Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Ways to Move On From a Relationship

Here I am.

Divorced for over a year. Two years' moved out. Two years' moved on. Yet still so blue some nights.
-- You're getting married.
-- Yes, next October.
-- Good . . . Good for you.
I still care, I still want him to be happy. But the truth is, I haven't even bought a mop yet.

What does a mop have to do with moving on? Let me explain.

7 Ways to Move On (After 7 Years):


You're not in love anymore. You may or may not still care. But your life is a little deflated and you don't know why. There's an emptiness you're not sure how to fill. (Hint: Sexy, delicious boyfriends are not the answer.) This is not about obliterating the past. Rather, these steps help you look the past in the face and say, "Yes. And."

Step 1.
Get a hobby - Close your eyes. As a child, when were you happiest? Was it helping in the kitchen? Coloring? Basketball in the driveway? Running barefoot on the beach? Climbing trees or playing in mud? Reading? Building blocks? Chances are, there are grown-up equivalents in the same ballpark. I was that girl climbing trees all day long, scrambling up on the roof and sleeping under the stars. Little wonder I've taken climbing in the adult world complete with safety gear and belay-buddies. What turns your inner child on? Go after it.

Step 2.
Clean out the cruft - Prepare for new adventures by opening physical space for them. Clean out the TV stand full of old DVDs you watched together. Donate books and old clothes. Buy new dishes, towels, and linens. Get a new bed. Take your computer to a professional and have it wiped. Or better, buy a new one. Last night, I tried once again to get my ex-husband's name off my desktop's locked user folder. I gave up and started crying because this stuff is hard.

Step 3.
Find new friends - If they're human, your old friends will have picked sides. If you're lucky, you'll have one or a handful still hanging around. These people know the you you used to be. There's a comfort in that. But the fact is, you're not that you anymore. You're becoming a different you and it's time to find new friends who can say, "Maybe you were like that, but that's not the person I know."

Seeing your reflection in the faces of new friends you love, and who love you back, will show you how far you've come. Besides, new friends bring new perspectives, lessons, joys, and challenges. And isn't life what happens when people come together? -- Somewhere in the middle, life happens.

Step 4.
Be selfish - If you're like me, your life's frayed twine gets all frizzed out and tangled up in others. Start being selfish. Let the detangling begin! Start saying No to requests for your resources -- time, money, love -- when you get even a little twinge of discomfort. Spend those resources on you.

Lavish love on yourself for a change, and bask in it. Is it a little overkill to make a fancy dinner, take a shower and primp up, uncork a nice wine, light candles, break out the linen napkins, set the table for yourself and then eat the meal you lovingly prepared? Is it overkill to thank yourself for taking care of YOU? Nope. It's the language of healing. Be lavishly selfish. Remember that there's no shortage of love in this world.

Step 5.
Log your luck - Notice things. All the things! That flower is pretty! That street light is green! Your hair looks awesome today. The sky is stunning. That bartender is a generous pourer. Your body is strong! You have a good job. You have great friends. You can still get off. You can turn heads.

Like keeping a gratitude journal, keeping a mental luck log will help you realize how lucky you are. All things have a flip side. Flick the coin, make it twirl and watch life start to shine when you start recognizing all the ways you are getting lucky ;)

Step 6.
Reach out - You've started staying No. Now start asking for what you want. You'll be surprised how many people want to give you what makes you happy. People like the way life bubbles up in the space between closeness. They'll get closer if you ask. Start small, and be prepared to fill yourself up with lavish love if they say No.

Step 7.
Say Yes - Learn the difference between when you don't want something (Say No) and when you're afraid of something. When opportunities arise, check whether your main inhibitor is fear. If so, start defaulting to Yes. You won't succeed at or like everything you try. But these new experiences start filling in the gaps where old experiences used to keep you safe and warm.

This is reprogramming. Soon, every time you say Yes and survive the experience -- whether you succeed or fail, love it or hate it -- you're teaching yourself that you are capable and strong and worth it.



---

So where's the mop factor in? Step 2 and 4. I've cleaned out the cruft to some extent, but it's time I start the love lavish in practical ways. I've been "making do" because of the great effort and cost of getting a new computer, buying a mop (when wet-towel-dancing is just fine!), acquiring a router and getting internet -- it all seems overwhelming.

