“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
A look at the finished project.
After hours and hours of design work plus hard labor building this wonderful space for me, I know Bob is glad to see this day come. We still have flooring to get down and some additional landscaping come spring. But it’s ready for me to spend my writing time there.
Here are a few photos of the Studio now. Clicking on an image will enlarge it and also provide the images in a slideshow format.
Gratitude and love fill my heart.
While Bob worked so hard last summer and then finished the exterior painting and clean up this last month, I was sitting in my recliner or on good days at my corner writing space. Depending on the day, I might have been prone on the bed. At times, I felt guilty he was working so hard to get this additional writing space completed.
I say “additional” because as noted in my previous blog post I don’t have wifi access in my studio. This is intentional. When I’m in that space, with classical or soft jazz music playing and nature all around outside, I want to focus on writing, reading, and/or research.
In the near term, I’ll be revising my memoir manuscript one last time before sending it off into the big wide world. My studio will be my workroom void of distractions as I want to provide a work as near to a finished product as I can.
You are owed my thanks as well.
Over the past 33 months, as I struggled to stay present online and to write, so many have encouraged and supported me. I can share with you that we thought things were improving recently. For a short while, we thought we had the answers in front of us, but that changed last week with a call from my surgeon. Some days you wonder if it’s ever going to end.
Continue to be the writing community you are, and it will allow each writer here, there, or wherever you spend your social media and reading time the chance to publish a memoir or a first novel or YA work. You never know whose life you have touched.
The prospect of reaching my eighth decade (in the minds of some aging, in other words) in February never bothered me. I looked on the process as part of my life cycle and enjoy catching up each year for a couple of months when my husband is only eight years older. Like most others, I celebrated this birthday with Bob and our son and his wife over dinner at a favorite restaurant with much chatter and laughter. Then we went our separate ways.
It dawned on me in the next few days my husband would turn 79 in April, a year away from 80. That rocked my foundation much more than did my own changing decade. Was it because the 80s tend to be a downturn for some, or that he is in poor health? Neither of these things apply to Bob. But somehow a shift change took place within me.
Perhaps it related to the fall I took in January. Yet those injuries were healing well, and I felt like normal was on the horizon. A writing workshop the last weekend in February was coming up. Bob was going along to meet some of my writing friends and enjoy a couple of days at the coast. Life couldn’t be better, or so it seemed.
Fast forward to that weekend in Yachats, Oregon, and suddenly 70 looked worse than I first thought. I left the conference early to come home and nurse unexpected and unexplained severe back pain. As always, it took several days and doctors’ visits to decide the cause of the pain, and then it was another few days before treatments would begin. Today is two weeks after the injection to ease the pain, but the medication has not been as efficacious as hoped. It may take another or maybe two more injections. Boy, was I suddenly feeling old!
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…
A trip to Tennessee scheduled in May takes us to our grandson, Michael’s high school graduation with honors and a bright future ahead. Our plans are to take Amtrak to Chicago and then drive the rest of the way to our destination. Departure is scheduled for May 16th. I want to feel better by then. When I began thinking about this post, it was the sense of joy I felt about Michael’s accomplishments and the solid young man he is. His parents are due much credit for raising him so well. That is what brought me to this writing place I call my blog to share my thoughts with you.
In recent weeks, I’ve been present online some, and I’ve pulled together book reviews over at Puddletown Reviews. But I’ve not attended to any writing on my memoir, not much on this blog, and my newsletter needs my attention.
Joy is found in doing the things we love. Whether it is writing, painting, photography, music, crafting, or something else, that which we love brings us an ever-present joy, if we allow it. Creativity isn’t work in my mind; it is a place I love to enter not knowing what I’ll have produced when I come out.
It occurred to me while writing this post that joy moves us along to gratitude. Think about it:
Initially, my writing process followed my thought process. As this post begins, I sound somewhat in the doldrums over aging and what comes with it. Note especially that as we age it becomes harder to recover from injuries, surgeries, and illnesses. And it takes more time. Time grows long and boring, until we think of someone or something special.
