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Inspirational Problem Solving

I’m about to have apoplexy but am singing, “The sun will come out to-moooo-row, betcha’ bottom dollar that . . .” as I nurse a couple roses that are as depressed as I am from P-fogging-G (that’s my angry name for Pacific Grove).

My printer tells me the photos I took for my upcoming book StarWords don’t have enough DPI – whatever the heck that is.

So I’m FREAKING OUT over the situation (told you, I am very cat like). I tell myself, “OK, there’s a diamond in the pony droppings, a silver lining here somewhere, just find it.” And it seems to be this: There will ALWAYS be problems. Just like the Joe Palooka doll: you knock it down and it pops up from another hole.

The secret is not in a problem-free life – it ain’t gonna happen - but in strengthening your ability to accept problems (after a sufficient tantrum, if necessary), and then taking action to solve them. If you can get good at this, there isn’t a whole lot in life to fear.

I lie in the tub, my back sprained from self-induced stress, and ruminate about my above proselytizing. I have edited my 208-page book at least half a dozen times and am, once again, going through it, comma by comma, as the layout person e-mails me back the almost perfectly clean copy (this is a joke, as 100 editors can go through a book and there will always be a mistake or two no matter what) that, mysteriously, loses a quote mark or space when transferred from his computer program to mine.

The vertical photos are much smaller than the horizontal photos because they have to fit into the page format, and I worry that these interviewees will feel shorted; I’m not sure how to procure an ISBN number because the Web form is so complicated; a lawyer tells me I need to do a $1,500 search to be sure my publishing company name isn’t taken (I’ve already procured the domain name, Googled it, checked books in print, etc.), yada, yada, yada . . .

With regard to following my dream, I feel like a wuss compared to the 62 people in StarWords who have surmounted every kind of obstacle to realize theirs - and without complaining.

This simple project is so time consuming that the dishes in my dishwasher are growing mold, my sinks have ring around the collar and I don’t want to take the time to shop for food anymore.

Thus, when I needed a topping for my oatmeal, I found myself actually scraping brown mush off some 5-year-old frozen bananas I found in the freezer. I scraped until there was nothing left and was forced to buy some new fruit.

Paper plates are indispensable (but recyclable) and I’m even micro-waving those veggies-in-a-bag that I used to take the time to pour out of the bag into a steamer.

I tell Truffle, “The board of health is coming after us.”

So why am I spending night and day getting this book done? Every time I read/edit an interview from it, I get inspired all over again at these not-so-ordinary lives; inspired by their clever, revealing, provocative, motivational, compassionate, energizing words.

And the dirty laundry and the IOUs to friends and family (be it a phone call, letter or money) can wait, because, after all, the writer is at work .

Inspiring Reads

In my lifetime I have only re-read two books. One is Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and the other is Anita Shreve’s Fortune’s Rocks. There are so many good books to read and so little time. I’m not going to talk about the first book because I’m sure you’ve read it. And while The Pilot’s Wife was on every bibliophile’s lips, Shreve’s best work, in my opinion, is relatively obscure. Here’s how it opens and if that doesn’t knock your socks off, you won’t get it: . . . Oops! I just realized I need publisher’s permission, just like you’d need it to quote from my upcoming book or this Web Site. But I will tell you this: it is a whisper of desire, a poem (in prose) about sin, redemption, passion and compassion. It inspires me, as a writer, to breathe my way into a web of words and tease out the strands that gleam with impact.

Let me know how you like/don’t like it.

Inspiring Views

I admit to being a couch spud for two hours each night while I watch a video, TV movie or DVD. And while I did do some movie reviews for a newspaper once, I am not a professional. I do not bring up a film to tear it down. Nor do I use the reviewer’s haughty jargon. I won’t give it stars and I may not even mention the stars in it. I will just tell you how the movie spoke to me:

“The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio” is based on a true story and dubbed a comedy. Well, you know what they say about comedy/tragedy, and I sure found it to be both. A family’s descent into the co-dependence of living with an alcoholic will rivet you to your seat. And watch for the smidgen of redemption at the very end: it was food for thought and made me re-examine my prejudices. Very inspiring.

Also, if you love Steve Martin, you’ve gotta see his serious, tender side in “Simple Twist of Fate.” I’m not telling anything more except it is also about love and redemption.

So, go fish!







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