Football, fall and the wonderful women in my life

Jay's UM hat.

Jay’s UM hat.

It’s Sunday again and I am posting again. It’s a miracle. I know it’s not officially fall, but what marks the beginning of fall in our house more than the autumnal equinox is the first Saturday kick-off at the Big House (University of Michigan Stadium). While I could really care less about U of M football (and the fact that they killed my alma mater Central Michigan University yesterday), what I enjoy is that reason it gives for us to gather with our good friends. My husband, Jay, and his friends (nearly all of whom he’s known since high school or middle school) all attended U of M. They now all attend all of the U of M home games. The wives hang back at someone’s house nearby, have cocktails and chat while the kids run and play.

Ideally, we should gather other times. Sometimes we do. We are all good friends, however, most likely because football brought us together. I met all these women through my husband. I love my husband. It’s an extra bonus that all his friends’ significant others are such wonderful people. I’m blessed in that I’ve gotten to know them over the years and football season is really the impetus for that. In fact, at yesterday’s tailgate we were laughing about the first time I experienced a football Saturday with the gang. It was an away game, so everyone gathered at what was just Jay’s house at the time to watch the ever heated annual battle between University of Michigan and Ohio State. I hadn’t moved in yet. University of Michigan lost. The guys were none too happy and a television controller happened to slip out of my husband’s hand and crash against a wall. No worries. The television controller is the only football casualty I’ve witnessed to date. Well, a few UM baseball caps have been hurled violently to the ground, but nothing more. Still, the passion for their team is what brings us together. It was bringing the gang together long before I came into the picture, and it has continued to bring everyone together for the past nine years that I’ve been with my husband. I probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to know these women the way I have if we hadn’t spent many long leisurely Saturday afternoons going to parks, shopping, playing badminton, among other things, while our male counterparts baked in the sun or sat in the rain or cold watching UM football.

My immediate family lives an ocean away or at the very least many states away. My friends from previous lives are scattered as well. These women are the family I have here. So, as much as I might grumble that the chaos of football season has begun. It can get chaotic when there are three home games in a row (eight home games total) and the events of those days take up the one down day left in the week. Still, I appreciate the lasting friendships that my husband has built with his friends, and I appreciate that consequently I have built lasting friendships as well. These are the women I am blessed to have in my life. These are the women that make me grateful that University of Michigan football really means the start of fall in our family. A friend of mine gave me a sign that I hang in the house in the fall. It reads “We interrupt this family for football.”

Yes, we do interrupt this family for football. I am so happy for the interruption. I’m so happy to have these lovely days to spend with the wonderful women in my life.

Revision is like a red tree with a few hammers thrown

I have written in the past about the little red-leafed Japanese maple that sits outside my writing corner window. The tree has been a constant inspiration with its deep merlot-colored leaves. Last year, the tree contracted a fungus and the leaves on much of it withered and died. Limbs became brittle. I sprayed some homemade

tree

concoction on it, but I had to trim and one day I got our dull clippers out and began trimming. My neighbor saw me standing perplexed in front of the tree as I contemplated how to get the higher most affected limbs. Thankfully, he (the guy on the street with all the great lawn maintenance gadgets) had a clipper with an extended handle that he’d just found at a garage sale. We trimmed and trimmed and trimmed until the tree looked sad and bare, much like the little Charlie Brown Christmas tree we all know so well. I wondered if my beloved tree would ever be the tree it had been with its full canopy of vibrant colored leaves. This year, to my delight, the tree was once again filled with its beautiful leaves. It looks full and healthy, though I am keeping an eye on things to make sure the fungus truly is gone.

