Tag: excuses

Epiphany on the TP Roll

It matters if the toilet paper rolls from the top of the roll or the bottom. Articles have been written on the subject. Memes have blasted around the Internet. Not long ago, I had my own epiphany thanks to a roll of toilet paper.

From the Top

I once read in a reputable magazine that more successful people make sure their toilet paper rolls from the top.

In fact, I think they made some cool-sounding quip like: over-achievers roll over the top. Get it?

I recall checking out my toilet paper the next time I was in the restroom. And switching it from its under-achieving state of being.

“My husband must have put that roll out.”

That under-achieving man! Everyone knew a Type A perfectionist like me would go far in the world.

If that meant getting my toilet paper from the top of the roll instead of the bottom? What could it possibly hurt?

From the Bottom

But you know how different experts have differing opinions about everything. This includes the issue of how toilet paper rolls.

Somewhere at some point after my roll-reversal, I read there was another reason people might let toilet paper dispense from the underside of the roll.

This genius claimed that cat owners rolled their paper that way. Apparently, it made that tempting paper more difficult for cats to unroll. Or maybe it made the paper a less-attractive target.

It’s been many years since I discovered this amazing news.

I could put my toilet paper back to under-achieving mode. And blame it on my cats. For real.

And of course I did it. Not even blinking at how this might make me look in the eyes of people who knew about the over-over quip.

I didn’t even work this new information about cats with toilet paper fetishes into the conversation. Too often.

How it Made Rejection Okay

Fast forward to a recent day in the life of an author who reached the twelve-week point of no return.

What I mean to say is, the publisher that asked for my dystopian young adult novel still had the manuscript well beyond the promised eight-to-ten week notification window.

It had been a couple weeks since the publisher’s editor said that the manuscript was at the top of the pile. It would be read next. The publisher was giving it due-diligence.

And the toilet paper rolled from the underside of the dispenser.

At that moment a light went on.

I was getting rejected because I had allowed my cats to dictate my success.

Rather than demanding that I step up and succeed, I’d compromised by flipping the toilet paper rolls.

It wasn’t my lack of writing credentials. Nothing about my story lacked.

I just needed to flip the stupid toilet paper roll over. And BAM-success would follow.

As I reached to do the deed, it occurred to me that once I flipped the toilet paper roll around and claimed my right to over-achievement, my scapegoat for failure would no longer be available.

Decisions. Decisions.

I told you this whole issue of how to roll your toilet paper was of utmost importance.

So, what do you think? Did I flip it or not?

The NaNo Bug – and Why I can’t Catch it this year

Image from deviantart.com
Image from deviantart.com

November is National Novel Writing Month. This is an international event that encourages people to stop saying, “I’m going to write a book someday,” and sit down and do it.

I was introduced to this phenomenon five or six years ago. The librarian at the middle school where I worked instituted an Open Mic activity to encourage students to share their writing. She begged faculty to join the event so students wouldn’t be too shy to stand up and read their words.

At one such event, a language arts teacher heard me read the opening for a story I had written. The next day he sent me a flyer and link to National Novel Writing Month. His message:

“I think you’ve got a novel in you.”

At the time, I didn’t think I could commit to writing 50,000 words in 30 days. The next three years, I was attending college and working full-time. I was lucky I found time to sleep. Write a novel? Not happening.

2013-Participant-Square-Button[1]Last year, I participated. I had finished the first book in my trilogy and was advised to write the entire story (three books) before returning to revise the first book. I attended an online writer’s conference in October to prepare myself mentally for the challenge.

A group of writers in my community meets monthly. They hosted a bunch of write-ins and other events to spark interest in NaNo. I was excited and nervous.

Bottom line: I won. For all the specifics, check out the post I wrote during my elation last year.

I’m not going to participate this year. You don’t have to write a novel, any sort of writing can count – poetry, non-fiction. I am hoping to turn out five short stories in November, but I haven’t signed up as a participant because it doesn’t feel right. It’s National Novel Writing Month. To participate, I should write a novel.

