Weekend of Dropped Balls

Good morning and Happy Autumn!

These past two weekends were crazy… I had an author event in Quakertown for the Annual Fall Festival on October 19 and then this past weekend was the First Annual Author Festival in which the entire center of Easton, Pennsylvania was authors and vendors galore. There were a few hiccups and bumps at the end of at all, but for the most part, it seemed to be a success for many.

They inadvertently scheduled me in two spots, so I showed up to the Three Birds Coffee House first. The building is amazing with old architecture and original wood floors. I was enjoying my coffee and muffin but noticed there was nothing set up for an event.

Then, after a recheck of the schedule, I saw I was supposed to be at Gallery on Fourth, so I quick guzzled my delicious coffee and booked ass four blocks away… there, Lisa (the owner who is an amazing human) had a microphone and refreshments set up. She was a captive audience of one and we really got to know each other over the course of my hour and a half there. I wish her all the best in her art journey. If you love art and are close to Easton, Pennsylvania, go see her.

I then meandered over to the old United Christ Church where I was supposed to be selling my books and set myself up at a table there. A man approached my table to ask me about self-publishing, to which I answered his questions and we became Facebook Friends. He is into fitness and wrote a book about it…

Sunday it was all rain and clouds for the first part of the day. I had to be back in Easton as I was teaching a Poetry Workshop. This day was also a learning experience for me. I went to the location, and happened upon a friend of mine from my writer group who was teaching her class about magazine writing. She had four people in her class…

Her class ended, my class started, they all left, and it was just me and her and we talked about writing… we dabbled in the poetry thing but I learned so much from those two days.

  1. I did not promote myself enough. Not even my family knew what I was going to be doing that weekend.
  2. I didn’t bring any props or fun handouts.
  3. I didn’t have any of my poetry books on me.
  4. I called my class “Poetry for Beginners” when I should have just called it “Poetry Workshop”
  5. I need to be more “in people’s faces” and not in an ignorant way.

When I did the Autumn festival the weekend previous, I shared space with a great author. She was talking to people as they walked by and handed them her book. It was something I noticed and have since made notes. Some of these authors have been at this for a long while and have even quit their day jobs to pursue their writing careers. These are the people I am paying close attention to –  although I have been writing for over twenty years, I have only been published for two. And it is crazy out there if you don’t have a handle on the self-promotion part of it.

Self-promotion will be the biggest part of my writing career. I am getting that now, which I guess I had a good idea of it. I am in a marketing certificate class at my local college. Don’t give up on yourself…

I will be at the Quakertown Public Library on Saturday, November 9, 2019 from 1 – 3 pm. Come out and see me!

https://calendar.buckslib.org/event/5687824

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Clearing the Wreckage of my Past

Good afternoon. My name is Darlene and I am an alcoholic, addict, bonafide do anything that feels good until it almost kills me human being. I haven’t had a drink or a drug since 2006. Doing other feel-good stuff however (eating, over spending, etc) I have partaken in and it is time to quit that shit.

©2019, Darlene A. McGarrity

One of the things I had to do to get where I am today is “clear the wreckage of my past.” Now, this is a term used in treatment programs and it began in AA. And while it is mostly used in twelve step programs, I have to say that it can do wonders for anyone who feels stuck in the molasses of life.

I have cleared the wreckage of my past a few times… Taking a personal inventory is not a one time thing. It’s kind of like a tub drain. It gets clogged from the daily debris and muck of life and then it starts to slow down and before you know it, there is a clog. Clear the clog and the drain is flowing smooth and free.

Ain’t no arguing with the truth when you spin it in an honest way.

That’s how it is in life. All that crap we hold onto clogs our judgment, thinking, and decisions until we find ourselves in places we don’t belong with people we shouldn’t be with doing things we swore we’d never do.

In 2005, I tried to get clean and sober but refused to take responsibility for anything in my life. Finger pointing still kills me every time. These days I don’t drink over it, but I do feel shitty when I don’t look at my life honestly and decide to blame other people for my shit.