What does this little tree have to do with writing and revising? Since I’m in the throes of yet another revision on this beast of a novel that I started more than a decade ago, I see the tree as a metaphor for this process. The cutting and reshaping of the tree reminds of the cutting and reshaping of this novel. It is agonizing at times. Like with the tree, I wonder if the cutting might actually ruin the novel
. I fear too much cutting would. As with trimming trees, in writing you have to find a balance between cutting away the stuff that is wild and no good and not cutting away the whole story altogether. That is where the hidden treasure is I presume. Sometimes, it takes a whole season to see the results of all the agonizing trimming, to see that the results are truly stunning. So, here I go. I trim and shape and hopefully by the end of summer I will have my novel shaped and ready to go. I’m sure it won’t be without heartache. I’ve been trying to get through the first two chapters over the past month, and there has been a lot of heartache. My husband likes to measure the frustration of projects in “hammers thrown,” not literal hammers thrown, but figurative hammers thrown. The more frustrating the project, the more figurative hammers thrown. With this revision, I would say there are already a good 50 hammers thrown. Ah, well it’s time to get back to trimming, shaping, and throwing a few more hammers.

I will be 45, not 29

From a walk in the woods the week before my 45th birthday.

From a walk in the woods the week before my 45th birthday.

In two days, I will be 45. I am not 29. I was 29 once. I don’t want to keep being 29. I’m 45, or almost 45. I have creases at the corners of my eyes. There are lumps and bumps and sagging places on my body. All of that is because I have lived nearly 45 years. I have lived, sometimes not the way I thought I would, sometimes exactly as I had always pictured it. It all has gone as it has gone. I don’t want to keep being 29. I want to be 45. I want to be 46. I want to be 47 and so on and so on, as long as I can. For now, I’m almost 45 and it’s all been beautiful to this point.

I think of my favorite line from Doctor Who. My kids will laugh at this. I’m an obsessed Doctor Who fan, or Whovian is a fan term I’ve run across, for no other reason than for the imaginative story telling…and the characters…and the monsters…well, you get the idea. In essence, I most appreciate the writers. In this case, for this quote from the episode “Vincent and the Doctor“, the nod goes to Richard Curtis. Anyway, when Amy Pond laments the fact that she and the Doctor couldn’t change the course of Vincent Van Gogh’s life, even after carting him to the future in the TARDIS to see how important he became, the Doctor tells her, “The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” As the daughter of a painter and the granddaughter of an artisan shoemaker, I loved the “Vincent and the Doctor” episode most. I loved the idea, even in pretend, that Vincent could get a chance to see what he gave the world.

But, this post isn’t about Doctor Who. This post is about life and birthdays and about how that line from Doctor Who resonates so deeply in my life. It’s about how life, my life, is all one big messy ball with frayed strands of disheveled threads hanging everywhere, but it’s a beautiful ball nonetheless. I can’t help it. I can’t make excuses. I can only say that’s the way it is and I would gladly have more. Even on the worst of the worst days, I would gladly have more. Perhaps we won’t make as profound an impact as Vincent. Perhaps we will. The point is we can’t know. We can’t go and see. Somewhere, though, for someone, we still exist. We still make an impact, but we do it for celebrating what is now. We do it by celebrating this wild and crazy beautiful life with all these disheveled diversions. As much as I might whine about them, I love them. I would not change them. I wouldn’t even ask the Doctor to change them.

So on Saturday, toast 45 with me, toast your own age, toast the lines and the sags and the bad and, most of all, the good. It’s what we have. It’s what we’ve earned. It’s all very, very important. Someone might even say it’s the most important thing in the whole universe.

Process, writing groups and reviving this blog

Ice on my morning walk. I feel like I can see the universe in it.

Ice on my morning walk. I feel like I can see the universe in it.

I have been inconsistent with this poor blog. Chalk it up to an overload of classes (the never ending plight of an adjunct instructor) and the constant running that comes with having teenagers. Oh, there is also my guilty pleasure–a little Doctor Who. I am going to try to be more consistent, though.

