lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Secret of Life (Rated PG-13) July 10, 2018

Gather round and listen to my words of wisdom on how to succeed and find joy in life.

Don’t be a dick.

Really that’s what it boils down to.

People need help? Don’t be a dick, lend a hand.

Person is having a terrible day? Don’t be a dick, see if you can cheer them up.

You having a bad day? Don’t take it out on other people, that counts as being a dick.

See other people having a good time and not hurting anyone? Don’t be a dick, leave them alone.

It’s really simple: look at a situation, see which course of action makes you a dick, pick something else to do with your time.

Now, everyone is human. Believe me, I get it. We all slip up and pull a dick move at some point in our lives.

But you know what? You can do something truly non-dickish and apologize for being a dick and work really hard on not being a dick again.

It’s like magic.

Or the Golden rule.

Don’t be a dick to others, because it sucks when people are a dick to you.

So in those moments when the waitress is busy, when traffic is bad, when you feel like you should possess world domination but your place is as a lowly minion: don’t be a dick.

(We could toss in things about spreading love, working hard, and living your life so you’ll be missed when you’re gone, but let’s not get complicated here.)

Bottom line: Don’t be a dick.

 

Confusing the Driver June 29, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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Let me start off by saying I love my husband. He is a sweet, smart, wonderful, law-abiding man.

But there are times when the letter of the law differs from the law of the land. Prime example: The rules of the road in Greece.

While we were in Greece on our grand adventure, we rented a car for a few days. There isn’t a great public transit system outside of Athens, so it was the best way to get up to Delphi and Meteora. We registered my husband as our only driver and, GPS in hand, headed north.

First weird thing about driving in Greece, the GPS warns you when there are traffic cameras coming up. It goes deep deep, don’t speed dude. You might actually get caught right here. Not literally those words, but you get the picture. How is it legal for a GPS to warn you about speed traps? Is not getting warned about speed traps just a thing in the U.S.?

So we were driving north, getting warned about traffic cameras, even though my husband was barely speeding. Like American five miles over means you’re doing okay speeding. But all the other cars were racing past us. Zooming past the alleged traffic camera without a care.

The three passengers in the car tried to convince him to follow local custom and just drive in time with the other cars on the road. The husband was worried we’d get a bill for thousands of dollars in speeding tickets and there would be a Grecian warrant issued for his arrest.

So we plodded along, getting passed by literally every car we met. (more…)

 

Post Bus Life June 26, 2018

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I’ve been off the road and back from my adventure for almost three weeks.

That’s a really long time to be sleeping in the same bed, which is a really weird thing to say. I’m getting back into the swing of life with Oz 5000 open and life moving forward on the literary front. But I have noticed a few things that are super weird since getting off the bus.

Food. Fridges are a miraculous thing! You can put so much food in them, and when you come back the next day, you still have food! It’s amazing.

Also fantastic: having a washer and dryer in your house. I can have clean underwear whenever I want! What a thrill! (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…)

 

Reading Reviews May 8, 2018

There are a lot of similarities between acting and authoring. The love of storytelling, artistic nature of the endeavor, the constant threat of rejection… and reviews.

Reviews as an actor have never really bothered me. You win some, you lose some, but at the end of the day, you have to do the show the director set to the best of your ability. Altering your performance to fit a review is horribly unprofessional, so you soldier on and keep your chin up.

It’s a little different for books. The book is out there, and there really isn’t anything you can do. Unless there are semi-colons mid-word (as was found in a big name book that will remain nameless), in which case your publisher has to scramble to send a new version out into the world, the book is the book.

But you’re working so independently on your books; you could let the review pressure trickle into your work. Declaring that you’re never going to use a love triangle again, you will avoid writing on all social issues, or banning magic from your books are easy traps to fall into.

I know a lot of authors refuse to read any reviews of their work, and I get it; avoiding psychological damage is important. (more…)

 

The Terrifying Trailer April 17, 2018

Filed under: Myths and Legends — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I learned a thing about myself the other day.

I’m afraid of truck trailers.

I discovered this while backstage at a show. We were in a tiny venue where the semis the set travels on were pulled up to one of the quick change stations. There wasn’t a door between us and the trucks. The trailer doors were wide open and pointed right at us as we changed.

These gaping metal voids made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle, and at first I thought maybe it was just because there were shadows in the trailers that looked a little spooky. And then I realized modern media has taught me to be terrified of empty semis!

There are really only three purposes to semis:

1) You’re an evil dude ferrying illegal immigrants across the border. You’re inevitably going to leave the poor immigrants locked in the back too long, and the police are going to arrive just in time to save the smallest child while the other sixty people you have trapped like caged chickens die. (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…)