The Blog

calligraphy for the blogIf you know a writer who has a special occasion coming up there’s a way to make it even more special. Take something she wrote and have an artist make it frameworthy.

The person will never be the same. Trust me!

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photo and artwork courtesy of Katie Anderson

There’s a woman I know who seems to have it all. A life filled with kids and pets and jobs -- and laughter. That’s what you notice when you walk into her house. There’s a lot going on, and it’s hilarious.

I asked her to join me on the show. I’d never interviewed a plate spinner quite like her before, and I thought it would be fun. She was as nice as she could be, but she turned me down. Things were fine. Great, actually. But what if there were problems down the road?

It reminded me of someone else who doesn’t talk about his kids because “they might get into trouble someday.”

I was about to get all “come on, that’s life” on these people, until Darrell wanted to write a story about me for the University of Nebraska’s alumni magazine. “No way,” I told him. “I don’t want to give people the impression I have anything figured out.” Sure, I have a few things figured out -- but not enough to constitute having made it, whatever that means.

If you’re married you’re familiar with this expression: “You win some, you lose some.” I lost this one. Darrell wrote the story and got a stipend for his trouble. I thanked my lucky stars we’d sprung for some professional photographs a while back. But I practically held my hands in front of my face when I read the piece, the way you might shield your eyes during the scary parts of a movie.

If I’m that conflicted about it, why share the link? Because you should’ve seen the look on Darrell’s face when he read what he’d written. “I’m proud of you!” he said.

I’ve never properly thanked him, and this post is an attempt to fix that.

A friend of mine is in charge of publicity for Steven Pressfield, and part of her job is to share her thoughts on the business of writing. A while back she admitted how not enchanted she is by that sometimes. She also mentioned a few projects around the house she wasn’t looking forward to, either.

I left her a comment and had Darrell proofread it. He couldn’t resist offering Callie help with removing the base of a broken lightbulb that’s stuck in a socket. Something about a cork. Next thing we know, another guy had weighed in. “If a cork isn’t handy,” he said, “use a baking potato.” Can you guess what happened next? “A potato would work,” Darrell suggested I add to the thread, “but just make sure there’s no power running to the socket or you’ll have more than a hot potato.”

It took me exactly zero seconds to realize it’s true what they say about guys and their projects. You’ve barely raised the garage door to have a good look at the lawn mower and soon all the neighbors want to help fix it. In the driveway? Mildly amusing. On a writing blog? Hilarious!

You know, to me.

A friend of ours is a comic, and she joined us on the show recently to talk about the different kinds of laughter. She told me she’s sure I know what Darrell’s “fake laugh” sounds like.

Nope. Not a clue.

We don’t laugh to be polite. House rules. This particular rule started with lasagna. As newlyweds Darrell told me my lasagna was the best he’d ever had, and I shared that with a few people at work. “You know he’s lying,” one of them said. “Yeah?” I fired back. “All it’s going to get him is more lasagna.”

Go ahead. Laugh when things aren’t funny. Rave when things aren’t yummy. Once in a while it’s the right thing to do -- when little kids tell jokes, or old people serve runny spaghetti. But a steady diet of fake? You deserve better.

Do Over cover smallGetting divorced and becoming a cocktail waitress was never part of my plan. But you know what? I had so much fun between marriages.

If you read this book you’ll understand.

Whose life is it?
December 17, 2016

Someone I follow online recently reported someone is posing as him on social media. Worse? The alleged thief is sharing photos of the guy’s three-year-old, too.

Which sucks.

If you happen to be a new parent who hasn’t posted photos of your baby online, now might be a good time not to start.

I used to hold grudges. I don’t know why -- I just did. I don’t anymore. It’s my diet. It makes it impossible to stay in a bad mood.

It isn’t that I’ve suddenly befriended everyone who’s promised to make my life less fun if we spend more time together. To the contrary! That isn’t holding a grudge. That’s learning from experience.

You’re allowed to do that, you know.

Are you spontaneous?
December 15, 2016

In my last post I told you about being at a trade show where people gave water bottles as souvenirs. Darrell and I politely declined every offer. “You should’ve seen the looks on the faces of people,” I wrote, “who were left standing with unwanted water bottles in hand.”
 
I can’t stop thinking about those looks! We’d apparently thrown the water bottle dispensers quite the curve ball. “We don’t know what to do now,” we could almost hear them thinking. “Nobody’s ever declined a water bottle before.”

It’s off script. And it’s a great example of how reflexively many of us move through the world. Which is fine. Unless you’re me. I’m forever asking myself if I want to do something, even -- or perhaps especially -- if it’s something people “just do.”

I’m a bit of a rebel that way. But the more clutter I resist -- the more meetings I weasel out of, the fewer television shows I get hooked on, whatever -- the more time I have for things that matter.

Life’s a lot easier without extra baggage.