Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ah!!! Just came from my last physical therapy appointment this morning. Feeling better, but still not 100%. I'm continuing with a chiropractor for the next few weeks. I really feel confident now that I'll get back to 100%. The first few weeks had me worried and I had already envisioned a tumor growing in my head undetected and a slipped disk in my back. That's one thing. When a writer is left alone for a long period of time, the imagination can go wild. A mere stubbing of the toe on a bed post can have you wondering if you now have a blood clot that cut off circulation which will cause you to have to have your entire leg amputated within the next few weeks. I probably wouldn't have admitted this, especially on a blog for all to see, except that after reading a few other blogs and books on writing from other authors, these thoughts seem to be quite common. They seem to be great procrastination techiniques that we're all so good at developing. Whew! Now I feel like a real writer! I have the required mental instabilities and paranoia. (Just joking)

I'm going to a new chiropractor this afternoon. I'm changing to one that's in the neighborhood and I can walk (which helps since I still haven't taken the car to the dealer to get my A/C fixed and get ripped off). I decided to make the change because the last chiropractor's office just didn't give me the warm fuzzies. I'm not quite sure what to make of the experience. The doctor apparently endeared a few "kids" from the neighborhood that seemed to walk in and out of the office, going in the fridge and getting water, and sitting down amongst those receiving therapy, eating a bag of chips, at will. Just hanging out. The doctor would appear to try to discourage this activity, but the visitors would seem to pay him no mind. One also went and helped himself to the therapy equipment until the assistant, apparently a peer, told him not to because the doctor would come back there. He paid attention to her.

The treatment was actually a good one (I felt better afterwards). Just a little funny sometimes. Well, the assistant really isn't into telling you what's going on and what's about to happen. I guess information is given on a need to know basis or only if you ask. Since I had been in physical therapy for the past month, I guess I assumed that when she told me to lie on my back, she was about to massage my neck, as the therapist did. The next thing I know, she flips a switch or something and my pelvis suddenly rises up to what feels like two feet off the table, and then it's lowered. Then the roller goes over my back, then up to my neck. Well, I didn't know to expect this and my eyes shot open. One part of my brain is telling me that I'm being molested and severely groped by someone under the table. My muscles tighten up and my heart picks up its pace. But after about three revolutions, another part of my brain convinces the rest of us that we are not being molested and there's no need to scream. But that this is actually indeed a part of the therapy. After that, it began to register that this was a good massaging feeling. So, after the "move along...nothing to see here" type speech in my brain, my heart was able to slow down, my eyes closed, and my muscles relax.

The doctor seemed uneasy. Very nervous like. Like he needed several cigarette breaks or something. When he was examining my injuries, his voice was shaky and his leg would bounce up and down a mile a minute. He was making me nervous, like I would have to make a break for the door at any minute. But all in all, the thing that really got me was while I was laying on my stomach receiving my treatment from the assistant, she became perturbed with the "kid" who came in and didn't have anything for her. Now, there are other clients in the room receiving treatment, but they apparently had no problem discussing their um...purchase and need to relax, out in the open. I couldn't believe my ears.

I'm not going to name the doctor's office or location, but it was a trip! The treatment was good, but like I said, I just didn't get that oh, so fuzzy feeling. I'm going to try a new chiropractor today. This should be interesting. :-)


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Now I remember what I didn't like about St. Louis. The sweltering heat. I mean SWELTERING!!!! I took my car to get maintenance this morning. While I was waiting, I read a little from James Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME. Then, I decided to take a morning stroll for coffee. It was 8:30 AM. By the time I walked down the street I felt like I couldn't breathe! You see, in St. Louis, it's not the actual heat that gets you, but the humidity. The air you breathe in feel thick. Feels like you actually could cut it with a knife. And it feel like the air is pushing your shoulders down. You feel heavy and it makes you drag. Then, after a few minutes outside, your clothes start sticking to you. No matter what you wear: shorts, tank tops, whatever. It sticks to you. And like I said, this was the early morning. Way before the sun has had a chance to dig in and get settled up there.

In Cleveland, the spring and summer seasons were so short that I thought I missed the warm St. Louis weather. It wouldn't begin to warm up until June and sometimes it would snow by the end of September. I thought it was funny when the temperature would get up to about 80 degrees and everybody there was screaming heat wave! LOL They didn't know what a heat wave was! St. Louis sees 90 plus degrees often, and 100 plus degrees ocassionally. But it's not the high temperatures, it's the humidity that has you feeling like you're having an asthma attack.

