What’s going on…and what’s next…

Oscar Outside Door

“What’s going on in there?” Oscar asks from the other side of my office doors. He might also be wondering about the explosion of boxes and activity and energy that’s filled the house, and my mind and soul, over the past few weeks. Truth be told, I’m almost as stunned by it all as he!

No, we’re not moving. But things are moving…clutter, blocked energy, preconceived concepts, old ideas about myself and my creativity. “Hindsight is 20/20” and I can look back now over the past couple years and see the subtle awakenings and shiftings in myself; the emerging longterm effects of living in a politically-ravaged nation…a fire-ravaged community…an expectation-ravaged creative soul; and the chance encounters with people and places that weren’t chance at all but the Universe nudging me a new direction. And when I look back as far as hindsight will allow, I see my husband standing in the kitchen saying to me, “Maybe you’re not the writer you think you are.”

Those words sound harsh, and they were, but not for the reasons you might think. He had been sharing with me the surprises of his own creative journey. He had suddenly realized after so many years of thinking he was one type of musician–that played a certain type of music on a certain type of guitar and equipment but with little creative fulfillment–that he was really a different type of musician altogether. By abandoning these preconceived notions and allowing himself to gravitate toward what felt good and got him excited, he’d found joy and fulfillment where he would never have expected. So, in that moment in the kitchen, as I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to write, to finish current projects or move forward on new ones, that creativity felt like an anchor rather than a sail, he said, “Maybe it’s the same for you, thinking you’re one thing when really, if you give yourself the freedom to just experiment, you’ll find you’re really something else. After all,” he ended, “it shouldn’t feel like work.”

It took two more years of creative anemia and frustration to let that idea sink in…to be fairly considered and processed. Because the realization, that what you’ve painstakingly shaped yourself into isn’t necessarily who you really are, is painful. Now, don’t feel sorry for me! This soul-searching and journey has been such a blessing. Because what I’ve realized is that while I love mysteries and I loved writing one, I don’t necessarily want to write another one. At least not right now. And I don’t want my creativity so narrowly defined. For some time there have been other projects and other types of writing that have lived in my heart and imagination, but I’ve pushed them away because they didn’t fit into the mold I’d squeezed my creative self into. I’ve finally realized that not only is it okay for me to pursue them…I’m supposed to!

So what does this all mean? It means, I’ve burst from a box I didn’t realize I’d been confined to…a box I’m not trashing, but lovingly setting aside for awhile. It means that I’m finally giving attention to the fights and passions that get me energized and speaking and creating rather than pushing them away. It means I’m walking forward…with baby steps and fewer expectations and more joy. And in the most concrete terms, it means I’m working on a new website and project to be launched on Earth Day! Don’t fear…this site, shelleymasini.com, and its blog will remain active as my author’s website and voice, though it will also be revamped to be more inline with these realizations and new path.

And that, dear Oscar and dear friends, is what’s going on in here! Stay tuned with me.

 

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Like a good French cheese…

FullSizeRender 2Has anyone been to the Berkeley Hills? I was there Thursday night for the first time…somewhere off Grizzly Peak Road amidst beautiful homes, a sunset and stars, and a small host of writers & readers gathered in one of those beautiful homes to hear Susan Shea and Cara Black discuss their latest books. I carried in a caramelized onion and mushroom quiche and was transported to France, where Susan’s new series is set in a small fictional Burgundian town and Cara’s long-running Aimée Leduc series is set in Paris (with New York best-selling results, I might add).

The event also helped me to see how I’ve matured…like a good French cheese. (Sorry…too good to resist!) What I mean by this is that I am finally appreciating spiritually what I’ve always known logically…that it isn’t the destination that brings the greatest reward, but the journey. In the past I would have gone to such an event with some aim in mind…to network, to make an impression, to get somewhere or get something. And I would have left feeling icky, unsatisfied, and unsuccessful. And I understand now it was because I was so focused on my expected outcomes that I was closed off to the magic and synchronicity that might have unfolded naturally…I was so focused on the results, that I missed the joys offered by the process.

So Thursday night I had no goal but to get to those Berkeley Hills before the event started…which was no small feat with quitting time traffic that took two and half hours! But with that accomplished and people tucking into the quiche, I took a seat and let anything or nothing happen. As it is, I met some lovely people, soaked in the discussions of setting (very pertinent to my own novel) and French current events (always interesting), and let myself be dissuaded by Susan from a drastic POV revision to my manuscript. In fact, that two and half hour drive might just have saved me weeks of work!

 

 

An unapologetic era…

Good morning! As I was taking Oscar for his morning walk…(for those not following on Instagram, Oscar is on his way to becoming a bona fide “Adventure Cat” under the alias of Licorice…hence the camo vest and far-reaching gaze)…I was getting caught up on Social Media and came across this quote…

“I’ve worked too hard on my happiness to be affected by people and things that don’t understand the energy and time I’ve put into myself” ~Billy Chapata

…and it gave me pause…enough pause to sit and write a post. Why…?

Perhaps because I’ve always been a people pleaser, and part of being a people pleaser is not letting others feel uncomfortable or put out, even at your own cost. As a result, we people pleasers apologize for our unique beauty, greatness, accomplishments…we diminish ourselves so others don’t have to feel less than. What many of us fail to understand before too much time has gone by or before it’s too late is that everyone’s greatness and beauty is individual…your accomplishments can’t diminish mine and vice versa because we each have our own gifts to give…and we each have our own spectacular beauty to fill the world with that that only we can offer. Unfortunately, some of us convince ourselves otherwise and spend too much of life apologizing, hiding, and negating ourselves.

Maybe it’s turning 40 or just a natural accumulation of life experiences which has made me intolerant of certain things…things like lies, cruelty, ignorance, and self-deprecation, just to name a few.

And so begins an unapologetic era…

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The true leap…

After ten days of glorious winter sunshine, the rains have returned. And after ten days of luxurious winter break, I must return to the real world and a new position! Somehow, despite the moments of anxiety and trepidation that have punctuated my vacation whenever I considered the leap I’m taking, quite unexpectedly, today I find myself ready for the challenge. In fact, I’m even preparing…

getting-ready-for-work

But preparations are not just about getting my notes and supplies in order, or cleaning out my bag and doing laundry…it’s also about putting things in perspective.

Meaning…no matter how I earn my keep, no matter how good I may be at my day job, no matter where my car takes me to and from Monday thru Friday…I am a writer and so “success” must be defined as something more than just fulfilling a job description and passing probation. It is being inspired throughout the day, taking the time to jot ideas down, even daydreaming a bit; having energy in the evenings for writing and revising and scheming; and keeping weekends free for adventures, my whiteboard, and research.

The true leap I’m taking…and must take every day, as fearlessly as possible…is being a writer first.