Tag Archives: writing

Starting Over…If I Can Do It, So Can You!


Up, up and away! Photo by me 🙂

Writing: my hope, my dream, my nemesis, my muse. I had my first story published when I was eight years old. It was about a water moccasin in the toilet. The local paper published it, and I was a proud writer. And then, it got sidetracked — that dream of mine — to be a full-time writer. It went off course because of getting married at a very young age, moving out of California to the South, supporting my husband’s career instead of my own, and mostly because I didn’t believe enough in myself in order to work at making my dream come true.

Then, in 1997, it happened. I saw a commercial with Magic Johnson. “If you do one thing toward your goal every day, at the end of a year you’ll have done 365 things.” Or something like that. Bingo. Hotter than heck light bulb goes on. Serendipity. Inspiration. And YES – my muse started working overtime for the first time ever. Within a month I was published. Within a year, I was making pretty good money writing. During that year, I went to South Korea to teach English for the first time.

The trip and living in another culture  inspired my muse even more. Plenty of subjects to write about. Lots of time to write. Success comes in the form of published work, both in the United States, on the internet and in Korea itself for the Korea Times, Seoul’s English language newspaper.

Then back to the United States in 1998. I move back to the South to be near my only grandson, who is one and one-half years old  at the time. What a sweetie pie he was (and still is). And writing. Yes, yes, YES! I am a full-time freelance writer and editor, adding credit after credit to my resume.

And then it all falls down, like the proverbial Humpty-Dumpty sliding down the hill. Clients don’t pay, I get depressed and more. I go back to South Korea and that falls apart as well. “What is happening to me,” I scream at my God. “ARE YOU LISTENING? HELPPPPPP.” I go back to South Korea and learn valuable lessons there.

And God does help, but not in the way I thought he would. I come back to the U.S. and do some writing for a content mill and am frustrated the whole time with the complete idiocy of the editors the mill selected. They mangle my work, add more mistakes (my writing is usually pretty much error free, and suppress my style.

More changes. Now I am ill, so ill I can’t work. This lasts for more than two years. In the hospital, out of the hospital, one thing after another, aches and pains all over, and I feel as if I am aging so fast and so prematurely that life hardly seems worth living.

Finally feeling better now. Thank you again, God.

And that, my friends, brings you up to date (without ALL the details) on my life. And HERE I AM.

So now, I’m starting my writing career over, because all my really good credits are a few years old. But it’s okay. Starting over is better than not starting at all.

What do you need to start over? Do you need to quit smoking or drinking so you’ll be healthier? Is there a relationship that you need to work on without blaming the other person for the problems in the relationship? Are you sick and tired of your career and need to start a new one? Do you need to lose weight so you can walk up stairs better or fit into clothes you really want to wear? No matter what it is, you can start over. If I can do it, so can you!

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Endings and beginnings – more about friendship


children

I wish I had a picture of me and Janet, but I don't. So, I found this one on morguefile.com. Phaedra is the gal who took it. Her page is here: http://morguefile.com/creative/phaewilk

I’m going to Fayetteville, GA next week to see my friend Janet, who has cancer and the most amazing fighting to stay alive attitude I’ve ever seen. Janet is the person who opened her home to me in 1998 when I came back from my first year teaching in South Korea. She never charged me a  penny’s rent, helped me buy a computer and a car, and most of all, she accepted me exactly the way I was.

I was raw. I didn’t want to come back to the states, because I think I’m a true expat at heart. We’re both Scorpios, so we got along pretty well most of the time. Her husband was dying of Alzheimer’s and in a nursing home. I was so self-absorbed, I don’t think I was much comfort to her. We met online through a writing group. Janet was more of an editor than a writer, and she ran critique groups for budding writers – all online. Her site was writelinks.com, but it’s no longer on the Net.

However, while it was up and running, Janet did more good for more people than you can imagine. She encouraged, advised and just listened. She had a huge list of links to various other writing sites, resources which were invaluable to all the wannabe writers and pros alike.

A few years ago, Janet started knitting. She got so good at it that she started teaching classes at Michael’s, the hobby store for those of you who don’t know. Then she branched out. Instead of just knitting for friends or friends of friends, she started knitting baby things to be donated to an organization, the name of which I don’t remember. There are lots of these organizations, though, so if you’re a knitter, you might want to do a search for them.

Janet knitted me some washcloths to give as gifts to my family. I also got one. I still have it. It’s off white and the best cloth I’ve ever used to really get the dirt and grime off my face and body.

She has a mind like a steel trap — it traps information and keeps it to throw up as trivia or to explain some complicated medical process or to answer questions about everything from parenting to literature. I love her mind.

She’s traveled all over the world. Her husband Len worked for Delta Airlines and that was during the time when a buddy/family pass was exactly that. The pass cost a pittance compared to today’s rates. That was also when baggage was free, meals were free, and people took real books on planes instead of laptops and Kindles or Nooks. She has a map with little red push pins showing all the places she and her beloved husband went together.

