Day 2 of My Writer’s Retreat

Annice

Annice

Day two of my writer’s retreat.  Well, that’s what I’m calling it even though it’s not exactly what I planned.  I was supposed to go to Bowers House, a Writers Retreat and Literary Center in Georgia, but given that my husband is still recovering from major back surgery, I felt uncomfortable being so far away – just in case.  So, feeling deprived and sorry for myself, I decided to take the week off anyway and just write at home.

It’s not that I can’t write at home, I do it all the time but I also do the laundry, organize drawers, clean the closets, clip my dog’s nails – you get the drift.  Did I say I also check my kitchen cupboards to see if all my exotic spices are still in the house just in case I get inspired to make an amazing Indian dish?

While I was gearing up for my make do “retreat,” my writing mentor and dear friend, Peggy, was going out of town to visit her children the exact week I had to cancel Bowers House.  I know Peggy’s place because my writer’s group meets there every other Tuesday.  It’s only ten minutes from my house but it feels like miles and miles away.  It’s quiet, serene, with cream colored furniture, and best of all there is Gracie,  her pure white cat who thinks she’s

Gracie

Gracie

a dog.  Wouldn’t Gracie need someone to take care of her?  Yes she would.  What an amazing swap. I get to write at Peggy’s place all day and leave when I’m ready.  So far, I’ve been going around 10:00 and returning around 7:00.  Gracie is happy and I’m ecstatic.  In two days, I’ve revised 12 chapters, and hopefully, I can finish all 25 of them by the end of the week.

In addition, I have given up all household chores  including cooking so we’re either eating out or bringing in, and the only thing I do in the morning before I leave is walk Terra.

Oh yeah, look at this little jewel I see in the morning.  A dove has decided to build a nest in a planter near Peggy’s front door.  I’ve watched it grow in just two days.  What a perfect metaphor for my writer’s retreat.

Creating a Nest

Creating a Nest

I’ve Slept Through the Night 3 Days in a Row!

Jane This is a quick post in praise of sleep! I have had three nights of sleep in a row!!! For the first time in several years. And, here is what finally helped me: MELATONIN! There are going to be a lot of people out there who will say, “I told you so!” And it’s true that several friends have been telling me for years to try Melatonin,but it never worked for me before. Here’s the secret: I wasn’t taking a big enough dose!!! I should have known! I tried Melatonin several times in the past, but it never kept me asleep, and I usually ended up with a headache. The other night I was just desperate enough (after about a week of restless nights with 3-4 hours of sleep each night) to try doubling the dose from 3 mg to 6 mg, and, low and behold, it worked! I slept through the night!!!!!

melatonin

So, apologies to everyone who recommended this wonderful solution in the past. And apologies to all my friends who have been trying to help me over the years. I love Melatonin! But keep checking back! I’ll let you know if it continues to work over a long period of time. IBad news:  on the bottle, it says not to keep taking Melatonin over a long period of time or it could have bad side effects!  Help!!  What do I do now?  I guess I just bet caught up on my sleep and then have a few more rough nights.  In the meantime, how about sending in your favorite sleep remedies? I know some people have submitted them before, but I could use help, especially since any kind of real drugs hasn’t worked for me in the past!

 

The Thrill of a Second Chance

Martha Carr, author

Martha Carr, author

My fifties started with a bang.  I jumped out of a plane, following behind the person I was interviewing for a book.  As soon as I was clear of the plane I felt myself relax and one clear thought came to me, “You’ve done it now, you might as well relax.”  If I was going to hit the ground, I might as well enjoy this last minute.

I landed successfully and stood up with another clear thought: Stop doing anything that isn’t working.  There was a long list.  My entire way of thinking up to that point was to try and make sure everyone else liked me, no matter what the consequences.

By the time I turned fifty, I was more of a chameleon than a human being and I had no idea what I liked to do.

As a writer, I was all over the map.  Fortunately, it turned out I had some talent that over time became stronger.  But as soon as I was headed down one path, someone would point out how I could be getting ahead faster if only I changed direction.  Doubt would set in, and I’d let go of the plan that I had and set out again.  Frustration and resentment built as I blamed others for why I wasn’t getting ahead in my life.

However, just a few months after that skydiving trip I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given one year to live.  One month later, an unrelated cancer was found that took a good part of the skin on the lower part of my face.  Suddenly, all of the outward need to please others fell away and I was able to give myself permission to say what I was really thinking, and stick with it.

The cancer didn’t spread any further, something the doctors only have ideas about but were never able to explain.  No matter, the entire episode, which included having to learn how to walk again, transformed my way of thinking and then my life.

I started out in life being told that I was part of American royalty. I am the great-great-great-great-niece of Thomas Jefferson, named for his sister, Martha Randolph Carr and with that came a certain responsibility.

I interpreted that as a responsibility to look a certain way but had no idea what would be the most acceptable or virtuous front.  Over the years it became whoever I admired or at least saw as successful and I’d change to match their vision of me, as I saw it.  I wasn’t running my own race as much as playing a part in a lot of other people’s lives whether they even knew it or not.

2ndchanceGetting a second chance at being alive changed that and as usual, it’s reflected in my writing.  I finally started writing a thriller series, The Wallis Jones Series that focuses on a woman a lot like myself who’s doing a pretty good job of building a life until she finds out that she’s part of a legacy she can’t just leave behind.

In The Keeper, the second in the series, Wallis finds out just how deep those family ties go and realizes running away won’t work anymore.  There are a lot of people who have an idea of the right thing to do but Wallis has to find out for herself her own definitions.  It’s going to take faith in herself and those around her like her husband, Norman and her tween son, Ned to find peace again in the middle of a dangerous situation.The Keeper front cover

The legacy of finding out that our roots are legendary is not to try and appear as if everything is alright.  It turns out that my fifties gave me the gift of learning how to live up to the past by creating my own future, even if it doesn’t look a thing like anyone expected, including me.

Quick Question: What are We Celebrating Today?

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

It’s the 4th of July!  A big holiday, with most people not working, with lots of us going on picnics, parties, and maybe even going to watch some fireworks tonight: Awesome!!!  Woo-hoo!!!  Which is all good.  But in case you want to know why we as a country celebrate the 4th of July, take a moment to read the following quote from one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, to realize what we are REALLY celebrating.  Or should I say, what we should be celebrating.  It all became effective 238 years ago today.  And it almost seems as if it is time for some new form of government, or at least that is how I feel after reading the compelling quote below.  Do you have the same feeling too?

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
~Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Happy 4th of July!

Sadhvi

Sadhvi’s Bishop Weed