Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking Back to See Ahead

Staring up the barrel of 2012, I am faced once again with these eternal questions: Who am I? What do I want? And, is what am I doing propelling me toward it?
Wanna join me?
There are five days left in 2011, five days to look back and look ahead. Five days in which to decide how we will live our lives, making the most of 2012.
Join me, my friend. All it takes for this journey is willingness and honesty, guts and fortitude, all of which we have. In spades.  

~ Olivia J. Herrell
P.S. As I typed the last line, I heard, "Onward, soldiers, on." So I googled. And stumbled upon this delightful southern rock band from Wilmington, NC: Onward, Soldiers. Enjoy!



P.P.S. I also stumbled across this website offering classes for 2012, One Little Word. Ahh. Maybe my word for 2012 is 'onward'. Something to ponder, yes? Something to ponder, indeed. What would/will be your word?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Forgive Me

"Though it makes him sad to see the way we live, he'll always say, 'I forgive'." ~ from He, the Righteous Brothers.

What a day. In a nutshell I:
  • Woke up angry.
  • Found out our house deal had further unraveled.
  • Got soaked to the skin in a thunderstorm while my raincoat mocked me from the car.
  • Rushed home and changed clothes, too wet to go back to work.
  • Dumped half of a $50 bottle of liquid medicine on the bed and floor. Hopefully, there is some benefit from inhaling it (it is quite odoriferous).
  • Yelled at my cat.
  • Then found out we’re back to square one and need new buyers for our house.
  • Ate dinner angry.
  • Upset a loved one.
  • And to top it all off, there is a crying dog next door that is breaking my heart.
Hmm. I must’ve reached some level of acceptance with the house thing. It doesn’t sting quite so much. I was seething earlier. A hot pile of helplessness, topped with a rash of frustration will do that to me.

On the plus side, I had work, got to co-host a coffee break at our office, made it to an AA meeting, ate delicious BBQ at Hudson’s (which almost made up for getting soaked) and received a real Danish kringle from a friend. And, though we have to find new buyers, we still have a contract until March on the log house we love. So it is simply delayed, not lost.

The dog has been quiet for the past couple of hours. He has cried much for several days. I actually drove around in the rain today with my window down (yes, after I’d changed clothes) trying to pinpoint his location. I saw him, but couldn’t tell what was up, other than him being outside. In the rain. I pray they don't leave him out and make him cry anymore. Otherwise, I have to find the courage to knock on a door. And I so don’t want to have to knock on a door.

I think I will end today by forgiving myself for not remembering my raincoat, for spilling the medicine, for yelling at the cat, for being angry and for feeling helpless, for upsetting my loved one and for being a coward who would rather not confront a pet owner.

I also commit to clearing away the crap that seems to have accumulated on every surface in my house. Tomorrow. Because it is driving me batshit crazy.

And who can write in the middle of disquiet and chaos? Not moi.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Postscript: Believe it or not, I sang the song He with a (much more vocally talented) friend on the stage for a program back in seventh grade. Over the intervening years, there were several occasions, usually in times of trouble, when the words and melody played in my head, a reminder of something bigger than me. Little wonder I thought of it tonight, when looking for a song about forgiveness. HE by the Righteous Brothers

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sweep of a Pen, Bye-Bye Civil Rights

I am aghast. Yes, I am an ostrich and keep my head in the sand most of the time. I'm too sensitive. Too fragile. So I limit my exposure to the media. And politics. Etcetera.

Which means that I almost missed this: American civil freedoms are teetering at the tip of a pen stroke. H.R. 1540, aka NDAA 2012, has passed both the house and senate. It now sits on the President's desk awaiting his signature. Or veto, if a miracle can be mustered.

Hardly a peep has been heard from the media. What's up boys and girls? Is Jon Stewart the only one with the balls to weigh in?

Get mad. Write Obama. I did. Go to whitehouse.gov and write him a letter. It will take but a few minutes, precious little when our rights hang in the balance. Time is a huge factor here, so pace pace. Then pass it on to your friends so that they can do the same. Maybe, just maybe, we can summon that miracle.

If you are like me, and have no idea what is going on, check out a few of these links. Read them. Watch the youtube videos. Surf the web.

http://www.naturalnews.com/034414_NDAA_military_detention_Bill_of_Rights.html

http://www.tulsatoday.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3059:ndaa-passes-senate-goes-to-president&catid=61:national&Itemid=109

http://youtu.be/wBd3mvT1nzg

Did you know that there are seventy-two 'Fusion Centers' in the U.S.? They're gathering all sorts of information on each and every one of us. Worse, no one is monitoring them and they answer to no one.

At their say-so, you (or I) could be put on a list, rounded up, thrown in prison without being charged of a crime, and then held indefinitely, without trial or hope of a trial. In a detention camp. In Gitmo. Or even your own state. Hmm. That sounds eerily familiar.



Scary? Apparently what we don't know WILL hurt us. Read on:

http://www.naturalnews.com/034414_NDAA_military_detention_Bill_of_Rights.html

http://www.tulsatoday.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3059:ndaa-passes-senate-goes-to-president&catid=61:national&Itemid=109

http://youtu.be/wBd3mvT1nzg

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Here Comes Santa Claus

Dear Santa,

I really, really want the log house for Christmas. I understand that Mercury has been in retrograde and that the heavens have conspired against it.

But if you can bring Susan Walker a house for Christmas, complete with a cane in the corner for her new dad-to-be, I'm thinking you can come through for us, too.

This year, Santa? Pretty please?

I believe.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Here is Elvis, ringing in Santa as only he can.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rebel Rant. No Problem?

When did it become vogue, or even acceptable, for one to respond "no problem" when thanked?

This strikes me as terribly rude, crude and UNacceptable. If I have enough manners to tell you "thank you", then you can bloody well have the manners to tell me "you're welcome".

Isn't the following a ridiculous exchange:

Olivia, moved by Janice's gesture, said,"Thank you so much for taking care of that for me."

To which Janice responded, "No problem."

No problem. I say thank you, and you say no problem?

Well, YEAH. There IS a problem.

You have no manners. You just belittled my show of appreciation.

So. What now? Stop saying thank you to these people? Yank a knot in their pantaloonies by asking them where they learned their manners? Ask them exactly what it is that they MEAN by no problem?

What to do, what to do?

