Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finding Joy in the Journey Part One

Update: The birthday memory comments are AWESOME! Thanks, you guys! You've all made me feel like 39 isn't such a bad year after all. Keep them coming. Remember, I'll be collecting comments until November 14th for the drawing. And now, on to today's blog.

I'm not sure why it is, but one of the bigger challenges I've had throughout my life is finding joy in the journey. In other words, living in the 'now.' It seems I'm always either so caught up in looking to the future and what's coming up, what could be, what my dreams, and hopes, and visions are, or I'm stuck in the past. Remembering or longing for what was or could have been, I forget to enjoy the moment.

Well, this blog begins my journey of finding joy in the journey, of taking the time to appreciate the moment I have right here, right now, and this small act of blogging about it is also my way of showing gratitude.

So, today, even though I'm sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever . . . oh wait, that's a commercial. Anyway, despite the fact that I am unwell, I took a friend's suggestion and am copying my letter's to mom blog by hand into a beautiful journal someone gave me. I think it was my husband. Though it could have been a friend. Anyway, I copied pages for a couple of hours and stopped and looked and realized that despite all the years of C's in penmanship and hating to write by hand, I've got some pretty nice handwriting nowadays. It was a small moment that put me IN the moment and made me happy. Putting my letters to mom in this lovely journal, in my careful penmanship, lets me create something I not only enjoy doing in the moment, but can enjoy in the future as well. It's a way of putting the past, present, and future all in one neat little book.

And I like that. I like it a lot.

Quote of the Day: "Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark."
Annie Dillard

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Drawing

So, I've got a birthday coming up on November 7th. The last one I'll have before I hit the next decade mark, so I'd kind of like it to be a big deal. This year, instead of a gift, I told my husband I wanted TIME. So, I am taking the last week of our vacation club for this year and going to Park City for a week long writing retreat with a few of my friends. I am VERY excited and plan to come home having written at least HALF of The Armor of Light.

But since not all of you fine folks will be able to attend with me, I'm going to steal an idea from my dear friend Ali and have a drawing here on my blog. Leave a comment on any post between now and November 14th (a week after my birthday) about a favorite memory of or about me, or something good you've seen in me, and on November 14th I will do a drawing or two . . . or three . . . for some of MY favorite things. I'm not sure what those things will be yet, but I'll let you know as the time gets closer. In the meantime, be creative. I know you've got some fun stories out there, happy memories we've shared. Let me hear them. I want to celebrate all the good the last 39 years have brought to my life instead of remember that next year is the big 4-0. Oh, and you can enter as many times as you have memories to share!

And thanks, to all of you, for being such great friends and supporters. May your own birthdays bring you as much joy as I hope this one will for me.

Quote of the Day: "Writers aren't exactly people.... they're a whole bunch of people trying to be one person."
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Blanding Librarian Conference

A few weeks ago I was at the state fair when I used my phone to check my e-mail and found a message from Dan. Dan and I have a mutual friend who lives just up the street, though he lives clear down in Blanding. We are both writers so, the last time he'd been up my way, our friend Kayleen had invited me over for dinner to meet with him. We got along splendidly.

Well, when I got the e-mail from Dan my jaw dropped. He wanted me to come down to Blanding to be the keynote speaker for a Librarian Conference. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Don't you need to be important to do those kinds of things? Granted, I've got a book coming out, but not for another several months. Still, I wasn't stupid enough to pass up an opportunity like this, so I immediately said yes. He asked me to, in essence, give a "pep talk" to the librarians, which I didn't think would be difficult. Libraries and books have had a huge impact on me as both a reader and a writer. I played with the thoughts and ideas for weeks before I finally sat down and wrote the speech in one sitting just a few days before I was to leave.

Part of what I wanted to share was an experience I'd heard Tracy Hickman share at the BYU Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference I went to in June, so I e-mailed Tracy and asked if I could use it. Being the kind gentleman that he is, he of course said yes, and the final piece of my speech was in place. Still, I was nervous. Would the librarians react the way I hoped they would? Or would my first speech be a total flop?

Kayleen and her husband Allan caravaned down to Blanding with me on Thursday and we got there around 8:00 that night. I kept trying to read my speech to get it in my head. I didn't want to have to read the darn thing during my presentation, but I was too nervous to concentrate right then. Finally Friday morning arrived and before I knew it my time had come. I made my way to the podium and all of the nervousness just melted away. I was able to give my speech slowly and concisely and didn't have to read the whole thing. I could feel the energy building in the room. It was awesome. And when I finished I had a round of applause that seemed sincere, but the greatest compliment of all came around lunch time.

A lovely older lady come up to me just before breaking up for classes and, sniffling, said, "you made me cry!"

You just can't get any better than that, and let me tell you why. If you can make someone cry, you just made them feel, and when people feel, they remember.

I wanted all those Librarians to remember that they are the gatekeepers of knowledge and the title they hold is a noble one. I want them to remember that they are special--for they are the wizards of our world.

Quote of the Day "Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book, If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for."
~~Alice Walker~~