Thursday, March 22, 2012

On Envy

For eleven years, people have been telling me that my daughter looks exactly like me. She has always resented this, as I imagine is typical since she probably wants to look like herself. Who can blame her? Apart from her appearance, she is also identified as being just like me, according to my husband. He sees her demeanor and energy level as similar to mine, which isn't completely off base.

However, yesterday I witnessed a moment of clarity when I came to understand how unlike me my daughter really is.

The back story is that she had had a crush on a classmate for over year until he broke her heart on Valentine's Day by attempting to return the rose she had bought him. Yes, my daughter is that girl - the one who waits for no man. She shows him how she'd like to be treated by making the first bold move, as if to say, Now it's your turn. During recess the next day, the little coward boy tried to anonymously leave the rose on my daughter's desk. When caught by another classmate, he said he simply didn't want the rose. The classmate quickly reported this to my daughter, who came home crushed. (Hence, the term.)

Okay, so here it is one month later, and this boy approaches my daughter during recess and says, more or less, "I think you're cool now. Do you want to go out with me?"

If this had been me at age 11 (or 14, or even 20), I would have been flattered that he finally liked me back. I would have smiled coyly and accepted the title of "girlfriend" - an honor to brag about in the fifth grade.

But my daughter...she raised her eyebrows at this boy and said, "You kinda blew your chance already."

When she told me this, I was floored. "But didn't you feel vindicated, at least?" I asked.

"No, I don't like him anymore. He's a jerk. I don't even know what I saw in him."

I could have reminded her of the numerous times she'd told me about how sweet he'd been to her, how he'd smiled at her in a special way, how she used to say he would eventually grow up and realize he was in love with her. But I didn't.

I envy her.

Having such confidence (or is it pride?) at that age will help her avoid being the sucker I was for any guy who liked me, believing I should take what I could get. No, my daughter will decide with whom and when she has a relationship, and she seems to know that already at eleven years old. I don't even need to teach her to stand up for herself and not to settle because she's got that stuff down pat.

I respect her. And I told her so.

Hopefully, she'll still need me for the details if not the big picture, and I'll be there for her. In the meantime, all I can do is sit back and watch the show. I'm sure it's going to be a great one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On Words to Live By…for me, anyway

Today I’m feeling the need for inspiration. I haven’t felt it in a spell, and I am hungry for someone to feed me words of wisdom. But that isn’t happening.

So I’ve decided to spur a non-existent muse by re-quoting some folks much wiser than me. Perhaps they will also motivate you into action...
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back...a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country."
Anaïs Nin, The Diaries of Anaïs Nin

“I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.”
-Margaret Mead

Filter not the silliness you write
Better to let its vibrant aura breathe
Than extinguish the treasure torch.
...always wear your wander shoes.
Nicole Ducleroir, One Significant Moment at a Time

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
-Joseph Campbell

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Well, I'm feeling better. How about you?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Self-Promotion

I'm very bad at this. The self-promotion thing. So bad that just today, while watching a young woman read an e-book from her iPad next to me in a waiting room, I said nothing. Even when she started talking to another woman about the fiction book she was reading, proving she's an enthusiast of my genre, I still said nothing. After about 15 minutes of being my waiting room neighbor, she announced it was her birthday (in apology for all the IM popping sounds coming from the never-ending stream of birthday wishes).

Finally, I said something.

I knew I was going to be called in at any moment, so I asked her where she got her e-books. Turns out she's a Google books fan but was presently reading a Kindle book on her Kindle for iPad app.


"I know a great novel that just came out on Kindle, and it's only 99 cents."

"Really?" she asked. "That would be great because I'm almost done with this one."

"It's called Snapshot," I told her, "but you need the author's name because there are many titles with the word  snapshot in them. The author is Wendy Ramer."

"I've got a good memory," she assured me. "That's an easy one. I'll remember it."

"Great." I smiled. "I've got to go now but I wanted to wish you Happy Birthday. And by the way, I'm Wendy Ramer."

Then I got the exact response I was hoping for. The birthday girl beamed with excitement. "Oh, wow." She extended her hand for me to shake. "It's so nice to meet you."

Sure enough, as I shook her hand, I was called in. I couldn't have planned my exit any better.

I was proud of myself because prior to that moment, I felt it was somehow shameful to promote yourself. Then a friend reminded me the other day, "Your friends can't always be there for you, standing beside you with a megaphone to tell the world what a great writer you are. So if you don't do it, who will?"

Apart from the fact that no friend has ever used a megaphone to promote me and only one friend has ever bragged about me to others in front of my face (Thank you, Marisela!), I understood the point being made. So today I hopefully inspired one birthday girl to actually remember my name and search for me on Amazon. At the very least, I wished a stranger a Happy Birthday and made her feel good.

To my writer blog friends out there, how do you feel about promoting yourself? Are you comfortable with it? I'd be very curious to hear your take on it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

On Food and Dreams (Or, Some Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti)

100% true. The other day, my husband receives a call from a friend of his with the following question:

Do you and Wendy own an abandoned oil rig in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico?

Here is where things get interesting (because that question wasn't interesting enough). The guy explains a dream he had the night before, where my husband and I had converted an abandoned oil rig into a 5-star resort. The rooms were above sea level to provide a water view (what else?) while the rest of the hotel was underwater and included the finest restaurant.

The gist of the dream was that we had lured him out there with the promise of the finest cuisine in the Gulf (because there are so many choices). Once seated in the restaurant, we told him the specialty of the night was meat and that he was the main course.

Yes, ladies and husband and I were cannibals.

My husband's reply to all this...

Dude, before you went to bed, what did you eat?

This is my husband's explanation for all bad dreams...the food. (I want to note for the record that our cannibal cuisine had earned us 5-star status.)

What about you? Can you associate your strange dreams with what you ate the night before? Have you had any dreams that can trump this one? If they're porn-free, I invite you to share. I'm sure it would give my husband's friend comfort to know he's not the only crazy person out there.

Having said that, if you have a medium build - not too fatty and not too lean - I'd love to invite you over for dinner.