The Best Lessons

I’ve started my first short story. As daunting as writing fiction is, I have already glimpsed a silver lining. I can take the experiences I’ve had and fold them into each other. I can extend them, shorten them, imagine them and demolish them, all to create a different narrative, or several.  I can create a story of what else could have happened, what might have happened, what didn’t happen, or what I wished had happened, to characters I’ve created through myself, others I’ve met, or haven’t yet.

It’s all available.

I had this thought and immediately felt empowered, all this newfound freedom at my fingertips.

The world is my canvas.

I just have to create it now.

Yes, I just have to create it now.

My euphoria quickly skidded into the brick wall of anxiety. My mind went blank. But I continue to write anyway, even if it resembles a cow pie in the middle of the page, loose word piled onto loose word. The writing is painful. It’s like  having to think about, and practice daily, putting your heels down after you’ve been riding for a few years already.

Don’t we ever get to move past that?

Worse, this feels like having ridden for a couple of decades, only to realize you’ve missed a very fundamental lesson along the way. Relearning the right way is much harder than learning it right from the beginning.

Training a young horse, a blank slate, comes with less challenges and frustrations than retraining one that comes with bad habits, skills, or experiences. There is a long period of undoing when faced with this. A trainer has to remove the tools from the toolbox, and put them back clean, in order, with new tools added, and old, useless ones removed. It’s a long process and not for the faint of heart. I’ve put what tools I have in my own toolbox, and it’s up to me to find order, and to fill it with what’s missing.

I decided triage was necessary  before I lost heart. I’ve started something that looks to be big in size, its completion a long way off. It doesn’t resemble a short story whatsoever, but more of a novella…or a novel perhaps.  This blog today is an  attempt at what Natalie Goldberg considers “the results of kindness.” She says [of writers], “We have to build slowly. This is kind consideration.”

I don’t think I’ve begun the Great American novel like she intimates of many budding, ambitious writers, but I’ve taken the leap from blogging to something that looks to be 50,000 words at completion. It feels like a wide chasm that I don’t fully comprehend yet, that which  I’ve crossed in the process. Playing through with smaller works of writing is kindness to myself.

More practice.

Heels down.

Rinse, repeat.

Natalie Goldberg recommended using “I remember” as a writing prompt to ignite short daily practices.

3.7.20

I remember….

The first and only time I rode a cutting horse as a kid. His name was Hank. He was a chestnut quarter horse stallion. I was scared of stallions. Weren’t they forever wild? Exempt from taming? Yet the adults were throwing me up, into the suede bucket of the saddle perched on Hank’s back. It was a lot of firsts for me that day. It was the first time I had ridden a stallion, the first time riding a cutting horse, and the first “real” western saddle I’d been in since riding a Shetland pony as a young kid, not knowing how to tighten the cinch properly, the saddle sliding off the second time, and last time, I used it.

Our neighbor took me to ride Hank. He belonged to her trainer, Vicky. They were both about the same age, approximately fourteen years or so older than me. That was twice my age, so in my mind, they were a whole lifetime older.

They put us, Hank and I, in the round pen, a dozen metal gates pinned together, at the end of the indoor arena. Hank was much bigger than the little Arab I rode at home. He was “Hank The Tank.” He jogged politely around the perimeter of the round pen like a pro, head down and round, not picking up the bit whatsoever. Hank was nothing if not polite. I just tried to stay quiet. Even in my ignorance, I knew Hank was much more educated than me. I tried to follow his lead.

Be polite.

We were jogging along when my toe got caught against the end of one of the gates. It pulled my foot back. I kicked Hank by accident. He bolted forward and I lost my balance, my torso falling back like a sail pushed hard by a gust of wind. Hank leapt forward, again and again, as I fell back, again and again, clutching the saddle every time. I pulled on the reins and Hank slammed to a stop, all four feet together. He was shaking in anticipation.

I was shaking because I was scared shitless.

The trainer opened the gate into the round pen, grabbing Hank by the rein. She tried to act cool, to not alarm the scared kid that was me. I jumped off. I was shaking with fear, but I was also weirdly exhilarated.  This, a new feeling, an exciting feeling, for a kid new to horses. I would find out much later exhilaration is the other side of the same coin as fear. This double-edged feeling would become a common occurrence in my time Eventing, and one I always cherished.

