Trolls, Villains and Naked Knights


Oh, Holy Christ on a cracker is that ever true!

Oh, how I’ve relitigated the past.

In my version, I’m so much smarter, so much wittier, I have the most epic comebacks and my hair looks impossibly undisturbed—even after a nap.

In my version, nothing is my fault. Or everything is. It depends on which chapter you read.

In my version,  I get chased by a horrible dragon, captured by a giant cyclops and saved by a naked, brave and handsome knight. That is the only way I can introduce the all of the magic. Otherwise, nothing would make sense and nobody would believe me.

But I can’t justify how I got here.

Sometimes shit just happens.

When I look back I feel bad for her, for me. She simultaneously appears to be the heroine and villain of her own story and that is hard to swallow. Sometimes I want to warn her, other times congratulate her. Most of the time I want to duck tape her mouth shut and put her in the corner with baby.

All of these years later I realize nothing good comes from looking backward. It’s all water under the bridge guarded by trolls. It’s all ancient history filled with faded polaroids and lots of bad clothing choices and the worst thing of all is it keeps me distracted from where I’m headed.

Someone once said, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” Well, I think quite the opposite is true. Amnesia is our friend AND those who look in the rear view mirror MUST be driving in reverse. I know I was. Also, and of this, I’m very sure—my best times are not back there, they are ahead of me!

Creating my future must include chocolate, dog kisses and predominately looking dead ahead because the future I envision doesn’t resemble my past IN THE LEAST (except for maybe the good hair). How about you?

Carry on,




Look What The Cat Dragged In…


I heard the story recently of a woman and a cat. Not the usual story of feline obsession. There were no special little kitty-cat outfits or freshly massaged beef flown in daily from Japan. Nope. The cat became this woman’s catalyst for change. Long, long, overdue change. Here’s the story:

A woman lived in an apartment for a long time. Too long. As the landlord aged, his saint of a wife passed, he fell into ill health and his temperament changed. He turned from a basically okay guy into a pot-bellied, yellow-toothed rat bastard.

Meanwhile, the once lovely building began to fall apart. Not all at once, but systematically. First, it was the single elevator which became a hit or miss box-of-terror. The out of order sign was permanent and if you didn’t feel like walking the seventy-eight steps up to the third floor with your groceries, you took your chances. But not without a valium. And a crowbar.

Everywhere you looked the paint was peeling faster than a bad sunburn. The front buzzer hadn’t worked for years, (friends just shouted up for the keys to the front door from the street below her window), and her oven either made lukewarm everything or charcoal briquets.

Everyone who visited the apartment urged her to move. But after eighteen years of rent control, she just couldn’t bring herself to leave. And they allowed cats. That is until the fateful morning he came banging on the door to personally deliver a UPS package addressed to her that he claimed was loitering in the front lobby. When she answered the door, the friendly feline came over and wove itself in and around her feet, rubbing its face on her three-day leg stubble, purring loudly.

Too loudly.

“What’s that?!’ her landlord hissed between teeth the color of aged ivory piano keys.

“Oh, uh…that’s my cat”, she stammered.

“I don’t allow cats in this building!”, he bellowed, his fat belly quivering for emphasis.

“But I’ve always had it”, she replied nervously, trying to shoo the cat away with her slippered foot.

The cat thought it was a fun new game and began tightly hugging her muck-luckity clad foot with its front paws while furiously rabbit kicking it with its rear legs She grabbed the box from his twisted, cigarette stained fingers and closed the door to just a crack in order to hide the madness happening below her bathrobe.

He was undeterred. “The cat goes or YOU go!”, he yelled. “You have one week or I’m evicting you.”
With that, he managed to propel his girth away from her door and with enormous momentum practically plummeted down the stairs. She slammed the door leaning against it for support, trembling. The cat strolled away contentedly, convinced it had beaten its foe. Exhausted, it jumped up onto the chair by the window, rolled into a ball and promptly fell asleep in the warm morning sun.

What am I going to do?, she wondered. She had to admit that the place had transformed over the years into a shit-hole and the landlord into a troll, but the thought of moving sent her into a full blown anxiety attack. She had savings, it wasn’t that. She wasn’t good with change. She hated the thought of leaving, of looking for a new place. She was used to it there. Even though she knew her quality of life could be so much better—she was willing to settle. For everything that was wrong with the place, the voice in her head came up with a million reasons why it was easier to stay.

