Definitely out of the box!…

Launch Nostalgic

Well, I did it! Remember that box I said I was bursting out of…that new project and path I said I was going to embark on in my last post? Well, it’s happened…I am definitely out of the box and into a whole new world. I launched my new website and blog, Imperfect Zen, last Sunday…Earth Day. What’s it about? The tagline is…”Walking through life creatively, joyously, mindfully, imperfectly”…and I think that really sums it up. I won’t say much more here because, quite honestly, I worked really hard to say it well on Imperfect Zen…and I want you to go check it out!

Here’s the official site: www.imperfectzen.com

And if you’re only going to give me one or two clicks to tell you what it’s all about and decide if you’re in or not, I recommend going directly to the post: “The Imperfect Zen Resolution” and/or the About Page.

Many of you already knew about Imperfect Zen because I either told you personally or you saw it announced on my Instagram and Facebook pages. And many of you have already signed up for the Imperfect Zen “New Moon Missive” newsletter and are onboard and have sent me massive love and support. I can’t say thank you enough! You are my tribe and the foundation of Imperfect Zen.

For those of you who only follow me here, I apologize for getting the news to you a week late. One of the many things I learned this week is that it takes a lot of time and effort and hard work to launch a website! I’ve been working my butt off…and loving it.

Meanwhile, there is also some news in the world of fiction writing. I’d like to report the faint pangs of missing, even an excited longing, for my book. I’m not committing to anything one way or another, but perhaps by jumping out of the box and walking down this new path, I’ll actually be more inclined to finish my book than not. The Universe does work in mysterious ways!

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A sign of a good friendship…

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I don’t know precisely how the saying goes or if it is even really a “saying,” but the gist of it is: A sign of a good friendship is that no matter how much time passes between seeing each other you can pick up as if no time has passed at all.

Well, time has in fact passed since the Keys…a small group of would-be writers bonded over creative decisions and discussions and the pursuit of a Master’s Degree…have seen each other. It’s been at least two years since we last sat around that table discussing our writing endeavors, and five years since some of us finished that Master’s Program. And yet, last night it felt like no time had passed at all. We picked up our glasses, our banter, and our critiques with comfort. It was good to be in each others’ company, to be reassured that while some things change…projects, voices, opportunities…some things don’t…intention, interests, camaraderie.

But if we’re on the subject, the question that now presents itself to me is, do I have a good “friendship” with my writing, in all its forms…this blog, “the book,” short stories, new ideas? Time has indeed passed since I’ve given attention to any of it. Will I be able to pick up as if no time has passed at all…?

We shall see…

And what a leap it was!…

…all the way from the New Year to mid-summer! How did that happen…?

Well, I can only describe the first few months in my new position at the college as truly grabbing hold of a moving train and hanging on for dear life. But hang on I did, and manage to scramble aboard and squeeze myself into a rattling car. And it’s still full steam ahead. Then, in February, I turned 40 which called for an impromptu, creative jaunt to my beloved City of Dreaming Spires.

I returned to spend hours in the backyard stripping paint off doors and window trim in anticipation of remodeling my office…at the same time spending precious last days with my feline magician assistants, Copperfield and Houdini, who left me in April and May, and took with them all joy for a time.

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After seventeen years of company on every life step, dream, and scheme, the world within and without was sad and uninspired without them. For a time I didn’t care if the office got finished or the book published or what filled my free time. Thankfully, that part of grief does pass. And though those two are forever in our hearts and missed daily, there is a new addition to the family who has infused it anew with youth and joy. Realizing that we still had love and a home to share…and that a real writer needs a cat companion to write anything worthwhile!…my husband brought this fellow home from the local animal shelter…

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He was introduced to us as a twelve-year-old Licorish, but we now know him as the more-like-four-year-old Oscar.

But in this long leap of time and all that transpired, did I take the “true leap” I wrote about in January…the daily leap into the life and identity of a writer, filled with wonder and writing and inspiration, despite everything else that can get in the way? The short answer is yes…and no. I did…just not as much as I should or could have.