And wouldn't you know? The auto technician couldn't find out what was wrong with my A/C, so he suggested that I take it to the dealer. So you know what that means. I'm about to get screwed. They know I need A/C and they're going to make me pay for it dearly, no matter what the problem is.



Saturday, June 18, 2005

Great news! MY WEBSITE IS LIVE!!! Check it out!

Today was a great follow-up to yesterday's mammogram. For the first time, I participated in the Race for the Cure here in St. Louis. And I hear that we had the biggest number of registrants for the race. If so, that's awesome news. But I tell you, it was a tremendous experience, especially having just gotten my baseline mammogram.

First, the number of people downtown was overwhelming. I walked with my sister and her fiancee. And you saw all types of men, women, older & younger, various races, I mean everything. And the spirit was that of kinmanship and love. It was truly a blessed experience.

And you know, of course, as I'm walking, I'm taking in as much as I can. I just started focusing on the "In Memory Of" tags that many people wore. It seemed like at least 90% of the participants had names of a mother, an aunt, a cousin, a sister, a friend, or someone they knew who had breast cancer. Some people wore T-shirts with photos of a loved one. Some carried signs with theam names or the name of someone. When you think about it, I mean really think about it, it's overwhelming. I just began to read name after name after name. Cancer survivors wore special pink shirts and had a procession of their own at the beginning of the race. I'm tellling you, it was an experience.

It's great to see so many people come together in a spirit of love, understanding, and support, to unite for a single cause. One of many that affect us all in one way or another. I don't have a history of breast cancer in my family, however, I know that it doesn't mean that I may not be affected by it in the future. This experience, along with getting my mammogram yesterday, really brought to the forefront the greatness of this disease and need for a cure.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Okay this was a slow writing week. After getting off to a great start, I got slowed down. Mainly by the doctor visits and therapy. I had five therapy and/or doctor visits this week with two of those appointments being today. I'm telling you. If you can at all avoid it, don't get hit by a car. Even if it seems minor (you're alive with no broken bones or concussion or whatever), you life will be hell and your schedule will be shredded to pieces. You'll get frustrated because your productivity is reduced and you'll want to not make your appointments, but stuff like back pain, neck spasms, and constant headaches will give you no choice but to go. But, if you're lucky enough to be one of those people who can stay positive through it all, you'll grin and bear it and get through.

Oh, and I go get my baseline mammogram done today. You know, the one I said I was doing like a couple of months ago? Well, I missed that appointment back then. So, I walk up to registration and the lady stares at me funny and asks me my name. She go gets my file and looks up at me and screams, "YOU DON'T LOOK THIRTY-XXX." I say she screams, but maybe it sounded like a scream because it was quiet. Nonetheless, she spoke very loudly. So, I smile. It's cool to get that reaction. She screams again, "YOU DO NOT LOOK THIRTY-XXX!"
(I look around to see if anyone is looking. There's a gentleman at another registration desk laughing and another lady behind the registration desk telling her to lower her voice and don't say my age out loud.)
(Okay, I'm flattered, but now this is getting a little annoying. The other lady keeps telling her to lower her voice."

I tell her that indeed she's right, that I'm an imposter. I stole someone's identity to come in for the joy and thrill of having my breasts flattened between two plates and beautifully photographed. What can I say. It's the feel of the cold hard steel around my breasts. Gives me an adrenaline rush.

The other lady behind the desks laughs, but she ignores my little joke and is staring at me with her mouth gaping open.

(Now I know I should feel special, but I feel like an alien.)
The other lady comes to see and quietly says, "no, she sure doesn't look thirty-xxx."

Well, finally, I got registered and got on with the mammogram. It's stuff like that that can make your day when you're having a rough. :-) Even if you don't get any writing done.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Okay, Cydney's comments made me think of a couple more funny things. It's great when I get feedback from readers who've read the self-published book and enjoyed it. But it's funny when I get dead serious comments of how I need to send my book to Oprah. And they say it like it's an innovative idea that no one else has ever thought to do. Or either, they realize that by chance, another writer or two might have thought to do this, but they think my book is so good that Ophrah is going to be completely mezmerized that she will drop everything and try to book me for the show. Of course, I'd have to check my calendar and get back to her. Oh, I'm sorry, have my assistant's assistant to get back to her about when I can confirm for the show. LOL Now, while I am totally flattered and totally gracious that this person obviously really enjoyed my book, I'm not anxious to throw a perfectly good book into Oprah's slush pile. So, I usually just smile and say, "Now that's a thought!"

