Wrap Party

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As the end of the year approaches most of us reflect. Some digress. You decide.

Still Writing

In 2016 I completed a book length project, and have been trying to find the right literary agent for the work. A difficult prospect at best, I’ve learned a lot about Social Media involvement, which is a requirement, it seems, for publication these days. Social Media has felt like living inside an ongoing episode of The Real Housewives of (insert city here). It makes me feel anxious and aggressive much of the time. Despite this, I have continued to write and post some blog content that is similar to the way I write, but not exactly the way I write, because I’m always worried some person I’ve never met who happens upon my words will leave a comment like the mean spirited, rude shit I see all over the Internet Every. Single. Day.

Twitter Love

My very first follower on Twitter was a group that publishes the work of writers who have mental illness. I should have known this would be the case.

Facebook

Ok, I know what FB does with their data, and they are seriously naughty. I’m late to the party on this one, but I showed up (albeit) kicking and screaming. Continuing to have a Facebook page is a daily decision, and not one day passes without me saying to myself, “Why am I here again? It feels like my brain is being sucked out of my ears. Where did the time go” It makes me think I should just go outside and play.

Post office

The United States Postal Service and I continue our uneasy relationship. I love to read, and so a plethora of books came to live at my house this year. Some were used, others new. Most were damaged because of the common denominator—my asshat of a mail carrier who shoved them into my mail box like he was a participant in a psychiatric study reinforcing the diagnosis that there are just some twisted fucks who will always try to cram a square peg into a round hole.

One year later, after multiple discussions with Station Managers, Regional Vice Presidents, and even a nasty gram to the Postmaster General, I’m happy to report, my guy is putting all packages, no matter the size, on the porch. Just at the edge of the rather large porch mind you, so whenever it rains, which is often, my packages are completely soaked, but they are not bent. It’s the little things, right?

Miscellaneous Shit

I’ve traveled some this year, which always opens my mind to new things and reminds me that we humans are all the same. We all want to be loved, and we all want to find home, whatever that means for each of us. Also, I use a lot of anti-bacterial sanitizer, or as I call it, “Hand Sauce” Some people call me a germophobe, but the truth is, I catch things easily and don’t recover as quickly as I used to. This naturally means that sick people gravitate to me. I’m the person most likely to be sneezed at, or coughed on. It’s like people with cat allergies that are kitty magnets.

I was with a family member when she died this year, and for the last three weeks of her life. It was the biggest gift I received in 2016. For me, the most precious honor is to be trusted enough to witness and bear another person’s transition.

In 2016 I stood tall and strong for my family. In many ways, I took charge when others couldn’t, and it showed me, completely, the woman I am and always have been.

Wrapping Up

Lastly, 2016 is the year I decide I’m no longer combing my hair, and this time I really mean it. Many of my friends know me as a “tender headed” kind of girl, but I’m sensitive all the way around. Luckily, I have my hair cut in a way I can mostly get away with this, but I am saying this for the last time. I am done combing my hair.

Finally

I do still have unanswered question about many things. Some cannot be answered, I know. Among those, how could our country have elected Donald Trump? It seems like a dream I might wake up from any day now, but alas, I think not. More important things weigh on my mind though, like how is it possible that I’m still unable to spell occasion without spellcheck? This is a big deal for a writer. I mean, come on. English major. Seriously. Also I wonder, if asshat and clusterfuck are one word or two. This is the shit that keeps me up at night.

Very Lastly

I wish you LOVE and an extremely prosperous new year, whatever that means for you. I appreciate your attention to my words in 2016, sincerely. Robin

 

 

The Art Of The Follow

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I’d like to take a moment to recognize and thank the peeps who have followed me on this most recent journey. You know, the super-sonic road trip where I wrote a book and then tried through social media to get some people interested in my work by writing a bunch of blog posts that may or may not have been similar to the style of the alleged masterpiece I penned.

Since we’re talking, I’d also like to add that the real manuscript rocks around the freaking clock. It’s the best writing I’ve ever done, and is equal parts, inspirational, poignant, and is an ass kicking riot fest from start to finish. Sadly, you’ll probably never read it.

Here’s why: It’s apparently impossible to sell a book regardless of the quality of writing unless you happen to have the following of multitudes. I do not. Hell, I am lucky to get those closest to me to read anything I’ve written other than a personal check, or a hand written note on a birthday card—and my penmanship leaves plenty to be desired although I can pour on the sentiment like nobody’s biz.

I’m not a big fan of social media, I’m too old for it maybe, and it feels like a popularity contest I don’t quite have the chops for since my basic makeup relies on an, I don’t give a shit attitude. I’ve always kind of questioned authority that way. I’m a fighter, not a lover.

