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Posts Tagged ‘life’

As I write this, everyone everywhere is caught in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are sick, dying, going bonkers in quarantine and missing out on valuable family memories. Some are getting creative in how they cope and some just struggle through the madness one moment at a time.

assorted silver colored pocket watch lot selective focus photo

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

For me, the quarantine isn’t so bad. I’m a homebody who finally gets to stay  home. I’ve yearned for some time alone at home for years now. I’m sorry it has come at such a huge cost to the world, and the nation, but overall, I am handling the stay-home order well. I have supplies, food, and pets. I’m good.

What does upset me is the zillions of people posting on social media sites of how incredibly bored they are. Bored?? I wish! My problem is quite the opposite. For starters, like millions of others, my small business has all but dried up. No one needs dog walkers or pet sitters at the moment, so all my business income is gone. I am hoping this will be a temporary set back, and not a year-long problem. My larger dilemma at the moment is my health.

Beginning a few weeks before coronavirus was a well-known word, I began having discomfort in my left hip, leg and foot. It worsened so that by the time everyone cancelled on me, I was actually thankful for the break due to the excruciating agony of trying to drive, walk, etc… required of me.

So now I had spare time at home–lots of spare time–and I hurt too bad to enjoy it. I look at the dusty house, disorganized garage, plants that never got planted in the gardens last fall, and the mounds of writing I have to get done (since some of it is already past due). Unfortunately I still cannot sit for long, bend, kneel, or do much of anything. The pain killers I take to manage through the day only make me too groggy to write. This gift of time at home each day is sadly being wasted. And I’m upset at the thief who is stealing it.

person near apple keyboard and cup with coffee beans

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

I have a surgery date scheduled and if the hospital does not cancel elective surgeries, I will soon be okay, and pretty much able-bodied. Perhaps then I can sit long enough to write, plus clean and organize or maybe plant some things in the yard. In the meantime when I read people complaining on social media about  how bored they are, I want to scream. Then I want to invite them over and greet them at the door with either a broom, dust mop, brush, rake, or shovel. I can fix ‘bored’. What I cannot fix is time stealing all my free stay-home days that are systematically being wasted.

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Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

 

 

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Gamechanger has been a word used in my life a fair bit lately. When I reflect back over the previous twelve months, I can see several gamechanger events that blended together and made 2019 resemble a fruit smoothie.

Some have been good events, a few planned out and brought to fruition and others just a happy happenstance. A few were tragic, negative or just plain bad. Either way, they each added to the mixture.

A few happy examples include the installation of a secondary fenced yard that eliminates the need to leash walk dogs now.  Not only does that make walking multiple dogs easier, that became critically important in December.  A surgery in December proved to be helpful in long-standing health concerns. A new book release with a new publishing house last fall has opened more literary doors.

Most recently a chance occurrence with my old house lead to a partial bathroom remodel, that includes the happy addition of  a 1925 Kohler claw-foot tub, which happens to be a long-term dream of mine to have. I have a wonderful old soaking tub now, which is a positive gamechanger.

In the spring, I impulsively bought some day-old chicks, and then some more chicks. It was crazy when they outgrew their brooder and started wandering all over the house because everywhere I put them, they quickly outgrew it. It was several months before I finally got their outside coop finished and they moved out of my house. That was a gamechanger in itself, but it also taught me I could transform my little courtyard to a backyard chicken coop.

Negatively, February 2019 brought a tragic shock that took me about six weeks to even begin to recover from. Big gamechanger. In September my middle-aged computer crashed and I lost everything on it. Merrily I’d been storing files and pictures to a cloud-based storage, confident I had a good backup should I ever need it. Was I ever surprised to learn for three years everything that showed as uploaded on my end never actually reached the cloud. It was simply lost somewhere in the ozone.

Three years of everything was simply gone. Big gamechanger. One of those ‘gone’ things was the novel I’d been pounding away on for three years. It was to go to the publisher that coming weekend, I had the contract signed, a rough release date, and cover work was starting. Now it was Gone. Not a scrap was salvaged. That series of September losses took me two months to begin to get over.

