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There will be an Imaginary Conversations, Part II, just not today. I am venturing into new territory with a racy/naughty/sexy short story with humor. I haven’t written a short story since Margaret Edwards’ Creative Writing class at UVM (Go, Cats, Go, except they got put up against Purdue in the first round of March Madness this year and were quickly gone. Basketball is a religion in Indiana. Whattayagonnado, ya know?) in 1981. Okay. 36 years between short stories (the two things I sold to Playgirl don’t count because they were short. Wicked short. And those were over a decade ago). That’s a lot of rust. Anyway, since I want this to be ready to offer as an e-book for Book Obsessed Babes (Jacksonville, FL April 8. I STILL HAVE 2 GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS!!!!), I need to focus. This story won’t write itself – the computers haven’t gotten that smart. Yet.

Speaking of upcoming short story, just remember the names “Patti” and “Ed.” Okay? Patti and Ed. Trust me, they are very busy imaginary people. The word count right now is 3379. How many in the final? I don’t know; it will take as many words as it takes to tell the story. I will say things are getting interesting.

I know I’ve promised you Liz Gardner’s story before Ty came along, and “The Baldie Chronicles” is under construction (and has been for some time), but it’s been fighting me tooth and nail. That’s the way it is with creative things; sometimes you are so inspired that you can work on a project for days and weeks on end, like Jack Kerouac and “On the Road” (although there may have been some drugs involved to make that happen), or sometimes, the Muse abandons you in favor of less difficult company (I can be a pain in the ass, I really can) which you end up envying when THEIR book soars to the tops of the charts and gets a big fat movie deal while you sit at home in your yoga pants with the big run in the butt and envy oozing out every pore. (You know damned right well your book is miles better if only people would read it, but that would involve getting out of the yoga pants and it’s almost time for “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Drives” anyway. Not to mention you THINK you may win the next Spider Solitaire game). Listen to “Luck Be A Lady Tonight.” Inspiration is as fickle as Lady Luck.

Luck Be a Lady Tonight (Like you can do better than Ol’ Blue Eyes?)

And that’s giving me ideas for another short story.

Let me tell you, while I’m talking about myself, and if you’re a fellow author who writes erotic things, I’ve found myself visiting websites and looking up terms that would make my mother roll over in her grave (Not my great aunts, though. Ruth and Loretta were cool. Marion still is). The shit that turns people on….I don’t even need George Takei for the “Oh, myyyy.” I was concerned about getting the logistics right. Not so much. Anything goes.

And finally, I want to offer 2 (two) General Admission tickets to Book Obsessed Babes in Jacksonville, FL, April 8 at the Omni Hotel. Trust me, Sheer Bliss Events puts on a great event.

I have to go see what Patti and Ed are up to.

Life and Life and Life….

I got a very pleasant surprise this morning: the Authors Database named me and my books to a “Must Read” list.

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AUTHORSdb tweet

I have gotten only one bad review and that was from a guy who thought he was buying something else. Yeah, I don’t have as many reviews as J.K. Rowling (who I admire even more for her brilliant tweets), but only one bad one is pretty good.

In other news…

Life, the Universe, and Everything (we’re not far from the Deep Thought computer that Douglas Adams envisioned) seems to be hell-bent on seeing how badly I want to write something. I sat down to write a short story (which – are you listening, Life? – I want to have completed to offer at Book Obsessed Babes in Jacksonville on April 8) .

 One paragraph, one. One lousy paragraph and suddenly, I’m up to my armpits in other things demanding my immediate attention. This happens every bleeping time I sit down to write something new, I swear to God. One time, I powered through it and just hunched over my keyboard hammering away…

My computer died. And it died before I could upload the manuscript to a cloud and work on it from another device.  It took a year and a half before I could buy a new one (it was the lean times).

Life is a bully. Straight up. “Ooh, can’t reach your manuscript! Hey, your phone’s blowing up! (once, literally) Ah, look at that; you have to move. Poop emoji (Like is a bully fluent in modern hieroglyphics). Nice story you’ve started. Shame if something happened to it.“

o-POOP-EMOJI-ICE-CREAM-facebook

I hear from other authors that Life is equally mean to them at such times, sometimes in far worse ways.

So, Life, here’s the deal. Like it or not. I’m writing. You are not going to interrupt me. Got it? Go bug a sculptor or a stripper or someone doing a poetry slam. I’m busy.

I Am

You guys are getting a “two-fer” in blog posts today. One is me being pompous (at which I excel) and one is me promoting myself so you’ll say, “OMG. I need to buy her books and read them NOW!”

This is the pompous post, but I have something I’d like you to read, think about, and use. I want the people around me (and if you’re reading this, you’re around me) to be happy, free from worry, and have the psychic space, if you will, to enjoy life.

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First, a bit of introduction. I have been a student of the Law of Attraction and quantum mechanics since I saw “What the Bleep Do We Know” in 2004. I had no idea what it was about, but I remember reading something in the Los Angeles times describing it as “fascinating” and a “must see.” My best friend came from a family of mathematicians, physicists, and one rogue lawyer. I wanted to understand the field a bit better (completely skipped physics in high school). What I saw changed my thinking on a lot of things. It is part narrative (Marlee Matlin, Elaine Hendrix, and Barry Newman (I remembered him from “Petrocelli,” an early 1970s lawyer drama on NBC)) and part documentary interviewing various doctors, physicists (Fred Alan Wolf talks about sub-atomic physics and says, “It gets a little nutty down there.” How could you not love that?), and a channeler discussing the effect of thoughts and emotions on our environment and that you can create your reality by choosing which thoughts get your focus. Energy flows where attention goes.

