My friend Kimi said something sweet when she read my last post: “Even when you’re complaining about stuff… I am still intrigued to read whatever it is you write.” While I took it as a compliment, it also made me realize that most of that last post was complaining. So now I’d like to take a minute to pay tribute to the good things in my life.
My husband: All of us love our significant other, but how many of us can say that he or she is our best friend? Bob puts up with my ramblings, has long conversations with me regarding philosophy, politics, and spirituality, and shares my wacky sense of humor. Most importantly, he is an active participant in my writing goals. He lets me read my chapters out loud to him then offers feedback. He proof-reads things he’s already heard or read several times. He takes all my submissions to the post office for me because he understands that taking that final step is one of the most stressful parts of the process. He’s an open-minded, laid back guy who rarely gets angry and always apologizes when he messes up. I’m not trying to make him out as perfect. Like most guys, he’ll use the countertop as a trash receptacle even when there’s a perfectly good garbage can within equal distance. But when it comes to the important things, he’s got it going on.
My job: By fall I will be ready to hang up my hoe, but that doesn’t mean I don’t truly enjoy working in landscaping. Sure, I have to put up with the rain and cold (I HATE being cold) but the plus side is that while everyone else is stuck indoors when it’s sunny, I get to be outside soaking up the rays. Working for myself is another perk. I have control over my schedule, and I don’t have to put up with the usual workplace bureaucracy. There’s no one breathing down my neck, telling me to cut corners or hurry up. And my customers appreciate the job I do, unlike so many bosses.
Seasons: Right now we Oregonians (and most of Americans, from what I understand) are struggling to shake off a long winter. But what a glorious thing to know that spring will eventually come. Not just once, not just twice, but every year. One of my greatest sources of hope and renewal is that this cycle exists. Just when we’re getting tired of one season, another comes along, and it’s been long enough since the last time we saw it that it feels fresh and new.
My friends: You know who you are. The people who read my writing and offer feedback. The people who remain supportive, no matter how long the submission process takes. Those who offer me a distraction by hanging out, or conversing with me on Facebook. My blogging buddies who remind me that my words are not just disappearing into the void of cyberspace without being read. It makes life so much more interesting and fulfilling when you have encouraging people around you.
My garden: There’s nothing like working outside with plants and the earth to ground you. I love flowers, particularly in really bright colors. Going to nurseries and discovering new plants is one of my favorite activities.
My characters: One of the most rewarding parts of writing for me is getting to know my characters. They’re real people, and that’s why I can’t simply give up on a book. I have to share these characters with the rest of the world, and I don’t care how much work that means. I will re-write as many times as it takes to get a manuscript up to snuff. And if the market isn’t ready for that book at that time, I’ll put it away and wait until it is ready. But I won’t give up.
My cats: There’s nothing like cuddling a cat to help you find your center. When they’re in such a state of bliss that they blow a mouth gasket and drool a river on your jeans, and those big kitty eyes stare up at you with adoration, you know you’re loved. Sure they have attitude. The minute you go after them, they’ll walk behind the TV—the feline equivalent of flipping you the bird—but that’s just part of the charm. If you want total subservience, get a dog. Cats get the respect they deserve because demand to be treated as equals. There’s a lesson there.