Not An(other) Author Blog

Yesterday I wrote a blog post that was focused on something I was currently thinking about. Friends had a baby and I wrote all the rambling little thoughts in my head. And it felt good, which is a breakthrough for me because I’ve really been struggling with my blog for quite a while.

As a writer, there are a lot of things you’re told you should do. Having a blog is one of them. I’ve had a blog since long before I considered myself a writer. I wrote about all the weird little observations I had about life and parenting, sometimes just blogged about nothing particular, I simply relocated my bizarre, irrational train of thought from my brain to the digital world and hit “Publish.”

But as a writer there’s the belief (and so many people will tell you!–so, SO many people) that you really have to focus on your platform, your social media presence, and ensuring that you have great, focused content. So I worked on making my blog more reflective of me as an author.

I visited the blogs of other authors (you should really check them out, they have amazingly helpful articles!) and worked hard to cultivate the content I thought would offer something from me…an (*ahem*) published author (I hope you read that with a thick, thick tone of ironic self-importance).

I obsessed about the kind of content I should offer in my blog, what kind of relevant, focused topics could I cover that would make my blog stand out, or even just keep people from sharing it as an example of what not to do. Periodically I came up with (and even wrote!) a few writing related blogs, sharing what I know about submissions, finding inspiration and craft. It didn’t take long for my posts to slow down to a slow crawl as I struggled with finding the inspiration to write more content.

I did an entire series of author interviews (which I love and will continue periodically because I firmly believe indie authors & their books don’t get enough exposure), and I’ve been continuously posting book reviews (which I’ll also do because *insert previous reason and include all authors/books*). But I could not find the motivation to come up with new, focused content.

And yesterday, I was more excited about a blog post than I have been in a very long time, and it wasn’t because of the topic. It’s because I was doing what I started blogging to accomplish: just regurgitating the thoughts in my head out into the world! There was no pressure, no need to make a point, no “audience” that I was trying reach. It was just me and my words, and it was then that I had my great blogging epiphany: I can’t do focused!!! My mind really isn’t focused, why should my blog be?

So, I’ve entirely reconsidered my “platform” as a writer and here’s what I’ve decided: I can’t construct a presence. The only way to be authentic as both an author–and a human–is to put my most authentic self out into the world. I can’t construct myself as a well-polished, poised and articulate writing professional online because there’s no way I can carry that off in real life. I’m real, and I’m flawed, and I can’t help what sparks my passion from day to day. One day I might be really interested in sharing something I’ve learned about the writing or publishing industry, but the next day I’m obsessively contemplating the binding properties of Cheeto’s dust. And that’s the shit I’m gonna blog about (oh, yeah, I’m also gonna cuss–and use the word “gonna”–as much as I damn well see fit!)

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High School Reunion (Why Is This Not a Musical?)

My high school reunion is this weekend.

I’ve  been lying low, flying under the radar. I’ve joined the Facebook group, read the posts, and looked at the pictures, but I have neither commented nor responded (or even decided) if I’m actually going. I didn’t go to the first one (in truth, I didn’t even hear about it), and I only hear rumors about the second.

A lot of things have happened since I last saw many of the people I graduated with. To put it into perspective as to how long it’s been, these are some of the things that were happening in the world the year we graduated:

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  • The Jamaican Bobsled Team Debuted at The Calgary Winter Olympics

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  • 2 1/2 Years after the Challenger tragedy the Space Shuttle Discovery was launched

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  • 4 years after the disease was recognized, the 1st World Aids Day was held

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  • The President we had (and the one that was voted in that year)

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  • Ben Johnson won gold in Seoul. Three days later he was stripped of his medal, and Olympic record, after testing positive for steroids. Carl Lewis was awarded the gold medal and Olympic record.

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  • Pan Am flight 103 was bombed while flying over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 243 passengers and 16 crew members.

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  • Eli Lilly began marketing Prozac in January, annual sales hit $350 million within a year ( #HowIShouldHaveInvestedMyTacoBellEarnings)

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  • Crack cocaine became a thing (is it even still a thing?)

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  • Residents of super-ultra-rural areas of California & Nevada were relieved to finally know that they weren’t imaging those “hovering crafts” they saw in the night sky. The US Government finally unveiled the B2 Bomber.

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  • Stephen Hawking released A Brief History of Time


So, as you can see, we left our glory years of high school and walked into the hope and promise the late 80’s had to offer. And that’s the last time I saw many of my classmates.

With the invention of Facebook I’ve managed to connect with a few of them. If nothing else, we are “Facebook Friends” and will occasionally Like or comment on each others posts. In all honesty though, our community was on the small side and we tended to hang out with kids in the classes ahead of and behind us. At various points we ended up in different districts and I can’t remember exactly if my Facebook friends are high school friends, junior high school– or even elementary school!– ones. This reunion will actually be a combination of the graduating class of three (!) local high schools.

So, if it’s been so long why am I so anxiety ridden about going and seeing everyone? Aren’t I excited at the chance?

Well, I have reasons to be anxious, and I think I may not be alone (really, I can’t be alone, can I?).

  1. I’m anxiety-ridden by nature. I don’t do well in large groups or around people I’m not comfortable with (I actually don’t even do well around the people I see regularly and do feel comfortable with).
  2.  I’m not a social creature. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not antisocial. I’m just a person who is comfortable and content in my own quiet world. I never viewed myself as a highly social person. I was a side-kick to my friend, Lysa. Now she should have a Doctorate in Social Interactions. She’s good with people. She’s confident in groups and she remembers everyone and most of the things that happened to, with and around everyone we hung out with. I was pretty much the grumpy (occasionally drunken) sidekick.
  3. I have insecurities. Lots of them. At the top of the list is the fact that I’ve gained weight (a lot!). I’m sure there are plenty of us who have gained weight as we aged, and I think they all still look great, but I can’t give myself that consideration.
  4. I am no less socially awkward now than I was back then. Maybe even more so now (see #3).
  5. I am horrible at recalling names. I generally remember a face, but can’t always pair it with the proper name (see #4-Socially Awkward).
  6. Sometimes my facial recognition skills fail me. Two days ago I had a conversation with a junior high school classmate. I’d remember her face anywhere!! She looked exactly the same, a fact a marveled at as I walked away. How, after all these years can she still look exactly the same as the last time I saw her?  The answer came as I recalled the confusion in her eyes (though she was sweetly trying to play the whole thing off) and pieced together the reality. I’d been speaking to her daughter!!!! A true Doppelgänger, but not who I thought (see #4-Socially Awkward).

While it may seem like I’ve been obsessing over the negative (and maybe I have) I’ve also tried to come up with reasons that I should go to my high school reunion. I’ve worked long and hard to come up with a list of things I can be proud of, reasons that I can show my up to my high school reunion without shame. Here are the highlights:

  1. During all the years since graduation I haven’t been featured in The Blotter (our local who’s-who of law enforcement attention).
  2. I’ve never been forced to flee from an angry mob in a foreign country.
  3. My family has never had to arrange my release from a third-world prison.
  4. I’ve never been the awkward subject of a photo that’s gone viral and spawned thousands of memes.
  5. I haven’t bilked any charities for millions and had to flee to the islands.
  6. I haven’t hacked into any multi-national corporations, released inflammatory e-mails, or tried to influence elections.
  7. My personal nuclear program abides by all limitations imposed by the UN.
  8. I’ve never been the subject of a Dateline or 20/20 investigation.

All in all, a pretty good track record, in my opinion. So I may do it. I may face my fears and step into a room full of people I haven’t seen in *information redacted to protect the innocent and vain*  years.

But, until then, please enjoy a few more images from our world during the year of our graduation:

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Robbing From Peter…

This post appears on my other blog…a way, way, different beast.

I felt that it was a good post to share here as it represents a big leap in my ability to be brave and put myself out there. So, here it is:

Going Live…and Going Out on a Wire

There are a lot of ideas in my head. Those things fall along the the lines of, “one of these days, I’m going to…”. Well, today I am going to go ahead and do one of those things.
I’ve been struggling, like all aspiring writers do, with when I can actually call myself a writer. For some reason we are hesitant to do that because it begs the inevitable question, “have you had anything published?” And then, if we still haven’t published the great American novel, we sulk away feeling like we haven’t really accomplished enough to be so bold as to say, “I am a writer.”
So, here’s the story. I have not sold a novel. I am not under representation. But…I write!!! Most of my waking hours are spent writing or thinking about writing. I have more ideas than I will probably ever have time to develop. I have euthanized more story lines and characters than I have created. And I have faith in myself. I believe that I am a good writer and that if I keep practicing the craft, learning about the business and if I endure, I will succeed. You see, I know, deep within the depths of my soul, that I am a writer.
I have been published. I’ve sold poems to small publications, had a short story in a local paper, covered sporting events for a local paper, I’ve written internet content and even sold an article to (cue the dramatic music…) Readers Digest. But, that doesnt make me a writer.
What makes me a writer is my determination,  my passion and all the little voices in my head that are creatively channeled into dialogue (otherwise they’re just voices, and that isn’t something we are encouraged to boast about).
With this declaration, I am about to do one of my “one of these days” promises and let my FaceBook family, friends and contacts know about my website and my FaceBook page that is dedicated to me…the writer.
Deep breath….and done!
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Risky Business

I’d love to be one of those cavalier people who swears they don’t make New Years Resolutions. I love the thought of living my life without being bound to the activities of modern society, not following the herd, rising above the convictions of mere mortals. Sadly, I am deeply entrenched in group-think on this one. The beginning of the year just seems to be the best place to make a resolution for change. There is an entire year ahead of you (which makes it SO easy to measure the timeline of your goals), the calendar is full of crisp, white boxes (in which you can write in your deadlines or accomplishments) and, well, everyone else is starting too!

This year my resolutions have come about after a detailed assessment of myself and a cold hard look at my life. In my real life I’m a nurse, and that’s what we do, we assess. It’s a little harder to turn those observations on yourself and to recognize what is so glaringly apparent when looking at others. In my assessment, things aren’t looking too good for the old girl. At 43 years of age I already know that it’s a matter of time before certain things start happening. Age related disease processes begin at ages much younger than I am now and only begin to show themselves in the later years. I’ve always convinced myself that I have good genetics so I have a little more lea way in my life. I can be in the sun more, don’t need to worry about what I eat or if I have one more cocktail. The thing is though, that as I’ve aged so have my relatives, and our health issues are becoming more apparent.

As a family, we really do ok. It isn’t that each of my elders has become debilitatingly sick with numerous age related illnesses. The problem is that for each of them that has ONE disease, I recognize that I am now at risk for every one of those diseases. There is the family member with diabetes, the one who had a stroke, the one with kidney disease, the one with Alzheimers, the one who had cancer, the one who had emphysema, the one with high blood pressure and the one who died of a heart attack. Now, at the advanced age of 43, I have a risk for each and everyone of those and it’s scary as all hell. That’s just the genetic round of Russian Roulette that I’m playing though. Once you factor in the damage I’ve done to myself (the sun, my eating & exercise habits, stress, weight, etc) you just have to sit in a corner, rocking and asking, “what the hell have I done to myself?”

And so, my friends, as to my New Years Resolution, it is simply this: do all I can to avoid an early and tragic death (oh, yeah, this is the desperation resolution!). To meet that goal I have to do all those things that end up on the typical resolution plan: more water, more exercise, more relaxation, less crappy food, less stress, less weight, less sunshine….Oh, yeah, and if I should die in a tragic car accident I want it known that I will be one pissed off poltergeist for having lived my last days on earth in such healthy depravity!

PS- please note, that my New Years Resolution did not start until January 6, so I do have a little bit of the rebel alive in me yet!

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I’m Too Old To…

I was having lunch with a friend of mine recently. I hadn’t seen her in over a year and she is now ridiculously cute and pregnant. We were talking about her pregnancy complications, having spent some time on bed rest, and she mentioned that, because of her “advanced age” (she’s 35!) she was considered a high risk pregnancy to begin with. That got me thinking. If, at 35, a woman’s age is “advanced” where does that leave me? I’ve decided that there are certain things that I, at 42, am far too elderly to include in my activities.
1) Pregnancy. Ok, I know that women all over the world are having babies well into their 40’s. The fact is that I lack the bionic genetic mutation that makes that possible. Carrying The Baby wasn’t good for my body. I spent 4 1/2 months on bed rest and was in preeclampsia when I delivered. Not to mention, I seem incapable of giving birth to anything other than boys and if one more drop of testosterone enters this house pretty sure my testicles will drop
2) Flashing my boobs Oh, yeah. I’m not proud to admit it, but I’ve done it. The unfortunate effects of 42 years of gravitational pull and nursing three children have ensured that those days are far behind me.
3) Throwing my panties onstage. To be truthful, I never had the experience. I’ve been to so many concerts and was never really moved to drop trou and toss the undies onstage. Sadly, those days are behind me. First,it’s kind of pathetic to be doing in your 40’s and second, the band really doesn’t need to dodging such a massive ball of flying material.
4) Flirting with a cop to get out of a ticket. Again, been there, done that. At 40 it’s just pathetic and increases the likelihood of getting a ticket. I’ve found that playing the responsibility card is better. “I’m sorry officer, I thought my son was choking and I was trying to get to a place so that I could pull over quickly and do the Heimlich”.
5) Recreate the kitchen sex scene from 9 1/2 Weeks. First of all, at 40+ the floor is hard, people. It’s cold and hard and when you have three kids your ass sticks to the juice spots on the floor and you risk getting Fruity Pebbles up your hoo-hah.
6) Wear a baby doll dress, baby doll T-shirt or Daisy Dukes. No matter how nice of a body you have, unless you’re a teenager or a 20-something, you have no business wearing a baby doll dress, baby doll T-shirt or Daisy Dukes. Really. It’s just sad.

