About Deborah Drake - Authentic Writing Provokes

Deborah Drake is on a Creative Writing Mission (be you writing for business or otherwise) : To get you to love doing your own writing and express yourself confidently and with authenticity and whole heart. Writing in this age of "the world being your oyster," what will it take for you to chase out "for good" the disbelief that you can't write as yourself and for yourself and attract GREAT readers and clients? Consider this writing coach like an assignment a la Peace Corps...she will teach you how to not only plant that garden and harvest the yield, but craft your own recipes in a cookbook you can then self-publish and market boldly with enthusiasm that lights up a room. Writing is good for the soul, good for business and therapeutic and to be able to authentically self-express who we are, what we do and what we care about in this age is PARAMOUNT. Can you?

The Passionate Observer in Me Goes to New York (Part 1 of 5))

It’s an inaugural visit to the Big Apple for Bronte and I. Alas, it doesn’t smell like an apple nor from the look of the map is it shaped like one.

Stepping onto the street above the subway station we have just exited, I am accosted.

Patchouli. And then like a flurry of freshly blown soap bubbles popping: sour beer, cigarette, cigar, flowers, stale wine, the scent of curry and fresh baked pizza pie. Yes, my first impression of New York at street level EVEN before the sounds of street life is distinctly memorable: The scents that are floating about my head as I walk down a mildly crowded and cracked sidewalk.

Then it is as if my hearing is turned back on. I hear the Patchouli smelling girl, talking to the guy smoking who I can’t see clearly as he is backlit by streetlights in the dark. The F Train that brought us to our final first desitnation in the East Village was a newer subway train according to our host for the week, and therefore both looked and smelled cleaner than the A train we took at the end of the Air Train we caught at the Airport.

I have never felt called to come toNew York Citybefore now. I am genuinely feeling excited about the day before us with Nate and son Alejandro and Bronte.Central Parkis our first group destination that Alejandro can play catch with dad with his new glove and ball. I have been assured by at least six different people, I will LOVENew York.

Nate tells me that it is hard to get lost inNew York, at least inManhattan. The Grid of streets I presume will always lead one back to having a sense of where one is. Provided you have a map and understand the orientation of Streets versus Avenues and which runs East to West and which run North to South? I’ll think about that later and rely on the map for today.

Waking this morning, I recall my last memories of falling asleep; staring out the window into the center of the tenement apartment building he

Nate tells the story of getting the piano into his small two bedroom apartment he bought in May 2010. He tells a story that goes down in the memory books.

The first four steps of the 38 to his third level walk up were easy. Navigating the tight turns four times with an upright piano in straps being bumped up the stairs one by one takes an uncomfortable 2 hours and not the supposed ½ an hour. The movers to help with the lifting job arrived late. Neighbors who wanted to take their baby out for a walk on an upper level were turned back with a sorry. A younger and spry young woman headed to the theater shimmied herself over the piano and over the banister to freedom.

Nice first impressions to give as the new neighbor in the building that was once upon a turn of the century tenement building; no elevator and larger spaces that have been cut up into smaller apartments with occasionally odd angled walls. Nate’s apartment has five windows (a plus) that all face the airshaft.

Talk from the apartments around and below rises up–as does the incessant cooing and wooing and flutter of pigeons and the occasional blare of a passing siren. These sounds seep in from the one point of exit to the street that I can see through the open window with the fire escape attached to the exterior wall about it. The iron of the fire escape looks like it has been painted over at least six times and I question how safe is that fire escape. Nate assures me it can take the pressure of a human on it.

Last night we arrived via JetBlue at 9pm and managed within an hour to take the trains from JFK to Lower Manhattan (East Village) where Nate has lived since May of 2001. He knows this neighborhood like the back of his own hand and foodie that he is I am surprised he hasn’t tried every hole in the wall food joint in his immediate vicinity, but that would be a big task given the density of bars, cafes, and shoebox size “restaurants.”

