The Doctor is IN

Keen Observations on Life … Whether You Need Them or Not


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Putting it all together

The continuing education creative writing adjunct instructors at Central Carolina Community College were asked to provide bios and headshots, and images of their book covers for the upcoming Carolina Women’s Show. My mom loves stuff like this, so we’ll most likely swing through. It’s kind of cool to see all of seven of my book covers put together. It reminds me that my TBI is nothing but a blip in my career, a five-year hiatus seasoning my imagination so my forthcoming books will be even more exciting. Onward and upward!

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Inspiring words

My grantwriting class met again last night, and I got the nicest note from a student.

I so appreciate your class. I have been inspired to write on a personal level more since last nights class … I am taking back my love for writing.

Though I still struggle with writing anything long-form — my current approach is now more of a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of thing — I find my mind whirling with creative ideas this afternoon. So when you have a good experience at work or at school, or in line at the grocery store, make sure you share the positive feedback. You never know who may need a little pep in their step.


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Harry Potter Forever

I was so excited about a piece in yesterday’s USA Today about the USPS selling a limited edition Harry Potter Forever stamp … starting on Tuesday. Little did I pay attention, though, to the fine print: “The official first day of issue, when stamps are available in post offices,  will be Nov. 19.” Rats!

One of the Harry Potter stamp designs, as published in USA Today, 11/12/13.

One of the Harry Potter stamp designs, as published in USA Today, 11/12/13.

I spend a fortune on stamps every year because I’m a huge fan of epistolary relationships. I’m also a huge Harry Potter fan … what I’m not is a fan of patience. I called our local post office and they hadn’t gotten any Owl Mail about it at all, so I knew I was doomed. But then the mister saved the day. “Buy them online,” he said. And I thought, “why not.”

This morning, in the quiet hour between 5:50 and 6:50 when I’m up with our son before he heads to school, I did it. I created an account on USPS.com and BOUGHT some Potter stamps. They’ll come right to my door on November 19. I’m so excited.


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Socializing on the other side of the fence

ncstateUNC … Here I come.

I’m excited to return to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as one of the guest speakers for their Social Media, Writing, and Publishing Careers Meet Up on February 26.  I had a great time mixing and mingling with students and other professionals last year. What a great way to help students to learn more about specific occupations and career areas in the wide, wide world of humanities.

Even the brightest CEO in the world, the most gifted surgeon, the most visionary techno whiz … would not be able to succeed without communicating their intentions. I will fight the urge to wear my NCSU shirt, but will proudly represent my fellow language artists as we try to bring another generation of humanities students to the dark side … because, as some genius said somewhere in the world that was captured and propagated around the Internet: we have cookies.

Go humanities!


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Six Months Later …

IMG_3703Most days, I’m a perfectly happy 39-year-old Wonder-mother, wife, author, friend, daughter, and free-thinker. But just when I let my guard down and think that my post-concussion syndrome may finally be considering me in its rear-view mirror, the shit hits the fan. One thing’s for certain: recovery’s a pain in the ass.

Six months after passing the kidney stone that rendered me unconscious before hitting the floor, thus delivering the mother of all concussions and post-concussion disorder, here’s a laundry list of minutiae still plaguing me:

  • Two broken molars. They’ve presented themselves in the most painful, least convenient times possible, damn it. The first one required a crown; the second one broke while we were out-of-town for Christmas, and I had to go to an emergency dentist for a temporary filling … in the two weeks since, I’ve had two permanent fillings done to fix it. I can stand to glance my toothbrush off of it now, but the sensitive gum underneath can’t take any pressure—so no biting or chewing on it. Hopefully, that’ll resolve itself before it seems that a root canal and crown are necessary.  But, seriously,  I’d rather just have the payment than the pain.
  • Forgetfulness. What was I saying … ? Oh, yeah, bad memory strikes when I’m least expecting it, like when I was trying to show my son something at Fresh Market last week. I was pushing the basket and he was walking next to me, but when I stopped to show him something he kept walking. So I said, “shh,” and he said, “what?” I said, “I meant ‘stop’.” Dumb stuff like that. I have a gap in my memory from the summer. It’s like we got back from our trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona in May, and then our son was starting high school in September. I rented Men In Black III last week, totally excited to finally see it, but the boys told me we rented it the weekend it came out on DVD. In November. When I realize my simple mistake now, I don’t tear up or cry. Mostly. Sigh …
  • Movie dizziness. Man, I LOVE going to the movies. It was our treat when I was a kid, and the same celebratory feeling has transferred to adulthood. But when I went to the movies in September, I had to close my eyes through half of it, be led down the steps and out of the theatre, and hold on to the arm of my husband or son for the rest of the day for balance. Those things cost too much money to miss half of it, so with my continued bouts of dizziness in the everyday mundane shit I come across, we’ve all decided that DVD is the way to go for the immediate future. PS: don’t even get me started on looking up … talk about dizzy.
  • Racquetball disorientation. Damn those stark white walls that blend into the white ceiling with no visible seam! Damn the concentrated power of the overhead gymnasium lights beaming down into the racquetball courts like a sun ray laser. About a month ago, my son said, “let’s try the racquetball court!” Since we love to play, and I was happy to give him something to do at the Y, I said okay. As soon as the glass door closed behind me I knew it was a mistake. The boy said, “you’ll be okay mom! Here, try to hit this one.” And he lobbed it to me gently, knowing I wouldn’t be speedy. It felt like I was tracking in slow-motion, swiping through peanut butter air. Three times he tried before I felt like my head was spinning like a whirling dervish. I had to close my eyes and let him lead me out of that hellish room to a bench, where I sat for a good half hour before getting my land-legs back. Again, the disorientation and headache lasted until I could sleep it off. Lesson learned there, too: I’m still not ready for racquetball. Rats.
  • Occasional agoraphobia (for lack of a better term). This one’s totally new to me, but the best I can figure is that the additional stimulus of peripheral vision hits me in strange, inconsistent places. Like, when we’re hiking, I’m normally okay–but now that the leaves have fallen off the trees I can see farther beyond the path. I think the added dimension of the forest makes me really dizzy. I find when this occurs, it’s best to shift my gaze downward and narrow the field I’m looking at. I tend to do a little better when there’s not so much visual stimuli.
  • Concentration. This one is the absolute worst. In my career, I have written thousands of articles, blog posts, grants, white papers, press releases, books, and the like. I’m quick—I’m an immediate satisfaction kind of gal, so I tend to focus with laser-intensity on a project until I finish so I can get the thoughts out of my head and move on to the next story needing to be told. Not now. Now I’m lucky if I can write four pages in a day. I hate … hate … hate … down time, and not being able to get these thoughts out of my head. I’m working through it, though, and have set some challenging goals for myself this first and second quarter. I can feel my mind getting stronger, and the words come a little easier with everything I type.

