Monday, December 16, 2013

I Hereby Resolve...

It's funny how the theoretical close of one year and the supposed beginning of another  signals some kind of lemur-like race to make promises we probably can't keep, when in reality time is perpetual and life is right now.

Yes, I'm referring to the New Year's Resolution. Regardless of the inevitable reminders to practice both global and personal reflection at the end of each year, I seldom make resolutions. 

I'm not opposed to change, or even the turning over of a new leaf, I'm just opposed to the concept of obligatory, time-stamped promises.

We've been back in the Pacific NW for several months now, and it usually takes me a few months to get my sea legs after a big move. Major life changes like moves and new jobs also make me nostalgic a bit. 

Instead of resolutions, I was considering doing a year in review but with a trip to Ireland, two graduations, a cross-country move and the loss of a beloved dog, it will probably stress most of you out just reading about it. Still, this is how my life tends to be - never a dull moment, and more varied life experiences than I could ever hope to set down in novel form. 

Resolutions don't need to be date-specific, but you do have to believe that they can be accomplished, and making a choice just because everyone else says it's a good idea seldom motivates a person for long. Change has to come from within you, because it's something you want or need in a deep, visceral way. Real change is born out of real struggle that produces real decisions that affect real lives.

If you want to stop smoking, do it today. If you want to be more fit, don't wait for the end of Christmas party season or a gym membership, find a way to be more active every single day. There are countless little changes we can make that will result in great big differences down the road. 

Life is short. Time is fleeting. Don't wait for the new year… Make it count. Make a difference. 

Make it today. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

I participated in this meme on Facebook, even though I don't usually do things like this, but I thought it was funny to share some amusing odd facts and thought I'd repost it here just for laughs!

  1. I used to sleep with Donny Osmond’s album cover under my pillow at night until I was in middle school… Or was it David Cassidy?
  2. I'm going to start training in Krav Maga because my secret desire is to be a general badass with the goal of being Steven Arnell’s sidekick some day.
  3. I did a lot of drugs when I was younger. This isn’t news to some of you (even my kids) but if you ever wonder why I’m just a little touch off, that’s probably it :)
  4. When I was three or four I could beat my siblings (who are 6, 8 and 9 years older than me) and most adults in a game of Concentration. I have still have something of a photographic memory, especially for sequences of numbers.
  5. I hate Ferris Wheels and spinning rides in general, and don’t really like roller coasters either, so when I go to an amusement park you’ll probably find me under a tree with a book (or floating in the lazy river if there’s a water park attached).
  6. When I die (likely from being Steven Arnell’s badass sidekick) instead of flowers, my children will lay bottles of warm Perrier and tins of Altoids on my grave. 
  7. I have 22 tattoos.
  8. I once had to go to court for trespassing and having a bonfire on a private beach (see #3) and had to do several hours of community service.
  9. I can recite an embarrassingly large portion of Alice’s Restaurant (see #3)
  10. If you hit like on this post you won’t be punished for it and I will NOT send you a number and ask you to play...So like away!

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Cover Coming! (and other updates)

  • I'm in the final approval stages for a new cover design for Letters From The Ledge… I can't wait to reveal it and am super excited about it. I'm hoping by Christmas! 

  • Audio book still in the works as well. A few unavoidable delays on that, but it's coming soon!

  • NaNoWriMo is birthing a whole new genre of writing for me…I'm in over my head by 22,000 words or so, thus far, and this new book is a complete departure for me. I'm writing in a style I've never written in before. It has dual plot lines both modern and medieval, and the characters and plot are both real and imagined. It's an adventure story, a love story, a world-changing story, and a life-saving story. It is both an inner struggle and an outer battle. It is…an epic undertaking… :) More than ever, I am learning to trust myself and go to new places with my writing. But those of you who know me well know I never do anything half-way, so why not embark on an epic adventure story three months after moving cross country for the 5th time? Lol. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I'm So Smitten! Check this out!

While you're surfing the web, why not check out something TRULY amazing like the hottest new music video by singer/songwriter Zachary Meyers. This will be three amazing minutes you won't want back, I promise!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

T-2 hours to the start of NaNoWriMo 2013. I have a love/hate relationship with the month of November. I love the product and even the process, but it is most definitely exhausting…

I will be sitting down tomorrow morning with virtually no idea what I'm going to write about, and honestly? That's the way I like it! I'm excited about several things that have come together over the past year or two - things that have been pointing me to this time, and maybe even this next novel!

Let the creativity begin!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's On Tap

And no... it's not Guinness although I wish it was! I took that picture in a little coastal town on the west side of Ireland called Dingle. I thought it was hilarious because I'd come to Ireland to drink Guinness and there was an enormous Budweiser tap - presumably for all the Americans, because what European in their right mind who's ever tasted Budweiser would willingly order it? At any rate... I digress - so - what's on tap this fall?

Well, NaNoWriMo starts in just nine days, I've met a new agent, joined a screenwriting group, and am looking forward to new writing projects as well as finishing ones you've all been waiting for.

Truly and Finn has been a project that has taken several twists and turns over the last year or two. For those of you just tuning in, Truly is a story I began serializing here on the blog in installments. People were reading and following along, commenting etc. I stopped posting installments so I could finish the story, and last November during NaNoWriMo I did just that. I planned to publish it and get it out there to readers, but a funny thing happened. I learned that it wasn't just one book.

During that same month of November, I ended up writing another entire book. In fact I wrote over 90,000 words in six weeks' time... the second book telling Finn's story from his perspective, leading up to when they met. It caught me by surprise - Finn's back story, and I became so fascinated by his story that I traveled to Ireland this past April to research it. There's more to the story - much more, and his journey will be ongoing, but then came another question: whether to publish it separately as books 1 and 2 in the series or perhaps put both their stories into one volume.