Riding Hank remains one of my favorite riding experiences of all time. As I think back, I remember some of the best teachers I had, before I knew horses were our teachers. Hank was one of them, even in that single ride. Also in Texas, there was Chunky, too. Chunky was a Shire cross who competed to the preliminary level before turning to straight dressage, up to Prix St. George. Chunky taught me a lot of things, the first being “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

The fat boy could dance.

Chunky then taught me what proper dressage felt like. He taught me what an authentic connection with the reins and the horse’s mouth was like, and what true balance and self-carriage felt like in an educated horse.

I spent a lot of time on Chunky, and regretfully when on my own, without a lot of breaks in our work, so desperate was I to find the hidden treasure of riding well,  to make my legs do what they were supposed to do, to implore my seat to operate independently, softly. It’s time in the tack to get there, and Chunky showed up every time. I was indebted to him when I broke through the other side of my limits, but I didn’t realize at the time, he paid the price every step of the way for my own knowledge and growth.

It wouldn’t have happened without him.

I can but hope I paid it forward to all of the others that passed through my doors since my time spent with Chunky, the ones who were misunderstood, broken-hearted, or confused. I hope the horses of the past see their contribution to the horses of the future, not for what they did just for me, but for all horsemen. They are our greatest teachers.

I remember them, and I salute them.

 

 

Going Rogue

I haven’t blogged all week for a couple of reasons, the biggest being I am working on my first short story.

This is a big leap for me.

I have a hard enough time scripting the tangible events happening in my own life, let alone creating new ones out of thin air.

I was always the kid who colored inside the lines. I’ve finally given myself permission to color outside the lines.

Permission to go rogue. 

I’ve had a couple clear ideas that have been forming for a while.

One is dystopian, the other is about a horse.

The horse won.

It’s about a horse.

Maybe I have a shred of hope still intact after all.

It’s over eight thousands words, in only four days.

.That’s a lot for me.

But right now it resembles nothing more than a gooey car wreck.

I look at the words and think, “Did I write that? That sounds terrible!”

It really does, too.

I’m not even making it up.

Reminder to see above: Not creative.

Well, 8,000 is a lot more than the one sentence I formed for my dystopian story.

“Life is about stringing together a bunch of coping mechanisms, hopefully ones that don’t kill you in the process.”

That is a story for another day.

Right now, it’s about a horse.

A certain horse, yes, but not the one everyone thinks it is.

That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I’m going rogue. 

 

 

Friendly Philly

I met friends in Philadelphia yesterday. We planned to visit the Franklin Institute and the Barnes Foundation. I rode the bus there. Round trip was $16. I was the first one in line to board Saturday morning.

The bus rolled in to the station two minutes before departure time. I watched the driver put it in park, stand up, and pull his black cap down over his ears. He wrapped a scarf tight around his neck. Opening the door and stepping down, we saw a small, pudgy man with dark eyes and olive skin.

Sweeping his arm out to the side in a grand gesture, he said, “Lay-dees…and gentleman! Plees! Thiss…away.”

There weren’t many of us and we boarded quickly. I’ve ridden the bus enough times now, I often wonder how these companies make enough money to stay afloat when attendance is so low.

We weren’t on the road long before the speakers crackled to life.

Lay-dees…and gentleman.  Plees. Plees. Lissen to mee. Plees. Dank you.”

The driver rolled through the information and rules of the bus. He was hard to understand, not so much because of his accent, but because he competed with the simultaneous crackling of the speakers. It made me wince in my seat. When he finished, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Phew.

He started all over again, this time in Spanish. It turned out the driver liked to talk on the crackling loud speaker…a lot. He seemed to love the sound of his own voice, dwelling on each word a little longer than necessary.

It dawned on me the driver shared a lot of similarities with Ramone in “The Proposal.” He looked like him, only in a driver’s uniform, sounded like him, and had matching affectations. It’s a lot to deduce about a person I met for only a moment, and who I didn’t see for the rest of the trip until we arrived. However, it was easy to picture him as a bus driver by day, and the local stripper for bachelorette parties by night. The similarities were glaring.

