Friday, October 29, 2010

Bad News, Mexico

Dearest Mexico,

I have some really bad news. For reasons totally within their rights that make complete sense, the people that I dogsat for in Mexico don’t need me this year. Despite the logic of their decision, I am heartbroken. Despite my heartbreak, I am now excited and curious about where I’ll end up instead.

I haven’t forgotten you, Mexico, and I may still end up lost in your huge expanse of spicy foods and welcoming people. I can’t help but wonder, however, if this change in plans was meant to be a shove to push me in another direction, one I haven’t yet determined.

Immediately upon hearing the news – curse those smart phones and their instant email updates! – I became morose and self-pitying. Well, now I would simply have to move, and settle into a more regular routine, and punish those around me for the fact that I couldn’t leave. Of course I knew that this attitude wouldn’t last, and that my life is NOT that bad simply because I have lost my trip to Mexico, but sometimes you just have to let the emotion wear itself out or it will start to eat at you.

My mother was not impressed. “You’ll find something else; you always do.”
She’s right; I do always find something else, because when you’re looking for opportunities, they’re always there. It is simply time for me to look for a new one.

I’m sorry, Mexico. I told you before that I couldn’t guarantee my fidelity, and it looks like fate might be pulling us apart. You see, I wanted to come back to you, but now that I’m going to be left more to my own devices – and more dependent on my own savings – I am very likely to pick somewhere else that I haven’t seen to see if the sparks fly. I can’t tell you what will happen, because I honestly don’t know, but I do know this: future memories cannot replace the wonderful things I have already experienced. I will never forget you, and I'm sure I'll see you again soon.

Love and new adventure kisses

Friday, October 22, 2010

Striving for Mindlessness

Since I finished my cookbook – really finished it: sent it to press, got a proof, made the order and began to sell it – I’ve been having wrestling matches in my head. My brain – all logic and no nonsense – has been keeping track of the ever-growing list of things to do to market the cookbook: finish the website, pre-sell books to local retailers, send press releases to local news media, etc. My mind, (I realize it’s a minute difference, but I’m going to call it my mind after reading an amazing book that changed my life called The Power of Now), on the other hand, has been trying to sabotage my brain at every step.

Here’s a typical conversation between my brain and my mind:

BRAIN: “Okay, today you’ve got to contact the people who you think will want to carry your book. Let’s make a list…”

MIND: (interrupts) “Make a list? What the f*ck is the point of making a list when there’s only one person on it, your MOM?” Who the f*ck else is going to want your mamby pamby book? You know anyone could have done it better than you could…it’s probably going to come back from the press with the cover on upside down…”

BRAIN: (quietly reciting the list in the background) “We should go to Wenatchee and see if anyone will carry it there, and oh, we need to remember to call Amazon to see if we can get it on there…”


BRAIN: (stops dead)


BRAIN: (smirking, continues calmly) “Then we’ll start a Facebook page…”


Thankfully, I have been able to continue on with the lists and going through the motions to making my book a success despite all the doubts and my own attempts to self-sabotage. While I hope to one day get to the point where I can gag my mind and throw it in a dark room with no sunlight, at the moment I simply have to focus on taking the steps to get me there and hope it will shut the f*ck up.

With the realization that I self-sabotage, however, came the realization that there are many things I can do to stop it or make myself feel better. These are things that I’ve always done, but the difference now is that I do them to combat the feelings of failure or inadequacy instead of letting myself cycle into a deep, dark depressed mood. So, without further ado, my list:

1) COOK! Okay, I realize a lot of us (women especially) self-medicate with food, but there’s something incredibly soothing about actually making myself a meal before eating it to feel better.
2) Read. Having a good book to delve into, especially on my front porch, always takes the edge off.
3) Take a bath. With a book. And eucalyptus bath salts…
4) Go outside. Bikes rides, runs, kayaking trips, a walk…anything that remind me that it’s beautiful out there and out there no one cares if I’ve gotten anything done today.
5) Yoga. It makes my body feel better and always improves my mental state.
6) Call my friends. It’s nice to tell someone your darkest fears and have them remind you that they are all unfounded.

I told someone recently that I realized that most – if not all – of my problems are in my head, and that it both enlightened and depressed me. With that realization, however, came the realization that if the problems are in my mind, so are the solutions…if I can just shut my mind up long enough to find them.

Love and striving for mindless kisses

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Writer's Block

"Abstract concepts aside, the single most effective laxative that I’ve found to combat textual constipation is stubbornness. You just have to storm past it, treating it as though it isn’t even there. How do you do this? By never allowing yourself to stop writing, even if you fear that it’s a load of hooey that will culminate in kindling; even if all you’re writing over and over is, “I’m a hack,” you must keep on writing. Sure, your output might look a little like Jack Torrance’s in The Shining from time to time, but you’re a writer; you’re allowed to be a little screwy."

Caroline Hagood is a poet and writer living in New York City. Blog: Twitter: @caroline_hagood

Love and stubborn kisses