Missing My Writing Time

 

No matter what you do or where you are, you’re going to be missing out on something.
Alan Arkin

I got a sweet email a few days ago from a follower who said she missed my weekly blog posts. So even though I will be moving in to my new house in just 15 days and I’m stressed out to the max,  I decided to sit down at my desk and send off a note to tell you all that I will be back once we get all of our leftovers placed in our new nest and I have my new studio set up. There is still so much to do to get rid of our extra STUFF, but I have missed my weekly writing sessions and your responses.

Besides, I’m over the burnout from publishing my book over a year ago and I really, really want to get back to writing again. Every day I spend stuffing boxes that go to Goodwill, the library, or other places I’m donating to, I think about all of the things I want to write and tell you about. About losing Sam, that sweet being that still sits in my lap in the photo to the right but is no longer here for me to hug or talk to. And how his brother Max seems rather relieved that he is now an only dog-child. He still loves his cat, Lilli, because she is not a lap cat and doesn’t need the amount of attention Sam did. Max seems to think he should now go everywhere with us, even to restaurants and the movies, deserves the very best treats on the market, and being let out the back door every time his squirrel appears so he can chase it. That event can happen several times an hour. We all do miss Sam very much, but in the end he was very sick and as with all living beings it was his time to leave us and is now at peace.

That is our end unit! Can’t wait!

So far everything is going smoothly with the move. I have a lot of helpers and though it all still does overwhelm me, I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The work at the new place is on time. We’ve rearranged the kitchen a bit, repainted the whole place, finished up an office for Bill, have redone the master bath, and the screening in of the back porch is now being done. We can’t wait to spend our first night there and all of the following nights to follow.

I’ve enjoyed putting these few words down on paper and look forward to being able to sit down and write whenever I want.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful fall.

Being Big When You Think You Are Small

In the past, when I heard about the horrendous terrorist events in Ferguson, Charleston, Paris, and other places around the world I was saddened and angry. It was only through television and the internet that those of us who don’t live in those places got to observe and imagine the damage done and the lives lost. Those things hadn’t happened in my own backyard. And I wasn’t in touch with those who were affected by those appalling events. But now I know what it’s like and how it feels.

I’ve been struggling to write about what happened here in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 11th when all hell broke loose with the arrival of the AltRight, NeoNazis, and the KKK. I still cannot find the words. But that’s okay. It doesn’t matter. You all know what happened. You saw the footage on television and the internet, or maybe you were here on the street standing up for what you believe in.

I was not on the street. I was at home. But the action was only 1.8 miles away and I could hear the hellicopter monitoring the situation overhead in the distance. The same helicopter that went down later in the afternoon killing both of the state troopers on board … not long after a lovely young woman was hit by a crazed, domestic terrorist with his car. She died and 19 others were injured, some seriously.

Many are criticizing the city government, the police, and the university for not being prepared. But how can a small city like Charottesville be prepared for something like that. All of us are only human and we do the best we can. The KKK rally earlier in the July was a walk in the park compared to what happened on the 11th. Though many predicted that the August rally would be violent, we have never needed police or military forces to protect our little city before now.

What I can tell you for sure is that despite many unhappy souls, we in Charlottesville are healing. And our little city has become BIG. BIG hearts. BIG love. BIG conversations are happening. Not only here but all over the country. The support and the love that is still streaming our way is astounding and so very much appreciated.

I have always believed that even in the horrible scenarios, good things can manifest. If what happened here is beginning to change the conversation around our country and the world, which I believe it is, I’m proud to be a Charlottesvillian. We may look like a small blue dot in a big red state on most political maps, but we are BIG. And praise be that we have been given the opportunity to let the world know who we are and what we stand for. Mistakes were made. Lessons were learned. People came together. The world will be a better place because of what happened here.

The Work Of Living

Scattering My Mother's Ashes, October 2012. oakdale, New York

Scattering My Mother’s Ashes, October 2012. Oakdale, New York

Every so often I’m called to get back to work on myself. Old issues, that I thought I was done with, come popping back up. I find myself feeling lost, or that a piece of me is missing. Over the last couple of months that’s how I’ve been feeling. My book, Scattering Ashes, A Memoir of Letting Go, was finished and published in September. The writing and publishing had taken three years. But in reality I had been working on it, since 2001, when my mother came to live with my husband and me. It was a fifteen year odyssey of learning about myself, life lessons, and finding a way to continue moving forward.

