Posts Tagged ‘writing’

They arrived.

The books.

The books from “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

I’m finally getting published in a major publication. I’m trying not to freak out but it’s a wonderful and surreal feeling.

I’ll be 65 this year and I started writing about 7 years ago so definitely am a late bloomer. Sometimes I think I could be the poster child for never giving up but that’s not quite true. I’ve given up too many times to count.

But it’s the ancient Chinese proverb that says “Fall down 8 times and get up 9.”

I haven’t opened the box yet because I’m going to do that with a friend. There is just something very sad about the idea of me doing this all by myself without somebody there. It’s too important to me. So instead of opening the box by myself, I had a drink and got a bit tipsy. I think I earned it, especially on a night where I have to go to work in the morning.

I’ll open the box later. I just can’t do it alone. I need someone there to cheer me on and tell me I did good.

Tomorrow morning I’ll get up early and start driving with Lyft. Then I’ll go to my full-time job. I do it so I make enough money to pay my bills and to be able to keep writing.

I wrote about my brother’s forgiveness in the upcoming book “Believe in Miracles.” It was definitely the most personal and gut-wrenching thing I have ever written. But I wrote it because, after his death many years ago I remembered my mom saying she never wanted him forgotten.

I carried her words with me for over 30 years before I could do something about it.

So now I’ve made sure that he won’t be forgotten.

It’s not about the recognition or the accomplishment of getting published. It’s about never forgetting about my dead brother. Now he won’t be.

From here on out the book will continue and the story will be told and if that’s all I ever accomplish with my writing career, it is more than enough for me.

Don’t give up. If you’re doing what you want to do and it’s hard, that’s OK. It’s hard for most of us. Keep going or get back up if you’ve fallen down and curled into a fetal position. I’ve been there. Just don’t stay there too long.

I love you Jeff and I love you Mom and I hope you’re happy with what I wrote.

**The book goes on sale on Feb 4th, 2020 so I’ll happily post the link when it’s live. Would love your feedback on the book.**

Don’t Be You

Posted: November 28, 2019 in Self-esteem, self-respect
Tags: , ,

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I was really surprised when my friend Amy invited me over to meet someone, a blind date. I dreaded that more than getting poked in the eye with a hot poker. But I acquiesced because I hadn’t seen her in a long time and I was also out of food. I didn’t have money to go food shopping and I was hungry. I wasn’t going to get paid for another three days. I had enough money in my account for gas to get to and from work, so I agreed to come over even though I knew it was to meet some guy that was recently widowed.

“You know it’s not a good idea to set him up with anyone right?” I asked her. “It’s probably too soon for him.”

She is the first person to tell you how happily married she is whether you asked or not. She’s even more assertive about this point if you’re single. She must have some sort of an odd genetic need to make sure all her single friends got married. It didn’t matter that I had been divorced a couple of times and wasn’t interested in dating, let alone marriage. She had made up her mind that this needed to happen.

I figured it would be fine and she was a great cook and I really liked her husband. He’s a very sweet and someone I respected as someone who had overcome great obstacles growing up. He was a successful business owner and obviously adored Amy. This was each their third marriage so they seemed to be a good match. I figured since she had threaten to kill him rather than divorce him, he went along with whatever she said. It wasn’t any of my business but I found her threat of death something I had never considered as a foundation for a relationship.

Maybe she was onto something.

She told me to dress very casually, which is sort of pointless since that’s the only way I dress. Having given up high heels recently because I could no longer wear them, all I wore was flats and in my mind and my fashion sense, anything that goes with flats is casual. That to me was the hardest part of growing older. It wasn’t the menopause or the hot flashes or the sudden belly I had when I always had a flat one. No it was an inability to wear high heels without wanting to scream 30 minutes later. I had ruined my feet after decades of wearing them and I miss them. I did agree to wear clean clothes and put on some makeup and maybe run a comb through my hair. I vowed I would put a bra on even though it was Saturday night which I usually spent with my dog, in my pajamas while watching Netflix and drinking Amaretto.

She gave a nervous laugh as if she wasn’t sure if I was kidding or not and I actually wasn’t sure if I was either.

I did put on a bra with blouse, clean jeans and a pair of my black flats. I did run a comb through my hair and managed to put on some mascara and lipstick.

I was as ready as I would ever be to forage out of my house on a weekend.

