You Gotta Believe

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It’s All On You

Whether writing, art, music–extending a word or a hand–the world can knock us for a loop when we venture to put ourselves out there in the jumble. Not that we won’t get the occasional coddle, petting, or sweet whispers, but not in a way we might deem as dependable. The wind changes, a door closes, sand shifts…and you’re left standing on your own, conflicted, confused, uncertain where you go from here.

Who’s In Your Corner

For me, all things begin and end with God. I firmly believe He gives us our gifts, securely plants them in our hearts, waters and fertilizes, fills our tank with mojo, and sets us off and running…

WOAH! Not So Fast

Did you forget something? I’m referring to that essential ingredient which makes your bread rise. The one you need to fold into the dough yourself. Without it you’re at severe risk of injury, failure, or all out doom. Which is to say, You Gotta Believe. In yourself. In what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. It’s not a maybe, or a someday, or an eventually. It’s a now and forever after.

High, Low–Maybe Higher

–or lower than low, in the tar pits low. And if your faith isn’t firmly held and deeply planted, it is this weak point in the dam where  angst and despair can most effectively seep in to crumble your foundation.

Not To Be Confused With the Bright Candy Coating That Melts In Your Mouth

You may be so blessed as to have a loyal entourage of enthusiastic and energetic cheerleaders who never fail to vie for a seat at your pep rally; who support your dreams, struggles, and successes. They boost you over the speed bumps, applaud and cajole with true admiration and dedication. But even then, these champions of your endeavors can’t be tuned into your channel 24/7. They too have dreams to feed and nurture. Sometimes it’s only you. Sometimes it’s been only you all along. In either case, how you push forward, stay afloat, or reach out to lasso the moon, has everything to do with how deeply you believe in what it is you’re doing. Want to do. Will do.

There Will Be Days,

when your heart will swell to bursting as you come across something wildly shining and beautiful with your name on it:

“…one of the best novels I have ever had the pleasure to read…her writing style brings to mind such authors as Harper Lee and John Steinbeck…”

Then just as quickly shrivel into raisins on the vine as you stumble blind and stupefied over this:

“This is really awful. Stupid story, stupid people. Couldn’t care less about any of the characters. I’m sorry I spent any of my hard earned money on this horrible book.”

Ouch!

But Whether Good, Bad, Or Hideously Ugly,

your belief in yourself and what it is you’ve set out to do, MUST run deeper than any pile of poo dropped onto the surface of your gleaming hopes and expectations. Because although your confidence can certainly be ruffled, trounced, bitch slapped, and bloodied, it can’t be hijacked without your consent.

Some assaults prove more of a challenge than others. Sometimes we’ve been pummeled so violently we temporarily lose all reason and sanity lock and load baby, mentally smacking ourselves repeatedly for ever thinking we’d be allowed to join THE CLUB.

And while there are times when weeping and wallowing feel necessary for releasing the buildup of toxins caused by critical assaults, it must only be temporary. Long enough for a cleansing wallow, but brief enough to recall that the opinions of others cannot injure your truths or shake loose your passionate belief in the gifts you’ve been given. They belong to you as long as you care to feed and nurture them.

And really, truly, it is my hope and prayer for you that you do.

 

What ya thinking? How difficult is it for you to maintain your armor when the going gets tough? Have there been times when you’ve been tempted to surrender, only to find your faith renewed in the eleventh hour? The floor is yours!

 

 

 

 

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Why Such Meanies?

mean dog

Growl, Snarl, Snap!

We like to pretend it’s not a big deal. That we’re prepared to roll with the punches. We have a good idea what to expect and we’re up to the task. We’re not overly concerned about gremlins coming along to feed on our pages, sample our cupcakes, attend our art show, or choke on our words. We know they’re out there and we’re ready.

We get it.

From the  moment we reach the summit and stake our flag, we know to dig-in and brace ourselves, holding steady as our private little worlds go public.

