Friday, November 18, 2011

Put it down on paper

Bucket lists seem to be a big thing – a big, unspoken thing. This is what I have learned this week.

Everyone has things they want to accomplish before they die, but it’s like we’re not supposed to talk about it. We’re not supposed to put it down on paper because it’s almost like we’re admitting defeat and handing ourselves over to Death with a big, bright bow. I’ll let you all in on a little secret: Death doesn’t need the bow. Death doesn’t need the list. Death will come for you whether you put your goals down on paper or not. Death is the only sure thing in life. Ironic, huh?

But I’m guessing you already knew that.

So let’s move on to the list that I think everyone should have. Bucket lists are a great thing! They shouldn’t be looked at as a doomed timeline, but as the motivation you need to push yourself to get the most out of life. Everything that’s on that list is about you. That’s the beauty of it. You’re not doing these things to please your kids, your spouse, your boss, whoever. It’s all about you!  Why shouldn’t you have something that’s just yours?

Isn’t it depressing to write down things you want to do, see, accomplish in life only to look at it fifty years from now and perhaps see you did none of it? That’s a question that I was asked a lot when I was nosey and probing into the lives around me and asking about their bucket lists. And my answer? Hell no!

The chance that you’ll have done nothing on your list is slim. You will do something. Sure there’s a chance you might not accomplish all of it, but you can bet your ass you will do some of it. And won’t it be awesome fifty plus years from now to see the things you’ve done- even the little things- checked off?

Bucket lists are not about admitting there’s an end to your life. It’s about embracing the life you have or want and getting the most out of it.

I am a very lucky person to have been able to cross off the number one thing on my bucket list. Publish a book. How freaking awesome is that? There are so many other things on that list that I want to do (like getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight I was before I had my youngest which looks like it’ll be harder than getting a book published) but being able to cross off the biggest, most important item on there is such an amazing feeling. Honestly, I don’t care if I do any of the other things! (Okay, I do, but you know what I mean)

What are you waiting for? Start a list. Make a bunch of them if you want. Add to them as the years go by, but don’t let the years go by without knowing who you are and what you want.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Uncharted territory

That's where I find myself right now. I've been on a writing roll today, page after page of words just flowing from my brain to my fingertips and over the keyboard. But after almost completing a chapter I've forced myself to stop and think. To wonder if I'm actually portraying this character right. 

As I have never cheated before – and for some reason this surprises people when they learn it – I’m not sure what goes on in the mind of the cheater. Do they think of their partner while flirting with someone else? Is there a pause, a moment when they know what they’re doing is wrong, right before they do it? Does it make the experience one of guilt, or is the excitement of being with someone new the only thing that they feel in that moment?

What about during the actual act? Is it all about focusing on the sex, enjoying the caress of the new lover, or do thoughts of their (perhaps) faithful partner waiting at home enter their minds?
What about when it’s over? Are there feelings of guilt? Regret? Is this when their partner enters their lust filled mind, or are they still forgotten about? Do they bask in the glow of what they’ve just done and leave the afterthoughts to rise with the morning sun?

I want my character to be believable in how she feels and thinks, but without actually having the personal knowledge of what it feels like to cheat, I’m questioning myself.

Of course I know people who have cheated. I have friends who have done it in the past and never done it again…and others who continue to do it. I could just ask them, but really, none of them are too proud of their failed moments. And it’s not like I can just hand out a questionnaire on the street asking for those who have been unfaithful.

I suppose when writing something in which you have no experience with, you just have to go with your gut and imagine yourself in that situation.

 “I’m just thinking of what it would be like to cheat on you. That okay, babe?”

 Hmm maybe I should keep this part of my “research” to myself.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

What's your inspiration?

Everyone has their inspiration for what they do. Whether it’s in your personal life or your professional one, or both, everyone has something that inspires them.

Depending on what I’m writing I have a few inspirations. I listen to Eminem right before I need to write a scene that is full of anger/rage. Not saying that all of Eminem’s songs are full of hatred, but he definitely helps set the right mood.  If I’m trying to write a big declaration of love and just can’t seem to get it right, I’ll take a break and watch Dirty Dancing – it’s Patrick Swayze, people, who doesn’t get all warm and fuzzy watching him? If it’s heartbreak, well, unfortunately I don’t have to look elsewhere for that, and who inspires the naughty stuff is pretty clear if you read the dedication in Last Call.

But when it comes to the day-to-day stuff, or when writer’s block sets in and I just can’t get any words out and feel what little I have done is total crap, what inspires me then to keep going? It’s simple: my oldest son Hayden. Yes, of course both my children are amazing (when they’re not driving me up the wall or making me want to tear out my hair) and they both are inspiring in their own way, but Hayden is much different from his brother.

Hayden has always been a difficult child, even as a baby. Things have always been harder for him to catch on to or do as he got older. When he was a baby he was right on his milestones, stubborn all the way, but right on them. But as he got older he just had a more difficult time whether it was talking, getting dressed, paying attention, and later writing and reading. There’s no cause for it (aside from doctors suspecting he has ADHD) he’s a perfectly healthy and normal five year old. He just learns things at a slower pace, and as a mother it’s hard to stand by and watch your child struggle.

But as much as he’s struggled it’s also incredible to watch him learn and succeed. Hayden has my stubborn streak through and through and as much as not being able to do something frustrates him, as often as it ends in tears and screaming and tantrums, he will return to what he was doing – even if it’s hours later - and not give up until he’s succeeded. His determination is amazing in everything that he does. It’s humbling and inspiring to watch him concentrate so hard as he writes his numbers in his little workbook, or when he’s playing Wii and refuses to quit until he’s beaten the level just to prove that he can.

My son’s determination inspires me to finish what I start, no matter how hard it might be or how hopeless it might seem. I keep the paper that he wrote his name on for the very first time close by when writer’s block, or even life, seems to get the best of me. Looking at his printed letters remind me if he can do it, if he can summon that much determination to put six letters down on paper when it’s so difficult for him, then so can I.