Current Side Project: HOPE

Whew, okay, so… I’m working on another project right now. I’m writing my novel, of course, but I’m also working on a project writing about how to reprogram your mind for success.
In the last months, I’ve been following a lot of teachers, and I’ve learned a lot about success thinking. But I finally found a method that has completely altered the trajectory of my life within a couple of months… in massive, unprecedented ways.
And I’ve come to understand that the biggest issue is that so many of these teachings do the same thing… they give you part of the answer and then want you to buy the rest. The problem is, the people who MOST NEED this help and life-altering change… can’t afford it!
I’ve finally put it together, and I’m going to make a $.99 audio and $.99 book to help people totally alter their lives. Without $5,000 seminars. Without $1,000 “clearing” by people who are “specially intuitive and are the only one who can clear you”. The people who most need help are typically not able to afford it. This is a long standing problem, and it has to end. It’s not okay. It’s not how things should work.
So I’m writing the book and collaborating with a friend to create a meditation audio to go along with the book.  Either alone should help people transform their lives if followed with as much accuracy as they can do so. It is already changing lives in radical and profound ways.
I believe all people deserve transformation, not only the ones who can afford to attend costly seminars. And I don’t buy the absurd idea that “people won’t value it” if it’s not thousands of dollars. We each get to decide how much we value something. I have things that I value more than I value my car… because they were gifts. They cost me nothing, ever… but they are super precious.
This proves to me beyond all doubt that it’s not about value. We value things as we choose to. We can value gifts above purchased items, IF WE SO CHOOSE. And thus we can value something that COULD be sold for thousands of dollars (and this could easily be!!), if we CHOOSE TO.
I believe people will return and buy the more expensive audios and books we’ll also make, in part to pay us back for the gift of changing their life forever. That’s my true, genuine belief. Some may not, but I truly believe the vast majority will.
Sometimes, you have to step up and take a risk. I’d rather save lives for $.99 and be seen a fool, than not save any lives and be proven one….

To Be A Compass

Somewhere along the line in my relationship with my ex, something went terribly wrong. It started out small, and it just got bigger. The fighting was passionate in the beginning. But then everything was passionate in the beginning. Yet in the most basic sense, John was a truly good man. He wanted me to be happy. He was kind, he was giving, he was thoughtful.

When I got pregnant, things changed. What I can see as I look back now, was that we both changed, but me more than him. I quit standing my ground. I tried to be nice. I didn’t focus on what I really needed during that difficult time. I let it become about him–while I was the one who was pregnant.

It was like a house of cards or a line of dominoes. Once I made that first fatal error, it all started to fall down as the years went by. I was missing something, and I knew it. John still wanted to please me, and sometimes I let him. But mostly I focused on pleasing John. How to make him happy again, so he would care about my needs again.

I sort of had it right. I knew for sure that I couldn’t just give in all the time… that it wasn’t right to pretend I was attracted when I just no longer was. Sadly, I knew a whole ton of wrong things, though. And I tried every single one of them–repeatedly. Whether they worked or not.

Then it was over. And it ended ugly. I was hurting and hating him because it was easier to hate him than feel the anguish I’ve felt over losing him.

But I know what I want. I want love. I want a marriage and a lifelong commitment. I want to be in love and I want someone to be in love with me. I know that much for sure. So I started doing some meditations about attracting your ideal mate. I made changes in myself; and I decided that I wasn’t going to be the people-pleaser John-pleaser I had been. I got my hair cut and I colored it. Change. I started keeping the house the way I want it without regard for punishing him for not picking up after himself. Change.

Then as I continued my meditations, I stumbled across an ad on a page.  An interesting thing to note is that I don’t click ads. I just don’t. I end up spending money, and I rarely feel like I get what I needed or wanted from that product. I don’t do disappointment well, kind of like sadness. But I clicked it, and it took me here:, (I am not affiliated in any way)

Immediately, I could just sense that, at least for me, this felt RIGHT. It was like kizmet. I was definitely not living my feminine energy, but I didn’t know it. It was like a key fitting into a lock–I understood immediately that THIS was what I was doing wrong all along.

