Writers aren't exactly people, they're a lot of people trying to be one person. F.Scott Fitzgerald

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reluctant Nomad?

       How does one become a reluctant nomad you as?Even if you didn't ask,dear reader I am going to explain,expound, and teach.At times I may segue into a rant,which differs from a whine,barely,but may devolve into a whine at any given moment.First I will define nomad.
      Websters defines the term as( A traveler,migrant,wanderer,roamer,gypsy or rover.)I have chosen to leave out the less than savory definitions,but feel free to look them up.
       How does one become a nomad,much less a reluctant one? Personal preferences, family preferences or needs,inherited tendencies, genetic memories,tribal habits,and least pleasant; a necessary move to escape danger,debtors, the law, or all of the above.
      Most humans and many non-humans stand at a major,life changing,crossroads, at some point in their lives.   Choices are made at that time based on the circumstances and the information we have at that moment.Occasionally,we ignore warning bells because we want to choose that different path.Go on an adventure,do something new,unexpected, and maybe a little scary.
      Excitement can be very contagious. In the heat of the moment,moving to a new home,city,state,country, or job is exciting The difficulties and challenges are pushed aside and we forge ahead,eyes shining and heart pounding with the adrenalin rush.
      Many times the move is everything one hoped it would be, at least at first. Sometimes, after the "honeymoon" period, reality intrudes. Hopefully, everything settles down and a new,wonderful lifestyle evolves and life is good. This can be permanent or unfortunately, temporary.Discontent can and often rears it's ugly head. Some problems move with us and new problems almost always appear. For me and my family it was a combination of all of the above.
      Several choices are available at this point,wait and see if the circumstances change, or get the" Hell out of Dodge"! My family chose the later.Of course we took our old problems with us,and settled in with an entirely new set of problems to add to the old ones we brought with us. What did we do? Of course,we moved again.
    Well,it seemed like the best idea at the time. Maybe it was,maybe it wasn't?We will never know.
Maybe these things would have happened anyway.Within a few months,the family was no longer intact.
     No one is really to blame.People change, fall in and out of love, and wonder if the pastures are greener on the other side of the fence.In my experience,the pastures just look greener because you can't see the SHIT until you're on the other side and step in it!
     The old adage,"Love Conquers a All", is not always accurate. Sometimes we can bend and weather a storm,sometimes we can't and break apart.
    Unfortunately, I am older and can't recover lost possessions,lost income,lost family, and a lost home, as easily as a young adult. in the Godfather, Don Corleone's mother told him,"You cannot lose your family". She was wrong!
    Well,I suppose, you are wondering why I call myself a"Reluctant Nomad"? I certainly chose to go on an adventure and I have to agree, up to a point.I expected to have a home with my family until my life ended.I was led to believe that would be the case. So here I am,without a permanent home,without my family around me,and faced with moving yet again.
    Can I do it?Of course I can! I come from a long line of Irish immigrants,Native Americans, and intrepid English, and Welsh stock.I can and will survive.A reluctant Nomad I may well be,but I am alive and I have survived all life has thrown at me.So I'll find a new home, pack my car, and move again. Hopefully this will be the last,but life has a way of tossing curve balls.I have a saying I heard years ago and  use a lot"Great Joke, Great Spirit"! Soon,I hope to be on my own again. I will smile at the memories and look forward to the new future. Maybe this time I'll break the cycle and stay put for the rest of my life.
       However; If I had the money,I'd buy a nice RV and ........?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Burying the Past.

        My friend Mark,frequently says something that triggers an idea for a post on this blog.Today was no different. He called me into his studio(I am invading their home for a couple of months while I get my life back on track) to watch a show on gardening.This episode was titled,Burying the Past.or maybe that was the name of the show.Today the host had a gardening expert as her guest.Sounds rather mundane,does it not?
      While she is discussing burying the past,the guest begins to drift off,obviously having some disturbing memories. He begins to reminisce about his wartime experiences and his deceased wife.The hostess drags her attention away from herself  long enought to try and convince her guest to talk about what has him upset.
She even calls him a grumpyRumplstilskin. Now on the surface this doesn't sound amusing.Trust me,it is!
      The over the top,perky,self absorbed,hostess,encourages him,cajoles him,into talking and reluctantly he gives in and begins  to reminisce about his wartime experiences and his deceased wife. Perky hostess interups him to bring the focus back on her and her past show,MALLS.
     Then back to guest,who continues to reveal his wartime trauma,siting number of casualties as (I think 18 and 1/2).How in the devil do you have half of a casualty?Was the poor man,only half dead?Did he lose only half of a body part? What?
    Hostess is oblivious and focused on bringing the attention back to her.she continues to be clueless and annoyingly perky. Guest continues to be morose.