As a fledgling writer I am trying hard to encapsulate an hour here and an hour there for some novel and short story revision. It’s at a point where I have some sparks of ideas, but I can’t really give them a lot of attention until the other projects are cleared away. That would be part of my own process. It has taken me this long to figure out that I have to work out my own process. These books that tout certain processes of writing as “the optimal” processes are lying. There is no one process fits all. Each writer has his or her own approach. Those approaches are as vast as the universe.

My process is scattered. Some days the best work I do is while sitting on my couch in my writing room. Some days I do my best work at a cafe. The most important thing is to be reading and writing at least a little bit most days. I write this to tell myself that as much as anything. So, to revive this blog I’ll share my trials and tribulations of living the writing life, as I have been doing all along, and I’ll bring in a bit of discussion on what I have been reading. In addition, I’ll share the images I get on my contemplative walks, another key part to my writing process.

My latest trial and tribulation of the writing life has been trying to find a writing group that I feel comfortable with. I had a perfect group, the Sistah Scribes, a while back. I loved the Sistahs. I grew with the Sistahs, but a we all scattered to different regions about the time I started grad school and couldn’t really commit to the time. After grad school, I wanted to find another group. I wanted to continue the momentum of growth that grad school gave me. Finding the right writing group is not easy. I was misled with how easily the Sistahs formed and gelled so well.

That’s not to say I haven’t gotten anything from the groups I have visited. I have. I’ve met some great people. There are ultimately either scheduling conflicts or the group is too big or it’s online or…or….or. Well, I’m giving it another shot. This time, though. We are forming organically as off-shoots of other groups, a little like the Sistahs did, so it looks promising. It’s a small group, another good thing. I can tell it is going to be focused and hopefully consistent. Mostly, it will be more at my pace. Weekly, is too often for me. I need time to write. So, we’ll see how it goes. I have a good feeling about it. Now, it’s off to get some work done. Must turn some stories that have been rejected around and send them out today. Happy writing. Today’s image is of ice. I know we want spring to stay, but there were some wonderful patterns in the ice during my walks these past couple of months. Enjoy.

Perspective: Why “to MFA or not MFA?” is the dumbest question I have ever heard

If I was given a nickel every time I mentioned I had an MFA in writing and someone told me in not so many words that it was not worth money, I would have paid my student loans off years ago.

First, I would never consider telling someone their dreams were worthless. Second, the debate is so tiresome. I understand people don’t want to “waste time” or “waste money” or “make a major wrong life step.” Still, to think that hard about it means those people who say mean-spirited stuff like “it’s not worth it”  have missed the point altogether.

We hear the sentiment “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life” all the time, but when someone actually adheres to that as a life mission statement, we tell them it’s a mistake. It’s not worth it. Perhaps those who say that need to look within themselves a little deeper.

I didn’t make the decision to get an MFA lightly. I wanted a new direction, an authentic direction, not a direction someone else felt was good for me. I wanted to do something that moved me. I had dreamed of focusing on my writing in that way for a long time, but had been afraid for one reason or another. One day, I heard one of those Story Corps interviews on NPR. In this particular interaction, a husband was interviewing his wife. She had stage IV cancer of some type. I don’t remember now what type. He talked of her strength and how she had not let her cancer stop her from following her life dream of getting a Master of Fine Arts degree in visual arts. That story stuck with me. After hearing that story, I wondered why I was waiting any longer to follow my heart and do what I wanted. I dreamed of teaching and writing and being home more for my children. I dreamed of being in a wonderful community of writers and making lasting friendships. Mostly, I dreamed of doing something I was so passionate about that I would literally tell people who thought I was crazy to bag it.

Some did think I was crazy, but I had had a lifetime of being sane, of being the good girl and doing what good girls do. Good girls are practical. Good girls do what they are told. Good girls do something like major in something that everyone around them thinks will be good for them, even if everyone around them has no idea who that good girl really is. So, I embraced crazy. I embraced the idea that I’d read in Anne Lamott‘s book Traveling Mercies that you have to leap and the net will find you.

