Archive for the ‘Life Goals’ Category

Change: pt. 2

by on Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

My husband and I have been cleaning house. He has a new job, investment building, and he needs more space in his office. We have been purging old paperwork, making room for receipts and invoices, blueprints and design ideas. We both got new computers. There is more purge-of-the-old in transferring my life onto an new laptop. [Funny story: My husband thought that all my documents and computer stuff would fit on a thumb-drive. I was a little horrified to think that my entire life, a 9 year old computer, would fill such a small thing. Was that all that I was worth? Anyway, it didn’t. The photos alone filled the little driver. My music needed to be transferred to a hard drive. And then there were my books. All my writing filled another drive. I AM worth more that a thumb-drive!]

In the face of all the change-ness coming, I am also re-inventing myself as a writer. My perspective is changing, so is my image of the out-ward me.

My Turn To Grow Up has been a great venue for me to express my fears and loves. It  has been a place to vent and cry, explain and reason. But like an old notebook, it’s time to close the cover on these worn out pages. It’s time for me to turn over a new leaf. (I love this grounding platitude.)

Today I have a new website. I am no longer hiding behind a nameless entity, I am coming out to the world as Tracey Strohm Phillips, Author. In embracing my maiden name, there is a lot of fear coming up. There are issues I need to face involving my dad and brother. Issues that won’t be resolved painlessly. My need to write is growing. I have two new thrillers bouncing around in my head. Thrillers that are trying to escape. Thrillers that want to be written.

In the process, I feel like I’m bouncing off walls in a pitch dark room.

New Dawn

by on Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Just when you have a plan…This Spring has been a whirlwind. Between conferences and recitals, I finished editing Elements with a professional editor. I’ve sent pitches to twenty agents. While waiting for those responses, I’ve been planting tomatoes (24), lettuce (12) and herbs. I planted cucumbers (4) and zucchini (4)  too. Flowerpots (Six 18″ and 3 small ones) and hostas (25). I’m taking up a new career as a two piano player with a friend and have begun practicing new piano pieces. I started to do re-writes to Sumac. And just when I thought things would settle down and give me time, my Mom got sick again.

In the past 2 weeks I’ve been back to Indy to help her get back on her feet. It will be a long road for her and I’m infinitely worried. Mike took me to Chicago for my birthday after that. A splash of fun after a week of helping out Mom. But I’ll save the details of that for another blog.

I haven’t written a single new thing since April.

My summer schedule starts next week…that only means that I start earlier 2 days a week, but I get done earlier too. I’m doing yoga 4x a week to clear my head and give some sanity back. We have plans to go to Concerts on the Square and American Players Theater.  We have plans to go to Culver with my family again in July…a lake trip at the old family cottage. And in August, I have the Police Academy for Writers.

Things aren’t slowing down.

On top of that, Mike has begun a project with friends, building four houses. He will be working hard, long hours. We have a deck to stain and trim to get hung. We have windows to paint and yard-work to do. And I doesn’t stop there. The garage needs to be gutted, I swear there are raccoons living in a back corner underneath all the piles of trash. And the wind has taken it’s anger out on the trees over our driveway.

I haven’t been to Bujinkan training since May. Before that, once in April. I guess something had to give. If I’ve given that up, you can’t believe what it took for me to get here today.

When I woke up, I planned on putting my fingers to the type pad, but kept thinking of all the other things that need doing. I had to drag myself away from email and work communications. My fingers are fighting it now. Words come like pulling healthy teeth. Without pain killers. With the pliers in my own hands.

Now my teeth hurt.

I’ll get there. Life gets thick with to-do lists sometimes. Then, like a refreshing morning dawn, all those things clear out of the way and make room for what I want to do. Life will settle down. I have to keep telling myself that for sanity’s sake. I have to have hope.

