Friday, June 29, 2012

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 15: SERVE


I'm 3 days late in completing the final day of the Great Writers series. Life rudely interfered in the flow of my writing.  If I don't finish it now I'll probably be the only person who joined the challenge and gave up on the last day! It's akin to a marathon runner saying screw it and collapsing a few feet from the finish line. 

Day 15's challenge is to serve. 

The challenge

Ready to be generous and serve your audience? Here are a few ideas (pick one):
  1. Do a giveaway of a product or service. Find authors or organizations wanting to partner with people like you, and ask them for donations. Do this to build trust with your readers, and make sure whatever you give away clearly adds value to their lives.
  2. Conduct a survey. Find out what readers (or perfect strangers) want, what they struggle with, and create something for them. This can be a blog series or an eBook or a whatever. Just make sure there’s a need for it before you make it.
  3. Write something important and give it away. Publish an eBook to Amazon and distribute it through the KDP Select Program. Or offer it in exchange for people subscribing to your blog.
  4. Answer all correspondence. Respond to every single email, phone call, tweet, etc. until you can’t possibly keep up. This is how tribes are formed — through accessibility.
The intention behind my blog has always been to serve even though my words are sometimes misconstrued. I've received puzzled frowns, smug smirks, and caustic remarks toward my need to write in a blog. I've heard it all. A handful of negative comments is negated by an e-mail, text, or verbal confirmation from someone who was deeply affected by my words that it altered their perception on life. An e-mail from one reader shared how my blog post about my kids compelled him to express his gratitude toward his own mother. 

Sharing my experiences and conveying my challenges are my ways of serving others. I know it's impossible to be understood by everyone but that's not my goal. I aim to serve the few whose hearts resonate with my words. 

Whose hearts have you served today? 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 14: BRAND


The home stretch is here! When I run half-marathons I gain a burst of energy when the Finish Line banner beckons me home. On Day 14 of the Great Writers series the challenge is to brand myself. 

The challenge

Brand yourself. There are three elements of every brand that you need to pay attention to — spend some time today tightening up each of these:
  • Name. This is what you call yourself (e.g. Copyblogger or Anne Lamott). It may be your given name or a pseudonym or something else, but you need to be consistent. Make sure your website, business cards, and social media properties all say the same thing.
  • Image. This can be a logo or a headshot. It’s whatever you want to use to make people recognize you and your work. If it’s a photo of you, make sure people would recognize you in real life if they’re seeing it on the Internet. Also, make sure it’s on your blog, Twitter profile, etc. Don’t use different images; make them all the same. Michael Hyatt does a great job with this.
  • Voice. This is how you sound. It’s your style and personal flair as a communicator. If you aren’t confident in your unique writing voice, go through these 10 steps to find it.
I've spent the last 4 years focusing on branding my photography business it never occurred to me to brand my writing persona. Question: is it possible to fuse the two? I've kept my photography blog separate from this one because as I've mentioned in previous posts I'm a chronic compartmentalizer. 

My name remains consistent as I cross over from personal to photography but I only have a logo for my business. As for my voice I've established my style of communication in my writing and photos. Since I've started this blog years ago I've always had the tag line: And how I laugh in the face of adversity affixed to my blog header. My profile description has also changed over the years but the tag line remained the same. After my second divorce my first blog was inadvertently deleted along with the Gmail e-mail account I possessed at the time. When I slam the door to a chapter in my life I start over from scratch which is where the phrase "And how I laugh in the face of adversity," was derived. My friends have always told me that no matter what obstacles I've overcome or challenges I've faced I continue to smile and laugh. This is my brand, my logo, my voice. It is who I am. 


But I'm open to suggestions. A handful of friends think I'm "crazy" for neatly segregating all aspects of my life while others understand my need for compartments. Is it possible to fuse my personal blog with my photography persona? 

What do YOU think? 


Saturday, June 23, 2012

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 13: PUBLISH

I've fallen behind. I'm a day late in the Great Writers series but I must persevere. According to Jeff Goins perseverance is what great writers possess to become successful. Giving up 2 days before the end is NOT an option. 