(I have a feeling he’d have been pleased to know someone thought this about him.)

Most of the bus drivers I’ve had have been quiet and more to themselves. There was Tiffany who didn’t say a word, but got us up to New York a half hour ahead of schedule. On the way home from Philly last night, the driver was also quiet and efficient, but used his horn a lot to keep other drivers in line.

(Pick a lane, People.)

Bus drivers are like yoga instructors. They are what lends the experience any flavor. The bus is to the driver what the studio is to the yogini.

A space is nothing more than a space until someone breathes life into it.

Ramone was definitely one for the books. I couldn’t help but smile at him when departing. He gave a slight bow, and we went our separate ways.

I found out the bus depot in Philly is located in China Town. Even better, I discovered The Reading Market right next door. It is a treasure trove of culinary delights. I told Russ when I got home, “It’s like Union Market, but on steroids!”

Both of us love DC’s Union Market. Reading Market is much bigger and offers even more goods. I stopped at one of the vendors, Iovine Brothers, and bought a container of their trail mix.

People can have Target, and Trader Joe’s, and whatever other brick and mortar they can’t live without, but give me a pop-up farmer’s market, or the “local” city market with so much great stuff knitted tightly together in one big space any day.

From there, it was a short walk to the Franklin Institute. I passed the beautiful City Hall and the Masonic Temple on my route. It was nice to see parts of Philadelphia I haven’t seen before.

When I arrived, I sat on the steps munching my trail mix waiting for my friends. It was chilly, but the sun warmed me up. I felt like the house cat who found the perfect spot, where the sun shines just on them.

Philly-cityhall
The Masonic Temple and City Hall
Philly-cityhalltop
City Hall from the 60th floor

We were only halfway through the Franklin Institute before we decided to grab pizza and beers. As we scouted our prospects across the small restaurant, a couple motioned to us to come sit down next to them at the community table. They scooted over, freeing up three seats together for us, the only available seats in the entire place.

How often does that happen without having to ask??

Thanking them profusely, I said, “This really is the city of brotherly love!”

Philly-XO
The City of Brotherly Love, found at the Four Seasons

We had a great conversation with our new neighbors, a couple doing the long distance relationship thing (as far as New Jersey is from Pennsylvania anyway). Halfway through our lunch, two new neighbors sat down on my other side. An older couple, they met in town to attend “One Day University.” I had never heard of it, but it sounded right up my alley. It’s an afternoon of lectures held by professionals in their field, whether they are professors, scientists, authors or otherwise. They occur in cities all over the country. We had a lively conversation and ended up sharing our dessert with them. A Nutella pizza…need I say more??

I love meeting awesome, new people.

After lunch we went back to the Franklin Institute, saving the Barnes Foundation for another day. I didn’t realize the Franklin Institute was geared mostly towards kids, but it didn’t matter. We had a blast going through all of the exhibits, testing our own knowledge, relearning all we’ve forgotten, and watching the kids learning, playing and having fun. I noticed a lot of retirees gave the demonstrations and answered questions. I loved seeing the kids connect with the seniors, and the seniors connect with the kids.

Philly-BenFPhilly-homonculusPhilly-quote

It’s a great museum, but the Franklin Institute is also a good reminder of how lucky we are in DC to have free admission at almost all of our museums. We are truly spoiled by what is available here in the nation’s capital. There is so much great information and education available to anyone who cares to make the effort.

I can’t wait to go back to Philly. I can’t wait to visit the Barnes Foundation, the Museum of Art, and to take Russ to the Reading Market!

So many great places in the world….and so little time….

Philly-city

 

Fly forward, O my heart, from the Foreland to

the Start–

We’re steaming all too slow,

And it’s twenty thousand mile to our little lazy

isle

Where the trumpet-orchids blow!

You have heard the call of the off-shore

 wind

And the voice of the deep-sea rain;

You have heard the song–how long?–how

long?

Pull out on the trail again!

