Monday, October 31, 2005

Life is unpredicatable and precarious. Sometimes, it seems it can't get any worse and boom it does. The opposite can be true as well. It's the little things we need to look at and appreciate.
This past year has been a difficult one for my family. My husband lost over half of his family in one month. It hasn't been easy and there are days when I see the torture and stuggle on his face and even in his footsteps. Life is like that. No matter what happens, we must keep living, keep struggling, taking that one day at a time, one footstep at a time.
It is the same with the creative process. There will be good days and bad. We must force ourselves to go to work and do one little thing a day until it gets good again. It will happen. Our lives are cycles. We will come full circle. That is guaranteed.
Til Tomorrow~

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Today has been horrific and I have a headache to prove it. My card for the day from the Observation Deck was "explore the underside" as in explore the dark side of your hero, etc. I think that is the problem. I have spent the day exploring the dark side of 'my life' toooooo much. For the past two years, I have been dealing with personal issues. The only reason I bring it up in this blog is because this issue has affected so many areas of my life, even my writing. I see why I am so emotionally detatched, but just seeing it isn't going to help me. For thirty something years I hid this issue. For longer than that I dealt with physical, emotional, and mental abuse from my mother. I stuffed both these things so deep inside, when the one was exposed, it threw me in to an emotional avalanche. There are days when I'm mad, feel like crying, feel like I 'should' be able to move on and can't, and can't understand why I can't. It's frustrating. I'm a grown person now. Logically, this shouldn't be an issue for me. ARGH!
I just want to move on, which makes me crazy that I can't. I have told myself more than once, just do it. Then something will happen, someone will say something that throws me off kilter. I hate it. I hate not being in control of my emotions. For years, I have led a very ordered, very organized life. If certain thoughts came up, I'd stuff them down in a box because I couldn't deal with them. Now, like a jack-in-the-box they've jumped out, startling me, and frankly I don't know what to do with them all. I don't know how to deal with them.
It's almost like I'm living this alter-egoed life. All I really want to do is crawl in to bed and pull the covers way up over my head. It wouldn't fix anything, but at least maybe then I would have some control.
Tomorrow promises to be another manic day.
Til Then~

Monday, October 24, 2005

Today's blog will be about two things--synchronicity and smell. How do these two things join together? Odd, but I never thought they would either until this morning. :-)
Yesterday when I left the office and headed back in to the house, I smelled something burning. At first, I thought Yolanda may have turned on her straightening iron. I tried to remember if I had left anything on. When I made it to the living room, I found that my husband had turned on the heater.
This morning when I got up and walked through the house, the smell of dust filled coils still permeated the house, but the memories I instantly thought of was winter or more clearly Christmas. Suddenly, the thought of crisp mornings and apple cider fluttered through my head. I felt the urge to put up a Christmas tree and laughed at the feelings the turning on of a heater can evoke.
When I arrived in the office and started to work, I picked up the Observation Deck. The card I pulled was 'follow the scent'. The reading was about how scent can trigger memories and how we, as writers, can use that to our advantage. Good and bad smells both can help us get in a certain mind-set.
The fact that yesterday and this morning, scent played a part in how I felt and then the OD covered that particular topic, gave me pause. I've always said 'great minds think alike'. It's true even if it's a few years apart. :-)
See what your nose finds today and think about the synchronicity of it all.
Til Tomorrow~

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Today is a gorgeous day even though I didn't get much sleep last night. Amazingly, I have done a lot in the five hours I have been up.
I have been reading "The Observation Deck" by Naomi Epel. I went through phases where I thought it was cool, then it wasn't, now it is again. Yesterday, I pulled it down, brushed it off, and now am determined to do at least one card per day.
I've set myself up a strict schedule. I'm going to work like a dog while I'm in the office and down here. I've got a lot of projects to work on, mainly because I've put things off over and over again. That's changing. I've GOT to start spending more time at my keyboard. PERIOD. With this new schedule and my new way of doing things, I should be able to get through quite a bit of work and still maintain the house. As in the past though, we'll see.
Must run. Will write more tomorrow.
Til Then~

