lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Super Human Liver September 11, 2018

Have you ever met someone and thought, You are a caricature of a human?

I met one such gentleman in Chania, Crete.

He was a restaurant owner with homemade Raki. And his homemade Raki was better than the store made kind. His version of the traditional liquor didn’t have the terrible burn of the types the husband and I had sampled before.

The restaurant owner was about in his fifties, the cheerful silver fox type, and liked to lure people into his restaurant by offering them free shots of his Raki. It worked. Between the yummy Raki and beautiful live music, the husband and I were hooked.

The thing is, he’d do a shot with you. And with the next people who came into the restaurant. And with the people who agreed to get up and dance. And with the couple who ordered dessert.

We tried to count, and he took like fourteen shots while we were eating dinner. And the man was still standing! I don’t even know how that’s possible!

There was another English-speaking couple sitting behind us, and they finally asked how many shots he usually took in a night.

His response: “It depends.” (more…)

 

The Sound in the Sight July 27, 2018

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I messed up my knee. Not a huge, end-of-the-world messed up my knee; more like a heels-on-shoes-shouldn’t-bend-that-way-oh-dear-God-why-is-my-foot-suctioned-to-the-floor kind of way.

Long story short (a first for me, I know), I ended up with a massive bone bruise in my knee and a lovely piece of rogue cartilage bungling up the joint. So, I’m stuck on crutches until the bruise heals and had to have a tiny little surgery to get the extra floaty bit removed.

The surgery wasn’t that bad, though it was really rude that they knocked me out mid-sentence without warning me it was coming. I was telling them very important things about visiting Alaska that they will never get to know.

The terror came in the post operation pain killers. (more…)

 

The Creek and the Stings May 11, 2018

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I grew up in a very old house in the country. We had three-ish acres of land, and my family left most of it wild. Trees, blackberry bushes, and tall grass all leading up to a creek.

I would run wild through the back for hours at a time. As long as I stayed within our property and didn’t go swimming on my own, my parents just let me go. My mom had this giant antique school bell, and when she rang, it was time to head back toward the house. It was a crazy amount of freedom.

One day while playing way out toward the back of the property, I stepped on a hive of ground bees. I don’t even know how many stings I got, only that my leg hurt like hell.

I did the only thing a child used to running wild would do. (more…)

 

A Maize April 13, 2018

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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Once upon a time, the husband and I decided to go to a corn maze between performances on a two-show day. This was before we lived on a tour bus, so we had our own car and the maze was less than fifteen minutes from the theatre.

It was a beautiful fall day, and the farm hosting the maze was great. There was apple cider and apple cider donuts. We blithefully headed into the corn maze, ready to spend a fun twenty minutes winding our way through the corn.

About forty minutes later, we realized the maze was bigger than we had imagined.

Fifteen minutes after that, we realized we hadn’t seen anyone in a long time and didn’t really know which way the front of the maze was supposed to be.

We had to be at the theatre for the evening performance in a half hour. Subtract about fifteen minutes for getting from the maze to the parking lot and driving from the farm to theatre and…we were potentially very screwed.

We considered squeezing between the corn stalks to try and find our way out but, not knowing what direction we wanted to go, trail blazing could have landed us on the far side of the farm with no better clue which way our car was (the husband and I were late to the iPhone party, so no compass to be had).

When we had ten minutes left to find the car if we were going to make it to the theatre on time, we finally had to call the stage manager. (more…)

 

A Wrinkle in Summer March 23, 2018

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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The summer after my senior year of high school was terrible. After spending a million hours a week dancing in preparation for college auditions, I ended up with two stress fractures in my shin. I was condemned to three months on crutches. Worse than just crutches, with orders to move as little as possible to rest my other, slightly less damaged shin.

My sister took some time off to stay with me and literally sit on me on the few occasions I tried to get to the bathroom unassisted. The only things that saved me were Dawson’s Creek reruns and Madeline L’Engle.

The local library had her full set of books, and I tore through all of them. And not just the Wrinkle in Time series. I got to be good friends with the Austins and the O’Keefes too. There was something about her writing style that was so simple and so mythical. You were never talked down to, but you knew everything that was happening. From visiting ice caps to traveling to strange planes, I always knew I could count on Madeline L’Engle for an amazing adventure.

To this day when people ask who my favorite authors are, Madeline L’Engle is always on the list.

But…I still haven’t seen the new movie. I’m just too scared. (more…)

 

Authorless-ness January 16, 2018

In case you missed it, my latest book, The Girl Without Magic was released last week.

This is the part where I’m supposed to say how grateful I am and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful publisher, and how thrilling it is to have people read my words.

All of that is true, but this is Life Beyond Exaggeration, not my author website, so here’s the messy part of it.

Being an author isn’t always fun. I actually thought about it, and if I gave up writing, I could get masters degree. I would have time to do the school work and time to earn the money to pay my tuition. If I didn’t write, I could be a really great ukulele player, have a six pack, have watched everything on Netflix everyone tells me I should watch. There is so much I could do with my time and my life if I just stopped writing! It’s maddening!

And that’s what I spent my joyous release day thinking about. In a burrito of blankets. Binging on cool ranch Doritos. There were a lot of things that led to this highly attractive moment.

Amazon being screwy and not posting the book for many hours so I was panicking that it would never go up.

Important people not answering my emails when I needed them to.

People in my non-author life treating my writing like a side hobby that should hold no sway over my schedule and should be dismissed when it becomes inconvenient for them.

The never-ending self doubt because no one will read my books and, even if they do, won’t leave a good review.

Then I decided. I was done. No more writing. Fulfill the commitments I currently have contracts for and then be done. (more…)

 

You Have Chosen… Poorly October 3, 2017

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 12:40 pm
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I’m going to combine three stories into one. Maybe a little because it’ll be more interesting and I can create an allegory of doom, maybe a little so I don’t get in trouble.

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Once upon a time, I received an email. Basically the email read: Whatever people told you you’ve done well, they were wrong. We found someone better. A new shiny toy that we like much more than we like you. I know that you’ve worked for us and you trusted us, but we’re going to screw you over for no apparent reason. Mostly because our nuggets have been tweaked, and we’ve lost all sense of right in the world.

The funny part is the email came more than a year after the battle had been won. The contract had been signed. The reviews had been given. I’d already won.

But the email sender still felt the need to reject a hard-earned triumph, even at the cost of their own business. (more…)