I wrote this on August 25 and it’s been sitting in my draft folder for the right time to publish. Considering I am still at a loss for blog time while revising my manuscript with the help of a professional editor, the topic is beyond appropriate, especially considering I hired Brooke Warner after I wrote the post, which I just dug up because I don’t have time to blog because I’m trying to make my book Not Suck.

See? The Universe? It’s all tied together, yo.

***

 

 

I’ve decided I don’t give a shit anymore.

Not about an agent. Not about a book deal. Not about the number of blog hits I get. And not about the fact that my platform is barely big enough to reach the cookies on the top shelf.

I’ve had one dream since I was 8 years old: to become a published writer with a book of my own. My inspiration was Gordon Korman after my fifth grade class was assigned to read the book that got him a book deal when he was all of about 13.

I know. The pressure was on, yo.  And I had three years to deliver.

To say I had a midlife crisis at the age of 14 is an understatement. I was devastated in only the way a teenager with a broken dream can be. And please, let us not focus on the fact that I couldn’t even blame the Man for keeping me down. Gordon Korman got a book deal because his English teacher was blown away by a writing assignment that turned into a manuscript that turned into a career that has spanned decades. I didn’t have a book deal before getting my driver’s license for the very obvious reason that I hadn’t done any work to fucking earn it.

I got over myself for a while and moved on. There was middle school to deal with. And all the hell that comes with it.

And there was high school. That was a nightmare. So busy concentrating on the cliques I didn’t qualify for to make many meaningful friendships with those who I could have. I joined student congress, played varsity tennis, was part of the Spanish club, played a few instruments in the concert and marching band, organized class trips to Cedar Pointe in the hopes of earning some cool points with the In Crowd…

And then I found myself holding in the tears when my speech wasn’t selected for my classes graduation ceremony. I never wrote for the school paper. I wasn’t an enterprising young writer with a check list of publications in which my work had been accepted. I was just a girl who wrote essays and shared them with friends on the phone at night who turned in what I assumed was a given for the commencement ceremony speech.

Are you following along with me, here? I assumed that because my dream was older, my visions of the future grander, and my ego bigger than was good for me, that I didn’t need anything more than a bit of patience for the Universe to send a message to the right people about my hidden genius.

Stupid? Yes. And had I outgrown that thinking, it might have been excusable. To my credit, I did…for a little while. I was too busy to writing for the college paper and failing math classes and finally graduating with honors. Then I was too busy getting married and buying a house and working as a city editor for a small town newspaper. I was too busy to do much, really, until I left my job at a respected newspaper for bed rest, have the baby, survive the first two years of her life, lose my father, and move cross country.

That’s about the time I decided to take a breath and start a blog to get my name out there for the book idea that had just come to me. Twitter was an obvious choice, and while other writers worked on multiple projects and vented about rejections from literary magazines, I happily wasted away hours online “building my platform”  and yes I totally just did air quotes because I still blindly thought that was all I needed. Surely an agent would stumble across my blog and discover me. Talent like this can’t be ignored, right?

Every twitter follower gained was another reason to think I was more of a someone than I had been yesterday. Every blog hit a reason to think things were happening for me. And when I started querying my book, you can bet your ass I assumed I was going to be one of the lucky ones.

Multiple rejections?

My work not actually ready?

My query letter sucking?

Nah…

I was, quite obviously, wrong.

Just like the fourteen-year-old with the midlife crisis, I had no one to blame but myself for my misery. Dreams coming true are not usually the stuff of fairy tales. To happen, they take work on the part of the dreamer.

Do I still wish for a book deal? Sure. But I’m also very aware of the fact that focusing on the goal is not the point of The Writing Dream. The point is actually writing. Everything else is just gravy.

 

I can and will fuck up anything when I put my mind to it.

It’s like a gift.

A rare talent that not many admit to possessing.

I can’t exactly blame those hiding their mad I Can Burn Boiling Water skillz from the general public, but I would like to make an argument for not hiding behind a veil of secrecy anymore. The world is a depressing place and I, for one, honestly think a few more idiots like me running around asking anyone who will listen where their glasses are and then running away before it can be pointed out that I misplaced my glasses on the bridge of my fucking nose would really liven up the joint.

Take today, for instance. We got that new elliptical delivered today and not only did I not crack and ask The Husband to confirm that it is not, in fact, his 9th wedding anniversary present to the fat ass that split the seat of her pants while bending over to dust the entertainment center because, to be fair, I haven’t actually told anyone that this little incident actually happened and it would be entirely unfair to blame him for an imaginary game of connect the dots that he isn’t aware of happening inside of my wee little head, but I actually hopped on and used said elliptical, y’all. First workout in about six weeks. And yes, I am perfectly aware of the fact that my pants might still be with us today if I hadn’t waited until this baby showed up to get the ass that split them moving again, but that thinking is so incredibly circular that it’s making my head hurt and I’d really rather move on to my next point, thank you very much.