It's time to break it down into small, manageable chunks, be gentle with myself and begin the last stage of moving on.

Love,
Lora

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Preamble:

A week ago, I finished the second overhaul of my novel. Tweeting my excitement, I heard an echoing WOOT! from the Twittersphere. Particularly, from a writer friend I met online -- Ghost Girl (or Mary Ann), living in Leesburg, GA.

It went something like this:
M. A. Scott: Wanna join me in this AWESOME blog tour?
Me: Sure! Lay it on me!
M. A. Scott: GJ with that book, btw!
Me: [IHeartTwitter]
Go tweet with her. She writes historical YA thrillers. Often with ghosties.

Tour Questions:


What are you currently working on?

The art of falling.

Rapunzel's Revenge
Enchanted Tower, NM

Because only when you're willing to go for it -- to take the fall -- will you have a chance at succeeding.

But you mean writing, don't you? ;)

My current project is a YA science fiction adventure.

Shadow Status
In the future, a teenage boy with a genetic disease must cement an alliance with a virtual girl -- and together save their colliding worlds from an energy war that neither species can survive alone.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Shadow Status is tech-y, for sure, but not gadget-y -- maybe one of its biggest standout features. Plot-wise, it's many-layered, and it snuggles nicely alongside other genres. Computer science-driven passages render it a touch hard sci-fi. An aftermath setting strikes a post-apocalyptic note. And, while half the novel takes place inside a virtual world during a race to prevent speciocide, readers comment that it "feels very fantastical."

Why do I write what I write?
First, because the world of the story and/or premise fascinates me. Then because the characters do. Then because the Big Question begs an answer.

And always, ultimately, because I want to connect with readers, to give them goosebumps and remind them of something special, something good -- about themselves, about the people they love, about the world they live in. About how our species has the potential for greatness and great kindness.

How does my Writing Process work?
Stories come to me through a key visual. Something bright and shiny gets downloaded into my brain from Some Place Else. With Shadow Status, I was sitting in church. Really. "You Again" -- I was jogging along an underpass...

  • Plotting: Then come the questions and brainstorming. The plot is like one of those plastic disc toys with those little silver balls that you have to tilt into all the holes.
  • Writing: A lot of people write everyday, or try to, and good for them! I don't force it, but on the best days, I do "go for it" -- even if I fall.
  • Critique: At weekly writing group I submit pages, receive feedback, revise. I also consider Alpha, Beta, and Gamma feedback.
  • Rest: ...After which point I put the whole damn thing away for a while.
  • Repeat. Submit. Hope.


Friend tag time!

K. A. Doore is a writer of fantasy -- high, dark, contemporary, you name it. I met her more than three years ago in Tucson. Our shared love of good food, good words, wild things, crazy cats, desert runs, and Irish accents has concretized our friendship and mutual respect as writing colleagues. She's a skilled wordsmith, baker, and photographer.

Follow her blog. Or tweet with her!

~Lora

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"You Again" - Backstory

"There are memories around which your soul circles, a vulture in a vortex..." -- You Again, The Milo Review -- Summer 2014

First, an image:
From "Bike Ride Along the Rillito River"
Photo credit: Tory (Pax Plena.com)

A muggy, late-summer day, sun striking sand crystals in the dry Arizona wash, giving off memories of white Florida beaches. Sun sparkling on discarded aluminum cans, glass bottles, wisps of candy wrappers. Familiar smells - Banana Boat chemical sweetness and sticky, dehydrated mouth. An underpass in shadow. A cushion, an empty black bean can, lingering whiff of cigarettes.

Backstory:

I'd just picked up a pair of whiskey glasses -- a rather special set of 10th anniversaries once proliferated by a dive bar on 4th. The bar itself is special, an actual dive bar, a friend told me, not a fake one. Where the best scotch is under ten bucks a shot, and they pour you three fingers because it's been pre-cut with water. Leather bar stools worn and knicked by idle, anxious, wanting hands, by pocket knives and ragged chain wallets, by the zipper pockets of skintight jeans worn by women in platforms and bling who've forgotten to close the door on the fashion of yore.

Where the men all smoke and leer and don't take "no" for an answer.