Even this morning, this lady in traffic pissed me off but then after my self-checking honesty I said, “Darlene, you’d be fine if you had left the house on time.” Ain’t no arguing with the truth when you spin it in an honest way. Did I want to be the one to blame? Hell no. But I was and after I admitted my wrongs, I felt way different after I got over my bruised ego.

When I take a look at the shit I have been through and any shit I am currently experiencing, I can absolutely see a correlation with past events if I am honest about it. There are a few gurus I have listened to and read that have helped me with his process.

Some people call me a pretentious, self-righteous bitch. And I am totally cool with that. We can only reach the people the way they are listening. I was that person a long time ago and once in a while I still am that person. A lot of times I want to write something and then I have to rethink it. “Am I speaking from my heart or my ego?” I do speak from my ego sometimes… we all do.

So, every day I try to figure out what is going on with me and live my best life. There is no substitute for rigorous self-honesty. There just isn’t. It is the one thing that will transport you to every next level of your life. So far it has done wonders for me. I am not saying that I am like Deepak Chopra or The Dali Lama and forgive everyone immediately or that I am all peace, sunshine and flowers all the time… hell no.

Peace and Love.

Don’t Panic

Don’t panic. If you’ve ever read Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you know all about that awesome catch phrase. Besides awesome works of fiction, it applies to any humans’ daily life as well.

Today I was driving to work and as I neared my destination (I was about ten minutes away) I felt this excruciating burning on my back. What the hell? I had to think about it for a second. Then it went away, and I kept driving. Then it came back. Holy shit, what the hell is that?! I knew what it was, but I couldn’t figure out how it got to my back. Then I realized all four of my windows were down (my AC doesn’t work) and the culprit must have gotten sucked into the cab of my truck.

Bee sting. Ouch.

Once I figured out it had to be a bee, I took deep, intentional breaths and found a spot to pull over (church parking lot). I was moving faster now as it was burning like hell. I threw the truck in park, hopped out, ran around the side away from the traffic and tore my shirt off over my head. I shook my stripped clothing vigorously and spotted the bee.

“Mr. Bee, why?” I asked as he fell to the ground. He didn’t answer but I knew that it didn’t matter why, it just mattered that I managed to not panic and was able to pull over and get my situation back to normal (without causing an accident) before I continued to work. When I got there, one of my female coworkers was in the office and I asked her to go in the bathroom with me and see if there was a stinger in my back. She looked and there wasn’t. Just a giant, red welt.

Okay, I can deal with that. I took some Advil, made my green tea and got on with my day.

So, why am I telling you this weird story about a bee sting and not panicking? Because when we panic, shit gets effed up. I mean, what if I had panicked and drove into oncoming traffic? Or hopped out of my moving car? I’m not sure that it is human nature to panic or of we just tell ourselves that because we’re expected to panic.

No matter what happens: don’t panic.

In my new book, I am writing about a carnival that comes to a small Pennsylvania coal town and a local waitress disappears during this time. Are they related? You’ll have to read the book to find out. But in writing my female lead, she is also the type of person who doesn’t panic – other people in my books panic, but my female leads don’t. I tend to like people who don’t panic…

Do you tend to panic or remain calm in high stress situations?

Let’s Talk About Down Time

Last week I had kind of a scare.

How busy are you? Between relationships, jobs, kids, pets, appointments, hobbies, paying bills, making meals, self-care, commuting… where do you fit in to everything? Like, where is there a section of time blocked out for you without kids, pets, deadlines, spouses, bosses, etc.?

Last week I had kind of a scare. I went in for a routine OB-GYN appointment then found out I ultimately have to have a full hysterectomy. Okay, I am 46 years old, I can deal with that. So, we set it up (even though I still need to go for more tests – can you say MONEY GRAB?) and I am scheduled for the end of August. Then, at the end of last week, I had an awful migraine to which nothing would relieve it. I left work early on Friday and had a grueling weekend only to have to go to the ER because I could not stop vomiting and felt like walking death (literally). Well, here, I did not know that feeling the way I did would lead to potassium depletion and that can make a person feel like dogged hell.