I wasn’t particularly nervous that night as I drove over. My biggest concern was where to park because they lived on a street that was packed with cars for several blocks. I knew if the husband’s truck wasn’t parked in the driveway I could pull up behind him.

But if the driveway was open it had to stay that way for when he got home. I understood. A man puts in his 18 hours a day and the least he can ask for is to park his own damn driveway and not have to park blocks away where his truck could get broken into and his tools stolen.

I pulled up and saw the bright red truck in the driveway and for a moment my life was happy and made sense. The planets had aligned and I arrived on time with a place to park and not having to walk six blocks and then forgetting where I parked my car.

I rang the doorbell and Amy answered. She gave me a great big hug. I brought a bottle of wine even though they didn’t drink. I had no idea what kind of wine I got but it was expensive so I figured it would taste good and I would drink most of it. A bit selfish on my part, but I had gotten dressed and driven across town, so I felt fine about paying for it. It had been a long week and I was about to be fed and maybe meet someone who didn’t annoy me.

Mike, the man I was to meet, wasn’t there yet. I almost felt sorry for him even before meeting him because I felt this could be the scenario of a lamb being led to the slaughter.

Amy pulled me into the kitchen after putting my coat and purse away and we chatted a bit. Then she said “There’s something I have to tell you and since we’re good friends I’m sure it will be okay.”

I didn’t like the sound of her voice and all of a sudden there’s a very serious vibe in the kitchen and it was making me nervous.

“What?” I asked. “Is there something in my teeth? Is there snot coming out of my nose…”

“No it’s just a little thing that I wanted to say and I’m sure you’ll get what I’m saying.”

I put my glass of wine down on the counter and leaned against it, braced for God knows what.

“Okay,” I said. “What is it?”

“Well,” she said and put down the knife she was using to cut to the tomatoes for the salad and turned to me.

I felt myself stiffen and wanting more wine.

“I just need you to not be you.”

I laughed and actually snorted.

“No, really what is it you wanted to say to me?” I asked.

She had a blank look on her face and it suddenly hit me that that was what she meant.

She wasn’t kidding.

“What the fuck are you talking about, Amy? What do you mean ‘Don’t be me.’ Who am I supposed to be? What’s wrong with me? What the hell are you talking about?”

I felt my hackles rise. I could see she was serious. I know I have pretty thick skin but this cut deeply and quickly.

“See, I don’t want you to get upset or offended. It’s not like it sounds. I just mean…well… you know maybe not be so…I don’t know…loud?”

I raised my voice and shouted “YOU MEAN LIKE THIS? SURE I PROMISE NOT TO TALK LIKE THIS! I PROMISE NOT TO SHOUT AND YELL AND SCREAM!”

“No that’s not what I mean,” she said, “Just don’t be too demonstrative. You know how you’re always talking with your hands? Mike is a very soft-spoken man and very introverted…

“Hold on a second Amy,”I said. “You mean you want me to meet someone that is quiet and introverted and now you’re asking me to, what? Keep my opinions to myself? Smile and nod at everything he says? Tell you what; why don’t I just fucking sit on my hands and you can feed me through a gag or something. I’m sure David has some duct tape in his truck. You could use it to tape my mouth shut and put a little slit in in so I can eat.How does that sound?”

I was furious but hurt more than anything. Her words cut me but I did not want to show it though I think I pretty much failed at that. I picked up my wine glass and slurped it as loud as I could and then belched as loud as I could. I put it down on counter without breaking it.

Photo by Alfonso Scarpa on Unsplash

“Oh I bet I shouldn’t do shit like that, right?”

She said she was sorry and that I wasn’t understanding her but I knew that I was. I understood her perfectly.

I was too much me but the problem was that was never going to change. Actually, using the word problem isn’t correct. I should say the way I am is the way I am a little bit like Popeye “I yam what I yam.”

I know not everyone is everyone else’s cup of tea but I always assumed a friend liked me for who I was.

I left it at that because there was a knock at the door and Mike came in and we met. He was a very nice man but he didn’t have a chance with me because I was fuming and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Part of me just wanted to get up and walk out but the food looked good and I didn’t want to be rude. I just figured I would bitch slap Amy later.

I left earlier than I had anticipated with only half a glass of wine. I was tempted to take the open bottle home with me but now I was just being petty. I said my goodbyes and left.

