You never know where help will come from

7 Comments

In a random phone conversation at work yesterday, I was talking to a guest who was re-booking her summer vacation.  In the process of that exchange, we began to talk about the book that I have written.  It seemed like just a simple trade of information until she called me back half an hour later and said she had some information about publishers.

When one is a fledgling author, the mere mention of any connection to a publisher is exhilarating.  As I frantically wrote down the information she was giving me, I could feel my heart beating at an accelerated rate.  I was writing with one hand, Googling with the other and trying to retain all of the information from each place.

She had given me the name of a recently published author who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Her friend assured her that he was a really nice fellow willing to help out where he could.  With my tenacious Google-searching skills, I had tracked down his email in no time and sent him a query.  Much to my delight, he answered within a few hours.

Although he may not be the direct link I need to have into the publishing world, as a newly published author he could be a wealth of information for me at this stage of my writing career and he seems to be very engaged in helping others that are going through the phases of being a writer that he has already experienced.

I have since sent my first four chapters to the publishing company that previously took a chance on the Winnipeg writer and will wait with crossed fingers to see if I get a response.   If nothing else, I have a published author willing to send me snippets of much-needed advice and that, in itself, is priceless.

 

Follow the bubbles

6 Comments

bubbles_underwater_theme

(image credit)

I have learned many things about the ocean and its inhabitants by watching documentaries and several TV mini-series.  I have been amazed by the palette of colors the ocean is able to use to paint itself, the varied species of creatures who contribute to life under the sea and the vast array of reefs and wrecks still waiting to be explored further.  But I learned more from the bubbles than I did from the documentaries.

Scuba divers follow their bubbles to the surface when they don’t know which way is up.  When they are so far into their dive that they become immersed in their surroundings, those bubbles are the true measure of reality.  Divers can become so convinced that the path they are following is the best path for them that they become disoriented and swim sideways, not realizing that their journey may put them in peril.  Sometimes the simplest solution is the one that helps you the most.

The more I began to think about that, the more I realized that those bubbles represent the most important people in our lives.  When we find ourselves a little lost or unsure of where we are headed, we look to those people for support and guidance, knowing they will always lead us to the place where we can once again catch our breath and feel like we are above the surface of our problems.

The ocean diffuses the light, just like life diffuses our perceptions.  We may feel weightless in the ocean, we may feel hopeful and trust our feelings, but our feelings can play tricks on us just like the light can alter our judgement.

No matter how lost you feel or what your brain may tell you, trust those bubbles.  They will always lead you in the right direction.

 

 

 

Unplugging for a while

2 Comments

It crashed.  It simply crashed and, for a few panic-stricken moments, I didn’t know what to do.  The internet went down at work yesterday afternoon and I felt like a Roombot slowly spinning in circles, bouncing off of walls and random pieces of furniture, lost in a world that was absent of instant communication.

I was moderately frightened for myself when I realized how much I have come to rely on technology.  The increasing ease and speed at which we can sail through mundane tasks makes me forget my humble beginnings of pen-pals and library sessions with encyclopedias and the Dewey decimal system.  I have become a member of a mutated generation that is driven by immediate knowledge and gratification.

I feel somewhat sad that my nephews, who are currently 17 and 14, and like-generations, will never understand what we had to endure to communicate with our friends.  Gone are the days of writing letters in long hand (do kids today even know what that is??), putting those letters in envelopes, dropping them into a giant mail box and waiting weeks, maybe months, for a response.  Making long distance phone calls to a town 15 minutes away is a thing of the past.  And don’t even get me started on the friends who didn’t have answering machines.  I’m sure I still have phone numbers burned into my finger tips from dialing them incessantly on our rotary phone until somebody finally answered.

22-amy

(image credit)

Our society has gracefully surpassed hand written letters, DOS programming and the annoying pings and beeps of the dial-up connection but throughout that process we seem to have lost a bit of our patience.  If a text message is not responded to immediately, we think we are being ignored.  If an email goes without a response for 24 hours, we question if we have offended the recipient in some way.  And (God forbid) if the internet crashes, our world seems to crumble right alongside of it.

I am certainly not saying that technology and all of its advancements are not wonderful things.  If that were the case, I would not be pontificating my polysyllabic profundities through this medium.  I am simply stating that we are so anxious to feel instantaneously connected to everything and everyone that we forget how to merely connect to ourselves and slow down the pace of our lives, if only for a moment.

As ironic as it is that I am writing this post on my laptop, I feel the need to purposely unplug for at least a few hours. No Kindle, no texting, no television, no surfing the web.  I want to put a touch of history into how I spend the hours of my evening.  I want to write a letter, a real hand-written letter, to a friend I know who will only send letters this way.  I want to hold a paperback novel in my hands and I want to be able to have my brain work the way it was trained to work and not just be distracted by the millions of images on the internet.

