I'm back. And my brain feels both blessed and a bit bruised maybe from the recent SIBA trip. (See Radio page) I have had the extreme honor and privilege of interviewing - which for Clearstory is more like chatting with good friends with authors attending the SIBA trade show. The list is too long to type here without running out of time. It included some of my all time favorite authors like Elizabeth Gilbert and Lee Smith, favorites for a number of reasons like Joshilyn Jackson who has known me since college and the beginning of good words, and great new discoveries.
But - right now looks like me staring out the window at the rain and thinking - I need to make a doc appt for a check up. I need to write 5000 words today. I need to edit interviews from SIBA, upload, check social media to check on a the illness of a friend's husband, make professional appts about professional things, write a friend, call my Mom and walk her through using her smart phone, pick up medicine for me and the dog, cook dinner, blog, and pray and walk and breathe, and plan my funeral. (I'll save that for an upcoming blog but I'm not dying any faster than I know of - it's just a southern thing.) And complete a few interviews about an upcoming event in Panama City Beach next week. Which means I need to pack. Which means I need to shop because I am out of decent clothes to wear in public and my jeans from Walmart most likely won't cut it for this event. (I'm not a shopper unless it's for tech toys, purses from Italy, or Channel perfume. And the rest of my fun shopping is from flea markets, yard sales and Goodwill.)
Why are we all so crazy busy? Because I know it's not just me. It seems to be everyone I know. But the fact is - as Celia Rivenbark says, I'm living the good life, baby - because I am. I get grand baby hugs and kisses. And I get to talk to you, and to authors I love and you love, and to promote their work. And on my very, good days I work in a letter to a friend, a little treadmill time, and I write a few 1000 original words.
On my worst days where I don't meet any of my lofty goals, overdraft my checking account by 32 cents, lose something important on the way to the coffee pot (who can do that!?!) and be a total mess all day, I still manage to say a prayer for a stranger that crosses my path. An imprint of a face, of a name, of a something about someone that I may say nothing more to than How are you? But by God I mean it. And I think in the end - that's what makes all the difference in the world.
Peace to you as you go about living your sloppy, beautiful, messy life. We're living the dream, baby. Living the dream!
That's a great line from the movie Almost Famous but I can't think of anything more appropriate at the moment that those words. I am currently in the middle of the great happening known as SIBA (the Southern Indie Bookseller's Alliance) and it has been downright - surreal. It's been Clearstory Radio time as we have taken the show on the road to New Orleans. And our pockets are spilling over with stories. We've had the pleasure of sitting down today with Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) to discuss her amazing new novel, with Lee Smith to discuss her latest, with Jillian Cantor to discuss her novel, Margo - and we've only just begun! Needless to say, you are going to want to pop over and check out the Clearstory Radio page, check out the new podcasts that will be uploaded there soon, and stay tuned for amazing shows in the days ahead. It's all about the power of story and you are going to love what comes next. Just remember - It's happening. Right now. Right here. In the Big Easy. (An incredible special thank you to associates Emily Gatlin, Editor-In-Chief of Hottie Tottie at Old MIss and Catherine Bock of Nashville for joining us on this amazing literary road trip adventure!)
Just missed a plane. And now, I am Laptop open, earphones in, with my music playing loud enough to drown out a thousand people having one way cell conversations. And since I can't listen to music without moving my head and my body following I look like those crazy people driving like they are on the dance floor.
After many years of flying (add many, many to that), I have missed maybe two planes in my life. This being one of them. Not that I haven't had my share of close calls. I've had my share, your's, and four of your neighbors.
So I had to make that phone call. The phone call where you tell your host that ummm, you are ever so imperfect and will not be there for dinner. Which sets the stage for me showing up late tonight and speaking all day tomorrow and telling - the bona fide truth.
I am imperfect. Some days I am a little more together, a little more productive, a little more all that. But many days find me rushing and barely hanging on and laughing and being uber human. Today is one of those days as I heard them saying if you are on this flight to Kansas City - well, you should already be on it because the doors. are. closing. I was 30 seconds away. So close.
