Mortimer Makes a Mistake

January 28, 2015

“Never send a moose to do a lemur’s job,” Mortimer grumbled to himself, picking wood chips off his flannel shirt. His breakfast bourbon was chilling in his belly but still flowing through his bloodstream, if the toadstool in a lemony-yellow dress was any indication. He blinked his black-rimmed eyes and glared at the toadstool until it reverted to its usual red-and-white cap perched on an ordinary white stump.

He jangled the coins in his pocket contemplatively, staring into the stream. Burbling over stones and twisting through the field, the water eventually poured into the mill pond, where it became very handy when the mill exploded into flames yesterday evening. Smoke was still rising from the now-skeletal structure.

“Why it exploded is anyone’s guess,” Mortimer told the council when all six members called on him at six in the morning, before he’d even taken his first slug of bourbon. “Nothing in this town has caught fire in over sixty years, unless you count Willa burning the scones at the tea shop.” The council grumbled and eyed him suspiciously. Mortimer sighed. His last episode of hooliganism was over half a century ago, but memories were long, and Bertie the Rat’s whiskers had never been the same. He groomed them carefully, but they remained sparse and obviously plagued his sanctimonious little soul. Bertie was always the first to point a finger in Mortimer’s direction.

He strolled to the mill pond and gazed out over the burnt shell across the water. It was confusing. There was no earthly reason it should have accidentally gone up in flames, but Mortimer couldn’t fathom that one of the town folk had done it on purpose. Kids, maybe. A joke gone awry. A prank that got out of hand. But the younger members of the town tended to confine their mischief making to places with sweets. Mrs. Catchpole’s tea shop was being constantly plagued by sacks of dried cherries gone missing and cooling pies snatched. But given its utter lack of chocolate, none of the kids in town would have been interested in the mill.

Mortimer scratched his chin and began sifting through the rubble. Ernie the moose had been there first and tromped all over the wreckage, leaving the imprint of enormous hooves over everything. Rolling his eyes, Mortimer tried not to think too harshly of the dim but well-meaning moose. Why the council asked him to investigate anything was a complete mystery.

“Not that much of a mystery,” he muttered. “Short-sighted Bertie.” Yes, the elderly rat needed thick spectacles, but his sight was clogged more by his prejudice than by his corneas.

There. Near the once-gaily-dressed-now-entirely-normal-toadstool. Mortimer squat down and put his nose as close to the dirt as he could manage without tipping over. A bit of pink satin ribbon peeked out from a large foot print, unmistakably moose.

Since the mothers of the town were far to sensible to dress their girls in frills and furbelows – they always went missing or got filthy – Mortimer determined that an older girl must have been here in the past few days. Before the fire but after the rains. An older girl who wore pink ribbons.

“Not Willa,” Mortimer mumbled. He had a soft spot for her, as did everyone in town, and not just because she delivered their scones and jam. But she was the only one who both wore pink ribbons and had a bit of a history with fire. Plus, she’d been pulled out of the mill pond not long ago, sodden and coughing.

Mortimer straightened and, using the toe of his boot, buried the ribbon in the mud.

This is the second in a collection of stories about animals who talk and drink tea and get themselves in trouble. The first story, about a fastidiously dressed raccoon named Randall, is here. These stories have become some of my favorite things in life, so I hope you enjoy them. 

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The more interesting my life gets, the less compelled I feel to write about it. This is new for me, because writing about my life used to be my favorite thing. Mostly because it was how I figured out myself and my world. Either I’ve gotten speedier at diagnosing the misalignment of my internal cogs or I’ve stopped caring.

But since I love writing, when I stopped being super intrigued by myself, I had to write about something else. So my inner world spit forth a tiny British town full of nattily-dressed raccoons, scone-baking dormice, world-weary lemurs, and not-so-clever foxes. Since I also love this blog and wanted to share, I posted my first raccoon story with zero explanation or introduction, which led one person to wonder if it was some extended animal metaphor for my life. (It was not, though I dearly wish it was.) I presume it lead everyone else who read more than a paragraph to scratch their heads and wonder what sort of illegal substances I’ve gotten into this time. (None, surprisingly.)

