Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There's No "I" in Team but There is in Win!

This often used quote by Michael Jordan speaks to the selflessness of belonging – not being afraid to ask for help when you need it, being there for others when they need you. It makes complete sense to see this as a win. How do we build a winning team? It’s simple, ask!

Megan spoke to this in her blog on Tuesday, don’t ignore the new officemate or parent at the pool who sits just on the outskirts of the action, reach out and ask him or her to join you. Build your tribe as Pam referenced in her post on Monday.

There is a part of me that feels a bit like a hypocrite telling you to go out and build your team when it took 35+ years for me to even consider building mine. Not that I didn’t want to be part of something greater, I did. I wanted to step in from the outer edge of the action and join the dance. I wanted a team desperately and didn’t bother to notice that I already had one. It is the sad but true nature of codependency. Codependents throw their entire selves into care giving and forget about their identities, and any existence other than their own. It’s not selfish nor is it selfless; it’s this bizarre limbo that leaves you hanging alone by a tenuous thread in between.

The realization came for me not after my second marriage, but when my daughter was born. I discovered that if I was going to be a success as a mother, I was going to have to have other moms on my team. Not only for the support we give each other through play dates, but when we call each other to scream, cry or celebrate the little joys that come with the growth of our children.

When my third marriage (yep, I said third) came to a close it was my friends and family who were here with wine, food, and extra hands to help. Each of them in his or her own way showed me what it meant to be a true friend and true to oneself. This team of wonderful people also helped me see the walls of codependency surrounding me and helped break them down. Then, they donned the stilettos and helped me stomp away the idea that it has to be this way. These are the accepting folks who I could honestly say this about:

They remind me that survival is key, not only in life, but in love, and that you can't make it alone. You have to do it as a team.

So, when you need your team to join you for a little line-dancing and a good cover song trust they will be there to give you the courage to stand up and dance, and if they don’t come right out and offer, then my friend, don’t be afraid or ashamed to just ask.

Perspective by Lindy Chaffin Start

Thank you for visiting us here today at WritersLi.P.P. Be sure to check back on Friday for more Life in Penned Perspective. Remember to comment every day for a chance to win the exclusive WritersLi.P.P. t-shirt in our drawing next Sunday at midnight. Follow this blog for another chance to win. Shamelss marketing for Wednesday - If you like what you read, pass it on!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teams: Finally Not The Last One Chosen

“I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down...”
~ Abraham Lincoln

I find it pretty perfect that my inaugural post has to do with building a support team. You see, throughout my life, I’ve always considered myself timid and just left of introverted, a bit of a loner with a few tight friends. I’m the girl at the party who’s not right in the mix of things… not over in a corner, but sort of on the edge of the action observing and enjoying from a slight distance. I’m the one who, back in elementary school, wasn’t either liked or disliked really but definitely was one of the last chosen for kickball or dodgeball. I’m not an uber-confident go-getter, not the kind of professional phenom who can work a room and network like a goddess-on-parquet-flooring.  

And yet, in recent years, just about every major event along my twisty career path has happened due to some amazing people who have come into my life through work, people who have put themselves out there to support me in whatever crazy thing I wanted or needed to do. So I guess that means that somewhere along the way I stopped just observing, stopped waiting to be picked and started simply being “part of,” and I didn’t even know it.

Let me take a step back and introduce myself. I’m the Megan part of Li.P.P. Clearly, I’m a latecomer, as my initial didn’t make the acronym. Either that or Li.M.P. was voted down as not quite as appealing as Li.P.P. You decide which version of that story you prefer.

I’m a working mother of two tiny people who have both the audacity and the grace to have minds of their own. My husband is a very patient person, which allows me to let my spirit be a little freer than it might be otherwise, though my husband probably wishes I would focus some of that spirit more regularly toward dusting or vacuuming. He flat out believes that I am insane when it comes to my love of running; his theory is that one should run after something, not aimlessly or just because you can.

