The Final Round

Yesterday was my final round of chemotherapy.  I am thrilled that this portion of treatment is over with.

My mood was one of lot of ruminating as to where I am at in this life of mine.  I watched the sky outside my window change dramatically as it has this past week or so.  It transitioned from a mottled pale blue to an angry and menacing iron grey that made its position very clear.  It was going to rain and hard.

The leaves on the trees are changing various shades reminding me that autumn is indeed upon us.

Then the Benydrl kicked it.  I found myself getting incredibly sleepy to the point that I could not even hold a thought in this head of mine.  I sat with eyes closed trying to dig deeper, wanting to get a sharper, a clearer picture of who the woman is that looks back at me day after day.  What is she seeking?  Is she getting closer?

Yet, as I tried valiantly to hang onto these fleeting thoughts I was pulled into a vacuum of absolutely nothing. My daughter would come into the room, then leave as I couldn’t stay awake.  A small dog named Dixie came in so I sat up to greet the gal.  She was a sweet little thing, very friendly.

Then I sat back and again the eyes drifted shut.  These types of drugs make me feel foggy and I really don’t like the sensation.  My thought process felt like it was plodding through the thickest of mud.  An idea would form and by the time I had sent the message to open my notebook and pick up a pen and place it against a clean sheet of paper the thought had once more sunk back into the abyss of a drugged out wasteland.  I did a meditation that I think had much the same effect as the writing.

At times the sensations that moved through the body were cognitive.  When first the IV started with the chemo drug, and this particular one is three hours in length, I felt the rush of mild tingling, then odd little palpitations at times, the rush of heat, the chill of goosebumps.

By day’s end, I was delighted to bid the place adieu.  I will be sending a card to the nursing staff though and to the volunteers that stop in continually to see if they can serve you up some tea or coffee.  They make the day long venture almost pleasant.

Now I will be moving into the final stretch of this thing which is the radiation.  After that is complete then I will be monitored every three months for the first year.  I think it is bumped up to six months during the second, then just once a year thereafter.

Last night sleep was difficult and dreams were strange and fleeting.  This has been typical thus far in my experience with the first night of chemo.

I think one of the reasons I try to write everything down as well is due to the fact that I had read chemotherapy can affect your memory.  This troubled me initially so I decided I needed to keep my creative self motoring.

I laid in bed last night, having woken around 2:30 AM and never really getting back into a fitful sleep, plotting out various things for the new book I working on.  And I must say, I came up with some mighty fine ideas.  The details of how this operation are run; then how my main character will meet her love interest.  Still, I am trying to get a better view of him and how he operates.  I don’t quite have a handle on it just yet, but slowly his character is emerging.

That is the fun of writing.  I have been interviewing people for this book as I want my characters to not only be believable but interesting and intelligent.  And the plot has continually deepened on this one becoming not just an erotica novel, but one with heart.  And I am exploring how trauma effects and shapes us as sexual beings.

I have a deep curiosity about this and that ultimately is what this book will be exploring and digging into why we make the choices we do.  I think I will try putting up another survey as I now have a clearer picture of the information I am looking for.

These days I want to crawl around in someone’s head and find out how they came to be the sexual animal they are today.  It is such a big part of being human and yet this fear, if you will, of expressing our sexual self.  I want this to be an exploration from all sides and I want an honesty to it.

It is late Wednesday afternoon and I am feeling a little tired.  I am so glad that the chemo is a done deal.  I hope my hair will grow back looking fabulous and not some strange looking do.  Only time will tell.





Who am I and why am I here?

Ah yes, that age-old question that we all seek to answer during the course of our lifetime.  This morning I was considering some of my annoying habits.  There are a few that just seem to have ingrained themselves into my being.  The first correlates directly with the above statement.

I have this incessant need to explain everything.  This manic requirement to justify why I feel a certain way, why I said a certain thing, why words that are totally inappropriate slip from my lips, why I laugh when I think I should cry.