Maybe today is the day of new dawn.


by on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

What a whirlwind. Last weekend I attended the best writing conference in the Midwest, the UW Writer’s Institute. My third year in a row, I think I took away more this year than ever before. Having built on the knowledge I had, what I learned will stay with me for a long time. The conference doesn’t end after the last class on Sunday. At noon when the last speaker is through, you stand up from the table, say farewell and good luck to fellow writers. On walking down the hotel steps into the lobby, you think you learned a lot. You are empowered, you are motivated, and you go home and write.

It doesn’t end there, though. It stays with you. Whether you go home to pitch the great American novel, or simply keep a diary, or blog about your dog, the lessons run deeply into your blood. They filter out to each capillary and nerve ending. When finally, it reaches your fingertips, you can’t help but take it to the keyboard or pick you a well worn pen. All that stuff you’re carrying around in your brain is sent in a stream onto the page.

I am inspired to keep doing it. To keep trying and to get published. I thought of another book idea this weekend, and now have three books to write this year…two to publish.

And life goes on. I can’t help it, I just write. Nothing can stop me, I hope someday you will be terrified by my thriller. Or fall in love with Orhianna, the heroine of my YA novel. Someday…

Layers of Cake

by on Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Ah, December. Cake. (You’ll see what I mean by that in a minute…) Shopping, and Merry making. Decorating and singing and playing Christmas songs on the piano. This season is also punctuated by test driving cars…and hopefully buying a new car in the next couple weeks. From October 24th to November 24th, we successfully hosted three recitals, a Halloween bash, a baby Reveal party, and Thanksgiving and for a few weeks now, the Phillips house hold get’s a reprieve from party season. Next I’ll be hosting my annual Holiday party and cookie exchange for all my students on Winter Solstice, then come the Christmases. Ah, and the holidays are upon us.

All of that is the exterior icing on the cake. Underneath that layer of decadent frosting is the real stuff. Since I finished Sumac, I’ve been sending Queries to agents. Already I’ve received three rejection letters. Two were sooo nice. Disappointing, but nice. This time I’ve decided to query all the agents from conferences I’ve been to first. It helps to have some connection to an agent when approaching them, and I thought that would be a good opening. It turns out it was. I did get one flat rejection, but the other two loved the query letter. One even went on to compliment my writing and wishing me success. (pasted in below because I wanted to save it.)

I sent four out for starters, and due to the nature of the rejections, usually due to the fact that they don’t represent Sci-fi, I revised my plan of attack.  Those agents did represent YA, but Sci-fi Fantasy is a sub-genre unto itself and now I’m doing the research to reach out to agents who DO represent YA Sci-fi.  Yea…guess I should have thought of that before. Genre is so important. If an agent doesn’t feel drawn to the story line, you’ve already lost them. Knowing what they represent is the first step to making a lasting impression.

So now I wait. That’s that inside icing layer. Only this one isn’t so tasty, filled with angst and self doubt. Am I doing the right thing? And  what if I do get an agent? Then the real work starts. Is writing Sumac and it’s successive books what I really want to do? If this works out for me, do I have to finally grow up? Does it mean I have arrived?

It certainly was fun!!

See what you think…

This summer was supposed to be the very best for ORHIANNA BRIGHTLY and her brother LIAM. Instead, their Mother and Father were murdered in a car crash. At the reading of the Will the siblings find out their parents were more than they appeared to be. Their father was the Guardian of a sacred object that killers were trying to find. The ancient artifact, the Eye of Ra is hidden somewhere in their home.

When Orhianna and Liam are transported with their house to the future, everything changes. Leaders from around the globe are chasing them and they end up in Sumac, a city more than one thousand years in the future. Sumac is a world of man/animals and futuristic technologies, but also a civilization deeply rooted in Egyptian and Mayan culture. With the help of their close friend THANE and their uncle BRENNICK, Liam and Orhianna learn of ancient history and mysteries that have yet to occur.

The Eye of Ra is changing them. As the siblings become more divided, Orhianna has to make a choice whether to save her new family, or stick with her brother Liam who has become violent and murderous. Only one of them can be the heir to the Guardian legacy.

