Monday, May 10, 2010

What You See is Not Always What You Get

When I closed my eyes a year ago and imagined what my life would be like today, it wasn't this.

In May of '09, That Rebel was just a glitter in my eye and an itch I'd yet to scratch. I'd had a blog a few years before, but after Mama died in 2006, it petered out. So did my motivation to continue shopping publishers for the children's book I had written. Oh, and let's not forget the income stream that turned in to a trickle that same year.

What I saw in my imagination, was me in Southern California doing what I was already doing. Or me in a little beach town somewhere in the U.S. I would escape and find work in a coffee shop or, better yet, a book store that served brewed tea and lattes, a place where the locals met to dish. I had a wild fantasy of running away from my practice and financial obligations. I'd make enough money to cover room and board, and have a beater car with no payments. My life would be simple and free from stress and the enormous responsibility of being a doctor.

My dream did not include the North Georgia mountains, nor building another practice. I was writing, but the what was a mystery. It didn't feel like another children's book, though I had a whole series of Frank and Ernies plotted out. There was love, but certainly not love lost.

Today I started a three day training class to be an enumerator for the 2010 Census. Not just an enumerator. An enumerator reinterviewer. We'll be contacting one out of ten households to confirm the authenticity of the data that was garnered on the first pass. Sounds exciting, huh? Probably not. But I get paid. Having had my own business for the last twelve years, it feels good to know I'll get a weekly paycheck for a couple of months, plus 50 cents a mile. Out here in the boonies that can rack up. The work will be done on the phone and in the field in the same small town as my practice. Meeting all those folks should be good for business, right? But, when I closed my eyes a year ago, I certainly didn't see me doing this.

I believe, along with the great teachers and religions,  that I create what I see and what I believe. It's dangerous to dwell in misery, because crap begets crap. Conversely, awesomeness begets awesomeness. I can look at my life on the surface today and recite all the reasons why what I saw is NOT what I got.

But is that true? Of course not. I dreamed of escaping and I did. I dreamed of being out from under that financial burden, and the T. Rex is down to a smaller Linheraptor. I saw myself in a beach town. While the closest beach is a few hours away, I did land in a mountain resort town. I got the paid-for beater car, ragtop and all. I am NOT building a full-time practice, just a small town, part-time one.

And I'm writing. That Rebel is my sounding board; it's where I rant, whine and philosophize and hone my writerly skills. It's the watering hole where I come to drink and my soul gets its fill. That Rebel was the springboard for my current work in progress; a southern fiction that was born right here; on these back roads in the foothills of the Appalachians.

I left the womb of Southern California and all my worldly stuff. I stepped out, in to the void. I crashed. Hard. Then I thrashed around for a while. But in the middle of all that thrashing, I found something else. I found you guys. I found my writing. And I found myself.

What I see IS what I get. Just not necessarily in the exact form that I imagine. What is your dream? Are you living it? Or are you missing the miracle by dwelling in the negative, like I was for so long?

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell


Ivy Bliss said...

Once again...A-maZing! I'm working on the dream. Your beauty shows in real life. I love you!

Karen said...

Darlin - you Rock! What a great post. Aren't surprises the best???

Olivia Herrell said...

Ivy, you are so sweet, I love you, too! Just close your eyes and see...:)

Karen, great to have you here and thanks!! Surprises are, especially when I take the time to open them up and find the gift inside rather than just shaking the box and commenting on the pretty (or ugly) wrap job!

Cheryl said...

I live in SoCal (though not at the beach, unfortunately!) and I also dream of escape sometimes. Of course, that could be because I have three small kids..;)

Glad you found your space. And I'm just as glad you've joined us at The Red Dress Club!

Anonymous said...

love your writing style! and we actually have the same dream! the thing is i live a beach town but i need more time to write. i could always use more time...

saying hi from the red dress club! :)

Anonymous said...

When I was younger I dreamt of being a broadway dancer in New York, living in a studio apartment with a cat or becoming a teacher in a shabby beach house...with a cat(I thought I was destined to be a cat lady). I never dreamed of being a wife and a mother but here I am and now my dreams have changed and I can't stand cats. I love this post! I definitely agree and know I will have my dreams fulfilled even if it's not exactly how I imagine.

Missy@Wonder, Friend said...

Such a nice post and a good reminder that dreams grow and change shape.

Jessica Anne said...

A good reminder sometimes you get what you wish for, you just have to recognize it.

Lindsey said...

Great point. We should all take a bit more time to see what we have instead of what we don't. Visiting from the Red Dress Club.

Sandra said...

This post is the reason I read blogs...always hoping to find that one that will touch my soul. This made me feel like I was standing on the 18 floor balcony staring out bright city lights...I know, weird, but it just gave me that breathless feeling. Truly terrific.

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Cheryl, Ericka, Ashley, Missy, Jessica Anne, Lindsey and Sandra:

Thank you soo much for stopping by my blog this weekend and for commenting on my post. If I haven't already made it by yours, please know that I will. I had a busy weekend with a friend and am now immersed in my manuscript. I'll be peeking my head out occasionally, though, so I'll see you at your house soon!

~Thanks again, Olivia

Adelle said...

The novel sounds dee-lightful! Just my kinda brain-candy.

I was just blogging last week about how I tend to focus on what is getting out from under our ginormous mortgage, or working from home, or finding time to write. But then again, who am I to dictate was is and isn't impossible?

Nice post, glad you linked up to TRDC this weekend! Looking forward to seeing more of your work.


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