Something About Nothing Column published in the Albert Lea Tribune
and The Courier Sentinel the week of April 6, 2015
Ray Bradbury said “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Ray Bradbury, who died in 2012 at the age of 91, inspired people to dream, to create and to think.
Reading that quote brought to mind some of the reasons I started writing, especially this column. I was tired of the reality of the information I read in the newspapers each day. I was tired of the bad news that played time and time again on the radio. We needed something light and funny to lift us out of the sadness of reality.
The same could be said for my books in the Cozy Mystery, Fuchsia, Minn., series. I wanted to take my readers out of reality for a few moments in their lives and make them laugh, be silly and breathe in a stress-free world.
I am not a stranger to stress or depression. If I am not careful and wallow in the realities of the world, they grab a hold of me and beat me down. Writing takes me away and gives me breath to go back and deal with whatever reality is happening in my real life.
I write, not only to stay drunk on writing so reality does not destroy me like Ray Bradbury suggests, but also to reach out to others, to share my life and hope that something will connect and help someone else. I do that with humor, silliness and at times ranting and raving or sharing my heart because of something that has moved me deeply.
I have been writing this column since 2006. I have been asked to share my columns and so I have put together a book of my first columns and titled it “Something About Nothing, Volume 1.” It is snippets of my life, of silliness and whatever else you might want to call it. There will be more to follow over the next year.
Each week when I ponder the subject for my column I consider it a gift if it comes easily. I find if I am not out and about in the communities visiting with my family, friends and readers, the subject for my writing becomes smaller and more closed. Writing my Granny books is easy because I can make it up as I go and it can be farfetched and over the top. This column needs to be inspired by real life people and real life experiences. That means at times I have to leave my comfort zone and get out in the world and experience new things.
Spring is here. It is very easy for our world to become smaller during the winter. Living in a small community occasionally can cause our world to stay smaller because we want everything to stay the same. We don’t want anything to change or feel we are too old to learn anything new. Possibly it is the fear of what the change will bring or the fear of failure if we don’t succeed when we try and learn something new. And so, as we age our world gets smaller. We spend more time alone and more time with the television and the radio. We hear the bad news of the world, the bad news about aging and our conversations become more about our health, the weather, and the same old — same old.
This column was started when I realized that the greeting we give every day to each other on the streets are not listened to. The answers are always the same, “I’m fine.” Or the greeting is the same, “Beautiful day.” Or “Cold out today.” We don’t take the time to see the people and listen to what is really going on under the nothings of our conversation.
There is always something there. Under that nothing might be, “I’m lonely.” “No, I’m not fine, my sister just died.” We don’t take the time to read between the lines or look someone in the face to see if they are really fine.
Do you know someone that is always making jokes and never has a serious sentence or is very defensive and abrasive? That is the nothing. Underneath that nothing there is a reason for the behavior. What is under the nothings that you speak that you hide from the world?
A few years ago I hid the fact that after an illness I was having a terrible time with depression and anxiety. Those closest to me knew, but I wrote this column, or should I say, I struggled with writing this column, trying to hide my something underneath the nothing. It was only when I shared what I was going through and others reached out to me that my healing began.
This spring, go out into the world and look for the somethings underneath the nothings. You will be renewed. You might make some new friends. I will stay drunk on writing to escape reality. Find your frivolous way of bringing joy to your life and escaping reality for a little while. As the flowers peek through from their hiding place this spring, look to see what can sprout anew in your life.
If you want to read my new book, “Something About Nothing,” it can be found locally at Book World in Albert Lea and also The Interchange in Albert Lea. It is also available at Courier Sentinel Offices in Kiester and Wells, along with the Quilter’s Cottage in Bricelyn. Also it is available as a Kindle download from Amazon and paperback at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com and other independent bookstores.
Recently I had a bad review on one of my books, but I happen to think the bad review is one of the best reviews I have received. They said I had scrambled eggs for brains and I wrote like Dr. Seuss. I leave you with a quote from my mentor, Dr. Seuss.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” — Dr. Seuss