Caution: Exploding Brain

I’m not whining.  Really I’m not.   Well, sorta, kind’ve. Maybe just a little.  You see I get these ideas–neat, tidy, messy, disruptive, genius, life-changing, soul-shaking, ideas.  And I somehow assume that’s the hard part–the figuring stuff out part. The mind at work process.  The finger in the light socket wake-up call.

In reality, that’s just the half of it. The hard part is turning all the cogs and gears and moving all those brilliant plans into motion without my head exploding, because in the process of creation I’ve somehow forgotten to squirt some oil on the mechanism to keep it rolling smoothly.

Procrastinator vs. Overachiever

I very rarely procrastinate, although I sometimes like to take a few days weeks to think about a task or problem at hand.  Better to weigh and consider than it is to leap and regret.  For example, why rush the the doctor the minute you  notice the arrival of that strange spot festering volcano  on the tip of your nose, when it might very well disappear in 6 months?  Who want’s to be labeled a hypochondriac, for Pete’s sake. Far better to wait a while and see if anything falls off.

Ah, but overachiever! Not a title I necessarily rush to print on the front page, but okay, between you and me, I think that might be something of an issue for me.  Not because I am a TRUE overachiever, but rather, an A-Z organized, Pulitzer winning, Martha Stewart, chairman-of- the-board, Wonder Woman … wannabe.  Yes, I absolutely have all of my ducks standing nearly in a row– but as it is in real life, where I’ve NEVER EVER seen actual living ducks standing in a row–my ducks are more or less aligned in my head under the column labeled: MY PERFECT WORLD.

Perfect vs. Reality

It’s true I aspire to greatness, but my definition of such doesn’t necessarily fall into the category of Cesar or Ming the Merciless. I figure if I can just get the day-to-day requirements sorted out and orderly,  there will then be time to take it up to the next level where I conquer and build empires.

What’s more, I continue to hold to the hope that while plodding along the road to victory I might actually find myself becoming far more accomplished and in control–aka,  a lot less crazy. All I really need, as assures the quavering remnants of my logical self, is to master some simple basics.

And so, as it is with all great intentions and resolutions (hey people, they’re not just for New Years!) I will begin with a mighty list:

1. Return phone calls (Mom, even when it’s not her birthday. Also, the receptionist at the dentist’s office who is persistently calling to reschedule my 6 month cleaning, since the Dr has apparently decided to go on a cruise that week. Alas, the time has come to face the truth and cease the standoff, since only a crazed buffoon would seriously hold to the determination that by refusing to acknowledge a scheduling change, they might successfully force their health care professionals into sheepishly folding and rescheduling personal plans .)

2. Send Birthday cards on time and correctly addressed to the intended recipient. (Ex: The birthday card I recently sent to my nephew with his first name and MY last name printed on the envelope. Thank God I at least had his address correct so it did arrive. Humiliation and embarrassment of Auntie Barbara:Priceless.)

3. Morning workout accomplished without mental promises of cookies for lunch if I just do ten more push-ups and forty sumo squats.

4. Daily writing goals pursued and accomplished without being sidetracked by laundry (which will patiently wait) and cat naps because I’M NOT ACTUALLY A CAT.

5. Bills & monthly expenses paid before looming due dates have me writing checks in the middle of the night (and because I voluntarily assumed this task after telling berating hubby that he’s too much of a PROCRASTINATOR.)

6. Saying NO (nicely if possible) when I don’t have time or inclination to fulfill a request. (Beware the “Disease to Please.” It’s life stiffling!)

7. Stop making lists when I really should be doing all of those things I’m currently listing. (Although my son did just offer me one of the M&M’s he’s eating for breakfast and I did staunchly decline, so # 3 is nearly accomplished. Yeah Me :-D)

So, how about opening the valve and releasing some of that pressure from your own overtaxed-on-the-cusp-of-exploding-brain–what’s on your list?

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Liebster Love & Comrades of the Pen

Last week I had the great pleasure of learning that I’d been tapped for some Major Blog Love by Ellen Gregory, when she awarded me with the Liebster Blog Award.  (Yes, that is me you hear hootin’ and hollerin’ just because winning stuff is fun and festive!) So my sincere thanks to Ellen 😀

To explain, I’m going to quote Ellen who quoted Laird, who quoted Mike Schulenberg:

According to legends that come to us from antiquity, the Liebster is meant for blogs that motivate, inspire, and have 200 followers or less.  Its apparent purpose is to summon new followers like some sort of mystical talisman, increasing the power of those of us who are just beginning. — Mike Schulenberg

The Liebster Blog rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you on your blog and link back to them.
  2. Nominate up to 5 others for the award.
  3. Let them know by commenting on your blog.
  4. Post the award on your blog.

So without further ado, I select the following five to spread the Liebster love:

Janet Lawler: The New York Screenwriting Life

Kathryn Magendie: Writing From My Mountain Cove

Heather Webb: Between the Sheets

Sherry Issac: Psychological Sizzle

Jodi Lea Stewart: Walking on Sunshine

And really this is merely the tip of the Island of Beautiful Blogs. But it does bring to  mind the fact that it isn’t merely about being entertained, informed, and having a friendly chit-chat across cyberspace. There is also the absolute joy or connection with like minds — or even not so like minds.

