Best and Worst: Balance the Serious.

blue barry-edgar“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” Dickens.

Sometimes literary quotes become such a part of our reality that they’re almost like a sound loop. “It was the best of times….” is one of mine.  Each day dawns and we label the events that happen good news or bad news. In younger years, it felt dramatic and personal–and the emotional up-and-down was totally out of control, like being drug behind a truck.

But even the most horrific moment can’t hold still for long. The trick is to not get stuck in the past–in a good or bad moment. But we do–it’s hard to let go of trauma or joy. Psychologists say that memories are the events colored most by emotion. We don’t remember average days, but rather emotional peaks. Our memory landscapes are the very best and worst moments standing side by side, jerking our emotions back and forth.

It’s why I write non-fiction–nothing will ever be as interesting to me as real life.  Each moment that seems impossible to survive… passes and gives way to an unexpected opportunity. Isn’t that jump-and-twist maneuver endlessly fascinating?

The only constant is change and the sooner we let the hard-time thundercloud blow over us, (because resistance is futile,) the sooner a fresh breeze will come. It isn’t personal; it’s just life giving us a choice to re-define ourselves–a concept easier to embrace some days than others.

For those of us keeping score: Week 11 since the publisher search began and this week I got a rejection from the only nibble I had left.  Again, it was a kind, personal note from the person who was advocating for me, but other editors thought it was a bad match for their press. Most publishers are genre-motivated, (Young Adult or Romance or Fantasy) and memoir isn’t high on the best-selling list. They have to think about the bottom line. Yes, I knew all that before I started. *wandering aimlessly adrift*

At the same time, my Relaxed and Forward blog post went viral. It was a parable entitled Tips for the Fat Rider. In my world, viral means 30,000 hits in 3 days. Absolutely awesome! Writing this blog has always been such an inspiration for me over the years. The comments the readers post are so heartfelt and there’s wild power in each person’s words. *jetting high and fast*

The best of times and the worst of times: don’t take it too seriously. We’re in this for the long ride.




  1. Love this thought ‘Each moment that seems impossible to survive… passes and gives way to an unexpected opportunity. Isn’t that jump-and-twist maneuver endlessly fascinating?’


  2. Congrats on a viral post! That is an accomplishment to celebrate in and of itself! This post today was particularly poignant for me after receiving my fair share of thunderclouds from readers of my horse post. It’s finally starting to blow over, and boy is that spring breeze nice! Looking forward to the next installment, and keeping my fingers crossed for you that even though this door seems closed, somewhere a window has been thrown wide open.


    • What? Your post about not getting a pony? It was smart and it put horses first, was that your big crime? I will just say this, I have worked with horses and horse owners a long time and I am always shocked at how many of them don’t really like horses. People outside the horse world are much worse. Shake it off, write on. And your girl is welcome here anytime.


      • Thanks, Anna! She’s love to say “hee haw” to Edgar Rice Burro the next time we come to visit. And yes, the horse post. Turns out not getting your daughter a pony makes you a horrible person. Who knew? 🙂


    • Thank you. And since you are a horse person, I am sure you know all the ‘jokes’ about appaloosas. My response to those people is the same here: Be careful. It takes one to ride one. (Thanks for your long term support, you were one of the first.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know your book is a memoir and already completed, but have you considered adding zombies or vampires? Publishers can’t seem to get enough of them, and surely you’ve known a few. I know I have 🙂


    • Okay, this makes me laugh! Zombie goats maybe?? Or with a new chapter or two, maybe a Romance?? Why not, it isn’t like my reputation isn’t weird enough now! Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll tell the ducks.;)


  4. Life. “And I ask myself, how did I get here?” (Love that song). The thing about real life…the best stories, I couldn’t have made up. Or even thought to embellish by adding skunks. I write them how they happen. They seem unbelievable. I’ve noticed people who havent been near my life tend to believe the stories are, at the very least, a little stretched. The people my life has careened past, through, over, or swept up say, “Funny! Okay, what did you leave out?” (This is leading somewhere) Have you considered revisiting the label of memoir? If THAT is what puts off any publisher from publishing your book, it might be worth considering….no label should keep your stuff from print. It’s too good. (For the record, in the beginning, I found it quite ego bruising that some folks thought I made up stuff. I find it humorous now. If only they knew the stuff I left out!) The camping birthday party with all adults dressed up and played Duck, Duck, Goose…and we found a skunk standing in the middle of the birthday cake, head buried to his ears in frosting? I left out we got in trouble with the park. For feeding sugar to the skunks. Banned from camping there again. Disclaimer: I may be giving bad advice. It’s been known to happen. 😉 I want to read your book. I want to hold it in my hands and flip the pages!


    • I can’t agree more. What gets written can be the tip of the iceberg, it is in my book, but one of my dear friends was disappointed that I chose memoir. She was hoping for a murder mystery with quirky characters. Real life is so much interesting–non-fiction will always be my favorite. Nothing is ever better than real life. That said, I did talk with one retired publisher and her suggestion was that I make it a self-help book. That feels kind of arrogant to me. Lots of memoirists change some names and call it fiction. That’s an option, but there is a character in my book that needs the full recognition. It’s a debt I owe. So this time, it’s memoir and if I need to get rich later, I’ll write the Zombie Duck Revenge series.


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