The Unfinished Galaxy. Mars: The No God Zone (Also: Lonely Woman’s Easy repair of the day; and a yummy give-away)

Mars is our next door neighbor . . . .

It is the forgotten playground of a god, or God. Almost there. Almost Just Right. Almost Earth-like . . . more on that later.

marsSmaller than Earth, it does have two moons so that in itself makes it nice to visit in my Lil Loghouse Spaceship. Though, it’s often difficult to see the moons, because of the dust storms kicking up. The wind howls, and you can hear it if you click on this video—as well as see a sunset tinge the sky blue. You can hear the sounds of Mars from space on this video.

From space, Mars is beautiful in its own way—if you like red, and I do. There’s so much iron in the soil. And it’s cold. 80 degrees below zero. And I forgot my coat on Pluto. Oh well! When you are a Lonely Woman, you don’t have anyone to remind you to grab your coat, or to make sure your shirt isn’t on inside out, or fix the tag that’s sticking up in the back, or acknowledge your existence when you return to Earth from Mars. There’s not even a Jesus to wipe off your Mars-dusty feet, either. But I digress . . . .

On Mars, there’s canyons, volcanoes, craters. Clouds, fog, wind. Tornados. There’s gravity—though one-third less than Earth has. If you dropped a cup of coffee on Mars, it would fall slower than if you dropped that cup of coffee on Earth—maybe you have time to grab it, but then I suppose everything would move slower. Just like with Pluto, which I wrote about below, you’d weigh less: if you weighed 100 pounds on Earth, you’d only weigh 37 on Mars. You could also jump higher on Mars. Wheeee! Though after a while, jumping higher means nothing if there’s nothing to jump for, or no one to show how high you are jumping and laughing while you scream “Isn’t this cool?” We must have witness to coolness or it just doesn’t feel as cool.

It takes a little less than twice as long for a year to pass on Mars than it does on Earth—plenty more time to fail at your New Year’s resolutions; am I right? One day on Mars is only 20 minutes longer than on Earth. What to do with those twenty minutes? What to do. Waste it? Make it count? Scientists think that at one time the planet could have had liquid water, or at least could support oceans. They think that something may have struck Mars and flung out a lot of its atmosphere into space—

That happened to me. I was metaphorically struck by something, or if I’m being honest, by someone, and parts of me flung out into space so that I am left altered. I am Mars—all howling winds and dust storms and I am next to all this Life and Abundance and I am not Goldilocks—Not Just Right—and . . . more on that in a second.

Mars is the closest thing there is to Earth, and scientists think it could support life. As long as we don’t think of it as Life as We Know it On Earth.

I don’t believe in God. Not any longer. And not for quite some time.

Okay, that came out of the blue, right?

Doesn't that "mass" look a little like our continent?

Doesn’t that “mass” look a little like our continent?

As I travel our Galaxy in the lil spaceship, I see our beautiful Earth among all the other planets so inhospitable. I know that Earth is in the “Goldilocks Zone,” meaning Earth is situated in the “just right” place in our solar system not only to support life, but life so lush and varied that it boggles the mind how we became who we are and what we are—Random Acts of Nature. Because, I randomly think, if there were this Higher Being creating, why not Mars? Why would a god so magnificent and awesomely and powerful stop with one planet? Why make Mars “almost there” but not go there? Would a god realize his limitations? Did he/she/it want us to be the Lonely Planet? Did he/she/it feel abandoned so abandoned the entire project? Would a god or God be the loneliest being in not only this galaxy, but in all the galaxies? Maybe God or gods created just what he/she/it felt—a world full of lonely-hearted people looking for a way not to be lonely; a world full of the Always Searching for Something that isn’t there until it is and then it isn’t.

If you are the Lonely Woman traveling the galaxy looking down at the busy earth, and the desolate planets all around it, you feel the absence of God not the presence. You don’t see this Miracle—instead you see Beautiful Acts of Random. You see how a planet right next door just because it is not in The Perfect Spot, but almost is, is not able to sustain the life as Earth does.

You know what I miss most about believing in a god and Jesus and all that? Not the fire and brimstone—I mean, face it, the God(s) man created are abusive and mean and incredibly cruel and why would I pray to that? This God throws you in a lake of fire and watches you burn—how sick is that? And though Jesus would want to kiss your blistered feet, even he has to turn his back on you once you do whatever it is that is not pardonable. And there you are screaming out their name, begging for mercy where there is none. That sounds  like a really interesting novel that I’d read once and be so disturbed I’d never read again. I have done much thinking on this. I find science comforting. Very comforting. I find a god or Gods unsettling and more like a fairytale told to misbehaving children to get them to Act Right.

But what I miss about Jesus, you see, is that as a Lonely Woman, you lie in bed at night and there is DSC09985no one to listen. You speak aloud to hear your voice, and you “pray” to the Universe but you know no one or no thing hears you. The dark is darker. The night is nightyer. The loneliness lonelier. You think that if it were your last night on Earth, who would be there to witness your death? Who would cry and scream and shake their fist to the sky? It would only be after no one had heard from you that they’d begin to worry and then make their grisly discovery. You try not to think about these things. But you do. So you reach out to neighbors and friends and family and find ways to make sure you are Seen and Heard and Discoverable very quickly.

Earth may be the God Zone, but Mars is the No God Zone, and that is where I am hovering right now, right above Mars, looking down at a dust storm fierce and howling. When I land, I’ll walk its dusty soil and know that no Big Being in the Sky would leave Mars so desolate—so close to Earth yet so far. Here’s a Rover on mars.

It’s as if the God Story is unfinished. As if this Being started a project in a petri dish, the Great Scientist in the Sky, and then grew bored. Or gave up. Or perhaps thought, “This is enough for me. This is just right.” Or, as I lie in bed at night looking out the window at the stars and as the moon shines on my right foot, I know just how random I am. There is some comfort in that. I can absolve myself from so much responsibility.

But there is no one to say that to. No one to talk to and say, “Guess what? I just had an epiphany!” And there’s no Jesus there to nod his sage head and say, “Good work, my daughter.” There’s no God up there smiting me, either, which is a relief. Who wants to be smit’ed?

For Lonely Woman in this strange Unfinished Galaxy, there is You in the night. You. You. Just You. You. Just You. Unfinished. Almost but Not Quite Just Right.


Easy Repair of the Day: Is your ceiling fan making noise and driving you nuts? Did you know that sometimes all you need to do is clean it? That there may be some dust on it, or on the top of the blades where you can’t see it, and that is causing it to be out of balance. Turn the fan off, take a rag and clean the blades top and bottom. Turn the fan back on and be amazed that it fixed the clickity sound or the clackity sound or the click-clack sound. If this does not work, or only partially works, you may have to go to your local hardware store (or big hardware store) and purchase a ceiling fan weight balance thing to try that. But the easier fix without even leaving your spaceship is first to try cleaning the blades. I cleaned the dust from mine and it worked!