Men are designed to please through doing. Women are designed to please through accepting. This is evident in our very bodies. We accept a man into our body… into our lives… into our circle of life. And that’s where I went wrong. When I started trying to please, instead of accepting pleasure… I went horribly wrong.

Now, I don’t justify anything he did. Some of those things were just downright MEAN. But so was I sometimes. Neither makes the other right, but it becomes easier to realize that I contributed to what happened, and that he didn’t WANT to be mean… we were just both completely lost and confused.

I’ve forgiven him. Just like that. And I’ve understood in the last few days that men have a focus. They have a True North in a relationship… and if I want to be happy with my man, I’m not supposed to please him. I’m supposed to be his compass. His True North is my happiness. What a profound, amazing concept.

Looking back, I know this was true for John, beyond the shadow of all doubt. He wanted me to be happy. He wanted to please me. When I started trying to please him, instead, he lost sight of True North. And I couldn’t make him happy because I was not happy. I thought that my happiness hinged upon him being happy first.

I had it all backwards. I needed to tell him, in a real, raw way, how I felt so he could tell how far away–or how close–he was to his True North. Without the guidance of my emotions, he was lost and adrift… then we both started screwing up.

The program is hard and it’s scary. It’s stripping myself of defenses I spent 42 years building. It’s asking a person with autism to look someone in the eye without faltering. It’s huge and it’s terrifying to be so stripped bare to my naked soul in front of a man who has such power to hurt me; and doesn’t even know it because I hid it so well.

Wherever I go from here, I know it’ll be marriage. And this time, I’m committed to being the compass. Men want to please. I’ve seen it so many times. It truly IS their nature to please. But they have to be guided. Not through being told WHAT to do… but through being told how what they are doing is working–or not working. The doing is their job… the pointing to True North is my job. The feminine is receptive of the action, and maybe sometimes it won’t feel nice. Sometimes it’s scary and sometimes it’s painful and sometimes it’s angering.

It’s hard for them, too. They want to hear “I’m happy” every time, but sometimes it’s “I feel sad”, instead. Or maybe it’s “I feel angry”.

By not being honest about how I felt, I broke his compass. Its needle was wobbling all over the place, and he had no guidance system anymore.

I didn’t know any better. I was trying. So was he. A critical element was missing, and neither of us knew what it was or how to get it back. Now I know, and I know now that I’ll have what I want. I’ll be married someday and I’ll be my husband’s most precious treasure: his compass.

Pulling Out of Procrastination Station

So this is what happens when life goes to hell in a handbasket and things run amok… you must at some point stop procrastinating and get off your arse and in the words of that there one comedian whose name I don’t remember… “Git ‘er done!”

Last month was Nano-wrimo. And between blog posts and my fanfictions and everything else, I did manage my 50,000 words. In fact, please feel free to pat me on the back, because I managed to go over by 1 whole word! Oh yeah. I am THAT awesome.

I also, strangely, managed to get my house back somewhere near the condition that I prefer to live in. The sad truth is that I really like a clean home, and I allowed my resentment towards my ex to get in the way of what makes me truly happy. A tidy, well-organized home is a blessing. Organization and creating systems that facilitate that is my gift–and I’m good at it. I was very unhappy, and my ‘home’ showed it.

Now it’s time to get my writing organized. I’m consolidating the Supernaturals XMind files, straightening them out, redoing them as necessary… all that jazz. I’m doing my first re-write of A Gargoyle’s Might and updating all of the lore that came with it. It’s quite a book, I must say… and it brought in loads of new lore. You’re going to love it if you like Fantasy elements with your Paranormal.

So anyway, I feel so much more like myself as I pull out of Procrastination Station, headed for “Git ‘er done”ville. I have left the guilt behind and I no longer feel obligated to put first someone for whom I wasn’t even on the priority list. I’m steering my own life again, and I’ve chosen the track I want to be on.

Chugga-chugga-choo-choo! All aboard!

