Someone Will Choose You

I love this advice so hard ❤

A Writer's Path

by Meg Dowell

Your time will come.

Between graduating college (May 2014) and starting my first ‘real’ writing job (March 2017), I got rejected … by many, many people.

For many, many things. Especially writing jobs.

Because it’s not formal education that qualifies you to write. It’s part of it, but often a very small part. What matters more is experience … and writing samples.

And when you don’t have either of those things … well, how are you supposed to get them?

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Don’t be an A-hole

In this great country we have freedom of speech. We have the right to express ourselves. We have freedoms and rights up the wazoo.

That having been said, my question is:
Just because we can do something, we have the right to, should we?

I recently had a conversation with a teacher about a thirteen-year-old student that physically lashed out at another student for calling her fat. When you first read that you may think, well that sucks that she was called fat but hitting is excessive. But what if I told you she was called fat in front of the whole class, twenty-five students, and they all laughed at her? Does that change your perception a bit? So the teacher called her parents to tell them what happened. So I said, “Did you call the parents of the name-caller too?” The teacher said no. Hmm. She explained to the so-called “fat girl”, that in life people are going to say things you don’t like and you just have to learn to deal with it.” I think that’s the wrong message.

I write for young adults. What they say to each other matters. What they post about each other matters. So what I say to them or about them matters. What I say about other adults also matters because the young people I write for, and live with, are always watching, online and in person. Always.

Should you punch everyone in the face that talks crap you don’t like? No. You’ll go to juvie or jail. But on the flip side of that, let’s make the name callers accountable too. Let’s hold each other accountable.

Social media is BANANAS. I live in the Northeast but because of the internet I have the opportunity be friends with all sorts a peeps all over the world, young and not so young 😉 Bananas!

But it’s not all love and sunshine through these cable wires and satellite dishes. It’s gotten a bit ugly out in cyber world. This past week I have read some awful things written about a YA author. I do not wish to comment other than to say just because you can write something doesn’t mean you should.

I’m not talking about censorship. If I want to write about a gay, purple-shoe-wearing, elephant-riding, hippo, that’s my right and you can’t tell me not to. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. But written opinion about an actual person is different.

YA and MG authors write for young people. We tell them NOT to be bullies. We use examples of cyber-bullying that results in suicide for plot lines to drive home the fact that words matter. What you say counts. You can’t just swing your verbal blade and not care whose head gets cut off or whose guts spill out onto the floor. Well, you can, but that makes you an asshole. I prefer not being an asshole as much as possible.

So here’s the thing. We teach by what we do. So if we’re online being creeps to each other what are we teaching the very people we write for?

I’m no angel. My mother is probably saying a rosary and making the Sign of The Cross in my name right now as you read this. My anger has gotten the best of me more than a time or two. I can do better. But the big balls that are displayed in the hit and run posting, is not cool. Not cool at any age at any time.

Calling someone names and getting a class of twenty-five to laugh at someone sucks. Calling names on the internet where thousands if not millions get involved is beyond sucky.

I live with two amazing teenagers. My husband and I tell them every day; don’t let the assholes get to you today because there are a lot of them out there. My husband says “jerks” because his potty mouth is not as extensive as mine.

My point, without getting too preachy, is let’s not be the assholes. Young, youngish, and old as dirt, we can all do better.

PEACE…Spread it like fertilizer and watch the love grow.

Nopesville & NaNoWriMo

Jeannie Intrieri

Welcome to Nopesville! I have been living here in Nopesville for the past week or so. When things are overwhelming I tend to look at them and say, “Nope, nah-uh, nope, nope, nope.” I’m usually saying this as I’m backing away from the thing I’m nope-ing. Nopesville is the next town over from Sucksville. The difference is that when in Sucksville things, well, suck. When in Nopesville there’s a chance that you’ll be okay even though it’s a place filled with anxiety, too much candy eating (the real cheap shitty kind), buckets of self-doubt and some seriously foul language. When I’m nope-ing I’m usually M-Fing too. The trick is to figure out why you’re in Nopesville to begin with.

This all brings me to NaNoWriMo, which all my writer friends know means Nation Novel Writing Month. It’s like the super bowl of writing that happens every November. The goal is…

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Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page

RAFFLECOPTER SHOULD BE WORKING NOW!

Jeannie Intrieri

Looking for something to read this Halloween season? Nothing says Halloween like a séance and a Ouija board!

