Monday, January 17, 2011

Deb and Barb Have A Three-Way

Deb and Barb Have A Three-Way With Hollye
Deb and Barbara met Hollye when she arrived on the scene here with her beautiful, heartfelt comments. Then we discovered her wonderful blog, Truth and Consequences, a touching, articulate examination of how we react to events around us, whether they are world issues, community politics, or personal upheavals. Hollye is also a gorgeous singer, which you can discover for yourself if you follow the links on her site.
Hollye as Bunny
Hollye: If you had asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing in my late forties, I’d have said that my two children would be grown and out of the house, I’d be in college finishing that elusive degree, travelling all the places I used to dream about, and finally writing that book I’d always had in my head. I expected to be sipping espresso in a café in Paris, lost in deep contemplation, engulfed in the reinvention of myself at mid-life. But here I am in this bunny suit.
Not exactly what I had in mind, and yet, I couldn’t be more grateful. My life is a clear illustration of that saying Man plans, God laughs.
Here’s where my plans went awry. I had a surprise pregnancy at forty-one (and OH what a surprise). Then at forty-six my college-attending son broke the news of his girlfriend’s unexpected pregnancy. She was also a Japanese exchange student, losing her housing, and they’d need a place to live.
Today we have six people living under our roof. I spend my days chaperoning field trips, changing diapers, rocking the baby, kissing scraped knees and volunteering as the Easter Bunny….
The reality of who I am now is so far from the expectation. Life is funny that way. You ask the universe for apples and you get oranges, but hey, I’m not complaining. Every shock became a great blessing. So on the days that Taylor’s band is rehearsing downstairs at deafening levels while the cat is puking, the dogs are chasing each other through the house, the baby is teething and my five-year-old is hanging from the chandeliers, I take a deep breath and remind myself how quickly these years will pass, and how I’ll yearn for them when they’re gone.
So I guess its no café in Paris for me, at least not right now. But hey––I still wrote that book! I strive to be a writer in the midst of constant interruptions and pre-menopausal memory failures. Yes, it’s hectic, but as a person who loves story, I watch the daily goings on and say to myself I couldn’t write this any better.

Barbara: Hollye, this idea of how we thought we would be versus how things turned out is such a fraught subject, I’m THRILLED you brought it up. My friend Charlotte often quotes me as having said many years ago, “I want an extraordinary life, not an ordinary one.” The good thing about that mantra is that is encourages you to keep going despite any setback, it convinces you that anything is possible, and it inspires you to always shift the lens to change the view when the image isn’t quite what you had hoped. BUT it can also make you overlook the beauty of your ordinary life in all its extraordinariness.

I remember distinctly the idea I had in my head of myself as an adult when I was 10 or 12: a coiffed brunette wearing a spaghetti-strapped white clingy dress holding a mic and singing my heart out on stage in front of thousands. I was SURE that’s who I was going to be one day. It didn’t matter that I was a skinny blonde with absolutely no singing talent whatsoever. What I did do was write, write, write. 
Barbara at 10 doing what she loves best
Later I thought I was going to be an actor, star of screen and stage. This is also when I gave up writing, believing a careless grade ten English teacher who made a point of telling me that I didn’t have any talent. But with visions of stardom dancing in my head, did I go to Hollywood and try my luck? No, I had babies and loved them and loved my cozy life here in Toronto. My husband and I settled in for the count. But that picture kept clinging: me starring in countless projects and always having the opportunity to do this thing I love…. That didn’t quite work out either.

BUT because of that setback, I found my way back to writing. And here I sit, laptop on hand, chatting with you guys, something I COULD never have dreamed, and diving into all that is extraordinary within my “ordinary” life. Like you, Hollye, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Deb: Hollye, I always think we go through our lives hoping to do what we want to do, and in the end we find that we ended up doing what we were called to do. Certainly that doesn’t mean you still can’t travel the world and follow your dreams but clearly there are other pressing things to take care of first.