And…”Dear Ms. Phillips:

It is with kind thanks that I respond to your submission to Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency. Please be assured that I have carefully considered your project. Unfortunately, I don’t feel the manuscript is right for me at this time. It was a pleasure to meet you at the conference, and you have such a personal and lovely query letter. You are obviously a high caliber writer.
My advice to you is to forget being the next JK Rowling, rather, become the next Tracey Phillips. That way, ten years from now, one of my interns can see a new query letter that says “My work is heavily influenced by Tracey Phillips.” Thank you for allowing me to read your work, to be honest, most levels of sci-fi are lost on me so I am probably not the best agent to represent this work.
But remember to strive, continue and most of all, finish.
Because we receive more than two hundred submissions per week, it is necessary to be extremely selective on a very subjective basis.  There are numerous excellent agents that might be the right fit for your manuscript. I wish you the best of luck.


by on Saturday, October 25th, 2014

And now, I rest.

Spent the last week or so revamping, revising my YA novel Sumac and finished…yes finished yesterday. Surprising even myself, I liked it. And tomorrow, recital season starts. Perfect timing. With four recitals this fall over the next three weeks and a Halloween party in the middle of all that, I do have my  hands full. Labor of love.

And here I sit, blogging away, with nothing left to write except the summary and log line, which I am happy to procrastinate.

Sumac is the story of two siblings Liam and Orhianna Brightly. Less than a week after Liam graduates from high school their parents die suddenly in a car crash. Naturally they are devastated by the accident which they find out was actually murder. Orhianna, only fifteen becomes depressed. As the mystery unfolds, they learn that their dad was from the future and was a member of a family designated the Guardians of the Eye of Ra, a powerful and sacred object. At the reading of the Will, they are each given silver passports for time travel.

Liam is greatly upset by this news, feeling that his parents never trusted him enough to tell him the truth. Soon after finding this mysterious artifact, they are transported with their entire house to Saratan, a desert in the future.  Members of a Secret Society want the object…and want the siblings dead. A man who tries to help them in the desert is killed, turning their adventures into a deadly game. But when leaders see this silver pyramid Liam carries around, they take him and his sister to see  the Council at the Ah Ciliz, The Department for time management in the year 3033 . Here they find out how important this artifact is. The Eye of Ra has been missing since the time of the Pharaohs. Their family, the Guardians have been protecting it, but more than that, due to stellar alignments, it has become energetically charged again and the siblings are gaining powers by being in its presence.

The Eye of Ra amplifies their best or worst traits, giving Orhianna the ability to heal an injured soldier, and Liam the power to kill with a thought. The two experience their gifts in front of the council and narrowly escape the wrath of Rhisiarth, a villainous man who wants the Eye and wants the children dead.

Their good friend Thane, who has more than a passing fancy for Orhianna joins them. And an Uncle, their father’s brother Brennick takes the three to meet the rest of their clan who live in Sumac in the future. Here they learn even more about this artifact, the Eye of Ra and their family’s history.

Leaders from the past and present worlds are conspiring to take the powerful object from them as the siblings become more divided. Liam becomes extremely possessive of the Eye, where Orhianna just wants everyone to get along. Thane, is forced to take sides when Liam seriously injures a member of the family, and Orhianna heals him.

Assistance from the family is lost on Liam who has really gone off the deep end. When he kills their grandfather in a cold blooded act of control, Orhianna finds the power within her to send her brother ‘home’ to their house in Saratan. There, he meets the man who killed his parents, his own mother’s father, Senator Powell Kole. The Senator is a member of a Secret society, the Ahul Net and enlists Liam to help retrieve the Artifact and his sister Orhianna.

Orhianna’s becoming stronger in ways she never imagined and in the eyes of her family, she is a leader. In the final confrontation, she has to face her fears. Liam, whose destiny is unclear, joins the fight to gain control of the Eye of Ra. after a heated battle, he cuts his losses and goes back to 2014. When they finally find a hiding place for the Eye, Thane and Orhianna return to 2014 to find that WWIII has just begun.

