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February 23, 2006

Embracing Inefficiency

Before I really get into the meat of this post, let me begin by saying this: I am giving myself three gifts, as a part of composing this apologia.^1 I will take a long time to compose this post. It's too important to rush through. After that, I will finish a long overdue email to the greatness that is Nate (who is giving and caring, and who has a HAWT wife). Finally, I will post a similarly long overdue series of comments about 90210 and other important issues of our day to my NBF's blog. These are my gifts to me and I deserve them. If it should come to pass that I am too exhausted after writing this to do those other things, those things will come FIRST after sleep. Yes, that's before work. Period.


Now, on to the post wherein I describe how embracing inefficiency has vastly improved my life. Warning: This shall be a long read, should you dare to read it all, yo.

Zed's Dead, Baby. Zed's Dead.

Well, y'know my computer crashed not too long ago. I see this experience as the forcing of a hard reset on MY operating system. Sure, I had the recent backup of many of my active files, but things I would never think about backing up became "new issues," as I rebuilt. As I began only loading software onto my computer AS I NEEDED IT, I realized that I was keeping around a whole mess of software I never used. Why? Did I think I might, someday, go back to something that only launches on OS9 when I've been using OSX exclusively for several years now? Much as I hung onto that AuthorWare Manual for years beyond its relevance or Charlsie kept a set of encyclopedias from when the solar system didn't include Pluto, I had become a packrat for relics in the software realm. And not just software! My goodness, there were all manner of things living on my computer that, when forced to reassemble the damn thing, I realized were not at all necessary.

Am I crushed that my dozens of bookmarks to handy lists on gluten-free foods are suddenly gone? Crushed? No. Bummed. Mildly. And it's a big Internets. I'm sure I'll finds 'em all again. Or not.

What about all of those posts I had bookmarked? Things I was going to reply to "someday" on message boards or at Yahoo groups? Man, maybe it's like that sweater at the back of your closet. You haven't worn it in three years? You ain't gonna start wearing it this season, sister!

So, just as I packed up bags and bags and bags of clothes for clothes-swaps with dear friends (and off to Goodwill with the rest of them) at the time of our move to Santa Monica, I see my computer's crash as a bit of closet-cleaning.

Is it inefficient to begin paying the bills and then to suddenly realize that I no longer have the bookmarks, logins, or passwords to any of my accounts? Sure. But y'know what? None of that stuff "went away." It's still out there. I just have to find it. And until I have the time to bother with that, I'll pull out the good ol' fashioned checkbook and pretend I'm a husband from the '50s, in the den chewing on my pipe with my brandy after dinner, telling my wife to scamper off, as I'm doing "men's business" and taking care of the family.

Lost phone numbers? So what! Y'know, I couldn't find a phone number for a producer who wants to hire me to cast a film (and who has been trying to reach me for days). BIG EFFIN' DEAL. Y'know what I finally did, after *almost* panicking that this guy's number could NOT be Googled, figured out from our Caller ID, or found in any stored email exchange (much less on any scrap of paper somewhere in the house)? I called the people who referred him and THEY gave me his number. Holy cow! There are ways to do things that have roots in very sensible, old-school behaviors. Totally inefficient to spend ten minutes on the phone with someone to whom I otherwise have little business to relay (And in the middle of a work day!) just to get a phone number that AN EFFICIENT BONNIE WOULD BE ABLE TO FIND, right? Sure. But we had a great chat and may have advanced ANOTHER project in the process. Pff! Bless my inefficiency and the rebuilding of the computer's brain.

"Getting to Empty" Isn't for Everyone. Especially me.

Now, my lovely friend and mentor CoCo has written about GTD and this bizarrely elusive "getting to empty" concept. This reminds me of a book I bought when I was beginning recovery for my decade-long prescription drug addiction. It was called "Step Zero" or something like that (and no, I'm not looking it up and linking to it because I don't remember that that's what it was called and I don't think I ever really read the whole thing anyway). I seem to recall something about the theory that you cannot even begin your recovery (at Step One, ala so many 12-step programs) until you've completed Step Zero. This isn't the same as reaching Rock Bottom, though they do seem to happen within moments of one another.

