Monday, March 13, 2017

Desperate Times Call for Joyful Measures

I've had a few personal and professional setbacks lately: nothing life-threatening, just a series of small heart-hurting personal and professional disappointments.

My new writing group didn't like the time-travel middle-grade book to which I've devoted a good bit of time over the last four years on multiple extensive revisions from the original version of 2013. When pressed to come up with something nice to say about it - anything at all - the best they could do was to congratulate me for being "brave" enough to share such a "rough" draft with them. Ouch!

My brand new book, The Trouble with Babies (book #3 in the Nora Notebooks series), is getting no attention whatsoever, the sad but not atypical fate of a family's third child. I'll post its cover here because I feel so sorry for it.

My house is feeling very small, its 1500 square feet currently occupied by six humans and two animals. Some of the humans and animals get along with each other less well than others. Lately I'm the one who gets along less well with all of them.

I was moping considerably this past weekend, trying to keep from sinking into that "everything in my life is completely hopeless" downward spiral. But then, inveterate planner that I am - ta-dah! - I made a plan! And I love my plan, as I always love my plans.

This plan is to take drastic steps - immediately - to infuse massive, intensive, mega-levels of joy into my life. I have no other choice right now. Joy is no longer an optional extra; it's a sanity-and-happiness preserving requirement.

So I made a list of all kinds of things I can do - pronto - that would bring me joy: joy with my family, joy in my work, and joy just for me.

Here are a few:

1. Bake cookies with my three-year-old granddaughter - ooh! cookies!
2. Do a craft project with this same little person that will involve serious amounts of glitter.
3. Have a picnic lunch with all of them, even if it's only outside on our postage-stamp-sized lawn.

1. Go to the Denver Botanic Gardens this coming Thursday with five other writer friends for a "Write Out" there (this is the same gang who often have write-ins at each other's houses).
2. Take myself on a writing retreat to my favorite bed-and-breakfast in Idaho Springs: Miners Pick.
3. Put a shot of amaretto - occasionally! - in my beloved writing beverage of Swiss Miss hot chocolate.

1. Go to concerts at the university, international film festivals, theater outings, mountain hikes.
2. Read GREAT novels - Dickens, Trollope, Dumas, Hugo - huge books you can inhabit for weeks on end.
3. Stay alert for rock-bottom airfares and fly somewhere else - anywhere else - just for a day.

Desperate times, I've decided, call for joyful measures.

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