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Monday, January 31, 2011

Always Reaching For More

Change, and not the kind that jingles in your pocket, is a fact of life. When children grow they change. Baby teeth fall out as adult teeth push their way through. High voices crack, hatching the full bodied alto. Smooth complexions erupt, and youthful faces wither. Change is the blood of life. Without it we would stagnate and die.

Unfortunately life is a grab bag, so you never know what type of change you’re going to get. You may pull some of the more sought after changes out of the bag, like wealth, happiness, or love. Or you may get a few booby prizes like, sickness, loneliness, or even death.

Luckily for us life seems to balance itself out, with the majority of events leaning toward the mundane. But don’t be fooled by the benign, and often friendly, beckoning of the mundane, because living in the prosaic routine of the humdrum is like walking though a labyrinth with all the exits sealed off. You could walk around forever and never get anywhere, depleting vital energy and wasting time….sometimes years.

Change may yank you back by the hair, landing you on your stunned ass, as spectators gather to gawk. Or it may lift you onto a pedestal so you can see for miles ahead…and everyone can see you.

Sometimes we plan a change, working toward goals, saving, pushing, and then at the end of the journey, after we’ve obtained our goal, we grow bored once again and search for more changes. We’re a hungry species, always reaching forward, and yearning for more.

I sometimes grow excited at the prospect of change. Just knowing that anything could happen at any time thrills me. But it also terrifies me because change is often random and much larger than I expected; like losing altitude and freefalling from 40,000 feet, and knowing that you’re going to die unless the pilot can regain control of the aircraft….which he usually does.

We are explorers and sojourners here whose visit is short. Within each soul is a voice calling us to do something permanent and magnificent. Perhaps, inviting change is the first step to obtaining that goal. It may require all the courage you can muster, but do it anyway.

I’m going to leave you with three things that I have learned from life thus far. Chew on them for a while before you try swallowing them.

1. Life is not for cowards.
2. Hiding will not prevent change from overtaking you.
3. When taking bold steps forward, the road usually rises to meet you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Okay. Where are the Cameras?

Did you ever feel like your life was in fact a Woody Allen flick? Seriously? I choose Woody Allen because his movies tend to dig into the quirky parts of personal lives, showcasing the absurd and ironic, with a comedic flair. Some people “get” his humor and others don’t. I do.
Lately I’ve been looking for the hidden cameras stashed away in my cupboards and car, because my life has taken on a sort of unbelievable irony. Without going into details, and showing what’s under my petticoat, suffice it to say that lately my life has been brilliant, and nebulous, breathtaking, and claustrophobic. I don’t know why I was expecting life to be a two headed coin…at least for a little while, but I was. I’m so naive. The coin inevitably lands on tails two minutes after it lands on heads.
Comedy and tragedy, puppies and fleas, blue skies and sunburns, irony is part of our every day lives. But the contrast seems to be the greatest at the highest points in our lives. Like winning a trip to Hawaii for you and your fiancé and finding your ex seated next to you for the long flight there. YIKES!
Celebration and consternation fight for the control panel to my brain, as I attempt to steer down the familiar roads of my every day life. Roads with trees and birds, and houses where my friends live. I know these neighborhoods as well as I know my own address. Yet, lately I’ve had to break for dinosaurs…. Yes, DINOSAURS! And all this time I thought they were extinct. This is proof positive that God has a huge sense of humor….and irony.
Okay, where are the cameras?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dancing in the Rain

I remember when I was a kid my two older sisters and I used to run outside when the summer rains fell. Barefoot, we would dance like frenzied natives immersed in a tribal ritual, never self conscious about spectators, but playfully communicating with the rain. Sometimes the drops would fall so hard that they would bounce back up. Thousands of bullet fast splats demanding attention like a million machine guns spraying the earth. The rain hurt our faces, so we could only stand like a mummy in this rain, chins tucked, arms tightly pinned to our bodies, but the laughter would be there; hard laughter because of the pain of the drops, and the tension of being enveloped by something much bigger than we were.
When the rains were heavy the sewers on our road would overflow causing the gutters to run wild like swirling rivers. Leaves plucked off the trees by the storm would spin in little eddies on the water like tiny boats in distress. I always wanted to put an ant on one of those leaves and watch it sail around and around.
Inch by inch the flood would claim its victory over our little neighborhood road, transforming Ormond St. into a lazy waterway. The old oaks that once shaded our road now looked down onto a murky river below creating a scene which could have easily been plucked from a Huck Finn novel.
Mr. Sullivan, a neighbor who enjoyed boating and the bottle, would launch his ancient row boat into the surf and laugh like a stubbly chinned pirate as he rowed up and down the flooded road. Eventually the shores of the neighborhood would become flanked with families drawn out by his laughter to watch the familiar spectacle. The children cheered; each secretly yearning to be the first mate of this urban adventure. Only the 3 Sullivan children had the privilege of boarding the rickety craft, and they would sit with smug smiles and straight backs on the wooden slat seats, eating up the attention as though they were the only float in a grand parade. We envied them miserably, but all in all we were happy for the excitement, and if Mr. Sullivan had neglected to row the river Ormond, we would have missed it terribly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Boldly Inching Forward

