Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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The Wisdom of Tom Petty

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“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
Oh, don’t let it kill you baby, don’t let it get to you
Don’t let ’em kill you baby, don’t let ’em get to you
I’ll be your breathin’ heart, I’ll be your cryin’ fool
Don’t let this go to far, don’t let it get to you.”

Words and Lyrics by Tom Petty

Since Tom Petty passed away early last month, I’ve been listening to him and his words like never before. He had a spirit connected to a level of source that was wrapped up in leather, coddled in guitars and flowed through a weary, snarling voice that personified 20th century music.

Petty was my high school days. He was my early Los Angeles world (“Free Fallin'”). His music was always rollicking and rolling. Although his music with the Heartbreakers and the Traveling Wilburys was the soundtrack of my 80’s and 90’s,  I never really HEARD his lyrics until the day he died.

Petty died on day one of a transitional period in my life. It was, and continues to be, an expansive, scary and amazing time of discovery, meetings with new people and some hard to ignore frustrations. With Petty’s untimely death making his music part of the zeitgeist, the words floated and landed with me at the most important time to hear them.

Especially the song, “The Waiting”. These past few weeks have been a test of patience. Waiting is hard, but part of applying one’s will toward the greater goal – the brass ring you know is coming if you just put in the work and let the powers that be take the wheel.

He was a sage. Just like Dylan or the Beatles – those touched by something that was beyond their comprehension. They opened the conduit to something other worldly. He translated the flow of a deep seed of knowledge we all find in the base of our soul. There were messages of survival and strength in the face of a cruel world. He opened the path and rendered words that would be understood by the human ear.

Songs like “Learning to Fly” and “I Won’t Back Down” have become anthems in my life at this particular time.

I take solace in “Learning to Fly” – how I’m starting out all alone on some dusty road, as the sun comes up day after day with new ways to find my wings.

And “I Won’t Back Down” is my mantra. This world will make you quake in your shoes, but I’m not gonna let it. I won’t give into fear. I will not give up my focus on success, and failure or rejection will not shake me for long.

I don’t mean to overstate this or make him out to be a god. He was only human, a man with a painful past that molded him into understanding the human condition so intensively, he could passively bring down some goodly wisdom from somewhere. Where that place is – we’ll never know until we’re no longer here.

We just have to wait.

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From Pain to Change

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I take a lot of spin classes, and one of the things many a spin instructor says while we’re in the throes of sweaty hell is this, “The more uncomfortable you are, the more you work through it, the more change you will see.”

As life toodles on and another year ends in my many decades on earth, I learn this little ditty on human perseverance more and more. There’s been a lot of pain that culminated in loss, health issues, job challenges and personal self improvement. But the one thing I can say is this – it’s temporary. As my beloved George the Beatle once said, “All Things Must Pass”. And they do. We plow through the pain. We lean into the fire and endure the flames until we come out on the other side singed and burned, but stronger. (Really? Stronger? Aren’t we bandaged and terribly sore? Bad metaphor. But you get the drift).

Today was a wee bit of a rough day. Uncertainty surrounded me, with so much hope for terrific opportunities dangled and just in reach.  It’s the waiting that adds more fire to the flame. But one thing I know is this. I’m damn good at what I do, and anyone would be lucky to have me. It’s beyond a cliche statement, written with some self delusion or self help mumbo jumbo. It’s real. I know it. I have what it takes to be amazing in contributing my mind, experience and dedication to anything anyone throws my way. I’m passionate about this. Just watch me.

Meanwhile, I wait. Another day. Another day on deck, full of possibilities.

By the way – that’s my dog’s butt in the photo.

 


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Treat Yo-Self

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We’re two days past “Trick or Treats” and all the fun of Halloween, so talking about treating oneself might not be for those still trying to work off all those Snicker Fun Size bars they wolfed down over the past 48 hours.

(What are you looking at? So what if I’m buzzing on a foggy brained sugar high right now?)

But when life gets rough, the one thing we do is treat ourselves rough. When a bad diagnosis freezes you in your tracks, or you’re unemployed, or you’re now the caregiver to a loved one who is fading fast – the last thing we want to do is treat ourselves. We fall into a pit of poor eating, no exercise because all your energy is going toward those freaked out nerves coursing through your veins. That’s not cool, people. Not cool at all.

I’m not a guru on these things, but I will say – that I’ve known people who were caregivers to spouses with grave conditions. It consumed their lives to the point where when that loved one passed away – they weren’t far behind on shuffling off the mortal coil. Why? Because when they accompanied their partner to the doctor, they didn’t stop to ask about their own pesky cough or that weird spot on their arm. Things go undiagnosed or waited on because they aren’t focused on their own well being. Their priority is the ill loved one.

If you’re reading this and going through the ringer of life, please make sure you do the following. This is not rocket science, and I’m not saying anything different that what other people are saying a bajillion times on the internet, but since you’ve landed here – try this:

1) Breathe. Go to a quiet place and breathe.

