Train of Thoughts

Train of Thoughts

What do you fear? Fear drives me more than I would like to admit. I don’t consider myself paranoid, per se, just extremely…uhm…careful. (Sounds like I have a problem and I’m in denial, doesn’t it?)

Recently my pastor asked us to write down something we feared on a piece of paper. We could choose to bring the paper forward and leave it in a pile at the front of the church at the base of a wooden cross to symbolize giving that fear to Jesus. I wrote: I’m afraid I’ll be so busy with life and goal and work that I’ll miss being present with James and the kids.

I had a sweet, frank conversation with the teenage daughter of an accomplished artist and about my worries surrounding being a good mom and she pointed out that simply because I was worried about it and working through my concern, it proved that I was a good mom. Worry is a strange thing. Some of it is good, but not the obsessive kind, I guess.

I wrote the following from a seat on the 507 Amtrak Cascades, headed south for Portland City, OR. For my birthday present, my husband bought me a train ticket for a weekend to visit some dear friends—All. By. Myself. My husband, the saint, is taking the kiddos for the weekend. During the drop-off at the station, my daughter mercifully made no threat of how she should “get another Mommy,” when she had done during an incident earlier this week in which I stepped away to have lunch with friends for a couple of hours.

Being mother to a three-year-old is tough (to put it lightly). My son’s journey through that stage dragged me right into the pit of despair—the hopelessness that I wasn’t a good enough parent to rose to meet the challenge. And so I enter the foray again, praying for the strength and grace to be loving, firm, patient, consistent and somehow remember to have fun instead of just sinking into an exhausted heap at the end of the day, searching only for a pleasant distraction.

News: The draft of Grayhawk Rising--a continuation to my story “Untrained Luck”– has been sent to some close readers and while I wait to hear back, I’m doing various small projects in the meantime, including making a Press Page for my website. I, heh, built it myself. If something about it isn’t pretty, I request that you tell me about it in a kind, comforting manner.

I’m headed to Colorado Springs in two weeks—did I tell you? I was honored to be chosen as a scholarship recipient for the SuperStars Writing Seminar. I’ll get to learn more about the professional world of publishers, agents, editors, marketing, Amazon, the writing lifestyle…basically avoiding pitfalls to make things a smoother road for me. And you guys…after this conference and World Fantasy in November, I might need some serious introvert time. Until I get excited about another con…

I’ve been fighting some winter illness and a long wrestle with the darkness and its impact on my moods. (Oh man, was I happy when we passed onto the bright side of the Longest Night on Winter Solstice!,) so this season presently feels like a dip down, rather than an upward slope. That also makes it the best time to rest before I let myself get sucked into my next massive project.

One thing I learned pretty clearly when writing this last novel—I don’t do well when I work both weekend days—not even in cases of “literary emergency.” That day of rest (yes, it’s mentioned a few times in the Bible) has true impact on the mind, soul, and sanity. So I’ll have to plan a different work style when next I embark to write a novel draft in sprinting fashion.

I think I’ve told you all of this before, but starting in April 2018, I felt something “begin.” It was the night I went Seattle’s University Bookstore to hear a Writers of the Future reading. Later, in Los Angeles the following year for my own WOTF awards event and then meeting editors at World Fantasy Con and then learning I’d been given a scholarship for Superstars, I feel like the momentum hasn’t slackened and I want to say again that I’m so grateful to all of you who’ve believed in me. Especially before I had any real external recognition. There is so much for me still to learn (and so much that I think I already know but that I actually don’t).

Saying thank you and asking nicely for help are things I am teaching my six- and three-year-old. And they’re still things I work on doing now, as an adult, in various and different contexts.

The train is ambling past a trestle in foggy evening light, the glowing lights of the Emerald Queen Casino in shining blue, red, and magenta on one bright screen. I’ll be seeing my next sunrise in another city in the company of dear souls. Quite possibly I’ll be practicing my thank yous and asking for help in a thousand small ways, components that make up those conversations between friends who care about each other.

Good night, Seattle. Portland, here I come.

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