I’ve written about nine of these animal stories and don’t seem to be stopping, so I may keep sharing them here. Or I may not. For everything is subject to my whim and that’s the way I like it. It seems to be shaping into a series of stories for kids in the six to ten range, so if you have one of those and think they might like reading/hearing about raccoons and displaced giraffes, let me know and I will send you chapters as I finish them.

My other project has been creating a youtube series with my friend Ben. He’s an official licensed-in-the-state-of-California therapist. I’m not licensed to do anything in the state of California except drive and even that seems a bit questionable at times. But if you spend a great deal of your life trying to figure yourself and the world out, you end up with a lot of opinions. So we turned on the camera and started talking about things like making friends and rejection and finding your life purpose.

Someone called it Car Talk for Therapists, which tickled the hell out of me because I always loved Car Talk. I couldn’t care less about cars, but they always sounded like they were having so much fun. That’s sort of what we’re hoping will happen with this – we find ourselves very entertaining, thank you – but we’re still experimenting. The videos are here, if you’re interested. Now that we’ve made a bunch of them, we’re looking for ways to make them as fun and useful as possible. Suggestions and heckling welcome. 

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Staring into the round mirror by his front door, Randall adjusted his monocle. It was slightly too big, but his furry pointed nose kept it in place. He ran his paws down the lapels of his green velvet jacket and adjusted his yellow silk cravat. His feral days of poking through scrap heaps in search of dinner were long over and his spotless front stood as testimonial. Now he could afford to change his clothes daily – even hourly, if he happened to spill a bit of tomato soup down his front at supper time.

All was in order, so he reached for the wooden stick resting by the door. Mrs. Catchpole called it a cane, but he refused to refer to it as anything but a staff. He may have been getting on in years, but he still had his dignity. Ralph would have said that it wasn’t terribly dignified for an elderly raccoon to clomp about the village pretending to be a wizard, but what did Ralph know? He still grew mugwort in his garden and pretended it gave him visions. But all it seemed to do was send him down to the tea shop to crunch down whatever Mrs. Catchpole baked that day.

“Apparently, it only gives him visions of treacle tart,” Randall snorted to himself as he tromped down his garden path, staff clicking on the stones near his feet. He glanced at it – raccoons were just as liable to carry staffs as wizards, he sniffed. He meant to visit the village library, to make sure the medieval histories he purchased had made it into the proper section, but the thought of treacle tart lured him down the side street that housed Mrs. Catchpole’s tea shop instead. Enjoying the way his staff echoed on the cobblestones, he approached the cheery red door.

“Been to visit your dull books yet?” Mrs. Catchpole called out as he walked through, the damn bell tinkling above his head and alerting her to his presence. “Why don’t you ever buy the library some novels, juicy ones that folks can sink their teeth into?”

Her own teeth gleamed in the candlelight, her terrible taste in literature and profound objection to elevating her mind offset by her generous use of beeswax on gray days. Randall grunted and seated himself at his usual table, a small pedestal on a raised dais that both discouraged other animals from joining him and allowed him a good view of both the door and the wide window.

A warm currant scone appeared in front of him, flanked by clotted cream and her famed blackberry jam. Before he could glance up, Mrs. Catchpole’s niece had already disappeared, the organza bow on the back of her apron whisking around the polished copper counter.

A squat dormouse, Mrs. Catchpole still managed a degree of elegance, her smocked gown untouched by the golden syrup that she drizzled over a freshly baked cake. While her niece preferred to stay in the back room, Mrs. Catchpole enjoyed spending her time behind the front counter, so she could greet her customer’s with rude suggestions while tempting them with whatever she was concocting that day. Randall didn’t enjoy being teased, but still found himself sitting down at his pedestal almost every day. He blamed her baking.

“Natty boots, Randall!” Ralph shouted as he swung through the door.

“Why must everyone have an opinion?” Randall said to his spoon full of jam as he sacrificed it to the scone.

“Is Mrs. Catchpole complaining about your volume choice again?” Ralph asked as he pulled up a chair, un-invited, to Randall’s pedestal. Another scone appeared, along with a pot of hot tea. Wedgwood, Randall noted with approval. “Or are you just cranky because you have crumbs on your cravat?”