When it comes to building a support team, people who can rally around each other and be there for each other, my husband has the personality to be successful, not I. He’s the one who gravitates to the man or woman at a get-together who seems least at ease, and he makes it his mission to make that person feel comfortable, included and special. This is not my fortĂ©.

However, somewhere along the way, I must have done something right – earned a Karmic merit badge of some kind – that led fate to put amazing people in my path.

·         The one who called me patiently and consistently during the eight doomed months I attempted in vain to be an at-home mother (at-home mothers deserve medals and annuities and free daily massages and nightly doses of wine and a continuous infusion of chocolate, courtesy of us all, no joke) to encourage me to come work with him and his team.
·         The one who helped me find focus and the ones who sent incredible application statements on my behalf when I started to pursue teaching.*
·         The one who kept me sane and on solid ground during some dark hours in a job that finally beat me, something that I didn’t think could happen.
·         The ones who to this day tell me that I’m valued and valuable – both at work and in life – at the most random and perfect and critical times.

There are so many “the ones” stories that I could share. Of all of this, I hope you get two important takeaways:

·         First, take a moment and consider who your professional support team is. Have them in your head? Now how about your friends? Alrighty then, ready? Now squish them together into a big jumble. THAT, my friends, is your true professional support system. Of course, this is way oversimplified. The point I’m trying to make is that most of the times I’ve leaned on this professional support team of mine, everyone I’ve called upon has also lived in my mental realm of “friend.” It’s possible – these days almost probable – that these groups in your life overlap. Sure, there are situations that require boundaries, but don’t box yourself in too much. Allow your friends to support you with work stuff, and show them support back. Show interest in what they do for a living and let them learn something about what you do. Same with workmates. Where appropriate – do I have to post links to what I mean by this, or may I trust us to be adults? – open up and be the real you, not just You-In-Your-Job. The friends you make at work may turn out to be your friends for a very long time, perhaps even long after you are no longer workmates.

·         Second, and this is most important so listen up… ready?... when you see the new kid at work standing off in the corner observing the goings-on, the one who possibly is too timid still to get into the action, be sure to pick her for your kickball team. And not last. It’ll pay off, I promise.

"I get by with a little help from my friends."
~ The Beatles

Author: Megan Stanish

* It’s a long story, but I halted the Master’s in Teaching program after my first semester, even though I loved it and earned straight As. Long story for another time, but suffice it to say this is still an ardent dream of mine.


Thank you for visiting us here today at Writers Li.P.P. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Lindy’s insights! And remember to comment every day for a chance to win an exclusive Writers Li.P.P. t-shirt in our drawing next Sunday at midnight. Follow this blog for another chance to win.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Who's on your team?

Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.
~ Ryunosuke Satoro

I live a fairly solitary life. I play the piano solo; I sit alone in my studio creating jewelry for my Etsy store; it's just my laptop and me revising my novel and blogging every day. But there comes a point when other people are necessary in order for my work to come to fruition: my music needs an audience; my Etsy store needs customers; my writing needs readers.

Not only that, human beings are social creatures, so I do what I can to find companionship along the way. I have made a career of sharing my love of the piano with my students; I have learned many jewelry making techniques - and met some really nice people - in classes at local bead shops; I have made lifetime friends through writing groups such as Georgia Romance Writers.

And sometimes I feel a yearning to do something bigger than myself. I want to find a way for children everywhere to have exposure to classical music and the opportunity to learn to play a musical interest. I want to learn more about charitable organizations like Bead For Life and make a real difference in the daily lives of women overseas. I want to be transparent and authentic in my writing, sharing my struggles and my sorrows as well as my joys and successes, hoping that others will read about my experiences and find the courage to pursue their own dreams, however far-fetched and impossible they might seem.

One woman who inspires me as I follow my path is Danielle LaPorte; I just started working my way through her Firestarter Sessions. I am sure I will have a lot more to say about that once I am a little deeper into the program, but one of the books she recommends is Seth Godin's Tribes. I haven't read the book yet, but I did catch Mr. Godin's TED talk on the tribes we lead. If you haven't seen it and have eighteen minutes to watch it, I recommend it. Otherwise, scroll on down to the end.