I chose the latter and have been in the process of sending it out and getting feedback from both agents and readers. That process is not yet complete, I'm sorry to say. I get questions and know many of you have been patiently waiting for a while now, but unfortunately the publishing business is a fairly slow-moving animal - nearly sloth-like, actually :)

All that to say, I haven't forgotten, I am still working and I will have something out just as soon as the publishing Gods give me a green light. Until then, I plan to begin posting another new story in installments very soon!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rivers Of Ink

Went to the Rivers of Ink Writer's Conference this weekend. What a great opportunity to meet and network with other writers, to support one another and get to know the local community's creative folks!

Some of the workshops really helped define my goals for my writing career, others asked questions I hadn't even thought to ask of myself and the industry. All in all I came away with a lot to think about, and with NaNoWriMo almost upon me, I've got some real decisions to make!

If you're an aspiring writer I highly encourage you to attend a writer's conference. It's kind of like one stop shopping for everything you ever wanted to know about writing and publishing, but were maybe afraid to ask!

Thanks to all the organizers and speakers and facilitators who put on a great weekend! Once I sift through all my notes I'll share some of the things I learned!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Short Fiction

It's time I started posting some actual writing again, so here's a short story I wrote a while back. At this time it's not part of a larger work, but  hey... you never know :) It's only 2500 words so not too long to read over a cup of coffee. In fact, I'm having one now...

The Back Side of Wisdom
by: Lynda Meyers

My mother always said I could be anything I wanted to be. Turns out my mother said a lot of things. Some of it was diamonds and some just ordinary coal, although time and pressure would test the latter. I guess that’s true of most advice.
I watched a movie once where a woman’s lifeless body got dumped into a fire, but after a few minutes the fire intensified and a brand new body was lifted up out of the flames. Her new body was stronger, nearly invincible, and for the rest of the movie she even dressed differently, a rather unflattering yellow dress giving way to a pair of men’s trousers with a shirt and vest combination. I guess when you walk through the fire you earn the right to wear the pants.
Something about this idea of reinvention appeals to me...It’s been three years since my mother died, and at first I was thrilled to inherit her closet full of clothes. Smoke-infused as they were, her top-dollar, designer rags fit me like a glove, and lucky for me the dry cleaners were able to take care of the stench. Those outfits, I’m convinced, are what landed me the job I currently adore as well as the man I’m engaged to, so I’m grateful for them, really I am. But the last of those clothes went to Goodwill this past week, in bags tied up with pieces of my life with her. 

It was time.

When I was raising small children and alternating between sleepless nights and diaper duty you couldn’t have told me I would miss that simple chaos, but a few short years later, in a classic case of “that can’t happen to me”, my mother, who was stronger than anyone I’d ever met–was diagnosed with brain cancer.  She was only forty-eight. 

I’d been mentally prepared for the ‘aging parent’ thing. In fact, many of my friends and a few of my neighbors were already trying to raise a family while caring for their elderly parents, but my mom was still so young. And I was only thirty. She’d been in a car accident some years before, suffering a traumatic brain injury that by some miracle she recovered fully from, so the diagnosis was especially hard to take. How could this woman, who’d never let anything beat her, be dying? 

It was an aggressive tumor, and I began caring for her at home, in between little league and car pools. The whole package turned out to be too much for my already fragile marriage, and three months before she died my husband bailed, leaving me with full custody of the kids, the mortgage and all the other bills before disappearing into thin air. The spiral was maddening. 

I started having insane conversations with my mother as I fed her soup that dribbled down her chin–insane because the situation could have easily been reversed. I felt completely overwhelmed, as if every one of my “have-tos” was like that aggressive mass of destruction, crowding out what little function I had left. But I had no choice. There was no one else to talk to. Some days our conversations went something like this:

“Mom, how did you do it? How did you raise me and Peter all by yourself?”
Gurgle, spit, gurgle
“I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like I’m coming unglued.”
Gurgle, hand pat, gurgle

Even when she couldn’t respond I knew she heard me. I could tell by the way her eyes moved and changed. It was subtle, but I’d been staring at her for so long I felt like I could almost read her mind. 

Other times she was lucid, and I endured the gibberish just for a glimpse of the woman I’d always known. Out of the blue she would toss quotes up to the surface like they were pieces of gold mined from deep within a dying cortex. I wished I could weave them together into a sweater I could wear as a reminder, something to keep me warm in the cold, dark days that lie ahead. I began writing them down on colored post-it notes until they lined the edge of my bathroom mirror. 

“Freedom comes from sacrifice. Sacrifice comes from love.”
“Forget about love that’s been lost. If you don’t choose to love, you’ll always be lost.”

I’d be doing the dishes and hear her talking to no one in particular, rush in with my pad and pencil, and try to jot down anything that might have meaning. Invariably though, the best of her wisdom came in the quiet hours of the morning, when I’d fallen asleep in the chair next to her bed. I’d open my eyes only to find her staring at me, eerily awake but in a trance-like state. Her mouth would move with confidence in monotone stanzas that would send chills up my torso. I began to live for her dying words. Somewhere deep in my soul I knew that when all was said and done this would be all I had to keep, this mismatched collection of mind-altered snippets. 

The pain medication was substantial, so I don’t know why I allowed myself to cling to her words like that–it was likely all rubbish anyway. But it was her rubbish. And for that, and for my children, I kept a diary. 

She saw me writing in it one day, and her eyes asked me what it was. I wiped the drool from the sagging corner of her mouth and told her I was keeping a diary of our time together. 

Clear as blue sky she smiled up at me and said, “I used to keep a diary.”

Shocked, I closed my brown leather moleskin and replied. “You’re kidding me!” My mother, the consummate antithesis of a dreamer, had actually written something down that didn’t have check boxes and goals attached as action-items? “Where?”

But she was gone again.

“Where mom?” I shook her shoulder gently and tried to get her to look at me. “Where is it? Where is your diary?”

It was no use. Her speech garbled, her brow furrowed and then the vacant stare returned. I smoothed her hair back, kissed her forehead and said, “It’s alright. We’ll find it later.”