Plenty to Say And Places to Say it–But Why So @#$%! Mean?

And yet far too often of late I find myself tripping over a mean-spirited review or comment that instantly causes my insides to crumble and my brain to clench, even when said assault isn’t directed my way. I can’t help but feel the angst breed from words that go beyond opinion and directly into assault mode. Words our mothers forbid us to use under threat of house arrest. Because they’re mean, just plain  mean.

Review or Faceless Assailant?

We’re entitled to our opinions. Thoughts composed from our reactions and convictions count. We’re experienced something and we’re entitled to talk about it, damn it! Yak yakking loud and long, even after the lights go out and everyone’s gone home

And yet, at what point does opinion take on the ambiance of something else? Something decidedly mean-spirited–one syllable removed from outright cruelty. Does the reasoning behind this hyper-meanie-mode have anything to do with how easy it’s become to launch a hit-and-run from behind the security of a faceless gravitar spinning through cyberspace?

Reviewing 101

Well, yeah, I hear you. Opinions aren’t always a kind or pretty thing, particularly when we’re aiming for unbiased honesty, thus uber sensitive types might need to toughen-up or avoid reading reviews altogether. But when we’re talking reviews–good, bad, or outright heinous–there is something to be said about common courtesy and fair play.

For instance, these three sentences constitute an opinion and not a review:

“I hated everything about this book. I hated the story. I hated the characters.”

When posted on a public forum it’s a meanie flyby assault dropped with intent to harm. Taking a few moments to detail the Hate within the Hatred is the required component necessary to quality this as a legit and purposeful review.

This statement is Absolutely, Positively not a review:

“I couldn’t get past the first two pages.”

And so begs the question of what has actually been reviewed? Five hundred words of a 80,000 word novel?

Call me crazy, but if I start reading something–whether slender volume, cinder-block sized tome, or article in People magazine–and it doesn’t click the preferred receptors in my reading brain, I close the cover and select something else from my teetering pile. Common sense and old-fashioned courtesy assuring I have nothing legit to offer by way of opinion because I haven’t read it!

It Seems Both Simple and Humane

Regardless of whether another person’t work evokes hatred or love within our internal opinion box, there’s something to be said for respecting the fruit of another’s labors.

We all have opinions and they count for something. And when it comes to honest gut reaction, truth is not an option, even when it’s painful. But there’s a flip-side in the game of playing fair.  Don’t just tell us that In Your Opinion something is wonderful or dreadful, tell us why. If you won’t recommend the eclairs from Lula’s Sweet Shop, tell us it’s because the filling tastes like chalk or the pastry is soggy, because “They’re crap,” doesn’t cut it.

If the book was unreadable because the typos set your eyeballs to near-combustion, the story was predictable, or the ending falls flat, that’s the thing we appreciate knowing, but “I hated the protagonists name,” not so much.

Keep In Mind

There’s a beating heart behind every creation.

YES, please do share your thoughts and tell it like it is. But give us some concrete reasons for why you liked or disliked the object in question. Stand by your comments and opinions, but, come on, kids, lets try and remember to play nice. Drive-by shooting are the actions of criminals and thugs. You’re so much better [and kinder] than that.

 

Care to pull up a keyboard and share your thoughts?

What’da’ya think? Is being honest the same thing as being mean? Have you been guilty of, or affected by. a dump-and-run?

50 Shades of Green

 

envy4

 

It seems unlikely that anyone–especially anyone who’s ever undertaken the head-scrambling angst of setting pen to paper with the intent of composing brillaint, unforgettable prose–could fail to notice  obsess over the boggle-the-mind, runaway-success stories that bolster certain books to the lofty heights of Mega Bestsellerdom .

