Twelve Days Before Christmas…

And everyone’s scurrying to find the most perfect Christmas and holidays gifts ever!  The condos are warm, the houses are drafty but under each tree it’s all cozy as the glitz and glam of tinsel and snitzel twinkle and winkle.

I’m not different.  I’m clicking and shopping from my chair or couch as my little one’s a wee babe and in need of no shoving — the stores are fine but my living room’s dandy!

But I do have one wish, that’s all, for this holiday season.  And that wish is that you have the bestest holiday ever and you receive everything you’ve ever dreamed of.  This way, maybe just maybe all through your Christmas Eve night, not even one thought of sneak-opening your gifts will dance through your head.

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Happy Holidays from The NoteBook Blogairy!!

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What I Didn’t Want for Christmas…

Today I found out that I have celiac disease.  It’s an autoimmune disease that also affects one’s digestive system.  Eating gluten (wheat, rye, barley) damages my small intestine.  I’m a bit numb because I figured this out before my doctors did.  I’ve been experimenting with different types of foods thinking that it was something I was eating that was causing me to have unbearably severe allergies all year round.

I found that eating a diet that is almost strictly Paleo worked well.  Paleo diets don’t include wheat or processed foods.  When I eat ground foods (platains, yams, batata, yucca, etc.), meat, veggies, salad, nuts and legumes I’m fine.  When I throw in Dunkin’ Donuts?  Not so much.

My main issue was nasal polyps.  They became swollen and then infected and pretty much quarterly I had to take steroids and antibiotics to ‘heal’ up.  Then, a few months later I’d have to do it all over again.  This went on for over 7 years.  Not fun whatsoever.

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Today marks the end of all of that.  I know it’s not in my head.  It’s an actual dis-ease in my body.  I have to learn to enjoy foods that my body can assimilate well.  It took almost this entire year to come to terms with the fact that eating gluten makes me sick — literally! 🙂

So, I’ve said good-bye to cookies, cakes, pies, bread, and Twizzlers.  Yeah, Twizzlers have flour in them!  Ugh, right??

The writer in me is itching to write more about this celiac lifestyle and the person in me wants to run in the other direction with a Crumbs Apple Crumb cupcake in hand.

If I said I’m okay with this I’d be lying.  I will be okay.  I have accepted it but I’m not yet at complete peace with it.  I hope the tests are wrong but I know they’re not.  Thank Goodness it’s not life-threatening.

So, to all my fellow celiac sufferers I wish you a festive and joyous gluten-free holiday season!

Writerly Success: What Does It Look Like to You?

 “…as a writer, one of the things I’ve always been interested in doing is actually invading your comfort space.  Because that’s what we’re supposed to do.  Get under your skin, and make you react.” ~ Stephen King

I’ve been writing for more years than I want to recall.  It’s embarrassing how many years it has been.  Embarrassing because we’re trained as children that you practice and get better over time.  Then, one day after years of practicing and getting better you succeed.  But that’s not how writing is.  It’s a breed apart from traditional paths.  Acting, dancing — the performing arts, in general — all follow this unusual elliptical pattern.  Success is not always what it’s cracked up to be in traditional terms.

Writing success is personal.  Whether you are a major literary star like Stephen King or Maya Angelou or an aspiring author striving for their first big break success is measured very subjectively. 

“…there are those critics — New York critics as a rule — who say, ‘Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer.’  Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing.  I work at the language.”

Ms. Angelou clearly feels that ‘success’ comes to her through diligent hard work and the wooing of her muse and structuring and re-structuring the language in her works-in-progress.

Success is an elusive word when it comes to artists.  What defines success? How much money you make?  The acclaim (or flame…) from critics?  The acceptance by the literati?  A sizable niche following?

Who’s to say?  It could be one of these.  It could be all of these.

Success could also be defined as doing what you said you were going to do; the accomplishment of one’s intention.

Here are some fab quotes about what success is (and is not) by some folks you may have heard of.

“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet.  His problem is to find that location.”  ~ Flannery O’Connor

 
“To succeed in life you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” ~ Mark Twain

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” ~ David Frost

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Girl Before Mirror (1932)

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.” ~ Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory (1931)

 Success to me is centered around my family and children and the assistance I can share with them in achieving/striving for their dreams and goals.  My own personal success is tied into creating a life that I find worth living.  Writing is an integral part of that life.

Another interesting aside to this topic of success is this.  When you go looking for something in the wrong place, or with the wrong information you never arrive.  For example, my Art History class back in college is a dusty memory (an alarmingly dusty one!).  I just knew that this painting was a Picasso painting…

When in reality, this is Georges Braque’s Cubism.  My brain misremembered who actually painted it and recalled that Braque and Picasso revived Cubist painting.  I was on a chase for a painting by Picasso that — didn’t exist!  Success can be just like this episode.  You imagine you will find success somewhere where it isn’t, or you mislabel what true success is.

I’d love to continue the conversation with you.  How do you define success?  What is your personal take on it?