State Of Bliss

I really hate to tempt fate here yet for the last week or so I have experienced what can only be described as a pure state of bliss. I can’t explain the smiles at nothing, the occasional break into song (Banana Pancake song by Jack Johnson in case you were wondering), or dancing in my kitchen more than normal.

This sensational feeling started right after Uncle Neddy’s released. I am almost ashamed to admit this is my first creative work since. I’ve tried, mind you, yet my state of being isn’t cooperating.

It had to be those damn mountains. For anyone out there who hasn’t experienced the beauty of The Continental Divide, put it on your bucket list NOW! Go in at Estes Park, Colorado and follow the road up. If you are lucky, though I haven’t been during all five of my trips, the road will connect around and take you to Grand Lake. I have never seen Grand Lake outside of photographs, the view stunning! As is the ride up. Beyond description (so I included a photo) … simply amazing!

A truly humbling experience. I can’t imagine anyone looking up and not getting a feeling of awe.

When I returned to sea level, the salt filled air greeted me with a smack to my senses like Frank’s Red Hot on egg whites; very familiar yet unique each experience. Maybe when the Rocky Mountain high wears off, my creative self will return, hopefully leaving the bad clichés behind…

Stay tuned for upcoming Blog Tour dates, fabulous prizes (Amazon gift certificates & books), along with the occasional Facebook Live blog. Summer 2017 Tour starts soon!

 

Waffles & Weed

The past two days I have climbed to the top of two very different mountains. Yesterday I used my feet while today a ski lift helped with the ride. Although two different experiences, similarities are present.

Take for instance how Mother Nature humbles us. Hiking the side of a muddy, rocky, and more notably, steep hill takes concentration, especially during the descent when ankles can be twisted or knees torn. Effort is needed to make it to the top, just to overlook interstate 91 in one direction or clouds reflecting on a body of water in the other.

This sight reminds me that we are such a small part of the universe.200805-r-xl-classic-belgian-waffles

Today I used little effort to get to the top. I bought a ticket, stood in line, then hopped on a chairlift that took me above the clouds. On the ride the frigid wind blew through snow covered trees. Snow fell, almost burning one’s skin on contact. And at the top, the only view appeared ten feet away with the fog circling.

Like the mud, a bit of ice is thrown in. Focus is needed to not sustain similar or worst injuries. (There was at least a half dozen folks who we saw getting sled rides down. We hope their injuries were not serious.) Yet like the view from the ridge yesterday, once the fog broke, we are treated to a look out over an expansive valley with other ski trails looming in the distance.

This is a happy place. This is where I come to not think, to just be. In both instances, I keep focus on the task at hand so that I may enjoy what Mother Nature is trying to share.

The physical part is fun yet it is the mental exercise that brings me back.

(Oh, yeah. Waffles & Weed. This was the aroma that greeted me on both hikes. One day off in the distance, dancing on the trail in front. Today around the base. Yet, the only thought I have is what a great name for a band! I would go see them. Would you?)

Feeling Grateful

Last Saturday night we ventured out to one of my favorite venues, The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. The theatre is a restored art deco theater that has hosted many of rock’s legends. The building is just shy of a century old. In the tradition of sixties liquid light shows, patterns are projected on the walls and ceiling. On Saturday a cartoon squirrel ran around among a paisley motif. This then morphed into strange configurations as the band took the stage.

All appropriate illusions for the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

Most of the shows we have experienced here give the option of walking up to the stage, in a polite standing room only area, or if one chooses, sitting up in the balcony. Since I am height challenged, I prefer the back of the floor or balcony. Hubby will venture up front yet I get too squished to appreciate the view.

Recharging my creative juices in this fashion brings on a plethora of strchris-robinson-brotherhood-11-18-at-the-capange occurrences, the most prominent one happening this morning. I woke to my characters fighting. Not my present characters, they are still steamed that I haven’t finished telling their story, these voices were those of past protagonists.

And what were they fighting over?

This blog. Okay, so I realize some of you think that maybe I had lost part of my mind at the show, yet hear me out. This is the time of year when we all seem to look around and (hopefully) appreciate the good things in our lives. My past protagonists want to express that appreciation to our readers.

