Why the Lawyer Might Need Reform School

This is a repost from last summer. I will be back with something new next week, but for now..enjoy last summer.

As I was driving the children today, the professor was yammering on and on about camping (seriously..big yawn), but being a sweet mother I was responding with the requisite, “Uh-huh’s” and “Yes, sugar” while mentally singing Mama said Knock You Out in my head. However, the LL Cool J vibe came to a screeching halt when I heard the following:

Professor (6.5): So Mommy, when YOU take us camping…

Me: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Why are you discussing me and camping in the same sentence? That is what your father does, not me.

Professor: I know but you said..

Me: Oh honey, no. Camping for me is the Four Seasons, and you are welcome to come along (in my head: provided I can pay for your separate room and 24 hour baby-sitting)

Lawyer (9): Heh. That’s not camping that’s hanging out at the pool with a margarita.

Me: Excuse me?

Lawyer: Oh except when you and your girlfriends start squealing and talking to each other.

As if this wasn’t bad enough–enter Perfectionist (4)

Perfectionist: Mommy! How do babies get out of your tummy?

Me: Oh, they just do…

Perfectionist: But how?

Me: Oh look! An ice cream place. Let’s talk about it after a treat!

Lawyer: Heh. You just don’t want to tell him.

I am wondering two things:

1. How much Rum Raisin one would have to consume to catch a buzz?
2. Where did I get such a mouthy child?

Posted in Children, Family, Food That RULES, Parenthood, Sex, Why St. Andrews in Kenya is on speed-dial | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Novel Update

Last week, I literally sucked the marrow of my soul with an 8,000 word day. I attempted to push myself for another 2,000 words, and I literally couldn’t think of another word to say.

My first draft is around a week or so away from being completed. I’m already starting to revise parts in my head although I’m pushing through to finish the draft before drowning myself in edits and re-writes.

I met a fellow author at the coffee shop this morning. She’s on rewrite 12–she sold her book in 2008. It was exciting to see someone where I will be at some point.

Writing is a process just like life. I’m amazed at how I’ve re-written my life. If you had told me three years ago that I would be on the verge of finishing a novel, running my own company and loving the freedom and changes in my life, I would have told you that you were crazy, and that I didn’t have time to think much less write.

It’s a new world, a new life, and as the novel is ending, it’s just beginning.

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Never Underestimate Momentum

I once believed there were two kinds of writers: the writers that wrote every day and the ones like me that wrote in spurts for days at a time and then took a few days to “recover.” I thought both types of writers could be successful; however, I have come to understand many things this year about writing and life, in general.  The most important thing is that keeping momentum is crucial to success in any endeavor from writing a novel to relationships.

Sylvia Plath said that the greatest enemy to creativity is self doubt.   Any writer will tell you that more than carpel tunnel, more than characters that you once loved and have grown to hate, and more than dead-end plots, self doubt is our greatest enemy.  Will they like it?  Does it even make sense?

Any published writer will tell you that to vanquish these feelings of self doubt and occassional loathing, you must keep writing.  Write every day.   Don’t lose momentum.  At the end of the day, all you are doing is writing a first draft.   It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It doesn’t have to make sense although a nice basic framework would be nice.  That character that you have grown to hate, doesn’t have to be there in the next draft.   However, there won’t be a second draft until you finish the first draft.

I’m a typical creative in that I know what I have to do, I have an idea in my head of how long it will take me to do it (generally half the time of the non-creative), and therefore, I wallow in my procrastination and “thought process.”  I find excuses to recharge when really, all I need to do is write, and keep writing until this damn book is finished.   I’m very close; very, very close as long as I don’t lose momentum.

It’s an extraordinary thing really writing a book.  I admit that I take it for granted.  People say, “Oh I could never do that!”  I think to myself, “I could never NOT do it.”  Except that there are many days that I have NOT done exactly that.  Now is the time–the time to finish.

My blog posts for the rest of the summer will be a bit like a check in for me.  A chance for you, my readers, to see a bit more of the book that I’m working on.  I hope you will enjoy the ride.  I plan on it being a fast one…hold on tight.

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I’m a fan of…breaking rules

I’m a rule follower always have been. No white shoes after Labor Day. Brush your teeth exactly two minutes. No kissing on the first date. Salad forks are for salads. A lady never kisses and tells. I could go on…

Problem with rules? Some rules serve no other purpose except to create conformity in situations when conformity shouldn’t exist.

So how do we break free from such rules? We step back, gain perspective and sometimes change our path.

