Originally published 7/21/14
If you'd like to help those who have lost their home or livelihood to the fires the best place to donate right now is the Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/wa/spokane
Fire, fire everywhere! We moved to Central Washington from the rainy West side in the spring of 2011 and every year forest fires have been in the forefront of everyone's mind the closer summer comes. I made a joke that first year that there were actually five seasons over here: fall, winter, spring, summer and fire season. It was a joke that has proved to be true. The first job I had after our move was right smack in the middle of Front Street in Leavenworth. I worked at Bearly Purrfect, which has since been remodeled into Cup and Kettle, which sits just above the Cheesemonger's. Though the job was “just” scooping ice cream and serving tourists, I loved it and miss it, and my co-workers and bosses, almost everyday. Working there, with life-long residents, taught me a lot about the area. I learned about local life, hiking spots and adventures to be had in Central Washington and I learned about the fires. They told me which fires raged when, honestly there have been so many I forget them all. The fires are named, not like hurricanes which are named after people, fire names come from the areas they consume and they year they raged. Look anywhere around here and you see remnants of past fires. Talk to anyone local and they can tell you their stories of the worst fires. Fire season is a part of life here and it has become a part of mine too. The first real bad fire I remember was in 2012. I was working at the Wenatchee Valley Tech Center with my beloved JAG students and fires raged between Wenatchee and Cashmere through September. My asthmatic tendencies made it hard for me to breathe and I spent the better part of the month in a mask. I was amazed at how the kids took it all in stride. They knew it would be over soon enough and it was no real cause for concern. I was freaking out that there was a fire so close but they shrugged it off and went about their days like it was normal. It was shocking. Fire that close to home seemed anything but normal to me but I was still new here, I didn't get it. Last year the fires got closer. We had one start on Eagle Creek, they called it a sleeper fire. Sleeper fires are caused when lightening strikes and catches a spark but it simmers for days, sometimes weeks before it ignites. Eagle Creek cutoff was just a half mile away from our house on Chumstick Highway. Talk about hitting close to home! Our family came up with a fire emergency plan. We decided on the important things to take; the humans, the pets, the computer, the pictures. Our photo albums stayed in a box for easy removal and the computer tower was easy enough to unplug and pull out in an evacuation. And then we waited to see what the fires did … and let life happen. The fire raged, the firefighters were heroes and eventually it was contained and burned out and life continued in Central Washington as it had every year before. One more plot of land left reminders of what fire can do and one more fire season went in the books. This year the the fires came early and are burning hot, fast and relentlessly. A co-worker who lives in Entiat had to drive for nearly two hours to get around that fire to come in to work before the road reopened. Hearing her plans for her animals and home made me realize how carefree my attitude is toward the fires because we're not home owners. If we lose our home in the fire, all we lose is stuff, we have insurance to cover that. If we owned our home it would be so much worse. That makes me think of Pateros. We've been there, my daughter and I had dinner there, it's a lovely little place and now it's gone. I wonder how many more houses will be lost. Highway 2 is still closed because of the fires, Winthrop is without power, what else will the fires affect before they're burned out? I have no idea when reprieve will come but I know that it will. In the meantime I have no doubt the firefighters will continue to fight using all the resources they have and that the community will continue to support their efforts. Despite the tragedy, I am proud. Our community support for our firefighters is commendable, I've seen children pull out guitars and sing songs of praise to a group firemen taking a break. I've seen signs of thanks posted on fences. I've heard the announcements in Safeway for fundraisers for those in Pateros who have lost their homes. I am deeply saddened for those who are displaced and worry along with others whose houses are still threatened but I am proud. I am proud of the citizens, of the community and of the brave firefighters doing their best to keep the devastation away from our communities. I get it now. It's fire season, it's part of life and we do what we can to get through it. More info on how to help victims of the fires: http://mynorthwest.com/108/2567860/How-to-help-the-Washington-wildfire-victims Link to fire news: http://q13fox.com/2014/07/18/theres-a-firestorm-in-washington-right-now-80-homes-destroyed-as-wildfire-grows-to-265-square-miles/#axzz3845AEJK3
I promised a month of pictures so here it is. Best news of the month, the dream became reality. I signed! I signed into a contract with Booktrope for both "Waiting on Justin" and "11 Lives of Evelynne." I'm so excited for this next step in my writing journey and can't wait for it to begin! I am beyond happy but it feels like a dream! We're still looking at a 2014 publication though.
