In Houses of the Broken, Lacey reflects “There’s nothing more pathetic than being dumped by a loser… ”
But, many of you won’t know if that’s true or not.
After nearly 18 months, my ‘indie publishing’ experience has come to an end. I can’t say I’m thrilled, but the thing about taking a leap of faith is; sometimes you fall. Does it hurt my pride? Sure. Do I feel stupid for trying? Absolutely. Did it send me in to a debilitating pit of despair over the past 6 months? Most definitely.
Will it stop me? No.
I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say, but I won’t say most of it. I don’t want to break the internet. (I have a vivid imagination and the vocabulary of a well educated sailor.) But I feel it can best be summarized the classic parent trap: I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
I gambled and I lost. It happens, just spend an afternoon browsing Writer Beware. What will I do now? Rally. It might take longer than I like, the Valley of Darkness is long and wide, but eventually it will sink on the horizon behind me. And there it will remain, a wasteland of forgotten times.
I’ve come eye to eye with the worst than can happen. From now on, there is no fear, just some healthy motivation based on spite.
November 15, 2015 | Categories: Blog, Houses of the Broken, News | Tags: 2015, advice, amazon, analysis paralysis, announcement, author, baitandswitch, balance, bitch, blog, book, carnage, crisis, damage, dames, difficulty, disappointment, indieauthor, publishing, valleyofdarkness, writerbeware | Leave a comment
Soul searching is a tricky beast. The time spent rambling around in my own head would make me a millionaire if I could put it to better use. Times change, preferences shift and every once in a while you’re left working without a net and the only way out is down. I problem solve for a living, but the down side is sometimes that analytical beast looks in the mirror and it’s hard to break the gaze.
Seeking a little more organized way to rationalize through things, I found a career blog that suggested asking yourself the following questions, stream of consciousness style. They are universal in nature and could easily be adapted to almost any person and situation. After compiling and reading over the responses that took me several days I did have to chuckle to myself. It reminds me of a Tarot reading that high school kids would give each other, flipping through the little book of divinity sworn to give you all the answers. Your mileage may vary.
Q.1) What are you working on? What is important at this point in your life? What are your own goals?
A.1) I’m working on keeping an income, finishing my house and establishing myself as a writer. At this point being financially secure and finishing my home is my main energy usage. My goal is to wrap my passions in to my daily life, have time and means to explore and experiment, and have a sanctuary for myself and my family. Another goal is to quit being stressed based on the actions of others – get away from the negative vibes and the stranger I feel myself becoming.
But now I know it’s best not to tell others your goals because once it is out, the internal governor has no power.
Q.2) What is your ideal situation? How would you like your life to look? What would you change in your job, your living situation, your activities and your relationships if you had a magic wand?
A.2) If I had a magic wand – and only with a touch of magic – the house would be done, correctly restored inside and out with a workshop and a clean play yard. I would be out of my *profession and/or in a position where I wasn’t stuck at a desk and didn’t constantly have to compromise myself. There would be encouragement, humor and innovation with hands on applications.
I would de-stress my personal relationships. More time to do the things we need to thrive, not just survive. I’m tired of being just a survivor.
Q.3) Write about your day. What did you think about?
A.3) After reviewing my inbox, I spent the day waiting to hear from people that never reply. I stare at the screen and my desk and try to think of ways to keep productive while I wait since I never know when I might get the critical piece of information that will allow everything to fall in to place.
I think about how nice it is outside after this god-forsaken winter, and how it’s a crime to sit here and stare at nothing.
Then I send another email to an unresponsive consultant.
I think about everything I wish I could focus on. House, garden, farming, future, books, art, cooking, chillaxing with my dog… I think about what it would really be like to leave my *profession.
I think about being gobbled up by the Nothing.
Q.4) Write about your ideas. What have you been thinking about?
A.4) I’ve been thinking about how to make a better root beer, imagining taste profiles that I’ve been missing and how they would combine. I’m thinking about how much I actually want to sell my soul to get what I want. I’m tired of compromise, is it worth the risk? Will I have spent all of this time and energy and wind up with nothing? I’m always thinking about how to protect myself.
I’m thinking about getting my cookbook together. Re-starting the food blog. I need to find my passion again. I need to get back in to my Saturday morning routine.
I’m thinking about how to get our bathroom finished and how the heck to get the monster bath tub upstairs without injuring someone.
