Infinity Dreams – aren’t they all?

This morning I had a lovely message from Debbie Diljak of North Carolina, telling me that she nominated me for the Infinity Dreams Award – an interesting concept for the relative newbie that I am. Thank you, Debbie, for nudging me toward getting the word out about my blog, because, as we all know, writers LOVE to have more readers! Here’s to both of us picking up another thousand or so followers. Shoot for the moon!

Because this is a spread-the-word kind of effort, there have to be some rules…and here they are:infinity award

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back.
  • Post the award badge and rules.
  • Tell 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and set questions for them.

 

First of all, THANKS to Debbie, find her blog at https://writerdiljak.wordpress.com

Now – You read the rules – so here goes:

Eleven (no, not 10, not a dozen, ELEVEN) facts about me:

  1. I am avid photographer, preferring a photojournalism approach to capturing my subjects instead of the studio look. What can I say, I like edgy.
  2. I draw strength from people around me and have little patience for negativity.
  3. I used to like politics, now I abhor them.
  4. I’m a California girl, grew up in the SF Bay Area and always wanted to live near the ocean. Still working on that.
  5. I love cruising, traveling (fave places: New York City, San Diego and San Francisco) and am looking forward to visiting New Orleans next year and cruising to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Roatan and Hawaii in 2017.
  6. I am married to an amazing visual artist who is patient, funny, affectionate and kind. I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world.
  7. I believe very strongly that we all have an obligation to make this world a better place – no effort is too big or too small.
  8. I love to cook and am a Food Network fan. I host a spaghetti party every January for about 100 people on a very eclectic guest list.
  9. I am a pittie mama, our American Staffordshire Terriers, Booker and Gracie (both rescues) are our favorite furry clowns and cuddlers.
  10. I just became a grandmother for the first time and it is every bit the miracle and joy I imagined.
  11. I cannot imagine going back to a cubicle farm or newsroom after experiencing freelancing. Except for chasing clients who pay late…..

Debbie had some interesting questions for me – here are my answers:

  1. If I didn’t have to work for a living, I would do more work with young writers and artists, walk on the beach, read more and expand my culinary skills
  2. Even my best friends would not know that I can’t ride a bike. (My imaginary tap dancing is amazing) My balance is comical and I saw someone get killed riding a bike in front of my house when I was a child, so there’s a little underlying trauma there.
  3. I am best at being a listener.
  4. Describe me? A take-no-prisoners writer. An exuberant life participant. A loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend.
  5. Why do I like blogging? I like the freedom of writing without silly guidelines and sharing it with the world.
  6. Best advice ever given: Don’t die wondering.
  7. If I could change anything about my life: I’d be a little more active. I’m trying to get into walking and exercising at age 61. This might have been easier if I started sooner. Other than that, it’s been pretty darn perfect.
  8. How many books do you read each year? Yikes, not enough.
  9. Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? I like a mix of both.
  10. If the new ninth planet turns out to exist, what would you name it? Phineas. Just because.

And we’re supposed to pick 11 bloggers to recommend for the Infinity Dreams honor, but I could only think of five that I really, really like … right now:

leahdipaola.com – This is a girl I watched grow up, she worked for me as a reporter and I told her lifestyle writing was more in her wheelhouse – and she does it beautifully. She recently made a big move across the country and is in the blissful state of finding herself

broadwaymusicalblog.com – I am a performer as well as a keyboard artist, and I love to read the backstage notes, written to actor/tech theater geeks like me.

doIhavetowearpink.blogspot.com – Katie is a former news colleague who is a wonderful writer, mentors young women writers and recently kicked breast cancer’s ass.

dramaqueenyc.com – Great reviews that feed my fantasy life of having tickets and living close enough to see all the amazing shows on- and off-Broadway!

melissadell.com – Friend, mother, cook, motivator, savior, crafter, lifestylist. One of the most giving humans I’ve ever met, and helping my daughter (the new mom) realize she’s going to be OK.

