May 9, 2014
I’m going to try this with my kids. They hate when I dance. If they really get annoying, I’ll add some singing.
July 26, 2013
Writing a book worthy of publication. The dream that drew me on, but always seemed a long way off. And then BAM, the opportunity of a lifetime arrives in an email:
Hello and thank you for your application. It is clear you are a serious writer and one capable of writing a manuscript that editors and agents will want to see. Following a review, we have decided to accept you into the September 2013 New York Pitch Conference…If a publishing house wishes to publish your novel, they will ask that you be represented by an agent; therefore, we will assist you in finding suitable representation.
Sincerely, Michael Neff,
Director-New York Pitch Conference
Before I even catch my breath, my dream is upon me. And even though I cannot afford a trip to New York, I’m ecstatic. I will make this happen. I only have until August 18th, but I can do it. So I throw myself into it.
I plan, brainstorm, and ask advice. I try to market myself, a wife and mother of five with no marketing skill or experience. It’s a scary thought because I know it’s all about the marketing. But I shove the fear from my mind and I write. I write Indiegogo campaigns, and exercises for the NYC Pitch conference, and upbeat emails pleading for support, and blog posts, and Facebook posts, and thank you’s. Oh, and I make a video. That’s a tale in itself.
Then I wait for my dream to come true. Okay, not wait. I still work hard, trying to grab it with both hands. In fact, that’s pretty much all I do—the weeds taking over the yard and endless dinners of $5 pizzas attest to that. And yet as hard as I’ve been working, it comes down to waiting. To watching my dream tick closer to me or farther from me. I won’t know which until the August 18th deadline of my Indiegogo crowdfunding project.
And suddenly, the culmination of my lifetime dream is three weeks away. I’ll continue to give all that’s in me for it. I’ve bared my soul for the world to see. They’ll see if I succeed. They’ll see if I fail. I feel naked. And as I try to remain enthusiastic and positive, in the back of my mind perches the deadline to my dream, one moment looming threateningly and another moment pulsing with possibilities.
August 15, 2011
“Mother, what can I be when I grow up?”
“Oh, my little child, you can be anything you want; you can be anyone you choose. If you dream it, and believe it, you can achieve it. The world is your oyster, my child, but you must remember, never, never, never give up.”
It’s a lovely concept. I’d love to tell my children that they can do whatever they put their mind to and become whatever they want, as long as they work hard and persevere.
But I don’t believe it.
There is a reality called the Laws of Nature and they can get in the way of our dreams. Many of these laws are annoying (Michigan weather) and many, to put it bluntly, suck (death). It’s one of the supreme ironies of the universe that humans naturally rebel against the Laws of Nature. Most of the time we lose, although we pat ourselves on the back for something that looks like a small victory, but is, in reality, just a cheat. My extremely white teeth that seem to be unaffected by copious amounts of coffee and an occasional glass of red wine, are a perfect example.
Sorry if I’m raining on your parade, but it pays to be pragmatic about important things, such as life.
For the sake of illustration, let’s say I decide that I want to be a supermodel. I commit my entire life to becoming a supermodel: I study, practice, correct my posture, learn to live on cigarettes and diet pop. Even if I was younger and did all those things diligently, I could never be a supermodel. There’s no way for me to break the natural law of being only 5 feet tall. (My mother would say I’m 4 feet 11 ¾ inches, because that would make her ¼ inch taller than I. She’s wrong.)
Another sad but true strike against me is the fact that I’m not photogenic. I have a wonderfully patient friend who is an amateur photographer. She spent two hours taking pictures of me recently, because I wanted a decent, professional photo to use on my Facebook page and blog. She must have said at least fifty times, “You look like you’re smelling something that stinks. Try to look like you smell something good.” It was a painful two hours (It might have been three. I’ve tried to block out the memory.)
I could sit in front of a mirror for hours and practice just getting a decent smile down, forget the sexy pout, or far-away-come-hither look. My smile for the camera might improve, but not enough to use my photo in a Dollar Saver advertisement, much less on a Vogue cover.
Don’t believe that the Law of Nature can keep a person from their dream? Just watch one episode of American Idol during the audition phase. Remember William Hung? Enough said.
There is hope though, because the Laws of Nature bestow gifts, as well as curses. Each of us has gifts that we can use and hone and perfect. It’s just a matter of discerning and focusing on those gifts.
Partying is one of my natural talents. I can throw a heck of a party. I used to think it was a silly, frivolous gift and I felt guilty wasting time and money on it. But I enjoyed it, so I ignored the guilt and continued to hone my party skills (often). I began to notice some of the good that came from this gift. People looked forward to our parties and they enjoyed themselves. They were taking time out of their busy stressful schedules to have fun and relax, and they were connecting with friends they hadn’t seen in a while. And friends from different areas of our lives were meeting each other and making new friends.
My singing voice on the other hand, is something no amount of dreaming or practicing will ever improve. That’s ok. I’ll forgo singing and focus my energy on hospitality, to the infinite relief of my children. And I’ll tell my children that if they focus on their gifts, they can do whatever they put their mind to and become whatever they want, as long as they work hard and persevere.
August 3, 2011
I can be snarky. Sometimes it’s unintentional. Sometimes it’s an attempt at wit. Sometimes it’s deliberate (sad but true).
