Forward and/or Back!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sister Smokey Essay Excerpt:

Plus, my brothers and sisters are outstanding. Small example: one of my middle sisters, Smokey, was our large high school prom queen. She’s flawlessly beautiful and pristine and I’m disappointed. I hoped she’d turn out different. But, Martha Stewart has a fraternal twin that she doesn’t know about. And it’s Smokey! Smokey happens to beat Stewart when it comes to quality of life. I wished Smokey had different men’s names tattooed all the way down her arms to her fingers. I would love to see Smokey and/or Stewart point at a lovely, gourmet dish, with tattooed fingers. Or, it would be cool if Smokey had earlobes that dropped because she wore too heavy earrings, too often. The problem is – she’s too friggin perfect.

This automatically turns any path that I take, into devious.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Congratulations Obama! We're so lucky to be Americans!

see, it's lucky because the Feng Shui much better.

I don't know if you remember, but when I first moved into this apartment, my intuition told me there was some inauspicious Feng Shui rattling around me because the two trees blocking my five street facing windows were - dead. And remember? When I finally did research what kind of Feng Shui it was to have dead trees in front of your building - it was very bad!

The City of Chicago worked efficiently and effectively and removed both trees, branches included, in less than four hours yesterday.

I can't wait, now, to take photos of the sunrise from my window and share it with you. It's stunning, crystal clear. It's a new day.

Good Feng Shui! Good Feng Shui!

More good news, no more memoir or writing about me (seriously). I've already created a number of essays about the present and especially my family. There's so much to write about now. And I woke up at one am to write and now I'm going to work and then I'm going to sleep. Where are you my Mr. Hill?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

Yesterday, I discovered the news about Bin Laden after I created my post. Perhaps because, living alone, I've never had a television by choice - although if I had a couple spare rooms, I'd throw a television in one. Anyway, on the computer, I looked at a slide show of the celebrations and in the crowd one person wrote on a sign, 'Just wanted to let you know... Osama Bin Laden is dead.' I found that terribly amusing.

Politically, I stand far to the left so this news shouldn't have surprised me. But it did!

Did it surprise you?

Monday, May 2, 2011

see? i'm lucky because i know to ask what you think.

So I'm keeping A Lucky Cull as my blog title. That's too cute I think. Plus, it's true.

Now, should I maintain as my Title: see, i'm lucky because... ? Or, is that annoying?

What do you think?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Essay Excerpt (while fully breathing!)

The morning after the seventh day, what I feared most materialized; I ingested all the Quaaludes obtained because of the bogus settlement. That’s a great example of, karma.

The job loss self-reproach didn’t come close to the much heavier self-reproach - of not having saved pills. For example, in case I got fired.

Between sobs I reached for my low vision, landline phone, each digit the size of a playing card.

“Mom, dad, please let me come home.” My head fell forward. I cried. I had a convulsing, tragically confused backbone. I continued to talk in utter gurgle, despite being aware of the impossibility of their possible comprehension. “I wanna kill myself, I wanna.”

“Nonsense Sheila.” My Jew mom said. “Buckle down. I can’t even believe you said that. Now what am I going to do?” And that’s Donna Cull. She pointedly knew how to turn the word, worry, into a fiery red gooey substance that can be felt. Two of my sisters inherited the exact same god awful ability.

“What is buckle down?”

My mom snorted, “Don’t change the subject. What we have to worry about is out of this world as it is, now this?”

“Mom, what’s buckle down mean?”

“Your father will pick you up at the station in one hour but you must, strip naked outside, dump the contents of your bag or purse onto the drive way, and then, spray, disinfect, and hose them, so that you don’t bring any germs, into my house. Can you hear me?”


“On second thought Sheila, no. Your father will meet you and give you some money. You disturb me.”

Saturday, April 30, 2011

"I am really lucky," she said, "but I don't know why," and shrugged.

At my recent doctor appointment, I walked into (initially I thought so) the wrong office. I spoke quickly, "My name is Sheila Cull, I've gotta be at work soon but it's such a short walking distance and I had this whistle and I kept trying to breathe,"

"How do you breathe?" The doctor tilted her head, appearing truly curious.

"Like this," I said. I inhaled through my nostrils, my head ready to explode with oxygen, and then I completely exhaled through my mouth.

She said, "Do that. Then hold it. For a moment. Before you exhale. Good. How do you feel?"

This time I tilted my head, "fantastic."

We established that she was not the doctor I had the appointment with. We laughed and I asked her for her card. Handing it to me she said, "Please call me."