But I couldn’t let it go. I became obsessed with the idea of finding that diary. It was probably long gone, I reasoned. Burned or tossed or torn into tiny pieces and scattered with my grandfather’s ashes. There were way too many variables. Still, I looked everywhere–her house, her garage, the attic, even her safe deposit box. It was no use. There was nothing but order, and every single thing in its rightful place, as always.

One day I was washing her backside and realized her skin was beginning to break down. The hospice nurse had warned me about this. It was time for the dreaded hospital bed. The nurse ordered one with a special top to minimize pressure sores, but I warned her that mom was pretty particular about mattresses. Getting her used to something new might take whatever fight she had left. She’d been adamant about bringing her own bed with her to my house, but its full-sized width made it increasingly difficult to work with her shrinking frame, and my back was feeling the weight of all the extra bending and reaching. An electric bed, the nurse assured me, would be like having an extra set of hands all the time. Now there was an idea I could get behind!

The day the new bed arrived the nurse came in with a special lift. We rolled mom onto the lift and literally suspended her in mid air while the bed guy rolled the new one underneath her. A push of a button later and the contraption lowered her down onto the new air mattress. She grimaced at first, but when we got her all settled and turned she drifted off into the most peaceful sleep I’d witnessed in weeks.  

The nurse stayed while I picked up my kids from their various practices and school activities. After I got them all settled in bed for the night, I went about stripping her old bed. Bleach or no bleach, those sheets were going in the garbage. The pad was in great shape and surprisingly thick, but underneath that the mattress itself was zipped into its own white plastic covering. This didn’t surprise me, because my mother was anal about everything, but knowing I was likely going to try to sell the mattress set, I figured I should inspect it before putting it on Craig’s List. 

I unzipped the plastic cover and slid the mattress from its sheath. You could have blown me over with a hair dryer. In fact, if my mother had seen me standing there I’m convinced she would have said something along the lines of “Close your mouth, dear.” 

There, like a string of mysterious crop circles, were multiple circular cuts in the mattress going all the way down to the coils. The tufts of stuffing were still there, like plugs in a dyke, and as I lifted them one by one, a river of understanding began to flood over me. There, in the holes in the mattress, were my mother’s hidden diaries–ten of them, to be exact.

It was unfathomable. Of course, no one would buy the mattress now, but none of that mattered. What I’d found was worth more than I could ever make off of Craig’s List. All those years, going to all that trouble to hide those diaries. No wonder she’d insisted on bringing her mattress with her! And yet, she didn’t put up a fight, when it came time to change beds. It was as if she’d wanted me to find them. 

Like a thief I gathered up every one of those gems and stashed them in my room, then put the old mattress and box springs in the garage. My mother was still asleep as I made a cup of tea and sat down to take a closer look. She’d dated all her entries, making it easy to put them in chronological order. These miniature treasures had come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, which ran totally contrary to her predictable, symmetry-loving nature. Also curious was the fact that I didn’t have one memory of watching her write in them. Not one. 

What I found, hidden in those pages, shouldn’t have shocked me. It shouldn’t have made me question my life, but it did. What I found, buried beneath all those tufts of stuffing, was a woman–a real woman, with thoughts and fears and feelings. All the wisdom I’d been saving onto post-it notes, those were just bits and pieces. The mother lode, as it were, was sitting in my hands at last. 

I read from ten o’clock until two, when my mother started gurgling again. I suctioned her mouth and turned her and she settled quickly back to sleep. Good thing too, because at that point I couldn’t have stopped reading if the house was on fire. So many surprises. So much humanity. And pain. Incredible pain. Pain that caused me to weep with wracking sobs that shook my bed like a small-scale tremor. Pain so deep that it made me doubt every perception I’d ever had of her, to repent of every wrong judgment I’d made.

She too had been married to a man who chose personal freedom over commitment, a kind of self-love over his own children. No one would have guessed the depth of his depression, or the toll it took on my mother’s heart. After his death, his parents withdrew. Her parents lived in another state. The Catholic Church shunned her on behalf of his sins. She was completely alone. I cried for her. I cried for myself. I cried until a calm kind of clarity settled over me. 

I had never known my father, but I met him on those pages and it made me somehow grateful. It allowed me to hope for my children. Here lying in the next room was a woman who was not made in Hollywood, but had also walked out of the fire and lived to tell about it. There was hope for me. And I wasn’t losing my mind, although sometimes it felt like it. 

Throughout the last days of her illness I found so much comfort in those pages. Even though she had stopped responding completely, she and I could still “talk” over tea. I read and re-read those books in the months following her death. I grieved. I cried. I tried Valium but settled on Yoga. 

And then one day the clouds lifted. I looked into the faces of my children and realized I had my own pages to write, so I boxed up hers and put them in the attic. I cleaned out her closet and I donned her clothes. I sold her house and I paid off my bills. 

There was a confidence in me that hadn’t been there before she got sick. She’d always been so strong I’d felt weak in her shadow, but it’s funny how the end of the storm is buried there, inside the dark clouds. Sometimes you just have to wait it out. When the sun finally appeared it hurt my eyes to look at it, and it took some time for my vision to adjust. 

When I went on my very first interview for something other than a minimum wage job I wore my mother’s best Tory Burch gabardine slacks and a drop-dead red cardigan over a white silk blouse. One of the museums in the city was hiring. It had been over ten years since I’d walked across the stage at my college graduation with a degree in Art History and a bun in the oven. I assumed, like everyone else in my program, that my degree would be ultimately useless, and so I never really tried. Still, I’d always carried a passion for both art and history, so why not give it a shot? 

The curator at the museum met me for coffee in the cafĂ© across from the gallery downtown. We ended up talking for three hours straight. He hired me that very night. Six months later he asked me to dinner, and just last week he asked me to marry him. My mother would have loved him. My kids adore him.  Even my brother conceded that he’s “not such a bad guy after all”. 

I’m not really sure what I’ll wear in the next few scenes of my life, but I can tell you it won’t be drab or unflattering. Three kids and one brush with bankruptcy later and I can also tell you it probably won’t be designer, but that’s ok too. A comfortable pair of yoga pants and a stretchy top will have to do for now. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


To far away family, all my friends, and those I love with all my heart who are scattered all across this great big earth we all call home, know that today, and every day, you are in my heart...
And the miles can't really separate us, because our hearts are linked.

