I’m Thinking I’m Going to Live

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Instead of getting out of bed at 6am this morning to go for a walk, I sunk back into a dream.

I’d written a play – my first play ever titled I’m Thinking I’m Going to Live. It was making its debut at Santa Barbara City College in one of their studio classrooms, you know the kind with all black floors and walls. I was ushered in and took a seat in a comfortable rattan chair with cushions rather than a chair with a desk attached to the arm. A chair of honor. I was holding my daughter who looked to be about 8 months old, all cheeks and chubby thighs. She was sucking on a pacifier and I realized that I hadn’t given her any food for hours and that she must be hungry, but the play was beginning so she would have to wait. Pacified. We settled into our cushions and the lights dimmed.

It was clear from the first that the play was a huge hit. I was thrilled to see my written words brought to life for the first time by the actors performing – John Lithgow and Tilda Swinton. Their costumes were regular clothes, he wore a brown suit, she a yellow dress. The stage remained empty of props and sets.

Interviewed post-show by the organizer of the event, I declared that I now understood that actors worked hard to perfect the craft of acting, that they weren’t just reading words off of a page. The ability to bring words to life, to give them human nuance was a skill and a talent. It also didn’t hurt that Lithgow and Swinton were the actors. Him: a face of character continually changing and morphing. Her: fiery hair, ambiguous emotions, and elegance. It was explained to me that there was no director for my play, that after reading the script the actors had chosen the roles and directed themselves.

I handed my baby off to my friend Jennie, and left the room.

In a Starbucks, upstairs with a view, I was interviewed for a local newspaper. I reiterated my awe of good actors and how they really did bring words to life. They were the missing element in writing, were another dimension for words. I explained the play had no director. I explained that I was surprised I had written a play, when in fact I’d never even thought about writing a play. Something splashy for films with moving music and technicolor, yes, but not a prop-less, un-affected, stage play. Plays had always seemed so dry to me. So forced, so in need of filters and soundtracks. But I had written one nonetheless and it was a hit.

The interviewer took copious notes in long hand. She wrote in cursive, slowly, with a blue pen on lined, yellow paper.

Crossing the floor to look out the multi-paned window, I noticed the palm trees were swaying an awful lot in a high wind that must have just kicked up. The view out the window took in the coastline, south east, all the way to Rincon and there were at least six separate fires burning, six plumes of smoke rising into the sunset. I gasped whirled around to the interviewer and said, I need to get to Summerland, wondering if there was a fire in Summerland as well; I need to get home to get my cat.

The interviewer stopped writing mid sentence and looked blankly at me. Everything is on fire, I said. We have to go.

Turning back to the window I could see a fire had spread to a building across the street that housed tanks of explosive gas. We need to go now, I said. The building is going to blow!

She just stared at me, pen poised above paper and as I headed toward the illuminated exit sign I wondered what clothes I would put on when I got home. I wondered what was in the bottom drawer of my dresser that would be appropriate for a fiery, sunset apocalypse.

BOOKS: PAPER VS THE TABLET OF BACKLIT WORDS – part one

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I have this actual phone. For real. And it works.

I have this actual phone. For real. And it works.

Yeah, I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to fully embracing the digital age, as my ten-year-junior colleague likes to remind me. His direct quote was, “You’re not an antique. You’re, like, paleolithic.”

But here’s the thing;  I LIKE paper. I LIKE rotary phones. I LIKE getting up to change the channel on the television by twisting a  knob that frequently comes off in your hand.* I still write checks and personally deposit checks in to my bank account even though I was informed (by the aforementioned colleague) that this does not need to happen anymore and that it all can be done with my phone. Ugh. I LIKE writing checks and going to the bank. My phone does not offer me hard candy after every transaction. So suck it, junior.

SIDE NOTE: I don’t even like hard candy.

