Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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Too Many Thoughts

Living A Novel

By Melinda Williams

I’d rather life resemble

a Steinbeck novel

I’d rather starve

or lose a house

or drive Route 66

or have an evil mother

or kill for the greater good

Than risk living the life

of a chick-lit novel

Where I’d never feel anything real

Just what others did to me

Above is my latest poem. I’ve been writing them lately. I jot down poems here and there, or little thoughts of inspiration.  A friend of mine got me this little book and it has been life changing. See? Here it is, and look how messy my handwriting is!

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My Little Notebook! I take it EVERYWHERE

I highly recommend doing something like this. It’s for life’s little thoughts. Or big thoughts… either one, really. Why not have a place where you can jot down a note or two, perhaps an inspiring quote, and maybe even journal in when it’s needed? These little books are so cheap and fit in a pocket, even!

Anyway. This blog is not an ad for tiny notebooks. It’s a blog I’m writing, pondering WHY I’ve become someone who would stay awake and write a blog past midnight. (while sitting in the hallway in front of the heater… because I am frozen. Where’s that whiskey…?)

WHY have I become a person who would stay up that late anyway? I used to be a “get 8 hours of sleep” kind of a gal. Now… lately… I’ve been functioning on far less. Mostly, this is because of fun nights spent with friends when we drink way too much wine and then all have to work the next day. But partly, and more and more frequently, it’s because I cannot sleep and my thoughts are carrying me away with them. Yes. Carrying me away. My thoughts are like little ants in a cartoon of a picnic, and I’m the sandwich, slowly getting further away from the person who prepared it…

That’s a horrible analogy! But I think it kind of works!

I’ve been trying to make quotes like these my mantras:

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amazing, huh?

OR

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I laugh out loud to myself MANY times a day. It’s awesome

Life IS too short not to try to live by these. What does the first quote mean? Well, if you haven’t yet made a few mistakes in life, this isn’t for you. AKA, everyone can probably relate to this. I love the idea that there is this constant gray area, LIFE, that lies between right and wrong. Who’s to say what is right and what is wrong, anyway? There’s always two sides to every story. There are always hearts involved… always personal feelings and actions. It’s just like Justin Townes Earle (one of my favorite singers) says in one of his songs…”Who am I to say?” Therefore, I hope we can all agree to meet up with each other in life. I hope that you and someone, or many people (maybe someone you love, maybe someone you cannot stand) can agree to meet out in that “field” and live life, regardless of blame or “right and wrong.”

The second quote is pretty obvious. And I really, truly hope that you all find a moment to laugh by yourself at least once a day. Think of a funny moment you’ve experienced lately. Read the comics! Make a funny face and then shake with laughter knowing that you are the only one who knows you just did that… (or if you have, say, a twin, make funny faces to each other when no one else is aware… that is pure joy!)

On bad days, or moments when I’m not feeling so great, it’s quotes like these that plague me:

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Ugh

OR

Exactly. Memory can be a monster!!!

Exactly. Memory can be a monster!!!

I’ve really been trying to live in the moment. Not in such a “you only live once” kind of a way… but in a “I need to quiet my freaking brain for at least a second, please” kind of a way.

Do you go over the exact same thought again and again?

Are you riddled with the if’s of your last choice?

Do you over worry about someone else’s reaction to something you’ve done, knowing full well that you are being silly?

I think we all do. I sure hope I’m not alone in this! This is WHY I’ve been trying not to let my memory monsters get the better of me. Memories can be beautiful and peaceful and filled with the best moments of life… I’m not saying that remembering is a bad thing. But hanging on to those moments can be less than helpful in your every day life, particularly when clinging to a bad memory. After all, that is NOT what is happening RIGHT NOW… whenever right now is for you. The same goes with worries about the future.

I’ve heard stress is only a reaction to something we think might happen. It’s rarely a physical reaction to something that is literally happening that moment. Which is exactly why I’m trying so hard to live in the moment. I don’t want to live in the past, whether I’m enjoying a good memory or crying over an awful one. I don’t want to stress about what tomorrow or next week might bring. I want to be present. I want to be thankful for each moment as it comes. It sounds cheesy, but I have to constantly remind myself that tomorrow is not promised. It’s not for sure that I’ll even have to face {input awful outcome of such and such decision here}. I’m trying my hardest not to worry about these things.

So for now, I’ll keep sitting in front of the heater (it’s now much later… or earlier in the morning, rather…), probably writing in my little notebook. I’ll also be trying to quiet my mind.