Jerking his nose toward his breast bone, Randall heaved a sigh of relief as he took in his still spotless front. Ralph guffawed so hard he almost fell out of his chair. Mrs. Catchpole, the fuzzy witch, chuckled behind her counter. Randall sniffed and devoted himself to his scone.

“Willa, dear!” Mrs. Catchpole called out. When her niece failed to appear, Mrs. Catchpole sighed and brought the treacle pudding around the counter herself and laid it down between Ralph and Randall. “Thought you boys might enjoy this,” she said comfortably.

As they thanked her and began to tuck in, Randall began to ask Ralph what he thought about the council’s decision to decorate the oak trees in the town square for yuletide, when Ralph paused and leaned into his half empty tea cup. He poked at it and leaned deeper in. Then he gasped and jerked back.

“She’s sinking!” he shouted and leapt for the door, his baffling expostulation echoing around the tea shop as other patrons turned their heads. As he yanked open the cheery red door, he turned to Mrs. Catchpole and yelled, “Willa! She’s going under!” before dashing into the road.

“But she’s right here,” said a confused Mrs. Catchpole. “Keeping an eye on the ginger snaps.” She waddled toward the back room and swept open the curtain, revealing a plume of smoke from the iron stove in the corner but no Willa.

Grabbing his staff, Randall made his way after Ralph, who was running toward the mill pond. “He’s been at the mugwort again,” Randall muttered. “Cruel to worry you,” he said, glancing back at Mrs. Catchpole as she huffed several paces behind him. “Willa probably just went out for a walk, she likes doing that.”

Sprightly from his half century of daily morning swims, Ralph made much better time than the lame raccoon with a big wooden stick and the overweight dormouse. By the time Randall and Mrs. Catchpole made it to the edge of the pond – warm and idyllic in the summer months but somewhat spooky in the early December light – Ralph’s webbed feet had carried him halfway across its expanse, where he dove fruitlessly into the murky water.

“Come out of there, Ralph!” Randall shouted, banging his staff for good measure, as Mrs. Catchpole wrung her hands by his side. “She’s probably just wandering through the village or at the grocer’s stall!”

Finally Ralph resurfaced, his arm around a limp figure. Willa’s head bobbed, her bright mahogany fur dulled by the water.

Randall splashed into the pond, heaving his staff behind him. His boots filled with water, and he felt sticky moss adhering to his formerly pristine shirtfront. When he got close, he held out the tip of his staff so Ralph could grab onto it and he towed both the exhausted Ralph and the unconscious Willa to shore, where Mrs. Catchpole hovered.

Tucked back in the warm tea shop, Randall had the novel experience of serving Mrs. Catchpole tea and apple crumble, as she huddled under a blanket that Ralph had draped over her shoulders, insisting he didn’t need it. He was a toad, after all, and well used to water, chilly or otherwise.

Doctor Basil had proclaimed Willa none the worse for her tumble into the mill pond and advised her to stay off the rickety bridge, a rickety bridge the council would most certainly replace at the earliest opportunity. The good doctor prescribed bed rest and an hourly dose of a tonic he left by her bedside as he hustled the Mrs. Catchpole back down the stairs to tend to her own nerves and allow Willa some rest.

As Doctor Basil was the first badger to ever attend Oxford, Randall trusted him and told Mrs. Catchpole so. “Much better than the quacks down the road,” he declared, pouring her another cup of tea. “Much better,” agreed Ralph, saluting them with his tea cup and smirking at the ratty flannel dressing gown that had replaced the Randall’s dapper – and now quite damp – suit.

Randall simply picked up his staff and jabbed Ralph in the stomach, abandoning his dignity quite utterly.

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Dreams Deferred

January 7, 2015

When someone dies, they leave behind a lot of stuff. Emotional stuff, yes, but also a shed full of thirty-year-old gardening magazines. To the best of my knowledge, the only time my father ever tried to grow anything was when he bought a rosebush. His definition of gardening was building an electric fence around his roses to keep the deer from chewing on them.

An electric fence seems like overkill, but given that he peered out his front window one night and found a mountain lion on his porch gnawing on a deer haunch, maybe it was warranted. At least the lion avoided the roses.