Who's on your team? Is there a cause you believe in but don't support because you don't think one person can make a difference? Well, one person can start a revolution.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Author: Pam Asberry

* * * * *

Tomorrow Writers Li.P.P. welcomes Megan on board. Be sure to stop by and say hello! And remember to comment every day for a chance to win an exclusive Writers Li.P.P. t-shirt in our drawing next Sunday at midnight. Follow this blog for another chance to win. Last Monday's winner is SIA. Congratulations, Sia!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Show and Tell

Decatur, Georgia

Listen to Your Life
Artist Kelly Rae Roberts captivated me with this inspiring angel. I love the colorful callings she offers in all of her pieces. Another I have challenges me to Be Brave. But this sweet angel spoke to me about everything I have been ignoring or trying to avoid. In all honesty, I think she was telling me to recapture myself. It hangs in the hallway between my bedroom and my coffee so I look at it each morning when I get up as my reminder to:
Dream Bigger * Unleash Your Joy * Embrace Vulnerability
What is Calling You?
Love with Abandon * Get quiet. Just be. * Rediscover your passion
Nurture your soul * Allow the blessings to sink in and stay awhile 
Surround yourself with good people * Honor your intuition
I don’t know Kelly personally so this is not a recommendation that is going to benefit me in any way, but I do hope you will stop by her website, check out all of her amazing works and let them inspire you too.
Dacula, Georgia

We've had some wicked thunderstorms here in Georgia this spring; Wednesday night's storm here threatened to take out my thriving jalapeno pepper plant. I had tied it to the deck but my knots didn't hold, so when the storm ended it appeared that my luscious beauty had snapped in two. To my relief, the stem had remained flexible so that I was able to gently right it and secure it to the deck again, none the worse for wear. 

As I worked, I accepted the lesson that was so clearly being given to me. In order to weather the storms that are beating down on my life right now, I must remain soft and yielding, bending my head into the wind and moving forward without fear, trusting that I will be able to stand upright, tall and productive, nourished by the rains after they have passed.

Thank you for visiting us here today at Writers Li.P.P. Check back next week for ideas on how to build your professional support team. We are thankful beyond words that you are part of our team!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Resurrecting the Goddess in Me

Pam, my brilliant partner here at WritersLi.P.P. posted the Gods/Goddesses Quiz on Monday which tickled me in terms of me and my alleged goddess. Apparently, I am most like Hera - "The Greek goddess Hera was a powerful queen long before her marriage to Zeus, the mighty king of the Olympian gods. She ruled over the heavens and the earth and was responsible for every aspect of the environment, including the seasons and the weather." After these last few days in Georgia, I would love to "rule the weather."

Do you ever look in the mirror and wish you could be a goddess? Recall the Aphrodite archetype. Envision her perched on a mound of pillows sucking grapes from a vine held fervently by a scantily clad servant man, her moist skin quivering under the breeze generated by the broad-leaf fan wielded by yet another. That’s an idea I can get behind, or in front of in this case. However, as we exist in a time when men and women happily co-exist and men still seem to find themselves “on top” of the pillows it’s hard to fully realize this goddess. So, I have identified one, well, I can identify with.

