There are a million ways to be a writer. I have friends that are reporters, novelist, content writers, technical writers, bloggers, and a million things more. Some of us blast our words to the world, some pitch ideas awaiting acceptance or rejection a 150 at a time, and some of us scribble prose for no one to ever see. Still there are a million more.
You can do it for the byline, the paycheck, or just the release. Try for a grant, residency, publication, or competition.
One of the competitions that came across my desk was a micro flash fiction. A complete story in 100 words, first prize $20,000. I don’t know what story to tell let alone how to contain it to 100 words.
Of course, the one that is stuck in my mind comes with no paycheck or grand prize. And that’s why I’m sitting outside on a Friday night trying to figure out a fictional me for a fictional land. Could I be a pirate queen or a priceless jewel or maybe a flamingo with a turtle friend?
Yeah, this is going well. Happy Friday to all y’all, here’s hoping you’re out having nonfictional fun.
Over the summer, I bounced around to Vegas a bunch. I just flew back from a visit Friday. It was the summer of shows, Gaga, Cher, Rebelution, Avett Brothers, Chainsmokers x2, Britney…casino after casino.
So good news is there’s internet at the rental now, that means here’s nothing holding it back. Time to breakdown all the spots from all the trips. And don’t worry, I’ll be all over posting as a distraction from the book…I mean, I’m devoted to writing the book. Stay tuned!
As a Southerner, there are a few things I’m genetically dispositioned towards: monograms, football, flops, pearls, sweet tea, mosquitos, and humidity. Out West, everyone wanted to tell me how the heat would be the end of me. Please, down South we’ve got mosquitos the size of cats and heat soaked with humidity so thick you could cut it out of the air.
I will admit that the desert heat is no joke, poolside in Vegas one day it reached 112° completely melting the binding glue of my book. But folks, that’s a dry heat.
Now as I said, I live or die by my Rainbow flops. They’re just the best flip flops you could ask for especially with their Rainbow Guarantee. However, this summer my beloveds betrayed me. Broken in to perfection, while in Vegas they gave me a blister?! It took me awhile to figure that one out.
The desert heat not only dried me out, they dried out my leather sandals. This is a simple fix! Lotion. I started making sure I lotioned up my feet AND my Rainbows. This kept them from drying up and rubbing against me as well as keeping them from drying out and cracking. Pretty simple, right?
Let no flop keep you from wandering! Tomorrow, I’m tackling Vegas for Where I’ve Been Wednesday. Keep an eye out for it!
One of the things I get asked about all the time is my hair. Do I color it myself? Is it my real hair? Once, like a slap in the face, did I color my hair with Kool-Aid? How does it stay so bright? How often do I do it? None of it is easy? But I’m going to tell you all about it.
First off, it is time consuming in so many levels. I had never dyed my hair before so my virgin locks soaked up every ounce of color that came my way during the SEVEN HOURS I was at the salon. Yep, seven hours to make this brunette pink. Shannon from Hair Lounge in Summerville, South Carolina, did it and she’s amazing. When I can’t get back to her, she sends stylist instructions. The only person who has ever come close was Deron at Salon Studios in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I don’t know what Deron does, but my hair always comes out crazy silky smooth after our visit.
Product is everything. We use Goldwell Elumen and let me tell ya, that shiz isn’t going anywhere.
The only reason I go to the salon every 4-6 week is to touch up my roots. Damn my fast growing hair! When I get a touch up, I pack a lunch since those visits are a minimum of 4 hours. Younjust got to plan on settling in!
Despite the pic above, the color doesn’t fade…like at all. With Goldwell as a base, I care for my hair with Keratin Complex shampoo & conditioner PLUS Viral color tinted shampoo. The color treated shampoo makes a HUGE difference. Hotel KLA has gorgeous purple locks ombré with her natural hair color, thanks to Viral she hasn’t had to have her color touched up in almost 6 months.
Notice that sun hat? Yep, you guessed it! No sun to tarnish my color. Poolside I toss my hair up in a monogrammed ball cap, while driving with the top down I make sure to load my hair down with color sunblock. I find that the sunblock is a personal preference on brand. I don’t love the aresal, but haven’t found one I love love love. Even if you’re not pink, if you have any color in your hair at all you should be putting sunblock on your color to keep from dulling or turning brassy from the sun.
No sun, no chlorine either. Saltwater is fine, but a chlorine pool will destroy my hair. Not even ashamed that I put on a swim cap, special ordered of course.
I try to space out my showers as much as possible…which leads to a lot of dry shampoo (regular, nude, and pink tinted depending on the occasion) and LOTS of styling.