Those are the biggies, though in terms of “biggies,” mine are manageable. Most of my gaffe’s fall into those categories, but I can tell you that none of us had any expectation that this concussion and its effects would linger this long. I read an article in the News & Observer a couple of months ago by Katie Bowler (@kebowler) that struck home, and I cut it out to paste into my notebook: Reverberations from my head injuries. Her struggle really spoke to me, and while I’m sorry to know she’s experiencing the things she notes, it is nice to know my issues aren’t unheard of.

I love Hillary Clinton, and I’ve been troubled reading about her recent concussion and subsequent blood clot. I’m sending her vibes of strength and solidarity, just as I send them to Katie Bowler.


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The Freedom of ‘ish

I’ve been a professional writer for a long time. When I graduated from college with an English degree focusing in writing and editing, there was little hope that I would score a writing job that brought home the bacon, not just the Sizzlean. But I’ve always been fortunate to work in my field of study, and it’s always been in a creative capacity, either in advertising, PR, fundraising, or now, as an author. And since I’m a language artist, I figure it’s okay for me to let language work for me and whatever ideal I’m pushing. And sometimes that means being a little lenient on real versus “concept” language.

Take, for example, “ish”. Ish is a powerful adjective suffix. The concept behind it is genius.

Hey Matt, let’s meet for lunch on Friday.
Sure, Dolly. What time?
Let’s say one o’clock’ish.

Perfect. Ish gives everyone a little wiggle room on timing, takes into account traffic, sloth, or just plain ol’ forgetfulness before the Outlook reminder can jar your memory.

Hey Dolly, how many people are coming
to the Christmas party tomorrow night?
I can’t remember exactly … probably 40′ish.

Ish lets you plan for the unexpected. It’s got a built-in contingency. Maybe there will be 40 people at the Christmas party … or maybe there will be 45. Or maybe only 35. But it lets you be flexible (and no need to get in trouble with the mister if you don’t have to).

Hey Dolly, I can’t believe you’ve got a
14 year-old son. You look really good.
Thanks!
You couldn’t possibly be a day over 30.
Oh, what a nice thing to say. I’m 39′ish.

Again, no need to put an exact number on an age. No need to commit. A generalization is okay, particularly when you need it to work for you. Agree to an age that makes you comfortable … no need to make it appear that you had your 14-year-old when you were 14. And you couldn’t just be in your mid-30′s if you fess up to having your 14-year-old when you were 35. Find a good, middle-of-the-road number and stick with it.

Ish. Add it to your vocabulary. You’ll sound especially current and cosmopolitan’ish.


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Change is inevitable

Change is inevitable, so don’t let the turkeys get you down. Know what I mean?

Fluid gracefulness is something I’ve learned over the last three and a half decades, both in life and in business. And the better prepared you are to go with the flow, the better off you’ll be.

Take, for instance, a piece of news I happened upon by heresy in the blogosphere. I could rage against its unfairness, its bad business, its potential negative impact to me … or, I could look at it with the mature eyes of a decades-long creative professional, accustomed to living on the edge and making lightning fast decisions on the fly.

I choose the latter, and hope for better. So cryptic though it may seem, I acknowledge that change is inevitable, and I can go with the flow. The turkeys won’t get me down, because I won’t let them.


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Addictive Adventure from Cherry Adair

As a creative thinker, I’ve always had a pretty interesting career … mainly because I’m rarely bored can always find something funky to do. Several firsts come to mind: the first million dollar marketing campaign I was able to manage at Nortel Networks; the first avenue banners I designed and saw hanging downtown in Raleigh for Theatre In The Park; the first international conference booth signage I designed for Vision Share, Inc. (and its unveiling at a medical conference in Germany); the release of my first contemporary romance, The Right Words; and now my participation as a blogger with MacMillan’s Heroes and Heartbreakers.

I work professionally as Dolly R. Sickles, publish romance under the pseudonym Becky Moore, will publish my first children’s book in the spring under my maiden name Dolly Dozier, and am now excited to blog for the romance industry as Dolly Sickles.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read about Cherry Adair’s addictive adventure, and then take a few more to leave a comment. I’m really interested to hear what YOU find addictive in literature.

Thanks!