Write To The End

I was recently asked, “How long have you been writing?” and “Why did you chose to be an author?”

In the past I would provide some uninspiring, flippant-but-true answer: since before stone tablets were used. Or an equally redundant non-clarifying response that showed my amazing mental aptitude: Ah…geeze. You know? I don’t know. I guess…like… a long time.  But thanks to a discovery I made a few years ago, I am now able to give a truthful, heartfelt answer. Probably more than anybody would want to know!

I’d never realized how long my inner heart had been pushing me toward being an author until that summer I decided to take the plunge and clean out the attic of my family’s old home. I happened on some wooden crates shoved into a corner. As it turned out, they housed some of my earliest attempts at writing. I never knew Mom kept any of the stuff, but there they were: poems about my dog, my horse, my dad, my first crush, and that stupid Mockingbird who perched on a limb just out side my bedroom window and woke me each and every morning as soon as the sun touched the far horizon. Hated that bird.  Evil bird.

Beneath the poems were the stories. Kindly dragons who would gobble up children and keep them safe and warm in their mouth on a cold day- until their mother’s called them in for supper. The mystical red robin who would lead the way to a magic kingdom if you whistled the right tune. And not to be forgotten, the tale of the day Eddie Snodgrass wore a sack to school.

On his head, people! I was ten years old. Geeze.

Then there was the day the fire alarm went off. I smelled the smoke for possibly an hour, maybe longer, but brushed it off as inconsequential as I strove to write yet another clue to the mystery of the broken cuckoo clock. Even calls from the neighbors standing outside my house and the fists pounding on my front door couldn’t dissuade me from my single-minded determination to nail that clue. At some point, the dog bounded to the top of the stairs, took a stance just outside my office door, and began to sing. (Some may call it howling). “Okay Murphy,” I said, pushing the glasses further up my nose.  “Give me five minutes and we’ll go for a walk.”

Murphy knew I was lying through my teeth.

Finally finished, I had a belated epiphany that there was smoke billowing up from the general direction of the kitchen. OMG!  My lunch!  The same lunch I had put on the stove to reheat just before my brilliant clue idea hit my writer-blocked brain… some two hours earlier.

Yikes! Oh m’gosh!  Kitchen on fire!! Why didn’t somebody tell me???

I know it’s too much to hope that the world will cease to exist when I become totally focused on a story. But going forward I carry the hope if smoke is detected I will leave the story long enough to put it out.



What Is Crazy?

We all have heard or used the phrase… “He/She/That is crazy.” Some people I know throw it about like it’s an end-all/catch-all and nothing more needs said. That’s it. End of conversation.  But what is crazy?

Webster defines crazy as ‘departing from proportion or moderation’.

    1. Possessed by enthusiasm or excitement
    2. Immoderately fond; infatuated
    3. Intensely involved or preoccupied
    4. Foolish or impractical; senseless

Based on this definition, I can honestly say, most, if not all, of the people living on this earth are truly crazy. And I am one of them.

Possessed by enthusiasm or excitement. ‘Hey Lauren… the editor just committed to buying your next four books.’ I hear those words and I’m extraordinarily happy that months of effort have finally paid off. Am I excited? Oh. Yeah. So, according to Webster… I’m crazy!

Immoderately fond; infatuated. Guilty here too. Let Jon Bon Jovi- who is inarguably the most gorgeous male human walking this earth- be the guest on some talk show, I am so there! I would willingly admit my adoration for this man and his music exceeds “moderate”. I buy his CD’s. I watch his movies- of which there needs to be more- Hey Jon- are you listening?—and I believe he is one of the most intelligent people I know. Or– don’t know, as it were. But I don’t stalk the man. I’ve never written to him. So, does being an ardent fan make me crazy?

Intensely involved or preoccupied. This one I nail for sure through my daily ritual. Roll out of bed about 6 am, find the coffee pot, turn on my computer, and spend my day struggling to add words to a story that may- or may not- ever be read. If, as sometimes happens, the proverbial light bulb comes on and I suddenly realize a fleeting idea that might possibly make the difference in published or not published- well, even the dogs know to leave me alone. No phone call is answered. No doorbell is acknowledged. Even Jon takes a backseat! I am intensely concentrating on that idea- preoccupied with it- and until I get it down on paper. True emergencies aside, I allow no distractions. Guess I’m crazy.

