Out of the mouths

One thing I fear may be lost forever due to my writing break are the gems that have come out of the mouth of my 3-year old. At the time I swear I will remember them forever, but of course that's not reality. It is the recording of them that gives them immortal life.

So, with no further a-do, I give you Tator Tot:

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Milkshake who?

Mom: Everyone safely buckled in?
Tator: Flee buckled in!
(You might have to think about that one for a minute.)

Tator: Something smells like a toot
Dad: I think it's the eggs
Tator: Eggs don't toot

Tator: Where's Dad?
Mom: He's running on ahead
Tator: Dad's running on a head?!

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And we're back!

Hello readers!
I miss writing over here. I miss rambling about motherhood and life as a work-from-home mom with two active, creative, smarty-pant kids. Very soon I will be back with a new post which will begin a new chapter for me and my writing life. I guess you could say I want to teach an old blog some new tricks.

See you soon!

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Connecting hand with mind and heart

I'm now over at Wisdom Within, Ink. Here's a little of today's post:

Writing… digested our sorrow, dissolved and integrated our inner rigidity, and let us move on. I don’t even remember what we wrote about. It didn’t matter. The effort of forming words, physically connecting hand with mind and heart, and then having the freedom to read aloud transformed us.— Natalie Goldberg, Thunder and Lightning

I read this quote last night just before falling asleep...

Please join me over at Wisdom Within, Ink!

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Are you a fan or a stalker?

Here's a glimpse at what's going on over at Wisdom Within, Ink:

There’s a fine line between being a fan and being a stalker…

I read this comment just today on a writing forum was referring to Facebook, Twitter, and blog followers. Ten years ago it applied to my life....

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When your future comes knocking... freak out!

Don't forget I'm over at Wisdom Within, Ink. Here's what's going on over there right now:

I open my email to read this:

…if you’d like to write up a formal query…

Words from my dreams. (Well, in my perfect world dreams the words actually would be: No query necessary! Just send it, we’ll publish it!) I have been waiting for an opportunity like this and what am I doing? Freaking out!...

Come join me!

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Making it Home, pt 2

Here's a snippet of what's going on over at my new site, Wisdom Within, Ink:

I have heard – and experienced – that it takes about two years to break into a community. When we first moved back to Vermont, although living in a town just 20-minutes from where I went to high school, we might as well as been in the middle of Alaska for how connected and at home I felt....

Come on over... I miss you!

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I've moved! Come on over!

So, forget getting it just right... my new site is open for business!

Wisdom Within, Ink

Wisdom Within, Ink is the name of my journaling and writing business under which I am offering workshops. The random musings of this blog will continue to ramble on over there.

Please join me...

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Spinning my new web

Can't stop, but I just wanted to pop in to say I won't be around much because I am working on my new website. I'm so excited to launch it but I have to get it just right. Stay tuned...

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Finding a theme for my blog (and my career)

So, I've gotten a little off focus lately. Whining about my career path and money. Blogs are supposed to have a topic, a theme, a thread. My sub-title up there says "acknowledging positivity and serendipity while randomly musing my way to publication." Have I done that lately?

Penelope Trunk writes in this post that blogs have to have a topic to be successful and to help your own success. She advises that you use your blog to get known for what you are good at. She asks:

a) What do you want people to know you for?

b) Where do you want to go next?

What do I want to be known for?

I want to be known as a writer. A non-fiction, personal narrative writer. A writer who muses about my life and the paths on which I daily ramble. I, like Anais Nin, taste life twice through my writing. I experience it then reproduce it in words. I find meaning this way. I woke up once in the middle of the night with this phrase banging around in my head:

I am a writer. I have to document my life.

So, while this blog may seem random - kids, money, career, religion, writing - it all huddles under one umbrella: life as interpreted by me, in my words.

I approach my life as a writer. I'm not here to offer my readers advice on how to write or what to write, only to offer myself up as an example of how one writer thinks and lives. The fact that more minutes of my life are dedicated to being a mother, a wife, a housekeeper, and a struggling business woman than a writer, means what I write are these things. My other hats are fuel to my writing fire.

The fact that I look for and believe in Serendipity and Thinking Positively makes these things natural themes in my writing. Due to life's current struggles I haven't focused on them lately, however, and this is where I think I need to make a change. I do strongly believe that if you look for the positive you will not only find it, but it will also find you.

So, that brings me to Penelope's second question: Where do I want to go next?

What I want is to take this blog to the next level. I want to make it a source of Positive Thought and Serendipity from the point of view of a writer. My "outside" writing and the (inner) journal writing instruction will merge with one concrete theme: Helping others to Live Authentically using their Inner Wisdom. This is my focus, my theme, my thread.

In another post, Penelope emphatically states you should not have more than one blog. Oops! I have three. My logic was: one for writing my everyday musings, one to promote my journaling workshops, and one just to have a place to shove various essays or stories that were laying around. I am in the process of launching a real website to promote my workshops and my husband's psychotherapy practice. Writing to wellness and self-actualization and seeing a counselor for such go hand in hand, kind of like him and me, so why not live together in a little patch of cyberspace.

