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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Project: Happiness — my new journey




Warning: What follows here is some deeply personal introspection. If you want to believe that I’m a superhero with no human failings, please do not read it.

No, I haven’t forgotten about this blog. I’ve been busy cleaning and reorganizing the house and doing all those chores and little tasks that get ignored when I write. I’m also trying very hard to de-stress and unwind — not an easy thing for a Type A personality like me to do.

It became abundantly clear to me as I was finishing Defiant that I need a new game plan, a new way of relating to my life, my writing, my health. For so long, I’ve lived my life like a workhorse, the result primarily of having married the wrong man for the wrong reasons too early, having had babies too young, and having no real plan, beyond knowing I wanted to write novels … someday.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

All of us have competing impulses for ill and for good. We lurch through our lives torn between pursuing our own good and our own self-destruction. Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn calls human beings “the angel-beast,” and that’s a pretty accurate description of most of us, myself included. It’s very hard for most of us to exorcise the beast and give our inner angel wings. Even Gandhi, whom I consider to have been a saint, struggled with his own weakness.

He wrote this prayer about his struggles: “I know the path. It is straight and narrow. It is like the edge of a sword. I rejoice to walk upon it. I weep when I slip. God’s word is, he who strives shall not perish. I have implicit faith in that promise. Therefore, though through my own weakness I fail a thousand times, I shall not lose faith.”



It comes down to how much we love ourselves — love in the deep sense, not in the self-aggrandizing, egoistic sense. And, for whatever reason, the stress of writing tends to bring out the worst in me.

I’m not the only author who has this problem. Writers are many times more likely to suffer from depression than other artists. That’s other artists, not the public in general. They’re also something like 19 times more likely to commit suicide than other artists. Why?

For one, writing is a very isolating activity, more so than any other art. You have to live inside your head at the expense of real connections in the world. 


But also writing requires an author to maintain a mental state of emotion for prolonged periods of time that, I think, affects our own real state of mind. If I’m writing a scary scene or a grief-filled scene, I need to feel it to write it. If it takes three weeks to write that scene, I’ll be “feeling it” for that period of time. If I’m not very careful to cleanse my emotional palate, I end up carrying those emotions with me beyond that scene —  Gabe’s untapped grief and anger, for example, or Zach’s self-loathing, or Lady Sarah Woodville’s self-blame.

I contrast that to the experience of painting, which was the first creative art I explored. Although I had always wanted to write books, I took art classes in junior high and discovered I have some talent in that area. I was voted Most Artistic in my schools throughout my secondary education and really loved painting and drawing. Unlike writing, it was a very cathartic thing to do. I would just drift away into the wordless world of art, which was all about color and using color to create the image in my mind. It was almost a form of meditation for me. Hours would pass. And I would come away from it feeling as light as sunshine.

I quit painting when I left school. No money for art supplies, which are insanely expensive. I did take a few art classes in college. One of my professors urged me to switch departments and get my MFA. When I told him I couldn’t afford it, he said, “Forget the cost. You’ll be making 80 grand two years after you graduate.”

But I didn’t heed his advice mostly because I couldn’t fathom how my paint splatters could garner that much attention. In fact, I considered myself to be one of the least skilled students in his class. He disagreed. “Everyone else looks around them at the outside world before they work on a project. You always work from inside,” he said. “That makes you much more creative than your peers, no matter how technically skilled they are. I can teach you technique.”

But back to writing…

When writing is going well, it feels like I’m flying. There’s a real high. When it isn’t going well, it is agony. And although I’ve written 11 novels, there’s always a niggling fear inside me that I won’t be able to do it again. So when I come to a difficult scene, rather than viewing it as a challenge, I start hating my own guts for “failing” to produce what see in my heart.