June was one crazy, wonderful, busy month to say the least. I feel like there was hardly a moment to catch my breath. It was truly one of the best and worst months of my life. So much good, and so much stress and sadness too. I know I wasn't always at my best but I gave it a good try. Nope, my life is not, nor will it ever be perfect but it is good, and I am on cloud nine with the writing developments. I couldn't ask to live in a better place than Leavenworth (and I'll add Wenatchee since I spend so much time there too). I love my home state of Washington and though I never intended to travel it from end-to-end last month I guess I did and I was impressed once again at the beauty of the area I live. The Cascades, the plateaus, even the coastal gray, it is all so special to me. Oso you make me proud to be a Washingtonian, stay strong!
I think, if I remember correctly, I was watching Oprah when I first heard and fell in love with the ironic phrase: “You are too much, you are not enough”
I may have it wrong but I think she was building an all girls school in Africa and had to interview and choose a small number of girls from a sea of hopefuls that applied, each one desperate for the opportunity. One of the young girls tried so hard and in the end she asked... “Am I good enough?” I still hear her sweet, rich, accented voice ask it. I was only a girl myself and I knew just what she meant. Am I good enough? ...to be accepted, to be loved, to be trusted, valued, worth your time and space?
It resounded with Oprah as well, she shared her internal struggle with being good enough and maybe that was the first time I didn't feel alone in feeling that way.
“You are too much, you are not enough”
This is the story of my life, who I am is too much for a lot of people, who I am is not enough for a lot of people. I guess it's because my personality, my energy level, my ADHD and my emotional needs are over the top. I've known I was too much and not enough since I was young. I think big thoughts, feel big feelings and apparently that's wrong, or that's how I perceived it, still perceive it. I've been called melodramatic, a drama queen, mentally unstable, intimidating, too much to handle, too full of myself, overly emotional and so on. The words, and the wounds they left, have stuck. Yes, I have these big feelings and dreams inside me and I'm afraid to let them out because I don't want to be that girl, or now that I'm older, that woman. I don't want to be the center of attention, I don't want to be the loud mouth at the party, I don't want to be the one that always has the problem, or the one who cries at everything or has something to say to everyone. I want to “be normal,” I want to blend in, to just be one of the ladies. I would love to have my thoughts and feelings empathized with, respected, dare I say, I would like to be seen as inspirational. I want to be good enough but I don't want to be too much, but I feel so often like I am too much.
At the same exact time I feel like I'm not enough, never enough. If only I had more energy to get the things done a “good” wife, mom, employee, entrepreneur is supposed to do; then I'd be good enough. If only I could harness my passionate emotions for the plight of the destitute and starving in developing countries, then I'd be good enough to make a difference. If only I was more outspoken or conservative then I'd be Christian enough. But I'm never enough, I fall short, I'm tired at the end of an eight to ten hour work day where I've tried my best to get it all done and failed to complete my tasks. I know I'll have just as much to do the next day and I won't get it all done and I'll have to answer for why I didn't do it all. My day doesn't end there. There's still so much. A “good” woman goes home to to cook dinner, to clean her house, to tell her children and a husband (if she's good enough to have them) that she loves them. And, most importantly, a “good” woman never, ever loses her control or composure... ever! Extra good women also find time to take care of their health and body and care for the poor and needy, they make their own clothes, reduce, reuse, recycle and are studying for their doctorate too and they do it all with a smile on their face.
That's not me, I am too much, I am not enough! I try my best and no matter how hard I try it's never enough. I forget appointments, I lose my cool, I can go a month without talking to my parents and I don't practice the tenants of my faith daily. I usually cry for no good reason at least once a week, and I snap and say something stupid that I shouldn't have just as often. I over book myself and freak out when it all won't fit. I can't get it all done at work, I can't get it all done at home, I can't even do it all to take care of myself. I fail! There's too much and not enough of me.
Alanis Morissette's song, “Perfect,” sums it all up. “We'll love you, just the way your are... if you're perfect.”
The thing that gets me and makes me feel extra bad is that despite my insecurities about being too much and not enough I kind of like who I am, even some of the things others find offensive, and I'm more embarrassed to admit that than I am to admit how miserably I fail at life. It hasn't always been that way, I spent a lot of years self-loathing, self-doubting, self-deprecating, I still beat myself when I'm too much and let my emotions get the best of me. I will push and demand more of myself when I think I'm not enough for my boss, my family and my body. But, finally after years of uncertainty, I have made peace with my God and I kind of know that I have a place in this world too. I am loved, I am wanted... or at least I am “put up with” and that is enough for me, it has to be because I am doing my best.
