More than once last month, I glanced up at the calendar and laughed. October. Was. Ridiculous. A month full of travel, book selling, reading, teaching, speaking, and well, yeah, a little bit of writing.
So harried are these days of making a go as a writer while doing my part to raise two boys that I often feel like a hero-wannabe with each foot firmly planted on a separate iceberg. One iceberg moves an inch, and I have to readjust my balance. And it’s a constant readjusting.
In her book, A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L’Engle writes something like this: “Motherhood comes first. Writing comes first. BUMP.
I have to laugh when I set my alarm for 5, intending to 1) read my Bible; 2) write in my journal; 3) catch up on social media; 4) go for a short run; 5)shower; 6) be dressed, armed, and ready for the day by the time the boys wake up to the world.
I’m lucky to get past #1, skip #s 2, 3, and 4, and slide into #5 just as the baby is starting to stir. On the blessed days when I do get to indulge in the quiet space of word-making, the writing doesn’t always come easily. But having a span of time before me to at least focus on it is half the battle, I know.
And when it comes right down to it, I know I hold one of the best blessings I could ever hope for. Striving daily to excel at two fierce loves? The work is hard, but the rewards, over and over, are rich. My mom, a judge, likes to tell people, “Whatever you are, be a good one.”
I hope when my time on this earth is done, I will have left two legacies that somehow combine into one: She was a good mother. She was a good writer.
1) Traveling to Wyoming to spend a few days with family
2) Surviving my 14-month-old son’s first airplane ride
3) The kindness of strangers (and one in particular, whom you will read about in a forthcoming post) surrounding said airplane ride
4) Discussing the importance and value of creative nonfiction with a class of college students
5) Attending my oldest son’s first parent teacher conferences
6) Throwing two birthday bashes for that oldest son: one in Wyoming, and one in Kansas
7) Working closely with editing clients who are serious about their work
8) Sitting next to a literary award winner at a book selling event, buying her book, and talking to her about her work
9) Attending a two-day writer’s conference
11) Digging out the fall recipes: apple harvest bake, apple-stuffed chicken, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins …
12) Pointing out the fiery changing leaves to my 4-year-old and explaining to him what “fall” is
13) Listening live in conversation and seeing in person best-selling novelist Nicolas Sparks
14) Learning that I will have a second essay published in an upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul book (you can pre-order a copy here!)
15) Being assigned an in-depth article for a trade magazine on a topic I am interested in learning more about
16) Leaning on reinforcements; falling into the arms of my mother-in-law and her tremendous help with the boys
18) Marveling at my four-year-old’s Halloween artwork
19) Selling my books and talking about the value of sharing our life stories at a local craft fair
20) Meeting a visionary woman who plans to open a home for young unwed mothers in Kansas City next year
21) Collaborating with a musician friend to write the history behind some well loved Christmas carols for a special performance she’s putting together
22) Cutting, painting, fitting … using my super-creative genius (NOT!) to make a Ninja turtle shell for a certain little boy’s Halloween costume
23) Garnering my first publication in a literary magazine – my essay, “Fish Fry at Uncle John’s,” from my book, Tough Love: A Wyoming Childhood, was published in Sport Literate.
24) Spending some quality time with family and friends in Minnesota
25) Enjoying a bit of one-on-one time with my mom (though not enough time!)
27) Connecting with my college professors who are so dear to me
28) Smearing face paint on my 14-month-old
29) Watching my husband’s genius at work in fashioning a “Baby Zombie” costume (He rocked it.)
30) Cheering on my husband as he ran the Kansas City Half Marathon
31) Receiving a signed copy of young author Zoe Griffin’s book in the mail. Zoe approached me over the summer, seeking some editing and publishing advice. She’s 9, and she is amazing.
So? How about you? Share your October highlights in the comments below.