Luxury of time

I was incredibly industrious today…all the chores were completed early, laundry was folded, a bushel of fresh picked green beans were blanched, vacuum sealed and frozen for winter, errands were run and the gas tank topped off. Mani and pedi were even completed (and it’s pretty rare that I ever get this far down the list).

Suddenly it struck me that I had the whole rest of the evening free to do whatever it was I might like to do (Husband is catering a wedding nearly every Saturday). It took me a minute to figure out what free time meant. And then it took me longer to figure out how to fill it.

Writing, I thought. I haven’t sat down to write, really write, fiction, in a very, very long time. So I finished putting away the clean dishes, made myself a bite to eat, and popped Sabrina into the DVD player for inspiration. (The Audrey Hepburn version, of course. Audrey is great inspiration.)

And now, I will write. For no other reason than because I can.

Goals

I have a few goals for this year…except they’re not so much for this year but for this stage, this piece of my life. Married but before kids. Young with aspirations and also with responsibilities.

Life changes quickly and often drastically, leaving me scrambling to figure out my new normal. So while I have a firm grasp on this era, I want to make the best of it.

Some are big, some are little.

I want to spend more time with my horse–enjoy Saturday morning rides, quick training sessions before the sun goes down, and even hot summer hose-downs with Chappy.

Chappy

I want to read. Reading keeps me grounded, keeps me learning, keeps me growing. I need to read.

I want to buy a house–a dream of ours for this year, this place in our lives. It’s scary for me–settling down, staying, committing to a place. I’m a traveler, a bit of a wanderer at heart. I have been in my current house for nearly 2 years, that’s more than twice as long as I have lived anywhere since I was 17. Buying a house? That’s a whole new adventure.

I want to travel. Not far and wide, not like I used to–we don’t have the money for that if we’re going to be making big investments (see previous goal). But still travel. Learn that travel doesn’t have to be to far away places. Travel doesn’t have to mean embarking for the great unknown. It can be a weekend in the Virginia mountains, a visit to Montecello, or even a canoe ride through the Great Dismal Swamp (can you believe I’ve lived in Virginia for 3 years now and haven’t yet been there?). But even these local travels must be purposed, intended, sacrificed for.

The Blueridge Mountains.

Perhaps more than anything, I want to write. Really write. I don’t talk about it much, because it is so close and dear to me. It’s vulnerable. But I love to write fiction and I have a story–a good one–that has been percolating for years now. It needs to be written. I need to get it out of my head and down on paper. And I need to do it now.

And all of this boils down to one thing–I want to savor this era of my life. I want to love it. I want to live it…with singleness of heart.

For the love of words

For the love of words

For the love of words

I have been reading through Arnold Bennett’s Anna of the Five Towns and learning ever more about language, vocabulary, and the written word.

The language employed by Bennett in this story is rich and powerful. The worlds just roll of the tongue in a fascinating and sumptuous way. Words like languorous and timorously.

Others were beyond my recognition, some I’d never even heard of before. A few brand new words for me to relish:

  • Aquiline – of or like the eagle.
  • Erysipelas – an acute, febrile infectious disease, caused by a specific streptococcus
  • Eleemosynary – of or pertaining to alms, charity, or charitable donations; charitable.
  • Quiescent – being at rest; quiet; still; inactive or motionless:
  • Celerity – swiftness; speed.
  • Sagacious – having or showing acute mental discernment and keen practical sense; shrewd:
  • Aren’t they just beautiful?

    Mutually exclusive

    Mutually exclusive

    Mutually exclusive

    Good and hard aren’t mutually exclusive. Neither are love and hate.

    My job is good. But it is hard. In fact, I love my job. But I hate why I have to do it.

    Does that make any sense at all?

    A little background info might help. I work as a writer for an international humanitarian aid organization. Every day I am immersed in the world of severe poverty. Our current media campaign revolves around the tragedy of human trafficking.

    It’s hard. It’s horrible. I don’t want to have to write about this. I don’t want to have to write down the shocking statistics or heartbreaking stories of those who have been forced into slavery.

    But I do it because it makes a difference. I do it because it’s good. Because it’s right. Because it’s worth it.