Every time I read posts on GTD and 43 Folders and all of those other things that would normally make an organizational nut like me as happy as being given a bottomless shopping cart in an office supply store, I get frustrated that I'm not more excited about it all. I think I've figured out why: I've not reached Rock Bottom with my GTD-related issues. And why would I? I am amazingly skilled at getting things done when left to my own devices. Why would I rebel against a system that already works (and quite well, thank you) just so that I could begin again, using a system created for those who find their "order" more in "chaos" than my "chaos" even ever becomes?

So, in honor of the fact that I have no plan to reach Step Zero on this issue, I embrace the inefficiency of MY system. It may not be so very quantifiable and definable as to spawn its own cult (although some would say that ONE of my "systems" has, in fact, done exactly that), but I am not here to inspire anyone on how to be as organized as I am. Nor do I need to aspire to be as organized as someone else, if it means I have to "get to empty" in order to do that. Why throw out what works in order to start over with something that may or may not work as well for me? Embracing the inefficiency of my "system" is a better step, anyway.

So Long, Multitasking, You Unhealthy Bitch.

Another way in which I am embracing inefficiency is in working against my Cancer-the-crab-like tendencies. As any good astrologer will tell you, Cancers not only love love love LOVE their own space, their cozy little homes, and their creature-comforts, they also carry everything around with them in their very efficient all-in-one shell suitcase. Yup. Totally me. But I wasn't always like this. My family loves to tell the story of my fascination with bath time (not mine, my brother's). When I, a toddler, would hear the water running in our one full bathroom's bathtub, I'd stop whatever I was doing, runrunrunrunrun into my bedroom, throw open the toy box, grab a favorite doll or stuffed animal in each hand, and then runrunrunrunrun into the bathroom, tossing each into the tub. My brother (an adult home from college for the weekend) would have started the water running and gone back upstairs to gather his clothes, shaving kit, etc. Meanwhile, as the water inched up in the tub, I would runrunrunrunrun back and forth, back and forth, two little hands clutching Lambie Pie or Bearie, legs going runrunrunrunrun, eventually filling the tub with a population of dozens of animals and toys, which would result in my brother's cry, "MUH-THURRRRR!!! She did it again!" At which point, I would plop down on the floor of the bathroom and laughlaughlaughlaughlaugh until I was forced to leave the room so that he could drain the tub, scoop out the toys, and begin his process again.

Nowadays, I couldn't imagine making so many trips. Not for any amount of laughter or silliness or (gasp!) even productivity. I am efficient, dammit! I make ONE trip, and I always make sure I've planned it just so. When I run errands, I have my route mapped out so that I am using the best roads at the best times, getting parking at the best spots, moving with the flow of activity rather than against it, and making as few left turns as possible. If I have three loads of bags to carry up from the car, I will--oh yes, I will, and don't you think I won't do it--manage to get ALL three loads of bags attached to my body SOMEHOW and all of the "stuff" WILL get inside at the same time. This makes Keith crazy. He totally doesn't understand it.

Well, in having a VERY willing-to-make-many-trips partner, I've developed a "queen of all that I survey" personality. I spend my days high atop the Couch Catalina and when I need a refilled water bottle, my Keith goes and gets it for me. When I am hungry, my Keith brings me food that he has lovingly prepared for me, the certified kitchenphobe. When I am finished eating, my Keith takes my plate away. "Hand me the phone, honey." "Can you get that fax for me?" I've even taught him to do the things that I always did for my mother, growing up (anyone who was raised southern will know this one). As you get up to get yourself something, you ask, "Do you need anything?" Yup. My Royal Subjects serve me quite well. Never do I need to cross a room to get a drink at the bar. I have become a total Queen of Sloth, only rising from my throne when my bladder or bowels require I visit the other one.

No more! I realized that I could DOUBLE, no, even TRIPLE my in-house level of activity and break this sedentary lifestyle up a bit simply by filling up my own damn water bottle, "bussing my own table," and otherwise doing a very childlike-glee-inducing thing from my own life: one hand = one item, as many trips as possible, and runrunrunrunrun. I AM LOVING THIS INEFFICIENCY! Oh my, there is so much movement to be HAD, if we just think of ONE thing we need to do at a time.

