I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions; they’re gimmicky to me. I started this blog on 1/3/11 because of that.
I am however, giving myself license to do something I’ve never done: plan goals for the next year.
I typically shy away from such commitments because they’re … HELLO!… commitments.
But it’s a new me, fresh out of the box because I’ve had a couple epiphanies and they feel right.
The first epiphany is that I am hereby making myself eat crow: I’m going to go ahead and read / edit / and work my posterior off on my book that I
started wrote over the summer during “Camp NaNoWriMo.” I recounted my dilemma with NOvels in my Peevish Penman about NaNoWriMo post: I have a pedantic fixation with the fact that NOvels are supposed to be fiction but I lamented that my first NOvel end up being a thinly veiled memoir and that’s not a NOvel despite the truth that most fiction has some basis in actual events. To add pine needles on a campfire, the plot thickened when my latent issue with memoirs cum NOvel was bolstered by two conversations I had after finishing the book.
The first chat left me feeling like a piece of fake moss (that’s pretty bad). Nuances of that conversation can be found here in the post I wrote called “Fear: Eff It.” The second chat revolved around the correct suggestion that most financially successful memoirs are written by famous people and so why should I bother writing a memoir if I’m not famous? Well? Why should I?
Back to effing the fear… I have re-read the following paragraph more than a few times and I wonder why I am writing this and I realize that it’s not really for me anymore, because I’ve decided. I think I’m writing it for anyone reading this who might need a nudge to keep going.
To all of this I say, “why not?” Who’s life is this? Mine. Who’s book is this? Mine. Is it all fiction? No. Does that matter? No. Is it insightful? HECK to the YEAH. I have things to say and share them in a detached, experienced and observant way that might help a reader shine a light on their own woes, maybe provide that “aha!” moment. Is this asking too much? Lots of people have told me that the candid stuff I write resonates with them and the funny stuff entertains. My writing is “me on paper.” So I’m moving forward.
I hadn’t moved forward until now because I was afraid of failure and I’ve allowed some really crappy excuses (plus some really awesome fake ones too: I’m a cryptologist and a neurosurgeon and I just don’t have time; I am an international secret double agent pirate who needs to drive all her Indy cars to make sure they stay in tip-top shape; all my gold records need to be cataloged for insurance purposes) to get in my way.
I’ve got my own definition of “successful memoir”: one that’s finished. More about the failure thing: I’ve got nothing to lose. I have a great life, husband, kids, home, gig. Will it all suddenly vanish if I resume work on this tome? No. So the exercise for me must be to see it all the way through. It’s about growing the heck up and following through on a plan fercripessakes. I mean c’mon: who writes 75,000 words and does nothing with them? (Uh… well, I did
>cue “Battle Hymn of the Republic”<
Well, that’s not who I am. Anymore. I’m a finisher and a recovering people pleaser and that’s why I’m moving forward. I stopped before because I listened to some people who shared their unsolicited thoughts.
>stop bagpipes. cue silence. cue crickets. cue silent crickets.<
The inverse of those comments were proffered over Thanksgiving, first by my nephew who asked me almost immediately upon seeing me, “Hey Mol, how’s your book coming?” (WHA-??) and some other peeps who asked me, “C’mon: who writes 75,000 words and does nothing with them?! Get on it!” And they got me thinking, and I’m sure the champagne didn’t hurt either, but I countered, “Well, it’s a thinly veiled memoir… and I’m not famous, so why bother … ” and before they could reply, I immediately turned to stick my head in the oven, but the turkey was in the way.
My friend said, “Molly, it’s a different world now; publishing has changed, people are much more candid and open and it’s OK; you don’t have to be a burnt-out rehabbed movie star with a ghost writer to have a fascinating memoir. People need to hear your story, trust me. That’s why it’s telling itself through you…. come out, the oven’s electric.”
My fear has been about putting myself out there but it’s been muted a little through this tiny blog. Trust me: opening this blog two years ago was a Big Deal for me. I’ve grown through it, I’ve ‘met’ some awesome people through it, I’m really grateful for it and it’s shown me that I’ve got more to offer than 600-3,000 word bits of myself. When 2012 is over, I will have likely almost 10,000 viewings (including the Russian mobsters, Nigerian princes, penile implant dealers and their bots) since I started here on WordPress in May. That’s a long time. I love it, but it’s time to evolve. To my point, I just read a great post about writing and something called the “pivot point.” I think I’m there.