And yes, I ask myself who I am and what my purpose is from time to time, though I really try to steer clear of it.  It feels like a question on a test, doesn’t it?  Should there be multiple choices for the answer?  No, this one is an essay answer.  And I guess there really is no definitive response now is there?

I change and shift all the time according to the world around me and what influences my line of thought.  Am I the same person I was a week ago?  Actually, I am.

What I am finding is that at the core of my being I have always been the same.  What has changed and continues to do so is how I respond to the world around me.  We are at an early age molded into the expectations of our society at that time.  When I went to school young girls were not expected to do exceptionally well.  As long as you received a passing grade this was more than acceptable.  I was being groomed to be a good girl and find a man. I was to get married, manage a household and look good all the while.

Being the rebel that I am, I failed miserably and did not live up to these expectations at all.  Indeed, I slept around, never married, had a child out-of-wedlock and gained a horrendous amount of weight and looked just awful and felt worse.  It took me some twenty years or more to figure out how to operate a household budget to boot.

I didn’t set out to be a non-conformist…I just happened to be a run-a-way train that was continually derailing it seemed.

And society continues to make its demands on what it expects from those that want to move through it successfully.  And I have to wonder who makes this shit up?

I am, by nature, very simple.  At birth, I was a point of light, a being enraptured by the beauty and expanse of this endless universe.  Curious and playful with a deep love of all that surrounds me.  And that is me in a nutshell really.

That sense of self was buried for a long time in anger and fear.  Perhaps that’s part of the experience in the human equation. I think about trends.  We are told how to look, what to eat in order to look like that, how to dress.  Books line the stores telling us how to have it all.  Books on the ‘Laws of Attraction’ have become huge.  Follow these simple examples and you too, will have all the riches you’ve ever dreamed of!  I often wonder why they always push the material wealth as a selling point.

Ever wonder why we aren’t all mulch-millionaires by now?

Like many of you I read some of these books.  I did so more out of curiosity than anything else.  I am not a particularly material person to begin with so extreme wealth really has no personal interest to me.  What I found with these books was that they often parroted each other.

It sounds simple enough.  What you put out to the universe will be returned.  Not an easy thing to do though.  Once you start to look at the strings of energy that bind all of us, of the how they vibrate and how they affect each of us not just individually but collectively as well, then the complexities of the theory increase exponentially.  And are you seeking your signature in all this or chasing an idea that has been fed to you?  Hence the question, ‘Who am I?’

Perhaps that’s the key to all of this but I do know it’s not that simple.  I have listened to tapes that encourage repeated use so that you’ll have the messages hardwired.  Several years ago there was a program called ‘In Pursuit of Happiness or Perfection’….not sure which.  A woman I worked with paid $500 to attend this program.

She changed radically, after that week-long program and not in a good way.  One of the things the program encouraged was to surround herself with the people she wanted to be like.  It became very apparent that I was not one of those people.  Conversations that had once been enjoyable began to have a more obligatory feel on her end until I just didn’t bother engaging in the relationship at all.

I don’t know what happened with her.  I know she divorced and from there I can’t say.

I guess I looked at it this way.  I have to like who I am first and foremost and that’s what I have worked on.  As for why I am here?  Why for the journey, of course.  To watch the magic of each day unfold and be a part of it.

As for my annoying habits…and there are a few, I am working on them.

Enjoy your day and thanks again for stopping by.




The Business of Blogging

As I approach my 400th post, I have to stop and wonder about this whole blogging thing.  For me, it began and has been a tool that I have adopted in order to write on a regular basis to become better at the craft.  And I have covered any number of topics, have I not? When this whole thing started my daughter advised me to have a specific topic to blog about.  She said I would have more success because those that chose to follow my posts had an interest in whatever the topic was.

This idea derailed soon enough.

