I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Giddy-up old cowhand

I’m a wrangling.

There’s ‘bout a hundred horses on this here ranch. Some are pretty dang wild and a few are positively loco, but most are just plain docile, likable and easy to corral. For the last couple of months I’ve been rounding up the best of the herd, tryin’ to make ‘em into a real team. I got ‘em all down on the south-forty. Been lookin’ them over and I pretty well decided which I’m gonna use for my writin-rodeo.

Problem is they just keep movin’ around. One day they’re over by the barn and another I got ‘em tied up down by the gate at the beginning of the corral. I know I’ll finally figure out exactly where they are supposed to go but right now, they are a buckin’ and a bouncin’ like a handful of jumpin’ beans on cooks cast iron skillet. Just gettin’ them in a row like a bunch of quackers is one thing, figuring out what I'm gotta use in between each one is another day down by the watering hole altogether.

I got my boots and I got my shovel because Gene, Tonto, Roy and Dale them beasts sure do shit a lot. Once I get that stuff cleaned up the show'll be on the road. I’m gonna’ be takin’ some time off soon to do what I gotta’ do just to make it right. Lookin’  forward to it too. 

Hi ho Silver, away!

Not yet Kemosabe, I have to get up the nerve to tell the Sheriff I’ll be using some of my vacation time to buck my broncos.

When was the last time you took time off from your nine to five to write?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Humble in ev-er-y way

   I cleaned my office today.

Every surface was covered with writer’s crap. Edited pages, wads of tissues, (I had a cold), copies of my columns, invoices sent to my editor, bagel crumbs and check-stubs. Six half filled glasses of diluted orange-dry. There were confetti piles of Post-its with scribbled notes that don’t make sense, agent email addresses, and snippets of advice and methods I’ll never implement. There was even half a Snickers under some papers; how the hell that was spared an eaten demise is a wonder.

Rearranging some of the furniture freed up space and allowed me to move more easily while at my desk.  My book shelves look like the writing section at BAM; novels have their own shelves in my bedroom now. With them removed I feel more at ease and not so under the nose of the more accomplished. My office, my writing place is clean, tidy, pleasing to the eye and to my sense of order.

Then I printed the first 108 pages of my memoir. Then I pondered how odd it felt to call this project a memoir. It’s not structured like any memoir I’ve read but it is about me, about what has gone on in my head and heart for the last twenty-five years. To write about oneself is self-aggrandizing but it isn’t just about me.  It’s about what I have said, (published), why I said it, and about what happened once the papers were sold,  my mouth was shut, and my computer was turned off.

Seeing the half inch stack of paper is gratifying. I’m proud that I have come this far and that I actually found the old stuff and resurrected it. I’m pleased by most of it, a little makes me cringe, but some...it’s as if someone else, a writer with a much more eloquent mind wrote it. When I come across a phrase, or a short piece that just seems to nail the right sentiment, I am aghast that I, that little ole incompetent me, could build a framework of words which stands so ‘square’ against our tilted world.

I’m boasting. I’m tooting my own horn. I’m taking self-aggrandizement to great heights here but that’s okay. It pinks my cheeks and makes me feel uncomfortable but the few people, (writers), who will read this, the few who have read some of my stuff and know me, they understand. Writers know how good it makes you feel when your writing place is clean, the words are in order and the efforts look good.

I’m feeling like I just put on a new outfit which I believe fits me perfectly. I feel unbelievably good about what I see in the mirror. But like any writer I often have doubts, I just have to ask.................................................

do I look fat in this?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I can do this

After a week away from my laptop because of a corrupted file, I am finally back. Sitting at my desk, thoughts at my fingertips sending Times New Roman to my screen, I am grateful for Mr. Fix It with the detailed mind. The clock still ticks and the desk is scattered with the detritus of writing attempts without order. Hitch is asleep in his bed, on his couch; he’s burrowed under a fleece blanket, mini D’s like to do that.  New Age music mists the room, making it seem fuller than it really is. I hear Hawkeye and Klinger downstairs, while Bob doses until it’s time to go to bed.  My mind floats among the familiar of my surroundings and drifts on the possibilities of words; it’s good to be back, really good.

Being without my computer for a week has taught me a very important thing: that I could learn another way, not only quickly but with a focused sense of purpose. I can do this, I said to myself over and over again, and I did. Adjusting to change does not come easily but figuring out a way, and running with it, makes me proud.

