Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sometimes Nothing is a Real Cool Hand

Two years out of my last job and I'm sitting like a bump on a pickle looking for work and placing ads for one of my many talents: copyeditor/writer/proofreader/resume writer. So what happened? Nothing. Not even a hint of a job has come along. Now I stare into space on my lockdown couch rueing the day I considered leaving the corporate world.

But, as Cool Hand Luke said, "Sometimes nothing is a real cool hand." And I'd have to agree.

I started writing the day after I left my palacial office on the top floor overlooking the Atlantic ocean and just as quickly stopped writing. But here it is: writing is a dismal occupation for someone who likes to be around people and not pent up in a 450 square foot 1959 renovated motel room with kitchenette. It is quiet. And the kitchenette isn't too far and the dog comes in for entertainment to let me know she wants to play, bringing me all her toys, jumping around my chair in an effort to let me know she really, really wants to play.

I write four books in two years, upload one to sell and edit the next for it's arrival onto Amazon. I begin copyediting, but that too dries up. With more sitting and dreaming up new avenues of work, I contemplate seeking a therapist to answer two questions. Why can't I find work? And what's next?

I get a nudge from the Universe when a friend who has twelve intriguing businesses she loves doing calls to let me know about a website that might help. It's called Thumbtack.com and I'm on it like white on rice. So what is that? You post your service and fill in the questions about yourself and why you love doing your specific craft and what your pricing looks like. And folks who come looking for a writer or editor or proofreader see you and your gold medallion and you're back in business. Sweet!

So this is how it looks today. Cool Hand Luke was right, sometimes it's a really good idea to sit and do nothing allowing the Universe to gently, softly, sweetly lower an idea you may not have thought of.

I did grab the opportunity to sign on and tell the world at length about my editing and wordsmithing prowess. Check it out. It might just be the exact thing you've been looking for. No more scams on craigslist. No more sitting for hours on end. Let the folks looking for your specific talents find you. It's a real cool hand!



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What If?

While writing, I often get the feeling that more is going on than the mere juxtapositioning of words.

I may feel lighter after I write, and not just lighter, but I seem to have much more clarity. I'm not a neuro scientist, but it suddenly occurred to me that my brain possibly knows how to defrag. I realized how important this is since there seems to be little room available in the right hemisphere for more information. So defragging the brain has not only made more room but helps to find things quicker and gain more clarity at the same time. Who knew? 

I hear my  reader thinking, "This is ridiculous." You may be right. But it makes me feel better knowing I can exercise my brain with greater efficiency and put new things in it. I always felt that it took forever to remember things. It wasn't dementia but my brain taking longer than usual to find the right signal and wait for the neuron to arrive along the neural pathway.

So?

Well, for starters, I have a better sense of what I want to write and how I can set the scene in a new way. Best of all, I've become a programmer of sorts, which is very strange for someone who doesn't understand words with the letters t-e-c-h or n-o-l-o-g-y in them.

Just because others say, "You can't do that because the brain isn't wired that way" or,"You can't do this because you're not a scientist," doesn't mean I can't. I actually talk to my brain cells. Do I know which compartment? No. What each cell's job is? No. Do I know a special language to use when talking to those cells? No. What I do know is that I won't know until I try something or believe something to be true or some combination thereof.

Scientist? No. Curious? Yes! Wildly!

I always wondered why humans couldn't grow their own limbs back when they were removed surgically due to an accident or war injury. If the lower animals could do that, why not humans? All animals, human and beasts, have consciousness and, in the main, many of the same elements such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon they share with us uprights. It's been hypothesized the reason humans cannot regenerate limbs is that the process is much more developed in the lower animals such as hydra, starfish, planaria and lizards. Humans can regenerate the liver, blood, and bone. And now we know that brain cells can regenerate. Recent experiments have found that limbs outside the human body can regenerate with stem cells. All of this to say, the only reason it hasn't been done before, is because no one thought it could, so they never tried. No one said, "I think we ought to look into this."

So I proffer my peculiar version of finding a way to make room for more information. Since I've been on the planet for a while, I've collected a lot of data. I'm just trying my best to make room for more. And later, more defragging allowing more information to come in.

I'm constantly asking myself, 'What if?' 'What if I could use my mind to make something happen? What if I could create something I thought was possible? What if I could see things that are in front of me that I never saw before.' And so, today's what if brought me to thinking about a computer's ability to defrag and transferring that to my mind's ability to clear out what is no longer useful and putting it on a virtual platform, such as a blog making room for more what ifs. 

