Being human is a strange and scary thing

 

Everyone wants to be just a little bit freer. Free of the worries which cloud over us like rising waves out of a stock still sea. Free of the pain and the sorrow which soars inches above our head allowing us to believe we have just barely dodged it. It circles round. Free of the tiny things, the ones we do not know are doing us harm. The head in the sand things. The turn your gaze to another things.

We want to be taken as well. Take your freedom and stuff it, says us. Roll it away to darkened corners. We do not want the heavy weight of decision-making upon us. We do not want to create or to resolve or to amend. Life has an abundance of idea-men already and autonomy is far too overrated.

We want to be in charge. We want the reigns.  The power, the prominence. We want, we want, we want too many materials to name. Want becomes need because the line here is thin. It is emaciated from eons of manipulation.

We want love. Light, luscious, luminescent love. Take you away from your own personal horror love. Save you love. We bargain for this love in friends, fans, mistresses, men and children. Dogs. Especially dogs. Dogs are not truth tellers—this is why we love them so.

We are all experts, yearning for a pat on the back. We know it all. We do it best. We say it perfectly. We are always right. If we are not, we will die. This is obvious from the strong personal vigils we stand yelling about our ultimate rightness to all those who will listen.

We are humble. We want to be humble. So fucking badly. We want to stand in a public square, baring our soul to those who seek it. Allowing strangers to touch our tarnished humanity, let go of the fear which holds us back. We want to be okay. We want the other people to see that we are okay. There goes the humility.

We want faith if it comes with statistics. We want happiness if it comes with a bit of pain. (Not too much pain because that would hurt.) We could use a little more sadness if it comes with tactful sexual allure. And we want it now, but only in small slices because we cannot handle a lot of anything at once.

We want our mothers, without their philosophies. We want fame without talent. Prestige without having done anything at all. We want blood while keeping our hands clean. Beautiful smiles which obscure the malice that lies beneath. We want strength without training. Exploration without danger. To experience life without living.

And each day we grapple with these morbid thoughts of want versus need. We jumble them, mix them into a giant bowl of universal subject matter. As we lay them out to dry, frightened for what we might discover, we forget that this is our impermanence we organise so deftly within our imagination stations. We look it over. We stare into its abyss wondering how to work it all out. How to consolidate this mass of mess in just the perfect way so it will come out inline with what all the other humans are doing.

So it will be undetectable. Desirable. So we will fit in. So we can simply be.

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The Plight of the Sensitive Smeller

 

The smell of grease fat lingers this morning from the previous night’s feast of fish and chips. Tiny whiffs of scent hang in the air like the surprise fun-bags you find at novelty shops. Except rather than discovering fanciful prizes upon opening them, these sacks contain a swift punch to the nostrils. A walloping of the senses.

I hate weird smells. Can you tell? I’m so anal about it. My roommates (and by “roommates” I mean my kids, husband and sister in law) must get SO annoyed with me. I am forever asking, “What is that disgusting smell?” or yelling in top rage mode, “WHY DOES THIS HOUSE STINK ALL OF THE TIME?!”

Sometimes I wonder if it is me that smells. I will slink away to the bathroom and attempt to check my various body parts for ill-smelling indicators but that never works. If the horrendous smells were in fact coming from my person I’d never be able to tell. I would have already become accustomed to my reek. The ripened aroma would have already amalgamated with my skin follicles. I would wear it like a child wears her favorite Halloween costume, for days and remorselessly. I would bathe happily in my stench never quite accepting the dismay I was putting those I love through by simply standing next to them.

This revelation leads me to believe that there still must be something extra that is stinking up my home because I can in fact smell it. I will begin rooting around under furniture, behind tables, like a hog roots for truffles. I am on a quest to find the sought after tang of insubordination. For one beautiful moment I believe the smell might have dissipated. I have opened the windows and currently all I can detect is an unsoiled breeze blowing in. My heart is aflutter by the seemingly mystical properties which have vanquished the horrendous odour from my abode. A single tear drops from my eye. I am free.

