Monday, December 05, 2011

Heaven, Hell and Politicians

While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator(that may be redundant) was tragically hit by a car and died. 
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance. 
"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you." 

"No problem, just let me in," says the Senator. 
"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity." 
"Really?, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Senator. 

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules." 

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. 

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. 

In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. 

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. 

They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne. 

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes. 

They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go. 

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises. 

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, "Now it's time to visit heaven...” 

So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns. 

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity." 

The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell." 

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell... 

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. 
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls to the ground. 

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders. 

"I don't understand," stammers the Senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?" 

The devil smiles at him and says, 
"Yesterday we were campaigning.

Today, you voted."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stop, Drop and Roll

I consistently seem to underestimate how much I do--which wouldn't be an issue if I paid attention to it as I went along instead of having a crash and burn days and myself for not being productive those days, worrying that I have too many of them.  After all this time, you would think I could monitor my activities a little better and plan for some time out.  The problem is, I have to do things when I am called to do them.  Specifically, I mean I have to write.

Let's look at the month of November.  Everyone knows November is the kickoff for winter holidays, right?  Halloween ends and, boom!  We're into Thanksgiving season and the stores are prepping us for Christmas.  Meanwhile, those of us with K-12 kids continue monitoring their progress.  Report cards come out around this time.  School performances are revving up.  Projects are due.  Doctors' and other appointments must be kept.  Kids need to be driven to friends' houses.  Sleepovers must be had.  Spouses must not be ignored.  Family activities must be planned.  Exercise, preferably outside, must take place.  Pets must be cared for.  Church must be attended.  Clothes must be laundered and the house must be cleaned.  Shopping must be done, prescriptions picked up.  And those of us who work outside the home generally still do during most of November, assuming our job situations haven't changed. 

Now enter Katherine Gotthardt, the woman who decides she wants to make over parts of the house before 13 people come to Thanksgiving dinner, write 50,000+ words of a second novel, plan book launchings for her first novel (which was not supposed to arrive until early December), market her work, create websites, maintain online venues, develop her non-profit venture, take part in community events, volunteer, study Spanish, start teaching another online course, teach her regular classes, keep up with the news, write an article for the newspaper and clean animal puke off the rug.

You'd think I'd have more sympathy for this woman, right?   Well, I don't. I mean, she takes a nap every day.  She takes at least two days off per month to vegetate (albeit out of necessity).  She messes around on Facebook on and off throughout the day.  She routinely watches stupid movies with her husband and kids (though admittedly, she exercises while doing so).  This lady is busy, sure, but she should get a grip.  It's not like she doesn't have free time, right? I mean, so what if she works on and off every day, at night and in her sleep?  (Yes, I said in her sleep because she writes in her head and often has to get up to put it down on the computer because she doesn't want to lose the thought.)  So what if she gets PMS or stuck in traffic?  What's this lady's problem?  Suck it up, Gotthardt!

I think I've said before somewhere on this blog that when I get scared I am not ever going to get off the couch, I make a list of everything I have done, and I usually feel better about myself. I did recently have a couch day, but I was able to enumerate the activities that have made November especially busy.  This is a major step for me because usually I pooh-pooh it off and tell myself I've got no real right to a crash and burn.  Fact is, I do have a right, and I know people who crash and burn, too, or who take much more leisure time than I do.

So there.  I've admitted I have over-achiever's syndrome or a Type A personality or whatever you want to call it.  I'm mission driven--but I am acknowledging I am not Super Woman.  I used to assume I was, which is bad for the self esteem when you DO have a crash and burn because your expectations of yourself have been somewhat unrealistic, at least when it comes to pace.

I am making a vow to remind myself that my productivity should not be measured in days but in moments.  If I work in spurts, so be it.  If I work in segments, so be it.  If I work when I am inspired, so be it.  At the end of the month or year, my efforts will have added up to something I consider acceptable.

So now, let's look at 2011.  I think I've done pretty well this year, especially considering my teaching duties changed this past January, I had to put the finishing touches on my novel, wrote more poetry (one piece on commission), started attending networking events, advocated wherever I could, went up north for a week with the kids, hosted my family here for a week, made cards for our soldiers, all in addition to the activities I described above.

I think I will plan on having a few crash and burn days in December.  Except, if you plan them, they're not called crash and burn days.  They're called days off.  What a concept. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Día de acción de gracias


someone is keeping your sneakers,
waiting for you
to come home.

Katherine Gotthardt
November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cool Song

Kind of makes me want to do aerobics for some reason.

by OceanLab

My love is like footsteps in the snow, baby,
I follow you everywhere you go, baby.
The pain as light has come to wake you
But you will never realize
That I inspire the dreams that guide you baby.

You're a half a world away
But in my mind I whisper every single word you say.
And before you sleep at night
You pray to me, your lucky star, your singing satellite.

I follow the winds that bring the cold, baby,
I light a fire in your soul, baby.
The lightest touch of feathers falling
My love may be invisible
But I inspire the dreams that guide you, baby

You're a half a world away
But in my mind I whisper every single word you say.
And before you sleep at night
You pray to me, your lucky star, your singing satellite.

Monday, November 07, 2011

If I Were a Beautiful Woman

If I Were a Beautiful Woman

If I were a beautiful woman,
I’d have enough black hair to wrap the wind,
eyes gray enough to catch the storm’s,
the grace of tides and gods,
and the will of a whirlpool
to pull you in.

Katherine Gotthardt
November 7, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Pumped Up for NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month began November 1, and we novelists are challenged to write 50,000 in just 30 days.  It is day six, and I have amazed myself by getting halfway through already.

The last time I took this challenge (and started two weeks late because I had never heard of NaNoWriMo) was in 2006, from which I produced my upcoming book Approaching Felonias Park, a novel that takes a close look at predatory lending, the poor and homeless and the abused.  The book has a series of mystical elements and a clear message.  I need to sell 500 copies in order to have it stay in print, so I am hoping to get help from lots of my friends and family members.  Proceeds will help support local homeless shelters and food pantries.

However, this new, gritty book-in-progress (title withheld for now), though I am writing very fluidly and with higher quality than the first which had to be edited extensively, is proving to be much more difficult.  The protagonist, a heroin addict who is eventually saved by a jail chaplain, is sucking a lot of emotion out of me.  Not only is this gal's life hell, the chaplain asks her the bigger questions of life, the questions we should all ask ourselves no matter how difficult it is.  I am finding that I have to explore my own answers as I write this book.  Plus, having never taken drugs, I am also having to do some research.  The novel is painfully realistic, and I don't want to compromise that.

I'm wondering if my books will be hard sells because of the realism. I tend not to write about well adjusted, lucky people.  My characters are fighters and dirty.  They live in the streets, on the edge and often in spiritual limbo.  Their challenges are those too many will identify with.  But those many who identify might not want to buy the book.  These are difficult books to read, in spite of the light humor and victorious endings.

I write about the poor because I've been in tough situations. I write about abuse because I know about that, too. I write about messed up people who have landed themselves in places no one would really choose to be because I've known and loved people like that.  There is a lot of sickness in this world--bodily, mentally and spiritually.  I struggle with that every day, particularly because I long to be a healer.  But there's only so much anyone can do.  I learned the painful way that I'm not Jesus and that I can't do miracles. I can only work and pray hard for them.

Yesterday, my brain was screaming in pain. I couldn't control what was going on in my head and worked exceptionally hard to get the thoughts organized through writing, which is what I do when things get confusing in my gray matter.  It was a tough day, but it's amazing what 24 hours of conscious care will do for the mind. 

I am more myself this morning. 

I sure missed me while I was gone.