Some writers are able to produce drafts of a book and feel fine leaving some scenes as mere sketches or knowing that they’ve written crap. In fact, they give themselves permission to write crap, knowing they’ll fix it later. I can’t seem to do that. I tried it with Naked Edge, and the result was two months of lost writing time. Having been an editor for so long, and being used to getting exactly what I want to say on the page very quickly as a journalist, I can’t seem to settle for anything other than perfection. And I never achieve perfection, at least in my own sight. When I fail, I beat up on myself so mercilessly that I end up feeling despair.

What’s up with that?

That’s part of what I want to sort through this year.



I think part of the problem has always been the bottleneck of my life — single mother, full-time journalist, author. Too many hats, too little time. And let’s face it — I wasn’t exactly happy at the newspaper. Au contraire.

But the problem goes deeper than that. I’ve had more than my share of trauma. Here’s the short list: sexual assault at age 10; dating violence at age 14; a break-in by men with switchblades and attempted rape at age 23; near-fatal climbing accident at age 30 that left me partially disabled; two stalkers; several death threats; having guns held on me twice. I’m not saying this out of self-pity. It’s just an inventory. I’ve had an equal number of blessings, because I survived each of these situations and got stronger along the way.

I’ve been open and public about the fact that I was sexually assaulted by the father of a classmate when I was in fifth grade. That experience left me feeling tainted in a way that really only other rape victims could understand. I withdrew emotionally from the world and felt different from the other kids. My childhood evaporated at that point.

In junior high and high school, I started doing drugs as much out of curiosity and a desire to have fun, as well as the need to escape my own pain. By the time I was in 10th grade, I’d tried most everything that existed at that time — marijuana, amphetamines, narcotics, angel dust, cocaine. Some of my experiences from those days were hilarious and recklessly fun; others were scary, such as the night when a 21-year-old jerk beat me up at a party because I wouldn’t sleep with him. (I was 14 and stoned out of my mind.)

I don’t regret those days — they gave me great material for books — but I also recognize that they were part of a self-destructive impulse. Fortunately, unlike many girls, I was able to turn away from that scene when my life began to feel too out of control. I simply walked away. No addictions. No rehab. I was just done with it.

I had a few good years after that. I traveled to Denmark as an exchange student and saw a completely different way of life, one that I love to this day and miss very much. I worked hard to learn the language, to make friends, to see everything I could see. I took up running very seriously and reached a point where I could click off consecutive 6.5- to 7-minute miles and ran 10 to 13 miles a day six days a week. I met a Danish man, fell in love, got engaged. Then, oppressed by the idea of monogamy, he broke off our engagement.

And the pendulum swung from angel back to beast.



I went back to the U.S. at the age of 20, dabbled in drugs again, though not for long. I met a guy on the rebound and married him because he was... there. I got pregnant almost immediately, tried to make the marriage work and failed. I won’t go into that because that impacts my kids.

I will say that one huge factor in that was the break-in. “The Break-in.” That’s what we call it in my family. That involved two men with switchblades, me alone at home with a 9-month-old baby. I escaped being raped at knife-point by a margin of seconds — an experience I’ve shared publicly. The ordeal, coupled with the sexual assault when I was a kid, resulted in five years of horrid, terrible post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If it seems like I write a lot of emotionally traumatized characters, that’s why. I relate to that side of them perhaps more than any other.

Of course, many things that seem terrible at the time come with hidden blessings. My bad marriage gave me two wonderful kids. The mountain climbing accident that deprived me of my ability to run helped me find an inner strength I didn’t know I had (and gave me part of the plot for a novel). Having been a victim of sexual assault 1.5 times fueled my desire to confront the bad guys as a journalist, which I did head-on to the benefit of other women. Battling PTSD gave me an empathy for others that I might not otherwise have, making me a better reporter.

But now everything is changing again, and the pendulum has been swinging in the wrong direction for a while now.

I turn 48 on February 29 — Leap Day. My focus for the past 28 years has been on my kids, my work as a journalist, and my writing, even at the expense of my health. I’m finding it hard to keep up with the changes in my life. The kids are grown. Benjamin is home for now, but that won’t last long. I’m not longer the editor-in-chief of a newspaper and have no steady income. And writing has turned into a brutal boxing match of me vs. myself.

