Churmyumov-Gerasimenko comet and the Rosetta satellite is one of the subjects in Beth Mende Conny's weekly essay for Lifenicity. Beth is also the founder and president of Write Directions.

Stinky comets and impatient cashiers


After 23 years of wind and ants brazenly entering our home, Joe and I decide to replace the back door. We make the long-awaited decision over breakfast and map out the route we will take around Frederick County to scope out stores.

In between, we discuss energy efficiency, which leads to a discussion of UV light. (I’ve just purchased a light box, which is to ward off winter malaise, or so the box promises.) This, in turn, leads to a discussion of sunrays, which in turn leads to a discussion of the Rosetta satellite, aka the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis. (Say that five times fast, Einstein!)

The Rosetta has been chasing the comet Churmyumov-Gerasimenko which itself is racing toward the sun. (Say that name five times fast — anyone!) Apparently, the satellite’s been on the comet’s tail for about 10 years, trying to determine what happens to the tail when it starts to sizzle. (Shouldn’t we care more about unattended steaks sizzling on a grill than a comet sizzling some 400 million kilometers from the sun?)

Churmyumov-Gerasimenko comet and the Rosetta satellite is one of the subjects in Beth Mende Conny's weekly essay for Lifenicity. Beth is also the founder and president of Write Directions.

Churmyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Photo from NASA.

Turns out, it’s a good thing that the comet is far, far away; way past Mars, in fact. Through its sophisticated instruments, Rosetta has discovered that Churmyumov-Gerasimenko has a stench no cosmic deodorant could mask. Imagine a mix of rotten eggs, urine and vinegar, seasoned with formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and methanol. No wonder there is no life on Mars!

Churmyumov-Gerasimenko comet and the Rosetta satellite is one of the subjects in Beth Mende Conny's weekly essay for Lifenicity. Beth is also the founder and president of Write Directions.

First map of the Churmyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Photo from NASA.

For reasons as baffling as sizzling tails, this part of our celestial discussion leads Joe and I back to door replacement. It is getting late. Off we go. Read more

Is youth wasted on the young?

Beth Mende Conny, founder of Lifenicity and Write Directions, reflects on the importance of living in the present moment.

They say youth is wasted on the young. How silly. You can’t waste what you don’t know you have: the Present. You merely live it.

But we who are older and oh so much wiser, look back — or is it look down? — on the young and tsk, tsk. We see opportunities lost, the seeds of poor decisions planted in shallow ground.

But what of our own opportunities? The decisions we let the wind carry away?

We who claim to be so much wiser also forget that we live in Present. And this is the ultimate waste — to not be here, now. To not grasp that we are never too old to be young.

New versions of old clichés

Beth Mende Conny of Write Directions and Lifenicity offers new versions of old clichés. No reason to avoid these in your writing!If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again — and then blame others.

What goes up must come down — when you run out of Xanax.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder — when that jerk is finally out of your life.

Always a bridesmaid, never the bride — which is fine given today’s divorce rate.

Get your ducks in order — then replace them with turkey breast, which is lower in fat.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence — because your neighbor uses pesticide.

Laugh all the way to the bank — because you know you’re overdrawn.

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones — neither should people who live in brick houses.

Separate the wheat from the chaff — unless you live in the city and have no idea what chaff is.

She’s a peach — but becomes an apple when peach season’s over.

He woke up on the wrong side of the bed — which was quite painful given his bed was against a wall.

You can’t judge a book by its cover — only by its inside flap.

Fly by the seat of your pants — right over to your chiropractor because you are seriously out of alignment.

Read the fine print — but only through rose-colored glasses.

Losing cell phone, glasses, mind




What other dumb thing have you done? I’ve worn my glasses into the shower. And I’ve also tried to take out my contact lenses even though I wasn’t wearing any. (Did you know the surface of your eyeball stretches?! VERY creepy.)


Publish or perish: A 2nd-grader’s perspective

Beth Mende Conny of Write Directions writes about the publish or perish obsession writers have and how hers began in 2nd grade.

Me, age 7. A budding and already tragic writer.

One day while reading my 2nd grade Weekly Reader, I came across an article about a 6-year-old girl who had published a book of poetry. Because she didn’t know how, literally, to write, she dictated the poems to her mother. (“Yo, mom, take down this sonnet!) Voila! — she became a published author.

I don’t remember the girl’s name, I do remember thinking: “Oh no! I’m seven and I still haven’t published!”

Embarrassingly, I continued to utter those words well into my late-20s, when I began publishing steadily. Even today, I utter a variation of them: “Oh no! I’m in my middle years and still haven’t written the Great American Novel!”

If you’re a writer, I bet similar words have slipped into the conversations you have with yourself and others. Such words belong to the universal language of writers — to all creative people, for that matter. We are all waiting for deliverance.

But universal as these words may be, there is no strength in number. Ultimately, we writers stand — and sit — alone.

Sitting down to write is key. It is the only way to quiet the Muzak looping through our minds:

La-di-da. Publish. Perish. La-di-da. Perish. Publish. La-di-da.

And so I’ve learned to sit, to let the sound of my keyboard block the Muzak. And when that fails, as it sometimes will, I will stand, stretch … and sit again.


Motivational Monday

Quotation by Beth Mende Conny of Lifenicity and Write Directions: "Follow your heart the way sailors follow the stars."

art by beth mende conny © 2014






Follow your heart the way sailors follow the stars.

— Beth Mende Conny



“Oy, my aching head,” said the intuitive

A few weeks ago I shared a personal problem with my advisory board: the loose grouping of friends and colleagues whose opinions I trust and sometimes even listen to. Their words were wise but I was still undecided, and so I decided to see an intuitive who lived on the outskirts of town.

A friend’s daughter had consulted the woman (I’ll call her Cassandra), and Cassandra’s reading was spot-on. Cassandra identified the daughter’s medical issue and suggested a course of action, which turned out to be a good one.

My issue was relatively minor and likely would have resolved itself had I been more patient. The problem with problems, however, is that they linger. They are like houseguests who trash the place, promise to leave but do so only when there’s nothing left to munch on.

Now, for those of you who have never consulted an intuitive, be forewarned: sitting across from one is unnerving. You realize suddenly that you are paying a stranger $60 to nose around in your life for 30 minutes and that within milliseconds she’ll know you cheated on your 4th grade math quiz and are wearing holey underwear. You’ll get this sinking feeling that she’ll make horrid pronouncements, like your dog is going to die, which will freak you out even though you don’t have a dog.

Cassandra the intuitive didn’t smile as I stepped into her office. She sat on one side of her huge desk, I sat on the other, feeling like a job applicant. She closed her eyes and told me she was going to do a quick scan of my body to see what was what. Oh no! She was going to see my underwear.

When she opened her eyes, she looked at me accusingly. “You’re giving me a headache,” she said.

This threw me. I know I can be a pain in the ass, but a pain in the head? Read more