It’s Been Awhile

It’s been awhile since I’ve had anything to say here. If you need the tl; dr version, anxiety + intellectual property preservation = brief respite from this blog. Not to mention that the blog (amazingly) became something I didn’t anticipate-a hub for real investigative journalism on cults and abusive religious groups. But let’s be honest. When I started, I was a published sex writer with a bad attitude who really just wanted to write about my every day life. And I’ve gotten away from that for a variety of reasons (see above). Some bloggers can handle the constant attention with grace; others freeze up.

I’ve debated whether to change the name of this blog and archive the old material or whether to start a new blog under a new (more anonymous) name. I’ve actually started two anonymous blogs, but they haven’t had the pull that these had. I wasn’t as passionate about them as I was this one.

Recently, a blogger I used to read changed her blog name. It didn’t change the direction of her blog all that much because she literally wrote about her daily life before that and didn’t go off on investigative journalism tangents. I’m not sure I could pull that off as easily, but I think I could. I’m mulling it around right now–having bought a new domain name and I’m working on plans. A lot of time and research goes into blogging. It’s not just like “Oh let me sit down and type on this keyboard thingie!” There are legitimate technical and business plans that operate behind the scenes.

As a writer (and here’s a protip for you newbies and up and comings), your number one job is to protect your intellectual property and ideas. Your number two job is to get yourself out there. Some people reverse those priorities, like I did when I began to blog. I was naive about the scope of what would go on and how far my blog would reach. I would say that’s an amazing problem to have and I have no regrets. My career has been a huge surprise and despite all the downsides to success, the upsides have been amazing. In fact, I think one of the perks was getting to a point where I achieved “gold status” (Reddit joke, sorry) and let myself take an extended break from working my damn ass off so much. My break still includes writing a novel, writing articles for publication, blogging, developing extended business plans, editing and consulting writing clients, and rewriting my memoir, BUT it’s a lot less work than what I was doing. Thank god.

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a lot of personal information online and I hope you know that you’re not just readers, you’re friends. Maybe one day, when I’m successful enough to go talk about being successful, I’ll share a bit more into what this past year has been like and why I made the decisions I made.

Until then, I hope to continue with regular updates until I figure out my next step and most of all, I hope to catch up with you all.

xoxo,

Lisa

Conversations with Friends: On Dreams and “Settling”

Colours

Recently, a friend and I were talking about creativity and dreams. She mentioned the idea that it might be “settling” (a term we use to use) if we didn’t accomplish our dreams. While we were once taught that it was failure not to live our dreams, life just isn’t that predictable and God won’t magically make it happen. Also, sometimes unpredictable things happen in life and we can’t do anything about that. Regardless of whether we are living our “dreams” or living a different dream, we’re not settling. We’re living a beautiful life. My conversation with her inspired this (I did make some minor edits before posting it here to remove any identifying elements). 

On Dreams and “Settling”

We once were taught that if you dream it, God will provide it. The simple fact of the matter is that’s a horribly wrong way of thinking. Not a single thing will happen unless we make it happen and work our asses off until we can’t work anymore. We get ideas and dreams and goals and we should go for them…but sometimes they change (we change our minds or other times we’re given different opportunities). We have to be flexible because sometimes we’ll find that we’re really great at something we didn’t think we would be and we enjoy it. For example, I set out to be a writer and now I’m a blogger who has other opportunities in front of me. I still want to write a book but I’m going to definitely try my hand at other creative ventures because it makes me feel alive.

I get rejected all the time with writing. All writers do. Sometimes I’m deeply discouraged when my writing is rejected but that doesn’t mean I’m not a writer. I think that if you set out to achieve your dreams in any way, you definitely won’t be settling if they don’t happen the way you wanted them to. Life isn’t predictable and neither are our dreams. The world is a competitive place for creative people and things don’t always work out as planned. If I spent all my life trying to write and publish and “failed”, I wouldn’t consider it a failure. I would consider it brave that I tried.

(On a related note: A lot of my readers have children and sometimes talk to me about it being increasingly difficult to try to live their dreams. In many ways, it’s much tougher but not impossible. I know what it’s like to have to support yourself and try to be creative when you’re exhausted. It’s not easy to do but try to step back and think of little ways you can be creative. Maybe it’s something you dream about while the kids are little and can start working towards slowly when they’re a little older. Maybe you won’t get the chance until your kids move out of the house. That doesn’t mean you’re “settling” or any less creative. It just means that you’re a mom or dad right now, and as you know that’s a pretty incredible feeling. Enjoy it, but don’t be afraid to dream.)