Given the many sides of this story, I hope that readers find it interesting. I have left it a cliff hanger, because there will be two more books revolving around these siblings and their adventures in the past, present and future.


Starting Fresh

by on Monday, August 4th, 2014

Nearing the end.  Today is the last day of a very long vacation. Ten days away from my Mikey and my puppy. Ten days away from my home and my routine. Ten days away from what I love. I got pretty homesick after only 5 days. I’ve never been away by myself for that amount of time and though I planned the trip to a writer’s conference, it got piggy backed with a family vacation, and ended up being a long time away from home for me.

This particular  journey started with a Writer’s Conference. A three day seminar on the business and technique of writing. Those Conferences are intensive, beginning early, ending late with back to back classes all day long. When it’s over it takes me days to process the information, and I’m usually mentally exhausted by the time it’s over. Only one day to soak it in this time…

I spent a day by myself afterward, processing, preparing, then checked into a wonderful little bed and breakfast and began writing again. Able to put in a good chunk of time with my book, I worked on rewrites and added a lot of new content.  The next day I met up with my family for a week stay at a vacation home on a lake in Indiana. My mom and Grandmother, aunt and cousin were there and the youngest member of the family, Adam who is fourteen. My other cousin and his partner came a day later.  It was a quiet, though unrestful vacation. The bed I was assigned pretty well sucked. It was too hard, and too short. And for some reason, I relegated myself to two feet of the mattress near the edge because I knew Mike would be filling the other half at the end of the week. Anticipation.

The time spent with family was fun and fulfilling, we laughed, we grumped, we got angry and then forgave. Normal family dynamics in my little clan. I sometimes wonder that because we are a small group, only 17  including significant others,  that  the dynamics are that much stronger.

We collectively dealt with Plumbing Failure, in capital letters because the professionals took 24 hours to repair and unplug the damage. Having to walk two doors down to a neighbor’s house to use the commode was difficult fot the old and injured members. We dealt with everyone’s differing perception of the temperature, cold weather in July and loosing the plumbing again.

My mom and her sister are good at finding chores that need to be done, and one cousin is very good at avoiding them. The youngest and the oldest are along for the ride, meaning they aren’t expected o do any work, which leaves me, and one cousin and his girlfriend to do the majority.

I never really mind, since I’d rather be busy doing something that sitting around. That’s just the way I roll. But a week of cooking and cleaning for ten-12  people gets tiring. I am On, ( with a capital O) all day from the moment they get out of bed. (On) my best behavior, (On) for doing favors, (On) for taking care of business. Imagine being the host of a week long party. That’s me.

The mental demands of trying to make sure everyone is happy, wore me out near the end, though I wouldn’t do it any differently. I want to help out. I am a pleaser, on the ‘How Do You Relate to People’ spectrum. I found myself trying to appease them as a group…making sure they were fed and planning activities, and then individually… by giving back rubs when needed, and playing games with the youngest.

I got  in my writing time though. I set my alarm every day, just like at home to get  in a few hours of writing every morning. And at the beginning of the week I had quiet opportunities to practice Budo and move my body. All in all it was a relaxing time, no work and no other commitments. It was good.

Mike, my daughter and her boyfriend joined us for the final weekend, my son was too busy for vacation. (busy doing what, I don’t know) But as great as it was having my clan there, it divided my loyalties, spreading me thinner. On the last day I cooked, cleaned, ran errands, went shopping, went swimming, went shopping again and cooked dinner for 12 people. That night I had business to complete with five members of the group, and a backrub for my grandmother. Then…….then, I was spent. I did sleep that night, go figure.

And when we got home, Mmmm. Home felt so good. Today I can go back to work feeling like I do this because I enjoy it. I can be with my students and be refreshed, not grumpy and tired of the same old routine. Today, my routine will be a refreshing change of pace.