“I’m Raiding” has Replaced “Bring Me a Beer”

So on my 7 year old daughter’s birthday (She turned 7 this Halloween), my ex ended our 10 year relationship. At first, I was devastated. I gave the guy 10 years of fidelity and honest effort. I’m told that women are led by their emotions and men are the rational, logical ones… yet it was I who hung on despite the many times I no longer felt any emotional attachment–or connection–with him at all. But when he decided he didn’t “feel the same” about me anymore, and “never would”, he walked away like 10 years is nothing. It’s been almost a year since my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and it’s been one hell of a hard year for her and me both.

Relationships fall apart for a lot of reasons. Ours fell apart in part because my ex only considers two things to be of value in this world… money and sex. And once he started treating me poorly, he wasn’t getting the second and I was too focused on our daughter to focus on the first.

Yet it goes deeper than that. We all know and recognize the iconic image of the guy with his hand down his pants, yelling for a beer while he watches TV and his wife is bringing him a beer with two kids dangling off of her and her eyes crossed from exhaustion. After all, as we all know, he has had a rough day and he deserves to be waited on hand and foot because… he makes MONEY. And nothing else is of value in this world…

But the new iconic “involved husband and father” image isn’t quite so obvious. There’s no beer to depict his disconnection. Instead, it’s a computer and a group of soda cans.

Today’s dad might look more like this:

When his kid wants his attention, it’s “Stop it, I’m busy.” Or, if he’s in a good mood, it might be, “After this raid”. Which incidentally takes him well past the child’s bedtime. Unlike the beer drinking slob, he’d probably disengage long enough to get laid–because in the gaming community, getting laid is cool (as long as you don’t do it on raid nights).

I’m a gamer, too. It really is kind of addicting, and definitely fun. It can be social, as well. But when my daughter came along, it was me who cut back my gaming hours. It was me who quit raiding. It’s me who stops to play a game or to read a story or to take her to bed–on time (imagine it!).

Yet he was entitled to his gaming time because HE had a REAL job. Because HE brought in money. And he was entitled to sex for the same reason. The idea that he should get off of the computer and spend time with his family was a wonderful one. And he intended to do it. But not tonight. Not during a raid. Not when there were coins to gather or gear to get before the next raid.

I did a lot wrong, too. I kept giving up… and trying to get back into it. Our relationship was like working out. I’d give up and then try again. Then give up and get back into trying again. It was like working out for him, too… he’d try for a day and expect everything to magically change. A kiss that morning on the way to work was “trying to show affection” and if he didn’t get laid that night, then “it didn’t work” and if he did get laid that night, he didn’t need to try anymore because “it worked” and now he should be getting it all the time.

At the end of the day, I thought we were back on track to try with “us” again. I thought that, now that our daughter was on the insulin pump and I wasn’t checking her every single night at 12 and 3 and 5 am, we could work towards us. We’d finally found a babysitter for her who wasn’t petrified of her chronic health condition. It was all coming together…

Except it wasn’t. And you can’t have a relationship all by yourself. He had “fallen out of love” with me… was still in love with his computer… and just didn’t feel like anything was worth the effort anymore. But he did try for a couple of weeks to actually be a dad. And when he’s not near the computer, he’s okay as a dad. He gets angry easily, which he blames on me.  Though him blaming everything on me–whether it has anything to do with me or not–is trademark for our relationship. We quit counseling because it wasn’t fixing me fast enough.

The truth is, as I look back on it, he always thought he would be happy “when” and all of his “whens” focused on me. When I got a job, he’d be happy. When he was getting laid every day, he’d be happy. When that was happening, he wasn’t happy. When that was happening, he picked fights about other things every chance he got.

Now he can raid in peace, and I’m okay with the breakup. The reason why is simple. Because now I realize on a profound level that him being a jerk and a slob really didn’t have anything to do with me. We’re broke up now and I’m working to find my real self again while he… he’s still a jerk and a slob. Bless his heart.

Despite this post, I don’t hate him. I’m not even angry at him anymore. I’m seeing things clearly for the first time since I met him, and I know now that he will never have another chance with me. More than that, I know to look at my part of the relationship now, because I can’t trust what he says is my part in what went wrong. He’ll blame me for everything, just as he always has. So I have to figure out for myself which part of me I don’t want to take into the next relationship.