No, I don’t drink. I haven’t touched drugs in eons. That’s all far behind me. It’s more a case of the self-destructive voice in my head, which I sometimes jokingly call “Grima Pam-Tongue.” (For those of you who aren’t Tolkien fans, that’s derived from the character Grima Wormtongue, who fills the mind of King Théoden of the Rohirrim with evil, magical lies that sap him of his strength and will.)

I have two adult children, a lifetime achievement award for journalism, a National Journalism Award, and 11 published novels, but the voice in my head tells me I haven’t done anything with my life. I write books that get higher-than-average reviews, and the voice tells me I can’t write. I’m free to spend more time than ever doing what I want to do with my life now, and yet that destructive voice tells me I have nothing to live for.

The more exhausted I am, the emptier my creative well, the more stressed I feel, the louder that negative voice becomes. Physical pain plays a huge role, too. I’m less than two years out from my big spinal surgery and still have nights where I can’t sleep from pain, though things are a zillion times better than they were before I got my new neck.

Toward the end of working on Defiant, my sister sat on the couch beside me till 3 AM, all but holding my hand. When I reached a point where I wanted to scream, she helped me stay focused.

“I fucking hate myself!” I would shout. “I can’t write at all. Why in the hell did I ever think that I could write books? I should toss my computer in the trash and get a job at Burger King!”

And she would say in a deadpan voice, “Another glimpse at the productive inner monologue of Pamela Clare.”

Have I ever mentioned how much I love her?

Yesterday, she sent me this parable:

“A fight is going on inside me,” said an old man to his son. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you.”

The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win?”

The old man replied simply, “The one you feed.” 




I’m going through a huge life change right now. More than that, I’m having to face once and for all the wounded part of myself and heal it so that the fear and pain don’t control my emotional life. I have to take control of that inner voice and turn it toward a higher purpose.

I need to quit believing the lies Grima Pam-Tongue tells me. I need to feed the right wolf.

That’s what I’m working on right now. I’m focusing my energies on rediscovering what I love about life. I’m going to ask for some art supplies for my birthday so I can draw and paint again, something I long to do. I want to build up the strength in my body to be able to do some of the sports I love — hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, whitewater rafting. Next year, I hope to hire a ski coach who can help me re-learn to downhill ski despite my damaged spine.  (I have no feeling in my lower legs thanks to spinal damage from a broken neck.) I want to find a way to face the frustrations of writing that is functional and not destructive so that I can enjoy writing again.

And so I have launched Project: Happiness, an effort to overcome negative habits and thinking, to foster creativity and actively to pursue The Good. I am setting out deliberately to create happiness in my life. I’ve been reading, watching movies I’ve never seen before, listening to new music, going for regular walks and thinking about what’s really important to me. I’m re-filling my creative well.

The timing is perfect for this. The same changes that have thrown me off balance also open the door for me to transform my life. I hope to share the journey with you on this blog over the course of the next year.

I am determined to succeed.

Coming soon:

News about I-Team novellas
More peeks at Defiant
MacKinnon’s Rangers Reading Challenge

25 comments:

Teresa C said...

http://thebloggess.com/

You need the Traveling Red Dress.

Wow Pamela! Amazing that you shared so much with everyone and exposed yourself...dare I say...so extremely ;) Oh and I think I should even point out it is well-written.

I don't know where your self doubts come from, and maybe in part they drive you to excel but you need to learn to trust yourself. I trust you.

I have been telling you for a few months now that 2012 is going to be a good year for our family, for all of us. And now I see that you have set the tone for your year. I like it with a Facebook thumbs-up!

Change is exciting! New beginnings are full of possibility! Onward Project: Happiness!
with much love,
M

Diane W. said...

I love the idea of "Project Happiness"! And anyone who has overcome as much as you have in your life and is still moving forward is an amazing success in my book.

