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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summertime...Lessons Learned

Author with Teddy In Ithaca
Okay, this photo is a few years old, but the subjects look about the same. I've been trying to focus on writing the next book, but I do get distracted by the beautiful weather lately. I wrote a chapter tonight on Novel 2, but I haven't been keeping up with my blog, so I thought I'd take a few moments to write an update.

We had a heavy downpour here this afternoon: cancelling our plans for bike riding or walking the dog, but helping me get back to work on my writing with little regret. It's been difficult to stay the course. My debut novel WHERE THE HEART LANDS has been doing well, but the process of discovery is slow. I know I need to get more of my work out there, but so many things tear me away from the writing each day: full-time job as a speech language pathologist, husband who likes to do things with me, and furry family members who demand attention, treats, walks, and petting. My son is all grown up and now a married man with his own demands, but I still miss him and want to talk to him all the time. The weather in upstate New York has been spectacular. A rare and welcome treat. This summer has been cooler--in the 70s and low 80s with lots of sunshine, and plenty of rain in between. We're due for a heat wave this week, but it still feels like Fall is just around the corner. The seasons move so fast any more, like life.

As I grow older, I cherish the beautiful things so much more. Is it my imagination, or are the weekends and summer days growing shorter? I wish I could talk to my 20-year-old self with the knowledge I've gained in the thirty years since. What would I tell that feckless young woman?

1) Chase your dreams, you might not get another chance.
2) Work hard, and love your work. Don't be such a lazy ass!
3) Be kind to everyone, mean people need it more than anyone else.
4) A smile works much better than an angry word.
5) Forgive yourself, you're never going to be perfect.
6) Don't dwell on the past, it doesn't change a thing!
7) Tell people what you love about them.
8) Give up the people and things that don't love you back, without regret.
9) It's okay to be still sometimes.
10) Listen more than you talk. You will learn much more than you ever imagined.

Enjoy each day, my friends. There will never be another like it!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dog Days of Writing

Teddy sound asleep in the shade of the Burning Bush.
It's the dog days of summer this weekend. Hot, humid temperatures after a mostly cool, pleasant season so far. Teddy does what most dogs do during the smoldering heat--sticks to the shade.

We spent all day yesterday pulling out overgrown weed trees and other jungle-like growths spilling over from the neighbor's into our gardens. We were a little grumbly at first, then we decided to ask our neighbor if she minded if we cut down some stuff on her side of the fence. She was relieved and even offered homemade iced tea after she came out to help. We spent the afternoon sweating and hauling brush as we chatted and learned more about each other's lives. She is recently divorced and raising a daughter with health problems. Not much time or care for what her garden was doing. A good reminder not to judge your neighbor.

Today a nice bicycle ride with a friend we haven't seen in a while. The 93 degrees didn't seem quite so bad with the breeze! I've been re-reading May Sarton's journals--THE HOUSE BY THE SEA after reading JOURNAL OF A SOLITUDE. An intelligent, somewhat tortured, talented soul who greatly inspires me. She is more positive in SEA, where she moves into a rented house on the coast of Maine. Maine is a special place for me, but today I am grateful for our little home on the hill with our wild gardens and good bicycling roads. Trips to Maine help me with my ocean fixation. I love that rocky coast with the mountains and sea in one stunning place. If it weren't so far from family, we would be there all the time.

I've been getting some positive feedback on my novel WHERE THE HEART LANDS and knocked out over a thousand words tonight on the new novel. Back to work at the day job tomorrow, then another day "off" of more writing and, if the weather holds--another bicycle ride. Life is what you make it. Sometimes I need a kick in the pants to remember.

Do something that inspires you today.