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Because it is Christmas, and one shouldn't dwell in negativity at Christmas (or any other time, for that matter), here are the Temptations, singing a very cool version of Silent Night.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Rebel Hallelujah

My friend, Ivy Bliss, mentioned Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah on Facebook this morning. Somehow, from that, I proceeded to listen to four or five different versions of this soulful, evocative song. The melody haunts, lifts, lowers and crawls, then rises up again in hallelujah.

I kept coming back to Leonard Cohen's version. It is his song, after all. He wrote it. Everyone else's? Great covers. Jeff's. Kd Lang's. Rufus Wainwright's.

But, the angels in the background (both human and organ-ic) and Leonard's breathy voice stumbling out monotone, clipped words of agony and ecstasy do something to me that the other versions don't quite achieve: it wrings tears from the cockles of my heart. Hallelujah.



My prayer today is that you find the blessing in every moment. Better yet, the Hallelujah.

Happy Thanksgiving ~ Olivia J. Herrell

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratuitous Zen

I am grateful that I can choose to be grateful. There was a time in my life when thankfulness was a occurrence. You know.

"Why, thank you for that. How sweet."

Or just, "Thank you."

Today, I know that one can live that way, in a whole 'attitude of gratitude'. I choose that. I want to live like that all the time, not just some time. To stay so steeped in appreciation for the awe and the beauty that is my life, every single moment that I draw a breath, oh, to live like that.

I know where my zen is.

When my awareness rests in gratitude of, and for, the moment. That is my zen. Anywhere. Doing anything. Or doing nothing at all. Zen is my grateful awareness. It is me living in gratitude, for what is, just because.

What's your zen?

~ Olivia J. Herrell

What? You over here looking for another sneak peak? Wanna see some Emily zen? Okay. But just a little.
"The next morning dawned on one of those rare crystalline days usually reserved for the middle of January. Catalina Island loomed in the distance, but looked close enough to touch. Emily folded her hands to her chest in the opening pose of a sun salutation. Reaching for the sky she looked up at the point where her fingertips brushed together, then exhaled as she bent at the waist, arms out to her sides. At the bottom of the graceful dive she inhaled and arched her back, looking up."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting Better All The Time

Yesterday marked the beginning of pulling back out of the wild gray yonder, and today I woke up feeling fantastic. I attribute it to Serotone, a natural supplement by Apex Energetics, one of my favorite suppliers. Which confirms my suspicion: low serotonin levels are causing the oversleeping, overeating and overemoting. Classic depression symptoms. Gone.

I missed my post, but I'm happy to report that I did write another chapter (700ish pages) yesterday and it was good enough to pass muster by my new reader, JP.

BIG rebel yell: YEEHAAAAA!

Which is rebel for I am seriously grateful because:
  1. I feel great and have a much-diminished appetite (including no desire at all for sweets!);
  2. Not only am I writing again, it's good! (God, that sounds self-serving. But I really like it!)
  3. When I asked JP if he wanted to read it (yeah, all of it, which amounts at the moment to about 8000 words including the synopsis), he without hesitation said YES and immediately sat down and did just that. Yeehaaw, I hit the jackpot, didn't I! Anybody jealous?
  4. JP likes it. And my writing. He read a bit of Churches, Chickens and ChiChi's (my currently sidelined, half-completed first novel) and laughed out loud. Yes! He did! My heart pitter-pattered.
  5. Once again, blogging has helped me get back on track with writing. Seems that falling off the Blogger wagon (for me) is equivalent to writer's block.
So, yeah. Big gratitude. Big rebel yell.

Wanna peek? Okay. A tiny excerpt from yesterday's chapter. Meet Emily, our heroine, through the eyes of James Kersey, the attorney who tracked her down. She was taken thirty years ago by her mother, and until now knew nothing of her real identity or that she had a father who never gave up searching for her.

Breezing in to his suite, Jim deposited the briefcase on his secretary’s desk and grabbed the file she was holding in the air for him.

“Thanks, Rachelle. Is she in there?” he asked, then hesitated at the look on her carved ebony face.

“What?”

“Oh nothing,” she replied, in a voice that meant anything but. “Emily’s getting restless. You’d better go on in.”

Shaking his head at what was obviously some joke he wasn’t in on, Jim pushed through the door of his inner sanctum. No Emily.

Crossing to his desk, he dropped her file then strode to the conference room. She wasn’t there either. In two strides he was outside the bathroom door knocking.

“Emily? You in there?” he asked, careful to keep the urgency out of his voice.


The toilet flushed and the door opened on a petite woman with glowing red hair shot through with gold. He stared, having never seen hair that color. He wasn’t sure if it was the halo of light behind her, but for a moment she looked like a cherubim or a mermaid, or some other exotic creature. Then her bottom lip poked out in a full-on pout and her eyes shot fire. He’d never seen green eyes do that, either

There you have it. I'll share more tidbits as time goes on, if you'd like. What say you?

~ Olivia J. Herrell

A little Beatles to celebrate the Friday before Thanksgiving. Happy Friday!




.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ode to an Orange Tree

In the midst of the
Hurry, hurry
Jumble of thoughts
That drive me through
The vortex of time,
Bulleting,
Richocheting,
Careening full throttle,
I get moments,
Snatches of
Precarious calm.

Sucked back in
I carom on.
Where is my peace?
Even sitting still
I can't seem to find it.
Oh mighty tree,
Your orange boughs
Arrest my flight.
I gaze.
And stay.
A while. ~ Olivia J. Herrell, October 10, 2011

It's back. That awful depression is back. No wonder I can't gratitude myself out of this slump. Any other time, it would work. But not against the deep, black hole of depression.

I was so happy to get off the Prozac. Never mind it saved my butt for six months by smoothing everything out. That tiny, twenty milligram capsule made me feel normal again.

But I hate taking man-made medicine. So at the first opportunity (which happened to coincide with the expiration of the prescription) I stopped. For a couple of months I was fine. Great. I was newly in love, my new business was growing and all was right with the world.

Then my sex drive tanked. It didn't just dip, it disappeared. I couldn't find my calm, my center, my peace. I was picking up a celestial hum that garbled my senses and interfered with my thoughts.

http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Sauron
I felt like Frodo, unable to escape the Fiery Eye. No matter where I turned it was there, gazing at me with malevolent intent.

Then came the restless, irritable and discontent. By yesterday, I couldn't stand being in my own skin. All I could do was hold on with white knuckles.