Who the HELL knew that multitasking, combined with very seriously-busy-ness and a live-in enabler, could make a person UNHEALTHY?!?

Streamlining Email.

Another bit of progress in my campaign to embrace inefficiency has to do with something I read, well, over at 43 Folders, b'gosh! Now, I'll say that many of the tips suggested in more comprehensive intimidating articles on the subject have LONG been in place in my Entourage. Comes with having so many email addresses and so many different clients, projects, and 7500 contacts in my address book. So, items like system rules I've created for email routing and in-box traffic control, color coding for easy reference, messages automatically linked to contacts for retrieval after they've been archived, and a hard-archive system for older-than-a-year stuff were already in place. In the past year (when my inbox went from 1000 un-dealt-with-but-replies-are-due messages to 2000, and now, to 4801 [and yes, that's an inbox that has several subdirectories whose messages I'm NOT counting AND one which gets archived and deleted from REGULARLY]), I began using the flag (and "flagged" folder) for certain messages, immediately filing messages that didn't require a reply but that needed to exist locally for potential future reference, and deleting ANYTHING I printed out or saved to a project file elsewhere on my system.

It's only since reading this quick article and surviving my Zed's Dead computer fiasco that I changed the interval of auto-check from eight minutes to 28 minutes (and I'm toying with the idea of going to 68 minutes next). I also began deleting with more reckless (and non-OCD/fairness-based) criteria. I used to think, if I deleted an email that came in today that met X criteria, I should also apply that "filter" to yesterday's mail.^2 That sort of thinking forced me to keep emails I otherwise KNEW I should just toss, seeing as: "It's not fair to the email I kept from yesterday for me to toss this one today. Who am I to decide whose email is of more value than another's?" Who? I'M THE ONE RUNNING THIS G4, BABY, THAT'S WHO!

Delete. Delete. Delete.


AND... Merlin Mann is right. There is very little that I miss in the 20 extra minutes of focused time I get, while my system is not sending me emails that interrupt me faster than I can even get started on another task.

When I really want to be productive, I quit out of email altogether or "work offline" so that I can get many replies written without the constant influx of replies to those replies which force me to get further behind on my older, flagged emails. (Remember those days? Before the high-speed Internet connection? When your email life was budgeted by the amount of hours you had left before you reached your account's dial-up limits? More productive, otherwise, right? Thought so!)

I no longer write my column each week with the regular interruption of the email "mail's in" sound. I write my column with my headphones on, iTunes churning happily away, getting up to refill water as needed, and staying mindful of my column's topic, rather than constantly having to stop and get refocused after fielding an email about a casting gig, showcase, or any other non-column-writing issue. Oh, and since doing that, I've been told SEVERAL TIMES that my columns are GREAT. Now, I'm not talking about the standard, "Hey, love your columns," stuff that happens. I'm getting really specific feedback about the quality of my work. And this couldn't be more important right now. If "the deal" goes through, we're talking major syndication, baby. EFFIN' RIGHT! No email is going to interrupt THIS writer today. Oh, hells no!

As for other rules of the email variety, here's one for people who send emails to all of their friends at once without using BCC. These Darwin Award Winners have a special "rule" to which their emails adhere. Those are routed directly into the "Addresses" subfolder. Yup. You have a friend who sends out email without masking the addresses of all recipients? If that email gets to me, I'm keeping your address. Not sure what I'm going to do with it, but it'll either go on MY mailing list or someday, if I'm looking for extra money to buy something really silly, instead of rolling pennies, I'll sell email addresses to Spammers. For whatever reason, I'm keeping these addresses--some people save string--and disregarding whatever the email was about. Ha!

Imperfection Is Gorgeous.