The most important thing is that I’m going to quit blaming myself for everything. I didn’t learn that from him, I blamed myself long before him. But he did teach me one very important thing… I don’t like someone blaming me for everything, even the ones I had nothing to do with. So it’s long past time I quit doing it to myself. I didn’t like it when he did it to me, so now I need to stop being a hypocrite and quit doing it, too.

If you know what I mean, you may want to check out this website:

Parenting: The Good, The Bad, and The Diabetes

The title is really no joke at all. There’s the good of parenting, the hard parts of parenting, and then there are physical conditions that are very much on their own level.

With the approach of the first day of school, the pressure is mounting.  It’s very much akin to the concept of a geyser building up pressure on a predictable schedule. That pressure mounts and mounts until it roars and explodes up into the air… only to settle immediately back into business as usual… yet that sense of slowly increasing pressure remains beneath the apparently tranquil surface.

That’s what back-to-school is like.

But then you throw in the unpredictable element of diabetes, and things get very strange. I’m playing phone tag all day long with people from Medtronic (we decided on a Revel insulin pump). I’m playing catch-up with the nurse educator, and playing verbal ping-pong with the school…

Thursday is our 504 meeting. It was going to be on Wednesday, which made me just want to cry. I really need Wednesday clear so that I can hopefully meet up with my old boss who may have a few hours a week for me to work. The money would be lovely, but more than that, she and her family became like a sort of extended family to me. I miss them so much that sometimes my heart hurts. I babysat their daughter for over a year, and in that time, how could you not become attached to them all?

It’s another price of this condition, and that doesn’t even speak to what my daughter has to face. It’s a struggle to take care of these factors behind the scenes for her and try to put on a brave face so that she doesn’t feel guilty. It’s a human thing to feel guilty even when it’s not our fault, and it’s just so unfair. I’m not going to lie, I fear doing that to her; causing her to feel guilt over something she has no business feeling guilty over.

This has impacted my life in ways that I never could have imagined or expected. Everything feels so ‘on hold’ during the summer.

I am hoping that the return of school, as pressured as it is, will bring with it some relief and allow me to at least partake once more in a bit more of life. I had always thought that school time was the harder time, the more busy time, the more active time. This summer has disabused me of that notion entirely!

Bring on the first daze of school!

I think I’ll take a nap at least once the first week. Wouldn’t that be something!

The Great Travail: Diabetes vrs. Writing

As some of you may know, my 6 year old daughter was diagnosed in Dec. 2012 with type 1 diabetes. I won’t go into all the differences between type 1 and type 2, as anyone interested enough can look it up. I’ll suffice it with this… my daughter can eat anything that anyone else can eat, she just requires a shot of insulin before she can eat it. In type 2, the person’s body doesn’t like insulin–it resists it, basically. In type 1, the body, simply put, just doesn’t make any.

So, there’s the super-extra-fast skinny on the differences…

On to the point. We are in the process of getting her onto an insulin pump. We are also in the process of changing from one endocrinologist to a different one. Both of these have been extremely stressful, and getting her insulin pump has been delayed until August, if not later. I’m hoping for a reprieve and that we’ll manage to get it earlier and faster. Here’s crossing my fingers.

That being said, everything else in life has gone on hold for quite a while thanks to these issues. Diabetes, at least in these early months, is all-consuming for the caretaker(s). At least, around our house it has been. It’s learning and figuring and researching and trying to learn this pump versus that pump. It’s reading about how to pretend you’re a pancreas.

Pretending to be a pancreas is kind of like pretending to be a state-of-the-art computer from 2206. I just as well try to be a rock star or pretend that I’m an astronaut. In other words, it’s just not possible–yet it still consumes so much time, energy, and effort.

In the meantime, we’ve finally gotten to the point where we’re trying to catch up with some things at home. I’m getting a new desk. Since I”m a mom, my desk is sort of the dumping ground for pictures (I made this just for you, Mommy!), for personal grooming supplies (do you have the toenail clippers? no… er, wait… uh, eww!), for my own stuff (I know it’s around here somewhere!), and for pretty much anything and everything else you can think of (or, hopefully not… some things I’d rather not think of).

