Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lessons From 2014

Dear Lit Loves,

Well, here we are at the end of another year.  For me, 2014 was quite eventful.  I started the year as a resident of Duluth, Georgia and now reside in Morrisville, N.C.  I am glad to be back in the saddle once again in Tarheel territory I can tell you that much.  Henceforth are the lessons I took from my experiences in the year 2014.

Lesson One:  Metropolitan Atlanta Needs Big City Infrastructure

Since leaving Duluth, Georgia after thirteen years there and moving to  the research triangle park metropolitan area of North Carolina, I can see that Atlanta never planned for its infinite growth while metropolitan Raleigh and Research Triangle Park have.  Traffic is obscene in metro Atlanta because no one planned for the influx of folks especially those choosing to live in the suburbs.  Trying to get to Emory Hospital one morning for an appointment cost me two hours of sitting in traffic.  Toll roads and the peach pass for the fast lane do not help.  Proper planning could have helped, but no one bothered to take the time to seriously look at where the growth was happening and how to best build roads, bridges, mass transit, etc. to get people to their destinations without incurring serious down time.  Marta needed to be updated and revamped years ago.  And proper security needs to become a priority in the midtown Atlanta area especially near Georgia Tech.  It was ludicrous how many folks were stranded on Georgia roads and interstates due to a minor winter storm last January.  Kids stuck on school buses overnight, people abandoning their cars, and mass chaos.  It didn't have to occur.  The weather forecasters gave the warning; it was city officials and the governor who failed to listen and take action to support the residents of Georgia.

Lesson Two:  Literary Agents Are Not Always Able To Recognize The Next Bestseller.

Seriously folks, do you know the number of countless rejections racked up by some of our most successful authors?  Look at John Grisham, Stephen King, and especially J.K. Rowling.  It never should have taken so long for these fine literary talents to be discovered.  They had the content and skills to make the publishing industry a lot of money long before they actually did, but too many times each one was told "No" by the Literati.  Stephen King even nailed his rejections to the wall in his office.  This is who and what I think of each time I get a rejection.  Sometimes it's not you holding you back, it's the industry and the people in that industry. 

Lesson Three:  Some Editors Display Very Little Professionalism

I recently had a young, twenty-something editor take a look at a memoir manuscript and proposal on life adventures growing up with a vestibular/balance disorder.  Her response to my submission left me floored and disgusted.  According to said editor, no one cares about life's medical maladies.  Disorders and disabilities are not a subject any of us should concern ourselves with because it's not a reality many people currently experience.  Wow.  I want to speak with her when she's fifty years of age and has watched her parents suffer with stage four cancer, Type 2 diabetes, open-heart surgery,  and stroke.  Cause guess what?  You can't run from medical issues darling; they will catch up with you or someone you love.  And when they do, you'll think back and go, "Damn, there was a woman who experienced all this and wrote about it?  What in the hell was I thinking telling her this would never have a readership because it's not most folks reality?"  Live and learn people.

Lesson Four:  Cancer Is A Bitch

Yes, you read that correctly.  I've watched too many people battle many forms of this disease.  I've read about even more who have gotten in the ring with it.  I lost a close friend and colleague this year to neuroendocrine cancer once it returned six months after she was treated and declared in remission.  She wanted to live really badly.  She braved ugly forms of treatment for the disease and even worse side effects.   All this was to no avail because she died from the cancer anyway.  Such a strong person and incredibly talented teacher taken at far too young an age.  I miss her like nobody's business. 

Lesson Five:  You Can't Save Someone From A Bad Decision

I could speak to some friends, family, and acquaintances till I'm blue in the face and it will still never make a difference.  You can't prevent or save someone from the consequences of a bad decision.  You can only reach out to them in love and advise them of the pros and cons.  Whether your colleague is remaining with a man who is a meth addict and abusive or your friend can't extract herself from the grips of anorexia and depression, sometimes all you can do is give your best advice and pray for them.

Lesson Six:  Just When You Think You've Got A Grip On Life, Here Comes A Curveball

Honestly, I never thought my husband and I would have the opportunity to move back to North Carolina.  I'm a native North Carolinian.  I take pride in my southern heritage and my southern mannerisms and accent.  My husband works in the high tech industry and after thirteen years in Atlanta, we thought we would be there till kingdom come.  And then out of the blue, someone calls about a position and you get the offer of a lifetime.  Don't risk it by looking a gift horse in the mouth.  Embrace the change and opportunity and God Speed my friend.  Don't Look Back Either.

And that's a recap of some important lessons I've experienced this year.

Best Wishes For A Blessed New Year,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Relocation From Atlanta, Georgia To Morrisville, North Carolina

Dear Lit Loves,

Greetings loved ones!  I'm sorry it has been a bit since my last post; however, I was in the midst of packing up a house in Georgia, having my belongings loaded on a United truck, having said belongiings unloaded at a town house in North Carolina, and trying to determine where the nearest grocery store is and what the code is for gate entrance into my new town house complex!  Oh, it's been a scream!  I've thoroughly demolished two pairs of shoes in this whole process which just gives me a valid reason to go shop all the after Christmas sales.  Thank God for my brother who assisted me in the unloading process as I would have had a nervous breakdown otherwise.  You try having four men pulling your belongings off a moving truck, yelling box number and colors, and then trying to direct them where to put your furniture and belongings! 

The second week I spent trying to acquaint myself with my new area.  This included finding a bank, a local post office, a Barnes & Noble, the driver's license office, a pharmacy, and a grocery store.  All was going well up until I fell off a step ladder while trying to put shoe boxes on a top shelf in the master bedroom closet.  I hit the floor head first and then realized I had either sprained or broken my ankle.  Needless to say, I wound up at a Duke Urgent Care center (even though I'm a UNC alumni) and had all sorts of x-rays done.  Good News!  I have great bones due to all the calcium supplements I've been taking since age thirty and I didn't break any bones!  The bad news?  My left foot began to swell twice its normal size and I was told to promptly stop unpacking boxes at a frenetic pace!  Fortunately, after about a week my left foot was back to its normal size; however, I am now sporting various shades of blue and purple across my left foot so at least the healing has begun! 

Next, I located an editor looking for a memoir writer who writes about unusual experiences with a strong female voice.  I had to spend a great amount of time on the chaise due to my foot injury so I spent a lot of time online once Time Warner connected me to cable, phone, and internet service.  I promptly wrote the editor and explained, "You Have Found Your Memoir Writer!"  She requested the book proposal and first fifty pages of the manuscript.  Next, I had two literary agents contact me about my work.  I sent them my query months ago and had basically written them off, but life can surprise you sometimes. 

Meanwhile, I have no idea where my Christmas tree is in the storage unit so I gave up on decorating anything but my front door and that was only after I found my Christmas wreath and bought a wreath hanger for the front door of the town house!  I've been enjoying Christmas trees at various restaurants and cafes I'm just now discovering in the Research Triangle Park area.  I finished my Christmas shopping on Monday so I can now relax and enjoy the holidays.  And that's what I'm doing now along with sending holiday cards and notifying family and friends of my new address and phone number.  You'll probably also find me at Nordstrom or Macy's after Christmas in the shoe department attempting to find new ballet flats and loafers.  Ya'll enjoy the holidays!