Posts tagged ‘Personal’

The Reluctant Success

In following with the current popularity of the Law of Attraction I am writing this as if I am a success, not the halting, undisciplined writer that I am.  I mean was. 

I had the worst possible childhood for a writer…a reasonably idyllic Midwestern childhood of riding bikes on country roads, Kids’ Day with parades, ferris wheels (yes, I could see my house from the top), and painted store windows, a popcorn stand on the corner, and yes, fresh sweetcorn from my grandmother’s farm and tomatoes from the garden.   Did I mention scaring pigs and watching their cute little back-ends race across a field?

If you’re looking for a dark side to this, it would be my brother providing most of the entertainment, throwing up strawberry shortcake from the top of the Octopus, that stomach churning up-down-swing you around amusement ride, or splitting open his knuckles on his rusty bike fender, or knocking himself silly when the metal seat of the swing whacked him on the back of the head.  That one got me out of my piano lesson and straight to the doctor’s waiting room.  The biggest suspense in my life was what was going to happen to him next.

Life was pretty easy…school was fun and I got good grades without trying too hard, learned the piano despite doing it my way instead of my teacher’s way, got into the college I wanted, didn’t die from being stupid, my periods were easy, childbirth was easy (well at least I forgot the worst parts), and now what?  What did I learn?  Well, it certainly wasn’t  how to push myself through the boring parts of life, to struggle to get ahead, to really work for a dream.  I mean, why?  I could be pretty happy and content mosey-ing through life, accomplishing a certain amount, a little travel, good jobs more meaningful than well paid, living in a pretty home in a pretty town.  But.

But now what?  I’m at the age where easy isn’t good enough, I get to put my dreams first rather than those of my kids or my husband, or anyone.  I have a small window of time before I need to start putting priorities to my parents needs, so I need to get going.  But how? 

Being an avid collector of quotes from Bartlett’s to The Portable Curmudgeon and every self-help book on a shelf, I have a million bits of good advice, inspiring, cajoling, sassy, wise, and not one of them will kick me in the rear and get me going.  Not long term at least. Only I can do that, and I’m not very good at it.  I know how many times Edison tried to invent the lightbulb, how many rejections William Kennedy recieved before getting Ironweed published, and that failure is mandatory (What! No one told me that when I was growing up!). 

And so my research begins, corraling the resources and supports around me, to believe my friends when they say, “I’d read that” about my book idea, gather my books and advice givers, and yes, you’re right, Karen Lamb, ” a year from now you may wish you had started today.”  I know, I know.

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May 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm 6 comments

Writing Jesus’s Name in the Dust

“I just love writing Jesus’s name in the dust,”  an acquaintance quoted her now ex-mother-in-law saying as they finished up a tour of the new home and life she and her partner had begun back in home territory after being gone for years and years.  I shared my story of a business guest noting after dinner, that “dusting isn’t really that important is it?”   My story was at least free of any lifestyle commentary, but we still laughed at the veiled disapproval and passive aggressive stance of “but I was really agreeing with you.”  I think not.

So here I am dusting someone else’s house and tempted by the light felted canvas on each surface, wanting to add a heart or smiley face or my name, tempted by that virgin space as cave dwellers, tree carvers, wet sidewalk signers and graffiti artists have been for ages.  Even my cat turned into a billboard, her pure white sides calling for decoration.  So one Christmas to amuse the kids – what was I thinking – I outlined a green Christmas tree on her side with washable, non-toxic marker (no animals were hurt in this process, only embarrassed).  Of course the kids shrieked in glee, but I had not thought through the consequences, that it opened the door of what next.  There was a year or so that Snowball sported many the seasonal symbol, but the fun stopped when both pre-teen and cat had hot pink hair.  Everyone got a bath then and the line was drawn.  No more decorating the cat.  But express ourselves we must,  and spray bottles and food color were purchased and the snowy yard turned into a 4-color diorama of sharks and waves and snow swimmers.  It was great.

So here’s to all those artists big and small, to expressing ourselves and encouraging others to let it out.  It makes me feel like Peter Pan, hands on hips ready to crow, “I did that!”  The expansive freedom of seeing a thought or idea come to life is so exhilarating, it becomes the definition of life itself, and I can’t wait for what’s next.

March 6, 2010 at 10:54 am 4 comments


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