My KC connection was ever so gracious and now I'm airport parked where I'm taking time to simply breathe. And be. And think how it shouldn't take a missed plane to get me to a place where I can sit. But not being one for totally sitting unless I'm rocking on a front porch, I'm choosing to lose myself in story. Mine and the novels I'm carrying on board. (Eventually)
All while I listen to Seal singing in my ears, "Sometimes, we all have to get a little . . ."
*(A special real life salute to the memory of the lives lost on 911 in flight and on the ground. God's unmeasured peace be with their family and friends as they live through this day.)
Van Morrison is singing, 'let me rock your gypsy soul' and I'm thinking - it's all mystic. All. This thing we call life. Full of surprises and pleasures and pains and these things we call good days and bad days.
I'm cooking dinner when the wet adorabes come wet and dripping and stand before me. They have a certain guilty air about them. I hear them whispering covertly consulting each other.
"Should we tell her now?"
"Well, we have to tell her."
"Zaza . . . " one begins. The other helps her out.
"We have some bad news for you," the oldest finishes.
"What is it?" Obviously, they are ok. I'm looking at them. So, how bad could it be.
Then the oldest produces a dripping iphone from behind her back.
"Leo was swimming with your phone."
"Really," I'm nodding my head. I don't know why. "And when exactly did you realize he had my phone?"
"When we saw something blue and blinking under the water."
My phone had obviously been sending out a distress signal. It didn't make it. And no, there is no rice in the house but I think it was beyond the rice trick anyway. (Please don't share with me about waterproof cases. I know all about otterboxes and lifeproof. I've had them but this time . . . )
I find most days are a mixture of bad and good. That they can be full of frustrating moments and then suddenly a seven year old child says, "Look!" and is looking up with wonder. And I turn to took up and the early morning clouds are arranged just so and colored pink and the child gets the moment. So, I get the moment. "I just love the clouds today," she says again. "Just love them."
And that's the secret. That's the Into the mystic morning secret. That we get that mystical magic from the great Creator of all time in the middle of it all. That we still get it when we are in the middle of the moments when life just isn't life-proof.
The morning of my last day on this trip to North Carolina has fallen. And today with great, great pleasure I get to have lunch with my talented, funny, friend Celia Rivenbark. It's a well deserved break. A much needed breaking of bread and sharing of stories. Then I'll be off to Nashville for one night with my husband and take off Wednesday again to speak in Kansas City.
Which brings me back to the page. There are stories to be told. Two sisters are currently in the middle of discovering a secret, and a love to be found, and a mystery to be solved somewhere deep in the night of Nashville. And they are waiting for me to give their words life.
For years on my original website (back in the days of yore) I wrote a blog titled ,Ramblings which was exactly that. Funny observances of everyday life. So I thought I'd just pick up the title and run with it on the new site. But things happen as yore becomes the powerful present. Changes. Clarification of the content of who we are and who we are in the world.
For a long time I've heard a few things regarding my books, my talks, my presentations, myself - and that is that I'm the real deal. That I tell the truth or as the new rage, Cloud Atlas says - the true-true. To which I can only say, yes and amen. I don't mean the truth about the superficial things. (Do I look fat in this? Do you like my hair this neon shade of green?) I mean the truth about the eternal things which I find of much more interest.
Years ago husband and I had the pleasure of visiting one of his favorite childhood spots, a lake house in Pennsylvania that belonged to his grandmother. We joined other family members there to visit. A part of the lakeside summer there was an annual community picnic we attended. One of Owen's uncles took great pleasure in introducing me as an author. But then he went on to point to me and exclaim - "She's bona fide!" He meant that I was published, in bookstores, in libraries. I was really an author in his eyes.
I got a great kick out of that. I still do.
Of all things, I was reading something in passing yesterday, and the word Bona fide jumped out of me. And I thought - well, yes. I'm still bona fide. Maybe more so. So if I'm offering words here to you, be they about the silliness of the day about bad dogs and perfect children, or this deep, abiding faith I have in a mystical Creator, I promise they'll be genuine. Sincere. Offered in good faith. And, sometimes even filled with the incredible power of the mad, mad truth.
Thanks so much for reading, liking and sharing with friends.