   Finally he changes his focus and talks about the soil and fashioning a snake shape out of the dirt in his hand as he drifts away into reminiscing about his peyote experience.
   Needless to say,one had to be there,at least watching the very strange show, to appreciate the humor.I think it was all done,tongue -in-cheek.However,I'm not really sure.
   Either way,it is highly amusing and well worth watching.Mark Dowman posted the video on Facebook so check it out.Thanks again Mark,for once again showing me something really different(in a Monty Pythonesque  way) and providing me with a topic for today's and tomorrows blog.
                                            Now, Stay tuned,for something really different!
                           (Yes, I borrowed the quote from the incomparable,Monty Python.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

So you want to move to the last frontier,ALASKA!

       Moving Day! The house was sold,our things packed and shipped to the remote area of King Salmon/Naknek, Alaska.My son in law was already there at his new job.My daughter, me and my granddaughter were finally packed and ready to go.The two cats and the dog were tucked into their carriers and we left for the airport.We were so excited about our great adventure.At least we were until we hit one sanfu after another at Bush Intercontinental airport.
      The hitch were the pets.We weren't told we had to purchase separate tickets for each leg of the flight requiring a plane change for the pets. Two missed flights later I was short an extra two thousand dollars for the new tickets.The second flight we missed, because the power mad man at the ticket desk refused to acknowledge my two year old granddaughter's car seat was not considered a carry on. He was wrong but we still missed our second flight.  We arrived in Seattle only to discover the connecting flights were grounded due to snow and ice.I guarded the luggage while my daughter and two yr old granddaughter slept.
      The floors are rather hard there,but it was better than trying to sleep in the cramped plastic chairs. Six am arrived and found the three of us tired and cranky The actual flight to Anchorage wasn't too bad.
      At last we arrived in Anchorage and had to take a cab to another area and pick up the carriers with the pets and take them back to the airport before our flight left without us The dog had at some point,had a bout of diarrhea. My daughter valiantly hosed down the dog and carrier with ice water and we sped back to the airport in time to make our connecting flight to King Salmon/Naknek.
 The flight was unusual, at least for us.Everything outside the plane was white!Sky,ground ,mountains. Everything! This was the short leg of our flight and we were more than ready to leave air travel far behind us.
    The pilot announced our approach to our final destination,we looked down saw white with patches of green treetops and the white tops of buildings.
    The wheels touched down s and we glided smoothly to the small terminal.My son in law rushed out( as fast as one can on slick ice and greeted his family.We were here. ALASKA.
    It was breathtaking. I had no idea snow glittered like diamonds in the sunlight. Everywhere we looked,snow covered mountains,trees, and buildings were transformed into a white fairyland. the temperature was a mere, minus 28 degrees,if I remember right. Christmas looked like it did in the movies.The snow hid the rusty cars,boats and other unidentifiable stuff until late spring.
     Alaska,King Salmon/Nalnek was everything we thought it would be.Beautiful landscapes, mountains, friendly,generous,welcoming people and snow,( A LOT OF SNOW AND ICE)!Only twelve miles of paved highway and very little traffic If you passed more that twelve cars,it was rush hour. We loved it all.
    Then we went shopping.I paid $42.00 for a ten lb.turkey,canned goods were two, three or four dollars each. Milk was $9.99/gallon. We blew our monthly shopping budget in one trip. Everything had to be flown in until the river thawed in mid spring. Still we were all together and this was a great adventure of a lifetime.
    Most of the heat source was oil. Tanks located underground or beside the house were filled and the cost was billed and the expense was around 500 to a thousand every few tanks.Temps got down a few times to -40.
 Spring came and brought rain, flocks of wild swans, bears and bear watching at the local dump.The ice breakup on the river,watching pods of whales going up river,salmon runs,eagles,ravens,Lynx, fishermen,backpackers, opened lodges with restaurants,the eye doctor,new staff at the local clinic and droves of biting flies.
   It did not bring lower prices until the barges could run. This was the adventure of a lifetime even if it was expensive to live there. if one wants to live in an extraordinary area, with amazing people,then one could not go wrong living in this lovely community. befriend the locals and listen to their advice,don't be careless. IT IS  NOT CHEAP TO LIVE THERE!But I don't regret the amazing experience even if it cost me most of my savings. Just be damned sure you have  a really good paying job in the lower 48 and a hefty bank account cause there just aren't many jobs in the area.
 All in all,it was an adventure of a lifetime for me.Would I do it again? Probably. But I'd do a lot of things differently. Mostly,I'd make sure I had a SH#T load of money.