Today, I start over.


If I was a travel writer…

by on Monday, July 28th, 2014

If I was a travel writer, I would have lots to tell you about Indiana today. After the conference last weekend, I’ve been on my own and bombing around Indiana.

Yesterday I spent the morning at the Minnetrista Cultural Center in Muncie Indiana. I museum of sorts, it is a tribute to the Ball family legacy. Ball, as you know first started as a glass company over one hundred years ago. The Minnetrista Center is located near the homes of the original 5 brothers. Three of those homes are open on weekdays for tours, one is under renovation and the 5th has been sold to a glass company that now occupies the building.

The museum itself has a room for children to explore, a room full of paintings and a room of touring art works, this weekend it was glass works. (Glass seemed to be the theme for the day.) The glass artwork in particular was very interesting, though there were few artists represented (about 12) and then only one work from each artist was on display. Honestly, I found it to be a major disappointment as far as representing any ‘legacy’ and a major waste of unused space. Yes that’s my honest opinion. Honestly.

What is the point of the center if not to represent the history and the families who have founded so much? Mini dioramas were placed along the walls along with a small collection of china, a few antique tea sets, and some odds and ends photos. Representation could hardly be the point.  Along with Ball jars, the company has divided into an aerospace division, and a bottling company now called Jarden. Not to mention the University which has been growing leaps and bounds due primarily to donations from the Ball family heirs.

But I digress…If you are interested in their history, go on line. You’ll find more stuff to look at there.

Next on my agenda has been Culver Indiana. A summer vacation place that my family has traveled to many times in the past, a small town in central Indiana that is famous only for its Academy, Culver Academy, and it’s nice sized lake, Lake Maxinkuckee. Funny, I’m not sure of the spelling. Though I’ve spent dozens of summers here water skiing, inner tubing as a child and later with my own children, I haven’t spent that much time in town. I spent summers at sailing camp at the academy, and so have both my children, in Horse back riding and Hockey respectively, though we never ate out or had to stay in a local hotel.

And so my adventure begins. I arrived yesterday to the Inn at the Lake. A sweet bed and breakfast near the beach downtown and close to restaurants and coffee shops. It is a recently remodeled motel with only 12 rooms, each a different theme I am told, and cozy and super clean. Breakfast was a stunning array of eggs, bacon, fruit and berries, coffee flavors to choose from and other baked delights. The owner was friendly and conversational.

Last night I went to a brew pub…Who knew there was such a thing in this small town? Food was fabulous. If I was a foodie writer, I’d tell you about the juicy hamburger smothered in goat cheese and herbs, topped with fried Guacamole. The fries were amazingly thick and crispy. The beer was delicious and refreshing. I had a  light amber Menage a trois that paired well to wash down the meal. I would have left happy and gone back to my hotel with a happy food coma if I hadn’t spoiled it by backing into the bartender’s car…bad enough that I did damage to both our cars. Ouch. And then it became one expensive meal.

Today I sit happily sipping my mint tea in front of a window (it happens to be in the 60’s outside though it is July) at a wonderful little coffee shop. I had a breakfast burrito for lunch and I plan on going back for some delicious baked something or other.

So if you are looking for a nice quiet vacation, lake and small town included, I highly recommend Culver.


Half a Hundred

by on Friday, June 6th, 2014

50…Nope, still can’t say it. Half a hundred is better. It’s only half of the whole. A fraction. Isn’t fifty the new thirty? In any case, I don’t feel any older than that! Healthy and happy, no complaints! Someday I’ll reach a hundred, and that will be something.

All in all I had a great day. It started out in a pout…I hate birthdays. and then I realized it was really just another day. These things come and go. Ended up at Flemings having appetizers and drinks with my daughter and her boy friend and (last but definitely not least) my wonderful man. A good time.