So, why am I telling you this? When we get busy we often forget to take care of ourselves. It is so easy to put our health last, to push off eating or forgoing a nap when we are exhausted. Taking care of our bodies is as important as taking care of our minds. I realized that a few days ago as I laid in the hospital on a potassium chloride drip due to potassium depletion that I had some serious decisions to make about my life. And I came up with a few:

  1. It is time for me to get serious about finding work closer to home. We moved three years ago and my current job is 25 – 27 miles from my home. That makes for close to an hour of travel each way. That is ten hours a week travel time and 250 miles a week (12 hours and 300 miles during tax season).
  2. I have to get consistent with my meditation and self-care. I noticed I feel so much better when I meditate and get mindful about my day. One of the terrible things I do is run on autopilot every day. Not a good idea. Also, taking my vitamins and getting in some exercise. I am forty-six years old… the longer I put it off, the worse I feel.
  3. I really have to commit to saying “No.” when I feel it is justified. Sheesh. How many times do I say, “Yeah, sure, I’ll get right on that.” only to regret it immediately and be mad at myself for not sticking up for me. I have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable for a little while in the name of self-care.

The truth is, there is no shame in self-care. If we’re not careful we can exhaust ourselves and for most things that could wait or will go on long after we’re gone (jobs, chores, etc). So do yourself a great thing and take the nap, have that bit of ice-cream, write that book, move to that new place… do what it takes to take care of YOU. You’re the only you there is! I think Dr. Seuss said it best:

Have a blessed day. ❤

Hanging Out With America’s #1 Crime Writer

Good morning everyone… Consequences hit shelves a couple weeks ago and people are loving it. The first review is five stars! If you haven’t read it yet, go pick up a copy at Amazon here.

Today I am guest blogging over at Barry Bowe’s website to say hello to everyone. His latest book is The Uber Connection. I love Barry’s story telling style, and you will, too. He shares some of his Uber ride experiences on Facebook, so it is no wonder he got a great idea to use his experiences as a great fictional story.

The more books I read these days the more I notice a lot more telling versus showing and, hey, that’s great if you’re writing a memoir or an essay. In fiction, it’s boring to read the blow by blow of action coupled with varied tags. So come over and hang out with me and we can talk about how we show and tell.

And we’re talking about showing vs. telling over here.

Thanks so much!

It’s Official – I am a finalist.

Finalist for Poetry through Recovery

How exciting! I got the email a month or so ago, but they just sent out badges for everyone. Yay! It was stressful putting myself out there with this book because although everything I write is a small piece of me, a poetic memoir is about as stripped down and raw as it could get.

I still plan on writing a lot of personal essays in the coming months, but this really makes me feel loved that so many people voted for me. Writing may come easy to a lot of people, but for some of us it is a mentally and emotionally valley – especially when it is as personal as poetry and memoirs.

Thanks again for all your support! I’ll keep you posted on coming events.

Countdown to Awesomeville

It’s on like Donkey Kong

Hey. How are you? I am well and here to tell you that Consequences in Kindle format is still on for June 13, 2019. The paperback version will be available in a couple days! I figured out how to format the book with minimal stress (after dealing with major stress – we live, we learn) and accidentally bypassed the part where I ask for author copies before I publish and hit publish.

Oops…

Since I can’t unpublish it without scrapping the whole thing, it will stay there as I figure out this whole advertising thing and getting people to go to the Amazon page and buying the book. Go me!

In other news, lookie! www.freelancingthestone.com Super excited about this. This is my new freelancing website. I have already done a bunch of freelance editing gigs and I have to say, it is a fun way to make extra money while building my portfolio. I am available and since I am in the clips building stage (with over twenty years of writing experience), I am pretty reasonable right now (aka cheap). My best qualities are writing descriptions for blogs, websites, book blurbs, etc. along with SEO keywords. I can nail an essay, but those aren’t as much fun. If you need help with something, reach out. ❤

http://www.freelancingthestone.com

That’s it for updates right now… keep your eyes peeled for some The Ashes We Bury news coming in a few week! ❤