Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Gots to Know

Got some special permission a week ago. After author Jeff Lindsay's keynote address at a writer's conference, he was asked how he knew so much about psychology. His books go rather deep into a rather disturbed mind of a man many folks met on Showtime named Dexter. He said that being a writer means you just want to know what everyone is doing and why they do it.
I love that. I love the special permission it grants to writers. However, any of my friends and family can tell you I haven't exactly been waiting on permission.
You want to talk about your co-workers collection of tea cups, I'm your gal. Give me two minutes of most anything on TV, and I'm in. Want to dive into why your ex-father-in-law sent your new husband's mother a Mother's Day card? Let's go. 
And yet, this is also why I need, more than anything, alone time. I can't be with people without mining and seeking and thinking and wondering. Then it all comes around in my writing. When I start working out characters I have a deep reservoir of traits and actions and mistakes to draw from.
So, all my questions? Well, I just gots to know.
Can't seem to help myself.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday - Can You Feel the Magic?

Fridays are magic to me. Being one that tends to look for magic, I imbued Fridays with specialness early on. I wore special, more better things in elementary school on the last day of the week. The air walking home always seemed sweeter and bubbling with possibilities. In high school, I lamented not having the Friday nights the teenage heroines I read about enjoyed, but still it was Friday and high school football with friends and racing home to watch "Dallas" wasn't bad. College met all my dreams for Friday nights, especially the night before a home game in Neyland Stadim in Knoxville.
Small kids and no money found me sad and grieving the end of Friday's magic. However, I tend to not let magic go easily. So, my housework week in those years revolved around having everything done by 1 pm, Friday when the kids took their nap. Those couple hours became my time - lit candles, a glass of wine and a book.
Today I had an appointment earlier so I left the house and turned on my classic rock station - I ONLY listen to classic rock on Fridays - no country, or Christian, or talk radio. (Magic doesn't just happen, you know.)
Leaving my appointment, the first song was perfection - "Sweet Home Alabama". Blue sky, warm breezes and Sweet Home Alabama. Told you God is crazy about me!
I rolled down the window, turned up the radio and sang out loud. A friend of my mom's told me one time that she saw me singing out loud in my car. She seemed to imply I should be embarrassed.
I'd like to say I don't care what people think, but it's really just the opposite. I think if the people on the highway see me singing - a 50 year old, overweight woman driving a 2001 mini-van maybe they'll think, "If she can be that happy - why shouldn't I?"
It's Friday! Can you feel the magic?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wanna Go Swimming?

I'm overweight and over-forty but if there's water around, you'll find me in a bathing suit. I love being in water. My favorite view is of sunshine sparkling on water. I love swimming in water filled with those light sparkles, especially diving down to the bottom of a pool and looking up as the bubbles rise to the sun covered surface. To see the water sheen on my arms as they lift out of the water mid-stroke fills me with such well-being.
In the wee small hours of Saturday morning I made a discovery: This past year I'd been sitting on the sidelines.
 Disillusionment over my agent suddenly quitting and lies she told her clients shook me and made me decide Hope was overrated. We moved and left family, friends, familiarity and in all the turmoil I decided Hope just wasn't worth it. When talks with a new agent went well or life offered a welcoming hand in our new home, Hope looked like an eager puppy wanting to be friends. After an initial smile and greeting (old habits die hard), I'd remember and issue a polite, "No, Thank You."
But then in the darkness of a sleepless Saturday night I saw it. Hope is a sun-sparkled, deep blue pool - and there I am sitting on the side. Denying myself the joy, the giddiness, the peace that comes with Hope was just as much a choice as choosing to stay dry on a hot summer day.
So, I'm jumping in.
Anybody else want to go swimming?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Like the Marching Band in Animal House