I’m talking about Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page – Book Blitz & Giveaway!

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I had the good fortune of meeting Cassandra on Twitter this summer when she picked me for her team in the #pitcharama contest which has put my novel in the hands of an editor, who is at this very minute considering publishing my work!!!  I love the internet! If it weren’t for the Twitter contest I would not have met Cassandra nor would I be reading her FABULOUS book! Not just because she’s a debut author but the chick lives in Australia and I’m here in CT. Not much chance of us running into each other at the mall.

Now I have the pleasure of throwing some writer-love her way! Isla’s Inheritance, released on October 9th, is her AWESOME…

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My List of Ten Books…

Thank you cousin Oni Thalheimer and Mark Radzin for nominating me to name 10 books that inspired me or had some kind of impact on me.

I felt like I needed to explain some of them so what better way than to BLOG IT!
Okay so first of all, I have NOT always been an avid reader. I can hear you all gasping so let me explain. I flat-out hated reading when I was a kid. Enough with the gasping already. Sheesh.

All I can remember about reading was reading comprehension tests. I was a slow reader so therefore did not do well on those tests. I felt like a stupid failure or maybe a better way to say it is, I felt stupid and like a failure. I still have an aversion to polka dots because of those tests.
On top of being a slow reader I had a bad case of living in my own private fantasy world. While the teacher would drone on about the required reading assignment, from some boring book I hated, my mind would take me to far away places where I would be the princess in a beautiful castle beatin’ the crap outta the dragon. I was the kind of girl who wore dresses and ripped tights from climbing trees and rocks. I’m still that kind of girl but now I’m an excellent climber…I hardly ever rip my tights anymore.

 
So I made my way through school as a B/C student. I’m not advocating for these kind of grades, I’m just stating my truth. This went on until mid way through Junior year in high school. As luck would have it, I had bunion surgery. Bunions are not lucky. Quite frankly they suck. But because of the bunions the town wouldn’t let me go back to the public high school for fear of someone stepping on my enormously bandaged feet and them getting sued.

The lucky part came in the form of a tutor, whose name I am ashamed I can’t remember and my mother was sleeping so I couldn’t ask her. I couldn’t daydream in front of the tutor. It was just me and her. In a room. For four hours a day. No distractions. Game on.

I became a straight A, honor roll student in high school and in college largely because of this tutor. The first great thing I can remember reading was:

#1. The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe. This was one creepy-ass individual and I dug that about him! He inspires me still.

The rest of the books that I’ll mention are not really in any order.

2. Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this to my children and have given it as a gift. It is incredibly insightful. A lot can be learned from the simplicity of the messages in children’s books.

3. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I was scared to death of this book because of its sheer fatness. When I looked at it, I thought, good God, it’s going to take me a decade to read this sucker! But since its one of my Aunt Minnie’s favorite books, and I adore Aunt Minnie, I finally gave in. I’m happy to report it did not take me a decade to finish and it became a personal triumph as well as one of my favorite books.

4. The Bible by God. There is some amazing history in that book! Sure, its taboo to talk about it, but a little taboo is okay. I enjoy my freedom to read and believe anything I want and I respect yours to do the same.

5. The Diary of Anne Frank. I actually read this in Jr. High while studying the Holocaust. My maiden name is Thalheimer. Half of my family was in Germany during this time. My grandmother told me a story about my Great-Grandfather speaking out against Hitler in a pub and how the SS military beat him to within an inch of his life and how they came and took over their house, forcing my Great-Grandparents and Aunt to cook and take care of them. This was horrible, yes, but it could have been so much worse as I found in Anne Frank’s Diary. This book put a face on evil for me at a very young age.

 
6. Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume. This book belonged to my cousin Heidi, who probably never realized I stole it from her. I liked reading this book because I thought I wasn’t supposed to read it and of course because it’s fabulous!

7. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. ‘Nuff said.

8. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. When my daughter (who’s now 16) started kindergarten I went back to school for writing. This was the first thing I read that convinced me, without a doubt, that I am a writer.

9. Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini. This book has great significance to me. I met Kim a few years ago when this book, her debut novel, was coming out. I didn’t know this at the time, how bat-shit-crazy a writer’s life is when their book is coming out, which makes this even more special to me. A mutual friend put us in touch with each other, and by that I mean I got her email and stalked her till she wrote back. LOL! And even though she had that bat-shit crazy thing going on, Kim graciously took me by the hand and led me down the newbie writer path. This book represents what I can attain. Kim, as a person, represents the kind of author I hope to be. THANK YOU MY SISTAH!