Okay, so another aspect of embracing inefficiency has to do with embracing imperfections. I remember writing a poem in high school called "Perfection." The first two lines were:

"Perfection. My best friend.
Perfection. My worst enemy."
Yeah, I was way tortured (in a Cure song--not a Smiths song--kind of way). Point is, I've always known that perfection both drives me and tortures me. Part of why I do so many things so very well is because I expect perfection and come pretty dang close to achieving it pretty much most of the time. And... that'd be why I am so very demanding and unforgiving (mostly of myself, but also of others). I have a very low tolerance for imperfection. And that can't be healthy. Life IS imperfect. Humanity IS imperfect. An absolutely lovely reminder of that came to me in the mail this week.

The amazing, beautiful, wise, and courageous Pamela Jansen is someone I met online, then met in person, then cast in a film. She is featured in the book Fearless Women: Midlife Portraits, which I talked about receiving in a post over at TalentPIMP.com.^3 A few weeks ago, she called to let me know that a special envelope was on its way to me, please look for it. It took awhile, but it finally showed up last week, while I was so sick. It had been a bit damaged in the mail (which I totally understand, lately^4), but I believe the item inside was no worse for the wear. It was (it is) a stunning blue and silver beaded bracelet. Absolutely breathtaking. Perfect for me. In Pamela's letter, she said:

"Don't look too close, 'cause you'll see a few flaws, but then again, you wouldn't know for sure that it's an original."
Right on. Inefficiency is imperfect. And, it too, is beautiful.

More Music, Less TV.

Having to start over on my computer (in many aspects, though certainly not entirely, thank the mighty backup drive), I found myself having to re-import all of my CDs into my iTunes. Now, this certainly isn't as important as rediscovering old bookmarks to bank accounts and casting logins, right? Well, maybe it is. See, I had (before the crash) decided to turn off the TV and listen to music. So, that meant getting the music back into my computer for the times when Keith needed to have the TV on or when doing the XML through the TV was otherwise impractical. Of course, I had done a lot of customizing, rating, and artwork/lyrics importing in the years since first setting up my iTunes. This time? Had to start from scratch and there's something really nice about that. I had no time to pick and choose which tracks to import, so I just tossed all of our CDs onto my iTunes and now, as I listen to each song, I go in and give it a rating AS WE GO and, if I don't like that song, I delete it. Totally inefficient to have imported it in the first place, right? Pff! Whatever! I am loving a project that should seem ridiculously tedious. What does that tell ya?

Okay, so what does any of that have to do with the "less TV" part? Well, working from home provides many opportunities to have the TV on simply as background "noise" for the day's events. But y'know, there's a LOT of bad news out there. Even if you keep your TV tuned to "silly" stations and don't tune into local or national or international news, you're still going to get the teasers and previews and headlines that are the most shocking, gruesome, and soul-spiking (Because, of course, that makes the average viewer want to tune in for the whole story, right?) and that, somehow, must seep into your psyche and pollute you. Somewhere.

When I was in college, I was a part of a leadership honor society that was comprised basically of the "movers and the shakers" of UGA's senior class. Now, that's a lot of effin' people, so I get that it's a huge big deal that I was one of the top 40. Well, we first went on a retreat to build as a team, and then we spent the rest of the quarter attending leadership conferences and events all over the state. It was awesome.^5 One of those events was a talk put on by an expert in dealing with "Option Overload." Many of that day's college graduates were facing too many options from which to choose easily and this guy's talk was about the fact we (Americans) bombard ourselves with information and then we try to find someone to blame for our ADD, lack of focus, apathy, and lack of commitment to anything meaningful.

He's the first person I heard advise against watching the evening news. Specifically, he insisted that we NEVER watch the LATE news. His advice went something like this: "Whatever you do right before bed is with you in your early sleep. You fill your head with the thoughts you will work on overnight and these images and issues populate your dreams and impact your depth of rest and your waking state the next day. The LAST thing you need to put yourself through at the end of what may have been a fulfilling day is a 15-minute barrage of negative images, sounds, and up-to-the-second interviews about the impact of those horrific things on the people who experienced them (followed by a bit of weather and sports)." That did it for me! All I've done this time around is up the ante on that philosophy. Awesome.

Manual Correction.

