Reflections

Today we said goodbye to our minister. The three churches in the parish came together for a service and potluck to mark the occasion. There were gifts and goodbyes, and a few tears shed. She’d only been with us for a year and many of us were sad to see her go. For the year we had her we came to expect the unexpected, seeing her dressed as a church mouse on one occasion and even a clown. She made us laugh and sometimes cry. She helped us to extend ourselves in kindness and be more than we previously were. While we’ve always been a parish that cared, with her we cared even more.

For Easter I gave her a copy of my book. I’m always amazed at what meaning every reader finds in a book, what themes present themselves to that particular reader. I think it all depends upon where we are in our own lives, and if we’re looking for some deeper meaning or simply to be entertained. I’ve had different reactions to my novel. Some people saw it as an entertaining story, while others were left wondering if it was a true story or one that I had made up. Rightly so, our minister saw certain things in the book as a reflection of my life, my beliefs, and things that can only come from the heart.

As we discussed the book, she mentioned how very important the connection of the three generations of women plays in the book. “Remember that as you go ahead in your writing,” she said later. I explained that when I started writing the book, much of what came to me wasn’t at all planned. She completely understood. Of course she would.

I’m often made aware of themes popping up when I’m writing a story even though I don’t knowingly go about putting them there. It just happens, as if the story is being eased in a certain direction all on it’s own. When I started writing Bitter, Sweet, I had no plans of writing about healing plants when I named one of the children Flora. Nor did I know I would be called to reflect upon a memory I had of my father digging gold thread from the ground.

For the most part I try to ignore these things while I’m writing for fear that it will get in the way of the story, but it’s there, running in the background. I’m not oblivious to it. Later, once the story has been written, I can take the time reflect upon these things.

While some stories seem to come directly from the heart, others are complete figments of our imagination, but I’m inclined to think that every story reflects something in the author’s life– thoughts, feeling, beliefs, opinions, memories. The same can be said for any one who is creative. We put our heart and soul in our work. We make it a reflection of who we are, who we’ve been, who we will become. Even our blogs tell something about us. That something is what draws others to come visit.

Lately, I’ve had many moments of reflection in my life. Reflection is never planned. It just happens. It’s important, not just for writers but for all of us. As I think about the next book I’ll write I can’t help but wonder what parts of myself will be layered between the pages. What I am sure of is this, it won’t be planned, it will just happen.

Do you believe that our creative endeavours reflect who we are? For the writers out there— do themes show up in your writing all on their own?

Friendship

To anyone else we might have looked like two old friends drinking coffee and catching up on the latest gossip. Our conversation was intense. We settled right into the purpose of our meeting, to talk about writing and publishing, and everything in between. We swapped stories, shared a few laughs, spoke of our personal triumphant and the many disappointments we’ve encountered along the way. The time flew by. We parted, promising we’d get together again.

I often imagine that I’d soon bore my non-writing friends to tears if I spent too much time talking about publishing and writing, and for good reason. For many of them they love the fact that I’ve been published, in fact they couldn’t be more supportive, but to them it’s a whole other world and a strange one at that. It’s probably difficult for those who don’t write to understand why writers put themselves through the long torturous wait times, the countless hours spent in solitude working at their craft, and the numerous rejections that come along the way. In what other area of our lives would be take such a beating, such outright rejection, and keep on going?

If I went off to work each day to be told repeatedly by my boss that I wasn’t doing my job quite right, or that I was actually doing everything right but it wasn’t going to make an ounce of difference at the end of the day, I would probably go off in search of another job. And yet we writers swallow it all and keep on going, the serious ones that is. Our need to be published, to feel some validation for our work, is a strong one. And it needs to be strong or else we’d fall at the wayside and turn our backs on our dreams. Not everyone who writes is seeking publication. Some people write for their own enjoyment and have no desire to have others read their words and this in no way demeans what they do. But for the rest of us hopefuls we wait and wait for those glorious letters of acceptance that sends our spirits soaring to the cosmos. Someone thinks our work is worthy of publication. Oh happy day!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon deep in conversation with a fellow author. It was great to share stories with someone who is taking the same journey. Were it not for the fact that we are both writers, I’m sure our paths might never have crossed. Our backgrounds are totally different in almost every way imaginable, our writing styles just as different.

I walked away with the knowing that it’s not necessary to have many things in common with someone to enjoy their company, and bonds can be formed between those who share the same passion no matter what that passion might be.

Most of my friendships have been formed through the years with people who do not share my passion for writing. Many of my friends are not even avid readers, and I’m totally fine with that. These friendships are equally important to me. Yes I am a writer but I am so much more. As we go though life we encounter many different people all with a wide variety of interests. Thankfully, we are multidimensional beings and we all help make the world an interesting place to be. We all bring to the planet our individual gifts that originate from the place where creativity and passion are born.

Today is a day for reflection as I take time to be thankful for the many different friendships in my life—- old and new, “real life” and online. You know who you are!

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  • Publication date April 30, 2020. Available for pre-order NOW.

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