All the signs point to me getting off my ass…..

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Life has a way of making a point in a very obvious way.   But sometimes the message, although completely apparent to others, escapes our attention until we have time to rearrange the pieces of the puzzle to complete the bigger picture.

In an earlier post, I wrote about showing my work-in-progress to a fellow employee who is a writing student and currently working on two novels of her own.  Her insight gave me the kick in the ass I needed to throw some gasoline on my slow-burning writing fire and ignite the inferno in my brain.  Subsequently, some interesting things have happened since then.

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A guest of our lodge recently published a children’s book with a great message for young people and I have had the good fortune of being able to pick her brain regarding the editing and self-publishing process.  As I was telling her about my story, and lack of illustration, another hotel guest leaned in and told me she was an illustrator.  It was the trifecta of information.  It was as if the stars had aligned precisely for me at that moment and given me the swift kick in the ass my mother used to so eloquently refer to.

It’s time to so something with the words I have crafted.  It’s time to see what an editor has to say and it’s finally time to take the plunge and see if I can market the stories that originated in the far corners of my mind.

If I had to name the signs that appeared to me , they would be called Simon.   And Simon says, get off your ass!

An unfortunate series of events

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Last night I was scanning through the social media sites, surreptitiously wasting precious moments of my life that I won’t get back, and found a collection of pictures on Facebook that I just had to scan through.  The pictures were of some unfortunate puppy dogs who had run into some bees and the photos had been turned into memes.  As much as I felt sympathy for these poor creatures, I was certainly enjoying the humor of those who wrote the accompanying words.

dog-eats-bee-looks-like-goofy(image credit: weknowmemes.com)

 Fast forward to this morning.  I let Callaway out for her usual morning routine.  I have great faith that she will not run out onto the road since she, like me, is a great creature of habit.  When I went out to let her back in, she wasn’t waiting at the door as per her normal behavior.  I stood on my deck and whistled for her and the jingling of her tags came from a direction that was out of her usual territory.

When her front paws landed on the first stair, I saw the bee on Callaway’s back.  I grabbed the towel that was hanging close by and, after the most ungraceful display of heroics, I swatted the bee away.  But I knew it wasn’t the only strike.  Her usual playful entrance to the house was replaced by a sullen walk to her doggy bed where she lay licking her wounds.  There was no waiting for cookies, only a somewhat embarrassed dog attempting to be brave through her tragedy.

The irony of my previous night’s web surfing did not escape me.  I watched the bumps on my poor dog’s body increase in size and tried to console her as much as I could before I left for work.  In a matter of minutes my dog had gone from svelte to lumpy.

I’m glad I live close to my work because I couldn’t stand the worry and came home at 10:30 this morning to make sure she was okay.  Her pride was a little bruised but her physical condition was stable.  There was nothing a bit of love and a few more cookies couldn’t fix.  As I type this post, the swelling is going down and Callaway’s sense of adventure seems to be somewhat diminished…..for now.  She seems to be content to watch the wildlife from inside the house.

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For whom the writing bell tolls

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“Better to write for the self and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” ~ Cyril Connolly

It never ceases to amaze me how simple it is to get lost in the world of words.  How easily we become swayed by others opinions can have an enormous effect on what and when we write. We work so hard to keep our momentum flowing that we become exhausted in the process and dehydrate the well of our writing essence.

Although I still have muddied water in my reservoir of ideas, I have been caught up in the impetus of the WordPress world, as well as other writing competitions, and found myself being pulled in different directions when it comes to the content of my writing. There are no posts that I wish I didn’t write but I’m sure if I read back through some of my earlier posts I would find entries that were written in expressions far removed from the inner voices I contend with on a regular basis – posts written to impress others rather than being written for the sake of writing.

An artist is always unique. Whether a masterpiece is painted on canvas, developed into photographs or has a myriad of materials blended to create a single form, no two depictions of an idea will ever be identical. Each artist has a vision that can only be created by their idiosyncratic brain.  I cannot imagine an abstract artist would ever pause to wonder how many people will appreciate their work – they simply have a need to create.

The-Book-of-Life-a-colorful-metal-art-sculpture-by-David-Kracov-that-depicts-a-book-dissolving-into-butterflies

(image courtesy of mayhemandmuse.com)

The same can be said for the art of writing – authors simply feel the need to write.  Each wordsmith is encouraged by the ubiquitous string of letters that form into words in their imagination and the story will then develop a life of its own.  Writing is an adventure and one that each mind should be free to express on a whim. It should be a journey that begins in our mind and flows through our veins until it reaches our fingertips.  It should embody our true creative process and be written for the sole purpose of expressing ourselves.  Our creativity should not be stifled by the boundaries of an audience but should be free to shout at top decibel to all who understand our passion.

Writing for self is writing from the heart.  This freedom with the written word has no structure, it has no defined audience and it allows us to reach deep within ourselves to convey what lurks behind our conscious mind.

Helicopter parenting and stating the obvious

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Helicopter-Parenting

 

(image credit: teenlife.com)

I had a remarkable interaction with a parent of a teenager who will be ready to face the working world next summer.   This particular parent just happened upon our resort to scope out potential lodging to stay at next spring while his son pounded the pavement to find himself a job.  The most important part of that previous sentence are the words  “to find himself a job“.