So have an adventure and see the amazing state of Alaska.It is truly breathtaking. Just be forewarned if you want to live there,IT AIN"T CHEAP.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Lady in the Elusive Office.

       The phone rang.She was right on time.I reached out and picked up the phone,took a deep shaky breath and answered. Her voice was a cool drink of water to a parched throat. She was all business.
      I sighed, answered her questions, and waited as she verified my identity. Satisfied I was who I said I was, she started asking me questions. I wanted to tell her how I felt. All she wanted was answers to the list of questions she had to ask.
      Then it was over and she told me she would be in touch.The click when she disconnected was a knife  stabbing into my heart. Burning pain spread through me and I couldn't breathe. For a moment,an eternity it seemed at the time,the pain burned bright and hot.My hand set the phone down,reached out and picked up the bottle of booze, poured three fingers in a glass and tossed it down.
    My eyes watered and it seemed like my throat was on fire for hours. I savored the pain,anything to take my mind off her. I wanted to forget her,needed to forge her. I knew I shouldn't feel this way,but the heart doesn't care about should or would,it just does.
    Months went by.Months of days and nights wondering when she would call again,if she would call again? Finally I broke and called the office.The dame who answered told me there was no such organization there called The S.S.Never had been.She gave me another number to call and I tried it. No answer. Another dead end. Was she trying to hide from me?Like a blood hound scenting a trail I refused to give up.
   I tried searching the net and found an address for another S.S. office. I didn't bother calling,figuring I'd get the old run around again or another dead end.I drove over there and found an empty office and no forwarding address on the locked door. Back in my car,I pounded the steering wheel in frustration.Just as I figured, another dead end.      
     Then it hit me like a ton of bricks,my pal Sharon,she was like a sister to me.We'd been through some tough times together and she knew everything about me.I had no secrets from her.She was my good luck charm.If anyone could break through this wall of silence and subterfuge,she could!
    We talked and she said she'd make a few calls and get back to me.. A lifetime passed while I waited. When the phone rang,I hesitated knowing that this could be one of the most important calls of my life! My hand shook as I picked up the phone and pushed the button." Got a pen"? I closed my eyes and said a quick prayer and I'm not a religious guy. Her voice uttered the words I was waiting to hear,ten little numbers and an address.
      I  stared at the message I'd written down. I realized I was afraid to make that call.Afraid it would be her and afraid it wouldn't.  I took the cowards way out,went home and spent the night thinking about what I would do or say if it was true.Could I really be so close to ending my search for her. I dropped off at some point,me and my bottle finally empty of all emotion and false courage.
     My eyes opened slow,blinking against the too bright rays of the sun. I showered and tried unsuccessfully to scrape the fuzz from the booze off my tongue. I eyed my image in the mirror after I'd dressed,shaved, and combed my hair.Not too shabby,I  thought. I gulped some caffeine and  decided I looked pretty damn good considering all I'd been through.
    An hour later I was on the road.This was it.I would see her, and this time I'd get some answers from her.Either I'd win or she would. I hoped we both would.
    I sat in the parking lot in front of the building I'd  been searching for what seemed like years. I told myself to get out of the car,walk through that door and finally meet her face to face. I know her by that silky,sultry voice.
   I deserved some straight answers and she was damn well going to give them to me. The  outcome? Well  I'd know soon enough,wouldn't I?  I had my hand on the door,before I realized I'd left the car.Walking down the hallway,I could hear phones ringing,voices mumbling,but none of it  mattered.The only thing that mattered was her.
 We'd never met,but I knew it was her. She was sitting at a cluttered desk,a phone caught between her shoulder and her neck and a soft smile on her face. I wanted that smile to be for me and only me.
   She hung up and closed her eyes, in a tired gesture, rolled her head on her shoulders, and sighed.
I stood still,my eyes drinking in her beauty, and waited. As if she knew I was there, she opened her eyes and met mine. A smile lifted her pink lips,her eyes shining, and I knew everything was going to be okay. 
   I had found the right place at the right time.At last my search was over.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I hate Typos!