I feel so lucky to be able to say these things...
To count among my riches those of relationships I hold near and dear. 
Today, I am thankful. 
And being thankful helps me not miss them all quite so much, 
because knowing them, and having a piece of their hearts tucked into mine, 
has made me more of a person than I could ever be alone...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

For The Love Of Poetry

I know I've said this before, but I am absolutely, 100%, head-over-heels in love the lyrical nature of words. My writing began as a young child with poems and journals, and is still fueled today by these, most intimate forms of writing.

We're coming up on November and this year's National Novel Writer's Month, or "NaNoWriMo" - the time of year when I forget to cook, refuse to clean, and barely interact with other humans...I love this 'all in' kind of process and even now, I can feel a new story stirring.

Last year I wrote 90,000 words over a period of six weeks. Not sure what this year will bring but I know the words are out there, waiting to be extracted, pieced together, tied and linked and brought full-circle.

This poem, by American poet W.S. Merwin, inspires me and speaks to the heart of how I approach writing:

Inside this pencil
crouch words that have never been written
never been spoken
never been taught

they're hiding

they're awake in there
dark in the dark
hearing us
but they won't come out
not for love
not for time
not for fire
even when the dark has worn away
they'll still be there
hiding in the air
multitudes in days to come may walk through them
breathe them
be none the wiser

what script can it be

that they won't unroll

in what language
would I recognize it
would I be able to follow it
to make out the real names
of everything

maybe there aren't many
it could be that there's only one word
and it's all we need
it's here in this pencil

every pencil in the world is like this.

- W.S. Merwin

(...And with any luck, every computer keyboard in the world as well! Wish me luck!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hot Yoga, Kayaking, and Other Miscellaneous Adventures

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

- Steve Jobs

Maybe it's the umpteenth move in as many years.

Maybe it's mid-life barreling down on me.

Or maybe it's just that I no longer care what anybody else thinks about me or my life choices...

Whatever the impetus, the fact is, I've decided to branch out and begin trying new things - like hot yoga, for example.

My daughter encouraged me to try yoga a couple of years ago. She said it would be good for my back because it strengthens your core. She showed me some basic stretches, then we took a few classes together, tried some at-home DVDs and You Tube videos, even developed our own personal practice of stretches and strengthening exercises. I was happy with my yoga practice, and moving here we joined a local gym that offered classes for an extra fee. I wasn't going to sign up because the gym also offered plenty of other types of classes included in the membership, but over Labor Day they offered a free yoga class. I showed up expecting a regular yoga class. What I got was Hot Yoga instead.

Let me tell you, Hot Yoga is a totally different animal.

I'll spare you the sweaty details but suffice it to say I've never felt "cleaner" in my life than after a 90 minute sauna sesh of getting my downward dog on...

I really didn't think I was going to like it. Turns out it's kind of addicting. My preconceived notions of what hot yoga looked and felt like had to be adjusted. My paradigm shifted. Not because it's trendy, but because of how it made me feel and what it did for my sense of well-being. When I started taking the classes I had no idea it was all the rage... Now I feel kinda hipster-ish just for doing it, but I love it so much I'm willing to take the eye rolling and judgy stares and just keep doing my eagles and triangles and pidgeon poses.

Let's face it, the Pacific Northwest is kinda hipster-ish anyway, so to live here you kind of have to embrace it and be somewhat "outdoorsy". There's just too much natural beauty not to be. There are countless rivers to navigate, fish, and ski on, mountains to climb, trails to hike... There just seems to be no end to the possibilities for the adventurous in spirit. I've always been adventurous on the inside, but life and raising four kids kind of put a lid on it for a while.

Well, I'm popping the top on that bad boy.

Last weekend I took an "Intro To Kayaking"class at the local marina.

Let me tell you, I had no idea kayaking was a full body sport. It hurts worse than yoga!

I mean, these were sea kayaks so I guess they're a lot different than the recreational version. These suckers were narrow and like 17 feet long with a curved hull like a canoe but streamlined.

Designed to cut through the open waters. Also designed to tip over like a weeble that actually does fall down. Except this weeble gets wet and then has to hoist its cookies back into said tippy vessel. It was interesting. The instructor kept referring to our heads as bowling balls and reminding us that the hips could move, but the bowling ball had to stay centered or the kayak goes over in an instant. Some of our class members demonstrated this tipping technique fairly quickly :) 

At the end of a seven hour class I had pain from the bottom of my legs to the top of my shoulders and everywhere in between. But strangely enough, I also got the idea that I might really like one of those 17 foot things strapped to the top of my new Subaru... It was a blast! 

Two brand new experiences, both ended up being a thumbs up... Now, maybe a tattoo? ;) 

Friday, September 13, 2013

West Coast Living

Greetings from the left coast (of the US)! Lately I've been realizing I feel more at home here, in this place, than I ever have anywhere else, and that's saying something, since I was born and raised in New York and I've lived all over the world.

Home is both where you lay your hat and where you lay your heart. My heart is somewhat pieced together because those that I love are scattered all around this world. Still, on the whole, the place I personally feel most settled, most at home, and most "me" is here. Right where I am. This is a good feeling to have. It's been a long journey.

When I was a teenager and we first got cable I watched HBO all summer long. It was just a couple of years after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, and I remember watching a movie made about the ordeal that was set, of course, in Washington and other states in the Pacific Northwest. I remember falling immediately in love with the scenery and something about it drew my heart. I knew I wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest some day. Something in my heart knew I belonged here.

I told a friend recently that coming back to the west coast reminds me of the passion for freedom and adventure that settled this area of the country. These states still have huge areas that remain unsettled and untamed. They are still "wild" and free.

There are other things I love about where I live - rodeo, big sky, lots of sunshine, and a natural focus on healthy living and healthy eating. I'm walking, biking, kayaking, and even exploring hot yoga (more on that in another post!)