As I run 2019 back through my memory, with the exception of those two massive setbacks, it hasn’t been too bad. I adopted a senior dog and enjoy her company immensely. I have stayed busy in my “day job” business and it feels good to know I am appreciated and needed.

I have learned to master new technology tricks, especially with my smart-alec phone, and they’ve certainly been gamechangers. I can now verbally dictate notes into the phone, send it to my email and retrieve it later on or text verbally on the go to clients, saving time I used to just sit and text. Gamechanger. Using the zoom and key photo options, I can capture great action shots of my clients, which makes them happy. Gamechanger. I have Lucille, the GPS map program that gives  me shortcuts to places I need to go, saving me untold hours each month in lost travel time. Huge gamechanger. All that stuff is just sitting in the palm of my hand.

Thinking of all these gamechanger advances and revelations, I can only hope to use them positively in 2020. My hope is to remain more diligent with blogging. Time escaped me in 2019, and maybe I can reclaim some of it going forward. I might even get to reading a few of the countless books I’ve purchased in the last couple of years and start leaving reviews here again. I do read, but I am not at liberty to post those reviews.

I’d like to bring back the “I’ve been thinking…” feature. I do think–a lot–usually as I am running up and down the roads like the cartoon Roadrunner. Now that I’ve mastered the “Suri, send me an email” gamechanger, perhaps I can dictate the bones of my “thinking” and get it moved over to the blog relatively easily. Maybe.

With a houseful of critters, and those who live outside, I’d like to post pictures, anecdotes, and more. Heaven knows they keep me in stitches any given day.

Are there any special posts you’d like to see in this blog? If so, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts. This blog exists for others to read it. If I can put something meaningful here, that is all I can ask for.

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I have been busy lately, and not had much time to invite guests to stop in at the blog. Fortunately for me, Jeri Bronson has been holding her invitation and patiently waiting for me. So I am very happy to welcome Jeri now, to come, sit down, have some tea and cookies, and talk to us about her book, “Seeking Perfect”. Might I say, it has a lovely cover. Welcome, Jeri!

SeekingPerfect600

What is this book about?  My book is a YA Contemporary about a 17 year old girl named Jesse Barnes. She lives in a small town in Oregon with her alcoholic mother trying to stay invisible until one day Derek Aames sits with her at lunch.  (Cue scary music) He’s so perfect, can she trust him with her secrets?

Why did you write it? I didn’t have a choice it wouldn’t leave me alone. I also thought it was good way to look at the choices people can make.

How long did it take? The first draft took me a summer and the edits like 7 years of learning how to write.

Seven years? That’s some dedication and education.

Any special inspiration? The world is full of inspiration. I took some from me and other brave people that choose survival.

Where do you write? Photos optional— Haha! It’s a mess always so no pics, but actually my dining room table. We only eat here on special occasions now.

Describe the path to publication? I never intended to publish. I thought I was never good enough and no one would want to read it. This was only supposed to be a way for me to help process emotions and thoughts that never ceased to be quiet.  I got brave in 2012 and I sent it out to agents and someone wanted it after I made some more revisions. She was very excited about it and I freaked out and I never sent it back. You see I fear success I know it doesn’t make sense.  I didn’t touch it again for another 3 years; talk about hiding out in a cave. Finally, in 2016 I joined RWA and sent it out once again and was offered a contract in 2017 by Soulmate Publishing. I found some courage finally.

Fantastic story. Loads of people fear success. I’m glad you sent it out again.

Are you working on anything else right now? YES, I have a romantic suspense that I’m editing now hoping to send out by the end of the year. I am also working on another YA that’s partially written, but some more plotting is needed.

Hardest part about writing? The never ending self doubt even with a published book I wonder if I’m good enough.

Biggest surprise about being a published author? People are always so surprised when I tell them that I write and their always so supportive.

Yes, I’ve noticed that too.

How do you beat procrastination? I walk. It works for writers block too. Once I go for my walk then I need to sit down and write. It engages my brain for whatever reason.

Okay, I’m convinced, this sounds like a terrific book, for young adults and us older adults too. Now, can we talk a little about you as an author and a regular person?