Honestly, I tried to adhere to that rule of thumb but hell, this head of mine has too much traffic in it at times.  I loosened the ropes and just decided to run with whatever topical inspiration happened to trigger a series of thoughts that could later be translated into the written word.

And here we are just shy of two years in this endeavour and if you’ve followed this blog then you’ll know I can be a little long-winded. You will know that I have had some health issues, that I love to run, that I love to move and that I love to play.  You may have picked up on the fact that I come from an abusive past and that I’ve been working on some major issues over the last few years.  I’ve displayed my sense of humour which can be a little strange I admit, and I’ve  tossed in a few poems along the way.

I’ve discussed political issues, women’s issues, health and beauty issues.  Am I opinionated?  Most definitely.  Am I open to new ideas?  Most definitely.  I have an incredibly curious mind and a big heart.  I do hope these qualities have been expressed through my writings.

Lately I’ve been getting emails about workshops on how to make my site super successful with 1,000’s of hits per month.  After 22 months of blogging, I have 226 followers from WordPress, 4,337 hits and 282 comments.  I have never had an award offered up and if I were to, I would really like it to be because something I wrote was really good and profound in some manner.

I’ve never been ‘Freshly Pressed’.  You can put me on straight out of the dryer, baby!  I also don’t have a clue how to attain such things.  I am told I need to focus on these aspects of marketing, however, because I will be publishing the book soon.

I have done due diligence and researched the publishing arena.  Currently I am working on the website.  The cover will be completed soon.  The eBook is formatted so now just the hard copy version needs to be done.

I have sourced out what to do for a book launch as well.  I hope the book does well. Yes, I am self-publishing.   Some of the reasons I opted to go this route are as follows.  It is a very personal story and one I did not feel comfortable selling the rights to.  Also I want to learn about the publishing industry.  What better way than to throw myself onto the fire?

I am not going to be relentlessly telling everyone to ‘buy my book’.

I will use threats and innuendo instead.  I will come and stand at you through your window all night and stare at you.  Totally creep you out!  Much more effective marketing campaign, don’t you think?

You’ll begin to wonder ‘What’s wrong with that woman?’

To which I’ll reply ‘Wanna find out, then buy the book!’

I am teasing of course.  I do want to thank all of you’ve who’ve signed on and who follow my ramblings.  This may not be a hugely successful site in terms of numbers but I am delighted with the response I’ve received thus far.  This blog was my first foray into writing for public consumption.  It’s been a fabulous journey thus far.  And so I will continue to learn and grow.

I have a new batch of words that I need to check on.  Hope I didn’t water them down too much.

Enjoy your day everyone and thank you again for hangin’ in with me.  It is very much appreciated on my end.



In Training (Day 30)…Observations

I have been in a rather strange mind-set these days.  I feel like I am hovering.  I am gazing forward and looking at the options that are presently set before me and while each begins with a certain vision, each path ultimately fades into a future that has not yet been determined.  Now the decision has to be which path represents my truth.

I had a conversation with a woman whom I know not too long ago and she asked me what I hope to gain by publishing my book.  I rattled on about wanting to be accepted as a good writer, someone who is good at her craft.  Of course, in my humble wisdom, making money wasn’t important and yet I did want it to be successful.  I did want to connect with people through the book.

I have been thinking about that conversation because as I grow closer to publication I really have to ask myself, very honestly, what I hope comes from the release of the book.  Of course I want it to be successful.  Show me a writer that doesn’t want their published work to be received well.  The book is a memoir and so I have an intimate and emotional connection to the story that I am telling.

So I thought about the release of it, and envisioned it disappearing amongst the hundreds of thousands of other books out there.  Lost in obscurity.  Read perhaps by a handful of people.  And I asked myself how that would make me feel.  In truth, I didn’t feel badly.  Not at all.  Some of the best books I have read have been those obscure titles that I have come across in a used book store.  The author is not known and yet the words they have penned hit their mark.

