Category: Fearlessness

Huh? Is This ME???

This IS me! I’m staring into space in the fall of 2022. I am seventy-two. I’m small. And tall. I have no clue at all.

“Heaven is a new pair of glasses.” ~ Anne Lamott

With this post, I am starting on the second in the series that started with Giving My Self to the Wind. (2017)

 

This one will be called: Giving My Self to the Stars

Subtitle: How to BE Life (NOTE: Not DO Life)

 

 

“How to Be Alive”

“How to Life”

“Life’s Secrets” Hint: There are none.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIG Dreams for LITTLE People

THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD
An engineer’s brain saw a cross-country train
Feeding greedy men’s dreams of riches
But to build the train across fields of grain
Is hard — don’t they know them sons of bitches?
 
And yet the crazy thought 
Of just one-week travel
Makes our own sweaty juices flow.
It almost seems funny that
We work for money,
But that’s not all, 
We know.
 
The railroad’s BIG in every way. 
A huge, gutsy step from our past
It’s scary,  it’s hairy.
And dirty? Very.
We work it and hope we last!
 
But while it’s BIG. We’re just a tie
A spike on the railroad’s tracks
We want a piece, of the riches, ‘fer sure
In return for breaking our backs.
 
“Whatchya gonna do
With the money you make?”
I’m gonna start a store, how ‘bout you?
“I’m gonna buy some land,
Have kids, like I planned.
And run a farm
Just like my old man.”
 
The railroad’s BIG in every way. 
A huge gutsy step from our past
It’s scary,  it’s hairy.
And dirty? Very.
We work it and hope we last!
 
This cross-country train is BIG; we know it. 
It’s why we keep on toiling.
It’s bigger than BIG, a crushing task
Through ice and rain and boiling.
Cuz here’s the thing we cannot do.
We simply cannot blow it.
And cuz it’s BIG, we continue to try.
It’s bigger than BIG; we work or die.
 
It’s BIG
We know it in our gut 
It’s BIG
We want a piece, a cut
It’s BIG, no lie.
We work and cry
It’s BIG
It’s BIG
It’s BIG
 Let’s not die.
This piece will be set to music and will be a part of my next historical fiction production, The Woman Who Saved the Transcontinental Railroad.

Happiness Is Not Needing More

I don’t need anything more.

No nothing. Of that, I am shore.

I don’t need more stuff, it’s all just fluff.

More clothes? I’ll give mine to the poor.

 

I’m not taking a class or writing a post.

I won’t try putting extra butter on my toast.

I’ll refrain from checking my Facebook Page.

And won’t tweet a Tweet to vent my rage.

I will not compare. I will not look back.

I cannot look forward or fear an attack.

Today is today. And all I can say

To the people who’ve gone astray and lost their way…

EGBOK, my friends. Have faith. Make hay.

Believe me, Receive me. “Everything’s Going to Be OK.

Now… Am I happy?

 

 * * *

I think the entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant would agree with Andy Puddicome, founder of the meditation app, Headspace, that we only find happiness in the present. And we can only be in the present if we are willing to work hard to do  nothing.

Do you feel the TENSION in that statement? I do!

When we meditate, we are trying to do just that. We work (at meditation) to pay attention to only one thing in the present moment. Thoughts of the future and the past and the emotions surrounding those thoughts rip us from our present.

Worry is a particularly useless feeling. It’s a projection of a future over which we have no control. Worry can also be a feeling that shoves us back to some previous time when we wish we had done or said something different. Wayne Dyer used to say, “You can’t should have done anything!” I miss him.

I smile at my own ineptitude. I’m not Naval, nor Andy, nor Wayne. (All men, by the way, and what’s that about?). I am, however, beautifully inept. I am wondering about the depth of my imperfection at this second. When actually, in this very next second, I am happy. Grateful. Here at this moment, to be writing this post and nothing else.

It’s bitchin’, I tell you, bitchin’!

 

 

 

Inspiration for the Novel “Deathlist”

I’m often asked, “What was the inspiration for this novel?”

Well, pretty often.  Um, so. Hmmm. Okay. I’m telling you now that you’ve asked. Thanks! 🙂

Here’s my ANSWER: Every time I saw someone on the news or heard of a person dying that seemed especially odd (like a child, for gosh sakes, or someone sitting on a bench eating a sandwich and a tree fell on them, maybe), I began to form a theory that everyone had a specified death date. Death was not by chance, happenstance, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. God had it planned out. He kept track of it in a big database, which someone or other dubbed the Deathlist.

I still believe there might be one somewhere. How do you explain those little times when you were two seconds behind that huge traffic accident? Or, okay, on a morbid but equally mysterious level, why do some suicide attempts not work? Without bogging down my explanation with statistics, we can all report anecdotal evidence of failed suicides.