Get off! These pillows are mine!
Pleasure is my goddess! That’s what I said – pleasure. Across cultures her name takes many forms - Bast (Egyptian), Hedone (Greek), Bidhgoe (Celtic), and Ichpuchtli (Aztec). This is present day reality! I may not be able to have the servant men taking care of my every want and need, but friends, I'm taking back my pillows! To wrap our heads around this, let’s examine the senses:
Taste. I love this particular sense because it can incite enormous amounts of my pleasure goddess. The fresh taste of a crisp cucumber straight out of the garden. The salty sweat you lick from your lips after a successful workout. All of the sweet and savory flavors life offers can be found in taste. I’m a foodie so on a whim I might want to savor something in particular. That’s when my creativity, or passion, begins to emerge. My goddess of pleasure finds me and together we craft a delicious dish.
Smell. This one is an attention-getter. Imagine being on the cross trainer at the gym. You’re endorphins haven’t quite mounted against the pain you are feeling in your thighs and back. The music you chose for your workout makes you want to cry out in dissatisfaction until a man walks past. You’re body is realizing entirely too much chaos to notice his appearance but his cologne captivates you. The perfect blend of skin and musk you can’t help but wonder who is taunting you with this scent. Your mind races with sexy ideas of what it might be like to get close to his warm, damp skin after his workout; to feel his breath on your neck. You take a deep breath and find that your pain is gone and the music has improved. Ah, pleasure.
Touch. This one I should probably save until last but you deserve a little tease. I love the feel of anything that brings me closer to my goddess on the tips of my fingers. They are very sensitive after all and deserve only the finest sensations. One of my passions is painting so feeling cool, colorful paint glide across paper, or any medium, guided eagerly by my fingertips yields pleasure. Stroking the skin of a lover, feeling tense muscles and warm, damp skin probably elicits more pleasure in me than him, to the point of addiction. Wait! We are talking about pleasure, right?
Sight. The vision of a lovely garden, children playing, the perfect meal spread on an ornate cloth, tight muscles, the sun reflecting off the water; all of these things encourage imagination. They inspire my goddess who in turn inspires me.
Sound. The funniest of sounds to me is the sharp trill of a cow bird. It reminds me of how something seemingly unattractive (plain black bird with a brown head) can create something unique and beautiful. The deep belly laugh of a man in love, the high-pitched giggle of a little girl, or how the ocean crashes against the shore taking on the notion of breaking glass all inspire creativity and therefore pleasure.
Opening my mind, body and soul to these senses, allowing myself to experience life around me sparks inspiration and the goddess Pleasure joins me for a while on my reclaimed pillows. 
Do you have a goddess or muse? Can your senses inspire passion or creativity in you? Comment for the chance to win the hot, not-available-in-stores WritersLi.P.P. t-shirt.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Goddess Pam


This week's blog topic here at Writers Li.P.P. is GODDESSES. As I did research for my today's post, I couldn't help but compare myself to each deity as I read about her, although I was unable to objectively determine which one I most closely resembled. Then I found an online quiz which removed all the guesswork. Click HERE to take the quiz yourself.

I was delighted to discover that I am Aphrodite, also known as Venus, the Greek goddess of love - at least until I found out a little bit more about her. The thing is, I have always found mythology to be fascinating and its applications to modern times profound. It seems that people really haven't changed all that much in three thousand years, give or take. So I decided to explore some of Aphrodite's characteristics and figure out what I might be able to learn from her.

Here's the short version of the story. Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, god of the forge. But Aphrodite didn't really love Hephaestus - after all, her father had arranged the marriage, and she was convinced she was too good for her husband  - so she insisted on an open marriage. For whatever reason, Hephaestus went along with this; he even made his wife a magic girdle which rendered her irresistible to any man she wanted. Weird, huh? And whereas most of the gods and goddesses had several jobs, Aphrodite had only one responsibility: to bring love into the world. What a life, right? Once the goddess Athena caught Aphrodite weaving and scolded her for getting involved in Athena's line of work. Aphrodite apologized immediately and promised such a thing would never happen again. And it didn't.

Aphrodite didn't have female friends, although she was quick to help gods and goddesses as well as mortals to win the love they sought. But she is best known for her own many passionate love affairs and numerous offspring. Generally loving and generous, she could also be quite hateful and vindictive when she wasn't given the honor she felt was her due.

