INTRODUCTION: This section is dedicated to my personal ramblings – it can be about anything, from a favorite product or service, to an opinion I feel strongly about, to a personal essay, to an attempt at adding humor to my otherwise boring day. Whatever posted here will be highly personal and is my feeble attempt at exposing myself to the world as a writer, something that doesn't come easy for me. I welcome any comments from anyone who takes the time to read my ramblings and will respond back to you (unless you are being overly offensive, in which case, I’ll just ignore you.) I don’t know if you’d consider this a blog – blogs are written by people who have a particular expertise in some subject – I have no expertise in anything. Thus, my ramblings…
Any products or services mentioned here are my own personal opinion. I am not currently being reimbursed or endorsed by any company for mention of their product or service (however, it’s not out of the question for this starving artist writer. Any personal essays or opinions on this site are my own and I am fortunate to live in a country where I have the right to write about anything I so choose. You have a right to read it, or not. Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back often!
Most Important Lesson Learned
Posted: September 22, 2015
I was asked the question, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your past experiences. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to keep faith that God is there with you. I learned the hard way, that God carries us through the dark times and then blesses us with the good times. He never leaves our side. When things are at their worst and you can’t seem to breath or focus or even grasp what is going on around you, just reach for your Bible and start reading.
At the lowest point in my life when my third husband demanded a divorce, when I didn’t think I could ever hold my head up in public again, I was so low the hole I’d dug around myself was deep enough to bury me. I had nowhere to go but up, but I had no idea how to even begin to pull myself back out or together.
The key was that I didn’t do it myself. God did. All I had to do was reach for the tool…His Word. Every morning, I lay in bed reading at least a chapter a day. In the beginning and for the following months, the tears would be streaming down my face and onto my Bible, but I read on. With each chapter and each day passing, I felt just a little bit stronger, a little bit more loved and a little bit saner.
God also brought some “angels” into my life. Those “angels” weren’t perfect people, in fact, some had some serious flaws, just like me. I wasn’t one who could easily reach out and ask for help, but help came, in spite of myself. Those were the days when I didn’t want to get out of bed and when I did, I could do nothing but sit outside in my chair and stare off into space. I didn’t want to see anyone, let alone talk to anyone. I was oblivious to the fact that due to the location where I was staying, other people could see me and I must have looked pretty pathetic and of questionable character, but I didn’t even have the sense to realize it at the time. I didn’t care.
Life went on. I didn’t completely give up as I held on by a microscopic thread. My “angels” each contributed in their own way, usually by making me laugh, or by showing me examples of helping others, or in their own way, making me feel human again. I learned that even though I was no angel myself, I deserved to be happy. I learned that happiness can’t come from what you expect from another person to provide you. It has to come from within and, for me, the only way to get there was by accepting that God loved me as his own child, unconditionally. I was just like a child in those days – depending completely on just a few things to get me through – most especially, the little faith I had that God was taking care of me. Once I truly believed that, things started falling back together, slowly, but with steady progress.
Through all that, I learned that no matter how flawed we are, we can always reach out to someone else in need with our words or actions. Doing so just might be the bridge they need to the Light that will pull them through. We might just be the “angel” someone else needs. I learned angels aren’t perfect. They just have to have a heart to give what they can, when they can. That’s all any of us can do.
Two of my “angels” through this hell I was in were my sister, Carrie, and her husband, Brad. They never once said, “I told you so,” in spite of all their warnings. They were just there for me to listen and give a hand up. Thank you!
Never Ever Give Up on Your Dreams
Posted: September 17, 201
Everyone has a dream. If you’re reading this, by now you’ve probably guessed mine is to be a writer. In spite of all the encouragement from friends and family, I am suffering from tremendous moments of self-doubt and fear. Fear that I won’t be able to complete my mission to entertain, enlighten, educate or enrich anyone’s life with words.
Moments like this morning: Because I feel that I need to earn my keep and maintain a clean house, do the laundry and cook, I take it very seriously as “my job” and anyone who knows me, knows that I put 100% into my work, or at least, that’s what I tell everyone. Perhaps I need to rethink this, however, because just now, as I’m sweeping the floor, I found myself singing, “O’Cedar makes your life easier!” It shocked me a bit. Maybe I’m getting too wrapped up in this “domestic engineer” position I signed up for. Of course, I may be embellishing a bit with the title there, but I want to be able to put on my resume’ both titles, “Writer/Domestic Engineer”. I want to feel important, after all. At least in the domestic area, I’m getting shit done. Writing…that’s another story.
Then there was the other day when a recipe I was using called for “butter” and I began to stress out over the fact that I don’t have butter in the house and the last thing I wanted to do was try to fool Mother Nature. I finally calmed down and remembered that “everything tastes better with Blue Bonnet on it.” (Shut up, Susan!!!) I forget what I was cooking, but it all worked out – at least Al is still alive.
