A Bucketful of Wishes

My chum Teeni, the meme queen, has tagged me to do the bucket list – it has its source in a movie by the same name (I think) wherein Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicolson make a list of the things they want to do before they kick the bucket. Not having seen the movie, I’m not sure, but I suspect they were only allowed eight items or that’s all they came up with – so in the meme, we only get eight items. I probably could have come up with more but I will behave and just stick to my top eight.

1. Sky dive. I realize this may surprise a few people, especially anyone who knows me because I am not the dare devil type. Hell, I don’t even like to drive that much. And part of the reason is because of my chicken-ness and a desire to overcome that. Moreso though, I want to know what it feels like to fly and I think skydiving is the closest you can come to that without involving massive machinery.

2. To write something breahtakingly beautiful. Perfect. So that if I were to die the next day I will have left one thing of worth behind.

3. To fall desperately in love with a man who is also desperately in love with me for some reason. Then have lots of sex – just kidding – well, maybe not – I’ll have to think about that…

4. To go Ireland and visit all the wee villages in County Cork, see if I can find any trace of my ancesters, look up the O’Riordans, the Flanigans and McCrory’s. Drink fresh cream in my coffee, Guinness in a small pub, sing rebel songs whilst sloshed on Guiness and eating multiple pickled eggs, see Stonehenge, and maybe a faerie or leprachaun or two.

5. Publish, several books if possible and hopefully to an eager audience. Boring but the dream of any writer.

6. Eat massive amounts of crab, lobster and shrimp on the Cape in the summer with some very dear friends from both near and far. And jam a lifetime of friendship into a week if at all possible.

7. Find my cabin in the sky. I don’t literally mean a cabin, but my ideal place to live the rest of my life. I have had an image in my head since I was a little girl of this place; it is peaceful, beautiful and lush, and gives me a quiet energy that is restorative, where I can write inspired pieces and feel happy, safe and loved.

8. And last but not least to be able to meet each and every one of my virtual/blogger/internet friends. I envision some wild reunion or meeting hall or something, all of us there, laughing our asses off, exchanging phone numbers, recipes, photos, invitations to visit. Being happily surprised by how different we all are from what thought and yet how much the same. Lots of food, lots of bbq’ing, lots of talk, adventures, laughs. Just the best time ever. I wonder if could rent a town for a week? Something to think about.

Okay, that’s my bucketful of wishes – and there would have been more but I think that’s a pretty good list.

I’m not one to tag, so I will leave it to anyone who hasn’t yet done the meme (and there may only be a few left) to grab it and run with it. Thanks Teens, I really enjoyed this one.

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Miracles Do Happen!


Some of you may know that this past May, a very close friend of mine was in a really bad car accident. So bad in fact, that I wasn’t sure she was going to live. To say this turned my world upside down puts it mildly, the last time I was this grief stricken was the day my father died, if that puts it in perspective. Kelly is one of those really special people who lights up a room whenever she enters. She is kind, caring, funny and will do anything for anybody.

Not long after the accident, I flew to Seattle to help in whatever way I could and to join the literally hundreds of other people who knew and loved Kelly in a massive prayer chain to bring her through this catastrophe and give her back to us. It was a very rough week for me and I was in no way prepared to see what had happened to her and to realize how very little I could do for her. Much of the time I spent just trying not to cry and to keep her gorgeous girls occupied. Really, it was in God’s hands and all we could do was pray and send her our love and hope for the best. There wasn’t much sleeping or laughing going on but there was a lot of love and a sort of instant kindredness among all us. Lots of hugs and tears and smiles and hand squeezes. We all wanted the same thing – for our Kelly to get well and weather the storm.

The day I returned to L.A. from Seattle I discovered Kelly said her first words. And fittingly they were to her mother, Charlene. She said, ‘thank you’ when she saw Charlene straightening up her hospital room. Somewhat startled Charlene went to Kelly’s bedside and and looked closely at her daughter and said, “Do you know who I am?”

Kelly said, “yes.”

Charlene asked. “Who am I?”

Kelly said, “Mom.”