2) Meditate. There are vast resources on the internet to get you started. It will ground you.

3) Eat well. Be careful with the food you chose. Treat yourself to a fancy juice. Drop the pizza and the pasta for a day. Know that you need your strength and well being.

4) Exercise. Start off walking. Breathe in the air. Take a yoga class. Try spin class – it will knock your ass on the floor and cleanse you. Or just do something that makes you move and sweat. Endorphins are your friends!

5) Reach out to friends and family. Ask for their help. If they don’t help, reach out to your community. Volunteer for a cause that means something to you. Meet new people. Get information on how to handle the difficulties you’re facing. If you have an EAP (Employee Assistant Program) group at your place of work – give them a call. Most companies have this service as a perk. There are counselors on call that can help you for free on anything – mental health, legal matters, financial planning, child & elder care. It’s pretty awesome.

And just know – that we are living a life full of nonsense and chaos with lessons galore. You are amazing and strong. Understand what’s bad in this world.

Be good to yourself and kind to the world, because sometimes the best treat of all is how you feel when you treat others the way you want to be treated. 

 


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Going with the Flowing

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Ah, the first feel of autumn. It doesn’t matter if the calendar bumped over the Autumnal Equinox, summer’s heat always hangs around like a friend who’s outstayed their welcome on her couch.

Pumpkins are on your neighbors’ front stoops. Cotton blobs have been stretched and draped over bushes and trees to resemble massive nests of spider webs, but actually look like dryer lint that has exploded through a laundry room window. Decor of miniature rubber rats and cats with arched backs are sitting on lawns, freaking out your dog who thinks they’re his enemies.

Yet – the summer heat still lingers. They call it Indian Summer, where the colors of the leaves that are ready to shed off summer branches. Both entities don’t match the temperatures hitting your skin. The smell of mulch, mixed with dying summer. It’s the in-between. The confusion of leaving something behind and looking toward winter and it’s chill.

But, I’m going with the flow. Setting up a routine of meditating, job search, networking and writing. Trying my best to ignore how each of my neighbors go off into the world to earn their money to keep their home, live the lives they have chosen.

There are possibilities out there, and I’m in the twilight between what has left me and what’s to come. Just like autumn is the in-between of summer and fall that roars right into winter.

I only hope that what’s to come won’t be a snowstorm, or brittle cold. We work on choosing paths that will alter the chill. We discover and cherish warmth, color, beauty, light and abundance within frost frozen windows. Let it snow out there.

We’ve got more than what we need within. The more we know that, and the more we work at what we want with that belief – we are sitting pretty. There is a job out there that wants me. What is meant for me will come. I will work at it and embrace it. There is much I have to offer.

And – there’s that book I want to write, and the course I want to teach.

“A blank page or canvas. So many possibilities.” Stephen Sondheim

That’s going with the flowing.


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Workforce: Finding Your Way with Your “Why”

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I wake up everyday wondering what my “why” is. Why do I do the job I do everyday? Does it provide me more than just a paycheck, health care and a place to go where I feel I’m making a difference? Do I come home feeling fulfilled?

Simon Sinek is the purveyor of the concept of “Why”. In his book “Start with Why”, he proposes a simple and profound philosophy: Why do you do what you do? How do you help others do the same? What drives you to making you create a life and career that fulfills you?  (Read his book. He’s amazing, and my description can’t do his words justice.)

The work force has changed in the few decades since I graduated college. Rather than going for the safe and seemingly secure job, it’s become clear that nothing is safe nor secure. Money doesn’t grow in our bank accounts. Salary increases are not living up to inflation. Rents are stupidly high. We cannot build up the 401K plans provided by those who will cut us loose when budget figures don’t meet. If we lose health care, we are screwed.

In the advent of layoffs as probable options for companies, we are not able to grow careers under the mentor ship of our company executives unless we really focus on taking charge of our careers.

For introverts, like myself, who find it difficult to get out there and cultivate career goals, we don’t stand a chance.

And then, as we wander our way through the work week, counting down to Friday, some of us wake up and realize – we aren’t find our “why” in a paycheck because we are only at our jobs — for the paycheck.

When I was in college, I wanted to become a writer and producer. I wrote scripts, studied television and interned at NBC. When I graduated and went into the Reagan infused workplace of the 1980’s,  I went the conservative route. I became an Assistant – just to get my foot in the door of a major television network. The rest would take care of itself, I thought. I’d stay and work hard until someone recognized my accomplishments. My own network will grow, and I’ll apply for work that will lead me toward a job on a show. From there, I’ll offer my writing services, learn, work late hours, grow, build relationships.

What actually happened was this. I was laid off 4 times in 7 years. Instead of growing my path, I kept getting knocked off it. Fearing long unemployment, I went for and grabbed any assistant job within the industry – just for the paycheck. Just for somewhere to go that made me feel productive in society. Just to at least try my hand at my plan with another company.

I didn’t do the work after hours to gain my writing career, nor my production aspirations. My days were spent safe. Sound. Bored. Earning. Learning. But learning what?