To maintain a bit of order, and the ability to get back to my current character crisis, here are some thoughts from a few old friends:

From Lindsay of Dancing With Faith: “Hi beautiful people! I am so grateful for my family and friends and the beautiful sound of live guitars. We wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.”

From Maxi of Maximum Mayhem: “Ric, I, and my entire family wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. I would include greetings from Zach yet I don’t want to overstep any boundaries because our relationship is, well, complicated. If she ever finishes, look for the next part of our story coming soon, well not too soon because she gets distracted and well, you know…”

From Izzy of The Perfect Pitch: “Bobby and I would like to send out holiday greetings to all our friends and family! And a special congratulation to The Chicago Cubs! As Red Sox fans, we get it.”

And finally, from Rina of Passenger – the only game in town: “Greetings folks. Chris Robinson Brotherhood, huh? At least she listens to jam bands. This is probably why she hears those voices, too. To quote one of my favorite artists, G. Love, I wish you peace, love, and happiness!”

Can you see why I don’t let them speak, yet I am so grateful for their voices!

I’m grateful for many things, like you (yes, you), the ones who take the time to read my creations along with family, close friends, and one psycho Beagle-Dor (half lab, half beagle). There is more: poetry and books, good music and bad, mentors and students, rainbows and sunshine…for this and more, Be grateful!

 

 

The Missing Zen

The last few months have been tough. Blog posts have been sporadic as I allowed others to dictate my time. I should clarify that; dictate my spare, creative time.

Last winter I completed Passenger – The Only Game In Town, in a cute café along the Connecticut shore. I fell in love with the vibe of the place along with its friendly, eclectic staff. Today after months away (I don’t enjoy summer crowds), I finally returned to disappointment. You can’t go back…

It’s not that I am opposed to change, things happen, what I am opposed to is an energy shift. Please humor me to explain. During the summer my writing partner and I started doing laptop meetings all over the state. After a few weeks, we discovered The Harmony Café, and like the name suggests, creative juices flowed freely.

It wasn’t just the place; the staff made our time there a pleasure by just giving off good energy as they did their job. Now fast forward almost a half year. I come back to my super-secret writing spot and the new staff is snotty. I don’t mean “No problem” verses “You are welcome” snotty. I mean “I hate my job and I am going to be a jerk to everyone I meet today” snotty.

I am a tea snob. I like iced green tea unsweetened. If the tea is premade then it stays strong. If they brew it there and pour it over ice, the drink gets watery.

Yes – I am being picky however isn’t this basic chemistry?

So, when I ordered an iced green, which was premade during my last visit, and the counter girl pointed to a bunch of tea bags and said pick one, I explained why that wouldn’t be good. She gave me the blank bitch stare. (Ladies, you all know what this is because we have all done this at various times to people who probably didn’t deserve it). Yep – that’s when I just ordered soup, which is sitting next to me steaming, yet I can’t eat it because I know bitch face either spit or put snot in it or something equally gross.

img_20161024_113349I probably should be working on my book as you can see my imagination is soaring. But no…writer’s obsession questioning is there really snot in my soup? And what if there is? What can I do about it? I could take it go. Maybe have the soup analyzed for boogers.

Or maybe not. Maybe I should just write. Eat the soup, toss the soup; it doesn’t matter either way.

Maybe I just wrote my first blog post in a month at my last time at Café Sol. There are other places to go with a positive vibe that assists with creative endeavors. Maybe I should head there now…

(Any suggestions would be appreciated.)

How 9-11 Changed My Perspective

On September 11th 2001 I was driving up I-95 heading to Logan Airport in Boston. Traffic was a mess. Traffic in the Northeast is always a mess. So I opted for a Grateful Dead bootleg instead of listening to the radio.

I already knew about the traffic. I was in the middle of it!

I parked my car and checked into my flight. I was told it was delayed. With further inquiry, I got the agent to explain there was an incident in New York. A phone call from a colleague told me what I never expected; our country was under attack.

Before that morning I thought I had a really good life. I was pursuing one version of the American dream. Yet that day something in the way I viewed the world changed.