10. Mother Teresa’s Everything Starts from Prayer arranged by Anthony Stern, M.D. My love for Mother Teresa was cultivated by my Oma (grandmother in German). Mother T was one wise, wrinkled woman! You don’t have to be Catholic, or even Christian, to dig this lady. Mother Teresa said, “People throughout the world may look different or have a different religion, education, or position, but they are all the same. They are the people to be loved. They are all hungry for love.” Her mission was to love everyone regardless of race, gender, wealth, place in the world, or anything else you can think of. I have learned a tremendous amount from her.

You don’t have to be a writer to love reading. You do, however, have to love reading to be a writer. I read EVERYTHING! Young adult, new adult, adult, mystery, romance, paranormal, fantasy…if it’s got words…I read it! I don’t love everything I read but I usually learn something from it all.
So that’s my list. What’s yours?

PEACE

A request for revisions is not a rejection.

First, if you would please join me in a moment of silence for my dear departed “Mini”, mini-van that is!

After eleven years and one month of faithful service Mini died tragically on the side of Rt 25 with a car full of teenagers on our way to Fan the Fire 2014. Mini went out dramatically in a cloud of thick black smoke and high pitched engine screams as the transmission gave up its fight to keep on keepin’ on, while my passengers and I belted out Fancy, by Iggy.

Much to my dismay, the tranny could not be revived.  So, after 113,000 miles we bid our sweet farewell to the Mini. May all your roads be curvy and super exciting in that big highway in the sky!

My daughter, who just got her drivers-permit, is not so unhappy with the untimely demise of my Mini. Pfft, whatever.

Wow! Where did the summer go?? Sorry it’s been so long since my last post; a whole month!

I’ve been busy visiting, lollygagging, movie watching, ice cream eating, sun loving, long strolling, beach going, pool hopping, brain storming and REVISING. Which brings me to today’s topic:

A request for revisions is not a rejection. You bet your big booty it’s not!

In my last post I told you guys I was chosen as a finalist in a twitter pitching contest, #Pitcharama. I went to the editor round and was asked to submit my full manuscript!

There was dancing, fist pumping and screams of joy. These guys were really enthusiastic for me!

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There may also have been quite a bit of chocolate eating… Cause that’s how I roll.

After the full submit the editor, Katie Teller (@KatieTeller1), from Curiosity Quills Press,  sent me an email asking for some revisions and a resubmit. Now, some people might take this as a negative. I however, do not.

I am lucky enough that this editor is also an author. I think that gives her a unique view of the process. She gave me a full page detailing what she thought was “brilliant” and what she thought needed to be “cleaned up”. So that’s where I have been for the last month, happily revising.

Her one page is like gold to me. It is very specific yet short and to the point. Everything Katie said made perfect sense. Each time I sit down at my computer I reread her email before I begin.

I have been very blessed to be part of some amazing groups, SCBWI, Eastern, NY Shoptalk, The RedLiners and the New England SCBWI Crit Group in Lower Fairfield. These workshops, conferences and critique groups have been instrumental in getting me to this point in this process of seeking representation for JESSICA MARCO, PI. THANK YOU GUYS!

As much as a request for revisions is not a rejection, it’s also not an offer of representation…Yet! So check back with me in a week or so –you know how it is—to find out how it’s going.

PEACE TO ALL YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!

NEW ENGLAND SCBWI SPRING CONFERENCE 2014

Create Bravely: Make Your Mark

Part1

What an amazing experience!! I have so much to tell that I thought it best to break this blog into two parts.

I left my house at 5:30 a.m. Okay, that’s NOT the amazing part since I’m not really a get-up-at-the-crack-of-friggin-dawn kind of girl!

The conference began with a welcome from the conference organizer, Kristin Carlson Asselin, author of Any Way You Slice It. Thank you Kris!! You did an awesome job!

Kristin said, “You have to be brave to get through the process.” So true.www.kristineasselin.com

Then they picked names for a door prize drawing…And I won this book!!

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The first keynote speaker was Peter H. Reynolds, author of Dot and Ish. Both of these wonderful picture books are about encouragement.

Peter said, “We get magnificence from just a little encouragement.”

