A Little Something More

Contentment hasn’t been an easy topic for me. It’s a subject I’ve struggled with since I don’t understand it. I rarely feel it. There are moments when I lose myself in a movie or a good book and forget about contentment, and I might even feel bliss.

Don’t believe anything is dead until you’ve burned it, poked around in its ashes, and then waited a day or two to see if anything rises from them.  Jerricho Barrons in Bloodfever, by Karen Marie Moning Ch 10

IS IT DEAD?

I get angry when I hear the outrageous lies of quick schemes for getting rich told to simple people and that’s probably an expected reaction, but I’ll tell you the one that caught me off guard recently. It’s a simple, cute blog, it’s called, Cupcakes & Cashmere and I like it. BUT. I like fluffy and sweet, mostly. I hate my reaction because I wish I could be content with being the type of person that reads blogs about fashion, dating, and cupcakes. BE HAPPY, JANET! Then there’s the entry -> The Moment I Knew G Was the One. Oh dear! I swoon. I think that was probably my issue. It wasn’t her fault. I blame the darkness within. You did read the quote above by Jerricho Barrons, right? Darkness.

WHY IS THE FLUFF NOT ENOUGH?

Making assumptions is easy. I can frame or reframe any scene as scary, happy, cheerful or content based on the wording that I use. Music has the same power to change perception. Play a bit of sad music along with any reel of video and most women will feel the need to cry. The music will pull at our heart strings, loving creatures that we are. Watching little children playing on the beach seems innocent enough, but I dare you to play the music to Jaws while you’re watching.

THE GAME OF MORE

Is a person’s life all that it appears to be? A picture may be worth those thousand words claimed, but today’s gloss & splash advertising has trained us to polish ourselves as beautiful as the photo. And what if we don’t match up? Try harder. Buy more product. People will buy just about anything for the promise of perfection.  What does this have to do with contentment? Heck, if I know. For me, there is no ONE, of anything or anyone. Most of life is a game we all play. There are a lot of adventures in life and a lot of experiences.

Here’s an interesting blog – Calm Things, A Monday Morning Blog – To Carry Joy

“She wanted something else, something different, something more. Passion and romance, perhaps, or maybe quiet conversations in candlelit rooms, or perhaps something as simple as not being second.”

Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

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The First Five Seconds

The first magazine article I ever sold I wrote about an event I saw at the end of the year 2000, and it caused me to do a double-take. An older man was walking his dog. It was a little black dog on a leash. I was driving to the library in the small town that I lived in and there on Main street, suddenly the dog ran up a tree. The man was still holding the handle of the leash and my mouth dropped open. I slowed down. Not a dog at all. It was a black cat. The man was walking his cat. Please remember, this is small town America, 15 years ago. I had to tell someone. I was so flabbergasted when I went into the library. I hurried in to speak with the librarian who told me a story, which led me to write my article about her and her cat when she was in Kuwait.

Keep Playing

I hadn’t written or even published anything professionally yet, but I had dreamed about it. I had even subscribed to the Writer’s Digest magazine and drooled over all the how-to articles. Everything was low-tech, paper submissions at that time. I had my thick paper-bound book of places to submit your articles and a lot of ideas in my newbie’s head. Just no experience. I can’t say that I’m so proficient today even. The market changes quicker than any of us can keep up, which only means that it’s always a new game. Make up the rules and keep playing.

When I got home from the library, I pulled out my handy-dandy spiral notebook and started jotting down the story. I had the subject, cats on a leash and cat training with operant conditioning, and I had my expert the local librarian who had trained her two cats with this method out of necessity while in another country. Now who could best use this article?

$$$

I was limiting my field by writing my article first, but it’s the way life happens sometimes. I grabbed my dog-eared books with all the listings of magazine publishers and started sorting through. I shot off a query letter and put in my hook line about the dog running up the tree and a bit about keeping your cat safe when you’re on vacation and such, the sort of things that I thought they might be interested in for their audience. It worked. My heart stopped almost when I actually got the “we’re interest” phone call. I was getting paid. ASPCA published my first article in the summer of 2001.

Firsts

Everyone has their first story, their first photo, their first client or first whatever. It happens so quick sometimes you don’t have time to think about it. I listened to a Ted talk today by Mel Robbins called How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over, that said you have 5 seconds to act on an impulse before you lose the energy to move forward. You can use that in your favor the next time an opportunity leaps in front of you, remember you have 5 seconds to take an action forward. Write it down, take a step, make a call, or say yes. I was too young and naive at the time of my first to even think anyone would say no to my crazy story. I’m older, wiser now, which only means I second guess myself. I pause. I pull my punches. The urge has left and the opportunity is gone. I have missed a story. I have lost the chance to connect with another person. And that’s a sad thing to miss.