Just Keep Writing

Dear Writers,

Just because someone you know has not been able to publish any of their 20 manuscripts….does not mean you won’t be able to publish your 1 manuscript.

I finally met a fellow writer…in person. I feel like most of the writers I know are trapped in the glass, plastic and metal components of my cell phone or laptop, in the world of social media. Every now and then I think to myself I wish some of these writer people lived nearbywhat great friends we’d be! It’s strange because sometimes it’s hard to imagine these people (often in different countries!) are actually real. And I am sure Pennsylvania has writers…I just need to get out more… visit more coffee shops perhaps.

But finally, I was able to sit face to face, shake the hand of an actual fellow writer. Let me just say, it is awesome to be chatting with someone and discover they are a writer too!

I was in Colorado last week, at an interview. You know me, it seems lately when I am not writing I spend my time either at interviews or preparing for interviews. LOL. I even have an interview later today (wish me luck)!  A blog post may be coming soon about interviews, What I have Learned So Far or Interviews and Introverts (Although I don’t know if I’m exactly an introvert…just SCARED SILLY when it comes to interviewing!). I have now had Skype, Government, interviews in front of a board of 5+ people, phone interviews, interviews with presentations, interviews with literary agents (the MOST terrifying!), interviews in which the interviewers pretended to be students misbehaving (the latest)….and more. So definitely have had a broad range of experiences, some very positive and some not so much! So stay tuned for this future post!

Anyway, back in Colorado. The writer I met was a History Teacher and let me just say the man was intelligent.I'm Brilliant It wasn’t that he was one of those people who tries to shove their intelligence in your face, “BTW…I’m brilliant!” He was one of those people whose words, mannerisms, and whole persona spoke of genius.

Like without trying the intelligence would pop out of him in little bursts. Anyway, SUPER, SUPER nice guy! In conversation he hears me say that I’m a writer/working on writing a Historic Romantic Suspense series. We get to talking and he has written a several books. Boy was I excited to hear from this more seasoned writer’s experiences. One of my favorite comments he told me (while laughing) he received from an agent rejection letter was, “Loved your characters, but the end of the book was like an empty room with white walls.” As he told me more and more about his experience he said he could probably fill a small room with the number of letters, emails and notes of the times he’s been rejected. I felt my stomach twist.

I’ve always believed that some way, some how if I don’t give up I will find an agent, I will get published. It may take a LONG time and a lot of rejections but I believed that if I didn’t quit it would pay off. Hearing that this amount of rejection happened to a man who doesn’t quit easily, who is incredibly brilliant, and his book had yet to been published… was discouraging.

But then…

That is his story.

Not mine. (NOT YET anyway!)

I just want to tell all of you writers out there it can get discouraging when you hear about the failures and rejections other writers have experienced. (Especially when those writers are brilliant and creative and good at what they do!) But just because they got rejected does not mean YOU will.

DON’T GIVE UP. KEEP WRITING!

Change 

Change. 

It’s a word that makes me excited and strikes fear into my heart all at the same time. 

There’s lots of different types of change. I like to categorize them into four general groups.

The GOOD- This is the kind of change that all, any human welcomes eagerly. This change in life’s story involves something awesome happening that you’ve only dreamed of happening. And you embrace it, with all your heart. For example: You just won the lottery! 

The BAD- this change isn’t actually bad…it’s a great thing. Its change that is saving you from something bad–your saving grace. This second group of change is tough but it’s necessary. This type of change usually involves our willpower. We don’t eagerly accept it.  We fight through it because if we realize if we don’t change we are headed for disaster. Example: losing weight, getting out of a bad relationship, overcoming an addiction.

The UGLY- This type of change refers to situations in which we have no control over. It is thrust upon us without our choice.This change is usually very unexpected and often unpleasant (at first). Example: losing a job, getting bit by a super spider and becoming Spider-Man.

And then there’s that last category of change–the one the bulk of this post is about.