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Both books illustrate this message beautifully for children. He also spoke about what’s going on in our schools, how art is the first thing to get cut when budgets are decided.

“Get rid of tests that stifle creative teachers from teaching creatively. This age of testing keeps teachers from actually getting to know their students which would enable a teacher to teach more individually.” Totally agree Peter!!

Art and creative writing teaches our students to expand their minds. Teaching to the test teaches our students to limit themselves to learn just what they need to know for the test. Common Core assumes that we are all the same and should all learn the same thing at the same time. Not true. We are not the same. Even identical twins, who may look the same, have a different voice, different interests, different abilities. We are all wonderfully unique. And that’s all I have to say about that…for now.

My first workshop of the day was Perfecting Your Pitch with The Book Doctors, http://www.theBookDoctors.com, a.k.a. Arielle Eckstut & David Henry Sterry, authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published.

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I LOVED these two! They were hilarious and super informative. They asked, “What is your book about? The answer is your pitch.” They explained how sometimes the only opportunity you get is to give an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is over in a flash, the same amount of time that it would take an elevator to get from one floor to the next.

Then there’s the long pitch, which is funny because it’s over in under a minute, two hundred and fifty words. That’s it. The people that we are pitching to, read/hear pitches all day long; be ready at any time to give your pitch. And it better be badass. Practice it out loud. If it sounds stupid or confusing to you – you who wrote the book – imagine how it will sound to a stranger.

David said, “Back story does not belong in your pitch.” He also said, “Show don’t tell. Don’t tell me it’s funny, make me laugh. Don’t tell me it’s sad, make me cry.”

Then there was a discussion on finding comp titles. That’s where you find something already out on the shelves that’s similar to your books. “Find out who the author’s agent is and query them. BUT, don’t pick a book that’s too famous. Pick something that’s like your book, has done well, but not so commercially known. This shows you know the industry.”

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My second workshop was a Writing Intensive on Character Development with Aubrey Poole, Associate Editor, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Fire. http://www.sourcebooks.com

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Aubrey talked about using an ISTP (Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging) for character development. This relates to characters that have introverted sensing with extraverted thinking. She spoke passionately about Sherlock Holmes as an example of this type of character. She REALLY likes Sherlock! Me to Aubrey!!

Aubrey also said, “Characters shouldn’t be the same at the end of a story as they were at the beginning. They have to go through change.” Some questions to ask yourself when you’re working on your plot:

What does your main character want?
What is the price he/she will pay for it?
How will he/she achieve this?
What will he/she sacrifice?

Verythought-provoking indeed.

The Crystal Kite Award was given to Jo Knowles for, See You At Harry’s.

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This woman’s speech made me cry. She was so gracious and genuinely touched to receive such an amazing award. She spoke about knowing what it’s like to be an unknown author, conference attendee. She encouraged those of us who have not been published yet to persevere and stick with the SCBWI. Congrats Jo! And thank you for the words of encouragement. I truly appreciate them!

My next workshop was, Write What You Don’t Know; A Workshop on Fleeing Your Comfort Zone with Kendra Levin, Senior Editor, Viking Children’s Books, http://www.KendraCoaching.com, and Julie Berry, @julieberrybooks, http://www.julieberrybooks.com, author of All The Truth That’s In Me. AMAZING book! This workshop was two hours of frickin’-awesomeness!!

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This very hands-on workshop is the second workshop of Kendra’s I’ve had the pleasure of attending and the first of Julie’s.

One of the exercises we did was to write a conversation between two of our character’s where the main character learns something they didn’t know. After that we described the secondary character; looks, personality, feelings. Then we did the same exercise but made all the characteristics of secondary character the complete opposite. My opposite secondary character was very dark and angry. I kinda liked him that way! LOL!

We talked about what we already know about our own comfort zone.
What POV do you prefer? What kind of voice do you like to use? What kind of stories do you write; contemporary, fantasy, horror, sci-fi. Julie said, “If you always write in first person ( I ) try to write in third person (he, she, it). Or try second person (you). Pushing your boundaries makes you a better writer.”

The next writing intensive we did was to show your character discovering their true calling. I LOVED this one! I got a whole scene out of it.

Some of the books they recommended were, Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich, Creating Fiction by Julie Checkaway and The Art Of Fiction by John Gardner.

I would love to do another workshop with these two ladies!

Now after all that you would think the day would be done. NO!

