The Last Click

I’ve written at least three versions of this post in the last two days.  This version is the short and sweet one.  I’ve decided it’s time to say goodbye to “Waiting for the Click.”

I’ve been struggling to post here for quite some time now.  What I realize is that I want to hold my spiritual journey close to my heart for a while instead of sharing it so publicly.  I want to follow new paths and see where they take me.  I’m working part-time now and I’ve added another volunteer gig (Girl Scout troop leader) to my agenda.  I’m also determined to make headway with my novel this year.

This was a magical place for me for a long time but now it is definitely time to move on.  I’m not going to delete the blog, as there is lots here in the archives to explore, but if I choose to blog again it will happen in a new space.  When I create a new website-whether for blogging or my fiction-I will post the address here so keep your subscription if you have one so you’ll get the news.  If you want to stay connected with me, please add me on FB!  The Facebook page shown here was created to share my writing life with readers, online friends, and fellow writers!

Thank you for your support over the years!

CLICK

An OP Post I Wrote About Amy

My best friend Amy died in October of 2009.  July 23rd would have been her 36th birthday.  This post was published on Owning Pink during the summer of 2010 (I believe).

The Reward

Less than nine months ago, I wrote a blog post about death. I’d never lost anyone very close to me. I’d lost grandparents and great aunts and uncles that I didn’t know very well when I was too young to understand. I’d lost my father-in-law and, although I was distraught for a few days, it came more from realizing what my daughters would be missing instead of a personal loss for me. He lived states away and I’d never had much of an opportunity to get to know him either.

So, I wrote about death without knowing death. I wrote that death is life’s greatest reward, that when we die our souls are finally free. It is something we earn after we’ve completed our life goals and experienced the highs and lows of this human existence.

The reality

On October 25, 2009, I met death. I saw a different, more painful side. My best friend of seventeen years died of a ruptured brain aneurism just two days after giving birth to her first two children. The twins were born on Friday, and Amy was sent to the ICU with a diagnosis of pneumonia, where she could only see pictures of her boys. On Saturday night, she cried and told someone she thought she was going to die before she ever held her babies. On Sunday morning, she was gone.

When I lost Amy I lost a sister. I had taken her into my heart in 1993 and she’d had a home there ever since. I was left breathless with the realization that no one stays forever. There is no rhyme or reason to the circle of life. Outer appearances don’t change our vulnerability – when we see a young, healthy, pregnant mother, we think she has a long life ahead of her. We believe that the life or lives inside her assure her a place in this world.  I learned through Amy’s death that it is just not true.

Knowledge equaled fear

When I returned from Amy’s funeral, I was weighed down with the knowledge of that vulnerability. I looked at my own family with new eyes. I realized how precious they were and regretted the times I’d been too busy or preoccupied to gift them with my presence. I also experienced fear and anxiety in a form I’d never quite felt before. My imagination would go to dark places and I’d swim in thoughts of losing those that were dearest to me. I had a new picture of what death looked like. It was real, and it could happen to anyone at any age.

A wake-up call

I struggled with this anxiety for a few months. It peaked one day when I called my husband’s office believing he would be there, and he didn’t answer the phone. I panicked and dialed his cell (which he never uses) and luckily he answered. He’d made an unexpected stop on the way to work which had caused him to be late. I cried when he answered and admitted that I’d been consumed by these fears since Amy’s death.

I like to think that I am the “spiritual” one of the two of us, but once in a while my husband says something that lets me know he’s way ahead of me on the path. This was one of those times. It’s going to sound simple, but for me in that moment it was profound. He said something like, “We do everything we can to assure that we will be healthy and safe. That is all we can do. There is stuff out there that may or may not happen to us. When we know we’ve done the best we can, we just have to let go of the rest. Worrying isn’t going to keep it from happening if it’s meant to.”

The value of connections

After that I stopped obsessing about death and loved ones leaving me. Something just clicked. I still think of Amy every day. The people closest to her still suffer, but they have two precious reminders of her life and love. In October we were awoken to what is valuable to us in this life, at least for a little while. It is through our connections with others that we get to express the love that is within us.