I’m on the pivot point precipice: I’m ready to
go back? jump and look at the stuff I wrote in June and cry over it. My oven is electric too. I am COMMITTED to this and it might take a long time. That’s ok. Nothing good every happened overnight. I just read a great post about not giving up.
The second epiphany is more of a sub-epiphany: I’m not sure I’m a
good blogger; well, that sounds like a pity party whose invitations are about to be returned… all this means is that I’m not a successful and super-popular blogger and while I whine and moan about that privately to my shoes, I also thank GOD that I’m not super popular because that’s a lot of pressure. A lot of the more happenin’ female bloggers are savvy on current events; others write wildly about their lady parts, shoes, feminism, parenthood or shoes (always with the shoes – hey, I wrote a snarky post about shoes – when I was 5 I was in a fashion show…) and they stick with it.
I chatted about this at the end of October (what is it about the end of months?) because I was gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which I bailed on because of a raging sinus infection (I thought the vise-like headaches were a sign from Mercury). I’ll still blog. I dig you guys. I have a lovely and reliable following of people who I think are getting it: I write entertaining random stuff.
Despite my cleaving, like a capuchin monkey, to the random idea, I know I have a formula and a voice. Everything I write is introspective and humorous as is the tone of my book (which is totally marketable because Mr. Big Bear and Miss Kitty said they’d buy it last week during our tea party under the dining room table as did some people I met on the street [which was probably a way to get me to put down the gun]). But I actually wrote a bit of it with marketing in mind because I know that books need a hook to get published and sell. I’m thinking I could market it through Hay House. (Check me out bein’ all brash and already talking about publishers an’ whatnot…Cedric! hold all my calls!)
So not surprisingly, the
second? third epiphany is that I’m funny and mindful. I’m not funny-slapstick-laugh-off-your-fanny funny. I’m witty (it’s a curse, believe me), I fancy Tom Wolfe, Dorothy Parker, PJ O’Rourke. I’m Irish and I’m a writer and this is how it’s gonna be. So I’m in… d’ya feel me?
OK OK… stop asking… keep your squirrel pants on.
The book: It’s about a woman who learns, through the work with her therapist, that she’s the one who has to get her act together and move on. As an adult, while she’s free of her chaotic childhood, she reacts to very primitive and deep triggers that make her hang on to anger and resentments and maintain maladaptive behaviors and toxic relationships. It’s one thing for her to be in the dark about her stuff and not correct it; it’s quite another for her to have to take ownership of her life and fix it. Once she is aware of her patterns, her interest in growth is fierce but the fight is harder: for the anger and resentments are her reliable friends: they enable her prejudices, to stay the victim and to breed reactivity based on deep fears. All the tools she crafted in her youth (wit, sarcasm, anger, tenacity, brutal honesty, the ability to eat raw meat – just checking to see if you’re still with me) served to seemingly protect her and help her not self-destruct (in the physical sense). But those feelings are prickly vestiges and in order to grow, she has to open her eyes and let some things move through her. She doesn’t hate her parents anymore, but she wishes they’d been better parents and her hanging on to that wish is what kept her angry. For my protagonist, being mindful as a mother who grew up with such lacking examples of coping and nurturing left her with no direction. She was “asleep” for many years … this book is about her awakening and recovery.
It’s all fiction. It has nothing to do with my life, see?
So I’m moving forward with the book.
And then I’ll write a scathing tell-all about the people who tell people not to follow their dreams. Then I’ll write another one, which is not about therapy and more funny and that will be good too. It doesn’t matter if I doesn’t sell a bazillion copies. It just matters that I do it. If it sold a bazillion dollars worth, maybe I could meet my beloved Vincent D’Onofrio… have him wear a kilt and him do a reading of my scathing tell-all, falsetto. Wow…
I am also hereby avowing to become certified to teach yoga in 2013. I’ve been at this gig for almost 14 years. I created a 31-Day Sun Salute Challenge over on Facebook if you’re game – come join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/108384532662455/
And…. I am going to
run jog in a public 5k. I run jog 5ks as a regular distance when I run jog, but I don’t like to do them with other people because of that whole commitment thing. I need to get over that. So I am getting over that.
What do you all have in store for 2013? Or… what does 2013 have in store for you?
This came out perfectly. I’m so glad you’re going back in. I need to do that too.