You’re going to want to invest in some dark towels for when you do shower. Can I keep going pink forever? With proper hair care, yes. Though I am considering leaning towards a fade into pink to cut down on salon visits and expenses. Maybe something like these only with pink? What do you think?
Of course, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bombshell:
A lot of the reason we transitioned from bubble gum pink to hot, hot pink are my dark roots. As much as I love that fiesty lady above, it would be even more work than what I have now.
So yeah, that’s the 411 on my pink locks and haircare. Mad work, but worth every second. I mean, how can you not be enchanted?!
Currently, I’m flying a bagillion miles in the air leaving Vegas where I just had my big ol’ pink head put in place. It seemed like the perfect story for the return of For the Hell of It Friday. First, let me tell y’all why I was so easily swept away.
Before heading out to Vegas, I came home to Charleston for a few weeks. Seeing people I know everywhere I go is one of the things I miss most.
Out and about once in Charleston, someone recognized Mizzou (she was a dog celebrity), stating that one of the people trailing her must be Muffy. Another time a woman came up to my table while out at dinner to see if I was me, I am obviously. She proclaimed me “Park Circle Royalty,” gave me a hug, and walked away without ever telling me her name. I’ve given speeches, taught seminars, and won awards that led to people approaching me in the grocery or strolling down King Street. Part of being overly active in the community. Plus how many Muffys do you really know? I’ve been told of dozens, but only ever met one and she was an “ie.”
While back in town I had my hot pink locks touched up. Sitting in the salon (which takes hours per visit), a woman between the age of my mother and grandmother asked if I was Muffy. I just happen to be her! Somewhat confused since I was in Summerville far outside my usual stomping grounds, I waited for her to fill in the blanks on how we knew each other.
She recognized me by my pink hair and knew of my adventures because her niece follows me on Facebook. Let me tell ya, my heart swelled three times bigger than the Grinch’s when hearing the carols of Whoville. This was better than trolls! This was like a fan sighting! *fans self over the excitement of being famous*
That is why when I was lounging poolside in Vegas on one of the oversized chaise lounges and a woman approached me asking me if I was Miss Muffett sitting on my tuffet I laughed, flattered, and asked if she followed online. Yeah, no. She doesn’t.
Feeling like a moron, I explained that my name was Muffy and since I had my highly recognizeable hair down I had thought she knew me. After all we were staying at the same hotel where I had been checking in a great deal…no, not even close.
Not only did she have no clue who I was, she wasn’t really standing over me to get acquainted. My tuffet just happened to be where she stopped to wait for her friends who she recounted the whole event to still chilling at my tuffet. Pretty sure that put my dillusional celebrity status in check even if the Las Vegas Monorail liked my fb post. One day kiddos, one day.
Next week, I’ll be wrapping up the summer of shows darting all around Vegas. Monday we’ll be back on track with a Muffy Monday discussing one of the top three questions I get on repeat. Doesn’t it feel good to be back?!
Two weeks from today will be the one year anniversary of when my world fell apart. I would love to say that I am stronger now, but I am not. There is just a lot missing and lately that included me at least from the blog world. No need to be all mush mush, let’s catch up…from the beginning with lots of glossing over the parts that still make me cry hard enough that I can’t breath.
And don’t y’all worry! I still don’t believe in punctuation or proofreading, still just kicking out random. Though, I must admit a rough draft of this post would probably have been helpful.
There has always been Muffy On The Move, just not as the gypsy nomad most of y’all know. I had an idea that I couldn’t shake, an idea that I couldn’t Rattle Out of My Head. See what I did there? If it isn’t clear, that is the link to my very first post. I know, super clever. Thanks to the beauty of technology and much too much dedication on my behalf, I went back and post dated all of my original Facebook posts that led to the blog.
My possessions were suffocating me. They all had to go….everything. I started planning an escape, that is where the tiny house idea bloomed. Even I find this boring, here’s the short of it: I sold, gave away, or donated everything I owned. I bought an old RV to live in while I built a tiny house. Goodbye debt, hello freedom.
This was probably one of my worst ideas ever. It was hard, really really hard.
On Day 30 of WTH Am I Doing, I posted that I had taken my first real shower in almost a week. Plumbing couldn’t be installed in the RV until the new flooring was put down which didn’t really matter since I didn’t have any power. This was also the day I declared that the “blog is on” in case there was someone else out there that might be encouraged by constant disasters. The day before, my triumph was getting the bathroom door unlocked with a paper clip all while fearing leaving the safety of the Hawk’s backyard for a trailer park in North Charleston and not the hip, upcoming area either.
