Finding permission to be called a writer

I am a writer.   It is that simple. I AM a writer.   How can I call myself a writer when there is little current evidence of my craft? That question often plagues me and holds me down like a wrecking ball resting on a pile of broken walls. I also transfer that question into others, though I have no idea if they really feel that way.   How can you call yourself a writer? You don't write every day, you don't get paid for what you do write and your book isn't selling itself? Those critical questions open the door to shame.   My personal favorite admonition: "Nobody wants me as a writer..."   But, I AM a writer.   Daniel José Older, in his blog Writing Begins with Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice is Wrong, states that shame, more than anything else, stops people from writing. He debunks the advice that to be a writer, you have to write every day. That idea is one of the biggest causes of shame.   I found his blog at the right time. I needed to release the shame and give myself permission to be the writer I am. For me, the should-have-could-have-would-haves are paralytic. The … [Read more...]

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Strengthening the crackling veneer

Have you ever felt broken? Like someone else is living in your body?   I have, and I think the other person's name is Meno Pause. Meno has more depressed days than I ever had, is less tolerant of others and is so fragile that little things crackle the veneer that holds her together, sending her into a room alone to get the shaking under control. She also has trouble thinking, would rather be alone and often avoids gatherings. She is the opposite of who I am in so many ways...   Meno Pause has been living in me for several years, but I think she is gradually moving out. A year ago, I was afraid she was becoming a permanent resident, but today I know different. I don't know if she will ever move out completely, but I am OK with that.   Over the last year I have become stronger, both physically and emotionally, strengthening the veneer that holds us both together. I am more like myself again, and have decided to embrace whatever comes each day. I mourn the loss of parts of me that Meno took away, but I have hope for the future, and I look forward to whatever it has to offer.   … [Read more...]

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Creating a layered herb pot

I am truly a reduce, reuse, recycle person. When something is heading for the garbage, I often see ways to repurpose it. Like the 5-inch-tall cardboard tubes that hold labels we use at work. I was watching the 6-inch diameter tubes adding up in the recycle box and wham, I was struck with the idea of using them to create a layered herb pot.   For my idea, I needed four of the tubes, a pot ?with a minimum of 14 inches in diameter, potting mix and herbs. I filled the pot with the potting mix up to about 2 inches from the top and then set three tubes in place. I filled them with potting mix and added some more around the edges. Then I set the fourth tube on the top in the center where the other three met. I filled the last one with potting mix and then planted the herbs.     I planted parsley around the bottom of the tubes, and then put kale, swiss chard and thyme in the first layer of tubes. I topped off the pot by planting rosemary in the top tube. I also added a couple of nasturtium seeds between the parsley.   The concept is an easy one that can be adapted to different tube sizes. Using this idea to plant pansies or other flowers would … [Read more...]

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Enchantment in the hills

As I enter my columns into the computer I realize how much my writing has changed over the years. I really need to edit the columns I wrote in the early days.   Anyway, while writing during a lull at one of my recent book signings, I was struck with the idea of blogging about being still. We have a tendency to keep moving along with our busy lives, and rarely slowing down to breathe, to listen and to rejuvenate. No wonder we have so many physical and emotional health issues!   I ran across the following column, which I wrote in 1996. It is about summer camping, which I hope the weather will soon allow us to do, and the last paragraph was appropriate to my current thoughts. Slowing down long enough to nurture my soul with nature is something I really need to do.     Ah, summertime! A time for gathering up the family, the tents, the lantern, the coolers, and heading off to the great campgrounds up north. Oh, don't forget the dog!   Well, we found a campground down south that isn't booked up constantly and I couldn't figure out why. When I called the reservation number for the state campgrounds, I was actually trying to reserve a … [Read more...]

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