Tag Archives: writing

Quiet Noise.



that’s all there is …

just listen.

it’s quiet.

so loud.


i can’t stop you.

i can’t help you.

here’s my hand.

that’s the best i can do.

just listen. 

it’s there.

it’s there, my friend.

i won’t shove you.

i won’t hold you back.

just listen.

here’s my hand.

it’s gentle,

but firm.

that’s all I have to offer my friend.

don’t hold so tight.

don’t run away.

just listen.

i’m beside you,

holding on,

but letting go.

wiping your tears.

telling you to get a grip.



here’s my hand.

that’s the best i can do.

just listen.


©CMS November 2008


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Filed under Eat, November 2008, Pray, Run

Finding Unfamiliar Peace in Solitude and Simplicity

Solitude is a magnificent, but sometimes terribly frightening matter.

English poet Lord Byron once said, “In solitude, where we are least alone.” I get this, even more so now, than ever.

Before I begin, I must explain: I decided to stay an extra few days at my family’s cottage. When my mother realized that after my family left, the house was about to be vacant for a week, she said, “Why not?!” My grandmother said, “Why not?” So, I said, “Hey, why not?” too. One of the most fabulous aspects of being a freelance writer is that I can do it from pretty much anywhere in the world — Wellesley Island being one such place.

After spending a few days completely to myself, — except for the company of my kittens — I have learned so much about the power of independence. And I am not talking about the “independent woman” kind of independence — I already had that one down. But what I am speaking of is the kind of independence that leaves you so much with your thoughts and the simplicity — or complexity, depending on how you look at it — of this world that, initially, it is quite scary. But if you harbor it and nurture it correctly, it can totally rock your world.

On Sunday, I walked 12 miles, round-trip, so that I could spend the day in Thousand Islands Park. My family took the cars per my request, and as of Monday I have had a rented bike on hand for as-needed transportation. But Sunday was so beautiful that I really could not resist finding a way to get to one of the places I consider most beautiful in the world. Don’t get me wrong: The entire Thousand Islands region is magnificent, but T.I. Park represents to me all of the simple things in life. So, I strapped on my running shoes, packed a lunch and threw a book bag over my shoulder; it carried all of my essentials — my notebook, food, sunscreen and Anne Lammot’s Bird By Bird.

Let me tell you — walking six miles is tough, regardless of what kind of shape you are in! At least, that is what I would like to believe, considering how sore my bum was, especially, after I doubled that distance later in the day. (:

But the journey there was fabulous. I got to see up-close-and-personal an osprey nest that my dad had pointed out to me earlier in the week. I am not sure if you can tell just how gigantic this thing is, but it is amazing. To think that a bird was able to construct this home on top of a telephone pole is just one of the many cool things I appreciate about nature. The momma bird was not too happy to see me, — she kept circling the area in which I was standing — so I took a quick picture and moved on!

At about the fifth mile, I came across a box full of a bunch of interesting tin boxes labeled, “FREE.” I found some colorful tea cans, an old metal baking bundt pan and a tin soap box. You can see a few of them here, but there are more. I, of course, had to take all of the tea tins because I hated to leave any behind. Probably not the best choice, considering that I still had one mile to go and six reserved for later in the day, but I just could not resist.

The day started out kind of cloudy as you can see in the picture of the nest, but as I entered T.I. Park the sunshine grew brighter and brighter. I found a spot under a tree where I sat and wrote for several hours.

One of the things, as I have already mentioned, that I appreciate so much about T.I. Park is the simplistic way of life that happens around you. Many of the people who live in the community ride around on golf carts, stopping in the middle of an intersection to say hello and chat for a bit. There are no horns honking for them to move along, no road rage or nasty finger exchanges.

Adults walk side by side, eating ice cream smack in the middle of the day, and young girls ride bikes in their swimsuits, fresh from a quick swim in the river, towels strewn over their shoulders.

It sounds all too perfect, I know. And maybe it is. But on that day, that was exactly what it was — perfect.

And that is where I begin with the subject of solitude. I have found that being alone has allowed me to recognize so many things that I may not have noticed had I been with say, Dan or my family. That is not to say that company is a bad thing. But in this situation, solidarity has taught me new things about myself and, to be more specific, the world in which I live.

Like …

*The sounds people make when they are with small children. So many of them squeal with laughter in a different manner than if they were accompanied by an adult.

*I am still a bit afraid of monsters under the bed! But seriously, the darkness is a powerful thing, and, when you are alone to assess it, the quiet noise of it all can make anyone a bit anxious.

*The way the sun so easily pokes you awake in the morning. When you focus enough on the environment around you, sometimes, you will find that an alarm clock, like so many modern technologies, is not necessary.

*I really don’t need as much crap as I thought I did. I have three pairs of shoes, — flip flops, sneakers and flats — a dresser drawer of clothing and undergarments, a few bathroom products, and a table full of my most favorite books. It has been this way for three weeks and, in addition to food and water, I am still living. Surprise!