Day 25, I showered in the tub of the RV with a garden hose that I had pushed through a window. A good day! Except I was worried that a raccoon might crawl up the exposed tire shaft into my “home.”
Hurricane Matthew started towards us and I staked down my RV before evacuating, crying because I really didn’t have enough left for Matthew to take some.
Then I came back and that is when it all happened. Turns out, Matthew wasn’t what took everything from me. But, I am not going to talk about that night. I still can’t.
When I resurfaced a week later, it was time to live up to the name. Charleston broke my heart so I left. I just needed new memories to push back everything I knew. And that is when I started traveling.
There was a lot of new, a lot of sad, and, somehow, more loss. Last you heard from me, I was miserable in Kentucky trying to find my voice again. It took ages for me to write anything decent. When I did, it paid off.
Why am I rehashing all of this? Because some of y’all are assholes. Because some of y’all forgot all of that and only saw the shiny new that came along.
Since Kentucky, all of the heartache and hustle of the last year paid off. I went pink and drove off into the sunset with the top down on my convertible to California. The summer was spent submerged in a story that is going to become an awesome fucking book. Looking back, it kind of felt like going undercover losing all of my own life to be apart of the story.
What happens now?
Well, the sailboat is still the plan just maybe after hurricane season. Since I believe in the hustle, I’m taking this success and building a safety net in the form of a tiny house. That isn’t a metaphor, an actual tiny house is finally coming to fruition. Other than that, I write. I’ve rented a room in Tuscaloosa and plan to just write. I’ll spend the anniversary of the worst day of my life on the other side of the country most likely in silence pretending none of it ever happened. And that is all the discussion we will be having on that.
With my life somewhat back, you’ll be hearing more from me on all the original topics of tiny houses, traveling, with stories of where I have been, and all that is to come. Knowing me, probably lots of ridiculousness to go with it all. For reals, I’ve been researching rattlesnake bite proof boots for an upcoming outing. Side note: if you ever want to have your mind blown, check out some of the boot testing videos. Hells to the nos on that job.
So thank you to all of you who made it through this post, who have wondered where I am, who have followed along on social media (where I haven’t been absent at all), and all of you who have supported me all along. A million high fives to everyone who knew I had this in me and big “suck it” to all those I disappointed by succeeding. Get used to it because I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Mostly, thank you to Sarah Bonge who inspired this post by reminding me that my life is kind of awesome right now, but she wouldn’t have suffered through half the stuff I had to do to get here.
For anyone who ever forgets:
Day 27 of WTH Am I Doing, September 13, 2016
Let’s talk about the not fun stuff. I spend an obscene amount of my time crying. Sometimes it’s the obvious like getting a huge splinter when I braced myself from stepping on a missing portion of the floor or from an overall meltdown fueled by exhaustion when wondering really wth am I doing with my life? There’s been a surprisingly amount of crying from texts of people informing how terrible a friend I am being. I get it. I’m being incredibly self centered, I’ve already covered that (see Day 21). Mostly, I end up crying because it’s really hard trying to hear the beat of your own drum when people are trying to drown it out with criticism. In no way do I think what I’m doing is for everyone else. Hell, it probably isn’t even for anyone else. That’s just it though, this is for me. This is me doing what I need to do and making the sacrifices I need to in order to get where I want to be. Some of the sacrifices are short term like splinters and washing my hair after dark with a garden hose. Some of them a little longer term like square footage, belongings, and sadly a few friends. This isn’t all a fun adventure. Words hurt just as much as splinters. Now, if you’ll excuse me, the sun has gone down and I need to wash my hair. #LongTermNotShortTerm#MuffyOnTheMove#RVLiving
I know there has been a lot of silence since the announcement of the car giveaway, lots of things having to fall into place. Everything is in line, back on the road with tons to share. But first, the car. Tomorrow, I’ll be in Pensacola to deliver the car to Gwen.
Choosing a winner was hard. You’ll remember the process from the last post, if not you can read how it all went down HERE. There were several letters that were top contenders. So if you’re reading this and want to do something for someone, let me know. I’ve got a couple of people who deserve nice things to happen.
What it comes down is that Gwen was the right story in the right circumstance. My car is a putter around town car. Would it be a perfect first car for some teenager? Absolutely, only not being a legal adult makes things complicated. My car would only be a band aide for some of the letters. Though solid, it is not a car that should be someone’s sole transportation to earn a living to support an entire family. My little car could last another 100,000 miles or could die next week (the damn thing has been trying it’s hardest this last week). Honestly, Gwen came really close to just getting a check a couple of times since the announcement. But, $800 later the car that I loved so much is in top shape for her new owner. What if all of that had happened AFTER I passed the car off? Upside, my checkbook is extremely happy to see the car go.
