“I’m NOT a Girl!”

It happened just the other day…again!

Someone thought I was a girl.

No, not by the way I look or dress or walk, but simply based upon the sound of my voice.

Since most of you have never met me, and since the words I’m typing  cannot “sound” and thus you can’t hear me (by the way, if you can, please seek medical attention immediately!) you’ll have to take my word for it that I have an odd sounding voice.

You’d think that I’d be used to it by now.  After all, I’ve had it since, gee, let me think…  And yet, invariably, the sales call or the McDonald’s drive-through reply of, “Thank you, Ma’am!” slams the truth home: I don’t sound like I think I sound!

My voice has been compared to that of Joe Pesci or Ty Pennington’s (sorry, fellas!) and when I sing (I use the term loosely!) I can imitate Geddy Lee from Rush.  Flattering?  Sometimes.  Fun to showcase at parties?  You bet!  And yes, getting a room full of folks to laugh is great, but it doesn’t heal the sting, no, the emotional trauma caused by those sanguine drive-through greeters…

“Ma’am, would you like to Super Size that?”  “No! I want to Super Size your your thick skull before I crack you one!”

And unlike bad breath or rude etiquette, I can’t change or fix it; I’m stuck with this tone!  I suppose I could fashion some hi-tech gizmo with digitized voices and wear it 24/7.  No one would dare call me “Ma’am” or “Mrs Lowder” with the testosterone-laced voice of James Earl Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Clint Eastwood!  And the annoying sales call?  I’d have them cowering beneath their cubicle wishing their momma was nearby!

Years ago, I’d defend myself brashly with retorts like: “I’m Mr. Lowder!” or “I’m NOT a girl!”  But the years have worn me down.  Now, I simply answer their question, or order the latte, all the while wagging my head like the beaten old hound that I am.

And then I go home, fire up my computer and pour out my wrath on them in my stories.

Hey, you’ve got to get your motivation from somewhere.

Vengeance is mine, saith the writer.  Mighty is the pen!

“Why’d You Shoot My Dog?”

Rounding the bend, I saw the sign and slowed my bike for a better look.  It was staked in the front yard of a gorgeous country home.  I often pass this idyllic neighborhood when cycling and dream of one day living out here.  A peaceful river gurgles on one side of the road; expensive homes sit on ten acre lots; Tennessee’s rolling hills paint a serene backdrop.

But then there was the sign.  Professionally made, it said something to the effect of, “To the person that shot my dog, could you please tell me why?”

My image of the perfect neighborhood was shattered.  Violence like this doesn’t…shouldn’t happen out in the country! This sorta thing happens in low-rent districts or trailer parks, NOT here.

But it did.  And judging by the tone of the sign, I imagined this dog to be a gentle creature, one that would wag his tail and lick you incessantly.  Sure, like many country dogs, he probably wandered off a bit too much.  But is that any reason to shoot him?

I biked past the same area yesterday.  The sign was gone.  But in reality, you can never remove a sign like this.  It will forever tarnish this quaint neighborhood with the image of a bullet, a dog, and the answer to its lingering question…

Evil lurks everywhere, even in pastoral settings like this.

I’m blind!

Picture compliments of Fotolia

If you can’t see, then how do you know where you’re going?  How do you know when you arrive?

Without vision, you’re lost.

Although this sounds like banter from a motivational speaker, please bear with me.

Whether I like it or not, I’m the captain responsible for sailing my books out into the marketplace.  This is frustrating because my passion is writing fiction and storytelling, not being a sales guy.  Yet if I don’t take this on, no one will.   I’ve also come to the conclusion that since no one has the same drive/passion for my books as I do, that I’m the man for the job.  So I’ve rolled up my sleeves and grabbed the helm.

But to me, marketing is a blinding sea storm of chaos.  So many voices shouting, “Do this!” or “Gotta head this way!” and the perilous, “You’ll never make it unless you__”

Instead of feeling like I’m on target, I feel like I am the target!

So I’m going to stop “doing” and “go below deck” to determine what I want and why.  Based upon Michael Hyatt’s blog, this is paramount to setting my compass.  My subsequent answer to “why” will illuminate my “how to.”

This feels unnatural and even a bit frightening (“If I stop, won’t we sink?” or “Resting constitutes laziness!”)  But if I don’t, then I’ll be doing something even worse: sailing blindly into who knows what.

Do you need a vision stop? 

Do you have any stories to share?