Oh, and I’m listening to Paper Forest by Emmy the Great. This song has some amazing lines. I listen to it over and over… I’m obsessed. Give it a listen. See if you can get the connection between what I’m trying to say here and what she says in the song.

“It’s like these days I have to write down almost every thought I’ve held

So scared I am becoming of forgetting how it felt

And these fears they will unravel me one day

But still I am afraid…”

Emmy the Great, Paper Forest

<3


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Go Pokes

writer, short stories, author, oklahoma state

Lou n Lou.. Go Pokes!

{This was not a weekend trip to write, read, or eat healthy food… all of which I usually do on a daily basis! This is purely about football, chili cheese fries, and bright orange.}

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m not much of a football fan… I don’t like watching it on TV and I don’t understand half the rules (I know- I sound like a painfully typical gal.) HOWEVER, when it comes to Oklahoma State University, I am now a fan by marriage. I say that not because I don’t actually like the team, but because I literally probably wouldn’t even have heard of them if it hadn’t been for Greg’s family. His parents went there, his brother went there, and the entire family has been going to the Homecoming games every year since before Greg can remember.

I have been going to games since I was 18. This year was my FIFTH Homecoming trip. (and I’ve been to at least three other OSU games)

I feel so integrated into the Williams family and this tradition has no little part in that. It has a huge part in that.

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Last year’s Homecoming!

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TWO years ago!!!

My first time in Stillwater was fun, exciting, and intimidating. The entire town was wearing orange and I, somehow missing or underestimating the “EVERYONE WILL BE IN ORANGE” memo, was wearing a blue shirt. It was one of my first times with Chris and Melissa, Greg’s siblings, and I was overwhelmed. There was more than one moment when I turned to Greg, told him I needed a hug, and started crying in the middle of the grass on OSU campus. I think he was worried about what kind of girl he had taken on the trip. His family is not full of criers, and I cry quite a bit.

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THE blue shirt. I cried about five minutes after this picture was taken.

writer, author, short stories, go pokes

just for fun… Greg and me. AGES 18 AND 21!!!!!! oh, how time flies.

This time of year and going to the game has become a tradition for me and something I really look forward to. Stillwater is a cute little town and I love Greg’s family. It’s amazing how time flies. When I was seventeen I already knew I’d be marrying this funny bald guy… so I am not surprised that this is my sixth year as a Poke fan. However, it is crazy how fast it all went. I didn’t really have a grasp on what we would look like (figuratively and literally!) at this point in time.

College is over, I’m trying to be a writer, Greg is in a cool band, and life has never been better.

Turns out, life just keeps surprising us. I’ve let things slide that I never thought I’d be able to. I’ve taken risks than turned out to work really well in the long run. I’m a completely different person than I was on that first Homecoming trip. Greg is, too.

The thing that is most similar is how much we laugh!!! I swear. It’s the number one reason why I married him :) but enough about that…

ANYWAY- this year was so fun. The Pokes won!

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In the stands watching the game!! Melissa, me, Greg, and Chris :)

We all got to hang out and have a good time!

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Before some horrible shots were passed around…

We ate some delicious food! (I didn’t let myself feel like crap for eating entire pizzas, bunless [I do gluten free!!] fried onion cheeseburgers, chili cheese fries/tots, and ice cream. I simply ENJOYED it. It tasted damn good, too.)

(Chris, pictured here, is the one who introduced A Prayer for Owen Meany into my life. We bond over a few drinks and talking literature. He’s the best! I will be forever in his debt!!)

writer, new writer, author, go pokes

Chris and the Lous!!! Eatin’ some Eskimo Joes

writer, new writer, author, short stories, go pokes

I have the funniest husband in the world.

I got to hang out with my hilarious and amazing sister (in-law) Melissa, aka Melissy, aka Billy pop, aka Bills

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Bill and Lou

And best of all… I finally had an entire wardrobe of orange to take along with me. It was my most successfully orange year, in fact.

writer, author, short stories, go pokes

my father-in-law Frank. Biggest OSU fan on the planet!!!! He always wears orange.

Going to the games has given me a good perspective on relationships and accepting the fact that we all have very different interests. Just like I’ve mentioned before, I hate the word “let” in a relationship. I don’t “let” Greg watch the games every week with his dad, I like it when he does. When else can he scream like a maniac, bond with his dad, and have pure guy time? This is the best outlet. And the game? I can get just as into it in person. Yup. If I’m there and in the stands, I can cheer and yell and high five along with every other Williams (oh, and every other Poke fan, too!). It’s FUN. It’s fun to get into something that I otherwise would never have had an interest in.

