Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nothing Happens and Nothing Happens and Then Everything Happens ~ Faye Weldon

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that this quote from Faye Weldon shows up on a recurring basis. I love this quote because IT'S SO TRUE!

Right now we are in the Everything Happens phase....

Our house is under contract
And we found a place to rent until spring
When we will get our RV and hit the road
for .... a good while ...
But first the appraisal on the house has to come in all right
And the buyers have to close on the sale of their home
So nothing is a done deal yet
But we are packing our stuff
Because closing is the end of September
Assuming all goes well...
And my book is almost ready
And I just got the date for my book signing in Andover, Mass. (Sat 11/12)
Which is very exciting
And now I have to book my flights
But I'm also really really tired
Because all this is stressful and exciting and stressful
But I'm not complaining
Because it's all good stuff
So I'd be a brat to complain
But I could use a really good nap!

So that's what's up with me...what's up with you?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spark Blogfest Post #3 Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

This is my third, and final, post as part of the SPARK BLOGFEST, and the next question that our host, Christine Tyler (see more info in the box to the left) posed was:

Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

I know there are tons of books that changed my world view, but I'm going to go with the first answer that popped into my head, because that is probably the answer that is most true. The book is Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

I'm actually going to toy with the question a bit and say that this book didn't so much change my world view, as it changed my "view of the world." Does that make sense to anyone but me? What I mean is that it dramatically changed the way I was going through life and the way that I was thinking about things.

At the time I read Simple Abundance, I was in my mid-40's, living in beautfiul East Boothbay, Maine and commuting an hour-plus to work in Portland as an executive for a large company. Although I was well-paid, I constantly viewed my life in terms of what was lacking - mainly lack of time. Lack of time to do anything BUT work, lack of time with my husband, family and friends, lack of time to goof off. Lack of rest. Although I was successful at what I did, I didn't like it at all - it wasn't "me." I wasn't writing, and I knew I should be. I saw everything in terms of what wasn't right with my life.

This book taught me how to change from a "lack" mentality to an "abundance" mentality by focusing on appreciation for all the simple joys of life that are there in abundance for us all each and every day. A clear blue sky, wildflowers by the side of the road, a solitary man clamming during low tide in Wiscasset Harbor, sailboats passing by Ocean Point.

Simple Abundance focuses our attention on being grateful for these small things, for what we do have, and for all the things that actually go right in our day. Keeping a gratitude journal was a huge turning point for me, as it forced me to record my blessings each day. Some days, the main thing to be grateful for is that the day is over, but that's okay. Most days, we can all list at least 10 things for which we are grateful, and some days I challenge myself to get to 100. Once you start, it's not that hard.

Anyway, that's my book - do you have one that changed your world view?

Thanks again to Christine Tyler for hosting the SparkFest - it's been fun, and so nice to meet great people!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SPARKFEST POST #2: What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

This is my second post as part of the SPARK BLOGFEST, and the next question that our host, Christine Tyler (see more info in the box to the left) posed was:

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

My current work in progress is in its infancy. But I can tell you that the story is based on my mother's experiences as a child in England and Wales at the start of World War II. In terms of genre, it will be YA historical fiction.

A few days ago, I would have told you that the book and author(s) that inspired me for this work in process are The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  Their story weaves between present and past to unearth secrets and mysteries surrounding events on the Ilse of Guernsey in the English Channel, while it was occupied by the Germans during WWII. 

But .... then, this past weekend I was inexplicably drawn to re-read Mary Stewart's book, Rose Cottage. It hooked me, and I followed it up with Nine Coaches Waiting and Madam, Will You Talk? I can't seem to stop - The Ivy Tree is next. And I realized that my appreciation for books like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society began long before with Mary Stewart's books.

Stewart weaves historical fiction with a good mystery, and always, a satisfying romance. As I read her stories again, I soaked up the vivid sensory descriptions that make her settings feel like home. And I realized that I had subconsciously been drawn to read her books again because, for my new work in progress, I needed to be transported to 1940's England and to be reminded how it looked, smelled, sounded, tasted and felt. I needed to hear the language of English country folk and see the landscape, their homes and how they dressed.

I hadn't thought of Mary Stewart's books in years, but they have stayed on my shelves always. Her influence has been there waiting for me, and now I know why.

Would love to hear your answers to this question, or if you are also a lover of Mary Stewart!

****Many thanks again to Christine Tyler for hosting this fun and different Blog Fest.****


Monday, August 22, 2011

SPARK BLOGFEST POST

Hello Friends! Over the next few days, I'm participating in the Spark Blogfest, aka SPARKFEST. This is the brainchild of Christine Tyler, whose blog is called, "The Writer Coaster."  Much gratitude to Christine for her great idea.

If you want to participate, you can sign up at: http://www.christinetyler.net/ 

The "Spark" post topic for today is: What book made you realize that you were doomed to be a writer?

