Loveys, it’s August. The month that gets overly crazy at my house. We’re not even halfway through and so far we’ve bought school supplies, had close friends (and kids) over for a quick get together before school starts, had neighbors (and kids) over for drinks one evening (no worries, only parents get the grown-up drinks! Ha!) to catch up before we start hanging out at the bus stop every morning, we had my nephew come visit from Louisiana, the Jeffster went back to NYC for work, Ashtyn and I went to her 6th grade orientation, we had one successful birthday party and sleepover, and . . . it’s only August 11th.
We’ve got another school orientation Monday. School starts midweek. Then preschool starts the next. Then another birthday celebration. Then my trip to LONDON!
Good grief. It’s a lot. And we arrive home from England the day before this girl turns forty. I feel like this month could cause even more gray hair! (Tragedy.)
But really, despite how busy and chaotic our schedule gets this month, there’s something incredibly joyful about family life. We loved getting some time with our nephew while he was out here for track camp. And nights with friends are my favorite.
Truthfully, I love planning parties, so while it can be tiring, I love celebrating my kids’ birthdays. We had nine girls running through our house yesterday and it was a blast.
With all that busyness, the one thing it’s very hard to find time for is writing. Normally, after a book of mine releases, I’m happy to have a break from writing. I need space to live and breathe without fictional characters running amok in my head. But always . . . always, there comes a point where my fingers itch to type and when stories start swirling in my thoughts.
I’m just about there now.
Some writers feel so excited at the start of a new work-in-progress. It’s daunting for me, honestly. It always feels like a huge undertaking and I wonder if I can finish what I’m beginning.
It’s worth it to try.
I read a hilarious and so-accurate meme on Instagram the other day about how being a grown up is basically reaching a point where we say year after year that we’ll do _____ (fill in the blank) once things slow down. I’m so guilty of this! But things never slow down, do they?
I keep thinking I’ll clean up my email–you know, unsubscribe from all the million pizza and retail places I’m somehow subscribed to–when I have a quiet, slow morning. What is that and will it ever happen? I’m beginning to think that the only way to have even an hour like that is to pencil it in and schedule childcare.
Maybe that’s true.
Again, I think it’s worth it to try.
Here’s a confession: I’m really hoping my trip to England this month sparks some serious inspiration for me. I write best (and fastest) when I’m truly inspired, when a story hits me that I’ve just got to tell. That’s the way After the Rain came to me. For years I’d had bits and pieces of scenes that might work for Debra’s story. When I finished The Last Summer (for the last time), the rest of Debra’s story came to me, almost all at once. It took about six months to write a full draft and once I finished, I just loved it. I still do. I’ll flip it open and read that last line and my heart is so full, I can’t describe it.
I love books. I’ve loved to read ever since I was able to. And there are certain fiction characters I’ll carry with me forever.
It’s time to write again. Luckily, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey and the Jane Austen Center are all in my very near future and, for a girl like me, just saying those words starts filling me with excitement.
I sense new stories to tell.
The truth is that things probably won’t slow down much this fall, and that’s okay. Because I don’t want to miss all the moments that make our lives busy. I don’t want to miss birthdays and school events and nights with friends and dinner with family and the chance to work on great projects.
So I’ll find time here and there, and I’ll write. We’ll do all the living because it’s what’s real and what matters most. The people in my life. And we’ll mix in some writing, too, because it’s who I am and it’s part of what I’m meant to leave behind when I’m gone.
Maybe I’m a little more aware of those things than I used to be. Last year and this year–with both my parents fighting cancer–have changed my family (and brought changes) in some ways. That’s life too, of course. Change. Illness. Age.
It comes down to love, life experiences, our people, and moments we’ll hold on to forever.
A storyteller wants to capture pieces of those things and create a story with them that will reach someone’s heart.
I’m many things, as we all are. (I’ve contemplated this lately as my birthday is nearing!) Editor. Mother. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Sinner. Believer.
I can’t wait to share my next story with you.