Her tolerance for mediocrity, misery, and sub-standard living conditions had reached an all-time high.

Terrified, she hid every sign of the cat.
Late at night, she’d load its dirty cat litter and empty food cans into bags and lug them three flights down, out to the scary-ass alley where she’d walk several buildings over to dump them. The cat box took up residency in her shower when she wasn’t using it and she played the radio to hide the sounds of any meowing. One Sunday it took her nearly the entire morning to move the gigantic carpeted cat tree from its sunny place next to the dining room window into a dark corner of her bedroom. She made sure to keep the blinds closed on all of the windows—just in case.

One night, laying in bed, she literally made herself sick with worry. She realized that not only was she miserable, she had now seriously diminished her dear cat’s quality of life as well.

And THAT was the last straw!

The next day she begrudgingly mentioned to someone at work that she needed a new place— a place that took cats.

Not even three weeks later, she found the most adorable little house-behind-a-house owned by a terrific man, his equally fantastic husband, and their two siamese cats. A fresh start! Fresh in every way. New paint, shiny refinished hardwood floors, even the unfathomable! A stackable washer and dryer! Not only that, it was at ground level, the oven worked like a charm, and the front porch was screened with a perfect spot for the cat tree. Nobody was happier than the cat.

Now…you may be wondering, did the cat make this happen? Did it show itself at just the wrong time to get this ball rolling? Perhaps.

But I think the real moral of this story is the habit many of us have of dragging our feet on the way to our own happiness.
I’ve done it and I’m sure my friends—you have too. It’s about self-worth and why our cat’s, friend’s, spouse’s (fill in the blank), everybody else’s happiness is more important than our own.

It’s also a story about how there are great possibilities out there, possibilities we could never have imagined— if we can only just step out of the complacency and fear.

Take it from this cat story, the very thing you dread could be the best change you’ve ever made.

Carry on,


A Bad Lip Reading Sunday

I should feel bad about posting this video because politics, especially this year, is serious business. But I don’t. I think we should all lighten the farck up.

So…Wanna pee your pants?

I don’t care what party you are…this is funny. And we need some funny in politics these days. I’m a firm believer in injecting funny into pretty much everything I can and politics is NOT exempt.

Come on! Remember the conventions of the past? All of those funny hats and stupid costumes? All of that faux earnestness for the TV cameras? All of the crazy signs and ridiculous slogans?

OMFG! We’ve all fallen down some sanctimonious, humor-free rabbit hole.  My opinion:Politics needs the funny back! 

Families are divided. Long time friends aren’t speaking. Casual dinner conversation can turn into a street brawl (okay, maybe that’s just MY house).

Take a minute to just laugh at the absurdity of it all. Just a minute.

PS: I’m a Dem but I think some of this makes more sense than what they’re actually saying. Seriously!

If you live outside of the US this is going to be another level of hysterical!

Please enjoy your Sunday and have a laugh on me you guys.


I Think Humpty Dumpty Said This First


“Change is always an inside job” Another great one from that fence-sitter, Humpty of the Dumpty.

Carry on,


Marking Milestones


In an act of full disclosure prompted by yesterday’s post, here is photographic proof that I am someone who has felt the WRONG EMOTION once or twice in my life. Case in point: the end of your childbearing years can be a time of great sorrow. I’ve witnessed the melancholy that particular rite of passage has caused several of my close friends. I’ve comforted them and dried their tears at the fact that no more babies are in their future (at least not in the traditional way).

Not me! I was thrilled my childbearing years had come to a close! Ecstatic! Dare I say, giddy?

You see, I like to have…ceremonies. I like to mark rites of passage, beginnings, and endings and celebrate milestones with candles or fireworks.

Or giant bonfires. I like to burn stuff. Things that caused me grief. I must have been a Viking in a past life.

Like old love letters and photographs from past relationships. I know that I hold all of the good memories in my heart.

Those can go.

Remember when I lit all of the legal papers on fire from the numerous lawsuits pertaining to the closing of my store?

Maybe you saw the smoke? They could see it from space.

I felt relief and a certain sense of pride in the fact that I’d survived such a shitshow emotionally intact, fat and happy!

So this…this is the picture of just such an occasion. A particularly meaningful event that I had been waiting years, no, make that decades to celebrate.

A few years back, once I was sure my birth-control days were behind me I impaled my trusty diaphragm with a sparkler—and lit it on fire!