The CHOICE. This category of change is  when in life you find yourself facing a path which leads two, five, or seventeen different ways. Each one of them means change, you just have to decide which path to take. You know you can’t just stand there and not ever choose. These are the changes that you are in control of but often leave you with questions and the dreaded task of making a decision and sticking to it. This type of change involves taking a risk or a chance. And sometimes you don’t know how it will turn out. Haha! Can you guess which category of change I am facing right now!? 😉 

As I was thinking about change and making a decision, this thought hit me. 

What really makes a good life? 

You do. 

It’s not money or a perfect job or a house on the beach…you make your life good. It’s up to you. Even though I’d love all those things….I can still be happy without them. There’s nothing more dangerous than waiting for something to happen to live and fully enjoy life. You’ve got to choose happiness where you’re at, you’ve got to choose to make the most of your life now. If you live each day to its fullest–smiling, thankful, laughing, building good relationships, loving people, helping people, exploring, etc., no matter where life takes you…rich or poor, moving here or there…you will have a good life. There are so many things we have no control over in life, but what we do have control over is our attitudes and actions. 

What’s the point of all of this? 

Change happens. Sometimes it’s good sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes you have a say in the matter and sometimes you don’t. But no matter what change brings your way…you can always be in charge of how you face it or reacte to it.

Stay positive! Do good! Make people know they matter! Try your best! Be the best possible version of yourself! Enjoy the little things! If you’re doing that…no matter what path you take, what change you embrace…it will be okay!

It counts

Sometimes there are things we simply cannot fix or change.

I’m thinking of those moments when a friend, co-worker,  family member, acquaintance is hurting. The sparkle in their eyes has been replaced with tears, they don’t smile anymore…it’s like part of them has been stolen, which is partially true. And gosh, you just want to make them smile again, take away the pain and give them sunny skies.

There is a group of personality types out there I’d like to call the “fixers” and “helpers”. Fixers and helpers are driven to, as the name suggests, fix things…if we could, we would make the world have sunshine every single day.Fixers love to see people happy and make people happy; when someone isn’t happy or is hurting, fixers instantly want to fix it, they feel driven to help. Most, if not all of us, have a certain amount of this fixer/helper personality in us…it makes you human to care about another human.

But sometimes there are  things you cannot fix. Sometimes the hurt is so deep, too deep. Or the hurt and pain is something you cannot relate to at all… and you feel powerless. You want to help, but you can’t; you want to take the pain away, but you can’t. The person feels so far, so out of reach, and you don’t know what to do or say.

Today while I was at work printing paper after paper, this thought struck me: You may not be able to “fix” or take away someone’s pain…but you can be there. And just being there COUNTS. Just giving someone a hug COUNTS. Telling someone “Let me know what I can do to help” COUNTS. Even if you don’t see it, your presence counts to someone that is hurting.

People handle grief and disappointment differently…but we all appreciate when our friends and family are simply THERE for us–ready to talk to, ready to give a hug, ready to just sit in the same room with us.

Sometimes you may not feel like you are helping someone at all, you may feel like giving up…DON’T. You ARE making a difference…even if you don’t see it right now. BE AVAILABLE, GIVE PEOPLE HUGS (where words cannot go, touch often can!), AND DON’T GIVE UP…..IT COUNTS.

Work Dreams, gotta love ’em

Have you ever had a “work” related dream? You know the type of sleep where you feel like you are still…at work…all night long and when you wake up you are beat?

I have had these type of dreams many times. Sometimes it is just a dream where I am late to work, like 7 hours late. Other times I am surrounded by infinite piles of paper work that I have to get through before a certain time.

My favorite work dream I ever had, came of course, from the zoo I worked at. During my days at the zoo, I had always prided myself on being able to make PERFECT ice cream cones. I had it down to a science. My cones where huge and perfectly balanced. I could even get that little curl at the top of the ice cream. One day people literally were pouring into the restaurant chanting, “I scream you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” They weren’t really chanting that, but there were A LOT of people who ordered ice cream. I made HUNDREDS of cones that day. At the end of it all I was covered in sticky ice cream goo and I never ever wanted to see another waffle cone in my life. I ended up working a catering event, making my day a whopping 13 hours. When I got home, I desperately needed rest. I showered off and tucked myself into bed, thankful to be able to finally stop moving my aching legs and arms. I fell asleep within a few minutes. I would be refreshed and ready for another day of work in the morning.