Travel always has and always will be my touchstone when it comes to perspective. I am “home” this week in the Vail Valley where I spent summers and winters most of my life. Frustrated with my book, I decided to pause the writing and just think. It worked.

Like a surgeon, I’m on the verge of amputating the first half of my book. My story had evolved to the point where I was writing two books and currently the second book- the part about my sister and my family is where my heart is.  Interestingly, art again imitates life as the first part of the book and relationships explored had just become increasingly disappointing and lacking in depth.

So here it is: I’m breaking rules. I’m changing the book to a first person narrator. I’m making it less of a novel and more of a memoir which is bold for a first time novelist. And finally, I’m pushing the boundaries that my writing instructors have taught me, and I’m writing better than ever. As fellow rule breakers, I know that they will approve.

Greatness has rarely been achieved by following the rules. So, I’m breaking another rule by saying, “I will be great.” Watch out-I have become a total rebel. (I will, however, still be abiding by the white shoes and first date rule but probably not the kiss and tell rule.)

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I’m a Fan of..Discipline..

It is frustrating that the past two days were too insane for me to write, but I have found myself creating new routines in the midst of finishing my novel.

I have always prided myself on self-discipline but with many things, usually the most disciplined can be the easiest to trip up. It is as if once we start to slide, our feet come out from under us. I am fighting that very urge which is why I am back today. Forging on to post a blog post a day.

My goal of 3,000-4,000 words a day for my novel is being achieved “bird by bird” as Lamont puts it, and it is becoming easier to craft the story as it has simmered for so long in my subconscious and been outlined for months. It is simply the discipline to put it on the page already.

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I’m a Fan of…Honesty…

Did you ever wonder why it seems that the most dishonest people are the ones trying to prove how honest they are? The people who go out of their way to bare their souls even at the most inappropriate times in the name of honesty? These are the ones with the darkest secrets to hide. Secrets-that trust me-you don’t want to know the answer to. So instead, they tell you everything that they can tell you right up front so that it never occurs to you to probe deeper. After all, you know everything right?

Show me a man or woman who wants you to know everything about them from the beginning, and I will show you how high my bullshit meter can register on a scale. They are usually the ones who say things like, “You can trust me..” or “I can explain that…” They are the ones that spend so much time lying to others and themselves that their very existence becomes a rationalization and justification. Sounds exhausting to me.

The main character in my novel, Brooke, is honest, painfully so, although it takes her a while to realize that being honest with everyone doesn’t always translate to being honest with herself. Sometimes people spend so much time trying to prove their honesty and worth to others that they never take the time to evaluate the truth inside themselves–then, they find themselves in an unhappy marriage, an unhappy life and an unexamined existence.

I’ll admit that being a writer has its advantages in this way. I am forced to self evaluate every time I sit down to write a blog post, a chapter of my book or even in my daily journal. I don’t always like the process, but I know one thing, I’m being honest. And what’s more, I’m living honestly.

I don’t have to tell my friends that I am living an honest forthright life. I don’t have to assure people that I’m being honest with them. All I have to do is BE honest with myself and others. The rest will take care of itself.

Yes, honesty..I’m a fan.

“What is uttered from the heart alone will win the hearts of others to your own.” Goethe

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I’m a Fan…of You..

During the month of June, I am joining my fellow writers at Blogher in a blogging challenge.   Daily blog posts for the entire month.  The theme this month is “Fan” which can mean anything from an actual fanatic to a bedroom fan.   The goal of this exercise is simple–encourage fellow writers and exercise my writing skills daily.  Most importantly, this comes at a very critical time in my writing life.   I have never been busier.  I have a growing new business that revolves entirely around my writing, and I am breathing down a June 24 deadline for my first book.   So why would I consider taking on a daily blog challenge?  Because any good writer will tell you the more that you write, the better you write and the MORE you are able to write.

I can be a bit of  procrastinator when it comes to my writing partially because the words come easily to me.   Don’t mistake that to mean the “right words.”  Instead it means, almost every word possible until I hit on the right word.

My hope for this month is two fold-a)to impress you, my readers, my “fans” with some focused writing and thoughts on this book that many of you have been waiting years for me to finish and b) to draw some new fans into the fold.

At any rate, I am a work in progress and as such, I reserve the right to pepper these daily book musings with dialogues with my children as they ponder sex (where DO babies come from), drugs (mommy-what’s in a margarita) and rock and roll (why do I need to play an instrument to be President?) or even just musings from my personal life which frankly isn’t all that different from the book, I guess, but shhhh…I didn’t tell you that–it’s all, uh, fiction, remember?