However my happiness is in vain. Somewhere in the depth of my senses there is a tingling. It lazily alerts my brain that the smell has not truly left but lays in wait. There is rests. “Soon” it teases as the plot of this ever thickening joke on my senses evolves.

Alas my friends, this is the plight of the sensitive smeller. It is a sad and pathetic tale but one which must be told. So next time you encounter someone whose nose is particularly in tune with their surroundings, remember these words. Have sympathy. Agree that, yes, there definitely is a revolting stink in here. And most of all assist them in their hunt for the aroma in question because, as our sacred scent-detecting mantra goes: A smellers search is never through until the smell is found.

 

Another post on writing and junk, you’d think we were all writers or something around here…weird.

 

The power in our small bi-level home surges as I hit the SUBMIT button. Wait, was that a sign? A message sent from the great beyond? My skin turns to gooseflesh. I think of Grampa Bert, my all-time favourite storyteller. Maybe? Bah! Hogwash. It’s an old house and the electrical in this bitch sucks. I guess it is more likely that my brain, the soft part that need constant reassurance, is really just teeming with anxiety over the new flood of rejection messages I will be receiving in two to eight weeks. Prepare yourself, rejection is coming.

Side note: there is a fly in this room right now. A FLY IN DECEMBER! Its buzzing is infuriating not only for the distraction but for the sheer perplexity of its existence.

I’ve begun sending out stories, essays, blurbs and whatever else a publisher may want to take a look at. I’m like a teeny-bopper clad in fluorescent pink and the personality to match—look at me, pay the attention to this gal over here!

A few days ago my sister-in-law asked me why I write online. Well she didn’t come out and literally ask me. We were talking about writing and I naturally assumed she wanted to know every possible detail of my writing career so I willingly divulged my secrets…that are no more secret than my dirty erotica writing forays.

I told her that I write to obviously become rich and famous because, you know, that’s what all art is about. Duh. But as a secondary motive I write to simply tell the stories that are buzzing around (like this damn December fly) in my brain. It seems as soon as I drag one out and place it to word processing document another one begins to unfold into reality.  The more I write, the more stories are waiting to be written.

I think about reading stories that stick with me for days, weeks, hell years afterwards. I will remember images or a plot twist or the simple construction of the first sentence, the hook, and I realise how essential the written word can be. Stories entangle our imaginary lives with reality giving us the perfect amount of unrealistic expectations to keep us moving forward and striving on. They feed our waning imaginations. The older we grow the more fiction we must consume to keep our brains hale and hearty.

Great literature from the past, blogs posts, short stories, online magazines, a funny Facebook post; we read and write to connect with one another.

The idea that something I’ve written could affect someone like this intoxicates me. I could be like an imagination doctor! To think one story, one sentence even will stop the reader and make him say, “Hey, I never thought of it that way.” It is a mesmerising goal to reach for. If I can write one blog post that someone reads and thinks, “That is exactly how I feel too sometimes, at least I’m not alone.” I’ve scored the big one.

I’m a peopley person. What can I say, I love them humans. And I’ve obsessed over writing since the beginning of time, my beginning at least. Writing and the human condition fit hand in hand. Or existential crisis in existential crisis. I guess it depends on how you’re looking at it, where you’re positivity meter stands at the moment.

So I’m going to keep on writing, keep on submitting my work and rejection messages be dammed! I’ll wear them down eventually…or I’ll get better I suppose. Whichever comes first.

I’ll show ‘em, I’ll show ‘em all! One day you’re gunna see my name in lights!

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FEAR

 

Some days I am afraid. I am afraid to start writing each morning for fear of discovering I no longer fall fast and deeply in love when placing pen to paper, finger to key, idea to world.

Some days I am afraid. Most days in honesty, panic strikes long and unabashed as I ready the babes for their school time escapades. Am I enough?  Can I do right by them? Will my guiding hand be strong and kind enough to chaperone them around life’s sadness and hurdles?