Far from what would ordinarily be considered masterful or especially remarkable, they are oftentimes books more likely to furrow foreheads, clench lips, and inspire interior chants to boom–Why? How can this be? Where have all the grammar school English teachers gone?–if only in an effort to drown out the not so pretty sour grape spills of Not Fair! WTH Because, seriously, How is it even possible that such crappy, hackneyed, over-under written book sell beyond the bounds of a bazillion gigaton?

Deny it if you must.  Insist that you yourself harbor no writerly dreams or aspirations that such a phenomena would sweep in to propel the spine printed with your name.  (And as you continue with your vehement protests, how about we pause here a moment to step in and check your pulse. You know, just to be sure your heart is still beating.)

JUST THE FACTS MA’AM

Reasonable, impossible, or mind-boggling as it may be, the fact remains that someone out there is buying, reading, and talking-up those mega selling books. Many many someones.  Enough someones to dropkick records and propel certain books to the top of the lifetime achievement bazillionare club.

It’s enough to make a green-eyed monster swell to the proportions of Everest.

Envy1

 

 

 

 

AND THE WINNER IS…

It’s essential to keep in mind that, unlike contestants in the Miss Universe contest,  books are NOT in competition with each other.  Should “50 Shades of Anything” suddenly go spiraling off into oblivion never to be seen in print again, its disappearance would have no impact whatsoever on that truly awesome and magnificent book your book waiting behind curtain number two.  Because, once again, repeat after me: Books Are Not In Competition With Each Other.

ROCKETING BOOKS UP THE CHARTS AND INTO THE STRATOSPHERE

The numbers are about readers. The gazillion, bazillion readers who open their wallets, click the buy-it-now button, pluck down their Visa cards, and spread the word.  They hold the keys to the book lovers kingdom. Simple as that.

If there’s a formula for hitting the sweet spot, I don’t know it. As a writer, I simply aspire to find the words that feel closest to my truth.

Okay, I can hear you thinking… So, what’s up? It’s nice to share 😀

Keep It To Yourself ?

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As stated in the Rules

You know them as taboo topics.  Subjects OFF LIMITS if we have any intention of aspiring to the heights of the non-offending , tolerant, thoughtful, and un-bloodied.

It doesn’t require the mind of Solomon to figure out the wisdom in this accustomed rule.  A few heated venom spewing, flame throwing wars  disagreements are all that’s necessary to get the gist.

Not an especially surprising revelation, since, if we’re being honest, isn’t it true that very few of us encourage, appreciate, or respond well to unsolicited opinions, blatant know-it-all-isms, or bossy-pants directives? We make the effort to play fair with the expectation that the courtesy will be returned in kind. Sure, we waver now and again when logic and passion collide to cloud our thinking with the needling pain of a bad toothache.  But nevertheless, we understand to hold our tongues, barring the occasional lecture served up over the supper table, where our nearest and dearest are obliged held at fork point  to listen to our rants if they have any hope of our passing the meatloaf before hell freezes over.

It all happens so innocently

We’re still nursing the morning cup, scrolling through the recent scoops on Facebook: amusing quips, pet photos, drama queen updates — when all at once –we see it — The Bait.

HUH??? What? What the …. How rude!  And WRONG.  Crap. What a boob. 

You scroll away.

But then you’re back.  You can’t help it. Just for the sake of curiosity.  No harm in skimming through the handful of comments posted by those not so politically correct or courteous as you.

Seriously? Ridiculous. 

Scroll away.

Back.

You’ve got to be kidding? No rational person would ever agree with something so idiotic. Ten *Likes*? TEN people LIKE this outlandish baloney?  What brand of lunacy would inspire anyone to agree with this load of steaming, reeking poo? There must be someone out there in possession of a working brain. So where are they? Why aren’t they saying something? Why isn’t someone responding to this insane realignment of fact?

The truth is

While we might be occasionally successful in stiffing our opinions, it’s our hardcore convictions that consistently pop the lid off the box.  At which point, expressing The Real Deal feels all-consuming essential in the face of  blatantly heinous misconceptions.