This blogging universe is a strange one sometimes an you and I both know how hard it is to pour your.soul out… just to get one comment from a bot.
The book is different. Right now it’s just for you. Keep it close for as long as you need to. Someday you will share it with the world, and people will relate because they’ll get you. I do.
Put your squirrel pants on and do this thing.
squirrel pants on. cape is at the dry cleaners. we can go back in together. i am glad i blog, or else i wouldna met cool peeps like you. the thing is: as much as i am an essayist, i love it all: all forms of the writing and i am finally! ok with that. time for me to grow up… xo
I’ll buy your book! Get going – I think that’s at least three copies you’ve pre-sold. 🙂
ok! you’re on! (there were just blanks in the gun. and it was pink plastic; i “borrowed” it from my 5yo neighbor.)
You are AWESOME !!! 🙂 !!!
NO! YOU ARE! 🙂 thank you dearest! you inspire me…
Go forth, young woman, and write. And run. And all of that good stuff. It’s ALL good stuff! 😉
I have had such soul crushing stuff happen to me the last few years, I feel like I’m trying to climb out of a hole, but then am afraid of what’s out there so I just never quite climb all the way out. The idea of setting goals is so discouraging to me-because I just never accomplish them. My blog so far has been the only thing of note that I took a chance on and so far succeeded. Back in August I set a goal that I would write one post, every day, six days a week, and have exceeded that, despite little to no support here at home to do it. My latest goal is to have 100 facebook followers by the Christmas, and maybe 200 blog followers otherwise, but I don’t know if that’s a good goal to set, since I don’t exactly have control over that! But I guess you can call that success, right?
So good for you! Will keep following and cheering you on! 😀
thanks honey! let’s get you those fans! 🙂 — i truly believe though in quality over quantity. so much of facebook these days has become all about the memes; no real substance. so, i don’t think the people i’d want to read my book are all on Facebook; the thing is though: my following on my page is modest but smart, y’know: real people with thoughts and lives, so they haven’t left. i don’t stir up stuff or moan and groan so my fan base is there to see me, not my drama, and that matters a lot. i’d rather have 100 good quality followers and readers than 10,000 meme-loving content churners. i’m a writer who happens to blog. that’s what i’ve discovered too. it’s good. thanks for following me back. 🙂 i’m glad we met.
I agree about Facebook-but I must admit it is good to get followers to at least visit your blog, though I think Twitter is even better! 🙂 I’m glad we met too!
yeah – twitter rocks. more like-minded people.
I find it hard to keep up though. I’m so ADD… I do follow a lot of brilliant people who post things often!
i can’t keep up on my phone and sometimes it can be like lightning, but i love it. it’s better and it reminds me of what FB used to be like: actual contact and quick hits. Not superficial, but not so visual. (hence all the memes…. )
Molly I am delighted to hear that you are doing this! I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see how many people want to hear what you have to say…….I know I will purchase it! Many people are like you and are fearful of committing to something they are longing to do. Many wait too long to ever see it come to fruition……Now is the time! You are not just witty, (which truly is a gift), you are very intelligent and I know your book will not only be insightful to us, but cathartic for you……It will be a hurdle you no longer have to jump and you can “move on”. I believe when you look back after it is finished, you will feel proud and accomplished.for seeing it through and then can say these three wonderful little words…………….”I did it!”
AC, you are so insightful. Holy cow; I never saw this as a hurdle or a stepping stone and you’re right. It is. You have made me really think about this and feel even better about my decision. I appreciate what you’ve said more than you might realize. Thank you – thank you for finding me again and getting back in touch. xox
I am so happy that I have found you again too! As a matter of fact I went to Vida last week and asked her if you were still her client…….We spoke a little about you and how you initially recommended her to me……We both were gushing about your wit and humor…..were your ears burning? 🙂 I honestly believe great things are headed your way Molly, just see it through to the end…. I am being totally sincere about this…….so no more self doubt, procrastination or fear, mmm, ok ? YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!
YES! I CAN DO ANYTHING! LET’S GO ROB A BAAAANK! hahahah! i will see this through. your perspective is EMPOWERING, AC. thank you. and yes, i still see Vida, i was gonna ask you about her too! 🙂
Great post, Molly! Thanks for introducing your “fiction” book to us. It sounds awesome! The part about the turkey being in the way of putting your head in the oven is hysterical! I can relate to wit sometimes being a curse. Keep keeping fear at bay and you will succeed.
