Holiday Short Stories By WWK Authors Presented This Season:

11/30 KM Rockwell's "Holiday Summons"
12/06 "Death By Dictionary" by Gloria Alden
12/12 E. B. Davis's "The Christmas Tree"
12/18 "Femme Fatally Yours" by Paula Gail Benson
12/24 Kara Cerise's "The Ho-Ho Plan"
12/30 "Last Minute Shopping" by Shari Randall

Put A Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman on your holiday list. Three WWK authors have short stories in this Mozark Press anthology. Look for "Moving On" by Paula Gail Benson, "Sauna" by KM Rockwell, and "Wishing For Ignorance" by E. B. Davis. Paper or eformat are available at Amazon.

Gloria Alden has released the fourth book, The Body in the Goldenrod, in her Catherine Jewel series. It's available in print and in eformat. Here are two links to the book: Amazon and Kobo. Put it on your "TBR" or Christmas list!

Carla Damron's latest project, THE STONE NECKLACE, a literary novel about five lives that intersect, and are forever changed, by a senseless accident, has been picked up by Story River Books for publication in 2016. Story River is an arm of the University of South Carolina Press and is under the leadership of editor-in-chief author Pat Conroy. Congratulations, Carla!


A great stocking stuffer, Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays is available at Wildside Press or Amazon. This anthology includes short stories by WWK bloggers Shari Randall ("Disco Donna") and E. B. Davis ("Compromised Circumstances").
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting It All Together


“Someday I’ll get it all together,” my husband mutters morosely as he struggles with something that slipped through the cracks in his ultra-busy life. I’ve done the same myself many times. We’re all juggling so many plates that it’s no wonder when one of them crashes to the floor or is rescued from that fate only by a quick diving grab.

About a year ago, however, I promised myself that I’d stop using that term “getting it all together,” because I know—we all do, actually—that no one ever gets it all together. In fact, it’s just a nice camouflaged way of saying, “Someday I’ll be perfect.” And we wouldn’t say that out loud anywhere anyone else could hear us, would we?

Of course, we wouldn’t, but every time we say, “I’m going to get it all together,” we are pushing ourselves into that perfectionist role. I bring this up because it’s something with which I’ve struggled all my life. I aim for competence, wanting to be the best I possibly can, the top of the class, in all areas of my life. But none of us can be the top of the class in everything.

Over the years, I’ve had to realize that I’m never going to win the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval—certainly not for my housekeeping! As I’ve become more involved in the world of writing novels for trade houses who want at least one novel a year, I’ve just given up on the house. And very early in my life, I came to grips with the fact that I will never be a fashionably-dressed, perfectly-made-up, stylish woman. I make up for these failings in many other areas. But like many of us, I suspect, I judge myself against the best in each area of my life. Against the woman who’s cold to her family and has no friends, I hold up not my loving family and friends but my messy home against her spotless, department-store-window house. Against the woman who’s superficial and shallow, I hold up not my lifetime pursuit of learning or my passionate concern with issues but my bare face and comfortable shoes against her fashionista appearance.

I know I’m not the only one who does this comparison of someone else’s strong point against my weak point. I suspect it’s actually pretty common. But I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to do this to myself—and part of overcoming it is discarding the concept of “getting it all together.” Even those who seem on the surface to have it all together, don’t. We’ve seen that again and again—the wealthy, famous, beautiful people who seem on top of everything yet go plunging down the slopes, the woman (or man) we always admired because she seemed to have everything in her life under such good control, only to find she was flailing every day behind her impeccable façade. Yet still, we put this burden of “getting it all together” on our shoulders—and wonder why we walk slumped over.


So here and now, I’ll admit that I don’t have it all together, nor am I probably ever going to have it all together. I have too many areas where I’m simply not really together at all or only partly together, on Wednesdays and Sundays. But I do have a few areas of strength where I’m really at the top of my game—and I think those are where I’m going to focus my energy now instead of trying to become the fashionista or uber-hausfrau that I’m not. So, look out, world. Hear me roar! Just don’t look at the shoes, please.