Because, no exaggeration, when it comes to _______ and _________, I  personally know my stuff.  Really.  No really, I’ve got it covered. This is my topic, my territory.  I’ve got this–inside out, upside down, full to overflowing–I KNOW THIS!

And yet, I know better

Right?   I know the pointless, rarely won impossible to win, brutal nature of engaging in sticks-and-stones battles in public places STOP! DANGER! Social media ahead.

And  So

Scroll back — this is it. One quick and final look.

YES!!!

At last! The White Knight of Wisdom and Courage, one whose convictions are richer and truer than the cowardice of politeness, has swept in to plant the very words I myself am too non-offending cowardly to offer myself.  At the very least I will “Like” this sterling comment of honesty and truth. A click of solidarity …

Wait …but doesn’t a “Like” rate nearly the same as saying it myself? What if someone–someone near and dear–notices my Like and is offended? Maybe the best plan of action is to wait.  Creep back quietly under cover of night.  While Facebook is asleep and no one is looking.  A quick, drive-by click.

Truth vs Honestly vs Everything Else

It’s all such a confused and slippery slope.  At what point does thoughtfully keeping the yap shut translate as an act of cowardice, rather than stately wisdom.  Akin to backing away with hands thrown in the air when every fiber is insisting we lock-and-load. How much of the urge to respond to another persons “stuff” is a byproduct of our own pride and know-it-all-itis, as opposed to true heart and soul convictions?  The difficult to restrain human tendency of needing to have the last word–slamming headlong with the inspiration to impart life-saving sacred truth in the face of deranged misconception? Just how important or necessary is it to get our opinions and convictions out there for everyone to see?

Sigh…

I’m still working to rearrange the furniture in my comfort zone.  More or less treading lightly, when the better plan might very well be to leap directly into the deep end.  Grab hold of those unshakable-top-tier convictions and hold on for a rollicking ride over a  bumpy road.

And, how are you doin? What’s your tendency when it comes to speaking-up, lending opinion, spouting your fountain of truth?  The spotlight is yours *hands you the microphone…*

 

A TOUCH OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SIZZLE

Packing up my keyboard early this AM and heading over for a visit to one of my very favorite cyberspace hang-outs: PSYCHOLOGICAL SIZZLE, where I’m a guest of the uber fabulous and ever-entertaining, Queen of the Snarks, SHERRY ISAAC!

Sure hoping you have a chance to stop by, kick-off your shoes, and share a bit of chit-chat.  

Sherry has dedicated the entire month of November to my all time favorite super sleuth, NANCY DREW. Love it if you’d care to share your comments 😀

RED, WHITE AND TRUE BLUE

 Among the assortment of ingredients contained within, aka the mumbo jumbo of stuff that make me *Me*, is a genuine patriot that tears-up at parades, is thankful for the opportunity to Vote, and thinks The Star Spangled Banner is a pretty good song.

As far back as my childhood days as a Girl Scout marching in my small town parade, I have been proud to bursting of my American heritage and the rich soil on which I’ve been planted.

AND YET,

I could claim I was blindsided and it wouldn’t be a lie. It was all so innocent. An act of over-confidence piqued by a simple enough challenge in the back pages of the Sunday Newspaper: “Can You Pass The Citizenship Test?” followed by a civics portion of the U.S naturalization test.

It’s true I might have chuckled over the warning ” One in three citizens failed this test in a survey taken this year.”  Tisk tisk. Just pitiful. They should be ashamed. 

Just a Moment, While I Sharpen My Pencil …

  1. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?
  2. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
  3. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
  4. We elect a U.S senator for how many years?
  5. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
  6. If both the president and the vice president can no longer serve,who becomes president?
  7. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
  8. When was the Constitution written?
  9. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S Constitution. Name one of the writers.
  10.  What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

Huh? My Score, You Ask?

