Talking Story

author life

You know how Boy Scouts are supposed to do a good deed each day? A couple of days ago I was the little old lady that got helped across the street–and the stakes were way higher than getting across the road.

I run on Diet Coke. It’s no secret–and cans are hands down the best. There’s an ongoing canned soda shortage in Utah. Right now canned Diet Coke is almost impossible to find and more valuable than gold to those who drink it like water.

So I’m in Costco. I know there’s no possibility that they have any, but it never hurts to check, right? I get near where the canned soda is kept. It’s right near the end of a row, but I’m on the wrong aisle, so I follow their stupid flow patterns and go ALL the way around until I’m in the right aisle coming from the “approved” direction. I’m almost there when a mom with two strapping teenage sons comes down the wrong way and stops at the soda.

I watch as one son loads cases of Mountain Dew and Sprite while the other son rummages and pulls up a case–35 cans!–of Diet Coke. “Hey, Mom!” he says, “I got the last one!” He puts it under their cart.

I call out, “Lucky!” Just teasing a bit.

“Oh,” he says. “Did you want Diet Coke?”

“Yeah, but it’s okay,” I say. “It’s not a big deal.”

“Oh, you can have it,” he says, picking it up again.

Oops. This was not my intention. “No, really,” I say. “It’s fine. I was just teasing a little.”

“No, take it,” he says, walking over.

His mother is staring daggers at me. I’m pretty sure she’s buying things for a Super Bowl party. Teen boys don’t drink Diet Coke, but she probably does. The kid’s not oblivious to the waves coming off Mom.

He glances at her, a bit confused. “What? It’s just Diet Coke.” He chucks it under my cart.

One of the sample ladies magically appears. She nervously says to the mom, “Go up to the front and tell them you want Diet Coke. They may have some in the back.” Sample Lady gets the stakes. Maybe over the past few months she’s seen blows over this and is tired of mopping up blood.

“Oh? There’s more in the back?” I say.

The mom and I both know that there’s no way there’s some in the back, but I’m thinking it’s a graceful out for me. I can just say, “No, you keep it and I’ll talk to somebody up front.”

But the kid is undeterred in doing his good deed. “See,” he says to his mom, “We can just ask up front.” He turns to me, face shinning with the good manners he’s been taught, and I see that doing this is very important to him. It’s cementing a pattern of thinking of others before himself.

Yeah, it’s Diet Coke, and it doesn’t mean much to him. But refusing it might make him feel less like helping others in the future.

I look at the mom and tell her she’s raised good sons with my eyes. I smile at the kid beneath my Covid mask and say, “Thanks. I really appreciate it.”

He grins and says, “No problem,” and turns to grab regular Coke.

And I hele’d out of there so fast smoke was probably coming off my sneakers.

It was 35 cans of Diet Coke after all.

#amwriting #musejuice #GoodDeeds #Momisstillprobablypissed

crazy train

I’ve been slacking on the blog, I know. Big life changing events have been going on and that’s caused me to really think about where I want to go on this journey, who I want hiking next to me, and the mountains I want to climb versus the quicksand I’m bypassing. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Without health, you’ve got nothing. My mother’s recent brain surgery, my cardiac event, and my daughter’s bout with mono have made that crystal clear.
  • I’m focusing more on writing and publishing new works. I’m taking charge of my author career again. No more listening to well-meaning, but inexperienced “experts” simply because they intern for one of my publishers. And I don’t care what your title is, if you’re not paid for your work, you’re an intern.
  • I’m going back to business and training consulting to earn real money to put behind my author business. It’s easier to take writing seriously when I’m using my skills in other arenas to make a positive contribution to the family coffers instead of spend, spend, spending on everything from books to give away at libraries, schools, and bookstores, on posters and signage, or gas and meals at events. Remember, I’ll feel better. My family is awesomely supportive of anything I choose to do—as long as it doesn’t involve cooking with mushrooms.
  • I’m launching a new SAAS business that has the potential to revolutionize how conferences and symposiums find speakers. More on that in another post.
  • I’m leveraging the works I’ve published and releasing them as audio books.
  • I’m working with a small group of trusted published authors, a tribe of people who understand how to play well with others and how to get things done. Lots of very cool things in the works. More on all those things in another blog post.
  • No more throwing pearls before swine. Most people do not value or appreciate “free.” The Takers of this world simply expect others to give, give, give, and get annoyed when you set boundaries. I find it hilarious that big corporations pay for my expertise, but Joe Wannabee author still insists that his 320,000 word novel is already perfect. He knows it’s fantastic, you see, because his mother told him it was the greatest thing she ever read, so don’t bother him with developmental or even copy editing notes. When he asked me to beta-read it for free, it was just so I could tell the world how awesome he is. There are mind-numbing masses of Joes out there.
  • I’m cutting ties with people too important in their own minds. Massive egos are exhausting. They’re emotional vampires who suck all the life and fun out of everything. We need more fun and joy in life. Kicking all the dementors to the curb and stocking up on chocolate and Diet Coke.
  • I’m pushing myself waaaay out of my comfort zone and reconnecting with my Hawaiian roots. Next week I start Hawaiian language lessons. The better I speak Hawaiian, the closer I can get to understanding the real histories and cultural identities of a particular branch on my family tree. Right now everything I’ve learned has been through someone’s English filter. Time to cut out the middle man.
  • I can write commercial works, and I will. But I think my real purpose is to write works that speak to a smaller audience, an audience that seldom has a voice in popular culture. I’m going to spend more time figuring out how to let those voices be heard.

That’s it. Thanks for sloughing through the mires with me. We’re on bedrock now and heading up the trail.

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