I lept. I went for it. I didn’t think about the stupid debate. I just knew that I would make the darned thing work for me because I wanted to do it. I learned that rather than fear that the net won’t be there, know that the net is always really there. I wanted to dive into the study of something I loved. I was tested in many ways. My first attempt at getting into schools failed, but I tried again and got accepted to  two schools. That, of course, was not the most difficult test. Ironically, I was diagnosed with cancer in the midst of grad school. In the midst of working full-time, raising two children, and attending grad school, to be exact. I didn’t let it stop me. I finished. I did it. I wouldn’t change it or say it wasn’t worth it. I am doing what I love. I am writing. I am teaching. Do I still have loans? Yes. I’d have them if I did something others thought would be more “worth it.”

I posted a status on my Facebook page that says how I feel about this topic best. I posted it because I heard, yet again, someone who does not have an MFA tell me how worthless or useless it is to get one. I am proud of my MFA. I worked hard for it. I knew going into it that it was not the end all, be all to my writing career, but there is no end all, be all. There are only choices we make in the moment that help us see that this moment is all we have. We have to keep writing. We have to keep taking the path we know deep within is right for us.

Here is my Facebook status posted 3/2/13:

I got a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing because I followed my heart. I listened to the creative Crissy within. I got a bachelor of science degree in sports medicine because I was too young and naive to think for myself. In essence, I did what everyone thought I “should” do. I love words. I love inspiring others to discover they might love words as well. Nothing makes my life resonate more than spending a day working through even a single line of my novel. I have not taped an ankle in more than 20 years and I don’t miss it. I was never able to get a halfway decent job until I started writing. It baffles me how often I hear people tell me in not so many words how my writing degree is some how worthless. Not one person ever told me going into sports medicine wouldn’t be worth it. Perspective:/

One foot, two foot

A long time ago, after many failed attempts at trying to make my family sportingly proud, I took to the only sport that didn’t require me to dribble, kick, or throw a ball. I took to long distance running. I won’t say I was great, but I was good and distance running came surprisingly easy to me, the one kid who always finished last in sprints, in pretty much anything that one would file under the title “sport.” It wasn’t that I had to be sporty. My family accepted me just fine. Still, my sibs were way more sporty than me. My brother played hockey and baseball and did just fine. My sister, well she probably got the most sporty genes of all of us and the looks and the smarty genes, but that’s a whole other blog.

The first time I took to the roads, though, I felt something liberating. I ran two miles. I was surprised how good I felt. The next day I ran four. I was training for my first road race, the Dixboro Fun Run, held in the small hamlet of Dixboro. My dad signed me and my sporty brother, who was running for wrestling training, up for the race. I think I trained for about a week. I ran the two-mile and surprised myself by finishing first in my age-group and second overall female. I got hardware. At that point, I hadn’t really ever won anything sporty in my life. Well,  I think there was a softball championship in there, but I never felt I contributed that much to the team. Softball was torture.

After that race, I craved road racing. I ran all the time. My neighbors came to know me as the girl who was always running. One of the older boys who used to hang out in the neighborhood used to call me Champ. He said I was going to be a champion one day. I never knew his name. He will never know how good that made feel, some strange boy urging me on. Parents in the neighborhood urged me on, too. Someone would inevitably catch me coming into our tiny subdivision at the end of the run and ask how far I’d gone that day. Some would laugh and tell my parents they saw me in the next town 10 miles away. You could say I became a little obsessed. I loved running. I ran track and cross country. Ultimately, though, my favorite were the road races I ran. I loved the community that surrounds road racing. Everyone was so encouraging, especially to women runners who really were just making inroads into the sport. I was always pacing with some group of guys because the women were spread so far apart and they were all welcoming.