Very few of the letters were from people who had no connection to me. This made it crazy hard. In the end, it wasn’t fair to punish someone because I knew someone they knew. The top 3 letters went through a million readings from about 6 set of eyes before the winner was chosen. After all that….we made a phone call. Of course, I was in a hotel with a bad connection and the video turned out fuzzy. Don’t worry, after a discussion on angles, I fired my cameraman (I kid, mostly).
After all the excitement and shock of the announcement, we forgot about how this is supposed to change someone’s life. What you didn’t get to hear (or see) was all of us breaking down crying when it got serious. At the end of the day, Gwen is 18 years old on the opposite side of the country…you know what, I’ll just let her tell you.
Most of the letters I received were pages long. I would be willing to bet it was the first time they had ever put pen to paper letting their story fill the space. There are a lot of times you pour the words out without realizing what you’ve said. While Gwen has said I can share her story, I have withheld parts of it. She didn’t have a great upbringing. As a teenager, she was taken from her mother and taken in by the people she now calls her parents. This is a happy ending and that’s what we are going to focus on; that is the part of her story that is mine to tell.
Without further ado, I present you Gwen’s winning letter:
Deserve is a difficult word. I was raised to earn and work for everything that I have. I can say with honesty, I have not been proud of all my life choices I’ve made. At one point I learned i had to simply grow the heck up and stop blaming others for perpetuating my downward spiral. I know the difference between needing and deserving. I’m sure there are far worse of stories than my own. But the truth of the matter is, I have turned my life around, I now am struggling with the ghost of my past and the uncertainty of my future. One thing I always hold on to my Mom’s words of advice, however hard they are to swallow:
I will always remember one of my Mother’s favorite stories… she used to read it to me. It was by Author Robert Fulghum…. ” The fireman responded to a smoke engulfed apartment and found a bed wildly lit on fire. They questioned the tenant after they pulled him from the burning bed as to how the fire started..“I don’t know he said, “It was on fire when I laid down on it”…..
This verse will forever haunt me and remind me that my life situations and choices cannot simply be excused away. Whether or not my life was a hot mess, or a bed on fire…it is ultimately MY choice if I’m going to lay down on it and allow someone to come rescue me, or if I’m going to recognize…hey this fire is probably not the best idea- let me get the hell up outta here.
I am so thankful that my parents didn’t “give” me a darn thing when I was undeserving. They could have easily afforded me everything my teenage spoiled heart desired. A car, fashionable clothes, hair highlights…but they refused. They would never ever allow me anything of serious value unless I had earned it. Trust me, that led to quite a bit of my rebellion as a teenager. However, reflecting back now, as a young adult- I see why they instilled in me the values of working hard and earning every single thing that I own. I have a sense of pride now- not entitlement. I respect my hard work and literal blood sweat and tears that I put into things as simple as grocery shopping for my home. I have to actively think now about the fact that milk is $4.25 a gallon and getting my nails filled is $12.00- so do I want to buy breakfast for a week or have my nails done?
Growing up sucks. It sucks Ass. And I wish I never had to do it. I wish I wouldn’t have rushed through my teenage years with so much haste. I want to go back and make it all right again.
But here I am, 18 years old, Navy wife- across the country from all my friends and any family that I have. I’ve struggled so darn much just to survive. Struggled for my marriage. Struggled to maintain my sanity. Truth is, my husband is sick. He was just discharged medically from the Navy. We now have no business here in Florida and are heading home with our tails between our legs. Like we “Tried to adult” and failed. I’ve begged for jobs around here…settling for $5.00 an hour working in a sandwich shop. All the while watching all my former classmates and friends start their second year at college. Go to Mexico on Spring Break, gain new internships. Here I sit- trying to be a supportive Navy wife- a WORLD a away from anyone who loves me, no transportation what so ever. This car would mean so much to me. It would mean that I could actually have the means to continue my dreams and attend college!! I could have transportation to go out and find another job. I have worked so hard to get where I am. My biological parents influences should have made me careless and uneducated, drug dependent, a parasite to society, and a nobody. I wouldn’t have graduated high school… but I did it 160 credits behind and I graduated on time.
