Happy Always New Year! May it open in full blossom.
This is the most rain I’ve seen in more than a decade. CA has been desperate for nourishment in an ongoing drought but here we are receiving hard rain all at once causing tragic incidents. But climate change has not been all at once and it only reminds us just how important, beautiful, and fragile our mother earth is. The spring will bring renewal of trees, flowers, desert, lakes, rivers, and a thirsty ground. Will renewal inspire humans to be kinder to our planet, kinder to one another, and kinder to oneself? I have experienced renewal after health crises that could have taken me to the great beyond and I have reinvented myself ten times over. While life is not perfect, there is no denying that a resilient and relentless spirit can play persistent characters in a long story of life.
This last month over the holidays and through the rain, there has been a lot of time to reflect while experiencing a good deal of solo time. Writing does require solitude, which rests on top of my personal solitude. I have the gift of picturesque landscaping out my big picture window. I’m often staring out to the grand trees and colorful landscaping, which will burst in color this coming spring from a good soaking. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions but do think in terms of how to find renewing inspiration or what I might want to reinvent within myself. In the midst of our rain I joined a group on a 10-day cleanse led by Ninaya, healer extraordinaire: https://www.ninaya.com/ and it was a good jump start to 2023. There’s always something to work on. It seems that I continue to work on faith and hope that both find a way of eluding me and, at times, during the most inopportune moments. I could definitely use a sense of renewal when it comes to rejection as a writer who is still learning the ropes since taking it on seriously after the age of 60. It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done and the most rewarding. Writing is cathartic and i can feel the renewal in my cells.
As a writer, receiving nos outweigh the yeses from submissions to journals, anthologies, magazines, literary agencies, and artist residencies. It’s always a positive jolt when the yes comes in and when I open the email, I expect a no so it’s a pleasant surprise to see ‘acceptance’. Any artist struggles through rejection. I’ve never been that thick skinned dealing with disappointment and discouragement. There’s an insecurity in me developed so early in childhood that it’s tough to shake. But I also learned early to be strong, persevere and an early master of showing strength on the outside but not altogether what runs through me on the inside.
I have reinvented myself many times. I spin plates and juggle balls until I figure something out. Starting out in fashion as a window dresser to then cocktail waitress to make enough money for a move to Los Angeles where I talked my way into the movie business, I learned to tap dance for steps to a goal. I had a good eye and instinct for story. I landed production jobs, executive assistant positions at studio and talent agencies, and as a story editor for screenplays all through the back door. I kept running, buzzing from job to job to manifest what I really wanted, which was to be a creative producer on movies. I was close many times and I persevered relentlessly. It was crushing to be so close but not reach the star. After moving to Santa Barbara marrying, becoming a stepmom and eventually divorcing, I had to start from scratch again in a town where I knew no one. Without seed money, I started a business as a wardrobe image and interior decor makeover specialist. I created a business card and hustled like a street walker for clients. I was confident with my creative ability but inexperienced as an entrepreneur. For some reason, I seem to inevitably fly by the seat of my pants. I did pretty well for close to 15 years. Breast cancer hit and the complicated ordeal involving 9 surgeries and 6 1/2 years of my life, my business got neglected. Once recovering from my ninth surgery, the pandemic hit and further neglected.
During that period of surgery-recovery time and again, I wrote a book. After the acceptance and scholarship to Prague summer writing program, I grew the confidence to say, “I’m a writer”. It got ahold of me and hasn’t let go. I love to write during a rainy day and long for rain for so many reasons. I grew up in tropical weather and there was beautiful, warm rain that would come down hard from a black cloud sky that would then disappear as fast as it came. The CA drought has made me sad for years as a result of climate crisis resulting in tragic fires and destruction of land, homes, and wildlife. I hope that the rain continues here but without anymore tragic effects. I love sleeping and waking to the sound of rain. It’s soothing.
I like the idea of contemplating renewal and reinvention for the New Year rather than making resolutions. Statistics show that people stick to them for a month or two and then fail which brings on guilt. I believe intentions and aspirations toward what you love and desire brings more success. What reinventions do you strive for or is there a pre-spring renewal on some aspect in your personal or business life you imagine? Maybe all the pieces of the puzzle fit just right in your life and it’s, steady on… as the Brits say.
I went out in the downpour briefly on the big rain day of Jan 14,2023 sporting my lined rain jacket and a knit hat I rarely get to wear since rain is sparse. I enjoyed it. I treated myself to a cappuccino at my neighborhood coffee spot. The barista drew a swan in the foam.
I’ve been gifted pretty hearts, kitties, and leaves but I’ve never had the benefit of swan art. I looked up the spiritual meaning of a swan and it fits what I live for in renewal:
“Grace, beauty, love, and the ability to find your own beauty and love yourself first”. It’s a meaningful sentiment to what has been swirling around in my being as I look toward the New Year. This country needs renewal and I will say that the Republican party needs a serious reinvention. They set a precedent of shame with the Orange guy where (dis)grace, pathological lying, cheating, hypocrisy, grifting, and autocracy is acceptable… now their norm. They ought to follow the moral compass of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Get a grip and renew your party for the sake of Democracy. The majority of us are sick of the crazy, shameful circus. There, I said it.
I started writing my book and blog with a promise to myself to be authentic with raw honesty regardless of any vulnerability or backlash. I will keep this promise as I carry on as a writer with needed tweeks of renewal. I trust your year will be washed with cleansing rain and that you treasure all the moments of beauty before you.
A wish for your hopes and desires to manifest in grace. May you glide through the New Year like a swan — smooth and lovely.
Keep on swimming through life,