Tag Archives: Creative life

What I’ve Learned In 53 Years of Living

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That sounds pretty grand, right? Like you should sit down and ready yourself for me to drop some wisdom on you, right? Well, we’ll see. I’ll ask at the end of this what you think.

Some of these things have cultivated over the years. Some I’m still trying to fully grasp and work on them, daily or weekly or whenever I remember I need to. Some are so new I feel all fluttery in my belly even sharing them.

  1. Eat Chocolate as much as you can. Now, you have to define how much that is, how often, milk or dark, with nuts or not, in bars or cookies or off spoons standing in your kitchen. Just get some if you need it. I’m no longer of the “DON’T EAT [INSERT THE YUMMY FOOD HERE]”
  2. Same goes for sugar. Yes, this shit can wreck havoc on you so take that into consideration. If you can and like and want sweetness, get it. I can’t. I try with such might but I can’t. I’m officially in a mourning period about that. Fall of 2016 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. I had ulcers and all these not-so-lovely symptoms that could fall under TMI for this blog. After a year of diet change, supplements, herbs and therapy for trauma and grief (my mom died Feb of 2016), my scopes revealed no more active Crohn’s. But I do have IBS. Yeah…chronic pain is bitch. And eating sugar or specifically dark chocolate drenched caramel popcorn is not a good idea for me. I hate being a fragile fuckin flower but there it is.
  3. Dance when you can. How you can. Where you can. Chair dance. Wave your hands in the air like you JUST DON’T CARE! Or car dance. I LOVE to car dance. Sometimes my back and joints hurt or I’m battling nausea so throwing down like I’m a MC Hammer back-up dancer like I used it isn’t always possible. BUT I’m still a proud member of the Rhythm Nation so you just know that I’m dancing when I can.
  4. Get cool about your gray hair. This is one that I’m really working on. I go back and forth about when to go gray. Or let the world see I’m gray underneath my black curls. I spend hours on Pinterest and Instagram looking at BEAUTIFUL gray haired women who share their journeys. It’s not easy. It takes time. And it means something. Of course, it does. Even those who say they don’t give a fuck what others say, THAT is a sentiment that has had to been developed, cultivated, honed and now honored. That means something. For me, I go a couple months and even declare I’m no longer dying my hair and then after spraying my roots to go out, which indicates that I’m not ready, I dye my roots and to be honest, feel like I’m letting some part of me down. Like I just did something to my own value as a woman. BUT THEN I tell myself to knock that shit off, focus my dramatic thoughts to the page and just get on with the day. There are just as many amazing women who don’t have gray hair, now or won’t ever. The point is, I’m learning to get cool with mine.
  5. Come to an understanding about “give no fucks”. This one I’ve been thinking A TON about. For a few years now. I have post-its on my desk and in my office reminding me of this. But there’s also a note by one that says “except for those who deserve all the fucks” cuz there are those. Like family, friends, sisterhood, brotherhood, those who are suffering, those lost in pain, those who have less, those who need more. There’s a list that deserve and have my fucks. I think the give none goes to those who hate me for my skin color, my race, my gender. Those who want to step on my neck and nail me to the ground. Those who don’t like me. Or won’t love me. I won’t ask for them to. I sure as shit won’t beg. I want to be seen, though. I want to be heard. But that’s not possible with some folks. Bigots are not going to be down with me. Trump lovers will hate me. Mansplainers, white folks coming at me with their privilege don’t dig me, either. I can’t make them feel any different [INSERT SERENITY PRAYER HERE] so those folks I don’t give a fuck about. BUT BUT…they are suffering, too. So, how do I remedy this? My need to cultivate kindness and promote peace and give them no fucks? What I’m learning is that it’s possible to give none to their opinions and be aware of their power in the fight, because we are in a fight. A fight for our lives.
  6. Be a warrior. And define that however you need to and want to. And know that being a warrior means protecting yourself so if that means taking breaks from social media, turning off the news, working out, or binge watching Netflix, sleeping in, or whatever you feel needs to happen for your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health- then you’re fighting.
  7. And cry. Cleanse your soul. Honor the life you’ve lived when you’re pain because of the losses in it, the hard and lonely times. It’s okay to feel.
  8. Soak in some children’s laughter. If you can’t get in real life then find some online and play it loudly until you laugh, too.
  9. Do something creative. Every day. That doesn’t mean you have to write or paint. Or sew. Or anything you may define as ‘art’. Being creative is about using your mind to create something. Cooking, gardening. Singing. Caring for your children. Creating anything with your imagination- DAY DREAM! I was a big daydreamer as a kid and teachers would snap me back to class by calling on me to pay attention. Kinda hated them for that. Sure, I understand that I needed to focus on the lessons but the value of my imagination is immense. Yours is, too.
  10. Give hugs. Friends. Lovers. Pets. Pillows. When you give hugs you usually get one back.
  11. Pray.  