Suspecting that my old nemesis was back, I got myself to an AA meeting where I talked to a dear friend who has much experience with depression. She made me promise to call for a doctor's appointment today.

I did. But only after sleeping twelve hours and having to drag myself out of bed. After a couple of hours surfing the web, calling doctors and clinics (the last hour of which I was in tears) I ended up on the phone with the Georgia Crisis Center. They got me in to the Pathways Clinic on Monday, rather than the end of December. Hell, I could be dead by then.

So. Today I am grateful for friends who love me, a fiance who supports me no matter what, state mental health programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, my faithful laptop and kind, compassionate people on the other end of the phone who move mountains to get care for those in need.

Still hanging in there, Olivia J. Herrell

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grin and Bear It

I thought, after blogging yesterday and making an attempt to be grateful, that I would feel better. At least a little bit.

Not so. Guess I'll just have to keep it up. Which was the plan anyway.

Today I am grateful for Moe's Southwest Grill. Fresh ingredients, college kids behind the counter and in the booths, my kind of music overhead. Thanks, Moe's.

I am also thankful for Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Ten years ago, I bought the book and began her program. I didn't finish it, but I did churn out copious pages of a memoir-ish novel that I then lost to a failed hard drive. I had not 'backed up', nor had I saved my file, other than on the computer itself. I am grateful that I learned that lesson.

I'm also grateful that a savvy techy dude managed to save some of the manuscript, though it was garbled and very incomplete. The salvaged hard copy has a spot in my file cabinet in case I ever have the heart to reconstruct it.

Back to Julia and The Artist's Way. Last night I stumbled across the book in my collection and snatched it out of the case.

"Ah," I thought. "Maybe Julia can save me. And, if not, at least I'll get some writing done."

So, last night I began the twelve-week program. For those not familiar, this involves daily morning pages, stream of consciousness, sans censorship.

Lastly, today I am thankful that, in spite of the fact that I feel like a raw, throbby, exposed nerve, this is temporary and will pass.

In the meantime, I'm hanging in there. I promise.

Happy Tuesday, Olivia J. Herrell

P.S. For my writer friends, Julia originally self-published. This is from Wikipedia:

"The book was originally titled, Healing the Artist Within, and was turned down by the William Morris literary agency, before being self-published. After the book began to sell widely, the title was then changed, when the book was published by Jeremy Tarcher (now The Penguin Group) in 1992. The book went on to reach the Top 10 best seller list and onto the list of the Top 100 Best Self-Help Books of All Time. The book was eventually put into the "Self-Publishing Hall of Fame" after selling millions of copies worldwide.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Taking Time to Be Grateful

It is November. And Gratitude month. So why am I not feeling grateful?

Is it that I am dwelling on the whys and wherefores of daily life, the potholes and aggravations that are inevitable along any road, no matter the traveler?
http://www.gratefulness.org/

Yeah. It is.

So. In this moment, I resolve to remember the good, to take time each day to see what is right in my world. I will make gratitude lists, count the bumps on my steering wheel while driving and enumerate all the big and little things, the wonders of my life, the joys, the successes, the loves.

I will see through the eyes of my heart, rather than constantly scanning the horizon with my critical mind.

I will look for the blessings, for the miracles. And remember that life is about perspective, after all.


http://bradwhitt.com/

I will remember that we get what we ask for, and that what we focus on grows bigger. I want more ease and comfort in my life, so I will focus on that which brings it, rather than whether my bills are paid.

I will tear my eyes away from the terrifying abyss of life and look within, where the God of my understanding resides.

I will be grateful by practicing an attitude of gratitude, and create good by dwelling on the good already present.

So. For the rest of November, while my writerly friends are pounding away at NaNoWriMo, I will show up here, on Blogger, to share my thankfulness.

And maybe, just maybe, you'll catch the bouquet of gratitude, too.

Happy we're all in this together, Olivia J. Herrell

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Melancholy Baby

"It is said that Julius Caesar was able to dictate different letters to several secretaries at the same time without losing the line of thought for each dictation." ~ a tidbit from The Choleric personality, http://fisheaters.com/quizc.html

I recently discovered that I am a Melancholic. Or of melancholic temperament. Yet, somewhere along the line I adopted a Sanguine-esque personality (extroverted) in response to the painful shyness of my melancholic youth.

I will spare you the details, but each time my counselor/therapist referred to me or my reactions or behaviors as melancholic, I ignored him.  I simply could not relate. Melancholy? Me? Nah.

Months later, I finally googled melancholic personality. And damn. I am that. I was flabbergasted. No Way!

But way. I knew it even as I read the words. Not a hundred percent, mind you. But close enough. Turns out being a melancholic ain't so bad. Especially since I'm over the shy part. Of course, I'm still getting used to the idea that in certain aspects I'm not who I thought I was.

But what felt, in the beginning, like my 'dark side', feels quite comfortable to me now. I'm growing accustomed to it. And Ms. Sanguine? She's earned an indefinite vacation traveling the world.

Are you a bit curious as to which of the four temperaments you (or one of the characters in your novel) might be? Check out FishEaters.com.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

And for all of you melancholy babies out there (and especially my sweet JP), here's Connie Francis, circa 1958, singing Melancholy Baby.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Beatles Style

Just checking in from the Florida panhandle on this sunny, brisk, November 2nd day to say:
Happy Birthday, JP.

May this
be but the first
of many
birthdays
we celebrate
one another,
together.

Happy Birthday, Love!
For you, on your special day, your very own Beatles' birthday song:


Lots of birthday love, Olivia J. Herrell

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

South of Charm Author, Elliot Grace, Shows Up

"Turns out showing up is not trivial. It's the hardest thing in the world, to show up. Even in your body. Most of the time we're not in our bodies. There's this wonderful line in James Joyce's Dubliners, a book of short stories, that starts out, "Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body." ~ Excerpt from a talk on Mindfulness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn


Click to Order
 Elliot Grace, author of the future best-selling novel, South of Charm, shows up. He does not flinch, nor does he apologize. He writes about real things. Important things. Things many of us wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.

I first read Elliot's work at his blog, So Close, But..., in July of 2010. A commentary on the Gulf Oil Spill, his emotive voice and poetic cadence first captured my attention, then left me anguished, angry and horrified. Mr. Grace has a knack for finding beauty in the unspeakable. In my opinion, a rare gift indeed.

