Monthly Archives: May 2012

Speaking Volumes

What matters to me, the points in time, the moments that remain with me and have changed me, are rarely those that others would think. Perhaps this is why I hold myself distant; removed from many.

When looking back, seven years ago this summer; one of my most poignant memories, during the time in which my son was in the hospital, was the look in people’s eyes. Whether standing in the hallway of the Critical Care Unit, or pacing outside his door on the Pediatric Oncology floor; it was the look in the eyes of those passing by that lives as a tangible memory within my mind. I watched other parents, some with vacuous expressions, others with pain so visible in their eyes, that of my own watered instantly upon meeting theirs. Then there were those that looked unfazed. They were the ones that troubled me the most. I felt no resonance with them, as all I know how to do, is – feel.

Once home, away from the kindred gathering of those struggling for life, I noticed the look others gave me; the one’s that knew my son had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. The fear in their eyes was more than I could absorb. In fact, I chose not to take in their pain; my own was almost more than I could bear. Within their eyes I could readily see that I was living their nightmare. For many parents, a child with a diagnosis of cancer, is a nightmare they pray will never come their way. And to them, they were witnessing a parent who’s every day now embodied all their fears brought to life.

Knowing what they were thinking, I chose to look away. I did not want to stop and share with them that mine was not the nightmare. A call informing the mother of a soldier that her son or daughter has died – is a nightmare. Accidents that snuff the youthful breath from a child are the nightmares from which we never awaken. I was allowed to awaken. My eyes opened; my son was given a new day. And I pray many more to come. These are the moments that forever reshape our lives. I’ve had many such moments. I don’t know why. Perhaps I was so misshapen upon the start of my life that Fate felt I needed massive re-sculpturing to become that which I needed to be. I don’t know. But I’m here now – reshaped.

The look in someone’s eyes, reveals more truth than their words can ever hope to say. When a seasoned nurse looks up; your eyes meet, and within hers you see that she is scared, well…no words need be spoken. When the eyes of a lover, filled with insecurity and doubt, looks deep into that of your own; they needn’t open their mouth to express their love and longing. Of course the same is true in reverse. I’ve looked into the eyes of someone professing love, when all the while there eyes revealed only hatred. I remember the look in my father’s eyes when he no longer wanted to live. As if it were yesterday I remember the look in his eyes after his stroke; eyes held open while his frustrated soul was gone; moved on to freer places.

Guilt is seen in an instant, within the eyes of one that’s failed to keep their promise. And love can be seen and felt across a crowded room, with one paused glance from the one who holds our heart. As children, we would play the ‘if you had to lose one of your senses game.’ A dreadful game when it’s really considered. Yet as children we jump happily into this early form of psychological analysis with both feet. If asked now, my reply would be: just let me keep my sight, because through it I am allowed to not only see, but to hear that which can’t be said and to express what words cannot.


Is The Bank Open On Saturday?

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The only solace a writer can find upon reading a less than desirable review is the knowledge that some of the best, most acclaimed writers have also received their share of questionable reviews.

My Insanity Blog serves as my Savings Account for errant thoughts; into which, as you are fully aware, I make many deposits. My thought today is that there are no better words spoken about my work than : well-written. Two words that mean a great deal. I have to imagine they can be likened to the word delicious when said to a chef upon taking the first bite of their carefully prepared meal. All of these words and opinions, the good and the bad, are subjective and need to be taken with a block of salt.

However, as a writer, the hardest pill to swallow is when someone says my dialogue does not ring true; especially when the dialogue is something I once said, and was once said back to me. There is no truer kind of dialogue than the kind that has actually and organically transpired. What is true to a reviewer and true to me, can be vastly different. One person may love hearing that the special entrée for the night is a Spiced Ginger Chicken. Truth is, they love ginger. For me, the word alone tightens my stomach and I know it is not special – to me. Two separate truths.

These are the words of this one reviewer, as she discusses my novel, A Contented Mind: “I also thought they were on the angsty side using phrases like ‘I’d die without you,” “can’t live without you,” etc. Those are just examples and not direct quotes. For two adults, this type of dialogue was a little off-putting and didn’t ring true.”

The love I experienced, that sat as the foundation for this particular line of dialogue, was felt on a cellular level. And when it ended, when the love died, I grieved. I needed time to mourn the loss and to this day I still feel the loss. This person died, by the way. So sometimes us adults can have that deep of love for one another. It happens.

So that is my thought for today; my mental, emotional, deposit into this blogging bank. As a writer we take our lumps, but never should we alter our voice. Thanks for standing in line with me.


What Motivates

Its words like the ones shared in this message, received from that motivate me during my more dark and questioning hours. Often it takes just one book to turn a young non-reader into a reader. And to think I just might be the one that created that book – ah, that’s the sweet spot of writing. I just had to share.


