Red lipstick takes you everywhere.
I have been wearing red lipstick since I was quite young. My mother read the Enquirer -an American tabloid on a weekly basis, I would cut out the animal pictures and she would keep up with the royal gossip. While I turned the pages, I noticed all the beautiful women wore a red lip. As I grew older, bolstered by my mother always telling me how pretty I how and frightened by the number of boys in my class who told me I was ugly, I saw red lips as the way to stand out.
People will bash the color, saying it is for harlots and the like. I disagree. Red lips tell the world you are bold and glamorous. If there is one thing I have learned living in Miami, it is that men are not attracted to smarts or beauty; they love the illusion of beautiful. There is an air of stardom when you put it on. I worked in an elitist day school where everyone was trying to stay below the radar. Not me. Red lips, mirror aviators and my yeti like coat commanded the hallways and in the end, too much attention from the administration who chided me for putting on my own glamour party. They wanted me to be more “school marm” and I wanted to be me.
Wearing red lipstick makes you stand out. When you stand out, talk will be had. Talk can lead to confidence which enables you to get on airplanes to foreign lands by yourself or to sit on your sofa meditating until you reach the center of your soul. Red lipstick will take you everywhere. Go put on some and notice how different you feel.
I do not know about ping backs or how to do them. Please enlighten me.
For two immigrants’ daughter I have taken plenty of risks. I have been on my own since 20 and independence/self-sustainability is the greatest risk anyone can take. Taking care of yourself requires an enormous amount of responsibility and self-sacrifice to a larger extent. Now after all is said and done, my biggest risk would be trusting someone else to take care of me and to let go.
The trouble with this is that any time I have tried it in the past it did not work. Either I got taken advantage of or the train stopped before it got out of the station. Once you have been burned quite a few times, the risk becomes about being vulnerable. I am not sure how to make this happen. There is no shining knight in armor or a faerie godmother ready to make all my dreams come true. The monk who taught me how to meditate informed me the only way to be set free is to meditate twice a day. Enlightenment will come that way and I will be free from attachment.
Attachments are a part of life and I do not necessarily want to detach from being human. Although sometimes I feel that I have detached from humanity already. Getting back into the swing of life and social order would be a great thing if I could just let things be. I may need to meditate more for that to actually happen. So to help me let go I take my dog to Key Biscayne at night to commune with the ocean’s energy that is about nothing save letting go. Things wash in and out continuously without concern or attachment. People and events come into my life and I almost choke them trying holding on to their stability. In those moments when I realize I cannot hold on to anyone or anything, I grow anxious.
In short the story is about a girl who comes of age during a plague on a fictional Carribean island. Along the way she falls in love with her writing idol despite being pregnant with her husband’s child. The island engages in superstition and gossip. The motif is mermaids which symbolize hope and the afterlife.
Here we go. Please feel free to make other suggestions or say none of the above.
1. Under the Waves
2. The Mermaid Plague
3. Mermaids and Plague
4. The Plague and the Mermaid
5. Bloodberry Mermaid-there is a fruit on the island called a bloodberry.
6. Bloodberry, Mermaid, Plague
We have been together for what seems like an eternity. You help me remember how transitory this world/life is. The exact moment I get comfortable, you rush in to give me anxiety ensuring that I will never be complacent. Now, I think we need a new summer look. Instead of being the divalicious goth girl in the corner who reminds everyone that we all die, let’s try to be the hippie girl who makes daisy chains and loves to meditate. She reminds people that we are spirits instead of worm food. It would be a great new image. We can still wear red lipstick and keep the black hair, but it is time to change. Vintage has it’s place, but the seasons must change.
I recently spent the whole day reading this book about a woman and how her love for dogs changed her life. When the human world rejects you, the canine one awaits you. Reading this got me thinking about how my pig Doris changed my life. I have been writing on it and took it to my writing meetup. As soon as I am done with this week’s ghostwriting job, I will post it into serials. Animals really do change your entire life and I am grateful for all the four legged ones that have left their marks on my soul. Hopefully we will be reunited on the rainbow bridge,
I lost my faith in London summer 2012. It was a heady time. I would be gone for 6 full weeks and visiting my brother’s family during the Olympics. On a whim I went to an astrologer who informed me to send my book out again to publishers on June 28th. Every psychic I ever spent money on (never more than $35 though) told me I was going to be a famous writer and married soon; both of which had yet to come to fruition even if I continue to be ambivalent about domesticity. So I had great faith in a positive outcome.