Fugeddiboudit! Fat chance of tripping that particular Elephant in the public square 😦  Especially when such revelations could very well lead to immediate deportation. (As in, it is pitiful, and I am ashamed.)

Just let me mention that to pass the civics test, an applicant must correctly answer 6 out of 10 questions, which are randomly selected from a list of 100. (You can go to Parade.com/citizenship to see how you fared on these 10 and to try your hand at all 100.)

My Final Score:

Patriotism: A+++

Citizenship: … still studying for the re-take.

What’s your standing? Would you pass the Citizenship test as it pertains to your own little parcel on the planet? Care to pull up and chair and refresh with me?

Cover Me Please

          FINISHED! And there you have it.  Two altogether exhilarating words for anyone who has ever poured months, years, lifetimes into writing a book. Despite multiple drafts, rewrites, painful edits, etc … etc, there comes a day … Continue reading

WHY SO EXCITED?

Aren’t you so EXCITED?!  Of course you are!  At least it certainly seems you ought to be, considering that when you skim the news feed on FB, stop by to read a blog post here and there as you cruise through cyberspace, noiselessly tip-toe through twitter, it’s pretty much everywhere. Excitement, and lots of it.  Can we really be this Excited so much of the time?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m right there with you  to blow-up the balloons and toss the confetti in celebration of those occasions, announcements, and achievements of high excitement.  You’ve just gotten a new agent, your book is/will be published, you won the Nobel Prize? Absolutely that’s EXCITING stuff. In fact, pardon me while I dash off and bake you a cake …

EXCITEMENT OVERLOAD

In truth, it’s not the overabundant use of the word EXCITED that has me grousing, it’s the observation that maybe there’s far too much EXCITEMENT being tossed around, and quite possibly we’ve gotten a wee bit lazy with our word-ology.

Okay, so if you’ll hold your excitement for just a moment, I will make my point by serving up some suitable, and yes, EXCITING alternates courtesy of the every handy-dandy desk thesaurus:

EXCITE: inspire; upset, accelerate, agitate, amaze, anger, animate, annoy, arouse, astound, awaken, bother, chafe delight, disturb, electrify, elicit, energize, evoke, fire, fluster, foment (huh?) galvanize, goad, incite, induce, inflame, infuriate, instigate, intensify, irritate, jolt, kindle, madden, mock, move, offend, precipitate, provoke, rouse, start, stimulate, stir up, taunt, tease, thrill, titillate, vex, warm, worry …

Clearly, it’s nothing if not a thoroughly lazy exercise in word usage  to so often default to the generic EXCITED when we have such a diverse menu to choose from.

IF YOU’LL PARDON MY EXCITEMENT

Over here in my little corner of the world, this first half of 2012 has seen more than a few truly exciting astounding milestones. 

AND SO, A FEW EXCITING STIMULATING HIGHLIGHTS

1. Child #3 graduated with honors from Tulane University in New Orleans this past spring.

Aside from the “official requirement” that we pack up the jalopy and head off to one of my very favorite cities in order to attend said graduation, there is the deeply personal excitement fire of waving my third child off into the world with college degree in hand as she pursues her hearts desire. (Not to mention that by graduating with honors, I am assured that my darling girl did indeed resist the temptations of Bourbon Street and perpetual Mardi Gras well enough to open her books and work hard when necessary.) Certainly every parent thrills at such achievements in the lives of their children, but for those who, like me, carried their own Ivy League dreams straight from High School to enrollment at the University of Real Life, (although to my credit, I paid attention, studied hard, and did my homework along the way to earning a self-awarded doctorate) there mighty milestones elicit high levels of excitement animation.

