Category Archives: maurice sendak

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.

Dear Things 3: A Wild Thing Sailed Off Today.

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Dear boys,

Today is a sad day for me. Maurice Sendak, one of my favorite writers, has died.

He died from complications of a stroke he suffered recently.

A stroke is an injury to the brain, which can result in immobility in certain parts of your brain that connects to and/or controls certain parts of your body. When those parts of the brain are injured, those connected parts of the body suffer.

He never recovered. Today he sailed off in his private boat.

Mr. Sendak was a hero of mine. Of ours, actually. He wrote our all-time favorite-est, bestest book ever: Where the Wild Things Are.

Mr. Sendak created a world for an entire generation or, possibly three, where children were celebrated and portrayed as children: wild, free, heard and seldom seen. He taught us that it was and IS ok to be Who We Are. He taught parents who were willing to listen, that all children are and should be Wild Things.

I call you my Things 3.

This was your private boat last summer.

In Dr. Suess’s Cat in the Hat two wild-haired, red-jumper wearing creatures, Thing 1 and Thing 2,  were called to aid in the clean-up one afternoon the Cat visited Robert and Sally on a rainy day when their mother was out. Thing 1 and Thing 2 didn’t really help clean up at all. That’s a fun story too.

That’s one reason I call you my Things 3. But it’s not the real reason.

The real reason is because of Max, in Where the Wild Things Are. Max was his own mother’s wild thing. Max had his own identity and in that identity he had vulnerabilities, fears, loves, triumphs, insecurities and grace.

Mr. Sendak told parents it was OK to let their kids be wild; to count on it, actually. And for children everywhere, it helped them understand that parents will still be there when they come down.

Max loved to dress up. He went after the family dog with a fork and wore a wolf suit. He was so rambunctious that he got sent to bed without any supper after telling his mother that he’d eat her up. To his mom, bed without supper was punishment. To Max, bed without supper was an opportunity. Although his mother loved him,  Max didn’t see it that way; he saw it as rejection and as a thought that his mother didn’t approve of him. So Max sailed off, through night and day, and eventually, he ended up in the place where the Wild Things were.

Do you remember that story? There are only 48 pages, all have art. There are only 339 words in the story. It’s a story that repeats a lot of words and phrases but they mean something different each time.

When he arrived, he saw that the native Wild Things were huge, I mean, like ginormous: imagine two smart cars (you pick the color) stacked bumper-to-bumper and standing up. Some Wild Things had scales and feathers, some had tails and horns, but they all had claws and big teeth and yellow eyes, so Max, who was luckily still in that wolf suit he wore when he chased the dog with a fork, had to convince them all that he was the Wildest Thing of all. So he sorta hypnotized them and they were afraid and agreed that he was the King of all Wild Things.

So far no one has gone to bed without supper here. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t cross our minds.

Our well loved, bent, tattered copy.

I have read that story so many times, I have it memorized and I will never tire of it. I can still recite it to you now.

You are my Things. My Wild Things. You make me proud that you are mine; but you’re not really mine, are you? You’re given to me and your dad by the Heavens to raise as best we can. To see you as the Heavens see you: as raw, smart, real, flawed, chemical and energetic masses with beautiful eyes, occasional sniffles, freckles, smiles, grimaces, grace and jealousies. It’s our job to let you be Wild Things and to honor that part of you which deserves celebration: your realness.

It is also my job to protect you as best I can. To explain to you that you are not the only Wild Things out there; and to trust me that there are bigger, angrier and scarier Wild Things than you might understand. There are more Wild Things than I know.

But life is not about being afraid of the Wild Things; life is about being your best Wild Thing and knowing when you need and don’t need your wolf suit and your boat.  Sometimes, our suits and our boats don’t help. They only show the world a hurt stranger and take us away to a strange place and like the supper, the pains and fears we try to fight or escape will still be here, and will still be hot when we get back. Sometimes, it’s best to keep the suit on a hanger and the boat in the port and experience and deal with what’s happening here. To not sail away through night and day.

Your dad and I will be here to help you.

When Max had had enough of the snarling and gnashing Wild Things at the place where they were, he decided to give up being King and go (it didn’t say ‘home’) where someone loved him best of all. When he did this, he smelled good things to eat. So he got in his boat and sailed away. Where he ended up was home. Because that’s where he was loved best of all.

Now that Mr. Sendak has died, it’s up to you, my 3 Things, to carry on his legacy, with all the other children and Wild Things everywhere. To wear your wolf suits and chase the dog (but with a spoon instead so you don’t hurt him or yourself) and to howl at the moon, snarl, stare with your yellow eyes without blinking once and remind me that life is all about letting the Wild Rumpus Start. Can I have a Wild Rumpus too sometimes?

But you will sail away. So when you do sail away, over a year, I’ll be here with your supper and it will still be hot. Just be sure you come back, k? I could eat you all up, I love you so.

Thank you.