Spring Cleaning

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying. Isn’t it a little early for that? To give you a quick answer, No! I’ve decided not to buy the little house I’ve been staying in. It’s not so little and a bitch to keep warm and tons of stuff need fixed or freshened up. I’m just not that in love with the house.

That means I’m packing again. But it’s not just packing up all the stuff I have. I’m cleaning out, too. I’m asking myself if I really need all those empty binders and notebooks. Do I really need to keep the two dozen magazines I’ve not looked at in over a year? Do I need two dozen pairs of shoes when I only have about four pairs I wear regularly? How much stuff am I holding on to simply because I remember growing up without a lot of stuff? Cleaning-a-Window

Don’t get me wrong. My brother and I had everything we truly needed as kids. But we didn’t get a lot of the stuff we wanted because it wasn’t possible. So I’m cleaning out boxes and drawers and notebooks. I’m packing up the stuff I will use and need. I am not packing the other stuff. The fluff and detritus of 43 years. I’m trimming the fat, so to speak. And once I stop sneezing from all the dust, it’s going to feel really good.

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Reality Check

Fear of failure and fear of success are the same things. You could say they are two sides of the same coin. They have the same outcome when you don’t take control of them. That outcome is stagnation.

Fear of failure makes us shy away from doing things because we are keep-calm-and-reality-check-1afraid we won’t do a good job or won’t do the right job. It makes us avoid doing things we want and like to do. We become adept at avoiding situations that put us in a position to possibly fail. Possibly is the key word there. We might fail. We might not. The fear is the same either way. So we withdraw from the activities we love, the people we love, and we allow ourselves to become more reclusive out of fear of something that may not happen.

Fear of success works the same way. When you have never had successes with positive feedback, encouragement that shows you that it is a good thing to succeed, reaching that finish line is just as terrifying as not reaching it. The process repeats itself. We withdraw from our lives until we are so afraid of doing anything that we find ourselves sitting at home alone eating ice cream in our underwear wondering how in the hell we ended up like this.

The problem with these fears is that their origins are so far back in our development. What we see our parents do and how they encourage our tiny selves has an enormous impact on how we learn to fail or succeed. The problem is if we don’t get enough of the right type of encouragement and support we never learn how to conquer the fear. It will have a ripple effect on everything we do throughout our entire lives. Every job, relationships, friendships, social situations, even answering the phone, all of these things that most people take for granted are major hurdles when you are so full of fear.

The question then becomes how do we learn to conquer those fears? Recognizing that you have a fear of failure or success is the first step. Just like an addiction, you have to recognize and admit that you have a problem before you can work toward fixing it. Once you see this fear for what it is, evaluate where you are and how you got there. Are you doing what you really want to do? Are you happy doing what you’re doing or do you go to work every day wishing you were somewhere else? Are you happy with your relationships? How you feel about every aspect of your life is impacted by these fears and how you react to them.

images (7)Here is another key word for you: react. The way to conquer these fears is to stop reacting and start acting. Don’t hesitate. Don’t stop and think about what may happen. Make a decision to do something and do it. Stop worrying about if you can do something and start wondering what will happen after you do it. Will you be happy? Will you be better off emotionally, financially, socially? Will you get a step closer to the place you want to be? The other thing to do is surround yourself with people who will encourage you and still be brutally honest. Friends that tell you what you want to hear are not doing you any favors. They are enablers that will only help you stay in the stagnant pond of week-old sweat you’re already wallowing in. Talk to the friends who tend to piss you off when they tell you the truth. I would bet dollars to doughnuts they piss you off because you know they are right. Start talking to them and really listen. Don’t be afraid to tell them they were right and you need help getting to where you want to be. True friends will always be willing to help as long as you are willing to put in the work.

We each have the ability to take control of our lives, our emotions, our fears and live happy productive lives doing something that makes us happy to wake up and go to work every morning. We have the ability to choose whether or not we let the circumstances of our current situations continue to control us. We can choose to learn from our parents and decide for ourselves if those lessons are effective for our lives. We have the power to conquer our fears.

Review:Rough Magick by Kenny Soward

It’s pronounced “Sword.” Get used to it. That name is going to be very popular. Rough Magick is the first book in the Gnome Saga by Kenny Soward available through Ragnarok Publications. Yes, I said Gnome.

Soward writes with a quick pace, fleshing out images with a minimum of fuss. He gives us magick, glorious battle scenes, politics, multiple worlds, invading aliens and the dynamics of sibling rivalry. Reading Rough Magick reminded me of all the things I loved about Dune, with the same intensity and grit as Herbert’s characters. I can’t wait for the rest of the series, Tinkermage due out in December and Cog Weaver slated for a February 2015 release.

You can find Kenny Soward’s amazing skills at Ragnarok Publications, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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NaNoWriMo: Planning and Pacing

Oh, next Saturday is the big kick-off, and I’m so ready — well, I think I am. The last several years of trying to get my words on paper have been fun, but the editing process proved my writing was lacking something. I was forcing the words onto the page to meet a word-count rather than to get the story into words. This year, I have a different plan.