Unblocking…Maybe

I haven’t written anything new here in about two weeks.   I’ve tried a couple of times but have been somewhat blocked.  I’m pretty sure if I had to sit down and start writing the next novel in Lola’s series I’d be able to crank something out, but I haven’t been able to do that with a blog post.  It’s weird how that works for me.  So far, for me, it seems that if one switch is on the other is off or at least turned down low.   Before I started this blog I wrote two novels pretty quickly and easily but once I started blogging the fiction light went out.  Then I blogged like crazy for over a year only to have that light dim when I went back to work on fiction.

I’ve been working on a query letter for the past two weeks.  I have two letters-one that focuses on the plot of the story, the other that focuses on the concept-and I’m going to decide with the help of my writing group which is the best letter and how to make it great.  I’m planning to start sending out these queries at the end of this month.

Other than that, I just wanted to pop on and let those of you who keep up with my blog know I’m still here and writing (even if it’s just letters).  The girls are home for the summer (no camps for us) and it seems that the time is flying by.  I’ve started my new job (academic advising) and we’re trying to stay busy with friends and fun.  I’ll be unplugged next week but will hopefully be able to schedule at least one post for you guys…even if it’s an old Owning Pink post.

Last Year on Owning Pink

It’s been a busy summer so far, not a lot of inspiration this week for blog posts.  I thought I would publish a piece that was up on Owning Pink last year on July 4th.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.  Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is to live everything.  Live the questions.” – Rainer Maria Rike

Today, on Independence Day, I am speaking in front of the congregation at my Unity Church. It will be my first ever public-speaking engagement. I had what I considered a huge spiritual aha about two months ago and decided to make that the theme of my talk. The fact that I am presenting it on the 4th of July is even more appropriate because for me, the experience has been a ticket to freedom.

Seeking Answers

Like most other people, I have been inclined to seek answers as quickly as possible when a question arises. I’ve never liked the unknown. I chose my major in college because I knew, without a doubt, jobs would be available no matter where I lived. I always set attainable goals and could easily answer the questions of how and when I would acheive them.

In recent years some of that has changed. I’ve been willing to dream bigger than ever before but I’ve also been clinging to my own answers. In respect to my writing goals, I’ve collected facts and information and decided there is a standard way of doing things. But as I’ve taken those paths, I’ve been met with disappointment, and my answer has always been to give up and look for a new project.

Wearing Blinders

This brings me to the quote in the beginning of this post. By creating my own answers and deciding there is a certain way of doing things I have boxed myself in. I’ve been walking around with blinders on and missing all sorts of alternatives. I have not been patient with the questions, I’ve been filling in the blanks. As I’m sure there have been paths opening before me that I’ve missed, I’ve also missed a lot of living by spending so much time with my eyes on the future.

Time and time again I read books about staying in the present moment. Living doesn’t happen in the future or the past, it can only happen now. When I was so busy visualizing my future career and future life, I neglected the present. This aha came to me because I realized I had nearly lost two special friends. One of them told me she thought I’d moved on from our friendship. That wasn’t true at all, I’d just been so busy with my “answers” and planning how I’d get there that I stopped being here for the people I love.

Embracing the Unknown

Right now I am doing a book study that incorporates Creative Visualization. I opted not to sit down and visualize my life when the book instructed me to do so. I realize that any answer I could come up with would be so limited. I was with my family in NC the other evening. My father asked me if I planned to return to teaching elementary school. I told him no. With a puzzled look on his face he then said “But what are you going to do?” Everyone looked at me, awaiting my answer. With peace in my heart, I simply said “I don’t know.”

“Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.” -Rainer Maria Rike

In Another World

I’m working on the last stretch of book-editing before I begin the process of querying.  For now, I am optimistic.  I am also in my own sort of writing cave that no one else can see because it’s in my head.

