The Ferris Bueller of Writing

Hello, Book World! It’s been a crazy, exciting time in the life of this writer. Last week, I celebrated a birthday, banged away on the keyboard for my current WIP, blogged and took in life. I’d say it was a stellar week, but then again I feel every waking moment is stellar. However, I digress.

What has Ferris Bueller got to do with writing? So thankful you asked;-) Well, Ferris Bueller has EVERYTHING to do with writing. I mean, not only is it hilariously funny, it’s a film with pointers on everyday living. You see, it’s easy for all of us to lose sight of the world around us and our life’s ambitions. The conundrums of eating, working, drinking, sleeping, working, tending to our house chores and children (did I mention working???) can pull the focus off of our goals faster than we can say “Lasagna,” which I’ve been longing to fork a sumptuous heap of onto my already forlorn and deprived tastebuds, but my gluten days are upon me and the rice noodles don’t taste as good.

Alas, we are beasts of habit, and the wood to stoke our fires sadly diminishes and we’re left to our learned daily rituals with a dim glimmer of the hopes and dreams traveling further out of our grasp with each passing moment.

The last time I watched Ferris Bueller I was but a wee babe, fantasizing over the fortune and fame that achieving movie star status would entail. I marveled at the spontaneity of Ferris, his hypochondriac friend and hot girlfriend seizing the day, getting in and out of situations effortlessly and comically. Who wouldn’t want to take a joy ride in the car or eat in a fine dining restaurant without having a care in the world? Matthew Broderick was perfectly cast in the role, and he’s one of my all time favorites even now. BUT, it wasn’t until I watched it again this past week after about a twenty-five year gap that I could fully understand and appreciate the message of the film.

Sure, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was meant for entertaining crowds and it excelled at that, but by the time the closing credits rolled, I gleaned another glaring message from this film that I wouldn’t have caught the first time around all those years ago.

Yep, I never caught this the first time around. We all need to slow down a little bit. I hear myself saying this a ton these days, and it’s true. Stop and smell the roses. Take time out to go to the park, go swimming, watch a movie, or read that book I’ve wanted to read. Of course, a date night is LONG overdue. Yet, many of us never take time to slow down and enjoy the little things until it’s late in the seventh inning when life has all but passed us by.

Now, what’s this got to do with writing? Everything! As writers, we observe, and if we’re too absorbed in the mundane of life, we fail to see the brilliance. Sure, we’ve got to tend the laundry, but take time to listen to the whirling of the machine. Imagine the cascade of bubbles sloshing about each time the washer spins. If a child cries out, listen to their pain, kiss their boo boos, and thank your loving stars that this day they cling to you.

Of course, another message I heard LOUD and CLEAR from this film the second time around was to take time for yourself. Not enough people do this either. I know we’ve got bills to pay, but we’ve all got five minutes to do something for ourselves. Ferris takes a day, but we can take five minutes. Listen. Breathe. Absorb your life.

If we hanker down and consciously take an active roll in our lives instead of floating through it, then we’ll be happier, joyful people, not to mention the upside to our writing or any other career we aim to achieve. Yep, our writing becomes vivid, a light in the tunnel of darkness, and we rain joy upon others in the process.

I can honestly say that I’ll be watching good ole Ferris Bueller again, but this time I won’t wait another twenty-five years. Nope, time is of the essence, and I plan on seizing it.

 

Carpe Diem and happy reading,

KD

My Little Secret for Being a Successful Writer

It’s no secret that “making it” in the writing world is rather difficult. Thousands before me, and thousands after, have or will have attempted the tumultuous journey of not only getting works published, but to become self-sufficient as an author.

de40972aae005131913a5899fea72f89

Writers are an insanely committed group of individuals jumping head first into the abyss of ridicule, self-doubt, and loathing with minuscule hope of ever being able to quit our day jobs and fully support ourselves with our writing. Our minds are flurries of ideas that wake us in the middle of the night to scrawl down tidbits from a dream or have us pulling our cars over in rush hour traffic to record the latest and greatest plot lines or character dynamics.

Yep, we’re dreamers, but dreams are the basis for success. Without dreams, what are we? Without goals, aren’t we on the proverbial hamster wheel, waiting for what? To live someone else’s dream?

