JulieRetouched325

About Me

Hmm. Okay, if you want some tangible details, jump down to here. But I’d like to try to sum up what I’m about. Even though I feel like I’m in transition (second-half of life and all that), I think it’s safe to say that at my core I’m driven by a need to understand. Stephen Covey says:

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

But to be honest, my approach for the first half of my life was more like:

“Seek first to understand, so I can fix it.”

Yes, I am a recovering fixer. A pleaser. A conflict-avoider. Long ago a dear friend dubbed me “Miss Switzerland” because, in an effort to swing the conflict pendulum toward neutrality, I was always pointing out the other side of a situation. As you can imagine, this could be quite irritating if you just wanted me to agree that your boss/boyfriend/BFF was a jerk. Instead, I had this need to explore and understand what was behind the jerkiness, so that I might smooth things over before they got out of hand. It’s a good thing I wasn’t writing novels in the first half of my life, since a story with no conflict is just plain boring.

The “seek to understand and fix” strategy was, however, a handy skill when I was writing advertising copy and how-to books. It also led me to some wonderful holistic health practices and my desire to Curate Calm.

These days, I’m still seeking, but my aim is more like:

“Seek first to understand, then accept and appreciate it.”

I’ve finally come to realize I can’t fix everything (honestly, I really thought that was my super power). More importantly, I’m starting to see that it’s the discord—both around us and within us—that provides the most interest and opportunity for growth. I’m also learning to embrace duality. It’s not either this or that. It’s this and that. And this other thing. And oh, look, there’s that thing, too. Huh. Wow.

As for Stephen Covey’s quote, I’m not sure how vested I am in that second half of it: being understood. (I do care a bit too much about being liked, but that’s not necessarily the same thing.) At any rate, that’s not why I write. I think C. Day Lewis has it right:

“We do not write to be understood. We write in order to understand.”

So I guess that’s what I want you to know about me. I write to understand. I’m particularly drawn to the dichotomies I see in the world and in myself. Meditation versus Midwestern values. Big Ag versus small organics. And I seek to understand them so I can accept the truth in all its messiness. And okay, I admit it: maybe find some common ground between two opposing viewpoints. Turns out, since I’m writing fiction, by the end I really can fix things. So there.

What’s that? You were really only looking for basic biographical information, not this philosophical meandering? Okay, fair enough:

  • I’m married to my high school sweetheart. No kids, but I enjoy nurturing nieces, nephews and bulldogs.
  • I live on a farm outside of Pittsburgh, though I hail from Iowa by way of Southern California.
  • I’m a devotee of restorative yoga and a student of energy work (Reiki, QiGong).
  • I’m a firm believer that we all need to slow the heck down. Seriously. If we all agreed to do so, no one would feel like they’re falling behind. But I’ve decided even if I am falling behind, I don’t care anymore.
  • I know that every day I must pause for some stillness, silence and solitude or I soon become a mess (so Curating Calm is a benefit to both me and the people who have to live with me).
  • I don’t have a favorite color but my least favorite color-combination is red and black (way to much contrast for me – refer to my conflict-avoidance nature as described above). The only color I like contrasted with black is gray. I love gray. It’s so soothing. I’d be quite comfortable living in multiple shades of gray — though not Fifty, I should clarify.