The most recent movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read? (or both) I went and saw The Incredibles 2 (so funny) I just finished rereading Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts. It’s a comfort story for me.

What is your favorite past time? I love to watch tennis and of course I read a lot.

Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have x-ray vision? I would totally be invisible and go in all the places you’re not allowed in like Buckingham Palace.

I like that.

What ‘s a typical day like? I drop my son off at school, he’s 16 working on the license so not for much longer yay! Then do house business stuff and writer business then go walk for about an hour. I will write or edit for a few hours eat lunch work some more till the boy gets home. Then writing will put aside till after his swim practice, dinner, dishes etc. I might work for another hour before bed then read a little. Boring, day, I know. 

Boring to some, blissful to others. We should never envy someone else’s life.

How do you like to spend a rainy day? I live in California what rain?

Good point.

Do you know any foreign languages? I could speak Spanish fluently when I was little because my grandmother was Hispanic. Now I get by with necessity Spanish like asking for food or the bathroom.

What one item would you grab if the house was on fire? (assume no living beings are  inside) Pictures of my kids and probably all the computers with the pictures on them.

Describe one moment in time when you took a huge leap of faith. How did it turn out? I sent my book to a publisher and worked out pretty well.

Indeed.

What’s one favorite thing you do by yourself? Going to the library and the movies. First no one will rush me at the library I can peruse as long as I want and then I don’t have to share the popcorn. Notice both places are silent.

Silence is a good thing, right?

Favorite food to cook? I can’t cook my husband does it. I’ve burned things and not only food.

Oh-oh.  Let’s move on to less incriminating topics, shall we?

Favorite animal? Cat

Favorite color? Green

Favorite book? Pride and Prejudice

Favorite sport or physical activity? Tennis

Favorite kind of music? Alternative

Favorite song?  U2, Where the streets have no name

Favorite place to visit? The mountains, any of them.

What makes you laugh? My husband constantly

What three adjectives describe you? Loyal, quiet, compassionate

Favorite season? Summer

Strangest thing you ever ate? Tofu it was fried but squishy in the middle.

Strangest thing you ever did? I asked my favorite tennis player for his autograph and he offered to take a picture with me. Remember I’m the quiet one hoping to be invisible.

That could qualify as a leap of faith too.

Which do you prefer for a second home? Mountain cabin, beach house or big city condo? Mountain cabin definitely.

What dessert do you order most often? Chocolate cake/brownie ice cream combo thing.

Oh my…YES!!!!!!!!

Whom do you admire? (living or dead) Why? I think Jane Austen because she wrote about women doing things they weren’t allowed to do.

What is your favorite type of art? Music always music

If you had a magic genie, what would your three wishes be? Hmmm…world peace you know like the pageant ladies really that would be nice. I would like to be able to speak every language in the world and an all access pass to See’s candy.

Favorite vacation spot? Hawaii

 Jeri, it has been an absolutely pleasure to have you visit today. Let’s wrap up our conversation with a few parting thoughts so we can share how readers can connect with you and check out “Seeking Perfect”.

What three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie) Books, a boat and wet wipes. Sometimes sand is not your friend.

One quote you love, that keeps you going in life? Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light –Albus Dumbledore.

What would you do in life if you knew you couldn’t fail? Play the piano

One thing few people know about you? That I can speak Spanish.

Do you believe  in love at first sight? I’m not sure anymore because no one ever looks up from their phones.

Excellent point. Jeri!  How many first’s do we miss because of that?

Anything special you would like to share with readers?   My story is about hope and choices people have to make on a daily basis.  I think sometimes young adults think they can’t do anything about their circumstances and to certain extent it may be true, but there is always help if you’re willing to ask for it.  You also have to do the hard work it’s definitely about the hard work in this life.

BLURB for “Seeking Perfect”:

Jesse learned early not to trust a soul, but what if he was her soulmate?

Senior year of high school should be about friendship, boyfriends and graduation, but for seventeen-year-old, Jesse Barnes, it’s about escaping the shame of life with an alcoholic mother.

Jesse’s goals are clear, keep a roof over her head, avoid the revolving door of leering men her mother brings home, graduate from high school, and do everything possible to keep her home life secret. Friends, boyfriends, not an option. Who would understand?