After a tiring grocery shopping trip yesterday, I found myself squeezing the Charmin as I was putting it away and for some reason felt guilty. I can empathize with the Energizer Bunny now, because I just keep going…and going…and going…but I’m not really making any headway.
A few minutes ago, I reached for the drink “that refreshes the world” and, of course, spilled it. So I reached for the quicker picker-upper and wiped it up. And now, I think I better go call a therapist.
But then I pulled some inspiration out of my memory bank, and told myself to “Just Do It!”
On a serious note, we should never ever give up on our dreams--I don’t care how old and decrepit we think we are. Just when we need inspiration the most, it will pop up. I heard a perfect example of this the other day, when I was cruising down the highway, wondering if I did the right thing by quitting a perfectly good job. Back in the seventies, (my all-time favorite era, mainly because of Tammy, Mike, Jodi, Bobbi, Carla and Dan…but those are stories best left untold), there was a band called Wild Cherry. The lead singer and guitarist, Rob Parissi, got frustrated with the band’s lack of success and decided to call it quits. He sold his favorite guitar and went to work managing a steak-house. After three days, he realized he’d made a mistake, tore off his apron, and went in search of the guy who bought his guitar hoping to buy it back. He sold it to a stranger on the street, but somehow, after weeks of searching, he found the guy, who happily sold it back to him. He re-formed his band and began playing local gigs in the Pittsburgh area. Many of their fans were black people hanging out in the nightclubs. Some of their audience used to taunt the band about being “white and trying to play funky music”. After one such taunting, Rob Parissi, went backstage and in two hours wrote one of the most recognizable pop songs of the decade and beyond, “Play That Funky Music,” which after being recorded, quickly shot to the top of the charts bringing fame and music awards to the band. The song is listed as 73 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time.
My point is, you just never know where inspiration is going to come from – you don’t even have to go looking for it. Never ever give up on your dreams!
Week two of my new career: Slow progress is being made. Much to my horror, I’m turning into a domestic diva. The only thing I haven’t done yet is greet Al at the door wrapped in Seran Wrap (and we both know that’s never going to happen). For one thing, imagine the expense of wasting ten boxes of expensive cling wrap. Even if I found coupons, it’s just not in my DNA – sorry Marabel Morgan, I am a “Total Woman” failure. I don’t know this new person I am becoming – I’m not even sure I like her. I spent most of my life fighting for equal rights in the home. Now, here I am doing a man’s laundry and providing a hot meal every night. I’m trudging my weary body up and down isles through numerous grocery stores trying to save a dime. Having been one who “burned my bra” in the 70s, I am a bit shell-shocked right now. I scroll through Pinterest looking for menu ideas and new recipes. Just how many ways can you cook hamburger anyway? But it’s all good, I’m not really complaining, I’m just not used to this kind of lifestyle.
As far as writing goes, it’s taking some time to get in the groove. I am, however, editing the book I wrote last year – at least I call it a book – it’s up to over 40,000 words now. It’s going to be around ten more edits and rewrites of fixing all the plot holes before I’ll be brave enough to “pound the pavement” and search for an agent, but speaking of divas, one of the villains in the book makes Cruella Deville look like an angel. Her name is Dorinda Daniels. I can’t tell you much, but as a teaser, I’ll tell you that she uses men. She does have her own personal morals and standards…for instance, she allowed a plastic surgeon she was dating to buy her a condo in Chicago and to give her a new set of boobs, but when he decided to divorce his wife for her, she put the brakes on and dumped him, as she says, “I ain’t no home wrecker”. Of course, she kept the condo, and she uses her new boobs to attract men, but only because they serve her for one purpose. She has no desire to ever get married. But she is just one character in the book. She is the “trouble-maker”. By the way, you may be thinking I’m writing a hot-steamy novel…no, it’s going to be PG rated. There is lots of work to do on it and as soon as I finish my domestic chores, I’ll get started.
What amazes me is that as I sit down to my computer and type out stories, is that out of nowhere come these characters that you either love or hate. You personally don’t know them, but as they develop, they become someone. It’s not as if you choose them, they just show up. It’s not as if I was ever a Dorinda Daniels (well, that’s obvious, I don’t have any boobs) or know anyone like her. That’s the key to good writing, they say, knowing your characters inside and out. My favorite part of writing is doing character profiles. Even though you don’t put every detail of the person’s profile into the story, you have to do a profile to get the feel of the person. A profile is a list of their likes and dislikes, their personal history, their physical features, where they are from and what they do for a living, and who their friends are, basically, what makes them tick. The more detailed the better, even though those details don’t necessarily show up in the story.
In any case, I think my broom is calling me…got to go.
