Monthly Archives: November 2015

Is This Heaven? Reflections on Thanksgiving

When our children were growing up, we had a Sunday evening ritual of lighting a candle after dinner and taking turns talking about what we were thankful for. Our then seven-year-old said, “Now let me just start with my un-thankfuls.” Truthfully, there’s a lot to be un-thankful about this Thanksgiving. In so many ways, the world is a scary place where cruelty, terror, hunger, abuse, injustice, and inequality seem embedded in the very fabric of our existence. The times in which we live are a sober reminder of the importance of the “giving” part of Thanksgiving. Each of us can do something to make the world a more loving, compassionate place. Sometimes, it’s just a word of encouragement, a genuine compliment, or a heart-to-heart with a friend. And sometimes it’s an act of service for folks we’ve never even met, or a warm welcome to those who come to our shores escaping unimaginable conditions. It’s also a time to focus on the “thanks” part of Thanksgiving—to savor all the blessings of our lives and the moments of bliss and closeness we experience. I am so thankful, for example, that I have a husband who is my closest friend. Yesterday, to get ready for Thanksgiving, we decided we had to break down and clean the house. Let me be honest here: We HATE to clean. There are several thousand things we can think of that we’d rather be doing. But we did it, and we did it together. Then we got [...]

By |2015-11-23T13:49:47-05:00November 23rd, 2015|Holidays|2 Comments

Eaves-Dropping for Inspiration

My husband gave me a gift certificate to my favorite consignment shop for our anniversary. For months, I put off using it. I was knee deep in writing the first draft of my third novel. But the minute I typed “The End,” I celebrated by grabbing my certificate and heading to “Nearly New.” I love this consignment shop. It’s in the basement of the funkiest retro mall in Louisville, frequented by aging hippies, Goth teens, and skateboarders. Each time I enter Nearly New, whose décor is vintage 1950’s, I go into total exploratory mode as I ferret through racks and racks of clothing on a mission to find recycled treasure.  Of course, as I age and more and more body parts drift southward, recycled treasure increasingly amounts to cool stuff that hides those… well, less than optimal figure features. But it isn’t just the treasure that draws me. It’s the conversations. I admit it. I am incredibly nosey, as I suspect many writers are. There’s a reason why there’s a T-shirt that says, “Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel.” On this particular day, I eaves-dropped on an awesome conversation between a father and a tween daughter. It was Halloween week, and the daughter, a girl with a wide smile and waist length hair, was shopping for her first boots with heels to go with her costume.  Instead of telling her which boots to select, the dad asked her questions and made suggestions about what factors to consider—comfort [...]

By |2015-11-19T16:34:46-05:00November 19th, 2015|The Writing Life|0 Comments

Seven Weeks of Togetherness

For years, I was in a writer’s critique group that included two wonderful writers whose husbands had retired and were now hanging around the house “all the time.” Oh my, the complaints I heard!  “Every time I really get involved in a scene, he comes in and wants to show me or tell me something. It’s driving me crazy." So, I was a little nervous when my own lovely husband announced that he would be on leave from work for seven weeks as he recovered and rehabbed from shoulder replacement surgery. My husband is my favorite person in the world and the funniest man I know. I love hanging with him. But I had deadlines. Besides, my grumpiness knows no bounds when I’m not writing. So how was this all going to work out? I’m happy to report it worked out amazingly well. I’ve stopped breaking out in an anxiety rash when I think about his future retirement. My prime novel writing time is in the mornings. He not only graciously accepted that I needed to have my office door closed—but he tried very hard not to open it before I emerged for lunch. He even became my own personal “phone police”—taking calls and explaining I couldn’t talk right now because I was writing. I was stunned. I also felt a little embarrassed. Why couldn’t I do that for myself when he wasn’t around? Clearly, my own boundary-setting needed a makeover. So anyhow, the seven weeks is up. Yesterday was [...]

By |2015-11-11T22:37:39-05:00November 11th, 2015|The Writing Life|0 Comments