Hot, Hot, Hot

CoolingOffKitty2Baby it’s hot outside! It feels more like August than July in New York. It’s sticky hot. You know when the humidity is so high that it’s sweltering in the shade. This is the second heat wave for this month. I hope it doesn’t mean that August will be hotter.

This cat has the right idea! I felt a little cooler just looking at it.

It’s About the Storytelling

1219898_sxc.huSomeone recently asked me why I enjoyed reading and writing so much. We were having a conversation about books. I was passing on a few I had finished reading. They couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about and I couldn’t understand how they did not read. They shook their head and laughed as if reading were a waste of time.

I’ve told my grandchildren that there’s nothing cooler than reading a book, because “you become the director of the movie that starts playing in your head.” Most people will envision characters and places differently. And if they do make a movie based on a book they’ve read, it makes it more interesting, because they will get to see if there are any similarities to what they envisioned. Continue reading

Taming the Inner Editor

1130414_sxc.huI used to wrestle with an inner editor that wanted to check over my work at all times. Every couple of sentences, it would interrupt and insists on making changes. It took awhile to stop it. I realized that all it did was slow me down and prevent me from writing.

Turning off the inner editor wasn’t easy. It wanted to be on the job at all times. Now I tell it to take a hike until I’m done. I let it know that we’ll have that dialog later, but while I write—it needs to stand on the sidelines to allow stories to develop. If it tries to sneak in, I remind it to wait.

How did I tune out the editor and push forward? It’s all in the mind. Changing my frame of mind was the first step. There’s always a first draft and a first draft has permission to be awful. So I just write. I get it all out, because I know I’ll be able to go back and make changes. Continue reading

Organizing Scribbles

MarthaStewartFiles_2Not too long ago, I had written a couple of paragraphs on a piece of paper for a story I’d been working on, and misplaced it. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. I have a feeling it wound up in the garbage, because I wrote on the back of something else I no longer needed. I do that sometimes. Inspiration strikes and I grab what’s handy. I’m writing on the back of printed papers, napkins, and ripped pieces of paper. It’s terrible!

It’s impossible to remember everything that flutters through the mind. No matter how hard we try, we’re bound to forget things. So it makes sense to write things down—especially when working on a story. Continue reading

The Write Stuff

1209718_sxc.huI was having a difficult time writing the other day. Each time I thought I had something to say; my fingers would freeze on the keyboard. I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t know what I wanted to share. And then, I remembered something I learned awhile ago. So I just started typing:

I can’t think of anything to write. I can’t think of anything to write. OMG it’s hot outside today. I can’t stand the humidity. I’ve got to mail my manuscripts….

You get the picture.

One of the books I have on the topic of writing, mentions writing whatever comes to mind. Even curse words. Whatever’s there, write it. The idea being that sooner or later something else will start to unfold. I have found this works each and every time. It may look like one big incoherent mess, but it will lead you to continue on to something—a declaration, a description, perhaps the beginnings of a story…something. Continue reading

FAVORITES

Bear Naked GranolaRecently someone asked me what my favorite color was. I couldn’t answer. I’d start to mention one color, and then another would come up. I realized that I loved too many to choose just one. So I started to think about other things. I was having a heck of a time trying to list a favorite anything. I was racking my brain to find something, but there was nothing.

I can’t say my favorite color is mint green, because then I’ll have to mention periwinkle blue, coral, and a host of other colors. Then I thought about pie. I’m a dessert person. I love blueberry pie, but I also love cherry, apple crumb—you see what I mean. I can’t just name one. I’d be lying. Continue reading

Not Laid Off – Fresh Start

fresh-start_smallerI was laid off from my job this past Monday and immediately sent an email to a former boss. When he responded, he changed the subject line to read: Not Laid Off – Fresh Start! I smiled as soon as I saw it, because that’s exactly how I felt.

Right after I was told that they were eliminating my position, I had an intense need to declutter. I started throwing things out and cleaning. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, which were getting higher and higher from stress.

Most people say “sorry,” whenever they hear that someone’s lost their job. Yet almost every single person I know who has lost a job, at one point or another, was no longer happy. There’s a tendency to stick things out hoping for improvement, or fear of not finding anything better, or for some reason opportunities are not showing up. Continue reading

Counting Cars

On my way to work the other day, I saw two guys—probably in their early twenties—en route on the highway. The driver had a cell phone in one hand while the other hand was navigating the wheel. Soon he had both hands on the phone and was texting. The passenger grabbed the wheel with his left hand. After a couple of seconds, he leaned in to grab the wheel with both hands.

I was horrified. All I could think about were the other cars on the road. These two idiots were taking a tremendous risk to answer a text. There are enough campaigns targeting young drivers on TV about texting and driving to scare the bejesus out of anyone, but not these two. Continue reading

I’m Puerto Rican…Really

My mother is Puerto Rican. If you saw her you’d think she was a light-skinned African American. I always thought she resembled Eartha Kitt with a wide nose. My Spaniard father had a straight nose, white skin, and blue-green eyes. I favor my father in features, but have my mother’s hair and body type. That’s exactly what they said when I visited Puerto Rico when I was 10. “Ella tiene el pello de la mamá, pero se parece a su papá.” All of the relatives and their friends were gathering around giving me the once over. Some reached out to touch my hair. I guess they needed to make sure it was authentic. Yeah, it was curly enough — nappy enough. That’s Irma’s kid. “Hija de Irma,” they said. Continue reading

Love American Style

I was riding the bus to work the other day and overheard a conversation in Spanish. A man was talking about the fact that a woman from Peru had asked him to marry her so she could become a citizen. She offered him $8,000.00. She said that she would pay him $4,000.00 up front, and then the balance after she received the papers. Continue reading