And that was the beginning of the miracle. Not only had she lived through a 60 mph impact into her standing still car, she spoke and she remembered her mother. Over the ensuing weeks, I read her brother’s email updates on her progress and it was amazing, lesser men would have died. But Kelly with the spirit of a team of Clydesdales pushed through to each next level with flying colors. Still, I have to admit, I was worried and wondered how much of her memory she had lost. If she had sustained any serious or long term brain damage. If she would be Kelly again. I knew while I was there she didn’t know me. In fact, I’m not sure she has any memory of that week at all. I worried (selfishly) that maybe she would never remember me and we would have to find our way to friendship in a new chapter.

I worried too about her young daughters, her brothers, her parents, her husband – if they too would get their Kelly back.

Today, my prayers were answered. I called her mother to get an update and to see where I could send cards and such to Kelly (since she’s been constantly been transferring to new facilities) and Charlene told me that Kelly now has a cell phone that she is talking to friends on. Charlene gave me the number and of course I called it immediately. Unfortunately, I got the voice mail and left a message.

For hours afterwards, every time the phone rang, I jumped and grabbed it, hoping to hear her voice. When I finally gave up the hope that I’d hear from her, she called. When she said my name I started to cry from pure joy. It was my Kelly. It was really her. The relief and gratitude I felt I simply can’t describe. We talked on the phone for nearly an hour and it was just as though nothing had happened. I have my friend back. I didn’t lose her after all. And I’m so glad because I just couldn’t have imagined life without her.

So thank you, a million times to all of you who prayed for her, hoped for her and her family. Who sent out your love to a stranger, only because I asked you to. Your prayers have worked and have helped to create this wonderful miracle.

In Your Wildest Dreams

Recently, a friend of mine offered me a visit to her home (halfway across the world, mind you) and described the stay as if it were written in some beautiful, glossy travel brochures. It sounded heavenly. I’d have no cares or woes, just fun, peaceful bliss and lots of time to do whatever I wanted. My knee-jerk reaction was to complain about how reality wouldn’t stand for it. But…it still sparked something in me. It allowed me to dream (for a minute) about what I would do if I could simply take a year off.

Like, Poof! You now have a year off to do anything your little heart desires. You will suffer no consequences and at the end of said year, you may return to your normal life – no harm, no foul.

It was a heady thought and really did get my wheels turning – can you hear the screeching? I actually sat down and gave it some thought. What would I do if I had a ‘free year’? If I could do absolutely anything and there would be no negative ramfications?

Write: I’d write. I’d write up a storm. I’d write, articles, short stories, novels, scripts, menus, letters, poems, anything and everything. I’d also submit like mad, enter every contest I could find, spend the time to get a good agent and a publisher. I’d allow myself to feel like a writer, act like a writer, think like a writer, without the dull ache of everyday interferring. And from that, I think I’d change somehow. Maybe not physically, but it’s possible, but certainly on the inside there’d be a change. I might even lose that hangdog expression I get when I feel frustrated and hopeless. The world would once again, become a fascinating, interesting and beautiful place. It would be the source of wonder and joy. An open book, so to speak. Oh yes, it would definitely change me.

Blog: Naturally, I’d blog – I doubt much of anything would change that. But I sense that my blogging would also take on a new tone. Maybe it would be more fun or interesting. I’d have more time to learn about things, people, places, whatever. Maybe I’d even learn some photoshop tricks and make cool pictures. I don’t know – but I’d be the happy, traveling, blogger.

Read: I’d read all the books I’ve been meaning to read. I’d reread my favorite books, perhaps finding a deeper meaning in them than I already do. I’d read the classics, even the Russians. Plays, novels, poetry, volumes of short stories, epress, small press, big houses, small houses. Everything from Shakespeare to Evanovich.

Volunteer: I always wanted to do volunteer work. In my life, I’ve managed some. Like most of us, I give to charities when I can. Not much, but something. But I’d really like to somehow help in a way that would make a difference. I’ve often pondered being a Big Sister or volunteering at the V/A, or a children’s ward in a hospital, St. Jude’s. All of the above, and more. I have a strong desire to help others, and it hurts that I simply don’t have the time to do it.

