A Writer Writes – Always

After years of working as a Paralegal, meeting deadlines, dealing with difficult personalities and whatever else that comes along with employment in a law firm, I’ve finally reached a point where I’m now working part-time.  Yes, I still deal with some factors of the law, but my duties have become less urgent.  Don’t get me wrong, some attorneys will always be difficult, but maybe it’s my years in the field that have enabled me to take it all with a grain of salt.  So, I said all of that to say, my desk faces toward the outside – I have a very nice view of everything going on in my little corner of the Corporate Center.  The other day I took a breather – actually the entire day evolved as one needing deep thought.  Did you ever have one of those?  From the time I woke up everything I did needed questioning.  Especially, this putting words to paper thing some of us like to do.  At one point in my life I feared I had slipped away from my faith, but after thinking about it for a couple of days, I realized how far from the truth that had been.  Why?  Because the more I turned it over in my mind, the more I understood – I spent all my time thinking about just that faith.  Yes, it consumed my thoughts, which let me know I had not veered off the path.

As I sat back in my chair, I kind of had the same urgency about my writing.  Am I dedicated enough to keep the fire going, particularly with Facebook, Twitter and this blog?  I spend a lot of time on all three, and then wind up kicking myself, because I’ve lost more time to doing everything but write.  But, like the belief issue, every waking hour; every extra minute, all I do is think about my stories.  Now, I know thinking about them is not the same as getting them written, but I believe that’s just me.  We all have a process to how we approach a project.  At that same instant, I knew that if for some reason I couldn’t write anymore, what a blow that would bring.  However, keep in mind I don’t say that to idolize the gift.  I bring it up mainly, because I am consumed with concocting new stories, and am so very thankful for the ability.  We all – each of us were given a specific gift.  I read that whatever you are passionate about is usually where your specialty lies.  And take it from me, if you are on the young side of forty, you still don’t know.  Oh sure, a person comes out of high school, picks a major, goes into college and comes out, hopefully to a career.  But, I say those professions are 50% of the time chosen by the head, and not the heart.  Many of us need to arrive on the opposite side of that magical number of forty to finally figure out what it is we desire out of life.

I know I wrote somewhere that I played around with the art of writing all of my life.  But, I had to reach the other side of that above-mentioned figure to grasp, this particular art had been my calling.  At that point, I knew with certainty all the road signs had my name on them.  I only had to shine the light, and continue to put one foot before the other, even if I did teeter-totter with each step.  In the process of having this conversation with myself, I came up with even more ideas for other short stories.  This is what I mean, it’s a consuming process, and if I were – let’s say – placed in some form of isolation, it wouldn’t matter, as long as I could write.

Have you figured out what ignites your passion?  Since at my age I’m still aspiring, I have this nagging in my gut telling me God wants to use me as an example – sort of like saying that a person can still bear fruit, even at an older age. But really, do yourself a favor, find the passion – I think it’s imperative you find it early on, because life really is too short to go around day after day in mediocrity, and then, when you do, dive in head first.  However, either way you look at it, that’s what I’ve found about myself; what all writers  learn of themselves I think – they love to write. Although, the heading of this post is a favorite line from the movie “Throw Momma From The Train,” it should be a mantra for all writers.  When I think back on all the years I spent miserable in my job – thirty-five or over forty, I’m glad I decided to look into turning this one time hobby into something serious.  Now, if God would only listen when I say – “Hello, I’m ready.” At which point you would then hear from me, “Roger, go at throttle up.”

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto

Oh, For The Memories

11474012_sLike a high school reunion, over the past nine years I have had encounters with three people who I haven’t see or heard from in way longer than that. Just the other day the third old friend found me on LinkedIn.  I’m certain I don’t have to tell you what emotions and memories are stirred up in such an instance. Whenever I watch one of my favorite movies, Die Hard With A Vengeance, my mind goes to this particular friend, and you know who you are. Why? Because there is a scene outside the 72nd Street and Broadway subway station – right where they lived – oh so many years ago; especially when the camera pans toward Gray’s Papaya. This setting shakes me, and I’m instantly transported to that location, and if at that moment, you placed your hand on the spot where I sat, it would be cold to the touch, because my spirit had already taken flight there.

Because this friendship holds such a special place in my heart I had an absolute compelling tug to write about it. When I think of this friend, I recall the Steve Miller Band, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, the Promenade Cafe at Rockefeller Center, and Joe Allen Restaurant, to name a few. All great souvenirs that will stay with me a lifetime, and way, way, way ago became a part of my make-up like breathing, eating, or getting up in the morning. Some friendships are just that way, aren’t they? Even though you lose each other over time, each one has left a ripple, if you will, on the other life – something where a simple facial expression, a name from the past, or a smell will suddenly create a jerk to the brain, and plummet you back in time.

