Friday, March 29, 2013

On Greatness

Me being a fearless instructor :)
On Friday I talked about the fear of What If? and since then it's been going through my head. On Wednesday, I watched Chasing Mavericks about a 16 year old boy who wanted to surf 25-30 ft waves. It blew my mind (really, go watch it).

It made me think, so here are my deep thoughts to pull you through the weekend:

Some people are born with greatness in them; they can push themselves and know that THIS is why they're put on the earth. They don't give up, heck, they may not even have to try all that hard. Then there are those of us who aspire to greatness. We have to try a bit harder because we get rejected more. Have you ever heard of how Madonna got her big break? If you haven't, look it up. She wasn't born with greatness, she pushed herself into it.

Then there are those of us who settle at dead end jobs, have the world eat our souls, and give up.

Don't give up. Don't let the fear of What If stop you. You are great, and you can become great if you keep pushing.

With that said, the A to Z Challenge starts Monday. I signed up for mine to be "personal" but really, it's going to be all about Baxter. Stayed tuned for some adorableness.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Know Your Value"

(This is me after boxing a few years back)
I've always had issues with setting boundaries; with my sisters, with my relationships, with work...etc. I talk too much and tell people my entire life story rather than easing them into it. I try to make rules and guidelines for myself and then obliterate the lines I swore I wouldn't cross again.

I had a really rough day at work yesterday. I walked in, got in a fight with my managers, was accused of lying and being a bad employee (as per usual), and overall, I felt like I was being attacked and not listened to. A customer who'd been standing outside the office during the first confrontation told me as I cashed her out, "Don't let them get to you." And though they were small words, they were like putting air in deflated lungs.

Awhile later, I was pulling forward, and some candy was out of place so I put it back. My manager flipped out on me because it was his candy and he was going to buy it later. I was called selfish, and a bad employee, etc. It's part of my job to make sure the store looks good, and that items that are out of place are put back.

After fighting for a long while, I cashed out another customer. My face was flushed, my teeth were grinding together. "Are you okay?" she asked.

"I'm sorry, I'm angry."

She nodded. "Work stuff?"

Unsure of what to say, but not wanting to lie, I nodded.

"You need to set boundaries," she said. She paused like she was waiting for my eye contact, which I gave her. "If your boundaries are crossed..." and she left it at that. I gave handed her her change, and she smiled at me. "Know your value." Then she walked out the door.

I've been mulling over that conversation ever since. It almost seemed like she was telling me to quit my job.
So happy together...
Like my personal value was being affected by my work, and being told I'm a bad employee. It eats my soul. My needs are not met at this job. I am worth more than a barely above minimum wage job.

But it's money. It's reliable. And come December I will have accrued vacation.

Every single day, I need to remind myself, that I won't be at this job forever. It's temporary.

And then I exhale, the day goes on, and I remind myself I'm better than this. And I know, like all the times I'd sing to Baxter, "We're headed for a better life," we truly are.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sloppy Sunday

There are marquee boards in Hell. They're engulfed in flames, centered in unbearable sunlight, and the letters will never stick to the pole.

I don't like sunlight.
A portion of my job ensures that this is my weekly nightmare. Because I haven't had money for a new set of contacts, I've been saving my vision for snowboarding and regularly wearing my glasses. Which means that because the marquee board is put in such a way the sunlight goes straight into my unprotected eyeballs, I have a tendency to leave my glasses in my car and swap em for sunglasses. Sure, I can't see while I change the sales, but I don't feel completely blinded.

On Sloppy Sunday, I did this, as I usually do. After dropping a million letters (because they don't in fact stick to the demonic pole), I went in to the store, took care of the letters, and pole, and ventured out to my car to exchange my sun blockers for my vision enhancers.

I grabbed the handle, and the door didn't open.

I did it again. Then I realized that my car has a safety feature....that locks the doors without having to touch anything.

Through hazy eyes, I squinted in to the car. My glasses were sitting on the driver's seat...along with my car keys. The door was, in fact, locked. The windows were closed. The truck was locked.

Getting my glasses back kind of felt like this.
After a rather lengthy panic attack, and calling my sister who informed me it'll cost about $75 to unlock my car through a locksmith, through the advice of a friend I contacted my insurance company. Lo and behold, I HAVE ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE!

Within the hour my car was unlocked, the day was saved and I hugged the kind old man who made me sign a waiver that released him from smashing out my window, and thus begins another week in the life of Lynne.