Then, perfect, popular Derek Aames, sits with Jesse at lunch. How can she discourage him? How can she keep him from intruding on her life and discovering her secret? And most of all how can she keep him out of her heart?

Will his persistence finally break down her walls, or just break her?

Connecting with Jeri:

Jeri is a native Californian that found her storytelling voice while walking home from elementary school. Long walks with a hyper imagination led to all sorts of wild ideas. Her debut novel, Wildflower, finally came to fruition after she was laid off from her full time job as Human Resources Manager.

She now works part time as a substitute High School teacher, which is a constant source of fabulous material. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband of 28 years, her teenage son, their dog Sam, and cats Sparky and Lilly. The whole time missing her daughter who’s away at college. Jeri does her best writing still while walking, but now Sam goes as well.

When not writing she is an avid reader, of course. She also is an equally avid tennis fan and can be found watching the Tennis Channel most nights. Definitely, do not bother her during Grand Slam tournaments. She is currently working on several Romantic Suspense novels, plus another Young Adult book is brewing. Stay tuned she’s just getting started.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/JeriBronsonauthor/

https://twitter.com/jeribronson

www.jeribronson.com/

 

Book Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38472691-seeking-perfect?ac=1&from_search=true

https://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-jeri-bronson/wildflower-by-jeri-bronson/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seeking-perfect-jeri-bronson/1128622457?ean=9781682916674

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I just stood out on my porch and watched the rain fall in heavy sheets. It was wholly refreshing and relaxing. It was perhaps the second time all year I have had such a pleasant experience. When I bought my home in 2014, the porch was one of the big selling points. Then, I could already see myself nestled under a throw, cradling a cuppa tea while either scribbling away at my latest literary work, journaling, or simply–like today–watching the rain drop.

The first couple of years I did just that in regular batches. This year, sadly, I have not had the time. Why? Because I have been caught up in a whirlwind.

A whirlwind is described as a vortex (vertically rotating column) of wind forms due to instabilities and turbulence made by heating (air temperature) and flow (current gradients). Okay, what that technical mouthful means to me is a whirlwind is what occurs when air and things heat up, creating instability and turbulence, which in turn forms a strong rotating column of wind that whirls around, creating havoc and damage.

Yup, that about sums it up. It is bearing down on me, growling like a mad bear, claws at the ready. And I just stand there, too busy, tired, fed up, etc… to do much of anything. Certainly not smart enough to take solace on a wicker sofa with a cup of coffee (and probably something chocolate) on a rainy day.

Sound familiar?  We get busy with this and that and more and still more, and before we know it, the simple pleasures of life have slipped by and we wonder why haven’t we done this more recently. Just look how fast the pages of the calendar turn. I know each calendar’s days are numbered, but come on now. I am still waiting for April to get here so I can tear up the brick in the courtyard and fix a sagging patch. April? Next week I’ll be facing July in the eyes.

We can probably all lament about what our own personal whirlwind is. Mine is responsibility. I have come to see that as a character flaw. I have a full-time job, usually cracking around 44-45 hours a week. I pet sit and dog walk around that, usually around 15-18 hours a week. And my time around those two are devoted to writing tasks.

My second release of the year just came out this week and I am in the middle of a virtual blogging tour. There is a giveaway I am posting about for my romantic suspense novel that just turned one-year-old. There are two more novels coming out in November so there is covers, blurbs, hooks, and tags to work on before edits begin. I am in the middle of first round edits for my first-ever self published non-fiction book, based on the journey with my PTSD dog. Let me just say the world between self-publishing and traditional house publishing is vast indeed. Vast. And should I tire of any of those endless tasks I can always update blog, website, media pages, newsletters,  ads, etc… And should I run out of ideas there, I can always work on my latest work-in-progress. Right now I am about 20,000 words into a time travel romance novel. Roughly a quarter of the way done with the first rough draft.

