Unexpected Love Stories – The Wide-Berth Buick

I had to drive my brother’s Prius back to the house for him today.

It made me ask myself: Do I become a Person Who Drives A Prius merely by the act of doing so? Is it inherent? Is it forced upon me by the fact that it handles like a wind-up, and has the rear visibility of a Hot Wheels?

But I digress.

I don’t really like driving Toyota cars (I have a crush on an old Toyota truck model, but have never driven it, so withholding judgment). Partly because they all feel a little bit like driving a toy car. Even my mom’s previous FJ Cruiser SUV. Maybe particularly my mom’s FJ Cruiser SUV?

It is about like what a Barbie car would be, and it was even a very loud color, so as it was refusing to accelerate above kid-safe speeds on the on-ramp I could at least hope to be given wide berth as a child driver.

Anyway.

It’s mainly because I’m spoiled. I learned to drive in several cars, but I actually became a driver in a big old boat-like Buick.

I never would have guessed it would become something I was fond of, even as I heard people talk about their first cars. It’s a grandpa car. Literally, there is a CarMax commercial that makes fun of my car for being a boat, as a kid is trying to learn to parallel park.

Parking the thing is a beast (the Durango my mom has now feels like the easiest thing in the world, and it’s not technically smaller) –and I’ve met a few too many curbs along the way.

It’s also always ridden smooth and heavy. It likes to go 70 or 80, as it gets some good momentum and airflow, totally the best car for interstate driving.

I drove while I was still impressionable, and now it’s the standard by which I feel other cars.

I think it’s a goner.

I said goodbye to it a while ago, when my sister drove it off to a different state–I felt at that point that I might see it again, but needed to not count on it. When she said she was bringing it back home, I was so happy I told everyone in the same breath as I told them she was visiting.

After about 6 months of jumping from car to car (including my mom’s own transition) I was astonished to find myself not even realizing I was in a car and driving.

(I WAS paying attention, so don’t fret, it just felt natural.)

And then the little shimmy-under-the-hood started to get pretty pronounced. We have one more run into the mechanic to try together, and then I’ll be letting it go again.

I don’t know what will be my next fits-like-a-glove car. I’m probably not getting a new one anytime soon and will be car-hopping for a while.

Hopefully my perfect car is NOT a grandpa-boat car, but something a little more zippy, like a Beetle.

Or maybe I’ll get used to driving tin-cans.

A Solo Valentine

Maybe my body is the topic for this week. Maybe tomorrow I will let it live it’s usual non-Internet life.

But in follow-up to yesterday’s post, I want to write a short love-letter to my body.

Dear Body,

Since you came into this world, and your parents were given 15 lasagnes to eat by loving church friends, you have been under a sort of attack.

Despite Italian heritage it turns out pasta is not your friend, and neither is pasteurized milk in large quantities. I’m still in denial about the tomato sauce, but I’m sure you know what the truth is.

Anyway, from being a colicky baby, and a redhead with an odd suite of genes, you have had it kind of rough. Dear stomache [sic] you are a trooper.

Despite my dislike for doing anything besides reading, when I got you out the door, you were actually pretty co-ordinated. I’m sorry the only thing I cared about in the Summer Kid Olympics was the pie-eating contest. (Stomach, man, my bad.)

And when I took up softball and kept pitching despite the fact that it hurt me, I’m sorry. I should have done my own research but Google was still new then, and I didn’t get much computer time.

Still, I should have listened.

Lately, I think, we’ve been on the same page a lot more. Loosening up a little with yoga and belly dance has made some good headway on repairing our lost trust. You’ve done a really good job with what you had to work on.

I’m sorry about all the acidic coffee. And the sugar that keeps you below-par.

I’m already working on that. Your input has been very valuable.

And you know, I do appreciate you. Redhead genes: I appreciate the way though my skin burns under the sun, you do your best to tan a tiny bit anyway. That though I have a low threshold for certain kinds of pain, I have a high threshold for some others.

That my hands have always been easy to train to do new things, and that sports have never been as frustrating because of my eye-hand coordination being pretty good. Thanks for be quick to build the muscle I need.

I appreciate that I’m just about the right amount of tall (especially after improving my posture). That my mind racing has brought me to this place of being a writer and coach. And that when my wisdom teeth came in it closed the gap in my front teeth–but not all the way, because I’m used to that.