By the time I got home I was sobbing and my makeup was running down my face. It took me weeks to acknowledge how badly her words had hurt me and in hindsight, that was the end of our friendship.

I haven’t seen her since and I’ve never brought it up to her because there was nothing left to say. A “friend” who is telling you not to be you isn’t a friend.

A “friend” that is trying you to be who they want isn’t a friend. They are someone with a hidden agenda. You are a means to their end. They don’t have your best interest in mind; they have theirs.

In an odd way I was upset about being upset, if that makes sense. It was like I was that fat ugly girl with acne playing alone in the playground again. I couldn’t believe how quickly those feelings came smashing in and how hard it was to get rid of them. I was still that girl that didn’t fit in anywhere yet liked everybody. The neediness in me came back and the strong desire to be liked and admired which goes against everything I believe

I find that our wounds don’t so much heal as much as we think. I think we learn to live with them. Some of the wounds will dissipate a little (or a lot) and we can think the scars are gone, but the hurt is always there.

It still bugs me that she said what she said, and for months afterwards, I didn’t feel like myself. I felt fake and insincere because on some level, I felt what she had said had some truth to it.

It didn’t, but it threw me off for as long as I gave her words validity.

That was on me and therefore something I could change. I admit her words still sting, but now they motivate me to work hard of my sense of self-worth and value.

I don’t recommend learning your true value this way, but if there’s someone in your life who doesn’t like you just the way you are, cut your losses and run.

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

 

Maybe there is hope for me.

My God, I’m getting published in Chicken Soup for the Soul. I thought I was a good writer most of the time. A decent writer that could spin a story and put together a sentence or two. My followers always kept me going up until recently. Finding out today that they are publishing my story in their next book made me feel like I’ve finally been pulled out of a really dark place that I knew I was in and was getting way too accustomed to it.

Call it whatever you want — I’m not a subscriber to most of the mental health chatter, bull shit, and self-diagnosis — but it’s been a long period of worry, anxiety and complete lack of joy or sunshine. On the outside, everything looked fine. I worked my 3 jobs as best as I could. Missing a day or two created more pressure on my shoulders, that were already weighed down with too much pressure, that I could barely move.

But move I did. Every day. All day. From one job to the next.

To create something that I loved, I would write. Becoming successful was vital but the more pressure I put on myself to do better, to be better, and to do more, the further down the rabbit hole I pushed myself.

I wrote to keep some semblance of sanity but then the pressure to write well and often turned my self-created solace into more anxiety, with a touch of self-loathing just for fun.

I knew if I read one more article about writing, I would explode. So I stayed away from my pad of paper and pen, stopped reading Medium and other blogs that I subscribe to, and just deleted any email to do anything with writing without reading it.

I’ve had become a bit of a hermit because every moment of every day had turned into how much money I still needed and didn’t have. Going out was not an option. The cost of housing and food and gas in Silicon Valley was pushing down on me and I didn’t see any way out. I couldn’t afford to go out, so I laid low. Really low. I stopped talking to most people, did my work, and would collapse on the bed as soon as I got home and managed to eat something for dinner.

It was the mental and physical exhaustion and numbness that made it almost impossible to think of anything to write. I didn’t want to work another moment after a 12 hour workday without any time off for weeks. I knew I needed to ease up, but it’s highly unlikely that my creditors would understand that I needed some time off and therefore couldn’t pay my bills.

Yeah….right…..that would be nice.

But then the email came this afternoon that they picked my story out of thousands to publish in their book in February.

I called my Mom and she cried.

I talked to my sister and she cried.

I cried from the relief and the ultimate pat on the back — Chicken Soup for the Soul picked me!

Me!

And oddly enough, just last night, I started to journal again. I wrote that I just need a bit of validation that I am good enough. Just a little something to get me to get back on it and stop whining.

And there it was.

I don’t have words of wisdom. The only thing I know is hard work and persistence and trying not to look back. That’s all I know. That’s the way I’ve always been.

Do your best.

Show up when you say you’re going to show up.

Do the work.

Fulfill your obligations.

Rinse and repeat.

My hope is that this gives me a launching pad to write well and more often. I’m excited to finally be included in a group of writers that I can talk with, share thoughts with, and maybe finally find a group that “gets” me and where I don’t feel like a 3rd wheel or the weirdo that writes and is broke.