I’m thinking about my next book and if it’s even worth finishing.
Q.5) Write about the people who buoy you up and increase your mojo level. What is it about those people that make them mojo builders for you?
A.5) There aren’t many people in my life right now that meet that description but when things were good it was the people who were genuinely interested in what I had to say, encouraging and happy to find out how things were going. People who were able to exchange ideas and brainstorm without drowning out my voice and challenging everything I said whether they needed to or not. Being believed in can go a long way.
Many people are encouraging until you actually start to make progress.
Q.6) Choose one thing you’d like to add and one thing you’d like to take away.
A.6) I would like to add more travel and take away being chained to my desk.
Q.7) What do you want to accomplishing during the rest of your life?
A.7) I want to find something I’m good at that doesn’t make me feel miserable, compromised and out of control. I want to be independent and stable, the less I have to rely on people the better.
I don’t really care about a bucket list because tastes and values change, along with the economy and politics around us. I want the freedom and flexibility to explore things as they come to me without having to justify myself or apologize for being different.
*profession withheld for the safety of the human race.
May 5, 2015 | Categories: Serials, Third Life | Tags: 2015, advice, analysis paralysis, answers, author, balance, blog, career, career change, creative, dog, introspection, prompts, questions, theory, third life crisis | Leave a comment
It only took a couple of days before I realized one fatal flaw to my plan of reinvention. Once you know someone, you don’t look at them. You might see them, and acknowledge their presence enough to hand them something or not run in to them at the coffee pot, but you don’t really LOOK at them.
Short of wearing bells, I’m not sure any subtle changes to my appearance or stance are going to get noticed. Maybe it’s a good thing, since it answers the big ‘what if’ but it seems like a lackluster result.
The dreary cold will not let go in our region. I suspect that until the sun shines for a couple days and we start to see the flush of green, that most people will still continue in their hibernation state.
Wake me in July.
April 9, 2015 | Categories: Blog, Serials, Third Life | Tags: advice, analysis paralysis, author, balance, blog, book, crisis, fashion, insecurity, make up, self esteem | Leave a comment
Is it better to be pretty or smart? Welcome to my poorly contrived social experiment.
As my professional and life experience grows and I become entrusted with more responsibility, I can’t help but feeling more left behind. I’m in my mid-30’s, never been a ‘girly girl’ and most often wore the badge of ‘nerd’ in my academic days. I have a mind for problem solving, and enough social skills to get me through some of the most complicated business meetings (Smiling through clenched teeth should be listed on my resume under special skills or maybe additional languages.)
This bad idea started as most bad ideas do. At the bottom of a glass at the end of the bar, at the end of another long, confusing, frustrating week. “… you know, I have a push up bra too, maybe I need to wear it to start getting some recognition around there…” And that’s all it takes for an idea to bloom in the prickly garden of discontent.
I wish I could encapsulate the montage of identity crisis that followed.
“Maybe I should dress nicer… maybe I should wear make up… maybe I should keep my mouth shut…” this would go on for a few minutes before the angel on the other side chimed in.
“Screw them! Your cup size has nothing to do with how well you do your job. Big hair and bad perfume shouldn’t dictate who gets more attention.”
“But….” the other side would whisper “… it does.”
I was vexed. After some serious rationalizations and my friends evenly dividing between “No, you don’t need it!” and “Do what makes you feel best.” I decided to hit the warpaint store. I don’t even know how to shop for make up right. It all looks the same to me and all costs 3x more than I think it should. My goal, however, was fairly simple. Start testing out new looks. Simple, understated and professional. Going full on clown college was not going to get the right response for my goals. (Well, we may revisit that later…) I am the type that gets funny looks when I show up in something other than boots and dockers. I hate being cold and uncomfortable, and I have to be able to go crawl through a muddy basement or a dusty attic at a moments notice. It’s hard to wear a wiggle dress and climb up on a roof, no matter how dedicated you are to looking fabulous.
While I do sometimes envy the women that can run a 5k in stilettos, I don’t often have issues with the fact that I’m not one of them. (Though being able to wear a pair of heels for more than 5 minutes without an oozing blister or calf knotting foot cramp would be nice.) I do my job, I do it well, and I’m usually pretty well prepared…but… BUT…. not being polished and prissy in the process sometimes holds me to a disadvantage. I don’t get dragged in to extra important meetings (well maybe this isn’t exactly a disadvantage…), and I don’t get invited along to the quick lunches with the clients or consultants when they pass through town. (I’m rethinking this ‘disadvantage’ thing…) And while I hate wasting my time on the social niceties, it still… stings.
