Tag Archives: Two-Lane Livin

The Cover of the First Issue - September 2007

Two-Lane Livin’ – Bright Star, Beat-up Car

In the beginning it felt like a newborn child that needed protected, nourished, defended, promoted. And like any child, it grew in its own way, expanding and developing in beyond our plans and expectations, demanding more and more of our time and attention.

Launching an independent magazine–or any small business for that matter–is much like birthing a child. Your life becomes that child which often demands your constant attention. It surprises you with needs and situations you did not expect or plan for, keeps you up at night often.

This child does not really care about your business plan, or your dreams for its future. She becomes what she will, of her own fruition, becomes a living, breathing character influenced by those who support her, befriend her, embrace her, nourish her.

And like any child, you hope that your creation will grow healthy and strong, will flourish and shine brightly. You hope that she will become a mature, responsible, functioning adult that at some point, will not demand so much of your time.

Time.

Ten years can fly by in an instant, but you feel every second of it in your bones, see the life sucked from you in every dry wrinkle and sag. A decade gives you perspective, and time to learn and mature.

With Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine, ten years means hauling heavy loads home from Parkersburg more than 120 times in all seasons of weather. Ten years means delivering magazines over ten Thanksgiving breaks, ten Christmas breaks, ten wedding anniversary weekends. For Frank and I, ten years of Two-Lane Livin’ has been a decade of scheduling our lives around this child’s rigid monthly deadline–me a week every month tied to the desk, him a week every month on the road.

We have loved Two-Lane Livin’ like a child. I birthed her from nine months of planning and from the very first issue she had a life of her own. (All copies were gone in three days.) From the beginning she was more than we had ever hoped for, and quite often more than we could handle. In ten years, we have never been able to solicit enough advertising revenue to produce enough copies to meet reader demand.

Our popular girl wanted to go farther than we ever imagined, into twice the number of counties we originally planned, twice the mileage on delivery vehicles, twice the time delivering. Strangers and friends volunteered to help get the monthly issue circulated into their own areas.  Writers from across the state began offering to write for us. We never planned to offer subscriptions, but in response to demand, reached 18 states and two countries outside the U.S.

For ten years, Two-Lane Livin’ has been a bright star shining from, in, and for central West Virginia. I believe that. I truly do.

Bright stars burn quickly.

I have come to believe that small businesses in West Virginia age in dog years–seven years of aging for every year of existence. The amount of energy, dedication, creativity, strategy, problem solving, and work required to get a small business up and running and to keep it running smoothly ages it prematurely.

(This month on my birthday, I hit the big Five-O. Perhaps it’s not the magazine that has aged, perhaps it’s just me.)

I thought retiring Two-Lane Livin’ would feel like killing my child. Instead, I find it’s more like giving up a beat-up but beloved car that has almost 300,000 miles and no longer holds third gear. She’s dented and has a slight oil leak; smells of newsprint, fast food, and hay. But boy we’ve had some fantastic adventures together.

Two-Lane Livin’ has been good to us, and has been a wonderful experience. But our time with her has come to an end. In dog years, she’s more than 70 years old.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being with us during this Two-Lane experience, for being fellow witnesses to the life of our creation, our child, our dependable car…

Our shining star.

Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine
September 2007-December 2017

(P.S. We will be maintaining the twolanelivin.com web site, and will, over time, be making all issues of Two-Lane Livin’ available as flipbooks and featuring favorite articles we encounter in the process. To keep up with those developments, you can sign up for our email newsletter in the form at the right of this page.)

Managing Transitions (A Sneak Peek at My January issue column)

I’m trying to remember to upload my columns from Two-Lane Livin’ to my blog every month, and this month, I actually did remember, nine days BEFORE it goes to the printer. But, here’s the thing: there’s Christmas, then we print, then we deliver, then there’s New Year’s, and then my 10-day grad school residency, then I start teaching to speech classes at the local college, then I wrap up my thesis. All this while working part-time at the library, keeping the house from chaos, and actually trying to enjoy the season.