Okay, so that’s the 11 that are on my mind this morning of my birthday. I don’t think I’ve shook up your world with my thoughts. But thank you for reading. Thank you.

Peace and love

Toast! to BIG Knee-slapping Laughter

I have some girlfriends with the most amazing laughs. Loud, robust, their laughter rumbles up from deep within their beautiful souls and bursts from them, filling the air we share with love and light and…O I love laughing with my girlfriends. 

I have so many memories of laughing so hard with my daughter that I’ve practically peed my pants. Some of the most joyful memories I have of watching the relationship of Bird with Peter has been the way he makes her laugh.  We spit up food and hoot and holler. We laugh so hard, we cheer!  It’s so wonderful to feel so good! My father-in-law has this distinct laughter, a….squeak…or I can’t even describe it but let me tell ya, taking him to a funny movie is the best!  Jon thrills everyone with his full participation in the comedy. And often, at the dinner table, he and Peter will get on a roll and the house will shake like thunder from so much laughter.  Love.

The people who are not in my life now- the friends I’ve lost, the times I miss them the most is when I remember laughing with them, back when we were real and connected by love.  

And this laughter, I want to be clear, is not being mean about others. It’s not gossiping or laughing at some else’s expense. It’s truly silliness, just good old fashioned funny stuff.  

I think we don’t do that enough. I think that snark has become equated with wit. I think that a person’s feelings is easily tramped one for the possibility of a laugh. I think cruelity is too common, offensiveness is okay.  And that saddens me. Deeply. 

As an artist. I don’t write funny. I can be funny, sometimes. But it’s rare for me to “get the laugh” and when it does happen (here’s a confession) I walk away thinking of the encounter, dinner, party or whatever it was and I remember the line that got the laugh and I actually tell myself “good job”.  I know…dorky but I’m just happy I made someone happy for a second. Or two. 

The stories I write though, are dramatic. Tense. Deep. I can make you cry before I make you giggle. I’m often raw and I work hard to show the humanity in my characters, which means I dig up their vulnerability and put it out there for the world to see.  Eee….that’s not funny shit.  

So maybe that’s why I have such a huge appreciation for what makes me laugh. For the people who make me laugh. That must be the balance.  It’s a cleansing of my soul…a cleansing in tickling bubbly water.  Nice. 

So today’s Toast! is to BIG knee-slapping Laughter and the people who tickle you!  

PEACE

#Toast! #healing #peace #creativewriting #filmmaking

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Toast! to Wise Women and some Kale Salad

In the last few years of focusing on my health, losing weight, understanding what food really is, and not just what foods are good for me but my relationship to food, I’ve come to love to cook. Sometimes.  Sometimes, I love when my husband “goes out into the wilderness to hunt for our food” (hear him like he’s an Ancient One, a Indian warrior, bow and arrow strapped across his back, loincloth, the whole bit) and he comes home with Thai food from our favorite Thai joint up the street.  Sometimes, I love to turn on a sitcom rerun and lose myself in laughter while preparing a healthy meal.  

Recently, though, a new joy is cooking for others. I love making a dish to share with my writers’ group or with Lit Chicks book group, or yes… please…a potluck?!  I make some amazing salads thanks to Weight Watchers. In the past I only made frybread.  My grandma’s recipe.  It’s sweeter than most frybread you’d come across and it’s filled with memories of her.  I  invoke her spirit when I make frybread. My joy now with frybread is that my daughter and my niece make it, carrying on the tradition. I may still make it for the next time I’m to bring something for a dinner or party but it is white flour, sugar, yeast and Crisco… and for me to honor my wise women in my world, I go for healthy, gluten-free and pure yummy.  Hence….Kale Salad. 

Last night I was blessed to be in the company of some incredible women. Beautiful spiritual loving creatures.  I always show up at the moon meditation fully open to the experience for my own spiritual growth but also open to the love and support that generates in the room, that encircles us and holds us as we make a meditative journey into our bodies and hearts.  Last night, though, I brought kale salad to share for afterwards.  

Now- I know there’s a possible big imbalance between the gift the amazing astrologer and healer, Rachel Lang, gives us leading us on these meditation and the intuitive deep love from the other women compared to a kale salad..but… (picture me grinning now) I know that when I tore the kale leaves off the rib, when I mixed the coconut flakes with it, when I shook up the dressing, doing a little dance cuz I had some happy rockin’ 70’s music going on, I was infusing this salad with my kind of love. My house filled with the smell of roasted love…yeah, man.  