My significant other gave me a kindle for Christmas to gently ease me into the world of digital books, but also because it is a gadget and he is very gadgety. It’s very cool looking with a hard shell case that is a groovy orange color. It’s light. It fits in my purse and doesn’t need to take up space on the already full book case. It makes me feel tech savvy-er. But here’s what I’ve noticed about reading on a Kindle;

First and foremost, lack of author recognition by my brain. Without googling it, I can’t tell you the author of All the Light We Cannot See, a brilliant and beautifully written book that I’m currently reading. It’s become apparent that when reading paper books I spent a lot of time flipping back and forth from the page I was currently reading to the cover to check out the art, to the back to scan the brief reviews, to the inside page to see what the ISBN number was and when the book was published, all while subliminally recording the artist’s name in my brain for future reference.

On the Kindle there is no book flipping. If I hit the home button, there is a tiny image of the cover of the book, but the type is so small I can’t read the name of the author even with my extra strong reading glasses on. Sad face.

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by ANTHONY DOERR. DO NOT FORGET.

 

Yesterday, someone asked me what I was currently reading.

“All the Light We Cannot See” I  said softly, knowing what question was coming next.

“Oh, that sounds intriguing! Who wrote it?”, she asked.

I CAN’T TELL YOU BECAUSE I HAVE A KINDLE SO I’M GOING TO HAVE TO GOOGLE IT ON MY PHONE I AM SORRY.

SIDE NOTE: After writing this post, I have now committed the author’s name to memory.

* We have an actual remote for our TV, I mean come on!

TODAY’S FORECAST: A THOUSAND SHADES OF MEH.

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Note: This post was originally written in 2012 when I first subjected myself to this book (talk about Masochism!). In “honor” of the movie’s recent release, I am reposting this post. I only read the first book at the conclusion of which I had zero desire to read the other two. I’m thinking I will go see the movie, however. Which is sad. :(

**DO NOT READ THIS POST IF YOU WANT TO READ FIFTY SHADES OF GREY AND BE SURPRISED BY THE  STORY LINE. I AM GIVING IT AWAY, PEOPLE. Sort of.**

I have a headache. Either from the flying bug repellent that someone just sprayed and is now wafting through the open door, or from reading words that pierced my brain like so many non-acupuncture needles, or rolling my eyes at every other sentence. Or all of the above.

Ouch.

Fifty Shades of Grey, which I am about half way through, is surface material. But not good surface material like frosting on a giant cupcake that is meant only for you. It’s surface in the sense that it skims across the black-top of an empty parking lot with no people or even any litter to make it more interesting. I’m fine with the frosting-like surface that novels can have. I DEVOUR some of them like a cupcake that is meant only for me.

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is not like this.

Basically Fifty Shades is a study in adjectives. If you’re looking for the many ways to describe eyes in particular, then this is your go-to book!

The “heroine”(???), Anastasia Steele, is so prone to blushing and biting her lower lip that at the end of the series I imagine she will have self-inflicted permanent rosacea topped off with a giant lip scab.

And the “Hero”(???), his name is Christian Grey, is an uber wealthy businessman and CEO of Grey industries or some crap. This surname of GREY is not to be confused with Christian’s GRAY eyes which spend of lot of time glancing, piercing, and smoldering. There was one line, let’s see if I can remember it:

“… his gaze was a smoldering molten gray.”

Yes. Really. Smoldering AND molten. Who knew such eyes existed?

Not Christian Grey or showing his eyes, but what the heck. It’s a good photo.

Although, I have to say, Christian Grey sounds kind of hot, even though he is fictional. I like a man who wears white linen shirts, blue jeans, has adorable bed-head, drives fast cars, and has a really big….. helicopter. He’s a freak though, with his sadistic Dorian Grey (Gray?) persona hidden in the closet or the Red Room of Pain. Oooooh! Titillating. Yawn.

I did feel for Miss Steele, though. At twenty-one years old she chooses to lose her virginity to Mr. Grey, a man whose moods she cannot read, whom she describes as mercurial, who is one man at one moment and another the next. Being with a man like that is Effing exhausting, constantly trying to decipher what is really going on, feeling like you are responsible for his mood swings, all while being sucked in by his charm and delicious physical embrace. Even though it’s fiction, I felt bad for her knowing the hell she was going to have to go through bound to someone like that. Not that I’ve been there or anything… mmmm-hmmm.