You have conquered pain, injustice, abuse, self-doubt, indifference, fear, and more. You have fought back...not only for yourself, but on behalf of others. That takes courage. And courage is what keeps us moving forward, even when we'd rather not. Or as John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death....and saddling up anyway."

You "saddle up" each and every day. For yourself, your family, your friends and all those around you who need to borrow some of your strength, because they cannot fight for themselves.

Sometimes it's hard to realize how much we've accomplished when we are looking at our lives from the inside-out. You aren't seeing what those around you are. That's only visible to those seeing you from the outside-in.

Your writing is so amazing because you put your soul into it. They don't give out those SPJ awards to just anyone with a byline, you know. You have accomplished something substantial...in TWO professions, not just one.

In your books, your characters jump off the page, because they have substance. They read like real people, not two-dimensional characters I forget almost immediately after reading the story. I fall in love with your heroes because of that...and re-read their stories often.

In short, you are only seeing your shortcomings and comparing them to other's successes. Human nature...we all do it.

But you're right...this year will be amazing. And a new beginning is exciting as well as scary. I have no doubt you will meet your new challenges with success and grace. And I'll be happy to cheer you on!

Diane

landin said...

Thank you for sharing so much with us, we truly are able to see you and appreciate that you are a human being just like anyone else. Not everyone has the will or the strength to truly look into themselves and I commend you for having the bravery to share with us. I'm sure all of your fans and supporters will be rooting for you to get to the person you want to be in project happiness!

Always remember though that we all are our own worst and harshest judge and if you ever need some support and love you know where to go!

Also, As a fellow artist I am so excited to hear that you'll be getting into drawing and painting, I hope you will share your progress with us! I can personally vouch for how cathartic and healing is it to express yourself through drawing/painting. I've had some hard and painful times in life and being able to express it through drawing could almost feel like draining the poison from your soul,I hope that doesn't sound corny but it can truly feel this way!

By the way,what art medium do you work with? Oils, watercolors, etc.?

I think this will be an exciting year for you and I hope you reach all your goals, in fact I know you will, your post is simply oozing with determination! Know that you have a large fan base that will be rooting for you the entire way!

ahz1 said...

Thank you for sharing so much about your life. Your Project Happiness sounds wonderful. I wish you success and happiness.

Teresa, thanks for sharing that link with me! I glanced over it quickly and was intrigued. I plan to go back and read more when I'm done making dinner.

Michelle, you are the greatest sister ever. And thanks. The words just kind of fell out. Thanks for "liking" it. ;-)

You have no idea how much your support means to me or how much it mattered when I was finishing DEFIANT. Or maybe you do. You were there, after all.

I adore you.

Hi, Diane — Thanks so much! I was really touched when I read your post. It's funny how there's such a gap between how I see myself and what other people see.

When my agent called to talk about DEFIANT, we spoke very little about the book, but talked more about the way I shred myself. And as she's telling me how I have to quit believing the "lie" that I can't write and that the book is "phenomenal" — her word — in my head was a little voice saying, "She's exaggerating. Whatever."

Anyway, enough with that. The past couple of weeks have been unique in my life for the TIME they have afforded me. And I mean to make the most of it.

Thanks again! Really, your words meant a lot to me.

Hi, Landin — Thank you so much! I really do feel the support. I thought long and hard before posting this but I really felt I have nothing to lose by being honest.

Tell me about your art. What media do you work in? I did a lot of oil drawings, charcoal and chalk, and oil and tempera paints. I loved oil crayons. Not sure why. I loved getting all painty and messy when I painted. I've wanted to get back to it for years but I didn't have the time. Now I don't have the money, but I'll work around that. :-)

Hi, Ahz1 — Thanks so much! I really appreciate the support and good wishes. :-)

I know you can do this, Pamela. You're such a strong woman. So strong, and so wise.

Caution! Incoming Cheesiness:

Satan is a Hebrew word for adversary or opponent, and I once had a dear friend and clergyman tell me that I needed to learn to love and trust in myself, because discouragement is Satan's greatest tool, that he knows it and uses it against me at every turn. That friend was dead on.