Combination of “snide” and “remark”. Sarcastic comment(s).
Also snarky (adj.) and snarkily (adv.)
I’ve learned to show my husband things I’ve written that may be construed as snarky. Many times, I disagree with his assessment. (He’s very patient when I ask for his advice, then don’t like it).
Take for example, our exchange over my satiric interview with gender-role-swapping parents. How could that be taken in any way other than the humorous yet thought provoking one I meant?
“It’s just meant to show what can happen if you take things too far. How could anyone possibly take this the wrong way? I’ve made it very obvious.”
“It’s obvious to you. Not to anyone else.”
“But it’s really, really funny. I crack up every time I read it.”
He doesn’t respond to this. We don’t always agree on what constitutes funny.
I usually get a second (and hopefully more agreeable) opinion from my friend, Artisté. Her sense of humor is more compatible with mine.
She’s more diplomatic than my husband: “Well, it’s different, but I’m not really sure if you should post it. It’s really up to you.”
In other words– “Don’t post it.”
As I write tonight, my home town is being ripped apart by a vote for a millage increase to keep our library open. The debate and tension have been escalating for over a year and today is the day of reckoning. I thought of a very witty/snarky saying concerning the situation to post on my facebook. I didn’t think it was political, but I asked my husband about it, just to be sure. He shook his head. “I wouldn’t post it.”
Aaahhh. It gets frustrating. I called Artisté. She said, “It’s funny, but are you sure you want to post it?”
“Yes, why shouldn’t I?” Besides being snarky, I’m dense and I wanted to understand why I shouldn’t post it.
“You should post it, if you’re prepared to deal with the consequences. When you post something remotely political or controversial people are going to respond. They’re going to misunderstand you, or disagree with you and they might get nasty. And you’ll need to address that. If you’re prepared to deal with the backlash or if you want to encourage dialogue about the issue, then by all means publish it. If you don’t want to deal with the consequences, you’d better not publish it.”
OH! I get it. Who knew Artisté was so wise?
I told my husband about our conversation. His attitude was “Duh”, but a patient duh, like that’s what he’s been saying all along.
Just in case I didn’t get it, he reiterated, “You know from personal (and may I add painful) experience that even an email can be misunderstood and end up causing lots of problems. It’s the same with any online posting. You have to be prepared to deal with the consequences.”
Ok, I get it. I may post things that I don’t think are snarky/nasty, but others may take it that way. I’ll be starting trouble I didn’t mean to start.
On the other hand, I keep hearing that controversy is a sure way to promote readership and increase comments. Maybe posting some of this provocative stuff would get more traffic to my site. So why don’t I just post the stuff they say I shouldn’t? Because as much as I may like a post I’ve written, the purpose of my blog is not to stir up controversy or to offend anyone.
I’m not looking for controversy, but I am interested in differing opinions and perspectives. In fact, sharing thoughts was my purpose for starting this blog: A place to confabulate with you, so we can learn more about each other.
Therefore, I’ll try to forgo the snark. I have enough controversy every day in the bubble I share with six other witty people.
April 10, 2011
It was one of those things I swore I’d never have. I also swore I’d never wear four inch heels. Those things have a way of coming back to bite you.
“You need to be on Facebook if you’re going to do a blog,” my friend, Artisté, told me.
I hated to admit that she was right, but she was–all of the “Starting a Blog” blogs agreed on that. So I got a Facebook account.
Here is the first post on my wall (It’s more than a little pathetic):
“Remember your first day of high school or college, before you knew your way around but everyone around you knew where they were going? Intimidating. That’s how I feel right now in the vastness that is Facebook.”
After that, I sat staring at my wall or the news feed hoping the more I stared the more I would understand. I learned it is not a process of osmosis. I had to figure it out myself.
Artisté helped as much as she could and referred a list of people that I might want to friend. I mistakenly thought they wanted to friend me, so I clicked on them all, even those I didn’t know.
But as I began to friend and be friended, I grew excited. So many conversations going on between people I knew that I could join. So many people I had lost touch with. I couldn’t wait to say “hi”.
I sat once again staring at the News Feed. Suddenly, it wasn’t like the first day of school anymore. It was like arriving late to a class reunion. All the people I was excited to see seemed to be in the middle of a conversation with someone else as I stood awkwardly at the entrance thinking: What is the polite way to break into their conversation? Will they think I’m an idiot? What the heck am I going to say/write? Other than “Hi, how have you been?”, I had no idea.
I would strengthen my resolve and click on someone’s wall. Then stare at the screen paralyzed because I still had no idea what to do or say. I would call to one of my daughters, (I hate whining, but I think that is what it occasionally sounded like). They were very patient. If they rolled their eyes, they did it behind my back.
“I need help. What am I supposed to say?”
“Just go on a wall and write something. You’re over-thinking it.”
“They’re in the middle of something with another person. I don’t want to interrupt.”
“You’re not interrupting. That doesn’t even make sense. You just post something.”
I know that one day I’ll be comfortable on Facebook. I’ll leave the nervous freshman in me behind to become the confident sophomore, posting a trail of humorous comments and little snippets on walls throughout its vast expanse.
Maybe after I finish writing this post and drinking my glass of wine, I’ll give it one more try. Well, it is getting late. I think I’ll wait until tomorrow.