At last night's moon, is when I gave it another thought. On my back, I took a deliberate breath and paused. I held it. For a moment. I jumped out of bed, got her card out and called the number on it, having every intention of making an appointment for Monday. But she answered. On a Saturday night. I'm seeing her next week, moreover, I'm going to really learn, from a professional, how to breathe. Recently and fortunately, our breath, your breath, my breath, relative, say, to the moment, joy and ease, has had my mind wandering. This doctor has a number of letters and periods below her name but she's so into "the breath" that she specializes in Psychotherapy.

See? It was at first, a mistake. But look how that turned upside down, and for my benefit.

So, is a tendency towards good luck due in part to optimism?

Friday, April 29, 2011

see, i'm, ahem, lucky?

Logging into work at five am has required adjustments. For example, since I've returned to Chicago, it means adjusting to loud/intoxicated people, yelling without abandon, on my nice Lakeview street at 3 am. I'm usually typing and thinking, "Yuck, I'm glad those days are over. But I hope they have fun!"

So yesterday, I had an appointment at at a hospital, literally around the corner from me, at 4 am. With my new Yoga breaths, I went pee and pulled down the lid, per usual. I thought about Mother Earth before I turned off the main light, per usual. I placed the whistle, hung securely from my neck, between my lips (ready position because of darkness)and locked the door behind me.

I returned to my apartment after the appointment, at sunrise, and opened my door. I know. Somebody turned my light on. The whistle went back between my lips - the toilet lid was up. Angrily I yelled, "Where are you, where are you, I. know. you're. here." I searched high and low, including the inside of my stove. I finally settled down.

But wouldn't you, also - be freaked?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

see, i'm lucky, Bransford

The first writer's blog I stumbled into happened to belong to - Nathan Bransford. "Oh my goodneness," I thought and tilted my head, "specatular." Then I went to check out different blogs (my other two favorite are women writer's bloggers). Some are good. Although, Bransford completely stood out.

Congratulations Bransford. You can count on this fan.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

see, i'm lucky, at home.

Amusing. At my "secret" at home job for a large company, it feels similar to a fat umbilicar cord between my belly button and my computer/phone, when scheculed. The one time I don't feel that is, when we have team meetings, perhaps every two weeks. Our meetings take an hour to two and we normally listen to a team supevisor. My phone blinks to speaker, when everyone says 'hi', I yell 'hello!' as loud as I can. No mistaking that Sheila is aboard. Then, the meeting is underway. Surprisngly, on my advanced phone, there's not a mute button so I put the phone in it's appropriate cradle, lift myself from my desk, and begin to tip toe, softly, quietly.

There are a number of tasks I can accomplish during these meetings. Like changing from my pajama's to a day outfit. Or closing the bathroom door, without a sound, I pee into the toilet and pray that I won't be summoned to answer a question I really can't hear. Or worse - that other at home agents would ask themselves, that's shameful? Somebody is urinating.

Isn't that funny?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

see? i'm lucky. i'm learning from a writer - younger than me.

It's funny to me that two of my red headed sisters are now, all of a sudden, trying to turn me into a straight laced catholic nun. As in, "Sheila! Just because we let you get away with twenty years of your body, freely flowing, when shaken, in denial, in a snow globe of two sweet alcohol, ick, doesn't mean that we can't continue to badger you with, you better get better>. How many times do we have to say that?" Then we all get badgered until the next time I pick up the phone.

After yesterdays post, wouldn't it be funny if I just all of a sudden, stopped writing?

Was that Wen I heard? Right Now. Any idea is a good idea because it leads to something new!

Wen is my best high school friend, now on the east coast and I think this is nice to know: she didn't fly there because of a man. He found Wen where her Jewish wide hips were already happily parked.

Monday, April 25, 2011

OH - MY - GOD -

I have embarrassed myself, tremendously. Let's start over. I am not a good writer.

"I WAS TOLD THERE'D BE CAKE" by Sloane Crosley, a collection of essays, is tremendous. The serious author, Crosley, had my eyes glued to her words. She shaped these words into an intelligble and wistful combination of stories and it made me laugh out loud, to myself, all night. I never laugh out loud to myself and I've only stayed up the entire night, maybe, three times in my adult life. To read this marveled literature, all night, is a treat. This is because my physical body is pulling through a sudden Xanax (doctor prescribed) withdrawl (not doctor prescribed) combination of a brand new (doctor prescribed) mood altering medication, since the bottle (makes sense to me), from which I'm free, no longer holds me captive. This withdrawl/manic medication physical body dance, feels uncomfortable; I'm uber awake.

Yes, it's a sheer miracle the day I picked up this paperback at the going out of business Border's. This is also a New York Times Bestseller. By the way, always trust a New York Times Bestseller. Now. Now I know what good writing is.