The insult to my headache injury is that the “erotic” parts weren’t even that interesting. I’m assuming this book reached it’s #1 NY Times best-selling status from the erotic bits, not from the over abundance of “smoldering” and “molten”. So when the erotic episodes fail to move me, that puts me in the minority category, which is where I would rather be in this instance.

I am yawning, I am so bored by this erotic moment.

I haven’t reached the part yet when, I’m assuming, Anastasia agrees to sign the long legal document reprinted in the book, that will open the door to a world of S and M delights. But since that’s not really my thing, my hopes are not high for a rousing conclusion. All in all, an unsatisfying erotic romp, for this jaded lady. The whole thing elicits a big grey (gray?) Meh.

Part of me feels guilty for bashing this book. I mean Ms. James wrote a popular novel, a steamy, runaway bestseller that is not literature, but it was something she believed in enough to see through to become a trilogy. It will be made into a movie, she will make lots of money. Could I have written it? Sure. And in some ways I already did at age sixteen, when for 20 some pages, I waxed romantic about a teen romance on a Greek Island, but more romantica than erotica. Would I write one of these money making books now? No. Because I only do it for love, not money. Riiiight.

Stay tuned to hear more about The Lip Biter and Mr. Smoldering Molten. Yes, I will finish the book, but first I’m-ah git me some more Advil fer the pain.

Miss MoL

EVERY DAY I WRITE THE LIST

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Song lyrics make up a majority of my blog post titles. The title for this post comes from one of my favorite Annie Lennox songs, A THOUSAND BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I’ve quoted it before in this previous post. And this one, too.

The lyric is: Every day I write the list of reasons why I still believe they do exist; a thousand beautiful things.

Beautiful things are important in this world and even more important to acknowledge on a daily basis. While it’s important to stop and smell the roses, it’s just as important to acknowledge the beauty of the rose itself. Beauty is a balm, a calm shot of positivity in an increasingly (it seems to me) negative world.

This post was inspired (if not required!) to be written by an unfortunate Facebook event yesterday. I was scrolling through the usual vacation selfies, cat memes, and birthday/baby/wedding announcements and happened upon a video that had been commented on by a peripheral friend. Facebook has changed so that now when scrolling through the feed you don’t need to click play on a video to have it play, it does so automatically.

First of all, I didn’t have my glasses on, so I couldn’t see exactly what was in the frame. Then I put my glasses on and the next three seconds I saw a man in an alley beating a white cat with a baseball bat until it was dead. In the beginning the cat actually tried to fight back. Dear God, it was horrific. I scrolled down to the comments and the few I read were all political about how arabs were such a violent people and blah blah blah. Somehow a nightmare video of one man savagely killing a cat, which was bad enough, morphed into a disgusting hate diatribe directed at women, religion, animals, God and everything in between.

It was difficult to fall asleep last night as that video kept replaying against my closed eyelids. I tossed. I turned. And it was still there, like a silent nightmare when I wasn’t dreaming. To combat it I began to list off the things in my life that I am grateful for, things that I acknowledge as beautiful; My daughter, my GRAND daughter, my family, G, twin embryos happily gestating (not mine), my cat Carlos, Summerland, my boss, my health, the beach, and on and on until I fell asleep counting my blessings (another song lyric).

This morning I woke up and thought, okay enough. Enough Facebook-feed crap. Enough front page news. Enough allowing myself to be subjected to the very things that give me anxiety, subdue happiness, and eclipse beauty; tornadoes, earthquakes, toxic drinking water, drought, plane crashes, melting ice caps, drones, fracking, Fukushima, tsunamis, etc.

Enough.

So, I think I’ll hang out on my blog for a while, create some more of the Thousand Beautiful Things and put them out into cyber world to help balance out the damaging, cat killing nightmares.