Once all the boxes are unpacked it will be back to writing. Finishing the screenplay for Letters From The Ledge, and probably working on the next book in the Truly and Finn series. Stay tuned - I'll keep you all posted!

Friday, September 6, 2013

To Live Unashamed

I've never been one of those people who lamented getting older. In fact, with each year that passes I realize I could never go back to what I was or who I have been - and I don't want to either. It's been quite the journey so far, and with each passing year I become more and more of who I am. If I have a  regret, it is that it has taken me this long to know myself. To embrace who I am without apology.

I've been reading Ayn Rand. I'm not sure how I've never read her before this, but at the urging of a friend I decided to pick up her classic The Fountainhead. From page one of the introduction, I have been dumbstruck by this woman's ability to express with such depth those truths that cut straight to the core of who we are as human beings.

This is not to say that I agree with Rand's entire philosophy, but I can certainly eat the meat and spit out the bones, as it were...

There's an ancient proverb that says "When the student is ready, the teacher will come", and this has been true in my life. Countless experiences where just the right person, book or piece of music enters my life and my heart at just the right time to affect a change in me. The Fountainhead, it seems, is just such a book for just such a time.

I am challenged by Rand's use of metaphor, in awe of the lyrical depth of her prose. She didn't believe in giving up on man. I don't believe in giving up. Period.

My passion has always been freedom. That expression of self that, rather than throwing off all moral and ethical restraint, finds it's true self set free from cultural norms and societal expectations to discover an even deeper truth. Rand writes about some dialogue she assigned to the heroine in a play she wrote titled Ideal, and states that this character speaks her heart when she says:

"I want to see, real, living, and in the hours of my own days, that glory that I create as an illusion. I want it real. I want to know that there is someone, somewhere, who wants it too. Or else what is the use of seeing it, and working, and burning oneself for an impossible vision? A spirit too, needs fuel. It can run dry."

A spirit does need fuel. We can't always be givers. We have to receive sometimes too. Dry ground is thirsty. When our hearts become dry ground it takes an awful lot of water to make it soft again. We give best out of the overflow of our hearts. You have to let it pour in if you want to pour it out. So my encouragement to you today is this:

Go where the life is.

Make sure that you're doing at least one thing each day that pours into you. Something you love. Something you're passionate about. Something that gives you life rather than draining it away drop by drop. Don't burn yourself for an impossible vision.

Live now. Today. And don't ever give up on your dreams.

Live unashamed...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Journey IS the Destination...

Some journeys last a lifetime. Others just a moment. Sometimes a single moment can be epic, but if it passes by and we don't reach for it we'll never know.

I've been in the throws of a three thousand mile move recently, and some days it's hard to reach for anything except a box cutter and another cup of coffee. But there are great moments, even in the midst of chaos. There are great moments when you least expect it. Simple things. Little things.

Like a walk by the river, catching the very last light of the day...or listening to the rain at night.

Too many times we believe we must live only in the beautiful moments. We spend so much time trying to get through the terrible, past the mundane and into the beautiful that we miss the beauty in the brief moments of grace.

The reality is, there is just as much life in the terrible, just as much precious in the mundane, but our eyes aren't used to the darkness.They're only adjusted for the light. Whoever said the terrible cannot be beautiful has only ever loved themselves, for pain opens the heart in ways that cannot be accessed except for the breaking.

I re-watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy recently, and was struck all over again by the beauty of adversity and the passing of seasons. The honor in dying for something you hold dear, of sacrificing for the greater good.

After the battle is won and the ring of power is destroyed, Frodo attempts to go back to his life in the Shire but realizes he is different now. He knows he must leave, but instead of bitterness he looks back with a wisdom forged by the immensity of his experiences. He narrates:

"How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand...there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend...some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold. Bilbo once told me that his part in this tale would end...that each of us must come and go in the telling."

In the next scene Frodo says goodbye, and although he is saddened by the loss of his friends, he knows a new adventure waits for him on the other side of the sea. "Not all tears are an evil" Gandalf reminds them...

We moved several thousand miles to start a new chapter. We left friends and family and people we hold dear. In the telling of our stories, those we love come and go in the telling, separated by distance but never far from our hearts.

Tears have been shed. Hearts have been heavy. But the rest of the story is yet to be written...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Freedom Friday

We spend so much time trying to find ourselves, but are we really lost? Is there really anything to find except the resonance of our own hearts ringing back at us? Sometimes I think the journey we begin in earnest, trying so desperately to discover who we really are, does nothing really but illuminate the truth that already exists - has always existed, and we've always known it. 

But the quest isn't about finding the truth. Not really.

The quest is to teach us to be confident in that which is already true. 

The journey tests our mind and tries our spirit. It strengthens our resolve as we ground ourselves deeper into the mystery of who we are. The journey isn't about finding. It's about being at peace with what is found.  

Look. Really look.


Be the truth.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The 'Rithmetic of Reading and Writing

Most of the time I don't know what's going to happen in a story I'm writing until I've written each scene. As I write, it's like cleaning a dirty window. The view is constantly improving, until there's no longer any notion of glass separating fiction from reality. That's not to say we should write just for the sake of writing, hoping an idea will form in the fog of our breath. In fact, I'm not one of those writers who believes in writing every day no matter what. Practice making perfect, as it were. 

No, I prefer the imperfection of an intensely necessary bout of writing that grips your heart like the plague, for that is something I can give my time to. A story worth bleeding for. 

Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 said: "My stories run up and bite me on the leg. I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off."

I always have ideas running through my brain - things I see or hear about and think to myself "That would make a great book" or "Wow, what a powerful story." But that doesn't mean I'm really going to write about any of those things. 

I figure a story worth telling is one that is begging to be told. Letters From The Ledge was like that. So was Truly (and Finn). 

Truly's story began as an illustration for a non-fiction article I was writing. But for almost a year afterward, her story would bark incessantly at the back of my mind, reminding me it was still there, chained up somewhere in the background of my life. When I finally walked over to it and took the chain off it latched onto me and wouldn't let go. And so I wrote. To the exclusion of almost everything else, I wrote.