Links: Daniel Wallace Guest Author at R&T, Firefly Dance, RAP, etctgIf you love Appalachian/Southern Fiction, I hope you will head over to Kat Magendie Amazon Page and pick out a book. I will have book give aways (mine and other authors’) from time-to-time, but today–chocolate. TG & Sweetie are two of my best sellers. But there are more to choose from.


Give away of the week: Chocolate! Since we talked about Mars today, I am going to give away some Mars chocolates. I don’t like the “first commenters” thing.  So, at the end of the week (Saturday), I will randomly draw a number out of a box and whomever is the *that number* commenter is the one who receives the give away. If I receive only 1 commenter, then, well, I’ll have to pull from the box until I get number 1 *laugh*

Pluto: too tiny to clear away obstacles? (& Repair for the Day)

At one time Pluto, though the smallest in the solar system and the farthest away (as far as we knew), was a Planet, a regular old planet and a part of the Nine Planets we all grew up reciting in school using a mnemonic, such as: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (for more, plutoclick on this site: Mnemonic Devices Memory Tools ). But one fine day Pluto was flung out of its A Part of the Whole planet status in our galaxy, left to drift there in the cold and dark.  Oh people rooted for it and that made Pluto feel hope, but it was still alone out there. Perhaps because scientists felt so sorry for Pluto in all its lonely isolation, they upgraded it to a Dwarf Planet. A consolation prize that didn’t lessen the sting so much as make Pluto feel its pride surging up but its feeling of belonging surging down.

Tpluto_color_beforeclosestapproach.jpg.CROP.original-originalhough Pluto’s status in the galaxy changed, Pluto had not changed other than the natural changes that occur with any living thing—and one could say that planets are not living things if there is no life there, but that’s a subject for another day. Pluto was doing as it always did, so far away in its own little world. Pluto is so difficult to explore and know about, since it’s so far away, that it is often misunderstood—and even so, it relays its heart on its pale face (and you can see and read about that heart on Nasa’s Site), sending messages of please love me! I am worthy! While at the same time keeping its distance away from all the others. A strange contradiction.

A Dwarf Planet is called this because it is so little it cannot clear other objects out of its path. Oh, my friends, how we do relate to that. In our One Status, tucked inside our spaceship, we see obstacles of every size and though we may feel mighty, we can’t seem to clear the way—and we see the other planets big and important doing what we struggle with and that only make us feel smaller and lonelier. We begin to feel this ineptness creep up on us. That inept feeling erodes and causes us to flounder. It’s all too much!, we wail. And, it is. No platitudes from well-meaning friends and family helps. Yes, they mean well when they say the supportive things they say out of their own helpless way of helping you. But it means nothing when you are struggling to clear the way through the galaxy’s bombardment.

One day on earth is 24 hours. But on Pluto? One day is the equivalent of 6 and ½ days. Time drags on slowly and methodically, though at the end of it, how much was accomplished? It feels as if we squandered that six and one-half days. We pass by Earth and see all the busy people accomplishing in one day what it takes us almost a week to do—because it’s all on us. Because no one has our back. Things pile up. Housework, food shopping, bill paying, dog care, work. And repairs to the ship (see below!). We’re pocked by the obstacles smacking us senseless and we cannot clear the way because we are so tiny.

It’s very cold on Pluto. 375 to 400 degrees below zero cold. It’s icy. Cold, dark, icy. Who would love
Ice Walk at Killian Knob + Video Whale Back Rock & VK's Sagathat? It is only icy because it is so far away from everything and everyone else. Isolation. But yet, there is that big heart. There is that grit. There is that tenacity despite its smallness.  There is that, I am Here! I am HERE! You will not discount me! Goddammit! You will see me! You will respect me!

On Pluto, you can eat whatever you want and hop on those scales and laugh your ass off. Pass the ice cream! Pass the cookies! More chips and dip please! Because 100 pounds on Earth is only about 7 pounds on Pluto. So, my lovelies, the nights you are alone watching rerun marathons of Grey’s Anatomy with all that love and kissing and sex and people interacting and hope and loss and the 630320whole messiness of life and death, you, One You, are eating an ice-cream bar with enough calories to run a couple marathons around the perimeter of Pluto. And if you have not tried Magnums, and I mean the ice cream you sillies you, then travel in your spaceship over to Earth to the nearest store and find them. But know that they will taunt you from the freezer—call out to you, entice you. And you will answer because you crave the enticement, the taunting. You must save them for a special treat because once you return to Earth from Pluto, the weight difference will astound and amaze, and my friends, we must stay healthy! Magnuming ourselves into bad health isn’t the answer either. haw!

So how do you navigate your One-ness world? How do you clear objects out of your path even if Ring around the universe, pocket full of planetsyou are told you cannot or you tell yourself that you cannot, or reality is you in reality cannot? You rise out of bed. You make your bed. You wash your face. You comb your hair. You turn on the coffee pot. You eat breakfast. You put one foot in front of the other and you Do. You try not to look at the other planets who hang in the air with all their importance. You show your heart and hope that one day that heart will be a beacon for Something More. But until then? Until then you try and you try and you try some more. And in the failings come success. Even small successes are accomplishments that will make you feel empowered. All by yourself.

That is what Pluto does. That is what Lonely Woman does (mostly). That is what we who are One in the galaxy must do.


Repair for the day: If your garbage disposal in the spaceship quits working, don’t immediately start wondering how you will replace it. Instead, grab a flashlight and dive under that sink and look for the Reset Button. Yes, if you did not know, there is a reset button on your garbage disposal. I found it, and it worked, so I didn’t need to do anything else. Before you go resetting, you’ll need to make sure there is nothing stuck in the disposal causing it not to work. Please do not go sticking your hand in there until you not only turn it off, but find the plug to unplug it! I once chewed up an entire glass in the disposal and had to unplug it so I could dig out millions of shards of glass. But I did it! And I did it this time, too, by not letting panic take over: Where will I find the money to replace this? Who can I trust to install it? OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! (More on those thoughts another time). I simply hit Reset.

There are other troubleshooting ways to fix your disposal on your own. It will give you a feeling of power to be able to fix what goes wrong in your spaceship, without having to travel to one of the Big Important Planets to find someone, or pay someone, to help you. Again, please make sure that if you are sticking your hand down in that dark nasty abyss, you turn off the disposal and unplug it. Two videos to help you: Short One with only Music & Visuals & Longer One with Voice Instruction.

Next week, I will have a give-away. If you did not receive anything from me last week and you should have received the Kindle Copy because you “won” it, then please contact me.

NEVER FOUND THE OCEAN . . . .

Back to the cove at Killian Knob

NEVER FOUND THE OCEAN

Daddy arrives in ten million pieces

Plus two

How amazing

I can lift him

All at once, once and all

Piece by piece

Grain by grain

Had I found the ocean

(can you swim, Daddy?

“don’t be silly, I’m dead!”)