Some days I am afraid. Afraid of the tiny soloist who lives in the deep of my character and sings stridently about wasted opportunities. Rejections. The awkward moments and the ill-advised decisions. He will remind me of former days and he does not quiet. He does not calm.

Today I wake with a different type of fear dripping from my better judgment. Afraid that the fear which drives, the fear which pushes me to places I once imagined never gracing, will leave me lonely and lackluster.

For it is not the fear that holds us back—that keeps us indolent. It is a lack thereof. It is an emptiness in that place that gives us butterflies when dreaming of future days. It is a hole in the fabric that weaves together our motivation in all things seemingly impossible. It is a gap in the driving force that gives us grounds to reach into the farthest depths of our will for the people we love. It is desolation upon our plain of imagination.

It is this loss of motivation, this loss of fear that scares me most of all.

We tell ourselves that the fear is what we should fight against. The fear of this and the fear of that is what is holding us back. I have come to disagree. It is the fear that keeps us going. It is the fear that tells us we will never be good enough. Never be strong enough or smart enough or happy enough. It is this terror of “not enough” that keeps us striving. It keeps us living.

I suspect the fear will forever live somewhere just beneath the surface, and in hopes of eradication it will remain just out of reach. But close enough to keep me lively. Incentives towards growth. An aid in personal evolution. So I will hold my fear close at hand and continue to do the things which scare me.

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Progressing is key, it is time to delve into the deep.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”
― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

If I could choose just one quote to love more than any others it would be this one. If there was one group of words which summed up how I usually feel or at least how I want to feel about life as a writer, this group would be it.

Unfortunately (or I suppose fortunately) for me there are far too many astounding humans quoted every damn day to choose just one as a favourite.

As I meander once again through the shallow waters of script and sonnet I can feel myself wading dangerously close to the deep end.  Currently I splash cheerily, absent-minded, in superficial thoughts. Words flow easily over my toes and out into the beyond. I think little of these sentences I scroll because little thought is required. It is all rhetoric. Pretty prose echoed agreeably as I spill it from my soul. Thoughts on life and love and being human. These are the easy things to write. They are safe but with little substance.

My words today will not strike any profound cords in those who read them. They will not rummage up memories which have been tucked away for safekeeping. These sentences are not dangerous. They will not provoke any deeper wondering or wake the harboured yearnings of moments lost to oblivion. They do not strip away the beautiful fluff we humans shield ourselves with to protect against anything weightier than the daily grind. Instead my words today will gently settle down upon you, resting easy while a war still rages beneath the surface.

There is an itching in my brain and it is growing stronger as my confidence as a writer ripens. I know it is not feasible to continue to write from this comfort state in which I currently live. To grow we must go out on a limb. We must use our doubt as a parachute and fall into the unknown with the tools and the belief that we will thrive against all odds. If we stay in this place of ease, the art of the matter will halt and nothing new will emerge.

There are many projects, ideas and visions I can so clearly see in my minds-eye. They will require hard work, resolve and a promise to write real and true – which is sometimes the most difficult requirement of all.

It is just a matter of finding the resolve to shut my eyes tight and jump, without reservations, into the deep.

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I nearly broke my perfect streak!

I tried to cheat this morning. *Sigh* I tried to cheat and hide it from you guys. I tried to hide it from myself – mumbling under my breath that it would be okay if I did it just this once. I had justification. Ugh I disgust myself.

Moments ago I found myself surfing through my Google Docs. I was looking for something that hadn’t been published that I could pass off as my daily post. I was literally about the CHEAT! I’m having a bit of a panic attack here. Well not really, it’s actually more of an attention attack so you’ll just have to excuse me while I let this pass.

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Okay, so why did I almost do it?

