#Blogtoberfest Day 30: On the Brink of Everything

On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer caught my attention on my recent visit to Barnes & Noble. He may be on the brink of turning 80, but while I don’t agree with some of his thinking, he does share the things that are true for him about growing older, being mentored when he was younger, and becoming a mentor to younger people now. The point is that people of all ages have something to learn from or share with others.

I totally agree. When I was in my 20s through 40s, I often gravitated toward older women who taught me so much. I even wrote a song called “Wise Woman” about my friend from Montreal who I met in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Then somewhere along the way, I noticed younger women were gravitating toward me, looking at me as a mentor and I love fulfilling that role. Sometimes it’s people I’ve met online or at church or wherever. Sometimes it’s my readers.

They say that when you want to learn something new, you have to be willing to be a beginner. And that’s me with music. I have to be a beginner. And so I’ve met such interesting young people as we travel this road together, whether music or poetry.

November is just a couple of days away and I really do feel like I’m on the brink of everything, experimenting with a bit of unplugging and planning another cross country move. I invite you all to travel that road with me. And while I hope to take a blog hiatus during November, I’ll be back to share any experiences/insights worth sharing and I invite you to do the same.

No matter how young or old we are, we’re all on the brink of everything that’s going to come next.

#Blogtoberfest Day 28: Real Women Sing the Blues

I’ve almost made it through the month of October blogging daily, but I’m running out of steam. It’s a good thing I’m taking a hiatus in November.

Yesterday’s visit to the Guitar Center was so much fun! I ended up getting a songbook on playing the blues, which is making my piano practice a lot more fun!

The original version of the sequel to Real Women Wear Red was titled Real Women Sing the Blues. I was trying to keep a color theme for the trilogy plus the fact that the main character, Robin, quits her corporate job to chase after her dream of singing the blues.

The fun part about being an Indie author is that you can experiment and make changes to your books. And somewhere along the way, I thought Real Women Go Hawaiian was a better title since it highlighted the Hawaii setting (Real Women Wear Red is set in the Caribbean) – so if you buy the double set, that’s what you’ll get.

However, as I get more and more into playing the blues on the keyboard, I’m thinking Real Women Sing the Blues as a single is more fitting.

 

#Blogtoberfest Day 25: How Online Overload Harms Your Writing Career (and your Brain)

Unplugging – it sounds so sexy to me – lol! I’ve been drawn to unplugging for some time because, like most people today, I’ve been noticing the downside of too much information, over stimulation, social media, etc., etc. And not just as a writer, but as a musician and as a person.

Working in the San Francisco Bay Area with a career in electronic publishing since the late 1970s, I was one of the first to hop aboard all things electronic, imagining something like the internet and hollering with glee when it became accessible to all. But things don’t stay as they were. Instead of being helpful, the internet has deteriorated in so many ways and don’t get me started on social media.

Anyway, it’s interesting that many people are realizing this now – people are getting off social media, studies have been studied, books have been written, and people are speaking out about the harm of it all.

What I’m leading up to is I found this post in my email yesterday – “How Online Overload Harms Your Writing Career” from Productive Writers. He quotes a book called The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. I downloaded a sample to my reader and can’t wait to get into it today.

I’m wondering if maybe this is why I’ve lost interest in writing. Is it because I can’t focus for that long these days? Have I said everything I have to say? Or did I lose interest as my readers lost interest? Once the algorithms changed from people finding me via search engines to a weighted discovery of numbers – sites and books with the most sales are shown to people’s eyeballs. So if your numbers aren’t huge, you get practically zero visibility. The more you sell, the more you will sell. The less you sell, the less people will even know about you until finally your sales stop completely. Another way the internet is all screwed up.

We’re being told what we see – it’s no longer the free space where all are equal – that’s the problem with social media – it’s controlling “information” and we see different things, dictated by advertisers and algorithms. We’re being controlled like puppets. But the scariest thing of all is how our brains are actually being changed from it.

It’s definitely time to unplug – at least somewhat. It won’t be easy because we’ve been trained to reach for our smart phone every time we get that twitch, which is practically nonstop. I’ve noticed that if I turn my phone off or leave it in another room, I sleep much better. No middle-of-the-night poetry, but I’ll just have to write it at the computer during the day. Who knows what I may actually accomplish?

Tropes and Other Annoyances (#poem)

Where do you fit in as the years go by
Creating the person you are meant to be
In a world that oppresses you like a swatted fly
Pretending to encourage you with eyes that cannot see

They make up categories, genres, brands, and props
Changing them chasing the thrill of what’s dope
It’s not up, it’s down, it’s not release, it’s drop
And the worse one of all is your favorite trope

They call you out if you resist the latest trend
If you stand up for beliefs, you’re suddenly a hater
And the trends of trends are never your friend
Individuals are suspects, social media is the meter

Everything has changed, your music is dated
When pursuing the arts after a lifetime of work
The stories you write are ignored or hated
When all you have loved has suddenly gone berzerk

When you’re young you feel like you’ve got the world by the tail
Opportunities approach you, tease you, and tempt you
With all that’s ahead of you and with fears you will fail
It’s not youth or age but the boxes that squeeze the shoe

Each age has its challenge whether numbers or years
I’ve seen it come before me, I’m living it now
Those coming after will see it in a mirror so clear
Don’t judge the past by the present values somehow

Social media will be replaced by what’s shiny and new
Those annoying words like trope will be long forgotten
People will adjust and come to their senses, I believe is true
We are the reflection of our Creator and the one who is Begotten

Time to Retreat to my Writing Cave

We’ve returned from my super fun birthday trip to Mexico. The sad thing was that after we landed at LAX and picked up our rental car, we got a call from the pet sitter that our beloved 18-year-old Skipper was gone.

He was more son than pet. He’d been having good days and bad days but he kept rebounding, so I was hopeful he’d still be around when we returned. So with a heavy heart, we soldiered on with the trip, knowing that Skipper would want us to have a great time.

Friends and family told us that Skipper chose his way to go and, while no way would be easy, this would be best for all of us. That sounds like Skipper because he definitely did things his way. He was King of our house for 18 years!

My cats have taught me many things and Skipper has given me somewhat of a sense of what it must feel like to have a son or daughter go off to college, although I realize it’s not the same, but it does give me a peek into that emotion. I like to think he ran off to Nashville to pursue a music career or enroll in Culinary School. lol!

Anyway, because of this sadness, I’ve really pulled back from my music. I need a break. It’s too much of an Exfrovert pursuit right now for this Introvert, and I need to retreat, be quiet, and take time to grieve.

I am inspired to write, though. It’s quieter, more introspective, and after watching “The Durrells,” I’m inspired by writer Larry. I miss that kind of writing life.

So no 50/90 for me this year. Instead, I’m working on the third book of the “Real Women” trilogy, the one about Sandy cruising the Mexican Riviera, searching for her self-esteem and purpose in life.

In the meantime, why not check out the first two books in the trilogy: Real Women Wear Red and Real Women Go Hawaiian. For a limited time, you can get a special edition of Real Women Wear Red that includes book 2, Real Women Go Hawaiian.