Writing is My Happy Place
Posted: September 3, 2015
When the hubby told me I could go ahead and quit my part-time job and work on my writing, I didn’t waste a second arguing and coming up with excuses why I shouldn’t. He was probably hoping that my usual neurosis would kick in and I’d scream, “No, oh HELL no!!! We have a mouth to feed!” (Sandy, our five pound hair ball), or “I can’t! Then I’d have to give up my daily snacks of Diet Pepsi and cheese popcorn!” or “How will we be able to buy gas for that damn Corvette you had to have?” Nope. Setting the excuses aside, I tried not to dance around the office in excitement when I wrote and submitted my final resignation letter, for I did put one in a few months earlier and then took it back when the panic set in. This is the first time since I was fourteen, that I won’t have a steady pay check coming in. In fact, there is a good chance I won’t see a pay check with my name on it in this lifetime. I should be scared. Oh, maybe I am, I thought all that rattling was the air conditioner, but I guess it’s my knees knocking together in fright. What the heck did I just do? I can’t go running back to the office with my tail between my legs begging for my job back.
I prepared for my first day in my new home office with all the enthusiasm of two apes humping in the jungle. Several days prior to my official start date on Monday, August 31, I purchased my own personal daily planner (and it’s a pretty one) and proceeded to fill out my schedule for the first three days. It’s one of those with the date, hourly slots, a to-do list, errand list and a call list. Who did I think I was going to call anyway – nearly everyone I know is working all day, but I scouted around the house, in my purse, and under my car seat until I found my favorite gel pen and marked all the time slots from 7:00AM until 5:00PM, so proud of my efforts and my neatly hand-written pages of hourly tasks. I was so sure nothing could deter me from having the most productive first day on the job ever! (Here’s a hint for anyone wanting to be organized and using a planner – USE A PENCIL!)
So I woke up Monday morning, August 31. I blew my first task – 7:00AM – Get up and walk the dog…oh well, I decided to just roll back into bed for just a few more minutes. Minutes turned into sixty. It was 8:00AM and I barely had the strength to slither out of bed and turn on the shower, for I vowed to myself that even if I never left the house, I would not sit around in my granny pajamas all day and eat bon bons as my friend and former boss, Arnell, had teased that I would (I think she was just bitter). Not on your life. I was going to get up and get dressed and look and act like a professional. After all, you never know when opportunity might actually come knocking on my door disguised as a literary agent or a movie producer. Around 9:00AM, when I was scheduled to put all my God-given talents into writing a menu and grocery list for the week (I figured I’d better try to become domestic, since I wasn’t pulling in a pay check anymore), I realized that I was sick and that the damn cold I’d had for the past three weeks wasn’t going away. Reluctantly, I called the doctor’s office and by reluctant, I mean I’d rather have my pubic hairs waxed than go to a doctor (just kidding – I’ve NEVER done that!) By the way, I’d rather have my pubic hairs waxed than plan a menu and do the grocery shopping, as well, but I have to earn my keep now that I’m unemployed.
So the doctor diagnosed walking pneumonia. There went my 10:00AM task, which was to actually sit down on my computer and write, the one and only thing I looked forward to for the past two weeks. I scratched out the tasks scheduled for 11:00AM through 2:00PM, the length of time I had to sit there waiting for my prescription to get filled at the Air Force Base pharmacy. Any smart up and coming writer would have had at least a notebook, if not a tablet PC, with her to pass the time in a productive manner, but I guess, in my physical state, with a fogged up head and coughing every two seconds, I broke this writer’s commandment – “always carry a notebook with you.” All was not lost for the day though, as the hubby did drive me around so I could use all those coupons I clipped, trying to save money, now that I was no longer a contributing member of the household finances. Never mind that I was so hot and feverish that you could have taken a shower in the sweat pouring off me, but I did manage to get to three of the four places on the list. He had to go on without me the rest of the way. But the cupboard is no longer bare and Sandy has dog-food, so all was not lost.
Tuesday and Wednesday were not much better. Admittedly, I went on a codene high (prescribed of course) and spend most of Tuesday afternoon sleeping. My scratched out items in my fancy new planner (and I don’t mean completed tasks – just constant juggling and rearranging) glared out at me, mocking my best laid plans. I did manage to drive myself through a car wash and much to my horror found at least five more Diet Pepsi bottles under the car seats (dammit, Rex, I thought you got all those out of there--that’s another story).
This is Thursday, and I finally got to sit down and write and this is all I could come up with. Hubby, I think we’re in trouble, perhaps you should sell the Corvette (just kidding). But money aside and who needs it anyway, writing is my happy place and I’m damn thankful for this opportunity. I’m sitting in my happy little office with a happy little smile on my face and there’s only one thing that could make me happier (but that’s another story). Now, I’m going to the store to buy a pencil, because the one thing I’ve learned these past three days is to write in my planner with one. My pet peeve – messy pages. Next week will be better – it has to be. Otherwise, I’m going to have to put an application in at McDonalds. (No offense to Baine, my grandson, who works there.)
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