Dad lived up in the Santa Cruz mountains, miles down a dirt road, on ten acres of land that includes redwoods and a stream. Not bad, if you like that kind of thing. I remember lying in a hammock strung between two redwoods and reading Calvin & Hobbes in the sun. I would go stone hopping along the creek, followed by one of Dad’s more adventurous cats.

Going through his stuff after he died, I began to fully understand some of our shared character traits. Dad had tons of educational materials he bought and never opened. So do I. He thought about writing a novel for years – we talked about it and he had copious and carefully organized plot notes. As far as I can tell, he died before he wrote the first chapter.

It’s a form of resistance. You take the first step and then you drag your feet on taking the second step – sometimes for years. But what I’ve learned since is that you can always make a new choice. Just because Dad didn’t ever start his novel doesn’t mean I won’t ever finish mine. Just because he never cracked open his audio courses on world religions doesn’t mean I have to go to my grave having never finished reading my copy of Die Empty. It’s easy to get lost in the comforting warmth of familial bonds, but his choices do not have to be mine. His struggles don’t have to dictate my eagerness to build and create and learn.

Dad loved fantasy and science fiction. Sick to death of endless recitations of Goodnight Moon, he read me The Hobbit when I was two years old. I’d sit on the couch next to him with my sippy cup and security blanket and absorb tales of trolls and wizards and rings of power. He had vast bookshelves of the stuff and spent years upon years developing ideas for his own series without ever putting a word to paper.

He left behind a lot of stuff. My question is, what did he take with him?

Stephenie Meyer says her Twilight series came to her in a dream, and she transcribed her world of glittering vampires and adolescent fantasy onto paper and sold millions upon millions of copies. I like to think that will happen to Dad in his next life. That he’ll wake up one morning and the plot line he spent years upon years developing in this life will burst into his brain fully formed, and all he’ll have to do is copy it down. So maybe the work of this life won’t be lost.

If you want to extrapolate wild theories based on a belief in reincarnation and soul memory, this could explain people like Mozart. You spend years, decades, lifetimes learning the rules, practicing the notes, playing the scales. Maybe you spend three deeply aggravating lifetimes being on of those people who tries and tries and never quite make it – and then you get born Adele and win Grammies and Oscars in your early 20s, after making the whole world shake with your music. I don’t know. But I like to think that’s possible and that my dad will get to see his work in print, even if the author plate holds a different name and picture.

Isn’t that a nice thought? That even if you die without fulfilling a dream, all your work of this life could pay off in the next. Maybe nothing is wasted. So if you love something, do it. If you’re bad at it, who cares? Even if you haven’t the slightest hint of talent, practice as hard as you can. Maybe it will pay off two hundred years from now when you look completely different and have a license for a flying car. Maybe I should keep singing in the shower. Just because I sound like a choking alley cat doesn’t mean that a few rounds from now I won’t be Taylor Swift.

I like to think that maybe my dad will be born into another body in ten, twenty, fifty years and he’ll want to be a writer, and that plot and world that he spent decades of this life developing and dreaming and researching will come to him, fully formed, like it was coming from another time or place. Maybe he won’t understand it but he’ll trust it and run with it. And the book he wanted to write in this life will be written in his next.

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Pumpkin Pilgrimage

October 29, 2014

As your eyes pass over the line of Pinterest-perfect pumpkins – toothy smiles and hipster owls and even the Golden Gate Bridge carved into squash – you might notice a cluster of pumpkins at the end, pumpkins that aren’t like the others. Slightly dim but full of personality. The sort of pumpkins that would pull the station wagon to a screeching, smoky halt by the side of the road because a freshly-killed squirrel was spotted, a squirrel that would do well in a bowl of chili or maybe cured into jerky. Obviously a family. Not the brightest, maybe a little physically impaired, but happy, secure in their tribe.

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After an afternoon of mulled wine, lizard staring contests, and scooping pumpkin guts, we loaded our pumpkin family into the back of my car. They rode around for a few days, windows rolled down to disperse the pumpkin smell, until we finally had to decide what to do with them. When I proposed taking one or two home and leaving him with the rest for his apartment building, he looked at me in shock. “We can’t split them up! They need each other!”

