Category Archives: the life i live

Wish.

up. up. up.

up. up. up.

One of the people most dear to me in the world told me recently that the defining feature of my character is spiraling introspection. She was dead on. This time of year is particularly introspective for me, which—added to having far too much work on my plate—apparently translates to no blogging. This seems weird to me. Especially considering things like this post, which is really quite introspective…I think. Perhaps it’s the spiraling part that keeps me from writing. At any rate, it’s time to return.

I’ve been thinking about what I want for the coming year. I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be stellar for me (which may or may not have anything to do with Pantone choosing my signature shade as the color of the year), and I want to take advantage of that early by getting clear on what I want.

According to Danielle LaPorte, the best way to get clear on your desires is to know how you want to feel. And today is 12/12/12—a wishing day, as blogger/photographer Susannah Conway reminded me in her post today.

So this is me. Wishing aloud. Getting clear on what I want for my life in 2013.

I wish for creative satiety. Clarity. Amplified love. Resolve. I wish for deepening connection with my women friends. Femininity. Solidity. Sticky yoga practice. Flow. Ease. Confidence with a side of vulnerability. I wish for powerful support, both given and received. I wish to feel whole. I wish for excitement. Adventure. Beautiful energy. I wish for time. Meditation. Easy breath.

I wish for the feeling that I am living the life I have designed for myself.

And I wish you a year of wishes come true.

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There Are Many.

Perks of being a wallflower, that is. One being that, as a wallflower, you may more easily stumble upon a book that will change everything. A book that will make you feel like you’re not invisible. A book that will make you remember you matter. A book that will help you see that there’s something, somewhere out there for you, and that it’s worth the wait to find it. For me, that book was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

I first came across this book about ten years ago. I was fresh(ish) out of college, and I had a mind-bendingly awful crush on an older musician. I obsessed (read: borderline stalked) him for the better part of a year (longer? probably longer). I let him lead me on, and he let me drool over him from a booth at the back of the biker bar where he and his brother presided over open mic night. I got exactly one thing of worth out of this arrangement: he recommended Perks. I bought and read it immediately because he said to. But by page two, I was reading it because I wanted to. For me.

I read it in one sitting while my then two-year-old niece slept. I was living with her and my sister in their little trailer in the country. I know that we were all three miserable, but I remember being happy. I remember waking my niece in the middle of the night to show her a lunar eclipse and listening to her whisper “moon” in her half-sleep. I remember hearing in the thin blue morning air her tiny feet pat-pat-pattering across the trailer to snuggle me. She split every night between her mother and me, curling up against our chests, making sure the love she had to give was spread out evenly and thick. She made our home happy.

Since that night in the trailer, I’ve read Perks so many times I’ve lost count. The second time I started reading it was the moment I stopped crying after the first time I read it. I was twenty-two (twenty-three?), and a book about teenagers shouldn’t have affected me so much. Except it did. And it made me realize that when they are good, characters and stories affect you because they are beautiful and tragic and amazing and everything that you are. It doesn’t matter whether you relate on paper. (I also have seemingly nothing in common with Scout Finch and Janie Crawford, but no one questions when you’re affected by those books.)

Reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower—that first time, and every time since—solidified this idea I have that I am meant to write books for kids. Kids like Charlie, kids like me. Kids who need to know that their lives will not always look they way they do from the vantage point of their lonely seats in the high school cafeteria. Kids like my niece.

She’s twelve now. And though she might be a tad young for it yet, she will be getting a copy for Christmas. It will be inscribed, S — I’ve been lucky enough to have met more than a few Sams and Patricks in my life. You’re one of them. I love you.

 

I meant for this post to be about the movie, which was wonderful. I’ve seen it twice and am seriously considering going once more before it finishes its theater run. It is imperfect, but beautifully so, and the feeling of the book carries over better than in any other adaptation I have ever seen. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller are brilliantly cast. See it.

But first, buy the book. Read the book. Read it again. Read it once more. Pass it around. Buy another copy. Repeat.

Living in Plan B

A scene from my someday-home, through the rain on my right-now car window.

After ditching plans to become a pediatrician, a marine biologist, a rock star, and a librarian, I decided at around the age of twelve that when I grew up I wanted to be a writer. I would use the millions I made writing stories to buy a big white house in the country somewhere. Or I’d buy a cavernous industrial loft in New York City. Better yet, I’d buy both and and on any given day jet off to one or the other, depending on my mood. I’d be rich, famous, and happy.

Sometime between then and now (and I’m still not sure when exactly), I decided that this was unrealistic. Someone, somewhere told me that the only writers who made any money were Danielle Steel and Stephen King. I didn’t want to write like Danielle Steel or Stephen King. I still wanted to be a writer, but I thought I had better come up with a more practical plan until the country house and city loft came along.

I decided that I needed a Plan B in order to make Plan A work.

And so I marched off to college with plans to become an editor. I would maybe double-major in English and Business so that I could one day own my own publishing company. This could work, I thought. Make the money to buy the house/loft, and then write later.

There are two big problems with any given Plan B. One: you might actually end up living it. And two: once you’re moved on to Plan B, it is that much easier to give in to Plan C, D, and E.

I make my living as a copy editor. I do not acquire books for publication. I’ve never had the opportunity to take a chance on a new writer and change her life by sending her a contract for a multi-book deal. I don’t own a house. Or a loft.

I have not had a novel published. I have not written a novel.

What I didn’t realize when I began to lean toward Plan B (indeed, it is entirely possible that I am just realizing it now, as I write) is that Plan B was about the house and the loft. It was never about the writing. The only thing I ever needed — will ever need — to be a writer is pencil and paper.

But I got caught in that rut. You know the one. It’s the one where you opt for the thing that makes the most sense right now so that you can have the money to do this, this, and that thing that you’re supposed to do, and then once you’ve done those things you can move on to this thing that you’ve always wanted to do. That rut that everyone warned you about but no one told you how to avoid.

That rut is an interstate highway with no exits.

And I’m starting to get the feeling that the only way off is to say to hell with the exits and just drive off the road. Drive through the wild open. Make your own path.

But…

How does one do that?

Perhaps it has something to do with believing that the woman I am today is the same person as the woman I want to be in the future (an idea called future-self continuity, per Justine Musk’s recent post). Or perhaps it simply has everything to do with pushing past the fear of living an unprescribed life, sloughing off judgment like so many ashes at a bonfire, and trusting myself to find my own way.

I’ll let you know.