Tuesday, July 26, 2016

politics, musicals, and compromise

"You can't always get what you want."

A true statement and a great Rolling Stones song that was oddly used by one of the political conventions. Which is weirdly appropriate, because it is a GIANT understatement when it comes to politics. Especially this election year.

"You can't always get what you want."

Anyone who has lived past kindergarten has figured this out the hard way.

At some point most of us learn that to move forward in life, we have to compromise. Sometimes it's not that hard, like choosing between hamburgers and hot dogs at a cookout when you'd hoped there would be steak. Sometimes it's only a matter of giving up some minor standard or even choosing "none of the above", like refusing cake at a party because it's commercial cake from a grocery store bakery and we prefer only scratch cake made with pastured butter, free-range eggs and gluten-free locally-milled einkorn flour.

But sometimes we have to choose between A and B when we don't like either option and a choice HAS to be made. Maybe A and B are actually totally appalling to us and we'd really like to choose C or D but they aren't that great either and actually don't stand a chance in hell of happening. Sound familiar?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

moon landings, birthday cake, and hope

Today is a special day - my brother's birthday. Ray and I are more than siblings. We're friends, confidantes, partners-in-crime, each other's best audience, best critic, best support, best humorist, best ear, best shoulder. In his honor, I am posting a story from my book "Leaving The Shallows", a story I wrote about his 2nd birthday. Happy Birthday bubba - I love you to the moon. And back.
It was the summer of ‘69. July 20th to be exact.
I was 5 years old. I lived in a small, safe town in a small, safe house, with my little brother Ray and with our parents, who loved and cared for us, who loved and cared for each other.

I was unaware of the tumultuous world outside, of Kennedys and assassinations and Chappaquiddick, of presidential elections and Zodiac killers, of Vietnam and civil rights, of sit-ins and bed-ins, of oil spills and invasions, of midnight cowboys or that Dorothy was dead.
I didn’t know people with darker skin were treated different from me.
I didn’t know people hurt each other. Especially not people in families.
But I did know two things: It was my brother’s second birthday. And it was a night when the world was going to change forever.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

stories and gems and cake

I wrote something new.

That shouldn't be monumental news. I write every day. After all, I'm a professional writer.

But I don't write for myself enough. Don't write enough about the things that move me, that move you, that matter at a heart level.

I decided the only way to change that is to put myself in situations where I have no choice, commit myself to a deadline and either sink or swim.

Apparently passion and ability and the whooshing of time flying by are not great motivators for me. But embarrassment at not fulfilling a commitment? That will motivate me every time.

I had great success with the piece I wrote about my experience with postpartum depression. I read this at the Sottile Theater in May as part of Listen To Your Mother Charleston.

But I haven't written anything since. Not really.

So when I heard about a reading sponsored by Truth Is and set at a brilliant dessert place in West Ashley, I didn't even stop to think it through. I contacted fellow writer and organizer Karen Mae Black and said "count me in!"