Elliot Grace makes us care, because he cares. He makes us want to show up, because he shows up on the page, laying open the raw and the secret. Of this, Elliot says, "In my younger years, Robert Cormier's ruthless YA [young adult] novels inspired the urge to write with as much raw emotion as I was capable." He's still doing that today.

Take South of Charm. Imagine that your once-meek Christian mother is getting loonier by the day because she is convinced your father is cheating. She's vocal and relentless. She will not shut up. She will not back down. Not long ago, your father snapped and beat her.

Now she's spending time with an ear pressed to the wall, convinced that your neighbors, the fine reverend and his wife, are spying on her. What started this recent and bizarre turn of events? An innocent air freshener.

Such are the circumstances surrounding Danny Kaufman's tenth birthday. As the central character of this stunning debut novel, Danny matter-of-factly walks the plank of mental illness, not understanding, but inching forward anyway. One passage yanked my soul.

"In the envelope given to me from my grandparents, I found a birthday card, and a folded up ten dollar bill as I had guessed. It was the only gift I received that year for my birthday. It wasn’t so much as even mentioned by anyone else."

Hell. Can you tell a person, "YOU DO NOT MATTER!" any plainer?

Also privy to his mother's point of view, I watch in horror as the voice in her head gets more authoritative and her tenuous grip on reality fades.

Though I can't help feeling that I am seeing in to Elliot Grace's soul as I read South of Charm, like most authors, when questioned, he is vague on the subject. And of course. It's hard enough to bare one's soul, without being specific about the parts.

When I asked Elliot, "What famous book, if any, would you liken South of Charm to?", he replied, "The first one that comes to mind is King's "Stand By Me," when considering the age of the mc's [main characters]in both my story and King's bestseller. (Although I've got a ways to go before locking horns with a mastermind of that level.)" No, Elliot. You don't.

My last question to Elliot was, "Is there a question about South of Charm that you wish someone would ask but hasn't? His reply, "Love the question, Olivia! How about...looking back, if you could re-write, or change anything about "South of Charm," what would it be? Answer, after reading the emails from those who've read the story, and taken to heart their advice or future requests, I'd include an extra scene or two with that mysterious cat."

Thank you, Elliot, for showing up at That Rebel. You are one of my favorite authors (and people) and it is an honor and a privilege to showcase your book. In the words of an old friend, "If no one has told you, "You're my hero!" yet today, please let me be the first!

Keep 'em coming.
 
~ Olivia J. Herrell

*To purchase the trade paperback or Kindle version of South of Charm, click here.

** To win a copy of South of Charm over at So Close, But...

From Elliot:-All my current followers have already earned themselves 1 point.
-Any new followers I meet along the way will be awarded 1 point.
-All who comment on any of my blog stops in October will earn 2 points.
-Anyone who leaves reviews for "South of Charm" on either Amazon or GoodReads will earn 5 points.
-At months end, my most behaved foster child for that particular day will be choosing the winners, (trust me, that's a win/win for the entire family EL

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hello October, My Old Friend

Excerpt from a post entitled Grief and October, circa October 7, 2009:
"October is not my favorite month of the year. I'm sure October could care less.

My mother died in October. Three years ago. Interestingly enough, I can't remember now what day. I thought it was the 9th/10th (she died around 12:45 a.m. so I overlap the days in my mind). But, it may've been the 8th/9th.

For the last couple of weeks of September, during the time when she would've been in the hospital, then rehab, then back in the hospital...the time leading up to her death...I relive (and, thus, process) some of the pain that I was too numb to feel.

I can try to ignore it. Pretend it's not there. Stay really busy and look the other way.

But, eventually, those coping mechanisms fail. And I am face-to-face with the reality of my feelings. I am alone with the gut-wrenching knowledge that my Mama, my magnetic north for 50 years, is gone. And, I relive, in spurts and fits and isolated snapshot memories, her last days on earth...
Today, in the middle of what began as a productive day, I was seized by melancholy. It descended from nowhere and sank in to every crevice of my being, leaving me cold, hopeless and full of fear. I perched, fingers hovering above the keys of my iPhone, wanting to call someone, to text someone, and wondering what in the world was the matter with me. Only moments earlier I was fine.

There was a desperate need to call someone. Only who? And about what? What would I tell them? What was it I needed? And how could anyone help me when I didn't know what was wrong?

An hour later, in the aisles of Walmart, I remembered. And understood. It's October.

Hello October, my old friend. I see you've come to talk with me again.

Well, I'm here. I'm listening. I will do what you ask. I will stop for a time and remember Mama. It's gonna hurt anyway, I know.
"...I am not maudlin. Nor morbid. Just grieving. This is my process.

For those who are grieving, no matter how long since your loved-one passed, your process is your process. No one else can put a time-frame on it. They can expect you to be 'healed' or 'cured' of your depression and sadness right away.

But, the reality is, it takes what it takes.

Grief is not bad. Grief is normal. Grief is even beautiful. Allowing our grief honors the one we lost. And it honors our own Self." ~ Olivia J. Herrell, Oct 7, 2009
I just found out that Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple, died today. Rest in Peace, Steve. May you bring as much enlightenment to the world in your afterlife as you did while still here on earth.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bye Bye Borders and Go The Fo*k to Sleep

A while back, JP and I went to Arbor Place Mall to see Cowboys and Aliens. Finding a packed mall and a long line at the theater, we ditched our immediate plans for a spin through Borders. Not realizing (duh!) that it was soon to close, I looked forward to some time browsing the shelves with le beau.

What I got, instead, when we stepped inside, was a sucker punch. Right in the gut.

Ransacked books and fire sale signs screamed at me. They jeered, haunted, and flew in my face, battering me from every direction. I stood frozen, lost, looking vaguely around at the chaos. Unaware of my violent reaction, JP made a beeline for a book he wanted. Tears sprang forth as I closed my eyes and let the agony of the once-regal dowager wash over me.

Drifting to a quiet corner, I groped for balance in the crush of those thunderous death throes. Breathe. In. Out. Again. Breathe. Empty your mind. Don't feel.

Sometimes it really, really sucks to be an empath.

Steel yourself. Get composed. Act nonchalant. But, God, hurry and lets get out of here! No? JP's not quite ready yet? Da-umn!

Oh look. Over there on the display table. Go the Fo*k to Sleep. How clever! A children's book? No way. Hahahaha! I picked it up and read it cover to cover. Thank you Adam Mansbach. Thank you! You made me giggle. Then laugh. Then call JP over so that he could giggle.

