I'm posting early this week because if Irene lives up to the forecasters' predictions, we'll likely be without power by tomorrow. Please say a prayer for everyone in her path.
First I'd like to welcome all of my new visitors, followers, and fellow campaigners. I'm participating in Rachael Harrie's Platform Building Campaign and it's already a whirlwind of blogging activity. Talk about connecting. . .what fun! There's still time to join in, but the deadline to get on board is August 31st, so don't delay.
Transparency. We've heard that word a lot lately in reference to the actions of our political leaders. But I'm talking about a different kind of transparency. What makes you connect with a character? For me it's seeing their flaws, identifying with their weaknesses. I think this realization has helped me in my own life, to see that I don't have to try to be perfect (always coming up short is bad for the self-esteem anyway.) It's in sharing my weaknesses that I find connecting points with others.
Memoirs are even more remarkable when you remember that the MC you're reading about is also the author. A few YA memoirs that I've read lately are: Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas, I Don'tWant to be Crazy by Samantha Schutz, and The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon. The bravery of these authors blows me away.
Who are some of your favorite transparent characters or brave authors?
Some days I hate doing errands. Between shopping for my own family and running errands for my mother, who no longer drives, I’m always running somewhere for someone and it’s usually at the end of a hectic day. I’m tired, cranky, and putting another charge on the credit card with a balance that looms like a gaseous cloud from Mt. St Helens. I don’t always feel like smiling. I’d rather zoom in and out of the store without making eye contact with anyone. But I’m making a conscious effort to be the person who smiles, even when the checkout girl is rude, or the undisciplined toddler who shouldn’t be driving a shopping cart runs up my heels.
Both of my daughters worked in the food service industry as teens. They tell me that 90% of customers are mean, rude, or entitled. I don’t want to be counted among them.
Living in a tourist town, it’s hard not to get a little crazy when thousands of “extra people” descend, and running out for a gallon of milk turns from a five-minute errand to a twenty-five minute test of my patience. Recently, as traffic inched along on a blistering summer day, I stopped to let someone pull out into traffic and they started blowing me kisses. I laughed out loud. Kindness is like that. It’s catchy.
“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” –Eric Hoffer
In a post on the Dream of Things blog, publisher Mike O'Mary shares a note he received years ago that changed his life. His simple story is powerful encouragement for us to let the people around us know that they're appreciated, that they've done something special or made an impact on our lives.
In April, he launched The Note Project a campaign to make the world a million times better by helping people share notes of appreciation.
I had an English teacher in seventh grade who always wrote supportive comments on my compositions. Long into adulthood, those notes gave me the courage to keep writing and submitting my work for publication. Years later, I wrote her a note of thanks, told her how much her support meant to me, and enclosed a copy of a magazine containing one of my published articles. You never know which of your actions someone will remember you for.
How will someone know that they've impacted you if you don't tell them? Watch the clip, but have a pen handy; when it's over, you're going to want to write someone a note.
Teacher, parent, neighbor, friend - who will your note be to?
After I drafted this post a few days ago, the kind people over at Cabinet of Curiosities nominated my brand new blog for a Liebster award. (Translation: Beloved) I love the serendipity of that. A huge thank you to Pat Esden, Suzanne Warr, Becca Fitzpatrick, Laura Andersen, and Ginger Churchill.
The goal of this award is to spotlight upcoming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!
Relationships are difficult. Communicating with others effectively can be trying. Everyday human encounters are wrought with misunderstandings and hurt feelings. But if we try to avoid these things we become solitary. My husband likes to say that I live in a bubble, and I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve been happy to live a largely solitary life.
My sister and I used to have a theme song. We would call each other up after a trying day and sing Simon & Garfunkel’s “I am a Rock.”
It’s a great song, and I still love it. But it’s not a fitting theme song for me anymore.
Possibly the most important thing I’m learning as a writer is how to connect with others – and I kind of like it. And so I find myself stepping out of my comfort zone in life and in my writing, where I’m tackling a YA novel after years of remaining in the comforts of short stories.
I’ve built lots of walls over the years, but Out on a Limb is my attempt at tearing them down – one word at a time. I hope my words reach you, wherever you are.
Oh, and I’m currently in the market for a new theme song. =) I’m thinking maybe The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends.”