My reasons for not participating this year:

  1. I have two completed manuscripts that need rewriting, revising and editing.
  2. I want to branch out with short stories so I can get some publishing credits to beef up my author bio on the queries I’m sending out with my manuscript.
  3. A project called Doomsday Dragon needs to find its way to beta readers before the end of December, and it isn’t through the first edit yet.
  4. A project titled A Mother’s Pondering Heart needs to be rewritten and go through a first edit since it has been promised to beta readers in December.
  5. I need to finish some projects and begin to market them if I want to reach my goal of being published.
  6. I don’t really have a new idea ready to write into a novel. My mind has been focused on short stories and these revisions.

What do you think of National Novel Writing Month? Will you participate this year? Do you have better excuses for not participating than I have?

Musings on Marriage

Happily ever after?
Happily ever after?

Marriage is meant to be the joining of two individuals into “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Unfortunately, there’s a lot of severing of body parts in the realm of marital bliss because many people don’t see it as a binding, lifetime contract.

Or maybe our society’s idea of being faithful to your word is so diminished that every contract can be negotiated or terminated at a later date. Why does it have to be binding? A lawyer somewhere should be able to get me out of it if I decide I want out later.

People are flesh and blood. Businesses might be made of brick, mortar, wood or stone. Flesh cannot be patched in the same way a building can.

When business contracts are broken, people lose jobs, money and security. On the other hand, when marriages fail, people bleed.

Contemplating causes for different outcomes keeps my mind occupied. Rather than analyzing data like a scientist, I consider people and their actions and attempt to determine motivation. In my warped way, I think this helps me create more realistic characters in the stories I write.

Two important people in my world have suffered through the agony of amputating a spouse in recent months. Sounds painful, right? Yep. If you think divorce is the easy way out, it’s time to rethink your options.

Two hearts become one. Two lives become one. Two people become one. Oh, those are just romantic words on Hallmark greeting cards which accompany wedding gifts. Those poetic souls understand marriage.

Some people don’t give their hearts fully to marriage, causing the marriage to fail. Many individuals want to keep the single life they love and that dooms a marriage. Even if you keep your heart and life, the two people are joined into one flesh. Cut your flesh. It bleeds. Cut your marriage, you bleed.

I see a few broad reasons why marriages fail. I’m musing here, not accusing. My list isn’t meant to be all encompassing or judgmental. I’m just doing my people analysis thing.

Marriage ends because:

  • People have the wrong expectations. If you think the other person will be your “everything,” you’re condemning them to fail. They will never be perfect. Newsflash: neither will you. Expect success, not perfection. Success is something you can work toward, while perfection is unattainable.
  • People lack commitment. They say the average person will change jobs every three years. Those people retiring now after spending 30 or more years with the same company are no longer the pattern for younger generations. If you’re unhappy, move along. Unfortunately, having this attitude about marriage relegates it to failure.
  • People hold onto secrets. Secrets aren’t just about infidelity or impulsive spending or gambling. Sometimes one spouse needs support, but rather than seeking it from their mate, they pretend it doesn’t exist or search for it elsewhere. The best relationships are built on the foundation of truth.
  • No one wants to be accountable. The “it’s her fault” finger of blame is as old as Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3:12-13). Unfortunately, society seems to be promoting this sort of excuse-making. If a child is substandard, look to the parents and find fault. If a marriage is unhappy, it must be the other person’s fault.
  • Everyone feels entitled to happiness. After all, the “Declaration of Independence” makes the “pursuit of happiness” a basic human right. Well, someday when people are perfect, happiness will reign. Until then, problems happen and bomb our happy lives. Rather than run away from the problem, we need to face it down. Happiness is fleeting, but the joy that comes from keeping your word can sustain you in the dark times.

Marriage binds two people. When two people commit to the contract of marriage, “they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).

Can you end your marriage contract? Sure. But if you think it’s going to be painless, cut off the end of your index finger. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Why do you think so many people avoid marriage? Why isn’t marriage considered a lifetime commitment anymore?