We all cheered. There was alcohol. And snacks. My sister immortalized it on film. It was awesome!

You can see from the smile on my face how happy this made me. Maybe you can relate.

All those years.
All that worry.
All that mess.


Some things just need to be lit on fire. So, what’s next?

Carry on,


The Wrong Emotion ~ By Liz Gilbert


Oh, for the love of all things holy! This is music to my ears! I too have suffered the curse of having the inappropriate emotions for a certain situation. Not ALL situations, just…most one or two.

Haven’t you?

If so, give this a read. If you’ve already read it—read it again. You’ll feel so much better for it!

Carry on,

Dear Ones:

Once I went to visit a therapist because I was afraid I might be a sociopath.

The reason I felt like a sociopath, is because I thought I was feeling THE WRONG EMOTION. Specifically, my story was this: I was a 30-year-old married woman, and I was supposed to want to have a baby — because that’s what married women are supposed to want when they are 30 years old. But I didn’t want to have a baby. The thought of having a baby filled me not with a sense of joy, but with a sense of dread.

So I figured I must be a sociopath — obviously! — and I went to a therapist to confirm this diagnosis.
This woman helpfully explained to me the difference between a sociopath and myself. She said, “A sociopath does not feel any human emotion. You, on the other hand, are feeling plenty of human emotion, but the problem is, you believe you are feeling

That’s why my life was falling apart — not because I couldn’t feel, but because I couldn’t accept my true feelings as legitimate. I was suffering and falling into depression because I still believed that there is a way that we are supposed to feel about every single life event (some sort of industry standard) and if my feelings deviated from that industry standard, then there was something deeply broken and wrong about me.

I do not believe that anymore.

We are not Dell Operating Systems, people.
We are people, people.

And we are complex and unique and perfect and true, and there is no one way to feel.
There is a way that culture teaches you that you are supposed to feel….and then there is what you are actually feeling. And if can’t allow your true feelings to exist, because you’re trying to live within the socially acceptable feeling, then you will suffer, and you will try to cram yourself into the industry standard, or you will try to numb your true feelings with addiction or self-abuse, or you will just stop feeling anything at all (to the point that you almost DO resemble a sociopath.)

Oh, my loves, my loves, my loves…
Have you ever suffered because you believed you were feeling THE WRONG EMOTION?

For years, I have collected so many stories from friends about their experiences with THE WRONG EMOTION.

I have a friend who described her sense of grieving — acute, anguished grieving — on her wedding day. That’s THE WRONG EMOTION! You can’t feel grief about getting married when 300 guests are waiting to gaze at you in your very expensive Vera Wang wedding gown! WRONG! And the shame she felt about that feeling of grief was so awful that her internal hard drive basically crashed for several years…effectively turning her into a socially-acceptable zombie, because feeling absolutely nothing was preferable to feeling THE WRONG EMOTION.

My friend the writer Ann Patchett recently wrote a brave and gorgeous essay about the tremendous joy she felt when her father finally died. He had suffered from an awful illness for years, and when he passed away, Ann felt not just relief…but joy! Ecstatic joy! And man, did she take some shit from the Internet for saying out loud that she was happy her father was dead because that is THE WRONG EMOTION. And yet that’s what Ann felt — despite, or perhaps because, of the fact that she had adored her father, and been his caregiver. She felt joy for herself, and joy for him because they had both reached the end of his suffering. And rather than keeping that WRONG EMOTION under wraps, she brought it out into the daylight and examined it, and talked about it openly, and shared it. Good for her.

I have a friend who finally said, “I hate Christmas, and I’ve always hated Christmas. I’m not doing it anymore.” WHAT?! WRONG EMOTION!

I have a friend who doesn’t feel any regret or sadness or ambivalence about that abortion she had thirty years ago. WHAT?! WRONG EMOTION.

I have a friend who stopped reading the news or being involved in activism and politics because he finally said, “Honestly? I don’t care anymore. I just don’t!” WRONG EMOTION!

I have a friend who stopped being a deacon in her church because she finally had to admit that she couldn’t swallow her church’s teachings anymore: WRONG EMOTION!

I have a friend who told me, “You know that expression about how nobody on their deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at work’? Because family and friends are supposed to be more important than work? Well, I probably will be the one on my deathbed saying that I wish I’d spent more time at work because I love working. I’m crazy about my job, and I love it more than anything! I wish I could work even more hours. My work fulfills me completely. I love my job more than I love my friends — and I find my job so much easier to deal with than my crazy family. Work is where I go for joy.”