We have determined we will step out for a slice of pizza for Bronte is hungry and we are now in a city that never sleeps and some places seem to be open all night. How is that place we passed on the way from the subway I ask Nate. He hasn’t tried that place but Alejandro likes Nino’s which is an easy couple of blocks away. Having deposited suitcases and gotten a tall glass of iced water (which for tap water tastes fine to me!) we head out for a late night snack.

How many times have I been talking to Nate at 1am my time as he was headed out for a late night snack? He is still a nightowl. And for us it is still really only 7pm PST.

On route to our intended destination I am again assaulted with a riot of smells and the density of people in the streets on a sultry summer evening is being felt by my body and its empathic ways. I realize I must consciously buffer myself for the week, knowing we will be always surrounded by thousands of people be they seen or not.

Red.Blue.Green.Gold.White.Pink.

There is a trio of Indian restaurant two blocks from Nate’s place that are competitively lit up with Christmas lights in the front windows; it is like Christmas year round says Nate. Three men on the stoop are monitoring passers by and wooing respective customers in. Last night in my half-dazed state, I thought it was all the same restaurant.

Hukka Bars and More

There is more than one hukka bar with dim lighting casting an eerie warm glow on the hukka’s glass bellies filled with water to cool the flavored smoke being inhaled by silhouetted figures lounging on low dark velvety looking couches. My eyes are drinking in as quickly as they can EVERYTHING as we walk down the moderately uneven sidewalks with age old cracks. I recall how thankful I felt for the age of roll aboard suitcases with lighter framework as we maneuvered our way through crowds the minute we got off the Subway F at 2nd street not fifteen minutes ago. People though don’t move out of your way so swiftly. They seemed to be either not inclined or less aware as we were barreling toward them with suitcases behind us. It was up to us to slip in between their smoking and joking as they bled out of the café or bar they were patronizing.

Two Boots Pizza and Brooklyn Lager

How many bars have we passed I wonder? We’ve gone left and right and left and right as we weave our way to Nate’s suggested Pizza by the slice joint. Nino’s is on a corner and even before we approach the wide open doors I can feel the heat escaping from the inside and pouring into the street. Pizzas with thin crust and strombolis and calzones are behind glass on a double-decker glass shelf. White pizza with fresh mozzarella, margarita, Hawaiian, pepperoni, and to me they all look “dry.” I tell Bronte that she must be selective about food when we are eating out this week, for I don’t want to be  spending $5 on a slice she said looked good but didn’t taste right  on a first bite. Or she will be eating protein bars in these instances. I brought a half dozen as backups.

Of course my hope is we try new foods and Nate knows the culinary landscape well, foodie that he is.

11:11am: Angels thank you for the easy first 12 hours.

Last night the final memory I had staring out into the airshaft and onto a weathered fire escape was the sound of sirens and the buzz of someone talking somewhere, unintelligible to me but not important either. The City that never sleeps. But I did and under the cover of a chocolate brown sheet with a wide open window and a final brief thought of, “What if anything will crawl or fly in while I am unconscious?” I determine I won’t worry about the momentary thought of rats, roaches and pigeons. InBellevuewe have an abundance of birds and squirrels and insects of course. I have spider webs constantly in my corners. I have yet to see evidence of a spider web in Nate’s place.

“Listening” through the window at 3am, having captured a few notes of today’s travels for myself, I hear the following, “Where are the mosquitos?”

And I hope that this isn’t like my first night in Kuaui was so many years ago when I was 12 and a mosquito kept buzzing in my ear in between biting me and leaving welts that itched for days in the heat.

Imagine there is only heaven on earth...

Till next  time. Aloha from the Big Apple which is as hot as hot can be.

First things first: Make Happiness

I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy in the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

~Roger Ebert, Life Itself: A Memoir

Oh this Roger Ebert quote. I remember hearing an interview on NPR and it was a DRIVEWAY MOMENT indeed. Continue reading “First things first: Make Happiness” »

A Father’s Day Reflection

Ah holidays. The Big Ones especially. Generally, I don’t actually care for them.

