A moment of thanks…

I visited with a new client yesterday afternoon and as she told me her story, I realized we have much in common, but really are living in two completely different times. From a young age she’d known that she would pursue a degree and career in journalism. And, after receiving her education, she sought out positions with the local newspapers, realizing quickly that while she possessed the same qualifications as some of her male counterparts, as a woman she would be hired as a “journalist” by title only, and would spend her days fetching coffee, answering the phone, and filling the role of secretary or receptionist, instead of writing the hard hitting news stories she so yearned for. Thus she pursued a career in education, becoming an elementary school teacher, and later a reading specialist.

Flash forward to myself, a single female, 60 years later, who’s decided to press pause on her technical education after receiving her Associates Degree, and instead of pursuing book smarts in the form of an astronomically priced Bachelors Degree, is earning her education through the school of life – working a few months as a freelance reporter for the local newspaper, a monthly columnist for a local entertainment magazine, published in a magazine that holds as an institution in most American homes, and all the while writing whatever I’d like, about whomever I’d like, with the dream of having a book of my own resting on the shelves of a local bookstore.

Thank you, to those that have come before, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath… Those who faced the struggles they met head on, because of you, I’m able to do me.

~ m

…and nothing…

Well, this is my last full day relaxing here in sunny southern cali and as if doing it’s part to help me prepare for the transition back home, to rainy western Washington, the clouds have made an appearance here in the valley. It’s still a gorgeous morning, and one that I’m hoping to use as a productive one, seeing as how I’ve done so little writing while I’ve been here. I embarked on this trip with lofty plans of an utterly carefree relaxing week, spending time accomplishing nothing of consequence with my best friend, catching up on some sleep, reading, and brainless television, od’ing on vitamin d, and of course going home with a full manuscript written, edited, and ready for publication – the words magically flying from my fingertips due to my amazing new surroundings.

I’ve accomplished everything, save the last. I’ve been sure to dedicate time each morning and evening to sit with my laptop, open a blank document, and wait… After too much impatient waiting, I’ve found myself opening the files of pieces that I’ve been working on for the past year and for whatever reason feel like there is just one or two small things missing before they’ll be complete. Sadly, I’ve yet to stumble over any of those missing pieces either, but I have reread them, a few times, and while disgusted with them at times, I’ve found that for the most part I have a great sense of pride over the pieces that I’ve created in the past year. It was after all just about a year ago now that I attended my first writers conference, in beautiful Coupeville, Washington – and whether it was the location, the like minded company, the intuitive leadership, or perhaps it was just the right time for my stories to be told – but I returned home with what would be a prize winning short essay for the Reader’s Digest Magazine, as well as solid starts for 4 other essays, and best of all, a newfound confidence in the power and validity of my own “voice.”

I suppose I was hoping for the same kind of magic on this trip. Believing that perhaps removing myself from the hum drum of my daily routine, the chores that are constantly beckoning, and the phone that seems to be always buzzing; that I might allow myself a moment to breath, and to purge another piece or two of those thoughts, memories, dreams, and fears that I’ve been carrying.  While I haven’t been writing, I have been reading and just finished re-reading Bag of Bones by the infallible Stephen King – a story that I suggest for anyone and everyone, whether you’re looking for an escape from reality, a good fright, or in my case, inspiration and reassurance that even an award winning novelist created by the master, experiences (and overcomes) writers block every now and again.

Alas, the day isn’t over yet, and either way, this has been an amazing vacation spent with a kindred spirit and I’ll be flying home tomorrow refreshed, and as ready as one can be to reenter the 9-5 life of a working stiff.

~ m

Walkin’ On Sunshine…

Well, this months NaNoWriMo attempt is turning into a bust.   It’s just about noon on the 21st, and instead of being at 30,000 words, like I should be – I’m just over 15,000. Alas, it’s 15,000 words more than I had 21 days ago, right? 🙂 I’m proud of what I’ve done, and will challenge    that NaNoWriMo beast again next year – this time, to the death!

I also received an email last week, congratulating me on placing within the top 10 submissions, for the recent Reader’s Digest, My Life contest. They received just under 5,000 entries, and while quite of few of them were moving, I chose a more realistic, humorous approach, as I usually do – and it was a success! I still can’t believe I placed so high, and along with the cash prize (WooHoo), I have the chance of being published in a magazine that’s a staple in every American bathroom!!!

Aside from that I’m still submitting an article monthly for the local Entertainment News Northwest Magazine (www.ennw.info) and have recently been asked by a friend to contribute a few columns to a “Women Talk” section of the local weekly paper!

You might say that things are really turning around for me lately. I feel supremely blessed, not only for the doors that seem to be opening for me, but for the opportunities I’ve had in the past, allowing me to grow, mature, and become more aware of the world around me. And, of course, for the amazingly inspirational and supportive family & friends that have never let me imagine failure as an option. To you, I am eternally grateful!

So, for today, I’m dancing in the streets, skipping under a rainbow, and walkin’ on sunshine, here in the frigidly cold northwest!

~ m 🙂