For being able to keep going long after I would have guessed I was done exercising. For putting up with strange foods and not being actually allergic to much of anything.

For showing the lineage I’m otherwise not that close to culturally, and helping me realize I’m different from the American norm early.

To the rest of our lives together!

~Love, Bethany

There may be something to this wishing on a star thing.

I saw a shooting star tonight!

This is notable because I have two siblings who seem to see them fairly regularly, and I’ve rarely seen them outside of a meteor shower.

You know, I was not prepared with a wish?

Rather, I was not prepared to wish on the shooting star.

Since intentions are powerful, I can’t help thinking that if you were determined enough in your wish to remember it in the instant you see a star, you’re bound to have it come about. That’s no small level of intention.

Weaponized Diary

To be honest, I miss having a drama-diary.

You know, the kind you keep when you’re young or upset, usually both? The kind that chronicles the super-important events of angst and feeling.

I’ve never been very good at that kind of diary (I am the sort of person who writes to reason with myself, and left most of the interesting bits out of any given diary entry even during those days) but Morning Pages aren’t at all like that.

Sometimes when I travel I do wax poetic, or musing. Travel gives an excuse for a sort of self-indulgent writing. I wish I did more of that on a daily basis, too. But no–my journal is now a weapon.

 

Again, I am not a dramatic diarist. Most days my journal is a bit of catalogue of what I did the day before, and a scheme of what to do with this one. Some days, though, when I’m fighting to keep my attention on even that mundane, easy writing–I know it’s resistance.

And when I’m remembering the weapon in, I start questioning. “What am I feeling? Why? What underlies this?” Often it’s not really a big thing–maybe realizing that I’ve been deterred from doing the proper footwork on starting my business.

Other times, it’s about writing. Problem solving, or just enjoying a little meta.

And yet–it hones my day. It gives me clarity. Helps me shed doubts and push myself forward.

The actual entries aren’t dramatic, but the results are.

And on the rare days that I can’t actually get to the page, I miss it. I also find my mind doing the work it’s been trained to, pushing at the resistance.

The past few days I’ve been on the move–between cities. Two out of four days I missed my window to journal. As I mused on my failure to stay in shape, I asked myself some questions, just as though I was writing it out to myself.

I realized that I was ready to make a big change, one I’ve been resisting because it gives me an excuse. (Sugar. AAAAAAUGH.)

I don’t know, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. I think it’s pretty fierce, anyway.

Bouldering – Master Stroke Workshop

I’m doing a to-do list workshop on Facebook, and the first in-depth lesson I’m going to take  up here!

In this short video I laid out the idea behind choosing the big three accomplishments you want to have in life.

In essence, a day can be filled with little tasks that are urgent…but not leading to your real goals. If you know what your big goals are, and then figure out how to break those big goals into daily steps, you can make sure you’re working on those bigger tasks.

Then the margins of the day be filled with those minor ones.

So how do you discover your Boulders?

Maybe take a moment to think about what you’re pursuing right now. What is the dream for you, that you’re going for? It could be a higher level of responsibility in a career move. If you’re a visual artist, maybe having a gallery show.

You can also have goals in your personal life (get fit enough for a 5K, throw an amazing retirement party) or off a bucket list (See Paris!)

These are all things you probably can’t run out and do tomorrow–unless you’ve already been doing groundwork.

You may have way more than three. What are the three you want to accomplish in the next 5 years? 10?

How do you break down your Boulders?

If you look at these big tasks, you may already have a good idea what the next step is.

If not, you may need to Google and read a few blogs on How To Travel To Europe or How To Yarnbomb A Whole Bridge.

(I hope no one comes to this blogpost as the only place offering advice on that second one. GET LOTS OF FRIENDS.)

But you don’t want to get too lost in the details.

For instance, I want to publish a novel. I know I should write every day. But if I write every day and never move on to revising and getting feedback on my novel, I can’t move forward.

If I get all that feedback and then never finish revising, I won’t get it out to agents. (Alternatively, I won’t get around to creating a promotion plan for self-publishing!)

