Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Calming Focus

Bonjour, mon amies. (Hello, my friends.) Je suis assez bien. (I am fairly well.) Mon cours tue moi. (My class kills me).

I'm wondering where I have been for the past XX years. I've lived here all of my life, yet today I learned about Mardi Gras. Who knew that there was more to this "holiday" than beads and alcohol. Interessant! My next assignment is to interview someone who was punished for speaking French in school, in the old days. There are like 6 pages of requirements/specifics for the whole project. Then I have to ask for definitions to specific words and be able to explain the answer in complete and clear sentences. Then I have to write a 3 page formal paper on "what I have learned." Jeez, Louise! I want a vacay! Due date March 25!! TICK-TOCK.

I'm currently experiencing that period known as the "calm after the storm." I have a new car and a new attitude. Not that it's a good attitude or bad, but it's definitely different from the Mindy that most of us are used to.

I'm feeling okay financially, a little less so emotionally, and a bit less so physically, as there are kinks (I can't sit or stand in the same position for more than 12 minutes but its much better than it was). I almost asked someone out on a date - yeah you read that right, but while I'm not that brave yet, there is an almost, and that is a lot further than normal.

Yesterday I wrote a post that I felt was too personal to actually send out there for all the world (yeah okay so perhaps no one will ever read it) to see. I wonder how horrible it will be (when??!?!?) I have a readership and they stumble upon this mess that is my musings and figure I'm nuts and never buy another book (how's that for big dreams, huh?) But being me I figure what the heck. Since when do I hold back on the gooey parts. So here's the post that I failed to post yesterday, with a few edits and additions:

I realized today that I am bemoaning my current situation, having forgotten the reason that I am here on this journey.

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to graduate from high school and go off to some great college. A college so very far away from LA. Arizona, New York, California. Anywhere would have been my choice.

Yet I never made it anywhere. I found nothing but roadblocks along the way. I chose love, which is supposed to be the one thing I always believed would open the world for me, would make anything possible; and all this time I've blamed that on my choices, afraid to admit that I may have the worst taste in everything. (Sometimes I think I need a keeper!)

Yet I realize that it's my own insecurities that always hold me back. I find excuses on the curve of every road to nowhere. My problem may be the obsession I've always had with the four letter word. Since I was 14 years old, I've devoured romance novels. I've imagined it, breathed it, experienced it, wanted it, loved it, hated it. Perhaps I've set myself up for the train wreck (ha) that is that aspect of my life. Or maybe it's because I need to be the victim in this story, not satisfied, always left wanting/searching. Or maybe I should just be calling some hotties, in the white jackets. Regardless of the gazillion excuses and reasons my imaginative mind can come up with, the true question is: WHAT I wonder am I really afraid of? hmmm.

I’m stuck in a job I hate. Hours are taken from me as I toil at a job for a company that doesn’t deserve me. How many years wasted? Too many. More years than I’ve been an "adult" perhaps. But what jobs have I ever liked? I wonder. Are there people out there that truly love their jobs. That wake up refreshed and raring to go, as opposed to stomach cramps and cold sweats at 9pm which escalates until 7am when the only fix is a fetal position and a dark cramped place. What job could I possibly have that I would love? I know the answer and the dream but my mind screams failure as I think it. Things to worry about when I "grow older" I guess.

So what is the purpose? Why work at jobs that are beneath you? Why take classes that you don't want. Why work toward a degree you don’t know if you even need? Why you ask?

Because I made a promise to myself a long time ago, way before love found me, way before the troubles and responsibilities of life found me, way before I figured out I have the tendency to trip and fall all over the place. I made a promise to be the first in my family to graduate from college. I’m almost 30 years old, and I haven’t accomplished the goal and dream I set out to.

But I’m getting there. Slowly, very slowly, but sure. Gotta work, gotta survive, gotta learn, gotta write. Those are the days of my life.

