Category Archives: The Potluck

#40 I Lied!

Anyway, Number 40 Feels More Complete than 39

In my last post I told you that at the end of December this blog would magically morph into my writer’s website. Actually, I should have known better than to make a dogmatic statement like that, but apparently I didn’t know any better, so here I am offering Post #40 as a partial explanation of why the new website is not here.

I say “partial explanation” because I am in the space between personal mythologies, otherwise described as still very confused about my direction. My old myth was that I was a writer scorned, and I thought my new one was going to be writer confident. Instead, for the moment I am being just being confidant (ALERT: there is a difference in meaning between “confident” and “confidant”), with the writer part very shaky.

Briefly, like Renee in my story, I was recently invited to attend a “potluck” of spiritual adventurers: nine powerful women with outrageous dreams about how to change the world. Since then, I have seen a vast new world of possibilities opening up, and like the writer Parvati in Paul Theroux’s novel ‘A Dead Hand,’ I am feeling that “I would rather live more and write less.” At least for the moment.

So, bottom line, I do not know exactly how this is going to unfold, but I will keep you updated in this blog. No notifications of new posts will be sent to former subscribers; however, an easy way to stay in touch is through FB: or by registering as a follower on this blog.

Isn’t it funny? I have written/am writing my future, which was the original title of my blog before I changed it to “Writing…My Future.” ( Which could also be an apt description if I just add a question mark.)



#39 Peace

Just Because I’m Quitting Doesn’t Mean I’m Finished

Last February I began this blog as an out-of-the-box way to put my book, The Potluck, out into the world. It was a worthy experiment, and once I got a handle on the technology, I had fun doing it. I also learned a couple of things, among them that it is hard to blog a novel because of its nature: to make sense of a work of fiction the reader has to start at the beginning. A blog has a different nature: a reader can read the most recent post and it will make sense all by itself. Hopefully it will also stimulate back-reading as well as future loyalty. (As my mentor keeps telling me, the Internet is not linear!)

Another thing I discovered is that when you write something, some of it does come true, which, as you may recall, was the point of the “writing my future” experiment I described in Post #1. Now, as I watch some unexpected adventures line up in my life, I am reminded of the story Renee tells, at Joe’s request, to some urban gang members in Chapter 6 and wonder if I mainly wrote the book to jump-start my own future:

“A man with a golden tattoo is making his way slowly down the mountain into the village below. He has spent his life on the mountain studying the art of war, developing his skills, and this is his first visit to the village. The village is very poor. The people don’t have enough food and that sometimes causes them to fight with each other. Their huts are small and dirty. There are no schools, so the children run ragged in the streets.

“The man from the mountain is tall and strong. His head is shaved, he sports a goatee and the image of a swastika gleams on his right arm.”

“What is a swastika?” The question came from the girl in the yellow skirt.

“White supremacy!” (their leader) Raphael sneered as he pulled a can of black paint from a bag he carried over his shoulder. He sprayed a viable replica of the symbol onto the sidewalk.

Renee’s response was calm, “The swastika is an ancient symbol of peace.”

“Why would a warrior want peace?” The young man who asked looked incredulous.

Renee was so into her story she did not hear his question. “The man with the golden tattoo has learned his art well. His sword gleams in the sunlight. His stance is bold. He swings the weapon as he dances in the shimmer of its blade. There is music in his method and joy in his heart. He is full of untested power. He has come to bring justice to the village. To right the wrongs. To bring peace.”

Joe picked up his knapsack, slipped his arms through the loops and settled it comfortably on his back. “Thanks so much, Renee.”

Annoyed, Raphael demanded. “So then what happens? Swords bring war, not peace.”

Joe beckoned Renee to join him as he strolled away. “What happens is for you to decide. We will return later and you will tell us the ending,” he called back to them.

One of the other young men shouted, “But it’s her story. She came here and started telling us, so she needs to let us know what happens.”

Joe was implacable. “No, it is your story. She only came to remind you.”

And this is where I end this blog because I need to pay attention to my inner knowing that it was a stepping stone to the next thing. At the end of December, 2013, this site will change into my author website while the blog evaporates forever into cyberspace. I hope you will check out the website and also my Facebook page where you can stay abreast of my adventures–writing or otherwise–as they are unfolding. And of course you can always reach me by e-mail:

#38 Full Circle

I’m Back Where I Started, But I’m Not In The Same Place

I read recently that stories are worlds with no limits. I like that, especially because it fits well with the notion with which I started this blog ten months ago: writing a future where anything is possible. Do I believe that? While I think about my answer, here’s the conclusion to Chapter 5. (Remember, last time Renee needed to act quickly to prevent Edward’s golf clubs from becoming croquet mallets.)

“Joe, how about we research some of these ideas. The children and I can start by reading Rumplestiltskin. Maybe it’s not as hard as we think to spin straw into gold.”