Pamela, when those feelings of self-doubt start suffocating you, try to remember who benefits most from your doubt. Who would most enjoy seeing you give in to it? It's not the people who love you, or those whose lives you've changed for the better. Those experiences you’ve had – the abuse, the pain, the heartache…. through your own trials and triumphs you’ve become an incredible woman – a force to be reckoned with! You’ve learned so much and have used that knowledge to better the lives of people who have no voice. Always remember that there are men and women out there, people you’ll never meet, people you’ll never know of… but they know of you and love you for what you’ve done in their behalf. So who benefits most when you're discouraged and want to give up? The great opposer, Satan, himself.

End Caution: Okay, it’s safe to come out of your homes again; the threat of cheese is over.

Anyway, as Connor was leaving my bed...errrrrr… my house this morning, he said to tell you that he loves his story, that you did him – and his brothers - proud. :)

**hugs**

landin said...

For years I only drew,not really worrying about coloring aspect for a long time so my best work is probably done in simple pencil,it's only until a few years ago that I really put more effort into the coloring side of my work. I have a loooong way to go to get to where I want to be in my painting skills, but it's truly been a wonderfully fun and sometimes frustrating experience to learn all the new techniques and then trying to better them.

I've dabbled in many art forms and mediums over the years but my main is love is watercolors, but not in the 'traditional' sense of watercolors, those light and airy,loose landscapes etc.(There's of course nothing wrong with that way what so ever,just not my chosen style) but more of a controlled,darker,and more detailed kind style of watercolor( I'd have to give visual examples to really show a difference,if you've ever seen the fairy artist Amy Brown art you'd get what I'm shooting at)

I love the idea of conforming and mastering (Ha! As if you can really master any art form) this medium to my art style, which is highly influenced by my years of love for the Japanese manga style art (Although I am slowing incorporating more realism in my work more and more as time goes on. Guess I'm really growin' up lol) I hope to one day feel confidant enough with my work to start doing commissions and maybe make money off of my passion for drawing and painting!

Wow, that was probably way more detail than I needed to go into,haha. Sorry 'bout that!

Maybe there are some old paintings of yours you could share, I'd love to see what do! And don't worry about the supplies,Just tell friends and family to load you up with some crafts store giftcards and go wild!

Phyl said...

I wish you great success and joy as you journey down this new road. I can't help but think that a focus on artwork will be very cathartic--certainly I find working with fabric and color a helpful emotional release.

Thanks for taking us along with you. Your resilience is an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Pamela, I had none of those crimes committed against me so I can only sympathize but it angers me terribly when I know someone's childhood is stolen. I was a social worker for years and know that the ongoing damage sexual abuse has on kids is unbelievable. I thank my parents every day for my happy childhood because it gave me an inner pilot light that never goes out. Someone extinguished yours. What you need to know is that those traumas you had fed your gifts. I hate that they happened to you but your writing is so honest, so sure, so powerful that we, you loving public, get the pain and anger your characters suffer. Don't know if hugs go across country but if they do you have many from me. Take care of yourself first.......your fans will wait for you.

We're just about the same age, Pamela, and I've come to the conclusion that it's a time of life when almost everyone reaches a crossroads. I came to mine four years ago when I lost my teaching job. I was devastated, but I rediscovered the drive to write - something I'd given up a long time ago in the name of 'security' - an illusion if there ever was one.

My life has been so sheltered compared to yours, I can't imagine going through what you've been through, but the other commenters are right - you've turned your experiences into a gift to us all. On with Project Happiness, and may 2012 be a banner year. You've earned it!

Jane said...

Thanks for sharing with us, Pamela. Know that your loyal readers are always here for you.

Doreen said...

Pamela,
Your story has only just begun with your new Project Happiness. You know the old saying that we can be our own worst enemy? Well, let's switch it and instead say we can be our own best friend too!
You are almost 48 years old but you've lived many lifetimes in your 48 years and like I said, your story has only just begun! Giving yourself over to yourself and your desire to embrace a new path and a different you is going to be amazing. You're a strong woman who inspires others to do the same. We've all "been there and done that" but if you keep on "doing" and "going" then you've won!