Yes, I was hoping they liked it, but I was really just happy to share. I felt good giving. I felt good. Wow- that makes this whole experience a selfish act but not selfish in a negative way, but selfish in the most beautiful way. Self-love.  And cuz it really is a gorgeous yummyass salad- I got to share the way I know how. 

So, today’s Toast! is to Wise Women and some Kale Salad! 

Cook with love today. 

Peace

Toast! to Shopping…for creative purposes, only…I swear.

Yesterday I wrote bout five new pages, edited a few minor things and then gave myself the day to go shopping. I often do this while story brews. It’s sometimes a mindless task and not too damaging when I make sure I kick my awareness to full tilt before I actually purchase.

In this case, I was shopping for something specific. We’re going to Mexico in a couple weeks for a wedding so of course, there’s new clothes needed.  But how did this influence my creative process? How was this a part of living the creative life?

I could tell you it was wonderful and that in my head, I fixed multiple hiccups from ACT II and cleaned up blurbs of shit that currently fill my screenplay drafts.  I could spin you a tale about startling revelations of pure literary genius that struck me in the dressing room at Old Navy. I could tell you that detailed arcs of the deepest emotional journeys for my protagonist revealed themselves while trying on boots at TJMaxx. (and yes, I know, I don’t need boots for a wedding on the beach, but a girl can’t help herself sometimes) I could say that the ahhh moment of resolution appeared in a vision while I wandered like a crazed woman through The Americana on Brand.  I could say that I was so deep in thought, so enthralled with the films I’m writing in my head, that I actually walked passed IN-n-Out burger and didn’t even see it until I had crossed the street and realized I had…crossed…a  street.  Okay, this last one did happen.

The rest, though.  Eh.  Nothing major hit me. Nothing surfaced and made itself clear to me.  I still see Dahab sitting at her husband’s bedside, alone and scared. The doctors and nurses eyeing her like she’s the mother of a terrorist, wondering what’s in her bag. I see Cassidy running hard down a country road, forcing herself to look into the cornfields, unearthing the horrors of her memories that lurk there so that she can move through them to find the lost little girls. And Kiona is still holding her arms tightly in front of her, stuck, afraid to hold the infant because she’s feels like she’s barely keeping her head tethered to her grief-stained body. And Tammy…sweet sweet Tammy, I still see her with a gentle smile on her face, watching her new “friend” hum and twirl and love the life she seems to be creating for her son, not knowing what and how terrified her “friend” really is. Not knowing that her smile means love and that it could kill her.

Oh. I see. I took all women, these incredible characters of my films with me. I took them shopping. And although I struggle to make meaning of this all right now, and am distracted by the hummingbird at my window saying good morning–I bought a pair of jeans for $10. And a tiny blue dress for a hot Mexican day.  

Peace. 

Toast! to Friends with Feedback

I could write this Toast! daily.  I have such amazing friends! I’m so blessed.

Living a creative life for me means that I need them and I need their feedback. Not just on what’s on my page, what’s difficult about that end of Act II, or why my character is doing something I don’t quite understand…I need feedback on life because that influences what happens creativity in my life.

If I am creating a community or the loss of one, I think of my Lit Chicks back home, my Book Club, Writer’s Group, Project Involve Alums, USC SCA friends, college friends, high school friends and all the new friends on Facebook…communities that I hold dear. And I use.  These are the people I go to for story, for clarification, support and applause. 

If I have a character that is dealing with loss, with some pain or heartache, I’ve got my own history to look to, but I have friends who have shared their journeys and from them I see rising to challenges, resilency and healing. I see how they manuever difficulities and overcome obstacles.  Their strength and dedication to life are attributes I straight up steal and layer my characters with. 

If I am stuck…and yes, I get stuck. I actually call it ‘story brewing’ cuz that feels more action-oriented than ‘stuck’…but when this is where I find myself, I go to a friend for a break- you can find me a Larchmont Bungalow or walking the reservoir or riding cycle hard at the Y, with a friend.  We may not even discuss the story but they’re open love gives me respite from the brewing and I can come back to the page strong.

I am blessed to have friendships with my collaborators, too.  I feel love and support as we all work through our roles in development for the films. 

And one of the greatest gifts my husband gives me is his time, support and ‘feedback’ for story which deepens creative growth and makes me love him even more.

Alot of people say writing is lonely work and it can be. Definitely. When it comes down to moments like this…me, my thoughts and this computer, it can be lonely. When I seek deep inside myself to mine a story, hell yes, it can be a lonely job. But life…the creative life…it’s fed by Friends with Feedback.  

And I am round-bellied, deep-breathin’, sighing, gigglin’, slap-happy full! 

Here’s a Toast! to Friends with Feedback.  Go tell yours how much you appreciate them.

PEACE