I ran a little in college, but by that point I wasn’t good enough for college running. I ran two marathons and came close to qualifying for the Boston Marathon, my dream at the time. At some point, life got in the way. Kids came. I had other things I needed to do. With kids came a few stubborn pounds.  I never got back to running like I used to.

More than five years ago came the devastating news that I had cancer. My treatment regime was long and hard on my body. It took a long time to recover. I still am not sure I have fully recovered. This summer, however, I wanted to get back in shape, if nothing. Every time I say I am going to start walking, I end up running. I also needed to help Maynard the Wonder Dog lose a few pounds. He came to us on a diet. He is now my jogging partner. I started in the spring. It has been a struggle. I’m slow, much slower than I used to be. It’s much harder than it used to be. I think I have been running two miles since spring and it has felt hard and tiring since spring. Today, though, I felt the shift. The one that I used to feel after only a week or two, the shift that helped me see I was really back, that running was what I was supposed to be doing. Yes, I felt it. My feet didn’t shuffle as much. I kicked my heels a little more. I kept a pace, still not fast, but faster, more importantly more comfortable than running has felt in eons. I had gotten to a point where I thought I’d never feel that.

For me, there is a strong connection between the endurance and persistence of hitting the pavement or trails and the endurance and persistence needed to come to the page regularly and work through rejection and work through drafts. I love that they remind me of each other. I love that doing both makes me feel so good. Carry on. Endure. Persist. One foot. Two foot.

Dream House, Dream Life

The other night I dreamt of a home that I could easily see as my dream house. Even now, I keep mulling the floor plan over in my head. The front door opened into a family room furnished with antiques in the gold and maroon shades I like so much. That sitting area was to the right of the door with a big picture window adjacent to the door. The room opened to the left, too, where a fully stocked bar sat. Beyond the family room on the right was another living/dining room area. The family room and bar area had a log-cabin interior. The living room was dry-walled and painted a toned down yellow. The kitchen sat at the back of the house and  was much bigger than the tiny galley kitchen we have now. I could enter the kitchen from the living room/dining room area or through the back hallway where the bedrooms were. In the dream, my house was so beloved that random groups of people would meet there or have photos taken there, even though I lived there.

Yes, I could see myself there, maybe not with all the random people, however.

Why am I going into detail about this? Well, the house felt like home. It felt like a dream home on so many levels. It got me thinking about my dreams and aspirations. So often I get caught up in the “should do” mentality, i.e. I should be substitute teaching today because that will put some cash in the bank. That is when I lose sight, first, or what I have already done, and, second, of what I really want to do.

I already have been happily teaching quite a few classes. I already have been picking up a few regular freelance writing assignments. In essence, I left my full-time job to teach, to freelance, and to help build our food business. All of it was meant to get me closer to home and to get me closer to doing what I want to do the way I want to do it. That’s what I am doing. I am essentially in my dream home, not the one in my dream, but the one I am creating for me. In creating that dream home/life I realized that I always wanted to freelance, but feared the uncertainty of it. I am often one to try to see the signposts along the road. Lately, I have been doing some freelance work that I have been fortunate to get with little effort. To me, that’s a sign. That’s the universe telling me to keep doing what I want to do, giving me a little taste of that so I’ll get down to business and begin seeking more of that. That is why I have foregone the subbing for today. That is why, starting today, I am committing to my goal of building my freelance life, building my dream life, building my dream house. Essentially, I am living it already. I am realizing that building the dream life means living the dream life not sitting in some distant setting imagining what that life might be.

New normal?

What exactly is the new normal? This phrase, “new normal,” became part of my lexicon just over five years ago. At this time five years ago, I was recovering from two lumpectomies and waiting to get started on a pretty rigorous chemotherapy regimen. At this time five years ago, I had heard the term “new normal”, a term meant to describe a new way of living as a cancer patient/survivor/thriver. I thought I had embraced the term back then. I thought I understood it. I didn’t.