Thus, I am uploading my January column now, before it is proofed or printed, something I don’t usually like to do.

But, right now, I have the time, and I may not later on.

So, please enjoy:

MANAGING TRANSITIONS

transition – the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
synonyms:    change, passage, move,  transformation, conversion, metamorphosis, alteration, hand-over, changeover; segue, shift, switch, jump, leap, progression;     progress, development, evolution, flux.

transience – the state or fact of lasting only for a short time; the state or quality of passing with time or being ephemeral or fleeting.

Whenever I am highly stressed or unshakably blue, I try to remind myself, “This too, shall pass.”

Times of transition are especially stressful. Even celebrations and excitement are stressful on the body.   Change, although we hate it, is often–but not always–a good thing. It’s stressful, and it often takes time, so it is also drawn out and frustrating.

This last year, I have been working towards graduation from graduate school, but also working on what comes after, school loans, goals, expectations. I have taken turns teaching at the local college,  am now on staff at the local public library, and I have been planning writing submissions and workshops for the upcoming year.

Obviously, I’m fairly new at managing a classroom, and it’s been about ten years since I’ve interacted with the general public for an entire day, three days a week.  I’m experiencing some culture shock also, I think, dealing with new age groups and new mindsets and new concepts and ideas.

This year has certainly been a personal period of transition.  Add in the transitions we have seen this year in our nation, and I have to tell you, I’m currently wound so tight I actually want to get on the rowing machine just to shake off all my excess jitters. My shoulder muscles are solid rocks. I try to shoulder boogie on my commute to work, just to work them loose.

I’m occasionally snappish. Some people have other names for that.

We try not to be controversial in this magazine, we try not to add any further stress or worry to out reader’s lives.  I truly believe you are what you expose yourself to. I am grateful to spend time creating something that isn’t facebook, isn’t real or fake news, isn’t angry or hateful or opinionated.

That’s not to say I don’t get angry. Hey, I’m an overwhelmed, undervalued, stressed out, graduating, menopausal woman who runs a business in the state that was ranked worst for businesses two years in a row. I consider myself highly unpredictable and potentially dangerous right now–mostly to myself–especially if I lose my notebook of lists that’s currently helping me function. To-do lists, to-buy lists, to-pack lists, to-plan lists. Lists of things to not forget, lists of things to follow up with later. Homework, business work, library work. If I thought about it too hard, I might freak out. As it is, I feel a pan of brownies coming on.

I think about the current transitions I have in my life, and also about the transitions happening in our communities, our state, our nation. Jinkies. No wonder I’m stressed.
I try to remember the rallies and the music of my youth: Love is the answer. Love is all we need. Joy to the world. Peace. Ohmmm. This too, shall pass.

Instead I want to ram the back end of the 15-mile-per-hour log truck in front of me with my beat up Subaru Impreza.

I spend a good portion of each day trying to remember what I’ve forgotten, cause I’ve got that twingy panic feeling in my stomach. When I realize I just have too much to do, I think of things that comfort me: the love of family and friends, furry pets, full jars in the pantry. Letters from pen pals and well water. Free natural gas.

There are West Virginians, flooded out in July, who are still without secure housing and heat. There are those who have no jars in their pantry. There are those who don’t experience love or laughter on an every day basis. And I complain about stress.

I remember once, hearing a news report how the leaders in one of our enemy nations forbade music. It stuck with me. What torture. What misery without music. Music soothes the savage beast, and excess stress sometimes feels like a beast inside me.

I have a friend who is fond of “furious dancing.” In all my years knowing her, I have only seen her furious once, and perhaps her regular habit of dancing in her living room is why. She turns up her stereo and shimmies around on her plush throw rug and boogies on a regular basis.