      I absolutely hate typos with a passion and strive to seek them out and eradicate them.So why do I read what I have just posted and find TYPOS. I read what I wrote out loud and there were NO typos! I am sure I found each and every one before posting or printing.
     I am convinced there are computer gremlins lurking in cyber space who creep in and quick as a flash inserts typos and returns to their world laughing their asses off at the perplexed author.Don't laugh,think about how many times you read what you just wrote and hit print or post and check out your post only to discover that no matter how careful you were,there in black and white or whatever color you prefer are those blaring, embarrassing,TYPOS.
    Even the best writers have published books,articles and posts with typos. One of my favorite bloggers who was an agent and is a writer with published book has posted comments with Typos!
   I am taking an online class with one of my favorite people who writes how to books on writing ,sentence structure,etc. and has a daily post is not immune. There in one of the lessons he posted were...TYPOS. No writer is immune to the Typo gremlins.
  Better get back to wurk,I am shur the dreaded gremlin has swooped in and sprinkled mi post with tYpoos.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tongue in Cheek Look at the Worst Day of Your Life?

    Now that is a question that on the surface,appears to be easy to answer.Not so fast. Think about it for a bit.Is your first day as a freshman in high school,the day you cat died,the night the boyfriend whose name you can't remember,really the worst day of your life? I didn't think so.
   Maybe for you the day you married the love of your life,who wiped out your joint bank account and  left you pregnant with triplets to run away to the islands with your best friend is the worst day of your life.
   I could agree that might be it,unless you were planning to run off with the drop dead gorgeous multibillionare whom you met while shopping at the local grocery store and who is madly and  passionately in love you and thrilled to be the real father of your triplets and who has already asked you to run away with him to his own private island after your wedding ceremony aboard his private jet.( Whew take a deep breath).
   I definitely think that would negate the former as being the worst day of your life.Of course you would also be madly and passionately in love with him and have an iron clad will already made out that leaves everything to you.I'm just saying!
   Now if you  prefer, just change the words notating gender to the appropriate gender for which ever you prefer and realize the worst day of your life,so far, can be the best day of another persons life. It's all in how an event affects each person.
   I won't expound on the worst day in my life,because it would be too hard to pick just one day and beside,do you really care what is the worst day in another persons life if it doesn't affect you.
of course you feel sorry for a fellow human being when they tell you a sad or horrendous story about the worst day of their life.
  Be honest. Don't you listen to their tale and think how glad you are it wasn't you or chomp at the bit waiting to one up them with the saga of the worst day of your life.OF COURSE YOU DO!
 Okay I'll tell you about the worst day of my life and .....no I can't do it. It would make you weep and gnash you teeth in frustration because my saga is the all time champion of worst days.
  So the bottom line is to allow yourself to wallow in self  pity for a selected period of time.Pick some place to sit all alone,feeling out of place, and sorry for yourself,( eating at a fancy restaurant is a good place to do that).  Now contemplate what is absolutely,without a shadow of a doubt, the worst day of your life for exactly one hour. Drink one glass of a great wine or whatever your favorite beverage is and eat a wonderful meal.
   Then go shopping and  buy something you have been wanting or call a friend and go to a great movie and smile smugly at every person you meet,knowing that your story, if you chose to tell it,would be much worse than theirs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