A place where it’s OK to be me and know that I’m not the only writer out here, slugging it out and always alone.

Alone. That’s what gets me more than anything. No connection to another that finds who I am and what I do interesting.

I don’t want to be a stereotype or a cliche because I’m not.

We’re writers and we all need an acknowledgement, a sense of value and purpose.

Getting that email rekindled that purpose to write again. It’s exactly what I needed to get back on the saddle. It’s not in my nature to quit but sometimes you need to walk away in order to get perspective.

I think that’s something worth considering when you’re in a grind and nothing is working. Working harder isn’t always what’s needed.

Sometimes you need to just say “Fuck it” and go do something else.

I’ll be writing about this adventure as it progresses. Please follow this blog if you’d like to be notified as I post about it. I’d love to have you along for the journey.

Being an Invisible Person

Posted: July 14, 2019 in Writing
Tags: ,

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Image by https://pixabay.com/users/anwarramadhan

“It’s my time to go.”

Posted: March 28, 2013 in Writing
Tags: ,

“No it’s not,” I said and squeezed her hand.

“Yes, it is and I’m ready.”

“I’m not,” I said and brushed her hair away from her forehead.

Even at her very old age, her eyes were still crystal clear and a beautiful shade of blue. They really were piercing and I had not looked into them for too many years to count.

She had been my 5th and 6th grade teacher over 30 years ago and even then, I remembered her as old. I was 10 years old when I first met her. She was old-fashioned, kind and strict. The thought of talking back to her never entered your mind. You learned in her classes. You sat up straight. You said “Yes ma’am” and you turned your homework in on time.

When you received an “A+” you knew you had earned it. The same with a “C-.” Each and every piece was returned with her markings from her red pencil. You knew by her comments that it had been thoroughly read and critiqued.

She missed nothing.

She was my salvation when the math teacher I had decided she hated me and began her 2-year cycle of bullying me and another girl.

It was Mrs. Aronson who stepped in when she could. It was Mrs. Aronson who spoke-up and tried to stop it. It was Mrs Aronson who would tell me not to listen.

It was Mrs. Aronson who convinced me to write.

When she asked me to stay after class one afternoon, I gulped and nodded while I held my breath. I couldn’t think about what I had done wrong and tried to ignore the giggles of my classmates as they chanted “Susan’s in trouble! Susan’s in trouble!”

One look from her and they shut-up and scurried out the door.

I slowly walked up to her desk and waited until she looked up at me. She smiled and asked me to sit down. She was holding my paper in her hand. I racked my brain trying to remember what I had written and why I was in trouble.

I sat down and waited. Each second felt like a week while I watched her read it again. I could see some red marks on it. I was suddenly convinced that it was so bad, she was going to kick me out of her class. The fact that she couldn’t do that was beside the point. I had finally crossed some unknown line that kids aren’t supposed to cross.

I had written something that was bad and it was going to get me into trouble.

She turned and looked at me as she handed me my paper. I took it in my hand. The paper shook. I looked down and read her notes on it.

They were praising it. She commented on what she liked, along with her corrections on my grammar and sentence structure.

She had given me an “A+” and I thought it was a joke.

I looked up at her. She was smiling.

“Where did you learn to do this?” she asked.

“Do what?”

“Tell stories. Is this story true?”

“Yes!” I said. “This really is what happened on our vacation and my brother Jeff really did throw-up all over me in the back seat of the station wagon. My Dad was driving…”

“It’s OK, I believe you,” she said and chuckled. “I read your story and it’s wonderful.”

I nodded my head. I no longer felt as if I was going to vomit.

“You still need to work on your grammar, but that will come in time. But I want you to promise me something.”

“Anything,” I said. I loved her and always had.

“Promise me you’ll always write.”

“Who? Me?”

She laughed and put her hands on top of mine and pulled them towards her. “Yes, you,” she said and held them tight for a moment and then let go.

“Ummm….”

“No, you do NOT say ‘Ummmm.” That is not the proper way to speak. You either say “Yes” or “No.”

“Yes,” I said.

“Good. Now go home and I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said and began grading lessons. I got up and walked home, stunned.

Thirty years later, I saw her at a park. I recognized her immediately and felt a huge smile cross my face.  She could barely walk and someone was holding her hand as they walked around the lake. I stopped and just watched her for a moment and then walked up to her.

