LOVE The Beat Goes Onis my first memoir. It was difficult to write at times. But when your doctor gives you a “6-months to live” diagnosis in 2008, I writing my memoir would be an inspiration. I felt compelled to share HOPE.
The easy part was telling the story. But here are the things that really make it hard:
When you write a memoir, there’s nowhere to hide.
Be authentic. If you are bull-xxiting, the reader will know it.
Is it true to life? Well if you’ve ever been in an argument with your partner/spouse/lover/sibling you know we all see the same thing from a different point of view.
It’s also difficult because you get a judgment on yourself. Think about that. I’ve got 16 books published on Amazon. That’s a lot of writing, a lot of readers, fans, reviews. And one negative review sticks out. The person who wrote the review said I was a “woman of passion and privilege.” I loved the passion because this is very true. But the privilege? I can’t tell you how much that hurt. I’m an army brat, child of an alcoholic father. I had a life of loneliness and horrific family arguments in my teenage years. Everything I ever got I worked my butt off to achieve. But when you put yourself out there, people will react to your narrative in different ways.
So, is it sensationalized or true to his or her life?
Your question intrigued me. I’m currently writing a second memoir. I sold everything last year 2019. I was living in Mexico, gave up my career in sales, and decided to travel to Europe, India, Asia, Malaysia and the Middle East. My entire world has been turned upside down for that decision. I now live in Istanbul, Turkey, and am in love with a man who is decades younger than me. Do I have a story to share? Oh yeah. I don’t need to sensationalize it.
My life is incredibly amazing and I’ve been blessed with the best and worst events. But I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not one single thing. I hope the authenticity of my words will shine through on the final draft of my manuscript. I can’t wait to share my story with the world.
We all have a story to share. Maybe you will be next.
Day 36/37 I’ve lost count. Lockdown in Istanbul if you are over 65. My first stop when they lift this quarantine will be the hairdressers!
I knew I liked to shake up my life, but this year has been amazing!
It’s almost 2020, so I’m taking a moment to look back and do the proverbial: how did Lynda do in 2019? But today I’m going one step further, I’m going ALL the way back. How many times can I re-invent myself?
I was a good girl, a Canadian army brat. We moved every three years. You packed up your things, said goodbye to your friends, and moved on with your life. Didn’t everyone live like that?
In my teens, I thought I’d be a Catholic nun. I entered a convent of missionary sisters straight from high school. I was religious. I wanted to save the world, look after orphans, feed the poor. Instead, I recall days of washing floors and stealing cookies from the kitchen after lights out! Less than a year later, I left the convent, returned to Ottawa, and married my high school sweetheart. A year later, I was divorced.
I look back on my life and see the characteristics and events that define the woman I’ve become. At the time, I couldn’t see it, but as Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “I can see clearly now.”
First, I’m a loner. It turns out that’s a good thing because change is easy, maybe too easy for me. I don’t form the kind of attachments others form. As a result of my upbringing, I don’t have childhood friends. When people ask me where I come from, I never know what to say. I lived in Petawawa, Toronto, Lindsay, Edmonton, Montreal, Whistler—all in Canada. Then Puerto Vallarta Mexico for the last 17 years. What do I say Canada or Mexico? And now I’m in Istanbul, Turkey!
I could live anywhere in the world because “wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
I did the same thing with my various careers and in my own businesses.
I started in sales part-time over the summer in Ottawa when I was 18. Then I taught myself how to type and assisted the GM of a stock brokerage firm. I moved to Toronto and began a short-lived modeling career that led me into fashion. I opened a store and sold ladies’ clothing. I built that into a chain of stores. Unfortunately, husband number 2 was a gambler, and he stole money from the business. And “the rest is history!”
The next stop was Montreal, where I began a career as a women’s clothing buyer for retail businesses, importing, designing, and creating. I woke up one morning and said to myself, “If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.” I opened a manufacturing plant.
Several years later, I now had two young boys. Quebec was in a recession. So I moved from Montreal to western Canada and began a career in resort sales that lasted 25 years! “Why invest money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”
Witness the evolution of a woman:
“I can see clearly now.”
“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
“The rest is history!”
“If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.”
“Why invest the money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”
And this brings us to the year 2019. After 54 years of working, 9-5, 8-midnight, and 3, or 4-hour days, I retired! Well, my version of retirement. I sold everything and bought an airline ticket with multiple destinations—precisely the way I’ve lived my life! I celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv to the sound of air raid sirens. And from there, I traveled to Europe, India, Thailand. And along the way, I found Istanbul.
The one constant in my life is my love of books. I think my first memory of a book is Little Women. I will reread it someday. In my teens, I started to write poetry and journal. And in my 20’s I wrote my first novel. I never published it and lost the manuscript in one of my moves. But that’s fine with me. It was never meant to be published. I never even tried. But in 2008, I was diagnosed with incurable heart disease and told I had “6 months to live.”
This time I not only had to re-invent myself but re-create myself. “And that has made all the difference.”
Now the promises to self kicked in, and I began to write in earnest. I published three books of poetry and wrote several books of fiction. I waited for years to write and publish my journey to healing because I wanted to be sure that I actually survived what I call my miracle. And now I’m almost on the eve of publishing my 16th book on Amazon, The Istanbul Conspiracy! The 7th in my Code Raven Series.