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night, er, month.”  Thanks, Bette Davis.

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Change is Inevitable

I think perhaps the most frightening aspect of life is also the most given–change.

I’m a traditionalist. I like things nice and cozy…easy. It’s what keeps me going to the same grocery stores, the same vacation destinations, the same gas stations..you get the drift.

If I’ve learned one thing in the past year, it’s that change isn’t always bad–scary, yes–bad no. Accepting that there will be change, accepting that sometimes God pushes you to change so that you are ready for the future and accepting that you can’t control any of it—it will likely take all of your life or mine to figure that out.

The upshot–we don’t have to be surprised by it. We just have to embrace it.

PS–to see my latest change..check out my gravatar…first time ever in my life to be a brunette! Should make for some interesting blog posts this summer.

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Wisdom from the Perfectionist..You Learn A Lot in Four Years…

The perfectionist often has much to say…but his favorite time to say it is generally pre-8AM. This morning was no different as he lectured me on a variety of subjects.

Perfectionist: Mommy, are my eyes gween? Me: Hmm..maybe blue-green. Perfectionist: You mean, they are CHANGING? Yay! Me: Why do you want them to change? Perfectionist: (exaggerated sigh) Because Mommy, Gween is my favorite color. God just forgot.

My Morning Routine:

Perfectionist: I wish Mimi and Pops had made you a boy. (Mimi and Pops are NOT my parents but my ex’s by the way). Me: Huh? Perfectionist: If you were a boy, you wouldn’t take so long to get ready.

Perfectionist: Oh Mommy, your hair-uh is so long. You look like a bee-yoo-tee-ful pwincess. Can I play your phone? Me: No. You can play it after I get my shoes on. Perfectionist: Oh! Oh! Can I pick your shoes? (runs to my closet and comes back with a pair of 5 inch stilettos) Me: Hmm..I was thinking something a little more casual. Perfectionist: You will never be a pwincess with THAT attitude.

Growing Up:
Perfectionist: Mommy is my voice changing? Me: What? No, you are four, your voice isn’t changing yet. Perfectionist: But I want it to change. I want it to be a grown up voice. Me: Sigh… Perfectionist: Don’t worry, Mommy. You will still be the most bee-yoo-tee-ful gurl even when I’m a grown up.

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Timing, Tiptoeing, Terror…

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43-18-19

The past six months have provided me with ample time for reflection on my life. My past mistakes, and my realization that the timeline of my life has ripped apart into a reality that I don’t recognize from the story that I had written ten, five, even two years ago.
Terrifying, isn’t it? To discover that no course of action can really separate you from the plan that God has for your life. Humbling to discover that your idols that you held whether they were monetary success, marital bliss, or perfectly behaved children-all of these will crumble like dust when held too tightly.

The course of my life that I plotted at 25 and at 30 has changed in a direction that I never expected. I had found immense joy and satisfaction from being Room Mother, resident cookie baker and occasional blogger who fantasized about writing the great American Novel. At least, I thought I did. Truthfully, I wasn’t living the full existence that God meant for me to live although my days were certainly full with activities and works that would argue to the contrary.

Since my separation and divorce, I have tiptoed around the precipice of what my life might be, how things might change, and what these changes might mean for my children, for me, for our future. Where I was once so confident on the simple path of my life when it came to marriage, family, relationships, and career, I began to realize that I was meant for more than a simple path or a simple existence–we all are really.

Why didn’t I realize this sooner? Timing. My life hasn’t revealed itself in my timing, but in God’s timing. I was journaling the other day, and it occurred to me that in letting go of one of my idols–being the loving, obedient stay at home wife while my husband conquered the world–I had set forth a defining catalyst to becoming the woman and mother that God has called me to be.

I finally understood that the “Work-Life Balance” that I had for many years begged my husband to achieve if not for him or us but to model for our children would now be modeled by me. This epiphany not only freed me from the terror of the unknown as I start my own business, but it freed me to understand that my example to my sons would have lasting implications.

I was free. I was found. I knew where God wanted to use me. Understanding this and also understanding that again, this is where God wants me NOW, but perhaps not forever, has allowed me to plant my feet firmly on the ground, look over the precipice and LEAP. I leap knowing that He will catch me no matter where I land.

Most importantly, I’m finally realizing my dream of supporting myself with my writing, and while, my novel completion is still imminent, I now, have ongoing work supporting clients with their social media needs. Amazing how God works, I can’t wait to see what he has planned for me next.

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