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100In my youth, I was awarded the title “The Writer Who Doesn’t Write” because—although many felt I had the talent—I could not find my voice.

It took over four decades, but birthing my children at nearly 42 and 45 opened my consciousness with the force of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. My passion poured forth, carried upon an infinite army of words, like the conquering heroes of nature.

I would write the truth about becoming a mother after 40; and I would be a voice for all of us and our stories.

And to ensure that I would not stray from my path, Frank extracted a commitment from me that I have borne like a thankless cross on my back these long months, until today.

This morning, I woke like a bemused child on a dark, bleak winter morning where a warm and fledgling puff of breath might barely thaw the frozen stars of moisture on the bedroom window pane.

The day I saw taking shape was not what had been described to me ten arduous months ago, by a husband boot-camp-trained in ninja sales tactics—the kind where promises vanish without a trace.

Today, I was the innocent who had been told to expect the resounding chorus of birdsong from trees brimming with the bees and buds of Success.

This is the 100th blog.  And it was destined to be a milestone moment in the life of Flower Power Mom (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/).

But as the sun rose, there wasn’t as much as a lonely chirrup from an orphaned sparrow, on the beleaguered birdfeeder outside my bedroom window.

What went wrong?

After all, Frank had once assured me of the splendor of this day—and had done so with the naked zeal and absolute conviction of a dedicated Birthing Coach.

“Keep writing”, he urged. “Oh, you’re good, baby you’re good!”

(It seems a lifetime ago, doesn’t it, Frank? You know—back when I had visions of book deals dancing in my head?)

“But, Frank!” I cried. “Where will I find the time?”

Then he offers the deal-closer. “If you write—rain or shine, with sleepy kids at sun-up and whining ones at sun-down—until you get to the 100th blog, something wonderful will happen,” he says.

Just like in the movie, 2010 (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/2010_%28film%29)—“Something wonderful will happen…all these worlds are yours…”

That’s what Coach Frank said.

Somewhere out in the miraculous firmament of the great Godhead within the Almighty Internet, a powerful book editor—with his or her eyes on the Pulitzer prize—would reach out and pluck me from the endless clover patch of mediocrity like Horton rescuing Whoville (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Horton_Hears_a_Who%21) and its real estate (a speck of dust) from infinite obscurity.

And then, well, I’d be on the literary Polar Express (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/The_Polar_Express_%28film%29) for my pilgrimage to Santa’s payroll department at the Time Warner book factory where the contracts and publishers roam.

“Yes, Coach!” I cried, thumping up to the top of stairs to dust the attic like Rocky Balboa at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, bouncing my matching Pledge (http://www NULL.pledge NULL.com/) spray can and dusting cloth above my head more victoriously than a pair of boxing gloves.

You could almost hear me chanting, “Yeah, I’m ‘Gonna Fly Now.’ (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=ioE_O7Lm0I4)

Later, I would settle down faithfully to write my blog—chicken-soup-for-the-over-40-mom—by the indifferent light of the midnight oil, as Coach Frank lay on his back in the bed like a baby, arms outstretched beside his head, snoring beside me in peaceful slumber.

Sure, I could have slapped him one upside the head. But, instead, I gritted my teeth and trained hard.

For nearly a year, I’ve been Bozo the juggling child entertainer clown during the day, while moonlighting as our domestic accountant beating back a pack of greedily encroaching bill collectors with a pair of dishpan hands raw enough to sandpaper the chewing gum off the textured cement of a public sidewalk.

Of course, let’s not forget my other jobs: Skivvy the short-order chef (“No, Mommy, I didn’t ask for that—I want something else instead!”), while racking up enough ice time intervening in kid-fights to be headhunted for lead referee at Hockey Night In Canada (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/sports/hockey/).

At times, I’ve felt so deeply miserable and dumbly exhausted I could have easily auditioned as a depressive for a Cymbalta TV commercial (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=OTZvnAF7UsA), while strapping a skateboard to my ass to drag myself around the house at a speed sufficient to be three places at once with the added luxury of a passenger seat.

