Thursday, February 25, 2010


This weekend I am traveling to Atlanta for a business trip and will meet up with some friends and family I haven't seen in a while. By a while I mean 20 years. When I really stop to think about it I get overwhelmed. First I am going to see my Aunt & Uncle and their two boys; Adam and Kyle. The last time I saw Adam he was a toddler. Now he is 20 and recently returned from a tour in Iraq. I've never met Kyle. Well, we're friends on Facebook, but that doesn't count.

I'm also going to meet up with my friend Liz who I haven't seen since high school. This was 1992. She is now a mom and somewhat responsible adult (he he). Finally, if I get time, I am going to meet with my friend Kristen who I haven't seen since 8th grade graduation in 1988. She and her twin sister went to a Catholic high school and their family moved out of our hometown.

It really doesn't seem like that much time has passed, but it has and serves as a reminder of how quickly it can. Carpe diem, live every day to it's fullest, etc...all these common phrases (albeit some older than others) are words to live by. I don't want another twenty years to pass without having something to show for it.

Over the past two months my commitment to my writing has waned. My goal of writing 1,000 words a night, five nights a week hasn't been achieved in some time. Tonight I am renewing my commitment and pushing my inner slacker. Twenty years from now I want to look back and be proud of my accomplishments and know that I fought hard for my dreams. I am also vowing to not let another twenty years pass between visits with family and friends, they are the true riches in life.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Driving in Maine During the Winter Sucks

There is a steep hill on one of the roads in New Gloucester that I take every day. Normally I don’t have an issue with this road...until the other night. It had started to snow a few hours before I left the office to begin my journey home. What a journey it turned out to be.

With the fresh snowfall most of the cars were going slow, especially when we passed an emergency vehicle assisting a driver that had slid off the road. I was going about five mph behind another car when we crested over the top of the hill. The car in front of me put on its brakes and I hit mine. That’s when I started sliding and lost control. When it came down to hitting the car in front of me or going into the ditch, I opted for the latter and I’m glad I did!

The ditch rushed up to greet me and I flattened a sapling before I came to stop. I made several attempts to reverse and extricate myself, but the car was stuck. The volunteer fireman in the emergency vehicle saw me go off the road and called it in. So when I called 911 they already knew of my predicament. The volunteer fireman had to go up and turn around in order to assist me. While I waited for him, I was able to pull forward, but I was on a slant and thought the car was going to roll so I stopped. At one point I opened the door and could only open it around 8 inches before it hit the ground, that’s how much of a slant I was on. I don’t think if it would have done me any good to get out of the car (if I could) because of course I was wearing heels with an open back – very practical footwear for this type of incident.

The firefighter arrived (he looked nothing like Kurt Russel in Backdraft *sigh*) and helped guide me out to where my car was straddling the ditch, but I kept sliding and was getting closer to the river at the base of the hill, which made me severely nervous. He gets a call on his radio that there is another accident and the driver was bleeding from the head. He looked at me and said, “I’m going to have to leave you.” I understood because I wasn’t hurt, just stuck, and a head injury takes priority, but the thought of being abandoned made me panic – just a little bit.

Meanwhile, back in Portland, my husband (nicknamed Bubba) was plotting a rescue mission. He was going to grab steel cable, rope, jumping cables and duck tape…whatever he needed to pull me out of the ditch himself. He was a half hour away, but at least I had back-up.

Before the fireman left to go work on a real accident, he helped me give it one or two more tries and fortunately I was able to get back up on the road. With a wave I was off. My car was driving fine and I took it slow. When I got to the stop sign where I need to turn right onto the road that leads to the turnpike; wouldn’t you know it’s blocked off because of another accident? I had to turn around and take a detour.

It was truly the drive home from Hell, but it could have been a lot worse. You know, like no traffic to witness my situation, no cell signal, a total white out where my white car isn’t visible, banjos playing in the woods...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why I Love Writing

My love of writing started in grade school for this is when I fell in love with reading and the two definitely go hand in hand. The inclination towards reading and writing came naturally as I was a complete spazz at math. In fact, my math aptitude (or lack thereof) prevented me from being bumped up a grade.

Flash forward to high school where I became obsessed with entertainment journalism. Basically any magazine that featured a hair band on its cover, I wanted to write for. This evolved to Entertainment Weekly and by college, where I majored in Journalism, I was determined that Vanity Fair was going to be my future employer. When a girl in one of my classes dare voice out loud the same goal, not only did I give her the stink eye and wish that a city bus would run her over, but I realized that my dream wasn't unique.

So here I am, fifteen years out of college and not a byline to my name in any magazine. Instead, I've established a career in marketing and advertising. My love for writing never waned though. Ten years ago I started writing a book. An idea had gotten lodged in my brain and refused to budge. This idea is now a novel in progress (about 40,000 words) called Cancerville. While writing Cancerville, I got married, moved about 5 times (one of those moves was cross country with my husband, stepson, two cats, two dogs and two vehicles), and became a cancer survivor. Needless to say, I was busy and my writing suffered.

About a year and a half ago I decided to get serious and finish writing Cancerville, which is a government conspiracy thriller about environmental cancer. A good friend from college passed away after losing her battle to melanoma and this was a major motivating factor. While writing Cancerville, I joined a local writer's group and wrote a completely different novel. This idea kept pestering me, so in conjunction with Cancerville, I wrote (and completed) The Beautiful People and have yet another novel in progress. It seems that once I let the words loose, they refuse to stop.

Yes, it would be great if I can share my stories with a larger audience. Do I envy Stephenie Meyer? Hell yes! There are dark moments of self doubt, but these are temporary. I focus on how cathartic it is to write because at the end of the day, I can escape to another world for a while, and that is why I love writing.