I collected myself, horrified by my insensitivity. Of course they need to stick together. They would be lonely. No one else would understand them. The round little mother would be devastated without her crooked-grinned husband. The adopted sibling, a bug-eyed genius who needs to carve carrots into perfect replicas of Bic pens before eating them, wouldn’t mesh well with normal society. The cyclops would smash into walls and knock over tables without her buck-toothed brother to lead her around random bits of furniture. (Her peripheral vision isn’t all that great.) 

So we scoured the streets until we found a good spot under a tree near Dolores Park. As we tucked our pumpkin family into their new home, a herd of schoolchildren passed, yelling out Happy Halloween!s and complimenting our jack-o-lanterns.

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They had found their place, and they were happy.

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What Dreams May Come

October 22, 2014

I’ve been thinking about dreams lately. Where they come from, how we interact with them, how we can allow or block them, depending on what we need at the time.

Even the grandest of dreams are simple at their core, stemming from a desire for connection, creation, love, healing, impact. Most dreams, when you tunnel down to their essence, land on this Venn diagram.

Dreams can get blocked. For a long time, I thought I could wrench myself into productivity. But I’m learning that when things aren’t flowing or my energy is low – that’s a message. I can try to blast through the message, placate my brain’s need to make things happen with new systems or schedules. But that never works for long – a few days, or a few weeks at the most. In the end, if I want to get where I’m going, I have to listen to what’s coming to me.

My body gives me information. It’s a brilliant tuning fork for my emotional and spiritual state. If there’s some feeling I’m trying to repress, my body won’t let me go anywhere until I figure it out and process it. If there’s a lesson I need, everything will conspire to take me down until I learn it. It’s a marvelous and deeply annoying system. It’s marvelous how profound it is, when you peer into it. Marvelous that doing what my body and spirit needs has been prioritized over impressive achievements or success or any of the other things my ego finds desperately important.

But when I look at it from a larger perspective – one that doesn’t pay any mind to my own admittedly arbitrary goals or schedules – it’s a beautiful, shifting network guiding me where I ultimately want to go, passing up things I thought I needed or wanted so it can take me toward what will truly fill me up. The world is a brilliant system of information and if you trust the random influx of messages that come to you, they can lead you like fireflies in the dark toward what you most want. But you have to trust what comes and, most of all, you have to trust yourself.

voice of a wild thing

Last week, a woman on Twitter wanted a book. I read her tweet and thought, “I can afford that. Should I do it? I should.” So I did. I got this in the mail from the author of the book a few days later. Twitter is its own brand of magic.

Dreams will reshuffle and reform. My dreams center most around love and creation. If I try to force those dreams, they skitter away.  But if I sink into the messages that my body and my soul and the world around me send, I am pulled onto a path I didn’t expect but feels bigger and lighter than any path I could have dreamed on my own.

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Fear is the emotional equivalent of termites. Find a tiny sliver of fear stashed away somewhere and suddenly your house is full of it.

When I talk to people who fear things I used to fear – spiders, economic collapse, glitter eyeshadow – I start to get worried. Fear breeds quickly and discussions of Terrible Things That Should Make Any Sensible Person Very Scared kick up my dread of being sucked back into that sticky black mire. Like being sent back to stormy Kansas after tromping through the Emerald City. I’d prefer to avoid tornadoes, thank you.

Fear itself doesn’t scare me much – it’s mostly visceral. It feels like a blow to the solar plexus that shortens the breath. So if you just remember to breathe, it will pass.

Oddly enough, that’s also what excitement feels like.

Maybe it’s possible that fear is really excitement. Maybe it’s possible to rewrite fear as opportunity. I have to look at what I fear and what that fear is calling me toward. More action? Less action? Rather than just breathing through the fear, rather than just surviving it, transform it. What wonderful things are waiting beyond the sticky black mire?