“As the Red Queen liked to say, believing the impossible is a good thing. ‘Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,’ she once said.” Joe smiled.

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#37 Ponderings…

About What To do Next. It Might Be Easier to Play Croquet!

I’m back! With much to think about after my meetings with agents. I had hoped getting published would be easier–more magical–but bottom line is that the old ways of traditional publishing have not changed one whit. Same old concerns: 1. What is Renee’s goal? (Answer: she has no specific goal–she just wants to be more fulfilled but has no clue how except to make a clear statement that something has to happen now–which is actually quite true-to-life, in my not-so-humble opinion.) 2. Given, therefore, Renee is having an internal conflict, but what is the conflict in her external world? (Answer: This is a journey of discovery and magic, not conflict. Why does every story have to have conflict?!! New paradigm, please.)

While I continue to ponder my next move, let me share the next part of Chapter 5. Remember, in our last excerpt Joe had suggested playing croquet, and Renee protested by saying she did not own a croquet set.

“Well, I guess you know what to do about that, Grandmama,” laughed Joe. “Be resourceful now and think of a story where someone played croquet.”

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#36 Sabbatical

Joe Knows Everyone In Storybook Land. Imagine That!

Every so often it is important for a person to take a break and evaluate where she has been and where she is going. That would be me. Now. One thing I have noted is that no agents, editors or publishers are clamoring to publish my book, which was one of my primary reasons to experiment with blogging a work of fiction. It was never my intention to give away the whole book, but rather to stimulate readers’ interest in reading it in a published form.

Therefore, I have been researching self-publishing and also have appointments with four agents in early November to discuss the possibility of a publishing contract with a traditional publisher. Right now I feel I need to put my emphasis on the publishing part, so here’s the plan: I will get back to all of you, my faithful readers, in mid-November and let you know what is happening and for sure give you the ending to Chapter 5–and maybe more. Meanwhile, take a look at how Joe continues to engage Renee and her grandchildren with more Raggedy Man play:

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#35 First Love

“The Horse Knows The Way”

I haven’t mentioned the writing my future group lately. Actually it was retired some time back after I finished writing The Potluck and began focusing my attention on this blog. Most of the members weren’t writing anyway, and I no longer felt the need to read to them as they can now read for themselves right here. Which they are doing. They are a loyal group and I appreciate everything they are doing to support me.

Meanwhile, the title of my blog has taken on a new meaning. Originally it was “Writing My Future,” subtitled “How I Wrote My Book.” Like this suggests, I am–consciously and unconsciously–writing my future through Renee. But what is also happening is that I am writing again, which was always my first love in terms of vocation. I abandoned that love many years ago because I believed the fiction police (writing teachers, editors, publishers…) when they told me I was unworthy. Now the love of my life has come back to me with the gift of The Potluck. So I have changed the title of my blog to “Writing…My Future.” It’s pure genie–ous, my three wishes are being granted all at once: a spiritual adventure, magical grandchildren and a future of writing. Excitement!

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#34 Realization

Joe Came To Help Me, Not Just Lucy!

Some things are not obvious until you are ready for them to be obvious. For example, I have a friend who writes a newsletter about self-love. To me it is obvious she writes it so she can learn how to love herself; but to her it’s not obvious because it is not yet a conscious desire. As she looks around her she only sees the need to love oneself reflected in the mirror of others.

Likewise, writing one’s future can be a conscious act, but the unconscious will always find a way in. My conscious desire was to write a spiritual adventure because I wanted one for myself. And now in the mirror of Renee I also am brought face-to-face with my unconscious longing to have a magical relationship with my own grandchildren.

When my friend writes the self-love stuff, the good news is that her readers benefit as well–and so I hope it is the same with some of you when I write about Renee, who, by the way, in our last excerpt was surprised to find Joe at her front door:

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#33 Food Fights

I Hope Joe Can Help Lucy Lighten Up!

When this book began writing itself, I had the impression it would be about a variety of adult characters who share a potluck of spiritual perspectives. Period. Imagine my surprise when Renee’s grandchildren take over this chapter!

In this next excerpt, the morning scenario continues to unfold with Renee asking the obvious question to Lucy’s impertinent observation that there had been no time for breakfast:

“Well, are you hungry? What would you like?”

“Rory is mad, so he probably won’t eat. He never eats when he’s mad. And Reggie is too sad about Daddy getting hurt, but I’ll have a donut,” Lucy announced.

“Donut! I don’t keep donuts in the house.” Renee was aghast that Jordan would even think of feeding her babies that much sugar. Unless, of course, Lucy was just out to play her grandmother.

“How about I go out and get some?” Edward offered.

“No. I don’t think so. They can have cereal or toast. Maybe some eggs.”

“If you don’t have any donuts, then I’ll have a waffle.” Lucy commanded. “The kind like we keep in the freezer and pop in the toaster.”