Well like I said I had justification. Since starting this writing project I’ve mustered up the wherewithal to take a look at some of my unfinished projects. And some of them (not all of them, let’s not go crazy here) are actually pretty good. They need some spit shining and a few rewrites but I want to try submitting to a few publishers. Again. This is actually a big deal because the mental and emotional trauma a writer endures while submitting their work to hundreds of publishers only to get rejected over and over again is pretty heavy stuff to say the least man.

So my plan was to sluff off my daily post and work on more pressing matters. But isn’t that sort of defeating the purpose Lindsay? *She types to herself in a borderline psychotic break sort of way.

The entire point of this thing is to warm up my writing skills. Isn’t getting this inspiration/guts to delve into the publishing world again only proving that my new writing habit is working. Why would I stop now?

Plus, 100 words a day isn’t difficult. Look, I’ve just got down over 300 in the few minutes I’ve been mulling this over!

Thanks writing friends, you guys are sure swell to talk to.

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Do you ever feel the pressure of waiting projects and overlook the process? Tell me what helps keep you on track and maybe I can adopt some new methods so I don’t try to cheat again!

 

 

It is Sunday and I’m Writing Stuff Down

A steaming cup of coffee sits to my left and just like that I am rejuvenated. A bit of this has to do with the coffee (well, maybe more than a bit. Coffee is life.) But more so it is a feeling of reemergence that is warming my heart this early Sunday morning. It has been exactly six days of writing at least 100 words a day and despite my misgivings about this project in the beginning I can already feel the difference in this once-weary writer’s soul.

Ideas are springing up seemingly out of nowhere. A newfound verve for unfinished projects has encapsulated me. Any spare moment I have I find myself meandering through writing projects I haven’t glanced at for years.

I no longer have that hardening feeling of it all being much too much. That overwhelming pressure when looking at all of the unfinished projects on my computer. The desperate feeling of inadequacy which ultimately stopped me dead in my tracks and inhibited me from pressing forward at all.

By writing every day and having the knowledge that I will continue to write every day I am reminded about how much I purely love to write. It is not about the end result yet. It is about the forming of sentences, the formulating of stories. It is about writing my truth down and knowing that I am doing this simply to improve and strengthen my craft. It is about growth as a writer and the growth of becoming my own human being.

What comes from that is yet to be determined and I’ve decided that that is alright by me. I have learnt that looking too far into the future is detrimental to my own creative process. So for now I will not take this writing time for granted but instead celebrate in the muse I have been so fortunate to once again find.

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Turns out, we all just have to communicate like there is no tomorrow.

Being a human is pretty damn lonely sometimes.

There are moments when I become so introverted in my thoughts and feelings that for a while I wonder if I will ever be able find my way out to civilisation again. Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just easier to withdraw. It is simpler to go inwards and stew over that weird thing you said at that party ten years ago rather than face our concerns head on. That would involve confrontation, and if you are anything like me, confrontation is the root of all things uncomfortable in life.

I just finished reading, “The Last Tribe” by Brad Manuel. This book you guys. It. Is. Amazing. Read it now, my recommendation is strong with this one. Look I can’t even form a proper sentence because I am so obsessed with this book. One of the great qualities of The Last Tribe is how developed the characters are. Not only the main group of characters but ALL OF THEM. They all have little quirks and flaws but as a whole possess a purpose to survive in a dead world after a terrible pandemic catastrophe wipes out of the world.

With this attribute comes a similar communication technique which I wholly agree would be crucial in surviving a post-apocalyptic world. They are all exceptionally straight forward and candid. There is no skirting around issues or tippy-toeing around others because, I suspect in that type of a situation, coyness would likely get you killed.

These characters live in a new world where community is key to their survival. If one member of the group doesn’t like an idea they actually voice their concern (crazy concept right?!) There is no malice in their objection. They are simply pointing out the flaws where they see them. And on that token there are very rarely hurt feeling from these rebuttals. If someone’s idea is shot down due to serious design faults, they have the wherewithal to step back from themselves, look at it from a non-ego wielding point of view and acknowledge that it likely was not the best move for the group.