The internet may have changed how we communicate, how we learn and how we conduct business, but it should never have the power to change us or the things that make us infinitely human.  Technology is just a tool.  And although it can teach us many things, patience and a capacity for perseverance are not contained in its syllabus.

Warrior

3 Comments

Woman of strength,

the pain never shows through your smile

but I know it is there.

My affection for you began immediately

and, as we grew closer,

my love for your spirit and sarcasm

earned you a spot deep in my heart

where you will stay, always.

Your illness will never dampen your spirit,

because you are fire,

and with that fire comes light and energy.

You show courage in your time of uncertainty

and you wear your suffering with grace.

You have an air of strength

in spite of the weakness you feel,

 and you inspire me with your determination.

Woman of strength,

may you continue to bless my life

for many years to come.

I love you.

 

Green means GO!

6 Comments

I have been keeping myself busy with ideas for a new book while I have been anxiously awaiting my first book review from my nephew.  I had to keep reminding myself that it IS summer and he IS a 14-year old boy with other interests besides reading so I have cut him, and my nervous mind, some slack.

It is difficult to quiet a cacophony in a mind that is continually feeding on its negative thoughts.  Like an inferno that is started with one tiny spark, my mind became the spark and my stress was the oxygen that fueled the fire of my doubt.  The longer I went without any sort of feedback, the more I convinced myself that the book was terrible and my nephew didn’t know how to tell me that it was a flop.  Self-doubt is a vicious thing.

I silenced my doubts this morning as I prepared my meals for this week based on my new plant-based diet.  Being in the kitchen always allows me some escape from my reality.  After creating my meals, I ran into town and stopped at The Apothecary Shop for a few things.  I decided to use the blood pressure cuff to see if my change in diet had made a significant difference to my blood pressure.  While I was in mid-check, my nephew had seen my car and come into the Apothecary to find me.  The sight of him must have unnerved me because my blood pressure reading was ridiculous!

I couldn’t imagine what was going to come out of his mouth but I began to tug my arm out of the cuff before it had finished deflating.  He stood beside me with an apologetic smile.  He promised to finish the book before the weekend and that was all he said.  I said one word that seemed to hover in the small space between us….

“And………..”, I asked.

“It’s REALLY good”, he replied.

So now I sit, comfortably ensconced in my living room with words churning in my brain for my second book.   I have always loved the phrase ‘green means go’ and I feel like I have just been given the green light to continue my writing journey.  I’m already excited about this next book and can’t wait to dive in!  See you on the flip side.

 

 

You can’t win if you don’t play

8 Comments

While this subject line generally makes me think of the lottery pool, it has taken on a much bigger meaning for me today.  I’m sure I have made you all painfully aware of the fact that I finally finished writing my first novel.  Book number two is in the works and the idea for number three is a shimmering light in the distance.

I thought that the actual writing of the book was going to be the hardest part.  And while it was a painstaking process, never having attempted to write a book before, the writing itself was a reward.  The hardest part is convincing yourself that someone else may find your words exciting enough to take you on as a client and help to get you published.

I spent my day off today, a beautiful, sunny day, bound to my couch to finish editing my book for grammatical oversights and story continuity.  I was just as excited to read the ending as if I were a first time reader and that got me even more excited.  I was excited enough to send my first two query emails to potential agents…..and now I feel nauseous.

But like that lottery pool, you can’t win if you don’t play.  I will never get published if I don’t try, and according to Yoda, there is no try, only do.  So I did.

Now I can only hope that some unsuspecting agent finds an email from a small town Canadian girl with big ideas and gets just as excited to read it as I was to write it.

The feeling came rushing back

2 Comments

Last year, I made the courageous decision to let two of the guests at the lodge read the first three chapters of my novel.  It was a large hurdle for me to jump, to trust my writing enough let them read it and, as I sat waiting to hear back from them, I was concerned that their critique may destroy the hope I had for my book.  I was dead wrong and I wrote about it here.

That same couple checked back into the lodge yesterday for their annual “Shammy” vacation.  I was delighted to see them again and we embraced like we have known each other for decades.  We had been corresponding by email over the winter and they were two of the people at the top of my list to share my news once I had finished writing the book.

As she began to leaf through the 8 1/2 by 11 pages, I watched her brow furrow.  She agreed with the changes that I had made in red ink but I sensed there was an underlying urge in her to be wielding the same red pen she had used last year.  Instead, she set the pages down on her lap and seemed so overjoyed that I had finished my work in progress.  She was thrilled and her joy seeped into me.  I was elated.  The excitement I had felt after finishing the writing now came flooding back and the two of us acted like we had just won the lottery.

(image credit)

I have been dutifully editing my novel for egregious grammatical oversights as well as making the story flow as well as it should so the reader is not lost at the beginning of any of the chapters.  I plan to spend all of my free time over the next week finishing the revisions and beginning the hunt for an agent.  Game on!