I am planning to launch my new website January 1, 2010 (to give myself plenty of time to conquer the scary HTMLs and other such foreign languages I don't understand). Please stayed tuned!

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Jour du Journal: Memory of Cabbage

Join me at jlucyjournals for today's thought and writing prompt.

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Another waste of time

Great. This is just what I needed. Another minute-sucking, hour-gnashing, completely pointless obsession.

On a daily basis - ok, more like half- hourly basis - I check these things:

Both my blog's sitemeters

I do not play any games or partake in asinine Facebook quizzes. I only check status updates and if anyone "likes" something I've chosen to share that day. However, I still waste probably over an hour a day doing this.

Sitemeter gives me a little thrill every time I see a brand new reader or better yet, a repeat one. And I love to see the google searches that found me. Hot fireman and Husband gone are two popular ones. And how's this one for funny/disturbing?: I hate pooping its so unfeminine.

And now that I am on Twitter I like to see how many of those links are followed (not many). Twitter takes the least of my time because I don't really care what other people are tweeting on about and I assume no one gives a damn whether I am wearing wool socks for the first time this year (which I'm not, but I wish I was - it's cold today!). I post my own blog links and check to see if anyone has mentioned me, and that's it, but it still takes time (and brain cells, I swear).

And now... Examiner.com. I am on my second week as the local Journaling Examiner (talk about a niche) and how many times do you think I have checked to see how much money I've made? Probably 50. Every page view makes me one whole penny and I can't stop myself from checking to see those (very) little cents add up.

Ridiculous! Why can't I just check once a day or week, or even better, be surprised when I get some money in my PayPal account? It's the same with my blogs; why do I need to know who's visiting from minute to minute? Or who's commenting on my Facebook status?

Validation. Acknowledgment. Appreciation.

And that's sad. Very, very sad.

The benefit of the internet is also its curse. Instant networking, instant information, instant publication, instant acknowledgment. Acknowledgment you could never hope to get in real life (not on a minute-by-minute basis, anyway). For an introverted, self-esteem-challenged, compliment-junkie, aspiring writer, the internet is a confidence booster.

But is it wrong to have an inflated sense of confidence? I think not - as long as it gets you where you deserve to be due to authentic talent and not just an over-stimulated sense of entitlement.

But the attention you receive online sucks you in and makes you feel more important than you actually are. And is the acknowledgment real? NO! (Well, sometimes.) Just because someone thumbs up my status update doesn't mean I'm special, a good writer, or wonderful human-being. And my blog? Like-minded, aspiring writers and over-worked mothers like it because they relate, not necessarily because I'm a writing genius. The internet is a playground - some days you're popular, other days you are one click away from being unfollowed, unfriended, unliked.

Where would I be today without the internet? Maybe further ahead. Maybe not. In the hours that I have spent staring at my Facebook page I could have written a novel. Or at least sent out some queries so I'd have a legitimate reason to call myself a Writer. But since I started blogging I have had the audacity to call myself a Writer and it is because of the internet that I am now published.

So while I thank the wonders of cyberspace (which I barely understand) for giving me opportunities and instant feedback, some days I wish my laptop would stop winking at me, luring me in, and causing me to look beyond myself for validation.

And yes, this whole post was actually a foil - an attempt to get you, my dear readers, to validate me further as I watch my penny-counter reach the dizzying heights of a whole dollar.

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Letting myself go

I have this fear I am going to wake up one morning to discover I have Let Myself Go.

I'll open my closet that day and find only sweat pants, t-shirts, and sneakers. And when I look in the mirror the face reflected there won't have tasted a lick of make-up since the Christmas party (where apparently I wore a dancing snowman-festooned sweater and patent-plether shoes with be-belled toes) and appears to have grown a twin at my neckline. My hair will have morphed into a cross between the giant-banged style of my high school years and the shellacked helmet of my grandmother's. (As unlikely as this hair-do sounds, I actually saw one of my high school classmates with such a style recently.)

My jewelry box will be rusted shut from years of neglect, and my large collection of scarves, handbags, shoes will be languishing at the back of the closet praying for just a glimpse of the outside world from which they have been long-since banished.

I'm a work-from-home Mom, in Blue-Collar Town, Vermont. This is the perfect recipe for Letting Yourself Go. Here, if you wear heels of even medium height people wonder "where yer going, all gussied up?" People wear jeans to weddings here! And don't bother to buy a cocktail dress for that party, you'll stick out like a, well, cock-tail.

When I look in my closet now - while I am still cool... I hope - I stand there surveying my mostly practical (but stylish) clothes and ponder the outfit of the day. One morning this week I picked out a pretty hip ensemble of long colored tank, shorter contrasting sweater, and jeans. But after I had yanked down the sweater and up my jeans one too many times, while shivering, to boot, I returned to my closet to dig out the good old fleece sweatshirt. Ahhh, comfy. And warm.

What I wear to walk to the bus stop and then to drop Tator off at pre-school hardly seems to matter. And in the winter when all you can see are my eyes peeking out from between hat brim and scarf, I could be wearing a hula skirt for all that it would matter. For the 5-minutes I am seen by other mothers (all themselves in varying stages of Letting Themselves Go [or just Vermonticized?]) or at the grocery store, my choice of clothing is really meaningless.

