Archive | December, 2014

Do you resolve . . . ?

24 Dec

One January 1 – too many years ago to remember comfortably, I looked at my image in the mirror, and was suddenly struck by an unhappy thought. Living by myself, I felt no hesitation whatever at speaking sharply to that image. “Wake up, woman!” I said. “In less than three months, you’re going to hit that big five-oh, and what do you have to show for yourself?”

Well, I did have two husbands (both deceased at that time) and two adult children, but that was about it. All of my youthful dreams were still just that – dreams. I’d been talked out of one dream – that of becoming a sports writer (“They’ll never let women in the locker rooms and that’s where all the good stories come from. Go write about food or babies. That’s what women write about.”) and a second one – playing French Horn in a symphony orchestra (“They’ll never let women in the brass section of an orchestra.”)  Well, it is true that those incidents had occurred some 35 years earlier than the year referred to above, but the situation still hadn’t changed much by then, either, although it has now, at least somewhat.

There was another dream, though, that I hadn’t yet quite delineated, even to myself. I’d always wanted to be a writer, and on that day, all those years ago, I made up my mind to get busy. It worked. Since then, I’ve written five books in their entirety, and all of them have been published commercially, with two of them later in print-on-demand or POD. There have also been four plays – one of which had a professional production, and two others have had staged readings. I’ve also done several Christmas Regency novellas – all of them published (by either a commercial publisher or myself in POD) and have started probably 40 other books. Not to mention, one co-authored non-fiction book, now published as well.

But, guess what? Some years after that talk to the mirror, I did become a sportswriter, as I was the staff writer for the local women’s tackle football team. For five years I went to all the games with the team and wrote game stories to send to the local media and the league’s web-site! At about the same time, it was pointed out to me that my early musical training could combine with my writing skills to allow me to be a pretty good reviewer. This led to a fellowship sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the Columbia School of Journalism, which took me to New York for nearly two weeks of musical events I’d only ever dreamed of actually being able to see or hear. Two years later, I had two weeks in Ireland to attend and review a chamber music festival for a British web-site – courtesy of the Irish government.

Additionally, in the ‘printed’ column are perhaps 100 or so articles or book reviews in magazines, and probably another thousand reviews of classical music concerts, operas and theater productions plus maybe fifty interviews of folks I’ve found interesting. I’ve even had short fiction published, and one short story won an award! It took a while – not for nothing have I been called a ‘late-bloomer’ – but I finally learned the all important difference between ‘wanting to have written’ and – actually having done it. I heartily recommend it to anyone.

This is not to bore you with a laundry list of my accomplishments, but rather to urge you to take a good hard look at the image you see in the mirror every day. Ask that person if he has a dream and what has he done to make it come true? Ask her if she’s really serious about that dream, or does she have deep-down doubts about it? There are very few dreams that cannot be accomplished in some way, providing of course that it’s not a totally “Impossible Dream” to begin with.

I love to watch ballet, or opera, but there is no way I could ever, EVER have been a dancer of any kind (I’m too tall and too much of a klutz for that) or even a singer of opera.  But I can – and did – write a sort of playscript that was the foundation for an operatic production, and it was produced by a professional opera company. Trust me – there’s NO difference in the feeling of pride one has by approaching the dream sideways if it results in having the dream come true.

Try it for yourself. You have absolutely nothing to lose by dreaming BIG!! Just remember to use your past along with your present in order to create your future!

My best wishes to all of you for a very successful and happy 2015! My 2014 exceeded every possible dream and/or wish I could have made! Or much less have even thought about! I could – and do – happily wish the same for each of you.

Questions or comments? Please write to me:  bookmechanicATgmail.com

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Yikes! It’s almost 2015!

10 Dec

Good grief! Three weeks and two days from now we’ll be in the year 2015. That just doesn’t seem possible.  I vividly remember a time when the year 2000 was seemingly thousands of years in the future. Well, that was certainly not true. Remember Y2K?  For sure the cyber world was going to come to a disastrous end, and it turned out to be entirely peaceful.

So, what will 2015 mean for you? For me? Who knows these things?

We can, however, know what we might do. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I do have a ‘To-Do List’. Actually, I’ve had one every year for the past ten or so years, and sometimes at the end of the year, I can actually look at it and cross off some of the items. Sometimes I look at the list and sadly shake my head, as in what was I thinking when I wrote that on there?  Well, obviously I wasn’t thinking, or at least not thinking in the right direction.  I can say, however, that I did manage to cross two items off my list this  year.  They aren’t all I did, however, as there were a few additions that weren’t written down, but still, they count in the grand tally.

For next year – 2015 – I’ve  not yet made up my list, but I know there will be some items that pop up to the top of the list, regardless of where I think they belong in the overall scheme of things. But that’s okay, too.

I also know that the ‘power of positive thinking’ can be a real force in one’s life, if you believe that way. Several years ago, I heard about a new concept.  It was called a ‘Dream Board’ (aka Wish List) and allowed one to visualize wanted items. My board was divided into monetary categories:  $50. – $100., $150. – $200., $250. – $300., etc. I made a label for each and pinned it to the corkboard. The highest dollar amount was $500. And wouldn’t you know, that was the first item that was removed from the Wish List when it became a reality!  It was a full-sized Yamaha electronic keyboard, which still holds pride of place in my living room. Actually, it was a bit more than $500. But that’s beside the point.

I wanted it desperately, and I cut out a photo of the unit and pinned it to the board, never dreaming that it would ever come to live with me. But it did!  I had items of smaller value, too, and for the most part, they followed right along. I didn’t get quite everything posted on my board, but I found it did help to focus my attention on things that I thought I wanted.  Focusing is always a good thing, regardless of the direction of the focus. Unless you’re a stalker, that is. But maybe my reasons for wanting the object changed, so it was no longer considered as desirable as when I made the board.

If you’re on a limited budget, this can be a very strong motivation to save up to make a bigger purchase rather than frittering away your dollars and sense on an accumulation of smaller stuff! It’s so easy to spend a dollar here and a dollar there! Too many temptations abound.

For 2015, I’m going to try something different, but along the same line. Instead of dollar value tags, I’m just going to print out titles of projects, and pin them to the board. That way, every time I walk by it, I’ll see those names, and hopefully, this will jog my muse into getting busy.  I’ll confess to my successes next year at this time!  In the meantime, I wish you luck with your goals for the new year! And I do hope they include writing – something!

Comments and questions?  Write to me:  bookmechanicATgmail.com   Thanks!