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
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
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
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
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 .
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.
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!