Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Writing Advice

Today I heard the very best writing advice I have ever heard. Now I have read countless writing books and dream achievement books. I have done writing exercises, and considered taking writing classes. I read several fellow writers blogs, including Tricia & Heather, and of course, the Writer Mama. I am even posting an answer to a blog question on the Writer Mama's site, hoping to win one of her writing book giveaways. (I recently won the Poetry Market 2008!!).

Today's blog question was "what is the best writing advice you could give other Writer Mamas?" The very first post was from a nice lady named Eliza, who stunned me with her simple advice. "Shut up and Get up". Wow. This sounds so much like something my blunt-speaking Aunt Alise would say. "Shut up and Get up".

Suddenly, I realized that I spend far too much time thinking about and reading about writing, and not enough time simply Writing! (and I spend far too much time simply watching TV!) Procrastination is the root of many disappointments in my life.

So, being a lover of a good quote, I now have a new one to motivate me. "Shut up and Get up." Get off that chair. Turn off the TV. Write. No complaints. Even if I have only 15 minutes, write. Get up earlier and write in the quiet of the morning.

And I am taking that advice right now. I was going to go watch tv after posting my answer to that blog. Instead, I headed straight here, and wrote this.

"Shut up and Get up"!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Perilous Shopping, or Why you don't take you teenager to the store

It is never a good idea to take your daughter to the store with you. Her age, nor the type of store does not matter. However good your list & budget planning are, with her alongside, you are destined to spend at least $20 more than you wanted to.

Yesterday, I picked up Cat, my 17 year old daughter, from high school, and took her to the grocery store with me. Armed with a carefully planned 2 week menu and a detailed grocery list, I began my shopping. I tried to distract her by keeping her busy sending her on forays throughout the store for her lunch and hair care items. It didn't work.

Whilst trying to choose a candle for a co-worker, she found me. After dropping her pomegranate scented body wash in the cart, she turned around and cried out "ooooooo'. Kneeling on the floor, she pawed through the shelf of new beanie babies. Frantically, I scanned my list, desparately looking for something, anything to send her to find. Too late. My teenage daughter sat cuddling a medium-sized brown puppy, with a look of instant love on her face. "Mom, he's all lonely. Can I take him home?"

Yep, you guessed it. Nuzzle, that sad faced brown beanie is currently keeping her company as she sits drawing on the couch. Hope he's inspiring her latest cartoon. Cat did her part though. When she choose her lunch items, she looked for things on sale, and got incredible bargins. And truthfully, the stuffed puppy didn't cost $20. (he was only $10.95). Still, no where on my grocery list did it say, fluffy friend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Getting Lost

I have such a reputation for getting lost, that I rarely get asked for directions. When I am given directions, I am given multiple landmarks to watch for, and a phone number for When, not If, I get lost. I thank God for Goggle, Mapquest, and all the other online map websites. My mother can find a place using the directions written on the back of a crumpled napkin with a crayon, viewed in failing light. She has a great sense of direction.... Me, if I find myself at a cross roads, and know I have to choose left or right, I decide which my 'sense of direction' is showing me, then go in the opposite direction. :) My son once bought me a bumper sticker that read "Boldly Going Nowhere!". I proudly displayed it.

Why do I get lost? Often it is due to the difficulties of navigating whilst trying to drive solo. It's hard to read a map, steer a car, bop to the music, and watch for the occasion deer whom love to Leap out of nowhere and throw themselves in front of my car. Let's not even talk about the squirrels. I really need a bumper sticker that reads "I brake for Squirrels". I also get lost because of fear. Fear of getting completely lost, fear of ending up somewhere scary, fear of encountering car problems on some lone deserted back road. Fear. I envy my friend Ro, who travels with nary a map, just a pretty good idea of where she's going, and an attitude of enjoyment.

Getting lost is not always a terrible thing. In the course of getting lost, I have seen some amazing things...I have seen fawns grazing near their mother. Amish children at play. Beautiful old houses surrounded by carefully tended cottage gardens. I have also found road connections that latter helped me when I was traveling that way again.

There is a quote, "Not all who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien. Fear motivates all of us too often. It is better to shake off that fear, remember that I have a Guide, my Father in Heaven, and confidently walk or drive down the paths laid before me. I will seek to enjoy the wandering when it happens.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What would it be like to live confidently? To walk with shoulders thrown back, head held high? To take the attitude of a worthy lady, instead on a downtrodden servant? Can I live this way? I have spent so much of my life, hunched over, trudging along the path, expecting little, giving so much of myself, because I felt it was my 'place'. Do I have the courage to try to look up, to look into the eyes of my Maker, and to unfurl my wings, and take off into my potential?

Life is so much easier living as oppressed. It is easier to live within other's expectations, to keep my eyes on the ground before me. For so many years I have lived this way. Just walking along, doing what is expected of me. To value in myself only what I can give to others around me, to doubt they could even see me, beyond my service, to the woman within.

Then one dark and dismal day, as I sat mentally cataloging the various tasks before me, I listened to the excited chattering of others, making their plans for get togethers, to which I was not included. I suddenly found myself wondering if my only worth lay in serving. And I realized, that service tainted with self-effacement was not true service at all. It was only a form of self-betrayal. Following this thought, came the realization that my self-image, my very estimation of my own self-worth Can Not and Should Not be found outwardly. I was formed by a very creative Maker, for a specific purpose, whether that purpose be undiscovered as of yet. I was not made for mere trudging, but for flying, for soaring. This was a complete paradigm shift.

Now I am trying to change the way I live, to learn to live confidently. As scary as it is to try to live differently, to change my own attitude, I know that I cannot contiue as I have been. Slowly, with each choice I make, I am starting to flutter on untried wings. Some day soon, I will be soaring.