Do you have such a friend? These special people were, I believe, placed in our lives for a reason; if only to fill our later years with thoughts of happiness from a time you thought you could hold onto forever. Recollections that will sustain you while rocking on the front porch of the respite home. And, although Father Time has visited both lives, as well as life itself with the highs and lows, there remains this unbreakable connection. You see, we didn’t know it then, but this bond formed all those years ago for a time such as this, or maybe, just because we both needed each other. If you have one of these friends that turns up again after so many years, believe me it’s for a reason.

So, yesterday I walked around with this goofy smile the entire day – remembering a time when life spelled: simple, easy and unhurried.  And, not that I want to promote Facebook, or LinkedIn, but what wonderful tools that helped reconnect two buddies lost over time. So, hello again, old friend, and remember this line from author Richard Bach – Don’t be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.

Photo courtesy of 123rf.com

Info courtesy of IMDB.com

Joe Allen Restaurant

Gray’s Papaya

Privacy #FAIL

I had this particular piece all ready to post last week, and for whatever reason, it just didn’t sit right with me to publish.  So, here I am, one week later, and I’m still running it through my head.  But, it got the best of me – it won.  Seven or so days ago, I read some scuttlebutt about certain places demanding your Facebook password when applying for a job. I immediately went to Google and entered this into the search field.  There were a couple of stories discussing some government agencies in North Carolina actually requesting applicants log into their FB account while in their interview.  I then read of a real instance where passwords have been requested making this truth, not fiction (FB passwords).  I’ve been informed that if I want to become an author, I can’t pick sides or let me say, show controversy.  And, for fear of being categorized with Ann Coulter, I shudder to go on, but you know I will.  I am a natural citizen of this country, and there is a little thing called…..”uh, let’s see……what is it?” she groaned, tapping her finger against her chin.  Oh, right….the Fourth Amendment.  That being said, where do I begin?

First, I’d ask that you sit back for a minute or so, and have this issue soak in, if you will.  I’ll help by reminding you – yes, this is America and, no, you did not blink or fall asleep, waking up in another realm.  Some years ago, a co-worker expressed concern toward me, because he thought certain things sent me into irascibility.  Okay, he said excited, but it means the same thing.  But, come on – that cannot pertain to me alone, can it?  I must say, however, that is one of my most unfavorable states on anyone.  But, when I’m enthusiastic about something, it is where you’ll most likely find me, I guess.  And, yes, I know I brought it up, but, for my sanity can we not use the word irascible?  Humor me, if you will, and call it passion – please and thank you.

In 1974 our government enacted a little something called the “Privacy Act.”  Now, can someone not having to pass a bar exam or some other major test, take the time to consume the pages and pages of this mind numbing, ridiculous double talk that some other (government) agency has now loop-holed to death?  I’ll give you a  minute to decide if you want to protest that comment.  Okay, moving forward.  It took me the longest time to make the decision to obtain a FB account.  This is – if you haven’t guessed by now – because I am a very private person.  However, in order to promote me, and my work, I cracked.  Of course, I also hobnob with my peers (other writers).  But, I consider some employer needing to view my FB page or requesting that I provide them with said password as invasive as it gets. I’ve read, and heard it categorized right up there with handing over the keys to your home.  I’m not discussing the employer or their employees on FB.  Therefore, what would necessitate their having to look it over, and even if I were, it all falls under the heading of PRIVACY.

On occasion, at certain markets here in Virginia you’ll notice on your receipt, the store has invited you as a patron to go online, and complete a survey for a chance to win, whatever.  I have, two or three times, done so.  Before completing the study a couple of the questions ask your nationality, income, and age.  Yes, I know they use this information to help with their demographics, but they’ll have to use another guinea, because my winning their contest is not pre-determined by my age and income.  Again, all a part of PRIVACY.  In addition, this little ditty is tied to, yet another law – something called DISCRIMINATION if you remember that – laws, laws everywhere, but none that cannot be bent.