When I look at today’s episode of fear, I realize that I fear not following my own self-knowledge. I fear letting other people’s beliefs sway me. I fear that the world will prove to be as grim as all the news outlets are yelling it is. But if I allow myself to trust my response and my knowledge and my choices, then I can start to see the opportunities. Opportunities to let go of old stories that came from a father who would rather bury his money in the woods than trust it to a bank. Opportunities to allow myself the space to do what’s right for me, opportunities to recognize that there is no right or wrong, there’s only what feels right in the moment. Opportunities to follow what makes me feel good and inspired, because feeling good and inspired is the only way I can hope to affect the world for the better.

When I do this, the weight in my solar plexus starts to resemble a bird – a bird with strong wings that can pull me up out of the tornado.

 

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Crushing, soul-grinding doubt seems to be the legacy of humanity. We doubt our worth, our contribution, our ability to meet the standards that society or we ourselves have set. I spend a reasonable chunk of every day convinced that I’m not doing enough, feeling enough, living enough, earning enough, being enough. Why on earth would I do that? Why on earth would I pour so much of my finite energy into a sticky black pit of doubt?

Why isn’t it enough to be breathing every day? Why isn’t it enough to wake up, put your feet on the ground and think, “How can I help today?” Or wake up, put your feet on the ground and think, “How can I have fun today?” Why do most of our early morning thoughts begin with, “How can I survive today?”

My tiny-fist-shaken-at-the-sky rhetorical questions crop up whenever I find myself in the unconscious loop of work and budgets and doing all the things I don’t particularly want to do in hopes of one day being able to do what I really want to do. I have a bad habit of feeling like a victim of my own life rather than its creator. But work and budgets and doing things you don’t particularly want to do right this very minute aren’t bad. Sometimes work and budgets and things you don’t want to do right this very minute really are a good idea. It’s not so important what you do, as long as you’re being conscious

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and kind to yourself as you’re doing it.

I don’t believe we’re here to eke out whatever small life we can manage. I prefer to think of us as wizards of our environment, whisking what we most want out of the ether the way Dumbledore presents hundreds of thirsty adolescents with jugs of pumpkin juice. We’re here to make what we want to make and do what brings us joy and spend as much time as we can in the midst of things that light us up – whether that’s music or writing or knitting or running through dewy grass or eating that expensive granola that you feel bad for buying. (STOP FEELING BAD FOR BUYING THE GRANOLA YOU ACTUALLY ENJOY.)

Creation beats sacrifice. Joy beats doubt. Picking up a stick on your morning walk to wave like a found magic wand while pretending to be Dumbledore and yelling, “I shall conjure up time for more writing and plane trips to visit friends and also better breakfast cereal!” beats just about everything.

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In my perfect world, the world I’d like to create for myself because I am an almighty god person who can mold her environment to her every whim, I get to spend all my work hours writing about things that mean something to me. And “all my work hours” cap out at about three or four hours a day.  All the hours that come after that get to be spent picking cherries in a sunlit orchard or something. My time is mostly spent having adventures with my favorite people and taking care of my family, including one or two moderately well-behaved children. Living life, then turning around and writing about it.

What trips me up is what I think I need to get this life. As I dive into the How To Make Amber’s Dream a Real World Thing, I enter an uncomfortable space. To get a book published you need x, where x = brilliant idea or ready-made audience of a hundred thousand or some unspecified brand of magic. To get an essay published somewhere people have heard of, you need to have a book published. To make money at any of this you have to be a wizard of many disciplines, and my brain has mastered only whimsy and baby animals. I build up insurmountable roadblocks in my head until I wind up going in aimless circles.

I don’t have a clear roadmap and that makes me uncomfortable. Even with roadmaps, I tend to get lost. Even the omniscient voice of the GPS deity can’t account for every variable and all it takes is one off-kilter message to send me twenty minutes out of my way on a ten minute trip.

What I want to do comes from a good place – writing brings me joy and helps me learn more about myself in the world. I want my writing to help me feel more love – for myself, my people, and the world; and I hope it does so for others as well.  I want to transcribe my soul so that maybe people can learn to see theirs in a new way. It’s a little grandiose, but hey, if you don’t hand yourself a purpose, who will?