He would drift there

With each lifting wave

Old things shout

From ten thousand lips

“Time for all dogs

To be dead,

Aren’t you feeling a little sick?”

Daddy, I’d say, that makes

No sense

If I cry out to the ocean

(come back!)

He’ll send a small part of himself

(as he did in life)

Spill over my bare feet

My toes seek find

Anything but what I searched

(you’ll be safe in the ocean, Daddy

“safe from what?”

you know, Daddy, you know)

A piece of tongue floats by

Speaks of sadness

More often than joy

(as it was in life)

And now that I listen

silent

Hey, Daddy! Hey!

But he’s swallowed

By the by the by

Big sea only grass

Without even a wave

 

Kathryn Magendie

Presenting: Diane Buccheri of OCEAN Magazine(published in OCEAN magazine soon after my father died – a wonderful magazine that I was privileged to have poetry, prose, and photographs published within its beautiful pages. Ocean Magazine is, or was?, based out of the coast of North Carolina by its beautiful and talented and dedicated publishing editor Diane Buccheri. She dedicated herself to the ocean and all that it contained.)

A dozen interesting tiddlybits to make you go, “Huhn. Well now I know! Thanks Kat! You’re Special!”

  1. 0841. Our interstates have a “system” to them. Odd numbers are north to south with the lowest numbers in the west. Even numbers are east to west with the lowest numbers in the south. Exits are assigned numbers to let you know the distance to the next exit—mile-markers aren’t always exits but they tell you distance “in between.” The interstate system is about 46,300 miles, and of those 46,300 miles, it is a known fact that 40.4858788584857% of the time, a bathroom will be ten to fifty miles from where you really have To Go Bad. And 50.4848482975875% of the time, a Left-Laner will hold up traffic for 20.225 miles, plus three, and then flip you off in indignation when you finally zoom by in frustration.
  1. Supposed to work - let's hope you never have to find out!

    Supposed to work – let’s hope you never have to find out!

    A skunk can spray up to ten feet away. The spray is a yellow oily substance—and guess what? Oil and water don’t mix; so if your dog is sprayed and you wet the dog, it’s going to stink worse—delightful, right? The spray contains as many as seven kinds of nasty “ingredients” that can easily be conglomerated by the skunk into a gas that explodes from the ass(it rhymed!)—that’s what makes it stanky; no, stanky isn’t strong enough a word—putridly pungent. A skunk stinks, yeah, but  in a sobering addition to this light-hearted skunkfomercial: did you also know that skunk spray can cause severe anemia and death in dogs? Okay, only very rarely but worth a note if your dog loves chasing Pepe LePew.

  1. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? According to science: 1,000. According to Kat: about 30 before she bites into it with glee.
  1. When you google “Will I ever use Algebra in real life?” This is the kind of answer you find, which is an evasive non-answer in my Algebra experience: “This is a difficult question, but the simplest answer is that Algebra is the beginning of a journey that gives you the skills to solve more complex problems.” Uh huh. Nice try.
  1. 007It’s a myth that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Where did that saying come from? Actually, it’s from the 1800s or some other time when people made up stuff out of boredom and other bored people readily believed it because there wasn’t Google, or Bing if you are a Binger, to debunk it (only 6.777558475% of people like Internet Explorer; poor thangs)—of course, ironically, the internet is full of BS that bored people make up and equally bored people believe. Anyway, lightning not striking twice meant: misfortune won’t happen twice in the same way to the same person. *fake-coughs out a barely perceptible bullshit*
  1. Women’s colons are longer than men’s colons (so who is more full of sh with a side of it, you may ask? Answer with care, my male friends, answer with care). And our female colons are more twisted up. We’re all discombobulated in there. Why? Whyyyyy? They—the infamous “They People” (who I believe are Aliens! No, really!)—say it’s because we give birth. Oh. Okay. So, we have more colon so we can squeeze out a human? Uh huh. They—the Aliens—are tricksters. Just tricksters.
  1. Conversely, a man’s brain is about 10% larger than a woman’s brain. Now, before you men’s heads swell up even more, no it doesn’t mean you
    This is your brain; this is your brain on gender

    This is your brain; this is your brain on gender

    are more intelligent, or any less intelligent. It does mean you process differently. But brain size is not a correlation to intelligence. The brain is larger to accommodate the extra body mass and muscle. Is to! Is TO!

  1. Speaking of brains. Artists have different brains. According to a scientific study (by “They”), researchers found sort ofishy scientifically that artist’s brains are structurally different from non-artists. I suppose that includes us writers, right? I need an excuse for my discombobulated hootnannies. Scans (by They/Aliens!) show that artists have more grey matter in an area of the brain that matters to scientists because scientists are awesome. That area of the 1291293eef10a1b7765ddd172deed303brain could possibly (why aren’t “They” ever sure?) be linked to that “inner eye” that gives visual creativity/clarity.
  1. While goofing off on Google, you find things that you think are jokes, then realize some people really do believe in these Thangs. Like, the im-not-saying-its-cats-but-its-cats-thumbf96496501b29ea59d0cd2f06ad7bba09“theory” that cats are aliens. Uh huh now; I see. Well, there is discussion of it Here and Here. Enjoy!  The first one actually is called “catalienconspiracy.com.”

10. The Perfect Every Time Boiled Eggs. Really! I swear! Put eggs in a saucepan and cover the eggs with water–I just added “the eggs” while re-reading this; didn’t want you to think I meant cover the pan with water -haha! Bring water to a boil and soon as it reaches that “roiling bubbling toil and troubling boil” turn off the heat, cover the pan with a lid, and let the eggs sit in the water for 14 minutes—no more! Some say 12 minutes; some say 13 minutes (what do “they” say?). I’ve had success with 14 minutes. Soon as the timer goes off—and if you don’t use a timer, you will forget and your eggs will suck–no one likes sucky eggs or to suck an egg; eww. No, you will forget–use a timer. I mean it; you will. Anyway, pour off the hot water, add cold water on top of the eggs in the pan, and add some ice to stop the cooking process. Perfect boiled egg.

  1. Most writers make crap for money. If writers are in it for the money, nowadays especially, then those writers may surely be sorely disappointed in the results of their dreams of Lotso Casholo. No, seriously! You wouldn’t believe the people who think I’m rolling in it because I have 5-6 books and some stories out there. When they see me pull up in my 17 year old Subaru decked out in clothes from the clearance rack, an old Dell laptop, a broken-shattered iPhone that I refuse to replace until my iPad’s paid for, they think I’m being ironic, or eclectic, or
    What you talkin' bout Willis?

    What you talkin’ bout Willis?

    that I left my sports car at home with my Louboutin’s. Seriously, though, folks. There is about 0.555785959992445566999999% of the population of authors/novelists who can do this “for a really good living without having another income” and 0.2455668855599999494994949 of those 0.555785959992445566999999% spend a lot of their time writing inspirational platitudes and giving writers advice about how we should be doing this and not doing that and all this blah blah blahdidly blah that they half-believe themselves but they’ve paid their dues, by golly gee, and can tell all us other writers how it is done and if we can’t do it that way, well no wonder we don’t sell books! The rest of us are varying degrees of starving, doing okay, doing pretty well, and pretending we are doing very well by posting upbeat Facebook and Twitter updates about how awesome we are doing and how we aren’t drowning our sorrows in wine and chocolate and sex—la tee dah, y’all! Haw!

