Saturday, April 7, 2012

Are You One Of The Walking Wounded?

I look around me and see bodies everywhere.
I'm not referring to the series, Walking Dead.
I'm talking about those torn apart in relationship battles, personal and professional.

What has puzzled me,
were the large numbers of intelligent people begging for the zombies to bite them.
I have, at least, a partial answer.


Not a good place to make decisions from.
Desperation brings desperate action.

There are endless reasons we become desperate so I won't go there.
We're dealing with being that wounded person
 flailing in the woods screaming for help.
It's like ringing the dinner bell for the zombies.
Stand back, baby, and let the feasting begin.
You're on the menu.

Imagine that you're bleeding
and are sure you'll never make it back to camp on your own.
There are zombies out there, you know it, but help is there too.
You haven't seen any walkers, so you holler your guts out.

That's when some cute guy shows up sporting a grin.
He promises you safety, love, a contract.
He loves you or your work, maybe both.

Red flags.

Did you miss that besides the smile, he also smelled bad?
His arm dangled funny from his shoulder.

You did miss it and fell into his arms.
And he devoured you.

Great, you groan, as he gluts himself on your love, money or your talent.
You could weep and say poor me.
But that's pointless.
He's just chomped your ear and is chewing briskly salivating over eating the other one.

Yeah, yeah. So I let myself be eaten by the monsters.
Now what?

I've given this some thought.
First, if you feel desperate--recognize it.
We can't fix what we refuse to acknowledge.

If we know we're hanging by a thread,
best to not draw attention by screaming in zombie infested woods.
Trust me, they are out there.

Next, stop beating yourself up.
It never was about you, your love or your writing.
Zombies only care about their next meal and you just happened to be easy pickens.
Save yourself.

Get the hell out of the woods.

Drag your damaged self out if you must,
 or rely on the people you know you can trust to help.
Those who've proven themselves in the past.

When we're wounded is not the time to enter into new relationships of any kind.

I've seen writers desperate for publication
 sign with a publisher they didn't take time to check out.
This would be the dude with bad breath and the funny hanging arm.
Wake up!

Take time to know what you're getting into.
If they push and tell you the offer won't last.

Run! It's a zombie.

Those that care about you or desire a real working relationship
 will honor your need to ask other people questions.
This is where the trusted friends come in.
Talk to them.

If five people who love you say,  stay out of those woods, you're bleeding,
 believe them.

Most of the carnage happens, because we don't recognize our wounds.
We stubbornly tell everyone we're fine and plod on out to meet our fate.
Oh, our friends see the danger and warn us,
 but they can't keep us from being consumed,
 not if we're determined to play with monsters.

The walkers don't have the cure.
Chances are, other zombies caused the damage.
In the end, healing our wounds takes time and effort.
 There's no short cut.

And until you're no longer desperate, stay out of the woods.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Let Go Or Be Dragged.

My youngest daughter came up with these wise words,
when talking to someone whining over forced changes in their life.

I confess, I've refused to let go of things at times,
even when hanging on
meant being dragged through prickly pear and brier patch.

Why is that?

Is change so difficult, that we choose intense pain
over potential, all though unknown, bliss?


This blog is one such instance.
I enjoy writing it, but every week pulled at my time.
The readership didn't grow.
I questioned if this had become one of the many announcements
on multiple, writer's loops that go unread.
Not because they aren't good, but due to sheer volume.

Could I change it up and make this more appealing?
It's possible.

How much more time would that take?

Hours away from pounding out pages under that task master, Dr. Wicked,
or editing my current WIP.

Was it worth it?

After being dragged through a row of nasty huckleberry bushes,
I chose change.
Rather than continuing to yank thorns out of my back side,
I've opted to cut back to a monthly post,
until I decide how to revamp this blog.

I'm letting go because it makes sense.

And it feels terrific.

Where in your life is it time to let go?

Comment if you have time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hard Is Good And Here's Why.

Did I just say that?
I did.

I said it's good, not fun or easy.
So if difficult is no bag of giggles, what's good about it?

Adversity is what brought you to this point in your life.
It's what forged your character, strength and honed skills.
Lounging on a beach doesn't bring you anything,
 but a sun burn and age spots.

Suffering is good for the soul.

Yeah, great.
Heard it, done it, bought the t-shirt.
Blah, blah, blah.

Difficulty alone won't do it.

We must drag ourselves up from the depths battered,
 bruised and bleeding to be transformed.
Definitely not a good time.

Why go through all this effort?
Why not stay at the beach tanning until our skin is leather
 or wallow in self pitty and do nada?

Because we are writers.
And we don't fold, at least, not for long.