*Everything seems a bit lighter when accompanied by a fresh breeze.

It’s amazing how simple things seem when I am surrounded by such great beauty and peace — work, making dinner, cleaning up after my messy kitties.

And, of course, I understand that this is the ideal situation, a huge opportunity indeed. But I only hope I can take so much of it home with me. . .

The loudness of my thoughts and the peace to see the beauty in each one.


Filed under Eat, July 2008, Pray, Run

Let’s Go Shopping!

woman-shopping.jpgGuess what?! Now you can shop for all of the exciting books, movies, products, and even groceries that I talk about every day by checking out the new Eat, Pray, Run Store! The store is currently featuring some of my favorite novels, exercise DVDs and gear, and most-loved writing books. What’s more, you can always easily access the store by clicking on the tab at the top of this page.

Check back over the next few days to find some of my favorite grocery items and more!
Note: You must click on the categories to the right of the page in order to see the products!

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Filed under Eat, March 2008, Pray, Run

Until Death – Not the Computer – Do Us Part.

The balance of relationships and work life are a funny thing.

You see, the problem I am attempting to conquer as of late is the fact that while I am 100% committed to and in love with my fian, I also feel the same way, to a certain degree, about writing.

No, I do not want to kiss my keyboard, but you get what I am saying.

The problem lies, instead, in the fact that, since I have really begun to pursue writing, I have lost the balance in my life. I have unknowingly pushed aside my fiancé, Dan, and chosen my writing. I traded late-night movies for late-night writing, direct eye contact while talking for talking and staring at a computer screen, and hugs and kisses for, “Honey, I really need to finish this.”

The other day Dan was leaving for work and I was sitting at the computer, — getting two more words typed before I stood to say goodbye to him — when he told me he was “not happy with us lately.”

And that jolted me right out of cyberspace. His words hit me hard. And the feeling sucked.

That “I feel disconnected’ statement has always been a cue between the two of us that something is really wrong.

When he left, I cried.

I had been completely immersed in my writing which is a good (great!) thing. But the problem is that I had become so submerged in a sea of words I was beginning to not notice everything that was happening above ground. Being loving, in addition to being playful and brushing my teeth, had become secondary.

I was reading an article in the February 2008 issue of Glamour magazine this morning called, “How A Man Feels When His Marriage Falls Apart” by Anthony Swofford, the author of Jarhead. In the article, the author talks about the path that lead to the end of his two-year marriage to his wife whom he had once been sure was his life partner.

He says, “We’d locked down into a cycle, and neither of us could see the damage the cycle was doing.”

Doesn’t that sound so familiar?

So many people I know who have ended a relationship with a spouse or boyfriend express those same feelings:

“We got too comfortable.”

“I don’t know how it happened.”

“Life just took over.”

I don’t want this to be me. And I am so glad that it is not. I am so happy to have recognized the imbalance before everything got so off-kilter I ended up alone — just my computer and me.

My mother always says that one cannot have children in an effort to “fix” her relationship “because when everyone is grown and gone, you are once again left with just the two of you. And all of your problems? Well, they are still there.”

Perhaps, this is something I need to understand about work, too. In the end, I am not growing old and wrinkly with my computer. And while that passion for writing is oh-so-important, so is the man who loves me completely.

And for that, I am brushing my teeth today.



Filed under January 2008, Pray

It’s Not the World’s Fault You Wanted to Be … You.

One of the greatest difficulties about doing what you love is doing just that — doing what you love.

Now, I know that sounds crazy, but let me explain.

My mother and I were talking today about some of my recent writing endeavors, and she asked, “So, how do you feel about that? Like, how do you feel about continually motivating yourself to do that work?”

This is such a great question because it is one that I often struggle to answer.

Here is an attempt:

I am motivated because it is what I love to do. I really do love, love, love it.

I am sometimes unmotivated because, like anything, it is tough for a job or relationship or anything to consistently feel fresh and exciting. What’s more, being a creative artist is, at times, completely draining to the brain. You think and you think and you create and you create and … you burnout.

But I am not complaining. Please don’t think this is a hear-Caroline-whine-about-her-life post.

It is not.

What I am trying express to you is that, — next to my family, significant other, friends, future children and maybe a good run — there is nothing except for writing that would be worth the sacrifice of sometimes feeling a little bit tired or void of motivation.