Too often over the last few years I have had conversations with parents gushing about the talents of their children and why said child would be perfect for a job at our resort.  Never in those golden moments of being told how great “Johnny” was did I ever speak to “Johnny” himself.  It has become the norm for parents to act on behalf of their offspring in hopes of finding them gainful employment.  One of the most unfortunate parts of this new trend is that the child will never gain that self-confidence that you can only achieve by creating a resume, making that first phone call to ask about a job and securing a job with a face-to-face interview.

While it is regrettable, I am among many in the position of hiring students who inevitably put “Johnny’s” resume at the bottom of the pile.  What kind of employee will “Johnny” be if he is not eager and hungry enough to seek out and secure his own job?   These kids learn nothing about achieving goals if somebody else does the work.  They will never understand the concept that the world owes us nothing – that you have to work for what you get.  The blades of their helicopter parents are slicing away at their chance of being successful on their own merit.

Life is about disappointment, but still having that drive to succeed.  Life is about making mistakes but learning lessons from those mistakes.  If our future generations are to succeed, they need to learn how to try and, potentially, learn how to fail.  They need to fly on their own and crash a couple of times before they have clear skies.

Thank you to that incredible dad who was allowing his son to leave the nest and fly on his own.  Please send him our way.  I’d be happy to have a look at his resume and chat with “Johnny” for a while about a job for next summer.

Reworking the image of a mid-life crisis

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I have noticed a few things about myself as I gracefully grow older, particularly over the last few years.  Grey hair and wrinkles notwithstanding, my perspective has evolved from the relatively carefree attitude I once enjoyed.   Gone are the days I flippantly put that first toe into the soothing waters of a hot tub and let my body follow.  Public pools are a distant memory and the frequency of my hand washing has increased exponentially.  Hell, these days I even avoid soaking in a bathtub.  I refuse to call myself a germaphobe but, if the label fits, I have three letters for myself – O C D.

I don’t know when this nuance in my psyche first began to form but it has taken root and branched out at an uncomfortable rate.  I haven’t reached the breaking point of color coding my closet or having my remote controls in a line at a 45 degree angle, yet, but I do notice the trending pattern and it has become somewhat disconcerting.

Perhaps this is a natural evolution from childhood to adulthood.  Maybe this is simply my acceptance of dealing with reality from an educated viewpoint.  Or just maybe, this is my mid-life crisis.  Conceivably I am taking things far too seriously but I cannot seem to access the earlier frame of mind that allowed me to live with reckless abandon.  I am stymied by my overwhelming urge to retreat from public spaces and the sharing of any bodily excretions that are emitted into public water.

midlife crisis(image credit:  someecards.com)

I can only hope that the misgivings of my mid-life irrationality will subside.  I hope to be able to, once again, access that childhood abandon that allowed my to enjoy my life without second-guessing it, or at least bring me reasonably close to that feeling again.  If not, I fear I may be sending my future blog posts via Skype from the bubble I have inhabited while banging on the keyboard through my rubber gloves!

Have you noticed any noteworthy changes as you’ve gotten older?

Peace in pieces

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piece of my heart

Patiently I await a peace in my heart,

wanting to no longer feel bereft.

But sadly there is a piece of my heart,

you took with you when you left.

Stories I want to share with you

now fall on invisible ears.

The longing to hear your reaction

only reduces me to tears.

I know somehow you hear me,

you know exactly what I have to say.

And I know you well enough to know

you’re with me every step of the way.

My heart continues to beat as it should

but an echo can be heard from within.

Only the healing of time can restore my peace

and put back that piece that fits in.

~

(image credit)

Why? Why did the chicken cross the road?

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Lately I have been asking myself that question ad nauseam.  Surely there are a plethora of answers to this age-old question but in my case the punchline is “to take up residence at my neighbor’s house and cover my little slice of heaven with a large grey cloud”.

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(image credit: nbcnews.com)

My house is my oasis.  It shields me from the reality of living in a tourist town by being perfectly located on a road that is five minutes outside of our bustling summer metropolis.   I live on a residential street that has only three houses and during the summer I can see neither of my neighbors through the seasonal foliage.  My home offers seclusion, it embodies peace and it epitomizes tranquility.

Until recently that trifecta of relaxation was a normal daily occurrence – and then things went completely fowl.  The neighbors decided to add six chickens and one rooster to their family.  The rooster, although inept at figuring out that he should only crow in the morning, was not a problem in the beginning.  Until I heard his chatter when I was leaving for work and again when I was coming home, I could not hear his incessant noise when I was safe in the confines of my home.  But the winds of change began blowing.  And by that I mean that the North-West wind pushed the scent of the coop right into my living room.

My dog seems to enjoy the pungent stench of bird but I prefer the oven-roasted-to-perfection variety.  There is a noticeable level of odor when dealing with fecal matter and chicken poop ranks high on the list of loathsome smells.  There have been many occasions when my dear, sweet pooch has come home with the lingering funk of Raccoon poop, or as my dad used to call it “Coon Coloogne”.  But even Raccoon poop can’t hold a candle to chicken shit.  Callaway found the mother load this morning and proceeded to baste herself in what she thought was a wonderful perfume and she was so happy to come home and share it with me.

I bathed her once before I went to work.  I bathed her again when I got home and the scent still permeates my home and my nostrils.  It is the smell that will not die, yet smells like death.  I have sprayed my living room screen with Lysol deodorizer and thankfully the direction of the wind has changed slightly.

If you receive an invitation for a sumptuous roasted chicken dinner, please remember to thank the neighbors on your way home!