The writing process is slow. Couple it with the publishing process and the fact that writing is mostly a solitary living-in-a-shell like activity, and you are looking at a lifestyle that is turtle club worthy.

At least it comes with a great motto:

Slow and steady wins the race.

This is a good thing to keep in mind, especially when you emerge from your shell for food, showers, more work (you mean there’s other stuff to do?) and seeing your family and friends only to hear questions like:

You still working on that novel?

Do you have an end yet? Because I have a really good idea…

When am I going to see it in Barnes and Noble?

What’s for dinner?  (Oh wait, you may or may not get that one, depends on whether or not your kids are old enough to call for pizza.)

When I hear these questions, my mind scrambles for some sort of summary update, sifting through all the work looking for something that is akin to handing them a hardcover copy of my book.

Um, yeah.

You write. You read. You edit. You write some more. You put the story away for a while and start work on another. Then you pick it back up and read. Then you edit, write some more. Then get some people to read and comment and then edit some more. Then write a query letter and edit that, and get some people to read that. Write. Edit. Then send it out to agents and/or some small publishers (because the big ones will not look at it without the agent). Wait and wait. Work on the next story . . .

I am going to stop here because if you are a writer you know all this, and if you’re not, then you are probably wondering why anyone would actually comply with such a process.

It sounds crazy, right?

It’s a slow process. Turtle-y slow.

So I remind myself to take a chill pill when I get the questions, because yes I’m still working on that novel (actually two, both with endings, but you never know I might use your good idea someday). 

(Oh and the dinner question?  Only requires microwave skills, because the pizza is in the freezer.)

And as for Barnes and Noble (or Amazon)?

I don’t know–yet (this is the key word here, print it, cut it out and attach it to something).

Because if you love it, you do it and when the questions come, you can think about Stewie.

Yes, I give you Stewie. Because sometimes I just need to relax about the whole process and squeak out a laugh instead of taking myself too seriously. Besides, as Stewie says, we all deserve some time off (even if we sometimes let our kids eat pizza from the freezer).

Speaking of pizza, if you’re headed to the freezer can you get me some? It’s the gluten free one, with the tapioca cheese . . .

This week I saw Maroon 5, Train and Gavin DeGraw in concert. It was an awesome show, especially because we had great seats (I was surprised, I must have read that online seating chart upside down). Being close to the stage, I could feel the music working its way up through my feet, plugging me into all that energy. Plus I love watching people do what they love to do, to see them in the middle of what they created.

It feels like a real connection.

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  I could see the sheen on Adam Levine

But one of Train’s lyrics kept tapping at me, “reminds me that there’s room to grow,” and I started thinking . . . about connections and Twitter and this blog and Facebook, um and writing and growth and fear and then Eleanor Roosevelt’s quotes on courage like this one: you must do the things you think you cannot do.

*deep breath*

Okay so maybe that wasn’t exactly what Train imagined when they wrote that line (although Twitter was mentioned plenty up on the stage), but social media can be a little scary. When I started on Twitter, it was one small tweet for Twitter, but one giant leap for me.

Mostly because it was a change.

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Is there anyone out there, ’cause it’s getting harder and harder to breathe

 

It’s funny how easy it is to resist change, because give me a movie, magazine or talk show with a makeover to see and I am all over that. Then again I once resisted getting a cell phone, because I thought my handy dandy pager was oh so much better (yes I said pager). I was just used to it.

It was easier, or so i thought.

Now I’m not saying my cellphone led me to a feeling of Zen, peace and serenity, (although there might be an app for that), but it was one of those “leap” things.
Every time I tweet, blog, leave a comment on someone’s site, or a lurker’s comment on my husband’s Facebook (I’m still not on it–I know, 750 million people can’t be wrong, but baby steps people), I wonder:

Am I doing this right?

I don’t know. Maybe.

The thing is the Internet always comes across to me as so virtual, but it is real life, real people. So if that’s true, then how do I be me in this virtual but not virtual place?

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I don’t want to be anything other than me 

Because being online is different than say meeting someone at school or a party or work, or even what you get from being at a live concert, but whether you’re out in public or on the couch in your pajamas, it seems like we are all still showing up for the same reason:

Connection.

And that can be one of those important things that reminds us “there’s room to grow,” because we get to discover people living out their goals and dreams and vacations and children and books and music, and hopefully find a little inspiration for our own lives.

Then, what do you know, along comes change.

 

This weekend I took a little road trip to take my son to camp. With nothing on the radio, I dug around and came up with a cassette. It had no artist cover, just my loopy, teenage handwriting all over the paper liner.
Yes, it was a mix tape.
From 1987.
So I popped it in the player and started to sing (while my son pushed his headphones deeper into his ears). I found myself thinking about the power of music, and I don’t just mean the power that is remembering lyrics from a 25 year old song (although that is pretty amazing especially when I can’t always remember why I walked into a room), no I’m talking about the power it has to give you a boost.

I GOT A FEELING
Music improves your mood. It can make you happy, make you want to dance or inspire you. Some of the top happy, upbeat songs (they say so in the title) are:

Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t worry be happy “
U2’s “Beautiful day”
Don McLean’s “American Pie” (okay, so it doesn’t exactly say it in the title, but the song rocks and who doesn’t love pie?)
Or this oldie, but goodie:

Even that outfit makes me smile

 

GLORY DAYS
Music not only evokes emotion, but memory. Forget the beat or the lyrics, sometimes a song can lift you up simply because it reminds you of a happy moment.

For me a big one is the day my fourth grade teacher passed out the slightly damp, freshly copied lyrics to “We will rock you” and “We are the champions.” We all sniffed the paper (ah, remember those days?) and then sang along to Queen, slapping our palms to our desk to the beat (Mrs. Fearn rocked).

 

COME TOGETHER
Music brings people together. Think about the last concert you went to, wasn’t it amazing singing along with thousands of people to one song?

But it doesn’t have to be that big.

I can also think about dancing in my room to Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me” with my sister B (small favors that the recording technology was not as accessible as it is today).
Or, there’s the synthesized beats of a-ha that will always remind me of high school. And Jimmy Buffet will always make me think of college and singing with everyone at Sully’s (including my future husband).

Then there was this song that reminds me of going to parties. To this day it makes me want to turn it up and scream along (even if I’m still not sure what it’s about).

Yes, whether the song is cool or cheesy, it can lead to happy connections.

 

DON’T STOP BELIEVING
Everybody loves a song that can lift your mood, empower you or even make you feel like a superhero, as it apparently did for Henry David Thoreau:

“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

(And he lived in a cabin in the woods for 2 years!)

Who doesn’t want to listen to a song that makes you feel like that?

Whether you prefer the original or one of the many covers, here’s a rocking, positive song (so good it apparently summed up the entire six seasons of HBO’s Sopranos).

What is your happy song?