Then I got the fok out of there as soon as I could.

JP stayed behind and paid for the books. And the next day? He sent me this video of Samuel L. Jackson narrating the book. Advance warning: as you can imagine, there is liberal use of the f-word. But if you've ever had kids, you will relate. I promise.



Go the Fo*k to Sleep? Funny. My Borders out of business? Not funny at all.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Heroes Have Always Been Cartoon Characters

"Me behave? Seriously? As a child I saw Tarzan almost naked, Cinderella arrived home after midnight, Pinocchio told lies, Aladdin was a thief, Batman drove over 200 miles an hour, Snow White lived in a house with 7 men, Popeye smoked a pipe and had tattoos, Pac Man ran around to digital music while eating pills that enhanced his performance, and Shaggy and Scooby were mystery solving hippies that always had the munchies. The fault is not mine! If you had this childhood and loved it, repost." ~ Unknown

I would love to attribute this to someone. It was floating around Facebook the other day and I copied it over to share. Because some things should be immortalized and this is one of them.

If you are the author, or know the author, please let us know so that we can send you accolades. I commend you for authoring such deep and funny stuff, and with your permission, I would like to adopt it as my new motto.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

And, let us not forget the cigarette-smoking, cocktail drinking cool cat, the Pink Panther.

Here he is (in a movie intro) foiling the Man and charming the ladies. And here he is in rare form, relaxing on a Sunday afternoon:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happiness is a Warm Gun, On Perspective

"There is a little thing called perception that warps the way we see and hear things." ~ Dr. O

For decades, I have heard, "happiness is a warm gun," in the middle of a Led Zeppelin love song. Each time I hear the song, it jars me enough to elicit a faint smirk. Because I know I am putting words in to Robert Plant's mouth, but more because of what those particular words said about me.

Not long after JP and I began dating and he knew I was 'the One',  he shared lyrics that described how he felt:

"If the sun refused to shine
I would still be loving you.
When the mountains crumble to the sea
There will still be you and me."

Melt me? You better believe it. And it just keeps getting better every day.

Not long ago, he sent me a link to the song, entitled "Thank You". Imagine my surprise when I heard the familiar strains. Holding my breath, I waited to hear "happiness is a warm gun".

What I heard, instead, when I closed my eyes, was the haunting and lyrical declaration of a love that is timeless and forever.

And the line? "Happiness! No more be sad."

Yeah. Really.

What a difference a little perspective makes.



Thank you, JP. Life looks brighter through the lens of love.

Happiness, I am glad! ~ Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hands on the Wheel

"An' with no place to hide, I looked in your eyes,
An' I found myself in you.
I looked to the stars, tried all of the bars.
An' I've nearly gone up in smoke.
Now my hand's on the wheel, I've something that's real,
An' I feel like I'm goin' home." ~ from Hands on the Wheel

Almost daily I open Blogger to write a post, then sit here scanning the screen of my mind. Not one thing seems worth sharing. Shaking my head in disgust, I click off.

Oh, don't get me wrong, there's lots to share. Just nothing that I can imagine you would care about. I'm in love. La, la, la, la, la, la, la. So what. Big deal. Who cares.

Well, hell. I do.

And since this is my blog, I've decided to take it back. No more lizard brain censureship. Which means you're stuck reading about my love life. Or not. If I drone on and you hate it, I invite you to click over to any one off the great blogs on my right sidebar. There you will find prose, poetry, tips on writing the next bestseller, book reviews and more, whatever your taste may be. I promise you won't hurt my feelings. Just please come by to visit me now and again.

Here's Willie Nelson singing Hands on the Wheel at the end of a Fonda/Redford classic.


~ Olivia J. Herrell

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Camus on Inspiration

"Great ideas come in to the world as gently as doves...if we listen attentively, we shall hear amid the uproar...a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope." ~ Albert Camus

Friday, August 19, 2011

Life is Sweet

"They told you life is hard
Misery from the start, it's dull
It's slow, it's painful.

But I tell you life is sweet
In spite of the misery
There's so much more, be grateful.

Well, who do you believe?
Who will you listen to, who will it be?
Because it's high time that you decide
In your own mind." ~ Natalie Merchant, Life is Sweet


Life is sweet for Bugsy, too.
The last six weeks has been a blur as the gentle wind swirls around me. It caresses and heals my psyche, that battleground of emotions and mental impulses upon which I had jousted so bravely, yet failed repeatedly.

I have come home. It's a different kind of home, one I knew was out there. I had hints and encouragements, signposts along the way and never lost hope. Yet time marched on as I careened through life looking, waiting, hoping, that hope growing thin and ragged.
 
But here he is, live and in color, bigger than life, more than I ever imagined.
 
My childhood friend Anita told me years ago that she and her husband of fifteen years (at the time) had never had an argument, much less a fight. I couldn't wrap my head around this information. I had never (ever) known a couple that didn't argue, spar, even scream and yell at each other on occasion.
 
And I certainly had never had a relationship without such drama. I thought that as humans it was our fate. But I have laid down my arms and thrown away my shield. For I no longer need them.

I bid adieu to fighting. Life is sweet.

And yes, it always was, as Natalie says, in spite of the misery. But now? It's sweeter still.
 



~ Olivia J. Herrell

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Than Magic

I've been hanging out quite a lot with a magic man. Did I know he was magic when I met him? No. Not then.

But somewhere after the third or fourth date I suspected. After six or seven, I knew.

He is magic. Not only has he turned back the hands of time (we're seventeen again), I trust him. And he adores me. Tonight I caught myself looking in to his baby blue eyes all googly-eyed, feeling that emotion sparkling out of my green ones.

Did I tell you he has six year-old twins? And that I've fallen madly in love with them and they with me?

He does. A little girl and little boy as different (and as similar) as tea and coffee. They might look, smell and taste different, but both hide a wallop in their murky depths. Playing with these two brings out my six year-old Self. What joy there is in the wild abandonment of being six!

This is for JP, my magic man.

I'm so glad you found me.




~ Olivia J. Herrell

Monday, August 8, 2011

Street Riots and A New Hope

Two stories caught my attention today. Both relate to my latest post, The Thud Heard Round the World.


Today is Day 3 of the riots spreading around London. What strikes me most, is that the US is following the same path that Britain took to lead to these riots. These will be our streets, our neighborhoods, if we don't do something drastic to intervene.

