The Cycle of Life

September 25, 2015

In six years I have had two children and watched my immediate family include seven new nieces and nephews.  During this time I’ve said good bye in order to my mom, my uncle, my dad, my paternal grandma and most recently my maternal grandma.  In between a good family friend and two of my husband’s uncles passed.

 

It gets easier to accept people moving on, as we make room for new lives in our heart.  The ache may be less though the void is still pronounced.  I have a litney of  lines I share with people when they lose someone, as now I’ve become a defunct expert on such tragedies.

 

It’s always too soon.

How lucky to have someone whose absence is so devastating.

(most of the time) It’s the right cycle of life.  We are supposed to say goodbye to our elders.

We have one guarantee in life, nobody survives.

It’s awful.  It’s supposed to suck.

 

And still I find myself moving to a new home, celebrating birthdays, enjoying the magic of the mundane with my kids and missing my parents and grandparents.  I suppose I’ll never stop missing them and wanting to share with them.  And what a privilege I had sharing these moments with them  when they were alive.

 

I’ve also become more zen about my inevitable passing.  It can happen at any moment so I try to enjoy as much as I can not waiting for that perfect time to buy, do or go somewhere. Sometimes this joie de vivre frustrates others, but in the words of my mom it is not a dress rehearsal.

 

Open Mindset

March 18, 2015

On my sister’s recommendation I began reading a book about mindsets.

Based on the initial questions and my natural disposition I felt I had an open mindset.  I was after all reading a book about accepting new ideas.  Continuous examples of the ways ego or insecurities can put blinders on leaders to lasting effects.   Scientists proved that merely suggesting that a skill or trait is inherent drastically influences performance and honesty.  It has an effect on risks and rebounding from falls.

Knowledge is power.

Just like Dr. Sarno, author of the mind body connection, cures lifetimes of severe and debilitating back pain, shoulder pain, migraines and more to patients with an open mind.

Surgery is the number one placebo.

I’ve diagnosed Hubby with TMS, too much stress.  With his fixed mindset he won’t drink the kool-aid.  And drink it you must, as the cure only works if you completely surrender to the diagnosis and believe that you can cure it.

Tomorrow he gets his blood work results for the new foot, the one that did not have surgery. I know he wants me to validate his pain.  With my severe back spasms I know the pain is severe. Regardless of the results, I am confident the physical pain is equally unbearable.  Wonder what Hubby subconsciously hopes the results will reveal.

Mamma Said

September 15, 2012

Would you be interested in a book filled with wisdom from my mom?

 

I hate to give my mother so much credit but she was filled with succinct advice that shapes my life today.  People tell me I’m relaxed, I’m one of the happier people one knows, or similar generous comments that make me feel more well adjusted than I am.  I attribute much of my laid back personality to my mom who never let one thing quite consume her.  We would laugh at everything!

 

One night in India, my mom sister and I are crammed in the back of some bike drawn carriage at the invitation of a local we had met earlier in the day.  One traffic accident later we are stopped in the middle of the street.  Countless Indians shade their eyes as they peer into the window of three American women, one blonde.  After a seemingly eternity later with nominal communication between us and the cyclist most people would have been inpatient.  Us, we were laughing at the eyes continually evaluating us.  “So this is what it feels like to be a goldfish.”

 

My mom’s truism are even more relevant today.

* There are no accidents.

* Perception is reality.

* Hell is where all your wishes come true.

* You get what you pay for.

* Never pay retail  ~there are exceptions to this rule.

* Screw me once, shame on you, Screw me twice shame on me.

 

Writer’s Remorse

October 13, 2011

I’m at this stage again where I am not writing. I’m thinking about it, but I am not typing anything. I read about other writers, good and bad and get jealous. Jealous that I am not as successful as they are, jealous that they are getting press and I’m not.
So jealous, so riled up, it’s almost enough to make me sit down with my manuscript that is not so terribly far from finished and well just polish the damn thing and fill in the missing scenes and complete it once and for all.

But then the phone rings. The kids come home. An email message beeps. Another responsibility/ diversion takes over and I do not open the file.

A friend of mine had taken an acting class around the time the Blair Witch Project came out. “I could do that,” was the sentiment every actor had said. And the teacher replied, “Yes and the only difference is they did it.” And I’m not doing it.