Garden: Remember that 40lb tomato? Oh yeah, I would love to do that. Or something similar. I have always had a knack for gardening, making things grow. There is something wonderful about seeing seeds turn into living, growing things. Something wonderful about eating fresh veggies out of the garden. Seeing a beautiful carpet of flowers zooming across the landscape. I might even learn how to make my own compost heap. Exciting stuff, eh?

Travel: With the exception of my perilous two cross country drives between here and Florida, I’ve never really traveled. Some years back, I wanted to just pay off all my bills, save some money, buy a jeep or truck and just take off. I would travel around, stop in and see friends all over the country, take on odd jobs as I needed to and write about my adventures. I’d be a travel tramp, so to speak. See much of my beautiful and awesome country, try different foods, learn about different traditions and so on. I know a lot of people might prefer to go to Europe or places more exotic, but I’ve always yearned to see my own country and learn about it. Although, I might have to make a pit stop in Austrailia, as I seem to have a few friends there. 😉 

Work Out:  Once upon a time, I was in good physical condition. I used to run 5 miles a day, had a great bod and amazing stamina. In recent years I’ve turned into a bowl of mush. It’s embarrassing – but we go back to the workaday life, the lack of time and energy and that’s what you get. I would really like to feel physically fit again. Feel like learning tennis or running a few miles wouldn’t kill me. Like to spring out of bed and greet the day, rather than groan and beg for coffee first thing in the morning.

I’d spend more time with friends and family: There never does seem to be enough time for this either. I haven’t seen my Mom or my siblings for a few years. Not to mention, cousins, aunts and uncles. And it’s not good for the soul to feel disconnected and disjointed from the family and friend units.

Of course, I realize that I’d probably have to take five years to accomplish all of this – still I wouldn’t mind trying. I wouldn’t mind at all. In fact, I’d love it. And I’m sure if I did, I’d become a different person – a better person, someone I’d like a lot. And after writing all of this down, my heart is telling me that maybe I should give it a try. How I could pull it off is a total mystery to me – but I’d sure like to.

So, there is my idyllic life, in a nutshell.

How about you? If you had a whole year off to do anything under the sun, moon and stars, what would it be? What would you do? Would you, afterwards, really be able to go back to your old life? Or would you have changed your life forever?

WC

If You Could Be Any…

literary or movie character, from any time period, who would you be? Being a lover of books and movies I find this question intriguing and appealing, so I’ll answer it.

 

If I could be any literary character I would be Dagney Taggert who is the hero in Atlas Shrugged. I know that some might think that John Galt is the hero but I’d disagree with them. Dagney is the epitome of guts, glory and rugged individualism. She is beautiful, smart, strong, innovative, self-sufficient and lives life on her own terms. But she is also all woman and when she finds the man of her heart she gives herself completely to him. Amazing. Amazing journey too. This 1,000 page plus book is a story of mamoth proportions but I loved being in that world for its entirety. How I wish I had two weeks to do nothing but read – I would go there again in a heartbeat.

 

If I could be any movie character, I would be Margo in All About Eve – played flawlessly by Bette Davis. She is brilliant, spoiled, talented, insecure, sexy as hell in a broken glass kind of way – and whips the hell out of the little schemer in the end. Ah…the pause that refreshes.

So, what about y’all? Who would you want to be and why, if you care to tell us.

WC

Don’t Ya Love Your Girlfrienz?

It’s official, I received an email informing me that it is National Sisterhood Week. So all we sistahs and girlfrenz are supposed to celebrate our girliness and comraderie and revel in being women.

Hell, I do that every day, don’t you?

And seriously, if it’s National Sisterhood Week, who the heck is acting in behalf of the nation to proclaim it so? Well g**gle provided this which is probably closer to the truth. And of course, sexism is alive and well so what is really supposed to be National Brotherhood and Sisterhood Week – becomes National Sisterhood week. Jeez Louise noboby will leave well enough alone will they?

