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Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Kristel Show

Photo: Tom Coggio
in·tro·vert  (ntr-vûrt, ntr-vûrt)tr.v. in·tro·vert·ed, in·tro·vert·ing, in·tro·verts
1. To turn or direct inward.
2. Psychology To concentrate (one's interests) upon oneself

Yup, that's me. Let's face it, I didn't become a writer because I was a social butterfly who loved being out and about. Out and about in the woods on a beautiful day, especially on a horse? YES. In public, where people are? Not so much. Sure, I've done lots of socializing, but I usually would only go out if I knew the band or I was drunk (or more often, both). I would love the music and hang with folks, but even so I felt like I was still in my own little bubble, jamming to my own wavelength. Check out the photo on the right: I'm the sullen-looking one in the middle, flanked by my very outgoing sister and very outgoing daughter who felt entirely comfortable smiling for the camera (as per the usual). Lets be clear though; I'm not ACTUALLY sullen, or shy, or insecure, or any of those other undesirable qualities that folks tend to equate with my hermit-like behavior. I'm sort of awesome in a twisted and humorous way. I'm just not much of an attention seeker. But that needs to change, and I need to find a way to do it well, my way :-)

Our whole lives, we all called my sister the "Kerrie Show". Whatever was happening, she always had to be at the center of it. My mother is also very outgoing, having no trouble whatsoever giving lectures on humor and health to large groups of people and unerringly creating a joyful and happy atmosphere. I spent much of my time pouring over books of all kinds at the library, or hiding in the barn cleaning my saddle while rocking-out to 80's hair bands on the radio. Then I had my daughter, another outgoing personality in my orbit. How do I compete with that? Historically, there has been no point in trying, and furthermore I have never felt the desire to be the center of attention. My brain is SO busy that I LIKE being observy, I like having the time to process what's going on without all eyes on me. THAT is why I write; because I can do so in relative isolation, in a bubble of quiet (and in my dinosaur pajamas, dammit). But hiding under a rock doesn't sell books. I believe that it really aught to in a fair world, and if it did I'd be a marketing GENIUS, but alas it is not to be.

I have to get out there. And I'm realizing that in order to do that I need not compete with any other "Show". I just need to create "The Kristel Show", a stand-alone unit of entertainment and fun that is unique and present and selling books :-) I need to get comfortable with the idea that promoting my work is part of my job, not some narcissistic need for attention and praise. So I'm going to do it, and I'm not going to apologize for it. I've worked really hard to own and occupy my space. So, welcome to The Kristel Show :-)

By the way, here's me book: "In Stone"

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Darker Side!

Photo: Taylor Baranova
I set up this blog with the intention of having an outlet for my 'lighter' thoughts and ideas. For the most part, the meandering and varied topics have provided just that. While it's true that other appropriate names for this blog might have been "Verbal Incontinence" or "Proof That I Need Editing", I have been very pleased by the number of folks who have read my posts. Whether you read my blog because you find it interesting, or because you find it relateable, or even because it's like a train wreck you can't look away from, I appreciate you. THANK YOU for the continued support:-)

If there is a lighter side, then a darker (edited!) side must exist, right? And so it does: In Stone , my first book, is now available! Here is a taste:

"The house looked innocent enough. There was nothing to distinguish it from any other quaint, older home nestled within the rural Vermont landscape. For Liz, Charlie, Donna and Willa it was a dream come true; exactly what they needed. Each of them had escaped hardship longing for the comforts of loved ones, hearth and home. The spacious house, the location and the timing all seemed so perfect. But none of them could imagine the horrors that awaited them as the house revealed its secrets. "

Yes, it's finally an honest-to-gosh 'thing'. To all those who regularly witnessed me skulking about in my dinosaur pajamas while talking to myself and gripping a cup of coffee like it was my last friend on earth, there really was a point to it all :-) And now, it's time to knuckle down again and write another one.

I can't tell you much about the next one, just that it was inspired by a nightmare...


Friday, October 11, 2013

Perception

Photo: Taylor Baranova
I've spent much of my life trying to be realistic. Also, trying to manage my expectations so as not to be disappointed, to find satisfaction in my current situation and to, essentially, 'take it where I can get it' because "life is what it is". I've always believed that magic happens to other people, that I can only fantasize but never realize amazing possibilities. That I simply am not enough because other people are better at anything I could ever hope to achieve. I have always believed that the best I can hope for is the opportunity to work hard enough at doing something I hate, that I can afford at least a taste of the things I have a passion for. Having that psychic baggage has given me a view of reality that isn't realistic at all, but actually PESSIMISTIC. It's not a perspective that provides energy for great things or for change. It is a perspective that has kept me small, kept my thoughts small, kept my expectations small. In short, not helpful in any regard. And I know better.