Well this is awkward

I’M BACK!
Remember being a pre-teen, unsure and awkward? That’s how I feel about blogging. I want to blog. In fact I think about it daily. I just don’t want to blog about cults…daily. I can’t even tell you how things spun out of control here, but I’m reining in my blog and taking it back to happy places. Places I want to go.
INTERRUPTING LLAMA: (h/t to the Amazing Mr. Morck for the image)
I “quit” blogging about a month ago after a pretty severe panic attack mixed with paranoia. RELATED NOTE: I was not murdered during this time. The day after I “quit” I sat down to the SITS GIRLS forums and poured out my heart. Yet, no one really understood because blogging is a bit of a “pave the way as you go” kind of job.
So for the time being, I’m going to try to settle in to blog right here. No new blog name (yet?). No mystery identities. No “niche” only posts. Why do all that? I’ve realized most of you like me for the outlandish, offensive asshole that I am anyway. That’s why you follow me or add me on Facebook. And for those of you who want to see the “softer side” of Lisa, that might happen here, too.
Here’s to a new start! I guess I’m a little early…it’s not quite 2013 yet. Just consider me an early bloomer.

What I’ve Been Up To

Over the past five or so months, I’ve been busy. What have I been up to?

I started this cool Memoir Writers Society because why the fuck not? I had over 500 members on a LinkedIn forum on memoir writing and decided to migrate it over into an actual forum where we could hold writing workshops eventually. It’s a massive work in progress, but I’m digging it. I’ve met some great writers there.

I started reading and editing a friend’s book. Jennifer is a writer I met through my last company. She lives in Portland and writes YA (Young Adult). In the time I’ve known her she’s finished her first novel manuscript and can I just say that it is so clean and beautiful, which is the opposite of my manuscripts. Mine are a mess, but then again so is my house. Having not ever been a YA person, it took some time to grow on me but once I got into it, I was hooked. I think Jennifer will find some great success with her writing career and I wish her all the best.

I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Creative Writing. Woohoo!

graduation

 

Eva Longoria was there that night, too, graduating with her Master of Arts in Chicano Studies.

Eva Longoria graduating from CSUN
Eva Longoria graduating from CSUN

I continued work on my fiction novel. I started work on it in October of last year and picked it back up again. The characters are intriguing and the storyline has me excited and brainstorming. Now that I’m out of school for now (or for good, I haven’t decided), I have my weekends free. Gloriously free–to write and write and write some more. I’ll be out of touch quite a bit here and there because of the writing. But LOVE ME STILL, PLEASE. Just kidding. No, really. Love me. *I have this ridiculous thing I do with my friend Rachel where we yell LOVE ME! YOU HATE ME! at each other. Don’t ask. It sounds dumb repeating it.

I found a great doctor and started working towards figuring out some health issues. This is actually quite a big job, believe it or not. I have PCOS and from time to time I’ll feel brave enough to write about how it feels and my weight (the two are related to some degree).

I bonded with a horse. Chelsea is my landlord’s horse and for awhile she was pretty skeptical of me but now that I know her sweet spot (carrots and sneaking her other treats), she neighs at me when I walk up and indicates that she needs me to give her pellets with her nose to her dish. Like my cats, only a massive horse. Animals are smart, yo.

chelsea

I survived a major wildfire and didn’t have to evacuate, though nearly.

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I sent out query letters to literary agents and got my first official rejections. They were far more disheartening than I ever expected them to be. If anything makes you want to quit or think you’re a shitty writer or resent people who’ve made it, that’d be it. I’m feeling better now that some time has passed, though, and I’m learning not to take anything for granted. Nothing is a free ride or an easy ride, even if you are a talented person who has worked your ass off.

sylvia plath rejection
Sylvia Plath’s rejection letter from The New Yorker “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” (Writers don’t get whole letters with suggestions anymore.)

On that note, I got a short story accepted for publication. It won’t be out until August or September and I’ll share it then. I love it. It’s one of the best stories I’ve written and I am proud of it. I think you’ll love it.

I’m off to bed now because I’m exhausted from this list. Love you all and goodnight.

Stepford Husbands: Write a List, Let God Manufacture Him

Patrick-Dempsey-and-son

Recently I was talking to my friend about wanting the perfect family, like we’d always dreamed of. Our conversation inspired this post.

On Writing a “Perfect Husband” List

We were taught this: ‘If I write a list of what I want in a man or a family, God will make it happen’ but you know, this isn’t Stepford, where men are created in a factory based on a list of criteria. There are very normal guys who want to date you, but probably won’t fit your list. Maybe you’ll like one of the guys who likes you or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll date the guy you think is perfect for awhile and find out that even though you’re deeply in love, it isn’t working. I know we were taught to make it work, regardless, but it’s okay to let go. Maybe you’ll fall deeper in love at 50 than you were at 20. The point is–love and family isn’t as predictable as our pastors taught us. Some people are “unlucky” with love. Others get lonely and want a relationship. Neither person is wrong. Love never works out like we want and this is the reality of life; when it comes to love you can say what you want all day long but that doesn’t mean the List Guy will come waltzing in and rescue you from being lonely. In fact, this mentality sets relationships up for failure because we have all these expectations of how men and women should act (we think men should ask us out or they aren’t a “man”; and men think we shouldn’t be emotional because they put it on their list; or fill-in-the-blank with all the expectations we have from society, religion and culture and you have a big mess). We asked for it on a list, so we should be able to demand it from that person, right? Wrong. Our pastors were wrong.

