Don’t Let Crappy Keep You Down

We’ve had a bit of a crappy spring here in Nova Scotia, and of course we’ve been grumbling. There have been scarcely had any sunny days in May, and April wasn’t much better. Still, we have to count ourselves fortunate that we haven’t been plagued with floods, fires, tornadoes or earthquakes. Really, what right have we to grumble with all that’s going on in the world around us? There is so much for us to be grateful for.

Last week I won two books by entering online contests. Our son also graduated from university on Friday. Then too, I won on the lottery! That’s right, a whopping 5 bucks, but a win no less. There is a lot in my life to feel grateful for.

Today, as I wandered around outside, I also felt gratitude for all the new spring flowers and blossoms that are opening up. Just think, in spite of our crappy cold damp weather, they still recognize that it is spring. They’re out there doing their part without complaint.

The same could be said for us. In life, we are often plagued with difficulties. Things don’t turn out the way we want them to. We have to work harder than we’d hoped to achieve our desires, and we become disappointed when failure smacks us upside the head again. Why can’t things go along smoothly? Why can’t we get the things we want in life?

Still, there is usually something for us to look toward with gratitude. It doesn’t have to be something huge. It doesn’t have to be something as remarkable as having one of your kids graduate from university. What’s wrong with winning a book or even five dollars? What’s wrong with the sight of spring blossoms, their sweet aroma filling the air around us?

When discouragement sets in, and we’re ready to give up, don’t forget to acknowledge the good that is already there. When rejection comes my way, it’s so easy for me to forget about all the times an editor sent word that my work has been accepted. Remember that one disappointment should not take away from all the positive things that have come our way. Yet, I will admit, it is easy to forget when we’re down there in the pit of despair.

Sometimes we just have to dig our heels in further and keep on going once we’ve tried our disappointment on for size. Got to remember that it’s okay to try on the ugly things just to see what it looks like, but no way are we going to take that ugly thing home with us to keep.

So, here are a few blossoms for you and for me. A reminder that, even though things may be crappy, life goes on. We’ll still get where we want to go eventually. The apple blossoms don’t seem to realize that the weather’s been cold and dismal here in Nova Scotia. They’re still willing to show up regardless of the weather. So, how about you?

The Writer’s Honey

“Like bees who by instinct go from flower to flower gathering honey, writers, merely by being alive, are constantly gathering ideas and impressions—their honey—which eventually will lodge somewhere in some book….”

——Eleanor Estes

I really like this quote. Why? Because it’s so true. Writers are constantly gathering ideas and impressions that eventually will make it into their writing in one form or another.

Reading this quote I was reminded of the morning many years ago when I awoke to hear a chorus of cedar waxwings in the apple tree outside my bedroom window. I looked out to see them frantically eating the apple blossoms, something I’d never seen before. It shouldn’t come as any surprise then, that a similar scene showed up in Bitter, Sweet as I was writing it. It wasn’t anything earth shattering but it fit in well with the story and helped set up for the scene where Jesse shoots the porcupine and they eat it for their supper.

One of the secrets in writing (and there are many) comes from breathing new life into everyday happenings. Look for something new in the familiar. When I wrote that scene about the apple blossoms, by adding the cedar waxwings it gave the scene a whole new look. I wasn’t simply describing the pretty apple blossoms. There was actually something happening.

Some people might think they haven’t experienced enough throughout their lifetime and therefore have nothing to write about that would be of interest to others. In fact I’ve heard that complaint before. “I want to write but I have no idea what” or “My life is boring, who would want to publish anything I wrote?”

But we all have unique life experiences that make up who we are and what’s important to us. We have all experienced, happiness, sorrow and joy. But we experience life through our own eyes. And no two sets of eyes see the same thing, nor do we feel our emotions in the same way as someone else.

When we write, or create in any way, a part of each one of us goes into that creation.  I like the thought that my ideas and impressions will eventually lodge somewhere in a book. How about you? Do you agree with what Eleanor Estes says? Does your honey make it into your writing?

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