about writing

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Writing is something I love to do. I have always been fortunate that my writing mentors are actual writers. Over the years they have helped me, encouraged me, guided me, offered constructive criticism, and helped me generally speaking become a better writer.

If you blog, you are exposed to many types virtually. They love to be your armchair quarterback and tell you what they think. Sometimes they are polite pen pals, very enjoyable to interact with. But then there are the other kinds of pen pals. These are the people who hide behind made up names and can’t just disagree, they have to verbally eviscerate you. It gets old.

Pen names are as American as apple pie, don’t misunderstand me, but it is not like they stand up and say who they are as they criticize. It is their right to comment using a non de plume, but sometimes I think they are being cowardly. They are not being courageous they just don’t want their neighbors to know.

If life was all hearts and flowers and fuzzy pint-sized ponies we would all listen to what our mothers and grandmothers said — “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” But I am a realist, so I don’t expect that.

It doesn’t mean, however, that just because I blog I am required to post angry tirades or ad hominem attacks. When you break it down, this is my creative space and I control the content.

That is why I like the delete button. Other people don’t like the delete button so much. Which is why I hang onto I.P. addresses and so on. There are a couple of I.P. addresses that are chronic ankle biters. It is all part of modern writing. It is a sometimes sad commentary, but it is just life.

But where is it we, as writers, draw the line? I used to publish all comments. Now I don’t. My writing isn’t put put there to be the free platform for the negativity of others.

Writing is an intensely personal thing yet it is public if it is on a blog or in print in the traditional sense. When you write you are putting yourself out there and it can be hard. But it is also rewarding because just when you lose faith in humankind, someone connects with a piece you have written, a photo you have taken, a shared experience.

Thank you to those of you who take this journey with me!

the happiness quotient

20140411-112534.jpgThese are two old snapshots of Vermont taken approximately 25 years ago now. We used to go up there once in a while and stay at my father’s friend Patrick’s house in Bondville. It was a very happy place for all of us and quite beautiful.

Waking up happy is such an amazing feeling, isn’t it? I woke up feeling so much better this morning. It has been three weeks since my surgery, and although I still feel tired, I just feel better today.

I think the weather helps too. It’s spring and the air is that soft yet sweet air that almost is fluffy. And the birds trill in the mornings. It’s ever so different from waking up on a winter’s morning because I think we all just had too much of winter this winter. It went from being a winter wonderland of new fallen snow to “when is this stuff going to melt?” Didn’t it?

Happy is an elusive thing at times, yet so basic. We all want to be happy, but we don’t always reach happy, or it is fleeting. But does it have to be fleeting? I don’t think so.

Part of being happy is loving and being loved. Part of it is being grateful for what you have and owning who you are.

Being happy isn’t pretending. Pretending is imagining a possibility to some, but to others it is a non-acceptance of reality. Pretense takes all forms, and you have to feel for the great pretenders you meet. They are obsessed with stuff and not substance. Or they pretend because their reality is too just hard for themselves. Unfortunately, to me, their view of the world is narrow, and they always think the rest of us can’t see them as they really are, but we do see them with their life underwear hanging out. That is sad.

Happiness comes with contentment and a sense of belonging and place I think. I have that. I wake up loving who I am with, where I am, and the woman I am becoming. I say “becoming”, because I believe we continue to evolve as people as we age.

Do I have self-doubt at times? Sure. I think we all do if we are honest. But the thing is now I can also see myself reflected in the eyes of someone who truly loves me for who I am, not who they think I should be. There is a big difference there.

I also think part of being happy is being with people who are happy and happy with you.

I hate to look back, but sometimes I do because not for anything else, it makes me truly appreciate where I am now. It’s not like my prior life with the ex factor was all bad, it wasn’t. But in retrospect, when you are with a glass half-empty person who always seems angry and of the mind set “the world owes them” versus a glass half-full person with a positive and peaceful outlook in the long term it makes a big difference. A friend once upon a time said God did a lift out on my life to give me the life I should have. I can’t disagree, and I am grateful. I am also grateful because for a while I found myself becoming a glass half-empty person. I did not like that person in me or in others.

We all come from something and somewhere, and we have to own that. But we can’t let past unhappy rule our futures, right? Isn’t it more positive to learn from what has occurred in the past and just move on? And I say that as someone who has worked hard to learn and let go. But then I realized a few months ago I actually had learned to let some stuff go, and I found that really peaceful.

Women are wired to hold onto stuff, and I am not perfect (nor do I pretend to be), but seriously? I feel different about myself and being positive and happy and grateful is actually real. Yet, at the same time I accept I am a work in progress. Some days will always be better than others, but the thing is this, believing in better being possible and being happy actually makes things better.

There are some we will encounter in our lives who we will bring into our worlds, and share our lives with for a while who will always hold part of themselves back. There are just some people who don’t share in return and part of them will always be that combination of stuck and selfish. You can’t change them, you aren’t responsible for them. Leave them to their states of envy and dissatisfaction. Life is too short to waste air space on those people. There will always be people richer than you, poorer than you, bigger house, smaller house, fatter, thinner, and so on. Why not just be grateful for what you have and be happy? I have said it before, but it is true , that it really took experiencing and having breast cancer to start to free me as a person and begin to change my perspective in some regards.

I think we learn from the people in our lives. The ones who stay, the ones who leave our lives for whatever reason, and those who are short term blips on the radar.

