I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jack and Me (Or, friends who calm you down)

Photo credit
~Melissa Tagg
I’m just going to say it: If Jack Bauer was a real person, we’d be friends.

Not because I’m some sort of secret counter terrorist agent. And not because I’m all that into shooting people or breaking their kneecaps. Nope, I leave that stuff to Jack and the Chuck Norrises of the world.

Here’s why I think Jack and I would be good friends:

I’m non-intense.

No, really, it’s true. I’m not easily upset. Going barefoot on hotel carpet? Doesn’t bother me. Nor does a picture hanging crooked on the wall. Wrinkled clothes? Um, just ask me when I last ironed. (But don’t expect an accurate answer.) YouTube taking too long to buffer? No biggie, I’ll fill the time with a quick game of spider solitaire.

And that’s what Jack Bauer needs. Someone with the necessary laidback-ness to properly massage his intensity. He needs (or would if he actually existed) a friend to calm his frazzled terrorist-fighting nerves.

I’m telling you, Jack Bauer needs me…Melissa…the non-intense.

Well…okay, fine. There may just be one area of my life in which I lean towards intense. Okay, fine, quite intense. Okay, fine, super intense. (I’d say “uber” intense, but I don’t know how to make a “u” with those two dots above it.)


I am intense when it comes to writing. I am intense when it comes to my writing dream. I am intense when it comes to pursuing that dream.

Which is why I am so thankful for friends who calm me down. Who prod me off the ledge called “obsessed.” Who brave the depths of my sometimes over-intensity and remind me no one is going to die if I don't reach my word count for the day. That it's okay if I need to re-write a scene for the fifteenth time. That patience is, in fact, a good thing, and God has a pretty sweet plan, after all.

Those bring-me-down-to-earth friends are vital to my writing journey...and frankly, to my sanity. And I love 'em.

How about you? Do you ever find yourself over-intense about writing or some other dream...or anything? Who are your friends who talk you off the ledge? And be honest...considering it's been several years since 24 went off the air, is it about time I stop routinely referencing Jack Bauer?

Melissa Tagg


  1. I get it. My fingernails show the evidence. ;)

    Peace, to your uber-writing self.


  2. Melissa, I relate on so many levels! I can say this with confidence and honesty - I am a way laid back mom. I rarely raise my voice (I hate yelling) and I don't stress about the little things. When it comes to waiting in line? I take the time to enjoy the headlines on the gossip magazines. When I'm hosting a crowd of fifty, I ask everyone to bring a dish to share and I don't sweep my floors before hand. BUT - when it comes to writing and my writing career, I am extremely intense and I get crabby when things aren't working out exactly how I'd like. One day my husband said to me: "I hate when you're upset about people and places that aren't even real." I totally understand where you're coming from. :)

  3. I have serious cows when my youtube takes too long to buffer. I would not be Jack's friend. I'd keep him wired! LOL

    But, I love this post, and yes, I have friends who continually help me to breathe, even if it means bringing a tank of O2 by the house in the form of snack cakes and coffee. And I need that because I can get carried away.

  4. Ponderer friends & my grandchildren reach me and talk me down from ledges. I get enthusiastically intense about many things, full of bright ideas and wanting to do it all. And I often carry it off, but sometimes juggling lots of balls means at least one hits me in the head.

  5. Haha, Kathy, I'm glad you can empathize!

  6. Gabrielle, I'm glad you can empathize, too. It's so crazy to me that I can be so laidback about one thing--even most things--but then freak out over the slightest little writing thing. :) Praying God teaches me--and us all-to give our writing lives to Him, just like everything else. :)

    p.s. I love that you don't sweep floors before gatherings! :)

  7. I have TMJ, so I think that means I'm a teeny bit intense at times over the wrong things. But I'm way more laid back than I used to be as I realize what's important and all the things that really aren't.

    But writing is one of the important things!

  8. LOL!! Jess, you make me laugh! Hehe, sometimes I think I need the literal O2 tank...I can get all hyperventilate-y when things aren't going well writing-wise. :)

    Yay for friends!

  9. Hehehe, Dee. I loved your last line. Giggling...giggling...

    Intensity can be a great thing in the form of creative determination. When it hits obsessed, that's when I need help! :)

  10. Roxanne, considering both the TMJ and the hard moments of your life, you have so much reason to be intense at times! But yay for Steve's presence to help lighten the load!