Quite often too, the books that do well and become bestsellers are not necessarily well written.  So it comes down to marketing the product.  I can quietly release the book and watch it fade to black or I can market the hell out of it.  Yet another aspect of this publishing quest that needs to be developed.  I suppose sometimes a book will catch on and go ‘viral’ as we now describe something that gains success publicly, something that just catches the public interest at that particular time.

A friend told me I didn’t have to publish it.  And no, I don’t have to publish it but I want to.

I have learned so much in this last year since I made the decision to write and publish this book and yet my knowledge in this sect is in its infancy.  There is a part of me that is quite excited and there is a part that is terrified.  I have been told that I am brave for offering this story to the reading public.  This is a statement I find rather curious.  I really think anyone who puts their creative self out there has a strength of character to be admired regardless of whether you enjoy the work being presented or not.

And this got me to thinking about the reasons why artists, musicians, photographers, writers, actors, etc. do what they do.  I can’t speak for everyone of course, but for myself personally I have a deep love of the written word.  Oh, I have a deep love of all the arts but writing is where I found my expression, my extension of self.  The written word can tell you far more accurately what this heart is feeling than the words falling from my lips ever could.

Far too many times the words were swallowed and not given the voice they sought.  Ah, but the pen spewed forth all the fears and hopes of this woman.

At the end of the day, I hope I can connect on some level.  Will it touch someone?  Help them?  Give them hope?  I don’t know.  For me the publication will be a release of sorts.

It is a grey and wet day here in Vancouver.   On days like this you would not know we have a spectacular mountain range half hour from the downtown core of the city.  When we are shrouded in cloud, it feels a bit gloomy at times.  I have heard tourists comment that they just ‘don’t get’ why everyone thinks Vancouver is such a beautiful city.  Then the sun comes out and the clouds dissipate and they are in awe at her beauty.

Why do I bring this up?  Not everything is as it seems.  So this is what I am gazing at before me now.  Which path do I move toward that when the clouds lift will fill me with wonder.  This next move on the chessboard of life is an important one and if I need to take a little extra time, then I will.  And this decision will be made by what is in my heart, not in my head.  That is the only way I will find my truth.

Enjoy your Monday!


Secrets & Lies

This has been a week that I found myself recovering from my injury.  Such a silly thing too, and yet the impact of it due to the location has pretty much sidelined me.  Next week I will ease back into my work out routine and hopefully, now that I have given the bruised hip opportunity to heal, I can resume my normal schedule in short order.  Having all this additional time has caused me to be a wee bit fretful at times.  I don’t like feeling fragile, it makes me feel weak.   In any case the thought process has been a bit more brooding in nature this week.

This morning as I drove in through the rain I started to think about all the programs and books that are out there that claim they will change your life.  For example, the book ‘The Secret’, claims that if you implement what they disclose, you will have everything you have ever wanted.  I did read the book, and in truth it didn’t do a damn thing for me.  It simply showed me that the majority of us are looking for something.  I listened to a CD earlier in the week that told me a very important ingredient was left out of the book ‘The Secret’, and that’s why it doesn’t work.

The CD stated, if I was interested, I could discover the missing components, and it wouldn’t cost me a dime.  So I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll bite.’  If this is not going to cost anything, why not?  So I will review this information with a good degree of skepticism.  For the record, I am not looking for unimaginable riches.  I don’t want wealth that is disgusting in its extreme.  I don’t want, nor do I need a house on every continent. And I will never go out and buy a car that is worth more than the value of condo in Vancouver.

What I am looking for is to find my full potential, my purpose and use it.  I want to know what it is to truly love and be loved of the variety that occurs between couples.  I want to try to make this world a better place, a sustainable and balanced place.

So when I hear about secret societies that are only available to the elite few, this tends to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  There is something so wrong about this notion.   There is a deceit to it.  That only a select few should be given ‘powerful’ information that can influence and direct so many of us.   I am all about transparency.  We have been far to closed and secretive for such a long time.  And what does that do to us?