The woman she was with turned around and smiled. She tapped Mrs. Aronson on the shoulder and she stopped walking. I held out my hand and told her who I was. We looked at each other for a moment. Her hair was still in a bun, she was wearing the same perfume and she had her gloves on because that was the proper way for a woman to dress when she was outside.

She was very frail , but she was walking around the lake anyway.

“You probably don’t remember me, but I wanted to tell you how much you helped me.”

The woman with her hugged me. She was her great-great granddaughter.

I could see she was reading my lips. She smiled and nodded and took my hands in hers. “Yes, I remember you. Your eyes haven’t changed. Are you still writing?”

Her question floored me. “No, I never really…”

“You must,” she said. “You promised me you would, didn’t you?” she said and raised her eyebrow.

I was suddenly back in her class.

“Yes ma’am, I did.”

“You are not the type of person to break promises,” she said.

That’s all she needed to say.

“I will start right away,” I said and looked down and kicked some dirt.

“You start tonight, you hear me?” she said.

I kept looking at my shoes.

“Yes ma’am,” I said.

“Good,” she said and chuckled. She put her hand under my chin and lifted my face to hers.

“I don’t have much time left and I always wondered about you and how you turned out. I’m glad I got to see that you turned out just fine,” she said.

“Yes I did,” I said.

“I’ll be gone soon. I’m ready.”

I wasn’t. I had just found her again. I still heard her voice telling me I was good enough, that I could write, that I must write no matter what, that I didn’t deserve to be bullied.

It has always been her voice in me that kept me going, through unbearable heartache and loss, through all the rejection.

It’s her voice I hear when I make a typo or write a sentence wrong.

I cringe and fix it because she believed in me and loved me and cared about me enough to push me and never accepted a reason why it couldn’t be done.

She saw the best in all of us and never accepted anything less.

And that’s what we gave her. Our best because we knew she was right. No matter where we went or what happened to any of us, she forced us to know we were good and worthy.

It’s her voice I hear that I can do it and I will do it.

She’s the reason I teach.

She’s the reason I write.

She’s the reason that teaching is a noble profession and no one can take that away from me.

She is who I write for.

Word count: 50,012.

Yeah, got it done and it was almost impossible to do. If you are or have participated in this, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Nothing replaces one’s own intention and this last week was proof of how stubborn and pig-headed I can be. I put a lot of things on hold to finish this, but the one thing I was not going to do was blow-off Thanksgiving. My original target was to finish the day before, but life had other plans for me.

On Friday, my car decided it was time to start acting up. I woke-up with an almost flat tire and wasn’t sure if I could make the drive to the gas station right down the street, but I HAD to get to work as I had a client that had flown in from back East for the week and there was no way I could reschedule. During the agonizing drive was the time the “check engine” light decided to go on – again. I knew I needed to take it in and get the spark plugs replaced but you always thinks you’ll have time to do that. Nope, not anymore.

The guy takes a look at my tire and tells me he can’t fix it because it’s too worn out and not safe. This was news to me, but who am I to argue with a mechanic? I ask him if he can put the spare on for now and I’ll get a new tire later. He says he can and gets out the thingy to take the lug nuts off. I’m texting my client while he’s doing that and telling her I will be there soon as I am getting a tire fixed. I look over and the mechanic is waving me over and I suddenly don’t want to know why, but I wander over there to see what the trouble is.

The problem, he tells me, is one of the lug nuts is stripped and he can’t take it off without breaking it. Even I know it’s not a good idea to drive around without one but I try to get him to tell me that it’s OK to do. No such luck. So all he can do is fill the tire with air and hope for the best because I now need to drive the car to a tire shop and have them deal with it.

I am now running late and not sure how long the tire will hold, so I take city streets to work and all is fine. I get there on time and life moves along. I leave for home Friday night and cautiously approach my car with my fingers crossed that the tire is holding up. It is and I do a quick happy dance in the parking lot. I get home and cross my fingers again because I have to be back at work the next morning and I can’t do it if the tire is flat, so I call a friend as a back-up driver if I need it. He says no problem.

The next morning, with my fingers crossed again, I check my tire and it’s fine. I drive to work and again go through the same routine when I leave. All is good and I figure I will get a new tire tomorrow and all will be right with the world until I start driving home.