  1. And speaking of Louboutin’s—while looking up how to spell it (I can spell Ked’s – wait, is that Keds or Ked’s – dang), a glance at a site that sells downloadthem yields this: “cheapest” (relative term): $525 for some kind of oogly-arse boat shoe looking thangs, to the more expensive sparkled heel at $4,225—my entire wardrobe does not come anywhere near that much—shoes included.

Now, aren’t you glad you know all that? I know I am!

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393520_294411430580586_999236092_nTouty Plug of the Day: I love this Facebook Page – easy, simple, uplifting, fun: Things I Like –About: “feel free to add your likes (3 per post)–just keep it clean–keep it positive. drop by or join our “365 day like-a-thon.” by posting here, we have your permission to include our favorites in the future, THINGS I LIKE ©”

The Workout-Writer: Perceived weakness holding us back from our potential

11794466_10153495739099176_2740973581806587689_oWorkout:

I’ve taken up hitting the boxing bag. Not only is it an excellent cardio workout, but works/strengthens/tones the entire upper body—arms, chest, back, core. I “knee” it, too, thus adding some strengthening to my lower body. I often think of my father—he boxed while he was in the Air-Force, and while I’d never hop into the ring, it brings a connection all the same.  But what I want to talk about here today is perceived weakness that keeps us from realizing our potential, because we often don’t recognize potential when we give up too easily, especially when we feel weak and ineffective in an area.

While boxing a couple of days ago, I’d punch the hell out of the bag with my right, but the left was weak and puny. I flailed away a few times and when my left arm just wouldn’t cooperate, I gave in and punched only with my right, every so often smacking unremarkably with my left just to give the right a rest—and, because I figured I had to do it, even if it didn’t feel right.

It frustrated me, this weakness, but  the more I concentrated on the way my left fist felt when it connected to the bag— the weakness of that punch—the more I hated punching with that fist, and the weaker it felt. My workout wasn’t near as effective as it could have been, and I soon tired of it, finally moving on to something else. I came up with excuses as to why my left jab was pathetic: I’m right-hand dominate; I use my right hand much more often and it’s stronger; maybe there’s a pinched nerve on that side causing weakness, etc. and blah blah blah!

Two days later, I headed down to my workout room early, put in my earbuds to loud techno music, and slid on the gloves. Without thinking about what I was doing or how I was doing it, or why, or when, where, what, I just began punching the bejeebus out of that bag—right right right left left left right left right left right right left left left LEFT LEFT LEFT LEFT—POW BIFF BAM!

When I at last stopped, sweat pouring, I looked down in surprise at my left gloved fist, amazed at its strength and endurance. It was tingling and burning but it felt great! It felt powerful! I felt powerful and strong, and capable. I’d hit the hell out of that bag with what I thought was a useless left punch but instead was just as powerful as my right. I slid off my gloves and noted the redness and coming bruising of my knuckles and inside the soft portion between my pinky and “ring finger” and all that did was make me feel more powerful—it was visual tangible evidence of the power of my punch.

Did my arm/fist grow that much stronger over the two days since I’d last boxed? Nope. What I’d done was stepped up to the bag and without thinking about it I just began pummeling it. I didn’t think about weakness; I didn’t think about what I was doing at all. I allowed myself the freedom to find my inner strength. For whatever reason, I’d blocked myself from recognizing my potential by that perceived weakness.

Isn’t it fascinating what our minds can do? The tricks it can play on us? Sometimes, we must outsmart our own Self.

Writer:

This is often how it is with the writing. When we approach our work with our fears and wants and needs and with conditions and scads of willy nilly jumbled up over-thinking-it thoughts, we encounter perceived weakness—the words stall, the language comes stilted, the characters blink at us from the page with perplexed expressions. The writing day seems flaccid and weak—just like that perceived weak left appendage of mine. We want to give up and give in, and we at last grow frustrated and/or bored and move on to do something else.

Yet, for many of us, when we just sit down, put our fingers to the keyboard, and let fly whatever pours out of the black hole in our brain, something seemingly magical happens. We become stronger writers almost overnight—well, dang! Because imagine if we wrote without those conditions, without over-thinking, without all the “What if this isn’t right?” “What if it doesn’t sell?” “What if no one likes it?” “What if a meteor falls on top my stupid head and smushes me to kingdom come and I never finish this and someone sees it before it is finished and it sucks and that’s the legacy I leave behind—a stupid half-finished work that sucks so bad everyone laughs and taunts and points their fingers at it?” What if we instead allow our beautiful subconscious minds, those deep instinctual strengths, to rise up from a place we cannot mine by peeking in the opening—we instead sometimes must amble, explore, stumble upon. Go for it. There’s a reason the clichéd advertising phrase Just do it makes sense—because it does work.

Wrapping it up now, y'all

Wrapping it up now, y’all

So.

As I box, I will gain in confidence. I will become even stronger, yes, but I will also become better at the control of my body and what it can do. And as I grow stronger and better and more confident, I’ll start critiquing my form, how I’m hitting that bag, how my stance is—I’ll be “editing” my workout. So it is with the writing. I lift up my head and there will be a completed terrible (or not so terrible!) first draft—then the work of editing begins where I critique my form, check my stance, work on fine-tuning. I’ve done it with novels and other works that have gone on to be published—five, six, or more, times. What’s stopping me now? Perceived weakness, over-thinking, fear, conditions.

Stride into your writing room just as you will the workout room and instead of letting the world in, instead of telling yourself you are weak and can’t do it right, march in and just start punching (tippity tapping on the keys) away until you feel strong and confident and know nothing can stop you now.

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three set_edited-best_edited-11743500_553542498076585_1943216434_nIf you all haven’t gone on over and checked out kat magendie novels that are on Kindle sale, and haven’t read any or some of my books, I hope you’ll go on over and give them a try. I as always am appreciative and grateful for my readers—thank you all for your support. It’s all for you. The link above should take you to a page that should list all my books and stories, and you can see the ones on sale. As well, I’m going to soon have a promo on my 1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nshort stories, offering a few for free—since I rarely mention them and often forget them, they kind of sit there like little lost waywards, and I’m so proud of the artwork!TG audio

Now get to work(out)!

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Touty mention of the day:

Head over to the Word Shark – Karen R. Sanderson’s Blog– Right now she has a guest there who does some amazing metal artkaren-sanderson-word-shark-blog-graphic

Karen R. Sanderson was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun.

Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, and writer. She edits fiction and non-fiction including: sci-fi, fantasy, children’s, mystery, paranormal, western, horror, historical, literary, and journalism. Karen completed her writing coursework through UCLA, the University of New Mexico, and Santa Fe Community College. She was the winner of the SouthWest Writers 2009 Writing Contest – The Best Hook. Her short stories have been featured in The Rose & Thorn Journal, Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology, Valley Living Magazine, BewilderingStories.com, and WritingRaw.com. She is currently working on collections of short stories and poetry.

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The Novelist’s Dilemma (is not a dilemma at all, is it?)

images (4)My posts lately have been rawly honest. Opening up my pea-head and displaying not just the cray-cray but the insecurities I have as a novelist is not easy. I’ve always displayed a more positive outlook because I recognize how lucky I am to do this. I’m extremely grateful for what success I’ve had, and for how I am able to write beautiful words and interesting unique characters—how easily the words (not plots) come to me. But sometimes I over-think things—it’s a character flaw. And I’ve been over-thinking this new book—and my entire career as a novelist.

At different points in a novelist’s career there are decisions to be made that affect the novelist. Consider that it takes months or more to complete a novel all the way through from first draft to final-ready-to-be-published. No one wants to spend that much time on any project only to have to scrap it, or to have it fail. Who would like those odds?  Not I, said the Kat.

There arrives the “what next?” question. What seems an innocuous query is fraught with complication. (Now, following here, excuse me for  mentioning my books and linking to them and their sales on Kindle – indulge me, since I don’t do it often but I should!).

tgraces1743500_553542498076585_1943216434_nsweetieLast night I picked up my copy of “Tender Graces” and began to read it as if I didn’t write it (I recently also read “Sweetie”, and such a warm and tender feeling overcame me. The words were rich and full and lush. The character apparent. The work isn’t perfect—in fact, I can see things I’d change about TG;  it was my very first novel, after all. But I felt the novelist’s love for her work, the language, the setting, place, tone, characters. It all came rushing back to me just how much I love what I do. And how lucky I am to be able to do it. The “Virginia Kate Sagas” (TG, Secret Graces & Family Graces – SG & FG are on sale for under $5 on Kindle, y’all, Sweetie for under $6) and Sweetie are examples of a writer who created out of nothing Secret%20Graces%202012%20-%20screenbut love for this writing life—it shows, and the readers felt it, too—I receive more mail on the Virginia Kate books & Sweetie than any other–I think they get the better reviews, too. Not perfection, but sincerity and truth. I believe in this author. I trust this author. The characters come alive and appear as apparitions in the room.1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_n

With the exception of one of my novels—The Lighting Charmer (and to some extent even that book), which is on sale for .99 cents on Kindle! and sorry for the touting — my published books were written in one way: I sat down and followed my character to see what she, or he, would do. I didn’t think about plots or outlines or “what I should do;” I just wrote. With abandon. Without fear. With love. With hope. These images of my book covers you see here?: I did this. I wrote these books. *Takes a moment to be filled with happy gratitude* family_graces_-_screen

Then the “novelist’s dilemma” smacked me stupid – should I write what I love; how it comes naturally to me? Or should I write what I hope will be more popular? Before you say “don’t fix what ain’t broke—write what you love!” Understand that the novelist profession is not only from the guts of us as artists, but it is also a business. This is not a hobby for me. I count on this as income. I count on this to help pay bills. And that’s where the rubber skids crazily on the road. Because what I love to write, what comes naturally to me, is not “Popular Fiction” that consistently time and again tears up Amazon rankings in the top 100 (though Tender Graces, Sweetie, and yes, even The Lightning Charmer were Amazon Best-Sellers. TG & Sweetie made it to top 100. TG was number 1 on Amazon paid list – The Help was number 2: haw! Yeah, I’ve had my moments!)

someone sent me this screenshot - wish I had one of TG & Sweetie!

someone sent me this screenshot – wish I had one of TG & Sweetie! So-Why am I whining? huh. Stop it, Kat

I fiercely love Virginia Kate and those cast of characters; I adore Sweetie & Melissa. I love Ayron & Laura in Lightning Charmer and I still think that’s my best attempt at a romancy-supernatural-mountain people kind of novel—I think that book would have been even better had I let myself “go” and wrote with the same abandon as I did with my previous novels, warts and all; imperfection and all. Those characters interested me, and still do. They captured my attention and my imagination. Still do.

I was in love. I was so very grateful. What happened to that? I can bet many novelists/authors out there can answer that question with a wry twist to their mouths.

So, the novelist’s dilemma: write what you love and let the money chips fall where they may, or, try to write something “Popular” and . . . and . . . be an unhappy novelist! One who isn’t writing very much. One who writes sad discombobulated blog posts about how she is not writing and feels uninspired.

If a novelist isn’t writing, then what’s the point? If the novelist is unhappy and discombobulated, then she must find out why and remedy it. If the novelist wants to be loved by the masses, then she best not be a novelist. And if Ego is involved—oh, Ego is a terrible snarling drool-faced monster! Kick Ego out the writing room door, y’all—kick it HARD until it never returns.

The answer is clearing the cobwebs in my wonky brain. The path I choose from the paths before me that fork off in fifty-galleven directions is—drum roll, please—the one that makes me happy. Duh. The one that may (or may not!) mean failure in my bank account, but always success in my heart account. As for some “popular” attention and sales? Well, there’s always a chance that will again come. Right? Yes! I’m still alive! I’m still a gifted writer! I can still write write write as much as and as long as I want to.

I’m a woman in her 50s. I’ve paid my life dues. I can bloody well do what the hell I want to. *Fist Pump*

When I am on my “deathbed,” believe me, I won’t be sorry that I didn’t write a huge spectacular best-seller, I will be sorry that I gave up the writing just because I couldn’t write a huge spectacular best seller. Huh. Well now.

Consider: when we are not true to ourselves. When we do not do what we know in our hearts and gizzards is the Right Thing (for us). When we look outward to other novelists’ successes. When we keep checking our bank account to see how much money we have. These things change us, changes the way we think about the writing.

I need an ass-whupin if I don't get back to work!

I need an ass-whoopin if I don’t get back to work!

And the writing will suffer right along with the novelist. The heart is not pierced with love. Something is missing—and it will be apparent to the reader. Oh yes, it will.

So what if I just take this new book and turn it over on its end and shake out its pockets and take a look at what falls out? The lint along with the pocket change and interesting rocks and bones and a leaf and something magical and a supernatural glowy thing and interesting odds and ends and whatnotalls. What if I followed the character around to see what she’s up to, and she’s up to something believe you me. What if I followed to see what her magic is? How it is affecting the town? Why some of the town is suspicious of her? What about that man in the shop: what’s he up to, or is he only in love with her? What are those “Memory Vases?” What is she doing with the vial of blood or the strand of hair—why is she mixing that into her magic paints? What’s she up to? What’s her story? Let me follow her around until I find out! “Black Moon Cove” . . . why is that bomping me upside my head as a “working title” . . . ?

What if I wrote how I did when I was happy with love and excitement?