So my bargain with myself is thus: Start presenting myself as a stereotypical female, for a month, and see what happens. Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. But then I’ll know.
It was grey and bleak this morning. I took my time getting out of bed, so I didn’t have a lot of extra time on my hands getting ready. My hair was done (takes 5 minutes) and I turned to leave the bathroom.
“Oh… shit… that’s right…” I stared at the medicine cabinet longer than I should have, trying to dismiss this whole idea as silly so I could just be on my way. It only takes a few seconds…the other voice chimed. “Fine.” A few swipes of neutral eyeshadow, enough to claim I did it.
The gauntlet has been thrown.
April 1, 2015 | Categories: Third Life | Tags: advice, analysis paralysis, author, balance, blog, creative, crisis | Leave a comment
2014 has been a strange year. On paper it doesn’t look so bad, but to many of us it has been a mind numbing, soul crushing sequence of days. For me, this year has seen a lot of unrealized potential. Small flashes in the pan that keep a person spurred on, perhaps. While not much came to fruition, there are a number of things I didn’t realize I even had on my bucket list, that I can now cross off.
The year started with a new job. In the middle of the polar vortex. In a very old building. Nothing like starting a new job and immediately having to notify someone that the plumbing was frozen.
In lighter events, here is a simple list of highlights, there are a million emotional roller coasters that happened as each item played out:
- Started a new, higher profile job.
- Pitched a reality TV show.
- Tried to start a business.
- Joined roller derby.
- Auditioned for a different reality TV show.
- Got a book contract for my first novel.
- Tried to start a business.
- Survived a season of roller derby and actually played a bout (at my age!)
- Covergirl for a photography business.
- Tried to start a business.
- Got unintentionally published in a magazine.
This was not a year of travel and adventure for us, it was a year of change and keeping things close to home due to such a shaky job market. Realignment of priorities, establishing some aggressive goals, and keeping ourselves sane. It didn’t always work, and it was never really easy, but we’ve made it so far. I’m still not sure where summer went.
Overall, I wish the word ‘perseverance’ didn’t come up so often, but there’s not much of a choice if you want to change your stars. 2014 started the trend of letting go, and I suspect 2015 will include some of the same. It’s a challenge not to give in and quit when things are hard. I’ve dealt with some new people I hope I don’t ever have to deal with again but I’ve also met some new people I’d like to get to know better.
Pipe dreams were chased and many glass ceilings were revealed. Now all I need is a brick.
All I can say to 2015 is – Bring it on.
December 31, 2014 | Categories: Blog | Tags: 2014, amazon, author, balance, blog, book, difficulty, evolution, motivation, novel, old house, perserverence, publishing, unemployment, writer, writing | Leave a comment
In the silence, there are the voices of a thousand souls streaming through her head. Each begging for attention and thought and pointing out the wrongs she committed that day.
If she refuses them, they bark louder until the din is a symphony of chaos and are too much to ignore. Wave after wave crashing against her broken shores, eroding every bit of her self worth, breaking her will into finite grains of sand that slip through the fingers of her final desperate grasp.
“What are you thinking, dear?”
She bites her lip, the pinch returning her senses to the tangible world. “Oh, nothing.”
November 28, 2014 | Categories: Third Life | Tags: author, balance, black friday, blog, creative, damage, woman, worth, writing | Leave a comment
Why not try for the long shots? There is nothing to lose. Realize what an enviable position that is. Nothing to lose is the best opportunity. You can take any chance you could possibly want to. There’s no one to answer to but yourself. The worst thing that can happen is someone won’t reply.
So few people have these type of chances… Opportunities. From an early age we get trapped… hemmed in… on a path… on a schedule… before we know who we are or what we really want from our life. Slaves to industry and commerce… SUV’s… big TV’s… stuff stuff stuff. Not many people get a chance to start over; to wipe the slate clean. Sure, it can be scary starting from the bottom… especially when you think you should be so much further head. But sometimes dead ends are what you need to point you in the right direction. At least that way you know where you’re coming from and what you hope to find.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself and your life. It’s a natural drive we all have, but sometimes our head gets in the way of our hearts. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Fear gets us nowhere. Being afraid to try does not result in happiness. Hesitation makes us weak. Reach out to the instincts that you have, the feelings in your heart that you don’t question. If you feel you’re destined for something better, don’t fight it, embrace it. But don’t sit idly by.