I have a friend who thought she was insane because — after her husband left her — all she could feel was relief….after twenty years of a “good marriage”. She had given everything to that marriage, and she had loved him so faithfully, and then he bailed out on her. She should have been weeping! She should have felt bitter! She should have felt shamed and betrayed and enraged! There’s a script for how you are supposed to feel when your husband leaves you after you’ve been such a good wife, but she was deviating from the script because all she felt was pure elation that he was gone and she was free. Her family was concerned about her for her reaction because that’s THE WRONG EMOTION. They thought she might need to be medicated.
My mother once confessed to me that the happiest era of her life began when my sister and I finally grew up and went to college and she had an empty nest. THE WRONG EMOTION! Women are supposed to hate the empty nest! Mothers are supposed to mourn and collapse when their children leave home. But no. My mom wanted to dance a freakin’ jig when she dropped her daughters off at college and realized that she was — at last —done with us. All the other moms were weeping, but all my mother could feel was: “Yahoooo!” But she kept that feeling under wraps, because maternal ambivalence is the single most unacceptable emotion in our culture, and a “good mother” (whatever that even means, God help us) does NOT get to celebrate being free of her children, because: WRONG EMOTION. What would the neighbors say?

And here is the ultimate: A beloved friend of mine, years ago, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. This man, who loved life more than anyone I have ever met, admitted to me that his first thought — when the diagnosis came — was, “Oh, thank God.” And that feeling didn’t go away over time, either, even as his disease worsened. He felt such deep happiness. He felt like, “Phew, I’m done!” He was dying! He “should” have felt sorrow and rage and pain and loss. But all he could think was that there was so much he didn’t have to worry about anymore! He didn’t have to worry about saving for retirement anymore. He didn’t have to figure out how to deal with his most difficult relationships anymore. He didn’t have to worry about terrorism and global warming anymore. He didn’t have to worry about getting the roof on the garage fixed anymore. He didn’t even have to worry about dying anymore because now he knew how his story would end. He was happy. And he stayed happy, throughout the whole journey toward his death. He told me, “Look, life is hard. Even a good life is hard, and I’ve had a very good life…but it’s hard. I’m excited that I get to leave this dinner party now. It’s been a fun party, but I’m tired. I’m ready to go.” WRONG EMOTION! The doctors told him he was in shock and kept handing him brochures about grieving. But my friend wasn’t in shock. Shock is when you feel nothing; my friend was feeling something —happiness! The doctors just didn’t like it, because it was THE WRONG EMOTION. Not up to the industry standard. But my friend was standing in his truth – his very own truth — and if sixty years of conscious and open-hearted living do not entitle a good man to stand in his own truth and feel his own feelings at the end of his life, then what is life even for?

My friends, listen: I want you to learn how to feel what you are feeling — not what you think you are SUPPOSED to feel, but what you ACTUALLY feel.

And I want you to guide your own life based on that, and only that.

I want you to remove the WRONG EMOTION! button from your internal keyboard forever.

I want you to throw away the idea that there is an emotional industry standard, and that you must not deviate from it. My friend Rob Bell told me that he used to ask his therapist all the time, “Is it normal that I feel this way?”, and the therapist would always reply, “Oh, Rob…we passed normal a long time ago.”

I passed normal a long time ago, too. I will not inflict upon myself anymore the shame and suffering of questioning my own reactions to life or burying my own true feelings because I am not feeling what I’m allegedly supposed to feel.

If I feel joy than that joy is right and real…for me.
If I feel grief, then that grief is right and real….for me.
If I love someone, then that love is right and real…for me.

If I feel mistrust or aversion to people I am supposed to trust and admire, then that feeling of mistrust is right and real…for me. And if I feel admiration for people I’m not supposed to admire, then that feeling of admiration is right and real…for me.

Nobody benefits when I try to make myself feel ways that I do not feel, and nobody benefits when I try to make myself NOT feel ways that I do feel…and nobody benefits when you do that, either.

Feel what you feel, allow your emotions to be legitimate, fearlessly examine your own reactions to your own life, and live your absolute truth — there is no other pathway to integrity than that.
Anything short of that is truly WRONG. (For you.)





Steve from Akron saw this hashtag on social media the other day, #firstsevenjobs, and sent me an email wondering if I could remember (yes, I can totally remember my first jobs, STEVE. Geesh!…just don’t ask me what I had for dinner last night), and he wanted to know if I would be willing to share.