10 comments:

Alyx Morgan said...

I, too, suffer from perfectionist thoughts, Linda. I'd like to blame it on the media & commercials that tell you how you "should" look, act, be, etc, but if I'm honest with myself, I think it's just part of my psyche right now. I'm working on overcoming it & am so thrilled that you've found a way to beat it already!

YAY you!

E. B. Davis said...

It's all about priorities, Linda. No one can "have it all together" in every aspect of life. It's the reason I didn't even try to write while my children were young. My priority at the time was them, not me.

And then, when I'm busy achieving in one area of my life, others slide. I always try to discover what I can do that will accomplish two things at one time.

Like yesterday when the wind blew, and I was out cleaning and sealing my wooden decks--why those glossy women's magazines didn't tell me that I could condition my hair with Thompson's Water Seal, I'll never know. Got both accomplished lickity-split!

Warren Bull said...

I remember when i first heard the phrase "good enough" parenting. I shared that a lot with families I worked with. Perfect is the enemy of competent. I know, Linda, that as a writer you strive for constant improvement of your skills. So do I. I recently spoke to someone who said she "dreams about perfect sentences and perfect paragraphs." Those are dreams that never come true in this life. Aim for perfection and we will always be disappointed. Aim for improvement and we will sometimes succeed.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Alyx, I think the media and commercials that present Photoshopped women's bodies and made-for-the-studio homes do feed the perfectionist in those of us who have that leaning. But I think that tendency often has its roots in a parent or other childhood authority figure.

I haven't beaten it, and I know I may never. I've learned not to let it control me--most of the time. :-)

Linda Rodriguez said...

LOL, EB! Why, indeed, don't the women's magazines tell us these useful things!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren, I remember when I first learned the "good enough" concept in parenting. It was definitely an eye-opener--and only with my youngest when the two older kids were almost grown. I'd had a horrible childhood, and I was determined MY kids would have the best childhood ever!

I try to aim for the Japanese concept of "kaizen" in my life now. "Kaizen" involves making constant small improvements that eventually build into large ones.

Gloria Alden said...

The saddest obituary I ever read was where the woman was eulogized as "She loved to clean." Fortunately, I was past that stage in my life, if I ever was there. But I know it seemed more important to me when my children were young. It didn't help that Mrs. Clean, who polished her doorknobs, lived across the street from me. I always worried she'd come to visit. Whether or not she actually did let her eyes wander to find cobwebs, I felt that was what she was doing.

With age comes priorities. Do I have it all together now? Of course not, and yes I still fuss about the house when I'm expecting company, but by and large I can't write, garden, have friends, family, pets and worry too much about my housekeeping. I don't know how my obituary will read, but one thing I do know, it won't
say "She loved to clean."

I dress for comfort now, too. I'd much rather be comfortable than fashionable.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Hah, Gloria! Your story about "She loved to clean" reminds me of when Ben and I had first started living together. Joseph was very young, and Ben took him shopping for my birthday present. Joseph insisted on buying me this little book title "100 Ways to Clean Anything." Ben said he thought it might not be the best choice. Joseph looked up at his new stepfather and said, "Trust me. I know what she likes." He's still living it down today.

Of course, I'm more relaxed about my house than I used to be--and again I'm not because I don't let anyone come over since it's a mess. I've promised myself that, when I'm home from my book tour, I'll clean it up enough to bear examination and invite everyone over again.

Gloria Alden said...

That's a funny story. Kids, even grown kids, think they know us better than they actually do.

It's even harder to keep a house clean when you have pets, isn't it?
Especially a big dog. I also have two cages of birds - two African ring-necked doves in one large cage and Pavarotti, a little yellow canary in another. They are quite messy, especially when they're molting.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Yes, Gloria, it is harder to keep a house clean with pets. I have a big dog and an old long-haired cat. And an old house. They're much harder to keep clean than new ones.

But the truth is that I've been too focused on writing and all the business of publishing to do much more than the minimum. It's just not been a current priority.