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September 24, 2010

This is my new favorite expression.  When I guiltily watch episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress”  the bridal consultant tells  his associate to “jack up” the bride to close the sale. This consists of putting on jewelry, a veil and giving her hair an upsweep. Suddenly, the bride is transformed and the dress seems perfect. Cha ching. Sale. Jack it up.

Life is too long and would be way too boring without jacking it up. When I am hopelessly trapped in routine: commuting to work, paying bills with not enough money, housework, homework, I feel the need to step out of my comfort zone and push myself a bit. I always dreamed of teaching a writing class, but never seemed to have the time, energy, or will to research where I would teach, put a proposal together, and see if anyone would even want me. After all, I am no Nora Roberts. One day, in the middle of doing a million other things, I decided to go for it. I put all other tasks aside and began researching where a class like this would fit and what I could bring to the students. I found a contact and sent an introductory email. She liked the idea. I then developed a biography and outline of the class, and will begin teaching in the Spring for six weeks. I am nervous but excited, and since it isn’t for college credit, some of the pressure is off regarding learning outcomes and assessment.  Sometimes, we have an idea or something we always wanted to do, but it gets lost in the day to day life.

I believe this is the time we need to stop and simply take a chance. Follow through. Who cares what happens? So, we get another rejection? So, we are a bit disappointed or upset for a bit? At least we tried. At least we can say we are in this life and committed to it, without one foot out the door, ready to jump if things get too hard. Jack it up.

This is a must for motherhood. I am a leader for my children, but if I am too serious and don’t have any fun, I’m teaching them to do the same. This morning, I was racing to get Jake ready to meet the bus and my little one came marching out with a white t-shirt, shorts, fireman boots, a hook, eyepatch and pirate hat. He insisted on leaving the house so he can meet Jake’s bus.  Now, let me explain. I am on a busy road, with cars and people in full view at all times when I stand out in my driveway. I took one look at this kid and hesitated. Just for a moment. Then I opened the door. He marched out, humming “A Pirate’s Life for Me” and snarled at the bus driver when greeted. I heard giggles from the other kids, saw people pointing, but we stayed in character. I clasped my son’s hook hand and led him happily back into the house. Having children is a wonderful time to get in touch with your creative and silly side. Now, as my chaotic day erupts around me, the image of my little pirate makes me smile, and there is no way I can be in a bad mood. So, jack it up and let go a bit.

Writing?  This is key. As I finished my first round of “The Tantric Principle” I noticed the book really took hold in the middle rather than the beginning. This was when my characters began to evolve and I knew who they really were and what they wanted.  I noticed on my first read through I needed to add intensity to each page. Sharper description, tighter dialogue, sketch in some setting. I needed to research a bit to round out some details and make it believable. And I needed to notch up the heat in the first love scene. I now use this term in my head for working on my books. Bring the manuscript to the next level before the editor takes a look. Do this for essays, short stories, even blogs. Take one last view with one term in mind: Jack it Up.

Let me know if it works for you as well as it does for me.


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  1. Paige Morgan says:

    I saw your comment on 4 Mothers and loved this post. I am going to be adopting Jack It Up to my life. Your pirate story was darling. For my daughter’s 3rd birthday we both dressed up as fairy princesses -wings, crowns and all- and ran errands and got pedicures. Was I litle embarrassed? Sure. But was my daughter delighted – absolutely!

    I love that your pursuing your passion for writing. I hope to get there myself one day. In the meantime, I have my blog, please stop by.


  2. Paige Morgan says:

    Would love to guest blog with you at some point. Will link to you as well! Get back to your novella!

  3. Nathalie Foy says:

    I’m here from 4mothers and so glad to find your blog. I think you would enjoy Carrie’s Obscure Canlit Mama blog. Click through from our blogroll. Her mantra is to dig deeper, to find just a bit more to give. Your Jack it Up principle at work in the soul.

    • jennifer121 says:

      HI Natalie, so glad you stopped by! I will definitely click over to Carrie’s blog – I was so excited to find you on the Freshly Pressed page and will definitely be visiting regularly! So glad you like the Jack it up principle – that means a lot!

  4. Wendy Marcus says:

    Hi Jen!
    I watch Say Yes to the Dress, too!! I prefer NY to Atlanta, but I watch both.

    I took a writing class at my local college, also for no credit. I learned so much. The teacher didn’t use a text book but handed out dozens of writing articles. I’m sure you’ll do great.

    Jack it up is a great mantra! Thanks!

  5. Jen, Good luck with your writing class. If you need a guest speaker, I’m across the river.

  6. Carol says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I’m here from 4Mothers and have enjoyed reading your posts (and thanks for stopping by at http://thekingsandi.wordpress.com too!). As for jacking it up, last week I pulled out some costumes to play dress up with the kids and my older son (4) immediately picked out the green and yellow dinosaur costume that he wore at Hallowe’en last year (and now wants to wear again this year). He wore it ALL DAY, and we went all over the city. We got A LOT of surprised smiles and giggles. To say nothing of our own.

  7. Amy Strnad says:

    Totally cool, Jen. I agree. Jack it up works great. It’s going on my writing wall today!!


  8. Yolanda says:

    Congrats on the writing class! Very cool and there’s nothing like taking new chances.

  9. Melissa says:

    A wonderful post. I found it when Googling “jack up a bride” because it seems like an odd–and kind of dirty–expression. Your post is a good lesson. Plus, I love imagining your little pirate boy.

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