Happy Summer

Hello. It was a really busy spring and today I am sinking into the warm breezes of summer. What have I been up to? There were gardens to plant. 

 

 

 

We went on vacation for ten days. Our first big trip in a long time. We camped in the mountains of Virginia,visited family in North Carolina

 

 

 

 

and explored the Luray Caverns.

 

 

 

We met our new grand kids. Literally. Kids!

We are also into our busy season at work with Summer Reading programs. Whoever says that kids aren’t reading sure hasn’t been to our library lately! They are checking books out by the armful which makes me very happy. And more than reading they are also talking about the books they are reading. That is a lot of fun.

I have been doing some writing. Not as much as I should but I’m making progress.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Some for myself and some for work.

Today I am getting caught up in the blog world. I have been seriously lax about that. It’s nice to visit again.

How is your summer going?

My Excuse is Spring

I was on a roll with writing and then spring arrived. With spring comes an energy that I get swept up in. The whole world around me comes to life and I become a part of that.

Even though I have only a tiny piece of this earth to take care of, it takes time and energy. Because this house was new construction I am taking the care of this bit of ground seriously. I feel it’s my job to heal and rebuild my little bit of land.

So I’ve been raking, weeding, mulching and planting. I’m very happy that I planted so many bulbs last fall and am enjoying the crocuses, daffodils and tulips.

I’ve had fun seeing what the anemones would do since I’ve never grown those before. Bulbs are so cheerful in the spring and well worth the effort.

Gardening is also creative. I spend a lot of time trying to decide what to plant and where. It’s fun to think about colors and textures. Gardening is a bit of trying to predict the future; envisioning how plants and flowers will look when they are mature.

There is something about spending time on the ground that is so healing and calming. Stewardship of the land is a two-way street; the land and I take care of each other. Ultimately this is the basis of life here on earth and being able to literally be ‘hands on’ is wonderful.

This post got a little deep, didn’t it?

So back to writing. I have seasons of writing too. Luckily I have a few friends who periodically ask me how my writing is going and that is the gentle nudge I need. Now I am back at it. Thanks to you who keep me going. I appreciate it.

I would write more today but the outdoors is calling!

I hope all of you are enjoying spring or whatever season you are in. Keep creating where ever you are!

Who Do You Write For?

When you are writing, do you think about who you are writing the story for?

And does it vary according to the story? I find that it does for me.

Right now I’m working on a story that has been evolving for a few years. I feel like I am writing it completely for my own enjoyment. When I get it done I’ll be curious to see if I want anyone else to read it and if so, will it resonate for that person? If not, that’s okay because this is a self-indulgent story.

I’ve written other stories that just have to be written and quite frankly, sometimes don’t even feel like they are my words or my kind of story. Those are the ones I like to share and hope they were written for others to enjoy.

I have read that some authors write while thinking of a specific person or a kind of audience that will read the story they are writing. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that except in a very loose way like maybe and age group. I think that would be very intimidating and I’d be afraid that it would interfere with my creativity.

There have been a couple of times when I’ve been influenced by a certain person and a story idea will grow from that. Sometimes I want that person to read it and other times I wouldn’t dare show it to them or let on that it had anything to do with them.

Have you written something that you felt was so strong and said so much only to have someone not get it at all? That can hurt. I had that happen in a class once and the teacher completely missed the point. Luckily a fellow student spoke up defending my story and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realized that it wasn’t the story but the reader. And we have no control over a reader.

That also happened in a writing group but it wasn’t so traumatic because I knew the members of the group well and expected some of them to not get it. I enjoyed the discussion that followed on the different interpretations of my poem. That was a good lesson of not having any control over the reader.

There are various quotes from famous authors saying something to the effect that while you are the author of the story it belongs to you but when you send it out into the world you truly have to let go of it because then it belongs each reader.

That’s why I’m curious as to whether you write with a specific person in mind and if so, do you let that person read it? I would think that would be the ultimate act of bravery in putting your words out there. I think it could be terrifying. It could also be exhilarating.

For the most part, I think that’s why I write for myself. Then, if I’m feeling really brave, I’ll share it. And if the reader gets what I was trying to say, then that is just the best. Isn’t that what all authors dream about? Finding common ground? Feeling that we all share that experience and we aren’t alone?

More Than One Book at a Time

Do you read more than one book at a time? Apparently this is a shocking concept to some people.

I’m always reading more than one book at a time. Plus magazines. I don’t give it much thought or think this is unusual but when it comes up in conversation a lot of people are surprised. Most people say they could never read more than one book at a time and that they would never be able to keep the stories straight.

I like to have options depending on my mood or the time of the day.

Reading nonfiction is very different for me than reading fiction. It’s easier pick up a nonfiction book and put it down because I don’t get as caught up in it like I do fiction. I can read a paragraph or a page or two, put the book down and do something else while I absorb what I just read. I read nonfiction out of curiosity and the desire to learn.

With fiction my goal is to escape. I tend to lose track of time and motivation to get things done so I try not to read it when I need to pay attention to what is going on around me or if I only have short amount of time to read. I get lost in the story and sometimes find it jolting when I have to put the book down and deal with real life.

Variety is important depending on my mood. If a day is going badly it’s wonderful to be able to lose myself in a made up world for a little while. It’s a mini vacation. And that comes in very handy when waiting for something like a doctor’s appointment. It makes the wait easier and keeps me from getting as nervous.

