Order of the Good Write

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


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Empower By Design- Surviving IKEA

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Until a few months ago, I had never set foot inside an IKEA. So, after selling off some old furniture to replace with more streamlined, modern ware, I hauled my ass over the Hollywood hills and headed over to Burbank. There – IKEA’s major blue hulk of Swedish wonder laid in wait, stocked with inexpensive, clean and functional designs for the choosing.

Screw the assembly part and the heavy packaged slates of wood that needed to fit into my two door Mini. After selling my old armoire from Pier 1 circa 2000, which I lugged out from New York City to Los Angeles several years ago, I was ready for some apartment therapy.

What stopped me from going to IKEA was that it was always sooooo far away. Whether it was on Long Island or Brooklyn, the headache would start just thinking about it. And now that my closest store is in Burbank, I put it off again for years. Traffic? No thanks.

But I did it. I drove to IKEA land, toward an area I’d never been, wondering how this New Yorker ended up driving along an industrial California road with bulging mountains on the horizon, in what felt like nowhere alongside a freight train line that probably saw Boxcar Willie roll into old Cali back in the last century. West End Avenue and the Grand Central Shuttle felt so far away.

All this to get to a place where they sell candles for $3.00.

But drove I did. And you know what? Learned a few things. Like how to survive a trip to IKEA without getting your soul sucked out of your brain.

For a then newbie like me, IKEA was a strange place. Just going there felt like I’d landed in an alternate universe. Pass those doors, got my bag and shopping cart, and it’s as if I was on Swedish territory. Well, I guess I was.

Meanwhile, I  languished in a building that felt as if Bed, Bath and Beyond and Crate & Barrel had an orgy with Home Depot in a SIMS world. Items with names like SVÅRTASEN, PANDRUP and VIMLE jumble your brain. It’s almost English but it’s not.
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When you enter an IKEA, you find your way through a pathway that goes one way around to various departments. It’s like being on a train on a one-way track where you have station stops, but instead of “125 Street” or “Grand Central”, you have “Bathroom”, “Bedroom”, “Office” – etc. And instead of a train, you have your feet, your cart and a line of people marching like ants alongside you until they make a beeline for the lamps.

As you see plates for $2.00, glassware for $6.00 and fancy woks for less than a Macy’s sale, you begin to enter into IKEA HEAD – an hypnotic mindset where your brain starts calculating the cool things your home will hold – what goes where – how things will be easier with that. You are now under the IKEA spell.

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Oh, look! Chris found Valentines Day salt & pepper shakers! Thanks, 30 Rock.

Settle in and just go with it.

Ahhhh….clean, white, modern functionality in my newly designed home. Come to me…

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Yes, I bought this desk.

Never been to an IKEA?

Here are some tips for first time IKEA people who don’t want to lose their mind. And I’m telling you this because since my maiden voyage, I’ve been to that big blue palace three more times and embraced the fatigue and brain squeeze of the place to where I feel I’m an almost expert.

Eradicate IKEA Brain Freeze. Create an Online Shopping List:

The beauty of modern day technology. Websites. Apps. IKEA has both. Hop onto the IKEA webpage or download their app. Create an account. Then go search for whatever fulfills your design starved home and click those beauties onto your “shopping list”.  There, you can edit or add, thing and absorb. Then, narrow down your booty so you’re ready for the day. Print it out, and then get going.  When you arrive, keep your blinders on. Look at the maps for locations. Get your stuff, and get the hell outta there. Brain freeze adverted. You’re welcome.

Order Your Stuff Online and Pick up at the Store:

Want to really narrow down your vision at IKEA? Never step foot in IKEA. Order your stuff online; however, be aware that you’re going to deal with a large shipping fee ($25 for even small items), and a two week wait. Plus, for big stuff, you’ll be under the thumb of a delivery schedule with windows of time that rival your cable repairman. So, be okay with that.

Here’s a cool thing. Order and pay for your items online and then pick up at your local store. No fuss. Just go to the information desk and ask where to go get your stuff. Someone will help pack your car so you can bounce – fast. No IKEA brain freeze, and you don’t get sucked into eating Swedish meatballs in the cafeteria. However, their potato chips at $1.79 a bag are awesome delicious at a price that makes your earn for 1978 again.

Bonus: You don’t get into arguments with your loved ones.

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As per Liz Lemon, IKEA can ruin relationship over dining room tables.

Go During Off Days:

I hate crowds and weekend parking nightmares. Suggestion – plan on going during the weekday when you have a day off. Not on weekends. Not during holidays where the whole nation has off. If you’re planning some time off or have flexibility during the week, go then. It will cut down on aggravation. You’ll find parking. There are just enough people to make you feel less lonely in that big place, but the lines won’t be long and the freedom to roam will less hindered.