Things like this:

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and this:

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and this:

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Peace out.

 

BLOG ENVY – BITCHES GOTTA EAT

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Since I seem to have nothing to write of my own on this blog (although the amount of thoughts and ideas that are percolating keep me awake at night and drag my attention from what I’m supposed to be focusing on, like work or driving while texting), I’m sharing someone else’s creative brilliance with you.

I stumbled across a blog the other day called Bitches Gotta Eat and I fell in love. The amount of well-placed profanity mixed with an “I could care less about what you think of me” attitude, a giant dose of wit and the foundation of intelligent writing style are what I wish my blog could be. Or maybe what I wish I could be. Whatever.

How can you resist a post titled, MY PARTYING DAYS ARE OVER, MOTHERFUCKER? But maybe that’s just me.

I’m thinking all my craftmatic* brain percolating will have to erupt at some point and you will then be subjected to reading it ALL. But seriously, in my timeline of life goals, I only have 16 months left to get a book published. So I’d better get on that shit.

In the meantime, BITCHES GOTTA EAT. Yes, they do.

*I don’t know. The word just seemed to fit. Is it even a word? Maybe it should be the title of my book.

I’ve Looked at Clouds and They Don’t Have Sides

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There is a funky black cloud hanging over my life right now. This cloud is fuzzing with my clarity and general life perception.

The Black Cloud - by Steven Kenny

The Black Cloud – by Steven Kenny

Let me start by saying – I get it. I get that in a time when people are hurting for jobs, living in ugly places, going through trauma and depression, fighting cancer and hunger and malaria, living as refugees and physically tortured individuals – I get that my really nice life in a beautiful town with a well paying, enjoyable job, living in a healthy body with the person I love are gifts. I get that I just spent ten days in Hawaii, a luxury some people never get to enjoy.

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So why the black cloud? Why this feeling of dissatisfaction with my job? Why the feeling that what I have is not enough and it’s my fault that it’s not? Why the anxiety that everything (life, the world, my relationships with people I love) is about to fall apart even though my brain knows that is not the truth? Why is the knee-jerk reaction to take out my frustration on myself – such as if I worked out every day I wouldn’t feel this way; if I was 15 pounds lighter I wouldn’t feel this way; if I had a finished draft of a novel right now I wouldn’t feel this way; if I had a secret stash of one million dollars I wouldn’t feel this way and that I don’t have all these things is a direct result of my own failings as a human.

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Why am I not feeling content in this moment right here and right now, when for the past few years I have been happy and very present in the moment? I can’t figure it out. I also can’t figure out if I should use semicolons in the above paragraph or not and I don’t have the energy to check. Sorry, grammar police.

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This lack of clarity has seeped into my brain erasing all creative thought and original thinking. It feels like mush in there. In here. There must be a way out of it, but I’m not sure what it is. I’ve tried soaking in nature (the usual remedy), reading, movies, alcohol, pizza, chocolate, exercise, staring into space, listening to music, sleep, writing and still there is fuzz. It’s so fuzzy I can’t even say exactly how I feel and it’s been said that really embracing what you are feeling is the best way to move through it. So now I am adding to my failings that I’m not even a capable enough human to define my own feelings. Great.

I felt a bit lighter this morning and actually laughed to the point of tears (maybe mild hysteria?) when I read a favorite blog that showcased Kim Kardashian’s ass. The blogger also posted a photo of herself with the quote “She’s taken to bed with martinis, Xanax, and Turner Classics” and I thought, “Maybe that’s exactly what I need.”

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How is this physique humanly possible?

If a Kardashian is bringing me some joy, obviously I need an emotional intervention. Or maybe just a day in bed with martinis and old movies. Here’s hoping the cloud lifts soon and I can get back to my regularly scheduled clarity of contentment.