By the time I think of furious dancing, I’m often close to frazzled. I turn on my favorite get-the-butt-movin’ songs, and I flap. I flail. I shake and jump and punch and kick and scare the dog and cat.

When I’m done, and I sit down panting and flushed, I do feel better, looser, less wound up. Of course, this all happens when Frank isn’t home. It just doesn’t work as well with someone watching. They might think you’re having some kind of fit or attack. Of course, if I danced on a regular basis, I might be able to calm my moves enough to actually dance with my husband. Wouldn’t that be nice?

A transition is a metamorphosis, a transformation from one thing to another. A jump into a different mindset, a leap of faith that this evolution is progress. I think of butterflies hatching from cocoons, chicks hatching from eggs. It’s a difficult, strenuous, rather drawn out fight. I imagine they are mentally stressed as well.

Exercise, music, lists. These are the tools I use to manage transitional periods. I imagine butterflies have the music of nature and chicks have their families to encourage and soothe them too. When all else fails to loosen me up, I’ll take Daisy out for a brisk walk. Well, she’s fat and not so brisk any more, but the air is brisk, and fresh, and even though winter has come, the woods are still filled with sounds. Woodpeckers. Crunching leaves. Wind.

In her column this month (page 10) Judy Wolfram reminds us that we can spend time now preparing for spring.  Russ Richardson (page 5) shares with us the sounds of the woods in the snow. Robin Burkowski (page 5) celebrates her off-the-grid hot tub, and Leo Babauta discussed the importance of connecting with others (page 12). All of these are wonderful ways to combat stress and worries.

With the campaign, the election, fires, floods, standoffs, riots, this year has been a rough year for all of us. Then, we have the holiday season which, good or bad, is also stressful. And now we face a new year, a new period not just in time, but also, I believe a critical period for our nation and our culture.

It’s difficult to share and spread love when you’re so stressed and frustrated, and our state and our nation is full of stressed and frustrated folks right now.  And with dark falling so early in the evening? I could grump my way clear through until spring. But, my husband would not appreciate it, nor my students, nor our business clients or our patrons at the library.

What do you do to relieve your stress? Dance? Row? Sing? Party with friends? Hop in a hot tub? Walk in the snow? If you’re still searching for some stress relief, then check out our new columnist, Lara Lillibridge on page 7. At least you can enjoy a little laugh.

   Lisa is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at West Virginia Wesleyan. Her graduation celebration is January 6, 2017. For more of Lisa’s writing, projects and plans, visit http://www.Lhayesminney.net.

Thanks to Allison and Heartwood Lit Mag for the Feature

Thanks to Allison and Heartwood Literary Magazine for the recent feature on their blog:

SPOTLIGHT: Lisa Hayes-Minney Establishes Magazine to Showcase WV’s Hidden Talents

 

Lisa Hayes Minney (Nonfiction ’17) is publisher and editor of Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine, and publisher of Mountain Ink. She is also an Assistant Librarian at Gilmer Public Library and serves as an adjunct professor at Glenville State College. She is the workshop leader for customized writing workshops offered at Whispering Springs Haven and she is currently developing an essay chapbook and a spiritual guide. She is also working on her MFA thesis, planning to graduate in January.

What is Empathy? What is Love?

(This column is from the August 2016 edition of Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine. You can find the digital edition of the magazine online at www.twolanelivin.com)

With the way things have been going in this country lately, it should come as no surprise that as I come into my final semester of graduate school, I find myself studying the themes of empathy and love.  Obviously, our nation is lacking, and I have actually found research, studies that prove it. A long running survey of the level of empathy in our nation shows a 40% drop in empathy over the last 37 years. Those of us who are older than 37 can surely say we have seen the effects of this decline.

But what is empathy? What is love? Ask ten different people, and you will get ten different answers. How can we understand what we are lacking if we don’t understand what these terms mean? Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another without judgment. Can you see how a shortage of this ability ends up on your evening nightly news?