However, my night was less than restful. For hours in the night I dreamed I was making ice cream cone after ice cream cone. Chocolate, Vanilla, Twist. Waffle cone. Cake cone. Cup. Would you like a cherry on top? At 3:00 AM I woke up, exhausted and my mouth parched. I walked to the kitchen to quench my thirst and returned to my bedroom (that I shared with my twin sister at the time) and got back into bed. I lay in the pillow trying to empty my mind of all things zoo and ice cream related. Suddenly a voice pierced the relatively silent night (other than the snoring coming from my parents’ room, which was on the other side of the house! My Mom always said my Dad’s snoring sounding like he was sawing down a forest).

It was just a few mumbles at first then out came words that sounded like a foreign language, perhaps from the Amazon jungles. I giggled. It was Andrea, fast asleep across the room in her bed. I always wanted and have tried to successfully have a conversation with someone while they were sleep talking, get them to reveal their secrets. So far I haven’t been successful. This particular night I was too exhausted. I had my own ice cream nightmares to worry about. The mumbling continued. Then, at last I could understand a few words.

“Ch-o-co-mmmmm. MMMMM.” “W-would you like chocolate, v-v-vanilla, or twistssss?” Andrea mumbled, her voice sounded into a groan.

I laughed. Chocolate, vanilla, or twist? Was Andrea being haunted by ice cream dreams too? She had been there at the zoo with me, had experienced the entire ice cream mob.

“Would you like a w-w-w-affle c-co-ne or c-cake coooone?” She continued after a few more moans and sighs.

I was laughing. Poor Andrea! I half expected her to sleep walk over to an imaginary ice cream machine and make an imaginary ice cream cone.

In the morning I asked her casually, “So, how’d you sleep?”

“Uugggg. I felt like I was at work…ALL NIGHT LONG!” She said, groaning.

I told her about how she slept talked and how I too dreamed of ice cream. We laughed together about how both of our nights were haunted by a monster, a Freddy Krueger, called Ice cream.

What has your last work dream been like? Do you sleep talk? What’s the weirdest thing you have said or heard a friend say? 

Photo Friday…on Saturday…

Sister road trips are the best. At the time we all worked at the zoo, (it was a family thing-4 of us worked there!) it had been a busy day for Spring and we could not get that clock to tick fast enough. Finally, the floors were scrubbed and mopped, the chairs turned over, the lights turned out, the mouse traps set (haha! Truth! Mice love cotton candy apparently) -with a final glance, we ran out the door and into 10 days of freedom, aka vacation time. Andrea and I had just graduated from college, and if you have gone to a college far from home, you probably understand that empty feeling of returning home and going from having tons of friends to 2 friends- not to mention one of them is your sister. I could not wait to get to Florida, neither could Katie and Andrea, and we decided we wouldn’t wait. The night before and that morning we packed our bags and had them waiting at the front door. The plan was to head out right when we changed out of our zoo gear and said our good byes to our parents. It was nearly 7:00pm when we finally hit the road. We planned on driving straight through, and with three people we formed a “driver rotation”. One person would sleep in the back, one person would drive, one person in the passenger seat would keep the driver awake. I have always liked starting a road trip at night especially if it is an over 20 hour drive and you don’t want to “waste” an ounce of money by staying at a hotel. When you start the trip you have adrenaline on your side, helping keep you awake and alert and then when the sun comes up you are more than half-way there! My boyfriend and I are total opposites when it comes to driving at night. He says he likes to see scenery. Well there ain’t much scenery in Northern New Mexico!