The challenge

Today, we’re going to publish something. Anything, really. Whatever you do, don’t play it safe. Go for broke. Stop hiding and start writing for real:
  • The manuscript in your dresser drawer? Send it off.
  • That article you’ve been thinking about writing for an A-list blog? Submit it. Let go of control; you’re ready.
  • That eBook you’ve been stalling to finish? It’s good enough. Put it out there.
This challenge made me pause because 1) I don't have a manuscript in my dresser drawer, 2) I don't have an article idea to write for an A-list blog, and 3) I don't have an eBook that's waiting to be completed. 

I chose another option that would stretch the person who compartmentalizes her life in tidy divisions. My Facebook profile/page strictly exists for my photography business and persona. I rarely make personal updates or post ubiquitous quotes on my Facebook profile. I haven't shared my personal blog on Facebook and never planned to. Until now.

Recently, I completed and published an entry on this blog which left me queasy and nauseous. After 6 months of revisions, edits, do-overs, and self-doubt I banished my fear and published it. In this particular entry my vulnerability permeates the space between words. It's a single mom's story of her burden of regrets and the responses from her children regarding what she could have done differently. 

I didn't have a manuscript, eBook, or blog article to publish but I DID have a blog entry to share on a platform where my personal side was absent. For the hundredth time I made revisions to my blog entry, Bombs of Regret, and extricated the weak words I found. After a day's worth of inward whining and groaning I posted it on my Facebook profile. I felt sick. 

Publishing my blog entry on Facebook was the act of courage I needed to make. Stretching me past my limits I realized I harbored more self-doubt than I realized if sharing a blog entry on Facebook made me nauseous. 

Can you say wuss? 




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 12: PROVOKE

I'm still stuck on Day 11's declutter. After conducting extensive research on the Internet regarding the use of weak words I'm ashamed to call myself a writer. Words and phrases to avoid are nothing new but my writing contradicts my knowledge. 

Which brings me to Day 12 in the Great Writers series: provoke.

The challenge

You already know what you need to do. Take a risk. Write something provocative and stand by it. Yes, you may make a few people mad, but you’ll also liberate those locked in self-doubt and fear.

Write something bold, something that moves us. Then share it.

I'm calling myself out. My blog is filled with ugly truths about my personal issues and experiences. I've been told that my transparency invokes a damsel in distress call for "losers" to empathize with me. I begged to differ. I write about the difficult situations I've overcome to help others and to leave a legacy for my grandchildren. I want people (and my grandchildren) to learn from my mistakes.

One of my favorite wedding photographers, Jonas Peterson, whom I follow on Twitter posted a tweet about a photographer who stole the work of others and passed it off as her own. Day 6 in this series was about stealing but this woman did NOT give credit where it was due. She adopted the work as her own and faked the funk. Since I read the numerous articles and blog posts about her err in judgment I've been disturbed, not so much for the blatant filching which was reprehensible, but the unabashed label of Christianity attached to her business. I haven't written this sentiment on my blog but she's the kind of person who makes me ashamed to call myself a Christian.

I refuse to fall in line with the humanity who has judged her and sent death threats. I've been on the receiving end of a rabid "witch hunt" myself. After reading her apologetic blog post I question her remorse. But I'm not her judge. My imperfections don't place me higher on the moral scale as this woman. I'm having a difficult time comprehending the mindset of someone who thought they could escape discovery while touting Christian values. The blog entry I'm in the process of writing will address this.  


Will it be enough to provoke?
 

 


 

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 11: DECLUTTER

As a self-proclaimed master declutterer in all aspects of my life, I clapped my hands for today's challenge. Day 11 in the Great Writers series is to declutter. Whether it be material items cluttering my life or people who are cluttering my positive energy, I make it my business to remove the clutter. It makes for a serene and joyful life. 

I tweeted a quote from the blog Marc and Angel Hacks Life: Subtract the wrong things. – When things aren’t adding up in your life, it’s time to start subtracting.  Sometimes you must let go to grow. I have no qualms about removing items and people who occupy negative space in my life. 