We figured when the boy left (almost three years ago now) that we might sell the house and buy an apartment in NYC or travel to our passion places. But my Mom and Dad, as it turned out, need us at this time of life and we just can’t go. I had no idea what a gift it would turn out to be. Giving back to them has not even scratched the surface of what they have given to me in my life. I am on an adventure, just not the one I planned.

And for the record, the most beautiful picture of you sipping wine on a balcony in Paris would never compare to the shot of the Hollye Bunny! Makes me smile every time I look at it. But keep dreaming that dream, girl! It will become reality ... one day.

Hollye Dexter is freelance writer, blogger, and author of the memoir Only Good Things. She is also a singer/songwriter with four albums out. She founded two nonprofit organizations, running intergenerational arts programs for senior citizens and teenagers in the Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems. In 2007 she received the Agape Spirit award from Dr. Michael Beckwith (from The Secret) for her work with at-risk youth. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.


  1. Growing up my family had just the highest amount of dreams for me. My parents,always had dreams of me becoming something big like a doctor or a lawyer. When I grew up they relized that life did not turn out how they planned it for me.I didn't become a doctor or a lawyer and I am not afraid to say this. I made a plan for myself,for life. It may not be what my parents wanted or even agree with but it's my life and I have got to get control of it. I am doing things now that I never thought I would be doing when I was little. My life right now is great and I love where it lead to it may not exactly turned out how I OR my parents had planned but it still turned out great,.
    It's funny because like I said I am sure every parents have goals and dreams for their kids,but what happens when life doesn't turn out how they had planned for their children.

  2. I have the honor of knowing Hollye and actually hang with her from time to time. She is a most amazing person and her family is wonderful as well. Hollye is one of those women who do it all and with grace and a sense of humor. I love her. Thanks for sharing Hollye with all your readers. She is a gem.

  3. I never thought I'd be a writer, painter, mediator, mentor to parolees in my wildest dreams. But I have found myself in the second part of my life. I love what I have become.

  4. Lyndsie, you bring up a great point: I often wonder about what to tell the kids vis a vis expectations vs reality. I very much want them to reach for the stars, but then not be disappointed if they land on the moon.

    And Madge, I love that you are a mentor to parolees. Wow. You are an inspiration -- and like with Hollye, I hope to meet you both one day.

  5. AMAZING THREE WAY! you are all so extraordinary. each one of you.

  6. Lots of food for thought with this entry. I've followed my nose through life; plans I made were quickly forgotten, and I was rarely very serious about them anyway. But I wouldn't go back and change much, if anything. What happened has brought me to where I am, and it's an OK place to be and seems quite "right."
    And I've got a handicapped child, so there has had to be a balance between pushing him to do or be more than he is, and accepting him as he is; these considerations extend to my teenager who has just left school, too.
    Thanks for the insight into your life, Hollye, and into life in general.

  7. You are all so brave! Do what you're "called" to do is so much harder than doing what you think you want.
    Thanks for sharing! XOX

  8. Thanks, Amy and Anon!

    Kate, you've encapsulated a beautiful difference between "what's possible" and "what's right".

  9. I love this idea of looking at your early misconceptions and how things really turned out. Oi! House full of little ones again! I can't imagine! But I've certainly had plenty of plans go awry.

    Barbara-I had early actress dreams too, but my over developed sense of responsibility forced me on a more practical path for a while... my inner rebel though, has shown her face a few times since then.

  10. I always love and appreciate each one of your blogs, together AND separate. I am sorry I don't comment on all of them. You each add much to my life. We all continue to spin, and never know where life will go. Bless you all for sharing your intimacy. Now I'm going to share you all.

  11. Hart, I can "see" the actress side of you, I think. Practical is good, though, if the rebel gets out at some point!

    Cheryl, we LOVE having you here, with or without your comments (but we love those too!). And thank you!!


  12. for some reason this post has made me utterly weep. it's beautiful. as is barb's response, as is deb's reply.

    fuck. I should have gone first. ;)

    extraordinary is in the person, not the details, isn't it?


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