Foolish or impractical; senseless. Yep. I’m a record holder here too. But I sure can’t blame my mother.  She tried.  She was a penny pincher. No sale was good enough. If I found the perfect pair of shoes on sale for 75% off, it was always… “Let’s wait and think about this.” What’s to think about? I need shoes. These are perfect. The money is in my purse. The sale ends tomorrow. There is ONE pair left in my size. And she wanted me to wait and “not rush in to anything”. Used to make me… well.. crazy!!   But in her eyes, I was being impractical. I was rushing into things before I took the time to step back and spend more time than I thought it was worth, contemplating… should I or shouldn’t I?. Now, to me, that is crazy!

So yeah, we have all achieved the degree of crazy sometime in our life. Does this make us bad people? Does it infer we need to be locked away? Should people be leery of us? Are we a danger to ourselves or others? The answer is a resounding NO!!

So, why is this word flung about in such a detrimental manner? Why do people- even friends – throw this description out as though you had just attempted to hold up a gas station? I mean…are they crazy?

I’ve decided I’m going to do my part in making this word a positive. When my 6 month old male Terrier finally goes outside to do his business.. I’m gonna pick him up, give him a big hug, and tell him…Nonie- you’re CRAZY!!!!!

If Bon Jovi’s limo ever becomes lost in my neighborhood and stops at my house to ask directions.. I will greet him at the door, smiling ear to ear, and loudly proclaim- use the phone? Of course! Come on in.. I’m CRAZY!!!!

The phone rings.. I can hear from the answering machine that it’s a great friend calling from the airport. He had a stop-over for a couple hours in the near-by city. Would I like to have lunch?

I’m gonna grab that phone before he hangs up, agree to meet him as soon as I can get there and not give a second thought to the potential brilliant story idea I was slinging fast and furious into my computer when the phone rang.

What? But you just said…

Guys… He’s a hunk! How crazy do you think I am???

The Diet

Have you ever realized you’ve become so self-indulgent that you couldn’t see who—or what—you’d become? I never comprehended, until recently, that my mind was showing me what I wanted to see regardless of the fact it was lying through its teeth. So to speak.

Apparently, the mind can be extraordinarily accommodating.  Sneaky. Underhanded. But I’m here to tell you, all it takes is seeing one picture of yourself someone posts on Facebook and reality will slap you so fast, so hard, you might never recover.

Apparently, my loony-tune brain has been changing any mirrored visions to look like the skinny seventeen-year-old I was a millennium ago. It even convinced me I still had a waistline. Dear old Facebook slam-dunked those illusions and stomped them into the ground. The fog had been lifted. My true self had been revealed.

Oh. My. God.

After the shock wore off I went to the scales. I’ve kept them tucked beneath my bed for years. And years. Surely they would tell me the truth. In desperation I recalled reading some movie star saying the camera always added twenty pounds. That had to be it.

Swallowing back my trepidation I pulled them out and dusted them off. And stared. It was a black hole. My cowardly brain told me once I stepped on those scales, I might never be the same again. Maybe I should do this another day? I had laundry waiting.

No. NO. I might—or might not—break the thing, but I was gonna do this. I had to know.

Oh. My. God.

In spite of my delusional mind screaming it needs a new battery!- I knew the truth. I ran down the stairs in a total panic, fleeing from that little conniving monster on my bedroom floor. All those TV commercials touting weight loss and I had ignored them as I sat enjoying my bowl of Blue Bell extra chunky chocolate swirl. The increase in dress sizes…why were manufactures making clothes smaller? My evil mind had ignored all these knocks on my door of reality. Not only had it ignored the rapping, it I had me internally bragging on the remarkable quality only I possessed that kept me thin no matter what, and toasting that feat with a couple of blueberry pastries. Or three.

Okay. Pull yourself together. You’re not dead. Yet. Loose the weight. You’ve been paying for a gym membership for three years. Maybe you should see what’s inside the building. You can do this. You’re a citizen of the United States of America. You are not alone!! It was easy enough to put on the extra pounds. So easy in fact, I’d never noticed doing it. How hard could it be to make those pounds go away?

Oh. My. God.

After a week of dieting (my inept brain calls it starvation), I now hate any food remotely green. I’ve made the acquaintance of the intimidating, totally unfriendly treadmill. I’ve realized there is nothing I can do to a glass of water to make it the least bit appealing. And frustration has become my closest friend.

But—on the positive side—I’m happy to report I’ve lost 4 pounds.

And a friend.

She just couldn’t keep it to herself that the first ten pounds were the easiest to lose.