Sharla Dawn Gorder

Writer – Speaker

Sharla-Dawn-Gorder-headshot-2© Janna Marie Photography

I’m Sharla and I wrote a book.

It was published last fall.  If you don’t like to read, please feel free to enjoy the illustration at the top of my home page.  It contains most of the images I wrote about in the book, plus a few that are still percolating in my head.

If you do like to read, let me tell you a little about why I wrote the book and what it’s about, so that you can decide for yourself whether you’ll want to buy it when it’s released.  Maybe the picture’s enough, though.  That’s cool too.  Just don’t expect to find Waldo.  I didn’t write about him.

The book is called, My Vices Collide, A Celebration of Being a Little Messed Up, and it’s a funny, inspirational collection of stories about being all things to all people at all times, and failing beautifully.  It’s the story of my life, and maybe yours.

I didn’t set out to write a memoir—because, well, my memory sucks—and it seemed to me that I’d need to remember a whole bunch of details, from like when I was fourteen.  And I can’t remember what I had for supper last night or whether I took my vitamins this morning.  I do have diaries though that date back to when I was fourteen and before, and hundreds of notebooks of lists and letters and manifestos and poems and stories.  So I don’t have to remember what I had for supper on June 5, 1975, because I wrote it down on June 5, 1975.  Along with the calorie count and time of day.  I was wearing an Indian print dress I permanently borrowed from Diana Swift. (Sorry, Diana.)

But the book is not a memoir.  I’m not famous or tortured or idealistic enough to pull that off.  At least not yet.  I like to believe there’s still time, but that’s not what this is about.

It’s about feeling better.  I’m always wanting to feel better in the long run, and I want you to too.  That’s why I wrote the book, the stories.  That’s why I write everything.  To feel better.  Not that I feel awful all the time and constantly need to upgrade my mood.  I can feel crummy and be okay with it if I have to.  But it’s usually not my first choice.

(Though sometimes it is.  Sometimes it has to be.  Like when someone dies, or when my heart gets thrashed.  I’ve got to feel awful for a while, and I’m learning to do that without shame or self-consciousness, but also without wallowing.  Still my tacit intention is to eventually feel better.  No-one wants to mourn forever.  And a broken heart still beats.)

I’ve learned, through experience, that feeling better is best approached from the inside out.  I got away with external fixes for a while, or thought I did, but all that subsequent crashing and burning started to wear on me, and my family.   So, now, I’m constantly on the lookout for better ways to feel better.  Ways that don’t involve throwing up in my purse or giving up calories for Lent.

The book (and this blog) is about that.  Writing makes me feel better; it always has.  I once wrote (I think I was about 18) that writing is “my drink, my drug, my one night stand.”  Ha!  Unfortunately, the subtext of that declaration turned out to be, “in addition to,” when it would have saved me a helluva lot of grief if I had gone the “instead of” route.  But then this book wouldn’t be nearly so amusing if I’d learned all my lessons forty years ago.

No, I’m still learning them today.  And I’ve figured something out.  I’m not the only one who wants to feel better.  Most everyone does—whether they admit it or not.  People want to feel better, and for most of us non-sociopaths, that involves being better—a better wife or mom or friend or daughter or story teller or ukulele player or whatever.  And my process of improving always starts in my head—or my hair if you believe the illustration at the top of the page.

My thoughts dictate my feelings and my feelings, my actions.  And my actions kind of define my life.  Like it or not, a human being that isn’t also a human doing, is dead weight.  That whole faith without works thing.  Not a popular philosophy these days, and I’m not even terribly happy about it, as I am the teensiest bit lazy.  But I can’t get away from the truth of it.

I am a better person because I tell my stories, and that involves processing and often revising my thoughts—changing my mind about things.  Even when I come off as an obsessive, compulsive, cranky, addicted, befuddled, faithless, ditz, I find my story is worth telling.  And it is especially worth telling when I’m learning something that changes me.  And I usually do.  (Your story is worth telling too, but I’ll get to that later.)

I really hope my stories make you feel better.  Even if you’re already about as hunky dory as you can reasonably expect to be today, I hope there’s still a little room for improvement.  Maybe you’ll laugh out loud at my ridiculousness and feel better, or get a little choked up by my naked introspection and stumble upon an “aha” or a “me too”, and feel a little better.  I hope you feel better.

That’s about it.  I hope you feel better.

(Here’s an example of said ridiculousness, “Horriblariousness,” excerpted from the book—followed by an example of said naked introspection, I am Sand.” And if you do feel even the tiniest bit better, please click to share, and a whole bunch of people you know can feel a little better.  Thanks!)

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