What’s the best that you can arrive at? What is it that you want? A job? A career? A big salary? A modest means and a happy home? How do you want to feel at the end of the day? What do you hope you can do for people and for yourself? DO you want to learn something new each day or do you want to do the same thing over and over, knowing that your task is done and done well? You have to ask yourself these things. Think back on your life and think of things that have made you feel this way. Or, alternately, haven’t. Sometimes starting with the things you don’t want is easier than defining the things you do. It’s unfortunate but true.
It doesn’t matter what you ‘feel like’ you should have… What matters is what you truly want. For example, do you envy people with smiling children because you want smiling children for yourself, or because you just feel like you should… because that’s what people do… that’s how people show progress and stability. Is it the symbolism or the true yearning? Never feel obligated to live your life like everyone else. Life isn’t a kit of parts. It doesn’t make you magically happy when you have what the person next to you has. And chances are, the people that look so happy, really aren’t. It’s easier to fake being happy than deal with the truth and the pain in your heart. I’d rather be around someone who is miserable but honest, any day of the week.
Maybe the sky isn’t the limit, but we must resist the tendency to sell ourselves short. To play it safe out of fear and panic. To convince ourselves that the known evil is better than the unknown trap possibly lurking around the bend.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
I try to go in to life and new situations assuming that I can do something until proven otherwise. I can learn. I want to learn. I might not know how to do something…yet. But the knowledge will come. It’s no harder to assume that you can do something than it is to assume that you can’t.
Maybe sometimes the learning curve doesn’t align with the demand, but the knowledge will come. It always does. Sometimes you have to dust yourself off… it’s a rare thing to be perfect. And who would want to be? Insecurity is your worst enemy. The fear of looking foolish, of failing, of falling flat on your face. Of stepping on the ice and falling right through. There are lumps and bumps and bruises to be taken to be sure. Trials and tribulations exist for a reason… and everyone goes through them, despite the glossy facades they put on.
Don’t let yourself be your own worst enemy. Do not count yourself out before you even try. Do not judge yourself as a lesser person, just so you can beat someone else to the punch. Hurting yourself before someone else can hurt you gets you nowhere. Likewise, hurting someone else before they can hurt you does not make you better than them.
Maybe we don’t all have the divine calling we felt in our youth… or maybe they aren’t meant to culminate the way we imagined and planned. But if you feel it in your heart, it’s there, and it’s real. Hiding it… ignoring it… avoiding it… it doesn’t work. Fighting your own nature only causes conflict and pain. Learning to harness our gifts is a lifelong process. Sometimes there are sparks of insight, moments of clear and perfect intuition. Sometimes the skies are cloudy and gray for a long, long time… but they never stay that way. hold on to the sparks, and the flickers and the beams of light. Keep them close and keep them true.
And with that… my well has run dry…
August 3, 2013 | Categories: Serials, Third Life, Works | Tags: balance, blog, difficulty, evolution, motivation, serials, short story, writer, writing | 2 Comments
This is going to be a short one today, because life has a way of popping up at the most inconvenient times. Personal tragedy of some close friends, and a sun that refuses to shine has me stuck in the philosophical rut of “What’s it all about?”
Why do we do the things we do? The writing, for me, is an outlet. The things that collect in my head in the wee hours and the in between times. I like to share it, if I think it’s something someone else can relate to, or enjoy. And yes, it’s nice to show other people what you’ve made. But money and fame has never been an illusion of mine.
The bottom line is, I do it for me, not them. If you could see my archives, you’d understand. I’ve been writing in a silent collection for years, with no intention of things ever seeing the light of day. But they’re there, for me, as a snapshot of my past, my experiences, and the occasional crazy dream I was able to capture before it slipped away in the morning light.
Maybe it’s a phase that will fall by the wayside when something more “Important” happens in my life, but I don’t think so. It’s how I balance, how I maintain, and how I help myself understand the world around me. A friend recently said to me “What is life, but a series of passing phases?” The point being, indulge the creative urges. Explore yourself, the world around you.
I’ve always been the type that would rather know, than ask “What if?”
April 1, 2013 | Categories: Blog | Tags: balance, creative, philosophy, writing | Leave a comment