We become suspicious and resentful.

A few years ago a woman I worked with took this program called ‘Pursuit of Perfection & Happiness’.  It was a four-day workshop that cost in the area of $520.00 which to me is excessive.  She went and she did change.  I found her less approachable as she had been instructed to surround herself with successful and powerful people and at that time, I was still really struggling to make ends meet.  She pressured her husband whom had not attended and in the end the marriage dissolved and they divorced.

I don’t know if she found true happiness and perfection as she was swallowed up by this machine that the program created.  And you know, I remember sitting with her as she tried to convince me to take the program and I didn’t have the funds to do so.  I asked her could she not share it with me?  Her mouth twisted down and she basically said everyone should be able to invest $520.00 in their future and why should she disclose this information to me if I wasn’t willing to make that investment?

I learned a lesson that day long ago.  Put up or shut up was basically what was relayed to me.  Does it make someone more likely to implement the secrets to happiness and perfection if they pay cold hard cash to find the answers?

It is a multi-billion dollar business.  You’ve got these guys that offer weekend workshops, and last time I checked they now hover in the $1,000.00 mark, and they guarantee that what they have to offer will change your life or you will get your money back.  I wonder what the statistics are in terms of people having their life changed dramatically over the course of a weekend.  And if they are not happy with results, do they get their money back without question?

I am looking within for the things I mentioned earlier.  That is where, for me, the answer’s lie.  I guess I look to some of this information with the hopes that it will be another piece to the puzzle.  Perhaps I have had the answer all this time and have subconsciously chosen not to use it.  Maybe too, when people go to these seminars and workshops, having paid their pound of flesh, they are so open and malleable to change that they view it has a miracle of sorts should it occur.  But lets face it, there are some extraordinary speakers out there.  They sit and speak with such quiet grace and eloquence.  And we want that, don’t we?  We want that quiet presence to just be.  I know I do.  I will no longer want for anything, for I will have all that I desire.

So I am going to listen to these fourteen CD’s that are being sent to me, at no cost.  And if I should find the answer to the quest we all seek, tell you what.  I’ll write about here and pass it along at no cost.  It’s your choice to use the information or not.

Perhaps we believe that by purchasing something there is more credibility and expertise associated with it.  But you know, I continually grow and learn from the most unlikely of sources.  An example would be a few weeks ago while doing a Photowalk in Chinatown here in Vancouver, I was approached by an old man named Black Charlie.  I didn’t have any spare change to give him but I took the time to talk with him for a few moments.

It was my acknowledgement of him, of showing him respect and affording him the dignity he deserves that he really appreciated.  And in parting he thanked me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.  A very simple thing really.  Always I hurt for people who I see on the street that are in a bad way.  For whatever reason they find themselves there, they are still people.

The lesson is about judgements.  How quickly we make them based solely on what we see before us.  And I know that people have looked at me as though I had something they might catch or they looked through me as if I wasn’t there.  For about six months at the age of sixteen I was homeless.  It’s not a nice feeling to have that you somehow don’t matter, that you are less than.  So yes, if all I can offer a few kind words, then I will offer them freely.

Tune in next time, as I might well have uncovered all the secrets of the universe and the lies too.

Enjoy your day everyone and be kind to one another.

Somewhere in the Middle

Yesterday was devoted to editing, reviewing some of the pictures I took on the weekend and the domestic bliss of the laundry, cleaning and menu planning variety.  I had the TV on in the late afternoon and from time to time certain phrases would slip into my head.  One was on Anderson Cooper Live.  The announcer stated, ‘”Coming up, a woman claims the bestseller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ destroyed her marriage.”

I smiled at this and shook my head.  We like to blame our problems sometimes on rather obscure things, don’t we?  I am sure if someone’s marriage was sound and solid, reading this book would not be cause for it to fall apart.  Of course, if you just happened to be a huge fan of the English language, this book may cause a certain hostility in you.  In fact, you may find yourself weeping uncontrollably at the unconscionable use of the written word in this book that claims to be an erotica novel.

