April 21, 2015

Tuesday, April 21st.

This past week has been a busy one. I enjoy teaching the writing class. It’s a small group of fascinating women, each in various stages of writing development. Since I primarily teach fiction writing, those who expect a course in poetry or how to write for magazines will be disappointed.

I have short-term memory problems (is that age or is it just me??), so I wait until the day of the class before preparing the evening’s agenda. Putting things off makes me nervous and uncomfortable. I like to get busy and accomplish what I set out to do. In this instance, though, I believe waiting until the eleventh hour is best for all concerned.

Progress continues on Upside Down and Whopperjawed. If I had nothing else to do and devoted most of my time to this story, I could finish in about six weeks. Maybe less. April Grace Reilly often seems to sit on the corner of my desk, telling me about her day and the crazy people in her life. Recording her tale in her sassy, witty voice ensures that the story basically tells itself.

Not every novel I write is this easy or this much fun. But that’s another topic for another time.

Come Away … To a Quiet Place, and Rest Awhile

I’ve been very tired recently. Physically, yes, but more than that, I am weary within myself. 400-04723932
I’ve tried to do what is right and give of myself to the service and/or needs of others. (I think this is living the example Jesus showed us.) Recently, though, the result is that I feel tapped out, unable and unwilling to help anyone, almost to the point of “I just don’t care anymore.” A Bible verse from Galatians came to mind today, the one about not giving up in doing good because in due time is the harvest. As with any scripture, this verse can and will be interpreted in many ways, and I have chosen not to interpret, but rather embrace the simple instruction, “Don’t give up in doing good.” helping-others_humility_serving-628x417

Reading further in Matthew Henry’s commentary, I found this: “We are to bear one another’s burdens. So we shall fulfill the law of Christ. This obliges to mutual forbearance and compassion towards each other, agreeably to his example. It becomes us to bear one another’s burdens, as fellow-travellers. It is very common for a man to look upon himself as wiser and better than other men, and as fit to dictate to them. Such a one deceives himself; by pretending to what he has not, he puts a cheat upon himself, and sooner or later will find the sad effects. This will never gain esteem, either with God or men. Every one is advised to prove his own work. The better we know our own hearts and ways, the less shall we despise others, and the more be disposed to help them under infirmities and afflictions

This part gave me pause: “It is very common for a man to look upon himself as wiser and better than other men, and as fit to dictate to them.” Oh, I hope I haven’t misunderstood my earnest desire to help someone, and instead have been seeing myself as “wiser and better than others.”

I think it is time for me to step back from my role as mentor and counselor and reassess why I do what I do. I’m not giving up, certainly, but maybe I need to rethink what drives me when I hold out a helping hand. Have I lost myself in service to others? Is my motivation to serve others, or is it to shore up an oft-teetering sense of self-esteem? Could it possibly be both? Do I overdo it? Am I not giving enough?

In the book of Mark, Jesus told his disciples to come away from the crowd to a quiet place and rest awhile. I shall do so.

Bear with me while I do this, all right? mediation on hillside

Blessings, dear friends.

What’s Wrong With Right Now?

Tomorrow.

Next week.

By spring.

Weekend after next.

Pretty soon.

Later.

So often we put off our lives until those magical days or times appear: We will be happy tomorrow. Pretty soon things will be better. By spring, we’ll have more resources. We’ll take off a few days weekend after next. Later, we can stop worrying and start living.

What is wrong with right now?

It is always right now, today, this moment. That magical perfect time will never appear. We must create it, and the only time to create it is right now.

What have you been putting off? A chore? Spending time with a loved one? Indulging in some comfort? Writing that story? My challenge: do it now, because later will never get here. Time will, always and forever, be Right Now.