I think we have unfortunately entered an age where there are more rules than one cares to handle.  But, what seriously confuses me is this.  Where are the morals that I thought got handed down, one, two, and three times from our grandparents to us, to the ones now a part of the law makers?  Is this the price of progress?  Shouldn’t these rules also apply to the statute makers?  Does it burn my butt, because I work in the legal profession – exposed to more or because I work for a Fourth Amendment attorney or is it due to the fact the simple premise of right and wrong is a part of my nature?  I say if any decree gets put into place – let’s begin with revamping that “Privacy Act,” find the loop holes, close them up and start again.  I’m sorry, has the entire country – all regulation makers and company heads gone berserk?  I think a giant “STOP” sign needs to go up somewhere.  We need to just say “HALT,” go back and begin again.

As I rub my crystal ball, I envision a time when we’ll all have to call for permission (I don’t know who), take a drug test, stand in line for a notarized pass, take a specially marked commuter train/bus, just to go to the market to pick up that receipt to enter this weeks contest.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this country of my birth, but where will it end?  Or is this just the beginning?  Is it only a matter of time before this outrageousness reaches every state, every Human Resource Department?  But, before I ask you to give your opinion – let me tip you off.  There is a little something called Changedotorg – I dare someone to log on, create their own ruling that screams – STOP! Care to weigh in?

Info courtesy of IBN Live

Image courtesy of iStockPhoto

A Writer Writes – Always

After years of working as a Paralegal, meeting deadlines, dealing with difficult personalities and whatever else that comes along with employment in a law firm, I’ve finally reached a point where I’m now working part-time.  Yes, I still deal with some factors of the law, but, my duties have become less urgent.  Don’t get me wrong, some attorneys will always be difficult, but maybe it’s my years in the field that have enabled me to take it all with a grain of salt.  So, I said all of that to say, my desk faces toward the outside – I have a very nice view of everything going on in my little corner of the Corporate Center.  The other day I took a breather – actually the entire day evolved as one needing deep thought.  Did you ever have one of those?  From the time I woke up everything I did needed questioning.  Especially, this putting words to paper thing some of us like to do.  At one point in my life I feared I had slipped away from my faith, but after thinking about it for a couple of days, I realized how far from the truth that had been.  Why?  Because the more I turned it over in my mind, the more I understood – I spent all my time thinking about just that faith.  Yes, it consumed my thoughts, which let me know, I had not veered off the path.

As I sat back in my chair, I kind of had the same urgency about my writing.  Am I dedicated enough to keep the fire going, particularly with Facebook, Twitter and this blog?  I spend a lot of time on all three, and then wind up kicking myself, because I’ve lost more time to doing everything but write.  But, like the belief issue, every waking hour; every extra minute, all I do is think about my stories.  Now, I know thinking about them is not the same as getting them written, but I believe that’s just me.  We all have a process to how we approach a project.  At that same instant, I knew that if for some reason I couldn’t write anymore, what a blow that would bring.  However, keep in mind I don’t say that to idolize the gift.  I bring it up mainly, because I am consumed with concocting new stories, and am so very thankful for the ability.  We all – each of us were given a specific gift.  I read that whatever you are passionate about is usually where your specialty lies.  And take it from me, if you are on the young side of forty, you still don’t know.  Oh sure, a person comes out of high school, picks a major, goes into college and comes out, hopefully to a career.  But, I say those professions are 50% of the time chosen by the head, and not the heart.  Many of us need to arrive on the opposite side of that magical number of forty to finally figure out what it is we desire out of life.

I know I wrote somewhere that I played around with the art of writing all of my life.  But, I had to reach the other side of that above-mentioned figure to grasp, this particular art had been my calling.  At that point, I knew with certainty all the road signs had my name on them.  I only had to shine the light, and continue to put one foot before the other, even if I did teeter-totter with each step.  In the process of having this conversation with myself, I came up with even more ideas for other short stories.  This is what I mean, it’s a consuming process, and if I were – let’s say – placed in a prison of sorts, it wouldn’t matter, as long as I could write.

Have you figured out what ignites your passion?  Since at my age I’m still aspiring, I have this nagging in my gut telling me God wants to use me as an example – sort of like saying that a person can still bear fruit, even at an older age. But really, do yourself a favor, find the passion – I think it’s imperative you find it early on, because life really is too short to go around day after day in mediocrity, and then, when you do, dive in head first.  However, either way you look at it, that’s what I’ve found about myself; what all writers  learn of themselves, I think – they love to write. Although, the heading of this post is a favorite line from the movie “Throw Momma From The Train,” it should be a mantra for all writers.  When I think back on all the years I spent miserable in my job – thirty-five or over forty, I’m glad I decided to look into turning this one time hobby into something serious.  Now, if God would only listen when I say – “Hello, I’m ready.” At which point you would then hear, “Roger, go at throttle up.”

