On the contrary

To whom it may concern:

I disagree.

Slow and steady does not win the race.
The swift and steady win the race.
That's what makes it a race.

But does it have to be a race?


Goddess of the Week: Pele

Des writes: "My 21 year-old daughter is coming home for the summer, my 18 year old son is graduating from high school, and my husband works predominately out of the home. Help!  I realize I need a goddess. I like aloneness, solitude, quiet, punctuated by occasional social functions.  I think I am poised to go nuts.  Please advise."

Oh, Des! Dear, Des! You need the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele.  Pele was just like you! She loved her solitude, which was convenient because when you are incarnated as a volcano people know to give you your space. But, from time to time, she liked a little company so she would take a husband or hang out with her sisters. Sadly, in the struggle to find that balance between alone time and family time--she sometimes had to burn her loved ones to a crisp.

You see she was an artist! She created whole tropical islands that people literally call PARADISE, and sometimes her family just totally gave her grief so she had no choice but to lava them. It was a conflict.

What we really need to do is find that difficult balance between having our creative, alone time and yet not feeling the need to set the house on fire.  Hmmm. How to do that? 

Here's my idea: Tell your children that, in your need to find total creative expression, you will now be writing naked. Trust me: They will give you your space.  As for your husband...maybe you should get a lock.


The Bravest Dog in the Room

The bravest dog in the room wants you to know that she knew that it was just a fly. But she would have you understand that it was a very LARGE fly. She would convey this information by jumping on your lap and STARING at you. When that didn't work, she would show you, via concerned pacing, that the fly was no mere housefly but a dangerous threat to your very well being. When that did not work (because you were simply too stupid to read THE SIGNS) she would hide in the closet. She tried her best with you. It's a dog eat dog world.

The bravest dog in the room would also have you understand that she is no fool. When sniffing around off leash (because she is just THAT amazing) she knows that one cannot be too careful. If a dog behind a gate barks at one, one better hightail it away from that gate. The bravest dog in the room knows that it is better to be a lover than a fighter. Give peace a chance. If, however, one is ON her leash and one walks by the same said dog behind the gate, one must SAVE FACE by crazy barking right back at said dog. One must show said dog, that even when one is on a leash, one can still be a tough bitch. That is not choosing fighting over loving. That is just called self respect.


Goddess of the Week: Tara

Gabriel Cordell needs a goddess. It only takes an instant to change your life, and in Gabriel's case, that instance left him paralyzed. He was an actor on the move until a driver ran a red light. Now Gabriel is in a wheelchair.

As you read this, Gabriel is rolling across America. He started in Santa Monica, CA. He will end in West Hempstead, NY, just in time for his high school reunion. He aims for twenty-plus miles a day. That's 75 Days.

Why is Gabriel doing this? Because he can. Because it's awesome. Because if Gabriel can roll his wheelchair across America you can certainly lose those five pounds you've been worried about, or write that novel you have inside you, or get through that freaking nightmare you're enduring.

We need heroes. Gabriel is being a hero and proving to himself and others that the adventures don't stop when your life gets derailed. In fact, sometimes it's the derailment that really gets you moving, and so, of course, he needs a goddess! I am giving him the Buddhist goddess Tara. Tara protects navigators and travelers, and it seems to me you need help with both if you are going to roll across the country.

As a Buddhist goddess, however, Tara is also all about compassion and relieving suffering, and what a perfect thought for such a journey. Twenty-plus miles a day. Seventy-five days. Man. Talk about your blisters and your sunscreen, and those are the easy pains! Think about the endurance, the self doubt. I mean all that rolling: that's a lot of time to think about things.  You're bound to have good days and bad days, but you just have to keep the tires spinning. That's really where you have to cut yourself some slack and just be kind to yourself.  Spin and be kind. Repeat, and repeat, and you will make it to wherever you are going.

Go Gabriel! We're rooting for you. Learn more about Gabriel's journey and how you can help at Rollwithme.org. 

Channel this goddess: When you are tired of spinning. When your inner critic is being a real bitch.

Need a goddess? I got goddesses! Post a comment explaining what you need a goddess for. Then check back in a week or two and see what you got. It's fun! It's free! It is way easier that rolling across America.

PS: My amazing friend Yvette is coordinating some of the logistics for Gabriel. Why? Because that's who she is, baby. That's the way she rolls.


Swimming in Cream

Some people possess such tremendous vivacity and creative energy that the space around them almost pulsates. They are not like the rest of us, who content ourselves with skim milk lives. No. These people swim in cream. They make things happen. They know everyone. They are always moving. And they are never stingy. No closing of the gated community for them. Uh-uh. They're all about widening the road and turning up the lights so that everyone can find their way to the party.

I am not such a person, but I don't think most of us are either. In my whole life, I think I have known five people who fit the description above. Five! And I don't know if the light inside them burns brighter because of their genetics or their parents, or if it's just that the light inside the rest of us has dimmed.

My friend Yvette is someone whose light burns extra bright, and I can only say that when you are with Yvette you just want to give her the reins of the conversation. Sit back. Listen. You will have a good time, but you will also be somewhat shamed, because Yvette is probably a better person than you, or at least me. She told me once that when she was pregnant she prayed that she would not have a child with special needs because she knew that, if she did, she would have to become the world's greatest advocate for that particular disability, and she didn't think she was ready to live that life.

If I said that, you might think I was being grandiose, but, I'm telling you, Yvette was just being realistic. She would have become the world's leading advocate for that disability. There is a a disability out there, somewhere, that should be mourning the fact that Yvette's children do not have special needs.