And, finally, I have turned off auto-correct in my software. Yup. I no longer want my software to smarten me up. If I don't know how to spell a word, I want the little squiggly lines underneath to tell me, so that I can LEARN. Rather than having Word or Entourage automatically switch the letters that I transpose, I want to see those flaws, right there in the finished product, so that I can choose to edit (because I see what I did wrong), ask for a suggestion (because I doubt what I meant to type), or show me how it's spelled (because I simply don't know how to spell it). I think this stems from having comment-based dialogue with my NBF KiKi and his PAM (punkass mom). She praises us when we leave our typos in. There is something to be said for that kind of parenting. And as Keith has recently shared, at some point, we get to reparent ourselves to make up for where parenting was well-meaning but misguided (or worse). Inefficient to have to go through and (somewhat) "manually" correct misspellings? Sure. And I love it!

In Closing.

The overall effect of these changes is this: I no longer feel that I have to get it ALL done in order to get ANY of it done. Before, I wouldn't even START on a project unless I knew I could COMPLETE it (or a pre-determined, significant CHUNK of it) within the amount of time I had stretched out before me. Somehow now it's okay to be inefficient: to pull out a stack of headshots for HILMMAKS and not get through it before I have to stop, switch gears, and do something else (perhaps something else more important--gasp!) for a moment. I can put that stack aside (partially sorted) and pick it back up an hour later. Sure, that's inefficient. Sure, I wouldn't have to spend that, oh, 30 seconds reorienting myself before I plunge back in, but so what?!? The fact is, dialogue now goes like this in the Gillespie-Johnson household:

K: C'mon. Let's go for a walk.
B: Okay.
It used to go like this:
K: C'mon. Let's go for a walk.
B: Not now. Gotta finish this breakdown.
*30 minutes later*
K: Finished yet?
B: Yeah, but I need to find out what National Public Television AFTRA Scale is for a one-day shoot when it follows a week of an AEA run of the same show.
K: So... when?
B: I'll letcha know.
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Until finally I'm so fried and/or Keith's so tired that it's just not gonna happen. Oh, and feel free to replace "go for a walk" with "have dinner," "watch this movie and eat popcorn," "fool around," etc.

I don't see how this embracing inefficiency can possibly be a bad idea for me. I am perhaps the MOST organized person on the planet who can still actually function in society with some manner of skill and charm. Usually people who are as organized and efficient as I am are also quite mad or antisocial, in the Rainman, Se7en, As Good As It Gets, "Is everything in here as it should be, Laura?" kind of way. To step away from some of the self-inflicted MUSTS to my daily routine is to provide a space for more flow, more sunshine, more kisses, more DISCOVERY.

If observing YotL has taught me one thing already, it's that there is nothing you can DO to MAKE the amazing, beautiful, wonderful things happen in your life. All there IS to DO is to SLOW DOWN and SEE THEM. Everything amazing, beautiful, and wonderful is already here: inefficient, flawed, imperfect, and simply gorgeous. All of it.


^1. When I took Judith Ortiz Cofer's amazing creative writing master class in grad school (where, by the way, I shared many good times with fellow SpyNotebooker and literary genius, Courtney), one of my assignments was to write an apologia on my life as a writer. [Def: ap·o·lo·gi·a: n a formal, usually written, defense or justification of a belief, theory, or policy (formal).] Basically, this was, "Why I write the way I write and how it is I write at all," written up.

I remember my English 101 class at UGA, fall quarter 1988 (nearly a decade before the Cofer class). First assignment: "Write an essay answering the following question: 'Are you a writer?'" I began timidly. I didn't want to presume I was a writer, even though I had written my first stage play at the age of seven, my first published poem at the age of ten, and had spent the better part of high school writing with the Literary Club and for the paper, yearbook, etc. But I thought that maybe I was, indeed, a writer, so I began my essay: "I write, therefore I am... a writer."

By the time I approached my apologia, I had written a script for The Simpsons, been published in more than a few local and regional newspapers, and had seen quite a few of my poems and short stories make it into fairly well-respected literary journals. I was definitely a writer, by now. But I still approached the apologia with some timidity and I think that's what taught me a connotation for "apologia" that I find appropriate.

Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with my writing partner from my third (and his first) book. He said that he had finally (after having published that book with me, and having since written two screenplays and one pilot spec script) gotten up the nerve to say, "I am a writer," and that he was going to say so at Tuesdays@9 that very evening.

I chose to declare this post on embracing inefficiency an apologia for the same reasons Blake needed to ramp up to calling himself a writer (and for the same reasons that I was okay with calling my Cofer-assigned apologia an apologia): I've not yet mastered this. But I still want to tell you why I'm embracing inefficiency, the ways in which I'm embracing inefficiency, and how it is I'm embracing inefficiency at all. Perhaps someday, I will feel that I have mastered this as much as "they" tell me I should I feel that I have mastered writing.

^2. This is actually how my headshot files got so out of control last year. I believed, if I kept the headshot of an actor I met at a panel discussion in 2003, I had to keep the headshots of ALL of the actors I met at that panel discussion, even if I'd never seen their work, thought their credits sucked, felt they'd personally be too creepy to ever inflict on the population of a set, or knew they lived on another continent. I finally got over that, late last year. It was time to create a home office that would function like a casting office. This was when the wall of cubbies was born and, frankly, when tens of thousands of headshots went into the big bin in the alley. And no, I don't care if it's not fair that I kept ONE actor's headshot from an event but dumped the photos of all of the other actors I met at that event.

Oh, and that little part of me that always said, "But what if someday you NEED that one actor's headshot from 2003? What if you someday WISH you hadn't thrown out that ONE headshot? Doesn't that make it worth keeping them all?" Yeah, I beat that little part of me down in a fight outside, right in the alley next to the big bin with all of the dumped headshots. This was the same week we chose to toss our Yellow Pages. Why did we ever bring them off the stoop and into the house? I don't think I've consulted a paper-based copy of the Yellow Pages in nearly a decade. Yes, it's true, the Internet could go down or 411 might not understand my request for the listing... y'know what? Worth the risk. And if someone whose headshot I dumped suddenly wins an Emmy and I wasn't smart enough to hang onto that photo from years before that actor was discovered? Well, believe me, I have enough of a photographic memory (and sense of sass) that I'm sure I'll say, "Aww! How cool to see that actor getting all of that success. I used to have a headshot...." And then I will MOVE ON. I will NOT cry that I tossed it out. I'm almost sure of that.

^3. If you are not a member of TalentPIMP.com, you can follow this link and enter the promotional code HHH (that stands for Hollywood Happy Hour). You will then have free run of the place for six months. So, just do it. It's way cool. You're welcome.

^4. It seems we got some cruddy envelopes in our order. Y'know, those big, padded envelopes for mailing promo copies of Self-Management for Actors all over the place? Yeah. The number of books I sent out in padded envelopes that arrived empty has risen to NINE (that we know of). Now, someone wanted me to be pissed about this. But here's my theory: Let's imagine that the glue came unstuck and the copy of the book landed on a floor somewhere in a post office. Fine. Let's imagine that the postal worker who finds the book has been looking for a life change. And suddenly there's this book. And this postal worker has always been pretty charismatic and funny and kind of wants to try acting. He reads my book, decides to try out acting, makes his way through the process with some success, and prevents the world from losing any more people to random postal worker shooting rampages. OR! Better still! He goes on to huge successes and thanks me in his Oscar speech for having, without ever having known it, changed his life. Okay, okay, okay, so maybe he sells the book on eBay and someone else who always wanted to try acting ends up with the book at a deep discount since it's on eBay and it's out before you can buy it at Amazon.com or something. And the postal worker uses the money he earned from that sale of something he filched to buy ammo and he ends up being happy because he's living his dreams to own lots of ammo and I somehow helped that along.

It's all good karma, right? Don't you judge me, Earl!

