Perspective

My route was supposed to be PDX>PHX>OMA.

My route became PDX>TUS>DFW>OMA. Also, please add nearly 7 hours to that PDX>TUS flight (stuck on the plane, that is, in turbulent air and then on a tarmac) AND an overnight in TUS. And a rude gate agent last night. Look, guy. I know you’re stuck here longer than your original shift was supposed to be, but sir, I’ve been trapped on a plane for nearly 7 hours and I’m a 22 hour drive from home and I’m stuck in Arizona. AND I’m smiling at you and being much kinder than about 95% of the others in line. So…check the attitude, maybe. I didn’t say it, but I was thinking it – he had to see it in my eyes and hear it in my kind, strained voice. Right?

Frankly, I was pissed. However, I realized a few things at the airport (where everything was shut down, I might add.)
A) I was hungry. When I am hungry, I am totally, completely unreasonable.
B) I was tired. Mentally, not physically, but still.
C) I was stuck.

I woke up this morning wanting to write about perspective or “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.”

Life really is what you make it. Being that C was inevitable, I made the best of the situation. The airline didn’t want to give me vouchers for hotel (despite the fact that I had 13 hours prior to my next flight) nor did they want to give me food vouchers (despite the fact that I’d been on a plane from 11:25 AM to 6:30 PM AND was stuck in an unknown city until 8:45 the next morning). Jerks? Yes. We’ll be chatting after I’ve cooled off a bit more.

BUT

There was a time when I wouldn’t have had the $ to do something about this situation. That I would have been stuck, hungry, and tired – at the mercy of the airline. That’s no longer the case. I was able to pull together enough for a motel and some dinner. Perspective. I was traveling over a weekend and didn’t have to worry about missing work. Perspective. I’m a freelancer and my job is mobile. Perspective. I’m safe, I’m alive, I have a wonderful boyfriend who picked up the dogs from the boarder so I didn’t have to pay an extra day. Perspective.

Here’s what I’ve learned: All that negative crap that comes at you? Let it go. It’s not worth ruining a day, making a bad memory of an otherwise great trip, etc. etc. etc. Being mad? Being rude? Being frustrated? Boring. Expected.

Why not do something unexpected and make the most of an unfortunate circumstance? I found a really good restaurant. They had really good local beer. I got to sleep in a king sized bed. I got a bathtub – that’s a luxury I don’t have in my home and it was thrilling to relax in a big old bubble bath.

Even when it’s difficult, find the good in a situation. Don’t let that anger, that frustration, pull you down.

You Love Who You Love (Who You Love)

Okay, it’s confession time. I have fallen in love with the documentary “Bridegroom.” It’s truly terrible, what happens to this young, vibrant couple. And yet, it’s strangely beautiful to watch what becomes of it. I was raised to believe that we’re all different – and that, that is what makes us alike.

How I could relate (but not really)…

Growing up in a midwestern town, it’s easy to see the prejudices people hold deep inside themselves like a secret – even though it’s written all over their faces. When they see an interracial couple, a gay couple, a couple that is somehow different than what they themselves are. And in some ways, I suppose, I was aware of it, though I never really GOT it.

Being that my parents didn’t care what kind of person I dated as long as they were good to me, I’ve been happy to meet and date white men, black men, asian men and, yes, even men that were gay before admitting as much to me or to anyone else.

There was the occasional whisper – when you’d walk into a restaurant or a bar in a smaller town with someone whose skin is a different color than yours, holding hands with them. However, it never led to anything major: no giant brawls, no splitting of families, no radical changes that swept the planet. Life went on. Haters hated. After all, we can’t change the color of our skin, nor can we decide who to love – in a moment or over a lifetime. The heart is…well. Useless to reason with, for one thing.

And this prejudice? It is the closest I’ve ever been to the deeply rooted hatred that some people carry. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t earth shattering for me- it didn’t change things because there was never a large enough event that occurred crying out for change. I was never threatened or beat up or screamed at. It all just…was.

Which brings me to…

I’m straight. I didn’t choose to be straight, I just am. Like…I am a dog lover and I am a writer and I am from the midwest.

Being a certain sexuality – it’s not a choice we’re given upon birth. It’s just who we are. It simply guts me to know that there still exists those who feel that being homosexual is a choice. I can’t imagine ever choosing to live through the hatred or the fear or the unfairness. Can you?