On my last day of work in a corporate environment, I was telling the new hire taking my place that I needed to learn how to defrag my mind so I could put more into it. "Oh," she said, "that's real easy. That's what we do every Friday night."




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

THEY LOVE THEIR JOBS


When the workmen arrived this morning, I had just started my final edit. It was 9:30 and new hurricane proof windows and doors were being installed on both adjacent apartments. For the next seven hours, I heard the scream of grinders, the pounding of jackhammers and hammer drills, chiseling away whole walls in the front and back of both neighbors' apartments. 

At the same time, the Blue Angels, who are in town for a show over the weekend, decided to practice their runs, not down the street, but directly over Essex Gardens, my building, dive bombing from above as performance art. All this in some demonic way to advise me I'd better not become a writer. The timpany and jets didn't stop for seven hours.


So I didn't either. I felt compelled to prove something, though I couldn't be sure what or to whom. I was driven to edit all 15,000 words, not once, but twice. And each time I did a drive by to check for mistakes, I'd find typos, subjects not matching verbs, and better ways to tell the story. Somehow, the noise grew softer, the scream of drilling quieter. Only my body understood - and I finally got - that I was in the zone.


I went outside to ask one of the workmen about the noise. Was he opening and closing the door hard on purpose? I was frowning. He was smiling.


"No, that's the noise it makes. When you get your windows, you won't hear it. The doors are very heavy. It'll go away when you get your new windows on Tuesday."


Another workman came up. I asked them both if they liked their jobs. Their faces lit up.


"Oh, we love our jobs."


"Really, because I noticed you're always laughing and singing."


"Wouldn't do nothin' else."


Just then the third worker started grinding and chiseling and I couldn't hear anything else.


Later, by the pool, one of the workmen asked me if I'd heard any other noise earlier.


I laughed. "Of course, that was the Blue Angels flying overhead. Didn't you hear them?"


"I was wondering what it was, I could barely hear it."


I find it odd, that they love their work, and odd they can't hear a noise that could break the sound barrier. But they love the high pitched whine of drills. They love the pounding of the jackhammer blasting through their ears, the sound of shattering glass.


I decided to write about them and see if I could come to any conclusion about why they loved doing what they do.

The next day, they came to tear out the windows and front door of my apartment, leaving me to seek the peace and quiet of a nearby park. When I came back in the afternoon, they were finishing my apartment, jovial, laughing and cutting up with one another.  There seemed to be no answer as to why they were so happy, why they loved their jobs.

Years ago, working at 35,000 feet, I put up with angry passengers, being away from home for long periods of time, never getting much sleep and never having a holiday off. But I loved my job. How do construction crews manage to work at such dangerous heights while building skyscrapers? And how do lawyers, doctors and CEO's manage to make risky decisions putting their positions and corporations in jeopardy? It's what they and I and the workmen installing hurricane proof windows love doing.

That was it. They were in love with their profession. They loved living on the edge, some of them literally. The workmen loved the sounds of their profession, I loved the smell of JT9 fuel on my clothes when I got home from a long trip and the CEOs, doctors and lawyers loved the adrenaline kick they got from living at the cliff's edge.

Yes, that was it. And maybe that's why I write. For me, it's the leading edge, the whine of my own heart pounding out iambic pentameters, lazy syllables failing or triumphing to get my heart's soul on twenty pound bond. It isn't the money. No, not even close. It isn't the stretching of my talents crystallizing my thoughts and it surely isn't about fame. I do it because something inside me wants to do it, wants me to acknowledge my own prowess, my wit, my appreciation for the gifts I do have and to share those.

So it boils down to one common denominator. We do what we do for the love of it. Nothing else. Nothing more.

Monday, April 23, 2012

DEBT, GRACE AND HAPPINESS: HOW TO BECOME DEBT FREE ON YOUR TERMS



A BIG DAY IS AHEAD FOR THOSE OF YOU STRUGGLING WITH DEBT.


