Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What I Like About You/What I Like About Me

This week has been a difficult one for me in that I'm learning to focus all of these things about myself into my own writing. I'm still working on other authors' work, but finally, I'm pulling those things from my life, so I can go where I want to, as I develop my own writing career further.

A friend of mine, who has even written a column with me,(and known me for years) told me I had to do a couple things:

1. Answer this question: If you were taking a trip on a plane, and had to choose one book or author, what would the book be? (Wow. That is a very difficult question for me.)

2. List all of your favorite books (of all time.) Number them from favorite (number 1) to least favorite of the favorites. (ha) Go with your first instinct and don't agonize over it. (Boy, does she know me, or what?)

I have to admit to you right now--I have maybe a thousand books.(First step: Admit your illness.) I am not kidding you. I did give hundreds of books to a church library. (I'm a book reviewer.) This was not easy for me. One of the books I let go of was instantly the pastor's favorite, and since he is also a dean of students at a local university, he is influencing a whole community there with this book. (I may have to buy that book because I did love it, too. Drat.)

My therapist, (I mean, friend,) tells me I have to distill from my life, and my collection of books, the things that are in common with all of them--those threads of passion. At first I looked at these books and thought,"These books are about as different as Cajun food is from Baby's pablum! Ack, I'm a mess! (There are people who agree with this--about me being a mess.)

But then, the smoke started to clear, and common threads appeared--strong, clear and bright--and they ran through my entire soul. I saw them and it was amazing to me. And what I saw, I liked. I liked it in the books I loved, and I liked it about me. I thought that I was all over the map with my favorites and my habits, but I'm not, really. But not only did I have a false view of myself and beat myself up for having those loves, I had no confidence to embrace those true things in myself. I did not give myself permission to love stuff that was uniquely mine.

It's no good, I told myself.

In coming to this realization, I even began to appreciate what other people liked, or had interest in, and to appreciate their loves and passions. And sometimes I share a lot more with people than I thought possible--certain loves or appreciation.

I think wrapped up in this exercise of my soul's passions is a realization that I must bring these threads into my life every day to be whom God intended for me to be. If I do this, I will discover the happiness that is in my life, even on a bad or sad day. We rob ourselves of joy if we do not keep these threads running in our daily lives.

Ok, so what? you say to me. How does this apply to me?

Here are the threads to keep running constantly in your life (and mine) that I have discovered:

1. Have a sense of curiosity and feed it.
2. Keep inspired.
3. Help someone else.
4. Do something you are good at.
5. Read.
6. Don't watch so much. Do something.
7. Love what you do, and if you're not loving it, find a way to get rid of it.(This is only in what you do. ha Just say no.)
8. Exercise. (Your body, mind and spirit.)
9. Face up to your fear(s). Meet them head on and stare them down. Call in back up in the face off (I think God is big enough for that role for me.)
10. Believe in what God already knows about you--and embrace it. It is what is true.
11. Stay close to your family, friends and those people who are positive to you. (Limit the poison relationships or set boundaries.)
12. Follow your heart whenever it is something good--don't follow your temptations, evil or unethical, immoral impulses.

Hope these things help you as much as they are helping me in learning to be happy with living with myself. As a writer I have stories to tell and I want to tell them my way. After all of this time,to find that I'm ok to be who I am is a great freedom.


Sabrina L. Fox said...

7. Love what you do, and if you're not loving it, find a way to get rid of it.(This is only in what you do. ha Just say no.)

ROTFL. Lots of people--er I mean things, come to mind. Kidding.

I, like millions of other women, know I need to quit signing up for "stuff". There are so many things I wish I had the time to do. Think of all the books we'd have published if we quit saying yes to so much. At least that's my theory anyway!

As always, great post.

Cara Putman said...

Thought-provoking, Crystal. Now I expect to get all kinds of great chapters to read! JK. You're going to do it. I know it. Keep at it!

Sarah Anne Sumpolec said...

I didn't know you were blogging!!!

I'm so excited:-)

Luv ya!

Crystal Laine said...

Sabrina, Even at my age, I still have trouble saying no--just ask me how many manuscripts I still have on my desk. Ack.

And Cara--everyone should have a Cara Putnam in her life. You are amazing!