And any time beyond all of that above is spent doing what zillions of others do. Clean the house, do the laundry, pay the bills, go shopping, brush the dog, fill the bird feeders, visit friends, call family, plus cooking and somewhere in there, sleeping.  Admittedly, everyone’s list of whirlwind activities will look a little different, but we all have them. The point is, we get so caught up in where we have to be, doing what we have to do, seeing who we have to see, that we feel the whirlwind of life swirl around us, and pick us up, and whisk us away from the pleasurable things that we need to keep us grounded, stable, and sane.  Like sitting on the porch and watching the rain fall. Or sitting by the river watching the river bubble past. Or whatever restores your sanity and breath.

This past week, I was doing a drop in visit at a client’s house and was petting a cat on the chin. Kitty loved it so I lingered, chatting and scratching while kitty purred in bliss. A thought struck me and I said it to kitty: “I always thought I was slowly going insane. Now I realize I am on the express freight train instead.”

Kitty didn’t care. Kitty was in his own personal moment of comfortable bliss.

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images-31Lately I’ve been thinking about making it through things. It could be an event, a period in our life, an illness, a test, a divorce, a wedding, a meeting, a drive, or just whatever “it” currently is. And the interesting thing is the “it” tends to change as time progresses, but there always seems to be some form of “it” that we are always just trying to make it through. Or at least it seems like that for me.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been battling a cold-turned-acute bronchitis. Simply put: I have physically felt miserable just about non-stop for many endless days. And during this time I’ve had overlapping pet care dates scheduled and multiple doctor appointments while still maintaining my full time job and attempting to catch up on writing chores and household responsibilities whenever I could in between. You could safely say I’ve felt stretched like the cookie dough under a rolling pin.

So I’ve had a whole bunch of “it’s” to make it through. Some were fairly short, like the drive to and fro the various places I needed to be, or the doctor appointments, and those brief moments where I could knock a few to-do items off my list. Other things are longer, like waiting for the bronchitis to run its course and the gut-retching cough to go away and waiting for test results to come back.

About a month ago I started reading a book, called “You’ll Get Through This” by Max Lucado. I like his writing style, and to be frank, the title appealed to me. It is a study of the life of Joseph from the book of Genesis, and how his life was a series of making it through some unfortunate experiences. He had misfortune, one after another, and always ended up triumphant in the end. I’m not looking for triumphant. I would be satisfied with a short break in between things I need to make it through. A period of calm in which nothing is expected of me except to just breathe.

I’d love just a temporary respite to soak in the afterglow of nothingness. A time to drift, not needing to do, to be, go, have, say, or get. Anything.  My very own “Calgon, take me away!” moment.

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However, this raised a bigger question in my mind. Why do we feel we have to make it through “this”? Or climb the mountain? Or clear the hurdle? Or whatever metaphor you happen to personally like. Maybe we’re watching the  clock slowly creeping toward five o’ clock (or our own individual quittin’ time), counting down days until some big event or turning the pages of the calendar wondering where it all went or any other method of getting through. It seems life has become one big never-ending series of the next big-something. Something to dread or something to enjoy, something to endure or something to revel in. It’s always the wait for it to get here, the actual time spent, and the period immediately after to breathe deep or wipe the sweat away.

Sometimes for me that’s the time to grab chocolate and coffee. Celebrate. I’m big into celebrating even minor, small happenstances. Competing projects, surviving rough patches of time, and accomplishing challenging tasks will all garner the reward of chocolate and coffee and a few moments of treasured nothingness– to soak in the glow of satisfaction.

But still, I wonder, if there is some way to live a life that isn’t constantly filled with the sense of “I will make it through this” or worse yet, “I have to make it through this.” Can we just reach a point were life is lived, hourly or daily or by the minute, without the constant looking beyond the “right now”? Where escapism isn’t required or used as a reward for surviving? Because, in all honesty, I suspect my chocolate and coffee treat is sometimes a means to escape as much as a celebration for success.

 

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I sometimes pet sit. One of the dogs I walk takes us through a moss-lined, wooded path under a canopy of green trees and climbing vines. A stream runs alongside. Ahead, near the wooden footbridge, slick with moss, I can hear racing water. Because the dog I walk is a hound, we frequently pause so he can conduct in-depth sniffs of particular odors. This gives me time to notice and enjoy to flowers, ferns, plants, orange-capped mushrooms and small wildlife. I see ducks, squirrels and untold numbers of birds. And insects beyond number.