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this happen in my everyday life. In this reality we are not in dire straits. We do not need to worry about survival. Teamwork and communication between peers is far less relevant. At least, this is what we’d like to believe.

The human race (at least most of us) has evolved to this point where we all just think we are the smartest smarty-pants whom have ever walked the earth. We can do it all. We don’t need no stinking input from others. It has actually become rude to rebut someone’s idea. I don’t actually know how we have progressed as far as we have. And when we don’t know the way, when we are feeling at a loss instead of asking for help we hide away. We retreat into our caves of concealment because some part of our brain has begun to think that needing help is a sign of weakness.

The reality is, we all need help sometimes. We may not be living on a post-pandemic world of fleeting technological resources but we do still need to work together for our survival. Maybe in our case it is more of an emotional survival but it is survival nonetheless.

I have decided as a personal goal that I am going to try much harder to be straightforward with the people I love. Not mean or hurtful but to tell those I live with how I am feeling about certain situations and voice my opinions on how to make things better. With that said I am going to put great effort forward to toss away the ego exerting mindset which causes me to get offended when someone suggests something be done differently than “my way”.

We all have areas of expertise and different ways of thinking around a problem, doesn’t it make sense to listen to all of the thoughts on the table? When they say, “Two heads are better than one” I don’t think they are talking about mythical monsters.

This idea had begun slowing creeping into my brain and now has taken on a fully formed shape which I cannot remove. I think that to begin living a happy and healthy life we must begin to communicate with one another like we are all just trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world. It is time to start speaking with truth and communicating effectively again.

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Just get the hell on with it why don’t you!

 

I look at the day ahead. I am reeling with anxiety. Timelines and schedules disco-hop through my mind’s eye in a fashion that leads me to believe that my brain has an evil ulterior motive. My hands quiver as I type and I have to wonder if I should even be taking this time to type at all because, damn, I just have so much to do today.

I am the sort of person who gets overwhelmed easily. Can you tell? I have a very difficult time dealing with too many responsibilities over one 24 hour time period. For example, raising children isn’t a stress factor (well it is, but not in the same way) because this endeavour spans an entire lifetime. If I want to feed them popcorn for dinner or skip homework one night  it’s going to be okay because I have a plethora of child-rearing days to make up for the misstep. Having three business meetings, a large quantity order going out during the lunch rush and having to do it all before 3pm when I pick the kids up from school…that gives me the spine chills.  These are the days I am an anxious ball of pent up stress that is undoubtedly radiating a gross amount of sweat and negative energy. An absolute treat to be around I’m sure.

And yes, oh yes, I’ve tried about every possible remedy for this fretful behaviour. From calming teas to lavender oil…to actually attempting to will away the busy onset of events—nothing seems to work.

Except there is actually one thing.

And that is, simply getting on with it. Just doing the shitty, stressful, wholly unwanted thing with a smile on your face and a can-do attitude in your heart. Yeah, yeah, lamest thing I’ve ever written. I know guys, but the truth of it is this is life man.

Sometimes we must simply get into the car and drive to the place we’ve never been. Despite the worry about getting lost and the stress of not knowing anybody there. Sometimes there is no simpler solution than to just do.

I find when managing my time efficiently and using up the leisure time I do have with productive ventures such as reading and writing I am more willing to participate in the tougher stuff with a positive attitude. As a general rule, a can-do ‘tude is one of the best qualities one can have…even if you are feeling the shit storm of obligation encompassing you like that mighty claws of a great griffon, sometimes you just gotta smack that griffon on the talon and say, “let’s fuckin’ do this!”

We humans are resilient and we typically thrive in high pressure situations, revealing to ourselves and others how remarkable we truly are. As we continue to “just get on with it” each time this feeling of conquering the beast becomes easier and easier to overcome.

We do not have the ability to learn or live well without experiencing a little trepidation in our lives. Anything worth doing is going to cause stress because it is new and unknown. In most instances, we must just get on with it or else life will get on without us.