I don’t like posting this. I don’t feel comfortable saying, “I want to be published. I want to write books that sell to a lot of people. No, more people than that. Just go ahead and double the most outrageous number you can think of. That’s what I want. So I can write a few hours a day and spend the rest of my time with my family.” Because to this day – despite my belief that if you really want something, you have the capacity to get it, despite what I would say to anyone else who approached me with this problem – I still think, “Who am I to want that? Who am I to think about getting that, when so many other people want that too?”

When I think about Publishing and Audience Building and All The Things You Need To Make That Life Happen, I just want to open my closet door, arrange my shoes and sweaters into a nest, and curl up in the dark for a week or two. I stop writing and start focusing on what I think I need to do in order to write. Which doesn’t make any sense.

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So I have to trust. Trust that my work will find its people and its place. Trust that I can live the way I want to live and spend my time doing what I want to do. When I twist it up in my head because I don’t know how to make it happen and spend my time worrying and not doing, I learn what trust is. Trusting that the path leads where I want it to go even though I don’t know what that path looks like.

What I want is actually contained in a very simple process – create and share. Create and share. Write, finish, ship, repeat. No matter what the fear in my head sounds like, the answer remains the same. Meaning, the more I write and the less I tangle myself up in what it feels like I have to do, the happier I am. Because writing is all I ever wanted to do in the first place.

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A New Frequency

July 16, 2014

Most of my writing is heavily influenced by my brain. It’s for me. It goes up on a public domain, but it’s for me to process my stories, my life, my sometimes incomprehensible emotional space. I write to discover how I feel. To discover what I need. To discover what pieces of my psyche require attention. To find out who feels the way I do, especially when the feelings make me wonder if I’m all alone out here. That’s what writing is for me – healing, comfort, connection.

But this new kind of writing works differently. Writing this way is like tuning my brain to another station, another frequency. Instead of mining my thoughts and history for patterns and clever ways to share them, I have to abandon my brain altogether. Blank it out and listen to something else, something bigger, something brighter. Channeled writing requires listening to you.

If you’ve found your way here, you’re probably extraordinarily sensitive in some way – to yourself, to other people and all their moods, energy, emotions. You may walk into a room and feel bowled over by the power of all the other humans in your immediate vicinity. I spent a lot of years doing my damnedest to block all that out so I could function in the world. But now I’m learning to relate to it in a different way. I want to be open to it, rather than walled off. I want to be able to access that energy, that power of feeling, in a new way. By treating this connection to everyone around me as a gift rather than a burden, my life feels happier, lighter, and I’m able to tap into my own feelings in a new way, a way that guides me rather than hinders me.

We all know what to do. We all know what we need. Every one of us carries all the love, perspective and wisdom to have the experience we want to have. But the world is big and scary and exhausting and many of us don’t know that part of us even exists, let alone where to find it and what to do with it when we get there. Our world doesn’t often value instinct and intuition. The part that nudges you to bring an umbrella in the morning – ignore that nudge and you get wet. The part that nudges you to leave a relationship – ignore that nudge and life gets progressively harder until something cracks and your life shatters.

The more I open up to my intuition, the more I can open up to yours too. When I turn my attention to myself, I can find what I need. Now, when I turn my attention toward you, I can also open up to what you need. Because what I need and what you need all comes from the same place – somewhere everyone can access. I’m learning to use that piece of me that I wanted to ignore for decades, the piece of me that I thought was making life harder, but may just make life infinitely easier. Because feeling what others feel, even when it’s draining, can be a great gift.  It reminds me that none of us are alone. Different stories, same experience. 

Emotions are our most profound guidance system – they will unerringly point us toward what we need. We just need to learn how to interpret the message. It’s like learning another language. After spending years being buffeted around by my emotions before getting heartily sick of it and learning to interpret them, I’ve chiseled my own Rosetta Stone of feelings.

Now that my emotional space is clearer than it’s ever been, I can find that different frequency. The interpretation is simple, as long as I keep my brain out of the way. I think of this new writing as transcribing what your soul wants you to know, in this moment.

I think of it as a love letter from your soul. 

If you asked for one of these way back in March and haven’t received it yet, I promise I haven’t forgotten you. This particular learning curve has been a roller coaster and I’m still working my way through the list. If you didn’t and you’d like to be my guinea pig as I practice with this, leave me a comment or send an email. 

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