Don’t get me wrong! Life is hard, and we need these day jobs to pay the bills. There’re dance classes, swim lessons, tutors to pay, for those with children, not to mention the water bill, rent, food in our bellies, and the list goes on. Our day jobs are necessary, but they don’t have to claim us for life. That’s what I love the most about writers because they’re willing to risk public humiliation to reach for their dreams. Oh, I’d rather be a dreamer than one drifting through life without a sense of direction.

My life, up to this point, has been filled with trials and tribulations, and I too held on with clinched fingers to the “day job,” but I’ve recently taken the plunge into the depths of writing, and I do it with eyes open. Most writers can’t give up their day jobs. True, but maybe, just maybe, with enough perseverance, lightning will strike, and it is to this hope that I now cling.

My secret? Well, it’s simple, really. Everyone is born with an innate ability to dream and be honest, hopeful, sincere, empathetic and genuine. It is this world that jades us or compels us into thinking that our abilities are somehow less than, but I refuse to believe it anymore. The brushes with death and other dealings of my life have broken the chains and allowed me to see the world around me with a renewed purpose.

84028-quotes-about-reaching-your-dreams

Let me explain. Last night I had the privilege of witnessing my child reach for a dream wrought with anxiety and fear. You see, after the Olympics, there’s an Olympic fever. Many parents flood the gyms with enthusiastic kids ready to become the next Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, or Alyson Felix. Their starry-eyed giddiness fill the air with hope and determination, and their parents, frazzled and unsure, willingly enroll them either to get them out of their hair for an hour or believing they will be the next greatest athlete of the world. Regardless, the gyms are filled to the brim, and I bask in the glory of it because these children exude the essence of putting a dream into reality.

Sure, lots of them will never realize the Olympic dream, but that’s okay. They blindly follow their dreams, and it is with this wonderful enthusiasm of childhood that I watched with my heart in my throat as my young child reached up to grip the gymnastics rings over six feet up in the air.

Yep, my heart skipped a beat because this was his first lesson. Ever. And I know how dangerous gymnastics can be. I naively thought they’d start him off on rings closer to the ground, but boy was I wrong. So, while the blood drained from my face and my skin grew clammy, I looked on as my timid little boy was lifted towards the heavens and gripped those monstrous sized rings into his tiny little hands and hung from them. I bit my lip as I watched the instructor ask him to pull his legs into a pike position in front of him several times, and I watched in disbelief as my child let go from those rings and fell through the air over six feet to land safely on the mats beneath him.

Yep, my timid little child, the one who said he was scared and clung to my hand before class, flew through the air and landed onto his feet and fell onto his backside. My once timid little boy ,who then leapt up to high five his instructor, turned to display an exultant grin on his little face and pumped his fist in the air felt the chains of fear break away. Proud, you ask? You betcha!

The vision of him letting go stays with me and reminds me that life is meant to be lived. It is meant to take calculated risks because without them we stay put, treading water, and for some that’s okay. No harm in that! For me, though, it’s a reminder for me to remember to let go. That’s the secret! Stop the negativity, the self-doubts because there will ALWAYS be naysayers. There will always be a reason NOT to write or achieve a dream, but remember, we only live once.

So, if that didn’t convince you, then how about this. I have another child who showed me this past weekend and over her life how to live freely and absolutely. Greeted with her own lot in life, she’s developed a love for ballet, and to say that she’s good would be an understatement. True, I’m her parent, but this sentiment comes from several of her teachers, and I believe they wouldn’t lead me astray in her capabilities. Recently, she decided she would try out for a professional ballet company production, and she piled in with all the other hopeful students of dance to pin a number on her leotard and dance in front of well respected ballet instructors to achieve a lifelong dream.

Again, fear and anxiety reared their ugly heads, but my daughter, fueled with courage of other female athletes she’s witnessed over the last several months, walked straight through the doors and danced her heart out for an hour. Even though we are to wait over a month for the results of her audition, we already know she won no matter what the outcome. She faced her fears and overcame them. Something she’s had to do over and over again in her life, and regardless of the result, she’s a winner in my book because she let go and danced.

Still in need of encouragement to grab life by the horns? Then you’re in luck because I have another son who is the epitome of strength, character and determination. Starting late in life for swimming, he’s endured lots of naysayers, but he’s soldiered on. He works diligently watching videos of the best swimmers, his favorite being Michael Phelps, and wishes to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. You know, he’s got an uphill battle, but I believe he can do it! He’ll do it because he lets go of bad days, the days he goes two strokes backwards instead of forwards. He strives on in the hopes of swimming for his country someday, and I’ll do my best to support him in his dreams as he’s supported me in mine.

you-can-only-achieve-your-dreams-when-you-start-believing-in-yourself

These three kids have shown me how to live life to the fullest, and there’s really no secret to that;-) We writers, athletes, physicians, pharmacists, teachers, ballet instructors, and every other person out there, we all need to let go and believe. Go ahead, dream away. Reach for those dreams and don’t look back. All it takes is for you to believe.