I survived. I had been dreading the day for months…and months…and years…and years. When it finally came, there was nothing to it. I didn’t get hit by a truck or low flying plane. I didn’t suddenly age beyond repair…like in that movie the Lost Horizon..I think that’s what it was called. About a place where no one aged. When the woman traveled out of the mountains to be with her beloved, she became her true, unpreserved age…826 and died on the spot. That movie always terrified me!!!

That’s what I thought turning fifty would be like. Time to shrivel up and die. It didn’t happen though. Not at all. Amazing.

Soon I’ll post pic’s of me new beautiful tattoo :)


Don’t Be an Eyesore

by on Friday, February 21st, 2014

Isn’t it funny? Been a weird week. I can’t be sure if it’s just my freaking hormones, or more. I spend too much time alone. Thinking. Processing.

So what is it about 2014 that everything is starting new. New accounting systems. New bathroom and remodeling. New carpet, new porch. New contacts…and a first time eye prescription for me. New ways of doing things. New book to work on. New problems, and new solutions. And I’ve found out I’m to receive a new (for me) piano. With that comes new music, and new expectations. New things to practice, and new arrangements of furniture. Also, it brings back the old.

I was wondering today, if maybe, behind everything…the thing that really made my mom and aunt sick in the first place was unspoken expectations. (In meta physics the lungs stand for possibilities.) Was there pressure to be someone that they’re not? I feel it. I’ve felt it all my life. THIS is who you are. THIS is who you represent. Live up to it, or live in the dog house.

And now the piano. (first of 2) Although it seems like I passive/ aggressively asked for it by telling her flat out that she should not give it to the university, I could not have anticipated that she would give it to me. I was never worthy. In many ways I did not live up to her expectations, and she has told me so.  A long time ago. But apparently now I do. She is finished with it and wants to retire, and doing so in such a way that she won’t have to accept any more requests to play two piano pieces with anyone anymore. I respect that. I hope I have such presence of mind when I am 95.

I’m feeling pressured by it though. Unspoken pressure to fulfill some destiny that she has in mind for me. A destiny that I don’t want. Honestly, I will never be able to live up to that.  Never. I hope she never asks to hear me play her piano. I’ve never been good enough to fulfill her expectations. The only ones who can are good enough are concert pianists and APA winners. I am not that person.

Ugh. Add to that that I’ve been beating myself up hard for this crazy phych thriller that I’m writing. I am two people right now. I am the piano teacher, and I am writer of darkness. This second book is taking a toll on me, but I can’t stop it. It’s a story that’s been inside me for decades, needing to be told. Perhaps its that story bringing me down. I’m getting too into my characters. Too connected to them and their dark destinies.

I feel singed, and overly sensitized. Beaten. I feel pressure of wanting to finish, wanting to fulfill a destiny that I have chosen, even though that destiny seems  so hard to reach right now. But I guess that it makes sense that the obstacles placed in my way are obstacles of my own choosing. Yet they have always been there. It will finally be up to me to move around them or be buried by them. Just like having two pianos in my living room, figure it out, or they become obstacles. Big ones.

But for me right now, the biggest obstacle, burden, weight around my neck…is how to tell the story that I need to tell without becoming a pariah. Be the writer. But be a music teacher too.  Perhaps the books will never be published, Perhaps they need only to be finished.

Green Belt (among other things)

by on Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Training has been better than ever. On good days, I feel like I’ve really got it. I know the Sanshin, I know the kehon, and even remember their names. I still have bad days though, days when I have too much on my mind and can’t remember anything.

One night after training, in the dark parking lot, I got the word,  and the secret pass-code, to go buy a green belt. No test, no ceremony. Just like that. Mark said, “You’re good to go.”

I told him to make sure, check with the others if he had to. Get a consensus. I ordered the belt which cost a whopping $8 with shipping and it came the next day. When I went to class with it on, I was congratulated by everyone. But the coolest part about wearing my green belt was that I began to feel like I knew more. I began to act like I knew what I was doing in class, I had more confidence and respectively, the guys treated me like I knew a few things too.