AND, NO, I'M NOT A CPA, FINANCIAL PLANNER OR A FINANCIAL ADVISOR WANTING YOU TO BUY SECURITIES. IN FACT, I FLUNKED MATH AND HAD TO TAKE IT OVER AGAIN IN COLLEGE, WHICH STILL DOESN'T MAKE ME AN EXPERT. WHAT IT DOES MEAN IS THAT I'VE BEEN THERE, JUST LIKE 30 MILLION OTHER AMERICANS, AND FOUND A WAY TO GET OUT OF DEBT WITH EASE AND GRACE.

"DEBT, GRACE AND HAPPINESS: HOW TO BECOME DEBT FREE ON YOUR TERMS" APPROACHES THE DEBT ISSUE FROM AN ENTIRELY NEW AND INSPIRING PERSPECTIVE. AND MORE GOOD NEWS, IT'S NOW AVAILABLE ON  SMASHWORDS: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/159234 .
READ, RELAX AND BREATHE BECAUSE NOW YOU HAVE ANSWERS ON HOW TO BECOME DEBT FREE ON YOUR TERMS.


IN DEBT, GRACE AND HAPPINESS, YOU'LL LEARN HOW I GOT THE CREDITORS TO REMOVE ALL INTEREST AND THE IRS TO FORGIVE $2800. BUT THAT ISN'T ALL...


YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO:
  • MAP OUT YOUR STRATEGY FOR GETTING OUT OF DEBT AND STILL PUT ASIDE MONEY FOR A RESERVE ACCOUNT AND SAVINGS
  • NEGOTIATE WITH CREDITORS ON YOUR TERMS
  • CREATE A STRESS FREE SPENDING ACCOUNT AND PAY BACK PLAN ON YOUR TERMS
  • SPEND MORE LEISURE TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
  • FIND OUT IF YOU'RE A COMPULSIVE SHOPPER OR ANOREXIC SHOPPER
  • REPLACE DEBT AND STRUGGLE WITH SOLVENCY AND PROSPERITY
THERE ARE MANY MORE TIPS IN DEBT, GRACE AND HAPPINESS. WHETHER YOU'RE IN DEBT LIKE DONALD TRUMP WAS TO THE TUNE OF 99 BILLION, OR HAVE A $5,000 DEBT, YOU'LL LEARN, IF YOU DON'T ALREADY KNOW, WHAT DEBT CAN DO TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.


I'M HAPPY TODAY WITH A NET WORTH IN THE PLUS COLUMN. BUT I WAS VERY UNHAPPY FOR MANY YEARS BECAUSE I HAD NO ANSWERS. THIS BOOK IS A QUICK READ AND CHOCK FULL OF INFORMATION FOR THOSE IN A STRAIGHT JACKET OF DEBT. IF DEBT IS THE PROBLEM, THIS BOOK IS THE ANSWER.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Stuff of Life







After five long years and $4600 worth of storage payments, my stuff arrived in Fort Lauderdale and moved into its new storage unit for only one month. This gave me time to discard or donate stuff I knew I would never use. But I would save  a few paintings, books and my writing. The other small but essential things like my hiking boots would mean a fast and easier move. For now, my 400 square foot Essex Gardens home is full like a stuffed old bird at Thanksgiving. I don't hoard or collect lots of things and enjoy living without clutter. Too much of anything disturbs the peace of a place. 

Waking up to a beautiful day, I invited my neighbor, Tina, over to show her the stuff I brought back from the storage unit. I showed her my very old Italian chest of drawers which had been damaged in 1993 in a move from Tucson to Georgia, the legs back then were barely keeping the chest upright. This last move finished her off as there was only one leg to stand on. Now she lies in the middle of the living room floor, looking like a beached whale, tired and worn out.

As Tina and I took a closer look at the damage, I glimpsed a movement out of the corner of my eye. It was one short segment of a Daddy Long Legs whose home had been made in the top drawer. How long it lived there, when it arrived and how it arrived will remain its secret.

As it eased slowly back into its corner home, Tina and I decided to do a rescue and slowly pulled out the drawer and took it outside urging it onto the braided trunk of a palm tree which I later learned was where they like to live..dark places other beasts cannot fit into, nooks where they can hang their web and lazily let their meals come to them.


This reminded me of Thoreau's final paragraph in Walden in which he tells a similar tale of a bug whose egg was concealed under concentric circles for hundreds of years in the trunk of a tree, now made into a kitchen table and brought to life by the warmth of a farmer's tea kettle.

