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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

Month

April 2014

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Reading …

q1We knew this day would come. Okay, maybe you all didn’t know, but I knew. I can’t very well write this blog forever, can I? The answer is no, I can’t. All good things must come to an end. Well, let me rephrase that because I’ve never been good with the finality of endings. It’s more a hiatus of sorts. Yes, I’m taking a sabbatical.

My friend Mary, along with other writers, have commended me on the regularity of this blog. Every Sunday. For just over three years. I know some friends and family who’ll miss it dearly, for it’s how they’ve grown accustomed to keeping up with my life. Even my mom still learns new things about me, and she lives right next door.

But maybe Mary’s the one who has it figured out. Writing when the mood strikes, instead of on a production schedule. Maybe that’s the secret to longevity. She’s more productive and she’s been at this for a lot longer than me. She also types faster than nine words a minute using both hands. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist playing the handicapped card one more time. I’m sure it won’t be the last.)

It’s like before I became disabled. It was everything I could do to struggle awake for work when the alarm went off at 7:30. Now, with nowhere to be, my eyes pop open, sans alarm, at 5:30 a.m. So maybe, now that I don’t have to publish a post, it will be easier.

Not that it was so difficult. It wasn’t. And I did get better. Better at not flying into a panic the last half of the week if I didn’t have an idea yet. It was a good practice for me. I learned to trust the process.

But, oh the energy. Knowing you have three to five hundred words to put out there takes up a lot of mental space in your brain. And there are lots of things I want that space for. For starters, I need to get my book published. Apparently, book deals aren’t like bananas at sporting events — they don’t just hand them out when you’re done.

And I have so many interests! So many passions. Writing will always be one of them — a main one. But there’s also my health — and the fitness routine I need to get back to. The weather’s getting nice, I want to swim in the pool with Mom and maybe coax Frankie in (he hates water). And travel. I still want to travel. Maybe live in a foreign country? If I ever figure out how to do that, you know I’ll have to blog about it. Or write another book. Handicapped traveler in a foreign land? That adventure seems ripe with opportunity for comedic mishap.

Yes, most certainly there’ll be other posts. Make sure you’re signed up for my blog so you’ll receive an email when I’ve posted something new since this Sunday-like-clockwork thing can’t be counted on anymore.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from disability, it’s that you only have one life and it’s short. Make time for all your passions. Make time for more. And do it now.q2

 

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Good Vibrations

bethanyhamiltonLast weekend my friend Michele and I attended the Brooks Celebrate Independence Day. This annual event, hosted by Brooks Rehabilitation and free to the public, honors the spirit and accomplishments of people with disabilities. There are booths set up by different vendors and resource groups, informational and educational exhibitions, and a nationally renowned keynote speaker.

bh2I’ve attended in the past, but this year I admit to being particularly star-struck. The speaker was Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack in 2003 and recovered determined to return to competitive surfing. Her 2004 book, Soul Surfer, was made into a movie of the same name that played at the event. See local news coverage here.

Listening to her speak, one thing stood out. Her personality was downright effervescent. I remember thinking she must be the bubbliest, friendliest person on the planet. She appeared to be speaking from the heart, with no notes or preconceived plan. It was obvious she possessed the main ingredient necessary for dealing with any challenge, from catastrophic illness or injury to major life changes such as death or divorce — attitude.

Bethany Hamilton takes questions with her husband,
Bethany Hamilton takes questions with her husband, Adam Dirks.

I know it’s a little cliche’, but what’s that saying? Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it? It’s so true. We all have a friend that when asked how they are, the answer is inevitably ‘terrible.’ A Chicken Little for who the sky is eternally falling. An Eeyore-type person, all ‘woe is me.’ Don’t be that person. (I love Dr. Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” in which he explains the world is made up of Tiggers and Eeyores.) I think I’m a Tigger. Bethany Hamilton is                                                               definitely a Tigger.

banInterestingly, when asked who inspires her (since she has inspired millions) she answered Nick Vujicic, the motivational speaker born without arms or legs. For those of you who have never seen the link on my website click here. You’ll never say ‘woe is me’ again.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. Full of the kind of reminders we all need to hear every once in awhile. To be grateful for what you have. To dream big. And to never give up. So start cultivating that positive attitude now. You never know what’s beyond the horizon. And should, as I hope, your life be nothing but sunshine, at least you’ll be more fun to be around. You might even feel like bouncing.tigger

One Girl’s Treasure

mwFrankie and I recently took the opportunity to visit the old neighborhood and hung out at a friend’s garage sale. If you live at the beach or have ever cycled down First Street, I’m sure you know the house. I knew the house long before I ever knew the owner. It’s the one with all the “art” outside.

Meet my friend Michele. She’s the one in the photo and, believe it or not, most of the items in the picture were not for sale. And yes, that’s a stack of bricks behind her. Someone was getting rid of them and she thought she might use them as pavers around her pond. Sure, they’ve been sitting there ever since I can remember, but that’s not the point. Someone was getting rid of them. She saved them. She and my chair-hoarding mother (See House of Chairs post) have lots in common.

It’s that way with many of the items — excuse me, finds — in and around her home. Her bedroom floor is a beautiful, eclectic mix of mismatched tiles and found sea glass and one whole wall of her kitchen is made up of wine bottle corks. She remodeled her bathroom with a 150-pound claw foot tub she and her son hauled home off the side of the road and had refinished. Outside, wind chimes made from old forks and spoons tinkle in the breeze while palm fronds painted to look like cats or fish reside on the patio. There’s a sink outside (not in a Honey Boo Boo way, I swear) filled with shells and driftwood she makes into jewelry or soap dishes and she received no less than five compliments on her wine bottle tree during the sale.

It’s a feast for the eyes. The home of a true creative type. When I’m there I feel too neat and minimalistic to call myself a writer. My place is empty and boring in comparison. Hers, with its recycled yard sale or trash pile finds and half-finished projects, just screams artist’s abode.

And yet, I have owned my artistic calling more fully. Having recently sold her restaurant, she’s unsure of what to do next. Like most people I know, she’s still figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up and worried about paying the bills. It’s too bad people have to make a certain amount of money. I think the world loses a lot of it’s artists that way. Loses them to accounting or marketing or finance — i.e. paying jobs. The only reason I’m able to focus on writing is because I’m on disability. I had to become handicapped to follow my passion. Sad.

They say do what you love and the money will follow. I don’t know who they are. I’m more familar with the folks who coined the term “starving artist.”

In a perfect world, if money weren’t an object, I thinkphoto Michele would open up a store filled with her creations. The latest being these hand-painted signs for the garden made from cedar roofing shingles someone was throwing away. (By the way, she sold half of the bricks for sixty bucks.) Until then, feel free to stop by and look around. You’ll know the house. You can’t miss it.

all3
Me, Frankie and friend Jamie supervise the sale.

 

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