I have a new favorite weapon! Kusari fundi. It’s a two foot length of chain with rectangular weights at either end. All in all it weighs about 5 pounds. The idea is that you get that thing swinging around wrap up their arm or neck, or just create space between you and an opponent. I love it! For one thing, it’s really scary, for another, it doesn’t take too much for it to hurt a lot.

Mike and I started sword training together. We’re studying the eishin ryu which is iajutsu.  We train the kamae and forms a couple times a week, and I told Mark and Josh that we were doing it. They have been adding more sword to our everyday training there as well. So my skills have been growing. Even though it feels sometimes like I’m not getting the words, the movement, the kata, I know that the more I practice, the better I’ll get and the easier it all becomes. And some days, I do know all the words and forms. It is coming.

I’ve been trying to stick around after class to get to know Josh and Mark a little better, I have a feeling they both have interesting stories to tell. Also, I have an ulterior agenda, I want to tell them that I have a real reason for being there and training. It’s not just that I’m a writer, and not just that it’s fun. More about that later. I talked with them about going out for beers after class. Monday night it’s always way too late for me to go out and Saturday it  seems like I’m so busy. So in an attempt to get control of that situation, I invited them all to our house for beer-jutsu and a bonfire.

Mike helped a lot, he was great (really got into the spirit of the thing) and we planned a great meal and fire in the pit outside. The weather, after weeks of rain and cold, cooperated and gave us a beautiful sunny day of about 50 degrees, low wind. Perfect weather for the fire. It turned out to be an awesome party, we had a great time too. Erika and Roy came, Diane and Lester, and even Jay and Cindy came with their girls. Mark, Josh, Bill and his wife and Josh E and his girlfriend were there. It was fun.

I’ve had a couple questions on my mind and have been waiting for an opportunity to ask Mark specifically, since he works with in the legal system (loosely). In class a few weeks ago, I had an epiphany. Mark was talking about knowing when to stop. Knowing when you have a person under control, and you’ve hit them perhaps you have a weapon like the hanbo, and they are down. Know when to stop and walk away. What I realized was that there is one person who if it came down to it, I’m not sure I would know when to stop. I imagined my rage coming to the surface and beating this person senselessly. This epiphany threw me though. In the middle of class, I nearly started to cry and it was all I could do to  bite my lip and stay focused. I’ve been thinking about it ever since too. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, in fact.

You know who I’m talking about. He has been making himself known again and calling people in the family to express his anger and disappointment in us all.  Recently I have become more and more afraid that when Nana dies, which may be a long time away yet, he is going to come after us with his sour vengeance and hurt people. Namely mom, and quite likely me. If he ever finds out that I’m getting the pianos, I can’t imagine what he’ll be capable of. There has been talk of a restraining order. Something I don’t know much about.

Yesterday after training, I finally had an opportunity to  ask Mark the two things which have been burning me for answers. First question, did he know much about restraining orders? He did and gave me some suggestions which I will gladly follow thru on today. Second question had to do with meditation as a component of training. His advice was to incorporate it into your training, bring the calming forces with you to class and be aware of the anger, knowing it’s there is half the battle.

So now he must think I’m a total nutjob. I laid awake half the night last night trying to figure out how to explain to him that I needed them to know there were more serious reasons for my training but there isn’t ever time to explain. Given our time constraints, I probably came across as blurting out this really cryptic and crazy disjointed information. Then hurriedly went home to dinner. I imagine I left him wondering what to do with this crazy person at his dojo.

I guess I just wanted him (them) to know that they are really helping me. It is therapy for  me at so many levels which I haven’t even begun to explore yet…I know it helps. I feel so much stronger physically and emotionally. I don’t want the guys to think that I’m a loose cannon, or that my fears are unfounded. Above all, I’m not asking them to fix me. I just needed a support group. A place to express my own rage. In a way, and I have found them (if they’ll have me).

Walking the path