Hi, Blithely Bookish — Interesting. I didn't know the origins of that word.

Also, it's nice to know where Connor's been and what he's been up to lately. Ahem. LOL! That's a very sweet message he had.

Thanks! :-)


Hi, Landin — I didn't realize one could do that with watercolors. I've always avoided using them because they feel so difficult to control. It's the "water" part of it. I really admire artists who can make watercolors do what they want them to do. I hope you DO start selling and taking commissions. :-)

I have one pencil drawing framed in my room that I might be able to photograph. I also have some photographs of art from school — we're talking junior high. But I was winning first place awards in adult art shows at 14, so...

I'll have to look through my old pictures and see what I still have.

Hi, Phyl — Nice to have you here. Thank you so much for the good wishes and the encouragement. It really means a lot to me. If what I'm doing manages to inspire anyone else, then that's all to be better.

Thanks for posting!

Dear Anonymous — Thanks for your very thoughtful message.

A part of me can assess the damage caused by being sexually assaulted as a child. But a part of me can't because it happened to me and I changed with it. I was young, wasn't even aware of what rape was, didn't really understand what was going on.

I know it made me feel different from everyone else in a bad way. The world that always comes to mind is "tainted." It drove a wedge between me and the world. I stopped trusting people. (I had gone over to my friend's house after school to play, but she wasn't home. Her father was there alone. He invited me in to wait for her, and that was that.) It affected everything — my feelings about men, my experience of pregnancy and birth, my sense of myself as a woman.

Women talk about their "first time," i.e., losing their virginity, with a sense of nostalgia or romance or humor or embarrassment. I don't know what to say in those conversations because I don't feel like I had a "first time" in the same way.

But you're absolutely right about those very things that made my life hard also feeding my writing. I'm a very emotional person. I joke that if emotions came on a scale that included invisible stuff like ultraviolet and infrared I would be able to "feel" it.

I think suffering can bring a deeper knowledge of the world, and I try to put that in my books.

Thanks again for your kind post.

Hi, Jennie — I'm so glad you've turned what seemed like a loss into knew dreams and new opportunities. Thanks so much for the good wishes!

Hi, Jane — Thank you very much. It really helps having so many people cheering for me.

Hi, Doreen — I do feel like I've lived more than one life in my 48 years. I think of that line from Indian Jones: "It's not the years, it's the miles." :-)

I am feeling very charged up and positive and ready for a new phase of my life to begin.

Thanks for your kind words and support!

That should say... "The WORD that always comes to me..." I need to proof better before I post so you can all understand what I mean. Goodness!

Susan said...

What a gift of honesty. I needed to read that. Sometimes (often) I feed the wrong wolf, too, and I have my own Grima Wormtongue. One act that restores the voice of reason (sanity even) is to stop and give thanks for even the little things, while breathing. For example, when i drink my first cup of coffee each day, i try to envision the coffee beans ripening on the trees, the birds chirping, and the sun always rising over the island, while farmers faithfully and hopefully tend their plants...I see it all the way to the happy harvest scene, and I try to smell the roastery. Then, I know my coffee is actually an amazing gift that traveled space and time and many hands. That immediately puts my thoughts on the fast track to light and love. I'm also a believer in the power of prayer and singing, to lift us up out of a bad place. I loved when Natalie was reciting her nursery rhymes to stave off the fear, in your last book.

Best wishes with Project Happiness.

Susan

Dalila G. said...

Hi Pamela,

That's quite a lot you shared with us, thank you, I wish you all the best, you deserve it.

You definitely had a very hard time, but you are a strong woman, never forget that. The best is yet to come. Do have faith in yourself. You are blessed with loving family, lucky, lucky you!
You are a wonderful writer, a talent that is hard to come by.