“I don’t have any waffles, either. How about some French toast? That’s kind of like a waffle. I can cook some apples to put on top of it.”

“I suppose it will have to do,” Lucy said, resigning herself to this pitiful breakfast fare.

Edward excused himself to get ready for work while Lucy wrestled Rory to the floor to keep him from following his grandfather into the bathroom. Renee sighed again as she cracked eggs into a bowl.

An hour later Edward was off to work and the children were fed—Lucy had been wrong about the boys not wanting to eat. All the details had been managed and now came the most dreaded of situations: she would be the first to admit she had no practice and no imagination when it came to entertaining small children. She remembered how awkward she felt when Jordan was born, coming home from the hospital with this strange creature in her arms who had so many needs. And then it turned out that this little personality had a very strong will, usually very much in opposition to Renee’s own. And so the struggle began, culminating in Jordan’s teen-age years when Edward was working so many hours, traveling all week long and there was no one but Renee to step up and manage. Which she had done. Admirably even, she had been told. Everything had settled down once Jordan became an adult, and she had turned out well. By that Renee meant her daughter had become a functioning member of society. Still, sometimes she wondered if that was good or bad. At best it looked tedious from her perspective.

“Would you like to color some pictures?” she asked the twins.

“They always make a mess if you give them crayons!” Lucy informed her and was about to make her own suggestion when the door bell rang. Still clad in her robe, Renee made her way to the front entrance and peeked through the glass panels. It was Joe! He was dressed in the same striped pantaloons, patched waistcoat and orange Keds that he had on the night before, except now he also carried a tattered knapsack on his back.


#32 Twin Currents

Life Imitates Art…

and then art returns the favor. Now that you are finally meeting them in this chapter, I can tell you about how I got to know the twins–first on paper and then in my “real” life. When this book began writing itself, the four-year-old boys typed in (that’s the best I can do to describe what happened). In my life as J.K., I don’t have any grandsons, much less twins, so I was not drawing on anything autobiographical; also, although I have a daughter (and unlike Renee, a son as well), Renee’s daughter is not much like mine. In the excerpt below, you will also meet Renee’s granddaughter, Lucy, who, again, shares very few traits with my own granddaughter. So where did these people come from?

Several months after I wrote Chapter 5, my family and I toured Alaska with several other families we had never met before. Guess what! The twins were on the tour, except they were seven years old instead of four! Still, I instantly recognized them. The character of Lucy came not in the form of their sister, however, but their older cousin, who took it upon herself to mind them. (Which was actually a very good thing since their parents did not.) Interestingly, the Alaska twins’ father became my model for Renee’s son-in-law, so for the first time Renee’s story and J.K’s began to inform each other. Here’s the excerpt:

                                               Chapter 5: Joker

The next morning Renee was awakened by the telephone. “Hello?” she mumbled. This was quickly followed by “Oh no! Is he OK?”

“What’s going on?” Edward rolled over, rubbing his eyes awake.

“It’s Jordan. Daniel’s been in an accident and she wants me to watch the kids while she goes to the hospital. She’s going to drop them by in a few minutes. His car is totaled, but she thinks he’s going to be OK. Maybe a couple of broken ribs. They have to check him over.”

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#31 Deconstruct?

Dr. Phil Needs To Examine His Own B.S.!

As promised, this is the end of Chapter 4. Chapter 5 has some surprises, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, as a quick review, Renee selected Joe as the person with whom she wished to spend more time, but she was hesitant about her ability to keep up with someone whose vocation is walking:

The sound of Phil’s voice grated into her right ear. “You are struggling with a personal mythology and a world view that is preventing you from moving forward. You need to examine your belief systems, B.S. for short.”

One of Renee’s pet peeves was having people tell her what her problem was without knowing all the details and without her input. She also distrusted easy answers and was considering saying so when Monty interrupted by reiterating that they really had to be on their way. How interesting that time was important when he felt he had to be somewhere in what so many would consider an alternate reality, but not when someone was waiting for him in this one.

It was clear everyone else was planning to stay awhile longer, so, regretfully, Renee said her good-byes as Monty paced back and forth between her and the door. When she finished and he bolted up the stairs ahead of her she upbraided him, “I was just getting to know who everyone was. It was interesting, though not exceptionally spiritual. Or at least in the way I view spiritual. Still, why did we have to leave so early?”

 “Deconstruct,” he advised.

“What does that mean?” she inquired. They were standing next to his Harley now. Well, at least she assumed it must be a Harley since that’s the only big bike she knew. When it wasn’t so dark she should check for sure, and then asked herself why she should even care what kind of bike he rode. His helmet was on and she was uncertain whether he had heard her question. Regardless, she could tell by his demeanor that their conversation was at an end. And that’s when she realized that she and Monty had never had a conversation. It was not his m.o. He was a person of action and it would likely be up to her to figure out what he meant by “deconstruct.”

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