What if the novelist’s dilemma is really not a dilemma at all? What if we are in control of our own writing lives? Well, dang me!

Yeah. What if?

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Touty shout out of the day (and in the future, I’ll be shouting out lots of people here—not just writers):

download71ebbf88305ed9b9af826593ca46d111Writer Unboxed. A place where writers, editors, agents, and all things writing and writing related are discussed. Go visit. See for yourself. They’re amazingly awesome.

Reviews are none of my business. They are the reader’s business, and their right. My readers can do no wrong.

photoAuthor writes book. Book is published. Book is read. Book is reviewed. Author reads reviews. Author is happy to see some great reviews. Author is devastated to see the bad reviews. Author begins to stew on those bad reviews. Author cannot think of anything but those bad reviews.

In the extreme, the author may comment back to the reader, telling her just how wrong she is to feel the way she feels about the book. Another author quietly sits, reading and re-reading the bad review—looking for a message, a theme, something-anything- that will tell them just where they went wrong and how they can fix it so they never have to feel this way again. And there is the author who laments on social networking how much a review has hurt him, made him feel small, made him question what he is doing and why, and will everyone hurry over and write a good review, and maybe even tell the bad reviewer how they suck for their opinion?–>(Oh, please do not do this, author!)

Author begins to lose sight of just how much it is really none of the author’s business what someone writes about their personal experiences of reading a book.

51dZqZYheqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I stopped reading reviews a long time ago—right after my first book (Tender Graces) came out. Oh, I was reveling in the great 5-star reviews! I was feeling on top of the world when suddenly there amongst those 5-star reviews appeared a 2-star. Oomph! Kicked in the stomach feeling, a sickening crash—dark clouds amass, the world is coming to an end! Or wait a minute. Why would I not expect that to happen? Of course it must happen! I made a decision right there not to read that review or any other future reviews, good or bad, hightailed it out of Amazon, and never looked back.

Because it’s none of my business what a reader writes in a review of my book.

I went back to work. With each new book, I kept my promise to myself not to read reviews, and it has served me well. Kept my sanity—well, most of it. Being an author isn’t the easiest thing as it is—we worry about a lot of Stuff. A whole lot of Stuff. Massive amounts of not so crazy along with really stunningly crazy Stuff. Any Stuff that I can toss out of my worry barrel (I started to write “jar” but we all know it’s a gigantic barrel) is one fewer thing to obsess over. Right? Right! Especially if it is not in my control.

If it is not in our control, why are we still trying to control the uncontrollable?

Some will say we authors must read reviews to learn something about ourselves and our books, but I personally disagree. The review is not for the writer, bmarm bakeryut instead for the reader. If a book is good it will have good reviews, and it will have bad reviews. It will be hated by some readers and it will be loved by others. But guess what? If a book is badly written it will have good reviews and it will have bad reviews. It will be loved and it will be hated. One reader’s filet mignon is another reader’s can of dog food. We cannot all have the same tastes and likes and dislikes. Opinions are what make this world so interesting. Opinions and variations of character and thought and being sparks discussion and lively debate. It’s why there are so many books out there in so many different genres or even the same genre but with different stories and characters and thought and action and place and time and circumstance–so many people with so many different brains to stimulate to please or not to please, whatever the case may be.

We authors need to get out of the way of the readers’ opinions.

Really, an author who cannot handle the really bad review should never go look. It’s personal, but not Personal in the way some authors may experience it. It’s personal to the reader and how the book makes her feel, or how the book makes him experience what is happening in that created world.

The review has nothing to do with Me The Author.

Me The Author is not important. We may think we are, but we are not important at all. When a reader reads our words, they should not be thinking of the author. When they put down the book, then perhaps we come to their mind, we hope fondly; yet, even then, we are an amalgam of the words and characters and language and world we created, along with what the reader imagines us to be. We are not who we think we are to the reader, and that can be a beautiful thing to consider, no matter the outcome. We have reached out and touched another living being, even if they skewer us and grill us to a crusted crisp.

DSC09985My readers can do no wrong.

Readers do not recognize their power—they don’t realize how much we authors really do want to hear from them when they are touched by or enjoy our work. However, if a reader does not like one (or more) of my books, or maybe even hates hates HATES my work, why would I be angry with that reader? They have a right to love or not to love or even to detest my work. They have a right to kiss my book and lovingly set it in a place of honor on their bookshelf, or beside their bed where they can read it again and maybe again.  And, yes,  they have a right to throw my book across the room and scream that it is the biggest pile of dogshit they’ve ever read in their entire lives and they’ll never pick up another of my books again!

When I write a book, my thoughts are on my reader—will she enjoy it? Will he love my words? Will they be swept away by my characters’ stories? I want to please my reader. I want to make them happy. I want them to love me, because I love them. But I can’t write to please everyone—you do know that is impossible, right? To please everyone? Sure, some books are written that go on to make a gazillion bucks, but go to Amazon and look up a very popular book that’s making millions and there you will find readers who think that book sucks, and sucks so bad that they poured gasoline on it and set it on fire then pee’d on it to stop the flames and then stomped on it with dog-crap covered boots then swept up the nasty pile and buried it fifty feet underground where they never have to be reminded how they’ll never get the time back they wasted on that book!

I will always write with all my heart, everything I have, give readers all I got. I will send out my words and hope for the best. It is my gift to my readers. It is a hope to reach other readers. And no matter how they receive that gift, it is their right to express themselves however they want to without my interference.

It is wrong wrong wrong to make readers feel bad for their opinion.

It is not cool at all to correct them for their “wrongness.” It is uncool to try to sway the reader to change their mind and thus change their review. It super uncool to make them feel guilty enough to take down the review. It is super duper uncool and demeaning to the author profession to tell other readers to go defend that author and their work and make sure to tell that bad reviewer how they mightily suck–ATTACK!—-> (No no no do not do this, Author, please do not).

Our characters and words are no longer all ours once we send them out into the world—they are then everyone else’s. And that means sometimes the characters and words will be cherished and loved, and sometimes they will not and will not so bad that there are scorch marks left on the pages.

Welp, suck it up, Author, or get out of the way. 

DSC_0174I get out of the way. I’ve never had readers send me “bad” mail. I’ve never had any reader treat me terribly. I’ve never been attacked by readers. I’ve had very positive experiences. Perhaps there are some reviews on my books that spit in my eye, but why would I care to know about it? That reader will likely not read me again and will find someone else who more fits them. I cannot capture everyone in my literary net and force them or guilt them into loving me. And I should not morph myself into some kind of Every Reader Pleaser.

So you readers out there—I adore you. No matter what. You can do no wrong. Even if you throw my book out the window and vow never to read my words again, you are still required–you are needed–you are wanted. And for those of you who have loved and then hated and then loved me again—thanks for sticking around! For those of you, dear readers, who love all of my work: Why, thank you! I love you, too, and I’m sure I’ll disappoint you at some point—ha! But it won’t be because I give up–I promise to do my very very honest honorable hard-working sincerest best, and that’s all I can do.