Today I glanced back to where we’d come. It was a pretty view. Green moss rolled out like a carpet. Trees reached out, touching branches to form an arch. Ferns and flowers made countless bouquets and fallen flower petals formed a white trail, stark against the green. It made me want to go back that way instead of crossing the bridge to the road, like we normally do. I knew what was back there and it was pleasant.

And the whole event, which lasted maybe two minutes before the hound was done sniffing and investigating, got me to thinking. As writers, is it important to stop and think about where we’ve come from? At least once in a while?

 

Only we can tell about the path we’ve been on, first the road to publication and our journey since. We know how hard or easy it was, how long it took, how pretty of an experience or how painful and terrible. Knowing this, having the memories fixed in our minds, we tend to concentrate on the trail ahead.

Where do we want to see ourselves? Like the dog and I, we must cross the bridge and trudge up the road to reach his driveway and ultimately home. He has a bone and water waiting for him.  As a writer, I know where I want to me by the end of this year and where I hope to be five-ten and twenty years from now. I have a plan — a footbridge and road– to get me there.

However, as I reflected today, it might be wise to include some reflective study in that plan. Once in a while, I should pause on my writing journey and look back at where I came from. The awkward first starts, the endless queries and just as endless rejections, the first few acceptances. The high of the first time seeing my name in print. The author events, workshops, practice of my craft, networking and the people I have met, seeing my book on a library shelf for the first time, and the list goes on. All the great, wonderful, exhilarating and all the sad, heart-breaking and bad things that have made me the writer I am today.

And in two years or five years I will be a different writer then I am today.

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bird eggs 6-16-2015

I recently spotted these tiny little eggs at work. My first thought was they were the remains of newly hatched chicks. Upon closer inspection, I realized that was not the case. It was the other option…

It struck then, that when we see something, we can look at it in a few ways. First, the initial or obvious view. In this case broken eggs equal hatched chicks. But that was not the case. Here, broken eggs equal someone found lunch. So I mourned for the chicks who would never be born and for the birds who would not raise these young.

But such is the cycle of life. Now because some critter had a meal, perhaps their young will survive another day. Now, since my brain bounces in wacky ways, I naturally had to take this a few steps further.

Spoiler alert: I will probably wax a little philosophical now.

One option to view: we lay our eggs and wait expectantly for the results. Our eggs might be anything– job, marriage, kids, (or literally getting pregnant), new house/car/etc… or a host of other things. When our eggs are usurped by someone else and now will not hatch, we mourn, we get mad, plot revenge, pout, take someone to court, whatever. Simply, we react. Somehow.

Okay, we can try it again, lay more eggs and hope for the best Or we can give it up and find a new nest. Over the course of our lives, we all probably do both depending on the situations our eggs represent.

Now, what about the usurper, the one who took our eggs. Our job, our spouse, our kids, our desired plans? We can look upon them with disdain, hatred and the like. Or we can see the other option. They needed something to survive too. Maybe what they took wasn’t meant to be ours. Maybe it made a huge difference to them, like life or death. Yes, I might be getting sort of thick here, but maybe the job they got means they keep their house. Or the modest car they bought lets them get to the job. Or the kids ‘they stole’ are actually benefiting from new (and hopefully positive) influences.

So the next time we eagerly await for something and end up disappointed, remember maybe the second option you are experiencing, however painful, might be the better option. I have a quote on my desk I like: On the other hand, we have different fingers.

So very true and so very simply profound.

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A thought on how art, my world and writing all lately reflect reality, blending them into a therapeutic cocktail. Much like some artists paint or sculpt to find their inner self or new direction, oftentimes so do writers.

directions sign

On a personal front, I feel as though I’ve been living two lives for a while.

