The inconvenience of life

mummy – Kristine BruneauI want to have a full and joyful life.

I want to have a life overflowing with laughter, movement, grace and love – and inconvenience.

I chose marriage. I chose motherhood. I chose writing. I chose to share my motherhood journey in front of strangers. I chose to work from home. My choices have brought me tremendous joy, but the joy that comes within these roles isn’t easy. It’s hard work, fraught with inconvenience.

As I feverishly type away (to meet a deadline) the ringing doorbell startles me. The dogs, roused from their midday nap, bark and slip-slide along the tile floor slamming into the door. I shush the dogs, who emit low growls, but I do not move from my chair.

My son yells: “Mom! I need you!” It’s after five and I’m searching the internet for something that may or may not be essential to a story. When I don’t stop and immediately answer his call, he shouts again. Later, my son tells me I need a computer time limit after he’s home from school so I know when to stop.

My husband pops his head into my “office” (formerly the dining room) to say hello. I’m sitting at my desk talking aloud, trying to edit a story. I’m not ready to take a break. 

I receive a summons for jury duty. My billable time is now at the mercy of my good citizenship requirement. 

One afternoon, my retina detaches. I have emergency surgery (with a needle). I have to lay on my right side to hold the gas bubble in place for three days. I get behind on editing an article.

When you start to want to live your life fully instead of opting for death, you discover that life itself is inconvenient.” – Pema Chödrön

Like a tiny pebble lodged in your shoe as you are walking along the path of life at a nice clip – you don’t want to slow down or stop. But you have to stop and remove the pebble, which is  really irritating your foot and ruining a perfectly good walk with your dog.

The good news is that your dog will wait for you to remove whatever it is that’s bothering you. For a few more minutes, the sun will continue to shine. The air will remain still and sweet with the scent of early spring. Once you stop for a moment to reorganize and redirect yourself, you can keep moving forward in life and take on whatever else comes with it. 

The pebble is an inconvenience that reminds you to stay humble and open your heart. 

What do you think?

This is my best work today. Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook, or tweet me @kristinebruneau.

Do you know any Rochester Women to Watch?

Women to WatchI’m pleased to share that I’m a contributing writer for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle‘sWomen to Watch.” The column runs on Tuesdays, and since I share duties with another writer, my interviews with Rochester women appear about every other week at herRochester.com  and in the print edition of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Living section.

The Rochester women you read about make a significant contribution in their workplace, volunteer with community service organizations to  make a difference in the lives of others, and have an interesting story to share. Often these women have overcome an important challenge in their lives that other women can relate to or learn from.

Nominate a Woman to Watch:

+ Women chosen as a “Woman to Watch” by community content editor Cynthia Benjamin have been nominated by a colleague or peer.

+ A “Woman to Watch” is one who is making significant contributions in her job and in the community. Most of the women profiled are in leadership roles at their workplace and invest time in community/nonprofit organizational boards and committees, or participate in other community activities.

+ To nominate a woman, contact community content editor Cynthia Benjamin with the Democrat and Chronicle Leadership Team, stating who you’d like to nominate, what her job is, where she works, where she volunteers, why she’d be an excellent subject, and how to get a hold of her (email and phone number).

+ It’s helpful (to me) when the nominator also highlights one or two unique characteristics about the nominee in the email note.

+ We also ask the woman to provide a photo, preferably a close-up head shot (not part of a group). The photo should be as large a size as possible and one that you’re happy (smile!) to share in print and digital formats. So it’s important to begin with a high-quality image which means the highest resolution and image dimensions you can get with your digital camera.

My writing process:

+ Once the nomination has been accepted by the editor and assigned to me (the writer), I usually reach out via email to let the woman know she’s been nominated and send her a questionnaire to complete as soon as possible. The answers to the questions give me some background on the woman and help shape my phone interview so that I can clarify and explore the woman’s story more deeply as I write her profile.

+ I prefer phone interviews and record them with AudioNote on my iPad. The profiles I write are about 700 words, including the questionnaire, which I edit for publication. So it’s important for the nominee to spend some contemplative time filling out the questionnaire. And it’s always good to have a trusted friend proofread the form.

Tip:

+ It’s always a good idea to read any publication you want to submit to. Follow the link to the Women to Watch page and click on a few women to read their profiles and get a sense of why they were featured.

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook, or tweet me @kristinebruneau.

This post is part of the #YourTurnChallenge. Today is #day2. And it is my best work today.

Copywriter Karen LaFauci featured in herRochester.com

Karen LaFauci

Read about extraordinary copywriter and entrepreneur Karen LaFauci who has the “right stuff” to keep her  business running for more than 25 years. As owner and chief copywriter (she’s the only copywriter) of The Write Stuff, Karen believes she wouldn’t be where she is today without her supportive family.

One of my favorite stories from our interview that didn’t make the cut is when Karen admitted to “shooing” daughters Sara and Julia out of her office. “They’d pop in to say “hello” when I was midstream in writing a sentence, which made me crazy!” says Karen. “Now that they’ve reached adulthood, they really “get” it. They respect the fact that both of their parents are entrepreneurs, and they appreciate how much we were there for them when they were young.”

Check out the story on herrochester.com. You can read a few additional life lessons from Karen right here!

Lessons

Karen’s favorite quote is Ghandi’s “Be truthful, gentle, and fearless.” It’s autobiographical as well as inspirational. Here are a few lessons that Karen has to share.

It’s never too late to start a business. “Life’s too short to hate your work,” says Karen. “If you’re deeply passionate about something – don’t be afraid to hang out your shingle.”

On dealing with a difficult client: Not that any of her clients have been difficult, but Karen stresses the importance of handling clients diplomatically, especially in a tenuous situation. She says, “It’s best not to get defensive. Step back, take a deep breath, and listen.”

Write thank you notes! You don’t have to be a writer to write a thoughtful note or letter to someone who’s referred a new client, or handed you an important project. “An e-mail or text just doesn’t cut it,” says Karen. “Believe me, people notice and remember.”

Life’s too short to be unhappy.  Karens says its important to surround yourself with positive people and explore the world around you. One of Karen’s favorite things to do around Rochester is dinner and a movie at The Little with husband Peter, and she loves to take her Mini Cooper on day trips to the Finger Lakes.

Be good to yourself. Savor those rare down times you have in the inevitable cyclical nature of small business. Karen gives herself permission to take an extra yoga class, reconnect with a friend over a leisurely lunch, or catch up on the pile of books on her nightstand. “As a creative person, it’s really important to carve out time to recharge the mind and body.”

Read. Successful writers read everything. Karen regularly reads The Sunday New York Times, and has a tendency to rip out interesting articles to share with family and friends. She also reads lots of books. She recently finished “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri – her favorite author.  Now she’s into Ann Patchett’s “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” a collection of short stories on writing.

Look to others for inspiration. “My late mom, Jean Bloom was diagnosed with non-smoker’s cancer of the larynx at age 78. By the time it was detected, she had to undergo a total laryngectomy. She bravely endured the radical surgery – not knowing she’d never speak again – and multiple rounds of intensive radiation. She may have lost her voice, but not her spirit, remaining physically and socially active until her death at 85.”

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook.