Everybody’s Better Than Me

I’ve just read through several book reviews and I think they are all better written than the reviews I write. No wonder my editor doesn’t give me so much work, I think. Although my brain then immediately reminds me that she gives me the amount of work I have asked for. No matter, I am determined to feel inadequate. This determination leads me to decide that the hundreds of books that are published each month are all expertly written and professionally put together (even though, in my capacity as a reviewer I have occasionally experienced the opposite) and to come to the conclusion that I am wrong to I think I can get a book of my own published, much less get a good review on it. This leads to the coda that I am wasting my time writing my two thousand words each day on my current project, a middle grade mystery.

And yet, six days a week I write my two thousand words, letting the story find its own way, and at the end of the day’s two thousand words, I feel—what is the word—happy, that’s it. I feel contented and fulfilled. I have set myself a goal, I have filled it, and sitting down to write each morning with nothing in mind but the trust that the words will come is like jumping off a cliff and discovering I can fly.

Writing is not the acclaim of a good review or even the validation of getting published, is it? It’s the sense of purpose fulfilled. If a publishing house thinks they can make money off it or a reviewer likes it, yay. But the really valuable part of all this is the doing of it, and the pleasure it gives.

I know, I know, everybody has said/written/acted/sung those words before and so they have the impactful strength of anemia. But believe me, until you put yourself in the position of the continual rejection of the writing life, you don’t realize the sterling honesty of those words. When you do, they are that bit of oar you cling to in the icy sea of the publishing world.

So maybe everybody is better than me. Who cares? I can still try and delight in the trying. That is something no one can take away: the decision to try.

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Sharing the Love

Liebster

This is a little bit of a different post for me. Last week my blog was nominated for a Liebster Award. What’s that, you say? Excellent question! Of course I googled Liebster Award right away and only found search results from other Liebster nominees wondering what it was. It doesn’t have a Wiki entry, so it may be tempting to dismiss it as “not really real” but that would be silly.

This is the information I was given when I was nominated. It’s an award given to up-and-coming bloggers. You must answer the questions your nominator gives you, and you must nominate other bloggers. So it’s a sort of “share the love” award –a great big internet hug, if you will. I like it. A big thank you to Kim Auker-Neff at http://kimrauker.com/ for nominating me. Thank you so much, Kim!

Kim’s questions for me:

What inspires you? Fuzzy puppies and fluffy kittens and oh-so-shiny goldfish with their big goggle eyes. And my imagination.

If you could go anywhere for as long as you wished, where would you go? Back to the womb. Or Paris.

Have you become what you wanted to be when you grew up? That and more.

If you could say one sentence that the whole world would hear, what would you say? You’re fine just the way you are.

What is your definition of success? Becoming a person that you like to be with.

Are you having fun yet? It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it.

What country are you from? United States. (Full disclosure—I was born in Hawaii when it was still a Territory and we all know how much trouble that can be…)

When you go for a walk, do you notice the world around you? Is the Pope Catholic?

Coffee, tea, or both? Tea first thing, coffee for elevenses.

What do you do to relax? Drink a martini (gin or vodka) and watch the natural world nestle in for the night.

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My questions for my nominees are:

1. Is proper grammar important 2 U?

2. Is it hard to be honest in your writing?

3. Why did you start blogging? (Take note of question 2).

4. Do you wish you could stop blogging?

5. Do you believe in ghosts?

6. What do you do when you’re not blogging?

7. What would your once-in-a-lifetime day be?

8. What are you terrible at? And are you really?

Here are my nominees. Check them out!

http://rebeccaroan.blogspot.com

http://teagansbooks.wordpress.com

http://chucklingduck.net

http://jeannineatkinsonwritingandstuff.wordpress.com

Just a Thought Re: Congress and the Space Station

I’m not getting the impression that our Congress is feeling the effects of their own incompetence. What can make it more real for them, I ask myself? Then I think: Let’s send them all to the Space Station.

There they will eat freeze-dried food and be in uncomfortably close quarters. They can talk to each other or not, but until they work something out, they have to stay there. Maybe they will stare at the round globe of Earth, pushing and shoving each other out of the way to get the best view from the little portholes. And maybe, after a month or so of this, they will notice that the Earth intrinsically does not have borders or blue states and red states or Muslim countries or Christian countries.

And maybe after another month of being in the dark vastness of space, they will perceive the miracle of this planet that sustains life and how fragile it has become. Eventually, sick of eating freeze-dried ice cream, they may (the more with-it ones) come to grasp that, actually, there’s isn’t any other place we can live. And that to destroy the Earth, is to destroy our species (not to mention many others.)

Then maybe they will begin to talk and to compromise and to learn to get along. And that’s when we will let them come back, to join us at the adult table.

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I thought about using a photo of the monkey that Russia sent into space here, but then I realized that would be maligning the monkey.

Get Down There and Wallow In It

One of the things I appreciated about my vacation last week was the perspective I had when I came back. Right now I’m going through something. It’s a growth (aren’t they all) phase, and I call it that because it is so darn uncomfortable. My insides are all churny and I feel as if the old structures that I set up to define me and protect me—the scaffolding and armature of my identity—are breaking off and falling away. The me that is growing bigger than my old façade feels unsure and vulnerable as it is being exposed and it doesn’t have the protection I think I need, hence the uncomfortable feeling.

And therein lies the rub, as they say.

Because the whole point of living is not to protect and wall off yourself, it is to feel your life. Feelings of vulnerability and lostness are part of life. And if I don’t let myself go down there and wallow in it, not only am I missing out on experiencing my life, but I’m short circuiting my process of growth by not acknowledging the feelings that herald that particular growth.

I really don’t like the feeling of not being in control. Trust is not my strongest suit. So guess what, it is trust that I have to learn to grow into. And life, in all its profound wisdom, presents me with opportunities to trust by making me feel vulnerable. I could fight it, and I have, in the past. But that only leads to a stronger, shall we say, nudge, to grow. So now I try to get what life is asking of me. I go down there and I wallow and I feel what is asking to be felt. And then I discover, to my surprise and gratitude that vulnerability is just that—a time of openness and trust. And in truth, it is filled with the joy that is the foundation of life.

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