Words

Words. Spoken, they have the power to calm, console and reassure. Alternatively, they have the ability to crush. Once words are liberated, the speaker often finds themself relieved, perhaps with a lessened burden. However, once spoken, words released can never be reclaimed.

The recipient of spoken words may feel pacified. Or tormented. Perhaps inadvertently. Perhaps not. Either way words can have an impact. Sometimes the words cause a temporary consequence or setback. But sometimes the words can create a repercussion that lingers eternally.

The speaker of those words may be satisfied that the words used were only meant to help the person. Or the purpose of the discourse was simply an honest conveyance of feelings they had held deep inside. A justifiable release. What they said was accurate. Necessary. Wasn’t it?

They were just words, weren’t they?

Decades ago, while reaching up high on a shelf, a box fell, landing painfully on my foot. Not a ritual swearer, I yelled out a word I seldom used. That four letter “s” word. Three times.

Hours later, in the midst of constructing a tower, my toddler watched as the blocks fell around him. He yelled out that same word. Three times.

Words. Just words. Right?

Written words possess similar super powers. Only they are even more potent. Spoken words can be lost in translation, not quite fully heard nor accurately remembered. But the written word is for forever, never ceasing to exist. The words remain, living in time and space in a permanent state.

Be careful what you write.

As an author, I try to be certain that the words I write are there to calm, console and reassure. While still telling a story. Sometimes the words may be at times too honest, too forthright. But they are chosen specifically to convey a message, to bring fiction to life and to create a world in which the characters exist.

Words are powerful. Hopefully we choose them wisely. Or, better yet, that we choose never to share irrevocable words.

Losing and Finding

“In every losing there will be some kind of a finding. There always is. Sometimes you have to wait for it, but it will come. In the end, you will discover that there is a perfect balance between what one loses and what one finds.”

Those words were spoken by Mary Reynolds in The Rule of Thirds.

We lose so much in our lifetime. The lost, replaceable material things, although crushing in the moment, become fleeting and forgotten in the future. Mattering not in the entire scheme of things, a lost article is simply a lost something. We often find joy in the next stage that occurs when we fix the situation with the discovery of something new. Sometimes the next find is even more rewarding than the initial loss. The passed over promotion has led us to land an even better job. Our new home becomes even more special than the one we lived in for decades. Or that brand new car is safer and more reliable than our old trusty yet rusty heap.

It is the loss of loved ones that leaves us shattered. A lost someone is a weight that often becomes more than one can bear. When someone you are dating has left you in the dust, or your spouse moves on to another, or when you lose the beloved family pet, you are desolate.

But the finality of a loved one dying is beyond devastating. How does one replace the irreplaceable? One simply does not. But what one can do is find solace. That takes time, and a lot of patience and faith.

Life circles around and in its continuous rotation, the souls of our lost loved ones have a sneaky way of returning. Subtly and randomly, they lead us to discoveries, reminding us that they are still here with us in spirit. Somehow we find that misplaced letter tucked in the back of a drawer, its words reiterating how deeply we were loved. Then, in the midst of a long road trip, we hear that song that we had danced to with our parent at our wedding and we are jolted back to a different place and time. One morning we awaken from an almost palpable dream, one filled with cherished moments of being with them again. Then, late one afternoon, a persistent butterfly remains perched for hours on the plant in the kitchen window box. Fluttering its wings, it shows us that our loved one is still looking out for us. And then that incredibly joyous day arrives when we look into our newborn grandchild’s eyes and we catch a glimmer of recognition. They are here with us, always.

We lose often. But we also find renewal.

The Book Within

Remember that Seinfeld episode when Cramer publishes a coffee table book about coffee tables that also becomes its own coffee table?

Well, that is kind of what The Rule of Thirds, my newest novel in the Things Come in Threes series is like. Throughout the novel, two teenaged girls assist a little girl in the making of a book. Following along through the pages, the reader is able to experience the creative process and the inspiration behind their work. In the end, the little book that they make ends up being more than the characters could have expected. Not only does the book help a little girl learn how to accept her grief, it also becomes worthy of fictional publication.

Maybe fiction does imitate life. In this case, it is the other way around. Since the little book that the characters create lies within the novel, it also needed to spread its wings and attain a life of its own. Entitled Happy Again, this book has two homes. One within the book, one outside the book and living on its own.

The Gift of Healing

A peek into the inspiration for the novel, Elke’s Magic

We live on top of a hill, surrounded by woods. Countless wild animals pass through, en route from the stream and ponds below to the sanctity of the forest. We have been visited by deer, fox, raccoons, possums, groundhogs, rabbits, coyotes and on the rare occasion even a bear! The same pair of mallards arrives every spring to lay eggs, and a red tailed hawk flies overhead daily. Needless to say, there is never a dull moment around here!