The challenge

So let’s declutter today, shall we? In every sense of the word. I want you to do two things:

  1. Clean up your space. Spend some time (at least five minutes, but no more than 30) doing the following: clear off the desk, sharpen your pencils, put your files in order, take out the trash, wash the dishes, whatever. Do what you need to do to feel better about the place where you do your work.
  2. Cut your writing down to its purest essence. Turn a 500-word article into 250 words. If you’re brave, convert 1000 words into 300. Take away everything but exactly what you want to say. Eliminate weak, lazy words like “that” and “things” and anything you don’t absolutely need. Then say what you have to say and be done with it.
I carry 2 books in my laptop bag: The Elements of Style by E.B. White and William Strunk Jr., and On Writing Well by William Zinsser. The reverence I hold for both books rivals my Bible. However, my daily references haven't prevented grammatical errors or typos on my tweets and blogs; nor diminished my use of weak, lazy words. (Hmmm, I'm sure the word "nor" could be added to the list.) Since my days as an English Literature student I've been taught to be mindful of overusing weak words in my writing. But I know some days I'm not as diligent. Number One on today's challenge is simple but Number Two needs to be tackled with a vengeance

Am I the only one? 


 

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 10: SHARE


Sharing is caring. I've heard it for half of my life because it was the motto my clan adopted. When I read Day 10 of the Great Writers series the familiar maxim was the bubble that formed above my head. 

The challenge

Find someone whose message we need to hear and share it on your blog or via Twitter or Facebook. Wherever people are listening to you (even just a few), use that opportunity to talk about someone else.

My list of blogs has been pruned to a select few. With the constant juggling of the important things in my life, weeks would pass before I got to my Google reader to catch up on reading blogs. I was overwhelmed with the material I had to read. So I became selective in my choice of blogs. I suppose it's also my fault that I compartmentalize and manage two blogs: personal and photography. 


I can't choose one blog or writer to share because I love the ones I read so I decided to share four. They are my friends who live and breathe writing and share the love for the written word as feverishly as I do. 

  • Lina Fox. Her blog, Chicken Scratch, is a testament to her impeccable skills as a raconteur. She's my friend whom I believe has an innate gift for writing. It is her gift and should be shared. 
  • Derrick Engoy. You can read his blog on his Web-Site, Derrick Engoy. He's an author, speaker, and artist who has self-published a book. He's also a Creative Arts pastor and a phenomenal creator of cakes! I am always in awe of him. 
  • Heidi G. Swift. I was ecstatic to learn that Heidi also maintained a blog when I first met her. You can read her musings at Fireworks Through My Journey. Her heart bleeds through her entries and she takes you along the journey she calls Life. 
  • Michele Baron. She's my lifelong friend who has a tough job. She's a stage mom to her breathtakingly gorgeous daughter, K. Read about what life is like as a stage mom who is fiercely devoted to her family and friends. I also admire her taste in music and she likes to brighten my day with a video or two on her blog: No Melodramama.
I am the champion of champions when sharing the work of others. I absolutely blossom in doing so because I like to encourage those whose potential shouldn't be wasted. I'm happy to have this opportunity to put my writer friends on blast! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

SIMPLE JOYS


4 year old Rylee loves to be happy

Last Saturday on our way to my granddaughter's swim class she asked if we were going on the freeway. In my usual distracted way I told her no as I reminded her to hurry up and buckle herself into the car seat. She pleaded with me to put the top down in my convertible since we weren't going to be on the freeway. 

The novelty of having a convertible waned a few years ago. I bought the car to commemorate my 40th birthday but soon realized it wasn't a wise choice if I wanted to stave off the wrinkles. I rarely drive sans rooftop anymore.

After Rylee cajoled me with a few choice reasons as to why it would be a good idea to drive with the top down I acquiesced. Her swim class was less than a half a mile away. Once we picked up speed on the main street she yelled, "Woooooooooooooooo! I'M HAPPPPYYYYYYY!" I laughed as I watched her in my rear-view mirror. 

My granddaughter's presence is a constant reminder to savor the simple joys of life. Immersed in the busyness of my Saturday I woke up early to head to Torrance for my friend's yard sale, drove back home to take Rylee to her swim class, then picked my oldest daughter up at the train station afterwards. I don't think I even remembered to be joyful in taking deep breaths. 