But you have to laugh at the cute, cute picture. In fact, the one on the left really does look like me when I was that age and I had to do a quick memory search to see if I’d ever been in a place like that as a kid. It is possible….really cuz the other kid looks like my first best friend Sandy Evanouch. Wow, this really could be the most incredible of coincidences, couldn’t it? At any rate, it’s obvious I was adorable as a child and quite the inquisitive mind since clearly I have been experimenting with how to blow smoke up my own skirt for some time.

So that being said – I say celebrate people. Celebrate your brotherhood and your sisterhood, celebrate your friends and all those without whom life would be one dull parade. Call them on the phone, go shopping, see a movie,  have lunch or at least send them an email. Saying I care can never ever hurt.

Love ya! My sistahs and brothas! (doing my best n’orleans accents)

WC

Valentine’s Day

May you have the most unique of Valentine’s Days, ever. And if not that, may you at least get some kickass chocolates!

Happy Valentine’s! WC

Renaissance Man

(I originally wrote this post last summer while guest blogging for the subject of the post. In honor of his birthday, I repost it here. Happy birthday, Michael – you’re one in a million. Annie)

He’s a writer. He plays a mean piano – by ear no less – hard on the head but easy on the hands from what I hear. He’s a dad. He’s a husband. And to me, a friend. What you would call a real friend.

It’s funny, though we’ve never met face to face and honestly I’m not sure what it would be like if we did, we have fostered a friendship over the last 4-5 years that is rare. We go beyond friendship, almost all the way to family.

He’s shared with me about the tragic illnesses of both of his parents. I’ve told him about my brother who died of AIDS. I know all about his beautiful daughters and how special each of them are to him. About how his wife is one in a million. About his cute little cats. And his big silver truck. He knows about my love-hate relationship with cigarettes. My sloppy, anal room-mate. My hilarious dog.

We met at an online writer’s group, of all places. It was one of those places that wanna-be writers flock to and need-to-write-to-live writers approach with caution. What the heck, it was free and you also got to meet other writers. What’s not to love?

We swapped crits (critiques) on each other’s assignments. Culminating into a ‘story’ at the end of the course. His was the “Goodbye House” mine was “Faith.” From the beginning I admired the work and the man. Always taking the time to really say something, really give you his honest opinion. You could tell this guy had a lot of heart.

Well, our stint at the online group didn’t last long. We both realized in our own ways that truly we were engaging in Writer’s Socialism. Struggling to help the writers who couldn’t and barely having time for the writers who could. We both like to think we were among the latter.

But our friendship didn’t end there. After there were emails. More story swapping. Talking about anything and everything. Yakking on the phone about this and that. Really, somehow this guy became the brother I lost so many years ago. Somebody who I could talk to about anything and everything. Somebody who really cared about what I had to say.

I was amazed by his life and how he took everything in stride. Juggling parents that needed constant supervision, a family, a marriage, a job, doing music gigs on the side and somehow still finding the time to write. For cripes sake he wrote on the train into work.

Not long ago, we got into this wild marathon email where we starting discussing deeply writing – the ins and outs – where to publish – how to publish, the whole ball of wax. And it got positively addictive. It got to the point where we were each jonesing for the next response. We even had discussions about posting it on his blog. But realized that only a lunatic or a psychic would be able to follow it. It’s done us both good. And I hope it continues to do us both good. Keep us inspired and motivated.

Recently, he went on vacation and asked me to babysit his blog. Frankly, I was a little scared. I’d read his blog and hell I’ve read his writing. A little intimidating to say the least. I was sure his ‘readers’ wouldn’t like my style. That it would be a shock to the system to go from warm, gentle Renassaince Man to whacky, who the hell knows what’s firing those synapses Writer Chick. But…I like a challenge and try to force myself to do things that scare me.

So, I’ve struggled along this last week. Trying hard to entertain the troops in his absence. I hope I have done him justice. Cuz he’s a helluva guy and a true Renassaince Man is a modern world gone (almost ) mad.

Writer Chick

The Morning After…

Did someone say coffee???? Let the new year begin! Off to the races we go! At least in theory. If I haven’t said it enough in the last few days – HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

I wonder if I could find some toast and and jam…..

WC