Monday, February 20, 2012

Cleaning the Clutter

Realization hit a few days ago, as I helped the boys "shovel" out their room. We got rid of clothes they'd outgrown, bundled up toys they no longer played with, tidied and vacuumed 'til it fairly shone. Then I looked at a few other cluttered corners of the house. I mercilessly threw out garbage, got rid of toys the kids no longer played with, put things in their places and gave the dust bunnies a permanent residence in the vacuum cleaner bag. Then I called a cleaning company owned by a friend and made an appointment for them to tackle the larger chores in the house that as a single mom I don't have time for.

As I surveyed my domain, I realized that as I physically cleaned the clutter from my home, it was just another way I was de-cluttering my life. For the past year, I've been letting go of a twenty year relationship.  For a while after it ended, I just wanted to make it through another day. As time went on, I began to rid myself of old insecurities and past hurts. Then I began ridding my brain of old notions of love and relationships. I am twenty years older than when I went into that relationship, and I figured if I wanted something different, I'd have to think about things differently. Over the past few weeks especially, I've been reading spiritual books, embracing new ways of thinking, letting go of anger, and feeling good about life.

In my debut novel, Claire LeMay had to de-clutter her thinking to realize she's in charge of her life. Here's an excerpt:

Angry again, Claire said, “When is someone going to ask me what I want? When are people going to realize I’m the one who makes the decisions in my life?”
“What are you talking about?” Shelley propped her elbow on the table and rested her chin in her hand.
Claire sighed in exasperation. “You know how it’s always been.” She picked up her spoon again, scooped the tea bag out of her cup, and threw it in the garbage.
“Is this some childhood thing you’re trying to get over? I’ve only got so much time. Our flight leaves in a few hours.”
Claire shuffled over to a chair and sat across from Shelley. There was so much truth in that question. She’d always felt like everyone else had called the shots, while she'd dutifully agreed to their plans for her gymnastics career. Maybe the only reason she hadn’t jumped at the chance to move here to be with Justin three years ago was because he’d never asked her to, he'd just demanded it.
Last night she’d been upset that no one had asked her what she wanted. One of the parents had even suggested she could teach gymnastics anywhere, but at the time, she’d only been thinking of the job she had. Did she love her job more than Justin? Three years ago, she’d accused him of loving his career more than her. Now she supposed he thought the same about her.
What did she really want in her life?
His name popped into her head before she even had time to consider. The more she thought about it, the more she realized it was true. Was she willing to give up the one thing she really wanted in her life simply because of her need to be in control?
Shelley drummed the fingers of one hand on the table top. “I’m waiting.”
Claire put her head down on her forearms. “Oh, God,” she moaned. “I’m so stupid.”
“There, there.” Shelley patted her on the back. “We can’t all be smart about everything.”
“No, Shelley, I have been stupid. I’ve been fighting so hard for my independence all these years, I didn’t realize I had it.”

 As they say:  "To get something you never had, you have to do something you've never done." So, here's hoping that my new outlook on life will bring me things I never had before. So, how about you? Do you often find yourself repeating the same old thing? Or do you periodically clean out the clutter of your mind so you can look at life in a new way? I'd love to hear from people.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Sound of a Million Dreams

Okay, it's no secret that I strongly rely on music as inspiration for my writing. So, once again, I'm veering away from last week's visual inspiration via hunky, hot, hard-bodied men...thanks again, Jennifer...and talk instead about lyrical inspirations. I've recently downloaded David Nail's newest CD called The Sound of a Million Dreams. The title cut is written by another favorite songwriter/singer of mine, named Phil Vassar. This beautiful song touched me in a way no song has before. It reminds me of how I feel about all of us feel, working...laboring...agonizing over our written words. We sacrifice long hours, days, nights, weekends, months or even years over a single storyline. All in hopes that when someone reads it, it'll strike a chord with them, invoke a memory or a feeling that makes them want to keep reading OUR work...and VOILA...we have a fan...or an agent...or even a publisher!

So I'm attaching a video of David singing my new favorite song, The Sound of a Million Dreams. Sorry ladies, he hasn't made an actual music video yet. This is all I could find. Hope you enjoy, and hope the link works for all of you. If not, look it up or download's totally worth it.

Here are the lyrics:


Seger was singing words I could believe in
and "Mainstreet" was my street that night.
So I called up Samantha and asked her the chance of
Us running out 'neath the moonlight.
Though she's not with me now, she can always be found
when I rewind the radio dial.
And like it was then, I feel her on my skin
and I'm back there for a while.

So I labor for hours 'cause I know the power
of a song when a song hits you right.
Pouring my soul into stories of life,
Hoping someone will hear one tonight.
Maybe my voice will cut through the noise
and stir up an old memory.
And out of these piano keys
comes the sound...the sound of a million dreams.

My 18th summer I was a cocky 'up and comer'
Crankin' up "Born to Run".
Turn left out the drive with the pistons open wide,
and I came back a Prodigal Son.
My spirit was broken, she threw the door open
I love you, not I told you so.
When I hear "Mama Tried" I still break down and cry
and pull to the side of the road.

So I labor for hours 'cause I know the power
of a song when a song hits you right.
Pouring my soul into stories of life,
Hoping someone will hear one tonight.
Maybe my voice will cut through the noise
and stir up an old memory.
And out of these piano keys
comes the sound...the sound of a million dreams.