You see, I have been living with the idea that I live a new normal, when all along I’ve been kicking and screaming for the old normal, for the time when I was oblivious about the reality of my future, the reality of everyone’s future really. I lived with the illusion that death was an enigma. It was so far from where I was that I didn’t really think about it. I even feared thinking about it. For the last five years, all I have wanted was that innocence back. I talked a pretty good game, but the reality is that I didn’t accept the new normal. I’ve kept trying to get back on track with life. While my doctors have been nothing but good to me, I have dreaded every office visit, not because of the possibility of bad or good new, but because of the imposition it put on me wanting the old normal, on me wanting to get back to the life I once had. I stopped going to breast cancer support groups. I stopped going to anything that reminded me that I once had cancer. I even stopped writing about it so much.

Why is this coming up now? I watched the movie 50/50. As a member of Cancer World, as the late Leroy Sievers called it, I was reluctant to watch the movie, but wanted to see the movie all the same, mostly because I love Seth Rogen in anything. I’d also heard a lot of good things about the movie. I’d heard writer Will Reiser talk about it in an interview and I just couldn’t resist. Last night, I finally did get a chance to see it. I settled into my recliner. It was a rare night when my 13-year-old curled up in my lap. I held her tight as I watched, and relived a little, the experience one has going through cancer. It was like everything I ever wanted to say about what was most definitely the worst year of my life was flickering right before me, and just when I thought I was going to cry, Seth Rogen was there to make me laugh and laugh loud and full and free. It was a the perfect blend of reality and laughter that allowed the feelings I’ve held inside for a long time to more or less be expelled. It allowed me to begin facing the new normal or whatever it is. I have been hard on myself. I have put unnecessary expectations on myself. Post-cancer, it seems balance has been the hardest thing to find.

If nothing, the movie made me see that the new normal is a silly term. Cancer does not bring a new normal. There is nothing normal about cancer, even five years after all the crap. It’s not normal that cancer happened. It’s not normal that everyone is afraid to talk about cancer when it does happen. It’s not normal that even medically still we treat cancer as something that has to be dealt with but hidden as we deal with it. There is nothing normal about cancer, but the real illusion is that there is anything about life that is normal.  The only real normal is that I am hardly the only person who is dealing with anything out of the ordinary. Even the most ordinary life is extraordinary in good and bad ways. Perhaps it’s silly that a movie could make me see this, but the fact that the movie is based on Will Reiser’s real life experience with cancer makes me understand why I connected with it.  Maybe, it’s not that the movie made me see it at all. Maybe, it’s that the movie gave me a chance to laugh out loud about something that everyone seems frightened to laugh about. Maybe, it’s the fact that the movie gave my entire family a chance to laugh about something we all were frightened to laugh about. For that, Will Reiser, Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jonathan Levine, I can’t thank you enough for daring to make a movie about cancer.

Here is to giving the old heave ho to “old normals” and “new normals.” Here is to simply having a rare night to sit with my daughter curled up in my lap again. Here is to sitting with husband and my son. Here is to all of us laughing and laughing and laughing until the tears come. Ah, now I feel, dare I say, normal.

Keeping it simple

I have these Schoolhouse Rock song lyrics repeating over and over in my head, “Mother necessity, where would we be?” It resurfaced from my childhood as I fed my big dog Maynard while waiting for my morning coffee to percolate. I have been thinking about the meaning of necessity lately as I have systematically held to my New Year’s Resolution of purging. I look at certain things and question more and more whether they are really needed. The lesson I am learning through all of this is that less really is more, is that what we think is making our lives simpler might just be making it more of a hassle.

Take my computer, for instance. This week, it died. Kid Two got a virus on it. It was an old computer that should have been replaced a year ago and would have, were it not for my husband being a technical guru. My computer, it turns out is a necessity, a necessary evil is more like it. I need it to do things like write on this blog, or compose the six freelance articles I’m working on or organize materials for the three college classes that I teach. Still, it is a time sucker. The fact that my husband can make a six-year-old laptop still run means he spends countless hour debugging and reformatting and cussing up a storm in the process because he had better things to do.