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Where does the time go?
Last night on Jay Leno, Antonio Banderas was a guest. He said he had come to America 16 years ago. I couldn't believe it had only been 16 years. He made such a big splash, it seems like he's been here much longer than that. I thought back to where and what I was doing 16 years ago. My daughter was 10 and my son was 7. Both were in school and I had only started my writing career. My grandparents were still at their home and my parents lived in Salt Lake City. There was no thought of 9/11 and the Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City still housed government offices.
Hearing 16 years, doesn't sound like a long time, but when you start thinking about all that has happened it seems forever ago. So much has changed. So many people have died.
I think back to five years ago and can't believe we have moved on from Y-2K. The problems we thought we would seems like it was only yesterday, yet it's been years.
As I look ahead I wonder what I'll think when another five years have passed. No doubt there will be more changes ahead. Technology will no doubt be more advanced. The latest computer I bought is light years ahead of the first one I sat on my desk. That alone is enough to cause me to stop and think...for a long time. The places we have gone, the things we have done in 16 years. It's mind-blowing. Off to think about that for a while.
Til Tomorrow~

Friday, October 21, 2005

Okay, here comes the big confession. I compromise. Have all my life--especially where relationships are concerned and how I deal with them. As I said in an earlier blog, I was abused during childhood. I learned to just back off and wait for things to pass to avoid hurt-physical, emotional, sexual. It was easier to avoid confrontations than press through them.
I find I do that in my career. It was shocking for me to realize one day that I was afraid of success. For years, I couldn't believe when I heard people talking about fear of success. I knew it couldn't be me. Then one day, it hit me. I was sabatoging myself because if I was a success I would #1, have to work harder, #2 expose myself/become braver, and #3 stand up for myself. All this, while I continued to feel like a fraud and like I wasn't nor will I ever be good enough.
I know what I want, but I've always compromised. I would love more than anything to go to Paris and London. Everytime, I bring it up my husband always pooh-pooh's it. I've mentioned going on a Cruise. He doesn't want to go on a cruise, but he did buy a $28,000 fishing boat, which he used (I might add) a total of three times. That's another story.
For years, I wanted to learn how to weave and buy a loom. There were other things I wanted, but he wouldn't let me get a job. When he started complaining because I spent money to go to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned, I decided to take matters in to my own hands. I started teaching creative writing. I would continue to write my peices, but teaching allowed me to continue learning (one has to study to teach) while I earned some cash.
Today, I own four floor looms and several new computers. I pay for my own dentist bills, doctor bills, optometry expenses, even my own clothes, trips, etc. He pays for nothing of mine personally. He only pays for what he would have to pay anyway if I was here or not.
He continually gripes about my working, but I don't care. I will not go back to depending on him and when I do, he gripe about it. It has been a struggle. But this is one area I will not compromise.
I admit if I didn't teach, I would have more time to write, but one never knows in publishing. If I had a steady column, an editorial job, etc..., it might be okay. For now though, I am doing what I have to do to survive.
I do have a plan and am working toward being able to teach and write at the same time. It's a plan in progress. It will work. I know it will.
More tomorrow.
Til Then~

