Yes, I wrote over 50,000 words in 30 days and did so as a single mom working full-time while raising two kids AND blogged regularly! I even wrote guest posts for other blogs, including the Pep-Talk variety for other WriMos! WHEW.
No sooner had I accomplished my goal, though, when something really weird happened: I lost all motivation to write and stopped almost completely. No more novel writing, no more blogging. In fact, I stopped writing anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary, specifically, journaling and whatever was needed to fulfill my professional obligations.
REALLY weird. And the burn-out or whatever it was lasted for years.
I learned a lot about myself from 5 years of NaNoWriMo-ing, though. I learned the early morning hours are my most creative, and that it’s HUGELY frustrating to need to stop in the middle of The Flow because Duty Calls. I experienced how elusive, magical and fickle The Muse can be. And, perhaps most importantly, I discovered writing fiction isn’t really my thing. My natural inclination leans towards storytelling based upon my own experiences. Real Life Stuff.
But I think that is about to change.
A couple months ago, while on a lunch and shopping date with a girlfriend, I had the most amazing encounter . WE had the most amazing encounter, I should say. And Thank The Writing Gods I had a witness to all that happened. It all started with a unplanned stop at an antique store in the Old Towne district of Tustin. We weren’t sure if the shop was still opened since the sign in the window said “Open”, the sign on the door said “Closed”, but a bunch of framed art was still outside on the sidewalk. So Girlfriend went to see if we could get in, and after she waved an “OK”, I got out of the car and went immediately to the art on the sidewalk. One piece in particular caught my eye: Framed in old Walnut, it’s a large 3 x 4 oil painting…of trees.
Those who know me know I am a Tree Person. Our home is surrounded by them and we love camping in the middle of them. A Tree Hugger for decades, I’ve hiked miles to embrace the oldest living ones on Earth (in the Ancient Bristle Cone Pine Forest). I’ve blogged about them (Like HERE and HERE), painted them, planted them and every room in our home has some sort of homage to The Tree.
So this old painting really spoke to me on several levels. After a day of fruitless shopping, I thought I had finally found something worthy of taking home – until I saw the price tag.
Anyway, we went inside to look around. It was your typical antique shop in that it was so PACKED with all manner of collectible, vintage, and antique goodies, we could barely squeeze through the displays. But we did, making our way eventually to the back of the shop and THAT is where it all happened.
I’m not going to tell the story here (sorry), but I am going to tell the story and I’m going to use NaNoWriMo2017 as my kick-in-the-literary-ass to write it. Yes, I’ll still work on the cookbook. Or not. But I have to do this. I mean, I have to. The first thing my friend and I did when we got into the car to leave that day was to turn to each other, wide eyed with amazement, and simultaneously say, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” In fact, it was Deb who first told me, “You HAVE to write that down!” And her encouragement hasn’t stopped. So, I’m going to. I feel like if I don’t, I will regret it for the rest of my life.
And the old painting? Well, it’s hanging right here over my desk while I’m typing this. How THAT came to be is part of the story as well, and another reason I know I have to do this. Why?
Because Trees Talk, don’t ‘cha know?
November 1st is fast approaching. If YOU are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, please let me know! I would love to be part of your posse and lend you my support! You’ll find me over there under the pen name JaneBond.
Life is full of magical moments and little synchronicities.
Several happened to me last week and many of them related to my cookbook project. This might have been the coolest.
It’s been a long standing habit of mine to check two pages of any devotional book before buying it. Well, I bought one this week based solely on serendipity.
This first photo is from a chapter I wrote back in the Spring entitled, “The Well Stocked Kitchen”.
Now this one: A page from a little devotional book I picked up last week at the Good Will entitled, “A Grand New Day”. It’s the page from my birthday, March 30th.
I’m still grinning ear to ear.
Happy Serendipity Sunday to you.
Early Fall days are some of my favorites.
The change in light, the change in colors…..the change in me.
The vapid summer days here in So Cal drain me, both physically and energetically. Yes, I love the sunshine and – occasionally – the longer days. But we’ve had a helluva hot, humid summer this year and I couldn’t be happier that darker cooler mornings are here with the promise of nights sleeping with open windows vs. A/C dronings.
