Monthly Archives: June 2013

“I Choose Laughter.” Really?!

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Me and Dooley and Gully in my lair.
“I choose laughter.” That’s how I ended my last blog post. And then I went on to burst into tears every time all day that someone asked me how I was. Do you have any idea how many times in a single day someone says, “How are you?” At physical therapy alone, I must have been asked six times. People started guarding me, jumping in and warning, “Don’t ask her how she is!’ but it would be too late, the tears were falling, tissues were fetched. Again. And anyway, who ever heard of having physical therapy before surgery?
I didn’t even know why I was crying, which just made it that much worse. Maybe I was just worn out from the constant ache that had been my closest friend since I started PT. Maybe I was mad because I couldn’t even fetch a %#^*(#! tissue for myself. Maybe I was weakened by money concerns, or scared about the upcoming surgery. Maybe it was a particularly heartless phase of the moon. And really? Who even cares why? The point is, I was a mess, and a public mess at that.

But you know what? I did keep laughing, and I even got my poor therapists laughing with me. Cry, laugh, cry, laugh, cry, laugh. That’s how it went, all day. And I’ve got to admit, that’s a whole lot better than just cry cry cry. Even so, it was one hellacious day.

At the end of the day as I lay in bed, so relieved that I could go to sleep and leave it all behind, I stopped long enough to write about anything good that might have happened, and this is what I wrote: “Today I am thankful that I didn’t yell at or alienate anyone.” (Which was actually a huge accomplishment, considering my temperament at the time!)” I did manage to laugh several times. I wrote and posted a blog. I bent my knee to 110 degrees. I’ve sold 22 books in 10 days. A GOOD DAY!”

And you know what? I’m not making this up: I fell asleep smiling. I guess that’s what gratitude will do for you.

Reversal of fortune

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The truth is, I borrowed heavily from my own history to create the pasts of both Emma, the main character in Left Turn at Cloud 9, and Maggie, my girl from the upcoming How to be a Redhead. Both were middle aged, divorced, childless, depressed and self-isolating at the beginning of their books. Both loaded up their stuff and drove from Michigan, where they had lived these discouraged lives for many years, to the sun and beauty of California to start new, brighter lives. These details were all gleaned from my past, though other details are not my own.

Never, ever did I imagine that the vagaries and humors of this amazing Universe would send me on a reverse journey, 

taking me away from my beloved California, new relationships, sunshine and income, even the ability to successfully perambulate!, and stick me back in Michigan, straight back to where my own journey to a new life began almost nine years ago. Right down to where I was staying in 2004, I have returned. A two week vacation has turned into an extended stay, and I am left reeling.

I have two books in the works: the earlier mentioned How to be a Redhead, and Deeper than the Deep Blue Sea, a sequel to Left Turn at Cloud 9. Redhead is close to done. But my brain refuses to settle in to the work. I am off guard, scattered, and fully absorbed in keeping my spirits up as I look forward to unexpected surgery to repair a badly damaged knee, and a long recovery time after.

This is the perfect opportunity to practice all those great skills I’ve learned over the years, and that I taught Emma. Skills like breathing. Like choosing my thoughts carefully, selecting ones that make me feel better rather than worse. Emma could go outside and play in the California sunshine, hiking and flying her little plane up into the bright blue sky. I get to hike and fly only in my imagination, because the Michigan summer is dragging its feet and so, in fact, am I: dragging them with the help of my shiny new crutches.

Life is a trickster. But the choice is still mine: will I be mad about being tricked? Or will I find a way to laugh, enjoy the joke, and learn whatever lessons I can?

I choose laughter.