The Industry Professional Panel on Publishing In and Out of New York featured:
Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.  http://www.marsallyonliteraryagency.com

Mandy Hubbard of D4EO http://www.d4eoliteraryagency.com
Emily Mitchell of Wernick & Pratt Agency  http://www.wernickpratt.com
Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.  http://www.harveyklinger.com

All of the agents agreed that you do not have to be in NY to get published. Here are some words of wisdom from the panel.

“The writing sells the book. Write a good book and you will get an agent interested in working with you.” Mandy Hubbard

“Don’t give up. Perseverance pays off.” Kathleen Rushall

“Having an agent will not solve all of your problems. You will still have a lot of work to do.” Emily Mitchell

“Just because one of us passes on your book doesn’t mean it won’t sell. It just means it wasn’t right for us.” Sara Crowe

Phew! It was a jammed packed day, that for me, ended with a hot fudge sundae in my room 😉 Some of my fellow writers attended the poetry slam and others went to the peer critiques that evening. Day 1 of the New England SCBWI was well worth every penny!

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Day 2 coming soon!!

Peace party people 🙂

WHY ARE NUMBERS SO IMPORTANT TO US?

Numbers are everywhere connected to everything we do.

We use them to measure years, months, weeks, days, hours, and seconds. We count them in dollars and cents. We measure in feet, inches, meters and yards.

The food we eat has a caloric number attached to it.

 

We regard success and failure and distinguish ourselves according to the number of each. We age by ever mounting time. We calculate and distribute. We find comfort in the fact that 2 + 2 will always equal 4.

Numbers have definite effect on us, that’s for sure.

TIME

Time gives us a schedule, a placement, the ability to organize. It also gives us stress and can be more like a noose around our necks than a comfortable guide. But no matter if your day is great or the worst of your life, it will still be just a day, 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. You can’t slow it down, stop it or reverse it. And it affects our emotional, spiritual state of being.

I’m up at the crack of dawn. I start my day job at 7:30 AM. By the time I’m done with work, driving the kids to various practices and jobs, cook dinner, write and exercise, I get done around 9:00 PM — That’s thirteen and a half hours running and doing. Some days it’s longer than that depending on my writing schedule and homework helping. Anyone in my house can confirm it’s best to leave me alone for at least thirty minutes or suffer my wrath.

I want more hours, minutes and seconds in the day. I never seem to have enough time to get everything done. I don’t want more hours for the day job, thank you very much, but more time to write, to love, to talk, to listen, to play? Yes please!

If I could get another hour, another five minutes, with my Oma (grandmother)- who was fitted for wings and a halo twenty-one years ago- I would do just about anything for that…but it just doesn’t work like that.

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If you make six figures you’re considered very successful by most people and your life is probably comfortable. Comfortable people tend to smile more. These kinds of numbers are good.

If you’re making minimum wage you are probably barely getting by and are stressed out all the time. Stress sucks. No one is walking around saying, “man I wish I had more stress in my life.” You’re counting every penny and calculating, by numbers, how you will live this fourth month of 2014. The six figure dude is doing the same thing, but it’s NOT the same thing.

When we go to the doctor they show us a chart and ask, “on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst, how do you feel?” Here, unlike when you’re counting money, the higher number is bad. Take care of yourself and stay out of the high-number- zone!

WEIGHT

How many people look at the number on the scale and wish it would go down ten… twenty…fifty pounds? I’m right there with you! Women. We can be so dopey about weight. Now, if the loss of five or ten pounds would solve world hunger, then by all means, let’s worry about it and do it together! But it won’t. And losing five or ten pounds won’t solve anyone’s problems. Just ask the skinny people.

How about if you’re sick? The lower scale numbers will have an alarmingly different effect on you. We use the measurement of weight as a sign of health or a lack there of. When new parents go to a check up, one of the first things done is weighing the little peanut. The first thing the parents do when they leave is call the grandparents. And what’s the first thing they talk about? Yuppers, it’s the baby’s weight. Or was that just us because of the enormity of my babies? HA!

A person whose numbers on the scale go over what is considered to be a healthy weight, get a different kind of report. As far as the scale goes, how do we know what numbers are the good ones? We have charts and ratios, calculations and formulas, based on other numbers called percentages, and we categorize ourselves into groups of the majority, the minority, or some sideshow weirdness. I say that because I was always freaky-weird-tall in comparison to other girls my age.

