Friday, July 29, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday



















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.



























It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.


Idiom day (that’s idiom, not idiot)


Seek greener pastures or weather the storm?














*photos by flickr
**Am loving the dialogue so far on my new Facebook writer page. Please come join the conversation!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Breaking Bones for Laughs



On this I 8 Wednesday, I intend to explore the mystery behind dedication. The other night my husband and I caught some of a documentary on comedians through the ages. One sentence jumped out at me. A silent-film, slapstick comedian (Jack Benny, I believe it was, but don’t quote me on this) claimed to have broken every bone in his body while at work.


Now that’s what I call dedication. It made me think about our culture and whether that spirit of hard work and sheer persistence exists anymore.


And then I thought…maybe that’s a good thing. Is there such a thing as overly dedicated?


So I started asking myself questions and as you well know if you’ve visited here more than, say, once, I’m about to turn those questions back on you…


Here are eight questions to ponder about dedication:


  1. Do you have more respect for others if there’s a cost accrued with their dedication?


  2. As writers, we’re often yammering about retreating into our caves and putting our noses to the grindstone, as well as other similar unappealing descriptors for how we go about our work. Do you ever feel pressured to construct a battle-charge answer for how things are going? (Are you afraid if you’re having fun, it means you’re not working hard enough?)

  3. If writing comes naturally to someone, do you automatically assume they aren’t working as diligently to hone their craft as one who devotes large quantities of time soaking up how to improve?

  4. What causes you to lose your commitment to dedication?


  5. Are you secretly proud sharing all you’ve had to sacrifice in your current field in order to gain strides (i.e. loss of time with family, abstaining from TV or girls night out)?


  6. How would you define dedication?


  7. Do the ends justify the means when it comes to all you’re pouring in?


  8. What would motivate you to become so dedicated to something you’d actually break every bone in your body?

Answer any or all of the above. I might do an I 8 Wed. break-out for these like I’ve done in the past. I’m playing with that idea.


*I also read somewhere Jackie Chan has broken more bones than his age. Don’t know if this is true either, but I’ve seen some of his movies and I’d bet on it.
**photo by flickr



I'm ecstatic about the support I’ve received so far on my new Facebook writer page. Please come join the conversation!

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Thoughts Moved—Why I Now Have a Writer Page on FB




For the longest time I wasn’t sure what I thought about not yet published (as in unpublished novels, not works in general) writers creating fan pages. I battled with it. I “liked” my friends who went out on a limb with it, while scratching my head thinking that would not be me.



Guess what?



I went there. I did that.



I have a Facebook writer page. Oh yeah. Uh-huh. You betcha!



Now here’s what made my thoughts move:



This industry is exploding. Social presence is huge. I’ve kept in close contact with good writer friends who’ve encouraged decisions like this along the way. Kristen Lamb is all over this in her book, We Are Not Alone. Still, I hesitated. I let a litany of excuses flow off my tongue. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel comfortable. But that’s it right there, folks. Sometimes we’ll be called to do things that don’t feel comfortable. (Anyone ever been prompted to say sorry after a fight? How “comfortable” did that feel?)



But now that I’ve made the decision and pulled that Facebook writer page trigger, ironically, it’s feeling more right. I finally figured out what my biggest hang up was—the word “fan” page. See, as a writer words are important to me. (I had a similar hang up with the word “friend” when I first joined FB.) But once I adjusted my perception and understood it as creating a writer page, it held so much more appeal.



I want friends and family to know what I’m passionate about. I want them to have easy access to my works and to be in the know about what I pour my energy into.




I also want to connect with fellow writers and interested readers. The Facebook page is a great way to do this. So, sign me up Scottie. (Never mind, Scottie…I’m already signed up.) Besides, I’ve been mysteriously away from Facebook for too long. It’s time to make a comeback.



I dove in. My thoughts moved.



I went on a limb. Now, don’t leave me hanging…



I’d love it if you “like” me!