Going in? Get Comfortable:

Okay, so you’re going in. IKEA is a vast, giant beast of a building. Wear comfortable shoes or sneakers. Also, bring that shopping list so you can get what you want and get out. Also, bring water. As a first timer, you’ll be blown away by how caught up you’ll get as each pretty, shiny thing you see spins you into a tizzy of “OMG..I need that now.” You need hydration, because the food and water is at the end of a long, long, long pathway through the homeware, past the warehouse and beyond the cash registers.

Get Your IKEA game on:

So, you’ve pass the doors and see all the cool stuff that create the ‘New You’.  IKEA HEAD has now lulled you into “The Zone”. As the synapses in your brain start easing into the flow, look down. A giant arrow appears on the ground, leading you in one direction past Art, Plants, Candles – until you spill out into a giant warehouse where you grab what will become your weekend project – your two o’clock in the morning nightmare – your date with a little “L” shaped metal bar and screws that go exactly where Swedish instructions tell you they go.

Bring Your Phone. You’re Taking Pictures:

It’s 2018. Like I have to tell you to bring your smart phone. But the whole point of IKEA, especially if you’re buying furniture to build, is to know how and where to find it.  Each furniture piece has a location tag. Take a picture of your item, and the “Self Service Area” tag. See it below?

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You will need to know that area, aisle and bin number once you head over to the warehouse-y place. Taking a picture of the item and the tag will help so you don’t get confused if you’re buying more than one item. You can see the picture of your desk – swipe left – and you see the corresponding self serve area tag so you know where and what you’re pick up.

Also – be mindful of the color. If your item comes in black, brown and white – and you want it in white – make sure you look at the colored dot on the box that denotes what color the item is inside.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint:

Hey, you wanted to go there in person. Now, you have to commit. Linger. Study. Fall in love with drapes and desks and rugs. Allow the brain freeze to take you in. Stay a while. Mindful shopping will allow you to edit your shopping cart/bag and make you get what you need. Don’t be ashamed if you have to go do the loop again to re-think things. You will be tired, but many a calorie will be burned, and the long haul will pay off.

Make Sure You Get Everything You Need:

You get home after burning off your Fitbit in steps, only to find you’ve picked up the wrong lamp base, curtain rod, do-dad that goes with the hizzy hoo. Now, you want to eat your face off. It’s likely you don’t want to return to the land of IKEA for a while. It’s usually a major trek, and to do all that driving and wandering with temptation in reach, yikes – you need a few weeks to power down after that. So, make sure your get what you came in for. That’s why exploring online offerings and bringing a shopping list is so helpful.

Assembling Those Items:

Be zen about assembly. Mull over the instructions. Be slow and mindful of the components. Open the box and have a look. Pretend you’ll start it tomorrow, but play with it. One step after another, and before you know it – you’re done.

If it’s a total bear of a build – then go on Youtube and see if there is a video. Or call IKEA and have them help you. Or – hire a guy to come to your house and build it. But come on. See that desk above and below? I bought it, brought it home and built it in less than 2 hours. It was fun and satisfying. And now my office looks cool. (And I bought and built that cubby hold shelving unit too.)

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Go easy. Enjoy the process. Bring in something new that is bright and functional. Create a fresh way to bring in a vibe so opportunities have space to enter.

Go forth IKEA novices! Design and be productive!

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Job Seekers Manifesto

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We are The Seekers, members of the workforce or career kingdom trying to live our truth while being the heroes in our survival; multi-generational, passionate beings in need of empowerment in the face of rejection.

Attention literary agents. I’m coming for you. I’m coming at you with words, thoughts, feelings and actionable ways to help readers find their power against adversity in finding their place in the workforce. How to maintain sanity in an insane world of competition during the “in-between” or periods of unemployment. How to find spiritual grounding when they feel their able-minded, talented, qualified self isn’t being heard against the din of resumes, LinkedIn silence and interviews that have gone nowhere. And my words are gonna start a new mindset on the challenges we all face in life – finding our purpose; finding our work; finding our tribe – and surviving.

Literary agents. I’m-a- gonna need you. Most of you are going to reject me with silence. Others are going to reject me with a written “no thanks”. But someone out there will know this book will touch a major swath of the workforce, rife with people of all ages who want a chance to shine and earn enough to live a good life. To life with power and lack of fear, to stand strong within their confidence while staying connected to spiritual guidance and love.

Some agent, somewhere will want this. Out of all the no’s will come a yes from the right one. And that person must give me support, guidance, editorial know how while selling my work to a terrific publisher. It will be the start of a beautiful relationship.

So, let’s do this.

Let’s party.

(As you can tell, I’m working on a book and looking for representation. After years of doing this on my own – it’s time to get serious. It’s on.)