And my crazy questions for them:

  1. Superman or Batman? And why?
  2. What is your secret indulgence or guilty pleasure?
  3. What is your biggest fear?
  4. What is your biggest joy?
  5. From where do you draw your strength?
  6. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
  7. Think local: what is your most favorite and least favorite thing about the town in which you life?
  8. Sweet or savory?
  9. What is your proudest achievement?
  10. What is your biggest embarrassment?

There you go. Thanks again, Debbie for the nomination and I look forward to hearing from my five nominees! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resetting my title waves with a day at the beach

Overcast, unremarkable surf, in other words, the PERFECT day at the beach
Overcast, unremarkable surf, in other words, the PERFECT day at the beach

Writers need the beach.

When I posted a picture of the ocean from my beach chair on Facebook, nearly 100 people chimed in with their envy or witty comeback to my simple description: “Today’s office.”

The temperature was at least 20 degrees higher at home. We could have probably dined on a burger as tasty as the one we found at an old, established hangout just feet from the sand closer to home and I could have easily read magazines curled up in a chair in the air conditioning.

But I needed the ocean.

I didn’t even bring my bathing suit, content in my sundress, watching a handful of kids dragging boogie boards through the mild surf. Sitting in my Costco Tommy Bahama chair, I watched a man closer to my age try to go out a little further and ride his surfboard on the swells. I noted that the Shore Patrol boats were making regular back-and-forth trips just past the people in the water.

I didn’t want to know why.

Sometimes you have to be physically removed from the writing chair to get your priorities straight...
Sometimes you have to be physically removed from the writing chair to get your priorities straight…

Writers have pinball brains, which go along naturally with having the attention span of a grapefruit. Either there are one or a dozen stories tripping over each other in our heads to get out, or we’re desperately trying to make sense of the snippets of those peeking around our mental corners just to tease us and leave us empty-fingered at the keyboard.

If it seems we’re off to the Bahamas, we’re not ignoring you, we’re absorbing so much that the little black and yellow figures upstairs (yes, my childlike imagination can picture them) are scrambling to make sure all the things don’t fall off the desk in our brain before we have a chance to put them down in words. There’s not a lot of space upstairs because we’re notorious mental collectors, one magazine copy away from cerebral hoarders.

We’re in constant motion, even when it looks like we’re sitting still. Life changes – the biggest ones to the seemingly insignificant – affect us differently because we’re always looking for framing. When something happens, we bear that unseen yoke of being the message bearers, the people who put things in perspective or spinning them in a favorable or less-than-stellar direction for the rest of the world.

Writers are often excited, ebullient and exhausted, all at once.

Which is why we need the ocean.

I’d been trying to get to the beach for a long time, but life kept getting in the way. My greatest fantasy is to live there, not in a palatial glass-walled mansion, but a little house with shells on the porch, colorful flags and flowers, a couple of sitting chairs and a window or two to the constant coming and going of rhythms governed by a much larger force than silly humans.

To me, going to the beach is like going to the clockmaker to get my watch back into cadence, to hear and see and smell and feel the earth’s rhythm and allow my soul to relax and follow along gently.

I love to watch the way the water comes to shore, crashing, creeping, sweeping back with a rush or an amble, sometimes going back in rivulets, other times with strong undertow. When I’m feeling adventurous, I like to stand ankle-deep in the sand and feel a power much stronger than mine shake me up a bit, then smooth me out as the waters calm.

Grains of sand under the microscope and lend of Dr. Gary Greenberg
Grains of sand under the microscope and camera lens of Dr. Gary Greenberg

Standing on the sand grounds me, especially when I consider the composition of what’s beneath my toes – miniaturized bits and pieces of sea creatures, shells, sponges, rocks, sea glass and other detritus, all smashed together over and over and over, polished and reshaped endlessly by the tides and presenting themselves anew with every wave.

Would that my inner scribe could absorb their stories and blend them into mine.

Photo by Dr. Gary Greenberg from “A Grain of Sand: Nature’s Secret Wonder,” http://www.amazon.com/Grain-Sand-Natures-Secret-Wonder/dp/0760331987