Lollypop Tongues

This has been a year of reeling.  I’ve learned that it isn’t only the bad times that knock me down and shake me up, but the good ones, too. No sooner do I get my feet under me, take a few carefree steps when BOOM! – something else comes out of nowhere. The year is dense with overload, bristling with good and bad things like lurid lollypop tongues. It isn’t a bad year or a failed year or even a grieving year. In many respects, 2012 may be one of my most accomplished years, one full of opportunities, revelations, and surprising detours. It is a year of change.

blue lolly oceanAnd that’s not any kind of year for a stability junkie.

Or is it?

The shifting landscape of my life has forced me to find a calm center that isn’t based on any illusion of control. In the past, my days were ruled by an unwavering agenda. I ran my life like a tight ship, never straying from my course or getting stuck in the doldrums. Small upsets to my schedule made me anxious and fearful. I was inflexible in the weirdest of ways, and continually insisted on doing things that didn’t need to be done simply because I had them scheduled. It took decades for me to learn that life isn’t a boat, and I’m not a captain.

Life is an ocean. Beautiful-terrible, mercurial life! It is the last thing you were ever expecting it to be.

My prissily planned days were an artificial representation of the ocean of life. Sure, you can eliminate unnecessary complexity in calculating forces by assuming all horses are shaped like spheres. The rude fact is that horses are not spherical, and that forces aren’t always easily calculable. Years like this one make me aware that no matter how tightly I pin down one dimension of the equation, there are more variables I hadn’t accounted for popping up elsewhere. I’m finding this in my WIP. It started as a book, expanded to a triology, and is now projected to be a five book series. A series! I am in the second revision of the first book and the draft is … tumescing. I’ve added an additional twelve-thousand words, shutting down any hopes of writing a slim novella. And I’m not finished with the edit, which means that this book, like life itself, is going to keep me reeling.

I mentioned a calm center, but I don’t find them in these frenetic, strange words sparking in their own tinder-boxes of potential. The calm is here, though. All the time, right here.

To reach it, I had to abandon myself to the incalculable tides of fate. The waves stole my flip-flops, the undertow dragged me down. Down, down into my core. At first, it was incredibly hard to sit still quietly with myself. Panic was a threat, an intense urge to make lists was a threat, loud music and cold beer were welcome threats to the simple act of surrender. Yet in the quiet of my core, away from the spinning wheel of the daily, that is where I find true, unchanging peace. Moment to moment, I can go there and be free of what plagues me. There are such bad things, and some such good things, that shift my entire sense of self into a new spectrum of understanding, loathing, or loving. Those are the times the center is needed. Of course, those are also the times when I box in the asshole in the Beemer or snap at the nice guy from IT (and one should never, ever under any circumstances snap at the nice guy in IT!). The discovery of calm hasn’t made me perfect, but it has made me more aware of when I have spun out into the tempest. To go to my center focuses me. The stillness of calm gave me the strength to get out of my Ambition Room, the empowerment to define my own ‘All,’ and access to the conduit that sends me the stories I write.

The calm isn’t contingent on the world or reality. It is untouched by the whirlwinds of tragedy and triumph. It is within me, and it is my grace.


If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my newsletter!  

I adore and reply to comments!

16 thoughts on “Lollypop Tongues

  1. “life isn’t a boat, and I’m not a captain.” I’m going to have to remember that in my most anxious moments; I know I’m just as guilty of wanting to schedule things. The problem is those schedules ended up ruling my emotional life and I felt like a fraud when I couldn’t live up to them. I had to give up on a lot of my notions of project planning quite some time ago or it would have driven me insane.

    Oh and I feel you on the ever-expanding story 🙂 Room 3 is becoming a real monster in the same fashion. Glad to see you’re finding a calm center in the middle of all this change.


    • I hear this one a lot at work: “No plans survive contact with reality.” I think we need plans at some level, but the details need to be allowed to evolve without being constrained. It sounds like Room 3, like my WIP, insisted on teaching us to be flexible while remaining steadfast to the vision.


  2. Your year sounds a LOT like mine….Crazy-Manic is thy name 2012!
    I too feel that life and (fiction) has stretched me on a rack of challenges and crisis and I have had as many massive highs as I have had massive lows…The last week I have felt quite sea-sick with life’s tide of change.
    FANTASTIC post hun! You have inspired me for my post this week…coming up 🙂


    • I can’t wait to read your post, Kim, and see what thoughts my post sparked. I don’t know what it is about this year, but it just doesn’t seem to want to settle into any sort of comfortable pattern. Lots of good and stress and change, and all of it unavoidable… We’ll make it through, but I think we’ll need a vacation early next year!


  3. Also liked the boat line, but the first one to jump out at me was “I was inflexible in the weirdest of ways.” I think you are preachin’ to the choir on that one, sister.

    Oh, and here comes the next verse: “an intense urge to make lists was a threat.”


    Funny the timing. Here is the first line (well kind of) from the travelogue excerpt I will be posting tomorrow:

    “Clark and I talk that night about the ocean.”

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog


    • I’ve learned a lot about how to let go of my list habit. I used to keep the most detailed lists, mostly because it made me feel like I was really in control. Now, I get done what needs to get done, roughly when it needs to be done, but I try not to get hung up on the order of events.

      I’m looking forward to your weekly post – funny thing about us both mentioning the ocean, right?!



  4. I think a lot of over-achieving, driven people feel this way. I try to use lists and despair as my lists grow ever longer. So I stop looking at lists for a while and everything important seems to get done anyway. But still my calm center eludes me more days than I wish. Some days, it just cannot be found.


    • Marie, I wish we lived close enough to meet up for a cup of coffee and a chat. I used to do the same thing with lists, especially the despairing about not being able to mark everything off of the list in the expected time frame. When I quit the list-habit, I came to this conclusion: Everything gets done when it needs to get done. I never let important things slip, but some smaller things can wait a day, a week. Gee, my car has waited a month for a wash…

      Thanks for stopping by, Marie. 🙂


  5. This is comment is being written after only reading the title of this particular blog post. Best. Title. EVER!

    If I’m going to read ANYTHING on the internet, it will be “Lollipop Tongues.”

    Now, to read the actual post 😉



  6. Okay, back now.

    “My prissily planned days were an artificial representation of the ocean of life. Sure, you can eliminate unnecessary complexity in calculating forces by assuming all horses are shaped like spheres. The rude fact is that horses are not spherical, and that forces aren’t always easily calculable.”

    Your talent dumbfounds me. I LOVE the way you see things.




Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s