I enjoyed a meal and conversation with one of my fav gals today. She helped me see that I am on the road to where I want to be. That first goal is accomplishable and within my reach. Every day, even if I’m not writing, I gain something, a thought, an opinion, a contradiction, which helps my writing skills grow - which helps me grow as a person. We worked on some kinks in my story and got me some ideas for a fix. Maybe the problem is that I'm forcing my character to be a 2x-something character, when in actuality she is younger. Maybe Nalia's story is centered more toward Young Adult than my norm. We shall see I guess.

My fav gal, helped me realize that had I not gone back to college, I wouldn’t have Marilyn, Mnemosyne, Fin, Sugarcane, etc, and that is a tragedy. None of these stories would have found me had I not been pushed and had I not been pushing myself in class at those times. I’m on this journey for a reason, even if it's not the journey I imagine I want, need, etc.

....The point is that I see you, fair child with the large green eyes. I see you blink those beautiful eyes behind plastic frames. I see you nervously smooth your unruly hair behind cute ears. You pout and wrinkle your nose when you think really hard. You wiggle in your seat when the words are flowing inside of your brain and your nimble fingers just aren't fast enough to keep up. You gaze intently at those you notice around you, when you bother to look up from your imaginings, and you wonder - who are they? what are their stories? what can they teach me? how will they change me? And you are not afraid. You smile shyly and you head off, to explore and tell the stories that only you can tell.

I see you inside of me, and I will find a way back. I may have finally found my focus.

So reader of my oh so crazy life, have you found yours? Think back and reflect! It's good for the soul!


Winona said...

Mindy--I do wish I could shield you from the hurts of life, but how could you learn about life.

I was the first in my immediate to graduate college. At the ripe old age of 34, two weeks away from 35. I became a nurse, the profession of my dreams. And, for the most part, I loved going to work. I was devastated when a simple fall took that ability away from me.

But, here I am, with the same doubts and fears you have. With the same knowledge of my characters and the same dreams of writing.

Mindy, you and I both have the talent. What we lack is the self-confidence to fulfill those dreams at this time. I do, however, believe that each of us will become successful in this world of writing where so few make it to the big top. But, the question we need to ask is this--just how high do we want our big top to be? As high as Anne Rice, Nora Roberts, or Patricia Cornwell. Or, as high as Louisiana successes such as Erica Spindler, Barbara Colley and others.

The true success lies in finishing our work and trying. I've written so little since Frank got laid off and we had to move. I just can't make the words flow. I have jotted down ideas and that sort of thing. My books are mostly all packed away somewhere in the bowels of that damned truck.

We did find a house and will be moving around the end of March. Then, the unpacking will begin.

I miss the encouragement of BWG. I am ashamed that I haven't been able to participate in the small critique group you and your friends have said I could work with. But, I haven't lost hope. Let me tell you, I found a book store here. There is one author who they push mightily. She's local, self-published by a printer in town. I bought one of her books. It is just awful in every way, she makes every mistake. I couldn't finish it. Not that I am totally against self-publishing, but I do think simply having a printer copy it as is isn't the greatest way to get things done.

So, you stay calm and steady. Stay on your path, the road you have chosen is the right one.



Mindy Blanchard said...

Nona, hmm I wonder if I'll be able to finish it by the time I'm 34 almost 35 - You and I are so much alike, my heart.

I don't care about the standards and lists that monetary success makes. I care about the standards of my own reading tastes. I want to be as high as Laurell K Hamilton, Christine Feehan, Jade Lee, Sherilyn Kenyon, JR Ward, etc. What's your choice, Nona?

I have a feeling that once you get settled into that new house and start turning the living room into your own writing nook, your inspiration will just spout out. Your words will flow.

BWG is still here, and we are here for you. I am here for you.

Our critique group hasn't done anything really. We just agreed that we would be there for each other if we needed during our writing process. Once you get everything back on track in your writing life, you can jump right in - the few critiques I have had has been via email anyway. Works like a charm.

Thanks for making sense of my musings and for getting my thoughts straight. Love,