#UpbeatAuthors: Self-Respect

When I become interested in an author, I will read all I can about that person. Many years ago, someone recommended A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf to me. I read it. I liked it. I bought several of her books. Didn’t care for her fiction. I took out volumes of her letters from the library and read them. I purchased A Writer’s Diary, a book with excerpts from her journals as compiled by her husband after her death. There were relatable moments. One might say I studied Virginia Woolf as an author.

A friend of mine was involved in a book discussion group at a local university. When the group was scheduled to discuss Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, my friend invited me to attend with her. We went to the college professor’s home for the discussion. I was young, impressionable, and feeling rather awed that these educated people were including me, with my high school diploma, in their discussion. We drank tea in a room with red “oriental” carpets strewn over shiny wood floors. There may have been Georgia O’Keefe prints on the white walls. I was a little intimidated.

I didn’t say much. After all, who was I?

I now regret not speaking up at the end of the session, when the professor said, “We should all strive to emulate Virginia Woolf.”

As I said to my friend in the car as we drove home, “Why would I want to emulate a woman who committed suicide? Killing myself isn’t my definition of success.”

My friend was shocked. She didn’t realize Woolf had indeed killed herself. She berated me for not speaking out. I confessed my intimidation. She replied: “But you’re right.”

After that night, I didn’t feel quite so belittled for skipping college to get on with life. Not having a degree doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. It merely means I’m self-educated.

 

Go Bags

Go Bags are bags one has on the ready to grab and go. They contain items specific to  the event. I have several.

Here is my RWA Chapter bag (it contains things like my handout binder and my name badge) and my generic writing go bag (contains a box of tissue, headphones, surge protector, water bottle, and a little basket I keep next to my laptop for lip balm, hand cream, cell phone, etc. The pencil bag containing my portable office* migrates between these two bags.

Other go bags include film festival, baseball, and critique.

 

*subject of a future blog

Do you have go bags?

 

#UpbeatAuthors: The Golden Rule

Growing up, I always heard: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That was the Golden Rule.

I always had a problem with this, because I would love to have someone give me a million dollars, but I don’t have a million dollars to give away. I know. That’s a materialistic interpretation of spiritual advice, but that’s the way my mind worked when I was a kid.

As an adult, I learned this version (which I prefer): “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.”   

Every major religion (and most “minor” ones, too) have a version of this “rule.” Kindness and respect are fundamental to human nature. Knowing that gives me hope for our future.

 

 

 

Two Seemingly Unrelated Memories

I don’t pretend to know everything. Heck, I don’t even know most things. But I do have an awareness of the world on a certain level. There was one year, though, that I began to wonder about that.

It began in the summer. Swatches were new and “the thing.” I made a comment about them, and the sister of a colleague looked at me and said, “How do you know about Swatches?” I looked at her and said, “We do have cable TV, you know.” OK, the city in which I live may not be the hotbed of the latest fashion trends, and probably never has been, but seriously? This was the 1980s. The Pony Express was long gone.

A few months later, a man I’d just started seeing  and I were watching a movie. The movie was not set in the US. There was a scene with some sort of fireworks-y celebration going on, and I murmured, “Oh, it’s probably Guy Fawkes Night.” The man paused the tape, turned to me and said, “How do you know about Guy Fawkes Night?” Now, this man was not British or any other nationality where Guy Fawkes Night is observed. I had just as much right to “know” about Guy Fawkes Night as he did.  The budding relationship got nipped right about then.

I read. That’s how I know things.

 

 

#UpbeatAuthors: Optimism & Happiness

“Positive thinking gives us the power to achieve our goals.”

I am a firm believer in goals. I also believe in optimism.

Optimism is considered to be a key ingredient to happiness, well-being, and satisfaction. Happier people have been found to be much more successful and leading more fulfilling lives.

Happiness doesn’t mean wild elation. Wild elation is exhausting. Content works. My goal is to be content. It’s not about reshaping the world around you; it’s about making a decision, an effort at times, to be optimistic.

Yes, life can suck. It frequently does. That doesn’t mean a person has to wallow in it.