Thanks, Felicity! It’s all lies, that fiction book, see? 🙂
You are going to fly like a bird. This came out so good. SO GOOD! I can’t wait to buy that book.
a hummingbird? xo
so – i no know where i got confused about the dragonflies and the poppies – your friend, bulamamani (?) – her masthead, that’s dragonflies and it looked like your stuff. but then i saw your hummingbirds and the poppies, also in watercolor. and then i read someone’s comments about going to see the ponds at Giverny where Monet did his series… so it all became one big awesome watercolor/lily/dragonbird hug.
That Bulamamani header is my painting! I will have to do a combination painting just for you.
SO I DO KNOW YOUR WORK! oh! that makes me so happy! i would love a combo piece … i almost feel like you should read the book so far… to get an idea for the art… it’s in rough shape, i mean, raw / unedited…
Hi Molly! My wish for you in 2013 is to be Fearless with your writing and anything you will create. Thanks to our friend Lillian I am building my muscles on fearlessness and exposure (I also wrote about this on my blod “Reflections on the water lily pond” @bulamamani.com , so remember I am in a similar boat 😉 I will be looking forward to reading your novel-memoir 🙂 In 2013 I am gonna get my hands dirty with paint, clay, glue, earth. Just.Because. 😉
Hi Sandra! Thank you for your wish for me! It sounds amazing and I plan to take the bulls by the horns. I listened to other people, something I can do without. I can’t wait to read what you wrote and I look forward to hearing about and seeing your dirty hands at work! Thank you. It helps knowing there is not only support, but community too, doesn’t it?
OMG your book could be about me! Girl I could tell you a story! It’s uncanny and crazy but it’s TRUE! I think its so wonderful you have writing goals in mind. I think your SO brave for daring to dream it say it out loud and then take action to make your dreams come true! This is what I’m talking about REAL LIFE! Real growth. So amazing congrats congrats congrats!
it’s funny you should say that, “real growth” – that’s sort of my thing. i try reeeeeeally hard to not judge and just listen and put my filters aside. it’s easier every time, but i’ve been at this growth gig for about eight years (wow, did i say that?) and i’m amazed by my journey. the people i’ve met along the way when i was unhealthy… oy. the choices, double oy; so oy-oy. for some reason, i’m still here. i’m grateful. very grateful. i don’t wear it on my sleeve, but i do wear it. i laugh at myself when i screw up instead of beat myself up. i have a lot of posts about mindfulness and growth — those are the ones that keep me going. i love being funny and witty – it’s a blessing, actually, but sometimes it’s hard to be UPUPUP! i like you. 🙂
Well I like you to! I had a pretty rough childhood. If I didn’t have a serious side and a completely hilarious side I would have not made it out! I realized 3 years ago that my temper was OUT of control. My husband and I were fine my daughter was great but I could not live with out chaos. I was so used to it I didn’t know how to live. So I reached out for help and am still working on it TO THIS DAY!
Some days I judge to much and than other’s I’m fricking mother Teresa. I strive to be where you are! I can’t image how much better things will be 5 years from now.
I have not met many people that understand me. I’m serious but fun. Most fun people are like OOOH ok your fun lets go the the club. NOT my idea of a good time.
Than the serious ones are like, LETS see how much of PIE we can remember and I’m like Dude I’m hungry! So its nice to finally meet someone that doesn’t think I have split personality disorder! I found you on Facebook by the way you have a message!
twins we are. i don’t like the clubbing to burn off my angst. i feel it’s false and just creates more chaos. i wrote about my chaos addiction: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/familiarity-doesnt-equal-healthy/ — see if those shoes fit… (me and the shoes again…) i’ll go see what’s waiting for me at facebook. 🙂
Yeah, just publish the damn thing. Otherwise it’ll just get published by your kids with a foreword after you’re dead when they find it in a trunk like “The Bridges of Madison County.” And then they’ll get all the credit. Little buggers.
omigawd… you make me snort. i’m glad it’s not another cup of coffee and just an iced green tea latte –iced because the earth’s core is setting out planet on fire– this time. you’re so funny and so true. fuck it, it’s not about health and recovery — it’s about ME making the money instead of my parasites. drilled down, this makes excellent sense.
how’s mr. levine? i haven’t seen him lately. you?