Call it a touch of paranoia. Call it a slap of reality. At that time the average  United States citizen really didn’t worry about domestic terrorist attacks or other such happenings. Those things took place in the European and Middle Eastern countries. That was why they had soldiers in their airports.  In the United States we didn’t worry about any of that; here we were safe. I often wondered how people live with fear and after 9-11, I found out.

I left Logan in a mental fog. Hit the Mass Pike and headed for the office. I had to reschedule the trip. My version of the American dream had business first, right? I worked at a major newspaper. Reality would hit fast.

My boss simply said, “Go home. Hug your family.”

It wasn’t long after I started to appreciate my life more than my job. A bedtime story with my kindergartener was better than a night in skybox. Dinner with my husband was far more superior to hanging out with movie stars. Pursuing my passion was finer than indulging a case of the material wants. I wondered why my career sucked up so much of my time and mental space.

9-11 kicked me off the hamster wheel.

As a nation, we now have a before and after 9-11-01 definition of normal. The before version of me was very driven and I can admit, not always the nicest person.

The after version still has goals, yet appreciates simplicities such as a slower pace, jazz in the woods, and staring at the moon. I like to think that I’m a bit nicer at least when I’m not driving. I still have issues with the traffic on I-95 that even Jerry Garcia live cannot solve.

This weekend my little town has a memorial out. A flag representing the country of every person who was murdered that day graces our town green. As beautiful and patriotic as this sight is, like with every tragedy, one wishes that this display wasn’t necessary. That the cataclysm never took place.

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Sweet Harmony

Harmony comes from many different places. It could be present in an eclectic coffee shop or when 30,000 people are all swaying to the same song. Harmony came my way twice this week.

I am working in the coffee shop again, (best egg sandwich anywhere!), trying to get

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Crowd at SPAC 21 June 16

Neddy’s ready for when my editor arrives next week. Her visits are always anticipated with excitement to be in the same time zone and dread of showing my present work.

I also went back to The Saratoga Preforming Arts Center or SPAC for short. My first trip there took place in the early 80’s. I caravan up with four other cars of folks, got to the park mid-morning, hung out playing Frisbee, and then upon entering the venue, promptly lost all my friends.

There were sightings along the way. In line for the Ladies Room I would be told that Terri went that way or they just saw Faith and she was looking for me. I would head off in the direction pointed only to just miss each time. I danced the whole show solo, yet during the last number, Don’t Ease Me In, I ventured back to where we entered. Within minutes my friends and I are dancing around each other.

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Dead & Company on stage at SPAC.

That is the magic, which is probably why two of my books, Dancing With Faith and my latest, Passenger – the only game in town, both have scenes from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Decades later we venture to SPAC again. The band plays. We are a bit older, and some days wiser, still dancing the night away. The music brings harmony to the masses and will forever rock my soul.

The creative juices will be different moving forward…Scattered like lost words…(Weir)

The Three R’s

 

I am fortunate that I am surrounded by amazing people. Last two days were spent taking a break from writing to rejuvenate my soul on Cape Cod (Thanks Em!). Although the ocean is within walking distance, I rarely take a break to lay on a beach and just listen to the waves. The “bay side” also gave us a bit of exercise hiking out on a mile plus sand bar in order to reach the surf during low tide. It is during breaks like this that I get the opportunity to rest, read, and revitalize, all very important elements to maintain one’s creativity.

I also had the pleasure to peruse Nikolia my love by my good friend Maryl Damian. I love reading works that incorporate some sort of literary element and in Maryl’s book she uses the poetry of Pushkin to illustrate a budding romance. The story is beautiful and engaging because of the realistic, timely elements. (For more information about Nikolia my love Click Here).

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Author Maryl Damian, Adventure Blogger Deborah, and yours truly after a recent event.

In addition, we recently found out that one of our students will be traveling back to her native country and blogging about her summer journey. I will include links back to her blog so all can share in her adventure.

Tomorrow I am back to the grind, working on my new book tentatively titled Uncle Neddy’s Funeral. This is the story about a corpse who is not quite ready to be buried. When readers meet his family and friends they will understand why. More updates to come along with a short.

I hope you all find your happy place and get the opportunity to relax, rejuvenate, and revive!