Oh, but the best was advice that this guy told me. That I needed to call up P. Diddy and tell him about my book so we could "do something" with it. That I should just call up Bad Boy Entertainment and get P. Diddy on the line. "Hey, yo P! I got this new joint that I want you to check out, y'knowhaimean? Hot off the presses, this book is slammin! Yo we gotta make a move on this one P. We gotta do a video, a play, a movie, sump'in! Yo, give me a holla back, yo. I'm out! One!"

Then, he scaled down a bit. He said I needed to talk to Eric Jerome Dickey (okay, y'all probably think I'm making this all up but I'm not! LOL Now, when writers put stuff from their life in a book, some people say it "doesn't ring true." LOL) and tell him about my book and propose that we make it into a play. Go in on it together. That I should negotiate with him and show him how this would be beneficial for both of us.

No, even though he was looking at all the EJD hardcovers on my bookshelf, I don't think he realized that this writer is already beyond successful and that what he was suggesting I do was like the singer Bobby Valentino calling Prince and saying, "Let's do a collaboration. I think it could be beneficial for the BOTH of us." LOL

But I take these suggestions and smile.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

It's been two years since I officially became a writer, and one year since I quit engineering to write full-time. And I was just thinking about my transitions. What are the differences between an engineering career and a writing career?

Well, the obvious is money. The biggest difference is money. I take that back. The biggest difference is happiness and fulfillment. As they say, find what is is that you truly love to do and try to make a career out of it. I'm trying my best. And yes, as I writer, I figured that I probably make less than a third of what I made as an engineer. Whew! Good thing I'm not materialistic! LOL The other sayings are true: Money isn't everything; money can't buy you happiness. I make less, but I have less stress, I'm happier, and I'm more fulfilled. I wouldn't trade my current position for anything in the world. I feel like it's what I was meant to do.

But I started thinking about my friends, family members, and strangers reactions to what I do now. The differences. It can be quite repetitious and funny. For example:

Family members: You're quitting engineering to write books (how will she eat?)?
Friends: You're quitting engineering to write books (how will she eat? Lawd! She's going to be homeless!)? Holding hands & bowed heads: Our father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...
Strangers: You're a full-time writer? Yeah, but what do you do for a living? What's your real job?

Family member: Your book is published and in book stores?! Wow! Can I get a loan? Cousin Lee-Lee's got this itch and she may die.
Friends: Your book is published and in stores? Wow! Let's go out. Your treat, you big baller you!
Strangers: Your book is published and in stores? So how does it feel to go to your book signings in a limo and fly first class?

Family member: You know, I've always wanted to write a book. Tell me how.
Friends: You know,a-heh, heh, I do a little writing on the side. Will you organize it for me, and um...publish it?
Strangers: I write too! Can I have your email or phone number can you can teach me step by step how to get it published? Will you publish it for me?

Family, Friends, Strangers: Tell me about your next book!
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? Watching TV? (Um...writing)

Family, Friends, Strangers: What's the next book about?
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? (Writing)
Friends: Let's go.... (can't. I need to finish this 300 page novel)

Family, Friends, Strangers: What's the next book about?
Family, Friends: You finished that 300 page novel yet? (????)
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? (Writing)
Friends: Let's go.... (can't. I need to finish this next book.)
Any of them: I need you to help me write and/or publish...

Family, Friends, Strangers: What's the next book about?
Family, Friends: You finished your next book yet?
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? (Writing)
Friends: Let's go.... (can't. I need to finish this next book)
A few of them: Will you help me write and/or publish....

Family, Friends, Strangers: What's the next book about?
Family, Friends: You finished your next book yet?
Family, Friends: What are you doing today? (Writing)
Friends: You still writing that same book? What do you DO all day? YOU'RE LAZY!!!

I'm just having fun with my family and friends, but it seems like this. No harm intended! I love all y'all, but are you listening when I tell you about the next book? LOL What's with the short term memory. (It's so funny because every time, they are so engaged in what I'm saying like it's the first time they've heard it.) And I'm a writer. Um...that means I write. LOL No, I'm not laying on the couch all day watching soaps and eating Bon Bons. Well, I do like those Dove chocolate ice cream bars with almonds. And I do watch The Young and the Restless. What's up with Lily? About to go on the run with Daniel? What is she thinking? Oh, I digress. But I write. And as much as I would like to, I find it very difficult to complete a 300 page novel in a week. LOL

No, really. I enjoy the questions. I just find them funny when you get the same ones over and over from the same people. As Alton would say, "It's all good!" (Now, if you don't get that, you need to buy my book and read it in September!) LOL


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'm trying to tone down the giddiness I get with each little activity surrounding the book. You would think (at least I would) that I would be over the small stuff by now and would only get excited about things like say, a million dollar advance (okay, maybe stuff smaller than that too). But here it is my website designer just changed the format of the parked page announcing that my new website is coming and I'm flipping out and emailing all my friends. I don't know when the newness is going to wear off, but I can assure you that it hasn't come close to that yet. Anyway, the website should be up either this week or early next week at the lateset. I haven't seen it yet but I'm dying with anticipation,as you can imagine.