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Gods of the Fates must be against us.
For years, I have had a Diet Coke habit. I have read articles on how horrendous aspartame is for you and friends have thrown articles at me to read from time to time. I have tried to quit. Over the summer, I had almost made it. I was down to six ounces a day, then I came back to Oklahoma. The habit kicked in to high gear. Every time there was a crisis, I'd grab a cold bottle from my frig and down it before thinking about it. My daughter even commented I looked like an alcoholic. Anywho....
This morning, I got up determined to end that habit. I was finished, through. I put bottles of water in the frig and figured if I was thirsty, water would quench my thirst. I was doing an excellent job. Typically, I am heading for 'the bottle' by 10 A.M. It was 2 P.M. and I was still DC free. Searching for a cord, I parked and ran in to Best Buy. On the way in, I saw the new Batman was on sale. As I picked it up, the security guy said, "you get two bottles of pop when you buy that movie." Really?
When I went up to pay for my movie, the girl reminded me of the pop. Actually, I was hoping to slip out without it. I couldn't say I didn't want it. Good grief, no one passes up something free these days. "Okay, give me two bottles of whatever you have," I said. I was willing to take a chance.
She brought out two ice cold Diet Cokes. Jeepers. I promptly opened one when I got in my vehicle and took a swig. Felt horrible after. Can I not even go ONE day without?
For today, I'll let you chew on that. Got a couple other topics I'll write about tomorrow--compromises we make and where the heck did today go?
Til Then~

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hello All!

I made it back safely to OKC from Tulsa. The conference was kewl! Saw Jennifer. We had a nice visit. Also, met some nice editors and agents. The conference was small, but I rather liked it that way. I know that will change with time, but for now it was just what I needed.
It was so nice after all this time to go and just enjoy the people present. I didn't have to be somewhere unless I wanted to be there and didn't have to worry about speaking in front of a group. I was there to absorb and that's what I did.
I believe I have my medieval problem figured out. Going to call Allison here in a bit, talk to her.
Oh, have Allison. WIll go. Write more later.
Til Tomorrow~

Monday, October 10, 2005

Finished getting my classes ready. Took me four days. Good grief! When I get papers to grade, it will take me forever. Thank goodness, we will only be meeting once a month this year. It will certainly save some time for least I hope.
I'm back to working out a schedule for my teaching online. I've got so much to get ready for and figure out. This week is a total bust. Tomorrow, I have to meet with a Real Estate Person, go by the accountants, see the banker, etc. Wednesday, I teach aaaaaaaallllll day. Thursday, I go to Tulsa for a writer's conference, then back home and off to Colorado for a week. I'm sure I'm going to meet myself on the highway.
Somewhere in between all that, I've got to schedule writing. If I've not written this blog for a few days, don't worry. I'll get back to it just as soon as I can.
I'm thinking about putting some marketing news up here as well.
If anyone out there can invent a machine that can give me more time, let me know. I'm in the market.
Til Tomorrow.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Whew! Made it through yesterday. Had to go out of town to do a festival. It took two hours to get there so Yolanda and I left at 7. Drove for two hours. We got there, set up, and I only sold ONE book. That was disappointing, but I know that is the life of an author. You can never tell. Maybe if I was to go back next week, I might sell ten books. It didn't help that I didn't feel good. I'm still fighting this flu. Being outside with all the allergins, I'm sure didn't help my situation. Now, I just have a cough.
I know things will change. They always do. I just have to hold on, work harder, find more time, etc. Going to Tulsa on Thursday, so hopefully that will be encouraging.
I'm also to get my glasses on Wednesday. It will be nice to actually be able to see the computer screen. So far all I see is a blur.
I'm getting ready for my Wednesday class. Almost ready. Just have to write my parent's letter. That takes me a while. I hope to get it roughed here in a few minutes.
Til Tomorrow~