Learning that after all those years – I fell asleep at the wheel.

30 years later – YES – 30 years – I’m still an assistant. I never ever wanted to be one. I didn’t work my college years writing and getting good grades thinking, “I really want to be an assistant!”

Yet, it happened.

Because I never really believed that what I wanted to do was going to happen for me.

Because no matter how hard I tried in the past, I never won – like all those track meets at school where I’d train and train my ass off to exhaustion – only to come in dead last all the time.  I thought winning was just completing the race no matter the standing. But I didn’t realize that idea had done some slow burner damage to my self esteem.

It’s easy for us to do this. And it’s easy for us to run to the same damn thing over and over again just because we want a little of what we once had, or to just play it safe. The problem with that is – you run aground. Your anchor gets stuck in the marsh.

With all this self awareness flooding through me, and understanding that I’ve been in a deep sleep all these years, I’m starting to wake up. I’m beginning to clear away fear and trying to find that blue sky to freedom.

In this millennium, we need to rethink the way we decide to do life. Millennials, Gen X-er’s, Boomers – we’re all in this together. If life is a drag and your job sucks. Or if you’re unemployed and can’t find anyone giving a damn about your resume. Maybe you should think of changing the work force on its head and go out on your own.

I’m thinking this way now.

Although I’m grateful at the moment that I do have a job, I want to work my way into no longer being beholden to a company.

How do I do this? How do we all do this?

Create a message that one is passionate about.  James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem sings, “You’re a pushover for passionate people.”

Yup. Because they’re all we introverted 30 year veterans of futility have to wake us up to how to flourish from within so we can change our notion of living and how to live. And because I want to be passionate about something or else I will fold into myself and fall asleep in the snow and die of hypothermia. (Cue Liz Lemon).

Devise a logical and doable plan – to build your own thing. Your own business.

Do life you’re own way.

Help others – others who are not your age, not of your generation, not your race, not of your life, not of your sexuality or of you gender – and together – try to find a way to create something that leads you on the road to WHY.

As we have seen in the news – those in elected office who call themselves our leaders – aren’t going to do it for us.

We have to get started. There’s a lot of work to do.

 


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Writing About Synchronicity

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The Morgan Library Ceiling

I was listening to an audio recording about signs from the universe and divine timing.

You know, those moments when you’ve just thought of a person and then you run into them.

You get an old, obscure song stuck in your head and you then you hear it on the radio.

You get behind a car with a license plate that says Jodie245, and you had just throught of your old friend Jodie about ten minutes before when you haven’t though of her in years?

In other words – synchronicity.

It’s been my experience that these incredible moments are meaningful signs of spiritual connection. Sometimes, my writing comes from these wonderful moments. That’s where the creative flow comes from.

So, the audio clip ended and I smiled to myself because I’ve been feeling in the flow. I clicked over to Instagram and randomly found a photo posted by Julian Lennon of his newly cleaned out garage. I loved the stonework on the floor and the artwork on the wall. He obviously has a lovely house.

And I thought – he made it alright after all, you know, despite his difficult childhood in the limelight, with a moody, distracted genius father and the acrimonious breakup of his parent’s marriage. Of course he became a successful songwriter and performer himself; yet, you know the ways of kids of the famous. Life can be difficult considering all the rumors about money or familial breakups.

Then a few minutes later, I got up and went downstairs to buy gum in our shop downstairs and “Hey Jude” was playing on the radio.

So, yeah – I believe in this divine timing stuff. I’ve had it many times in my life. How about you?

Writing Prompt: What fun moments of great timing have you’ve experienced? What amazing moments of synchronicity has crossed your path? This is good material. Write away!

 


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Writing About Plants of the Century

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“Bertha” The Stalk Sprouting Agave Plant, so big I couldn’t fit her in frame.

Writing Inspiration: When you go out into your neighborhood – what do you see that inspires you? Is it the old lady who lives in 446? Is it the garbage cans that never get picked up, or the old tree that looks like it’s going to come crashing through the Wilson’s new garage? Write about it. Here’s something that inspired me over on Istagram, which I’ve copied and pasted here.  

The Agave plant – aka The Century Plant- waits 25 to 80 years to bloom a stalk that flowers seed pods to propagate the next generation. It blooms like this when it knows it’s ready to die. Its death is sped up by putting all its energy and nutrients toward the growth of that stalk which will stand for a year or more until it falls and its seeds penetrate the earth. You can see her flayed open base yellowing in comparison to the other younger, healthier green Agave plants around her base. Once it starts growing, it grows at a rapid pace – 6 inches a day – and can rise more than 20 feet.

I walk by this beauty every day on my way to and from work. Its story is a testimony towards beauty, dignity and legacy. Unfortunately Bertha – as I like to call her, although I’m not sure if a plant like this is male or female (likely male, I mean…look at that stalk!) – will likely come crashing down and shed her seeds on the sun roof of the Range Rover in the neighbors driveway.

Huh… Nature…am I right?