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I Want To Write Poetry…Sometimes.

 

I wanted to write poetry this morning.

Mourning how many months, years, millennia

It has been since verse has scrawled across this screen.

I wanted to write beautifully

Words that scratch some surface

Suitably.

I wanted to write about appetite:

Strange passions.

Outrageous actions.

Famous fashions.

These moments-

They sometimes consume me.

Entangling me in yet-to-be-made memories.

Seeds for tomorrow days

Unmade ways

Ablaze with stories running with haste

In my brain.

I wanted to write something truthful

It seems.

I wanted to explain the emotions

Which reign.

I wanted to share pain,

Releasing and freeing. I wanted to freeze

This feeling of wellbeing

And peace.

To paper, to screen

To forever be seen.

I wanted to write poetry this morning.

Not only to mourn over time mislaid and misplaced

But to celebrate what life and writing has

Forever encased.

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Living Stories

The sun slips through a crack in my bedroom drapes and I roll over to put an arm around my snoring Jamie. I should really do some writing today. However the musing quickly slides away as a mounting to-do list takes precedence. There are always so many important things to worry about these days.

I hear the kids perusing the kitchen, likely on the hunt for Lucky Charms—their special weekend cereal. Rolling over and pulling the pillow over my head seems like the best option but the to-do list stops me. That damn to-do list, it gets me every time.

My legs feel heavy as I pull on my burgundy hole ridden sweats. I take a fleeting glance in the mirror but I don’t stay long because this early in the morning I don’t have the self-esteem to deal with un-showered, un-shaven, desperately tired with a side of bedhead Lindsay. Don’t cry for me blogoshpere, the truth is it just takes a bit of time for my girl power to kick into high gear on these lazy Sunday mornings—‘aight.

After an impromptu trip to the grocery store for milk, a quick clean of the kitchen, a shower and some coffee slurping I am off to work. The shop isn’t open today but there are some bakery orders that need filling and a bit of prep that is better not left for the last minute Monday morning madness.

I crank my go-to 90’s tunes and get to baking. I’m dancing and singing and sifting and mixing and I’m feeling pretty fucking good about it too. That is until an old friend creeps gently into the forefront of my thoughts.

God you should write today Lindsay. How long has it been? 3 maybe 4 weeks now. Cobwebs. Oh how we hate going back to the cobwebs.

Often, by this point, it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. You know, too thick with dust to bother.

The feeling moves down to my lungs and palpitates in a rhythm that cries; it’s over, you’re done, give up, writing isn’t in the cards, everything else is too important.

I wonder if writing will ever near the top of the to-do list again. Or if it really is just, over.

All of the greats say that if you are a “real writer” you will make time for writing. You will allow writing to be your first priority. YOU will live, breathe, eat and shit writing,

I don’t know how they do this.

It honestly baffles me. I am barely, just BARLEY, hanging in there with what I’ve got going on. Owning a business and raising two children, who by the way I’d like to be active members of society, takes all of the energy I’ve got. How could I possibly put writing in front my family’s well-being or my children’s upbringing into awesomeness? Obviously it isn’t an option.

But this angst that has now encompassed the entirety of my body does not let me forget. It tells me that it is my nature. It is who I am. It does not brush easily to the wayside for long. I’m in too deep now. Just a few words would suffice, several sentences, perhaps a paragraph if I’m lucky. However any bit will do for now.

After the bread has baked and the cupcakes have been frosted I sit down at a keyboard. I don’t know what I will write until my fingers stroke the keys and sometimes it is garbage that only its creator can appreciate. Occasionally by some vast miracle of the universe another person can find some sort of weird and unruly truth in it. Sometimes when that happens I smile and remember why it feels good to write for other human beings enjoyment.

But every time, every single time, I put words to paper I feel as though this clutching presence has been lifted and once again I can breathe easy.

