From Fear to Finished

I happened to find a rough draft of a blog topic from early 2013 that I never got around to posting. It was about fear. Fear that I would not be able to write the sequel to The Magician’s Doll. To read it now is a bit of an eye-opener. I figured it’s as good a time as any to finish the post and put it up. So, from 2013, here it is:

Fear – oh, it’s there all right.

It hit me recently. I have another novel to write after The Magician’s Doll, and I found that even though I have ideas for it in my head, I wasn’t sure how to make them fall onto the page. Sorting them out suddenly seemed like a task so impossible, I froze. And once I froze, it all hit the fan.

I am in HUGE trouble, I thought. I am going to fail! What the heck was I thinking, trying to write a story that was going to require even more story? I wanted to crawl under the covers and huddle in a tight ball.

Yes, fear will shut.you.down.

Fear stuck with me for days. At times I could push it away, but it stood by, waiting for the moment my guard was down to steal over me and remind me that I had nothing.

Darned fear.

I finally started writing my worries down. If I couldn’t write the story, might as well write something, even if it was a jumbled mass of pessimism, right?

One thought stuck out from all the clutter on the page: the story I wanted to tell was there. Maybe it wasn’t clear to me just yet, but it was there. And even though I was terrified, on some level I could feel it.

So the next morning, I let the mind wander.

And suddenly the beginning was clear. And I was excited with the idea. And other ideas started to flow…

Now I find myself in 2015, and the first draft is finished and moving through the process for publishing. It took a while, but who would have thought?

As it turns out, not me in 2013.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” 

~Eleanor Roosevelt

Right Book Right Time

I first came to Ivan Doig’s work when I read The Bartender’s Tale for book club. I loved that story and resolved to read more of his books. Just last month I finished The Whistling Season. At the time I’d been having difficulty finding something I wanted to read. Ever hit that wall before? It’s like craving something to eat, but every food that comes to mind or makes it to the belly just won’t hit the spot. I had checked online for recommendations, sampled all sorts of reads, all to no avail. Finally I went through my TBR pile and found The Whistling Season. Starting it was like settling into comfort food, nourishment for the reading soul. The storytelling is pure and rich, borne of a love of people and place and time, with the actions, the humor, the choices all rooted in warm observation. It was the perfect book at the perfect time and it cemented Ivan Doig as one of my all-time favorite authors. To hear of his passing hits hard; I’m so sad there won’t be more writing from him. I can’t wait to dig into his other works, but I also think I’ll save them for those times when it feels like a craving won’t be satisfied.

Forgot to Mention… Additional Availability

I’ve mentioned before that The Magician’s Doll is widely available through most retailers, but I forgot to mention that, in addition, the book is also available through Scribd and Oyster. So if you have a subscription to their services, you can catch the novel through those outlets as well! If you like borrowing ebooks from your library, you can put in a special request to your library to access it through OverDrive. If you prefer paperback, you can also put in a request to your library to order the book for its shelves. Again, I’ve tried to make the book as accessible as possible as I feel it’s an enjoyable tale for kids and kids-at-heart to enjoy! And, as always, if you get a chance to read the story, please do consider leaving a review. 🙂

Little Things Thursdays Mini Grocery Carts!

I’ve noticed that more and more groceries have been offering mini grocery carts like this one:

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There are times when this little thing makes my day, like when I don’t want to lug a grocery basket around, or I have too much to carry but not enough to fill the large carts. I love being able to maneuver and zip through the aisles, and some of the newer ones wheel like they’re on rails! If I shop while hungry, it limits what I can load from the bakery/chips/ice cream aisles, and when I really wish I didn’t have to make a grocery run, it makes me feel like I can at least get in and out fast. I have to admit, I have some(most)times chosen where to shop based on whether these carts are available.

What can I say…sometimes it’s the little things!

And just like that, fall is here!

“The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.”

~Emily Dickinson~
Nature XXVII, Autumn.

Dogs Just Know

When I visit my folks’, I sometimes let their dog up on my bed. I usually grumble about the fact that their dog is one of those types that yips all the time, but in reality he is the sweetest dog–not a mean bone in his body–and a glutton for affection. Although I suspect he enjoys having the option to come up on the bed, he doesn’t seem to like staying there, preferring instead to climb down after a few minutes and rarely climbing back up unless I call for him (again, he’s a sweetie!).

The other day I had dozed off and fallen into a nightmare, one of those vivid ones that feels like an all-too-real movie. This one was a horror film, the kind with monsters, and in it my neighbors and I were about to be swarmed. The tension had been building, and this was not one of those dreams where you know you’re dreaming. I was completely immersed.

Just as the worst was about to happen, I heard a dog whimpering, right beside me. All of a sudden the nightmare fell away and I was floating up through layers of consciousness, breaking through the surface to find that my parents’ dog had climbed onto the bed and was trying to get my attention. The second he saw I had come out of the nightmare, he stopped whimpering, climbed down the bed and settled into his favorite spot on the floor. At first I wondered what had upset him; I checked around the house, listened for thunder (he doesn’t like thunder), but there was nothing out of place.

Maybe it’s far-fetched, but I suspect he knew I was in distress, even in a dream, and was trying to make it right for me. I don’t know if I cried out in my sleep or anything like that. I didn’t think I had, but I also think a number of dog lovers out there can attest to the fact that somehow dogs just know. They can be so attuned to the humans in their lives they can read more than we realize and surprise you with it. Whatever might have been going on with me in my sleep, I believe he sensed it and tried to shake me out.

I have to admit, I was a little grouchy at having been shaken out of my dream as I was actually curious as to whether my neighbors and I would have made it out of our tough spot. In the end, though, I’m touched by the idea that my parents’ dog might have tried to help me out of a troubling sleep.

They really are man’s best friend, aren’t they?