To Run Unfettered

Image found at: www.costumedogs.comSitting at my writing desk I heard the sound of my writing assistant enter the room. The sound of her four paws clicking across the floor is unmistakable.

Watching her, my happy expression quickly changed. My Boxer dropped her head, stared at her soft bed, then threw her body onto the floor. Not the bed, the floor. I grumbled, the way dog owners do, “Why the hell do I buy these nice beds if you don’t sleep on them?” She glanced over her shoulder at me, yawned, then let her head fall back onto the floor with a thud. She really doesn’t care what I think. She knows she’s ‘grandfathered in.’ Her fate is safe in my hands. So she lives without guidelines or restraint.

Boxer’s must feel their chins are heavy. I’ve come to this conclusion only because she is the only dog I’ve ever known that needs to rest her chin on tables, arms of chairs, bent knees, or any other such horizontal surface. She isn’t relaxing; I know this as she’s standing. One time while riding in the back of my Jeep she rested her chin on the top of my daughter’s head who was in the seat in front of her.

She has no shame in showing her excitement when visitors arrive. I think I’m going to start doing the same. The next time a friend arrives at my door I need to dance with excitement, hug them profusely, then latch to their side, all the while giving them a soft look of adoration. At the very least my efforts should earn a good rub down; that being what my Boxer receives.

And just like my Boxer, when I eat I think I’ll start picking through my food, leaving bits and pieces strewn across the floor. There will be no real rhyme or reason as to what I will eat and what I will spit off to the side. I think this approach will be good for me. A good change. And I plan to leave those hard nuggets all around, so those without shoes can find them later.

When I venture outside I’m going to run as if chased. I will run with force and strength without any real direction. When I’m done I’ll come sliding into the house and snort at everyone. It seems to work for my Boxer, so it should work for me. It might help remind me I’m alive. To be alive, I should probably act alive. I often forget that.

I want that kind of unbridled joy and zeal. She also howls for no apparent reason. I want to howl for no apparent reason. I never have, and doubt I ever will, but the idea sounds liberating. She doesn’t care that everyone looks at her as if she’s lost her mind. She knows one doesn’t have to act sane, to be sane. All she knows is she felt like howling – so she howled. Life should be so simple. It’s an overdone theory: that we should take lessons from our dogs. Yet, regardless of how often its said, it still remains true. Analyze less. Live more, and do so – unfettered.


Keep Digging

My brother and I once tried to dig to China. It seemed plausible at the time, especially considering we had already unearthed a cement slab that, surprisingly, possessed an iron handle. Obviously, this slab, buried under a foot or so of ground, was the door allowing us access to where we wanted to go. Imagine the odds of that?

I was all of about five at the time, so it never dawned on me to ask questions. I just knew my brother was brilliant. He did, after all, manage to find a door, hidden in the ground. I would have followed my brother anywhere.

I gave no thought to what we would do once we pried the cement slab from its snug-fitting home within the dirt. Most likely in my young mind, my brother and his accomplice (with me in tow), would enter the tunnel, and pop our heads out in the middle of a street bustling with Chinese. Once there, we’d look around a bit, then go back home for lunch. I’m pretty sure that’s how Bugs Bunny did it, and that’s why it made sense then that we would too.

I didn’t believe everything I watched on TV. I knew I’d never be able to locate anvil, not to mention drop it on someone while in the desert in the same way Wile E. Coyote did – time and time again. Oddly enough though, tunneling seemed doable.

I miss those days of heading off on an adventure; convinced of my own success. My adult mind, if given it’s way, attempts to remind me of my many shortcomings and the impossibility of the adventure. As a child, my mind never once tried to stop me from anything. In fact, I dare say, my mind was just as involved in the adventure as my wild heart.

We become wiser with age. But I also feel, in many ways, our minds narrow. We lose our sense of knowing somewhere along the line. I can’t say I want my mind to know and believe whole heartedly that I can, with only the use of my hands (or any other method), tunnel to China. I would however, like my mind to see less of the negative and more of the positive in all things. The negative will arrive on its own, if and when it chooses. But the belief in the positive brings on a feeling that is worthy of experiencing in and of itself. Doubt and worry feel similar to rough, cold fabric whereas knowing, all is well, feels like cashmere.

My brother and his friend gave up their quest to reach China via direct route through the center of the earth. I don’t think their efforts lasted long after their young arms failed to lift the cement slab from the ground. Not surprisingly, when they turned and headed in a new direction, I followed. And now, so many years later, my brother and I are once again taking steps toward a new adventure. I hope with every step we take, we do so knowing – everything will be alright. We’ve only just begun to tunnel to a very new, very good place. I think as we all head off on whatever journey we choose, big or small, daunting or simple, we should do so with the feeling of cashmere. Why not feel good as go forward – the rough stuff will find us without us finding it. So stop looking for it. Instead, surround yourself with optimistic thoughts, and allow yourself to feel good for a change.