I'm going to tell you more about a special project Yvette is working on later this week, but right now, what I really want to know is what you think. Do you know people like this? What makes their life force so strong? Why are they oak trees to our crepe myrtles, which isn't to say that a crepe myrtle isn't lovely. I have one in my front yard. But the mighty oak. What would it be like to be such a force?


The Best Places to Write in Pasadena

I'm guest blogging at Prospect Parks books today.  Find out the five best places to write in Pasadena. I'll just say this: Sprinkle cookies are involved. Read about it here.

PS: Why the cute picture of Scout? Because she loves sprinkle cookies.


The Miraculous Water Cracker!

Trouble yourself not. Miracles happen. 

Exhibit A: Water Cracker with a relief of the Blessed Virgin. Discovered Monday, April 21, 2013, in a box of Open Nature Water Crackers labeled 100% Natural.  100%!

View when cracker is standing up (aided by napkin).

 View when cracker lay flat on a plate (aided by gravity).

Mysteries abound, people. Mysteries abound.

In other news, in a completely impartial drawing of names from a hat, fate decided that Addey wins the Pass the Book Game. Addey, send your address to mail@margaretfinnegan.com and I will send you your copy of Camelot & Vine by Petrea Burchard, although I still haven't sent Katie her copy of Death At Pemberly, so don't hold your breath. I'm aiming for a post office visit on Friday. 


My Exciting Life as an Author (Read no further if you are easily plagued by envy and jealousy)

Put on your sunglasses! The dazzling, hot brightness of my literary career is likely to burn a hole right through your retina.  Saturday, I was invited to participate in a book signing at the illustrious Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I was invited by Prospect Park Books, the publisher of Literary Pasadena, an anthology of short fiction that includes my story "Genius Unleashed."

Naturally, my schedule is extremely busy, what with all my important obligations to the grocery story and laundry machine. But since I like to show my appreciation to the little people, I promised the good people at Prospect Park Books that I would try and squeeze them in.

They insisted on sending a car, but--now that I am famous and people are always looking to me as a role model--I said, "No! The planet needs me to take mass transit." Here I am on the bus showing ordinary people how authentic and normal I am. I'm with author Petrea Burchard. (I think you can see that I am bit more authentic than Petrea, but that's because I'm all about my art and Petrea is all about her cheekbones.)

When your work is in an anthology, you naturally are delighted to share the spotlight with fellow co-authors, and I was especially delighted because I am not the sort of person who seeks glory. So, of course, it was a RELIEF to stand in the back of our booth and hand copies of Elizabeth, the First Wife, to Lian Dolan, whose previous book, Helen of Pasadena, was an LA Times best seller and who perfect strangers come up and talk to as if they are all part of the same carpool.  Lian has a story in Literary Pasadena too. So do Naomi Hirahara and Dianne Emley, Wally Rudolph and Petrea, who were all also at the signing. They are all kind of a big deal, but again, I'm all about my art so, you know, I don't begrudge them their awards and per diems and book club invitations. Give me an un-air-conditioned bus and a little carpel tunnel syndrome and I'm good!

After the signing was when the real fun began. Here I am hobnobbing with the always charming Julia Sweeney (The tiny person to the right of the big head).

Julia read from her new memoir, If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother. I am sure she wanted to ask me all about The Goddess Lounge, etc, but I just felt like: It's your moment, Julia. Enjoy it!  I already spent an hour handing books to Lian Dolan. I'm good.

XOX to all of you. One day I may be too good for you, but, for now, I am still humble me.


Pass the Book: Camelot & Vine

Wanna play Pass the Book?  I learned about Pass the Book from Deb at Paper Turtle, but there is more about it here.

Here's how we play. I send you a book that I like and that I have signed. Then you read the book, sign your name under mine, and pass the book to another reader, who reads it, signs it, and passes it to another reader, and so on and so on.

The book I'm going to pass along is called Camelot & Vine. It's by Petrea Burchard, who writes the Pasadena Daily Photo blog and who sometimes comments on this blog.

I really liked Camelot & Vine, and not just because I know Petrea. It's a fun read! It's about this gal, Casey, who finds herself hurled back to the time of King Arthur. Due to her dramatic entrance, her modern day clothes and her knowledge of the future, she is mistaken for a wizard. To protect herself and increase her access King Arthur, who she feels increasingly drawn too, she tries to keep that pretense going, but the stakes keep getting higher and consequences for lying keep getting more dangerous. What will Casey do?

Find out by playing my game! Just say "I'm in!" in the comments section. On April 24 I will draw a name out of a hat and mail the book to the winner.

Free! Free! Free! Fun! Fun! Fun! Let the game begin!


Ugly Shoe Winner!

So exciting! The winner of the ugly shoe contest is Katie. It was a very difficult choice! There were so many ugly shoes to choose from, but these shoes just seemed to scream, "Fuck You! My shoes are a modern weapon so get out of my way!" And I thought to myself, what could be worse than ugliness paired with sheer rudeness? Plus, I have been seeing a lot of these spiky nightmares and I want to register my OPPOSITION right here and now.

However, if you MUST have them, you can find them here.

Congratulations, Katie! I know this honor means everything to you. How will you ever top such an achievement? It will be hard, but I urge you to try because a life without goals and ambitions is a sad life indeed. Well done!

And what has Katie won? My copy of the book Death Comes to Pemberly by PD James, which I had such high hopes for but really found kind of uninteresting. But maybe you'll like it more, Katie! Email me your address at mail@margaretfinnegan.com and I will send it right out to you!