So I urge all of you to take a moment to slow down, stop, be still, and savor the simple joys of life.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 9: CONNECT


I am chugging right along with the Great Writers series and Day 9 takes me to a place I find somewhat easy like Sunday morning: to connect. 

The challenge

Find a potential fan, friend, and patron (one of each) and reach out to them. Today. Don’t ask for anything but this person’s time. Don’t say no for them or apologize. Just ask. Make it an invitation to coffee (if a local connection) or to Skype. Do it and do it now before you lose the desire.


I have an affinity for writers, photographers, and other creative creatures. I'm drawn to them like a magnet and once I do I hold onto them with a tenacious death grip. Most of my connections whether it be personal, professional, or from social networking, are like-minded creative people. I have a very good friend who has published his own books and I try to support all of his endeavors whenever I can. He has inspired me for so many years. My other friends are natural writers and I follow their blogs religiously. Within my huge photography circle I am constantly amazed at the talent I'm surrounded by and value my close photographer friends. 


But for all intents and purposes I will select three people to fill the role of fan, friend, and patron. I think the role of patron will be the most challenging. Nevertheless, I will take the necessary steps to target those who can propel me forward in my quest to write and write well.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

BOMBS OF REGRET

Mother's Day card Maricelle gave me this year
I've been working on this entry for over 6 months with painstaking revisions and a large dose of self-doubt. Vacillating between completing or deleting it, I left my incomplete draft waiting in the shadows. This wasn't an entry I could haphazardly slap together and press publish because it involved the hearts of my children. Although they should be handled with the utmost care I wasn't always cognizant of doing so.


Last night, I decided to complete this entry because I'm participating in Jeff Goins's Great Writer's SeriesYesterday's challenge was to practice writing publicly and Jeff provided a handful of ideas, one of them causing a tremor of terror in me. Publish something on your blog you've never shared with anyone. I thought of this blog entry waiting in a long list of incomplete drafts and knew it was time for it to be shared despite my fear of being vulnerable. In the past year my friends who are now parents of pre-teens have approached me for guidance, reassurance, and advice. I was able to provide all three and more. The common theme in the advice I give my friends is: spend good quality time with your children. I don't want a parent living with the heavy burden of regrets I carried for years.


As a young, struggling, and stressed out single mom I gambled with Time believing I could win more of it to spend with my kids. I learned a terrible lesson: Time is merciless to those who squander and discount its value. Quality time is never regained. Fortunately, God is a god of second chances, redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. Although the damage I've caused in my children's hearts can't be undone, I'm now in a place where my kids and I value our time together. It took many years of confronting my faults, admitting them, and desiring to change myself to arrive at a healthy place with my kids. In my moments of solitude I weep with gratitude for the second chances I've been given because my kids and I have a solid relationship with each other. If someone asked me 7 years ago if I thought my kids and I would have an amicable relationship, I would have answered NO! For years I assumed we would be estranged.


A few months ago my friend, M, posted a quote on Facebook. The words made me cringe because the truth stings.


Never regret anything because at one time it was exactly what you wanted. 

Ouch! I've lugged my regrets as if I were carrying bombs strapped to my body. Each year I walked through life like a suicide bomber ready to detonate with the regrets I kept close. If the quote above were true, it meant I wanted to hurt my children by depriving them of quality time while they were growing up. That is the A-bomb of my regrets-not spending enough quality time with them. I erected a barrier between my children and me built on stressors, 3 classes, 3 jobs, self-absorption and selfishness. During our years of counseling and therapy sessions my kids expressed their need for my presence in their lives but I was deaf to their pleas. Their voices, cries, and requests haunted me in the darkness of my self-reflection. I knew it was imperative to release my hold of those regrets in order to appreciate the beautiful time we have now. I couldn't continue looking back at what I've lost and destroyed but derive pleasure in the precious moments I have today. 


I decided to make myself vulnerable to my kids and questioned what I could have done differently as a mom. I reminded them that it wasn't the time to attack me but to provide constructive and honest feedback. It was one of THE most frightening moments of my life but a necessary move to place the past behind us. Their responses made me laugh, cry, cringe, and raise my eyebrows. 