I have refrained from posting my opinion on this particular book.  I have had a number of very animated conversations with fellow writers on this very topic and yes, sadly we sat there gnashing our teeth and pulling out our hair our and wept and wailed at how poorly this book was written.  We argued about erotica, porn and all the rest of it.  And I don’t even know why we were arguing!  I will blame it on the dastardly book!  We would find ourselves yelling at each other while we were in complete agreement on the topic.  Sad I tell you.  Very sad.

We  finally decided that we could no longer mention this particular book as it just stirred up far too many horrific memories for us.  Now not everyone in my writing group read this book.  One of the guys read it as did I.  I will never get back that week of my life.  I pushed through it, however, becoming increasingly agitated as I scraped my eyes over each page.

I now have nightmares due to phrases such ‘Oh my!’ ‘He murmured, she murmured’ (nobody talks in this book…they all murmur), ‘Holy Shit!  And the phrase that now makes me want cause bodily harm to myself as well as others, are you ready for this?  ‘My inner goddess…” Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

(I swear if these phrases were removed, two hundred of the five hundred pages would be eliminated…yes, that is how often they are used.)

It is interesting to me that so many ‘soccer moms’ are apparently just eating this book up.  Even more astonishing is that they think the sex scenes in this book are racy.  Good lord!  The one time that they start to get into the S & M on a heavier level, she leaves him.  He uses a leather belt or something like that, at her bequest, and spanks her damn good.  And she breaks it off.  Now the other aspect of this book that I disagree with is the misrepresentation of people who do enjoy this lifestyle.  This books make it appear that people who partake in this suffer from some sort of sexual deviancy.

Sadder yet, it’s not erotica!  It really isn’t!  It is simply a bad romance.  That’s it.  And it is a really bad romance.  I am sick of reading about virgins that have a million orgasms their first time out.  And our heroine in this book has never even masturbated!  Yet when he shows her the ‘dungeon’ for the first time, this doesn’t freak her out.   And she is still a virgin when she views this.  There are chains and pulley’s hanging from the ceiling, but of course she finds this mildly curious.  It goes downhill from there.  If I was a virgin and someone wanted me to sign a contract so that they could do certain things to me, for which I knew nothing about, I think I’d pass.  I get the whole ‘animal attraction’ thing,  I really do.  But this book is about as unrealistic as they come.

Someone told me perhaps that’s the point.  I only read the one book.  I won’t waste my time with the rest of it.  One woman I know has read all three and apparently she ‘fixes’ him.  Oh, they still have a wee bit of naughty fun, but it’s vanilla sex, baby, all the way to the altar and the 2.5 children.

I was in a year-long depression and in that year I read over 200 romance / erotica novels.  Don’t ask me why as that is a whole other aspect of psychology that would take a whole lot of explaining that I just don’t want to get into.  Suffice to say I became rather intimate with the formula of this genre.  I read really good books, I read really bad books, I read very intriguing books.  Okay, I am no expert but I know a bad romance when I read one.

So now that I have ranted about this, perhaps I will begin to sleep normally at night.  It happens quite often though when a book will become a bestseller for the strangest reason.  This quite often happens with celebrity books.  I typically don’t read books authored by celebrities or ‘unauthorized’ biographies.  Still, I know they are popular.  For me, as long as it is well written and honours the language code.

Sadly, this book shows the demise of the language in many ways.  Am I overreacting?  Probably.  I can be a little dramatic when something gets under my skin.  And this did.

E. L. James is enjoying her millions and oh, will I be going to see the movie? Not bloody likely.

So keep the faith people.  Hopefully this was one of those odd little anomalies that occur from time to time.

May we embrace and celebrate the creative spirit in its pure form.  Somewhere in the middle of all of this I will endeavor to do my part.

Have a good one.