The Lord knows what me may find, dear lass,

And The Deuce knows what we may do–

But we’re back once more on the old trail, our

own trail, the out trail,

We’re down, hull-down, on the Long Trail–

the trail that is always new!

Final two stanzas of “The Long Trail” by Rudyard Kipling

Where to next??

Peace For a Moment

This morning I woke up to terrible news. A friend’s father had died. While he’s not been well the last couple of years, he had been holding his own.

It came as a surprise.

Like any really bad news, it’s a bit of a shock when you first hear it. I gathered my belongings and headed to yoga in the dark. A block down the street I encountered a man propped up against a trash can.

“I hate my life!”

“I hate my family!”

“I hate God!”

He spewed the words across the landscape, the world his audience.

It broke my heart, again.

I’ve often have thought how cruel life can be.

I never wanted to have kids, but plenty of people do, and can’t. Why did I have the ability and they didn’t?

Why does Diane Rehm have a neurological condition that affects her voice, the biggest asset of her career?

Sometimes…ok a lot of times…I question the randomness of events.

Often they don’t feel random at all, but a cruel trick, designed just with you in mind.

I don’t know what happened to the man this morning that compelled him to announce his overwhelming hate of the world.

I’m going to guess he has a lot of reasons.

I wish him peace.

Even if only for a moment.

I wish peace to my friend who is suffering so much right now.

Life is so fucking hard.

And painful down to your very core.

Besides the painful news, I also woke up to a collection of old photos a friend sent.

She is my first friend in life, my oldest friend.

The photo says it all.

This is what life is all about, and so hard to find or to keep.

And they are peppered with all of the other moments, the hard ones.

Peace be with you, man on the corner.

And peace be with you, my friend.

 

 

Friday the 14th

Straight To The Top

When I started “No Sugar February,” I developed a plan to ensure success. I decided allowing fat into my diet would help curb my desire for sugary foods. My first change was to my coffee creamer. I bypassed half n’ half, and swapped it for heavy whipping cream instead.

Straight to the top.

(Pun intended).

It should come as no surprise my coffee tastes a lot better.

(I should have done this ages ago.)

Several years ago when I was visiting my family, I came downstairs for my morning cup of joe and found my mom sitting at the kitchen table. She always offers breakfast even though she knows I don’t eat it.

A mother’s hope forever springs eternal. 

I sat at the table sipping my coffee while she ate her oatmeal. In mid-conversation she went to the fridge and pulled out the half n’half. Without a hiccup in conversation, Mom poured the half n’ half into her oatmeal.

My coffee cup halfway to my lips, I said, “MOM. What do you think you’re doing??”

She looked up with quizzical eyes waiting for me to continue.

“Since when do you put half n’ half in your oatmeal?

She smiled and said, “Well it tastes better this way.

“Yeah, well…I’ll bet it does!

EVERYTHING would taste better if you used half n’ half instead of milk!”

Now I know.

It all tastes even better with heavy whipping cream. 

The Sugar Sign

My big plan heading into February quickly dissolved into tomfoolery. Every single day has been a total fail. Maybe I could have walked past the box of cupcakes that showed up at the office (I didn’t), but I had no chance with the homemade banana bread sitting on the counter the next day. It was wrapped unceremoniously in cloudy plastic,  but all of us knew exactly what it was. This banana bread is rather famous around here. It was gone in an hour, and I helped the effort right along. This is how the last two weeks have been almost every day.

It’s almost like a daily sign from above. 

(More tomfoolery.)

On the few days when no sugar appeared this month, I’ve supplemented the deficit by seeking it out.

Consistency is the mark of a champion, blah blah….

Real Time

Yesterday, walking home from work, I walked past a shooting.

I now know, after watching the news, I walked past the police shooting the suspect, who had already shot another man to death a couple of blocks away.

Standing on the corner waiting for the light to change, I heard “POP…..POP-POP-POP!”

I looked down the street, but nothing was amiss.

In those few seconds, a few of us stood there on the corner, all looking in the direction of the sound.

Did a car backfire? 

No…it couldn’t backfire that quickly in a row.

Was it fireworks?

I don’t see anything.

Was it a fake gun? A ploy to scare someone? 

I think this is real.

