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Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Writer in Me #BookGiveaway

In 2005 I decided to start writing. No cataclysmic event occurred. My family was healthy. My job was good. No tragedy had left me tarnished. But an epiphany came one day as I was carefully crafting a work memo and trying to avoid the dull cast of business writing. After I finished the memo, I thought to myself, I like doing that. Writing. I like writing. I should do it more often. Thus, a blog and the idea of a book was born. I won’t lie. The thought of becoming a rich and famous author certainly appealed to me. It still does. But it’s not the reason I continue to write. Obviously.

The hobby isn’t particularly easy. I’ve written and rewritten four books now. I’ve self-published after receiving a million+ rejections from agents. I’ve kept up a blog despite an unending stream of "other" responsibilities. I assembled somewhat of a website without any real technical knowledge. I’ve taken several writing courses and read several writing books, even though I (AHEM) already knew how to write as an English major from U of Iowa. I’ve spent hours pondering a sentence or a word only to realize it's well past my bedtime. There are days when I wonder why am I even doing this. Wouldn’t it be better for me to be doing something else? Like cleaning the grime off my floors? The answer to that is clearly no. Not so much because I hate cleaning floors, but because something always happens to keep me motivated to write.

Someone laughs about a blog post. I receive a notice from Amazon about a book I sold. ($3 coming my way!) A short story gets published. An agent sends me an encouraging note. My self-published book gets a positive Kirkus review. After ten years of exploring this elusive world of writing and publishing, I do actually experience small victories which make my heart happy. It’s like God is whispering in my ear, “See? Keep it up Sport.” Oh gosh. Maybe it's F. Scott Fitzgerald whispering to me.

Some writers will say they don’t care if anyone reads their stuff. It’s just therapy for them. I get that…sort of. Okay. Not really. While I do find writing therapeutic, I totally want my stuff to be read! I want my thoughts to be heard…for the same reasons I like to read. Perhaps my writings will:

a) begin a compelling conversation or,
b) make someone happy by relating a foible or,
c) incite people to think about something I believe is important, or
d) expand someone’s vocabulary by using words such as verisimilitude. (You won’t find that word in any of my blogs or books, btw.)

I have not become a rich nor famous writer. But I’m grateful to have a hobby which challenges my mind and allows me to be creative. Everyone should have at least one such outlet. If it's your job, awesome. But if it's not, find something else. Maybe you aspire to be a great golfer, but you avoid the golf course because you have no idea how to keep your ball on the fairway. I say embrace the sandpits and focus on the nice chip shots.

Thanks to each of you for being loyal readers. In appreciation, I'd like to offer you a free copy of Goodbye Def Leppard (I'll Miss Those Jeans). Just respond to this post and I'll line you up. This deal is good until the 4th of July.

Peace and Love.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

One Moment

This week my son graduated from 8th grade. In many parts of the world this might not be a big deal, but our community is adoringly focused on celebrating our kids’ milestones. Not only do we love our kids, but we can’t help but dote. As a matter of fact, I would argue our high school graduation parties tend to rival weddings. Not that I don't feed right into this. Certainly the love we shower among the village kids will create good juju when sending them off into the world. It’s all very good energy. 

Unless, maybe, it isn’t.

My son had already gone off with friends as hubby and I left the 8th grade graduation reception. My feelings of pride and joy quickly dissipated when I noticed a lone 8th grader sitting on the bench, waiting for the bus. He was politely sifting through his folder of accomplishments. He wasn’t dressed up as many were that day, wearing the typical uniform of a 14-year-old boy: sweatshirt and jeans. My first assumption was that his parents couldn’t make it—understandable since the event took place at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Monday. But the thought of a boy not having anyone there to support him or give him a hug made me instantly and utterly sad. The auditorium, you see, had been flooded with parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends.

So what did I do?

Nothing. I did not walk over to wish congratulations.  I didn't shout out good luck in high school. I didn't even tell him to have a nice summer. What prevented me from reaching out with a gesture of kindness? I’m not sure, except perhaps I didn’t want to seem creepy. But I have relived it, over and over in my head.

The point of this blog is perhaps a confession for my lack of action. And perhaps it’s a call to be on guard. If you have a chance to perform any small act of good will, don’t hesitate. The kid might have been perfectly content and ready to celebrate with his family and other friends that night. But he might’ve been lonely and feeling isolated. The next time I jump in my time traveler, I’ll offer him warm wishes. In the meantime, I’ll continue to pray for him–and for all people to show more love. 

Congrats to Cole–and every single kid to cross the stage. Any stage.