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What the Bleep website

Two years later, “The Secret” came out on DVD and you’re more likely to have heard of that one. Essentially the same message, but simplified. And it has Fred Alan Wolf again. The takeaway, “Thoughts become things.”

You create your reality.

Somewhere, I came across the phrase, “’I Am’ is the most powerful phrase there is. It’s true. I have been on a roller coaster of financial/housing ups and downs since 2002. After finding these two movies, I changed my thinking about the down times. I chose to think of them as temporary, that my reality was something better, and I would return to it; I just didn’t know when.

“I am…”

How do you finish that? How you finish that sentence is your mindset about yourself. “I’m broke/tired/fat/depressed/helpless/angry/unloveable/lazy/useless/sick…”

shape reality

What if, instead of “I’m broke,” you said to yourself, “I’m okay.”? It’s not a denial of your financial condition; it’s shifting the focus from the negative to what is right. You may not have a fat bank account, but you’re housed, your important bills are paid, you have food, your needs are met. IN THE MOMENT, you are okay. That’s all you need. For the moment, I’m okay.

Chances are you’ll also be okay in the next moment. And the next.

“Well, I’m sick. Nothing I can do about that.” Saying to yourself, “I’m okay” doesn’t deny illness. It denies illness and pain their power to make you helpless and powerless. I sprained my hip once and any movement was brutal pain (I’m not a fan of painkillers, so I gut it out with anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen). After a couple of days, I went to roll over in bed and it was agony. I got so mad, I yelled, “Fuck you! You’re only temporary! You’ll be gone in a few days, but I’ll still be here!” Think of crumpling a piece of newspaper. I felt that intense ache diminish in intensity and area just like crumpling a piece of paper.

“I am okay.”

It’s an affirmation. It’s not Stuart Smalley, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me.” (Senator Al Franken during his “Saturday Night Live” days) played for laughs.

stuart smalley

It’s you telling yourself in two words that you will not let your problems eat you alive. You will claim this moment and psychic space for yourself. And the next one. And the next.

“But what if…” I would hazard a guess that if you can challenge “I am okay,” then you’re not arrested, blown to Oz in a tornado, being chased by a grizzly bear, or sitting in the middle of an IRS audit (actually, they’re pretty cool. They just want money and accurate accounting, not your immortal soul. You can be okay in an audit).

If you don’t feel okay, drink some water. Have something to eat. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths (unless you’re driving, then don’t close your eyes). Then reassess. If you still don’t feel okay, repeat.

I am okay.

 

 

Enter Title Here

Sorry for missing a post yesterday, but here ‘tis. As I didn’t get frantic messages looking for it yesterday, I’m thinking no one was emotionally distressed by its absence.

Bastards.

Anyway, I have been able to rediscover a part of me that had to be shoved aside for the past few years of shelter instability: cooking and baking. I cooked: made one-dish dinners, pan fried meats, built salads and microwaved stuff, but it wasn’t my kind of cooking. I am one of those freaks that loves the challenge of Thanksgiving dinner. I experiment with meatloaf. My grandmother was one of the greatest cooks I’ve ever met and I can make her stuffed cabbage (Haven’t mastered her pot roast yet, though). Other than the cramps in my upper back from stuffing cabbage leaves, it’s all good.

This past week, I made a pan of brownies. Just an 8” x 8” of the family brownie recipe (that I tweaked and improved, much to my mother’s annoyance). They were fantastic.

And I’m going to do it again. Producing something to share with others feeds me as well, especially when it turns out well. I like to give back. (well, on my terms. Someone asked for my tiramisu recipe and I laughed at her. I think she whined to Mom afterwards because I heard about it).

Way back in the 1970s, we had a subscription to Gourmet magazine. I pored over those things, studying the pictures and the recipes. As a pre-teen in Vermont (not knocking the state, but this was before the foodie movement was born and garlic was an exotic spice), I didn’t understand a lot of the ingredients or cooking methods, but I did take on one recipe:

Baked Alaska.

I don’t know how I persuaded my parents to let me give it a shot, but Dad (whose birthday was today, Feb 7) cut a small board for me to use as the platform (according to the directions) and the folks bought 3 kinds of ice cream, brandy, and rum, and everything else. I studied that recipe for  a couple of days before making it, and then…

Game day: supporting cake made, soaked in brandy. Ice cream whipped and frozen into 3 layers, and egg whites beaten into fluffy insulating meringue. Assembly, quick browning under the broiler, which caused a leak which made me cry but then, who else has made Baked Alaska? At 13? I was too stupid to know I could fail.

Anyway, I made another one later and it worked. Unfortunately, that was the last because my brother took my board and used it for his fish gutting operation.

I’m looking for that recipe. I’m going to make it again. And cheesecake. And stuffed cabbage. It brings me joy. Joy is in short supply these days.