I wondered if a bullet was going to whiz past my head. Police cars started coming out of the crevices, careening around corners, cutting through traffic. The light changed in the intersection, and we all crossed the street.

I walked and I watched.

Maybe it was a robbery? It wasn’t long ago one of the posh shops in that area was robbed. Whatever was happening over there, yesterday, had just happened. As a result, the police activity was overwhelming.

I made it home and turned on the news, but there were no reports yet. In the aftermath, I scolded myself.

Did you just stand there dumb, like a deer in the headlights, while someone got murdered???

I think the answer was yes.

What kind of sign from above is that??

Both the shooting and the inept response?

The answer, like banana bread mysteriously appearing at the office, is nothing.

It is a sign of nothing but the reality of the moment.

Valentine’s Day

It might be a Hallmark holiday, but I love any excuse to celebrate Russ, love, and togetherness. Fellowship of any kind, romantic or otherwise, is key.

My dad and a group of guys from his church go to lunch somewhere different once a week. They call themselves “The Romeos”: Retired Old Men Eating Out. Dad puts a schedule together so everyone knows where they are supposed to be every Thursday.

(And I wonder where I get it from.)

I’m so glad both of my parents have strong relationships with their friends and with their community. Friendship is the most important worldwide web we weave as humans.

Tomorrow Russ and I will celebrate our Valentine’s when the restaurants are less crowded. I’m looking forward to a night in tonight, with a long weekend to follow. I’ve been on the go a lot recently. I’ve been traveling, visiting with family and good friends and catching up with great people I haven’t seen in a long time.

What’s not to love about that?

Déjà vu, Moments in Time

How Soon is Now?

After having breakfast with my parents yesterday, Mom and I stepped into the pharmacy next door. I needed a toothbrush and toothpaste. Mine were still stuffed in the Ziploc baggie I took to New York last weekend in lieu of my toiletry bag.

I was strolling through the greeting cards, when my mom joined me. I already had a handful gathered in the crook of my elbow. Snickering, she handed one over. “Should I buy this for you now or later?” On the front was a wide-eyed cat. Inside the card read “That awkward moment when you realize your mom was right about everything.”

Umm, too soon, Mom. Too soon.”

I have a feeling I’ll be seeing that card again, and I might not be the only one who gets it.

Now “everything” might be a little superlative, but I’ve had many moments hearing the same words come out of my mouth that my parents, and my many teachers/mentors, once uttered to me…as I rolled my eyes. I shiver every time this cryptic déjà vu makes an appearance.

It’s the universe having a giant laugh.

Night Frights

I woke up at 3 am yesterday morning to catch my 6 am flight to Houston. This usually is in the realm of normal occurrence, but being so tired this past week has led to weird dreams and painful start times as a result.

Why is it the more tired you are sometimes, the worse you sleep?

I woke up one morning startled. I dreamt Russ and I had been mugged.  We were walking together in a park on a beautiful day. It wasn’t dusk yet, but the sun was casting sharp and dramatic shadows as it headed west. We passed a small group of kids hanging out around a park bench. One caught my eye. He watched us walk past for too long.

Abruptly he ran in front of us and stopped short. He pulled a small, rusty revolver out of his pocket. His hand shaking, he pointed the gun at Russ. Looking him dead in the eye, he said flatly, “Give me your money.” Russ stood there in disbelief. No one moved. His friends had gone quiet by the park bench. I thought to myself, “He’s never done this before. He’s nervous.” I watched his hand still shaking, finger poised on the trigger.

I threw my bag at him.

I said, “Here. Take it.”

He caught it with both of his hands. He looked down in disbelief before turning his gaze back to us. Like a deer spooked by a bicycle whizzing past, he turned on his heel and took off. They all did.

I wanted to throw-up.

I told Russ about my dream. I said, “And you know what? After I got over my sense of relief, I was super pissed with myself because I had everything in my bag—all of my credit cards, $100 in cash, and all of my identification cards. I never carry everything. I never carry cash. I had meant to pare my bag down like I always do, but didn’t. They got everything.”

