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Just Do It!

 

“Just do It, Carolyn! Why do you fight it so hard? You’ll feel so much better when you get it done!” Famous last words of my mother. The kind of words that used to irritate me! I’d dig my heels so deep in the sand that I wouldn’t “do it” whether it was good for me or not. I have this thing about ‘should, and  have to’ statements. My hand flies to my hip, my toe starts tapping and in my mind, I hear, “Yeah, and who’s going to make me?” Good grief!

 

So what are my famous last words to my students? “Just do the homework! Get it in on time! You’ll feel so much better! And your grade will be so much better!” And in every class, I can spot that one student, who like me, will resist to the last breath.

 

What is this affinity to not doing something? I know that it is the reason my personal New Year’s resolutions don’t usually pan out. I try to make these sweeping changes in my life all at once. I can handle the change for a couple of days, a week sometimes, then my brain and my body just can’t live up to the expectations I set and I find myself back in the same old same old. I need a new plan! And those expectations are often higher than I want to admit – am I setting myself up for failure on purpose?

 

So I go back to my mom’s words – just do it. If I over plan, I reach resistence – too much to do. If I’m spontaneous, I’m flighty and I don’t get done those things I have accepted responsibility for. I don’t believe that living a balanced life is for me. Balance, to me, is a state of status quo, it doesn’t leave much room for exploring.

 

I keep thinking that maybe an ‘integrated life’ is what I’m looking for. But, I already have a full plate. I’m not sure I can integrate much more into my life. My husband has finally started asking me what I’m willing to give up in order to take on something new. It is not always an easy question to answer. I love what I do! All of it! So how do I make room for new? Especially since I’m someone who, once they have a bit of success with something, moves on to other things, new adventures. It’s not that the grass is greener on the other side, it’s that there is another side to visit, to experience. It’s not that I’m bored, I’m just curious.

 

“Just do it” seems to only apply to the changes I want to make to me personally, to my life. And sometimes it feels like the whole universe is standing between me and what I know I should change. “Should” – maybe that’s the problem. Between “should” and my ego, no wonder I only last a week. That and my willingness to fulfill my outer responsibilities to others first. I’m well versed on spending time on “my stuff” and how it will make me feel. But there are priorities: learning something new or dinner; encouraging a budding writer or my own writing; grading papers or taking a walk; reading non-fiction journals for topics and information that will help my students instead of pleasure reading. There seems to be a limited number of hours in a day.

 

So what’s the plan?

 

I think that I’ll take a bit a time, hopefully everyday, and Just Do for myself. Maybe if I write a list of things I could do for me – some that might take just a few minutes – others that might take a bit longer – and just do them, maybe I’ll start meeting my personal expectations a step at a time instead of sudden change that shocks my system. Maybe I’ll get that book written sooner than later and the laundry will still get done. A nice thought.

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Looking for

Looking for science fiction fantasy authors for a writing project with Wormholeelectric.com. Drafts should be between 25,000 and 75,000 words and author must be ready and available for and accepting of intense content edit and grammar/unctuation edits.

Rough draft due Feb. 1 – possible publishing date March 2

Rough draft due Mar 1 – possible publishing date Apr 6

Possible inclusion in Anthology to be published June or July.

Contact clv241@gmail.com – subject heading: writing project  and attach a synopsis of script. DO NOT send script – remember to include contact information.

 

Hope

Between Christmas and New Years, we had a discussion on “hope”, was it valuable or was it a waste of time? We had a right nice discussion going until we realized that there were different definitions of hope, different ways of feeling it. But most importantly, was it important to an individual?

There is the type of hope that goes along with the “fake it ’til you make it” – a deep gnawing sense of  please, please, please! let this work! I’ve had enough!

There is a more light-hearted type – the cross your fingers, close your eyes and make a wish type of hope – the wish that is so over the top that you believe it will never happen but it sure would be nice to win the lottery…

And then there’s a type of hope born in faith (not religion – there is a difference). My husband and I celebrated a wedding anniversary last week and we talked about what our feelings were the day we got married. There was “hope” that this relationship would work out – but it wasn’t a cross our fingers or make a wish type of hope. It was a deep inner knowing that the relationship would take work; we both had a belief that if we kept at it and had the will to keep at it, the marriage would work. So far so good. When our daughter and son were born, there was “hope” that all would be okay – again, a deep inner knowingness, a sense of faith that in the long run, our lives would be good. Maybe that is the key – in the long run.

I look at literature, the type of stories I like to read and I find that most of them will not win any prizes. They’re gritty, fast paced, creative, sad, inspiring – each one in some way or another gives the reader a sense of hope that in the long run, the story and the characters will be okay – dead or alive – they will be okay. (If they die, they’ve moved on to a better place – usually a foreshadowing done in the earlier part of the book – or the character wanted to ‘go out that way’- saving their world/all for a great cause [note-not just a good cause but a great cause]).

I notice the same pattern in the type of movies I watch: action packed, tear jerkers, breath catching in the throat but the hero strides through the dust and the smoke and arrives in time to save the day – think Mission Impossible, Sherlock Holmes and War Horse. All great examples of characters holding on to hope because that is all they have.

Is it a Polly Anna attitude? I don’t think so. I can close my eyes and blow out candles and make a wish, I can cross my fingers and hope for more, I can take that sense of hope and turn it into faith that flows into knowingness. Without hope, why bother getting up in the morning? The best gift I can give myself is hope. I don’t think it is a lie – I’m not convincing myself that at this point in time I could be queen or president. I’m keeping it believable – and that might be one of the keys too – believability.  