     This post is for the lost,frustrated,oft angry,baffled person who desperately wants to be proficient in the use of their computer. I must explain that what you read here is my opinion and mine alone.Feel free to nod your head,stand up and cheer wildly,dance naked around the room in a show of agreement for the opinion I express.    
    I have a love/ hate relationship with my lovely,expensive, blue, Dell laptop.It is capable of doing all sorts of wonderful things.The problem is I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO GET IT TO DO THE MAJORITY OF THEM!
   Frequently I accidentally accomplish a task and have no idea how I did it and have no way to repeat said task.I have a stack of index cards telling me what I need to do to complete  tasks I want to do.
  Files? What are files and what do you do with them.I download stuff and can't find where it went.I open a file only to discover that it has pictures of stuff I didn't put there.The stuff I'm looking far is nowhere I know how to access. I am certain my laptop is possessed by a gremlin who laughs his ass off every time I log on.
   I am an intelligent woman with a  fairly good IQ but apparently I did not inherit the technology gene from any of my ancesters.I DO NOT UNDERSTAND COMPUTERESE! Yes that is my word for the foriegn language computer geeks speak.I am awed by computer geeks.I wish I belonged to their realm and understood their language. They are earth bound Gods.
  Computer manuals might as well be written in Russian(Another language I do not speak).I do not understand what they are saying,the terms they use or anything else they are telling me to do.Someone needs to write an illustrated computer manual.Yes I watched the tutorial and it was like watching a foreign film without subtitles.
   I am a writer and I depend on my laptop as I cannot read my own handwriting because my ideas spew from my brain in a torrent of pictures,words,and emotions. So for now I plod along sticking to the things I do know how to do and call on my friend, Mark the computer God ,when I have done something really strange,screwed up a document or I am just lost and have no idea how to fix what I just did by accident.
  YES Mark,I do know that I know just enough to screw things up and not enough to know how to fix it and that I should have bought a Mac.But for now, hopefully you will be there to get me out of the mess I just made or patiently explain how to do something new.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So You want To Be A Writer!

       I love to write.Love the creative process of words and ideas swirling around in my head and seeing them begin to tell a story in black in white on my laptop. I thrill to see the characters in my head come to life and show me who they are and begin to reveal their stories. The satisfaction of writing that final page is indescribable to anyone but another writer.Euphoria is as close as I can get to a one word description.
     Sounds great doesn't it?Thousands of potential writers seem to think writing a book is easy. Hundreds decide they can write a book,how hard can it be? Their choice of tools are chosen, laptop,desk top,word processors,special pencils,reams of paper,recorders,whatever tools they want to use to write the next bestseller.
Then it is on to choosing that special area in their home to write the epic book. Hundreds,maybe thousands, of dollars are spent by aspiring authors in order to have just the right setting and tools in which to write that breakout novel that will make them the next Stephen King,Nora Roberts,Poe,Hemingway or Rowling.
    How hard can it be to write a book? They have an idea that will have agents and publishers breaking down the doors to represent them and publish their amazing book.Dream on my naive friend.Reality will hit when you face the hours of research and the bleary eyed wee hours of the morning sitting facing a blank page when the right words are trembling in your head just beyond your reach.
    Writing is a misunderstood occupation. IT IS NOT A NICE LITTLE HOBBY!Writing is damn hard,often frustrating work.It is a very solitary,often isolating, job.No one can do it for you unless you take the route so many do and hire a ghostwriter. Cheating is what I call it.One is not an author if someone else writes the words and sweats over grammar,sentence structure,etc!
    Dues must be paid to reach that pinnacle of achievement,a published novel that John Q Public buys,likes and then wants to buy more of your work.  
    Then the last words are written and the manuscript if finished. It takes a while for the mind to catch up and grasp the reality. Then euphoria sets in and respiration increases,the heart races and tired cramped hands move away from the keyboard or the drop the pencil.
    Perhaps helpless giggles overtake the body or tears begin to flow.The need to shout from the rooftops,celebrate with actual people or dance naked in the moonlight might overtake the exhausted author at this time or it may come later when the shock has worn off.
   All too soon reality sets in and wipes away all thoughts of accomplishment.The dreaded specter intrudes and stares menacingly at the writer.But, it is too soon to face that task.Maybe the next day,the next week, next month or even the next year the brave writer will face it.
   But face it they will.Squaring their shoulders, they will sit down and begin one of the most dreaded tasks of all.Rewrites,revisions and editing! It's a dirty job ,but somebody has to do it!
   After many and often frustrating days, it is all done and ready for the next phase. Sending queries to agents and publishers, waiting for the rejections and praying someone will like your baby enough to ask for a full submission.(No guarantee they will like it enough to take you on as a client or find a publisher to want to print and market it.
   While all this is going on,the author has semi recovered and is hard at work on a new idea that won't leave them alone until they start bringing it to life.Why? Because it is what we do and to paraphrase a quote.
                                                    Because a writer can't not write!
   Now think long and hard about all of this and I admit this is just my opinion.if you still want to write you will.Nothing, and I mean nothing short of death will keep you from writing.If you still want to be a writer,then welcome to the world down the rabbit hole.We are all mad down here!