My hope is that one day, my grandchild or my great grandchild will be interviewing me for a school project about equality. And, at that time, I’ll have to tell them about when I was young – when a man and a man or a woman and a woman getting married wasn’t legal. And they’ll laugh and tell me how ridiculous that must have been and I’ll whole-heartedly agree.

That’s because it is ridiculous. You love who you love. And love is stronger than hate – it just is. Haven’t witnessed it yet? You will. One day.

Shane Bitney Crone, you are an amazing man. Keep fighting the good fight – I am with you 100%.

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A Big Thank You to my Readers

I got a (kick ass) video review for Sex, Murder & Killer Cupcakes. At one point, Kelli compares my writing style to that of Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series) which was a rather “holy $hit” moment. Listen to the full review here.

This brought about another thought – out of all of the books (and blogs) in the world, you dear reader, have chosen mine. I can’t tell you how much it means that you spend your time and, sometimes, your money, on my writing. Flattered. Appreciative. Grateful. Thank you, thank you. Words are not nearly enough…

XO,
Allison Janda

What will you do to change the world?

It’s easy to shrug something off as impossible. We do it all the time – with jobs, with goals, with dreams. Frankly, it’s a wonder humans get anything accomplished at all what with all the time we spend talking ourselves down from impossibility.

Between you and me, I believe that inside each of us lies the power to change the world.

Bold? Perhaps.

If you’ll stick with me, I’d like to share a story.

It’s not a story of great impact, but it covers a basic struggle: how do I approach my goal as myself?

I have always wanted to be a published author. I had no idea how to write a book, but plenty of other people did. When the idea first hit me, I devoured page upon page of “how to” novels. I’m not joking – hundreds. There are probably thousands left. And with all of that advice, all of that education – I just wasn’t getting it. It was like Algebra all over again.

What I really could have used was a guidebook entitled: Allison Janda’s guide to writing her first novel.

The truth? There are no guidebooks to life. You don’t discover a nice, neat black and white path with your name marked all over it. And while you can prepare yourself with advice from others (I can’t begin to tell you how many Elizabeth Gilbert/Janet Evanovich/John Grisham interviews I read) in the end, it’s just you, my friend. You work an 8 to 5? Wake up at 4:30. You don’t have a strong voice? Take a class. You have too many social engagements? Cancel a few. Excuses are just detours – and you could detour forever. I wrote and published 3 books in 9 months – I ran out of excuses. I created my own guidebook as I went along.

That’s what so many of us miss. We’re constantly hunting for the “right” path or the “easy” way. Others have accomplished the dreams we wish to attain – but how? In the end – they just did it. They slogged through all the work and the time and the pain and the financial struggle and the dip in social life. You can too, you know. You have that power within you.

When we change whether by doing or not doing, we ourselves become different – it’s impossible not to. Those changes affect not only us, but also those around us and so on and so forth. A ripple. And maybe it’s a change that sees history books. But it doesn’t need to, to prove impactful.

What will you do to change the world?

PS: Here’s how Shane started changing the world – and inspired me to write this blog.

Technology – Is it Making Us Less Natural?

We’re fairly visual creatures. In all honesty, my day tends to boil down into a series of senses. Smells that I remember, things I’ve tasted or touched and even seen. They trigger memories throughout my day. Some good. Some not so good. One of my favorite smells in the whole world? My dogs. I know, it’s kind of weird. But in the morning, we all wake up and give one another kisses and sometimes I just bury my nose deep into their scruff and breathe. They smell like sweat and sunshine and happiness. Then again, I’m one of those weird dog people.

When I was younger, I’d pour through the family photo albums or the boxes overflowing with unsorted pictures of decades prior. Their edges were yellowed, the film was somewhat faded and many of the faces and places were ones I didn’t recognize. Yet, there was something so present about the past. It was something that I could see, even if I hadn’t been there.

Due to all of the boxes of photographs that my parents and grandparents have, I’m forced to wonder- what will kids today have to dig through?

We live in an age of technology. Just about every phone has a camera built right into it. Computers and tablets do, too. You can take photographs and videos anywhere you’re carrying your device. We upload these photos to SIM cards, online drives and new computers. We text them, upload them to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and Snapchat. This begs the question: when was the last time your kids or nieces and nephews crawled into your lap and asked you to give them the story behind a photo of yours that they found? Where did they find it? Was it a great photo that had been Photoshopped and filtered before it was posted? Are they seeing YOU exactly how you really are?