Then imagine that humans were somehow allowed to know what their death date was. That was the germ of the book.

Would you want to know when you’re going to die? 

I could know how much time I had to finish and publish the Deathlist. Write a how-to book about anything. (I’m not sure, but I buy a lot of those fix-me-please books, so I think I should write one!)

 

LOVE to have you take the survey and… oh yes, buy the book. 🙂

Madeleine Albright Died Today

Really.

There was some kind of hoax a while ago. It said she was gone, but she was not. She was alive.

Now, she really is gone.

My friend lent me one of her many books:

Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-Century Memoir
by

Published in 2020, it was one of her last books. Amazingly, Ms. Albright was funny. Warm. And matter-of- fact. Somehow, she didn’t seem snooty or high and mighty…. even though in the scheme of things, she was both high and mighty.

She didn’t take much “guff” from anyone. She was someone to admire whatever your politics. She was a good role model for women of any age, and I enjoyed reading about her and being alive when she was.

That’s all.

Writing About Good People

As a business writer, I write about accounting, taxes, marketing, sales, inventory, construction, real estate, and other interesting topics. Everyone once in a while I get to write about someone who is doing something to help people. In my article “Finding Freedom — Five Steps When Applying for a Green Card”  for National Business Post, I got to write about someone who helps people attain Legal Permanent Residency in the United States.

The man is Chris M. Ingram and he is an immigration attorney who is himself a Legal Permanent Resident in the United States. He’s spent the last 20 years of his life helping others to find the freedom to work and stay here. Other work visas are temporary. The Green Card, which grants legal permanent residency, is the “gold standard” in work visas, and the only higher level is citizenship. People born in the U.S. are lucky. Others, many of whom we see at our borders, are clamoring to be a part of the promised land. It reminds me how lucky we are.

I like writing about interest rates. Trust and probate homes. Cybersecurity and banking are fun topics. But a person like Chris M. Ingram is a real treat. His website, with pages and pages of videos, tutorials, and definitions shows his passion and desire to help his fellow immigrant.

Thanks, Chris!

 

 

 

Two Attorneys Walk Into a Bar

Lawyer One says to Lawyer Two, “You look awful. What’s up?”

“My dad had a massive stroke. He’s paralyzed from the neck down.”

“I’m so sorry!” They order drinks.”How old is he?”

“He’s 61.”

Silence.

“Whoa. What’s the prognostication?”

“We don’t know yet. Some doctors say he may never walk again. Others say he might be okay after physical therapy. It just depends.”

“On what?”

“They say some of it will be the extent of the damage to the brain. They’re not sure yet. But it’s also a lot about how hard he works to be well again.”

Lawyer One says, “He’s still young! Sixty-one is means he has a lot of good years ahead.”

“Or decades of hell.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Cut to the novel Deathlist, and its thematic question.  

Would You Want To Know When You’re Going To Die? 

Here’s the thing. If you knew you were going to live to be a hundred, would it give you a better motivation to work your fanny off to be able to walk again? OR would you want to be glad you’re still able to read with your eyes? What if you were an artist? Would you somehow learn to hold a paintbrush in your teeth? Paint with your nose? Or as a musician, wouldn’t you like to know how to compose music through a speaking- or singing-to-musical-notation device? ALSO, you could still listen to amazing books and take classes online or at a school!

We don’t know how long we will live, but I’ll tell you that a young man injured in a surfing accident was paralyzed from the neck down. What did he do? He went around to schools to tell teenagers that whatever happens to them, they can still make a life. He was funny and hip with long, blond surfer hair, and he had the kids (middle school, by the way — a tough age to impress) glued to their seats. He didn’t know how long he had to live, but he made himself useful by helping others. Either way, the Deathlist could tell you how long you had and help you make your decision. OR you can make your life how you want it either way.

I’d like to know.

Would You Want To Know When You’re Going To Die? 

Let us know. Go HERE to fill out the short survey. We’ll collect the answers and use yours anonymously (of course) to let people know what others think.

Oh… and the two lawyers? Maybe the dad will find a fulfilling life. From the neck up. We hope so.

P.S.  Here’s the Deathlist book trailer!

Riding the Day Away

Riding the Day Away

“What would you do if you took a day off?”

Off-off. Off the computer. Off the phone. Off responsibilities. Off the hook to play hooky. Here’s what I’d do. I’d go to the train station. Take the next train out. Doesn’t matter where.

*

I buy a ticket, not checking the destination closely. In fact, I tell the cashier, “Don’t tell me where it’s going.” He nods knowingly as if this is quite common. He smiles into my eyes to keep me from looking at the ticket. He puts it in an envelope even, so I won’t see it!

“Have a good trip.”