My oldest daughter, Maricelle (24-years-old), e-mailed her response to me because she lives in San Diego and was immersed in graduating SDSU at the time.


Hahahaha I love this. First, props to you for doing this, I commend you. Okay, you could have shown more affection. Lastly, just increase communication. There's too much shit-talking in our family, and things would have been better if we just confronted issues & problem-solved. That is all I can think of. Oh ya, and you always made me late to school when you gave me rides. I got in trouble a lot. Haha. Well that seriously is only all that I can think of. Other than that, you're a magnificent mom, & still raised us the right way, thank God. 


(***My note: She's right on all counts. Since I received her response I've been more communicative with them and tone down on the "shit-talking.")


My middle daughter, Chloe (23-years-old), gave her response over dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant. I was apprehensive with her response because out of the three kids ours was the most volatile relationship. I rolled my eyes at her sarcastic "Oh, I have a long list for you, honey." (Please note: my daughters are 10 months apart and Chloe's response is referencing that.) 


I wish you would have done better in trying to cultivate my personality instead of always making me the same as Maricelle. It was horrible because she was always so dominating and I was quiet. I hated that you dressed us alike, had us go to the same school, do all the same things and all that. 


(***My note: I had to break some of Chloe's misconceptions. I couldn't believe she thought it was MY idea to dress them alike. I did my best to cultivate their respective personalities and reminded her that if I bought a dress for one of them, the other would throw a fit because they wanted the same one. I ended up buying identical dresses in different colors to avoid the impending friction. Also, I fought hard to make sure they didn't have the same classes or participated in the same events.)


My son, Tristan (almost 21-years-old), gave his response over dinner, too. His response was unexpected and shocked me.


I wanted us to eat dinner together as a family. You always came home from work, cooked, and then we'd eat in different places. You'd do your thing and I'd be doing mine. But it wasn't like it was bad or anything. I just think we should have spent more time together as a family. 


(***My note: This one stung because he was right AND I should have known better. How many books, talk shows, and articles talk about the importance of a family eating dinner together? Hundreds, if not millions! This was a no brainer and I failed!) My son's response made me ache for what was lost because we don't live under the same roof anymore. We do eat dinner together now but not in the kind of environment he desired while growing up. I hope when he becomes a father he will ensure that his family eats dinner together every night. 
 
I've stopped hobbling hunchback laden with the weight of my regrets. I've worked extremely hard at confronting past issues which released my death grip and abandoned them behind me. Moving forward without a glance backward has been liberating, freeing up space in my brain to confront present issues. My kids and I now treat each other with respect. Although we still have moments of friction we've been able to work through them without bitter recriminations. Without fail, I say a daily prayer of gratitude for this season of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation my kids and I are in. I'm glad I never gave up on them...or me. 

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 8: BUILD


It's Day 8 of Jeff Goins's Great Writers series and I did something terrifying. I published a blog entry I've been working on for months and wasn't sure if I'd share it publicly. Today we are challenged to build. 

The challenge

So let’s build something. You don’t need to start another project you’ll never finish. You already probably have enough of those. Instead, I want you to do something truly creative:

I want you to finish something. Anything, really. Just pick a project — an essay, a blog post, maybe even a book — and finish it. Not tomorrow. Today.

It should never take longer than 30 minutes to finish anything. If it does, you’re not breaking the project up into enough chunks. Which will lead to stalling, your worst enemy.
Find something and move it across the finish line. Then do the same thing tomorrow. And the day after that. And so on.

If you’re still doing this in a month, you’re building something. Until then, you’re just managing tasks. Pick a few that are worth your time, and keep with them. Your work deserves this.


I rose up to today's challenge and took the incomplete draft that I've edited, revised, and modified in a period of 6 months and hit publish. It's a blog entry about my years as a single mom and the hearts of my children. I bared myself not only to my kids but to the Internet. I feel as if I just undressed in front of the entire world. But it's okay. I started that blog entry for a reason and if it helps one parent out in Blogosphere then my vulnerability was worth it. 