Those old pictures I would go through- they were natural. Pale white skin on a summer day, squished into a lawn chair and sipping from a can. Smiles and sweat stained shirts following a game of tennis, rackets happily tossed over shoulders in casual abandon. Mid-sentence with mouth wide open and eyes half closed at the family Thanksgiving dinner, gesturing wildly with a turkey leg in one hand and a fork in the other. Are those photos that people can just FIND of you simply by stumbling across them? Or is that the you that you aren’t as comfortable sharing?

Is this okay, or should we be more willing to laugh at ourselves and our terrible photos?

I think that for all the technology- for the ability that we have to show ourselves to the world- we sure are camera shy.

This just goes to show that while technology has benefited us greatly, it has also managed to break down the lines of communication in ways we never counted on. It has made us less comfortable in something as simple as being ourselves. What are additional lines of communication that have been broken down since the age of technology and what remedies have you found to counter them?

Why Indie?

I’m not asked this question a lot, but I am asked often enough that I feel inclined to post about it. While the subject matter is a bit more geared toward this blog, I felt it deserved a more personal space.

The question: Why be an indie author?

Frankly, there are a lot of different reasons I picked this route. Some are well thought out and others not so much. Then again I’m not the most strategically minded decision maker, but I find that shooting from the hip works for me better- maybe that’s why I keep doing it.

The best laid plans, right?

While I could make this blog impossibly long (I have 5 reasons for self-publishing in my head as we speak and more just keep popping in) I’d really like to focus on the main point in my decision making process as I feel it’s the most important to understand.

If you’ve self-published or if you’ve considered self-publishing. If you’re a reader who loves indie authors or if you can’t understand the indie phenomenon – the bottom line is:

I’m good enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I may still be in my 20s (barely) but let me stress that this is NOT a generational/immediate gratification thing. Frankly, I have my opinions on that as well, but that’s another day/another blog.

Here’s the root of it: technology has reached a point where, as a writer, I don’t have to depend upon a higher up for something if I’m willing to work my ass off and do it myself. That’s why I’m an entrepreneur. Being an indie author is simply another way that I can flex those entrepreneurial skills.

By self-publishing, I don’t have to worry that someone is going to tell me my writing isn’t good enough. I don’t have to wait to hear back about the major changes I need to make in order to be put into a consideration pile and hey, maybe I’ll hear back one way or the other after 6 weeks.

Screw. That.

I’m all for learning, improving and taking constructive criticism (or not so constructive as it sometimes may be). I did bring on an editor, after all.

However, I put my hours, my crappy eyesight, my tears, my money and so much more into producing a product that I’m proud of. You hear that? I’m PROUD of what I wrote. Best of all, I’m CAPABLE of sharing it with you myself if I put in the time and effort to learn how (or if I invest in someone else who does). Why let someone tell me that I shouldn’t have wasted my time because it isn’t THEIR idea of worthy work?

As far as I’m concerned, it IS good enough. Good enough to share with the world, in fact. And while I’ve had friends and family compliment my writing, I’ve submitted my books to a variety of book bloggers, too. Book bloggers that read hundreds of books every single year. Guess what? They seem to think it’s pretty good, too.

So that’s the bottom line for me. I can. Granted there are some really crappy self-published books out there. You know what? There are some really crappy traditionally published books, too. I’ve read plenty of them.

My Babies

My dogs are my kids. Naturally, I felt that it was time to have them photographed. Check out Kala Howard for a sneak peek at Charlotte (Chihuahua) and Millie (?).

Granted, this isn’t the only “crazy” thing I’ve done for my dogs. They get spoiled with love, rawhides, trips to the dog park, trips to the pet store, Bark Boxes, and more. Plus, they have full access to the bed, especially when it comes to early morning snuggles. Crazy dog lady? Perhaps. But these two little buggers shower me with more love and attention on a daily basis than any human is fit to receive. Isn’t it fair that I return the favor when and how I can?

What crazy thing have you done for your dogs lately?

PS: I try to remind myself to approach friendship and family in the way that my dogs would – eagerly, fully and with no hesitation. Thus far, I’m liking the changes I see in my relationships. You should give it a shot, dear reader.