This ending of Walden restored my faith that no matter the travail or duration of time one is held in lockdown over many years of hoping and waiting, there is a new day to come, even for such eight legged creatures. I've had such a life and know this to be true, as with clenched teeth and faithfulness, I came out of my own self made and interminable confinement.

God moves all creatures in mysterious ways, even one faithful and doggedly patient eight legged Daddy.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rhythms of Life

I was behind two other cars waiting for rush hour traffic to start moving again. The Boston Pops CD was playing the theme to Superman and I was in a trance, actually enjoying the commerce of industry barely moving along Federal Highway. It was 5:30 and so I had no other choice than to slow down, something I still find hard to do.

It's unusual to find something good about traffic delays; but the tempo of traffic matched the music of Superman, like a metronome beating out its slow steady rhythm. After a long wait, I was back on the road again inching my way home. As I turned on to Northeast 21st Avenue, a large red leaf scooted toward me flip flopping from side to side in natural cadence to another beat, this time up tempo. The interaction of musical phrasing coming from my car stereo matched the seagrape leaf as it kicked up one edge, then the other in perfect timing.

Rhythms are all around us, in speech, in clouds and violent storms. The cadence of living things seems to be orchestrated for the pleasure of some Superior Being, who, luckily for me, passes it on for our human delight. I see these musical rhythms on television commercials and in movies. In theater they're called beats. In literature quatrains or iambic pentameter. Fractals offer a rhythm in the repetitive design of shapes, be they clouds, shorelines or snowflakes, though these are soundless, they nevertheless have their rhythm.

Whether fractals, the jazzy dance of a leaf or the snails pace of traffic, all vie for our attention. There is a dynamic order to these measures of life. Watch a 15 second commercial and count out the beats you'll see or hear. It is the selfsame music that beats in all of us.






Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How and Why Women Do What They Do

It’s twenty-four hours before I go in for a colonoscopy. I’m not anxious, but there is that unquantifiable unknown. Moreover, I feel sad because both parents are deceased and my brothers live far away with busy lives. Though I know I’m a grown up, going in for a surgical procedure makes me feel small and needy. I’ve told close friends who live far away that were it not for them I wouldn’t be having this procedure. They want me to call them and let them know the results. Other friends say they’ll call me and if I need anything to call them. I have to prep for this occasion, so I don’t think I’ll be getting much company.

Then there is my flock at work who are good at hand holding and speaking to God about such matters, all telling me their recollection of how it went when they had it done or making suggestions like getting a tattoo for the backside that reads, “Exit only. Do not enter.” These women – and they are only women – are able to step up to the plate and be there when necessary. Women know how to do this. It isn’t so much what they say as how I feel in their presence.

A while back, I had pain on the left side of my lower abdomen. I thought it would go away and kept thinking that for four months until I could no longer stand my two best friends telling me to go to the doctor. “All right, I’m going,” I said, not wanting to go and getting angry at them for being such busy bodies. When I did go, I burst into tears in the doctor’s office while being given my list of things to buy and do. The office manager wasn’t having any part of it and ignored me. But I felt more alone than ever before. The truth is I am alone.

But the women I know make up the difference. They pull from their homegrown experiences a thing or two and supply you with oxygen, a fresh new thought about how great an idea it is to do this for yourself and later making me feel more comfortable. It’s the being there. It’s the nobility of thought that says 'get up from my desk and go see how she is.' It isn’t all that spectacular. It isn’t voodoo. It’s just the calm reassurance that I count, that I exist, that there is connection between us.

Men simply cannot deliver that. It isn’t estrogen or the x or y chromosomes. It’s something else. I believe many women – hard to generalize to the entire population – have a good heart and an even better brain. “WE ARE THE SUPERIOR GENDER,” my lovely coworker loudly proclaimed. And there it was. Women are the stronger, more passionate, more empathic of the sexes. Why each woman is that way, is less important than that they are that way. Though individual experiences play a part, in my case I took too many hits as a child and after hitting back a few times, decided that I would never be mean, bossy, greedy, arrogant or grandiose again. I would become malleable, giving, warm and loving. It was simply a choice.

Were it not for our connections, one to each other, we would wither and turn inward. The strange thing is the women who befriended me were not even aware of the power they had to calm me down. I left the office feeling better and actually began to look forward to getting the procedure. Life hands us something awkward or ugly and then gifts us something else with a big old smile on it.

Women rock because they are rocks, tender, strong and unflinchingly powerful.