Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Write the Wedding Story

The months of planning and anticipating led to the days of last minute busyness , to the hours of final preparation and then to the minutes of frenzied delivery that brought about the emotional and beautiful walk down the aisle. The hours that followed were ripe with laughter, tears, interesting encounters and lots of memories. The two days afterwards held exhaustion, reflection , tension and tears. The tears held the range of everything that family is all about but basically gave voice to love, loyalty and perseverance. Like every good story there are interesting characters, memorable dialogue and raw emotion. There are parts of the story that could benefit from some good editing and there are many different points of views. Overall though it was a story of love. Perhaps my short entry is reflective of how extremely tired I am or maybe it is more a comment on how unnecessary words really are to fully explain how special and wonderful every line of this wedding story is to the ongoing saga that is the story of our family.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Last Snowshoe

I took my last snowshoe yesterday. The snow in the woods is not gone by any means but there are large patches of ground interspersed with the snow patches. It is interesting to see what I have been snowshoeing over for the last two and a half months. I could possibly navigate the bare spots but it is the unpredictability of the snow covered spots that holds the peril. They are soft and can plunge you to the uncertain depths below. There is also the uncertainty of the mud and running water hiding under the snow cover. Yesterday I took a step and both snowshoes went in a mud hole up to the ankles of my boots. So I will wait until the wood road dries up enough for me to walk it in my rubber boots and hang up my snowshoes for the season. Last night about 80 people came out to launch The Memory Chair. I got the book from my publisher about a month ago and let it go out to some family and friends but last night it got it's official send off. My friend and former colleague Ellen Whittaker Brown introduced me . She had declined from reading the book ahead of time as she wanted to prepare her talk without knowing the story. She picked up on the theme of memories from the title and wrote a beautiful essay about packing up her Mom's home and the memories it held and where our memories originate. It was lovely. Ashlie closed the night with a moving tribute and her words mean the world to me. Another highlight of the evening and words I will treasure came from my six year old granddaughter, Emma. She was sitting at the computer in my office when I walked in after getting ready for the launch. She turned and with such excitement said "Oh My God, Monkey you look gorgeous." I was raised to never take the lord's name in vain so my first instinct is to change her OMG to Oh my goodness. That is a bit of a loosing battle these days when that phrase is heard everywhere. I was tempted to censor her statement but in the interest of authenticity and truthfulness those were her exact words and the sentence that will best reflect the wonderful night of my fourth book launch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pre-Launch with Gladys

Who do I want to be when I grow up? I want to be Gladys Titus. Gladys is 92, sharp as a tack and the best story teller I know. She is a journal keeper extraordinaire and is the matriarch of almost 50 descendants. She holds court in a small room in a big house that she used to be the mistress of but gave over to her daughter in law and son some years ago. She has the fabric of almost one hundred years stitched firmly into her memory and is always willing to share a glimpse of it to anyone that asks. She can still keep up with the best of them when conversation gets interesting and she introduced me to skinny dipping. She remembers with clarity what she was wearing and every other little detail of events that happened a lifetime ago. Every time I come away from a talk with Gladys whether it is a five minute conversation or a long visit I am thankful for having had the opportunity to sit with her. Yesterday I took a book to Gladys. I had a cup of tea and a ginger snap and had a pre- launch for the Memory Chair just in case Gladys doesn't get to my launch. Gladys has been at every launch so far and hopes to make this one. I hope she makes many more to come.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sometimes Life Trips You Up

I am going to talk about snowshoeing again. If snow keeps falling which it is this morning and if the snow we have doesn't melt soon I will be snowshoeing for awhile yet, even though April is not thought to be a winter activity month. Yesterday, I noticed the name on my snowshoes Winter Leisure I kind of chuckled thinking that my daily treks into the woods are not always leisurely. Apparently some people have leisure time. Don't get me wrong I love all the activities I fill my days with and would not want to leisurely lie around watching TV . Winter Pleasure would be a better name for my snowshoes because that is what they have provided me every time I strap them on. Yesterday I had a few close calls or close falls. The snow is quite packed and crunchy and every once in awhile the front of the snowshoe catches and almost trips me up. It came to me that that is what life is like. You are going along completely wrapped up in whatever you are doing and all of a sudden Boom, you are flat on your face. Sixteen years ago we took a big fall. Since April 18th , 1999 we have been struggling to get back up and some days it is harder than others .Back up but never the same as before we fell. Never the same again. Lots of other stumbles have come our way. Life trips you up. When you catch yourself and prevent the fall, adrenalin courses through you and your heart beats faster until you level out. The adrenalin that keeps us going are the gifts that we are constantly given. Today I look ahead to the gift Meg's wedding will be for us this month. My two precious granddaughters will throw flowers and stand with their parents as they say their vows. We will be together and celebrate as a family the gift of getting back up.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Input and Output

Ok here we go. April is upon us and we are in the final stretch of the race we have been anticipating. The goal is anniversary, launch , wedding and book tour. I find it all a bit daunting, doable(I hope), but daunting. I returned from a week with the girls. A week of birthday parties, bedtime stories, snuggles and wedding talk. I got back to my wood road yesterday. Snowshoeing was perfect. The snow was crystallized and for the most part you could walk on top and still go anywhere. The woods still provide a getaway where I can fill up. Yesterday I considered the idea of input and output. On my return flight I watched The Hunger Games Mocking Jay Part 1. This would not be my first choice and I probably wouldn't go to the theatre to watch it but the other selections that interested me had already been seen on the way out. Catness Everdean is a great name especially when uttered with contempt by Donald Sutherland. One gem I took from the movie was the wisdom that the only things that drive us in life should be the ones we ourselves are passionate about and our motivation should come from our own sources not those that are forced on us by others. We truly reach our potential when we are true to our own convictions and respond to what really matters. Input and output ; the struggle to keep fueled and to do the stuff that really matters. We sometimes get caught up in the output without making sure we have looked after the input. For me that means filling up on a regular basis. Writing for instance has it's fair share of output. The book tour will require a huge amount . My daily writing is what fills up the reservoir from which I will have to take. It is the same with the energy and resources I will need to pull off the rest of the month's challenges. I expect to have 11 writing days. I expect to have several more snowshoeing days. I must also make sure that my motivations are in order and carefully do it all for the right reasons. So today I take the time to fill up.