Happy Monday.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Fear of What If?

I just love books so much
I read a lot of books. It kind of comes with the writing territory. Some books are amazing (like If I Stay, Looking for Alaska, etc), and some are just okay.

But when I finish one of those great books; the ones where the characters haunt me, or the plot annoys me, or I wish I were friends with their friends, I struggle with The Fear of What If.

What if I can't ever write something this good? What if my story doesn't flow as well, if the characters never fully come to life, or if my ending doesn't conclude the way it should? What if...

my writing sucks?

Sometimes I recover quickly from these episodes. Sometimes, I hide my pen and computer for a few days saying, "Well, you should just quit while you're ahead and continue with your dead end job."

I may have a small book addiction...
But some days, I look at the books in my room. I sit among great authors like Alice Hoffman, and Kerry Cohen, and Jodi Picoult. I sit among the books I've loved, and thrown, and not cared about. Their presence brings me a sense of hope. When in doubt, I read an acknowledgement page. When I'm really, really, in doubt, ready to curl in the fetal position and cry, I look at the pictures of authors I've met.

They were like me once. They had blogs. They have tweets. They had hopes, and dreams, and they kept going. They already wrote their books. The great books that I'm jealous of are already out there. I need to write my book, with my words.

So, I open up my computer and stare at the cursor as it blinks back at me.

It's all part of the writing game. (You should keep going, too.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Shamrock Shakes

I have an addiction. It costs money, it's unhealthy, and if my needs are not met, I turn into a freak of nature.

A few years back, I was jonesin real bad for a shamrock shake. Laura and I had gone in SEVERAL times for one and they kept giving the same answer, "They should be here Friday" "They should be here in a few days" etc. We waited, we were patient. Finally, one day I'd had an awful day, and we strolled over to McDonald's.

"I'd like a large shamrock shake, please," I said, calmly placing my order and waiting the minty goodness that I'd been longing for.

"I'm sorry, we don't have them in yet."

I snapped. "Are you f#$ing kidding me?!"

From there it went downhill. I yelled, I screamed, Laura shoved me out the glass double doors saying, "I promise, she's not always like this! I'm sorry."

Though St. Patties Day was yesterday, I hear my McDonald's is already out of the beloved shakes. I died inside a little.

Until we meet again, friend. Until we meet again.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Plastic Bags and Sea Turtles

In a past life, I was a sea turtle. I swam in the oceans, and ate crabs and squid, and whatever else I could get my hands on.
This wasn't me. This was a turtle I got to work with at the Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center
Then one day as I was swimming along, something white swam in front of me. With all the muscle I had in my flippers, I pushed hard, and ate it. But it stuck, in my throat. I tried, and tried, and tried to expel this squid, but it wouldn't go. I tried to swim for the surface for air, but whatever was in my throat didn't let me.

And I died, a slow and painful death.

You know how there's a big push for you to use reusable bags? This is why. That white thing that was floating in front of me was a plastic bag from your local super market. They take forever to degrade, and if you live in a coastal state, most times they float into the ocean.

Sea turtles are already endangered. They mistake plastic bags for jellies, squid, other swimmy things that can be eaten. They can't spit them out, and they choke.

Consider this the next time you shop. Try reusable bags, or try no bag at all. It may save my past life's family.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Trapped in a Wormhole

Laura Eno, Luanne Smith, and Stephen Tremp put together this here National Wormhole Day blog hop posing the question, What would you do/where would you go if you could go through a wormhole, just once? (Answer in 100 words or less)

First off, I'd make sure Baxter could come. He doesn't like getting left behind. Secondly, we'd go adventuring off to the past. Probably high school. We'd sit back, and he'd get to meet some of my friends who passed away, and I'd get some refreshers for the gaps in my memory for my memoir.

What about you guys? Would you try to sneak anyone into the wormhole with you?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Cleaning

I realized today that the snow is melting. Which means snowboarding will be ending. It also means that I'll be down one job. I'll have more free time to do things. Like sit in my room, in my pajamas, with my laptop and write. And maybe read. If Baxter's lucky, there may be some snuggling to be had, too.

There is a lot I need to organize....
Anyway, it's Road Trip Wednesday over at YA Highway, so I figured I'd jump in. Their question posed was something along the lines of, Spring Cleaning, What do you hope to clean up in your writing?