I suppose that at this point in life, I am meant to be building businesses and bringing up babies, slinging sentences whenever I can and going a little crazy while juggling it all. I should feel lucky that I am one of the few that know, like really know, what they were meant to do.

And in time the writing will come. One day there will a desk that looks out onto something beautiful, a keyboard waiting to be pounded on and a brain overflowing with tales to tell.

I look forward to that day. But first, we must live the life to tell the stories.

Grab a ticket and hop on

I’m sitting at this computer, a coffee to my left and a pile of Hot Wire paperwork to my, er, further left. Don’t you know, coffee always takes precedence.  I am looking at this keyboard and thinking, “it’s been a while old friend.” I’m feeling a little dramatic because a life without embellishment would result in me withering away into an endless black hole of worthlessness. And that would be a bummer man.

It’s been weeks, month’s maybe since I last sat down and wrote. Sure, I spew a few lines here and there. When I do write, as I’m sure my long-time Mama readers will vouch, it’s a little on the fatalistic side. I swear, I’m not as angry and disgruntled as my latest writings would suggest. It’s just what seems to be spilling out at the moment, and as they say, you can’t argue with art.

Every week or so I horde a little time to scour through some of my old Me Plus Tree columns or pull out a few Blogging Mama bits and revel in all of the time I used to have for writing these long drawn out blurbs of hilarity. As you also know, I am horribly, dreadfully, without even a little bit of shame one of the vainest human beings I know when it comes to my writing. I literally laugh out loud at my own work. Perhaps I shall seek help one day about this.

The kids have done a 360 on their blogging position and now are loving the fact that I have a treasure trove of funny stories involving them. Some of the more appropriate tales have come to be their bedtime stories and they laugh and laugh as I recite these babblings to them in loud and outlandish voices. This arrangement works well in the fact that we can achieve our nighttime routine and my need to satisfy the teeming narcissism in my soul at one convenient time.

It’s pretty great and I must admit I love being able to make these stories what they were always intended to be; a journal for my kids. Rereading these moments helps remind us all where we’ve come from and how far we’ve journeyed. And that is a really cool thing.

Last night I spun a well-known tale for them about a wee girl hiding under the computer desk with shitty pants and a mischievous twinkle in her eye. They laughed and my heart swelled at the sounds of their giggles over a story I crafted so many years ago. That life seems like it is so far away now and I’m so thankful I have these writings to keep us connected with that time in my young family’s lives.

It got me to thinking. There are so many things happening right now. Amazing, tough, terrifying and thought provoking things and…I’M NOT DOCUMENTING ANY OF IT!!!

Of course there is the fact that we are running a business, working at that business full time, bringing up babes and trying to find a life somewhere in-between all of that too. Where do I find the time to write? I’m sure all of the great story tellers of our time found themselves asking the exact same question. And the answer? Well, I guess the answer is, I have to just find the time. Whether it be a break at work or early in the morning hours or long after the kids are snug in their beds at night.

I could probably just stop binge watching Gilmore Girls a few nights a week and all of my writing quandaries would be solved. Ah! But they are just so saucy, who couldn’t love that quirky mother/daughter duo?!

My coffee has stopped steaming and the pile of paperwork is still staring at me relentlessly so I suppose it is time to start the day. However today I will go about my work, with a contentedness I haven’t had in some time. I’ve wrote. Perhaps it wasn’t the start of a great novel or a short fiction story that really makes you think, but it was something. Something my children will one day rummage up and begin to read, reminding them of our adventures on this wild ride we call life.

Unqualified Business Advice

 (So I wrote this essay for a friend who is thinking of opening up a small business…And then I thought I would share it with you guys, becasue well…that’s what I do.) 

 

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So you’re opening a business.

Well you’ve come to the right place. *She says while looking around maniacally and rubbing her hands together in a untrustworthy manner.

Who I am kidding, I have no clue why you came to me for advice! I’m not suitable to give a cat clad in denim overalls business consult. But here you are needing some encouraging words, and if I can do one thing, it’s string together a few fancy sentences. So here goes nothing.