There are a lot of stories vying for our attention in life, and we shouldn't necessarily pay attention to all of them. All that does is overwhelm our brains with often useless information and fill our hearts with characters that aren't meant to move our personal stories forward. 

The only stories worth reading are the ones worth keeping, which is why I heartily recommend the 30 pages rule. If I am not genuinely hooked into a story by page 30 I don't even bother finishing it. Life is too short, and there are too many life-changing stories just waiting to be read and experienced.

Find those stories. Consume them. Read. 

And be forever changed...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How A Screenplay Is Born...

This is a real-time picture of my kitchen. Yes, it's a mess, but it's a good mess. It's a mess that brings order to chaos - hopefully! If you've been following my whereabouts lately, I spent 10 days in Ireland back in April doing research for and trying to finalize my next novel, Truly and Finn, which at this point (thankfully) is safely in the hands of my agent and awaiting final scrutiny.

On to bigger (and scarier) projects - like tackling the daunting task of turning Letters From The Ledge into a screenplay. I've learned a lot so far in this process, and after three failed attempts at a straight adaptation (which would make this into a mini-series on par with Jane Austen if I wrote it straight out) I decided to take it apart so I could rebuild it!

See all those 3x5 cards? Each one represents an actual scene from the novel, laid out in chronological order according to the book. The yellow stickies represent main ideas, themes and plot points. Now how to somehow shuffle and combine the ideas on all those white cards, add in only the pertinent dialogue, and get it to represent all those yellow stickies without losing tension or emotion! I have the opening and closing scenes set - it's just a matter of filling in the middle. Ah yes...that dreaded white space!

It may seem a disjointed process to some, but the visuals really work for me. And knowing I can pick up individual cards and combine two of three of them into a "new" scene, or pull some out altogether if they don't move the plot along - this is a freeing process!

I know some writers don't want to dissect their babies, but I have read enough books and seen enough movies to understand that they can't always be portrayed the same. The trick, I guess, is to do such a good job of distilling the themes and emotions into the film, that people who've also read the book still feel like the movie did a good job of conveying the crux of the story, even if it ends up being slightly different than the novel.

It's a consuming process, to be sure, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and just dive in. The water was cold for the first few minutes, but now it kinda feels refreshing! Hopefully this intense period of work will pay off and soon I'll have a feature length screenplay to show for it!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why I Write

This is mainly tongue in cheek, but I think it's important every once in a while to revisit why we do what we do. So here's mine...

I write mainly because I love a compelling, relatable story, so I write the kinds of stories I want to read

To be quite honest:
I write because it helps me process the world.
I publish because other people tell me my writing helps them process the way they see the world.

There are probably a lot of other reasons, but those are good enough for me!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Ultimate Book Club

Letters From The Ledge was the featured book at a local book club recently, and I had the privilege of attending. I was asked to lead the discussion, which was such a treat for me! I got to ask readers questions and hear their questions in return. I learned about what worked well in the book and what could have made it even stronger. It was such an honor for me...

And get this - the food was all themed for the book!

  • We started the evening with Appletinis, in honor of the apple scent that only Brendan could smell
  • We also had brownies, in honor of ... well, Brendan's affinity for getting high.
  • There was an assortment of cheeses, including smoked gouda (see above), Swiss cheese (in honor of Switzerland) and blue cheese (in honor of bruises)
  • Due to the inability to import Shack Burgers, they served mini meat sandwiches instead!
  • For dessert there was Angel Food Cake (a small nod to the angelic bouncers)
This is not an easy book to do food for, so kudos to the two women who came up with that lineup!

In all seriousness, we talked about so many things it's hard to recount! Many of the issues raised in the book had sparked thoughts and questions in them, and it was great having such thoughtful insights into the characters themselves, as well as the plot structure and interactions between them. 

I am always happy to be a part of discussions, and if any of you are considering doing LFTL for your next book club meeting, why not Skype me in? It doesn't cost a thing, and it's a fun way to be able to ask the author questions directly. If you're interested, email me directly at: authorlyndameyers (at) gmail (dot) com.

Also, if anyone has any questions about the book, plot or characters they'd like answered, post your questions in the comments section below and I'll answer them in future blog posts!

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Night Out

It was a fabulous night of music on Friday. Zachary Meyers opened for the awesome Mike McKay Band at Sharkey's Sports Bar and Grill to an enthusiastic crowd of about a hundred and fifty. Not bad for your first official gig. 

Backed by Ryan Tighe and Jourdan Meyers, he did several originals off his brand new release "Flight" as well as covers from the likes of John Mayer, Justin Nozuka, and Sleeping With Sirens. He even pulled a little unrehearsed Bon Iver out for an encore, complete with an audience participation bit! 

Do yourself a favor and go check it out. 

From his band camp page you can listen to each of the tracks or download the entire album by naming your own price - you can even put in $0.00 and get it absolutely free. The album includes two piano / instrumental tracks as well. 

Follow Zachary Meyers Music on Facebook to stay up to date on upcoming shows and new releases.

Happy Listening!

Monday, June 24, 2013

And now, for my next trick...

Graduation is over, but the party hasn't started yet. I mean, lots of celebrations going on, of course. But OUR party isn't until Saturday. And a blowout it shall be...

One of the benefits of throwing your own party is that you get to make food that you actually LIKE and aren't allergic to - a huge plus in my book! On the menu we have meatball subs, pulled pork sandwiches, macaroni and cheese (all homemade of course)... And of course, the requisite cakes and goodies. The cakes are the only thing I'm not making.

I may be crazy but I'm not stupid :)

Unfortunately we're scheduled for thunderstorms on Saturday, so the trick will be to house all those people INDOORs.

In, out, doesn't really matter to me. I love all the friends and family that are invited and coming from out of town, and it will be great to spend time together eating, drinking and being...well, merry :) It will be the first time our whole family has been together in a number of months, so it's pretty exciting for me!