I’d love to hear your stories! What instances in life have gotten you to move forward in reaching your dreams?

Happy reading and happy dreaming,

KD

 

 

 

Poll Time: Team Anna, Ava or Sonja?

Poll time!

The Protectorate is full of strong abled women who aren’t at all afraid of ruffling a few feathers. So, which team would you choose? (These are characters I’d like to see cast;-))

Team Anna, Team Ava or Team Sonja?

Team Anna

Team Anna

Team Ava

Team Ava

Team Sonja

Team Sonja

I know I love all three!

Happy polling, and invite your friends to vote!

Pictures via vogue.co.uk, aol.com, and imdb.com for Alicia Vikander, Teresa Palmer and Gal Gadot respectively.

Dinner With The President

My passion for all things historical led me down the path of U.S. Presidential china upon my latest research endeavors in fiction writing. In order to stay true in my writing to events, places and people, I end up doing hours and hours of research pertaining to clothing styles, weather patterns, and, yes, dinnerware too.

A part in The Protectorate initially described Anna’s reaction to the glamorous dinner table setting at her Director’s house, but in the end I decided to take it out for various reasons. However, I spent a large amount of time researching how Rachel Jackson, President Andrew Jackson’s wife, set her table and the pieces she was known to have used. I find it fascinating to this day how something as common as dinnerware can lead to quite the insight into a person’s personality. So, it was with this flicker of interest that led me to peruse the patterns for all the U.S. President’s, starting with George Washington.

 

“Reservation for 320, now seating!”

 

Nowadays, Presidential dinners amass quite the number of guests, which means hundreds of place settings designed by none other than our First Ladies. However, that was not always the case. Presidential China wasn’t officially ordered until 1817 by then President James Madison for diplomatic usage. At the handsome price of $1,167.23, manufactured in by Dagoty and Honor and shipped directly from Paris, the 30 place settings and matching dessert plates were sure to dazzle any diplomatic representative.

china-room-china-monroe

James Monroe China Pattern via whitehousemuseum.org

 

So, what did George Washington eat on for his daily meals? Well, I’m happy you asked! Most fashionable people, and George dressed to impress, ordered the “Canton” blue and white china for everyday usage. It was called “Canton” due to the place of origin being Canton in southern China where traders brought it back to European markets for purchase. As these weren’t readily made in the Continental States at that time, Washington ordered his from across the pond in London to satisfy his noble needs and wants.

However, after 1772 Washington never again ordered china from England, and an expedition to find a new route to access the famed Chinese porcelain had begun post-revolution, and direct trade between China and the U.S. became a reality. Thanks to Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, in 1790 Washington received his long awaited set of china with the emblem of the Society of Cincinnati on it. Click here for more on the background of the Society of Cincinnati and Washington’s role in it.

Bachelor vs. Married Men china

 

Of course, it’s a hoot when you look at Washington’s bachelor day china. Marriage is a compromise, right? I think Martha had a say in future patterns;-)

IMG_9541.JPG

(Bachelor China) Photo via mountvernon.org

And look at this beauty, crafted for Martha with her initials by a representative of the Dutch East India Company. A 1930’s replica is all yours for a mere $550!

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the dining room which inspired all the research.

If you’re ever in the Nashville area, The Hermitage is a wonderful place to stop to delve back into the tumultuous and controversial life of President Andrew Jackson. One can always learn the do’s and don’ts from history!;-)

Thanks to whitehousehistory.org, firstladies.org and mountvernon.org for the wonderful history behind it all!

Happy reading and eating,

KD

Want Success? Embrace the GRIND — Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Fantastic blog post by Kristen Lamb, and she hits the nail on the head with staying on the long path of being a successful author. Moreover, her points for authors translate into other arenas of life and careers.

So, sit back and mull over the GRIND. I’m happy I did;-)

What do you want? How badly do you want it? What are you willing to sacrifice? These are the questions we must ask not once, but daily. There is no success without the GRIND.

via Want Success? Embrace the GRIND — Kristen Lamb’s Blog