Additionally, we’re finally getting that deep freezer that I’ve coveted for years. Then there’s the garden that needs weeding and planting. Not to mention that the cherry bushes out front are being choked out by dandelions (which is a problem, because I actually like dandelions). Oh, also, there’s the small matter of cleaning up the storage room to make room for the bloody stupid freezer that I was entirely certain I really really wanted until I saw that storage room and remembered we have to clean it before… wait, what was I talking about?

Oh yes, something about writing.

I’ll be back at it soon. Except that the school year is ending and naturally, we’re right in the middle of changing doctors (both endo and pediatrician, by the way), trying to get an insulin pump, trying to clean the back room, trying to weed the garden, and trying to get my desk cleaned to make room for the new one.

Tired yet? I know I am!

But, I haven’t forgotten writing and I’ll be back to the poor old abused grindstone soon, I promise!

No, seriously.

PBP: Hegemony

When I thought about writing for the Pagan Blog Project this week, I thought of all kinds of words, but they just didn’t seem to fit where I’m at right now. I thought of harmony, hope, happiness (again), harps, and others I probably shouldn’t share.

Then I realized that this week I’ve been dealing with the concept of hegemonies in my writing and my personal life.’s second meaning for hegemony is what I wanted to address:

2. leadership; predominance

Lately, I’ve been considering; wondering what has hegemony in my life? Where do my priorities really lie? I’ve been re-reading the Tao this week, as it’s my primary spiritual inspiration. As a sort of eclectic pantheist, I guess, I believe in one Great Intelligence, which pictures itself in the world as a multitude of beings and intelligences, great, small, and in between.

The greatest and most powerful expression of that Great Divine Intelligence is Love.

When I rise in the morning and stare at the sun for a few seconds (when it’s not obscured), it is love that I feel. Reverence for this great ball of fire, the Seat of the Divine… and its unconditional love for all things.

I don’t remember who said it, I believe it was Eckhart Tolle in one of his books, but the sun looks down upon all with equal love. It shines upon the rich, the poor, the tall, the short, the fat, the thin, the young, the old… it shines its undying, unalterable love upon everyone.

The sun is the ultimate Hegemony of this world. For without the sun, all things would cease. No more plants. No more animals. No more you, no more me. Just a cold, barren ball of frozen rock, hurtling through space. It has ultimate predominance over everything.

Yet as the Tao reminds us… it does not interfere. It stands above us all. It is the source of all life… but like Love Itself, it holds no bias. It shines. It loves.

Like the sun, I desire Love to be my Hegemony. That sort of ultimate Hegemony wherein there is only Love shining forth, without compromise, without condition. I choose to let Love have predominance in my life. I choose to let Love lead my actions.

What has Hegemony in your life?

Pagan Blog Project

Since my current writing project (which will extend most likely for years) is related to Celtic Mythology, I am joining the Pagan Blog Project.

It has been instrumental in helping me get a view of “real life” practices in religions that don’t include only what I was raised on. I hope that, if you have any interest in ancient Celtic God/desses, you will check it out. It isn’t exclusive to Celtic beliefs, but it does touch on a lot of practical application and lend a greater understanding to ancient religions.

An interesting and wide-ranging resource for anyone interested in learning more about practical life paths that don’t include one of The Big Three religions (or five, for that matter :p).

Two Things Every Writer Should Do

Last month I experienced two things I think every writer should do:

1. NaNoWriMo
2. I went on a retreat

1. Nano. Why is this so important? Because it’s incredible for making you realize how much you’ve pushed writing onto the back burner, and how much you could accomplish if you’d just knock that off. That’s the intent of it, but I hadn’t really realized how truly it accomplished its intent until I went and did it. I recommend it for all writers, but especially for those who are mothers or have other sorts of jobs that they put first. You can find more time than you realize, if you’re motivated.

2. Go on a retreat. Why? This part, I can’t carry on about enough. There was so much that came out of this that it’ll take me this whole post to get through it all.