So far, it’s been and wild and wondrous journey. I’ve managed to stay retired all of 2019 and finally returned to writing to gather my plots for this new release. Yes, I call this retirement even though I am super busy with writing novels, blogs, Quora, FB, IG, Twitter, yoga, traveling, and living my beautiful creative life. I love Istanbul and I think I will stay for a while. It’s been 8 months so far. I’m researching for my books, learning to cook Turkish food, wandering the streets, doing photography, and now I’m back to full-time writing. I finally have time to keep in touch with friends I’ve made along the way in Mexico and in Turkey and all over the world.
So, tell me something. How many times can you reinvent yourself? I say, as many times as it takes!
At this time in my life as I’ve allowed myself to fall in love again, I would say her words on love touch my soul in profound ways.
Every great author and some who never achieve world-wide acclaim has affected our lives in a multitude of ways. Toni Morrison’s work is in a class by itself. Maybe right up there with Maya Angelou.
I will let her words speak to you in honor of her memory.
“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”
“Something that is loved is never lost.”
“To get to a place where you could love anything you chose, not to need permission for desire, well now that was freedom.”
“Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind.”
It is the courage of authors like Toni that have opened their hearts and bared their souls, that gave me the guts to write the stories that I write. My memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On is so personal and revealing it took me years before I would publish it.
“Make up a story. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.” Toni Morrison
So I went on and wrote about a 50 year-old-woman and her 20-year-old lover inTarget in the Sun. And then I exposed the lives of several male prostitutes in Mexico writing in the first person as Layla, in Lie To Me, again opening myself to major criticism, but also an award for Contemporary Fiction Social Issues.
It’s not easy to reveal yourself because that’s what I do when I write. Yes, my books are “fiction” but as in the current Daniel Silva book The New Girl, our stories are often based on fact. Some hide it better than others.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
published this morning: Elizabeth Gilbert on FaceBook
Dear Ones: It’s a beautiful spring day in my corner of the world, life is everywhere bursting forth with a sense of rebirth and renewal, and this seems like as good a moment as any to tell you that I am in love. Please meet my sweetheart, Mr. Simon MacArthur. He’s a photographer from the U.K. — a beautiful man who has been a friend of mine for years. (Even more touchingly, Simon was a beloved friend of Rayya’s for decades. They lived together in London over 30 years ago, and they adored each other forever like siblings. This, as you can imagine, means the world to me.) Of late, Simon and I have found our way to each other’s arms. And now here we are, and his heart has been such a warm place for me to land. I share this news publicly, despite the fact that our love story is so new and young and tender, for a few reasons. For one thing, I just wanted to say: If you see me walking around with a tall handsome man on my arm, don’t be buggin’. Just know that your girl is happy, and following her heart. But also this: I will always share anything personal about my life, if it could help someone else feel more normal about their life. SO…if you have lost a loved one to death, and you thought you’d never love again, but you are feeling a pull of attraction toward someone new, and you’re not sure if that’s OK? Let me normalize it for you. Let me say: It’s Ok. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your beautiful loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life. It’s OK to live, and to love. Or…if you are falling in love in middle age and it’s terrifying, because you feel just as dumb and crazy and excited and insecure as you did at 16? Well, let me normalize this for you. It’s OK. You will always feel 16 when you are falling in love. Or…if you once loved a man and then you loved a woman, and then you loved a man, and you’re wondering if that’s ok? Well, darling. Let me normalize that for you. It’s OK. Love who you love. It’s all OK, and it’s all impossible to control, and it’s all an adventure that I will not miss. That’s all I wanted to say. Onward, and I love you all.
Why does everything Elizabeth Gilbert says and does make me cry? She’s truly a woman of our times. Her life has crossed paths with mine in truly memorable ways. Jeanne Proteau I don’t know if you will remember before I left Mexico in 2007 to drive back to Canada, I met and spoke to a young woman from the US who had recently graduated from University. Her first job was working as a publicist for then-unknown author, Elizabeth Gilbert. I remember the conversation vividly because I was about to embark on a life-changing journey that would introduce me to a man with whom I would fall deeply in love. In my memoir, I refer to him as my cowboy.
While driving into the US through the Arizona border, I stopped at a mall for food. In front of me was a huge display of the book Eat Pray Love. I can picture the stand of books in front of me at this very moment. That’s when I bought my first copy of her treasured memoir. This past year a reviewer compared my LOVE The Beat Goes On to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love memoir. I was honored, and reminded that we can be stuck in our lives or take action. It will always be our choice. And today, as many of you know, I have again pulled up roots and embarked on a journey of a lifetime. I created my own EPL journey that started in Dallas, then Paris, New Delhi, Agra–for the amazing Taj Mahal–then Goa India, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and now I’m in Thailand.
I think about how her book had such a tremendous effect on generations of women who felt trapped in their lives and needed permission to break free. It doesn’t surprise me that her best friend and lover Rayya–who died last year– sent Liz an old friend to help heal her broken heart and show her love again.
I’ve often been told I overshare (in not so many words) but I guess it’s a writer thing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.