Friday, October 07, 2005

Decisions, Decisions
I've been working for the past two days on making my kids' newsletter. They write some of the funniest stories. For those who don't know, I teach a group of homeschool kids creative writing once a month. I'm getting down now to where I have to make a decision about whether I want to continue teaching them in person or try to do it over the Internet or just do it over the Internet and move to Colorado. I can go anytime I want, but it all boils down to, do I want to and when.
I've come to love those kids and their silliness. Over the summer, while I was in Colorado, I missed them.
It's kind of humorous. I've heard people say I charge too much, but if they only knew how much time I spent working on this class, they would know I don't charge enough. I keep telling myself I should quit teaching. My word, I can sit down and write one article and make more than I do teaching the kids. Aaaaannndd writing takes me a whole lot less time. I spend at least thirty hours a week on the kids' stuff. Currently, I have 27 students. By the time I grade 5 sets of 27 students' papers, it takes a hunk out of my time.
I just like dealing with the little rug rats. Oh sure, they make me nuts sometimes, but they also challenge me. They keep me on my toes, give me ideas, and their optimistic view of everything is contagious.
One of my students has a series of stories he is writing about Duct Tape Man. He saves the world using Duck Tape. He is the funniest thig and like to bug me. I've gotten to where I pick on him right back.
Then there is one poor fellow who always tries to be perfect! And my girls, they are all so sweet. When they graduate and move on, I can handle it. I don't know if I can leave them. I have a couple months that I can ponder and then make a decision about next year. I don't want to leave the kids or their parents hanging about next year. We'll have to see.
Til Tomorrow~

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Just when you think it's safe to be seen in public!
Most editors and writers I know wear glasses. I don't know why I should feel so stigmatized by the fact that I do. I guess it's because even though I wear 'bifocals', I still CAN'T see.
Went to the eye doctor today. Knew I needed new glasses, but wasn't going to play the age card. Yet, there was the doctor reminding me over and over. "At your age this..." she said. "At your age that..." Well, what the heck does that mean? Am I prehistoric in my mid 40's? By the time I reach 50 am I going to need a white cane? My grandmother is 97, has had one pair of glasses as long as I can remember and can still read the itty-bitty print in her Bible.
I've been having trouble seeing with my old glasses really from the first day I got them. But last month, when I got my new computer monitor, I knew I was in big trouble. Everything looked fuzzy, so I tried adjusting it.
"What are you doing?" my daughter said after a while. "You're messing it all up."
"I can't see. Everything is blurred."
She took control of the situation, changed it back to manufacturer's settings and ordered me to go get my eyes examined because obviously 'at my age...'.
I have a lot of wisdom 'at my age' and I would like to think knowing if I can see something or not is one of those things. I guess 'at my age' I should count my lucky stars I've made it this far. According to the young people around me (and my doctors), my age and making it there is one 'big' accomplishment. One day soon, I plan to write about their view of age and us 'older people'...if I can see, that is.
Til Tomorrow~

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hearing isn't always believeing.
"People act as they think--and also react to the thoughts of others, especially when those thoughts are stronger and more convincing than their own." (The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol, page 21)
Early on, I knew I wanted my children to be independent thinkers. I wanted them to be strong, have a head on their shoulders, and not follow the crowd. That's been a two edged sword for me. They are independent thinkers, but then they don't always listen to what I say either. Yikes!
I wanted them to be IT because I've watched too many people for too long being led around by politicians, peers, and the media. There is a difference between being realistic and gathering information and then following the pack blindly because someone throws his own neurosis out there.
I find myself asking why and what does that person gain from giving his opinions.
Many years ago, I attended my first writer's conference. A well-known, widely published author spoke. I was anxious to hear him as his books had been made in to movies, he was respected in his field, and he was a college professor. I expected to hear news about New York or tips on craft, instead this author stood in front of the assembly and for over an hour and talked about how loathesom and criminal the business was. I wondered why this fellow continued to write if he had such a 'dark' view of everything.
Later that night, a group of us newbies sat around and discussed the session. It had been quite depressing and there were a few participants who decided writing/publishing wasn't for them. They packed up and went home the next morning. I wasn't about to quit, but I did wonder if he had such a hard go of it with all his credentials, how in the world was I supposed to fair in the big, bad publishing 'hellhole' as this author had put it.
The next day, I got my answer. My writing mentor was a friend of his. Somehow I wound up sitting across the lunch table from this guy.
"So why did you say all those bad things yesterday?" my mentor asked him. (She is always frank and will dive in where angels fear to tread.) "You know it was so discouraging to people who have just started in the business."
He looked around the table and squarely back at her. "I know," he said, "but you know there are so many people who want to be writers and shouldn't be. And I don't need the competition."
I've thought a lot about that conversation and the people who left the conference earlier. Have never seen them again, but have often wondered what would have happened if they stayed. What if they knew the 'other half of the story' as Paul Harvey would say?
Looking back over my twenty years, I tend to agree that publishing is difficult. It is a cut-throat business, but I also know if someone wants to get published badly enough, he will.
I believe authors, new and seasoned should listen to what's going on, but never let the negatives steer you away from what you want. If you want to be published, you will. You will get up in the morning and no matter how many rejections you've received the day before, you'll send your manuscript out again.
I tell my students all they need to do is 'believe'. No matter the naysayers, the odds, the seemingly unscaleable mountains, all you've got to do is believe. All it takes is one sale and you're on your way.
I believe it.
Til Tomorrow~

