Been awhile, hasn’t it?
I’ve been busy building a company while working full time, too busy to keep this blog at the level I need it to be.
But all that busy-ness will come to a crashing halt next Wednesday as I’m wheeled into the operating room for a total knee replacement. This time my left. My right follows suit after the first one heals.
First surgery. First experience of staying in the hospital. Then a longish three month (minimum!) recovery.
I’m excited about walking pain free and cane free. Eventually. I’m curious about the surgical procedure-the plan now is to avoid a general anesthetic and do it via a spinal block and a “cocktail.” I told them to make it a double. And I can’t imagine what having an entire three months or more to focus on getting better is going to be like. I’m the woman who dictates emails to Siri from the shower. I’m writing this during my commute. I’m accustomed to doing at least three things at once.
Focus on me? Seriously?
Thing is I’ll need an outlet or two, for recording this journey, for thinking aloud, for pondering what comes next.
And while what I have to say may not always be joyful–or at times loud enough to be noise, you’re welcome to stick around to how the story goes.
I’ve come to the conclusion that if timing is everything, then I’ve got nothing.
Which is to say I usually get the best ideas to start something new at the worst possible time. But I also believe that if you wait for the “right time” to do something, you’d never do anything at all.
So in the midst of working full time at a fairly demanding job, consulting some on the side, two physio appointments a week and beginning a run up to surgery—along with all the usual stuff like housework, dentist appointments, getting Team Z to various vet check-ups, making sure we eat, have clean clothes and prepping for tax time—I’ve decided it’s time to start working on a book.
Actually, it’s not my decision. The story won’t leave me alone. It interrupts my showers, my commute and my sleep. My handbag is stuffed with scribbled-on index cards. The main character keeps downloading strange books for me to read. She whispers to me when I think I’m alone in my head. She tells me jokes. Normal people would make immediately go see some sort of specialized healthcare professional to make these encounters stop. But if you’re a writer, this is what passes for normal. And it means you might be on to something good.
So for the next year or two, whenever I have a spare half hour, I’ll be crawling into the skin of my narrator, a “(wo)man in black” who works for a covert government agency that investigates conspiracies. She also happens to be psychic. And figures out that we’re all in big trouble. Yeah, she’s got a hard row to hoe and a lot of evil to tap down. But I like her a lot and I’m looking forward to spending time being her. Or at least being along for the ride.
Problem is, when you travel in my circles, “I working on a book” can be one of the most joyous lines you hear. It can also sound like one of the most pretentious, depending on tone. And intent.
I’m a big believer that you get more writing done when you actually write, instead of talk or write about writing.
Which means entries to this blog may get few and far between at times.
What I will do though, is once I’m far enough along that the story makes some sense if you’re not me, I may share a sneak preview chapter or two. Could happen. Might.
For those of you who know me personally, if, in the near future, I start a serious discussion about Area 51 or the Illuminati or our reptilian alien overlords, remember, it’s not me. It’s my character. But never forget, Fox Mulder said “the truth is out there.” Or I could just make it up for a good yarn.
And yes, for the skeptics among us, I do think I’d look quite fetching in a tin foil hat.
Full disclosure—Her Joyful Noise has been the target of several strong criticisms over the past few weeks, comments so belligerent and personal that I made the decision not to subject my readers to them. Apparently, they stem from the fact that I have “sold out” and am using this blog space for trivial things—the minutiae of my everyday life. I am not, so the condemnations allege, doing my part for the GLBT movement.
Yep, that’s exactly what I’m doing here. Unapologetically, Her Joyful Noise is all about me and whatever catches my fancy for the week. And that’s the way it’s going to stay.
I’ve often said that I’ve never really worked a day in my life because I have always loved my career as a professional writer. But with the writing I do for pay, despite how interesting the topics may be—and they are—I am being told what to write. By clients, by creative directors, by project managers. And that’s OK, because that writing needs to serve a larger purpose. It’s not about me. It’s about the appealing to a target audience with a specific message. And I’m fine with that. But this blog is my comic relief, my cocktail after work, my hobby. Nothing more. It amuses me. If it amuses you, read it. If it doesn’t, don’t.
Much of the criticism levelled at me was because I used to be an “activist” and clearly I’ve turned my back on the “community” because I no longer write about gay and lesbian topics. Not true. I still do the occasional piece for women’s/lesbian publications—more because I’m friendly with the editor in question and they ask me nicely. But definitely not for the money, because frankly they don’t have any. I wouldn’t ever say that I was an activist—I wrote a monthly literary column and the odd feature for the country’s national GLBT newsmagazine. I wrote cultural pieces for about 20 different literary and political magazines and newspapers. I went to the occasional protest or rally—if the weather was nice. I was in my 20s, living in the big city, fairly recently out and exploring. It was exciting. I felt like I was on the front line of what truly was then, a revolution. Thanks to my position at the magazine, I got to meet and know a lot of real activists—and some of the best minds in what actually was a community back then. Some of these women were amazing. Some were horribly disappointing once you really got to know them. Which pretty much sums up just about anyone you meet.
But that was then. This is now.