2. Child #4 completed his Boy Scout Eagle Project this summer. Yes, absolutely the stuff that makes a mama proud, but there is something infinitely exciting stimulating in witnessing a 16 year old boy take a mighty step toward manhood by proving he is far more than an eating, sleeping, video game playing entity (cue Dr Frankenstein as his creature comes to life, “IT’S ALIVE!!!!”), by willingly shouldering the necessary design, planning, fund raising, labor, and responsibilities necessary to accomplish a mighty and highly ambitious project. In this case, by metamorphising a neglected Memorial plaque on a boulder dedicated to WW II veterans, into a beautiful memorial garden complete with archway, benches, brick walkway, flag pole, night-time lighting, and plantings. So yeah, this is one of those things that truly excites  inflames my pride receptors.

3. I am a shiny new Grandmother (or Mimi, if you happen to be Baby Sebastian.)!!!  Although I’ve only been wearing this newbie title for 4 days now, it fits quite nicely and feels especially comfy. To those of you who are grandmothers, have a grandmother, long to be a grandmother, I needn’t elaborate on how over-the-moon, EXCITED ANIMATED I am now, and will forever be.

4. Having weathered the accustomed angst, turmoil, and brain strain hairpulling, sulking, whining of writing, I now have a mostly official date penned on the calendar for the release of my latest novel, Asleep Without Dreaming. (September 18, 2012. Woo woo!) If you’re a writer, no elaboration necessary.  If you’re a reader, I hope pray, gnash teeth, cross fingers that you’ll consider climbing into your favorite comfy chair with my book and while away an afternoon. After mucho years of scribbling out these chapters, my EXCITEMENT supreme sense of electrification is near blinding.

AND SO

What exactly does all this word-muddling prove, you ask?  Probably that EXCITE, EXCITING, EXCITED, are pretty good words.  Because, shoot, we really are  EXCITED! And for good reason. EXCITEMENT is a feel good, done good, bring on the parade, perfect fit of a word.  Accept no substitutes imitators that sound really awkward and stupid. I might be inflamed, animated, fired up and stimulated, but mostly I’m EXCITED, by golly! EXCITED, EXCITED!

EXCITED is life at it’s finest and nothing quite expresses it like good old tried-and-true EXCITED EXCITEMENT! 

So what’s got you Excited lately?  It’s fun to share, please do 😀

*Hoping you don’t mind my adding a fleeting dash of EXCITEMENT by announcing that my debut novel The Secret of Lies will be FREE on Kindle August 2 – August 3 in celebration of the near-release of Asleep Without Dreaming 😀

Hair of the Dog

As You May Recall,

I have something of a fascination with Idioms.  You know, those expressions that are near ancient in origin, which we toss out often enough to assure their permanence in the rhelms of common language.  And yet, when we take a moment to think about what it is we’re actually saying, uh well, What actually are we saying?

For starters, just how guilty are you of  Letting the Cat out of the Bag?  I know I’ve done it more times than I care to publicly admit. Or, maybe not, considering the true meaning of this odd little phrase. Let the Cat out of the Bag:  Possibly related to the fact that in England in the Middle Ages, piglets were usually sold in bags at markets. Sometimes, someone would try to cheat a buyer by putting a cat in one of the bags instead of a piglet. And if someone let the cat out of the bag, the fraudster’s secret was revealed.

And when was the last time your mother, husband, or BFF had to corner you with this particular admonishment:  Get off Your High Horse: Medieval soldiers and political leaders bolstered their claims to supremacy by appearing in public in the full regalia of power, and mounted on large and expensive horses, thus presening themselves as larger than life. The combination of the imagery of being high off the ground when mounted on a great war charger, looking down one’s nose at the common herd, and also being a holder of high office made it intuitive for the term ‘on one’s high horse’ to come to mean ‘superior and untouchable.’

Is it possible that a  little Moderation might be just the thing to keep the dog hair off your tongue:  Hair of the dog is a colloquial expression in the English language predominantly used to refer to alcohol that is consumed with the aim of lessening the effects of a hangover. The expression originally referred to a method of treatment of a rabid dog bite by placing hair from the dog in the bite wound. The use of the phrase as a metaphor for a hangover treatment dates back to the time of William Shakespeare, when it was a popular belief that “a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences.” Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine within 24 hours to soothe the nerves. “If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail the next day.”