That’s my preliminary list. You can be assured that each of these has been crossed off of my “Things To Do” list…with a Sharpie! I’ll have to apologize to The Hubbin’ for crossing off #5, but really, I think he knows.

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Did you say “Spandex”? Watch your damn language!

I may be a little late at getting to it but, like many Americans, the new year led me to make goals that I haven’t previously succeeded at. One of those goals, “I will be more informed about where my money goes”, led me on a very new, and frightening journey. Today I went…to the gym!

That’s right, for months there has been a funnel from my checking account to that of a particular exercise and health facility. It’s great in theory. There is some one thing that happens in your life and causes you to seek a healthier lifestyle or to reclaim the body that was once yours. Maybe you had a health scare, have a reunion or wedding, maybe some innocent, cherubic little imp screeched, “Mommy, that ladies FAT!” (or some Alzheimer’s riddled old man said the same). Either way, there is some monumental event that drives a person to go to a gym, follow some thin, well-muscled twenty-year-old around and nod appreciatively as they point out the torturous looking gadgetry that they insist is top of the line (like my fat-ass is sooo schooled on fitness equipment that I’d know the difference). And then, to top it off, we give them the authority to funnel money from our checking accounts on a monthly basis while we sit at home, watching television and thinking, “I should really join a gym or something!”

So, I sucked it up. I got off the couch, dusted off my duffle bag and drove to the gym (and those of you who run or ride your bike to the gym are sick I tell you!). I’m not going to brag about my accomplishments & say crap like, “it was just like I’d never left”. It was nothing like that. I started out easy—the treadmill—because I figured that even though I haven’t been to the gym in a very long time it wasn’t like I’d given up walking! As it turns out, I must have not walked uphill much. Or very fast for that matter. But, damn it, I walked. Like for 20 or 30 minutes. Continuously!

Now, my sister-in-law goes to the same gym. She informed me that the gym is having a 12 week challenge. There is a grand prize of a lot of money! I am a terribly competitive person, so she had me at “challenge”. Money was just icing on the cake. “But,” she told me, “we have to have our picture taken so they can see before & after.”

I signed up for the challenge, of course I had my hair done & makeup on, and then they tell me the rules of the photos: ladies must wear a two-piece outfit so that the results are easily seen.

“I am NOT wearing a bikini,” I barked at the poor kid who signed me up.

“It’s ok,” he assured me, “you can just wear spandex short shorts and a sports bra.”

“I don’t own spandex,” I said and stood up so that he could get a good, and realistic look at what should have been a presumed fact, “for obvious reasons.”

I spent the next few hours trying to remember if I had any of my old spandex exercise shorts. Certainly there had to be one pair that had stretched out enough that I could still breath but not so worn that hints of my mayonnaise colored flesh would peek through the material.

So, if you happen to see a photo of what looks like a softball wearing a rubber band, look real close. Does that softball have a ponytail and blue eyes? That may be me. In spandex. With a blood vein or two threatening to burst.

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Pretty in Pink-Eye

   I came down with an outrageous cold the other day. My sinuses full, my throat scratchy,  my head pounding and my eye watering. That’s right. Just the one eye. That should have been a clue.

   By the end of that miserable day my sinuses felt like they were clearing but the fluid in my eye was steadily increasing and thickening (you didn’t just eat did you?).  I woke up in the morning with this…

Don't look at the wrinkles...just the color of the eye!
Don't look at the wrinkles...just the color of the eye!

   What the hell? Am I nine? I get pink eye?

   So now I’m on isolation precautions (Let’s face it, I look hideous and I just shouldn’t be seen in public).

   Even more troubling…where the hell did those wrinkles come from around my eyes? The crappy skin tone I’ll blame on the early hour, bathroom lighting and poor quality of the cell phone picture. But those wrinkles? When the hell did that happen?

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