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Finding Your Ground In Uncertain Times

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What to do under the stress of uncertainty? Take a page out of The Course in Miracles.

Meditate.

Stay focused on love.

Be grateful for what you have now, in this moment.

Keep your passions alive, and know that no matter where you are in a few months, the universe has you in its palm.

Work at it.

Stay focused on your passions.

The things you love to do, the talents you long to stretch – cannot be taken away from you. As long as you’re working hard on what you want to bring forth in this world, or land that wonderful job somewhere – you will be on the path to find it.

I know it sounds all woo-woo, but it’s really not, if you change your mindset.

I steal away during lunch hours at this wonderful job assignment I’m currently on and meditate to stay connected to what has existed before we did. It keeps me grounded. It clears my head of noise. If I’m overwhelmed with work, it settles my mind so I can go back and tackle the challenge with a clearer head.

It eradicates the fear that tries to bubble up when I wonder if they’ll like me enough to keep me. It gives me grounding strength to do the best job I can for people who have faith in me.

The only three things we can do is ask these questions:

1) Where would you have me go.
2) What do you want me to say?
3)..and to whom?

Just stay focused on who you are. And always ask yourself, “How can I be of help?”.

Now, that’s an “Amen” for a Tuesday night!

(If you’ve never heard of The Course In Miracles, check it out. I assure you, it’s not a cult or weird philosophy. It’s basically a study of the science of the mind and spirit that is a practice that helps you know what’s important, and how to live life without fear. It provides you with inner strength, and helps you wash away judgement and all that caddy behavior we sometimes like to waste our time with.)


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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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Writing: Not Giving A Rat’s A$$

no fucks given

**Warning: This Blog is Filled with major potty mouth. If you don’t like this language (and I don’t blame you) I absolutely respect it, and suggest you click on another fine, insightful blog post here at “Order…”. The subject matter brought out a way of writing I don’t want to edit. In fact, it was cathartic.  Thank you!

I’ve been reading this amazing book called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson.  The title alone just pulls you in. If you’ve been disappointed and tired of self help gurus and the magical thinking of manifesting and positive belief to get what you want – well, this book turns that all on its head.

By not giving any fucks, we’re not talking about going through life not actually giving any fucks. We all have to give some fucks. But the whole point of his thesis – and a very wise and interesting one it is – is making sure you know where you place your fucks and how.

Make sure your priorities are in check. In looking for your bliss – be realistic. Life is one big bowl of suckitude. It’s always unfair, rife with inequality and the luck of the uterus we were gestated in.

We lose our jobs, our money, or people die on us, leaving us bereft. We struggle to survive financially. We write lots of blog posts and articles, book proposal unseen and spec scripts turned down by TV studio workshops that favor writers with better connections.

We loose the love of our lives to other people. We hate on our politicians, our leaders, our false profits and the hypocrisy of a dangerous world placed in the hands of people who are looking out for themselves.

I could go on and on. Yeah, yeah – life can be beautiful. But we dwell more on how life can suck. Because life sucking makes you want to change things for the better.

This all doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Quite the contrary – we should try so hard it makes the fucks quake. Just don’t try by thinking you’re going to make it, because that will be your obstacle. It will make you raise the bar so high for yourself, that you won’t want to even try.

That’s why you shouldn’t give a fuckety fuck fuck about the outcome. Just do it. Just be a Nike ad. Just write. Just create. Who cares if it brings nothing. Let the work make you happy.

As Manson explains in his book: Life is hard, and choosing HOW we live through the pain is the secret to surviving. The pain of bad luck. The pain of hardship. The pain of pain. The pain of taking lemons and not making lemonade, but understanding the lemons so we can make some nice pressed juice in the future. Maybe with some lemons, now that we understand them.

The subtle art of not giving two fucks is to stop looking for happiness in materialistic things like money, houses, wealth, that hot man or lady who we think will complete our lives, because it only lasts for a little while. Then the problems begin. The bills. The upkeep. The arguments. The way she likes to snap her gum in your face, or how he scratches his butt at inappropriate moments.

It’s fuckery to compare someone in another lane, riding in his Mercedes and sharp suit, thinking this dude is all happy and we want to be happy like that too, only to find out the guy in the Mercedes is going bankrupt and being sued for a portion of his earnings and his wife left him for her bi-sexual spin instructor.

The art of not giving a rat’s fuck is allowing yourself to clear expectations of yourself and your goals. To chose your fucks wisely. It is here where we find freedom.  The freedom to clear away obstacles so we can just do the damn work for the sake of doing it where no fucks are given, and the fucks don’t even wanna know.

I’m going to write that book and coach people in writing. I don’t give two fucks.

Thanks for reading. But please – read Manson’s book.


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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?