Okay, back to the BEA. The actual purpose for the trip to New York. LOL It was cool as always. This was my third year going. This year, I relaxed a little (some of it by force). In previous years, I had the first three chapters of my book to hand out to agents. I had postcards of my new cover that I gave out to as many people as possible. I was working the floor, getting to know people and trying to get people to know me and my book. Then I was collecting books along the way. The first year, I may have brought home a handful of books because I was unprepared and didn't know to ship books. In 2004, I drove and came prepared to get as many books as possible. Stayed all day for three days, wore flat shoes, and got as many books as I could. I'd fill up bags, then go empty them in my stored suitcase, and go back for more. I came home with hundreds of books! But again, I learned my lesson. Because now, I had all these books that I had no space for, and I wasn't even going to read a lot of them. So, slowly I engaged myself with giving away books, shipping book, etc., etc. So this year, I became more selective in what I picked up. I came home with 15 books that I absolutely want to read, and that I was able to pack in my suitcase and fly home. I visited the exhibits for 4 hours on Friday and missed Saturday because I got sick again from the pain medication. But all was cool, I was feeling better by that evening and made dinner with my publisher and the Blackboard Reception, which was PHENOMENAL!!!!

At the exhibits on Friday, I met the likes of Blair Underwood, Wynona Judd, and Jack Klugman of The Odd Couple. I got an autographed book from him. It's funny. The BEA is actually a place you can go star-gazing. Every year, there's some big stars or professional athletes. I remember seeing Neon Dieon (Sanders) in LA, I think, and Rhonde and Tiki Barber lst year in Chicago. They probably enjoy it because it can be low key or lower than what they're used to. You still get people asking for autographs (well, it is a book signing), but you usually don't see large groups of people surrounding someone famous like you see on TV. Book people are well behaved and orderly. You'll usually see a perfectly formed long line of people, patiently waiting to get to the front to quietly express their enthusiasm for having met the person in person. This may be followed by a book signing, an autograph, or a picture, and then the book lover smiles and walks away (reading the book if a book was given).

Ah, book people. You gotta love us!


Monday, June 06, 2005

I'm back from New York! Don't know whether to be happy about that, or sad. New York was great. I went there for Book Expo America. I had actually debated going because it was in New York. See, I'm a small town girl. Kinda shy. Don't like large crowds and stuff. But I had a good time. Oh, yeah, and the conference was cool too. LOL

Okay, so the first thing I notice about NYC is that we're driving from LaGuardia Airport about 4PM on a Wednesday afternoon and we're going through Central Park and there are just people everywhere. In the middle of the week! It looked like the 4th of July weekend in Forest Park (St. Louis), minus the barbecue. I'm mean people were laid out on the lawn, sleeping, reading books, lolligagging... Others were skating, jogging, walking, getting ice cream from the a parked truck, meditating, etc. I'm thinking, it's Wednesday. I'd hate to see what the weekend in the park looked like!

Then, we drive to my hotel in Times Square and as you know about NYC, it was crawling with people. But instead of feeling edgy and at dis ease like I do the week of Christmas in a shopping mall, I was rather excited. I could have gotten whip lash from turning my neck here and there because there was so much going on. So many people. So many distractions. I immediately took my bags to the room and hit the streets. Just like in the movies, the crowds were so dense that people all but walked on top of cars that were trying to turn the corner. There were street vendors, street performers (ligitimate and the illegal ones who were keeping an eye out for the police and quickly shut down and closed up shop when they passed by). I mean, it was great. Sure, I was bumping into people and at times it seemed like I was not walking, but being carried down the street by the crowd, but instead of being irritated, it seemed like part of the NY experience. So, I went with the flow. Went to some nice restaurants and even took in a jazz set at Birdland. It was awesome! I had a great time.

You know, I never took pictures. Maybe I should start taking pictures of these experiences. I just like the memories. But maybe later in life, the pictures can bring out more memories than I would be able to remember on my own.

Oh, yeah, the Book Expo America. I did attend. LOL I gotta go but I'll talk about that next time. :-)