My Eclectic Plan

Dearie,
When we first set out to self publish the children’s story Snowball, my husband knew and approved my plan. Neither of us foresaw me taking a diversion into college. The first six months after publication, I did.

Even for me, it is hard to articulate all the reasons why it was the right way to go about the next step– it just was. It was always the plan to write several books before running ads and making an attempt to market. My desire to produce better books as well as improve my storytelling ability has motivated me to hit the pause button.

One thing about returning to college has rebuilt is my confidence, that along with a few pearls of wisdom I wasn’t truly aware of having a grasp of within me.

Pearls Of Wisdom

One is the ability to step outside myself and see the bigger picture. Try to see other’s point of view and not lose sight of my own. A much more positive version of the popular term “Two Faced.” Reasonable, fair people have this compassionate ability to understand others.

Two is you don’t have to know everything, but it helps to know how to find what you need and not be afraid to ask those who do in a particular field for advice. It really is about being able to fill in your own blanks by being able network and source what you need. I had forgotten I know how to do that.

Three, and its a big one –Know who you are, what you believe and why. Even if the answer to why is as simple as, it makes me happy.

There they are, that should explain to you why I am going about being a writer my way. This definitely is a “don’t do as I do” way to be a writer.

I get delighted when one book sells. It makes my week. When I say I don’t care if I become a “writer” or “successful” by society’s standards, or industry terms, I mean it. That is just not my thing.

Just,
Me.

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Melt. Down.

Dearie,

What do you call a meltdown?

To me, it is when I lose my cool. Ranting, cursing and what my mother called “showing your ass,” regardless of whether there are witnesses or not.

My most recent meltdown had some small flare ups here and there after the big explosion. When I think I am over it and have let go, it seems to rear up again when I talk about it, so I am still not over it, yet.

This semester was going along quite nicely, not at all overwhelming. Then one of the three half semester courses played me. Three measly little credits that felt more like I was earning six, or nine, maybe even twelve, set me on ballistic status.

I had forgotten that even in college you come across extremists, or in a more reasonable state, what might more accurately be called difficult people. (I know, because I can be one, we all can.) It was a situation of high stress, so, I sought to relieve myself of that frustration. I quit, or I at least thought about it and contemplated it, and spoke to my instructors about it.

All but that one instructor was sympathetic. They were also interested in their students and checked my grades before letting me off the hook so easily. Bless them. Truly, I mean BLESS THEM! They are what teachers of ANY LEVEL should be. Interested in teaching, imparting their knowledge and helping others to enrich their lives. They all came back with understanding, words of encouragement, and since we were so close to the end of the semester and my grades were all good, helpful in figuring out how to relieve the stress and get me through the last of their course. In pretty much every case there were three or less assignments left to be submitted and graded. In everyone of those classes, I had already completed the turn in assignments ahead of time (I foresaw this breaking point a week out of spring break so I worked ahead when I could.) I was able to turn in assignments, and finish out the final exams left in each of them, while struggling to complete the mountain load of work, lectures, and poor communication skills heaped upon the students (not just me) by one instructor. (I am trying to be objective, that perhaps this person was having a bad time personally, or there were some issues unbeknownst to me that caused the dynamic they created in the course, but it is a struggle.)

Let me say, straight up, I had cleared my calendar, made the best possible choices for the courses I signed up for, as well as making sure I was well equipped to complete them. However, there is only so much time in the day for everyone. I couldn’t beg, borrow, or steal anymore than was given to each of us daily.

And that is what I learned at college this semester, or was reminded of. You cannot make everyone happy. You can’t be, do, or give everyone everything they so desire. It doesn’t work like that.

All you can do, is all you can do; whether that is enough or not for anyone else. I have for some time, forgotten that. Berating myself for not being more than I am. For not doing more than I can. For not measuring up or down to someone else’s decision about me. I broke through that brick wall.

So that meltdown was cathartic. Sometimes, as bad as they are, meltdowns are necessary.

Just,
Me.

Best Date Night Ever

Last year I officially asked my husband to be my boyfriend after nearly thirty years of marriage. Thankfully, he said yes. Whew!

So we went on an official date. The Carson Center in Paducah, Ky has this summer thing called, “Fridays @ 5”. (It starts May 20th this year running through until June 24th and then September 2 – October 7th). It’s free, which was good because I needed a cheap date to sweep him off his feet.

The night we went last year was memorable.  A formerly young scrawny kid, Denny Rudolph, and the trio Amber’s Drive he is now a part of were performing.  I scored a T-shirt and a CD and enjoyed the view of the Ohio River from the Carson’s rooftop venue. They played my, so far all time favorite of theirs, (though various tunes catch my ear from time to time) Take A Picture of It. They have quite a bit more and the story behind their formation is memorable, but they can tell it better than me. They are based out of Nashville, TN.

Then to round the night out complete, we called in a to-go-order on the way home at Wildfires, just a half an hour up Interstate 24 in Vienna, IL. Morgan graciously took our last minute order of the night before they closed and had it ready when we arrived. My husband loves the steaks there.

I think the evening went well.  We are still dating after all, and looking forward to another date night this summer.  I know we really should get out more often.

If this feels like a sales story, in a way it is.  It is as much about making time for each other, and renewing your relationship as it is about the places and things to do.  Life keeps us busy, spending time with the ones you love is important. Don’t sell yourself, or your relationship short, no matter how long you have been together, you still need to flirt.

Shifting Gears

Dearies,

This week and very possibly next are a little more chaotic than usual.  So, short and sweet this will be.

Having completed a full credit semester toward a BA that I am not entirely sure I will finish, or where, there is some housekeeping catch up to do before I put my nose to the grindstone and finish up the two children/1 ya project that were put on hold.

I will be working to get my blogs caught up and my favorite productive routine back in place.  I shared over on my children’s author blog the trip I made to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens of the Lantern Asia exhibit. It was beautiful and inspiring. Visually the lanterns were incredible up close and personal.

My thoughts as I walked the short mile pathway through these glowing lanterns was on the steps and process that must have evolved as the idea, implementation and finally show was put together. The hours of work to create and then to take down and set up as the exhibit tours.  Incredible!

Art is a process. Life is a process.  And we all just have to  . . . well process.

My favorite visual from the exhibit-

IMG_7883

 

The End Is Near!

Dearie,

Let’s hope so. My desire to quit almost kept me from finishing out the course work for this semester. Fortunately, my love reminded me that my normal disposition is one of learning. I seek information on everything, even checking my own knowledge against recent discoveries to stay up-to-date on innovations. I am curious by nature, so not learning isn’t an option on my horizon.

Throughout my desperate attempt to build up some confidence as a writer, storyteller, whatever, I clung to this thought that I was not intelligent enough to know what I was doing. Well, confidence building from college has been a help. I have about two years left of full time college to get a bachelors, but the real question is–Do I have time for it? I am too busy working with college to do what I want to do, or vice versa.

Right this vary minute half my desk is covered in college coursework to finish up while eating half a sandwich, drinking a red colored kid “juice” from a near empty bottle before I have to get ready for a class in about eight minutes. I am toast!

This semester has seen the list of stuff that someone else wants me to do powering out over my own work and career. A decision I will see through, but I cannot wait for the end of the semester and getting back to my real life.

Just me.

Jules

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