Back to my story: It was a little past midnight when I started driving on the lonely and barren highway. There were few cars, and just a whole lot of nothing, maybe a few tumbleweeds but it was so hard to see them anyway. I was drinking black Columbian coffee, gross but keeps you AWAKE and singing with the radio. This was SOOOO boring. My driving “buddy” that was supposed to keep  me awake, fell asleep! It was just me and the road and the thick blackness of an area with no houses and no cities for miles. I looked out the window and gasped. There was a dark shadow of some kind of rock formation. But what stood out to me was the backdrop-Thousands, millions of stars. I pulled over and woke up Andrea and Katie. We hopped out of the car and stood there with our heads bent upwards, staring at a sky filled with glittering stars. We didn’t say anything for a while. There was nothing to say and too much to say all at once. It was so beautiful. I had never before seen so many stars. New Mexico was meant to be driven through at night.

photo credit: google images

photo credit: google images

Where is the spot you have seen the most stars?

Poem, The Girl With Thick Framed Glasses

This is a poem I started a long time ago and finally picked up last week and finished.

The Girl With Thick Framed Glasses

Behind her glasses

Those thick-lined frames

She was one of those people everyone passes,

Disappearing in a sea of names.

Brown hair pulled into a ponytail

A smile touched her pink lips

Her skin was freckled and pale

Her cheeks the color of rose tips.

She worked in the college café

Ringing up orders, making frappes

And by brewing coffee, saving the day-

At least mine, anyway.

The girl that no one for sure knew

Was the one my throat got tight around

When I tried to say “Hi”, my legs turned to glue

My palms got sweaty, my heart would pound.

Behind those thick framed glasses

Were her beautiful eyes-

The color of ginger and molasses-

The love in them stretched to the skies.

To the world she was just a cashier

That rang up their orders each day,

No one noticed her brown hair

Shine when the sun hit it a certain way.

To the world she may not have mattered much,

Just the coffee stop on the way to their classes-

So many lives she did subtly touch,

The girl behind the thick framed glasses.

Talk to the girl that visits your dreams

Who is an angel, just without wings.

Talk to the give with the sweet face,

Whose movements are all touched with grace.

On the last day of school I had one chance

To ask her to the end of year dance.

I walked into the café-

But I couldn’t find the words to say.

“She already has a date,” I thought

“Tell her how you feel!” My courage fought.

She was the girl I longed to know-

She was beautiful, but I couldn’t tell her so.

I paused and looked at her once more-

And turned back, and out the door.

I am the girl with thick framed glasses

The girl that everyone passes

The girl that no one notices in a crowd

Even though I’m screaming so loud.

I’m the girl that needs to know

That in the middle of hundreds of lights,

Someone sees my glow.

I’m the girl that needs to know

That in this big world I am not alone

That I am wanted and longed to be known.

I wrote this with the thought that someone out there may NEED to know they are cared about. Someone out there may NEED YOU. Don’t just assume they know you care…..tell them.

photo friday: Wind Blown

Today’s Photo Friday is a picture that “wowed” me. From growing up in Colorado, I was always fascinated by trees and plants that grew out of the side of rocks and even sideways sometimes off the side of a cliff. But I had never seen a tree like the one pictured, that refused to break during a horrible wind storm. The picture below is of a wind-blown juniper tree on the Island of El Hierro, the Canary Islands. Can you imagine what that wind must have been like? More importantly, can you imagine the strength of this tree’s roots? It is amazing how sometimes we don’t realize how strong/powerful nature can be.

This tree makes me think of those people who never seem to give up, no matter how hard their life’s storm is. They may be bent, but they are not broken. It also made me think of the simple truth of “nurturing things”. If you take care of something, give it nutrients- it will grow stronger and stronger and when the bad things/wind come it won’t break. Life works the same way most of the time. If we nurture our relationships by pouring in communication, time, love etc. they become stronger and stronger and you can survive fights, disagreements, rumors, tears, whatever. It is the same thing that goes for work, parenting, writing, faith, and physical health. Learn to be someone who is always trying to grow, who is always building whether it’s your relationship or a skill; the more you practice, the more you nurture, the better and stronger you become.

photo credit: google images

photo credit: google images

Photo FridayWho is someone you have met that is the strongest person you’ve ever known?