When she was sixteen, she started a restaurant. Later she got advanced degrees in psychology and was a school psychologist for years. She’s soft-spoken and rarely gets angry, but she loves a good debate.

She’s from California like I am, and we had lots of laughs about how most people in the South don’t know what Swiss chard and artichokes are.

The night I arrived in Georgia from Korea via California, she took me to Ryan’s a buffet restaurant, so I could have my favorite stewed tomatoes and okra. She bought my favorite foods at the grocery store until I started making money with my writing and we challenged each other on computer games that didn’t involve killing monsters, aliens or humans. They were mostly word games as I remember. We both love words.

I call her every day now, just to see how she’s doing. Some days are good, some are bad. She’s in a lot of pain most of the time now. Treatments for the cancer are finished.

I like to think that God will answer my prayer for a miracle for Janet so she can go on being herself here on earth and enriching others’ lives.  On the other hand, if God doesn’t answer that prayer, I know he must need another angel. Janet will be an awesome angel. I hope she’ll visit me often, but I know if I’m not on her visitation list others will be, and their lives will be all the better for the time with her.

So, I’m going to Fayetteville on Tuesday next week. I’ll stay in a hotel and visit her once a day for two days. She says she doesn’t need me to stay with her. I guess the way it’s going, it will be the last time I’ll visit her. But instead of thinking of it as an ending, I’m thinking of it as a beginning.

Why?

Well, it’s a beginning because our friendship will ever be new. It’s the start of another phase of her life and mine without her.

What I know today is that my mother used to say I would be lucky if I had two true friends in my life. I have been more than blessed with quite a few more than two. I don’t believe in numbering a list of best friends, with this person being number one, the next being number two, etc. However, I do know that Janet is at the top of my unnumbered list today. The hope she gave to me, the consolation she provided when I was down, the good and practical advice she always gave – they will always be with me.

Lord, I hope I can be as good a friend to others as Janet and others have been to me. I hope that I can give people strength when they are feeling weak, the words they need to hear when they have a problem, and the ability to bring a smile to their faces when they are with or think of me.

Who will you be a friend to today?

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The Garbage Man and the White Pillow Case


bicycles and garbage can

Two bicycles near a garbage can. Photo taken by Penywise: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/penywise

This morning I was out watering my plants when the garbage truck came. I love being outside in the morning when all is bright and new. It just gives me a new lease on life.

The man who picks up my garbage and I have a history. When I first moved in and had gotten almost completely unpacked, I was still very ill. Dishes would sit in the sink for days, I had no energy to cook anything that didn’t come out of the freezer or a can, and I spent more hours in bed than I did doing anything else — including my housecleaning and taking out the garbage.

So one morning the doorbell rang. I wasn’t out of bed yet, but I jumped out of bed and threw on my mother’s beautiful Christian Dior robe, which is ivory with gold trim. I went to the front door and there stood the garbage man. I opened the door and said, “Hello.”

“I was just wondering if you had any garbage today. There wasn’t anything in the can,” said the medium tall, stocky man.

I told him I’d been sick and just forgotten to take it out. He said, “I’ll wait while you go get it,” he said. I brought the bag to him, and then he continued. “Listen, I’m sorry you’ve been so sick. I’ll check every week, and if there’s no garbage, I’ll come to the door to get it from you.” His mouth broke into a wide, white smile.

I thanked him profusely and thought how God takes care of sometimes the smallest things. But to be honest, I was blown away. Here’s this hard-working man who labors all day, smelling the filthy trash, trying to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer (impossible with no air conditioning in garbage trucks). He has a million stops to make and often works from dawn to dusk.

But he took the time to make an offer to one of his customers. Why? Just because he’s a nice guy.

This morning he got out of the truck and walked toward me. “Guess what!” I said. “I’m finally well again!.”

“That’s great news. I’m glad to hear it,” he said.

“Yep,” I said. “I thank God and my doctor.”

“Amen,” he said. Then, “Do you have a white pillowcase I could have? It’s so hot, and I want to put it over my hat. Oh, and some scissors.”

I told him I did and went into the house to get them. I brought them out and he carefully cut the pillowcase in two pieces, then draped it over his head. “Thank you so much,” he said. This will really help.”

The pillowcase was my mother’s. It had a couple of iron burns on it, but I knew it would do the trick. And somehow, just somehow, I kind of think Mom is smiling down on me for giving it away today.

What will you give away today?

Footnote: Thanks for reading my blog. I love writing it. You can subscribe and get it automatically, you know. And I do reply to every comment made.  You can click like or share on this and all my entries if you will. I’d appreciate that! Have a blessed day!

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Filed under Helping Others, People Who Have Impressed Me