My car now doesn’t like me accelerating and is being a real bitch when I drive home. I wish now I hadn’t gotten on the freeway and would like to personally apologize to all the drivers behind me when I couldn’t get my car to go faster that 35 MPH while merging. By the time I got it up to 45 MPH, I was ready to take my exit.

The next morning I find out the tire place is closed on Sundays! Who the hell closes on Sunday? I snap and snarl but at least the tire is fine. I run a few errands and my car REALLY does not like me pushing on the gas petal. Too bad, I have places to go and things to get done.

I also have to get this all done before Wednesday as I am driving 4 hours to see my family for Thanksgiving. I start to feel a sight panic start in me but I push it aside and tell myself everything is fine and not to worry.

I can’t go on Monday because of another client and by now I am so nervous and worried when I drive that I start to get a headache. I am now staying off the freeway and praying for slow cars on the road that I can stay behind. Better they get honked and yelled at than me.

I finally get it to the tire place and come to find out, I need two tires replaced and I can see exactly what he’s talking about. I tell him that he needs to give me a break because I am the 99% and after he was done laughing so hard I thought he would die, he tells me that he will give me a discount because I am so funny and adorable. Shit, I’ll take it. Then he tells me they can’t fix the broken lug nut and give me the address of a guy who can.  So now I have to go somewhere else to get this done.

I thank him and again drive carefully over there and trying to keep visions of two tires falling off and me crashing into the retainer walls and dying a fiery death.

I get to the new guys and it takes them about 1.5 hours to take care of my car BECAUSE ANOTHER LUG NUT BROKE OFF! What the hell is it today with cars trying to kill me? I am wondering if I need to name my car “Christine” and start looking around the parking lot for Stephen King.

Now once that’s done, I still need to take my car over to the mechanic who is going to fix the “check engine” light and get my car past her fear of acceleration. I get lost going over there, can’t find the damn place and am about to pull over and have a nervous breakdown when I see it. I mentally bitch slap Mapquest for HAVING THE WRONG ADDRESS!. I pull in and throw myself on his mercy to fix my car.

He does – 2.5 hours later – and now I’m toast. I am spending money I don’t have, I haven’t been able to get any writing done because of all errands I’ve had to run the last few days and now I have a headache because I haven’t eaten all day. He also gives me a discount because I was funny and nice to him and I drive off wondering how I am going to pay for all of this. I decide that it doesn’t matter because the important thing is to make it for Thanksgiving and now that my car is safe, everything will work out.

I rush over to work but it’s pointless. The day is shot. I’ve only had 2 days off for the month, so I figure I deserved a break. I grab a check, run to the bank to cover my expenses and go home. I am too tired to move. My toenails hurt and I don’t have anything for dinner. I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and decide to watch  movie and pick-up my writing the next day after a good nights sleep. Besides, it will be the day before Thanksgiving and the office will be quiet, so I’ll have time to catch-up and finish my word count while I am at my family’s house. Everything will be fine as I hit the “Power” button on my laptop.

I won’t boot up and keeps dying on me.

“NO!” I scream and scare my cats so bad that they run for cover under the bed. I don’t care. I lost count of how many times I hit that power button but I knew – I was totally and completely screwed.

I sit down and cry. I cried for a long time. I was exhausted, broke and at my wit’s end. I sat there for a long time and no matter how hard I tried to figure something out, it was useless. I was out of money, didn’t know what to do and was tired of thinking.

I finally got up, packed up my laptop and headed out to Best Buy. My friends were there. The Geek Squad was there and all I needed them to do was wave their magic wand over my laptop and everything would be fine again and I could take it with me, get my writing done while everyone was asleep and have a nice Thanksgiving.

Instead he told me the mother board was dead and couldn’t be fixed. I suddenly realize I had not backed-up anything and my book was gone. Gone. It was all over for me. All my files were gone, all my notes, my pictures and all my documents for work.

I was an idiot and now everyone was going to find out. I confess to him that it wasn’t backed-up and casually asked if there was anything they could do about it. I was calm and he had no idea he was talking to a woman who was hysterical. No reason for him to know that. It might have scared him away.

He tells me they can try, quotes me a price and then points towards the computer section and says I’ll need to buy a new one in order to transfer the data. I quietly look at them and all I can see are the prices. I have no idea what to buy or how I am even going to do it. I walk out, go home and cry some more.

