Lou Grant Me Serenity

For those of you who camp out in front of the computer, waiting for me to drop my latest track, my apologies for posting at 1130 last night.  I felt bad, showing up late to my own party.  Then I thought.  Why do I worry? I worry about so. many. things–all the damn time.  The blog should not be one of them.  It’s not like my boss is going to burst in and give me grief about deadlines.  As far as the blog goes, I am my own boss.

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“Oh Lou, you lovable old curmudgeon, you can’t rush the creative process, now get the fuck out of my office before I scald you with hot coffee.”

Then I’d toss my hat up into the air, just to let him know that I mean business.

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Can I just say, according to the highlights of my youth, there was nothing better than the Mary Tyler Moore Show. That was a happy place for me, watching reruns on KVOS-12. I would re-enact storylines with my Barbie dolls; lusting after her career, her friendships, her wardrobe and apartment.  That was the dream of my youth, to be as plucky and resilient as Mary.

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Life gets busy, and writing falls to the wayside. Masterpieces  cannot fall from my fingertips on a daily basis; some days, it’s just a small token.  A quick phone call, a drive-thru transaction, a quick hug and kiss on the street, popping by for a short coffee.

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I’m reluctant to chain myself to this daily task.  I don’t want to resent the creative process.  We often lament our jobs and occupations because we feel powerless, feel we don’t have a choice, have a say.  But when it’s your own project, why place the very constraints you hate most on yourself?  That’s like being cute little Mary Tyler Moore; all hopped up on independence and spunk but having some Incredible Hulk condition that turned you into grumpy old Lou Grant at the toss of a hat. I’d rather be a young and peppy MTM,  if that’s all the same to you.

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I’m trying to…accept things better.  Roll with the punches. Take what comes, come what may.  Sometimes I get so twisted up with stress about the slightest things. Current events. Money.  Traffic. And…oh, I don’t know…the future? Immigration, health, time, marriage, failure, success, tweeting, bathing suit shopping.  There will be forks in roads, and choices to be made.  How will it all work out in the end?  It takes time to unravel that kind of knot, and then a new worry washes over you, and the knot is not ever completely undone. Because of that, you are never fully present in any given moment.  And then you worry about not living your life to the fullest, and in that very moment of worry, you are missing precious seconds of your life. I’ve always been a worrier.  When I was a child, I fretted so much that my mother actually gave me a framed copy of the Serenity Prayer to hang on my bedroom wall, like the letter ‘M’ in Mary’s apartment.

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I kind of thought it was a stupid prayer.  Of course you worry about the things you can’t change…because you can’t change it…and that worries me.   I have an almost pathological need to not disappoint. So much so, that I think it’s a major cause of the heartburn that often makes a cameo appearance in my chest cavity.

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If you ever want to slay me like a dragon, all it takes is the “I’m not mad, I’m just extremely disappointed”, and I’ll fall like Goliath.  (I’m sorry to mix metaphors, hope that doesn’t disappoint anyone). I never want to let anybody down.  But, in the end, that kind of mentality, though it comes from a good place, may lead to a bad spot.  It’s like putting everyone else’s oxygen masks on during an emergency, before you do it for yourself.  I need to take those stressful, helpless feelings and just treat it like a stray animal, drive it deep into the woods, pretend you are getting out of the car, and then drive like hell the minute that wolverine is out of the truck.  Or just lead it across the street inside your mind, and fight to be unfettered by useless, negative thoughts. The trouble is that I just can’t let things go.

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Not that I’m doing anything back breaking over here, or being put out by other people’s expectations of me.  I have so much to offer, and give of myself happily, but I recognize how I don’t always care for myself the way I do others.  I can see the value in knowing your limits, accepting change, rolling with the punches, and in taking a break, even if it’s from something that you love.

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  All Images Courtesy of Google

Thoughts that Occur While Watching “Eat, Pray, Love”

My husband crept into the bedroom early this morning to say goodbye.  It’s a ritual we’ve developed, not walking out the door without kissing our sleeping spouses before starting the work day.  I hear the door close, and I lie there for a short while. I cannot sleep in, my internal clock has become so engrained to wake up at four am, that Ben and I fall asleep by nine, and so while I’d love to have a delicious lay-in, I usually rise on my day off before seven.

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Since I started this blog, I have gone straight to the computer on these early mornings, coffee in hand, ready to write; floating blissfully along on a stream of consciousness.  This morning I check my emails, sit in front of the laptop, and…nothing.  I have notes galore for story ideas, but today I’m just not feeling inspired.  But I have to write everyday…don’t I?  I never promised to write daily, though I have decided that I would.  There is always a little bit of time to commit to the written word, there is always something to write about—this feeling of not feeling ‘it’ is the creative block, the goal of writing daily is to learn to break through those barriers, and get on the other side—to fill the page with typed thoughts, and look back on a job well done.

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Yesterday, I luxuriated in not only writing, but in the general dicking around on the internet: looking up music videos, reading about the movies and artists I wanted to write about.  I work a second job one or two days a week, and while I had a decent number of hours between my two jobs, time just ran away from me.  I wrote the piece and then hopped in the shower to wash my hair. Freshly scrubbed with my wet hair wrapped in a towel turban, I returned to the office and continued to work.  Whether or not the writing is perfect, I am writing and it is very exciting. It can be all consuming— so consuming in fact that it occurs to me that I am due to go to work in an hour.  I haven’t eaten, I have no idea what to wear and my hair has been wrapped up in a towel for a frighteningly long time.

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I start to dash around the messy house, which I hadn’t even begun to tidy, and simultaneously attempt to eat lunch, dress myself and do my hair and makeup in less than twenty minutes.  I do a quick foundation, blush, mascara, and as an added dimension of colour, add an onyx eye shadow on the crease of my eyelids.   With ten minutes left before I am to run out the door, I unravel the towel on my head and discover the most horrifying disaster.  My bangs have been twisted up and dried in a manner not unlike Cameron Diaz in “Something about Mary”.

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Ah, fuck.  With the help of my hair straightener, I attempt to tame the unruly fringe, but to no avail.  Desperate, I zip to the sink and shove my face towards the tap and run the water, soaking the offending mane.  I then reach for the blow-dryer and attack the bangs, spraying myself in the face with water, causing the water to blast my dark eye shadow, creating the appearance to look like splattered soot.  When it gets to the point that it doesn’t look bad (but it didn’t look good), I grab my coat and purse and lock the door behind me.  Once outside, I am hit by freezing cold winds, and the spitting of rain.  By the time I get to work, all my desperate efforts to tame my hair has been bruised by the chilly squall.  I did make it to work on time and though I was rushed, hungry and disheveled, I was happy to have written.

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This morning, as I sat in front of a blank screen, feeling as though words had failed me, I made another decision.  Yes, I will write something daily, but I will not to worry about it so much. Not every day is a masterpiece kind of day; not every day is a day of creative resurgence.  Today is the kind of day where I curl up under a blanket and watch “Eat, Pray, Love” on Netflix.

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From there I think about a million things. I think about reading that book for the first time, how it inspired me to go to New Zealand.  How Ben and I travelled to Ubud, Bali  (where author Elizabeth Gilbert meets her husband in ‘E,P,L’) to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  I think about travel and adventure, where I’ve been and where I’d like to go next.  And I think about how you can revisit a story over and over again and endlessly find a different narrative each time. I also wonder why Julia Roberts’ top lip is significantly plumper than her bottom lip, but that’s a question for a different day.  But just like that I have written…something.  Not bad, not great, but the effort remains.  And I can live with that.

EAT PRAY LOVEImages Courtesy of Google