Delightful in December

Sometime after Mister Man dearly departed, my cousin sent me a Kahlil Gibran quote in which she found great solace. And through those long summer-into-fall months that followed, I found myself drawn to his words, finding solace there, too. And so I asked a friend, the one with mad calligraphy skills, to write me up that quote. For me and–spoiler alert!–the Junior Halls.

And because she’s also charmingly artistic, she added a watercolor background of just about my most favorite place in the world:

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Isn’t that lovely? And so very true, too.

Well, truly, Mister Man drove me crazy. But he did it in the most delightful way. And a month or so ago, I saw that Sasee‘s theme for their December issue was Dazzle and Delight and I began to think of last Christmas and how…well, you can read “Afternoon Delight” for yourself.

(Unless you’ve already read it, seeing as how I posted it on Facebook. In which case, I recommend that you go and listen to some music, your choice. Music is always so very delightful, too. Even In A Gadda Da Vida blaring through the house.)

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Another Writing Challenge (But Cookies!)

2011-09-01 14.32.13I know you’ve probably been very busy writing–and for those of you who met whatever Nano goal you set down, YAY!–but I’ve got one more writing challenge for you.

First, you’ll have to zip over to The Muffin and read all about The Lost Art of Writing. And then, after you’ve yelled a few choice words at me–I’ll leave that selection up to you–you can get busy writing.

Maybe you’ll write a note to one of your kids, telling them how special he or she is. And your kid will be like, “Well, this is weird. And mushy. And yeah, kinda icky.” Your kid will likely make a big show of not caring one whit. But I promise you that same kid will hold on to that note for the rest of his or her life.

Or maybe you’ll send a letter to a friend this holiday season instead of signing a name on a card. And your friend will be like, “Well, this is awkward. I didn’t even send a card and here I have this lovely letter. Now I’m going to have bake cookies for her.”

Not that you sent the lovely letter just so you could get cookies, but hey. It could happen.

And P.S. I just went to the post office this morning and bought a whole bunch of stamps.

And P.P.S. My favorite cookie is anything with pecans in it.

 

 

Today and Thanksgiving

DSCN5786Usually around this time of year, I call on the little gray cells, thinking of all that I’m thankful for, and that’s a good thing. Counting my blessings always cheers me up!

But this year, I had a moment, an epiphany (as you do) and thought that what I’m most thankful for is this day. And that thought called to mind a quote I’ve heard in many different contexts, but the one I like best is attributed to Bill Keane, the cartoonist:

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

It’s taken me lots and lots of years to appreciate the present moment and all the gifts inherent in each and every day. But I think that pretty much sums up what I’m most thankful for this time of year.

And I hope your today is just as nice! (Happy Thanksgiving!)

Those Passionate Self-Publishers

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Books in the wild!

I always have a great time at the writer workshops I co-sponsor. (Well, not me personally. The Southern Breeze region of SCBWI technically is the sponsor. I’m just the smiling face up there, introducing the talented writers and illustrators and agents who come to share their wisdom. The awesome Gwinnett Public Library System is the other generous sponsor.) But the last workshop was especially fun because it was on self-publishing, and writers who go that route are especially passionate.

They have to be, if they hope to find success along that road.

In traditional publishing, you have publicity people behind you, getting your books out there to the public. Some houses do a lot; others do considerably less. Still, they get your book off to the right start so it can land in bookstores and libraries.

But those who go the indie route must start at the beginning of publishing and work very hard to get a book…well, anywhere. So self-publisher types tend to be real go-getters, and I love their enthusiasm. Heck, before the workshop was over, I was seriously considering that route for one of my books that hasn’t been picked up by a traditional publisher yet.

Anyway, during the workshop, talk eventually came around to promotion and getting your book out there. Maybe that’s what inspired me for today’s post at the Muffin, Paying It Forward the Write Way.

I think it’s pretty good advice whether you’re self-published or traditionally published. What do you think? Maybe I’ll have another workshop on your suggestions. (Well, not me personally. Ugh. You know what I mean.)

The “If” Moments

horse-shoe-lucky-western-hoof-70085I came across an article in my paper this morning that brought to mind an old nursery rhyme, a favorite of mine:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The earliest known written version of this rhyme appeared in 1390. 1390! So we’ve understood for a long, long time that our actions have consequences!

If the military had followed through and filed paperwork, if a sheriff had pursued charges of sexual assault, if information had gone to the proper authorities, then a man in Texas might never have been able to purchase weapons and twenty-six people might still be with us today. For want of a paper, a form, a charge…

We often think about that nursery rhyme in terms of how bad things can happen if we’re not careful, not attentive to taking care of the little things. But the smallest of our actions can just as readily have a positive impact.

If a teacher offers to stay after school to help a struggling student, if a cashier spends a few extra minutes to talk to the elderly widower shopping on Senior Discount Day, if you or I take a moment to write an encouraging note to a friend whose work has been rejected once again, then maybe a life will be changed for the better.

For want of a smile, a kind word, a listen…

Yep, our lives are filled with those “if” moments. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make ’em good ones?