Oh don’t fret. I appreciate several: Thanksgiving (for it’s about Gratitude), Mother’s Day (since I became one) and the day after Christmas (my creation, but it counts for most people get it off) because peace returns once the rituals of Noel have been dusted off and revisited.

A word on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day while we are at it. I say that with each of these days, we give the mother or the father in question the right to choose how they wish to be celebrated and appreciated. I had a chance to make that understood today… Continue reading “A Father’s Day Reflection” »

Burn Your Resume & Build a Profile: Upcoming Events June thru August

As the co-author of Burn Your Resume, I am pleased to announce a series of events in Seattle and on the Eastside, beginning this June. Authentically and effectively speaking of yourself and writing about yourself (for that matter) gets easier when you understand who you are and what you have to offer: clients, peers, employers…and so it makes sense that as a professional we REALLY UNDERSTAND our Professional Story and can tell it well on paper, online and in-person.  Attend or Recommend any and all of the upcoming events. To your continued and future successes!

~Deborah Drake, Enthusiastic Catalyst

What exactly is a Professional Profile ™? And why does a new college grad, a job seeker in transition, an independent consultant, an entrepreneur or a small business owner need one? Continue reading “Burn Your Resume & Build a Profile: Upcoming Events June thru August” »

The Gratitude List & Embracing Hesitation

I AM in love.

With the journey I do not yet understand
With the upstarts I have not yet met
With the magic that new beginnings are
With the people who surprise me generously
With the smiles freely given and received
With the wonder in the eyes of young ones
With the sound of truth being told

With the simple ability to breathe without having to think about it.

I am of the mindset there is always more to be thankful for. I wasn’t always. There was a time when I felt like a sadder person whose life was colored by more loss than I thought I could handle. And it all started when I was very young. So if it is true that “God/dess” gives us only as much as we can handle, I AM grateful for how I have handled what has been given to me to address.

Abundance and Gratitude is an Attitude that can be cultivated and doing so is a lifelong process. We, humans, have been given both the ability to communicate and remember what  we have said and done and have the capacity to learn from it. What worked for us at four doesn’t work the same for us at fourteen or forty. Nor should it. I AM grateful for how I have evolved and continue to do so.

I feel I AM again the person I was when I was about to embark upon college. Self-reliant. 18. A loaner car of a Dodge Wagon packed to the max with the sum total of my worldly belongings. Few clothes. More books. A box of my life story in journals. Going where I knew but one person. Leaving behind no room to return to. Only a future to embrace. Pure excitement and no hesitation. My body hummed with a knowing that all was as it should be.

Three decades later after many starts and stops and stumbles, I feel as though I AM again in that space of pure possibility and nothing will prevent me from realizing what I have envisioned. I AM committed to believing that what I can dream, I will manifest.

Had even one person introduced me to the idea of intention and my energy being so exquisitely and purposely directed when I was that tender age…what more would have come into being? Oh, here is the surprise behind that curtain: It has all been perfect as it has come to pass. Not that I could see that at 27 or even 34. I see it now though. And that is presence that matters.

Regarding that last moment before we figuratively or literally leap into something new and daring, what is YOUR personal “surefire” way to diffuse any hesitation or procrastination?

May you be blessed with the courage to say yes to your grandest visions, hesitation-free.

Om Shanti.

Tween Angst at Forty Seven

Perhaps I’m having sympathy angst?

This morning I am wanting to work but my mind is preoccupied with my 6th grade daughter and all that is going on in her busy young life.

It’s MSP testing week at her school for one thing. Friendships are shifting at school as the third quarter begins and I’m hearing the stories after school and having “flashbacks” of my tumultuous 6th grade year. And this weekend the Bellevue Youth Theater play she’s been practicing for since February starts its two weekend run at the Ivanhoe Theater in Bellevue. Opening night is Friday night and a small tribe of us are going to enjoy Beauty and the Beast. I’ll have my heart in throat at least six times as I watch her say her lines as the young maiden friend of Belle. (Think I may skip wearing mascara, again…so when I start to cry my tears of joy, they won’t run my make up.)