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Today was an interesting day in my publishing world. I shared my observations with my critique partner, Allison. There are two different views when it comes to writing and publishing. When a new writer steps up to the plate, he is optimistic, knows he can and will hit a home run. I am working with a new client who has that view. She is excited, thrilled that she's written a 543 page romance, and ready to take on the publishing world.
Then there are those writers who have been in the business for a long time. They've become jaded and down right cynical. This morning I received an email from an old writing friend. He's been plugging away, sending his current manuscript out to "anyone with an address", and he's received rejection after rejection. He's been writing for twenty years, been published in magazines, worked on special projects, etc. His comment to me was "all agents are asses".
Okay, I feel his pain. Being in the business for twenty years myself, I have become a little cynical myself. There are days when I sit and bemoan the fact that writing is so difficult and the publishing world doesn't appreciate the slaves who fuel the machines.
Then I have good days, when the words flow, a plot comes together, and I too am optimistic about my future. Those are the days I want to hold on to. Those are the days I MUST hold on to.
My career is difficult, but the rewards...well frankly I can't see myself doing anything else but writing. It is truly what I was meant to do even if the rest of the world doesn't believe it.
Til Tomorrow~

Monday, October 03, 2005

In preparation for an interview, I was on an author's website reading some background information on her. She is about my age, has been writing 20 years, same as me, yet she is on the New York Times Bestseller's List.
When I first met her, my first reaction was to 'not' like her. I'll be honest. Afterall, I learned she only had one child, a son, and since she was able to write all the time, her life had to be perfect.
The more I learned about her, the more I realized her life wasn't perfect. Her son is autistic. There are days when he is uncontrollable, days when she has to take him to the doctor, and days when her entire life seems out of control...yet she writes.
This reminded me of my drive and need to write. I was once asked "why do I write?" My response was 'it's like breathing to me'. I'm bumfuzzled when I hear writers say they are going to quit writing. I wish someone would give me the secret code to that one because on days things aren't going right, in weeks that are uncontrollable, in months where I've attended more funerals than I like to think about, I couldn't NOT write. Writing keeps me centered.
Life is not perfect. It never will be, but when we write, when we 'make' time to sit down and put words on paper, we can make it all right...inside. We can gain our balance and get on with the important job of living.
Til Tomorrow~

Sunday, October 02, 2005

"Sometimes a person has to go back, really back--to have a sense, an understanding of all that's gone to make them--before they can go forward." --Paule Marshall
The first time I read that quote was several years ago. I didn't really understand it. I had gone back, looked at my life, but left out the parts I didn't like or couldn't deal with. Then, two years ago, an experience from my past hit me squarely up beside the head. I began to see how little things I didn't think affected me have actually affected me in a big way.
Keeping a journal and writing down my thoughts about different experiences I now see as a big deal have helped me deal with them. I am using my entries in my work to strengthen the emotional content of it. Acknowledging experiences have been painful, but they have helped me grow and expand my writing capapbilities.
It has been downright difficult at times. I find I would rather hide away than face people most days, but somehow I keep going forward. The past few days have been especially tough, but I am determined to get back on track.
Until Tomorrow~