We understand the hero's journey and we are on a quest to publication.
Life may kick us in the teeth,
but we overcome by force of will,
 spunk and all the atributes we give our characters.
We are them and they are us.

We are on our own heroic journey.

We've heard the saying that life is hard and then you die.


I say:
Life is hard and then you write!

Countless top selling authors went through
 a dark night of the soul experience prior to publication.

Dickens faced financial ruin when he wrote, A Christmas Carol.
Poe had lost his wife and suffered with drug addiction.
Rowlings was a single mother trying to make ends meet.

Hard in life makes captivating prose and real, heroic characters.
It also makes for a talented writer.
Use that strength and experience.

This week, embrace trials you've overcome
 and let them guide you in a manuscript.

No experience is ever wasted.

Learn from the past and use difficulties to your advantage.
Working through your personal hero's journey
can bring multi-dimensional characters and real heart ache to your work.
Readers love it!

And in the end, when you've lived through hell,
 trudged over blazing coals, and come out with burned tootsies,
 and a unique perspective, use it.

 You are Scrooge, Bella, the Bennet sisters, Katnis, George Baily, and Harry Potter.

And in the words of Winston Churchill during World War  2,

"Never, Never, Give Up."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's Love Got To Do With It?

If you write or focus on other creative endeavours--everything.

What if you're not in a relationship?
What if the one you have is tepid to frigid?
Your outlook may suffer, but romance isn't what I'm talking about.

Love transcends sex, or it should.

We can adore chocolate, our pets, sports and people.
We strive to love ourselves,
and what ends up on the page when we reach "the end".
Love comes in many forms.

But is love a choice, or like Hollywood suggests,
we can't help who we love?
What's the truth?

We have little control over who rings our bells.
Attraction and chemistry are part of our makeup.
They happen before we give it thought.
Our eyes meet.
Hearts flutter with anticipation and body parts warm,
before we know much about a person.

That is not love.

Don't get me wrong,
chemistry counts for a lot in a romantic relationship.
But we aren't animals in heat, well, maybe some are close.

I say,  real love is a choice.

Some may disagree, but hear me out.
Love is getting up with a sick child.
Love is going to work to pay the bills.
Love is sharing secrets with a person we know will keep them safe,
and accept us regardless of our struggles.

Love isn't what we can get, but what we give.

Weather we write, paint, throw pottery or fix plumbing,
love can be the core of that expression.
Everything we do carries a piece of who we are and what we feel.
Our intent as we work and create affects the outcome.

Do we choose to reflect love in our lives?

My grandmother always said that her baking was better,
when she thought about the love she had for those who would consume the warm bread.
Love being the most important ingredient.
I agree with her.

This week, consciously focus on the love you feel
for those who will benefit from what you do.
It might be changing diapers or flying a jet aircraft.
What it is doesn't matter, only your affection.

 Jot in your journal your experience,
 how it transforms your outlook and your results.
You will be surprised.

Acting with love touches the giver as well as the receiver.

I'm sending love and support to all of you, my friends.
Blessings to you and success in your life.

Happy Valentines day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dump Your Goals. Say what?

No! I can't live without that list staring back at me keeping me motivated.
That's what I said, until asked this question:
What's your passion?

Quick, don't think. First thing in your head will do. I need an answer.
What's your passion?

Have it?
Are you surprised?

When this question was put to a group of friends recently,
one man said history, a woman shared her love of sewing,
and another lived to learn.
They all had one thing in common.
None worked in their passion.
Nope. Not even close.

A few accepted this as an unfortunate fact of grown up life.
Others, shocked by their answers, gained insight.
Slaving for years and unhappy in their profession,
the reason for their lack of fulfillment hit them between the eyes
like a two by four.

Truth delivered with blinding force hurts.

Work without passion is just a job.
And a life without passion isn't living.

I know, bummer.

There's nothing wrong with a job.
It's what pays the mortgage and feeds the kids,
but our souls require nourishment as well.
How did these talented people land in this predicament?


Not true goals.
Theirs were lists handed to them full of should and must be.
What does the world know about your desires and dreams?


Only you own that knowledge.

To reconnect with your authentic self,
toss your old goals and let honest dreams form.
Nature fills a void.

For the next two weeks,
allow your life to take it's course naturally.
You are not allowed to work on your old goals.
Think of it as a vacation or fact finding mission.

If you're a control freak like me,
it's scary to eschew the list and fly free.

Before you shake your head and say I've lost my mind, let me explain.
We are not dumping the idea of running a marathon
or passing the bar exam,
we're only giving ourselves time to reevaluate.
Opening up possibilities.