When I was in Oxford I spent five blissful days researching an exciting new treasure hunt of a story…I just haven’t made much progress on the actual writing of it. And I have been wrestling with and pondering important revisions to Shadow of a Woman, with good results, making it a stronger manuscript…but I haven’t yet resubmitted to agents. And I made it to a Sisters-in-Crime meeting…but only one. Still, here I am, having leaped, stumbled, had a bit of a rough landing, but brushed myself off and am ready to go.

And that’s the reality of leaps, I suppose…

 

The true leap…

After ten days of glorious winter sunshine, the rains have returned. And after ten days of luxurious winter break, I must return to the real world and a new position! Somehow, despite the moments of anxiety and trepidation that have punctuated my vacation whenever I considered the leap I’m taking, quite unexpectedly, today I find myself ready for the challenge. In fact, I’m even preparing…

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But preparations are not just about getting my notes and supplies in order, or cleaning out my bag and doing laundry…it’s also about putting things in perspective.

Meaning…no matter how I earn my keep, no matter how good I may be at my day job, no matter where my car takes me to and from Monday thru Friday…I am a writer and so “success” must be defined as something more than just fulfilling a job description and passing probation. It is being inspired throughout the day, taking the time to jot ideas down, even daydreaming a bit; having energy in the evenings for writing and revising and scheming; and keeping weekends free for adventures, my whiteboard, and research.

The true leap I’m taking…and must take every day, as fearlessly as possible…is being a writer first.

Fog…mourning doves…2017…

I awoke this morning to find the house enshrouded in mist. It was as if, while I slept, the fog which has so befuddled my creative senses these past six months seeped from my head with each sleeping snore, then out through the cracks of this drafty house, leaving my mind clear for the new year. It seemed almost too good to be true! But as I made my first cup of coffee, I noted a single mourning dove…symbol of female fertility and procreation…perched on the bare branches of the tree outside the window and I knew I was finally returning to my creative self!

So often people start the New Year by giving up things they love…drinking, smoking, perceived bad behavior. No pun intended, but I gave up that practice long ago! For me the New Year…this one more than ever…is about taking back. This year I vow to take back my creative courage, joy, and energy…and return to the path from which I strayed sometime last year, the end of which was particularly rough on my creativity.

Now the fog has burned off and the mourning dove departed, but I’ve captured their messages in my heart, which is excited, joyful, and inspired on this first day of 2017!

 

 

Welcome! Cocktail?…

 

Welcome

A new blog…and a proper writer’s website! *sound of cork popping*

Welcome to my new home. Apologies for the mess…I’m still settling in. Sorry…do you mind taking your shoes off? Thanks. Now, grab a champagne cocktail and curl up on the sofa…just scoot the kitties out of the way…and let me tell you what I’ve been up to!

If you followed my blog, Living as a writer for 365, then you already know I spent the last couple years working on my first novel, the first Penzey Brighton mystery. What you wouldn’t know if you hadn’t visited is that after multiple revisions and much agonizing the book is ready for submission! Which means, it’s time to find an agent!

Yesterday I participated in my first #mswl Twitter event…when agents and editors share their manuscript wish lists while writers frantically take notes, drink cappuccinos, and scroll through tweets. There was amazing energy and enthusiasm, and Jessica Sinsheimer of manuscriptwishlist.com and the Sarah Jane Freyman Literary Agency was an absolute gorgeous hostess. I never thought Twitter could be so much fun, and came away with a legal sheet full of agent names and wishes I want to make come true!

And today is the first of July…the first day of a four-day weekend…the first day of the second half of the year. In other words, a good day to say good-bye to the old ship, as my old blog was affectionally known, and welcome you all into my new virtual home.

So, please, have another cocktail. *big band music plays* Appetizers should be out of the oven any minute, and games will start soon. Let’s celebrate, because tomorrow we get to work!