Sometimes you need to figure out each new step as you push forward. I had to go to workshops to learn how to revise my work effectively, and I’ve done other learning in the field, so I know better how to create marketable material.

But you can’t get stuck on any one of those steps. You have to remember the Boulder.

START NOW.

What’s the next step you know to do for your handiest boulder? Put that first on your list of things to do tomorrow.

Need help figuring out your boulders? That’s what I’ve started this Master Stroke group on Facebook for!

I’m also holding free coaching sessions, so get in touch here to brainstorm about your goals in life and in 2017! It would be my pleasure to talk big dreams with you.

The Imposter Syndrome Is Only You

Random thought of the day: Everyone loves a writer, but not an author.

Hold that thought, I’ll come back to this.

Maybe it’s NaNoWriMo in the air, but I’ve heard a few writers recently mention feeling like a fake. Because of their process.

And while I totally get it, I’d like to clear the air here for the general writing community:

No one thinks you’re a fake writer.

In fact, no one cares how much of a writer you are.

This is where the distinction between writer and author comes in. A published writer (“author”) is asked about their process, assumed to have “made it”*.

I am writing this from an ideal place of being a long-term writer who is not yet an author but hangs out in communities with some Real Authors.**

Another thing: writers love to talk about their process. We like to read about Authors and how they do it, and we can learn from fellow writers some tools sometimes.

Do you know what other writers are thinking about when we hear you talk about your process? Our own. Which is why, yeah, sometimes I judge you for a second because M&M bribes are probably bad for your liver, but then? We go back to worrying about our own crap.

What does this have to do with Imposter Syndrome?

Yes. It’s real. And helping you work through it is actually something the coach side of me wants to do. But the writer side?

Just wants to tell you, no one actually thinks you’re not a writer. The fact that most of the uninitiated then equate writer to Author is not your problem. The fact that they want to tell you about their niece who also wrote a book at 14 is not at all about you.

Now, once you’re an author? A different story. Then you’re a performer being judged upon.

Everyone likes a writer, because they want to relate to that. No one likes an author because then there’s a commercial aspect of it that seems threatening.

Neither thing has anything to do with you.

Carry on and do your thing. (And yeah, sort out where your Imposter Syndrome comes from. Maybe with my help.)

*This is errant nonsense. Some writers have it figured out before becoming authors, most authors are in progress a lot longer, if not for their whole lives.

**Again, the only real distinction is having sold a novel. And while this is momentous for the emotional life of a writer, it is not actually the terminus at which you have ARRIVED.

Dreamstorming

I’m trying to figure out my book’s cover.

This may sound a bit silly to those of you who understand publishing, especially when you know I’m thinking traditional publication. Especially when I tell you I’m going to start WRITING it on October 1st.

I, too, would have thought so at one time.

We’re taught to manage our expectations by pretending we don’t have any, though, and I’m currently in rebellion against stifling the stage I’m going to call dream-storming.

(Daydreaming + Brainstorming)

See, instead of blocking out my hopes and expectations, I’m trying be as concrete as possible so I know what I’m aiming for.

If I know what kind of cover I think this book should get, I have a clear idea of how I’m going to present it to agents, publishers, and even critique partners.

What about this infant story will make people think “YES I want to read that”?

I haven’t thought about this before at this stage in the process, but I’ve also never outlined a book formally before writing it, either, and I think both are going to improve my process. If I know who (besides me) will be picking this book up off the imaginary shelf, and can visualize how the cover will appeal to them, I can also think about how to approach the book.

I’ve learned how to hone a book to what I’m intending through revising. Now I’m thinking about how to forecast it, too.

So often I read things where the description sounded awesome, but the book I built in my head was not the one I had in my hands.

It takes skill, cunning, and a little luck to make a book that other people want to read, and even more to describe it so they know it’s their jam.

I wouldn’t want to disappoint my imaginary readers!

So while I’m not going to actually break out the .Gimp art, I think I’ll keep dreamstorming, thanks.

Though, no joy so far. Maybe if I spend a few hours on Pinterest…

***

Ready to stop quashing your dreams and start living them?

Does that sound like a tall order? I’m holding a webinar called Unlock Your Agency on the very topic of how you can start getting more power over how your life happens.

Unlock Your Agency

on Zoom, Friday September 30th, 7pm Central