So, readers—go on out there and write your reviews! Write your best; write your worst! Just keep reading us. Just keep trying us out. Just keep us alive with your attention. Without you, readers, we are Nothing. N-o-t-h-i-n-g. That’s the truth. You will never do any wrong. The power is in your hands. I hope you will use it wisely and well. Meanwhile, I’ll get back to work and stay out of your way.

Galaxy of Disappointed Disillusionment: you were in love with the writing once . . . .

galaxy nexus wallpaper-WmOIYou were in love with the writing once. A kind of love that churns the belly. The kind of love that wraps around you warm and alive and pulsing. Trusting kind of love. And you think that love will never leave you, nor would you ever leave it.  You think it will be as strong and lively as it is in the beginning of all that began all the way to the what should never ever end because it’s too beautiful to die. Too perfect.

But things begin to change. Subtly at first. Insidiously. Oh, it’s little things here and there that don’t mean much—at least that’s what you tell yourself. But all those tiny things begin to pack together, sticky and mean, tightly, balling up hard and fast, until there before you is what you tell yourself is only a sweet marble you think isn’t so bad—it’ll still fit into your pocket! You can carry it around and won’t feel the weight of it at all. But it grows. And you can’t carry it around anymore. It first settles in the room you always wrote in, but it soon pushes out into the hallway, and into the bedroom, and the kitchen, and the living room, and the entire house becomes filled with it—it pushes against you, insistent to be noticed. It is a Moon,  a Neptune, an entire galaxy right outside your mind’s window. It groans with its own weight.

DSC09985Still, you think you can live with it. You think you can soldier on. You think that everything will be okay if only This Thing would happen, or That Thing will occur. “If Only” becomes raggedy with your use of it, what with your rolling the If Onlies around in your head until they are barely recognizable. Still. You loved! It all had meaning! Didn’t you? Didn’t it? Doubt sets in. Were you loved back? Maybe it was only an altered state of being that led you down into the most pleasurable of senses. Why, before the Galaxy of Disappointed Disillusionment, you’d even allowed yourself to become a little arrogant. Held your head a little higher—after all, you were in The Club. That Club with those heavy heavy gates—the ones that swing open randomly and without sentimentality. You often imagined the gates closing behind you, yet this time you are pushed back to the outside.

You want out anyway, you say. You want out and you don’t know when, or if, you’ll return. You want your space. You want time to think. You want to do other things. Find yourself, you say, wincing at the cliche. You’ll do: Fun things. Other necessary things. Things that don’t require pushing through that galaxy of hard knotted failings and failures and fails.

You soon forget (you say emphatically) what drew you to that love. You don’t remember (you think most apparently) the feeling of joy you had just by opening your laptop and your mind—flutter flutter went the beautiful creation butterflies—how lovely they were! Oh how you hate them now! Hate them!

The heart of you is crushing under the weight of the groaning Galaxy.

Who cares?, you say. I don’t!, you say. And you trippity trip about, laughing gaily on the outside, while on the inside you are slowly terribly dying. The Galaxy suffocates.

imagesOne day, you are alone. Perhaps walking in the woods, or down an aisle at the grocery store, or driving your car aimlessly, or most obviously of course staring at the darkened night ceiling. And a blinding light explodes while millions of hard knotted disappointments and disillusions Supernova. You are blinded for seventy-two hours; burned down to the bone for seventy-two more.

Then the quiet talks to you. You rise, walk through the house, glowing embers dying and ashes flying. Something gives way. A loosening.

You run then, opening windows and doors until every window and every door is wide, and out and out and out on a brilliant wind goes the ashes, and all that is left is You and You.

Something stirs. Something old and ancient. Something you recognize.

Fingers to keys. A letter appears. Another. Another. A word. A sentence. A paragraph. A page. Five pages, sixty pages, one hundred pages plus three.

Love.

Sometimes, you say, all else must be burned away so your new skin can feel anew.

Screen+Shot+2014-02-25+at+12.17.37+PMYour fingertips are alive. Push push push on the keys. It is like music.

You recognize, you say, that you never loved fully before but only with conditions. Love must Be, you say. It is its own and no other.

You say: each hard knot of disappointment must be kneaded and chewed and swallowed and digested and then shat out and flushed away.

A grand love. A passionate love. A true and honest love.

It finds you, grabs you by the beating heart and squeezes the life into you.

Fingers on the keys. Push. Push. Letter by word by paragraph by page.  Five, six, seven, eight, open up the heavy gates.

(. . . and still, as you push the keys, the if onlies and the what ifs and the why can’ts ind the little nooks and crannies of you and settle in. You push the keys and try not to notice the hard knot you couldn’t swallow as it falls to the ground and quivers.)

The returning . . . the Cove at Killian Knob

misc dale and kat etc 147So, my friends. I have been gone from here a while. Other things and people and places grabbed hold of me, of my attention, of my time. But it has all been for the most wonderful beautiful of reasons: I have returned to my Cove at Killian Knob. Home. I am Home. I came back almost a year to the day I drove away from my Cove–thinking I may never be able to return. But my Cove was not about to let me go. My mountains knew I’d return. The creek shouts out to me–Welcome Home, Wild Wolf Woman Kathryn.

misc dale and kat etc 223I had to pinch myself every day for the first few weeks, and then, now a little over a month since my return, I at last do not fear I will awaken from some gorgeously warm dream. It is real. It is tangible. As real as my Crow cawing outside my window–he, Big Boy, tells me all the secrets to the cove; all the things I missed while I was gone from here. Each morning, and evening, I toss over the rail to the ground below some tidbits for him to eat, whistle for him, and there he comes, sailing on stretched wing, oily black and handsome. He now will, as he used to do, sit on the branch of the Tulip Poplar and watch me as I sit on the porch drinking my coffee, or maybe later my wine–at first, he did not trust that I would be here to stay and he was shy. Now? Now he knows. Just as other critters know I am here to stay: the coon, the squirrel, the bird, the rabbit, the turkey–all of them. Even the ones who hide and watch: the bobcat, the coyote, the bear, the deer.

misc dale and kat etc 170As always before, I turn my head slightly to the left and what fills my eyes is wild beauty. I glance down at my hands as they type upon my old trusty laptop, turn my head back slightly to the left, then gaze around my writing room, my library, my study, where someone special turned it into a warm and beautiful sanctuary with which to write and read and dream. I am filling my little log house back up with my Things–yes the knickknacks and doo-dads and furry throws and rugs and lamps that golden glow the rooms, but also bone and rock and bark and stump and twig and feather. It is as if I am in some mystical movie where the character steps from one realm of noise and confusion and crowds and discombobulation into an enchanted world: she closes the door behind her and doesn’t look back, for that near-year she spent away from her Cove was only an enterlude, only a miniscule slice of a luscious pie–she ate a tiny bite of that miniscule slice of pie and it did not taste of anything at all–now, here, the rest of the pie coats her tongue, slides down her throat with a slight tang and burn, and fills her belly–she is satiated now. That is how it is. And more.