So the more I learn about Aphrodite, the less kinship I feel to her. I enjoy the structure that my work provides - the gentle rhythm of creation that buzzes around me, whether I am teaching music students or working on my novel or making a piece of jewelry. I don't know what I would do without my girlfriends, and while I like to think of myself as loving and generous, I also like to think I am compassionate and forgiving when wronged. I am always happy to help others in their quest for true love, but I haven't been so lucky in love myself. I was married for nineteen years and have three wonderful sons to show for it, but since my divorce ten years ago nothing has quite worked out. Being single isn't without its perks; I have enjoyed online dating, meeting new people, dressing up and going out for dinner and dancing, being open to mysterious strangers in clubs and coffee houses and on cruise ships. But something deep inside me yearns for more. And sometimes I wonder if I will ever find that special someone.

Maybe all I need is a magic girdle. Try doing a google search for THAT.

However, I found it interesting that Aphrodite is associated with the sea. Although I am not a good swimmer, I am drawn to the ocean and dream of someday owning a home on the water somewhere. And just as the waves constantly renew the beach, Aphrodite gives us hope in the power of love. That's something you can think about the next time you are lying on the sand, watching the tide roll in.

* * * 

Which goddess do you most closely identify with? Have you found true love or are you still looking? Leave a comment for a chance to win a Writers Li.P.P. t-shirt - they're the hottest shirts in town! Leave a comment AND become a follower for two chances to win. Congratulations to Kendall Grey for being last week's lucky winner. Thanks to everyone for your support!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Show and Tell

PAM (Dacula, GA)

I faced some unexpected challenges yesterday, so I am going to be extra kind to myself today and fill the hours with things that bring me comfort and joy. No cleaning or laundry today or grocery shopping or errands. I'll be writing and baking and eating and knitting and beading.

And looking forward to wearing my new shoes tomorrow.


LINDY (Decatur, GA)

To the outside observer this may look like a piece of wood. In fact, it is a piece of 1/8" subfloor I reclaimed from the neighrbor's garbage. No, I don't have a sag in my living room floor that is sqeaking and needs repair. To me, the 4' wide by 3' high piece of subfloor looked more like a blank canvas. In the next few days I will begin  to transform it into a masterpiece.
Until then, I can't wait to wear my new t-shirt and see lots of good friends tomorrow at Georgia Romance Writers monthly meeting.


Have a great weekend, everybody! And remember to check back on Monday for more wit and wisdom from Writers Li.P.P.!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The Actresses of
Fried Green Tomatoes
L to R: Mary Louise Parker,
Mary Stewart Masterson,
Kathy Bates and the late Jessica Tandy.
If you’ve spent any time at all in the South, you support GLBT affairs, live in or around Juliette, Georgia, read Fannie Flagg or for that matter watch movies, then you are probably quite familiar with the term – Towanda! Who knew one screwball word like that could become the battle cry for the fearless.

Well friends, I say to you, “Towanda!”

"I hear they've got an assertive training class for southern women. Of course that's a contradiction in terms." - Missy in Fried Green Tomatoes

The amazing and talented Pam Asberry and I launched WritersLi.P.P. this week (This is meant to be your introduction to my half of the partnership. Oh boy!). To that I say, “Towanda!”

I’m 39 years old and more aware of who I am and what I want out of life than I EVER have been. “Towanda!”

I’m in the middle of a divorce, raising a three year old, and made the decision to risk a lot in order to ensure she gets through this transition with her mom close by. “Towanda!”

There are many passions in my life not the least of which is writing. I am a writer and reader, chef and gardener, painter and singer, and have proven to be a really big flirt who embraces her sexuality. “Towanda!”

"I can't even look at my own vagina!" - Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates)

To me it doesn’t matter what you believe or how strongly you believe it. If your opinion differs from mine, I will welcome yours with open arms and respect you for offering it. The best part is that I will still love and admire you and happily coexist despite our differences. “Towanda!”

The South is my home. I was born in Macon, Georgia and have lived from Macon to Decatur and many places in between and beyond. I have the right to take my place as a Daughter of the Confederacy because my “greats” fought in a war a long time ago that I had nothing to do with. I might not approve but I embrace my history. “Towanda!”