Too Old To Settle

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There are about as many different kinds of love in this world, as there are colors. And there is no right color – it’s all a matter of what feels right to the beholder. So when a certain hue continually pulls your eye, lights your heart and infuses your soul, its safe to say – that’s your color.

Overall, the colors that paint my walls and surround me, are neutral tones. But that’s solely so that I can add whatever color of art that catches my eye. And when it comes to art, there is no way to describe what I like except to say – I know it when I see it. And thus, describes the workings of my heart.

I’m getting too old to settle for anything other than exactly what I want when it comes to life. Life’s too short for flat wine, stale cookies, or a blouse that fits funny. And its sure as hell too short for bad sex. And speaking as a woman of 42 years, I can say, without a doubt, such a thing does exist. I’m a passionate person. But in no way is that to be confused with being a reckless, wanton soul who seeks a topsy-turvy life. Passion merely means one who not only feels deeply, but longs to live fully. I can be just as passionate about writing as I can about the one with whom I am in love. With age, comes a bit of wisdom. And this time around, the only partner I will have, is one with whom I share the same passion.

I’d rather go it alone than be trapped within a lukewarm relationship or one that rides like a roller coaster of anger and deceit. I’ve done that. Many of us have done that. For me, the good stuff is when the heart is safe, and the companion is true, then and only then can passion be expressed in full. When I take on the world, I need to know the one standing beside me is there for the right reasons. The color of love with which I desire is one where the chemistry and magnetic pull is intensely delicious and beautiful to behold. But such beauty can only exists when it has the right natural balance; a safe color that brings balance to the room and the union.

Passion lives within all magnificent things. Listening to Mohamed Nasheed’s passion to save his country from drowning in the Indian Ocean is enough to inspire anyone – or at least it should. His passion sits deep, his words pierce the ear of the listener with their honesty and truth. A meal prepared by a passionate chef is a feast worthy of being one’s final meal. Passion is the purest form of love. Whether that love is for the arts, food, one’s country or a beautiful person. Passion is the brightest of the colors that love has to offer. We are all passionate about something.

Never hide your passion. You’ve got one shot to live this life – do it boldly. In doing so, take the time to provide it with the right backdrop and foundation; give it balance, then paint your world like there’s no tomorrow.


“Play that funky music, white boy.” – Wild Cherry

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I have to believe that every writer, spanning every genre, writes differently. Meaning, they have different internal guidelines and methods by which they write. I’ve read material that I vehemently loved, and I’ve read material that tasted sour to my mind. Regardless, I respect them all. And always will.

I treat writing much as I do music. I firmly believe there’s a place for all kinds within this big beautiful world. I’ve had friends urge me to listen to a song that they couldn’t get enough of, yet when I do, my ears can’t stand the sound of it. However, other than for the purpose of my internal and private preferences, I carry no gavel of judgement, when it comes to creative endeavors.

I have a very singular method by which I write. I write with rhythm. I don’t know why I do this, yet undoubtedly, I do. My sentences carry rhythmic beats. And much like when a drummer drops an out-of-place beat, if my sentences have a syllable that is out-of-place, I’m forced to recraft the sentence. I don’t recraft the message, I recraft the beats held within the sentence.

I imagine these beats are known only to me; felt by me; heard by me. Although I will say I’ve read many a review in which my writing was likened to music; that it moved along much like a song. So perhaps others, without realizing it, hear the music too.

In my novels, each chapter has its own tempo. Some times the measure is fast, hard and deliberate; other times it softens and slows. My children’s books are written with the same ear, yet with their own unique tempo. I wonder if this is why, for the moment, my first three novels center around music within their story lines – perhaps. I can say the next two novels that are on deck within my mind, take quite an abrupt departure from music. Maybe this has something to do with maturing as a writer; maybe its coincidence.

I heard something last night that stopped me cold; a writer was describing the first book he wrote. He said that he didn’t channel the book and yet while writing it he knew that there was more than just his thinking mind involved in the process. Something larger, with far more knowledge and talent was at work. Yet, he was present and very much a part of the process just the same. He merely followed the energy. My first novel came about in exactly the same way. And to an extent this is how I write even now. If I let go, the words flow. Often words I do not even know will emerge in their perfect place, in perfect rhythm upon the page. My logical mind says this just can’t be. Yet, something deep inside knows not only that it is, but that this is how it’s supposed to be.

I trust this energy. Whatever it is. The trick – is to follow it – not just when I write, but as I live Life.