In Some Thoughts on Writing, Elizabeth Gilbert (the oh-so-talented writer of which this blog is inspired by) shares a story about her artist friend who begins to become uninspired, and even depressed, about his craft. She says:

“I have a friend who’s an Italian filmmaker of great artistic sensibility. After years of struggling to get his films made, he sent an anguished letter to his hero, the brilliant (and perhaps half-insane) German filmmaker Werner Herzog. My friend complained about how difficult it is these days to be an independent filmmaker, how hard it is to find government arts grants, how the audiences have all been ruined by Hollywood and how the world has lost its taste…etc, etc. Herzog wrote back a personal letter to my friend that essentially ran along these lines: “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.” I repeat those words back to myself whenever I start to feel resentful, entitled, competitive or unappreciated with regard to my writing: “It’s not the world’s fault that you want to be an artist…now get back to work.” Always, at the end of the day, the important thing is only and always that: Get back to work. This is a path for the courageous and the faithful. You must find another reason to work, other than the desire for success or recognition. It must come from another place.”

I love those words: “It’s not the world’s fault you wanted to be an artist … now get back to work.”

How vital it is for anyone — not just the artist — to keep those words in mind?!

Nobody asked you to be the person you have become. Stop whining. If you can’t stop, do something else. You should not always feel the urge to complain, and the person you have chosen to be should never make you unhappy. If he or she does … FIND ANOTHER YOU.

And that’s it. That is how I answered my mother’s question — not in those exact words, but you know what I mean.

I don’t want to be another me. And when I feel — for even a glimmer of a second — like I might, I get back to work.

Because this is what I love to do.

It hasn’t always been that way, but it is now.

So, now, getting back to work, well, … I’m OK with that.

And that feels pretty darn good.


My kitten, Cooper, stretching with me this morning. He is perfectly happy with the kitten he has become. (:


Filed under January 2008, Pray

Eat, Sleep, Eat … or something.

caroline1.jpg Hello! My name is Caroline Shannon.

Once upon a time in a land far far away, I was a runner. I was a health enthusiast and a positive thinker. I was a writer, a vegetable eater, a confident woman . . .

I was pretty dang cool.

I am not sure where my will to roll out of bed when it was still dark or my need to feel my hands on a keyboard were lost, but I think I have a few ideas. Thus, here follows the chain of events that lead to me eating cheese in excess and only using my yoga mat as padding under a sleeping bag when my younger brothers sleep over:

1.) I stopped pursuing my passion, writing. I left my position as a news reporter and took a desk job that I thought would help me make a bit more money. I thought the extra cash would then make me feel more secure when pursuing a full time freelance writing position. It sounded practical, but it turned out awfully. Turns out my desk job is extremely boring — for me — and unmotivating.

Who woulda thunk it.

2.) My counting down the minutes (milliseconds, nanoseconds!) until I have squeezed in enough hours to make a buck has caused me to go home and . . . uh . . . sit on my ass. My excuse is that I need to do mindless things, like watch The Hills, to take away the edge left over from the work day. The real reason that I needed to engage in such “activities” is because doing something like exercising or writing would cause me to think too much. And that would be painful.

3.) Sitting apparently requires eating, and I am not talking tofu and brown rice here, people.

My favorite strawberry print pj’s + a few episodes of good ol’ MTV =french vanilla ice cream with a dash of chocolate gelato, raviolis with meat sauce and an entire bag of holiday (Any holiday! Christopher Columbus Day!) candy.

4.) I have stopped running which, next to writing, is a huge part of my life. This could be due to my drugging myself with sugar before I go to bed, ergo diminishing my want to get up in the morning and exercise; or it could be a result of the fact that I am saving whatever scraps of motivation I have left in my soul to use during the work day.

One may never know.

What I have figured out, however, is that my lifestyle has become unacceptable. My life is begging me to engage in a complete overhaul.

And I am gonna listen this time.

This is not some wacky New Year’s resolution that I am going to forget about the next time I am head-to-head with a pint of chocolate swirl ice cream and a package of Nutter Butter cookies.

I am committing myself to getting back to the Old Caroline and it starts right now. No more “I’ll start tomorrow” talk. I am so sick of me that I am ready to kick the crap out of myself. It’s that bad.

I know I sound all preachy and you are probably rolling your eyes a bit right now. I know this because I am rolling my eyes at myself right now.

But I mean, who can’t use a little overhaul (If you can’t, I don’t like you…kidding, kidding…)? I am hoping that you, too, will learn from my experiences. I plan on sharing it all right here.

My writing, exercise tips, healthy recipes, inspiration, running, black toenails from running…

…you get it.

This is not a blog about how to lose weight or how to get a job or how to find God. This is about total life renewal — to be specific, MY total life renewal. So, live vicariously, and lean on me, and learn from me, and love me, and tell me to get my ass off of the couch!

I am excited to have each one of you on my side as I move forward. And, hopefully, each one of you who are in my shoes – -like, you can smell the stench of my kicks, that’s how much you understand what I am saying — will be challenging yourself to get your act together as well. Or even if you are the slightest, littlest, tiniest bit in need of a change, I hope you, too, will learn from my journey.

I am ready to rock. Are you?


Filed under Introduction, January 2008