Finish What You Start

404419_c22ff0164aa143fa981b988e678e8c25-mv2I don’t finish things. No, seriously, I don’t finish things. I have never, and I mean this earnestly, even finished a cup of coffee. I like the idea of coffee, like I like the idea of writing books and things longer than 650 words, but I just don’t finish them. I have lived in my present house for five years and I still haven’t unpacked.

Don’t get me wrong. I finish things for others. Projects in business. A podcast that I do with a finishing-type person, who not only finishes all that she starts, but also finishes it with laser-like focus. In two and a half years, we haven’t missed one weekly release. But I assure you, if she weren’t involved, I would find a way to not finish them.

Before you attack me, or tell me I’m being too hard on myself, I would like to establish upfront: I’m saying this out loud, not as a criticism of myself, but rather as a personal inquiry. Is it a good thing or a bad thing (or something else entirely) that I don’t finish things? Even as I write this, I’m having a cup of coffee, and have already committed to finishing it, even if it means gagging through the last four sips.

I do get a ton done in a day. My friends say I do more in a day than most do in a month. But still… am I cherry-picking the things that matter most? Are the things that I don’t finish things that I should finish?

Here’s what I think. When I start something, I think I should rate it: Must finish; Would like to finish; and Should I really start this? I’ll take some time to evaluate the projects up front, and then establish a plan of completion. I like that idea. Plan of Completion. I see it as a title:

Plan of Completion
by Christine Merser

It’s a bestseller, if I do say so myself. With a beginning, middle, and an end (an end I haven’t written yet).

We all know that time is everything. Unless you’re not feeling well. Then time isn’t worth as much. Or time that keeps getting interrupted. Unencumbered time, I should say. Pure, clean, simple, unencumbered time is the very best life has to offer.

So, a plan of completion coupled with unencumbered time, equals one helluva great month. I’m on it. I’ll let you know if I finish it.

After all, there’s hope: the coffee cup is empty.

The Handmaid's Tale Book Review

I know someone who wrote my favorite book thus far this year (2016 and 2017!). It’s Abby Fabiaschi, and the book is I Liked My Life, which went into a publishing book war with four major houses bidding on it. Lucky her. Lucky me for getting to read a pre-published copy.

Moving right along.

We were speaking on the phone about some other matters, and we started talked about The Handmaid’s Tale, which is coming

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Paul Simon & Politics

I am a Paul Simon fan. Big-time. I’m not sure it’s reciprocated.

It went like this.

It was the late 80s. It was New York. And I had just moved into a beautiful building on Central Park West.

I was heading up the elevator with my brilliant five-year-old daughter. (If I were allowed to write about her, I would tell you just how brilliant she is.) The doors opened, and he got on.

Said 5yo

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Invader Got in By Hiding in the Grocery Bag

Invader in my house.

It was terrible. I’m not sure, but I think he got in through a grocery bag, hiding underneath the grapes, turmeric, coconut milk, fresh Atlantic salmon, and lemons. I had no idea. Swear. And, before I could call the police for help, he disappeared into the abyss that ends up on my thighs with nary a trace charting the roadways it took to get there. Evading the authorities yet again.


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It's Women's History Month and I’m Not Celebrating.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m oh so very proud of the hordes of women who have gone before me. My female ancestor who sailed over in Mayflower times with Thomas Hinckley (she probably thought he was nuts for making her come). My mother-in-law, who taught me that if you need to use the restroom at a friend’s house, you should go home because you have been there long enough. Gloria Steinem. Ruth Bader

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Marching is Good. Changing Our Own Behavior is Better.

Long, long ago, in a country now far, far away, a man of color took the stage at the Democratic Convention in the United States of America and rallied a nation around the notion that the United States of America is about all of us.

“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino

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My GD Neighbors Who Clearly Don't Use Electricity

Every few months my electric company sends out an e-mail telling me how my energy conservation compares to my neighbor’s … and it’s never good news. Anyone who reads Freesia Lane knows I’m a competitive person and that I get anxious if I don’t perform well, so when I first received this email, I thought, Gotta get on this! But every month it’s getting worse — this month they say I’m 32 percent worse than

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Dear Nebraska

I went to the University of Nebraska in 1972 and stayed four glorious years. During those years I cheered for the Cornhuskers on many a cold and rainy day. I became a PiPhi sorority girl; I had found a home at a time when my own home was so very far away and newly fractured. I went to Alliance Nebraska and stood up for my BFF when she took her vows. I made friends with

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The Morning After 11/9

There is a famous story that when they woke the Emperor of Japan to tell him that the bombing of Pearl Harbor had begun, he responded, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” (There are those that dispute it was ever said, but I have always loved the quote and the sentiment.) He was right. And I will say that after the first

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Election Day

It’s Election Day, and here is a picture of me voting in 2008 for the first black candidate for President of the United States. (Note to self: your daughter is right, you have had the same glasses for years and you need to get new ones. Maybe that’s why things look blurry around this election.) I wrote about my excitement after he was elected. My hope for our future.

Today I will vote again for

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