Order of the Good Write

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


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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

bertatheagaveplant

“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?


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Rising Above Negativity

flowerandsunwood

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Light and love, people. Light and love.

Politics isn’t my thing. I’ve kept my words to myself. The crackling atmosphere has been filling up my head with so many emotions that I can’t even hash out blog postings and daily writings without stunted passages and small word counts. Politics always brings out the worse in people, but this year we’re seeing what lurks beneath the morals of various folks we thought we’ve known for years. We either stand in solidarity, or fall into the disarray of disagreement.

If there is a positive outcome to this acrimonious election year, it’s this: 2016 has brought in an era of shedding things that no longer serve us.

I believe in trying to stay in the light, and to find positivity in dark, challenging moments.

There are some who believe they have all the light and joy and right answers. They don’t need you darkening their life with beliefs they do not agree with. One personal comment will encourage them to blow up against your beliefs and throw verbal bombs your way, despite after you’ve kept quiet about their own offensive commentary. Funny how all that light and joy doesn’t not extend beyond their own house. (You can see, I’ve been in a tussle with someone lately.)

You can’t contain love within your own walls. You have to give a little out to the neighborhood, folks. Despite disagreements. No matter who you root for or whom you believe.

This shedding may also be a great opportunity to write your feelings, to devise a novel about love or friendships. The creative flow may be a waterfall of great stuff.

So, if you’re being bombarded by haters who hate your beliefs or show a side you’ve never seen before – just rise above it. Be strong in your ideas and moral values, and don’t ever treat a hater the way they treated you. Don’t engage. If you feel in your gut to break ties, only make that decision when you know it’s right.

Always be in the light.

Oh hey — and write it out!

 

 

 

 

 


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We Float

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Somewhere over the California Desert

It’s not often I get a window seat on a cross country flight. As someone who deals with anxiety, I’ll take an aisle seat every time, despite having to get up for bathroom bound passengers who are trapped three seats deep. Yet, this time, on a trip from LA to NYC and back, I was booked both ways in a bulkhead window seat, happily willing to help out in the unlikely event of an emergency. Extra leg room, easy access to getting up and not crawling over people – I was sitting pretty with my own personal view of the world below.

I was amazed at what I usually miss in an aisle seat on the edge of the row, my shoulders dodging wayward hips, as my back seat neighbor uses my headrest as a handle for getting up. My view is usually of the head in front of me, or the bathroom sign illuminated in either red/occupied or green/vacant.

At the window, where the light of day illuminated the textures of landmass and hills, I was transfixed by the planet below. I’ve often felt like I’ve never belonged down there, like I’m a soul in a body experiencing a human life outside a glass bubble and all of humanity is inside. Flying at an altitude of 34,000 feet made this feeling stronger than ever.

As we floated in this long metal vessel, the feeling of detachment was profound. Up in space, half way near the Kármán Line, our feet are on the cold steel floor of the aircraft. They are not on earth. And from way on high, we can see the beauty of the planet like a work of art.

There is so much texture to the land. The deserts I watched below were patterns of dunes and cut highways, ant colonies of human beings creating inlets for their own passage from one end of the space to another. Contrast of beige sand and shadows, muted greens and dots of inclines that may be vast to the human foot, yet little nothing from above.

The desert sands of California drifted into the Grand Canyon expanse of Arizona. Deep swaths of land cut and molded into sharp layers indicating millions of years of ocean water dissipating into nothing. You can see how the dying ocean cut long lines of water marks, decreasing into lower levels until a long winding thin river bed left the last dredges of briny water.

As the arid land of the western states stretched into dark greens cut with agriculture and shiny man made circles of water for cattle, I think of how little our angry lives are down below. We are an America made of two different factions, and we are living under civil unrest in so many ways.  There are people believing things out of fear and frustration. There are others angry over being sold a bad bill of goods. There is hatred and love. There is a sense of mourning for what we have become.

But the land was so beautiful below. We are all just souls living a human life, hovering over something bigger than us. From a plane, we see the big picture from great heights and only begin to understand how little we and our problems really are.

We should all have a window seat on the world.

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For the Writer, Art is the Motivator

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Palm Trees. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

(I wrote this post this morning on MarieForleo.com in reply to a discussion about the importance of art in our lives.  This comment felt like a blog post. I’d like to share it here. I hope you find some good in its message.)

Art is essential in allowing humanity to connect spiritually.

I use art to motivate my writing and the writing of others. Each facet of art, especially painting and sculpture (for me), can ignite a bevvy of stories for the world to see. It can inspires other and can change lives. It can shift a mind.

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Street Art/Berlin Wall. Wende Museum. Los Angeles.

Music is also a profound inspiration. Artists who write life affirming and soul searching lyrics have made me the writer I am today. They connect feelings into words. Music and art makes us feel less alone in this world.

I think the one piece of art that changed my life (other than music), was Georges Seurat’s painting “Sunday on the Island of Grande Jatte” and the musical play it inspired. James Lapine wrote the book for “Sunday in the Park with George” and Stephen Sondheim created the most glorious, heart wrenching, moving score to reflect the concept of how a painting can tell a story. How each visage, each person painted were really humans with beating hearts and broken lives painted in dabs of light. The way the painting comes to life with humanity and the love story woven in – showed me how art can be a powerful reflection of our lives. In fact, the entire show has specific lyrics that support this entire theme.

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‘Sunday in the Park with George’

 

Add the wonderful musical ‘Fun Home’ – which shows painful, universal themes in a beautiful, touching way – and we have continued proof that the arts tell the story of our lives.

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Cast of ‘Fun Home’. Photo by Christaan Felber. The New Yorker.

Don’t let anybody, or any negative voice in your head tell you otherwise. We need more art. We need creation.

As good ol’ Steve wrote in “Sunday…”

“Look at what you want,
Not at where you are,
Not at what you’ll be-
Look at all the things you’ve done for me
Opened up my eyes,
Taught me how to see,
Notice every tree…”

Just keep moving on. 🙂


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“Swim Til You Can’t See Land”

swim til you can't see land

Artwork by Rebecca Rebouche

David Bowie once said that the best place for a creative person to be is in the in-between. Floating between safety and peril, that lovely bouncing sense of nothing where your heart is in your throat, but your eyes are firmly set on the horizon. When you walk out in to the water’s edge until your feet barely touch the  ground. That’s the perfect place to be.

Sometimes being creative means to be brave. Being creative can mean producing word, art and performance. But it can also mean delving into a new depth of life. It can be about not letting fear get in your way. Bravery is breaking through convention and routine to build a scary road toward a life where you’re honoring your gift.

The best place to be is in the scary. Writing is scary. Creating a life you want rather the one you settle for conjures fear.

Isn’t it nice to know you can embrace fear?

Just embrace it. Let your failures be proof that you tried. Then get up and do it again.

And if you look around at your chaotic life where everything seems to be going wrong, don’t dwell on why. Understand how it happened. How the choices you made brought you here. Don’t dwell. Hash out the plans to get you out of it.

Remember, “The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not. You have to move on.”

Much like the glorious work of Rebecca Rebouche, whose delicate, surreal artwork (whose work you can find here), lends so much toward writing inspiration. Her work allows you to move away from the river’s edge until you feel the scary in-between.

 

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