Then my sister-in-law’s wifi went down the morning of the 28th. I ran to the Starbucks near Kensington station to send my book early enough so New York would have it by the time they entered the office. It was a repeat of two Christmases ago when I sat in my studio apartment sending off my queries for a festive thirty-six hours. A flood of no’s deluged my inbox despite the holiday. It was not the best way to spend an already lonely Christmas. Still, I had responses and even met with a third tier publisher in person whose only advice was to build a social media following.
Fast forward a year and a half later I sat at that table until the tourists morphed into new people each time I looked up from my own little literary world. I was desperate for good news and on edge from the anticipation. Someone had to say yes I thought, please just say yes or I’d take a perhaps. That night we went to see my youngest niece in a play when I received a phone call. A few days before leaving the country I went to see a specialist about a patch of hair that was thinning out more than the rest of my scalp. Thinking this was my big break I rushed outside only to find out the test results from my blood work were back; I had the Irish curse which means my liver produces way too much iron enough to make me sick and disrupt other levels in my body. This translates into being a lightweight who should also not consume red meat on the regular. It went deeper than that as well. My mother died of liver cancer and suddenly my near constant fear of death was facing me. I was certain I would develop cancer. That night I felt the world was indifferent to me. I walked my brother’s dog on a loop until my tears stopped and she was tired of barking at nothing.
There was no response from my book. None. On top of bad medical news I was now facing rejection on a book I had spent the majority of five years working on. My life’s work was invalidated and I had nothing to comfort me. I, at that point, did not even feel that I had my health. So I went to the museums around my brother’s house and went to the Natural History Museum where they had a gemstone exhibition. I had never considered that there was not a God, but looking at the void of it in a museum was compelling. My doubt turned into a full-blown panic. In one moment I gave up the hope in the face of so much failure.
I had always been a believer and even had an angel character tattooed on my hip that my Mandarin instructor laughed at because it translated into gibberish. Not believing was unnatural to me. Surely if there was a God he/she/it would have cut me some slack by now. Then I walked through a graveyard in Earl’s Court and this just screamed, “Maureen you are walking worm food, all that faith was for nothing. You wasted five years of your life, but then again you weren’t doing anything better.” It was a bitter pill to swallow and I wondered through the graves noticing shorter mounds of dirt indicating infants. The world was so cruel not to teach us lessons, but because no one was behind the wheel. There was no paid employee to make sure we were on track or even getting service.
I had gone atheist though it never felt comfortable. Other atheists raced towards me and most conversations I had revolved around the abyss that awaited us. My nerves were shot to hell and everything seemed pointless. It was not a good time, but I pushed away any form of faith or prayer. Acceptance of the uncertainty would be best and I stopped meditating though I had been spotty at it for years. Angels and crystals around my house became decorative. Faith was a word I tried to avoid and I felt just pensive.
Nearly a year later, I asked for and received a definitive sign that could not be explained away by science. I asked outsiders to explain and all I got was “weird”. It made me feel better because I had come to a place of quiet in my mind. I was not longer desperate for faith which is why it finally came to me. My book was not as good as it could have been and I sent it to a paid editor who ripped it apart much to my delight. I became a better writer from the experience and saw where I was making mistakes. Rejection is part of being a writer and the trick is in the betterment of yourself, not the validation from others. Faith comes when we start taking responsibility for ourselves.
If I had the power to enact a simple law it would be that everyone had to think for themselves. People could not hide behind religion, political ideologies, apathy or ignorance. Initially some people would be paralyzed with fear or their brain would hurt with the new activity. In order to make an informed choice, people would have to gather information just as the cavemen gathered berries.
What do you think about the NSA?
Is there such thing as global warming?
What happens when we die?
The saddest thing to think about is we do have this power and it can be taxing. Those that think the most are called introverts and pushed into the shadows, those that barely think get their own reality shows.
