Pre-school teachers have known for years the necessity of down time, that precious nap that interrupts an otherwise high voltage day full of creativity, energy and combustible wonder. It isn’t just the kids who need the break. It’s the teachers, too, who crave a little less noise, a little time to breathe. I know how they feel. My life right now is chock full of amazing new ventures. I just launched my third book, was invited to England to read my poetry at a prestigious festival, am appearing on a morning television show next week, have just signed two new book contracts, and am scheduled to appear in a number of signing events. This is all so wonderful and beyond my wildest dreams. It has also made clear to me the necessity of down time. Not because I am tired, on the contrary, I have never been so exhilarated in my life. Running on adrenaline, I find myself sleeping less, pushing more. Which is just what I don’t want to do. I need to remember to breathe. To close my eyes and take time to be grateful for all I have been given. Yes, I have worked hard, but underneath this success, shy in the wings, is the Creative Spirit that has blessed me with abundance. Taking down time reminds me that I am just a very small human. It keeps me right-sized. So when I start to get too big for my britches, I stop. Pause. Breathe. Give thanks and move on. Everything in balance. Everything aligned. Naps aren’t just for toddlers, they help us all gain a new perspective. They are an amazing spiritual tool, if you need to rationalize sleeping in the middle of the day. Or, you can just enjoy, as I do daily, a brief reprieve from all the bustle of the day.
Recently, someone remarked to me that "You are so lucky." In truth, luck had very little to do with the fact that since 2015, I have written and published two novels, two feature films, and one poetry chapbook. That in the past year alone I have held multiple readings/signings in North Carolina and beyond. That my books are placed in bookstores and libraries in a number of states. That I have contracts on two new books due out in 2020. That I have met with a number of book groups to discuss my work. That I have been invited to read my poetry at a festival in England. This all happened not because of luck, but because of hard work, patience and persistence. It is said that the creative process is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Let me tell you, for the past four years I have sweated everyday. And I have loved every minute of it. There is nothing I enjoy more than my chosen work. If I am lucky, it is because I am able to immerse myself in my writing. I know some do not have that option. But make no mistake, writing is a difficult profession which requires the dedication and perseverance of an elite athlete, the soft touch of a nurse, and the focus of a Buddhist monk.
When I ask you to donate to my campaign, I do not do this out of a sense of entitlement or hubris. On the contrary, it is with great humility that I place myself before you and ask for your generosity. Humbling, because, as with so many experiences as a writer, I may get rejected. You may not deem me worthy or my cause large enough. To me, it is everything. It is who I am, who I have worked so hard to become. Each small donation is like a tinkling bell, bringing light into my world, bringing me further forward on my path. I am so grateful for your belief in me, for your appreciation that what I have done, am doing, is really a monumental task: to be who I authentically am.
If my words have moved you, and I hope they have, please visit GoFundMe.com and make a donation to my campaign: Help a Poet Read Her Poems in England. I feel lucky to count you as my friend.
In two days, I will launch my new women's fiction novel. To my thinking, When the Moon Winks is coming out at the perfect time of the year. I look out my living room window and see the purple and yellow iris swaying in the breeze, the lilacs have been blooming for days and have almost gone by. In my smaller garden, the brilliant orange-yellow coreopsis, the color of my favorite Crayola crayon, carpet the bed, tucking in neatly under the wild blue clematis climbing a wood trellis. Spring is everywhere. In the flowers, in the grass, in the wind, in the sun. Even in the rain, maybe especially in the rain. What does this have to do with my new book? When the Moon Winks is all about rebirth, new beginnings. When 60-year-old Helen Ferry is left by her husband of 30 years on the eve of their wedding anniversary, she feels that her life is lost. Something inside has died, in the words of Carole King. Helen tries to reignite her enthusiasm by turning to past boyfriends but soon discovers that, instead, she needs to focus on her own life. The novel is about Helen's transformation as she becomes true to her self. Advance readers of the book have called it "great fun" and "a perfect beach read." They have remarked on its satisfying happy ending. When the Moon Winks is a smart book without being heavy; it is a fun book without being inane; it is a love story without the sugar coating. If you are headed for the beach, or looking for a Mother's Day gift, or maybe just want something enjoyable to read, consider When the Moon Winks. I've been working on this book since 2015, and it still makes me laugh every time I read it!