I’m standing on the platform and feel the vibration as the train nears. I close my eyes and listen. The hugeness of the train pushes the air as it nears. I am forced to open my eyes so I do not fall, my stability threatened by the rush as the train rumbles into the station. Plus I don’t want to miss its lovely massiveness.

The train looks like the Hogwarts train! Steam pulses from the stack. An impressive grate probes the tracks in the front. And the gigantic wheels squeal and hiss as they roll to a stop in front of me.

“ALL ABOARD”

I pull my eyes from the time-stricken train to look for my ticket, and as I straighten, I realize the smells have changed, and that other travelers are wearing clothes from two centuries ago. Me too!

“ALL ABOARD”

I pick up my skirt and my carpetbag and walk toward the train. As I lift a dainty shoe up to the lowest step, my fluffy white petticoats peek out from under the rich blue satin skirt of my dress, tightly cinched at the waist. I catch a glimpse of myself in the train’s large window as I make my way back to my seat. My hair is bundled on my head, curls frame my face, and a matching blue satin hat accented with feathers perches atop my coiffure.

“TICKET?”

The conductor smiles down at me. He looks like Tom Hanks in “The Polar Express,” which doesn’t surprise me in the least. “Ticket?” he repeats kindly.

“Yes.” I pull the ticket from its little envelope, look down and see that we’re headed to someplace I’ve never heard of. Luckily, that’s exactly where I want to go. I sit back. Close my eyes. And I smile.

Joy seeps into my consciousness. “Hello there,” I say.

“Hello,” she replies. “It’s been too long.”

 

 

 

What Would You Do if You Knew?

I sometimes wish I knew when I was going to die. I’d make different plans. Maybe I’d travel more, worry less. Why worry? What’s to worry about if something can’t kill you? Well, I have thought about that. Living in a mangled body would suck.

Severing one’s fear of death would take one thing off the list. Ha! I don’t worry about dying. I know that I will. Now I can know when. Ah, but the biggie is knowing how. Don’t know that yet. Maybe that’s for later science… hacking the “HOW” code, now that we’ve cracked the “WHEN” code. But does taking that ‘when’ question out of the equation help?

I wonder what a doctor would do for me if he or she knew I was going to die in two days? They certainly wouldn’t need to go to extremes to save my life. If saving my life wasn’t the goal, think of how much money I could save! The doctors would be much better off concentrating on making my last two days fun and restful rather than splitting me open and taking stuff out, to no avail. I’d prefer to be comfortable, thanks.

Meanwhile, what would I do if I knew I were going to die FOR SURE next Thursday? Hop a plane to Paris for three days. Then Venice. Yes. Venice. Florence? Why not? If I could squeeze it in.

That’s it for now. If my date to check out is not next Thursday, then I’ll stick around here for a while.

What about you? Where would YOU go?

What would you do if you knew?

I QUIT!!

I QUIT!!

Hi. I’m Death.

“I QUIT.” Those words start Kathryn’s novel, which is called Deathlist and will be published early in 2022. How do I know? Because I’m your female protagonist. It’s my story, but it’s also your story. You. Yes. You. Everyone on the earth will be a part of this story. And some of the crazies I hang out with will be in it, too. Of course.

God plays a key role, as you’d expect, and so do Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But we will all have a run-in with the ol’ devil and well, human beings will put up with some pretty hard stuff as the story unfolds. And me? I’m going to give up my good looks, my designer wardrobe, and a perfectly lovely life in Heaven to save humankind.

“Wait! Why are you quitting, Death?”

You’re saying that to me, right? OR at least you’re thinking it. But you might also be thinking if I quit, if Death quits, you won’t die. Sorry, but It doesn’t quite work that way. And in the meantime, I’ll let you think about this:

WHAT IF YOU KNEW WHEN YOU WERE GOING TO DIE?

That, dear friend, is the gift of the Deathlist. Because in the novel, you will find out that the Deathlist lets you know that. You can make travel plans, decide if you want to take a job or not, stay single or get married. All sorts of stuff. Write the novel, create a cool new invention, or whatever, because you will know exactly how much time you have! Cool, right?

No?

That’s the thing some people like the idea. Some don’t. Anyway, I have to decide if I want to help God or not. And to do that, I have to become human, which means I can’t wear my gorgeous clothes anymore, or change into a blond or a brunette in the blink of an eye. AND… I have to defeat the devil. As a human!

I’m getting ahead of myself. I’d love for you to read Kathryn’s book. Stay tuned here. We’ll be giving you updates as launch day draws nearer and nearer. In the meantime, think about if you’d like to know when you’re going to die. I can’t tell you, by the way. You’ll have to find it yourself. And you do not have to know, by the way. It’s your choice. You have FREE WILL. We all do. Even me.

I gotta run. I can’t be late to collect souls. It’s all planned, you know. The day you’re born and the day you will die are in the database called the Deathlist.