Fifteen years ago my friend Kate suggested I start a blog. She said it was a natural place for someone like me. “Like me” being someone who was a failed stand up comic who felt more comfortable talking to large numbers of people when I couldn’t see them. The problem is, I had no idea what a blog was. And with a name like blog, I realized this was definitely what I would call a “winky sinker” idea.
But Kate was right, i was a communicator going through a life change that literally begged for a forum to express myself. At the age of 40 I was a newlywed who had just adopted my sister’s three children. That was a huge life change for someone who didn’t plan on having children. Another life change was leaving my job at Paramount Pictures where I worked with the writer and director, Nicholas Meyer. Paramount did not renew our contract and with three children, I could no longer work the grueling schedule the film industry required.
And the final change I initiated (and am still paying for), was moving from Los Angeles back to my semi-hometown of Carbondale, Illinois where I envisioned my mother helping with the children and my husband David teaching in the Cinema Department at Southern Illinois University.
I had a lot going on. A blog would have been perfect. But I could not get past the word “blog” and how it stuck in my throat.
And at this point I have to say that when I get in my way – which is one of my most frequent destinations, I usually experience a form of divine intervention that takes me on a very circuitous route to where I needed to be.
And in those days Kate was my muse, confessor and best friend and she always knew what my “next” was before I did. And she’s wily. After rejecting the concept of a blog, Kate suggested I sell my “Hollywood fat lady clothes” on eBay. eBay was a new thing then – newish – and I’d heard of it. Also it meant I’d have an income again, which was no small thing after the Flying Wallenda money to be had in Hollywood.
So I did my first listing on eBay. And all I saw on my computer was a huge blank piece of virtual paper where I was supposed to describe my item. I grew up with a clutter queen, so empty space of any kind was alien to me. I felt I had to fill that huge white empty page with something. And I had a potential audience out there that would not heckle me. I was safe. And so I wrote my little heart out.
I’ll be honest – it was therapy for me. My morning pages. My salvation. I wrote about my struggles with being an instant parent. My mother, who I called the Dickey Queen, was a diva, a total performer who now found an audience through my eBay listings. It was a free for all and I was blogging my way through eBay with clothing as my prop.
In high school I would never have been chosen as “most likely to become a clothing designer.” In fact, most of what I’ve done in my life has been driven by necessity and less by my dreams. I designed plus sized clothing because I could not find anything I’d ever want to wear in a store. The 2 foot gap in a store from Misses to “Woman’s World” (and what an awful world it was!) was a huge fall from great designs in silk to “fright frocks” in polyester. So I started designing. Never crossed my mind I couldn’t. Didn’t occur to me that I had no experience. And so it goes. I “conjured” my design line and called it aptly, CONJURING. I love transformation. And I did figure one thing out: transformation doesn’t have be done like a ‘drive by shooting’. Transformation can be gentle, self informing and powerful without being painful.
Flash forward fifteen years and I am child free and in my late 50s. We sold our home in the Bay Area and bought a property in the Wild West of the Sierra Nevada Foothills in a town called Rough and Ready. And I find myself feeling like Dorothy when she lands in Oz. Oh my!
And so I enter the 3rd Cycle of Life. And I enter it with color, celebration and a lot of tribal attitude.
I’ve heard people call this time of life, The Third Act. Oh please, no! It’s not, it’s just not. I prefer to defer to the 4 Seasons. A little Vivaldi in the background helps also. For me life has 4 cycles which I see as this: Spring Cycle: from birth to age 25 – you are forming yourself. Summer Cycle: from ages 25 – 50 – you are exploring and expressing yourself in the outer world testing your power in the world. And then we have the delicious and wonderful Autumn Cycle – a time of life that is like having the juice of a crisp apple dribble down your chin. Autumn is that time when you consciously create your new life – be it retirement or reframing your life with all the wondrous parts you’ve created in the past 50 years. The Autumn Cycle lasts from age 50 until your 70s. This is how I see life’s cycles anyway. This is OUR TIME. I was born on the Autumn Equinox so I resonate with this even more. This is the time when you take the exploration and adventures you’ve had to reframe your life. I see it like a surprise box from the Farmer’s Market filled with 7 random and wonderful things. You get to make something out of it you’ve never made before. I’m still morphing into my “next.” I’m taking my failed stand up comic, memoir writer, clothing designer and tribal devotee into a room together. I’m going to wine and dine them and then I’m going to say to them “PRODUCE ME!” PRODUCE ME is another concept I”m working on with those of us in the AUTUMN TRANSFORMATION CYCLE. But that’s for another blog.
For now just do this. Distill. Breathe life into your dreams. And connect with your “tribe”, the people you resonate with. They will make the apple gathering years a lot more fun!
And so now begins a new cycle of discovery and adventure. I will be posting a blog every Sunday evening along with my new designs and a link to the store here.
Thanks for being a part of my own Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!