Not that you can’t have what you want to some degree. I mean, you get to choose your partner and you can settle down anytime you want to with whomever you want to. It’s just that life isn’t a bed of roses and neither are relationships. Even the Perfect Guy is going to disappoint you from time to time; not because he’s a bad guy but because he’s a human.

At one point in time, being a wife was our number one priority. I have a feeling that your creative dreams are much more important to you now, and your ideal guy is probably very different now than it was then. Now, it’s probably more important to you to have a partner who supports you for your creative side and for the strong, determined woman you’ve become. Sometimes women who fit your profile (and mine) don’t settle down as soon as other women simply because we dream of making a living off being creative and that’s a hard thing to make happen while we’re supporting ourselves at our day jobs. That’s not to say our life choices are more important than women who choose to be mothers (and VICE VERSA); but it will explain a lot when you find yourself like me, 32 and your life looking a whole lot less traditional than you expected it to be. It’s okay. You will make sacrifices for your art and your career that other people won’t make and you will stay up all night rehearsing or learning new skills or working on your own projects without pay. The hard work will pay off one day, though, and even though your life won’t look anything like what you expected it to look like, it will in many ways look better than you could have planned and you will be more content because of that. Even if you don’t have the List Guy or his babies.

Sushi in WeHo

I may have told you on Facebook, but I met up with a lady the other day about doing some blog-related TV stuff.

mondrian2

We were at the Mondrian in WeHo.

It’s a gorgeous hotel and a little intimidating in that it’s right next to the Chateau Marmont. Sushi, drinks, and an hour plus interview: we’ll see what happens next.

FML

Week 2 of the semester is almost done. Only 45 million to go. Or 12, I think. I’m working three people’s jobs at work (plus I have a new department to support), but isn’t everyone? Everyone I talk to is in the same boat. And I need to finish fixing the fucking past/present tense mistakes in my book proposal so I can send it on it’s merry little way.

But do you want to know how I’m feeling? I’m feeling a little bit like Charlize Theron in “Young Adult”.

youngadult_checkingin_hd

Not so much the part where she goes on a road trip, but the part where she goes through the first twenty minutes of the movie looking like a fucking train wreck/nightmare. That’s a little bit how I feel/look right now. I have gray hair! And gray ROOTS.

young-adult-gets-a-sweary-new-tv-trailer-73281-00-470-75

Like seriously? Fuck my life right now. I need a nap.

A bit like death

My title is a play on that movie title: A lot like love. Isn’t it cute?

I can’t even begin to explain how badly I don’t want to be that person. That old person who complains about every ache and pain and bad day. Oh, but I am. At the moment, my body hurts so badly I just want to take a …..I don’t know much about pills, so I guess I’ll let you guys guess.

As I wrote about here, I was recently diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and I very much feel like shit. All the time. I’m not entirely sure that it’s all PCOS related. Who knows? You know how that stuff goes. I’m actually beginning to think it’s stress related because apparently (after a recent trip to the dentist) I discovered I grind my teeth at night. Some of my teeth have been affected, too, which is awesome. But mostly, my face and neck hurt when I wake up.

What is PCOS related, I assume, is the emotions I’m having today. I’m crying a lot over just about everything. I cried over accidently destroying this Drupal website I was building. I was so sad because it has taken me so long to master different parts of Drupal and I have broken the site at least twice now. If you have a website, you can’t exactly break it all the time or your readers will email you like crazy about it. Come to think about it, when I started this site, I broke it pretty often. Hmm. I remember a few good friends kept emailing me, “Hey, did someone shut down your site?” they would ask since I was writing explosive rants about churches I had been a part of. “Nope, just broke my website.” I would answer.

After the random cry, I did some things and then some more things and then started looking at an internet friends photographs. She’s a wedding photographer and has some great photos. Oh, she’s awesome at architecture photos. And she’s also cool because she is an ex-JW (Jehovah’s Witness), which means she’s been through what we all have.

And THEN, I started crying AGAIN. Come on. I cried over the engagement photos–everyone is getting engaged and married and having their children. And I’m not. Well, it’s not as bad as all that, but I’m not.

Anyway, here’s a fluffy monkey brought to you by Mr. Morck.

cute-monkey-on-a-branch-of-tree-widescreen-1920x1200

 

 

Completely off topic, do you have any older relatives? I became really close to my Grandpa the past few years (long story) and he’s getting older. He lives so far away, and I feel so sad I can’t visit him more often. What do you do in this situation? (Besides go visit him, I guess, which is the most logical answer.)