Do I “deserve” a car?? no. I don’t think anyone truly deserves anything they have not earned. My parents didn’t raise me that way. Would this car change my life ? In so many ways I cannot even begin to express. The feeling of being that much closer to actually being a normal adult- and being able to attend college so I can actually make something of myself.
So here is my pledge to you- If at any point I am gifted this car… I vow to you I WILL PAY IT FORWARD. This will not end here. One selfless act truly begets another my mom always said. And I will live up to this solemn promise. If given this act of generosity and opportunity- I will in turn reach down and help the next one in line in the same manner.
I know what its like to envision your life like a burning bed…and I chose to NOT lay down on it and allow someone to come rescue me. If given the gift and opportunity to better my circumstances and education with a vehicle… I will use it to also ensure others see that just because their bed is on fire… they don’t have to lay down on it either.
There you have it. I hit “publish” on this post and get on the highway to Pensacola. I’m 6 hours away, but tomorrow morning I meet Gwen and hopefully change a life.
In order to keep it fair and impartial, I’ve got a system in place. Every letter is being read by me then sorted out. If it even hints at someone I might know or know through someone, the letter gets a second read from an individual party. It isn’t fair to exclude someone just because I know them and vice versa.
There was some concern that I would receive a bunch of heart wrenching letters and never be able to pick. Sadly, there have been some doozies…on the wrong end of the spectrum.
Come on people. You’ve got 12 kids, no home, no job, and only one arm so my car would really change your life? There is no way 12 kids would fit in my car and it’s a stick shift so you’ll probably need two arms.
Insensitive? Maybe, but man the whoppers I’m seeing. Luckily, I have a big brain to go with this big heart. All the letters that are moving on are being checked out by a third party. Just be honest guys! You don’t have to have a super sob story to get this car.
Also, in case this has not been covered enough: it is a real car. It really is a real car that I am giving away. That’s cool if you don’t believe me. I get it, it is the internet. But please, as much as I love hearing from y’all, there is no need to tell me how my FREE car is not good enough for you. Let’s keep that to yourselves.
We’ve still got a few more weeks before the April 21st deadline! There is not an exact date yet of when I’ll be announcing the winner, it is going to depend on how many letters arrive on the last day and where the winner lives. I would guess I’ll announce around the beginning of May.
If you know someone who might need a car or want to send in a letter yourself you can get all the details HERE.
I’ve always loved the written word. Renowned penpal, I am never without a book of stamps to send off a quick note, a letter to remind you I care. Thanks to the written word, now I get to send off postcards from all over. Not having a car payment played a big part.
What would you do without a car payment? If someone just gave you a car, would that change your life? Then let’s change your life. You can have my car. No strings attached, all you have to do is send me a letter telling me why you deserve my car. Grammar doesn’t matter, don’t get caught up in that. Look at me, I laugh in the face of punctuation without an editor! But, I won’t bother looking at your letter if it isn’t handwritten.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. You only get considered if you mail a letter. No emails, no calls, no texts. A handwritten letter is the only way you get considered.
2. All letters must arrive in the mailbox at the yellow house by April 21st. Mail your letter to:
1107 Riva Ridge, Danville, KY 40422
3. Don’t bother mailing your letters after April 21st, I won’t be here after that.
4. If given the car you cannot sell, trade, or any other type of negotiation for profit.
5. Location doesn’t matter. If you don’t care about the extra miles, we can talk about getting the car to you wherever it is you are.
Silver 2004 Hynadi Elantra hatchback
166,000 miles +/-
Stick shift, moonroof
It’s a solid car. Within the last year I’ve put in a new oil pan and a new clutch. It does need a new emergency brake and a CO2 thermometer (It got put in upside down. Promise, it’s the only thing I attempted to do myself). Both easy fixes. The driver side window is off track and there’s some exterior dings. No water damage, we’re flood free and hurricane evacuees. Primary focus is, this car is free.
There has been an offer on the house; the light at the end of the tunnel might be getting brighter. I miss being on the road. Even though I’ve been still, my mind hasn’t stopped.
Nostalgia can’t help from lurking at every corner. Memories both tangible and intangible are all over this place. The “what ifs” are starting to creep in now. What if I had done this in August when I was first asked? Would I still have Mizzou? Would I have seen my grandmother more?
There is no point in what ifs, that doesn’t mean they don’t run rampant through my thoughts.
It hasn’t been all sad. I found a tent and a sleeping bag in the garage attic. I’m sure there has to be others…I’ll think of them eventually.
From here, there’s the world. I’ll pack back up and head off. Before that I’ll pack up the memories both tangible and intangible. This was the last semblance of home and my purpose of being here is to get rid of it.