Making dreams come true is like raising a child, or going to school. It’s a process; a process that sometimes seems complicated and agonizingly slow. I have no memory of ever saying to my kids, “Good morning…Wow! You grew three inches overnight.” And so it is with a dream. The progress is there, yet it is often indiscernible to the naked eye. It’s over time that the growth is detected, like looking in the mirror and discovering that you need another hair cut.
Dreams come in all sizes. I have some smaller dreams, like spending the day at a spa for the full diva treatment or never having to wash another window. Then there are the medium sized dreams, like traveling to Europe, or watching the Macy’s Day Parade from a warm hotel room as Underdog bounces happily past my window.
And finally there are my big dreams. I would like to be financially stable enough to write full time, spend summers with my family in Massachusetts, and have publishers fighting over my manuscripts.
At my age I have come to know that if any of my dreams are going to materialize it’s going to be up to me to make them happen. I’m the one with the power to make my dreams my priority and then to go after them. I know that all dreams don’t come true, and that self-doubt will try to sabotage my every effort, but if I give up before even trying, then my dreams are guaranteed to die before they are born.
I call the process of making my dreams come true “Climbing Mt. Everest.” Each agonizing inch that I climb strengthens me and is mine to claim. Sometimes the climb is much more fulfilling than the actual dream because pursuing dreams pushes me forward, and exposes me to new people places and things. It creates new life.
The best way to get unstuck is to find a dream and pursue it. It will stir up your life in ways you never thought possible! Life is about the journey, but life is never a journey, without a dream.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pinch Me!

This morning I don’t feel any clogs, unction’s, or impulses toward any particular subject. I simply feel a cool and steady flow of gratefulness streaming though my soul. This is a good feeling. Actually, it’s the best. You see I’ve been incredibly blessed these last few weeks and it’s producing a sort of natural high. I grew up in the 1960’s-70’s, where getting high didn’t involve a ladder or an airplane, so I know what feeling high means, but this is a bit different. It’s as though my veins are insulated with the softest of cotton, cushioning everything, and producing the rare, and sought after sensation of …..Happiness. Pinch me!
I know that this feeling won’t last forever, and that life has sharp teeth and bites me in the arse at the most inopportune times, but I intend to sport these rose colored glasses until they’re snatched from my greedy little face.
It’s funny how we grow used to difficulties, irritations, set-backs, and negativity, yet when we have a good streak we suspiciously eye the horizon for dark clouds, avoid walking under ladders, and down play all the good stuff in fear of pissing off the gods of good fortune. I even know people who get annoyed if someone else is happy, like it some how diminishes them or lessens their chances for happiness. That is sad.
Let’s face it; life isn’t easy on any level. But, sometimes you need to marinate in your blessings so they can seep in and change your attitude towards life, providing you with energy so that when life slaps you in the face, and she will, you will have the strength to slap her back.
So, today I'm feeling happy..... And I'm incredibly grateful for it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Introducing Cosette!

2011 has found it’s footing and is stepping boldly forward. Within the first two weeks of the New Year I’ve found an old friend (thank you facebook) who I hadn’t seen in 39 years! REMARKABLE! I also had a great article done on my upcoming novel, “Cosette’s Tribe”. These sorts of happenings inspire me, giving me hope that I just may complete some key entries on my bucket list after all.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with my novel, it’s the story of a young girl who, upon finding a photo of a happy tribe of Indians in a magazine, becomes inspired to start a tribe of her own by first finding a replacement for her absent father.
Unaware of the consequences her meddling will bring, Cosette introduces Ken, a handsome neighbor, to her single mother. The chemistry is undeniable and soon the two become a couple.
Having secured the confidence of Cosette’s mother, Ken lures a trusting Cosette into his apartment and tarnishes her virtue with a shame powerful enough to alienate her from her doting mother and to shake her fragile faith in God.
Unaware of the abuse, her mother marries Ken, forcing Cosette to live with her abuser. Cosette is then pushed into a bewildering limbo of loneliness and adult problems, where finding her tribe becomes paramount to her emotional survival.
With maturity beyond her years, and an unshakable sense of humor, Cosette navigates through the hippie culture of the mid-1960s searching for her tribe, and facing off with life, while stumbling upon things both terrible and breathtaking.

I am currently querying agents and hope to see “Cosette’s Tribe” in print where I am certain she will inspire many with her story.