Why do we care about the percentile chart? Or the height and weight chart? Because, we all want to be part of the majority(another number) on the chart, the group that makes us feel normal, the calculated sweet spot. This area gives people a feeling of safety.

SUCCESS

We count them, mount them, stack ém, and keep track of them. The more success we can count up, the better we feel. And sure, why not. It’s okay to be proud of our accomplishments. Our successes become a private little parade in our heads with cheerleaders waving pom-poms and holding signs that say, “well done! Keep going! Awesome sauce! Don’t fuck this up!”

My little cheerleaders are edgy. They’re allowed to curse.

FAILURE

Ugh. We count, stack and keep track of these suckers too, maybe even more so. Failure is the glue on the bottom of your shoe holding you back. The numbers of failures we have make us feel bad about ourselves, which translates into, moodiness, hostility and depression.
Kick off the glue-shoes, learn from mistakes and move on! Have you ever heard the term, “chasing yourself in circles?” You don’t go anywhere in a circle except back to the same spots you’ve already been. Stop counting all your failures.

Wait. Let’s count all of them. Tick them off on your fingers, toes, brother’s and sister’s too if you’ve really messed up. Stack them up high until they become the Leaning Tower of Piazza and it’s about to crush you. Feel the shittiness, the enormity. Now, look at them one last time…flip ‘em the bird and let them go to their eternal resting place, a place I like to call, been there/done that. Set a mental bonfire and be done with it.

 

DISTANCE

Oh boy, I’ve really been feeling these numbers lately. My parents and a very dear friend moved away recently. *wails on floor like a fool* I have never felt the weight of stretching miles as much as I do now.

But then there are other long miles that make us feel fabulous; a trip overseas for vacation, a road trip to see something on your bucket list or (if you are into it) marathons.

Fun fact: The New York City Marathon is a 42, 195 meter, 26.2 mile race. The 2013 winner, Geoffrey Mutai, did it in 2:05:06. He set the record this past year running a 2:04 mile. Wicked fast!!

AGE

This one’s worse than weight! LOL
I remember turning ten and thinking it was the absolute bestest day of my life. Whoot hoot, double digits! Maybe that’s just because I’m the youngest of three and my brother and sister had been in the double digits for five years before I got there. I gotta say I’m not nearly as exited now about my double digits!

I wished away a lot of time back then. As soon as I turned ten I wanted to be thirteen. Once I was thirteen I wanted to be sixteen. At sixteen I wanted to be twenty-one. When my kids were babies I wanted to get past the not sleeping phase. When we accomplished that, I wanted out of the diaper phase. With maturity I’ve learned to stop wishing time away. You can’t get it back.

Age also marks places in time. We do ritualistic, traditional things based on age.

Why do we keep track of our age? Who said that was important?

One year olds usually have a big family party. Parents: skip the clowns. Trust me on this.

When you’re five you begin kindergarten.

At seven you make your First Holy Communion (if you’re one of my clan).

At thirteen, you have a Bar/Bat mitzvah or Confirmation.

Sixteen you drive.

At eighteen you graduate high school and you’re legal to join the military and shoot our enemies in battle. But you’re not legal to have a beer until you’re twenty-one…unless you live in Sweden in which case you can drink in a pub at eighteen.

I’m not against the military, NOT by ANY means, and I’m not encouraging underage drinking. I’m simply rambling as it comes to me. It happens. Plus my sixteen year old keeps reminding me she will be in Sweden for her eighteenth birthday.

 

 

 

 

I could go on and on about numbers, highways, routes, longitude, latitude, days and months.

Why is it so important for us to know where we are, what time it is, how long till the next thing we do, count downs, count ups, lengths, distances, spaces…

Does it really matter? I guess in some ways. I mean, if I don’t keep track of the hour the kids will be late to school and I’ll be late to work. Or, if I submit my work to an agent and my category is YA and my word count is not in keeping with my genre, then I look like an unprofessional ass. I try not to look like an ass of any kind as much as possible. So in that respect, yeah, it matters.

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Numbers are a universal language. Whoever you are and where ever you are, 2 = 1 plus another. If you’re human, you know this, and it works. I get that. I’m on board with that.

What I don’t want is to be defined by my number (age), charts(height & weight), location(longitude and latitude), my ethnicity(majority/minority), or my calculations(success & failures).