I won a sweepstakes to When Words Count Retreat in nearby Vermont. I hadn’t really intended to ever go on a retreat. It’s not something that I do… I’m a mom, I’m busy, darn it! When I won, I almost canceled… I’m busy, you know. The manager, Jon, had to call me several times in order to get through to me and set up the paperwork and such… I’m busy, in case I didn’t mention that.

Finally, though, the assigned date came. I left home on, of all days, my daughter’s Birthday. Off I went to mountainous Vermont in my poor little old Nissan. It’s a great car, by the way, so don’t let this story confuse you–this car has been a blessing.

The first thing to go wrong (converse to my previous statement there) was that I had car trouble. I foolishly pulled over to see if restarting it would solve the issue. To my dismay, I only barely got it restarted–now I was afraid of shutting it off.  I called Jon at When Words Count, and told him that I needed a nearby garage to leave my car at. I foolishly thought perhaps I could get a taxi to the Retreat. (Don’t hurt yourself laughing, I didn’t realize Rochester, VT had a population of 5 or so)

He very kindly gave me the address of the Mechanic shop on (wait for it, wait for it…) Main St. Now, ready for the clincher? 123 Main St.  You think I’m kidding? Look it up!

Therefor, I arrived at 123 Main St. Rochester, Vt. I believe I met all of the denizens of said town while I was there. Okay, now I’m joking. I might have met half of them. *wink*

Anyway, so now I’m really thinking… I shouldn’t have done this. I’ve ruined my car, I’ve left on my daughter’s birthday (she’s 6, we’d already had her party, so I didn’t abandon her sans b-day celebration, for the record)… this was going to cost me possibly over a grand (it seemed like tranny trouble)… and you know what? I didn’t have time for this… I’m busy!!

Well, to my surprise, they came and picked me up from the mechanic’s office and took me out to the Retreat. Before I tell you first impressions, let me tell you what I was expecting. Somehow, since at one point I’d seen that they “offered services” such as editing and the like, I had it in my mind that I’d be at a Holiday Inn Express type place and they’d be trying to high-pressure sell me a bunch of “other services”. But, I figured I could hide in my room and launch my NaNo Novel from there. Maybe they wouldn’t notice me huddling away in up there?

When we got there, I didn’t realize we had arrived. There was a large sign, yes, but I thought we’d drive past the big, beautiful old farmhouse and off we’d go to the REAL ‘Retreat’. Instead, we stopped in front of the old farmhouse and out we got.

Patricia showed me the front entryway on the way in, and I couldn’t believe it. This stately old home was the Retreat hotel!

First off, I hate to inform them, but they made just a teensy weensy mistake. This place is NOT a hotel. This is a Bed and Breakfast.  I grew up on a farm with an ancient house on it, and there were issues… it was drafty and cold. This building reminded me of all the charm of the old farmhouse I grew up in–without the drafty and cold!

I was shown around, and right away, I felt immersed in “writing culture”. Each room was named after famous writers. In the dining area were food recipes written in the ‘voice’ of various authors. It was charming, but it was also lovely and had a sort of ‘heritage elegance’ to it that captured me from the beginning.

I loved this delightful old Bed and Breakfast immediately. But of course, I was still prepared for high pressure sales pitches. It’s the world we live in, you know? Busy… high pressure… Welcome to Earth…

I was upgraded for free to a room with a double bed; The Emily Dickenson room. It was wonderful, very cozy and an excellent place to sit and write for NaNo and hide from what I was SURE was going to happen SOMETIME.

Soon, it was time to have dinner. I came down a little early, during “cocktail hour”. I don’t drink, and I kind of thought, “well, this will be fun… chatting with all the drunks until I can’t stand it anymore”.  No, I’m not a cynic, damn it! I call it “realist” because it doesn’t sound quite so harsh. :p

To my surprise, I found everyone very cordial and friendly. I met Paul, the chef. He insisted on making me a REAL hot chocolate, even though there was a perfectly good (massive) box of Swiss Miss sitting right there. I thought to object to yon food snob, because I happen to LIKE Swiss Miss, thank-you-very-much. But I didn’t want to be rude, you know… so I let the man make me some REAL hot chocolate (silly food snob, you’re wasting your time).