The following post seems a good fit with Liebster Love. It’s a repost from my long ago, far away blog, but remains a favorite for it’s close proximity to my heart.

COMRADES OF THE PEN

Do you recall your very first best friend?  How about your first writing  friend? The one you excitedly shared your aspirations with, secure in knowing your heart’s desire was completely safe and theft proof in the vault, because your best writing friend shared the inherent angst, struggle, and unsurpassed joy of putting words on paper.
Hugh Hefner, The Early Years
I started writing my “little stories’ in grade school, keeping everything in various notebooks that I’ve long lost track of. My first foray into writing with a friend was in third grade and it nearly landed me in the hot seat down at the principal’s office. My friend and I (also named Barbara), had somehow came up with the then thrilling idea to co-author a weekly newspaper, the name of which was THE NAKED CITY. We’d heard the title on a television program and been shocked, titillated, and immediately tempted to be naughty. I don’t recall much story-telling in this joint venture, but the main feature of our newspaper were naked stick-figures adventuring in a big city.  It was all great fun for a week or two, and my co-writer, Barbara, was most generous in offering to keep our back-list publications safely tucked away in her classroom desk. We were wildly enthusiastic to share our newspaper with classmates, and the brief surge of popularity was heady stuff. Or at least up until the moment when one dissatisfied reader tattled to our teacher and Barbara was forced to hand over our complete inventory of THE NAKED CITY on the spot. Barbara was prompt in implicating me as her trusty co-writer, and I was equally prompt in responding with a vehement denial.

All these years later, I am left wondering if  Barbara still holds a grudge…

Seventh Grade, The Bronx Bomber Comes To Town
I grew up in a small town in New York.  Postcard pretty: farms, rolling hills, mostly quiet, and generally peaceful. A new family moving in was immediately noted and carefully watched as they blended in. Maybe it was the leather jacket, the movie magazine tucked under her arm (when the rest of us were still reading Archie comics), or a combination of both, but from the first day when the new kid swaggered onto the school bus, my attentions were immediately captured and have held steady for over 35 years.

Unlike myself, who kept my writerly aspirations safely tucked away for my eyes only, waiting for my confidence to kick in, Janet made no secret of the fact that she was an aspiring screenwriter. Born and raised in the Bronx, she was an all out enigma in our small town and quickly became known as “The Star.” Whenever she arrived in English class toting a newly finished script, our teacher was enthusiastic in allowing the class to read and perform her masterpieces. Needless to say I was thoroughly enthralled with this leather clad epitome of all things cool. Our friendship came on fast and furious in such a way that has held on strong for the duration. We’ve come a long way from the days of skipping school to sit at Janet’s kitchen table drinking tea and typing her scripts, and despite time and distance, she remains my top-tier writing champion. It’s been a thrilling ride, supported each other from rock bottom rejections to the exhilaration of standing on the summit.  While my debut novel currently makes its way in the world, Janet, too, has had a myriad of writerly accomplishments: writing award wining plays, a movie script optioned by a renowned Hollywood director, and writer of a popular blog, THE NEW YORK SCREENWRITING LIFE: 

Writing Friends From Afar, Yet Close As A Key Stroke
Social Media. Blessing or curse?  I’ll be honest and admit that my first foray into social media was in consideration of what I assumed was a necessary evil for authors with stuff to promote. I didn’t get it — until I did. Certainly promotion is essential on some level in some places, but the true treasure to be gathered from those favorite Facebook groups, blogs, websites, etc, is the connection to REAL people traveling the same road, carrying a familiar cargo, and pressing on to similar destinations. Sort’ve like one REALLY BIG road trip.

I find it remarkable and exhilarating. These are not simply avatars passing on the internet, they are shoulder to shoulder, pen stroke to keyboard, comrades of the written word. Yep, right here with me, generous, sympathetic, and just as enthusiastic to accept the invitation to my party as I am to accept theirs.

A recent glowing example of newly discovered writer love came to me with the discovery of a most fabulous novel and it’s equally fabulous author. Several weeks ago I found myself reading “Tender Graces” by Kathryn Magendie. Now when I say fabulous, what I mean specifically is that I LOVE everything about this book .  I’m talking Triple Crown: story, characters, writing style.  Now, in my pre-social media life, I would have loved this book, studied the author bio on the back cover, and wondered all sorts of things about this mysterious creature who could write so beautifully. Not so in the here and now where we can find books, love them, and “meet” their authors, as I myself did with Kathryn Magendie, an incredibly gracious writer who has much to share and does so most generously. Comrade of the pen? You betcha! (And a crazy cool aside, she was reading my novel, The Secret of Lies, at the same time I was falling in love with her book. A situation guaranteed to kick-up the thrill of reading several notches.)

Writer love is a most wonderful thing and I gladly trade my promotional aspirations for the far more durable gift of pen-to-pen friendships.  How about it, have you been thoughtful in passing around some of your own writer love?  Would love to hear how you discovered your comrades of the Pen 🙂