As I was saying…

The incredibly large men who entered our home and so valiantly hauled our monster piece of exercise equipment up to the second floor of our home and then proceeded to so deftly put that thing together also were kind enough to show us how to adjust the incline and such before taking the boxes and leaving. I swear on The Husband’s ego that I only nodded and smiled and said I understood at the time because I did, in fact, totally understand what they had showed us…

At. The. Time.

After they left and The Husband went to bed (he’s still on midnights) I purposely ignored the new elliptical. I didn’t want to seem to eager. I mean, I survived high school and college and it’s safe to say the most important lessons learned involved playing hard to get so the football player I had my eye on might consider for at least five minutes before deciding to take someone prettier and more popular else to the homecoming dance. There would be no immediate and enthusiastic usage of the elliptical because it’s a known fact that the faster one embraces a new piece of exercise equipment in their home is directly related to the amount of time that will pass before said exercise equipment outlives its Shiny Newness and becomes nothing more than a glorified coat hanger.

So I waited. I even changed into my yoga pants in another room so it wouldn’t get too cocky. And when it wasn’t looking, I jumped it.

That’s when I remembered that Hefty and Heftier had set the elliptical at its highest incline when they put it together. Not wanting to start out by killing myself, I jumped off to readjust it. Just like they had showed us.

I knelt down in front of the machine and scrunched my nose. That silver knob looked familiar. I was supposed to grab that. I was sure of it. Was I supposed to unscrew it? Yeah. That sounded right.

But it wasn’t. The silver knob in hand, I sat staring at the exposed screw. How the hell was I supposed to grab on to that to readjust the incline? Maybe if I put the silver knob back on and unscrewed it again I could…

Nope. Still clueless.

So I repeated the process a third time. I imagine monkeys learning to type had to go through the same trial and error I did with the notable difference being that they actually succeeded in achieving success. I, on the other hand, was still holding a silver knob and staring at an exposed screw with no means of grabbing hold of it to pull it out toward me in order to lower the incline.

Unless…

Could it be?

Yes! Yes it was! The answer had been in the palm of my hand the entire time! All I had to do was screw the silver knob back on and use that ingenious piece of technology to pull the lever out that the screw was attached to so I could lower the…

Clank!

Oh.

Shit.

That’s when the silver screw, which had nothing else but the knob in my hand to keep it from getting sucked back into the inner workings of the elliptical, finally gave me the mechanical finger. It had given me three slow pitches and plenty of time to figure out how to fix what I was breaking and I had struck out. All I could do was climb back on and huff my way through a thirty minute workout trying not to focus on the fact that I’m a bloody fucking idiot.

475 calories burned later, The Husband woke up and asked why the silver knob was on the floor and what the point of his paying to have the elliptical put together had been when he was now going to have to take it apart to fix it.

“Um, I love you?”

“You are such a dumbass,” he said. “If you could take the single-mindedness with which you attack stuff like this and apply it to, I don’t know, actual thought, the results would be staggering.”

“I know! I mean, those monkeys and their typing skills…”

 

I’m pulling this one out of the Oldies file, people. Edits on the Manuscript I Hope Will One Day Become a Book are sucking up a lot of time and since it’s probably best to not start a new blog post at 1 a.m., you get to read this one from last January instead. I promise to return to my regularly scheduled program when I finish revising.

Did I mention I have 19 more chapters to go?

***

Once upon a time:

*I had a baby

*Gained 45 pounds

*On top of the 15 pounds I was so close to losing before I got pregnant

*Which is technically on top of the 35 I gained after college when my thyroid dumped me

*And blindly believed I would work it off after baby

*I may have peed off about 15 pounds

*Then I ate 10 of that back

*It could have been the Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, the insulin resistance or the hypo-active thyroid…

*But then I would just be pointing fingers because

*Bottom line? I had a major mama muffin top

*And?

*It wasn’t pretty

*So I tried

*Weight Watchers

*Nutri-system

*South Beach

*Counting calories

*Working out till I was blue in the face

*Getting on the scale to check my progress and

*Looking for the nearest pint of Ben & Jerry’s to drown my sorrows in

*Life went on

*Buttercup turned one

*Then two

*And I realized I was still holding on to 35 pounds of pregnancy weight

*So I wrote a book

*And tried

*Weight Watchers

*Nutri-system

*South Beach

*Counting Calories

*Working out till I was blue in the face

*And?

*Looking for the nearest int of Ben & Jerry’s to drown my sorrows in

*Obviously

*Something wasn’t working

*Or maybe all of it wasn’t working

*Then again, the more accurate statement would be that

*My Body wasn’t working

*So

*I

*Tried

*Something Different

*Gluten-free

*Dairy-free

*Low-carb but

*Healthy grains

*Eating clean

*Which means bu-bye sugar!