I look back with regret about the amount of time and opportunity I had to write more and I did not. Because the phone rang. The dog needed to be walked. An email message beeped. Another responsibility/ diversion took over.

I have a 101 ideas. I have a 1001 ideas. I need help executing. Entire buildings have been constructed in the time it is taking me to complete a novel, and not even something that aspires to be a literary masterpiece.

I’ve run marathons. I’ve given birth two times, once to a nine and a half pound baby. I’ve bought and sold real estate, begun and settled lawsuits, filed estate tax returns, renovated apartments, leased spaces, fostered amazing friendships, stopped talking to friends I considered family, taken writing courses, remained quasi-current on my photo albums but I have not finished my novel.

Back in the Groove

September 23, 2011

I have not been writing. Anyone following my blog here or Milf Alert can clearly see that.

I have a million and one great excuses – realistically probably a thousand or so – most of which are legitimate (i:e planning a birthday party, moving furniture, pregnancy, the doctor telling me to rest more – although this could be perceived as a motivation, a new nanny and so on), but none of which will help me finish my book or keep the creative juices flowing.

And there are plenty of decent motivations that should help me through this hump.

I think about my book, even ordered two books that seem remotely related to mine. One of them, Posh is proving to be unreadable. One would think that seeing a poorly written published book would motivate me to finish mine and seek a publisher. One would think.

I rearranged my home office, and actually have a decent desk, albeit under the staircase, and now have some surface area to work. I no longer have a door to my space so my kids have been rummaging through the drawers spilling paper clips, emptying the shredder and running off with my wrist rests. On the upside, I do feel on top of most of my office paperwork that needs attention.

Frustrated with my nearly eight year old laptop and intermittent battery, I splurged on a new macbook air, opting for the lightest computer to reduce any excuse about not wanting to carry around my bulky laptop. I’ve had a few minor hiccups with it and as a result I’m not entirely certain I want to keep it, so I’m hesitant to install Microsoft Word on it (Yes, a $1,000 plus dollar computer still requires additional basic software), as I’m limited to the number of installations.

Before I completely embrace my new computer and apply the cover which allegedly scratches the computer surface upon removal, I need to spend time on the phone with customer support. Finding a few moments when the kids leave me alone to make the call and play on the computers is usually after bedtime when I am tired, hungry and likely angry from fighting the bed time battle ritual.

Editor Speak

June 28, 2011

I had my conversation with the editor regarding my book. As I had mentioned I’m was not totally keen on the comments I had received.

Microsoft Word shows when comments were made and I could see that she might fire off three comments over five pages in a span of about 1-2 minutes. There were typos she should have caught including me referring to the wrong character, of course you could argue that I should have picked up on it myself but I was not hired as an editor and typos in some of her notes.

Some of her ideas were cheesy and cliched. She’d add a line like “I felt his hot breath on my neck and I just wanted to go home and get in bed with him.” I had mentioned nothing about sex and if I did, I would have done so in a classier or at least more original voice.

She also cut out some great dialogue, really snappy endings. But hey, I’m the writer so I get to put it in.

We had our telephone consult today and I feel much more encouraged. I defended my desire to use multiple point of views, something she had nixed. Understanding my perspective, the editor suggested I do it more and begin it earlier creating consistency. So I will.

In all I feel more encouraged, and still slightly overwhelmed. While the edit was not a panacea to get the story in sellable shape, it will spawn more writing and editing.

She warned me I may have another draft after this one. Sigh. But I think she said this so I do not get all hung up on making the next draft *perfect* as opposed to getting it done.

The secret to writing is writing and rewriting. I imagine if I sit down and do it, and with two kids at camp I definitively have time. I also imagine that almost every writer has done this, write edit repeat.

I’m in good company.

Editor’s Notes

June 23, 2011

I received my manuscript back from the editor and have begun reviewing her notes. I’m not totally thrilled. Some of her additions include cliches and her advice directs the story in places I specifically did not want it to go. I agree with some of the edits, need to be convinced of others, and totally disagree with some.

Perhaps the moral of this is that I know my story and I have the confidence to craft the book I want, not necessarily what the editor suggests.

The other moral is that I really need to trust my gut. I liked that this editor had a reputation of giving concrete examples and ideas but my overall instinct on her writing and the total outcome was not totally optimistic. In retrospect I should have interviewed several editors instead of following the first referral.