Middle School. As well as I believe my daughter is handling all the pressures, I also sense overwhelm creeping in and in the air. And I can’t help her through it if she doesn’t want the help I offer. Isn’t that how it goes even for us adults? I’m feeling a little helpless this morning, knowing full well that she ultimately will in her own time handle this.

(Even when working with writing clients, I understand COMPLETELY that it will be their process not mine, as they get in touch with their writing style and rhythm and voice.)

So why, then, can’t I accept that “We all get to live with B’s choice to do nothing about her small crisis for the moment?”

THE REALITY IS:

We can’t help people, really, if they don’t want our help. We can’t be helped by others if we won’t allow ourselves to be helped. It’s an unpleasant cycle.

Mediation. It’s been suggested to repair a known rift but one of the parties won’t have it. What to do then? Surrender to what is and imagine a space and field for some positive shift and healing to occur. Practice being less attached to the outcome and let come what may and deal with what comes up when it comes up. Cease with pushing things to happen that would be premature.

Business activities feel like this at times too. Things happen on timelines we wish we could “control” but  can’t. Things going South that looked like they were well on their way to be a sure thing. What then can we do? Something else that prepares the field for good things, even the smallest of activities, feels better than doing nothing.

That feels like me mediating with myself, which in this case is about as good as it gets.

My wish for the tween in all of us: When we have angst and prefer to avoid conflict may we find the will power to address the “gremlin” taunting us. May we take back our personal power to speak what is on our minds and hearts and get things done that need getting done. May we remember we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

Achievements.
Acknowledgment.
Acceptance.

At the end of the day, we must first be at peace within if we are to be at peace in the world.

 

 

A Call for Entries

What is your favorite post on this community blog and why? Is it yours or another blogger’s writing?

What brought you to the Weekly Circle in the first place and what keeps you coming back as you can?

What sparks your urge to contribute to this creative canvas?

We’ve discussed pulling together a collection of our best shorts and the time has come!

In the name of inspiring others to launch community blogs that are rich with content and a sense of community worth spending a morning coffee hour with, let’s gather our favorite pennies and daffodils.

Suggest the posts that have made you laugh and think the most.

Let’s collaboratively create a blueprint that inspires and supports others in search of a writing community.

First deadline for nominations is May 15th.

Your Fearless Prolific Founder,

Deborah Drake – Authentic Writing Provokes

The Lucky Pennies

Do you pick up pennies?

I do. I have since I was little. And I wonder how many pennies I have picked up in my lifetime thus far? Collectively, they represent times when I had a moment to be fully present to that penny on the ground.

One time, a penny on the sidewalk caught my eye, as the street light flickered on and just as I was about to step into the crosswalk and thanks to that penny, I didn’t get run over by the bus rapidly turning the corner that didn’t see me in the gloaming hour. So, I have a particular fondness for pennies.

Pennies represent the abundance of abundance.

There is simple joy in spying a penny on the ground and casting a wish as I pick it up. I never pass up the chance to celebrate the finding of penny. And I notice the nickels and dimes and quarters and the five dollar bills too! The point is pennies or any denomination of loose change are a metaphor for opportunities cast before us.

Small and easily overlooked and undervalued. Why do we walk past these copper opportunities to add value that over time would tip the scale?

Pennies from heaven are the smallest of opportunities that make all the difference. May you recognize them in every form they enter your awareness.

 

 

A funny thing happened on the way to the funeral. (Really)

Life is Precious. Life is Precarious. Life is Playful.

It’s never easy saying goodbye to someone.  Funerals are rarely funny.

This story and post is based on a true experience shared with me today during coffee social post my weekly spiritual experience at Unity of Bellevue. I dedicate this post to Trudy Wilson (who is not the one who had died…just to be clear. She is my source and a lovely soul!)