I grew up believing in my country, proud to be an American. I was taught that we had morals, we looked out for the other guy and we left our citizens alone to do their own thing.

Today, that is far from the truth. And, like crazed mice stuck in a revolving wheel, we keep printing money trying to stay afloat. Our debt payments exceed our income.

As a retired accountant, I can assure you that when you pay out more than you make every day, and there are no savings from which to borrow, it doesn't take long to be bankrupt. Britain is in its current pickle, because it spent money it didn't have to bail out their banking system. Sound familiar?

There are no jobs in Britain and prices are rising in time to presses that steadily print money to service their staggering debt. Eerily familiar? In London, conditions have become unbearable and unemployed workers, mostly youths under twenty, are rioting. The stretched police are having a heck of a time containing the violence, looting and destruction.

I sit at home in Georgia, in my thrift store chair typing this missive. In my tiny town, I eek out a living from day to day, having long ago lost, sold or given away all my worldly assets thanks to this mess of an economy we created. At least I AM making a living. Many, many more aren't. Soon those riots could be in OUR streets.

Whose fault is it? I really don't care. I DO care that we can turn this 'Titanic' around. There are even concrete steps to do so.

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFf4P20cWmU&NR=1

Today I watched a taped CNN interview with the former two-term governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. He has a solid and proven track record for turning his deeply-in-debt state around to a substantial surplus. He's for getting the government out of our personal business and giving us back the civil liberties our country was founded upon. And he has charisma.

Even though the reporter in this interview is combative, this candidate for the Republican nomination remains calm, unruffled, focused and on point. I truly believe he might be special. He has something unflappable and extraordinary about him, and with each youtube interview/video I watch, I like him more. Plus, he looks a lot like Liam Neeson.

Yeah. This man actually seems to have some good old-fashioned horse sense and integrity.

He gives me hope.

And now, for something a little more light-hearted, the opening scene from "A New Hope".




~ Olivia J. Herrell

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Thud Heard Round the World

"Too many shockwaves in the air to sleep tonight. Must be the aftermath of the thud." ~ Me

It's 3:43 a.m. and I can't sleep. For the first time in history, the United States of America's credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's.

If you were shocked, why?

Have you not been listening? Paying attention?

I don't watch the news, nor listen to it on the radio. But I read enough alternative news to know this would happen.

I expect it will only get worse as the U.S. government continues printing money to service a staggering national debt on which the interest rate will exponentially grow, driving up all other interest rates. Hello rampant inflation. Already soaring prices will rocket. Goods will become harder to get. And eventually, our dollars will be so devalued they'll buy nada. Not-a damn thing.

On a happier note, I'm in love. Yep. Head over heels. With an extraordinary man and his six year-old twins. He is way ahead of me on tonight's grave subject. So I'm gonna let him tell it.

This excerpt is reprinted by permission from an email he wrote me earlier in the night:

"Today the market barely held on with a ginned up and fake government issued jobs report that ignored another 200,000 unemployed as discouraged. That taken with the late announcement conveniently timed after closure of the markets ought to make Monday quite the day. Can you say panic! Europe is also tottering badly. At this point it is a question of who takes who down first.


Many places I go on internet for predictive information picked August as the month it would all unravel back in March and April - I have been doing my quiet best to get ready - bought extra toilet paper and bar soap today for instance - sounds silly but just try doing without!


The signs of this have been apparent for a long time and people just want everything to stay the same, The media promulgates this everyday and as long as people hear the thing they most want to hear they go right back to snooze mode.


It's just an immediate example of the human need to ignore the facts so that your every day existence is not threatened. It's part of the whole when I contemplated and rejected the idea this problem would be fixed. It cannot be changed because the normal American is not ready or prepared to do what's needed. Politicians obviously know this and will not respond in any constructive way that would jeopardize their re-election.


In the "game" you and I have talked of this result is oh so predictable but sad.


I am pissed at politicians in control as all the drama last few weeks we were told something had to be done to prevent a downgrade - well they went off half-assed as usual and are once again screwing JQP [John Q Public]. There are no leaders any more!


They barely came up with 1 Trillion over ten years by funny bookkeeping, the real number needed was an actual real 750 billion now, another 750 billion next year in real honest spending cuts - not smoke and mirrors.


This is Thelma and Louise go to Washington - all we really got was 'do we go over the cliff at 85 mph or do we go 110 mph over the cliff' - that, in its essence, is what happened this week in Congress.


Only problem is we're stuck in the car with these idiots and we cannot completely ignore the consequences of their lack of action." ~ J.P. Metcalfe
Oh, no, say it ain't so? Sorry. I love you guys. And I just can't lie. We're in for a world of hurt coming up. It's time to wake up from the fantasy and dig ourselves in, lay in food and water, swap our green money for something that holds value and can be easily traded, plant a garden, get cosy with our neighbors, do whatever we can to come together in our own communities to help each other.

Because the government's broke. And they don't seem to care much about JQP anymore, anyway.

I'll share this last thought from Jim's email: "...I think its going to take some extraordinary people to hold together the next 10-20 years."

To all you extraordinary people out there, it's time to do what you do best.

Be extraordinary.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Birds, Belugas and Ballads

"Music is as air to life." ~ Olivia J. Herrell

A treat for you on this muggy Thursday evening. I saw this on Facebook and had to share.



My daddy loved the song, "Yellow Bird". It's a Haitian folk song, recorded many times through the years. In the video, a mariachi band playing for a wedding at the Aquarium stay and play for a beluga whale who swims, transfixed, swaying to the music.

Proof positive that music is universal.

Here's to JP, who at long last found his music.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Monday, August 1, 2011

Write? Work? Nada? Reconciling Differences

"Integrity is telling myself the Truth. And Honesty is telling the Truth to other people." ~ Spencer Johnson

I seem to be wandering in a twilight again. Some days I'm full-throttle, others, not so much. I have great ideas for my professional endeavors, but am lacking on follow-through. The more I slack, the slacker I become. At the moment, I'm bottom-rung.

Le Beau and I pulled angel cards yesterday, after spending time getting to know each other more. I shuffled, he drew first: Integrity. I pulled Honesty. Later in an email, he said, "Our cards pulled today, Integrity, honesty were prescient as it's key to everything - I was happy with those draws because all else springs from there!" So true.