But that's not so strange.

I was heading to a man's house just then, who wouldn't hear my "no." Maybe I'd said it too quietly. Maybe I hadn't meant it. Maybe, I'd really meant "yes." After all, I was en route with the tumblers, along with a bottle of good scotch. Cost me two weeks' worth of groceries, more than the occasional eighth.

I'd met him a year earlier, climbing. I actually have a picture on my phone of him with my -ex, the three of us roped and harnessed and helmeted. I'd thought him sexy, with his tall solidness and easy laugh and wild, curly hair.

He climbed with grace. It made me wonder what he was like in bed.

A year later, the -ex a memory, I asked him over. We spent the day in shadow, curtains drawn, in the company of high-end whiskey and clean sheets and under them, playing, sharing stories, sharing ourselves.

It's easy to share with someone you've predetermined only to fuck, to care for, but nothing else.

I fell into the familiar romance of it. We met parents, watched re-runs, did laundry together, cooked, smoked, climbed, played in the park, adopted a dog -- all at breakneck speed. Both of us, I think, seeing the other only with one eye.

The other eye stared into the distance, out into the bleak past, thinking of what had been.

He'd told me how when he broke up with her, he'd been up on the mountain. How in the pre-dawn, sleepless dark, stars as witness, he free-solo'ed his project route -- no rope, no harness, no helmet. Courting Death. Good morning. You aren't such a stranger, after all. Death, whose great gift is relief from the stuff of living.

My heart hurt, hearing him tell how he'd crawled out from the tent and zombied to the rock and begun to ascend with such clarity of purpose.

It hurt because I'd felt it, too -- and in bed, in the moments after the storm of passion, and before sleeping, I felt it again.

That night, we drank together from those special glasses, an homage to the simpler things.

And the next day, I ran past my familiar haunt and paused in the shade cast by the underpass, emotional boundaries cellophane-thin. I felt like I could feel everything, like I could empathize with anyone -- I knew pain, didn't I? Didn't I know yours, then? You, whose name I do not know? You, by whose threadbare cushion I thought to leave money or food . . . or a red rose?

So the story came unraveling on the keyboard, and I realized how little I truly knew -- you, perhaps, least of all.

~Lora

Pantano Wash near 22nd St.
(c) 2010 by Karen Funk Blocher. Used with permission.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Reentry Meditation" - Backstory

What the Editor-in-Chief of Black Heart Magazine didn't know when she decided to publish "Reentry Meditation" this April, was the identity of the woman in the last line.

For months, I'd been dropping canyons with two friends who, including myself, made up a love triangle after the fashion of bad formula romance -- achingly, heart-breakingly bad.

A recap:

Girl A likes Guy B, but Guy B likes Girl C, who's friends with Girl A and uninterested in Guy B, because she's really in love with Guy D!

I'm Girl A, by the way.

Now let's plop these characters into the most beautiful, dangerous, intimate of adventures together for days at a time. We go deep into the wild places -- the hidden growing sanctuaries where only beasts and gods live.

We share food, water, shelter. Blood mingles, sweat pours and dampens shirts and chonies, bras come off, freeing bodies that work and play and laugh and smell together. These are the beautiful, sharp-edged moments. I listen to their voices dance -- for I can't see them ahead of me around the bend in the river. The sun beats down. The creek is a glass snake, mottled with the deep green of the bank and the clear water sky. There is a rock in my shoe.

I come to these places with them because this is my home, and they are my companions. We work well together. He knows best the harsh embrace of this land. We've cultivated our own respect for it. She is brave, handsome, tall, and strong, with a smile like a moon crescent, white-radiant. No wonder he loves her.

When we cross the river and start the trail back, mosquito-stung and drowsy, I know I will not return to the Gila Wilderness with these two. I can't look at him without the pain of knowing.

I want to despise her. She doesn't love him, either.

I turn and take in the towers of crumbling cliffs through which we've traveled, the tangle of green summer growth. I see her hop the last of the river stones. The ash from last night's fire like a tattoo on the backs of her legs. She is a dark angel.

Grim, we face the city, and brace ourselves for reentry.



--Lora

***

Click here to read "Reentry Meditation" in Black Heart Magazine.