Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Three R's of 2011: Renew, Resolve, Relinquish

Ok, those may not be The three R's but they are my three R's for the New Year.

First of all, 2011 will be the fucking hugest year of my life in a long time (Yes I can, I can describe it that way if I want to), as I am finally mere months away from an effort that was a decade in the making coming to fruition: the debut of my first novel, The Pull of Gravity, due on bookstore shelves near you on or about May 10, 2011, but likely to make appearances sooner, if I am learning anything about this book business (which I may not be).

Second of all, after several years of what felt to me like nearly-insurmountable upheaval, my life seems to be returning to a calm and peaceful "normal." In most ways, this is a pure, good thing and I am grateful. But in some ways it worries me as I don't want life to become staid or lazy. I don't want to find myself blindsided by a life lived in a rut, that is something less than I thought it would be. Thus, I want to count my blessings, but not settle. I want to remember to make life happen, and be brave enough to do so.

Which brings me to my New Year's Resolutions. I tend not only to make new ones, generally a mix of the physical and the emotional, but also to renew old ones that have made my life richer, or me a better person, even if it's only been in the struggling to keep them.

As such, here are a few of my Renewals, Resolutions and Relinquishments for the New Year, gulp, 2011:


  • take the stairs, up or down, for anything five flights or less (I made this resolution probably six or seven years ago and haven't broken it since except if there were no stairs to be found or if my arms were laden with heavy things);

  • Swim regardless - if there is one thing I have learned it is this: no matter how hard it is to drag myself to and in the water at times, I am NEVER sorry I swam. Never.

  • Be a good friend and confidante; do not share other's secrets nor say behind someone's back what you wouldn't say to their face - I am usually successful at these, and the few times I have failed, I have usually "reported" myself to the person on bended knee.


  • Attempt (and make) a five mile open water swim;

  • Burpees, every day. I don't know what it is about me and Burpees (they are my nemesis and I will beat them!) but I have decided they are the ANTI- ass-in-a-chair and I will do (X - number t/b/d) every day. If you don't understand why I think this, click on the word Burpees up there and do ten good ones and you will start to see;

  • Be Brave. Whatever this entails. I presume I may have to do some travelling alone this year, get up in front of audiences, push myself beyond my comfort zone. I'll just have to feel the fear, and do it anyway.
And, last but not least,


and by relinquish, I mean this more in a "let go of the things you cannot control" sort of way, rather than any connotation of giving up. Maybe the better word is ACCEPTANCE but it messed with my whole R thing.
  • Age gracefully. No matter what I do, my face and body will age. Nope. Are aging. If you are not yet 46, you will be one day, and you, like me, will go, "holy fuck, how did I get here?" No matter how many crunches you do, your stomach will be softer; no matter how squats you do, your knees will sag at least slightly; no matter how many miles you swim, the skin around your shoulder muscles will be softer. There will be 40, and 50, and 60, and godwilling 70, and 80 and more. I will age. I am aging. I might as well try to accept it with grace. Or, if that is too hard for now, at least, focus on it less.

  • Strive to do better without disregarding past efforts. I think I'll let that one stand on its own.

  • Enjoy the Success and Let Go. And, as for my book, The Pull of Gravity, it will get out there. I may love the cover or hate it; it may get less marketing attention and dollars than I hoped for, or more. Some people will like it, some (yes, breathe) will not. And if I am lucky, a few will find it memorable.
          It will be whatever it will be, and it won't be what it won't be. But it's gone to print now, so I might as well enjoy the ride.

Happy new year.


p.s. Got resolutions? I'd love to hear, and cheer you on.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Missing the Ritual and the Open Water

The spring/summer/fall of 2010 will be remembered as one that brought my life a new source of inspiration: the challenge, beauty, and camaraderie of open water swimming.

It not only filled me with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm, but, for the first time in my life (since I was a gymnast at age 8 - 12 or so), at age 46, I actually felt physically powerful and capable.

As the winter slips in and I burrow more and more, I feel the glaring disparity between summer and winter even more than I have in the past. As someone who already suffers from a bit of seasonal affective disorder, this isn't the best thing. I already feel the winter sloth setting in. The lethargy. The 'everything aches and I don't want to go outside' blues.

Sure, I head to the pool on a tri-weekly (or more) basis, and the water fills me, but it just isn't the same.

I miss the open water.

I miss this:

and, this:

and, of course, this:

But, especially, I miss this:

Spring really can't return soon enough.

- gae

Monday, December 13, 2010

Of Bats and Beards

My lovely husband.
I have been married for hmmmmn-teen years now, and at times it has been great, and at times, um, maybe not so great. Through it all we have maintained a sense of humor (mostly) toward ourselves and each other and admired one another for our strengths and good qualities (truly), even if the lesser bad qualities were not doing it for us at the moment.

We've always said that the thing that has held our marriage together are our shared values and sense of humor. And if you asked me what I admired most about my husband, I would tell you that it is his humor, intellect, loyalty, and  quiet gentleness that move me.

Which is why it has me laughing for more than a week now, that when I conjure affection for him, I keep returning to the image of him leaving our house last week like The Terminator, a baseball bat gripped in each hand, on a day that he thought I needed some protection.

And, don't be fooled by his sweet face; he looked like he knew how to use them.

And it doesn't hurt that my usually clean-shaven man is now sporting a scruffy beard.


Foolish of me? Perhaps. But, true, nonetheless. So, I confess.

Of course, I still admire him for his humor, intellect, gentleness and our shared values.

But, oh, the bats and the beard.

- gae

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reading is Exce(r)ptional

photo credit: Rick Kopstein
Oy, what a stretch that title was.

(Consider that for you, Mike Wood).

So, fine, sue me. I'm overdue for a blog post here.

I've been lavishing the attention on my YA-friendly blog lately because, well, because that's the only type of book I've sold so far. *waves two womens' fiction manuscripts wildly through the air.*

At any rate.

As usual, I've been reading three books at once, all too slowly: one classic (The Great Gatsby -- would have finished it sooner but I (ahem) lost it for a week and only re-found it last night in one of those "Alzheimery" places which we will not discuss), one YA (The Miles Between -- because I write it, I need to read it too, not to mention I like it) and one contemporary fiction (Tinkers by Paul Harding, which happened to win the Pultizer this year.) I'm not very far into it, but already I see hints of why it might have won, and decided to share an excerpt that I wish I wrote with you. There is nothing after it, because I feel it deserves to stand on its own.

At the outset of Tinkers, we meet George Washington Crosby who is dying in a hospital bed in the middle of his living room, and is seemingly in the hallucinatory throes of his final days:

     "Lack of exercise might have been the reason that, when he had his first radiation treatment for the cancer in his groin, his legs swelled up like two dead seals on a beach and then turned as hard as lumber. Before he was bedridden, he walked as if he were an amputee from a war that predated modern prosthetics; he tottered as if two hardwood legs hinged with iron pins were buckled to his waist. When his wife touched his legs at night in bed, through his pajamas, she thought of oak or maple and had to make herself think of something else in order not to imagine going down to his workshop in the basement and getting sandpaper and stain and sanding his legs and staining them with a brush, as if they belonged to a piece of furniture. Once, she snorted out loud, trying to stifle a laugh, when she thought, My husband, the table. She felt so bad afterward that she wept."

- gae