There are a lot of you that I wish could be sharing the day with us, but proximity just won't allow for it. You know who you are...

Once the grad party is over, it's off and running on my next project. Truly and Finn are "finn-ished" (for now) and spending time with my agent, so I have to decide what to pursue next.

1. The next book in the Truly and Finn series?

2. A sequel to Letters From The Ledge?

3. LFTL Screenplay?

4. There's even another complete novel I wrote before LFTL that's been waiting patiently for my attention...

5. Or something completely different. I have other ideas - a lot of other ideas, actually.

Let's hear from readers? Thoughts? Votes?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

They Fly...

For graduates, and all those standing at the crossroads to their destiny...

   photo credit: Noah Meyers

They Fly...

It is nearly midsummer.
The trees are in leaf.
The turnover begins.
They're halfway there.

        Some are moving on.
        Others must carry the torches yet another mile.
        Or two.
        Onward they march.
        Together, then separate.
        Each to be claimed by their destinies.

The unknown beckons.
Out of their reverie.
It must take them, but willingly.
Fear will not keep them safe.
But merely bind them to another fate.
And so they stand. Hands together.
As the last of the summer sun
Dips below the horizon.

        Life gives birth to life.
        Fear, to more fear.

They stand at the edge and take in the view.
Toes curl. Hands drop.
The brave will not fall.
But leap, with arms outstretched.

        They jump.
        They fly...

                                 - by Lynda Meyers

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

All Dogs Go To Heaven

All dogs go to heaven. At least, according to the movies. Regardless of your theological / spiritual bent, if you've ever had a pet that truly understood you, who was there for you every time you felt sick or down, and who was a faithful companion, then like me, you have to believe it's true. 

Last week, without warning, one of our Maltese puppies, Gabriel, stopped eating. He stopped playing. He stopped drinking. I gave it a day to see if it was just his stomach that was off - perhaps he ate a bug or got into something out in the yard, but when he wasn't any better the next day I made an appointment at the vet. 

By the time I got home from work to take him he was jaundiced. A few hours after we left him in the vet's care, he called me to tell me that Gabe was suffering from hemolytic anemia. For some reason Gabe's own immune system was attacking and destroying his red blood cells, and he barely had enough oxygen carrying capacity to stay alive. They gave him IV fluids and a product called oxyhemoglobin, and put him in a little oxygen incubator, but within 24 hours, he was gone. 

Gone. Just like that. 

At the time I was dealing with a terrible virus myself. I had a fever of nearly 103 when I received the call that he had passed away. I came undone. To say that I was emotionally unprepared for his loss is a huge understatement. He was only 5 years old. 

All loss is painful, but deep loss of dear friends with whom we felt a special connection is especially difficult. I know it sounds silly to some people. I used to be one of them. I used to make fun of people who gave their cats prozac and put their dogs through chemotherapy. I used to laugh at little dogs that were put in sweaters and made to wear ridiculous Halloween costumes...until one year I made Gabe wear a bumblebee outfit. 

Our judgements always have a way of turning around and biting us, don't they? 

No pun intended.

Gabe was the gentlest dog I'd ever met. His "spirit" (if you believe a dog has such a thing) was intuitive and wise. When you looked into his eyes, it was like he knew things, and he wanted you to know that he knew. I don't know how else to describe it, but not all dogs are like that.

We have another Maltese still at home. Gunner. He's smaller and younger than Gabe, weighing in at about 8 pounds. Gunner is adorable. He literally looks like a tiny white stuffed animal come alive. 

He's playful and pouncy and he will sit anywhere as long as someone is touching and petting him. He and Gabe had very different personalities, and that's ok. Gunner is ultra cute and fun and thinks he's ten feet tall. Gabe barked a lot but wouldn't hurt a fly. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. It's what makes us fall in love with each other. 

We loved Gabriel with all our hearts, and he will be forever missed. 

Rest in peace, angel...We'll see you there... 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Art of "Now"?


I read an article recently about our cultural addiction to social networking. 

Yes, of course I read it online.
On Facebook.
On my iPhone.
While in the doctor's office waiting room.
Still scrolling while walking in next to the nurse holding the chart.

What do you mean I have to put my stuff down to get on the scale? Surely my phone doesn't weigh... all right! Fine! don't have to look at me like that!

It's everywhere. All the time. And it's not just here in the states. While traveling to Ireland recently I noticed it wasn't only an American problem - international airports, major cities, small towns...I guess that makes it pandemic. I have to admit, it was strangely comforting, and somewhat validating...if not a teensy bit disturbing.

We humans can't seem to have more than ten seconds of downtime lately without checking our phones, our computers, our multiple social networking accounts. As with most cultural shifts, This Little House on the Freeway lifestyle we've all so readily adopted has been part blessing and part curse. Awkward silence has been conveniently replaced by the awkward clicking of buttons and speech bubbles with hidden text floating aimlessly above peoples' heads.

Here's the thing: I do it all the time too.

That picture above? It's mine. I took these this morning as I sat at my kitchen island waiting for the timer app on my phone to beep for the French press. This was before I'd had my first sip of coffee. My addictions. Blended together in full color with a couple of filters thrown on, for all the world to see. I'm not ashamed. Neither am I proud. It just is what it is.

I love being connected, but sometimes I have to admit, it does hinder the "now".

I have a friend at work - let's call him "Joe". Joe is a big proponent of the "now".

Joe's wife is dying.

Joe can't afford to live in the past or plan for the future. For Joe, it's all about the now. He bases his philosophy on a book called "The Art of Now". Disclaimer: I haven't read the book. I don't really know anything about the book, so I'm neither endorsing nor condemning this philosophy. I only know Joe, but I do think Joe is onto something.

This idea of mindfulness. Of being present in the present. 

The basic premise? You can't change your past, and dwelling on it shackles you to it. You can change your future, but worrying about it only hinders you from doing what needs to be done NOW, in the present, to accomplish it. Maybe that's why so many people get paralyzed by life.

The danger, I guess, is not "living in the present" - it's not living in the present.

