|Note to self: When in front of computer, focus on writing, rather than on Facebook, Twitter, colors of wallpaper on homepage, peering out window at birdfeeders, performing any of dozens of necessary beauty rituals (particularly any involving a hot, electrical appliance), cleaning the cat's ears while he sleeps, dashing into the other room to check out the latest story on Today, texting any children,or the President, my hairdresser, or doing facial exercises, which are very frightening to the birds and to the cat.|
After reaching the pot of gold at the end of the "writing rainbow," acknowledge all friends, teachers, siblings, pets, husbands, and dream-sequence celebrities who helped you attain your awesome writing success. Even if you miss the pot and instead fall into a vat of vino, you mustn't forget to send champagne, flowers, or a really nice gift card to entertainer, former SNL comedian, and a guy who performs a great Frank Sinatra impression: Joe Piscopo.
In the early 1990's I was going through some rough personal times and feeling rudderless. I worked in sales, but had always dreamed of becoming a published writer. One night I had a life-altering (and colorful!) dream. I was sitting with others at a long wooden table. I had pen in hand, head down, staring at the blank sheet of paper before me. A very tall man--the teacher, I thought--loomed over me, then bent down and stared me in the face. Yes, it was Joe Piscopo, much larger than life and with piercing blue eyes. I heard a deep voice demand,"Why aren't you writing? People, editors, are waiting for your writing!"
I had never thought a lot about Joe, and vaguely remembered him from a comedy special. He was pretty scary, though, and the dream and his bulging eyes, stayed on my mind for a long time. It struck me funny, but I felt there was a message there, one I shouldn't ignore.
I thought about that dream often, then began writing with a renewed sense of confidence. I felt invigorated and determined to succeed. Within several months, I had received my first paycheck from the Pittsburgh Trib Sunday magazine editor for a first-person essay about a world without adjectives.
And despite some setbacks along the path to the pot, I always return to writing. I cannot imagine my life without it.
note-to-self: His eyes are brown, not blue.
|Note to Self#7
Do not let self-pity turn you into a self-absorbed, whiny person.
Frankly, I am sick to death of the rampant self-important, self-centered posts I often read on blogs and on several "social networks" (I'll refer to said sites as "Lacenook" and "Peeper.") These posts are written by my friends and relatives! I say "Get off your high horses, your bandwagons, and your butts and go out and mingle with others who may not share your views, but are entitled to their opinions, just as you are."
Listen to me People! Learn some tolerance! (Just trying to make a heavy-penned point.)
|Note to Self#6
Never assume medical professionals are not going to have an off day on the very one your surgery is scheduled. Also, do not, I repeat, DO NOT quietly accept all drugs offered as magical potions of the "Medical Gods" - this may be a case where ignorance is not bliss, ignorance is a giant, red, swollen pumpkin head squatting on the top of your inflated neck. Never assume nurses and other hospital employees think this grimacing jack-o-lantern where your normal head used to be is anything unusual; they think you have always looked this way.
The really weird part? They accept you as you are.
Moral of this tale: Maybe I put too high of a premium on my physical appearance. In the past few weeks, my bad reaction to the Superbug drug "vancomyocin" has calmed down to some morning puffiness and a vague, but constant, facial itch. I was advised that I had the misfortune to contact "Redmans' Syndrome." and the scariest part was a big drop in my BP which landed me in Critical Care for a night-all this following an out-patient surgery.
This was a frightening experience I hope no one else ever has to go through. Antibiotics are necessary to save lives, but I wish I had been given something less "last resort."
That which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, and wiser I pray.
|Note to Self #5
If you found a way to compare peeling hardboiled eggs to the writing process, couldn't you also tie in another lifelong fascination to story writing?
I was the lady behind the department store cosmetics counter for a decade; I worked as a hairdresser, and also sold a very good (still touted by celebrities) diet program for several years. Always ended up in the beauty business; I've been interested in skincare and cosmetics longer than many cover models and probably their mothers, have been alive.
There was always something about a totally bare face or fried, broken off hair that got my creativity stirred up like a frothy batch of hair lightener. It was a canvas begging me to apply a spot or two of subtle color, a sparkly enhancer, a handful of rich conditioner, or a sharp blade. And all my life, a plain piece of paper or a blank computer screen has challenged my imagination in the same way.
A page of well-chosen words, a few tiny brushstrokes, or several scissor snips and something new is created. It never ceases to amaze me.
And here's a tip to add shine to your hair: Rinse hair for 2-3 minutes before adding shampoo of your choice. Water removes a lot of dirt and/or product buildup. Use a small amount of shampoo and remember lather is not your friend-it is "detergent." One washing should be adequate unless you work in a coal mine. Make the final rinse long and as cool as you can stand it.
|Note to Self #4 for next year:
Carefully cook eggs and chill correctly for the annual Easter pickled egg dish or else large chunks of shell will be impossible to remove without a crowbar and the eggs will look like a chipmunk gnawed on them. Ever-vigilant in-laws will notice and in addition to checking glass and silverware for smudges, they will ask, wearing horrified expressions, "Did rodents gnaw on these eggs, or what?"
So, as I painstakingly peeled shells off eggs, I realized that writing is like skinning a hard-cooked egg. On a good day, it's effortless; the shells fall off like scaffolding, revealing a perfect product inside. An idea that has reached fruition and does not require any embellishment.
On a not so good writing day, no amount of re-fashioning, fabrication, or feverish re-vamping can fix the less than perfect article.
So here's how to make the perfect hard-boiled eggs: Cover in saucepan with 1-2 inches of water. Add dash of salt. Set burner to low to medium-low and cover with lid. Bring slowly to boil, let simmer 5 minutes. Turn off burner and set covered pan of eggs off to a cool spot. Let sit for 5 min. Alternately rinse eggs with hot and cold water 3-4 times and let cool to room temp.
|Note to Self#3
Curb impatience when creating an item in WDC. Before poking "Save and Edit" button, make sure to restrict access until you've polished the piece or else you will inadvertently Allow Everyone! to read your crappy, first draft. If this happens, you will feel like Beethoven when his #10(barely begun) unfinished symphony is played by an orchestra--even though he's dead, it still pisses him off that Everyone's Allowed to hear it before he was done with it.
|Note to self #2
Never try to reconcile bank statement with checkbook balance without a glass of wine. Or, never try to balance checkbook and give up wine altogether.
Nah. Turn over household finances to Ed. Contrary to widespread belief, cats are indeed quite smart and very teachable.
A tiny pre-lunch glass of chardonnay, anyone? Or a pinch of catnip?