When was the last time hope paid off for you?

 

A balanced life

I’ve been raised with the idea that everyone wants a “balanced” life – little bit of play, a bit of fun, some work… the point was that no one thing was more important or more time consuming than anything else. Whoever thought of a balanced life style didn’t have children. Having worked my way through children, various jobs where the bosses certainly believed that a well balanced life style meant 75% work or no job, I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe I don’t want a balanced life.

When I look at the meaning of “balance”, the definition that stands out the most is “status quo”, equilibrium; everything in stasis; stalemate, no evolution.

No evolution, no growth, no forward movement; everything remains just as it is.  Do I really want to remain just as I am now? I’m good – I’m very good at what I do – does that mean I shouldn’t try for better? I love my job! But does that mean that I shouldn’t build new skills? Not so much so that I can get another job, but more so that I keep my mind nimble, my thoughts flexible. Being nimble in mind also means I can make informed decisions for myself; I don’t have to depend on someone else’s say so. This will be really important in this upcoming election – being able to find information out from both sides before I make a decision as to who to vote for. It will take me time, but I’m not as manipulatable.  

People who try to manipulate me frustrate me – whether it is a  politician, a boss, a friend, or family member. They think I’m not intelligent, that I should believe that they have my best interest in mind when in actuality all I’m really doing is lining their pocket ( I have to watch for that) – or I’m giving them what they want – not what is best (family and friends), that I should just roll over and believe what they tell me no matter what. This is status quo, stasis; nothing changes, all remains the same: family and friends try to hoodwink me, businesses try to tell me their product is best; politicians blame everyone else while protecting their jobs so that regular folks can loose their jobs to prove the politician’s point.

I can tell family and friends “no”, not shop at certain stores; but I’m not sure how to handle the politician thing. I hired them with my vote, but all they’ve done is cause a stalemate to “prove” something – that their ideas are the only ideas that work? All they’ve really shown me is that they are not team players, in a corporate setting they would have been fired; they can’t even get together to keep this country going financially because both sides are hard headed, stubborn and they really don’t have my best interest in mind – all they are trying to do is “prove” their point, that they are “right”. “Being right” doesn’t put food on the table – I’m paying my congressmen and senators a healthy salary so they won’t go hungry – but what about those who are hungry? How does “being right” help them?  Politicians have broken their pact with me. The British and Canada have a “vote of no confidence” – maybe we need that here.

 

Beginnings

At Thanks Giving I go through the usual “This is what I’m thankful this year” routine. But as I come closer to Christmas, I begin to rethink the year as a whole. Once the shopping and wrapping are done, the flood gates of memories gush forth and all I can do is hang on and remember.

This year, I have a lot to remember. And a lot to be thankful for. This year was a big step for me.

So I’m standing around the coffee machine in January, the first day back at work, saying hi, what did you do for Christmas? What are your intentions for the New Year? and someone asks the great question of “What would you be doing if you had the job of your dreams?”  How do I respond? I love what I do (I’m a college professor) and yet there is that little voice inside that spoke up before I could edit what it was saying: “I’d be writing, editing, helping others get published, I’d do it….” and I hear myself outlining this whole new avenue of living. Of course the next question was: How would you publish? And before I can control my mouth, “Internet” tumbles out. I’m relieved when the conversation moves on to someone else, thankful that no one really takes me seriously.

But someone heard and took me seriously. A web developer. He liked my idea and wanted to know more. As we talked, a whole new venture started to unfold. Now this is not unusual, I’m always looking at, thinking about, planning new adventures and I usually pull out within a couple of days -“pipe dreaming” my mother used to call it.

Except this pipe dream didn’t let go, and try as I might, it kept dogging me, nipping at my mind, suggesting this and that, speaking out of turn to others before I had a chance to stop it. Once it got started, it snowballed. Before I knew it, 8 other authors were willing to take a chance, to write and see if we could sell our stuff – to see if our writing was of value, worth while, interesting enough for someone(s) to buy. I also had 2 gentlemen contact me who wanted to be involved in the editing process – they didn’t want to write, they just wanted the opportunity to read a good story before it went up for sale.

And so Wormhole Electric was born. The web designer put together a “lets get started” type of site, scripts from the authors came in and were sent out for editing, I did the planning, the contacting, some writing, the original editing and first read, and in late September we published our first 3 mini-novels. And 3 weeks later, we published another 3 mini-novels – we have kept up this schedule for 3 months. I’ve learned some about online publishing, have spent a fortune in time learning about marketing and even managed to complete a script of my own that was published. We now have enough on the site to publish once a month, which is good. And, I put together an Anthology and put it up on Smashwords for the Christmas season – e-readable in just about any format you can think of. Amazing pipe-dream. I wonder when I’ll get to the place of not calling it a pipe dream any more.

Just to keep the pace up, try the site out:

http://www.wormholeelectric.com  Science Fiction Fantasy and for 30% off, follow the coupon to htt://www.smashwords.com  and buy there.

Hello world!

I think one of the hardest things to do is start a new blog. By the time I get the settings in place, chose a theme, load in the pictures, create the profile and write down all the new directions and new email addresses I’m overwhelmed. I want to continue but frankly, I’m not sure my brain will handle it. And yet I know, once I get started, I love it!

So here I am, creating a new blog, starting a new theme in my life. Hello World! I’m looking forward to our conversations!