Yet today, here I sit, after sleeping all morning and much of the afternoon, unable to leave my house for the office or make the phone call I've been needing to make for days. Commitments, policies, folders and files, notes and flyers litter my conscience as I do the only thing I can do at the moment. Sit. In this chair. Confessing to you.

The practice, nay, the profession I have mapped out in my head, the same one that needs little more than me moving and doing, showing up and being my Self, languishes, waiting. For me. The one ingredient without which it can never happen.

Integrity enters, calling me to task. Yet still, I sit. Unmoving. Unwilling. And unable.

Next comes Depression. Yeah. I can lean here, even hide, blame my lack of Integrity on 'the depression'. I dwell a bit, wondering if I should ask the doc about increasing my dosage of prozac. Would they bump me from 10 mg to 20? Or compromise at 15?

But I want to get off prozac, not take more.

Then Honesty knocks, enters, says, "Let's step back and look at the facts." 
"Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs." ~ Wikipedia
Okay. Account for the discrepancy. Or alter my beliefs.
Perfect honesty would have me walking away from any worldly practice in favor of my wordly one. Meaning, my heart's desire is to be a writer, and nothing more. Yet the world demands one pay her way and to hell with ones heart's desire.

Damn.

So. In lieu of a patron (or hefty advance!) I must work. I love being a doctor and helping people feel better. I just want to write so much more. I pray that now I've gotten my writerly 'fix', I can show up tomorrow for Work.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Postscript: There's something to be said for laying it all out there. I showed up for a commitment tonight and left with two appointments for tomorrow: one a new patient, the other a returning one. Yeeehaaaa!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Moon, Zero Percent Full

The lunar phase icon in my middle sidebar declared this a few minutes ago. It got my attention.

New moon. Zero Percent Full.

CURRENT MOON


What a concept.

It's a time for new beginnings. Forging ahead.

Remember the couple in "2012", played by John Cusack and Amanda Peet? They have two young children and she has a fiance who gets smoked. Woody Haralson plays a fabulous part as the 'raving maniac' who predicted the whole thing.

Has anyone, besides me, noticed that kind of urgency on the air these days?

~ Olivia J. Herrell



~ For JP, more sky antics

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do You Camus?

"Readers and critics alike are often quick to find some label by means of which they can characterize or summarize an original writer and thereby render him less disturbing." ~ John Cruickshank, on Albert Camus and the literature of Revolt, OUP (1959)

I don't know him well yet, but I've fallen in love with Albert Camus.

On Thursday, my new beau and I discovered a Used and Rare book store just off the square in Carrollton, GA. I'm not sure who was more tickled, me or le beau. We browsed the shelves, read cool posters and had fun with a myriad of unusual finds. Then we came across a basket of buttons, each with a quote and picture of a famous author. Of course I had to read them all.

The quote on the one that snagged me and had me shelling over four bucks to the owner?

"With rebellion, awareness is born." ~ Albert Camus

See? I find that as deep and as hard-hitting as an avalanch. And so flippin' true. Apropos for my blog? Uh-huh. I bought the button, brought it home and for the past couple of days, I've gazed at the picture of this man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, looking all Bogeyish, and wondered who, other than a philosophical genius, is this writer?


Today I got a chance to google. And Oh. My. God.

You know that quote, "Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend"? Yep. Albert Camus. Or the one, "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." Him again.

Author and playwright for Caligula? Albert Camus.

But there is so much more.

I found interpretations of his books on the Albert Camus Society of the UK website and am determined to get my hands on those books. If you click over to the website, notice the quotes in the upper left-hand corner. Those teasers prompted me to google and click over to BrainyQuotes.com where I found a plethora of common sense, kick-ass quotes by none other than Albert Camus. Pages and pages of them!

I encourage you to click over and check them out. Maybe you'll fall in love with this forward thinker from way-back, too.

OH! And by the way, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. Guess this is my week for being influenced by Nobel Prize winners. In lit. Hmmm. Portent? Or at least a new pretty to contemplate. Imagine this announcement: "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 was awarded to Olivia J. Herrell for her important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times".

Yeah. A new pretty to agonize.

Happy Saturday, Olivia J. Herrell

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pen Name = Presumptuous Fraud?

I have a picture of Albert Einstein in my bathroom with his "Imagination is more important than knowledge" quote. Sometimes, we talk. Occasionally, he brings a friend.

A month ago, I was considering my hair in the mirror, thinking of dying it blond, so I could paint it a different color every week: pink, chartreuse, purple, depending on my mood. I flashed to one of my favorite characters, Mavis, from J.D. Robb's "Death" series, who does just this very thing, and it's a trait I find endearing.

Suddenly, from nowhere leapt Ernest Hemingway shouting, "THAT'S IT! THAT'S YOUR PEN NAME: MAVIS HEMINGWAY HERRELL!"

He grabbed my hand and waltzed me around the room, then deposited me, breathless, back in front of the mirror. Standing before me was Mavis Hemingway Herrell, grinning her shit-eating grin. "Hell-o," she drawled, then we giggled as we danced our own happy jig.

When I turned back to Ernest, he was gone. This didn't preclude us from having a conversation in which I told him how presumptious people would think me for daring to take his name. His head appeared from the ceiling, upside down to his full white beard. He looked quite insulted.

"It's mine to give and I'm giving it to You. Where is the presumption in that?" With a cheeky grin and a twinkling eye he disappeared in to the ceiling.

For days I contemplated that pen name. I liked it. But using it seemed tantamount to blasphemy.

I googled it. You know I had to. And found several Mavis Hemingways in Europe. I doubt anyone ever thought badly of those ladies for sporting the Hemingway moniker. But then they're probably not climbing the slippery slopes of authordom, either.

Stale mate.

So I'm asking you guys. What do you think? Do you like the ring of 'Mavis Hemingway Herrell'? Or does it make me sound like a presumptuous fraud?

Why is finding a pen name such an elusive feat, anyway? *sigh*

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Click to read the speech in which Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. It's a great read if you're curious. Even better is the two minute recorded excerpt from Hemingway's acceptance speech.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

A new wind is blowing through my world.
I called, and it came.
The soft, teasing sort,
That tickles your hair
On a warm summer day.
Light, airy, safe,
Ever there.
Unbidden, my lips turn up at the corners,
Curious as to what happens next.
The wind swirls, steady and sweet
Then gently sighs, at rest.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

A new wind indeed.

I met a guy. And not just any guy. A special kind of guy.