I actually write (on this book)  less than an hour a day, I think about writing this book ALL DAY LONG.  I pretty much live in Lola’s world.  I’m continually trying to get to know her, to figure out how she feels about the major shifts that seem to be happening in her life.   What’s a fifteen-year-old girl to do when her mother sinks into a deep depression and she suspects her father is having an affair, not to mention those crazy flashbacks to the concentration camp?  The plot points are great but what I need her to give me is the FEELINGS.  They’re starting to take shape.  We’re almost there, Lola and me that is.  I’m pretty sure Mark will be relieved when we do get there, so I’ll completely rejoin the Horner clan for a while.

It’s only recently that I get that thing people say about it taking a special person to be married to a writer.  Lola’s been my excuse lately.  Nothing’s wrong, I’m just thinking about the book.  And it’s true!  I can’t stop thinking about the book!  But this is my last big shot at this author thing.  If this doesn’t end up being my break-through novel, I’m not sure there will be one.  It’s hard to put so much of your time and energy into something and find that it goes no where.  I’ve done it 2.5 times before.  I’ve queried agents for my other two novels as well as a book that would have been a compilation of the click stories here on this blog.  I didn’t even get a foot in the door on any of those. This time around it’s just not going to be as easy to shove the book in a drawer and start a new one.

If this novel, working title Summer of Stars, gets published it will hopefully be the first in a trilogy.  I’ve been thinking through the idea for about two years and writing it for about nine months.    I’m very ready to write two more books about Lola and Ian if the publishing world is ready to accept them.  So for the next few weeks I’ll continue to be in another world hoping that I can tell the story well enough to make the leap and earn the title that will make all these months of distraction worth it.

The Class Motto

I’ve shared before that I teach the Uniteens at my church.  Uniteens is typically grades 6-8, but my group right now ranges from (rising) 5-9.  They are great kids and I am so happy in my role as their “teacher.”

A few weeks ago we did a lesson where we were asked to come up with a class motto.  We had to choose three words that answered “who are we?”  And three things that expressed “what are we here to do?”  We brainstormed both topics.

Who are we?

The group of kids present that day narrowed the list down to three words: awesome, insane, and loving.  I felt a little bit resistant.  Why insane?  But, I let them have the freedom to choose on this one without my rational grown-up opinion.  The interesting thing is that after they studied the list for a few minutes one boy suggested we change the order and phrasing of the words to Insanely Awesome at Loving.  Quickly everyone agreed.  So the question to who are we became:

We are INSANELY AWESOME at LOVING!

What are we here to do?

We listed a lot of stuff including learn about God, connect with God, meditate, and pray.  But when the kids narrowed down the list, they got rid of all that stuff.  Once again I felt that resistance.  But it’s church, guys.  I didn’t express that out loud.  I gave them the freedom once again.  The three things they all agreed on  were be positive, have fun, and laugh.  And so the goal of our group became:

We are here to BE POSITIVE, HAVE FUN, and LAUGH!

I have come to realize the most important thing I can offer the kids at church is love and a safe place to be themselves.  I will teach them about the God I know  and the spiritual life every week.  They may or may not remember what I teach.  But if we follow the motto and are being positive, having fun, and laughing every week they will always know church to be a joy-filled place.  I am certain that wherever there is love and joy, we are experiencing God and that is much more important than just learning facts about him.

Knock Knock

Who’s there?

Lola and Ian.

No, this isn’t a knock, knock joke (though I tried to make it one), it’s just my main characters knocking on my brain, demanding to be tended to.

I’ve tried to write a post for three days now and can’t put anything together.  I’ve felt that annoying tug from within when I goof off online.  I’ve checked my email and facebook page too often and found very few messages there.  I’ve started reading several books but none of them have peaked my interest enough for me to actually finish them…or finish them quickly.  I sit around in quiet moments wondering what to do next.

Then I find myself daydreaming about Ian and Lola as if they were real people.  They are invading my thoughts more and more and I realize what they are asking me to do.  They want me to get back to work at making them as real to everyone else as they are to me.  They want me to do my best to get them and their story out into the world.

So tomorrow, after we deliver our houseguest to the airport, maybe I’ll give those two sweet kids a little bit of my attention.