But baby, I’m still writing my blog because I’m so good!

I try not to feel like I got sucker-punched by a late night TV commercial—the kind you watch when the rest of the family is enjoying their lamb-like beauty sleep, and while your eyes have been hardwired open for the Ludovico Technique in Clockwork Orange (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Ludovico_technique):

“Yes, you can have all this for 10 easy payments, and if you order now you’ll get to write a blog for free—call in the next 15 minutes and we’ll give you the opportunity to write and upload 2 researched blogs each week. Unpaid.

They are the kind of commercials that smack of the saccharine cheeriness of 1960s and 70s TV—those that will sell you a self-flagellation kit and service with a smile. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

After waking up to realize how gullible you’ve been,  there’s an instant, primeval urge to drag Alice (http://www NULL.tvacres NULL.com/char_nelson_alice NULL.htm), the chortling Brady maid—along with merry Madge (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=dzmTtusvjR4&NR=1) the “you’re-soaking-in-it” Palmolive manicurist—out back behind the shed and introduce their cheesy grins to the rusty side of a repeating cast-iron frying pan.

(Chef’s note: Beat for 2 minutes or until stiff peaks are formed)

You see, Coach Frank and I forgot something pretty significant—writers don’t get paid anymore.

We’ve entered the ironic age of the information highway when the double-edged sword of the internet has proved mightier than the journalist’s pen.

It is an era where rags like the Huffington Post (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/) seem to have morally legalized the insult of expecting skilled writers to produce copy pro bono on what my mother once called “a kiss and a promise.”

On the upside, aspiring writers no longer have to be trained journalists to get noticed. But plummeting into the brave new literary gutter of the downside, they are also expected to lie down and “put out”—gratis—in order to earn their chops.

After all, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

On the other hand, one could argue, even prostitutes get paid. But hey, who said publishing was fair?

And, as the hallowed banners of long-established newspapers and publications begin to fade on the mythic mists of a correspondent’s Camelot, carpet-bagging editors are quick to step in and mop up the surviving writers of a Hurricane Katrina that has turned the publishing world into The Upside Down Show (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/The_Upside_Down_Show)internet blogging.

In the end, the symbol of blogging must be the serpent eating its own tail. The supernova explosion of the written word on the internet bears the seed of its own destruction.

Because in the endless proliferation of verbiage pouring out of the blogosphere, some bright spark figured out writers don’t need to be paid. And the chosen few that are, comprise the exceptions that prove the rule.

Ergo, believing that blogging will get you published is like being thirsty and guzzling a pail of sea water.

While gasping for breath and pissing your literary faith down your trouser-leg, however, you have to try and believe that, one day, the proverbial worm will turn. Wasn’t there a time when even Vincent Van Gogh couldn’t trade the famous Starry Night (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/The_Starry_Night) for a glass of beer?

This morning—the day of the 100th blog and the infinite promise of “all these worlds are yours…”—I woke, walked into the kitchen, and pointed my finger accusingly at Coach Frank as he made me a consolation prize cappuccino in the early morning light.

“Don’t tell me I’m good, Frank,” I said, with the dangerously caustic tone of a crowning shrew, about to be born.

“I know, my love,” he cooed, weakly attempting to inveigle himself like Fagin out of Oliver Twist (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Oliver_Twist). “You feel like you’ve been pissing yourself in a dark suit—it gives you a nice warm feeling, but nobody else notices.”

“Is that for my epitaph?” I demanded, cruelly unwilling to crack a smile.

“No, but keep writing,” Frank grinned bravely. “You’ll come up with something better.”

And then I did. But it wasn’t mine.

It was the fleeting tune of the finale from the 1979 Monty Python film, The Life of Brian—“Always look on the bright side of life (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WlBiLNN1NhQ)…”.

Notes for this blog:

For the Flower Power Mom website, click here: http://www.achildafter40.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/).

To email me: editor[at]flowerpowermom.com

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