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto

A New Millennium

It took me the longest time to warm up to the social networking craze. Who remembers the old days when most of an author’s promotions, were done by their publisher?  I don’t know when all this happened, it took place so rapidly, but being more active in self-promotion is key to staying in the game these days. Along with self-publishing that has sprung forth, a person’s participation in advertising is crucial.  Then, out of nowhere entered Facebook and Twitter. I recall watching hosts of television shows, and listening to radio announcers close with: Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.  I also recall talking to myself about all the meetings and workshops I know I missed on the subjects. But, my response to all of it remained the same, “Well, I’m not gonna.” My uppermost desire two years ago simply involved acquiring a website. I wanted that more than anything else.

Then, suddenly, that door opened and I became catapulted, literally into cyberspace. At that time I still held true to my first instincts. I did not want private/personal information floating around the Internet. But, everywhere I turned, even though I heard my own complaints echoed from others, a force continued to pull me in.  So, here I am, two years down the road with a website, a Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook Fan Page account.  At the time I had no idea the kicking and screaming worked as a harness, so to speak-holding me back from all that I could be, as well as, limiting the exposure of my name to my immediate circle of family and friends.  If one desires a career in writing, a ton of  directions are already out there. The person hoping for this must jump on the road, and follow the signs – they are clearly posted. Now, some may ask what is it that I’m promoting on a Fan Page, since I am not yet published. I look at it this way, if I’m not out there, no one will ever know who I am. If I want a career in writing, I’ve got to hustle. Besides, when that “call” does come, I’ll already have been frolicking in the pool, which means my daily routine shouldn’t be upset that drastically. In addition, the cheering section will already be in place, don’t you think?

If someone wants to do this, it will take some time. I remember doing a little each day; adding one feature, and then another.  When I got that down, I moved on. This way, you don’t become overwhelmed, because it does engulf every aspect of your thoughts. Let me preface what I’m about to say with, I am not patting myself on the back at all – my computer skills are strictly limited to word processing, and that is all.  But, I have surprised even me. I set up my website, Twitter, and Facebook account, all on my own. My Fan Page, however, did require some assistance.  But then, the other day, I surprised myself again by adding a  Fan Page “Like” button to my website. What I’m getting at is, if I can do this anyone can. Then, the other day, a sister writer sent a tweet about how she liked Twitter much more than Facebook. I said to myself – “self…I’ve been saying that since the beginning.”  I responded to her tweet, “Does that mean you’re less social if you like Twitter better?” Her answer, “No, you’re more social.” I must say, all of this has taken me, by complete surprise.

To sum up all I’ve been saying is, we have come, somehow into another new millennium, and if you “wanna be” anything, but are not yet involved in any of this social networking, then you’re standing on the outside peering through the window, watching the smoke. Don’t you think you should get on board, and strap in – otherwise you may get left behind choking and gagging on the space dust.

Confused Instant Messenger

On a Saturday morning, a few weeks ago, I happened to go on Facebook, doing what it is we do, when I noticed two people in the sidebar also visiting.  One of the names popping up in the little window belonged to my stepdaughter-in-law, so I immediately sent her an instant message.

“Good morning, how you doing?”

“Hi, Grandma Ronnie, I’m good,” she responded.

Now, I never gave a second thought to the grandma response, because my daughter-in-law occasionally addresses us the same as the children; example, my husband called my mother “Nana,” like our daughter.  Everyone addressed his mother as “Ma,” so I did also.

“What you doing?” I asked.

“My mom let me play a game on her Facebook account while she is in the shower.”

“Oh, your mother is there?”

“Yes, she’s in the shower.  My mom is always here,” she typed.

“Is your dad there as well?”

“No, Daddy is at work.”

“At work? In Ohio?” I queried.

“Yes, Grandma Ronnie, that’s were we live.”

“Did your mother drive over alone?” I asked.

“No, she’s been here all along,” she responded.

“But, your parents live in Pennsylvania.”

“No they don’t, they live here.”

“When did they move there?” I asked, surprise blanketing my face.

“What are you talking about, they are always here.”

“Okay, Alison, you are making me crazy.  What are your parents doing there working?  When did they come?”

“It’s Sarah, Grandma Ronnie.”

I explained the entire conversation to my husband; he and I laughed so hard for a week.  I guess the morning cloud refused to lift, at least enough so that I could understand my ten-year old granddaughter typed and answered me like an adult.  I don’t know if its old age,  a brain on overload or a warning sign that I may be slipping off the edge.  Either way, if you want to converse with me in the morning, make certain I know who you are.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto