Category Archives: hope

It Was the Year 2013 When Molly…

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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?

Fake (Kate) Mosshttps://i0.wp.com/24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m23id0cHVv1qmwrnuo1_1280.jpg

Fake (Kate) Moss; man I love the internet… http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m23id0cHVv1qmwrnuo1_1280.jpg

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 didn’t …)

>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.”

Fear. NnnnnNnnnn.

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.

de pain! de pain!

de pain! de pain!

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.

we can't see his pants.

we can’t see his pants.

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?

Thank you.

just finished a book

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i just finished a book this morning that i’m pretty sure will affect me for the rest of my life.

i hope it will anyway.

i won’t mention the title right now because i’m sure there are people out there who are familiar with this tome, but who have either biased opinions of it due to the nature of its content and its message.  for those of you who grace me with your faithful reading of this little and inconsistent blog, i will tell you at the end. like dessert.

the writer chose words and phrases that painted pictures of an austere, spartan post-apocalyptic world. it didn’t matter where, but i inferred it was America, the beautiful, bountiful, abundant, mighty America. reduced to ashen shadows, dry creeks, leafless forests, relentless murky skies and loamy seas.

the wonderful irony however in the construction of this book is that while the words depicted desolation, they were so perfectly poised and used that not even apostrophes were wasted. to overuse them would be callous.

the author, a master, is my current hero but not because he’s such a great story teller, it’s because the route of his work touched just about all my senses. fitzgerald does that for me too, but in an entirely different fashion: FSF wrote in the modern world’s most glamorous and flagrant times, the roaring 20s. a time which i often wax romantic as being The Best Era in which to live. so FSF’s usage was decadent although precise as well. this author’s usage is not decadent, but just as precise and it’s definitely not about the 20s.

one of the greatest gifts this book gave to me was that my tears were spared until the end. i got this feeling from the author and his characters that crying and emotional anchoring would be indulgent and cowardly. that we must press on. get the cart. look for food. press on.

i have friends who have suggested to me that they couldn’t read the book; others that couldn’t finish the book, that it was too much. for me, i had to press on. the characters pressed on, despite challenges that would only be defined by our worst nightmares, i mean really bad nightmares, they pressed on. they kept their heads up looking forward, staying the course no matter what.

i checked on my children in their beds each night i read. feeling for their breathing, their warmth and thanking the fates for my fortune. it doesn’t matter if you have kids or not, if you can read this sentence, what you have is worth thanksgiving.

i visually checked the front door to make sure the deadbolt was locked. at times i wished we had a gun in the house. it made me care about China again and consider Iran. it made me hate Target and Walmart and their reckless promotion of consumerism and waste. so in a way, it made me suspicious.

but you can’t live in suspicion. the protagonist in the book reminded me that despite any devastation, we mustn’t live selfishly and angrily at our situation. that we always have something to share or give to those who have less — even if we think we have nothing, we have a smile or a kind word or simply a kind thought. even giving ourselves a kind word or thought is not wasted. try that sometime.

it’s fiction, for the most part. but it really isn’t because despite the book’s setting there isn’t one person in this world past or present or future who won’t feel apocalyptic at times about their own situations: the health might be compromised; the finances are in shambles; the spouse is estranged emotionally or physically; the children are floundering; the job is aimless; life seems pointless; the ambition is gone; the self pity is ABUNDant… these are all parts of The Human Condition and man, if we get to feel these things in our lives, we should realize just how lucky we truly are. because it’s not worse.

what perspective!

perspective is a gift. and i realized viscerally after reading this book that we are lucky because we have been given a second breath which is a second chance every moment. and what must we do when we have those second chances? press on, my friends, press on.

but pressing on does not mean doing the same thing day in and out. it means reinvention of ourselves and adapting, engineering and thriving. it’s not easy, but it’s really the only way to press on.

i am one who has fears. insecurities and shames just like everyone else. sometimes i don’t know what keeps me pressing on. but something does. is it my children? my outside reputation as being a go-getter, hard charging, driven, loyal to the end, my own worst critic, eternally vigilant and cautiously optimistic (all of which are true)? i don’t know. i could spend hours wasting time trying to figure it out, but in the end and after reading that book, i have learned that thinking about it is not wasteful, it’s just not always useful.

i have learned however, that self-pity is an indulgence that the industrial person needn’t allow, and we are all industrious. i’ve heard about that, that “just feeling sorry for yourself” is wasteful and all that, but i never connected with it because whenever i felt it, ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time.’ but i get it now. whenever i feel sorry for myself i will think of The Boy and Papa.

the tears i finally shed were sincere. i feel the author gave me permission to weep, gently, privately and briefly. i was proud to tear up and i was proud of the point at which i wept. we had come so far, these people and i. it was time to let down our guard because we were “the good guys” who had “kept the fire.” but when the tears were over, it was time to bootstrap, to remind ourselves of hope.

thank goodness for those old bootstraps. they’re always there.

thank you.

(the book is “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy and well, i can’t recommend it enough.)