misc dale and kat etc 094I did not come alone. Who knew? Who knew what life takes from us and gives to us. Even when we do not want it. Even when we fight with claws sharpened by what we think is best for us, never knowing that we do not always know what is best for us. Sometimes people come back into your life after many many years and you think, “Why, where have you been all these years?” and they say, “I was going to ask you the same thing.” And then you both laugh at the absurdity of it all. At the luck and timing of it all. At the luscious luscious wonder of it all. And there curled beside you is a little bitty dog. All your proclamations of “Never again! Never! I cannot bear to take into my life another sweet creature and have it die. No! NO!” and the little dog curled warm beside you huffs in his sleep, and if awakened would look up at you with his wonky teeth and you would Know. You’d just Know that he knows what he has done with you and to you and for you. And what his man has done to you and with you and for you. What both of these Living Beings have pulled you kicking and screaming into what you never ever believed in; what you scoffed at; what you considered ellusive and illusive and never ever for you.

We often proclaim not to believe in the very things we most want.

Love is the greatest of things. Love is your granndaughter. Love is your son. Love is your family. Love is your friends. Love is what comes into your life when you do not want it or need it or expect it. Love sneaks up and smacks you upside your head and then laughs at the amazed fearing wonderment that makes you slack-jawed with surprise. It is not to be ignored. Who knew? Who knew?

misc dale and kat etc 066So I sit here, my good friends–those of you still here; those of you who have always been here; those of you who drop by; those of you who wonder by accident or fate if you believe in those things and I do not and I do; those of you who read everything I write and I am amazed by you–I sit here and I am humbled by everything. Everything. EVERYTHING. I am humbled and grateful and beside myself.

I am not lonely anymore.

I am not an island.

I am writing again.

I am here. I am Home. I am back to my little log house at Killian Knob in Western North Carolina Smoky Mountains.

Life is a circle that we either complete or we do not. Or we go round and round it faster and faster until we are so dizzy we do not See anymore. What do you want? How do you want to travel your circle? Ends meeting and then begin again.

(well, look below at the previous post they link to – it was when I had to leave here — ha! what a coincidence)

Find your power–don’t give it away

ipod photos 081I remember days when I felt I had no voice. When what I thought and what I did were separate entities. I could write a very long blog post about the instances where I felt I had no power, but I do not need specifics here–and most are my own private life-stuff. Most all of us at one time or another has felt powerless against some force that has pushed its will upon us. I also know there were times I felt powerless when I really was not. I either was too afraid, or too naïve, or so used to how things were rather than how they could be that I did not make a change; I did not find my Voice, or my Power.

I so very often gave away my power to someone else. I don’t mean physical power, though I like being muscular and strong and able to take physical care of myself. I mean standing up tall and strong in how you live your life, how you expect others to treat you, and how you treat others. Power does not mean bullying or aggression or mean-spirited natures. Power means standing up for your beliefs; standing up for what you know is right for you despite when someone or some situation may be forcing their/its will upon you for their/its own good and not yours–however, Power is also compromise: you must find the difference between compromise and giving away your power by tapping into your gut and your heart, by having conversations with those involved, by listening just as much as you want to be heard.

Power is not letting past experiences define your Now Reality. Power is not forgetting what someone has done to you, but letting go of what they have done to you and saying, “This person no longer has control over my thoughts. I will not give this person one more minute of my time. They no longer deserve my time. It is no longer any of my business what they think or do or be.” Power is sometimes doing the difficult thing or saying the difficult thing because doing or saying that thing will take you places you never thought you could go–whether metaphorically or spiritually or physically or metaphysically. Power may mean Big Change, and that’s scary. Once we decide to take back our power, it often means we have to make a change, and that can hold us back. I so know this, and so do you.

ipod photos 213Power is when you feel strong and capable and in control of your life instead of the chaos of life and situations and people having “control” of you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. It doesn’t mean you don’t have anxiety. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel sad or grief or loss. It means you step forward even though you are afraid of the dark space ahead–what if there’s a cliff there? What if I free-fall? Then maybe you sprout some wings and fly. Or maybe you fall on your face and it hurts like hell. There’s risks in taking back your power, your life. I won’t lie. There will be stumbles and mistakes. But how do you know until you try what takes you somewhere you always needed to go?

The more power you take back the more control you feel, and the less anxiety and chaos reigns. I’m all about Chaos–my peaheaded brain flippity flops and zippity zaps all over creation. I’m jittery and wild. I can be impulsive. But don’t let all that fool you–I am strong. I am capable. I know my power. Do I sometimes falter? Yeah, you better believe it–because I’m also human. And so are you. Find the quiet places and figure out just where you need to take back your power and why and how, and just where you need to step back and let things “be” for a while. Your gut will know. You know.

One day, I had a conversation with someone, who said, “I really want to say something, but I’m afraid of the consequences.” I looked at her: this woman who is smart, capable, beautiful, and I wanted to tell her, “You have more power than you think.” But I hesitated. What if I convinced her to speak up and the consequences she was afraid of happened? What good would her power be to her then? Of course, if the situation she is in warrants such care, such fear of reprisal, wouldn’t she be better off out of the situation? So I told her, “You have more power than you think.” And then I shut up. It’s not for me to decide what she must do or say. That is her journey.

10274015_10152437219614176_2351572946895967498_nIf I speak up or if I leave a situation I am unhappy in or if I decide to do this or not to do that or if I do not put up with bullshit or if I do put up with bullshit because at the end of that bullshit is something worth the effort, and as a result negative consequences rain down on my peahead, my power will feel intact because I’m facing my fears; I’m doing what’s best for me or for mine. I’m taking my lumps, too. This does not mean I go about callously disregarding feelings and tossing people and situations to the curb at every turn. It means I dig deep and figure out what I need to do to keep my power so I feel less helpless and choatic. So that I feel strong and sure I am doing or saying the right thing even if my knees are quaking and I’m scared witless. People confuse “courage” with someone doing something they are not afraid to do—courage is taking action even though one is afraid.

Looking into this woman’s eyes, I could see that she was not ready to perceive her power in that way. She will see the outcome as disastrous. One learns that there is always something else. There is always another. There is always the next thing. There are some situations that are just not worth the anxiety, or the discomfort, or the sad, or the anger, or the fear, or the stress. For too many years of my life I waited—waited for the right time, the right place, the right mindset. I don’t want to say I “wasted” my time, but I wasted my power!

I wanted to pass my power on to this woman, to tell her to stand up for herself, to give her the eyes to see inward to the power she possesses, but I could not. She must find it for herself.

We have a choice to say in some instances where we feel strongly enough, “Sorry you don’t see it my way. But, I’m standing firm.” And then, if we have to, we walk away, and in some instances, we will walk away with a big fat grin, swinging our arms to the tune of some powerful anthem we once heard.

WHUPOW, y’all!