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‘Tween Adult Hood and Older Hood: Bathing Suit Edition

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When I was in junior high school I used to go ice skating every weekend. I was a good skater, not great. I wanted to be great, but we couldn’t afford lessons, so I knew I would never improve past what I taught myself by watching other people. Instead, when I was out on the ice skating backward as if I was ramping up to do the double axle I did not know how to do, coming around that last high curve before I would theoretically launch myself up in the air, I would abort the move and skate forward as if I had purposefully interrupted my jump. The story I created in my head that I wanted other people to know was that I had been a skater bound for the olympics only to be shut down by an injury after falling during practice that made me scared to do the jumps (Hello, did someone watch Ice Castles too many times or what?). So, what they were seeing on the ice was me working up the courage to skate again and get back to training for the Olympics.  Seriously. This is what I told myself (and wanted to tell everyone else) every single time time I skated. I wanted to explain to them why I wasn’t the BEST skater. And my explanation wasn’t even the truth.

In less than two weeks I am going on vacation to Maui for some R and R (Rest and Romance). Ten glorious days of sea bathing and sunning, hiking and strolling, sleeping in and staying up late. All with the person I love. Glorious stuff. For the past three months I have been obsessed with getting into shape as one will do when one is going to be living in a bathing suit for an extended period of time.

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I have been working out at least three times a week and eating all good, green stuff. The only difference I’ve noticed is my shoulders are a little more rounded and I can do twice as many push ups. All that work and my shoulders are rounded?? Great. What about the abs and butt? And the love handles and other assorted jiggly bits? In this later-age stage of life it takes a fuck of a lot longer to get in shape. It just does. It’s hard to get up and actually do it and it takes forever for even one ab muscle to poke its head out from underneath winter’s store of fat. But I’m working on it. The thing is, I know I’m working on it, but no one else on the beach will know that I’m working on it.

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There is a strong desire to explain to all of my fellow beach goers (and my significant other) WHY I’m still jiggly possibly with some elaborate story, such as, while training for Wimbledon I blew out all the tendons in my left ankle and have been holed  up and hobbled for the better part of two years. This Hawaiian vacation with the frisbee playing, body surfing and boogie boarding is all really physical therapy for my ankle, so I can get back to winning all the tennis games ever. To be the BEST tennis player.

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But that story isn’t true. I will never be the best tennis player with or without the blown out ankle. The truth is, I am jiggly in my bathing suit because I’ve spent the last year and a half indulging myself in love and food and leisure. I haven’t been moving enough and it caught up to me and my stalled, older-hood metabolism. I’ve recognized that it’s time to start moving again, to get strong again and I’m taking steps toward that. That is the real explanation.  I’m retraining my brain to focus on the idea that even though I’ll be all jiggly on the beach, I can still have the BEST time. And I will.

Aloha, people.

PS: While I’m still taking my bikini, I bought my first one-piece bathing suit for this trip to contain some of the jiggle. Cute, right?

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‘Tween Adult-hood and Older-hood : Clothing Edition

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Apparently, I am at that awkward phase that is in between ages or a ‘Tween. Obviously not a teenager between childhood and adult hood, but a *gasp* mid-aged adult on the verge of, well, older-hood. This between stage is particularly trying in the clothing department and the weight department. Let’s start with clothes.

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I have a quiver of pretty vintage dresses in my closet that I used to wear to work. In the last couple of years, the expansion of my mid-section inhibits the wearing of these dresses as vintage people were SMALL, man. I am no longer small.

Without these dress options, my daily clothing choices have dwindled to the same few pairs of either khaki or black pants. The skirts in the closet are for vintage people, too, as the waist now wants to sit up somewhere under my boobs, which is really no place for a waist to be.

My fitted dress shirts are slowly being replaced with more, shall we say, blousy shirts that flutter around my rapidly rising and flaring hips and cover my arms. The high heels I wore to work every day for seven years are cobwebbing it in the corner of the closet, having been replaced by sensible flats.

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All of this is fine in many respects. I mean, after months of being miserable in my low-rise jeans that bind my belly and make everything mush out the sides, I bought some jeans that are made for the more, (ugh), mature woman and in larger size and it was like a whole new day! They fit and were comfortable and didn’t look terrible, sort of Younger Grandma Chic, if that’s a look.

