Crossing over to the Sunny Side

For the past four years now I’ve considered myself an optimist in training.  Four years is a heckuva long time to be training at something and not be proficient at it so I had to be honest with myself–becoming an optimist, like deactivating my Facebook page and defacing some public property was sitting at the bottom of my to-do list unchecked.   I know what I have to do.  I hafta go cold turkey.  For the next 30 days (30 days to make/break a habit right?) I’m gonna replace a curmudgeonly act with a shiny happy one.  I’m gonna fake it til I make it folks!

Here are just a few examples :

  • I’m carrying a load of clothes from the dryer to the upstairs bedroom and one or two articles just insists on falling from the pile which is gonna mean 2 trips.

I WON’T— Curse the offending sock and unmentionable to burn for eternity in the laundry lower world.

I WILL–Smile and go retrieve the errant articles and exclaim “that extra trip up and down  the steps probably extended my life by .0065 nano seconds!  Yay laundry!”

  • I’m walking down the street when a stranger inserts his presence all up into my personal mind space and says “Smile! Its not that bad!”

I WON’T–Say “You know what I was just waiting for you to show up before  I smiled.  I woke up and didn’t know what was missing from my day and I said ‘Eureka self!  I know what it is.  You haven’t seen random, CD walkman in 2011 having, last-jheri-curl-standing guy yet! When you see him THEN you can smile'”.

I WILL–Smile and say “You know what sir you are absolutely right!”  And then I’ll utter words that will make me question my resolve to be chipper “I’m too blessed to be stressed!” Yes y’all I’m gonna go there.

  • I’m in my apartment when Simon’s maid comes over and asks me to look after the ailing artist from time to time and open his windows “so he can see God’s beautiful creation”.

I WON’T–Say “Where do they teach you to talk like this? In some Panama City “Sailor wanna hump-hump” bar, or is it getaway day and your last shot at his whiskey? Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.”

Oops. That’s  from ‘As Good As it Gets’.  But you get the picture.  I’m gonna join the kill em with kindness crew! You’ll be sorry!

Stay tuned!


Aint nothing ‘nano’ about this WriMo… more prep work.

The Book: Writing Fiction Step by Step by Josip Novakovich

The exercise: Work from a snippet of a conversation you overheard—perhaps all you remember is the tone in someone’s voice, the attitude in it. Take that tone and write a dialog between your character and someone else.

My vision: The ‘anti-Erin’, her name is Jocelyn and she’s not under the delusion that she controls much of anything.  This doesn’t detract from her potency but rather it empowers her.

Here goes:

Jocelyn (on train on cell phone loud and joyous):  “Hey I’m getting close to my stop! You there?”

A pause and a baffled look. And then…

“What? With nails on? Huh? Bells? Oh! Ok well I’ll see you when I get there!”

This exchange is typical Jocelyn Sturgess.  She’s intelligent but un-apologetically obtuse.  It was clear to everyone on the train that her friend made a reference to “being there with bells on”.  How she managed to be unfamiliar with that hackneyed phrase is intriguing and whats more, she wasn’t bashful about revealing her ignorance to her friend and an entire train full of people.

Jocelyn is a college graduate.  She majored in math and is now an entry level accountant at an off brand potato chip factory in Idaho.  As graduation neared her friends all applied for positions at places in the South East, not wanting to stray too far from Atlanta. Jocelyn applied at companies from coast to coast and everywhere in between; Sacramento,Texas, Wisconsin, Chicago, Boise and New York.

A friend: “Who you know in Wisconsin?!”

Jocelyn (laughing):  “Nobody but God girl!”

Jocelyn’s is a wisdom that’s not overly apparent but it is evident in the pervasiveness of her personal constitution within her life—God is the best of planners, So I’m always where He wants me to be.

In sum, Jocelyn is one of those people who, quite honestly, baffles me. She is among those people donning rose colored glasses drinking the lemonade that they made out of life’s lemon’s from their half full cups.  I don’t quite understand her (evidenced by this skimpy character sketch)  but I greatly esteem her.  Frankly she makes me a little un-easy.  The message that folks like her send to folks like me is: You’re making this way too complicated. Go back to the proverbial drawing board, be still, listen—and then proceed.

Easier said than done.