An Orange Tree Grows in Sacramento

I went to Sacramento with our two daughters this past weekend. Two of my dearest friends and their children also joined us. The eight of us enjoyed sunshine, the swimming pool, and Mary Poppins, to name just three highlights. We three mothers most enjoyed seeing our children so happy and connected. We overdid the tempura asparagus fries. I read, rarely checked my email, and didn’t surf Cyberville or write. I usually write every single day. However, it felt good to switch off and be outdoors and in the sun for so long, to lounge and laugh, and give more time and quality attention to my daughters.

Mary Poppins (I admit I’d never seen the movie) was a wonderful spectacle of music, singing, and dancing. It’s a mix of the cautionary and inspiring and champions children. Mostly, it’s about freedom. Freedom to be, to imagine, to let. At a recent high school graduation party, I enjoyed a wonderful conversation and good laugh with a delightfully eccentric Irish man we’ll call J. When I asked J. how he was he said, “Fabulous.” And I teased his positivity, saying there must be hardly any Irish left in him. He told me about a neighbor of his back in Ireland who liked to say “ah we’ll pay for this yet.”

“Grand day, thank God.”

“Ah we’ll pay for this yet.”

My whole life, I’ve felt afraid to fully enjoy the ‘good times,’ always waiting with dread for the wheel to turn. ‘Ah I’ll pay for this yet.’ Ask me how I am and the most I’ll dare admit is ‘good’ for fear of a kick to the head from life if I give voice to anything more positive.

This past week alone, I’ve had three ‘large’ disappointments with regard to my writing and my writing career. The disappointment hurt a great deal.

“If you’ll let it” was repeated often throughout Mary Poppins. I’ve decided to let my life: let fabulous, let happy, let success, let hopes, let dreams, and on and on. I’m going to let the undesirable too: let fear, let disappointment, let sadness, let worry, let grief, let depression, and on and on. I’m going to let and take one day at a time, instead of worry about what might be around the corner, what price I’ll pay for the ‘good.’ And what relief I’ll take from the bad because it’s most familiar and where I’m most comfortable.

I didn’t know one of my favorite lines was from Mary Poppins, “Get out of your own way.” Everything I want is also everything I’m afraid of: love, worthiness, success, to know I’m enough and for my true self to be known. I saw an orange tree in Sacramento. An orange tree. Oranges capture my imagination. I had no idea oranges grew in California, and certainly not Northern California.

Did you see the Tony Awards last night and that great acceptance speech from Nikki M. James, taker of the ‘Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical’ for her role in The Book of Mormon? Nikki said anatomically bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly. She believes bumblebees fly because no one ever told them they couldn’t. Maybe no one told that orange tree it couldn’t grow in Sacramento. For much too long, I’ve told myself all the things I couldn’t do, not in any freeing way, but in a damning way.

I don’t want to fly like bumblebees or to take root and bear oranges in Sacramento, but I do want to be the best woman and writer I can be. And I’m going to stop putting limits on myself. I’m going to reach ever higher and believe I can get there. I’m going to get out of my own way. I’m going to let me be that best woman and writer. I”m going to break out of the prison of fear and stop telling myself ‘ah I’ll pay for this yet.’

Watch this space.

In Other News:

Thank again to Laura Adamczyk for her guest post over at The Lit Put here. The goodness giveaway up for grabs for those who commented on Laura’s post:

Gary Lutz’s, Stories in the Worst Way, Calamari Press

Shane Jones’s, A Cake Appeared, Scrambler Books

Ethel Rohan’s Hard to Say (signed), PANK

Those entered in the draw for this giveaway are:

MW Wittle

Erika Moya

Books Personally

Jordan Blum

Doug Paul Case

And the Winner Is: Erika Moya.

Congratulations, Erika. Please email me your address through my contacts page on the site. I don’t want to give my email out again in posts because of the spam invading my account.

And yes it’s Monday and there’s another new and thought-provoking post from Christopher Newgent titled “Story Focus: The Big Top” on clowns but not clowns and lies. Clowns I’m ambivalent to. Lies torment and haunt me. And yes I’m doing another giveaway and if that interests you or bores you at this point I’m also going to let that be.

The books up for grabs in today’s goodness giveaway are:

Norman Lock’s Grim Tales, mud luscious press

Marcy Dermansky’s novel, Bad Marie, Harper Perennial

My Hard to Say, PANK (signed).

All comments on Chris Newgent’s post, “Story Focus: The Big Top” through midnight, tomorrow Tuesday, June 14 will be entered in this free draw.

Good Luck, everyone.

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