    I'm guessing a sign of maturity is being able to discern between the important and not so important, right? I think sometimes I'm still learning that...maybe always will...

  11. You had me laughing out loud, Melissa. I'm hanging my head as I confess that I never watched 24. Not even once. Sigh.

    But I understand "intense." I'm really good at "intense" which is often coupled with "stress." I'm working to entrust writing life and real life to God consistently. It's a step-by-step journey for this girl.

  12. Haha, Jeanne, you're forgiven for never watching 24. I always talk about how amazing it is, but sometimes I forget to warn people it is pretty darn violent. Eek! But it's good storytelling that's for sure...if ever there were writers who understand the concept of "throw something hugely horrible at your character...then something worse...then something worse...and when you don't think it can get anymore horrible, something worse," it's the writers of 24!

    You're so write - intense is sooo often accompanied by stress. And I don't want to spend my life stressed out! Step-by-step, just like you said.

  13. I was one of those people (before marriage and kids) that showed up for every appointment 15 minutes early. My car was always clean, closet immaculate..yeah you get the picture. Now, after being marriage to Clyde, adding four kids, two dogs and the family business...I'm way mmmmooorreee laid back. I'm working on not being so stressed out when things don't go according to plan. I've really gotten better, really. :)

    My writing dream is the hardest to put on the back burner, but I remind myself constantly that God is in control!

    Oh, and I loved Jack!

  14. I just realized I wrote "you're so write" to Jeanne. Ummm...wow...I need an editor today.

  15. Alena, you have such a servant's heart and it's hard for me to even imagine you intense. :) I believe there's going to be a day when writing escapes the back burner for you...and when it does, watch out world! In the meantime, you hit the nail on the head - God is in control. Yay for that!

  16. Can I just say... I loved the first season of 24...but that the ending made me so mad I never watched it again...

    So there.

    And yep, friends who talk me off the ledge = stuck with me. That means you, Mel. That means you. Bwahahaha.

    OK, back to work now.

  17. Oh, Melissa, Melissa ... you can talk about Jack for as long as you want to! He'll never go out of style!
    And, yes, I have my "security net" of friends who are there for me when I want to jump off the ledge -- or the Cliffs of Insanity, as I am wont to say.
    "Wont to say?" Did I just writ that?
    Sorry ... tired.

  18. Oh Linds, I'm so sad you didn't finish 24. Jack finds happiness again...well...at least a taste of it now and then! But yeah, that was a horrifyingly sad ending to the first season. Grrr, Nina!!

    Yay, I'm so glad you're my friend...and that we can talk each other off the ledge!

  19. I'm glad I've got permission to talk about Jack endlessly, Beth. I go back and forth between hoping for and dreading the possibility of a 24 movie. If it's awesome, hooray! If they at all mess with the coolness of the TV series, someone will suffer my wrath.

    I hope you get some rest!!

  20. *Sigh* I never watched 24. I did buy the last season for my b-i-l for Christmas. lol.

    And I have friends talking me off the ledge all the time. I don't just get obsessed with writing, I get that way with clay as well sometimes. I'm like Dee, always getting hit in the head with something. Great post!

  21. I'm very serious about my writing. My nineteen year old niece did an impression of me last night.

    "Aunt Ginger, this is what you look like when you're writing" *Eye squinted, brows knit and back leaned in toward the keyboard.*
    "I so get that Aunt Ginger."


  22. Loved, loved, loved your post! Yes, my crit partner talks me off the ledge. God bless her!

  23. Melissa, you just had "writing" on the brain. I got what you said, and what you accidentally implied. :)

  24. I can be a bit intense at times, but I'm trying to chill out.

    Never saw 24...do you still love me anyway?

    And I totally understand about getting stressed out with writing. I think when you hold a dream so close to your heart, it's easy to want things to go your way. Thank goodness I have my ledge talkers.

  25. As long as you don't get hit in the head by clay, Pat. Hehehe...

  26. Haha, love that you have a "writing face," Ginger!!

  27. Yay for crit partners, Paula! (*wink wink* at Linds!)

  28. Jeanne, thank you for understanding my typo. :)

    Lisa, I would love you even if you had no idea who Jack Bauer was and thought 24 was only the hours of the day. :) You're right...it's so easy to get stressed about something so close to your heart. But new my goal is to be passionate and determined without crossing into stress and obsession. :) I just have to find the line of balanced!