Remember at the end of the movie "Animal House" one of the frat brothers, Stork, bumps the drum major out of the parade and proceeds to lead the entire band into a dead-end alley of brick walls? Stork escapes but the band continues marching and playing in a clump.
Yeah, I think that pretty much sums up what I've been doing. Determinedly proceeding and ignoring all signs that I might've taken a wrong turn. Please, do not confuse me with any facts - like the drum major I started out following is no longer at the head of my parade. Or that I'm playing and marching just as hard as before but stuck. Or that the confusion and clumpiness is messing with the beautiful sound I used to make.
Play louder, March harder.
Still kinda shocks me that that small, still voice managed to get through the cacophony. That it managed to pull me far enough away that I could see the brick walls, the frustration, the lack of peace. Back at the alley entrance suddenly the world opens up and joy waits.
How about you? Anyone else find themselves marching into brick walls this morning? Anyone else wake up determined to just keep your head down, march harder, and play louder? Maybe you're in the process of actually knocking down those brick walls and the small, still voice is saying to stick with it.
But maybe you're like me and the parade you're supposed to be in is passing you by.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ever Jumped Off a Roller Coaster?

Life ever feel like a roller coaster? Up and down, just to go up and down again? And again?
Yesterday when I heard someone say that some folks lives are like roller coasters and they never seem to get off, it struck a chord with me. Over the summer we not only moved, but my literary agent quit. Citing some family problems and other vague things she quit and left her clients with nothing more. No explanations, no assurance of what she'd done for us, nothing but silence.
Start the roller coaster!
My emotions jumped on and went straight for the bottom only to then jerk upward and push upward and upward and just when I saw the light of day - Boom, down to the bottom again. It's a ride I swore I wanted to get off of, but when I looked around it always seemed the station was slowly passing behind me and the track ahead curved out of sight.
Can the roller coaster become our normal? Can it become so familiar that to relax and feel peaceful seems scary? When a week without tears makes one wary?
Pastor Hollie yesterday was speaking about just that - when we get so used to turmoil, we no longer can see the peace being offered.
Next time that station comes around - I'm going to be ready for it.
How about you? Got a roller coaster to jump off of?

Friday, September 9, 2011

New gets Old or Back to the Hobbit Hole

I tried reading the Lord of the Rings books, starting with "The Hobbit". The beginning set in the adorable hobbits home in the beautiful Shire was lovely. Just lovely. Then they started off on this trip, or quest, or whatever and all I found myself thinking was, "When are they going back to the hobbit hole?" But, if you know anything about the books, they don't get back for a long, long, loooong time.
So I quit reading them.
From this I learned that home is my favorite, adventure is over-rated and familiar is better than unfamiliar. So what am I doing in a completely new setting where nothing is familiar and there is no way to go back home?
I'm tired of telling people where we moved from and why we moved. Sure, I'll buy the same scented Yankee Candle for fall (Spiced Pumpkin) but where do I put it? Everything goes somewhere I haven't figured out yet. Nothing is easy or routine, and that's getting old.
But I guess that's the deal, things can't become familiar or routine unless you do them, and keep doing them, then do them some more. Maybe this is a chance to set some new things in motion. To choose what will be familiar, routine, and yes, even mundane one day.
What about you? Anything you'd NOT put into today if you were just starting it?
Good, 'cause you get a new one tomorrow.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cashiers Beware, We Talk to Everybody.

Yeah, we talk to everybody. I realized this was a cultural thing when I moved up North. On one of my first shopping trips the poor cashier looked lost when I started chatting with her about our move and my kids. It took a bit for me to realize it wasn't just her that didn't have much to say, none of the cashiers seemed to want to share what was going on in their lives in that 10 minutes we crossed paths.
All that was for those of you who might not understand when I tell you Mike and I had a life-changing talk with one of the bellhops at our hotel this weekend.
He was a nice young man. He said he was a student. I asked where. He said Savannah State. I asked what his major was. He said Chemistry. Then, he added, "But I don't really know what to do with that degree." Well, I jumped all over that. Told him about a friend of ours who works in the Chemical industry and how they couldn't find any young Chemical engineers. Well, by now we were up in the room and Mike told our young bellhop how to find more information on the field. Charles, yes, we were on first name basis at this point, told us how appreciative he was and then he said, "When I graduated and told my uncle I was going into Chemistry he told me no one in our family was that smart and I shouldn't do it."
Stunned, we proceeded to tell him we were both first generation college grads in our families and he was a smart, personable young man who most definitely could prove his uncle wrong. We watched the relief in Charles' eyes and the straightening of his shoulders as we continued to talk. I don't think life-changing is too strong of a description.
See, that's why we talk to everybody.