Suddenly, I feel like cooking again. Hearty, earthy dishes like pot roasts and soups and fruit pies. The gem-like ambers, oranges and browns of nature have inspired me to decorate for Halloween. I’ve been feng-shuing, decluttering and re-organizing and
I feel like writing again.
It’s been nearly 6 months since my last post and about that same length of time since I’ve written anything for my book (and thank you to those that reached out to make sure all was well in the midst of my silence. It is and I am. Thank you, Jesus, for curing the incurable).
I recognize several things contributed to my stall out. Life happens and priorities shift. For example, I’ve been working two full days a week since the end of May, and I’m also responsible for making sure our grandson gets to school by 7:50 every morning. My morning routine – and typically my most creative time – has altered.
But in all honesty, it’s been more about motivation. I mean, even with a printer that didn’t work and a computer that barely did, I could’ve been writing. I still journal most days. But the book or the blog? Well…I just haven’t been feeling it.
Thankfully, lack of inspiration isn’t a permanent condition. Ask any artist. Everyone goes through dry spells or blocks. Muses can be fickle companions. Then again, I tend to enter new projects with all pistons firing and my foot to the floor – which might be why I seem to excel at short term commitments and struggle a little with those that take a loooonnnnggggg time to complete. I like to finish stuff. Check it off my To Do List.
Or maybe, I just like Instant Gratification. Ha!
But I’ve learned the importance of giving myself the grace to put something down and to feel my way through my creative endeavors. Sometimes the best thing I can do to reboot is to walk away. Like, literally, take a walk. Hike in nature. Socialize with friends.
In years past, unfinished projects use to mock me…. half finished piles creating feelings of guilt and (depending on how much money spent on supplies) shame. But if Cancer taught me anything, it is this: Life is short so focus on who and what is really important – and let the rest go (temporarily or permanently, depending).
So. Here I am. Yesterday I cleaned and reorganized the office and the computer is fixed. A new printer is being delivered on Tuesday along with a new mouse pad to replace the one I LOVE but was looking as grimy as our grandson after a day at school.
And I’m writing…..
The house and yards look festive. It’s a nipply 70 degrees, the windows are opened wide and the sun is just peeking over the hill. I’ll be doing breakfast and a little shopping with girlfriends this morning, and then enjoying the rest of the day doing “whatever” since all my chores are done. Maybe I’ll plant a few seasonal flowers or make that wreath I’ve been thinking about. Or, maybe I’ll just enjoy the peace and quiet of an early Fall afternoon with the house to myself.
Fall. My favorite time of year.
“To what shall I liken me?
To little birds in their nest.
If the father and mother do not bring them food,
They die of hunger. Thus is my soul without you, Lord;
it does not have its nourishment, it cannot live.
To what shall I liken me?
To the little grain of wheat cast into the earth.
If the dew falls not, if the sun does not warm it,
the grain molds.
But if You give your dew and your sun, the little
Grain will be refreshed and warmed; it will take root and will produce a beautiful plant with many grains.
To what shall I liken me, Lord?
To a rose that is cut and left to dry up in the hand.
It loses its perfume; but if it remains on the rosebush,
It is always fresh and beautiful
and keeps all its perfume.
Keep me, Lord, to give me life in You.
To what shall I liken you, Lord?
To the dove that feeds its little ones,
to a tender Mother who nourishes her little babe.
My enraptured spirit contemplates all Your works.
Who can speak of Thee, O God so great!
O Omnipotent One, it is my ravished soul,
A nothing, a bit of dust says to You:
Come to me.
Who can say that an Omnipotent One takes notice?
One glance! You who look at me, come to me.
You alone, my God, my all.
I see Thee, goodness supreme; Thy glance is maternal.
Come quickly, O Sun of Justice, arise!
My soul is consumed, I languish while waiting.
Psalm of Blessed Myriam Baouardy
1846 – 1878
From “Prayers of the Women Mystics” by Ronda De Sola Chervin