d get the machine. Please don’t answer. Please, please, please don’t answer, I pleaded to no one and everyone.

I had no idea what I would say when and if he answered. Thank you, ok, bye–was kind of the plan. 

Instead, I found myself inviting him to lunch once I return from taking my oldest to college.

He accepted and made me promise to call.

I hung up and sighed, knowing there are at least a few people out there somewhere who would probably be proud.

I’m not there yet.

But maybe…

My Grandma just might get one of her last wishes after all.