    And tonight I’ll go home, make myself a cup of hot tea, do a little yoga, and maybe read a book. I’ll try to forget what I do for a little bit. But not really, not really ever forgetting. Because these amazing, strong, resilient women and children deserve to be remembered.

    A few deep breaths and the knowledge that I am doing something about it will help me sleep tonight.

    “It’s better not to believe, because if you believe, you don’t sleep nights. And how can you eat? How can you drink a glass of wine when you know?” – Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, when asked about those who don’t believe stories of genocide

    TC 9: Books

    TC 9: Books

    Today I am thankful for books. I’m not sure what it is that mesmerizes me about the written word, but there is something that I am powerless to contend. I love books. I love old books, new books, used books, children’s books, fiction books, non-fiction books…

    I grew up surrounded by parents and siblings who all love to read and on top of that, with shelves and shelves full of books. I thought our house was normal, but I can’t tell you the number of friends I had over who were amazed at the sheer volume of books we had! (It’s a good thing my dad knows how to make shelves…)

    Husband is slightly dismayed by the number of books I have. He doesn’t like having to move them. I do understand that books are heavy, but I remind Husband that he has a lot of cook books and those are some weighty volumes! And besides, he has at least as much “kitchen stuff” as I have books and it is only fitting since he is a chef and I am a writer.

    Did you know that I was writing stories before I could even write? Yep, I would staple pieces of paper together and create stories using stickers. I finished my first short work of fiction when I was nine. And now I actually make a living at it.

    My books are integral to my ability to write. Every good writer must be a reader as well, it’s simply how it works. And when Husband suggests I sell some of my beloved collection I give him the evil-eye. These books are my friends, they are my memories, my adventures.

    I once heard someone put it this way: I have fallen in love a hundred times, and each time has been in a book.

    I <3 books.

    TC 11: Education

    TC 11: Education

    Okay, this is a hard one, so let me just say it: I am thankful for my education.

    Why is that so hard to say? Usually it’s not. But tonight? Well, I have a paper due tomorrow by midnight and I completely forgot about it so I just started it this evening. Not very grad-school-prepared of me is it?

    Oh, I was uber-prepared in undergrad, and my first year of grad school, and even my second…but this is semester 5 of grad school, and I’m ready for it to be over.

    I still love learning. Really. And I really do love education. I’m in graduate school for a reason. I love to learn. I love what I have learned. I value education. I value learning.

    But right now I am in the middle of my VERY LAST CLASS of graduate school, and, among other things, it is a substitute for the class I was supposed to take and isn’t even in my specific field. Soooo, it’s hard to really want to put my all into it.

    Plus, there is the little thing where I GOT MARRIED half way through graduate school, and my life changed drastically. And then there’s the other little thing where I am now working full time instead of part time and still trying to finish school in my “spare time” (whatever that is).

    So I’m hardly motivated to spend hours and hours working on a paper analyzing the design and content of a news website when I really would rather be spending my Monday date night on an actual date, instead of having Husband cooking in the kitchen and me sitting on my new couch in the living room…

    Wait, did I just complain about the lovely smell of apple turnovers and the cushy feel of new leather?

    I hate it when I complain.

    So deep breaths. This paper is not going to write itself, and I have a full day of work tomorrow, and cleaning the barn after that. So it must be done tonight. And my bedtime is in exactly 43 minutes.

    Guess that means I’d better get to work.

    I am thankful for my education, I am thankful for my education, I am thankful….

    TC 24: My Job

    As it is the first day of November, I am going to start a thankfulness countdown to Thanksgiving.

    Today I am thankful for my job. Just like anyone else, my Monday mornings can be the worst. But I am lucky to be able to remind myself how much I love my job.

    Really.

    I love my job.

    I work at an international humanitarian aid organization, where I am part of the integrated media team, developing web and print media to connect our field workers with our supporters.

    I get to work every day toward a goal that seems almost unattainable, and yet we make progress. I get to use my writing to break the cycle of poverty, to feed the hungry, to offer hope to the broken. I get to see tangible change.

    I wish everyone could be as lucky as me, I truly do. Because when you work for something you really believe in, work itself is a joy–even on the hard days.

    I am thankful for my job.