And what is reality if not perception? What gives us the energy to do great things? Certainly not by believing that great things are beyond our reach. Most definitely not by focusing on managing nothing more than the minutia of our day to day lives. There is a proverb that goes "If you aim for the moon you may reach the top of the highest tree, but if you aim for the top of the tree you may never get off the ground". It sounds about right to me. It also implies that we have some power over the direction we take. That was perhaps the most difficult lesson to learn: I have power. I have been told by so many people in so many ways (some subtle, some not-so-subtle) that I don't have any power, that my opinion isn't worthwhile, that I don't have a right to my beliefs for one reason or another (and how DARE I be offended by that!). Learning where my strength comes from was a real breakthrough, and I had to learn it for myself in my own way and in my own time. The truth is we don't need someone to tell us what we're worth, we don't need pieces of paper to tell us that we're smart, we don't need money to have influence. A truly powerful person, though they may have those thing, doesn't NEED them to own their place in the world. It's a work in progress for me, but I've shed the worst of it.

I believe this idea can be taken a step further. Not only do we create our reality through perception on a philosophical level, but likely in a tangible, physical way as well. Several years ago I was introduced to Dr. Masaru Emoto's research on the effects of emotion on water molecules. It was a unique perspective on how the energy we project into the world acts on the world around us. Super cool :-) It's old news at this point but still sticks in my noggin as a reminder. Again, a work in progress for me.

One of the difficulties in 'changing shape' is that it makes the folks around us uncomfortable. Sometimes those who are the closest have the most difficult time. We don't just see ourselves as singular entities, but by who we are in relation to others, at least on some level. When those others evolve, it can be genuinely difficult to accept and assimilate the changes, sometimes to the point of outright refusal. I've seen this played out occasionally and it's weird, but common enough that it appears to be a legitimate pattern.  I feel lucky to be, and to be surrounded by, flexible, secure people who are amenable to positive changes in other folks. I feel all kinds of observy right now :-)

I guess this post was my long-winded way of saying if there is anything you want to do (well, anything that doesn't cuase harm to yourself or another, hehe), do it. Don't wait for the stars to align, align them. Don't wait until you have more time, make time. And I say this as much to myself as to you. I know sometimes the things we want most don't always pan out, but it doesn't mean failure. It means hammer at it some more in a different way. Don't let it go because you are distracted by the day to day. DO IT. :-)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jarring

Photo: en.wikipedia.org
I think I may be going through an over-sensitive period of time in my life. Either that, or circumstances are conspiring to converge on a singular point in time with the express aim of making me profoundly uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong: I am on the verge of success. No matter what happens or how it ultimately plays out, I am about to be a published author. That is reality. No matter how much money is involved or how much criticism I might receive (which is 'none' on both counts, currently), I have accomplished that much. I am proud of that, especially in light of the obstacles I have needed to plow through to get there.

I love writing. In person I don't express myself frequently or well. I have difficulties with emoting. Part of it is vulnerability, I do realize this, but part of it is that I just don't know how without sounding like I have some form of Tourette's. It is what it is. Sometimes I come across as unfeeling though, and that has been to my detriment. But on the rare occasion I express emotion, I have often been told that "I shouldn't feel that way because"...fill in blank, or "It could be worse so consider yourself lucky", so why bother? And why give people the tools to hurt me, anyway? Any one thing might not touch off this little crisis of confidence, but when they pile up a bit (which they sometimes do...what IS that?) it can feel like a football tackle. Metaphorically, of course. Well, mostly. But I'll get to that.

I love the people in my life. I usually feel loved, too. No small accomplishment considering how isolated I am, but I'm fortunate to be surrounded by good people. Sometimes I feel left out, and sometimes I feel left out and lied to. And sometimes people I care about unwittingly promote viewpoints that are actively harmful or insulting and they are so far removed (read: lucky, fortunate, etc.) from the reality of others that they can't even see HOW their opinion is harmful and insulting. How do I handle that? Most of the time I keep quiet. I know these folks are good-hearted people and just don't know any better. Lately, I can't keep quiet. I didn't go so far as to say "That point of view might make YOU feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but it kills dogs" or "Pretending to be poor for a couple of weeks and writing about how awesome you were at it is insulting to folks who are actually struggling and don't have the choice", so kudos to me for having at least that much restraint. I'm working on it. Yeah, I know. It's MY behavior I need to worry about, nobody else's. Someday when I have the resources, I will actually be able to DO something about the things that drive me bananas and not just whine impotently to myself.

I was going over these sorts of thoughts in my mind the other night, sitting at a red light in my car and listening to the radio. My thoughts were a gazillion miles away (it's a real number, I swear) when WHAM; I was rear-ended by some dirtbag. We were at a busy intersection, so when he came swaying up to my window, smelling of booze, I told him to pull ahead, out of the traffic (and under some lights). What he did instead was just take off. It was jarring. It was jarring on both an emotional and physical level. Yes, my car is damaged. No my insurance won't cover it (all I can afford is liability). So now, I will just drive around in a broken car until whenever. Thanks dirtbag, for slamming into me, for hurting me and breaking my sh**, and failing to take any responsibility for it at all. I know, I "shouldn't feel that way", so I'll just do what I usually do and lick my wounds by myself, and put the rest of it 'in the vault'. You can just go about your life slamming into people and taking no responsibility for it whatsoever. Lucky you. Okay, that got a little deeper and a little more 'inclusive' than I intended, but it is what it is.

Okay, that concludes this pity party for one. Onward and upward!