You can read the entry here: Bombs of Regret

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 7: START


Okay, I can do this! Starting with ugly on Day 7 in the Great Writers series is ironic in light of the argument I had with someone today. 

The challenge

Make something ugly. And leave it ugly (temporarily). Be okay with it. Then share it with a few people you trust (feel free to use the comments here, if you like) and look for feedback. Find stuff you can improve and slowly move it towards beautiful.

When we choose to start with ugly, we do the following:
  1. We actually create something (instead of continuing to dream about it).
  2. We grow. We learn what works and what doesn’t.
  3. We get the chance to make it better.
With today's challenge it is imperative that I start with myself where ugly resides in splendor. I was told today that I have a hard time admitting when I'm wrong but I think my close friends and blog followers would beg to differ. Those who know me well are aware of my transparency regarding my faults, flaws, idiosyncrasies, and ugliness. I'm always in the process of making myself better so that I CAN grow into something beautiful. 

Today I start with me: the good, the bad, and the uh-uh-uh-ugly. Because I've been told I am. 

  • I have a difficult time saying sorry or quickly apologizing. But in my defense, it's only because I'm not understanding where I went wrong. I wait until I CAN make a genuine apology but for others it's too late. I've been working on apologizing. 
  • I NEVER offer ANYONE a piece of gum or mint when I pull out a pack and pop one in my mouth. EVER. I don't know why I do this so I've been working on it. Apparently, this is an indicator of a person's character and I'm sorely lacking in the generosity department. 
  • I wore a very short mini-skirt to a Catholic church. I should have known better since I was raised in a Catholic family but the rebellious part of me shirked convention. Lo and behold there was a huge sign in the foyer that depicted what was appropriate versus inappropriate attire. First diagram was skirt length. I admit, I was rebelling. Ugly, right? 
  • I am a bad driver. Not because of my poor eyesight but because I'm Asian and I'm female. (I'm not making any racial slurs but merely admitting my own flaws.)  I admit it. I speed. I tailgate. I get impatient. I get spacey and don't pay attention. I get lost, oh, so very lost even in my own neighborhood. 
  • I am unhappy at my job. Utterly and completely miserable that every day I am on the verge of crying. I'm taking steps to change that situation but it won't happen overnight. In the meantime, I fake it 'til I make it. I put on a smile, force a hearty laugh at the right time,  and play the game. The words "Hey, it pays the bills." is like a death knell. To me it represents complacency and precious time squandered. I turn to those whom I hoped would listen with empathy but I'm told it's gotten old. So I keep my mouth shut and suffer in silence. 
  • When I am angry I fashion my words into a flogging device bent on destruction. I hit below the belt. Like really low. Today I was told it was ghetto and gutter low. Yup, that's ugly! 
  • I have a short fuse especially in the face of daily criticism. Instead of communicating I snap worse than a rabid wolfhound which I know is a hideous flaw in my character. 
This is a good starting point where I can "find stuff to improve and  slowly move it towards beautiful." Because in the midst of my ugliness I KNOW that beauty is present and ready to emerge even if it's not evident to others. The key to happiness is surrounding myself with people who accept that I am an imperfect human being, bestowing grace and mercy when I fail.

My imperfect human self will never be 100% perfect but it CAN radiate 100% beauty from within. So I'm thankful for those in my life who shine the spotlight on my ugliness because it provides the stepping stones to my improvement. The words from the blog Marc and Angel Hack Life resonates with me: 

Some relationships will be blessings, others will serve as lessons. – Either way, never regret knowing someone.  Everyone you encounter teaches you something important.  Some people will test you, some will use you, and some will teach you; but most importantly some will bring out the best in you.

I believe by creating a beautiful and better me it will enhance my writing; for through my experiences my words will take shape into something I can share with others. These daily challenges have resurrected my hunger for writing and forced me to reflect on my true self. This is where it begins and if I am diligent in my pursuit of writing I can take it to where others will benefit from my lessons. 




