The Advent of Crazy-Season, and Hope

True confession: Thanksgiving came and went, and I wasn’t thankful.

It’s not that I forgot. You can’t be on Facebook—where everycousin and their mother, except for you, is participating in that 30 Days of Thanks  thing—You can’t be there and not remember thankfulness.

It was just that I couldn’t be bothered.

I tried counting my blessings, once or twice, or half a dozen times last month, but I just got so caught up in all the other things I had to do. For example, this would be me, on any given day in November:

Lord, thank you that, in a world where so many people are sick and suffering, I have good health. Thank You that, in a world where so many people live in miserable marriages, I have a husband who really loves me. Thank you that my kids cream together half a cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 2 eggs. Beat well until light and fluffy, and lemon-colored….

And I’d realize I’d done it again. This is how I pray, people. This is what God has to put up with from me.

(And you too, probably. Right? Right???)


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Ten Other Things to Do When You Should Be Getting Ready for Thanksgiving (or, What I'm Reading Today)

It’s Top Ten Tuesday on the World Wide Web, and since it’s also Thanksgiving Week, I thought I’d show you how I’m getting ready for the holiday, in the form of a Top Ten List. Thanksgiving is on Thursday this year (*small family joke, there*) and everyone’s coming here. As it happens that I have to work at My Real Job on Wednesday, today is really the day I should be making last-minute preparations for The Great Day Itself.

Howsomever, that is not exactly how I am spending my time today. Instead, I am…well, the thing is, I hardly ever start a book I just can't put down. And stumbling onto an entire series like that? It's pure, Thankgiving gold, my friend. Not something to just be shunted aside until Friday. So in the spirit of today, I now present you with Ten Other Things to Do When You Should Be Getting Ready for Thanksgiving Day.

10. Discover a new novel series and realize you must—must—finish one more chapter before you start making the pie shells for Thursday’s French Silk and Raspberry pies.

9. Contemplate your witch-like hairdo in the mirror, and try to remember the last time you washed it. Decide that it looks rather like a radiant, red halo standing out from your scalp like that, in all directions. Worry that it’s been too many days since you actually worked a shift at the hospital like a normal person, and you are slowly losing your mind. Stifle all guilt by reading another chapter of your book.

8. Scratch the dog’s head, and tell her she smells like popcorn. Feel guilty because you last walked her on Saturday, and she has had nothing to do but sleep for 18 hours a day since then. Vow that you will take her just as soon as you finish this chapter.

7. Realize that the turkey you bought for Thursday sat out on the front porch overnight, and it’s possible that, in this unseasonably warm November in Maine, the temperature never fell to 40 degrees. Worry that everyone will get food poisoning on Thanksgiving. Resolve to confess this to no one. Plug in the extra refrigerator, pop the turkey inside, and read a few more pages while it cools.Reading Turkey

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The Routines and Research of a Part-Time Novelist

Today was a writing day. Not every day is, I’ll confess. I know this is bad writerly practice. All the best authors say you ought to, must sit down at the same time every morning, and not get up until you’ve produced 500, 1,000, 1,500 words.

I would so love to have that kind of life.

But I am not a full-time writer. And between 12-hour shifts at the hospital, a house with 4 stories of living space to keep clean-ish, 3 teenagers, 2 needy dogs, and 1 husband—all of whom expect to eat actual food on a regular basis—I can’t always carve out time to sit down and write 1,000 words a day. I do what I can, when I can, and I try to let go of the rest.

Note to self: This is good advice, not just for writing, but for life.

Still, a couple of times a week, I do get to spend the day just being a writer. Today was one of them. 

I've always read that writing routines are important to productivity, and I am not without mine. When I sit down to write, the first major, indispensable step for me is to check Facebook. After that: Twitter. Then Pinterest, and my 2 G-mail accounts. Next, I go back and re-check them all, in case I missed something. And then a third time, on the off chance that something urgent has come up that will require my attention and absolutely prevent me from having to being able to write today. When this—inevitably—doesn’t happen, it’s time to knuckle down. Research

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