Planning for NaNo

This year, I’m doing something different.  I’ve got my main NaNo story that I want to write, but I’ve also got several short stories and another novella in the wings in case I get stuck while writing my main story. I didn’t have a back-up plan the last couple of years, and that was something that really seemed to help a few friends of mine. So, I’m going to give it a shot.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block comes from…

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Review: Armand Rosamilia’s Chelsea Avenue

Chelsea Avenue reads like your favorite crime drama. A quick pace chelseaavetakes you through the events of Murphy’s Law Club and its deadly history. Characters are in and out quickly, but painted in such masterful strokes that you recognize them instantly. You’re inside the head of the good guys, see glimpses inside the bad guy and cheer and shout when the end game plays out.

Armand Rosamilia writes crisp images with a minimal of fluff, evoking emotions from his readers like an elder god calling across time and space. If you need something to read, you have found your new favorite author. You can find Armand at http://armandrosamilia.com and at http://www.ragnarokpub.com

 

At last…

I just read a blog about voice. The blogger was making a point about not being fake, not using a voice for a purpose and then being someone else in public or private. And I realized that I have never truly expressed my own voice. There has always been a tinge somewhere of the people around me when a child develops their voice.

Voice is not the actual tonal quality of your speaking voice. It’s not a persona people see. It’s who you are on a soul-deep level. My last couple of blogs I’ve mentioned struggling with a bit of old baggage. I finally figured it out today. I felt like my voice was stifled so long and so deep that I am still figuring out who I am. I had a similar breakthrough once I realized that the ex-husband did not define me. I define me.

Let me say that again. I DEFINE ME. Not the ex. Not my mom. Not my friends. People who knew me when I was younger see a different person now. Who I used to be was the persona, the version of me I thought I was expected to portray. But it’s not who I truly am.

The true me, well, I think the tattoo I got when I had that other breakthrough is very appropriate to answer that question. It’s an attitude that I have to remind myself of sometimes. The tattoo says Foxy Bitch. It sits across the back of my neck at the top of my spine. Appropriate considering I had to find my backbone along the way.  Sometimes Foxy gets a little lost and I have to go looking for her.

When I read Chuck Wendig’s blog this morning, I realized that I had lost sight of Foxy again. I didn’t have to look far. She’s there, here, typing out these words for you to read. When that moment of insight hits I get chills. The release of emotion is like shedding 50 pounds in an instant. I did shed a few tears because I’ve really been struggling with this for the last few weeks. And you want to talk about timing, I have a blues music channel on the TV and Etta James’ At Last came on and I had to sing with her. Loud. That’s who I am.

I’m loud and sarcastic and funny. I’ll talk about most anything with anybody but I can hold a secret tighter than a leprechaun holds gold. I love the rain and Mondays and cars with tailfins. I can and will take anything you say and make it sound perverted. I have a zillion ideas for stories in my head and I think now, finally, I can tell those stories. For that, I have to say thank you to Chuck. He helped Foxy find me again.

 

Everything fits together

puzzle1I love jigsaw puzzles. They allow me to space out. While the eyes and hands are busy forming connections, the subconscious is making connections in the background. Sometimes I get antsy and can’t focus and have to pull out a puzzle to help me narrow things down.

Recently I’ve been working on an issue with some pretty heavy baggage attached. I’ve written in my journal and delved into my puzzle stash to work through this one. It involves both Mom and Dad and rewiring my creative process. The puzzle I started is not complete…and never will be. That in itself could be a blog-worthy metaphor but that’s not where I made the connection. There are border pieces missing. The puzzle itself is broken.

Let me explain why this became significant. When I work a puzzle, my OCD kicks into overdrive. Pieces are separated into baggies, worked in sections and laid out in neat rows to be counted and rearranged as I progress. I don’t lose pieces. The last time I lost a piece was 1999.  When I realized the border was a problem, the puzzle2question occurred to me: how do you know when something is beyond repair?

Yes, it would be possible to contact the manufacturer to inquire about replacement pieces. But is that necessary? It’s like a relationship. Two people have joined their lives together into an intricate tapestry of emotions and behaviors. Sometimes something changes. The pieces don’t fit anymore. No matter how much therapy or how many arguments they go through, the relationship is not meant to be fixed.

How do you admit that it’s time to let go? When you’ve tried everything you can think of and it’s still not working, when you realize you don’t even know the other person anymore, when your partner is more of an enemy who tries to undermine your very existence, it is time to say I’m done.

Walk away and realize you tried. You cannot make a relationship work by yourself. It takes two people willing to learn and grow with each other, not grow apart. If the pieces don’t fit together anymore, just let it go. Open your hands and heart and let in fresh air and happiness. When the other person is unwilling to grow in the same direction, make your own path.