I don't know, maybe I am different than every other woman on the planet, maybe no one else feels like she's too much but never enough, but I suspect I'm not alone. I think maybe it's common. I think it needs to come out. I hope my characters will let you know you're not alone. I hope my words will not only entertain you but also encourage you. Even though they're made up stories, I hope the tales I tell remind you of this: It's OK to be too much, and not enough...you'll still be loved. You are good enough just as you are! You do matter!
Am I the only one that feels this way? Would you read or share books about young women with internal struggles like this?
Next week I'll recap my "too much and not enough" photo journey through June, it'll wow ya... or make you roll your eyes.
The truth is, I like to write, I LOVE to tell stories! I could spend the rest of my life doing it and be happy... and that's what I'm trying to do.
I know I'm biased because I write the stuff, but I think my writing is good enough for me to make a living off of it. It's not easy to put together a story from a simple thought or feeling, but I can, I have an aptitude for it. My stories will get into your heart and head and change you.
They are probably not for most guys, in fact I've gotten in trouble when guys have read them before, so much so that some of my stories had to be destroyed. They are for women, like you, or your sister, or daughter, niece, or friend. I am a woman, I know how we think and more importantly, how we feel. I know the little insecurities that play in the back of your mind, the secret longings and desires the good women of America aren't supposed to mention in good company.
I know the fears and doubts because I feel them too. It doesn't mean I think exactly how you think but it means I can relate and I can be a voice where there is silence.
What I want to do with my stories is wake up your soul. I want my words to ignite feelings inside you that stir up your emotions. My son wrote an eloquent post on FaceBook once about how our culture tries to rush over the “ugly” feelings in life. He said we prescribe pills and fill our lives with distractions but we're not doing ourselves a favor when we do that. I agree with him and I write the way I do as proof of that. Yes, my intention is to entertain, to distract, to give you an escape from your reality but also to bring up the feelings we try to bury or ignore. I hope my words make you laugh, make you cry and wake you up so that when you're finished with the story you'll embrace your own life and live it well!
That's why I write and what I want to get out of it... but apparently I can't just write stories and hope people find them. No, no, no, I have to be a professional about it if I want to make it my profession. I have to market my work and since it's my work I'm trying to share with the world, it's my name I need to brand. This blog is my first attempt to get my name out there and despite thousands of assurances from tons of people that it'll be easy, it is not easy for me. I'm confused by the layout and preview tabs and all of that mess, but I'm determined so I'll get it sooner or later. On that note, if you have any pointers about blogging I'd be ever so grateful if you share them!
Right about now I'm questioning, and I think some people around me are questioning too, why I need a pen name and a blog and a this and a that if all I want to do is write; so for anyone that cares, here's why I'm doing all of this when all I really want to do is write.
“They” tell me I need a blog if I want to be an author in today's market, “they” tell me I need a website, and a FaceBook account, and an Instagram, and a Twitter, and a Pinterest, and all these other things to get maximum SEO, which I've learned stands for Search Engine Optimization. (I think SEO is a fancy way of saying “having your name show up when someone types it into Google”). Who are they? Well, they are actually them. I've been looking into both self-publishing and publishing with a new hybrid-style publisher. I'm currently in conversation with Booktrope but I'm antsy so I'm two-pronging the approach and looking into it self-publishing as well. So they are the many successful self-published authors making a living, or a portion of their living from their books, and Booktrope. I'm doing the best I can. I know FaceBook and InstaGram already so they're pretty easy but I don't know the rest. I'll get it because I want this bad enough, but know that my end goal is to tell you stories. All of this is for you. I hope you like it.
My current time line puts my first publication out around September 2014, unless I do sign with Booktrope and we set a different date. I wanted to release, “Waiting on Justin” first but because of some of the recommended marketing plans that price books at free, I'm hesitant to do that because I wrote it with my former high school students. Every book is special to me but this one is extra special. To remedy the situation I'm currently working on another story, “Catching Tatum” which is the first book in the series and, if I keep my fingers working fast enough, I should have it done and ready in time to keep my original publication date.
As much as I love to write and hope my stories will leave a lasting impression; I find it hard to believe there is anyone out there that will be interested in me and how I can take an idea and form it into a complete story. I can't imagine there is anyone that really wants to follow my journey to make my dreams come true, but, on the off chance you're out there, and you've read all of this and you are interested... I'll do my best to keep this blog updated at least weekly. I don't know how it'll turn out... but that's part of the fun now isn't it?
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