Maybe people will find this post too much and too zen. Yes, I think a lot, and this is what I woke up thinking about. Maybe that is why I like to write so much. Writing makes me happy and I used to feel so guilty about that. Why? Because I made the mistake of listening to someone once who said my writing was just self-aggrandizement. Well it’s not. It is part of who I am. (And in my head I feel my mother somewhere smiling at the 12 year old me who screamed at her and said “I hate writing! I never want to be a writer!”)

Writing and photography are the ways I express myself. Both skills do indeed make me happy and I work hard at both. There will always be those more talented than I, and I am quite o.k. with that. Life isn’t a competition, we all have our place in it.

Part of being happy is liking who you are as a human being. Some days that is not easy. I have been a partial being of not so happy since my surgery. A lot of that had to do with the physical pain post surgery and the hum of exhaustion that rules your body after a few hours of surgery. You just feel miserable. You don’t mean to, don’t want to, it just is. But today, I woke up and just felt happy and more like myself. Like I had turned a corner, so it made me think about happiness.

Spring is a great season to think about things like what makes you happy and what being happy is. Spring is a season of renewal, is it not?

In a little over a month I will be 50 years old. It’s funny I remember being 18 and about 21 and wondering what the 50 year old me would be like. I remember at the time not really being able to picture it because to an 18 and then 21 year old, it just seemed so old. The reality is it is not so old, not so bad. It’s looking forward to the next chapter of my life.

The reality of turning 50 isn’t about someone throwing you a big birthday party, it’s an acceptance of sorts of knowing who you are as a person. And liking your life, being happy, being loved. It’s about realizing is where the grass is always greener is in your own back yard. Not someone else’s.

Thank you for joining me on this slightly flowing, slightly rambling stream of consciousness. Be happy and find your magic in everyday life.

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random stream of consciousness

barnPeople see a blog and don’t get how it works.  Part of me gets that because there are different types of blogs.  Some are more like community websites where anyone can sign up and play, and then there are individual sites like mine which belong to the writer/owner and what they write about is entirely their discretion.

So I have been blogging for years at this point and used to have more of an activist bent.  But that is not the raison d’être of this blog.  This blog is for whatever I choose, when the spirit moves me, and how I wish to phrase it.

For example I might mention that I have a friend being unjustly treated by the mother of his only child and I have to wonder how this woman can sleep at night and does she have a pattern of this screw the baby daddy behavior as this isn’t the first time she’s done this? (Want to tug at the heart-strings? Check out Lulu Loves Dada)

Or I might talk about a woman I know who I think is incredibly brave.  She lives in another state and for the past few years has been living a nightmare worthy of a made for TV movie on Lifetime.  She is living proof it is hard for abused women to get out, and when the abuse isn’t physical it is just as bad if not worse.  This woman is amazing and just so nice.

And then there is my friend Jim, living in California and fighting to stay alive.  He can’t live without us and we can’t live without him (You can visit his website here.)

Maybe I will talk about my own journey through breast cancer or something else more personal.

Maybe I will share a recipe, review a restaurant, or post photos of a treasure from my favorite treasure barn (The Smithfield Barn, now on Facebook and they officially open for the season this weekend.)silo

Maybe I will post a photo or two or three or four or five.

Maybe I will comment on something that bugs me that I saw in the traditional media. A lot of times that has to do with butt ugly residential developments.  Sorry, but how many Dream Houses do Ken and Barbie need anyway?

Maybe I will write about a family who lost their dogs in a cruel and horrible way. Or chat about the oddness of horse “rescue” and funky Craig’s List ads.

Or maybe I might just post something funny I saw.

Or pick on PennDOT because their idea of road repair and safe roads is often laughable.

The point in all of this flowing stream of consciousness is this is my blog.  My forum.  If you leave me a comment on this site, it becomes mine. And no, I am not opening this site up to other bloggers.

Earlier today I was contacted by this person on the “about” section of my blog.  Her name is “Jan Parsons” – don’t know if it is her name or not.  She is concerned about “smart meters” which PECO Energy is going to be installing on a mandatory basis again.  Basically it seemed like she wanted to use my site as a forum for her issue.

Ok, I can’t be everything to everyone and I am not particularly interested in this issue.  My feeling is the health risks are minimal unless you are going to go around with the smart meter duct taped to your forehead. Yes I know this is a hot issue to some, but it is not my issue.  I am not a sponge, I do not soak up everyone’s issues.  That would be exhausting and take all of my time.

And I am sorry to be flippant but I survived seven straight weeks of radiation in truly high doses to the point I joked I glowed in the dark.  I just can’t get all jazzed about smart meters at this time. But what I did do for this woman was pass her concerns along to a contact I have at PECO Energy. To try to help. To which she freaking exploded and said I had “no right.”

Ok WOW.  I have people who contact me all the time about stuff who are *thrilled* when I pass their concerns along to a real person who might be able to help.

So I thought I would take the time to lay it all out again: I love when people read my blog.  But it is my blog.  Which means I get to say what goes on and doesn’t go on.  Sometimes I choose not to publish comments.  My prerogative.  Just like if I interpret something as a threat, it doesn’t mean it isn’t because you don’t happen to agree.

At  the end of the day this blog is part of my journey that I am choosing to share. I appreciate your readership.

Thanks for stopping by.