He found me. On match.com. From only fifteen miles away. Our paths, though different, have crisscrossed many times. Now we meet, at the middle of our road, for the first time.

Of course, it's early. We just met. And had one date.

But Mav said it best, mischevious grin and all, "I don't know, but uh, it's looking good so far."



P.S. I officially have DSL at home as of today and am so very grateful. I feel connected again. Thank you all for that. Oh yeah! I promised you a happy post. Did I deliver?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Goodbye My Friend, Carry On

"Baby if you can hear me
Turn down your radio
There's just one thing
I want you to know
When you've been near me
I've felt the love stirring in my soul..."

This song has been playing in my head for two weeks.
Courtesy of Jackson Browne.
It is time. To move on.
New song.

Yeah.

But daaaang.

"Baby if you need me
Like I know I need you
There's just one thing
I'll ask you to do
Take my hand and lead me
To the hole in your garden wall
And pull me through."


Yeah.

But you know what folks? That ain't happening. Not now. Not never.
That door. Has closed.
And the sound.
Resounds.
Down the halls of the past.
In to the future.

Goodbye my friend.
Carry on.

I will still rejoice in your successes.
But I will no longer wait.

Not for you.

Not anymore.

Goodbye my friend.
Carry on.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

To family, friends and faithful readers, I am finally letting go of my Bobby McGee. And moving on. I have a profile on match.com and am meeting my first 'match' this Saturday. Don't cry for me. I am happy. I've found home. And whether there is a man in my life or not, I know that I am loved.

Raise your glass for a toast to what happens next: *clink*
And I promise. I'll be back with a happy post soon.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I've Been Up and Down This Highway

The world seems topsy-turvy. Have you noticed?
I've been absoul-utely, positively, radiantly happy.

Until last week.

Another death, close,
My aunt's sister,
An earth angel
Got her wings.
My aunt and I reconciled,
At least, I think we did. I did.
And she was glad to see me,
Pulled me in to
Sit beside her
During the service.

After that? The week warped
In to a Dali painting.
Time stood still.
Bleak. No work.
I care. But I can't.
Get. Together. To. Go. In.
To. The. Office.
Everything, all of a sudden,
Is just way too hard,
Too heavy.
Oh My God.
Why is everything so
Freakin' hard?

What is this diabolical depresssion,
Insidious, weaving its way in to my home,
My profession, my bed?
It woos me to sleep ten, eleven,
Even twelve hours some nights.
Don't get up, not yet,
Pull the pillow over your head,
Snooze until the cat comes back
From his morning explores,
Then sleep more.

Dammit. NO!
Tonight, before I go to bed
My house will be clean.
I will have a to-do list to follow
To get stuff done
And tomorrow, I will follow it.
Starting with an 8 a.m. networking meeting,
And ending up with a 7 p.m. 12-step meeting.
I'm taking back my serenity.
And my want-to.
And my big girl britches.

Been missing y'all a LOT! Olivia J. Herrell

This song mirrored my mood so well, I hopped on here to share it with you guys. The poemy update popped out, too. Anyway, this is one of my favorite Jackson Browne songs. 'Night


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice Soliloquy

Happy Solstice Everyone,

May you spend each moment of this longest day of 2011 well. Be still and present in your doings and remember: take a few minutes, an hour, longer if you're able, to breathe in the bounty and glory of this home we call Earth. Go outside. Take your shoes off. Find some grass and let your toes revel, or a patch of dirt or sand. Sit down. Stay awhile.

Children's book by Ellen Jackson,
illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis
Touch the Mother from whence God made us and to whom he gave us charge. She won't ask for thanks. Or payment. Just having you stand, attentive to her nurturing rhythm, is all that she asks.

Go forth. Put down your PC, your Mac, your laptop or your smartphone. The outdoors is calling. Answer the call.

It will transform you.

The effect will ripple through the rest of your day and touch everyone you come in contact with. And, who knows. Maybe the combined effect of all of our ripples will trigger a healing for Mother Earth.

Miracles happen.

Happy Summer Solstice 2011, Olivia J. Herrell

Friday, June 3, 2011

Of Herbs, Litter Boxes and Polka-Dotted Curtains

It’s June and I’m happy. Bugsy and I LOVE our little house in town. Our garden is thriving, the flower seeds just starting to pop up. I’ll soon plant sunflowers for my feathery friends. The patio herb garden is expanding, including the catnip (when I can keep Bugsy and the neighborhood cats out of it).

I had several goals for the first six months of 2011. While my manuscript has suffered, some other goals have been met, even exceeded. I have a home of my own and it is perfect. It’s an older house with a big yard, lots of trees and a small wood on two sides, in a quiet neighborhood.

No litter box to contend with, Bugsy has free reign of his outdoor space during the daylight hours. He’s older now, almost seven. So he stays pretty close, spending much of his time sleeping on either the back porch or the front.

My chiropractic/nutrition practice is gathering momentum as the word gets out. I’m mostly self-supporting now, though I have a couple of major expenses that need tending. Betty needs work, including an A/C compressor. I thought I’d forgo the second in favor of driving topless all summer. But the last two days of near-100 degree temps may have changed my mind.

I have not lost 35 pounds. But I’ve lost 21, and have twenty-seven days left in June.

It’s time to go hang the crazy curtain I got to go with my funky, polka-dotted shower curtain. I’m having fun making this little house home: branching out, using colors I’ve never used. My palette now includes blues. Who’da thought?

Happy June! Olivia J. Herrell

P.S. Calvin B. Streets' new CD, FRONT DOOR KEY is completed and, from what I hear, turned out amazing. I'm waiting for a copy and will share as soon as I can. In the meantime, here's a youtube video of him performing one of the tunes from the CD called Lazy Day Blues.



I had the high privilege of sitting beside Calvin one fine June day as he picked out the tune on his Martin (Ellie Mae, the one he plays in the video). The lyrics poured out and in a matter of minutes, a song was born. Yeah. Calvin's a genius.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Self-Published Fiction Book Award Contest


The grand prize is $500, second $100, and there is also an honorable mention. Click on over for the rules. Entries must be postmarked by November 30, 2011.

The contest is open to all fiction books (self) published or revised and reprinted in 2005 through 2011. They are accepting printed and bound books to which the author owns all rights, and judging primarily on content and writing quality. No handwritten books are accepted.

For all the details and fine print, please click on over to the Creative Arts Council's website.  
Good luck to all the entrants!

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