*(I miss you Ben & Jerry’s)

*And even though I had

*An occasional run in with a bag of Doritos

*And walked into a Snicker’s Bar

*My scale and I made up

*Mainly because it stopped calling me a fat ass when I stepped on it

*But that also could be because

*I have lost 15 pounds since November

*And

*35 in the last year

*Which means

*I am five pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight

*12 pounds from weighing the same as The Husband

*13 pounds from weighing less than The Husband

*And?

*25 pounds from my wedding weight

*Which means?

*I am halfway to passing go and collecting my MILF card.

*And?

*Halfway to my very own version of

*Happily Mother After.

The End

Announcer’s voice: Don’t miss the next book in the Happily Mother After series in which Pauline throws the scale out the window after peeing on a stick.

Pauline’s voice: Can we clarify for the audience, please?

Announcer voice: Hmm? Oh Right. (Clears voice) No sticks were peed on in the making of this blog post.

Pauline’s voice: Thank you.

Announcer’s voice: You’re welcome.

 

If you give a writer an idea, she’ll probably ask for some inspiration to go with it.

When you give her the inspiration, she might procrastinate on Twitter for a bit.

Making up new hashtags and ignoring auto DMS will make her lose track of time so you’ll give her a well-intentioned Facebook threat to get back to writing which she will miss because she was on Google +.

When she finally sees your GET BACK TO WRITING status update, she’ll decide you meant her blog. So she’ll post there about how hard she’s working on her book.

Then she will post her blog link on Twitter and Facebook and Google + and a random gas station bathroom wall and get sucked into talking about writing again, specifically, how much time it takes.

She’ll eventually toggle back to her manuscript document and promise herself to dive in but the blinking cursor will scare her away again.

She’ll decide she needs to go read a book instead.

First, she’ll browse her e-book library.

Then she’ll glance through her hard copy collection sitting on her nightstand.

She might even open one of them up and get lost in someone else’s words.

After she reads, she’ll want to interview her characters.When they start talking back, she’ll smile bigger and hunch over her keyboard just a bit more intently.

When her favorite character reveals her love for four-inch stilettos, she’ll want to go shoe shopping.

She’ll want you to come, too.

It’s research, and her accountant will wonder why he was crazy enough to accept a writer as a client.

You’ll take her to Dress Barn because who just buys a new pair of shoes for that really big date with the main character’s love interest? She’ll update her Facebook status about how much she loves research. She mentally works the outfit into her chapter five and saves the receipts to piss off her accountant.

She’ll want to head to Starbucks next. You’ll order a Tall Skinny Half-Calf Mochaccino with soy milk, and she’ll ask for a Venti Iced Green Tea with three honeys. You will both proceed to ignore each other in real life while tweeting each other online and pretend you don’t notice chairs scraping the floor as other customers move just a bit further away from your table as you randomly break into seemingly uncharacteristically synchronized laughter.

This only makes you both laugh harder. At the same time. Then you’ll sip your Mochaccino and she’ll slurp on her Green Tea.

The Green Tea will remind her that the main character’s love interest’s mother loves a a squeeze of lemon in her own teacup. She’ll ask you for a notebook.

First, she’ll scribble a few notes. Then she’ll give you back your notebook and tweet that her muse lives on Starbucks.

When Starbucks closes, you’ll be the last to leave.

On the way home, she’ll read you the funniest comments on her blog post about how hard writing her book is from her iPhone email app. Then she’ll want to share her responses to the original comments.

When you get home, she’ll ask for that notebook again. She might even find the page she scribbled her notes on.

Seeing the notes will remind her of the inspiration that got her going. She’ll probably ask you to beta. And chances are,

if you give her any encouragement,

she’ll get a new idea to go with it.

 

September 21, 2010.

Seven days before our eighth wedding anniversary.

Buttercup’s first day of preschool.

And a wish was made.

September 21, 2011.

Seven days before our ninth wedding anniversary.

Buttercup’s second year of preschool.

And a wish is revisited.

***

 

I am the oldest of five and the mother of one. For those of you not familiar with the Number of Siblings to Children Ratio Theory, it basically means that everything I couldn’t have as a kid (because my father would have had to buy or do the same for each sister after me) I do for Buttercup. Pre-school is a perfect example, so I wanted to commemorate the event with a little gift.

So I bought a balloon that said, “You are so special to me!” And I presented it to her in class.

Buttercup smiled and tightly held on to the balloon as we walked to the minivan. I tried getting her to tell me about her day, but she kept saying she had to make a wish. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about.

It wasn’t until we got to my van that Buttercup looked up, let go, and wished on her balloon.

As it floated into the clouds, I vaguely remembered her cousin coming to visit. We had gone to a grocery store where they give the kids a free balloon in the checkout and Buttercup lost hers on the way to the car. To calm her down, my nephew told her not to be sad because you could make a wish on a balloon. So she did. And she remembered.

“What did you wish for, baby?” I asked as the heart-shaped balloon floated out of view.

She turned to me and smiled.

“I wished for happiness, Mama.”

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