bubbles. bubbly bubbles.

cork

I recently completed the manuscript for a book that will be available in the fall of this year. I can’t wait to share more on this later, but in the meantime, I’m basking in a kind of twilight between absolute and immeasurable joy (part accomplishment, part astonishment) and sheer terror.

It’s a good thing I’m not in this alone — I have a kind and generous editor, a supportive and understanding husband and family that’s put up with too many leftovers, and a bunch of friends who have prayed me through tens of thousands of words.

I am one blessed woman. And bubbly, too.

One of those amazing friends showed up with a special bottle of champagne to toast this milestone, and I gotta say this: never has anything tickled my nose and brought tears to my eyes like this surprise. Well, maybe the tears weren’t entirely from the champagne, but let’s be real — it was a right tasty toast. And then some.

I tried to be gentle with the bottle so I could open it without incident, but just as soon as I released the wire cage and positioned the bottle to loosen the cork, it flew off madly, hitting one of the paddles on the ceiling fan and bouncing off the wall. A minor scramble to save the champagne followed: we only spilled a little bit (that we wore behind our ears). And the rest was a delightful evening of sharing, and laughter, and maybe a few more tears. There’s something about champagne, a rare treat, that really tickles my nose.

We drank to the completed manuscript — but there was so much more in the process than just the few months I took to write it. This book has been a long time coming, and not just because I’ve been working at being a writer since I could hold a pencil. Everything has had to reach a certain level of readiness — of maturity. The obvious, of course, is my ability to string words together in a way that makes sense and speaks to others. But there’s been more growth. In my confidence. In my discipline (still a mess there), and in the maturing of my faith, too. It’s all there, wrapped up in a digital file.

It was good to celebrate.

The vintage 2004 champagne matured beautifully. When the grapes from that year were being gathered and prepared, I was in the midst of my own “fields” in my vocations of wife, mother, and teacher. I was scrambling from carpool to after school event, from class to class, and trying to keep my sanity taking care of a household. In the midst of all that chaos, I was scribbling notes and penning poems that were stuffed away in boxes and in the pages of unfinished journals.

Like the champagne, I’d like to think I have matured well, too. Enough to be bubbly about my book. Enough to be bubbly about the projects that may come next — because the real toast that night was for more than the book. I feel like I’ve finally taken this gift that came from God and I can put it to good use, for Him.

That bottle of champagne waited patiently to be uncorked, and then it let loose. I feel the same way.

how to write a book in 5 easy steps

journal1. Come up with a great idea. Congratulate yourself on your brilliance.

2. Write a fantastic first page. Show everybody who loves you. Especially show your mother. Congratulate yourself on your brilliance.

3. Show your work to that friend. You know, the one who has no qualms about telling you when you’re full of shit.

4.Go back to the page and do better. Congratulate yourself on picking your friends well.

5. Write. Write some more. Write again. Forget to do laundry. Eat take out. Generally abandon everything. Remember* to take a shower.

* Remember to thank all the kind people who encouraged you, especially the people who wondered what happened to all the clean underwear and towels, and the people who read mediocre drafts and said do better, and people who never read a word and said you can do it, and people who bought you mojitos and laughed, and the dog, who thinks you’re brilliant, no matter what.

Warmth: another weekly photo challenge

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 10.22.16 PM

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

I’m warm and cozy on this new year’s eve, drinking tea, doing a little writing, sharing the sofa with my honey, whose warmth and coziness can’t be captured in a picture.

speaking of hope, fear, and daring…

nanoThis is what NaNoWriMo looks like around here. You might see the text in the background — but what I’m talking about is the stress eating.

Ice cream.

For when nothing else will do.

I’m not going to lie; that sad little block of Heath Klondike has nothing on this.

What’s your poison?

it’s Tuesday! what’s inspiring you today?

he's a pterodactyl
he’s a pterodactyl

I got out of my car and freaked out a little bit because I had the feeling that my neighbor’s gigantic pine trees were cracking and falling down. Let me tell you how creepy that was — the trees are very tall, and falling branches around here kill people.

I looked up, trying to scan the tree tops for the offending branch getting ready to annihilate me, when I caught sight of the culprit.

This is the biggest, baddest woodpecker I have ever seen. And he was going to town on the branch. Going to town.

I admire his tenacity. Peck peck peck. Going to town.

I’m inspired to get back to my keyboard and do the same. Peck peck peck.

Writer’s Block Party at The Daily Post

When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about — and how did you dig your way out of it?

Ha. Ha. It ain’t no party, this writer’s block thing. I don’t suppose whining about it is productive, either, but there’s something to be said for sharing the angst with other writers. Thus the party, right?

I’ll bring the whine.

This round of blockage is courtesy of too many things on my plate, both emotional and long lists of tasks. My father’s recent illness and death, a huge and on-going de-cluttering project (how in the world have we accumulated so much stuff?), demands at the office. It weighs down the creative soul. Or maybe I’m just afraid of what might come out of the pen, so I put it down.

The solution is to write anyway. At least that’s what my writer-friends tell me.

Write. Even if it’s crap. It’s still writing, and then maybe something good will come of it. I’m hopeful, anyway.

I’m still blocked. I’m still writing. And I’m still hopeful.

another edition of 3 favorite things

1. that first delicious stretch in the morning

2. the smell taste of just-brewed coffee

3. the rhythmic swish and scratch of the pen on the page in an eruption of inspiration