On one hand, I am blessed beyond imagination, surrounded by wholesome goodness, sweet success and pleasant pastimes. I can sit at my desk and listen to the happy chatter of my pet parrot, watch the songbirds merrily gathering at the feeders and know what tranquility feels like. I have my home, my pets, a growing writing career and a lovely spot in the region to plant my roots. I have people in my life; special and dear, appreciated, liked and treasured. I have coffee and chocolate. God has been so good and gracious to me.

girl at brook writing

But on the other hand, the one with different fingers, I can only describe the feeling as slowly sinking in the quagmire of a toxic pit. Wow, what a sudden change. Hence the emotion of having dual lives. And I pass as easily from one to the other as easily as a person can cross from one room to the next. However, my dual life is not the object of this post, rather my observation of it.

Recently I realized I also gave a character in a current Work In Progress a double life, though slightly different circumstances and situation. She had left one life for a new one, never fully leaving the old one behind. Ultimately, because this is fiction and we need conflict, her two lives can no longer compete and she must make a choice. While I suspect this was unintentional, I now see how much tension it creates for the story.

I see no resolution like that in my situation(s). I suspect they can continue on as thus far indefinitely. Back to that other hand with the different fingers.melting time

Interestingly, I have written this method before. I used it as a coping strategy. During a period of time when I was working through some health issues, I scribbled a short story. I took a character, the heroine, and plagued her with health concerns that resembled mine. And because it was fiction, I gave her the conflict of pending love to compete with her burden. Which would win out? The result is a ten thousand word story that I just this month signed the publication contract for. It’s called ‘Glimpse Eternity’.

In another Work in Progress, one I’ve been chipping away at for over a year now, I feature the heroine who has a sibling. The relationship they share closely mirrors the relationship between my sibling and I. Sublime message or unconscious thought? Art or life?

And I will make a guess that somewhere down the literary road, I will do this again. Something will pull that trigger and art will imitate life. I will write a story based on reality. Health challenges, family dynamics, dual lives, we can only guess at what will be next.

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Today is a wonderfully cool day, filled with lots of rain and cloudy skies. The sort of day I would love to lounge on my porch (if only I still had one!) and read a book, sip my tea and listen to the falling rain. Just a tiny bit of heaven on earth. A perfect summer day–at least in my humble and quirky opinion. There are those who might adamantly disagree.

porch reading

However, it got me to thinking. It was recently suggested by someone who I might be a perfectionist. Well, I never thought of myself in that sense. Comparing myself to some I do consider perfectionists, I see myself as sort of loose about many things.

While it is true I have very little patience for repetitive ineptitude, I am forgiving of mistakes made in new learning. I am just the sort of person who expects others to ‘get it’ after several months have gone by. And they don’t have to be perfect either, just proficient. Just being able to complete whatever the task at hand might be.

If that makes me a perfectionist, then okay, I’ll tack that button to my lapel with the other buttons I already wear. Rather, I am inclined to think we can all have something important to us, separate from other things, that because of the position we hold whatever it is in, we might lean more toward perfection in regards to that. And then be more relaxing or flexible in other regards. It might be a person, a job, a chore, a place, whatever– just something held in higher esteem than others.

No, since it is still raining outside, and I still don’t have a covered porch, I will go stand in the doorway, breathe deeply and declare this moment perfect.

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Life from cut stump 7-31-14

I spotted this tiny maple tree shoot growing up from where a maple tree had been cut down. The tree was removed perhaps one or two years ago and I just discovered the fledgling shoot yesterday. It made me very happy as I stood there, thinking about it.

It tells me we have the ability to start life over when our original lives are in one way or another greatly altered. I spend a lot of time feeling like things are frequently changing in my life. Sometimes if is good change and sometimes not so much. Many times I lack the heart, strength or desire to begin again in whatever capacity I need to. I don’t want to have to pick up the remaining pieces and move on, especially if it requires learning new methods or changing comfortable old ones.

But here is this little tree. The original lovely tree had been removed, ground up for mulch. The site has been barren and void of life. Now, a brave shoot has gathered itself together to push up through the dirt and mulch and reach for the sunshine. It is trying its best to begin again.

What fate has in store I don’t know. It might get pulverized by a lawn mover or it might grow to great heights. Either way, it is trying and that is the lesson I need to take from this scene and carry with me when I feel like the remaining dead stump. There is still a spark of life left inside me that wants to reach up and grow and begin again.

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