I find myself sitting at a table where I had sat down to collect an email address from someone I promised to send some information. That was what put me where I was with a small plate of deviled eggs and berries and a cup of coffee. I didn’t anticipate sitting there long, but the Universe had other plans for me.

I knew no one else at the table, but after a Rev.Nancy Worth “lesson” we are all friendly while we nibble on bite sized pieces of donuts and sweet loaf breads and mixed nuts. (That is what we are, aren’t we, mixed nuts going to “church” or “temple” or “yoga” or “the gym.” Pick your variety of spirituality, it’s all good!)

How Trudy and I got from saying hello to her sharing her recent funeral experience is not as important as the fact, our dialogue took us there.

The sad part of the story. The beautiful soul no longer with us in body, was the child and son of a woman, who had died of cancer not two months before her son chose to end his own physical existence. Yes, “suicide” happens whether we like it or not. What takes courage? Living or checking out? (Different and equally challenging blog post to “pen.”) He had apparently even told his mother that life was so much to manage. He was a sensitive soul that Trudy had known since childhood.  Since he’d moved to a province farther afield in Canada than British Columbia, Trudy no longer saw him at holidays.She knew his mother and sister and that kept her current on “D’s” life.

Trudy was in Canada attending D’s funeral this time, and determined to support the  family again.

Someone was responsible for bringing the items of personal significance to the church for the alter. Flowers and family photos of mom and children at various ages were in the bag that Trudy saw in the back seat of the driver’s new Jeep. The service was taking place at a church on Vancouver Island before the ceremony at the cemetery to honor D.  That driver was shall we say, a speed demon.

The Jeep was barreling along a road when it hit a speed bump. If you have ever been in a Jeep you know how rough a ride they can be; comparable to Hummers actually. The Jeep and it’s occupants arrived at the church to find something missing. The bag in the back seat. That Speed Bump! One of the back jeep doors had apparently flown open and the bag had escaped! The driver determined what must have been the moment it happened! They circled back to the spot and found the flowers by the side of the road but alas no bag with pictures. Okay, weird, but what can you say. What happened, happened.

D’s sister pulled the presenting minister aside and whispered in his ear, “We have a small problem.” This was shared at the end of the church service and prior to people heading to the final resting place.

Apparently, D’s ashes had been in a wooden box in that bag of pictures and flowers. Like I said, weird, but okay, as reported to this “Witness and Listener.”

At the grave site, people tossed roses into the hole that had been dug for the box of ashes. It was about the ritual of saying a proper and honorable goodbye at that point. But, D had a sense of humor in my opinion. Or someone did and in the end the message left might read like this: “I am not as gone as you think me. And can you find the humor in this moment.”

Trudy said D would be laughing if he was there to share the story himself. She prefers to remember that he was bright and sensitive and appreciated odd humor.

A couple of messages were received  by me as I listened to this story, earlier today.

1. Life is Precious. Never miss an opportunity to say to someone you care for that you do.

2. Life is Precarious. Sometimes we lose things in surprising ways and how we respond to that loss is what matters the most.

3. Life is Playful. Humor, even when it is black, is present and available if we remain open to finding the humor in any situation.

And what if, just what if, it is the Universe’s not so gentle way of saying, “Hey, you, dopey, sleepyhead, buried your head in the sand, looking for a scapegoat, choosing to be unaware and missing the precious opportunity before you, YEAH YOU, please, stop, regroup, see all that could be, if you would say yes to courage and love and adventure and risk and opening up and asking for even more support than you already do.

I’d give you as much as you asked for. And there may be times I attempt to wake you from your self-delusional pattern. Why? Because, I want you to be happy.

I Do.

Love.

Deborah Drake – Authentic Writing Provokes

P.S. Just in case it isn’t clear to you: Life is Precious. Life is Precarious. Life is Playful. Ask for help when you need it and be glad for the people who bug you because they care.