And I don’t want to define or judge anyone else by a poll taken or a survey done or a room full of some bodies that determined it to be a certain way based on what’s normal or acceptable.

Normal? What the heck is normal anymore?

I think we have to make our own normal. If you’re not hurting anyone, including yourself, and you’re leading your life by a moral compass– that should be the normal.

A moral compass does not have arrows pointing North, South, East and West, but rather, Kind, Loving, Generous, and Gentle, which equates to a multiplier of peace. I’d like for that to be my guide.

 

I’d like to find a way to make that a universal language. That sounds better than math to me!

PEACE out until next time!

Bullies. Mean Girls. Anger. Let it Go

Happy Hump-ish day! HA! Yeah, I probably can’t get away with that. I know I said Wednesday is my blog day, but believe me, you did NOT want to hear what I had to say on Wednesday. It would have been a lot of F-bombs and A-holes.  So… let’s dive right in. *adjusts bathing cap…3 steps…leap*

I was the victim of adult bullying Tuesday night. And ya know what? It still feels really bad.https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Taunting_0001.jpg

This is what happened. I needed to get my son to lacrosse. I needed to get him there on time because I got him there late on Saturday and he got yelled at even though it was my fault. I felt like shit. But I worked all day on Tuesday and I needed to go home to give the crazy dog his medicine so he could stop being so crazy and my mother-in-law is in re-hab for a knee replacement and I promised I would go to the library to get her Florence Henderson’s autobiography. Don’t judge. That’s what she likes to read. As a fiction writer it makes me a little nuts that she only reads about real stuff. Go figure.

Anyway. So I’m late. Again. I’ve got my son in the car giving me the worried eyes, the tension neck rub and the pained look. The look that says, “mom you’re screwing up again!” The look that kicks you right in the low belly and cuts you off at the knees. File:Anxiety.gif

I drive a little faster, not crazy fast, but a little faster. There is a big SUV in front of me going 5 miles below the speed limit. I’m checking my clock. Another two minutes ticks by. My son’s leg bobs up and down at warp speed. Panic tightens my chest painfully. I’m a little closer to the SUV than I normally would be. Everything in me is screaming, GET OUT OF MY WAY! No such luck. It takes every turn I need to take. Now my left leg is bobbing too.File:Nervous.gif

Oh, and as an added point of stress, I need to get my son to the field and get back to the house to take my daughter to an appointment, I’m just getting over the shingles so I’m not quite myself but still trying to do all the things myself needs to do, my mom is not well AND Ididn’t get picked for #PitchMadness.  So there’s that. *sigh*

The SUV is going to the same place I am but it takes the first turn into the parking lot. It pretty much comes to a stop as it’s making this turn. I look around it. No cars are coming. I go around and head into a different entrance. I park in a space and tell my son, RUN! Which he does. I’m catching my breath as I watch him get to his teammates when someone bangs their keys on my window so hard I duck because I thought the glass was going to shatter. I turn and the woman, who I happen to know, points a finger at me and yells, “I thought that was you.”

Now, because I know her, I roll down my window realizing she was the SUV in front of me, and start to say, “oh hey, I’m so sorry but-”

“You were right up my ass the whole way, Jeannie! What’s wrong with you? Right up my ass!!”

My mouth is stuck open in mid-sentence. She continues to walk away from me but mutters something, referencing a situation where her child was bullying my child, “It brings to mind bullying,” she spits out in a way that says she’s been waiting for the opportunity to say this to me. At first I don’t understand what the two things have to do with each other and then it dawns on me. They don’t have anything to do with each other. She’s got a problem with me because her child was bullying my child and was called into the principal. I had been backing out of my space. I pulled back in. Steam is shooting out of my head cartoon style. I’ve been known to have a bit of a hot temper. *family snickers in the back ground* My heritage is half Irish, half German, and, yeah, you get the picture.

File:Flag of Ireland and Germany.png

But I don’t get out screaming because I’m not thirteen any more and I’ve learned to contain it. Shaking yes. Screaming…not yet. I wait at her car. The muttering occurred as she was walking away from me, which, BTW, I friggin hate! If you have something to say, say it to my face so I have a chance to respond. Oh, and I’m gonna respond. You can bet your big fat left toe, I’m gonna respond. While I wait, I call my husband. Why? Because he’s my best friend and if anyone can calm me down, preferably before I get myself arrested, he can. And he does. He also confirms that there is a bigger problem going on.