The next day, Wednesday, I go into work and tell my boss what happened and I feel myself wanting to cry again. We talk and we work out a way for me to get a new one and off we go, back to Best Buy. I love these guys. I had called Fry’s and you would have thought I had just killed their kitten with the way they treated me.

I get the computer but it’s going to take a few days to transfer the data. I smile and tell them it’s fine and that I understand there’s no guarantee that they can but they will try.

I leave early Thursday morning for a long drive of coffee and rock and roll blasting out of my radio. I don’t care anymore. If I have to take another month to finish this damn book, I’ll do it. If I have to re-write it from memory, then so be it but I am GOING TO HIT 50,000 WORDS EVEN IF IT KILLS ME.

I come back late Saturday afternoon. I had called The Geek Squad (some of the nicest people I have ever met) the day before but they couldn’t say exactly when it would be done.

Then suddenly on Saturday night, they call! It’s done and I can come get it. I rush through dinner, grab a friend to come with me because I hate crowds and am too wired to speak rationally and off we go.

I pick it up and now I’m terrified that something will happen and I’ll either drop it or run it over with my car. They told me they recovered all the data and it’s ready to go.

I power it up and hold my breath. YES! It’s all there! I immediately grab the flash drive that I bought and back-up the laptop. I did that again today. Yes, I do learn things on occasion.

This morning I start writing and writing and writing. I forgot to eat, so around 1:00 I forage and find something. I write some more and suddenly realize I have to go to work tomorrow morning and haven’t done my laundry. I jump up, go and get it done and come back.

(Out of respect for my male readers, I’ll not write about the “period from hell” I got on Thanksgiving. You can thank me later).

I am 2,000 words away from my target when the toilet stops working and floods the bathroom floor. I stand there, watching it overflow and suddenly I start laughing. Well, it’s either that or cry, so I decided to laugh. I clean it up and call a friend who comes over but can’t fix it, so tomorrow he will get some different tools and try again. All of this strikes me as so par for my life. You set your sights on something and it’s as if you called forth the God of Murphy’s Law.

Have you ever noticed that when your toilet doesn’t work, you have to go to the bathroom more often? Fortunately for me, there’s a gas station right across the street, so in-between going over there and putting my laundry away, I wrote. I ignored the looks I started getting from the attendant the third time I used the facilities.

Then I hit the 50,000 word mark and screamed and scared my cats again. I did it, somehow.

And the best part is this – I love my book. There’s more to go but I learned that any one of us can do what we set our minds to. Busted cars, broken laptops, impossible working hours, clogged toilets, horrible cramps and PMS and lack of sleep and money but I kept going and I did it.

I did it.

I DID IT!

Word count: 36,295.

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this much done with an impossible schedule. I realize it’s far from being done as it will have to survive a few re-writes, but yesterday the story started to flow and suddenly I knew the characters inside and out.

I really dove deep into them and I must say, I like them.  Suddenly, there they were and it was so easy to write about them. Almost as if they wrote the story themselves. They didn’t, of course, but there was a point where they came alive in my mind.

I’ve had this happen a few times but not quite like this. I know these people and they fascinate me. I would have kept writing tonight, but it’s getting late and I’m tired.

But something tells me they will be here in the morning when I wake up.

One of the things that prompted all of this, ironically, was some recent rejection I had experienced the other day. The details aren’t important, but it was something that really pissed me off and hurt my feelings.

I wasn’t in the mood to write but I’ve got this ridiculous target to hit and I can’t let my emotions get in my way. So, I picked-up the story where I left off but I was in a pissy mood, so my main character had a bitchy side to her.

I sat back and wondered where that had come from and realized I was taking my upset and putting it into the book. Well, that’s fine if it’s part of the story, but today it wasn’t. What I was feeling was not what the character should be feeling.

I know we all do this as writers. Use something that happened to us or someone else and spin it. It’s quite therapeutic to do but not in the middle of a story.

I put the brakes on, took my emotions and parked them, and went back to the story.

I rocked it. I just nailed it and then some. I didn’t go and change anything because someone had hurt my feelings.

I stuck to the story and was true to it. That was the exact moment the characters came more alive and the story took off.

It’s not easy doing this, but we do it anyway.