I was a bit curious at first as to why Steve was asking?
Did I owe him money?
Has he seen me naked?
Did we belong to the same circus as teens?

But since I pretty much share everything with y’all, I have no qualms about this in the least. Maybe it will prompt you guys to share your first seven jobs with me. (Notice I said ME, not US. When I say US everybody suddenly becomes pathologically shy.)

1. Babysitting— Yep. People let me near their small children. They obviously had a lapse in judgment. They needed their mommy-daddy time. I earned a few bucks doing this as a teenager and I did it all the time for my parents—for FREE. Let me be clear, I was NOT the baby-whisperer. It was very much like herding cats for me and I’m sure, looking back, that it cemented my decision to remain childless.

2. Box girl/supermarket checker — Since my dad, uncle, cousins, and everyone else who shared my DNA worked in some way, shape, or form for the VONS grocery chain, it was considered our family business. The day you turned sixteen you got a job bagging groceries after school which I have to say instilled a great work ethic in myself and my siblings. When you turned eighteen, you could ditch the stupid apron and man the cash register which felt like a very big deal at the time. I learned to check on one of those registers that looks like a toy and goes Cha-ching! every time you push the buttons. A few years later, after electricity was invented, they installed scanners and barcodes, and since those of us who actually knew math became obsolete, I started to look for a “career” where my other skills besides a fluid arm motion, were not only appreciated but rewarded.

3. Buying and selling vintage clothes at the flea market— I had an eye for one-of-a-kind stuff and the skills for buying and selling, oh yeah, and math. These all came in handy for my part-timey, only on Sundays stint at the flea markets in my early twenties and kinda paved the way for what would follow. I was ripe to leave my job standing behind a cash register like some kind of she-bot with mall bangs and ONE giant earring. (Old ladies, who were probably my age now, would lean across the counter and express their concern, “Oh, sweetie, you lost and earring” to which I would reply “It’s fashion, grandma!”

I know. It was time for me to go.


4. TV commercials— I did plays and musical theater on the side too. It was LA, who didn’t? I was in school majoring in Theatre Arts and commercials paid the bills. Oh! I was also a part of the burgeoning 80’s punk music scene that was lighting up LA and was in three bands at the same time. Until I got divorced. Then I quit everything to work full-time.
Fun Fact: I was actually approached by an agent from William Morris while plowing head-first into a giant ice-cream Sunday with my sister to celebrate my divorce at twenty-six. True story. Ask my sister.
The agent’s opening line? “I like your look” I swear to God. It was so Woody Allen/Annie Hall.


5. Melrose Antique Mall— This was my transition job out of the market and into the antique business although I never in a million years thought I’d end up in fine jewelry! Since I wasn’t sure I should totally give up my highly lucrative ($300 a week), job at the market, I did both for a year. I worked 10-6 at the Antique Mall and 7-midnight at the market. For three months that summer, I did a play two nights a week.
I should have been exhausted but instead, I felt exhilarated! So much going on! So many choices! Ah, youth.


6. Estate Jeweler— The year I turned thirty I got a real grown-up job. Excalibur Estate Jewelry at the Antiquarius. It was fashioned after it’s counterpart in London with at that time, about twenty of the cities finest estate jewelry dealers all under one roof. One of the dealers at the antique mall was looking for someone to run his store—I was his second choice. FATE intervened. I quit VONS and the Antique Mall and even shot my last TV commercial to show them how serious I was about this “career” I had stumbled into. The owner, myself, and the employees that were added as the years went by built it into a multimillion-dollar family owned business. I’m really proud of that.


I stayed eighteen years, left on good terms and opened my own store, ATIK and well, we all know how that turned out.

Now I write.
Nothing up until now has lead to the writing.
Do you see anything in all of this that says, in your fifties, you will write? Yeah, me neither.
Isn’t it curious where life leads you? I always had fun when I just went with the flow. As you age you get stuck and the flow feels… scary, out of control. So it stops. Or you build a dam.

I have found that all of my pain in life has come from the struggle to be somewhere other than where I was standing. Fuck that! Not anymore!

Thanks Steve for this little trip down memory lane. I wouldn’t have done this if you hadn’t asked. I haven’t thought about this in ages and it was fun for me!