Holding the finished book in my hands, doing a reading and book-signing here in Charlottesville, on September 20th, was the joyous finale of those long years of contemplating a particularly difficult time in my life, writing, rewriting, sharing it with others, and rewriting it all over again.

The morning after the reading, I drove to a local radio station at 7:45 AM, where I did a live interview about the book. I went home and crashed. I was exhausted and was ready for some time off. I didn’t want to think or talk about the book or my mother. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was no longer myself. I had become the book that I had spent all those years getting out into the world.

I spent hours examining that idea as if it were a a Zen Koan. “Does the dog wag the tail, or does the tail wag the dog?” It lasted a week or so until I got myself back. I wasn’t the book and I could now go on with the rest of my life. I began looking for a new pathway.

The election happened and then the holidays came along. I was distraught over the results of the election and then Christmas arrived. Not my favorite time of year. Although I was with people and busy day and night, I was depressed and lonely. I snapped at Bill when he said something that I deemed silly, and discovered I was back in an old pattern of not thinking much of myself. While other sister-authors I knew were moving ahead with marketing and promoting of their just published books, I was lagging behind, and feeling ashamed of myself for not having the energy or the desire to move in that direction.

I took time off from writing and started taking care of myself. The book would have to move along on it’s own. I read. I cooked. I slept. I took walks. I cried. I realized that Bill and I were entering what very well could be the last chapter of our lives. My aches and pains were multiplying and watching my sweet husband struggle with healing from two surgeries in one year made me sad.

Deciding to take advantage of whatever time I had left ahead of me, I came to the conclusion that it was time to celebrate us … Two old farts still full of piss and vinegar, who don’t want to waste time on unimportant things. I still have my brain. Although I can’t run a marathon or plan on skiing down an expert mountain slope, there are still things I can do to make my final years fun, important, and interesting while accepting that we will be slowing down and eventually moving on. Finding a way out of the muck of the last few months and making peace with myself seems like a good start.

Last Saturday, I went to an Insight Dialogue Meditation retreat taught by one of my favorite teachers and began finding my way back to myself. For those who don’t know about Insight Dialogue, it is learning to be aware of our own feelings, both physical and emotional, while speaking and listening to another person. One of the first things we learn is to pause, take our time when we speak, and become a better listener while being aware of our own feelings. The theme of the day was Living Peace, and as the outside world spun around me, I found Peace, at least for the moment. In early April I hope to attend a 5 day Insight Dialogue retreat, “Working with Difficult Emotions.”

Hopefully Bill and will also begin making some future travel plans and find ways to make life with our aging bodies more easeful.

Do you find yourself moving backwards at times? What do you do to begin moving yourself forward again?

What More Can Be Said?

img_1239To write, or not to write? That is the question. Is there more that can be said about what today means for we the people of the US of A? Except for one blog post, in the very beginning of this possible devastation, I’ve remained quiet and doing my best to stay positive. And how can one not be positive during the peak season of trees surrounding us with their magnificent colors?

I’m filled with excitement that we could have the first woman president in the history of this country. But I also fear the possibility of a loss. And then what?

Hopefully, by tomorrow morning. we’ll know more about the fate of this country and it will be good news.

All I can say is that Bill and I voted very early this morning, then went out for breakfast and clicked our cups of caffeine together in hopes of a win.

All I can say is, PLEASE VOTE. If you don’t make your choice known who can you blame if it doesn’t go your way?

Until next Tuesday, have a good week, and like I already said, PLEASE VOTE! We’re all in this together.

 

DSCF0623.JPG

Celebrating A New Life

ScatteringASHES_VERSA.inddWOOHOO!

I never dreamt in a million years that this day would come.  I’ve been in labor for six long years and today, SCATTERING ASHES, A Memoir of Letting Go, has officially been born.  Someone asked me yesterday, how it feels to have accomplished this magical feat, and all could say was, “It’s unreal.”

I’ve written a book of two-hundred and thirty-six pages, and I can’t find words to describe how I’m feeling? Humpf! But I know I’m not alone. Every author who pens a book and sees it through to publication is filled with pride and are sometimes wordless when it comes to describing the feeling of having done it.

I can tell you this: I am excited. I am proud of myself. I’ve done something I never thought I would or could do. And I did it!  If I can write a book and get it published, I can do just about anything!

Shall I go for another?  We’ll see.  I have some ideas, but first I must raise the book I’ve just given birth to and send her off into the world.

Please check out my guest blog post over at Create Write Now.

If you’ve read my book or intend to, I’d appreciate it you could write an honest review over on Amazon and Goodreads.  It helps us authors when the word gets out.  Thank you!