I don’t like to waste time so I always have something handy to read; like during commercials while watching TV. There are so many commercials now that I can get a lot of reading done! I don’t watch a lot of TV but the few shows I do watch are loaded with commercials. I used to be able to watch shows on demand and fast forward through the commercials but can’t seem to do that much anymore. Keeping a book ready passes that time in a good way.

Often I’m reading something for a book group. I don’t want to stop reading any other books so I just add another one. This reading involves taking notes for discussion or making up trivia questions for fun at the group.

Book pile

I like to have something lighter to read before going to sleep at night. I avoid anything really scary or full of graphic violence before drifting off. Those are not the kinds of thoughts I want to have dreams about!

Usually I have at least three books going at a time. Often more.

I know I’m a bit book crazy but wonder if other people do this as much as I do. I’m more surprised when people tell me they never have time to read. I find that amazing!

How about you? Do you read more than one book at a time?

Play Day

I need a play day. Being a grownup is a lot of work and not enough play. As a grownup I find that I don’t make enough time for fun. When this goes on too long and I don’t pay attention then usually I end up getting sick. So really a play day is a good health day.

Today I’m trying to take a play day. I started the day by taking my time which in itself is such a wonderful luxury! I sat and had more than one cup of tea and the one I’m having right now is a delicious specialty blend that I bought at a tea shop. It is cocoa caramel sea salt tea and how can I possibly feel like a responsible adult while sipping on this? I can’t!

While sipping my tea I watched two (two!) episodes of Star Trek, Next Generation instead of the news. Yes, I’m a Trekkie. I have been all of my life. Watching a fun show makes me feel like a kid.

I have discovered that I’m not very good at play days and I have to work at having one which seems ironic. Despite my best intentions, I still have things that I have to get done whether I want to or not. So in keeping with the childlike frame of mind I want to maintain today I am doing a lot of grumbling and whining about having to do my chores. Little by little I am getting things done like laundry and stuff. Ugh.

However, I am determined to play. How? Well the great thing about being a grownup is that I have a lot of options! I can play video games, I can color, I can read, I can write, I can watch a movie; all of which sound fun and best of all none of which I have to do. I think that’s the key. Finding something fun to do, something enjoyable. Doing something that I think about doing a lot and keep telling myself that I will when I have time. And how often does that time come up? Almost never. 

I have been given a lot of coloring books to choose from. Fun!

I have been given a lot of coloring books to choose from. Fun!

So I am making time today. Playing enough to take my mind away from all thoughts about what I should be doing. Forgetting about time for a while. Doing something so enjoyable that I will realize that a few hours have gone by without my noticing.

What do you do when you play? What brings out the carefree kid in you?

Wish me luck! Because I am going to go play before I think of something I should be doing!

Super Bowl Confession

I’m not really a football fan. I know! I can hear your collective gasps of shock! I happen to catch bits and pieces of a game when somebody else has it on the TV during football season. And I hear who is going for the Super Bowl. And I even know which teams are playing this year! (The Falcons and the Patriots) Otherwise, I really don’t care.

However, what I do like about the Super Bowl is how it pulls the country together in a big way. I love how it is so American! I can’t help but get into the excitement. I enjoy seeing people excited about this game and the fun rivalries that happen. (It is a game, people!)

I love the rituals. The flying of the flag, the singing of the National Anthem, the fly-over of the Thunderbirds, the coin toss and the first kick-off and play of the game.

I admit that I look forward to the commercials; the only time I can say that.

I love the half-time show.

I enjoy empathizing with the players knowing that this game is the dream of a lifetime for all of them and trying to imagine how that feels. We get a glimpse of that when they show their excitement when a play goes their way.

I also find it fascinating that there is a primal level to this game. The love of a battle and winning at all costs. The adrenaline you can see in the players’ eyes. This game is a wonderful outlet for those primitive urges.

As far as the entire game goes, I usually listen to it and glance at it when it seems there is a big play happening.

I love that people gather for parties, food and camaraderie.

There is a feeling in the air of fun and patriotism.

So even though I’m not really a big football fan, I do enjoy the Super Bowl.

No matter who wins, I hope all of you enjoy it. Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Adjusting To Old Fashioned Sundays

Around here just about everything is closed on Sundays. I remember everything being closed on Sundays when I was a kid. I think this is a good thing. Having one day a week to focus on what is important in life, revisit your spiritual beliefs, visiting with friends, neighbors and family, or just relaxing seems to be almost a thing of the past.

Not here. It has taken some time to get used to the idea that if I want to run to the store for something, then I have to plan on driving further and it taking longer. And I will have to deal with the traffic and all the other shoppers rushing to get things done before the day is done.

Around here the Amish celebrate Sundays with church and visiting. So driving around is slower. More buggies to pass. Lots more.

But you know what? It’s really nice to be able to slow down, take in the sites you would miss while driving at full speed. Like seeing Amish families all together at one farm, dressed up in their Sunday finest, talking, eating and playing.

I seem to be changing my thinking about the day. Most of the time I stay home. Just knowing that I don’t have to go anywhere and thinking about it being Sunday makes me relax and prioritize in a way I don’t the rest of the week.

Sometimes family or friends visit. Sometimes we go visit them. This is a really nice way to spend the day before the rush of the work week is back.

I think everyone would benefit from this, don’t you?