Ah. Well. There comes a time in every life when you must to hang your head in shame. Paul made me the REAL hot chocolate. And his didn’t come out QUITE like mine always do… mine are typically chalky and lumpy. Okay, fine, I admit it… I’m terrible at REAL hot chocolate. Okay? Fine, I said it.

Paul, on the other hand… is not terrible at real hot chocolate. Paul is a hot chocolate wizard. Nary a lump. Nary a chalky residue. Perfectly sweetened–not too much, not too little. Perfectly chocolaty–not too much, not too little.

Paul is now squarely in my “okay” book. But Paul is not just a hot chocolate snob. No, siree. Paul is also an astounding chef. He’s a 4 star rated chef. That must be 4 out of 3, because he’s just plain amazing.  While signing up for the Retreat and going through all of that wonderful stuff… they talked the food up like crazy. Oh, it’s wonderful, you’ll love it… I thought the price was a little steep…

But then I got to eat my first meal prepared by the hot chocolate wizard. Ambrosia, my friend. Ambrosia. I would have called the hot chocolate ambrosia, but I was saving that for this. I can’t really say enough good about Chef Paul’s cooking, or we’ll all be here until next week. He’s THAT good. Better yet, he’s THAT friendly, personable, and professional.

Sorry, he’s also married. With kids. And 20 years older than he looks. Not that I asked! I didn’t ask. I learned this all through osmosis, I swear upon my missing pinkie. (I’m not telling you which that is–but I have 2 of them, so you do the math)

Alright, so I’ve covered the food to some degree–albeit nowhere near to the degree it deserves. Let me make a short note of the customer service and how I was treated there. Almost all such service oriented professions claim to want you to feel like “a guest” instead of “a customer”. Almost all of them fail. Oh, some have wonderful customer service, don’t get me wrong. Prompt, courteous, friendly… to be sure.

On the other hand, you don’t get to say this very many times in your life, and I get to say it now… I felt like a guest in their home, not like a customer. Not only were there no high pressure sales, but it was very much like being a much-desired guest in someone’s residence. I was treated with courtesy that came close enough to affection to be very warming and welcoming, but not so close to affection that I began to feel uncomfortable (oh, you KNOW what I mean there… oookay, overboard, buddy!).  It was clear that they were concerned that I enjoy myself, “Anything you’re missing? Anything we can get for you? Would you like a drink?”

At the same time, you can tell that these guys are writers themselves. They are VERY engaged when they’re there. While we were eating, the conversations were fun, positive, and engaging. When I was sitting in front of the fireplace writing, they left me be… like one writer would do for another.  As if they GOT IT. Not like at home, where “oh look, she’s writing” is tantamount to “oh look, she’s doing nothing!” And then when such treatment leaves heads rolling, surprised doe-eyed looks of alarm are the result.

No, here, I was left to write in peace. I sat beside another writer, and we felt no need to force conversation. We sometimes spoke, but it was brief and writing-related. Nothing intrusive. And there was a definite sense that we were here for one thing, and one thing only…. to write our little hearts out.

I loved the Retreat over all. I adored each member of the staff.

Patricia was the lucky one who got to pick me up from the auto shop. She was very friendly and kind. I felt like she was a friend waiting to happen, rather than “an employee of the place I’m staying”. She showed me around, not rushing, and not meandering. A fine line to walk, and she accomplished it to a T. Rare in any circumstance, but especially so in someone admittedly new to the process.  She also has a berry farm nearby, so if you’re there around the right time, definitely stop in to see it and procure some yums! Nope, I’m not affiliated in any way (with anyone there).

I later met Steve, the owner, whom I had spoken to over the phone. Interestingly enough, he had given me the impression of being quite busy, while at the same time I got the impression that he was putting aside what he had to do in his day to take care of my car issue. And he didn’t treat it like it was “just a little thing” as some men are prone to do when a woman is in a panic over car trouble. Which is good, not only from an interpersonal viewpoint, but also because what was happening with my car was major from a road-safety standpoint. (Monetarily, it turned out minor, though–yay! Told you it’s a great car, didn’t I? :D)

I finally got to meet the persistent Jon, as well. He kept up with the phone tag, and I bless his heart for it to this day. This Retreat was amazing for me, but it wouldn’t have happened without Jon continuing to call me as many times as it was necessary.