NO CREDIT GRANDMA

Peek-a-boo Rylee
Last night I was driving home from our park/library/McDs excursion and I began freaking out because I couldn't find my phone. While I drove with one hand I made blind, frantic attempts at swiping inside my purse with the other, hoping to feel its shape. I didn't realize I was speaking out loud and the hysteria in my voice must have alerted my four-year-old granddaughter. From the back seat the soft guru-like voice gave soothing suggestions to "Calm down Gramma Nette. Take a deep breath and don't freak out. Just callllmmmmm down. When you lose something just calllmmm down and take a deep breath." 

I was so stoked! Those were MY exact words to her when she recently threw a fit after losing her toy. I felt validated as a grandma and pride swelled in my head...err, I mean heart.

"Wow Rylee, that's some sage advice you got there! Who told you to do that because that is good advice and whoever told you must be REALLY smart!" 

And this is where she killed me. 


"Mmmmm...it was school!" ----PAUSE!!!!!! I tried to jolt her memory by raising my voice and insisting that it was NOT school! And after she mulled it over a few seconds she triumphantly declared, "No, it was Mommy! Mommy always says those things!

Because I'm so mature I hit the steering wheel with my fist like an ominous judge sentencing Lindsay Lohan. To my horror I heard myself WHINE! If I were standing I would have stomped my foot and flailed my arms in the air.

"No it wasn't! It was NOT mommy! I know for a fact your mommy wouldn't say that! It was me! Your grandma! I told you to do that!!! I gave you that advice!!!!!!

And from the back seat this soft guru-like voice calmly told me that I didn't make sense! I repeat, that little four-year-old grandchild of mine said I! DID! NOT! MAKE! SENSE! To thrust the knife that she stabbed me in the back with deeper she also added, "And because you don't make sense, you don't get any dollars by saying that. NO dollars." 

Moral of the story? Do NOT depend on a four-year-old to provide accurate information and have razor sharp memory. Oh, and don't place your ego in the hands of a four-year-old. It will be crushed like an errant cockroach. 

(BTW, my iPhone was in my purse the entire time.

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

15 DAY WRITER'S CHALLENGE | DAY 6: STEAL


It's Day 6 of Jeff Goins's Great Writers series and I giggled when I read today's challenge: steal. 

Stealing 101

Good artists copy. Great artists steal.
—Picasso

The challenge

Find a quote or a painting or some form of inspiration — and steal it. Make it your own. Attribute it — give credit where it’s due — but don’t be afraid to use it. Let someone else’s work springboard you into your own.
Give up on your pursuit of originality and genius and just find something that inspires you. Borrow from your friends and heroes and mash it all up into something that looks, feels, and sounds like you. 


This amused me because of the conversation I recently had with my boyfriend who's a DJ. I was frustrated with my street photography because I thought my photos were bland and unoriginal. I complained about having to step my game up but not having fresh ideas. My DJ boyfriend suggested I do what is known in the hip-hop culture as "flippin'." To basically take an original cut of a song and flip it to create something fresh. I argued that it was stealing because it wasn't an original idea. He mentioned how well-known rappers have gotten sued by musicians for sampling songs but it didn't stop them from creating hits that the general public went crazy for. 


I still wasn't convinced that it was okay so imagine my chagrin when reading Picaso's quote and today's challenge. Now I'm going to have to hear "I told you so!" from my boyfriend for the millionth time! 


After much speculation I realized that a majority of my blog entries were born from inspirational quotes. I'll read a quote that someone posted on Twitter or Facebook, bookmark it, and write about how the words pertained to my experiences. I've also posted and written my own quotes but no one has tweeted them yet. I suppose my wisdom is only worth sharing posthumously. 


A few days ago I had a blog entry brewing in my foggy head after my sister recently gave me a cool t-shirt. 


I gasped and cried out that it was SO me! From Popeye's "Strong to the Finish" the thoughts of a future blog entry began churning in my brain. That happens often after I've read a quote that slammed my heart. Sometimes, it's a bible verse that I'll write down in my journal and elaborate on how my perspective shifted because of it. So I'm not the O.G. gangsta writer I thought I was. With the excess pressure of being original lifted from my shoulders I can only hope that my writing will reach new heights. Thanks, Jeff Goins!