Please make up your mind. Winter. Spring. Winter. Pollen. Summer. Spring. Pollen. Winter. Extra thick pollen. Rain. Mud. Blooms. Sleet. Snow. More pollen.
I was talking with a friend on the phone yesterday. She lives in the mountains and was bemoaning the (seemingly) endless winter there. “I mean, I haven’t even seen a single dandelion yet!” She gasped later on in our conversation when she looked out the window and did in fact spy those yellow flowers poking up from the ground.
I love being back here for spring, but the weather of late has me agreeing more with T.S. Eliot than with Chaucer: April can be the cruelest month. There was definitely more cruelty than sweetness about the pouring rain, plunging temperatures, and wind on Saturday, when a few hundred runners, spectators, and volunteers gathered at Umstead State Park for the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run.
Friends and family sheltered by one of the aid stations waiting for their runners to pass by.
The creek flowing under the bridge rose in the pouring rain, covering gravel “islands” and tree stumps that just the day before had poked up over the top of the water. Continue reading →
Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a great start.
Four years ago (how can four years have passed since then?), I shared T.S. Eliot’s beautiful passage about last year’s words and next year’s words. These early January days have me looking back at last year’s writing and anticipating what will become of my work for this year.
In December, right on the heels of NaNoWriMo, I had the opportunity to speak with author John Vonhof about my experiences writing a novel in the month of November. My conversation with him is available now as a podcast on his site: Writers & Authors on Fire. I hope you’ll check it out! And if you’re also a writer, his series is a fantastic resource of encouragement and practical advice for writing and publishing.
One thing I didn’t mention in my conversation with him is the twelve pens I ran out of ink in November.
The fruits of my NaNoWriMo labors: two full notebooks and twelve empty pens
A dear friend of mine sent me a new year’s greeting with wonderful words from T.S. Eliot:
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language/ And next year’s words await another voice. … What we call the beginning is often the end/ And to make an end is to make a beginning.” (from Little Gidding, II and V)
These words resonated with me for so many reasons, not least of which is that I wrote the last words of the last chapter of TheFlourishing Tree book on the last day of 2012 (well, the first draft anyway). They are last year’s words. And now that I’ve made an end, I’m ready to make a new beginning.
There’s still editing to do to the book, and there’s the daunting task of finding an agent and publisher, but I’m excited about other writing projects I’ll begin in the year ahead. These projects have patiently awaited my attention and my voice.
Your end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 may not have as much to do with writing, but I bet there are words involved, nonetheless.
Are there words of hurt or shame or pain that you have carried over into this year from last year? Perhaps a friendship that ended with a hurtful email? Or the sting of being overlooked by your boss for a well-deserved promotion? Or words spoken in anger to a spouse or child that threaten your most precious relationship(s)?
Let me invite you to heed Eliot’s advice: let last year’s words belong to last year’s language and begin to look for a new voice to embrace. A voice that is full of love and healing and soothing. Continue reading →