Then again, it's kind of what social media is all about. Our experience of our own nows is being celebrated - embraced even. I suppose the flip side of this is being so steeped in the technological "now" that you miss being present in your own present. You could very easily end up living vicariously through everyone else around you's pictures, snippets of thoughts and events. Or worse, becoming completely dissatisfied with your own life as you watch others experience theirs. Because let's face it, while you're concentrating on theirs, you're not doing anything about changing your own.

I find it interesting that Facebook calls it a "Timeline" because it really is a real-time accounting of our lives. 

I don't feel like diving any deeper into the social philosophy of it all. There are plenty of articles written by people smarter and more well-known than I am out there to be read and discussed, but for all of you who thought I was going to get on the bandwagon and side with the old farts and the technological nay sayers... I'm not.

I think it's all about balance. Do some of us need to get off our phones and get into reality? Absolutely.

But at the same time...This is reality. The new reality. 

Our world has changed, and you can't... change it back. So we need to morph and find ways to adapt  and move forward in this new, technology-steeped world while somehow keeping our relationships intact. Can we do it?

I have faith in humanity... We may spend a lot of time trying new things and adopting fads and following trends. We may be a whole race of lemurs running blindly and blissfully toward certain death, but I believe we'll self correct eventually. The universe will demand balance, and our circuits will overload and need to routinely unplug. We'll find a way to be in our own 'now' without losing track of everyone else's. It'll happen. And until it does, I'll be walking the line here with everyone else (but I'll try not to be rude at the doctor's office).

Lynda Meyers is the award-winning author of Letters From The Ledge. Her next novel is a series that is currently in production. Stay tuned for news and updates. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Music Release

Hey guys! Have to brag up my son's brand new EP release - "Flight"
At just 17, the depth and complexity of this music is astounding - ballads, instrumentals, even a collaboration with another artist - this 6 song EP of original compositions is sure to please...

Take a listen, download for FREE or donate - your choice!

Support the artist if you can, but if you're short on cash you can get this whole EP for any price!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Enduring the Confinements...

Discontent is a tricky thing. It has the capacity to drive us forward, out of a potentially bad situation and into a better one. It also drives us crazy, making it nearly impossible to live in the present situation with any grace or finesse.

I should know. I've spent a fair portion of my life feeling discontent. Or maybe I'm just ADHD?

I know you're laughing right now. I am too. But it really is hard to distinguish between the "squirrel" phenomenon and a true heart that is always seeking new life and new challenges. I guess the line is blurred a bit.

We're getting ready to move. Again.

For those of you who have followed me for any length of time on my writing journey you know this isn't anything new. We've moved a lot over the last several years. And not just down the street, but big, sweeping, cross-country adventures. It's given me a unique perspective. One I wouldn't have otherwise and I definitely wouldn't trade, but the process does wear on you.

There's something about knowing you're leaving that makes you naturally focus on all the things you don't like about the current place you're in. It's what helps us leave I think - the promise of greener pastures - the leaving behind of that which is "old".

The same thing happens to teenagers as they get ready to graduate high school and look forward to college. Some call it "senioritis". That itch that makes you squirmy and unable to sit still until the year is over.

We're no strangers to transition. In fact, in the last year alone we've had a daughter get married and finish grad school, another daughter finish and graduate nursing school, a son get his permit and start driving, and another son getting ready to turn eighteen,  graduate high school and then prepare to go away to college. Now on top of all that - before summer is over we'll be moving - almost as far as possible, to the other edge of this beautiful country we call America. In fact, if we moved much farther we'd get wet...

And I've got senioritis. 

I like our house and our neighborhood, I love our community, and we've made some really great friends here. But my spirit is restless, and if I'm honest with myself it always has been. This passion I carry to be free and to fly with the wind is part blessing, part curse...

Amelia Earhart wrote a letter once to a man who had asked her to marry him. She was unsure about her ability to accomplish the commitment of a lifetime when she knew her heart so completely. She loved him, but was so brutally honest about her limitations... In the letter she wrote:

"I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinements of even an attractive cage."

I'm itching, yet conflicted. Confined and yet longing to spread my wings again and fly to new adventures. How do you live in the moment when you're in the midst of transition?

So much of this move is completely out of my control. I can't make any of it happen. I can't snap my fingers and complete house sales or dictate moving dates. But I am restless.

Maybe some of you know what I'm talking about.

Maybe you don't have quite as much chaos in your lives (at least, I hope not, for your sakes :) but you can certainly understand the excitement of living on the edge of change; the difficulty of enduring the confinements of a beautiful cage.

As wonderful and ornate and comfortable as a cage can be, it is always still a cage...and us birds? We were meant to fly free...

Lynda Meyers lives and writes - for the time being - in New York, but you never know where she's going to end up next! Good thing the Internet is stationary... sort of. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

All Things New

On Friday I basically pulled an all-nighter, volunteering at the local high school's Keep The Ball Rolling event. It's intended to give high school students a safe, fun, drug and alcohol free "after party" for Senior Ball.

I was part of a team of over 75 parent volunteers who showed up at 10 pm and stayed until roughly 4 am. Local businesses get involved donating prizes and gift certificates, including actually cool stuff like TVs, iPads, Kindles, even a 2007 Toyota Camry!

I was the resident "nurse", which effectively means I sat in the nurse's office with a jump bag and played "just in case". In reality I brought my laptop and worked on some editing while talking with the various groups of my kids' friends who wandered in. A couple of the girls and I hit up the photo booth, ate lots of candy and in general had a really fun time. I genuinely love these kids, and since we're moving this summer, it was kind of bittersweet. 

It's the end of an era - but the beginning of a new chapter. They'll all be transitioning out of high school and into the next phase of their lives. This was one last chance to be a kid again. A chance to let go and have fun and wear a three foot tall balloon animal hat. 

So many of them will be heading off to college this summer, but it's been a privilege watching them grow into themselves these last few years. I have loved being a part of this wonderful community that is so supportive of their kids. Thanks for so many great memories, and for letting us share your lives!