Love is the will to invest in someone or something else for your own or another’s spiritual benefit. Perfect love is mutually beneficial.  Love is not some indefinable emotion that makes us crazy. Love is an action, an investment in not only ourselves, but in others. Other people, pets, environments, communities.

I recently found myself in a discussion of tolerance among a group of people, one of whom kept flicking his cigarette butts on the sidewalk as he pontificated about the hatred that seems to have erupted in our culture. We discussed the roots of hatred; a lack of understanding, a lack of empathy, a lack of respect.  Once he agreed with those as roots of hatred, I thought of an example: “Just as you hate the environment and the custodian.”

Harsh? Perhaps. Accurate? Yes, I believe so. If hatred comes from a lack of empathy, a lack of understanding, a lack of respect, then every careless, thoughtless action we take can be another wave of suffering for someone or something else. Neglect is lack of care, and without empathy (understanding others) and love (investing in others) we have become a nation of neglect. No wonder we find ourselves arguing over which lives matter.

Life matters. Love matters.

I myself have a hard time with empathy.  It’s the “without judgment” part that gives me such a hard time. But, if we are making judgments, we cannot truly understand and share the feelings of another, now can we? I have a hard time with difficult people, which I suppose, likely makes me a difficult person in my own right. But, when I asked a wise woman how she deals with difficult people, she replied, “Bless them, then release them.” In other words, extend love and empathy, and then move on. It is not up to us to judge, to fix, to enlighten those we cannot find empathy for.  For our own well being, we can extend love to them, and then move on. We do not have to allow frustration, anger, hatred, grow within us.

How many of us dispense love as a reward, and not as an investment? How many of us actively love our community or the environment around us? There are those who believe our sole purpose on this earth is to love one another-to invest in one another for the greater good.  Look at the community parks around you, most of them built or established 50 years ago. Look at the festivals that were established. Our parents and grandparents were people who loved their community.

Since the terrible flooding in West Virginia last month, I have been hooked on the stories that have been coming out of the recovering regions. They are all terrible and sad, but one story hit me hard. A couple, very aware of the nearby creek, prepared for high water.  They were responsible and caring for their animals, their vehicles, and moved and secured what they could. But it wasn’t enough. They had to flee, and their bee hives, chicken coop, home, cars, camper, were all underwater. Their hives and tens of thousands of bees were washed away, and their birds, secured in their coop, all drown. I thought of our bee hives, our hens, our home, garden, all gone-and I sobbed.  It is easy to judge those who live on the water. Why do they live there? Don’t they pay attention when it rains? But like this couple, we live near water, and we know its typical behavior. I could not judge them for being naïve, or ignorant. I could not judge them for being unaware. I knew, like us, they tried to be responsible, tried to do all the right things, and still lost all. My sobbing was empathy. I could understand and feel her devastation because that loophole of judgment no longer kept me from feeling.

How sad it takes such horrible events for us to also see love. Love as an investment. Love as an action. Neighbors helping neighbors; those with little donating time, money and supplies to those who have nothing. People investing in others’ lives, other communities, in others’ survival.  When tragedy takes away all you have, we are reminded how important-and how effective-love is.  When all else is washed away, love is what carries us through.

I am old enough to remember a time when this country had more empathy. A time when the word LOVE was on t-shirts, candles, hats, Frisbees. A time when the hit song rang out, “All you need is love.” I remember when the term “trickle-down economics” was hot, and talking money, love or empathy, it seems like very little trickles down any more.

This world needs more love, less judgment. Until then, we can have no empathy for each other, for the planet and environment around us. Where do you invest your love? Facebook? Television? How harshly do you judge those you do not understand? When was the last time you actually felt the feelings of another?

Love is an action, one we have to practice in all modes of our lives in order to have empathy in our lives and to nurture our collective spirits.  There was a time when peace and love were trendy topics, a time when they were active elements in our society. It’s time to activate them again.

  Lisa is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing. Visit http://www.Lhayesminney.net.