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…

 

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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.