The first signs of spring, the daffodils are now blooming in my yard. I’m seeing the buds of the rhododendrons grow larger as they prepare to splash their multiple pinks and purples and whites sometime in April and May. My heart loves spring and searches for a return to truth, beauty and even a memory of innocence. Old bulbs sprout glorious new flowers, shouting “I’m alive! I’m still alive!” as if to remind me the darkest nights of winter did not keep them down; and I, too, have come out of that tunnel of darkness that seemed to last longer than usual. This body seemed to age a decade over the past year as it curled tighter and tighter into itself, attempting to not become overwhelmed by a multitude of psychological and physical challenges. My body and my mind is now begging to stretch and re-learn how to walk, jump, and dance again with joy and passion.
The hum of my neighbor’s activity as she builds a fence between our yards, to define her garden from ours, reminds me of the kind of push and pull we all have for community and privacy–for mutual support but to still be recognized for personal creation. In spring my mind is busy processing with logic and reasoning, while also realizing it was intuition and insight that got me through this past year–along with the process of trial and error, research and discovery, sorting opinions from facts.
When the new year began this January, I didn’t undertake the usual tasks I do to prepare for the year. It was as if the old year wouldn’t let go no matter how hard I tried. Even when the calendar turned my husband and I did not do the usual celebration, watch fireworks, or click a glass of beer. We were still on edge and carried that old year in with us. But now, in spring, I feel the pressure to let go of the past and sprout once again. I have a renewed energy to get things in order, to design new systems, to set goals and to remind myself of the ideals I hold dear and will carry throughout this year.
It is a time for mending what has been torn apart during the cruel fall and winter. It is a time to test the resiliency of my mind. Though my heart wants to fling open the doors of creativity and loosen the flowers within me struggling to break ground, I am cautious…fearful that the riotous bursts of color and opportunity will blind me.
This segment from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland sum up my feelings at this moment–a moment of looking forward with hope yet still how I’ve changed and what more changing I want to undertake. I am once again asking, “Who am I…now?”
“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
That was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar, sternly. “Explain yourself!”
“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir,” said Alice, “because I’m not myself, you see.”
“I don’t see,” said the Caterpillar.
I made it through the changes of the past year. I wasn’t always curled into a ball in the corner of my bed. It just feels like I did nothing because I did not put out a book for the first time in nearly 15 years. I did expand my author services business. Over the past eight years, I had cut back on teaching author workshops and limited my business to just eight to ten small clients needing occasional (three or four times a year) concierge services. I was so focused on writing, I didn’t want to grow that business. But finances this past year indictated I needed a second income stream as writing was too volatile. Also, I’m not sure I want to put out the same effort of doing three or four books every year. I don’t want my entire life to be defined by my books.
In the process of expanding the author services business, I was reminded how much I love to teach and how much I’d missed it when I was spending most waking hours writing another book. Also, my consulting service allows me to tackle interesting and often difficult problems. No two careers are alike and it is interesting to help an author find what type of writing career is the one that fits them best and how they will invest in it over time. So, now I have two businesses to run instead of one and, after six months, I’m almost to the point that I have a plan to balance them equally.
I also started a podcast: Dust Jackets: Conversations with Authors. Though it’s just getting started, I’m excited about the people I’ve interviewed and those I’m scheduling. It brings me joy to see so many people still creating and with plans to do more.
During this past year of being locked in our homes, not having book signings or in-person writing conferences, I easily slipped into hermit mode–my natural introverted self didn’t find being alone that horrible. Yet, I did miss hearing (not reading but hearing) what other authors were creating. I missed writing retreats with my author friends. Even though we spend most of our time writing, we do gather to talk over dinner and cheer each other on. If the timing is right, I can usually find someone to walk the beach with me for an hour each day. Mostly, I miss the camaraderie of sharing hugs, support, and understanding among authors who did the work every day–alone. Zoom is a great connector but not as good as a hug or the simple presence of another writer in the room tapping on their keyboard as the next scene begins to bloom.
As to my own writing beyond blogs and commentary, I’m going to write one new book in each of two series: Two Voices for the Sweetwater Canyon romantic women’s fiction, and Singularity for the Cryoborn Gifts Science Fiction series. I’m still debating whether I’m ready to return to the suspense/thriller series in Shadow Finders. They are more dark, and I’m not sure if my brain can go back there yet.
Something new I’m definitely pursuing is writing middle grade chapter books. I’m still working out the characters, backgrounds, and themes but I’m getting closer. The first of our five grandchildren is now starting to read chapter books and it has reminded me what a critical time that is in a readers life. I know that is when I became a bookworm and couldn’t devour them quick enough. I want to write stories that are exciting, fun, and have themes that I want to use to help them think about making good choices, having good relationships with friends and family, and start them down the path of creative thinking in leading a joyful life.
By summer, like the flowers in my garden, I’m hoping my body and mind will be back in full bloom by then; and the fears of the past year a distant but important reminder of what’s at stake. I now can focus on the hard work ahead the promise of continued creation.
How about you? Is spring drawing you out of the past and pushing you into the future? What are you looking forward to reading? Writing? Doing?Lets Connect!. Follow me on your favorite social media sites