Don’t Be a Sisyphus by Rosemary Lord

just-rosie-3Rosemary wrote her first book when she was ten years old – for her little brother. She also illustrated it herself. It was later rejected by Random House! She has been writing ever since.

The author of Best Sellers Hollywood Then and Now and Los Angeles Then and Now,  English born Rosemary Lord has lived in Hollywood for over 25 years. An actress, a former journalist (interviewing Cary Grant, James Stewart, Tony Hopkins, John Huston amongst others) and a Senior Publicist at Columbia Pictures, she lectures on Hollywood history. Rosemary is currently writing the second in a series of murder mysteries set in the 1920s Jazz Age Hollywood featuring Lottie Topaz, an extra in silent movies.

 

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“It’s not where you start – it’s where you finish…” wrote Dorothy Fields, lyricist for the 1973 Tony Award winning Broadway musical Seesaw, which was based on the William Gibson play, Two for the Seesaw.  “…It’s not how you go, it’s how you land.”

As great as the musical and Michele Lee’s Tony Nominated performance were – I’m not so sure about that…

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

As we wrap up 2016, how many of us look back at the journey we each took this year? Journeys are adventures. Even if it’s literally a train, plane, bus or car journey we’re taking. Just think of people you met along the way, places you saw. This is, after all, where many of us writers find our inspiration.

For my fellow bloggers, 2016 proved to be a year of amazing writing success, with novels, short stories and blog reports abounding. I am so proud of you: brava!

Some of my 2016 journeys took me back to Europe, spendingtrip-of-a-lifetime-2009-240 time with my siblings (there are five of us), their kids and our cousins. This is a new commitment I have made since I lost my wonderful husband, Rick.

Rick and I were both always so busy in L.A., that in his latter years we had no time to spend with my family in England. I am making up for that now. Us ‘sibs’ spent magical days on the southern tip of Greece, in the Mani – away from the tourist crowds. Here we followed some of that Literary Journey I have previously written about: finding author Patrick Leigh Fermor’s house on the coast at Kardamyli, staying in the village where Nicholas Kazantzakis wrote about a local mine-worker, Zorba the Greek.  We had lunch in Corinth, watching the Corinth Canal operators open the bridges to allow large vessels through. In Greek Mythology, Sisyphus was founder and king of Corinth. (More about him later.) My travels in England took me through the worlds of Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Keats, Pepys, Kipling and so much more.  I saw a glorious production of E. Nesbit’s classic story, The Railway Children, at King’s Cross Train Station in London, where a portion of the tracks had been turned into a theatre, with the audience seated on platforms 1 and 2, facing each other. The play was performed on the actual railway lines between, with a ‘stage’ moved back and forth along the rails by stage-hands dressed as Edwardian railway porters, and a real steam train chunting in from the wings. Joanna Scotcher’s award-winning design was stunning.

Back in California, so much of my past year has been spent at the Woman’s Club of Hollywood, right in the heart of Hollywood. Here I have been working with a terrific new team to save this historic landmark, pay off a debt of over one million dollars incurred by ne’er-do-wells and bring amazing people back into the club, so that we might help the local community, support our charitable causes, restore the historical buildings and have fun at the great social and artistic events. We have a great series of writing workshops, of course, taught by Gayle Bartos-Pool!

But it’s a lotta work! Long hours, too. And, because the need for help here is so vital, I have neglected my writing. But I still poke away at it, snatching twenty minutes here and there to work on my second Lottie Topaz novel. The other things I intend to write swirl around my head – spilling as hurried notes in my many notebooks. I have also surprised myself by managing to write these Blogs. My fellow bloggers seem so much better at time-management than I! I have managed to attend some fascinating writers’ conferences too, where I get to renew old friendships with fellow writers – and meet new writers, editors, experts and publishers.

So here we are, as this year draws to an end, trying to make sure we have done all we set out to do. Remember those dastardly New Year Resolutions?  This crazy year-end rush to catch up as Christmas looms. No, I love Christmas – truly! I especially love the sentiment of the origins of this special time of year. But, now that I am supposed be grown-up, all the trimmings, demands and expectations tend to overwhelm. There’s that word again.