My law would be punishable by taking away the people who do not think television set and hand them a real newspaper for them to read.
My biggest challenge has been writing a book in exactly two weeks. It would be a self-help book. My twenty-year old ghostwriting client gave me an outline to follow. He chose topics that only such a younger person would. Always think positive and focus wins every time. Although I did not agree with every single thing he said I accept the project. I did not exactly know how much it would take over my life.
For a week I woke up every morning drafting in my head and remembering stories that would fit into my client’s outline. It was something hanging over my head until I sat down to write. If I wasn’t working on it, I was just about to. The deadline was looming and I was not even halfway done. So I had to set up a work area in my apartment and sit there for at least four hours a day. Five days in, I purchased a wrist brace, a keyboard pillow and a butt cushion. This was not fiction, so I could disguise my opinion much easier and the words could gush or trickle depending on my mood. A self-help book was a new adventure for me. One that I would never have taken on myself. Ray Bradbury found them a poor substitute for actually reading and I find some patronizing and simplistic. Still, I found myself actually enjoying the whole advice giving vibe.
By no means am I an expert in mental health, but I have had plenty experience in life. Losing parents, losing friends, break ups, searching for friends, trying to stay gainfully employed, having your heart broken so many times that connections are scary, keeping hope alive when doom is easier, and other things. Fiction has always been my first love and now I was cheating on it with reality.
Then the deadline suddenly was way too close. I had not wasted time, but had not lit the fire under my ass needed to write a book in two weeks. My first book took me close to five years to complete. It was a lovely two week affair with non-fiction. However, I had to end it and quickly. Yesterday I woke up early for the summer and made my couch as comfortable as possible. I layered on pillows and got a gallon of water. I had 12,000 words due in 12 hours; it was go time. Procrastination was not my thing, but I was never going to get it done unless I bit the bullet and sucked it up. I wasn’t sure how I would respond to the pressure.
Ideas stalled at first. I had to write a thousand words an hour to deliver the goods. I had to research different topics and write as if I was on fire. Some of the ideas I could not wrap my head around like showing genuine interest in every person you meet tripped me up. I goggled a few ideas and took off. Just because it was my view that you should only like the people you do otherwise friendships become shallow were obsolete. This was about the client and I had to get out of my own way. Luckily, my hands did not ache and for hours on end as I wrote. I kept track of track by posting my progress on Facebook. My “friends” must have been confused but I needed to gauge my progress. A thousand words an hour became my goal and as the day wore on, I was able to bring it down to forty-five minutes.
Then my nephew came for a visit. When he is around, he is priority and I stopped my writing. He said I looked like a woman possessed as I nested on my couch, engaged in my own speed writing contest. As midnight neared I became on edge. Never one to miss a deadline, I feared this might be the first. My client did not contact me, but another one did wanting a huge chunk of their piece done by Sunday night.
Right after this project another awaited and then the phone rang. Another client rang and wanted to discuss a project. I begged him off telling him I had another deadline and would call when I was done. It is a general rule to make each client feel like the only one, but today was not the day for that. Every one had to be a hostile stranger today.
Around one o’clock, I was done. My eyes were sore and my brain was crispy. The television had not gone on all day. I had been strangely peaceful as if my nervous energy had direction for once. Coming down off the writing high was tougher despite my complete bodily exhaustion. I had not moved all day and I likened it to flying to Thailand non-stop; you want to move, but you have to stay in your seat.
I read about Kim Kardashian’s bad maternity wear choices on the dailymail.co.uk to calm down. My brain needed fluff to stop the rush of ideas and stories still running around. It worked and I was snoring within thirty minutes. My mind had finally gotten the release it craved after so many weeks of running on toxic energy and panic.
I learned that I can be a prolific writer and if I need to punch out a fiction book in a month, I would be able to do it. My only secret is sit your bum on the couch and decide to do it. There are no shortcuts. It helps tremendously if you have already written a book and your mind has a blueprint. If you are a writing virgin, then just go for it as well. It was an empowering day, one I may repeat as the projects miraculously line up as if the universe has been waiting for me to stop torturing myself with self-doubt and start seeing that my energy has a purpose- to create.