Because it’s not all about me. It’s about Greg’s interests, his family, my family, bringing our traditions together, and having a good time!

Bonus: I didn’t even cry this year.

writer, new writer, short stories, go pokes

:)


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Pull the Band Aid Off

Why Listening to Your Gut is the Way to Go

I’ve always been an impulsive person.

My sisters still tease me about the day I texted them all about my boyfriend (in high school) and said, “Guys, I need to break up with him STAT!” Most likely, the day before I was naming our future kids. I just woke up one day, realized that he really wasn’t the one and that I shouldn’t waste my time or his, and broke up with him.

(if you know me then you’ve definitely heard me say this:)

My motto: Pull off that band aid. FAST!

It might hurt A LOT, but it’s sure as hell better than pulling it off slowly, taking hair and skin and time in the process. Just pull the damn thing off. Get it over with. It only hurts for like a split second, I promise. Listen to what your gut is telling you. It’s the strongest instinct we have and we were given instinct for a reason.

I listened to my gut:

-when it came to a boyfriend in high school.

-when it told me that I was not meant to teach, but I was meant to write.(def. more blogs about that…yikes)

-when I bought that awesome scarf at Forever21.

-when I added more butter to the recipe and it turned out to be even tastier….

-when it told me that Greg was the one to marry.

new writer, writing, wedding

My dad and me… I’m hyperventilating …

new writer, writing, marriage, regrets, impulsive

Mr. & Mrs. Williams AKA Lou & Lou

-when I quit my first job, and then was asked to work at the same bakery as my sister.

new writer, writing, regret, bakery

I think I’m still in my TEENS in this picture :) ahh.. back in the day

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Meredith holding up a yummy berry bar!! Great Harvest is awesome!

And again when I chopped off all of my hair AND dyed it for the first time ever (you got me, that wasn’t such a great success story, but still… I got past it. It was okay in the end. It grew back.)

new writer, hair cut, mistakes, regret, writing

Yikes times a million. But Greg still loved me!

You get the picture. I’ve lived a life of hardly planning for a thing. When something pops up on my road, I decide whether or not to take it. I decide quickly, too.

OUTCOME:

I may not have tons of money. (yet)

I may not have a job with benefits or retirement plan. (which I NEVER will, if I can help it… and I’m sure as hell happy this way, so it’s all gooood) (also, I quit the bakery in order to become a chocolatier -watch the product video!-… and that was also an impulsive decision!!)

I may have a touch of guilt when it comes to that boy I broke up with because he cried more than I did for no good reason. (but I think we are both happy today- I know I am)

I wake up every day to an existence that I chose and that I’m okay with…that I LOVE, actually…with this guy:

new writer, writing, happy

We’re at a high school football homecome game! Talk about memories!! And regrets!! And being happy we never have to return! ha

I’ve learned from many a mistake, and that’s okay, too

BUT I DON’T REGRET VERY MUCH.

Where does this fit in with writing or reading or anything, really? Well, I guess it comes back to characters again. Think of your favorite character of all time. It can be from a movie, book, tv show, comic strip… anything! (of course, mine is Owen in A Prayer for Owen Meany!) I’m guessing he or she had some sort of life struggle that they went through. I’m guessing something happened in their life that they wound up regretting. Isn’t it an inevitable part of the growing up process?

The thing we can control is how we respond to that regret and how long we let it last. I’m not saying I don’t have guilt. I keep that guilt tucked away until it comes out at the worst times, actually. But at the end of the day, I think that feeling of regret is even worse. Guilt can come along even when you know you did the right thing. Regret often comes from a time when you know you did the wrong thing.

Regret and guilt are often what propels a character forward.

Where would Hester be without the mistake that changed her entire life? The one that led to a daughter and a willpower stronger than she knew? (The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne)

Where would Captain Ahab be if he didn’t regret the day he let the whale get the better of him? (Moby Dick by Herman Melville)

And where, oh where, would Rachel be if she hadn’t made a huge mistake… one that left her feeling guilty for a very long time, but ultimately changed her life for the better? (Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin)

As the main characters in our own lives, it moves our stories along. It’s the mistakes in someone’s life that can really be a part of who they become.

So I hope that if you have any regrets, you are quickly letting them fade.

I hope if you have any guilt, that it passes and your heart is peaceful!

I also hope that if you haven’t read A Prayer for Owen Meany, you so do ASAP!! ;)

 


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“If you care about something you have to protect it – If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” ― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

This quote is from my FAVORITE book of all time. ALL TIME. This pretty much says it all. Today I’m starting to live the life I want. My future has never looked so bright!