Change the Story

We tell ourselves limiting stories that contain no truth. What follows is a pictorial example of exactly what I am talking about. Inner story at the time: “I’m fat. I mean, really, really fat. I have to stop eating for a year or no one will ever love me. The reason why I am alone and a loser is because I am fat and ugly.” Dang, this was Halloween 1988 (hence the glorious fake tattoo). I was eighteen years old, and so careful about my diet and exercise. I was a swimmer and a dancer. I was a sophomore at UC Santa…

Work Hard

  I have a saying in my classroom: We work smarter not harder in Wanket World. (My name is Mrs. Wanket at work. I know. I know.)  That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard. It just means we work with purpose and focus on our collective and individual goals. We don’t flail around with busy work. We have goals. We do more in such a way that we get more. More skill, more pages written, more ideas explored. The classroom scene gets me to thinking. . . .I can do so much more in all areas of my life with just a…

Imagine

If you don’t believe in magic, stop right here. This post will just annoy you. Hello everyone. Let’s take a deep breath. We can speak easy now that the muggles have excused themselves. This is a story about notebooks that make the impossible come true. You can buy one of these notebooks for yourself from any purveyor of notebooks. You’ll know when you find a magical one. You might already have one in your possession. Probably it’s the journal you’re already using. Once in a magical notebook, I wrote that I would find for my family a specific kind of house with…

Avoid Complaint

Today, I complained at one point that it was still morning and not lunchtime. I complained about Loretto High School closing while I was still working there. (This was a sad event, and perhaps worthy of complaining about. Seven years ago.) I complained about the requirement of having to stop at a stoplight on the way to my child’s dentist appointment. We had plenty of time. We got there early, in fact. Right now I’m complaining about my complaining. Language makes reality. Complaining does not reflect reality. At the stoplight I was a woman in America with the means to…

Just Say Thank You

This was me when Sue, the wonderful organizer of Sacramento Stories on Stage, first asked me to send her my work for consideration: “Oh, no.  Are you sure you really want it? I’m not that good.” My friend Valerie grabbed my arm. “When someone asks to see your work, always just say thank you.” Thanks, friend. I needed that. My first reaction to a compliment, a gift, a favor, or an offer, is some kind of waffle-mouthed “Oh no, surely you don’t mean it, I don’t want to be a bother, I couldn’t possibly accept.” Reader, it’s bullshit. I never…

When I Spill Coffee on My Laptop Say Thanks

I had an entire year once of annoying events. It started on January 1st when a tree fell on our house in a terrible storm. Our kitchen floor became alarmingly spongy. The water heater broke. An airport van driver ran into my car door in the Safeway parking lot and drove off without even giving me her name. Money shrank as the list of wrong and broken things grew. A strange string of other distressing people and events served to vex us throughout the year. We invented a comforting mantra: Well, that was annoying but at least it wasn’t evil. As a sort of bookend…

Go To Sleep

When I am taking the best care of myself, I treat myself like a Waldorf child. I eat fruits and vegetables instead of candy. I read instead of watch television. I spend time in nature. I get enough sleep. I need eight hours a night. I also need a half hour nap in the afternoon but that doesn’t happen very often. I would take one every day except it would be weird for my students if their teacher curled under her desk in the middle of the lesson and tucked herself in. I knew a great high school football coach once…

Friday Free Topic: Thank You for Everything

My usual gratitude lists are reserved for things I feel actual gratitude for. This week I’ve been saying thank you for everything. Because when you’re having dinner at someone’s house and she serves brussels sprouts or whatever, you don’t go, “Oh my God. Craptastic.” No, you say, “Thank you.”  You express gratitude as a form of good manners and also because you understand that it is a privilege to be at the table in the first place. So I say thank you for My anger management problem The way even one piece of candy awakens a hunger dragon inside of…

6 Smart How-To-Write Books

I don’t give writing advice very often, but I know good writing advice when I hear it. The following six titles are a sample of some of the best. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King When I was in college in the eighties, a classmate announced that some day Stephen King would be considered a genius. Everybody scoffed but I knew she was right.  The author of Salem’s Lot, The Stand, and The Shining has forgotten more than most of us will ever know about weaving great stories. In On Writing, the master  is generous with advice,…