Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Being In The Moment

I've made one New Year's resolution that stuck. I like to imagine that's one more than anyone else in the world. If you can best me, speak up! I'd love to hear about more disciplined people than I...so I can shoot you in your sleep.

I'm serious.

Anyway. What happened was this: I turned forty. And no, I'm not gonna tell how long ago that was. Suffice to say, the resolution I made that year has stuck, and I'm incredibly happy and content because of it.

After FabDame got sick I made another resolution. While not technically a New Year's one, it happened close enough to almost count. I decided that henceforth, I was going to live in the moment. Neither thinking of the past or the future (with the exception of a secure retirement portfolio, so sue me) only the NOW. After all, now is all we have. Truly, it is. As soon as you blink its gone and there's only, guess what? Another now.

I have to say I've been pretty good at it! Was kinda surprised since for the last several years I'd been caught up in the dream of getting and staying published...future living at its best! The dream that might never come! The pot of gold over the rainbow.

But I've lived in The Now for quite a while and have come to love the details you notice while in it--things like the changing light throughout the day, a laugh with an unpleasant stranger, the sound of a dead, skittering leaf, the musty smell of a vintage vacuum cleaner (which I'll expand on in another post), a glass of ice cold water, an elephant bell, a camel bell--any bell. Friendship bracelets given to me by Elizabeth Gilbert. Even the mundane puzzle of engineering a hundred dirty glasses into an undersized dishwasher.

Don't look at me like that! Did you expect me to say raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? Ya'll know me better than that. But, hey, we could learn alot from that song.

These are the things that make up our lives and if we can't engage with them on some level, we'll never enjoy very much.

So, I've lived in the moment. Problem was, I haven't written a damn thing. Not. A. Damn. Thing. For almost a year. And it pains me to publicly admit that, even though ya'll know I haven't even blogged much. I've been too busy in the moment! The moment, people!

Another reason I heven't written is that the project I'm aching to write is so huge and intimidating I got paralyzed. Not blocked. Paralyzed. Catatonic. Frozen in fear.

But guess what? Tonight I met DIP at our coffee shop for a writing session. Beforehand, I made him painfully aware of my dilemma: I haven't been writing, don't know if I'll ever write again, I need to write, love to write, but have no will, blah blah whine blah blah blah-dee-fucking-blah.

Yet, in one hour I wrote a normal day's word count -- on the huge, honkin' kick-ass scary project I've been avoiding for about two years now.

How did I do this? Hell if I knew. Until I suddenly paused at the keyboard and looked over at DIP. "I'm living in the moment with my characters."

He nodded. "I was just talking about that with my crime writer friends."

I did it by being in the moment. By not thinking about the future, or how many words I had to write, how many plot points to hit, characters to introduce, facts to keep straight, research to do, who to market the story to, if I'd need an agent, if I could even write something this big.

I did it one word at a time. Living in my heroine's moment. How the sun felt, the growing humidity, a silky dog's fur, a fleeting fear, suspicion, lust, worry, disbelief. A toothbrush. A can of Barbasol. Some OCD.

One moment at a time.

That's how all stories get written. How are you gonna write yours?

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This One Time in Band Camp...

So my friend Meg and I met these hilarious guys the other night -- cry-laughing, side-splitting, fun-a-rama, wanna-see-them-again-so-bad kinda guys.

We had decided to go "out of town" for the evening, in other words, hit different places, shake things up a little. Our town is small. We see the same people every. single. weekend. It's boring after a while, you know?

Anyway. We cruise down to a pub a few miles away, drink a beer, have some food. Meg attracts the eye of a cutie across the bar. As soon as I go to the bathroom -- because God forbid he'd have my penetrating blue stare upon him -- he makes his move and exchanges numbers with her. We're stoked as we walk out to her car. See what going out of town can do??

Full of ourselves, we decide to stop at another pub on the way back to a local bar we've never been to together. We find a parking spot, park (d'oh) and head in. All of a sudden we hear a voice bellow, "We just got kicked out!" I turn and spot what looks like two frat boys hulking in the parking lot. Big frat boys. Mentally, I dismiss them. But...

Is it the writer in me? The asker? The wonderer? Do I always have to acknowledge people when spoken to? Will my curiosity someday kill me? Am I too nice to ignore two sauced idiots in the parking lot of Houlihans? Or did I have a feeling...

Obviously all of the above. Or at least one.

"Why?" I ask, turning and taking a step toward them.

"There's a wedding party in there," one of them says. He looks older up close. Something tells me he's about my age. The other one looks younger. And hotter. And younger. As it turns out he is, but not by too much.

"Who the hell has a wedding party at Houlihans?"

Meg laughs.

"I know!" one of them bellows.

"I'm not going in there if there's a wedding party."

"Where are you going?"

I name the diviest bar in town.

Meg falls down laughing. Literally.

They follow us up there. Wind up being two responsible, thoughtful, smart, funny, sexy, gainfully employed, funny, and did I mention sexy, guys?

We end up having the. most. fun. we've had in years. Literally. Hours of playing pool, aching laughter, dancing, high school antics, phone calls that night to make sure we got home ok, a day later, declarations of we have GOT to do this again -- how they'd been laughing and reminiscing about meeting me and Meg.

Romance? Maybe. Who cares? It was so. much. fun.

All with these two guys who picked us up in the parking lot of Houlihans. And how we let them.

A feeling. A risk. Taking a chance on fate.

This one time at band camp.

What's yours?

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