If the goal is part of you, nothing will pry it from your heart.

Trust the universe to speak and bring your true nature to light.
There's a catch to all of this soul searching.
Once you find your passion, live it.

Record your findings in your journal,
and please share your comments with the rest of us.

Thank you for taking the leap.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

But You Promised!

As a child, I must have said those words to my parents a hundred times.
They were skillful practitioners of over promising.
People pleasers at their core, they often committed to Disneyland,
a beach outing or pizza for dinner.

Sadly, disappointment often followed these well intended vows.
Sadder still, I stopped believing their promises.

I confronted my parents after one particularly disheartening exchange,
and asked them to never tell us of intended plans
until we were in the car and on our way.
Because when things fell through,
we felt let down and we'd rather be spared the pain.

I was eight.

Keeping our word matters.
Painting pretty pictures for our own benefit
and dragging others through our made up visions is selfish.
It helped my parents feel better as excitement thrummed in hopes of a great time.
But when the truth surfaced and our dreams fell,
so did our trust in those who broke their word.

By the tender age of nine I had decided my parents couldn't be counted on.
To me, they were either liars or fools.
Neither option instilled confidence.

I wrote them off.

People discount those who lack follow through.
We've heard it said, that someone is all talk.
Nothing actually gets done and we don't take them seriously.
We might like the person who spins dreams,
but we never rely on them.

We must guard against being full of it.
It's terrific for our writing, not for living.

 Eye roll here. How do we accomplish that?

Think before we promise.
If we say we'll meet a deadline, assist a friend, wash the car, we do it.
End of story.

We decide our word means something.
That we have integrity.
We are trustworthy.

This week, keep your promises to a minimum.
I have a rule of three.
If someone asks me to do something,
I tell them I'll let them know rather than promise in the moment.
We deserve time to see if it's doable.

If we're committed to a critique group, family, and a deadline
then hold off before promising more.
It may feel great to give the other person what they want,
but when the rug is yanked out, they won't adore us.

They may write us off.

This week keep a record of what you have currently promised to do.
Is it reasonable?
If not, tell the people involved that you must decline.
I know, huge let down, flaky status.
But it's better to be up front.

No one likes to find out you can't do their wedding flowers
the day before the ceremony.
More time allows them to get it taken care of.

Try keeping your promises down to three.
Write those in your journal.
You might choose to only commit to something new once you've fulfilled one on your list.
More than that, you're over booked.
You'll be less stressed, get more done and do a far better job.
Everyone will be happier.

 Let me know how this works for you.
Thanks for your comments.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First, Fix What Ails You.

Are you tired, stressed and down right crabby?
Do you find yourself working too hard?
Maybe you're stomping on that gas peddle,
spinning your wheels in futility and
digging a deep hole rather than moving forward.

Often, we believe running faster,
and putting our shoulder to the wheel will assure success.

How's that working for you?

Months ago, I wrote my tush off, plotted, edited,
and rewrote till by eyes burned and my back spasmed.
Determined to be productive.

I thought.

Pages mounted, but on inspection they lacked that indescribable spark
that ignites a readers soul and warms the heart.


 I studied craft. I spent ample time writing.
What had I missed?


I'd thrown myself off balance.
All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl.

My characters were grey as an old fence and just as wooden.
And the plots were dry as the salt flats,
because I'd forgotten an important tool in fiction.


Engaging in the creation of art should be fun, joyful and exciting.
I'd made it a distasteful chore.
Big grimace at that realization.
Not as painful as a root canal with out anaesthesia, but close.
What I'd slaved to produce bored the hell out of me.

No fun.
No life.
No point in anyone reading that drivel.

I took a break and forced myself to venture out, go to a movie,
have dinner with friends, and reconnect with the joys of the world.
It took a few weeks to recover from my Spartan diet of fun,
but it happened.

I made a leap from my logical, rule oriented side of my brain
to the playful, intuitive and creative mind.

Characters gained depth.
Plots sizzled with danger and excitement.
I enjoyed the process and the result.
It was fun.

Fun and work do not have to be at odds.
They can be joined together.

Wish I'd known that as a kid.
I would've grumbled less at cleaning my room.
Somehow, I missed this lesson when watching "Mary Poppins."

This week take time to play.
Grab your journal and jot down at least ten things to do that fill your heart,
or make you laugh and giggle.
Your writing will improve.
So will your life.

Every day play from your list.
In time you'll be spontaneous and not need the prompts.
Kids don't need directions to fun.
They just are.

Jot your experience in your journal.
Please share your comments with the group.
Share the joy! Be the fun!