To post Apple-people, tapping on a screen the size of a deck of cards, or pressing zit sized buttons, is second nature; but not to me it is, not to me. I’m a finger in a hole and dial kind of woman. I grew up pounding on a Remington; shift, return, only to retype a whole God-damned page because ‘comprehend’ made more sense than ‘understand’.  I embraced the new way and loved it. I can do this, I said to myself over and over again, and I did.

So now I am back to my book, a memoir of columns and life and all the stuff in-between. The old columns are the serious nature of a much younger me, the new ones are like the lines on my face, some have softened edges, some are deep and most are just plain funny looking.

I can do this, I say to myself over and over again, and I will.

What do you say to yourself over and over again?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The envelope...please

I am typing on a keyboard the size of a #10 envelope and gazing at a screen the size of a postcard. My laptop is on a bench somewhere waiting for a nerd to diagnose and fix it's infirmities. I am not used to this but liking that at least I can communicate to a world who really doesn't care that the spell check in my head, and on the screen, does not work. Where is my Funk and Wagnall's and do I care?

I am impotent without my laptop, my Kindle is my little blue pill. It will do for now, it has to, as I wait for the nerdy guy to call and tell me the awful truth. I have strived to manage with less, while learning that this little machine, and my mind, are far more advanced than I ever would have imagined.

I tried to add an image but my attempts failed. I am not as smart as I thought I was, are you?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Oh my, what a moment

Sometimes when I am in my office writing I play New Age, quietly. If the music is too beautiful it is distracting so I keep it low, just to fill the void of thought which seems to hover around me when I’m searching. And sometimes the music is just loud enough to negate the constant ticking of the dollar three-ninety-nothing clock which metronomes my time in this place. Occasionally that clock can be an annoying constant heartbeat but often I find it comforting.

Tonight, for a special few minutes, the clock and the music were in perfect synchronization.

For a moment I wondered why the clock was making music and then I realized it was its own little percussion section up there on top of the file cabinet. Deuter’s, East of the Full Moon’s, Vibrant Dust was playing quietly, its beat matching the per-second heartbeat of the small clock. If the music had been turned up only slightly I would not have noticed the addition to the orchestra.

When I realized how the two machines were in rhythm I stopped writing and listened, really listened and felt, really felt, how, at that moment, all three of us were conjoined. Eyes closed, I swayed, my breathing split the beat, the ticking, the music, my own sense of life force, I felt blessed to be presented with such a moment to ponder.  

It gave me pause. In those scant few seconds I was reminded that sometimes, just sometimes, everything drifts into place seamlessly. And it is up to us to notice when our windshield wipers conduct the band and our clocks accompany the orchestra. It is up to us to notice when the beat within us complements life.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The privilege of being female (an excerpt)

They were babies, my girls, chubby then slender then chubby again until their bodies filled out, their minds sorted options and their hearts found a place to rest. Two girls who became women, more beautiful than I, smarter, gentler and kinder than the woman I am. They are driven and patient, focused and free of the female hang ups tattooed to my raised-in-the-sixties soul. They are savvy, an old fashioned word, and awesome, a new one.

My daughters are women. Though they will never stop being ‘my girls’, they are more grown up then I ever was at their age. More accomplished and less afraid, I envy their youth.

Sometimes I wonder if they know how lucky they are to be young because I didn’t when I was. I wonder if they realize the advantages they have because they are female.  Being female when I was young meant marrying a man with a good job to take care of me. By the time I was told what a cheating fallacy that was, and that I should always be able to take care of myself, college was out. Education came in temporary spurts and working the patheticism of retail filled in the gaps between what was and what is.

I went into business, dreamed and worked damn hard. I met a man and failed at everything. At the opposite of pinnacle I met another man and settled into three and half decades of marriage, family and survival. He took care of me, I took care of him, and we raised two daughters who wear skills, intelligence and humor like a designer wardrobe. 

Our daughters will excel, they will fail, they will love their husbands and wonder at times why they ever thought such a partner suited them.

From my past I garner experience and give it to my girls as insight into the importance of being young and female.  Youth, I mourn the loss of mine every single day; female, we are a higher species than man I think. I am convinced of this because we gave birth; no man who has witnessed the push to life would disagree.