While I’m on the phone with him, this woman goes over to two other women, who are now all staring at me because she’s got arms flailing and fingers pointing as she is talking to them. Grab your pitchforks and torches! Get her! Is what I hear in my head.

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There’s arm crossing and head shaking and I feel like I’m back in high school. Ironically, I’m standing in the parking lot of MY high school. I continue to wait. There’s more pointing. Now there’s a cop she’s telling her tale of woe to, who is also looking at me and I’m thinking, oh just shoot me now and put me out of my misery. But he doesn’t come over so maybe he thinks she’s crazy too.

I text my daughter we are going to be late for our appointment because there is no way in hell I am leaving with out talking to this woman. She sees me waiting but continues to rile up her “gang”. At this point I don’t know if she’s trying to wait me out or if she’s on a power trip, but frig it, I’m emotionally all-in now, there’s no turning back.

Finally, she comes to her car, because, well she has to if she wants to leave. I approach her and say, “Hey, so and so, I’m sorry if you felt I was too close to you and if I made you uncomfortable.” While I’m saying this she’s shouting about how I was “right on her ass” and some other crap about being on some committee, and blah, blah. I cut in, “Well like I said, I’m sorry about that, but there’s obviously a bigger issue here since you brought up the bullying, which clearly refers to the bus incident. So if you have a problem with me, I’d like to talk about it.”

Her: “I have no problem. You were on MY ASS! This close to me!”*fingers in my face to indicate the fictitious distance I was from her bumper*…BARK BARK BARK BARK!” because that’s basically what it sounds like now. So I put my hands up in front of me and lean back in a, woe, back-it-down-a-notch-sweetheart motion, and say, “Did you not hear the first thing I said when I came over? That I was sorry?”

Her: “Yeah!”

Me: “But you’re still shouting.”

Her: “I’m not shouting. This is my normal voice!”File:Scream crosathorian.jpg

Me: My eyebrows take flight up to my hairline. “Really? cause it sounds like shouting to me. I mean, if you feel the need, go ahead, but my driving and bullying don’t have anything to do with each other so there’s obviously another problem here.”

Her: “I’m on the committee for the safe zone! And I’m working with the police. And you were right on my ass!”

I’m not sure what to say to the “right on my ass” comment anymore so I just say, “Ahh..okay.” My staying calm made her outburst look even more ridiculous.

Her: “I’m late, I have to go.” And she storms to her car.

Me: “Okay,” I say as she goes. Mind you I’m still facing her. “But if you have a problem with me or the situation that happened on the bus, I’m available to talk about it.”

I turn to go to my car and as she’s getting in her car she mutters a bunch of crap at the BACK of my head! UGH!! Motherfrickafrackasaskasass!!!

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Wednesday. I wish I could say the next day I was fine and WHAT EVER, with a big finger W, but I wasn’t. It really bothered me that she besmirched my reputation, to two women that I don’t know, and possibly a cop, and there was nothing I could do about it. I hated being pointed at and God-only-knows what was being said about me. It made me feel powerless. That feeling sucks. Really bad.

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On any given day, I have a full time job four days a week, I have a second full time job as a writer, I am me, I’m a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, a cook, a housekeeper, a crazy-dog tamer because I’m the only one the little bastard doesn’t bite, the laundry chick and the list goes on and on. But hey, everyone is busy, that’s just life, it’s not an excuse. I’m not asking for special treatment but a little empathy would be great. And it’s not like I’m a constant screw up. For the most part I run a tight ship, even as I’m tap dancing a hundred miles an hour. But, admittedly, I am the occasional screw up.

Not gonna lie, when I began to write this blog in my head I planned to M-F that woman all over the page. But in the same way that I wanted her to think about what might be going on with me, stand in my shoes for a moment, I started to think what might be going on with her. Maybe her day sucked so bad that she was just looking for someplace to unload her emotions and I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe she’s just one of those holier-than-thou mean girls. I really don’t know. But what I do know is that being mad at her was friggin’ up my mojo. I don’t have time for that (see list above).  I don’t have time for high school nonsense or mean girls.

Forgive and forget? Come on now, I’m not a saint. And did I mention the hot temper? But letting it go for my own good? Yeah, I can definitely do that.

What bag a crap are you hangin’ onto that’s messin’ up your mojo?

PEACE. Keep it and keep your mojo in tact!

images http://commons.wikimedia.org/