This made Russ laugh because he knows how diligent I am about carrying the minimum around the city. Usually my bag consists of one credit card and an ID. Sometimes I have a metro card as well, but that’s it. I leave as much of my string safe, back at the barn, as possible.

Wet Pants

The flight to Houston was packed. Having purchased my ticket from Orbitz, I was relegated to a middle seat.

 It was still better than any seat on Spirit Air.

The guy in the aisle seat was already fast asleep when I arrived at our row. I had to prod him awake. When he opened his eyes, they were glassy and crisscrossed red. I thought to myself, Well, shit. I’ll have whatever he’s having, please.

He sat back down and immediately went back to sleep before I had my seat belt buckled. It didn’t take long for his thickness to slowly pour over the armrest into my seat. Holding my coffee cup in one hand, I folded into myself a little more. When sitting in the little square of an airplane seat, I have often pondered how weird it is to be stuck so close to a complete stranger.

The only thing weirder is when one of their body parts touches yours, even an innocuous one, even unintentionally.

A few minutes after takeoff, I dozed off myself. I dreamt my coffee cup fell to the floor and spilled everywhere. I woke with a jump. My seat was wet. Looking down I saw my coffee cup lying on the carpet next to my other neighbor’s feet. Luckily, it more than half empty when I dropped it. I was glad I wore camo sweats instead of my jeans.

The man slept for the entire three hours without pause. Tired of shrinking myself into a tight hug, I stuck the point of my elbow into his fleshy arm. He registered the draw without acknowledgment. His arm retreated closer to its keeper.

More room negotiated, I still couldn’t find sleep for the rest of the flight. I finished On Writing by Stephen King and watched crappy TV without ear buds for the remaining hour. This is time’s biggest joke on humankind—passing too quickly when you’re having fun, and too slowly when you’re not.

Shoveling Shit

Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

—Stephen King, On Writing

Wow.

If that isn’t an accurate metaphor for my life, I don’t know what is.

 I’m still just shoveling shit.

I’ve moved on to reading one of my favorites, Cormac McCarthy. The book is Suttree. What separates Cormac, in my opinion, is his use of language. His novels are hundreds of pages of beautiful words and sentences, strung together like a smooth pearl necklace.

It blows my mind every time.

Reading Cormac, and reading authors’ books about their own writing and process, such as Stephen King and Anne Lamott, really brings home how hard the craft is. I knew this already, but there is a difference between realizing it intellectually and feeling the burn in your own work.

Lately, it’s all been shit. I am brushing up against the edge of my perfectionism. It has the uncanny ability to leave me feeling naked, exposed,  and all wrong, like my words are nothing more than random body parts assembled incorrectly.

What in God’s name is that??

I’m still shoveling the shit though.

My writing is about the journey, stretching limits and reaching beyond borders, and being okay with the fact it will sometimes suck—that I will sometimes suck— despite my efforts, and knowing I have a long way to go, and I may never get there.

Wherever “there” is.

Sound familiar?

Fucking déjà vu.

Fucking reality. 

Fuck reality.

S.K.: I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

Fear and perfection.

Two sides of the same coin.

I prod my pointy elbow into its fleshy side.

 

The Wake of the Whirlwind

SPENT

This week has been a whirlwind. Last Friday, I was on a bus to New York City. Usually I take the train, but having spent too much money on theatre tickets lately, I rode the bus. I’ve only done it once before and it wasn’t great. The bus was late, packed, and not very clean. It was a little incongruent with the rosy-cheeked man plastered on the back of the bus.

This last time was a positive experience. The bus was punctual, clean, and dropped me a block from my hotel. Roundtrip, the fare was $48. That’s hard to beat. It takes an hour longer than riding the train, but that’s an extra hour I have to read. In the future, taking the bus more often will also mean more theatre tickets too. It’s a very good trade-off.

In the last ten days, I’ve seen three shows. Next to Normal in DC, and Hamilton and Beetlejuice in NYC. The theatre is my greatest guilty pleasure in terms of spending. Live theatre is like holding a book in your lap, as the characters and set come to life, right before your eyes. Every time I am lucky enough to have a seat to the show, I never fail to be amazed at the sheer volume of talent that exists in this world. From the actors and actresses, to the musicians, to the set and lighting designers and directors. It is a ton of moving and beautiful parts, all choreographed to perfection.

Three shows in four days. Add time spent with great friends, in a great city, and it’s intoxicating. But what goes up, comes down, and I was left spent. (Take the pun, or leave it.) I can’t party how I once did.

I had a lot of other engagements this week with friends as well. I try not to stack my week so full, but I haven’t seen some of these friends in a long time. It is always worth it to make the effort. It sounds melodramatic, but it’s true—no one knows if another chance to get together will arise—it may never, or not for another year, or not for a few years. Time is slippery as an eel, and as unforgiving.

KERNEL OF TRUTH

I woke up every morning this week exhausted, pinned to my sheets. This inevitably led to a long conversation, back and forth in my head, about removing myself from said bed…and going to yoga. I have yet to begin a yoga class grumpy, and leave feeling the same. Yoga has a way of shedding the unnecessary away. This was the winning kernel of truth. Every day I peeled myself from my comfy mattress, grumpy as fuck, and pulled on my tights. My advocator for laziness, ironically, doesn’t give up talking its smack, until I have both feet planted on the other side of my front door.

My brother sent me a quote this morning. It said, “Motivation is a mood, discipline is a habit.” I laughed at its relevancy, especially this morning. When I walked outside the studio it…was…pouring, like the rinse cycle of an automatic car wash. I walked the mile to work in a metropolitan monsoon.

“What’s a mile?” you ask. You’re right. A mile isn’t long or hard, but it is seriously un-fun in a downpour. I had prepared for rain, not a down pour. My Blundstones became fish bowls of sloshing, salty water. Well beyond its point of saturation, my raincoat melted against my skin like paper-maché with glue on one side.

I’ve called myself “a walking pantry” before, commuting to work, and it was true today. All of my clothes for work, my lunch, etc. were tied off in plastic bags and thrown together in the tote I carry over my shoulder. By the time I reached my office, my dripping tote a welterweight, I was laughing at the ridiculousness. Holding on to the front doors of our building, I kicked one foot at a time, up to my butt, to let the water run out of my boots.

LEGIT-BIT

I’ve been reading Stephen King’s On Writing. It is such a great read. I’m not a huge fan of his, not because he’s not a good writer, but because I don’t normally seek out scary material, books or movies, which his collection falls under. I saw The Shining, once.

It scared the shit out of me.

I saw Pet Cemetery, too. And you know that old cliché: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I’ve stopped torturing myself. These days, real life is scary enough. I don’t need to spoon another helping onto my plate by signing up for it.

On Writing, however, could almost be considered a memoir, with advice on writing added to it. I enjoyed learning about Stephen’s past and his journey to authorship. I appreciated his explanation on what inspires his creation of scary thrillers. His words convey he is humble and just as human—prone to mistakes—like the rest of us, despite all of his success.

This is one of my favorite quotes in the book:

“Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.” 

I laughed when I read it. It sounded so official. I thought it was great advice for dealing with just about everything.

I would like to add to it: “Laughing is a perfectly legitimate response to adversity.”

Like dumping the swampy foot water out of my Blundstones.  

Laughing, not crying, holds more possibilities.  Even if you look a little crazy at the time. Being an optimist when facing failure, (maybe you’re even having a bit of a laugh then, too), opens yourself to options you may not even be aware of, whereas laying down on your sword does not.

RUSSIFER

Tomorrow I head out to Houston for a little family time. Tonight is my one night with Russ, who I haven’t seen very much of this week.

He is one very patient man.

I told him I missed him and will miss him all over again this weekend. He said, “Well Sweetie, we can’t miss each other if we never spend any time apart.”

I nodded, mulling over this wisdom.

Wait…” I said. “That’s my line!!”

It’s true. It is.

Did we just become Russifer???

WORDS TO LIVE BY

As everyone embarks on their weekend, doing whatever it is they’ve scheduled themselves to do, think about this:

Try any goddamn thing you like, no matter how boringly normal or outrageous. If it works, fine. If it doesn’t, toss it.”

—Stephen King, On Writing

He might be referring to writing, but it applies to life as well.

Get on with it.