I have been accused of being a “married suburbanite” who has lost her soul. Yes, I’m married. My love and I discovered through our lawyer that it was the best way to protect each other financially so we did it. It changed nothing about our relationship other than we got really kick-ass rings out of the deal. I’m actually an “exurbanite,” since I live too far out of the city to be on municipal water and power grids. If you’re going to attack me, get your facts straight. I have a full time job, a nearly full-time business, an aging, sometimes ill mother, a rather large house and a pretty big garden to take care of. I don’t have time to worry about much else. And yes, I like the comfort, ease and security that my love’s and my hard worked has brought us—we’ve earned everything we have. No one is going to diminish that as mere materialism.
Frankly, I don’t feel like a victimized, oppressed person. True, I am a lesbian, but I am also a wife, a daughter, an employee, a writer, a business person, an entrepreneur, an artist, a gardener, a baker. I vote, I pay my taxes, I’m active in my local neighbourhood association. And all those things that I am fight for equal time. That’s ok. Life is supposed to be busy and multifaceted and rich. I am the sum of all my parts.
I pondered long and hard whether or not it was worth wasting pixels responding to these criticisms. Was I trying too hard to justify how I live or think? But I realized that those words, aimed at me like to darts, with no other reason than to try to make me feel bad (and I repeat, “try”) relate to why I longer feel I need to fight what I consider other peoples’ battles.
The truth is—and one thing about this blog is that I will always be truthful in this space—the only source of oppression or discrimination I’ve ever felt in my life has been from other lesbians. I’ve never been “gay” enough. I never really fit in. I was too much the good girl coed. I wasn’t angry enough, I wasn’t snide and I didn’t get the inside jokes. I’ve been too trusting and not sufficiently self-protective. I have been hurt, abused, emotionally and physically, lied to, betrayed and generally hung out to dry by other lesbians. I’m not bitter about this, it’s all in the past and I have enough loving people, female and male, wonderful friends and the love of my life, who care about me enough to have washed all that away. But I’ve learned to keep a safe distance from the things that can take me down. I’ve also gained the maturity to realize that sex is only a very small part of the whole cornucopia that is genuine and lasting love. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s menopause, I don’t know. But my sexuality is only part of who I am and I refuse to let it define the whole of me.
So no, I don’t plan on waving any rainbow flags any time soon. I don’t go to Pride celebrations, it’s not necessary, I’m proud of myself for getting through every long, busy, crazy day of my life. I’m happy. I really am. And while it may sound like a self-help poster, I’ve found that the secret to that happiness really is being true to yourself and ignoring all those people who expect you to be someone else. It’s that simple.
Got to go. Breakfast is on the stove, Zoey’s got a grooming appointment, I’ve got laundry to do and groceries and a greenhouse to buy and a speech to write for a CEO—
It’s a typical Saturday, just being me.
*With apologies to S. E. Hinton and her wonderful young adult novel by the same title.
After a rather hellish week, with my love hitting the road each morning at 5 a.m. to work an early shift, a stifling heat wave that reached 42C with the humidity (that’s close to 112 F for my US readers) doctor and vet appointments and a dryer with mood swings and random labor stoppages, today—Saturday—was practically idyllic.
I slept until it was almost light outside, called my mom, then my love and I did a mad tango in our PJs in the backyard trying to hang queen size sheets on the compact but lifesaving umbrella clothesline we were forced to buy. See dryer situation above. I noticed how thickly the roses are climbing up the walls of the house. That is not a metaphor. I shared a whole-wheat blueberry bagel with Zoey—she’s a fan of grains and fruit. I love a dog that understands the importance of plenty of fiber and antioxidants. I got to town early before the crowds and after just five stores, confirmed that the new paint works with the new wallpaper, which works with the new curtains, which match the new furniture for our living room. (I failed to mention previously that we’re redecorating the entire house as well—at least plotting and preparing and buying what’s needed, holding off until Zoey is old enough to not want to help.)
It was a light at the end of the tunnel kind of morning.
Then I got thinking that while we may focus on all the things that go wrong, a lot of stuff goes right. Or at least right enough.
It was about two weeks ago that I announced in this blog that I was ready to at least begin to take my destiny into my own hands—and start the company I had been thinking about. At least part-time. Since that revelation, I’ve purchased a URL, registered a Facebook page and Twitter account and bartered with a designer friend to get my logo, business cards and website created. I’ve talked to three people who are quite convinced that they want to be clients. And last night, while I was at the supermarket, somewhere between the cereal aisle and the meat department, notice of an impending assignment—the perfect kind of gig for my new venture—sailed over the transom. Actually, it beeped in via my Blackberry, but my publishing background makes me love that old expression.
Whew. The irony is I have to put off writing the website I need to get good gigs—because the gig I got was so good.
Once I stopped grinning, which lasted several hours, it dawned me that everything about putting my plan into action got a lot easier—and much less “what the heck do I think I’m doing” scary—as soon as I made the decision to stop thinking about opening a business and actually do something about it. It’s like I told a friend last week—I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know for certain nothing will happen if I don’t at least try.
While I’m not much for new age stuff—I think crystals belong in earrings and antique radios, and I’ve really got too much on my plate in this life to worry about how I perished in my past ones—maybe there is something to this “putting it out to the universe.” Or perhaps, it’s more like the famous quote from film producer Samuel Goldwyn, who said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
All I know is that I needed a good Saturday and I got one. I needed a sign that I was doing the right thing—and I got plenty.
Now if only I could do something about that dryer…
NOTE: Just a warning that due to my upcoming renovations, evidence of impending success and the fact that it is summer, time to take it a little easy, Her Joyful Noise may get a little more random in the next few months.