Fortunately it was just an edit, not an insane amount of money, and perhaps this is the push I need to get me to finish the story. I did spend several hours last night reviewing her notes and am excited to continue today. That alone should be worth the cost of admission.

Her notes will help me fill in some of the blanks I had struggled with previously. Also included is a telephone call, and I imagine/hope lots of emails. So I will remain optimistic and relish the new energy I have for the novel!

The Unfairness of it All

June 4, 2011

Life is equally unfair.

This simple sentence has provided immense comfort as I think how unfair it is that I don’t have my mom.

When I told a college friend about my mom’s passing, she shook her said no, I can’t imagine that as if a word without her inspiring and opinionated mother did not exist. I reminded her, don’t you think I felt that way?

I suppose if my mom and I were not as close her loss would have been easier, but it also meant that I would have missed out on our laughter, adventures and friendship.
Read the rest of this entry »

A New Commitment – Sort of

May 24, 2011

I was supposed to attend a book selling seminar this past weekend. Since I’m such a commitment phobe I waited until the last minute to register – which in a parallel universe would have meant the class became full before my check arrived in the mail. No such luck. Instead the check cleared and two days prior my back went into total spasm. For those fortunate enough not to know about real back pain, I can just say that is a new level of agony. I felt paralyzed in pain.

So I missed the class, check is cashed. I’ll have to retake it later.

However, I have decided to hire a book editor to help me with my novel. I have the rough draft but not the concentration to proof read it and make the changes necessary to make it into a sellable book (the likes of which I would have learned last Saturday had I not been in bed popping Tylenols). The editor will not read all of my ramblings, loose character descriptions, or edited scenes. She will go through my draft, line edit the grammar and help me fill in scenes and story development.

I do fear that I am looking at this as a bit of a panacea – I pay editor and poof! my manuscript becomes marketable. I know more work lies ahead. It’s just a kick start – financial because the editor is not cheap and motivational because I will have a road map on how to improve. I have to imagine this is a better course of action than taking a class with an unpublished author where I spend the majority of my time giving feedback to other unpublished authors with the occasional day that said writers offer their opinions on a short excerpt of my tome.

I asked the editor if I should make some of the minor changes I had made on paper to the computer file I will send her and she gave the best answer, if I can yes if it is going to hold me up, no. She doesn’t have time to read the book until June which means I have the next few days to hunker down and edit and hopefully develop a good work habit for the summer. Worst case, I don’t and her job as an editor involves correcting a few more typos. Either way, I have to believe I am moving forward.

29 Again and Again

April 11, 2011

As part of the From Left To Write Book Club I read 29: A Novel by Adena Halpern about a grandmother who gets her birthday wish to be 29 again for one day.

Yesterday my grandmother celebrated her 93rd birthday with an intimate gathering of friends. My siblings and I bought her an iPad so she would not be restricted using her computer at her desk. As for the friend who suggested the gift and offered to participate, I made her promise to teach my grandma how to use the device.

My grandmother and I have always been close; she’s felt a special kinship for me for years and has even admitted to me being her favorite granddaughter. This also translates to more responsibilities for me, like visiting her and calling her more frequently than my siblings, and helping her navigate everything from technology (she still has not learned how to use the cell phones I’ve purchased her), shopping and more. She’s still a heck of a lot better than most of her friends who she complains are aging poorly. She’s lived an amazing life as a performer and business woman, and at times is more coherent than my dad.

It’s sad to think that she has a finite amount of time left on earth and when she goes a little bit more of my mom will disappear as my grandma has a lifetime of memories of her only daughter. But as I remind myself, nobody gets out alive.

My mom never indulged this line of discussion, but my grandma admits to regrets, mostly surrounding her relationship with her husband. “If he didn’t die, I would have left him,” she’s said. I do not encourage this line of speaking too much as there is nothing to gain and for someone eternally optimistic, Grams does not need recall painful memories. She’s expressed remorse at only having one child, but after a miscarriage and breast cancer diagnosis, the doctors told her she could not have more.

My mother always said life is not a dress rehearsal. While I will ask Grandma what she would do differently if she could revisit 29, I’ll continue to live as if this is my one shot