As a child, I read everything. I read so much everything that I can't even remember what I read. But the answer to this question is:  The House at Pooh Corner, by A.A. Milne. Now, considering the many more impressive titles I could have thrown out there, like War and Peace or Ulysses, you might wonder, why this book? The answer is: I don't know.

What do I know is that I remember reading this book when I was around eight years old, and having the quite specific thought, I want to write books like this.

Perhaps it was the "In Which ...." chapter titles. Or maybe it was the tiddely-poms. Milne had a rhythm to his words that made his prose poetic. And he elicited feelings of wistfulness that made me long for my childhood, even though I was still in it! Whatever the reason, this was the book that gave me the writer bug.

Would love to hear your answers to the question.....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Standing in the Rain: Words of Wisdom from Writer Arthur Wooten

My dear friend Arthur Wooten's third book, Birthday Pie, is really doing great. He's also revised the play version, and the possibility of a film is still in the works. Arthur has been traditionally published, but he is also now a pioneer in the world of self-publishing, and recently formed his own publishing company, Galaxias Productions.

Carrey Parish interviewed Arthur on Goodreads, and I pulled out the last question and answer to post here because I liked what Arthur said so much. To read the full interview, go to: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/1469967-carey-parrish-reviews-birthday-pie-and-talks-to-arthur-about-the-success

Carrey Parish: "What advice or wisdom can you pass along at this point in your life?"

Arthur Wooten: "I’ve said it before, regarding success with writing, but I find it’s true in life too. Be careful of the dominant thoughts you have running through your brain because they will tend to manifest. The law of the universe doesn’t care if they are positive or negative. So choose wisely. Also, if there’s something you want in life, keep your eyes open. Listen carefully. You have to learn to be lucky. An opportunity may be right in front of you and if you’re not aware of it, it will escape you. It could be seizing the right moment, noticing a great connection, thinking outside of the box. And in order to be struck by lighting (in a good way) you have to stand out in the rain. But you have to be willing to stand out in the rain longer than anyone else. I’ve been poured on. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. "





Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lazy Days

Almost everyone I talk to these days says they feel a bit lazy. I know I do. But I'm not sure if what we feel is lazy or just overwhelmed and helpless to do anything about it. We've had excessive heat, weather calamities and wildfires. We've watched our elected leaders' willingness to lead us to the brink (or past it?) of disaster. We've watched our bank accounts take a roller coaster ride. We've watched the streets of England erupt in senseless violence. It's all a bit too much, and enough to make anyone want to just go lie in a hammock for a month or two.



I've been blogging just once a week and that feels good to me. I don't always have something intelligent to say more often than that anyway! And I'm engaging in writer-mouse activities that are actually productive - checking the final book proofs, setting up my fall blog tour, making to-do lists and checking them twice. I only have control over my own little piece of the world, so it soothes me to attend to it.

This week I also did something that I've never done before. I wrote to some politicians and told them what I thought of all that's happened these past few weeks. As politely as I could, which is to say that there may have occasionally been a bite to my words.

Anyway, I'm sure that this is all the result of Mars and Pluto being up to no good, with some surprises from Uranus thrown in and of course, that darn Mercury always going retrograde. Don't buy anything! Don't sell anything! Don't quit your job, don't take a job, don't get on a plane! Apparently, hammock lounging is actually the only sane and astrologically correct course of action, so I think I'll get back to it ....




Friday, August 5, 2011

Yin, Yang and YadaYadaYada

My last "Leap Before You Look" post was so much fun, I really just want to leave it up forever....

But, here in bloggy land, we must move forward!

Remember when Julia Roberts won the Oscar and then immediately her relationship with Benjamin Bratt went kaput? And then, the same thing pretty much happened to poor Sandra Bullock, only it was like the Julia Roberts situation on steroids.  We call these ups and downs the yin and yang of life - the good offset by the bad, and vice versa.

Is it just me, or does this year seem like the yin and yang are waaaaay more yinny and yangy?  All my friends seem to be having big swings between ups and downs, and I know it's been true for me too. We started the year with the most wonderful, long, relaxing trip to La Paz, Mexico. Yin. Not long after we got home from that, my mother passed away. Big Yang. A few weeks later, I was selected for the jury on a very high profile, very emotional Santa Fe trial. Yang. I solved some mysteries about my mother's life as a young girl in England at the start of WWII, and made some lovely friends across the pond. Yin. We've been trying to sell our house and it just hasn't happened. Yang. But then, my book will be coming out this fall. Big Big Yin.

Every year has its ups and downs. We expect it. It's just that, this year, like the extremes in weather and the extremes in economic conditions, it feels like our lives are also swinging between dramatic extremes.

In yoga, yin and yang refer to different kinds of energy. Yin is passive energy and yang is active energy. There is no judgement that one is good and the other bad, they are simply different. It's hard to look at the sad and upsetting aspects of life as anything but "bad." But, as is often the case, looking at things through my yoga lens helps me put things in perspective. All of life has its purpose, the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens. The in-betweens would be the yadayadayada part, and that's not actually a yoga term :-).

Anybody else feel like they're on the seesaw this year?