Almost instantly thinking of Michael and his graduation turned my thoughts and feelings to ones of joy. My thoughts had been centered on my pain and how much I want to either be better than now or have the pain resolved before our trip in May. Now, thinking of the joy of our trip and writing about Michael pushed me forward to a place of gratitude.
And arriving there, I pause to give voice to my gratitude.
⇒Physicians and processes for healing and helping those with health needs ⇒A patient and helping soul mate and best friend who has helped me through pain and recovery more than once, my husband ⇒The gift of friends and family who support me in my writing, both in real-time and online ⇒Special times shared with family far away, like graduations, weddings, new babies. ⇒The joy of seeing a grandchild grow into a solid young man with a strong background given to him by his parents ⇒The gift of writing itself which called me to sit today and write this post from which evolved the beautiful process of movement from my realities to joy and on to gratitude
WHERE HAS YOUR WRITING BROUGHT YOU TODAY? WHERE MIGHT IT TAKE YOU NEXT? WHAT HAVE YOU LET IT EXPOSE FROM WITHIN YOU? PERHAPS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE. IT’S YOUR TURN–GO RIGHT AHEAD!
Gratitude is talked and written about a great deal as we approach Thanksgiving. I listen and take part but wonder if gratitude isn’t meant as an everyday occurrence. Isn’t there always something in a day you are grateful crossed your way?
Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. ~~ William Faulkener
When I wake in the morning, it is simple to open my eyes and thank God for:
Good health, both mine and my husband’s, as well as our ability to care for our home and ourselves.
Another day to write, create, communicate, think, see, hear, breathe, and live and love.
Our thriving children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Our marriage and life together.
Our home and our ability to continue to live here.
Our days are spent in our individual work areas seeing each other only at lunchtime when I’m reminded of:
Bob’s patient and forgiving nature.
Many storms, big and small, survived surrounding jobs, finances, children.
Mutual understanding and encouragement of the other’s creative gifts and talents.
Satisfaction found in our morning devotional time.
And lastly, when I think of our many freedoms, I give thanks for:
Freedom to practice our religion of choice where, when, and with whom we choose to worship.
Freedom of speech allowing us to verbally express or write our thoughts and opinions freely and without fear.
Freedom to vote.
Freedom to seek medical care where and from the physician I choose.
Freedom to gather in public places to enjoy friends, family, neighbors, and more without fear.
My friends, we are truly blessed in many ways. If you doubt that is the case, then look for a moment at the lives of those who are not living as we do:
The hungry and homeless.
Children and the elderly suffering from terminal illnesses without the benefit of good care and insurance.
Friends and acquaintances who complain aloud to others about their spouses or significant others.
Those going through separations and divorces, especially families with children.
Victims, both male and female, of domestic abuse and violence, and children who are victims of abuse.
Those struggling with mental illness who either harm themselves, their families, or innocent others.
Those living under a government where religion is dictated.
Those living where they are not allowed to think or speak freely.
Those living where there is no democratic form of government and no freedom to vote.
Those living where to gather in public may mean arrest or death.
Those living in all parts of the world under some oppressive force over which they will never be able to climb out of poverty, homelessness, hunger, poor health, lack of education, and more.
Those who immigrated to our country illegally and then brought children into the world who are American citizens, and all of whom are the object of much anger, debate, and confusion in our government and within our population.
Refugees, whether from Syria or elsewhere, fleeing war-torn lands governed by a dictatorship where no one cares about who is hurting, dying, and leaving their homeland. Looking to other countries to take them, hopefully with help to return them to a peaceful homeland, they stand at the door and literally knock hoping not to be turned away. All while fear and doubt exist on both sides of the door.
Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving!
If you feel so inclined, please leave a comment about how you’ll be spending Thanksgiving, what you feel thankful for, or why you struggle with the concept of gratitude. We speak openly and freely here, so please share your honest thoughts.
For a short time, the blog will seem exceptionally quiet. That is because She Who Writes here is having some minor surgery on November 21st and likely will not be back to full speed until after Thanksgiving Day.
Unfortunately, my plans to prepare posts ahead failed me. Lack of energy and well-being forestalled those plans much like the snow in NY has done to people’s lives in general.
As I close, I give thanks each day for the writing community online and for each of you with whom I have made a lasting connection. What would life be without each other supporting and encouraging!