Here's the link


Why have you, or haven’t you created a Facebook “fan” page?


*if I haven’t followed your page yet, it’s likely your request got thrown into some hidden Facebook tunnel I’ve had trouble opening. Kindly send me a new request, and I’m all over it.
**If you have trouble finding the page (I need 25 “likes” before it becomes an official page) you can look for Writer, Wendy Paine Miller on FB

Friday, July 22, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday

















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.


It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.
















Recently Rosslyn Elliott commented on my post, I Am Not Cut out for This.


Here’s what she wrote: A writer friend of mine made a great distinction the other day: "it's not whether you can do it--the question is, on what terms?" The world will always try to push us away from our real calling and our real joy. Sometimes it will do so with "failure." More often, it will do so with "success." We have to be strong and discerning to understand where the world stops and our souls begin.

I kept sifting Rosslyn’s comment in my brain. Profound to the nth degree. What do you glean from her comment?


*photos by flickr

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Four Unusual but Effective Business Practices



We could all stand to learn more when it comes to paving our way, no matter what industry we are paving in. Here are some tried and true tips I’ve litmus tested time and time again. They hold weight. Try ‘em and see.


Buy a Mood Ring
I don’t actually buy into the whole mood ring bit, but I do believe there’s value in paying attention to whether you’re having a red hot day or a blue afternoon. Watch your moods. Make cognizant and wise decisions to abstain from sending that life-altering email when you’re fighting the moody blues. When you’re singing the lyrics to “What a Wonderful World”, you might find that’s the best time to reach out and connect. Your positive attitude will rub off on others and you’ll probably encourage people along the way.


Remember to strike when the iron’s hot and sit on it when the iron’s not.


(I’m at my best when I’m hopped up on caffeine. It makes me extra nice and bold. Not even kidding on this one.)


Play Expectation Limbo
Expect more from yourself and less from others. It’s not fancy math I’m talking about here. Push yourself. Build upon your dreams. Work hard for them, but don’t be waiting with an irritating sense of entitlement for anyone else to be yanking up your bootstraps. Read
this link for more about expectation limbo.


Sinking Sand Sinks—Call out for Help
Be aware of your surroundings. Know when you’ve reached your limit. And call upon friends and trusted loved ones when you find yourself going under. This one is huge. We all have times of weakness and vulnerability. It’s part of being human. But it’s those who learn to temporarily lean on help that rise to the surface. Be honest with yourself. Are you in over your head? Do you need a break? Sinking sand sinks. You can’t bring your best if you’re sliding too far below ground level to even bring yourself.


Use Your Friends
Not literally of course. I’m a strong advocate of mutually beneficial friendships. What I’m talking about here is making connections. If you’re in the same industry, it’s really as though you’re part of one giant family. If your friend clicks with someone, it’s likely you will click with that person, too. Reach out. Connect. Broaden your network. It’s a big playground. I love to share my friends. In fact, it excites me to introduce two writers I think will get along well.

No big deal if the connection doesn’t gel. Not everyone will like you. Learning this took a lot of pressure off me. But friends can be excellent resources with valuable insight, and an abundance of contacts just waiting for you to make the first move.


Have you tried any of the above with success? Know of any other potential unusual, but effective business practices?


*photo by flickr

Monday, July 18, 2011

Conversation with a Contortionist



Everyone has a story. I know that. You know that, right? But only some stories are meant to become memoirs. Only some stories are so compelling you’re captivated by the smallest details, gripped by the evidence of trial and survival found in the slowed beats and pauses as the teller tells.


After spending a week with my husband’s family, we finished off our vacation with a refreshing stop in Pennsylvania. Steve’s aunt hosted us to help break up our long car ride. His aunt has been caring for her eighty-six-year-old mother, who has endured eleven years on dialysis.


After we settled the kids down for the night, I lifted the books I was reading and debated which one I was in the mood for. Little did I know I had a better story coming.


