What I Really Cannot Do Is Write

TheMuffinHeaderUm…it’s August. AUGUST, y’all.

When last we met, it was June and I was walking my way to better. Which I’m still doing. What I’m not doing is writing.

I think my feelings about writing can best be summed up in the song, Sing! from the musical, A Chorus Line. Except where the character says “sing” please insert “write.” (Because ironically, I can sing.)

Lest you surmise that I’ve become a complete slug, I have been doing things.

I’ve done lots and lots of thinking. Mostly on the back deck, whilst taking in some vitamin D and slurping on a frozen concoction. You can read what I’ve been thinking about in “New Thinking About Old Goals”over at the Muffin.

I’ve been reading lots and lots, too. I’ve read the complete series of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith and I’ve learned SO much about Botswana! But I’ve learned other interesting stuff, too, reading sites like Bored Panda. And of course, I’ve read my email, at least the personal ones. And that’s been interesting and informative, too. (You can see for yourself in “What a Writer Wants from a Professional Critique,” also over at the Muffin.)

And painting! Holy Bright White, so much painting! It’s been kind of inspirational, actually, and you can see what I mean at “Writing Tips, Compliments of the Kitchen Painting Project.” Yep, it’s at the Muffin, too.

Last but not least, I’ve been getting ready for Oldest Junior Hall’s wedding. Which has been challenging in the middle of a pandemic but there you have it; one must make the best of things, so we had a Zoom Bridal Shower. And I don’t mean to gloat, but I sort of outdid myself, making a slideshow for the happy couple. So fine, I guess that is gloating, and you can read all about the splendiferous slideshow in “Storybook Story” over at the Muffin.

Um…I suppose you could say technically, I have been writing.

Never mind.

 

Walk Your Way To Better

walkyourwaytobetterI don’t often sign up for a WOW-Women-on-Writing book blog tour. Not because I don’t read much but because I do read so much that’s work-related, whether it’s mentor texts or books on the writing craft or blog posts or newsletters or webinars—whew! It’s all focused, intentional reading and sometimes, it makes my head hurt. So my non-work reading is rest for my weary mind, usually pure entertainment or meditative. Honestly, those books have to earn their place in the limited space of my brain.

Then I saw Walk Your Way to Better by Joyce Shulman and it called to me. And here is what it said, “You’re already walking and you’re all for being better so here’s a book you need to take the time to read.” And so I read and contemplated as I walked; I made some notes, too. But I must confess that I haven’t finished this book yet. And I think Joyce would be fine with that because this is not the kind of book you speed read; this is a book where you read and walk and think and journal. Maybe you skip one of the 99 walks that doesn’t pertain to you or maybe you spend a whole week thinking about one particular topic. Or maybe you don’t walk so much as relax for a few minutes while you’re on the lounge chair on your back deck and getting your vitamin D when a sudden realization from Walk #27 hits you.

The point is, Walk Your Way to Better is an individual experience. For you, it could be a speedy jaunt, while for me, it was—and is—more of a wandering ramble. But I’m far enough through the journey to share a review:

What I enjoy most about Joyce Shulman’s Walk Your Way to Better is her voice; she shares her life experiences, introducing us to her foibles, her ups and downs, and where and what she’s learned along her journey, often learning it the hard way. But despite her hard lessons learned, there’s no whining here. Instead, you’ll find someone who picks herself up, admits her mistakes, and moves on. She’s all about progress, not perfection, and not too preachy, either. And she genuinely wants you to move on to bigger and better, too, so she’s come up with this format:

Each of the walks examines a particular topic to help you be better, whether it’s physically better (she’s a huge proponent of healthy eating, particularly breakfast), emotionally better (she drills down more than once on goals, dreams, and what brings you joy) or intellectually better (decision fatigue—it’s a real thing, y’all). These are short, conversational meditations that usually end with an expectation of an actionable response from the reader.

Not every topic will resonate with every reader and some of the topics may be all too-familiar. Many of Shulman’s suggestions are already a part of my daily, weekly, or yearly routine. But here’s the thing: I more often than not found a gem that made me think a bit differently, maybe for just a moment or two. But that’s how we change our lives, how we get better, right? It’s usually the little things that make a difference, the small steps we take every day that eventually get us where we want to go.

Just like a daily walk.

 

You can find Walk Your Way to Better on Amazon, and you can find more reviews on Goodreads, too. Plus, you can find Joyce Shulman online here:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/joyceshulman

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH-NR50srbDzKdUBx5BPgQQ

https://twitter.com/joycershulman

https://www.instagram.com/joyce.r.shulman/

https://www.joyceshulman.com/

AND, her book blog tour is still going on! So don’t just take my word about Walk Your Way to Better. Take a look around:

WalkYourWaytoBetter-BlogTour-JoyceShulman

Word of the Day: LOVE

love-scrabble-text-wood-208099When I have a new post over at The Muffin, I usually throw something up here, too, directing readers to the post while updating y’all on doings in my neck of the woods. Sometimes, I can tie in both of my worlds in a pretty brilliant (not to mention hilarious) way; other times, not so much.

Today is a not so much time. So if you’re here just for writing stuff, then zip right over to “Look It Up!” where I expound upon fancy words like oxymoron and malapropism. I love words, and as most writers love words, too, I think you’ll…well, love it. And then if you want to come back for something sort of different, that’ll be nice, too. But if you’d rather not, I’ll understand and see you next time.

So there is much going on in the world today, hundreds of miles from me and just down the road. And by the end of last week, I was overwhelmed almost to the point of despair. I decided that I was not going to read the paper Friday morning; I could not start one more day with bad news.

I have a chair in my kitchen where I keep my bird guide book (apparently I cannot go a single post without mentioning the b-word) and the wonderfully uplifting Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters. I reached over to read a poem or two and I saw a Georgia Bulletin, the newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. It was from April,  which is a bit odd because I read my Bulletin when it comes. And I almost discarded it when an article on the front page caught my eye: “Jesus gives strength to face the unexpected, pope says.”

I knew it had to be addressing the pandemic but I began to read it anyway. And it was about Covid-19, though no c-word was ever mentioned. What Junno Arocho Esteves reported on was the Pope’s preaching on Luke’s Gospel reading of Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Honestly, I’ve always found this story very odd so I was all in, thinking at last the Pope is going to explain it all to me.

And he did, too. Here is what Pope Francis said about the disciples’ encounter and how it is the same that all Christians must follow to experience joy:

“These are the three steps that we can also take in our homes: First, to open our hearts to Jesus, to entrust Him with our burdens, hardships, disappointments in life. Second, to listen to Jesus, to take the Gospel, to read this passage from chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel; and third, pray to Jesus with the same words of those disciples, ‘Lord, stay with us.’ Lord, stay with me; Lord, stay with all of us because we need you so we can find the way.”

We need you so we can find the way. I needed that reminder and I’m sure the Lord directed me to the Bulletin just so I’d read that article. (As I continued to read, I recognized several of the other articles and I’d say that I don’t know why I didn’t recycle that issue of the Bulletin but of course I do know that the Lord knew I’d need those words weeks later.)

I still struggle with what’s going on in the world far from me and in my neck of the woods. But I know that with God’s help, we’ll find the way to justice, to peace, to joy, to equality, to a better world for all. I’m pretty sure it starts with the l-word.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love. It’s that easy and that hard.