I've been hearing from agents that they're having difficulty connecting to my main character(s), rather I'm still stuck in the showing verses telling. So, once the snow melts and my heart dies a bit (only for a couple months, it'll be back!) I fully intend to sit down and give my novels a few rounds of editing. Right now, I'm focusing on my memoir.

What about you guys, what common pitfalls do you fall into?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Public Transporation

In case you didn't read about that time I got lost in Seattle, on foot, for three hours in the sketchy side of town, here's another reminder of why I drive everywhere rather than taking public transportation:

The view from the train
Damien drove Laura and me to AWP where we registered and ate dinner and checked into my hostel (which ended up being this God-awful place, and I ended up not even staying there because we were all so creeped out by it. But that's another blog post).

By the end of the night he returned home to Maine and Baxter, while I stayed with my twitter friend's friend (you'll remember her from the time everyone said I was going to get murdered in Boston). It was the first time I'd slept on a real bed in well over a month, and when my head hit the very fluffy, very clean, pillow, I was out.

The following morning Veronika drove me to the bus station with a handy-dandy print out of directions. I should have been able to get to AWP just fine, but instead, I arrived nearly 45 minutes AFTER the first panel started. (Meaning I was lost for about 1.5-2 hours.)

First, I took the OUTBOUND when I was supposed to take the INBOUND. Second, the GREENLINE was WAY above my head. I may have gotten a little over emotional and overdramatic, but hey, I missed the first panel. I was allowed to. When I finally arrived at the Hyne's Convention Center stop, I couldn't figure out which direction to walk to actually get to the Convention Center. (Thankfully, I am NOT above talking to strangers.)

Rather than barging in all sorts of late, I arrived, covered in snow, wet feet, and soaked pants, and promptly found The Rumpus table. Remember how I told you guys that sometimes you need to buy new gear to get yourselves inspired? I forgot to mention that coffee cups can also do the trick, and can cheer you up in seconds. When I got to the table I said, "Please for the love of God tell me you have the Write like a mother fucker mugs!"

The gentlemen there said, "Yes we do."

"You're damn right you do!" I shouted and forked over the money. I've wanted this cup for YEARS now. Last year they sold out. At long last it's mine:

So for a time, I was happy. The conference was amazing (stay tuned, I'll have more posts of the awesomeness), and then came time to take the bus home. Only, the bus I was supposed to take wasn't the bus I was supposed to take.

It's 3am, and he's still happy to see me :)
Long story short (because I can see your eyes glaze over already) Damien had to drive down from Maine at midnight and drive back as daylight savings hit and he had to work at 9am. Needless to say, I am less than impressed.

Moral of the story is....well, I'm not that sure. Maybe I'm just grateful to have my car back, and that Damien was willing to pick me up. Oh, and I missed Baxter :)

Happy Monday.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Longest Week

Later today I'll be travelling approximately two hours to an airport to pick her up:

My sister, my sister!
 From there, we will drive home where we will maybe make some food. Maybe shower (separately, that's weird). And then very early in the morning we will rise and do this:

After we beat ourselves up on the mountain, and she re-learns how to snowboard, it's time for home, and tacos, and sleep because the following morning, we're off to do this:

AWP 2013
Perhaps this year, I may actually have a planned place to stay...

Friday, March 1, 2013

New Settings

You know that moment where you look at your table and the bills are stacked up, or your kids (or dogs) won't stop making noise. Your head starts to swell, it becomes difficult to breathe...and your only thought is, "I gotta get out of here."

Sometimes all you need is a large meadow of snow
Perhaps some hot chocolate

First you try to buy some new gear, shoes, a new pretty pen, and it works for a couple of days. Then you befriend the local cashier at your bank or grocery store. But when that's not quite cutting it and you feel smothered, there's one more trick. Finding a new setting.

I live in a gingerbread house
I moved in early in February and have been here for about a month. It's not evil roommates making me anxious, it's the fact that I have way too much stuff. Boxes are all over the house. BUT overall, the place is nice. The only downfall is that there's not a yard for Baxter to play in so I've been trying to take him running or for long walks as much as possible. I've also taken some displays from work and turned them into bookshelves (will post pictures soon), so it's helping with the clutter.

Bottom line is, if you get to the point you can't breathe or even hear your thoughts anymore, take your new fancy pen, your new fancy friend, and try somewhere new. Perhaps a coffee shop, a McDonald's, anywhere that has wifi, you pick. But let yourself breathe, it's okay to need some time away.

Happy Friday.
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