As a kid I thought this sounded like a fun idea, but only because I believed real animals were involved:  The term Kangaroo Court may have been popularized during the California Gold Rush of 1849. The first recorded use is from 1853 in a Texas context. It comes from the notion of justice proceeding “by leaps”, like a kangaroo. The phrase is considered an Americanism.

Sadly familiar because it’s practiced so often: Lying through your teeth:  This also may be an expression describing the act of lying with a smile or other patronizing tone or body language.  It is very old, traceable to the early 1300’s.

So, what’s the most oft used idiom in your language closet? Do you know what it really means, or do simply enjoy it for it’s familiarity and the fact that regardless of true meaning everyone tends to “get it” when you say it?

The Best Laid Plans … Yeah, Right!

It goes something like this …

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of real life, I can’t help but believe that the medicine goes down better when accompanied by a well laid plan spoonful of sugar.  Whether it be a mental list (Bahahahaha, yeah right! What kind’ve bone-head boob would rely on such foolish tactics!) or a tidy inventory laid out on paper– complete with bullet points–I’m all about planning.  Not that all my plans see fruition, it’s more about the fact that having a plan makes me feel fools me into thinking that I have a safety net in position at those times when real life comes along and attempts to blow the post-its off the refrigerator.

Did I mention my delusional tendencies?

Plans are admirable and good, even necessary at times, and yet, to believe they are ironclad or accident proof is to be mighty disappointed delusional.  The hard, cold, nails-down-the-chalkboard-truth, my friends?  Real Life Trumps The Best Laid Plans. 

For example (and I have so many I will make an effort to curb myself from dumping an avalanche here), I never fail to compose a grandiose list of New Year’s resolutions on or about January 1st, ready to sprint out the gate the moment the countdown ends, the ball drops, and I can *officially* crawl into my sparkly new and improved skin.

Make no mistake, I’m no lightweight

Which isn’t to say that I am simply a composer of abundant schemes and flowing designs–no ma’am, not this runaway chicken. To my credit, I stockpile ammo, suit-up, dig-in, and prepare for the long haul. I aim high, because I don’t know any better somewhere deep inside my rock hard head, I’ve succeeded in convincing tricking myself into believing that I’m up for the task and ready to vault over the wall at a moments notice.

My proposed lead into 2012 was no exception. Grand planner that I am, I prepared early, toiled over my intentions,scratched some, and elevated others.  It was an admittedly rosy start and I had a good run. All things orderly, neat, and infinitely promising for nearly a week.  Right up to the moment when the clown car pulled-up  and stormed the castle.

And so …

What happens when THE BEST LAID PLANS step out for a smoke, take a powder, leave the building? Well, duh, for starters you need to make new ones.  You rethink, regroup, refocus.  Because here’s the thing, the reason REAL LIFE trumps all variety of planning is because REAL LIFE is the big ticket, the hot tamale, the Leprechaun’s lucky charms. Whereas PLANS are more akin to those unintelligible instructions that come inside the box of high-quality-assemble-it-yourself furniture (why does it look like a coffee table when you’re supposed to be constructing a chest of drawers???), equal to the odds of winning more than two dollars on a scratch-off lottery ticket or waking up to find Brad Pitt scrambling eggs in your kitchen.

Say What?

Simply put, PLANS are good. They help us streamline, focus, accomplish. But still, there are plenty of times when REAL LIFE has its own PLANS and we’re left feeling as if there’s a runaway tractor trailer barreling straight through the center of our life.  Just as there are nevertheless moments when an even better PLAN comes along and trumps the seemingly perfect one you scribbled on the back of the cocktail napkin or jotted in the margin of the newspaper.

Um hum, REAL LIFE, it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And you? Are you a planner? How often do you defer to Real Life without a knock-down, drag-out fight?