But I am also a writer. To my core I have been afflicted with this beautiful, unbearable need for expression—both a blessing and a burden—coupled with the fact that this gift most often resides only in my head or a hard drive somewhere. So this amazing and miserable calling, the thing I live to do, where there is no passage of time, no noise, nothing, but me and the words I hold sacred, is also a body bending cross to hoist each day.

And this I do for the few people who are completely unknown to me. Some contingent of folks who read my work and have not yet beat a hasty retreat. So for those of you hanging in there with me, I have only my thanks and gratitude to offer, though it’s clear I’ll find a sack full of sarcasm to tidy things up in the end and call it a sacred offering too.

Thank you for following. Get as close as you like. Nobody loves you like I do. Yes, you.

 

Am I Relevant?

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Here is my truth. Yesterday, I had a major crisis of confidence and a mini-meltdown. I held it quietly, invited no guests, and offered no refreshments. I thought about how I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to create the career of my dreams, and in all honesty, it may have been a waste of my time and efforts.

It’s a feeling that’s close to hitting bottom as they say, only without a barrel of alcohol and lots of drugs; the accompanying feelings are pretty brutal.

A writer spends the majority of her time alone in her own chaotic head. This is the deal you sign when you decide to forgo social relationships and office banter (and money) for sitting at home in your jammies with a laptop, gallons of coffee, and a loyal dog, if you’re lucky. Then as a writer, there’s an expectation that you develop social relationships with millions of people, most of whom you do not know, literally boatloads of people who will love and champion your work. It’s all about being relevant.

There are books to consult and consultants to read, all of whom can help an isolated writer develop and grow a “massive platform.” Right. Makes all the sense in the world.

The other day I spoke to a friend who is seeking a mid-life career change and has immersed herself in some kind of coding camp. When I asked how it was going she told me she was struggling, and that she had so much to “Catch up on to stay relevant in this market.” It reminded me how we all fight so hard to stay, or even find our way to being relevant in a society that is so faced paced, distracted, and fragmented.

Our friends at Merriam Webster define it thus:

1
a :  having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand

b :  affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion <relevant testimony>

c :  having social relevance

It must be the social relevance I’m missing. I know there are people out there who are really good at finding people who think they are the Golden Ticket. I know because I follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I read what they write and analyze it like it’s a treasure map that contains a piece I’m missing. Then it occurs to me, maybe it’s not me.

It’s not the work. I have enough confidence to know that the recent writing I’ve done is good, my best so far. I don’t have the answer for how to hook a million strangers into reading my stuff. I’m lucky to coerce the ones I do know into reading it. But this idea of relevancy is freaking me out, big time. Human beings should not have to prove that we are relevant. We are so because we breathe, and think, and do the best we can at whatever we do.

Even when we’re having a mini-meltdown in our jammies.

 

 

My Disease Is Not Fatal But May Require More Than Magic To Cure

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I love learning about people who are able to turn their passion into vocation and use it to create the life of their dreams. Don’t you? These people have figured out how to find the love and apply it to every, single thing they do. It’s intoxicating, really. One could almost say, magic.

I imagine this must be the case for author Marie Kondo who wrote, “The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” She talks about skipping recess as a child in favor of organizing shelves of books and tidying. While the other kids played, little Marie was already working on a plan that would change the lives of millions of people and her own. The jury however, is still out when it comes to me.

I recently picked up a copy of this book. I was drawn to it for two reasons, A) The title told me it was “Life changing,” and I’m all about changing my life on a regular basis, and B) The hilarity factor. Anyone who knows me very well understands that I am afflicted with a disease coined by those closest to me as, “Flat Surface Disease.”

I’ve been tormented by the sloppies all of my life. I’ve tried every known remedy. I’ve had the “In, Out, and Hold,” basket. (10 points plus a free set of hanging file folders to the person that can remind me which class taught that useless philosophy) File cabinets, boxes, labels, label makers, sharpies, binders, and a variety of other magical organizing accouterments have made their way into my life. And have become resting places for receipts, junk mail, notes, phone numbers and recipes torn from magazine pages. I have my grandmother’s calendars with her notes about the daily weather and who came to visit. She’s been dead since 1979. See a pattern?

I still have hope. A New York Times, #1 bestseller, the book sold 3 million copies according to the little circle on the cover, which is actually printed right on the book so I guess they either stop counting at 3 million or change the announcement circle in the next printing.

Maybe this will be a life-changing book that can at least help me overcome this one malady, although it seems results can vary. People have written to the author to tell her how all kinds of changes have occurred for them after reading her book, everything from weight loss to starting a new business, serious life changing stuff. Kindo practically guarantees it. “If you adopt this approach—The KonMari Method—you’ll never revert to clutter again.” We’ll see. I’ve never walked by an empty flat surface in my life without wanting to use it as a placeholder for something. I’ll let you now how it goes, as soon as I remember which pile I put the book in.