Make sure you take time out now and again for yourself, remember to breathe, life passes too fast, so enjoy all that you can.

Wishing you loads of peace and happiness!
(((HUGS)))

RitaSV said...

God bless you for grabbing your life by the horns and determining to find your joy. The burden of perfectionism is a heavy one. I wish you well and every happiness. Looking back at all you've accomplished (and it is an INCREDIBLE amount of achievements) I have no doubt that when you put your determination to reclaiming your joy that you will accomplish it! You are a true blessing to so many people...let them now be a blessing to you in encouraging you! You are awesome!

Anonymous said...

Pamela,
I love this, this is one of the most beautiful things I've read in a long time.
You may not know it, but your feet are already on the path, keep walking. You have such an incredible strength and personal insight, the combination of which will take you any direction you turn your mind to.
Congratulations, and enjoy every step you take,
Laura

Nissie said...

I absolutely loved this post, Pamela. I saw myself in there a few times. I so admire your strength! I would love to talk more about some of the things mentioned. I know your plate is full, but if you ever have time, please let me know. Love you lots, sweetie!

Lady Jayne said...

Pamela, your post moved me to tears! I loved it. I have been meaning to post a comment since I read it a few days ago.

You are such a woman of immense strength and resilience, who has overcome so much. You are an inspiration!

I was so moved by your post and your “Project: Happiness” that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I fight a continuing battle with my Negative Voice. Then I came across some beautiful quotes by John Ruskin, including this one:

“To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.”
~ John Ruskin from The Stones Of Venice
(Writer, art critic, draughtsman, watercolourist, social thinker, philanthropist)

Your “Project: Happiness” post and Ruskin’s quotes, inspired me to write this blog post to share about my own journey and my art, “Inspiration of the Moment – Imperfectly Beautiful”:

http://ladyjaynesreadingden.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/800x600-normal-0-false-false-false-en.html

THANK YOU for being so courageous and open and sharing your story and journey with us, Pamela. You are an inspiration to me and others. I wish you all the best in Project: Happiness! You will succeed! The Good Wolf WILL grow stronger.

I will be one of those people cheering you on!

With much love and hugs,
Jayne XOXO

Hi, Susan — Thanks so much. I think the mindfulness and gratitude you describe are so necessary for living a happy life.

I love your coffee meditation (for lack of a better word)! Coffee in itself is such a blessing. After reading your post, I had a very different connection with my next cup of coffee.

Even in hard times, there are so many things to be thankful for — the first of which is, of course, life.

I love music, too. One thing I've been doing is avoiding the brooding post-grunge rock I listen to in order to write my wounded I-Team heroes and listening to jazz instead. I've never really listened to jazz, so it's a different kind of stimulation. And although I do love post-grunge rock, a diet of music about despair is feeding that wrong wolf.

Thanks so much for your post!

Thank you, Dalila, for your kind and caring thoughts. Yes, I am blessed in so many ways. Remembering that and taking inventory of that more than an inventory of wounds or traumas is so important, I think.

Since posting this, I've received an overwhelming number of private emails from people talking about their own struggles.

We are in this together, or we can choose to be in this together by supporting one another.

Thanks for YOUR support. :)

Hi, Laura — Thanks so much! I felt very much that by clarifying my thoughts and setting an intention to focus on the Good, something shifted in my life. It's easy to get caught up in daily life and just go with whatever flow we're caught in, but I am truly taking steps to change things.

Thanks for your kind support!

Dear Lady Jayne — I read your post and was deeply touched by what you wrote. Your photography and your poetry are beautiful.

I was particularly struck by the idea of imperfect beauty or the beauty of imperfection, illustrated by that image of the butterfly with the tattered wings.

I am touched and happy to know that my blog post has inspired you. I think positive energy feeds positive things. Perhaps we can build up a critical mass of happy here and support one another.

Thanks so much!

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Favorite Writing Quotes


"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

"No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."
—Robert Frost.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope."
—the character of Chaucer in
A Knight's Tale