Please can we create a fresh start? Part of what makes Crosley a fabulous storytelller is her recollection of events, as she grew up. My growth stunted at age 18 because I recklessly got my physical body involved in an 18 day coma which forced me to start over; it erased my memory like a recently Windexed window pane. After twenty years of re doing myself, my innate determination didn't bend. But what am I re making myself as? I'll never be as good as her; it's a truth I have to get used to.

She's about fifteen years younger than I am. I can't even say I'm jealous; I'm not in her league. Now I know.

My vast collection of sisters and brothers are Lucky. And I have no idea how I hold, in my left and right hand, an abundance of optimism. It's only half time of this life time. Thank God.

I'm a Lucky Cull. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Work? Quit?

After what Nathan Bransford (one of the top three - about writing bloggers)wrote, that I posted yesterday, do you think that's encouraging? All I can do is laugh out loud and like he said, keep doing the best I can. But darn, that was a dose of reality. I thought, "Sheila, if you just work harder for more time, you'll make it!"

How would that jolt of a true thought effect you? Work more? Quit?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nathan Bransford on Book Luck

The Fate Factor

It's tempting to think that if you just write the perfect book, if you just write the right query, find the right agent and the right publisher, if they just give you the right marketing push, if you just do the right bloggy/Facebooky/Twittery activities, if you get the right reviews.... you totally have it made in the shade.

In other words, it's tempting to think you have control.And you do have control! Some.

You can write the best book you can. But worse books than yours will go on to be successful. You can do the best promotion you can. But books that were promoted less than yours will go on to be successful.You can be courteous and professional to everyone. But people who aren't as nice as you will go on to be successful.At the end of the day, there's a powerful, important force that you can't control that will determine how successful your book will be. And that's the Fate Factor. THE SHACK was self-published with a $300 marketing budget and it went on to be a #1 bestseller.

Christopher Paolini self-published ERAGON, he struggled to tour around selling handfuls of copies, until novelist Carl Hiassen's stepson happened to buy it and like it. Hiassen passed it on to Knopf, and the rest, of course, is history. There are lots and lots of stories like this of books with the most modest of beginnings that hit the right note at the right time, get the right boost at the right time, and take on a life of their own.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't all try and do everything we can. I truly believe that it pays to give yourself every boost you can. Opportunity can't knock if it can't find your door. All that work you put into your book, all that work you put into marketing... it does matter. It does.
It's just that when it's all said and done, the book is going to do what it does. It's going to sell what it sells. And that's alright.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Because of my brain stem injury I easily sleep 24 hours or more. And sunlight hurts my eyes. But I really do know this - I'm grateful for what I do have. Relative to hundreds of thousands people all over the world, I've got it made.

Are you really grateful too sometimes, even though it's tough to see, that you should be grateful also?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What A Wonderful Word


 noun \i-ˌma-jə-ˈnā-shən\

Definition of IMAGINATION

: the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
a : creative abilityb : ability to confront and deal with a problem :resourcefulness imagination and get us out of here>c : the thinking or active mind : interest imagination>
a : a creation of the mind; especially : an idealized or poetic creationb : fanciful or empty assumption

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Want a New Hat?!

I'm lucky because after the loss of my parents, I have a huge family to replace that tragic missing of my mom and dad.  It still feels like a tragic loss so if you're parents are still alive, love them to death, until they die.  Especially my collection of sisters, see, my parents left this earth but Terry, Chrissy, Smokey, Paula and Karen, stayed and they still love me, for no reason, laugh out loud.  But it's true!  That makes me lucky that my folks decided not on one child, but a clan.  And I have a twin brother Shawn that I love more than the sun loves the planet! And believe it or not, other spectacular siblings!

I'm grateful.  Even though I got a manuscript rejection already this morning, on a Saturday!  Who rejects you on a Saturday morning?  Right now I'm the Rejection Queen.  And I am so tired of wearing that hat.  Do you want to have my hat?  I'm giving away the Rejection Queen hat.  Any taker's?

Friday, April 15, 2011

"How does she treat him because you know she doesn't tweet him?" Tweet! It's a verb!



Definition of TWEET

intransitive verb
: to make a chirping sound  tweeting in the trees>
: to post a message to the Twitter online message service
As of yesterday, I can sort of say, I now Tweet.  But when I try to get used to it, I so know I could get carried away and spend time on that, rather then what I should be doing.  Oh my God, there's so much to learn.  Let's all pray for time to slow down.  Laugh out loud.  And 45 is the new 25.  "I have to re tweet, they twaught me first and I said that I'd tweeted them back, as soon as he is twitting.  Twit you later."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Lucky Cull: Chandeliers

A Lucky Cull: Chandeliers: "I love chandeliers. When I have these in my household, I'll know I've made it. When will you know you made it?"


Go to fullsize image

love chandeliers.  When I have these in my household, I'll know I've made it.

When will you know you made it?