Arriving at my front door late one afternoon, I looked out into our backyard, and noticed a doe nursing her newborn fawn. She was only about a hundred feet away. As soon as she had spotted me, our eyes locked. We had bonded, the deer and I. Knowing that she and her baby were welcome and safe at our home, she continued feeding her little one until it had finished its meal. And then they both bounded back over the stone wall into the woods once more.

All day I had been struggling with a way to open my first Young Adult Novel. Elke, the main character, is a healer who can mysteriously bring about curative powers simply through her touch. I had already written most of the book already, but I needed a way to introduce Elke, and to subsequently introduce readers to the world in which Elke lived.

Unbeknownst to them, the deer and her fawn had just given me inspiration. And so, the first chapter of Elke’s Magic opens with a doe seeking help. Injured, she heads to Elke for her magical healing touch. After Elke offers therapeutic assistance, the deer leaps back into the woods. Turning back for a moment, the deer looks Elke directly in the eye before disappearing into the trees.

We are all capable of being a healer like Elke. Maybe less effectively than the fictional character, but we can all provide that necessary hug, offer encouraging words, extend our deepest sympathy or give a warm and loving smile.

Sometimes that is all it takes to bring about the gift of healing.

Contemplating Reincarnation

Not exactly sure when I started to fully believe that our souls have the capacity to return. A few years ago, for some inexplicable reason, I had an “aha” moment. In a spontaneous burst of comprehension, I felt it in deep down in my own soul.

I have been here before.

Perhaps being in my sixth decade here on this planet has made me more introspective. I have expectations that if the end is nearing, yet hopefully not too soon, I will have yet another stab at life. This soul inside me needs to move on and finish what it started in its current corporeal state.

Sounds a bit creepy to think about it, though. The concept or belief that a soul can shift into another seems too far fetched. Too unreal. But I think, no I believe, that it does happen.

What perplexes me the most are the logistics. When did this recycled soul actually arrive? Did it swoosh in, at birth? Or did it occur at conception? Perhaps somewhere along the line, during gestation? And then, at death will it leave in a poof, only to enter another human form? Maybe. It makes sense. We as humans all need time to grow. Our soul needs to grow. Is one lifetime long enough to learn everything? Or do our souls need many lives in order to evolve into whom they are destined to become?

So, if indeed we do reincarnate, it could explain why we are so often drawn to the familiar. When we meet someone for the first time and there is an instant connection, does that mean we knew them in a past life? Were we friends, spouses, or family members before? The night I met my husband, I went back home and told my roommate that I had met the man I was going to marry. Not sure why. It was just a knowing feeling that had come over me. Were we once spouses? Eons ago? Fast forward, and 38 wonderful years together, maybe we were together before. In another lifetime. It explains so very much.

And why do we instantly love our children? Something magical happens the very first moment that you meet your child. Most often, seconds after birth, but for some, it might take a bit longer. It does grow though, in intensity, that connection that lies deeper than just the knowledge that you carried this child inside of you for nine months. Or if adopting, that the child in your arms knows somehow that you are family. Has that child’s soul been part of your life in the past?

I assume that all of these answers are there for us, in our next lifetime. Maybe. Until then, I hope that this soul inside of me right now is doing its very best. And that it will continue to do so when it finds its new home, once it is finished and ready to move forward.

Survival

Fourteen years ago and four months after burying my mother who had lost her battle with cancer, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My father had also lost his battle, years earlier. I was grateful neither parent had to know of my diagnosis. It would have broken their hearts.

After Chemo, I was told that I had a 94% chance of living another ten years. Thankfully, I am one of the lucky ones. I am still here! And I am eternally grateful for each and every day.

In the early years, I kept the details private, only sharing with a select few. Then, along the way, I started writing about it. It was indeed cathartic. Actually writing it down also increased my conviction that Breast Cancer needed to be talked about. Honestly and openly. Essays became short stories. Short stories then evolved into my first novel. The Final Canoe Ride.

The main character in my first novel, Meg, is fictional, but her medical details were what I had actually gone through personally. It wasn’t easy sharing all the unpleasant details. But I had hoped, along the way, to be able to somehow shed light on a situation that still needs more understanding, more research and more development.

Because there were so many stories in my head and in my heart, I kept writing after finishing my first book. I have just finished the final draft for my sixth novel. In all my books, my character Meg lives on. Either in the “fictional flesh” or in the spirit.

I do believe that we all have the resiliency to overcome obstacles, no matter how impossible they may seem at the time. We can all move forward, here on this earth. With hope that there is indeed a future for us, whether it is in the here and now, or somewhere out there on the spiritual plane.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.