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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Little “Nighttide” Music December 11, 2018

I adore my husband. If you’ve visited this blog before, that much is probably clear.

Aside from our co-dependence as humans, we also work together as performers and have been known to collaborate on fun projects. Together, we created the music for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical and Princess Camp: The Musical.

Most recently, I decided to write a short story that includes music. Weird, I know. But think of it this way: there are books where people bake pies, and at the back of the book the author puts in the recipe for the pie you saw the characters baking. Only in this story there is no pie, there’s songs. And for those who are musically-inclined, there’s sheet music available to go with the songs.

Why, you may ask? Because I love collaborating on music with the husband, and no one would want to eat any pie I created the recipe for.

Will everyone who reads the story be interested in the sheet music, or be able to read or play music? Not at all. And the story doesn’t hinge on being able to hum the melody.

I just really like insider extras, and music is something unique I can offer my readers.

The story is titled Song of Nighttide and is available for free download here.

Meganorlowskiru_ebook (3).jpg

And as for our little song, please enjoy this clip of the husband’s performance.

 

 

A “Real” Job November 27, 2018

I’m an actor and an author. Those are the two things I do with my life. They are both horribly time consuming, desperately competitive, bound to shatter your heart, and I would never give up either of them.

But a lot of people don’t consider either to be a real job.

I’m an adult. Not like just out of college and think I’m a grown up. I am actually a full-fledged adult who likes to gripe at youths who aren’t concerned with being politically active. But some people still somehow think that I’m going to outgrow these strange pursuits and choose something sensible to do with my life.

My favorite comments include:

  • If you keep practicing, you could really be an actor someday.

Counter balanced by

  • You’re so talented, have you considered acting professionally?

 

There’s also the gems of (accompanied by thoughts like):

  • So what do you do for money?
    I sacrifice goats to the gods. Would you like to come to the next ceremony?
  • What are you going to do—you know—when you’re old?
    Be a cooler person than you.
  • You should be on Broadway. Why don’t you live in New York?
    I like disposable income and hate the smell of pee on the sidewalk.
  • Don’t you want to do something more with your life?
    I tell stories and make people happy. I may not be curing cancer, but escape and joy are important, dammit.

(more…)

 

Achievement Unlocked September 25, 2018

We all have dreams. Publishing a book, going to Paris… getting to see a bear up close in the wild. And sometimes, if we’re really lucky, we get to live out those dreams.

I won the bucket list lottery in Homer, Alaska.

View of Homer from Kachemak Bay State Park
I’ve seen bears in Denali National Park before. I’ve seen them pretty close from inside the bus and have stumbled upon a few in closer quarters while hiking. But I’ve always been a few hundred yards away.

Sidebar: A few hundred yards is as close as you should ever be to a bear. Even that distance can spook the bear, and then there’s bluff charges and the potential for pain and (very rarely) death. Bears are, in fact, wild animals that could eat your face and should be respected and treated as such.

But I’ve heard so many stories about hikers rounding a bend and there being a giant bear up ahead, and I’ve always felt a little left out. I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours hiking in bear country and I’ve never had an “Oops, sorry Mr. Bear, I didn’t mean to scare you” experience. Probably because I follow the rules and do everything the park rangers say you should, but still, if everyone else gets to be sleeping in their hammock and wake up to a bear strolling by, why can’t I?

When the husband and I went to Homer, I said I wanted to see a black bear. My husband said, “No.” But after much debating, we ended up taking a boat out to Kachemak Bay State Park. (more…)

 

Raki for My Friends August 10, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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There are times in life when you have to push through in order to find something amazing.

The husband and I had a push through moment the night after our amazing hike of the Samaria Gorge.

We were hot. We were tired. We were in pain. We were dirty as hell. And we were hungry.

We got back to Chania, the nice little city where we were staying about an hour from the gorge.

It was like nine at night by then. As we limped our way back toward the hotel, we searched for food. Some restaurants were too nice for us to go in as filthy as we were. Some didn’t have any food allergy-ridden me could actually eat. The grocery store had no pre-made food to be found. It was rough.

I wanted to go to the old town, but it was a long walk away and we were so dirty.

We finally found a mom and pop place that didn’t have any food left, but they had some advice: just head toward old town and you’ll find something to eat.

It was one of those moments in travel when you have to choose between a Cliff Bar and Sleep or good food and fatigue.

We headed toward old town. That part of Chania is surrounded by an old stone wall, so we had to cut back to go over to loop down. It was a whole thing. We made it to old town, and the first thing we saw was a restaurant in the middle of the street.

Restaurant in Old Town

The owner came up to us with a menu (completely ignoring the massive amount of trail dust we were covered in). He told us there would be live music and that we should have some of his homemade raki.

—If you’ve never had raki, it’s like a less burning version of vodka—

We said we loved raki, so we’d have a look around and come back.

He blinked at us like we were crazy and said, “You like raki? Two shots of raki for my friends!” (more…)

 

Left Unsaid August 7, 2018

Fellow bloggers,

Do you ever start to write a blog and then erase it because you know about twelve people will be utterly certain you’re writing about them even though you’re not?
This is going to be one of those.

I get that everyone deals with stress in different ways. We all have coping mechanisms and twitches. Some people read, some run, some drink way too much wine, some people pretend nothing bad is happening.

But here’s the thing: acknowledging that your life isn’t perfect doesn’t make you a “negative person.” I will never understand people who think that acknowledging they chipped a tooth should be frowned upon by society because it isn’t cheerful, meme-based conversation.

Isn’t human communication supposed to be more than cat pictures?

I’m not saying that we should all spend every conversation fighting the good fight for human rights and equality, but if you only tell people the good things that are happening in your life, does anyone actually know who you are as a human? (more…)

 

The Meteora March July 17, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I love climbing things. There’s something about using your own two legs to hike up something that makes you feel accomplished and insubstantial all at the same time.

When we were in Greece not so very long ago, we decided to visit the beautiful monasteries of Meteora—

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—positioned on spires of stone. Monks moved up onto the rocks for seclusion. Some even going so far as to build themselves homes in the sides of rocks.

Of course the world being what it is, seclusion has been replaced by tourism, but the monasteries are amazing and well worth the visit.

The trick is you have to climb to most of them. And not like a flight or two of stairs. Like a lot, a LOT, of stairs.

Theoretically, you’re supposed to be able to hike between all of the monasteries and visit them in one day…we didn’t do that. (more…)

 

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.