At first glance Steve’s aunt’s mother looks like an ordinary elderly woman in a wheelchair with a taut French braid weaving together what’s left of her gray hair.


Ordinary. But then she began to share.


And once I began listening, I mean truly listening to her story, I understood immediately I was not in the presence of an ordinary woman. As she revealed glimpse after glimpse of her life, I felt her extraordinary tale seeping into my conscience. I saw scenes of her life as though I were reading them in a page-turner novel.


Let me start where it started with her. From age three, Atta (we’ll call her for the privacy purposes) remembers practicing her contortionist moves under the stern instruction of her Native American Chief father who ran all the business affairs of their traveling circus. She provided the sole income for her family as they frequently picked up and relocated. Atta performed for Haitian dignitaries and bent her body in innumerable positions in order for her family to eat during the Depression.


She has distinct and terrifying memories of canoeing in the Amazon as a threatening anaconda surfaced near her flimsy boat. Atta also recalls how her father used her stepmother and sister as part of his act, placing an apple at their throats and chopping down with a violent strike, amazing the sparse crowds, sending shivers through her.


I asked my questions loudly because Atta is hard of hearing. Locked into her story, her appearance gradually changed before me. She went from intervals of focusing in on me with heated concentration to drifting, letting her eyes roam the scores of the Pirates game. The vision I had of her with a flesh-colored hearing aide shaped like a seashell and her moccasin slippers melded into her from ages five to twenty-one being led around with questionable circus folk. Eventually her family brought the show business (as she called it) to St. Louis and Illinois. As the sky darkened and fireflies lit up the night her stories continued.


I dared not interrupt, dared not even swallow for fear of missing something. Stories like this don’t come around every day. What I was hearing was Water for Elephants and then some. The experience equated to crack for a writer and an avid reader. I saw her story. Saw myself reading her pages. Her life. A story waiting to be told.


I did what I could to encourage Atta to continue the telling and to encourage my husband’s aunt to keep recording. I felt as though I graced the presence of a living memoir. Graced it. Grazed it.


And it gripped my heart.


So much so I quoted one of my favorite lines from Little Bee to our gracious hostesses. “We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form in the dying. A scar means, I survived.”


Ever have a conversation where you were certain you were interacting with a phenomenal memoir or story waiting to be written?


*I verified that I had permission to write about Atta, though I changed her name. You’d have to have been emotionally blind not to notice the years of pain layered in her story. While Steve’s aunt Okayed my writing this post, I felt it wise to change her name.
**the child in the picture is not Atta, but there are three black and white pictures in one of the upstairs bedrooms of Steve’s aunt’s home that portray Atta is similar poses.

***photo by flickr

Friday, July 8, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday


















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.











It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.





Coke or Pepsi?


*I’m going to be offline for the better part of next week except my Alley post next Thurs.

**photos by flickr

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Am Not Cut Out for This

Sometimes I feel I’m not cut out for this…parenting, writing, fervently pursuing my passion…life in general.
But then I remember that I have something special to offer. We all have something special to offer. I then think I may not be cut out for that, but am I cut out like this

Not so sure. Even when comes to pretty snowflakes, even in all their individual glory, I’m not sure I’m cut out that way.

So I sit some more and think some more. And I pray. And wonder. Then I think some more. And I write and love on my kids in between all that thinking, wondering, and praying and finally I come to the conclusion I may not be cut out for this or cut out like that, but I am created for a reason and I live with purpose. And this comes to mind….I am cut out for this…
What are you cut out for or like?

*photos by flickr
**working on something new & cool at the same time as something old & cool. Excited to share soon.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday
















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.












It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.














Righteous anger or no anger?


*photos by flickr

A Strong Start + A Theme Song

The After Glimpse has been out in the world for one week. And I have to say I’m loving the initial reactions I’m reading via Amazon &am...