Not to mention, we’ve have had our fair share of “learning curves” worth of wisdom that I’d love to impart on you.

To start off strong and brash let’s begin with finances. The biggest thing that we learned (the very very hard way) was to over-estimate EVERYTHING. So you go ahead and make up your business plan and say you work out that you are going to need forty thousand to get everything started, you are probably actually going to need around upwards of sixty. Otherwise six months in you will find yourself pimping out your pets to the crazy cat lady next door to pay the electric bill and savaging through couch cushions for rent money. Well, it probably won’t come to that (**looks around awkwardly) But in all honesty there are so many hidden costs around every corner when it comes to something of this magnitude. We are still (and probably always will be from now on) discovering new things in which we knew nothing about and yet having to fork out dough for – no pun intended, actually, pun definitely intended.

Because in the end, everyone (EVERYONE) wants a piece of the pie…again, pun most certainly intended.

Which brings me to the next point. If you are having to get contractors in make sure you do your homework. We got screwed around something awful when it came to our contractors. Sometimes they were just downright ripping us off, or simply not installing things correctly, or—get this—not pulling the permits that they were supposed to pull before working on our bay! So, make sure that you really know your shit when it comes to the contractors, your permits for the work that needs to be done and so forth and so on. This was definitely one of our sorest spots when getting everything up and running, it ate away a lot of our budget and threw us for a loop. *revert attention to pet pimping comment.*

The first few weeks we were open we had at least four or five people trickle in a day telling us how we should run our business. They wouldn’t buy anything, or even surrender a kind comment about our hilarious puns or funky decor. No, apparently their job was to tell us that they’ve “worked in the industry” for thirty years so obviously they have some valid points to divulge upon us. They would proceed to nitpick at every tiny detail that we had put into our place. From the fact that we were charging TOO LITTLE for our product to how they make chicken salad and their recipe sounds much better than ours does.

Finally when we would ask them what restaurant they owned they would say, “oh no, I don’t own anything, I’m a line cook over at the Ramada, have been for the last ten years.” Or something similar. My point is, once you have a solid plan and have begun proceedings on your business everyone with a mouth and two cents is going to want to tell you how to run your shit. Just remember that you are the one who has had the wherewithal to move forward with your plan, trust your instincts and do your thing! Of course if you hear some good advice, take it gracefully but also with a grain of salt. Own your ideas, your goals and your creations. Because they are yours and yours alone.

Man alive there is so much more I could tell you! I could fill a book with all of the mishaps that went on. It seems to me that the things we were really stressing about in the beginning we’ve yet to find trouble with in the now! And all of the things that we never thought of are what is wreaking havoc in our lives daily. I know it feels big, like unimaginably big, like so big that you really have to wonder why the hell it is called a “small business”. But as you move forward, every day you will conquer another few things on the long list of have-to’s. Eventually, you will have jumped more hurdles than what you have in front of you.

And man, that’s a good fucking feeling!

But as for newly-fresh, still in the idea stage of things; make sure you have a strong foundation to build on (did I just say that? Ew, gag me with a spoon).

As a general overview when starting out I think it is important that you build good strong relationships with, your financial adviser, lawyer, accountant (if you don’t have one, get a recommendation from someone because they are your LIFELINE to a business! Although Jamie and I are pretty brain-dead when it comes to numbers so that’s why we are so reliant on him)

Even before you really start building your actual business it would be wise to form relationships with all of these professionals because they are the ones who are going to help you achieve what you need to…but don’t rely on them too heavily because they are expensive as all fuck.

Well hope you enjoyed this ridiculous essay I ended up writing on just some of the crappy things that may happen to you when opening a business.

It really does feel like a lot, it may seem insane and completely unattainable right now. It’s not. It’s just a matter of organisation and planning.

But most importantly rummaging up the courage, having faith in your goals and taking the leap.