Carry on,


The Minefield of Unasked Questions


A few months back I was wondering why things felt like a ton of effort. Mis-communication was rampant. Things were sticky and sucky all at the same time. Since my wise dead friend pretty much knows what I’m thinking about all the time, she offered this nugget one day, “Don’t answer an unasked question” she said, “It never goes well.”

Well duh, I thought to myself. Who does that anyway?

At first, what she meant was lost on me, too opaque, it’s true meaning hidden among the words.

After I thought about it for a minute—or fifteen—I began to get the gist.

Who answers questions no one has asked? Uh, Me! Turns out I do it all the time! And as I shared this little saying with a few of my friends it seems that they do too!

We’re all familiar with unsolicited advice. You can find it here, from me, every day. Ha!

But the truth of it is, if you’re here, chances are you wanna know what I have to say. Unlike my husband. The poor guy, he’s just venting and I’m bent on solving all of his problems in the kitchen every night while we make dinner. It starts with “Here’s what you need to do” and ends with “I know, I’m sorry, I should just keep my mouth shut”.

Every freakin’ night. The man’s a saint.
But seriously!

What about when you meet a friend for coffee and the first thing they say to you is, “You look tired” (translation: you look like shit warmed over). Aren’t you tempted to reply “No one asked you”?
I am. But I never say it. Too jackassy.
But seriously!

Just to clarify, here is what she meant.

Don’t talk to people about their kids—unless they ask you and even then it’s dicey. NEVER, EVER do it if you are childless. It could be hazardous to your health.

Don’t go on and on about your fabulous vacation, love life, doggie day care, kitchen remodel, new handbag or stories about your boss if you haven’t been specifically asked. There’s no faster way to clear a room.

The same holds true about voicing your feelings about politics, religion, race relations, the Olympics, mental illness, ADHD, OCD, or any other acronym that ends with a D.

Wait to be asked.

Don’t offer the steamy details of past romances with your current mate. Even if they ask. Change the subject.

Giving other writers feedback on things they’ve written? Oh, hell no! Don’t do it unless you’re asked.

Along those lines, don’t send out unsolicited manuscripts—they get thrown in the trash or people feel obligated to give you their “feedback” which are often not-so-thinly-veiled insults.

The same goes for flash drives filled with songs you wrote or pictures you took. Wait to be asked or suffer the consequences.

Recently, a friend making conversation told her sister, whom I had just met, about my screenplay. “You need to read it”, she enthused. “You’d love it!” I cringed. “Uh, sure”, her sister replied uncomfortably. “Here, let me give you her email”, my friend continued. I could tell her sister would rather have dental surgery. It was beyond awkward. I wanted to die.

There is a larger force at work here and it is what my deceased friend was referring to. It’s Energy. It’s so much better if you stop and read a room, the collective asking so to speak. It’s easy to tell what they’re asking for but you have to take a minute, be quiet and tune in.

That’s also true for the world at large. Even though nobody was specifically asking for a movie about large highly evolved blue aliens on a distant world endangered by humans, James Cameron hit the collective nerve/jackpot with Avatar.

He answered a question buried so deep we didn’t even know we were asking. He tuned in.

That’s turning out to be the answer to everything in life these days!

Carry on,


The Human Family

“We are more alike my friends than we are un-alike” ~ Maya Angelou

I love everything about this!


The Egg ~ By Andy Weir

~AN ALL AROUND FAN FAVORITE~(Notice how I’m not saying REPRISE)

Hi you guys,
I’m reprising this for Tracee, a reader from the Netherlands who has been looking for a way to explain death to her son. She remembered this post but couldn’t recall the name or who wrote it.

The Egg is an all around fan favorite and since I was also talking about death, and the fear of death yesterday with a couple of my girls, and since we have many new readers—I’m happy to reprise this for the third time!

Interesting tidbit about the short film: I haven’t seen if for a couple of years and I just watched it for the first time since finishing my screenplay. In my story, as dictated to me, the dead heroine in Heaven is perpetually munching on the snacks she keeps in her pockets, so I was surprised to see “god” pull an ice-cream cone out of his jacket in the video.

I love when that happens.

Carry on,

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me.

“What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God.
I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe.
More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.” You followed along as we strode through the void.

“Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders.
“Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had. You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh, lots. Lots and lots. And into lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly, you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life, you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.” “Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back. “I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

A short film Adaptation: The takeaway…be nice, and have fun.

One woman's sassy, messy, journey through life
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