But, then it's not about those other mothers, is it? It's about me and how I feel. If I'm having a nifty outfit kinda day then I'm going to wear what makes me feel good. But when it's a sweatshirt day - well, it's just got to be a sweatshirt (but it will NEVER be a Mickey and Minnie or Puppy-dogs or, god-forbid, a 'I Survived Dollywood' sweatshirt).

But if you ever see me at the mall in pajamas bottoms, please feel free to slap me and send me home (to bed), and if the ensemble is accompanied by worn down slippers, please just have me arrested - for the common good. Thank you.

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Dying rabbit, Blocked brain

As I sit here in the quiet of a child-less house drinking, oh my! hot coffee, I find my mind is scattered. I am trying to write an essay for a contest that is due in 3 days. I don't have to do this of course, but I want to. I want to write something "real," something with a beginning, middle, and end. And a point. And for a reason other than to just hear myself talk, or rather, see myself think. Problem is, I can tell a story but I'm not so good with the take-away. In my writing courses it was stressed that the Why of the article/essay is crucial, otherwise, what is the point?

I write so often just for the fun of seeing words appear and form themselves into sentences, sometimes with no apparent help from me. But when I actually have to think about what I'm writing then I get a bit blocked.

Today I tried Clustering - a mind-map, it is sometimes called. At times this method has worked. While I am busily connecting and circling words, out of the blue an idea will strike me and I'm on my way. The light bulb isn't necessarily (or obviously) connected to what I have scratched on the paper, but the act of associating random words and ideas creates subconscious connections which, in turn, produce the Big Idea.

My cluster of today hasn't produced anything near an idea, let alone a Big one.

Dying Rabbit
Life Lesson

Not much to go on there.

And why am I writing this blog instead of working on it? Because I was tired of thinking.

Where did I put that Muse?

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Ten years ago

September 25 is an important anniversary in my life. I had intended on re-posting the story yesterday but actually most of the history-making events happened after midnight, so I guess today is technically the true anniversary.

Ten years ago...

Two pairs of sandals left by a stream -

Quite unimportant a sight it would seem.
Two wandering children gone off to play?
A couple trying to get quietly away?
What did I feel dart through my heart
As I witnessed those shoes play their innocent part?
Close as two lovers in bed,
They symbolized everything I'd come to dread.
Stifled tears escaped from my eyes
While scanning to see what I longed to deny.
Up and down the river no one was seen,
Only the evidence left by the stream.
I did not see what my mind unwillingly beheld -
How could they continue to be so uncaring and bold?
In the mountains I faced my fear manifest,
Constantly haunting me despite hopeful trust.
Betrayal was laying there at my feet -
Those sandals together, their owners' retreat.
One pair are his who sleeps by my side,
The second belong to my friend - another man's wife.

I wrote this (admittedly horrible) poem almost 10 years ago. I can now share it because the pain has long passed and I do believe - finally - the anger has too. The (happy) life I now have is all due to the events that took place on September 25, 1999, although the story begins two or three years prior to that.

It was almost midnight on the night of my 27th birthday party and all but two of my guests had left. I was woozy but not drunk, and very sleepy. But when B asked me if we could talk I could tell by his tone that I needed to stay awake a little longer. After we finally got the other hanger-on to leave B and I sat down.

Then the tears came.

Now B is a big guy, a funny guy, a don't-show-your-emotions-marine guy, and here he was sitting in my living room crying - to me, and we hardly knew each other. You see, B was married to a friend of mine, not a close friend, just a member of a group of goofy people I had recently become aligned with for the purpose of partying and Sunday morning brunching. I was not particularly close with any of them - I was a friend of a friend. B and I had only chatted about something deeper than the foam on a Guinness one other time (which happened to be religion). Beyond that he was just one of the gang and he made me laugh, as he did everyone (except his wife - but that's another story... oh, actually it's not).

B came to me because we had something in common - our partners were in love with each other Yes, his (very new) wife was in love with my (by then, ex) boyfriend.

B had given his extroverted, gregarious wife the benefit of the doubt for too long and he couldn't take it anymore. He and I had both put up with their "friendship" for over a year - hanging out every Wednesday night (working on a comic book project, they said), even coming home at 6AM sometimes - and in constant denial that there was anything more between them. The awkwardness and insanity of the situation had finally broken up my boyfriend and me 3 months before, although I was still in denial that he could truly be in love with another man's wife - over me! B had never talked to anyone about the pain and feelings of betrayal and anger he was experiencing. But it was time.

That night two very hurt (and slightly drunk) individuals talked and cried together into the half light of morning. We yelled at those who had hurt us and we beat ourselves up for being so naive. We felt like a couple of door mats - stomped on and caked in mud.

I won't deny that I fell in love with him that night. I have never wanted someone to kiss me quite so intensely. I know it was the combination of wine, sleep deprivation, and a very large dose of emotional overload. But it did not happen. He was married. I was still mourning my lost love. We hugged and we said goodbye.

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