Moving on. I drink coffee. I love coffee. I can’t be without coffee for very long. I’ve tried and I always go back. Still, coffee makers, the ones made to make life easier, have only given me headaches. I once received one of those coffee makers with a built in grinder, which was indeed a really nice gift. Still, the grinder only held so many beans and would get wet from the steam and clog and stick so that I would have to take a knife to it. Eventually, I killed it trying to get the parts to work right. I also killed at least one expensive coffee maker at my old job, and the hand me down I had been using at home overflowed every once in a while, making a huge mess all over the counter. None of the coffee makers ever made coffee the way I like it, so I went into the garage and fished out the percolator I used once or twice while camping. Best coffee I’ve ever had. No mess, no fuss and surprisingly it doesn’t really take that much longer to make.

This week we also lost our dryer. We didn’t physically lose it. It’s a big appliance. It’s kind of hard to miss. We lost the use of it. That’s when it dawned on me that the thing took too much energy anyway. It ran too often. I thought of when I visited my sister in the Netherlands and how she, a full-time working mom, managed to hang dry her clothes even with an infant who messed up a whole lot of clothes. I decided to do the same. Hang clothes, that is. I am in no way shape or form going through the infant thing again. What strikes me as odd and refreshing all the same is that hanging clothes to dry has somehow made doing laundry less of a chore, which seems counterintuitive. Sure, I have a rack of drying clothes standing in my front room, but I don’t have three baskets of dry clothes that need folding staring at me on a daily basis. I no longer do a bunch of laundry at once. I do a load a day and pull the pieces off the rack throughout the day.

With each step, I feel like I am becoming strangely more efficient and at the same time reducing my impact on the environment where I can. So, I guess the question to ask is, does “easier” necessarily make things “simpler”? I am finding the reverse. Simpler is easier.

I am what I am

This is the very best photo anyone has ever taken of me. My dad took it a loooong time ago. I sat forever because he used a large format camera back then.

As it happens, Popeye had something in that little old saying of his. What I love about the statement, “I am what I am,” is that it’s not fear based. It’s a simple declaration of love, love for being who he is when others don’t quite get him.
That is kind of how I see being a writer. I have heard other writers say they won’t tell people they are writers. I understand the reason. I know that it all comes down to that dreaded question, “Oh yeah, well do you have anything published?” As if that is somehow supposed to validate what I feel inside. As if it somehow deminishes what I am doing because a few people on the outside may or may not think my words are worthy.
What I realized, as I am journeying through this thing called life, is that what others say or believe doesn’t really matter. I am what I am. I am so many things, a writer is one of them and I am not afraid to say it. But, I also am a mother to two great kids. I am a wife and partner. I am someone who loves to bake. I am someone who loves to bead. I am an educator. I am also the things I am not. In other words, I am not the sum-total of my publications or awards, as perhaps I’ve been led to believe at times. I am not a workaholic, though I love my work as a writer and an educator, but none of it feels like work. I am not nearly as good a cook as my husband, though I give cooking a try.
If we give voice to who we are, then we validate it. If we shout it from the rooftops, then we validate it, even when others might be laughing or doubting that we can create the life we want.
I am reminded of a Sunday Morning on CBS interview with Dolly Parton I saw a while back. In the interview, she spoke of her high school graduation. She spoke of declaring then that she was going to be a super star. She said everyone laughed at her, but look at her now. It wasn’t that she knew it so much as she said it and kept saying it until she manifested it.
So, go ahead and say it. I will. I am a writer, among so many other things. I am what I am.

P.S. Rather than have a bio associated with this blog, I have changed it to an Artist’s Statement, because that is what I am, too, and I rather like the idea of an artist’s statement versus a list of all that I have accomplished, which really doesn’t say anything about me.