I have friends who range in age from twenty-six to ninety-six and in nationality from American mutt to Canadian to Persian – I love each of them equally. “Towanda!”

This laundry list might be off-putting to some. I’m okay with that. I’m not looking for anyone’s approval. My dream is to get to know you and be part of how you embrace who you’ve become and stand with you with sledge-hammer in hand as you yell at the top of your breathless lungs, “Towanda!”

Enough about me; join the conversation. What inspires you to yell “Towanda”? What would hold you back? What draws you into a blog about love and life written by two writers?

Thanks to Fanny Flagg and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café for such an amazing story and the fearlessness that should inspire us all.

"It's all right, honey. Let her go. Let her go. You know, Miss Ruth was a lady. And a lady always knows when to leave." - Sipsey (Cicely Tyson)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lend Us Your Ears

Welcome to our blog! I'm Pam, the first "P" in "Writers Li.P.P."

You will meet Lindy - the "Li" - on Wednesday. There is no longer a second "P" - she bowed out before we ever got started - but that's okay. Because "Li.P.P." also stands for "Life in Penned Perspective." And that's really what this blog is about. A couple of romance writers sharing their views on life and love and everything in between.

We want to start a conversation with you - readers, writers, family, friends, Romans, countrymen. So please feel free to jump in with comments and questions. The more personal, the better. If there's one thing we're not, it's shy.

Each week, we will address a new topic; this week it's introductions. So please allow me to introduce myself. I wear a lot of hats: single mom, daughter, sister, friend, lover, dog owner, piano teacher, jewelry designer, novelist. Today, I want to share my journey as a writer.

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
~Sydney J. Harris

I have always loved writing. I earn my living teaching piano lessons, but if I hadn't majored in music, I probably would have studied English. Most of my writing was nonfiction: papers for school, pieces about home education for home schooling publications, articles about teaching piano for my studio newsletter and business website. But what I read was fiction, lots of it, and dreamed of writing a great story myself. Someday.

Shortly after my divorce in 2001, I came up with an idea for a novel, based loosely on my experiences as a single mom looking for love, but not a memoir; after all, the guilty must be protected. Years went by, though, before I finally decided to take action. It came to this: at the end of my life, I didn't want my epitaph to be, "She meant to write a book."

Well, it is one thing to contemplate writing a novel; it is quite another thing to actually write one. I assumed the words would just flow, perfectly formed, from beginning to end. Not! I signed up for an online fiction writing class and quickly found out how much I didn't know. There was so much to think about: setting, character, plot, point of view, dialogue and scene. Finding my "voice." "Show, don't tell." Determining whether I am a "plotter" or a "pantser" (I have elements of both). I started my novel with a rough outline, but I have changed my mind about many details - including the opening scene and the name of one of my main characters - as I have gone along.

I love the process, although it is much more difficult than I ever imagined. For me, consistency is key; I do my best to write 500 words a day, seven days a week, but even a couple hundred words moves me in the right direction. And though it's inevitable that I might miss a day every now and then, I try to never miss two in a row. A few days has a way of turning into a few weeks. And, as they say, you can't edit a blank page.

Sure, I would love to become a New York Times bestselling author, but right now what I want most is to have a finished manuscript that I am truly proud of. I am working on the second revision of my novel; I plan to have it finished and ready to query by the end of June. I am eager to start working on my next project. I am hoping that what I lack in talent, I will make up for in determination. I am looking forward to sharing the ups and downs of my experiences - in writing as well as in other areas of my life - with all of you.

If you dream of writing a book but haven't yet started, what is standing in your way? Fellow writeres, what are your biggest challenges? Is it an aspect of craft, or simply finding the time to work? Leave a comment and you will automatically be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of Suzanne Brockmann's Kiss and Tell and a Writers Li.P.P. t-shirt.
Designed by Lindy Chaffin Start.

It’s what all the cool kids are wearing! Follow this blog and you will be entered twice. The deadline for entry is midnight on Tuesday. Good luck!