The thing is I don’t really know who this person is yet; this person who wears flats and blousy shirts and stretchy jeans, khaki and black, a startling lack of color or originality. Vintage clothes are unique and interesting and helped me put on some exterior personality. I have yet to find personality in this new way of dressing, to find a more mature identity with flair.

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So, for now I’m in the ‘Tween, getting through the last of the mourning for my lovely  dresses with the 25 inch waist and spaghetti straps, while trying to accept that I MAY (I’m not willing to give up yet) never wear those again. And trying not to freak out about possibly ending up in a caftan by the time I’m 50, even though some days, I must admit, that sounds divine. As long as it’s vintage.

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PS:  What I don’t want is for this to be a chick-lit blog. Meaning, I don’t want it to be about clothes and weight loss and kittens and relationships and pop culture. But guess what – it is, because I am a chick and this is my… lit?

Next up: begin a ‘Tween and the issues of weight. Betcha can’t wait.

 

 

FIRST BLOG POST SINCE OCTOBER OF 2013

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Yep. It’s been a while. In fact it’s been so long I couldn’t even remember the password to log into this blog account. I’ve been missing writing and missing spewing my guts on paper, virtual or the tree-pulp kind. So here ya go.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I’m not writing as much as I used to and have discovered it is directly related to happiness. Historically, I have always written more when my soul is slightly tortured and/or I have days upon days of alone time. It is then that my thoughts bounce around my brain, some disappearing into a gray mass crevasse, some ricocheting within the black hole of dead brain cells that I KNOW is in there. Then there are those that spill out onto “paper” clear as lump of coal, compressed and expelled by sadness, loss, mild depression, or intense longing.

Writing happens (and often very good writing) with a bit of darkness in the mix. I think that’s true for a lot of writers. The tortured soul must create and do it while chain smoking cigarettes and drinking tumblers of whiskey, while roaming wintry beaches, leaning into the needling wind wearing a man’s oversized blue sweater for masochistic comfort. Maybe that’s a little ever the top cliche (not to mention a tad romanticized), but when I think of tortured writers I think of the Lillian Hellman short story from Pentimento when she writes about being holed up with Dashiell in a house in the Hamptons, gestating and finally birthing a play.There was lots of smoking, lots of drinking, lots of beach walking in the wind, fighting, yelling, emotional torment. Hellman is one of my favorite writers and I don’t think she ever wrote from a “happy place”.

So, happiness. Happiness! And contentment. And writing. I know it happens; I’ve read many examples of great writing by happy people. ELizabeth Gilbert is a shining example of this. How do I know she’s happy, you might ask? Her daily posts on Facebook are joy-filled snippets of positivity and encouragement; happy person stuff.

Truth be told, I don’t want to be tortured any more, or unhappy or depressed or have to anguish over life to get a story out. I’m not sure I know HOW to be that anymore. It’s incredible to me that I put up with some of the crap that used to make me so “inspired” to write. Who was that person? She definitely wasn’t this person – the one who drives home as quickly as possible to do nothing more exciting than co-prepare dinner while catching up on the day and watching The Big Bang Theory (re-runs) night after night and finding that the most satisfying and pleasant of ways to spend my time. Co-habitating with the right person is so much fun! Who knew? Certainly not this content, peaceful, dare I say even-keeled woman who wakes up to a view of the ocean every morning next to a bright-eyed love of a man and a cat, who then goes to a great job (me, not the cat) and still sees her great friends and family, albeit a bit less these days, for sure. It’s getting hard to remember how it felt to be that much in pain, to be so conflicted, with a tenseness in my core that has finally unwound. I’m glad I’ve forgotten that feeling.

The challenge now is to use this very new and fecund place as a catalyst for more writing. It will come. And while it will not coincide with trauma or heartache or cigarettes it will include whiskey and a man’s blue sweater.

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