I long to have time to stretch out on my ever-so-comfy sofa and watch A Christmas Carol, Christmas In Connecticut, Miracle on 34th Street or Scrooge – with a hot cup of  tea and a mince pie. But there always seems so many things to take care of: phone-calls to make, papers to organize, to summarize, to complete. To Do lists ticked off and thrown away.  And this year has the added dread of ‘Mercury in Retrograde’ from December 19th to January 8th. This is when the planet Mercury slows down considerably and we mortals have all those challenges with missed communication, delayed deliveries, mechanical problems with computers and cars. Mercury Retrograde is supposed to be a time to slow down and reflect on where we are going. That’s what they say, anyway. It works for me. And I like having something other than myself to blame for emails that go missing or if my computer is playing up. So this year we have a double whammy.

That’s where Sisyphus comes into the picture. In Greek Mythology, evil sinner Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a mountain. Once he got to the top, the weight of the boulder forced it to start rolling down to the bottom, wherein he had to start again.  According to Albert Camus, the Greek gods felt that there is no more dreadful punishment than this futile and hopeless labor for Sisyphus. Hmmm.

Well, as we look forward to a fresh, welcoming New Year, I don’t want to be heading into 2017 with my same disorganized paperwork, uncompleted tasks and my long list of over-commitments. I just hate to say ‘no’ to anyone, believing that I must always help others, before I take care of myself. That’s the way I was raised. But I really want to start putting some of my needs first for a change. I don’t want to be Sisyphus, pushing that boulder uphill anymore.

So these next few days between Christmas and the New Year I will make time to watch It’s A Wonderful Life again for inspiration. I know I will be having several of those ‘good talkings to’ with myself – making sure that I, Rosemary, understand that this next year really will be different. I promise.

I really will use my time a lot better, so I can accomplish more. I really will delegate work at the Woman’s Club. I really will discipline my writing time so that I  turn away from distractions and complete this next Lottie  book and start the next. So that I really will complete those dozen or so short stories I have started, but that remain unfinished. And maybe I really will enlist some help with my paper work and especially my computer and Social Media skills. Please! I prefer phone calls to Face Book: sorry!

But this coming year I really do want to make a difference in my life so that I can ‘stop and smell the roses’ again.  I have decided 2017 is going to be a grand year, with wonderful changes for the better.

And I hope that for everyone 2017 will be a magical year. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

16 thoughts on “Don’t Be a Sisyphus by Rosemary Lord”

  1. Rosemary, You did something remarkable with this blog post. You showed all of us that even though we might want to be doing a couple of other things in our lives, life takes us to places we never dreamed of. But those places make up our lives in so many ways and looking back over a year spent living that life is a great thing. Happy New Year to you, too.

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  2. Rosemary, your post is marvelous! I needed to read, feel, and understand everything you said, and I plan on walking hand-in-hand with you — “But this coming year I really do want to make a difference in my life so that I can ‘stop and smell the roses’ again. I have decided 2017 is going to be a grand year, with wonderful changes for the better.” Perfectly said, and if the “magic” doesn’t appear on it’s own–I plan to make some! Happy New Year!

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  3. What an inspiring–and informative–post, Rosemary. I did NOT know about Mercury in Retrograde, but it sure explains a lot of the weirdness I’ve been noticing the past few days. Back up your data, indeed. It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to travel with your family, and we your fellow Writers in Residence have benefitted from your travels, too–in ways both tangible and intangible. This is the perfect time for reflection and reassessment of our priorities, and I hope to follow your fine example. Happy New Year, all!!

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  4. Thank you Rosemary, for giving us all such an uplifting and inspiring post to end the year. I stand beside you as I vow not to be a Sisyphus, either. Happy New Year to you and all our readers.

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  5. I love, love, LOVE the photo of you and your brother in Greece! Wow. It makes me so envious. You look there like you indeed smelled the roses (or wild thyme, rosemary or sage… or whatever grows near the ruins) and are magically content. You reminded me of – well I don’t want to spoil the image – but of several movie stars rolled into one. You also reminded me of one of my favorite authors, Mary Stewart, with her book, “My Brother Michael” which took place in Greece… or the “Moon Spinners”… or “This Rough Magic” (my all time, multi-times read favorite book).
    I’m so looking forward to what you will be, do, write, and LOVE in 2017. Thanks for ending the year so …. blithe spirited!

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    1. Hi Jackie, thank you for your lovely sentiments.
      The photo is of me with my wonderful, late husband Rick Cameron!
      This was in Ephasus, Turkey on our amazing Trip of a Lifetime with his old boss and her crew. We were next to the amphitheater where St. Paul preached….and it truly was a magical trip.
      And I think this coming year will also be magical, as I return to focusing on my writing…. And I hope it will be magical for you and all of our readers!
      Happy, Happy New Year,

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