^5. Somewhere, I have an essay that I wrote about one of the team-building experiences I had during the ropes course with Leadership UGA. I'll have to find it and share it, at some point (although I'm sure that would require finding the hard copy and retyping it, since God only knows where it is, electronically... much less whether it would even work on a computer from this lifetime). Anyway, I wrote about the fact that I froze during the ropes course and had to be "talked down" from the top of the first rope ladder, where I had taken one step out onto the high wire and then decided to "become one with the tree." Yes, I knew I could trust my harness, my belay partner, and my helmet. It wasn't rational fear. It was panic. And it gripped me hard. Of course, there were other team-building events that night, and I talked about my fear and others talked about theirs (which most of them had conquered better). The thing is, I didn't KNOW that I had a fear of heights until I was UP THERE. I had no idea!

The next morning, up with the sun, we're off to go rappelling. I am the first one off the mountain. My partner, Lance, looked stunned at my voluntary leap up, racing to get into the harness and start my trip down a 150-ft. vertical wall of granite. At the end of that day, when we did the rest of our team-building events, we were asked to share with the group what it was that we would be left with, after this weekend. Lance said something to the effect of: "Bonnie shocked me. I saw her on the ropes course. She was TERRIFIED. I knew she had unveiled a fear in herself she didn't even know existed and it scared the hell out of her. But the next day, she was the first one off the mountain, catching air like a pro. That taught me that not every fear of heights is the same. And maybe fears that I have about certain things aren't the same as the fears with which I associate them, since they SEEM the same." I laughed (through tears) and said, "Well, that little wire strung between those two trees, 50 feet up, was ITTY-BITTY. That mountain was HUGE! Of course they're different!" Yeah, I know. Leave it to me to make a joke, but in this essay I'm talking about (an essay contributed to a future issue of a short-lived Leadership UGA Alumni Magazine we called "Belay ON!"), I somehow brought it all back around to the fact that with the support of an amazing team, any fear (even one that looks like it should be the same as one that froze you) is conquerable.

Beyond the Notes.

PS--two post-footnotes notes regarding my family at Somesuch-Whatnot.
1. I know there is never a three. But this, being an apologia, follows those rules first, then somesuch's. I'm sure you understand.
2. The whole time I've been writing this, I've been imagining Norm coming over here and posting the first comment: "Nuh-huh." If it weren't so far past his bedtime by the time I finished this effin' thing, I bet he would! *giggle*

Posted by bonnie at February 23, 2006 12:29 AM


I read every single word of this, including the footnotes.
Relief is sweet, isn't it? Release is the best feeling in the world.
Well, one of them any way.

Posted by: Ed R at February 23, 2006 3:01 AM

Well, that was greatness-ness.

Posted by: Suzer at February 23, 2006 7:10 AM

I've had crabs before. Not fun.

Seriously, though, I loved your thought about what happened to your book(s) at the Post Office. What a great perspective.

Posted by: Leemer Author Profile Page at February 23, 2006 8:11 AM

I'm sitting here in tears. I so needed to read this. I've been feeling VERY imperfect lately and quite down. Now I'm feeling so much better about me and blessed that you have always seen value in our friendship. Have I ever told you how much I love you?

Posted by: Aleta at February 23, 2006 8:13 AM

I opened this at around 7:30 this am... OK, breathe... Go downstairs and make some coffee... OK wow, how do you multi task so efficiently? You are organized beyond expectation.
I am glad that you received the bracelet, and were pleased with it, but I still wonder if the stones held any meaning. Volcano, Capri Blue.... Smiles and tons of love, hugs, and great thoughts......

Posted by: PameLa at February 23, 2006 9:50 AM

I forgot to say a wholehearted thank you for your thoughtful post on your blog. Imagine reading your blog early in the morning, and coming across my name, highlightable none the less.
You are such a dear that, I've copied and kept every one of your sweet notes of recognition, so that when needed, I reread em.
Thanks so much dearest Bon

Posted by: PameLa at February 23, 2006 10:58 AM

Nuh uh.


Posted by: Katy at February 23, 2006 5:33 PM

This is really brilliant. I'm impressed. This is a huge step, embracing inefficiency so whole-heartedly.

Throwing all of the millions of un-needed things away...that's my big problem. But you, my new BFF, have inspired me.

big XO

Posted by: Erik at February 24, 2006 12:08 AM