Then there was Liz, who was the new Sous Chef. Like Paul, she was so friendly, courteous, and unobtrusive. She helped pick up plates and drop off courses without interrupting the flow of conversation at the meals at all.  Each time I spoke with her, she had a smile and a kind word.

I also want to mention Sue, who was just amazing as well. She’s one of those type-A, efficient, businesslike people. Gets the job DONE! In my life, I’ve encountered many of these types. They’re wonderful people, of course. But many tend to take on a hard edge. They have a sense of suppressed impatience and demand to them that is hard for someone as laid back as I am to be around. I find that many writers are more like me, that sort of quiet personality. Well, Sue’s the perfect type-A to work with writers. She’s efficient, yes. She’s businesslike, yes. But she’s also patient and very courteous. I felt none of the suppressed impatience or the sharp hardness from her.

All of the staff there was amazing. The house is amazing! Er, sorry, the hotel… I still say it’s a Bed and Breakfast!

That being said, I got even more out of it than all of that. Now, before you ask, no, I was never asked to write anything for them. I’m not being paid, and I’m not personal friends with them in some way invested in whether or not you go to a writing retreat. I did sign an agreement that they could use my likeness and the video they took asking me about my stay in advertising. However, I could have said anything I wanted. I could have said the food stunk and the house was drafty. Nothing in any contract anywhere demands me to say any of this.

It’s just that, at rare times in life, you experience something that truly makes you gush. For me, this retreat was one of them. And that’s the truth. I got my money’s worth even if I’d paid three times the asking price.

As a writer, this was a powerful, powerful experience for me. Overwhelmingly so.

The staff was fantastic. The B&B amazing. The entire atmosphere astounding.

Most importantly to me, however, I left there feeling like being a writer is as much a part of me as being a mother, a wife, an artist, and everything else. I wrote 12,000 words towards my NaNo novel that day. But I left with something much more substantial and meaningful than I came with.

I’m still busy.

But now I’m busy being a writer, just as much as I’m busy doing everything else. Now I finally GET IT.  I don’t have to feel guilty or ashamed when I take time out to write–because it’s not a joke, not a hobby, not a fluke. I’m a writer.

And that right there, as they say, is priceless.


So in closing, I say… if you’ve not yet internalized on a deep level that you’re a writer, you need to do NaNoWriMo and go on a real writer’s retreat. I happen to know of a good one. 🙂

1 month, 50k words… 1 sick puppy…

I am sick. Sick, sick, sick. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt quite like this. Yesterday morning I woke up not well. I took my temperature, and it was 101.  I had a bloody nose and a sore throat. Well, I won’t bore you with the details (since I already have)…

I went home, instead of going to work. By the time I got home, I was shaking like the last leaf on the last tree of fall in a stiff breeze.

Today I waited for some fellows to bring our brand new mattress to the house. Trust me on this one, you don’t want to hear about THAT comedy… someday it’ll be funny, I’m convinced. Right now, though, we have a half-painted bedroom (during nanowrimo! during halloween-also my daughter’s birthday! during thanksgiving month!)… no bed…

Yeah, I said no bed.

And now we have a brand spanking new tempurpedic mattress leaning against the wall, which we’ll sleep on, on the floor.

In the meantime, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck doing 70. I imagine, anyway. I’ve never been hit by a truck–and I hope not to start anytime soon. Especially if it feels this bad. Cause I gotta tell you, even my eyes are all googly.  My head’s in a vice, my throat’s so sore I sound like I’ve been smoking for a century.

Not bad, since I haven’t been alive that long.

I’m not quite caught up with nano, so thank god I got a great start at the Retreat I went to at the beginning of the month. YAY!


Anyhow. Enjoy your afternoon. Grab a copy of Guardian of the Abyss, have a coffee… and I’ll see you on the flip side.

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