Tag: writing

When the Past Comes Calling

My mother has been in clean out mode. I’m not sure what spurred her interest of ridding their home of all mementos of my school days…perhaps the fact that I just turned 43 and haven’t been in school under their roof for a quarter of a century. Who knows? Anyway, she’s turned up some gems and I just had to share her most recent find.

These notes were attached to an autobiography I made in fourth grade. It’s funny. I don’t remember this having an impact on me at the time. But some thirty-plus years in the future, as I approach the release of my debut novel, Inherent Truth, it seems clear. A teacher’s words can be prophetic. Maybe I should’ve listened sooner!

Snow Day Satisfaction

In the life of this teacher, there are few mornings that compare to the moment the trill of my ringtone blasts through the silence of my five AM house to alert me to the impending, yet unexpected, snow day. When I was a child those days were blessings from above, a chance to spend extended time in my jammies and play with neighborhood friends in the snow. Later, they continued to bless my life, giving me an extra day to study for that test I just “knew” I was going to fail, or brush up on my Super Mario Brothers skills.

Today, these unexpected blessings continue to be the bright spots in an otherwise dreary, grey, Ohio winter. This morning, when the call came in, I was four chapters into the revision of my newest manuscript. Instead of having to call it quits for the day, I was given the opportunity to continue my work, stay in my jammies, drink another cup of coffee that didn’t need to be transported in a travel mug, and make cinnamon rolls for my daughter.

Now, as it approaches the time I’d be returning from school, I have nothing but gratitude for these days and this career that provides them. Teaching is hard – emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. These days help me not only accomplish more toward my career as an author, but to downshift from the daily rigor. To remember who I am and why I do what I do. And, no, I’m not talking about the summers “off” and snow days. I’m talking about inspiring my students to be the best humans they can possibly be. To strive for more than the status quo, and to know deep in their souls, that anything is possible.

I hope if you were able to enjoy a snow day today, that you took a moment to recharge, revitalize, and reinvigorate what lights your soul on fire. For me, it was writing, meditation, yoga, a music-filled afternoon shower, and time spent with Jillian. Up next is creating a vision board. If you’re rolling your eyes right now, just remember, we have unlimited potential, my friends. Create. Inspire. Delight in what sets your soul ablaze. You have no one to answer to but yourself. And don’t forget to take a moment to bask in the magic that is a snow day (even though this is Ohio, and it’s already raining…again…).

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


My Muse Has ADD…

If you know any writers or have spent time listening to their conversations, I’m sure you’ve heard reference to the term “muse.” In my mind, the muse is that little voice, the imagination if you will, behind the plot lines and characters that come through on the pages of the writer’s creation. Lately, my muse has exhibited the signs of a very serious problem. My muse has ADD.

Short of providing an imaginary dosage of Ritalin, I’m at a loss for what to do. The project I’m working on is the second book in a series and I’ve got TONS of ideas. Too many, perhaps. I’ve been working on this particular novel for the past few months and have written well over 200 pages in total. Unfortunately, those 200 pages are spread across seven different Word documents and take my characters in seven different directions.

I’ll be tapping along on my laptop for days on end following one storyline, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, my muse jumps up on my shoulder and screams, “Yeah, just kidding, I think that character should do __________ instead!”

Like a mother with an ornery child, the first few times didn’t bother me so much, I thought it was cute. A mark of my great imaginative prowess, even. Look at all these great ideas I have. Now, I’m done with that. My ornery child of a muse is not so cute anymore.

So, what should I do?

I’ve tried writing through it. Going on in the direction I started, but I realized pretty quickly that when you shun your muse, your muse sticks her tongue out at you from behind a tree and hides.

Hmm… So here I sit, writing a blog post instead of working on my novel because my muse is having a field day with my creative process.

Where’s that bottle of Ritalin??

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A Walk Down Memory Lane

One morning, many years ago, a little red-haired girl stood at the top of a flight of stairs, rubbing her eyes and yawning the remnants of sleep away. Her stuffed turtle was clutched in her little fist as she descended the stairs toward the scent of freshly fried bacon and homemade pancakes. That little girl was me, of course, and this morning I was transported back to those days thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Growing up, I spent a good deal of time at my grandparents’ farm. The century old structure somehow soaked up all those memories, holding them tight within her walls through the years, and today they came spilling out. Ten years ago, Doug and I sold our home in Columbus after agreeing to purchase “the farm” (as we lovingly called it) from my aunt. Unfortunately, the best laid plans do not always work out, and such was the case with the farm. Instead, we were left to quickly find a replacement home and ended up where we live today. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if the transaction had worked out. Those walls that saw so many Christmas gatherings, the floors that withstood the frolicking of rambunctious cousins, and the yard that provided endless hours of sun-drenched entertainment would stay in the family. I often regret that we couldn’t make that happen.

This morning I drove down a familiar long gravel driveway. Under the guise of a garage sale, I was prying into the lives of the couple who now lived within those memory-filled walls. The closer I got to the house, the more solid the lump in my throat became. What would I find? Would this couple have any interest in sharing a walk down memory lane for people they’d never met? Thankfully, they did.

These amazing people have lovingly returned my grandparents’ old farmhouse back into a well-loved home. As I ventured inside, I was struck by the care they’d taken. Flowers bloomed across the yard and along the walk. The kitchen, where I’d eaten more silver-dollar pancakes than a child ever should, was in its glory. An apron front sink spoke of an era gone by, and each furnishing seemed specially chosen to accent the age of the home. I was enthralled, and frankly, leaving was hard.

But as I drove away, I realized something. These wonderful people are perfect caretakers for the farm. I’d been afraid the new residents would somehow strip those memories away, but instead, they’ve managed to magnify them. I can still see that little red-haired girl at the top of the stairs, with turtle in hand, waiting to join her Grandmother and Grandaddy around a worn kitchen table.

Deep down I will always bear a seed of regret, and perhaps, when the time is right, I’ll have the opportunity to make it right. But in the meantime, I can rest easy, knowing that through the kindness of strangers, I got one more walk down memory lane.